Beyonce Partners With Googleorg to Announce Four More Scholarships for Homecoming Scholars

first_imgBeyoncé, through her BeyGOOD initiative, announces a partnership with, the charitable arm of tech giant Google, to award four new scholarships as part of her Homecoming Scholars Award Program.The iconic performer also issues a challenge to other businesses to join in investing in excellence through has matched the $100,000 grant Beyoncé announced last week, which will enable four additional HBCUs to receive $25,000 scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year. The schools chosen are Texas Southern University, located in Beyoncé’s home city, Houston, Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, the alma mater of her father, Mathew Knowles, Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. HBCUs are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community.“Google understands the vital role historically black colleges and universities play in delivering a high quality and culturally responsive education,” states Maab Ibrahim, a program manager. “In the last several years, Google has launched innovative programs to close the distance between Silicon Valley and HBCUs; we are proud to continue that commitment by matching Beyoncé’s generous donation.”“Partnering with organizations like in support of HBCUs is our way of elevating cultural touchstones that paint a clear picture of excellence and opportunity through diverse education,” states Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment, which houses BeyGOOD. “We challenge other businesses across the country to join us in this commitment to higher education and investment in the future.”On Saturday, April 14, Beyoncé made history at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival by becoming the first Black woman to headline in the festival’s 19-year run.The jubilant set, housed on a pyramid stage with 150-plus cast members, dutifully in-sync, was the first time the icon returned to her home, the stage, in over one year.The show, with its homage to excellence in education, was a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance. It was the impetus to mark her second scholarship program.“As a Morehouse graduate myself, I can attest that HBCUs provide both an excellent educational opportunity, as well as a community of support that lasts a lifetime,” says Steve Pamon, President and COO of Parkwood Entertainment, the company serving as the umbrella for Beyoncé’s production and business ventures. “The lifeblood of that community is an annual pilgrimage to homecoming. This scholarship program can ensure that more students will enjoy the HBCU experience that continues to enrich my life.”A total of eight schools will now receive Homecoming Scholars awards for the 2018-2019 academic year, including awards previously-announced for Xavier University of Louisiana, Wilberforce University in Ohio, Tuskegee University in Alabama and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year of scholars programs created by Beyoncé.The Formation Scholars Awards Program, also a merit scholarship program, was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE, Beyoncé’s critically-acclaimed and globally-lauded 2016 visual album. The Formation Scholars awards encouraged and supported young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box.The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to qualifying students at the universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African-American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced this summer.last_img read more

A stronger Alberta Ottawa announces 16B for Canadas oil and gas sector

first_imgOttawa is spending $1.6 billion to help struggling energy companies stay afloat, buy new equipment and diversify as Alberta grapples with bargain basement oil prices.Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says $1 billion is to be set aside through Export Development Canada for oil and gas companies to make capital investments and purchase new technology.Another $500 million is to be made available through the Business Development Bank of Canada over the next two years to help smaller oil and gas companies navigate the downturn.Sohi says a further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects.The package does not include money for more rail cars that Alberta is planning to purchase to help move a glut of oil behind the low price of Canadian oil.Sohi says the money, largely in the form of commercial loans, is available immediately.“We understand that when Alberta hurts, so does Canada,” Sohi said Tuesday. “Together we can build a stronger Alberta (and) a more prosperous Canada.”The price of Alberta oil plummeted so low last month that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Canada was practically giving it away. While the world sells its oil at about $50 a barrel, Alberta’s oil at one point fetched only $11 a barrel.Notley plans to buy as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers — expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars — and has announced an oil production cut to begin next year. That has helped push the price back up.She has said Canada’s economy is still losing as much as $80 million a day because of the discount.“We understand that for the long-term success and growth of the oil sector, nothing is more important than building the pipeline capacity to expand our non-U.S. global markets,” Sohi said.The Trans Mountain expansion project, which would triple the flow of oil to the British Columbia coast, is in limbo despite being approved two years ago. Ottawa is revisiting the potential impacts on First Nations and B.C.’s marine environment.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Security Council urged to support Sudans fragile northsouth peace accord

18 June 2008The head of the Security Council’s recent mission to Sudan today urged the 15-member body to press the parties to the 2005 peace accord which ended the country’s long-running north-south civil war to fulfil their commitments, stressing that the landmark deal is vital to ensuring stability throughout the vast African nation. “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains fragile, and the Council came away convinced that we have to do all we can to support the parties in implementing it,” Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom told an open meeting of the Council.Mr. Sawers, who co-led the Sudan leg of the Council’s recent five-nation mission to Africa, added that the delegation believes that the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) needed to do more to support the CPA, which he said remains “the bedrock of peace in Sudan.” In particular, he said the Mission could do more – and that it should “interpret its mandate more robustly than it has done so far” – if it is to contribute to stability and protect civilians in the disputed town of Abyei. While in Sudan, the Council team also discussed with President Omar al-Bashir the situation in Darfur, where the UN and African Union have deployed a joint peacekeeping operation, known as UNAMID, to try to quell the violence and suffering that has plagued the region.The operation currently has around 10,000 troops and police officers on the ground, far short of the expected total of about 26,000 when the mission reaches full deployment, and is lacking key capacities in air transport, particularly helicopters. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations says that in addition to the four out of six required tactical support helicopters, there is a critical shortfall for three medium utility helicopter units (providing six helicopters each) and reconnaissance aircraft. It adds that discussions are ongoing with Member States to fill the shortfalls. In a related development, the head of the Department of Field Support, Susana Malcorra, has begun a visit to Darfur.With UNAMID’s mandate coming up for review next month, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who co-led the Sudan segment of the Africa trip, urged the Council to pay closer attention to the details of the operation’s structure. “Even I was shocked at how under-resourced UNAMID was […] this must be watched very closely,” he said, expressing concern that the operation’s current strength was not sufficient enough to respond to the fears of the people on the ground. Recalling the reports of insecurity received from internally displaced persons (IDPs) and aid workers during the Council’s stop in Darfur, he said “the issue of UNAMID, its strength, resources and the conditions under which it will work need more attention from the Council, so it can assist the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and our humanitarian friends working on the ground.”Mr. Kumalo also briefed the Council on the delegation’s visit to Djibouti, where UN-led talks between the Government and the opposition of neighbouring Somalia recently led to an agreement aiming to bring peace to the strife-torn nation that has not had a functioning government since 1991. The Council had also encouraged the acceleration of the deployment of the UN mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), during its stop in the latter country, reported Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, who led that portion of the trip.He said Council members had reaffirmed their commitment to Chad’s sovereignty and stressed that the country must commit itself to dialogue with Sudan and that both countries must pledge to keep armed groups out of each others territories.In addition to meeting with Government officials, Council members visited a camp for Chadians displaced by fighting in country’s eastern region, and were briefed by UN and other humanitarian workers on security concerns and restrictions on their movement. While in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Council touched on the country’s continued cooperation with the UN, as well as on sexual violence and issues related to war crimes investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Ripert reported. The Council had expressed to President Joseph Kabila its concerns, including the need to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions, reform its justice sector, and to press ahead with the holding of local elections. “Even with all this, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is nevertheless seeing its first real taste of democracy in the last 50 years,” Mr. Ripert said, especially with political opposition playing a role in what appeared to be a “serene” atmosphere.Reporting on the final leg of the mission, Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso said that the Council’s stop in Côte d’Ivoire had enabled the body to assess the progress made by the Ivorian players in adhering to the Ouagadougou Agreement, including the preparations for the holding of credible, free and transparent presidential elections later this year. read more

