Baby Steps on the Road to Fusion Energy

first_imgAs it approaches its fifth birthday, the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a troubled laser fusion facility in California, has finally produced some results that fusion scientists can get enthusiastic about. In a series of experiments late last year, NIF researchers managed to produce energy yields 10 times greater than produced before and to demonstrate the phenomenon of self-heating that will be crucial if fusion is to reach its ultimate goal of “ignition”—a self-sustaining burning reaction that produces more energy than it consumes.“This is a very significant achievement, and it’s a very good place to start for going to higher yield,” says Steven Rose of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London.NIF, situated at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, aims to reproduce the energy source of the sun and of hydrogen bombs by fusing together nuclei from two isotopes of hydrogen: deuterium and tritium. It does this by heating them to enormous temperatures and pressures with the world’s highest energy laser, so that the nuclei smash together with enough force to overcome their natural mutual repulsion.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Following its completion in 2009, NIF researchers embarked on a 3-year campaign to achieve ignition as quickly as possible. But when that period ended, they were still a very long way from their goal. The U.S. Congress granted the lab another 3 years to carry out a more exploratory series of experiments and identify the problems.The new results, published today in Nature and last week in Physical Review Letters, are the first sign that this approach is working. “It’s a nice result,” says Robert McCrory, director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester in New York, another laser fusion lab, quickly adding that NIF is still far from ignition. “People expecting a breakthrough soon will be disappointed,” he says.To reach the extreme conditions necessary for fusion, some facilities, such as the ITER reactor in France, use powerful magnetic fields to constrain fuel and heat it with particle beams. NIF follows a different approach: blasting a tiny sample of fuel with a laser pulse to make a small fusion explosion. If everything works right, the explosion will have a higher energy than the laser pulse, offering a net energy gain. NIF’s laser, the size of a football stadium, produces 192 ultraviolet beams that can deliver 1.9 megajoules—roughly the kinetic energy of a 2-ton truck travelling at 160 kilometers per hour—in a pulse that lasts just nanoseconds.The ultraviolet beams are converted into x-rays, which then fall on the fuel capsule, a hollow plastic sphere smaller than a peppercorn that contains 0.17 milligrams of frozen deuterium and tritium. The intense x-ray pulse hitting the capsule causes some of the plastic to blow off; this drives the remaining plastic and frozen fuel in toward the center at high speed. If all goes according to plan, the result is a tiny ball of fusion fuel at 50 million kelvin, 100 times the density of lead—hot enough and dense enough to spark fusion reactions.NIF’s original plans to reach ignition relied heavily on simulations based on earlier work at Livermore and other labs. Once NIF scientists started firing their shots, the whole process seemed to work, and the simulations predicted NIF should be getting a lot of fusion. But the instruments told a different story: Energy yields were very low. In 2012, Congress ordered an investigation, which ultimately criticized NIF researchers for not being able to explain the divergence between simulation and experiment. In 2013, NIF researchers began to explore the problems more scientifically; there was also a change of leadership at the lab and new researchers joined the team.They identified two key problems. The compression of the fuel pellet was often not symmetric and produced a doughnut-shaped blob of fuel; and during the implosion, the plastic capsule was breaking up and mixing with the fuel, making it harder to spark fusion at the end.To tackle the shape problem, the new team started playing around with the relative energies of the 192 laser beams to push a bit more in some places and a bit less in others, in hopes of getting a more symmetrical implosion.To prevent the breakup of the capsule, the researchers adjusted the timing of the laser pulse. Earlier shots had run it at a low power for most of its 20 nanoseconds to get the implosion moving without heating up the fuel and then finish with a burst of high power for the final spark. The idea behind this “low foot” approach was that the cool fuel would compress to a higher density at the end. The downside was that the slower speed allowed the capsule time to break up. In low-foot shots, “there are too many deleterious things going on at once, you can’t see what’s going on,” says Stephen Obenschain, head of the laser plasma branch of the plasma physics division at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.The new NIF team decided to try a pulse that started off with a slightly higher power, to cause the fuel to implode faster, and end the pulse sooner, after just 15 nanoseconds. Although such “high foot” pulses wouldn’t allow them to get as high a density at the end, the researchers hoped it would help control the mixing. A shot carried out on 13 August last year proved them right, with a huge jump in energy yield. Another two shots, on 27 September and 19 November, did even better, producing more energy (14.4 and 17.3 kilojoules) than was deposited in the fusion fuel during the implosion (11 and 9 kilojoules)—the first time that has ever been achieved in a laser fusion experiment. “We took a step back from what had been tried before and that gave us a leap forward,” NIF team leader Omar Hurricane told a press conference this week.Importantly, the team also saw a self-heating phenomenon that will be vital for increased fusion yield. Fusion reactions produce alpha-particles (helium nuclei) as well as neutrons, and when reactions start in the core of the fuel, the alphas helped by heating the surrounding cooler fuel up to reaction temperature. The NIF team thinks that in their best shots, this alpha-heating doubled their fusion yield. “Alphas really do heat the gas,” Rose says.Observers also note that in last year’s shots, there was closer agreement between simulations and experimental results. “Doing these less-demanding implosions, results now agree with the codes and that’s very encouraging,” says Michael Campbell, a former NIF director now at Sandia National Laboratories. “They can trust simulations now in a way they couldn’t before,” Rose says.However, the recent shots are still far from what most fusion researchers consider to be real “gain”: more fusion energy out than laser energy in. Although the shots produced more yield than energy into the fuel, much of the laser pulse’s energy is lost when it is converted from UV to x-rays and focused on the fuel capsule. Last year’s best shot produced less than 1% of the energy of the laser pulse.Opinions are divided about what the NIF team should do now. McCrory does not believe the current approach will eventually lead to successful ignition, so more innovation is needed. “They’re pushing about as far as they can go,” he says. Rose agrees: “I’m not sure they have a route to real gain.” The problem is that the researchers dialed back the final pressure to control the mixing during the implosion; now they have to increase the pressure again to make the fuel dense enough for high yields without letting mixing creep back in. “Yes, we self-limited ourselves to gain this control,” Hurricane said at the press conference. “It’s a point of departure. Now we need to strike out in different directions.”Despite the uncertainties, researchers are encouraged by the renewed progress at NIF. “These are the right experiments to do,” Campbell says. “Who knows how far they can take this?”*Correction, 12 February, 5:06 p.m.: This item has been corrected to clarify that Stephen Obenschain is the head of the laser plasma branch of the plasma physics division at the Naval Research Laboratory.last_img read more

