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When The Iron Is Hot

first_imgAt the end of three months my search for Asata directed me to Newport Street, in the heart of Monrovia.   My informant said he was sure as day followed night.  “I saw her there,” he said, grinning, “you’ll not believe how pretty she now look.” My face danced with joy, and clearly I could not control my emotions.  I said, “Is she a real beauty as you’ve said?”  Gbessay laughed, and corked his head on one side, said, “I tell you she is some beauty.”   “Tell me more about her,” I said, as the thought of Asata danced in my mind with anticipation, “be frank with me, and do me the favor.”    Gbessay was sixteen when I was bubbling with love for Asata. Now twenty-two, he had grown up, and was someone I could believe.    He said, “I know you’ve been searching for her,” and hesitated for a moment, and I did not disappoint him, when I said, “I’ve been here,” meaning Vai Town, just across from Monrovia, “on the last three months and only you now telling me where I can find her.”    “We talked about you,” he said, smiling, “When she could not hear from you, maybe she thought you died like many others.”    I could not blame her, for thinking the worst for me; many young men were killed as the Liberian war held on.    “Is a wonder,” I said, with some dignity, “that many of us survived this war.”    “I know,” Gbessay said, “Asata will be glad to see you,” then I felt some inner dissatisfaction. Was Gbessay, like many Christian people, speaking in tongue?    This could not be happening.    “You’re not hiding anything from me, Gbessay?”     “Tony,” he told me, “you must believe what I’m telling you.”    So, I said, “What are you telling me?”    He said, “Follow my direction and right after the huge building on Newport Street, after the school you’ll find her, or ask for her.”    I told him how great he was, and that I appreciated his help, and bid him goodbye.    Thirty minutes later, I was on Newport Street, and having passed by the school Gbessay mentioned, I slowed down, and walked leisurely, whistling to myself.    Suddenly, my steps lost their agility. I then crossed the road toward Asata’s residence.   At first my eyes deceived me, refusing to accept Asata, who seemed to be busy, at the corner of an old brick house.   Her lanky frame hovered over the side of the road where a young man was putting some woods at their place.   The sun beat hard on me, and several people walked about the place.   Then, like a dream, I saw an old woman standing at the corner, near Asata, pointing her finger at me.    I could not recognize Hadja at first, for the years of the civil-war had had a telling effect on her and had changed her, reducing her to a bundle of human caricature in a packaged cloth from her head to her toes. She might have run from this place and to another place, and as frail as she was, I knew she could not live through it.   But she did.   Hadja, her title, meant she was one of the fortunate ones who had fulfilled their religious duty, and had visited the holy city of Mecca, the birth place of the Prophet Muhammad.   Hadja was highly respected in the community because of that success, and though she had encouraged me to visit the mosque, I never took it with any seriousness.   As a woman with deep faith, she wanted her daughter, Asata, to marry someone who would follow her footsteps, and worship Allah, as she had been brought up.   But now it would appear that my failure to attend services at the mosque, and the coming of the unfortunate civil-war had all conspired to deny me the woman I had once dreamed of having as a wife and the future mother of my children.   As I moved closer to the house that I had been told Asata now lived, my heart bubbled with anticipation, imagining what she would say to me.   In my heart, I was preparing to rush at her and hug her, and give thanks to Allah for preserving her.   On my right, near a string of houses was a young beauty, busily engaged in some chores, her lanky frame revealing to me that she might have been the object of my search. Her hair was braided, the attachment flowing on her back and over her face.  She was my Asata, I was now convinced, watching her closely, but my mind deceived me, suggesting she could be someone else, for Asata, though was tall, could not be the woman I feeding my eyes on presently.  Was this Asata? How she had changed so much and more beautiful now!   My heart thumbed in my chest as my feet walked their way towards the house. Since the information about her present residence did not hint about any changes in her life-style, I did not suspect any untoward surprise.   But when I saw the old woman pointing her finger at me, something in me suggested right away that something was afoot.   What was it? I did not care, all I cared about was searching for my Asata, and turning my head to look at heaven, I said a silent prayer, begging the good old man above to show me the way.   By now I was almost at the entrance of the house, and the old woman smiled, and it was a painful one. She rubbed her two hands together, and when I turned to look on my right, the young woman turned swiftly, and smiled at me.   “Oh my God,” I yelled in my heart, and smiled back at her.   “You found me,” she said, and dimples on either jaw on her face did not mislead me, I concluded she was my Asata.   But it seemed that something was not right with her. Under her smile I sensed her pain of anguish which was visible on her face, and it was the kind of loss, which eventually was to be mine alone.  She turned her head and regarded at the man engrossed in his work, and nodded.   Under normal circumstances, I would have wept, beat my chest and looked up to heaven, asking God why should I lose, but I was calm. She began to explain her eventual journey into marriage with the man who had replaced me.   “I did not know whether you survived the war,” she said, her eyes downcast, “my ma is old now,” pointing to Hadja, “and so…” her voice trailed off, and I felt sorry for myself, for what she was about to disclose to me.   I mustered a little courage, and said, my hands shaking like a car with an idling engine, “So you have to get married?” The question taunted me, and unable to control my emotions, I went on, “I searched for you everywhere,” as if that was enough justification.   She looked away, and smiled. It was a smile I had known long before the Liberian civil-war began on 24 December, 1989.    “I have to marry,” she said, and it was enough for me, for what else could she say again? Then fragments of the most touching melody intruded into my mind, and I could hear the song, “How Lonely Are Those Who Are Disappointed,” in my ears. But interestingly, I was aware of the popular opinion that “every misfortune is a blessing,” that I would have to work with to ensure how true it was.    “So,” I managed, after struggling to regain my bearings, to say, “you can no longer be mine?”    She might have thought my question silly, though the answer was obvious. What was I expecting her to do now, marry two men? I bowed my head in agreement, and with trembling hands, stared at her in silence. The echo of passing breeze swept around us, and I fought hard not to give in to tears.She turned her back to me, and looked at Hadja, whose smile was full of what I could only understand as resentment, since her daughter had already been married. Though she knew how much I loved Asata, but with new circumstances in her daughter’s life, she might have wondered about my appearance since until life turned upside down, Asata made her to believe I was the only man in her life. I could not be angry with her, for I admitted with a great deal of reluctance that while I was gone, time did not wait for me.    “I’ll miss you, Asata,” I heard my voice crying out in anguish, as if that was not an obvious result, particularly when I realized that a tear was threatening to expose my weakness. I then turned my face away from her, and decided to leave her in peace.    Painfully, my legs responded, and ambled away from her.    She shouted at me: “I’ll not forget you,” but what should I care?    I was moving on, though let down, beaten and crushed.    Few minutes later I knew the danger had come and the risk was gone.  My eyes felt tired, and at one point I wanted to cry. It was a difficult situation for me, walking away from Asata, the young woman whose fascination had brought me such an unexpected torment.  Her cool voice kept repeating itself in my ears, “I tried to find you and when I could not find you, my ma advised me to find happiness somewhere,” and though the verdict was cruel, I could not blame her for what she had done.    I felt nauseous, but my inner feeling urged me on to accept it, for it was clear that I had lost the battle.  “I’m married now, sorry,” came back to haunt me. The afternoon sun beat harder on me, as if it was a divine punishment for my past bad deeds. As I moved on, the world seemed to be passing by me in a rush and by now my breathing had slowed down suddenly.Meanwhile, I wanted to stand aside somewhere on Newport Street, and gaze at her, and drink in her beauty, but I decided it was too late that, for to fight a losing battle war would demand more than ordinary tears of disappointment and frustration. Though I had a great deal of love for her, the reality was that she on the other hand had no affection for me. Afterward, I believed the popular maxim that “out of sight, out of mind.” My mind posed a surreal question to me, asking, “For what purpose?” and I could not find within myself to answer it.   A glacial pang of pain hit my side, like the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well. My body was becoming adjusted to the message of doom as I heard it.   I asked myself, “Is she happy?” and my mind answered, “If she is not happy she would not have told you that she was married,” a response that was ominous like the message Asata delivered to me.    It was like a shuffling compromise between defiance and prostration, and walking away towards the bus or taxi rank, what appeared like stars danced before me. I was seeing things double, and I knew that Asata was gone for good.    I felt her loss, but then I reminded myself that it was merely the loss of another chapter in my life.    “I’ll move on,” I said under my breath, admitting the truth that I had lost her forever.It was then that I made a resolution not to let things take me by surprise, though events leading to the loss of Asata were things I could not control and they were reasons for which I could not hold her responsible. It had been many years now since that experience and realizing that life is how one makes it; I am not taking any chances now. Though the memory of Asata had always come to haunt me, I made use of it, as a new chapter in my life directing my focus to strike when the iron is hot.The EndShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘We’re with You’

