Tag Archives: lock

Reports: Padres Lock Up Fernando Tatis Jr. for $340 Million Over 14 Years

Reports: Padres Lock Up Fernando Tatis Jr. for $340 Million Over 14 Years


Fernando Tatis Jr. celebrates with Jurickson Profar during the Padres wild 11-9 comeback over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the 2020 Wild-Card series. Photo credit: @padres, via Twitter

In case you had any worries that the San Diego Padres somehow might lose Fernando Tatis Jr., worry no more, at least according to MLB.com.

Tatis, the shortstop who made his Major League debut with the team just two years ago, scored a monster deal, MLB reported, though the team has yet to formally announce it.

He will receive $340 million over 14 years – the third highest value contract in the majors, behind only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His contract also exceeds the Padres’ last record deal, $300 million over 10 years, with free agent Manny Machado in 2019.

Baseball observers last year called the Padres the majors’ “must-watch team,” and Tatis, 22, both talented and charismatic, was a big reason for the entertainment value.





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B.1.1.7: To lock down or not?

B.1.1.7: To lock down or not?


ECONOMYNEXT – It’s been five days since Sri Lanka announced the detection of B.1.1.7, the highly transmissible UK-variant of COVID-19, within its borders, and opinion seems divided on whether the country should go for another lockdown to prevent an outbreak.

Officially, the government is of the position that Sri Lanka, cash-strapped and debt-ridden, cannot afford an island-wide lockdown. Co-cabinet spokesman Minister Udaya Gammanpila told reporters this morning that no restrictions will be imposed on any part of the country.

“We saw the downfall in the economy [during the first lockdown last year]. Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs,” he said.

Census Department data shows at least one hundred thousand job losses at the start of the lockdown in March 2020. Many more in the informal sector lost their livelihoods as a result of the two-and-a-half month quarantine curfew.

“Even if we want to, we don’t have the capacity to impose a lockdown. So the government is trying its best to solve this crisis while keeping the country open,” said Gammanpila.

“The challenge ahead of us is to learn to live with the virus. Under prevailing circumstances, we can continue to keep the country open,” he added.

Prof Neelika Malavige, whose team of researchers detected B.1.1.7 in Sri Lanka, also believes there is no need for a lockdown.

Malavige, Professor in Microbiology at the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, told EconomyNext today that, however, some limit on public events may be advisable.

“The UK variant might spread; it might not. It is absolutely difficult to predict. Asian countries seem to have controlled it; so I don’t think we need to panic. What is important is to limit the functions and stop all unnecessary ones,” she said.

New Zealand, a country that has consistently come out on top in its battle against the pandemic, on Monday announced the detection of B.1.1.7 within its borders, prompting a lockdown in Auckland.

“Even in countries like New Zealand, where there are absolutely brilliant control measures, they did get an outbreak from this. These things happen and that’s how this virus is,” said Malavige.

“It’s true that they went for a lockdown. But I don’t think we can draw parallels between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, economically, in terms of mortality, etc,” she added.

The UK strain – also known as the Kent variant, after the county in which it was first discovered – has been detected in 82 countries including Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Pakistan. The strain is said to be 30 to 70 percent more transmissible and about 30 percent more lethal than others and, according to Sharon Peacock, director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, is likely to “sweep the world”.

The strain was first observed in Sri Lanka toward end January this year. Researchers at the Jayawardenapura University sequenced 92 samples collected in different parts of the island including a number of quarantine centres. The variant was detected in samples from Colombo, Avissawella, Biyagama and Vavuniya and some of the quarantine facilities. The university told this website last Friday (12) that it is possible that Sri Lanka’s existing B.1.411 strain could’ve undergone de novo mutation owing to its wide and rapid spread in the country. However, Prof Malavige said later that the source is most likely a returnee from overseas.