Wal-Mart Enters India

first_img“He doesn’t realize it, but I know everything about him,” says Indian retail magnate Kishore Biyani about a young man sitting with him in a Mumbai hotel meeting room in early December. “I see that he is wearing Colour Plus trousers. I know his waist size … I know everything about him. We are a company of observers, and everybody is trained to observe customers,” says Biyani, who is CEO of the Future Group and managing director of its flagship Pantaloon retail chain that last year had revenues of $450 million and expects to become a $1 billion company by mid 2007. Biyani often spends Sundays hanging about unobtrusively and watching shoppers at his company’s 200 clothing stores in 32 Indian cities. The home-grown retailer’s obsession for observing the average Indian consumer also at public places like temples and movie halls underscores what could be Wal-Mart’s biggest challenge as it sets up shop in India in partnership with Bharti, a leading telecom services provider.“India is a very diverse country – we have 6,000 castes and sub-castes in 28 states, and every community has its own tastes; every state has its own nuances,” says Biyani. “To manage the diversity and the heterogeneity will be one of the biggest challenges for anybody who comes to this market.”Enigmatic India and its challenges in transportation, warehousing and distribution infrastructure haven’t deterred the world’s biggest organized retailers that have lobbied – unsuccessfully so far – with the Indian government to permit foreign direct investment in the retail industry. Wal-Mart battled stiff opposition from Indian retail chains and found an open backdoor, forming a joint venture with Bharti to supply back-end supply chain technology and related processes; Bharti will handle the front-end of owning and running the stores, which are likely to be co-branded. The terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but media reports put Wal-Mart’s proposed investment in the venture at $100 million initially, rising to $450 million in a few years.Cash and CarryWaiting in the wings and actively negotiating with several Indian companies as potential partners are Tesco of the U.K. and Carrefour of France. Some, like Germany’s Metro and South Africa’s Shoprite, have already entered India with a cash-and-carry business that supplies only retailers, restaurants and business houses where the Indian government permits FDI. Wal-Mart is also entering the cash-and-carry business, with Bharti supplying Wal-Mart’s stores in India. Moreover, many large Indian companies – including Reliance Industries, the Aditya Birla group, and other regional firms – have recently announced ambitious plans in retailing. India’s retail industry is one of its fastest growing (with a 5% compounded annual growth rate) and has $320 billion in annual revenues this year, according to a report titled, “Retail in India: Getting Organized to Drive Growth,” released recently by consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Never mind that Wal-Mart’s $315.6 billion in global sales last year is about the size of the entire Indian retail industry. “Rising incomes and increased consumerism in urban areas along with an upswing in rural consumption will further fuel this growth to around 7%-8%,” the authors say, pegging India’s consumer class with rising disposable income at 400 million people.But now that Wal-Mart plans to enter India, attention is focused on the retail giant’s India strategy. Wharton professor of marketing Jagmohan Raju says one big challenge Wal-Mart will face in India has to do with how it is perceived by consumers. “In the U.S., when you think of a big warehouse store, you think of lower prices, and small, boutique stores have higher prices,” he says. “In India, the perception is exactly the opposite – the bigger store has higher prices; smaller shops can offer lower prices because their overheads are lower. How will Wal-Mart’s positioning of lower prices carry forward in a mindset where customer perceptions of big versus small are so different?”Consumer Behavior David Bell, Wharton professor of marketing, says Wal-Mart’s business model is founded on “everyday low prices for consumers and squeezing costs out of the system, and customer service with friendly people who greet you.” But those, he argues, do not guarantee shopper traffic, as consumer behavior is dramatically different across global markets. Coca-Cola might adjust to people’s preferences in different markets by making its drink sweeter or more effervescent. Or McDonalds could allow people to consume alcohol at its restaurants in France and make hamburgers with rice patties in Japan. “But there’s considerably more variation in the way people shop for products than their underlying preference for the products themselves,” Bell says. “This is what makes it more difficult – not just for Wal-Mart in particular, but for any retailer – to be truly global.”Changes in consumer preferences that Wal-Mart will encounter have to do with simple things like how often people like to go to a store or what motivates them to choose one store over another. “In local markets, you have dynamics of retail competition, variations in the frequency with which people like to shop, variation in the kind of products that drive people to the store, variation in the importance of the retail assortment.”It is too early to tell if some of the controversies Wal-Mart has faced in the U.S. will crop up in India, too. “In the U.S., a number of small towns did not like Wal-Mart for a couple of different reasons,” says Bell. “One is purely aesthetic – these big boxes look pretty ugly – and the practice of having huge buying power can be detrimental to the local economy – people who try and compete on price. Thirdly, they are criticized for their employment practices, such as their benefits, and ethnic and gender discrimination in hiring.”Wal-Mart’s most immediate challenge could be finding real estate at preferred locations and financing it at the prevailing prices. Biyani says his group bought most of its real estate long before the current price boom. “If we were to do business at today’s rates, we’d have to shut down,” he says.“The Wal-Mart model is very real estate hungry,” says Raju. “They need a lot of real estate, close to where people live, and have easy access to them. The Wal-Mart model also relies on the fact that everything is on display, which requires lots of space.” Raju notes that if, as many industry watchers expect, Wal-Mart sets up its stores on the outskirts of urban centers, other challenges could emerge. “If you are going to travel by train, you’ll have to carry your purchases in a bag, and then you’ll buy less,” he says. “If you drive your car there and load it up, Wal-Mart should have a place to park all those cars.” Some industry experts have argued that the typical Indian consumer does not travel more than 6 km (3.75 miles) or 7 km to shop, and that few suburbanites own cars.Raju says he expects Wal-Mart to adopt a blended model of its traditional format tweaked to fit the reality of Indian real estate. “It would be stores where you have all the products on display, but you don’t pick it up and put it in your cart yourself.” This would involve something like a handheld computerized device, he says, into which customers enter information about the products they want to buy. They would then collect their purchases at a checkout point at street level and drive away, or have them delivered to their homes.More blending might be on the way, especially in cultural nuances. Wal-Mart’s recent debacles in Germany and Korea, where it sold out to local retail players and exited, could be wake-up calls. In Germany, Wal-Mart’s low price strategy failed to win it a distinctive market position simply because two other well-entrenched retailers – Aldi and Lidl – have been following that strategy for years, says Bell. He notes that Wal-Mart was also faulted for relying too heavily on a U.S.-driven view of how Germans shop, made worse by populating its top management in the country with U.S. expatriate executives, many of whom couldn’t speak German. Thirdly, the Wal-Mart strategy of a price-service combination with friendly greeters and so forth backfired. “Culturally, greetings and friendliness in stores are viewed by the Germans with a lot of suspicion,” says Bell.Rites of PassageWal-Mart also had some lessons to learn in South America a couple of years ago, when it discovered that the design and layout of its stores did not match shopper preferences. “In South America, shopping for some families is a social or an entertainment-driven event,” says Bell. “You have the whole family or the extended family shopping together, so you need much wider aisles.” That, he says, is unlike what Wal-Mart is used to in the U.S., where a single person typically shops for the entire household, while other family members are looking after the children or at work. “It seems like a fundamental thing, but you could never predict that coming from the outside unless you have a local partner.”Chastened by these experiences, Wal-Mart may not face the same problems in India. Bharti, its local partner, is a leader in the mobile phone services industry and must have deep insights into Indian consumer behavior patterns. Even so, there could be surprises, as Biyani’s Big Bazaar store chain learned the hard way a couple of years ago. The chain had bought 100,000 white cotton shirts, expecting good demand. But sales were slow, and promotional campaigns fell flat. It soon figured out why: The demographic profile of Big Bazaar’s middle-class shoppers meant people who commute in crowded trains and buses and not in air-conditioned cars. For them, white shirts are high-maintenance hassles, needing frequent laundering. The group eventually liquidated its unsold inventory of white shirts through heavily discounted sales. Wal-Mart’s legendary success at procuring its supplies at extremely competitive prices has no doubt pleased its customers to whom those savings are passed on, but critics have accused it of compelling its suppliers to survive on very thin margins. Here, Biyani says he works differently. “We are not like Wal-Mart; we believe in a situation of win, win and win,” he says. “The supplier should win, we should win and the customer should win. In Wal-Mart’s strategy, and maybe that of other international retailers, the company wins and the customer wins. Somebody has to lose for those two to win.” Future Capital Holdings, a Biyani-run private equity firm, last month raised $830 million that it has begun investing as vendor financing in manufacturers of foods, garments and fashion jewelry, among others. Products of these companies get captive shelf space at the Future Group stores.Raju says existing national brands will need to plan their response to Wal-Mart very carefully to ensure that while they get to supply the retail giant, they also don’t alienate their smaller store buyers. “They are used to it in the U.S.,” he says. “Right now, Hindustan Lever deals with a lot of small stores. Tomorrow they will be dealing with large buyers like a Wal-Mart or Reliance Retail, so the relative power structure of buyers and who is supplying will change. This is a challenge they have faced in developed markets where they deal with the Tescos and Safeways.” He expects the national brands in India, such as Hindustan Lever and Procter & Gamble, to figure out ways to help small stores with specially tailored services “to ensure they also thrive and do well.”Raju sees bigger benefits flowing to other players in the retail supply chain, such as farmers. “Companies like Wal-Mart coming to India, I hope, will help farmers because there will be fewer players in the chain,” he says. “Farmers could form cooperatives to supply directly to Wal-Mart rather than have to deal with multiple intermediaries.”Party SpoilersIndia’s retail promise must seem tempting, but that outlook “is tempered by the fact that the country is grappling with severe infrastructure and policy issues,” says the CII in the report it produced with A. T. Kearney. “Cold chains [distribution chains for perishable items], warehousing and logistics infrastructure will fast become unmanageable challenges for India if proactive action is not taken.” It points to policy regimes that vary across states, “inadequate quality control and the lack of a skilled workforce.”Biyani doesn’t buy all that, arguing that “India is a nation of dukaandars (shopkeepers) and that enough retail talent is available. He also dismisses concerns about distribution and logistics infrastructure with a simple, rhetorical question: “Have you [in the recent past] faced a shortage of anything you wanted to buy?” Biyani scoffs at Wal-Mart’s logistics and supply-chain strengths. “Where will they run their Volvo trucks here?” he asks, adding in a lighter vein, “They will probably have to have bullock carts and handcarts in their supply chain.”Raju points out that Wal-Mart’s efficiencies stem from the scale of its purchases, which determines what prices it pays suppliers.“Suppliers are willing to work with them because if they don’t work with them they lose a big part of the market,” he says. The Wal-Mart buying center at its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters “is huge, and that’s why most of the companies’ vendors have their branch offices in the city where Wal-Mart’s headquarters are located,” adds Raju.Coping with OversupplyOrganized retail is just beginning in India, but plans call for some 600 malls to be built over the next decade across the country. The nascent industry in India could learn valuable lessons about what went wrong with retailers in the U.S., leading to bankruptcies, closures and sell-offs at companies like K-Mart, Caldor and Bradlees.“What went wrong [in the U.S. market] is oversupply,” says Martyn Chase, chairman of Donaldson, a London-based company that manages 350 retail malls across Europe. “One mall gets built, and somebody builds a new and bigger mall nearby, so the previous one is killed.” He doesn’t see an immediate threat of that happening in India, but says “you will get casualties in 10 years when you have too many of them.”Chase says the way to prevent hemorrhaging and consolidation in the industry is to bring regulatory oversight. “You need proper regulations governing mall locations, mall size and the like,” he says. “Before you are allowed to build a mall in the U.K., you have to demonstrate there is a need for it, by proving that there is enough demand from people who live in that area to make the mall work.”Biyani argues that the underlying dynamics of standalone retail are not attractive. (Pantaloon’s urban locations put it in a different market segment from that of the big box centers Wal-Mart might put up on city outskirts.) “In India, no retailer has made big money so far,” says Biyani. (Pantaloon’s profits last year were 3% of revenues.) “The money is in the peripheral activities; it’s never in the retail itself. It’s the power of retail that gets you the money; it’s never the transaction that gets you the money.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

