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Man United fan’s view: Five players Mourinho should sign this summer

first_imgSo, it’s set to be all change at Old Trafford this summer as Jose Mourinho plots a return to the glory days. But what are his key priorities?Manchester United’s problems this season have been simply not scoring enough goals and being defensively weak, meaning they are having to rely on goalkeeper David de Gea to get them out of trouble.There are five key areas in which they must strengthen during the summer transfer window. They need a solid, reliable centre-back, an out-and-out winger, a defensive midfielder, a reliable right-back and a target man to partner Anthony Martial.Click the arrow above, right, to see who Mourinho should go for…  6 6 Five players Jose Mourinho should sign this summer – fans’ view – Click the arrows to see who Jose Mourinho should sign this summer Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Paris Saint-Germain striker – Ibrahimovic’s contract with PSG expired at the end of the season, and he has declined the offer of an extension. He has already worked with Jose Mourinho at Inter and is said to have a good relationship with him, and there are widespread reports this is already a done deal. And it would be a huge signing for United. He would be an excellent partner to Anthony Martial, helping the youngster with his experience and operating as a genuine target man, allowing the French ace to run in behind opposition defences. Ibrahimovic has nothing to prove, of course and although he would command huge wages, there would be no transfer fee to pay. And his happy knack of winning titles at every club he has played for would come in handy, too! 6 John Stones – Everton centre back – Jose Mourinho tried to sign the 21-year-old when he was at Chelsea, but Everton refused to accept a £30million bid for the highly-rated youngster. Stones would be a good partner for Chris Smalling having already had success alongside him for England. There have been question marks about his progress under Roberto Martinez this season, however, when he has had a tendency to make mistakes. You would suspect Mourinho would soon knock that out of him, though, but it would likely cost around £40m to persuade the Toffees to cash in. Kyle Walker – Tottenham Hotspur right back – Walker has had a great season for Spurs this year and he would provide pace and strength on the right flank. What he lacks defensively, he makes up for with his high work-rate and attacking threat. There are definite question marks about that area of the pitch for United, with Matteo Darmian regularly struggling with injury, and Antonio Valencia not fully convincing the doubters he is capable of performing in that position at the top level. The stumbling blocks to this deal are whether Mourinho feels the England man is defensively strong enough, with the Portuguese sure to build from the back, and whether Spurs, so long a selling club, would consider letting one of their prize assets go to a probable title rival. N’golo Kante – Leicester City midfielder – Kante has gone from playing in the second tier of French football to winning the Premier League title with Leicester. He was named on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award, along with team-mates Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Kante would be a huge signing for United and Mourinho as they lack class and work rate in this area of the pitch, with Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger both well into their 30s. Kante offers youth, is in the prime of his career and with a £20million release clause in his contract, he will be a very attractive prospect for a number of potential suitors this summer. 6 6 Neymar Jr – Barcelona forward – Neymar is regarded as one of the best wingers in world football at the moment, if not the best. Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid when Barcelona signed the Brazilian, so will have seen plenty of him up close. This would be a huge signing for Manchester United (and we’ve been here before, of course), as it would see a top class out-and-out winger join and allow them to play Anthony Martial up front in his best position. Neymar brings pace, high-class finishing, quick footwork and a tremendous work rate. The downside? He would cost around £80million. 6last_img read more


first_imgDeputy Charlie McConalogue has voiced his strong support for a Dáil motion opposing cuts to the Domiciliary Care Allowance and calling for a complete overhaul of assessment criteria.The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children has confirmed that his party will back the motion put forward by the Technical Group in the Dáil this week.Deputy McConalogue has accused the Government of a relentless attack on children with special needs. “Once again, this Government is targeting the most vulnerable children for severe cutbacks this year,” said the local TD.“It is an absolute disgrace that that 50% of children with autism and severe intellectual disabilities have suddenly lost all support from the State as a result of a so-called ‘review’ of the Domiciliary Care Allowance.“This has been devastating for many families in Donegal and across the country who up to now have used that money for occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and a range of other special needs treatments.