No one hurt in attack on UN electoral convoy in southern Afghanistan

The four-vehicle convoy came under attack yesterday morning from two improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades on a road in the Paktia district, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at a press briefing in New York. Police who had been escorting the four vehicles then returned fire, beginning a fire-fight that lasted two hours and led to the attackers retreating. Mr. Eckhard said the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had announced that all UN vehicle movements on the road between the cities of Gardez and Khost have been suspended until further notice. read more

Iraq UN refugee agency launches major humanitarian aid push for displaced people

Barring last minute delays, an air, road and sea operation will begin tomorrow with a four-day airlift from Aqaba in Jordan to Erbil in Iraq. This will be followed by road convoys from Turkey and Jordan, and sea and land shipments from Dubai via Iran over the next 10 days.“The major focus is on improving living conditions for the displaced in the region, particularly people without shelter or housing,” said Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “Conditions remain desperate for those without access to suitable shelter, people struggling to find food and water to feed their families, and those without access to primary medical care. “Many are still coming to grips with the tragedy they’ve been through in recent weeks – fleeing homes with nothing, and many trying to cope with the loss of loved ones. Emergency support is an urgent need that we are trying to meet,” he told reporters in Geneva.Included in the initial aid shipments are 3,300 tents, 20,000 plastic sheets, 18,500 kitchen sets, and 16,500 jerry cans. This assistance and further aid deliveries is being made possible thanks to a recent $500 million donation from Saudi Arabia, as well as support from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and global retailer IKEA – a UNHCR corporate partner.Meanwhile, inside Iraq, UNHCR is already working closely with regional authorities in the Kurdistan Region, where at least half the displaced have settled, some 200,000 of them since early August when the city of Sinjar and neighbouring areas were seized by armed groups. The Saudi contribution has also enabled the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to scale up food assistance to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis displaced from their homes in recent weeks.“The food security situation in Iraq is alarming – the worst that the country has witnessed since the sanctions in the early 1990s,” Mohamed Diab, Director of WFP’s Regional Bureau for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, said in a news release. “The breakdown of the Public Distribution System for food in many parts of Iraq, the destruction and confiscation of agricultural produce, widespread insecurity and massive displacement of civilians have resulted in immense hardship and untold human suffering,” he stated.Despite a challenging security situation and displaced people on the move since mid-June, WFP has distributed food to more than 524,000 people in 10 governorates across the country and has plans to scale up its operation to reach 1.2 million people by early 2015.An estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced so far in 2014, including some 600,000 people uprooted by the Anbar province crisis which began in January, and 600,000 displaced from conflicts in and around Mosul and more recently Sinjar, since August.The UN humanitarian spokesperson in Iraq, Kieran Dwyer, said in an interview with UN Radio , that resources are a critical element to helping the hundreds of thousands affected by the ongoing crisis in the country.“This $500 million from the Saudi Government is allowing the United Nations to scale up fast and get aid wherever we can get access to work with the local authorities,” Mr. Dwyer said. He added that security is a major challenge in gaining access to many areas of Iraq and delivering vital assistance to those who need it.“Humanitarian workers cannot get access to many areas of Iraq in order to deliver aid,” he said, noting the rapid unravelling of the humanitarian situation and well as the still unstable security situation. “We need to urgently make sure we have the conditions for them to survive and secondly, we need to stabilize the situation so that we can bring consistent services.” read more

UN forum explores ongoing discrimination faced by people of African descent

Speaking at the opening of the two-day meeting, held on 23 and 24 November, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that people of African descent continue to endure pervasive discrimination in law as well as in practice, extending from neighbourhoods and schools to workplaces, political representation and justice. “Whether they are descendants of the victims of slavery brought to North America and Europe against their will, or more recent migrants, people of African descent are frequently denied rights and experience exclusion, humiliation and impoverishment as a result of racial discrimination,” said the High Commissioner. In particular, he raised concern over practises of racial profiling and patterns of police violence in the United States, as well as the disproportionate imposition of capital punishment on people of African descent and other racial minorities. He also voiced concerns over “systemic anti-Black racism” in the Canadian criminal justice system, including evidence of extensive patterns of racial profiling by law enforcement, as well as under-representation of people of African descent in political spheres across many countries in Europe. “We – all human beings – are equal; and therefore should enjoy an equal right to dignity,” he added, noting that just and peaceful societies for all can be created only when nobody is subjected to prejudice and segregation. The meeting was held as part of the awareness-raising campaign for the International Decade for People of African descent (2015-2024).Also speaking at the occasion, Sabelo Gumedze, the Chairperson of the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent, stated that the International Decade is an important instrument to address the common issues facing people of African descent, such as racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance; underrepresentation in political and judicial sectors; and inequality access to quality education, health services and housing. Underscoring the need to combat extreme violence, racial bias and hate speech which people of African descent continue to face, he called for urgently addressing the root causes of racial discrimination “in an honest debate about history and its connection to modern day racism.” Other key speakers at the meeting included Opal Tometi, the Co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and Rokhaya Diallo, French journalist and activist. The meeting also saw three panel discussions on the themes of recognition, justice and development.Organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the meeting is one of five regional meetings that focus on trends, priorities and challenges at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the Decade’s Programme of Activities. read more

UK commercial vehicle manufacturing declines 167 in 2017

More than 78,000 commercial vehicles built in the UK in 2017, down -16.7% year on year.Declines in both home and overseas demand, falling -25.0% and -10.8% respectively.Proportion of British-built CVs exported to global markets rises to 62.5%.British commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing declined -16.7% in 2017 as 78,219 vans, trucks, buses and coaches left production lines, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).Domestic demand fell to its lowest since 2009, down -25.0%, with 29,320 CVs rolling off production lines and onto British roads.1 The decline reflects a fall in business confidence and fluctuating buying cycles, which are a natural feature of the market. Meanwhile, 48,899 CVs were produced for overseas markets, representing a fall of -10.8%. However, exports accounted for 62.5% of overall UK production – up from 58.4% in 2016 – the largest proportion in eight years.2The EU remains the UK’s largest market, with 94.1% of CVs produced for international markets, and the majority bound for European Union countries.The news comes as UK Automotive restates the need for an urgent agreement on the terms of a post-Brexit transition deal. This must be comprehensive, result in no change and allow business to continue as usual until a new trading relationship with the EU is in place. This means maintaining the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union and addressing critical details that, if ignored, could have a damaging effect on the industry’s competitiveness.The agreement must include guarantees that the UK will continue to benefit from EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Union arrangements with third countries, for the full duration of transition. Secondly, vehicle certifications that have been issued in the UK must remain valid at home and abroad so that vehicles can continue to be sold across the EU. Finally, no new customs checks, which would add cost, cause delays and disrupt manufacturing, should be applied during the transition.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,Fluctuating fleet purchasing cycles, alongside declining confidence among operators in the CV market, affected production in 2017. British CV manufacturing continues to make a vital contribution to the UK economy, with an increasing proportion shipped to global markets. More than nine out of every 10 vehicles we export are produced for EU customers, underscoring the need for urgent clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit.Notes to editors1. In 2009, 24,225 CVs were produced for the domestic market.2. In 2009, 77.5% of commercial vehicle production was for export.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Have The Cubs Forgotten How To Field

