Giants offer fans a lift in the form of ‘free’ flight, much needed change of scenery

first_imgWanna get away?You might if you’re a San Francisco Giants fan.The Giants entered the 2019 season with tempered hopes and played down to expectations through the first three months of the season. Then came a rip-roaring start to July that catapulted the team into the postseason picture and might even have forestalled a midseason house-cleaning.July was a long time ago. Now the Giants are staggering to the finish line, playing to some of the smallest home crowds since before their World …last_img read more

SABC launches 24-hour news channel

first_img2 August 2013 The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) launched its 24-hour news channel on Thursday, kicking off its first broadcast on DStv’s channel 404 at 6pm. DStv, Multichoice’s multi-channel African digital satellite service, was launched in 1995. Speaking at the launch at the SABC’s studios in Johannesburg, President Jacob Zuma said the new channel would advance the constitutional right of South Africans to have diversified news. The new channel came at the right time as the country prepared to celebrate 20 years of democracy, Zuma said, adding that he hoped it would cover more than just crime stories, and showcase what “this beautiful country has achieved in recent years”. Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said the new channel would help to close the “information divide” in the country, while winning back viewers for the broadcaster. While there were those who had reservations about the channel’s financial sustainability, he said that “such channels are a risk all over the world”. He added that the broadcaster would remain independent even though it the new channel was broadcasting on pay-television. It is envisaged that the channel will reach roughly 20-million viewers. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Trade Contractor Management — Part 5

first_imgThe most time-intensive part of creating a trade contractor management program is creating your company’s specifications for each trade which, in turn, provide you with the information to include in your checklists. To get started, assemble any and all material you have that includes standard specifications. Plans and spec books from previous jobs, your own subcontracts, trade contractor management books and programs, and your own experience are good places to start.Most architectural specifications are created more for legal than performance reasons, and, like most legal documents, are not particularly concise or easy to read. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t find some useful information in them. Review previous contracts with trade contractors, pulling out any good points. Finally, there are several books on the subject that can help get you started.Regardless of what you can find, you will likely need to spend some serious time customizing your own lists to work effectively in your business. RELATED ARTICLESTrade Contractor Management (1)Trade Contractor Management (2)Trade Contractor Management (3)Trade Contractor Management (4) List of listsThe first step is to figure out how many distinct trade contractor categories you have. In some cases you may have a single company working on multiple trades, but that may not always be the case, so you should identify categories of work by their construction sequence and create separate specifications for each.As an example, you may often use the same subcontractor for framing, windows, siding, and exterior trim, and decks. Some projects may only include one or two of these categories, or you may sometimes use different contractors for them on a single job. If you combined all the specifications for these trades on a single checklist, then it would be difficult to separate out responsibility when multiple trades are on a project.We ended up with a list of twenty-four individual checklists. It’s not likely that many companies will need the exact same set of lists, but here is ours, in alphabetical order:• Bath Accessories• Building Envelope• Cabinet Installation• Concrete Flat Work• Countertops• Decks• Demolition• Drywall• Electrical• Foundation• Framing• Garage Doors• HVAC• Insulation• Interior Trim• Masonry and Stucco• Paint• Plumbing• Resilient Flooring• Roofing• Siding and Exterior Trim• Site Work• Shop Built Staircases• Wood FlooringThese categories align closely with our estimating and budget categories. Project managers were provided with subcontract budgets for each category, simplifying the process for negotiating the work with each trade.BrainstormingOnce you have defined your trade categories, the real work starts. We scheduled meetings with all our field staff as well as some key trade contractors to create our specifications. We use a common corporate technique known as brainstorming. Everyone gets in the same room for a set period of time, say an hour or two, cell phones off, and a facilitator works a flip chart with a marker.The key to brainstorming is that no ideas are censored. Everything is on the table at the beginning, and no one is allowed to criticize a suggestion. Some of the best ideas may sound foolish initially, and you don’t want to stifle any creative thinking.Everyone has to contribute. One of the best ways to do this is go around the room and have each person give one idea, all of which are written on the flip chart. After a few rounds, then you open it up to everyone.We came up with things such as how far out of level a run of cabinets is allowed to be (3/16” in 10’), how much lippage was allowed on ceramic tile floors (1/16” maximum), and clearance between siding and roof (1” or manufacturer’s recommended distance). I’m sure we left some things out, but we got in most of what we needed.Invite your trade contractors to helpProbably the best thing we did was bring in trade contractors that did our best work to help us establish our specifications. We figured that if we liked a particular company’s work, then they could work with us to set goals that we liked and they could meet. We worked with framers, trim carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others in a series of meetings to create our specs.Once you have a big, long list of suggested specifications, you then need to narrow them down to a manageable list. In looking over your list, you’ll find that there are probably duplicates and some that are so similar they can be combined. Some will end up on the cutting room floor because they are wrong, inappropriate, or sometimes just silly.Following the brainstorming meeting, one person, or a small group, need to take responsibility to edit the list and prepare a set of specs for the whole group to review. Sending out these lists, making sure everyone reviews and comments on them, and assembling the comments and suggestions into a final list of specs is a big job, one that can easily fall through the cracks if you don’t dedicate the time to work on it.Time well spentAs I mentioned in the first post on this subject, it takes time and effort to create programs and specifications, but once you do it, they are the gift that keeps on giving, saving you time and energy forever.I know that everyone is working hard just to keep up with their day-to-day work, but you should trust me on this. If when you take the time to put together effective systems in your business, it will, in the long run, save you time and money. It is always worth the effort to take some time to work on, instead of in, your business.If you just can’t wait to get started on your own trade contractor management program, use this link to download the full set of checklists. The set includes 24 individual checklists for most standard residential construction trades in Excel format along with a suggested procedure. You can personalize and edit each page as you see fit.last_img read more

