Extreme Fine Tuning in Body Cells, Part 2

first_imgHere are two examples of an ultra-fine balance between function and disease inside the cells of our body’s sensory cells (Part 2).MicrotubulesA finely-tuned balance exists in our cells between health and terrible diseases. That balance exists in the cellular “skeleton” called the microtubule network. Microtubules are linear tubes made up of the building block proteins tubulin-alpha and tubulin-beta. Microtubules grow and shrink as needed, providing pathways for molecular motors to carry cargo. They also provide structural integrity for the cell. If these microtubules are too flexible, horrible diseases can result, like Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and AMS. “On the other hand, elevated levels of αK40 acetylation promote cell–cell aggregation, migration, and tumor reattachment in multiple aggressive, metastatic breast cancer cell lines.” Not good. What keeps the amount of flexibility vs stiffness ‘just right’ to prevent disasters like these?Microtubules (straight lines) are built of tubulin proteins. Credit: Illustra Media.Scientists writing in PNAS looked into this, and found that the tubulin building blocks need to be “acetylated” (connected to tiny acetyl groups, C2H3O), in order to provide the proper amount of stiffness. Moreover, the cell can tune the stiffness of subunits with acetylation in order to provide just the right amount of flexibility:Our high-resolution maps serve as a blueprint for the scale of conformational change and relevant degrees of freedom that the αK40 loop can sample. We show that acetylation of tubulin induces electrostatic perturbations that restrict the motion of the αK40 loop, weakening lateral contacts [which is good]. The sum of many weak reduced lateral contacts reduces the inter-PF interactions. The increased flexibility provided by fewer inter-PF [protofilament] interactions provides a mechanism by which αTAT1 can locally fine-tune the load-bearing capacity and mechanical resistance to stress of MTs [microtubules]. Deacetylation increases lateral contacts, which renders MTs inflexible, brittle, and highly susceptible to breakage under stress. The pattern of increased lateral interactions between subunits leading to mesoscale instability may be conserved in other polymeric systems. Therefore, αK40 acetylation may function as an evolutionarily conserved [i.e., unevolved] “electrostatic switch” to regulate MT stability. Cancer cells may exploit this subtle form of regulation to promote cell adhesion, invasive migration, and other markers of aggressive metastatic behavior. [Bracketed words added]The acetylation of tubulins was known beforehand, but scientists did not know if it was a simple association or a cause of the stiffness of microtubules. Now, they confirmed that acetylation causes healthy flexibility. Acetylation is a “post-translational modification” of the tubulin building blocks after the tubulin proteins are assembled by the ribosome. The act of acetylation is performed by other molecular machines. All of these are under quality control mechanisms using additional machines. In other words, this is an irreducibly complex system. When any part of the system breaks down, terrible things happen.These are just two examples (see also yesterday’s post). Other instances of exquisite fine tuning in the body could be multiplied. Both papers say that similar systems involving ion channels or transportation networks likely have their own appropriate mechanisms to maintain tolerances within strict levels. Notice that these are all-or-none situations. In the ear, without the appropriate springiness of the tip link protein, dynamic control would be lost: all sounds would be heard at the same level, or not at all. In the cellular skeleton, without the appropriate stiffness brought about by acetylation, people would die of cancer or waste away with degenerative diseases. Think about these awesome wonders in your body that you probably didn’t even know about till now. Aren’t these causes for worship and gratitude?The Joker: Chuck-in-the-BoxEvolutionists, please stop the nonsense that these systems are “evolutionarily conserved.” Do you really expect us to believe that evolution brought about these and a thousand other irreducibly complex systems in the first place? And do you expect us to believe that the inexorable force of natural selection (the Stuff Happens Law) failed to act once they “emerged”? That’s absurd. An “evolutionarily conserved electrostatic switch”— good grief. Electrostatic switches are made; they don’t just happen by chance. Microtubules are intelligently designed wonders from their first appearance. They surpass human understanding. We don’t need the Darwin Party to insert Charlie D’s hairy face into the story, like some Chuck-in-the-Box joker scaring the children. Stuff it, OK? Honor the Designer who made these systems. (Visited 330 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Green Building Council Names Home of the Year

