New Fire Trucks in Time for Wildfire Prevention Week

first_imgNatural Resources Minister Zach Churchill showed off two new fire trucks, today, April 17, as Global Wildfire Awareness Week approaches. “We are ensuring that our capacity to fight wildfires is continuously upgraded,” said Mr. Churchill. The two trucks will replace older vehicles in Cape Breton and Shelburne counties, as part of a fleet of 35 fire-fighting vehicles in 29 Department of Natural Resources depots across the province. Each truck can carry up to 2,200 litres of water and has hundreds of metres of hose. They can draw water from a brook or lake and be refilled onsite by municipal or volunteer fire department pumper trucks. Nova Scotia has hundreds of wildfires each year. They put lives at risk, destroy wildlife habitat, and can cause millions of dollars of damage to forests and property. Mr. Churchill said Wildfire Awareness Week, May 1-7, is a time for families to think about reducing risks and being prepared. “Nova Scotians can develop emergency fire plans to follow in the event of wildfire affecting their neighbourhoods,” he said. Most wildfires, or forest fires, are caused by people setting grassfires or being careless with campfires or smoking materials. The belief that grassfires can improve the health or growth of grass or fields has been scientifically proven to be false. Tips on preparing homes to reduce wildfire risks are available at www.novascotia.ca/natr/forestprotection/wildfire/firecentre/fire-smart.asp . To know when and where it is safe and legal to burn brush in Nova Scotia, visit the province’s burnsafe map at www.novascotia.ca/burnsafe . Wildfire risk season runs to Oct. 15. Brush burning restrictions are in effect during this time.last_img read more

SPG installs KVICs beeboxes at Dwarka campus

first_imgActing upon the advice given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi – during his visit to the Special Protection Group (SPG) headquarters at Dwarka in New Delhi – the elite force had installed Bee-Boxes with live Bee-Colonies – provided by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in its lush green premises on July 14, for not only honey production, but also for growth of the flora and fauna in and around its campus through cross-pollination. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe SPG officials recently contacted the KVIC officials for guidance and training to set up an apiary in its campus. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena informed that as soon as the KVIC received the request from the SPG, a team of experts was deputed there to survey the area and to identify the staff for imparting training on Bee-Keeping to them. “Our apiculture experts first provided practical training of examination of honeybee colonies, acquaintance with apicultural equipments, identification and management of bee enemies and diseases, honey extraction and wax purification and management of bee colonies in spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter seasons to three SPG gardeners in KVIC’s training centre and then installed the bee-boxes there in presence of the SPG officials on July 7,” he said. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardSaxena, further said that installing Bee-Boxes at such prominent places would create public awareness to adapt bee-keeping as a proper vocation. “So far, we have distributed over 1.10 lakh Bee-Boxes across India in last one and half years, which has not only created over 11,000 new jobs for the farmers, unemployed youths and adivasis; but so far 430 metric tonnes of honey has been extracted through these Bee-Boxes only, valuing over Rs 4 crore. Besides, if the farmers are to be believed their crops yield has increased up to 30 percent after the implementation of ‘Honey Mission’,” he said, adding, “Enthused with our performance, the MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has given us the target to distribute other 2 lakh bee-boxes in this financial year, which will be proved as a boon to the farmers.”last_img read more

Strike at Globe and Mail averted at last minute with tentative agreement

first_imgTORONTO — A strike has been averted at the Globe and Mail just hours before the deadline.Unifor, which represents 320 reporters, editors and other staff at the national newspaper, says the two sides have reached a tentative agreement.The union says details of the deal won’t be released until the agreement is presented to members for ratification.Unifor had said it was seeking pension protection and an end to what it says is a pay gap between the Globe’s male and female employees.The two sides had been negotiating for six months, but Unifor said talks had not moved forward for the past two months.Members had given their bargaining committee a 94 per cent strike mandate two weeks ago.———A subsidiary of the Globe and Mail holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with the Toronto Star and a subsidiary of Montreal’s La Presse.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Canada reviewing presence in Cuba after another diplomat falls mysteriously ill

first_imgOTTAWA — Canada is reconsidering its diplomatic presence in Cuba following another confirmed illness among embassy staff.A senior government official says today it is too early to say what steps might be taken as a result of the review, but all options are on the table.Officials briefed the media on condition that they not be identified.A total of 13 diplomats posted to the Canadian Embassy in Havana, as well as some dependants, have come down with a mysterious illness that causes dizziness, headaches and trouble concentrating.Global Affairs says the government continues to investigate the cause, adding that the health and safety of diplomatic staff and their families is a top priority.The department says the person who fell ill most recently is getting the necessary medical attention.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Trump proposes carmileage rollback states sue in protest

