BPO goes to Hollywood

first_imgHollywood film stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been shooting in the western India city of Pune for A Mighty Heart, the story of the Al Qaeda kidnapping of Wall Street Journal journalist Danny Pearl. A flotilla of Indian service providers, from film technicians to security guards, has been supporting them.Jolie and Pitt represent just the visible tip of the iceberg. As Hollywood increasingly turns to India to provide some of its needs, business process outsourcing (BPO) is making its way to the top of the credit lines. “The scope is enormous in virtually every area,” according to Pritish Nandy, founder-chairman of Pritish Nandy Communications, a content company in the news and entertainment business. “Currently, Hollywood appears to be looking at three areas: post production, animation and local production support. But these are nothing compared to the real opportunity areas.” Hollywood actor Will Smith talks on the sets of television show “Indian Idol” in Bombay. Smith is in India aiming to build a partnership with filmmakers in the world’s most prolific movie industry. (AP Photo/Rajesh Nirgude)Before getting into how BPO is transforming animation, consider the other two areas of activity: local production support and post production. The first lies in the gamut of “red carpet” services being rolled out for Jolie and Pitt. Even as the duo was keeping Pune on its toes – everyone wanted to see the action, and the international paparazzi had descended in full force – neighboring Mumbai was hosting an International Fair on Film Locales (IFFL). The fair saw other countries showcasing their attractions as locales for shooting films, but most of the participants were from India – state tourism boards, facility providers, film councils and other affiliated service providers.Land of the GodsTouting their scenic charms and rustic settings, some locations have begun tapping this opportunity in an organized fashion. “God’s Own Country,” the banner under which southern state of Kerala is marketed to tourists, is being sold to film producers as a place that delivers “more beauty per frame, more art per shot, more plots per story, more images per set, and more locales per schedule.” The neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh has gone even further. Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad has been involved in several Hollywood productions and offers a whole range of facilities. “It is one of the largest, most comprehensive and advanced film production facilities in the world,” says a spokesperson. Shooting is currently going on for one film (the company says it can’t talk about it) and more than half-a-dozen have been completed.Ramoji Film City offers all sorts of elaborate sets. If a director wants an airport or a medieval castle, she can have it. Also on tap are production crews, grid equipment, cameras and anything else a filmmaker might require. Post-production facilities include processing, printing, and digital and audio editing. “In terms of live-action feature film production, India is on its way to becoming a serious player in the economic ‘runaway production’ phenomenon,” says Dileep Singh Rathore, producer and founder of the Mumbai-based On The Road Productions and the Los Angeles-based Kundalini Pictures. (“Runaway productions,” as defined by the US Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America, “are developed and are intended for initial release/exhibition or television broadcast in the U.S. but are actually filmed in another country.”) OctopussyRathore, whose company handles the physical production and acts as co-producer for international projects shooting in South Asia, says the Indian film business has come a long way since gaining industry status in August 2000. “Many countries are competing to attract runaway productions,” he says. “But India provides up to 60% cost savings on below-the-line expenses such as crew, materials and logistics. In addition, due to its robust domestic film industry – producing more than 1,000 films each year – the availability of highly skilled technicians, equipment and facilities has put India in an advantageous position.”Chaitanya Chinchlikar, marketing manager at Whistling Woods International, a new institute for film, television, animation and media arts that set up in Mumbai barely a year ago, echoes the same line. “Hollywood has long chased low-cost ways to produce content,” he says. India will gain “in the coming years, as the economy becomes more and more global and competition forces media content producers to get even more aggressive in conserving costs.” But, he adds a caveat: “The market for BPO services from Bollywood to Hollywood is relatively small at the moment.”Whistling Woods hopes to bring professionalism to the Indian film industry. “The institute will be a catalyst in bringing people to India as it offers an opportunity to interact and educate, which many Hollywood professionals are interested in,” says Chinchlikar. “Once they are here, they can see the possibilities for themselves.” Incidentally, the dean of Whistling Woods – Kurt Inderbitzin – is a filmmaker-producer and media business professional from Hollywood.Among films wholly or partially shot in India are The Bourne Supremacy (2004), In the Shadow of the Cobra (2004), Jungle Book(1994), City of Joy (1992), Octopussy (1983), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Tarzan Goes to India (1962) and The Drum (1938). Says Rathore: “Approximately 80 productions from Hollywood have shot in India since the 1940s. In the past five years since the industry hreforms, the number has grown exponentially. On an average, according to the union ministry of information and broadcasting, 15 feature productions are shot in India each year.”The Animation ArmyIndia is becoming more prominent on the Hollywood locale list. But much of the current action is in animation. “India, with its wide base and intellectual property in the field of animation, offers key advantages to the global animation market,” says a report produced by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers. “With technical expertise, highly-skilled manpower and international collaborations, the industry is going from strength to strength….“Animation outsourcing is the primary work coming India’s way and this trend is expected to continue over the next five years. During this period, a large chunk of the work will be of this nature, even though the industry has begun to move towards the next level in the animation outsourcing business as certain co-production assignments have started coming to India.”Animation companies are sprouting up all over India. These include UTV Toons in Mumbai, Moving Picture Company in Noida (near Delhi), Pentamedia Graphics in Chennai, Jadoo Works in Bangalore, Color Chips India in Hyderabad, and Toonz Animation India in Trivandrum (in Kerala).The Mumbai-based Crest Animation Studios has several successes to its credit, though they are more in the TV arena. Its recent series Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks has received an Annie nomination for the best animation television production for children. Crest’s U.S. subsidiary – RichCrest Animation – has teamed up with independent producer and distributor Lions Gate to create three state-of-the-art animated feature films for Hollywood. This includes one based on William Steig’s classic children’s book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.The Hyderabad-based DQ Entertainment bills itself as the largest animation outsourcing company. “We are now co-producing several TV series,” says a spokesperson. The Mumbai-based Maya Entertainment has also been doing award-winning work in animation and special effects. From Chennai, Pentamedia Graphics has so far released four full-length animated movies, including Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists and Alibaba.“Companies in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai have all been part of VFX (visual effects) and animation shots for major Hollywood productions like Spiderman 3, Cars, and Lord of the Rings,” says Chinchlikar. For example, the Bangalore (Karnataka)-based Paprikaas Animation Studios is working on 3D-animated TV series, game cinematics and broadcast commercials. “In the pipeline are direct-to-video and full-length feature films with Tier I studios in Hollywood,” says Paprikaas CEO Nandish Domlur. “Unfortunately, as these are unreleased titles, we are bound by non-disclosure agreements not to talk about them.”Toonz Animation is another rising star, with a client list that includes the biggest names in media and entertainment: Marvel, Hallmark, Paramount, Disney, and Cartoon Network. Animation Magazine has written up the company as one of the Top 10 multimedia studios in the world. Its pre-production services include script writing, storyboarding, character designing, color model creation, conceptual artwork, key layouts, key animation and key background. “We are working for television shows and direct-to-DVD feature films for Hollywood entertainment majors,” says CEO P. Jayakumar. “Around 500 people work at our studios, including top professionals from the US, the UK, Canada, the Philippines and India.”In Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Color Chips, an animation studio and integrated design solutions company, “is doing a lot of co-productions with Hollywood studios in the animation space,” says chairman and managing director Sudhish S. Rambhotla. Incidentally, Color Chips also runs an animation training center. Some firms have chosen even narrower niches. The Prasad Group in Chennai is into VFX (visual effects) and Digital Film Restoration projects. “We have already completed a number of such projects,” says Mohan Krishnan, head of corporate communications. “We have a production-cum-sales facility in Hollywood and are discussing more projects with Hollywood studios and filmmakers.” The Indian VFX market is expected to go up to $95 million by 2009 from $15 million today.The large Indian IT firms also have a toe in this pond. Nipuna, the BPO subsidiary of Satyam Computers, has signed a deal with the German 4K Animation. The duo will work on animation projects for a Hollywood film – an international action, adventure and fantasy motion picture directed by Paul Nicholas. Infosys has partnered with Hollywood studios to develop customized content. TCS has set up a media and entertainment lab in Burbank, Calif.But these companies seem more interested in back-office work such as writing the software to restrict unauthorized online video and music downloads, and making DVDs piracy proof. They are applying their core competencies to a new vertical and waiting to see whether it is worth extending their skill sets. This is, after all, a very different business.The India Advantage“At present, animation is the biggest player when it comes to outsourcing Hollywood to India,” says Rathore. “India’s cutting-edge IT skills, the large pool of highly-educated English speakers and lower manpower costs are the main reasons for outsourcing. A typical half-hour 3D animation TV episode costs between $70,000 and $100,000 to produce in India, compared to $170,000 to $250,000 in America. U.S. animators can cost $125 an hour; in India, they cost $25 an hour. India offers animation at 25% to 40% lower rates than other Asian studios and much lower than those of American studios. The total cost of making a full-length animated film in the U.S. is estimated to be $100 million to $175 million. In India, it can be made for $15 million to $25 million.”The latest National Association of Software & Service Companies (NASSCOM) report on the animation industry in India estimates that from the developers’ perspective the global market will increase to $35 billion by 2009 from $25 billion in 2005. India’s share will be $950 million; in 2005 it was $285 million. “Apart from the obvious cost arbitrage, the other advantages are high quality work, ability to scale, robust IT infrastructure, which is key to computer graphics content production, a large English-speaking base relative to other countries, and the advantage of a 12-hour time difference which helps to keep work going 24/7,” says Domlur of Paprikaas. Jayakumar of Toonz notes, “Our familiarity with the Western style of storytelling is also a big advantage.”