TNT dismantles Ginebra, gets spot in top 4

first_imgRead Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC PBA IMAGESTNT secured a spot in the top four after handing Barangay Ginebra its worst beating under Tim Cone, 121-92, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Glen Rice Jr. and Jayson Castro uncorked 12 3-pointers combined with the fiery import unleashing a flurry in the third quarter, where the KaTropa took the air out of the Gin Kings.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Ginebra just couldn’t figure out how to slow down not only Rice and Castro but the entire TNT side, which also has the likes of Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Kelly Williams stepping up.Rice exploded for 36 points on top of nine rebounds while Castro had 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field that went with four rebounds and seven assists.Justin Brownlee scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to pace the Kings, who have held the top spot early in the conference but could still fall to as low as fifth place depending on the outcome of the last day of eliminations on Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT View comments “We’ve always talked about everybody pitching in for us to be successful every game. I think today players were really focused on the task and they were all ready to contribute today,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela, whose squad became the first team to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage.“It really helped us that we shot really, really well especially in the three-point area. When you shoot that way you really have a good chance winning ball games.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRice couldn’t miss in the third quarter. He hit four triples in a row in just a span of one minute and 36 seconds to stretch TNT’s lead to 20, 83-63, with 4:25 left.TNT, which rose to 8-3, shot 17-of-40 from long range, hitting 10 triples in the second half. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  PVL men’s: Ateneo wins 6th straight at expense of La Salle LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

Ronaldo Inspires Praise, and More Goals, From Messi (Pics,Vids)

