MONTREAL – Management at the ABI aluminum smelter in Becancour, Que., agreed on Friday to restart negotiations with its 1,030 locked-out employees.The announcement was made by Quebec Labour Minister Dominique Vien, who told reporters she had “satisfactory” meetings with both sides at her office in Quebec City.“Very good meetings, we are very satisfied,” she said. “Both sides are aware of the economic issues and they are ready to sit down again.”Management at the ABI smelter locked out its employees on Jan. 11. The smelter is 75 per cent owned by Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp. and 25 per cent by Montreal-headquartered Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.A mediator is expected to contact both sides and schedule a meeting, Vien said, adding the dispute is between a private company and its employees and the government can’t interfere.She said, however, that she asked both sides to choose representatives who are competent to negotiate and who have a mandate to reach a deal.The union said Friday it has never stopped wanting to negotiate.Alain Croteau, head of the Quebec section of the United Steelworkers, said “we have been waiting for a call for one month.”Local union president Clement Masse said “as soon as the employer says they are ready to return to the negotiating tale, we will return.”Masse said he’s ready to work on the company’s offer but he won’t submit the same one that was recently rejected by 80 per cent of his members.
Rabat – Morocco’s interior minister, acting on behalf of the Moroccan state, tasked lawyers to bring legal proceedings against people who filed complaints accusing Moroccan top officials of torture allegations though aware that they were false. In a complaint lodged, this Tuesday, with the Republic’s prosecutor to the Paris high court, the interior minister condemned the gross manipulation by some individuals who were sentenced for fraud and international drug trafficking by Moroccan competent jurisdictions, said a statement by the Interior Ministry.The minister also condemns the complicity of a French association known to be “blatantly biased and active against” Morocco’s territorial integrity. The complaint lodged by the interior minister deplores the instrumentalization of the French legal procedure by people responsible for false accusations of torture and exposes the real motives behind this manipulation, namely the destabilization of security bodies under the Interior Ministry mainly the DGST, an institution renown and respected for its achievements in counterterrorism and organized crime fight, in the respect of the rule of law, the statement said.The minister recalls that the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Morocco signed and ratified as did France, set the adequate framework to judge any torture allegation.These legal proceedings are an addition to contacts and exchanges under way between government officials of both countries to shed light on the circumstances of the grave and unprecedented incidents that took place recently and identify concrete measures to avoid such occurrences in the future, it added.The group of lawyers in charge of the interior minister’s complaint is composed of Ralph Boussier, Yves Repiquet, Abdelkebir Tabih and Omar Taieb.
O Kobe! My Kobe! On Sunday night, after publishing a retirement poem that no one was waiting for, Bryant went 4 for 20, including a ghastly air ball in crunch time. It was yet another ugly loss for the Los Angeles Lakers and yet another data point suggesting that Bryant is toast. Sunday’s verse fit nicely in the sad ballad of the gray mamba — a morose composition marked by terrible shot selection, poor lift on a rickety jumper and a stubborn commitment to taking too many shots. But that’s not what Kobe has always been.Bryant is a shell of his former self, and he knows it. “My body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” he wrote in the poem. His numbers suggest the same: This season, Bryant has been the worst volume shooter in the NBA. So far this year, 57 players have attempted at least 200 shots from the field; within that group, the 37-year-old Bryant ranks dead last in effective field goal percentage.If shot charts could talk, this one would apologize: That’s one of the saddest charts I’ve ever made. On the one hand, it’s unsurprising to see aging scorers start to slip; on the other, it’s always alarming to see someone as iconic as Bryant slip so far so fast.Over the next few months, recency bias may be very unkind to Bryant. But his NBA career started the same autumn that Bill Clinton was elected to his second term in office. Kristaps Porzingis was 1-year-old and Karl-Anthony Towns hadn’t even had a birthday when Kobe made his debut. If those guys play as long as Bryant, they will retire in 2035.Still, as bleak as this year has been, this is not the Kobe Bryant we will remember.During the preseason, I went to Staples Center to interview Chris Paul. We were talking about his all-world ability to knock down elbow jumpers, when he suddenly had a flashback: “Do you remember Lakers versus Phoenix, a playoff game in 2006? Kobe. There was a jump ball. I think the game was tied up. Lakers won the tip. Kobe got it. And he just sort of dribbled. Dribbled. Dribbled. And he got over to the right elbow. And he just shot it.”“Kobe never even looked at the rim,” Paul continued. “It’s like he was getting to a spot. Looking at that play, it’s like there was an ‘X’ somewhere on the court and Kobe was like, ‘Once I get to it, I’m like, boom.’ ”That shot to beat the Suns happened almost a decade ago. From a scoring standpoint, that season — 2005-06 — might be Bryant’s finest hour. He averaged 35.4 points per game. Only three scoring champs in NBA history have averaged 35 points per game: Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Bryant. If shot charts could talk, this one would talk all kinds of smack. When he was on the floor, Bryant used a ridiculous 38.7 percent of the Lakers possessions in the 2005-06 season but still somehow managed to perform pretty efficiently. That’s the Kobe to remember, the one who created, took and sunk any shot he wanted. The one who thumbed his nose at the very idea of a usage-efficiency curve. The one who was one of the most truly versatile scoring threats the NBA had ever seen.