“It’s hard to find a logical competitor to India, because India has a unique combination of three characteristics,” says Chinchlikar of Whistling Woods. There is a huge English-speaking population, there is a vast labor market and the people are technologically up-to-date. “China fits the second and third points,” adds Chinchlikar. “But language is a major barrier. And virtually all other developing countries fall short in at least one of the above areas. So, India is going to be the place to be in.”Back to the Future“The potential for Indian companies is high, as the work outsourced is less than 1% as of today,” says Rambhotla of Color Chips. Nandy of Pritish Nandy Communications has a more holistic vision. There is so much India can do, he says. “Pre-production, for instance,” says Nandy. “Writing. We Indians write the English language far better and infinitely more creatively than most people in the world, including the English-speaking world. And the interesting thing is that our best filmmakers — from Satyajit Ray and Raj Kapoor to Shekhar Kapoor and Ram Gopal Varma — have always written their screenplays in English and then filled in the dialogue in the language they have used for the film. Hollywood and the English-speaking world are too arrogant to notice this talent. But the compulsions of cost and original treatment will drive them in this direction eventually.”Ravi Aron, a senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation, has a different view. “It is not the quality or creativity of Indian writing that is in doubt. It is the cultural context in which such writing is set,” he says. “Can Indian writers create characters and dialogue, and recreate the cultural experience of North America for American and European audiences? Writing is not a fungible skill that can be deployed independently of cultural context. Indian scriptwriters will not find it easy to write the script for a film set in New York about New Yorkers any more than Americans will find it easy to write about Mumbaikars (residents of Mumbai).”While Nandy claims that India will outstrip Hollywood’s theater revenues in six years, Aron says that’s wishful thinking. He puts the numbers in perspective. “In 2005, Hollywood grossed about $35 billion from 300 films,” he says. “The Indian film industry made about 1,000 films and grossed a little more than $1.5 billion. It is not the ticket revenues that count as much as the unit price of the ticket. Hollywood’s higher revenue is because it sells in the U.S., Canada, the E.U. and Japan. It dominates all the big film-consuming markets in the world except for India. In 2005, the average revenue of a Hollywood film was about 75 times that of an Indian film. For the Indian film industry to challenge Hollywood it will have to sell tickets in volumes in these countries. The odd Indian film does reasonably well in these market segments. But that is just that — the odd Indian film.”Understandably, it is not as though all the fruits of Hollywood are waiting to fall into India’s lap. Domlur of Paprikaas points to a major problem. “There is a dearth of trained and production-ready artists,” he says. “In-house training is mandatory for all production houses who hire students from mom-and-pop training shops.” But he adds that some good training institutes are coming up. Jayakumar of Toonz says that radically improving output quality and productivity will be a major challenge in the coming years.“We need to see further investment in facilities and equipment,” says Rathore. “If a studio is going to pump $50-100 million into a project in a country, then you to want to ensure that the government is cooperating and inviting them with open arms. Otherwise they’ll go elsewhere, where they are welcome.”The role of the government is a common grouse; everyone complains about lack of support. There are no tax breaks and incentives. In countries like South Korea, China, Canada and France, the industry has been fostered by the governments.Aron points to a much broader issue. The Indian film industry can’t be everything to everyone. “It is important to ask the question -what drives firms to offshore production centers?” says Aron. “Not just movie production houses but any business –why does a business start producing offshore?” He provides the answer: “In most industries – spanning heavy manufacturing through electronics, apparel and banking services – offshore production is rarely the first option. It is a firm’s response to one or both of the following factors:• Competition in its principal markets resulting in erosion of revenues;• Rapid changes in the industry: in production, distribution and pricing of production and services.“There is another reason why companies produce offshore. In fact, until the mid-1960s, this was the principal reason for U.S. multinationals to take this route. The corporation wants to extend its business imprint in a region. To do so, it locates some production in that region partly to produce content to local tastes and partly to anchor the corporation to its market. It can be seen that both sets of factors are operative in the case of the entertainment industry.“For the year 2005, the average cost of production and marketing of films in the U.S. was between $92 million and $97 million. This means many large movie studios had returns of no more than 8% at best, while some hitherto successful studios had returns of 5% or less. Sales of DVDs declined, further eroding revenues. Online distribution of movies — downloadable films — is a serious concern for all production companies. Not only is technology (online distribution) changing the nature of the competition, but new players and new forms of content are rapidly competing for the same viewership dollars. Finally, other computer-mediated content forms – online games, video games and independently-produced video content on sites such as YouTube – are competing with films for audiences. So, like many other industries, Hollywood faces the double whammy of high costs and revenue pressures. And, like other industries, it is looking at alternatives. For instance, Canada is the destination for several productions, and now New Zealand and Eastern Europe are beginning to attract attention.”Aron argues that India needs to expand its business imprint in media and entertainment. The country has one of the largest cinema-watching populations and, with the rapid growth in size as well as the buying of power of the middle class, the Indian movie-watching market has become even more attractive. An additional feature is that growth of broadband in India will not penetrate the rural retail market in the near future. Even where it is available, it is small enough to leave a robust theater-going population intact. This, too, makes India an attractive destination.All those who are scrambling to get onto the BPO bandwagon should realize the distinction between “Made in India” and “Made for India,” Aron says. “In the traditional sense of offshoring – that is, using Indian skilled (and non-skilled labor) for global audiences – we will witness the following phases of growth. Production can be divided into artistic production (the output of writers, actors, musicians, cinematographers, directors, etc.) and non-artistic production (the set of activities that go into bringing a production to distribution-ready status). The first to be tapped will be the latter set of activities: production support to pre-production and post-production finishing.“The artistic production activities will not easily migrate from the U.S. and other locations. There are various reasons for this. First, anything that needs to be shot on location will be shot at the intended location. Just because Kerala markets itself as ‘God’s Own Country,’ you cannot shoot a film such as You’ve Got Mail there. Second, even studio pieces will largely be filmed in the U.S. (or Europe).Recreating scenes from the U.S. in Indian studios is not easy. For one thing, technologically many of the studios in India are generations behind their western counterparts. And, for another, there is considerable artistic participation in studio production – set designers, costume designers, etc. So these, too, will not migrate in the near future in great volumes.“‘Made for India’ is a different story altogether. Hollywood studios and independent financiers are now working with Indian counterparts to make films in India for an Indian audience but with some global reach, too. As this trend accelerates, we will see more films made for India through collaboration. Sony Pictures, Paramount, Hyde Park Entertainment and Disney are some examples. This, in turn, will have a second-order impact. It will see the diffusion of technologies and production techniques in India and will further enable India to bid for more segments of the production activity. So ‘Made for India’ will over time feed into the ‘Made in India’ trend.“But this is not going to happen anytime soon. Recall that with IT and financial services, the presence of MNCs in India for more than a century created a robust Indian middle- and upper-middle-management layer that was fully acquainted with the West and was ready to offer services and production standards on par with the Western corporations. It will take some time for that to happen in India.“Then there is another trend to keep in mind: the corporatization of Hollywood. As large corporations acquire movie studios (GE’s acquisition of Universal is a case in point) and investment funds increase their funding of movies, there will be greater willingness to see it as ‘a business’ — that is, decouple those parts of production that can be done offshore from those that need to be done onshore.“Finally, don’t underestimate the power of organized big labor in Hollywood. The entertainment industry is the bastion of unionized labor. Many actors and artists will not cross the union picket lines out of ideological sympathy. In the short run, unions will erect stiff barriers to offshoring. But over a period of time, it may well become counterproductive. Union intransigence and labor inflexibility were among the reasons that U.S. firms moved manufacturing to China. Now European firms are beginning to move to Asia for that reason.“So, for some time, India will have to take a two-tack approach: welcome ‘Made in India’ projects and encourage Bollywood to collaborate with Hollywood in the ‘Made for India’ projects,” says Aron.For the optimists at home, it is only a question of whether it will happen tomorrow or the day after. Bringing India up to speed can be done. It will be done, says Nandy who is bursting with confidence. “We are good at virtually everything we do,” he says. And India costs much less. “We are also ready to learn,” he continues. “So anything that is BPO-ed out here will result in innovative options that could teach Hollywood a trick or two in terms of finding creative solutions to complex techie problems. That will be the ultimate benefit of offshoring in this space.”Back in Pune, Jolie and Pitt provoked a debate. Some residents argued that the movie should not have been allowed to disrupt life in the city, though the grumbling was directed less at the stars than at the army of foreign paparazzi surrounding them. At one point things got so tense that one of the guards — who belonged to an outsourced security firm — pulled out his gun to threaten a photographer. Though no bullets were fired, it was an apt metaphor: Whether it is a cameraman or a security guard, everybody in India wants to get in on the action.Reprinted from knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu  Related Itemslast_img read more

