Wright lauds Phoenix’s conditioning in win over NLEX

first_img“Expect us to be like that,” he said after Phoenix turned a close 54-53 halftime lead to a decisive 90-73 advantage early in the fourth quarter as it cruised to its second straight win.Wright was a big reason for the conquest, going 4-of-8 from three to finish with 19 points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkBut it wasn’t just him, as fellow snipers Jeff Chan and RJ Jazul also hit their marks.Wright said Phoenix’s stellar showing in the second half is a testament to the team’s conditioning. Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ NLEX rookie Ravena blames self for terrible game in loss to Phoenix OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES “We take pride in being the best in-shape team and the best conditioned team. That’s something the fans can expect from us,” he said. “We beat NLEX because they weren’t in shape in the last quarter of the game.””You could see in the second half that they were trying to keep up with the tempo. We set the pace of the game and they kept trying to keep up with the tempo, but you can see in their faces that they were very tired and we took advantage of it.”It also helps that this coincides with coach Louie Alas’ frenetic system, something which the Fil-Canadian sniper said that Phoenix is slowly learning to embrace.“It’s a given that there’s a little bit of adjustment, there’s a little bit of a buffering period. It’s a new coach, new philosophy, new offensive and defensive game plans. So we’re just trying to unlearn the things, our olds ways last year that wasn’t working. And I feel like we’re on the right track,” he said. “But we’re not satisfied just because we won.”Phoenix improved to 2-1 and will take a 10-day break before taking on Rain or Shine next Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFiring from all cylinders and quick to react on defense: that’s the kind of game Matthew Wright expects Phoenix to play this 2018 PBA Philippine Cup.And on Sunday, the Fuel Masters gave everyone a glimpse on how deadly they could be, dealing NLEX with a 102-95 victory after a superb showing in the second half.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ View commentslast_img read more

In Ellen Corkrum Case: Bility Gets Separate Trial

first_imgAfter been indicted along with several co-defendants including Ellen Corkrum, for allegedly stealing millions of United States Dollars from the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Mr. Musa H. Bility, will now get a separate trial.He was granted a separate trial on Tuesday, January 7, after his request for a “Motion for Severance” (separate trial) was accepted by Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice.Bility is the president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) and former Board Chair of LAA.Besides, Bility and Madam Corkurm, others included First International Bank (FIB), Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), as well as the Diaspora Consulting, and Melvin Johnson and Associates, all of the United State of America (USA).They were charged with economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property by the government.But, accepting Bility’s request, on Tuesday, Judge Dixon declared, “Musa Bility can’t be tried with the co-defendants, because, his interest and defense will clash with those of the other co defendants.”“As regards his separate trial with FIBank,” Judge Dixon noted, “No way he can be tried with the bank, because the bank has restituted the US$56,750 transferred from LAA accounts to Melvin Johnson and Associates in the US.” Judge Dixon further ruled that “Bility will not be tried along with the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment on grounds that my predecessor already granted separate trial for that Bank.”“He can’t be tried with co-defendants Ellen Corkrum and Melvin Johnson, because both of them are not in the bailiwick of the court.”“Therefore, the Motion Severance (separate trial) for Bility is hereby granted and his trial will commence on February 12,” the Criminal Court Judge ordered.Bility’s lawyer in a five-count request argued that he as chairman of the Board of Directors, Bility did not have the statutory responsibility for the day to day running of the LAA.They further argued that trying him and the other defendants in a joint trial would be greatly prejudicial to his interests.The lawyers also contended that as a matter of law and fact Bility’s defense to the crimes are separate and distinct, and therefore, were contradictory to the defense of the other named defendants. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Still plenty left at Letterkenny Trad Week!

