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Hubert Lawrence: New era in netball

first_imgPaula Daley-Morris has a big job ahead of her. As the new head of Netball Jamaica, her task isn’t just to maintain existing standards of performance but, if possible, one day to exceed them. It won’t be easy. Under the erstwhile Marva Bernard, Jamaica kept its time-honoured position in the world’s top four. Most recently, Jamaica was fourth at the 2015 Netball World Cup and third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is a virtual world championship. Daley Morris’ mission and that of her Netball Jamaica team will be to move the Sunshine Girls up to the top step of the podium. Astute as she is, the new president will already know the obstacles that lie ahead. Unlike Australia, New Zealand and England, Jamaica plays most of its netball outdoors. The open air makes the ball act differently and the preponderance of hard concrete court surfaces lend themselves to knee and ankle injuries like the one centre Paula Thompson seemed to suffer from at the World Cup. At the same time, the rest of the Big Four have professional leagues at home which allow their netballers to focus on the game, while ours juggle timetables that include school and/or work. Therefore, the edge Jamaica might have with talent is covered by extended practice time by players in Australia, New Zealand and England. One worry is that other teams who go professional and indoors can catch up. A semi-pro league was recently started in Jamaica. In its first season, it was contested outdoors. Hopefully, it will simulate world- level competition and go indoors next season. If it does, it would stretch candidates for national team places and be better preparation for international play. The solution to both going indoors and going professional is money. As with Bernard, the new president will have to do a major marketing job to convince the public and sponsors to contribute to netball. Existing programmes to raise new talent and more qualified coaches should be retained and strengthened. New ones will no doubt be conceived, too, as the need arises. With the next Commonwealth Games set for 2018 and the next Netball World Cup coming in 2019, it would be great if financial solutions could be found early on. With more full-time players practising and competing indoors and with a wise choice of national coach, Jamaica could step up in 2018 and 2019. This year, despite the 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal, Netball Jamaica had to make a public appeal for funds to cover its Netball World Cup expenses. The new president will have seen that and will know the hurdles that lie ahead. Everybody who wants Jamaica to be world number one in netball will wish her the best of luck. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at court side since the 2003 Netball World Cup. Local leagueslast_img read more

GOSSIP: Man United plot £50m Spurs raid, Costa to STAY at Chelsea and MORE!

first_img Transfer rumours and paper review 1 talkSPORT.com bring you all the latest headlines and top transfer-related stories in Saturday’s newspapers…Manchester United have agreed a fee with Everton for Romelu Lukaku, the Old Trafford club has announced – FULL STORY HEREEverton are expected to confirm the free-transfer signing of Wayne Rooney by the end of the week – FULL STORY HEREChelsea boss Antonio Conte is apparently ‘livid’ at the failure to land Romelu Lukaku, which has left his future at Stamford Bridge ‘in doubt’ – FULL STORY HEREUnited will turn their attention to signing 23-year-old Tottenham and England midfielder Eric Dier for a fee in the region of £50m once the Lukaku deal is completed. (Daily Telegraph)Diego Costa could remain at Chelsea this summer with the Spanish striker reportedly willing to have talks with manager Antonio Conte over his future, despite being told by the boss via text that he does not feature in the first-team plans. (The Sun)However, contrasting reports claim Costa has started to say his goodbyes to his team-mates, with Chelsea now facing a striker crisis. (Telegraph)The Blues want more than £60m for Costa and will let him go even if they fail to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton. (Daily Mail) Chelsea will move for Torino striker Andrea Belotti to replace Costa this summer, but will have to pay about £90m to sign the Italy international. (Daily Mirror)Inter Milan want to make Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez the “poster boy” for the club’s new era. (Gazzetta dello Sport)The Gunners are adamant they will NOT sell forward Alexis Sanchez or Liverpool-linked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a title rival, even though the pair are heading into the final year of their contracts. (Daily Star)Arsenal are awaiting a response from Monaco after making a £40million bid for France winger Thomas Lemar, 21. (Football London)Meanwhile, reported Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez has been told by Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare that “if he doesn’t show commitment he won’t play”. (Daily Telegraph)Liverpool have received a number of enquiries about defender Mamadou Sakho and are confident a club will meet their £30m asking price. (Liverpool Echo)Swansea City are braced for a revised £32m bid from Everton for midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, 27. (Daily Mail)West Ham have cooled their interest in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. (The Sun)Manchester City are hoping to recoup around £14million for striker Wilfried Bony, who is attracting interest from a number of Chinese Super League clubs. (The Independent)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Danny Higginbotham believes Chelsea would need to change their style of play if they sign Romelu Lukaku whereas the Belgian would suit Manchester United perfectlyLeyton Orient’s new owner Nigel Travis outlined his plans for the club when he joined Jim White on talkSPORT on Friday afternoonCrystal Palace are ready to make a move for Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper CillessenFenerbahce have made a loan offer for Liverpool and Southampton target Emre Mor – the man dubbed ‘the Turkish Messi’Paris Saint-Germain are open to selling Juventus and Manchester United target Serge Aurier – but want to bring in a replacement firstArsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United target Jose Gimenez has revealed it is his dream to play in the Premier Leaguelast_img read more

