Honorable Mention: Micaela Bouvier, Northwestern State; Makayla Sikes, Stephen F. Austin; Rachel Hayes, Southeastern Louisiana; Ashley Koncir, McNeese. Softball Pitcher of the Week – Alexis LaBure, Nicholls – Fr. – Port Neches, Texas The Carlsbad, Calif., product batted .667 with a .692 slugging percentage and a 1.444 on base percentage this past week. She began the week by recording the only Cowgirl hit against No. 14 LSU. She continued her hitting against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by ending the series with a .714 batting average and a 1.571 slugging percentage. Piancastelli became the McNeese career hit leader and the Southland career RBI leader with her hit and RBI to end game three and complete the series sweep. She went 6-for-9 in the series with seven RBIs, two doubles, three walks and four runs. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots. Honorable Mention: Moriah Strother, Nicholls; Shelby Henderson, Lamar; Kaitlyn St. Clair, Northwestern State. FRISCO, Texas – McNeese’s Erika Piancastelli and Nicholls’ Alexis LaBure are the Southland Conference Softball Players of the Week, the league announced Monday. Southland Conference Players of the Week are presented by UniversalCoin.com. Softball Hitter of the Week – Erika Piancastelli, McNeese – C/3B – Sr. – Carlsbad, Calif. This is Piancastelli’s second hitter award of the season after winning the award on Feb. 13. LaBure claims the Colonels’ fourth pitcher accolade of the season and second consecutive. The freshman from Port Neches, Texas, racked up 19 strikeouts in 16.2 innings last week, going 3-0 with a 1.68 ERA. In two games against Abilene Christian on Friday, LaBure recorded 13 strikeouts out of her first 15 Wildcats retired, capped by an 11-strikeout effort in a five-inning complete game victory. She came back the next day to toss a seven-inning complete game to keep Nicholls tied for first place. Piancastelli broke a McNeese and Southland record en route to a 3-1 week for the Cowgirls (27-12, 10-5 SLC), sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9-28-1, 1-14 SLC) to move into a game back from first place. LaBure added three wins to her name to help the league-leading Colonels (26-11, 11-4) to a 3-1 week, including a 2-1 series victory over Abilene Christian (13-20, 7-8 SLC) after dropping the opening game that went 15 innings. McNeese and Nicholls meet this weekend for the first time since the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament championship that saw the Cowgirls win 8-0. First pitch for this weekend is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. CT in Lake Charles.
UP stuns La Salle, returns to UAAP Final Four after 21 years Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST01:32UAAP Season 81: Racela says he’ll be ‘surprised’ if Ateneo loses a game in elims03:30PH’s Rogen Ladon boxing flyweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)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 Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum CJ Cansino’s first year with University of Santo Tomas came to a bitter end after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee against University of the Philippines last Saturday.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cansino added that the moment he fell down to the floor against the Fighting Maroons, he prepared himself for the worst and he looked forward to what he will do after the operation, which is set on Monday.“The moment it happened, I prepared for the worst I expected that it will be an ACL tear so I can prepare myself mentally on what I will do after the operation,” said Cansino who’ll go under the knife on Monday.Cansino, however, wasn’t alone when he suffered the injury as he had the support of teammates and coaches who immediately sent him well wishes.Another person who gave Cansino a bit of a pep talk was teammate Renzo Subido who also suffered an ACL tear prior to Season 78.“I told him to really focus on his therapy and he has to be patient with it,” said Subido in Filipino. “When he comes back I told him to make sure that his body has gotten stronger so he can prevent any further major injuries.”ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? MOST READ Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title The Growling Tigers still had a game left on their schedule in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament but all Cansino did against Ateneo on Wednesday was look from the sidelines.Despite the crushing injury, the youngster didn’t show any adverse feelings and instead vowed that he would be back a better person come Season 82.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“I will work this offseason so I can come back just in time for Season 82,” said Cansino in Filipino at Mall of Asia Arena. “I promise that I will be back for Season 82.”The Growling Tigers finished the competition as the sixth seeds with a 5-9 record after their 102-62 loss to the Blue Eagles. View comments
With the aim of enhancing small businesses in Guyana Starr computer Inc on Wednesday launched their Business Centre, on the second floor of their Brickdam location.The Business Centre is seeking to provide start-up businesses, small to medium and corporate businesses with IT Solutions in the areas of Mobility, Point of Sale, Security, Training and Cloud Computing.President of Starr Computers Mike Mohan in the presence of the media opened the Business Centre at a small ceremony to honour the tech company’s new venture.Mohan spoke extensively of the importance and relevance of technology, before getting down to business and explaining what will be some of the benefits of the Business Centre.Mohan said: “That business cannot afford to operate the way they did 10 years ago, it is businesses that adapt to technology that will be more productive, efficient, and provide better customer services. Technology in Business, transforms businesses.”According to Mohan, companies in Guyana are not realising their true potential, since they are utilising traditional methods of operations.An exciting new product demonstrated at the launch was a video Doorbell buzz for entrances to buildings, offices or homes. All is needed is the press of a button which alerts you with a ring on your cellular phone with a live video feed.The Touch Screen POS Solutions, portable printers, portable point of sale equipment, biometric systems among others were some of the exciting new products on display.General Manager Rehman Majeed, said he: “Has seen a heightened demand by local companies seeking advice to enhance their current POS systems so as to be more productive and to respond better to customer needs.”
