RSF urges EU to demand on Swedish publisher’s release as condition to continue investment negotiations with China

first_img June 2, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesInternational bodies Imprisoned ChinaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesInternational bodies Imprisoned PHOTO: EUROPEAN COUNCIL to go further Receive email alerts During a virtual summit between the European Union (EU) and China on 14th September, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, Representative of the German presidency to the EU Council, have shown an increased firmness in their discussion with President Xi Jinping regarding the planned investment agreement.Reporters Without Borders (RSF) now calls on the EU to act with the same firmness on press freedom and demand for the release of Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, founder of a Hong Kong publishing house known for its investigations on Chinese leaders, as a condition for any further negotiation.“Democracy and respect for human rights, including press freedom, are the fundamental values upon which the European Union constructed itself and must be upheld in the face of authoritarian regimes”, insists Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau head. “If the EU does not show more firmness, the Chinese regime will feel authorised to kidnap and detain, with impunity, any foreign national whose journalistic activity is deemed displeasing.”Gui Minhai was abducted in Thailand in 2015 and reappeared on Chinese state TV for a confession months later. In February 2020, the 55 year-old publisher was sentenced to ten years in prison under the charge of “illegally providing intelligence to foreign countries” despite serious health concerns.RSF repeatedly called for Gui’s release and submitted his case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. On 15th November, 2019 Gui Minhai was awarded the Tucholsky Prize by the Swedish PEN, an association defending freedom of speech.China is the world’s biggest captor of journalists with at least 118 of them detained in life-threatening conditions and ranks 177th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index published by RSF. News Organisation Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes September 29, 2020 RSF urges EU to demand on Swedish publisher’s release as condition to continue investment negotiations with China Newscenter_img Help by sharing this information RSF_en China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Follow the news on China News News China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the EU to stand firm on press freedom and demand Swedish publisher Gui Minhai’s release as a condition to continue investment negotiations with China. April 27, 2021 Find out more March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Small Trees.

first_imgFor most of us, the biggest challenge to planting is selectingthe right plants. Trees are planted for the long term, and correctselection is critical to success.Most homeowners have relatively limited space and can’t accommodatelarge trees such as oaks and pines. Fortunately, several smalltrees perform well in Georgia and fit in small places, includingunder utility lines.Try TheseHere are a magnificent seven of these small trees:(1) American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is anative small tree. Also known as ironwood or musclewood, it’snamed for the smooth, gray, fluted trunk. The tree can grow to25 feet high and 20 feet wide. The leaves can provide yellow tobright orange-red color in the fall.(2) Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a fairlycommon landscape tree that’s native to the Southeast. Growingto 25 feet high and 30 feet wide, it’s a fairly heavy-branching,multistem tree with dark green leaves. The flowers of the nativespecies are reddish purple at bud stage, opening to a lighterpink. Many cultivars have other flower colors. The plant doeswell as an understory tree but also performs well in the fullsun in Georgia. The leaves turn a bold yellow in the fall.(3) Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a greatsmall tree that performs best in a shady or understory environment.It grows to 25 feet high and equally wide. The early-spring flowersare greenish-white to white and can last about two weeks. Somecultivars offer other flower colors and even variegated leaves,but native seedlings seem to do best, especially in south Georgia.(4) American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus) is a small,rounded tree growing to about 25 feet high and 20 feet wide. Theflower-related parts are hairy and can be quite pronounced, whichgives rise to the common name. Fall color can be spectacular,ranging from orange to red to purple.(5) Two-winged Carolina silverbell (Halesia diptera)is relatively little-known native tree that reaches about 25 feethigh and 20 feet wide. It’s a multistem, low-branched tree thatcan be used in sun or shade, but definitely prefers shade. Insouth Georgia, the leaves may bleach out or turn yellow underwater stress in the full sun. The plant is named for the white,bell-shaped flowers that hang from the stem in early spring. Inthe fall, the leaves turn a bold yellow.(6) Commonly used holly (Ilex) species, cultivarsand hybrids include: (1) Savannah holly, an upright, open-growthtree with light green leaves that does well in tough sites andusually has abundant berries; (2) Foster holly, an upright, denselybranching plant with dark green, high-gloss leaves, that can beshaped easily with light pruning (perhaps the most popular clonesof this hybrid are Foster No. 2 and No. 3); and (3) East Palatkaholly, which was discovered in the wilds near East Palatka, Fla.,and is similar to Savannah but with darker green leaves.(7) Little Gem Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) isa cultivar of the more common large southern magnolia. LittleGem grows only to about 20 feet high. The tree will flower ata very small size (3 to 4 feet) and has blooms through the summer.It does best in full sun but will stay fairly dense under shade.Plantings of this small tree can create a very effective hedgeor screen.last_img read more

