Premier League referee sidelined after breaking rules to watch Ed Sheeran concert

first_imgPremier League referee Mark Clattenburg has been axed for this weekend’s round of fixtures for two breaches of protocol.Clattenburg drove home alone after officiating West Brom’s home game against Crystal Palace so he could get back to Newcastle to watch Ed Sheeran perform at the Metro Radio Arena.That is a breach of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) rules, which state officials must travel to and from the ground together to protect their integrity and security.It has also emerged that Clattenburg broke another rule by speaking to Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock on the phone after the 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns.The PGMOL insists a referee should only be allowed to speak to a manager 30 minutes after the game and that conversation must take place in front of his assistants.After Clattenburg’s two errors came to light, the PGMOL board decided not to select the 39-year-old from County Durham for any top-flight games this weekend.This is not the first time Clattenburg has found himself in trouble.Five years ago he was sacked by the PGMOL following an investigation into his “private business affairs” although the punishment was reduced to an eight-month ban on appeal.In 2005 he and his assistants failed to award Tottenham a goal at Old Trafford when Roy Carroll fumbled Pedro Mendes’ shot over the line.Seven years later Clattenburg was accused of racially abusing Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during their match against Manchester United.Clattenburg was cleared by the Football Association.Last season he was accused of insulting Adam Lallana during Southampton’s 2-1 defeat to Everton, but again he was cleared.With Clattenburg now dropped, Stuart Attwell has been handed Leicester’s home game against West Brom on Saturday.Attwell is no stranger to controversy himself.In 2008 Attwell, after a discussion with his assistant Nigel Bannister, awarded Reading a goal at Watford even though the ball had clearly gone a yard wide of the net.Saturday’s game at Leicester will be the 32-year-old’s first Premier League match in more than two years. Mark Clattenburg 1last_img read more

Nature Can’t Wait for Darwin Day

first_imgDarwin Day (Feb. 12, 2009) is months away, but Nature devoted a special issue to it this week. The cover story, Darwin 200, includes 15 articles and features, some of which are available to the public. Features include a list of celebrations and exhibitions around the world, including a re-enactment of Darwin’s voyage on a “modernized replica” of the HMS Beagle. The voyage will be a floating field trip beamed to classrooms worldwide. The lead Editorial, “Beyond the Origin,” contained the expected creation-bashing and touting of Darwin’s theory as the greatest idea in history, but it ended with a curious theme: synthetic biology will allow the origin of life by intelligent design, though Darwin’s law of natural selection will continue to rule biology. By the time the 200th birthday of On the Origin of Species is celebrated, the life under study by science may well no longer be united by common ancestry in the way that all life is today. In that sense, Darwin’s view of the world will have been superseded. But whether that life exists around another star or in a bioreactor, it will still evolve, if given leave to, according to the simple and awe-inspiring algorithms of natural selection. The essay of Dobzhansky’s quoted earlier bears the now-famous title “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. That is so close to being an analytical truth – a necessary implication of what life itself is – that we can be certain it will continue to be true into the future. But that certainty in no way limits the diversity and sheer wonder of what we will find on the voyage that Darwin began.The celebratory euphoria in this editorial was quenched somewhat by another article in the special issue by Janet Browne, historian at Harvard and authority on Darwin. Although calling Darwin’s theory a “magnificent achievement” offering “remarkable explanatory power for 150 years,” she found some dirty laundry in the political history of Darwinism.1 Noting that “it is worth remembering that scientific anniversaries also provide an opportunity to push an agenda, and even to adapt the past, so telling us what we like best to hear,” Browne revisited prior Darwin celebrations in 1882, 1909 and 1959 to see what happened then. She found an interesting phenomenon: Darwin celebrations tended to be agenda-driven attempts to shore up a theory in crisis:1882: When Darwin died, his supporters used his “funeral as propaganda.” Concerned at the time over criticisms that Darwin’s views were hostile to religion, Thomas Huxley and crew hastened to get him buried in Westminster Abbey. Why?The funeral service and many obituaries stressed that Darwin was not an atheist. He was instead described as a good man, committed to truth and honesty. This was true, but it was also valuable propaganda at a time when relations between science and religion were intensely fraught. The men of the Royal Society used Darwin’s funeral