Leaked Docs Show British Ambassador to U.S. Criticizing Trump Admin

first_imgLeaked diplomatic cables that were published Sunday in a British newspaper reveal that Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the United States, described President Trump’s administration as deeply divided, incompetent and unlikely to show any meaningful improvement while dealing with international issues.Darroch writes in one of the documents published in the newspaper, which is called The Mail on Sunday, “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”The United States and the U.K. have maintained a strong relationship since World War II.Additionally, the memos refer to Trump’s policy on Iran as “incoherent, chaotic.” Darroch also doubts whether the White House “will ever look competent,” adding that he believes the only way to communicate with President Trump is through simple and blunt language.Darroch does not expect Trump to shift his “America First” strategy, even though the President seemed “dazzled” by British pageantry last month during a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. He writes, “This is still the land of America First.”Britain’s Foreign Office has not challenged the authenticity of the leaked documents, which cover the past two years. However, it called the leak “mischievous behavior,” adding that the British public expects diplomats to offer honest assessments about the politics of the countries in which they are posted.President Trump has not commented regarding the leak.last_img read more

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Oosthuizen starts 2013 on a high

first_imgLEADERBOARD Darren Fichardt finished on two-over 290 and Jbe Kruger on five-over 293. Durban Country ClubInterestingly, every time the Durban Country Club has hosted a European Tour event, the tournament has been won by a South African: in 1996, Wayne Westner won the FNB Players Championship, Ernie Els won the South African Open in 1998 and 2011, and Tim Clark lifted the South African Open title in 2002 and 2005. While the South African star claimed victory, with a round to play it had appeared that Scott Jamieson would register his second European Tour win in Durban in the space of just over a month. He entered the final round with a sizeable lead of five shots over Oosthuizen, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and France’s Julien Quesne. ConsistentThe victory was Oosthuizen’s seventh top-10 finish in his last eight events, and his fifth top-six finish in his last six European Tour tournaments, which underlines his consistency and shows why his world ranking is at an all-time high. European Tour in SAThe Volvo Golf Champions was the third European Tour event of six to be hosted by South Africa on the 2012/13 European Tour. 14 January 2013 Oosthuizen responded with a final round of six-under-par 66, the equal lowest round of the day with Jamie Donaldson and Marcel Siem, while Jaidee posted a 68 and Quesne a 71. Jamieson, meanwhile, closed with a level-par 72. That left Oosthuizen the winner on 16-under-par 272, Jamieson second on 273 and Jaidee third on 274. “It’s a great start and I can only build from here,” he told the Sunshine Tour. “I love starting in South Africa and the last two years have been really good, and I’m just glad I could start in the same way again,” he added; in 2011 and 2012, Oosthuizen began his year with victories in the Africa Open in East London. Oosthuizen said starting so far off the lead going into the final 18 holes was, strangely, a good thing: “When you start five behind, you don’t have that much pressure. Once I got to the ninth and was one behind the crowd really got into it. By the time I got to the 12th, I was leading by one and it was great to see everyone get so pumped up,” he explained. Previously, Scott Jamieson of Scotland won the Nelson Mandela Championships at the Royal Durban Golf Club, while Charl Schwartzel captured the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek. 272 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) (-16) 68, 64, 74, 66273 Scott Jamieson (Sco) (-15) 69, 64, 68, 72274 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) (-14) 65, 68, 73, 68276 Padraig Harrington (Ire) (-12) 70, 71, 67, 68277 Danny Willett (Eng) (-11) 69, 70, 70, 68277 Julien Quesne (Fra) (-11) 72, 67, 67, 71278 Branden Grace (RSA) (-10) 75, 67, 69, 67278 Paul Lawrie (Sco) (-10) 69, 70, 70, 69 Defending champion Branden Grace finished 10th on 10-under-par 278. He was let down by an opening round of 75. After that, he showed fine form, carding 67, 69, and 67. The next South African event, the Africa Open, which is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, tees off on 7 February at the East London Golf Club. Ernie Els finished tied for 18th on seven-under 281, while Retief Goosen, in his return to action after undergoing back surgery, tied for 20th on six-under 282 after a consistent performance that produced rounds of 72, 70, 70, and 70. South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen began 2013 in style by capturing the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club on Sunday. With the win, he climbed to a career high ranking of fourth in the world. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Cape Town viewed from a treetop walkway

