Mantis shrimp use ‘nature’s sunblock’ to see UV

first_imgThe colorful little guy pictured above puts the eyes of every other animal to shame. Whereas humans receive color information via three color receptors in our eyes, mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus oerstedii) have 12. Six of these differentiate five discrete wavelengths of ultraviolet light, researchers report online today in Current Biology. The mantis shrimp’s vision is possible by making use of specially tuned, UV-specific optical filters in its color-detecting cone cells. The optical filters are made of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), a substance commonly found in the skin or exoskeleton of marine organisms. Often referred to as nature’s sunscreens, MAAs are usually employed to protect an organism from DNA-damaging UV rays; however, the mantis shrimp has incorporated them into powerful spectral tuning filters. Though the reason for the mantis shrimp’s complex visual perception is poorly understood, one possibility is that the UV detection could help visualize otherwise difficult-to-see prey on coral reefs. Many organisms absorb UV light—these organisms would be easy to spot as black objects in a bright world.last_img read more

Read more

Nadal wins US Open for 16th major title

first_imgMOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City At No. 32, Anderson was the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began 44 years ago. He had never before been past the quarterfinals at any major tournament in 33 tries.So the matchup shaped up as a mismatch and that’s exactly what it was.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 shutoutThe No. 1-ranked Nadal dominated every facet of the 2½-hour final. He broke the 6-foot-8 (1.98-meter) Anderson’s big serve four times and never faced a break point himself.Nadal improved to 16-7 in Grand Slam finals. For the first time since 2013, he appeared in three in a single season, losing to Federer at the Australian Open in January, then beating Stan Wawrinka for his record 10th French Open trophy in June. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Beermen outlast Kings Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters 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 Read Next E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating South Africa’s Kevin Anderson during their 2017 US Open Men’s Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2017.Rafael Nadal raced to a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADNEW YORK — Rafael Nadal overwhelmed first-time major finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win his third U.S. Open championship.It is Nadal’s second Grand Slam title of the year and 16th of his career. Only his longtime rival Roger Federer has more, with 19.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversarylast_img read more

Read more

La Salle takes 4th UAAP table tennis crown; NU seizes men’s throne

first_imgDillinger vows war as he gets wish of facing Ginebra LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary 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 View comments Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Meanwhile, National University bagged their first ever title in the men’s division to halt UST’s rule with a 3-1 win in the Finals.Bulldogs’ John Misal was feted as the season MVP.NU’s boys’ team also secured back-to-back titles after stopping UST, 3-0, in their do-or-die affair behind MVP Stephen John Deiz.On the other hand, UST’s girls’ team completed the perfect season with a 3-1 triumph over De La Salle-Zobel.ADVERTISEMENT Emy Rose Dael claimed her second straight Most Valuable Player award, while seniors Jamaica Sy and Mardeline Carreon got a fitting end to their collegiate careers.It was La Salle’s fifth women’s championship in six years, harking back to the days of Lariba’s dominance in the field.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 shutoutThe Rio Olympian Lariba, who won three UAAP MVP awards in her collegiate days, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) last May and is still recovering in the hospital. She was a part of coaching staff last season.Joana Chen of Ateneo won the Rookie of the Year honors. LATEST STORIES Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients center_img Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president With Ian Lariba on their minds, the La Salle women’s team won its fourth straight title in the UAAP Season 80 table tennis tournament Monday at the UP CHK Gym.After seeing their 14-game winning run stopped, the Lady Paddlers bucked their shock opening loss to University of Santo Tomas, 2-3, and rebounded with identical 3-1 victories in the following matches to remain the most dominant table tennis team.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

Read more

SPORT-T20 MCCULLUM 2 LAST

first_imgSaying that the sub continent pitches provide more Saying that the sub continent pitches provide more opportunities to slow bowlers to attack, McCullum said he could be opening the bowling for his country, similar to what Ravichandran Ashwin has done with a fair amount of success for India. “There are more opportunities in the sub continent to attack in 24 balls than in New Zealand with short boundaries and flat pitches. Its more an awareness of what role you are to play and at which time. “I have opened (bowling) a number of times for New Zealand before and theres a chance of doing so in this tournament.” Describing Ashwin as “brilliant”, McCullum hoped his teams batsmen can take the Indian off spinner down in the game at Nagpur. “Hes a brilliant bowler and I enjoy watching him bowl. Hes got huge knowledge of conditions. Hopefully we can take him down in that first game,” said the experienced Kiwi cricketer. McCullum pointed out that New Zealand may have done well but never never won an ICC tournament in the past. “We have traditionally done okay, but we have not won any (tournament). Its a challenge for us. Hopefully we can go far in the tournament.” PTI SSR NRB NP CMlast_img read more

Read more

Intense, challenging practices paying off for Maraño, Philippine team

first_imgEthel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. This jewelry designer is also an architect Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Philippines shows promise despite losses to Indonesia, Thailand in Asean Grand Prix Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue For the 14-member squad currently here for the Asean Grand Prix, it’s one way to vent out their tiredness and frustrations.“We are training twice a day every day, sometimes you feel your body shutting down because of exhaustion,” team captain Aby Maraño told the Inquirer. “Sometimes you need to shout. And then boom.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSBecoming his own manSPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40More often, she said, the team gets the second wind they needed. “Suddenly, our adrenalin is high and energy is there to finish the training.”As team leader, Maraño reported the quickness with which the team developed chemistry. The camaraderie is “sobrang okay” (Really great),” said the top hitter of Philippine Superliga champion team F2 Logistics. LATEST STORIES Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Photo courtesy of Aby MarañoNAKHON Ratchasima, Thailand — In the middle of training here, one would overhear members of the Philippine national women’s volleyball team screaming catchphrases like “We want to improve.”Sometimes “confidence in passing,” would ring in the quiet gym. Or “Improve. Be better.”ADVERTISEMENT Becoming his own man MOST READ Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers During scrimmages among teammates, there was no telling who were the first six and who were the second.“The rallies are long we get tired. It’s not easy to score. That only means we challenge each other,” said Maraño.“If I have the say, I would like to keep this team together until the SEA Games,” she said. “But we have responsibilities back home with our club teams.”Personally, the former La Salle standout said she prefers having the team quartered “to free us from distractions,” or even training on Sundays.For the four-nation Asean GP, Maraño said the team has a collective mindset: “We want to give it our all no matter what it takes.”ADVERTISEMENT P11-B loan for SEA Games hosting not an issue — Cayetano Maraño and the rest of the squad go all out against Vietnam on Sunday in hopes to end the country’s campaign on a winning note after dropping its first two games against Indonesia and Thailand.last_img read more

