Mia Farrow, renowned actress, activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, has just completed her fourth visit to the Central African Republic where she saw the impact of extreme violence and met people with stories of inspiring courage.Video: In the Central African Republic with Mia Farrow“In 2007, I made the first of what would now be four visits to the Central African Republic. I must have left a part of my heart here,” Farrow said, speaking from Bangui. “The courage and resilience of defenceless people facing shocking and unacceptable levels of violence is unforgettable and profoundly inspiring.”In the town of Boda, more than four hours’ drive from the capital, Farrow met with internally displaced Muslim families trapped in an enclave surrounded by armed groups hostile to them, who spoke of living in constant fear of attacks. At the only school still functioning in town, some 400 children were crammed into three classrooms. Parents were volunteering to teach after most of the school’s teachers fled for their lives.In Bangui, Farrow spoke to a health worker who, for security reasons, was no longer able to get to her job at the main hospital and was instead volunteering to treat women and children in a health centre in her community.More than 2.3 million children are suffering the consequences of the crisis rocking the country. Children have been directly targeted. On average, at least one child has been maimed or killed in clashes every day in the past six months. Malnutrition rates are high and the number of children associated with armed groups could be as high as 10,000, according to the Ministry of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. One in three children who were enrolled in the last school year did not go back to school this year.“We need the support of the international community to help provide security so that schools can be rebuilt and children can safely return to them,” Farrow said.During a meeting with Central African Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, Farrow stressed the importance of security, education and the urgent need for access to basic services so that families can rebuild their lives and children can hope for a brighter future.Across the country, UNICEF has provided over 43,000 students with school supplies and set up temporary learning spaces for 24,000 children since the beginning of the year. UNICEF is also improving health services, including by distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets, providing safe drinking water, offering HIV counselling to pregnant women and vaccinating children against polio and measles. Since January, more than 10,000 children under the age of five received treatment for severe malnutrition.After over two years of violence, growing needs and limited funding, more support is urgently needed to save children’s lives.
It wasn’t long ago that a career .265-ish hitter with some pop and a versatile glove was destined for cult status. (Think Ty Wigginton or Fernando Tatis.) And in a way, I suppose Ben Zobrist, whom the Kansas City Royals acquired Tuesday from the Oakland Athletics with an eye on Friday’s trade deadline, has achieved just that. But here’s the twist: The denomination that worships Zobrist most is the Church of Sabermetrics — coincidentally, a movement that has essentially taken over baseball in the past decade-plus. And that makes Zobrist a fascinating case study in how the right player with the right metrics at the right time can be elevated to stardom.There was little about Zobrist’s early career that suggested breakout potential. He didn’t make his major league debut until he was 25 years old, a good six years later than the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the world. Drafted out of college with the 184th overall pick in 2004, Zobrist hit well in the minors1His career minor-league OPS (on-base plus slugging) was .885. but was older than his peers at almost every stop along the way. He certainly never made any top prospect lists and did little to impress in his first two MLB seasons. And although he flashed signs of potential — an .844 OPS (on-base plus slugging) with good power — as a part-time player during the Tampa Bay Rays’ magical 2008 World Series run, Zobrist wasn’t a major league regular until the following season, at age 28.All he did that season was lead the American League in wins above replacement (WAR).2Among position players. Then, two years later, he did himself one better, leading the entire majors. Over the 2009-12 period, he topped all major league position-players in WAR. Before the 2013 season, you could have made a case — on the basis of sabermetric statistics, at least — that Zobrist’s name belonged on the list of candidates for Best Player In Baseball, perhaps even at the top.WAR is Zobrist’s best friend, its modular nature being well-suited to detecting the strengths of Zobrist’s well-rounded game. Given Zobrist’s versatility, it’s no surprise that he fares best in a holistic metric whose components range from batting3Which uses Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), that most advanced creature in the evolution of hitting metrics, as its basis. to baserunning, double-play avoidance, fielding quality by position and — perhaps most importantly — positional scarcity.Zobrist played eight different positions — everything but pitcher and catcher — for the Rays in 2009 and was better than average at darn near all of them. His defense alone added something like 2 to 2½ wins above average to Tampa Bay’s ledger during his best years there. (Amazingly, there’s even an argument to be made that WAR underrated Zobrist, because his position-switching theoretically freed up extra roster spots for his team.)Baseball scouts traditionally quantify a player’s worth by grading his “tools” in five categories: hitting ability, power, running speed, fielding and arm strength. But we can give that toolbox a bit of a modern makeover, evaluating a player’s core skills (contact- and power-hitting, plate patience, speed and defense4Measured, respectively, by strikeout rate, isolated power, walk rate, speed score and defensive WAR.) by setting his rate statistics relative to the league on a scale where 100 is average and 15 points represents one standard deviation of performance. After we do that, Zobrist shows up as one of the only “five-tool” players in MLB’s post-World War II era:Traditional forms of evaluation don’t properly appreciate a player like Zobrist. Even in his most valuable years, he hit just .268 with about 20 home runs and 85 RBIs per season. But with the growth and mainstream acceptance of sabermetrics, Zobrist came along at the right time for his particular mix of skills to be both comprehended and acknowledged.
The Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams are a fascinating exercise in modern NFL team-building. While their opponents in Atlanta, the dynastic New England Patriots, seldom break the bank for anybody other than quarterback Tom Brady — who has been under center for a record nine Super Bowls with the Pats — the Rams spent aggressively after the end of last season. They opened the pocketbook for homegrown stars such as Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley, who each signed massive extensions, and also made a handful of outside pickups, including Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Dante Fowler Jr.All told, the spree left L.A. with 34 percent of its 2018 salary-cap dollars committed to returning veteran players on fresh extensions (tops among playoff teams) and an additional 22 percent of the cap spent on incoming veterans (third only to the Bears and Texans among playoff teams), according to data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. The result was a star-studded roster that many called the dreaded D-word — “dream team” — a label that has come to symbolize a roster concept that doesn’t always work in the NFL. But unlike previous dream-team iterations, the Rams have made it work, primarily by relying less on the newcomers and more on the talent they’ve developed. And that might provide a blueprint for future champions, if not exactly future dynasties. The dream-team paradigm has gone through several permutations over the years. In the era before the salary cap, star-powered rosters could stay together for many consecutive seasons, resulting in monstrous talent collections such as the Steel Curtain-era Pittsburgh Steelers (who had an absurd nine Hall of Famers on their roster in 1978) and even more recent teams such as Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys. But the advent of free agency in 1993 — and the subsequent addition of the salary cap — made such dream teams more difficult to keep together, whether by pre-emptively forcing teams to let useful players go or penalizing for years teams that tried to skirt the cap by pushing player paydays into the future.More recent dream team attempts have been the subject of ridicule, such as when the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles signed a group of veteran free agents that included Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and — of course — Vince Young. When Young was asked to describe Philly’s new squad, he infamously responded with a smile and two words: “dream team.” In the end, the Eagles went a disappointing 8-8, writing a cautionary tale for future free-agent spending sprees.But around the same time, the NFL’s current preferred team-building strategy began to come into focus as young, cheap (at the time) quarterbacks such as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Seattle’s Russell Wilson won Super Bowls. With a change to the league’s collective bargaining agreement significantly lowering the price tags on incoming rookie QBs, teams realized that they could use the draft to acquire the most important asset in football — a star quarterback — for a relatively low price and then trick out the rest of their roster with the savings. The dream team concept was reborn.Take the 2017 champion Eagles, who spent a combined 4.5 percent of the cap on signal-callers Carson Wentz and Nick Foles — the former of whom vied for league MVP honors before a knee injury ended his season and the latter of whom was the Super Bowl MVP. That Philly team was laden with non-QB talent, and many of its members were productive veterans (Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, etc.) who had been plucked from other teams.This season’s Rams have taken a version of that same formula and run with it even further. They got 40 total points of Approximate Value1Pro-Football-Reference.com’s single-number measure of player value. out of veteran newcomers, which would rank 10th among Super Bowl winners, and that was with Talib, Peters, Suh and Fowler all having relative down seasons.That last part makes the Rams a bit different from other successful dream teams of the past. The 1994 49ers, for instance, were jam-packed with talented veteran newcomers — including Rickey Jackson, Ken Norton Jr. and Bart Oates, each of whom posted double-digit AV the previous season. The crown jewel, of course, was Deion Sanders, who arrived from Atlanta in free agency. They were all meaningful contributors to the Niners’ Super Bowl win that season, most notably Sanders, who won defensive player of the year honors. Similarly, the 1999 St. Louis Rams picked up Marshall Faulk from the Indianapolis Colts, along with many other newcomers, and went on to win the Super Bowl thanks to Faulk’s NFL offensive player of the year season.2An MVP turn from QB Kurt Warner didn’t hurt, either.The 2018 Rams don’t have anyone with the instant impact of a Sanders or Faulk. But one thing that makes them intriguing is how they’ve supplemented the dream-teamers they do have with younger, cheaper talent. The average age (weighted by AV) for the 10 Super Bowl champs most laden with new veteran talent3Ages are as of Dec. 31 for each season. I used a quick-and-dirty calculation that multiplies together AV from the current and previous seasons for incoming veteran players, to capture both established production and current-season value. was 27.6 years old; for L.A. this season, that number is 26.8. The Rams’ four best players by AV — Gurley, Donald, Jared Goff and Robert Woods — are all 27 or younger, and none of them were among the newcomers L.A. brought in this season. (And only Donald and Gurley were playing on contracts guaranteeing more than $30 million.) Whereas yesterday’s dream teams rose or fell more on the performances of their incoming stars, the new formula for general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay has been to use them as supplemental pieces to help support a young core.Not that the current Rams have nothing in common with their dream-team precursors, mind you. Even though teams have gotten much savvier about using contractual tricks to free up cap space and avoid the kind of “salary-cap hell” that, say, the 49ers found themselves in during the late 1990s, the Rams’ aggressive roster moves have still ratcheted up the pressure to win in a relatively short window of time. While most of the Rams’ key starters are still locked up in 2019 as well (with the exceptions of Suh, Cory Littleton and Rodger Saffold), they will begin facing tough salary constraints in the offseason before 2020 — when most of the current secondary and offensive line hits free agency — and particularly before 2021, when Goff will need to sign an extension. Compounding things, L.A. also traded away its second- and third-round draft picks this spring to snag Peters and Fowler.4On top of downgrading from the fourth round to the sixth in 2018 and losing a 2020 fifth-rounder. Even a smartly managed win-now strategy has an expiration date.But then again, so does every team-building tactic in the NFL — unless we’re talking about the Patriots. The Rams are exactly where they knew they’d need to be to justify their all-in roster strategy. They have the young stars and the veteran talent, plus the right coach to steer things in McVay. All that’s left is one more win to prove that dream teams are a viable way to build an NFL champion after all.