MINISTER SAYS DONEGAL COMMUNITY CLINICS CLOSURE TO BE REVIEWED

first_imgThomas Pringle TD says the closure of 12 Community Welfare Service Clinics in Donegal will be kept under under review.Thomas PringleThe Donegal Deputy met with Minister Joan Burton in relation to the matter.“I will be holding the Minister to her word on that with a view to getting the clinics reopened if necessary if the service fails the people who need it. As of this week people are being asked to make their way to larger towns to avail of community welfare services. This does not recognise the geography of rural Ireland and the difficulties many of the clients of the Department of Social Protection face in accessing services.“The 12 clinics are in outlying areas where there is no transport link to get people to larger towns to access the clinics. These are some of the most vulnerable people in society and through their need to access services they must have a lot of contact with community welfare officers for vital services such as the exceptional needs payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.He says the letter issued in Donegal states that these closures are due to the rollout of the Intreo programme, a one-stop shop for employment services.“However, I fail to see what the community welfare offices will bring to the rollout of the Intreo service when they need to be kept in place to provide the services which are vital to those using them. “One of the clinics closing is in Pettigo, and an offer has been made to clients to use the clinic either in Ballyshannon or in Donegal town. There is one bus service a week to Donegal town from Pettigo and there is none to Ballyshannon.“While there may be a telephone service available, it will be interesting to see how that will work where there are application forms to be filled out or paperwork to be sent in to the community welfare officer for a decision. So I’ll be keeping a close eye on how the situation progresses” stated Pringle. MINISTER SAYS DONEGAL COMMUNITY CLINICS CLOSURE TO BE REVIEWED was last modified: October 3rd, 2013 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:Community ClinicsdonegalMinister Joan BurtonThomas Pringlelast_img read more

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QPR v Carlisle: Smithies makes debut and youngsters get chance to impress

first_imgGoalkeeper Alex Smithies makes his QPR debut in their League Cup second-round game against Carlisle United at Loftus Road.Youngsters Darnell Furlong, Cole Kpekawa, Michael Doughty and Reece Grego-Cox are also in the Rangers starting line-up, as is summer signing Oscar Gobern.Junior Hoilett, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Clint Hill start too as head coach Chris Ramsey makes full use of his squad.Ramsey told West London Sport ahead of the game that he was keen to rest defenders Nedum Onuoha and James Perch.Neither have been included, although Perch is among the substitutes. Grant Hall is the only player in the 11 who also started Saturday’s league game against Rotherham.QPR: Smithies; Furlong, Hall, Hill, Kpekawa; Doughty, Gobern; Grego-Cox, Emmanuel-Thomas, Hoilett, Polter.Subs: Lumley, Perch, Luongo, Phillips, Comley, Chery, Blackwood.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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SA’s emergency power plan

first_img25 January 2008South Africa’s Cabinet emerged from a two-day meeting on Friday with a top priority plan to tackle the country’s “national electricity emergency”, saying it was confident that SA’s healthy economic growth could be sustained, and stressing that there would be no freezing of new investment projects.Speaking to journalists in Cape Town after the Cabinet meeting, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said the “unprecedented, unplanned” power outages that have hit South Africa over the last two weeks “must now be treated as a national electricity emergency that has to be addressed with the urgent, vigorous and co-ordinated actions commensurate with such an emergency situation.”Erwin conceded that the government had been caught wrong-footed by the increased demand for electricity spurred by the robust economic growth of recent years, saying its instruction to state company Eskom to embark on a massive infrastructure building programme in 2004 “was, in hindsight, late.”Eskom plans to invest R150-billion in its power supply infrastructure over the next five years, mostly on new power stations, including the return to service of three mothballed power stations.In addition, the government made moves towards the end of last year to fast-track electricity projects by independent power producers, as well as electricity co-generation projects involving both Eskom and private industry.“Both of these are now receiving urgent attention, and announcements will be made as we are able to provide certainty,” Erwin said.In the meantime, however, it was crucial to bring South Africa’s electricity supply and distribution system “back into balance”, both to reduce the need for power cuts and to allow for system maintenance to take place without putting the system under even greater stress.Key to this, Erwin said, was reducing demand. As an immediate, “quick hit” measure to achieve this, the government would soon introduce a power-rationing programme, setting quotas for industrial, commercial and residential users and using both incentives and penalties to ensure that these quotas are met.Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, briefing journalists alongside Erwin, said the examples of countries like Cuba and Brazil had shown that an energy crisis “can be turned around to make a country grow even more economically and save substantial amounts of money if a nationwide energy efficiency drive is politically driven.”Erwin said the government viewed the next two years as being critical.“We must stress that the successful implementation of these programmes will give us much more comfort within a two-year period,” Erwin said. “It is also critical to stress that the growth of South Africa’s economy at the current healthy levels can continue if we change our behaviour and become more energy efficient.“This emergency must entrench energy efficiency.”Erwin said that South African consumers, long used to getting their electricity extremely cheaply by international standards, would also have to face up to the reality of “further significant increases in electricity prices.“However, such increases will be implemented so as to significantly lessen their impact on the poor,” Erwin said, adding that despite the increases South Africa would still remain “the most competitive large energy system in the world”.Regarding the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Erwin said the Cabinet was fully briefed on the electricity situation “as it specifically relates to the World Cup and on general progress with the preparations for infrastructure for 2010. There is no threat to the successful holding of the event, as plans to ensure electricity security in that period are well advanced.”Other measures the government aims to implement in order to reduce South Africa’s demand for electricity include:Increasing the use of more efficient lighting, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light fittings.Increasing the use of of solar water heaters.Increasing the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) for domestic cooking.Converting traffic and other public lights to solar power with battery backup.Introducing smart metering to enable Eskom, or municipal power distributors, to remotely manage residential customer load during times of peak demand.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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VWSA’s engine export milestone

