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Streets around OP blocked off as President meets with Cabinet

first_imgPresident David Granger is expected to meet with his Cabinet today to discuss the letter sent to him, by the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), and come up with a possible date for the constitutionally overdue General and Regional Elections.As a result of this, citizens were surprised by the Guyana Police Force after they blocked off, without prior notice, several roads leading to the Office of the President.The roads currently blocked off are:Vlissengen Road between North Road and Homestretch AvenueSouth Road between Oronoque and Vlissengen RoadCharlotte Street between Oronoque Street and Shiv Chanderpaul DriveShiv Chanderpaul DriveRegent Road between Shiv Chanderpaul Drive and Vlissengen RoadThe Police have since indicated that the surprise roadblock was as a result of threats of a protest in front of the President’s Office.The Opposition, Peoples Progressive Party, has pledged to continue protest action across the country to mount pressure on President Granger to make an elections proclamation.Elections were due on September 18, 2019, after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) validated the December 21, 2018 motion of no-confidence against the APNU-AFC Coalition Government.The President said that he had not issued a date for elections because he was awaiting word from GECOM on the state of its readiness. However, GECOM Chair Justice Claudette Singh wrote to the President advising that the Commission would be ready by the end of February 2020. That letter has been sent since September 19, 2019, and five days after, the President is yet to declare a date for the constitutionally overdue elections.last_img read more

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Hotel would tower over valley

first_imgThe project would include a pool in a trellis-covered patio area, a restaurant and a 24-hour coffee bar. Patel said he hopes to break ground this year on the hotel, which will take an estimated 18 months to complete. Patel is also pitching the idea of building a 55,000-square-foot conference center that would be connected by a covered walkway to the adjacent hotel. Palmdale officials are looking at a concept in which the conference center would be owned by the city and managed by the city or a contractor. City officials say the area known as the Trade and Commerce Center, where Patel’s hotel would be built, is a logical location for such a project. PALMDALE – An Indianapolis developer plans to erect a seven-story Embassy Suites hotel, which would be the tallest building in the Antelope Valley and could someday anchor a conference center. Bharat Patel, who has developed hotels in 13 states, plans to enter the California market with a 150-room hotel on AvenueP-4 between Trade Center Drive and Fifth Street West. The hotel would stand 100 feet tall at its highest point and cover about 140,000 to 150,000 square feet. Patel said the project’s cost has not been determined but that comparable hotels have cost $15million to $20million to build. “You are on a growth pattern for the next 15 to 20 years,” Patel said of the city. “You need a full-service hotel to be part of your economy.” “Yes, I think there’s a market for this kind of thing,” said Danny Roberts, executive director of the city’s redevelopment agency. If the city were to pursue such a project, officials would want a full-service hotel nearby, Roberts said. Regardless of whether the conference center is built, the city hopes the hotel will spur commercial and retail development in the adjoining area. The area, covering about 60acres, had been blocked from development since the 1990s by almost $40million in delinquent tax and assessment liens. The liens involved bonds sold in 1989 and 1990 to finance $63.9million worth of improvements such as roads, utilities, storm drains and landscaping in the area. The improvements were aimed at speeding up development, but they were completed just before a real estate slump in the Antelope Valley. The bonds were secured by land in the assessment districts. In the mid-1990s, bond payments began to be missed, and foreclosure proceedings began on dozens of parcels. Foreclosure sales have been unsuccessful because of the debt owed on the properties. City officials worked with S&Y Capital Group, a Los Angeles company, to clear off the debts and make the property marketable again. james.skeen@dailynews.com (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Pep challenges Yaya to win back City place