Welcome to Full Count, our new(!) weekly baseball column. Have anything you want me to write about? Email or tweet me at or @Neil_Paine.Of all the elements that allowed the Chicago Cubs to erase 108 years of suffering and finally win the World Series last fall, one of the most important was the team’s stellar defense. Just how efficient were Chicago’s fielders a year ago? Relative to league average, the 2016 Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of any team ever.1Over a full season; sorry, 1884 Milwaukee Brewers. As in, since the dawn of big-league ball in 1871, ever. The only team that was even comparable to these Cubs was the 1890 Columbus Solons (a franchise that appears to have folded the next year without explaining its defensive wizardry — or what a “Solon” was).2From what I can tell — which isn’t much — it was either a reference to an Athenian legislator or another town in Ohio (one that, oddly, is not near Columbus). Have the Cubs forgotten how to field? 8Carlos Beltran4241054312460.7 2016Cubs.255.298-.043 +9.7+3.8-5.9 1999Reds.262.298-.036 6Anthony RendonNationals727975.3 1906Cubs.238.272-.034 Willson ContrerasC588.4212.0+9.2+22.6+13.5 RKNAMETEAMPITCH IN ZONE, SWUNGPITCH OUTSIDE ZONE, TOOKGOOD DECISION 5Mike TroutAngels727875.3 3Freddie FreemanBraves827276.0 The all-time kings of power, speed and patience, 1871-2017 INNINGSDEF PER 1200 INNINGS* The Cubs still aren’t shifting much, but they’re good when they do 179Chris DavisOrioles546962.5 Javier Baez2B970.3215.1+15.7+5.0-10.7 PLAYERPOS2016201720162017CHANGE Kris Bryant3B1366.2288.0+9.7+2.5-7.2 1899Beaneaters.265.298-.033 7Bobby Bonds332914460477.7 10Bobby Abreu2881476400451.1 Data through May 8. Returning Cubs players only.* “Def” is FanGraphs’ defensive value over average, which includes Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) grades relative to position, as well as an adjustment for the defensive value of each position.Numbers are listed per 1,200 innings, roughly a season’s worth of playing time.Source: FanGraphs 1Joey VottoReds77%82%80.1% The most efficient defenses in MLB history, 1871-2016 With the exception of new starting catcher Willson Contreras and utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist, every single holdover from the 2016 Cubs has contributed less defensively than he did a season ago. Some have gone from average to bad while others have gone from great to merely good, but there have been big declines across the board.Such an abrupt and widespread deterioration begs for an explanation, and an obvious one might be that manager Joe Maddon made a tactical change. For example, last season, just as the infield shift hit another all-time high in popularity across MLB, Maddon — famous iconoclast that he is — decided to dial back on using baseball’s favorite new-old tactic. So perhaps Maddon has changed how he’s been deploying his defense so far this year? 1890Solons.254.295-.041 201684%16%0.2580.239 Kyle SchwarberLF7.2211.0+0.0-17.1-17.1 The most and least disciplined batters of 2017 PERCENTAGE OF TIME… 6Hank Aaron7551402240483.5 1898Beaneaters.256.290-.034 1941Dodgers.245.275-.030 2001Mariners.260.292-.032 YEARNO SHIFTSHIFTNO SHIFTSHIFT And even within that group, what really set Mays apart was his defense. While Henderson was fairly mediocre with the glove, and Bonds’s once-great fielding skills eroded significantly over time, Mays is the third-best defensive outfielder ever, according to’s defensive WAR. (He was still a Gold Glove centerfielder in 1968, at age 37!) Because of Mays’s unparalleled skills with his bat, feet and glove, he is the only player in baseball history to record at least 120 offensive WAR and 15 defensive WAR.And he cleared both those benchmarks easily — because of course he did, he’s the greatest all-around player ever. Happy birthday, Willie, and here’s to many more.Who’s showing the most — and least — plate discipline?Three years ago, I cooked up a way to see which players were making the best decisions at the plate using FanGraphs’ wonderful “Plate Discipline” stats. Since the site lists the percentage of pitches each player faced that were and were not in the strike zone,7According to pitch-tracking data collected by Baseball Info Solutions and MLB’s Statcast system. along with the share of pitches that were or were not swung at, we can calculate how often a player is correctly identifying a pitch to swing at (because it was over the plate) or lay off (because it definitely was not).Here are the top and bottom 10 so far this year: Jason HeywardRF1200.2229.3+15.4+7.3-8.1 Data through May 9Source: FanGraphs 201783170.3000.239 5Joe Morgan2681865689524.6 Albert AlmoraCF237.0144.1+29.4-5.8-35.2 10Eric ThamesBrewers687974.8 182J.J. HardyOrioles536961.0 177Jose ReyesMets566962.5 RKPLAYERHRWALKSSTEALSPOWER-SPEED-PATIENCE* 4Alex Rodriguez6961338329574.3 2Rickey Henderson29721901406661.5 Weighted average Nope! The Cubs are still basically shifting as little as they did a year ago. And the irony is that the BABIP they’ve allowed when shifting is exactly the same as it was last season (.239). The only difference has come on plays when Chicago hasn’t shifted, where opposing hitters’ BABIP has risen from a ridiculously low .258 mark last year to essentially league average this season.(The biggest difference in pure positioning for the Cubs is that Kris Bryant now plays the shallowest third base in the game. The rest of Chicago’s infield and outfield positions play at roughly the same average depth as they did a year ago, per Statcast data.)So it’s not the configuration of Chicago’s defense that’s changed. But it wasn’t just Maddon’s contrarian strategy on shifting that was keeping batted-ball averages down last year, it was also his pitchers’ superior ability to mitigate damage on contact. My colleagues Rob Arthur and Ben Lindbergh wrote last season about how the Cubs’ hurlers were inducing particularly easy-to-field balls on contact — which, they postulated, helped Chicago come by that microscopic BABIP honestly (or at least, more honestly than other teams). And certainly the 2016 Cubs allowed some of MLB’s lowest rates of hard contact, according to both exit velocity and other classifications.But Chicago’s pitchers aren’t doing poorly in that department this season, either, even if they are yielding a few more hard-hit balls this time around.4For those curious, opposing hitters’ average launch angle has barely budged. And any changes in where they spray the ball (hitters are pulling slightly more against the Cubs this year) are minor. If the Cubs’ defensive success was all about inducing soft contact, we’d expect them to be seeing similar defensive results this season, too.More likely, the Cubs didn’t find a secret BABIP-suppressing hack last year, nor did they forget it this season. Instead, a good amount of Chicago’s defensive brilliance (and subsequent backslide) can probably be explained with the statistician’s most dreaded word: luck. For all the advances we’ve made in understanding and evaluating defense over the past couple decades, and for all the hope that Voros McCracken’s original, earth-shattering finding about pitchers — that they appear to have little control over whether balls in play become hits or outs — was flawed or incomplete, there’s a lot about defense that remains highly unpredictable and beyond the control of fielders, pitchers and managers.No matter whether we judge a team’s fielding according to a simple metric like BABIP allowed or something more advanced such as UZR or Defensive Runs Saved, defensive performance in one season only explains roughly 10 percent of the variation in the same statistic the following season.5Using data from 2003 to 2016. Although some of that year-to-year noise is due to players switching teams between seasons, it also speaks volumes about the inherent randomness of a baseball coming off a bat. That’s why even a defense as dominant as the 2016 Cubs — or perhaps especially a defense that dominant– will see a big chunk of its advantage melt away in later seasons.What does that mean for the Cubs? Even granting that last year’s defensive performance was partially the product of good luck, Chicago’s 17-17 record (which the underlying metrics say is about right for how this team has played) is disappointing relative to the amount of talent on its roster. But 34 games is a small sample in a sport where it takes nearly 70 games to reach the same level of certainty in the standings that we get after, say, 11 games in the NFL or 14 in the NBA. So Cubs fans shouldn’t overreact too much: This is still one of the best teams in the majors, and it should eventually put together a record to match. It would be unfair, however, to expect Chicago’s fielding to be as ludicrously efficient as it was a year ago. That historic defense should add to the lore of the Cubs’ curse-breaking World Series win, but that’s all it is now — history.Happy (belated) birthday, Willie MaysInstead of pointing out how terrible the San Francisco Giants are these days — they’ve lost 16 of their last 23 ballgames — I’d like to take a second to once again appreciate the excellence of their all-time greatest player, Willie Mays, who turned 86 years old on Saturday.I’ve written about this before, but Mays was probably the greatest all-around ballplayer in major league history. (The fact that he only won two career MVP awards is one of the underrated travesties of baseball history.) Mays is one of only eight players ever with more than 300 career home runs and 300 steals, and he ranks third all-time in Bill James’ power-speed number.6Which is just the harmonic mean of a player’s career steals and homers. He also walked more (both in total and on a rate basis) than any member of that 300-300 club except his godson, Barry Bonds. Those two — plus Rickey Henderson, who just missed the 300-homer club by 3 dingers — stand atop the reformulated list if we adjust James’s power-speed stat to also include walks: Addison RussellSS1262.2273.0+20.8+10.1-10.7 9Gary Sheffield5091475253454.9 MLB average72280.2970.294 8Miguel SanoTwins717875.1 Miguel MonteroC558.181.0-2.8-4.4-1.6 2Jed LowrieAthletics757876.5 BALLS IN PLAYBATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY Anthony Rizzo1B1337.1288.3-5.2-14.2-8.9 YEARTEAMTEAMLEAGUEDIFF. 183Javier BaezCubs715460.5 Boosted by that historic out-generating vacuum behind them, Cubs pitchers also led the majors in earned run average by the 10th-widest margin3Tied with the 1991 Dodgers. of any staff since 1901, threatening all sorts of run-prevention records along the way. They allowed 140 fewer runs than the average team, and analytics credit the fielders with something between 50 and 70 percent (depending on the estimate being used) of those saved runs. The Cubs were loaded with stars up and down their lineup, and their pitchers shined brightly when fielders weren’t required, but the importance of Chicago’s glovework was still undeniable.But the Cubs’ defensive numbers were so off-the-charts last year that they almost seemed unsustainable. And as it turns out, they probably were. This year, the Cubs are right at .500, sitting in fourth place in the NL Central — and their once-dominant defense might be to blame. Instead of allowing the lowest BABIP on the planet, they’re in the middle of the pack defensively; not coincidentally, their staff ERA is unremarkable and they’ve allowed two more runs than an average team. Simply put, Chicago’s secret fielding weapon isn’t working anymore.This raises a host of questions about the Cubs and about defensive metrics in general. Have the Cubs suddenly, collectively forgotten how to field? Are offseason defections to blame? Or did Chicago just enjoy a historic amount of luck in the field last year — luck for which their fielders received too much credit? And if so, what does that say about our ability to measure defense?It’s a lot to sort out, so let’s start with the personnel involved. Chicago’s most notable offseason move effectively saw former Padres center fielder Jon Jay slot in for Dexter Fowler, who joined the rival Cardinals. According to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), one of the most commonly cited advanced defensive metrics, the Cubs haven’t fared well in the exchange. Although Fowler’s defensive track record hasn’t always been great, he was surprisingly solid a year ago; Jay, meanwhile, is tracking for a very poor defensive season in 2017.In combination with the retirement of expert defensive catcher and game-caller David Ross, the Jay-for-Fowler tradeoff has helped erode Chicago’s edge in the field. But a far bigger factor is the team’s returning players: 181Danny ValenciaMariners556761.7 1Barry Bonds7622558514822.2 174Carlos BeltranAstros626563.8 7George SpringerAstros767575.2 Ben ZobristUTIL1263.6214.5-1.4+9.0+10.4 BATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY 176Xander BogaertsRed Sox567063.1 * The harmonic mean of a player’s lifetime home runs, walks and stealsSource: FanGraphs 9Matt JoyceAthletics688174.9 Minimum 140 games played in seasonSource: FanGraphs Matt SzczurOF352.430.0+16.3+4.0-12.3 3Willie Mays6601464338581.8 Plate discipline doesn’t automatically equate to successful hitting. Corey Dickerson is swinging at everything that moves — and knocking the cover off the ball. Matt Joyce refuses to offer at a bad pitch, and he can’t buy a hit. But by and large, the hitters at the top of the discipline rankings do tend to be more productive than the ones at the bottom. And they do it mainly by avoiding swinging at junk outside the strike zone.In terms of predicting hitting effectiveness, a batter’s rate of good decisions on pitches outside the zone is about three times as important as his rate of good decisions on pitches inside the zone. In other words, it’s not the end of the world if you let a strike go by without swinging — who knows, maybe you’re waiting for your pitch. But few batters can get away with flailing at bad pitches for long. For every Dickerson or Vlad Guerrero, there’s an undisciplined hacker who let the pitcher trick him into getting himself out. 180Corey DickersonRays725562.1 Shift data is on balls in play only. MLB average includes both 2016 and 2017 seasons.Source: FanGraphs ⁝Average677169.4 1975Dodgers.245.277-.032 1939Yankees.252.284-.032 175Manuel MargotPadres596863.8 4Brandon BeltGiants727975.6 178Salvador PerezRoyals695862.5 read more

