Precision Flying World Champs in SA

first_imgTeam South Africa at the launch of the 2011 Precision Flying World Championships.The 20th Precision Flying World Championships, sponsored by Brand South Africa and currently under way in North West province, will see 14 teams from around the world covering miles of unforgiving terrain to prove their unaided aviation prowess.The international teams, mainly from Europe, arrived in the country on 17 October 2011 for practice and orientation, as South African topography is vastly different to that of their home countries. The first competitive stage takes place on 26 October and the winning team will be announced on 29 October.This year’s championships include teams from South Africa, Norway, France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand, UK and Germany.Precision flying competitions are designed for solo operation of a single-piston engine aircraft, such as a Cessna 172. The sport is aimed at improving fundamental flying skills to enable a solo pilot to navigate and handle an aircraft under basic visual flying conditions without the backup of technical systems.Skills honed from precision flying therefore make a pilot more effective when flying bigger, more advanced aircraft.“Precision flying pretty much requires the skills that every pilot should have. We are talking here about accuracy, precise navigation, constant lookout, vigilant observation and inch-prefect landings,” says director of the 2011 champs, Antony Russell.“Participants represent the cream of the crop in terms of these everyday skills. The younger pilots among us hopefully represent the continued respect for these skills in increasingly automated cockpits as technology takes over from good, solid aviation practice.”Accuracy is key The launch of the championships took place in Brits, North West, on 23 October 2011.The sport requires pilots to calculate an accurate flight plan using the most basic equipment, follow a precise flight path while sticking to a tight time schedule, complete observation tasks from the air to the ground while navigating the plane, and land it on short, narrow airstrips with trees and other obstacles on the approach.Precision flying comprises three sections: flight planning and navigation, special observation and landingDuring the first section the competitor works out the route details, taking into account the distance, ground speed, allocated time and wind factor.During the second stage the pilot puts his or her calculations to the test by flying along the chartered course while keeping to the exact time constraints. The competitor’s map will have photographs and ground beacons marked on it, which will have to be identified from the air.There are check points along the way and pilots are awarded penalties for every second they are late or early in reaching these.They are also penalised for inaccurate identification of ground markers and photographs.The third section comprises four different types of landings. During each type the pilot must put the aircraft’s wheels down on to a 2m-long stripe painted on the runway. Penalties are awarded for each metre long or short of the line.History of precision flying Precision flying events are designed for the solo operation of a single-piston engine aircraft. (Images: Nicky Rehbock)Precision flying started in the Scandinavian countries between the two world wars to create a set of skills that combined hunting, flying and cross-country skiing.Participants would fly to a remote location, land in the mountains, ski to an allocated spot, shoot a target and then fly off to the next spot, to repeat the routine.After the Second World War more countries became interested in the discipline and over the years a set of rules was drawn up to govern it.Nowadays the sport is open to everyone, with stiff competition developing between southern hemisphere participants and their northern counterparts.last_img read more

ASA joins Farmers for Free Trade

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Soybean Association (ASA) announced that it will be joining Farmers for Free Trade. Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign co-chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar that is amplifying the voices of American farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses that support free trade. The American Soybean Association joins the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, and multiple other agriculture, trade and commodity groups that are partnering with Farmers for Free Trade to strengthen support for trade in rural communities. “We need strong, likeminded allies to galvanize farmers in a collective call for solutions from the Administration and Congressional leaders on advocating for new trade agreements and expanding international markets. We have watched for some time and with appreciation the efforts of Farmers for Free Trade and the spirit of collaboration it has fostered to help ag and those industries related to agriculture and are happy to join their efforts,” said Ryan Findlay, CEO of ASA.Farmers for Free Trade is currently working at the grassroots level to organize and educate farmers about the importance of trade, including through work at state commodity conventions, through state proclamations, by reaching farmers through social media, and by identifying local spokespeople, among other efforts. Senators Baucus and Lugar outlined some of the key policy priorities that will help rebuild bipartisan support for trade, which can be found here.“The American Soybean Association has been a leader in promoting free trade in the agriculture sector,” said Senator Baucus. “Their addition to this important bipartisan effort will be invaluable in expanding our reach to soybean farmers across the country. Right now, soybean farmers are bearing the brunt of the ongoing trade war. Working together with Farmers for Free Trade, we aim to amplify the voices of these farmers to ensure that decision makers in Washington D.C. know the pain that tariffs are causing at the local level.”last_img read more