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Now playing in different countries, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo still find ways to inspire one another to new heights.Ronaldo captured the attention of the soccer world on Tuesday when he scored a hat trick to lead Juventus past Atletico Madrid and into the Champions League quarterfinals.Not to be outdone, Messi responded a day later by scoring twice and providing two assists to turn a balanced matchup against Lyon into a 5-1 blowout.But while the talent gap between them is almost imperceptible, their public displays remain unmistakably dissimilar.Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, left, celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal during the Champions League round of 16, 2nd leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyon at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)Ronaldo used an obscene gesture, mimicking a similar one by Atletico coach Diego Simeone during the first leg, after the final whistle of the 3-0 win in Turin.When asked about his goals, Ronaldo said “that’s why Juventus signed me.”Another great penalty by MessiBarcelona 1-0 Lyon #ucl #IssaVibeG— Issa Vibe G (@IssaVibeG2) March 13, 2019Messi, in contrast, followed up his outstanding performance by praising Ronaldo.“What Cristiano and Juventus did was incredible,” Messi said after Wednesday’s win at Camp Nou. “I was surprised because I honestly thought Atletico would be stronger, but Juventus ran over them. Juventus is very powerful and besides that it has Cristiano, who had a magical night with his three goals.”#Messi score the second goal #Barcelonalyon— Gazeta SOT (@Gazeta_SOT) March 13, 2019Messi worked a bit of his usual magic as well.The Argentina forward gave his team the lead against Lyon with an early penalty. And just when the French team pulled a goal back for 2-1 and was pressing for a draw that would have sent them through, Messi took control by scoring a solo goal when he wrong-footed a pair of defenders. He then set up two more goals.“We did everything we could to stop (Messi), but when he is playing like this he is one of the best players of all time,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “He was like Ronaldo. He put the team on his shoulders.”Messi and Ronaldo dueled for nine years in the Spanish league before the Portugal forward opted to move to Juventus. Despite facing off directly in two league matches each season, they also met several times in other competitions and were constantly compared, week in, week out.With the Champions League now down to the final eight, they could be back on the same field soon. The quarterfinal draw is on Friday.Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, right and Barcelona’s Luis Suarez celebrate after Messi scored his side’s third goal during the Champions League round of 16, 2nd leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyon at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)The five-time Ballon d’Or winners have met five times in the Champions League. Ronaldo’s Manchester United edged Barcelona in the 2008 semifinals, but Messi got revenge a year later when he scored in a 2-0 victory over United in the final. They met again in 2011 semifinals, when Messi scored twice to help Barcelona eliminate Real Madrid.Both players have winning the continent’s elite tournament again as a priority. Messi has won it four times, Ronaldo five.Messi promised his fans he would do all he could to win another European Cup at the start of the season, while Ronaldo is surely eager to prove he was the reason Madrid won it for four of the past five years.Messi counts Juventus as one of the top candidates standing in his way, but it is not alone.“There are several very good teams,” Messi said. “(Manchester) City, Juventus… Ajax has shown that it has a great team of younger players who aren’t afraid of anyone. Liverpool has a lot of firepower like it showed against Bayern (Munich).“We’ll have to see who we are drawn with and prepare for what is to come, which will be the hardest part yet.”By: Joseph Wilson, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Brent Musburger’s New Tweet About Katherine Webb Is Going Viral

first_imgKatherine Webb and Dee Dee Bonner at Alabama football game.Former ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger, who’s now doing sports gambling things out in Las Vegas, won college football Twitter on Sunday night.The legendary broadcaster had a tweet about Katherine McCarron, formerly Katherine Webb, the wife of Oakland Raiders quarterback AJ McCarron.AJ McCarron was recently traded from Buffalo to Oakland.Musburger took to Twitter to welcome him to the franchise, including a comment about his “beautiful” wife.“Welcome A.J. McCarron to the Raider family. Can’t wait for the “beautiful “ Mrs. McCarron to join us in Oakland,” he wrote.Welcome A.J. McCarron to the Raider family. Can’t wait for the “beautiful “ Mrs. McCarron to join us in Oakland .— Brent Musburger (@brentmusburger) September 3, 2018Musburger and Katherine McCarron had a viral moment during Alabama’s national title win against Notre Dame several years back.Good for Brent for continuing to own it.last_img read more

Bluewater Claims Saipem Contract

first_imgzoom Bluewater Energy Services B.V. has secured a contract with Saipem SA for the engineering of two complete deep water Turret Mooring Systems and the related procurement and construction of two Turret and Swivel Systems.The Turret Mooring Systems will be part of two converted FPSO units, owned by Total, for the Kaombo deep water Field Development Project, located in Block 32, offshore Angola in a water depth of 1650 meters.The Kaombo development scheme includes 59 subsea wells, connected through around 300 km of subsea lines, to two FPSO units, each with a production capacity of 125,000 barrels per day.“With an extensive track record in Turret Mooring Systems already, this project is a great opportunity for Bluewater to strengthen its position as one of the few worldwide specialists and suppliers of large complex Turret Mooring System,” said Hugo J. Heerema, President and CEO of Bluewater Energy Services B.V.Bluewater specialises in design, development, lease and operation of tanker-based production and/or storage (FPSO, FSO) systems, as well as  provides Single Point Mooring (SPM) systems.The company has designed, manufactured, supplied and installed FPSO, FSO and SPM systems for oil companies worldwide through turnkey supply and time charter contracts.The company also provides operational and logistic management and support for FPSO and FSO systems. June 5, 2014last_img read more

Spotted Mozart Emerges from Makeover

first_imgImage Courtesy: A&PUK-headquartered ship repair, conversion and marine specialist A&P Group has completed a 13-day maintenance program for Mozart containership at its Falmouth facility.Built at South Korean Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in 2007, Mozart is owned by Embarcadero Maritime III, a joint venture between the UK’s Borealis Maritime and the US-based KKR.The 39,339 dwt boxship arrived in Falmouth earlier this month for its special survey docking period.A&P Group’s works included hull preparation and painting, minor shell steel renewals, electric motor overhauls and hatch steel and rubber seal repairs and renewals.The company also carried out a tail shaft seal modification to conform to global environmental pollution control regulations.A&P Group operates seven dry docks across three locations in the UK and has a sister business in Australia that provides ship repair services and support to the Royal Australian Navy.last_img read more