first_imgBuilding in Hawaii isn’t easyHawaii is separated from the mainland by 2,300 miles of ocean, and that, too, complicates construction.“We have to coordinate ordering and delivery of product in a timely manner,” explained Archipelago vice president Roseanne Freitas in an email. “Lead times for cabinetry vary from 6-10 weeks, appliances are 6-12 weeks, tile is 4-6 weeks, plumbing 4-6 weeks as well as all other products. The goal is to have the products arrive on island and delivered directly to the home.“With square footage costs so high we have relatively small office/workshop spaces and the cost of storage is high,” she continued. “If the product arrives and is damaged, now we have bigger challenges. The factory has to remake and ship to the Islands… and of course shipping takes longer. Many of our vendors have minimal stock or none at all, so everything is brought to the island. Any dock strikes impact all items to the islands, which can result in delays.”Those factors, plus high shipping costs, makes building in Hawaii expensive. The project also was affected by a long permitting process. Other LEED winnersThe Hawaii house represented only one category in the USGBC competition.Here are the other winners:Gerding Edlen, a real estate investment and development firm in Portland, Oregon, was recognized for its outstanding commitment to LEED. The firm has developed 65 LEED projects.NeighborWorks Umpqua, in Roseburg, Oregon, was named outstanding affordable developer. The non-profit group promotes affordable housing in Douglas County, Oregon.The Sares Regis Group of Northern California was recognized for an outstanding multifamily project, the first mid-rise luxury apartment building of its size to be certified as LEED Platinum.Dinnerstein Companies of Houston was named outstanding multifamily builder.Jonathan Rose Companies of Philadelphia won the Project of the Year award for a mixed-use, mixed income LEED Platinum development of 120 rental units and community space. The project includes landscaped terraces and green roofs.Star Apartments’s 102-unit housing project for disabled men and women in Los Angeles was named the outstanding affordable project. It includes an onsite medical clinic, a health center, and the new headquarters of an L.A. County Health Services division. The U.S. Green Building Council has selected a 3,400-square-foot house in Kailua, Hawaii, as its outstanding single-family LEED home of the year.The LEED Gold house is the first in the state to be certified under the latest version of the LEED for Homes program, and one of the earliest certified houses in the country, according to its builder, Mokulua High Performance Builder. It’s also one of the first in the state to be certified under Energy Star version 3, Mokulua founder Michael Fairall said.An important construction detail is a top-to-bottom radiant barrier, the company said, including the use of DuPont’s Tyvek ThermaWrap LE on exterior walls and TechShield radiant barrier sheathing, manufactured by Louisiana Pacific, on the roof.“The house was conventionally wood-framed with R-13 fiberglass batt at the walls and R-30 fiberglass [batts] in the ceilings,” Fairall said in an email. The exterior of the two-story house is a mix of fiber cement products, including board-and-batten panels and shakes.“In all of our homes we implement a natural/passive ventilation strategy, which consists of solar attic fans, continuous running (low sone) exhaust fans (in garage and guest bath) as well as humidistat controlled exhaust fans,” Fairall added.Domestic hot water is supplied by a solar thermal system, and the house also has a 4.5-kW photovoltaic array. Although small for the size house it is powering, Fairall said the PV system should be enough to meet the home’s energy requirements on an annual basis.center_img UV is an important considerationThe construction company said intense sunlight is “one of the most prevalent risks associated with home durability” in Hawaii, hence its use of radiant barriers on all surfaces exposed to UV radiation.Radiant barriers, typically consisting of a thin metallic layer over another material such as plywood or polyethylene, slow the transfer of radiant heat — providing they are installed with the shiny, metallic surface facing an air space.Radiant-barrier sheathing can help lower attic temperatures because its low-emissivity surface blocks radiant energy from the sun. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers estimate that in a house with a poorly insulated attic (one with R-19 attic insulation), installing a radiant barrier can result in a 2% to 10% reduction in the cooling portion of the owner’s summer electric bill. In houses with code-minimum levels of insulation, however, savings would be lower.Radiant barriers must be installed correctly in order to be effective. Without an air gap, a radiant barrier won’t work. In the wall assembly described by Fairall, structural sheathing is installed over wood framing, followed by 3/4-inch-thick battens, then the ThermaWrap, and siding. In the roof, the radiant-barrier sheathing is applied on top of the trusses with the batt insulation installed at ceiling level.The house meets insulation requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code for Climate Zone 1 (R-13 in the walls and R-30 in the attic), but is by no means heavily insulated.“Since Hawaii is a temperate climate, we don’t have to worry about heating and rarely require cooling on a large scale (central air),” Fairall said by email. “More typically, we use passive cooling through a mix of natural cooling and exhausting with whole house fans / solar attic fans.“UV radiation causes heat build-up and can contribute to material degradation, especially with certain composite products, hence the reason composite roof shingles, vinyl siding and other similar products shouldn’t be (and for the most part are not) used in Hawaii,” he continued. “As such we use products and coatings that not only can stand up to the harsh climate but can also reflect or prevent radiant heat transfer.”The 3,460-square-foot house, with four bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths, was completed in 2014 at a cost of $795,000. The house was built on the site of an existing home, but the designer on the project, Archipeligo Hawaii, said a number of parts and pieces, such as old window glass and some flooring, were reused in the new one.last_img read more

