Category Archives: fdfet

President to address Parade Ground Reparations Rally

first_imgpresident David Granger has been confirmed as the main speaker for the Guyana Reparations Commission’s regional youth rally and relay set for Parade ground, Georgetown, on Friday.Chairman of the Guyana Reparations Commission, Dr Eric Phillips said United States (US) actor Danny Glover, is also expected to attend what is said to be main event of a month-long list of activities for the Caricom International and Regional Youth Reparations Relay and Rally.According to Dr Phillips, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Initiative began in Barbados on April 16, when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Chairman of the Caricom Heads of State Subcommittee on Reparations launched the event. He said President Granger is a sitting member of that Subcommittee and will deliverGuyana Reparations Commission Chairman, Dr Eric Phillipsremarks here.A reparations Baton – made in Barbados of mahogany wood – was passed on to Guyana at the event by Chairman of Barbados’ Task Force on Reparations, Professor Pedro Welch, to acting Consul General of Guyana to Barbados, Monique Jackman. It arrived in Guyana on April 19, 2016.Dr Phillips said the Caricom Relay and Rally is part of a wider effort to spread the reparations message around the Caribbean, through public education and other initiatives focused on youth.The May 20 event is part of a large number of activities all across Guyana.The Reparations Commission Chairman said Friday is the next major activity at Parade ground beginning at 16:00h, with young runners leaving with the Baton at Stabroek where slaves were undocked through several historical stops, including Parliament Building, Cuffy Square, the Sea Walls, then to the Parade ground for the 18:00h programme.Following the Parade ground event, villages on the East Coast and West Coast of Demerara will stage their own activities. The calendar is as follows:the baton will be sent to the next Caricom country after Guyana’s activities are over in May and will tour all 15 Caricom reparation countries this year.Guyana has produced three replicas of the baton, in beautiful mahogany; one for each of the three original counties of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice.Magnificently carved from fine Barbados mahogany wood, the original baton is a symbol of justice – engraved on it is a map of Africa and the words “Reparations Now,” representing the 15 Caricom countries. The relay will culminate in Jamaica later this year where the Emancipation Rebellion, led by Sam Sharpe, will be remembered and celebrated.Guyana, like the other Caribbean countries, remains steadfast in its calls for Britain to make its due payment to the descendants of those who suffered in the massive slave trade which spread between the 16th and 19th centuries.Earlier this month, the Caribbean Diaspora was called upon to support Caricom’s calls for the UK to pay reparations as compensation for its involvement in slavery and the slave trade.last_img read more

‘Bills of Interest to UN’ Conveyed to Lawmakers

first_imgThe Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UNSRSG) in Liberia, Farid Zarif, has conveyed the UN’s interest to the House of Representatives regarding the passage of landmark bills to ensure its “moral support” to the Legislature for UNMIL soldiers’ presence in the country.House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay said at a press conference at the Capitol Building yesterday after a closed-door meeting with the UNSRSG, that Mr. Zarif expressed “interest” in the Land Rights Bill, the Local Government Act and the amendment of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) to give it “prosecutorial powers.”Speaker Nuquay said the UNSRSG wanted the “continuous presence of UNMIL in the country and the support of the Legislature ahead of the UNMIL Review Process in December to sustain the peace and remain on the trajectory for a peaceful transfer of power.”The Speaker said the UNMIL boss thanked the House of Representatives for the Reconciliation Retreat, which 61 out of the 73 lawmakers attended in Ganta, Nimba County, and the resumption of work, which is considered the 2nd Extraordinary Sitting.The Speaker told journalists that Mr. Zarif noted that the retreat was necessary after the internal political wrangling to reconcile the House and rebuild its image, which is part of the vision of the leadership.He indicated that the House would critically pass bills as well as engage in a wide range of consultations.The House’s 2nd Extraordinary Session began November 8 and will end December 8.However, the Speaker dismissed media reports that a passage of Oil Blocks is among the bills the President has requested, with evidence from a letter from the President.He also rejected media reports of an “alleged rape allegation” against Bong County Representative Prince Moye, saying it has “political reasons.”The Speaker said the allegation lacks evidence, and is only intended to taint the lawmaker’s character.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UN Security Handover: Pride and Pessimism