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IPL 2011: Trends and traits of auction

first_imgMoney flowed like the water of a flooded river in Bangalore on Saturday as top players in international cricket were bought by the 10 franchisees of the Indian Premier League. The amount splurged in the 2011 auction trumped the millions spent in the inaugural sale in 2008.If $1.55 million (Rs 7.13 crore) was the biggest amount spent till last season – on Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff – the fourth edition of the league kicked off with franchisees spending over $2 million (Rs 9.2 crore) on players like Gautam Gambhir ($2.4 mn; Rs11.04 cr), Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan ($2.1 mn; Rs 9.66 cr).A player like Andrew Symonds commanded $1.35 million earlier (Rs 6.21 crore at current rate), but the trend this time around is clear – if you have to splurge, splurge on the Indian players. What emerged from the auction on Saturday is that the team owners have become smarter. It’s not that they didn’t make sound business decisions earlier or that the deals struck for the new season were reasonable.But if one is allowed to spend up to $9 mn (Rs 41.4 crore), it makes sense to spend one’s millions on Indian stars than on international ones.There are a few reasons behind it. Firstly, the Indian team is one of the top sides in world cricket right now and most of the players are in red hot form. And more importantly, they will be available for the entire duration of the IPL, unlike players from England or the West Indies.The unavailability of foreign players in previous editions hurt the franchisees, who paid them huge sums but couldn’t play them for a large number of games. The team owners have become wiser and have taken the availability of foreign players into account while deciding on their buys.advertisementIt is for that reason that the top seven most expensive players are Indians and the highest amount commanded by a foreign players is $1.5 million (Rs6.9 cr) – for Mahela Jayawardene by Kochi. What the teams have learnt is that irrespective of the quality of the international players, it will be the Indian stars who will form the backbone of the sides. They are the ones who will attract most of the crowds and will be most sought after.Another trend that was visible is the loss in market value of the Australian players. With the aura surrounding the players from Down Under fast diminishing with a string of defeats over the past year, the Aussies are not so much in demand.However, the stock of the English players hasn’t risen correspondingly. It has, however, gotten more to do with the uncertainty over their availability. In the inaugural auction, a lot of money was spent on international players who did well in their domestic T20 tournaments. But this time, the moolah has been splurged only on proven international performers as the franchises would rather take chances with unknown local talent.But the fact remains that unheard of amounts have been spent on players for a one-anda- half month tournament. Even in this apparent madness, there is a method. And the method is to back the Indians.IPL 4 teams till now:KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS Previous squad Sourav Ganguly; Ajit Agarkar; Shane Bond; Ashok Dinda; Chris Gayle; Brad Hodge; Murali Kartik; Brendon McCullum; Angelo Mathews; Ajantha Mendis; Cheteshwar Pujara; Wriddhiman Saha; Owais Shah; Ishant SharmaCurrent squadGautam Gambhir (Rs 11.04 cr), Yusuf Pathan (Rs 9.66 cr), Jacques Kallis (Rs 5.06cr), Brad Haddin (Rs 1.49), Shakeeb Al Hasan (Rs 1.95cr); Brett Lee (Rs 1.84cr); Eoin Morgan (Rs 1.61 cr); Manoj Tiwary (Rs 2.18cr)ROYAL CHALLENGERs  BANGALOREPrevious squad Anil Kumble; Mark Boucher; Rahul Dravid; Dillon du Preez; Shreevats Goswami; Jacques Kallis; Virat Kohli; Praveen Kumar; Abhimanyu Mithun; Kevin PieteRs en; Steven Smith; Dale Steyn; Ross Taylor; RobinCurrent squad Tillakaratne Dilshan (Rs 2.99 cr), Zaheer Khan (Rs 4.14 cr), AB de VillieRs  (Rs 5.06 cr), Daniel Vettori (Rs 2.53 cr), Saurabh Tiwary (Rs 7.36 cr); Dirk Nannes (Rs 2.99 cr); Cheteshwar Pujara (Rs 3.22 cr); Virat Kohli (retained)RAJASTHAN ROYALSPrevious squad Shane Warne; Swapnil Asnodkar; Johan Botha; Abhishek Jhunjhunwala; Kamran Khan; Michael Lumb; Morne Morkel; Naman Ojha; Munaf Patel; Yusuf Pathan; Shaun Tait; Siddharth Trivedi; Adam Voges; Graeme Smith Uthappa; Cameron WhiteCurrent squad Ross Taylor (Rs 2.6 cr), Rahul Dravid (Rs 2.3 cr), Johan Botha (Rs 4.37 cr); Paul Collingwood (Rs 1.15 cr); Shane Warne (retained); Shane Watson (retained)MUMBAI INDIANSPrevious squad Sachin Tendulkar; Dwayne Bravo; Shikhar Dhawan; JP Duminy; Dilhara Fernando; Harbhajan Singh; Zaheer Khan; Dhawal Kulkarni; Lasith Malinga; Ali Murtaza; Abhishek Nayar; Kieron Pollard; Aditya Tare; Saurabh TiwaryCurrent squad Rohit Sharma (Rs 9.2 cr), Andrew Symonds (Rs 3.91 cr), David Jacobs (Rs 87 lakh), James Franklin (Rs 46 lakh); Sachin Tendulkar (retained); Harbhajan Singh (retained); Kieron Pollard (retained); Lasith Malinga (retained)advertisementDECCAN CHARGERSPrevious squad Adam Gilchrist; Anirudh Singh; Azhar Bilakhia; HeRs chelle Gibbs; Harmeet Singh; Ryan Harris; VVS Laxman; Mitchell MaRs h; Pragyan Ojha; Ravi Teja; Kemar Roach; Rohit Sharma; RP Singh; T Suman; Andrew SymondsCurrent squadKevin PieteRs en (Rs 2.99 cr), Cameron White (Rs 5.06 cr), Kumar Sangakkara (Rs 3.22 cr), JP Duminy (Rs 1.38 cr), Shikhar Dhawan (Rs 1.38 cr); Dale Steyn (Rs 5.52 cr); Amit Mishra (Rs 1.38 cr); Ishant Sharma (Rs 2.07 cr) Pragyan Ojha (Rs 2.3 cr)MUMBAI INDIANSPrevious squad Sachin Tendulkar; Dwayne Bravo; Shikhar Dhawan; JP Duminy; Dilhara Fernando; Harbhajan Singh; Zaheer Khan; Dhawal Kulkarni; Lasith Malinga; Ali Murtaza; Abhishek Nayar; Kieron Pollard; Aditya Tare; Saurabh TiwaryCurrent squad Rohit Sharma (Rs 9.2 cr), Andrew Symonds (Rs 3.91 cr), David Jacobs (Rs 87 lakh), James Franklin (Rs 46 lakh); Sachin Tendulkar (retained); Harbhajan Singhlast_img read more

