The aim of the Round Table was to compare British and Czech experiences with railway regulation and competition introduction and to determine which lessons can be learnt. Special attention was paid to the question of whether the very complex British reform can be an inspiration for further liberalisation of the railway sector in the Czech Republic or whether there are any reform mistakes that are best avoided. Based on two introductory presentations and subsequent plenary discussion, some consensus emerged. The participants agreed that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to railway regulation and that the introduction of competition should take into account the different circumstances of a particular country. Franchising in passenger operations in Britain successfully stimulated demand but also increased costs to the industry, so its implementation should be completed with care. It seems very unlikely that open-access competition would be a viable solution for the whole passenger rail market because it is limited to a few commercially attractive routes, and as Czech experience suggests, it creates many new problems. Finally, it was confirmed that a strong and dedicated regulator is needed in a newly liberalised environment in order to solve many emerging conflicts and disputes.
Research purpose. The high-speed railway (HSR) construction project in the Baltic States is the largest joint infrastructure project since the restoration of independence of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Rail Baltica (RB) is considered as the most energy-efficient project having the lowest environmental impact. However, the issue of energy consumption of the project was not sufficiently addressed either in the investment justification of the RB construction or in the relevant research works regarding the project. The aim of the current research is to determine the indicators of energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity of the Latvian section of RB, since they are the key factors of the quantitative assessment of sustainability.
Design/Methodology/Approach. Critical analysis of the academic research works and reports of the official international organizations dedicated to the topic of energy consumption and CO2 emissions of HSR was conducted prior to the calculation of the above-mentioned indicators. The method of calculation based on International Union of Railways (UIC) was used in order to conduct the cluster analysis within the framework of current work. The main points considered are electricity consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and level of passenger and freight demand. Statistical databases of UIC and International Energy Agency were used.
Findings. The calculations carried out by the authors of the given article demonstrate substantial figures of CO2 emissions intensity for Latvian section of the project related to the train load rate and traffic intensity which is evened out only by the CO2 emissions factor in Latvia.
Originality/Value/Practical implications. On this basis the authors present the directions for future research required for the development of the effective strategy for the Latvian Republic with the aim of achieving the increase in the RB project’s ecological efficiency.
Based on the concept of Informational Cities, which are the highly developed prototypical cities of the 21st century, we conducted a regional comparison of four Japanese cities in terms of their “cityness” and “informativeness”. The purpose of our articles is to specify the theoretical framework for measuring the informativeness and cityness level of any desired city, to quantify the chosen indicators in order to compare the investigated cities, and finally, to conclude what is their advancement level in terms of a modern city of the knowledge society. Our methodology is based on a new approach to measure the position of a city in a national or a global scale, originating from information science and its indicators of the knowledge society. It includes such procedures as desktop research and bibliometrics, ethnographic field study, or grounded theory method. The investigated aspects under the notion of the informativeness level are the distinct labour market and mix of companies located in the city (concerned with creative, knowledge and information economy), as well as the progressive e-governance and advanced e-government. The notion of cityness level oscillates around the concept of space of flows in the city, including the flow of money, power, information, and human capital. In order to make our model practical and grounded on available evidence, we have chosen four Japanese cities to undergo the process. Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Kyoto are big and economically significant Japanese metropolises. However, our results show that they differ from each other regarding many important aspects. We were able to quantify their performances and create a ranking. The limitation of our approach appears to be the strict quantification method that makes the cityness and informativeness levels of the cities dependent on other cities’ performances, and that does not precisely reflect the actual dimension of the differences between them. Hence, in the future work we will develop a more flexible and independent approach, enabling us to make more accurate statements on cities’ advancement unregarded the advancement level of the other metropolises.
Marina Vučeljić, Maja Šurbatović and Svetlana Vujanić
S-100β Protein in Patients with Severe Sepsis
The effects of sepsis on the brain are not fully elucidated. This study investigated the serum levels of S100β protein in severe sepsis, as a biomarker of brain damage. The aim was to determine whether the levels of S100β are increased early, at the onset of sepsis, and if this protein is a good early predictor of outcome. We studied 30 patients with severe sepsis, divided into the survivors (n=8) and norsurvivors (n=22). Blood was sampled within the first 24h after the onset of symptoms. The concentrations of S100β were measured using an electrochemiluminiscence immunoassay (Elecsys 2010, Roche Diagnostics). Also, we measured the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) using the immunonephelometric assay. Out of 30 patients, 74.4% had increased levels of S100β, while 25.6% had values within the reference range. A total of 30 patients had increased levels of CRP. The mean values of S100β and CRP did not differ significantly between the survivors and nonsurvivors (0.390±0.515 vs. 0.415±0.508 μg/L; 98.76±69.94 vs. 161.68±118.38 mg/L). Correlation between S100β and outcome was not found. The increased levels of S100β indicate possible occult diffuse brain injury, that can be reversible. Moreover, the study showed S100β protein not to be a good early predictor of outcome in severe sepsis.
Bosa Mirjanic-Azaric, Sanja Avram, Tanja Stojakovic-Jelisavac, Darja Stojanovic, Mira Petkovic, Natasa Bogavac-Stanojevic, Svetlana Ignjatovic and Marina Stojanov
Background: The aim of this study was to determine the reference values for thyrotropin (TSH), thyroid hormones (total and free thyroxine, T4 and fT4; total and free triiodothyronine, T3 and fT3), thyroglobulin (Tg) and thyroid antibodies (thyroid peroxidase, TPOAb and thyroglobulin antibody, TgAb) in the population of the Republic of Srpska.
Methods: A total of 250 euthyroid subjects were enrolled in this study. A direct method for choosing reference subjects was used to establish reference intervals. The hormones and thyroid antibodies were measured by an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay method (ECLIA, Roche Diagnostics, Mannheim, Germany). We calculated the reference intervals by MedCalc, version 18.104.22.168 (MedCalc software, Belgium) as recommended by the IFCC (CLSI C28-A3).
Results: Using guidelines recommended by the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB) and based on standard statistical approaches, the reference intervals derived for TSH, fT4, T4, fT3, T3 were 0.75-5.32 mlU/L, 12.29-20.03 pmol/L, 73.49-126,30 nmol/L, 4.11-6.32 pmol/L, 1.15-2.32 nmol/L and for Tg, TPOAb, TgAb were 3.63-26.00 mg/L, <18.02 mlU/L, < 98.00 mlU/L, respectively. We found a significant difference (p<0.05) in TSH and fT3 values between different age groups as well as in T4, fT4 and fT3 values between gender groups.
Conclusions: The established reference values for the population of the Republic of Srpska were significantly different from the values recommended by the manufacturer of reagents (Roche Diagnostics). Our results showed that a laboratory needs to establish its own reference values in order to set up a proper diagnosis, as well as to treat patients successfully.
Ágnes Bolgovics, Éva Ács, Gábor Várbíró, Keve Tihamér Kiss, Balázs A. Lukács and Gábor Borics
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benchmarking programme suggest that production costs per litre are markedly higher for herds focussed on winter milk production compared to spring-calving herds (Connolly, personal communication, Summary 2009–2013. Teagasc Dairy eProfit Monitor Data, 5 September 2014). Specifically, over the period 2009–2013, total variable costs per litre were on average 1.17 cents/L (9.8%) higher for winter production herds than for spring-focussed herds that participated in the eProfit Monitor programme. Moreover, eProfit Monitor data also indicated that some fixed costs such as labour