My Not-So-Psychic Experience With ‘Long Island Medium’ Theresa Caputo

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York After my father died suddenly five years ago, I found myself sitting in the upstairs alcove of a high ranch in Kings Park that was decorated in gaudy crucifixes and adorable cherubs. Across from me sat the medium a friend had sworn by. A medium who had told my husband the day before that she’d been visited by my father and that he wanted to talk to me.She wasn’t the first psychic medium I’d been to. And most certainly wasn’t the last. She described my father as a veteran (he was), who liked to cook (he did). She gave details about how he died, and described how he’d lived. The message she said he wished to relay to me resonated, quite deeply, but it was what she said to me as we were talking about my budding writing career that turned me into a believer.“She gets it from me,” the medium told me my father had said. As a joke.A wiseass even in the afterlife? That was what cemented the unbelievable truth to me that my dead father was right there in the room with me.And so it was with an open mind that I attended Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on December 17. The packed house was rife with nervous laughter and quiet murmurs as the audience filed in an hour before she came onto Westbury’s iconic round stage, set with a high table draped in white cloth, holding lit white candles and a white floral bouquet.Caputo finally walked out in sky-high sparkly Christian Louboutins and a flouncy dress to thunderous applause. She briefed the audience about what to expect, counseling us to please accept anything we could connect to our lives as messages to us from our departed loved ones from “beyond the physical world.” She said she couldn’t stress it enough, and she was true to her word, as she continuously reminded the audience throughout the next two and a half hours to interpret her words as direct messages, especially if she failed to address each of us individually.“It’s so nice to be home,” the Hicksville mom told the Westbury audience. “Everybody understands my accent!”The audience laughed in recognition as she enunciated words like “feather’ and “father” as “feath-ah” and “fath-ah.”Caputo announced that she wasn’t out to prove anything to anybody or to make anyone believe in mediums, echoing a sentiment she’d expressed when I’d interviewed her over the phone a few days earlier. She explained that she was there to validate for us all the feelings that, essentially, there was more to life than life. If we’d thought that maybe we’d seen the shadow of someone who’d died in the halls of our homes, we had. If we could have sworn we heard the voice of our dead mothers, or had been visited in our dreams by loved ones who’d passed, we weren’t crazy.“It’s real,” she reiterated, over and over, throughout the “experience.”And then she was ready to get started. A team with microphones and video cameras flanked her every move, anticipating to whom she would speak, and transmitting their faces on screens to the whole audience so that we could all watch the magic up-close. She approached a section in the front of the stage, asking, “Who connects with a brother figure?”Two people immediately raised their hands. She told them that the fact that she was channeling the souls of their brothers meant that those souls were at peace.“Do you understand that?” she asked, an oft-repeated refrain throughout the night.They nodded.Caputo moved on to a man who said he had lost his wife to Alzheimer’s disease. She told him that she saw the woman jumping up and down, symbolizing that she was free in the afterlife, no longer bedridden.“She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s anymore, do you understand?”The man nodded.Caputo asked a well-dressed woman wearing a pink button-down blouse how she could connect with the color mauve. She told the audience that she was seeing a woman in a mauve-colored suit or jacket. The woman nodded, saying that her mother had been an executive secretary. She was sure, she said, that she must have had a mauve suit at some point. But she wasn’t sure.It didn’t seem certain that the mother’s fashion sense matched that of her daughter.Caputo moved on, peppering the audience with questions like, “Why am I connecting with a mother figure over here?” and “How does the number three connect?”Hands shot up all over the theater and Caputo made busy work climbing the steep aisle ramps in her stiletto heels. Her husband Larry, easy to spot as a frequent co-star on her show Long Island Medium, lurked along the edges of the crowd, moving around.Caputo made quite a few direct hits, like when she asked a man, “Did you mother work in fashion?” to which he replied, “She was a seamstress.”“Perfect!” was Caputo’s reply when it seemed she made an exact match. It was her version of “Bingo!”Clearly emboldened, Caputo continued, making some more specific claims, like, “I have a young woman who is telling me she was shot by her boyfriend or spouse.”Three audience members stood to claim that soul as their own, which perhaps says more about the issue of rampant gun violence than it does about psychic ability.Caputo stood on the round stage, looking up into the audience. She walked over to a section she hadn’t been in yet and started talking to a young woman who was sitting beside her mother. The woman had lost her uncle and had come for some closure.