The LEED Pilot for Wood

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Sustainable Forestry Initiative Accused of GreenwashingUSGBC’s Wood-Certification KerfuffleFSC-Certified Wood Framing LumberLEED Challenged in North CarolinaFlorida Bill a ‘Backlash’ Against LEED Rules Are FSC and LEED Killing American Jobs? Stuart Kaplow is an attorney specializing in environmental law as it relates to the business community. This post originally appeared at his website, Green Building Law Update. Does it mean something else?So is the Legal Wood pilot credit a misnomer?ASTM Standard D7612-10 (2015) provides in its appendix:X1.3 Organizations promulgating the most prominent forest certification programs throughout the world are the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Canadian Standards Association Sustainable Forest Management Standard Z-809 (CSA-SFM), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).Absent application of this pilot credit, the USGBC is out of step in only accepting FSC-certified wood. Other green building councils, from Australia and Italy to Spain, and other rating systems, including ICC 700, Green Globes, and the IgCC, all accept a variety of forest certification standards.But make no mistake: USGBC has been consistent. In 2010, USGBC members in a consensus ballot rejected including forest certification standards other than FSC. Early versions of LEED v4 opened that same door only to have it closed in the adopted version of v4.USGBC’s FSC-only position has been a lightning rod for opponents. The pilot credit will effectively repeal Maryland’s longstanding statute forbidding the LEED wood credit from being pursued in government projects or other projects seeking LEED-based tax incentives. But this pilot credit will not repeal similar statutes and executive orders in Maine, Georgia, and elsewhere.And the pilot credit is about much more than just wood for construction, as “wood based products” includes even office paper (in the MRc1, Sustainable Purchasing: Ongoing Consumables credit). This pilot alternative compliance path can be used in place of credits in LEED 2009 for New Construction and Commercial Interiors as well as for Existing Buildings, and in LEED v4 Building Design + Construction, Operations and Management, and Homes. The U.S. Green Building Council is to be applauded for the release last week of the new pilot credit, MRpc102 – Legal Wood.There may be no single subject matter more discussed with over the 15-year history of LEED than forest product certification. And that this new pilot credit continues the discussion is positive.But make no mistake: this new alternative compliance path credit does not alter the existing LEED credit, NC v4 MRc3, that mandates: “Wood products must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or USGBC-approved equivalent.”That existing credit for certified wood has only been achieved on 1,677 of LEED 2009 new construction projects, so despite all the discussion it has not been a market mover. The vast majority of LEED buildings have not pursued that credit.And despite much that has been said in the past week, including by a variety of wood industry trade groups declaring victory, USGBC has not approved any “equivalent” to FSC-certified wood.What USGBC did (within the April 5, 2016 quarterly addenda to LEED) was include a new temporary alternative compliance path credit:MRpc102 Legal Wood| Possible 1 pointUse wood verified to be from Legal (non-controversial) Sources as defined by ASTM D7612-10. These components include at a minimum, structural framing and general dimensional framing, flooring, sub-flooring, wood doors and finishes.and70% (based on cost) of all wood used on the project must be from Responsible Sources as defined by ASTM D7612-10. These components include at a minimum, structural framing and general dimensional framing, flooring, sub-flooring, wood doors and finishes.andA minimum of 50% (based on cost) of wood-based materials and products must be sourced from Certified Sources as defined by ASTM D7612-10. These components include at a minimum, structural framing and general dimensional framing, flooring, sub-flooring, wood doors and finishes. There are risks in an FSC-only ruleIt’s possible that the discussion around evaluating the efficacy of this temporary pilot credit — a discussion which is planned to take place on an expedited basis over the coming months — should focus on expanding the use of wood from certified sources. Such an approach could complement an effort to provide a framework to help the green building industry identify the reliable evidence needed to substantiate product claims as required by the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides.Zealots should be aware that an FSC-only certification for LEED buildings may do modest harm to the world’s forests. But requiring a single proprietary certification program may significantly wound the LEED rating system, further provoking the ire of governments and businesses alike.Again, the U.S. Green Building Council should be applauded for providing wood products manufacturers, distributors, and retailers with an opportunity to further discuss clear and objective information with the broader business community regarding specific forest management and forest certification programs. Pilot is to ‘test an approach’USGBC’s announcement of the pilot credit said that the aim was “to test an approach to prerequisite requirements, which could serve as a model for other building materials.” But it has been suggested by some among the environmental industrial complex that a future LEED prerequisite mandating that all wood used on every LEED project be FSC-certified (i.e., having the effect of excluding wood from two-thirds of certified forests in North America) would be devastating to the rating system, provoking the ire of many.Note that a senior policy-making staffer at USGBC has been quoted describing this as a pilot for “responsible sourcing of all materials that go into a building such as concrete, steel, copper and other materials.” Recall that the U.S. Green Building Council was originally named the U.S. Green Manufacturers Council, reflecting that the target members were building product manufacturers. Given the increased emphasis, more than 20 years later, on building materials, that name change provides real insight into the future of the organization.A real concern over this new Legal Wood pilot credit is that it is not actually about “legal wood” but rather is about a subset of wood from trees managed under some forest certification system. Wood that is not certified as “managed” is not illegal. It is simply not from a managed tree. That distinction is huge, because the referenced ASTM standard accepts that “forest certification is still a small fraction of total forest acreage,” going on to mention that only 10% of forests are certified. Again, that does not mean that wood from the other 90% of forests is illegal, but rather only that it is not from a certified forest.So, this is about forest management practices. Forests can be managed across a broad spectrum of philosophies from high-yield “crop style” plantations at one extreme to parks and preserves at the other. Since 2005, the Weyerhaeuser Company has planted more than one billion trees, and it is from forests like those that we get most U.S. certified wood (although most of that acreage is not FSC-certified).Again, this is about certified versus not certified. There are existing laws, including the Lacey Act, to prohibit illegal forest products. Section 8204 of that Act as amended in 2008 is titled “Prevention of Illegal Logging Practices.” The Act provides the legal authority to take action when products stemming from illegal logging enter the U.S. Declaration forms are required for all forest products imported into the U.S., and these forms specify the country of origin.But the same may not be true elsewhere. Russia has the second largest quantity of FSC-certified wood in the world (after Canada), but 25% of Russia’s timber exports are described as originating from illegal logging, and in some cases the FSC logo is being misused.Across the rest of the globe, more than 2.8 billion residents of poor and developing countries gather and burn wood illegally for fuel to keep warm and cook food. But that subsistence wood does not find its way into LEED buildings in the U.S.last_img read more