“What’s even worse is that these parents have been unable to explain their situations directly to the Government. Not one member of Cabinet has been able to find the time to meet them over the past three months to address their concerns. “Fianna Fáil met the parents last month and demanded a fundamental change in how children are assessed for the Domiciliary Care Allowance. Party Leader Micheál Martin raised the matter in the Dáil with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and called for a complete change in policy as recent changes to the system, moving it from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Protection, have been deeply unfair to children with intellectual disabilities.“We will repeat our demands in the Dáil this week. The Government’s sneaky approach to this targeted cut has been unacceptable and they won’t get away with it any longer. I am appealing to the Government TDs in Donegal to do the right thing and stand up for the children in this county that have lost the support that they so desperately need.” MCCONALOGUE BACKS MOTION ON CUTS TO DOMICILIARY CARE ALLOWANCE was last modified: May 8th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Charlie McConalogueDomiciiary Care Allowancelast_img read more

Ronaldo eyes first Juventus goal as Serie A enters week 2

first_imgJuventus vs LazioAllianz Stadium, TorinoSaturday, 25-08-2018 @07:00pmCristaino Ronaldo will have a chance to mark his Serie A home debut with a goal after having a frustrating outing in his first game with the “Old Lady” last week.Ronaldo’s Juventus who won 3-2 at Cheivo Verona last time out will take on a Lazio side that lost a thriller 2-1 at home to Lazio on opening day and will indeed pose a tough test to the seven time defending champions.Simone Inzaghi’s men will be looking to repeat their victory here last season and a good result can direct their campaign in the right direction. The Aquile have become something of a nightmare opponent for Juve recently, winning the Italian Super Cup in August 2017 and conquering Turin 2-1 a couple of months later in Serie A.The good news for Inzaghi is that Lucas Leiva and Senad Lulic are back after missing the Napoli defeat due to suspension. Patric is still out of action along with Valon Berisha and Jordan Lukaku, while Luiz Felipe is pushing to recover from a muscular problem.While the attention will be on Cristiano Ronaldo once again – and for good reason – Juventus will be looking to get the most out of the supporting cast around him, in particular Paulo Dybala who scored a last-minute winner in Rome when these two sides last faced off. If they can get their front line playing with pace and fluidity, Lazio will be in for a world of trouble.Napoli vs AC MilanStadio San Paolo, NapoliSaturday, 25-08-2018 @09:45pmGonzalo Higuain will make his competitive Milan debut in the home of former club Napoli, but without Hakan Calhanoglu. The Rossoneri saw their opening fixture against Genoa postponed after the tragic collapse of the Ponte Morandi bridge in the port city, killing 43 people. As a result of the change of schedule, Calhanoglu will have to sit out his one-match ban at the Stadio San Paolo and is a big loss for Gennaro Gattuso. He is already without Andrea Conti, Cristian Zapata and Ivan Strinic, the former Napoli full-back diagnosed with a heart problem and forced to take a break from competitive football.Carlo Ancelotti comes up against his beloved Milan and Gattuso, a player who shared much of his successes at San Siro. Ancelotti had a rough pre-season, including a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, but saw Napoli recover from an early Ciro Immobile scorcher to beat Lazio 2-1.Milan haven’t beaten Napoli since a 2-0 home result in 2014, managing only two draws from seven meetings. Their last success at the Stadio San Paolo was 2-1 in October 2010, followed by two stalemates and five defeats.SPAL vs ParmaStadio Renato Dell’Ara, BolognaSunday, 26-08-2018 @07:00pmSPAL made a fantastic start to the Serie A season, but Parma have regrets after throwing away a 2-0 lead. Parma’s first game back in Serie A after their demotion to Serie D four years ago was a 2-2 home draw with Udinese.The last time these sides crossed paths was a 0-0 Serie C draw at the Tardini in March 1986. Parma didn’t reach the top flight until 1990-91.Cagliari vs SassuoloSardegna Arena, CagliariSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmSassuolo got off to the ideal start by beating Inter, but Cagliari were humiliated by new boys Empoli and are in dire need of a good result.Sassuolo, couldn’t have gotten off to a better start under Roberto De Zerbi with a 1-0 over a much hyped Inter side. There were question marks over just how good De Zerbi was after his months with Benevento, but Sassuolo fans will be dreaming of all possibilities after last weekend.Sassuolo won two of their last three meetings with Cagliari, drawing the other, since a 4-3 thriller in Sardinia in December 2016. That run included a 6-2 thrashing at the Mapei Stadium in May 2017.Fiorentina vs ChievoStadio Artemio Franchi, FirenzeSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmChievo came so close to a huge upset against Juventus and now try again with late starters Fiorentina. La Viola had their Week 1 match with Sampdoria postponed after last week’s tragedy in Genoa.  