Ebola Affects Farm Yields in Bong

first_imgGarmai Tokpah harvesting her rice in Taylor Town, Ebola affected communityThe Ebola outbreak in Liberia has disrupted agricultural activities and threatened food security affecting the livelihood of many people in Bong County.Bong, which is considered one of the food producing counties in Liberia, is experiencing a huge decline in food production for the local markets as a result of the Ebola virus in the county.During an assessment conducted by the Daily Observer last weekend in communities that were greatly affected by the Ebola disease, it was observed that inhabitants in those communities including areas that were not quarantined have cut down their regular diet due to food insecurity.In Gbarnga City, this paper also established that some residents have reduced their regular diet as the result of low supply of locally produced foods on the market.It was confirmed by this reporter that farmers in Ebola affected communities have had their farming activities considerably disrupted by the Ebola outbreak resulting in a significant slump in rice production.“I am finding it extremely difficult to provide food for my family. My family has to starve the whole day just to save a bit of food for the day” said Lorpu-Kollie Tokpa, a farmer in Barlakerthela, one of the hardest hit Ebola communities in the county.It was also noticed by this paper that farmers who produce cocoa complained of their commodity rotting because cocoa buyers are frightened to risk going into Ebola-affected communities to purchase their crop.“Many migrant workers, who normally help with harvesting our cocoa have slowed down their activities for fear of contracting the disease. I used to harvest my produce up to 75 bags but now 20 bags are difficult to yield,” Mr. David Kermue a cocoa farmer in Taylor Town lamented.It was observed by this reporter that closed markets and interruption in trade as well as the restriction on the movement of people have led to acute shortages of food in many communities in Bong County, particularly those communities that are affected by the Ebola virus disease.Our survey revealed that land that was cleared for farming was not planted due to the Ebola outbreak in the country and many farmers had to migrate compelling them to abandon their farms.  This paper was informed that during this harvest season in Liberia many of the farmers who were affected by the virus are terrified to go back to their farms to harvest and are also afraid to take their produce to the local markets because of the low purchasing power of consumers.  The price of imported rice, the country’s staple food, has increased while locally produced commodities decreased in quantity owing to the fact that household incomes have substantially dwindled compelling families to cut down the number of daily meals.According to Stephen Matthews, the Agriculture Commissioner on Communal Farming at the Ministry of Internal Affairs assigned in Bong County, one of the factors responsible for the decrease in food production is government’s pronouncement against people gathering in large groups.   This Ebola preventive measure against large gatherings affects the traditional cooperative system “kuu” which entails farmers grouping together to harvest or work in each other’s fields.    Mr. Matthews told this paper that the county will likely face the threat of severe food shortages because farmers particularly in rural communities that were greatly affected by the Ebola disease are not willing to return to their farms for fear of contracting the virus.“The catastrophes after Ebola will be the calamitous food scarcities, price hikes and food insecurity in this county,” Mr. Matthews warned.Many of the Gbarnga residents who spoke with this newspaper advanced that the international community and the Government of Liberia strengthen strategic institutions such as the hospitals and the agriculture sectors in the post Ebola crisis in order for the country to regain its food production capacity.The citizens maintained that families be provided with food assistance and that GOL promote food security and encourage social development in communities at risk.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Letterkenny man’s message in a bottle arrives via Newfoundland