first_imgThe President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, has slammed the international community for failing to make [basic healthcare] accessible to low-income economies such as Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone over the years where thousands of people are dying from Ebola because they here were born in the wrong place on earth ‘in the lottery of birth.’The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed over 4,000 people in the sub-region and infected nearly 10,000, says World Health Organization (WHO). But Dr. Kim has assured the people of the three countries hit hardest by the virus that the world community is united with them (West Africans) particularly Liberia, in a concerted global effort to safeguard lives in the wake of an Ebola outbreak. “We are with you and will stand by you,” Kim said in remarks at a specially  organized meeting with the Liberian delegation on the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank Group and IMF Annual meetings convening in Washington D.C., USA.“We are with you. The international response was slow from the beginning. It took a long time to get to you, but be assured that we are with you,” Dr. Kim said. “If we have the local health people to do the work on the ground, let them to do it. What has happened in the past is that there has been low expectation.”A dispatch from the US says the outspoken World Bank President told the Liberian delegation that more focus would be placed on stopping Ebola. “All of us at global levels failed first, but now, we are with you. What we are trying to do is not to fail you. We cannot allow ourselves to fail you.”He warned that if much is not done and soon, the infection would continue to spread to other countries and even continents. “This virus would spread to other countries if we don’t move faster, as we have seen with the first Ebola case in the United States this past week. This pandemic shows the deadly cost of unequal access to basic services and the consequences of our failure to fix this problem.”As a consequence, the ability to boost shared prosperity in West Africa — and potentially the entire continent — may be quickly disappearing.Dr. Kim emphasized that the world’s response to date has been inadequate, and that it has been painful to see a replay old failures from previous epidemics.He promised the Liberian delegation that the Bank would continue to remain engaged with the affected countries, noting “overall, we have pledged US$400 million to support treatment and containment. And we have devoted our considerable analytical resources to show that acting now will save hundreds of millions, if not tens of billions of dollars.”The meeting comes at a time when Liberia is experiencing the worst ever outbreak of the “Ebola Virus Disease” (EVD) in history, which has claimed over 2,000 lives in the country and posed  further risks of exposure to the larger population and as well, a severe impact on the economy.Earlier, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara M. Konneh,  highlighted government’s current challenges and the gains that have been recorded so far in the fight against Ebola. But a lot more is needed to be done, he warned. “We need to revamp the entire health sector. Our health system has been affected greatly. The economy which was projected to grow at 5.9 percent in 2014 has now receded to just one percent. Our (economy) is in recession,” Minister Konneh briefed the Bank President. He called on the international community not to forget about the economic consequences. “We want to fight Ebola and at the same time we want this fight to finish quickly so we can start the recovery process, in order that our citizens may  regain their livelihood.”Minister Konneh explained that the service sector is the hardest hit, declining significantly to some 10 percent. “We have to achieve two things: To tell the Liberian people’s story in the context of the Mano River Union (MRU) story, to mobilize resources for an effective response to fight the Ebola virus and at the same time to strengthen the healthcare delivery system.He encouraged the Bank and other partners to increase their support to the affected countries, looking beyond the aftermath of the crisis. “We want quality healthcare for our people, but even after Ebola, communities devastated by this outbreak will need to rebuild, accelerate economic activity and drive back livelihood.”He thanked the Bank and other partners for the level of support so far, which he says is boosting government’s Ebola response activities.Minister Konneh and delegation, including the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia   (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones, Dr. Francis Kateh, of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Representative Munah Pelham Youngblood, are scheduled to hold a series of multilateral and bilateral discussions aimed at rallying support for the government’s “National Ebola Response Strategy.”With the latest death toll from Ebola now at 4,000 in the three worst-affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, a new economic impact assessment from the World Bank Group warns that if the epidemic were not   significantly contained and is allowed to infect people in neighboring countries, some of which have much larger economies, the two-year regional financial impact could reach US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Senior citizens facing discrimination by some minibus operators