Read more

Badminton Association of India announces team for Thailand Open, Indonesia Open and Australia Open

first_imgKeeping in mind the busy international calendar ahead for the Indian shuttlers, Badminton Association of India on Thursday announced the teams for the next three tournaments after a selection committee meeting which was held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kolkata.The selection committee reached a consensus and declared the names of the players who will travel for the upcoming tournaments starting with Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold (May 30th-June 4th), followed by Indonesia Open Super Series (June 12th-June 18th) and Australian Open Super Series (June 20th-June 25th).World No.22 Sai Praneeth will lead the Indian challenge in Thailand in the men’s singles division and after a scintillating win in the Singapore Open last month. He will look to maintain his winning run.Also the tournament will see the former World No.6 Parupalli Kashyap in action. Kashyap who returned to the international arena last month at the China Masters after a long injury lay-off had a decent outing as he managed to qualify for the pre-quarters.In women’s singles, World No. 9 Saina Nehwal will be the cynosure of all Indian hopes. 2012 winner Saina will be eager to win her second title here.Thailand Open will also be an ideal platform for the upcoming shuttlers to show their mettle and apart from the experienced names. It will also see a host of young Indian players rubbing shoulders against some of the biggest players of the world.Harsheel Dani, Siril Verma, Rahul Yadav, Subhankar Dey will represent the country in men’s singles, while in the women’s singles category it will be Ira Sharma, Ruthvika Shivani and Akarshi Kashyap and Rituparna Das who will be in action as well apart from Saina.advertisementThe duo of Shlok Ramachandra/MR Arjun will be the lone Indian pair in the men’s doubles category, while the pair of J Meghna/Poorvisha Ram will vie it out in the women’s doubles competition.In Indonesia Open and Australia Open, India’s hopes will rest on the duo of World No.4 PV Sindhu and Saina. Sindhu is going through a great run and after winning the India Open Super Series last month, will look to add one more title to her kitty.In the men’s singles, World No.13 Ajay Jayaram will lead the strong Indian contingent along with 2017 Singapore Open finalist Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy, Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma and Kashyap.Ashwini Ponappa/Sikki Reddy will be the lone Indian pair in the women’s doubles competition. The team of Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy and Sumeeth Reddy/ Ashwini P will feature in the mixed doubles action.”We have announced the team in advance so that the players can plan their travel properly and have ample time to prepare better both physically and mentally for the tournaments,” Mr. Anup Narang, Honorary General Secretary and official spokesperson of BAI said.Full ListThailand Open (May 30 – June 4)Men’s Singles – Rahul Yadav, Harsheel Dani, Subhankar Dey, P Kashyap, B.Sai Praneeth, Siril Verma, Sourav Verma; Women’s Singles – Saina Nehwal, Rituparna Das, Ruthvika Shivani, Akarshi Kashyap, Ira Sharma; Women’s Doubles – J Meghna/Poorvisha Ram; Men’s Doubles – Shlok Ramachandra/MR ArjunIndonesia Open (June 12 – June 18)Men’s Singles – Ajay Jayaram, Kidambi Srikanth, H.S Prannoy, P Kashyap, B.Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma; Women’s Singles – PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal; Women’s Doubles – Ashwini Ponappa/Sikki Reddy; Mixed Doubles – Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy, Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponappa; Men’s Doubles – Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy, Chirag Shetty/Satwik SairajAustralian Open (June 20 – June 25)Men’s Singles – Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma, Parupalli Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram, H.S. Prannoy, Sai Praneeth; Women’s Singles – Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu ; Men’s Doubles – Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy, Chirag Shetty/Satwik Sairaj; Women’s Doubles – Ashwini Ponappa/Sikki Reddy; Mixed Doubles – Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy, Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponappalast_img read more

Read more

Sydney Test: India set batting records at SCG after Pujara, Pant smash daddy hundreds