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London Olympics: Jiao wins gold in women’s 200m butterfly swimming

first_imgJiao Liuyang of China sped to gold in the women’s 200m butterfly at the London Olympics on Wednesday. Jiao, the Beijing silver medallist at the age of 16, went one better this time to win in 2 minutes, 4.06 seconds, a new Olympic record.”It was my strategy to accelerate in the last 50, as in the semifinal I swam too fast in the first half and it made me really tired for the second half,” Jiao said.”I am really happy but I still need to put more effort in training as it was not an easy win.”Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia won a surprise silver in 2:05.28, while Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi took the bronze in 2.05.48.”I felt nervous but strong. I feel like I’ve achieved a dream,” Belmonte Garcia said.”I thought nothing as I left the pool. My mind went blank.”last_img read more

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Boxing: WBA gives 24 hour deadline to Anthony Joshua to fight Povetkin Next

first_imgAdvertisementThe World Boxing Association is ready to order champion Anthony Joshua to defend his WBA heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The WBA will be ordering the fight within 24 hours, according to Sky Sports News.Gilberto Mendoza, president of the Panama-based sanctioning organization, issued that order because the WBA doesn’t want to wait any longer for a deal to be consummated between Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) and WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) for a heavyweight title unification fight. Sky Sports first reported the WBA’s 24-hour order to complete a Joshua-Povetkin deal.“Today the WBA requested an answer from Anthony Joshua’s team regarding his fight with the mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin,” WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said to skysports.com. “It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect.”The 38-year-old Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) defeated England’s David Price (22-5, 18 KOs) by fifth-round knockout in his most recent fight. That bout took place on the Joshua-Joseph Parker undercard March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.Russia’s Povetkin, a former WBA heavyweight champion, has lost only a 12-round unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in their title unification fight in October 2013 in Moscow.Advertisementlast_img read more

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Euro 2016: Ronaldo scores as Portugal hammer Estonia 7-0 in warm-up

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo’s two first-half goals in 10 minutes helped Portugal to a 7-0 demolition of Estonia on Wednesday in the hosts’ last warmup game before the European Championship. (Full Euro 2016 coverage )Ronaldo marked his return to the Portugal squad after a two-game absence by scoring with a powerful header in the 38th and then shooting home from inside the area, extending his Portuguese record tally to 58 goals. He has 126 caps – one shy of Luis Figo’s record.The Portuguese captain showed no signs of the muscle problems that appeared at the end of last season with Real Madrid. Ricardo Quaresma also scored twice, while Danilo and Eder got second-half goals. Karol Mets’ own-goal completed the rout. (‘Ronaldo fully fit for Euro glory’ )Ronaldo took the role of center forward before his halftime substitution but roamed freely and often dropped back into midfield. The Portuguese beat Norway 3-0 and lost 1-0 against England in recent warmups. No player appeared to be injured in Wednesday’s match.Portugal is in Group F at Euro 2016 and plays its first game against Iceland on Tuesday. Austria and Hungary are also in the group.Estonia did not qualify.Despite producing some of Europe’s top players, Portugal has never won any silverware. It was the losing finalist against Greece at Euro 2004, a tournament it played on home turf.last_img read more

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Switch interfaces

first_img David_Ashton_EC says: April 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm “Aubrey, good to know about the chips you mentioned. When it comes to making an elastomeric keyboard, what people forget in the pursuit of cheap..cheap..cheap is I see some try a HASL coated surface for making the switch contact with the carbon pill attac Log in to Reply Log in to Reply Log in to Reply February 12, 2019 at 7:31 pm Log in to Reply eldercosta says: December 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm “Eldernn” we are never old enough that we cannot learn new things “nnToo true. In my case it’s the problem of remembering old (and not so old) things.nn”I would probably not think of looking for specific parts “nnIt seems to me that a few years April 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm April 25, 2017 at 5:33 pm antedeluvian says: antedeluvian says: April 11, 2017 at 8:05 pm “DavidnnIt’s a long time since I thought about crosspoint switches. I checked on Digikey and they seem to go as big as 40×40, although between the price and the BGA, I am not sure you will be using them in a hobby application any time soon.” “Since I wrote about keyboard scanning (although not the prime focus of the blog) I thought I should point out an app note I just came across using a Silego programmable part as a keyboard scannernhttp://www.silego.com/applications/keypadscanner.html” AubreyKagan says: Continue Reading Previous The evolution of AI: How the past will define the futureNext TIPIT — A unique outlier in AR space antedeluvian says: Log in to Reply Everywhere you look in industrial electronics there are switches and contacts: proximity switches, limit switches, relay contacts, activation switches and sometimes even keyboard switches. At one point, there was a plethora of integrated circuits that were aimed at switch matrices, but they all seemed to have faded to be replaced by versions of the 8042 that were used by IBM in the PC keyboard. Today if you were interested in making your own matrix encoder you would probably use a microcontroller of your own design. I have a recollection that Intel’s 8279 had a special mode for discrete switches.However switches in the industrial sphere have their own peculiarities. First of all they often operate at high voltages – 24VDC is common. Second of all they don’t really lend themselves to a matrix configuration. (For you youngsters out there, a switch matrix is a method of multiplexing input contacts as a means to reduce the I/O pins needed to detect the switch state. I did a pair of blog posts on an aspect of this subject “Keyboard and display multiplexing — the traditional approach” and “Keyboard and display multiplexing – Charlieplexing”.)   As a result, techniques are needed to condition the voltage to the microcontroller’s input voltage and to reduce the number of microcontroller I/O pins. In addition, where there is a mechanical contact, there is switch bounce and contact resistance.I would love to write a blog on switch bounce, but Jack Ganssle beat me to it with a series of definitive articles on the topic (listed at the bottom), and it would be foolhardy to hold myself up for comparison with the master. You must read those articles.Contact resistance can be a bother as well since sometimes the resistance is too high to be detected as a “make”. Some switches may require a minimum current to overcome the contact resistance (a “wetting” current).There is a way to encode a number of inputs using a priority encoder, several of which you can find in the conventional logic families. These provide a code at their output that corresponds to the active input with the highest priority. Look at devices like the 74HC148 or the CD4532. You could also look at digital data multiplexers, again in the standard logic families like the 74HC151 (and there are others depending on the configuration you want). Of course you are still left with conditioning the input voltage. Analog switch multiplexers (e.g. CD4067) may add a degree of flexibility since they can work with elevated voltages, but that simply defers the voltage translation problem.But of course, if I am writing about the subject, there are probably several other more comprehensive solutions. Most of these have serialized communications ports and as a result lend themselves to simplified isolation of the inputs, since each input does not have to be individually isolated.Freescale/NXP (or whoever owns them now) offer the 33975/A and the 33972/A/T. Both are aimed at the automotive market, but there is no reason they couldn’t be used on the industrial stage. They have up to 15 inputs (at elevated voltage) with wetting current and an SPI output.TI has a single offering, the industrially targeted SN65HVS880PWP, which has only 8 digital inputs with elevated voltage capability, but it has some other features. It has debounce filters, input current limits, serial output, is cascadable and has drivers for external LEDs that correspond to the inputs.Maxim does have offerings very similar to TI’s. They are the MAX31911, MAX31912, MAX31913,  MAX31914, and MAX31915. If you only need to condition a single contact you may want to consider the MAX14838/9 industrial sensor output driver. The variations include a parallel output and SPI interface.And finally Silicon Labs produces the Si838x family. Aside from the debounce of TI’s and Maxim’s offerings, this device has a diode bridge input (so no wiring polarity issues, although there doesn’t appear to be a smoothing capacitor so AC input appears unlikely) and most importantly include 2.5KV isolation.I guess this blog complements “Where Have All the (MCU) Outputs Gone?” that I wrote a while back. Together the blogs cover both digital input and output in industrial systems and I hope they have provided some direction to design in that field.Jack Ganssle’s Articles on Debouncing: Solving Switch Bounce ProblemsMy favorite software debouncersA Guide to Debouncing, or, How to Debounce a Contact in Two Easy Pages- Part 1A Guide to Debouncing – Part 2, or, How to Debounce a Contact in Two Easy Pages Log in to Reply April 11, 2017 at 9:19 pm AubreyKagan says: “There is now a blog on Planet Analog “Corralling switch and sensor inputs in industrial applications” nn(https://www.planetanalog.com/author.asp?section_id=3388&doc_id=564729&piddl_msgid=144542&piddl_msgposted=yes#msg_144542 )nnIt describes two n Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Electromechanical “Aubrey, we are never old enough that we cannot learn new things (wetting current I mean) 🙂 . Also thank you for the heads up on the ICs. I have to admit I would probably not think of looking for specific parts like these for this kind of application.nn 8 thoughts on “Switch interfaces” December 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm Log in to Reply MWagner_MA says: Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. “Maxim has introduced a new octal industrial digital input, this one with diagnostics: the MAX22190nhttps://www.maximintegrated.com/en/products/sensors/MAX22190.html?utm_source=Eloqua&utm_medium=email&utm_content=MAX22190&utm_campaign=FY19_Q3_2018_F “I have got some very nice matrix switching ICs out of old PABXs (phone systems) – I think the biggest was a 16×16. But as you say these are not common, especially now that phone systems have gone over to IP based ones in the main.” Log in to Reply last_img read more

