first_imgDonegal is set to see forty post offices closed if the current social welfare contract is lost to An Post, the Irish Postmasters Union has warned this week. This suggests that over 7% of the targeted closures across the country are in Donegal.Despite comments by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte this week that the Government has no plans to close any post office, few in the Donegal postal service are assured in any way by those comments since plans are already in place to farm out a range of services to Tesco and other commercial enterprises. The Postmasters Union says the Govt plan for protecting the service is effectively a recipe for doing nothing.The Union has challenged Pat Rabbitte that if he is serous about the future of the service, he should rescind immediately the contract with Tesco and Supervalue to deliver a “Post and Pay” service at their branches nationwide.The Union and supporters, many from Donegal gathered outside Leinster House on Wednesday when a Dail motion proposed by the 16 members of the Technical Group of TDs was debated.County Donegal now has 77 post offices and the Irish Postmasters Union has told the Tirconail Tribune that at least half of these will close under the proposals now being considered by An Post. The Postmasters Union has challenged this week’s comments in the Dail by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte that the Govt. has no plans to close any post office.Brian McGann, General Secretary the IPU speaking on Sean O’Rourke’s Show on RTE Radio on Wednesday said that while the social welfare contract had been secured by An Post for the next two years, the Government was urging recipients to use the banking service and this would decimate the service.Calling for Govt action Mr. McGann said that no single Department can solve this issue – it needs a combined Government approach, he claimed. He noted the Minister’s comments regarding An Post having to tender for business contracts.However, Mr.McGann pointed out the Government needs to ensure that the network has a level playing field on which to compete.“The driving licence renewal contract was an example of where the network could have been used very effectively. We have experience of passport renewals – we could have offered the service of driving licence renewals using the same model. However, severely restricting the number of locations for the provision the driving licence renewals to 34, effectively prevented Ireland’s network of 1,150 Post Offices from having a fair opportunity to compete for the business” Mr. McGann stated. He says the postmasters are very concerned that no plan is in place that signifies the commitment of the Government on the future of the post office network.The Grant Thornton Report has called on the Government to take action to secure the future of the Post Office network by highlighting the devastating impact, both social and economic, on communities across the country if the network collapses.Mr McGann called on An Post to pull back from establishing an alternative network in partnership with Tesco.“The possible partnership with Tesco is unacceptable to the Union and we have sought an urgent meeting with the company to express our concern and opposition to the development. We will not tolerate the establishment of a network that we believe will ultimately destroy the Irish Postmasters,” Mr McGann stated. Pat Rabbitte has told the Dail this week that An Post was a commercial State company and received no exchequer subsidy.He highlighted issues the network ignored “at its peril” including when business activity moved from the High Street to nearby shopping centres.He also warned that business would suffer without electronic services.“There really isn’t much point in expecting the world to stand still while An Post remains committed to over-the-counter business.”The TD’s along with Pat Rabbitte stand accused of waffling and using flowery language that ignores the reality of the crisis facing half the country’s post office network.The Postmasters Union (IPU) argues that 557 Post Offices nationwide would close down if the contract is lost in the next couple of years.The Grant Thornton Report has found that by 2017 there would be a decline of 557 Post Offices (48%) in the network, which has 1,150 Post Offices at present. Urban and rural communities would be hit by the closures that would follow the loss of the social welfare contract.In recent years many of our towns and villages have been decimated by the loss of the garda station, the post office, creamery office and the sad toll of emigration. In more extreme cases, the pub and the local shop have closed their doors, victims of emigration and changing consumer habits. In many locations across Donegal it is a struggle to find an ATM.This indeed is the rule rather than the exception of life under the new regime of the Enda Kenny led Government where sound bites are the only response to the most serious concerns in our midst. The Government and Sate agencies surely must have a social responsibility towards the entire country.While we need to continue to invest capital expenditure into the larger urban areas, we cannot simply ignore entire counties, communities and constituencies in the West of Ireland.The general secretary of the Irish Postmasters’ Union, Brian McGann, has said that immediate government action is now needed to ensure the viability of the Post Office.Rural Ireland needs as many post offices as can probably be kept viable. The two-year social welfare contract is currently held by An Post with possible extensions for up to four additional years.However the Government is committed to moving to electronic payments as part of its eCommerce strategy and this is causing serious concern to the 1,150 postmasters around the country.Commenting on the report’s findings Irish Postmaster Breid Gallagher, who represents Postmasters in Donegal, said immediate Government action was required to ensure the viability of the Post Office network into the future.She says: “We may have won the contract in theory but the business is being diverted away on a daily basis. We cannot survive if this continues. We know that the Programme for Government contains a commitment to maintain the network of Post Offices but we are in no doubt that the network is under serious threat. There is no plan in place to ensure that that commitment is honoured and we need one urgently.”Breid Gallagher also expressed the Union’s grave concern that An Post is partnering with Tesco to develop an alternative network that will seriously impact on the network.This development, which is a result of Government inaction on maintaining the Post Office network, would destroy the network within two years, she predicted.“The Union will resist this move, by direct action, if necessary,” she warned.DONEGAL COULD LOSE 40 POST OFFICES IN SHAKE-UP WARNS UNION was last modified: February 27th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:An PostBreid GallagherdonegalPostmaster’s Unionlast_img read more

