Eni begins production at Agogo oilfield offshore Angola


first_img The Agogo field was brought online via the Ngoma FPSO vessel. (Credit: Pixabay/D Thory) Italy’s Eni has commenced production from the Agogo oilfield situated in the 15/06 Block in offshore Angola, nine months after its discovery.The production start-up follows completion of Agogo-1 well drilling at a water depth of around 1700m.The field, which has current production capacity of 10,000 barrels per day, was brought online via the Ngoma floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is located 15km from the oil field.Production from the field is expected to increase to 20,000 bpd in the near future, Eni said.Agogo field holds over 650 million barrels of oil in placeAs per the Eni’s preliminary estimates, the Agogo field contains over 650 million barrels of oil in place. It also has further resource potential that is planned to be verified by drilling new delineation wells.Eni, in a statement, said: “The record time set for the field to become operational, nine months after its discovery last March, confirms Eni’s successful endorsement of the fast track model in the development of its discoveries, a strategy based on operational synergies with already existing infrastructure that maximises projects value.“The strategy is enabled by a phased field setup, which include an early production stage and, after the completion of the appraisal campaign, the subsequent development of the full potential through a new development hub.”The Block 15/06 is operated by a joint venture of Eni with 36.8421%, and Sonangol P&P and SSI Fifteen with 36.8421% and 26.3158% stakes, respectively.In July 2019, Eni confirmed presence of oil reserves in Agogo discovery following drilling of first appraisal well Agogo-2.Agogo-2 drilling resulted in 58m net light oil (31° API) in sandstones of Miocene and Oligocene age with good petro-physical characteristics and confirming the extension of the Agogo reservoir to the north of the discovery well and below the salt diapirs.With a presence in Angola since 1980, Eni currently accounts for an equity production of approximately 145,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The Agogo oilfield situated in the 15/06 Block has current production capacity of 10,000 barrels per daylast_img read more

Comment: Free Speech at the Union?


first_imgUnfortunately, Tryl began this defence by asserting “these people are not being given a platform to extol their views”. Hold on, I thought giving them a platform was the whole point, so we could, metaphorically of course, kick the shit out of them? Wasn’t Dr Evan Harris speaking “to say that no platform policies are wrong”? Tryl’s desperate attempts to explain himself bordered on some sort of rhetorical imitation of the Keystone Cops, rushing around and falling into and over moral justifications and arguments while the villains of the piece, Irving and Griffin, stand around grinning at just how much they’ve got away with. The point, surely, is that free speech should never have been the issue. In the context of Tryl’s monumental misjudgement, the two opposing positions have major problems: if you limit free speech, you deny yourself the opportunity to expose evil and fallacious opinions and defeat them in measured debate, the whole justification for the exercise; if you do not limit free speech, you seem forced into the position of agreeing with the BNP about their justification to air such views. The right to freedom of speech does not mean the right to be given a particular platform or venue for abhorrent views. The BNP have the right, which they exercise in the face of strong and fair criticism, to air party political broadcasts and publish political literature; that is the freedom of speech deemed appropriate for a democracy. We must not forget that, however awful much of what they say is, they do represent the views of a thankfully small element of this country. But that right need not be extended any further. A final thought: if Tryl really wanted to expose views and crush in debates, rather than get his fifteen minutes, maybe he should have invited Irving and Griffin to debate the motion “This House believes the Holocaust is a lie”. I imagine they would be a lot slower to jump onto our once-venerated platform then. “The Oxford Union believes first and foremost in freedom of speech: nothing more, nothing less.” This assertion, from the Union’s own website, serves to awaken some faint echo of a time when the Union was much more than a socially-elitist drinking club and engaged in debates which not only mattered but set precedents, stirred up intellectual responses, and changed history. I fear, however, that it also provided some kind of impetus for Luke Tryl’s ill-conceived and pathetically executed Free Speech Forum. Few people would, I believe, disagree that once invitations had been issued to David Irving and Nick Griffin, it was impossible for the Union to rescind them without looking cowardly, ridiculous, and, indeed, against the freedom of speech. In passing, the fact that for many outside the University community, the actions and views of the Union are taken as representative of the entire student body is a sad reflection on the media, eager to play to stereotypes, and an impotent OUSU, unable to convince the wider public that we are not simply a bunch of arrogant ‘toffs’ (incidentally I heard a Labour City Councillor use this word to describe the Union hierarchy at the protest and recoiled from the ham-fisted use of class politics – such a stupid way to weaken the argument). The whole problem with Tryl’s Forum was the totally confused rationale provided for welcoming two convicted Holocaust deniers into the chamber of the world’s most respected debating society. In his statement to Union members, again from the Union website, Tryl is at pains to point out that “pushing the views of these people underground achieves nothing” and cites Home Office Minister Tony McNulty’s line that the intention should be “to crush these people in debate” (sorry, another parenthetical insert: I read McNulty’s line and heard anti-Fascist protesters screaming “fascist scum” and “smash the BNP”; try googling Himmler, Jews & crush). last_img read more

