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Resolve to give more to others this year

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionEvery year, thousands of people set out to make a New Year’s resolution. Here is a different thought and a different direction we should all try. Instead of giving up chocolate, fatty foods or maybe something as little as how much television we watch, let’s try a different approach. Let’s just give. We can get caught up in our busy schedules and at times lose our focus on what is really important. Let us take the time to think of all who are around us. Even if it’s something as simple as holding a door open, picking up something that someone has dropped, or just being polite by saying hello, there are all kinds acts that can make a difference in a person’s day. When we go home, let us think of our husbands, wives, children, parents or whoever else may be there. Instead of having our own favorite meal, maybe we could consider what others might like instead. Another nice gesture would be to clean up after dinner instead of having someone else do the task. I could list a hundred different ideas on what kind of thoughtful acts we could perform, but that’s up to the individual.The important thing is to think of others. Do no wait, because there’s going to be a time when our loved ones will not always be here. So during the new year, put others first and remember that it’s much better to give than to receive.Sean DefresneAmsterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

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EPA going after atrazine, again

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Many in agriculture are not pleased with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency release of its draft report for the ecological risk assessment of atrazine.Here is the abstract from the EPA draft report released yesterday.“This refined assessment presents the ecological risks posed by the use of the herbicide atrazine. Based on the results from hundreds of toxicity studies on the effects of atrazine on plants and animals, over 20 years of surface water monitoring data, and higher tier aquatic exposure models, this risk assessment concludes that aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses. EPA levels of concern for chronic risk are exceeded by as much as 22, 198, and 62 times for birds, mammals, and fish, respectively. For aquatic phase amphibians, a weight of evidence analysis concluded there is potential for chronic risks to amphibians based on multiple effects endpoint concentrations compared to measured and predicted surface water concentrations. The breadth of terrestrial plant species and families potentially impacted by atrazine use at current labeled rates, as well as reduced rates of 0.5 and 0.25 lbs. a.i./A, suggest that terrestrial plant biodiversity and communities are likely to be impacted from off-field exposures via runoff and spray drift. Average atrazine concentrations in water at or above 5 μg/L for several weeks are predicted to lead to reproductive effects in fish, while a 60-day average of 3.4 μg/L has a high probability of impacting aquatic plant community primary productivity, structure and function.”The report was a concern to the farmers who rely upon atrazine in their operations.“With more than 7,000 scientific studies over the past 50 years, atrazine has been proven to be a safe and effective crop management tool. It is one of the most reliable herbicides available,” said Chad Kemp, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “We are dismayed and astounded that the EPA chose to fly in the face of guidance from its own Science Advisory Panel and base this assessment on studies the panel found flawed just four years ago. The trust level in this assessment plunges knowing that faulty studies were used as the basis of this evaluation.”Kemp said that farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre, according to a 2012 study by the University of Chicago.“And who pays the price for this not-so-scientific assessment? Consumers will face higher food costs as yields decrease and farm operating costs rise,” Kemp said. “We are deeply disappointed that the EPA has once again chosen to ignore science and, by doing so, has demonstrated its lack of support for and understanding of the farming industry and the negative economic impact its decisions place on consumers. We are urging all farmers and others who care about a plentiful, affordable food supply to contact the EPA and tell them to base their decision on sound science.”The EPA’s draft report on the herbicide atrazine is cause for alarm, according to the Triazine Network, a national coalition of farm organizations representing well over 30 agricultural crops in over 40 states. The group insists if EPA continues to use the same false logic or endpoints as noted in the preliminary risk assessment, it could lead to a de facto ban on atrazine.“EPA’s flawed atrazine report is stomping science into the dirt and setting farmers up for significant economic hardship. We challenge this latest proposal and insist EPA abide by federal law that requires the agency to make determinations based on credible scientific evidence,” said Gary Marshall, Triazine Network Chairman. Marshall is executive director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “Again and again, we must ask EPA to follow the law. A regulatory agency should not need to be reminded of that detail.”The Triazine Network asserts the federal agency discounted several high-quality studies and instead used studies EPA‘s own 2012 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) deemed flawed. According to the latest report, EPA is recommending aquatic life level of concern (LOC) be set at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average. The EPA’s current LOC for atrazine is 10 ppb, however a diverse universe of scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. The proposed level cuts average field application rates down to 8 ounces per acre.“At the proposed level, atrazine would be rendered useless in controlling weeds in a large portion of the Corn Belt, effectively eliminating the product,” Marshall said. “It sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to approving crop protection tools, puts farmers at a great economic disadvantage and would drastically set back conservation efforts. If EPA abandons the recommendations of their own Science Advisory Panels and more than 7,000 science-based studies in favor of activist agenda’s and politics; they will have lost all credibility”EPA reregistered atrazine in 2006 and began its regularly scheduled registration re-review June 2013. The process typically takes six years to complete. Once the draft report is published in the Federal Register, EPA will begin collecting comments for 60 days.last_img read more