Assembly required: Soil test instructions

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Reid Abbott, Field Agronomy Manager for AgroLiquidIn my house, two words — “assembly required” — have come close to ruining more Christmas mornings than the Grinch himself. For many growers it seems the words “fertility program” can cause as much anxiety as staring down a Barbie Dreamhouse box under the tree. One savior that occasionally graces us with its presence both on Christmas morning and in the field however, is a good set of instructions. The right manual can ease the assembly process and increase the likelihood of a job well-done. When determining a fertility program, a soil sample report is that instruction manual and can very well keep you from running to the bowl of egg nog.Upon first glance, a complete soil sample report can look like something a nuclear engineer carries in his briefcase. However, when each component is broken down, a picture of the soil conditions and needs start to come together. Organic matter percentage, cation exchange capacity, pH and base saturation percentages should be included on any standard soil test and are key to understanding the physical and chemical characteristics of a soil.Organic matter percentage gives a grower an idea of the overall health of his soil as well as a rough estimate of certain naturally occurring nutrient releases (such as nitrogen) throughout the growing season. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) indicates the nutrient holding capacity of a soil and to an extent the soil’s texture.As many are aware, the pH measures the hydrogen ion concentration (or acidity) of a soil. This value can give a grower insight in to how available (or unavailable) essential plant nutrients are in the soil. Finally, the base saturation percentages quantify the relationship between calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), hydrogen (H) and sodium (Na) in the soil. Depending on how these nutrients align with each other can widely affect the soil’s physical and chemical properties, nutrient interactions and a crop’s success. Agronomists use these values plus the soil’s CEC and pH when recommending soil amendments to determine the type of product (lime, gypsum, etc) and amount to be used to correct an imbalance in the soil.After determining the opportunities and limitations due to the soil’s properties as discussed previously, a grower can accurately predict a yield goal and look to the individual nutrient levels to further develop a fertility program. On a soil sample report, individual nutrients are generally reported in parts per million (ppm).Multiplying the values by a factor of two gives a unit of pounds per acre (lbs/A) which more easily correlates with application recommendations. In the case of nitrogen (N), a recommendation simply comes from the crop’s needs (based off yield goal) minus the N present in the soil (according to the soil test). Loss factors based on application options and climate must also be calculated when recommending N, but by-in-large, it is a fairly straightforward nutrient to recommend based off a soil test.In contrast, however, due to the unique nature of phosphorus (P) and its habit of tying up in the soil, different tests and considerations must be taken into account. Bray1 and Bray2 P tests indicate readily available and slowly available P, respectively, in neutral and acidic soils. If the soil has a high pH, a bicarbonate test is performed to more accurately demonstrate available P levels. Also, phosphorus (P) can be affected by other nutrients such as zinc (Zn). For instance, high and low Zn levels each offer their own challenges for phosphorus efficiency in the soil and the plant. It is somewhat of a case of science meets gut-feeling when it comes to recommending phosphorus. Likewise, K is challenging because many variables have to be taken into account. For example, high Mg and Na saturations can negatively impact K efficiency and with low CECs, a soil’s ability to hold on to applied K is diminished. Secondary and micronutrients are just as critical as the three macronutrients but are used by plants in much lower quantities. Regardless, they still require their own balance to function properly and for a crop to succeed. Paying careful attention to soil test levels, crop needs, nutrient interactions, and application options of secondary and micronutrients can produce big rewards at harvest.When it comes to a proper fertility program, there will always be some “assembly required.” However, just as you would gather tools and instructions to put together a new Barbie Dreamhouse, obtaining a complete soil analysis and some trusted advice will ease the pain and set your farm on track for a successful year.last_img read more