first_img0Shares0000Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure (C) takes part in a training session at the City Football Academy in Manchester, northwest England on September 12, 2017, on the eve of their Champions League group match against Feyenoord © AFP/File / Lindsey ParnabyMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Sep 15 – Pep Guardiola has challenged Yaya Toure to win back his place in the Manchester City team after the veteran midfielder’s recent absence from the squad.The Ivorian has not featured this season and was left out of the party that travelled to Rotterdam for the club’s impressive 4-0 win over Feyenoord in their opening Champions League group game on Wednesday. He also failed to make the bench for City’s 5-0 thumping of Liverpool last weekend.But Guardiola is urging the 34-year-old to knuckle down and prove he is worthy of a place in the team.“We need him. I need him and the team needs him. He was so important last season. He’ll be so important this season,” Guardiola told reporters in Manchester on Friday.Speculation about the midfielder’s future has been rife at the Etihad ever since Guardiola’s arrival, especially as the Catalan manager had allowed Toure to leave for City in 2010 while in charge of Barcelona.It looked like the same might happen at the beginning of Guardiola’s City tenure when Toure was frozen out of the first team as the relationship between manager and player soured over the outspoken comments of the midfielder’s controversial agent Dimitri Seluk.But despite the off-field drama, Toure made an impressive return, playing 31 times for City last season despite only returning to the team in mid-November.He was the only player out of contract in July to be given a new deal as a raft of senior squad members were released to spark a summer re-build.But after being left out of the past two squads, questions have again been asked about Toure’s future.But Guardiola, whose side travel to Watford on Saturday, has been quick to knock back any idea of a fallout and says the Ivorian will be a key figure for his team this season.“He’s a part of the group,” he said. “He’s a guy who I admire. What he’s done in his career, he’s an exceptional player.”Guardiola hinted ahead of Wednesday’s win in the Netherlands that he had spoken to Toure about why he had been omitted from the squad, blaming “sporting reasons” and insisting there had been no personal disagreement.With Ilkay Gundogan still recovering from a torn cruciate knee ligament, City’s only other fit central midfielders are Fernandinho and Fabian Delph.Guardiola is aware he will have to use the full extent of his squad as fixtures come thick and fast.“All the teams that play in Europe have a lot of games,” he said. “Every three days until the next international break — there are many, many games to play.“There are many games and I think everybody will be involved. It is so important, but I’m thinking of what is the best team to play for every game.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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From football icon to Liberia president- Weah

first_img0Shares0000Chelsea icon Didier Drogba from neighbouring Ivory Coast already sent Weah a congratulatory message.MONROVIA, Liberia, Dec 28 – George Weah emerged from Liberia’s slums to become a superstar footballer in the 1990s, and leveraged his status as a revered figure among the country’s young to be voted president.Weah easily beat Vice President Joseph Boakai in Tuesday’s presidential run-off, the culmination of 12 years spent building political credibility to match his huge popularity. “You know I’ve been in competitions –- tough ones too and I came out victorious. So I know Boakai cannot defeat me,” Weah said ahead of the vote. “I have the people on my side.”The first African player to win both FIFA’s World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d’Or, Weah was largely absent from Liberia during the 1989-2003 civil war period, playing for a string of top-flight European teams including Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.After running unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2005, when he was defeated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Weah says he has “gained experience” since becoming a senator in 2014.Another fruitless run for the vice-presidency on the ticket of presidential candidate Winston Tubman in 2011 brought him to further prominence among the nation’s voters, many of whom say this time it was “Weah’s turn”.Weah, 51, has put education, job creation and infrastructure at the centre of his platform — in line with Boakai — and had won an unassailable 61.5 percent of votes with more than 98 percent of votes counted as of Thursday evening.– Beloved by young and poor –Weah is set to replace incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took over at the helm of Africa’s oldest republic in 2006.Younger voters overwhelmingly favour Weah, who is idolised in his country as “Mister George”.A member of the Kru ethnic group, Weah was raised by his grandmother on a reclaimed swamp in one of the worst slums of the capital Monrovia.“Grassroots citizens identify with George Weah, considering that he is close to their day-to-day experience,” explained Ibrahim Al-Bakri Nyei, a Liberian political analyst at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).His critics say the high school dropout, who later completed a degree, is unprepared to lead a country.“George Weah is a good, humble and respectful person that should not be given the Liberian presidency, because he is being controlled by an evil hand,” said Benoni Urey, a losing presidential candidate who switched his allegiance to Boakai.Urey and others say Weah is being manipulated by Sirleaf so she can continue to push an agenda when she steps down after 12 years in power.But many voters see a poor boy from the slums who made good against the odds.“I believe that whenever we give him a chance, he will be able to give a better Liberia to the youth and the homeless,” Andrew Janjay Johnson, a shoeshiner in a Monrovia market, told AFP.– ‘Vague’ platform –Ex-Chelsea and Man city Star, George Weah has won Liberia Presidential Elections. Weah was contesting the elections after his unsuccessful bid against outgoing president Ellen Johnson, the first female president in Africa.Critics also accuse Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of having too vague a political platform, and have challenged his long absences from the senate since being elected in a race he won over Sirleaf’s son.Weah has also fended off barbs over his vice-presidential pick, Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of jailed former president and warlord Charles Taylor.Howard-Taylor however is also a respected senator in her own right, bringing him important votes in the key county of Bong, and along with Sirleaf is one of few powerful women in Liberian public life.Weah is married to Clar Weah, and his son, Timothy, signed a professional football contract with Paris Saint-Germain in July.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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UConn looking strong

