Councils raise concerns over Oxford-Cambridge Expressway plans

first_imgCurrent estimates of the cost range between £3 to £4.5 billion. The two proposed routes for the road will take it either into the Vale or South Oxfordshire.  With Highways England in line to open a consultation on the proposed ‘expressway’ between Oxford and Cambridge, two Oxfordshire councils have signaled their opposition to the plans. South Oxfordshire and The Vale of White Horse district councils have voted to oppose the plan. Comment given by the South Oxfordshire council highlighted the potential damage done to the area.  The council’s leader, Sue Cooper, said: “It will bring more traffic, create a major source of air and noise pollution, destroy farmland and habitats and increase CO2 emissions, all of which are incompatible with the recent Climate Emergency declared by this council in April.” The development is intended to link Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes, both as a way to provide an outer orbital route around London and to stimulate development in the corridor between Oxford and Cambridge. There are plans to build new towns along the route when it is completed.  The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also criticised the route, which is to pass through the greenbelt, as unnecessary and likely to lead to the expansion of Oxford.  In addition to the council’s objections, groups have raised concerns previously. The public consultation comes as the result of a motion by Oxford County Council criticising Highways England for their failure to engage with local people when planning the route. The consultation motion passed by 49 votes to 5. last_img read more

Read more →

Govt branded ‘shameful’ for not intervening in Kilcar Post Office closure

first_imgThe government’s refusal to Kilcar post office in the hope of reversing the recent decision by An Post to close Kilcar Post Office has been described as  ‘shameful’. Pearse Doherty was commenting following a Dáil debate which was tabled last night (Wednesday) in which he and Deputy Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher urged the government to halt the closure planned for this week in order to give the local community more time to prepare detailed submissions arguing for the service to be retained.Deputy Doherty said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the response from the Minister of State yesterday following our request that the government urgently intervenes in An Post’s plan to close Kilcar Post Office. “Over the past year or so we’ve seen the all too real repercussions which post office closures have on our rural communities when 17 post offices across the county were shut as part of the company’s restructuring plans.“This planned closure of the Kilcar branch comes despite us being told time and time again by the government that the recent closures were made in order to secure the future viability of the network and that no further closures were being considered.“Lo and behold, and hot on the heels of the local and European elections, we then discover that Kilcar post office is also to face the chop.“This is a post office which for decades has served a vibrant rural community and a vibrant textile industry in the town of Kilcar, an industry which has long relied on postal services to ship its products all across the globe.” More than 300 locals turned out for a public meeting on Monday to discuss the future of the Post Office in Kilcar.The community shared their shock and concern that the post office would be closed at the end of June.As a result of the meeting, the three TDs present were mandated to request An Post to extend the proposed closing date of the post office until December.Doherty continued: “It’s scandalous that the local community has been given no opportunity to come together, to organise and to make a proper appeal to An Post to argue against this closure.“Having attended the recent public meeting organized to resist the move to close the branch, it’s clear that there is huge resistance to this closure and locals are understandably very angry at how this is being forced upon them. “Last year Sinn Féin tabled a motion before the Dáil that no post office should be closed and, despite having received cross-party support, the Government has failed to listen – this is absolutely shameful.“We are now demanding that the government intervenes here and grants a six-month extension to allow for the community to organise, to plan and to make the proper case to An Post that this decision needs to be reversed.“Moreover, I am calling on the Minister to come to Kilcar himself and meet with local people to witness the level of deep opposition which exists here to these plans because only then will he fully realise that, should this closure go ahead, then he will effectively be ripping the heart out of yet another rural community.“I pledge to continue to stand with the local community in Kilcar and provide whatever support I can to their campaign to save this important service.” Govt branded ‘shameful’ for not intervening in Kilcar Post Office closure  was last modified: June 27th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Read more →

