Philippines gripped by dengue vaccine fears

Philippine Under-Secretary Enrique Domingo speaks in Manila

Fears over a dengue vaccine in the Philippines have led to a big drop in immunisation rates for preventable diseases, officials have warned.

Health Under-Secretary Enrique Domingo said many parents were refusing to get their children vaccinated for polio, chicken pox and tetanus.

The fears centre on Dengvaxia, a drug developed by French company Sanofi.

Sanofi and local experts say there is no evidence linking the deaths of 14 children to the drug.

However, the company had warned last year that the vaccine could make the disease worse in some people not infected before.

Dengue fever affects more than 400 million people each year around the world. Dengvaxia is the world’s first vaccine against dengue.

The mosquito-borne disease is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What did Mr Domingo say about immunisation rates?

“Our programmes are suffering… (people) are scared of all vaccines now”, he warned.

Mr Domingo added that vaccination rates for some preventable diseases had dropped as much as 60% in recent years – significantly lower that the nationwide target of 85%.

Mr Domingo expressed concerns about potential epidemics in the Philippines – a nation of about 100 million people, many of whom are impoverished.

What triggered fears about Dengvaxia?

More than 800,000 children were vaccinated across the country in 2016-17. Fourteen of them have died.

Dengvaxia immunisations were halted last year, as the Philippines launched an investigation into what caused the deaths.

On Saturday, Doctors for Public Welfare (DPW) said a clinical review conducted by Philippine General Hospital forensic pathologists had determined that the deaths were not linked to the vaccine, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

What about Sanofi’s reaction?

In a statement, the French company said: “The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital expert panel confirmed… that there is currently no evidence directly linking the Dengvaxia vaccine to any of the 14 deaths.

“In Dengvaxia clinical trials conducted over more than a decade and the over one million doses of the vaccine administered, no deaths related to the vaccine have been reported to us.

“Clinical evidence confirms dengue vaccination in the Philippines will provide a net reduction in dengue disease.”

Last November, Sanofi announced that its vaccine could worsen the potentially deadly disease in people not previously infected.

“For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” the firm said in a statement.

Sanofi says Dengvaxia has been registered in 19 countries and launched in 11 of them.

In its latest advice on the vaccine, the WHO said that “until a full review has been conducted, WHO recommends vaccination only in individuals with a documented past dengue infection”.

Recent vaccine controversies:

  • ‘Anti-vax’ movement: activities in the past few years by fringe campaigners against immunisation – particularly for measles – lead to falling immunisation rates in France, Italy and the US
  • Polio: Islamist militants in Pakistan have carried out attacks against workers vaccinating children in recent years. The militants say immunisation is a Western campaign to sterilise Pakistani children
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella): starts with a publication of a 1998 paper falsely linking the vaccine to autism. This leads to a drop in immunisation rates in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

US jobs and wages rise in January

US factory worker

The US labour market barrelled forward in January, as employers added more jobs than expected and wage growth was its strongest in more than eight years.

US payrolls expanded by 200,000 last month, driven by hiring in construction, food services and health care, the US Labor Department said.

The average hourly wage for private sector workers crept up 2.9% compared to January 2017.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%.

Economists have puzzled over lacklustre wage growth, which has lagged in prior months despite the decline in the unemployment rate.

Without higher wages, economists have warned that economic growth will be difficult to sustain, since consumer spending plays a large role in the US economy.

The Labor Department report, released on Friday, showed average hourly earnings for private sector workers rose 9 cents in January, to $26.74. For the year, the increase was 75 cents.

The wage uptick coincided with mandatory minimum pay increases in 18 states. Major employers such as Walmart have also said they planned to boost earnings or provide bonuses.

Those factors may have helped lift last month’s numbers, but they make it harder to say if the increases will continue, said Lindsey Piezga, chief economist for fixed income at Stifel, based in Chicago.

“While that is encouraging, what we really need to see is sustained wage growth, not one-off, month-to-month volatility,” she said.

Other data in the report was a reminder that monthly gains can be fleeting.

For example, the unemployment rate among black workers jumped in January to 7.7%, rising after falling to a record low of 6.8% in December.