With Sri Lanka extending its ongoing vaccination of frontline workers to members of the public starting yesterday, calls for a lockdown have been somewhat muted, though speculation persists that one may be around the corner. Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva yesterday told a private TV station that a lockdown will not be imposed but the government will look at ways in which an outbreak can be prevented.

However, Sri Lanka’s public health inspectors (PHIs) have called for at least a partial lockdown.

“We saw what this variant did to the United Kingdom. It infected millions within 15 days,” PHI Union President Upul Rohana told reporters yesterday.

“The officials must lock down the country and control this situation because we do not know whether the new strain has already spread to other parts of the island,” he said, adding that no test has been conducted to determine the spread of the variant so far.

Meanwhile, President of the Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists Ravi Kumudesh claimed there is no systematic identification process of the new variant in Sri Lanka. Kumudesh told EconomyNext that a shortage in facilities in the country’s state-run labs to test for the new variant is a major stumbling block to preventing an outbreak

“We need Next-generation sequencing analysers to identify the new variants of the virus. We do not have such analyzers in any of the state-owned labs apart from the one at the Sri Jayewardenepura University. Not even the National Medical Research Institute has one,” he said.

Without determining the spread of the UK strain, Kumudesh said, it is not practical to impose travel restrictions only in areas where it has been detected. He called for increased testing to determine the extent of its presence in the country.

According to Kumudesh, the sequencing tests done at the Jayawardenapura University do not cover all districts and therefore any decision to not impose a lockdown must not be taken base on those tests alone. He claimed the university labs only sequences samples with S-gene target failure (SGTF) and therefore we might miss the detection of any other variants that may be present in Sri Lanka. SGTF is considered a biomarker to detect the UK variant in samples collected from a community.

Asked to comment on this, Prof Malavige said: “We sequence according to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines in a scientific manner. The epidemiology unit sends us samples from many locations, as and when required according to WHO guidance, which is common sense. We have sequenced 128 viruses vs 245 from India and 15 from Pakistan. Singapore has done 130,” she said.

According to Dr Chandima Jeewandara, Director, Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, whole genome sequencing (WGS) is the definitive test that tell researchers whether the strain has entered Sri Lanka. This is not routinely done but is part of research and surveillance.

“Interestingly, one of the PCR tests used (TaqPath) which looks for three genes in the viral RNA leads to one of three signals being negative for the mutant strain, and this could serve as a clue at the ground level. Labs should report this finding whenever they see it so that such samples can then be confirmed with WGS. Spike gene target failure (SGTF) can serve as a proxy for carriage,” he said, explaining the process.

Jeewandara  is also confident that no other strain is present in Sri Lanka at the moment besides B.1.1.7, the current B.1.411 which was unique to Sri Lanka until it spread to Australia and Singapore recently, and the original B.1.42 strain that entered the country in March last year.

Based on the sequencing done so far, none of the other variants that are spreading in other countries are present in Sri Lanka, he told EconomyNext.

Jeewandara further said no official has contacted the team regarding a nationwide sequencing test to detect B.1.1.7 in other parts of the country. Despite its high transmissibility, he said, following basic health guidelines, wearing two masks at once, maintaining physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings can help prevent an outbreak.

Reported by Chanka Jayasinghe and Himal Kotelawala (Colombo/Feb16/2021)

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Does changing your smartphone lock to 8376 bring good luck, as one Japanese book title suggests?

Does changing your smartphone lock to 8376 bring good luck, as one Japanese book title suggests?


We try to harness the magical power of a new passcode.

I’m always looking for new ways to improve my life, but at the same time I want to do it by using the minimum possible effort. So, when a Twitter user discovered a book with the title From the Moment You Change Your Smartphone PIN to 8376, Your Luck Will Change, my interest was immediately piqued.

I wasn’t alone either; the tweet got thousands of likes and comments such as:

“Notice how the title doesn’t say ‘change for the better.’”
“I just want you all to know I changed my PIN to 8376.”
“I feel bad for the people who had 8376 on their phones before this book came out.”
“Now I know what not to make my PIN.”
“The author is probably a hacker trying to make things a little easier for himself.”
“With leaky personal information like that, your luck will definitely change.”

