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Nuclear nervousness

first_imgIn a surprise announcement, North Korea’s state-run television news claimed Wednesday that the government had tested a hydrogen bomb in an area of the country where there have been three nuclear tests since 2006. Seismographs around the world registered an earthquake at 5.1 on the Richter scale in the area from an apparently manmade explosion. If North Korea’s declaration proves accurate, the test would represent a substantial and dangerous advance in its efforts to become a nuclear weapons player. But not long after the test, international nuclear experts began to express doubt that the device was an actual hydrogen bomb. Some analysts speculated that it may have been a boosted fission weapon, with tritium and deuterium gas added to give it more power, but still less powerful and complex than a hydrogen bomb.Officials in the United States, neighboring South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia, as well as across Europe, strongly condemned North Korea’s actions. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting to condemn the test, which violates U.N. resolutions. Two analysts from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator of the Project on Managing the Atom, and Gary Samore, the center’s executive director for research, spoke with the Gazette about North Korea’s nuclear program and what the latest test means for relations between the government of leader Kim Jong-un and other nations, and how the blast may affect global efforts to limit nuclear weapons.GAZETTE: First, there is some doubt and debate about North Korea’s claim that a hydrogen bomb was detonated. What do you suspect it was?BUNN: All we know so far is how much of a seismic signal it sent, and that tells you roughly how big the bomb was. And the seismic magnitude is the same as it was in 2013, so if they have a different kind of bomb, it apparently didn’t create a bigger, more powerful bomb — yet.GAZETTE: Does a 5.1 reading eliminate the possibility that it could be a hydrogen bomb?BUNN: It doesn’t eliminate it, but it makes it quite unlikely. The advantage of a hydrogen bomb is you can make a much bigger bomb. Countries don’t generally make teeny, tiny hydrogen bombs when they’re early in their nuclear development, as North Korea is. That’s all we know — how big the explosion was, roughly. Everything else is speculation. Often the North Koreans exaggerate what they’ve accomplished, but have some small grain of truth in their statements. So one possibility that’s being speculated about that I think is at least plausible is that this was a boosted fission weapon. What that means is that there is a little bit of fusion taking place, so you can sort of call it a hydrogen bomb. That’s what I mean by the grain of truth.In a normal fission bomb, you have a core of plutonium or highly enriched uranium, which is crushed by explosives, and then the atoms split, releasing the nuclear energy in the bomb. You can make that core a hollow ball and you put some tritium and deuterium, which are kinds of hydrogen, in it. (Normally, hydrogen just has a proton as its whole nucleus with an electron zipping around outside. Deuterium has two things in the nucleus, a proton and a neutron. Tritium has three, a proton and two neutrons.) So if you put some tritium and deuterium in that hollow core, then when the fission reaction happens and you get these incredible temperatures and pressures — more than the center of the sun — that causes the tritium and the deuterium to fuse, and you get some fusion reaction. But more importantly, that releases a bunch of neutrons which then make the plutonium or the uranium fission more efficient, and so you get a larger bang out of the same amount of plutonium or highly enriched uranium. I think it’s at least plausible that what they were doing in this test was a boosted test. However, they didn’t get any bigger bang out of it than they did in 2013. So if it is boosted, that doesn’t seem to have done them a lot of good.GAZETTE: Is there a way the U.S. or others can verify what it is? And how long might that process take?BUNN: If it leaked a lot of gases and you managed to pick up those gases [through monitoring instruments], then you might be able to learn something. But the North Koreans are good enough at this now that I don’t expect there’ll be any gases to be seen. So the short answer is no, not really. There’s not a lot of information available, so what you know is the shockwave that went out through the Earth from that explosion, and that’s about all you know.I’m sure the Chinese will be making statements — they have good contacts with North Korea. The North Koreans will be making statements. There will be a lot of statement-type “evidence” that people will be drawing on and trying to parse and figure out. But in terms of direct scientific knowledge, no, there’s