first_imgWASHINGTON – Citing safety, the Trump administration on Thursday proposed rolling back car-mileage standards, backing away from years of government efforts to cut Americans’ trips to the gas station and reduce unhealthy, climate-changing tailpipe emissions.If the proposed rule becomes final, it could roil the auto industry as it prepares for new model years and weaken one of the federal government’s chief weapons against climate change — regulating emissions from cars and other vehicles. The result, opponents say, will be dirtier air and more pollution-related illness and death.The proposal itself estimates it could cost tens of thousands of jobs — auto workers who deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient.The administration also said it wants to revoke an authority granted to California under the half-century-old Clean Air Act to set its own, tougher mileage standards. California and 16 other states already have filed suit to block any change in the fuel efficiency rules.“The EPA has handed decision making over to the fossil fuel lobbyists … the flat-Earthers, the climate change deniers,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.The proposal would freeze U.S. mileage standards at levels mandated by the Obama administration for 2020, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving.The proposed change, halting further improvement requirements, stakes its case on consumer choice and on highway safety claims challenged by many transportation experts.The administration says waiving requirements for greater fuel efficiency would make cars and light trucks somewhat more affordable. And that, it said, would get vehicles with the latest technology into the hands of consumers more quickly.It’s got “everything to do with just trying to turn over the fleet … and get more clean and safe cars on the road,” said Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.The administration will now seek public comment on its proposal and a range of other options, including leaving the tighter, Obama fuel standards in place.Some Republican lawmakers supported the mileage freeze, but environmental groups and many states assailed it.“This has to be absolutely one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that the EPA has taken,” said Healey of Massachusetts, one of the attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia objecting to the change. “It’s going to cost drivers here and across the country hundreds of millions of dollars more at the pump.”The EPA under President Barack Obama had proposed mileage standards that gradually would become tougher, rising to 36 miles per gallon in 2025, 10 mpg higher than the current requirement. California and the automakers agreed to the rules in 2012, setting a single national fuel economy standard.Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump called for a rollback, urging “common sense changes” if the mileage requirements threatened auto industry jobs.However, his administration’s report on Thursday projects that relaxing mileage standards would cost 60,000 auto jobs by 2030. Those losses would hit the estimated 200,000 U.S. jobs that deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient, said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defence Council.A Transportation Department spokesperson called the estimate of job losses “rough approximations.”Two former EPA mileage officials said the administration’s proposal departed from years of findings on fuel efficiency, car safety, exhaust emissions and costs.“They don’t offer any meaningful example of what has changed so dramatically” to warrant the reversal, said Jeff Alson, who until this spring was a senior engineer in the EPA’s transportation and air quality office. “In my opinion the only way they got there was, they knew what kind of results they were told to get and they cooked the books to get that result.”Chet France, an EPA senior executive until his retirement in 2012, called the administration’s contention that the mileage freeze would cause only a tiny increase in climate-changing exhaust emissions “bogus.”California Gov. Jerry Brown said his state “will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”The Obama administration had planned to keep toughening fuel requirements through 2026, saying those and other regulations on vehicles would save 40,000 lives annually through cleaner air. That argument remained on the EPA’s website Thursday.According to Trump administration estimates, the Obama fuel efficiency standards would raise the price of vehicles by an average of $2,340. That would price many buyers out of the new-vehicle market, forcing them to drive older, less-safe vehicles that pollute more, the administration says.Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the freeze would reduce highway deaths by 1,000 per year “by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into the newer, safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars.”But private transportation experts say there are so many factors involved that the 1,000-lives figure is questionable. The affordability argument also ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a car, opponents of the rollbacks said.Longstanding federal legislation has allowed California to set its own mileage standards given the choking smog that still sometimes blankets Los Angeles and other central and Southern California valley cities.More than a dozen states follow California’s standards, amounting to about 40 per cent of the country’s new-vehicle market.A drawn-out legal battle over the standards could hurt the auto industry as it tries to plan for coming model years.The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, sought to stave off any dispute between California and the federal government that could split the U.S. car market: “We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of American drivers.”In 2012, when the standards were first adopted, cars were about 50 per cent of new-vehicle sales. Now they’re only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.___Tom Krisher reported from Detroit. Don Thompson contributed from Sacramento.last_img read more

