Newcastle boss Pardew reveals secret to their revival

first_imgNewcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes his side’s discipline in defence has played a major role in their recent revival as they jumped to seventh in the Premier League.A disastrous run of form had seen Toon fans call for the 53-year-old to be sacked by Mike Ashley but the owner didn’t relent and has seen his team win five in a row.The Magpies have beaten Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and now West Brom, with only Spurs managing to score against them.And asked what has pleased him the most in recent weeks, Pardew replied: “The discipline of the team and the fact that we look a threat in the last third and we’ve looked like that in all those five games.“But the real strength of this team at the moment is the discipline. We’re not giving anything away. We’ve had four clean sheets in those five games and we’re not too dissimilar to Southampton. It gives you a chance to win games.”last_img read more

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Small Hobbit Brain Means Little

first_imgCentral in the debate whether Homo floresiensis (nicknamed hobbits) were human is the matter of their small brains.  Could diminutive human-like skeletons really be human with such small skulls? (cf. 03/04/2005).    Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a detailed analysis of brain size vs. body size for a number of primates.  They found no clear trend, reported PhysOrg.  “The results show that while brains evolved to be larger in both relative and absolute terms along most branches of the primate family tree, the opposite happened along several lineages.”  Some South American capuchin monkeys compare with African apes in ratio of brain to body size, while gorillas, with large brains, have a compensating larger body, bringing the ratio down.  “Our analysis, together with studies of brain size in island populations of living primates,” the researchers said, “suggests we should perhaps not be surprised by the evolution of a small brained, small bodied early human species.”There goes decades of bigoted evolutionary anthropology ranking humans by brain size (11/09/2007, bullet 3).  This has nothing to say about evolution (cf. with birds, 09/07/2005).  If evolution is the explanation for brain/body ratios going both ways, it explains nothing.  The article said that “sometimes individuals with smaller brains are favoured by natural selection,” even though selection usually favored big brains in primates.  Then again, brain size shrank in mouse lemurs, marmosets and mangabeys.  “In contrast, the study found no overall trend to increase body size, suggesting that brain and body mass have been subject to separate selection pressures in primates.”  Look how flexible evolution is; it explains everything.  If big brains are usually so favored by selection, why didn’t brain size increase in every kind of animal over time?  As a law of nature, natural selection has the strange property of producing opposite outcomes.  It’s not just Stuff Happens; its Contradictory Stuff Happens.    Did evolutionary theory provide understanding here?  No; as usual, researchers were surprised by what they found: “The argument raised has been that the evolution of such a small brain does not fit with what we know about primate brain evolution,” they article said.  Rather than providing an explanatory framework that can make predictions, evolution is a Gumby explanation that continually gets stretched and squished to fit the data after discoveries are made (12/14/2004, 07/22/2006, 08/14/2006, 10/26/2006, 09/06/2007, 01/23/2009).    Look at another recent example: Charles Q. Choi in Live Science told about a controversial theory that claims “The evolution of the distant ancestors of humans and other primates may have been driven by dramatic volcanic eruptions and the parting of continents.”  Wow.  Volcanos made you what you are today.  One problem with this “absurd” theory is that it has “resulted in all sorts of contradictory centers of origin.”  Moreover, Choi said that “fossils often serve as an incomplete record for what and when animals actually existed.” Keep that sentence in mind when you hear someone pointing to fossils as proof of evolution.  Satisfied?  Vote if you think evolution is increasing our understanding of nature.  For a good joke, look at the last sentence of Choi’s article.    The obsession with brain size is misguided, anyway (08/05/2006).  As we have noted many times before, it’s quality, not quantity that counts (11/09/2007, 03/12/2008).  Was Tom Thumb any less human because of his small stature?  There have been examples of living humans doing pretty well with shrunken and damaged brains (e.g., 07/22/2009).  There’s some redundancy built in (08/28/2001).  Crows have small brains but show a lot of intelligence (05/26/2009, 08/11/2009).  Blue whales have huge brains but are not correspondingly better philosophers than humans.  We see large differences in morphology between living human tribes (Watusi vs pygmy, Inuit vs Vietnamese).  It is certainly within the range of variation for an inbred tribe, stranded on a small island, subject to local diseases, to grow physically smaller.  It doesn’t mean they were stupid or less evolved.  If we could have talked to Bilbo and Frodo on the island of Flores, we might have been impressed with their cognitive abilities.    A small brain that performs well could be taken as a good example of miniaturization.  Human engineers pride themselves on packing more oomph in smaller devices; look how USB drives have progressed from 56k to 4GB, while getting smaller and cheaper, in a few years.  It’s not just the hardware.  The software is often more indicative of design.  There are plenty of large-brained humans walking around today with self-inflicted buggy code.  Put them in an Indonesian cave without their Bud Light and see how long they survive.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Govt launches community engagements

