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December 21, 2019
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Sun to shine on unmissable Donegal Town Summer Festival

first_imgAll roads lead to Donegal Town this weekend with sunny skies and live entertainment on the Diamond for the Donegal Town Summer Festival.The Festival opens this evening at 6pm with performances from McNelis Cunningham Boyle award winning Irish Dancers, followed by the Annual Lady Nuala Final at 7.30pm hosted by Mark Dorrian with a unique Live DJ set on the Diamond with Stevie G until 10pm.The Whistlin Donkeys are playing in the Abbey Hotel tonight (Friday) from 10pm with tickets available on the door. Donegal Town Summer FestivalThere will be live music from local artists on the Diamond from 2 – 5pm on Saturday & Sunday from the likes of Donegal Contemporary Chorus, Conor McAllister, The Show Offs, Diarmuid McGee and much more. Not forgetting, the return of Green Rising and The Bellies!On Saturday there is a Family Fun Day at the AVS (weather permitting) from 1pm-4pm. Guaranteed great fun for all the family!Taking to the stage at 6.30pm on Saturday is Liam Geddes, followed by up and coming Irish music artist Ryan Mack at 7.30pm. The highly-acclaimed Tribute Band Qween will ROCK YOU from 9pm. Ryan MackQweenAll the bars in Donegal Town will have Live Music & Entertainment throughout the Weekend for you to continue the party after The Diamond.What better way to start your Sunday than a 10k Run or Walk! Starting from the AVS Gym and 10.30am (in association with Tir Chonaill AC)The family fun doesn’t end there with a Kids’ Tractor Race around the Diamond at 12 noon and Donegal’s Town first ever Soapbox Derby in aid of the RNLI takes off at 4pm from the Glebe.Top Irish pop band Keywest play live on Sunday evening on the Diamond followed by the highly anticipated return of Rory & the Island.Admission is only €5 on Saturday and Sunday evening onto the Diamond.KeywestRory and The IslandThe Diamond is a glass free zone but plastic glasses will be provided from all Donegal Town bars. Follow Facebook for updatesThe Committee of the Donegal Town Summer Festival would like to extend a massive thank you to all their sponsors for the weekend and thank the local community for their support!We hope to see you all in Donegal Town over the weekend for Family Fun, Music and Entertainment!Sun to shine on unmissable Donegal Town Summer Festival was last modified: June 28th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

December 19, 2019
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Insects Worth Respecting