first_img…urged to report matter to PoliceSenior citizens are now forced to wait long hours on the public roads owing to some minibuses refusing to transport them.Minibuses in GuyanaIt has now become overly irritating that some of these elderly persons are beginning to sound their voices.Speaking with Guyana Times, one senior citizen of Dazzle Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara, explained that she is tired of having to wait for long hours on the public road since the East Coast Demerara buses (Route 44) are refusing to take her to Georgetown.“I am very tired; you know how long I have to wait before one of them old buses feel sorry for me and take me to Georgetown? If I have to reach to Georgetown for nine in the morning, I best reach on the road since five because these buses will never pick me up,” she said.Another elder of Kitty, Georgetown said, “Watch me foot ain even good, I get crutches to help me walk. I know people might say I should be catching taxi but where I finding all that money from every week to go and dress my foot, me in like everybody, me don’t have all them money,” he said.Furthermore, another challenge they have indicated is the loud music on the buses that become unbearable during their travel.“I think one of the reasons they don’t pick up old people up is because we complain about the music. I can’t understand why the music has to be so loud, they always have the music hard, hard in the bus to deaf people and when we talk they either put us out of the bus or just to avoid everything – they don’t pick us up at all,” another retiree explained.Commenting on the situation, United Minibus Union (UMU) President Eon Andrews said that the Union has been persistently receiving reports on the situation.“We’ve been always getting that kind of reports where certain buses refusing to pick up elderly persons, differently-abled persons, and even some foreigners. That is why we’ve had to come up with our code of conduct that was coined between the Ministry of Business, the Road Safety Council and the Police, and the Union”.The association’s President said that even though it is against the law, it is very difficult to monitor every minibus.“As much as we have outlined that it should not be so, more or less monitoring is kind of very difficult. These older persons might not have the time and fatigue to report it to the station, the number of the bus and so on”, he vocalised.However, Andrews said that in the case where a bus refuses to transport the elderly, if they are accompanied by a family member, they are advised to take the registration number of the bus and report it to the nearest Police station.In the Minibus Code of Conduct, Clause 3:3 clearly states that “no passenger shall be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, or nationality”.“It is catered for but in many instances where the road people are violating or buses are violating, a lot of these things are in the 5102 Road Vehicle and Traffic Act. It is a matter of the Police enforcing”.Andrews even pointed out that Police Officers have now reached the stage where they are mocking persons when they go to make reports.“It clearly indicates to me that as much as people would like to go and have their matters addressed, whether legally or otherwise at the Police station, sometimes the Police don’t pay them any mind,” he pointed out.Meanwhile, Andrews said that he wishes that some of these manners be taken to the court where the culprits will face severe charges.Traffic Chief Linden Isles, however, said that the Police have not received any complaints on these issues but if persons are experiencing such challenges it should be reported to the nearest Police station.“If a person refuses to carry a senior citizen, once that bus stops and is working and they refuse to carry that person, it’s an offence which the Police can deal with. You cannot refuse to carry a passenger only on circumstances, which must be really extreme if the person is under the influence of alcohol and behaving badly, is smelly… you can’t just refuse to carry an elderly person,” he explained.last_img read more