Ohio State redhshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo during the game against Ryerson on Sep. 30. Ohio State lost 7-4. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsAfter the Ohio State men’s hockey team surprised the nation last year, the Buckeyes are coming out this season to prove their success was no fluke.Ohio State will get a chance to prove that early, with a season-opening series at No. 12 Wisconsin this weekend. The No. 19 Buckeyes are coming into this year after a season in which they finished 21-12-6, which was enough to earn the team’s seventh all-time NCAA tournament appearance and the first in eight years.In the tournament, the Buckeyes lost to eventual NCAA-runner-up Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in overtime in the first round. “We watched [the film] a couple of weeks ago in the locker room, and all those chances we had in overtime, I thought we were right there and hopefully we can get back to that point and make it further,” junior forward Mason Jobst said.Jobst is the most pivotal player returning to the Buckeyes this season, as he led the Big Ten in points last year with 55, and was named team captain.The Buckeyes lost their only exhibition game 7-4 to Ryerson. Ohio State roared out to a 4-1 lead midway through the second period, then proceeded to give up six unanswered goals, leading to the defeat.“[Ryerson] came in here and they were the better team no question,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “It’s going to take hard work, and how we prepare Monday through Thursday is when you win the game, not showing up on Friday.”Ohio State had less than a week to get back on track after the defeat as it opens its season with a pair of road games at Wisconsin, the team that eliminated the Buckeyes from the 2017 Big Ten tournament. Ohio State opens the season against the Badgers Friday at 8 p.m. and the two teams return to action the next day at 7 p.m.“It’s going to be exciting,” junior defenseman Sasha Larocque said. “Obviously they’re a great team and it’s going to be a great test for us to see where we’re at at the start of the year.”The Buckeyes lost several All-Big Ten players from the previous season, including top goal-scorer Nick Schilkey, forward David Gust, defenseman Josh Healey and starting goalie Christian Frey.Now, the team will rely on their remaining talent, starting with two NHL draft picks — junior forward Dakota Joshua and sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski — who were fourth and fifth on the team in scoring, respectively. “I think I need to be more consistent,” Laczynski said. “Night in, night out not taking any games off, really just work hard and try to be a leader out there.”The Buckeyes managed to remain consistent on the road all last year, with an impressive 13-2-3 record away from home, the best in the NCAA. The problem was their record at the Schottenstein Center, which was a much less glamorous 7-7-2.When asked about improving the home record, Rohlik said, “Well if you know that answer let me know. I just think it’s a mindset of coming out here and just, in that locker room knowing that we have to step on the ice and win games here at home, and I think that’s something our guys want to do.”Season PredictionThis Ohio State team is going to need players to step up in big ways for them to have the same level of success they achieved last year, especially considering the Big Ten got even stronger with the addition of No. 8 Notre Dame to the conference. The good news is that this leaves Ohio State with numerous chances scattered throughout the schedule to prove themselves as a legitimate contender to make the NCAA tournament.Jobst will be a major factor if this team will want to succeed, as his incredible playmaking abilities allow for other players on his line to really strive. Ohio State will also need help from its newcomers, as transfers redshirt sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege and redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo could help the team massively on the defensive end, where it struggled mightily against Ryerson.The power-play success will be essential, as the Buckeyes were by far the best team in college last year with a man up, boasting a 31.4 percent success rate. That success had a lot to do with both Schilkey and Gust, who scored 26 of the team’s 49 goals with a man advantage. Still, Jobst had nine of the goals, and set up plenty of others, leaving open the possibility the power play will again be among the NCAA’s best.The road to the NCAA tournament will be tough, but it’s not completely out of the question. The opening series against Wisconsin will answer more questions as to where exactly this team sits, and just how much of a threat they will be in the Big Ten, but if the team gets stronger defensively, keeps its impressive power play, and gets Jobst some added help from some new faces, the Buckeyes could match last season’s success.