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BPL 2019: Smith, Warner fall cheaply in 1st high-profile match since ball-tampering saga

first_imgFormer Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner led Comilla Victorians and Sylhet Sixers, respectively in their first-ever Bangladesh Premier League match on Sunday after the infamous ball-tampering incident from last year.Smith and Warner were handed the huge responsibility of leading their teams in their season openers at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. Both the Australian players were seen exchanging pleasantries and shook hands as they walked out for the toss earlier in the day.While Warner was picked up by the Sylhet Sixers in the pre-tournament draft, Smith’s participation had remained uncertain as several franchises opposed his inclusion from outside the draft as a replacement for Sri Lanka’s Asela Gunaratne.However, Steve Smith led the Victorians to a winning start in BPL 2019 as they beat David Warner’s Sylhet Sixers by four wickets.Afridi shines for Steve Smith’s VictoriansFormer Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi starred for Steve Smith’s team as he smashed a 25-ball 39, which included five boundaries and two sixes. The Victorians were reeling at 97 for 6 from 16.3 overs, chasing 128 before Afridi began opening his arms up.Smith managed only 16 runs from 17 balls but he stitched a crucial 30-run stand with Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal after the Victorians lost two wickets.Earlier in the day, David Warner was declared run out but the decision against him was questionable as he made it past the crease first when two Sylhet batsmen ran to the same end.Warner made a 13-ball 14, including three boundaries, before he was adjudged run-out.advertisementSmith and Warner are both serving 12-month bans, which expire on March 30. The two batsmen, who are known for their consistency, are likely to play the World Cup and the Ashes later this year for Australia.Speaking to the media in December last year, Smith had said he was aware of what was going on in the Australian dressing room beore Cameron Bancroft was caught on television cameras tampering the red cherry during a Test match in Cape Town against South Africa in March.”In the room I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn’t do it. It went out and happened on the field. I had the opportunity to stop it rather than say I didn’t want to know anything about it. That was my failure of leadership for that and I have taken responsibility for that,” Smith said.While Smith and Bancroft, who revealed Warner had asked him to alter the condition of the ball, spoke to the media, Warner decided to keep mum and go about his preparations for the much-anticipated international comeback.Also Read | Virat Kohli sympathises with Steve Smith and David Warner: I felt very badAlso Read | Steve Smith reveals why he did not appeal ball-tampering banAlso Read | I want to come back better than I was, says Steve Smith in new commercialAlso See:last_img read more

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More Access for Persons with Disabilities

first_img This was noted by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, during a tour of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) multipurpose facility on Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, Thursday (June 8), with representatives from the IDB. The Government is seeking to increase access and coverage for persons with disabilities, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The Government is seeking to increase access and coverage for persons with disabilities, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).This was noted by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, during a tour of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) multipurpose facility on Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, Thursday (June 8), with representatives from the IDB.Mrs. Robinson said the Government aims to expand the level of participation in the society by persons with disabilities, while at the same time empowering them to make valuable contribution to society.“We are working to actualise the right of every Jamaican with a disability to develop to maximum potential as mandated by our Disabilities Act,” she said.She informed that the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is developing Codes of Practices and Regulations to accompany the legislation.“We are developing a public-education campaign to ensure that the society as a whole understands the rights of persons with disabilities,” Mrs. Robinson said.Meanwhile, the Minister said the country has benefited from the partnership with the IDB, especially through financial and technical support to foster social inclusion and promote equity and empowerment of individuals.She cited the upgraded Early Stimulation Multipurpose facility as an example of a fruitful relationship.The IDB provided approximately $87 million for the project, under the Integrated Social Protection and Labour Programme.“This upgraded ESP assessment centre and multipurpose facility is a striking example of our alliance. This beautifully designed building will enhance the well-being and welfare of children with disabilities through an expansion of assessment and intervention services,” Mrs. Robinson said.The range of services offered through ESP include home-based visits, specialised early-childhood education, parenting workshops and counselling sessions, parent-support groups, placement of children, and the provision of resources to other agencies serving young children with disabilities.“Over the longer term, the aim for regional intervention centres will help to reduce the institutionalisation of young children with developmental disabilities across the island. The coping skills of parents, guardians and caregivers are being improved to care for their children as well as the efforts of the teachers and social workers,” Mrs. Robinson said.The IDB is also providing funds for the expansion of the Stimulation-Plus Early Childhood Development Centre (STIM-PLUS), in East Kingston, which is slated for completion by the end of 2017.“There will also be administrative offices, a sickbay, disability friendly bathrooms and caretaker cottage. I am told that on completion, enrolment is expected to increase by at least 40 per cent, providing greater access to the ESP by more Jamaicans,” she said.“I want to affirm to our IDB partners how beneficial this is, since referrals to the programme come from the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Ministry of Education, Family Court, Child Development Agency and other agencies serving young children,” Mrs. Robinson added.Meanwhile, Vice-President of Countries at the IDB, Mr. Alexandre Meira da Rosa, highlighted the enthusiasm and joy of the professionals and students at the multipurpose facility.“It is not very often that I experience this kind of environment. I was positively surprised to see the interest of the Government of Jamaica in early-childhood development. This is rarely seen in countries of comparable size and comparable economies. So, I applaud the Government of Jamaica to put this as a priority,” he said.“I truly hope that one of the results of our partnership, is that we can compile this experience and export and take it to other countries. I am very glad for this partnership and am looking forward to doing more,” he added.The ESP caters to disabled children up to six years old and serves 1,539 youngsters, 416 of whom are from rural communities.The range of disabilities managed under the Programme include cerebral palsy, sensory impairment, autism, Down syndrome, developmental delay, psychosocial deprivation and co-morbid behavioural problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).center_img Story Highlightslast_img read more

