Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss will not seek re-election

first_imgBurlington’s Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss announced this morning on a popular local radio program that he would not be seeking another term.His announcement came while a guest on the Charlie + Ernie + Lisa show on WVMT AM 620. Kiss said his decision not to run was not influenced by other candidates, but rather by a need for him personally to move on and focus on other things.Up until Wednesday morning, Kiss had remained reticent about his possible reelection bid and had many in Burlington and in his own party scratching their heads.Many progressives had become skeptical of Kiss’ viability as a mayoral candidate, casting doubt on his chances of securing another term. The embattled mayor recently won praise for his handling of the Occupy Burlington movement, especially his ability to quell unrest following one of the occupiers’ suicide, and the peaceful dismantling of its City Hall Park encampment.However, his final term will certainly be remembered most for the failure of Burlington Telecom, the municipal phone/cable/Internet service. Financial problems with BT have resulted in the city incurring $16.9 million in debt, fighting a $33 million lawsuit brought by creditors, incurring regulatory sanctions issued by the Vermont Public Service Board over BT’s Certificate of Public Good, and a downgrading of the city’s and Burlington International Airport’s credit ratings.The remaining candidates in the race are two Democrats, Tim Ashe and Miro Weinberger, and Republican City Councilor Kurt Wright.Ashe and Weinberger, who tied during a third-ballot vote for the Democratic nomination on November 13, will faceoff once again on December 11. The general election will be held March 6, 2012.It was widely considered that if Ashe were nominated, then Kiss would not seek re-election. Ashe is close to the Progressives. But Kiss had promised a decision by the end of November, and true to form, he lived up to his promise.Kiss, 64, was first elected as Mayor of Burlington in 2006 and was reelected in 2009. He moved to Burlington in 1972 and worked for the Agency of the Aging, the Vermont Health Department, SRS and the Social Welfare Department throughout the ’70s.last_img read more

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End of the Neanderthal Myth?

first_imgA grim Neanderthal face stares out from the cover of the October 2008 National Geographic Magazine.  Coinciding with the cover story is a TV special, Neanderthal Code, about the Neanderthal genome.  Both are replete with artwork from the magazine’s army of illustrators charged with putting flesh on bones and bringing lost prehistories to life.  The magazine’s cover title emphasizes a certain word: “The Other Humans: Neanderthals Revealed.”  That word other is the center of a long-standing belief that appears to have collapsed.  Were they really distinct from modern humans?  What do we mean by “other”?    Conjectures and cave stories about Neanderthals have been legion.  The conventional wisdom for over a century (though less so recently) has been that Neanderthals were stocky, brutish and intellectually inferior beings who were supplanted by the leaner, smarter modern humans moving into their space.  Neanderthals had brawn; moderns had brain.  Who hasn’t seen artwork of fur-clad grunter-hunters chasing after mammoths in the ice age?  Though National Geographic entertained some of the latest controversies about Neanderthals, they chose a bad time to label them as “other.”  A commentary in PNAS today has essentially removed the last argument for calling them different.1  The title is right to the point: “Separating ‘us’ from ‘them’: Neanderthal and modern human behavior.”    Pat Shipman (anthropologist, Penn State) began her commentary with a tone of remorse, as if ready to confess to a kind of paleontological racism:Neanderthals have always been treated like the poor relation in the human family.  From the recognition of the first partial skeleton from Feldhofer, Germany, in 1856, Neanderthals made scientists uneasy.  Initially they were viewed as too physically apelike to fit into Homo sapiens and too brutishly primitive to have been capable of modern human behavior.  Now, new information on Neanderthal adaptations has come from Gibraltar, an island where an adult Neanderthal cranium and pieces of a Neanderthal child’s skull were found previously.  As reported in this issue of PNAS, evidence from Vanguard and Gorham’s caves indicates that Neanderthals used unexpectedly modern and complex subsistence strategies.Most anthropologists had already brought Neanderthals well within the human circle 10/25/2007).  Erik Trinkaus, for instance, believes that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred (08/02/2007).  Most accepted them as good hunters, dexterous, social, artistic and successful in just about every way – no “poor relation” to modern humans.  It has been known for a long time that their skull capacity was, on average, larger than ours.  