Select Service Partner sale is on track


first_imgCompass Group said the sale of its travel concessions business is due to complete by mid-2006, as it held its annual general meeting last week.The company is selling is Select Service Partner division, including brands such as Millies Cookies and Upper Crust. It wants to shed the 1,400 concessions to focus on its core contract catering businesses, as it would have to invest heavily to maintain its position in the market. Chairman Sir Francis Mackay said: “The sale is progressing well and we are encouraged by the level of interest.”Compass said overall trading is in line with expectations and it is seeing good success in new contract gains. It is continuing to exit or renegotiate contracts that do not meet financial criteria. The group has substantially completed a restructuring programme, announced in 2005, and remains on track to deliver the targeted £50 million in overhead cost savings. Tight cost control will continue to be a central feature of the group, it said.In the UK, the primary business sectors are trading in line with expectations, it added.last_img read more

FIFA bans Ghanaian referee for life for match fixing


first_imgZurich, Switzerland | AFP | Ghanaian referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey was on Monday banned for life by world football’s governing body FIFA for match fixing.The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had already slapped a three-month ban on Lamptey after he awarded South Africa a controversial penalty in their 2-1 victory over Senegal in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on November 12, 2016.“The official was found guilty of unlawfully influencing match results,” FIFA said in a statement.Zurich-based FIFA said it was dismissing charges against another Ghanaian match official David Lionheart Nii Lartey Laryea, who had also been under investigation. “Further information concerning the South Africa v. Senegal match in question will be provided once the decision becomes final and binding,” FIFA said.“FIFA will continue with its ongoing efforts to combat match manipulation through a variety of initiatives, which include the monitoring of international betting and a confidential reporting system with a dedicated integrity hotline and e-mail address.” Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Sadness as fundraising priest Fr Tony Coote dies aged 55


first_imgDublin priest Fr Tony Coote, who raised over €600,000 for motor neurone research, has died at the age of 55.The popular priest was a prominent campaigner for people with motor neuron disease (MND) after he was diagnosed with the condition in 2018.Fr Coote led a 550km walk from Letterkenny to Ballydehob in Cork last year as part of his ‘Walk While You Can’ campaign. He had a warm send off from the Radisson Blu Hotel in July 2018, with local representatives and community groups coming out to join his journey. July 2018: Fr. Tony Coote beginning his Walk While You Can Fundraiser from Letterkenny to Ballydehob for support, research and care of Motor Neurone Disease. Photo Clive WassonFr Coote’s amazing journey touched many hearts as he visited communities across the country and raised money in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.His inspirational achievement was documented in an RTE programme shown in December last year.Tributes have poured in for Fr Coote following his death on Wednesday evening.Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said: “Tony showed all of us how strength can be witnessed even in the face of human weakness. His courage and determination touched the hearts of people of all backgrounds.” July 2018: Fr. Tony Coote beginning his Walk While You Can Fundraiser from Letterkenny to Ballydehob for support, research and care of Motor Neurone Disease. Photo Clive WassonChief Executive of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association Róisín Duffy also paid tribute to Fr Coote. “From the moment he was diagnosed, Fr Tony Coote not only bore his illness with tremendous dignity, he also became a tireless advocate for everyone living with MND”.“His decision to travel 550 kilometres from Donegal to Cork last year was testament to his resilience and determination. The €600,000 he raised is already making a real impact on Ireland’s MND community.“To Father Tony’s family and wide circle of friends, we at the IMNDA offer our deepest sympathies at this difficult time. We pledge to honour his memory, and continue to support his vision for a world free of MND.” Sadness as fundraising priest Fr Tony Coote dies aged 55 was last modified: August 29th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:fr tony cooteMotor Neurone DiseaseRIPwalk while you canlast_img read more