President Donald Trump had trumpeted that decline as evidence of economic improvement.

Slowing momentum?

The US is now in its ninth year of expansion and has been adding jobs steadily since 2010.

The increases in January occurred across most industries, a sign of solid growth.

The pace of hiring is slowing, however.

Over the last three months, payrolls increased by an average of 192,000 jobs, compared to over 200,000 in the same period the prior year.

“I don’t think we should be too excited about this,” said Ms Piezga.

“The momentum of the US economy is waning. We’re still talking about positive growth, positive job creation, but at a slower pace.”

Economists have said some slowdown in job creation is to be expected as new workers become harder to find.

Despite a relatively high number of job openings, participation in the labour force has remained stuck below 63%, several percentage points lower than it was before the financial crisis.

US stock indexes slid after the report.

Analysts said part of the decline was due to investor reaction to the wage increase, which is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates – and could make policymakers move more aggressively.

The Fed is one of several central banks that are turning from policies that were designed to boost economic activity in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

YouTubers say positive work ignored because of controversial stars

Humza Arshad and Em Ford

YouTubers say controversial characters like Logan Paul detract from the good work they do online.

Make-up vlogger Em Ford says she “fundamentally disagrees” with his controversial video made in Japan’s Aokigahara forest.

“It’s disappointing to not see any of the good things championed,” she tells Newsbeat.

The Brit is annoyed a campaign raising over £700,000 for Mexico earthquake victims got little media interest.

She’s part of YouTube’s Creators For Change programme, which aims to inspire creators who share positive messages through their videos.

Em talks about make-up with her million subscribers for My Pale Skin, but it’s showing her struggle with acne that inspires her followers.

“You could look at my channel and say I just review foundations or talk about face masks,” she says.

“When you have acne, that foundation is the one thing that can give you back the control that acne has stripped away from you and make you feel better about yourself.”

“I will keep posting pictures of my face and I will keep encouraging other women to post pictures of their faces regardless of pigmentation, colour or whatever society issue is going on there, until it becomes normal,” she adds.

Both Em and Humza Arshad, who has close to 400,000 subscribers on his Humza Productions channel, say that despite a lack of media coverage for some positive efforts by YouTubers, the impact is seen in the response to their posts.

Humza posts mostly comedy videos but one of his most watched clips is a hard-hitting piece on Islamophobia in the UK.

It has been watched more than a million times across the world.

“It took me maybe 5 or 10 minutes to write but it came from the heart,” Humza tells Newsbeat.

“Because it was real, it was authentic, I knew a lot of people would relate and react to it.”

Humza has tried to put a message in all his YouTube videos since he started uploading comedy sketches about a wannabe gangster called Diary Of A Badman.

“I wanted to do videos that were funny and made people laugh but think at the same time,” he says.

“I thought it was very important to leave a positive message and not just do pointless comedy.”

Humza says YouTubers like him, Em and others working to promote positive messages can “genuinely change a life,” and believes even Logan Paul’s controversial video prompted a positive discussion about suicide.

And Em says that the success she has found on YouTube goes against modern stigma against young people and how they rely on technology and social media.

“There’s this stigma that young people are just glued to their phones, YouTube or TV all day long,” she says.

“When I was 24 I started a company through my phone.

“Had it not been for that phone, had it not been for the internet or the programmes that inspired me on TV when I was younger I would never have made a film and I would never be trying to get out a positive message.”

Apple’s iPhone battery ‘slowdown’ to be optional

iPhone 7 Plus

A software update will let iPhone owners switch off the “battery saver” feature that slows down some models, Apple has confirmed.

The option to switch off the feature will appear on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 and 7 Plus models.

Last month, Apple apologised after it was found to be deliberately slowing down some of its devices.

Customers were angry that Apple had not been upfront about its actions before the practice was discovered.

Many had long suspected the company slowed older iPhones to encourage customers to upgrade.

Apple admitted slowing some phones with ageing batteries but said it was done to “prolong the life” of the devices.

The ability to switch off the battery saver will appear in iOS 11.3 when it is released later in 2018.

The company said the feature “dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns” but customers will be able to “turn it off”.