first_img13 March 2012 The government has launched a series of engagements with communities around South Africa in order to increase awareness of its programmes and foster a culture of active citizenship. On Friday, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti visited the Amajuba district near Utrecht in KwaZulu-Natal, and was welcomed by citizens in the area. Nkwinti held a community seminar at the Emadlangeni Town Hall – one of 30 such seminars that will take place across the country over the coming months. It follows a similar seminar recently conducted by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi in the Waterberg district in Limpopo province. “The sessions are intended to help citizens understand the decisions that are taken in government and how it will benefit their lives,” said Michael Currin of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).Citizens offer solutions While the Amajuba seminar sought to communicate the government programmes following the State of the Nation address, guests took full advantage of the opportunity to raise issues, demand answers and even offer solutions to common problems. “Not only do I understand the State of the Nation address a little better, but having the minister come all the way to Utrecht to talk to us showed me that government really cares about us, even though we live in a rural area,” said Elizabeth Malinga, a beneficiary of a land claim. Ian de Jager, a farmer in the area, said he already had a good grasp of the State of the Nation address, but still felt that the seminar was useful in making Minister Nkwinti aware of issues pertaining to the area. “One of the more salient issues that was raised at the seminar is the fact that land reform needs to be done in such a manner that it gives people ownership with a sense of responsibility, and people must feel the full onus of that responsibility,” De Jager said. “It is very easy to transfer land, but if it is not managed properly, it is a waste. He continued: “There was also one gentleman from Newcastle who said he had a group that was willing to offer hands-on training in farming to individuals, in conjunction with the training being offered at a tertiary institution, but the minister explained that the vehicle to drive that programme forward was not entirely in place. “There are many stakeholders that are willing to participate … more needs to be done in a constructive manner, and funds need to be allocated appropriately.”‘Don’t always blame the government’ During the seminar, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Meshack Radebe urged citizens not always to blame the government for their problems. “We will reap what we sow, and if you do not plant, you cannot grow,” he said, encouraging citizens to take responsibility for their own futures. Radebe said that while President Jacob Zuma had made 2011 the year for creating jobs, 2012 would be the year for infrastructure development. “People say there is a difference between the two, but it is actually one thing. “Infrastructure development creates the opportunity for people to invest,” Radebe said. “We have learnt from the Soccer World Cup, and we are now calling upon the public sector, the private sector and the parastatals to invest in infrastructure. This will generate huge opportunities for South African business.”Green paper on land reform Nkwinti touched on the green paper on land reform when he took to the podium, saying the aim of the document was to bring municipalities, communities, the police, farm workers and farm owners under one institution to solve problems either socially or legally. “It puts a measure of power both in the hands of the worker and in the hands of the farmer,” he said. “The reason we have giants and dwarfs in this country can be traced back to land. The giants have land,” Nkwinti said. “Eighteen years after democracy, people are still marching in the streets with fake machine guns, and it is not right. People don’t know how to respect property because they don’t have property.” After the seminar, guests said they wished they had more time in the discussion slot of the programme. Nkwinti is due to return to the Amajuba District on 22 March, when further discussions are expected to take place. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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An invitation to do business