UN reiterates calls for credible probe on war related incidents

The United Nations (UN) has reiterated calls for a credible investigation on incidents related to the war in Sri Lanka.Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said that the UN has made clear what the guidelines for what a credible investigation will entail. “The Human Rights Council can evaluate for themselves how it’s going, but we want to make sure there is a credible investigation into this.  And we have made clear what our guidelines are for what a credible investigation will entail and so we will continue to be in dialog to make sure it happens,” he said. He said this in response to a question posed on a comment made by President Maithripala Sirisena that he will not invite foreign judges to be involved in the judicial process after investigating incidents related to the war. Speaking at the Law Conference in Wadduwa on Saturday, the President said that he has faith in the local judiciary and he feels all that needs to be done is to strengthen the judiciary and ensure it is independent.International human rights groups have been calling on Sri Lanka to invite foreign judges to ensure the domestic process to investigate human rights abuses related to the war are credible. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,531.04, up 42.84 points).Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Energy. Down 24 cents, or 4.15 per cent, to $5.54 on 7.7 million shares.CannTrust Holdings Inc. (TSX:TRST). Health care. Up 43 cents, or 16.67 per cent, to $3.10 on 6.4 million shares.Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up seven cents, or 0.16 per cent, to $44.24 on 4.5 million shares.OceanaGold Corp. (TSX:OGC). Mining. Down four cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $3.60 on 4.4 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA). Health care. Down 47 cents, or 6.1 per cent, to $7.24 on 4.1 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Down 13 cents, or 2.42 per cent, to $5.24 on 3.7 million shares.Companies in the news:CannTrust Holdings Inc. shares spiked as much as 20 per cent as investors took in news that the cannabis company’s chief executive officer had been fired amid an ongoing investigation into allegations it was illegally growing marijuana in unauthorized rooms. The company’s board of directors said Thursday night that it has decided to “terminate with cause” chief executive Peter Aceto and demanded company chair Eric Paul resign, which he did.Aecon Group Inc. (TSX:ARE). Construction. Up $1.89, or 9.59 per cent, to $21.59 on two million shares. The head of Aecon Group Inc. voiced his faith in fixed-price contracts after rival SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. signalled an abrupt retreat from the business this week in a move analysts say will work in Aecon’s favour. About 42 per cent of Aecon’s 2018 revenue derived from fixed-price contracts, under which companies have to eat any cost overruns. That share is set to expand, as nearly two-thirds of its backlog revenues are set to come from the so-called lump-sum, turnkey contracts.The Canadian Press read more

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syrias political future

Speaking to journalists in New York on Monday, Mr Guterres said that the Committee – which is to represent all sides in the conflict – would meet in Geneva “in the coming weeks”, in line with past Security Council resolutions.”I am pleased to announce the agreement of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Negotiations Commission for a credible, balanced and inclusive Constitutional Committee that will be facilitated by the UN in Geneva,” — @antonioguterres #Syria pic.twitter.com/TIM9WAEyVi— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) September 23, 2019 “I strongly believe that the launch of the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee can and must be the beginning of the political path out of the tragedy towards a solution, in line with resolution 2254, that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians and is based on a strong commitment to the country’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity,” he said.Consultations between the Syrian Government and the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission are to be facilitated by the UN in Geneva and led by the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen.Earlier on Monday, Mr  Pedersen announced that he had held a “very positive meeting” on “remaining issues” related to the formation of the Constitutional Committee with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. He also held similarly positive meetings on Monday with the leader of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasser Hariri, he said in a statement.While acknowledging his appreciation for the engagement of Russia, Turkey and Iran in backing the agreement on a Constitutional Committee, Mr. Guterres noted that the panel’s work “must be accompanied by concrete actions to build trust and confidence”.The UN chief’s comments come amid repeated warnings by senior UN aid officials of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib –  the last opposition-held zone in Syria.In a recent update on the situation in the north-west enclave – four months into the latest escalation of hostilities there –  the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that that the situation for people in northwest Syria continues to deteriorate.Hundreds of civilians have been “killed or injured due to airstrikes and shelling since 1 May”, the agency said.To escape the violence between Government forces and non-State armed groups, some 630,000 people have fled their homes and to reach essential services that they need to survive, the OCHA update continued, with most moving to densely populated areas close to the Turkish border where aid capacity is overstretched. read more