Still, many anthropologists just couldn’t give up the notion that they were – well, maybe not stupid, but – not as sophisticated as moderns in terms of social behaviors, creativity, and living strategies.    Shipman challenged that last argument for classifying Neanderthals as “other.”  Evidence from the Gibraltar caves shows that they possessed all four complex behaviors thought characteristic of modern humans: (1) broad use of land resources, (2) sea fishing and hunting, (3) use of small scale resources, and (4) scheduling resource use by the seasons.  This revelation came with some emotion.  “That modern human subsistence behaviors would show up among archaic humans like Neanderthals, even as late as ~28,000 B.P.,” she remarked, “is startling.”  What does it mean?    Basically, it means the anthropologists have been wrong about our brethren all along.  It undermines the notion that Neanderthals were the losers in competition with more modern, more sophisticated Homo sapiens sapiens.  Notice her last question:Paleoanthropologists currently debate whether any set of attributes of material culture can distinguish between modern and archaic human behavior.  In particular, McBrearty and Brooks challenge the paradigm that there was an abrupt “human revolution” ~40,000 years ago in Europe that marked the invasion of modern humans and the onset of modern behavior (but see ref. 16 for another view).  In Gibraltar, Neanderthals and modern humans apparently shared similar or identical “modern” subsistence practices at ~28,000, yet Neanderthals were clearly outside of the range of morphological and genetic variability of modern humans.2  If behavior did not separate “us” (modern humans) from “them” (Neanderthals), what did?In addition, she asked, if Neanderthals and modern humans lived and worked side by side at Gibraltar with the same subsistence strategies, why did they go extinct?  Shipman ended by saying, “Answers to these questions are likely to be elusive.”  Her only hope was that “more research into carefully chosen, meticulously excavated, and thoughtfully analyzed sites may be one way to begin to find them.”1.  Pat Shipman, “Separating ‘us’ from ‘them’: Neanderthal and modern human behavior,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published September 22, 2008, doi:10.1073/pnas.0807931105.2.  This claim needs to be understood in context.  For one thing, if Neanderthals were indeed capable of interbreeding with modern humans, they were fully human.  Also, the NG article quotes Ed Green commenting on the Neanderthal genome, “We know that the human and chimpanzee sequences are 98.7 percent the same,3 and Neanderthals are much closer to us than chimps, so the reality is that for most of the sequence, there’s no difference between Neanderthals and [modern] humans.”  The differences amount to half a percent – but even then, how representative are our samples of Neanderthal DNA?  How well do we know the genetic diversity among the entire Neanderthal population?  Statistical claims like these are bound to be overturned by more data.3.  It is unfortunate that NG did not challenge Green’s reiteration of the false yet often-assumed statistic that only 1.3% separates human and chimpanzee DNA (see 06/29/2007, CMI #1 and CMI #2).The answers aren’t elusive at all.  It’s only evolutionary blinders that obscure the obvious to those who refuse to see.  Creationists aren’t surprised.  They feel vindicated    The whole human evolution story is a farce.  Think about this, for starters: now that we know Neanderthals were the mental equivalents of modern humans, evolutionists would have us believe that these people lived among and hunted all the big mammals for over 100,000 years – ten times all recorded human history – and in all that time never learned to ride a horse (11/09/2007, 08/16/2008) or plant a farm or build a city.  Is that even remotely credible?  Even when “modern humans” showed up 30,000 years ago it supposedly took them 22,000 years to figure it out.  Does that match anything you know about our curious, inventive species?  In the Darwin paleofantasyland scenario (02/22/2008), some lucky mutation must have just switched on abstract language (02/21/2008), architecture and agriculture out of nowhere (02/22/2008), because archaeology shows these abilities full blown from the start.  Who can believe the evolutionary tales any longer?  Look how goofy they can get (see 05/29/2008, 05/02/2008, 10/28/2007).    The next day after Shipman’s commentary, National Geographic News tried to do damage control.  Their article repeated the same fictional plot line, this time with feeling: “Neanderthals and modern humans are distinct species that split from a common ancestor several hundred thousand years ago.”  This was followed by “Test your Neanderthal knowledge with our online quiz,” which being interpreted, means, “Let’s make sure your indoctrination level is safe before we reveal the next admission.”  This was followed by an astonishing backtrack:Why modern humans thrived and Neanderthals ultimately failed has long been a topic of scientific intrigue, and previous research had suggested that the ability to exploit marine resources was one of the defining characteristics for the success of modern humans.    