Dodgers: Saito injury not serious

first_imgSaito stopped running for four weeks, then tried again last week in Los Angeles. But when he did he felt a recurrence of the pain. Although it was less severe this time, Saito felt compelled to report the injury to the Dodgers’ medical staff. Until further notice, Saito will be held out of any spring training drills involving running. But that is merely a precautionary measure. He is still cleared to throw off a mound, something half the team’s pitchers will do for the firsttime today. VERO BEACH, Fla. – The Dodgers’ first significant player injury this year – the player is significant, but the injury isn’t – happened on the other side of the globe. A few weeks after signing a one-year, $1 million contract to remain with the club, closer Takashi Saito was jogging in his native Japan on Jan. 15 when his right calf gave out. “When it happened a second time, I really wanted to make sure I took care of it so I didn’t have to worry about it,” said Saito, with traveling secretary Scott Akasaki translating. “That’s why I told the trainers. They don’t want me to cover bases or take part in any (drill) that has to do with running. With anything else, I can go full-speed.” The injury is believed to be so minor that Saito should be ready for the April 2 season opener at Milwaukee. Also, Saito laid to rest any rumors that he was considering retirement last winter after posting 24 saves in what officially was his rookie season. Saito made it clear after lastseason that he wanted a contract that paid him well in excess of the going rate for a second-year player, something the Dodgers were under no obligation to do. But out of a sense of fairness to a player who had been a four-time All-Star during his 14 seasons in Japan, the Dodgers did give Saito a deal that could pay him up to $1.3 million if he maxes out his performance bonuses by finishing 60 games. “I never thought about retiring,” said Saito, who if he had returned to Japan would have been prohibited from pitching for a professional club there because the Dodgers retained rights to him. “From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to re-sign with the Dodgers. I told my agent to get me a fair deal, but at no point did I ever even think about what I would do if I didn’t sign a contract. I wanted to sign here, and I never thought about the alternative.” center_img Feeling fine: Andy LaRoche, one of the Dodgers’ top position prospects, reported early because he is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder after last season. But LaRoche says he is fully recovered now, and club officials will spend the spring evaluating whether he is ready to play third base every day in the majors. LaRoche, 23, said he believes he already knows the answer. “In my own head, obviously, I am ready,” he said. “I think every player believes that.” LaRoche has a chance to beat out incumbent Wilson Betemit for the job. But if he doesn’t, LaRoche will begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas so he can continue to develop by playing regularly instead of riding the bench for long periods in the majors. First day: Pitchers and catchers will hold their firstworkout of the spring this morning, but the routine will change slightly with the arrival of new trainer Stan Conte. Following the usual team meeting each morning, players will go to the Holman Stadium outfield just off the clubhouse for a stretching-and-warmup routine. In the past, players were required to trudge all the way to the back fields, about 200 yards away, for morning stretch. “It’s mostly logistics because the (stretching) program we’re going to have will require us to come back into the clubhouse afterward before starting our baseball activities,” manager Grady Little said. tony.jackson@dailynews.com (818) 713-3675 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