first_img(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Most six-legged creatures are small and we give them little notice. Here are surprises that entomologists are discovering in some very special insects.Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up (Science Daily): Will a cure for cancer come from a wasp? An entirely new class of anticancer drugs is being derived from wasp venom.Insect Mothers Control Their Egg Colors (Current Biology): This paper is categorized under “evolutionary ecology,” but sounds more like good design: “a new study in Current Biology by Abram et al. shows not only that egg coloration in an insect seems to be adaptive in protecting embryos from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, but also that mothers can selectively control egg appearance depending on where the eggs are laid, and hence risk of UV exposure.” That’s about all the author, Martin Stevens, had to say about evolution: the trait is adaptive.Butterfly wings help break the status quo in gas sensing (PhysOrg): A beautiful Morpho butterfly like the one on Illustra’s DVD cover, Metamorphosis, graces the top of this article about biomimetics. “The unique properties found in the stunning iridescent wings of a tropical blue butterfly could hold the key to developing new highly selective gas detection sensors,” the article begins. How?Tiny tree-like nanostructures in the scales of Morpho wings are known to be responsible for the butterfly’s brilliant iridescence. Previous studies have shown that vapour molecules adhere differently to the top of these structures than to the bottom due to local chemistry within the scales. This selective response to vapour molecules is the key to this bio-inspired gas sensor.Professor Pete Vikucic (U of Exeter) says, “Bio-inspired approaches to the realisation of new technologies are tremendously valuable.”Nocturnal, compass-guided insects have a sense for turbulence too (Science Daily): A moth migrating in a stiff breeze seems in a bad way. They manage, this article says, by keeping track of the direction of wind gusts. “Turbulence cues” add to their “internal compass” equipment to keep them on course.How termite mounds ‘breathe’ (Science Magazine): Commenting on a paper in PNAS, “Termite mounds harness diurnal temperature oscillations for ventilation,” the AAAS reporter gives a nice summary of this clever air-conditioning system built by collective action:Here’s how it works: Inside the hill is a large central chimney connected to a system of conduits located in the mound’s thin, flutelike buttresses. During the day, the air in the thin buttresses warms more quickly than the air in the insulated chimney. As a result, the warm air rises, whereas the cooler, chimney air sinks—creating a closed convection cell that drives circulation, not external pressure from wind as had been hypothesized. At night, however, the ventilation system reverses, as the air in the buttresses cools quickly, falling to a temperature below that of the central chimney. The reversal in air flow, in turn, expels the carbon dioxide–rich air—a result of the termites’ metabolism—that builds up in the subterranean nest over the course of the day, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Ant communication: Secrets of the antennae (Science Daily): If ants are invading your kitchen, look before you spray. See how they touch antennae as they meet? What are they communicating? They share chemical odors like pheromones in a “complex social communication” system, but what they are doing with the information is a work in progress. Researchers at Kobe University have identified olfactory genes that are expressed in the antennae.Supersniffing Ants Smell Things Humans Can’t (Live Science): It seems unfair that tiny ants can smell things humans cannot, like low volatility hydrocarbons. Although people can train their sense of smell, “human noses are not up to the standards of ant antennae,” the article says, rubbing it in. “In fact, most animals would not be able to detect the hydrocarbons in the study as a smell at all,” a specialist at UC Riverside says. These chemical cues allow ants to tell the difference between a queen, a major worker, a minor worker, and other castes in the colony. Because the chemicals are not highly volatile (vaporizing), the ants can read each individual neighbor without getting confused by a cloud of smell.Honey bees rapidly evolve to overcome new disease (Science Daily): Because bees are such important pollinators for agriculture, perhaps you’ve been worried about the hive collapse disease caused by mites that has drastically reduced some honeybee populations. This article says that some bees are “evolving” resistance, but doing it much faster than thought. “One of the most interesting changes in the bee population was in a gene related to a dopamine receptor known to control aversion learning,” the article explains. “Another study has suggested this receptor is involved with bees grooming themselves to get rid of the mites by chewing them up.” Is this really natural selection in action? There may be a programmed response at work; “we see how evolution happens as compared to how we think it happens,” a researcher said. Even if this is natural selection, it is only enhancing an existing trait, not inventing a new trait or organ. Nothing was said about random mutation. Normal genetic variation that occurs in any population appears sufficient to enhance the existing defensive traits.Deforestation in Mexico butterfly reserve more than triples (PhysOrg): We end on a sad note: the habitat for Monarch butterflies continues to dwindle because of illegal deforestation. The Mexican government appears unable to defend the Monarch sanctuary (a World Heritage Site) from local farmers and outside loggers who are sometimes armed. This means that the heroes of Illustra’s film Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies face a double threat: shrinking wintering grounds in Mexico and decreasing milkweed availability in the United States. The problem involves multiple governments and differing economic pressures. Readers may wish to join efforts to at least raise awareness and put pressure on the destroyers.Before stepping on every insect you see, try to understand it. You might find a natural solution to a problem, get a bright idea, and make a lot of money.last_img read more