But the new research may eliminate sophisticated foraging skills from the list of potential advantages unique to humans.    “I don’t think that the success of one or the other had to do with subsistence, with the way they hunted or fed,” Finlayson said.    “There may be other factors coming into this, or it may just have been a question of luck.”Emphasize that word intrigue (def: “to accomplish or force by crafty plotting or underhand machinations”).  Pay attention: this quote is a complete admission of ignorance.  “It could be this factor, it could be that factor, it could be Lady Luck”  (cf. 03/18/2008).  What kind of scientific explanation is that?  Attributing events to chance is no better than appealing to the Stuff Happens Law (see 09/15/2008 commentary).  A cartoon on EvidentCreation (2nd cartoon) illustrates the principle.  Ignorance is not science, even if you use the methods of science to explore the extent of your ignorance.  What does the word science mean?  Knowledge.  The know-nothings (02/22/2008) have no claim on science, white lab coats notwithstanding (cf. 05/06/2008).  The Darwin diviners (07/26/2008 commentary) only surpass the Babylonians in the sophistication of their ignorance.    The BBC News tried to rescue a bad situation in their report with a quote from Chris Stringer [Natural History Museum, London]: “So there still is an element of superiority,” [Where!?]  “but it is a much more finely balanced one now” [What!?]  “This is yet another difference that had been proposed between Neanderthals and moderns which now disappears.”  That’s falsification, folks!  Where is that finely-balanced superiority they just talked about?  It just disappeared, along with their credibility.  Again, no remorse, and no repentance for their entrenched fossil racism.    Live Science quoted Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum as a spoiler: “Deep down there is this idea that modern humans are cognitively superior and therefore able to outcompete Neanderthals.  I suppose we’ve thrown a bit of a spanner in the works by showing that Neanderthals were doing exactly the same thing.”  Of course, he wasn’t surprised, he said.  He’s been arguing for many years that Neanderthals “were as intelligent as modern humans with similar behaviors.”  OK, so how exactly are the Darwinians supposed to run that flag up the pole?  Big help he is.  This is the same guy who told NG the modern humans won out by chance – not by natural selection.  This abandons any grounds for making human evolution a theory based on laws of nature; it reduces to the Stuff Happens Law.    The rest of National Geographic’s too-little-too-late article resorts to the usual evolutionist misdirection tactic of handing out promissory notes for evolutionary futureware:To resolve the issue, Marean recommends a systematic comparison of Neanderthal and human seafood collection at sites with similar availability.    “Were Neanderthals [exploiting seafood] like we expect they would if they were modern?  And if they weren’t, then the question is: Why?” he said.    “We could be getting into something interesting there, for sure.”Veddyyy inteddesting, yah, foor shoor.  Do you get angry at admissions like this?  You should.  Think how much damage has been done by the Neanderthal myth.  For over a century, school children have been indoctrinated into a vision that Neanderthals were some kind of pre-modern, human-but-not-quite product of evolution that the superior moderns (like us and the Europeans) knocked out of the race.  Countless posters, artist reconstructions, museum dummies and TV specials have told and re-told this myth for decades.  National Geographic Magazine has been one of the worst repeat offenders.  Where is their shame?  Any sign of remorse?  None whatsoever.  They still portray their organization as a beacon of scientific knowledge, leading us into a glorious future of understanding our origins.    Neanderthal Man was one of the last in the famous parade of hominids leading to the ultimate product, us.  The iconic evolutionary march of progress to Thoroughly Modern Man (and Millie) has been the subject of countless cartoons.  But it’s not funny.  This has been bad science.  It has been perpetrated with an agenda to make evolutionary philosophy appear scientific.  Now, after all that propaganda, they ask, if behavior did not separate “us” from “them,” what did?  The answer is obvious.  Nothing!    Imagine the myths that could have been spun with the bones of living humans from differing parts of the world.  Put a Watusi skeleton next to an Eskimo in the Museum of Man, and just imagine the yarns you could spin.  That is basically what has happened here.  Extreme members of the same species have been put side by side, and a fictional fable has been foisted on the unsuspecting for over a century.  Long ago it was noted that you could give a shave and a suit to a Neanderthal Man, have him walk down a New York sidewalk, and nobody would notice, even without the shave.    