Ebola situation in Liberia: non-conventional interventions needed

first_imgReport from the World Health OrganizationDuring the past weeks, a WHO team of emergency experts worked together with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of her government to assess the Ebola situation in Liberia.Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially.The investigative team worked alongside staff from the Ministry of Health, local health officials, and other key partners working in the country.All agreed that the demands of the Ebola outbreak have completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity to respond. Fourteen of Liberia’s 15 counties have now reported confirmed cases.Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died. When the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor to treat nearly 100,000 people in a total population of 4.4 million people. Every infection or death of a doctor or nurse depletes response capacity significantly.Liberia, together with the other hard-hit countries, namely Guinea and Sierra Leone, is experiencing a phenomenon never before seen in any previous Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload.Of all Ebola-affected countries, Liberia has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths, amounting, on 8 September, to nearly two thousand cases and more than one thousand deaths. The case-fatality rate, at 58%, is also among the highest.Situation in Montserrado countyThe WHO investigation concentrated on Montserrado county, which includes Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. The county is home to more than one million people. The teeming West Point slum, which has no sanitation, little running water, and virtually no electrical supplies, is also located in Monrovia, and is adjacent to the city’s major market district.In Montserrado county, the team estimated that 1000 beds are urgently needed for the treatment of currently infected Ebola patients. At present only 240 beds are available, with an additional 260 beds either planned or in the process of being put in place. These estimates mean that only half of the urgent and immediate capacity needs could be met within the next few weeks and months.The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centres.For example, an Ebola treatment facility, hastily improvised by WHO for the Ministry of Health, was recently set up to manage 30 patients but had more than 70 patients as soon as it opened.WHO estimates that 200 to 250 medical staff are needed to safely manage an Ebola treatment facility with 70 beds.The investigation team viewed conditions in general-purpose health facilities as well as Ebola-specific transit and treatment facilities.The John F Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, which was largely destroyed during Liberia’s civil war, remains the country’s only academic referral hospital. The hospital is plagued by electrical fires and floods, and several medical staff were infected there and died, depleting the hospital’s limited workforce further.The fact that early symptoms of Ebola virus disease mimic those of many other common infectious diseases increases the likelihood that Ebola patients will be treated in the same ward as patients suffering from other infections, putting cases and medical staff alike at very high risk of exposure.In Monrovia, taxis filled with entire families, of whom some members are thought to be infected with the Ebola virus, crisscross the city, searching for a treatment bed. There are none. As WHO staff in Liberia confirm, no free beds for Ebola treatment exist anywhere in the country.According to a WHO staff member who has been in Liberia for the past several weeks, motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are a hot source of potential Ebola virus transmission, as these vehicles are not disinfected at all, much less before new passengers are taken on board.When patients are turned away at Ebola treatment centres, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they inevitably infect others, perpetuating constantly higher flare-ups in the number of cases.Other urgent needs include finding shelters for orphans and helping recovered patients who have been rejected by their families or neighbours.Last week, WHO sent one of its most experienced emergency managers to head the WHO office in Monrovia. Coordination among key partners is rapidly improving, aiming for a better match between resources and rapidly escalating needs.Implications of the investigationThe investigation in Liberia yields three important conclusions that need to shape the Ebola response in high-transmission countries.First, conventional Ebola control interventions are not having an adequate impact in Liberia, though they appear to be working elsewhere in areas of limited transmission, most notably in Nigeria, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Second, far greater community engagement is the cornerstone of a more effective response. Where communities take charge, especially in rural areas, and put in place their own solutions and protective measures, Ebola transmission has slowed considerably.Third, key development partners who are supporting the response in Liberia and elsewhere need to prepare to scale up their current efforts by three- to four-fold.As WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan told agencies and officials last week in New York City and Washington, DC, development partners need to prepare for an “exponential increase” in Ebola cases in countries currently experiencing intense virus transmission.Many thousands of new cases are expected in Liberia over the coming three weeks.WHO and its Director-General will continue to advocate for more Ebola treatment beds in Liberia and elsewhere, and will hold the world accountable for responding to this dire emergency with its unprecedented dimensions of human suffering.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Local Roundup: Four Redwoods baseball players named to All-GVC team

first_imgEureka >> The College of the Redwoods baseball team’s 11-win improvement over the previous season didn’t go unnoticed by the league’s coaches and officials, as the Corsairs garnered multiple Golden Valley Conference honors, which were announced on Tuesday.Leading the way for CR was Kokko Figueiredo, who was among the league leaders in batting average (.338) and RBI (30), was named to the GVC’s first team as an infielder. The Hawaii native also won a conference Gold Glove award, one of two for …last_img read more