Youd Have To Be Pretty Dumb To Fix A Tennis Match This

If suspicions that a mixed-doubles match was fixed at the Australian Open on Sunday prove true, it could go down in the gambling annals as the dumbest fix in sports history. Many of the telltale signs of match-fixing are indeed present; to a large degree, however, the stupidity of fixing a match now is just as strong a reason to doubt it happened.Pinnacle Sports suspended betting before a mixed-doubles match in which Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot faced the Spanish pair of Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero. Even though it looked on paper like a close matchup, with all four players experienced and highly ranked in doubles, most bettors backed Hlavackova and Kubot, even after the books shifted the odds to promise a bigger payout if Arruabarrena and Marrero won. And volume was heavy for mixed doubles, which many players treat more like an exhibition than like a meaningful match.After Hlavackova and Kubot won easily, 6-0, 6-3, all four players were questioned by journalists — a rarity in mixed doubles, especially in the first round. Kubot, facing more reporters than he did after winning the 2014 Australian Open men’s doubles title, said Arruabarrena and Marrero “were trying 100 percent.” The Spanish pair also dismissed the idea that they fixed the match. The New York Times put its story about the match on its home page Sunday, sent out a news alert and ran the print version on the front page Monday.The prominence given to the story by the Times is prima facie evidence for why this would be such a dumb fix. Since BuzzFeed News and the BBC published an investigation a week ago into accusations that tennis authorities aren’t doing enough to stamp out corruption in the sport, journalists have been focused on the possibility of match-fixing — and getting a piece of the story — like never before.Meanwhile, pressure is on tennis authorities to show they are taking the problem seriously, making it a bad time to try to slip something past them. Hlavackova and Kubot said at their post-match news conference that they’d already been contacted by the Tennis Integrity Unit, a joint initiative of tennis governing bodies that is tasked with fighting corruption in the sport.Grand Slam tournaments in particular have more officials on site than other events and far more journalists — an order of magnitude more than some of the tennis tour’s smallest stops. And for reporters at Slams, it’s easy to watch matches — tune your television to any court while the match is in progress, or access video of many matches after the fact. Doubles matches at other events usually aren’t televised at all. The Times story included a detailed account of the match that would be difficult to produce if a reporter were chasing reports of suspected fixing at a smaller tournament — such as many of the matches mentioned in the BuzzFeed-BBC report.Grand Slams also are more lucrative than other events. Although mixed doubles is worth less in prize money than men’s or women’s doubles — and doesn’t earn players ranking points — a win would have netted Arruabarrena and Marrero 2,250 Australian dollars ($1,570 U.S.) more each than their loss did. And they’d have had the chance to win 78,500 Australian dollars each if they went on to win the title. That’s not bad for doubles, where purses generally are far smaller than in singles.By losing, Arruabarrena and Marrero also miss chances to compete together and impress their national tennis federation. That matters because another mixed-doubles tournament is coming up this summer, one that should be easier to win yet matters far more than an exhibition. Just 16 pairs will get into the mixed-doubles event at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, meaning it will take just four wins to get gold, or three to win silver or bronze. Arruabarrena and Marrero are ranked in the top 35 in women’s and men’s doubles, respectively, which gives them a shot at making the Spanish Olympic team. Here’s one sign that mixed doubles matters more to pros this year: There are 12 pairs in the 32-team Australian Open draw made up of two players who represent the same country, up from just seven last year.At this site, we often try to use Bayesian thinking. That means we try to estimate the probability of something being true — our prior — and then update it as we gain new information. My Bayesian prior after match-fixing became the dominant tennis topic last week is that we were unlikely to see actual match-fixing with scrutiny so high, and that any suspected match-fixing was likely to be something else. How much should reports about the suspicious mixed-doubles betting change my beliefs?On the one hand, perhaps quite a bit. Betting on the match really did look funny. Tennis bettors and betting analysts told me that volume on the match — both in terms of the raw number of bets and overall liability — was far heavier than usual for mixed doubles, though the maximum bet at Pinnacle was just $500 at its peak, making it tough to turn too large a profit. And several Marrero doubles matches last year had unusual betting movements, the Times reported. So my Bayesian prior for a Marrero match being fixed might be higher.“It’s a strange one,” Ian Dorward, a London-based tennis bettor who used to set and adjust tennis betting lines for a bookmaker, said in an email. It “would be a really stupid time to fix it, but maybe he just does not care.” Dorward added, “Either way, it is this type of thing that the TIU should be investigating.” (The TIU doesn’t comment on details of its work.)On the other hand, as I wrote last week, betting data alone isn’t enough to identify match fixers. There are many other plausible explanations. One that Marrero offered is that he’s injured and that someone in his or his partner’s camp might have let that information slip. Or at a tournament with thousands of fans on the grounds, one could have seen Marrero struggle in practice or in his men’s doubles match, which he’d already lost. The video clips embedded in the Times article from the match hardly are conclusive evidence that Marrero wasn’t trying.There’s so little data on mixed doubles that it’s not surprising that bookies who often struggle to set opening odds for singles matches might miss big on mixed. Players’ lifetime match records in mixed doubles aren’t readily available and often include just a couple of dozen matches. “With only four mixed doubles events annually, it’s easy to get the opening prices wrong,” Scott Ferguson, a sports gambling consultant, wrote in an email. Odds at Pinnacle for at least two earlier mixed-doubles matches moved by even more.It could be that bettors noticed before bookies did that Marrero simply stinks at mixed doubles. As the Times reported, he has now lost his last 10 mixed matches and is 7-21 in his career. “Normally, when I play, I play full power, in doubles or singles,” Marrero told the Times. “But when I see the lady in front of me, I feel my hand wants to play, but my head says, ‘Be careful.’ This is not a good combination.” read more