90 per cent of Kaziranga National Park submerged antipoaching camps affected

first_imgKaziranga/Guwahati: With over 150 anti-poaching camps in the Kaziranga National Park affected by the Assam floods, the authorities are keeping a round-the-clock vigil to check poaching at the UNESCO World Heritage site, officials said.The staff and security personnel are performing their duties using mechanised and country boats to deal with any kind of eventualities, they said. Ninety per cent of the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state was still submerged, a statement from the Assam Ministry of Forest and Environment said. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayBesides forest guards, a State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) team was engaged alongside Assam Police personnel in vulnerable spots of the park, Divisional Forest Officer, Kaziranga National Park (KNP), Rohini Ballab Saikia said. The press communique said 155 of the 199 anti-poaching camps at the KNP are affected by floodwaters. The Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. Other animals such as tigers, elephants, sloth bears, monkeys and musk deer are also found in the forest. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penaltySome of the animals have taken shelter in highlands within the park and many are migrating to the southern highlands of Karbi Anglong, crossing National Highway 37, the statement said. Though 90 per cent of the KNP is submerged, the water level inside the park and the adjoining NH-37 has receded to some extent, restoring the movement of heavy vehicles on the highway on Tuesday. However, passenger buses were not being allowed to drive through the park, Saikia said. Till now, six accidents have been reported on the national highway, causing the death of five Hog Deer and a Sambar, the communique said. Five other animals in the park are reported to have succumbed to injuries “for various reasons due to flood”, it said. “Teams for rescue operation of a distressed animal, as per necessity, are kept in readiness. The Special Rhino Protection Force is also deployed in vulnerable locations of the park,” the communique said. Meanwhile, on the directions of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Naba Kumar Doley has rushed to the park to oversee measures being taken to ensure the safety of wild animals, it said. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force A M Singh visited several areas of the park to take stock of the situation. Another Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Ranjana Gupta, is camping in the park to supervise the operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday spoken to Chief Minister Sonowal to take stock of the flood situation, including the condition of the KNP, and assured all possible help and support.With PTI inputslast_img read more

Restrictions on movement of people in Kashmir Valley eased

first_imgSrinagar: Restrictions on the movement of people in the Kashmir Valley were eased on Saturday, with landline services restored in some areas of the city, even as stringent security arrangements continued to be in place, officials said. They said the restrictions have been relaxed in 35 police station areas of Kashmir, while 17 telephone exchanges have been made functional out of the total 96 across the Valley. The restrictions were eased on Saturday morning to facilitate the movement of government employees towards their offices, the officials said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Security forces continued to remain deployed, while barricades remained on the roads, but people were allowed to move after checking their credentials, they said. The officials said landline services were restored in some areas of the Valley like Raj Bagh and Jawahar Nagar, but remained suspended in most parts, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, Press Enclave, and other areas around it. There was increase in movement of private vehicles in the civil lines areas and other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said, adding that some inter-district cabs were also seen plying in Dalgate area of the summer capital. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Some shops in the civil lines area opened on Saturday morning, the officials said. However, most of the business establishments, including fuel stations, remained shut. Addressing a press conference, government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said the relaxations have been eased out in 35 police station areas. “The process of providing relaxation and easing out of restrictions is already in progress. Relaxation has been provided in 35 police station areas across the length and breadth of the Valley and so far, there are no reports of any untoward incident. The public transport is plying and we have encouraging reports of a lot of public movement,” Kansal said. On the restoration of landline services, the government spokesperson said out of the 96 exchanges in the Kashmir Valley, 17 are functional and providing landline services to people. “The endeavour is to make at least half of the exchanges in the Valley functional by today evening and by tomorrow evening, all of the exchanges, barring few in the vulnerable areas, would be made functional,” he said. Kansal said in Jammu region, landlines and mobile phone services are functional and mobile internet services with some functionality in at least five districts have been restored. “The services will be restored in other areas in a calibrated manner,” he said. The government spokesperson said the primary schools across the Valley will reopen on Monday and government offices will also be fully functional from then. On a question of release of detained political leaders, Kansal said such a decision would be taken by local authorities based on the law and order situation in their respective areas. Kashmir was placed under a total clampdown on August 5, hours before the Centre announced abrogation of provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.last_img read more

Bollywood Superstar Salman Khan Sentenced to 5 Years for Poaching

By Zoubida SenoussiRabat – One of the world’s highest paid celebrities is now paying for his crime.Bollywood bad boy Salman Khan is facing some real time in jail. According to the BBC, the Indian actor was sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison and INR 10,000 (MAD 1,418) by a court in Rajasthan for poaching rare antelopes from his car window back in 1998, while filming in Jodhpur.   This complaint has been filed by the local Bishnoi, “a community who reveres and worship the blackbuck,” adds the same source. The 52-year-old actor’s lawyers will appeal the decision. An urgent bail hearing was scheduled for Friday.“We are studying the judgment–it just came as a surprise, as the entire investigation, and facts of this case were the same as those for which Salman was acquitted by the High Court of Rajasthan in two [other] cases,” one of his lawyers said to the source.On social media, the “Saajan” actor has been receiving a lot of support from his fans. The hashtag #WeLoveYouSalmanKhan is actually trending on Twitter, where he has more than 32 million followers and another 15.3 million on Instagram.Khan has a long and troubled relationship with the law. In 2015, Bollywood’s sweetheart was found guilty in a deadly hit-and-run accident and received a five-year prison sentence. The case was later dropped by a higher court for “a lack of evidence.”Difficulties with the justice system aside, Salman Khan has been busy pursuing his acting career. Last year, the heartthrob was filming the movie “Tiger Zinda Hai” in Morocco, an event that attracted Moroccan fans of the star in Essaouira, where part of the shooting took place. read more

AsiaPacific nations to boost efforts to curb disaster risk – UN

27 March 2009Nations in Asia and the Pacific – the world’s most disaster-prone region – will bolster their cooperation to share information on disaster risk reduction, a new United Nations-backed commission has agreed. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 42 per cent of the world’s natural disasters and a disproportionate 65 per cent of global disaster victims.More than 200 representatives from governments, international organizations, non-governmental groups and the private sector attended the first-ever meeting of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction (CDRR), set up last year by the 62 member nations of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).The participants noted that knowledge of disaster risk reduction is dispersed and out of reach from those who set policy.The Committee asked that ESCAP promote partnerships with UN entities such as the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), along with regional organizations, to better assist member countries.Such cooperation “provides the opportunities to respond jointly to the needs of governments and communities to reduce the risks and vulnerability to extreme weather events, which is becoming more urgent with the impacts expected from climate change,” said Salvano Briceño, UNISDR Director.He added that the Committee will promote the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10-year plan to bolster the ability of nations and communities to respond to disasters agreed upon by 168 nations in 2005. read more

Woman protests at Galle Face seeking justice for missing husband

A press statement said that Mayuri Jayasena was seeking truth and justice for her husband.She launched the protest at Galle Face Green today and is to continue the protest till tomorrow. (Colombo Gazette) A woman began a protest at Galle Face today seeking justice for her missing husband.Mayuri Jayasena said that her husband was abducted five years ago and has not been heard of since.

