Leaving cert students face major battle to find third level accommodation – McConalogue

first_img Facebook WhatsApp WhatsApp Twitter Need for issues with Mica redress scheme to be addressed raised in Seanad also Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Dail hears questions over design, funding and operation of Mica redress scheme Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue says the Government’s failure to address shortages in student accommodation has led to a major crisis in the sector.56,000 students will get their Leaving Cert results tomorrow, but thousands of them embarking on a third level course, will face a huge struggle to secure a place to stay.Deputy McConalogue says over the past four years, the situation with student accommodation has worsened significantly without any real action being taken.He says it leaves students in a very difficult position:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/charl5.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Google+ Man arrested in Derry on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences released Google+center_img Facebook Pinterest Leaving cert students face major battle to find third level accommodation – McConalogue Pinterest Homepage BannerNews Minister McConalogue says he is working to improve fishing quota By admin – August 11, 2015 Previous articleCar burnt out in Bogside area of DerryNext articlePolice appeal for information after serious assault in Derry admin 70% of Cllrs nationwide threatened, harassed and intimidated over past 3 years – Report Dail to vote later on extending emergency Covid powerslast_img read more

Violinist And Vocalist Bridget Law Is Leaving Elephant Revival

first_imgElephant Revival came together in 2006, and over the past decade, the group has built a name for itself as one of the premier transcendental folk and bluegrass acts. Today, the band announced that violinist and vocalist Bridget Law would be leaving the Nederland, Colorado-based group to pursue other personal endeavors. Law has become a key member of the group, with Bridget and vocalist and percussionist Bonnie Payne becoming synonymous for many fans.You can read Bridget Law’s full statement about her time with Elephant Revival and her future plans below.What a wild and beautiful journey it has been! Co-founding, nurturing and expressing Elephant Revival has been the greatest accomplishment of my life. Witnessing you all feel the music– breathe, dance, sing, reflect and rejoice with the music– has brought me to tears of joy countless times. Eleven years ago, Elephant Revival played our first gig. Since that day, the band has been the most important thing in my life. But life has a wild way of presenting new opportunities for growth, and it is up to me to listen to my heart and fulfill the purpose of my life while I am still breathing. I will no longer be touring with Elephant Revival, full time. I am being called to give more attention to my family, my body and my personal projects. Because this band has been such a large part of my life, I will always love, support and engage with the entity and I hope to always be involved behind the scenes. There will be many occasions in the future for us to reunite our musical voices; however, for now I am turning over my full time duties to other great musical minds. I am excited to witness the space this will create in the music and the new ideas that will surface. I will miss you all very much, so please reach out and stay in touch with me. You are my tribe!The music lives in my soul and cannot be quieted; playing music will always be a part of my life. I will continue to perform and make musical appearances, you might find me sitting in with Elephant Revival, We Dream Dawn, Bonfire Dub, Intuit, Everyone Orchestra, Keller Williams or performing with my husband in our group “Tierro with Bridget Law.” I plan to engage in the musical community more through recording sessions, speaking publicly, booking and managing bands as well as teaching, both in groups or privately. Be sure to like my personal FB page Bridget Law, to connect with me and be informed on my endeavors.Thank you deeply to all of those who have made the dream of Elephant Revival a wonderful reality! Warm, delightful gratitude to those who love the music! And thank you, sincerely, to my bandmates for being lovely creatures to play and adventure with! May the journey always be profound.~*With Love,.~*Bridgetlast_img read more