first_img22 May 2014A 130-metre treetop canopy walkway, winding through the forest canopy on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and offering spectacular 360-degree views of the city and mountainside, has opened at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town.Taking advantage of the sloping ground, the crescent-shaped, galvanised steel and timber structure winds and dips through the forest canopy, resembling the ribbed skeleton of a huge snake – hence its nickname, the “Boomslang” (Tree Snake).Rising in places to over 11.5 metres above the ground, the wheelchair-friendly walkway gives visitors the opportunity to experience the forest from above, and to see birds and other animals that are normally difficult to spot from ground level.Kirstenbosch horticulturist Adam Harrower describes how “one can experience tree dynamics – how the treetops move in the wind and how the crowns of the trees interact with one another.“The walkway then bursts through and above the canopy, giving you an impression of what it is like to be above the forest. At this point, the walkway provides spectacular 360-degree vistas comprising Cape Town and the surrounding majestic mountain slopes.”The structure was designed by architects Mark Thomas and Christopher Bisset, and built at a cost of around R5-million – funded entirely from bequests – to mark Kirstenbosch’s centenary.Established in 1913, Kirstenbosch was the first botanical garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. Displaying a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, known as fynbos, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa, it has over 7 000 species in cultivation, including many rare and threatened species.The 36-hectare garden is part of a 528-hectare nature reserve bordering Table Mountain National Park and lying at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which was declared World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2004.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – July 6th, 2015

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Some sunny days last week allowed farmers to get back in their fields in Ohio, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 2.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 5th. Heavy rains the past several weeks have kept farmers out of fields, and anxiously waiting to see how their crops would fare from the unfavorable conditions. Spraying resumed vigorously where fields were accessible in hopes of combatting the insect, disease, and weed pressures that flourished in the wet conditions. Farmers see potential for yield loss in corn and soybeans but the full extent of the damage to these crops won’t be known for some time. Lodging, scab, and vomitoxin are primary concerns for wheat. Effects on corn vary widely, depending on how early the crop was planted. The variance in growth stages complicate rescue efforts such as the application of nitrogen to replace what was lost.The full report, including crop conditionslast_img read more

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Blue Heron EcoHaus: Picking High-Performance Windows