10 months agoAston Villa raiding Wolves for Kortney Hause

first_imgAston Villa raiding Wolves for Kortney Hauseby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAston Villa are raiding neighbours Wolves for a new defensive signing.The Mirror says Wolves defender Kortney Hause is heading for Aston Villa.Hause only signed a new deal last season but is surplus to requirements at Molineux.The defender is set to undergo a medical with the Championship side. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Tina Fontaines family hopes report ensures others dont fall through the cracks

first_imgThe death of Tina Fontaine prompted a report from the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, which will be released Tuesday. File photo.Canadian PressThe woman who raised a teenage First Nation girl whose body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River says she hopes a new report from the children’s advocate will ensure a similar tragedy never happens again.“Whatever happens, nothing will ever bring Tina back, but with this thing coming out I hope it saves other children,” Thelma Favel, the great-aunt of Tina Fontiane, told The Canadian Press.The highly anticipated report from Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth Daphne Penrose will be released on Tuesday and is expected to detail Tina’s interactions with the child-welfare system, police, and others before she went missing. It will also provide recommendations to avoid future deaths.Members of Tina’s family will be present for the report’s release on the Sagkeeng First Nation, north of Winnipeg, where the 15-year-old spent much of her young life living with Favel.After Tina’s father was murdered in 2011, the teenager had difficulty coping so she left the First Nation in June 2014 to reconnect with her mother in Winnipeg.When Favel didn’t hear from the girl, she called Child and Family services for help.During the second-degree murder trial for Raymond Cormier — the man acquitted last year in Tina’s death — court heard how in the weeks after leaving Sagkeeng, Tina disappeared multiple times, returned to government care and was placed in a hotel.She was treated at a hospital, interacted with police, called 911 and was captured on security camera footage falling asleep between two cars behind a building named after Helen Betty Osborne — a Cree woman kidnapped and killed in Manitoba in 1971.Her 72-pound body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was pulled from the Red River that August.Her death renewed calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and inspired volunteer groups such as the Bear Clan Patrol to protect the vulnerable on the streets. A 24-hour safe space for Winnipeg youth was dedicated to her memory last May.Penrose delivered the report to Favel last week, and while she was unable to share details, Favel said it demonstrates how deeply Tina was failed.“All the systems that failed her, even now it hurts. I could just picture her walking those streets and nobody helping her,” Favel said, choking back tears.“She didn’t deserve that. Nobody does.”Favel said she believes the report and its accompanying recommendations will be an important part of Tina’s legacy, making sure that gaps are closed and children are safe.“That’s my main concern, that no other kids fall through the cracks like she did.”news@aptn.calast_img read more

Northern Ireland enters fight to defend Bombardier in dispute with Boeing

first_imgMONTREAL – The United Kingdom is allying itself with Canada in the fight to persuade U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing to abandon its complaint against Bombardier regarding the CSeries.Days after a phone call on the issue between British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump, politicians in Northern Ireland have taken up the cause.In a letter sent to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on Tuesday, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein warned Boeing’s actions could affect social peace in the country.“For a small economy such as ours, the significance of the contribution that Bombardier makes cannot be understated,” reads the letter signed by Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) is the largest employer in the country with its Belfast factor, where 4,200 people work. That facility manufactures the wings for the CSeries.The letter explains how the consequences of Boeing’s complaint could threaten the fragile political balance in the country.“The security of our economy has and continues to be a crucial part of our efforts in delivering peace through prosperity,” the letter continues.“At a time when we are striving to take the next steps in our work on the peace process, and resolve our current political difficulties, this issue creates a new and potentially critical factor.”Boeing claims Bombardier’s subsidies allow the company to sell its planes cheaper than competitors.The U.S. Commerce Department is currently investigating Boeing’s complaint and could impose tariffs or fines on Bombardier if it finds against the Canadian company.It is expected to release its preliminary findings Sept. 25.The Trudeau government revealed Tuesday it held secret talks with Boeing in hopes of persuading the U.S. aerospace giant to drop its case.Boeing spokesman Dan Curran said the company is not against competition.“No one is saying Bombardier cannot sell its aircraft anywhere in the world,” Curran said by email. “But sales must be according to globally accepted trade rules.“Any claimed economic threat to Bombardier…can be attributed to that company’s decision to flout U.S. trade rules. Boeing could not stand by given this clear case of illegal dumping, which could hurt American workers.”May is scheduled to arrive in Canada for an official visit next week during which the trade dispute will likely be on the agenda.Aside from the London-Ottawa partnership against Boeing, two U.S. carriers — Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines — have recently written to the United States International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department defending Bombardier.Hundreds of Bombardier employees protested in downtown Montreal on Wednesday to denounce Boeing.last_img read more