December 18, 2019
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African eyes on the universe

first_imgThe Southern African Large Telescope ishoused at the Sutherland Observatory inthe remote Northern Cape province.(Image: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For morefree photos, visit the imagelibrary.)MEDIA CONTACTS• SALT+27 23 571 1205salt@salt.ac.za• South African Astronomical Observatorystaff member contactsIn the remote Northern Cape, the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere is producing crystal-clear images from deep space, thanks to the province’s unique climate and topography. A semi-desert region, the Northern Cape is far less developed than the rest of South Africa, with vast stretches of arid bushland between its cities and towns.Yet this emptiness is part of the reason the province has become a major hub for astronomical observations, because there’s not much in the way of artificial light or radio waves to interfere with optical and radio astronomy.The Southern African Large Telescope near the town of Sutherland is not only the largest in the southern hemisphere, it’s among the largest 10 in the world. South Africa is also one of the two global finalists in the bid to host the massive Square Kilometre Array, which, if the country wins, will also be located in the Northern Cape.In addition to its remoteness, the Northern Cape has a low topography suited to radio astronomy, with mountains providing extra shielding against radio waves from distant metropolitan areas.The southern hemisphere is the perfect place for astronomy, because it sees more of the sky than the north. And South Africa’s sophisticated infrastructure and first-class science and technology sector gives it the capacity for some of the best astronomy in the world.The Southern African Large TelescopeOn a hilltop in a nature reserve in the Northern Cape, near the small town of Sutherland, is a masterpiece of modern astronomical engineering. The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, and equal to the largest in the world. Gathering more than 25 times as much light as any existing African telescope, SALT can detect objects as faint as a candle flame on the moon.Opened in November 2005, SALT is one of the leading instruments of its kind, enabling local and international scientists to see distant stars, galaxies and quasars a billion times too faint to be visible to the naked eye.The telescope is similar to the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas, but has a redesigned optical system – an achievement of South African astronomer Dr Darragh O’Donoghue – that uses more of its mirror array.Eleven metres in diameter, this array enables imaging, spectroscopic, and polarimetric analysis of the radiation from astronomical objects out of reach of northern hemisphere telescopes.SALT is facility of the South African Astronomical Observatory, the country’s national optical observatory. Its won support from the country’s government for both its advanced astronomical technology and the host of spin-off benefits it could bring to the country. It has become an icon for what can be achieved in science and technology in the new South Africa.Funding and partnersA talented team of local engineers and scientists succeeded in building SALT on a rapid – for big telescope projects at least – five-year timescale. The cost of construction was kept to within the original budget of US$20-million defined in 1998, even before the final designs were completed.The cost of the construction and operation of the telescope over its first 10 years is a total of US$36-million: US$20 million for the construction of the telescope, US$6 million for instruments and US$10 million for operations. A third of this funding is from South Africa, and rest from the project’s partner countries: Germany, Poland, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.The institutional partners of the SALT consortium are:Carnegie Mellon UniversityDartmouth CollegeGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenHobby-Eberly Telescope BoardNational Research Foundation of South AfricaNicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre of the Polish Academy of SciencesRutgers, the State University of New JerseyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUniversity of Canterbury (New Zealand)University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUnited Kingdom SALT Consortium (UKSC), comprising:– Armagh Observatory– Keele University– University of Central Lancashire– University of Nottingham– Open University– University of SouthamptonIn 2007, the two new partners joined the consortium:American Museum of Natural HistoryInter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (India)Building the telescopeIn the year 2000, on the first day of southern hemisphere