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first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesReading boss Jaap Stam says he is “not overly worried” by the possibility of losing both captain Paul McShane and goalscorer Jordan Obita for the second leg of their play-off semi-final with Fulham.McShane is definitely out after he was sent off in the closing stages at Craven Cottage for a knee-high challenge on Kevin McDonald.Obita, meanwhile, left on a stretcher after twisting his ankle after blocking a cross and will be a major doubt with the return leg just 72 hours away.Stam said: “Fredericks came bombing forward and he [Obita] tried to block the cross and you can see when there’s no tension in the ankle, you twist it. So we will have to look and see how he feels.“They are very important for us, Jordan and Macca, but we’ve got a big squad. We’ve got choices and players who can play in those positions, so I’m not overly worried.”Stam also defended his side’s physical approach in the 1-1 draw, after opposite number Slavisa Jokanovic said they had played “on the limit of the laws”.The Dutchman insisted: “I think it’s a normal approach. In this league, there are teams who play more physically than we do.“In these games, you need to be aggressive, you need to win your battles on the pitch – then when you have the ball you need to be a threat going forward.”See also:Fulham draw with Reading in first legReading played ‘on limit of the laws’ – Jokanovic   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch) x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


first_img1. Kansas City (9-1)Finally, it’s here. The most anticipated regular season game of the season, maybe in a few seasons. The latest matchup in NFL regular-season history between teams averaging better than 33 points per game. Chiefs leaky defense will be scrutinized.Last week: 1 Next: at L.A. Rams2. New Orleans (8-1)Drew Brees could be a sentimental MVP choice over upstart Pat Mahomes and he wouldn’t be a bad choice. Working in his favor? Todd Gurley/Jared Goff would split the LA Rams …last_img read more


first_imgLOS ANGELES – Back when the NBA released it schedule, this Warriors-Lakers game was supposed to represent something else.This would serve as an epic playoff preview between an in-state rival. The Warriors’ All-Stars would square off against LeBron James just as they did in the past four NBA Finals. The storylines would produce splashy ratings for a TNT telecast.Instead, the Warriors cruised to a 108-90 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday that lacked any of those storylines. …last_img read more


first_imgLong thought a tree-killing bane, parasitic mistletoe appears to do much more good than harm to a forest ecology.David Watson, a researcher at Charles Sturt University in Albury, New South Wales, has been studying mistletoe for years, according to Stephanie Pain at New Scientist, who wrote “Marvellous mistletoe: Giving forests the kiss of life.” Here’s what Watson has concluded from his research:“Mistletoes are the key to a rich and healthy forest. They are the engine that drives diversity from the forest floor to the canopy.“Mistletoe gets its water from the host tree, but is able to manufacture its own carbohydrates through photosynthesis. For this reason, mistletoe is called “hemiparasitic.”  Watson found that mistletoe rarely kills a tree.  More interesting, though, are the benefits mistletoe brings to the forest:Always assured of water, evergreen mistletoes are a reliable year-round source of food for many forest dwellers, providing nutrient-packed leaves, sugary nectar and juicy, fat-rich berries. The dense clumps offer hideaways and cool places to roost, while the tangle of sturdy stems offers secret nooks for small birds to nest in and a solid platform for larger ones to build on.Watson proved these benefits by removing all the mistletoe from a patch of eucalyptus forest in Australia.  The reduction in diversity was dramatic, not only among birds and tree-climbing animals, but even in the forest floor.  That’s because the fleshy leaves provide a nutritious food source when they drop to the ground.  “Those leaves are packed with goodies,” Watson remarked (though many are poisonous to humans).  Soils without the mistletoe are impoverished in good bacteria, insects and invertebrates.  Trees without it reduce good spots for nesting and hiding.Mistletoe is not a single species but a category: “What links these plants is not shared ancestry, for mistletoes have evolved at least five times in different groups of plants, but their lifestyle.”  There are some 1300 species.  They live on every continent except Antarctica.  Some ecologists consider mistletoe a “keystone species, an organism that has a disproportionately pervasive influence over its community” (Wikipedia).Stephanie Pain listed animals that use mistletoe, including porcupines and squirrels that hibernate in the clumps.  Birds of all sizes, including hummingbirds and hawks benefit from the nutritious leaves and berries.  Even gorillas and rhinos browse on mistletoe.The seeds of some species are spread by birds (see Mistletoes in Australia).  They can survive the bird’s digestive tract, and then stick to twigs with an adhesive coating around the seed.  Other species, particularly in the genus Arceuthobium, can launch their seeds like rockets from branch to branch.  The fruit pods build up hydrostatic pressure as they mature until the pods rupture, sending the sticky seeds on a ballistic path at 55 mph, landing up to 50 feet away (source: waynesword.palomar.edu; see also American Journal of Botany).If an athlete get’s athlete’s foot, what does an astronaut get?*  We hope you enjoyed this ecology story for year end 2012, as a reminder that things in nature are not always what they seem, and more wonderful the closer one looks.  Most people only think of mistletoe at the holidays as an excuse for stealing a kiss.  As this entry shows, there’s much more to the story.  Thank you for reading Creation-Evolution Headlines this year.  Resolve to tell your friends!*Missile toe, if you never heard that joke in elementary school.(Visited 44 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


