Serena Williams confirmed for eighth Australian Open title tilt

first_imgLATEST STORIES Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil “Serena loves coming to Melbourne and I know she’s excited about returning in January with her family, it’s definitely a very special place for her,” said Tiley.“She’ll also be super-focused on winning here, and equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.”Tiley said the tournament was gearing up to welcome back Azarenka and Williams — and their children.“Vika (Azarenka) is also a new mum to toddler Leo and I’m looking forward to showing her, and Serena, our new creche facilities,” said Tiley. “I’m sure they’ll be appreciated.”Six-time men’s winners Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who captured his 20th Grand Slam title in Melbourne in January, look to be among the players to beat again in 2019.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said Tuesday he was expecting a full contingent of the top 100 men and women players in Melbourne next year.“I’m delighted to announce that Serena Williams will return to the Australian Open in January,” Tiley said while launching the 2019 event at Rod Laver Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“We last saw Serena here in Melbourne as our champion, holding the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup in 2017. Of course what we didn’t know at the time was that she was already eight weeks pregnant with baby Olympia,” said Tiley.Williams needs one more Grand Slam singles victory to equal Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24. Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college FILE – NEW YORK, NY – Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball against Venus Williams of the United States during their ladies singles third round match on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Chris Trotman/Getty Images for USTA/AFPSeven times champion Serena Williams will be back at the Australian Open in 2019 having missed her title defense this year after giving birth, organizers said Tuesday.The 23-time Grand Slam winner, who won on her last appearance in 2017 while pregnant, will be joined in January’s tournament by double Melbourne Park champion Victoria Azarenka who was forced to withdraw from the 2018 event because of a custody battle with her baby’s father.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Tip-top Federer ‘where I want to be’ for Shanghai defense Tiley was also looking forward to the return of Britain’s Andy Murray, the five-time losing finalist who missed this year’s tournament with injury.“With his incredible work ethic and competitive spirit it would be foolish to underestimate him,” he said of the Scot.Tiley said prize money at the January 14-27 tournament will be increased to Aus$60.5 million ($42.9 million) from Aus$55 million in 2018 — split equally between men’s and women’s tournaments.The 2018 singles winners Federer and Caroline Wozniacki both picked up cheques for Aus$4 million ($2.83 million).The tournament will also introduce a 25-second serve clock to speed up play, after the innovation made its Slam debut at this year’s US Open.“The 25-second serve clock will be introduced for all matches,” said Tiley.“We know there’s a move to speed up play and we’ll continue to work with the players on the best ways to do this.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taallast_img read more

Chronicle’s Editor took political directives (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyana Chronicle Board has now endorsed the decision by the Editor-in-Chief to stop the columns written by me and Lincoln Lewis. I am not surprised at the decision by some Board members. Not many people in high places in Guyana have the courage these days to stand up for principle, especially when it involves decisions sanctioned by the political overlords. Maybe some day those members would come to the realisation that principle is bigger that political expediency and other such considerations. My heart goes out to them.I have become known for both my strong support for the present Government and my criticism when I feel it has not acted properly. That kind of independence is not tolerated in our elite political culture which demands uncritical loyalty from supporters. As such, some Government leaders have privately and not so privately expressed discomfort and outrage at my criticisms. They have been particularly outraged that my critical comments are carried in the State-owned newspaper, which they view as a medium for only the views of Government members and supporters.I am aware that there has always been lots of pressure on the Editor from higher-up to stop the column and that feeble attempts in this direction have been made in the past. I suppose they have now decided to make a definitive move. I strongly believe that the Editor of the Chronicle would not make such a decision on his own – it is a political decision and he would have to get such directive from above. That much I am convinced of until evidence is produced to the contrary. I understand the situation that the Editor finds himself in and he has my sympathy. That is why I think those who gave him the directive should come out into the open and let the public know that they are the real authors of the move.I have no personal stake in this matter. Doing this column was not my bread and butter job, but it was part of my political activism – my giving back to my country in the form of public education and advocacy. I have no entitlement to a column in the Chronicle or any other newspaper. But I feel very strongly that a State-owned entity should not summarily deny me or any other citizen the right to express our views solely because of our partisan political views. That amounts to a clear human rights violation of a sacred civil liberty.There is no evidence that Lewis and I have exposed the newspaper to libel, have undermined the country’s sovereignty, have ridiculed anyone personally or brought the paper into disrepute. They say the columns are discontinued to facilitate the rebranding of the paper but have not shown how the columns will hinder this rebranding. The major rebranding that needs to happen at the Chronicle is the freeing up of the paper from the partisan control of the Government. The paper should stop being an uncritical propaganda sheet of the Government and become a normal newspaper that reflects the face and dignity of Guyana and the variety of political and other views that reside in our country.Yours truly,David Hindslast_img read more