spring, a few hundred people gathered on the hilltop near Sutherland for the SALT ground-breaking ceremony. After nearly four years of construction, in March 2004, installation of the massive mirror began. The last of the 91 smaller mirrored hexagon segments was put in place in May 2005.First light with the full mirror was declared on 1 September 2005, with the telescope obtaining images of globular cluster 47 Tucanae, open cluster NGC6152, spiral galaxy NGC6744, and the Lagoon Nebula being obtained. SALT was officially opened by President Thabo Mbeki on 10 November 2005.Both SALT and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope have unusual designs for optical telescopes. The primary mirror is composed of an array of mirrors designed to act as a single larger mirror. Each SALT mirror is a hexagon, one metre in size, with the array of 91 identical mirrors together making a hexagonal-shaped primary mirror 11metres by 9.8 metres in size. Each of the smaller mirrors can be adjusted in order to properly align to make them function as a single mirror.SALT’s instrumentation for includes the SALT Imaging Camera (SALTICAM), designed and built by the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO); the Robert Stobie Spectrograph, a multi-purpose longslit and multi-object imaging spectrograph and spectropolarimeter, designed and built by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rutgers University, and SAAO; and a fibre-fed High Resolution Spectrograph, designed by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.The telescope has a 1.5-Mbit internet connection, feeding to what is termed the “beach-head”, from where other institutions can access the data. An artist’s impression of the SquareKilometre Array. To give a sense of thescale, the small object in the shadow inthe foreground is a car.(Image: SKA South Africa)The Square Kilometre ArraySouth Africa has been shortlisted to host one of the biggest and most sophisticated scientific instruments in the world, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – a future generation international radio telescope that will enable astronomers to probe the early evolution of our galaxy.In September 2006 the International SKA steering committee in the Netherlands announced in September 2006 that South Africa and Australia had been shortlisted as sites for the SKA, a set of thousands of antennae that, put together, would cover a square kilometre.The network of dishes will be at least 50 times more powerful than any telescope yet built.If South Africa were to win the bid, it would bring a massive injection of expertise and economic activity to the Northern Cape, with benefits for the local aluminium, computer, communications, electronics and steel industries.The SKA project will cost in the region of US$1-billion, and could generate as much as R500-million in foreign investment for South Africa.South Africa and Australia beat bids from Argentina and China to make the SKA shortlist. A final decision is expected by 2008, while construction on the SKA will probably start in about 2013 and be completed by about 2019.Global design programmeIn 2006, European funding was agreed for a €38-million (US$46-million) global programme to design the Square Kilometre Array.The four-year SKA Design Studies programme will see astronomers in Australia, South Africa, Canada, India, China and the US collaborating closely with their colleagues in Europe to formulate the most effective design and develop the technology required.Designing and then building such an enormous and technologically advanced instrument is beyond the scope of individual nations, which is why the project aims to harness the ideas and resources of countries across the world.The Karoo Array TelescopeIn the meantime, South Africa has begun work on a SKA prototype known as the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT), with technology that will parallel that of the SKA.Construction on this smaller version of the SKA is expected to be complete in 2008/9, and will entail cooperation with some of the other countries involved in the SKA project to ensure efficient technology transfer.While the KAT will have about 1% of the SKA’s receiving capacity, it will still be a powerful radio telescope in its own right. It will also prove that South Africa is committed and ready to host the SKA.Radio quietnessA radio telescope has to be as far away as possible from artificial sources of radio waves, such as cellphone and radio networks.Working with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to measure radio frequency interference levels in some of the most remote parts of the country, the South African SKA team has identified three sites in the Karoo in the Northern Cape, all three boasting radio interference-free zones of 150 kilometres, far exceeding the