‘Home is where you want to be’: Huntsman program aims to give cancer patients more flexibility

SALT LAKE CITY — Tom Kurrus is not afraid to die.

“I have no qualms about the fact that I have a fatal diagnosis,” he says. “But I’m not into suffering.”

While his approaching death from cancer doesn’t fill him with dread, “I just don’t want to be there when it happens,” he quipped.

Kurrus, a retired internal medicine and infectious disease physician who worked in the field for 43 years, learned in September he had a brain tumor called a glioblastoma. His doctors from the Huntsman Cancer Institute believe he could live anywhere from three months to about a year.

“Everybody expects I know what’s going down with this,” Kurrus said in an interview Friday. “(But it’s) new to me. It’s the first time I’ve had cancer.”

For patients like Kurrus, carefully protecting both quality and longevity of life is top of mind. For him, that means enjoying the comforts of his home in the Avenues section of Salt Lake City, while also seeing to it that his symptoms are aggressively managed.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Dr. Tom Kurrus, left, who receives comprehensive care for his brain tumor through Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Huntsman at Home program, talks about the service as his wife, Sarah, and his friend Brad Burrup listen in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.

“I would much rather be here than looking out the window of an extended-care facility, and it’s a whole lot cheaper to be here than an extended-care facility,” Kurrus said. “There’s no question home is where you want to be. Home is where you are more in charge.”

It is with that flexibility and affordability in mind that the Huntsman Cancer Institute has debuted a new program designed to help cancer patients leave the hospital sooner and receive more comprehensive care inside their own …read more

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China suspends tariff hikes on US cars, auto parts

BEIJING — China announced a 90-day suspension on Friday of tariff hikes on U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its cease-fire in a trade battle with Washington that threatens global economic growth.

The suspension is China’s first step in response to President Donald Trump’s Dec. 1 agreement to suspend U.S. tariff hikes for a similar 90-day period while the two sides negotiate over American complaints about Beijing’s technology policy and trade surplus.

China has indicated it plans to move ahead with the talks despite strains over the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada to face possible U.S. charges related to a violation of trade sanctions on Iran.

Beijing will suspend a 25 percent import charge on cars and trucks and a 5 percent charge on auto parts, effective Jan. 1, the Finance Ministry announced.

The announcement helped give substance to Trump’s agreement with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, after prolonged uncertainty caused jittery global financial markets to swing wildly.

The Finance Ministry said the tariff suspension would apply to imports worth up to a total of $126 billion, but that would be nearly 10 times the $13 billion of vehicles the United States exported to China last year.

China is the world’s biggest auto market but most U.S.-branded vehicles sold here are manufactured in Chinese factories. The automaker hit hardest by the Chinese tariff hike was Germany’s BMW AG, which ships SUVs made in a South Carolina factory to China.

The penalties were imposed in response to Trump’s decision to slap 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods and a 10 percent charge on another $200 billion. The second tariff was due to rise Jan. 1 until Trump agreed to the postponement.

The United States and other trading partners complain Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology in violation of its …read more

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Bug may have exposed photos from 7M Facebook users

NEW YORK — Facebook’s privacy controls have broken down yet again, this time through a software flaw affecting nearly 7 million users who had photos exposed to a much wider audience than intended.

The bug disclosed Friday gave hundreds of apps unauthorized access to photos that could in theory include images that would embarrass some of the affected users. They also included photos people may have uploaded but hadn’t yet posted, perhaps because they had changed their mind.

It’s not yet known whether anyone actually saw the photos, but the revelation of the now-fixed problem served as another reminder of just how much data Facebook has on its 2.27 billion users, as well has how frequently these slipups are recurring.

The bug is the latest in a series of privacy lapses that continue to crop up, despite Facebook’s repeated pledges to batten down its hatches and do a better job preventing unauthorized access to the pictures, thoughts and other personal information its users intend so share only with friends and family.

In general, when people grant permission for a third-party app to access their photos, they are sharing all the photos on their Facebook page, regardless of privacy settings meant to limit a photo to small circles such as family. The bug potentially gave developers access to even more photos, such as those shared on separate Marketplace and Facebook Stories features, as well as photos that weren’t actually posted.

Facebook said the users’ photos may have been exposed for 12 days in September. The company said the bug has been fixed.

The company declined to say how many of the affected users are from Europe, where stricter privacy laws took effect in May and could subject companies to fines. Facebook said it has notified the Irish Data Protection Commission of the breach.

The problem comes in a …read more

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Utah gas mining president charged with securities fraud

SALT LAKE CITY — The founder and president of Empire Energy in Utah has been charged with defrauding investors of more than $300,000.

On Friday, the Utah Attorney General’s Office charged Spencer Kent Barton, 60, of Fresno, California, with eight counts of securities fraud, a second-degree felony; acting as an unregistered securities agent, a third-degree felony; and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony.

Barton obtained approximately $359,000 by soliciting investments for Empire Energy, but made “$28,171 in purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon, PayPal, air and ground transportation, which is consistent with personal use and withdrew approximately $150,655 in cash,” according to charging documents.

Barton, who used to live in Ferron, Emery County, was the founder of Empire Energy in Utah, a natural gas mining company, according to court records.

“Between September 2016 and November 2017, Barton offered and sold an investment contract and/or working interest in natural gas and/or oil wells to approximately 50 investors and collected approximately $359,157 in connection with the investment opportunity,” charging documents state. “In connection with the offer and/or sale of securities, Barton, either directly or indirectly, made untrue statements of material facts and/or omitted to state material facts necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading.”

After collecting money, prosecutors say Barton spent it for personal use.

“To date, investors are owed approximately $332,107 in principal alone,” according to charging documents.

A $25,000 warrant was issued Friday for Barton’s arrest.

…read more

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