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Strategy to Improve Palliative Care for Nova Scotians

first_imgNova Scotians want more choices about how they are cared for as they approach the end of their lives. A new strategy, released by government today, May 6, sets direction to improve palliative care in the province. “We’ve heard from Nova Scotians who would prefer to spend their last days at home surrounded by family, if possible, rather than in a hospital,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “We are investing $1 million for the first year of this strategy to move toward a more integrated approach with health professionals and community organizations, and to focus more on patients’ needs,” said Mr. Glavine. “These are first steps toward our ultimate goal of giving all Nova Scotians quality palliative care in the setting of their choice.” Palliative care aims to provide quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses. It can take place in various settings, including the patient’s home, long-term and residential care, hospital, or a residential hospice facility. The strategy includes establishing an advisory committee to guide implementation. It also includes hiring a provincial palliative care co-ordinator and additional palliative care team members in South Shore, Annapolis Valley and Capital district health authorities this year. The strategy recognizes that palliative care and planning need to start when a patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, and adjust as the patient moves through stages of the illness. Funding is going to the Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association to begin educating Nova Scotians and care providers on advance planning. “Advance care planning is important because in order to respect the patient’s and family’s wishes for end-of-life care, we need to know what those wishes are,” said Colleen Cash, executive director of the association. “Addressing this will require education and support for health-care providers and the public, and our association is looking forward to working with the provincial government on this important component of the new provincial palliative care strategy,” said Ms. Cash. The strategy gives direction for more collaboration among health professionals and community support organizations. Dr. David Henderson is a palliative care physician at the Colchester East Hants Health Authority. “The health care of a society is framed by the need to provide safe, caring, competent, and timely care both when we are born and when we are dying. Yet, we haven’t focused as much on end-of-life care,” said Dr. Henderson. “This strategy will guide professionals in different parts of the health system and increase our capacity to work more closely together, and with patients, families and community organizations to provide the right kind of care, at the right time, and in the right place,” he said. The strategy is available at novascotia.ca/dhw/palliativecare .last_img read more

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Stars Take Part In LilySarahGrace Color Outside The Lines Campaign

first_imgLilySarahGrace (LSG) today announced its latest fundraising campaign, “Color Outside the Lines,” based around drawings from more than 40 artists in film, television, music and visual art that were specially created for LSG.The campaign will officially launch on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at the first-annual LSG Gala at Jack Studios (601 W 26th St).Featured artists in the campaign include Adam Scott, Ben Harper, Bruno Mars, Carole Feuerman, Casey Affleck, David Copperfield, Diane von Furstenberg, Ed Helms, Elizabeth Banks, Elle Fanning, Eric Bogosian, Helen Ficalora, Jack Black, Jason Bateman, Jason Schwartzman, Jemima Kirk, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, Joaquin Phoenix, Johnny Knoxville, Julianna Marguiles, Julianne Moore, Justin Theroux, Justin Vivian Bond, Laura Dern, Laurie Simmons, Lena Dunham, Lionel Richie, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mario Batali, Mark Seliger, Mary-Louise Parker, Naomi Watts, Natasha Lyonne, Nigel Sylvester, Rufus Wainwright, Sage Vaughn, Scott Caan, Tina Fey, Tom Arnold, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Ferrell and will.i.am.As part of “Color Outside the Lines,” LSG has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish these one-of-a- kind drawings into a book, titled You Can’t Memorize This. For more information about “Color Outside the Lines” and to donate to the cause, click here.“My daughters were creative beings, each with their own individual passions and gifts. All three shared challenges in literacy. I witnessed Grace flourish in a creative, art-infused classroom, and Lily panic in a rigid, traditional one. No child should be frightened by school. Sadly with the removal of the Arts, this is very common in Public Education today,” LSG Founder Matthew Badger said. “This campaign is all about promoting the joy of creativity. I just think it is really awesome that so many creative people showed up for this and took the time to do a drawing. The family of LilySarahGrace suddenly just got so much bigger! I hope this campaign furthers our reach into the classrooms across America. The country is filled with public elementary school teachers that are desperate to bring the arts into their classrooms. They know how art creates a love of learning for their students.”LSG provides underfunded schools with supplies and educational tools to teach their curriculum through the arts. Whoopi Goldberg, Charles Best and Hans Tullman will be honored at the Gala for their significant contributions and dedication to arts education.LilySarahGrace was founded by Matthew Badger and his partner, Abby Ballin, after his daughters – Lily, Sarah and Grace – tragically passed away in a fire on Christmas of 2011. Lily was 9 and twins Sarah and Grace were 7. Badger witness firsthand how vital the arts in school were for his girls because of their dyslexia. Art was their passion. Since April 2012, LSG has given $1 million in supplies to teachers in underfunded public elementary schools to teach their curriculum through the arts. Because of LilySarahGrace, 140,000 children have learned through this method in classrooms all over America. To learn more, visit www.lilysarahgrace.org.In addition to “Color Outside the Lines,” the Gala will feature specially designed charms from Helen Ficalora, based on a drawing by Sarah Badger. The charms are available in yellow, pink or white 14k, solid-gold – with a diamond charm or without – and sterling silver. Pricing ranges from $75 to $300. 25% of the proceeds go to LSG. Charms will be available for purchase at the LSG Gala.The evening will also feature a performance by Rufus Wainwright and a DJ set by Andy Rourke of the Smiths. Creative direction for the Gala is conceptualized and executed by Abby Ballin and Periel Aschenbrand. To purchase tickets for the Gala, click here.The Host Committee for the 2014 LSG Gala includes Laura Dern, Mindy Goldberg, Jenny Levy, Genevieve Lynch, Timory King, Tim Ives, Gaby Basora, Doug Halbert, Stacy Wall, Jake Bernstein, Michael Goldberg, Cindy Sherman, Rebecca Blumhagen, Liana Pai and Bridget Goodbody.last_img read more

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William And Elizabeth Shatner With Wells Fargo To Host Check Presentation

first_imgWilliam Shatner will join his wife Elizabeth, Wells Fargo Greater Los Angeles Lead Region President, David DiCristofaro and Wells Fargo Senior Vice President, Jonathan Weedman at a news event to announce a major contribution to support therapeutic service for military veterans, Thursday, December 17 at 10:00 AM at Shadow Hills Riding Club, 10263 La Canada Way, #2, Shadow Hills, Calif.As part of the news conference, Wells Fargo will make a check presentation to The All Glory Project, an organization seeking to promote, foster and support programs and institutions that utilize animal-assisted and adjunct therapies in aiding military veterans and their families.The All Glory Project’s mission is to educate the public about opportunities to support equine-assisted therapy.last_img

