Thompson, McLeod set to shine in Lausanne

first_img Thompson, who took the sprint double in Rio de Janeiro, is in second place on 20 points in the Diamond League 100m and looks set to grab 10 points and take over the lead. She is one of three Jamaicans who will face the starter in the 100m in the absence of race leader Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands. The other Jamaicans down to compete in this short sprint are Rio finalist Christania Williams and veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown, the first Jamaican to arrive at the team hotel yesterday. McLeod will be hoping for another big performance in his bid to cut the gap on leader Orlando Ortega of Spain. McLeod, who had a mishap in his last Diamond League meet in London, bounced back with a big win in Rio and will be looking to get close to Ortega. He is in second place on 20 points in the event while Ortega leads with 30. POISED TO LEAD LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Jamaica’s double Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson and men’s 110-metre hurdles winner Omar McLeod will be two of the stars on show at tomorrow’s Lausanne Diamond League meet in Switzerland. After a four-week break to facilitate the staging of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Athletissima meeting is the 10th of 14 meets on the schedule. Track and field fans are very excited about the prospect of seeing some of the Rio stars, including four gold medallists, in action. With the meet coming just a few days after the Olympic Games, several athletes who were down to compete have opted out of tomorrow’s staging, but all events are still expected to be well contested as athletes who did not make it to Rio will be hoping to take some big scalps here. ANTICIPATED CLASH Other event leaders down to compete tomorrow are American LaShawn Merritt in the 400m and high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine. Fans were eagerly awaiting a clash between Olympic 100m hurdles champion, American Brianna Rollins, and her compatriot World record holder Kendra Harrison, but the former has withdrawn from the event along with the two other medallists, Nia Ali, who won silver, and bronze medallist Kristi Castlin. Harrison has 40 points and is unbeaten so far in Diamond League competition. She looks set to wrap up affairs here despite a competitive field that includes her countrywomen Jasmin Stowers, Sharika Nelvis and Dawn Harper-Nelson.last_img read more

Christopher Ram challenges Govt’s “business as usual” approach to contracts

first_imgNo-confidence resolution …seeks order preventing payment of contracts over $15M As the Coalition Government continues its “business as usual” approach following the passage of the no confidence motion back in December, Political Commentator and Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram has turned to the High Court to stop the awarding and payment of contracts over $15 million.The legal proceedings were filed on Friday by Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall on behalf of Ram, and named Attorney General Basil Williams and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency, Abena Moore, as the respondents.Ram is asking the court to declare, among other things, that any procurement (contract) in excess of $15 million approved by a purported Cabinet after the evening of 21st December, 2018 is unconstitutional, unlawful, null, void, and is of no legal effect; and that the court should issue an order restraining Permanent Secretaries within all Government Ministries from making any payment towards any contracts in excess of $15 million approved by a purported Cabinet after the passage of the no confidence motion.The High Court is also being asked for a declaration to state that “…there exists no Cabinet to review or award any contract which exceeds fifteen million Guyana dollars (G$15,000,000).”It was noted in the court documents seen by Guyana Times that Section 54 (1) of the Procurement Act gives Cabinet the right to review and approve all procurements (contracts) in excess of $15 million. However, Ram pointed out in his grounds for the application that all functions and duties of the Cabinet ceased on December 21, 2018 when the no confidence motion was successfully passed against the Coalition Administration.The Resolution gives effect to Article 106 (6), which states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”According to the legal documents, the subsequent ruling of acting Chief Justice Roxane George (on January 31 in a case filed by Ram) was that the National Assembly properly, validly and lawfully passed the motion, which immediately effected the resignation of the Cabinet.“…the president and the ministers who constitute the Cabinet [were] compelled to resign their functions in Cabinet but retain their office until elections are held… I have observed that the Cabinet has not complied… and neither the Cabinet nor the President has expressed a public intention to resign or fixed a date prior to or on 21st March, 2019 for the holding of national and regional elections, nor has a resolution supported by no less than two-thirds of the National Assembly determined that elections should be held after an extended period,” Ram outlined in his application to the court.Immediately after the passage of the motion, the Coalition Government had said it would uphold the Constitution, but subsequently took a U-turn, ignoring calls from stakeholders, including the Opposition, to resign.President David Granger has maintained on several occasions that there is no provision in the constitution for a “caretaker” Government. Furthermore, the Government went on to challenge the passage of the motion in the National Assembly back in December.However, the acting Chief Justice found that the no-confidence motion was validly passed, and that Cabinet should have resigned. Government has since appealed this decision, and those matters are expected to come up for hearing at the Appeal Court next week.Meanwhile, following the High Court ruling, the Coalition has been meeting as a ‘Ministerial Plenary’, which is imbued with Cabinet powers, to carry on Government business. In fact, they have noted contracts from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) and given their approval for various appointments.This is a move which Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has called illegal. “They have a ministerial plenary to bypass the Chief Justice’s ruling, which is illegal,” the Opposition Leader has said.Jagdeo had noted, too, that if the People’s Progressive Party, of which he is also the General Secretary, returns to office, then all the actions and decisions of the Coalition Government since December 21 will be reviewed and reversed.last_img read more