Price drops

Replacing an affected iPhone’s battery also restores its performance.

After the practice of slowing older iPhones was discovered, Apple said it would reduce the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 to $29 in the US for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later.

In the UK the price dropped from £79 to £25.

“With so many older iPhones in the market the battery performance issues have become a concern for a lot of consumers,” commented Ben Wood from the tech consultancy CCS Insight.

“Apple has also been under regulatory scrutiny so it is likely trying to offer as many options to consumers as possible so they can decide the best way to maximise the battery life on iPhones that are eligible for the new battery programme.”

Why this luxury apparel retailer wants to be the Spotify of fashion

Online fashion retailer Farfetch has been attracting attention this year.

In August, founder Jose Neves said a New York floatation was the “next logical stage” for the company, with a valuation rumored to be $5 billion, and in February it made headlines when Natalie Massenet joined as non-executive co-chair.

Massenet founded rival Net-A-Porter in 2000 and sold her stake in it to Richemont for an estimated £50 million ($66.8 million) in 2010, before it merged with Italian website Yoox in 2015.

And Farfetch’s future success may be down to how it recommends products to shoppers. Chief Marketing Officer John Veichmanis said he takes inspiration from how Spotify recommends music to listeners when thinking about the best ways to promote the platform.

Speaking to CNBC, Veichmanis said he would like people to be able to discover up-and-coming designers via a similar type of algorithm. “Music is very similar, it is very personal. I love Spotify because it introduces me to loads of artists I would never have listened to and I suppose that’s where I take our inspiration from,” he said.

“If you look at music, someone can sit in their bedroom now, create an amazing track and distribute it themselves, and I think that has to come to the luxury (fashion) space as well.”

Farfetch presented a 'store of the future' at its FarfetchOS conference in April 2017

Nic Serpell-Rand | Farfetch
Farfetch presented a ‘store of the future’ at its FarfetchOS conference in April 2017

Farfetch lets individual fashion boutiques sell to consumers, rather than holding stock itself, and the site has around 280,000 items for sale at any one time.

“We use information consumers have given us to tell them better stories (about products), and that’s an emerging space. I don’t think anyone is doing this very well and it’s something we are really keen to learn,” Veichmanis said.

Creativity and technology

Veichmanis, who has worked at various tech companies including Apple and Skype, said his job is made harder because people who shop for luxury fashion want something unique.

“A lot of the focus is on data science and looking at computer vision to understand which garments go together really well (or) what type of fabrics, rather than saying, ‘Well somebody’s bought this, and 10 other people have bought this other one.’ That’s completely the opposite of how people buy fashion, they want a unique perspective,” he said.

John Veichmanis, chief marketing officer at Farfetch

John Veichmanis, chief marketing officer at Farfetch

To that end, Farfetch has more than 200 people in its marketing team, of which around 25 percent are in data science and analytics, bringing in a much-needed collaboration between creative people and tech experts, according to Veichmanis.

“Our perspective is that the industry hasn’t really moved on: there is a lot of capability to target consumers, but then often you will talk to the creative teams telling the stories and they are completely disconnected from what the technology can do. What we are trying to do is put those people together,” he told CNBC.

Net-A-Porter owes some of its success to its fashion content, including digital magazine the Edit and printed title Porter, and Veichmanis said it’s also a key part of marketing for Farfetch, ahead of advertising. “We are publishing content every day, we are not thinking about paying for Q1 or Q3 (advertising). If we see something that is relevant, we publish it.”

Farfetch founder Jose Neves

Nic Serpell-Rand | Farfetch
Farfetch founder Jose Neves

Farfetch also has about 100 personal shoppers for its biggest-spending customers and around 25 people who merchandise the website, putting products together to make outfits.

Machines are unlikely to be able to completely take over the role of curator, but the company spends much of its research and development budget in working out the best way to recommend products to people — and not just the top spenders.

Having such a large product selection might delight fashionistas, said Veichmanis, “but that’s not useful unless you can make it relevant to a consumer.”

People are dyeing their hair to match Pantone’s color of the year

Pantone's color of the year, Ultra Violet, has made its way into salons. Learn how to achieve the trendy look with tips from an expert.