“Why do I feel like he drowned?” she asked, clutching her chest. She relayed that she felt fluid rising in her chest, and that this was the spirit communicating how he’d died.The niece shook her head no. That wasn’t her uncle.Caputo insisted, refusing to move, saying that the spirit was instructing her that the person he wanted to connect with was there. She questioned the surrounding people, asking again about a drowning.Then she announced that she wanted to speak with the mother of a young child who had drowned in a backyard pool during a party.The audience gasped in both horror and delight. This is what we had come to see.Yet no one seemed to fit the bill. A woman said that she lost someone who had drowned in river runoff, in about seven feet of water, and she wondered how, as the deceased stood about 6-foot-4. Caputo shook her head. That wasn’t who she was looking for.She approached the woman with the dead uncle again.“My uncle had a boat?” she offered.That wasn’t it.“He built pools,” the woman said, pointing to her mother. “He built her pool.”That wasn’t it, either. Finally the mother told Caputo and the audience that when he had died (of pancreatic cancer), his lungs had filled up with fluid.“Perfect!” Caputo declared.The doubt that had started to creep into my mind early on in the show now made a full-court press. I wasn’t buying it, any of it.Caputo threw out more questions to the audience, asking specific questions that, when they weren’t met with nods of agreement, became described as merely symbols of other, more general things.For example, she asked a grieving mother who had lost her grown son, “Why do I feel like you are holding him when he died?”When the woman shrugged, Caputo quickly covered by saying that that means he believes that she was always there for him.“Do you smell him?” Caputo questioned another.When there was no response, she immediately clarified that this meant that it seemed as if that person was still there, even though he had passed some time ago.Caputo told a woman who was mourning her mother that she was seeing “red spots all over her body.” But the woman stated that her mother had had ALS. When Caputo said, “I don’t know,” the woman clarified, “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”Caputo nodded. A debilitating disease all over the body. Perfect, she said.Caputo told a woman who seemed quite obviously gay that her father approved of her lifestyle, did she understand?We all understood.She seemed annoyed when a woman answered the question about a “father-figure” with the fact that he was her uncle.“It’s your uncle. That’s a father-figure,” Caputo dismissed. “Same thing.”She approached a mother and son and began to talk with them about the man’s brother. She hit on a few questions, like when she asked if he wore a religious medallion in honor of the brother and the man produced it right there, from under his shirt. Then she asked what the number three meant to him, and he responded that he had a 3-year-old daughter.“I Googled that!” she wise-cracked to the crowd in self-congratulation, a wink and a nod to allegations that she and her staff research details about audience members in anticipation of her shows, only to produce them later as part of the psychic act.As the session wound down, Caputo continued in the same vein, joking with the audience, her signature Lawn Guyland-ese carrying over NYCB Theatre. The people seated around us, and up onscreen, dotted their red-rimmed eyes with tissues fished out of pocketbooks, while still others exited the theater before the performance ended. The reviews, it seemed, were mixed.After the show, Caputo announced that two lucky audience members had been randomly chosen to meet her backstage. I had been lucky enough to have been given meet-and-greet passes as well, so I waited along with perhaps 20 or so other people after the show ended for the chance to meet Caputo in person.She emerged from backstage, her outfit changed from the dress to a black jumpsuit, the Louboutins mercifully gone. She chatted with small groups as her staff brought them to her, one by one.When it was our turn to meet her, I introduced myself as a reporter from the Press, and reminded her that we had spoken a few days before.“I hope you enjoyed the experience,” she told me. “It was a lovely article, I appreciate it very much.”I took the opportunity to ask if she ever came into contact with spirits who were not at peace and that if the souls she encountered were in Heaven, did she ever speak to those who were in the opposing resting place?“I don’t channel those souls,” she said, flat-out. “I only channel souls that walk in God’s white light.”Then she said to me something oddly curious.“You know, the first two people that just came? The one girl—it was a mother and daughter—and she said the kid that drowned in the backyard at the pool party? She said, ‘That was my son, I just couldn’t even speak.’”“She says, ‘I want to thank you because he died many years ago at a pool party.’ She left, she’s like, ‘You have no idea. You changed my life.’ It’s amazing,” continued Caputo.Amazing coincidence indeed that this particular woman had possessed one of the few backstage passes. Perhaps even more so—and pretty convenient, too, I’d say—that Caputo was able to relay this conversation to a reporter who’d witnessed what had seemed to be a pretty big miss earlier.Was this an incredible coincidence or merely an attempt at damage control?For me, this unbelievable experience was simply that: not to be believed. In my humble opinion, Caputo is a damn good performer, and she’s got undeniably likeable sass and charisma.I just don’t think she speaks with the dead. Or she didn’t the night that I saw her.But my father probably could have told you that.last_img read more

