CONCACAF to overhaul ‘archaic’ World Cup qualifying format

first_imgLONDON (AP):World Cup qualifying in North America is set to be overhauled to avoid shutting out the majority of countries in the CONCACAF region so early.CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani has instigated a review of an “archaic” format that leaves only six out of the region’s 35 teams still in with a shot at qualifying for Russia in 2018.Alongside a potential new name to replace the corruption-tainted CONCACAF brand, revamping the qualifying format to be more inclusive has emerged as a key objective for Montagliani after five months in charge of the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.”Something needs to change because you can’t have 85 percent of your members who are on the outside looking in two years before the World Cup,” Montagliani told The Associated Press. “It doesn’t make sense.”Since qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, CONCACAF has used a system where teams play home and away in early rounds. Once 12 nations are remaining, there are three groups of four, which produces six teams for a final round.The United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago are the last teams standing, chasing three of CONCACAF’s automatic qualification places. Starting next month, they play each other twice in a league.”It’s great for those six teams over the next year and a bit, but how about the other ones?” Montagliani said. “It’s hard.”Hard for players to raise their standard and hard for teams to generate revenue to fund soccer development.CLIMBING THE RANKINGS”Caribbean countries have problems climbing the FIFA rankings, just because we are not able to play as many international games as you want to,” John Krishnadath, president of the Suriname soccer federation, told the AP earlier this year, while also highlighting the high cost of travelling to matches.Suriname’s World Cup journey ended in June 2015 immediately after entering in the second round of CONCACAF qualifying. The first seven CONCACAF teams were eliminated back in March 2015. It’s so long ago that Montagliani is the third president CONCACAF has had during qualifying for the 2018 tournament.Former CONCACAF head Jeffrey Webb was first arrested as part of the sprawling American investigation into corruption in May 2015 and his temporary replacement, Alfredo Hawit, was indicted seven months later. Montagliani said CONCACAF competitions and the interests of teams were neglected in an era when the leadership was motivated by corruptly extorting money from the confederation and its commercial backers.Discussing a new configuration, Montagliani said: “Maybe it’s like the Europeans or maybe it’s like the South Americans with a league – or it’s a hybrid of the two.”In Europe, countries are split into nine groups, balanced according to their rankings, and play games from September 2016 to October 2017. The group winners qualify automatically and the eight best runners-up will contest play-offs for the remaining four UEFA spots in Russia.In South America, the 10 CONMEBOL members are in a two-year league that started in October 2015. The top four have guaranteed World Cup places and the fifth-place team has to go through a play-off against a country from Oceania.last_img read more

Driver fined for swerving into President’s path

first_imgWhen brought before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on Friday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, 47-year-old Ewart Darlington readily admitted to droving motor lorry, GWW 806 in a manner dangerous to the public.The incident occurred as recent as December 22, 2017, reportedly at Friendship on the East Bank of Demerara.As such, Darlington was fined $50,000 with an option to spend three months in prison if he did not pay the fine. His licence was also suspended for a three-month period.According to the prosecution’s case, Darlington was driving on the western carriageway proceeding North along the East Bank Public Road at a fast rate whilst the President’s vehicle was leading the fleet headed in the opposite direction.Police Prosecutor Arvin Moore contended that Darlinston, who in apparent haste, had attempted to overtake another vehicle, found himself in the convoy’s path. Luckily, the President’s driver’s swerved just in time to avoid a head on collision.Notwithstanding Police’s claims that the fleet sounded sirens, the accused claimed that he did not hear such as his windows were up while it poured heavily.Contrary to Police facts, Darlington said he swerved to avoid a collision with a stationary vehicle in his way but ended up in another lane. He nonetheless accepted responsibility and was penalised accordingly.last_img read more

