SPB Delivers Propulsion Systems for Project RT18

first_imgzoom SPB Marine supplied marine equipment for the project RT18. This project involves the construction of a series of three tankers by Yaroslavl shipyard JSC.Supplied equipment kit is a complete propulsion system, which includes marine engines Scania DI12, gearboxes and control systems, shafts and screws.RT18 was the last project, which use marine engines` model Scania DI12. This model has worked well in Russia on such projects as TH04 and 10/KIP and fully meets the modern requirements of classification. However, Scania constantly improves engines. Currently, instead of model Scania DI12 a new generation of engines comes. It is Scania DI09M and Scania DI13M (five- and six-cylinder machines, capacity of which is 9 and 13 liters, respectively).Press Release, June 27, 2014last_img

Norway Opens New Test Area for Autonomous Ships

first_imgzoom Norway has opened an autonomous shipping test bed in Horten on the Oslofjord, Kongsberg said.The test bed, officially opened on December 6, is the third of its kind in the country and the fourth such approved area in the world.Established to support the growth in the development of new solutions for autonomous maritime operations, the new area is open to both Norwegian and international organizations. As explained, the area is designed to be “a convenient, safe, non-congested space to trial new technology and vessels.”The area is specially designated for autonomous trials by the Norwegian Maritime Administration and the Norwegian Coastal Administration.The initiative to establish the new test bed was undertaken by maritime technology company Kongsberg, the town of Horten, classification society DNV GL, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the University College of South East Norway.The introduction of the test bed follows the last year’s opening of the world’s first autonomous shipping test bed located on the Trondheimsfjord. Additionally, Norway reached an agreement in October this year to set up a test area for unmanned vessels in the Sunnmøre region. What is more, a test area for projects related to autonomous ships was opened in Finland in August 2017.The test beds in Trondheim and Horten are said to be an important resource for Kongsberg’s ongoing development of technology for projects such as the Yara Birkeland, the world’s first all-electric, autonomous containership, the Hrönn, an autonomous offshore support vessel, and marine robotics technology.These and other autonomous vessel projects are expected to transform many aspects of shipping and offshore operations, by introducing safer, more environmentally friendly and cost-effective modes of transport and working at sea, according to Kongsberg.“With critical developments in maritime autonomy technology and software taking place at Kongsberg Maritime in Horten, the location of the new test bed will support a number of ground-breaking technology projects,” Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime, commented. “The move towards greater autonomy at sea has the potential to transform maritime operations and while the technology has now been proven, we look towards the regulations. Establishment of these test beds are an important step, as it shows close co-operation between the people making the technology and vessels and the organisations developing the rules that will allow them to operate,” he added.last_img read more

Elizabeth May staying on as Green leader

first_imgOTTAWA – Elizabeth May will remain Green party leader despite a controversy over the Middle East that divided members and prompted her to consider stepping down.The party will revisit a convention resolution to support a movement to boycott Israel, along with any other recent policy decisions that lacked genuine consensus, May told a news conference Monday.Meantime, May will focus on her work as a member of a parliamentary committee studying options for remodelling Canada’s electoral system before the next national ballot in three years.“This is a decision that I think the party needs as we build our strength, and as I work on electoral reform and we prepare for 2019,” May said.At the party’s recent convention, members voted to express support for the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel _ a move May opposed and which Jewish groups swiftly denounced.May has blamed the resolution’s passage on the process _ brief statements followed by a majority vote rather than the party’s time-honoured approach of a concerted effort to arrive at consensus.During Monday’s news conference, May called the party’s recent troubles a “teachable moment” and said her belief in consensus decision-making applies to both how the party forms policy and national electoral reform.“Consensus decision-making works better than winner-take-all decision making. It will work better for the electoral system of Canada and it worked better for the Green party of Canada,” she said.“So what I’ve decided is that the reasons for staying are far more compelling.”May spent the last several days pondering her future during a vacation in Cape Breton.She firmly squelched suggestions she was considering joining the NDP or the Liberals. “That was never even a consideration.”May said she was “overwhelmed to read so many letters of support” from Green members, non-members and fellow MPs.Media commentary made her feel like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, attending her own funeral. “It appears I am much loved _ it’s surprising to find sometimes in politics.”last_img read more