Cummingsburg Accord discussion still in limbo

first_img– as no set date given for APNU/AFC meeting By Samuel SukhnandanWith just a few more weeks left before the deadline for the review of the agreement between the two major parties of the governing coalition, there seems to be no concrete plan for members to meet and discuss this process.High ranking members of the Alliance For Change (AFC) do not appear to be prepared to meet with their partners in Government, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to discuss the long-awaited review of the Cummingsburg Accord.Despite the AFC setting a deadline by February 14 to come up with a review plan, leader of the party, Raphael Trotman could not provide a definite time in which both parties could meet to start the discussion.APNU Secretary Joseph HarmonHe told Guyana Times that, “The AFC continues to meet and discuss it and yes we will meet with them before the milestone date coming up, and we will have discussions. That’s all I can say at this point.”This newspaper also spoke with Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo at Parliament on Wednesday, who could not provide an answer on the matter either. Incidentally, Nagamootoo seemed unaware of any planned meetings. He said, “I think you will have to put that question to Leader of the AFC. I’m the elder, I advise. I don’t pronounce.”In mid-November 2017, the top leadership of the AFC had decided to revise its governing agreement with coalition partner, APNU. This decision was taken after the AFC – the smaller of the two factions forming the Government – was accused of being coerced by its large partner.However, Trotman had committed to write to meet with the APNU to initiate discussions with regards to the revision of the Accord, which was signed before the last General and Regional Election.But several months have passed and Trotman is yet to write the APNU. This was made clear by Secretary of APNU, Joseph Harmon, who said recently that to date, no correspondence was received.There have been reports that the AFC was not too comfortable with the current Cummingsburg Accord which sets how the two coalition partners would divide up the Ministries.In one of his weekly columns, former House Speaker Ralph Ramkarran said the inability of the AFC to successfully push for constitutional reform, a platform on which the party campaigned, has seriously damaged its credibility; and in order to restore some of its integrity, the AFC must resign from Government.He said the lack of success in this aspect would leave the party’s credibility in tatters, and its Members of Parliament (MPs) would be far more influential and respected for leaving the coalition Government. This move, he said, would put the AFC in a stronger position to demand that APNU fulfill its campaign promises.Prior to joining hands with the APNU, the AFC was seen as the ‘third force’, the party of integrity, with support coming from across the ethnic divides.“So when the party negotiated with APNU the Cummingsburg Accord in 2015 to contest the General Election, it was the support from the “Guyanese Indians” that enabled the APNU/AFC coalition to become successful, Ramkarran said.President David Granger, who leads the APNU, said the AFC is within its right to request the review and noted that he is willing to facilitate discussions regarding this review process.Under the current configuration of Government, the AFC has received the portfolios of the Prime Minister, Public Security Ministry, Public Infrastructure Ministry, and the Agriculture Ministry, among others.The party named a Cummingsburg Accord Review Committee (CARC) of eight members – Dr Vincent Adams, Dr Rohan Somar, Marlon Williams, David Patterson, Joel Edmond, Sherod Duncan and one representative each from the party’s Women For Change and Youth For Change.The AFC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has mandated the party leadership to formally write to APNU with regard to review and revision of the Cummingsburg Accord.This process must be completed by the third anniversary of the signing of the Accord, February 14, 2018.last_img read more