first_imgLetterkenny Trad Week got off to a great start last weekend with two wonderful evenings of music, enjoyed by capacity audiences, at the Regional Cultural Centre. No Crows from Sligo and Special Consensus from America served up a blistering double bill on Friday night. Magical music and song was served up by Kris Drever and Julie Fowlis from Scotland and Aoife Ní Bhriain and Padraig Rynne from Ireland on Sunday night.It’s a case of two down and there to go with three more great concerts taking place this weekend. There is a wonderful double-bill on Friday 27th at RCC Letterkenny of musical siblings with leading Donegal traditional music family group Na Mooneys and the Rheingans Sisters from Sheffield.The ‘A Family Affair Gala Concert’ at An Grianán Theatre on Saturday January 28th has an incredible line-up led by father and daughter Martin & Eliza Carthy and brothers Lynched. Letterkenny Trad Week finishes on a high note at An Grianán Theatre on Monday 30th with Billy Bragg & Joe Henry.All concerts start at 8pm and tickets can be booked at An Grianán Theatre on 00353 74 9120777, or online at www.angrianan.comNa Mooneys and the Rheingans Sisters Na Mooneys was formed in 2014 by the TG4 Gradam Ceoil / Traditional Musician of the Year 2016 Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan) and her siblings Anna Ní Mhaonaigh and Gearóid Ó Maonaigh along with Ciarán Ó Maonaigh (Gearóid’s son). They recorded their debut album ‘Na Mooneys’ in late 2016. The Na Mooneys line-up will also feature Manus Lunny (guitar & bouzouki), Caitlín Nic Gabhann (concertina) and Nia Byrne (Mairéad’s daughter on fiddle). This is the first ever Irish performance by the highly acclaimed fiddle-singers Rowan and Anna Rheingan from Sheffield – 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winners (Best Original Track), and Folk Award Nominees (Best Newcomers). They have released two critically acclaimed albums to date. fRoots described their debut  ‘Glad Gold Hearts’ as “vocal harmonies to die for on an album performed with compelling conviction and disarming warmth”.  Their second album ‘Already Home’ was nominated in the ‘2015 fRoots Critics Poll Album of the Year’ and was awarded a Songlines ‘Top of the World’ album.‘A Family Affair, Gala Concert’Legendary singer and guitarist Martin Carthy and his multiple award-winning daughter Eliza Carthy joined forces to record their first duo album ‘The Moral of the Elephant’ in 2014.This brilliant recording won fROOTS Album of the Year 2014 and was nominated ‘Best Album’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015. Martin & Eliza Carthy perform songs from ‘The Moral of the Elephant’ and other material as part of the ‘A Family Affair, Gala Concert’ at An Grianán Theatre this Saturday January 28th.Even though it’s only January, the concert promises to be one of the musical highlights of the year in Donegal. It features an amazing line-up, with hour-long sets by Martin & Eliza Carthy and Lynched and short opening performances by the Rheingans Sisters and young Letterkenny musicians Coirm. Martin Carthy “the greatest English folk song performer of them all” (Q Magazine) and his twice Mercury nominated daughter Eliza, will share the bill with brothers Lynched “the most convincing folk band to come out of Ireland in years” ★★★★★ (The Guardian).Lynched have gone from playing small venues in Ireland to being invited to perform on ‘Later with Jools Holland’  and appearing at international festivals like Edmonton, Sidmouth and Cambridge along with rapturously received sets at Electric Picnic and Castlepalooza. Billy Bragg & Joe HenryIn March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of railroad travel and the music it inspired. On the ‘Shine A Light’ tour, they’ll be playing songs from the journey, along with favourites from their own considerable back catalogues.Still plenty left at Letterkenny Trad Week! was last modified: January 25th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalletterkennyTrad Weeklast_img read more

GAA: DONEGAL STARS ON TOP IN TEAM OF THE WEEK

first_imgGAA: DONEGAL’S Kerry-conquering heroes have swept the boards in the Team of the Week selection with FIVE players chosen as the best of the quarter-final weekend at Croke Park.That’s more nominations than any other county, says the journal.ie.The only surprise was the omission of donegaldaily’s man of the match Mark McHugh, who had a fabulous game on Sunday. But here’s who they picked and why:2. Neil McGee (Donegal) – Is he the best man-marker in football right now? The semi-final will tell a lot more but after 2011 where he took out some of the better forwards out there, in 2012 he has now taken out the best forward in football. Tortured Colm Cooper from pillar to post, and even if the Kerry man is having a bad season, two points from play in Croke Park was testament to McGee’s marking job.4. Frank McGlynn (Donegal) – If anything changed at the weekend, it’s the fact his teammate Colm McFadden might have edged ahead of him in the Footballer of the Year stakes, but that isn’t to put McGlynn down. He played as a second sweeper effectively and then did his usual ball-carrying and distribution routine while covering huge ground.6. Karl Lacey (Donegal) – First things first, Declan O’Sullivan has been improving and growing in confidence in recent weeks and beginning to look like the player that was the best link man in football in 2009. And now onto the Donegal man who never gave him in inch, ensured it was one of the least effective performances of O’Sullivan’s championship career and saw him pulled after 45 minutes. 