Latest: QPR 1 Leeds United 1

first_imgArmand Traore had a chance to put QPR ahead in the opening seconds of the second half at Loftus Road, where Jermaine Jenas levelled for the home side following a goal from Ross McCormack, who earlier had a penalty saved by Rob Green.McCormack was adjudged to have been fouled by Richard Dunne after latching onto Luke Murphy’s clever pass after 10 minutes, but his resulting spot-kick was easily stopped by the Rangers keeper.However, McCormack found the net with the help of a deflection four minutes later, when his 25-yard free-kick went in via the head of the unfortunate Kevin Doyle.Rangers, beaten in their last three matches, hit back a minute before the interval. Doyle laid the ball off to Jenas, who fired into the bottom corner from inside the penalty the area.And Traore had a clear sight of goal just after the restart but shot straight at keeper Jack Butland.QPR: Green, Hughes, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill, Traore, Jenas, Henry, Hoilett, Morrison, Doyle.Subs: Murphy, Keane, Yun, Carroll, Benayoun, Sendles-White, Maiga.Leeds: Butland, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Stewart, Kebe, Wickham, McCormack.Subs: Smith, Hunt, Mowatt, Byram Wootton, Brown, Cairns.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Read more →

A towering cultural icon

first_imgThe massive cooling towers are receivinga bright and colourful makeover.(Image: MaOblata Bloemfontein) “The Suncatcher” by the late Father FransClaerhout, a Bloemfontein-based RomanCatholic priest, is one of the subjects shownin large scale and glorious colour.(Image: MaOblata Bloemfontein) The Soweto towers are a popular culturaldestination, and one that is also soughtafter by crazy thrill-seeking visitors.(Image: Soweto Towers )Janine ErasmusBloemfontein, the City of Roses, is looking even more cheerful these days. The city’s cooling towers are receiving a facelift and will soon be covered in vibrant home-grown artwork, courtesy of First National Bank (FNB), one of the country’s major banking groups. FNB is a major sponsor of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and in line with its sponsorship of the much-anticipated event, is transforming the skyline of one of the host cities.Bloemfontein, also known as Mangaung (place of the cheetahs), is a city rich in cultural heritage and has played a significant role in South Africa’s growth as a nation. Many of the city’s most acclaimed citizens and distinctive features will be immortalised in the gigantic works of art that are soon to completely clothe the vast surfaces of the cooling towers.Two of the four towers, which belong to a currently decommissioned power station, will carry FNB’s 2010 Fifa World Cup branding. The other two will take on a bright and colourful depiction of the area’s heritage and are expected to become a source of community pride.Sieg Maier, who heads up FNB’s Free State division, said that the company is proud of its investment. “The physical and psychological landscape of Bloemfontein will be transformed into a more positive and vibrant place that beams with hope,”The artworks are reproduced on canvas – about 12 800m2 of it – and the wraps weigh between 700 and 900kg each. The project, which is not yet complete, is expected to consume 12 000l of paint, while the artistic team will take about 720 hours each to complete their sections. Each tower is 60m high with a circumference of 120m at the bottom and 70m at the top.A city of pioneersBloemfontein is something of a pioneering city, and its residents are responsible for many notable milestones and inventions both at home and abroad. Among them are Olympians Ryk Neethling, a member of the first South African swimming team to win a gold medal, and record-breaker Zola Budd, who was the first Olympic athlete to run barefoot.The significance of the city goes back much further than that, though, and the area abounds with rock art paintings that show the lifestyle of the San people, its first inhabitants. Later the city, after its establishment in 1912, became an important military base with both an army and air force presence. The Rooivalk (Afrikaans for “red kestrel”), South Africa’s attack helicopter, is based at Bloemspruit air force base.Bloemfontein is renowned as a centre of learning and literature, as well as science and engineering. J.R.R. Tolkien, renowned author of The Lord of the Rings, was born in Bloemfontein in 1892. The city is the judicial capital of South Africa, and the country’s current ruling party, the African National Congress, was founded in Bloemfontein in 1912.In 1955 the first parking meter in Africa was installed in the city, and later Fred Brownell, who went to school in Bloemfontein and became the State Herald, was the principal designer of the new South African flag. The flag made its début on 10 May 1994 at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, and is the only six-coloured national flag in the world.There are two international astronomical observatories within the city limits – the Boyden Observatory and the Lamont-Hussey Observatory, which is now a cultural venue known as the Observatory Theatre. While the latter was still in operation it housed the imposing 27-inch Lamont refractor which at one time was the largest refractor in the southern hemisphere.Soweto towersIn 2003 FNB performed a similar feat on the cooling towers of the mothballed Orlando power in Soweto. The two towers can be seen for miles around and have become cultural landmarks in the area. A number of contemporary artists lent their talents to the initiative, which is now an important tourist attraction in the area.Not only conventional, but also adventure tourists are keen to visit the site, because the Soweto towers have been transformed into a popular vertical adventure centre. The centre, which opened in July 2008, boasts a 100m-high viewing platform at the top of the west tower with a 360 degree view of Soweto. The platform leads to a power swing and a tandem swing, both of which allow thrill-seekers to plunge downwards for 40m and then swing between the two towers – either alone or with a friend. The towers are also used for base jumping, rap jumping and abseiling.FNB commissioned a mural that would depict slices of life in Soweto. Notable features, in much larger-than-life size, are a smiling Nelson Mandela, who lived in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street, famous singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the Madonna and child, which is a symbol of Soweto’s Regina Mundi Catholic church, a football stadium, a female vendor selling her wares, taxis, and many other iconic images of the bustling township.The other tower bears the FNB branding. The mural, which took six months to complete, is said to be the largest in Southern Africa – but soon it will have competition.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] linksMangaung local municipalityFNBSoweto towersBloemfontein towerslast_img read more