first_imgAs Liberia’s security forces take over today from UN peacekeepers for the first time since civil war ended 13 years ago, national pride is mixed with fears the underfunded police are not up to the task.Government forces and rebel groups raped, massacred and maimed hundreds of thousands of people during two conflicts between 1989 and 2003, and the highly politicized police and army were disbanded after committing some of the worse abuses.Since then UN peacekeepers have largely ensured the country’s security, though their numbers have dwindled from 15,000 in the aftermath of war to just under 4,000 today, as the nation’s re-trained forces were assimilated.From this week the peacekeepers will have a small supporting role only.“Everything I know about policing, I learned from UNMIL,” said Dao R. Freeman, Liberia’s national deputy police commissioner, using the mission’s UN acronym.Freeman, a product of training that has attempted to instill an anti-corruption ethos and respect for human rights, believes the country has “quality not quantity” when it comes to keeping order on the streets.“If we continue to build that capacity and also provide the resources that are needed, I believe that we can take responsibility of our country’s security,” he told AFP.But citizens are far from convinced, scarred by the memory of forces loyal to former president Charles Taylor who razed whole villages and hunted down those who fled into the bush.On the eve of UNMIL’s drawdown, the implications have set the country on edge, with radio and television talk shows buzzing with talk of little else.“I would prefer UNMIL to stay forever,” John Gweh, a 56-year-old farmer, told AFP at his rubber plantation, flicking through a newspaper whose front page was dominated by the same story. Aware of the high costs of the UN mission, Gweh said he was thankful for the international community’s long intervention, but added he was still wary of the Liberian National Police (LNP) despite years of reform.“My greatest fear is how trustworthy our security forces are. Will they go back to the same old thing we were used to, treating civilians like animals? I am worried,” Gweh added.– No cars, no uniforms –Liberia’s police force is chronically underfunded, like many state services, with basic equipment in short supply, salaries paltry and the number of armed officers in the low hundreds of a 5,170-strong corps.“We need cars, we need communications and we need other items like uniforms,” said Freeman.UNMIL has a $344-million (311-million euro) annual budget, while the government’s draft national security budget for 2016/2017 is only about $90 million, pending approval from the legislature.This will likely worsen a situation in which three-quarters of Liberians reported paying a bribe to police in the last year, according to the most recent survey conducted by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.“When we say we are worried that UNMIL is leaving, people say they have trained our security (forces),” market seller Catherine Gayflor said at her stall in a market, in a suburb north of the Liberian capital.“But even with the presence of UNMIL we see how our police can be beating on us,” she added, referring to officers’ arbitrary confiscation of goods from vendors, an abuse long-documented by rights groups.The ratio of police to citizens will be around 1:1000, in a country with dire transport links and regions that remain under the influence of former warlords.“Yes there are challenges,” Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told AFP, downplaying concerns as “gaps that we still need to fill”.Nagbe underlined that the military and police had worked alongside UNMIL for years, arguing that the core of the country’s security was assured.“The national apparatus is ready to assume this great responsibility,” he said decisively.“What we continue to do is to strengthen our apparatus in the areas of logistics, the areas of training, in the areas of compensation to the security forces.”– Terrorism, elections pose challenges –Liberians, like many West Africans, are increasingly concerned about the threat of terrorism in the region, although no groups have made particular threats against Africa’s first democracy.Neighboring Ivory Coast was hit by its first-ever jihadist attack in March, when Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb militants killed 19 people in Grand-Bassam, a beach resort town. Minister Nagbe said the appointment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the head of regional grouping ECOWAS had “put national security and regional security at the top of her agenda,” and the issue will hover in the background of the handover.However, experts say the greatest challenges remain domestic, with some perceptions of the police unchanged since the war ended.In an interview with AFP, Saah R. Gbollie, an associate professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Liberia, said favoritism based on political affiliation still dogs the force.“The security sector has got to be depoliticized if we should move forward and be able achieve security sector reform,” said Gbollie.“We should be sure that there is an independent complaints commission,” along with an arbitration body for appointments, added the former top cop and ex-head of the Liberian parliament’s security commission.This will be especially important ahead of next year’s presidential election, he said, when the broadly unifying figure of Sirleaf will be absent.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Job Vacancy: Popular Donegal cafe seeks new staff

first_imgJOB VACANCY: A hugely popular café is on the lookout for new staff to join their dynamic, innovative and hardworking teamManagement at the busy Baskins Café, which is located in Dunkineely in South Donegal, require Kitchen Staff to join their workforce.JOB TITLE: Cook JOB REQUIREMENTS:Knowledge of Cooking.Must posses H.A.C.C.P credentials.Hardworking, reliable and trustworthy.If you’re interested then please send a CV to baskins.cafe@outlook.com or call Frances now on 0749737340Job Vacancy: Popular Donegal cafe seeks new staff was last modified: November 4th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Baskins Cafecookculinary jobsDunkineelylast_img read more