Hydro had bigger impact than residential school in Misipawistik councillor

first_imgThis is Part 1 of a series on hydro-impacted communities in Treaty 5 territory. Click here to access other stories featured in Power Failure: The impacts of hydro in Northern Manitoba.Justin BrakeAshley BrandsonAPTN NewsRays of sunlight peek through the trees and illuminate two dozen wooden crosses hidden in a small patch of bush surrounded by the desolate rocky landscape of an abandoned quarry.Gerald McKay of Misipawistik Cree Nation examines a necklace someone has appended to a tree. He holds the cross pendant at the end of the chain and says he’d never noticed it before.McKay, 63, is leading a small group on a tour of the land below a large hydroelectric dam just outside the town of Grand Rapids, the community widely regarded as the gateway to northern Manitoba.It’s the first stop on a week-long visit to Cree communities in Treaty 5 territory by members of the Wa Ni Ska Tan hydro alliance.Along the way they’re picking up elders and other members of hydro-impacted communities and bringing them to other communities to bear witness and share stories of how their livelihoods and way of life have been altered by the network of hydro dams on their waterways.Today, the graves they’re visiting belong to the ancestors of McKay’s community.The wooden crosses were erected in 2001, more than three decades after Manitoba Hydro excavated the area to build a dyke for the Grand Rapids generating station, one of the first major dams built in northern Manitoba.McKay says the graves would have been bulldozed had one of the workers not been a local man.“They started to dig up bones and they weren’t going to stop… so the local guy stopped them and they shut the whole job down,” he says, explaining work eventually resumed with the small parcel of land being protected as crews continued to excavate all around it.Now the gravesite exists as a small island of trees surrounded by a desert of blasted rock and a dried up riverbed.The Grand Rapids dam came online in 1968 and was the first hydro facility built in Northern Manitoba to power the provincial electricity system.At the end of the dirt road where McKay lives is a dilapidated playground, and beyond that a small grassy knoll and a steep embankment down to the water.(Gerald McKay along the shores of the once mighty Grand Rapids. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)From the shoreline you can see the spillway of the 479-megawatt structure embedded in the dyke — gigantic even in the distance and accentuated by countless seagulls and pelicans in the air and on the water below.The group later stands atop that dyke, which runs more than 25 kilometres along the shore of Cedar Lake. They peer out at the lake’s vast waters, the levels of which are now controlled by Manitoba Hydro.Communities along the shores of Cedar Lake were impacted by the flooding. The people of Chemawawin First Nation were forced to relocate to Easterville.And the people of Moose Lake, Cormorant and The Pas all share stories of devastation to their hunting, fishing and trapping economies, and to their way of life.The power now contained in the force of the water against the Grand Rapids dyke is unnatural, human-made — a power once represented by the roaring sound of the rapids, which McKay says you could hear from the community.Below the dyke are the rocks that once belonged to those rapids on the lower Saskatchewan River. About a kilometre downstream the river empties into Lake Winnipeg, the eleventh largest freshwater lake in the world.Now, there’s barely a trickle of the once “grand” rapids, and a scattered pool of still water.“The old rapids is gone,” McKay says, pointing down at the riverbed. He explains that’s how the town of Grand Rapids “lost its name.”“It’s just Grand. There is no more rapids — so even the name was reshaped. Most of the animals are gone, most of the fish are gone, and that’s the new reality I guess.”Residential schools and hydro development a “double whammy” for CreeOne of the researchers along for the trip is Ramona Neckoway, from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation at Nelson House and an assistant professor in Aboriginal and Northern Studies at University College of the North in Thompson, Man.Neckoway has been involved with Wa Ni Ska Tan since its inception in 2015.Hydro development in Treaty 5 is personal for her.(Ramona Neckoway, right, with Gerald McKay. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)On the drive from Winnipeg to Misipawistik, the Cree mother and grandmother tells APTN News that hydro development in northern Manitoba is more than the consequences of any one specific impact.She says it’s bigger.“For me this is a cultural genocide that’s going on. And I don’t use those words lightly. I say that because I see that there are entire generations of children in our communities that don’t go on the water, that don’t understand the importance of that water to who we are, that have never left the reserve, this cage that they’ve created through colonial policies that have been imposed on us,” she says.“To me, Nisichawayasihk, our territory actually is much bigger than the reserve that they allotted to us. And we were using that territory—my mother’s generation was using that territory, going to camps, going to these different spaces and actively using that land and that water.”Neckoway tells APTN News that over the next week we’re going to see, and grow to understand, the cumulative impacts on her people, their way of life, and on their identity.The violence perpetrated against Indigenous women during the construction of hydro dams is nothing new to the Cree.Sexual abuse of women in Fox Lake Cree Nation in the 1960s recently grabbed national attention, following the release of a report from Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission.Since that report was released, two separate investigations are underway to look into allegations of assault and sexual abuse by employees of Manitoba Hydro and members of the RCMP in communities in northern Manitoba.Details of the allegations were made public in August when the CEC released a report on the effects of a series of hydro dams on the Nelson, Burntwood, and Churchill river systems.The case was referred to the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), Manitoba’s police watchdog, and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) by the RCMP.A Sept. 14 release from the RCMP said the IIU will investigate the actions of RCMP officers in the region, while the OPP will investigate allegations against Manitoba Hydro employees and contractors.The investigation is limited to the Gillam region, but Neckoway, who has been interviewing members of hydro-impacted communities since 2004, says she has “heard stories of that nature” from women in other places, though she doesn’t know how prevalent violence against women is as it’s not the focus of her research.“We’re the caregivers, we’re the life givers, and the givers of treaty,” she says, explaining she would like to see Wa Ni Ska Tan host a women’s gathering “to start talking about a lot of the issues that are unique and specific to women.”Neckoway says the disruption to her people’s lives can be seen in the faces of the elders when she speaks to them.“They come alive in those moments when they talk about that connection with the land and the way that it was,” she explains. “And I see that in my grandmother when I hear her talking about it. She acknowledges that it was a hard life, but it was fulfilling and it was good at that time.“She saw these changes in the community and became so far away I think from some of the values that we have as Cree people in this last 40 years.”Neckoway says by comparison “you can just see the sadness when they talk about hydro, and they talk about residential school.”She says the Cree in Northern Manitoba got a “double-whammy” in the mid-20th century.“We got residential schools, and then, boom — the hydro projects.”“You only cried once”At his house in Grand Rapids, McKay fries fresh whitefish from Lake Winnipeg for the group of about eight researchers, artists, activists.Standing at his kitchen stove he seems eager to share his stories as he sprinkles lemon pepper seasoning on the fillets.(Gerald McKay serving fish at his home in Grand Rapids. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)Every minute or two he flips them with a plastic spatula.At the same time, McKay’s frequent pauses hint at a pain that comes with reliving traumatic experiences.In the 1960s, when McKay was just a child, thousands of workers flooded the community to build the dam.He says it’s the experiences from that time that drive him to continue fighting for justice for his people and community today, a half century later.McKay says the quiet community was turned upside down overnight.There was racism.School buses would pick up white kids but leave Cree and Metis kids standing on the side of the road, he says.“In the wintertime that was the hardest,” he recalls. “And you only cried once, when you were walking from here to the school. You didn’t cry twice, because your eyes would freeze shut.”He recalls a story of a Cree family whose baby boy was sick and needed medical care.“They took him to the hospital up there, then they looked at him and sent him home, and they went back and they sent him home again,” he says. “So they took him the third time and he died. He died in the hospital.”McKay says when the family arrived back at the hospital, their son’s body was given back to them in cardboard box.He describes “perverts” and “peeping toms” roaming the community at night.McKay says at one point his mother, a young woman at the time, caught someone trying to steal McKay’s baby sister right out of a bedroom in their home.“She was less than a month old and they cut the screen, and they were reaching in to take her, and my mother caught them,” he recalls. “So nothing was ever done about that. There was no investigation, nothing, because there wasn’t enough cops here.”McKay says that after the incident his mother “nailed the windows shut for three years” and often wouldn’t let him and his siblings leave the yard.(The Grand Rapids Hydroelectric dam. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)Meanwhile, the dam’s impact on the local land-based economy — primarily fishing and trapping — put McKay’s father out of work.“His jobs disappeared — one was flooded, the other one there was no more spawning, so once you caught all the fish it started to drop off,” he explains.“In 1969, I think there was mercury in the fish and hydro denied that it was them and then they shut fishing down and there was no compensation for anybody. We all depended on my dad’s income to eat, and we couldn’t eat the fish anymore. That’s just the way it was and so my generation would remember all that stuff, but there’s kids growing up now that have no idea what was here before.“A lot of people say get over it — like, it’s already happened. Well, just because it already happened doesn’t mean it’s not an injustice.”Money in exchange for a way of lifeIn 1991 Misipawistik Cree Nation — Grand Rapids Cree Nation at the time — signed an agreement with Manitoba Hydro worth just over $5 million.It was one of five settlements reached in the early ‘90s associated with the impacts on Cree and Metis communities. Together they totalled just under $32 million.In 2005, after serving as national chief for the Assembly of First Nations, Ovide Mercredi was elected chief of his home community of Misipawistik.That fall, amid concerns from community members that once the Grand Rapids spillway was opened new brush that had grown downstream would end up in the water, Mercredi and Grand Rapids Mayor Robert Buck camped out on the dried riverbed below the spillway in protest.In 2015, Manitoba Hydro was required to apply for a renewal of its 50-year operating licence for the Grand Rapids dam, a fact that gave Mercredi and Buck’s protest power.As they gained support from their own community and others, people in Winnipeg began paying attention.Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan paid them a visit — as did then premier Garry Doer.Doer committed to new negotiations with Misipawistik, and in 2012 a settlement agreement was reached — though its details remain secret.APTN requested interviews with Misipawistik Chief Harold Turner—who was also chief at the time of the community’s 1991 agreement with Hydro—and Mercredi. Neither responded by the time of publication.However, APTN obtained a draft of the agreement in which the First Nation’s compensation is contingent on Misipawistik’s “active support” of Manitoba Hydro’s application for the 50-year operating license renewal, and on Hydro’s success in obtaining the renewal.According to the draft agreement, Misipawistik would receive a retroactive payment of $3 million, a $5 million payment on the signing of the deal, $800,000 a year for 50 years indexed to inflation, and a lump sum payment of $10 million in year 50, which would be 2061.But according to Misipawistik councillor Heidi Cook, the agreement will see the band receive a flat payment of $1-million a year for the duration of the contract that Hydro calls a “friendship agreement.”The agreement has not been made public by the band or Manitoba Hydro.McKay says the deal is “not as good as it sounds” and that the people of the community “don’t feel it.”Little has changedWith somewhere between 800 and 1,000 members living on reserve and another 800 off-reserve, Misipawistik Cree Nation is no better off in the long run following the 2012 agreement than it was before, says McKay.He claims community members received a one-time $500 payment after the band signed the agreement, and get about $120 every three years.But the money hasn’t eradicated the racism, or the poverty.McKay drives us through the neighbourhoods, once thriving with a healthy subsistence economy where Cree and Metis coexisted as one community.Since Hydro moved in, however, racism and inequality have taken root, their manifestations visible.On the south side of the water is the Misipawistic reserve, occupied primarily by the descendants of the region’s original Cree inhabitants. Many houses are overcrowded, McKay says, and badly in need of repair.On the north side is what’s now the residential area of the municipality of Grand Rapids, a mix of Metis, non-status Cree and settlers.And then, just a few hundred metres north of Grand Rapids, toward the hydro dam, a small suburban-like neighbourhood of Manitoba Hydro workers — many of them living in homes built by Manitoba Hydro.McKay points out the “hydro houses,” as he calls them, have two metres measuring energy consumption.One, he says, measures the energy used to heat the homes—comprising the bulk of household energy usage, especially in the colder months—and another to measure other electricity usage.“Hydro pays for the heating bill,” McKay says.Meanwhile, many in the community struggle to pay their own hydro bills, he says.The sense of injustice in his community is palpable, McKay explains — but to a shrinking number of people since youth today don’t recognize what their parents and grandparents experienced and lost, he says.(Gerald McKay at the dam in his community. McKay worked for Manitoba Hydro for four years. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN News)He says the 1991 and 2012 compensation agreements don’t take into account the loss of his people’s way of life.“An agreement should be fair for both sides, not just one side,” he says.“They should take into account, how many graves were lost? How many people were put out of work with the fishery? We’ve lost our language — how much is that worth?”But the money hasn’t restored his people’s way of life, and McKay fears that way of life may soon be forgotten.Cook agrees.The 38-year-old councillor is also a mother, and someone who grew up not knowing her community’s full history until her 20s.She says hydro development “had a bigger impact” on her people and community than residential schools, because most children would eventually come home from the schools.“But here with the hydro dam our home was destroyed.”Cook says her generation and the one before her have suffered as a consequence.“Our way of life was destroyed,” she says, explaining the influx of thousands of non-Cree workers to the community contributed to the loss of their language and their ability to go out on the land.She says her aunt and other elders in the community talk about what life was like when they could hear the rapids.“The sound of the rapids lots of people describe as being able to be heard from miles around. And to [listen for them to] know your way back to home. As a constant, subconscious thing, a constant in your life, to know where you are.”She says the rapids were “first replaced with explosions and the sound of heavy machinery,” while the dam was being built.“And then with silence.”She says elders have described “having recurring nightmares from the changes that were occurring on the landscapes.”The impacts are inter-generational, she explains.“I felt it myself, personally, that as somebody from Grand Rapids I was robbed of my birthright to know these rapids and to have this beautiful part of my home sing me to sleep at night, and greet me in the morning when I wake up.”Once a Hydro employee himself, McKay returned to fishing about 20 years ago, both to honour his father and ancestors and just to be out on the water.“Basically you’re just fishing to get EI — it’s not a good future,” he says. “My dad told me that a long time ago: there’s no future in fishing. But I wanted to be a fisherman because to me it was exciting — you never know what you’re going to catch.”McKay worked in a Hydro control room in Grand Rapids for four years, “and it was boring,” he says.He’s a certified project manager and has a business diploma, “but I still managed to come back to fishing,” he explains, serving up a new batch of fried fish to his visitors.But the fishing is not what it once was.“Last winter was the first time they ever shut down the commercial fishing season, because there’s no fish,” he says, adding the people of his community.”Cook says a new generation in her community is fighting to get back what she and McKay’s generations lost.“We’re not sitting here crying over what was lost without actively trying to stand up against and move forward from there,” she says adding there are land-based education and language programs in the community.“We didn’t get to where we are overnight, and we won’t get to where we want to be overnight. But we haven’t completely lost sight of where we need to be.”Most of the money from Misipawistik’s “friendship agreement” with Hydro is being used to address social and economic needs, primarily housing, Cook explains.In a statement to APTN, Manitoba Hydro says it will “continue to address the adverse effects of our existing operations on the customs, practices and traditions of Indigenous people integral to their cultural identity.”But it did not say how it is addressing these effects and did not grant APTN’s request for an interview.“As far as their lawyers are concerned, Hydro has met its obligations and is contributing to the community through the relationship agreement,” says Cook.Just a few years after the Grand Rapids dam came online the second wave of hydro development began, and the story of how the Misipawistik people began to lose their way of life would become a common reality throughout Treaty 5.For more, click here: Power Failure: The impacts of hydro in Northern Manitobajbrake@aptn.ca@justinbrakenewsabrandson@aptn.ca@ashleybrandsonlast_img read more