Southern Command Delegates Deliver Equipment to Fight Influenza A to El Salvador

first_imgBy Dialogo May 14, 2009 San Salvador, 12 May (EFE). – Today General Glenn Spears and Paul Trivelli, Deputy Commanders of the U.S. Southern Command, delivered to Salvadoran authorities a shipment of equipment which will help protect health personnel treating cases of influenza A. The donation, valued at $40,800, was turned over to Salvadoran Health Minister Guillermo Maza, who heads the state’s plan to tackle the disease. Trivelli, who was recently appointed as a civilian Deputy Commander of the Southern Command, said during the ceremony that the donation is part of a U.S. plan to “prevent an outbreak of influenza A” in El Salvador. The lot consists of 5100 sets, each of which includes a suit of disposable material, shoes, goggles, masks, gloves, and other items of hospital hygiene. He stated that with this donation and cooperation in promoting campaigns for the prevention of influenza A, the country has given El Salvador approximately $105,000 in recent weeks. On Monday night Trivelli and Spears arrived in the country as part of a tour which will last until Wednesday, embassy sources said. The officials also visited a rural area where a dozen soldiers of the Southern Command and elements of the Armed Forces of El Salvador jointly led a day of medical assistance. The activity, promoted by the Southern Command, took place in a school in the Canton Las Animas, in the town of San José Guayabal, 24 miles east of San Salvador. At the site, Trivelli and Spears received a report on the activities which began on May 4 and included five similar activities in other rural areas of the country. The visit of the Deputy Commanders will end in the morning with the presentation of an unmanned aircraft to be used in the fight against drug trafficking. The aircraft will be exhibited to officials of the country and the center’s anti-drug surveillance staff that the U.S. maintains near the airport in El Salvador, which is situated 44 kilometers south of San Salvador.last_img read more

Ethics Update

first_img August 1, 2002 Regular News Ethics Update Ethics Update Copies of canceled trust account checks should include endorsements Cynthia E. Booth Assistant Ethics Counsel and Jim Wells Trust Account Auditor Attorneys who get copies instead of originals of their canceled trust account checks should ensure the bank provides copies both of the fronts and backs of the checks in order to comply with Florida Bar rules.Rule 5-1.2(b)(3) of the Rules Regulating Trust Accounts, the Minimum Trust Accounting Records rule, was revised approximately five years ago to allow attorneys to maintain copies of canceled checks rather than the originals.Most banks now return copies of canceled checks in the monthly bank statements, but generally provide copies of only the front side of the checks. To comply with the requirement, the copy must include both the front and the back of the check.To maintain a copy of the front-side only does not satisfy this requirement because the front excludes endorsements and bank clearing stamps that are placed on the back of the checks.Endorsements and bank clearing stamps are important portions of the check that establish that the proper payee actually received the intended distribution of trust account funds.In conclusion, attorneys should request that their bank provide a copy of both sides of their trust account canceled checks to have all of the information on the back of the original canceled check and to meet the minimum trust account record requirement of Rule 5-1.2(b)(3).last_img read more