NUNS ON THE RUN IN CARN FOR TOP CLASS MUSICAL

first_imgThe zany Little Sisters of Hoboken are kicking up their heels and lifting their voices in The Colgan Hall, this spring in Carndonagh Musical Society’s production of Nunsense the Mega-Musical.The sisters take to the stage from March 16th – 20th as they stage a riotous variety show filled with comic misadventures that are sure to be habit-forming!  The fictional Sisters host a fundraiser after they discover their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidently poisoned 52 of the sisters.  To help cover the burial costs, the surviving sisters take over the 8th grader’s stage production of “Grease” and host a lively evening filled with a huge dose of humour and wonderful original songs.Geraldine Mooney plays the jovial Reverend Mother, a former circus performer itching to reclaim the spotlight.Her thankless task is to keep the band of sisters in line: these include a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who has dreams of becoming a ballerina; and the charmingly wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. The multi-talented cast includes experienced cast members Marian Hennigan, Berny Carey, Deirdre McGrory and Danielle Kelly, together with a lively supporting cast and crew.The composer, Dan Goggin named the characters in honour of nuns he holds in high regard from his school days and for whom he maintains affection.  Since its debut, “Nunsense” has delighted audiences with more than 5,000 productions worldwide and has been translated into 21 languages. The Little Sisters of Hoboken entertain with energetic song and dance numbers, including ballet, tap dancing, mystery guests and comic surprises. After their sell-out performances of Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof and, most recently, The Music Man, the Carndonagh Musical Society are looking forward to turning on the spotlight once more!Tickets go on sale in Doherty’s Newsagents (Fintans) , The Diamond, Carndonagh, from Monday 29th February. Adults €10, Children €5.The show runs nightly in The Colgan Hall, Carndonagh from Wednesday March 16th – Sunday March 20th . Doors open at 7.15, the show commences at 8pm. Advance booking is essential, admission by ticket only.For further information, please visit Carndonagh Musical Society on Facebook, or contact carndonaghmusical@gmail.com  NUNS ON THE RUN IN CARN FOR TOP CLASS MUSICAL was last modified: March 9th, 2016 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)last_img read more

T.O. wastes no time in routing C.V.