first_img21 January 2014 Tennis South Africa on Monday announced the South African team to take on Monaco in a Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 Davis Cup tie. The teams will meet at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria from 31 January to 2 February. With John-Laffnie de de Jager serving as captain, the South African team is Izak van der Merwe, Rik de Voest, Raven Klaasen, Ruan Roelofse and Nikala Scholtz. De Jager will be forced to trim the squad down to four players by the start of the tie, but he does at least have options, unlike when South Africa had to face Russia in Moscow in October with a team decimated by withdrawals. The highest ranked South African for that tie was Dean O’Brien, at number 529. He’s not among the five players from which De Jager will select his team.‘I am happy’ Despite South Africa’s top player Kevin Anderson not making himself available for the tie, De Jager will be able to welcome Izak van der Merwe back into the team. “I am happy that Izak has recovered from his injury and this can be a good start for him,” De Jager said of the injury that had sidelined the 2011 Soweto Open winner for many months. Ruan Roelofse has proved, according to De Jager, to be “a great all-round player that can play singles and doubles”, thus allowing the captain a number of good choices when naming his final four.Playing the best tennis of his career A key member of the team is the evergreen Raven Klaasen, the team’s doubles specialist. At the age of 31, he is currently playing the best tennis of his career. Ranked 45th in the world doubles ranking, Klaasen has reached the quarterfinals of the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, with his American partner Eric Butorac. The pair, who bagged three titles on the ATP World Tour in 2013, shocked top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA, the winners of 15 Grand Slam titles, in straight sets in the third round.‘A very experienced team’ “I am very happy with the team to face Monaco. It is a very experienced team I selected,” commented De Jager. “Rik, Raven and Izak have more than 20 years of Davis Cup experience between them. It is crucial for us to win this match because we want to be back in Group 1 in 2015.” “Irene Country Club is a great venue and we hope to get lots of support from the local tennis supporters.” Monaco will name their team on Wednesday. South Africa is 34th in the Davis Cup rankings, while Monaco occupies 59th place. SAinfo reporter In April of 2013 Van der Merwe suffered a chronic injury due to playing an excessive amount of tennis. ‘Preparing hard’ “I have not played any events since surgery [a small part of the heel bone was removed] on the 18th of April last year,” Van der Merwe said in a statement. “Davis Cup will be my first event back. I have been training for the last few months, preparing hard for this tie. “The recovery from my heel injury has been a slow process, but it has gone very well. Over the last few weeks I made great progress on the practice court. It has taken a lot of patience, but I look forward to getting back on the Davis cup team and competing on the ATP Tour,” he added. The tie will be a special one for Rik de Voest who will be playing international tennis for the first time at his home courts in Irene where he started the game at the age of five.‘It is going to be amazing’ “It is going to be amazing to play a Davis Cup tie at Irene Country Club,” he said. “I believe the exposure to international players and the national team will further benefit the development and interest in tennis at Irene. “Now nearing the end phase of my tennis career, and with my long history with the club, it’s going to be extra special to play a Davis Cup tie at the club where it all began for me.” Assessing his players, De Jager said De Voest and Van der Merwe were very good high altitude players and said Nikala Scholtz has also enjoyed success at altitude.last_img read more


first_imgHigh indoor air quality and locally sourced materialsIn addition to specifying an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to supply fresh air to the nearly airtight house, designers also used nontoxic interior materials and finishes to keep air quality high.The interior walls are coated with clay finish plasters, mixed on site from clay, sand, calcium carbonate, pigment, flour paste, and water. The plaster was applied by trowel in one coat roughly 1/8 inch thick.The flooring is maple (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) finished with a factory-applied UV-cured urethane that is free of volatile organic compounds, Magwood writes. The ceilings are finished with whitewash made from hydrated lime, powdered casein (a milk protein), and water.The builders also made efforts to buy building materials within a 250 km. (155 mile) radius of the building site in Peterborough, Ontario.