first_imgSri Lankan High Commissioner to South Africa, Shehan Ratnavale, is calling on South African entrepreneurs to invest in the island nation.(Image: Shamin Chibba) City of Johannesburg council speaker Conny Bapela, left, and Shehan Ratnavale, solidify the partnership between the City and the High Commission.(Image: City of Johannesburg)MEDIA CONTACTS • Shehan RatnavaleSri Lankan High Commissioner to South Africa+27 12 460 9812Shamin ChibbaWith its economic growth soaring and tourist numbers swelling by the year, there is no reason why South African businesses should not invest in Sri Lanka. And come November, potential investors will get a chance to see exactly what the island nation has to offer when the Commonwealth Business Forum is held in Colombo.Speaking at the introduction of the forum in Johannesburg’s Metropolitan Centre on Wednesday, 29 May, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to South Africa, Shehan Ratnavale, personally invited potential investors to the event and to do business with his country.The forum will take place alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is being held in Asia for the first time in 22 years. It would be, Ratnavale said, a great opportunity for South African investors to network with high level business representatives from 54 Commonwealth nations. “The Commonwealth is made up of developed and developing countries, and diverse cultures and traditions. This creates fertile ground for exchange of technological know-how, skills and investments that will foster sustainable economic partnerships.”Ratnavale urged South African hospitality companies to take advantage of the island nation’s recent influx of tourists. During its civil war, which ended in 2009, visitor numbers languished around 400 000, but in 2012 more than a million tourists headed to Sri Lanka. By the end of 2016, the country expects that number to increase to 2.5 million. “One of the major problems is the shortfall of hotel rooms, so we are inviting hotel investors.”He said South African investors should also consider Sri Lanka’s textiles sector, which is worth US$3-billion (R29.1-billion); agriculture; information and communications technology; and infrastructure development industries.Already, there are a few South African companies looking to cash in on Sri Lanka’s growth. Later this year, a delegation of small-to-medium enterprises from South Africa’s handicraft industry – supported by the Department of Trade and Industry – will visit the country. Soon thereafter, the South African Property Owners Association will visit to explore opportunities for investment. “I emphasise the time is right to take South African and Sri Lankan commercial relations to a different level. And the business forum provides a wonderful opportunity to do so,” said Ratnavale. Bringing the forum to JohannesburgJohannesburg’s portfolio head of economic development, Willie van der Schyf, is looking to bring the business forum to the city in the near future. When he first met Ratnavale two months ago, the high commissioner happened to mention the forum was starting an African chapter – and Van der Schyf saw an opportunity for Johannesburg to host it.Van der Schyf was responsible for initiating ties with the Sri Lankan High Commission. The partnership is part of the City’s outreach programme, which builds relationships between local businesspeople and embassies in Johannesburg. The Brics nations are also part of the programme. “We will be hosting, in July, what we call a Buy, Sell and Invest Initiative, whereby we will be attracting foreign investment into Johannesburg. And Sri Lanka will definitely be a part of that.”City of Johannesburg council Speaker, Conny Bapela, urged local businesspeople to take up Ratnavale’s offer to invest in the island. “We would be highly privileged to count Sri Lanka as one of our major partners and look forward to cementing our relations and taking them to an advanced level.” Mid-point between Africa and AsiaSri Lanka is positioning itself as an important mid-point between Africa and Asia. In August last year, Seychelles president James Michel visited Sri Lanka to discuss trade, maritime links and safeguarding their interests from pirates that sailed the Indian Ocean.In the same month, King Mswati III of Swaziland also made his way to the island. His visit led to the Sri Lankan mini tractor manufacturer, Edna Engineering, opening a factory in Swaziland’s capital of Mbabane. Sri Lanka is also looking to establish 15 diplomatic missions in Africa and the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, recently opened a new high commission in Uganda.Last month’s HSBC Global Research report, Bridging the Gap, stated that Sri Lanka was one of three economies – including China and Malaysia – that was taking off. This was because of the public sector’s stronger role in driving infrastructure. Commonwealth Business ForumThe Colombo forum comes at a time when developed economies are struggling to recover from recession and maintain open markets, and when emerging countries are enjoying greater prominence globally. In light of this, the three-day event will cover topics to do with building new partnerships for trade, wealth creation and social development; developing small- and medium-sized businesses; and increasing tourism without threatening local economies and the ecosystem.Centred on the theme of “Partnership for Wealth Creation and Social Development”, Ratnavale said the forum would look at private entrepreneurship, global linkages and strong institutional support as solutions to these challenges.last_img read more

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Court orders filing of FIR against cricketer Hardik Pandya for alleged tweet on Ambedkar

first_imgA special court in Jodhpur has directed the police to register an FIR against cricketer Hardik Pandya (24) for his alleged remarks on Ambedkar on Twitter. The court’s order came on Wednesday on a complaint filed by Jalore resident D.R. Meghwal, who claims to be a member of the Rashtriya Bhim Sena. He alleged that Mr. Pandya’s comments, made on December 26, 2017, were offensive and hurt people’s sentiments.However, the alleged tweet does not exist on Mr. Pandya’s Twitter timeline anymore. Special Judge (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe cases) Madhusudan Sharma passed the order following Mr. Meghwal’s complaint, which stated that the in-charge of the Luni police station in Jodhpur had refused to book a case against the cricketer.Mr. Meghwal said Mr. Pandya’s comments, which allegedly questioned the reservation policy, were “derogatory” and could create divisions in society. For this act, the cricketer should get suitable punishment, stated the complaint.last_img read more