Everton told to go higher for Swansea attacker Gylfi Sigurdsson

first_imgEverton have been informed they must go higher to sign Swansea City attacker Gylfi Sigurdsson.They have been told to increase their offer for Sigurdsson after a £30million bid failed.Swans chairman Huw Jenkins insisted last week his star player would only depart if the Welsh club received an offer they could not refuse.He said: “It’s hard to suggest what sort of value Gylfi has in today’s market but to us he is priceless and we’ve got to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure he stays.”last_img read more

6 Ways to Remove Carbon Pollution from the Sky

first_imgSince the Industrial Revolution, humans have emitted more than 2,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (A gigaton is one billion metric tons.)This thickening blanket of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is the cause of the global warming we are experiencing today. If nothing changes, climate impacts such as forest fires, stifling heat waves and damaging sea level rise will only continue to intensify.The imperative for combatting climate change is to dramatically curb emissions—for example, by ramping up renewable energy, boosting energy efficiency, halting deforestation and curbing super pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The latest climate science tells us, however, that these efforts alone aren’t enough to prevent dangerous climate change. To keep global temperature rise to less than 1.5-2 degrees C (2.7-3.6 degrees F), the limit scientists say is necessary for preventing the worst climate impacts, we’ll need to not only reduce emissions, but also remove and store some carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, most climate scenarios show we’ll need to remove billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide annually by midcentury, while also ramping up emissions reductions.Carbon removal can take a number of forms, from new technologies to land management practices. The big question is whether these approaches can deliver carbon removal at the scale needed in the coming decades.Note: This is a notional scenario consistent with an at least 66 percent chance of limiting global warming to below 2°C. Some residual gross greenhouse gas emissions (both CO2 and non-CO2) will remain at the end of the century even with ambitious climate action because they are too difficult or costly to remove entirely. Once negative emissions exceed those that remain net zero emissions is reached. Faster and/or deeper emission reductions could reduce the role for carbon removal; slower and/or weaker emission reductions would increase the need for carbon removal. Each approach faces its own challenges and limitations. WRI’s new series of working papers explores the possibilities and challenges of using carbon removal to combat climate change.Here are six options for removing carbon from the atmosphere:1) ForestsPhotosynthesis removes carbon dioxide naturally—and trees are especially good at storing carbon removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. Expanding forests, restoring existing forests and managing forests to encourage more carbon uptake can leverage the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide in the air into carbon stored in wood and soils. Scientists say the carbon-removal potential for these measures in the United States alone is hundreds of millions of metric tons per year. For example, every acre of land restored to temperate forest can sequester about 3 metric tons of CO2 per year. These approaches can be relatively inexpensive (generally less than $50 per metric ton) and yield cleaner water and air in the process.One major challenge is ensuring that forest expansion in one area doesn’t come at the expense of forests somewhere else. For example, reforesting farmland would reduce the supply of food. This could necessitate converting other forests to farmland, unless improvements in farm productivity could fill the gap. Similarly, not harvesting timber from one forest may result in overharvesting in another. These dynamics make restoring and managing existing forests, and reforesting land outside of farmland, especially important.2) FarmsSoils naturally store carbon, but agricultural soils are running a big deficit due to intensive use. Because agricultural land is so expansive—more than 900 million acres in the United States alone—even small increases in soil carbon per acre, if it can be done, could be impactful. Building soil carbon is good for farmers and ranchers, too, as it can increase soil health and crop yields. Integrating trees on farms can also remove carbon while providing other benefits like shade and forage for livestock.There are many ways to increase carbon in soils. Planting cover crops when fields are otherwise bare can extend photosynthesis throughout the year, sequestering about half a metric ton of CO2 per acre per year. Using compost can improve yields while storing the compost’s carbon content in the soil. Scientists are also working to breed crops with deeper roots, making them more resistant to drought, while depositing more carbon into the soil.Managing soil for carbon at a large scale, though, is a tricky proposition. Natural systems are inherently variable, and that makes it a real challenge to predict, measure and monitor the long-term carbon benefits of any given practice on a given acre. The efficacy of some practices is also subject to continued scientific debate. Furthermore, changing conditions or management practices from year to year could erase prior gains. And because a lot of farmland would be needed to remove a significant amount of carbon, governments and others would need to create the right conditions for landowners to store more carbon.3) Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)BECCS