Pogba’s financial ripple spreads across Europe

first_imgTelevision revenues are the main cause of the difference between England and France. At 726 million euros a year, Ligue 1 domestic rights are less than half those of the Premier League.But Spain is showing the way to catch up, according to Tim Bridge, a senior manager at Deloitte’s sports business division.“The key for me is the development of the Spanish league,” Bridge told AFP.“They have gone out to sell TV rights centrally and seen an initial rise in how much they can generate, which is signficant.“In the future, we predict the Spanish league will come second to the EPL and there is no reason why they can’t kick on and generate the same amount in TV money.”Bridge insisted “there will be a closing of the gap” between England and Spain, although other European leagues have not yet found a formula to rival the Premier League.“If you watch the EPL now it is a product. They have created something. The grass is the greenest it can ever be, the stadia are always full, or nearly full, and the product is very attractive,” said the analyst.La Liga has in recent months taken action to cut back on empty seats in stadiums.“They are trying to create a product that is more available and appropriate for a global audience which is what is driving the value alongside what is going on on the pitch,” said Bridge.The German league’s cheaper tickets, less than half the average price of English clubs, keeps Bundesliga crowds high.But Germany, like other championships, worries about losing fans in the fantastic sums now being paid for players who generate as much news as pop stars.Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said fans can no longer relate to the money being spent on players.“When it’s just about money and transactions, we lose sight of the fact we’re dealing with people,” he said.  NBA effect But Javier Tebas, president of La Liga warned this year that there is a risk of the Premier League becoming “the NBA of football, and that would not be good for us, not for the sport”.Despite the presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Spanish top division, its revenues from television and other sources are less than half that of the Premier League.“We do not want the Premier League as a leader one step ahead of the rest,” Tebas said. Share on: WhatsAppcenter_img Berlin, Germany | AFP | Premier League clubs hunting the likes of Paul Pogba spent ten times as much as French Ligue 1 counterparts during the transfer window, but envious rivals are nervously laughing all the way to the bank.The 20 English Premier League clubs laid out 1.165 billion pounds (1.38 billion euros/$1.54 billion) in two months up to Wednesday, provoking delight and fright in equal measures amongst Europe’s other leagues.In comparison, Italy’s Serie A clubs spent about £590 million, the German Bundesliga £460 million, Spain’s La Liga £400 million and France’s Ligue 1 just £165 million, according to the Deloitte consultancy.The world record £89 million that Manchester United paid Juventus caused a “Pogba effect” that helped the Italian team buy Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain for an Italian record 90 million euros.Germany’s Bundesliga reaped the most benefit of the English raids.About 190 million euros of the Premier League spree landed in the bank accounts of German clubs. Another 176 million euros went to Spanish clubs and 161 million euros to Italian sides, according to the website.Enriched by a £5.14 billion domestic TV rights deal, 13 of the 20 Premier League clubs broke their transfer records this year and most of those mega fees went on foreign players like Algerian Islam Slimani, who joined English champions Leicester City for an estimated £29.7 million.Christian Heidel, sporting director for Germans Schalke, who sold Leroy Sane to Manchester City for 42 million euros, said this week that prices rise as soon as an English club comes knocking.“If English managers are on the phone, then the (transfer) sums are automatically higher,” he said.last_img read more