HPV vaccine debate heats up

first_imgNORTHRIDGE – The small vials filled with potentially life-saving vaccine sit in a refrigerator at the Cal State Northridge health center, available to some, unreachable for others. Ayu Nishikawa is debating whether she should get inoculated with Gardasil, which protects against certain strains of human papilloma virus, or HPV, that can cause cervical cancer. The disease kills 3,700 American women a year. “I don’t know how safe it is, or if it has side effects,” Nishikawa said of the $125-a-dose vaccine. “It’s about both cost and the questions. “It’s still a new thing and it seems lots of students don’t know about it all that well.” Most insurance plans cover the vaccine, and uninsured girls ages 9 to 18 years are able to get inoculated for free through the state’s Vaccines for Children program. But that leaves some younger women who have aged out of their parents’ health plans, or who can’t afford any insurance, out of the loop, including those who fall back on Family Pact. In fiscal 2004-05, nearly 1.6 million clients were served under Family Pact. Of those, 63 percent were ages 20-34, and 89 percent were women. State health officials said there are no plans to fund Gardasil through Family Pact because, they say, the vaccine is more effective in younger girls who are less likely to be sexually active and therefore have yet to contract any form of herpes. However, Merck, the company that makes Gardasil, said there has been some misinformation about who should and shouldn’t be vaccinated. Officials there say the vaccine can protect those 18 to 26, even those who have had one type of HPV. The vaccine protects against four strains. “We’ve tried to stress that the vaccine can be useful to women who already had one or more HPV types,” said Marc Boston, spokesman for Merck. “It’s important to know that if they have had HPV, this doesn’t mean they won’t benefit.” Current research is under way on a similar vaccine for boys and older women, Boston said. The company’s Web site,, has information on a patient assistance program for those 19 and older who can’t afford the vaccine. “The assistance is highly applicable to California to those who just don’t have the means to receive vaccines,” Boston said. Meanwhile, local clinics and hospitals are seeing an increase in interest in the vaccine, which is good news to providers, even as the state Assembly’s Health Committee will debate Tuesday whether to make the vaccine mandatory for girls entering the seventh grade beginning in 2009. “We had 170 doses (for girls) and went through that in four days,” said Debra Rosen, director of public health and health education for the Northeast Valley Health Corp. “Our providers are very excited about the prospect of this vaccine,” Rosen said. “It will make a significant impact in reducing cervical cancer and genital warts.” And the current debate may actually be increasing interest, said Dr. Charlene E.L. Huang, who specializes in adolescent and pediatric medicine at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center. “Quite a few patients have brought the vaccine up,” Huang said. “I think it’s an indicator that the information is out there, that the population is becoming more aware of the issues.” However, Huang said, there is still some concern about inoculating girls as young as 9. “There’s more concern about its safety,” she said. “Some parents feel it’s too new. And those who take a more religious or moral standpoint express concern, because they feel their daughter would not be sexually active that soon.” (818) 713-3664 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Nishikawa, a 24-year-old women’s studies major and assistant director of the Women’s Center at CSUN, has health insurance through Family Pact, a state-funded plan. But Family Pact doesn’t cover Gardasil, even though it does provide for condoms and birth control pills. “We’ve had a lot of inquiries, but only three patients so far have gotten it,” said Kristal Gordon, a pharmacist for CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center. “It has to do with the cost.” The rising interest in Gardasil and questions about affordability couldn’t be more timely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last month that found one in four U.S. women, ages 14 to 59, has some form of HPV. While the CDC recommends that girls ages 11 to 12 get inoculated, the study found the virus was most common in women ages 20 to 24. In Los Angeles County, an estimated 600 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, with incidence among Latinas over two times higher than the national rate, according to a University of Southern California cancer surveillance research report. African-American and Korean women also have higher risk for the disease, the study found. last_img read more


