Standing tall: Paul Francis shares his story of courage

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first_imgDania Bogle, Senior Gleaner Writer FANS OF athletics may have heard the name Paul Francis as the master strategist behind Jamaica’s gold medal in the women’s 4x400m at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing, last August. Others know him as the younger brother of MVP Track and Field Club head coach, Stephen Francis and one of the club’s founders. Athletes at the University of Technology (UTech) know Francis as head coach of the women’s track team and for four years between 2010 and 2014 their classmate. Francis was 44 years old when he decided to go back to university. He had started in the 1980s at the University of the West Indies and dropped out after a year. He was accepted to do a degree in Business Administration at UTech in 2005 and opted out; but on February 2, 2010, what started out as a minor car accident, would change Francis’ life forever. While travelling on Highway 2000, he had a minor accident and when he left the vehicle to inspect the damage, was hit by a passing car which crushed his right leg. That exacerbated an injury Francis had suffered in 2008. “One day after training, I was fooling around on the track with a football and twisted my ankle and it just …broke. So I was walking around with a noticeable limp from two years before,” Francis told The Gleaner. After three weeks in hospital he was told his leg had developed an infection, and would have to be amputated. Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president, Dr Warren Blake, one of the island’s most noted orthopaedic surgeons, conducted the operation. “Of course, I would have felt a deep remorse on hearing that I would have had to lose half of one of my legs and like any normal human being, I buss a bawl,” he shared. NO LOOKING BACK “After that bawl, never again have I looked back and regretted or thought that I am disadvantaged because I have a disability.” Francis, an IAAF Level IV certified sprint and hurdles coach, and Area Technical Official, was fitted with a prosthetic leg that August. The amputation made him reevaluate his position. “I did not see myself being able to demonstrate a high knee drill or a start to any athlete, and I thought that would somehow reduce my premium as a coach, and I thought it would be an excellent idea to ensure I try to expand my knowledge in terms of the administration of the sport because sport is my passion. I didn’t want to be somebody who had to sit down and rely on people,” he said. In 2010, a long-time dream of local track and field icon Dennis Johnson, who was for many years head of sports at UTech, the Bachelor of Science in Sport Science would come to fruition. “So as soon as I heard it was on, I jumped at it,” Francis, who turns 50 in April, said. There were days when Francis, who graduated with a degree in Sports Management, would go to classes on crutches as his prosthetic limb caused soreness. “Each day, I got a little stronger in terms of how to manage my own body. I had years of coaching experience and every sporting event doesn’t need only players, but it also needs strategists who are going to guide or coach the team. So oftentimes I played that role but at no point did I refuse myself from any practical activity because of my disability. I took part in every one of them,” he said. Being a full-time coach and student can be difficult, but Francis said difficulty is relative. “I thought I was blessed. It was simply a thing of managing your time. I have always considered myself a realist. In most situations I prefer to see a bottle as half full rather than half empty, and one of my most dominant philosophies is that no matter how bad a situation you think you are in there are many who are worse and they have survived it, therefore you can too.” Francis works very closely with his brother, and while he is the more celebrated, has nothing but great love and respect for the job his brother is doing. FIRST ATHLETE He was Stephen’s first athlete as he coached him in the discus while he was at Wolmer’s. “I have zero reservation about the kudos and recognition Stephen gets. I am his biggest admirer. He is bright. He is working at his passion and he uses all his available resources to ensure that he keeps improving at what he does. I feel a bit ashamed sometimes when people big me up because I think that he deserves most or all of the praise,” he said. Since graduating, Francis has started his own events planning business and is enthusiastic about his future. “You can either choose to lie down and die or you can choose to get up and live. I chose to live,” he said.last_img read more


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first_imgThe old paradigm: lactic acid buildup during exercise is like poison to your muscles, producing stiffness and agony.  The new paradigm: lactic acid is your friend, a fuel additive that helps keep your mitochondrial motors in top-notch condition.  Read all about it in a press release from UC Berkeley.What are you waiting for?  It’s spring, it’s beautiful outside, life is good – go feel the burn and bulk up those amazing electrical motors (02/13/2004) in your mitochondrial power plants.  The stronger they get, the better you will feel the next time you challenge your body and explore creation.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img