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Sunny lives India dream in America

first_imgSunny Sohal dreamt of playing cricket for his country all his life. Finally, at age 30, he has realised his dream, though in a slightly different way. Instead of donning the India colours, the Mohali boy will wear the US colours, his adopted country. Nevertheless, Sohal is as happy to represent the US as he would have been playing for India.“I can’t thank God enough. I am absolutely delighted over this opportunity coming my way, and I will give my best to make it count,” Sohal told The Tribune from Washington. For the record, Sohal played the Ranji Trophy for Punjab before he shifted base to the US in 2014. Sohal, who made 1202 runs in 21 first class matches, was an attacking opener and a handy part-time spinner. He represented the country at the U-19 level a few times, and also played in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab and a couple of other franchises.Read it at Tribune Related Itemslast_img read more

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India-SA Test series ends in draw

first_imgIndia levelled the three-match Test series 1-1 against South Africa after the Cape Town Test ended in a draw on Thursday.Gautam Gambhir takes a single in Cape Town on Thursday. AP PhotoOpener Gautam Gambhir stood tall in the final innings to post a resolute 64 to help India end the day on 166/3 – the final score before the two skippers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Graeme Smith decided to call it a day.Needing 340 for a victory, post Jacques Kallis’s unbeaten 109 on Wednesday, India had little chance but aim for a draw and that’s what the batsmen focused on.In the morning, Morne Morkel accounted for Virender Sehwag on 11 when the team total was 27. The wicket could have started India’s fall, but Gambhir and Rahul Dravid had other plans. The two batted on stitching together a 79-run partnership that continued till late in the second session.Finally, Lonwabo Tsotsobe sent Rahul Dravid back on 31 to break their second wicket stand. A top edge from Dravid’s bat was taken by Ashwell Prince in the third slip when India were 106/2.But Thursday belonged to Gambhir, who fell seven runs shy of a ton in the first essay, resisted the onslaught by South African bowlers to post a gritty 64.Finally a bouncer from Dale Steyn spelt Gambhir’s doom. It came in from round the stumps curved in, brushed his gloves and settled in stumper Mark Boucher’s gloves. India score at this juncture was 120/3.Ultimately Sachin Tendulkar (14) along with the man who shaped India’s win in Durban, VVS Laxman (32) bailed India out.advertisementKallis, who had performed the bail-out operation for South Africa on the fourth day when Harbhajan Singh was busy counting heads (seven in the innings), will be unavailable for Sunday’s T20 game and the five-match ODI series starting on January 12 as the team doctor has advised him a two-week rest.He was hit on the chest by S Sreesanth in the first innings in which he scored 161. The blow has left a contusion on his right rib.Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was the other centurion in the match. He completed his 51st Test hundred scoring an impressive 146 in the first innings even as South Africa paceman Dale Styen finished with a five-wicket haul in the innings.S. Sressanth continued to show his antics but bowled superbly. He claimed five wickets in the rain-marred first innings.But Sreesanth being Sreesanth earned the ICC wrath for breaching the code of conduct on the fourth day. He had kicked the boundary rope in frustration after his two LBW appeals were turned down by the umpire in the previous over.Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni too had to part with sixty per cent of his match fee as his bowlers bowled three overs short. The other team members were fined 30 per cent of the fee by the ICC.last_img read more

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Sanjay Dutt walks free, says “I am not a terrorist”