In Bengal, a village and its nuclear power plans

first_imgBefore 2006, Haripur, located between Junput and Soula, was like any fishing village along the West Bengal coast. Within months of the Left Front returning to power for the seventh consecutive time in 2006, it shot into the limelight with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) proposing a nuclear power plant there. The Trinamool Congress, then in the Opposition, fought against the project.When the Trinamool Congress came to power for the first time in 2011, it ruled out the possibility of the project ever taking off. The then Power Minister Manish Gupta said in the Assembly that the nuclear power project would not come up at Haripur or anywhere in the State for that matter. Why now?This Monday, however, the NPCIL appeared to have revived the plan, as it released a pre-project aerial survey of the coastline. While releasing the survey, NPCIL officials underscored the necessity of a nuclear power plant in the State. Anutosh Chakraborty, NPCIL official and additional chief engineer of the Haripur Nuclear Park, said the project was never abandoned and remained in a “proposed state.” NPCIL officials said they were hoping for a “positive” discussion with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and had sought an appointment with her.How will it help?NPCIL officials are now emphasising that the project will revive the economy of the investment-starved West Bengal. Over the past few days, scientists like the Director of Variable Electron and Cyclotron Centre Amitava Roy, have also backed the ₹1-lakh crore project, arguing that it will have a huge impact on the State’s economy. Haripur is located in the Contai (Kanthi) subdivision of Purba Medinipur district, where the byelection for the Contai (Kanthi) South Assembly segment is being held on Sunday. The nuclear plant dominated the campaign in the primarily rural constituency. While the Trinamool Congress assured voters that it was still opposed to the plant, BJP leaders insisted that the project was not going to be imposed on the people. “The plant will be a possibility only if the State agrees to provide land,” senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.What’s the problem?The proposed plant will have a VVER-1000 reactor and generate 6 X 1000 MW. It is being planned with Russian collaboration. It will require 1,300 acres. NPCIL officials said around 1,000 acres would be used for setting up the plant and the rest for creating infrastructure. Even a decade after the plan was put on the back burner, the attitude of the locals remains unchanged. They staunchly oppose the idea of a nuclear power plant being set up in or around their village. Under the banner of Haripur Parimanu Prakalpa Pratirodh Andolan Committee (Haripur Nuclear Power Project Resistance Movement Committee), residents of the area have given a call for a rally against the plant later this month.The villagers fear that not only Haripur but also a number of villages in the 10-square km radius of the plant will be exposed to radiation. They are also concerned about the loss of livelihood. In November 2016, representatives of the committee held a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of their movement. On November 17 and 18, 2006, thousands of locals did not allow the then NPCIL Chairperson, S.K. Jain, to visit the site. The protest turned out to be a major setback for the plant and the Left Front government. “Just as in 2006, this time too we will resist any attempt by the NPCIL to set up its plant. We cannot endanger the health of our children and lose our livelihood in the name of so-called development,” said Debasis Shyamal, convener of the committee.last_img read more