Electronic Design is Utilizing AI-Enabled Solutions to Render Top-grade Service

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The advent of AI in the Engineering Industry promises huge leaps in productivity, management efficiencies and bridging the gap between machines and human interaction. AI majorly seeks to conquer a wide range of challenges ranging from shortage of proficiency to the intricacies in decision making.This is why this technology has found a place in various companies all across the Engineering Industry. Today, sensitive companies such as Electronic design companies are inculcating AI into their proceedings as it allows them transform their businesses and build a stronger digital economy.In this article, we will take a look at various ways Electronic design companies are maximizing the power of AI to render top-grade services.1. Harnessing Effective DataCompanies at large rely on volumes of data for faster and effective operations. However, data, no matter how voluminous, is practically useless when not properly organized and analyzed.With AI-enabled solutions such as Digital Twins, electronic design companies now analyze data and effectively monitor systems to forestall issues before they arise.Additionally, harnessing the power of IoT and Machine learning, systems are integrated with sensors with the unique ability of assessing data about the working conditions and the real-time status of various items for effective products creation.2. Faster and More Efficient CommunicationIn most cases, effectively analyzed data is the key to the proper coordination of the supply chain. The applications of AI-enabled solutions give these companies the flexibility to meet up with demands, prevent downtime losses and control cost.Azure Machine Learning, for instance, gives this power to companies. With this in hand, companies have the means to communicate better with their machines and how well they can handle real-time issues when they occur. Fero Labs is a successful example of how effectively AI can be used to effect proper predictive communications.3. Customer EngagementThe fact that positive feedback from customers breeds trust while creating a stable ecosystem means customer engagement is crucial. This is why as business owners, it is important to never undermine the power of feedbacks and customer interactions.However, relegating 24/7 communication to human support specialists is often an ineffective and uneconomical choice. As a result, companies are now combining their human-enabled customer support operations with AI-powered chatbots and Electronic design companies are not left out.The positive point these chatbots have going for them is that they also leverage the power of Machine Learning and IoT data pools to effect solutions to open issues. With this technology in place, companies can now easily respond to customer queries while gaining enough data on how to improve the quality of their products.4. Quality Checks and ControlDue to the complexity in designs of circuit boards, microchips and others of similitude, even the most thorough human checks can fail at pointing out some flaws. But a machine equipped with the high-resolution camera can get through these complexities.Nowadays, smart companies like Arshon Technology are making use of AI-powered ‘machine vision’ to pick out the minutest details and defects in their electronic designs effectively. And upon integration with cloud-based technologies, the machine not only views but processes the information gathered such that defects are automatically flagged for correction.5. Implementation of Virtual AssistantsRepetitive jobs in companies can be really daunting especially knowing that it does nothing but sap productivity and time. With AI fulfilling these tasks, companies now have the flexibility to focus their energy on more creative ideas.Luckily, AI has empowered the industry with virtual assistants with the power to support digital transformation such that various aspects of production and management are properly handled.Virtual assistants do jobs ranging from analyzing clientele files and data for optimized productions, proper customer engagements and interaction, assembly line control and more. With virtual assistants in smart companies, the prospects of errors in designs are reduced drastically.6. Predictive MaintenanceThe intricacies in the designs associated with electronic design companies require a great deal of supervision and careful analysis for optimal production. This is why these companies are widely adopting the power wielded by predictive maintenance to monitor their systems and take care of each detail to the latter.Through the power of AI, 3D-generated models are often applied to drone imageries which helps to easily identify with issues that may arise with quality control. They also help with early detection of defects in designs along with aligning with developers in the comparison of their initial models and final products.This goes on to save companies issues with productivity, product quality demands and time management. It also prevents issues that might arise with large inventories, unplanned downtime and of course cost effectiveness.7. Better Products Creation with Generative DesignIt is no news that creating high-quality products help companies foster trust, build a stable digital economy and gain sufficient leverage in an extremely competitive environment.With AI-based Generative designs, companies now have the advantage of giving the world the best.Generative designs help companies by identifying with various components of designs and via design models set up by designers, simulate and provide various alternative designs. A practical example is Autodesk’s software used by General Electric.This AI-powered software creates an avenue whereby designers can optimize their input and output through doing the work of thousands of computers altogether. It, through the power of Machine Learning, tests and learns about what works well and needs to be worked on with every iteration made.Final ThoughtsThough still relatively in its early stages, it is obvious that Artificial Intelligence is set about revolutionizing the world at large. It is already cutting across various facets of the manufacturing Industry as well as others.While it is near impossible to ascertain the full futuristic applications of Artificial Intelligence, there is no doubt that it could very well be the language of the future and find a place in every facet of our everyday life.Electronic design companies and others are already adopting this technology. To avoid missing out on the revolution, you should consider joining in. How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Tags:#AI#AI Adoption#AI trend report#Electronic design#industrial ai Joseph ChukwubeEntrepreneur, Digital Marketer, Blogger Related Posts Entrepreneur and Online Marketing Consultant, Joseph Chukwube is the Founder of Digitage. He’s highly enthusiastic about all things business and technology, and he shares informative resources to help businesses and consumers stay informed, safer, and smarter online. Want to say hi? Shoot him an email at joseph@digitage.net last_img read more

Now dominant Naomi Osaka out to ‘get another one’ at Indian Wells

first_imgPH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments MARCH 07: Naomi Osaka of Japan fields questions from the media at a press conference during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 07, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFPOne year after she burst onto the scene with an Indian Wells WTA triumph that launched a meteoric rise to world number one, Naomi Osaka is looking forward, not back.The Japanese star, who in January added an Australian Open title to the US Open crown she seized in September, says she’s a long way from the carefree, unseeded player who arrived at the California desert last year ranked 44th in the world.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem MOST READ AFC presidential candidate pledges more cash to members “I kept playing really great players in every round and I was just like, I’m here for a good time, you know.“But then I kept winning, I was like, ‘Whoa, maybe I can actually win this tournament, and I did.”It hasn’t been a smooth progression ever since, back-to-back Grand Slam titles notwithstanding.She went through a phase of putting “ridiculous pressure” on herself at every tournament.Finally, she says, she “just decided to have fun again,” and set herself some mature goals.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy “For me, it’s not a dramatic change,” Osaka said. “Maybe if it was a fitness trainer it would be more dramatic. I’m still hitting and doing the same things.“The drills are different but I’m still playing the same way.”And she indicated they are quickly building a rapport.“I talk to Jermaine a lot, he’s a really easy going guy,” she said. “He asks me questions and I like to think a lot so it definitely helps me out.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “I just want to do the things that I practice and know that I can do well and even if things aren’t going my way try to find a way to win matches,” she said.“I think I did that in the Australian Open. Hopefully I can refine that skill.”Helping her work on that will be new coach Jermaine Jenkins, former hitting partner of Venus Williams and US Tennis Association national women’s coach.Jenkins joined Osaka’s team last week after Osaka shocking split with coach Sascha Bajin 17 days after her Australian Open triumph.“He seemed like a really good choice (as coach) because I do like to hit with a guy,” she said. “He seemed like he was a good hitter, too.”Mladenovic rematchBetween coaches Osaka played her first match as world number one and lost in Dubai to 67th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic.Osaka will get a chance to avenge that defeat when she faces Mladenovic in her second-round Indian Wells opener on Saturday.Mladenovic booked the rematch with a 7-5, 6-2 first-round victory over Zheng Saisai on Thursday.Osaka said that so far working with Jenkins hadn’t altered her routine too much. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end But she’s learning to cope with the pressure of heightened expectations, and that includes thinking of her first ever title defense as a clean slate.“It’s not about defending, it’s about getting another one,” she said. “I don’t really believe in defending, I believe in getting another one.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“I was just here to have fun, maybe get to the quarters,” she admitted of her mindset in 2018.“It sounds bad saying it but it’s true because I never really went far in a tournament like this. P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