ENTERTAINMENT: SUPERB SPECIAL OFFER NOW ON AT THE ALLEY THEATRE

first_imgENTERTAINMENT: The Alley Theatre have launched a superb offer for some upcoming shows later this month!The Alley Theatre ushers in the autumn with a packed programme of exciting and popular events for September and October that includes everything from comedy nights to drama performances, storytelling and events for kids, as well as choral performances, live music acts and even hypnosis!! Two top class shows are on offer this weekend and the next with the laugh-out-loud ‘50 Shades of Red, White and Blue’ and the hilarious ‘Two Sore Legs’- and the Alley has an excellent joint offer of 15% off when purchasing a ticket to both performances.A Belfast-based spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shade of Red, White and Blue is sure to have you on the edge of your seats this Saturday 19th September as the loveable Maggie Muff tells her story of her search for love.The show features laugh-out-loud characters such as big Sally Ann, Sinead the Greener and of course, the mysterious Mr Red White and Blue himself.Caroline Curran’s performance has been lauded by the critics as one of the best ever seen on a Belfast stage. According to GOH Chief Executive Andrew Hill: “There isn’t much to laugh about these days so do yourself a favour, get a tickets for 50 Shades of Red White & Blue…..Go see for yourself you won’t be disappointed.“After a half hour I thought some of the people around me were in such states of helpless laughter, they would need urgent hospitalisation.”50 Shades Of Red, White & Blue is directed by Martin Lynch and produced by Martin Lynch and Joe Rea, the team who brought you Dancing Shoes – The George Best Story and A Night With George.Following its outstanding success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Two Sore Legs is due to take centre stage at the Alley Theatre Saturday 26th September 8pm.Starring Maria Connelly, Two Sore Legs is set in Belfast in the 1950’s and 60’s and is a powerful, autobiographical play telling the story of Brenda Murphy’s mother Bridie, a young Butlin’s Redcoat, who had six children by a married man who lived around the corner with his other family.The play explores the pain, the joy and the fall-out from this extraordinary family arrangement. From the rowdy, fractious relationship Bridie had with her own father to the explosive but hilarious visits of the local Parish Priest, this play drips explicit family emotions.  “…leaves you sobbing one minute, crying with laughter the next.” says The Edinburgh Evening News – 6*Stars!!! While the Scotsman says “……This play is the celebration of motherhood and family and the value of looking on the bright side.”The Alley continues to offer an extensive mix of entertainment to suit all ages and tastes and this year’s autumn programme is hugely exciting with international acts such as Sean Lock, performing live.Tickets for all events are available at the box office and online. The full Autumn / Winter programme is available for download on http://www.alley-theatre.com/brochure/  and further updates will be available via fb.com/thealleytheatre and @TheAlleyTheatre on Twitter.ENTERTAINMENT: SUPERB SPECIAL OFFER NOW ON AT THE ALLEY THEATRE was last modified: September 15th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:EntertainmentFeaturesnewslast_img read more

One of Donegal’s most loved football men turns 80………

first_imgThere was a big birthday bash for one of the most well-known footballing personalities in Donegal last night. The former Fanad United physiotherapist, and current Finn Harps kit-man Tommy Harkin celebrated his 80th birthday party at The Fisherman’s Inn, St Johnston.Harkin is a legend of the local game – and is one of the most popular characters to grace football pitches in the county. His son Kenny had a decorated career in the local game, and his grandson Gareth pulls the strings in the Harps midfield.But we doubt either of them have the flexibility of Tommy – who even at 80 can still kick his hand while holding it over his head!The affable Harkin has served numerous teams outside of Fanad United and Finn Harps, and has been involved with the LYIT, USL provincial side and Donegal Schoolboys teams for years.He’ll be on the bus to Dundalk tomorrow as Harps head to Oriel Park, and he’ll also be going to Cork on October 14th with the USL representative side. We hope Tommy had a great night! One of Donegal’s most loved football men turns 80……… was last modified: September 11th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare 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:80thbirthdaynewspartySportTommy Harkinlast_img read more