first_imgAs expected, junior quarterback Ryan Cloney and senior receiver Matt Luft provided much of the offense for Thousand Oaks in its 42-18 season-opening nonleague victory over Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta at Moyse Field at Glendale High School. Cloney was 11 of 14 for 244 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. Luft caught seven passes for 160 yards, including scoring catches of 34 and 57 yards. Most of that was not needed to win, though. Thousand Oaks scored 21 first-quarter points in just eight plays. Even Cloney was inpressed. – Nathan Brown Valencia 35, Bishop Amat 21: Michael Herrick picked up where he left off in his quest for the state passing record. The Valencia senior, who needed 2,768 yards to become the first player to surpass 10,000 passing yards after his junior year, was 22 of 35 for 374 yards and a touchdown at Bishop Amat in La Puente. The Mississppi-bound Herrick also ran for a 1-yard score to help Larry Muir get his first victory as Valencia head coach. Shane Vereen rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns, including a 69-yard run for the opening score, for Valencia. Vareen also threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Jason Engelberg, who had seven catches for 145 yards. – Kirby Lee Saugus 57, Blair 0: Saugus’ Zach Summers rushed for three touchdowns and Ryan Prudy ran for two against host Blair of Pasadena at Pasadena City College. Kyle Monson recovered an errant punt snap in the end zone less than two minutes into the game for Saugus’ first score. Saugus led 36-0 after the first quarter. Prudy had a 58-yard scoring run and Jordan Urbanovich recovered and returned a fumble 12 yards for another score. Summers scored twice in the second quarter, including a 5-yarder as the half ran out, to give Saugus a 50-0. – Dave Rogahn Alhambra 20, Glendale 14: James Clay ran for 179 yards but it wasnt enough for visiting Glendale at Moor Field in Alhambra. Alhambra led 13 before the Glendale offense touched the ball and was up 20-0 at halftime when Clay was stopped inches from the goal line on the last play of the half. Luis Gonzales, a 285-pound fullback, scored on a 13-yard run Clay ran 46 yards for a touchdown to pull Glendale within six points with five minutes left. – Steve Goldstein Burbank 66, Golden Valley 0: Marcus Hood and Jason McNeil each rushed for 97 yards and combined to score four touchdowns for Burbank at Canyon High. Golden Valley of Santa Clarita, playing its first varsity game and without seniors, lost four of six first-quarter fumbles, trailed 49-0 at halftime and never penetrated deeper than the Burbank 33-yard line. Hood scored on runs of 4, 6 and 35 yards, and McNeil caught a 42-yard scoring pass from Jason Barbic. – Dave Desmond St. Francis 17, Arcadia 12: Stephen Peterson ran for a touchdown and passed for 137 yards as visiting St. Francis of La Canada survived its mistakes. St. Francis fumbled four times in the first half, losing two, both of whcih led to Arcadia field goals. St Francis also had a 75-yard touchdown called back because of a personal foul. Nathan Stark had 88 yards on 15 carries and Scott Stephens had four catches for 51 yards and an interception on defense for St. Francis. – Bob Timmermann Westlake 40, Hueneme 0: Westlake scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of each half to rout visiting Hueneme. Marlon Bills had two interceptions, setting up a scoring pass and returning another 73 yards for a touchdown. He also had a 27-yard scoring catch. Ryan Campbell was 5 of 8 for 100 yards and three touchdowns. Jeff Rapoport rushed for 104 yards on 7 carries, including a 79-yard touchdown run, and caught a 25-yard scoring pass. – Greg Meade Lancaster 39, Pasadena 2: Host Lancaster overcame a slow start, scoring 32 points in the second half. Josh Gaines had five carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns and Tony Jackson added62 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. The Lancaster defense held Pasadena to 72 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers, including two interceptions by Marcus Wyre. – Craig Czubik Rio Mesa 53, San Marcos 7: Malachi Lewis rushed for 115 yards on 23 carries, including scoring runs of 8 and 2 yards against visiting San Marcos of Santa Barbara. Chris Gagua was 9 of 12 for 137 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Beavers. Matt Sakla scored on runs of 13 and 25 yards for Rio Mesa, whose defense left San Marcos to a minus-33 yards rushing and four first downs. – Steve Vranau Agoura 18, Buena 13: Dominick Huerta was 20 of 30 for 243 yards and two touchdowns for host Agoura. Agoura’s passing game offset Buena’s 175 rushing yards. Huerta hit J.T. Wright for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 4:52 left to win the game. Agoura’s defense held and the Chargers ran out the clock. – Rob McIntyre Hoover 28, Mountain View 27: Fullback Alex Pantoja carried 17 times for 112 yards – including 97 in the second half – and two touchdowns for visiting Hoover of Glendale. Pantoja’s scoring runs came in the second half, including the eventual game-winner late in the fourth quarter. Hoover clinched the game with an interception. – Sean Caffey Simi Valley 38, Pacifica 13: Devon Kelly rushed for three touchdowns in the second half against visiting Pacifica of Oxnard. Kelly rushed for 159 yards on 22 carries. – Tim Tanner Burroughs 30, Schurr 14: Thomas Kyle led visiting Burroughs of Burbank with 111 yards rushing, including a 15-yard scoring run for the game’s first score. He also caught a 67-yard touchdown pass to put Burroughs up 16-7 at the half. Tony Banuelos passed for 233 yards and three touch downs as Burroughs outgained Shurr of Montebello 420-284. – Steve McFadden Canyon 55, Leuzinger 0: JJ DiLuigi rushed for 167 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries at Leuzinger of Lawndale. DiLuigi scored on runs of 5, 6, 2 and 82 yards as Canyon rushed for 241 yards and scored six touchdowns. “I think our offensive line did a great job,” DiLuigi said. “They stayed really low and pushed (Leuzinger) around.” DiLuigi did most of his damage in the first half, where Canyon ran to a 27-0 lead, scoring four times on six possessions and holding Leuzinger to 99 total yards of offense and forcing two turnovers. – Robert Spuhler Quartz Hill 21, Rosamond 20: Calvin Culver threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Dante Hemmans with six seconds to play to rally host Quartz Hill. Nicholas Gutierrez hit Eric Leon for two second-half touchdownsthat helped Rosamond to a 20-14 fourth-quarter lead. Gutierrez was 15 of 28 for 178 yards and Leon had five catches for 99 yards. Treat Stinson had 116 yards on 24 carries and Marshall Mora carried nine times for 86 yards and a touchdown for Quartz Hill. – Joe Reinsch Loyola 28, Regis Jesuit (Colo.) 3: Henry Burge threw two touchdown passes to Marcus Lawrence for Loyola of Los Angeles at Regis Jesuit of Denver. Burge hit Lawrence for scoring passes of 35 and 14 yards. Chad Peppars added rushing touchdowns of 2 and 47 yards. – Daily News Harvard-Westlake 9, Serra 7: John Howe was 10 of 18 for 122 yards and a touchdown against Serra of Gardena at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Howe hit Jon Sebastian for a 30-yard score and linebacker Charlie Clark had 4 sacks for Harvard-Westlake of Studio City. – Justin Frank 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 – Lee Barnathan Oakland Tech 14, Antelope Valley 6, OT:Antelope Valley and Oakland Rech were rusty throughout a scoreless first half, but visiting Oakland Tech’s Jameil Banks was the difference in overtime. Tied 6-6, Oakland Tech won the overtime coin toss and elected to go on offense – scoring on just two plays. Backup quarterback Terrence Gordon connected with Alonzo Walker for a 18-yard pass before Banks ran in from seven yards. Antelope Valley quarterback Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was sacked five times, tried to convert a hook and ladder play on fourth down that fell 10 yards short, ending the game. Antelope Valley running back Andre Crenshaw was held in check most of the game, rushing for 68 yards on 20 carries. Siddiqq Crowder scored Antelope Valey’s touchdown on a 43-yard run. center_img “We came out and had our whole script ready to go.” he said. “But, we came out blazing, I knew we were good. We can be as good as we want to be.” After Crescenta Valley led 6-0 on the game’s first drive, Drew Christian returned the kickoff 97 yards to give Thousand Oaks a 7-6 lead. After Tony D’Ascenzo recovered a fumble, the Lancers scored in three plays, capped by Traylor Molm’s 13-yard run. Thousand Oaks’ next drive took five plays and ended with Cloney hitting Luft for a 34-yard score. last_img read more