first_imgThe talking point in the lead up to the ongoing four-Test series between India and Australia was centered around the bowling attack of the two sides. “Fast” bowlers and world-class spinners in both the sides sparked a lot of interest.On the other hand, there were concerns about both the batting attacks. While Australia were reeling with two of their best batsmen – David Warner and Steve Smith, India had been over-reliant on their captain, Virat Kohli in the two previous overseas tours of the season in England and South Africa.However, the Indian batting unit has made headlines for all the right reasons from the first Test in Adelaide. With a supremely consistent Cheteshwar Pujara leading the pack, the likes of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, and Mayank Agarwal stepped up and shone as the visitors are inching towards a historic series win Down Under.As it turns out, India have become the first team to declare in three successive innings in Australia. Virat Kohli’s men declared on 443 for 7 in the first innings of their 137-run win in Melbourne and declared for 106 for 8 in the second innings.India’s SCG loveIn the ongoing Sydney Test, India posted a mammoth 622 for 7 before Kohli made the declaration. While Pujara brought up his highest Test score of 193, Pant chipped in with 159, the highest by an Indian wicketkeeper in Australia, Jadeja smashed a quickfire 81.Notably, the left-handed all-rounder was the last batsman to be dismissed in all the three innings.The world number one Test side had achieved the feat earlier in 2008 at home when Australia were handed a 2-0 defeat in a four-Test series. India, under MS Dhoni and Anil Kumble, declared in three successive innings in Mohali and Delhi Tests.advertisementIndia’s 622 for 7 (declared) in Sydney is also their second highest test total in Sydney. The Asian giants hold the record for the highest team total in Sydney as they had amassed 705 for 7 (declared) at the SCG in 2004.India also broke England’s record for the most number of 600-plus totals on Friday as they went past the 600-run mark for the third time at the iconic venue in Australia.Jadeja and Pant also set the record for the highest seventh-wicket stand by a visiting pair in Australia with the 204-run partnership on Friday. They broke surpassed their previous best set of 182 set by West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo and Dinesh Ramdin in 2005.With a mammoth total on board, India will be pushing for a win and seal their first-ever Test series win in Australia. Notably, Kohli’s side have already retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy as they had sealed an unassailable 2-1 lead in Melbourne last week.Also Read | Tim Paine and pacers were not on the same page, says Australia’s bowling coachAlso Read | Rishabh Pant 4th Indian wicketkeeper to score 150 in Test cricketAlso Read | Clarke, Hussey weigh in on Vihari’s controversial dismissal: Don’t think he was outAlso See:last_img read more