Roland Garros to have roof in 2020, says tournament director

first_imgRoland Garros’ new tournament director Guy Forget called a press conference on Monday as rain ravaged the French Open tennis schedule for a second consecutive day, assuring that the central court Philippe Chatrier will have a roof in 2020.RAIN-MARRED DAYS”When you go through two days like this, you realize the importance of having a roof over your courts,” said the 51-year-old former captain of France’s Davis Cup team. (Also read: Bad light stops Andy Murray in clawback against Radek Stepanek) “While Wimbledon, Melbourne, and New York now have the new roof, we’ll have to wait until 2020 to have ours.”ARTHUR AHSE STADIUM ROOFAs the U.S. Open is working on the final pieces of a long-awaited roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York, Roland Garros became the only major tournament without a roof over at least one of its clay courts.The Australian Open in Melbourne has three, Wimbledon’s working on its second and the U.S. Open has a second on blueprint.ROLAND GARROS RENOVATIONRoland Garros, built in 1928 to enable the famous Musketeers of French tennis Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste to defend the Davis Cup, is now under renovation with a roof and an expansion of the grounds included.”It’s an ongoing process which will take us in 2020 where hopefully everything will be done. And the roof is actually the last piece of that puzzle,” said Forget, explaining that Court Philippe Chatrier would need a restructuring to be able to support the weight of a roof.advertisementThe French Federation of Tennis (FFT) decided in 2011 to continue to host the French Open at Roland Garros here, though local residents and preservationists had fought against the plan before the organisation promised to keep the historic greenhouses in the park in which they are expanding into.As rain continued to fall on Monday morning, the day two competitions were delayed, as six of Sunday’s matches, including Kei Nishikori’s opening one against Italian Simone Bolelli, were set to resume.”We need to modernise our facility for these reasons. It’s a necessity,” said Forget.last_img read more

Joe Hart joins Torino on season-long loan deal

first_imgManchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has joined Serie A side Torino on loan until the end of the season, the player’s agent confirmed on Tuesday. (Joe Hart hopeful for a solution surrounding his City future)OUT OF FAVOUR AT CITY The 29-year-old has been out of favour at Manchester City since the arrival of new manager Pep Guardiola and dropped to number three in the pecking order behind 17 million pound ($22.23 million) signing Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero.Hart’s agent Jonathan Barnett told Tuttosport: “Yes, Joe Hart will play at Torino. It’s done. (Pep Guardiola equals renewed energy for happy Raheem Sterling at Man City)”He has said ‘yes’ to the club and now Manchester City have given the OK. It’s all true, it’s certain.”Hart is on international duty with England this week but has been given permission to fly to Italy to resolve his future with the British media reporting that he was due to arrive in Turin later on Tuesday.HISTORY AWAITS HARTA loan move to Premier League Sunderland was also listed among his options in the media but Hart has opted for a new start in Italy, where he will become the first English goalkeeper to play in Serie A since the league began in 1929.Torino thrashed Bologna 5-1 on Sunday in their latest Serie A start and are seventh in the standings on three points after two matches.last_img read more

10 Thoughts on the First College Football Playoff Rankings

first_imgIt’s nice to have a real reason to care about the College Football Playoff rankings this season, isn’t it? The first ranking was released on Tuesday and everybody handled it with humility and grace completely freaked out. Here are five thoughts I had about OSU’s ranking and the way everything is generally laid out.1. What are the criteria?It’s the first week of the second year of this whole ranking the teams thing and I still have no idea what the most important criteria are for a team. There was something on Tuesday about beating teams with better than .500 records which sounds a lot like somebody passed Jeff Long notes three minutes before he went on the air and said, “say this.”The College Football Playoff committee is almost by definition making this up as it goes which was always going to be the problem with doing it like this. That’s fine, as long as you know the stakes going on. The better way to do it without the silliness of trying to compare different teams with different schedules that play a different number of games across different conferences? Win your conference and you’re in.2. Why is OSU behind Stanford and Memphis?I didn’t think OSU would be in the top 10, but 14th? Come on. Stanford’s schedule.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.54.36 AMMemphis’ schedule.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.55.13 AMLOL, what? What am I missing here?Oklahoma State has even had a better schedule than Baylor which leads us back to ranking by criteria other than wins (how dominant were you?) being the silliest thing in sports. I know this will sort itself out (kind of), but it’s still silly.Also, this from committee chairman Jeff Long was pretty funny. “(Oklahoma State) scored against Texas Tech, but you know as we looked at other teams, a lot of teams have scored on Texas Tech. That wasn’t surprising.”3. No D?Berry Tramel wrote about this today and I agree. The perception of the Big 12 is that teams don’t play defense.“I think it’s the balance of the team,” said Long. We have teams that are just one-sided offensive teams or one-sided, really strong defensive teams. That combination of offense and defense. How they’ve played offensively and defensively in those games. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to judge…”Has he heard of points per drive? Has anyone heard of this? Is it that difficult to understand the tempo of games affects scores and that the number of points you allow in a game isn’t the same as the number of points you allow in a possession? Are people really this lazy? Do you watch college football? What is points per drive? It’s a stat that shows Oklahoma State, Baylor and OU all have better defenses than mighty LSU and Stanford?4. The Notre Dame ProblemI mentioned this to Carson on our podcast on Tuesday, but the Big 12 is about to have a massive Notre Dame problem. There’s a long way to go, of course, but if ND can get through at Pitt, home for Wake (LOL), at BC and set up a final-week matchup at (presumably still-with-one-loss) Stanford then you’re setting up a scenario in which either ND gets in by winning that or Stanford or Utah get in because Stanford beat ND and one of them won the Pac-12 title.That’s messy for the Big 12 because the SEC champ is almost definitely getting in. So is the Big 10. So is Clemson if they run the table. For a one-loss Big 12 team to get in, they need Notre Dame to lose soon.The only way to prevent this is to go undefeated which leads us to …5. No Big 12 team is going undefeatedI sort of came to this realization at some point last week. Everybody keeps talking about this amazing November slate that’s sure to determine the champion of flyover country and will vault the last man standing to the top of the national pile. This is all fine and good if the last man standing is without a loss. Surely that team will be No. 1 overall.But the flip side of that is that when TCU loses in Stillwater and Baylor loses in Ft. Worth and OSU blows Bedlam and OU gets smoked in Waco you have enough of a mess on your hands that the committee will shrug its shoulders, say “you should get a secondary,” and slot four non-Big 12 teams in the Playoff.6. OU has the best trajectory of any Big 12 team trying to get inHow about that? If we’re saying there aren’t going to be any undefeated Big 12 teams, OU sets up best for the Playoff because of its brand and because it would have beaten OSU, Baylor and TCU to end the year. That’s an auto-bid for a squad like OU even if it would have had the worst loss of any of those top Big 12 teams.7. Speaking of brandsDo people really think there isn’t bias involved here? It’s natural. I’m not saying the committee is rigged, that’s silly, but there’s an inherent bias that ALL OF US have grown up with that says Notre Dame and Alabama are great at football. Baylor and TCU are not. There’s no other reason Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State are ahead of TCU. Have you looked at Ohio State’s schedule vs. TCU? TCU is on the left. Ohio State is on the right.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.50.17 AM8. Baylor wore Bama jerseys?Do you think it would still be ranked outside the toHAHAHAHAHA. No.Also, this is really true.College football analysts operate from the assumption Alabama is the best team, and any data thereafter piggybacks that truth…— Clark Matthews (@clarkmatthews) November 4, 20159. Big 12 perceptionOn ESPN’s post-rankings show Joey Galloway said, “the Big 12 has been in preseason up until now.” What? You mean Texas Tech beating Arkansas and OU beating Tennessee and TCU beating Minnesota don’t count? I don’t get why winning at West Virginia, Texas and Texas Tech is discounted so heavily. But then again, I still don’t know what the criteria are to begin with.10. Mike Gundy, your thoughts?“I think if I was to say I don’t have any interest that that would be unfair. I think we all want to know what people think. But you guys that have been around me long enough to know, we have a pretty good barometer of our team, and as I said, we’re a good football team. So I think it’s interesting to look. People will want to know. They’re going to tell you anyway. My kids when I come home, they’re going to tell me, and people in the community tell you, so it’s worth looking at.” (Tulsa World)If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