first_imgHARTFORD, Conn. – Hilton Armstrong has established himself as a presence in the middle for fourth-ranked Connecticut. Armstrong dominated inside with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead UConn to a 70-59 win that snapped the Bearcats’ 10-game win streak. “We’re a physical team. Anybody that’s trying to come at us, we’re right there,” Armstrong said. “We’re not backing down from anybody.” It was the second straight game he came up big for the Huskies (13-1, 1-1 Big East), a charter member of the conference that began in 1979. Armstrong scored six of his 11 points in the final four minutes to help UConn rally from 14 points down and beat LSU, 67-66, on Saturday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThe Bearcats (13-3, 2-1) made the move to the conference looking for a tougher schedule and the Huskies accommodated with bruising, physical play. “Any league win is good,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “It was a terrific defensive performance for us, a physical performance for us. In this league don’t bank on nine wins. There’s just too many good teams.” the 6-foot-11 No. 8 Texas 78, at Iowa State 58 Kenton Paulino scored a career-high 20 points and Daniel Gibson added 19 to lead No. 8 Texas (13-2, 2-0 Big 12) past Iowa State, extending the Longhorns’ winning streak to five games. At No. 10 Louisville 81, UC Davis 58 center_img Brandon Jenkins scored a career-high 31 points to lead Louisville over UC Davis. Jenkins was 11 of 13 from the field, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range as the Cardinals (13-2) cruised in their final non-conference game of the season despite playing without leading scorer Taquan Dean. No. 7 Gonzaga 81, at Santa Clara 68 Senior forward Adam Morrison had 34 points, six rebounds and three assists to lead No. 7 Gonzaga over the Broncos. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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DONEGAL SEAFOOD COMPANIES GET GRANTS OF €500,000

first_imgDeputy Joe McHugh TD, welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, on the awarding of €2.4 million in grant aid to 20 seafood processing companies across Ireland.Joe McHugh TDFour Seafood Processing Companies in Donegal have received grants of up to €540,758.Commenting on today’s announcement, Deputy Joe McHugh TD, “I welcome today’s announcement by Minister Coveney of €2.4 million in grant aid to 20 seafood processing companies, under the 2014 Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme. This scheme plays a vital role in the fishing industry and ensuring the continued growth of a key sector in Ireland. “There are four Donegal-based companies which will each receive funding as part of this scheme, over half a million in total, and highlights the important role that these processing companies, and the seafood industry in general have to play in a county like Donegal, where an emphasis has remained on our natural resources.“This scheme, which works in conjunction with private investment, will total almost €8 million in 2014 and benefit 20 companies throughout Ireland. Under schemes like this, the Government are recognising and reaffirming their commitment to the Seafood Industry in Ireland and aims to support these companies who are doing such pivotal work to local communities, employment and the economy.”The four Donegal companies to receive grants are :Proseail An Clochan Liath Teo, Co. Donegal – € 175,801 Charles Vial (Fish Merchant) Ltd –  €35,554Earagail Eisc Teo – € 312,450Arctic Fish Ltd – € 16,953 DONEGAL SEAFOOD COMPANIES GET GRANTS OF €500,000 was last modified: May 2nd, 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:donegalgrantsjoe mchugh tdseafoodlast_img read more