as a way to reassure their contemporaries that science was not a threat to moral values, but rather was becoming increasingly important in the modern world.1909: The 50th anniversary of the Origin found Darwin’s theory in decline. New views on genetics, fossils and orthogenesis were undermining his views on gradual change, implying instead a goal-directed path of descent and even teleology. “The 1909 commemorations, organized by a small group of naturalists and Darwin family members from the University of Cambridge, provided a way to reassert the primacy of natural selection against other evolutionary rivals,” Browne said.1959: The bombastic Darwin Centennial hosted by the University of Chicago in 1959 was another attempt to whitewash Darwin, Browne argued. This Darwin anniversary was held at the University of Chicago in Illinois, in a symposium that pointedly celebrated the integration of genetics and population statistics with selection theory. Ten years earlier, this integration had almost taken the form of a political treaty. Putting it bluntly, field naturalists were eager to re-establish their value in an increasingly laboratory-based world. Prominent naturalists such as Ernst Mayr managed to get geneticists and statisticians to agree that evolution could take place on three levels: in molecules; in the flow of genes through populations; and in the environmental world of organisms undergoing competition and natural selection. In 1942, Julian Huxley invented the phrase ‘modern synthesis’ to combine genetics with natural selection, and Mayr’s key work within this synthesis, Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist (Columbia Univ. Press), was published.In addition, the Darwinites “in effect created modern Darwinism by emphatically rejecting any form of Lamarckism” in the context of the cold war:In 1959, socialist Russia had only recently withdrawn from Lamarckism in genetics, and the idea was strongly associated in US minds with the cold-war struggle. The delegates also rejected the idea that the fossil record shows signs of directed evolution, and expanded Darwinian thought to cover the evolution of mind and behaviour. During the conference, Julian Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, gave a secular sermon in the style of his grandfather, and provocatively declared that religious belief was merely a biological feature of evolving mankind.This was about the same time, contrary to many people’s impressions, that the Darwin Finch story became a prop for evolutionary theory. Mayr and Huxley had encouraged David Lack to spend time in the Galapagos observing the finches. “It was only after this … that the finches sketched by Darwin became collectively known as Darwin’s finches, and were held up as the first and most remarkable evidence of evolution in real organisms in a natural setting.”So instead of being spontaneous occasions to appreciate a universally-accepted hero of science, previous Darwin celebrations, Browne argued, were political ploys by advocates with an agenda. The question becomes, will history repeat itself in 2009?But biologists will also surely use the occasion, once again, to affirm the truth and elegance of Darwinism in the face of criticism, this time from those who prefer a creationist view of the world. Evolution by natural selection has suddenly become a highly contentious idea, especially in the United States. Creationist proponents abound in the US school-board system, opinion polls highlight the public’s belief in a divine origin for humankind, and ideas about intelligent design are widely circulated. Against this, Darwin has become the figurehead for rational, secular science, and Darwinism the main target of the fundamentalist movement spreading across the globe. Attacks extend beyond arguments over the Bible. To criticize Darwinism is a forceful way to express anxieties about the growing power of modern science and the perceived decline of moral values in society. To try to poke holes in Darwin’s argument is to express dislike not just for evolutionary theory but also for science itself. There is some irony in this situation. Looking back to Darwin’s funeral in 1882, Darwin’s Christian qualities, his stature as a man of truth and honesty, were brought to the fore. He was celebrated as a man whose religious doubts were an integral part of his wisdom and insight; few critics made personal attacks on his social virtues. Now, his heroism in modern science is seen by many as an offence to religious values. It goes to show just how diversely Darwin and his theory have been perceived and used over the years. Browne, author also of the award-winning biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002),2 quipped in conclusion, “Darwin himself would surely be amazed by how differently we have chosen to celebrate his anniversaries.”1. Janet Browne, “Birthdays to remember,” Nature 456, 324-325 (20 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/456324a. This article requires a subscription.2. Search on the keywords “Janet Browne” for quotations from this outstanding book in previous entries.shed the light all around.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Van Schalkwyk for top UN job?