Kobe got it right: 2012 Team USA would’ve beaten 1992 Dream Team

first_imgby Perry GreenFor New Pittsburgh Courier Can the 2012 U.S. national men’s basketball team beat 1992’s original Dream Team?That question has been the hottest sports topic of discussion throughout the past week, and it all started when Kobe Bryant, a member of the 2012 Team USA squad told reporters that his team could take out the Dream Team. HALL OF FAMERS—USA’s Michael Jordan sails high above teammate Magic Johnson knocking away a shot during a preliminary round game with Croatia at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona on July 12, 1992. Jordan told The Associated Press July 12, that he laughed, “I absolutely laughed”, when hearing Kobe Bryant’s comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan, File) Since then, several pundits have labeled Bryant’s comments ridiculous. Nonsense, they say. Even Michael Jordan, easily the best player of the ‘92 team and arguably the greatest player ever, dismissed Bryant’s claims by laughing at them when a reporter brought them to his attention.But what’s even funnier is that if both teams actually did face off, Bryant would not only have the last laugh, but I believe that Jordan knows deep down inside that Kobe is right.Most sports columnists and National Basketball Association (NBA) experts that have debated this topic have all seemed to agree about the same thing: they all believe that it’s only natural for Kobe to say that any team that he plays for would win the game. They all believe that Kobe’s fierce competitive nature wouldn’t allow him to admit that he could lose to anyone.I agree. That same competitive spirit helped him win five NBA titles with 14 All-Star Game appearances.But I also think the same of six-time NBA champ Michael Jordan. I think Jordan’s competitive ego is worst than Kobe’s and he’d never admit to the possibility of losing either.So if both Kobe and MJ are both calling each other’s bluff, who would actually win?After careful deliberation, I’d have to go with Kobe’s 2012 squad.Bryant explained both the advantages and disadvantages the 2012 team would have against the Dream Team.“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, [the Dream Team] obviously have a lot more size than we do—you know, with (David) Robinson and (Patrick) Ewing and (Karl) Malone and those guys,” Bryant told reporters in Las Vegas during the Team USA’s practice. “But they were also —some of those wing players—were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete. So I don’t know. It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”The young “racehorses” Kobe mentioned includes reigning NBA Finals MVP LeBron James, three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant, and five-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Each of these three forwards stands at least six feet eight inches tall, and can not only dominate from the wing but can also bang with the big boys down in the paint.Malone, Ewing and Robinson of the “Dream Team” each stand nearly seven feet tall so their size would give the 2012 squad problems, just as Kobe hinted. The only seven-footer on the 2012 team is New York Knicks starting center Tyson Chandler, who won Defensive Player of the Year last season and helped the Dallas Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title. I have no doubt that Chandler would hold his own against the Dream Team’s big boys. Chandler can’t guard them all by himself, but he could contain Robinson.Malone, Ewing and even Charles Barkley, one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, would have an advantage over the 2012 team’s power forwards, consisting of former Kentucky University star forward/center Anthony Davis and Minnesota Timberwolves star forward/center Kevin Love.But let’s not act like Love and Davis are bums. Davis, the National College Player of the Year, was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft and is expected to develop into a combination of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, arguably the two best power forwards to ever play basketball. Love didn’t receive the same hype Davis did when he was drafted into the NBA in 2008, but he has made a great impact within his first four years in the league, earning two trips to the NBA All-Star game while averaging 26 points with 15 rebounds last season.Love’s 26 points and 15 rebounds matches Barkley’s career-highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds averaged during the 1993 season when he won the NBA’s MVP award. Barkley stood six-feet six inches tall, weighing 250 pounds during his prime, while Love stands six-feet 10-inches tall at 260 pounds; with those measurements, it’s safe to assume Love could hold his own against Barkley.With all that being said, the 2012 team’s weakness in size doesn’t appear as much of a disadvantage as initially thought. Meanwhile, the Dream Team still has its weakness in old age, especially on the wing.Besides Jordan and his former Chicago Bulls running mate Scottie Pippen, every other wing player for the Dream Team was either too old or outmatched to stand a chance defending the 2012 team’s wing players.Larry Bird, a co-captain of ’92 team, is one of the all-time greats when it comes to pro basketball, but he would have been too old defending young stars like LeBron, Carmelo and Durant. The same thing can be said about Clyde “the Glide” Drexler; he was great player, but he would have been embarrassed trying to guard the young run-and-gunners of this summer’s Olympic team. And same goes for Dream Team reservist Chris Mullen.The Dream Team had who I believe is the greatest point guard to ever play basketball in Magic Johnson, but he was also too old at that point of his career to defend the star point guards of the 2012 team, which includes Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook. And Magic’s backup, John Stockton, would have been “cooked” trying to defend Paul, Williams and Westbrook, too.It’s hard for any basketball fan over the age of 30 to believe that the Dream Team would lose to anyone. That’s like telling me as a child that Superman would lose in a fight to the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. I grew up watching Superman beat everyone so I don’t want to hear anything about anyone being able to take down the greatest super hero of all time.But contrary to their phenomenal abilities on the court, basketball players aren’t super heroes; they’re humans. And humans can’t escape Father Time. We all get old and we all get beaten.And the same would have happened to the team we remember as the Dream Team.(Perry Green is sports editor for the Afro American newspapers.)last_img read more

Downtown Olympia Parking Survey Now Open

first_imgFacebook95Tweet0Pin0Submitted by City of OlympiaTell us what you think about downtown parking! Complete a short online survey and your feedback will be used to shape Olympia’s new Parking Strategy. The survey is open now through March 3 at data will be compiled and given to the City’s consultant, Berk Consulting, who was hired to assist with developing the Parking Strategy. Learn more about the project at will be additional opportunity to comment about downtown parking, including a hosted open house in May.last_img