‘Wenger weaker and Arsenal still can’t defend’

first_imgTransfers Wenger weaker and Arsenal still can’t defend – Merson pulls no punches in transfer assessment Chris Burton 00:09 2/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal Getty Transfers Arsenal Arsène Wenger Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Premier League The former Gunners star believes the man in charge at the Emirates had business dictated to him, with a lack of defensive additions most bemusing Arsene Wenger had January transfer business dictated to him and is “weaker” for it, says Paul Merson, while a lack of defensive additions remains baffling.The Gunners are widely considered to have enjoyed a productive winter window, having acquired Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a £55 million club-record deal and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange for Alexis Sanchez.Merson, though, has suggested that new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat was responsible for the additions, with Wenger’s input on the wane. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The former Gunners midfielder has also questioned a lack of movement at the back, with Arsenal having bolstered an already well-stocked attacking unit while failing to address their deficiencies at the opposite end of the field – despite being heavily linked with the likes of Jonny Evans.Merson wrote in a column for the Daily Star: “Arsenal spent a lot of money during the transfer window – but the new arrivals just made Arsene Wenger weaker.“My old club finally loosened the purse strings but there is no way it was Wenger spending all that money. You can put that down to new recruitment boss Sven Mislintat.“He’s come in from Borussia Dortmund and so he knows Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and you can bet it was him who pushed for both of those deals.“Aubameyang is 29 this summer and they’ve paid nearly £60m for him – when has Wenger ever done something like that?“He’s a good player but he’s all pace and he’s not going to get any quicker at that age. There’s no sell-on value for Arsenal at all, so it’s very unlike them.“But it doesn’t address the big problem at Arsenal anyway. They still can’t defend!“How can you pay all that money for Aubameyang and fail to get Jonny Evans from West Brom? I find that amazing.“Defending has been Arsenal’s Achilles heel for years but what did they do to correct it in this window? Absolutely nothing. Good luck with that.“I don’t think these signings buy you a top-four finish. They leave you with more questions to answer.”Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League table at present, eight points adrift of London rivals Chelsea and the final Champions League spot.last_img read more

Besiktas play down Fellaini interest

first_imgTransfers Besiktas play down Fellaini interest amid Galatasaray links Ronan Murphy 20:32 2/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Marouane Fellaini 22112017 Getty Transfers Galatasaray Beşiktaş Manchester United Premier League Süper Lig The Turkish champions claim they already have a wealth of midfield talent despite being regularly linked with a move for the Belgium international Besiktas’ head of communications has played down talk of the club’s interest in Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.The Turkish Super Lig side had been linked with a move for the 30-year-old Belgium international, but latest reports seem to indicate that a transfer to one of their rivals seems more likely.Both Turkish and English media are reporting that Fellaini has agreed a five-year deal with Galatasaray ahead of his contract at Old Trafford expiring in the summer. With Galatasaray now leading the race to sign the ex-Everton midfielder, the man who was resposible for the ‘Come to Besiktas’ marketing campaign has distanced his club from Fellaini. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Candas Tolga Isik believes that Besiktas already have an abundance of similar midfielders to Fellaini, including Chile international Gary Medel, Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson and Turkish trio Oguzhan Ozyakup, Tolgay Arslan and Necip Uysal.”I am in charge of communications, not the transfer, but I am not involved in transfers until they let me know,” Isik told Goal . “My job starts when they decide to sign a player. I don’t know anything about Fellaini, but I am not sure we need a player in that position: We have Medel, Atiba, Oguzhan, Tolgay and Necip”.Fellaini has also been linked with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, but Besiktas had been seen as the leading destination of the 80-time Belgium international before Galatasaray entered the race.He is currently sidelined with a knee injury, having been ruled out for six-to-eight weeks at the start of February after picking up the problem in a brief cameo against Tottenham.As the club waited for results on the extent of the injury, United boss Jose Mourinho urged Fellaini to sign a new deal at Old Trafford, joking with reporters that he “told him sign the contract and shut up.”I told him don’t gamble too much before you know the extent of the injury. I don’t know [if he will sign a contract extension].”last_img read more

Shell Canada gives up exploration permits to make way for protected area

first_imgVANCOUVER – Shell Canada Ltd. has given up it offshore exploration rights, clearing the way for the creation of Canada’s first protected marine area under the Canada Wildlife Act.Shell voluntarily released about 50,000 square kilometres of permits in an area off northern Vancouver Island to allow for the creation of the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area.The permits cover an offshore area more than one-and-a-half times the size of Vancouver Island, and while Shell Canada president Michael Crothers says the cost to the company was a few million dollars, he’s hoping for “goodwill” in exchange.The wildlife area was established in June, and conserves a vital marine area for millions of seabirds, fish and mammals on the Pacific coast.Even as Shell continues to explore for oil and gas globally, Crothers says they have no plans to do so off coastal B.C., particularly since the west coast has been under an exploration moratorium since 1972.Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society welcomed the announcement, which comes after nearly 17 years of consultation with federal, provincial and First Nations governments.Companies in this story: (TSX:SHC.)last_img read more