Read more →

Arts Alive ushers in a feeling of spring

first_imgFTH:K’s QUACK!is described as an Afro-Gothic fantasy of desperate hope anddodgy deeds Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake is a daringinterpretation of the classic piece.(Images: Arts Alive)MEDIA CONTACTS • Rami NhlapoJT Communications+27 11 788 7631/2Chris ThurmanJohannesburg in August is dry and bleak. The winter cold starts to ease, but after months with no rain the ground is hard, the grass is yellow and the Highveld sky is thick with dust. The bare branches of trees are softened by a few brave blossoms, but spring still seems far away.The seasons change officially on the first day of September; typically, the rains haven’t arrived by then, but somehow pockets of green develop and – just occasionally, usually at dawn and dusk – experienced locals catch the scent of moisture in the air. The city’s mood starts to change. Soon the thunderstorms will come.There’s something very reassuring in this predictable cycle. Despite political turmoil, despite economic instability, despite even the prospect of climate change, year by year the shift from winter to spring provides some comfort to Jozi’s burdened, stressed-out citizens.It’s not only Mother Nature who has this palliative effect – for September also brings to Johannesburg the Arts Alive Festival, and with it, a reminder of the invigorating potential of human creativity.Theatre, music, visual arts, dance, literature, film: name your art form, it’s on the programme, which runs from 2 to 26 September.Of course, the Johannesburg arts scene is hardly dormant during the other 11 months of the year (quite the opposite), but Arts Alive serves as a reminder to the people of Johannesburg to make the most of opportunities to engage with the work of artists from across the country, the continent and indeed the globe.Ballet innovationThe 2010 festival opened with a performance of acclaimed dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo’s reconceptualised Swan Lake. In her latest daring adaptation of an iconic ‘Western’ cultural product (she has previously appropriated Shakespearean plays such as Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet), Masilo once again fuses classical ballet with contemporary dance styles.It will be interesting for festival-goers to compare Masilo’s rendition of Swan Lake with that of Vijayalakshmi, a celebrated proponent of the southern Indian dance form known as Mohiniyattam, which will be onstage later in the month.Vijayalakshmi has created her own version of the Swan Lake fable for a cast of 15 dancers, keeping Tchaikovsky’s famous score as musical accompaniment but replacing the tutus and pointe shoes with the rich visual pageantry of dancing and costumes from the Indian state of Kerala.Swan Lake in Mohiniyattam forms part of a sub-festival running in parallel with Arts Alive under the banner of Shared History: The Indian Experience. This annual programme of events, which also takes place in Cape Town and Durban, aims to reinforce the strong historical connection between India and South Africa – appropriately, 2010 marks the 150-year anniversary of the arrival of Indian indentured labourers to work the sugar plantations of Natal.International collaborationsInternational collaborations are an important component of Arts Alive; participating artists come from as far afield as Argentina, Switzerland, Taiwan, Portugal and the Netherlands. The festival organisers also, however, place a strong emphasis on the presence of performers from other African countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Mozambique.Unfortunately, xenophobic attitudes continue to be prevalent in South Africa, making life extremely difficult for communities with a high proportion of residents from countries north of the Limpopo – but other sub-festivals under the Arts Alive umbrella will encourage those in attendance to oppose violence and prejudice. The Hillbrow Peace Festival and the Soweto Festival both take place over the last weekend of the month.Nationality and ethnicity are only two among many barriers that separate individuals in any society – precisely the kinds of divisions that artists try to overcome.Another division is between the able-bodied and the disabled, for instance, hearing people and deaf people. Yet, as demonstrated by the talented and visionary group FTH:K (From the Hip: Khulumakahle), deaf/hearing creative partnerships can produce astoundingly beautiful works. “Listen with your eyes” is the advice given by the Market Theatre to audiences attending performances of FTH:K’s shows Quack! and Womb Tide.Lively theatreTheatre-goers are spoilt for choice. The 969 Festival, hosted by Wits University, coincides each year with Arts Alive. The event is named after the 969-kilometre journey between Johannesburg and Grahamstown, where the annual National Arts Festival (NAF) takes place.The idea is to take a selection of plays that were performed at NAF and to share them with upcountry audiences who couldn’t make the trip down to Grahamstown. In 2010, the line-up includes both high comedy and understated tragedy, with subject matter ranging from contemporary politics (Mbeki and other Nightmares) and evolution (Backstory) to warfare (Kaput) and the complexities of sex and marriage (Molly Bloom).The Raiders shows of father-and-son team Nicholas and Luke Ellenbogen are extremely popular in Grahamstown and have become something of an institution; so if you’re looking for an authentic NAF taste, catch them in Raiders of the Lost Aardvark.A people’s festivalArts Alive is intended as a “people’s festival”, and its success each year depends on the extent to which the citizens of greater Johannesburg become involved in the programme – not only as spectators, but also as participants.The Alternative Spaces community theatre programme and the Bottle Top Mosaic on display in Newtown’s Mary Fitzgerald Square are evidence of what can be achieved through cooperation within and between communities.Yet the festival also facilitates the creation of new, transient communities, such as the thousands of people who year after year attend the Jazz on the Lake concert at Zoo Lake. Music events are the largest crowd-pullers at Arts Alive, but exhibitions such as the Louis Maqhubela retrospective at the Standard Bank Gallery and the University of Johannesburg’s group exhibition Ecotopian States have the advantage of bringing in visitors throughout the month.Film screenings and a variety of workshops offer further scope for either escapist entertainment or active discussion, depending on your preference.Whatever you do, make sure you don’t let September pass without taking part in the springtime Jozi tradition of Arts Alive.last_img read more