first_imgPune/Mumbai, Feb 25 (PTI) Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt today walked out of Yerawada jail a free man after being released 103 days ahead of his prison term and asserted that he is not a terrorist and wants to leave behind the bitter memories of conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.”I am not a terrorist. I have been acquitted of charges under TADA and conspiracy. The Supreme Court had also acquitted me under (IPC) section 120-B of conspiracy and TADA. I got the sentence under the Arms Act,” the 56-year-old actor said, addressing the media after returning to his Mumbai home.”I request the media that whenever they write or mention anything about me, dont write 1993 blasts case before my name… Im not into it,” Dutt said.According to ADG (Prisons) B K Upadhyay said the actor did not get any special treatment in prison.A relieved Dutt, clad in a blue shirt and jeans, stepped out of the Yerawada prison near Pune, lugging a huge bag.As he walked out, Dutt turned back and saluted the tricolour atop the prison building and touched the soil before heading to the car in which his wife Manyata, twins Iqra and Shahraan and filmmaker-friend Rajkumar Hirani.Before taking a chartered flight to Mumbai, Sanjay told reporters at the airport, “There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends”.Dutt was set free after completing prison formalities at around 8.45 AM and came out escorted by police who had tightened security in the area.Dutt, son of Indian film icons Sunil and Nargis Dutt, returned to his home at Bandra in Mumbai to a grand and emotional welcome by his family members, including two children, and sisters Namrata and Priya.advertisementLanes leading to his house were lined with hoardings like “Welcome Back Sanju Baba”, “Bandraites Welcome Back Bandra Boy Sanjay Dutt” with a picture of young Dutt with his mother Nargis.Also, a photo of his late actor-politician father Sunil Dutt was put up at the gate of his building Imperial Heights along with a message that read – “Dutt Sahab Amar Rahe”. Fans were seen eagerly awaiting Dutts return.After landing in Mumbai, the actor visited the Siddhivinayak temple and his mother Nargis Dutts grave.”She (Dutts mother) passed away when we were very small. I went to seek her blessings as I am a free man today,” he said.The actor said, “For 23 years I have been waiting for this moment… for freedom. I did everything (followed the law). Its a feeling that will take a while to sink-in.””I miss my father (Sunil Dutt) today. I wish he was alive to see this day… if he would have been (alive), he would have been the happiest person,” he said. MORE PTI HBJ KKP VT GK NM BK VMNlast_img read more

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US Open: Kei Nishikori avoids first-round exit, Ana Ivanovic knocked out

first_imgRio Olympics bronze medalist and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori avoided what would have been his fourth first-round exit in his past six appearances at Flushing Meadows. (Latest Sports stories)Nishikori, who earned Japan’s first Olympic tennis medal since 1920 a little more than two weeks ago, advanced in New York on Tuesday by beating Benjamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.The sixth-seeded Nishikori reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open two years ago, losing to Marin Cilic at that stage. But he exited in the first round in 2011, 2013 and 2015.Becker, a German who won on NCAA singles title at Baylor University, has lost his past 15 matches against opponents ranked in the top 10.IVANOVIC OUSTEDAna Ivanovic suffered a first-round exit for the second straight year after a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic.Ivanovic is a former No. 1 player and 2008 French Open winner who has slipped to No. 31 in the rankings.The Serb was serving for the first set at 6-5 but struggled with her serve and faltered in the tiebreaker. She finished with seven double-faults and 41 unforced errors.At the Open, she has reached the fourth round or better five times, including a career-best quarterfinal run in 2012.The 89th-ranked Allertova improved to 7-1 in first-round matches in majors, making her second main-draw appearance at the Open.HALEP THRASHES FLIPKENSSimona Halep gave herself “less than 9” for her quick work against Kirsten Flipkens, 6-0, 6-2, in the first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.advertisementThe Romanian was ahead 6-0, 5-0 with countrywoman Nadia Comaneci cheering her on. Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.Halep says she wasn’t perfect, but pleased with how she played against the Belgian. She got 69 per cent of her first serves in and won 12 of 15 points at the net.Halep, who reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open last year, will next face Lucie Safarova, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Daria Gavrilova.last_img read more

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Tourist facilities worth Rs 100 cr to come up in Jammu

first_imgBasohli (J&K), Jun 9 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today laid the foundation stone for various tourist facilities at a cost of Rs 100 crore at Ranjit Sagar Lake in Basohli in Jammu region.She said Rs 100 crore would be spent on developing various facilities in the catchment areas of the Dam.The maiden project aims at developing high-end logistic and recreational facilities for tourists at the scenic spot.Describing Ranjit Sagar Dam as the local Disneyland, Mufti said the place has beautiful and astonishing lagoons which need to be optimally promoted for different adventure and water sports.She said the place has the potential to match any other foreign destination in the world and the government is working on a comprehensive plan to bring this spot into the tourist limelight.She said the dam is one of the most beautiful in the world and the beautiful lagoons can be a major attraction for the nature and adventure lovers.The chief minister said the state government has given a boost to tourist activities in Jammu region and developmental projects to the tune of Rs 350 crores are underway in Jammu division to improve tourism facilities and focused attention is being laid on the developing other areas as well. PTI AB KUNlast_img read more

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