first_imgA Letterkenny man has revealed a wonderful ‘message in a bottle’ story which has forged a new friendship with a little girl from Scotland.Life coach and author Roger Holmes from Drumardagh cast a small glass jar into the Atlantic Ocean more than six months ago never thinking it would find its way back to him.He left a message inside with his email address and threw him from a ship 100 miles into the ocean. And last week he received a message back from an excited 7-year-old girl on holiday on the coast of Scotland saying she had found it.Instead of us telling his story, we decided that Roger wrote it so well that we’d use his words.Take it away Roger…..“At dawn on September 28th 2018, approx 100 miles south-east of St John’s, Newfoundland, on an oceanic plateau called the Grand Banks, I put a message in a small jar, and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean. I watched through the fog as the small jar fell into the vast Atlantic Ocean from the helipad on the top deck of the Atlantic Star container ship. I thought I would never see that jar again. “On April 9th 2019, almost exactly 6 months later, ironically when I had once again traveled back over the Atlantic from New York to Donegal, I received an email with 2 photos attached. Anna Riddoch, a 7 year old girl visiting her grandparents home on the island of South Uist, off the west coast of Scotland, found the little jar with my message and contact details intact!“Anna, who lives in Inverness, was walking with her dad on the beach on South Uist while enjoying her Easter holidays, and was overcome with excitement at finding a message in a bottle!Roger Holmes“Emails were exchanged, and Anna’s mother Mary told me that she spent her childhood walking on that beach near her parents croft, hoping she would find a message in a bottle.“It is amazing that a little jar survived so many winter storms and high seas, to make a journey of over 2000 miles across the ocean. There are so many morals to this story. Embrace adventure, dream dreams, believe that little things can have epic journeys and achievements, embrace the outdoors..especially the ocean shore, and always always believe that good things happen to those who seek them out.“I’ve told Anna I’m going to send her a reward for finding my message in the little jar. Seeing her happy face and hearing how excited she was to find that message on the beach is such a joy!” Roger runs In8 Motivation and delivers workshops and one-on-one coaching to companies and individuals in New York, using mindful meditation for stress management and building motivation for improved performance.He’s planning to offer the same service from Donegal next year.Letterkenny man’s message in a bottle arrives via Newfoundland was last modified: April 15th, 2019 by StephenShare 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:bottledonegalMessageNewfoundlandRoger HolmesScotlandlast_img read more