first_imgSean-nós singers are invited to apply for the Scoláireacht Éamoinn Ghráinne, a sean-nós singing scholarship in memory of the late Éamonn ‘Ghráinne’ Mac Ruairí of Tory island and Falcarragh.Falcarragh-based An tSean Bheairic is offering a scolarship for Sean-nós singers lasting for up to six months.The purpose of the scolarship is to promothe the singing tradition in the Cloughaneely area. Éamonn ‘Ghráinne’ Mac Ruairí was a highly-esteemed singer, musician and folklorist who is recognised internationally as one of the finest exponents of the rich musical and cultural heritage of Tory Island as well as being acknowledged as one of the masters of the Donegal sean-nós singing tradition.The successful applicant will be responsible for organising projects/classes in order to promote the sean-nós singing tradition in Cloughaneely.The project will take up approximately 7 hours per month with a flexible timetable. The project is due to begin in October.An allowance of €2000 will be paid to the successful applicant. If you are interested in the Scolarship please send a CV to: Máire Ní Chasaide, Bainisteoir, An tSean Bheairic, An Fál Carrach, Co. Dhún na nGall.Email:     SCOLÁIREACHT ÉAMOINN GHRÁINNE 2014/2015 was last modified: September 11th, 2014 by John2Share 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) Tags:Scoláireacht Éamoinn Ghráinnelast_img read more

Drake Relays Presented by Hy-Vee Announces High School Additions

first_imgDES MOINES – On the opening day of Iowa high school track and field season and the first practices of the year, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee announced additions to the high school fields for the 2019 edition of “America’s Athletic Classic”. The Iowa high school boys and girls divisions will add the 400-meter dash to the competition schedule running two heats of eight in a timed final, tentatively scheduled for early in the Friday evening session on April 26.  This will be the first new event in the high school division since the boys shuttle hurdle relay was added in 2009.”For the third consecutive year, I’m proud that our initial Drake Relays announcement comes on the first day of Iowa High School track practice.  The 400-meters is an iconic track and field event”, stated Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Drake Relays Director.  “A few years ago we saw Kirani James run an amazing 44.08.  Now we get to see Iowa’s best high school athletes test themselves at this distance on the Blue Oval.”The high school 4×100 relay will also see a change increasing from 80 entries to 96 selected teams for the boys and girls events and moving back to its previous position on the schedule of Saturday morning, April 27, with finals later that afternoon.  The selected fields will be based on times submitted in the online entry process which opens on Monday, March 4th.”The expansion of the 4×100 affords more teams and athletes the opportunity to experience the energy of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.  The number of teams now mirrors the number of 4×100 relay teams that qualify for the state meet and we hope this continues to grow the sport statewide”, continued Boldon. The “High School Blue Standards” for 2019 have been set, including the addition of the 400 meters.  If any of these marks are attained prior to the entry deadline for the Drake Relays, that athlete is guaranteed to be in the meet provided their coach follows the entry procedures.  An athlete does not have to meet these standards to be considered for entry in the Drake Relays. We encourage those who achieve the Blue Standard to post on social media mentioning @DrakeRelays using the hashtags #MYDRAKERELAYS and #BLUEOVALBOUND. The 2019 Blue Standards can be found HERE.Today’s news also includes the announcement of a new ticket package opportunity.  The Drake Ticket Office announced today that group ticket packages are available for the first time, allowing any group of ten or more to reserve seats in the south end of the stadium at a reduced rate.  All-Session tickets are now on sale at or call 515-271-3647.  For group ticket packages or more information, contact Dustin in the Drake Ticket Office at 515-271-4949.  Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more


first_imgTERMON Ladies footballers are the cream of the county – now they’re just a game away from showing they’re the best in Ulster too.And Milford Ladies made it a double Donegal celebration today after winning their Intermediate semi-final.Senior county champions Termon travelled to Armagh and defeated their county champions Carrickcruppen by a single point 2-10 to 2-09. Milford too had to travel.They went to take on Tyrone’s intermediate champions Cappagh – and won 5-11 to 2-10.Both Donegal sides now play Ulster finals next Sunday.Termon will by play Donaghmoyne, the Monaghan champions, whilst Milford will clash with Derry champs Glen. Both games could be held in Clones as a double-header. TERMON AND MILFORD LADIES WIN AGAIN TO SET UP ULSTER FINALS was last modified: October 13th, 2013 by John2Share 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) Tags:Milford ladiesTermon ladies GAAUlster Semi finallast_img read more