Inflation Concocted to Avoid a Young, Perfect Universe

first_imgAlan Guth concocted inflation theory in 1980 to avoid evidence for a 10,000-year-old universe.  For his wild, evidence-free speculation, he may win a Nobel Prize.In a profile on National Geographic, cosmology guru Alan Guth describes his college experiences that led him to invent inflation theory.  The velvet-glove interviewer, Dan Vergano, treats Guth like a rock star, aided by photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice, who presents the 67-year-old physicist as supercool for a new generation – an appropriate description, because his speculations about supercooling of the universe in the first fractions of a second were his ticket to stardom.Inflation theory began with two hard facts that challenged big bang theory, but would make believers in Genesis quite comfortable.  The first was the fine-tuning of the universe:In 1978, he learned in a talk by Princeton physicist Bob Dicke of a problem with the universe—it was too perfect. All sorts of factors, from the workings of atoms to the gravity holding stars together, seem too exquisitely fine-tuned for creating a cosmos in defiance of both rational explanation and what chance would predict.“One second after the big bang—and I’m pretty sure that is the example he used—the expansion rate had to be just right to an accuracy of 14 decimal places or our universe would look nothing like it does now.” Just a smidge more expansion and the universe would have blasted itself apart. A tiny bit less and it would have fallen in on itself. Instead it had unfolded just right, balanced on a universe-friendly knife-edge, seemingly for no reason.Guth filed away this “flatness” problem in his mind as interesting but too big to tackle. “It just stuck in the back of my mind.”Guth began thinking of ways to rescue secular cosmology from the flatness problem.  Later, after he first conceived of inflation, he speculated that it would also solve another conundrum: the horizon problem (the unexpected uniformity of temperature in regions that never had contact).The second hard fact concerned the age of the universe:In the spring of 1979, Guth attended two lectures by physics Nobelist Steven Weinberg, then at Harvard, about problems with the big bang in its first instants, less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. “I decided that if Steve was willing to work on these crazy things, maybe they weren’t so crazy.”The answer that Guth and Tye found that year, however, was still crazy: The universe should be swimming with cosmic defects.In fact, these defects should have been so numerous and so massive that if they actually existed, the age of the universe “would turn out to be about 10,000 years,” Guth says, with a laugh. “This doesn’t turn out to be the case, scientifically.”Guth laughed.  He dismissed as unscientific the notion that the universe might fit within a Biblical timeframe.  But he couldn’t ignore the problem.  He began speculating.  Maybe, if the universe supercooled in those tiny fractions of the first second, the defects would go away.  “A 100,000-fold drop in temperature might have given the forces inside the early universe a bit more time to line up nicely with each other, essentially producing fewer defective cracks in creation,” the article states, with no explanation of how or why it would undergo supercooling.  But the idea was pregnant with imagination.Guth began figuring on paper.  His imaginary supercooling, he speculated, would also make gravity repulsive, expanding the universe exponentially.  As by-products, it would solve the flatness problem and the horizon problem.  His imagination led him to the analogy of phase transitions when water boils into steam.  He got so excited, he wrote “Spectacular realization!” on his paper.  Secular cosmology could be saved from the appearance of design!Problem: he couldn’t figure out how to stop inflation once it started.  That and other pesky details were mopped up over time, once he and others took off and ran with the idea of inflation.  Guth was noticed by his peers.  Job offers rolled in.  He was high in demand as a speaker by others wanting to hear the radical new idea.Inflation compelled the interest of physicists because it kept all the advantages of the big bang as an explanation for the origin of the universe while filling in a uncharted spot in explaining how it actually started—in other words, what put the bang in the big bang.Intelligent causes were clearly left out of the equations.Unfortunately, Guth’s model of inflation was falsified the next year, in 1981.  It didn’t produce the smooth universe he anticipated.  He almost gave up, but others, charmed with the notion of inflation, came up with patches and fixes to keep the dream alive.  It didn’t seem to matter that the new versions got crazier and crazier:And at the end of the year, Stanford’s [Andre] Linde did find another answer, and he was followed shortly afterward by other researchers. The wholesale makeover of inflation, called “chaotic inflation” or “eternal” inflation, produced by Linde and colleagues in 1983 has become a standard for the field. In this model, inflation is occurring somewhere in the universe all the time, far beyond the 92 billion light-year expanse of the cosmos we can now see.Most often the model also sees inflation producing a proliferation of universes, a multiverse filled with a cornucopia of realities.Guth’s fame has not dimmed with each new observational challenge.  