USGBC’s Wood-Certification Kerfuffle

first_imgFor many environmental groups, the only wood to use in construction is that certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit whose accreditation system is intended to assure builders that the wood comes from well managed forests and is harvested in ecologically sound ways.Although its name was coined in 1990, the FSC was officially established 1992 with the formation of an interim board of directors, whose members had consulted with business, environmental, and social organizations about accreditation and certification strategies.FSC-certified products are currently the only ones that qualify for credit under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. USGBC is, however, proposing a change to the Materials & Resources (M&L) section of LEED that would allow credit for projects built with wood from a broader array of sources.Potentially weakened M&R standards?Environmental groups are unhappy with updated language in the LEED Materials & Resources section that focuses on “new credit for responsible sourcing of raw materials.”“This credit,” USGBC explains, “expands on existing credits that deal with material origins (rapidly renewable, certified wood, materials reuse) and significantly increases the scope around which credit for responsible sourcing activities will be rewarded.” In a full-page advertisement that ran on October 6 in the Toronto Star – just as the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo got under full sail in Toronto last week – ForestEthics, the Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and the National Wildlife Federation complained that “proposed changes to LEED 2012 would reward builders who use wood from some of North America’s worst clearcuts or from rainforest destruction around the world. The proposed changes mean that for LEED, all wood is good unless its illegally logged.” RELATED ARTICLES LEED Challenged in North CarolinaFlorida Bill a ‘Backlash’ Against LEED RulesSustainable Forestry Initiative Accused of GreenwashingFSC-Certified Wood Framing Lumber Are FSC and LEED Killing American Jobs? “This gives big logging companies what they want and ignores the severe negative impacts of industrial scale logging,” continued the ad, which is headlined “The Proposed Changes To LEED Aren’t Just In The Fine Print.” “In addition to bringing greenwash into LEED, the proposed changes would also weaken demand worldwide for sustainable forest products.”A disagreement with deep rootsIn fact, USGBC has long been lobbied to allow LEED credits for wood certified by entities other than FSC. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative – a nonprofit launched in 1994 by a wood-products industry group, the American Forest and Paper Association, and declared independent in 2007 – has been particularly persistent in urging USGBC to “to end a forest certification policy that discriminates against North American forests and against most of the independent forest certification standards used in the United States and Canada,” as the group put it in a February 2010 press release.One of SFI’s primary adversaries is environmental group ForestEthics, which complains that SFI’s primary source of funding is, still, the timber industry, and that its standards allow certification of wood that has been cut legally but nonetheless harvested via clearcuts close to salmon habitats and on steep slopes prone to mudslides. SFI also certifies tree-farming practices that include excessive use of fungicides and pesticides, ForestEthics says.It’s obviously not yet clear where USGBC policy will ultimately settle on this M&R issue, but it is clear that disagreements between environmental and industry groups will remain at the heart of many of these battles.last_img read more

Ind vs WI 2nd Test: Ishant shines as India take 34-run lead

first_imgA superb three-wicket burst by speedster Ishant Sharma, who grabbed career-best six for 55, helped India dismiss the West Indies for 190 in their first innings and put themselves into a comfortable position on the rain-affected third day of second cricket Test here. Score | PhotosIshant took the last three West Indies wickets off five balls for just one run to end the West Indian resistance in the post-lunch session to give India a slender 11-run first innings lead at Kensington Oval.India, who had scored 201 all out in their first innings, were 23 for no loss from 5.4 overs in their second innings when the stumps were drawn as only four deliveries were bowled in the final session due to rain and bad light. Tea was also taken 10 minutes earlier than scheduled due to rain.The visitors have now taken an overall 34-run lead with all their second innings wickets intact. Openers Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund will resume tomorrow on three and eight respectively.Altogether, 42 overs were played on Thursday, an improvement from the 25.3 on Wednesday.Ishant picked up the last two wickets off successive balls — Ravi Rampaul (0) and Fidel Edwards (0) — after dismissing West Indies captain Darren Sammy (15) in the earlier over towards the close of post-lunch session to keep India ahead in the Test.He added three more wickets on the third day to the three he scalped on the second day to grab his second career five-wicket haul in an innings.Playing in his 33rd match, the 22-year-old Delhi pacer completed his 100 wickets in Tests during his inspirational spell when he dismissed Sammy for his fourth wicket of the innings in the post-lunch session.advertisementWest Indies were marvelously served by returning batsman Marlon Samuels who remained unbeaten on 78 from 178 balls with eight fours.The home side were 189 for eight when the rains came in the post-lunch session and immediately on resumption, they lost their final two wickets for a mere one run.India though had to labour for wickets as the West Indies, led a resolute Samuels, denied them much success in the morning session.The visitors got just one wicket in the opening session in the form of Chanderpaul, who fell to rookie pacer Abhimanyu Mithun in the penultimate over before lunch.India struck at the fag end of the opening session to reduce the West Indies to 138 for six.Overnight batsmen Chanderpaul and Samuels batted resolutely for most part of third day morning whose start was delayed due to rain by adding 36 runs in 17.4 overs before India got the breakthrough by removing the former in the penultimate over before lunch.Rookie pacer Mithun claimed the scalp of steadfast Chanderpaul (37). Chanderpaul was unlucky to edge a pull off a delivery which did not rise and crashed into his stumps.West Indies, who resumed at 98 for five in reply to India’s 201 all out, added 40 runs from 19.3 overs possible in the morning session.Chanderpaul and Samuels added 77 runs for the sixth wicket which was the most resolute batting put up by the hosts in the series so far.Till Chanderpaul’s dismissal, West Indies had showed a rare batting resolve.Early showers once again delayed the start of the third day’s play by an hour but the West Indian pair lost little time in falling into their groove.Ishant Sharma steamed in and his new-ball partner Praveen Kumar showed his characteristic energy but the unruffled pair were determined to hang around at the crease.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

