Stage set for ‘killer weekend’

first_img0Shares0000AUCKLAND, New Zealand, September 28 – The stage was set for a weekend of cutthroat action at the World Cup as the pool stages reach a climax.Italy’s bonus point win over the United States on Tuesday evening set up a Pool C showdown with unbeaten Ireland in Wellington on Sunday with the winner going through to the quarter-finals. A similar situation already exists for Pool B where Scotland take on England, Pool D where Wales meet Fiji, and in Pool A with France going up against Tonga.The victorious Italians joined Ireland in Wellington on Wednesday morning with coach Nick Mallett warning that he was ready to unleash his ferocious pack once again to grab a first ever spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.“If Italy’s sitting with probably one of the best front rows in the world it would be really ridiculous not to use that strength,” he said.The Irish, who earlier defeated Australia 15-6 in the biggest upset of the tournament, are fully aware of the danger.Forwards coach Gert Smal said of facing Italy this weekend: “It will be a much bigger scrum challenge than the Australia game.“They’re a heavier pack, (Martin) Castrogiovanni is a great scrummager. They’ve a very good front row and a heavy back five.Ireland prop Tom Court added: “Italy would be regarded as one of the best scrums in the world, a very experienced front row.“It’s always tough against them. They are a very passionate bunch of guys and have a lot of pride about the scrum and base a lot of their play around it.“But our boys should take a lot of confidence out of our last few games, the confidence is a high and we are on the right path.”Unlike Ireland, England can lose to Scotland and still go through if they are within seven points, but scrum-half Ben Youngs has called for all thoughts to be on a fourth straight win for Martin Johson’s men.“We need to be more hungry than what they’ll be. We need to be more passionate than what they’ll be. We need to match them physically and if we do that, we should be in a good place,” he said.“I expect the forwards will go hammer and tongs at each other and we’ll see who comes out. But I’d always like to be behind our pack.”Over in the French camp players were saying they were treating their final pool match against Tonga in Wellington on Saturday like a straight knockout tie.Marc Lievremont’s men need just one point from the game, but they are wary of the Tongan challenge.The Pacific islanders can still make it through to the last eight if they win by scoring four tries or more and deny France a defensive bonus point.“We are looking at this match as if it were a last 16 round game,” said lock Julien Pierre.“We are still not sure of qualifying for the quarter finals and they are still in with a chance.”With the 2011 tournament nearing its knockout stages, there was already talk of the 2015 edition to be held in England and a dire warning that if things stay as they are there might not be an All Blacks team competing.New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief Steve Tew said that New Zealand would consider pulling out of the competition unless commercial restrictions imposed on teams were revamped.Tew said such a drastic and unprecedented step would be “the very last port of call” but it could not be ruled out, as current arrangements meant his organisation posted a loss every time the quadrennial tournament was held.“That’s obviously a last resort and our style is to be consultative, collaborative and to try to work with everybody to find a solution,” Tew told Radio New Zealand when asked if the All Blacks could boycott the 2015 World Cup.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Mikel shuts Twitter account after racist abuse

first_imgBut the European champions later admitted they had informed the police after being made aware of the unacceptable nature of the abuse Mikel had endured.“We’ve been made aware of racist tweets targeted at Mikel which are totally unacceptable, disgusting and abhorrent,” a Chelsea statement read.“We’ve informed the police and support taking the strongest possible action.”Mikel gave the ball away with a careless pass 10 minutes from the final whistle and Juventus took advantage as Claudio Marchisio played in Fabio Quagliarella for the equaliser.The 25-year-old apologised immediately afterwards, saying: “If I want to make up an excuse, I can. But, for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on.“I’m sorry about the mistake, but there are no excuses.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, England September 21 – Chelsea’s Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel was forced to close his Twitter account on Thursday after suffering a barrage of racist abuse prompted by his costly mistake against Juventus.Mikel removed his profile from the micro-blogging website less than 24 hours after his blunder contributed to Juventus’s late equaliser as Chelsea were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in the opening match of their Champions League defence at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.Chelsea originally insisted it was coincidental that Mikel had decided to delete the ‘Mikel12Official’ account he only set up earlier this year.last_img read more