Read more →

Doctors Without Borders treat Ebola, one patient at a time

first_imgDr Stefan Kruger hugs a survivor in Sierra Leone. (Image: MSF) Sulaiman PhilipIn just the last week the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimate of new Ebola infections and deaths has risen. According to Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)) the slow response from the WHO and western governments, and the atmosphere of fear and hysteria, has hampered its ability to slow the spread of the epidemic.But amidst the fear and hysteria there are success stories, MSF’s Dr Stefan Kruger says. The University of Cape Town-educated medic has just returned from a month in Kailahun, the epicentre of Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak.“There is one patient that I will always remember, a 70-year-old grandmother. That she survived amazed us all. She was found in her hut, close to death and brought to the hospital. Older people don’t survive usually, but she did. She thrived, helped in the hospital to feed other patients.”Survivors develop antibodies that last at least 10 years; this immunity would make them an asset if they are allowed to return to their villages. This simple piece of information has been lost in the frenzy around the epidemic. “We took her home, embraced her in front of her family and friends. This simple act lifts the stigma of disease from survivors,” says Kruger. Ebola survivor Salome Karawah cares for a 10-month-old baby whose parents are being treated for Ebola. (Image: John Poole) Medics stretched to their limitsKailahun’s 80-bed tin-roofed Ebola complex sits in the hills on the edge of the jungle in north-east Sierra Leone. Once the bustling capital of the Kailahun District, its dirt roads are empty. Residents have left or stay indoors out of fear, and the medical personnel of Kailahun’s government hospital have either been infected or fled.Its 220-member staff of locals and MSF personnel live in a tented compound. Wooden walkways, with tin roofs to keep them raised above the mud churned up in the rainy season, lead to the hospital, the triage tent and, in the distance, a makeshift mortuary.“MSF is doing what it can, but we are being stretched to our limits. For me, going back isn’t a tough decision at all. In many places up to now, if MSF wasn’t there, there would be nothing – for me that’s reason enough” Kruger says.Stopping the spread of the epidemic is not rocket science but the shortage of medical supplies, the slow mobilisation of resources and the lack of information in affected areas combine for the perfect storm. Jens Pedersen, MSF humanitarian affairs advisor, is clear-eyed and rational; “We find ourselves one or two steps behind the spread of the disease because of these factors.” Jens Pedersen hopes that promised aid arrives sooner than later. (Image: MSF)Doctors Without Borders is the most visible medical presence, and often the only foreign medical team, in affected areas. The organisation is still running its malaria, cholera and HIV programmes in tandem with dealing with the outbreak; “We have heard a lot of promises from organisations like the WHO, but there is still no action on the ground,” says Pedersen.Pedersen was based at ELWA3, MSF’s Ebola treatment centre, in Monrovia, Liberia. The 120-bed centre, the largest Ebola treatment centre in the world, is running at capacity and will need to be expanded. On arrival a patient goes through triage where a simple blood test is done. While waiting for the results the patient is quarantined for between 6 and 12 hours in a ward holding other patients. A map of the MSF’s Ebola treatment centre in Monrovia. Click to enlarge (Image: MSF)If the test comes back positive the patient is transferred to a ward holding other confirmed Ebola patients. For most the care is palliative, but those with a chance of survival get supportive treatment as well as nutritional support and rehydration. In Monrovia the recovery rate, for a disease that still has no treatment available, is 40% of all those admitted on time.