Greece agrees to harsh new bailout terms vows quick approval of required

A man reads a newspaper outside a shop in in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Greece has agreed on the broad terms of a new three-year bailout package with international creditors, with only a few details left to iron out, the finance minister said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos) Greece agrees to harsh new bailout terms, vows quick approval of required reforms by Elena Becatoros And Derek Gatopoulos, The Associated Press Posted Aug 11, 2015 4:21 am MDT Last Updated Aug 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ATHENS, Greece – Greece agreed to harsh terms for a new three-year bailout Tuesday and vowed to push it through parliament this week, despite mounting dissent in the ruling left-wing party.With the country facing the risk of a debt default next week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had sought to speed up the talks and get approval of a deal this week.After Greece and its creditors reached an accord on the main points on Tuesday, Tsipras called for an emergency session of parliament for a vote late Thursday.Greece needs to start tapping the new bailout — worth 85 billion euros ($93 billion) — so that it can make a key debt repayment next week and secure its future in the euro.The draft agreement forces Tsipras to accept what he had vowed to resist only months ago: the sale of some state property and deep cuts to pensions, military spending and ending tax credits to people considered vulnerable.Officials in Athens and the European Union said a few issues were left to be ironed out Tuesday.“We are very close. Two or three very small details remain,” Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said as he emerged Tuesday morning from all-night discussions with creditors.The European Commission, a key negotiator in the talks, confirmed the progress. Annika Breidthardt, the Commission’s spokeswoman for economic affairs, said the details were expected to be cleared up later in the day.Dissenters in Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party, who want to end bailout talks and return to a national currency, promised to fight the deal, describing it as a “noose around the neck of the Greek people.”Tsipras requested an end to the summer recess to allow for the two-day approval procedure and to get a vote before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday.The agreement still requires approval from higher-level representatives, and senior finance officials from the 28 EU nations were holding a conference call Tuesday.Germany, the largest single contributor to Greece’s two previous bailouts and among the toughest negotiators so far, remained cautious on the timing for a final deal. “We will have to examine the results that come in the course of today,” deputy finance minister Jens Spahn told n-tv television.Investors cheered the news of progress.Greece’s government borrowing rates fell, a sign investors are less worried about a default. The 2-year bond yield dropped by 4.2 percentage points to 14.73 per cent. The Athens Stock Exchange, which reopened recently after being shut for five weeks during the most severe part of Greece’s financial crisis closed up 2.1 per cent.Cash-strapped Greece needs more money by Aug. 20 at the latest, when it has a debt repayment of just over 3 billion euros to make to the European Central Bank.The government insisted it has also gained key concessions from lenders: greater control over labour reforms, avoiding a “fire sale” of state assets, and softer deficit targets.It said it had agreed to have a 0.25 per cent government deficit this year and a 0.5 per cent surplus next year, when not counting the cost of servicing debt. Those so-called primary surpluses would rise to 1.75 per cent in 2017 and 3.5 per cent in 2018.The surpluses are more ambitious than those of many European countries — Spain, for example, is not expected to achieve a primary surplus before 2018. That’s largely because the creditors want to make sure Greece is able to start paying off its debt load as soon as possible.The government claims the creditors wanted even more ambitious surplus targets, and that the targets it agreed to mean it has will be able to spare the country budget cuts worth about 20 billion euros.“This practically means that with the current agreement there will be no fiscal burden — in other words new measures — in the immediate future,” the government said in a note.Banks will be strengthened with new cash infusions by the end of the year and will have an immediate boost of “at least 10 billion euros,” it said. The government insists this means there is no longer any danger that the banks may have to raid bank deposits to restore their financial health.The government also said that banks will not make repossessions and auctions of primary residences will not occur within 2015.Greece has relied on bailouts worth a total 240 billion euros ($263 billion) from eurozone members states and the International Monetary Fund since concern over its high debts locked it out of bond markets in 2010. To secure the loans, successive governments have had to implement spending cuts, tax hikes and reforms.While the austerity has reduced budget overspending, the measures compounded a deep recession and pushed unemployment to a record high. Figures next week are expected to confirm that Greece’s recession deepened in the second quarter.Though the government was elected on a staunchly anti-austerity platform in January, it has been forced into a policy U-turn after bailout talks came close to collapse last month.While Greece’s parliament ratified further tax hikes and reforms, the rebellion by hardline Syriza lawmakers has left Tsipras’ party with only a nominal parliamentary majority.That has stoked speculation that Tsipras will call early elections after the bailout deal is signed. Tsipras still retains strong personal support in opinion polls, which show Syriza heading for a potentially big victory.____Lorne Cook in Brussels, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this report.____Follow Becatoros at and Gatopoulos at read more

Security Council progress lagging on postsecession accord between Sudan South Sudan

Speaking to reporters following closed-door consultations, Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month, said members of the 15-nation body had also expressed concern about the lack of results in the recent round of political negotiations between the Government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), on reaching an accord to end nearly three years of conflict in strife-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Ms. Lucas’ comments came after the Council had been briefed by Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and UN Special Envoy on Sudan and South Sudan Haile Menkerios. She said that during the discussion, Council members expressed particular concern regarding the situation in Abyei and the continued presence in the resource rich area of security forces from both sides. “They reiterated their call for immediate redeployment of those forces from Abyei,” she said. In addition, the Council also urged the two nations to renew their commitment to the establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and full operationalization of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). She said Mr. Menkerios briefed the Council on implementation of its resolution 2046 (2012), by which it had condemned repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, including seizure of territory, and demanded that the two countries immediately cease all hostilities, withdraw forces, activate previously-agreed security mechanisms, and resume negotiations, under threat of sanctions.He updated the Council on the status of negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLM-N, and on the humanitarian situations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.Ms. Lucas told reporters that the talks between the parties resumed on 13 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). The session ended on 2 March, however, without any agreement on proposals presented by the Panel. “Fighting continues in the two States and the humanitarian situation remains of great concern,” she said.As for the situation in Abyei and the work of the UN Interim Security Force for there (UNISFA), she said the Mr. Ladsous had informed the Council that there has been no progress on interim arrangements nor on the final status of the area, which is one of the outstanding issues of the so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005, which helped to end the long-running civil war between Sudan and South Sudan. “As a result, UNISFA continues to operate in a vacuum of law and order,” she said.Mr. Ladsous also reported on the continued presence of Sudanese and South Sudanese security personnel in Abyei, which constitutes a violation of the June 2011 agreements and Security Council resolutions. Ms Lucas said the UN peacekeeping chief had also noted that there have been no developments regarding the establishment the demilitarized border zone, and said that all joint border verification and monitoring mechanism operations remain suspended. read more

