Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title “Our deal is more in the lines of a real pro sport deal, like football or baseball,” Alvarez said. “The package deal is an eight-figure deal. When we brought that to the UFC to match it, they declined matching it and I had to move forward. I’m happy I did because ONE Championship is the only major promotion that I have not won and conquered the world title in. It’s history and legacy for me.”Alvarez was part of a flurry of transactions that put MMA fans on notice that ONE was intent on becoming a singular sensation. ONE obtained Demetrious Johnson, the long-reigning UFC flyweight champion better known as “Mighty Mouse,” in a trade with UFC — yes, a trade — for Ben Askren. Sage Northcutt, once hailed as a future UFC star, also signed with ONE. Meisha Tate, a former 135-pound champion in UFC and Strikeforce, has signed on as ONE’s vice president and was set to move to Singapore.ONE strengthened its roster with notable U.S.-based talent ahead of a North American television deal with Turner Sports. The three-year deal will see ONE content broadcast on Turner’s platforms including TNT, which is received by more than 90 million households in the United States, as well as streaming platform Bleacher Report Live and other Turner properties. Turner, which also broadcasts the NBA and the NCAA Tournament, is set to air 24 events in 2019 on its various outlets. B/R Live will stream ONE: Eternal Glory on Jan. 19 from Jakarta, Indonesia.That date is already familiar to MMA fans — UFC is running its debut show on ESPN-plus the same night (yet in different time zones).Johnson and Alvarez will make their ONE Championship debuts on March 31 in Japan in tournament competition.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title LATEST STORIES In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Photo from ONE ChampionshipHow many casual American sports fans about a year ago had heard of ONE? Try none.OK, maybe that’s a bit of a reach. But the Singapore-based mixed martial arts organization was an afterthought at best in the United States among the hodgepodge of companies trying to put a dent in UFC’s heavyweight share of the combat sports marketplace.ADVERTISEMENT “I’m not the smallest guy in the organization anymore,” the 5-foot-3 Johnson said. “In America, everybody always looked at me as a child. I won’t have that issue when I’m in Asia competing.”More elite fighters could be on their way to ONE.Alvarez, who said he left on good terms with UFC and President Dana White, has suddenly become quite popular among his MMA peers.“Every fighter in town is sliding into my DMs. What’s going on? What are you being offered?” Alvarez said, laughing.Sityodtong, raised in Thailand and a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur behind ONE. He’s made a name as the most powerful MMA executive in Asia and has trained and coached in martial arts. Alvarez was wowed — and wooed — by Sityodtong’s approach toward building ONE into an American MMA juggernaut.“In three years, our goal is 100 million live viewers per event, making us as big as Super Bowl Sunday,” Sityodtong said at the press conference to introduce Alvarez.ONE has been aggressive in establishing a U.S. foothold in large part because of an influx of cash from some of the top venture capital firms in the world. Sequoia Capital and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek helped ONE secure an additional $166 million in funding in October. ONE said at the time of the announcement it had exceeded $250 million in total capital base. ONE also recently announced an exclusive partnership in Japan with TV Tokyo, one of the country’s largest national television broadcasters.ONE could quickly crush Bellator as the No. 2 promotion in the United States with a national TV deal and become a viable option for free-agent fighters — even with no scheduled events in America.Alvarez has a stout belief that the MMA promotion made in Asia can make it in America.“The fans there get it,” Alvarez said, “and it won’t be long until the American fans here get it, as well.” Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Try ignoring ONE Championship now.After staging shows for seven years across Asia from Myanmar to China, ONE has come out swinging in the U.S. — throwing millions at big-name free agents, signing a major cable TV deal and raising capital needed to not only keep its grip as the dominant MMA promotion of the East, but perhaps use global expansion to eventually rival UFC as the champ of the West.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“They’re making a serious push,” ONE fighter Eddie Alvarez said. “I don’t think it’s going to be long before you can crown them one of the top promotions in the world. They’ve done everything possible in their favor to become that.”Alvarez, a Philadelphia native, should know as well as any fighter about ONE’s commitment to becoming a major player in the U.S. fight game. “The Underground King” has fought for several MMA promotions and made his name in Bellator as a two-time lightweight champion and in UFC where he won the same title in 2016 and headlined the promotion’s first card in Madison Square Garden against Conor McGregor. The 34-year-old Alvarez became a free agent after his last fight in July 2018 and decided to explore his options outside UFC. He traveled to Singapore and met ONE founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong and learned U.S. expansion plans and acquiring other name fighters were on the horizon, as well as ongoing talks that would broadcast fights in America. Alvarez was impressed, not just by ONE’s outline for the future, but in a multimillion-dollar contract offer that he says makes him one of the highest-paid fighters in the sport. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra View comments Tearful Murray: Australian Open could be his last tournament