“Why do some patients survive and others not? It would be speculation on my part but if you get treatment early you are more likely to survive. If you are young, fit and otherwise healthy you are more likely to survive. But this is speculation,” Pedersen emphasises. Slow international aid responses hamper treatment It is estimated that 20 000 medical personnel are needed in Sierra Leone and Liberia alone to stop the epidemic from becoming unmanageable. The United States has sent 4 000 troops to police Ebola hotspots and has promised $400-million in medical supplies. The response of Africa’s trading partners and western nations with advanced health care systems, beyond their hysterical efforts to secure their borders, has been even slower. The Ebola outbreak began almost simultaneously in three West African countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Data from 9 October 2014. (Image: MSF)Cuba, on the other hand, has dispatched Fidel Castro’s “army of white coats” to Sierra Leone. The 165 medical support staff, the largest contingent of medical staff from a single nation, will be followed by 296 Cuban doctors and nurses who will be stationed in Guinea and Liberia. The Cuban Medical Brigade will join MSF’s 250 staff and 3 000 local medical personnel working with Ebola patients in West Africa.Jorge Delgado Bustillo, national coordinator of the Cuban Medical Brigade explained that since the early 60s Cuba has dispatched tens of thousands of health workers to supplement African medical structures and train doctors. “This experience is important, we are comfortable on the ground and language is not a barrier,” he said.Despite shortages of basic medical equipment, MSF is containing the epidemic. Ebola hotspots are centred on areas with crumbling or non-existent healthcare, where things as basic as surgical gloves are in short supply. It is in towns like Kailahun, and Bo, also in Sierra Leone, where the epidemic rages that the expensive equipment used to treat single patients in Madrid and Dallas is needed.“We don’t trust the WHO figure of 4 000 deaths, there is a lot of under-reporting out of fear,” Juli Switala, a paediatrician who has also just returned from Sierra Leone, says. Based in Bo, it was two weeks after her arrival that the first Ebola patients arrived at the hospital. Within a week admissions (of patients with other needs) had dropped to zero. The hysteria that has built up around the epidemic has hindered MSF’s ability to get out clear and effective information. “Fear follows the disease, families are hiding bodies,” she said. The toughest decision Dr Juli Switala has had to make is deciding to stop resuscitating children who have come into contact with Ebola patients. (Image: MSF)Switala has had to make tough decisions in Bo. With her colleagues, they have stopped conducting Caesarean deliveries and no longer resuscitate children. “The risks of contact with body fluids was far too great. We had to make painful touch choices like that every day. The people of Bo are very tactile, they touch your face when they greeted you for example. With Ebola the whole region has become a no touch community.”Patients are isolated from their communities and treated by staff encased in Hazmat suits so personal contact is non-existent. This precaution has affected the care that medical staff are able to give patients; simple medical procedures take two or three times longer than usual.For Switala the 90 minutes spent in the suit every day was, strangely, the least stressful time of the day. She says her mind “was concentrated on doing things safely, being aware of what and who you touched”.“Outside the suit you spent your time wondering who touched your phone, who broke off a piece of bread, who ate from this plate before me.”A breakdown of Ebola deaths A breakdown of Ebola deaths.Click to enlarge.Pedersen believes western hysteria means Africans are being punished for a disease they could do nothing about and did nothing to cause. He talks about a husband brought to hospital in Monrovia by taxi. It was a three-hour journey over rutted roads, his wife watching him getting sicker. The man was so weak that he needed to be carried into the hospital. His wife sat by his side waiting for MSF personnel. “He died there in the courtyard before we could get to him. Imagine the trauma that woman suffered watching her husband die. Now, imagine the response if he had died at a hospital in London instead of Monrovia.”last_img read more