LAPD recruits women, blacks

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The agencies are pursuing a multimillion-dollar advertising and outreach campaign to find more cops. The agencies have been using ethnic media outlets to find diverse recruits, and the Police Commission urged them to step up such efforts. Police administrator Rhonda Sims-Lewis said the recruiting efforts will involve specially tailored messages, some of which take into account previous tensions between the LAPD and minority communities. “In the black community, our campaign will be, if you want to see a difference in this department, come be the difference in this department,” she said. Garner said he plans to meet with influential ministers in the African-American community, as well as prominent figures like activist and businessman Danny Bakewell, who has been critical of the LAPD. Officials did not specify why they think it has been difficult to recruit women, although Garner said there is “apprehension” about the effects of police work on family life. “We’re almost gonna be like college recruiters, going into houses and talking about issues,” he said. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 dan.laidman@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Los Angeles Police Department, in the middle of a major recruiting campaign, is having particular difficulty drawing women and African-Americans, officials told the Police Commission on Tuesday. New LAPD officers in the 2004-05 fiscal year were 7.9 percent African-American and 23.4 percent female, down from 9.3 percent and 25.7 percent, respectively, the previous year. “Those numbers are way lower than they need to be,” said Cmdr. Kenneth Garner, the LAPD’s recently appointed head of personnel. “My strategy will be to go directly to those communities.” The LAPD is working with the city Personnel Department to fill its ranks with qualified officers in the face of low unemployment and steep competition from other agencies. last_img read more