SecretaryGeneral confers with advisers diplomats on Georgia

Mr. Ban is also speaking separately with the President of the Security Council, the body’s five permanent members and Irakli Alasania, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN.In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is responding to an urgent request from the Georgian Government by sending a truckload of food to the town of Gori, which the agency has not been able to reach due to insecurity.“We understand the food situation in Gori has now become desperate,” said Lola Castro, WFP’s Georgia Country Director.The agency is supplying high-energy biscuits (HEBs) and sugar, while the non-governmental organization World Vision International is sending canned meat, buckwheat, pasta and tea.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that close to 115,000 people have been uprooted from their homes since heavy fighting began over one week ago in South Ossetia between Georgian and South Ossetian forces. Russian forces have also become involved there and in the separate region of Abkhazia in north-western Georgia.Some 45,000 people have fled Gori and are heading towards the capital Tbilisi, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Facilities for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Tbilisi and its outskirts are said to be in poor condition, with their residents – many of whom are very poor – are reliant on Government and international help for their survival.Last Wednesday, WFP airlifted 34 metric tons of HEBs – donated by the European Union – from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, and they have already reached some 18,000 people in and around Tbilisi. A further 58 tons of HEBs arrived at the city today.The agency has located bakeries situated close to where internally displace persons (IDPs) have concentrated and is supplying wheat flour to make bread to be distributed to the hungry. WFP, which has so far sent food assistance for 34,000 people forced from their homes, is also providing supplies for soup kitchens to enable people to eat hot food.The agency is leading the coordination of food assistance and plans to offer logistical support to other aid partners. Prior to the start of the conflict, the agency was providing food to over 212,000 people, mainly in poor rural communities, as well as to schoolchildren, tuberculosis patients and people living with HIV/AIDS.Approximately 30,000 South Ossetians – 80 per cent of whom are women and children, according to UNICEF – are believed to have crossed the border into North Ossetia, part of Russia, and WFP is monitoring the situation from its office in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz. 16 August 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today in New York met with his top advisers regarding the United Nations’ approach to the current situation in Georgia. read more