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first_imgAn Assam-based NGO specialising in child rights has warned of the psychological impact of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on children and asked the authorities not to treat them as “collateral damage” from the expensive exercise.The final NRC is scheduled to be published on August 31. There are fears that at least 20 lakh people – many of them children – would be labelled foreigners after being excluded from the list.The Universal Team for Social Action and Help (UTSAH) took to social media to remind the government of the need to honour India’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.“We support NRC as a local organisation, but a violation of children’s rights cannot be treated as collateral damage acceptable in pursuit of an exercise deemed to be in national interest. The government should ensure the protection of children from all forms of physical and psychological abuse without discrimination of any kind,” Utsah executive director Miguel Das Queah said.Fact-finding panelHe said his NGO would constitute a fact-finding committee after the publication of the final NRC list and suggest rectification if any violation of children’s rights was found.In a 2018 report, Amnesty International said there were 31 children in Assam’s detention centres for declared foreigners and some of them had come of age in captivity without access to counselling.The report said that girls were allowed to stay with their mothers while boys above the age of six were sent out of the centres. “Although this takes them out of the confines of the prison, often there is no one willing to take responsibility for them,” it said.A 2018 National Human Rights Commission report on Assam’s detention centres underlined the need for caring and protecting children of “foreigners” in detention camps under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.The National Campaign Against Torture too had found out that “children are the worst victims of mental torture” in the NRC process. “They are witness to the mental trauma of their parents and bear the brunt of their parents’ frustrations. India’s denial of citizenship to children born after 2004 is a violation of Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to the right of nationality,” its report said.On August 13, the Supreme Court said that children born after December 3, 2004 were not eligible to be included in the NRC if any of the parents was a doubtful voter, a declared foreigner or with cases pending at a Foreigners’ Tribunals.last_img read more


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first_imgGreek dry bulk ship owner Diana Shipping has entered into a time charter contract with Geneva-based SwissMarine Services for one of its Capesize dry bulk vessels.Under the deal, the company’s 177,729 dwt m/v Houston would be hired at a gross charter rate of USD 19,000 per day for a period of nine to eleven months.Diana Shipping informed that the charter is expected to start on May 9, 2018.This employment is to generate around USD 4.85 million of gross revenue for the minimum scheduled period of the time charter.The 2009-built dry bulk vessel Houston is currently chartered to the company at a gross charter rate of USD 10,000 per day.last_img


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first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsThe Algonquin Nation testified at the Quebec inquiry that is looking into the relationship between some state-run services and Indigenous peoples in the province.What has become a growing chorus of discontent, those that testified had few good words for the hospital in Val d’Or where the inquiry is taking place.tfennario@aptn.calast_img


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first_imgThe Navy needs to make a clear case to the public for a fleet of 355 ships, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, told reporters Wednesday at the Sea-Air-Space expo. “This wasn’t just a number just a number that was pulled out of the air, this was an objectively reached number, and we think that ought to be the central part of the discussion,” Wittman said, reported Defense News. His comments came in response to ones made earlier this week by Navy officials that did not embrace the goal of achieving a 355-ship fleet.The Navy completed a force structure assessment in December 2016 that determined the service would need 355 ships to meet combatant commander demand, but a subsequent Center for Strategic and International Studies report found the Navy would be unlikely to afford to operate a fleet of that size. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more