Read more

Ben Utecht, ex-NFL tight end and brain injury survivor, is making new memories

first_imgNFL Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterest Share on Messenger Although the journey was fresh hell, the road to the good place felt long, winding, and – given the public’s heightened awareness as to the long-term effects football can have on the brain – eerily familiar.Utecht says the biggest hits were delivered across the middle, served by linebackers or defensive backs he never saw coming. He wound up with 87 catches in his career, and one of them – on a seam route in Houston – ended up with the Minnesota native plastered high and low at the same time by a pair of onrushing safeties.“I got my head ripped off,” he says now. “It was so bad.”If your body doesn’t tell you to hang it up, NFL front offices sure as hell will. Utecht’s final concussion as a pro came during a preseason practice in 2009 with the Bengals; he was eventually released in November of that year after an injury settlement.A subsequent tryout with New England “went really well – I caught everything,” Utecht recalls. “I was flying around the field.”Off the field, Patriots brass sent him crashing back to Earth.“I do remember getting a lot of questions about that concussion history,” Utecht says. “And part of that was realizing that my concussion history was going to make it really challenging for me to make a team again, number one.“Number two, we just had our first daughter. My wife I thought, ‘Gosh, even though you didn’t reach that personal level that you thought you were capable of, you were in the league six years, you were on a Super Bowl team, it’s such a blessed career.’ It was just time to take care of what was more important.”The son of a Methodist minister, Utecht’s gifts included a wicked set of pipes and a commanding stage presence. Having grown up in front of crowds, performing was the natural next step. His 2012 record Christmas Hope was nominated for a Dove Award in 2012 – presented annually by the Gospel Music Association – for Christmas Album of the Year.One daughter became four, yet the love couldn’t completely pave over the mental and emotional scars left by the violence of football, the recurring fissures. Utecht found himself forgetting minor points so consistently, he felt compelled to leave himself sticky notes with pertinent details. Honey-do tasks got accidentally overlooked. Tempers started to flare up, the wrong buttons pushed, from out of nothing.“I had come home to a house full of [girls], where there’s a lot of communication happening, there are a lot of situations always occurring,” Utecht recalls. “And I was really struggling to really be in that environment, because number one, I’m going into the initial stages of no longer being an athlete and having to figure out my life, but on top of that, I’m not able to function, cognitively. I’m struggling with being able to focus.“Because I can’t focus, I can’t remember the last thing that my wife has asked me to do. And when I don’t do those, that causes situations at home and when you see that, you can see how all that starts to compound. No wonder, at times, I lost my temper or I noticed that I was acting in ways that are not really normal to my own character.”Utecht found himself receiving compliments on a stunning vocal performance he gave at a friend’s wedding. When he realized couldn’t remember a damn thing about it, the alarm bells started ringing even louder.***Cue the fates, daring to chuck a lifeline into the mix. Utecht happened to be appearing on a local talk show where Rich Frieder, owner and executive director of the LearningRx centers in suburban Eagan, Savage and Woodbury, Minnesota, was also booked as a guest. The two struck up a conversation, which eventually led to Utecht signing on to 100 hours of cognitive therapy at LearningRx, broken up over sessions held four days per week, 90 minutes at a time.“You try to build sustained attention and strength to deal with things over long periods of time,” explains Brad Olson, assistant director at LearningRx and Utecht’s personal brain coach. “Initially, I know, Ben would leave sessions saying he was exhausted. Not just mentally, but feeling physically exhausted.“But over time, he built up that strength and stamina. We worked hard for an hour and a half. I always appreciated his take on [it being like] having a conditioning coach in the NFL. But I pushed him back hard, I had the freedom to just go at this hard and not stop to be careful, because he took everything I asked of him seriously. And sometimes, he wouldn’t stop until he would do it. Which I admired.”Utecht usually sat across the table from Olson, no stone left unturned. Processing speed. Executive functions. Short-term memory. Long-term memory. Olson checked what the former NFL receiver could remember after five minutes, then what stuck after 60. At the start of their sessions, he graded out in the 12th percentile at five minutes of recollection and the 17th percentile after an hour.“It was shocking,” Utecht says, “but it also gave me a lot of peace because it told me that I wasn’t crazy. Because what I had been sharing with the world, on national television, was true. I was having some issues in my ability to retain information.”Olson kept pushing. Flash cards. Vocabulary work. Puzzles. A lot of math problems. Every exercise was done with a metronome on the table turned on at 120 beats per second.Tock… tock … tock …“Different shapes that related to six different quadrants,” Utecht explains. “You’d have three seconds to see what order they were in and you’d have to do your best to place the cards in the same order they were in before.”Tock … tock … tock …“And you’ve got to understand: the training room is an open cubicle,” Utecht said. “So you could have four other students in there listening to their own metronomes. It was one of the most challenging environments that I’ve stepped in.“Those first couple weeks, I remember literally sweating in this room and visibly frustrated that I couldn’t perform the tasks that were asked of me. And I was overwhelmed – I was hearing all these other students completing their tasks, and their metronomes going off. It almost brought me back to what it was like being on the football field all those years of practicing and shutting the crowd out.”By the end of Utecht’s 100 hours, his recollection numbers jumped to the 78th percentile after five minutes and the 98th percentile after 60.“Throughout training, I’m giving him words quicker and quicker,” Olson says. “I think, by the end, I’m giving him 20 words in 20 seconds … and he loves doing that and he loves pushing himself and seeing what he can remember.”Numbers. Dates. Towns. Lyrics. Laughter.“It became this miracle of coming out of this cognitive fog that I believe existed due to multiple concussions,” Utecht says. “It was really just as easily explained as almost being parallel to a personal trainer in a gym.“It doesn’t mean I’m going to regain memories that I had lost of the past, or I had noticed were not there from the past … I’d given myself the ability to store more memories going forward. My ability to focus [improved]. The other thing that came out of that that, I noticed, was because I was functioning at a much higher cognitive level, I wasn’t getting frustrated.”Patience returned. The angry outbursts didn’t. Clouds of depressive moments – a recurring fog of doubt and indecision – began to part.“My wife would say, ‘I got my husband back,’” Utecht says. “And a book that was designed to be about fear for the future turned into an answer I found for being able to create and retrain more memories going forward. And that was a miracle.”*** Utecht finished with 87 catches for 923 yards and three touchdowns in six career seasons with the Colts and Bengals. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Twitter Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. A miracle he thinks could be repeated, if only it were made more widely accessible – or even encouraged – by NFL teams and players.“I think in athletics, this should be a part of every high school program, every college program,” Utecht says. “Our brains are a part, if not the most important part, for us as elite athletes. Why not make brains as elite as they could possibly function?“It’s definitely something that needs to be more available for veteran players who are struggling. I do believe that, in many cases like my own, you’d see not only cognitive change, but you will see cognitive healing to help the behavioral issues that we talk about. I also believe this type of product is something the [players’] union and the NFL would agree on.“From the NFL’s perspective, how do we keep players on the field and how do we get them back on the field faster or keep them on the field longer? I believe this type of cognitive training program can do that. I think from the players’ perspective, it could be very beneficial too, because there’s nothing negative about sitting down with a personal trainer for the brain and honing all the cognitive things that you use in game situations. I think, hopefully, as we learn more about the brain in the last five or 10 years, and maybe this type of program grows and hopefully, it’s something we see more available.”The walls of stigma separating discussion of mental health and machismo continue to crumble, but the NFL’s Wally Pipp quandary – those who don’t play risk losing their job forever to the next guy in line – makes it hard for active players to risk a lucrative roster spot, concussions be damned.Utecht has been up front about his struggles with head trauma, having presented at clinics in recent years and even testifying before the US Senate in 2014. But he says former teammates have been hesitant to seek his advice about how best to put the head before the heart.“Every once in a while, I’ve had that happen, but not a whole lot,” Utecht says.“It’s interesting. There’s so much out there now. There’s a whole broader range of supplements that are available … neural feedback machines, chiropractors, there are just so many facets to what’s available out there. So guys are just trying to go and find what they can in order to find some comfort.”Some turn to faith, others to drugs, some to the abyss. Utecht turns to Andy Williams, the Emperor of Easy.“Music has been such a support system throughout my life, in so many different ways,” he says. “But definitely over the last six years and trying to define this new identity – to have things that you’re passionate about is something that I was able to do to help through the challenging times.”But even a peaceful mind gets restless. Utecht dropped another record, Standing Strong, earlier this year. During a late-summer junket to Music City, he laid down tracks as part of a nascent singing trio.“We just wrote and recorded three songs down there, and we’re just going a step at a time,” Utecht notes. “It’s in its infancy. What we’ve kind of described it as is theatrical pop.”Meanwhile, the Andy & Bing revue rolls on. Utecht and Sterling performed 18 shows last December; they’re shooting for at least 15 more to close out 2018. They’ve talked about performing with local symphony orchestras, or even taking the act to other states. The crooner and the crooning tight end.“It’s so funny – when I get done with the show, when we go to meet people, I’m 5ft 11in, I’m not short. And they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re not that small,’” Sterling laughs. “Ben has an amazing voice that can do that Andy Williams stuff really well. But he’s not trying to imitate Andy Williams; he just sings like Ben Utecht showcasing those songs, which is no easy feat.“Plus the guy is just ridiculously charming. People love him. He’s very natural, he’s very engaging and he sings this stuff like a champ. Obviously, he’s an impressive figure – he’s kind of hard to take your eyes off of. You still have to back that up. You still have to be able to sing. The thing that’s separated him from athletes in a lot of sports, when they do something in retirement, they try to get away with it because of who they are. They’re not the best singer or the best actor. Ben is not that. Ben is the real deal.“He’s a Super Bowl champion, and that’s part of his life, for sure. But he is way more than that. What he’s doing now, the way that he sings, the way he performs, and the good things that he’s doing to get the word out about what he’s gone through, it’s really inspiring.”The real deal reminds us that there’s life after a half-dozen head shots. Life and a song. Every day.“I think one thing we have to do, as fans and players, is accept that concussions are an eventuality within the game,” the former NFL receiver says. “You can’t have football without them. You can’t have any sports without them. If we want to support our athletes and want to continue to love watching the game, we’ve got to accept that.”Utecht forgave, ages ago. The real gift, the marvel and the muse, is how much easier it is to never forget. Topics Share via Email Twitter Pinterest Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Utecht, second from left, spoke at a 2014 US Senate hearing on sport brain injuries and the diseases of aging. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images Share on Facebook features Facebook Concussion in sport US sports Since you’re here… They figured it might be cute to leave Ben Utecht hanging out to dry, just for old time’s sake. Only this was a nippy December in Minnesota, as Utecht was on stage, channeling Andy Williams. If Andy Williams happened to be 6ft 6in and ran a 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.“I’m kind of a balladeer at heart, anyway,” says Utecht, the former NFL tight end. “If you ever would’ve told me I’d be singing Andy Williams, I’d have laughed.”So there’s a bit in An Andy & Bing Christmas, a vocal revue that Utecht, the pro football veteran with the granite shoulders and the velvet pipes, and Mick Sterling, a Twin Cities entertainer who serves as the Crosby half of the show, have performed around the state every December since 2015. In the bit, Utecht cracks wise about his six seasons in the NFL; the hits that kept on coming; the silver bells that never stopped ringing; the five concussions; and the Super Bowl he won as a member of the Indianapolis Colts in February 2007.“And the band would play the NFL theme song,” Sterling explains. “And he was just being very silly. It’s a very funny bit, and Ben thought of it.”Only one night, the 16-member backing band decided it was the perfect time to pull a prank on their towering front man. While Utecht was in mid-pose, waiting for a music cue, the band decided, puckishly, to call an audible. And stopped playing altogether.As the silence lingered for several beats too long, as Utecht stood, awkwardly, Sterling’s face reddened with embarrassment, then rage.Backstage, in between sets, he let loose.“That was too much,” Sterling told the band. “He’s the star of our show. You can’t put him in that position. OK, there’s fun, but you can’t have that much.“He’s the star of the show. Don’t make him look like anything but the star of the show.”Utecht forgave.“A 10-minute issue,” Sterling says now. He laughs. “But it got us closer in some ways. Everybody felt a little bad. It was a silly joke that went a little bit too far. We talked it over. It was great. Ben was great.”No time for grudges, let alone regrets. Utecht has two sold-out performances in September to prepare for, songs to write for a new vocal trio in Nashville, and speeches to make on behalf of Keystone Culture Group, a consulting firm he formed last year with Dr Daniel K Zismer.“I was part of such a special team, this team in 2006 under Tony Dungy and guys like Peyton [Manning],” Utecht says. “But I’ve got a huge passion for how to build a high-performing culture. That culture is going to be a part of your group whether you want it to be or not. Why not design it?“And I use that championship [approach] to really go into companies and give them a blueprint of how to do that and that results in direct performance. So it’s been a joy to be able to do that.”So much joy, in fact, that Utecht is a little embarrassed about the book that brought him back into the national spotlight some two years earlier. If he could take back any words from Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away, the autobiography published in August 2016 that detailed Utecht’s history of head trauma, that’s easy – he’d start with the title.“To be honest with you, I almost feel like I would go back and definitely change that,” Utecht says. “I wrote [that] when I was going through kind of the most difficult time, right after my retirement transition. And so I was very vulnerable, afraid.“But it [doesn’t] represent how I’m doing today. I think that, if anything, there were people that probably didn’t want to read that book because of what they thought I would be sharing, based on such an ominous title like that.”Instead of counting the days, 2018 has been about counting blessings. A narrative built on making memories rather than mourning the ones lost to the ether.“I’m doing better cognitively, I think, than I’ve ever been in my life,” says the 37-year-old Minnesota native, who’d spent four seasons with the Colts (2004-07) and another two with the Cincinnati Bengals (2008-09). “I found myself in a really good place.”*** Reuse this content Share on WhatsApplast_img read more