first_imgMarthinus van Schalkwyk and performersat the 2009 opening of the Nelson MandelaBay visitor information centre.(Image: Port Elizabeth Daily Photo) Van Schalkwyk addresses the delegatesat a climate change convention in Montreal.(Image: IISD) MEDIA CONTACTS • Vusi MonaPresidency, Head of Communications+27 82 047 2260.RELATED ARTICLES• Climate-friendly development• SA tourism outstrips world rates• Tourism remains strong in SA• Clean-up drive along SA bordersJanine ErasmusSouth Africa’s Presidency has put forward the country’s minister of tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, as a candidate to head the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).The Presidency announced in March that after consideration, it had nominated Van Schalkwyk to take over from the outgoing executive secretary Yvo de Boer, who has been at the head of the organisation since 2006.Earlier in 2010 De Boer announced his retirement from the UN position to join consultancy giant KPMG as their global advisor on sustainability and climate. He will take up his new post on 1 July 2010.Van Schalkwyk is regarded as a strong contender for the position, having gained extensive experience in dealing with climate-related issues in his previous post as minister of environmental affairs and tourism.The Presidency reported that it had received requests from a number of outside parties – including governments, corporations and NGOs in both the developed and developing world – for Van Schalkwyk to be made available for nomination for this prestigious post.President Jacob Zuma and Van Schalkwyk have already met to discuss the matter.The final decision lies with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.A tough jobShould his bid be successful, the minister will face a tough job in getting the 192 members of the UNFCCC to agree on the effects of climate change and unite to implement strategies to counter the global phenomenon.In the wake of the 2009 climate conference held in Copenhagen, which failed to produce any realistic or legally binding emission-reduction target between participating nations, Van Schalkwyk will have his work cut out for him to bring the members of the UNFCCC into accord. De Boer is of the opinion that a new climate deal will not be struck before 2011.Van Schalkwyk will also have to restore the faith of developing nations, who also widely condemned the failure of the Copenhagen talks to provide any real hope of assistance for them from developed nations.However, as environmental affairs minister, a post which he held until after the general elections of 2009, Van Schalkwyk earned respect as a fighter for developing nations, and for leading South Africa in a number of progressive climate change initiatives that elevated the country as a champion for good environmental practices.Among his achievements are the implementation of a Black Economic Empowerment scorecard and charter for tourism, the launch of a new environmental protection fleet to counteract illegal fishing, the enforcing of the 2004 Air Quality Act, and the banning of the use, import and export, and manufacturing of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.In 2008 he assumed the rotating presidency of the biennial African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, a gathering of African ministers of the environment, at its 12th session, which took place in Johannesburg.“Our message for this gathering is that we are ready to assist in shaping and building a cohesive African environmental agenda,” said Van Schalkwyk in his acceptance speech.He therefore has the understanding and the experience needed to effectively punt the needs of developing nations, ensuring they do not get pushed aside in the global climate debate.Towards the end of next year South Africa hosts the 2011 Conference of the Parties, an annual meeting of the members of the UNFCCC. To have a South African at the helm of global climate negotiations would be fitting, and, said the Presidency, “an honour and a privilege”.Saving the planetThe UNFCCC arose out of the 1992 UN environment summit, known as the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro. The treaty was established with the main aim of stabilising the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and came into force in March 1994.The UNFCCC’s 192 parties are classified as Annex I or Annex II members. Annex I countries are seen as industrialised economies or economies in transition. Annex II countries have developed economies and are able to help developing countries financially with initiatives that fall under the UNFCCC.To date, 40 Annex I and 23 Annex II countries have become parties. There are also a number of non-Annex 1 parties, of which South Africa is one – these are mostly developing nations who are dependent on assistance from wealthier nations.The UNFCCC itself has no compulsory carbon emission limits to which members are expected to adhere, but its main instrument, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, does set legally binding targets for carbon emission reduction for its own 184 members.The UNFCCC secretariat is based in Bonn, Germany.last_img read more