Indonesia offers to buy Austria’s Typhoon jetfighters

first_imgSurprises in Indonesian defense procurement seem like a constant feature now.After initial clearance from the United States State Department to buy an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, news broke that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto intended to buy jet fighters from Austria.Austrian newspaper Die Presse reported on Sunday that Prabowo had sent a letter to his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner offering to buy the country’s 15 Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters. The letter was dated July 10 and arrived at the Austrian Defense Ministry late last week, Die Presse reported.The Austrian Defense Ministry, however, declined to comment on the offer, the newspaper said.“As I was always impressed by European technologies and know-how, I would kindly ask your support for the following proposal, which hopefully leads to a mutual benefit for our two countries,” Prabowo said in a letter circulated among various media WhatsApp groups on Monday morning.There has been no official confirmation from the Defense Ministry on the authenticity of the letter, though it is consistent with Die Presse’s report. Prabowo was referring to information he received from someone named WD Grosse that Austria had acquired 15 Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters in 2002.“To achieve my target of modernizing the Indonesian Air Force, I would, therefore, like to propose to enter into official deliberation with you, your Excellency, on purchasing all 15 Eurofighter Typhoons from Austria for the Air Force of the Republic of Indonesia,” Prabowo said.Prabowo said he was fully aware of the sensitivity of Typhoons in Austria, which has been in a legal fight with European defense and aerospace giant Airbus over alleged overpricing.Austria bought the 15 Typhoons in 2002 in a contract worth €2 billion (US$2.28 billion) and has filed a lawsuit to recoup €1.1 billion  against Airbus.Airbus is leading the Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH consortium in manufacturing Typhoons in cooperation with other European defense firms, British BAE System and Italian Leonardo.The consortium has four assembly lines in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom as the four original users of Typhoon.Die Presse, however, said that selling Typhoons to Indonesia would be complicated, as it needed approval from the four countries.However, as the consortium did come to Indonesia for a roadshow in April 2015 offering the Typhoon, observers say it may not be that difficult to secure that approval.During the roadshow, in which the consortium brought a full-scale replica to state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia’s plant in Bandung, West Java, the consortium offered to move an assembly line from Spain to Bandung should Indonesia decide to procure the Typhoons.Austria’s Typhoons are from Tranche 1, a marker for basic operational capabilities, which focuses more on air-defense missions, while the consortium has offered upgrades to Tranches 2 and 3, which greatly improves the fighters’ ground attack capabilities.Earlier this year, news broke that Indonesia would buy Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft from France following Prabowo’s visit to the country in January.French newspaper La Tribune reported that Indonesia was interested in procuring 48 Rafale jet fighters, in addition to two Scorpene submarines and two Gowind corvettes.Both the Typhoon and Dassault Rafale (which translates to “gust of wind”) actually began as projects among the aforementioned European countries to build a common jet fighter in the late 1970s, before France decided to develop one on its own in 1985 due to differences in technical requirements — including whether a jet fighter should be carrier-capable.Currently, there are three major Rafale versions. The French Air Force uses the single-seater Rafale C and double-seater Rafale B, and the French Navy uses the Rafale M, which is carrier-capable.Meanwhile, Indonesia has yet to move forward with its $1.1 billion contract to buy 11 Su-35 Flanker-E “Super Flankers” from Russia due to financial complications and the possibility of facing sanctions from the United States through the latter’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).Although President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed Prabowo to put a lid on all foreign procurement, local defense companies do not have the capabilities to produce a jet fighter just yet.Indonesia is currently working to make its own jet fighters by securing a 20 percent share in South Korean’s KF-X program, which Indonesia joined in 2010.Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is working with PT DI to design and manufacture the jet fighter, in which Indonesia is projected to buy 48 aircraft while South Korea is slated to buy 120.The KF-X jet fighter will have its first roll out in 2021 and the first flight is scheduled in 2022, The Korea Herald reported on July 8.The Herald reported that there will be six prototypes and one will be delivered to Indonesia.“The first batch of mass-produced KF-X aircraft is expected between 2026 and 2028. They will be equipped with limited air-to-ground weapons in addition to air-to-air weapons,” the Korean newspaper reported.Topics :last_img read more

EU talks with Pfizer, Sanofi, J&J on COVID vaccines hit snags: Sources

first_imgEuropean efforts to secure potential COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson are mired in wrangles over price, payment method and potential liability costs, three EU officials told Reuters.The bloc is in talks with at least six vaccine makers to acquire up front doses of potential shots against the novel coronavirus, officials told Reuters earlier in July, in a strategy meant to increase the chances of having COVID-19 vaccines for its population.Despite the urgency to seal deals amid a global race to secure the most promising shots, the EU is struggling to reach swift agreements, said the officials, who are involved in the talks, and declined to be named because the negotiations are confidential. The United States, meanwhile, has already inked two supply agreements with AstraZeneca and Pfizer among other major funding deals.The EU’s negotiations with Johnson & Johnson are among the most advanced but have yet to conclude amid a back-and-forth over how to share liability costs if the potential vaccine showed unexpected side-effects, two of the officials told Reuters.Johnson & Johnson had no immediate comment.France’s Sanofi is negotiating to supply 300 million doses of the potential vaccine it is developing with British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc to the EU and wants an immediate upfront payment for the entire stock, two officials said. But the EU wants to pay in tranches and delay some payments until the vaccine has passed large clinical trials, the officials said.This has caused “some hurdles,” one of the officials said.A spokesman for Sanofi declined to comment.A spokesman for the Commission, which is leading EU talks with drugmakers, declined to comment.Aside from the Pfizer, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson discussions, the EU is also in talks with biotech companies Moderna and Germany’s CureVac, officials told Reuters earlier in July.Moderna and CureVac were not immediately available to comment.A deal with AstraZeneca for its vaccine under development with Oxford University was struck by four large EU countries in June and is now about to be completed for the whole 27-nation bloc, officials said.One official said the EU was seeking to seal three or four advance purchase deals.”OVER BUDGET”The most complex talks appear to be with Pfizer and BioNtech which are developing a vaccine using an experimental technology known as messenger RNA, or mRNA, which has not been approved for commercial use by medical authorities.The two firms want the EU to pay them for 500 million doses only if their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised, one official told Reuters.This might eliminate the EU’s risk of losing money should the shot prove unsuccessful. But the bloc fears that if it waits for the vaccine to be proved effective, the bill could be much higher and they risk going “over budget,” one of the officials said.In a further potential complication, some EU negotiators have raised doubts about mRNA, which is also used in the potential COVID vaccines developed by Moderna and CureVac.Pfizer and BioNtech are also discussing liability issues with EU negotiators, a fourth person familiar with the talks told Reuters.Pfizer and BioNTech declined to comment.The US government last week agreed to pay nearly $2 billion to buy enough of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to inoculate 50 million people, but with payments conditional on their vaccine being successful in large clinical trials.The price agreed under that deal of nearly $40 per course of treatment is considered too high by the EU, officials told Reuters last week.The EU is relying on about 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) from an emergency fund to finance its possible deals with vaccine makers, which could be topped up with payments from EU governments.For instance, the agreement with AstraZeneca initially negotiated by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands cost the four countries 750 million euros for 300 million doses of the potential shot, an Italian official said, with an option to buy a further 100 million doses.That works out at 2.5 euros per dose.It is not clear whether under ongoing talks that money will now be provided by the EU emergency fund. Topics :last_img read more