Tip O’Neill Award recipients to inspire at special events

first_imgThis year’s recipients of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award will be taking time out to share their story prior to this year’s gala awards ceremony on Friday 20 October.Packie Bonner, Barbara Koster, Fraser Doherty and Marty Meehan will each host a special event focusing on their own areas of expertise in the Magee Campus at Ulster University on Friday 20 October.“We are delighted that this year’s recipients are taking the time to share their own insights and experiences in their own areas of expertise” says Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise at the Donegal Local Enterprise Office. “Each talk promises to be insightful and inspirational.  These are outstanding individuals with wonderful stories to tell and we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to anyone who has an interest in hearing their story first hand” adds Michael Tunney.Packie BonnerWell known sportsman and inspirational speaker Packie Bonner will be sharing his story in a conversation with Professor Paul Moore.   Packie who is originally from Kincasslagh in Co. Donegal had a long career as goalkeeper with Celtic Football Club and with the Irish team and has had many memorable performances for both teams.  In this conversation with Prof Moore, Packie will share the story of his life in what promises to be a ‘not to be missed’ opportunity for anyone with an interest in the life and times of this fine sportsman.Barbara KosterBarbara Kostner is the chair of Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd and is one of the founding members of Pramerica along with noted Irish Americans Bill Friel and Bob Golden.  Barbara’s commitment to Pramerica in Donegal has been steadfast for over 17 years since it was first launched in 1999.  Pramerica now employs over 1,400 staff in it’s campus in Letterkenny.  In this audience, Barbara Kostner will share her insights on what makes for successful inward investment and she will undoubtedly draw on her own experiences with Pramerica.Fraser Doherty MBEThe remarkable story of entrepreneur Fraser Doherty MBE is not only inspirational but compelling and is one that must be heard by any budding business person.  Frazer Doherty MBE is the founder of the 100% fruit jam company – Super Jam.  He started his business at the age of 14 using his Donegal grandmother’s recipe and has gone on to sell millions of jars through thousands of stores around the world.  Fraser loves business and loves to inspire those who are starting out.  In this one-off event in the Students Hub in Magee Campus in Derry, Frazer will be sharing his thoughts on how to energise your start-up. Marty MeehanMarty Meehan was appointed President of the University of Massachusetts in 2015 and is no stranger to the north-west region.  He served in the United States Congress from 1993 until 2007 and was deeply involved with the Northern Ireland peace process.  During his time at UMass Lowell, he established the Centre for Irish Partnerships fostering collaborations and partnerships with educational institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Letterkenny Institute of Technology is a partner of the Centre for Irish Partnerships.  In his audience Marty Meehan will consider the role of politics and education in economic development.Admission to these talks is free, however, places are limited and booking is essential.  To book your place call 074 91 60735 or online at events are being held as part of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award celebrations which will take place on 20th and 21stOctober.The Gala Tip O’Neill Award Ceremony will take place in An Grianan Hotel in Burt on Friday 20th October at 7pm.  Tickets cost €25 and can be purchased by calling 074 91 60735 or online at O’Neill Award recipients to inspire at special events was last modified: October 12th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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) Tags:Tip O’Neill Awardlast_img read more