Two for the road

first_imgHELENA, Mont. – Jim and Eva Sisler began traveling the country nearly 10 years ago, a couple of empty nesters in their 50s with a desire to see new places and build some assets before retirement. Driving from California to New Jersey in two days, the Sislers use layovers to pack in a lot: visiting historic sites in the South, dining at ethnic restaurants in Chicago. Back in Montana, they revel in the simple pleasures of home. It’s a nice change from life in an 18-wheel truck. U.S. trucking companies want more people like the Sislers to deal with what the companies fear will be a worsening shortage of long-haul drivers. The industry is launching an ad campaign and is particularly interested in recruiting older couples, free of concerns about missed family time and perhaps looking to replace worn-out jobs with new ones before retirement. Putting two at the wheel helps business. The hours a truck legally can operate double, and freight arrives sooner. Some customers pay extra for team driving to make just-in-time deliveries, which cut the need for large inventories and warehousing. It works for the Sislers, who began driving in 1998 after moving from California to Montana to help their son build a house. With that project finished, Jim alarmed his wife by enrolling in truck-driver training, and he suggested she also take one of the three- to six-week courses. “I said, `You can do this, too, darlin’. You can be a truck driver,”‘ he recalled. When Jim drove urban buses in California and Eva was a homemaker, both knew they’d be home every night. Now they sleep mostly in a truck. Usually one sleeps in the cab’s bed while the other drives. Home is a place in Big Arm, along sprawling Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana. Paid by the mile, the Sislers together earned more than $100,000 last year as drivers for Watkins & Shepard Trucking Co. and have built a retirement account. The United States has about 1.3 million drivers of long-haul, heavy trucks, roughly 20,000 fewer than needed, according to American Trucking Associations, an industry group based in Alexandria, Va. The associations commissioned a 2005 study that projects a shortage of 111,000 drivers by 2014, mainly because of retirements, inadequate recruitment and increased demand for trucking. Additionally, federal security requirements were tightened after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The government established new requirements for transporting hazardous materials, and many companies prefer drivers authorized to transport those materials even if they do not routinely do so. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has asked the Department of Homeland Security to set and enforce tougher guidelines for truckers transporting gasoline and other hazardous materials after a gasoline tanker exploded and caused the collapse of a San Francisco-area freeway ramp. The driver shortage doesn’t mean requirements will be softened, said Tiffany Wlaslowski, spokeswoman for American Trucking Associations. Reaching out to a larger segment of the labor force is critical to the future of an industry long reliant on men working solo, said Ray Kuntz, Watkins & Shepard chief executive and incoming chairman of the associations. In the study, drivers who quit had been unhappier about time away from families than about money. Long-distance haulers of general freight averaged $17.62 an hour in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which calls the job outlook favorable. The trucking associations’ national advertising campaign is being rolled out gradually, first in Montana, Minnesota and Oklahoma. Romanticizing the work, one billboard silhouettes trucks on a bridge at sunset with the slogan, “My office has a better view than yours.” A recruitment Web site, www.gettrucking.com, tells visitors “the road is calling.” The campaign includes TV commercials, print advertising and pitches at bus stops. A wrapping for truck trailers makes them into mobile signs with the message that driving a big rig is a great career. “We are looking for the husband-wife team, folks looking for a second career, people who want to see the country,” said Elisabeth Barna, a vice president for American Trucking Associations. Individually, many companies looking for drivers pay bonuses for successful referrals. Current drivers who like their jobs and spread the word are the most effective recruitment tool, said Jeff Olsen, director of recruiting for Epes Transport System in Greensboro, N.C. Obtaining a commercial driver’s license requires medical certification and compliance with higher physical, mental and emotional standards than drivers of passenger cars must satisfy, said Duayne DeBruyne, spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The medical certification must be repeated every 24 months, and in some cases it can be required as often as every 90 days, he said. States issue the commercial licenses to drive and are responsible for seeing that federal regulations are met. Joey and Terri Lynch of Athens, Wis., became a driving team about 15 years ago after he lost the lease on his grocery in suburban Chicago and she left a job as a coats-and-dresses manager in a department store. The Lynches are on the road for three weeks at a time for Schneider National, then get three weeks off. “You can’t tell somebody whether they’re going to like driving a truck,” said Joey, who listens to audio books on the road. “You have to get out and try it.” His wife likens living in a truck to sharing a home’s smallest bathroom with a partner. Trucker couples say squabbles are inevitable, but not a big problem for partners who truly know and like one another.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Man Utd retain top spot in Deloitte ‘Money League’