NFL Week 5 Elo Ratings And Playoff Odds

The perception after the NFL’s fourth week of play is that parity reigns supreme. Only two teams, the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals, remain undefeated — and they’re both 3-0 rather than 4-0, having had a bye last week. No one else seems to have much momentum. Consider the Atlanta Falcons, who crushed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 56-14 two Thursdays ago in one of the most dominant single-game performances in NFL history. Last week, the Falcons lost by 13 points to the Minnesota Vikings. The Buccaneers? They upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were coming off a big win against the Carolina Panthers.Here’s the thing: All of this is pretty normal. Parity exerts a profound gravitational pull on the NFL. It’s a league of short careers, hard salary caps and redistributive schedules that punish winning teams. Its season is just 16 games. There’s always a lot of parity in the league.The question is whether there’s more than usual, and as best as I can tell, the answer is no. One way to evaluate this is through FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo ratings. (For the methodology, see here.) We can look at the standard deviation of each team’s Elo ratings through the first four weeks of the season. The higher it is, the less parity.After the first four weeks this year, the standard deviation is 92 Elo points. That doesn’t mean much except by comparison to past seasons; but by comparison, it’s about average. In 2013, the standard deviation through Week 4 was … 92 Elo points. In 2012, it was 87 points. In 2011, it was 90 points. The average since 1970 has been about 90 points.Some of the perceived parity in Week 4 is because a number of the best teams were out of action, including the Bengals, Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.Meanwhile, there are at least two really terrible teams in the NFL, and terrible teams count as much as great ones when measuring standard deviation. The Oakland Raiders squandered one of their better opportunities to pick up a win in a London game against the Miami Dolphins last week and now project to win only 2.4 games, according to the Elo simulations. That’s in part because of a tough schedule. (The Raiders have about a 10 percent chance of going 0-16.) The Jacksonville Jaguars have a more forgiving schedule, but they’re worse than the Raiders, according to Elo.We haven’t, however, seen much turnover in which teams might be considered great, average or poor. Before the season began — based on their Elo ratings at the end of 2013 — Elo’s top 10 teams were, in order, the Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Broncos, New England Patriots, Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Bengals, San Diego Chargers, Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.Are any of those teams clearly outside of the top 10 now? Only the Panthers and Saints have fallen out of the Elo top 10; they rank at No. 14 and 15, respectively. You could also make a case for the Patriots after their disastrous performance Monday night. But if there’s anything Week 4 demonstrated, it’s that one game may not tell us much.Meanwhile, the worst 10 teams at the start of the year were — from the bottom up — the Jaguars, Raiders, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Falcons, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. Nine of those teams remain in the bottom 10. The exception is Atlanta, which has climbed to 22nd place.We’ve seen more reshuffling in the middle tier of teams. The Dallas Cowboys are the biggest gainers so far on the season, having added 61 Elo points. Still, the Cowboys’ schedule has been easy, and Elo will need to see more from them before it concludes they’re anything beyond slightly above average. The same might be said for the Detroit Lions, who are the next-biggest gainers, with 54 Elo points added.But if the early games have not done much to contradict preseason expectations, they have had a pronounced impact on playoff odds. A 10-6 team almost always makes the playoffs, an 8-8 team almost never does and a 9-7 team does about half the time. A “bad” or unlucky or uncharacteristic loss still matters a great deal whether it comes in Week 4 or Week 17. So, which teams have dug themselves the biggest holes, and which have more slack?The Patriots, despite their loss in Kansas City, are still more likely than not to make the playoffs. There are three major reasons for this: The Bills, Dolphins and Jets, the other teams in the AFC East. The Jets project to just a 5-11 record. Buffalo and Miami are better, but with each team at 2-2, Elo is still putting its money on a diminished version of Tom Brady rather than a team with an actual quarterback controversy.The Saints, 1-3 after a loss in Dallas, have seen their playoff chances fall more than any other team since the start of the season (they’ve dropped from 56 percent to 30 percent). Still, New Orleans got a reprieve because division rivals Carolina and Atlanta also lost last week. Every team in the NFC South now projects to finish the season with a negative point differential, and none projects to win more than 8.3 games. That means New Orleans can recover with a merely good — rather than extraordinary — performance. In our simulations, the Saints made the playoffs about 60 percent of the time when they finished 9-7, and almost 25 percent of the time when they went 8-8.The 49ers, on the other hand, still have their work cut out for them despite having secured a victory against Philadelphia last week and ranking third overall in the Elo ratings. They play in the NFC West, by far the NFL’s toughest division. In our simulations, a 9-7 record won San Francisco the NFC West only 1 percent of the time (although it was occasionally good enough to back the Niners into a wild card). The 49ers’ playoff chances improved, but only to 47 percent, from 40 percent a week ago.The loss hurt the Eagles more than the win helped San Francisco; Philadelphia’s playoff chances fell from 65 percent to 51 percent, in part because Dallas (now the divisional favorite) and the New York Giants won.The NFC North, meanwhile, has parity befitting the NFL’s old Norris Division: All four teams have an Elo rating between 1489 and 1521. But the Lions have three wins when everyone else has two, and that makes them the best bet to make the playoffs.Elo ratings can also be used to project point spreads. Since the start of the season, we’ve been recommending that you don’t bet on them, and we hope you’ve heeded that advice. They went 5-7-1 against closing betting lines in Week 4 and are 25-33-2 overall on the season. (As an aside, the Elo point spreads would have had you take Miami over Oakland against the point spread last week if we’d realized the game was in England instead of California. But that wasn’t the forecast we published, so we’ll take the loss.) On the positive side, Elo’s picks are 41-20 straight up this year, including a 10-3 performance in Week 4.In contrast to Week 4, when there were a number of “pick ’em” games, Week 5 features some easier calls, in part because the stronger teams tend to be playing at home. Straight-up (not against the point spread), Elo would have you take the home team in 13 of 15 games. The exceptions are clear: No home-field advantage would be enough to make Washington favored over Seattle, or Jacksonville over Pittsburgh.Compared against early Vegas point spreads, there are several cases with a discrepancy of at least a field goal. Against the point spreads, Elo would have you bet on the Chargers and Cowboys and against the Packers, Saints and Broncos. But to reiterate, we don’t recommend that you do this. I have nothing against gambling; I have something against losing money. read more