Chelsea reportedly reject £50m Barcelona offer for star man

first_img possible standings 2 His performances dropped off at times in the latter part of the season, though the Stamford Bridge hierarchy still appear reluctant to let Willian leave.The Blues are now talking to 22-year-old Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin as they look to recruit new faces ahead of the upcoming season. Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City silverware Willian scored for Chelsea against Barcelona in the Champions League in February Latest Chelsea News crackers Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? shining smart causal Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade 2 possible xi REVEALED REVEALED Chelsea have reportedly rejected a £50m offer from Barcelona for Brazilian winger Willian.According to the Mail, the 29-year-old’s representatives have been in Barcelona and had discussions with Blaugrana chiefs. tense How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures How Chelsea could line up against Southampton – what system will Lampard play? Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT gameday cracker The Spanish side see the Willian someone who can add to their attack and want him to link up with his countryman Philippe Coutinho, following the departure of Andres Iniesta.Manchester United have also expressed a strong interest in the skilful wideman and attempted to sign him in January, however this move was resisted by Chelsea while he was in a strong run of form. Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Brown’s half-time antics, eight-goal thrillers… relive these Boxing Day classics Mourinho is known to have a close relationship with Willian as he was one of the only players performing to the best of his ability during Chelsea’s woeful 2015/16 campaign But Chelsea are understood to have no interest in letting him leave.The Camp Nou side claimed a LaLiga and Copa del Rey double last season, almost going unbeaten in the process, however manager Ernesto Valverde still seems to have concerns surrounding his squad’s depth and attacking flair.This was highlighted during their stunning Champions League quarter-final defeat to Roma.last_img read more

ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE RAISE €1,500 FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS

first_imgThe presentation to Letterkenny Strikers Special Olympics Club from St Eunan’s College.A group of Transition Year students from St Eunan’s College held a very successful table quiz in Arena 7 on Wednesday the 4th March in aid of two local Special Olympic clubs, Letterkenny Strikers Special Olympics Club and North West Special Olympics Club.This event was a huge success with 33 teams taking part on the night. The quizmaster, Mr. Neil Gordon, a teacher in Saint Eunan’s College, provided the audience with a great night’s entertainment.Apart from the actual quiz, Mr. Gordon had members of the audience vying for spot prizes by performing handstands, reciting poetry and doing push-ups. It is safe to say that this was not your ordinary quiz! The event raised €1,500, with €750 going to each club.This quiz was organised by a dedicated group of students, namely Jacek Bien, Lewis Carson, Seán Halvey, Mark Irwin, Kevin Kealy, Ruairí Kennedy, Ciaran McCloskey, Seán McGettigan, Ryan McGinty, Rafal Morys, and Cale O’Donnell.The €1,500 cheque presentation to local clubsThis group of students are taking part in a Special Olympics Module ‘So Get Into It’, facilitated by their teacher Ms. Ciara Boyle. These students have been meeting every Wednesday, after school, since September. As part of this module, students have been learning about enabling people with a learning disability to fulfil their potential and ambitions and fully participate in the world around them. This enrichment programme promotes the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and helps prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.As part of this module, each of the students have registered as volunteers with Special Olympics Ireland and they have been volunteering with the beneficiaries of the quiz, Letterkenny Strikers Special Olympics Club and North West Special Olympics Club.In April of this year, this group of students will receive training from Special Olympics Ireland to prepare them to act as officials at the Special Olympics Basketball League Finals in Antrim Forum on Saturday the 9th of May.Presentation to North West Special Olympics ClubThere is great excitement about this upcoming event among the students. Their teacher Ms. Ciara Boyle said that these students have been a delight to work with and they are a credit to themselves, their families and their school.The Principal of Saint Eunan’s College, Mr. Chris Darby, had the following to say about the quiz: “I am delighted that the school was involved in such an excellent cause. Well done to the staff and students who put so much work into ensuring the evening was a success and a special thanks to the students that came along on the night to support their colleagues. I look forward to even more opportunity to work with Special Olympics in our school”.Saint Eunan’s College were overwhelmed by the huge support they received in the organisation of the quiz and they wish to sincerely thank the local businesses who made donations and sponsored raffle prizes (Fit Hub Ireland, Radisson Blue Hotel Letterkenny; Marks and Spencer; La Maison; Menary’s; The Sandwich Co; Evolve Menswear; Sony Centre; Universal Books, Dunnes Stores; Patrick Gildea Hairdressing; Tobin’s Service Station; Streets Ahead Hairdressing Salon; Joe’s Butchers; 4Lanterns; Apache Pizza; The Swingroom; Private Collections; McFadden’s Pharmacy; Pats on the Square; The Kitchen; Cooney’s Home and Garden; and Surprise Surprise). They wish to sincerely thank the management and staff of Arena 7 for facilitating the charity quiz night. They also wish to thank the volunteers and athletes of the local Special Olympics clubs for welcoming and accommodating the students as volunteers. Finally, they wish to express their sincere gratitude to everyone who came along to support the quiz and to those that bought raffle tickets and supported the event in any way.ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE RAISE €1,500 FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS was last modified: March 29th, 2015 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:donegalletterkennySt Eunan’w Collegelast_img read more