not a lot we can do.GAZETTE: This isn’t North Korea’s first test. What’s the significance if it is a hydrogen bomb, and was it a surprise to experts?BUNN: If it was a boosted-fission weapon, it would be an advance in their nuclear weapon technology. If it was a real hydrogen bomb, which I doubt, it would be a dramatic step forward in their nuclear weapon technology and would offer the potential for either nuclear weapons of enormous yield or nuclear weapons of substantial yield that are quite miniaturized, although both of those would potentially require more work. So we just don’t know its technical significance until we know more about what it actually was.It was certainly no surprise that they conducted a fourth nuclear test. They had asserted back in December that they had mastered hydrogen bomb technology, so in a certain sense it’s no surprise that they asserted that it was a hydrogen bomb test. But it would certainly be a surprise if it actually was a hydrogen bomb test. Making a hydrogen bomb is very technically challenging, and it would be a big surprise to me if North Korea had managed to do it. Making a boosted-fission weapon is much, much less challenging, and would be much, much less surprising.GAZETTE: How sophisticated is their program and what kind of timetable or runway does North Korea appear to be on in its nuclear program?BUNN: The debate that is still underway — and it’s a debate based on substantial speculation — is: Have they managed to make a bomb that is, a), reliable, and b), small enough to put on the front of a ballistic missile? There are some people who say they haven’t, and some people who say they have. I would argue we don’t know the answer. But we should assume, on the basis of conservative defense planning, that they can probably do that. So we should assume that they either have or will soon have ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear weapon.They are working on making longer-range ballistic missiles. So far, their technology in both departments seems to be modest … but the level of information that we have available is really quite modest. On the missiles, the situation is better because they launch up into space, and you can watch them, and you look at pieces as they fall down in the ocean, and you manage to recover them. But for things that go bang in a hole in the ground in a country you can’t go to, that’s a tough problem.GAZETTE: What is the end game for North Korea in developing a nuclear program?BUNN: That is a question the U.S. government really wishes it knew. They have asserted for decades that the United States has a hostile policy and threatens them, and therefore they need a nuclear deterrent to protect their regime. I think the view of most U.S. analysts is that they do see it as a key element of regime survival. They know that in a perfect world the United States would prefer that the government of North Korea be different than it is, and they have seen events like the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, and they feel that they need a nuclear weapon to protect themselves. In the Kim regime, almost all of their legitimacy comes from being seen as tough and standing up to foreign oppressors, and so on. And I think they see it as a very important political symbol domestically.It’s sort of saying to the people: “Yes, you may not be getting a lot of economic growth, but you are getting protection from foreign invasion and oppression.” The nuclear weapons are a central symbol of technological prowess of the North that the Kim regime has allegedly delivered, a central symbol of standing up to the West, a central symbol of power that the Kim regime thinks of as important for its survival, in addition to it just being important strategically in terms of convincing the United States not to invade and overthrow them. They have now written that they are a nuclear weapons state into their constitution, believe it or not.They agreed in 2005 that they would abandon all their nuclear programs. The notion that they’re ever going to fulfill that commitment under the current regime seems extraordinarily unlikely. The reality is successive U.S. presidents have said that a nuclear-armed North Korea is unacceptable and intolerable. And for years we’ve been in the business of accepting it and tolerating it.GAZETTE: Is there a red line that, if crossed, would prompt immediate and dramatic action by the U.S. and allies?SAMORE: There might be, but it certainly isn’t this. There had already been three nuclear tests, and so I would expect the response to be pretty similar, which is basically diplomatic condemnation and a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would impose new sanctions against North Korea. The big question is whether China will agree to economic sanctions that go beyond targeted sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear and missile program — in other