EAMON MCGEE JOKINGLY WARNS O’DRISCOLL OVER HIS STANCE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

first_imgBrian O’Driscoll is straight up for equality.Donegal GAA star Eamon McGee has jokingly warned Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll over his stance on same-sex marriage.McGee has publicly backed the YES campaign in the run-up to the referendum on same-sex marriage which will be held in May.However, McGee revealed he received some criticism and negativity online regarding his stance on the divisive issue. Then last week parishioners in Annagry walked out of mass after Fr John Britto said he disagreed with McGee’s views.Ireland and Leinster legend O’Driscoll tweeted his support for the YES campaign by tweeting, “I’m certainly voting yes #straightupforequalityMcGee playfully responded to O’Driscoll’s tweet by simply saying “Careful now”.   EAMON MCGEE JOKINGLY WARNS O’DRISCOLL OVER HIS STANCE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE was last modified: March 13th, 2015 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:Brian O’DriscollEamon McGeeEqualityGAAnewsRUGBYSAME-SEX MARRIAGESportlast_img read more

Read More →

Afcon 2013 ‘will be a success’: LOC

first_img13 November 2012Despite budget limitations and a tight schedule, the local organising committee (LOC) for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) is confident that South Africa will pull off a successful tournament.The Afcon tournament starts at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium on Saturday, 19 January, when Bafana Bafana face Cape Verde in the opening match, and ends on 10 February.A three-man LOC delegation, including chairperson Mwelo Nonkonyana and CEO Mvuzo Mbebe, briefed Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport and recreation in Cape Town on Tuesday on the country’s readiness to host the championship to decide Africa’s premier football nation.“There may be areas where we’ll have to tighten the belt. But I can assure the country that we are going to do a good job,” Mbebe said.One such measure is that LOC board members are not taking salaries or allowances.According to a summary of its budget, the LOC expects an income of R335 200 860, of which an amount of R205 043 200 represents grants from various government departments. Total expenses are forecast to total R334 667 721, with a surplus of R534 139 projected.Mbebe told the committee that the LOC was acutely aware of the enormous responsibility it carried. “We hosted the [2010 Fifa] World Cup and got nine out of ten. We don’t want less than that for Afcon.”‘Full stadiums’ the aimMbebe said the LOC had set itself some goals, chief among which was getting the nation behind the tournament – and into the stadiums. “We need everybody’s support to do everything in our power to make sure that the stadiums are full.”Tickets for the competition went on sale in September. Sales have been brisk. “The response from the public has been phenomenal to a certain extent. We are not doing too badly,” Mbebe said.In the first phase of the sales drive, the LOC had anticipated that 10 000 tickets would be sold. But a total of 19 966 tickets were snapped up by fans. Currently, between 1 200 and 1 500 tickets are being sold daily.Buoyed by the manner in which soccer fans are buying tickets, Mbebe was optimistic that by 20 December, a total of 350 000 tickets, or 70 percent of all tickets, would have been sold.Bafana BafanaAsked how Bafana Bafana’s performance would affect ticket sales, he said that the LOC was encouraging fans to support the national team as South Africans, but also to support teams playing in each of the host cities.Mbebe said that, unlike at the 2010 World Cup, teams would be based in the cities they had chosen as their bases until they were knocked out of the competition.He said attendance in Durban might be affected if South Africa was knocked out of the competition in the quarterfinals.The portfolio committee chairman, Richard Mdakane, said: “We hope that Bafana Bafana won’t let us down. It will be important for Bafana to win it. All South Africans will be happier generally if they see their team win.”Enthusiasm was also big among volunteers. A call for volunteers to help during the tournament was expected to be answered by 5 000, but 26 000 people had responded.The committee was assured that safety and security was a priority.Further, in an effort to thwart corruption, the referees will be secluded in a hotel near Pretoria, “where nobody will have access to them”. The referees will leave this venue escorted by security officials a day before match day.“It’s a credibility and security issue,” Mbebe said.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Read More →