The Haters Are Losing The War On Kickers

Over time, athletes get stronger and faster, come from a broader talent pool, are better trained, and benefit from ever-growing institutional knowledge of their chosen art. This is most readily apparent with such individual skills as swimming, running and jumping — or kicking a football.One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NFL wild-card round is how the Minnesota Vikings almost toppled the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, only to see their hopes dashed when kicker Blair Walsh shanked an easy 27-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the Vikings the lead with 22 seconds left in the game. The aftermath was dramatic, and once again, the NFL kicking game was thrust into the spotlight for pretty much the only reason it ever is: A kicker screwed up. Perhaps lost in the hubbub is that this was the only field goal missed all weekend.1Kickers made 24 of 26 attempts, including extra points (which are no longer gimmes). Such is the plight of the NFL kicker: They do their jobs remarkably well week in and week out, but get attention for it only when something goes horribly wrong.But not at FiveThirtyEight! We will acknowledge greatness in its many forms.Last year around this time, we published “Kickers Are Forever,” my ode to NFL kickers and the eerily steady progress they have made over the past 80-plus years. In that article, I showed how the kicking improvement has been reliable and has changed things like the fourth-down math. In the offseason, the NFL decided to make kickers’ jobs harder by moving the extra point back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line.Predictably, this led to some missed extra points. This combined with a down week or two early in the season, and the notion started to emerge that kickers were having a bad year, sucking in some prominent commentators. We debunked the idea of a “Kick-pocalypse” at the time, but given my interest in everything kickers, I’ve once again taken a dive into the numbers to see if the kicking train has actually been in reverse, or stopped, or even slowed.Spoiler: It has not. Indeed, not only was field-goal kicking in the 2015 regular season almost exactly as good as we said it would be, but kickers were the best they’ve ever been at kicking off and punting — with dramatic effects on the game.2These are not as athletically “pure” as field-goal attempts — meaning the results of a kickoff or punt will also depend on a number of factors not in the kicker’s control (such as special teams units). One thing that I mentioned in my previous article is that — with no natural offset like defense to offense — the improvement in kicking has played a central role in the offensive increase we’ve seen over the past decades. However, it seems like the natural offsets are actually kickoffs and punts, which have somewhat counterbalanced the improvement in kickoffs by giving offenses longer fields. I’ve also identified the best players at the different aspects of the kicking game, and I have some awards to hand out to the best of the best.Field-goal kickers have improved almost exactly as predictedYes, field-goal kickers missed 71 extra points this season, after missing only eight last season. This 94.2 percent is the lowest since 1979. No, this is in no way bad or unexpected. Historically, it is quite high for 33-yard attempts — though for kicking, “historical” is not always a good frame for comparison. So to be clear, it is perfectly in line with projections for 2015 kickers.Kickers also made 84.5 percent of their non-extra-point kick attempts — essentially tied for the second-best all time.3This season finishes a hair behind 2008, when kickers made 84.5 percent exactly; in 2015 they made 84.4985 percent — about 1/100th of a single made kick behind. This, despite the fact that they attempted longer kicks than ever. Here’s a plot of field-goal percentage vs. attempt distance over the past 14 seasons: By this metric, kickers had their second-best season of all time (trailing only their miraculous 2013 campaign) and were within a fraction of a percentage point of their projections — well within the margin of error.Using our field goal expected value model, we can see what kickers scored the most and fewest points relative to expectation. I’ve included the results for all players below. Our champion for 2015 was the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski, who ran 12.2 points above expectation by making 33 of 36 field-goal tries (for 9.2 points above expectation) and all 52 extra points (for 3.0 points above expectation). Under the new rules this year, 30 NFL kickers missed extra points; Gostkowski still hasn’t missed one since 2006 — his rookie season.The worst kicker was Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza, who missed six of 12 field-goal attempts and two of eight extra points before being cut in October. He ran 12.0 points below expectation on just 20 kicks overall.Touchbacks are the new blackAnother area where kickers can provide significant value, and where we also see creepily constant improvement, is in kickoffs. Of course, kickoff results depend somewhat on special teams kick coverage (though hang time and location matter as well), but one mostly objective metric we can track is frequency of touchbacks (note that the large shift from 2010 to 2011 is a result of the NFL moving the kickoff spot up to the 35): In a big surprise to me — and a big loss for those of us who despise the punting game — punters and kickers seem to affect the game similarly. They each claim five of the 10 players with the highest value added this season,9Gay has been both a punter and kicker (and is identified as both by Pro-Football-Reference.com) but handles only kickoffs in the NFL. with punters taking four of the top five spots. Although most coaches are probably costing their teams points by punting too much instead of going for it, the ones with better punters are costing their teams less.That doesn’t mean punters have quite caught up to their place-kicking counterparts, at least at the very top. Johnny Hekker — the league’s most valuable punter, as well as a guy who admits he’s more comfortable with his Pokémon deck than he is tackling people — falls 3.3 points short of Gostkowski as the most valuable overall. Therefore Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots is our 2015 NFL Football Player10Who actually uses his feet. of the Year.Finally, here, for your perusal, is a sortable table of value added by all punters and kickers this season: The average attempt distance has seen a steady increase, which might logically result in a decrease in efficiency, but the continued improvement of kickers has outpaced the increase in distance.This includes them making 65 percent of their kicks from 50+ yards — second only to the 2013 kickers — despite taking a record 160 such attempts. Here’s how they performed over each distance category:The 2015 kickers struggled a little bit from middle distances of 40 to 50 yards. And by “struggled,” I mean they had top-five all-time seasons but didn’t set records.From 55 to 59 yards, they made 13 of 19 attempts, or 68 percent — the best rate of all time for that range. In the four seasons from 2002 through 2005 (the first four years of the data shown above) they made 13 of 42 such attempts, or 31 percent.To better compare seasons, I’ve created an adjusted field-goal percentage that accounts for the distances of each kick and gives us that season’s expected make percentage for a baseline kick from the 30-yard line (about a 48-yard attempt):4The average kick is much shorter than that, but that’s about the sweet spot for a distance with lots of attempts where performance over time varies the most. It’s also a spot that requires both distance and accuracy and is around the area of the field where kicker improvement has the biggest impact on fourth-down decisions. The differences here are pretty depressingly drastic for punt haters. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the average punt from 60 to 90 yards out (the part of the field where end zone locations don’t come into play) netted 37.3 yards, while in the 2014 and 2015 seasons those punts netted an average of 42.7 yards. That’s a 5-plus-yard difference on every punt!So perhaps punt coverage has gotten worse? Nope. If you look at raw punt distance, punts have gotten 4.7 yards longer on average (47.8 vs. 43.1). Although 2015 punters set records at virtually every distance, the absolute margins are smaller when you get closer to the goal. For kicks 30 to 60 yards from the end zone, the gain has been 2.4 yards — but those yards may mean more if they help trap an opponent in dangerous territory. (The value of a single yard only really spikes at both end zones and the outer reaches of field-goal range.)Note that I have not fully modeled punting improvement’s impact on fourth-down decisions as I have with kicking8Mostly because it’s more complicated. When you’re at the 40, the difference between 30 net yards and 32 net yards is greater because trapping an opponent close to its goal line is valuable (which, of course, is yet another reason why kicking a field goal and fourth and goal at the 1 is one of the worst plays in sports). Expected points models may help clear this up, but in some ways using the current models begs the question, since these models make assumptions about punting. — yet — but it’s bound to be significant. Factoring in 10 years of kicking improvement was enough to swing many borderline fourth-down decisions in favor of kicking. Of the 40 situations I looked at, 11 had differences of less than two-tenths of a point — which is probably about the amount that midfield punts have improved. If a fourth-down model doesn’t adequately account for these highly predictable improvements, it could be getting many “go or no” calls wrong.The punting expectation curve is relatively easy to model with a polynomial linear regression, which means we can find the expected distance of each punt and then compare a punter’s results with that expectation.The punter of the year isn’t even a close call. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams led the league with a 47.9-yard average punt and netted his team 271 yards relative to expectation in the process.On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets’ Ryan Quigley averaged 43.8 yards per kick and lost his team 297 yards relative to expectation.Football player of the year (who actually uses feet)If we convert those punting yards into points as we did with kickoffs above, we can get down to business and calculate each kicker’s complete value added from kicks.Note that some punters also kick off and some kickers kick off, but there are (presently) no kickers who also punt. So for this chart I’ve plotted value gained from kickoffs vs. value gained from punting and kicking combined. Bubble sizes correspond to the total value the player added or cost his team, in expected points: The rate of touchbacks has been increasing pretty steadily, both before and after the rule change, reaching an all-time high of 57.4 percent in 2015 (not counting onside kick attempts). The average starting field position has clearly flattened, as we would expect, though 2015 still set a record: The average opponent starting position was 21.7 yards from the team’s own end zone, beating last season’s previous best of 22.0.Still, those couple of yards here and there on kickoffs add up. For example, the Colts��� Pat McAfee (aka “The Boomstick”) had touchbacks on 67 of 74 (non-onside kick) kickoffs (91 percent). That’s close to 25 more touchbacks than we would expect from an average kicker. As a rule of thumb, a typical touchback is worth about 4 yards,5This season, the average non-touchback return came out to the 24-yard line. meaning McAfee’s touchbacks alone were likely worth in the neighborhood of 100 yards, or the equivalent of 6 to 8 points over the season. That may not sound like much, but any player (especially a non-QB) who can get his team half a point or so above average per game is doing great.To get a clearer picture of which kickers are most valuable, we can compare each kickoff to league expectation to find total yards saved and then convert those yards saved to point equivalents.6Using a rough conversion of 15 yards per point. (The full results are in the table below.) If you combine kickoff value with field-goal value, Gostkowski’s lead as place-kicking champion widens: Add in the 11.6 points the Patriots earned on kickoffs (not counting onside attempts, which would help Gostkowski even more as the Patriots recovered both of their attempts this season), and Gostkowski earned 23.8 points for them above expectation. Second place is Buffalo kickoff specialist Jordan Gay with 10.8 points above expectation (all from kickoffs).Don’t look now, but punters are also changing the gameFinally, let’s turn to the most reviled of all football plays: the punt. Why teams voluntarily give up possession all the time instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep the ball — particularly with good field position — is an ongoing mystery. But they are getting better at it. Indeed, in recent years, the improvement in punting is perhaps even more marked and consistent than it has been with kicking.7Unlike with field-goal kicking, this rate of improvement seems to be more recent. The average yards per punt appears to have hovered around 40 from the ’50s through the ’80s. Source: ESPNCORRECTION (Jan. 13, 7 p.m.): The original version of this post contained several points that were based on a critical calculation error discovered by a reader, Jason Hahn. In determining the best kickers of 2015, we attempted to exclude onside kicks, but because of an error in how we filtered our data, onside kick recoveries by the kicking team were treated as a touchdown instead of being ignored. After a recalculation, Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots becomes the most valuable kicker, not Johnny Hekker of the Rams, who moves to second place. In earning kickoff points above expectation, Jordan Gay of the Bills takes second place, not Mike Nugent of the Bengals. The touchbacks kicked by Pat McAfee of the Colts were worth 6 to 8 points over the season, not 8 to 10 points. The rate of all touchbacks reached a high of 57.4 percent in 2015, not 56 percent. The Patriots earned 11.6 points on kickoffs, not 7.7 points. These and other smaller errors have been corrected in the text of the article and in the charts and tables. read more