There’s the lumpiness problem, for instance – the observation that very large structures exist throughout the universe.  Guth dismisses these with evidence for tiny fluctuations in the incredibly-smooth CMB (cosmic microwave background radiation) that might have given birth to galaxies, provided there was ample unobserved dark matter available.  There’s the entropy problem: such low entropy today presupposes incredibly, unbelievably low entry at the beginning.  And there’s the conclusion by Sean Carroll (5/11/06) that inflation solves nothing, because to get inflation to work requires even more improbable initial conditions: “It would seem that the conditions required to start inflation are less natural than those of the conventional Big Bang,” Carroll noted.Inflation is so useful to atheists, though, that it has survived all empirical challenges, including the CMB measurements and the “discovery” of cosmic acceleration (requiring occult “dark energy”).  Guth is optimistic that worries about the dust clouding the BICEP2 announcement (see 6/24/14) will dissipate, so that he can point to it as confirmation.For now, as he awaits an expected Nobel Prize in September, Guth lives comfortably at MIT, counting his blessings, Vergano writes.  He already got the Kavli Prize ($1,000,000) shared with Linde and Starobinsky (other inflation rock stars).  Conveniently for him, the Planck project data that could tip the evidence against inflation will probably arrive after Guth and his accomplices have laughed all the way to the bank.Did you know that the inflation model so often described in popular reports and animated on TV, like Cosmos, is wrong?  Inflation underwent a “wholesale makeover” in 1983 when Linde and others made it even more speculative and irrational.  Now, inflation occurs all the time, they say – conveniently, in places that can never be seen, like regions beyond our cosmic horizon, or in other universes that are not observable even in principle.  Inflation is the ultimate shell game, the ultimate ad hoc proposal concocted only to prevent the evidence for a created universe to shine through in glory.  (Recommended reading: Bruce Gordon shows why inflation explains nothing, Evolution News & Views 4/04/14).Alan Guth (Grand Unified Theory Huckster) is a charlatan who doesn’t deserve the fame and fortune showered on him from fawning reporters and willing accomplices in academia who use his “spectacular” evidence-free “realization” to promote materialism.  Don’t be fooled by this BICEP2 confirmation talk.  Because of the under-determination of theory by data, there are an infinite number of theories that can explain whatever turns up from the BICEP2 and Planck instruments.  This article reveals that the evidence supported creation when Guth made up his story, and it still does.  Laughing off God’s word that accounts for the fine-tuning of the universe and its age, Guth made a deliberate choice in 1980 to trust in the imagination of his own heart.  Strong words?  See Guth indict himself in our 2/21/05 entry, where he spouted evidence-free speculation non-stop, admitting that “Without inflation, this large-scale smoothness appears quite puzzling” – confessing therein that he knew the evidence supports design.The blessings he’s now counting should have included gratitude to his Maker for giving him breath, a brain, and the ability to live in a beautiful designed world.  Instead, he turned against his Maker and led a generation astray.  He should also count it a blessing that more philosophically rational men have not booted him out of academia for engaging in self-refuting ideas (which, by definition, cannot possibly be true).  If Guth’s mind is the product of chaotic, irrational forces, then we cannot trust a word he says, including inflation and the idea that his mind is the product of irrational forces.  No amount of math skill can overcome that.Would that Guth had learned to follow the evidence where it leads.  After hearing Dicke’s lecture in 1978, he could have realized, “Wow! That sounds like intelligent design!”  After finding his own model predicted a 10,000-year-old universe, he could have said, “Wow! That sounds like Genesis!”  Instead, he sold his soul to do evil (note: thinking irrationally is evil).  The devil, ever prowling for dupes, in a Faustian bargain, gives him rock star fame and fortune – for a little while.“Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot” (Psalm 73:7) “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21; see 1/21/07 commentary).  Alan, Andre, Robert and the rest of the cosmic cabal, while you walk God’s green Earth, there is still time to repent. (Visited 102 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Durban’s first black female deputy harbour master talks about her job