first_img24 October 2008Volkswagen South Africa has manufactured its 200 000th five-cylinder TDI engine for export from its plant in Uitenhage outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.Volkswagen SA (VWSA) announced a R12-billion export contract to supply engines to the Volkswagen Group in 2004. The contract, initially set to run until 2010, has been extended through 2013.VWSA communications GM Bill Stephens said the contract’s required volumes had steadily increased, from the first shipment of 27 500 units in 2004 to an anticipated 60 500 units to be shipped in 2008.“The engines were first used in the range of Volkswagen LT vans, a medium commercial vehicle, which has since been replaced by the Volkswagen Crafter model range, and is part of the Volkswagen SA commercial vehicles range,” Stephens said in a statement this week.“The five-cylinder TDI engine has evolved with changes in the model range. The latest engines are manufactured in four derivatives ranging from 65kW to 120kW.”Euro 5 emissions standardsAccording to Stephens, the engines presently comply with Euro 4 emission standards and will be upgraded to comply with Euro 5 standards from 2009.The engines are unique, as the cylinder bores are polished with an extremely high-pressure water jet. According to the auto maker, this is to the advantage of the customer as it leads to lower running costs and extends the lifespan of the engine.Volkswagen SA has invested R240-million in its facilities to successfully manage the contract, which has enabled the automotive manufacturer to secure an additional 250 jobs over the period in its engine manufacturing facility in Uitenhage.Indirectly, an additional 130 jobs have been created at the suppliers involved, which include Halberg Guss South Africa, Halberg Aluminium, LuK Africa, Sentech Industries, First Pro Engineering, Smiths Plastics and Zealous Automotive.“Volkswagen SA is currently developing a new engine export strategy which will result in additional export opportunities to major overseas markets,” Stephens said. “The engine manufacturing plant in Uitenhage is a key factor in the company’s future export strategy.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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DTN 2019 Digital Yield Tour – KS, MO