8. Rory Kavanagh (Donegal) – Not only are they a side that can break with the ball, but with him, Ryan Bradley and Neil Gallagher as midfield options, they can win clean ball too. The middle third wasn’t for the weak or scared in Sunday’s big game, but that wasn’t a worry for Kavanagh as he relished the kickout battle and linked the play.15. Colm McFadden (Donegal) – He’s been marked by some of the best about this year but each and every time he’s taken the game by the scruff of the neck and dragged his team over the line. If Donegal’s game has evolved and allowed him quicker ball in more space with support players, then his game has evolved too and he’s far more direct and far more accurate. Game-high, game-winning 1-6 v Kerry.   GAA: DONEGAL STARS ON TOP IN TEAM OF THE WEEK was last modified: August 8th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAA: DONEGAL STARS ON TOP IN TEAM OF THE WEEKlast_img read more

For His Birthday, Darwin Gets a Scrambled Arthropod Tree

first_imgIf Darwin lost his tree last year (01/22/2009), it would seem any corrections or rearrangements would be academic.  Nevertheless, eight evolutionary biologists at Duke University tried rearranging one of the biggest branches on Darwin’s tree of common ancestry – the highly diverse group known as arthropods (animals with jointed appendages).  Arthropods comprise the largest number of species and the largest count of animals on the planet.  It includes the insects, spiders, crustaceans, millipedes, shrimp and much more.  The team’s results were advance-published on the Nature website right before Darwin’s 201st birthday,1 accompanied by a press release from Duke University.    This is just the latest in a century-long project to make sense of the arthropod family tree.  The authors admitted an “often-heated, century-long debate on arthropod relationships.”  Early attempts were based entirely on morphology (physical traits).  More recent methods have included genetic and protein comparisons, but the authors said “The molecular phylogeny of Arthropoda has proven difficult to resolve.”  The puzzles are reflected by some of the names: Paradoxopoda (paradoxical feet), Miracrustacea (surprising crustaceans) and Xenocarida (strange shrimp).  The researchers quadrupled their earlier data set for the latest phylogeny.  They claimed overall strong agreement between molecular and morphological phylogenies, but the press release stated, “Some of the relationships are so surprising that new names had to be coined for five newly-discovered groupings.”    Even though the paper and press release present a tone of success in finally resolving the family tree, some statements indicate this is just the latest rest stop on a work in progress.  The success comes at a price; some relationships are counterintuitive or controversial.  The authors, moreover, had to select data they thought was more indicative of signal over noise.  Here are some excerpts that show any claimed success is strained:The remarkable antiquity, diversity and ecological significance of arthropods have inspired numerous attempts to resolve their deep phylogenetic history, but the results of two decades of intensive molecular phylogenetics have been mixed.More typically, analyses based on limited samples of taxa and genes have generated results that are inconsistent, weakly supported and highly sensitive to analytical conditions.These results provide a statistically well-supported phylogenetic framework for the largest animal phylum and represent a step towards ending the often-heated, century-long debate on arthropod relationships.Until recently, arthropod molecular phylogenetics relied mainly upon nuclear ribosomal DNA and mitochondrial sequences.  