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Olympic volunteers: One-time chance, or exploitation?

first_imgIn this Feb. 9, 2019, photo, invitees listen during an orientation for volunteers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. Unpaid Olympic volunteers do almost everything: guide athletes around, greet dignitaries, and translate for lost fans. IOC officials acknowledge the games couldn’t be held without them; invariably smiling, helpful and praised by presidents, prime ministers, and monarchs. That’s the case at next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics where about 80,000 will be needed. Just over 200,000 have applied with orientation and interviews for Japan residents starting this month. (Mizuki Ikari/Kyodo News via AP)TOKYO — Unpaid Olympic volunteers do almost everything: guide athletes around, greet dignitaries and translate for lost fans.IOC officials acknowledge the games couldn’t be held without them; invariably smiling, helpful and praised by presidents, prime ministers and monarchs.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting As Gilas enters crucial stretch, Yeng Guiao’s system helps players get ‘mentally locked in’ “It’s easy to imagine the Olympics charging for the right to help if the honor were high enough,” Schwarz said.Olympic volunteers typically pay their own lodging and transportation to the host city. They get meals on the days they work, some training and uniforms to treasure. In Tokyo, they will get up to 1,000 yen daily (about $9) to get to work on the city’s vast train system. Tokyo organizers also provide some insurance. Almost two-thirds of the applicants for the Tokyo Olympics are Japanese, and almost two-thirds are women.A study done for the IOC on volunteers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics said their value was at least $60 million for 40,000 volunteers. Now, 20 years later, Tokyo organizers will use twice that many.Separately, the Tokyo city government will field another 30,000 unpaid volunteers.Proponents argue volunteers embody the spirit of the games, harkening to a time almost 50 years ago when Olympic athletes were unpaid amateurs. The IOC champions their use despite some complaints on social media in Tokyo that volunteers are similar to “forced labor.”IOC member John Coates, who heads the inspection team for Tokyo, strongly defended the use of unpaid help.“They don’t have to apply if they don’t want to,” the Australian said. “The economics of it necessitates having to have volunteers. They get trained, they get their uniforms. They are part of something very exciting. … I don’t think there’s a case for paying volunteers.”Almost everyone else working the Olympics gets paid. Many, handsomely.Tokyo is spending at least $20 billion to organize the Olympics, and organizers have raised $3 billion in local sponsorships — twice as much as any previous Olympics. IOC members like Coates receive per diems of between $450 to $900 when they are on Olympic business, and other generous perks like flights and top hotels.IOC President Thomas Bach gets no salary but receives an allowance of about $250,000 per year as a “volunteer” president. The IOC typically operates with a $1 billion cash reserve, and had total revenue in the 2013-2016 Olympic cycle of $5.7 billion. It says it returns 90 percent of its revenue to sports federations and national Olympic committees. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woescenter_img Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations The billion-dollar Olympics are awash with cash. But volunteers work for free. That’s the case next year at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, where about 80,000 volunteers will be needed. Just over 200,000 have applied with orientation and interviews for Japan residents starting this month.Most don’t seem to mind, thrilled about a once-in-a-lifetime chance and largely unaware that their unpaid labor enriches Olympic sponsors, powerful TV networks, and the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“To me, it’s very clearly economic exploitation,” Joel Maxcy, the president of the International Association of Sports Economists and a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told The Associated Press.Maxcy described a situation in which volunteers assemble the product but “someone else is collecting nearly all of the money derived from those labor efforts.” American network NBC is paying $7.75 billion for the rights to six Olympics beginning in 2022, an extension on a $4.38 billion contract.Tracey Dickson, who studies volunteerism at Canberra University in Australia, said many factors go beyond “the pure economics.” She listed social cohesion and volunteer camaraderie, which she termed “the fellowship of the suffering.”“I can understand the economic argument,” she said. “But if they were being paid it would be real job with real expectations and there’d be a totally different vibe.”“If they are just employees well, they’re just another employee. There’s so much value in that feel-good factor,” she said.The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics had problems finding volunteers. And when the games began, organizers said about 30 percent on any given day failed to show up for work, which organizers said was anticipated. Brazil also lacked a volunteer culture, and entrenched poverty meant that mostly the white and wealthy signed up.Using volunteers also means those with free time are putting it toward the Olympics, rather than other charitable endeavors.Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland who has also served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, cautioned about using volunteers in mega-sports events if they undercut the market for people who need work.Robinson is now serving with the Switzerland-based Centre for Sports and Human Rights, which was launched last year.“Volunteers can play a role,” Robinson said. “But not if it displaces the potential for people having jobs where the entities can well afford to give people the opportunity to have gainful employment rather than work as volunteers.”David Berri, a sports economist at Southern Utah University, suggested that organizers and Olympic officials should also work for free, or for smaller salaries. Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Volunteers are lured by the powerful Olympic brand, the glamor of being behind the scenes, a sense of altruism and, for younger volunteers, a hope the work might lead to connections and a full-time job.“I’m willing to work for free if I can get a chance to see and talk to Olympians from all over the world in person,” Yutaro Tokunaga, who attended a recent Tokyo orientation for volunteers, told the AP. The 26-year-old said his employer is giving him five days of paid Olympic leave.One aspiring volunteer, Masanobu Ishii, said he wanted to convey the spirit of “omotenashi,” which translates as showing Japanese hospitality.Volunteers also get involved out of civic duty or patriotism — and the chance to brag to friends. Many older volunteers often don’t need the money.California-based labor economist Andy Schwarz suggested some volunteers would even pay to play.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “If the volunteers were paid, there would be less money for everyone else,” he said. “The Olympics have learned people will work for free, so they take advantage of this. If they (Olympic officials) really thought this was all OK, they should obviously volunteer to work for free.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte View commentslast_img read more