The new Health Minister comes into office facing more serious, even colossal challenges than any of his predecessors.Not even Dr. Joseph N. Togba, who first took over this awesome portfolio right out of medical school in 1945, faced so stupendous a set of challenges as today’s incoming Health Minister, whoever that may be.True, when Dr. Togba returned home he faced all the childhood and other diseases. Among these were chickenpox, diarrhea, whooping cough, measles, mumps, sleeping sickness, smallpox, tuberculosis, worms, yaws and yellow fever.Yet every one of those diseases was unlike the deadly Ebola virus. None of them had people dying in the thousands. None of them was so vicious as to shatter our lives, our way of life, our economy, our cultural and social traditions and our good neighborliness. Ebola has separated us from our next door neighbors of Guinea, Sierra Leone and La Cote d’Ivoire, to the extent that we can no longer trade with one another. When the Ivorians had their political crisis a few years ago, they streamed across the border into Liberia in the hundreds of thousands and were wholeheartedly welcomed by their Liberian brothers and sisters. For after all, the same languages, Gio, Mano, Grebo and Krahn are spoken across the borders. There are relatives on both sides of the border, divided by France when it seized huge portions of Liberian territory that became parts of Guinea and La Cote d’Ivoire.Yet in this Ebola season, the Ivorians effectively closed their air, land and sea borders with Liberia and the two other grievously affected countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone. But the Ebola virus went further to devastate our international relations. So many other countries stigmatized our three countries, causing our citizens great embarrassment and humiliation.No, even though Dr. Togba faced the task of building from scratch the National Public Health Service (NPHS) that later became the MOH, it was far from what the incoming Minister of Health faces today.For starts, even though we face an awesome health and medical crisis, our Minister-designate, Mr. George T. Werner, has spent not a day in medical school. But that need not be to his disadvantage. Several others served though they were not doctors. The first was Madam Mai Padmore, for many years President Tubman’s Special Assistant, whom President W.R. Tolbert appointed his first Health Minister. She was succeeded by Counselor Oliver Bright, and after him another lawyer, Cllr. Estrada Bernard. Then came Dr. Abeodu Jones, a historian, and after her Dr. Kate Bryant, MD, a pediatrician. Given this historical background, the Senate should not be too quick to reject Mr. Warner as the new Health Minister. What he will need is all the help he can get from those who know about the business—medical practitioners and related persons who can help him put together a program to finish the fight against the Ebola virus.This hopefully last stage in the anti-Ebola crusade is critical; for the new Minister will have to work closely with the Chief Medical Officer the Incident Management System that handles the Ebola crisis, the World Health Organization and all the partners, including the Americans, Chinese, Europeans, Africans, Asians, etc. He will need all the help he can get in taking the fight to the finish, which he does not have much time to achieve, since President Sirleaf and the Liberian people are hoping that Liberia can be Ebola free before Christmas.The new Minister’s next challenge is to develop a Master Plan for the rebuilding of Liberia’s entire Healthcare Delivery System. This must ensure that modern hospitals are built in places where they do not yet exist, including Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Kru, River Cess and Sinoe Counties. And where they do exist, the hospitals must be seriously revamped and modern equipment installed, including specialized equipment for radiology, dialyses, heart, dental surgery and ophthalmology procedures, to list a few.The Master Plan should also include healthcare centers throughout the country, especially in remote villages, making lack of access to healthcare a thing of the past.The new Minister will have to work closely with the Dean and Faculty of the A.M. Dioglotti College of Medicine, the West African Post Graduate College of Physicians and Surgeons and all the other partners to develop a comprehensive plan to train medical doctors, nurses and paramedics to man the new health system. Well-conceived and sustainable terms of service and remuneration structures are necessary components of medical personnel development planning so that the focus will remain where it is critically needed – on saving and enhancing lives, instead of constant fights over pay, benefits and the horrendous conditions in most medical facilities around the country.Not to be ignored is the need for a healthcare delivery system to be trusted and embraced by the people. That trust must be earned by good customer service delivered by doctors, nurses and other medical staff from janitors to CMO who are inculcated (instilled) with the culture of empathy and unconditional, non-judgmental acceptance of those needing and seeking their care. There is rampant egregious (extremely bad) treatment of patients by many hospital staff and this must be thoroughly and uncompromisingly reversed.Furthermore, the people’s trust must be earned by a healthcare delivery system that makes informed decisions and acts expeditiously in the people’s interest. That kind of system ensures that those hired are indeed qualified