Fiorentina fans are targeting a direct route to Europe this season, with Stefano Pioli building a revamped outfit with a few key signings.The Gigliati will be without the injured Cyril Thereau and suspended Jordan Veretout. This means that they will go into the match with a near full-strength squad, as they look to get off to the perfect start. Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino is unavailable for Chievo after last week’s horror collision with Cristiano Ronaldo left him with a fractured nose and whiplash. Therefore, Andrea Seculin is expected to go in goal for the team in an otherwise unchanged line-up from last weekend.Fiorentina have not conceded a goal at the Stadio Artemio Franchi to Chievo since 2014, and are unbeaten at the venue against their opponents since 2012 – a 2-1 win for the Gialloblu.Frosinone vs BolognaStadio Olympico Grande Torino, TorinoSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmNo side has won this fixture away from home in normal time. The only exception when an away side triumphed was the penalty shoot-out victory for Frosinone in the Copa Italia nine years ago.Both sides will be on the hunt for maiden points this campaign after losses in their respective opening day fixtures. The hosts lost 4-0 away to a rampant Atlanta side last Monday while Bologna went down 1-0 at home to SPAL.Bologna will be without Hungarian midfielder Adam Nagy who was sent off in last week’s defeat and will be hoping for better fortune this time round against a side they lost 1-0 to the last time they met in the Serie A.Genoa vs EmpoliStadio Comunale Luis Ferraris, GenoaSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmGenoa face Empoli in the home side’s first Serie A match of the season. The Grifone begin their campaign a week late after last weekend’s scheduled match at Milan was postponed in the wake of the Morandi bridge tragedy. They will have to do so without three of their key performers of 2017-18, with Mattia Perin, Diego Laxalt and Armando Izzo all having left the Stadio Luigi Ferraris over the summer.Newly-promoted Empoli head to Liguria on the back of an impressive 2-0 opening victory over Cagliari. Despite having less possession and fewer shots than their opponents, goals by Rade Krunic and Francesco Caputo handed the Azzurri the perfect start to life back in the top tier of Italian football. And with no new suspension or injury worries, boss Aurelio Andreazzoli is likely to field the same starting XI that served him so well in last weekend’s first round of fixtures.Last season’s Serie B title triumph was the first time Empoli have won either of Italian football’s top two tiers. Genoa, meanwhile, have picked up a combined 16 Serie A and Serie B crowns.Internazionale vs TorinoStadio Guiseppe Meazza, MilanSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmLuciano Spalleti’s Inter will have a chance to do wright all that went wrong in their opening day defeat away to Sassuolo when they host Walter Mazzari’s Torino at the Satdio Guiseppe Meaza on Sunday evening. Like Inter, Torino lost their first game to Roma whilst conceding an 87th minute goal, something that surely didn’t go down well with Mazzari.With no major injuries or suspensions for either side, the neutrals will be hoping for more of the cracker that saw these sides draw 1-1 at the same venue last season.Torino have won only two of their games away to Inter in the last 15 years. Both victories have come in their last four visits to Milan including a 2-1 victory in the ill-tempered game that saw both sides have a man sent off back in April 2016.Udinese vs SampdoriaDarcia Arena, UdineSunday, 26-08-2018 @09:30pmSampdoria get their season started with a trip to Udine, after the Friulani recovered from a 2-0 deficit to draw at Parma. The Blucerchiati were meant to kick off against Fiorentina last Sunday, but that game and Milan-Genoa were postponed due to the tragic collapse of the Ponte Morandi.Udinese got off to a mixed start this season under Spanish tactician Julio Velazquez. They crashed out of the Coppa Italia in a 2-1 home defeat to Benevento, then were trailing 2-0 at the Stadio Tardini before a late comeback.Samp lost two of their last three trips to Udine, conceding six goals and scoring one, since the 4-1 triumph here in May 2015. Last term’s 4-0 thrashing was largely dictated by an early Edgar Barreto red card.Roma vs AtalantaStadio Olympico, RomaMonday, 27-08-2018 @09:30pmThe last game of game week two will feature table leaders Atlanta away to title hopefuls Roma. Atlanta won 4-0 on opening day while Roma required a late Edin Dzeko strike to take care of Torino on the same day.Atlanta raced into a 2-0 lead en route to a 2-1 victory here last seaon and will be hoping they can get better of Eusebio di Francesco’s men for the third time in their last four attempts at the Stadio Olympico.Comments Tags: Italian Serie Atoplast_img read more

Animals Are “Overengineered” for Navigation

