By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaMother Nature appears to be cutting Georgia farmers some slack sofar this year. And a new, three-state Web site can help themprepare for whatever the weather offers.”Now’s the time to prepare for rough weather,” said Joel Paz, anExtension agrometeorologist with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We’re havinga normal-weather year this year. When you’re experiencing an ElNiño, you have to have your contingency plans ready.”Paz is on a multi-university team of researchers who havedeveloped the Web resource to help farmers stay ahead of theweather. The site can help them prepare for many weatherconditions driven by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)phenomenon.ForecastsThe Southeast Climate Consortium issues quarterly forecasts tohelp farmers in Alabama, Florida and Georgia manage their crops.The forecasts are on-line at www.agclimate.org.The SECC Web site uses data collected from university resourcesand the National Climate Data Center. It’s based on more than 50years of weather data. And it provides monthly rainfall andtemperature forecasts for Alabama, Florida and Georgia counties.It offers advice, too, for neutral, El Niño and La Niña ENSOphases. Florida State University’s Center for Ocean-AtmosphericPrediction Studies produces the SECC climate forecasts.At the Tallahassee center, researchers monitor surfacetemperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator to predictpotential weather effects in the southeastern United States.Periodic warming or cooling of those ocean surfaces, known as ElNiño or La Niña, can affect U.S. weather patterns. El Niños bringincreased winter rainfall. La Niñas have the opposite effect.Neutral phasePacific Ocean surface temperatures are near normal now, or in aneutral phase.Farmers make many business decisions based on unknown weatherconditions, Paz said. They decide whether to buy crop insuranceor grow a particular crop.The AgClimate Web site allows them to select their county, soiltype, irrigation method and past yields. The site creates apersonalized prediction of the farmer’s yields based on hisfields, the climate forecast and planting dates.The site has data for peanuts, potatoes and tomatoes. The teamplans to add cotton and other Southeastern vegetable crops soon.The site covers cold weather factors, too. Farmers who growpeaches, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits will benefitfrom the chilling-hours data.”There’s a big difference between climate data and weather data,”Paz said. “Weather information is used day-to-day. Climateinformation affects farmers’ future decisions, including varietyselection and management regimens.”More than farmersThe Web site was designed for farmers. But Paz says many othergroups will find the climate information useful.”We’re starting to target the information to government agencieslike the emergency management agencies,” he said. “And we’vefound that water-resource managers also find the data quiteuseful.”The Web site data predicts the likelihood of wildfires, too. Itforecasts little chance of wildfires this summer, due to recentheavy rains, the likelihood of a wet summer and the end of theSoutheast’s traditional wildfire season, which runs from Januarythrough early June.The SECC’s fall outlook, due in early September, will indicatewhether the neutral phase is continuing, Paz said.As with most weather and climate projects, there’s always amargin of error.”We look at probabilities based on history,” he said. “Our Website is accurate. But you’ve always got to give yourself somewiggle room.”SECC member universities, besides UGA, are Auburn,Alabama-Huntsville, Florida, Florida State and Miami.The SECC is funded by the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration’s Office of Global Programs, the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education andExtension Service and the USDA’s Risk Management Agency.(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Heinke Conrads at WTWThe study noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated problems, causing uncertainty for employees who had been forced to work on short-term contracts or who had lost their jobs.For thsi reason, it is important for employers to motivate workers with additional support. “A good benefits programme and financial wellbeing solutions are important tools to keep commitment high,” Heinke Conrads, head of retirement for Germany and Austria at WTW, said.WTW’s research further showed that 42% of employees would receive digital help to manage their savings in order to improve their financial situation, while 38% required access to savings and investment models, with only 29% requesting the support of an advisor.Employees who rely on financial knowledge were more likely to feel therye were “on the right track” (62%). “Financial education is not yet common in Germany, but it is a good instrument to supporting employees, especially in times of crisis,” Conrads added.