Human Evolution News Redlines Silliness Meter


first_imgDid these evolutionists really think through their hypotheses?Politics in the genes:  “Neither conscious decision-making or parental upbringing fully explain why some people lean left and others lean right,” researchers at the University of Nebraska said, according to Science Daily. “A mix of deep-seated psychology and physiological responses are at the core of political differences.”  Why, then, do many people use their minds to consciously switch, like David Horowitz, a former near-communist radical who is now a conservative icon?  The “researchers” might need to re-research their own biases and see if they are genetically determined as well.White lies promote civil society:  “Lies can be good for society,” Sarah C. P. Williams announced on the AAAS feature Science Shot July 22.  “The mathematical model, the authors admit, is a simplified version of reality; it assumes a constant rate of lies throughout time and among all the relationships a person has,” she said of a paper published by the Royal Society.  “But the takeaway is clear, they say: Lies can be good for society.”  Of course, then, we should all become suspicious whether Williams is pushing fibs in order to keep her readership intact – like the National Enquirer does.Testosterone and gender:  Robert Cieri, a biology graduate student at Duke University, has figured out why art started to blossom 100,000 years after modern humans appeared: testosterone dropped, leading to gentler faces and more cooperation.  Society began to bloom with art and culture as the men developed more feminine faces, he suggests (for example, see a 3-D ivory carving of a lion from Germany said to be 40,000 years old, reported on Science Daily).  Cieri’s notion of gentle faces leading to art and culture got good press on PhysOrg, which shows him measuring brow ridges on a hominid skull.  According to his hypothesis, brow ridges shrank as testosterone levels dropped.  Males became less aggressive and more feminine-looking.  A Cultural Revolution couldn’t be far behind.  Inexplicably, it would take another 40,000 years for them to develop farming and civilization.  Science Daily swallowed Cieri’s thesis whole, headlining, “Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone.”Cieri’s hypothesis hinges on testosterone, but other studies have shown that it’s a myth to link the hormone with male aggression—on the contrary, testosterone has been linked to fairness and honesty (12/09/09, 3/12/10, 1/24/14).  In addition, Cieri had no way of actually measuring testosterone levels or their receptors in his survey of human skulls.  Nor did he show a scientific link between testosterone and brow ridges (if they were related, one would expect males taking testosterone supplements these days to develop them).  Presumably, the females also had brow ridges when the males did.He appears to be inserting his own 21st-century biases about what makes for a kinder, gentler face, then attributing his preferences to humans he could never interview in person.  It’s a mystery why Duke University promoted this work as a “senior honors thesis“, or why Cultural Anthropology published it; perhaps because it weaves a fig leaf for an embarrassing problem in paleoanthropology:There are a lot of theories about why, after 150,000 years of existence, humans suddenly leapt forward in technology. Around 50,000 years ago, there is widespread evidence of producing bone and antler tools, heat-treated and flaked flint, projectile weapons, grindstones, fishing and birding equipment and a command of fire. Was this driven by a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language or just population density?The Duke study argues that living together and cooperating put a premium on agreeableness and lowered aggression and that, in turn, led to changed faces and more cultural exchange.Aside from the fact that Cieri’s hypothesis is Lamarckian, the alternatives are clearly worse.  Attributing civilization to a brain mutation, cooked food, crowding, and a miraculous “advent” of a complex behavior like language surely qualifies for an Ignobel Prize, and maybe even first place at the Bah! Festival.We regret seeing another young novitiate like Bobby Cieri welcomed into the Duke-dumb of King Charles.  Cieri is learning the art of storytelling in the Kingdom of Imagination.  Evolutionists learned well from Charlie.  He hated Lamarckism but found it very useful when his own theory broke down.Political conservatives often complain that liberals get a pass in the media for scandals that would land a conservative in prison.  A similar thing happens here: if Darwin skeptics were to offer “scientific” hypotheses this lame, this illogical, and this stupid, there would be hell to pay in the secular press.  There would be no end of charges of pseudoscience, anti-science and religious agenda, and outcries if anything of the sort were to be taught in schools.  It’s good press fodder, though, if it promotes the totalitarian regime of King Charles.The tiniest bit of reflection shows these hypotheses to be self-refuting.  If political bias is in the genes, so is scientific bias: we can dismiss the first article as nonsense.  If white lies are good, we have no reason to trust the second article.  And if kinder, gentler faces produced an artistic society, why don’t rabbits have art?  The stupidity of that third article is only topped by the alternatives suggested: the idea that civilization resulted from “a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language or just population density.”  Anything but intelligent design!Critical thinkers should note the use of the word “theories” in the quote above: “There are a lot of theories about why, after 150,000 years of existence, humans suddenly leapt forward in technology.”  A common evolutionary comeback to the creationist argument that “evolution is just a theory” (an argument we do not recommend, because of its ambiguity) is that theories in science are well-tested and well-founded, as solid as facts.  Not according to this quote!  They use the word “theories” for stupid suggestions that have failed the test of time (otherwise Cieri’s hypothesis would not have been entertained at all, well-tested theories being already available).  Remember that quote and use it the next time an evolutionist claims a theory is like a fact.  “Oh, so you believe your intelligence resulted from a brain mutation or cooked food?  Those are Darwinian theories.”Where are the philosophers of science?  They are as quiet as the so-called “moderate Muslims” who say nothing as their extremist brethren fire rockets on civilian cities.  Anyone who respects science and reason should condemn as utterly ridiculous and harmful the notion of a brain mutation—a genetic mistake—causing art and civilization.  If cooked food is responsible (another Lamarckian idea), why are vegetarians who eat raw veggies good artists?  If crowds produce artistic civilizations (another Lamarckian idea), let’s just pack people together and watch them civilize; instead, they will most likely form mobs and fight each other to death with any artwork lying around.  And what is this “advent of language” about?  How did that happen?  Was it a miracle?  We should protest the Darwinians who use words as humanist shields behind which to lob their destructive theories against innocent readers. 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SA women eye IRB Sevens World Series place