first_imgAnimals outshine us in many ways, but one capability that should humble us is animal navigation.  From spiders to mice, from birds to bees, the ability of animals to find their way around is truly astonishing, and James L. Gould of Princeton has raised our awareness of just how astonishing in a short article in Current Biology (March 23, 2004).1    He starts by explaining that navigation is more than just knowing which way you are pointed: “Nearly all animals move in an oriented way,” he says, “but navigation is something more: the directed movement toward a goal, as opposed to steering toward or away from, say, light or gravity.  Navigation involves the neural processing of sensory inputs to determine a direction and perhaps distance.”  As an example, he mentions how honeybees have to correct for the angle of the sun from morning to afternoon.  This involves much more than orienting at a fixed angle.  The bee has to use changing sensory information to maintain its internal map.    Gould mentions four stumbling blocks that prevented early investigators from appreciating the navigational abilities of animals.  Researchers apparently assumed natural selection was sufficient to explain it all.  He writes, “Several trends reflecting favorably on natural selection and poorly on human imagination characterized early studies of navigation.”  The stumbling blocks investigators have had to get over include:Spectral Breadth:  Early researchers assumed that animals were limited to our own human senses, but found out they can utilize a shopping list of cues invisible to us: ultraviolet light, infrared light, magnetic fields, electric fields, chemical pheromones, ultrasonic sounds and infrasonic sounds.  We were “blind to our own blindness,” he says, “and there is no reason to assume the list is complete.”Complexity: Another “crippling tendency” of early investigators was “what navigation pioneer Donald Griffin called our innate ‘simplicity filter’: the desire to believe that animals do things in the least complex way possible.”  Perhaps it was from our own pride of place, but according to Gould, we should be humbled:Experience, however, tells us that animals whose lives depend on accurate navigation are uniformly overengineered.  Not only do they frequently wring more information out of the cues that surround them than we can, or use more exotic or weaker cues than we find conceivable, they usually come equipped with alternative strategies – a series of backups between which they switch depending on which is providing the most reliable information.Recalibration:  Early studies assumed animals just needed to learn a trick once (a phenomenon called imprinting, true in some short-lived animals.)  Then they found out that some animals are able to recalibrate their instruments.Cognition:  The school of psychology known as behaviorism, which denies instinct, “puts a ceiling on the maximum level of mental activity subject to legitimate investigation,” Gould chides.  As a result of this bias, “most researchers deliberately ignored or denigrated the evidence for cognitive processing in navigating animals.”  Not all animals exhibit cognitive intervention, Gould admits.  But he then makes a very unDarwinian countercharge: “However, the obvious abilities of hunting spiders and honey bees to plan novel routes make it equally clear that phylogenetic distance to humans is no sure guide to the sophistication of a species’ orientation strategies.”    He gives an example: “One of the problems we inherited from behaviorism was the assumption that exploratory behavior must be rewarded.  However, many species examine their surroundings voluntarily and, in fact, do so in detail.”  (See example on mice below.)Let’s look at just a few of the “believe it or not” examples Gould showcases in the article:Honeybees:  Here is an example of switching inputs to get the most reliable information.  “A honey bee, for instance, may set off for a goal using its time-compensated sun compass.  When a cloud covers the sun, it may change to inferring the sun’s position from UV patterns in the sky and opt a minute later for a map-like strategy when it encounters a distinctive landmark.  Lastly, it may ignore all of these cues as it gets close enough to its goal to detect the odors or visual cues provided by the flowers.”Mice:  Here is an example of the “overengineering” Gould spoke of.  Many field animals, like mice, have a strong drive to acquire information about their home range in advance of need, whether or not (as behaviorism would expect) they get an immediate reward.  “Consider mice,” he says,which not only gallop endlessly in running wheels, but actually prefer difficulty, such as square ‘wheels’, or wheels with barriers that must be jumped.  Given a 430 meter long opaque three-dimensional maze of pipes, mice will work out the shortest path within three days, and without reward.Navigation requires determining direction:This can be achieved in two ways, and mice use both: they can use another landmark from their mental map and triangulate the direction of the goal, or they can use a landmark-independent compass like the earth’s magnetic field.–and they never joined the boy scouts.  What’s more, mice “can also navigate perfectly well, even if the habitat fails to provide useful landmarks.  They will remember the direction and length of each leg of their outward journey and integrate the result when they are ready to return and set off home,” even without a trail of bread crumbs. Pigeons:  Daytime provides celestial cues.  “…once the relationship between azimuth and time of day is memorized,” Gould says, “the animal has a highly accurate compass.”  We’ve all heard about the navigational feats of homing pigeons.  They can discern ultraviolet (UV) light, which accentuates polarization patterns of scattered sunlight, for drawing their mental map, and add to it individual data points like “the average of a night’s attempts to escape from a cage, or some other directional measure.”  