Cindy Crawford recreates iconic Super Bowl ad 26 years later

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Cindy Crawford is heading back to the Super Bowl: The model has recreated her iconic 1992 Super Bowl ad for Pepsi, now featuring her 18-year-old son.Crawford recently filmed the commercial, which will debut at Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. It includes her son, Presley Walker Gerber, as well as footage from Michael Jackson’s memorable Pepsi commercial.The 51-year-old said she didn’t hesitate to recreate the ad 26 years later, especially since she was able to work with her son.“Just as a mother, we drove to work together that day and we shared the same trailer. And when he was doing his thing, I was just a proud mom watching from the sidelines, trying not to annoy him,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday.The new Super Bowl ad, dubbed “This Is The Pepsi,” is part of the company’s “Pepsi Generation” campaign honouring the brand’s 120-year history in pop culture.The original features Crawford in a tank top and jean shorts — made from her own jeans she brought to the set that day — driving a Lamborghini and stopping at a gas station to buy a can of soda. She said she felt the 1992 spot “became such a classic for so many reasons.”“It was one of those moments in my career that when I walked down the street, people were like, ‘Pepsi!’ Or I’d be at a bar and people would send me over a Pepsi,” she said, laughing. “And it’s funny because during Halloween a lot of women will dress up as me in that commercial. It’s like an easy Halloween costume.”Crawford plans to attend the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, where her father lives.“I think probably that will be the highlight for me is just getting to see my dad,” she said. “I took him to a Super Bowl before I had kids … and it’s not like he ever wanted to go to an awards show or something like that, but if I can take him to the Super Bowl, that’s a pretty cool thing for me to be able to do with my dad.”Crawford’s modeling talents have not only extended to her son — her 16-year-old daughter graces the February cover of Vogue Paris.“She’s more ready for it. She’s just so much more sophisticated and worldly than I was at that age,” she said of Kaia Jordan Gerber.“I do know the business … (and) I feel like who better to help guide my kids?” she added.“It kind of happened for both of them and they listen to my advice when it comes to this. The one thing they can’t say is, ‘Mom, you don’t get it.’”last_img read more

Time has come for national bigdata strategy tech leaders tell governments

first_imgOTTAWA – Tech leaders are challenging the federal Liberal government to get serious about reaping the rewards of one of the next big frontiers in the information revolution: big data.Canadian CEOs and academics have been pushing Ottawa for months to develop a national strategy for harnessing data’s burgeoning power — an approach advocates say will pay dividends on everything from boosting economic growth to improving health care.And the pitch — in meetings with both the Ontario government and with senior federal officials, including at a recent roundtable in Ottawa — is starting to gain traction, said Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators.“We’ve begun to see fruitful conversations with the governments,” said Bergen, whose group is chaired by former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie.“I think government is beginning to wake up to really some of the concerns that the CEOs are laying out in terms of needing to build a national data framework.”Rapidly expanding technologies like artificial intelligence depend on vast amounts of high-quality data and the expertise to properly analyze it and use it. The potential benefits cut across sectors — from optimizing industrial processes, to improving the detection and treatment of disease, to exporting the resulting expertise abroad.But the big-data prize lies on the other side of some privacy and sovereignty minefields, demanding a thoughtful and careful approach: just last month, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a European-wide data strategy.Canada — despite being a small country relative to the EU, the U.S. and China — is well positioned to be a legitimate global data player, especially in industries where the country already has an advantage, such as agriculture, mining, infrastructure and health care.Experts also believe Canada has an edge because of its expertise in AI.Sachin Aggarwal, the CEO of Think Research, has been among those promoting the idea of a national data strategy with the government.Aggarwal, whose company uses data to help doctors, nurses and pharmacists make decisions on how best to treat patients, said there’s a huge amount of data generated as a result of billions in public spending in areas like health care.“The public is not capturing the benefit of the data that’s generated,” he said. “We consider it as something almost as a necessary evil to be stored, as opposed to a valuable input — the single most-valuable input to the next generation of health technology.”In last year’s federal budget, Ottawa committed to developing a national IP strategy, which is still in the works. Bergen said he’d be very pleased if the upcoming budget includes a similar promise to create a national data strategy.“There is a role for the federal government to help Canada become a global leader in data — just like we’re doing for innovation and (intellectual property),” officials for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement.“As we determine the Canadian response to the question of data, our government will continue to have discussions with Canadians on the opportunities and challenges we face when it comes to data, new technology and a rapidly changing economy.”It’s important to have a plan to enable companies to gather, share and analyze data as a way to optimize their operations and cut costs, said Ian MacGregor, president, chairman and CEO of North West Refining Inc.“We should be doing that at the speed of light because this world is moving — it’s not like you get to wait around and think about it,” MacGregor said in an interview.“I wish I was 48 instead of 68. This is like the opportunity of a lifetime and I’ve never seen a chance for Canada to be as dominant in anything that’s as important as this.”Care must be taken to navigate privacy and consent concerns, particularly when it comes to areas such as health data, he acknowledged. But the country can move faster when it comes to industrial data, which could be as basic as the readings on a temperature gauge, he said.Canada isn’t in a position to compete with the big players in the consumer-data space, like Google and Facebook, said MacGregor. Instead, he recommends focusing on primary industries “where we fight above our weight,” such as power generation, power transmission, farming, oil refining, energy, mining and water.MacGregor’s company is constructing a $25-billion refinery in Alberta — one of the biggest industrial projects in the world — and he says the plant will have 25,000 sensors that will each collect new types of data.The sensors, he added, will provide new domestic opportunities for Canadian data experts and he’s planning to establish an open-source data library.Even experts not part of the CCI pitch are arguing for data frameworks.Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, supports the idea of an approach that zeros in on the specific needs of different data sets.Bernstein’s institute is overseeing a $125-million federal strategy, announced in last year’s budget, to develop talent and research in AI and deep learning.He agrees that there’s potential for major economic payoffs from big data, particularly when it comes to health data.“The technology is there, the computer memory is there and now with AI, which was a made-in-Canada invention, the way of analyzing that data is here,” said Bernstein, who believes private and public sectors can work together.“We need the political will to harmonize how we collect, store and access data.”Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