words, sanctions that would affect the economy overall. Up to now, China has not been willing to take that kind of step, mainly for fear of provoking North Korea or causing instability on the Korean Peninsula. My guess is that Beijing is unlikely to accept those kinds of broad economic sanctions even though they’re very frustrated and angry with North Korea. I think the Chinese leadership is not willing to run the risk of creating instability or even creating a conflict on the Korean peninsula.The North Korean economy is heavily dependent on China for survival. Most of North Korea’s exports of raw materials, especially coal and other commodities, go to China. And without Chinese exports of oil and financial services, the North Korean economy would probably collapse. But China is afraid to use that economic leverage because they’re nervous about provoking the North into doing something rash that might cause a conflict or create instability. The Chinese are afraid that the Korean peninsula could be unified under a government friendly to the United States.GAZETTE: Given that global condemnation after the 2013 test appear to have had little effect, what viable options are left to contain or halt North Korea’s program? Clearly, diplomacy and sanctions haven’t been successful.SAMORE: Well, that’s been the problem from the beginning. We don’t have any options to end this program or roll it back. We can’t use diplomacy and sanctions. We can’t use military force, for obvious reasons. And so basically, the only option we have is the hope that eventually the North Korean regime will collapse and that will stop the program. But as long as the current government survives, I think they will continue to pursue their nuclear and missile program, and the best we can do is slow it down. There’s pretty good evidence that in the past we’ve been able to delay decisions to conduct nuclear and missiles tests through behind-the-scenes diplomatic pressure, but it’s only a delay. It doesn’t end it; it just buys you more time.Every time there’s been a test, we’ve proposed a new sanctions resolution in the U.N., and the Chinese proceed to water it down. So my guess is that we will pull out of the drawer a lot of the previous sanctions proposals that the Chinese objected to in the hopes that this time the Chinese will recognize that they have to go a step further in terms of punishing North Korea.GAZETTE: So how then does this affect relations with South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan? All have expressed outrage. But moving forward, what are they likely to do, and what role will the U.S. play?SAMORE: It will lead to a temporary suspension in improvement in relations, especially with South Korea. In the last six months, there have been some indications that the North was looking for improved relations with South Korea, all of which has an economic payoff for them in terms of tourism and other forms of economic assistance — things like resumption of South Korean tourism in the North. Some South Korean companies have been using cheap labor in the North for some industrial activities. All of that went down the drain during the previous South Korean president’s administration.There’s been some evidence that the North was looking to restore that, and I think all that gets put on hold now, which really, in my mind, raises questions about Kim Jong-un’s judgment. To me, this seems like a particularly stupid thing to do because there’s going to be an economic penalty for it. There may be some domestic political motivation … so I don’t quite know the rationale for conducting the test at this time. It doesn’t seem to be very strong, and it makes me wonder whether this might be another example of poor judgment on his part.GAZETTE: What about Russia and Japan?SAMORE: They don’t have much economic leverage.GAZETTE: So what does the U.S. do?SAMORE: This is a very well-established diplomatic playbook. We draft a sanctions resolution, which is usually pretty heavy. And then we take it to China, and over a period of weeks we work out a deal with China, and then we take it to the rest of the U.N. Security Council, and they approve it. So this is basically a bilateral diplomatic negotiation between Washington and Beijing, which is then endorsed by the Security Council.We’ve got lots of language on additional sanctions that have been cut out of previous Security Council resolutions, so we’ll just go back to the same old language and see whether China will be willing to tolerate it. I hope they will, but I think it will be pretty limited because China’s really in a dilemma. They don’t like these nuclear tests, and they would like to constrain and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear program. But they’ve got bigger problems on the peninsula, and, of course, U.S.-China relations are not so great right now.These interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