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Acid shipments halted in BC city while series of leaks is investigated

first_imgTRAIL, B.C. – Municipal officials in southeastern British Columbia say they have been assured that the company which moves sulphuric acid through a West Kootenay city won’t resume shipping until a thorough engineering investigation wraps up.A post on the City of Trail website says a meeting was requested Monday with senior members of International Raw Materials and Teck’s Trail smelter operations after sulphuric acid dripped on city roads over the weekend.The release of acid was the third in Trail since April, with the first two spills prompting thousands of vehicle claims to the Insurance Corporation of B.C.In the city’s post, Mayor Mike Martin says the third leak, which spilled less than a quarter of a litre of acid at a loading facility and left three dime-sized drips along a highway through Trail, was minor, but still concerning.Martin says that’s because previous meetings with International Raw Materials had ended with assurances the company was working to prevent future problems.The city says during the meeting the company said it has halted all truck transport of sulphuric acid until the engineering investigation and certification process concludes.Four new transport trailers will also be brought in to move the acid, the city says.International Raw Materials buys sulphuric acid from Teck’s Trail plant and hauls it along several busy commuter routes to loading facilities in another part of the city.The Insurance Corporation confirmed that hundreds of vehicles, including a new fire truck worth approximately $800,000, were damaged or destroyed by the first two acid spills.Teck said in a release earlier this month that a total of just under 300 litres of sulphuric acid leaked in separate spills on April 10 and May 23.No one was hurt, the acid was neutralized and is not believed to have seeped into area waterways.last_img read more

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Ban Kimoon to focus on better business practices at meeting of top

26 October 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will push for greater harmonization and realignment of business practices at the United Nations when he participates in the two-day meeting starting today of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) of top officials from across the UN system. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will push for greater harmonization and realignment of business practices at the United Nations when he participates in the two-day meeting starting today of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) of top officials from across the UN system.Mr. Ban will focus on such areas as improving procurement, human resources, audits and accounting and reducing transaction costs during the discussions in New York, his spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.Ms. Montas said the Secretary-General viewed this CEB meeting as the start of a process to make the entire UN system more effective and coherent in its business practices and to save money.“This includes the issue of internal audits,” she said. “Most of the members of the CEB have their own governing bodies – made up of Member States – who ultimately take the decision” on whether to release them “so the aim of this meeting is to decide on the best path to follow to try to harmonize practices within the UN system when it comes to the handling of internal audits and deciding what gets released. The same goes for issues relating to the Ethics Office.”Aside from management issues, the Board is also slated to take up a series of programme issues, including climate change, African development and the pilot “One UN” programme aimed at streamlining UN operations in each country.Mr. Ban plans to push UN agencies, funds and programmes to follow the efforts of the Secretariat to make the UN building ‘climate neutral’ during the planned overhaul known as the Capital Master Plan, the spokesperson said. read more

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Indiana Hoosiers vs Ohio State Buckeyes Stepping stone or stumbling block

There’s no question that Ohio State football (5-3, 2-2) vaulted itself into the race for a Big Ten Leaders Division title after its 33-29 upset win against then-No. 12-ranked Wisconsin. The real question is whether OSU can avoid a letdown in its upcoming game. With a Saturday contest against Indiana awaiting his team, first-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell said Thursday that he is wary of the Hoosiers. “Not that people believe it, but (Indiana) is a scary crew,” Fickell said. “I really believe that. With the way the offense is going for Indiana, they don’t mind coming (to OSU).” Indiana is in the middle of the pack among Big Ten offenses and is ranked No. 7 in the conference. The Hoosiers are averaging 23.2 points per game — just 1.3 points fewer than OSU. “They’ll be in a different mindset,” Fickell said. Surely, Indiana is in a different mindset compared to when it visited Ohio Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. The Hoosiers lost, 38-10, that day but finished the season 5-7 and had a shot at bowl eligibility for parts of the year. In 2011, first-year Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has led the Hoosiers to a 1-8 overall record and an 0-5 Big Ten record. Wilson also saw one of his top receivers, senior Damarlo Belcher, dismissed from the team this week. Co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler’s said he’s currently “extremely frustrated.” His unit has given up 51 points per game in the last four weeks “…We’ve gone downhill,” Ekeler said of Indiana’s 2011 performance. “I go home and I don’t sleep because I’m not used to this and I don’t want to get used to it. And I’m sick of it and I’m tired of it. It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve ever been a part of.” Though the defense has been disappointing for the Hoosiers, the offense has recently showed signs of life. They’ve averaged 31 points in their last two games and haven’t had trouble moving the ball. But Indiana co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith said that athletically, the Buckeye defense will be tough to match up against. “They’re big, fast and strong if you like that kind of athlete,” Smith said. “I tell those guys all the time so it’s going to be a challenge each and every snap.” Wilson has at least remained upbeat, saying his team is looking forward to Saturday’s game. “We look forward to going into (Ohio Stadium),” Wilson said. “We look forward to going against the Buckeyes and it will be a great challenge.” Fickell voiced concerns about the Indiana squad on Thursday, but Wilson is also realistic about the challenge presented by OSU. “(OSU is) coming off back-to-back wins, they’re sitting at 5-3,” he said. “They could have three wins in a row. They played very well at Nebraska and their freshman quarterback (Braxton Miller) has done a nice job. “They are doing it with good players and a quarterback that can make plays. The last time we won against Ohio State was in the 80’s, so we’re playing a team that’s pretty good. It’s not like all of a sudden I say we have an advantage from playing those guys.” Both teams head into the contest with injuries. Fickell said Thursday that OSU junior running back Jordan Hall was “doubtful” for the game and Ekeler remarked that the Hoosiers have had so many injuries they are having trouble filling the scout team. Weary though he may be, Fickell said there would be no let down on Saturday. “We’ve been through enough,” he said, “and we know what the situation is.” Kickoff for Saturday’s game at the ‘Shoe is set for noon. read more

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Major quits Army and sends medals back to Queen in protest at

first_imgBuckingham Palace confirmed it sent the major a letter in response, which he described as “very touching”. A decorated major facing his eighth investigation over the death of an Iraqi teenager 15 years ago has given his medals back and quit the Army in protest. Major Robert Campbell, who was wounded in the line of duty, became so disillusioned he returned his medals to the Queen, it has emerged.center_img Major Campbell, who serves in the Royal Engineers, said his decision to resign was a consequence of his career having been “poisoned” by a series of inquiries into the death of the Iraqi in 2003. Ministers are now under growing pressure to shut down the Iraq Fatality Investigations (IFI) inquiry, which…last_img

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Game changing high performance drill rig

first_imgAtlas Copco’s new ultra fuel efficient drill rig, the SmartROC CL, was one of the star attractions at MINExpo where it was unveiled for the first time in public ahead of its official world launch in November. The company says it is a major step forward in DTH drilling. “Not only have the designers managed to slash fuel consumption by 45%, averaging 35 litres/h using a 165 mm drill bit, they have also boosted the achievable penetration rate by 50% compared with conventional DTH rigs currently in use.”How does the SmartROC CL do it? The engine power required to drive various functions and operations can now be controlled and optimized in a way that was previously not possible, thereby minimizing the amount of diesel fuel consumed overall.The design of the COPROD drill string which, combined with a choice of robust, high powered rock drills up to 50 KW, gives the kind of high penetration rates normally only achieved in top hammer drilling together with the superior hole quality that comes with DTH drilling.In addition, this package includes a range of automated, time-saving features including automatic rod handling (RHS), hole navigation system (HNS) and the ability to operate the rig by remote control using Atlas Copco’s BenchREMOTE system. Coupled with Surface Manager, Atlas Copco’s drill management software, this rig should be a great success.Mattias Hjerpe, Product Manager, says: “Many of our customers in, for example, Australia, South Africa, Latin America and Scandinavia, who use DTH drilling, now have a great opportunity to slash their fuel bills and boost their productivity at the same time. It’s a winning combination.”When the first new rigs are shipped out for delivery in the first quarter of 2017, Australian miners will be first in line. Tom Ross, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco Australia, says: “The demand for the new SmartROC CL is already very strong here and our customers are very much looking forward to its arrival – and to becoming the world’s first owners.”The same sentiments are echoed in Latin America, and particularly in Chile where Vidal Martin, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco Chilena, is convinced that the rig will be especially appreciated as it has proved to function well at high altitudes.At a time when miners are facing extra tough economic conditions, a drill rig that can substantially reduce running costs and boost productivity is clearly worth investigating.SmartROC CL operates in the 115 mm (4 ½”) to 216 mm (8 ½”) hole diameter range. It comes with a choice of powerful COPROD rock drills and a maximum hole depth of 42.5 m.Moreover, SmartROC CL comes with a CAT C13 engine developing 328 kW (440 hp) at 2 000 rpm, available in both Tier 3 and Tier 4 Final versions.last_img read more