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Emily UnglesbeeDTN Staff ReporterROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — What’s worse — too much rain or too little? The 2019 season is putting that question to the test in Kansas and Missouri, where rainfall and flooding has challenged corn and soybean yields nearly as much as the drought that spanned both states last year.The DTN/Progressive Farmer 2019 Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro Intelligence, is an in-depth look at how the 2019 corn and soybean crop is progressing using Gro’s real-time yield maps, which are generated with satellite imagery, rainfall data, temperature maps and other public data.On Tuesday, Gro predicts an average corn yield of 138 bushels per acre (bpa) for Missouri, and an average corn yield of 144 bpa for Kansas. Both diverge from USDA’s August crop report, which pegged Missouri’s average corn yield much higher, at 160 bpa, and dropped Kansas’ corn yield down to 135 bpa.For the soybean crop, Gro’s maps suggest Missouri’s average yield is sitting near 39 bpa right now, with Kansas’ average soybean yield near 36 bpa. Both are lower than USDA’s August estimates of 45 bpa for Missouri soybeans and 42 bpa for Kansas soybeans.You can see specific comparisons in these charts — Missouri: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/… and Kansas: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/….Because of their real-time sourcing, the Gro yield estimates update daily, so the numbers at publication time may differ slightly from those found on Gro’s website.In both states, excessive moisture is the biggest factor at play in corn and soybean yields, noted DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson. “Kansas had its wettest spring season on record — 125 years,” he noted. In Missouri, farmers experienced the wettest month of May ever in that state, on top of historic flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, he added.While that left ample soil moisture for crops in the early summer, Gro’s maps suggest that yield potential in both states, but particularly Missouri, has been hampered by late planting dates and poor planting conditions. As a result, the states’ corn and soybean yield potential is sitting near or below yields from the drought-driven season of 2018.MISSOURIGro Intelligence’s yield maps show average corn yields ranging from a low of 65 bpa in Howell County to a high of 191 bpa in New Madrid County. You can see the county-level yield map of Missouri here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/…. The highest yields are concentrated in the southeastern region of the state known as the Bootheel, as well as the crop-heavy region of north-central Missouri, stretching along the I-70 corridor from Kansas City to St. Louis.Despite plentiful moisture, the overall corn yield estimate for the state — 138 bpa — sits just below the state’s average yield of 140 bpa last year, when drought plagued large swaths of the state.For the reason why, look no further than a second set of Gro maps, known as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which use NASA satellite imagery to show how abnormally dry or lush an area is, using the 10-year average “greenness” index. See it here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/….The NDVI map tells a fuller story of the extreme flooding and prevented planting that occurred in the state this year. Deep gashes of brown — indicating far less vegetation than usual — follow the banks of most of the major rivers in the state — the Missouri River, which cuts across the center of the state; the Mississippi, which crawls down the eastern border; and the Grand and Chariton rivers, which feed into the Missouri River in north-central Missouri.“Missouri had a double-dose flood impact this spring,” explained Anderson. “The state had its wettest month of May ever in 125 years of record-keeping, along with the sixth-wettest spring period (March-April-May) on record. Add to that the runoff in the Missouri River and Mississippi River systems, and you have the framework for a new record in flooding — and, indeed, that has occurred. Flood levels rivaled or, in some locations, surpassed, the Great Flood year of 1993.”As Gro’s NDVI map shows, areas along these rivers were left unplanted at historic rates. USDA’s Farm Service Agency estimates that more than 744,000 acres of corn were left unplanted in Missouri, as well as roughly 478,000 acres of soybeans.Those acres that did get planted vary widely in quality and planting date, noted Kyle Samp, who farms with his father in the north-central county of Randolph.“I have three crops — corn that we planted in April, corn that we planted in May and some that we planted in June,” he said.Gro pegs Randolph County’s average yield at 128 bpa this year. Samp believes his crop has the potential to be closer to his farm average of 150 bpa, but he knows many problems lurk deep inside the fields.“We have some stand issues,” he said. “And I noticed a lot of early planted corn is running out of nitrogen. That will show up in test weights.”Likewise, Gro pegs Missouri soybeans at an average of 39 bpa this year, below the 45 bpa average for the state last year. The yield range is small and tight — most of the state’s counties’ yields fall between mid-30s and mid-40s, with the best beans clustered in the Bootheel and central Missouri.Knowing how that yield potential of soybeans will play out is tough, in part because of how late many soybeans were planted, said Samp. He is still hoping his soybeans will outyield the 37-bpa average Gro estimates for Randolph County.