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10 simple money-saving tips that carry a big bang at the end of the year

first_img 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Joe YoungSome of the more frequently touted personal finance tips can come across as unreasonable, too difficult, too time consuming, or irrelevant. Yet, the search continues across all income brackets for how to comfortably spend less and save more.Below are 10 simple money-saving tips that you may not have thought about – each with some serious financial benefits. Saving money does not have to be a chore; it is an accumulation of habits and adjusted perspectives, none of which are detrimental to your daily routine.The goal of these 10 tips is to not overhaul your life, but to make manageable, tiny tweaks that carry a big bang at the end of the year.1) Use Cash. After setting budget, take out cash for your entertainment-spending pocket. It’ll ensure that you do not spend above the designated amount. Since a coffee here, a hamburger there really adds up, and quickly, making sure that those erroneous expenses are always paid in cash will help you stay on top of that expense area, an area frequently a victim of the swipe and forget plague. continue reading »last_img read more

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Newcastle caretaker boss Carver defends FA Cup selection

first_imgNewcastle caretaker manager John Carver has defended his FA Cup team selection after admitting the Magpies went out of the third round with a whimper against Leicester.Several star performers were absent from the starting line up for Saturday’s tie, as Carver – who was named temporary boss following Alan Pardew’s exit to Crystal Palace – made seven changes to the side that drew 3-3 with Burnley in the Premier League two days previously.The coach, who admitted he plans to ‘throw his hat in the ring’ for the head coach job, received widespread criticism from Toon fans after seeing their last remaining hope of winning a trophy this season go up in smoke at the King Power Stadium.Leonardo Ulloa headed the only goal of the game just before half-time. It was a rare moment of brilliance in a game low on quality, despite the tie being the only one played on Saturday between two Premier League teams.A large proportion of the 4,319 travelling support turned on their team late on and even booed the Newcastle players, together with Carver, at the end of the game as they came over to applaud the fans.But Carver insisted he played his strongest available team, with Ayoze Perez the only player actually rested.“I put out the strongest team – other than Ayoze Perez,” said Carver.“Perez is coming into a new culture from Spanish football and he’s one of our best players – one of our shining lights in a season when we didn’t even expect him to be in the team.“We thought he’d be one for the future, but he’s gone into the team and has been outstanding.“If you had seen him after the Burnley game or the following morning at the training ground, he’d ran out of fuel. For me to take a massive gamble 48 hours later with him would have been too big a gamble.”Carver also explained the other big-name absenteesHe continued: “Daryl Janmaat had a problem with his groin.“Moussa Sissoko – both of his hamstrings were tight and I didn’t want to risk that.“[Fabricio] Coloccini had a problem with a nerve leading into his buttock. Steven Taylor we lost because of a snapped Achilles.“Even the morning of the game we had Jack Colback travel with us despite having a tight hamstring. Unfortunately he felt worse and didn’t play. That’s why I didn’t take the gamble and he wasn’t even on the bench.“Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. This was just one game, the future of this football club is over the next few weeks.” 1 Newcastle caretaker manager John Carver last_img read more

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Why Twitter Buzz ≠ Movie Ticket Sales