Jose Mourinho blames players, referee for Manchester United’s derby loss

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The fall and winter of 20172018 in Fort St John had the

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It may not come as a surprise some that live in the Energetic City, but the last seven months saw the most amount of precipitation that has ever recorded in Fort St. John during that timeframe.According to Environment Canada meteorologist Cindy Yu, the North Peace Airport weather station recorded a total of 403.8 millimetres of equivalent precipitation, making it the wettest fall/winter on record. The next-wettest September – March period in Fort St. John occurred 60 years ago. From September 1957 to March 1958, the airport weather station recorded 382.6 millimetres of precipitation. The fall and winter of 2014/15 ranks 6th in overall precipitation with 309 mm.Yu said that while the past seven months did see a record amount of precipitation, temperatures were fairly close to average, with several alternating stretches of warm and cold snaps. She explained that the higher than average number of snowy and rainy days means that the increased cloud cover reduces the potential for wild temperature swings. Fort St. John experienced its wettest and second-snowiest fall in 2017, though precipitation amounts during the three months of winter were close to normal. Environment Canada considers ‘fall’ as the entire months of September – November inclusive, with ‘winter’ comprising the months of December – February. March 2018 was also the wettest on record, with the North Peace Airport seeing nearly four times the average amount of precipitation.When it comes to the rest of the spring months, Yu said that the arctic airmass currently over the Peace Region is forecast to linger for the rest of this week before the airmass starts to move further east. She added that once that occurs, temperatures should return to near-seasonal with daytime highs back above the freezing mark.last_img read more

2 Russian spies sentenced in Montenegro in Coup attempt

first_imgPodgorica (Montenegro): A Montenegro court on Thursday sentenced 13 people, including two Russian secret service operatives, to up to 15 years in prison after they were convicted of plotting to overthrow the Balkan country’s government and prevent it from joining NATO. Chief judge Suzana Mugosa said the two Russians, identified as Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov, were convicted of “attempted terrorism” and “creating a criminal organisation.” The two were tried in absentia. Shishmakov received a 15-year prison term while Popov got 12 years. Two leading ethnic Serb opposition politicians, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, were sentenced to five years each. The verdict said the group planned to take over parliament on election day on October 16, 2016, assassinate then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and install a pro-Russia, anti-NATO leadership. Montenegro joined NATO in June 2017 as the Western military alliance’s 29th member despite strong opposition from Moscow, which considers the small Adriatic country a historic Slavic ally and is opposed to NATO’s enlargement. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied involvement in the coup attempt. Montenegro’s police thwarted the action after receiving tips from Western spy organizations, authorities said. The Russian pair, said to be members of the Russian military secret service agency GRU, coordinated the attempted coup from neighbouring Serbia, the verdict said. They were allowed by Serbia’s pro-Russia authorities to leave for Moscow despite reports that they operated with sophisticated spy equipment. The judge said that the Russians provided at least 200,000 euros for the purchase of rifles and guns. She said two tried to recruit “as many people as possible to come to the protest” and try to “change the electoral will” and “prevent Montenegro from joining NATO.”last_img read more