Precision technology showcased at 2015 Farm Science Review

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Anyone doubting the accuracy, potential, and future of precision technology in agriculture has probably not seen the aerial photos of a corn field with an unmistakable Block O pattern at the Farm Science Review (FSR) south of I-70.The demonstration plot’s design was created with new dual-hybrid planting technology in Field 5 at the FSR. The two hybrids for the Block O in the field were chosen for effect — most of the corn in the field has a traditional golden-colored tassel while the hybrid used for the Block O has a purple tassel.“It definitely has a cool factor to it,” said John Fulton, precision agriculture specialist for Ohio State University Extension. “But basically, it’s a good opportunity to demonstrate the capability of new technology and start engaging growers and educating them about aspects they need to consider when adopting new technology. And, from our perspective, we want to understand its functionality and, when requested, help companies improve the technology.”The design in Field 5 was implemented with a Case IH planter fitted with Precision Planting multi-hybrid seed meters used to plant the field. The Kinze 4900 series planter also features multiple-hybrid planting capabilities.Fulton is helping lead OSU Extension research efforts on new planting technologies for corn and soybeans in Ohio, both at Ohio State agricultural research stations and through on-farm research with collaborating farmers.“In general, farmers have always managed their acreage on a per-field basis, depending on their soil characteristics and other production factors,” Fulton said. “Now, 2015 is the first year technology is commercially available to farmers that allows the planting of two different hybrids in the same field. With this new precision technology, we can match more productive ground with a racehorse, or offensive type of hybrid, which would maximize yields in a year with good weather and the proper management. On other areas of the field, you might want to place a more risk-averse, or defensive, hybrid that would still produce favorable yields even during adverse growing seasons.”With regard to precision, planting technology is allowing for multiple new possibilities.“We can plant two hybrids in the same field, we can plant rate by hybrid and the electric drive per row enables turn compensation to adjust the population accordingly across the planter when traveling around a curve. We don’t have answers about the agronomics and economics to-date but we are beginning to explore the benefits. It could be one of those technologies that could really return dollars to the farm business,” Fulton said. “We are at the very early stages to determine where the value exists for the farmer. The industry is reporting that this technology could provide a $40 or $50 gain per acre in corn. We don’t have economic data available so we are focused on providing farmers the background and information about the technology before they decide to invest, or if they have alreadyJohn Fulton is helping lead OSU Extension research efforts on new planting, scouting, and harvest technologies for corn and soybeans in Ohio, both at Ohio State agricultural research stations and through on-farm research with collaborating farmers.invested, we want to have recommendations for how best to use it.”A second key area of increased precision and management that will be an important part of this year’s FSR is the management of farm data.“How do we really begin to take the knowledge from the farm and the agronomist and the data that has been collected and use it to make decisions? At the FSR, you are going to see more software companies this year that can help make that happen. We don’t have all the science established for data analytics yet but we are working on data solutions so we can further help farmers,” Fulton said. “As an industry, we are looking at how all of these pieces can be put together with all of these analytic tools out there. If you are interested in data management, be sure you are taking the time to correctly set up and calibrate your equipment, whether it is a yield monitor or your application equipment. We know that inaccurate data is fairly prevalent and accuracy is one of the key things that the farmer can really influence. Take the opportunity to archive the data being collected on your farm so you can take advantage of it. Then work with a trusted data consultant that understands your operation and the agronomy around your area. You need someone to help dive into some of these questions.”An emerging source of additional information for on-farm decision-making is drone or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology that is gaining more attention in agricultural research.“We are trying to do a couple of things with drones. One, we want to really define some of the true functionality that can be delivered through drones. There are different types of cameras they can carry and we are really trying to connect that and good photo resolution with in-season decision making. We are trying to identify and provide an action of some level that the grower can have confidence in based on what they can see with drone technology,” Fulton said. “As we think about corn and soybeans in Ohio, nutrients are a huge topic along with other production factors that influence yield and ultimately profitability. How do management practices layer into improving the decisions made on those farms? The drone can be a good tool to help in in-season crop evaluations.”Scouting efforts can really be refined with the strategic use of drones as well, Fulton said.“We can identify stressed areas in the field and then use that information to drive scouting efforts. I may not know what the cause of the variability is that I am capturing in my drone images, but then I know where to focus my scouting to bring good ground truth perspective with tissue or soil samples,” he said. “There is a lot of value drones can bring to that. Then, by taking things to the next level, we could take remote sensed images in combination with ground truth data to help create prescriptions. These kinds of systems can very quickly provide information back to the grower to help make those decisions during planting or other times of the growing season. Timing can be important.”Fulton is also looking at how to overcome some of the current challenges with drones. “Drones now are limited by the fact that the maximum flight time for some of these drones is short, which makes it difficult to think about covering several thousand acres at a time,” Fulton said. “And as an ag community, we must be aware of the laws and safe operation. The more issues that pop up, the more issues we are going to have in the future.”Collaborative efforts between Fulton’s research, the FSR, and the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center will be on display at this year’s event. Drones have been one of the fastest-growing areas of interest in agriculture over the past couple of years and hold great potential for data collection, said Ryan Smith, director of the UAS Center. Based in Springfield, the center offers resources to support research, development, testing and evaluation of the technologies for academics, businesses and government. Farmers will be able to use the technology to collect information in a variety of areas — crop health and emergence, weed location, water content, chemical compounds and more, Smith said.“The technology is changing rapidly,” Smith said. “The aircrafts continue to develop and change weekly, market sensors keep improving, and data processors are discovering how to take massive amounts of data and create usable records.”Current aviation regulations are an important consideration with the use of the technology. There are no set commercial regulations specific to UAS technology to date, so farmers who wish to fly UAS must apply for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. This is a challenging process that can take more than three months if an approval is granted, Smith said.“The FAA is in the process of developing rules specifically for UAS technologies,” he said. “These regulations will be less burdensome than current rules, allowing more freedom for commercial uses.”For the third year in a row, the FSR will feature live drone demonstrations. In addition to live field demos, UAS technology and data will be on display in the Firebaugh Building and featured in educational sessions throughout the show, such as the “Drones in ag: Know the law” and “Farming the bottom line with drones” presentations in the “Question the Authorities” Q-and-A sessions offered daily during the show.last_img read more