It’s not science that led culture down this primrose path.  It was the Darwinians – those usurping materialists who have a psychological need to force every bit of evidence into a moyboy (09/16/2005) scheme of progress from particles to people via mindless, undirected, purposeless natural processes of evolution.  They are a blight on science.  Real scientists, who find cures for disease and peer into the workings of the cell, and explore space and seek to understand the laws of physics and chemistry that bring us technological advances – God bless them all – owe nothing to these pretenders.  Like parasites, the Darwinians sap the resources of their host and use it for their own advantage.  And did you notice?  These are the same people who most vehemently breathe fire against the scientists who actually have the resources to explain the origin of life and human history (the creationists).    Let this fact melt into the folds of your cerebrum: the Darwinians were wrong again for 150 years! – just like they have been wrong about the origin of life, the fossil record, and the genetic code.  What major discovery did not hit them like a complete surprise? (the DNA code, the complexity of the cell, Mendel’s laws, the Cambrian explosion, living fossils, “convergent evolution” everywhere, to name a few examples).  What prediction did they make that has not been falsified? (e.g., molecular phylogeny, ease of self-assembly of molecules into a cell, unlimited genetic variation, evolution of the horse, life on Mars, and much more – read the back issues).  Their scientific theory is all vaporware and futureware.  Their scientific method is just-so storytelling (02/22/2008).  Their list of scientific accomplishments is a list of failures and deflated hype – a growing midden of discarded ideas, piling up and stinking to high heaven.  Their scientific legacy is a ghastly record of intolerance, arrogance, destructive doctrines and crimes against humanity.  How can real scientists stand being associated with these incorrigible miscreants?  (miscreant, n., adj.: depraved, behaving badly, scoundrel, reprobate.)  What have they done for you lately, you true scientists out there?  They are destroying your good reputation.    Take Darwin and evolution and the Victorian myth of progress out of the 19th century, and what might have happened?  Creationists would have looked at the robust skeletons dug up from the field of Christian hymnwriter Joachim Neander (see 10/26/2001), and interpreted them as fully human without a blink.  Creationist historians would have fit them into Biblical history after Babel, looking into the Table of Nations for clues.  Creationist geneticists would have recognized the propensity for exaggeration of features with inbreeding of family groups.  Creationist anatomists (like Jack Cuozzo) would theorize that the skeletons represented long-lived humans, just like the Bible said existed around the time of the Flood.  Creationist geologists would have not been misled by myths about humans evolving from apes over millions of years, and so would have felt no pressure to fit these humans into a long, stretched-out timeline.  Creationist anthropologists would not have called it “startling” to find them using the same hunting and subsistence strategies as other tribes at Gibraltar.  Who would have been more correct?  Who would have felt more comfortable with the evidence?  The fate of the evolutionist is to be constantly startled by facts that don’t fit their plot line.    Stop calling our ancient dead forebears Neanderthals – they were people.  Stop the “us” vs “them” racist rhetoric; they were our brothers.  This final collapse of the evolutionary Neanderthal Myth should arouse a call for accountability.  Americans are all up in arms right now about high-profile managers of money funds who mismanaged affairs terribly, causing major economic catastrophes, yet profited by their misdeeds to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in salaries and pensions.  The evolutionists should pay for what they have done.  It’s time to defrock them of their white lab coats, charge them with impersonating a scientist (09/30/2007) and send them packing.  Don’t let them say that science is marching on and correcting itself.  This was a painful, totally unnecessary, 150-year detour.  Don’t let them say more research will figure it out.  They cannot be trusted any more.  Don’t let them say this is just how science works.  Science is supposed to be a search for the truth.  Don’t let them say this was just an academic correction.  It seduced the minds of millions of school children.  It destroyed people’s faith.  It was all lies, lies, lies!  Citizens who love science should get really angry right about now.    Channel that righteous anger into constructive action – like cleaning house at the Science Academy.  One effective method is to cut off the flow of money for evolutionary research and other oxymorons.(Visited 122 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Ranji Trophy final Day 2: Snell Patel leads Saurashtra fight after Pujara fails