SKA requirement of 100km radio interference-free areas.The Northern Cape sites also have a low topography suited to the SKA, with mountains providing extra shielding against radio waves from remote metropolitan areas.The southern hemisphere also has the astronomical advantage of being exposed to more sky than the north. South Africa is also on the same longitude as Europe, so it sees the same night sky, and scientists can easily link up with facilities there.In addition to the radio quietness of its sites, South Africa has the capabilities and track record to host, support and contribute to the science that will be generated by largest radio telescope ever built.Radio signals from the pastThe core element of SKA should be in the centre of a radio interference-free region at least 100 kilometres in diameter. This is because radio emissions from the early universe – which the SKA will seek to capture – are in the range of a few hundred megaHertz, a frequency band now crowded on earth with TV and cellular telephone transmissions.To pick up these radio emissions – literally, radio signals from the past – the SKA will have a receiving surface of one million square metres, 100 times larger than the current biggest surface.The huge receiving surface will consist of many small antennae, divided into a core element and a periphery. The peripheral antennas could be between 1 000 and 10 000 kilometres away from the core element, making the SKA an intercontinental system.The signals received by all these antennae will be combined to form one single, big picture.The result will be an instrument capable of probing the secrets of the very early universe, just after it began about 14 billion years ago – so science tells us – with the Big Bang.Listening to the early universeAstronomers explore the universe by passively detecting electromagnetic radiation and cosmic rays emitted by celestial objects. The earth’s atmosphere shields us from much of this radiation, so modern astronomy is done from large optical telescopes on high mountains, or from orbiting satellite observatories.Radio astronomers, on the other hand, concentrate on the relatively long wavelength (or low frequency) radio waves that penetrate the earth’s atmosphere with little impediment or distortion.Because electromagnetic radiation travels at a fixed speed of about 1.08 billion km/h, very distant objects are observed as they were in the distant past. Astronomers are therefore able to “look back in time” to observe the early stages of the evolution of the universe.Most existing radio telescopes were built 10 to 30 years ago. For radio astronomy to progress, a new telescope with 100 times the collecting surface of existing telescopes will be needed in about 10 years’ time.The SKA will probe the so-called “Dark Ages”, when the early universe was in a gaseous form before the formation of stars and galaxies. At present, astronomers do not have the necessary tools to observe radiation from this period of the universe, which extends from about 300 000 years till one billion years after the Big Bang.Radiation reaching us from these Dark Ages has travelled a huge journey through space, and is in the form of radio signals emitted by the neutral hydrogen gas that dominated the universe during this period. The signals are, however, extremely faint, and require a telescope with the planned sensitivity of the SKA to be detected.The SKA will map the time evolution of this cosmic web of primordial gas as it condenses to form the first objects in the universe. It will also chart the development of these adolescent stars and galaxies, which will provide us with information about our own origin. The atoms in our bodies, our planet and our star were formed by the nuclear reactions that powered these early stars.Useful linksSouthern African Large TelescopeSquare Kilometre ArraySquare Kilometre Array South AfricaKaroo Array TelescopeHobby-Eberly TelescopeSouth African Astronomical ObservatoryAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryArmagh ObservatoryCarnegie Mellon UniversityDartmouth CollegeGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenInter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (India)Keele UniversityNational Research Foundation of South AfricaNicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre of the Polish Academy of SciencesOpen UniversityRutgers, the State University of New JerseyUnited Kingdom SALT ConsortiumUniversity of Canterbury (New Zealand)University of Central LancashireUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillUniversity of NottinghamUniversity of SouthamptonUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonDepartment of Science and TechnologyNorthern Cape Provincial GovernmentNorthern Cape TourismIndependent Communications Authority of South Africalast_img read more