The RESNET Standard Becomes the New Ventilation Battleground

first_imgJust because I haven’t written about the jockeying over ventilation rates and strategies with the ASHRAE 62.2 committee doesn’t mean nothing’s going on. If you’ve been following the battle over this issue, you know that Joe Lstiburek, PhD, PE, got fed up with ASHRAE and introduced his own ventilation “standard” in 2013. Then the “Great Ventilation Debate” happened in Detroit, and he got back on the ASHRAE 62.2 committee.Stuff happened and now RESNET just put an interesting amendment out for public comment. Follow that?A brief history of the recent battleLet’s go over the recent history quickly because we want to get to the current state of affairs, right? (Plus I’m on an airplane that will be landing in an hour and then I’ve got to go watch the fireworks with my stepson. No, really. It’s the 4th of July.) So here’s my quick chronology.The 2010 version of the residential ventilation standard, ASHRAE 62.2, gets adopted for programs and codes. The simplified version of the rate is 1 cfm per 100 square feet of conditioned floor area (CFA) plus 7.5 cfm per person. (The number of people isn’t the actual number of people; it’s the number of bedrooms plus one.) Everyone’s happy, mostly.The 2013 version of ASHRAE 62.2 changes the first part of the calculation. It goes from 1 cfm per 100 square feet of CFA to 3 cfm per 100 square feet. The result is that the total rate nearly doubles. The natives become restless. Dr. Joe introduces BSC-01, his ventilation “standard.” (I put that in quotes because it’s not really a standard in the same sense that 62.2 is. There’s no consensus process or public comment behind it. Now that you know that, I’m going to drop the quotes, but you can do air quotes when you read it if you like.) It basically goes back to the 2010 rates of 62.2 but also includes credits to adjust the rate based on the ventilation strategy. The revolution has begun.At the 2014 Affordable Comfort conference in Detroit, the Great Ventilation Debate resulted in Dr. Joe becoming a member of the 62.2 committee again. Everyone sings Kumbaya. Got it? That’s where things were last time I wrote about this issue.The 62.2 committee discusses ratesIn 2014 I started going to the ASHRAE 62.2 committee meetings. The June meeting that year was in Seattle. Joe Lstiburek and Max Sherman spoke to each other, as you can see in the photo below (Image #2), but not much happened at that meeting.No, the first big move came at the 2015 meeting in Atlanta. There the committee voted on proposals to lower the ventilation rate and give a credit to balanced ventilation. The vote at the meeting was in favor of those proposals, but when absent committee members voted later, the proposals failed.At the 2016 meeting in St. Louis last month, the committee voted again on lowering the rate. They wanted to take the square footage part of the equation from 3 cfm per 100 square feet of CFA to 2.2 cfm per 100 square feet.Those in favor of higher rates made various arguments to support their reasoning, but none had any hard evidence behind them. Max Sherman made what I thought was the worst argument: He quoted the first ASHRAE president as saying, “Ventilation is next to godliness.” What he didn’t say was that in the 19th century, medical doctors often advised people to keep their homes closed up because they thought fresh air made people sick, so the big battle then was just to get any ventilation at all.When the committee voted, the result was 10 in favor of lowering the rate and 8 opposed. The motion failed because it needed a 2/3 majority to pass.Following that discussion, the committee considered a proposal to give a credit to ventilation systems that distributed the air throughout a home. The vote was similar. A majority voted for the credit, but not a 2/3 majority. It failed, too.Meanwhile, at the code hearings…While Lstiburek was trying to get his ideas adopted into the ASHRAE 62.2 standard, he was simultaneously working to get them adopted into the building code. The code hearings have to keep up with their three-year cycle of publishing updated codes. Since the 2015 codes came out, they’ve taken up the issue of ventilation rates.Through the 2015 IRC, the ventilation rate was set at the ASHRAE 62-1989 rate:0.35 air changes per hour but not less than 15 cfm/personLast year at the code hearings, that rate was updated to:(0.01 cfm/square foot of conditioned floor area) + (7.5 cfm/person)That’s basically the rate from the 2010 version of ASHRAE 62.2 and Lstiburek’s BSC-01. There’s no acknowledgment of the differences between ventilation strategies, though. It’s the same rate whether you do exhaust-only, supply-only, or balanced.This change has happened already. It has passed. It will be in the 2018 IRC/IECC.But there’s another part of the code that needs to be changed to realize the rate change fully. Three years ago, I wrote about something new that appeared in the last code cycle (the codes get updated every three years): The IECC adopted another compliance pathway. It’s a performance, as opposed to prescriptive, path and meeting the code is based on hitting a certain number on what they call the Energy Rating Index (ERI). That index is basically the same thing as the HERS Index and it’s in the 2015 IECC.But now the building code needs another change if they want the ERI to be calculated using the code-mandated ventilation rate rather than what RESNET says. The code has to make