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Louie Alas baffled over non-call on Alex Cabagnot: ‘We saw Jazul was punched’

first_img“I don’t know why there was not a single call on it. But of course, I’m not a referee and it’s their call. I just don’t know why it turned out to be that way. No matter how many times you replay it, there was an act of punching,” Jazul said in Filipino after scoring nine points. “That’s just unfair. Not even a technical wasn’t called.”Cabagnot finished with 18 points, three assists and a steal for the Beermen, who were led by Terrence Romeo’s game-high 20 points.San Miguel, the reigning four-time Philippine Cup champion, moved a win away from returning to the all-Filipino finals.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Phoenix ended up suffering a double whammy following the officials’ video review of the sequence with Mallari getting tossed after getting called for two technical fouls—one for second motion and the other for verbal altercation.A technical was also given to Ganuelas-Rosser for the verbal spat with Mallari while no call was made against Cabagnot.READ: Terrence Romeo stars as San Miguel blows out Phoenix, nears finals“That was a closed fist right in front of the ref and what’s worse is that we’re the ones who lost a guard and the one who punched remained on the court,” Alas said.Jazul also expressed his displeasure over the non-call.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Cabagnot made a fool out of the referees, who inexplicably missed the Beermen playmaker’s low blow punch on Fuel Masters guard RJ Jazul in the groin that instigated the heated commotion between players from opposing teams.Jazul’s teammate Alex Mallari pushed Cabagnot after the punching incident then exchanged words with San Miguel’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsREAD: Scuffle breaks out anew between Phoenix, San Miguel“I don’t what tape the officials were watching. We saw RJ was punched. I was in front of it and he was really punched. I have no idea what was being replayed there. I really don’t know,” Alas told reporters in Filipino after his team’s 114-91 loss at Cuneta Astrodome. LATEST STORIES Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power gridcenter_img View comments MANILA, Philippines—Phoenix head coach Louie Alas was left puzzled over the non-call on San Miguel Beer’s Alex Cabagnot during a scuffle late in the second quarter of Game 4 of their Philippine Cup semifinals series Tuesday night.ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew UAAP volleyball: La Salle cruises past UE, nears twice to beat edge Philippine Arena Interchange inauguratedlast_img read more

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Brazil investigating possible corruption at Olympic venues

first_imgBrazilian investigators have expanded their probe into possible corruption around the staging of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August to include all the venues and services financed with federal funds, a lead prosecutor told Reuters.Federal investigations have previously focused on “legacy” modernization projects not directly tied to the Games but this newly disclosed probe includes Olympic Park and the Deodoro area where Olympic venues are located, federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri said.”It’s not just the physical works we’re looking at – it is contracts for services, security, everything that used federal funds,” he told Reuters from his Rio de Janeiro office late on Tuesday.BRAZIL IN CHAOSThe Olympics were meant to showcase Brazil’s rise as a global power. Instead, they will take place as suspended President Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial, the economy suffers its worst recession since the 1930s, an outbreak of the Zika virus prompts health concerns and a massive corruption scandal infuriates Brazilians.Mitidieri said his team is also investigating what happened to federal funds earmarked for cleaning Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will take place, and lakes that surround the main Olympic venues in western Rio’s Barra neighborhood.Those bodies of water have heavy sewage contamination and remain badly polluted despite promises to drastically improve them as a legacy achievement of the Olympics.ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES? Another team of federal prosecutors, along with federal police, is investigating whether the Rio de Janeiro state water utility company Cedae committed environmental crimes by not properly treating sewage in Rio’s metropolitan area of 12 million people, Mitidieri said.advertisementRio utility Cedae said it had not been notified about the investigation and could not make a comment without understanding more about the probe.Mitidieri would not say if his team had uncovered any proof of corruption – but he added that detailed announcements about the investigation’s results would be made in coming weeks.Five construction firms are building most of the 39 billion reais ($10.8 billion) worth of venues and infrastructure needed for Rio’s Olympics. The figure includes at least 1.76 billion reais in federal funds, according to documents from Brazil’s federal accounting court.RAMPANT PRICE FIXING All five companies are caught up in an investigation into price fixing and kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras, a two-year probe that has seen scores of top executives and politicians jailed, charged or under investigation.The Petrobras (PETR4.SA) investigation is what led federal police and prosecutors to begin looking at possible corruption tied to the Olympics.Federal authorities have already said they are investigating the Porto Maravilha project, an 8 billion real facelift of Rio’s dilapidated port area, and also the expansion of the city’s metro line to the Olympic area in Barra.BRIBERY SUSPECTED Court files made public in March showed police uncovered documents from executives of Latin America’s largest construction firm, Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], that referenced 1 million reais in suspected bribes connected to those two big legacy projects.Odebrecht is at the center of the Petrobras scandal and is involved in over half of all Olympic projects by value, according to contracts reviewed by Reuters.A spokeswoman for Odebrecht said by email that the company had no comment to make.Mitidieri declined to provide details on which companies are the focus of the federal probe, though he did note that OAS SA [OAS.UL] and Queiroz Galvao had “a lot of activity” in the Deodoro region of the Olympics. OAS did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Queiroz Galvao wrote in an email that the company had not been notified about the investigation and had no further comment.Rio de Janeiro’s city government oversees most Olympic construction projects, though a few are financed by the federal or state government. The city government says contracts were mostly funded with private resources and that all bids were overseen by regulators.Rio 2016, the local organizing committee, handles some non-permanent structures like seating, and has a budget of 7 billion reais.The federal government, Mitidieri noted, is by law responsible for any debts the local organizing committee may incur.The Rio 2016 local organizing committee referred questions to the mayor’s office.The mayor’s office said it would not comment without knowing what exact contracts were under investigation. It added in its emailed response that all contracts were carried out in a transparent manner and that city officials were prepared to provide any clarifications necessary.(USD 1 = 3.6 reais)last_img read more