Read more →

London Olympics: USA’s Lochte claims gold, Phelps off podium in swimming

first_imgUS swimming sensation Ryan Lochte stole the headlines at the London Olympics swimming on Saturday with a emphatic win in the men’s 400 metres individual medley, while the illustrious Michael Phelps was shut out of a medal. Lochte, a three-time Olympic champion, led from the very beginning to touch wall first at 4:05.18. Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira finished second at 4:08.86, while Japanese Yuya Horihata settled for a bronze at 4:08.94, Xinhua reported.Phelps was shut out of medals with a fourth place at 4:09.28.During the gruelling race, Lochte was already in the lead by the time he surfaced following his initial dive off the starting block. He had an one-second lead after the opening butterfly leg and expanded that to two seconds over the backstroke and three seconds after the breaststroke leg.Roared on by a capacity crowd, he carried on his streak and powered home in the freestyle leg to win by over three seconds.Phelps, a 14-time Olympic gold winner and long-time master of the 400 metres individual medley event, fell out of the podium in the first of his seven events at which he called his last Olympics.Lochte, who last year emerged from Phelps’s shadow with five titles at the World Championships in Shanghai, including 200 metres freestyle and 200 metres individual medley victories over Phelps, lost to Phelps in three out of four events at the US trials last month.On Saturday, Lochte eclipsed the illustrious Phelps by an undeniable win of over four seconds and rose to a realm of his own.advertisement”I think I am in shock. I knew I was capable of winning,” said Lochte. “I heard the fans screaming and was cheered up.”Phelps was disappointed in screwing up his first event, admitting his rivals were better prepared.”I felt fine for the first 200 meters, but in the last 100 meters they swam better and that’s why they got medals. They were more prepared,” said Phelps.”It’s frustrating to start on a bad note, its upsetting, but the biggest thing is to get past it and to move forward. I hope I can finish better than I started,” he added.”I was lucky to get up, I had the chance for a good start to the Games and didn’t take it,” said the 27-year-old.Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman was also surprised with the flop. “I honestly don’t think it was a fitness issue. I thought he was in a good place mentally,” he said.last_img read more