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang responds to angry Arsenal fans over mascot snub

first_img Arsenal players snub Norwich mascotTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:14FullscreenArsenal players snub Norwich mascothttps://metro.co.uk/video/arsenal-players-snub-norwich-mascot-2062234/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.‘It’s always great to meet our Junior Gunners mascot in the dressing room before every match.‘We hope Billy had a great day at Norwich on Sunday and it was a pleasure to meet him.’Aubameyang also followed up Chambers’ post to hit out at those who criticised Arsenal’s players over the video.The striker wrote: ‘Thanks Calum. I wanted to sleep but i saw these bull***** then wanted to reply but you quicker than me so I go back to sleep a bit.’ Comment Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 3 Dec 2019 9:46 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link936Shares Advertisement Calum Chambers and Aubameyang offered a response to the Arsenal mascot video (Twitter)Meanwhile Arsenal’s interim manager Freddie Ljungberg has responded to Paul Scholes after the former Manchester United midfielder criticised the Swede for not wearing a suit for the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Norwich on Sunday.‘I have seen the Premier League and seen coaches in a tracksuit, coaches with a suit, and I have seen coaches with a sweater, so I will decide on a match day what I will use,’ Ljungberg said.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenalcenter_img Advertisement Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang responds to angry Arsenal fans over mascot snub Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hit back at anger from fans over the Arsenal mascot video (Getty Images)Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hit out at Arsenal supporters who criticised the players after they appeared to snub a matchday mascot before their draw with Norwich City on Sunday.Gunners fans were angered after a video from Norwich’s Instagram stories showed Aubameyang, Shkodran Mustafi, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Calum Chambers all walk past a young Arsenal mascot without acknowledging him at Carrow Road.However, Chambers offered a response to the video by uploading several pictures of the mascot posing alongside several Arsenal players.Chambers also made fans aware that the mascot was invited into their dressing room before the game.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘The cameras sometimes only show one side of the story,’ Chambers posted.last_img read more

Ensuring buyers gain a clean slate

first_imgGeneric image,ENSURING you get a clean property on handover day might not be as straight forward as you think, writes REIQ Townsville zone chair Wayne Nicholson.A QUESTION that often arises when a buyer moves into a new property is about the cleanliness of the property and what the seller’s obligations are. From time to time, (it really is quite rare) a seller may not have left the house spotless. On moving day the new owners are disappointed to find a final vacuum would have benefited the floors and some Windex on the windows and glass surfaces would have been helpful. Unlike a tenancy agreement where the tenant agrees to return the property to the same state of cleanliness it was in when they moved in, there is no such requirement for a seller, generally speaking. In 38 years of selling houses, two issues continue to irritate me. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020The first is that the buyer assumes risk for the property on the second business day after signing the contract (and so must have insurance in place from that point) even though they don’t take possession of the property for another 30 days or more, depending on the settlement terms. The second thing is the seller is under no obligation to leave the home in a tidy, clean state for the buyer to move in to under the standard contract of sale.The contract simply makes no provision in the standard terms and conditions and is silent on the issue of leaving the home clean and lawns mowed. A tip for agents and buyers is to include a special condition that stipulates the property must be professionally cleaned prior to settlement. In the pre-settlement inspection a buyer can verify if cleaners have been and resolve any issues before they take possession of the keys upon settlement. This special condition is straightforward and ensures that everyone has a satisfactory experience when the property changes hands. The buyers are happy to move into a clean property and the sellers are happy, knowing they’ve secured happy buyers who won’t complicate the transaction. In almost four decades in real estate I have seen only a few occasions where the seller has made no attempt to clean the home. The buyers are left bitterly disappointed at the disgusting state of the property and it can get messy for the agent and their clients, the sellers. If that experience can be avoided, it’s worth every effort to do so.last_img read more