Read more

Willian: Barca great without Neymar

first_imgChelsea Barcelona are great even without Neymar – Willian Dejan Kalinic 15:38 2/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Willian Chelsea Barcelona Getty Chelsea Barcelona Willian Chelsea v Barcelona UEFA Champions League After helping Chelsea to a first-leg draw against Barca, the Brazilian attacker talked up the talents of the LaLiga leaders Barcelona are still as fearsome as ever even without Neymar, according to Chelsea attacker Willian.Willian’s 62nd-minute strike was cancelled out by Lionel Messi as the teams played out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.His Brazil team-mate Neymar may have left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain last year, but Willian believes that the Spanish giants remain one of the finest teams on the planet. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “I think Barcelona are Barcelona, with or without Neymar,” Willian said.”Of course Neymar is a great player but they have Messi, they have [Andres] Iniesta, they have [Luis] Suarez.”They have really good players so Barcelona is always Barcelona.”While he opened the scoring, Willian also struck the post twice during Tuesday’s clash.And despite Chelsea’s failure to beat Barca, the 29-year-old still believes his team can reach the quarter-finals with a result at Camp Nou on March 14.”Of course, we can go there and do a great job again. It will be a completely different game,” Willian said.”To play there is totally different. But I think we can go there with this mentality. We can go there with great spirit and try to win the game.”last_img read more