Canyon’s quest is Hay’s home runs

first_imgWith Canyon High’s baseball team no longer in playoff contention with one game remaining, the focus turns to the team’s star slugger, Johnny Hay, who is chasing the Foothill League single-season home run record. After a two-game homerless streak, Hay hit No. 12 in a 10-1 victory Wednesday over Burbank, putting the stocky senior one home run shy of former Valencia standout Richie Martin’s record of 13 set in 1999. After a slump-filled junior season in which Hay batted just .236, he has been exceptional this season. He is batting .366 with 27 RBIs and a .944 slugging percentage in 23 games. Tied for third in the state in home runs, Hay is averaging one home run per 5.9 at-bats. Hay’s last home run was a towering, 400-foot shot deep beyond the fence at Burbank. Valencia, ranked No. 3 in Div. I, boasts a 2.19 ERA and .347 team batting average. Nick Pappas is 9-0 with a 1.22 ERA, and UC Riverside-bound Michael Hur is batting .429 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. “This is the most consistent team I’ve ever had,” coach Jared Snyder said. “They’re just so unselfish. They don’t worry about records, stats or who they are. The only thing they want to do is win games and help their teammates. It’s pretty awesome to have kids like that. It’s just a good group of kids. They really are.” More to come: Third-place Saugus (12-11, 7-7) clinched a playoff berth by defeating Burroughs of Burbank on Wednesday, but there’s more to be accomplished. The Centurions hope to pad their record with another victory tonight at Burroughs and perhaps secure a first-round game instead of a wild-card berth. “A lot of our guys who struggled early are starting to hit well, so I think we’re gaining some momentum at the right time,” said first-year coach John Maggiora, the program’s third coach in three seasons. Saugus won just four of its first 13 games and at one point lost six in a row. At the beginning of the season, Maggiora said finishing .500 was a primary goal. Casey Stevenson is batting .410 with 17 RBIs, and Peter Ibarra is 301 with five saves and a 2.94 ERA in 16 appearances. [email protected] (661) 257-5218160Want 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 MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“Every time he steps in, he has a chance to hit it out, so it’s exciting,” coach Scott Willis said. “Yes, I think he’s got a chance to hit another one, but hopefully he won’t (overswing)m because usually you don’t hit one when that happens.” Canyon (10-14 overall, 6-8 Foothill, which wraps up today at 3:15 p.m. against visiting Burbank, has failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth successive season. The Cowboys fell short by losing three games the past 10 days. Teams must finish among the top three to qualify for the Southern Section playoffs in a six-team league, and Canyon can finish no better than fourth. At-large entries must have .500 records or better to be considered. Matt Warr, who was 4 for 5 Wednesday against Burbank, is batting .402 with five home runs and 22 RBIs. Colby Hyatt, a transfer from L.A. Baptist of North Hills, is batting .353 with two home runs and 11 RBIs, and he is 4-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 68 innings. Best season: Valencia (23-3, 13-1), which has clinched its fourth league title in five years, takes a 13-game winning streak into today’s 3:15 p.m. finale at Hart. It’s the Vikings’ best regular-season performance. last_img read more


first_imgEmer HendersonA young Letterkenny woman has successfully reached Everest Base Camp in a fundraising trek for charity.Emer Henderson, 24, from the Glebe in Letterkenny, was among just three of her comrades to reach the camp.She was part of a group of 9 volunteers trekking for the Suas Educational Development charity. Struck by altitude sickness, her fellow trekkers had to return down the mountain.But brave Emer reached the massive 18000ft height point two days ago, and is now on her way back down. She began her 120km round trip a fortnight ago.Emer raised €1,551 for Suas, an Irish-based charity that supports education projects in Indian and Kenyan Rachel McLaughlin.  SHE DID IT! LETTERKENNY WOMAN REACHES EVEREST BASE CAMP was last modified: September 27th, 2013 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:charityemer hendersoneverest base camplast_img read more