to serve in their posts, that medications on the local market are rigorously inspected for safety and authenticity. That kind of system is also seen to be enforcing without prejudice all the rules, laws and regulations to prevent medical crises and move quickly to control crises as it is now doing to prevent further spread of the Ebola virus.To win the people’s confidence and trust, the well-conceived healthcare delivery system will allocate funding to teach, monitor and engage the communities it serves across the country. Messages targeting prevention such as pre and post natal care, good hygiene, healthy eating, fitness, vaccination, environmental cleanliness must be seriously and relentlessly promoted by every effective means possible until disease and death rates in the country are far lower than they are today.It is a tall order and we wish the new Minister well. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is medicine that can reduce the chance of getting HIV by more than 90 per cent and can reduce the chances even more when combined with condoms. The medication works by stopping HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout the body if there is exposure to the virus, and it has been proven to be safe and effective in high-risk groups all over the world. For the last four years the World Health Organization (WHO) has been recommending PrEP as an additional HIV prevention choice, but uptake in the Caribbean has been slow, but steadily increasing. Currently, Bahamas and Barbados are the only two countries which provide PrEP to persons who meet the criteria for use, but Suriname, St Lucia, Grenada, Cuba and Jamaica either provide PrEP to certain populations or have plans to start provision in 2019.Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana) conducted an assessment on the knowledge, attitudes and delivery preferences on PrEP among men who have sex with men and transgender persons earlier this year, and from the focus groups held in five regions, it was found that 60 per cent of the participants had never heard of PrEP before. This was especially the case for persons who lived outside of Region Four. Once persons became aware of it, however, almost everyone was interested in taking it for their personal protection. This led to the conclusion that there is the need for a lot more education and sensitisation on PrEP, especially involving NGOs within this effort, and that the time has come for the provision of PrEP within the Guyanese public healthcare system. Starting PrEP in Guyana will entail the use of a medication that is already present in the country and that is already procured at a fairly low cost. Studies in other countries have demonstrated that the savings a country receives from the HIV infections avoided by using PrEP makes it a cost-effective prevention measure.The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Know your status”, which emphasizes HIV testing as a strategy that also empowers people to make choices about HIV prevention so they can better protect themselves and their sexual partners. Before persons can be placed on PrEP they must know their status because the medication is only for HIV-negative persons. Being on PrEP helps to strengthen the entire HIV care continuum in the country because persons must present for initial and regular testing, increasing engagement with the health service system and also providing opportunities for linking any HIV-positive persons into care and treatment. Know your status so that you can know whether you should be using PrEP as an additional prevention measure to continue to stay HIV-negative.Yours faithfully,Dr NastassiaRambarranDr Roger Welch andJoel Simpson(for SASOD Guyana)
Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255, firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAUGUS – The residents in a new upscale town-house development in Plum Canyon anticipated epicurean kitchens and handcrafted stairs but not the continually overflowing trash bins in plain view outdoors whose contents routinely spill beyond the brick enclosures. A waste hauler collects trash three times a week, but some residents say the bins fill up pronto when the overflow is dumped inside, spawning a vicious cycle. “I spent $400,000 on my house,” said Elizabeth Mitchell-James who moved Nov. 30 with her husband and 21-month-old son into a three-bedroom home in D.R. Horton’s Mariposa development. “We didn’t even go out through the front door when the weather was more mild. It was disgusting.” Mitchell-James has seen diapers, broken glass and other trash near the trash bin just beyond her front door, she said. Moving boxes discarded by an influx of new residents account for some of the trash, residents say, adding that piles of everyday trash are substantial. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Matt Sawyer, whose second-story balcony overlooks a trash bin, said odors from the overflowing trash bother him. He has donned rubber gloves to help trash crews pick up the garbage. Several residents said wind blows refuse around the development. James Brent, a resident since June, said he plucks trash from his bushes and front yard every day. One of his neighbors said she has stashed trash in the garage temporarily. Waste Management, Inc., which services the community, has a protocol dealing with such situations. Drivers who discover overflowing enclosures shoot date-stamped pictures, which are sent to the management company to indicate a possible need for increased services. Pictures have been taken in Mariposa for six months – since July – said Chris Fall, the hauler’s public sector services manager. The number of bins has been increased, but Fall said more bins or more frequent service is