Motorcade for Trade

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmers generally support the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Farmers for Free Trade, the bipartisan coalition supported by commodity groups from across the agricultural industry, is on the Motorcade for Trade tour — an 11-state, 3,500 mile RV tour across the country in support of the USMCA. The initial two-week leg of the tour takes place over the April Congressional recess and includes stops across the Midwest at farms, coffee shops, ag equipment dealers, and small businesses.The tour included a stop in Canton/Massillon, Ohio on April 15 at Klick’s Cattle Company. The tour kicked off at Kreider Farms in Harrisburg, Pa. on April 12 and concludes on April 26 at Gooseneck Farm, Broadview, Mont. Events along the tour will highlight American farmer’s reliance on trade with Canada and Mexico, which supports millions of jobs and nearly $40 billion in American exports each year. Several stops will include meetings with member of Congress who will be considering the USMCA agreement.“This tour will provide an on-the-ground, up-close look at how American agriculture needs trade with Canada and Mexico to survive,” said Angela Hofmann, co-founder of Farmers for Free Trade. “Especially right now, American farmers are looking for a win that provides them certainty and predictability that their exports will find open markets across North America.”The Motorcade for Trade is being led by a 25-foot RV that prominently displays key facts and messages on the importance of agricultural trade with Mexico and Canada. Each stop on the tour will feature the RV. Local statistics on the importance of trade with Canada and Mexico will also be distributed at all stops along the tour.To follow the tour on social media follow @farmersfortrade on twitter or Farmers for Trade on Facebook. Tour stops and other information can be found at http://www.farmersforfreetrade.com/motorcade-for-trade.last_img read more

Government to Spend $846 Million to Expand Court Of Appeal

first_img Mr. Chuck said jails, prisons and the Horizon Remand Centre will be linked into the courtrooms live and direct through the technological systems being provided to the courts.  The Government is to spend $846 million on the expansion of the Court of Appeal, which will result in three new courtrooms, 15 judge’s chambers and an expanded registry.Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 22).He also informed that the Government intends to amend the Constitution for retired judges to sit beyond age 70, on an as-needed basis.“A Standard Document and a five-year plan to guide the development of the physical infrastructure for the justice sector and the procurement of furniture and equipment will be developed. This will be a significant development, as that document will guide the infrastructural agenda for the fiscal years 2019/2020 to 2020/2021,”      Mr. Chuck noted.He said the country will “witness the new face of justice” when the Ministry starts the design and, hopefully, the construction of several judicial complexes across the island.These, he said, include the construction of the St. James Regional Judicial Complex; St. Ann Regional Judicial Complex; Manchester Regional Judicial Complex; Trelawny Parish Court Complex; and the construction of the Spanish Town Parish Court Complex.“When you visit St. James, St. Ann, Mandeville these are courts that really must be abandoned. They are courts that are difficult to do justice in, the conditions are just not appropriate, and I hope, Cabinet approving, that we can start the design and construction of [the] new court complexes,” Mr. Chuck said.The Minister also informed of plans for the establishment of five Family Courts, one per year, St. Catherine being the one for this fiscal year; and the expansion of the Supreme Court.“There will be Mobile Courts for vulnerable witnesses, we have already bought the mobile unit.  Witnesses will be able to give evidence from remote locations,”           Mr. Chuck said.He added that the days when remandees have to travel to court for mention dates will be over.Mr. Chuck said jails, prisons and the Horizon Remand Centre will be linked into the courtrooms live and direct through the technological systems being provided to the courts.“This will reduce the reliance on the security forces to provide transportation for offenders to attend court,” Mr. Chuck said. Story Highlights He said the country will “witness the new face of justice” when the Ministry starts the design and, hopefully, the construction of several judicial complexes across the island. The Government is to spend $846 million on the expansion of the Court of Appeal, which will result in three new courtrooms, 15 judge’s chambers and an expanded registry.last_img read more