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2017 – Providenciales -FortisTCI (the Company) announced today that there are no additional major damages to the electricity infrastructure across the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as a result of Hurricane Maria. Additionally, only minor outages occurred during the passing of the storm, impacting very few of the nearly 4,000 customers whose electricity was restored following Hurricane Irma.On Saturday, September 23, after the ‘all clear’ was issued by the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME), FortisTCI local crews resumed restoration of services, which had been temporarily suspended to prepare for Hurricane Maria. On the same day, 60 members of the Fortis team visiting from Canada and Grand Cayman returned to Providenciales and joined the local crews across the islands on Sunday, September 24.FortisTCI, supported by its parent Company Fortis Inc., is keen on restoring electricity to the TCI as quickly as possible and has recently signed an agreement to deploy an additional 60 utility workers across the TCI. These additional crews will assist with repairing and rebuilding the transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in areas severely damaged or destroyed.President and CEO Eddinton Powell said, “Our T&D systems across the islands suffered considerable damage as a result of Hurricane Irma, and unlike some of our Caribbean neighbors, the TCI was fortunate to have experienced minimal impact from Hurricane Maria, which has allowed the Company to resume restoration very quickly. While full recovery will take some time due to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the additional utility workers expected to arrive this week will provide significant added resources. It is important that we build and repair the system fast, and it is equally important that we build and repair the system to be strong and resilient.Press Release: FortisTCI Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
For the Manchester City Ukrainian youngster, his teammate is the best young player in European football right nowManchester City Ukrainian footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko is happy to be sharing time with Phil Foden.And according to the Citizens player, Foden is the best young player in European football right now.“I think he is the most talented young player in Europe right now,” Zinchenko told Manchester City’s official website.“For him, it is so important to stay humble, work hard every day. He’s growing up.”Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“Of course, we have a lot of players who didn’t play the last few weeks, and everyone wants to get the chance to show yourself, to show your maximum,” he added.“We are Man City, that’s why for us every competition is so important.”“Of course, it’s going to be a tough game because Fulham plays well,” he commented.“They are defensively organized very well, and always against them, it is not so easy.”
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle CRISPR/Cas9 has been in the news a lot of late, as it has been used to edit genes in ways that were never possible before, allowing for a whole host of new research opportunities. The development of the technique has taken a long and winding road as is the case with most modern inventions, with many people from around the world making small contributions to the science of gene editing which eventually led to some researchers having what was needed to develop the new technique. At least two teams of them filed for a patent on the product in the U.S. The first was a team with the University of California, led by Jennifer Doudna, they filed for a patent in late 2013. The second was a team affiliated with MIT and the Broad Institute, headed by Feng Zhang—they filed in early 2014, but, realizing they had something pretty special, they asked for and were granted an expedited process which meant that their patent was granted before the one submitted by the UofC team was completed, leaving the UoC team out in the cold.This past April, attorneys for UoC requested an interference on the case, claiming they should have been granted the patent because they filed first—the request by the MIT team should have been recognized as an interfering party, they claim, because their application interfered with the original.The judge on the case, Deborah Katz, designated the UoC team as the “senior party” which essentially means that the USPTO is starting the hearings with the assumption that the UoC team should hold the patent, leaving the MIT team to prove that it invented the procedure first, regardless of who filed first.There is one minor detail in the case that could turn things in MIT’s favor—when filing for the patent, the UoC team did not include words describing the technique as something to be used on mammalian cells—including humans. They were more general, whereas the MIT team was much more specific regarding how the technique could be used.It is not likely there will be quick resolution to the dispute, both sides will likely be given time to find and compile pertinent evidence and then to present it, and others might be allowed to chime in as well. All in all it could take months, but the effort should be more than worth it as there are millions to be made in licensing fees. Crystal structure of S pyogenes Cas9 in complex with sgRNA and its target DNA at 2.5 A ˚ resolution. Credit: Nishimasu, et al. 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.001 Genome Editing with CRISPR-Cas9 (Phys.org)—The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officially agreed this past Monday to move forward with interference hearings regarding the case of the true inventor of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique. This sets the stage for a major battle between two groups of scientists, their affiliated institutions and supporters backing one or the other who hope to reap large financial rewards from its use. © 2016 Phys.org Citation: Patent office agrees to move forward with interference hearings on CRISPR/Cas9 inventor case (2016, January 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-01-patent-office-crisprcas9-inventor-case.html Explore further