Entrepreneurs Seek to Cure Ageing

first_imgCould scientists cure ageing, allowing humans to live Old Testament lifespans?  A contest is on to fix the “chronic disease” of growing old.Jacob lived to 147.  Noah lived to 950.  Methuselah lived to 969.  Why not?  A new “Palo Alto Longevity Prize” is attracting teams to “hack aging [sic], cheat death” says an intriguing article on Medical Xpress.  It raises questions about genetics, health, economics and the meaning of life.One year after Google created a company named Calico with the goal of extending human life, Menlo Park investor and Stanford-trained radiologist Joon Yun has launched a $1 million science competition with the lofty aim of “curing” the disease more commonly known as aging [sic].While Calico’s plan remains largely opaque, Yun has laid out specific criteria for the 11 teams that have already signed up to compete for the Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which focuses on improving “homeostatic capacity,” or the ability of an organism to bounce back to normal in the face of stress.And what is ageing?  It’s a treatable condition caused by “Inflammation, stress (and) chronic disease,” according to one stem cell specialist.  Yun is urgent about this contest, saying that “every day 100,000 people die unnecessarily of age-related illness.”  The contest will start with test mammals and eventually move on to human trials.One of the contestants, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes of the University of Liverpool, shared some of his reasons for thinking ageing is mutable on The Conversation.  He points to some birds that stay healthy into their senior years, to tortoises that can live over a century, and to naked mole rats, who are extremely resistant to cancer.  Work on extending lifespan is worthwhile because “it has been calculated that slowing down the process of ageing by just seven years could cut in half the instances of age-related diseases at every single age,” he says. “This would have a massive impact on the human lifespan, and on human health.”Won’t longer life spans hurt the economy?  What about overpopulation, and drains on the earth’s resources?  Those concerns are addressed and dismissed by advocates, who believe innovation can solve them.  Sonia Arrison says,Arrison, a Palo Alto-based author and teacher, claims that increasing the healthy life span, by extending the sweet spot of adulthood that combines vigor with the wisdom of experience, will give the world’s best minds more time to innovate solutions to humanity’s problems.How could life extension be achieved?  Two methods are mentioned: stem cells and genetic engineering.  Doris Taylor thinks the trio of inflammation, stress and chronic disease can be addressed with stem cells.  Yun thinks hacking the “source code” (the human genome) is another approach.“Ultimately, I think we’ll crack the age code and we’ll hack aging [sic],” Yun announced. “And if we do, not only will health care be transformed, but humanity.  At that point we’ll have unlocked human capacity.“Scientists know that telomeres—the end caps on chromosomes—shrink each time a cell divides.  When gone, the cell dies.  Some cells use the telomerase enzyme to replace lost segments of telomeres.  Learning to control that process might allow cells to reproduce an unlimited number of times.  That’s one reason cancer cells are able to proliferate and keep on going.The article was spawned from a meeting that launched the competition.  Participants are optimistic, thinking the contest could appeal to evolutionists and creationists:Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital, one of the tycoon’s investment funds, spoke at the launch. People are squeamish about major advances in biomedicine, he said, fearful of disrupting the natural order. But innovations that begin in controversy, such as in vitro fertilization, are accepted by succeeding generations.“We find ourselves sitting on top of our own source code,” said Weinstein, referring to DNA. “We are being invited, either by a deity or by selection, to hack, to create, to collaborate, to join.“Given the accumulation of mutations, and the change in environment from the days of Noah, it’s unlikely that antediluvian lifespans are achievable (see Sanford book).  Significant life extension, though, is conceivable.  What would you do with 100, 150, or 200 healthy years of life?  As has occurred throughout history, some would use their extra time for good, others for evil.  For the ungrateful, even 969 years would not be enough.When Moses spoke of the “threescore and ten” years of human existence in Psalm 90:10, he wasn’t speaking of a divine mandate; he was just mentioning an observable fact.  God told Adam and Eve at the Fall that they would surely die—and they did—but he didn’t say how soon.  Most of the antediluvian patriarchs lived over 800 or 900 years.  To God, for which a thousand years is like a day (II Peter 3:8) because He is unaffected by time, humans died quickly after sinning.  In mercy, the Creator gave sinners enough time to consider repenting and believing in His provision for their salvation.In recent centuries, human life spans were much shorter than ours: 40 years on average (still the case in some countries), and as low as 25 years a millennium ago.  Few were those reaching into their 60s to 80s as is commonplace today.  Many in that age bracket are probably watching the clock, even if their lives have been fulfilling.  When death is at the door, all that time is going to look like a “vapor that appears for a moment, then vanishes away” (James 4:13-15).Is it moral to try to defeat ageing?  Why not?  It’s like treating any other human malady.  We know we will never live forever, but if you or I could get a few more productive years of vigor out of our lives, many of us would probably want that.  We would not want to see terrorists and anarchists with that much time, though.  It’s frightening to consider the evil that men like Hitler or Stalin would do with 200 years of vigor.  Just before the Flood, the world was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11) from people with long life spans: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (v. 5).  God is merciful to spare us from those kinds of possibilities now.When dementia or pain becomes our lot, we might wish for nature to take its course.  But many a genius, like Mozart, Pascal and Maxwell, died young.  Imagine the good that some could have done with more time.  In God’s wisdom, with His foreknowledge, He may take some home what seems prematurely to us, for His purposes.  Perhaps He knows their work on earth is done (could the world handle 200 Handel oratorios?)  Perhaps He knows some would fall into sin if given more time.Christians believe in a sovereign God who numbers our days and gives us the allotment we need, even if “man knows not his time.”  This is not fatalism.  It does not rule out seeking to extend life with good healthcare.  In fact, doing good to others’ physical needs and being responsible with our bodies are virtues.  The attitude of these Palo Alto contestants is surely better than the “War on Humans” mentality of others.  There’s nothing unethical about trying to defeat ageing.  In the end, though, we must realize that fellowship with our Creator is our highest good, in this life or next.  It’s worth quoting Moses in context (Psalm 90):Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.The focus of Paul, Peter and the other apostles was not on prolonging earthly life.  Their eyes were on the heavenly prize, where real life begins.  They prayed for one another’s health and prosperity (3 John 1:2-5) primarily that they might be able to use their time in service to others (Philippians 1:20-26).  That is how best to “number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  Jesus lived a short life by human standards.  He felt urgency to complete His work in the day, “for the night is coming, when no man can work” (John 9:4), and His work was entirely sacrificial for our good.  Christ followers have confidence of a beautiful life without sin, pain and death, but now is the time to make other Christ followers and teach them all that the Lord commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).  Now is the time to pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  So get busy!  You may not have much time left.  What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake? 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South Africa, Malaysia sign science memorandum