The grim creeper: Cat comes to visit only when patients are near death

first_imgPROVIDENCE, R.I. – Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live. “He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. “Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses. After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours. Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said. Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill. She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near. Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside. Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure. No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders whether the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him. Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal-behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying. If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said. Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying. Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

DONEGAL FUNDRAISERS GATHER €20,000 FOR MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE

first_imgTV3’s Noel Cunningham and Alan Hughes presents Marie Reavey, IMNDA Regional Development Officer with a cheque for a massive €20,000.The funds were raised in the Donegal area through a variety of events led by very active fundraiser, Colm McIvor. Marie thanked all those involved and expressed how overwhelmed she was by the fantastic amount raised.“Sincere thanks to all involved in raising such a fantastic sum of money. Without fundraisers like this we would be unable to provide the help and services to those living with MND in Donegal and throughout Ireland. Special thanks to Colm McIvor who worked tirelessly co-ordinating various fundraising events”MND is an incurable neurological condition leaving people unable to do the everyday things the rest of us take for granted, like walking, talking and swallowing which may become virtually impossible. One person dies every five days from MND.The IMNDA is dedicated to providing care for people with Motor Neurone Disease, their carers and families as well as supporting research into the causes and treatments of MND. The IMNDA is a small organization that relies heavily on fundraising in order to continue providing vital services to the MND community; such as assistance towards home help, provision of specialized equipment on loan and home visiting by an MND Nurse Specialist. -END- DONEGAL FUNDRAISERS GATHER €20,000 FOR MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE was last modified: May 8th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Dole caught up in fears of E. coli spread

first_imgRumors that the company’s prepackaged salad was unsafe to eat gained enough traction that Dole released a statement about them. “These stories are recirculating news of an isolated and voluntary product recall that took place last year,” reads a statement on the company’s Web site. “Unfortunately, old news and inaccurate information that lingers on the Internet for years can be mistaken for current news.” The past rumors are not “connected” to the E. coli outbreak, Ordman said. Dole employees follow strict sanitizing procedures in processing plants, Ordman said. They clean their knives several times a day, are not allowed to chew gum or smoke, and they wear gloves and hairnets, he said. The source of the current outbreak is still unknown, but Marler said in past instances leafy greens have been contaminated in the fields by cattle, deer or sheep feces, which contain E. coli. Contamination can occur during a flood or when water used on the plants comes into contact with animal feces, he added. “Once it gets on the spinach, it’s difficult to wash off,” said Marler, who practices in Seattle. Marler said his client, Gwyn Wellborn, suffered as the bacteria-released toxins that hurt her red blood cells, depriving her kidney of oxygen. Wellborn, 26, was in the intensive care unit for 10 days before recovering with the help of blood transfusions, Marler said. Marler is also representing a Wisconsin family that claims its two children were sickened by Dole spinach. julia.scott@dailynews.com (818) 713-3735160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsOther types of packaged greens are apparently safe to eat. Dole spokesman Marty Ordman declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the company is “working with the authorities” to determine the cause of the outbreak. The E. coli outbreak has caused 50 people in eight states to become ill and is suspected in one death, according to the FDA. That could make it “the largest E. coli outbreak tied to lettuce or spinach that we’ve ever seen,” said the Oregon woman’s lawyer, Bill Marler. The combination of the FDA announcement and the lawsuit means more bad news for Dole. WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Dole Food Co. is among those caught up in a national outbreak of harmful bacteria found in packages of spinach that has left 100 people ill and one dead across 20 states. An Oregon woman sued Dole, claiming that she suffered severe kidney damage after eating a bag of Dole baby spinach containing harmful bacteria. Westlake Village-based Dole is not the only company believed to have packaged the tainted spinach. All prepackaged spinach should be thrown out, according to a warning Thursday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which did not specify any brands. last_img read more