Our data come from the complementary DNA of single-copy nuclear protein-coding genes, which represent the largest source of data for phylogenetics.Uncertainty about homology at sites bracketing small insertion�deletion (indel) regions resulted in exclusion of approximately 6.5% of all sites.Of the six newly named groups shown in bold in Fig. 1, only two had more than 70% bootstrap support in single-gene analyses (one gene each; Supplementary Table 3).Bootstrap values derived for amino acids were sometimes lower than those derived from nucleotides.At the deepest level, our phylogeny strongly supports Mandibulata (Pancrustacea plus Myriapoda), a controversial result that is robust to expanded outgroup sampling.Our strong support for Mandibulata contradicts several molecular studies that have placed Myriapoda as sister group to the Chelicerata (Euchelicerata plus Pycnogonida), a grouping so contrary to morphology that it was recently dubbed Paradoxopoda.Although our phylogeny resolves many problems within Mandibulata, it does not resolve the status of Chelicerata, the group including Pycnogonida (sea spiders) and Euchelicerata (horseshoe crabs, scorpions and spiders).Xenocarida includes two unusual and morphologically dissimilar classes of crustacean, Remipedia and Cephalocarida.  We place the xenocarids and hexapods in the newly named clade Miracrustacea (’surprising crustaceans’).  Both Xenocarida and Miracrustacea are found in the maximum-likelihood trees for all four methods of analysis, although support varies.Bootstrap support for both Xenocarida and Miracrustacea is strong for noLRall1+nt2 and degen1 analyses (93�100%), moderately strong for codon analysis (79�89%) and weak for amino-acid analysis (17�54%).Our results strongly support the monophyly of Hexapoda, in contrast to mitochondrial studies that place Collembola (springtails) among ‘crustaceans’ rather than other hexapods.The sister group to Miracrustacea is another unanticipated group, Vericrustacea (‘true crustaceans’), which joins Malacostraca (crabs, shrimp and so on), Branchiopoda (fairy shrimp, water fleas and so on) and some members of the polyphyletic ‘Maxillopoda’, namely Thecostraca (barnacles) and Copepoda.Within the Vericrustacea are two other groupings not anticipated by morphology: the Multicrustacea (‘numerous crustaceans’: Malacostraca plus Thecostraca plus Copepoda) and the Communostraca (‘common shelled ones’: Malacostraca plus Thecostraca).Significantly, our analysis adds Mystacocarida to Oligostraca.  The mystacocarids are small, enigmatic crustaceans that live between sand grains along marine shores.  Oligostracans are a disparate, ancient clade, and there is little in their gross morphology other than reduction in the number of body segments that would suggest a close relationship among them.Our results differ from morphology-inspired hypotheses in uniting Pauropoda with Symphyla rather than with Diplopoda, a result that is also seen in recent analyses of nuclear ribosomal sequences.Their final paragraph contains the most significant caution lights:In conclusion, our phylogenomic study provides a strongly supported phylogenetic framework for the arthropods, but the problem of reconstructing and interpreting morphological evolution within this diverse group remains.  Our phylogeny highlights the large gaps in the morphological spectrum of extant arthropods that have complicated the task of morphology-based systematists.  Our result has significant implications, as it requires taxonomists to acknowledge crustaceans as a paraphyletic grade of primitively aquatic mandibulates and to classify hexapods as a terrestrial clade within Pancrustacea.  In particular, the position of Xenocarida (Remipedia plus Cephalocarida) as the sister group to Hexapoda, and the relatively derived placement of supposedly ‘primitive’ groups such as Branchiopoda, promises to alter views on the evolution of morphology and morphogenesis in Arthropoda.The press release called this work a “scientific and technological tour de force” with a result that “at least the shape of the tree seems right.”  Questions not addressed by the paper, though, might be posed by a philosopher, historian, logician, or skeptical inquirer.  Why should molecular evidence outweigh morphological evidence, or vice versa?  Which kind of molecular evidence should be given priority when different schemes conflict?  Would a different research team, with different strategies, agree with these results?  Are some of the groupings contrived?  Do the new groupings really carve nature at its joints, or do they reflect researcher bias to force-fit uncooperative data into predetermined schemes? 1.  Regier et al, “Arthropod relationships revealed by phylogenomic analysis of nuclear protein-coding sequences,” Nature advance online publication 10 February 2010; doi:10.1038/nature08742.Details are necessary to show how arbitrary and contrived the practice of evolutionary tree-building is.  If this is how tree-building goes for the greatest group of animals in the world, should we be impressed with claims for any other group?  But it doesn’t matter.  Since we have already shown that tree-building is hopeless (07/25/2002) and the branching tree is a fallen icon of evolution anyway (01/22/2009), it would be charitable to call this work that the Dukes have hazarded an exercise in futility.    They might just as well try to build a family tree for the tools in a hardware store.  