Cells Find Signal in the Noise

first_imgParents at an amusement park know the challenge of picking out their child’s voice, or even hearing their own hollering, in the noise of the crowd.  Yelling won’t help much if the rest of the crowd is yelling also.  Acoustic engineers know that raising the volume while playing back a noisy tape amplifies the noise as well as the signal.  Cells have a novel way of meeting this challenge, as two Japanese mathematical biologists discuss in PNAS.1  Cells are continuously sending and receiving chemical messages, a process called signal transduction.  Treating the cell signal transduction network like a physical system of receivers and amplifiers, the researchers noted that a cell, like an amusement park, is an intrinsically noisy place, yet some of the reactions are very sensitive.  “How cells respond properly to noisy signals by using noisy molecular networks is an important problem in elucidating the underlying ‘design principle’ of cellular systems,” they say in the introduction.  How do the sensitive reactions get their messages through all that noise? Because intracellular processes are inherently noisy, stochastic reactions process noisy signals in cellular signal transduction.  One essential feature of biological signal transduction systems is the amplification of small changes in input signals.  However, small random changes in the input signals could also be amplified, and the transduction reaction can also generate noise.  Here, we show theoretically how the abrupt response of ultrasensitive signal-transduction reactions results in the generation of large inherent noise and the high amplification of input noise.  The inherently generated noise propagates with amplification through intracellular molecular network.  We discuss how the contribution of such transmitted noise can be shown experimentally.  Our results imply that the switch-like behavior of signal transduction could be limited by noise; however, high amplification reaction could be advantageous to generate large noise, which would be essential to maintain behavioral variability.They categorized the noise as intrinsic, coming from the reaction itself, to extrinsic, coming from other reactions.  This is somewhat like hearing your own voice vs. the yelling of those around you.  The intrinsic noise has higher frequency than the extrinsic noise.  As one source of noise becomes dominant, it reaches a crossover point where the other source is less dominant.  This provides a kind of signal, or switch, which the cell can use to advantage:From our result, it can be further suggested that if the extrinsic noise dominates, the upstream reactions affect the fluctuation of the most downstream reaction, which determines the cellular behavior.  As a result, the behavioral fluctuations are made up of the contributions of the fluctuations of several upstream reactions.  On the other hand, if the intrinsic noise dominates, only the intrinsic noise of the most downstream reaction determines the behavioral fluctuations.  As a result, the behavior could be simpler than the case in which extrinsic noise is dominant….    ….Consequently, the low-frequency modulations in the downstream reactions can be affected by the behaviors of upstream reactions, whereas the high-frequency modulations are expected to be independent of upstream reactions.As a result, a bacterium can respond to chemicals in the environment, the hemoglobin in your blood can respond to changing conditions in the capillaries, genes can respond correctly to requests for expression, and complex cascades of cellular reactions can respond to the signal from any reaction in the series, in the midst of all the noise.  “Therefore,” they conclude, “the result implies that the extrinsic noise is essential to maintain the behavioral variability in wild-type bacteria.”  Their experiments related to three relatively simple reactions, and their analysis considered primarily linear response.  Many cellular reactions involve nonlinear behavior.  “In these cases,” they admit, “the relation between the response and the fluctuations can be more complicated than the relations we studied.”  The authors made no attempt to explain how these capabilities evolved.1Tatsuo Shibata and Koichi Fujimoto, “Noisy signal amplification in ultrasensitive signal transduction,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0403350102, published online before print December 29, 2004.Evolutionists accuse the intelligent design movement of never publishing anything, and then cry foul when they do (see 09/08/2004 and 12/28/2004 headlines).  Actually, there are thousands of ID papers, and they are published regularly, not in obscure outlets, but in the major, high-impact journals.  They may not mention the buzzword “intelligent design” explicitly, but they do everything the ID movement advocates: explore the design of a phenomenon as if it has a purpose, follow the evidence where it leads, and leave the philosophical or religious implications to the reader.  We regularly highlight such articles right here (see 11/10/2004, 10/27/2004, 10/27/2004, and 09/22/2004 headlines for a few recent examples).  Notice how these authors used the phrase “design principle” but had no use for the evolutionary hypothesis.  Very few papers try to explain in any detail how a complex feature evolved.  Most, if they mention evolution at all, merely assume it in passing, as if fulfilling the obligatory pinch of incense to Father Charlie (see 11/18/2004 and 11/04/2004 and 10/01/2004 recent examples).  If the criteria were rearranged with these considerations in mind, the ID movement could claim the vast majority of scientific papers as their own, and the Darwin Party would be left with a handful of just-so stories.  Demand a recount.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Was the Apostle Paul a Book Burner?