first_img9 July 2014 Four places in the 2014/15 IRB Sevens World Series will be up for grabs when the Springbok Women’s Sevens team takes on 11 other countries in Hong Kong on 12 and 13 September, the International Rugby Board (IRB) confirmed on Tuesday. Japan, China, Kenya, Brazil, Fiji, Mexico, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Argentina will also be in action at the Shek Kip Mei Stadium, aiming for a place on the circuit. Tournament format The competition will consist of three pools of four teams, with the top two sides in each pool progressing to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-placed teams. The winners of the quarterfinals will progress to the semi-finals but, more importantly, they will secure automatic qualification for next season’s Women’s Sevens World Series. New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Spain, USA and Canada have already secured their places on the circuit.Olympic qualification With the top four teams on the 2014/15 Sevens World Series qualifying automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said in a statement that his team was determined to make the most of its opportunity. “Our two main goals from the beginning of this season has been to qualify for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and to do our best to ensure that we qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games,” he said. “This qualifying tournament will open the door to both of these objectives. “At this stage we have another important matter at hand and that is to deliver a quality performance in the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August. Once that is completed our Sevens players will gather again in Port Elizabeth to prepare for the qualifying series.”‘Exciting times’ IRB head of competitions and performance Mark Egan said he expected a thrilling tournament in Hong Kong: “These are exciting times for women’s rugby Sevens. With the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro just over two years away, teams will have an eye on preparation for that, and so we expect a hugely competitive and high- quality qualification tournament for next season’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.” The Springbok Women’s squad, which includes a handful of Springbok Women’s Sevens players, including flyhalf Zenay Jordaan, and backs Veroeshka Grain and Lorinda Brown, will assemble in Cape Town on Monday for their Rugby World Cup holding camp, with the team set to depart for the international showpiece in France on 27 July. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