When Pantone announced the 2018 Color of the Year, it didn’t take long for people to jump on the bandwagon. From lip color to eyeshadow to nail polish, Ultra Violet has been popping up all over the makeup aisles and in beauty routines. But perhaps the most daring way people are incorporating it into their look is by dyeing their hair various shades of this bold color.

A quick search for “ultraviolethair” on Instagram yields hundreds of images showing variations of the purple hue, like dip-dyed ends and subtle streaks, to give you all the inspiration you need. But if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and trying out this trendy color for yourself, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

7 MYTHS ABOUT EYELASH EXTENSIONS

Willow Larkin, Premier and Master Colorist at Gene Juarez Salon and Spas, says anyone can pull off Ultra Violet hair, but there are a couple things to take into consideration. She says that bold and vivid violet tones require more maintenance and might not be acceptable for every work environment.

“Intense violet involves a lightening process prior to a stain to create vivid results and aren’t always easily removed out of the hair, while at the same time can fade rapidly depending on home care and hair porosity,” she said. A more muted tone could be more appropriate for your lifestyle, and depending on placement, can be easily hidden and requires less upkeep.

If you want to participate in the trend without over-processing to your hair, Larkin recommends darker shades of violet or eggplant, which she says can be a good option for someone who doesn’t want as intense a look. These shades also can be achieved without having to go through the bleaching process, but will show up when the light hits it. Anyone whose hair is already lightened can achieve a similar effect with a rinse or stain, which Larkin says will fade within a few washes and requires less upkeep.

For commitment-phoebes, Larkin has the perfect solution. She says you can get the look of Ultra Violet hair with extensions or clip-ins, which can be easily placed and moved. “Clip-in extensions are an awesome choice for younger kids and anyone who wants to easily remove and place their own sections and requires zero commitment,” she said.

A higher-maintenance color like Ultra Violet needs special attention to keep the color looking its best, so it’s important to use the proper products after you leave the salon. Larkin recommends “a professional brand sulfate-free shampoo” to help prolong the life of your color. She says to also beware that vivid colors like this can transfer onto lighter colored clothing or white bathtubs.

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Unfortunately this isn’t a color that can be easily achieved at home and is best left to the professionals. Many stylists are also “specially trained to tailor services for each individual client to preserve the integrity of the hair and increase the durability of their color,” Larkin says. Attempting a DIY dye-job can also result in an unwanted shade or damaged hair, which will end up requiring a trip to the salon anyway to have it corrected.

Why feminists want Mila Kunis to turn down a Harvard award

A Harvard University theater group with an all-male cast is under fire from those who say it should allow women onstage — and they’re asking Mila Kunis to take up their cause.

On campus and off, detractors are calling on the Hasty Pudding troupe to start casting women and to update sexist portrayals of women. Amid the debate, some are calling on Kunis to reconsider her acceptance of the group’s Woman of the Year award on Thursday to protest the exclusion.

“It would be a wonderful thing for her to not accept this award, to say this is gender inequality,” said Liz Kantor, a senior studying molecular and cellular biology, who auditioned for this year’s show. “There are women on campus who are more than willing to take advantage of these opportunities, yet they’re still being excluded.”

Hasty Pudding is known for bawdy comedic revues that feature men in drag playing female characters, a longstanding tradition in the group, which says it was formed in 1795.

But more recently, women have sought acting roles in the student-written parodies, which are shown in Massachusetts, New York and Bermuda and have helped launch careers for former students ranging from Jack Lemmon to Broadway composer Larry O’Keefe.

Kantor is among about 20 women who auditioned for this year’s show as a form of protest, an idea started by two women in 2015. Each year, the women have promptly been cut.

Women can instead take behind-the-scenes jobs, including writing the shows or working on the business staff or technical crew, the group says on its website.

The group has been criticized for its all-male cast before, including in a 2016 petition from dozens of former members who urged it to accept women.

Students on Hasty Pudding’s executive board, which is led by a woman and includes several female members, declined to comment for this article. Overall, about half the 50 students involved with the group are women.