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Hooper goes easy after pouring vitriol on govt

first_imgCommonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper on Sunday withdrew his offensive remarks against India for the mess surrounding the Commonwealth Games and said the delivery of the event was a collective responsibility of all the stakeholders.Hooper had earlier shrugged off the CGF’s responsibility for the delivery of the Games and had put the blame squarely on the organising committee and other Indian stakeholders.”We’re at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the government of India, the Delhi government, the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues. They consistently failed to meet deadlines,” Hooper was quoted as saying by TVNZ.”Now, we were very active, very strong in pushing for this to be done. The actual venues were not handed over effectively and I say handed over from the point of view of getting venue- completion certificates and occupancy certificates,” he had said.But only a few hours later, the Kiwi retracted his remarks, admitting that the CGF too was responsible for the implementation and delivery of the Games.”What I stated in relation to the responsibility of the delivery of the Games rests with the Indian stakeholders – government of India, Delhi government, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the organising committee (OC),” Hooper said in his clarification.”The CGF does not have the resources just as the IOC, which conducts the Olympics. The CGF has limited resources and when India won the bid, promises were made to what would be delivered for the Games and the participating athletes.advertisement”Together with the stakeholders, we (CGF) look at the implementation and delivery of the Games,” he added.Hooper also rubbished claims that he ever held the growing population of India responsible for the traffic snarls, which was deemed as an insult to the country by many.While the beleaguered OC has been under the hammer for every problem associated with the Games, the role of Hooper, who has been in the Capital to monitor the preparations for the last three years, has gone unnoticed.Hooper did voice his concerns last year about the way the Capital was preparing itself for the Games, which even turned his relation sour with the OC.But soon after, his growing concerns disappeared and, once in a while, he used to come out to express his satisfaction about the functioning of the OC and its preparedness for the mega event.Just as the chorus against the OC began to increase, Hooper too joined the bandwagon and raised all sorts of question marks on the success of the Games.However, Hooper continues to make his characteristic flip-flops and a few days after he joined the international delegations in their stinging assessment of the facilities at the Games, he has mellowed down.”We look at the delivery of the Games and, by and large, all those things have been done. Yes, we have had some snags and we acknowledge that.We are working to address those snags like the Games Village. Things have started moving with the bright sunshine for the last few days but it does not mean that everything is perfect,” he said.last_img read more

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Dhoni a “bomb about to explode” before World Cup final: Yuvraj

first_imgAfter failing to score big in the run-up to the World Cup summit clash against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni resembled a “bomb about to explode” ahead of the final, teammate and Man of the Tournament Yuvraj Singh said.”He (Dhoni) was not getting big scores in the tournament, but he kept working hard, and did not miss a single practice session. Watching him in the nets gave one the impression that he was a ‘bomb about to explode’,” Yuvraj wrote in the Cricket Board’s latest quarterly newsletter dedicated to India’s World Cup triumph.”Looking back, I am glad he ‘exploded’ in the final, and not earlier! He went in ahead of me in that game, but that was purely to keep the left-right combination going in the middle.”He had a point to prove and he played an innings of a lifetime,” the left-handed big-hitter said.Dhoni went in ahead of man-in-form Yuvraj when the final was on a knife-edge at the Wankhede Stadium with India at 114 for 3 in the 22nd over chasing a target of 275.The Indian skipper, in the company of left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir (96) first and then Yuvraj (21 not out), smashed an unconquered 91 off only 79 balls with eight fours and two sixes – including the winning hit off Nuwan Kulasekara – to power India to victory.Yuvraj wrote in the article that the Ranchi-born captain takes to “pressure like a fish to water” and that he was lucky to “have the best view of the captain’s winning hit”. — With PTI inputsadvertisementlast_img read more