The cues help them derive a mean vector, with direction pointing to the goal, and length representing scatter.  When all the cues line up, they’ve got their bearing.Migratory birds:  Birds who migrate between nesting grounds and wintering grounds can use sun cues, star cues, magnetic fields and landmarks to find their way.  Not only that, they can recalibrate the cues for seasonal changes, latitude, and longitude.  This requires recalibration:To infer the pole point through broken clouds, the animal’s map of the sky must be updated.  And as the migrants move south in the fall, new sets of stars in the southern sky appear, while northern stars slip below the horizon.  Clearly, changes in both season and latitude make relearning the stars essential.  Only fairly recently has this constant updating been demonstrated.”In fact, for unknown reasons, “nocturnal migrants calibrate their star pole to the magnetic pole.  Instead of simply taking the pole point as the true guide, the birds constantly recalibrate the magnetic pole to the geographic pole, and then the geographic pole to the magnetic pole.”Latitude: Fish, turtles, lobsters, and birds all determine their latitude by the angle of the magnetic field.  “In theory,” Gould says, “animals could obtain the same information from the sun’s noon elevation, but I know of no case in which this traditional human solution is used.”  The critters must know something we don’t.Longitude: house wrens, pigeons, sharks, salmon, sea turtles and spiny lobsters have all conquered a navigational problem that “bedeviled human navigators until very recently,” the problem of determining longitude.  How do they know distance east from west?  How can house wrens find their way back, unerringly, to the same nest box after a long flight at a different time of year from when they left?  “The apparent answer to this conundrum is provided by a map sense,” Gould answers.  The earth’s magnetic field provides both a map and a compass – just the tools you would need if released in an unfamiliar area. Pigeons again:  When homing pigeons circle around before heading home, they are reading the local map of magnetic gradients and extrapolating it from the one they learned at home.  How do pigeons detect the earth’s magnetic field?  They actually have magnetite grains in their heads, in the ethymoid sinus.  Experiments have shown that magnetic anomalies make the birds disoriented.  A sharp pulse of magnetism can severely impair their compass.  But remagnetize the organ by putting it into a magnetic field, and the bird is back to normalGould ends by pointing out two of the biggest challenges to researchers studying animal navigation: (1) the nature of the map sense, and (2) the issue of recalibration, which is still puzzling.  “The interaction of these specific learning programs,” he promises, “doubtlessly holds many magnificent secrets.” 1James L. Gould, “Magazine: Animal Navigation,” Current BiologyVol 14, R221-R224, 23 March 2004.Wow.  Thank you, Dr. Gould.  This article contains absolutely no hints about how such abilities could have evolved; in fact, it contains a couple of off-handed swipes at the notion that natural selection could explain them, or that skill correlates with “phylogenetic distance.”  This is surprising, considering that James L. Gould is a member of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton.  It could just as well have been written by Dr. Gary Parker at the Institute for Creation Research.  It’s a wonder the editors of Current Biology let this one get by without the required pinch of incense to Emperor Charlie.    Notice that these highly refined and accurate navigational skills are possessed by a wide variety of animals: mammals (e.g., mice), insects (e.g., Monarch butterflies — see 05/23/2003 and 07/09/2002 headlines), birds (e.g., Pacific golden plovers, which can navigate over open sea to the Hawaiian islands without having ever seen them), reptiles (e.g., sea turtles), crustaceans (e.g., lobsters), and fish (e.g., salmon).  Skill does not scale with presumed evolutionary advancement: for instance, the spiny lobster wins the prize for magnetic mapping (see 01/06/2003 headline).  Even bacteria and plants can orient themselves with respect to environmental cues.  Humans were given ability to build tools that can navigate a spacecraft to Saturn, but we must surely stand in awe of a God who could put technology that outperforms NASA into a bird brain.  This article goes to show that the film “Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution” could become an infinite series.  Click your way back through the “Amazing” chain links for many more examples.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Working for Water creates 180 000 jobs