necessary. The residents said they do not fault Waste Management for the problem, they blame Horton and Lordon Management, which manages the homeowners association. Horton did not return calls Monday. Lordon Management said the problem stems from new residents who fail to crush their moving boxes. Donna Bauer, a representative of the company, said a janitorial crew has been helping to pick up trash since mid-December, often dumping it off-site. Lordon has met with the hauler twice on the site to make sure the “bins are collected,” she said. “We have had a report from a resident and the developer is working with them,” Bauer said. “We do anticipate that when everybody moves in the problem will alleviate itself.” A rolling trash bin is being considered for when large numbers of buyers move in all at once, she said. Homes in the two-story town-house community range from the high $200,000s to the low $400,000s. The Mariposa development is one of several projects along a booming stretch of Plum Canyon Road. Mitchell-James has reported the matter to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
Adrian Sweeney was impressive for Dungloe again this afternoon, but he couldn’t halt his side being defeated by Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal SFC.Cian Mulligan’s goal on the stroke of half-time was the crucial score between Gaoth Dobhair and Dungloe at Magheragallon this afternoon.Gaoth Dobhair came out on top in a physical bruising championship affair which enthralled the large crowd in attendance.In truth it was game of two-halves as Gaoth Dobhair lead by six points at the break. Kevin Cassidy’s men had the advantage of a strong breeze at their backs in the opeing period.They had the lions share of possession but until Mulligan’s goal failed to hurt Dungloe on the scoreboard, as they’d only pointed four times at that stage.Dungloe had their moments in the first-half with Adrian Hanlon forcing a wonderful stop from Christopher Sweeney.But at half-time it looked ominous for Dungloe as they Gaoth Dobhair by six,but Tony Boyle knew his men had the advantage of thw wind in the second period. Half time score Gaoth Dobhair 1-04 Dungloe 0-01. Dungloe started well and scored three points from Adrian Sweeney, Shaun Sharkey and Adrian Hanlon to reduce the deficit to three points.But Gaoth Dobhair hit back through scores from Kevin Cassidy, Noel Kelly and Odhran MacNiallais to stretch their lead back to six.However, Dungloe rallied back, Cory Gallagher rattled the crossbar when he powered through the Gaoth Dobhair defence and really ought to have scored.Substitute Adam Neely, a member of the Donegal minor panel, scored two points and Adrian Sweeney added another to bring it back to a one score game again. Dungloe pushed hard for an equalizer, but Gaoth Dobhair held firm to earn a crucial win.Final score Gaoth Dobhair 1-08 Dungloe 0-08Next up for Kevin Cassidy’s side is Termon, who sit bottom of the group, while Dungloe host Killybegs with the winner of that guaranteed to advance to the last eight of the Donegal SFC.DONEGAL SFC: GAOTH DOBHAIR EDGE OUT OLD RIVALS DUNGLOE IN CHAMPIONSHIP THRILLER was last modified: October 5th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal SFCdungloeGAAGaoth DobhairnewsSport
The press day for this Sunday’s Reserve and Senior Championships took place in the Station Hotel in Letterkenny last weekend.Representatives from Glenswilly, Kilcar, Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunans all took part in the day.Charlie Collins from Donegal Sportshub asked the questions and Bradas O’Donnell was there to get it all on camera. Simply click on the video to see what everyone had to say. DDTV: See what’s being said about the Senior and Reserve GAA Championship Finals was last modified: October 12th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:DDTVDonegal Senior ChampionshipGAAglenswillykilcar
Officials with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spherion, which operates the call center, have said the company didn’t have time to run background checks on its 1,200 workers. None of the suspects worked directly for the Red Cross. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The Bakersfield site is the largest of three Red Cross centers set up to handle hurricane calls. Others are located in Niagra Falls, N.Y., and Falls Church, Va. Operators provided qualifying victims with a personal identification number they then presented to receive aid funds from Western Union. The average payout was about $1,000, Goldburg said. The indicted call center employees were allegedly providing pin numbers to their friends and family who would then go to Western Union to collect the funds, Scott said after the first eight indictments were announced in October. The Red Cross contacted the FBI after it performed an audit of the call center and discovered an unusually high number of claims were being paid out at Western Union outlets in the Bakersfield area. “This is one of the biggest schemes that we’ve seen,” Goldburg said. FRESNO – Forty-nine people have been indicted in a scheme that bilked thousands of dollars from a Red Cross fund designated for Hurricane Katrina victims, federal authorities said Tuesday. At least 14 suspects worked at a Red Cross call center in Bakersfield and are accused of helping family and friends file false claims for aid money, said Mary Wenger, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott in Sacramento. All the suspects are from the Bakersfield area and face federal wire fraud charges, she said. Six have pleaded guilty. The fake claims drained at least $200,000 from the fund, but that number is expected to rise as the investigation continues, Red Cross spokeswoman Devorah Goldburg said Tuesday.