As fish farm protestors wait on decision legal hurdles lie on the

first_imgLaurie Hamelin APTN News A British Columbia court is still deciding if protestors can occupy a fish farm owned by one company in the province.Marine Harvest went to court seeking an injunction against occupiers of Midsummer Island fish farm.But no matter how the case turns out, there are bigger legal battles still to come.lhamelin@aptn.calast_img

Jason Day Deserves An Ovation But Give The Field A Golf Clap

Heading into last weekend’s PGA Championship, Australia’s Jason Day had cracked the top five in nearly a third of the major championships he’d entered. He finished in the top 10 nearly half of the time. But he’d never hoisted one of those shiny trophies they give the tournament winner. That changed Sunday, when Day won the PGA Championship, breaking the record for lowest to-par score (-20) in a major.Yet Day’s record-shattering performance also highlights just how easy it was to go under par at the majors this season. While Day’s week at the PGA ranks No. 1 according to cumulative strokes below par, it’s nowhere near the best in modern history1Which, for the purposes of this article, began in 1958 — the first year the PGA Championship adopted a stroke-play format. if we examine it using our familiar z-score system, which measures each performance relative to the field (by how many standard deviations a player’s score was below the field average, for players who made the cut).Z-scores reward not only excellence relative to par, but also dominance in comparison to one’s peers on the same course at the same time. And Day’s competitors also shot very well when held up to Whistling Straits’ par-72 standard: The average of players who made the cut was 3.6 strokes under par, which ranks fifth-lowest of any major tournament since 1958. That number explains the big disconnect between Day’s amazing to-par score and his middling (by major-winning standards) z-score:Last weekend’s low-scoring PGA Championship also capped off a season of great performances by the field in majors. July’s British Open featured the lowest to-par scoring average (-5.6) of any major since 1958, and April’s Masters Tournament (-2.4) ranked 11th-lowest. Combined, this year’s quartet of majors saw the lowest scoring average (relative to par) of any season since 1958, and the only time in that span that the average cut-maker across all majors in a season was under par.The majors in 2014 ranked second-lowest, so we’re seeing an unprecedented spate of low-scoring performances in recent seasons, though it’s not clear what’s driving the trend. We can turn to the usual sources of speculation: technological improvements outstripping course designs, a (subconscious?) movement toward friendlier scoring conditions to improve golf as a television product, an incredible font of young talent emerging in the wake of Tiger Woods’s heyday, etc.Whatever the cause, it’s leading to players like Day going low on the game’s biggest stage, even if their performances aren’t historically great relative to their peers.He didn’t win the PGA Championship, but Jordan Spieth is still having one of golf’s greatest seasons. read more