first_imgMost film studios operate under the assumption that the more buzz and positive sentiment a movie has on Twitter, the better the movie will perform at the box office. It ain’t necessarily so…Instead, it’s quality over quantity. Or maybe, influencers over volume. That is the basic formula for determining what works when it comes to whether or not the number of tweets equals movie ticket sales. As studios fork over big money for their end-of-year Oscar runs and social media campaigns, new research by the social advertising company 140 Proof is threatening to poke a gaping hole in those marketing plans. 140 Proof looked at 25 major Hollywood films released in 2012, compiling data on each movie’s social media activity (mentions and hashtags) two weeks before, and two weeks after the release. It found that the number of overall Twitter mentions is a poor predictor of box office sales (unlike tweet volume and Television ratings). What did correlate to box office success was the number of tweets from influential tastemakers – those films had greater potential for positive revenue. In other words, just creating more overall tweets can be ineffective in getting people into theatres, unless those tweets come from people whose voices have weight. Based on these findings, 140 Proof has partnered with Sony Pictures, Universal, AMC and HBO to analyze and forecast anticipated ticket sales and reach targeted audiences through social ads.  Not All Movie Lovers Are Created EqualJon Elvekrog, the chief executive of 140 Proof, says what’s really going on here is movie marketers employing the same tactics on Twitter that they’ve been using for online advertising: Aiming for reach instead of engaging with key influencers. His model turns that around. “For studios that are looking at social, it comes down to making sure your efforts reach tastemakers, whether that’s through influencer programs or using targeted social ads.”“Driving ticket sales is direct advertising,” Elvekrog said. “While movies typically aim for mass market appeal, the findings in our data showed that if you get specific influencers to talk about the movie, that conversation has more bearing on ticket sales than a massive volume of conversation from the broader market.”Suranga Chandratillake, the founder and chief strategy officer at video search engine blinkx, thinks this model works – based on his own analysis of how blinkx monitors social channels. “You can look at all tweets to know if your marketing is working, and you can look at influencer tweets to know if your product is working,” he said. “Movie Marketing Is DifferentSo is this model specifically suited to work for films, and just on Twitter, or is there a larger message here? Elvekrog says the tactics used for deciphering film may not be as effective for traditional marketing, but it’s a field he admits his data hasn’t focused on. Instead, he thinks the model would be perfect for predicting sales of retail items. And he thinks predicting the success of television content would fall into the same category as films (although data from Nielsen suggests that television success is more volume based, perhaps because most of it is free). A more likely use of his model is a direct link between reaching influencers to drive consumer sales, rather than increasing overall visibility. “The tactics and approach that may work for a typical marketer, like Coke or GM to raise brand visibility, is proving not to be as effective for movie studios who need to get people to take an immediate action: Buy movie tickets,” Elvekrog said. “Product release: Games, autos, consumer goods, we see the phenomenon being particularly transferable to any event-based promotion where you’re working within a specific timeframe,” he said.Managing The Hype CycleKelly Lux, a social media strategist at Syracuse University’s iSchool agrees that model can work for retail. But she warns that an important determining factor for success is a less controllable variable, consumer sentiment, which can make or break sales. “This is transferable on a smaller scale to any kind of product launch that you can create hype around,” Lux said. “Sentiment is what’s important, and that can be much more difficult to parse out… Once the product lands in consumer hands it’s much more difficult for the brand to direct the sentiment the way they want.”Chandratillake also supported this reasoning and the predictive potential of influential tweets.“Whether you can apply this method to other industries, I think the answer is absolutely yes,” he said. “Adoption, i.e. actual purchases or actions, a bit like the box office numbers, correlate best to tweet volume by influencers, while buzz, i.e. people being aware of the product or campaign, correlate quite well to tweet mentions in general. “Leveraging TwitterElvekrog says the key to making Twitter work to drive sales is getting marketers to target the right people to help make the product known. His tip: Use the tools social-media offers. “Awareness is huge for marketers, especially those tasked with cultivating a long-lasting brand,” he said. “Social is amazing for brand awareness, particularly when you’re incorporating social data such as Likes, Pins and Twitter followers to deliver a brand message.”On the horizon, there’s been a lot of talk about using Twitter for stock picking. Small businesses are already doing it, so why not Wall St. firms? ETF Trends reports that investors are turning to social media over traditional news and the largest firms are working to create meaningful online relationships and communities. That could open opportunities for sentiment and analysis companies such as Boston-based Crimson Hexagon, and Indianapolis’ Fizziology. But according to Elvekrog, it’s not the same: “This could be because stock trading seems like it is sentiment driven when it is actually more fact driven,” Elvekrog said. “Or perhaps it is just because consumer sentiment and investing don’t have strong correlations. However, as the findings of our analysis show, consumer sentiment and consumer product acceptance are clearly correlated.”Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.  A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit adam popescu Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Tags:#entertainment#film#social media center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts last_img read more