New sleaze watchdog chief backs Lord Hains right to name Sir Philip

The new chief of the government’s sleaze watchdog has backed Lord Hain’s parliamentary right to identify Sir Philip Green as the businessman at the centre of the #MeToo scandal.Lord Evans, chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said although politicians needed to be cautious about challenging judges over their decisions without necessarily knowing the full facts, they had the right to do so if they felt it was in the public interest.“I can understand why Lord Hain has done that. I don’t know and nor do I think he knows the full background [of the case]. Generally speaking the courts take decisions for good reasons.”I would be cautious about challenging them on that, particularly when we have not seen the full details they have seen.“But equally there’s a public balance of goods and the ability to raise issues in parliament without fear of them being brought into court is an important safeguard in our system.” Lord Hain faced criticism on Friday from former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC who accused him of abusing parliamentary privilege in deciding he knew better than the courts.”You cannot operate a democratic, free society subject to the rule of law when peers or MPs decide quite capriciously to take the law into their own hands,” he told the BBC. “People should feel confident to voice their concerns if they are bullied, if they feel they are being harassed that that is something they can address,” said Lord Evans. “There should not just be systems but culture which encourages them to do that. People perform their best when they feel confident in their role. This is not just a moral problem but also a practical problem.“If the culture of an organisation throughout the public service does not help people to give us of their best, then we are all being short changed by that.” The principle of parliamentary privilege means that MPs and peers cannot be sued for libel for comments made in the Houses of Parliament, and offers protection to media outlets reporting those comments. Lord Hain said he felt he had a “duty” to name Sir Philip who this week secured an injunction to stop The Daily Telegraph reporting allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse against him and his attempt to gag ex-staff with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).Lord Evans, the former head of MI5, was highly critical of the use of NDAs particularly in the public sector. “I can understand why they have been developed but particularly in the public sector we need to be very cautious about this,” he said.“One of the principles that we seek to uphold in the committee is that of openness. Clearly a NDA runs in the face of that. In general it’s seem to me it’s an undesirable thing to be used on a wide basis.”He said the report in parliamentary bullying by Dame Laura Cox, which had exposed a culture of silence, subservience and deference among victims, was a “matter of real concern.”It was illustrated by evidence that £2.4m had been spent by the parliamentary authorities on settlements with staff, including NDAs. 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. read more