is another way to use photosynthesis to combat climate change, but it is far more complicated than planting trees or managing soils—and it doesn’t always work for the climate. BECCS is the process of using biomass for energy in the industrial, power or transportation sectors; capturing the embodied carbon before it is released back to the atmosphere; and then storing it either underground or in long-lived products like concrete. If BECCS causes more biomass to grow than would otherwise, or more carbon to be stored where it would otherwise be released back into the atmosphere, it can provide net carbon removal.But it’s not always straightforward to determine whether those conditions are met. Moreover, if BECCS relies on bioenergy crops, it could displace food production or natural ecosystems, erasing the apparent climate benefits and exacerbating food insecurity and ecosystem loss.Some forms of BECCS would convert wastes like agricultural residues or garbage into fuel. These feedstocks may be key to the future of BECCS, since they wouldn’t require dedicated land use. Even then, the accounting has to be right—and there are lots of ways to get it wrong—or BECCS may not deliver the expected climate benefits.4) Direct Air CaptureDirect air capture is the process of chemically scrubbing carbon dioxide directly from the ambient air, and then storing it either underground or in long-lived products. This new technology is not unlike the carbon capture and storage technology for various emissions sources like power plants and industrial facilities. The difference is that direct air capture removes carbon from the atmosphere instead of reducing emissions. It is relatively straightforward to measure and account for the climate benefits of direct air capture, and its potential scale of deployment is enormous. But the technology remains costly and energy-intensive. It is often difficult to pin down costs for new technologies, but one recent study estimates that it would cost about $94-$232 per metric ton. Previous estimates were higher.Direct air capture also requires substantial heat and power inputs— scrubbing 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide from the air would require about 7 percent of all projected U.S. energy production in 2050. The technology would also need to be powered by low- or zero-carbon energy sources to result in net carbon removal.Investing in technological development and deployment experience, together with continued progress in the deployment of cheap clean energy, could advance prospects for direct air capture at a large scale. Multiple companies have already developed working direct air capture systems, despite the near absence of public research and development spending on the technology. The bottom line is that direct air capture is still a new technology, and these systems are just the first of their kind.5) Seawater CaptureSeawater capture is akin to direct air capture, except CO2 is extracted from seawater instead of air. By reducing CO2 concentration in the ocean, the water then draws in more carbon from the air to regain balance. Seawater is a more concentrated solution of CO2 than the ambient air, which means less work is required to separate it out than in direct air capture. But seawater is also considerably heavier than air, which means more work to move it through the system. Seawater capture will also have to grapple with the added complexities of technology deployment in harsh maritime environments.The U.S. Navy has already developed a prototype seawater capture device. Because CO2 can be converted to fuel by adding energy (and some Navy vessels tend to have spare nuclear reactors on board), such a technology could allow vessels to create their own fuel and avoid having to stop to refuel. Of course, if the captured carbon is converted to fuel and combusted, it just returns to the atmosphere, but future applications of this kind of technology could provide long-term storage for captured carbon.6) Enhanced WeatheringSome minerals naturally react with CO2, turning carbon from a gas into a solid. The process is commonly referred to as “weathering,” and it typically happens very slowly—on a geological timescale. But scientists are figuring out how to speed up the process, especially by enhancing the exposure of these minerals to CO2 in the air or ocean. That could mean pumping alkaline spring water from underground to the surface where minerals can react with the air; moving air through large deposits of mine tailings—rocks left over from mining operations—that contain the right mineral composition; crushing or developing enzymes that chew up mineral deposits to increase their surface area; and finding ways to weather certain industrial byproducts, like fly ash, kiln dust, or iron and steel slag. Scientists have shown that enhanced weathering is possible, but there is more work to be done to map out cost-effective and prudent applications of this approach.The Future of Carbon RemovalWe don’t know today which of these strategies can provide the most large-scale carbon removal in the future, and which may ultimately prove less useful. Each approach offers both promise and challenges. But what we do know is that if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, capturing and storing carbon already in the air must be part of our climate strategy in the United States and around the world. It’s time to begin investing across the portfolio of carbon-removal approaches – in research, development, demonstration, early-stage deployment and enabling conditions– so that they become viable options at the scale we need them in the coming decades.LEARN MORE: Check out WRI’s new research series, CarbonShot: Creating Options for Carbon Removal at Scale in the United Stateslast_img read more