The Kenyans are among 25 shortlisted applicants for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme launched in August to offer local coaches from across Africa the chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London.From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.The five finalists will be featured on the futurestars.worldremit.com website and voting will open in the last week of September.Kenya was the most represented country in the shortlist, with 1 in 3 coaches coming from the country. The entries reflected a range of ways that football is being used to address social challenges including gang violence and drug addiction.Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit Sharon Kinyanjui said: “The high volume of Kenyans in the shortlist is a clear indication of the importance of youth football coaching in the community and the power of sport to bring people together.”“I was particularly delighted to see so many compelling entries from women coaches and hope that their success will also encourage more women to participate in football. The strength of all the entries from Kenya as a very promising sign for the country’s future,” she added.From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said: “The standard of entries was very impressive, making this a real challenge for the judges. The Arsenal Way is all about thinking about others, getting the detail right and going above and beyond expectations.”“We were very impressed with how strongly this commitment to outstanding coaching was reflected by Kenyans. The work these participants have already done in developing their coaching shows the immense potential of coaching in Kenya to inspire confidence and encourage positive social change,” he added.“Having the most successful women’s side in England, Arsenal is actively involved in encouraging participation in the women’s game. We see the strength of the entries from women coaches as a very encouraging sign for the sport. We are eagerly anticipating the final results and look forward to welcoming the successful coach to London.”The programme is a new initiative set up by WorldRemit, the official online money transfer partner of Arsenal Football Club, to recognise and reward the valuable contribution that youth coaches make to the communities they serve.The programme received over 700 applications in one week from across Africa. A shortlist of 25 coaches has been selected by a judging panel of representatives from Arsenal and WorldRemit. In recognition of their hard work, the 25 shortlisted coaches will receive official Arsenal shirts for their youth team.WorldRemit will pay for the successful applicant to travel to London in October to attend the Future Stars camp.The programme will equip them with coaching skills which they can take back to build a lasting legacy of coaching excellence in their country. Kenyans in the Future Stars shortlistBeldine Odemba -NairobiA community coach for the Kariobangi Sharks under 13 and under 17 boys’ teams, Beldine is the only woman coaching male football teams in her community. She is passionate about improving the standard of football training in her community and helping young players achieve their full potential.If she were to win the training session with top Arsenal youth coaches, she would use the opportunity to improve her own coaching technique and share her new skills with the local football federation to benefit the wider community.Hamisi Mohamed -NairobiHamisi is a founder of Young Talents Soccer Academy, a mixed academy in Embul Bul, Ngong.Together with his friends, Hamisi started the academy over 10 years ago to bring young members of his community together and help them avoid falling into tribalism, drug abuse and crime. He was involved in the Premier Skills programme, a joint venture between the Premier League and the British Council, which further reinforced his belief that football can make a positive impact on society.If he were to win a coaching session with Arsenal, he would