Why This NBA Rookie Class May Be The Best Of The Century

As we approach the end of the NBA’s regular season, awards conversations are all the rage. As usual, the two most talked-about races are for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Whether it’s “Get Up” or The Jump, Sports Illustrated or CBS or NBA TV, or even NBA players themselves, everyone’s got an opinion on who should take home the hardware at the end of the season.The Rookie of the Year debate, at this point, pretty much boils down to the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who stormed out of the gate and grabbed onto front-runner status fairly quickly, and the Hawks’ Trae Young, who started off terribly but has been shining during the season’s second half.But lost among this debate is this: The entire 2018 NBA rookie class — or at least the top five picks — deserves an award. Collectively, they are having the best debut season of any group of top five picks in more than 25 years.Doncic (pick No. 3) is carrying averages of 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while acting as the primary facilitator and scoring option in Dallas. He is only the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 20, 7, and 5 in those categories, and the other is Oscar Robertson, who did so during the 1960-61 season.The man whom Doncic was traded for on draft night,1The Hawks drafted Doncic and traded him to the Mavericks in exchange for Young and Dallas’s top-five protected 2019 first-round pick. Young, has been nearly as productive, albeit less consistent, in his debut season for Atlanta. Young’s season-long numbers of 19.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game are strong.2He’s one of only three rookies to have gone for 19, 3 and 8 per game. Those numbers, though, are dragged down by his poor start to the year. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists a night, with shooting numbers that are far better than those he was posting earlier in the season as he struggled to adjust to the NBA game.Two of the first five picks in a given draft looking this good, this early, would be impressive on its own; but Doncic and Young are not alone in their shining debuts. The other three players selected in the top five — the Suns’ DeAndre Ayton (No. 1), the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III (No. 2) and the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4) — have each been pretty damned good this year too.Ayton has been a monster offensive force for Phoenix from Day 1, and he is already one of the league’s best post scorers and offensive rebounders. Among rotation players averaging at least 2 post-ups per game, per, Ayton’s 1.03 points per play on post-ups ranks third, behind only Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge. Ayton’s offensive rebound rate, meanwhile, ranks 22nd among the 263 players who have qualified for the minutes per game leaderboard. And he’s been improving on defense throughout the season.Bagley is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game off the bench for the surprisingly frisky Kings. And he’s been even better since returning from a five-game, injury-related absence in early March, posting 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a night with an improved shooting line. He has a diverse, varied face-up game and is working to stretch his jumper, and given his athleticism and quick feet, his defense could eventually come around as well.Memphis shut down Jackson in late-February due to a quad injury, but before his season ended he averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 combined steals and blocks in just 26 minutes a night. He did all that despite being, at 19 years old, the second-youngest player in the league.3The Lakers’ Isaac Bonga is about a month younger than Jackson, and Bonga has played less than 100 minutes this season. Jackson also knocked down 35.9 percent of his threes and carried an above-average usage rate and true shooting percentage, which is wildly impressive for a player whose primary contributions were expected to come on the defensive end of the floor.So how does this season’s top five stack up against past classes? The chart below plots the collective win shares and win shares per 48 minutes for the top five picks in each draft class from 1979 through 2018 (otherwise known as the three-point era) during their respective debut seasons. Note that only players who played during the season immediately following that year’s draft are counted in this analysis; because we’re looking at the top five picks as a class, if a player did not debut with the rest of his class, it doesn’t make much sense to count him along with the others. For example, Ben Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but he did not play during the 2016-17 season, so he counts for 0 minutes and 0 win shares toward the total of that draft class. Simmons was excellent as a rookie once he did step on the floor, but it also would not make sense to group him with the 2017 draft class, because he was not drafted in 2017. Likewise, the same logic applies to Simmons’s Sixers teammate Joel Embiid, who was drafted in 2014 but did not debut until two years later.4It also applies to Jonas Valanciunas (stayed in Europe for a year before coming over and joining the Raptors); Blake Griffin (injured); Ricky Rubio (Europe); Greg Oden (injured); Danny Ferry (went to Italy for a year because he refused to play for the Clippers); David Robinson (naval service); and tragically, Len Bias (an overdose-caused death). 1982WorthyCummingsWilkinsGarnettThompson0.129 The top-five picks in the 2018 draft are in HOF companyThe five NBA draft classes with the highest win shares per 48 minutes Year1st2nd3rd4th5thWS per 48 min 1979JohnsonGreenwoodCartwrightKelserMoncrief0.137 1992O’NealMourningLaettnerJacksonEllis0.118 Hall of Fame inductees in boldSource: Draft pick 2018AytonBagley IIIDoncicJackson Jr.Young0.102 1984OlajuwonBowieJordanPerkinsBarkley0.174 As you can see, the 2018 class fares extremely well in both win shares — which represent’s attempt to divvy up credit for team wins to the individual players on the team — and win shares per 48 minutes. The 21.1 win shares collectively accumulated by Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young ranks eighth among the last 40 draft classes during their respective debut seasons, while their win shares per 48 average of 0.102 makes this class one of just six to exceed 0.100 win shares per 48.One of those six classes (2009) saw only three players actually take the floor during their debut season, thanks to an injury that knocked Blake Griffin out for the year and Ricky Rubio’s contract with Barcelona that kept him in Spain for two years before he arrived stateside. Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Tyreke Evans saw varying degrees of success during their respective rookie years and ended up posting a collective average of 0.108 win shares per 48 minutes, but they also combined for only 11.9 total win shares, far fewer than the other five classes that stand out in this analysis, each of which exceeded 20 total win shares.It’s worth noting, then, who was actually taken in the top five in those five NBA drafts (1984, 1979, 1982 and 1992). It’s also worth noting that just a single class between 1992 and 2018 saw its top five post a win shares per 48 average better than 0.100, meaning it’s been nearly a generation since we saw an actual top five class debut with a performance as good as the one we’re seeing from the most recent draft class. Among the 20 players selected in the top five of those four drafts, eight are currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Another four — Bill Cartwright, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Christian Laettner — made at least one All-Star team during their career. And six more became long-term rotation players. Only Greg Kelser and Bill Garnett failed to pan out at all, as they wound up out of the league entirely within a few seasons.That’s an incredible hit rate of solid NBA players, and bodes well for what we should expect from Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young in the future. It’s obviously far too early to predict that any of these players will be enshrined in Springfield one day, but the future certainly appears bright, and it seems likely that the 2018 draft class will be remembered as one of the best in quite some time.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Florida freshmen team up for Scarlet and Gray