Myanmar plane in emergency touchdown as landing gear fails

first_imgYangon: A Myanmar pilot saved the day after his aircraft’s landing gear failed, forcing the jet into an emergency landing with no front wheels on Sunday morning, an official said. The nailbiting touchdown — in which nobody was injured — was the second instance of a malfunctioning flight in less than a week within the country. The Myanmar Airlines flight UB-103 — an Embraer-190 model — was grounded at around 9 am in Mandalay (0230 GMT), a city popular among foreign tourists, with all 89 people on board including seven crew members, safe. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportAn unverified video circulated on social media showing a graceful landing before the nose of the jet tipped over and ground to a halt. Ye Htut Aung, deputy director general of Myanmar’s Civil Aviation Department, told AFP the pilot tried repeatedly to drop the landing gear at the front of the plane — first through its computer system, then manually. “They tried hard twice by flying around twice and asked to check whether the nose wheel dropped or not,” Ye Htut Aung said, calling it a “technical fault”. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests”So they had to land with the back wheels… The pilot could land it skillfully,” he said. “There were no casualties.” Myanmar National Airlines are now sending engineers to Mandalay to check on the aircraft, Ye Htut Aung said, adding that all jets get a daily flight check. Passenger Soe Moe told AFP: “Smoke came out a little when we landed… All passengers are okay.” Sunday’s incident comes just days after a Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane crash-landed and slid off a runway while landing in Yangon airport during a storm on Wednesday, leaving 11 passengers injured. Myanmar’s monsoon season has caused problems for commercial and military flights in the past. A military plane crashed into the Andaman sea in 2017 with 122 people on board — one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the country’s history — which authorities attributed to bad weather. And in 2015, a passenger plane by Air Bagan veered off the runway due to bad weather and heavy rain.last_img read more

Fez Court acquits a Moroccan who converted to Christianity

first_imgTaroudant, Morocco- On Thursday the Court of Appeals in Fez acquitted Mohamed El Baladi, 31, who was sentenced on September 3rd by the Trial Court in Taounate to thirty months in prison for converting to Christianity and inducing young Muslims to convert.“The judge has just acquitted this Moroccan who converted to Christianity,” said Mohamed Oulad Ayad, president of the regional branch of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) in Fez.On August 27th, the police of Aïn Aicha, a rural town in the Taounate province, arrested Mohamed El Baladi on charges of converting to Christianity and attempting to spread the Christian faith among young people in his village of Aïn Aicha. Since the beginning of the trial, El Baladi had always defended his right to embrace the Christian faith.The Moroccan constitution guarantees religious freedom, but any attempt to shake the faith of Muslims is punished according to the Moroccan Penal Code.In accordance with Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code, a proselytizer may face “six months to three years prison and a fine of 100 to 500 Dirhams” for using the “means of seduction in order to convert” a Muslim “to another religion, either by exploiting his/her weakness or his/her needs, or using for these purposes education, health, asylums and orphanage institutions.”According to AFP, Morocco’s higher council of religious scholars (CSO), the only institution entitled to issue fatwas in the kingdom, “called for the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith.”After admitting their failure to spread what they call “the message of Christ” in the Kingdom, Christian missionaries have used Facebook to distribute more than 30,000 Bibles translated into “Darija,” Moroccan Arabic, in an attempt to entice Moroccans to convert to Christianity.According to the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. Department of State, the predominantly Roman Catholic and Protestant  Christian expat community in Morocco “consists of approximately 5,000 practicing members, although some Protestant and Catholic clergy estimate the number to be as high as 25,000”.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