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Creating a “Ken Burns” Pan and Zoom Effect in Premiere Pro

first_imgLearn how to create the zoom and pan effect made popular by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Using this effect makes plain and static subjects come to life with simple zooms and movement.In this post, we learn how to create the popular Ken Burns effect in Premiere Pro.  To create this roving effect in Adobe Premiere Pro, we will be using something VERY useful in all video editing: keyframes. Keyframes are points where the start and end of an animation takes place. Keyframes can be used for virtually any attribute in Premiere Pro; zooms, position, audio levels, color filters…anything.To create a Ken Burns pan and zoom effect in Premiere Pro, we’ll be using keyframes for the zoom and position parameters.First, lets start by adding our image or footage to the Premiere Pro timeline.Add your clip to the timeline:Next, with the clip selected, we’ll navigate to the very FIRST frame of the clip. This will be where our FIRST keyframe is placed. In our effects controls window, click the stopwatch icon next to the SCALE and POSITION parameters. You just added your first keyframe for the scale and position of the clip.Add keyframes at the beginning of your clip:After you click and enable the stopwatch for a parameter  Premiere Pro automatically adds keyframes when a parameter is adjusted. So, all we have to do now is navigate to the LAST frame of the clip and adjust our scale and position parameters. As soon as you adjust the parameter, a new keyframe is automatically added at the current time.I usually scale up just a little bit and adjust my position to zoom into the main subject of the image.Add keyframes at the end of your clip: For bonus points, save this Ken Burns animation as a preset to use quickly later.In the “Effect Controls” window, with “Motion” selected, click on the panel menu at the top right. Click “Save Preset.” Make sure that you choose “Scale” as the type of preset. This will rove the animation for the entire duration of the clip. Name the preset something relative, like “Ken Burns effect” or “scale up 100-120%.Click the panel menu in your “Effect Controls” window:Click “Save Preset…”Name your preset.Now, whenever you need to achieve the Ken Burns effect again, just look in your presets folder in your effects window.Keep in mind, you can also reverse the effect we just did, and have the image zoom out. This is good for revealing certain things in the image over time. You can also add keyframes for other things to make it more interesting, such as rotation. In Premiere Pro, like most video editing applications, you can even get really creative and add keyframes to things like color effects, blurs, etc.The Ken Burns effect is subtle, yet effective. I often do a very slow zoom in towards the end of an emotional piece. It helps to draw the viewer’s attention in, as if they are leaning in closer to the subject. As you can see, creating the Ken Burns effect in Premiere Pro is really simple and only takes a few seconds.last_img read more

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Why You Need a Coach

first_imgThe best performing people in every human endeavor have coaches. This includes business leaders, athletes, artists, salespeople, and entrepreneurs. Here are some of the reasons you might need a coach and how they can help you grow faster.You need to clarify your values and beliefs. A good coach can help you identify what is most important to you. They can help you dig out your real purpose, that thing you should be doing that would create meaning in your life. They can also help you understand your own beliefs, the ones that empower you, and the ones that limit you. A coach can help you pay enough attention to your values and beliefs that you experience the exponential growth that comes from improving them.You can’t see your own blind spots. It can be very difficult to see the internal obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your goals, especially your beliefs. When you believe that something or someone is preventing you from reaching your goal, you disempower yourself, taking away your agency, your ability to act. A good coach can help you become aware of those blind spots and find new choices.You need to be reminded of your resourcefulness. You were born with the capacity to be creative. You are an idea-generation machine, one with the ability to bring its visions into reality. But it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget that you are a source of ideas. You were born with the ability to solve problems, but you sometimes need a nudge to restart that engine and identify solutions to your problems—and other people’s problems.You need someone to hold you accountable for new actions. Some people do better when they are held accountable for changing behaviors. The simple fact that they have to report on the activity they took on a regular basis is enough to drive them to action. Some people hold themselves to such a high standard in one area of their life that they don’t want anyone to ever ask them about their results. But these same people can struggle in another area. A coach can be that accountability where and when it is needed.You need to test your ideas. A good coach is a great listener. You might need someone to listen to you so that you can process your thinking. A coach with experience in the domain in which you are being coached can listen and act as a sounding board, helping you test your ideas, recognize risks, identify alternatives, and determine a course of action that works for you.You need help with your transformation. Transformation is the ultimate goal of coaching. It’s supposed to move you beyond where you are now and transform you into that better future you. A coach is someone who can help you create breakthrough results. They can help you transform, and they can help you make that transformation faster.If you aren’t being coached, you are probably not producing the results you are capable of. If you have the time and resources, it’s a worthwhile investment in your personal and professional growth.last_img read more