Soulpepper scandal a wakeup call for Canadian theatre industry

first_img Facebook Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO – The sexual misconduct lawsuits filed this week against Soulpepper Theatre Company and its founding artistic director are serving as a wake-up call to similar organizations throughout Canada’s arts scene, industry members say.Companies said efforts to tackle sexual harassment in the field were under way long before four actresses levelled explosive allegations against Albert Schultz and Soulpepper last week.Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, Patricia Fagan and Kristin Booth alleged in their statements of claim that Schultz groped them, exposed himself, pressed against them or otherwise behaved inappropriately. Schultz, who resigned from Soulpepper on Thursday, said he will “vigorously defend” himself against the allegations, which have not been tested in court.While concerns about harassment were already on the industry radar, the Soulpepper situation will probably ensure they receive more attention in the coming months, said Mark Aikman, director of development and communications at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.“Certainly it’s a wake-up call and a reminder that no place, no industry, is immune from that kind of thing,” he said.Aikman, who said his organization is still reeling from the shock of the Soulpepper news, did not speculate on whether concrete changes were coming at the company. But he said Buddies in Bad Times will continue with a months-long initiative to provide resources to performers who have concerns or anxieties about sexual harassment on the job.Those resources are provided as part of a campaign launched by the Canadian Actors Equity Association, working in conjunction with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. The anti-harassment effort, dubbed Not in Our Space, came about after a survey of live performers across the country.Equity said in a statement that the results clearly indicated action was needed. Half of all participants reported experiencing some form of inappropriate behaviour in their workplace, with women twice as likely as men to report they’d been sexually harassed.Not in Our Space promotes a zero tolerance approach, with participating theatres adopting a statement to that effect on the first day of rehearsal for any new production. Theatres in the program must also prominently display brochures and posters that let performers know what help is available. Equity said the number of people coming forward has increased since the campaign began, but did not provide specific figures.Equity also said a meeting of people involved in the live performance sector will take place later this month to discuss an industry-wide response.Numerous theatre companies, including Toronto-based Factory Theatre, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre (NAC) have all signed up for the Not in Our Space program.Some, however, felt the need for further action.The NAC said it launched a review of its sexual harassment policy this week in response to the Schultz case.Communications director Carl Martin said issues around harassment are high priorities for the company, citing English theatre artistic director Jillian Keiley’s decision to hire an intimacy coach while working on past productions for other organizations.Intimacy coaches, Martin said, carefully choreograph scenes involving physical contact to ensure no boundaries are crossed. While no such coach has been hired for NAC productions, Martin said it would not be surprising to see such a move in the future.“The artistic leadership here is quite attuned to these issues and very forward-thinking about these issues,” he said.Keiley hired the intimacy coach while working at Ontario’s Stratford Festival. The move was one of several measures spokesperson Ann Swerdfager pointed to as part of that company’s effort to maintain a safe workplace.Other moves included establishing a discussion group for women in the theatre, she said.In 2018, Stratford plans to implement more staff training and tighten reporting protocols.“One of the things we are learning from recent events is the vital importance of ensuring that there are safe, sure and clear ways to report harassment, should it occur,” Swerdfager said in a statement. “As a result, not only are we working to strengthen the policy, but also to find effective communications measures to ensure everyone who works at the festival is aware of it and of how to raise a concern if the policy is not being followed.”Halifax-based Neptune Theatre said it, too, is reviewing its long-standing sexual harassment policies and reporting procedures.Spokesperson Michael Browne said the company’s artistic director, Jeremy Webb, is committed to making the theatre a more respectful space for all, starting with the performer audition process.“He has requested agents/artists stop the practice of listing an actor’s height, weight and other measurements on resumes,” Browne said.The Cultch in Vancouver has long offered anonymity to anyone wanting to report issues of harassment.Executive director Heather Redfern said the predominately female-run theatre organization gives staff a number of avenues to report problems, including speaking to the board of directors, so they can find someone they trust.Redfern said the recent allegations of sexual harassment in the industry also points to the lack of women in positions of power.“You don’t fix things until you actually start to see that shifting and you start to see some equality there,” she said. “I’m an optimist. It feels like real change is finally happening.”By MICHELLE MCQUIGGE – The Canadian Presscenter_img Jillian Keiley hired an intimacy coach while working at the Stratford Festival to maintain a safe workplace. (CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO) Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With:last_img read more

Morsi tried for jailbreak as top Egypt police officer murdered

first_imgCAIRO – Ousted president Mohamed Morsi was defiant as he went on trial Tuesday for a prison break during the 2011 uprising, as a top police official was murdered in another sign of Egypt’s instability.The trial, and other violence in which a police guard was gunned down outside a Cairo church, came a day after the military backed army chief Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi’s ouster in July, to run for office in his place.Morsi, dressed in a white prison uniform, gesticulated angrily from the glass cage in which he and 21 co-defendants were held. “Who are you,” he demanded to know, adding, “Do you know who I am?”“I am the president of the republic. Who are you? Let me hear your voice; I don’t hear you,” he shouted defiantly.In response, a judge said “I am the president of the Cairo Criminal Court.”Among those in the dock was the supreme guide of Morsi’s now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie.In all, 131 people are on trial, including dozens of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah.Most of them are being tried in absentia.Reading the charges, a prosecutor said the “Muslim Brotherhood defendants coordinated with Hamas and Hezbollah to spread chaos and trigger the downfall of the state.”“Eight hundred foreign militants and jihadists infiltrated through illegal tunnels and seized a 60 kilometre (37 mile) border stretch. They attacked security and government buildings and killed many police officers.”He said “three prisons were attacked and more than 50 policemen and prisoners were killed, while more than 20,000 criminals escaped”.The trial was later adjourned until February 22.In the latest bloodletting, police General Mohamed Saeed was leaving his Cairo home when gunmen on a motorbike opened fire at him, hitting him in the head and the chest before fleeing, security officials said.Saeed, who was the head of interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim’s “technical department,” died in hospital.Hours later gunmen opened fire from a car at policemen guarding a church in the capital, killing one and wounding two. One was arrested, while two others fled on foot.Since July, Egypt’s Christian community has faced several attacks, with pro-Morsi Islamists accusing them of backing his ouster.Interior minister Ibrahim himself was targeted by a car bomb in September, but he escaped unhurt.Al-Qaeda inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Partisans of Jerusalem, claimed that attack and has also said it was responsible for some of the deadliest bombings in Egypt since Morsi was deposed.It said it carried out four bombings against police that killed six people Friday, a day before the third anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.Precarious security situationTuesday’s shootings reiterate the precarious security situation prevailing across Egypt since then, which has worsened since July.At least 1,400 people, mostly Morsi supporters, have been killed in a relentless crackdown on Islamists, according to Amnesty International, while scores of policemen and soldiers have also fallen to militant attacks across Egypt.Since Thursday, at least 13 policemen have been killed across the country, while four soldiers were killed in Sinai, according to an AFP tally.Morsi is already on trial for inciting the killings of opposition activists during his presidency and faces two other trials that have yet to begin.Tuesday’s trial date was symbolic as it marked the third anniversary of the prison break from Wadi Natrum jail, which took place as the uprising against Mubarak approached a fever pitch.Morsi and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders had been arrested by Mubarak’s security forces two days earlier to stop them from participating in protests called for January 28, 2011.That so-called Friday of Rage was a turning point in Mubarak’s downfall, as thousands of people attacked and torched police installations, prompting the hated interior ministry’s forces to withdraw from the streets.Morsi, Egypt’s first civilian and freely elected president, was ousted following massive protests against his one-year rule.The wildly popular man behind that, army chief Sisi is now expected to put himself forward as a candidate in the presidential election to be held by mid-April.To his supporters, Sisi is the best option for ending three years of instability that has helped to wreck the economy.On Saturday, thousands poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square to back a Sisi candidacy, after he said he required “public demand” to stand in the election.last_img read more