first_imgEditor’s note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBA was called How Small Can We Go? The blog below was originally published in May 2015. And now, the fine printWe ended up choosing Duxton over Accurate Dorwin, due simply to the fact that our designer had recommended them. The price difference between the two companies was marginal.These are the specs (U-factors are for the whole unit, not just the glazing):Fixed windows, south: U-factor, 0.16; solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), 0.56.Casement windows, south: U-factor, 0.18; SHGC, 0.56.Fixed windows, east, west and north: U-factor, 0.15; SHGC, 0.35.Casement windows east, west, and north: U-factor, 0.18; SHGC, 0.35. BLOGS BY KENT EARLE Is Passivhaus Right for a Cold Canadian Climate?Heating a Superinsulated House in a Cold ClimateChoosing a Superinsulated Wall SystemHow Small Can We Go?Let Construction BeginMaking an ICF FoundationDealing With Really Bad Water RELATED ARTICLES Windows, Glass, Ratings, and InstallationPassivhaus WindowsChoosing Triple-Glazed WindowsAll About Glazing OptionsNew Ways to Find High-Performance Windows Study Shows That Expensive Windows Yield Meager Energy Returns Reassessing Passive Solar Design PrinciplesEvery House Needs Roof Overhangs On the north side, just two windowsFor us, we maximized the size of our south-facing windows (up to a point, as you can still overheat in the winter — even at -40°F). And we minimized the size of our northern, eastern, and western windows. Fortunately for us, our best views are to the south and east. We do have a couple of large windows on the east side of the house to take advantage of the river valley view and to provide an unobstructed view of the sunrise. (It would be foolish not to put windows there.)We would have liked to have put more windows facing east, but in order to do so we would have required shutters on the exterior, thus obstructing the view anyway. Shutters are really the only way to “shade” light from the east and west as the sun is too low in the sky throughout the year (at sunrise and sunset) to actually “shade” it. To the north we don’t have much of a view, and so we only have two windows in that direction: one in a bedroom for ventilation and fire safety, and the other in the hall for ventilation. Northern windows really don’t provide any energy benefit; they are actually an energy penalty.As for glazings, the available options are really amazing. The right type of glazing can help with heat gain or can help block unwanted heat. Coatings designed to lower the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) do not block the view at all; I think of these coatings as similar to sunscreen.On the east and west windows, you want more sunscreen because you don’t want to overheat. On the south you want minimal sunscreen because you want that good passive heating in the winter (as long as you provide passive shading in the summer). One of the things I am most excited about in our house are the windows. We have a lot of windows in the house: 25, to be exact. And they are not terribly small.Even before I knew anything about energy-efficient building, I’d always loved homes with large expansive windows overlooking a beautiful view. However, when building an extremely energy-efficient home, the placement, size, glazing, window-to-floor ratio, and type of window matter a lot.First, and perhaps most important, is which direction your windows should face. Obviously in the northern hemisphere, the sun is in the south. Therefore, the majority of your windows should face south and be able to take in the sunlight through the winter months when the sun is lower in the sky to provide some passive heating. Conveniently the sun is higher in the sky in the summer, so as long as you have properly sized overhangs or shading in the summer, you can prevent overheating.Recently we were in a neighbor’s house that was not designed with energy efficiency in mind. They have large south windows that are completely exposed, as well as some larger east- and west-facing ones. Even though they would (theoretically) have a great view, they had the interior blinds drawn on almost all of the windows! Interior blinds and shading do very little to prevent overheating as the light and heat have already entered the space. The sun will simply heat the blinds and radiate inside anyway. No “crazy” German windowsOK, so what type of window frames do you buy? Wood, PVC, or fiberglass?We had really hoped that we would be able to afford fiberglass windows. These are simply the best for energy efficiency, durability, and quality. The frames themselves are made of 60% glass (fiberglass), and so the frames move (expand and contract) in response to temperature changes at the same rate as the glazing. Consider -40°F outside and 68°F inside. That is a 108 F° change across a 1-inch space. PVC and wood will flex and bend (and expand and contract) at a different rate than the glass, leading to more air leakage and eventual failure of the window over time. Fiberglass however does not have the same issues. The Duxton Windows web site has some excellent information on the advantages of fiberglass frames.Now that we had an idea of what we wanted, we needed to determine which supplier to go with. We priced windows from Duxton (fiberglass), Accurate Dorwin (fiberglass), and Plygem (PVC/wood). We did not consider any of the crazy German imported windows. Shockingly, people actually do this. (This is where the economics of the Passivhaus approach and extreme energy efficiency clash with reality and sustainability, as I’ve written about before).I was actually talking to a house designer the other day who was raving about some German windows they’d started to import. Indeed, they are impressive windows — but they’re coming from fricking Germany!When building a “sustainable” home, my thought is that we should really be considering if we are spending our money wisely or if it could have a better effect elsewhere. (For example, is it better to spend $15,000 more on windows to get a marginal energy improvement or to spend $15,000 for solar panels?) And if you are importing your high-performance windows from 4,000 miles away, shipping them on a cargo ship across the ocean, is that sustainable?!Anyway, I knew that the fiberglass windows would be more expensive than PVC/wood — but the question was, how much more? When we received the quotes, I was pleased to see that the fiberglass windows came in only 20% more expensive than PVC. For the added efficiency, durability, warranty, and the larger viewing area of the window (fiberglass is stronger therefore can have a smaller frame and more glass), it was a no-brainer to go with fiberglass. One last thought from Christopher AlexanderIn designing the house and choosing the windows, I tend to think about the words of Christopher Alexander (one of the authors of A Pattern Language), who said, “Light on two sides of every room.”I loved reading this book because it was all about aesthetics. Written in the 1970s, the book did not give a crap about energy efficiency. It was a nice reality check against all of the energy efficiency dogma that in some cases can really get out of control. You still need a home that you actually want to spend time in.last_img read more