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first_imgIn this undated photo provided on 2 July 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits Sinuiju Chemical Fibre Mill in Sinuiju, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: `KCNA` which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. Photo : APAs secretary of state Mike Pompeo prepares to travel this week to North Korea, experts cautioned that the Trump administration’s plan to dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles in a year is both unrealistic and risky.The State Department said Pompeo would arrive Friday on his third visit to Pyongyang in three months. It will be the first visit by a senior US official since president Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un on 12 June in Singapore, where the North Korean leader committed to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula.Trump’s questionable claim afterward that the North was no longer a nuclear threat was soon displaced by doubts about how to achieve denuclearisation, a goal that has eluded US administrations for the past quarter-century since Pyongyang began producing fissile material for bombs.The president tweeted Tuesday that talks on the next steps with North Korea are “going well” and claimed his efforts had defused any nuclear threat.”If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” Trump tweeted. He said: “no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled.”But experts say there is no proof North Korea’s halt of nuclear and missile tests means the North will take concrete steps to give up such weapons. They also say the US has an unrealistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearisation.Less than three weeks ago, Pompeo said the United States wanted North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years – before the end of Trump’s first term in January 2021. Even that was viewed as bullish by nonproliferation experts considering the scale of North Korea’s weapons program and its history of evasion and reluctance to allow verification of disarmament agreements.On Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, publicized the more ambitious one-year plan that he said Pompeo will be discussing with the North Koreans. Bolton, who has expressed hardline views on North Korea, said that if Pyongyang has decided to give up its nuclear weapons program and is cooperative, then “we can move very quickly” and they can win sanctions relief and aid from South Korea and Japan.The rapid timeline he proposed contrasts with more measured, methodical strategies that most North Korea experts insist are needed to produce a lasting denuclearisation agreement. They say any solid deal will require Kim to be completely transparent about his program – at a time when intelligence reports suggest he will try to deceive the United States about the extent of his covert weapons or facilities.The one-year plan is predicated on the North Koreans “rolling over and playing dead,” said Joel Wit, a former State Department official who helped negotiate a 1994 agreement that temporarily froze Pyongyang’s nuclear program. “If it’s our going-in position, it’s fine. We should give it a try and see where it goes. If it’s our bottom line, it’s dead on arrival and then provides a pretext for John Bolton to make mischief.”To date, Kim has halted nuclear and missile tests and has destroyed tunnels at the North’s nuclear test site, but the authoritarian nation has yet to take concrete steps toward abandoning its weapons programs. Recent think tank analyses using satellite imagery suggest that Pyongyang may even be expanding some facilities linked to its missile and nuclear programs.The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed US intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Evidence collected since the summit points to preparations to deceive the US about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report. Some aspects of the updated intelligence were reported Friday by NBC News.A US official told The Associated Press that the Post’s report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across US government agencies for the past several weeks. The official was not authorised to comment publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.North Korea and Washington have yet to negotiate the terms under which the North would relinquish its weapons, so Pyongyang can be expected to seek leverage in those discussions. But those reported activities could add to misgivings in the United States, which has seen agreements with the North flounder before, often amid allegations of evasion or cheating. Pyongyang has often had its own complaints about Washington over slow delivery of aid and imposition of sanctions.”Denuclearisation is no simple task. There is no precedent for a country that has openly tested nuclear weapons and developed a nuclear arsenal and infrastructure as substantial as the one in North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, wrote in a commentary published Monday.A strategy by David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security suggests the US needs to get Kim to disclose a complete list of all his nuclear program sites and materials, including uranium and plutonium. He also said Trump and Kim should decide whether to move the nuclear weapons out of North Korea to dismantle them or do it inside the country.Even if North Korea is cooperative, the magnitude of dismantling its weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough, according to Stanford University academics, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North’s nuclear program.The Stanford team has proposed a 10-year roadmap, based on its belief that “North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured.”last_img

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first_imgPeople walk around the courtyard in front of the courthouse in Ankara on 8 January 2019 where opens today the trial of twenty-eight suspects over the assassination of the Russian ambassador two years ago, including a US-based Muslim preacher blamed by Ankara for a failed coup the same year. Photo: AFPA trial into the 2016 murder of a Russian ambassador opened in Ankara on Tuesday with the first two of 28 defendants to be heard denying any links to the assassin.Andrei Karlov, 62, was shot dead by an off-duty Turkish policeman at a photo exhibition in Ankara on 19 December 2016, in a shock attack that was captured on camera by photographers attending the event.The 22-year-old gunman, Mevlut Mert Altintas, shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) and “Don’t forget Aleppo”, vowing that those responsible for events in Syria would be held accountable.Turkish special forces killed Altintas shortly afterwards.Karlov’s widow Marina Karlova said Monday that the murder was aimed at damaging relations between Russia and Turkey. She did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.On Tuesday the two defendants denied any links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic preacher seen as an arch-foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and whom Ankara blames for a July 2016 coup attempt.The pair, who had attended the same police academy as Altintas, denied being friends with him.They are accused of belonging to a terror group.Bilal Dereli, 26, told the court he had never been in the same class as Altintas and knew him only by sight, while Oguzhan Ozturk, 28, also denied being friends with the killer.”I got into police school on the third attempt. If I had a link (to Gulen), I would have immediately been successful,” Dereli added.Dogukan Soylemez, a 26-year-old classmate of Altintas and a former security officer for the health minister, insisted he had no links with Gulen either while at school or in his working life.Gulen denies murder linkThe Ankara prosecutor has charged 16 defendants with “premeditated murder with the intention of causing terror”, according to the indictment. Another 12 have been charged with “belonging to a terror organisation”.Thirteen are currently in pre-trial detention, while five suspects are on conditional release and appeared in court Tuesday. Six others are being tried in absentia.Four suspects appeared in court via video conference while nine were under gendarmerie protection in the courtroom.Gulen, who has denied links to both the failed coup and the murder, was among those not in attendance.Turkey refers to Gulen’s organisation as the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), but followers say it is peaceful, promoting secular education.’Hot war’ riskPenalties sought by the prosecution include aggravated life sentences, which have replaced the death penalty in Turkey and carry harsher conditions than normal life imprisonment convictions.The indictment says the Gulen movement plotted the murder of Karlov, who had been appointed as ambassador in 2013, to “break off bilateral relations” between Turkey and Russia and bring them to the brink of “hot war”.”This murder took place on the eve of a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers on the topic of discussing a peace settlement in Syria,” Karlov’s wife Marina said.”I think that the aim of this murder was to wreck those talks and worsen relations between Russia and Turkey,” she told Rossiya-24 television.Turkey and Russia had a dramatic falling out in November 2015 after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane along the Syrian border.But by the summer of 2016 relations had improved, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan keen to show they are working together to find a solution to the Syrian conflict despite being on opposite sides of the war.Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016 in a crackdown criticised by human rights groups and Ankara’s Western allies.last_img read more