a change even if RESNET adopts the amendment described below because the code language for the ERI points to RESNET’s current standard. So, they’re working to fix that. The language to do so is:The ERI reference design ventilation rate shall be as specified by Equation 15-1 of Section M1507.3.3 of the International Residential Code.If it passes, that would mean the ERI will always be calculated based on the ventilation rate specified in the building code, not what RESNET or any other ERI organization specifies.RESNET’s sticky situationAnd now you know how the code change is connected to RESNET through the Energy Rating Index. That ties RESNET to the building codes pretty strongly. Actually, RESNET was bound to the code before the ERI because the HERS reference home is based on the 2004/2006 IECC.Recently, RESNET sent out a notice of a proposed amendment to the home energy rating standard. The changes mostly have to do with how the ventilation rate is calculated for the reference home, but there are a few other updates in there, too. If you download the proposed amendment, you’ll see that references to the 62.2-2013 rate are struck through and replaced with 0.01 x CFA + 7.5 x (Nbr+1) cfm.I asked Joe Lstiburek about the amendment, and he sent this response in an email:RESNET is currently in conflict with the IRC on ventilation. RESNET by referencing ASHRAE is setting a higher ventilation rate than the code. RESNET is in the ratings business, not in the business of setting ventilation rates. If other programs such as Energy Star or LEED want to set a ventilation rate in order to participate in their program, that is up to Energy Star or LEED. And RESNET should rate those houses accordingly. But in terms of rating standard newly constructed houses, RESNET should follow the code.If RESNET does not adopt this amendment then there is a high likelihood that the proposed IECC code change allowing RESNET to provide an alternative path for code compliance will lose at the Final Action Hearings in Kansas City in October unless the proposed code change is modified to bring it into compliance with the IRC. Building officials do not like third-party groups setting important code changes such as ventilation rates that the building officials do not get to approve as part of their code process.Additionally, the current language penalizes balanced ventilation in favor of exhaust ventilation. This is a bad precedent. Better ventilation systems are penalized in favor of poor ventilation systems. RESNET raters are aware of this as are builders and both are gaming the ratings system. Balanced system get rating point hits as compared to exhaust-only systems.He’s right, and there’s an important point in here that often trips people up. I got confused about it myself when I was new to the home energy rating field. A HERS rating is just an analysis. There are no thresholds you have to meet to “pass” anything. It’s supposed to be an objective look at the energy use of a house compared to a “reference home.”That’s what Lstiburek is saying in the first paragraph above. The reference home, by definition, is supposed to be based on the code. Now that the code and ASHRAE 62.2 have parted ways, RESNET has to make a choice: Do they want to stick with the building code, as they should? Or will they follow a ventilation standard that’s not being used much? I’m in favor of sticking with the code.If you’d like to learn more about the RESNET amendment or to make a comment, go to the RESNET page for this amendment. Once there, you can read the comments that have already been posted.SummaryThe building code has changed the ventilation rate required in new homes. They’re working on getting the calculation for the ERI based on the new code-required ventilation rate. If RESNET wants the HERS Index to qualify as an ERI, they need to make a change, too. Here are the three scenarios:If the code language above gets adopted and RESNET passes its amendment, the ERI will be based on the new IRC ventilation rate and the HERS Index will be the same as the ERI.If the code amendment passes but RESNET’s doesn’t, RESNET will have to make changes to calculate the ERI separately from the HERS Index. They might need to have separate calculations anyway for programs and jurisdictions that use different ventilation rates.If the code language above does not pass, the ERI path probably won’t be as appealing to builders because they’ll take a hit in ERI points for meeting code instead of ASHRAE 62.2-2013.Isn’t it fun to get into the world of ventilation standards and codes! But guess what? This isn’t new. Here’s a quote from the book Ventilation and Heating by John Shaw Billings, M.D.:“It is in the determination of [the ventilation rate] that the young architect or engineer is likely to find his chief difficulties, owing to the great divergence of opinion among the authorities to whom he will probably refer for guidance.”That was written in 1893. As it says in the Bible, there’s nothing new under the sun. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESHow Much Fresh Air Does Your Home Need?Ventilation Rates and Human HealthDesigning a Good Ventilation System Resistance May NOT Be Futile in the Residential Ventilation WarsAn Interview with Dr. Joseph Lstiburek ASHRAE 62.2 Committee Chair Defends Ventilation StandardWhat is the Deal with Ventilation Requirements? GBA Encyclopedia: Ventilation Choices Just Right and Airtight Unintended Consequences Sucklast_img read more