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Ganja Bill Will Reduce Crime Free Up Police Resources

first_img HOUSE PASSES BILL TO EXPUNGE RECORDS FOR MINOR OFFENCES Related Items:ganja bill, peter bunting Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKINGSTON, Feb. 25 (JIS) – Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said a regulated regime for the use of ganja can have positive benefits for law enforcement, including reducing organised crime, while enabling more efficient use of police resources.Minister Bunting was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (February 24), where the Bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act was passed.The Bill seeks to, among other things: make the possession of small quantities of ganja a non-arrestable offence and, to instead, make it a ticketable infraction that does not result in a criminal record.It also permits the use of ganja for religious, medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes; and provides for the granting of licences for the development of a lawful industry for medical ganja and industrial hemp.Noting the impact on crime reduction, Minister Bunting said: “A regime for legal production and distribution of ganja eliminates the monopoly that organised criminals now have in this area and consequently reduce their funding for criminal enterprise.” He cited law enforcement reports, which suggest that since the regulated regimes for medicinal and recreational marijuana have come into effect in some states in the United States of America (USA), the price for Mexican marijuana has dropped by more than 50 per cent, making it uneconomical for many of the Mexican cartels to continue exporting to the USA. The Minister said the provision to make possession of small quantities of ganja a non-arrestable offence will reduce incarceration of young people, lessen the caseload in the Resident Magistrate’s Courts and enable more efficient and effective use of police resources.“One social cost of those thousands of arrests and convictions per year, over decades, has been to consign these young men to the margins of our economy. With a criminal record, they are unable to get many jobs, prohibited from farm work programmes, and restricted in their overseas travel. Ironically, by reducing their legitimate opportunities, it increases the likelihood of their involvement in criminal activity such as housebreaking, larceny, robbery, etcetera,” he said.He noted that already, the policy is enabling the police to deploy resources where they are most needed.“In 2014, with our policy direction already clear, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) arrested 5,300 fewer persons for minor offences, primarily possession of small quantities of ganja, than in 2013, thereby freeing tens of thousands of police man-hours to focus on serious criminals,” Mr. Bunting said.He also noted that the passage of the Bill will remove a source of friction between the police and the community, which will result in an improvement in police-citizen relations.The Minister, however, made it clear that the passage of the Bill does not create a “free- for-all” in the growing, transporting, dealing, or exporting of ganja. He said the security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaica’s law consistent with international treaty obligations.Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North Eastern, Delroy Chuck, while welcoming the passage of the Bill, noted that persons should be encouraged not to excessively use ganja.“I have no doubt that the excessive use of marijuana, just like the excessive use of food or alcohol, is bad for the body. There can be no doubt that… we should be promoting the non-use of marijuana, cigarette smoking, and alcohol for good health,” Mr. Chuck said.For his part, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, noted that the establishment of a marijuana industry represents for Jamaica, a new and emerging sector with tremendous possibilities.He added that while the cannabis industry has been developing organically, every effort must now be made for it to achieve its full potential. “This means adopting a strong commercial approach, based on entrepreneurial practices that are market-driven, broad-based, and results in value-added outputs of both goods and services,” Mr. Hylton said.He noted that the Ministry has been involved in the efforts to establish a local medical marijuana industry, through the development of regulations, standards, intellectual property provisions, investment promotion, and the involvement of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME).Mr. Hylton also welcomed the provisions in the Bill for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority to regulate hemp and medicinal ganja.Mr. Hylton noted that in moving the hemp industry forward, a cross Ministry consultative group has been established and draft regulations governing the establishment of industrial hemp as a viable investment opportunity has been developed, taking into consideration the role of the local farming community. “Much work has already been done by this consultative working group and further consultations towards finalisation of hemp regulations awaits the passage into law by this Honourable House,” he stated.In closing the debate, Mr. Bunting noted that the legislation was covering new ground and will be kept under constant review, while adding that the implementation of the provisions of the Bill will take some time.The legislation was passed in the Senate on Friday, February 6, with five amendments. 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