first_img(Visited 513 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Paul warned that Christ followers would be slandered. A book review in Nature shows it is still going on.In Nature recently (18 March), Robert P. Crease reviewed his own book – a practice that is quite unusual. At least we know what the author thinks of his own words. That Nature printed it without any criticism tells us that the journal editors pretty much agree with him. Their headline reads, “The rise and fall of scientific authority — and how to bring it back; Robert P. Crease harks back to the shapers of our scientific infrastructure and what they can tell us about how to handle the threat we now face.” Watch for the bogeyman!So what does Robert say about his own book under Nature‘s imprimatur? The title is, The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority Robert P. Crease W. W. Norton (2019). His first paragraph is accompanied by a large facsimile of a piece of art at the Louvre which he describes:Credit: LouvreHanging in the Louvre Museum in Paris is an imposing painting, The Preaching of St Paul at Ephesus. In this 1649 work by Eustache Le Sueur, the fiery apostle lifts his right hand as if scolding the audience, while clutching a book of scripture in his left. Among the rapt or fearful listeners are people busily throwing books into a fire. Look carefully, and you see geometric images on some of the pages.The not-so-subtle message hinges on Galileo Galilei’s famous statement in 1623 that the book of nature is written in mathematical figures — implying that those who decipher it speak as authoritatively as clerics. That was religious heresy.By implication, Paul the Apostle is directing a book-burning campaign – including books of science! Images of Hitler come to mind. Can it be that the humble apostle of love (I Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:1-3), truth (Ephesians 4:15) and righteousness (Ephesians 4:24) would do such a thing? The man who traveled thousands of miles preaching the grace of God to Gentiles, with the inclusive message that both men and women, slaves and free, Jews and Gentiles, barbarians, Scythians and everyone could all be one in Christ, was a book burner? The man who suffered countless dangers and persecutions himself, including stonings, beatings and imprisonment would persecute those who simply wanted to understand the natural world? What would have motivated Le Sueur to paint such a scene?The book-burning incident comes from the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 19, quoted here in full:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. (Acts 19:13-20, ESV)Several key evidences from this passage exonerate the apostle of the grace of God from any allegations of book burning.There is no indication that Paul ordered, directed, or defended the book burning. Since Luke is writing about the incident, there is no proof that Paul even knew it was going on at the time. Nowhere does he commend such an action.The passage says that “a number” of people did it, not everybody.The passage indicates that those who burned their own books did it freely out of their own will, not at the direction of Paul or anyone else. This was their personal decision about what to do with their own property after turning from the occult to the true God. Since nowhere else in Scripture is book burning advocated, it is highly doubtful Paul would have ordered such a thing.The books were not books of science; they were books of pseudoscience! They were books of “magic arts” including curses, incantations and attempts to manipulate mystical powers outside of nature for their own selfish interests. Such matters are at polar opposites of science, and of the message of Paul and Jesus.The ones who burned their own books were “those who had practiced magic arts” like the sons of Sceva. They were the farthest thing possible from students of science! When they witnessed the spectacular failure of those who dabbled in controlling evil spirits, and saw, by contrast, the power of “the Jesus whom Paul proclaims,” they wanted nothing more to do with matters of darkness and ignorance.Additionally, though they could have sold the books for “fifty thousand pieces of silver,” they didn’t want their books to remain and potentially lead others into occultic dangers.Other passages in the New Testament show Paul’s attitude as friendly to science. For instance:In I Thessalonians 5:21, Paul says “test everything; hold fast what is good.” That is the heart of science: testability.In Acts 17:11, he commended the Bereans as “more noble” than others, because they searched the Scriptures for evidence that what Paul preached was indeed true. He didn’t expect his listeners to take his word for it.In Philippians 4:13, he says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Most importantly, he advocated testing the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. In I Corinthians 15, he listed the eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive, including 500 who saw him at one time. Many were still alive, he mentioned, and could be interviewed. Also in Acts 17, he appealed to verifiable evidence for God, both to the