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“SIXTY SECONDS IN TOUCH”

first_imgAnother bevy of interesting Touch facts from everywhere… * A massive thank you to Karley Banks who kept everyone around Australia updated on the results and stories from the 2004 School Sport Australia Touch Championships on the Gold Coast. Her efforts were enormous and the stories incredibly entertaining! Her work helped ensure great coverage for the event and for Touch! If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the articles she has written. * Interest in Australian Touch is growing world-wide. As the number of hits on the website increases from around Australia, other countries also seem to be checking us out. We’re being looked at from Austria, Taiwan, Samoa, Egypt, Denmark, Thailand, Netherlands, the US and Togo just to name a few. For all those Touchies out there who are asking “Where the heck is Togo?” I had to have a look on the net myself with Lonely Planet providing all I needed to know… “Togo is a pencil-thin strip of land, but receives rave reviews from travellers. While Lomé and the beaches that surround it are the big draws for most vacationers, those who push on will be wowed by its unique village cultures and the vivacity of their markets and festivals. If there were a popularity contest among countries in West Africa, Togo would probably be a strong contender. Its political turmoil in the early 1990s reduced the stream of travellers to a trickle, but the tide is turning and the attractions that once brought them remain largely the same.” Full country name: Togolese Republic Area: 56,600 sq km Population: 5.4 million Capital City: Lomé (pop 600,000) People: 37 ethnic groups (the largest are Ewé, Mina and Kabyè); less than 1% European and Syrian-Lebanese Language: Ewe, French Religion: indigenous beliefs (70%), Christian (20%), Muslim (10%) Government: republic under transition to multiparty democratic rule Head of State: President General Gnassingbé Eyadéma Head of Government: Prime Minister Koffi Sama GDP: US$6.2 billion GDP per capita: US$1,300 Annual Growth: 4.8% Inflation: 15.7% Major Industries: Phosphate mining, agricultural processing, cement, handicrafts, textiles, beverages Major Trading Partners: Canada, US, Taiwan, Nigeria, Ghana, China, France, Cameroon * The latest media statistics are in…Touch has reached almost 30 million people Australia-wide via the newspapers, radio and television. This combined with nearly 14 million hits on ATA’s site this year, plus on-line journals and news articles, plus the websites of all local, regional and State Touch Associations is great news! Lets keep up the great work promoting our sport and its participants! * And we’re off and racing for the 2004 Melbourne Cup. The race that stops the nation takes place tomorrow (as if you didn’t know) and my money will be on Vinnie Roe, although Makybe Diva will be out for that back-to-back win and Elvstroem, Pacific Dancer and Media Puzzle will all be up there. (The way I figure it is that if I bet on at least half of the field I can’t look like I was wrong.) * A big mention has to go to the Wallsend Touch Association. Over the past few months Wallsend have been going to great lengths to develop their association website. It now includes heaps of information on competitions and draws, including downloadable fixtures. There is information on their sponsors, great biographies on their life members and also player and referee profiles. In addition, check out their photo gallery as well as a social calendar. As if that’s not impressive enough, you can check out the rules and by-laws, as well as media releases that have been issued! Check out www.wallsend.touch.asn.au * The NSWTA All Schools finals for year 7-8’s heats up this weekend. NSW Touch had a record 359 teams enter the year 7-8 competition this year, with the competition held at 24 venues around the State. Winners from each of those regions progressed through to the State finals. Keep an eye on the website next week for all the results of the finals. * Touch SA have continued to develop sponsorship programs for the sport, which is growing rapidly in the Aussie Rules dominated state. Their latest development is a sponsorship agreement with the Commonwealth Bank. Check out http://www.touch-sa.asn.au/main/index_news.html for the story. * Victoria Touch are looking to start a new junior Touch competition in November. With every junior competition that kicks off in the smaller Touch states, it’s a big plus for development. If you have any questions about their new competition, give Victoria Touch a call on (03) 9654 2866. * Monterey Keys Touch Association in South Queensland held their Cancer Cup on Sunday. The Cancer Cup was held to raise money for prostate cancer. 28 teams competed in mixed divisions; 11 years, 15 years, 35 years and Open. From all reports it was a great day of Touch, with former Olympian and Lord Mayor Ron Clark presenting the prizes from the Cup. It’s fantastic to see the sport of Touch supporting such a great cause! * Youth World Cup now just 2 ½ months away! The 20’s sides and 18’s squads head to Runaway Bay next weekend, November 12-13. There the 20’s will be put through their paces in their first training as teams, while the final selections will be made for the 18’s sides. Keep watching the ATA site for all the latest news. * Just a quick note, after the winding forward of our clocks for daylight savings, Queensland are behind us…meaning their office opens at 10am our time. Not sure who’s luckier, the earlier starter or earlier finisher? * 8 weeks till Christmas! All story ideas or requests can be sent to Rachel Moyle, [email protected]last_img read more