Times employees back editor in letter

first_imgA day after Tribune Co. ousted the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the paper’s editorial employees circulated a petition expressing “firm support” for editor Dean Baquet, who has decided to stay and fight further budget cuts. Chicago-based Tribune forced the resignation of Times publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson on Thursday. The much-anticipated move came after a highly publicized show of defiance last month by Johnson and Baquet against the latest proposed Tribune cuts. David D. Hiller, who has been publisher of the Chicago Tribune, was named Johnson’s successor. He said Thursday that he would meet with Baquet to discuss their vision of the paper and would approach the issue of further cuts with an open mind. On Friday, several Times reporters and editors drafted a letter to Tribune Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons and Tribune board members backing Baquet’s plan to invest in the paper’s newsgathering efforts. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“We ask that our new publisher, David Hiller, and the management of the Tribune Co. carefully consider and approve Dean’s plans for strategic investments in the newspaper and its website that will expand revenues, enhance Los Angeles Times journalism and ensure a prosperous future for the company and its largest newspaper,” the petition states. “We are 960 employees who love this enterprise and we believe that if someone invested in this constellation of assets we could turn flagging revenues around, maybe even expand our circulation,” said Vernon Loeb, California investigations editor and one of the employees organizing the petition drive. Hiller met for about an hour with the paper’s senior editors Thursday, fielding questions and assuring them that he did not have any orders from Chicago to cut a certain number of jobs or a set percentage of the Times budget. Loeb said Times employees, while disappointed over Johnson’s ouster, were willing to give Hiller a chance. “We want the Tribune Co. to succeed,” Loeb said. “We know we’re, for the moment, owned by them and inextricably tied to them. They don’t want to sell us and that’s OK with us.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

MA Governor Proposes Tax Credit for Employment of Veterans

first_imgIn his 2017 State of the Commonwealth address, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker proposed a $4,000 tax credit for businesses hiring and retaining an unemployed veteran. The governor also mentioned that he would oppose any effort to pass a broad-based tax increase.State of the Commonwealth Address, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, January 24, 2017last_img

Podcast: An exoplanet with three suns, no relief for aching knees, and building better noses

first_imgListen to stories on how once we lose cartilage it’s gone forever, genetically engineering a supersniffing mouse, and building an artificial animal from silicon and heart cells, with Online News Editor David Grimm.  As we learn more and more about exoplanets, we find we know less and less about what were thought of as the basics: why planets are where they are in relation to their stars and how they formed. Kevin Wagner joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the latest unexpected exoplanet—a young jovian planet in a three-star system.  [Image: Hellerhoff/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0;Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more