Gold sector looks for more positive direction for rest of 2012

first_imgAustralia’s gold sector will meet in conference in Perth this week in a show of strength to seek consensus on the precious metal’s short-term future. But charting any forecasts beyond that period, conference organisers say, is fraught with difficulty as the sector – now predominantly dehedged because of the strong gold price of the past two years – remains captive to ongoing uncertain global equities markets.“Gold entered the current June quarter at around $1,650/oz. That represents some price easing since the end of 2011, it is down on the highs of in excess of $1,900/oz in September last year, and is some $500 or so an ounce short of some analysts’ predictions of a 2012 price potential exceeding $2,200/oz,” Conference Convenor, Bill Repard, said.“What we need to value against this equities market uncertainty is that the softening in the gold price has not been at a level to disincentivise gold mine development in higher cost Australian gold plays,” Repard said.“If anything, it has racheted up the merger and acquisition activity as local and international miners and investors seek a more entrenched gold exposure.“A challenge for the sector, however, is the conundrum it faces of the development and mining opportunity that the higher price allows because less economic deposits can be developed – versus the highly liquid global equities markets where investment caution in gold is the name of the game.”Gold’s challenges at domestic and international level will dominate the two day 2012 Paydirt Australian Gold Conference to be held in Perth next Wednesday and Thursday (April 18-19) at the Pan Pacific Hotel. More than 200 delegates have registered, including international financiers, brokers and analysts.“It is apparent that the Australian gold industry remains uncertain on how 2012 is likely to evolve,” Repard said.“The junior end of the gold spectrum is adopting a conservative approach in both corporate strategy and cash spend while the major players, while being better cashed up, are facing dwindling gold inventories,” he said.“On the key issue of price, the general consensus appears to be more of a holding pattern at current or slightly better levels for the rest of 2012, without the big rises evident of 2011 though reports this week do not rule out a plus $2,000/oz scenario within 12 months.“The positive take from all of these options is that there is no expectation of a major price collapse.“Therefore that widespread price belief should provide some steadying of confidence in the sector.“Delegates will be looking to reinforce that view of confidence as the reality is that there has been an underperformance of gold mining equities against price in recent years.”Repard said delegates would also seek to address the issue of the slow pace of new and major greenfields gold discoveries with substantial gains in exploration investment in recent years but little variation in gold’s global output annually of around 2,700 t/y.Key speakers will include Westpac Institutional Bank’s Executive Director, Global Head of Natural Resources, Patrick Cocquerel, and WA Chamber of Mines and Energy Director, Damian Callachor.last_img read more

AGONY CONTINUES FOR PSG Dunkerque dreams about Championship

DunkerquehandballPSG Handball ← Previous Story Dujshebaev fined 5.000 EUR Next Story → RK Gorenje Velenje on the way to domestic “hat-trick” A list od weak performances of the “dream-team” from Paris is extended by another defeat at home court against the biggest rival in Championship battle  – Dunkerque 25:27 (12:15). Only few days after they lost the first match of the EHF CL TOP 16 against Gorenje Velenje, head-coach Gardient and his players dissapointed their fans once again. Dunkerque have been in the lead during whole match (+4 highest advantage) led by Li Hansen, Afgour and Soudry who scored 4 goals each. On the other side, Mikkel Hansen was the best with 8 goals…Six matches until the end, Dunkerque is three points ahead of PSG and Montpellier…STANDINGS:1. Dunkerque 20 – 332. PSG Handball 20 – 303. Montpellier 20 – 304. Nantes 20 – 275. Toulouse 19 – 256. Cesson-Sevigne 19 – 217. St. Raphael 20 – 208. Chambery Savoie 20 – 199. Nimes 19 – 1510. Aix 20 – 1411. Selestat 19 – 1312. Tremblay 20 – 1113. Ivry 20 – 914. Dijon 20 – 7 read more

DuckDuckGo popular search engines dont offer true search results

first_imgWhen one company dominates a market it’s very difficult for others to break in without finding a different way consumers respond well to. In the realm of search, Google is king and holds the majority share of traffic and therefore advertising revenue. The only search engine to get anywhere near Google is Microsoft’s Bing, but that’s still a long way back.If you are a tiny, start-up search engine how on earth do you compete with these giants? One such search engine has found a way, by rebelling against certain practices such as search engine tracking, and telling us some truths about the popular search engines that may just make you want to switch.It may be clever marketing, but search engine DuckDuckGo has put up a page explaining how when you use a search engine like Google or Bing, you aren’t actually doing a real search anymore. Instead, you are searching within a filter bubble.The way that Google makes money is by getting you clicking on search links and viewing adverts. To get you to click it makes sense to provide search results that match with our likes. So when you search for something, Google takes into account what it already knows about you. The end result being the search results are tailored to you rather than just the subject matter you put in the search box. This also means two people searching for the same thing will get different results.This is what DuckDuckGo calls a filter bubble. It effectively shuts off certain results because Google doesn’t think you will like them. The results you get may still be relevant and useful, but its not the true, raw results anymore. And that filter bubble effect will only get worse over time as Google or other search engines learn more about you through your online habits they are tracking.This may not matter to many people as long as they get to the information they need, but the flipside is you may never see some results that could change your view, or offer up a new perspective.Read more at dontbubble.usMatthew’s OpinionI’ve always known that the advertising results on a Google search are tailored to the user, but not the main search results. I always thought Google just offered the best results for that search term.I can see why it makes sense to tailor them for the individual, but even so, I don’t like the fact I’m not getting the best results regardless of who I am. If I want further filtering I will adjust the search term accordingly, I don’t want Google or Bing, or whoever to do that automatically with no indication it is happening.last_img read more