Explore further Where ants go when nature calls The Ants In Space CSI-06 investigation looks at how an ant colony responds to the extreme environment of microgravity aboard the International Space Station to solve their collective need for resources. Data gathered from this study may help with algorithms for robotics on Earth. Credit: NASA Last summer, a team of researchers in the U.S. affiliated with several institutions across the country described experiments they were planning to conduct with ants by sending some to the International Space Station—they wanted to know how the ants would change their searching activities to compensate for the lack of gravity. Those experiments have been carried out and the team now reports that the ants showed a remarkable degree of adaptability and tenacity in carrying out their searching activities.Scientists still do not understand how ants band together as a unit to get work done—there is no central leader yet different ants fill different roles and all the things that need to happen to build and maintain a colony happen, most particularly, foraging, where ants check out new territory and then bring back food. Scientists know that the ants communicate by smelling antennae, or chemicals left on trails, but other than that, are baffled. The researchers on this new project were hoping watching ants deal with space conditions might help in understanding how they do what they do.The experiments consisted of having a group of ants start off in a box that served as a nest. At some point, a door would be opened allowing the ants access to new territory—they were filmed as they moved into the new territory and began searching. In watching the video, the researchers noted that the ants were far less efficient than ants in the exact same conditions back on Earth, they spent much more time simply trying to cling to walls, and quite often found themselves slipping and hanging in the air—oftentimes for several seconds, until they found something they could grab onto to bring them back to their task area—the end result was less territory searched or re-searched and more time taken to find resources.Thus far, it does not appear the ants in space experiment has yielded much else in the way of explaining how the ants know what to do and when, but, the team suggests, their ability to adapt to new surroundings and to continue searching might help other scientists looking to develop better computer algorithms for programming robots to do the same sorts of things. © 2015 Phys.org More information: Collective search by ants in microgravity, Front. Ecol. Evol., 30 March 2015. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00025AbstractThe problem of collective search is a tradeoff between searching thoroughly and covering as much area as possible. This tradeoff depends on the density of searchers. Solutions to the problem of collective search are currently of much interest in robotics and in the study of distributed algorithms, for example to design ways that without central control robots can use local information to perform search and rescue operations. Ant colonies operate without central control. Because they can perceive only local, mostly chemical and tactile cues, they must search collectively to find resources and to monitor the colony’s environment. Examining how ants in diverse environments solve the problem of collective search can elucidate how evolution has led to diverse forms of collective behavior. An experiment on the International Space Station in January 2014 examined how ants (Tetramorium caespitum) perform collective search in microgravity. In the ISS experiment, the ants explored a small arena in which a barrier was lowered to increase the area and thus lower ant density. In microgravity, relative to ground controls, ants explored the area less thoroughly and took more convoluted paths. It appears that the difficulty of holding on to the surface interfered with the ants’ ability to search collectively. Ants frequently lost contact with the surface, but showed a remarkable ability to regain contact with the surface. Citation: Ants in space find it tougher going than those on Earth (2015, April 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-04-ants-space-tougher-earth.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—The results of a study conducted to see how well ants carry out their search activities in space are in, and the team that sent them there has written and published the results in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. They found that while the ants demonstrated a remarkable capacity to adapt to the weightlessness of space, they still found it much more difficult than ants performing the same sorts of activities back here on Earth.