The Faceless Men And Women Of The US Open

(And the slights aren’t limited to photos: At least one American’s photo was accompanied by an Italian flag for one of her doubles matches.)By the first Friday of the Open, the tournament had added photos for many players, including del Potro, Thiem and Almagro. It took a little longer for many women, including Konjuh and Sevastova, who finally got their photos added by that Sunday.Not all the players minded their missing photos. Sevastova, after upsetting Johanna Konta to reach the quarterfinals, said in response to my question at her postmatch news conference that she’d noticed her photo was finally added. “Now I have a photo,” she said. “Now I saw my photo.” Having no photo was better than if the U.S. Open had just used her “WTA picture with short hair,” she said. “I didn’t like it, actually, so it was OK without [a] picture.”The U.S. Open provides an unusual opportunity to check out what the faceless men and women of sport have in common because the tournament lists hundreds of players, all gathered on one website. On the first Friday of the tournament, I did an exhaustive survey of all 579 players on the page — the number shifts during the tournament as draws are finalized for events that start later in the tournament, such as juniors. More than one third of the players — 211 — were missing photos. That includes 44 players who were in the men’s or women’s singles draws, the most prominent events at the Open. In addition to Konjuh and Sevastova, that list included Naomi Osaka, who’d just lost a third-round thriller in Arthur Ashe Stadium to Madison Keys; Laura Siegemund, who was playing seven-time major champ Venus Williams in Ashe the next day; 2015 French Open quarterfinalist Alison Van Uytvanck; Laura Robson, who made the fourth round at the 2012 U.S. Open; and Americans Christian Harrison and Danielle Collins.It’s no coincidence that more women than men were missing: According to Widmaier, there was a lag in adding women’s photos even after the problem was identified. (He wasn’t sure why.)So what factors decided who got a photo by the fifth day of the tournament and who didn’t? I checked a wide range of factors,1By grabbing data off each player’s U.S. Open page and running a regression between whether the player had a photo on the night of the tournament’s first Friday and the player’s other characteristics. and the determinants of whether a player had a profile pic weren’t surprising: Americans, players active on tour and veterans were mostly likely to have a photo. Being from the U.S. increased a player’s chances of having a picture on the site by 30 percentage points. With every singles match a competitor played this year, his or her chances went up by 2 percentage points. A year of age added 3 percentage points.2The percentages assume a linear relationship, which wouldn’t apply at extremes. (We don’t think someone who has played 60 singles matches this year has a greater than 100 percent chance of having a photo.) The exact percentages depend on which variables we include. I also tested, for instance, peak singles ranking, career matches and matches won, but those all are closely linked to both singles matches played this year and to age. So perhaps the most surprisingly snubbed people were the American women’s doubles pair of Ashley Weinhold, 27, and Caitlin Whoriskey, 28. Their faces remained missing on the second Thursday of the tournament. (Then again, neither has ever been ranked in the top 100 in singles or doubles.)Konjuh, who is 18, said she understood why she didn’t have a photo. “Like probably most of the other players that are young or coming didn’t have pictures,” she said in her news conference.Widmaier promised a more completist approach to player photography at the 2017 Open: “It will be improved upon next year.” Anastasija Sevastova and Ana Konjuh defied expectations and their low rankings — both outside the top 40 — to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals. They have something else in common: For the first week of the tournament, where their photos were supposed to appear on the U.S. Open website and app, there instead appeared black rectangles with the flags of their countries and the words “NO BIO PHOTO.”“I saw on the live score, yeah, on the U.S. Open app, yeah, it says, like, ‘bio’ or something,” Konjuh said when I asked about her absent photo at her news conference after she upset Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round.Every sport has these faceless men and women, the ones who aren’t supposed to make the team or get off the bench, who are so new they haven’t been photographed, who may get rushed in front of a digital camera so media staff can get a snap worth posting.Tennis majors face a special challenge in filling those blank rectangles: Up to 128 players enter each of the men’s and women’s qualifying draws, and more than 100 others enter each of the men’s and women’s singles draws. There can be more than 100 players competing only in doubles, and an additional 100 or more might enter only the juniors or juniors qualifying draws. As of the two-week event’s middle Sunday, there were 698 players on the U.S. Open player page.But some of the snubbed U.S. Open players are hardly nobodies. Early in the tournament, 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 10 Dominic Thiem and former No. 9 Nicolas Almagro were among those missing photos. Asked about them on the first Thursday of the tournament, Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open, said, “It’s a disappointment.” I asked if it’s a priority to get photos for the players — all of whom have been professionally photographed at dozens if not hundreds of matches worldwide, and who have pictures that appear on the ATP and WTA websites and on their U.S. Open credentials. “It is now,” Widmaier said. read more