Fulham duo Ashkan Dejagah and Mladen Petric will miss Sunday’s trip to Newcastle with injuries.Dejagah sprained his ankle against QPR on Monday night and was substituted in the 38th minute.Petric, meanwhile, is struggling with an abductor muscle problem.Whites boss Martin Jol said: “Dejagah needs at least another week. His ankle was sprained so he won’t play against Newcastle.“Petric has got a problem with his left abductor so he won’t be involved either.”Fulham will also be without the suspended Steve Sidwell after an appeal against his red card in the win over QPR was rejected.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
SANTA CLARA — Five questions with Gregg Bell, who covers the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune, about Monday night’s matchup against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium:Question: With a 22-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and another fourth-quarter comeback, why is Russell Wilson having his most efficient season to date?Much of it is Wilson’s supreme accuracy on all types of throws: on the run, off balance, from the pocket, while pressured. But also, Brian Schottenheimer is using …
25 August 2008South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is partnering with the University of KwaZulu-Natal to automate two mini Baja Bugs to compete in the 2010 DARPA Grand Challenge, a driverless car race held in the USA.In a statement last month, the CSIR said that it would work with members from the university to equip the two vehicles with various sensors and positioning systems that will enable the vehicle to determine the characteristics of its environment and carry out the tasks it has been assigned.The DARPA Grand Challenge is a competition for driverless cars, sponsored by the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which supports research that “bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and their use for national security”.Mentoring and collaborationAccording to CSIR mechatronics and micro-manufacturing research manager Riaan Coetzee, teamwork and complementing of skills will be crucial for the successful completion of the projects.“This project is the ideal vehicle to expose younger engineers to collaboration with peers in different disciplines,” he said. “At the same time, it creates the opportunity for natural and productive mentoring.”CSIR researchers will focus on generating adequate awareness of the environment for the Baja Bugs by assembling the partial environments acquired by a variety of sensors. However, these are only the first steps towards autonomy, since the Baja Bugs will then still have to decide how to react to the environment.“We do not even known at this stage what format the DARPA challenge will have next time, but it is an exciting opportunity and challenge for the team,” said Coetzee. “It proves that research and development can be fun.”Developing skillsThe University of KwaZulu-Natal’s main focus will be to optimise GPS (global positioning system) strategies for accurate calculation of the Baja Bugs’ location.The university currently has an established programme for final-year students to semi-automate a buggy. The programme will be expanded through involvement in the project.The university can use this practical project for final year and postgraduate students, while the CSIR’s mechatronics and micro-manufacturing research group can further develop their skills in developing autonomous platforms.The first focus of the group will be to get the vehicle operational, after which the project will focus on analysis of the data before various sensors and actuators are installed.The design and implementation of software to control the buggy autonomously will then be added, the latter of which is the most complex area and poses a major challenge.“The success of the project does not lie with winning the DARPA challenge,” said Coetzee. “We want to attract and develop human and other resources through offering this exciting project.”The first DARPA Grand Challenge event was held in March 2004 and featured a 228-kilometre desert course. Fifteen autonomous ground vehicles attempted the course; none finished.In the 2005 Grand Challenge, four autonomous vehicles successfully completed a 212-kilometre desert route under the required 10-hour limit, and DARPA awarded a US$2-million prize to “Stanley” from Stanford University.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material