AEK’s Soccer Downfall Another Greek Humiliation

first_imgATHENS – The bad economy is hurting soccer clubs around Europe. But for Greece’s storied but troubled AEK, the fall has been especially steep.Ignominiously ousted from the country’s Super League in April, the beloved club slid into bankruptcy – -the result of years of what fans roundly criticized as bad management and excessive spending, compounded by the country’s deep recession.Now as the government in Athens hangs on with an international bailout, AEK has found what it hopes to be a local savior: oil and shipping magnate Dimitris Melissanidis.“We are starting from scratch and we are fated to succeed,” the billionaire said at a July news conference where he introduced his new managers and the start of ticket sales for next season. He also predicted the club would be back in the Super League after two years.Yet as training camp started in late July, Mr. Melissanidis was still negotiating with other potential investors and he has yet to say how much he will put up himself.Meanwhile, authorities have been questioning five former club presidents over what police listed as €170.8 million ($224 million) in tax arrears and penalties.Unlike Greece, which still struggles to pay off its debts and stay in the Eurozone, the team is trying to fill its depleted roster and make a clean start outside the Super League.Established in 1924 in Athens, AEK is one of Greece’s three big teams and arguably the one with the deepest emotional pull. Its name is the Greek acronym for Athletic Union of Constantinople because the club was formed by Greek refugees who fled from Istanbul during wartime.AEK claims 28 national titles and has over the years regularly placed well in European competitions.Its recent troubles, while extreme, weren’t exactly a shock; Greek soccer has long been beset by match-fixing scandals and dirty money. In 2003, as the government sought to polish the sport’s image ahead of the Summer Olympics in Athens, AEK’s then-owner Makis Psomiadis was forced out amid charges of missing millions from the team’s accounts and a player revolt.He was convicted of fraud in 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison, and is currently being tried on money laundering, embezzlement, tax evasion and match-fixing charges involving other clubs.Mr. Psomiadis has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, Christos Stathis, told local media in May that his client was “devastated” by AEK’s relegation but “doesn’t feel he shares responsibility for the financial collapse of the team.”After his departure, the club set ambitious plans for a rebound—underpinned, like the Greek economy, by mounting debt. By 2007, it had brought in Brazilian striker Rivaldo Vitor Borba Ferreira, better known as Rivaldo, for €1.3 million a season. His fancy “bicycle kick”—a midair backward flip – energized fans and helped to send season-ticket sales to a record.But unexpectedly, AEK failed to qualify that year for the lucrative Champions League. Revenue shrank, leading to the departure of star players.AEK posted a €15.8 million loss in the 2008-2009 season, compared with a €12 million profit from the previous season. The club bounced from owner to owner, each with fresh promises of revival.The credit-fueled Greek economy began teetering, too. In October 2009, a new government stunned its Eurozone partners by revealing much higher-than-known deficits, sparking Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.AEK’s losses widened as television revenue fell and money from the state gambling monopoly OPAP dissipated.By the end of the 2011-12 season, AEK had accumulated losses of €60 million, according to a survey published by Direction Business Reports. That was almost a quarter of the €264.7 million in losses racked up by the 14 first-league teams put together.By mid-2012, with Greece gripped by protests against painful austerity, AEK couldn’t pay its players and released them from their contracts; most left. The team drew a new squad from young, cheaper amateurs – who were soon delivering another disappointing season.Ewald Lienen, a former player from Germany, took over as coach in October 2012. He started providing a rare bonus for his players – free breakfast – after medical exams showed many weren’t eating well.“We found a lot of the players had deficiencies with iron, other things, because of their nutrition,” said Mr. Lienen, who also handed out food cards for dinner. “In other countries, the players don’t imagine the problems we are dealing with here,” he said in a recent interview.A short time later, Mr. Lienen was gone as well – dismissed following another loss in early April. He was succeeded by Traianos Dellas, a former AEK player from the team’s golden period.On April 14, when AEK faced rival Panthrakikos, its viability was on the line. Even a tie would secure another year of television revenue, plus rights to a stadium to play in and an opportunity to renegotiate some of its debts. Losing meant certain bankruptcy and relegation from the Super League.The score was 0-0 with three minutes to go when AEK defender Mavroudis Bougaidis extended his right toe. It was a gambit to bounce a corner shot away from his team’s goal. Instead, the ball rocketed into AEK’s net – an “own goal.” Angry fans stormed the field; players fled into the locker room for safety.AEK was relegated to the second division because of the loss. It was also declared formally bankrupt, which knocked it down one more notch to the third, amateur division – but also allowed it to cancel its debts.Nevertheless, in March police issued arrest warrants for five former team presidents: Andreas Dimitrelos, Demis Nikolaidis, Nikos Thanopoulos, Giorgos Kintis and Stavros Adamidis. All five voluntarily submitted to questioning regarding the back taxes, police said; All five have denied any wrongdoing.Mr. Thanopoulos, who was president during the 2009/10 season, was convicted after a short trial on June 28 of failure to pay accumulated debt of €78.8 million owed to the state and sentenced to five years in prison.The sentence was suspended pending payment amounting to €36,500 in this case – something common in Greece for financial crimes. Mr. Thanopoulos plans to appeal, according to local media.“My conscience is clear,” Mr. Thanopoulos told reporters ahead of the verdict. “I think I did the best I could, with many personal sacrifices.”A police official said it was up to prosecutors to decide when the others would be tried.The team has defended Andreas Dimitrelos, who was club president at the time of the warrants, arguing that all the debt resulted from actions before his brief tenure, which ended in April. The statement didn’t assign blame to anyone else.Mr. Dimitrelos said in an interview that he had tried to keep the team operating “so that there would be an expression of interest from some buyer. “This didn’t happen because the team dropped from competition,” he added, noting that he wasn’t responsible for the roster or its poor performance.Meanwhile, the new owner, Mr. Melissanidis, is already talking about rebuilding the team’s rundown stadium.About €20 million in European Union development funds, or a third of the estimated cost, has been earmarked for the project, according to the regional governor, Yannis Sgouros, who describes it as an economic boon.Half the revenue from next season’s ticket sales also will go toward construction of the stadium, which will be called Hagia Sophia, after the former Orthodox church, now a museum, in Istanbul.“This is a symbolic gesture,” team spokeswoman Aggeliki Arkadi said. “It will give the fans of AEK the satisfaction that they helped in that procedure, the same way that the refugees from (Istanbul) built AEK’s first stadium.”TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_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