first_imgSnell Patel continued his cracking form in the Ranji Trophy to lead Saurashtra’s fight on an attritional second day of the final against Vidarbha in Nagpur. After being reduced to 200 for 7 overnight, Vidarbha rode on Akshay Karnewar’s unbeaten 73 to post 312 all out. At stumps on Day 2, Saurashtra were 158 for 5, trailing Vidarbha by 154 runs.Saurashtra got off to a disastrous start. They lost Harvik Desai to Aditya Sarwate who finished with three big wickets. After trapping Desai LBW, Sarwate snapped up Vishvaraj Jadeja as Saurashtra slipped to 79 for 2 in the 26th over. Two runs later, Sarwate removed Cheteshwar Pujara who had guided his team into the final with his 49th hundred in the semi-final against Karnataka last week.Saurashtra had pinned their hopes on Sheldon Jackson to stand with Patel after Pujara flopped but he was dismissed for only 9. However, Snell Patel did not disappoint and brought up his third successive fifty in the Ranji Trophy.Patel had scored 85 in the semi-final against Karantaka and 72 in the quaterfinal against Uttar Pradesh.Saurashtra were in a real spot of bother after skipper Jaydev Unadkat’s sensational spell of fast bowling had left Vidarbha reeling on the opening day. The failure of Cheteshwar Pujara meant Vidarbha had a foot in the door and when Sheldon Jackson departed cheaply, the defending champions had a real edge.But Snell Patel had other ideas. A 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, Patek is playing only his 21st first-class match but he showed the confidence of a seasoned pro against a good bowling attack.advertisementHe will face a stiff challenge when play resumes on the third day – giving Snell Patel company at the other side was Prerak Mankad who was unbeaten on 16.last_img read more

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Senate Approves SERP Resolution

first_img Piloting the Resolution, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said of the 829 applications received, a total of 430 have so far been approved. Special incentives have been included in the programme, such as two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for accumulated vacation leave. The Senate on Friday (March 23) approved the Pensions Public Service Special Early Retirement Programme Order 2018 Resolution. The Senate on Friday (March 23) approved the Pensions Public Service Special Early Retirement Programme Order 2018 Resolution.The Special Early Retirement Programme (SERP) is a voluntary separation initiative that allows public sector employees, aged 50 to 59, under the non-contributory Government pension scheme, to take up early retirement through an incentivised package.Special incentives have been included in the programme, such as two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for accumulated vacation leave.The SERP, which is being undertaken through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, was opened on January 2, 2018.Piloting the Resolution, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said of the 829 applications received, a total of 430 have so far been approved.“I would like to remind members that the programme has a dual process for consideration of applications. First, it goes to the Permanent Secretary to ensure that there is an impact assessment in respect of the relevant Ministry, Department or Agency. Where it is not a Ministry that is being impacted, the Permanent Secretary is to consult with the management or leadership of theparticular agencies in order to ensure that approval of the person’s application will not result in a prejudicial impact on the functions of the organisation,” she explained.Senator Johnson Smith said the process continues for the remaining applications.She pointed out that the effective date for persons who are approved will be May 1, for their retirement to actually take place.Senator Johnson Smith said although the target of 1,600 was not attained, “829 is not a bad record to have achieved.”She expressed gratitude to the persons who have been integral to the process, including Permanent Secretaries and the staff at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.Responding to questions posed by Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, regarding the demographics and category of applicants, Senator Johnson Smith said a report is expected to be presented once completed.The SERP was offered in light of the recently passed Pensions (Public Service) Act 2017, which adjusts the terms under which public sector workers will retire.The new Act will gradually increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 years; facilitate mandatory contributions by all pensionable officers towards their pension; and harmonise the legislation governing public sector pensions in a single statute. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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World Cup Crib Notes Day 10