Read more

Brett McMurphy Shares His New AP Poll Top 25 Ballot

first_imgTrevor Lawrence hands the ball off for Clemson.CLEMSON, SC – SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence #16 hands off to running back Adam Choice #26 of the Clemson Tigers during the Tigers’ football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)Week 11 is in the books. The latest Coaches Poll has been released and the new AP rankings are set to come out later this afternoon.The AP Top 25 comes out around 2 p.m. ET. Some voters have already unveiled their individual ballots.As he does every Sunday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy revealed his official AP ballot.My new AP Top 25 ballot by conference: SEC 5, Big 12 4, Big Ten 4, Pac-12 3, AAC 2, ACC 2, C-USA 1, MAC 1, MWC 1, Notre Dame, Army @WatchStadiumhttps://t.co/aGrcBfS06o #APTop25— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 11, 2018Here is McMurphy’s entire top 25:AlabamaClemsonNotre DameGeorgiaMichiganWashington StateWest VirginiaOklahomaOhio StateLSUUCFTexasUtah StateIowa StateSyracuseWashingtonUABArmyUtahFloridaPenn StateNorthwesternKentuckyCincinnatiBuffaloMcMurphy will occasionally break down his ballot in video form later on Sunday afternoons, so be on the lookout for that.In the meantime, the full AP poll comes out in roughly an hour.last_img read more

Read more

Maersk Sells Stake in ESVAGT

first_imgzoom Infrastructural investors 3i Infrastructure plc and AMP Capital have entered into an agreement to jointly acquire 100% of Danish company ESVAGT from Maersk Group and ESE-Holding A/S. The sale amounts to a value of DKK 4.1bn equalling to approximately USD 610m.ESVAGT, Copenhagen-based provider of safety and support at sea, has more than doubled its turnover since 2009 and is one of the industry’s most profitable companies.”ESVAGT is a sound, well-run company with an exceptional operational excellence, and we have assessed how we best serve ESVAGT’s long-term interest, as they are not part of the Maersk Group’s core business. The sale to 3i Infrastructure plc and AMP Capital has proven to be the best way of ensuring that ESVAGT can continue its development based on a strong culture and heritage, while at the same time creating value for the shareholders,” said Maersk Group CFO and Chairman of the Board in ESVAGT, Trond Westlie.“Almost 25 years of collaboration with the Maersk Group has meant ESVAGT is now industry leader when it comes to safety at sea. We are happy that by selling to 3i Infrastructure plc and AMP Capital, we have found a shareholder group who will invest with the long-term perspective,” Kent Kirk, co-founder of ESVAGT and shareholder in ESE-Holding A/S, commented.AMP Capital Global Head of Infrastructure Equity Boe Pahari added: “We believe ESVAGT represents an excellent opportunity for our investors. It holds leading positions in its core Scandinavian markets where there are high barriers to entry. Its contracted revenue streams, unique operating model and market-leading margins mean it is expected to continue to deliver stable and predictable revenue. The company is also well positioned to replicate its success in overseas markets as well as the offshore wind sector, which we believe offers exciting opportunities for the business.”Completion of the transaction remains conditional upon receiving clearance from the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation. Completion is anticipated by the end of September 2015.In 1991 the Maersk Group bought 50% of the company, and in 1998 the Maersk Group’s ownership share increased to 75%. The remaining 25% has remained with ESE-Holding A/S.ESVAGT has a fleet of 43 vessels (1 x SOV newbuilding scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 1 x CCV newbuilding scheduled for delivery in 2017) and more than 800 employees on- and offshore.last_img read more

Read more

Eight climbers still missing four others from UK rescued

first_imgPithoragarh: Eight mountaineers including seven foreigners, reported missing since May 25, continued to be traceless on Sunday, when authorities managed to rescue four other climbers from UK, stuck up near base camp of Nanda Devi East peak in Pithoragarh. Pithoragarh District Magistrate V K Jogdande said the four UK climbers were spotted 21 kilometers beyond the base camp and rescued during a sortie undertaken to locate the missing eight-member team led by well-known UK climber Martin Moran. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist Two sorties were conducted Sunday to locate Moran’s team, said Jogdande, adding more sorties will be held tomorrow to search them. The four UK mountaineers rescued Sunday told authorities that when they last got in touch with Moran’s team on May 24, they were heading for some peak other than Nanda Devi East. Moran’s eight-member team went missing on way to the 7,434-metre-high Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France Moran’s team includes three climbers from the UK, two from the US and one from Australia, besides an officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi. The eight missing climbers are Martin Moran, John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Havel from the UK, Anthony Sudecam and Rachel Bimmel from the US, Ruth Macrain from Australia and IMF’s Chetan Pandey. The district administration launched the search operation after people at the base camp alerted authorities late Friday night. The team is said to have been missing since May 25 when it was supposed to return to the base camp, Jogdande told reporters Saturday. The route to the peak begins from Munsiyari about 132 km from the district headquarters.last_img read more

Read more

Crown wants twoyear prison term for Quebec man who sexually assaulted student

first_imgMONTREAL – A Crown prosecutor is recommending a schizophrenic Quebec man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a female university student be sentenced to two years in prison.Sylvie Lemieux said today Aimen Rechrech’s sentence should be followed by probation for three years.Lemieux told reporters outside the courtroom that she wanted the population to be protected from Rechrech for as long as possible.Rechrech, 24, had pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement involving a female student at the downtown campus of a Montreal university last April.Defence lawyer Alexandre Goyette Goyette is recommending a suspended sentence for his client.Judge Denis Mondor will render a sentence July 5.The victim, a 23 year-old mathematics student, was alone in an office at the university when she was assaulted.last_img read more