December 16, 2019
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Factual Aims, Credibly, to Become Wikipedia 2.0

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market We first wrote about Factual in September and I’ve been excited about it ever since. The company’s location data seems to be getting good reviews from data consumers, but there are clearly sets that need cleaning up, too.Have you spent any time on Factual? What’s your assessment of the site’s viability? The company has assembled a very strong team, but it’s in a crowded market, too. If it can build a community of human editors, business users willing to write-back changes to its data set and strong technology to do the bulk of the heavy lifting and judgement calls on credibility, we may find the web using Factual to describe the world much like users use Wikipedia today to discuss and learn about it. That would be an exciting platform. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Tags:#Location#NYT#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting marshall kirkpatrick Imagine an online community that combines user contributions, editing and fact checking like Wikipedia, with automated data extraction like Google and complex artificial intelligence to create a rich description of the world around us that is continually refined over time. That’s what well-backed data startup Factual is aiming to create and every time I learn more about it, I fantasize about getting in and contributing to that community just like early contributors to Wikipedia did.While Wikipedia is a huge destination site, however, Factual is a data service that will be used as a platform by other sites that want to borrow the data it has captured and refined about places, people and things in the real world. Founder Gil Elbaz, one of the inventors of the technology that became Google’s advertising platform and the leader who raised money from red hot investors Andreesen Horowitz for Factual, did a fascinating interview with GPS Business News this morning where we learned more about the technology behind his site.Elbaz tells interviewer Ludovic Privat that any partner site or individual can submit a data set, a data point or an opinion about a data point.“So if you go to one of our tables and double click into a cell, you’ll find a rich history of opinions about what, for example, is the right phone number for a business. Then it’s our job to examine all these opinions and look for some sort of consensus or pattern that leads us to believe that one of them is right and one is wrong. “The job of cleaning this data, looking for spammy submissions, analyzing the sources or users that are submitting this data and then trying to boil it down into the right answer requires a lot of technology…It also comes from a sophisticated machine-learning stack that can leverage a significant proportion of the web and use various natural language technologies to structure unstructured or semi-structured data that’s on the web and pull facts from the web to validate them. “It is a living, breathing database in the sense that our partners and end-users can access our write-to API and correct things in the database in real-time and our developers have real-time access to these corrections.”Elbaz says the company is incentivizing partners to participate in the refinement of the data, including through a program where users of the data can opt-in to sharing any improvements they make back with Factual. The company announced partnerships with Facebook Places and the wildly popular social game MyTown by Booyah, earlier this month.last_img read more

December 3, 2019
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Communal violence cases up in Bengal: Home Ministry

first_imgCommunal violence incidents had sharply increased over the past three years in West Bengal, a data compiled by the Union Home Ministry said.While the State recorded 27 incidents of violence in 2015 in which five persons died and 84 suffered injuries, the number of incidents almost doubled by 2017 when 58 incidents of violence were recorded, in which nine people lost their lives and 230 were injured. In 2016, there were 32 incidents of communal strife in the State. The biggest spurt in such incidents occurred between 2016 and 2017.The details of the number of incidents of communal violence in different States were made public by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in Lok Sabha on February 6.An analysis of the data tabled in Parliament by the Union Home Ministry in answer to questions revealed that though there had been a spurt in the incidents between 2015 and 2017, West Bengal had not been a stranger to incidents of communal violence. Between 2011 and 2014, 20 incidents of communal violence on an average were reported every year, peaking in 2012 and 2013 when 23 and 24 incidents were reported. The lowest was in 2011 and 2014 when 15 and 16 incidents of communal violence were recorded .The data compiled for the year 2010, when the Left Front government was in power, listed 21 incidents in which six persons died and 82 suffered injuries. Well-known activist Sujato Bhadra said that recent unrest in south Bengal where at least three people died and scores including a policeman have sustained injuries indicated a spurt in incidents of communal violence.“West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has failed to ideologically counter the BJP-RSS combine by indulging in soft Hindutva.Not only did the government allow processions on Ram Navami but prominent TMC leaders brought out similar rallies,” Mr. Bhadra said.last_img read more

December 3, 2019
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‘People responsible for Bargari sacrilege won’t be spared’

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday that people responsible for the Bargari sacrilege won’t be spared. “The Special Investigation Team probe ordered by the Congress government would conclude soon,” said Capt. Amarinder in Bathinda, where he announced ₹97 crore as relief to 18,308 small farmers against debt from cooperative banks. The SIT has been probing the incidents of sacrilege and also the police firing on protesters in Faridkot in 2015. Capt. Amarinder said that a senior police officer implicated in theFaridkot firing case had already been arrested. “It was obvious that the officer in question must have been following orders, and the SIT would identify those who issued the orders. They will not be spared at any cost,” he said. The SIT had on Sunday arrested former Moga SSP Charanjit Sharma as a part of its investigation. Capt. Amarinder alleged that the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government had ruined everything – from agriculture to industry and economy – during its 10-year rule. “Badals and their cronies were busy filling their pockets, at the cost of people’s welfare,” he alleged. ‘Drop in suicide cases’The Chief Minister said there had been a sharp drop in the number of farmer suicides and a huge decrease in drug trade since his government took over. “The Buddy and DAPO programmes were making significant strides in checking drug abuse and helping in rehabilitation of the affected people,” he added.last_img read more