After thrashing Portugal 4-0 in its first game, Germany has seen its probability of winning the World Cup steadily rise, to 13.4 percent from 10.7 percent. That increase is more than any team’s since the tournament began, except the Netherlands’. The Germans face Ghana in the second game of the day.Argentina vs. Iran: 12 p.m. EDTGermany vs. Ghana: 3 p.m. EDTNigeria vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina: 6 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHThe odds are stacked in favor of Germany (71 percent to Ghana’s 10 percent) in our Game to Watch, so Ghana will need an unlikely win or draw against if it has any hope of seeing the knockout stage of the tournament. Germany is sitting pretty atop Group G with a 97.9 percent chance of advancing.Despite the apparent mismatch, Germany and Ghana still had the highest harmonic mean between the Soccer Power Index (SPI) scores of any two teams playing each other Saturday (82.0, compared with Argentina vs. Iran at 78.4 and Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Nigeria at 76.9). Both Germany and Ghana are powerful defensively, but it’s Germany’s offense — the strongest in the tournament, according to ESPN’s SPI — that poses the biggest threat to Ghana.Ghana outplayed the U.S. on Monday, controlling 60 percent of the possession and outshooting (both on goal and otherwise) the Americans in a game that probably should have ended in its favor. But of its 21 shots, only one managed to find the back of the net. So, if Ghana hopes to dig itself out of the hole it’s in in Group G, it must score against Germany. Its best hopes lie in the Ayew brothers — Andre scored in the 82nd minute against the U.S., and his younger brother, Jordan, has scored 16 goals for Sochaux in the top French league this season.Ghana has a 89 percent chance of being eliminated from the Cup, but a win or draw against Germany and an unfavorable outcome for the Americans against Portugal on Sunday could drastically change the dynamics of Group G.YESTERDAYIn Costa Rica’s 1-0 victory over Italy, the losers had the advantage in possession, with 731 touches to Costa Rica’s 508. But Costa Rica had 91 touches in the attacking third compared with Italy’s 83, and it created nine chances to Italy’s six. The Italians’ 83 touches in the attacking third were their fewest in a match in the past five World Cups.Italy’s offensive futility was reflected in other stats as well. Of its 10 shots, only two were in the attacking penalty area, which ties for its fewest in a World Cup match since the 1966 tournament (as far back as ESPN Stats & Info’s data set goes). The team was called offside 11 times, tied for the most in a World Cup match since 2002.Costa Rica also shut down two of Italy’s biggest stars. Andrea Pirlo completed one of four passes in the attacking third; he was 12 for 12 on such passes in Italy’s first match, against England. Mario Balotelli had 24 touches, the fewest of any Italian starter, including seven in the second half. That tied for the fewest of anyone on the pitch.The victory advanced Costa Rica to the knockout stage for the first time since 1990 (it was eliminated in the group stage in 2002 and 2006 and didn’t qualify in the other years) and eliminated England in the process. It is the first time since 1958 that England has failed to reach the knockout round.In the match between Switzerland and France, Switzerland had more overall touches, 636 to 532, but France more than doubled the Swiss in the attacking penalty area, 23 to 10. Led by Karim Benzema, whose match-high seven touches in the penalty area gave him a tournament-high 16, France is averaging 25.5 penalty-area touches per match (the best in the tournament).France scored in the 17th and 18th minutes with two of its first three touches in the attacking penalty area — the quickest back-to-back goals in French World Cup history. The first goal was France’s 100th at the World Cup, making it the fifth team to reach that milestone. Benzema had a goal and two assists, giving him a hand in five of France’s eight goals in the tournament (three goals, two assists). He created six chances Friday, the most by a player in a match to that point in the tournament. The two teams combined for 29 chances, the most in a match this tournament. — Jacob Nitzberg, senior stats analyst, ESPN OFF THE PITCHGermany and Ghana have had significant relations since Ghana gained its independence from Britain in 1957. One of the most striking examples is their plan for economic development cooperation, which they updated in 2012. The plan includes facets of cultural and academic exchange, but the most tangible aspect is aid. The plan itself doesn’t provide data on Germany’s aid to Ghana, but AidData shows that Ghana received $2.5 billion in aid from Germany between 1973 and 2011 for 1,100 projects, including water supply improvements and forestry development. Most of the aid (about $611 million) has been aimed at debt alleviation, but that mostly ended in 2006. By 2011, a majority of the German aid was geared toward government, civil society and agriculture.  — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGIt’s Been the Americas’ World CupThe Reducer: World Cup Winners and Losers read more