JCP&L Faulty Wire Causes Red Bank Power Outage

first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – Amy Hanbury, general manager of DoubleTake consignment boutique, talking about the loud bangs, smoke and flames on Broad Street that resulted in the loss of power and business for some on Sunday afternoon, describing it as “crazy.”“The worst part was the smoke,” Hanbury said, noting how it billowed out of the contained belowground compartments on the sidewalks. Adding to the confusion, police blocked off the stretch of Broad Street in the area of St. James Roman Catholic Church from pedestrians and prevented Hanbury, employees and customers from leaving or entering the 97 Broad St. shop. “So, it was time to go,” and Hanbury closed the shop early.At about 3:10 p.m. on Sunday, Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) received the first call about disruption in service that ultimately affected 260 Red Bank area customers, according to Ron Morano, a JCP&L spokesman.“We had a crew respond by 3:30 (p.m.),” Morano said. And the crew found that a secondary wire located in what Morano called a “hand-hole” (less than 4-feet deep that holds electrical wires), on the sidewalk in the Broad Street/Canal Street area, in the immediate proximity of Red Bank Catholic High School, had experienced a fault.A secondary wire is one that feeds into a service point and provides electric to individual customers, he explained.The fault “resulted in that wire burning,” causing smoke in that hand-hole and another one in the area, Morano said.The electric company has not determined what caused the fault and is still investigating. Power was restored to all but 10 customers by approximately 9:30 p.m. Crews worked through Sunday night and the remaining 10 customers had their power restored by 6 a.m., Monday, Morano said.The hand-holes contain only wires and no other equipment was damaged, Morano said.Police detoured traffic in the area and closed the sidewalks to pedestrians for approximately 90 minutes, along with evacuating St. James Roman Catholic Church and one Broad Street business, said Police Chief Darren McConnell.There were no injuries and no property damage with the exception to JCP&L’s belowground pit, McConnell said.While aboveground equipment, such as downed wires and malfunctioning transformers can be regular occurrences, “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” with electric underground equipment malfunctioning, McConnell observed. “But JCP&L was there quickly and were able to isolate the outages to a small area.”Marie Ventralla, general manager of oneblowdrybar salon, 116 Broad St., was the business that had to be evacuated. She said there were a series of six explosions, flames and “a lot of smoke,” from the holes, which unnerved employees and customers. “It was kind of wild,” she observed, and led to closing the salon for the day and disappointing clients with appointments.“It was weird. The manhole cover blew,” and flames were visible, said Harrison Bern, the manager on duty at the time at Earth Pizza restaurant, 95 Broad St.“I’m not going to argue the definition of ‘explosion,’ ” Morano said, but conceded, “granted, when the fault occurred there was probably some type of loud noise, “and “there very well could have been a flame.”That being said, Morano insisted, “Our equipment did not explode.”Explosion or not Sunday’s event led school officials to close Red Bank Catholic and St. James Elementary school on Monday and cancel early Mass services on Monday, as a precaution, even though the schools and church didn’t lose power, according to Red Bank Catholic’s school office.last_img read more