GARDAÍ LAUNCH INVESTIGATION AFTER VIDEO EMERGES OF CARS ‘DIFFFING’ AROUND NEWLY MARRIED COUPLE

first_imgGardaí have launched an investigation following an incident of dangerous driving which saw cars ‘diffing’ around a newly married couple on a busy Donegal road. It is believed the bizarre incident took place at the weekend, immediately after the couple had just got married in a nearby church.The ‘diffing’ takes place on the main road to Gortahork, just at the turn off for Magheraroarty. It also appears that cars have blocked off the road to other users to enable the driver to perform the act of ‘diffing’ around the happy couple.In the video, the motorist in the twin-cam begins driving at dangerous speeds in a circle around the bride and groom with burning rubber going everywhere.However, that’s clearly what the couple wanted and after the ‘diffing’ commences the wedding party simply continued on to their reception afterwards.Gardaí in Milford have launched an investigation into the incident and are keen to speak to those involved in such a dangerous act which could have gone badly wrong at any time.   GARDAÍ LAUNCH INVESTIGATION AFTER VIDEO EMERGES OF CARS ‘DIFFFING’ AROUND NEWLY MARRIED COUPLE was last modified: June 3rd, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:DiffingFeaturesGardaiinvestigationMarried CouplenewsTwin Camslast_img read more