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9 months agoWest Ham boss Pellegrini delighted with Nasri for Arsenal win

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say West Ham boss Pellegrini delighted with Nasri for Arsenal winby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini was pleased with Samir Nasri’s performance for victory over Arsenal.Declan Rice proved West Ham’s matchwinner on the day.Nasri made an encouraging Premier League debut too, lessening a headache Pellegrini had in the midfield area.“He kept with the pace [of the game] for the 65 minutes. I think he could have continued, but I didn’t want to take the risk.“He gave us what we need as a team, because in that position, with Lanzini’s injury, Yarmolenko’s injury, we needed him. I was sure that if Samir wanted to be the player he was before he would do it.” last_img read more

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Scheer rejects oneonone trade talks with US as long as NAFTA can

first_imgOTTAWA – Conservatives say it might help Canada’s bargaining position on the North American Free Trade Agreement if the Liberal government were to agree to American demands that it join the U.S. continental missile defence system.However, leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday he still thinks there is a chance to preserve NAFTA as a trilateral trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and that Canada shouldn’t give in to one-on-one trade talks with the U.S. yet.Scheer’s interim predecessor Rona Ambrose warned last month it would be “dangerous” for the Conservatives to attack the government as it tries to get a new NAFTA deal, fearing it would look as though they were siding with President Donald Trump.On Wednesday, Scheer continued to express support for the government in some areas, but sharpened his attack in others.He didn’t reject outright the notion of a bilateral trade deal with the United States, but said Canada should continue to focus on renegotiating the full three-country deal.“I believe as long as it’s possible to preserve NAFTA, all three parties, that should of course be the priority,” Scheer said.“Canada has a significant amount of trade with Mexico and we believe that NAFTA has served Canada very well over the past two decades. So I think that it’s important that there is where the focus is.”If things change, however, the government’s focus might have to as well, he added. And he said he concurs with the government’s position rejecting a so-called “sunset clause” in NAFTA, saying deals with longevity are usually better.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau summarily rejected Wednesday the idea of one-on-one trade talks with the U.S., and last week he described drawing a line in the sand with the U.S. over the idea of a five-year sunset clause in NAFTA.But Scheer also made it clear Wednesday that the Conservatives are less than thrilled with how Trudeau has handled the negotiations.He said there’s more the prime minister could do to both manage the talks and protect Canadian workers, and he repeated his concerns about Canada’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods — a response to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs — taking effect a full month after the American measures did.On NAFTA, he said the government’s insistence on making environmental issues and gender equality a priority at the negotiating table have helped to bog down the talks.Foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole said Canada could generate some goodwill with Trump if it joins the U.S. missile defence system, an idea that was rejected in 2005 under the tenure of former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin.Last September, Trudeau opened the door to the possibility that could change. The government is now reviewing its options on missile defence, particularly in light of the new, modern nuclear threat that’s been taking shape on the Korean Peninsula.O’Toole floated the idea as a balm for the NAFTA talks in an opinion piece published Wednesday in the National Post.“Enhancing our (North American Aerospace Defence Command) relationship will remind the Americans that both our economic and security interests are integrated in such a way that you could not possibly view them as apart,” O’Toole wrote.Trudeau stressed Wednesday that there is House of Commons unity on the NAFTA file, even taking time in question period to thank the Conservatives and other parties for their support during the negotiations.“With this particular American administration, we have to be ready for everything.”Conservative commentator Goldy Hyder, president of Hill and Knowlton Strategies, said there’s no harm in the Conservatives taking a critical view of some foreign policy issues.“It reminds me of the expression, ‘Unity doesn’t require unanimity,’” Hyder said.“Conservatives can continue to be fully supportive of the government’s goal of securing a win-win-win NAFTA agreement without necessarily agreeing with each and every concession or counter-offer.”Hyder said Trump is going to “aggressively exploit” any angle he can find, but sometimes having political opposition at home can give negotiators the political cover they need to push back at the negotiating table, he added.last_img read more