Suspected acid attack on two teenagers in Bethnal Green east London

first_imgAcid attack scene Scotland Yard said the incident was being treated as a “suspected noxious substance attack”. No arrests have been made.Paramedics were called and the men were taken to hospital for treatment. Their injuries are not life-threatening. Acid attack  A video of the incident posted on Twitter by Chris Lennon appears to show a topless man pouring water over his face and torso as paramedics tend to him. Credit:Charlotte Elsom/Rex acid attack Another man is seen sitting on the pavement, also receiving medical attention.Photos show what is believed to be one of men’s jackets, with holes melted through the fabric. Credit:Twitter / @lennon8t2 Credit:Twitter/@thelazyones Two men have been subjected to a suspected acid attack in east London.The victims, believed to be in their late teens, had an “unknown liquid” thrown at them, police said.Officers were flagged down on Roman Road in Bethnal Green at 7pm on Tuesday evening. 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.last_img read more

Number of pupils getting top GCSE grades will be same as previous

The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with “the best education systems in the world,” Damian Hinds says 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. The number of pupils getting the highest GCSE grades will be the same as previous years, the Education Secretary has said, despite the introduction of tougher exams.Damian Hinds moved to reassure parents that even if children found the new exams particularly difficult, they will not be “disadvantaged” for being the guinea pigs of the new system.Around 590,000 pupils will travel to their schools on Thursday to pick up their GCSE results. They are the first year group to take the new GCSEs in a range of subjects, created by former Education Secretary Michael Gove as part an attempt to inject rigour into the qualifications and bring the UK in line with top performing countries in the Far East. Many courses have had coursework elements reduced or removed altogether in favour of exams, and the curricula has been beefed up to include a broader range of topics.  –– ADVERTISEMENT ––But grading will be especially lenient to compensate for the fact that exams are harder. The exams watchdog is likely to lower grade boundaries to ensure that roughly the same proportion of students get top grades as in previous years.Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Hinds says that despite the changes, “this year’s results will be fair to the young people who worked hard for their exams”.   “It is extraordinary, really – you bring in new standards and then they are so hard you have to water them down,” he said.”If you are going to toughen up the exams and then change the boundaries why are you toughening up the exams? That is a fudge.”  Mr Hinds said that the reforms came about after “years of employers saying that the old GCSEs didn’t provide young people with the skills they needed”. The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with “the best education systems in the world,” he said.Mr Hinds explained that the new grading system, where 9 to 1 replaces A* to G, will act as a “clear signpost for employers, universities and colleges whether someone has taken one of the new, more rigorous GCSEs”.Sally Collier, the head of Ofqual, said: “Many years in the making, these new GCSEs are more challenging and will better prepare students for further study or employment.  “Students picking up their results on Thursday can be confident they have achieved the grades their performance deserves.” “This ensures that broadly the same proportion of pupils will pass, and reach the equivalent of an A grade as in previous years, assuming the ability profile of the pupils is the same.”The same “comparable outcomes” system is in place for A-levels, and last week it emerged that students can get almost half of the questions wrong and still get an A.Just 55 per cent was enough to achieve an A grade in the new OCR Advanced Biology A-level, while 59 per cent secures an A in Biology.  Earlier this week, it emerged that pupils who failed the new tougher science GCSE exam have been handed a free pass by the watchdog after it moved the boundaries.  Ofqual took the highly unusual step of intervening to save science students from failure, following warning from exam boards that a number of students would be given a U, standing for “unclassified”.   He writes: “To make sure that pupils who take the new GCSEs are not at a disadvantage when compared to those who went before, the independent qualifications regulator Ofqual uses a statistical method called ‘comparable outcomes’. The reformed GCSEs are now on a par with "the best education systems in the world,” Damian Hinds says Experts have warned that artificially lowering the pass marks to ensure consistency between different cohorts creates an illusion that students are doing better than they actually are.Lord Baker, who introduced GCSEs when he served as education secretary under Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, has said that lowering grade boundaries is a “fudge”. read more