BROWNOUTS MUST STOP – SOLONS

first_imgAside from power service interruptions, some consumers have also expressed concern over their electric bills. They have thus banded together as “Koalisyon Bantay Kuryente” to protect and advance their rights as power consumers. The coalition would also be monitoring consumer complaints regarding their bills. Aquino said they won’t discount the possibility of pressing for an investigation, too, if necessary similar to ERC billing probes conducted by the regulatory body on other power distribution utilities in the country. Jose Allen Aquino, coalition coordinator, clarified, however, that their coverage is not just Iloilo City but the whole Panay Island. “’Yung mga consumers ng Iloilo sana hindi sila ma-apektuhan, lalo na ngayong pandemic. Ang problema talaga ‘yung mga long brownouts,” Lagon said.  Like Congressman Lagon, Abang Lingkod party-list’s Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano is also pressing for an investigation on the power situation in Iloilo City. He also enjoined the Department of Energy and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to investigate this matter soonest. He feared for them, said Supeña. They could be at risk of being evicted from the property they’ve called home for many years, he said. “Brownouts long and frequent are clearly a disservice to the people in Iloilo City and elsewhere,” he stressed. ILOILO City – Power interruptions, some lasting as long as 13 hours, continue to inconvenience consumers and businesses here. The latest power outage, stretching for some 10 hours, started on Saturday night, eve of Father’s Day.  “There is a need for the House Energy Committee and the ERC to look into the power situation in Iloilo to ensure the reliability and stability of the power supply and distribution there,” de Jesus said./PN For his part, PHILRECA (Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association) party-list’s Rep. Presley de Jesus said brownouts not only adversely affect the health and safety of the Ilonggos but also the operation of businesses, especially MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) which form a significant chunk of the Iloilo business landscape. Ruperto Supeña, coalition interim chairman, meanwhile disclosed that “almost 40,000 informal settlers”, especially those living along shorelines for decades, were offered instant connection for electricity but were asked to sign a waiver. Supeña also wondered if inspections were conducted and the technical requirements properly met for these electricity service connections. In Iloilo City, Aquino said consumers calling the office of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) about the brownouts felt dissatisfied. He said they wanted immediate solution or action. “During this time of pandemic, leaders of this country and officials of agencies involved in energy must show the people of Iloilo a sense of urgency to address this matter at the soonest possible time,” Paduano said. “Power is not something consumers should have to worry about, especially with the pandemic right now,” he stressed. The growing agitation of residents has prompted Rep. Sonny Lagon of Ako Bisaya party-list to reiterate his call to the House of Representatives to look into the power distribution situation in the city.last_img read more