The Blind Side Era is Over At The NFL Draft

Quenton Nelson looks exactly like a franchise-cornerstone left tackle: Standing 6 foot 5, 325 pounds, Nelson is “built like a bank safe” and blessed with the athleticism and aggressiveness to be a perennial All-Pro. The quarterback’s protector is often called the second-most-important offensive position, so it’s no wonder that Nelson’s in the mix to be the first non-quarterback to be picked in this year’s draft.But one thing does separate Nelson from other highly coveted tackles on draft day: He isn’t a tackle. He’s a guard.How players at one position in the NFL’s otherwise-anonymous quintet of trench warriors became some of American sports’ most-prized athletes is a story so well-known it was turned into a best-selling book, and even a movie: The uniquely gifted protectors of “The Blind Side” emerged in the 1990s to stop the pass-rushing outside linebackers of the 1980s, like eight-time All-Pro Lawrence Taylor.For years afterward, teams trying to land the next Orlando Pace or Walter Jones had no qualms about throwing high draft picks at top tackles. Even less-than-perfect tackle prospects like Michigan’s Jake Long and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher were deemed “safe” picks at No. 1 overall — because unlike quarterbacks, who are unlikely to play another position well, if those tackles fail to establish themselves as quality starters, teams have the option of kicking them inside to guard.As recently as 2012, guards were still afterthoughts, not worthy of the draft-value (and contract) investment that comes with a high first-round selection. Outstanding guard prospect David DeCastro, whom many evaluators deemed worthy of at least a top-10 pick, didn’t come off the board until No. 24 that year.In the 32-team era,1Since 2002. 62 tackles have been drafted in the first round compared to just 14 guards. On average, those tackles were taken with the 14th pick, while the average guard went between 23 and 24. In fact, after “The Blind Side” was released in September 2006, NFL teams went on a four-year tackle binge, drafting 19 first-round tackles compared to just three centers and two guards.Last season, though, the market for elite tackles seemed to dry up. Only two — Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk — went in the first round, and both were picked in the back end of the round (20 and 32 respectively). After Alabama’s Cam Robinson was taken with the second pick of the second round, which was lower than most expected, no tackles were taken until pick No. 85. To get a sense of how high in the draft tackles have tended to go over time, we can quantify pick position using Jimmy Johnson’s draft-pick value chart, which assigns a point value to every pick in the draft based solely on how early the pick is, not on which player is taken. Last year, the picks used on tackles in rounds one and two were worth a total of 2000 points, the lowest sum since at least 1994. By comparison, the picks used on the six tackles taken in the first two rounds in 2013 were worth more than 10,000 points. The trend of devaluing tackles seems certain to continue in the 2018 NFL draft. After Nelson, tackle Mike McGlinchey (average mock draft position: 22.2) is the next offensive lineman projected to go. But then it’s a run of interior linemen: Center James Daniels (28.5) and guards Isaiah Wynn (28.8) and Will Hernandez (28.9) are all set to be drafted ahead of the only other tackle who’s projected to be taken on the draft’s first night, Kolton Miller (31.2).If Miller doesn’t make it into the first round, it’ll be the first time that fewer than two tackles have been drafted in any first round since “The Blind Side” was released, and it would match the 2005-2006 nadir for high-pick tackles — only three tackles were taken in the first round in each of those two back-to-back draft classes.It’s not like NFL teams suddenly decided that the offensive line isn’t important, it’s more that the value pendulum is shifting away from left tackle. If Nelson goes as high as he’s expected to, he’ll be the third guard picked in the top 10 in the last six seasons (the fourth if you count Washington’s Brandon Scherff, who was drafted as a tackle but has since become a Pro Bowl guard2Washington initially tried Scherff at tackle before switching him to guard in his first training camp.). Before Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper went in the top 10 in 2013, no guard had been picked that high in a dozen years.3Leonard Davis went No. 2 overall in 2001 as a guard, though he went on to play both tackle and guard in the NFL.But it’s not just draft capital that teams are investing in a previously neglected position.This spring, All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million unrestricted free-agency deal that briefly made him the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman. Though former New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder’s four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants topped Norwell’s $13.3 million average annual value, Norwell remains No. 2.In 2016, the five biggest free-agency deals4In terms of contracts’ average annual value. given to offensive linemen went to left tackles. In 2017, half of the eight offensive-line contracts worth at least $10 million per year went to left tackles — but the other half went to three guards and a center. In 2018, Solder’s was the only one of the top six offensive-line deals that did not go to a guard or center.So why the sudden change? For starters, the evolution of the left tackle was a response to a defensive revolution that’s been over for a long time; Taylor’s 10-season Pro Bowl streak ended 27 years ago. From Dick LeBeau’s zone blitzes to Jim Johnson’s and Jim Schwartz’s aggressive 4-3s, Wade Phillips’s one-gap 3-4 schemes to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia’s hybrid/multiple fronts attack, defensive coordinators have as many different ways to send pass rushers at quarterbacks as there are gaps between offensive linemen.According to ESPN Stats & Information Group, 36 percent of the 1,082.5 sacks by front-seven players in 2017 were registered by a player lined up at right defensive end or right outside linebacker. That means even a Hall of Fame left tackle can’t possibly help with at least two-thirds of the pressure that defenses are generating.Then there’s the fact that quarterbacks don’t really have a “blind side” anymore. The heavy use of shotgun formation in today’s NFL allows quarterbacks to keep the whole defense in front of them. According to ESPN Stats & Info, just 13,319 of 32,436 offensive plays (41 percent) were run from under center in 2017– and of those, a quarterback dropped back to pass on just 4,201 plays (13 percent of all offensive plays).The average left tackle, then, will only be called upon to keep his quarterback clean during a traditional dropback about 1/8th of the time he’s on the field.But don’t tell Nelson, Wynn, Hernandez or any of the other guards set to be drafted this weekend that the value of offensive linemen has crashed. They’re about to prove that the NFL has finally figured out that anyone who can get keep a pass-rusher from getting to a quarterback is worth an awful lot — regardless of where he’s positioned on the line. read more