Saudi Arabia signs partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One

first_imgOlderFCM Travel Solutions launches Marketplace to corporate buyers NewerHarvey Milk Terminal 1 opens in San Francisco Virgin Hyperloop One has announced a development partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority.Under the plans the company will conduct a study to build the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track, as well as a research and development centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.The announcement took place this week at Virgin Hyperloop One’s Los Angeles headquarters during a visit from a senior delegation of Saudia Arabia’s Economic City Authority, led by secretary-general Mohanud Helal. The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City, located 100 kilometres north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah. The project, which would include a 35-kilometre test and certification track, will create opportunities for the development of specific hyperloop technologies and develop local expertise in Saudi Arabia which be commercialised and scaled. ADVERTISEMENTThe study will also facilitate the development of localised hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the Kingdom.“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia,” said Helal.“As we continue to help deliver the strategic pillars of Vision 2030, technology transfer and high-tech job creation opportunities that this relationship will bring are fundamental to our progress as a nation and our efforts to create opportunities for our bright young people.“Having hyperloop at King Abdullah Economic City is going to act as a catalyst for a Saudi Silicon Valley effect and galvanise our software development, high technology research, and manufacturing industries,” he added.In parallel to the implementation of the Study, Prince Mohammad bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship will collaborate on the creation and publication of an academic paper outlining the economic impact of a Hyperloop Centre of Excellence in KAECAdditionally, experts from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology will visit the Virgin Hyperloop One testing facility in Nevada to conduct a technical review, followed by the publication of an academic paper.“With Vision 2030, the Kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. “A hyperloop system could help enable Saudi Arabia to become a global transportation powerhouse, nurture the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative knowledge workforce,” said Jay Walder, chief executive, Virgin Hyperloop One. “I look forward to this collaboration with our visionary partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn this technology into a mass transportation solution.”Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurised tubes that carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1,080 kilometres per hour.last_img read more