first_imgSouth Africa’s Working for Water programme, the largest public-funded project to eradicate invasive alien plants and improve water resources in the world, has created over 180 000 full-time jobs over the past two decades.Launching Weed-buster Awareness Month at Nooitgedacht Dam near Pretoria on Thursday, environment minister Edna Molewa said Working for Water, one of the government’s flagship programmes, was an innovation in mixing protection of the environment with job creation.“It is an example of integrating environmental conservation and poverty eradication objectives,” she said. “As the country celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy, this gives us an opportunity to reflect on the success stories we have achieved in implementing programmes that make a difference in people’s lives while saving the environment.”Weed-buster Month is an annual campaign intended to raise awareness and increase public understanding of the problems caused by alien plants. The South African campaign is linked to invasive plant control initiatives in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as to the broader Global Invasive Species Programme.Molewa said this year’s campaign would focus on clearing water weeds, specifically water hyacinth in the Nooitgedacht Dam and other water systems.“This year marks the centenary of biological control research and implementation in South Africa,” she said. “This milestone was showcased at an international symposium held in the Kruger National Park earlier this year.”Working for Water was first launched 19 years ago in the Western Cape by the late Kader Asmal. The weed-management programme uses bio-control, chemical and mechanical methods to destroy damaging invasive plants.Saving biodiversity, water and the economyInvasive alien species cause billions of rands of damage to South Africa’s economy every year, and are the single biggest threat to the country’s biodiversity. These are plants, animals and microbes introduced from other countries, which then out-compete and push out indigenous species.Invasive plants pose a direct threat not only to South Africa’s biological diversity, but also to water security, the ecological functioning of natural systems and the productive use of land. They intensify the impact of fires and floods and increase soil erosion. These plants can divert enormous amounts of water from more productive uses. More than this, invasive aquatic plants – such as the water hyacinth – affect agriculture, fisheries, transport, recreation and water supply.Of the estimated 9 000 plants introduced to this country, 198 are classified as invasive. These cover about 10% of the country, with the problem growing exponentially.Working for Water works local communities, to whom it provides jobs, and with national government departments such as environment, agriculture, and trade and industry. It also collaborates with provincial departments of agriculture, conservation and environment, research foundations and private companies.Since its launch in 1995, the programme has cleared more than 1-million hectares of invasive alien plants, all the while providing jobs and training to thousands of people from the most marginalised sectors of society. Of these, 52% are women.Scientists and field workers use a range of methods to control invasive alien plants. These include felling, removing or burning invading alien plants, or applying environmentally safe herbicides. Biological control uses species-specific insects and diseases from the alien plant’s country of origin.Working for Water currently runs over 300 projects in all nine of South Africa’s provinces. The programme is globally recognised as one of the most outstanding environmental conservation initiatives in Africa, and the world.SANews.gov.za and SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

African nations seeks ways to stop flow of refugees to South Africa

first_img10 November 2014A three-day Migration Dialogue conference was organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Tanzania from 7 November 2014, to respond to the ever-evolving and complex dynamics of migration flows from the Horn of Africa, through Kenya and Tanzania to South Africa.Some 24 senior representatives from the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia, and from IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), met in Zanzibar to discuss the migration challenges facing the region and how to address them. The event was funded by Japan, as part of IOM’s Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania project.International migratory movements in Africa have become more complex and mixed in recent years, with flows comprising asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants. The exodus of migrants from the Horn of Africa (mainly Ethiopia) to South Africa is a central issue.Each year, thousands of mainly young Ethiopians risk their lives in an attempt to reach South Africa, where they hope to establish better lives for themselves and their families. Migrants often sacrifice their life savings to pay smugglers amounts of up to $4 000 (about R45 000) to facilitate the journey.Human smuggling has become a thriving multi-billion dollar industry, which feeds off people’s desperation to improve their lives. Migrants are loaded into trucks by smugglers or left in “safe” houses in the jungle in Tanzania for days or weeks without food or water. Kenya and Tanzania are significant transit countries and many migrants are intercepted by the authorities en route.“Migrants are above all human beings and have the same human rights as anyone else. They should not be exposed to situations in which their lives are threatened. But the root causes of migration from the Horn to South Africa must be addressed by the governments concerned in order to come up with sustainable solutions to this migration crisis,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM’s chief of mission in Tanzania.The meeting followed a 2010 regional conference on refugee protection and international migration, during which 13 African states met to discuss mixed movements and irregular migration from the East, Horn and Great Lakes sub-regions to Southern Africa.IOM’s Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania project has returned over 220 detained Ethiopian migrants this year so far, and is planning to return a total of up to 800 by the end of the year. Since 2009, IOM Tanzania has helped over 2 500 Ethiopian detainees to return home.Source: APOlast_img read more