SA astronomer unveils the stars

first_imgThe cover of the new coffee-table book by Professors David Block and Ken Freeman, titled Shrouds of the Night. (Image: David Block) From left: Stephen Hawking, Neil Turok, Nelson Mandela, Pik Botha and David Block, photographed during Hawking’s visit to SA in May 2008. (Image: David Block) Eminent astronomer David Block.Janine ErasmusA new book published by distinguished South African astronomer David Block and his Australian colleague Ken Freeman will sweep aside the clouds of cosmic dust that have obscured our view of our galaxy and those around us.To coincide with the International Year of Astronomy, the two academics have published a 436-page treatise titled Shrouds of the Night: Masks of the Milky Way and Our Awesome New View of Galaxies. Launched in South Africa in January 2009, the lyrically-written book is the result of an eight-year collaboration and promises to reveal fascinating new glimpses into the structure of the universe.Because they have now discovered that the universe is much more symmetrical than was first thought, the pair has also been able to develop a new system of galaxy classification. Their system is based on symmetrical patterns rather than existing criteria such as magnitude, resolvability, brightness and roundness of galaxies.Such a system was previously unattainable because of the obscuring effect of vast clouds of galactic dust – the shrouds of the night mentioned in the book’s title.Block and Freeman used the technique of near-infrared photography to capture their groundbreaking starry images. With the help of an infrared camera mounted on Nasa’s Spitzer space telescope, they were able to pierce the galactic dust that for centuries had prevented astronomers from accurately seeing what the universe really looks like.Minute chemical factoriesFor many years astronomers believed that the dark patches between stars were devoid of matter. Now it is a known fact that these are no vacant holes, but rather are filled with cosmic dust.These dust grains are so cold, say Block and Freeman in their book, that any chemical matter they encounter will stick to them. At temperatures of up to -253°C, grains accumulate frozen shells of water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and other molecules. Simple molecules are converted into more complex compounds under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, turning the dust grains into veritable chemical factories – albeit very tiny ones. Thus evolves the universe.The book also delves into the mystery of the dark matter that surrounds galaxies. Freeman, an expert on the subject, wrote extensively on dark matter in his book The Hunt for Dark Matter in Galaxies. He said that most galaxies are enveloped in huge dark halos that contain up to 20 times as much mass as the luminous stars and cold gas in the galaxies themselves, but that emit no light at all.Pioneering astrophotographers    Shrouds of the Night features background information on general photography, and highlights work from astrophotography pioneers such as Isaac Roberts, who in 1887 took the first permanent image of M31, the spiral galaxy in the Andromeda constellation, and Edward Barnard, who specialised in taking pictures of the Milky Way and also discovered Amalthea, the fifth moon of Jupiter.Once the reader has absorbed the importance of this early work, the authors then present their new view of the cosmos, obtained using some of the most advanced ground and space-based telescopes.One of these is the Spitzer space telescope, which was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2003. Spitzer is the largest infrared telescope ever launched, and with its highly sensitive instruments has peered into regions that have always been blocked to optical telescopes by dense clouds of gas and dust. Infrared light penetrates the dust to reveal what lies behind – star formations, the centres of galaxies, and newly forming planetary systems.A stellar careerDavid Block, Director of the Anglo American Cosmic Dust Laboratory and Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Wits University, is held in the highest esteem by the international astronomical fraternity.“I wanted to pursue studies in astronomy and my father was my biggest supporter,” said Block in an interview some years ago. “Leon Block always encouraged me to question things, to look beyond the ordinary and to make up my own mind. After all, we were Jews and that was part of our tradition as well.”Block holds a masters degree in Relativistic Astrophysics and a Ph.D. in Astronomy, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London at the tender age of 19. Since then his career has soared and he has been a visiting astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, the Institute of Astronomy in Hawaii, and Harvard’s Centre for Astrophysics.Block is the only South African researcher whose work has twice made the cover of Nature, the respected international journal of science. In 2006 he received Wits University’s highest research accolade, the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award. A popular motivational speaker, he is also the resident astronomer on Talk Radio 702 and CapeTalk Radio.American astronomer John Kormendy has this to say about Block: “David Block is to South Africa what Carl Sagan was to American astronomy – his pioneering discoveries are reshaping astronomical paradigms, and his imprint on human culture is a legacy to all South Africans as you build your future in the technological 21st century.”Ken Freeman is Duffield Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University in Canberra. Considered to be one of the fathers of the dark matter field of study, Freeman was a fellow of Cambridge’s Trinity College and has taught at institutions such as Leiden University, the University of Groningen and the University of Texas. He is one of Australia’s most frequently cited scientists.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesPredicting storms in spaceSouth Africa takes to spaceAfrican eyes on the universeUseful linksProfessor David BlockWitwatersrand UniversityNatureSpitzer space telescopeJohannesburg planetariumInternational Year of AstronomyCool Cosmos – infrared astronomylast_img read more

Gujarat floods: Narmada dam gates opened for first time after installation

first_imgThe Gujarat government on August 9 opened 26 of the 30 gates at the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam for the first time after they were installed in 2017 to maintain the water level of 131.18 m allowed by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in the reservoir.The total height of the dam is 139 m but the NCA has allowed Gujarat to fill the dam at 131.18 m.The gates were opened after a huge inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh owing to extremely heavy rainfall in the Narmada catchment areas in the State.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and top officials, including Chief Secretary J.N. Singh, K. Kailashbathan and Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam MD Rajiv Kumar Gupta, visited the dam site after the gates were opened by the authorities.“With heavy inflows in #SardarSarovarDam, we started River Bed Power House (1200 MW) after a gap of two years!” Dr. Gupta tweeted on Thursday.Meanwhile, with the release of water from the dam, the administration has alerted three districts downstream — Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara — about potential flooding in low-lying villages there.The government has also closed several bridges for traffic movement as the Narmada is flowing at danger level.Gujarat continues to receive medium to heavy rainfall as part of south western monsoon in the country. On Thursday, parts of Central Gujarat received extremely heavy downpour, leading to floods in Chhota Udepur district, as all major rivers are overflowing in the region.According to a State government release, 168 talukas received rain in the last 24 hours and as a result, 14 dams and reservoirs had overflowed, while the total monsoon rainfall in the State stood at 66.41% in the current season.To deal with floods, the State has deployed 18 teams of NDRF and 11 teams of SDRF at different locations.last_img read more