use the opportunity to benefit his local community. He would share the knowledge he gains with others and use it to enrich coaching programs designed to address societal issues. Iddi Badi -NairobiIddi coaches the under 11 and under 14 Ligi Ndogo boys’ teamsIddi believes that a great youth coach should not only teach football but should also act as a role model for their players. Iddi coaches the under 11 and under 14 Ligi Ndogo boys’ teams and sees football as a powerful tool to offer children a sense of direction and prevent them from joining gangs or falling into drug addiction.If he won a coaching session with Arsenal, he would organise training sessions for local coaches and school teachers to enhance the standard of football among young boys and girls in his community.Kevin Oduor Akumu -NairobiKevin is the founder and head coach at Faces Sports Academy, teaching 60 boys and girls of different age groups from the Kibera slum.Kevin is the founder and head coach at Faces Sports Academy, teaching 60 boys and girls of different age groups from the Kibera slum.After seeing children from slums being turned away from established football academies, he established Faces Sports to give children from all walks a life the chance to explore their passion for football and inspire them to achieve greater things.Through a coaching session with Arsenal, he would hope to improve on his own knowledge of football and realise his long-term dream of having a positive impact on the slums through sport.Mutinda Irene Mutindi -NairobiMutinda coaches boys and girls from Ruiru in the Kiambu county of KenyaWith support from the local church, Mutinda coaches boys and girls from Ruiru in the Kiambu county of Kenya. Many of the children come from underprivileged backgrounds, and Mutinda strives to have a positive impact on their lives as well as improve their sporting abilities.A passionate footballer herself, Mutinda has been playing since she was at primary school and is keen to encourage more girls to get involved in sports.Mutinda believes that winning a coaching session with Arsenal would better equip her to use sport to help solve social problems such as drug abuse.Samira Schwarz -NairobiSamira currently teaches a football academy (Knights FC) that comprises of community kids from slum areas.Samira currently teaches a football academy (Knights FC) that comprises of community kids from the slum areas and has been coaching for around 5 months – mainly focusing on the under 11s. She began coaching as a way to bond with her son and sees football as a way to help children to grow up to be responsible adults. She wants to win because it will equip her with the necessary skills to pass on to my players. To give them an opportunity to fight through their current circumstances and excel in football. Stephen Githinji -NairobiA dedicated football coach for children of all ages, Stephen trains boys, girls and mixed youth teams at Premier Academy. He also launched Saturday soccer schools program, Ospreys Sports Academy.As well as improving children’s skills on the pitch, he sees football as a great way to develop vital life skills such as decision-making and self-control.His goal is to establish a school that strives for sporting excellence alongside academic subjects. He would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal to learn from premier league coaches and help build this sports program.0Shares0000(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Kariobangi Sharks U17 Coach Beldine Odemba among the seven coaches shortlisted for the Arsenal training camp. Photo/COURTESYNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Seven Kenyan coaches stand a chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London after being shortlisted for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme.The seven Kenyans are Kariobangi Sharks U17 coach Beldine Odemba, Hamisi Mohamed, Ligi Ndogo’s Iddi Badi, Kevin Oduor Akumu from Kibera, Mutinda Irene Mutindi, Samira Schwarz and Stephen Githinji.