first_img0Shares0000Manchester United’s Europa League victory was crucial to their financial performance © AFP/File / Paul ELLISLondon, United Kingdom, Jan 23 – Manchester United narrowly pipped Real Madrid to remain the top revenue-generating club in the world as Premier League sides underlined their growing financial clout, Deloitte’s “Money League” report said Tuesday.It is the 10th time United have topped Deloitte’s list, with revenue in 2016/17 of 676 million euros ($828 million, £593 million) — just 1.7 million euros ahead of Spanish giants Real. United on Monday confirmed the signing of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a deal that is expected to make him the Premier League’s highest-paid player.Barcelona — one of Sanchez’s former clubs — are third in the 21st edition of the list compiled by the British-based business advisory firm, followed by Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Arsenal.Combined revenue for the top 20 Money League clubs in the 2016/17 season grew six percent to 7.9 billion euros, a new record.United’s Europa League victory was crucial to their financial performance, with Real Madrid’s figures boosted by winning the Champions League and La Liga.A record 10 English clubs feature in the top 20, generating a total revenue of 3.8 billion euros, helped by income from the first season of the current record Premier League broadcast rights deal.Football’s highest earning clubs © AFP / Laurence CHUBroadcast revenue is now the largest individual revenue stream for the Money League clubs, making up 45 percent of total revenue, and there is increasing speculation that the likes of Amazon and Facebook could become serious players, potentially giving a fresh cash injection.“The Deloitte Football Money League has a particularly English feel this year and with the new broadcast deal and UEFA competition performance driving broadcast revenue growth of over half a billion pounds for those in the top 20, it doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Tim Bridge, senior manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.“As the Premier League is currently in the middle of its rights tender for the next cycle from 2019/20, the results of this will be crucial to determining the long-term composition of the Money League.”A separate study released earlier this month showed Premier League leaders Manchester City have greater financial muscle than any other club in world football, with Arsenal second and United in seventh place.– Premier League power –The Soccerex Football Finance 100 ranked the world’s top teams based on both their playing and fixed assets, money in the bank, owner potential investment and debt.Deloitte Sports Business Group senior consultant Timothy Bridge told AFP that the figures show the impact of the current Premier League broadcast deal, which came into effect in 2016/17.“United’s revenue growth and their position at the top is underpinned by the uplift that all Premier League clubs benefited from and while the Europa League might previously not have delivered the same level of financial return, winning the competition was critical in keeping them top.”But he said the question of whether Premier League clubs could maintain their dominant position would depend on the value of the next deal, which will start in 2019/20.“We’ve 70 percent growth the last two cycles and if this happens again then undoubtedly the Money League will become even more English-focused. However, if there is more moderate growth, then it may allow others from other countries to move into, or up, the Money League. “A new German broadcast deal has commenced this season and that will have an impact as will any Spanish deals in the future. Also, the changes to the format of the Champions League (where four clubs from the four top-ranked countries automatically make the group stages) will likely give boosts to clubs outside of England, particularly in Italy.”Deloitte Football Money League — 2016-2017 revenue.Note: The first figure in brackets is the club’s position in 2015-2016 and the second is their revenue in that period.1. (1) Manchester United 676.3 million euros (689 mln euros)2. (3) Real Madrid 674.6 (620.1)3. (2) Barcelona 648.3 (620.2)4. (4) Bayern Munich 587.8 (592)5. (5) Manchester City 527.7 (524.9)6. (7) Arsenal 487.6 (468.5)7. (6) Paris Saint-Germain 486.2 (520.9)8. (8) Chelsea 428 (447.4)9. (9) Liverpool 424.2 (403.8)10. (10) Juventus 405.7 (338.9)11. (12) Tottenham Hotspur 355.6 (279.7)12. (11) Borussia Dortmund 332.6 (283.9)13. (13) Atletico Madrid 272.5 (228.6)14. (20) Leicester City 271.1 (172.1)15. (19) Inter Milan 262.1 (179.2)16. (14) Schalke 04 230.2 (224.5)17. (18) West Ham United 213.3 (192.3)18. (n/a) Southampton 212.1 (166.2)19. (n/a) Napoli 200.7 (144.2)20. (n/a) Everton 199.2 (162.5)0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