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2014 FIFA World Cup match preview: Dutch and Chile to battle for Group B top spot

first_imgDutch players during a training session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ahead of their final Group B match. (AP Photo)The Netherlands and Chile may have already qualified for the World Cup’s round of 16, but both still want to win Group B and avoid the likely prospect of facing host nation Brazil in their next match.Two of the tournament’s early high-fliers meet on Monday at Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao Stadium with the Netherlands requiring only a draw to top the group thanks to superior goal difference.”If you look ahead a bit, in theory you are better off than if you come second,” Netherlands captain Robin van Persie said.In part, that is because Brazil should win Group A – it is currently top and faces already-eliminated Cameroon in its final match – and will be the opponent for the runner-up in Group B. However, Van Persie said there are other tough nations on the horizon for the second-placed team.”I’d really like to play them,” he said of Brazil, “but a little bit later” in the tournament.The group winner also gets an extra day of rest before its next match.Van Persie, who has scored three goals so far, is suspended for the game against Chile after picking up a yellow card in both matches so far – the stunning 5-1 destruction of Spain and a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Australia.Van Persie is confident he won’t be too badly missed, given the depth of the Dutch squad. PSV Eindhoven forward Memphis Depay came on as a substitute against Australia and provided an assist before scoring his first international goal for the match winner. Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who has scored 34 goals in 62 internationals, is also waiting in the wings.advertisement”The boys for the front positions train fantastically,” Van Persie. “We have a lot of good players.”One of them already has three strikes to his name in Brazil, lightning fast winger Arjen Robben.”Robben is very fast and the team is playing well,” said Chile midfielder Francisco Silva. “To counter their speed we’ll have to have a balanced game and close spaces.”The Netherlands could also be missing central defender Bruno Martins Indi, who suffered a concussion after a late challenge by Australia’s Tim Cahill sent him tumbling heavily to the turf.There is speculation that Chile might not be at full strength, either.Coach Jorge Sampaoli could bench Juventus star Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz, who scored one goal and set up the other in Chile’s 2-0 win against Spain.Vidal, who underwent knee surgery last month and is still trying to regain his form, has hurt his right Achilles tendon, while Aranguiz has a minor sprain on his right knee. Both players also have a yellow card to their name.In between beating Australia and Spain, Chile has clearly been studying the Dutch style of play – solid defense, pressure in midfield and passing quickly to their potent strike force.”Based on what we saw, they’ll stay in the back, will try to press in the middle and, when they get the ball, will try to get it quickly to their strikers,” said Atalanta midfielder Carlos Carmona. “We have several days to work on ways to stop them from doing that.”In good news for Dutch football purists, the Netherlands will pull on their traditional orange jerseys for the first time at this World Cup, having played in their blue away strip for the first two matches.The Netherlands’ mantra ahead of its match against Australia – the lowest-ranked team at the tournament – was that the team would not underestimate the opponent. There’s no danger of underestimating Chile – a team ranked one place above the Dutch by FIFA.”I saw bits of Chile against Spain and they looked very good. They looked fit, they looked strong, they played together,” Van Persie said. “So we’ve got a big task. It will be very hard to at least draw against them.”last_img read more

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10 months agoAtletico Madrid coach Simeone: Transfer news always a concern

first_imgAtletico Madrid coach Simeone: Transfer news always a concernby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAtletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone admits player issues are always a concern at this time.Simeone was asked transfer window questions yesterday, but only wanted to discuss the game at Sevilla.”These are things that happen every year.”Some end their contracts, others want to sign them because they are very good, others want more minutes.”We are focused on what matters most – Sevilla.”They are a strong team who are even stronger at home and they always play positively and generate a lot of enthusiasm.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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Numbers of newcomers in 2018 not only question for immigration plan