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. Seventy two percent of employees in Germany have called out for active support from their employers on the design of their occupational pension plans, according to a recent survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson (WTW).Workers have asked primarily for flexibility, with 66% wanting to be able to transfer occupational pension schemes if they change jobs, and just as many have requested flexible payment options for pensions.The survey showed that protection for disability and death are also becoming increasingly important for employees.According to the research, companies may opt to improve benefits, especially among employees who are financially under pressure. It showed that 41% of these employees would like to receive more benefits, in the form of, for example, company pensions or protection for disabilities and accidents, with 38% wanting an increase in wages. But occupational pension schemes continue to play a very important role for the respondents, with 46% considering these schemes a reason to be loyal to their employers, and 70% of those with an occupational pension plan being proud to work for their employers. The numbers reflect the situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.The economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis has unsettled employees, and the financial uncertainty has had an impact on health, family life and job performance. A solid occupational pension plan, however, can tick one major concern for German workers off the list, Wilhelm-Friedrich Puschinski, head of general consulting at WTW, told IPE.“Employees in Germany trust their employer to offer them a good solution with excellent value for money and without having an economic self-interest; they are willing to reward their employers for a needs-based design with better motivation and loyalty,” he added.The study revealed that occupational pension schemes are perceived as a source of stability for retirement. It showed that 85% of the employees with an occupational pension save part of their annual income for old-age provisions, while only 61% of those without such a scheme do the same.“Occupational pension plans in Germany offer the highest degree of security for employees”Wilhelm-Friedrich Puschinski, head of general consulting at WTW“Occupational pension plans in Germany offer the highest degree of security for employees, with all existing pension scheme employers guarantee a minimum benefit, even if the capital markets slip,” Puschinski said, adding that many employers have actively reduced the risks both for employers and employees over the last few years, whilst maintaining general benefit levels.“There are different layers of protection against insolvency of both providers and employers, and the strict labour law in Germany protects employees from disproportional benefit reductions,” he said.Looking ahead, 67% were expect to navigate in worse financial conditions than their parents at the age of retirement, while at the same time struggling to build-up savings. The study also showed that 44% would invest more in old-age provisions, but only around 42% achieve its savings targets, a result in line with a trend seen over the past years.It added that 36% of participants could only rely on their salary without savings – 21% of these said that financial problems would impact their professional performance, and 23% had suffered from stress, anxiety or depression in the past two years.
Remy Cabella has completed his move to Newcastle to hand manager Alan Pardew a massive boost. Press Association “Remy has great ideas when the ball comes to him, and along with Siem de Jong is going to improve an area where we definitely needed some help.” The Magpies are still in the market for out and out frontmen, however, and that will be a major focus over the days ahead. In addition, they are working to find a replacement for Cabella’s international team-mate Mathieu Debuchy before allowing Arsenal to push home their interest in the full-back. To that end, they have entered talks with Feyenoord over Holland international defender Daryl Janmaat. The Magpies confirmed on Sunday night that the 24-year-old has signed a six-year contract after sealing his transfer from French club Montpellier for an undisclosed fee. Cabella, who has been in the club’s sights since they tried to sign him as a replacement for Yohan Cabaye in January, becomes Pardew’s fourth summer acquisition after Siem de Jong, Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez. Cabella said: “It is great to finally be a Newcastle player. “This is a move that I really wanted to make as I have heard nothing but good things about Newcastle United from everyone I spoke to. “I wanted to join a great English club and that is why I have arrived here. I’m looking forward to pulling on the shirt and playing in this magnificent stadium, and I will give this club my maximum.” France international Cabella jetted into Tyneside from his post- World Cup finals holiday in Corsica earlier in the day, 48 hours after Montpellier president Louis Nicollin had revealed that a deal was all but done. Newcastle were cautious as they worked to thrash out the remaining details, but their optimism was rewarded when they finally got their man. Pardew is hoping the attacking flair Cabella and De Jong will bring will help to mitigate for the loss of Cabaye and loan strikers Loic Remy, Luuk de Jong and the out-of-contract Shola Ameobi, while Papiss Cisse continues to battle his way back from injury. Pardew said: “Remy is a player who has been on our radar for a while and we are delighted to bring him to the club. “He is a player who I am sure will excite our fans. He has flair, hard work and commitment, and is going to bring a talent, energy and quality to St James’ Park that our supporters will enjoy.