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Firefighters feted by grateful community

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The feeling was mutual for the 30 firefighters there from eight fire stations in Battalion 17, which protects the West Valley. They wouldn’t be human if it didn’t make them feel a little humble to have so many people show up on a Sunday afternoon for them, said Firefighter Jenifer Kaufmann. “This is just so cool, so awesome,” she said. “We train hard to do our jobs, and it’s exciting to be here meeting them after doing that job.” Sure, they’re used to people thanking them individually on the street, or even stopping by their station house with some home-cooked food or cookies. But this was something different. This, Pasos and his buddies said, was something special. Fire Engineer Lee Marshall has been a city firefighter for over 20 years, but said he’s never felt the kind of gratitude he felt Sunday. “When we show up, it’s usually because people are in need, and we can help them immediately, whether it’s fighting a fire threatening their home or helping them after a car accident,” he said. “The feedback is immediate. We can usually alleviate their problem, and they’re grateful. Police officers, on the other hand, usually show up after something has happened, like a burglary or robbery. “They weren’t there to stop it. It’s not their fault, it’s just the way it is. Firefighters get this kind of gratitude because we get to stop something bad before it happens. “And no matter how long you’re on the job, that has to make you feel awfully good inside,” Marshall said. Gratitude, though, can be fleeting, said Rabbi Richard Camras. Next month, it would be too late to say thank you. It had to be now, while the fires – and the menacing threat they posed to many of the homes in this community – were still fresh in everyone’s mind. So, when Mireille Bieber, a member of his synagogue, said she wanted to do something special for the local firefighters who had saved their homes, Camras said go for it. She and her friends put together this community barbecue in less than two weeks. They got the El Camino High School marching band to perform, and Boy Scout Troop 246 in West Hills to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. They served over 2,000 hot dogs and drinks, and gave free massages and back rubs to the firefighters and their families – gratis healing-touch therapy. The firefighters were even told to stop by Luciano’s Salon during November for a free haircut, which drew a lot of applause and laughs. That’s what she was hoping for, Bieber said. “You can always write letters of gratitude, send cards, or stop by their station house individually to say thanks, but we wanted to do something special as a community. “To all come together at one time to say thank you.” To make the firefighters who saved their homes take one look around and say, “Wow.” Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 dennis.mccarthy@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Jesus Pasos took one look around the grounds at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills on Sunday afternoon, and summed up in one word what everyone was thinking. “Wow!” the young Los Angeles city firefighter said. Yeah, wow. Pasos and his fellow firefighters were standing in the middle of the biggest community hug any of them had ever seen. More than 400 residents came to a barbecue at the synagogue to thank local firefighters for saving their homes from the Topanga Fire, which scorched more than 24,000 acres and destroyed three homes before it was put out earlier this month. center_img The last time Sheri Pilosof saw many of these firefighters she was running down her street, Wooded Vista, with her children – looking over her shoulder at the approaching flames and thinking she might never see her home again. She did – on TV at a friend’s house. For a day and a night, she watched the water drops and firefighters standing in her backyard keeping the flames at bay. “They saved our homes, and there was no way I wasn’t going to be here today with everyone else in our community to say thank you to them,” Sheri said. Jeff and Pat Druyan felt the same way. “This is a rare opportunity for us to meet and have a hot dog with the people who protected and saved our homes,” Jeff said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to walk up to them, shake their hands, and say, ‘Thank you, you saved my neighborhood.”‘ last_img read more

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Runners ready to challenge Mt. SAC course