Fitting Data to Darwinism Takes Creativity and Spin

first_imgFairly regularly, papers appear in journals under the heading of Evolution.  The ones dealing with genetics tend to be hard to follow.  They are filled with jargon, correlation scores, charts and network diagrams.  They employ algorithms and databases unfamiliar to the lay reader.  Overall, though, they claim to find support for Darwin’s tree of life in the genes or metabolic networks of this or that group of organisms.  Does Darwinism pop right out of the data, or does it take some massaging to make Darwin fit the observations?  Let’s take one example that appeared in PNAS today for a look inside the engine room of how evidential support for evolution is manufactured.1    Kreimer et al set out to find the “evolution of modularity in bacterial metabolic networks.”  What they were looking for, in other words, is whether the amount of modularity in the ways proteins interact follows their assumed evolutionary relationships.  What is modularity?  That had to be defined in the Materials & Methods section.  First, they had to assign network scores to proteins based on what other proteins they interact with.  In the process, they tossed out water, protons and electrons.  Why?  Because someone else in the references did so – who had also written a paper on “The effect of oxygen on biochemical networks and the evolution of complex life.”  Already there seems to be some circularity in the reasoning.    Next, they had to assign “modularity” values to the networks.  (This refers roughly to the degree a network of interacting proteins could be isolated from other networks.)  To do this, they used Newman’s algorithm, but they purposely avoided using an algorithm from another paper on the evolution of network modularity.  The authors could probably justify these choices, but they were clearly making human judgment calls on what algorithms would produce meaningful results.    Once they had modularity scores, they had to decide how to measure environmental influences on various bacteria species.  They used the number of transporter genes found in databases as a proxy for environmental diversity; however, the paper admits that “the large scale KEGG data [Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes] used is not free from noise and missing information, and the representation used lacks reactions’ directionality, stoichiometry and more.”  That word “more” sounds worrisome.  How can they know they have meaningful data?  Their reassurance was only general: “However, the large scope of the data used permits a very large-scale investigation across hundreds of networks and leads to the identification of general relations that run across the data.”  OK, we’ll take their word for it.  The worries do not stop there, though.    Next they had to figure out the phylogenetic tree of their bacteria.  Here they just borrowed one from another paper in the references.  One might think this is odd, since the goal of the paper was to show evolution, not to assume it:The tree of life generated in ref. 21 was used to identify the phylogenetic relations between the species studied in our analysis and for inferring ancestral metabolic networks along the tree.  This tree includes a relatively large number of species, covering most of the taxonomic groups for which metabolic data are available.  Specifically, this tree was used to measure the distance of each extant and ancestral species to the last universal common ancestors of bacteria and to calculate the species pairwise phylogenetic distances (measured as the sum of distances from the two species to their last common ancestor).It appears they assumed a universal common ancestor from the start.  And as shown by a paper reported here on 03/17/2006, scientific papers can perpetuate false “microparadigms” by referring to other papers uncritically.    These worries notwithstanding, what remained was for the team to show a correlation between modularity and phylogeny.  They generated a large circular diagram color-coded with modularity values for the assumed phylogenetic tree of bacteria.  Unfortunately for their thesis, the color values appear random.  To the rescue: the team had lots of explanations for why the anomalies were really not significant.    There actually is a correlation if you look at it right, they said.  Each exception had a ready explanation.  Horizontal gene transfer, obligate parasitism, unusual environmental factors, a trend downward in modularity as one goes up the tree – there was no shortage of reasons why they found that modularity was only “moderately concordant with organismal phylogeny along the tree of life.”  There is the tree-of-life assumption again.    Let the disinterested reader evaluate the following claims and caveats in the paper.  Are these valid explanations, or rescuing devices for a theory in crisis?  Keep in mind that the goal of the paper was to establish the claim that all bacteria have evolved from a common ancestor, and the evolutionary tree should be visible in the modularity of their metabolic networks.Overall, our analysis is applied to a large set of 325 reconstructed bacterial metabolic networks (of which 138 appear on the phylogenetic tree), offering insights concerning the forces that have shaped the modularity of metabolic networks since the dawn of bacterial life.Given the moderate level of this overall correlation, it is instructive to examine a few specific cases, where different phylogenetic-modularity similarity patterns emerge.Obviously, habitat variability may also increase as larger classes are examined, so phylogenetic proximity probably involves both genetic and environmental similarities.Other cases, however, may involve substantial variation among strains of the same species…. Such divergence of modularity scores across closely related strains is likely to occur because of the loss of just very few central reactions, fragmenting the metabolic network and consequently altering modularity scores in a considerable manner…. Clearly, such loss of central reactions that affects major metabolic functions is probably detrimental and hence very rare….. Reassuringly, one may note that such variation in modularity among strains is probably not just a result of varying annotation practices that bias the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) data….In summary, there is an overall rather marked correlation between network size and modularity, but it mainly arises because of the significantly lower modularity scores of small-sized networks.  Interestingly, no significant correlation was observed between bacterial growth rate and modularity… despite the fact that network size is positively correlated with a faster growth rate….It is instructive to examine some of the outliers marked by an asterisk in Fig. 3a; specifically, a few species of Rickettsia and Borrelia have very small networks but high modularity scores.  Although genetically very remote, these species have a shared lifestyle—they are obligate mammalian pathogens that are transmitted by parasitic insects such as fleas or ticks.  This intricate life cycle requires a rapid and efficient shift between two very different environments, which probably dictated the emergence of niche-specific metabolic subsystems, increasing modularity.  This may be an extreme example of the principle laid out by ref. 19, that environmental diversity promotes network modularity.Interestingly, among the host-associated organisms, endosymbionts have miniscule metabolic networks … but these networks are slightly more modular than those of commensals and pathogens … Furthermore, we find that thermophilic bacteria have significantly higher modularity scores than organisms in either mesophilic … or hyperthermophilic … environments, and facultative bacteria have lower modularity scores than aerobic bacteria … (after correcting for multiple hypotheses testing using the Bonferroni correction).  However, the evolutionary forces that have shaped these differences remain unclear.Finally, we note that the genomic fraction of transporters and permeases, which may have been putatively thought to constitute a simple rough correlate of environmental diversity, does not manifest a significant correlation with network modularity.This overall trend, where ancestral modularity scores tend to be higher than those of the descendants, may be attributed to speciation and niche specialization of the organism and to the gradual addition of more peripheral metabolic pathways during evolution.An additional important force that has been assumed to effect the emergence of modularity in metabolic networks is HGT [horizontal gene transfer].  HGT refers to several biological mechanisms by which one organism may transfer genetic material to another organism that is not its descendant and is a major evolutionary force in prokaryotes.In summary, they concluded that the correlation of modularity to phylogeny is modest at best:This complex mixture of driving forces reinforces the notion that modularity can be thought of as a product of both the organism’s past evolutionary heritage and its present adaptation to a certain lifestyle and to available niches.  The determination of whether modularity is a converging vs. a genetic trait remains an open challenge.After this, they unloaded a series of “methodological limitations” that might randomize the modest correlation even further.  They left it to others to see if the correlation would hold up outside the limited scope of their study: “It remains to be seen whether the forces identified here in bacterial metabolic networks do play a similar or a different role in the evolution of modularity in other kinds of biological networks.”  So what, exactly, was demonstrated?1.  Kreimer, Borenstein, Gophna and Ruppin, “The evolution of modularity in bacterial metabolic networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Published online on May 6, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0712149105Every once in awhile we need to take our readers kicking and screaming into the stench of the baloney factory to show them how the Darwin sausage is made.  We know you can only stand it for a few minutes at a time.  This is the garbage that is force-fed to students.  They have no choice; it’s the only thing on the menu.    We bring you the very best smelly sausage.  This was not cooked up in a corner; it was presented by the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious scientific societies in the world.  It passed peer review.  No one in the Academy criticized it.  This can be considered representative of the very best the Darwinists have to offer in support of their world view that humans had bacteria ancestors by a chance process with no design.    There were more rescuing devices in this paper than reasons to believe in evolution.  Even when they assumed evolution and referred to other evolutionary papers, they could only find a modest correlation at best, with whopping outliers and anomalies that had to be explained away.  Worse, they failed to even consider other explanations for the data.  It was DIDO all the way – Darwin in, Darwin out, and DIGO, too: Darwin in, garbage out.  The data were only incidental to the storytelling spree – mere props in the never-ending Darwin drama.    Did you catch them conjuring up evolutionary “forces”?  We think of forces in science like gravity and electromagnetism, but they redefined the word.  To them, a force is any happenstance that steers the miracle-working potential of evolutionary tinkering.  Did they ever explain how a new environment would generate the necessary random mutations that were supposed to create new, functional metabolic networks?  Never; they merely assumed it would.  Referring to horizontal gene transfer as a source of innovation only pushes the miracle onto another germ.  Playing theoretical hot potato is not a scientific way to explain how complex interactions of highly-specific protein parts came about.  Remember?  They even admitted that tinkering with networks is probably detrimental and extremely rare – but in their view, tinkering is the only available source of innovation.    At one point they said, “the evolutionary forces that have shaped these differences remain unclear,” but a few paragraphs later they were crowing about “the forces identified here”.  Forces?  What forces?  Let’s see an equation.  There were no forces; just obstacles.  The telephone pole on the sidewalk does not force a bicycle rider to become an airplane pilot.  More likely, it forces him into an opportunity for a concussion.    Undoubtedly, the Darwin Party Propaganda Mill will add this paper to their mountain of evidence that supports Darwin.  They will argue also that nothing in biology makes sense without evolution.  They will use it to show how much useful science Darwinism is generating.  In truth, the guys in the baloney factory spill their guts and sacrifice their brains into the mix to show their devotion to Charlie.  Maybe that’s why the Good Book warned against eating meat offered to idols.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Committee to improve cancer care in SA