Ohio State’s baseball team didn’t end the season how it wanted to, but it wasn’t a total failure going to Tallahassee, Fla., for the NCAA Regional.The Buckeyes lost to Florida State 37-6 in a game the team would like to forget.Recruiting visits in Tallahassee for the Buckeyes were more successful than the actual baseball playing. Manager Bob Todd was able to snag a right-handed pitcher and an outfielder, both from the same high school.Outfielder Hunter Mayfield and pitcher Cole Brown both decided to leave Tallahassee to go north to play baseball.For Brown, the decision to come to OSU to play baseball was a relatively easy one. Brown said Mayfield committed to OSU and then the coaches started pursuing him.“I came up here on a visit,” Brown said. “I just loved everything about OSU.”Mayfield may have not been the reason for Brown to commit to OSU, but he has been helpful. Brown said that he and Mayfield have been friends since middle school.Mayfield shared the same feelings, saying that it was nice to know at least one person at the start.The Buckeyes will be making a series of trips back to Florida for tournaments over the next month and a half, and both are looking forward to those trips.Unfortunately for Brown, playing time to start off the season will be limited. In his senior year of high school Brown only made two appearances because of an injury to his shoulder.“I’m doing good. I am back to 100 percent,” Brown said. “Now I just need to get my velocity back.”Todd spoke on Brown’s injury, saying he is going to bring him along slowly. Giving him the needed rest and rehab now, Todd is hoping he will be able to be used late in the season.On the other hand, Mayfield said he has been told he might see some playing time early in the season. If he isn’t able to play, Mayfield said he is fine with that. He just wants to do whatever to help the team.Whether the two see playing time or not, they have one positive thing to look forward to. With all the snow that Columbus received over the past few weeks, both are ready for warmer weather.Brown said in Florida they get to play outside throughout the year, while here at OSU they have had to stick to practicing inside. read more

Teenage girl denies murdering Katie Rough 7 in York

first_imgShe appeared at Leeds Crown Court via video-link on Thursday, sitting next to her solicitor, who confirmed she had written “not guilty” on the indictment in front of her.The teenager, who cannot be named, did not speak during the 20-minute hearing and only nodded when she was asked by Judge Peter Collier QC if she understood the proceedings.The girl wore a lilac top with the sleeves bunched up to her elbows and sat with her legs crossed as she listened to what was being said.A dozen family members were in court and sat at the back, having been brought in through a rear door.Judge Collier, the Recorder of Leeds, said the teenager’s trial will take place on July 3.There will be two further hearings before then.He said she will remain in “local authority accommodation” until the trial.On Monday, hundreds of mourners donned rainbow-coloured accessories to celebrate Katie’s life at her funeral in York Minster. Katie Rough Katie Rough’s grandparents described her as their ‘darling princess’Credit:Guzelian A teenager has denied murdering seven-year-old Katie Rough.The youngster was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a playing field in York last month and died later in hospital.A 15-year-old girl was arrested after Katie was found injured and charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon, a knife. 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

Church considers psychometric tests as experts raise fears about clergy narcissism

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. “It is vital to use all means available to find people with the right skills and aptitudes for this unique, but very challenging, calling.“Some dioceses have been using forms of assessment for a while to provide insight about how candidates might develop and respond to the challenges of the role,” he added. The Daily Telegraph understands that an important use of any new test would be a way for the church to analyse the make-up of those applying to the priesthood to see what kinds of people it is attracting. The data could then be used to affect the way the church markets itself to prospective clergy, for example, by emphasising the community-focused and collaborative aspects of the role, to attract people with strengths and interests in that area.Tests currently in use in Church of England dioceses, for team building exercises as well as for trainee clergy, include the Myers Briggs test, which categorises people based on four criteria, and an Enneagram, which involves nine personality types.  A proportion of people in leadership positions with narcissistic traits will very malignly take it out on othersMark Vernon The Church of England could administer personality tests for trainee priests amid fears it appoints too many narcissists.The Church is examining ways to analyse the personalities of new priests to in an effort to understand the types of people it is attracting. New tests set to be considered by bishops next year could also measure how well a trainee copes with stress and being in a position of authority. Julian Hubbard, director of the Church’s Ministry Division, said the tests could also be a “useful tool in helping candidates grow in self-awareness”. He said the church was “considering the use of psychological assessment as part of the process of discernment for those seeking ordination in the Church of England”. The news comes as experts have raised concerns that narcissistic people are more likely to be attracted to ordained ministry.A recent book by North American researchers R. Glenn Ball and Darrell Puls concluded that more than 30 per cent of ministers in a mainstream Protestant church in Canada met the criteria for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Mark Vernon, a psychotherapist and former Church of England priest, said narcissists were drawn to positions of power in order to “lord it over others”.”The church offers a particular route which would appeal to some who like the entitlement – you’re called a reverend, you sit in high places, you wear special clothes, you’re seen as authoritative, you have captive audiences, you’re spiritually elite – whatever it might be, people get drawn to that way of trying to cope with that sense of self-dissatisfaction,” he said. Clergy profiling was raised at recent hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, where the bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, said the diocese was planning to implement psychological testing for new priests to check they were suitable to be ordained. It is understood that some dioceses already administer tests to prospective clergy.A new policy, set to be considered by bishops next year, would introduce national guidance for dioceses on implementing personality testing. It would likely then be introduced in 2020. Church leaders have recently raised awareness of the issue of spiritual abuse, where a member of the clergy uses their religious authority to coerce or exploit others. “A proportion of people in leadership positions with narcissistic traits will very malignly take it out on others,” Mr Vernon added. “Certainly someone with a malign type of narcissism would try spiritually to exploit people.”Mr Hubbard said that the change was “not only about safeguarding”.  read more

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Weather Eye Sun comes out Monday clouds rain roll in for rest

first_img It was a blustery day Saturday in Washington state. Rain was moderate to heavy, and the winds locally were 30 to 40 mph.There was a high wind warning, but as of 5 p.m. Saturday, they hadn’t materialized. Even along the coast it was a run of the mill storm with winds peaking at 45 to 55 mph.It is no surprise that the first week of April has been cool and wet. As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Vancouver had 1.10 inches of rain in the bucket and the average mean temperature was 48.3 degrees, about two degrees below average.Tomorrow things dry out. Some places may see the thermometer reach 70 degrees, a calm spring day, especially welcome after the stormy weekend. Unfortunately, more unsettled weather is in store the rest of the week with periods of rain and somewhat cool weather. There will be bouts of snow in the mountains, including down to the passes. More like a continuation of March rather than April weather.I mentioned the other day that Saturday would be a good storm-watching day at the coast. It took a while to develop, but ocean swells reached about 20 feet. At high tide Saturday afternoon, waves began crashing against the rocky shoreline. Despite the rain and wet sand, the winds were strong enough to blow the loose sand horizontally. It didn’t take long to get sandblasted and soaked.I’m still looking for the stretch of warm, sunny days that we usually enjoy this time of year. Nothing is showing up on my crystal ball, and my aim at the dartboard is disgusting. There will be more clouds and rain for awhile folks. Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at read more