The Worlds First Permanent Pokémon Cafe Is Now Open for Business

first_img Mint-Condition Set of Pokemon Cards Sold For $107KNew Trailer ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’ Reveals Team Yell Punks Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img If you’re a proponent of “catching ’em all” and have been a Pokémon fan ever since the olden days, you’ve probably dreamt of the day when you’d be able to dine with your favorite Pokémon. Now you can, at a special new Pokémon Center megastore that’s opened up in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district. Not only can you buy lots of cool Pokémon merchandise there, but you can also dine at the world’s first permanent Pokémon Cafe.The Pokémon Cafe is filled with gorgeous Pokémon designs and motifs, with big stuffed animals that greet you and plenty of other fun Pokémon extras with a long table at the center of the restaurant with monsters like Pikachu, Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Eevee waiting to greet you. When you get to your table, you order your food with the magic of a tablet by pressing a button next to the food you’d like to nab. SoraNews24 dined on a few different things to show us what are all up for grabs, including the very cute Pikachu Plate.via pokemoncenter-online.comThe Pikachu Plate comes with omurice, hamburger, spaghetti, tater tots, salad, fried shrimp, and adorable Pikachu plate that you can purchase for an additional 1,100 yen over the plate’s 1,580 price. Pikachu’s ears are actually tortilla chips, while his ears are bell pepper and his cheeks are carrots.There’s also the delicious Eevee Chicken Burger, which is exactly what it sounds like, with a cup of hearty soup along with the burger and fries.via pokemoncenter-online.comThe Mimikyu Crepe features three different crepes, with two that feature banana chocolate cream, and the big crepe filled with fruit, whipped cream, and a pancake.There are lots of other dishes as well as merchandise to nab if you head to this awesome restaurant, and if you’re lucky enough Pikachu himself will come out to play, as he’s the “chef” after all.via pokemoncenter-online.comReady to go to the cafe? You’ll need to make reservations, which can be made here up to about one month in advance. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, make sure you put in your reservations so that you’ll have time to chow down with your favorite Pocket Monsters, as this looks like a once in a lifetime experience.last_img read more

Press Talk What if God was one of us

first_imgLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor emeritus. His column of personal opinion appears the first Saturday of every month. Reach him at lounews1@gmail.com. I’m walking.It was a few days ago in downtown Vancouver, heading to meet a source down at Compass Coffee.I see a gentleman standing there — he’s almost always standing there — but today he’s staring right at me.It might be because of my Gators sunglasses. They’re a gaudy orange and blue. Who knows, maybe — just maybe — it highlights my Italian DNA. I say that because the gentleman thinks he recognizes me.“You Jimmy Hoffa?” he asks.Now, for those of you for whom ancient history goes no further back than Justin Bieber, Hoffa was a big-time labor leader who suddenly, ah, disappeared in July 1975. Speculation of his whereabouts swirled from his being fed to the gators in the Everglades to his changing his appearance so he could hide in plain sight. He was said to have been spotted selling hay at a Yacolt feed store with Elvis Presley.Now I get that all Italians look alike to some people, but … really? Hoffa?I’m past this guy now. But he won’t let it go.“You Jimmy Hoffa?” he asks again. This time he’s yelling. He’s hoping for an answer.I don’t turn around, but I’m in a good mood. I opt to have a little fun. I raise both my arms in a bent position to show the universal “who knows?” signal. I keep walking. He keeps yelling.“Come on! Are you Hoffa? Everybody thought you were dead!”I’m getting farther away. But this time I turn my head slightly so we can make eye contact. I put my index finger to my lips. I try to let him know: The less we talk about this, the better. I’m still trying to have some fun with this guy because — well — I think he’s trying to have some fun, too.I’m still moving away from him, but now he has his hands cupped around his mouth so I — and just about everybody else around — can hear him.last_img read more

Tottenham extends Michel Vorm contract

first_imgTottenham has set out to extend the contract of Dutch international star Michel Vorm until 2019.The 33-year-old Vorm, joined Tottenham from Swansea City in 2014 and has made 43 appearances as back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. His contract was due to expire this summer, but Tottenham have exercised their option to keep him at the club for a year further, according to Standard Uk.Vorm has also had limited chances to impress in the Premier League, with Lloris’ form confining Vorm to 11 League outings in four seasons at Spurs.Speaking in November about Vorm’s dedication, Mauricio Pochettino said:Christian Eriksen, Tottenham, SpursPochettino: ‘Happy’ Christian Eriksen ready for Spurs action Andrew Smyth – September 12, 2019 Mauricio Pochettino insists Christian Eriksen is “happy” and in the right frame of mind for Tottenham despite his failed summer exit.“When people complain, but if they aren’t good enough on the pitch or training session and there’s no commitment to the club or you, then that’s easy to say: ‘You are out’.“He [Vorm] is professional. Players like him fight and show great quality and that’s my problem. It’s easy with those who complain. With players like Vorm, it’s difficult to say: ‘We are playing you and not you’.“He complains with his performances in the training session. That’s his way to complain. To show me he deserves to play. That is the way to complain to the manager and not knock on the door.”last_img read more