New Delhi: Bangladesh secured their first-ever innings win in Test cricket as they decimated West Indies by an innings and 184 runs in the Mirpur match to sweep the two-Test series 2-0. The match was dominated by Mehidy Hasan’s magnificent 12 wickets and his efforts, combined with the all-round brilliance of Shakib Al Hasan ensured Bangladesh secured their biggest-ever win in Tests. The victory was even more significant, considering that in the previous series, they had lost a Test to Zimbabwe. West Indies lost 13 wickets on the third day as they suffered trial by spin.Read More |Virat Kohli’s India aim to avoid collapse syndrome in Australia TestsResuming at 75/7 in pursuit of Bangladesh’s mammoth total of 508, Mehidy Hasan picked up two more wickets to finish with 7/58, the third-best figures by a Bangladesh bowler in Tests behind Taijul Islam (8/39 vs Zimbabwe 2014) and Shakib (7/36 vs New Zealand, Chittagong). The Bangladesh captain took the last wicket and West Indies were bowled out for 111. Trailing by 397 runs, Bangladesh enforced the follow-on and instead of showing some fight, the Windies capitulated even badly in the second innings.Read More |Virat Kohli enjoys batting if someone has a go at him: Tim PaineMehidy and Shakib once again decimated the West Indies top order as they were left reeling at 29/4. However, Shimron Hetmyer decided to take the attack to the spinners and launch a glorious counter-attack. The young left-hander dealt in only sixes as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. He was especially severe on Shakib, whom he hit for four sixes and also on Taijul, whom he blasted three sixes. His tally of nine sixes put him level with Chris Gayle for the most sixes in an innings but he missed out on a century when he miscued Mehidy to be out for 93.Read More |Kohli focused only on cricket, not on confrontations vs AustraliaKemar Roach and Shermon Lewis frustrated Bangladesh’s with a 42-run stand for the last wicket. The victory was sealed when Taijul trapped Lewis for 20 to spark off wild celebrations in the Bangladesh camp. This was their second series win against West Indies, having earlier beaten them 2-0 in the 2009 series. Mehidy was rightfully the Man of the Match, his haul of 12/117 becoming the best-ever individual haul in a Test for Bangladesh.Speaking after the end of the match, Shakib said the players were committed to doing well. “Every time the batsmen got in, they made it count. All four spinners were great, especially Miraz, the way he bowled today was fantastic. Nayeem bowled really well in both Tests, even though the wickets column doesn’t show it,” Shakib said.Bangladesh will now take on West Indies in three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals as they look to continue their great run. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
May 11, 2020 Incoming president and CEO Scott Howson, who will take over for David Andrews this summer, said the AHL is still planning for a full 2020-21 regular season running from Oct. 9-April 18. But it also is working on schedules that start in November, December or January.VIRUS OUTBREAK-CANADA TENNISAid for Canadian tennis prosOTTAWA (AP) —Canada’s National Bank is offering cash grants to each of 23 tennis players from the country who are facing financial issues because of the coronavirus pandemic. — Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung says he’s appealing a decision that denied a claim he brought against the National Football League Players Association alleging unfair labor practices. The National Labor Relations Board last week dismissed Okung’s claim against the NFLPA. Okung has been outspoken against the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA that was ratified in March by players. He says union voting procedures were not handled correctly and that the union tried to silence his right to speak on the matter.AHL-VIRUS OUTBREAK-AHL CANCELEDAmerican Hockey League cancels rest of season, playoffsThe American Hockey League canceled the rest of its season Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic, shifting its focus toward an uncertain future.While the Calder Cup will not be handed out for the first time since 1936, the 31-team AHL hopes to return next season. That remains uncertain; one possibility is that no fans would be allowed in arenas. Tennis Canada announced the grants of $10,000 to $20,000 in Canadian dollars, or about $7,000 to $14,000 in U.S. dollars, from National Bank on Monday, saying the amounts will depend on a player’s ranking.The money will help professionals ranked from 100 to 750 in singles or between 25 and 100 in doubles, members of the top 100 in the ITF junior rankings who are transitioning to the pros, and players in the top 50 of the ITF wheelchair rankings.Among the recipients: Sharon Fichman, who is No. 48 in women’s doubles; Leylah Annie Fernandez, who is No. 118 in women’s singles; Brayden Schnur, who is No. 177 in men’s singles; Peter Polansky, who is No. 192 in men’s singles; and Rebecca Marino, who is No. 300 in women’s singles.All sanctioned tennis events have been called off since March because of the outbreak, and all tennis events in Canada are called off until the end of August, except for the Rogers Cup men’s tournament in Toronto. The WTA and ATP are suspended until at least mid-July everywhere.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The All-Star Game, scheduled for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 14, likely would be called off.In other MLB news:— Under 1% of Major League Baseball employees tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Results were based on 5,603 completed records from employees of 26 clubs. The total testing positive was 0.7%. Samples were obtained on April 14 and 15. Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City led the study. Data for players was not broken out. The study was not representative of the overall population, given 95% of the participants were under 65 and few reported comorbidities.NFL-RAVENS-FLUKERRavens sign Fluker, who will seek to replace Yanda at guard Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-BASEBALLAP source: MLB owners approve plan to start season in JulyNEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020. OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) —The Baltimore Ravens have signed free agent guard D.J. Fluker, who is expected to compete for the opening on the offensive line created by the retirement of Marshal Yanda.Fluker has 92 games of NFL experience over seven years with three teams, most recently the Seattle Seahawks. He has played primarily at right guard, the position Yanda manned for the majority of his 13 seasons before retiring in March.Fluker signed a one-year contract, the Ravens announced Monday. He has 88 career starts, the last 57 of them at guard. The 6-foot-5, 342-pound Fluker started in 14 regular-season games and had two playoff starts for Seattle at right guard last season.NHL-GOLDEN KNIGHTS-DUGANNCAA leading scorer Dugan agrees to join Golden Knights A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Spring training would start in early to mid-June.MLB officials are slated to make a presentation to the union on Tuesday. An agreement with the players’ association is needed, and talks are expected to be difficult — especially over a proposal for a revenue split that would be unprecedented for baseball.Each team would play about 82 regular-season games: against opponents in its own division plus interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.Postseason play would be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four.Teams would prefer to play at their regular-season ballparks but would switch to spring training stadiums or neutral sites if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained for games at home. Toronto might have to play home games in Dunedin, Florida. Update on the latest in sports: Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — NCAA leading scorer Jack Dugan agreed Monday to turn pro and join the Vegas Golden Knights.Dugan was a fifth-round pick of the Golden Knights during their first draft in 2017. Because of his age, his NHL entry-level contract beginning next season would be for two years.The 6-foot-2, 185-pound forward from Pittsburgh had 10 goals and 42 assists for 52 points during his sophomore season at Providence College. Dugan was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the nation’s top college player.Dugan, 21, led the NCAA this season with 1.53 points a game, 1.24 assists a game, 22 power-play points and 30 even-strength points.In other NFL news:
One can often find professor Caitlyn Conlin working in a hospital -— but not in a traditional medical profession. Conlin, sporting a red nose, interacts with young hospitalized patients through the art of medical clowning, which is targeted at transforming the experience of hospitalization for patients. “If someone wants to talk about their trip to Alaska, the clown will play with that,” Conlin said. “If someone wants to talk about monsters and zombies, then the clown will do that. So the content is different, but the play is still the same.” This story has been updated for clarity. “I started interacting with different objects in the hallway around the room and pretending that they were alive,” Conlin said. “Doctors and nurses were passing through the hallway, and I turned it into a parade … a beautiful, amazing parade.” School of Dramatic Arts professors Zachary Steel (left) and Caitlyn Conlin (right) teach courses on medical clowning. (Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Conlin) “The philosophy of clowning … when you participate in a medical clowning class, you do exercises that allow you to tap into a certain state of being that is completely free and has unlimited imagination,” Conlin said. Steel said that medical clowning may also give hope to patients’ families. On one visit with unconscious patient, Conlin and Steel said they were able to change the mother’s experience at the hospital. “It’s really not about ‘Oh, look at me, I’m a clown on stage,’” Chow said. “It’s like, ‘OK, I’m here for you.’” According to Conlin, by interacting with the patients actively, the medical clowns are able to gain trust from patients and create beautiful memories with them. She improvised a performance to engage with a shy boy. Conlin also said medical clowning is all about improvisation and intimate interaction with patients and the environment. Conlin said the magic of medical clowning lies not only in healing patients but also in giving hope to patients’ families. When Conlin and Steel met with an unconscious patient, the nurse said there was not much the medical clowns could do. However, the patient’s mother called them in, and they said they were able to successfully implore the mother’s experience in the hospital. The course explores the philosophies of medical clowning and offers students opportunities to perform in hospitals. Steel said that in the class, students learn the principles of theatrical clowning to reveal the “most innocent and pure” parts of themselves to pursue joy and take this newly discovered joy to hospitals. “It’s very meaningful to the mother to have someone treating her daughter with the same feeling of aliveness… That was really important for the mother to keep the hope going,” Conlin said. However, Steel said that surprises are needed sometimes because they want to promote optimism in hospital environments. They want patients to feel comfortable with their surroundings. Conlin said that children and adult patients have different responses to medical clowns. She said adults are at first more hesitant to open themselves to more creative outlets. But once patients have experienced medical clowning, Conlin said they realize the clowns can tailor the experience to their age and topics they want to discuss. As opposed to other types of clowning, medical clowning aims to build one-to-one immersive interactions with patients, rather than facing a large audience. Christina Chow, a senior majoring in biological sciences who is currently taking Steel and Conlin’s class. “You are only doing what you are given the permission to do by the patients,” Steel said. There are rules to medical clowning because of the environment that the hospitals provide. Steel said a medical clown should avoid speaking loudly and remember to be respectful to their surroundings. Conlin said she accompanied the boy on his way to the operation room and made him feel comfortable. Conlin and professor Zachary Steel from the School of Dramatic Arts teach the medical clowning courses. Along with their instructors, students are able to go to hospitals to apply what they have learned in class and build long-term bonds with patients. “When I go into the hospital, I have nothing planned,” she said. “I mean, I do have songs that I know that I’ll sing sometime when singing comes up, but I don’t plan what I’m going to sing. A lot of times I don’t plan what song I’m going to sing and a lot of times I make up songs … You are pushing yourself into unknown places and a sort of magic starts to happen in the moment. ”