Illegal Hunting in Morocco Endangers Last Remaining Magot Monkeys

Rabat – Illegal hunting threatens the survival of the Magot monkey, a species known as “Barbary Macaque” in Morocco, warns the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification (HCEFLCD).The destruction of the Magot habitat of this species is caused by overgrazing,  diminishing populations from the illegal trade of Magot, and as well as the climatic changes that affect Moroccan forests and water scarcity of water resources.Although the preferred habitat of the Magot Monkey is old-growth large-tree forest, a rich and diverse herbaceous layer, and the presence of water, the species has colonized various habitat types, including mixed cedar and oak forests and rocky mountains, devoid of vegetation. Some key populations of the Magot monkey maintain limited habitat to the cedar forests of Sidi M’Guild, Ifrane, and Michlifen; the green oak forests of Ain Leuh and El Hammam, between Azrou and Ain Leuh; and the southern forests of Ouiouane.The Middle Atlas hosts about 67 percent of the last remaining Magot monkey in the world. The total number of monkeys has decreased by 65 percent over the last three decades, from 15,000 to 5,000, reports the HCEFLCD.The species can also be found in certain areas of the High Atlas, with an estimated population of 1,000, as well as in the Rif where the population is currently at 2,000.“Despite the measures taken, the species is subject to several threats, in particular, the loss of its habitats, poaching, and the illegal trade of these monkeys, used as pets,” the High Commission said, days after the celebration of World Wildlife Day.Magot monkeys are classified as “vulnerable” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and listed in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) among species whose international trade is prohibited.The HCEFLCD indicated that it has implemented several measures for the protection of the species in its natural habitat, based on a national action plan for endangered species. read more

UN and partners launch online tool to monitor funds for Haitis reconstruction

22 April 2010The United Nations and the Haitian Government have launched an online portal to promote the efficient use of the more than $9 billion pledged by donors to help the country recover from January’s devastating earthquake. The Haitian Platform for Public Investment will help hold donors to the promises they made at the 31 March gathering held at UN Headquarters in New York, and ensure transparency and accountability of the use of the funds. Dozens of nations and organizations pledged some $9.9 billion in immediate and long-term aid at that meeting to help Haiti recover and rebuild after the 12 January quake, which killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.3 million more homeless. “We see this tool as an important and critical component of Haiti’s reconstruction process,” said UN Resident Coordinator Nigel Fisher. “We believe it addresses all the concerns of the international community as to how the funds will be spent, by whom and for what. It also provides a portal through which the people of Haiti can monitor use of the funds and hold their elected representatives accountable for how those funds are spent.”The system, which is part of the support provided by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to the Haitian authorities, tracks the money from pledge to impact and will include contributions and support from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.It will also enable Haitian and international journalists to monitor the Government’s use of the funds, and to report to their audiences on the progress, according to Eric Overvest, UNDP Haiti Country Director. Mr. Overvest added that the portal will match pledges with needs “based on empirical data using advanced analytics, showing current projects and any gaps that might exist in areas of development and humanitarian assistance.”The online portal, which is also supported by the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti and which was built with the support of Synergy International Systems and the Development Gateway, is available online at www.refondation.ht. read more

Demonstration staged in Jaffna against the Government

The protest is against what some claim is the systematic settlement of Sinhalese people in the Tamil dominated region and the erection of Buddhist statues in an area devoid of Buddhist devotees.The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) organised the demonstration, which also garnered the support of some constituent members of the TNA and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) led by Gajen Ponnambalam. (Colombo Gazette) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran led a demonstration in Jaffna today against the Government.Most shops in the Jaffna town were closed during the demonstration.