If Kyler Murray goes … The NFL Draft is one month away.And while there is so much to figure out between now and then, we’re starting to get a decent idea of who will be taken where once the spectacle gets underway in Nashville on April 25.The 49ers have six picks in this year’s draft, but if they had to select today (and we’re pretending that they actually use all the picks as currently allocated), here’s how I think it’d go down:Round 1 • Pick No. 2Nick Bosa – DE – Ohio State
22 June 2011 United States First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg on Tuesday on the first leg of her trip to South Africa and Botswana. Accompanied by her mother Marian Robinson, her daughters Malia and Sasha, her niece Leslie and her nephew Avery, Mrs Obama met members of Mandela’s family and his wife, Graça Machel. Sello Hatang and Sahm Venter, the co-editors of the soon to be released book Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Quotations Book, presented Mrs Obama with an advance copy. Hatang and the head of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Verne Harris, showed the First Lady a display of archival items housed in the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, including prison desk calendars, notebooks and draft letters. She was introduced to the senior archivist, Razia Saleh. Mrs Obama expressed appreciation for the display saying, “You are doing very important work.” She then proceeded to Mandela’s house, where she paid him a courtesy call. Earlier in the day, the US First Lady visited President Jacob Zuma’s second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, at the President’s official residence in Pretoria.Packed schedule Following her visit to Mandela, she was due to make a stop at Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, which chronicles the history of the fight against white minority rule. Mrs Obama has a packed schedule that includes a trip to the memorial for Hector Pieterson in Soweto on Wednesday. She will also give a keynote address at a conference of the Young African Women Leaders Forum, a two-day meeting of 75 women aged 16 to 30 who are playing leadership roles across the continent. She will then jet off to Cape Town on Thursday, where she will meet with Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu before leaving for Botswana on Saturday. The White House says the First Lady’s visit will advance her husband’s foreign policy goals. The trip is a continuation of Michelle Obama’s work in engaging young people, especially girls and young women, at home and abroad. “This visit to two critical countries will underscore that the United States has an important stake in the success of Africa’s many nations and underscore the historic connections between the American people and those who live on the African continent,” the US embassy in South Africa said in a statement last week. “South Africa is a vital global partner for the United States, as political leader and economic engine on the continent, and a historic example of democratic transition in Africa and around the world.” SAinfo reporter and Nelson Mandela Foundation
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Hiland FFA Chapter visited The Ohio State University recently, experiencing a Men’s Hockey Game, ag campus, and the football stadium.The chapter took a tour of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences campus and explored buildings, discussing what was in each and their purpose. Members discovered that an ag engineer made the slow vehicle sign, which is on slow moving vehicles such as farm equipment.Later that night, the chapter watched the OSU Hockey Game. The Buckeyes took on the Canisius Golden Griffins. Ohio State won 4-1 and the crowds went wild.25 FFA members went to the game: Natalie Byler, Sierra Conway, Bailey Engstrom, Nikyta Engstrom, Claire Farquhar, Carson Feikert, Marlin Hershberger, Kyle Huprich, Alex Jamison, David Mast, Hunter Mast, Ryan Mast, Blaine Miller, Morgan Miller, Violet Miller, Regina Nisley, Will Stoltzfus, Parker Stutzman, Sheila Troyer, Tallie Troyer, Brandon Raber, Lexi Raber, Cheryl Yoder, Diane Yoder, and Max Weaver.
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday asked the Modi government to come out with a white paper on the number of foreigners it had detected and deported during its four-year rule, and reiterated that the decision to update National Register of Citizens (NRC) was taken by a Congress government. Mr. Gogoi accused the BJP of trying to hijack the discourse for political gains, but work on the NRC had started in 2005, during the first term of his government. “Now everybody wants to take credit. The BJP is good in hijacking everything. They hijacked [legacy of Mahatma] Gandhi, [Sardar Vallabhbhai] Patel, Swami Vivekananda and even [B.R.] Ambedkar. They are expert in hijacking,” he said.“I demand that the government publish a white paper on how many Indians were detected and deported in last four years and what action have been taken to seal the border [with Bangladesh]. We want a clear picture,” he told presspersons. Mr. Gogoi said that in 2005, a committee chaired by Bhumidhar Barnman, former Minister in the Congress government in Assam, was formed. Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is now a Minister in the BJP government, too was a member.Another sub-committee under Mr. Sarma was formed two years later to expedite the NRC update process. “The NRC is my baby, the Congress’s baby. We are the natural father. [Narendra] Modi is the foster father. We want the NRC to be implemented in a just and fair manner. All genuine Indians must be included in the NRC,” he said.The former Chief Minister said the draft NRC, which was published on July 30 and excluded names of over 40 lakh residents of the State, did indicate how many foreigners were found in the exercise. “Till now, there is no idea about foreigners,” Mr. Gogoi added.The veteran Congress leader said that while many Indian nationals had been excluded from the draft NRC, foreigners had been included.