November 27, 2019
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Teary Victoria Azarenka admits to struggling after loss in Australia

first_imgVictoria Azarenka of Belarus wipes sweat from her face during her first round match against Germany’s Laura Siegemund at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)MELBOURNE, Australia — Victoria Azarenka cried, pausing for a minute, trying to reflect on the differences between her past and present experiences of the Australian Open.A back-to-back champion in 2012 and ’13, Azarenka sat in a small interview room at Melbourne Park answering questions for 10 minutes in the wake of her 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 first-round loss to No. 110-ranked Laura Siegemund on Tuesday. Eventually, it drove her to tears.ADVERTISEMENT TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Her son, Leo, was born in December 2016 in a period in which Wimbledon in 2017 was the only Grand Slam tournament Azarenka entered in two years between the French Opens in 2016 and last year.She had to skip some tournaments while working out a custody dispute with the father of her son. And she has spoken about the challenges of being a traveling, working mom.She’s dealing with that, and with trying to find a way to convert the form she believes she has found in practice into matches. Her first-round loss at the last French Open was followed by a second-round exit at Wimbledon and a third-round appearance at the U.S. Open, moving her ranking back into the 50s. The trajectory didn’t keep going up.“It was very obvious that my game was not there today,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of great things in warm-ups and stuff. In matches I think I’m underestimating for not really playing for almost three years on a high level — it’s not easy to continue just out of nowhere to start playing well.”Then there was another question about comparing her level pre-2016 with where she’s at now.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte US Open champion Naomi Osaka eases into 2nd round in Australia LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño LATEST STORIES Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion “Every time you look back you always see the good things and the results. You don’t see the struggle, and the days that you had a bad match but you managed to win,” she said. “It’s hard to compare that with what’s happening right now because the obvious indicator is the result, and the result is not there. So the assumption is the level is not there, but that’s not necessarily the case.”It feels like such a long time ago to her that she can barely remember what life was like at the top, although she concedes it wasn’t always great.There were people who didn’t like the sound of her grunting, or her taste in music, and she was heavily criticized for an incident in her Australian Open semifinal win over Sloane Stephens in 2013.Azarenka wasted five match points on serve before being broken in that game, then took a lengthy medical timeout right before Stephens had to serve to stay in the match. She was accused of taking a strategic break after admitting “I almost did the choke of the year!”The controversy was still the main topic of headlines when she beat Li Na in the final.“Not many people know how difficult 2013 was for me to go out there and play that final,” Azarenka said of her last major title here. “It was a nightmare that turned from harmless incident to just headlines, headlines and headlines. That was a difficult part. But results were good, so everybody thinks it was great.“It was amazing to win those two titles. But you always struggle, and right now it’s just a harder struggle for me.”Azarenka said she’d go away and work hard on her game, hoping that eventually she’ll relive some of the success of her early career.“It’s not easy to sit here right now and be positive,” she said, “but I don’t have another choice.” MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments Even when she was winning and ranked No. 1 there were struggles, she said. But it was a different kind of struggle — a word she used a dozen times.A tournament official gave the 29-year-old Belarussian the option of stopping the news conference, and a member of her management team attempted to shut it down. But Azarenka, excusing herself first, and taking deep breaths, insisted on answering a question.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“I’ve been through a lot of things in my life,” she said, crying again. “Sometimes I wonder why I go through them. But I think they’re going to make me stronger.“I want to believe that and I’m going to work hard for it. Sometimes I just need a little time and patience, and a little support.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more