ICICI Bank to finally boot out Chanda Kochhar Sandeep Bakhshi to be

first_img Close Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI BankReutersAs the Videocon dirty loan investigation moves into another gear, the ICICI Bank board of directors has finally decided to remove tainted CEO and Managing Director Chanda Kochhar. The latest reports suggest Sandeep Bakhshi, the head of the bank’s insurance division, will become the next CEO.The two momentous decisions that will change the course for India’s second largest lender under allegations of partisan loan sanctions, are likely to be announced today after a crucial board meeting, the Economic Times reported.Kochhar, who has been in sharp focus over the loans ICICI sanctioned to the Videocon Group, is currently on leave but has more than year in her as CEO under the contract.The ET report said the bank has informed the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) that Bakhshi may be moved to a different role at India’s largest private bank by assets. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/0:49Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-0:48?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … The board meeting on Monday will also finalise the terms of the appointment of Justice BN Srikrishna as the committee to investigate the allegations of conflict of interest by Kochhar.Kochhar has battled unsavoury attention ever since a whistleblower complaint linked her to irregularities in the sanctioning of a multi-crore loan to the Videocon group. The whistleblower alleged that ICICI Bank gave a Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Videocon Industries in 2012 under Kochhar’s watch.Independent probeThe complaint said that a few months before that loan was sanctioned, Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot had lent a whopping Rs 66 core to Deepak Kochhar, the CEO’s husband.Though the bank defender Kochhar, it yielded to investor and regulatory pressures and announced an independent probe into charges against Kochhar earlier this month and asked her to go on indefinite leave.Apart from the whistleblower complaint, investor Arvind Gupta had also alleged in 2016 that the loans to Videocon were a clear case of conflict of interest. He had said that the funding of a company called NuPower jointly by Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar pointed to the possibility of there being a quid pro quo behind the sanction of loans. In March this year, the CBI launched a probe into the connection between Videocon group and Kochhar’s husband. The bank had said last week chief executive Kochhar had received a notice from markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India seeking responses over alleged non-compliance. BIGGEST BANK FRAUDS IN 2018last_img read more