Former Hawk Jason Collins Says He Is Gay

This story appears in the May 6, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated.I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgment began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively. I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends, I immediately dedicate myself to getting game-ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.The first relative I came out to was my aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. Her reaction surprised me. “I’ve known you were gay for years,” she said. From that moment on, I was comfortable in my own skin. In her presence, I ignored my censor button for the first time. She gave me support. The relief I felt was a sweet release. Imagine you’re in the oven, baking. Some of us know and accept our sexuality right away and some need more time to cook. I should know — I baked for 33 years.When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating, but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator.If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half-truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”Believe it or not, my family has had bigger shocks. Strange as it seems today, my parents expected only one child in 1978. Me. When I came out (for the first time) the doctors congratulated my mother on her healthy, 7-pound, 1-ounce baby boy.“Wait!” said a nurse. “Here comes another one!” The other one, who arrived eight minutes later and three ounces heavier, was Jarron. He’s followed me ever since, to Stanford and to the NBA, and as the ever-so-slightly older brother I’ve looked out for him.I had a happy childhood in the suburbs of L.A. My parents instilled in us an appreciation of history, art and, most important, Motown. Jarron and I weren’t allowed to listen to rap until we were 12. After our birthday, I dashed to Target and bought DJ Quik’s album Quik Is the Name. I memorized every line. It was around this time that I began noticing subtle differences between Jarron and me. Our twinness was no longer synchronized. I couldn’t identify with his attraction to girls.Read more: Sports Illustrated read more

Dr Jennifer Campbell on her race for District 2 seat

first_img KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics Tags: Decision 2018 FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – What is San Diego going to do about its homeless issues or short term vacation rentals? Those questions need to be answered by the people running for City Council.Doctor Jennifer Campbell is running against incumbent Lorie Zapf for the District 2 seat, and she joined us Tuesday afternoon with more on her campaign. Posted: October 9, 2018 October 9, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, Dr. Jennifer Campbell, on her race for District 2 seatlast_img read more