“So many beans are still putting on blooms and still growing,” he said. “The month of August will be so important — and so far we’ve been a little more on the dry and cool end.”KANSASGro’s county yield maps for Kansas suggest corn’s yield potential is higher than it was last year, at 144 bpa, up from 129 bpa. See the map here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/…. Yields range from a low of 86 bpa in Lincoln County to 215 bpa in Meade County. The highest yields are clustered in the southwest corner of the state, where moisture has been unusually ample — but not as extreme as central and eastern Kansas, where corn yields lag on the Gro map.“Western Kansas precipitation was above average, but central and eastern Kansas was much above average to record-wettest,” explained Anderson.The state’s NDVI map (see it here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/…), shows some of those distinctions. Lusher-than-usual vegetation is scattered throughout the western third, while streaks of brown (empty fields) highlight flooded areas in the eastern half of the state, particularly along waterways — such as the Big Blue River and Tuttle Creek north of Manhattan and the Smoky River between Salina and Abilene.“In southeastern Kansas, the impact of heavy rain is also showing up with areas of flooded-out ground between Emporia and Coffeyville — the Neosho River Valley southeast of Emporia especially,” Anderson said.As a result, farmers are seeing wildly varying conditions, depending on planting date and rainfall this summer, noted Kyle Krier, who farms in Barton County in central Kansas. There, Gro projects corn yields to average 163 bpa — but the three counties north of it are expected to yield in the 90s, and Rice County to the east only 123 bpa.After the record-setting wet spring, the tap turned off at crucial periods like pollination and grainfill in central Kansas, which particularly hurt late-planted fields, Krier said.“I think a lot of people will be reasonably disappointed in test weight, ear girth and kernel size,” he said. “We’re missing that top end of yields on a lot of corn acres around here. Recent rainfalls have probably helped, but at some point, you can’t make up more kernels on that ear — if they didn’t pollinate, they can’t magically appear after a rainfall.”As for soybeans, Gro pegs the state’s average yield at 36 bpa, well below the 43.5-bpa average last year. With the exception of two pockets of 40- to 60-bpa soybeans in northwest and southwest Kansas, the rest of the state’s forecast yields range between 23 bpa and 45 bpa.Krier points the finger squarely at wet, delayed planting for the state’s lower predicted bean yields.“I think one of biggest reasons is the lack of early planted beans,” he said. “Planting early is when we can achieve those bigger yields. And the majority of everything got put in two to four weeks late, most on the latter side of that. I think our highest top-end yield is not going to be there this year.”On Wednesday, the digital “tour” will turn its focus to Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you’d like your yield observations to be included in future stories, email DTN using the contact information below.ABOUT THE TOURThe DTN/Progressive Farmer 2019 Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro Intelligence, takes place Aug. 13-16 and provides an in-depth look at how the year’s corn and soybean crops are progressing. Each day, we’ll feature crop condition and yield information from various states, which include links to the Gro yield prediction maps for those states. Yield summaries are viewable at the county level.The “tour” starts in the west, with the first day’s articles focusing on Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska and South Dakota. On Aug. 14, the tour will explore yield estimates from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. On Aug. 15, we will move into the Eastern Corn Belt — Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — before publishing a final look at Gro’s overall national yield predictions for the 2019 corn and soybean crops on Aug. 16. Readers should note that the Gro yield visuals are continually updated, while the DTN feature articles are based on the company’s yield estimate at the time the article was written. Numbers quoted in the articles may be different than those on the Gro website depending on when viewed.To see all the tour articles and related DTN stories about the 2019 crop, visit our tour site at: https://spotlights.dtnpf.com/….About Gro Intelligence: The New York-based company is focused on creating data analytics for the agriculture industry. Gro builds proprietary crop models that use satellite imagery, soil conditions, weather and other crop and environmental data to produce crop health and yield prediction numbers and visuals.To learn more about Gro, go here: https://www.gro-intelligence.com/….To read the research white paper on their modeling system, go here and select to “Download the corn yield model paper”: https://gro-intelligence.com/….Emily Unglesbee can be reached at [email protected] her on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee(AG/ES)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Lesson From Burning Man: The Social Network Is All Around You