For these scientists, it isn’t easy being clean

first_img• Photo Gallery: Clean room • Video: Clean room LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – A constant war is under way to protect other planets from contamination. On one side are NASA engineers in hair nets, blue booties, gloves and polyester lab coats – all to protect the spacecraft they are building. Their foes are hordes of bacteria invaders. But even in the cleanest of clean rooms, the bacteria always win. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre A team of scientists has shown that facilities at JPL, Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center harbor a rich bounty of bacterial life – despite frequent scouring, air filtration and dry, inhospitable conditions. Half of the bacteria the scientists discovered – including some tough species immune to normal cleaning techniques – had never been described before. The find, said scientists, will help NASA fine-tune its spacecraft scrubbing procedures and build a library of the stubborn bugs that might one day confuse scientists by contaminating samples from other worlds. “Are we identifying new risks? I don’t think we are,” said Andy Spry, head of JPL’s planetary protection group. “They’ve always been there. We just haven’t looked for them.” Ever since NASA began shipping spacecraft to other worlds, researchers have fretted that microscopic adventurers might sneak an interplanetary ride – and survive the trip. In the search for life on other planets, keeping the tiny tourists away would be crucial to avoid confusing them for natives. Most bacteria launched into space, toasted by the sun and zapped with solar radiation, would have “a very low risk for surviving the spacecraft journey,” Spry said. But with stakes so high, the international Committee on Space Research, or COSPAR, has established strict standards for spacecraft cleanliness. The severity of the restrictions depend upon how easy it would be for life to survive at the mission’s destination. “The moon is just dead – there’s no planetary protection concern,” Spry said. “Venus is a very chemically aggressive and thermally aggressive environment – we really don’t have to worry about terrestrial organisms getting there.” On Mars, however, with its relatively balmy temperatures and hints of the presence of liquid water, it’s a different story. Places on the Red Planet, such as stream gullies, that might be wet enough to support life are considered special – off-limits to all but exceedingly clean craft. The current pair of rovers, for instance, would not pass muster. That’s not to say that the rovers aren’t very clean, though. For them and the other robotic explorers visiting less hospitable places on the planet, NASA enforces a maximum level of contamination, measured in the number of spores of the common, rod-shaped bacteria bacillus on board. An entire spacecraft, such as the rovers or the Mars Science Laboratory, may contain only 300,000 bacillus spores – “something like the level of contamination of an apple you would pick off the tree,” Spry said. By contrast, the Mars Science Laboratory, a rover launching in 2009, will be about the size of a Mini Cooper. The number of wayward spores has been carefully calculated to make it very unlikely that any bacteria would reach the planet and survive there. It’s one JPL employee’s full-time job, Spry said, to tabulate how clean every piece of the spacecraft must be to ensure the spore limit is not exceeded. But as research showed, bacillus spores aren’t the only invaders in the NASA clean rooms where spacecraft are assembled. Among the microbial zoo were many that commonly reside on human skin, as well as blue-green aquatic bacteria, radiation-resistant bacteria, bacteria of the genus Acinetobacter (which cause wound infections, pneumonia and meningitis) and several species adept at making a living in barren environments. “A bacterial strain that was originally found at deep sea at 2,500 meters (1.6 miles), the second place we found it was in the JPL clean room,” said Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a JPL microbiologist and one of the studies’ authors. However, he added, “if you look for it, it may be in your kitchen, too.” It all goes to show, Spry said, that when it comes to bacteria – and despite efforts to the contrary – “everything is everywhere.” elise.kleeman@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4451 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

Survivor shows that breaking the cycle of violence can be done

first_imgPhysical abuse came next. She recalls a day at an Inglewood park when he accused her of having an affair with a man who greeted her. “He started choking me in the park,” Sparks said. “He just insisted I knew this guy. He wanted me to tell him who that guy was.” Sparks was about five months pregnant at the time. Not long after that day in the park, Sparks said she admired an antique car at a local gas station and her boyfriend told the car’s owner to take her home. But he didn’t. As they pulled out of the station, he steered with his left hand and punched her with his right hand. “God forbid if we stopped at a red light,” Sparks said. “If we stopped at a red light, we were fighting big time.” Other drivers honked and yelled to try to get him to stop, Sparks said. But he didn’t. “It was a matter of control for him and trying to dominate me and instill that fear,” she said. Sparks had three children with him and during the eighth month of her pregnancies, she said, her boyfriend would wind up in jail, giving her a respite from the beatings. “It was like destiny,” Sparks said. “I looked forward to that eighth month, I really did.” A rehabilitated boyfriend would emerge from jail promising to change, but he would quickly fall into the violent pattern again. The breaking point came when he poured a can of beer over her while she sat in her grandmother’s Compton home with her family. “That was my wake-up call,” Sparks said. He ended up in jail for several years, giving Sparks the break she needed. “That gave me a lot of time to really regroup, grow, mature and find myself and develop my relationship with my children and try to build some kind of safe environment for us,” Sparks said. “I needed that time. That made me much stronger.” An aunt helped her raise her self-esteem. She prayed with Sparks, took her to get her hair done and buy clothes. Sparks got a job and kept it. But the happy times didn’t last long. Sparks met another man who also ended up abusing her. This time, the physical abuse came first and the verbal abuse followed. Her self-esteem plummeted again. “It took no time for that second relationship to come in and take everything away that I had already created,” Sparks said. The relationship ripped apart those family ties she had just tightened. “I had a lot of hope,” Sparks said. “I tried to believe and have faith that it was going to change, that he would be a better person. He would really love me and see me for me.” Depression set in and Sparks, who normally weighs 130 pounds, dropped to 101 pounds. As she tried to leave one night, her boyfriend put a gun to her head. “I am looking at his eyes. His eyes were just dead,” Sparks said. “No soul. Nothing there.” She didn’t leave. Sparks and her second boyfriend had one daughter, who at 4 years old saw her father choking her mother one night. “That was the first time my daughters had ever experienced, ever seen him hit me or choke me,” Sparks said. “They had never been exposed to it.” Later that night, her boyfriend sank his fingernails into her face. That’s when she took the picture she kept hidden away. “That was my motivation to get out of that relationship,” she said. Sparks remembers seeing an Oprah Winfrey show about domestic violence around that time. “I sat there in a trance. I just felt like that message, that program at that particular time, was made for me. I was supposed to sit and watch and listen to that program.” She said she fell to her knees, cried and prayed. Then she looked at herself in the mirror, finding what she called a “horrible person.” “I literally slapped myself (as) hard as I possibly could,” Sparks said. “I said, `You need to wake up.”‘ Months later, her boyfriend ended up in jail for several years. She took that opportunity to again rebuild her life. She moved with her daughters, got promoted and bought a new car. Sparks, now 40, runs the Wade Institute, a Santa Clarita-based consulting company that helps develop women-owned businesses. She lives in Castaic with three of her four daughters and three grandchildren. She wants to empower women she meets through her company and at the domestic violence center. Sparks and the center share an important mission: breaking the pattern of domestic violence. “She knows firsthand what the dynamics are of domestic violence,” said Jean Albrent, the center’s executive director. “She knows firsthand the barriers and how difficult it is to break away out of that cycle of violence.”160Want 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 MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson“Domestic violence is what I call domestic terrorism,” Sparks said. “… Once your heart and your emotions get involved in a relationship, it’s very hard to just break away.” Sparks said her first abusive relationship started when she was a 15-year-old high school sophomore. “He was very charming, swept me off my feet, of course,” said Sparks, describing herself as naive and vulnerable. The verbal abuse started six months later. He criticized her clothes and her hair. When she was pregnant with his child, he called her fat. “He made me feel like I was ugly,” Sparks said. NEWHALL – Connie Sparks kept a picture of herself with a swollen, bruised face hidden in a clothes drawer for about a year. She would take the picture out once a week and look at it, trying to muster up enough courage to leave her abusive boyfriend. “That really helped me begin to rebuild myself when I looked at that picture because I would get so mad, so angry,” Sparks said. A survivor of two abusive relationships, Sparks is now on the board of directors at the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley – and sharing her story with local women who find themselves in similar situations. last_img