Look at their capricious and arbitrary name game.  Does it help understand relationships to name a group Miracrustacea?  Are you impressed by the Latin name for “surprising crustaceans”?  What if phylogenists in a hardware store invented a group name for crowbars and screwdrivers called Xenocapulus (strange handles)?  Latin is a poor mask for vanity.    Maybe it makes them feel good to be busy, but constructing paper trees for Darwin seems hardly a useful scientific quest.  Darwin trees aren’t good for wood, construction, shade, the environment, or anything.  Their usefulness for understanding is highly doubtful.  Scientists should do better than to obsess over vain projects that are rootless and fruitless.(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Fitch upgrades SA’s ratings outlook

first_img19 January 2011International credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings has revised South Africa’s outlook from negative to stable, citing improved economic growth prospects, increased spending in key areas by companies like Eskom and Transnet, and a narrowing current account deficit.At the same time, the agency has affirmed South Africa’s long-term foreign currency issuer default ratings (IDR) at “BBB+”, its long-term local IDR at “A”, and its short-term foreign currency IDR at “F2”. The agency has also affirmed the country ceiling at “A”.“South Africa’s post-global crisis adjustment process has been smoother than originally thought, and the economy is emerging from the global recession with its credit fundamentals roughly in line with or slightly better than rated peers,” Fitch Sovereign Group director Veronica Kalema said in a statement this week.After falling to 1.7% in 2009, Fitch expects South Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to have recovered to 2.8% in 2010 – a slightly faster recovery than originally projected by the government – while medium-term budget deficits and debt ratios have also been revised downwards.Eskom investment ‘critical’Spending by key state-owned infrastructure companies Eskom and Transnet will continue to provide a stimulus to the economy, Fitch says, adding that the ability of local capital markets to finance wider deficits with relative ease emphasises a key rating strength of South Africa.The public debt ratio is projected to stabilise at 41% of GDP in the 2012/13 financial year, in line with the median for the “BBB” category.Due to lower-than-requested tariff increases sanctioned by the country’s utility regulator, the government increased the Eskom guarantee facility to R350-billion (13.4% of 2010 GDP) from R176-billion.Fitch estimates the debt of the broader public sector to reach just below 60% of GDP in 2013/14 as the guarantee is drawn down.“The facility is chiefly to enable the company to borrow at reduced cost to complete two major power stations,” Fitch said. “The risk of the government being called to pay out on Eskom’s guarantee facility is, in Fitch’s opinion, fairly low.“Investment by Eskom is critical to easing structural constraints on higher growth potential and is positive for creditworthiness.”Monetary policy supporting recoveryAccording to Fitch, monetary policy is supporting South Africa’s economic recovery – following a significant fall in inflation to close to the lower band of the inflation target owing to a strong currency and lower global inflation, interest rates in this economic cycle have been cut by 650 basis points to 5.5%.Imbalances in the country’s economy continue to improve, as the current account deficit narrowed to around 4% of GDP in 2009, and is expected by Fitch to remain around this level for 2010.South Africas deficit has been more than covered by strong portfolio inflows – mainly equities in 2009 and then debt in 2010 – owing to strong emerging-market investor sentiment. Consequently, the currency has strengthened since March 2009.Fitch adds that portfolio debt inflows during 2010 came increasingly from pension funds, and so should be less volatile in the event of a reversal in emerging-markets investor sentiment.“Under the New Growth Path, the government is taking a new approach by involving dialogue with all major stakeholders to collectively address the challenge of high youth unemployment and raise growth,” Fitch said. “Success in this area will be important for the ratings.“Structural issues in the areas of energy and transport infrastructure and labour markets continue to weigh on the ratings and, if not successfully addressed, will be become more negative for the ratings over time.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Canoe sprint bronze for South Africa