National Theatre should change its name after ignoring women Sandi Toksvig says

The facade of The National Theatre at London's Southbank  Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris Last week, Ms Toksvig’s sister, Jenifer Toksvig, who writes musicals, was among a number of prominent female theatre figures to write an open letter expressing disappointment the new season of plays did not feature a work by a single female playwright.In his reply to his critics, Mr Norris commended them for “rightly” holding him to account, insisting he was “serious about reflecting the nation on our stages, and a line-up of six plays by men certainly doesn’t do that.”However, he stressed that six plays was only a “slice” of the year’s full programme, adding that a January announcement about four new plays included three by female playwrights, two directed by women.“Our confidence in female theatre-makers is absolute,” he wrote, adding “we will ensure we demonstrate more consistently our belief that theatre must be fuelled by a breadth of voices.” In the letter, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Toksvig, 60, says: “There is nothing ‘national’ about a partial season of six plays all written by male writers, with only one female director and no ethnic minority women.”She adds that the National Theatre was “not really living up to [its] name” by condoning the “nonsense of seeing the world only through the male lens”. Show more The letter is particularly embarrassing for Mr Norris, who in 2016 pledged to ensure female directors and living playwrights make up half of the theatre’s output by 2021.Ms Toksvig added: “You seemed to start with such good intentions. You talked a lot about diversity… I thought you understood that the only way to diversify the theatrical canon that has been dominated by white men for so long is by commissioning new work.”She concludes that if Mr Norris could not promote the plays and directorships of women “change the name of your theatre… maybe just call it The Theatre… everyone will know what they are getting – plays by boys, directed by boys, about boys.” Sandi Toksvig is calling for the National Theatre to be renamed after “failing” to fully represent Britain because it is “ignoring” female writers and directors.In a scathing letter to Rufus Norris, the artistic director of the London theatre, Ms Toksvig complained that a recently unveiled programme of work featured plays only by men.Ms Toksvig, founder of the Women’s Equality Party and who hosts television programmes including The Great British Bake Off, wrote that the theatre did not have the right to use ‘national’ in its title if it ignored half the population.The Southbank theatre has unveiled six plays in its new programme of work, all written by men and only one involving a female director.  Director of the National Theatre Rufus NorrisCredit:Rii Schroer The facade of The National Theatre at London’s SouthbankCredit:NurPhoto Show more 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. read more

Column Will we have a 32county Fianna Fail

first_imgMAYOR OF CHICAGO and former White House Chief of Staff and Rahm Emanuel has been fond of telling people to never let a serious crisis go to waste.Fianna Fáil’s very own crisis occurred when the party was eviscerated in the 2011 general election. Paradoxically, the nature and scale of the defeat has actually been of benefit to Michéal Martin. It allowed him to introduce a raft of internal party reforms such as ‘one member one vote’ with little or no opposition from the party. Notwithstanding the dissent from Éamon Ó ‘Cuiv over the Fiscal Compact Treaty and the large-scale revolt of the party’s more conservative members  over abortion, Micheál Martin has stabilised the party with relative ease and skill.Having succeeded in resuscitating the patient, Martin must now illustrate what a newly renewed Fianna Fáil stands for. Fianna Fáil’s republican past and values offer him with the perfect opportunity to do this.Martin has the chance to be the first leader of an Irish political party to lead a solely southern-based party into Northern Ireland. This is a golden opportunity for Martin to add substance to claims of being committed to ‘a new way of doing politics’ while at the same time reinforcing the party’s political Republican beliefs. Planting the seedsThe party has long toyed with the idea of becoming a player in Northern Irish politics. Bertie Ahern initiated this process in 2007 when he extended the Fianna Fáil organisation into Northern Ireland. This process involved the establishment of the William Drennan cumann at Queen’s University Belfast and the Watty Graham cumann at Magee campus of the Ulster of University, in Derry.Furthermore, in the same month, Fianna Fáil successfully registered with the UK Electoral Commission as a Northern Ireland political party. Indeed, Micheál Martin announced on RTE in the aftermath of the catastrophic general election defeat that Fianna Fáil ‘actively considering’ entering Northern Ireland politics. So what form would the party take in the North? Who, if anyone, would they appeal to?SDLP/FF mergerMany of those who have anticipated the entry of Fianna Fáil have long talked about a possible merger between the SDLP and Fianna Fáil. Any merger with the SDLP would be a huge political mistake by Fianna Fáil. The potential appeal of Fianna Fáil to Northern voters lies in the fact that the party has no ties to the staid old politics that has caused so many people to become disillusioned with politics in North Ireland.Indeed, merging with the SDLP would succeed only in immediately nullifying the party’s claim to be offering a new way forward for Northern Ireland. Fianna Fáil has the opportunity to articulate a post agreement political future for Northern Ireland. Any merger with the SDLP would handicap Fianna Fáil from the outset by confining their appeal to traditional nationalist SDLP.Policy! Policy! Policy!There are many problems in Northern Ireland that are not being address by the old order parties in the North. The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) recently expressed their frustration with the Executive, urging them to reform how it delivers key infrastructure projects such as roads and energy links as a matter of urgency. The Executive is currently in a state of paralysis with lack of major policy development across key areas such as education and business development.Northern Ireland is crying out for a political party that is willing to tackle issues such as the divided education system that is failing the young people of Northern Ireland. Fianna Fáil in the North could offer a direct contrast to the parties of paralysis by offering voters policies that provided them with solutions to these key problems.If Fianna Fáil is to contest elections and succeed in Northern Ireland then its approach must be rooted in policy. A policy based ‘new politics’ approach has the potential to appeal not only disillusioned nationalists but also to middle class unionists who are sick and tired of the do nothing Executive.The launch of Basil McCrea’s NI21 party highlights the appetite for fundamental change in Northern Ireland. This desire for a new way of doing politics offers Fianna Fáil a historic opportunity but with assembly elections just three years away and with the party’s resources already stretched perhaps the 2016 Assembly elections are too soon. Despite these obstacles a combination of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the opportunity to take on Sinn Féin in their own back yard may prove to be too tempting for Micheál Martin to pass up.Mark is a Public Relations Consultant and Fianna Fáil activist. He specialises in political communication and media relations. Follow him on Twitter at @poliireland.last_img read more

Motorola may have leaked future products during website redesign

first_imgMotorola is reportedly in the middle of a broad site redesign, and caught on the preview site is an array of new Motorola products that may or may not be real. Many of the “leaked” products make sense: a next-generation Motorola Xoom, a line of thin and slim Android handsets that look much like the Motorola Atrix, and more. At the same time, all of the “leaks” could very well be template images created just to fill space.The folks at PocketNow managed to snag some images from the design, that show off a Motorola Xoom 2, which is likely to happen, and a pair of slim Android handsets that are referred to as the “Slimline” and the “Zaha.” It’s no surprise at all that the Xoom will get a sequel, and it’s also no surprise that Motorola is working on new Android handsets.AdChoices广告What is interesting from the leak however is the “Motorola Tracy XL,” a watchphone with the tagline “Dick Tracy never saw this coming.” Also in the layout is a screenshot of a phone labeled the Motorola Targa, which many people think is the codename for Motorola’s next-generation Android phone, and another phone called the “Pearl.”The Slimline, Zaha, Xoom 2, and the Tracy XL get top billing because the current iteration of the design shows off the designs of the products at the top of the page. The Targa and the Pearl are relegated to the bar at the bottom of the page, as though they’ll have been long-released by the time this design goes live.Again, it’s just as possible that all of the images are design filler, built to add content to a prototype site design so testers have something to click through when they evaluate the site. It’s also just as possible that all of the products are hypothetical and will never exist. However, if they ever do come to market, it’ll be interesting to see how a watch-phone like the Tracy XL does at market.The only device that doesn’t make an appearance anywhere on the site? The long delayed Droid Bionic.Read more at PocketNowlast_img read more