KTIPlersch installs major cooling system at Harmony Phakisa

first_imgGermany’s KTI-Plersch was recently selected by Harmony Gold Mining to supply and install an ice cooling system at the Phakisa gold mine in South Africa. Phakisa gold mine has been using underground water chillers for bulk air cooling, as well as a 2,000 t/d surface ice plant for cooling of underground service water and for localised coolers closer to the working areas. However, Harmony required additional cooling capacity and chose KTI to supply a modular system of containerised ice makers. Two KTI ice plants with a capacity of 200 t/d each, were pre-fabricated at the KTI factory in Balzheim and cargo shipped from Hamburg to Cape Town.Underground mines with depths reaching more than 2,400 m below the surface require extensive cooling to reduce the rock temperatures to less than 28°C. Adequately cooled air is essential for compliance with health and safety regulations, which also increases the productivity rate and reduces the injury rate. The KTI 400 t/d ice factory was erected in just ten days. The structural steel for the walkways and container supports was pre-manufactured and delivered to site ahead of time.KTI says it has “made meaningful progress in demonstrating their ability to quickly and easily install massive ice systems.” The KTI plants at Harmony’s Phakisa gold mine have been operating almost without fault on a 24/7 basis since December 2013. Once the process was perfected, the nominal performance was exceeded by 10%, “showing that the system is reliable and economical.”KTI believes it has introduced a “paradigm shift” in the application of surface ice making for deep-mine refrigeration and cooling, with each plant producing 220 t of ice with a 27°C water in-feed. The capital cost of an ice plant is below ZAR9000 per kilowatt, which is lower than alternative cooling means. The system installed at Phakisa is described as a breakthrough in terms of modular containerised ice making systems. As cooling demand underground increases, the system ensures swift installation and easy expansion. In addition, should it be required, these units can easily be moved to another location.last_img read more

Court orders Samsung to turn over prototype phones tablets to Apple

first_imgAs part of the on-going patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, a court has ruled that Samsung must comply with Apple’s request for prototypes of its new and unreleased mobile devices to review. Apple wants their lawyers to review the devices to determine whether or not their patents have been infringed upon in the new models.Among some of the devices Apple will get a chance to examine are the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablets, and the Samsung Galaxy S2, Infuse 4G, and Droid Charge smartphones. Under most circumstances, a company would be allowed a waiting period before turning over the devices in order to make sure any real trade secrets have been removed or obfuscated.AdChoices广告This time however, the judge in the case, the Honorable Lucy Koh, pointed out Samsung’s marketing campaigns for all four devices have been pretty open about their capabilities, so there shouldn’t be a delay in turning them over to Apple for review. Apple backed that ruling, pointing out that Samsung can’t rely on secrecy when they gave away over 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to the attendees of Google I/O earlier this month.Apple’s claim is that a number of its patents and its “trade dress” were violated in the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Apple claims the the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Tab both bear enough resemblance to the iPhone and iPad to warrant a lawsuit. Samsung responded to the charges by countersuing Apple for over 10 different patents.Samsung doesn’t have to worry too much that its trade secrets are going to wind up in the hands of Apple engineers working on the next generation of Apple products. The prototypes will only be reviewed by Apple’s legal team and used only for the case – not even Apple’s engineers in Cupertino will have the opportunity to see the devices.Read more at Courthouse News via CNET and TUAWlast_img read more

LInternet japonais a bien résisté au séisme

first_imgL’Internet japonais a bien résisté au séismeLe réseau de l’archipel nippon a bien résisté au tremblement de terre, contrairement à la téléphonie fixe et mobile.Contrairement au réseau téléphonique, qui a grandement souffert du terrible séisme qu’a subi le Japon, Internet a bien résisté dans l’archipel nippon. Google a notamment publié des statistiques d’utilisation de son site qui prouvent que le trafic en provenance du pays n’a pas baissé significativement à la suite du tremblement de terre. “Des opérateurs ont signalé des problèmes de trafic dus aux effets immédiats du tremblement de terre, mais malgré de terribles incendies, des inondations et des coupures électriques, le trafic se maintient : c’est remarquable”, a noté la société Renesys.Un maintien d’Internet dû aux infrastructures extrêmement modernes et variées du réseau japonais ainsi qu’à la résistance des câbles sous-marins desservant le Japon. Surtout, Internet ne dépend pas totalement d’une structure centralisée, contrairement aux systèmes basés sur des émetteurs ou des serveurs centraux comme la téléphonie. Car le réseau, conçu par l’armée américaine, était prévu à la base pour résister à des attaques nucléaires, et ainsi maintenir des communications dans des conditions extrêmes. Lorsqu’un noeud de raccordement est mis hors service, la connexion entre deux postes peut donc se faire automatiquement, via un autre chemin réseau. Une architecture qui a donc permis à l’Internet nippon de se maintenir.   Le 16 mars 2011 à 12:31 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Un projet de 500 millions deuros pour contenir la Seine en cas

first_imgUn projet de 500 millions d’euros pour contenir la Seine en cas de cruePour contrôler le débit de la Seine au niveau de sa jonction avec l’Yonne, 500 millions d’euros seraient nécessaires. Ils permettraient de construire dix casiers colossaux capables de stocker jusqu’à 55 millions de mètres cubes d’eau, pompés dans le fleuve.C’est un projet de taille qui a été dévoilé cette semaine pour contenir la Seine si le fleuve connaissait une nouvelle crue. L’idée est en fait de contrôler le débit au niveau de la confluence de la Seine et de l’Yonne, cours d’eau qui dévale de manière parfois torrentielle les pentes du Morvan. Pour cela, la solution serait de construire 10 gigantesques casiers capables de stocker 55 millions de mètres cubes d’eau pompée dans la Seine. Cela permettrait de laisser s’écouler l’Yonne sans créer de goulot d’étranglement.Claudine Jost, chef du projet au sein de l’établissement public interdépartemental Seine Grands Lacs explique en effet que “s’il pleut sur le Morvan, l’eau monte très vite”. Or, en cas d’inondation comparable à celle de 1910, les dégâts sont évalués entre 15 et 20 milliards d’euros ; et même “plus du double en tenant compte de la dégradation des réseaux et des pertes d’exploitation des entreprises”, indique une note de l’Institut d’aménagement et d’urbanisme. Concrètement, le projet nécessite de construire dans la vallée de la Bassée 58 kilomètres de digues, hautes de 70 centimètres à 4,70 mètres. En principe, ces espaces seraient mis à contribution tous les six à dix ans en moyenne. Quoiqu’il en soit, les défenseurs du projet estiment pour leur part qu’il y a urgence au vue de l’étendue estimée des dégâts. Avec des casiers en Seine-et-Marne, assure Seine Grands Lacs cité par l’AFP, les dommages pour une catastrophe équivalente seraient réduits de 30%, grâce à une baisse du niveau du fleuve de 20 à 50 centimètres. Mais l’aspect écologique est également mis en avant puisque ce projet entraînerait la restauration des zones humides de la vallée de la Bassée, moins souvent inondée en raison des aménagements pour la navigation.Un projet difficile à financer À lire aussiCes inondations et crues qui ont marqué l’Histoire de la FranceLe principal problème reste ne fait le financement. Evalué à 500 millions d’euros, ce projet pharaonique fait ainsi débat, “surtout dans le contexte actuel”, reconnaît Régis Thépot, directeur de l’établissement public. Les élus des collectivités les plus proches de Paris refusent quant à eux de porter seuls le poids du dispositif. Plus loin de la capitale, certains rechignent à payer, ne s’estimant pas concernés. “C’est un délire porté par les élus de petite couronne qui veulent protéger Paris et qui inventent des traumatismes pour des territoires”, tempête ainsi Yves Jego le maire UMP de Montereau située à 80 kilomètres de la capitale qui ajoute qu’il “n’y a pas un commencement de financement”.Le 10 avril 2012 à 19:55 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Aguero and De Bruyne could return for Man City this weekend