first_img18 January 2013South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has established a ministerial advisory committee to act on the prevention and control of cancer in the country.“The National Department of Health recognises that cancers, together with other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases, are leading causes of preventable mortality and morbidity in South Africa,” the department said in a statement earlier this month.It is estimated that cancer currently accounts for about 7% of deaths in South Africa, but that the number of cases is rising and interventions to deal with the problem are inadequate.There are eight inaugural members of the committee, all experts on cancer from backgrounds including National Pathology Services and the National Cancer Registry.Expert collaboration to benefit patientsThey are Raymond Abratt, Kwanele Asante-Shongwe, Jennifer Moodley, Paul Ruff, Vikash Sewram, Nontuthuzelo Somdyala, Christina Stefan and Sue Janse van Rensburg.Abratt is head of department of radiation medicine and head of radiation oncology at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town; Asante-Shongwe runs a breast cancer advocacy group, BreastSens; Moodley is a senior lecturer in the Women’s Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine; and Ruff is head of medical oncology in Johannesburg’s Charlotte Maxeke hospital.Sewram is the director of the Oncology Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Unit; Somdyala is also from the Medical Research Unit and is a scientist in the Burden of Disease Research Unit; Stefan is a paediatric oncologist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University; and Janse van Rensburg is chief executive officer of the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa)“The inputs from a range of authorities are critical,” the department said.It is expected that the committee will yield “productive, evidence-based engagement with experts including medical specialists, representatives of civil society and survivors”.“This committee will benefit the state to plan and implement comprehensive preventative, control and support services and more importantly benefit patients and their families by meeting their needs for quality care,” the department said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more