Read More →

Prabhu Chawla interviews Pranab Mukherjee on his future in politics

first_imgPranab MukherjeeThe quintessential politician and a veteran of many a political battle, Pranab Mukherjee, as external affairs minister, is typically in the thick of things. Not only does he continue to head a dozen important government committees but is now on a hectic tour of India’s neighbours including Pakistan and,Pranab MukherjeeThe quintessential politician and a veteran of many a political battle, Pranab Mukherjee, as external affairs minister, is typically in the thick of things. Not only does he continue to head a dozen important government committees but is now on a hectic tour of India’s neighbours including Pakistan and the ASEAN summit at Cebu to promote India’s foreign relations. Before he left, he sat down for an hourlong interview with INDIA TODAY Editor Prabhu Chawla and Associate Editor Saurabh shukla in the executive drawing room of South Block. Excerpts from the interview:Q. As part of your tour of India’s neighbours you would also be making your first visit to Pakistan as foreign minister. What is your agenda?A. I am going to Pakistan, firstly, to extend an invitation to President Musharraf to attend the 14th SAARC Summit. That is the official purpose. And surely we will not discuss the weather, we will discuss issues which are there. We will discuss SAFTA. With all other SAARC countries, tariff reduction has been finalised. But with Pakistan this has to be done still. Similarly, we would also like to review at the foreign ministers’ level the third round of Composite Dialogue that just got over.Q. The biggest impediment to the peace process is the issue of terrorism. Will you be seeking an assurance from General Pervez Musharraf that all terrorist acts against India will stop?A. The assurance was obtained by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 6, 2004. President Musharraf assured him that Pakistani territory or Pakistani-dominated territory will not be allowed to be used by terrorists. The question is not of assurance; the question is how these assurances are actually implemented.Q. You said General Musharraf’s promises on terrorist camps are not being implemented. You used the word “unconvincing”.A. What I stated is that infrastructure of launching terrorists has not been dismantled. His (Musharraf’s) pledges have not been implemented.Q. But do you think that the peace process will be affected if terrorism continues from across the border?A. That is the issue which has been flagged at the foreign secretary-level meeting. We will flag it again.”Infrastructure for launching terrorists has not been dismantled. We will flag the issue during the talks.”Q. Do you think we can trust Musharraf now?A. We have to deal with the head of a state. The basic presumption would be that we would trust each other.Q. What about Jammu & Kashmir? Do you have any package solution?A. I don’t have any readymade solution.Q. But are we discussing a Kashmir solution on the lines of the four-point formula that General Musharraf has been suggesting?A. We are trying to resolve the issue of Kashmir in the context of Shimla Agreement, Lahore Declaration, and the series of talks which have taken place; we are having a composite dialogue of which resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue is a part. In that context we are going to discuss it. These are the issues that have been raised from time to time and the responses are there; you have heard the response of the prime minister in Amritsar.Q. Are your allies constraining you on foreign policy choices, be it Sri Lanka, the US or Iran? Your allies are dictating foreign policy choices now.A. No, not at all.Q. But you have to do a lot of explaining to them.A. Yes, as I have explained to my Left allies, I have equally explained it to the BJP leaders. Because parliamentary democracy demands that when there is a broad consensus in respect of foreign policy we should try to maintain that consensus. Keeping that in view, we apprised them of the developments which took place in our neighbourhood.Q. There have been reservations over the Indo-US nuclear deal. Even the scientists have opposed the deal.A. No, only a section of scientists have opposed it. They have expressed their concerns. But these concerns will not be ignored.Q. So are you saying that you will go for 123 agreement only if those concerns are taken care of?A. Of course, that is the commitment we have made.Q. Are you also saying that in the current form the deal will not go through, unless your concerns are sorted out?A. Unless certain issues are taken care of, certain concerns are addressed, it would not be possible for us to go with it.Q. The Congress is heading a coalition for the first time since Independence. So is handling coalition conflicts a major problem?A. Of course, running a coalition government in a country like India is a difficult task. More so when Congress leads the coalition, since most of the political parties were anti-Congress. To have a coalition, to run a coalition government, you require a lot of adjustments, a lot of flexibility. But the success of the coalition Government to a great extent is the contribution of UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Q. You could have done better if it was only a Congress-led government?A. That would be a value judgement right now because we do not have the majority.Q. But have you also compromised on your ideology?A. Sometimes compromise is not bad. Sometimes absolute power creates problems. There is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.Q. Don’t you think that most national political parties are getting marginalised? Rather, people are looking up to industrialists and entrepreneurs.A. I would not put this as marginalisation of politicians or political system. I would put it as the recognition of other sections. Earlier it was monopolised by politicians only. Now there are other sections of the society- industry, sports, academics, judiciary- which are important too. They too have roles to play.Q. Your 1991-96 economic policies and the present ones are almost the same. But you lost the election then.A. Compare my Budget of 1982 with Manmohan Singh’s Budget of 1991. The policies which I proposed were almost the same but Indian industry strongly resisted my proposal for NRI portfolio investment. In 1991 it was welcomed because conditions had changed.Q. In the reforms process, you have not been able to fulfill certain things like FDI in telecom and insurance. Labour reforms are also stuck. Is it because of coalition compulsions?A. We have done whatever was possible through the administrative route. But where you require legislative support, you need the backing of others.Q. Has the Left been more of a hindrance than an asset for you?A. No, not at all. We are getting the support of all their 60 members solidly.Q. But you are paying a price for it.A. For everything, you have to pay a price. You are not running a single-party government.Q. You have always been the number one minister. Weren’t you upset when Manmohan Singh, whom you once appointed as RBI governor, became prime minister?A. I am neither number one nor number two. I am just one of them.Q. Don’t you have prime ministerial ambitions?A. Thank you for coming.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Read More →