We care when an airplane crashes. And then we don’t

first_imgOn 19 May, EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 56 passengers and 10 crew members aboard. The Wikipedia entry documenting the disaster went up within hours, and it will likely remain online into perpetuity. Human readers, however, lost interest after about a week. A pair of new studies reveals that’s common whether an aircraft crash kills 50 people or 500—a finding that reveals some surprises about our online attention spans.With the vast knowledge of humankind mere touchscreen taps away, it’s fair to say websites like Wikipedia represent a kind of boundless augmented memory for humans. Yet in the face of these near-infinite data, human attention remains relatively short. Social scientists refer to this gradual loss of interest in a topic as attentional decay. “The internet offers limitless knowledge, but it doesn’t solve the problem of our limited attention spans,” says the study’s lead author, Taha Yasseri, a computational social scientist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.Yasseri was initially drawn to look at the online behavior surrounding aircraft crashes after Germanwings Flight 9525 went down in the French Alps last year. Investigators eventually determined the pilot committed suicide, taking the lives of all 150 people on the plane. Curious, Yasseri checked out the page views—a running tally of everyone who has visited the site—for the disaster’s Wikipedia entry and noticed that interest peaked in the days following the crash, then rapidly dropped off after about a week.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)He began looking at other crashes both big and small and noticed similar page view patterns for all of them. Yasseri and his Oxford colleagues decided to formally analyze the data and built an algorithm that parsed data on all pages on aircraft crashes in Wikipedia’s two most popular language versions, English and Spanish. It then spit out a report on when each page was created, when it was edited, how many times it had been read, and when those page views happened.The researchers found that when a crash involved fewer than 50 deaths, Wikipedia readers tended to pay relatively little attention. The researchers called these “low-impact events,” and found they were statistically insignificant to readership patterns. Crashes with more than 50 deaths, on the other hand, were identified as high-impact events. For these, readership jumped and scaled up according to how many people were killed and the continental region in which they occurred.Crunching all the data, the team put together a table describing how much attention readers from each language version of Wikipedia paid to various high-impact crashes. A strong regional bias emerged: English Wikipedia readers were much more likely to read about North American and European crashes, and Spanish Wikipedia readers were more likely to read about Latin American crashes. Page views on English and Spanish Wikipedia for North American and Latin American aircraft crashes, respectively, were each about 50 times greater than for African crashes.But as the researchers report today in the journal Royal Society Open Science, regardless of where the crash happened and how many people were killed, on both English and Spanish Wikipedia, page views dropped in half between 3 to 10 days after the event.This happens for two reasons, Yasseri explains. First, there’s a “decay of novelty.” New information is appealing, and we naturally lose interest after it stops being new. And second, humans can only pay attention to so many topics at one time. As other things happen, newer events outcompete older events for our attention.Although Yasseri says he expected to see attentional decay, he was surprised that the scale of the disaster didn’t seem to influence how long it took for people to move on. The fact that it was seen in both language versions hints at a universal rule for online information consumption—big disasters don’t capture our attention any longer than smaller ones.Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, according to Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, a research scientist at the Indiana University Network Science Institute in Bloomington who studies collective social phenomena on the internet. “I refrain from making a value judgment over whether this short attention span online is good or bad,” he says. “But maybe it signals that we are able to just move on and pay attention to other things as they come up. In a certain sense, it’s kind of necessary.”last_img read more

IPL 8: In-form Rajasthan Royals take on resurgent Mumbai Indians

first_imgMumbai Indians, who are yet to win a game in the IPL, will be looking to bounce back todayBuoyed by their thrilling last-ball win against Delhi Daredevils, a confident Rajasthan Royals will take on a beleaguered Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League cricket encounter on Tuesday.Having won their first two matches on the road, the Steven Smith-led side will be playing their first match in their “adopted home” venue of Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.For Royals, the tournament couldn’t have started on a better note as they had two contrasting victories in their first two games.While the the 26-run win against Kings XI Punjab in Pune was a walk in the park, the Royals were stretched to the limit by Daredevils in their second match where Tim Southee got them home with a splendid last-ball boundary.The IPL unearths new talent every year and the talk after the first five days has been about young Baroda all-rounder Deepak Hooda, who has surprised one and all with composure and big-hitting abilities.The 25-ball 54 against DD has made the young Haryanvi ‘talk of the town’ and with Ajinkya Rahane and Smith for company, the youngster would be expected to blossom further.For Mumbai Indians, it’s been the worst start possible as they were comfortably beaten by seven wickets in their opening encounter against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders while Harbhajan Singh’s individual brilliance could not stop them from losing the second match by 18 runs.On paper, Royals will start as favourites but MI can’t be written off. Even during last season, they had lost five matches on the trot in the UAE leg before recovering remarkably to make it to the play-offs.advertisementBut batting has been a bit of a bother for MI, who have icons like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting on board to help the players.Barring Rohit Sharma in the first game and Harbhajan in the second, the MI top-order has not performed per expectations.Australian opener Aaron Finch and India’s middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu have both looked out of sorts while Corey Anderson also has been a bit scratchy despite a half-century in the first match at the Eden Gardens.But with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Finch, Rohit eager to make amends for the failures, the task will be cut out for the likes of Chris Morris, Tim Southee and James Faulkner to use all their variations and change-ups in store on a batting-friendly Motera pitch which also provides some help for spinners.The Royals’ batting line-up is pretty solid despite the absence of regular captain Shane Watson, who has been on the bench for the first two matches with a toe injury.But with current combination, which has Smith, Faulkner, Southee and Morris as the four overseas cricketers in the playing XI, doing well, it will be interesting to see whether the regular captain can find his place in the team.last_img read more