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first_img X Share Listen Harris Health had a rough year, but it looks a lot better now that it’s over. At the start of the fiscal year that that began last March, board members and executives faced a projected deficit of more than $70 million.“That was the result of what we call ‘the perfect storm,’ explained President and CEO George Masi. “Increased patient volumes, no expansion of Medicaid in Texas — and that had a profound effect on Harris Health — and just the inflationary factors associated with healthcare.”To cope, managers stopped filling vacancies, eliminated raises for most workers, and laid off almost 100 people. The personnel changes alone saved almost $17 million.Masi said it was painful to do: “These were real people, doing real jobs, with real work.”Managers also found savings in pharmacy, laboratory and supply chain costs.Masi says strategic streamlining also helped save money. For example, Harris Health is so overwhelmed with cases that managers had been paying other hospitals to perform certain surgeries on its patients. But it stopped that outsourcing last year, and saved more than $7 million from those contracts.“These are not emergent cases, these are cases like a gallbladder, maybe a hernia repair that could wait, sometimes wait inordinately long times, to be managed,” Masi said.“But we pulled those all back in, and actually just expanded our hours, worked harder, pushed the staff a great deal to get that done, and they did,” he added.  Finally, just a few weeks ago, there was what Masi calls a “February Christmas present” — $14 million more in tax revenues than expected.That eliminated the budget hole, with $1.1 million left over.“It’s like the little train that could,” Masi said. “There are not a whole lot of people who thought we could make up that kind of ground. It was a lot of sacrifice, on the part of a lot of folks associated with the organization, that allowed us to make that margin.”But the pressure isn’t off yet.This fiscal year, Masi faces a new deficit of $8 million. Even if he overcomes that, he’s not able to save and recapitalize for maintenance, new equipment and growth, he said. Too many years in that state are not sustainable, he said, and so he will continue to push Texas politicians to expand Medicaid using federal dollars. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:38last_img read more


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first_imgBarring the Google+ security incident, Google has had an excellent track record for providing exceptional security services to protect different levels of users’ data with ease. Android 9, now aims to provide users with more options to protect user data. To enhance user data security, Android will now be combining Android’s Backup Service and Google Could’s Titan technology to protect data backups while also maintaining the required privacy. Complete backed-up users’ data is essential for rich user experience A lot of time and efforts may be required to create an identity, adding new data, and customizing the users’ settings based on their preferences for an individual app. Whenever the user upgrades to a new device or re-installs the applications, preserving the user data is a must for smooth user experience. A huge chunk of data is generated when using mobile apps, thus adopting proper techniques is necessary to backup the required data. Backing up a small amount of data can be frustrating for users especially when they open the app on a new device. Android Backup service + Titan technology = Secured data backups With Android Pie, devices can now take advantage of a new technique where backed-up application data can only be decrypted using a key. This key is randomly generated at the client. You can encrypt the key using the user’s lock screen PIN/Pattern/passcode, which isn’t known to Google. The password-protected key is encrypted to a Titan security chip on Google Cloud’s datacenter floor. The titan chip is configured in such a way that it will release the backup encryption key only when it is presented with a correct claim derived from the user’s passcode. The titan chip must authorize every access to the decryption key, thus it can permanently block access after too many incorrect attempts at guessing the user’s password. This will mitigate brute force attacks. The number of legal attempts is strictly set by a custom Titan firmware. The number cannot be updated or changed without erasing the contents of the chip. This implies that no one can access the user’s backed-up data without knowing the passcode. Android team hired an external agency for security audit The Android Security & Privacy team hired global cybersecurity and risk mitigation expert NCC Group to complete a security audit, in order to ensure this new technique prevents anyone (including Google) from accessing users application data. The result received positive outcomes around Google’s security design processes, code quality validations, and easing known attack vectors. All these aspects were taken into account prior to launching the service. The engineers corrected some issues quickly which were discovered during the audit. In order to get complete details on how the service fared, you can check the detailed report of NCC Group findings. These external reviews allow Google and Android to maintain transparency and openness which allows users to feel safe about their data, says the Android team. For a complete list of details, you can refer the official Google blog. Read more Google takes steps towards better security, introduces new API policies for 3rd parties and a Titan Security system for mobile devices Facebook says only 29 million and not 50 million users were affected by last month’s security breach Facebook finds ‘no evidence that hackers accessed third party Apps via user logins’, from last week’s security breachlast_img read more