What’s the Most Durable Grout?


first_imgBack when I was a full-time remodeler (1983 – 1991), one of my older brothers, Izzy, taught me how to lay ceramic tile. I really liked the combination of physical work and craft, and the beautiful finished result. My brother and I agreed that it seemed out of whack to lay color-fast, durable, water-impermeable tiles and then surround each one with porous, easily-stained, grout. Yeah, the latex-based cement grouts are easier to work with and can be sealed once they have cured, but it seemed like most of our work with this product—and everyone else’s—had dirty, cracked, grout lines down the road, especially in high stress areas like mudrooms, kitchen counters, and showers.So we tried epoxy grout from Mapei. Anyone who has used two-part epoxy grout, even the newer versions with detergents in the formula, knows how difficult they can be to work with: the short pot-life means you have to really keep to a pace and you do not want to have to try to remove grout film that has even partially set on the surface of tiles. Epoxy grout is a pain for installers. The tradeoff is that it is way better for your clients. It is strong, nearly stain-proof, and yet it remains flexible.A 2003 tile counter with epoxy groutWith that knowledge and experience in mind, when we remodeled our kitchen, I used epoxy grout for the two tile counters and backsplashes at the sink and side cabinets.The author’s kitchen remodel is nearly done with tiled kitchen counter and backsplash tile.Here is a photo taken Saturday, Sept 28 2019, 16 years after installation, of the sink countertop, which sees a lot of water and food waste:This is the kitchen sink’s tiled counter about 16 years after installation.And of the side counter that sees little to no water or contaminants:The side counter with tile and grout is exposed to little or no stress from water, food waste, or cleaners.And here is a close-up of the right hand side of the sink:The grout just to the right of the kitchen sink shows some discoloration.If you look carefully and compare the grout lines just to the right of the metal sink, especially compared to the grout lines in the backsplash, there is some darker discoloration right along the sink and some light almost white spots in the grout just to the right of the 2nd full course of tiles. There’s more on this in the closing section of this blog.A 2011 experiment with polyurethane groutIn part because of the epoxy grout staining around our kitchen sink, I went looking for a different grout to use when I tiled our downstairs shower stall and floor in 2011. Here’s a shot of the shower stall:This is the author’s downstair 3/4 bath with a tiled shower stall and floor, both grouted with Bostik Quartzlock2, a polyurethane grout.The owner of a local flooring store who was doing a lot of ceramic tile work in his own home strongly recommended a polyurethane grout, Bostik Quartzlock2. He swore that this grout had all of the advantages of epoxy grout (durability, color-fastness, stain-resistance) without the installation challenges: polyurethane grout is a one-part mix and has really long pot-life and does not bond to the tile surface if you leave any grout film for an extended period of time.I like the way that polyurethane sealants perform, so I decided to give the Bostik grout a try. I carefully read and followed the installation directions, in no small part because the flooring store owner warned me that the polyurethane grout works and tools differently than either standard latex-modified cement or epoxy grout.Here are current pictures of the polyurethane grout in our downstairs shower:The author’s downstairs bathroom shower stall photo is taken Fall 2019.And the downstairs bath floor:The author’s downstairs 3/4-bath tile floor installed was installed in Fall 2011. This photo was taken in Fall 2019.For me, the polyurethane grout was much easier to install than epoxy grout and seems to be just as durable and stain-resistant.So why isn’t polyurethane grout more popular?I went to three local flooring retailers looking for information for this blog and not one of them could tell me of a single tile job that used polyurethane grout. Two stated that they can’t even get local installers to use the better-known epoxy grout, much less polyurethane. One retailer told me, “It’s just too much harder to install than latex-modified cement grouts and too expensive. The only time our installers use it—and not without a lot of groaning—is when it’s specced on commercial jobs.”When I told both retailers how and why we got clients to use epoxy grout—we told our clients that if they could afford ceramic tile, they could afford epoxy grout. And we asked, “You know how ugly the grout is on your current tile floors?” This stuff is durable and does not stain, we told them. The retailers both said: “Hey, that’s a great way to sell it!”Cleaning epoxy and polyurethane groutBack to my kitchen and downstairs bathroom grout…neither has