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The Foothill League’s top two female runners – Saugus teammates Shannon Murakami and Katie Dunn – will race in the Div. I/II individual sweepstakes, one of the meet’s premier races. “Oh, my gosh,” was first-year Valencia High coach Donna Lee’s reaction when told how many runners will be at the meet. “I know this is the big one, but I don’t know exactly what to expect.” The course is one of the state’s toughest featuring hills named Switchback, Poop Out and Reservoir – but area runners relish the challenge because they find plenty of similar terrain in the Santa Clarita Valley. One reason Canyon High did extra hill workouts this week was to prepare for Mt. SAC, coach Dave DeLong said. He warned that if there’s one race runners should start cautiously, it’s Mt. SAC. Racers need to save energy for those famed climbs. “One of the hills is called Poop Out. I think that says it all,” Saugus’ Derek Somerville said about the course’s reputation. Somerville, who finished second at the last Foothill League meet, will be running Mt. SAC for the first time. “But we run a lot of hill repeats, so running hills isn’t that big a deal anymore.” Valencia’s top runner – freshman Megan McDaniel – also will be making her Mt. SAC debut, sort of. She has run in the middle-school races, held the week before the high school meet. “I like powering up them,” she said about the hills. “They don’t take a lot of energy out of me because I train in Castaic. I’m ready for them.’ State champ: Adam McDonald, the 2004 Foothill League runner-up for Canyon High, won the Utah state championship, covering the three-mile course in 15 minutes, 34 seconds. He led Mountain View High to a team title as well. Sean Martin, (818) 713-3607 sean.martin@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Rene Paragas first competed at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational as a high school sophomore on a rainy, muddy day in 1992. “I felt a bond with everyone, braving the conditions and braving the hills,” said the Saugus coach. “It had an impression on me that, ‘Hey, this is my sport. This is something I want to be a part of.’ ” Paragas’ first coaching experience two years ago didn’t go as smoothly. The race packet for his Sierra Vista Middle School team was given to another school by the same name, forcing him to run around to find the other Sierra Vista. First experiences at Mt. SAC, where many area teams will compete today, can be both rewarding and hectic. The course, which also hosts Southern Section postseason meets and the Foot Locker West Regional, is one of the sport’s most famous sites. It’ll be inundated by about 16,000 athletes running 91 races Friday and today. last_img read more