Gentiles in Lystra and to the scholars in Athens.Luke, the writer of Acts, also told his reader Theophilus that Jesus showed himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). Both Paul and Luke valued truth ascertained by evidence and invited their readers and hearers to test their claims with verifiable facts they could investigate themselves.For these and other reasons, the painting by Le Sueur and the allegations by Richard Crease amount to slanderous attacks against a righteous historical figure who brought peace and unity to a world lost in the darkness of superstition and the occult. Not all books are equally valuable, anyway. What would Crease wish to do with a book on how to make a hydrogen bomb at home, or how to make a pressure cooker bomb and sneak it into a crowded place? The issue of “book burning” leaves this question unaddressed. Since Crease is slandering Paul in particular, what does he think of promoting copies of the New Testament, which contains Paul’s story and 14 of his letters? (see commentary below). What does Crease think the Ephesians should have done with their books of magic arts and pseudoscientific falsehoods?Crease continues his attack against Paul, with Galileo as his hero, using fake history and his straw bogeyman to suggest that Christians (like Paul the falsely-alleged book burner) are intolerant of science. Thus he perpetuates the “warfare thesis” of science vs religion which has been repeatedly debunked by historians of science (see our biography of Galileo).Today, St Paul is making a comeback: the authority of science is again under attack. In areas of national and global consequence — from climate to medicine —political leaders feel confident that they can reject scientific claims, substituting myths and cherry-picked facts. I have spent five years investigating why this has happened and what can be done.Artist: J. Beverly GreeneBut would Paul have approved of the religious censorship against Galileo? Most assuredly not. Paul would have recognized the church of the 17th century as heretical, far removed from the gospel of Jesus he preached, and illustrative of the false teachers he warned about to the very elders in Ephesus where the book burning had occurred years earlier. Does this man sound like a book burner? Look into his heart in Acts 20:I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”The “Galileo myth” is one of seven myths that historian of science Dr Michael Keas discusses in his new book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. In Evolution News, Keas points out how “the Galileo myth goes marching on” in spite of numerous debunkings by historians (also hear him discuss it on ID the Future). Keas even argues that atheists – not Christians – are now embracing the occult.As for “scientific authority” that Nature worries about falling, is not authority the very concept that science rose to challenge? The statement is an oxymoron: science is the opposite of authority.  Nullius in verba was the motto of the Royal Society for the Advancement of Natural Knowledge: “on the word of no one,” meaning “nothing by mere statements by authority.” Scientists should “Test all things; hold fast that which is good.” Preach it, brother Paul.The pompous, self-righteous, misinformed statements by author Robert P. Crease should make him ashamed of himself. Not only is he perpetuating fake history about a great man—Paul—Crease is a radical censor himself! While book burning is perhaps the most permanent form of censorship, Darwin-worshipers, among whom Crease fellowships, have other effective ways of “burning” the memory of books he doesn’t like: books by creationists with PhDs in science, books by advocates of intelligent design who are similarly well-informed and well-qualified in science to critique the reigning dogma of Darwinism. In his Slaughter of the Dissidents trilogy, especially vol. 3, Censoring the Darwin Skeptics, Dr Jerry Bergman documents pervasive and active censorship of anti-Darwin books in libraries, in bookstores, in academia, in funding sources and in mainstream media. (A Darwin skeptic is not necessarily a creationist or ID advocate, but someone who merely doubts the ability of mutation and selection to explain life. That’s enough to get censored by the DODO crowd.) Such censorship is equally effective as book burning.So let us ask Crease for his opinion: what should be done with intelligent design books and creation books? Should they be freely available on shelves in the Science section? Should they be sold and advertised? Should students have opportunities to read the evidence presented by scientifically qualified Darwin skeptics? Do you, Robert Crease, support the free exchange of ideas in science? Do you disavow the censorship that is going on? If yes, then we advise you to read some of the best works yourself, like Signature in the Cell and Undeniable and others by PhD scientists. But if you are a DODO head, you belong in Le Sueur’s painting, your face instead of Paul’s, and your hated books in the fire.Dr Bergman has published 3 books of true stories of careers ruined by Darwin bigots, and radical censorship against creation views.last_img read more