first_img29 April 2014 A memorandum of understanding on science and technology co-operation was signed by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, and Ewon Ebin, the Malaysian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), the Department of Science and Technology said in a statement last week. “The agreement is aimed at enhancing socioeconomic development in both countries through STI co-operation, and will provide a tremendous opportunity for both countries to share knowledge and experience,” the department said. Hanekom said the agreement would strengthen human capital development through the initiation of joint research projects and programmes between role players in the science and technology communities of both countries. Ebin described the agreement as “a strategic first step in fostering a smart partnership between our countries, reinforcing our commitment to promoting and developing co-operation in the field of science and technology”. “It has created a win-win situation for Malaysia and South Africa in terms of human resource development, technological and research development, economic growth and advancing ICT,” he said.Economic transformation Malaysia has been successful in transforming its agriculture-based economy since its independence in 1957, the department said. Over the years, the emphasis has shifted from rubber, tin and palm oil, to biotechnology, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and other high-tech industries. It has given priority to information and communication technologies. South Africa is on a similar trajectory, as it moves from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy, the department said. “Like South Africa, Malaysia is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. It is a leader in bio-prospecting, and has had some success in commercialising local research results, so there are opportunities for knowledge sharing in this area.” Both South Africa and Malaysia identified specific areas of co-operation for discussion at the first South Africa-Malaysian joint committee meeting in Pretoria last week. The meeting was aimed at developing an action plan for bilateral co-operation over the next two years. Areas of focus include Antarctic research, ICT, energy security, innovation for inclusive development, sustainable human settlements, innovation and commercialisation, astronomy and the bioeconomy. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Meraka Institute, a unit focused on ICT, and its Malaysian counterpart, MIMOS, also signed a memorandum of agreement last week. The co-operation between the two institutes will include exchange programmes related to technology development and commercialisation. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more