Cup visitors enchanted by South Africa

first_img17 June 2010The world’s attention is focused on the southern tip of Africa as the greatest football showpiece plays itself out on the fields and in the streets of South Africa. But once the final whistle has blown on 11 July, it seems as though a lot of happy fans will be coming back to the country.They’re interested in the diverse holiday opportunities offered by game parks, beaches, and the different sights and sounds of South Africa.As both Spain and Switzerland opened their World Cup accounts at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, with Switzerland grabbing a surprise win, the fans from both camps had been soaking up more than just the football extravaganza.‘Durban is perfect for me’Raul Spreafico is in town to support Spain. It is his first visit to any country in Africa, and he is very excited to be in Durban. He enjoys travelling the world – and says that being in Africa is one of his highlights.“I’m not much of an extremist,” says Spreafico. “I enjoy the calm and serenity of nature, so Durban is perfect for me.”Pontius Meier, clad in an all-red outfit in support of his Swiss team, says Durban “is the place to be right now … For the past week I was staying at African Sunrise Lodge, and I enjoyed the phuthu breakfast and home-grown fruits. Tomorrow we are going to scuba dive at Ushaka Marine World Aquarium.”Pontius’s friend James said: “It is my second time in South Africa, but I have never been to Durban before. The beach is marvelous, and it reminds me of the Spanish Riviera.”Kruger National ParkDespite being in awe of the impressive arch that spans across the Durban stadium, it seems some of the Swiss fans have found their new favourite destination further north – toward the renowned Kruger National Park and the famous “Big Five” of lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhino.“The first thing we did was visit the Kruger National Park,” said Swiss brothers Ferdinand, Marcus and Rowan Kirsten. “We heard so much about it and we wanted to see for ourselves.”For Stephane, a travelling fan from Switzerland, it was “incredible to be surrounded by wild animals, even though I didn’t get to see the lion, but other than that the people have been friendly.”Others plan to head to the mountains, as well as to the country’s pristine beaches.Coastal areas“We came from Johannesburg and spent two nights in the Drakensberg Mountains, and from here we hope to see the coastal areas of the country, especially Cape Town and Port Elizabeth,” said Mikel Goldacena from Spain.For some of the visiting fans, this is not their first trip to South Africa.“I used to work for a construction company back in 1974 and came to work in South Africa. I am amazed by the transformation since then,” said Berner Roland from Switzerland.“South Africa has done well for itself with this World Cup. I am proud to see so much change,” added Roland, who said he will “definitely be back here in South Africa soon”.Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

Lettuce Work helping young people with autism serve others through agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Doug and Julie Sharp of New Albany have devoted countless hours to working with youth and young adults that fall on the autism spectrum. Besides being the parents of an autistic child, Julie is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism and Doug served on the school board.Although there are many programs for youth that fall on the autism spectrum while they are in school, the Sharps noticed a distinct problem: after graduating from high school it is hard for youth with autism to receive support from external programs.Seeing the need, the Sharps worked diligently to create the Lettuce Work Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization that serves young adults with autism and trains them for the future. The idea for Lettuce Work began in 2007. After construction of a 15,000 square foot greenhouse, partnering with a local high school, and plentiful paperwork, the first batch of lettuce was harvested in 2014.“We work with kids ages 18 through 22 who need additional training and support in order to make a successful transition from high school to the working world. Our goal for the kids we work with is that they learn how to function in a work place and how to have appropriate interactions with their peers and supervisors,” said Doug Sharp, co-founder of the Lettuce Work Foundation. “We train them in basic work place behavior and social skills. Although we aren’t necessarily hoping that they get trained in agriculture per say, a lot of the kids we work with really enjoy it. Some of them have moved into other outdoor activities after completing their training with us, such as landscaping.”Much of the job and skill training available for young adults on the autism spectrum tends to be in areas such as hospitality or janitorial services. The Sharps wanted to take a different approach. Agriculture had an appeal to the Sharps, who liked the idea of being outdoors and actually growing a product.The Sharps went to Ohio State Extension to gather their opinion on what type of produce would work the best, not only to accomplish their mission of helping young adults with autism but also a crop to sell that would be able to support the charity.