Read more

Tyrese Gibson Surprises Students At Former School And Announces WE Day California

first_imgWE Day, a stadium-sized event that brings together world-renowned speakers and performers with tens of thousands of youth to celebrate the power young people have to change the world, is pleased to announce that WE Day California will be hosted at the Forum in Inglewood on April 7, 2016.Tyrese Gibson surprised hundreds of students at his former high school, Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory AcademyIn partnership with Co-Title Sponsors, Microsoft, Allstate and Unilever, WE Day California will bring together 16,000 students and teachers in an inspirational setting to celebrate the commitment they have made to take action on local and global issues important to them.On Thursday, WE Day supporter, four time GRAMMY nominee, author, producer, philanthropist and internationally renowned film star, Tyrese Gibson, surprised students at his former school, Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, to announce WE Day California’s move to Southern California. Along with WE Day Co-Founder Craig Kielburger, and representatives from Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, Tyrese encouraged more students from across the state to join the WE Day movement.Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy is a public charter high school located in Los Angeles, California, and part of Green Dot Public Schools, serving students from the South Los Angeles and Watts communities. With the mission to build an environment of inclusivity and sense of community within the school, WE Day joins to help empower the Alain LeRoy Locke student body to continue fostering a positive school environment.“It makes me proud to be a part of the WE Day movement, to inspire and be inspired by the youth leading the change we need to see,” said Tyrese Gibson. “I attended and spoke at WE Day in Illinois last spring and was blown away by the energy and passion in the room. Every single person at WE Day has done something to make an impact in their own life and in the lives around them. These young people are standing up and saying ‘I will be the change for a better tomorrow’ and I can’t wait for the students from my hometown and my former high school to experience the energy of WE Day.”WE Day is the movement of our time – a movement of young people leading local and global change. WE Day celebrates and inspires this generation’s shift from me to we – towards acting with intention, leading with compassion, and a belief in the power of community. This year alone over 200,000 young people will come together in 14 stadium gatherings across the U.S., Canada and U.K. to take part in this unprecedented initiative through the yearlong educational program, WE Schools.You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day – students from across the state will earn their way by taking action on one local and one global cause of their choice through the WE Schools program. The program provides hands-on, student-led campaigns designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or to spark new ones. WE Schools help young people turn the day’s inspiration into sustained action. Already, students’ participation in WE Schools has resulted in over $62 million raised for more than 2,500 local and global organizations and 19.9 million hours volunteered.“We believe that every young person has the power to create and lead real change in the world,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE Day. “Youth across California and the rest of America are making their voices heard, and thanks to the incredible support of Microsoft, Allstate and Unilever, we are thrilled to bring together over 16,000 young change-makers at WE Day California. We believe that if given the right tools, today’s youth can conquer anything they put their minds to.”In California, WE Day and the WE Schools program is free of charge to the thousands of students and teachers in attendance at the event and statewide. There are currently over 850 schools in California signed up for the program.“In Los Angeles, ‘we’ is not just a word — it is a guiding principle, with people pulling together every day to make life better for their families, friends and neighbors,” said Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. “I am thrilled that Free The Children is bringing WE Day to Los Angeles, where its message of empowerment for young people, and unity of purpose, will resonate in communities all over our great city.”“WE Day and WE Schools are initiatives that inspire today’s youth to do great things and get involved in their communities,” said Stephanie Argyros,Co-Chair of WE Day California. “Today, these students are presented with a special opportunity to not only learn about ways to give back, but how to take the first steps on becoming active global citizens.”Students and teachers can learn more about WE Day and WE Schools and how they can get involved and earn a ticket to the world’s largest youth empowerment event by visiting www.weday.com/california.last_img read more

Read more

Ban calls for continued efforts to eliminate scourge of chemical weapons

Addressing the 13th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention at The Hague, Netherlands, he said it was “encouraging” that nearly half of the stockpiles of chemical agents declared by the six possessor States have been verifiably destroyed.“I call upon all possessor States to complete their destruction according to the required deadlines,” he said in a message delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.The Convention, which provides for the eradication of these instruments of mass destruction, entered into force in 1997, and 185 States have signed on to the treaty, which obliges States Parties to the pact are obliged to destroy their existing stockpiles by 29 April 2012.The Secretary-General today said that this pact is the first multilateral treaty to ban, with international verification, an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.“I am hopeful that further progress will be made in each area covered by the Convention: chemical disarmament, non-proliferation, assistance and protection, and international cooperation,” he said.Mr. Ban also urged States to build upon other existing disarmament and non-proliferation pacts and to commit to collaboration among nations to “achieve our common objectives in the area of weapons of mass destruction.”Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, the treaty aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of these arms by States Parties. 2 December 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed for continued action to press ahead with disarmament efforts regarding chemical weapons, noting the positive steps that have already been taken towards eliminating the scourge. read more

Read more

Deadly E coli outbreak caused by rare strain of bacterium UN confirms

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the E. coli infection that has claimed the lives of 17 people in Germany and made more than 1,800 others in Europe sick is a rare strain of the bacterium.“The strain of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) isolated from cases in the EHEC infection outbreak in Germany is a rare one, seen in humans before but never in an EHEC outbreak,” WHO said in an update on the outbreak issued yesterday.The molecular and genetic features of the pathogen will help authorities to identify cases in other countries that could be associated with the outbreak in Germany and to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, the agency said.“While epidemiological and laboratory investigations continue, the source of the outbreak still remains unknown,” according to WHO.The agency said it was not making any new recommendations for treatment, stressing that normal hygiene measures should be observed, including hand washing after toilet use and before touching food.“Anyone who develops bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pain, and who has had contact recently with northern Germany, should seek medical advice urgently,” it added.As of yesterday, 520 cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), including 11 fatal ones, and 1,213 cases of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), including six deaths, have been reported by Germany, taking the total number of cases in that country to 1,733, including 17 fatalities.Globally, 552 cases of HUS, 12 of them fatal, and 1271 cases of EHEC without HUS, including six deaths, have been officially reported as of yesterday, bringing the total number of cases outside Germany to 1,823, of which 18 have been fatal, including one in Sweden.EHEC is a severe strain of E. coli bacterium that is commonly found in the gut of animals, mainly ruminants. It produces toxins, known as Shigatoxins or verotoxins, which damage blood cells and the kidneys, according to WHO.Symptoms include abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, which may be bloody. Fever and vomiting may also occur.Most patients recover within 10 days, although in a few cases, especially among young children and the elderly, the infection may lead to a life-threatening disease, such as HUS, which can lead to acute kidney failure, haemolytic anaemia and low platelet count. 3 June 2011The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the E. coli infection that has claimed the lives of 17 people in Germany and made more than 1,800 others in Europe sick is a rare strain of the bacterium. read more