first_imgManchester City boss Pep Guardiola has announced that Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne could be in contention for a return to action against Everton on SaturdayAguero has been sidelined for City’s last four games due to an adductor problem, while De Bruyne has been unavailable for over a month with knee problems.However, the duo have returned to full training with the first-team squad and suffered no pain afterwards.Now Guardiola will make his final decision on Aguero and De Bruyne after Friday afternoon’s last training session.“Sergio did the last two training sessions. On Thursday, he trained with the team,” said Guardiola on the club website. “He has no pain and we will decide.“With Kevin, it is the same case as Sergio – he has no pain but we will see.”Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.English centre-back John Stones is a doubt himself after asking to come off during City’s 2-1 Champions League win against Hoffenheim at half-time on Wednesday due to a knee problem.“Yesterday he (Stones) was in treatment,” said Guardiola.“Today he is training. We will see how they feel because when you have just 60 hours of recovery (it is difficult). We will see.”The former Barcelona coach confirmed that City will not be making any signings in January, despite the loss of left-back Benjamin Mendy.“No, we are not going to sign anyone,” he asserted.The City-Everton game will begin at 13:30 (CET) at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.last_img read more

Dallas Suburb Faces Racial Backlash After Shooting

first_imgAPThis undated family photo provided by Edwards family attorney Lee Merritt shows Jordan Edwards, left, posing for a photo with his father, Odell Edwards. The family of the black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer while riding in a vehicle leaving a party wants criminal charges filed against the officer, who was fired for violating department policies during the shooting. Balch Springs police Officer Roy Oliver was fired three days after 15-year-old Jordan Edwards’ death. (Courtesy of Lee Merritt/Edwards family via AP)The Dallas suburb where a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager as he left a party has a population that’s just 20 percent white but a police department that’s 80 percent white.Balch Springs now confronts the same issues of race and law enforcement as Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and other cities that have been thrust into the spotlight because of police killings of African-Americans.Officer Roy Oliver was fired three days after the Saturday night shooting. But lawyers for 15-year-old Jordan Edwards’ family said Wednesday that the city must answer for more than Oliver, including a racial slur allegedly yelled at one of Edwards’ brothers moments after the shooting. The family also wants the officer to be charged with a crime.Edwards, his two brothers and two other teenagers were driving away from an unruly house party when the officer opened fire on their vehicle with a rifle. The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window and struck Edwards.It took a few moments for Edwards’ 16-year-old brother, who was driving, and other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat. His brother pulled over and tried to call for help.Police ordered him to step out of the car and back away. As he moved, he heard someone call him a racial slur and say he didn’t understand directions, according to family lawyers Jasmine Crockett and Lee Merritt.“When you have a police force that’s completely the opposite the makeup of the town, I do think it’s a problem,” Crockett said Wednesday in an interview. “I do feel there’s a sense of fear that comes into a lot of officers’ minds, because it’s the fear of the unknown.”Police Chief Jonathan Haber said in a text message Wednesday that authorities are still reviewing video of the shooting but had not heard any racial slurs so far.Asked about the department’s racial makeup, spokesman Pedro Gonzalez said Balch Springs was “hindered” by competition from big-city police departments.“Larger departments offer many other opportunities for advancements where Balch Springs PD is limited in advancement and salaries,” Gonzalez said.Balch Springs is a working-class suburb of 25,000 people east of Dallas. Despite its proximity to the city, the community has plenty of open land and is small enough that visitors can easily drive through it without noticing.The suburb has seen major demographic change during the last two decades. The population has gone from majority white to about 55 percent Latino. Blacks make up 23 percent and whites just 19 percent, according to 2015 estimates. The mayor and city manager are both African-American women.According to state records released Wednesday, 31 of the department’s 39 officers are white. Minorities comprise the remaining 20 percent of the force — five African-Americans, two Latinos and one American Indian. Nationwide, about 27 percent of local police officers were minorities, according to a 2013 federal survey.Oliver was hired in 2011 after working in various jobs for smaller North Texas suburb, Dalworthington Gardens. A statement from the suburb said he worked there from 1999 to 2011 as a public works employee, public safety officer and dispatcher, and had a clean record. He served six years in the Army, with two deployments to Iraq, and later completed almost two years in the Texas National Guard. His attorney, Cindy Stormer, did not return messages Wednesday.City Manager Susan Cluse did not address the department’s hiring practices, but said the police chief routinely tries to hear community concerns and had attended a “coffee with a cop” event on Saturday, before the shooting.“We support our officers and our chief,” Cluse said in an interview. “He’s taking this to heart. We all have children. I’m an African-American mother.”Police issued a statement Sunday, saying the vehicle carrying Edwards was backing up toward officers “in an aggressive manner.” But Haber corrected that statement after reviewing body camera video that showed the vehicle actually driving away from officers. Police have not released that video.Attorneys for the Edwards family have issued statements discouraging protests or rallies in their son’s name.Local activists and ministers met Wednesday with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, whose office has a unit dedicated to reviewing police shootings. The activists said afterward that Johnson assured them she was studying the case closely. The Dallas County sheriff’s office is also investigating.Haber held news conferences Monday and Tuesday that included African-American community leaders standing next to him. On Tuesday, both men alongside the police chief said he deserved support for taking action and correcting his department’s mistake.“We would not be standing here if we did not believe that this police department was worth backing,” said one of them, community activist Ernest Walker.But Crockett, who praised Haber for swiftly firing Oliver, said including supportive black leaders in a news conference felt “disingenuous.”“Black people are only looking to be treated like everybody else,” she said. “We just want you to do your job. It doesn’t really matter what color you are.”The same day that Oliver was fired, news broke of the Justice Department’s decision not to charge two white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the shooting death of a black man in 2016. And a white officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to murder in the fatal shooting of a 50-year-old black man in 2015.“What these last few days tell us is we’ve got another thing coming,” said David Harris, a professor and criminal justice expert at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. “These issues are not gone. They were never gone. We just stopped paying attention to them for a while.”___ Sharelast_img read more

Samsung Officially Delays Galaxy Fold Launch

first_imgSamsung has officially delayed the launch of its much-anticipated foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, after multiple reviewers experienced issues with the device’s screen. The company said in a statement that it would announce a new release data for the device “in the coming weeks.”The Galaxy Fold had first been unveiled at a press event in February. Priced a whopping $1980, the fold features a 4.6-inch display when folded up, and unfolds to a 7.3-inch screen. The Fold was meant to be a category-defining device, offering users the flexibility to use it both as a regular phone and a full-sized tablet for on-the-go productivity and more.The phone was officially set to launch on April 26, and Samsung had begun to take pre-orders for the device online. However, just days after it had begun to send out review units to journalists, multiple reports of significant issues with the phone’s foldable display surfaced. Popular on Variety Some of those issues were apparently related to journalists peeling off a protective layer, which looked like a traditional screen protector but was actually a key part of the display. However, others reported issues unrelated to the layer, including parts of the display going dark, and bumps emerging under the display’s surface.“Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung’s statement acknowledged. “There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.”“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” the statement continued. “We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold.”center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