“After talking with some people in Extension, we decided that hydroponic lettuce was going to work best. First off, it’s clean. A lot of kids on the spectrum have sensory issues, so not working with soil was a draw for us,” Sharp said. “Second, there is a steady demand for lettuce. It’s important that we had a plant that was needed, since the money we make from the product goes directly back into the Foundation.”Instead of getting all the nutrients from soil, plants that are grown hydroponically receive their nutrients from a water solution. The plants are suspended in water and have a flow of nutrients beneath them.“Another reason we decided for hydroponic lettuce is because we needed something that could be grown in the fall and winter, kind of opposite of the typical growing season,” Sharp said. “The kids we work with aren’t in school during the summer when most produce is grown. It worked out perfectly that we could use our greenhouses to grow lettuce year round.”Lettuce Work partners with some area high schools to get young adults working in the greenhouse every day.“We first started having the youth involved in the early building stages of Lettuce Work, so they were able to help us with some construction and things. After we start growing lettuce, we usually rotate groups of six to 10 kids in the greenhouse every week,” Sharp said. “In total, we probably work with 30 to 40 youth on the spectrum every year.”In addition to the youth that visit every week, Lettuce Work employs around a half dozen staff members, some with autism.“The staff serve as role models for the kids and help over look all the operations. We do all the harvesting, packaging and delivering with the kids,” Sharp said. “We typically have a set routine for the kids to follow, which is pretty comforting to them. Instead of focusing on the task, they can focus on their behavior and interactions with others. They also really enjoy the white noise coming from the lights, it has a relaxing effect.”Since the non-profit organization garners donations through retail sales of their lettuce, it’s been important to increase lettuce yields and make improvements.“Thanks to some grants and funding we received from the state of Ohio, the Columbus Foundation, Autism Speaks, The Ingram Whitecastle Foundation and Ante4autism we were able to install LEDThe 15,000 square foot greenhouse produced the first batch of lettuce in in our greenhouses this past fall,” Sharp said.The new lights change color to match the light spectrum the crops need.“It’s kind of funny, the lettuce grows under bright pink lights,” Sharp said. “We turn it on pink when no one is in the greenhouse and then when the kids come we flip it back to normal white light.”The lights have increased their yields tremendously.“Last year in the winter we’d harvest about 80 pounds of lettuce a week. This year we are harvesting 300 pounds of lettuce a week,” he said.The next big improvement for Lettuce Work is coming this coming spring.“We are going to start growing flowers in our greenhouse this coming spring. We plan on growing flats for landscaping and then hanging baskets and planters,” Sharp said. “Hopefully, with our greenhouses, we are able to be a step ahead of home improvement stores and people will buy our flowers first.”Lettuce Work also hopes to have a retail store open on location at the greenhouses.“By having the retail store, we will be able to train the kids in other skill areas. They’ll get practice in customer service, in working a cash register, maintaining the store front and more,” Sharp said. “Hopefully expanding into the flower business will also grow attention to our lettuce and promote our mission even more.”Shoppers can find Lettuce Work Spring Salad Blend, a combination of eight to 10 varieties of lettuce, in the produce section of 25 different stores in the northern Franklin County area, including 17 Kroger stores, six Giant Eagles and other stores such as Lucky’s Market in Columbus, The Hill’s Market in Worthington, and Ross’ Market IGA in Granville.Julie Sharp is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism.“We are really proud to be selling a local and high quality product to our community,” Sharp said. “But we are even more proud to be making a difference in the lives of so many young adults with autism every year.”last_img read more