Mosasaur fossil proves the early lizards had tails like sharks

first_img Journal information: Nature Communications This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. First freshwater mosasaur discovered ERMNH HFV 197 reveals, for the first time in a mosasaur, the soft tissue outline of a tail fin, to demonstrate that mosasaurs are convergent with ichthyosaurs and whales in the development of a semilunate propulsive surface for enhanced locomotor efficiency. Credit: (top) Photograph (by Johan Lindgren), (centre) sketch indicating the bones and skin structures preserved (by Johan Lindgren), and (bottom) life reconstruction (by Stefan Sølberg) of Prognathodon sp. Mosasaurs lived approximately 98 to 66 million years ago during a time when ocean levels were much higher. In their early history, they had legs and feet and likely resembled modern monitor lizards—after moving into shallow lakes, streams and eventually the ocean, they adapted by becoming more streamlined and developed fins and tails. Despite scientists unearthing hundreds of mosasaur fossils, until now, it wasn’t known what sort of tail they had developed—none of the specimens found had preserved tail parts. Because they are a part of the lizard family, scientists assumed their tails tapered to a point, which would mean they would have had to swim more like eels, than fish. This new find proves otherwise. Instead of a tapered appendage, mosasaurs developed what looks like upside down shark tail—a development that would have enabled the predators to swim very fast, allowing them to catch most anything in their vicinity.The fossil found was that of a juvenile, approximately six feet long—adults are believed to have grown to an average of 33 feet. Though small it marks the first instance of a mosasaur fossil with fins, including the tail, almost completely intact. The find settles the debate about which kind of tail the air-breathing swimming lizard had and has caused paleontologist to revisit theories regarding what life in the oceans during the late cretaceous period must have looked like. If masasaurs, which scientists already believed dominated the seas during their time, were able to swim much faster than has been previously thought, it means that other swimmers in the sea likely had to develop adaptations to elude them. ( —A trio of researchers studying a mosasaur fossil found in Jordan report in their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, that the late cretaceous period reptile clearly had a hypocercal (shark-like) tail fin. The fossil was first discovered in 2008 by workers digging at a quarry—it then sat unstudied in Eternal River Museum of Natural History in Amman for four years before this new team of researchers from Sweden, Jordan and the U.S. discovered its existence and began giving it a closer look. More information: Soft tissue preservation in a fossil marine lizard with a bilobed tail fin, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2423 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3423AbstractMosasaurs are secondarily aquatic squamates that became the dominant marine reptiles in the Late Cretaceous about 98–66 million years ago. Although early members of the group possessed body shapes similar to extant monitor lizards, derived forms have traditionally been portrayed as long, sleek animals with broadened, yet ultimately tapering tails. Here we report an extraordinary mosasaur fossil from the Maastrichtian of Harrana in central Jordan, which preserves soft tissues, including high fidelity outlines of a caudal fluke and flippers. This specimen provides the first indisputable evidence that derived mosasaurs were propelled by hypocercal tail fins, a hypothesis that was previously based on comparative skeletal anatomy alone. Ecomorphological comparisons suggest that derived mosasaurs were similar to pelagic sharks in terms of swimming performance, a finding that significantly expands our understanding of the level of aquatic adaptation achieved by these seagoing lizards. The first mosasaur tail on record with a preserved soft tissue outline. In similarity with whales and ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs were equipped with semilunate caudal flukes, and they presumably swam like pelagic sharks. Credit: Johan Lindgren © 2013 Explore further Citation: Mosasaur fossil proves the early lizards had tails like sharks (2013, September 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Taste new concoctions at Grappa

first_imgBy Imbibing different colours, flavours and textures, a cocktail can be elevated to a higher level in terms of taste and creativity. What tastes better depends on a variety of factors and the choice of herbs, fruits and other elements well-amalgamated, which gives a whole new level to the spirit. To showcase the best, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi has come up with a new bar, Grappa. The bar is endowed with a unique concept which revolves around an indoor-outdoor setting that keeps the ambience dynamic, casual and friendly. Grappa takes advantage of the picturesque alfresco terrace which overlooks the lush green lawns as part of its seating plan. The setting lets patrons gather for early evening bites and evening meals at the open-air terrace.Blending modern innovations, Grappa showcases a remarkable Italian inspired bar menu of experimental cocktails including Barrel Aged Cocktails, Negronis, bitters and sours. The cocktails have been curated to work effortlessly well with the cicchetti menu at the adjoining Italian Restaurant, Sorrento. The hotel has roped in international mixologist Mario Gonzalez Cabildo along with Gaurav Dhyani to curate exquisite cocktails at Grappa. To highlight the evenings, an in-house resident DJ, Oma will perform at Grappa on Friday and Saturday evenings. DJ Oma believes in making music, which translate into stories for the dance floor. Embracing an eclectic approach, Oma pulls together the best of the electronic music genre for a fresh vibe. Grappa is a stirring destination that is all set to elevate the capital’s nightlife scene.last_img read more