Read more

Former UK PM Blair begins visit to Sri Lanka

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Sri Lanka today on what was said to be a private visit.He was accompanied by his wife and children and was expected to travel around the country during his stay. Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from May 1997 to June 2007. He was also the leader of Britain’s Labour Party (1994 to 2007) and the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, England (1983 to 2007). Tony Blair is also the founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. An opinion article appearing on the Foundation website last week said that the inaction of the previous government led to increased persecution of religious minority communities in Sri Lanka but the situation has improved since the January 2015 election. The article also says with former-President Mahinda Rajapaksa running for prime minister at the election next week there is a risk of an increase in religiously-divisive rhetoric, or worse, violence against religious minority communities by members and supporters of Buddhist nationalist groups, particularly Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and Sinhala Ravaya.The article said that should Rajapaksa become prime minister, the international community and advocates of religious freedom should be prepared to monitor his actions and policies. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Read more

Defence Secretary briefs top HRW delegation

Ms Meenakshi Ganguly, Director South Asia and Ms Tejshree Thapa, Senior Researcher of HRW were also present at the meeting. (Colombo Gazette) Discussions were also held on activities of HRW including training programmes conducted in relation to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and avenues for future cooperation. A delegation of Human Rights Watch (HRW) led by Asia Director Brad Adams met with the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi at the Ministry premises for talks.The HRW representatives exchanged views with the Secretary on issues related to the follow-up of the resolution adopted in the Human Rights Council on the Reconciliation and Accountability process in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defence said. read more

Read more

On poultry farms battle against bird flu showing some success UN agency

To date, 108 people have succumbed to the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus, all in Asia, and more than 200 million birds have died from the virus or through culling, but a vigorous response on farms, particularly in Thailand, Viet Nam and China, appears to have reduced the transmission of the disease from poultry to humans, according to Joseph Domenech, Chief Veterinary Officer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).Vaccination campaigns, such as the one carried out in Viet Nam, have also played an important role in some areas, and owner compensation has encouraged timely reporting of new avian influenza outbreaks, FAO said.FAO, along with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), continues to urge governments to concentrate containment efforts on farms and to emphasize the role of human activities such as trade that are considered the main spreaders of the virus but can also be inspected, controlled and improved.However, where wild birds threaten to introduce the virus, the Rome-based organization says little can be done to control their movement but that action should be taken to prevent their contact with domestic birds.“The need to keep domestic birds away from wild birds has been widely recognized and efforts to do so have been implemented in many countries,” Mr. Domenech said.To coordinate regional and global efforts to fight the disease, FAO said it needs $36 million over the next three years, in addition to funds for direct assistance to infected and at-risk countries. For these purposes, the agency has so far received $40 million and has signed agreements with donors for an additional $20 million. read more

Read more

Fertilizer executives see promising signs for North American growers

TORONTO – Executives with two of Canada’s biggest fertilizer producers say they see promising signs for North American growers, despite recent uncertainty in the marketplace.“Many growers are taking a wait-and-see approach to buying fertilizer,” said Agrium chief operating officer Chuck Magro, who recently toured a number of major U.S. agricultural regions.There’s also more uncertainty in the global marketplace than usual, he said, from the size of this year’s corn crop to developments in China, India and Russia.“However, most of this uncertainty is well reflected in the current pricing levels,” Magro told a Scotiabank fertilizer conference on Tuesday in Toronto.“At today’s pricing, with all of this uncertainty in the market, the grower — which is really what matters — is still making very solid returns… Growers across North America are in sound financial shape and remain optimistic about the future.”Farmers could pull back on buying more premium types of fertilizer if corn prices fall much below US$4 per bushel — they’re currently at $4.50 — “but so far, there’s been very little sign of that to date because I think over all, there’s still a lot of optimism in the marketplace,” Magro said.Wayne Brownlee, chief financial officer at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT), said droughts and flooding in China could be positive for corn growers in other parts of the world, including the United States.“We’re seeing a real weakness in wheat and corn production there. You’re probably going to see record corn imports in China over the next year or so,” he said.“The combination of drought in some areas and flooding in other areas has really diminished that crop — so, good news for the corn growers in the United States and elsewhere.”In May, PotashCorp raised its quarterly dividend by 25 per cent to 35 cents. On Tuesday, Brownlee said there is room for further dividend increases, though not at the same rate.On Monday, Agrium raised its dividend by 50 per cent to $3 per share on an annualized basis, despite warning that it expects sales volumes of its three main fertilizer products to be down up to 30 per cent from a year ago.“I think it does illustrate our confidence in the ability of our company to generate significant cash flow, even in these uncertain times and I think it does show the testament and the value of our integrated strategy,” said Magro.“We believe the long-term fundamentals of our business remain strong and we expect solid crop input demand as we move into the fall season.”Agrium recently won Competition Bureau approval to buy 210 Viterra retail outlets in Western Canada from Glencore Xstrata PLC.There’s still an opportunity to grow Agrium’s retail presence in the United States, where the company’s market share is currently 18 per cent, lower than any of its other operating regions, Magro said.He said he sees the growth coming from bite-sized deals rather than any “big bang” acquisitions, like its $2.65 billion acquisition of UAP Holding Corp. in 2007.“There are still a lot of independent operators that were able to consolidate over time. And that’s really the strategy that we have, is optimizing our existing network, managing our costs and building the tuck-ins,” said Magro.“We still have plenty of market share growth in the United States.”— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary Fertilizer executives see promising signs for North American growers by The Canadian Press Posted Sep 24, 2013 2:08 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Read more