Douglas wins AP female athlete of the year honors

first_imgby Nancy ArmourAP National Writer When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she’d make an appearance here and there.“I didn’t think it was going to be crazy,” Douglas said, laughing. “I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change.” Just a bit.The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics’ biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press’ female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made,” said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. “My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40 years old.’ But it’s starting to sink in.”In a year filled with standout performances by female athletes, those of the pint-sized gymnast shined brightest. Douglas received 48 of 157 votes, seven more than Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze in London. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open two years after her career was nearly derailed by a series of health problems, was third (24).Britney Griner, who led Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title, and skier Lindsey Vonn each got 18 votes. Sprinter Allyson Felix, who won three gold medals in London, and Carli Lloyd, who scored both U.S. goals in the Americans’ 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold-medal game, also received votes.“One of the few years the women’s (Athlete of the Year) choices are more compelling than the men’s,” said Julie Jag, sports editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.Douglas is the fourth gymnast to win one of the AP’s annual awards, which began in 1931, and first since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. She also finished 15th in voting for the AP sports story of the year.Douglas wasn’t even in the conversation for the Olympic title at the beginning of the year. That all changed in March when she upstaged reigning world champion and teammate Jordyn Wieber at the American Cup in New York, showing off a new vault, an ungraded uneven bars routine and a dazzling personality that would be a hit on Broadway and Madison Avenue.She finished a close second to Wieber at the U.S. championships, then beat her two weeks later at the Olympic trials. With each competition, her confidence grew. So did that smile.By the time the Americans got to London, Douglas had emerged as the most consistent gymnast on what was arguably the best team the U.S. has ever had.She posted the team’s highest score on all but one event in qualifying. She was the only gymnast to compete in all four events during team finals, when the Americans beat the Russians in a rout for their second Olympic title, and first since 1996. Two nights later, Douglas claimed the grandest prize of all, joining Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin as what Bela Karolyi likes to call the “Queen of Gymnastics.”But while plenty of other athletes won gold medals in London, none captivated the public quite like Gabby.Fans ask for hugs in addition to photographs and autographs, and people have left restaurants and cars upon spotting her. She made Barbara Walters’ list of “10 Most Fascinating People,” and Forbes recently named her one of its “30 Under 30.” She has deals with Nike, Kellogg Co. and AT&T, and agent Sheryl Shade said Douglas has drawn interest from companies that don’t traditionally partner with Olympians or athletes.“She touched so many people of all generations, all diversities,” Shade said. “It’s her smile, it’s her youth, it’s her excitement for life. … She transcends sport.”Douglas’ story is both heartwarming and inspiring, its message applicable those young or old, male or female, active or couch potato. She was just 14 when she convinced her mother to let her leave their Virginia Beach, Va., home and move to West Des Moines, Iowa, to train with Liang Chow, Shawn Johnson’s coach. Though her host parents, Travis and Missy Parton, treated Douglas as if she was their fifth daughter, Douglas was so homesick she considered quitting gymnastics.She’s also been open about her family’s financial struggles, hoping she can be a role model for lower income children.“I want people to think, ‘Gabby can do it, I can do it,’” Douglas said. “Set that bar. If you’re going through struggles or injuries, don’t let it stop you from what you want to accomplish.”The grace she showed under pressure — both on and off the floor — added to her appeal. When some fans criticized the way she wore her hair during the Olympics, Douglas simply laughed it off.“They can say whatever they want. We all have a voice,” she said. “I’m not going to focus on it. I’m not really going to focus on the negative.”Besides, she’s having far too much fun.Her autobiography, “Grace, Gold and Glory,” is No. 4 on the New York Times’ young adult list. She, Wieber and Fierce Five teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney recently wrapped up a 40-city gymnastics tour. She met President Barack Obama last month with the rest of the Fierce Five, and left the White House with a souvenir.“We got a sugar cookie that they were making for the holidays,” Douglas said. “I took a picture of it.”Though her busy schedule hasn’t left time to train, Douglas insists she still intends to compete through the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.No Olympic champion has gone on to compete at the next Summer Games, but Douglas is still a relative newcomer to the elite scene — she’d done all of four international events before the Olympics — and Chow has said she hasn’t come close to reaching her full potential. She keeps up with Chow through email and text messages, and plans to return to Iowa after her schedule clears up in the spring.Of course, plenty of other athletes have said similar things and never made it back to the gym. But Douglas is determined, and she gets giddy just talking about getting a new floor routine.“I think there’s even higher bars to set,” she said.Because while being an Olympic champion may have changed her life, it hasn’t changed her.“I may be meeting cool celebrities and I’m getting amazing opportunities,” she said. “But I’m still the same Gabby.”(AP Projects Editor Brooke Lansdale contributed to this report.) FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR–Gabrielle Douglas of the United States displays her gold medal in the artistic gymnastics women’s individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Douglas, who became the first African-American gymnast to win the all-around Olympic title, is The Associated Press’ 2012 female athlete of the year. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) last_img read more