The troupe’s all-male cast took cues from the Shakespearean era, when men played all roles. Harvard itself admitted only male undergraduates until a partial merger with Radcliffe College in 1977.

The Man and Woman of the Year awards precede the kickoff of the annual revue, which includes more than 30 performances in February and March.

Kunis, whose credits include “That ’70s Show” and “Black Swan,” has spoken out sharply against sexism in entertainment, including in a defiant 2016 essay . She did not respond to a request for comment.

Others recently named Woman of the Year by the group include Octavia Spencer and Amy Poehler, who cracked a biting joke about the group’s exclusion of women when she accepted the honor in 2015.

“You know it’s time for a change when the Augusta National Golf Club has lapped you in terms of being progressive,” Poehler said, referring the Georgia club’s 2012 decision to admit women.

Some critics are also challenging the portrayal of women in the revues, which have featured characters with names like “Donna My Knees” and “Sheila Rowsya.”

“It just magnifies the misogyny that men are portraying these characters,” said Kantor, of West Nyack, New York. “They’re usually just the most blatant stereotypes you could think of.”

Hasty Pudding stated as a social club, taking its name from the porridge members brought to meetings. The school recognizes Hasty Pudding as a student group but doesn’t necessarily endorse its views, a school spokesman said. Officials declined to comment specifically on its casting policies.

But the administration has been working to curb campus groups that exclude members based on gender, including secretive all-male groups known on campus as “final clubs.”

Students who join single-gender social groups, for example, are banned from taking campus leadership positions, but Hasty Pudding is considered an arts group, not a social group, and isn’t subject to the rule.

Women who have pushed for a place in the cast say students are split. Some say women in drag wouldn’t be as funny, and some say the all-male cast is a tradition that should be protected.

But freshman Elle Shaheen, a theater major who auditioned for the cast, said the group is missing an opportunity to update its attitudes.

“This issue is not necessarily just about women. It’s about theater being all-inclusive,” said Shaheen, 18, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “I plan on continuing to fight for it, and I’ll audition next year, and the year after that.”

Breakup may have motivated Texas high school shooting, alleged gunman had violent past

A recent breakup may have pushed a student with a history of aggressive actions to shoot and seriously injure a 15-year-old girl in the cafeteria of their Texas high school on Monday, officials said.

Multiple students and a parent told FOX4 News the 16-year-old suspected gunman at Italy High School was in a relationship with the victim, but the pair had recently broken up. The students and parent told FOX4 the teenager was very upset about the breakup.

“I did know that the guy that was shooting was mad at the girl because she had left him for somebody else,”  Danaisia McCowan told FOX4. “So he shot at one guy and missed him, and then he shot at her.”

The suspect, whose name has not yet been released by police, appeared in court Wednesday after being charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The judge ordered the 16-year-old to remain in juvenile detention on the grounds that he is a danger to himself and others and does not have adequate supervision. He will undergo a psychological evaluation before his next detention hearing on Feb. 7, according to FOX4.

In this photo from video by KDFW Fox4, law enforcement personnel gather outside the high school in Italy, Texas, following an active shooter incident at the school Monday morning, Jan. 22, 2018. Sheriff's officials said a boy who is a student at the school was taken into custody. (KDFW Fox4 via AP)

Law enforcement personnel gather outside the high school in Italy, Texas, following an active shooter incident.  (FOX4)

The 16-year-old’s parents were in court, along with the victim’s mother but cameras were not allowed because he is a juvenile, FOX 4 reported. The suspect’s name and mugshot also will not be released.  Officials have not yet announced if the case will remain in juvenile court, or whether prosecutors will charge him as an adult.

Ellis County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald told the Associated Press officials would inquire about any dating history involving the two as part of the investigation. Fitzgerald also said officials know where the handgun used in the shooting was obtained, but declined to publicly reveal that information.

The 15-year-old girl who was wounded in the gunfire is in “good spirits,” Italy Independent School District Superintendent Lee Joffre said Tuesday after making a visit at a Dallas hospital.

“It is an amazing demonstration of her strength that she was able to survive this,” he told reporters.