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Volunteer Opportunities

first_imgHere are some opportunities to help those who are less fortunate during the holidays in the Santa Clarita Valley. Castaic Lions Club: The Lions Club Santa’s Float will make an appearance between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at various sites in Castaic through Monday to collect canned food donations for the needy. The float’s next appearance will be today at North Bluff/Hasley Hills East. For a complete schedule of sites and dates, visit www.castaiclionsclub.org or call Century 21 Americas at (661) 257-0344. Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station: The station is conducting its annual Toy Drive to collect new, unwrapped toys for needy children living in the Santa Clarita Valley area. Toys can be dropped off at the sheriff’s station, 23740 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, or at participating businesses through Dec. 18. A storefront in the former Chamber of Commerce building will be open for weekend drop-offs. For information, call Deputy Gerri McCorkle at (661) 799-5164. Hunger Defense Fund: This food pantry facility is in need of canned food items to provide for the more than 650 families that depend on it during the holidays and throughout the year. The organization is also in need of new, unwrapped toys. It hopes to provide a toy for every child whose parents pick up food at the facility. Food, toys and monetary donations can be dropped off from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays or 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays through Dec. 24 at Hunger Defense Fund, 26450 Ruether Ave., Suite 208, Canyon Country. For information, call Wendi Lancy at (661) 299-9273. Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry: The Food Pantry is collecting grocery store gift cards so that needy families can purchase the food necessary for a traditional holiday meal. The goal is to collect enough gift cards to provide $10 per family member. Mail gift cards to, or drop them off at, 24133 Railroad Ave., Newhall, CA 91321. For information, call Executive Director Belinda Crawford at (661) 255-9078. S.C.V.-Newhall Optimist Club: This is the 19th year for the Optimist Club’s Toy and Food Drive. Covered boxes bearing the club name have been placed at local retail outlets as receptacles for nonperishable foods and unwrapped toys. Donations of turkeys and gift certificates are also needed. To donate a perishable item, make a cash donation or learn receptacle locations, call Dee Gadbury at (661) 252-7313. Domino’s Pizza: Domino’s is participating in the Thanks and Giving Campaign to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Customers are asked to add a dollar to their order payment throughout the holidays to benefit the kids at St. Jude. For information, visit www.stjude.org. Automobile Club of Southern California: The Santa Clarita Auto Club office, 23770 Valencia Blvd., Valencia, is accepting donations through the end of the year to benefit Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles and its affiliated Southern California clinics. Those who donate $5 or more will receive a stuffed bird, and those who donate $1 or more will receive a red wristband printed with the words “Helping Others” while supplies last. For information, call Kelly Clark at (661) 288-5500. Prayer Angels for the Military: The Prayer Angels are collecting items to include in holiday packages to be sent for Christmas and care packages that are sent throughout the year to troops overseas. For information about items that are needed or a list of drop-off sites, call Sharon Ventrice at (661) 755-8629. Barnes & Noble: The book store is having a book drive to collect new books to be distributed to local nonprofits for the holidays. Visit the store at 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia, to contribute. For information, call (661) 254-6604. If your organization has a project designed to help the needy during the holiday season, contact Sharon Cotal at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at sharon.cotal@dailynews.com or write to her at 24800 Ave. Rockefeller, Valencia, CA, 91355.160Want 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 MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals City of Santa Clarita Community Center: The Community Center is accepting new toys to be distributed at its annual holiday party Dec. 20. Unwrapped toys for children through 17 years can be dropped off through today at the Community Center, 24406 San Fernando Road, Newhall, or State Farm Insurance, 28048 Bouquet Canyon Road, Suite 1, Saugus. For information, call Yolanda Calderon at (661) 284-1476. Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer: This organization is in need of gift cards to put in holiday baskets – or to be distributed throughout the year – to families who have children with cancer. Gift cards of all denominations and vendors (including gas and groceries) are welcome. Gift cards can be mailed or delivered to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer, 28405 Sand Canyon Road, Suite A, Canyon Country, CA 91387. For information, call (661) 250-4100 or visit www.mhf.org. SCV Senior Center: The Senior Center has begun its annual “10 Bucks to a Better Future” campaign, which asks all Santa Clarita residents to contribute a minimum of $10 yearly to assure that the center will be available to meet every resident’s needs. Checks made payable to “SCVSC Annual Campaign” can be dropped off at or mailed to the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall, 91321 through February. For information, call (661) 259-9444. Santa Clarita Valley Jaycees: Members of the local Jaycees have placed boxes in businesses encouraging people to donate new, unwrapped toys through today for children of all ages. The gifts will be presented to selected children from Single Mothers Outreach and the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club as part of the club’s annual Santa’s Helpers project. For information, call Dawn Abasta at (661) 607-6886. For a complete list of drop-off sites, or to make a cash donation, visit www.scvjaycees.com. Southern California firefighters: The Holiday Toy Express will pull into the Newhall Metrolink Station at 8:15 p.m. Monday at the Via Princessa station to collect unwrapped toys on behalf of the Spark of Love Toy Drive. Toys collected will be distributed to local children. The train, decorated with 50,000 sparkling lights and carrying Santa and his helpers, will host entertainment for families who turn out to participate in the drive. For information, call (800) 371-5465. last_img read more

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Beethoven Rolls Under Darwin