The Thunder Are Falling Apart Without Andre Roberson

In a typical year, the NBA’s All-Star break offers the league’s most dysfunctional contenders a chance to reset, take inventory and right what ails them heading into the final stretch before the playoffs. This season, thanks to Cleveland’s moves at the trade deadline, the post-All-Star watch likely will fall to the Oklahoma City Thunder and how it weathers the loss of Andre Roberson, the beating heart of its defense.After an offseason that included acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to combine with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder expected to compete at the highest levels. It hasn’t worked out that way. The team is 33-26 at the break and has lost six of its last nine games. There are all manner of reasons for this, from the obvious difficulties of integrating three high-usage stars to the decline of key players on an already-thin squad. (Offseason acquisition Patrick Patterson, who was a reliable stretch 4 for years in Toronto, has disappointed and tanked the offense while he’s been on the court.) Despite all that, the team seemed to have figured something out by January, when it ran off eight straight wins on the strength of its defense and a newly thriving offense. But late in that stretch, Roberson went down with a ruptured patellar tendon. He was lost for the season, and the Thunder had a whole new sort of crisis.Roberson is a singular player in the NBA. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and at 6-foot-7, he has the size and quickness to guard four positions. Roberson’s effect on the Thunder defense is tremendous. He can switch practically any matchup, cover opposing stars and not only challenge their shots but also dissuade them from even attempting them. His defensive Real Plus-Minus — a stat that heavily favors big men — ranks fourth in the league. Overall, the defense was 12.5 points worse per 100 possessions when he left the floor. His effect doesn’t grade out at quite the same level of Golden State’s Draymond Green or Utah’s Rudy Gobert, but he just about maximizes the impact a perimeter defender can have on a game.Or as Westbrook put it: “I think people outside our building, people across the world always complained about different things Andre didn’t do instead of embracing all the great things he did do. I’ve always embraced Andre and I was always very, very happy he was on my team because of things he did on both sides of the ball. Setting screens, cutting, running the floor. A lot of things that you can’t teach.”Those “things Andre didn’t do,” of course, refer to Roberson being one of the worst regular offensive players in the league. Roberson is a notoriously inept and unwilling shooter. He is shooting 22 percent from the 3-point line this season on a diet of wide-open shots the opposing defense is thrilled to see him take. And yet, his overall effect on the offense doesn’t seem to have been as dire as advertised.Since Roberson went out, Oklahoma City’s defensive rating has been 112.3, which would rank 27th in the league, ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. That’s extreme though not unexpected with Roberson no longer there to cover for weaker defenders like Westbrook or Anthony. But here’s the kick in the head: The team’s offensive ratings has barely budged despite losing one of the worst offensive players in the league, going from 110.9 before Roberson’s injury to 111.8 after it. This is much harder to explain.Roberson didn’t simply deprive his offense of a player who could do a better job of shooting, passing or dribbling. He shrank the court, allowing defenders to roam guilt-free, to harass ballhandlers and make life difficult for anyone establishing post position or running around off-ball screens.So clearly the team would be expected to show more improvement than it has in his absence. But while the overall offense has been flat, the individual stars have thrived with Roberson out. With Roberson on the floor, the Thunder pick and roll barely worked at all, producing just 87 points per 100 chances, according to data from Second Spectrum. It didn’t much matter if it was Westbrook handling the ball (90 points per 100 chances), George (73), Raymond Felton (91) or Carmelo Anthony (94). Without Roberson there, the team’s pick-and-roll points jump to 95. Westbrook and George see especially large jumps without Roberson, landing at 100 and 91 points per 100 chances created on the pick and roll, respectively.It gets stranger: George produced only 77 points per 100 chances on drives with Roberson on the floor; without him, that shot up to 96 — on a significant number of shots. Westbrook, too, goes from 98 points per 100 chances to 105, or the difference between Ish Smith and Victor Oladipo this season. And while Roberson didn’t actually affect the team’s effective field goal percentage overall, both Westbrook and George suffered large drop-offs in their shooting numbers when they shared the court with him.But the Thunder have yet to capitalize on the additional space available with Roberson out. Westbrook has played well in some ways, creating at James Harden/Chris Paul levels on the pick and roll, and poorly in others, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three in the games since Roberson’s injury. George has been hot from the three — he’s hit at least five 3-pointers in four consecutive games — and has averaged 29.6 points on a 62 effective field goal percentage through those 10 games. But Anthony has gone absolutely dormant, and both he and Westbrook missed two games to injury.There’s plenty to be encouraged by over these past few games. George looks like a different player without Roberson, and all may be right if he and Westbrook are both firing at close to optimal levels by the playoffs. Further, second-year shooter Alex Abrines, seeing increased minutes with Roberson out, has run hot and cold, shooting 35 percent on threes overall since the injury. That should improve over time.But even so, the offense taking a dip despite subtracting a guy who may be the single worst offensive player who’s actually allowed to play s troubling, and Oklahoma City doesn’t have an obvious source of those unteachable qualities Westbrook mentioned — the cutting, the running, the screens. The Thunder’s stars may finally have the room to operate as stars, but its problems are now ones not solved easily by star power.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more