Read more →

3 Maj Renews Contract with Algoma

first_imgzoomIllustration. Source: Wikimedia – under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; Image by: Roberta F. Croatian financially-troubled 3. Maj Shipyard will complete the construction of a bulk carrier for Canadian shipping company Algoma. On September 4, 2019, the duo signed a contract to restore the construction of the hull no. 733, the shipbuilder said in a stock exchange filing.The investment is valued at USD 36.6 million, local media cited Darko Horvat, Croatian economy minister, as saying.The ship in question is a self-unloading Handysize vessel which is reportedly already 80 percent complete.Back in October 2018, Algoma canceled the shipbuilding contract for the hull 733 at the shipyard, along with three other vessel contracts. The shipowner sent the cancellation notices due to “the yard’s failure to secure refinancing for the ships.”3. Maj Shipyard, whose majority shareholder is Uljanik Group which is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, has secured state guarantees on an HRK 150 million (USD 22.4 million) loan in order to revive production and complete vessels under construction.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Read more →

Nikola Jokic Is Suddenly One Of The Best Young NBA Players Of

LeBron James2042.427.255.410.232.98.3 PLAYERAGEMINS./ GAMEPTS.TRUE SHOOTING %REBOUND %ASSIST %BOX +/- Alvin Robertson2335.117.056.310.221.86.6 Michael Jordan2138.328.259.29.825.38.2 First- and second-year NBA players with the best Box Plus/Minus of all time Nikola Jokic2126.916.364.118.526.98.3 Jokic numbers are through Feb. 17 of the 2016-17 season.Source: Basketball-Reference.com Shaquille O’Neal2139.829.360.518.711.06.6 David Robinson2537.725.661.519.010.98.4 Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system pegged Jokic as an All-Star coming into this season (very rare for a second-year player), and as someone who should be worth more than $200 million over five years on the open market. But it also spat out a puzzling list of comps, such as Carlos Boozer, Lonnie Shelton, Greg Monroe and Kawhi Leonard. Jokic’s game doesn’t resemble any of those players outside of an excellent short-to-midrange jumper, but being compared to them is impressive in its own way, since projection systems tend to have trouble finding similar players when confronted with one who is truly unique. So the models can tell us he’s very, very good, but have trouble getting much more specific.For that, put aside the big-picture stats and look at the lines he has put together: Against Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks, Jokic had 40 points on 23 shots; in a win against the Golden State Warriors a few nights later, he had 17 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and added 12 assists. These were extreme outbursts, of course, but increasingly the norm for Jokic.In 27 games since moving to the starting lineup in mid-December, Jokic has averaged 20.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 29.4 minutes on 65.6 percent true shooting and a 26.7 usage percent. He’s shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range in that stretch on 2.2 attempts per game, and is assisting on 30.6 percent of his possessions. No player in NBA history has piled up a true shooting percentage, usage percentage and rebound percentage that high over the course of a season. That’s not uncommon for a brief, narrowly defined run, but the thing to notice is the degree to which Jokic is separating himself. If we cut the rebounding and assist rates in half and drop 10 points off the true shooting, the season-long average list still comprises mainly current and future hall-of-famers, with a few All-Stars thrown in on the back end.Since the sum of Jokic’s recent production is too lofty to discuss credibly, let’s look at some of the metrics from his play as a starter individually: This season, the only players to crack 65 percent true shooting while taking 10 or more threes are Kevin Durant (65.2) and Otto Porter (65.3). The only player 6 feet 8 inches or taller to crack a 30 