Asian Games Village a big hit among athletes

first_imgS. KannanThe Games Village is the heart and soul of any major multi-discipline sporting extravaganza.In 2010, when New Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games, the media had to focus on the negatives.From seepage in rooms to broken toilets and stinking upholstery, there was heavy criticism for the organising committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi.Here in Incheon, which is all set to host the high profile Asian Games, the Village is situated half an hour away from the main city. The area is known as Guwol-Dong and, as you near the complex, the security arrangements impress you. Unlike China, which hosted the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the Asian Games in 2010 Guangzhou, cops here are careful not to make the guests feel unwanted.A delegation of Japanese athletes enters the Village on Wednesday.For that matter, if you want to soak in the Village atmosphere as a visitor with a valid accreditation card, you need an official to check you in. The consensus among athletes, coaches and officials was that Incheon has taken great pain in providing top-class comfort.Food is a major concern in South Korea for an outsider — especially for vegetarians, who have a very tough time. The language barrier is also very hard to overcome and sign language may not always be the best option!Yet, inside the Village, there are translators attached to every team and volunteers have been provided to take into account the multitude of languages spoken in the competing nations.One smart young man from India now studying management in Japan decided to sign up as a volunteer for the Games. Hari Shambu hails from Allepey in Kerala and speaks good Japanese. Yet, when he decided to volunteer in Incheon, he did not know he would be attached to the Indian contingent. He has also learnt Korean for the Games.As a schoolboy, Shambu played badminton.advertisementSo when he met Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and Parupalli Kashyap for the first time this week, it was dream come true. When the Indian flag formally goes up in the Games Village on Thursday, Shambu will be carrying the placard with the ‘India’ name. “I heard they were looking for a young girl to do this job. I told them to consider my case as I am helping out the Indian teams,” said Shambu.If Shambu’s dream has come true in a way, for many others who get to live in the Village, it’s a fascinating experience. Special attention has been paid to cleanliness.For a city where the number of smokers is quite high, the high rise Village buildings have been declared a no-smoking zone. If at all anyone wants to smoke inside, there are designated areas. FOR those finicky about food, a wide range of options including western, halal, Asian and Korean delicacies are available, as is Indian “khaana”. This is a 24-hour service and teams shuttling between the Village and training arenas can order packed lunch boxes in advance.In an age when stress is so high for athletes, there are prayer halls which provide for most religions. These minute details go a long way in boosting the image of the host city, something Incheon is striving for. There is a laundry service handling thousands of soiled clothes daily to keep the athletes who put their heart and soul into training tension-free.In the event of any niggle or injury, the medical facilities are top class. From common cold to dental trauma and urgent care for any eye infection, specialists are there to help. Those working in the Games Village rarely get credit but, till now, stories emanating from Incheon have been positive. Hopefully, we won’t hear ‘unsuitable food’ used as an excuse for non-performance from Indian [email protected]last_img read more

Read More →

Results of Ticket Amnesty to be Announced Shortly

first_imgThe results of the recently concluded traffic ticket amnesty are currently being evaluated by the Ministry of National Security. Portfolio Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, said an assessment of the exercise, which ran between July and December 2012, is being undertaken, adding that an announcement on the matter will be made shortly. He was speaking at Thursday’s (January 10) weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Liguanea Plains held at the Eden Gardens complex, St. Andrew. The six-month amnesty provided for motorists to settle unpaid tickets issued prior to September 2010, with no additional fees or penalties incurred, once payment is made in full. The exercise is reported to have netted some $340 million in outstanding payments for fines imposed for breaches of the Road Traffic Act.     Mr. Bunting said the record of payments made “whether at the tax offices or the courts,” will be updated and “we will do an assessment of where we are”, before the announcement is made. Regarding motorists, who did not conclude the process before the amnesty’s expiration, Mr. Bunting assured that no bench warrants for arrests will be enforced for the time being, adding that “hopefully, in another week or two, we will make an announcement”.last_img read more

Read More →