first_imgEvery year at Burning Man, I have the same argument. Someone plays the role of the starry-eyed futurist, someone else is the grizzly survivalist. The futurist says, “If only we had map and chat apps out here, we could meet everyone and see everything! It would be a utopia!” The survivalist says “Hell no. We come out here to get away from all that.” At Burning Man, as in everyday urban life, the answer lies somewhere in between.I think what scares the grizzly survivalist (which was me this year) is the notion of burners walking around Black Rock City peering down their arms at the glow of a smartphone instead of looking around at the people and the spectacle. It’s already happening to some extent. Now that smartphones are many people’s primary camera, people have them out even without a data connection.That’s bad enough. On Saturday night, when the Man burns, it’s hard to see the real thing through the forest of arms holding up phones and cameras in front of you. I understand why people want a document of this mind-blowing event, but how many (thousand) copies do we need? The grizzly survivalist worries about the spirit of those spectators who watch life through the screens rather than connecting directly through their optic nerves.There are Burning Man-specific apps, like iBurn, but I have never seen the thing in use. Frankly, I hope I never do. Black Rock City is designed to be dead easy to navigate, and Burning Man is the best place in the world to ask for directions. It doesn’t even matter where somebody sends you; you’re going to like it.Meeting People Is EasyThe topic of social networking also comes up inevitably in Burning Man’s annual tech conversation. There are too many cool people there to meet them all, the reasoning goes. Wouldn’t a little app with searchable profile pages, photos, lists of interests, events and messaging help us have the best possible time?If you ask me, the repeated failures in the meeting-people app category in general should be enough of a lesson. People don’t like meeting people this way. It locks you into plans and creates pressure to be in specific places at specific times, all for the uncertain payoff of meeting someone you only know as a performance of social media skills.But that’s hardly the biggest issue. At Burning Man, anything that keeps you from physically approaching a person and saying hello is a problem. The social network is implicit there. Burning Man is a gathering of collaborators. Everyone is a partner working together on building and maintaining a city that’s also an art project. You’ll have something to talk about with them, so just do it.It seems to me that we’d do well to treat every urban encounter this way. Just because Burning Man is explicitly an arts festival doesn’t mean that Manhattan or San Francisco can’t be regarded as collaborative works in progress.Art is a critical part of any shared civic space because it gives people something to talk about. It contributes to a shared identity. Art is a technology for creating networks of people nearby. And the best part is that they share the experience, rather than each having their own glowing, 4-inch window on it.Building A LighthouseAmber Case posed a question that perfectly framed this issue on the urban design website Smart Urban Stage: “How do we make public areas where strangers are encouraged to communicate with each other instead of stare into screens?”She laments the fact that “modern cities are full of ‘non-places’ – locations where people are strangers to one another and have no impetus to interact.” Cell phones provide a “comfortable lighthouse in a sea of uncertain social situations” in our dislocated urban lives.Case asks for a way to reconstruct public spaces that encourages interaction, and Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere gives some great examples. The NYC-based group he founded stages fun “missions” to snap people out of their urban isolation. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#art#Pause#web 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img Certainly, Improv Everywhere is a troupe after a burner’s own heart. In fact, if you drop the capital letters, “improv everywhere” is a pretty apt description of Burning Man itself. But human hacks of dreary city spaces can’t finish the job. Burning Man artist-architects build physical spaces intentionally to contain and stimulate fully human encounters, and I think our cities need those as well.Keeping A PortalJust about any structure at Burning Man can serve as an example, but one artist’s work consistently means the most to me. Harlan Emil Gruber’s portals are “evolutionary technology” designed to power up the people inside and bring them together. You spot them out on the playa as brightly colored, intriguingly shaped shelters. You climb up into a space big enough to hold 10 or 12 people, and you instantly relax. The whole structure purrs with the sound of the Quasar Wave Transducer, a musical device of Gruber’s own design. That tone serves as a baseline. It grounds everyone inside to the same frequency. It brings us in tune with one another.I’ve had countless life-changing encounters in these portals over the five years I’ve been going to Burning Man. This year, I stayed in the 12:21 Turquoise Portal overnight twice, and you can read about those weird trips over on the official Burning Blog. I’m pretty heavily steeped in technology, and nothing I’ve seen, hardware or software, has affected me as profoundly.My friend Randall, with whom I hung out in last year’s 2:22 Amethyst Portal, wants Quasar Wave Transducers installed in bus hutches and subway stations. Artist Christopher Janney has a head start; he installed an “urban musical instrument” called Reach New York in an NYC subway station in 1996. If you’re a technologist looking for a way to bring people together, consider expanding your view. We don’t just need more apps. We need interactive public spaces. That’s how you network with the people around you.Jon also writes for the official Burning Man blog. Check out his entries here. Related Posts jon mitchelllast_img read more

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Indian Test team for England tour to be picked on Saturday

first_imgThe Indian cricket team for the upcoming Test series against England will be selected on Saturday in Chennai, the Indian Cricket Board stated in a media release. Under Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s chairmanship, the All-India Senior Selection Committee will meet at the Park Sheraton in Chennai on Saturday evening to pick the touring squad for the five-day matches, the BCCI said in a statement. India will play four Test matches against England with the first match scheduled to be held at the historic Lord’s from July 21–25. That will incidentally be the 2000th Test in the history of the game. Before the first Test, India will play a three-day warm-up game against county side Somerset from July 15 at Taunton. Indian will also play a two-day practice game against Northamptonshire (August 5-6) just after the conclusion of the second Test scheduled to be held in Trentbridge, Nottingham from July 29 to August 3. The third Test between the two sides will be held in Edgbaston, Birmingham from August 10-14 followed by the fourth and the final match of the series at the Oval from August 18-22. India will also play a five-match ODI series and one-off Twenty20 match against England during the tour. The squad for that series will be announced later.  – With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

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