proven to be completely stain-proof, despite performing quite well. Wondering how they would clean up, I did some experimenting.The epoxy grout discoloration to the right of our kitchen sink is quite different than spots on our shower stall polyurethane grout. And I think I might know why after reading this tech sheet on tile in commercial kitchens from Mapei. The oleic acid in fats along with sustained contact with the grout is especially challenging, and something we were not aware of.In any event, I decided to do a bit of testing, treating both the kitchen sink epoxy grout discoloration and polyurethane black spots with two different cleaners—Soft Scrub, as recommended by Bostik—and my own idea—OxyClean MaxForce stain remover. I know that this cleaner is targeted for fabrics, but it has worked really well for us in removing stains without damaging the substrate on more than just clothes.In each case, I applied the Soft Scrub and OxyClean generously to three different places as shown below, leaving the cleaners to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing each with a toothbrush, wiping clear, cleaning and rinsing with water, and then drying with a hair dryer.Here are the sequence photos, in each case the two cleaners were separated by green masking tape, which also meant there was a spot between the two cleaners that did not get any treatment.Kitchen sink cleaners applied:To the right of the green tape, the cleaner applied is OxyClean; to the left, Soft Scrub.Kitchen sink cleaners scrubbed, wiped, rinsed, and dried:I have moved the green tape to expose the strip of grout between the two cleaners that did not get any treatment.Shower floor showing black spots:Shower floor with cleaners applied:Tile grout cleaners applied; Soft Scrub to the left of the green tape and OxyClean to the right of the tape.Shower floor scrubbed, wiped, rinsed, and dried:The green tape has been moved down to expose the strip with black dots remaining between the areas of the two cleaners. But the left hand Soft Scrub area is more clear of the black dots than the OxyClean area.Polyurethane grout, all the wayI think the staining around the sink showed little improvement after each cleaner was used. The staining is modest and is somewhat better with either cleaner but probably permanently stained by food waste and water left too long in contact with the epoxy grout. On the other hand, one final look at the right side of the sink after scrubbing the whole counter with Soft Scrub shows pretty good results—not perfect, but certainly acceptable after more than 18 years in place. It could be that more “elbow grease” is as important if not more so than the type of cleaner used.After Soft Scrub was used on the entire kitchen sink counter, and thoroughly dried, the discoloration right next to the sink is more slight, than modest.In the shower, the Soft Scrub on the polyurethane grout pretty much eliminated the black spots, doing a much better job than the OxyClean. And in general, after now more than 8 years, our polyurethane grout is in really good shape.If I had to do any of this over again, I would use the Bostik QuartzLock2 polyurethane grout without hesitation. I wish I knew two more things:Why I found it so hard to find users of polyurethane tile grout.How other polyurethane grouts performed in comparison to Bostik’s.Anyone tile setters out there care to weigh in?-Peter Yost is GBA’s technical director. He is also the founder of a consulting company in Brattleboro, Vermont, called Building-Wright. He routinely consults on the design and construction of both new homes and retrofit projects. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years, and he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here. Photos courtesy of the author.AUTHOR’S UPDATE: Thursday, October 3For nearly two weeks prior to posting this blog, I worked hard to engage Bostik technical support with questions I had about their polyurethane grout. I wish their technical support was as good as their grout, frankly. Here are the questions I emailed to two different technicians at Bostik that remain unanswered, but I am still working on it:1. how are PU and epoxy grout different, chemically? I want to better understand the chemistry involved (and this in no small part because I do some consulting on product selection with chemically sensitive clients)?2. whom do you consider to be your competitors making PU grout and what do you consider to be QuartzLock2 advantages over competing PU tile grouts?3. Why is your PU tile grout not GreenGuard certified, as say, Laticrete’s epoxy grout is?https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/StarQuartz-QuartzLock2-Urethane-Grouthttps://laticrete.com/en/tile-and-stone-installation/grouts/epoxy-grouts/spectralock-pro-premium-grout4. Very narrow grout lines are challenging with both PU and epoxy grout; what sort of guidance can you offer on the best grout for very narrow grout lines?last_img read more