first_imgBeethoven may indeed be rolling in his grave, but not for the reasons some Darwin-loving reporters think.“Roll over Beethoven: you’re no longer needed,” began Andy Coghlan on New Scientist.  “From now on, the great unwashed masses can evolve their own compositions – no composers, songwriters or musical training required.”  His article, “How to Evolve Your Own Musical Melodies,” reports on a project by Bob MacCallum and Armand Leroi at Imperial College London to “evolve” music by “natural selection.”  PhysOrg joined in the overture, writing about “On the origin of music by natural selection.”MacCallum and Leroi invite public participation in their DarwinTunes website.  There, using an evolutionary algorithm, a selection of random 8-second sound loops can be “selected” by users for the most pleasing sound, producing more complex patterns over time.  The selected loops are allowed to reproduce until something the listener enjoys results.  On PhysOrg, Bob MacCallum explains on a recording how the process works (the BBC News adds video).  MacCallum goes so far as to say that the winning loops have sex and reproduce, while the unpleasing loops get killed off.  “It’s brutal, but that’s evolution for you,” he smirks.  The article continues,The scientists set out to test a theory that cultural changes in language, art and music evolve through Darwinian natural selection, in a similar way to how living things evolve. They simulated this cultural evolution by harnessing the power of a 7,000 strong internet audience in an experiment that was designed to answer several questions. Can music exist without being the product of a conscious, creative act? If so, what would that music sound like? Does everyone’s ideal tune sound the same?….Dr Bob MacCallum, another co-author and a mosquito genomics bioinformatician in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, said: “We knew our evolutionary music engine could make pretty good music in the hands of one user, but what we really wanted to know was if it could do so in a more Darwinian setting, with hundreds of listeners providing their feedback. Thanks to our students‘ and the general public’s valuable input, we can confidently say it does.”The BBC News insulted Mozart, too, but later admitted that the experimental music eventually ground down to a monotonous stasis that needed some kind of unspecified, unobserved breakthrough (punctuated equilibria?) to evolve further: “Of course it never slows down forever, it never just stays there,” Leroi said in attempt to rescue his hopes from observation.  “Eventually you will get another burst of evolution as something new comes along and breaks through a boundary, and we think that will happen here too.”The experiment clearly has nothing to do with Darwinian natural selection, but everything to do with artificial selection (i.e., intelligent design).  There’s nothing natural about it.  It’s like artificial breeding of chickens, dogs or cows to get what a human mind desires.  It doesn’t matter if the artificial selector involves one or a hundred people: it’s still being selected by minds having a purpose, not by an unguided, impersonal, random process like Darwin envisioned.  Even unwashed masses can be intelligent designers.  MacCallum admits as much, stating that “market forces, consumer choice, is itself a creative force.”  He also admitted that many of the selectors were undergraduate students (that fact may or may not impress Darwin skeptics).Calling this sound “music,” furthermore, is dubious.  It consists of a conglomeration of repetitive loops, lacking the structure and serial organization of a Beethoven symphony or Mozart concerto.  It might be likened to group selection of the most pleasing wind chimes arranged in a hodgepodge that is the “least ugly” among a random set.  There is no sonata form, no development, no recapitulation — no form whatsoever.Another project by a different composer produced intelligently-designed music a different way.  This time it was Michael Blake, who composed a fugue-like composition based on the Golden Ratio.  This ratio (1.6180339887…) known to be ubiquitous in nature and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, is also pleasing to the ear.  In another article on New Scientist by another reporter, Jacob Aron, an embedded music video shows Blake performing his work.  See a write-up on Evolution News & Views about the design implications of Blake’s project.  For a stunning animation about how the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Series are related, and how they turn up in phenomena as diverse as sunflowers and nautilus shells, click here (intelligently-designed music track included).How can Darwin keep taking credit for intelligent design?  Darwin’s theory is the antithesis of ID.  William Dembski showed clearly in No Free Lunch that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search once external information is identified and excluded from the algorithm.  The DarwinTunes scientists and reporters prove they understand neither music nor Darwinism.  They don’t understand the difference between natural and artificial selection.  They don’t understand that “reproduction” of selected sound loops bears little if any relationship to biological reproduction.  And the results occur within a day under mental selection– not over millions of years.Yet the mythology marches on.  It’s not only the Emperor in this parade who has no clothes; it’s the drum major and all the band players, too.  The media have joined in, tapping their bare feet to the drumbeat of the “natural selection” myth.  It’s enough to make the normal people wonder about their normality.Don’t worry.  If you find this bizarre, it’s because it is.  You’re normal.  It’s time for some letter-writing to expose the perpetrators (as if they have not already exposed themselves).  Let the rumbling of a thousand master composers like Beethoven rolling in their graves stir you to action until they rest in peace, or (shall we say), de-compose in peace. 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