Duke rises to No. 1 in AP poll again, Kansas drops to 5th

first_imgNo. 20 North Carolina State (11-1) moved into the poll for the first time since 2013 after knocking off then-No. 7 Auburn on Wednesday and South Carolina Upstate on Saturday.No. 25 Oklahoma is ranked for the first time since hitting No. 4 in last year’s poll.VOTER DEATHIndiana beat writer and AP Top 25 poll voter Terry Hutchens died last week after being critically injured in an automobile collission. He was 60.“Hutch” covered the Hoosiers for CNHI Sports Indiana . FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo, Duke guard Tre Jones gestures to teammates during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Texas Tech in New York. Duke has regained the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 following a win over No. 12 Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)Duke moved to No. 1 after blowing out Kentucky in its season opener, only to lose the top spot two weeks later with a loss to Gonzaga in Maui.Well, the Blue Devils are back at No. 1.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño MOST READ Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue ‘Difficult, rewarding’ For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Following a 21-point win over Air Force in their only game last week, the Wolverines (12-0) moved up two spots in this week’s poll, passing Tennessee.Michigan has its highest ranking since hitting No. 1 during the 2012-13 season and still has that stifling defense, allowing 55.8 points per game, good for third nationally.VOLS JUST SHORTTennessee won in two blowouts last week and added 10 more first-place votes than the week before.It wasn’t good enough to keep the Vols ahead of undefeated Michigan.Tennessee, which lost to Kansas on Nov. 23, finished a single point behind the Wolverines in the overall voting, 1,472 to 1,471.BUZZING HOKIESVirginia Tech entered the 2018-19 season with high expectations. The Hokies are living up to those so far under coach Buzz Williams.Virginia Tech moved into the top 10 for the first time since 1995-96 after beating North Carolina A&T in its only game last week.The Hokies have one blemish on their record, by one at Penn State, and have a win over then-ranked Purdue on their resume. The Blue Devils stayed in the top spot until a rally against Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational title game came up short. Duke worked its way up to No. 2 and slid into the top spot after routing Princeton and holding off No. 12 Texas Tech last week.The 69-58 win over the previously-unbeaten Red Raiders had a March-like feel at Madison Square Garden as two Elite Eight teams from a year ago played for the first time.“This is a great night for college basketball,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.WOLVERINES RISINGMichigan’s follow-up to its national title-game run a year ago keeps chugging along.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. No. 6 Nevada, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Florida State and Virginia Tech rounded out the top 10.Duke (11-1) started the season No. 4 in the preseason poll, but moved to No. 1 for a record-tying 135th week in the first regular-season poll after turning its opener against then-No. 2 Kentucky into a laugher. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Buoyed by a win over No. 12 Texas Tech and Kansas’ loss at No. 18 Arizona State, Duke moved atop The Associated Press Top 25 released on Monday, receiving 35 of 64 first-place votes.No. 2 Michigan received nine first-place votes, No. 3 Tennessee got 12, and No. 4 Virginia and No. 5 Kansas received four each.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SUN DEVILS (BARELY) RISINGNo. 17 Arizona State picked up one of the biggest wins in program history by knocking off top-ranked Kansas 80-76.The Sun Devils (9-2) picked up only one spot in this week’s poll, thanks to a road loss to Vanderbilt the previous Sunday.The Jayhawks dropped four spots to No. 5, but should get big man Udoka Azubuike back soon after he missed four games with a sprained ankle.RISING AND FALLINGNo teams made significant jumps in this week’s poll. No. 10 Virginia Tech and No. 16 Kentucky were the biggest movers, adding three spots each.No. 21 Buffalo had the biggest drop, losing seven places after losing to No. 18 Marquette. No. 12 Auburn and No. 14 North Carolina lost five spots each.Furman’s first run at being ranked came to an end this week after the Paladins lost by 20 to LSU.Nebraska dropped out of the poll from No. 25 despite winning its only game last week.IN AND OUT View commentslast_img read more