Dont let us die Homeless mens fears as makeshift camp on south

first_img Wednesday 30 Nov 2016, 6:02 AM Share3077 Tweet Email2 By Garreth MacNamee View of the green Source: Eoin BWhile most of the men were happy to talk under condition their full names not be used, one man declined.‘Bickering brother’Seemingly angered by the presence of a journalist, the man decided to leave for a soup run.Patrick explained that the group “has problems the odd time. But because we don’t do drugs or drink, we usually just talk things out”.According to the group of men, the council has already attempted to move them on from the area.The man in the black t-shirt has now re-emerged from his tent, dressed in a wooly jumper and a hat.“The problem is we’re too profitable. Homelessness has become an industry. They profit from us. They say they care but it’s in their interest to keep us on the streets. I don’t think I’ll ever have a home.” Jackie McConvey leaves a note in a doorway on Molesworth street where her homeless friend Jonathon Corrie was found dead in 2014. Source: PA Archive/PA ImagesDun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council confirmed to that ”Dublin’s Housing First Team have visited the location”.The Housing First Service is funded by Dublin City Council and operated by Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust and engages with people who are rough sleeping across the Dublin region.Roughan McNamara of Focus Ireland said the Dublin Housing First project has provided permanent homes for 63 people who were formerly rough sleeping.Initially, the project target was 100 tenancies, which has been increased to 300.McNamara said the challenge faced by Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust is to scale up housing provision and overcome the acute lack of affordable housing that has hindered the project to date.Local Sinn Féin councillor Sorcha Nic Cormaic told that it is very worrying to see the men group together in the cold.It just shows you that they feel safer to be outside in the freezing cold rather than take the risk in the hostels.“I think it’s a very worrying development.”Read: 76 dead after plane carrying Chapecoense Real soccer team crashes in Colombia >Read: The last person alive born in the 1800s celebrates her birthday today > 48,575 Views Short URL Some of the men staying at the south Dublin green area A HOMELESS CAMP has sprung up on a south Dublin green area and the number of people staying there is slowly increasing.A number of young men, fed up with hostels and sleeping on the streets, have banded together to protect themselves in number, deciding to trust each other instead of relying on just themselves.The camp is located just off the Luas green line but, due to the men’s concerns over safety, they have asked that we keep the specific location private.“We’re worried we’re going to freeze to death this year,” one young man said as he climbed out of his tent on Monday morning.Dressed only in a black t-shirt, the man, who is in his early 20s, shivered as he tried to remain warm. He explained that the number of tents has been increasing as word spreads that their green area is safe and relatively sheltered from the elements. The scene at the green area.“I have a dog, the hostels won’t accept animals. But, to be honest, I don’t want to stay there. It’s just drugs. None of us touch drugs here,” he said. Some of the men staying at the south Dublin green area Image: Garreth MacNameecenter_img Image: Garreth MacNamee Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Nov 30th 2016, 6:02 AM ‘Don’t let us die’: Homeless men’s fears as makeshift camp on south Dublin green grows The group of young men has made the green their home as they sleep rough. 37 Comments We want to be safe. A homeless man died on the streets last year, we’re worried we’re going to freeze to death this year.The demographic of the camp is broad, ranging from young men recently out of prison to the newly homeless immigrant who wants to feel safe.There were eight tents erected when we approached the men living there on Monday afternoon. One man said the green area has been the safest place he has slept since becoming homeless. Homelessness in the suburbs. Source: Eoin BThey don’t mind that they are visible to the passing Luas traffic, instead one man told us that the felt comforted by the sound of the passing trams.Rather than feel unwanted in the area, the men described how they have been welcomed into the community. Locals have brought them food, sleeping bags, hats, gloves and jackets to keep them warm.‘We’ve had no problems’“One of them even said they were sorry we couldn’t stay in their house because they had no room,” said Willie, who is originally from the UK and in his 4os.“I think they know we’re good people. They came out and gave us really good sleeping bags. It’s getting proper cold now so it’s nice to have every little piece you can get. We feel welcome here. We’ve had no problems.”Another man, who called himself Patrick, told that he has found it difficult integrating back into society following his release from prison. Patrick explained how he was inside for a relatively short stretch but that he didn’t want to go near the hostels as he wants to stay away from drugs.“You go there to sleep, but most go there to do drugs and then pass out. It’s not what we want. There are homeless people who have drink and drug problems, yeah, we all know that. But then there’s us.I made a mistake and now I’m living in a tent on the other side of Dublin.last_img read more

LArabidopsis thaliana une plante modèle pour la recherche scientifique

first_imgL’Arabidopsis thaliana, une plante modèle pour la recherche scientifiqueMardi, s’est ouverte à Vienne, en Autriche, une conférence autour de l’Arabidopsis thaliana, ou “Arabette des Dames”, une petite plante de 30 à 40 cm de haut. Elle est en effet au cœur de nombreuses recherches sur le processus de la vie, chez les plantes et chez les animaux.La 23e Conférence internationale des recherches sur l’Arabidopsis thaliana s’est ouverte mardi à Vienne jusqu’au 7 juillet et réunit près de 800 chercheurs. Ce nom scientifique désigne en fait une plante bien particulière appartenant à la famille des Brassicacées et qui sert de modèle pour les biologistes depuis plusieurs années grâce aux avantages qu’elle présente. En effet, comme l’explique Marie-Theres Hauser, chercheuse à l’Université Boku, “à cause de ses faibles besoins en espace, l’Arabidopsis [qui mesuremoins de 40 centimètres] se cultive bien en laboratoire. Elle est très appropriée pour des recherches en génétique”. Le génome de cette Arabette des Dames ou Arabette de thalius est d’ailleurs le premier à avoir été entièrement séquencé chez une plante.  À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Cité par l’AFP, la chercheuse indique également que “les projets de recherche communs mondiaux sur un organisme modèle de plante vont permettre d’expliquer les mécanismes moléculaires de développement des plantes et leur physiologie”. La communauté internationale des scientifiques s’est en effet portée (en 1998) sur l’Arabidopsis thaliana comme plante-modèle car elle possède le plus petit génome végétal connu (157 millions de paires de base réparties sur cinq chromosomes). Mais ce n’est pas tout. Elle possède également un cycle de vie rapide de six semaines et la capacité de s’autoféconder. Un atout important pour la recherche.Parmi les nombreux travaux effectués, Marie-Theres Hauser évoque ainsi l’expérience qui a consisté à “transférer de l’ADN d’Arabidopsis sur un peuplier et à s’apercevoir qu’il conservait les mêmes fonctions”. Pour la scientifique, il s’agit d’”un bel exemple pour voir comment les principaux mécanismes de la floraison sont conservés au cours de l’évolution”. En conséquence, la biologiste autrichienne estime qu’il est important de pouvoir suivre l’évolution de la plante, non seulement en laboratoire, mais aussi en milieu naturel. L’Arabidopsis est une plante annuelle originaire d’Europe, d’Asie et du nord-ouest de l’Afrique.Le 7 juillet 2012 à 18:18 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Houston Mayor Fights Plans for Sex Doll Brothel