ALMOST €27M IN ADVANCE PAYMENTS FOR DONEGAL FARMERS

first_imgMinister Joe McHugh has confirmed the beginning of advance payments to farmers with a total of €26,823,264.60 available for farmers in Co Donegal.Payments have begun issuing to 6,659 farmers in Donegal.The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, was very aware of the need to maximise cash flow and so has ensured these payments started issuing as soon as possible, said Minister McHugh. “Payments to farmers under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme also continue to issue and the initial advance of the BPS and Greening Payment, together with ANC payments, means approximately €775 million will have issued to Irish farmers under these Schemes in the last month alone.“Budget 2016 has introduced a series of agri-taxation measures including the extension of the general stock relief, stock relief for young farmers and stamp duty exemptions for young trained farmers up to the end of 2018. There will be a tax credit of €5,000 per annum for five years for farmers who transfer their land to successors over a period of time, making it easier for farms to be passed from one generation to the next. These measures make farming more attractive to younger people and to families.”Farmers in Donegal will now be able to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit of €550.It will also apply to a spouse where a couple both work on the farm. This will begin the process of tax equalisation for the self-employed and PAYE workers, including farmers. “Minister Coveney has also launched the second tranche of GLAS, the new agri-environmental scheme which replaces REPS and AEOS.“The first tranche of GLAS, which closed on 26th May this year, proved a huge success, attracting almost 27,000 applications. The second tranche will increase this to at least 35,000 and up to 40,000. The overall target for GLAS is to attract 50,000 farmers into the new scheme over its lifetime and Minister Coveney commented that it was clear that GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.“Fine Gael is standing up for rural Ireland and last week’s budget contains an extra €109 million investment agriculture and agri-food. The last few budgets have been hard, but they made it possible for Ireland to exit the bailout, reduce our debts, and move into a real recovery.“The top priority this year is to keep the recovery going in all parts of the country, while providing relief and better services. This budget is affordable, responsible and consistent with the Government’s plan to eliminate Government borrowing by 2018 and to promote regional economic growth, jobs and future recovery.“ALMOST €27M IN ADVANCE PAYMENTS FOR DONEGAL FARMERS was last modified: October 19th, 2015 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

Rangers expected to announce signing of Connor Goldson in next 48 hours

first_imgRangers are set to announce the signing of Brighton defender Connor Goldson.A fee of around £3million has been agreed between the two clubs and the deal should be finalised within the next two days. 1 Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard has got straight to work in his new job, immediately adding several fresh faces.Scott Arfield and Allan McGregor arrived on free transfers from Burnley and Hull respectively, before Jamie Murphy made his move from Brighton permanent and Liverpool youngster Ovie Ejaria completed a loan switch from Anfield.Goldson is set to become Gerrard’s fifth summer signing as he continues to rebuild the Rangers squad.He will put his players through their paces for the first time on Friday along with his new-look coaching team of Gary McAllister, Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw, Jordan Milsom and Colin Stewart.last_img read more