first_img18 May 2016Pinky Zungu would not have minded working as a pilot on a ship until the day she retired. But she was given what she describes as a more exhilarating position at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA): Zungu is the first black female to be appointed the deputy harbour master: nautical at the Port of Durban.Her new position requires more managerial functions than operational, according to Zungu, who comes from Lamontville, in eThekwini. She enjoys it, though. “It has been exciting. This is not a foreign industry for me. I know the gaps exist and I am open to learning even more.“The benchmark has already been set and it is now up to me to perform accordingly.”Her highlight is teaching what she has learned over the years. “My in-depth knowledge of piloting gives me the chance to motivate and encourage the up-and- coming junior licence pilots.”Zungu took up her new position on 1 May 2016.The beginningShe first made her name as one of three women in Africa to obtain a marine pilot open licence in 2011. A week after that, Zungu, now 33, made news headlines again when she piloted the MSC Chicago, at the time the largest container vessel to visit South Africa’s shores.This was just after the entrance channel at Durban harbour was widened to make way for a new generation of container ships. She has since had seven years’ experience of guiding vessels of any size up to super tankers and mega container vessels into the Port of Durban, putting her in an ideal position for her new role, according to TNPA’s press statement.In 2011, Zungu was selected by TNPA as a development candidate and is said to be one of the women who are changing the face of the male-dominated maritime industry.In an interview with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), she said that before she started studying at the Durban University of Technology, she had never seen a ship. “So everything was new to me. Progression from studying to becoming a pilot has been a long journey, but one that I have enjoyed.“I went to sea, became a tank master. I enjoyed that a lot – driving the tank. Then I started studying piloting and I got my open licence in August 2011. I love piloting more than anything!”When she was chosen as a Samsa Seafarer of the Year (shore-based category) in 2011, she said she would pilot ships till the age of 65. She shared the seafarer award with two other women – Precious Dube and Bongiwe Mbambo.Male dominated industryOne of the challenges has been to be in command of men. “You have to be firm,” is one of the lessons she has learned. “You have to be firm, because you are working with captains who are old and grey. (Some) are not used to you being a female. So you have to assure them: ‘I’m well-trained and I know exactly what I am doing.’”Watch Zungu talk about other challenges she has tackled:She studied maritime to travelGrowing up on the outskirts of Durban, Zungu had dreams of becoming an airline pilot but her parents could not afford the training. Instead she did a two-year course in maritime studies because it would give her the opportunity to work on ships and travel the world for free. “I didn’t realise that this came at a price,” she explains.“While I got to see most of Europe and West Africa during my cadetship with (shipping company) Unicorn, I spent the first eight months on a bulk carrier as the only woman in a crew of 28 Russian men. The only person who could speak a little bit of English was the captain.“It’s a tough environment for women. On board you have to have the physical and mental strength to perform the role. Only when you’re on land can you put on your skirt and heels and be a lady again.”After her cadetship Zungu completed a compulsory oral examination with Samsa to obtain a Class 3 ticket to be a junior deck officer responsible for auto piloting vessels and managing safety equipment.She then trained and worked as a tug master at TNPA manoeuvring ships in and out of the port with the aid of small tugboats. Following that, she completed a year-long pilot training programme to qualify as a junior pilot before progressing through the various licence grades, starting with smaller ships of about 16 000 gross tons, then 20 000, 25 000 and 35 000 before qualifying for her open licence.As deputy harbour master: nautical, one of Zungu’s key responsibilities is managing the marine pilots under her wing. These include a number of young black women, as TNPA’s efforts to provide opportunities for the historically disadvantaged, including women, continue to gain traction.“Being a marine pilot is a huge responsibility. You have to study the sounding charts daily and have an accurate mental picture of the seabed. You have to know what’s underneath you, including port depths, as the equipment on board the visiting ships doesn’t always work,” she explains.The mother of three says she has achieved her career success with the support of her husband, Sphiwe, a senior lifeguard at eThekwini Municipality. Like her, he grew up in Lamontville.last_img read more