John Deere announces extensive enhancements to harvesting equipment

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest New 12-row folding corn head introducedJohn Deere is helping customers improve productivity and profitability during harvest with enhancements to its grain harvesting equipment lineup. For model year 2016, the company is adding performance boosting features to its S-Series Combines, 600C Series Corn Heads and 600F HydraFlex Draper Platforms, as well as introducing a new 12-row folding corn head.Jon Gilbeck, division marketing manager for John Deere Harvester Works, says these are some of the most extensive updates to John Deere harvesting products since the introduction of the S-Series Combines years ago.“We are constantly listening to our customers and looking for ways to boost their grain harvesting productivity by improving the performance, quality, and technology of the Deere equipment they are using.  This includes enhancements to the combines as well as improvements to the different headers and platforms in the lineup.” S-Series Combine UpdatesJohn Deere is making some significant improvements starting with the workhorse of its grain harvesting equipment – the S-Series Combine. Internally, customers will notice a 12 percent larger cleaning sieve and a new shoe drive system with a beefed up, wider belt with double the tensile strength and durability.In shoe-limited conditions this new Dyna-Flow™ Plus cleaning system increases combine capacity up to 10 percent in corn and 13 percent in wheat and canola and reduces tailings as much as 28 percent. The combines are designed with stronger internal bearings, pulleys and support structure for increased durability and uptime.In addition, John Deere is making Active Terrain Adjustment™ available as a factory-installed option for all 2016 models of S-Series Combines. Active Terrain Adjustment automatically controls the fan speed and sieve/chaffer openings as the combine travels up and down hilly terrain. This optimizes the harvesting performance of the combine and minimizes grain loss on slopes. On uphill slopes of 12-16 degrees the results can be a $32-64 savings per acre while reducing tailings by as much as 35 percent. And when harvesting on declining slopes, the greater the slope and greater reduction in foreign material.To improve accuracy and reliability of yield data collected during harvest, John Deere introduces Active Yield with automated calibration. This feature greatly reduces the time operators spend calibrating the yield monitor and provides more accurate yield data from field to field. Active Yield is available as a field-installed attachment for 2016 S-Series Combines and is compatible with earlier model S-Series machines.Lastly, John Deere has added an onboard air compressor to new 2016 combines. This addition makes routine combine cleaning and maintenance more convenient, especially when operators are in the field or remote locations.“These enhanced features make the S-Series Combines even more productive when harvesting all types of grain crops, provide more accurate yield information, and allow operators to spend more time harvesting and less time with calibration and maintenance,” Gilbeck says.New in Headers and PlatformsAlong with the updates to the S-Series combines, John Deere is expanding its lineup of 600C Series Corn Heads and updating the 600F HyraFlex Draper Platforms. For the first time, the company is offering a folding 12-row corn head (612FC  model). The 612FC can provide productivity of up to 30 acres more per day versus harvesting with a traditional eight-row corn head and six more acres per day versus a traditional 12-row while reducing operating costs by 15 percent.  And John Deere is equipping all 600C corn heads with an improved row unit slip clutch and drive shaft interface for longer life when harvesting today’s more robust hybrids.For soybean and small grain producers, the company has taken many of the features unique to the recently introduced 645FD and built them into other models of HydraFlex Drapers, including the 630FD, 635FD and 640FD. These features include new streamlined end dividers that reduce grain loss and crop knock down; a wider center-feed section that increases material feeding by 15 percent to better match combine capacity; and 30 percent stronger reel fingers for greater durability and improved crop pickup.“These improvements, along with doubling the life of the reel finger support tube bearings on all HydraFlex Drapers, help producers harvest more acres per day with less downtime and lower cost of operation,” Gilbeck adds. “Collectively, the changes we made to the combines, corn heads and HydraFlex Drapers provide customers with the most advanced harvesting equipment available.”For more information on the full line of S-Series Combines, corn heads and platforms, see your local John Deere dealer or visit www.JohnDeere.com/ag.last_img read more