Zakir Naik says ED is lying

first_imgMumbai: Absconding NRI tele-evangelist Zakir Naik on Friday slammed the Enforcement Director (ED) for alleging that though he had no earnings he had transferred Rs 46 crore in a six-year period. In a detailed statement, Naik said: “Why is the ED lying? When everyone – including all the government agencies – know that I have multiple businesses and revenue streams and my earnings have always reflected in the tax returns I have filed, why is ED lying about it?” Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh He sought to know “whether the pressure” is so huge that they (ED) had to resort to lies to achieve the goal set out by “their political bosses”. Naik’s rejoinder came two days after the ED filed a chargesheet before the Special PMLA Court’s Special Judge M.S. Azmi, accusing him of money-laundering. According to the ED chargesheet, Naik, an Islamic preacher, keeps travelling around the world with no “known sources” of income and yet he managed to transfer Rs 49.20 crore to his Indian bank accounts and that the total proceeds of the crime were around Rs 193 crore.last_img read more

A 14Team NFL Playoff Wouldnt Bring More Parity

New York Giants President John Mara said Tuesday that the NFL would probably not expand its postseason field from 12 to 14 teams for the 2014 season. But make no mistake, expansion is coming sooner or later. The television ratings for playoff matchups — even for early rounds — are so monstrous that it makes sense from a revenue-maximizing perspective to add postseason games.But how about from a football perspective? ESPN’s Stats & Information correctly points out that, even with 14 playoff qualifiers, only 43.7 percent of NFL teams would earn postseason berths, which is still lower than the 53.3 percent qualification rates in the NBA and NHL. Then again, both of those sports play best-of-seven series to determine who advances to the next round; the NFL’s postseason is a single-elimination tournament. (And, 2013 excepted, the NFL playoffs are trending toward less predictable outcomes as it is.)Even in a 12-team playoff format, the best team in football fails to win the Super Bowl far more often than not. But would a 14-team bracket add another layer of randomness? Using the power of Monte Carlo simulation and the theoretical distribution of true talent in the NFL, we can estimate how often a team of a given ranking in “true talent” wins the Super Bowl under both the 12-team format and the proposed 14-team arrangement. For both formats, I assigned each team a true-talent rating at random (from a normal distribution with a mean winning percentage of .500 and a standard deviation of .146) and simulated the 2013 NFL schedule 10,000 times, recording how often a team of a given talent ranking won the Super Bowl. Here are the results:As it turns out, a 14-team playoff format wouldn’t change much for the favorites’ chances of a Super Bowl victory. The No. 2 seed in each conference would be forced to play an extra game (rather than receiving a bye during the wild-card round), but that doesn’t move the needle a lot — mainly because the No. 1 seeds still get byes into the divisional round.What would really shake things up, though, would be a move to a 16-team bracket, which would give the NFL a playoff participation rate closer to the NBA and NHL (although the NFL would still be lower). If we run the same simulation process above but plug teams into a 16-team playoff format, the following probabilities emerge:Forcing the top seed in each conference to play an extra game would drastically shift the Super Bowl odds for the NFL’s three most talented teams, redistributing much of their current probabilistic advantage across the rest of the league. The move to a 16-team playoff would be a much bigger change than from 12 teams to 14.The remaining question is whether that’s a bad thing. A 16-team playoff would increase the role of chance in the NFL’s postseason — an element which has already been on the rise in recent seasons. The NFL’s landmark popularity over the past decade suggests that such parity has moved the league closer to the optimal mix of determinism and randomness. (By contrast, a system designed to turn the NFL playoffs into a science experiment always yielding the most deserving champion would be tedious and unpopular.) But it’s not clear whether there are diminishing returns to the NFL’s parity formula. read more