Nominate schools for the Grow Rural Education program

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The number of jobs with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is expected to grow significantly over the next ten years, according to the National Science and Math Initiative. To help K-12 educators enhance their STEM curriculum, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will once again provide farmers with the opportunity to nominate their Ohio public schools for opportunities to receive $10,000 and $25,000 grants.Former grant-winning schools, such as Early County Elementary School in Blakely, Georgia, indicate the program stimulates school budgets for STEM education, as well as students’ level of interest in science and math.In 2016, Early County Elementary School used the $10,000 grant they received from the Grow Rural Education program to expand the school’s science curriculum by building a hoop house, allowing students to apply classroom lessons about the ecosystem and plant lifecycles to the fruits and vegetables they harvest.“The Grow Rural Education grant has had an impact throughout our entire school district. After our elementary school students harvest their crops, we provide the food to our high school culinary arts program,” said Early County Elementary School teacher Tim Spooner. “This allows high school students to learn their craft and then give a portion of that food to our area’s most needy residents.”In 2017, the Grow Rural Education program will award approximately $2.3 million to deserving schools. Since the program began in 2011, it has awarded more than $11 million to schools in rural communities across the United States.To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, farmers in eligible counties must nominate an eligible rural public school district to compete for a merit-based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. Farmers can nominate their school district from January 1 to April 1, 2017.After the school district receives a nomination, the Monsanto Fund will notify the district and encourage administrators and teachers to design a grant that enhances STEM education in their district.Nominated school districts have until April 15, 2017, to submit a grant application describing their project. An advisory council composed of farmer leaders then reviews finalist applications and selects the winning school districts.“The Grow Rural Education program provides farmers with a way to give back and sets students up for success in their local communities,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “We have heard from many school districts that the projects they implement excite their students and, in many instances, have resulted in improved test scores.”To nominate a local school district for one of the Grow Rural Education grants, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, farmers can go to GrowRuralEducation.com. Additionally, more information about the program can be found at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.last_img read more