Each Contenders Path To The College Football Playoff

For every team in the College Football Playoff hunt, the path forward remains an arduous one, filled with peril at every turn. But some of those paths are at least relatively straightforward; others involve a bunch of different moving parts. Today, let’s take a look at what each significant playoff contender needs to go its way — keeping things vaguely within the realm of the likely — in order to get to at least 90 percent playoff odds in the eyes of our prediction model. In each case, we’ll try to get it there in as few results as possible,1It’s important to note that this is without regard to chronology. So for instance, winning the conference championship could be the simplest way a team gets to 90 percent playoff odds, but that team would also need to win some easy games beforehand to make the conference title game matter. Our approach would still consider a conference title game win to be the simplest path, because the high probability of getting to that game in a position to make the playoff is “baked in” to the conditional probabilities. (Yes, my head hurts, too.) which is easier said for some teams than others.ClemsonCurrent playoff chances: 87 percentPath to 90+ percent:Clemson wins the ACC championship (Week 14): +9 percentage pointsConditional playoff chances: 96 percentChance of happening: 85 percentAlabamaCurrent playoff chances: 76 percentPath to 90+ percent:Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC championship (Week 14): +23 percentage pointsConditional playoff chances: 99 percentChance of happening: 64 percentGeorgiaCurrent playoff chances: 39 percentPath to 90+ percent:Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC championship (Week 14): +52 percentage pointsConditional playoff chances: 91 percentChance of happening: 36 percentThese three are pretty basic. The undefeated Tigers and Crimson Tide are both practically assured of making the playoff if they just win their respective conference title games — even if they don’t otherwise win out. There are a few scenarios in which the two teams could miss the playoff with losses in between now and championship Saturday, but our model says the Tigers would still have an 80 percent playoff shot even if they lose to, say, Boston College this weekend but win the ACC. Likewise, Bama would be at 92 percent if it loses the Iron Bowl against Auburn but still wins the SEC.Alabama and Clemson’s chances if they win all their remaining games except the conference championship are 45 and 44 percent, respectively. But for the one-loss Bulldogs, that number is 12 percent. So for all intents and purposes, they have no choice but to hand the Tide a huge upset defeat if they want to extend their national championship hopes. The good news, though, is that if we assume UGA plays to the model’s expectations in its other three games (against Auburn, UMass and Georgia Tech), the SEC title game is the big win-and-you’re-in matchup to circle on the Bulldog calendar. In other words, for all three teams, the simplest playoff road leads through the conference championship.Notre DameCurrent playoff chances: 58 percentPath to 90+ percent:Notre Dame beats Florida State in Week 11: +5 percentage pointsNotre Dame beats Syracuse in Week 12: +15 pointsNotre Dame beats USC in Week 13: +14 pointsConditional playoff chances: 92 percentChance of happening: 49 percentOklahomaCurrent playoff chances: 41 percentPath to 90+ percent:Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State in Week 11: +4 percentage pointsOklahoma beats Kansas in Week 12: +1 pointsOklahoma beats West Virginia in Week 13: +21 pointsOklahoma wins the Big 12 championship (Week 14): +24 pointsConditional playoff chances: 91 percentChance of happening: 37 percentOhio StateCurrent playoff chances: 18 percentPath to 90+ percent:Ohio State beats Michigan State in Week 11: +12 percentage pointsOhio State beats Michigan in Week 13: +32 pointsOhio State wins the Big Ten championship (Week 14): +28 pointsConditional playoff chances: 90 percentChance of happening: 18 percentNotre Dame doesn’t have a conference and therefore doesn’t have a chance to pad its resume with another signature win, so it has no room for error. Luckily, the Irish’s remaining schedule is quite reasonable. Florida State is a shell of its former self, Syracuse is having a good season but not on the Irish’s level, and USC isn’t what it used to be either. And our model says an undefeated Notre Dame is essentially a playoff shoo-in. The only cause for concern might be the health of quarterback Ian Book, who will miss Saturday’s game against FSU with a rib injury. But the Irish are still 16½-point favorites over the Seminoles even with backup QB Brandon Wimbush at the helm.Oklahoma and Ohio State can basically control their own destinies as well — the model says both have playoff chances of greater than 91 percent if they just win out. An Irish loss could potentially help the Sooners and Buckeyes, too. Oklahoma has a greater than 90 percent playoff probability conditional on just three outcomes: beating West Virginia and winning the Big 12 while Notre Dame loses at least one game. And any Notre Dame loss would nudge OSU’s chances above the 90 percent threshold as well, provided the Buckeyes beat Michigan and win the Big Ten.MichiganCurrent playoff chances: 40 percentPath to 90+ percent:Syracuse beats Notre Dame in Week 12: +9 percentage pointsMichigan beats Ohio State in Week 13: +28 pointsMichigan wins the Big Ten championship (Week 14): +15 pointsConditional playoff chances: 92 percentChance of happening: 13 percentUnlike Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma, Michigan can’t get to 90 percent simply by winning its remaining games. (That maxes them out at 82 percent.) The Wolverines need help, then, most likely in the form of an Irish loss against Syracuse at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 17. Michigan has other potential paths — Boston College beating Clemson this weekend, for instance, would push UM’s odds to 88 percent if coupled with Wolverine wins over Ohio State and whomever they’d play for the Big Ten title. But watching some other team vicariously avenge Michigan’s early season loss in South Bend would be a fitting way for the Wolverines to stamp their ticket into the playoff.West VirginiaCurrent playoff chances: 12 percentPath to 90+ percent:West Virginia beats TCU in Week 11: +2 percentage pointsWest Virginia beats Oklahoma State in Week 12: +6 pointsWest Virginia beats Oklahoma in Week 13: +19 pointsWest Virginia wins the Big 12 championship (Week 14): +38 pointsMichigan loses the Big Ten championship (Week 14): +14 pointsConditional playoff chances: 91 percentChance of happening: 2 percentWVU needs even more help than does Michigan. And in fact, it might need help from Michigan. Generally speaking, it needs whoever wins the Michigan-Ohio State game — which will torpedo the chances of one member of the one-loss club — to then proceed to lose in the Big Ten title game. (Our model gives West Virginia slightly higher odds under the configuration where Michigan beats OSU, then loses.) Either way, the one-loss Mountaineers need as many teams with a similar resume as possible to move aside. But West Virginia isn’t necessarily putting all its eggs in the Big Ten basket. It could also see its playoff odds soar into the high-80-percent range if Notre Dame loses one of its remaining games (while WVU wins out).Washington StateCurrent playoff chances: 13 percentPath to 90+ percent:Washington State beats Colorado in Week 11: +5 percentage pointsWashington State beats Arizona in Week 12: +3 pointsUSC beats Notre Dame in Week 13: +5 pointsWashington State wins the Pac-12 championship (Week 14): +48 pointsMichigan loses the Big Ten championship (Week 14): +17 pointsConditional playoff chances: 91 percentChance of happening: 1 percentOne-loss Wazzu is in the same boat as West Virginia in terms of benefiting from a Michigan defeat in the Big Ten title game. (Assuming it wins its own remaining games — including the Pac-12 title, most preferably over Utah.) Washington State could get another boost if USC beats Notre Dame since both teams would then have one loss, against the Trojans in each case. It’s unclear how realistic this actually is (since our model doesn’t have a specific Notre Dame adjustment reflecting its tendency to, um, get the benefit of the doubt), but the Irish make the playoff only 18 percent of the time in the scenario laid out above, compared with the Cougars’ 91 percent mark.Central FloridaCurrent playoff chances: 4 percentPath to 90+ percent:¯\_(ツ)_/¯I’m kidding. But not really. This one is far more difficult to pin down than the others above, just because it’s so rare in our data for UCF to make the playoff (and the specifics of each scenario are rarer still). So I’ll just list some of the common outcomes in what few simulations give UCF a relatively large probability of making the playoff:UCF wins all four remaining games, including the American championship. (Duh.)Both Notre Dame and Washington State lose at least one remaining game, and at least one loses twice.Oklahoma and Michigan both fail to win their respective conference championships.Chance of happening: less than 1 in 2,000These probably aren’t the only scenarios under which UCF makes the playoff, but there just aren’t very many UCF-friendly combinations that come up in the simulations. Their 4 percent overall probability of making the playoff is more about adding up a bunch of fractional chances over the course of many simulations — where they’re not overly likely to make it in any given one, but there’s enough uncertainty that they could potentially get in.And that’s the important thing to remember when discussing UCF’s playoff chances: The selection committee has never taken an undefeated Group-of-Five conference team2Schools from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. in four years of picking playoff squads, and similar undefeated candidates (UCF last year, Western Michigan two years ago) have been denied entry by the committee. So all of this is, by definition, theoretical. Our model bases its predictions on the way in which college football’s power structure has traditionally grouped teams into tiers and given priority to different types of resumes, which is why there are at least some universes where a team like UCF can get real consideration if all hell breaks loose elsewhere. But more likely, they’re getting stray points of probability from the fact that we still don’t always know how the committee will react to a team like the Knights.Of course, a cynic would say we do know — and the answer will always be “no.” But that’s part of what’s interesting about the playoff. There’s much we still don’t know when it comes to who will win upcoming games, and that’s one source of uncertainty built into our model. But we also can’t perfectly predict how the committee itself will react. All UCF and the rest of this year’s contenders can do is win the games in front of them and hope for the right combination to fall into place around them.Check out our latest college football predictions. read more