Low voter turnout in urban Pune raises Congress hopes for a new start


first_imgA sharp decline in voting in Pune’s urban pockets is raising concern in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while giving hope to the Congress. A battered Congress, whose position in Pune city has progressively deteriorated in the past decade following senior leader Suresh Kalmadi’s drift into political oblivion, is hoping for a positive outcome in the Kasba Peth and Pune Cantonment Assembly segments.This could spark a minor renaissance in the party’s sagging fortunes in the city, said observers.Disappointing figuresIn the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP had swept all eight seats in the city. This time, however, the urban segments of Kasba Peth, Shivajinagar and Pune Cantonment witnessed especially disappointing turnouts, recording poll percentage figures of 43, 43.65 and 42.68 respectively.In 2014, the Kasba Peth segment had recorded a figure as high as 61.57%, while Shivajinagar and the Pune Cantonment constituencies had recorded 52.12% and 47.24% respectively. Even the Kothrud Assembly segment, the focus of all electoral contests in Pune and the State owing to the BJP fielding its State chief, Chandrakant Patil, recorded a dismal turnout with only 47% voters exercising their franchise as compared with a 56% turnout in 2014.In the Kasba Peth segment, the BJP’s candidate is Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak, a scion of ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s family, who faced the Congress’s Arvind Shinde, a three-time corporator. Ms. Tilak was given a ticket after Girish Bapat, the ‘unchallenged king’ of the seat since 1995, was elected as MP from Pune earlier this year. However, Ms. Tilak has had to contend with factionalism with BJP corporators Ganesh Bidkar and Hemant Rasane being disgruntled upon being denied a ticket. While the Pune Mayor has expressed confidence in securing a clear victory, the Congress is hoping this disaffection within BJP ranks is reflected in the low voter turnout. The local Congress leaders had mounted a low-key campaign that brought home unresolved civic issues as opposed to the BJP’s high-voltage extravaganzas that culminated with the Prime Minister’s public meeting in Pune.“Our campaign was not a below-the-belt one and we refrained from personal attacks on BJP candidates. Instead, we focused solely on extremely local, civic issues germane to residents in the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) area, the Kasba Peth and other segments and not on Article 370 or Kashmir as we anticipated the BJP would do,” said Ramesh Iyer, secretary and spokesperson, Pune City Congress.According to Mr. Iyer, despite the BJP having won the Pune Municipal Corporation election in 2017 by a landslide, the problems of crumbling wadas in Kasba Peth, traffic congestion and water shortages in both the Cantonment and the Kasba areas remain unresolved. Dissatisfied with his work in the Pune Cantonment area, the BJP had dropped Dilip Kamble, its two-time Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and erstwhile minister of State (MoS) for social justice and special assistance in the cabinet reshuffle in June. Mr. Kamble was denied a ticket as well. Instead, his brother Sunil Kamble, a long-time corporator, was fielded from the Cantonment segment, where he faced off against city Congress chief Ramesh Bagwe, a former MLA and erstwhile minister of State for home in the Congress-NCP government.“In his capacity as MoS for social justice, Dilip Kamble failed to bring about any development in Pune Cantonment. He was hardly to be seen among his constituents. The same is the case with his brother. Moreover, the duo lack the rapport that Ramesh Bagwe shares with the various communities and sections in the area,” says a city-based analyst.‘VBA a spoiler’Mr. Iyer said Mr. Bagwe had succeeded in bringing special funds for the development of the PCB between 2009 and 2014 and had utilised it to improve internal roads and repair water pipelines, among other things. “In 2014, the BJP had taken a lead of 12,000 votes in the Cantonment segment owing mainly to Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) queering our pitch in the Mangalwar Peth area, which led to a fragmentation of traditional Congress votes. This time, we told people that the VBA is a spoiler and voting for them was a waste as it would harm the development of the PCB,” said Mr. Iyer, who is confident of Congress victories in at least two seats.last_img read more