first_imgStay on target Autonomous Sexbots Are the FutureYouTuber Proudly Reveals $200,000 Sex Doll Collection City leaders are pushing back against the proposed opening of a sex doll brothel in Houston.KinkySdollS owner Yuval Gavriel plans to launch his first U.S. franchise in the Texas metropolis—over Mayor Sylvester Turner’s dead body.In a statement to USA Today, Turner said the bordello is “not the sort of business that we advertise for, or we seek to attract.”“Or quite frankly, from my point of view, the sort of business that I want in the city of Houston,” he added.Gavriel already runs a rent-before-you-buy mannequin service in Toronto (where Aura Dolls’ den of high-tech iniquity was shut down). And he’s hoping to open another 10 cathouses in the US by 2020.“The States is a bigger market, and a healthier market and God bless Trump,” he told the Washington Examiner last month, hinting at red-light districts in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Atlanta.Though rampant across Europe—notably in Moscow and Barcelona (RIP Lumidolls’ Torin-based brothel)—silicone prostitution remains scarce in North America, despite efforts from businessmen like Gavriel.His “showroom,” located in a warehouse near a Toronto emissions testing center, promises a “privet and luxuries location” where customers can spend 30 kinky minutes with a hunk of human-ish plastic for $80.Crossing the border into the US, Gavriel has had his eye on Houston, which, according to an attorney-cum-brothel investor, has no laws against “this kind of service,” the owner said.An exact location for KinkySdollS’ showroom has not been released, but local news affiliate ABC 11 recently received a Houston Public Works inspection report about a 2,500-square-foot office space on Richmond Avenue.According to the property manager, the former hair salon-turned-sex doll brothel was initially advertised as an art gallery.“My client discovered the true nature of the business and never agreed to signing a lease for what was misrepresented as an art gallery,” the estate manager’s lawyer told ABC 11. “My client wants no part in this story or any type of any sexually oriented business.”An online petition sponsored by anti-sex trafficking group Elijah Rising asks for helping keeping robot brothels out of Houston.And the nonprofit is not alone.Activists and experts want restrictions on sexbot bordellos—if nothing else, to protect consumer safety and public health.Opponents also believe the cyborgs could exploit human sex workers, further isolate people with sexual dysfunction, or alienate couples already struggling in the bedroom.In the other corner are folks like Foundation for Responsible Robotics leader Aimee van Wynsberghe, who sees these bawdy houses as an asset to people with disabilities and the elderly: those who “can’t use Tinder, or go to the bar to pick someone up.”Some efforts have already been made: U.S. House members in June unanimously passed the CREEPER Act, banning importation and interstate commerce involving “any child sex doll.” The Senate has not yet acted.Chinese robotics developer DS Doll is working on the world’s first autonomous sexbot. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sex robots (but were afraid to ask) and more here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

1 hospitalized after fire sparks in Miami Gardens home

first_imgMIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – One man was rushed to the hospital after, officials said, he suffered burns when a fire broke out inside a home in Miami Gardens, Sunday afternoon.Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the blaze along Northwest 23rd Avenue and 194th Street, just after 12:30 p.m.Crews quickly put out the flames.However, the victim inside the home needed to be transported to Ryder Trauma Center for burns that covered more than 20 percent of his body.The American Red Cross was called to attend to the remaining four residents in the homeOfficials have not yet confirmed how the fire started.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

IPL rules can hurt Kings XI after Ness Wadia fiasco BCCI

first_imgNess WadiaIANS [Representational Image]Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia being sentenced for drugs possession while on a skiing holiday to Japan could mean trouble for the Indian Premier League team. As per the Operational Rules of the cash-rich league, no team official involved with the league can act in a manner which brings disrepute to the team, the league, the BCCI or the game on or off the field. If guilty, the persons action can even lead to suspension of the team.While the matter is required to be first sent to the commission for investigation, the commission will then forward its finding to the ombudsman.Citing the manner in which Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had to bear the brunt for the acts of the team principal, a senior BCCI functionary said that KXIP could be in deep trouble.”The KXIP are unfortunately looking at suspension as a best-case scenario and termination as a worst case scenario due to the conviction of an owner in a criminal case of drug possession.”No less than the Lodha panel had suspended the CSK for two years because their team official was accused of betting. In this case, we have an owner convicted of drug possession by a criminal court. If he was a state cricket official he would have stood disqualified from holding office automatically.”This also exposes the discriminatory provisions of the new BCCI constitution which is draconian for a state association but doesn’t put any restriction on a franchise official even though IPL performances clearly matter more for selection to the Indian team than Ranji performances,” the functionary told IANS.As per the IPL Operational Rules accessed by IANS, clause 14 of section 2 of the IPL Operational Rules state that each person subject to the operational rules shall not, whether during a match or otherwise, act or omit to act in any way which would or might reasonably be anticipated to have an adverse effect on the image and/or reputation of any Team, any Franchisee, any Player, any Team Official, the BCCI, the League and/or the Game or which would otherwise bring any of the foregoing into disrepute.It further states that the ombudsman and the commission may suspend a team or franchise from the league if any person representing the team/franchise breaches clause 14 of section 2.While adjudicating in the IPL betting matter against CSK and Rajasthan Royals, the Lodha panel had taken into consideration section 4, rule 1.1 of the Operational Rules, which puts strict obligations on each franchise that its team officials comply with the regulations.This was to ensure that cricket should be played not only within the laws but also within the spirit of game and nothing was done by its representatives (Team Officials), players and etc on the field or off the field which is contrary to the spirit of the game or which adversely affects the reputation of the game.This saw the Lodha panel not just ban CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan and RR co-owner Raj Kundra for life from any matches conducted by BCCI, but also suspended CSK and RR for two years.It is this precedent that is set to haunt the KXIP since CSK had been suspended for two years despite there being no adverse finding of misconduct against any player or the team.In fact, even as per the Lodha report, RR was suspended for Kundra’s act of bringing the game into disrepute by betting and the three players’ case wasn’t the focal point in deciding the quantum of punishment.Whereas, in this particular case, a team owner has actually been convicted of a criminal offence.A BCCI executive said that it was strange that no statement had been made on such a matter by CEO Rahul Johri.”It has been 24 hours and one has not heard a peep out of the BCCI CEO on a matter of this magnitude. Are we looking at a scenario where every transgression is becoming an opportunity for someone to try and build friendships at the cost of BCCI’s image and the purity of the game and its administration?” the executive questioned.Sadly, even the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has not issued a statement on the matter even though the reputation of the league and the board is clearly at stake.last_img read more

BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior VP of Licensing

first_img Popular on Variety Under Levin’s direction, BMI’s digital revenues grew from $50 million in 2012 to more than $250 million in 2018.  He helped secure the company’s first licensing deals with Netflix, Amazon’s Music and Video Services, Apple Music, Hulu and Facebook, and also established new licensing structures with Spotify, YouTube and Pandora.  Prior to BMI, where he was previously vice president, Levin spent 12 years at Sony Music Entertainment where he held various positions throughout his tenure including Senior Vice President, Digital Sales, and Vice President, New Media. While at Sony, Levin established the digital and mobile business channels which started as a small, nontraditional segment, but soon became much of the company’s core business. Before joining Sony, he ran the marketing department for, a joint venture between BMG and Universal.  BMI today announced that David Levin has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Licensing, effective immediately. In his newly expanded role, Levin is responsible for all of BMI’s domestic licensing and revenue generation, encompassing radio, television, digital media, cable, satellite and general licensing.  Levin, who will oversee teams in New York and Nashville, reports directly to Mike Steinberg, EVP, Creative and Licensing, and is based in New York.“David has done a phenomenal job leading our digital licensing team, growing the business significantly and helping solidify BMI as a leader in digital rights management,” said Steinberg.  “I know David will bring that same drive and creativity to all aspects of our licensing division, and I look forward to his leadership as we navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead.”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