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING LEAVES 1 STUDENT WOUNDED; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, POLICE SAY

While officials have not officially released the name of the girl, an off-duty Dallas firefighter is being credited with helping to save her life.

In this photo from video by KDFW Fox4, law enforcement personnel gather outside the high school in Italy, Texas, following an active shooter incident at the school Monday morning, Jan. 22, 2018. Sheriff's officials said a boy who is a student at the school was taken into custody. (KDFW Fox4 via AP)

Authorities believe a breakup may have motivated a shooting at the high school in Italy, Texas.  (FOX4)

Capt. Charles Hyles told FOX4 News his kids go to the high school, and when he heard what happened Monday he ran inside the school to help. That’s when he found the girl shot four times on the ground in the cafeteria.

“She was saying, please don’t let her die. We told her we would not let her die,” Hyles said. “I felt a special bond with her. When she made me promise she wasn’t going to die, I needed to follow up on my promise that I would see her at the hospital.”

Noelle Jones suffered injuries that “range from a bullet lodged in her neck, another removed from her abdomen to a foot of unrepairable small intestine having to be removed,” according to a GoFundMe page set up to help her family with medical expenses.

Fellow students said the shooter had a violent history, and one parent told FOX4 she had complained to school administrators after the same boy threw scissors at her daughter in anger.

Cassie Shook, a 17-year-old junior at the school, told the AP she was angry when she learned who the suspect was because she’d complained about the boy at least twice to school officials, including to a vice principal.

“This could have been avoidable,” she said. “There were so many signs.”

RECENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN THE US

Shook said she first went to school officials after the boy allegedly made a “hit list” in eighth grade and her name was on it. Then last year, the boy got angry during a class and threw a pair of scissors at her friend and later threw a computer against a wall, she said.

Joffre has repeatedly said that he can’t comment on disciplinary actions involving students. He says that the district “adheres to regulations established by the Texas Education Agency.”

“I have confidence that our administration always addresses the Texas education code appropriately,” he said.

In his statement Tuesday to parents and the community, Joffre said he understands they have “many questions and concerns.” At a news conference Tuesday afternoon at a church that lasted less than five minutes, Joffre said he’d like to help “possibly address some of the concerns” about “conversations and speculation regarding student discipline.”

Taco Bell employee assaults manager with hot burrito

A Taco Bell employee became outraged over having to work the morning shift and retaliated against his supervisor by whipping a hot burrito at her.

An angry employee at a South Carolina Taco Bell threw a hot burrito at his supervisor following an argument, a Spartanburg Police Department report says.

On Monday, a supervisor at the restaurant said the employee got angry over having to work the morning shift.

The supervisor said she told the employee to “stop being a crybaby” after he got into several verbal disputes with other coworkers, the report said.

The employee then threw a hot burrito at the supervisor and broke his headset over his knee in a rage before throwing it on the ground where it broke into several pieces. He then stormed out of the Spartanburg, SC, Taco Bell.

The supervisor was left with melted cheese on her left arm, and down her left side and leg, WYFF reported.

Melted cheese was also found on the kitchen appliances.

The police were called to the restaurant for an assault complaint following the altercation.

According to the police report, warrants in the case will be pursued, but no arrests have been made so far.

In-N-Out Burger reveals managers make $160k on average

The burger chain was also given a 91 percent on Glassdoor from employees would recommend working at In-N-Out to a friend.

In-N-Out revealed the salary of its managers in a recent interview with the California Sun.

According to the report the fast food restaurant pays its restaurant managers on average more than $160,000, which is more than triple the fast food industry average.

Workers at the family-owned chain begin at $13 per hour, which is $2.50 above California’s current minimum wage. Employees can work their way up to get the coveted manager’s salary, and a college degree is not necessary.

Benefits also include health insurance, vision, 401K and dental plans.

KTVU reached out to In-N-Out Burger corporate who confirmed managers make on average $160,000, but they did not release additional details.

Employees seem to appreciate working for In-N-Out. On Glassdooor.com 91 percent of employees would recommend working at In-N-Out to a friend. One former employee wrote that it can be a bit fast paced and stressful at times but it’s “great pay, and you can move up fairly quickly.”