“There are many green building products available in other markets (Europe, in particular, leads Canada in this way), but we wanted to avoid importing solutions and meet our targets using only materials from within a 250 km. radius,” Magwood wrote in his construction blog. “For all the major components of the building, we were able to achieve this goal. This keeps transportation energy costs and impacts minimal.”But he admits it was a struggle because so much manufacturing has been outsourced to cheaper labor markets abroad. “Some categories of products are no longer manufactured in Canada,” he wrote, “or even in North America.” Prefabricated straw-bale walls and a tight envelopeThe home’s exterior walls include two dozen “Bio-SIPs” manufactured by NatureBuilt Wall Systems, whose cofounder financed the project. The 8 ft. by 3 ft. panels with a straw bale core are 16 inches thick and weigh about 250 lb. per lineal foot of wall. The manufacturer says the panels are rated at R-35 and have a 2-hour fire rating. On the inside, panels were drywalled and plastered. The exterior is finished with cement lime stucco. Not your average plumbing systemAt the heart of the building’s high-efficiency plumbing system is an M10 Clivus Multrum compositing toilet, which turns human waste into compost in a large storage bin.“The tank includes a sprayer and controls that mist the compost pile regularly with a small amount of water,” Magood explains. “This provides the ideal conditions for effective composting: not wet, not dry, but consistently moist. Having provided sufficient nutrients, aeration, and moisture, the rich colonies of bacteria, protozoa, rotifers, actinomycetes, fungi, mold, yeast, and earthworms can best go to work converting solid waste to useful compost. Dry compost material needs to be removed from the tank about once a year.”Other features include:A rainwater collection and filtration system designed to let the homeowners be “water independent.”Low-flow plumbing fixtures.Foam-flush toilets. Air-source heat pump for both air conditioning and heatMagwood says the project originally leaned toward a pellet boiler, in part because a pellet manufacturer was located a half-mile from the house. But the Living Building Challenge has a “no combustion” rule, so designers opted for a Zuba air-source heat pump from Mitsubishi. The heat pump operates in temperatures as low as -22°F.“The decision to go with an air-source heat pump was made largely based on the cost of installation,” Magwood writes. “While a ground-source unit offers better efficiencies (especially at colder outdoor temperatures), the cost of installation is quite a bit higher, and the payback on the additional investment is well over a decade.“Given our investment in other technologies for this home, we decided in this case that the lower cost of installation and the very good efficiencies for the unit made it the right decision for Canada’s Greenest Home.”Two 4 ft. by 8 ft. solar thermal collectors should supply an estimated 50% to 75% of the residents’ domestic hot water, although the accuracy of that estimate, along with net-zero energy aspirations, will depend heavily on the choices made by whoever buys the house.Magwood says the new owners should be able to earn between $3,500 and $4,000 a year by selling excess electricity to the local utility at a contract price of $0.56 per kWh, so in effect there will be no heating bill.Extra features — such as solar thermal collectors, PV modules, rainwater collection equipment, and the composting toilet — added roughly $75,000 to the project, Magwood says, but the $270 per sq. ft. in construction costs isn’t out of line with typical custom home costs in the area. A sustainable building school in Ontario has completed work on a 2,400-sq. ft. net-zero energy house it’s calling “Canada’s Greenest Home.”Now on the market for $649,000, the house incorporates a variety of features that enhance indoor air quality and energy and water efficiency, including a composting toilet, a rainwater collection system, a 5-kW photovoltaic system, and nontoxic interior finishes. (GBA last reported on this house in a February 2012 news story, “Teaching Deep Green by Building It.”)“We were initially quite hesitant to brand this project as ‘Canada’s Greenest,’ ” Chris Magwood, project manager and executive director of the Endeavour Centre, wrote in a blog detailing the project. “The claim was not made to be boastful or to dismiss the work of other designers and builders who have made remarkably green homes… But we were very interested in pushing as many boundaries as possible with this project, to challenge ourselves as designers and builders to make the very best house possible, going beyond what has been done previously.”Builders are seeking certification under two green-rating programs, LEED for Homes and the Living Building Challenge. But Magwood said any contractor could “reproduce the results of this home with materials and products that are off-the-shelf.”center_img Like SIPs manufactured with foam insulation, these panels are manufactured off-site and assembled on the foundation quickly. The panels are joined together with galvanized connectors.In addition to the prefabricated panels, the house also includes some double-stud walls filled with cellulose insulation as well as site-built straw-bale walls, Magwood says, a strategy which gave students experience working with a variety of building techniques.A blower door test showed that the home’s air leakage rate is 0.63 air changes per hour at 50 pascals. Although the house missed the tough Passivhaus standard by a whisker, it is still much tighter than a conventionally built house.Windows are triple-pane units manufactured by Inline. They have a U-factor of 0.17, the equivalent of R-6.Below grade, the house is insulated with a product called Poraver, made in Ontario from expanded glass balls. Magwood writes that Poraver is made mostly as a lightweight concrete aggregate and has an estimated R-value of between 1.5 and 2 per inch (test results are still pending). Builders placed 8 inches of the material under the basement floor. The foundation walls are made from Durisol insulating concrete forms. Not a simple project, but within reachThe Endeavour project blog gives a detailed look at the many design and material decisions builders had to make. There are ample opportunities to stumble, but Magwood says problems can be overcome.