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Opinion Braxton Miller should be starting quarterback for Ohio State in 2015

OSU redshirt-senior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) is set to compete with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for a starting spot in 2015.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerWhen Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller went down with a season-ending shoulder injury last fall, my first thoughts weren’t about how the Buckeyes would do without him during the 2014 season, but how good they would be with him coming back in 2015.Heading into the 2014 campaign, Miller was to be the senior leader of the team and was a Heisman hopeful. What he was able to do with the talent he had around him in his first three seasons as the signal caller was quite impressive. Play-calling from coaches, the lack of talent at wide receiver and multiple turnovers that were out of Miller’s control led to missed opportunities. And that was just in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State.Last year’s OSU team wasn’t supposed to be as good as they were without Miller; they definitely weren’t supposed to win it all. With a year of young players getting a chance to develop, such as wide receivers and the offensive line, things couldn’t look better for the 2015 team.You get your best player back on the field and everyone else around him ­­— who once slowed him down — all had the chance to improve. And boy, did they ever.Miller is currently rehabbing his shoulder after surgery to repair a torn labrum, so for me to say he should be the starter at this moment would be foolish, but if he is 100 percent healthy by the first game, I believe there is no better option.He has gone against and beat out redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett and redshirt-junior Cardale Jones consistently and I don’t think the experience they gained is enough to take the starting job — although you couldn’t ask for better experience. Miller hasn’t gotten any worse and I don’t think it would be wise to sit him out before he is given the chance to lose the job on his own.Before the Big Ten tile game in which OSU beat Wisconsin, 59-0, Jones didn’t appear to be very good. We knew he had an arm and could run, but every time we saw him get reps or in a spring game, he was unimpressive to say the least. They say practice makes perfect, but I’m not convinced that a year of second-team reps all of a sudden made him a better quarterback and player than Miller.Not to mention Jones couldn’t beat out Barrett for the job when Miller went down, so although what he did in the final three games of last season was pure greatness and he will forever hold a place in my heart as a fan, I would bet he comes back down to earth during a full season of constant hits and maybe after the defense lets him down a little.Barrett is a guy that has all the mechanics, but lacks the “wow” factor. He can manage the offense very well, but when it’s time to go out and win a game for his team, I believe he lacks that instinct. At this time he would be better suited watching another year of the explosiveness Miller brings on every play.The younger quarterbacks will only benefit from another year of developing, and as the more experienced man, Miller should be the one starting in the fall.Either way, OSU should have no problem running the table in the Big Ten with whomever coach Urban Meyer chooses to be the signal caller. Although with Miller, games might be over a little faster. read more

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Virgin launches into Showbiz

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Virgin Australia has forged a new partnership with Showbiz International, allowing Velocity Rewards members to earn points when purchasing tickets on a new website, ‘the box office’.‘The box office’ website is powered by Showbiz International and sells entertainment tickets for the Australian theatre, sports, operas, concerts, musicals and other major events. Velocity Frequent Flyer general manager Phil Gunter said since the program began, members were offered a range of entertainment rewards, redeemable for points.“’It [the box office] will allow us to take these offerings to a whole new level, providing a one-stop shop for a range of events, along with exclusive benefits including access to ticket pre-sales, special offers and all-inclusive event packages.” Showbiz International CEO Craig McMaster said he was proud to launch ‘the box office’ in conjuction with Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program.“Virgin Australia is actively supporting both presenters and performers, and the Australian live entertainment industry,” Mr McMaster said. “We are very excited that we can add to this with a fantastic new platform that we are confident will deliver a first class ticketing service and online experience for Velocity Frequent Flyer members.”last_img read more

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