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Peace Island Park Pavilion is officially open

first_imgTaylor mayor Rob Fraser and Chetwynd mayor Merlin Nichols at the opening of the Peace Island Park Pavilion. Photo by Chris NewtonTaylor mayor Rob Fraser gave some brief remarks at today’s ceremony, speaking about the hard work and dedication of those who have been involved in the pavilion’s construction.Chetwynd mayor Merlin Nichols also spoke about how the concept of the pavilion – which was initially imagined as more of a gazebo to be built by the playground near the park’s boat launch – had evolved over time, getting bigger with each year to become the rather large building with a wood fireplace it is now.He said that the pavilion’s evolution was similar to the evolution of Chetwynd’s annual chainsaw carving competition, which was fitting as Nichols and several other councillors were on hand for the unveiling of one of the community’s famous chainsaw carvings.Taylor mayor Rob Fraser and Chetwynd mayor Merlin Nichols unveiling the donated chainsaw carving at the opening of the Peace Island Park Pavilion. Photo by Chris NewtonFraser spoke about how Nichols had offered up one of Chetwynd’s carvings at around the same time the final concept of the pavilion was taking shape, and that the carving should be co-located with the pavilion and the as-yet built accessible playground, which is currently in the fundraising stage. TAYLOR, B.C. – Officials with the District of Taylor, the District of Chetwynd, the Fort St. John Petroleum Association, and the BC Peace Country River Rats were on hand today at Peace Island Park for the grand opening of the Park’s new Pavilion.Building the Pavilion has been the focus of both the River Rats and the Oilmen for the past several years, when the idea of building a permanent structure at the park along the Peace River was first imagined.The River Rats have hosted numerous fundraisers for the pavilion since 2016, including their annual Mother’s Day Dance. In August of that year, the Northern Development Initiative Trust awarded a $250,000 grant towards the pavilion’s construction. The carving, titled ‘Climbing Lessons,’ was carved in the 2006 competition by Prince George carver John Rogers.last_img read more

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Walk for Mental Health

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Committee is sponsoring the ‘Walk for Mental Health’, today, Tuesday, May 7th, 2019.The walk takes place on the Northern Vac Track, located on the 3rd floor of the Pomeroy Sports Centre from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.All donations being raised go towards the North Peace Mental Health Society. Donations are being accepted at the walk. For more information on the walk, call Cynthia; 250-793-0178last_img

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