New skills council for SA

first_imgMinister Blade Nzimande and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will play a critical role in HRDC. Members of the Council Advocate Rams Ramashia and Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development. Motlanthe and Bheki Ntshalintshali, HRDC first deputy chair of the council and chair of the technical working group. (Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Ranjeni Munusamy Spokesperson Ministry of Higher Education and Training +27 828986082 or +27 12 312 5555 munusamy.r@doe.gov.za RELATED ARTICLES • Zuma’s 2010 plan of action • Turning jobless into jewellers • Govt launches massive ID drive • Social development in South Africa • First university for MpumalangaBongani NkosiThe South African government has launched the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) to tackle high levels of unemployment and grow the country’s economy.It was officially launched by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on 30 March. The inaugural meeting was attended by 36 of the council’s 43 members.Comprising leaders from different sectors of the economy, the council will drive skills development in South Africa. Although part of its aim is to ensure government helps job-seekers become more competent, the HRDC will see that all divisions of employment and training assume a more meaningful role in the country.“Government has for years spoken about skills development and its importance in ensuring economic development and ultimately dealing with unemployment,” said Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande at the launch.“The launch of this council is a milestone towards this goal and ensuring that skills development is conceptualised as a critical component of … human development.”The council is led and chaired by the deputy president and Nzimande leads its secretariat, which is tasked with ensuring that all the HRDC’s objectives are implemented.The secretariat includes a technical working group to “execute the decisions of council on matters relating to human resource development and advise council”.The technical working group will also be responsible for setting up task teams of “additional expertise” to achieve the council’s goals. “The composition of these [task teams] will depend on the nature and scope of work that the TWG [technical working group] needs them to undertake,” said Mary Metcalfe, director-general of the Higher Education and Training Department, during a presentation at the launch.“Education is one of government’s priorities and the work of this council will assist in troubleshooting the problem areas in the education and training system,” said Nzimande.The Department of Higher Education has committed to “urgently overcoming the shortages in the supply of people with the priority skills needed” and “increasing the number of appropriately skilled people to meet the demands of our current and emerging economic and social development priorities”, Nzimande added.The council will also ensure improved access to quality education and schooling up to grade 12 level “that is purposefully focused on achieving an improvement in education outcomes for the poor”. Furthermore, it will seek to adequately equip pupils to pursue post-school education, “including vocational education and training, or employment”.It has resolved to “urgently implement skills development programmes that are aimed at overcoming poverty and unemployment”, Nzimande said.In his address the minister referred to students from the country’s universities of technology who have to do internships before they can graduate, but yet some still struggle to find permanent work – either in the public or private sector. He said the council needs to find a way of getting employers to open up work spaces for such students.“Many of our young people with academic qualifications remain unemployed because our skills supply does not match our labour market demands,” said Motlanthe. “We need to ensure that our human resources policies harmonise with economic development needs and opportunities, and that they are broad-based and opportunity-specific.”Extension of JipsaThe new council builds on the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), which government formed in March 2006. It is not a replacement, said Motlanthe.Jipsa was set up to address the issue of skills development in the country and helped shape policy for curbing unemployment. “Jipsa came as an intervention at that time,” said former Jipsa chairperson Bheki Ntshalintshali.Government said Jipsa has, over a four-year period, provided critical lessons on how to deal with skills challenges facing the country. As Cabinet approved the HRDC in February, “the Jipsa process started winding down with a view to folding into the revised” strategy, said a government document.Council led by expertsGovernment has said it is pleased about the council’s composition, which includes experts from labour organisations, business, academia, government ministries, the development sector, research bodies, higher education institutions, skills sector and youth movements. “It is encouraging to note that all members are committed to serve on this important structure, not necessarily representing their own sectoral interests, but to collectively lead a decisive attack on education and skills challenges facing South Africa,” Nzimande said.Ntshalintshali, also the deputy general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, has been appointed chairperson of the technical working group and the first deputy chair of the council.Nominations for a second deputy chair and requests to serve on the technical working group are open to council members until 16 April.The final HRD strategy, drafted by the council, will be adopted at a Cabinet planning session later in 2010.last_img read more