first_img9 August 2012Bridgitte Hartley captured South Africa’s fifth medal of the London Games when she finished third in the women’s K1 500 metres at Eton Dornay on Thursday morning.It was a first for South Africa and it came on the country’s national Women’s Day; the country’s sprint canoeists had never before won an Olympic medal.The final, which took place in bright, sunny conditions, was a tightly-contested race, with all eight of the starters in with a legitimate shot at claiming a medal.Hartley, after winning her semi-final, went into it as the second fastest qualifier behind Hungary’s Danuta Kozak, who had already won gold in the K4 500 metres.StartAt the sound of the buzzer, the field burst away with defending champion Inna Osypenko-Radomska, competing in lane two, powering her way to the front. An excellent crowd led loud vocal support to the competitors.Hartley, racing in lane five in a craft decorated in the colours of the South African flag, which would surely have won the award for best paint job had there been one, passed through the 100 metres mark in fifth place.Kozak was challenging Osypenko-Radomska for the lead, but the blue and yellow boat of the Ukraine star was taking it out at a furious pace and she edged further ahead to lead Kozak by half-a-second at the 250-metre mark.Finland’s Anne Rikala was in third, 0.9 seconds off the lead, with Sweden’s Sifia Paldanius in fourth, at 1.3 seconds behind Osypenko-Radomska.HalfwayHartley was fifth to the halfway mark, almost one-and-a-half seconds off the lead. She had finished strongly in her semi-final race to claim victory and she would have to do it once more to claim a medal, except this time the challenge posed by the field was even greater.Up front, Osypenko-Radomska was beginning to tire under the relentless pace she had set, and Hungary’s Kozak was hauling her in. Hartley, meanwhile, was involved in a neck-and-neck tussle with Sweden’s Sofia Paldanius, the Italian Josefa Idem, who had won silver four years earlier in Beijing, Britain’s Rachel Cawthorne and Denmark’s Henriette Hansen for third place.With 100 metres to go, Kozak had taken over at the front and built up a lead of a third-of-a-boat over Osypenko-Radomska. Hartley was practically level with Paldanius and Idem.FinishKozak powered on to victory by almost a boat length over the Ukranian paddler, clocking 1:51.456, while Hartley finished strongly to take third place, just ahead of Paldanius and Idem.The South African’s time was 1:52.923, less than three-tenths-of-a-second behind Osypenko-Radomska and almost three-tenths ahead of Paldanius.While Hartley has previously won gold medals in World Cup events, the Olympic bronze medal is, no doubt, the pinnacle of the 29-year-old’s career thus far.Medal ceremonyAt the medal ceremony, when her name was announced as the winner of the bronze medal, she jumped up onto the podium, bouncing up and down, a wide smile across her face, waving happily to the crowd.Hartley received her Olympic medal, with the soundtrack of “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background. She had made history for South Africa, the first sprint canoeist in the country’s 18 visits to the Olympic Games to win a medal.After her success, South Africa lies in 20th place on the 2012 Olympic medals table with three golds, one silver, and Hartley’s bronze.That equals the country’s medals haul at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – until now South Africa’s most successful Olympics since its return from isolation in 1992.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SA researchers measure democracy on social media

first_img2 March 2015There can be no denying that social media platforms are playing an increasing role in the political mobilisation of citizens and how they participate in democracy.This was seen during the Arab Spring uprisings, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and more recently, following the attack on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. The French attack turned the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag into one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter’s history and was central to the organisation of the largest street protest in Paris – more than 1.6 million people participated.“Digital social media, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as leading examples, have become major global channels of communication, with ramifications for established democracies and their social bases – some positive, others disruptive,” explain Barend Lutz and Pierre du Toit from Stellenbosch University.The researchers, who worked together to develop a method to measure public expressions of support for democracy on Twitter, have published a book focused on social media platforms and how computational linguistics can make sense of this landscape.Defining Democracy in a Digital Age: Political Support on Social Media was published by Palgrave MacMillan and written by Lutz, a political/security risk analyst and digital media consultant, and Du Toit, a professor in the university’s political science department.Democracy in digital age“With the ‘real world’ influence of social media growing, it is crucial to listen to and understand what citizens globally are saying on these platforms as it provides a chance to define and look at how we measure the state of democracy in a new digital age,” they say.According to Lutz and Du Toit, there has been concern among scholars across the world regarding the viability of democracy as a political governance system. This doubt is further entrenched through events such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and the failure of democracy to expand to authoritarian countries globally.