Israeli Defense Force Responds To Criticism Of Games On Its War Blog

first_imgThis is the meat of the IDF’s explanation:“In no way is ‘IDF Ranks’ meant to gamify Operation Pillar of Defense or any military actions during the operation. We embarked on the operation for serious reasons – Israeli civilians have been the target of rocket fire for over a decade – and we continue to see it with the utmost seriousness.”I take that response very seriously. But I’m genuinely surprised that the decision to turn IDF Ranks back on did not strike anyone as unserious. As I’ve tried repeatedly to make clear, I thought the initial social media campaign was quite seriously executed. It was well done. It captivated the media and steered the conversation. Then the game knocked it off the rails. “The IDF blog itself was launched in 2009 and is not a ‘war blog,’ but rather a site meant to encourage transparency and provide breaking news regarding events in the area,” the IDF says.Surely that was the original intent, but that changed on Thursday when it became a live blog for an ongoing attack. And again, just to be clear to critics, I did not find that practice inherently problematic. I found it interesting and mostly successful.“During Operation Pillar of Defense we provide our readers with news updates and operational information regarding IDF actions. In other times, though, the blog has hosted varying content, from reports about routine activities to more lighthearted personal stories. It is this content that ‘IDF Ranks’ was meant to promote.”Yes, I’m sure it was, but the IDF turned the game off at the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense, and then it turned the game back on. When asked why this happened, the IDF offered this explanation:“Over the past two days the blog has experienced technical difficulties due to high traffic, and ‘IDF Ranks’ was temporarily taken down to make necessary adjustments to our systems.”I was on top of the live-blog story very early, and I never saw a trace of any game components until 36 hours or so after the campaign began. It’s plausible that the IDF took it down for traffic reasons at a very low level of traffic, but, if I may editorialize just a little, I’m suspicious of the answer.I followed up to ask why the game was turned back on and got this response.“We turned it on because it is an integral part of the blog and has been for four months. After the site was briefly down because of the spike in traffic, we isolated it as a potential factor and, once we rectified the technical difficulties, brought it back up again.”If you say so. Whether this is the entire explanation or not, we can certainly conclude that running a fun game on a live blog about serious military action wasn’t troubling to the decision-makers at the IDF. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos jon mitchell Related Posts The Israeli Defense Force spokespeople behind the IDF Blog, the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter feed, and the rest of the Operation Pillar of Defense social media campaign were quick and forthcoming in response to my inquiries about the light-hearted game that took over the gravely serious blog yesterday. I included some of the IDF comments in yesterday’s story but I want to look more closely at the rest of their messages.The IDF spokesperson who responded to me explained that “[t]he game ‘IDF Ranks’ was conceived and launched four months ago … as part of our efforts to create a interactive community to encourage social interaction generated by the IDF social networks online.” Basically, it gives you badges and ranks for actively using and sharing the stuff on the blog. Not very fun, but not a big deal.center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#War Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

Umar Akmal cameo helps Lahore beat Mumbai

first_imgUmar Akmal hit an 18-ball unbeaten 38 as Lahore Lions beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by six wickets in their opening qualifying round match of the Champions League Twenty20 in Raipur on Saturday.Put into bat, Mumbai produced a mediocre batting display as they could score just 135 for seven with Aditya Tare top-scoring with a 37 and the Pakistani side comfortably chased down the target with eighth balls to spare.Ahmed Shehzad (34) and Nasir Jamshed (26) laid a good platform by stitching 51 runs for the opening wicket, but they looked like losing way in the middle overs as Mumbai came back strongly on the back of some fine bowling and fielding.Lahore needed 26 runs from the last three overs and the match headed towards a tight finish. But, Akmal turned the game on its head with a superb show of batting as he struck four fours and two sixes from 18 balls as Lahore ran away with a win.Meanwhile, New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson showed his prowess in the shortest format as he powered Northern Knights to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka’s Southern Express in a rain-curtailed opening game of the Champions League T20 in Raipur on Saturday.With heavy downpour and soggy outfield reducing the match to 10-overs per side, Southern Express managed 92 for five in 10 overs which was easily surpassed by the Northern side with three balls to spare. Williamson led the charge with a 29-ball-52. Earlier, openers Kusal Perera and Gunathilaka rode on their luck due to shoddy fielding from Northerns as Southern Express scored 92 for five in 10 overs.advertisementKusal smashed his way to 37 off 20 balls with seven boundaries as Gunathilaka contributed 39 off 26 balls with two fours and three sixes. The opening stand of 55 laid the foundation of a challenging score.Diminutive Kusal was quick to dispatch anything on his legs behind the square. His partner Gunathilaka was slow to begin as he was not timing the ball properly but later got into the groove. The openers were helped by some shoddy fielding as Northern dropped as many as six catches of the duo.last_img read more

10 months agoZola confirms Chelsea watching Bournemouth striker Wilson

first_imgZola confirms Chelsea watching Bournemouth striker Wilsonby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveGianfranco Zola has confirmed Chelsea’s interest in Callum Wilson.The Bournemouth striker has scored nine goals across all competitions this season, with reports stating the Blues were contemplating a move for the 26-year-old.And speaking before Chelsea take on Bournemouth in the EFL Cup quarterfinal, Zola said the club were interested in the England international.”I’m sure that there are a lot of players that are linked with us,” the Blues assistant said.”Certainly Callum Wilson is doing very well for his club and he is of interest, not just for us, but for many.”He’s strong, fast, and he sees the goal. I like him because he’s quick, but also strong in the air, which is a very important quality.”But I don’t want to go too much into it. He’s doing very well. I’m pleased for him. He has a lot of qualities that can take him a long way.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