Ahead of 2019 polls Modi to join 3 BJP rallies in Bengal

first_imgKolkata: Focusing on the 2019 general elections, the BJP will hold three massive rallies in the state which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the end of this year, said West Bengal chief of the party Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday. Ghosh said apart from these three “Jansampark” (connecting with people) rallies, similar rallies will also be held in all the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha constituencies in Bengal, demanding reinstatement of democracy and speeding up the state’s development. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life “There will be three or four ‘Jansampark Yatras’ in Bengal towards the end of this year, ahead of the 2019 general elections. The rallies will focus on reinstating democracy and speeding up the development of Bengal under the leadership of Modiji. The three big rallies will conclude in Kolkata in the presence of PM Modi,” he said. Claiming that a lot of people are joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state every day, the party leader said the party’s membership drive through missed-call on a cell phone number will be relaunched in the state from August to September this year. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “There will be training sessions for the party’s grassroot level organisers. The activists and leaders who have joined BJP from other political parties will be given the opportunity to work for party’s betterment,” he said. Referring to the BJP’s success in the state rural body elections this year, he said the party is appointing several of the new joinees as observers in different districts to formulate strategies for the hung Panchayat seats. “Our party has won in 300 Gram Panchayat seats while it has the chance to formulate Panchayat boards in 100 more seats. Our aim will be to stop Trinamool Congress from forming the boards in the hung Panchayat seats. Either BJP will try to form the board, or we will look for suitable alternatives,” Ghosh said. The state BJP chief also stated that his party leadership is focusing more on the common people to join it rather than trying to lure heavyweight leaders in Bengal as that would help them build a robust party structure. He claimed that the BJP’s strategy to bank upon the masses rather than leaders without people’s backing will take them ahead of the state’s ruling party in the future. “Trinamool took some senior leaders, MLAs and MPs from other parties during their Martyr’s Day rally, but these leaders do not have backing and support of common people. The BJP is focusing on taking such leaders who can bring in hundreds of their supporters along with them. This basic difference between Trinamool and BJP’s strategies will be the deciding factor in Bengal politics,” Ghosh claimed. “We initially thought that without heavyweight leaders, the BJP will not be able to grow in Bengal. But now we can see that thousands of general workers are joining us every day which is leading to significant growth of the party. The CPI-M and the Congress’ support base are becoming hollow,” he added.last_img read more

Amid turmoil in Zimbabwe Canadians urged to remain indoors

first_img Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Posted by OTTAWA — Canadians in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare were being advised to stay indoors Wednesday amid political turmoil in the African nation and reports that President Robert Mugabe and his wife are in the custody of the military.In a message posted on its website, Global Affairs Canada said the “situation is tense” in the city due to increased military activity and advised Canadians there to “remain indoors and monitor the media.”There is increased military activity in Harare and the situation is tense. If you are in Harare, remain indoors and monitor the media. The Embassy will be closed November 15th.— Canada in Zimbabwe (@CanEmbZimbabwe) November 15, 2017Zimbabwe’s army said it has Mugabe and his wife in custody and was securing government offices and patrolling the capital’s streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.The activity triggered speculation of a coup, but the military’s supporters praised it as a “bloodless correction.”More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaArmed soldiers in armoured personnel carriers stationed themselves at key points in Harare, while Zimbabweans formed long lines at banks to take out cash. Overnight, at least three explosions were heard in Harare and military vehicles were seen in the streets.In an address to the nation, an army spokesman said the military is targeting “criminals” around Mugabe, and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.The precise whereabouts of Mugabe, 93, and his wife were unclear. “Their security is guaranteed,” the army spokesman said.The United States issued a similar advisory to its citizens in Zimbabwe, encouraging them to “shelter in place.”Mugabe has been long been accused of human rights violations, including increasing crackdowns on dissent, amid a deteriorating economy.“Police abuse increased, and there was excessive use of force to crush dissent,” said the New York-based Human Rights Watch in its latest report on the country.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongHuman rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, and government opponents, were harassed, threatened or faced arbitrary arrest by police. Widespread impunity continues for abuses by police and state security agents.Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the United States and a host of other countries, as well as health and human rights leaders, in condemning Mugabe’s appointment as a goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization.“Quite frankly I thought it was a bad April Fool’s joke,” Trudeau said last month after hearing the news.The WHO removed Mugabe from that role after numerous organizations, including the World Heart Federation and Cancer Research U.K., said they were “shocked and deeply concerned” because of Mugabe’s “long track record of human rights violations.”– With files from The Associated Press The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Zimbabwe Amid turmoil in Zimbabwe, Canadians urged to remain indoorslast_img read more

Visitors tuck in as NSW food and wine provides huge boost to

first_imgVisitors tuck in as NSW food and wine provides huge boost to economyNSW has shown it is a food-lover’s paradise as the results from the NSW Government’s latest campaigns featuring the State’s food and wine experiences have delivered an additional domestic and international visitor spend of over $20 million in the last 12 months.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said over 20 campaigns were run globally by the State’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW with partners including airlines, travel agents and wholesalers along with Tourism Australia.The campaigns highlighted the taste experiences of the Hunter Valley, Orange and Mudgee, the Legendary Pacific Coast, the Blue Mountains, the South Coast and Sydney.“NSW is enjoying somewhat of a food and wine tourism revolution with more visitors coming to our State to enjoy our award-winning beers, ciders and stunning wineries to our fresh produce from local producers and providores, outdoor dining in magnificent settings and our world-class restaurants,” Mr Ayres said.“With the development and regeneration of urban areas, as well as a focus on local product, Sydney and NSW is experiencing a restaurant renaissance.“New dining hotspots and exciting chefs are continuing to put NSW firmly on the foodie map – and our food tourism visitors are tucking in to these with gusto!”Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the promotion of food and wine experiences, including leveraging Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia, has become an integral part of Destination NSW’s marketing campaigns, with NSW boasting world-class dining experiences for visitors.“More than 36,000 agents globally took part in NSW food and wine training and over 70 new food and wine packages were delivered to our priority international markets including Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, USA, India and the UK,” Ms Chipchase said. Destination NSW Source = Destination NSWlast_img read more

New bill to protect victims of stalking

first_imgAround 55,000 girls and women in Cyprus over the age of 12 have reportedly been victims of stalking, MPs heard during discussion on Wednesday at the House legal affairs committee on a government bill against stalking.Presenting the bill to MPs, permanent secretary of the justice ministry Andreas Mylonas said that it aims at protecting persons from stalking, mainly women.According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Mylonas said, in Cyprus, 11 per cent of the female population over 12, around 55,000 women, have been victims of stalking. The EU average is 18 per cent, he said.The bill provides for harsh penalties, Mylonas said, and protection of the victim by interim orders as well as civil actions to compensate the victim. People convicted of stalking may be sentenced by up to one year in prison and or fined up to €2,000.In cases when stalkers’ behaviour leads to fear of violence against the victim or against a member of his or her family or damage of his or her property, the culprit may be punished by imprisonment up to five years and or a fine up to €10,000.Mylonas said that the bill comes in response to two reports of the ombudswoman, in 2014 and 2015, that cited a legal gap as regards stalking.Gender Equality Commissioner, Iosifina Antoniou, expressed her satisfaction over the tabling of the bill to the committee.To-date, she said, due to the legal gap, police remain idle in cases of stalking.Antoniou referred to a murder attempt on a woman in Oroklini in 2013. The woman in question, the commissioner said, had been reporting for a year and a half prior to the murder attempt that she was being harassed but police did not take any measures that could have prevented the incident.Disy MP and president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Stella Kyriakides, welcomed the tabling of the bill and the start of its discussion at the committee.This, she said, is an important first step for the application of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which Cyprus ratified earlier in the month.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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