“One of the ways that social media enhances democratic participation is through the connectivity of this technology. Individuals have near complete control over the content of statements published on the internet.“Up to now, there has been no effective way of converting the articulate mass self- expression by individuals on social media into coherent forms capable of influencing public policies,” say Lutz and Du Toit.Traditionally, survey data has been used to attempt to articulate mass sentiment on democracy, but this is a time consuming and expensive exercise. Their research attempts to create a complimentary methodology to expand on traditional survey data research.Analysing sentiment and languageLutz, who developed the methodology as part of a Masters’ thesis on international relations and next-generation internet, says he analysed more than 70 000 publically available tweets over a three-month period. This was done via computer assisted computational analytics, sentiment analysis and natural language processing, which in this case refers to the automated collection and analysis of statements from Twitter.“Social media has now effectively extended the public sphere into a global electronic platform, far removed from the city squares of the classic Greek democratic city- states. On social media platforms, issues are debated, questions of public import are deliberated on and people can call a spade a spade, so to speak.”Their research clearly shows how the spaces where democracy is usually played out, have changed and that this will require analysts of democracy to look at these new spaces differently.“Democracy is something that takes place in groups. The idea of the nation was usually conveyed through newspapers – so people who read the same newspapers conceived of themselves as being part of a community. Social media is much more individualistic and the idea of a community or a sense of community from that part of the public sphere becomes nearly inconceivable. As we saw with the Arab Spring, you can draw people together for a protest through social media, but what happens afterwards when everyone returns to their individual lives?”Lutz and Du Toit explain that the influence of social media and other forms of digital media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand these platforms could lead to people becoming more engaged when it comes to current issues and therefore stronger democratic citizens, or on the other hand people could get caught up in the entertainment of social media and thereby become less effective citizens.“The methods of data analysis presented in this book can help the global citizenry to reimagine themselves as being part of new, more coherent units of democracy, able to pursue their ideals more effectively than has been the case to date,” say the authors.Source: Stellenbosch Universitylast_img read more

Lady Chiefs fuel F4 drive

first_imgBSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Ardina earns P300,000 Rachel Austero tried to fire up St. Benilde, scoring on a hit and an ace to close in to 15-20. Carlos and Justine Dorog committed errors in succession to allow the Lady Blazers to move within 19-21.But the climb tolled heavily on the Lady Blazers, who committed a spate of errors which the Lady Maroons gamely exploited to preserve the win.Meanwhile, La Salle-Zobel bested Adamson, 25-11, 25-12, 20-25, 25-15, while University of the East nipped Far Eastern University-Diliman, 25-23, 25-13, 20-25, 26-28, 15-6, in the UAAP Season 80 high school volleyball tournament. Using its offense to the hilt, Arellano buried TIP with a 17-3 edge in attacks in the second set, allowing it to have a 20-6 bubble to illustrate the discrepancy between the two teams in terms of talent and skills.That lead allowed the Lady Chiefs to rest gunners Andrea Marzan and Regine Arocha in favor of seldom-used players.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut the Lady Engineers soon started to claw back, forcing Arellano assistant coach Richard Estacio to send his regular gunners back in and preserve the set.Arocha topscored with 17 points, while Jovielyn Prado had eight. Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “We are a strong team because we have team work,” said Arocha, who dedicated the win to their coach Obert Javier, who was indisposed.Earlier, University of the Philippines revived its campaign after a thorough 25-19, 25-13,25-19 triumph over St. Benilde.The Lady Maroons were never threatened throughout the match as top gunners Isa Molde and Diane Carlos took on their roles to the hilt to ensure their second win in three starts.It also practically booted out the Lady Blazers, who suffered their third straight defeat. Only the top two teams per group will make it to the semifinals.UP stormed to 19-8 lead on Molde’s angled hit in the third set, but for some reason, the Lady Maroons let their guards down to allow the Lady Blazers’ fightback.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES MOST READ Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Arellano strengthened its semifinal bid after an easy 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 win over lowly Technological Institute of the Philippines Monday night in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Chiefs, reigning NCAA champions, bounced back from a previous defeat and posted their third victory in four outings, while handing the Lady Engineers their fourth setback in as many games.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Olympics: Mary Kom & Narang upbeat about ‘ 12 Olympics

first_imgOne year is all that stands between athletes around the world and their bid to attain the top prize at the pinnacle of sport – the London Olympics.With International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge set to get the official ‘One Year to Go’ countdown underway in London on Wednesday, the focus of athletes will shift to honing their skills and getting ready for the mega event, which begins on July 27 at the new Olympic Stadium.Boxing and shooting offer India its brightest chances of bettering its tally of one gold and two bronze at the previous Games in Beijing. On Tuesday, the two sports came together in the form of five-time world champion MC Mary Kom and rifle ace Gagan Narang.The duo was here at the launch of a new website for Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), a non-profit organisation founded by legendary sportsmen Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi and that supports the training and other needs of the athletes. The website was launched by film star Deepika Padukone, Prakash’s daughter and a director of the OGQ. Speaking to Mail Today, Mary Kom outlined her plans in the build- up to the Games, at which women’s boxing makes its debut.”I hope I can bring the kind of performance I have had at the World Championships to the Olympics next year. I am preparing hard to get a qualifying spot at the World Championships next year and, hopefully, a medal at the Olympics too,” said Mary, who will be competing in the 51kg category.advertisement”I am working on some stronger punching and also my speed, in order to adjust to the category. The technique doesn’t need much change, but it does make a bit of difference, which is what I need to fine- tune at the camp in Patiala,” she said.Narang admitted to being jittery before the Games. It is very exciting that there is just one year to go and our final preparations will now be on the way. Earlier, we used to wait for the final qualifying tournaments but this time eight shooters have already qualified for the Olympics,” he said.Deepika, meanwhile, said she keenly follows sports and that was pleased to be supporting athletes. “Even if I don’t get time to watch sports, I definitely keep myself updated, either through my dad or through Twitter. It made sense to me to come on board with OGQ and actively take part and support our athletes,” she said.Viren Rasquinha, chief executive of OGQ and former India hockey captain, announced special plans to help athletes. The chief among these is the help of a video analyst for badminton ace Saina Nehwal, which will be provided by Sports Mechanics, a sports technology organisation headed by the Indian cricket team’s former video analyst S Ramakrishna.Mental strengthening coach Abha Banerjee has also been brought into the fold. She has worked with rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput and it helped him win a World Cup gold medal and an Olympic quota spot this year.In addition, for the nine shooters part of OGQ, a Kazakh masseur recommended by national rifle coach Stanislav Lapidus, is being brought in.Support For AshwiniAsked about OGQ’s support to dope- tainted athlete Ashwini Akkunji, Rasquinha said: ” In our official capacity, we have stopped funding to her, pending the result of the inquiry. Performance- wise, she had the potential and her doping history was clean. In a personal capacity, we are giving her support to ensure that she gets through this difficult phase.”Even if she has made a mistake, we will support her emotionally, and we will make sure that every supplement, every medicine that our athletes take is approved by an expert doctor first.”last_img read more