first_imgOTTAWA – A possible clue to how the federal Liberal government will arrive at its annual immigration targets for 2018, to be unveiled Wednesday, can be found in a similar provincial plan unveiled just last week.Quebec — which sets its own immigration targets in connection with the federal government — is aiming to bring in some 51,000 people, a target that is unchanged from 2017.That has observers saying they expect the federal numbers for next year to remain largely in line with the 2017 goal of 300,000 newcomers, though a slight bump is likely.Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen offered no details Monday.“The main priority will be to focus very strongly on the real need of employers, and many sectors of the economy, saying we need immigration,” Hussen said before question period.“We need skilled immigrants to not only come and fill certain jobs, but also create more jobs for everyone else, and prosperity for all of us.”In 2016, the government’s economic advisory council recommended boosting levels to 450,000 over the next five years to address an aging workforce and declining birth rate, both of which are leaving major gaps in Canada’s labour market.But that bumps up against practical considerations, said Kareem El-Assal, a senior researcher with the Conference Board of Canada.“It would require a significant increase in federal government expenditures to hire visa officers to send them overseas and whatnot, and the question is where will the money come from.”The same holds true of a call for the government to set immigration targets for a wider window, not just annually. At the last federal-provincial meetings of ministers responsible for immigration, all emerged united on the need for a multi-year approach. Many eyes are on whether Hussen follows through.Being able to plot out immigration over a longer period of time would lend additional certainty for everyone from employers to refugee settlement agencies, who are among those calling for a three-year planning document.“The challenges and opportunities that immigration provides to this country necessitate a much broader public consultation than one focused on annual levels planning,” said the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance in its briefing note to Hussen on the immigration plan.“We strongly believe that we should be moving beyond annual level plans to multi-year immigration level plans.”Hussen wouldn’t say Monday whether that’s his plan.When the issue was raised with focus groups earlier this year, some respondents said they felt a multi-year approach would give immigrants false hope that if their application wasn’t accepted one year, it might be the next.And backlogs are already plaguing many parts of Canada’s immigration system.For example, the 2017 levels plan called for about 15,000 people to be admitted under the in-Canada asylum system. So far this year, there have been upwards of 35,000 claims filed in Canada, thanks to a surge in asylum seekers at the border — 10,000 of those claims are still pending before the Immigration and Refugee Board.Hussen said Monday that space will be created within the levels plan to address backlogs, but at the same time he also suggested refugee levels will be maintained.That’s sure to be a disappointment to the United Nations, which is also watching the plan closely to see whether Canada increases spaces for resettled refugees. The UN had hoped to see Canada take the lead at a time when the politics in other countries — most notably the U.S. — have led to refugee programs being scaled back.But domestic politics is at play as well, said Jack Jedwab, the executive vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies.While the same socio-cultural concerns about immigration that dominate political debate around the globe don’t seem to be as much in play in Canada, they still underpin the immigration debate here to an extent, he said, so the government will only go far.“I think they feel that there is still come concern out there about a significant increase and they want to be sensitive to that.”last_img read more

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Commentary Deaths in Brazil a cause for concern for World Cup

Note to readers: this story contains graphic and violent imagery.Brazil is home to the most successful national soccer team in history. As the only team to play in every FIFA World Cup, the Brazilians have won five titles, one ahead of Gli Azzurri from Italy.The country has fielded some of the greatest names in the sport’s storied history: from arguably the greatest player ever, Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to the likes of Roberto Carlos and Roberto Rivelino. Today, the squad features the phenomenon that is Barcelona forward Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, as well as stars like Chelsea midfielder Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva.The history is there; the talent is there. Brazil is my favorite to win the 2014 World Cup on home soil, but in what world is it acceptable to host one of the largest international affairs in a city rampant with near-warfare between police forces and drug lords?In recent years, numerous stories have come out of Brazil about gruesome murder and corruption. Some might say these issues have nothing to do with soccer, and will not affect the tournament itself.The thing is, the sport has begun to play a central part in these crimes.Back in July, 20-year-old referee Otávio Jordão da Silva stabbed Josenir dos Santos Abreu, a 30-year-old Brazilian soccer player, during a match. The player died on the way to the hospital, but the violence goes doesn’t end there. In retaliation, fans came onto the field and stoned Silva to death, before beheading him on the pitch.Two dead because of a game — no good reasons.Fast forward to Oct. 29 in Rio de Janeiro. The wife of former Brazilian soccer player João Rodrigo Silva Santos made the most horrifying discovery imaginable. Santos had not returned home from work the night before and his wife found his rucksack outside their front door. In the bag was Santos’ severed head.The first crime, the double murder on a soccer pitch, was a direct result of the sport. The death of Santos might not have any direct ties to his time as a soccer player, but the point is that the violence in Rio de Janeiro is out of hand.I never would have heard of these crimes had they not been related to a sport, but they are. In a country that is set to host the biggest event in soccer, violence runs rampant from fans, refs, players and even former players.I would love an opportunity to attend a World Cup, especially in a place which such a rich history in the sport. That said, I would not even consider an all expenses paid trip to the 2014 tournament.The risk is high, and the reward cannot compare.FIFA has made some questionable decisions in recent years, like rewarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, but there is no decision more absurd than allowing this event to take place in Rio de Janeiro.Rio de Janeiro is also set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.While these stories are horrifying, I truly fear for the stories that will likely come out about crimes during the tournament. From locals in Rio, to those traveling in from around the world, how can one not fear for his or her life? read more