Warmest April day in 70 years caused spike in deaths ONS figures

The warmest April day in 70 years caused a spike in deaths, ONS figures have revealed. Temperatures reached almost 30 degrees in parts of the UK in a “mini-heatwave” on Thursday April 19, making it the hottest April day since 1949. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that there were more than 240 extra deaths on April 18 and 19, when temperatures reached a high of 29.1 degrees in central London. “Between 18 and 19 April 2018, 243 more deaths were observed than the five-year average for the same period and rose well above the maximum number of deaths seen on those dates from 2013 to 2017,” the ONS said. There were then almost 400 fewer deaths over the following weekend between April 21 and 23. “This sharp rise then fall in the number of deaths coincided with a period of higher than average temperature between 18 and 19 April 2018,” it added.The pattern could be down to “short-term mortality displacement”, the report added, which is where a short-term event happens which causes vulnerable people to die who then are removed from the pool of people who would have died during the following few days. The five-year average number of deaths for April 19 is 1,240, with April 19 this year seeing 1,372 deaths. The average for April 18 and 19 is 2,460, while the two days added together saw more than 2,700 deaths this year.  Earlier this year, MPs warned that the UK was underprepared for an increase in extreme weather and the impact this could have on public health. The environmental audit committee said that heat-related deaths would triple in under 35 years unless the Government took action to make buildings and urban areas more tolerable at high temperatures.  There were instances of increased mortality that coincided with hot weather in Q2 in England. A detailed analysis of deaths that may be attributable to a heatwave will be addressed in our next quarterly release https://t.co/wMEHYV888F pic.twitter.com/chZHF7iRrQ— ONS (@ONS) September 17, 2018 If temperatures rise above 24.5 degrees, Public Health England warns that heat-related deaths may start to occur.Overall there were almost 3,000 more deaths than the five-year average amount during April, May and June. However, based on the mortality rate, the number of deaths was lower than expected, the ONS said. During the first three months of the year, there were 18,145 more deaths than the five-year average. Extremely cold weather over the winter also contributed to a much higher than average number of deaths.All but one day had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average, and almost two-thirds of days had a higher number of deaths than any of the corresponding days in the past five years. “Deaths began to climb well above the five-year average during this cold spell and remained high for almost two weeks after temperatures began to rise,” the ONS said.  A similar pattern happened during the June heatwave, with 382 more people dying between June 25 and June 30 than the average for 2013 to 2017. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A large spike occurred around the end of January. 1,781 people died on January 23, compared to an average of 1,450 over the previous five years.The pattern continued throughout late February and early March, as the country was hit by the so-called Beast from the East, which led to extremely low temperatures and snow and ice. In the UK, 17 people were believed to have died in incidents such as car accidents and falls that were a direct consequence of the weather, as well as Storm Emma, which hit parts of the country at the beginning of March, causing high winds.  read more

Oriel Resources is in the money

first_imgLondon-based chrome and nickel mining and processing company Oriel Resources has made the initial sale of high carbon ferrochrome (HC FeCr) product from the Tikhvin smelter plant, Russia and has signed a long term off take contract for the purchase of chrome ore product from the Voskhod chrome project, Kazakhstan. Tikhvin’s initial batch of saleable HC FeCr product has successfully been sold at about $1.30/lb, representing Oriel’s first revenue from current working projects. The company recently completed a long term off take contract with Glencore International to market a significant proportion of Voskhod’s annual 900,000 t of beneficiated chromite ore product, commencing in the third quarter of 2008.Dr Sergey V Kurzin, Executive Chairman: “In addition, we are pleased to report that a number of major international metal traders have confirmed their interest in our high carbon ferrochrome product. These initial ferrochrome sales from Tikhvin are a significant milestone in the company’s development as a vertically integrated supplier to the stainless steel industry. We are also pleased to have Glencore join us as an off taker of our Voskhod chrome ore.”The Oriel group currently has three projects, namely the Tikhvin smelter project and the Voskhod chrome and Shevchenko nickel projects, both situated in northwest Kazakhstan. Following the results of recent feasibility studies for the Russia and Kazakh-based projects and given the current high demand for chrome and nickel products, the directors are fast-tracking the Voskhod chrome and Tikhvin smelter projects into production while further developing Shevchenko.last_img read more

Hungary Pick Szeged loses a point against Tatabanya

← Previous Story Luka Karabatic joins Aix! Next Story → Lino Cervar: “Vive Kielce is the best Polish club, there must be no technical errors” ancsinpickPick SzegedskaliczkisulcSzegedtatabanya After beating MKB Veszprém, Pick Szeged was in a confortable situation. They made a great stride to win the first round of the Hungarian Championship. On Tuesday they travelled to Tatabánya to put down another win. But the local team – which is in the 3rd place in the championship – could make a big surprise just like last year. In 2011 they had a brilliant 27-19 win against Pick.The match began tightly, the halftime result was 14-16. After the break Szeged started to play in „Champions League-rhytm” and draw away from Tatabánya easily tanks to Gábor Ancsin ( 10 goals ) and Frantisek Sulc ( 7 goals ). In the 41st minute the result was 16-23. Then Pick made unintelligible mistakes, got successively two minute suspensions and the local team utilized it, they could equalize two minutes before the end and Szeged couldn’t invigorate. The final result is 30-30, so Szeged lost a very valued point, but they still lead the championship with one point ahead of Veszprém.Szeged’s head-coach, László Skaliczki said after the match:„ It’s very hard to say anything after that we lost a point against the good-prepared Tatbánya in a silly way. I don’t want to say more, bacause the one saw the match, he can surely draw a lesson.”Reasonably Skaliczki and the whole team are so disappointed, but now they have to concentrate on the next match, what isn’t at all easy. On Sunday they’ll meet Barcelona in the Champions League.TEXT: Virág Farkas read more

Lekic and Radicevic leaving Gyori – Vardar Skopje is the next destination

Andrea Lekic and Jovanka Radicevic won’t be a part of the Hungarian Gyori for the next season. Serbo-Montenegrian duo won’t sign new contract with one of the biggest favourite to win the Women’s EHF Champions League. Rumours saying that Lekic and Radicevic are only few days till signing contract with ambitious Macedonian team ZRK Vardar Skopje. ← Previous Story Croatia wins third bronze in a row! Next Story → Spain or Denmark (17.15)? Who is the new World Champion?