“As I’ve learned in the 15 years since building my own home, the process of creating a good, environmentally sensitive, energy-efficient home is not simple,” he wrote in an entry at the start of the project. “The basic concepts are pretty easy to wrap one’s head around, but the execution involves so many decisions and choices, all of which impact each other and the final result. As soon as you throw some unconventional materials and systems into the equation, it can get even more tangled.“However, this should not prevent prospective owner-builders from designing and building their own homes. There is nothing more satisfying in life than to be responsible for the walls around and the roof over one’s family, and it is a manageable task.” RELATED ARTICLES Teaching Deep Green by Building ItEarly Lessons from the Living Building ChallengeStraw-Bale WallsDoes a Composting Toilet Stink Up Your House?Who Deserves the Prize for the Greenest Home in the U.S.?last_img read more


first_imgMotihari (Bihar): The East Champaran district administration in Bihar will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in a grand manner. The week-long celebrations beginning Wednesday will conclude on Gandhi Jayanti, which is also the foundation day of the district. Gandhi had brought this non-descript district into the spotlight by launching his first mass movement on the Indian soil from here a century ago. The programmes would include special camps for bringing public services to the weakest sections of the society, drives aimed at spreading the message of cleanliness and environmental preservation, yoga and blood donation camps besides cultural activities based on the life and ideals of Gandhi. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh The celebrations will begin with “development camps” to be held on September 25 at all Mahadalit localities in the district, Raman Kumar, district magistrate of East Champaran said. “These camps will be aimed at disbursing benefits under various government schemes to the weakest and the poorest in accordance with Bapu’s famous talisman,” he said. On September 26, ‘nukkad natak’ (street plays) by the Department of Information and Public Relations will be staged at various strategic locations in the district. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad “The plays would be based on the Mahatma’s philosophy, his thrust on eradication of social evils and the state government’s ‘Jal Jeevan Hariyali Abhiyan’, that aims at tackling climate change through environmental conservation and afforestation,” Kumar said. The street plays will commence from September 26 and continue till October 2, he said. “‘Bapu Vandana’ (songs in praise of Gandhi) will be conducted at various places in the district every evening from September 28 till October 1,” he said. Kumar said, two-day yoga camps will be simultaneously held at all the block headquarters from September 29. Cricket and badminton contests will also be held at places associated with Mahatma Gandhi. ‘Prabhat Pheris’ (processions taken out at dawn) on September 30 would aim at spreading public awareness about ‘Jal Jeevan Hariyali Abhiyan’, National Nutrition Mission and ban on polythene, gutkha and pan masala, Kumar said. “Cleanliness drives will be carried out at government offices, schools, hospitals and aanganwadi centres. A blood donation camp will be held at the Red Cross building which will continue for the next two days,” he said. Workshops on Gandhi’s philosophy and office management will be held at all the block headquarters on September 30, Kumar said. Essay and painting competitions and an exhibition based on “development” will be held in Motihari town on October 1. “Processions will be taken out at the historic Gandhi Maidan which will depict various events in Gandhi’s life. A cultural programme will be held at another venue in the afternoon,” he said. On Gandhi Jayanti, Mahatma’s statue will be garlanded and trees will be planted at the Gandhi Children’s Park, Kumar said, adding that later in the day, a seminar on Gandhian thought will be held at the Gandhi Museum.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asked operators of private security agencies to undertake welfare initiatives like health insurance, health check up and pension for private guards by taking advantage of government-sponsored schemes. Shah also asked private security agencies to hire NCC trained guards so that those employed have some basic training on security. Launching a private security agency licensing portal initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs, he said agencies must ensure that each and every private security guard has a ‘Jan Dhan’ bank account for salary disbursement and there should be no cash transactions with them. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh The home minister said there are around 90 lakh private security guards in the country while the total number of police and paramilitary forces is around 30 lakh. That means, there are 24 per cent police and 76 per cent private security guards, he said. “You should undertake some welfare schemes like regular health check up of private security guards. You should enrol them under the government-sponsored Rs 2 lakh insurance scheme (Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana) and pay the yearly premium of Rs 22 for each guard. The government will pay rest of the amount of Rs 350. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad “Similarly, arrangements should be made so that each private guard comes under the cover of Atal Pension Yojana (a government back scheme),” he said. The home minister asked private security agencies to employ NCC trained youths as security guards to ensure that they get people with basic discipline. “We should enhance the credibility of the whole process. People would know that with NCC certificate, they will get a job in security agencies easily. This criteria should be popularised gradually. You will also get people having discipline and patriotic values trained by the government. There is also a Skill India certificate,” he said. Shah said the police verification of private security guards has become easier now as 90 per cent police stations in the country are now linked with a dedicated only system (CCTNS). “The record of any security guard in those 90 per cent police stations will be easily available. This is also very convenient for you to check with the police the criminal record of a person… you can also do the police verification of existing security guards,” he said. The home minister said the licensing portal will be available in all major Indian languages within the next 90 days. The government will also ensure that if a security agency is registered in a particular state, it should not face difficulties in registering it in another state and can do it with minimum paper work. “The portal will also have a section for the people to know how many licence agencies are operating in their state. So that people will not be cheated by any agency which does not have a licence. This will increase business of agencies having licences. In a way, your work will be done by us. Since we are doing your work, you will also have to do our work. “I am going to tell chief ministers of all states to launch an awareness campaign and inform people so that they trust only those agencies which have license. You also have to launch a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of involving licenced agencies. The publicity should be done in regional languages,” he said. Shah also stressed on the need for enhancing credibility of private security agencies to gain the trust of the country’s 130 crore people and cited the example of the Gorkha community which is known for its contribution in this sector. “It should be our endeavour that your business is expanded by enhancing the credibility of the entire sector. This sector has the potential to provide employment to two to three crore people,” he said. The home minister said for achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of making the Indian economy USD five trillion, private security agencies should also work in this direction. “There is a direct connection.Today, the rise of the industry and trade is impossible without private security guards. I believe that private security guards are the first line of response. First of all, he confronts those indulging in illegal activities. If the first line is more active and prompt, the work load on the second and third line will be less. “To raise awareness about the law, put some key provisions of the IPC in his training, make him aware of filing complaints online, he should know how to inform the nearest police station upon seeing illegal activities, he should have a conversation with the local police station. These things should be in-built in the work culture so that people would get to know that he is a kind of representative of the local police station and police is involved in their security through him,” he said. Shah noted that during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, casualties were less in a hotel and the Victoria Terminus railway station (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) in Mumbai as terrorists had to confront private security guards first.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday inaugurated a railway overbridge at Burdwan station through remote control, while attending a programme held to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at Birsingha Graam in West Midnapore.However, the inauguration by the Chief Minister has triggered a row between the Centre and the state, as the Railways had arranged a separate date for the inauguration. The Railways had said that the overbridge would be thrown open on September 30. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaState Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee visited the spot on Tuesday and walked down the bridge after the Chief Minister inaugurated it from West Midnapore. The state government has clarified that there would be no re-inauguration of the same bridge. Mukherjee told the reporters at Burdwan that the project was initiated when Banerjee was the Railway minister. As she is the present Chief Minister of the state, she can inaugurate the development project. Many development works have been undertaken by the Mamata Banerjee government, Mukherjee further clarified. It has been learnt from sources that the state government has spent Rs 162 crore for the construction of the rail overbridge, while the Railways had given Rs 130 crore for the project. It may be mentioned that the Railways has put up a guard rail on the approach road.last_img read more

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