BC schools scrambling to hire teachers to meet new classsize standards

first_imgVANCOUVER – School districts in British Columbia are scrambling to hire thousands of teachers ahead of the new school year to satisfy a court decision that reinstates standards on class size.The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last November that legislation implemented by the province’s previous Liberal government in 2002 that prevented teachers from negotiating class size and composition related to special needs students was unconstitutional, resulting in a need for 3,000 to 3,500 more teachers.“It’s a massive undertaking,” said Glen Hansman, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation, adding the bulk of the positions are being filled in the final weeks before classes begin.The hirings mean students can expect more support when they return to school, but Hansman said the rush to post and fill vacancies could have been avoided if more had been done before May’s provincial election.“The previous government didn’t do enough before the election … to actually get a lot of this work done before the end of the last school year,” he said.The Education Ministry said in a statement “there were no substantial delays in the hiring process as a result of the election.”The Liberals earmarked $50 million in January to start hiring teachers while negotiations to reinstate class sizes were underway.A deal was reached in March to restore language from previous contracts that called for smaller class sizes, ending the union’s 15-year battle over bargaining rights and resulting in a $330 million funding boost for public schools.Premier John Horgan, whose New Democrats formed a government in July, included education in his list of priorities for the legislature in September.Hansman said the new government has eased lingering funding concerns for school districts, but attracting enough recruits remains a challenge for some jurisdictions, partly because of the cost of living in B.C.“Unfortunately, because of the affordability issues in this province and the fact that teachers in B.C. are paid significantly less than teachers in other parts of the country, it is really a difficult pitch to make to people who are graduating from teacher education programs to come out to B.C.,” Hansman said.Northern and rural communities have long struggled to bring in teachers, particularly specialty and secondary school teachers, he added.The Education Ministry said to help rural schools a $2 million fund was created to offer incentives, such as moving allowances or housing supports.For districts unable to meet the new standards, the ministry said remedies were built into the agreement so existing teachers could receive “more prep time, additional teaching supports, or some other form of assistance” to make up for the shortfall.Maintaining an adequate pool of on-call teachers has also been a challenge as they take full-time jobs and Hansman said the supply will need to be replenished.Gordon Swan, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, said the coming school year is a transitional one and long-term planning involving the province, school boards, union and teachers education programs will be needed to meet the demands of growing communities.In the province’s largest school district, there is also a demand for more physical space.Doug Strachan of the Surrey School District said about 50 portables had to be purchased for new classroom space, adding to the existing 275 portables.Portables were first installed at schools that have no alternative spaces, he said. There may be a shortfall of roughly a dozen portables, but those are expected to be in place by the second or third week of the school year.The district has also worked aggressively to fill positions for 168 new classrooms this fall — representing five years of normal class growth, Strachan said.“There may be some positions still being filled getting into the school year but we expected that they will be hired quickly and it won’t have impact on startup,” he said.Swan said most districts have shared similar sentiments, and he’s confident everything will be in place by the end of September.“My thought to parents is that they shouldn’t be worried about the situation this fall,” he said. “There will be additional teachers in the schools and their child will have a classroom to go to.”— Follow @Givetash on Twitterlast_img read more

Alberta premier threatens to broaden pipeline dispute with BC

first_imgNotley says if she sees more moves to delay construction, her government will pass legislation to give her the power to reduce the flow of oil and natural gas.In 1980, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed cut oil exports in his fight with Ottawa over price controls and revenue sharing under the national energy program.The pipeline dispute began earlier this year when B.C. said it would not allow increased oil shipments until it could do more research on spill response. EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is threatening to expand a fight with B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline by reducing the amount of oil her province ships.Notley won’t say if she would cut off B.C. or the rest of Canada or both.She says it’s time to focus the country’s attention on lost jobs and reduced revenue due to a pipeline bottleneck.last_img read more