Scientists have identified the likely culprit in a disease that has devastated sea stars along the west coast of North America. Genomic detective work and lab experiments show that the wasting disorder is associated with a previously unknown virus. With the discovery comes a deeper mystery, however. The sea star–killing virus is far from new. The authors of the study found it in museum samples up to 72 years old, so scientists are puzzled about why the current outbreak has been so severe.”This is probably the most extensive and devastating disease of marine invertebrates that has happened,” says ecologist Bruce Menge of Oregon State University, Corvallis, who was not involved in the new research. “It’s a major concern.”The enigmatic disease came to broad attention in June 2013, when recreational divers near Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington, began noticing legions of dying sea stars. The sea stars first developed lesions, then began to lose their arms, and finally decayed into piles of skeletal ossicles (bits of calcium carbonate such as a star’s plates and spines). As the year progressed, the disease was seen in more and more locations in the waters off California.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Although there have been minor outbreaks in previous decades, this one is much more widespread, and more than 20 species of sea stars have been afflicted; other kinds of echinoderms, the animal group to which sea stars and sea urchins belong, have not. Researchers have raced to collect samples and conduct laboratory experiments to investigate any pathogens that might be involved. A feature in Science earlier this year, now available for free, examined the mystery. Scientists sent hundreds of tissue samples to Ian Hewson, a microbial oceanographer at Cornell University. When he sequenced the DNA in the samples, he discovered that a densovirus was more common in the sick stars than in ones that looked healthy. (Densoviruses are known to infect insects, crustaceans, and some sea urchins.) Additional evidence came from experiments conducted by marine ecologist Drew Harvell of Cornell and other researchers, who took tissue from sick sea stars, filtered out everything larger than viruses, and injected the tissue into apparently healthy sea stars. They developed symptoms—and, concurrently, the amount of densovirus in their bodies increased. Other sea stars injected with sterilized tissue did not develop symptoms of the wasting disorder.“We have very good evidence that this is a densovirus,” Hewson says. But because the virus cannot be grown in culture, scientists cannot satisfy the classic tests for identifying the culprit of a disease: four criteria collectively referred to as Koch’s postulates. The researchers published their results online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Looking for some historical perspective, Hewson tested museum samples of sea stars collected between 1923 and 2010 along the U.S. west coast. The virus existed in healthy looking specimens from five different years, suggesting it has persisted in the environment. Hewson speculates that the virus may have mutated as it wiped out various species of sea stars, allowing it to infect others. He is also trying to figure out the source of the virus, by analyzing sea stars from around the world, and whether it can infect other kinds of echinoderms. The biggest question is why the current epidemic has been so bad. A likely situation, Hewson and his colleagues say, is that an overabundance of sea stars increased the transmission of the virus, especially if they were stressed by competition for food, which could make them more vulnerable to infection.That theory makes sense to marine pathologist Marta Gomez-Chiarri of the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, who was not involved in the new paper. She and her students have been studying an earlier densovirus outbreak on the east coast; populations of sea stars in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay abounded before a crash in 2011. It’s not clear whether the same densovirus that caused the west coast die-off is also involved in the eastern declines. Hewson found some densovirus genes in sea stars from Connecticut but did not have enough samples for firm conclusions.Menge doesn’t think overabundance played a role in the current outbreak among 13 sea star populations that he follows on the coast of Oregon. Instead, he wonders whether ocean acidification, which may also be a source of stress that weakens sea stars, is a possible contributing factor. So far, the evidence is mixed for the role of acidification, Menge admits.Whatever the cause of the epidemic, Menge says, the demise of purple stars has already led to greater survival of its prey, including barnacles and mussels. As a result, he predicts, the mussels will eventually take over the rocky shore, crowding out many other species of invertebrates. In a way, he adds, the epidemic is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ecologists to study these predator-prey relationships. But that doesn’t dull the pain of losing familiar and charismatic species. “From a personal standpoint, it’s really disheartening.”
Condoms blocking toilets in the Games village might have come in for some embarrassment but the Commonwealth Games Federation boss Michael Fennell termed it a “positive” story saying that athletes are responsible in promoting safe sex.While sex is not a Commonwealth Games sport, it seems to be an activity in the Games Village at Akshardham housing more than 7,000 athletes, all of whom are in great shape and with plenty of free time at their disposal once knocked out of their respective events.Asked about the embarrassing scenes of condoms blocking toilets at the Games Village, the CGF president said: “If that is happening, it shows there is use of condoms and I think that is a very positive story, that athletes are being responsible.””This issue was controversial some years back but not now. Promoting safe sex is a responsible thing to do,” he said.Incidentally, athletes received free condoms at every Games Village since Barcelona in 1992 to help raise awareness about AIDS, and in Beijing 2008 it notched up a record with a whopping 100,000 condoms being distributed.- With PTI inputs