Green Scorpions in sting operation

first_imgGreen Scorpions are out to ensure major construction projects comply with environmental regulations. Rejoice Mabudafhasi is the deputy ministerof Environmental Affairs.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS • Moses RanditsheniSpokespersonEMI+27 82 448 2450 RELATED ARTICLES • SA marks Year of Biodiversity• Going green for 2010• Greening it up in Cape Town• Clean-up drive along SA bordersBongani NkosiSouth Africa’s Green Scorpions, also called the Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI), are out in full force to ensure major construction projects comply with environmental regulations.After taking their campaign to the Eastern Cape, they hit Limpopo province on 6 December 2010 for a week-long inspection of Eskom projects. They are examining compliance at Medupi power station and the Spitskop substation.Medupi power station is one of the biggest construction projects currently on the go in the country. Power utility Eskom is building a coal-fired power plant there that must be operational by 2012 to boost much-needed national electricity supply.The inspections are part of the National Environmental Law Compliance Campaign of the Department of Environmental Affairs. The Green Scorpions have already inspected sites in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal as part of the drive.KwaZulu-Natal’s operation took place in October and included an inspection of Transnet’s 555km-long multi-product pipeline that runs from Durban to Jameson Park in Gauteng. The Green Scorpions found the construction to be progressing well in terms of environmental compliance.“The main objectives of the campaign are to monitor adherence to conditions stipulated in environmental authorisations, environmental management plans and waste management licences, as well as to improve the general status of compliance within the regulated community …” said spokesperson Moses Randitsheni in a statement.The Department of Environmental Affairs will take “appropriate enforcement actions in the event of non-compliance”, he said.The installation of Neotel’s fibre-optic cable that runs from Germiston in Gauteng to Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal will also be examined during the week of 6 December. The cable, which runs via Mpumalanga and the Free State provinces, is one of the initiatives to improve broadband coverage in South Africa.Non-compliance bustedThe Eastern Cape leg of the campaign in October and November uncovered environment violations in some projects, although most were found to be compliant.Waste management company EnviroServ was found to have constructed and subsequently operated a storm water dam and a leachate treatment plant at a landfill site without obtaining a required environmental permit. It has also failed to implement recommendations made in an external audit report, according to the department.“All non-compliances detected during the inspections are currently being reviewed and will be met with appropriate enforcement action where necessary,” said Randitsheni.Overall compliance is satisfactory at the deepening of the car terminal berth at Transnet’s East London Port – a project that was completed in November.The Green Scorpions noted, however, that the required water-quality comparison data for the estuary was still outstanding and the management of the dredged materials stockpile on site was inadequate, the department said.No major non-compliances were uncovered at Transnet’s projects at the 11 000ha Coega Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth. The projects include the construction of a port control building, two additional berths at the container terminals and an administrative craft basin.Likewise, there were no major violations at the South African National Biodiversity Institute Working for Wetlands projects in the Eastern Cape, which involve the rehabilitation of degraded wetlands in the Hogsback and Tsitsikamma regions. The projects began recently.“Inspections at other sites found that construction had been completed or is proceeding at generally acceptable standards which are in compliance with the environmental legislations,” Randitsheni said.last_img read more