London Olympics: Focus on Gowda and Poonia as action shifts to athletics


first_imgThe blue riband athletics competition at the Olympics begins on Friday and focus will also be on the Indians as well.After the top-liners had been hit by doping controversies that took the sheen off the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games efforts, this is the time for redemption.The much-touted women’s 4×400 relay team, which was spearheaded by double-gold medalist from Guangzhou, Ashwini Akkunji, was the most prominent athlete to be hit in the scandal. So severe was the blow that all faith in Indian performances was lost among the sport’s dwindling fans.India has never won a medal in Olympic athletics, the closest being fourth places for Milkha Singh in 400m in 1960 and P T Usha in 400m hurdles for women in 1984. Other Indian finalists have been Gurbachan Singh Randhawa in 110m hurdles in 1964, Sriram Singh in 800m in 1976 and Anju Bobby George in women’s long jump in 2004.Pundits might aver that a strong showing in London might bring back some of the old faithful, but it will also raise the question: “Is this for real?”There are 14 Indians in London, the second highest after the two dozen who went to Sydney. But the most prominent of the 14 that India has sent this time will incidentally be in discus for both men and women.Vikas Gowda, trained by his father, Shiva Gowda, and Krishna Poonia, should on form get into the finals, but after that they will at best be a long shot. A top-six should be heartening enough.The US-based Gowda this year became the first Indian to win a medal in the Diamond League in New York and was among the leading athletes in the standings. His best distance of 66.28m might make him a long shot but the fact remains whether he can come up with his best at the big moment. The world champion, Robert Harting of Germany is the top contender with consistent distances of over 70 metresKrishna Poonia, who struck a historic gold at the Commonwealth Games, is capable of 64-metres plus but the question is, has she recovered fully from her injuries. Ranked in the top-10 of the world, she has to be aware that at least six to eight throwers have gone past 67 metres, while her best is under 65 metres.On the first day of athletics on Friday, shot putter Om Prakash Singh will be in action. Credited with a distance of over 20 metres, he has trained in Hungary over the past two years.Apart from men’s shot put, Friday will also see the qualification rounds of women’s triple jump, where Mayookha Johny will be in action, and women’s discus with Poonia.India also has three walkers, Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Irfran in 20km and Bahadur Rana in 50km walk. The three in shorter distance have all achieved ‘A’ qualifying marks, while Bahadur came through with a national record in World Race Walking Cup in May.Then there is marathon runner, Ram Singh Yadav who has been training in high altitude Ooty.Tintu Luka (800m), a trainee of former Olympic finalist PT Usha, Seema Antil in discus, Renjith Maheshwary in men’s triple jump, Sudha Singh in women’s 3000m steeplechase and Sahana Kumar in women’s high jump will also be watched closely.advertisementlast_img read more