Manchester United obliterate Cardiff on Solskjaers debut

first_imgRevealing performance by Manchester United at Cardiff, with a Lingard brace, and goals scored by Reashford, Herrera, and Martial. Pogba was superb.The match right after Jose Mourinho got sacked against Cardiff City, was the only chance that the Manchester United players were going to get in order to prove that the Portuguese manager was the problem.It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s debut as a manager, a bonified Red Devils’ legend who gave Sir Alex Ferguson his first Champions League as a manager back in 1999.The players immediately seemed determined to prove a point, the first goal only took them three minutes to get in thanks to a beautiful Marcus Rashford free-kick scored from a fairly long distance.The Red Devils suddenly became an avalanche that would destroy everything in front of it, Ander Herrera scored the second goal just a minute shy of the half-hour mark with a long-range shot that a Cardiff defender deflected.Pogba played on the position he always liked, the same midfield spot where he performs beautifully for France and the spot that allows his passing skills to be on their maximum expression.After serving the ball to Ander for United’s second goal, Pogba was right in the middle of a beautiful combination between three players for the Red Devils’ third goal of the evening.Full-time scenes in Cardiff… 😁 #MUFC pic.twitter.com/J7Mi7Cmsa9— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 22, 2018Anthony Martial took the ball in the third quarter and started advancing towards the box, as he got in there were two players who combined a pass with him with one-twos.The first one was Pogba, the second one was Jesse Lingard who placed him in front of the goalie in the blink of an eye with a precise assist.Martial’s finish was clinical, straight to the bottom corner and proving that Jose Mourinho was the figure who suppressed these players’ talents with his overly defensive ideas.It was the very first time in the whole season that Manchester United had a three-goal advantage before halftime.With this momentary result, players like Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba got way more confident during the second half and they offered their best performances of the season so far.Jesse was the first, he managed to get a penalty in his favor after getting knocked down inside the box only 12 minutes into the second half.The winger didn’t fail, Manchester United was winning 4-1 against a Cardiff City side that scored a penalty kick during the first half after a handball committed by Marcus Rashford.🇳🇴 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s @ManUtd managerial debut:harry maguire, manchester UnitedMaguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…⏱ Quickest goal scored this season🔥 3 goals scored by HT for the 1st time this season🤯 5 goals scored for the 1st time since Sir Alex Ferguson left🏃‍♂ Out-run opponents for the 1st time this season👏 A new era. pic.twitter.com/i42GSGhSc7— SPORF (@Sporf) December 22, 2018This squad was massively different from the one that Jose Mourinho was coaching, but the cherry on top was still on its way.Paul Pogba gave us another glimpse of his unique passing skills as he assisted Jesse Lingard near the end of the match for Manchester United’s fifth goal.This was the very first time that the Red Devils have scored five goals in a single match since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, the Scottish manager coached a Premier League match that ended 5-5 between his boys and West Bromwich Albion back in May 2013.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought the spectacular football back to Manchester United, we can fairly assume that a new era in the Red Devils has begun and we better buckle up because it may be a very bumpy ride.Jose Mourinho must’ve been fuming with frustration because he was never able to get that level of performance from those players, all the ones who were at odds with him were the ones who delivered mesmerizing performances.The Red Devils are back, finally.Manchester United score five in the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game 👀 pic.twitter.com/djjKWFEBiv— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 22, 2018Which was your favorite Manchester United goal against Cardiff this evening? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Body of woman found at foot of Sunset Cliffs

first_img 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) — A person was found dead Wednesday on a rocky stretch of ocean shoreline in the Sunset Cliffs area.Lifeguards responding to a report of someone stuck on a sea bluff near the foot of Point Loma Avenue found the body, described only as female, shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to San Diego police and fire officials.The identity of the deceased and details on the circumstances of the fatality were not immediately available. September 19, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, Body of woman found at foot of Sunset Cliffs KUSI Newsroom center_img Updated: 10:05 PM Posted: September 19, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Nonprofit live chat on volunteering

first_imgLooking for local volunteer opportunities? Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwest Washington, Vancouver-based Second Step Housing and the American Red Cross of Southwest Washington will join Columbian.com readers for a live chat today, March 16 at noon. These nonprofits will be on hand to answer questions and discuss community events and volunteering at www.columbian.com/chat.Login to participate on Friday at noon at www.columbian.com/chat. Participants must use a Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or MySpace account to login and leave comments or questions, but anyone can watch the action. Are there other nonprofits you’d like to learn about? Tell us in the comments and we’ll invite them to the chat! Also, feel free to invite your favorite charity to participate. (Thanks to reader J. Maury Harris for your suggestion to invite environmental charities.)last_img read more