percent assist rate this season is LeBron James (41.6). His recent defensive rebounding figure doesn’t put him in line with the top bruisers such as Andre Drummond or DeAndre Jordan, but it jumps him up from being about even with Kenneth Faried to neck-and-neck with Karl-Anthony Towns.But the biggest reason to be excited for Jokic in this game is that he’s one of the most audacious passers in the league.Jokic doesn’t collect his assists like plodding big men, who draw a double team and kick the ball to a corner. He’s a good interior passer, finding cutters at surprising angles. But he can also work from outside the 3-point line, where he can hit runners for easy layups thanks to the space created by defenders respecting his range. When he’s leading the break, he can feed wings crashing to the hoop or drive himself and, if the defense commits, dump off to a wide-open man for a dunk. When he’s cooking, his passing angles resemble James Harden’s more than they do a 7-footer’s.The video above should begin playing around 3:20 in, with two impressive sequences showing Jokic doing point guard things. But stick around for the play that happens at 5:15. Jokic collects the ball at his own free throw line, runs his own delayed fast break, and as soon as he crosses half-court begins loading a cross-court laser pass (which he throws wrongfooted) to the corner for a 3. That’s a play you expect from LeBron or Steph Curry, not from a center who was recently backing up Jusuf Nurkic. And yet here we are.Jokic will get a little shine in Friday’s Rising Stars game, and a little more if the Nuggets hang onto the eighth seed in the West, which offers them the right to be slaughtered by the Warriors on national TV in April. Maybe that will be enough to bump him up into the Towns-Porzingis-Embiid class of young stars, or maybe it won’t. Either way, fans should enjoy every time Jokic is dragged out of the League Pass backwoods and shoved under some brighter lights.CORRECTION (Feb. 17, 1:01 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Nikola Jokic was an injury replacement for Joel Embiid in the Rising Stars Challenge. Jokic was already on the Rising Stars Challenge roster, and replaced Embiid in the Skills competition.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Alvan Adams2133.219.050.714.927.26.7 Steve Francis2339.919.956.310.028.46.6 The best young player in the NBA won’t be playing in the league’s All-Star Game on Sunday. Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets’ second-year forward, doesn’t have the profile of other young stars missing the big game like Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns or Kristaps Porzingis. Jokic also doesn’t have the draft pedigree of many other blue-chippers appearing in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge game for the top first- and second-year players. But he could end up being one of the best players in the league, and he’s already one of the most exciting.That’s pretty heady talk for a player averaging 16 points for the season. But, despite limited minutes in a crowded Denver frontcourt, Jokic has become both an object of fascination for NBA diehards and a standout in the fancier NBA stats.Before we jump into an aria of gaudy stats, let’s pause real quick (especially considering we’re closing out the five-year anniversary of Linsanity) and be clear: Jokic is very young, and he’s only been playing a starter’s worth of minutes for two months now. But as we’ll see in a minute, his production could suffer a massive downturn and he’d still be among the more exciting prospects in the league.Let’s start with the basics: Jokic’s Box plus/minus is 8.3, which is third in the league this season, behind only Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but in context of a player in only his second year, is extraordinary. It’s the third-highest BPM for a player in his first or second season, behind only David Robinson (8.4) who because of Navy service was 25 in his second season, and LeBron James. Andrei Kirilenko2127.712.059.811.510.66.6 Charles Barkley2236.920.061.919.416.07.9 read more

Read more →