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Amazon patents system to exchange unwanted gifts before theyre even sent

first_imgThere’s always a few family members and friends that you can count on to give you absolutely incredible gifts… and similarly, more than a few who seem to make a point of giving you dud gifts. You’d think that living in the era of Amazon wish lists would obviate a lot of this, but I still have friends who seemingly know nothing about my personality than the fact that I “like books,” and give me the latest Danielle Steele novel for Christmas accordingly.Amazon’s looking to change that with a new patent that helps protect you from receiving dud gifts by allowing you to return unwanted presents before you even receive them. According to the patent, the new procedure would allow Amazon users to convert gifts from a specific giver to presents they want more. Here’s how it works: you set up a list on Amazon of people whose gift giving instincts you don’t entirely trust. When these individuals try to send you a gift through Amazon, you then get an alert that tells you exactly what they’re sending, and offering you the ability to silently convert purchases from any potential sender… while also sending them a thank you note automatically! How cheeky!I have to say, even though I admire the idea, this is a pretty ingrateful way to handle receiving a gift. As they say, it’s the thought that counts. Silently exchanging a gift before it’s even opened seems a pretty crappy way to reward someone’s love and generosity.Read more at Washington Postlast_img read more

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Community leaders say SANDAGs new TransNet vision will shelve highway safety improvements

first_imgCommunity leaders say SANDAG’s new TransNet vision will shelve highway safety improvements KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsAfter controversy surrounding proposed new transit options from SANDAG MTS is doing its best to make the community feel involved in any future plans.They are holding their first public forum asking community members for their help defining the future of transit in San Diego.Mark Olson from MTS joined KUSI News to discuss more about what this meeting means.A new survey says more than 50 percent of people who drive alone to work indicated that they would choose an alternative commute at least once per week under the right circumstances, according to findings from the 2018 Commute Behavior Survey.For more information about the 2021 Regional Plan and 5 Big Moves to deliver a bold new transportation vision, please visit SDForward.com/Vision. June 25, 2019 Updated: 6:12 PM Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Kristin Gaspar, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones and Santee City Councilwoman Laura Koval are spoke out against a San Diego Association of Governments plan to improve public transit infrastructure, which opponents say will come at the cost of planned highway improvements.The community leaders claim  SANDAG’s executive director wants to steer TransNet funds to other mass transit programs, at the expense of promised road improvements such as road and safety improvements to SR-67.“SR-67 between Ramona and Lakeside is not only considered dangerous to daily motorists, but it serves as a critical escape route during wildfire. Mass evacuations during the 2007 Witch Creek blaze turned the narrow, winding road into a parking lot, with traffic backed up for hours,” according to a release by Dianne Jacob’s office.KUSI Contributor and AM 760 radio host Mark Larson joined KUSI News to further discuss the battle over TransNet funds. Posted: June 25, 2019last_img read more

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Mount Hood Meadows plans Saturday opening

first_imgMount Hood Meadows plans to open for the season on Saturday with limited operations.Buttercup and Easy Rider chairlifts are scheduled to operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but more lifts may be added depending on snow conditions, said Dave Tragethon, executive director of communications, on Thursday.The resort will announce chairlift ticket pricing for Saturday by Friday afternoon.Mount Hood Meadows has 19 inches of snow, with more depth at higher elevations. Saturday’s opening is dependent on more snow. The forecast calls for a foot or more by Saturday.“Early season conditions exist, with good to thin coverage on the groomed runs, with exposed grass, rocks,” according to Tragethon. “Skiers and snowboarders should be aware of unmarked obstacles.”With enough additional snow, the high-speed quad chairlifts including the new Stadium Express might open by Saturday or Sunday, he added.Stadium Express will be Mount Hood Meadows’ first new chairlift since 2005. The bottom terminal is much closer to the lodge than the old Stadium chair. The top terminal is on the ridge near the top of Heather lift. This will improve access to north areas including Heather Canyon, Shooting Star and Hood River Meadows.last_img read more

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Peonies and murals to brighten Homers Pioneer Avenue

first_img The artists used a studio on the corner of Pioneer Avenue and Heath Street. (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry) One of the smallest murals of the bunch, painted by artist Sebastian Troy Pierre. (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry) Artists work in small teams of three or more to create each mural (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry) Since May, murals have been popping up around Homer’s main commercial street, Pioneer Avenue. This is thanks to the Peonies on Pioneer Mural Program. The six-week program was led by an out of state art consultant with help from Bunnell Street Arts Center, and a handful of local artists.Listen nowArtist Brianna Allen works on a 16-by-8-foot wooden panel that will be installed at the Lakeshore Mall. (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry)Businesses are partnering with artists to highlight the local peony industry and to bring continuity to the town’s business district. Kady Perry is an art consultant from New York, who flew to Homer to help create this project. The project has already resulted in two murals along Pioneer, and volunteers are also planting hundreds of peony bulbs along the roadway.“It’s a theme because we are celebrating the industry that’s here,[and] that’s budding from the peony farm,” Perry said.Peony farms are a growing industry in the Homer area because the cold weather allows local farmers to harvest cut flowers, and supply them to national and international markets during a time of year when other areas can’t produce them.Perry has been leading the six-week program, and said artists are eager to gain experience through community art projects.“There’s kind of a demand for training for artists right now across the nation. Artists have this skill-set, and they want to continue to practice professionally, and a great way to do that is by being a mural painter,” Perry said. The Heath Street retaining wall is repainted after 25 years with peonies and neon colors. (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry)center_img A practice design for the Salmon mural, painted on a piece of cardboard by Brianna Allen (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry) Artists Taylor Ashlock and Brianna Allen work together on a large scale mural for Lakeshore Mall (Photo courtesy of Kady Perry) The artists are creating eight original murals. Some are painted straight onto the sides of buildings and others are painted onto wooden panels that will be purchased by businesses, and then permanently installed.One of the mural projects involved redoing the Heath Street mural, which was painted by local artist, Jean Steele, 25 years ago. The old image of a seining boat was fading, so a team of artists stripped it off the wall and replaced it with multiple layers of new designs. The artists began with a colorful layer of peonies, and finished off with a detailed comic strip design that depicts a fishing story of a man going off to sea, while his wife awaits his return.Another mural that is over 20 feet long, also has a story behind it. Desiree Hagen, a volunteer artist in the project, explained the mural as being a depiction of Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the sea.“She’s like giant. She’s like the ocean. There’s a whole mythology about her. One of them is where she got her fingers cut off and all of her fingers became the marine mammals like the whales, the seals, the otters, and everything,” Hagen said.Another artist in the group, Brianna Allen, described the 16-foot-long, 8-foot-tall mural that will be permanently installed at the Lakeshore Mall.“There were salmon and they’re sort of like, really abstract on the inside. Some were rainbow color; some were filled in with floral. So the premise was to take that concept and make it ours by putting peonies inside the salmon,” Allen said.Asia Freeman, the Executive Artistic Director for Bunnell Street Arts Center, helped Perry create the program.“As we look forward and think about economic development, for a community like Homer, and Alaska in general, I think it’s very important to support the efforts that are being made in areas like agriculture, the arts, cultural tourism,[and] education. Homer is well poised to be a leader in our state, and that’s really exciting to me,” Freeman said.The fact that the murals will remain here for years to come, having a lasting impact on the atmosphere in the community, is a large part of Perry’s motivation as a traveling artist.“When it’s 30 degrees here, and all grey and blue in the winter, those murals are really going to add a spice of color that’s going to psychologically impact the residents as well as remind them of the great time in building and painting those murals,” Perry said.Two murals are already up on Pioneer Avenue – on a retaining wall and at a car wash. Organizers hope to see the rest installed by the end of the season.last_img read more

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