Ushering social reforms through education

first_imgShe believes that education, not charity, is the only way to bring a change in India’s existing educational and social system. And to turn this thinking into reality, she battled the inequality in the classroom through pioneering school reforms. This is the story of Sister Cyril, an Irish nun, who has been living in Kolkata for the past six decades. Her first impression was that of a hot, humid and crowded city, but what moved her emotionally was the poverty and hopelessness of children dwelling in Kolkata’s numerous slums. And she had a different approach towards uplifting these slum dwellers who the upper classes often looked down upon. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”It struck me that we live in a layered society whose upper levels have little to do with the lower levels unless the latter come into the former’s houses as domestic help. It will be very difficult to change this system unless we bring all children from all backgrounds and mix them together on an equal footing. Only then will it be possible for us to have a fully integrated nation,” said Sister Cyril.She remembered that when she began her experiment in 1979, there was hardly any support from the local residents. In the same year, she took charge as the principal of Loreto Convent, Sealdah, an institute where mostly students from well-to-do families studied. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveQuestions were raised when she decided to open the doors of the school to slum children, but she was determined to bring about change in society through educational reforms. She fiercely battled the inequality in the classrooms and now Loreto has 50 per cent of its seats reserved for children from economically backward families.”The people said it couldn’t be done, I have proved that it can – by creating a school where all children are friends even though they belong to radically different backgrounds,” she maintained.Not just this, but Sister Cyril, who recently co-authored a book titled “Girls Are Our Future – Thoughts of a Practical Radical Nun”, has been the brain behind many social initiatives like “Rainbow Homes”, the “Brickfields Project” and “Barefoot” which helped tremendously in educating children belonging to the poorest sections of the community.These 60 years have been quite a challenging journey for her. From landing in Calcutta in 1956 till now, Sister Cyril has seen many facets of the city – indeed, has seen it changing. Not just infrastructural development, Sister Cyril believes that there have been many vital educational reforms brought in by the West Bengal government over the years. Now, she finds even the slum children carrying a school bag and walking towards a school. For her, this is a satisfactory improvement.But there are still a few black spots that exist. One of these, she pointed out, was the marginal socio-economic development in the city’s slums.”Very little improvement can be seen in the slum areas and in many cases the people are dislodged for high-rise buildings (to come up). The slum dwellers have been simply pushed to the outskirts,” the nun noted.Kolkata has been a city that has been home to many missionaries and charitable institutions and with Mother Teresa, the city also learned compassion and empathy, but unlike her who believed in charity, Sister Cyril has always strongly believed in helping such children through education.”We (Sister Cyril and Mother Teresa) had a good working relationship, she gave help to destitute people while I believed strongly in educating children so that they can get employment and support themselves to be independent,” she explained.Asked if she ever thought of going back to Ireland, Sister Cyril firmly said no.”Though some of my ideas would have been good for Ireland, there was no moment when I seriously considered going back – except maybe in the very hot summer months of April and May,” she said.last_img read more

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first_img News | Proton Therapy | August 06, 2019 IBA Signs Contract to Install Proton Therapy Center in Kansas IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) recently signed a contract and received the first payment for a Proteus One solution… read more News | PACS | August 09, 2019 Lake Medical Imaging Selects Infinitt for Multi-site RIS/PACS Infinitt North America will be implementing Infinitt RIS (radiology information system)/PACS (picture archiving and… read more News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more The consensus guideline was made possible by a research grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and underwent extensive peer review prior to approval by the SSO Executive Council and ASTRO’s Board of Directors in October 2013. In addition, the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have both endorsed the guideline.  The consensus guideline includes eight clinical practice recommendations: 1) positive margins, defined as ink on invasive cancer or DCIS, are associated with at least a two-fold increase in IBTR. This increased risk is not nullified by delivery of a boost, delivery of systemic therapy or favorable biology; 2) negative margins (no ink on tumor) optimize IBTR. Wider margin widths do not significantly lower this risk; 3) the rates of IBTR are reduced with the use of systemic therapy. In the event that a patient does not receive adjuvant systemic therapy, there is no evidence suggesting that margins wider than no ink on tumor are needed; 4) margins wider than no ink on tumor are not indicated based on biologic subtype; 5) the choice of whole-breast irradiation delivery technique, fractionation and boost dose should not be dependent on margin width; 6) wider negative margins than no ink on tumor are not indicated for invasive lobular cancer. Classic lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) at the margin is not an indication for re-excision. The significance of pleomorphic LCIS at the margin is uncertain; 7) young age (?40 years) is associated with both an increased risk of IBTR after breast-conserving therapy (BCT) and an increased risk of local relapse on the chest wall after mastectomy and is more frequently associated with adverse biologic and pathologic features. There is no evidence that increased margin width nullifies the increased risk of IBTR in young patients; and 8) an extensive intraductal component (EIC) identifies patients who may have a large residual DCIS burden after lumpectomy. There is no evidence of an association between increased risk of IBTR and EIC when margins are negative. “Our hope is that this guideline will ultimately lead to significant reductions in the high re-excision rate for women with early-stage breast cancer undergoing breast-conserving surgery,” said Moran. “Based on the consensus panel’s extensive review of the literature, the vast majority of re-excisions are unnecessary because disease control in the breast is excellent for women with early-stage disease when radiation and hormonal therapy and/or chemotherapy are added to a women’s treatment plan.” “A significant portion of breast cancer surgeries in the United States are performed by surgical oncologists, and the definition of an adequate margin has been a major controversy. Therefore, it was only natural that we decided to create a definitive guideline that helps to minimize unnecessary surgery while maintaining the excellent outcomes seen with lumpectomy and radiation therapy,” said Morrow. “We are proud to provide this pivotal document to the oncology community, which will improve the lives and treatment of patients touched by this disease.” Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications The report will be published in the March 1, 2014 print issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of ASTRO; the March 2014 print issue of Annals of Surgical Oncology, the official journal of SSO; and the March 10, 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the official journal of ASCO. The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more Feature | February 13, 2014 ASTRO, SSO Issue Consensus Guideline on Margins for Breast-Conserving Surgery with Whole-Breast Irradiation Guideline focused on reducing ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence in stages I and II invasive breast cancer News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 07, 2019 Qfix kVue One Proton Couch Top Validated by Mevion Medical Systems Qfix and Mevion Medical Systems announced that a special version of the kVue One Proton couch top is now both validated… read more center_img Image courtesy of Imago Systems Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more Related Content News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more It is titled Society of Surgical Oncology—American Society for Radiation Oncology Consensus Guideline on Margins for Breast-Conserving Surgery With Whole-Breast Irradiation in Stages I and II Invasive Breast Cancer. It uses the results of a meta-analysis of margin width and IBTR from a thorough review of 33 research studies from MEDLINE and evidence-based medicine published from 1965 to January 2013, in the context of outcomes from contemporary trials. The included studies encompassed 28,162 patients with stage I or II invasive breast cancer who were treated with whole-breast irradiation and with a minimum median follow-up time of four years. Patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy or patients with pure ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer were not included in the research for the guideline. Scatter plot of unadjusted rates of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence, by median year of study recruitment.February 13, 2014 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) published a consensus guideline on margins for breast-conserving surgery with whole-breast irradiation in stages I and II invasive breast cancer. The guideline document represents an intensive collaboration among experts in the radiation oncology and surgical oncology fields, led by Meena S. Moran, M.D., associate professor of the department of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., on behalf of ASTRO, and Monica Morrow, M.D., SSO immediate past president, breast cancer surgeon and chief of breast surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, co-chairs of the Margin Consensus Panel (MCP). In addition to determining the ideal margin width that minimizes the risk of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR), the guideline outlines an evidence-based surgical treatment path that could reduce unnecessary surgery for patients. News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more For more information:, and FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享last_img read more