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25 days agoDutch pundit Derksen: No comparing Vilhena with Liverpool ace Wijnaldum

first_imgDutch pundit Derksen: No comparing Vilhena with Liverpool ace Wijnaldumby Paul Vegas25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveDutch pundit Johan Derksen has slammed the Holland call of FK Krasnodar midfielder Tonny Vilhena.Comparing Vilhena with Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, Derksen blasted Ronald Koeman’s selection.The former FC Cambuur star told Veronica Inside: “I don’t think Hateboer is international. I don’t think Vilhena is an international either. I think that is a run-your-rot show. He plays simple football running with the ball and then a bit wide. You can’t do it anymore. “A player like Georginio Wijnaldum is corrected by ten other players at Liverpool. Vilhena was able to run and fly at Feyenoord. People in the media said he was doing so well, so he started to believe in himself. You don’t have time for that at a club like Liverpool.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Passenger Transportation Board says Greyhound can stop serving Northeast BC on June

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Passenger Transportation Board of B.C. has ruled in favour of Greyhound’s application to halt passenger bus service in Northeast B.C. as of June 1st.Last August Greyhound Canada announced that it was planning to cut nine routes across the province, including the Dawson Creek – Whitehorse and Prince George – Dawson Creek routes. The company is also seeking to greatly reduce service on other routes in Southern B.C. after saying that many of its routes are no longer profitable.Greyhound says that ridership on routes connecting the northern half of B.C. with Prince George has declined by 51 percent since 2010, including a 30 percent drop in the last five years. In its ruling, the Passenger Transportation Board explained that Greyhound’s routes in the Peace Region and along Highway 16 have extremely low ridership and very large operating losses that impair the company’s viability.“Greyhound is a for-profit company,” read the Board’s decision. “A review of the company’s financial information demonstrates that the cross-subsidization model of the past no longer holds true. There are insufficient profits on the profitable routes to subsidize its losses on these routes.”Greyhound told the board that by eliminating 1.6 million scheduled miles in the province, it will be able to retain a remaining 3.7 million scheduled miles. “Keeping a viable inter-city passenger bus service in at least some parts of the province is preferable to no service from Greyhound.”However, the Board also found that the public’s need would not be met if Greyhound were allowed to eliminate the four routes without adequate notice, due to the reliance on current service.“Immediate stoppage on these routes and route segments would endanger public safety given the harsh winter climate, inhospitable terrain, and the isolation of those living and working along these routes.”However, the Board ruled that weather conditions should improve by May 31st to a point where public safety would no longer be at risk.During a series of public hearings on the application, Greyhound said it is losing $35,000 per day, which works out to a loss of nearly $13 million per year. The company has called on the provincial government to subsidize intercity bus travel, similar to the subsidies provided to municipal transit.last_img read more

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