Needless to say, there were a lot of skeptics out there. However, as a Certified Spiritual Scholar (CSS), which I achieved through an online course, I can say that this seems legit. Actually, when I enrolled at CSS school they just sent me an email saying my metaphysical prowess was so great they could feel it and I was immediately qualified for an e-diploma without taking a single lesson!

However, the US$5,000 enrollment fee left me with little spending money, and I really needed some luck to help recoup that investment. The tweet said that the book was on sale at a convenience store, so I checked around all my local stores. However, no one was selling it.

Normally, I wouldn’t dabble in the supernatural without doing the research first. But it seemed my luck was so bad, I couldn’t even find the book, so I went ahead and began the incantation process on my own.

I changed my passcode and input the new 8376, letting its glorious power wash over me. I then set out again, armed with my new karma, to find this book once and for all.

While on the street I decided to throw on some walking music. I pulled out my phone, but suddenly realized that I forgot the new PIN that I had just set. I knew the digits 8, 7, 3, and 4 were involved, but not the order. I tried 8347, 8743, 8437, 8347, and a few more before the phone locked me out for one minute.

I checked a nearby supermarket, but still found no book. I then decided to check Google Maps to find some other potential places, so I pulled out the phone and tapped in 8347 but…

A couple more stores and still no book, but it was a nice, sunny day and good for a walk anyway. Plus I began to learn things, such as FamilyMart having the best selection of fortune-telling and good-luck how-to books out of the biggest convenience store chains.

After a few minutes I tried once again to access my phone with a new combination, but even 8347 didn’t work.

I wasn’t feeling especially blessed at this point, and returned to the office to do what I probably should have done in the first place; Google the title of the book.

It turns out it’s actually quite old, having been published in 2015, and was written by a prominent TV personality named Shiuma who specializes in numerology and onomancy, which is a type of divination based on people’s names.

▼ He also recently started a popular YouTube channel dispensing his thoughts on luck

According to a blogger who read From the Moment You Change Your Smartphone PIN to 8376, Your Luck Will Change, the number 8376 specifically was not the key, rather it was the fact that each digit adds up to a “guardian number” that protects against bad luck. The guardian number is found by first finding your “fate number,” which is the sum of the last four digits in your phone number.

Inside the book is an index that tells you your guardian number based on your fate number. Your PIN should add up to that particular guardian number but can be any combination of any number of digits. So in the case of the title, the person’s guardian number would be 24, but their PIN doesn’t have to be 8376. It could be 6666 or even 544326 if they use a six-digit code…and therein lies the genius of this book’s title.

Anyone who just glances at it and thinks; “Ha! I don’t need to buy the book because you already told me the lucky number, sucker!” will go ahead and put the obvious choice of 8376. However, in doing so they will only take on all the security vulnerabilities mentioned in the comments above and probably none of the supposed numerological benefits because their guardian number isn’t 24.

So, that’s why the title only says “your luck will change” without mentioning for the better or for the worse. It all depends on whether you buy the book or not. That would also explain why my luck didn’t really improve, so I guess it’s back to good old 123456 for me.

Source: Twitter/@beatdjam, My Game News Flash, Dee Okinawa
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Far right in Spain: Spain’s political parties lock horns over far-right Vox’s ‘parental veto’ | News

Far right in Spain: Spain’s political parties lock horns over far-right Vox’s ‘parental veto’ | News


The policy applies to complementary activities in school hours.
The policy applies to complementary activities in school hours.C. Ribas

A policy from the far-right Spanish political party Vox is causing heated debate over education and the rights of children. Dubbed by Vox as the “parental pin,” the policy gives parents the right to stop their children from attending complementary workshops organized during school hours. The measure means that schools will need to ask for parents’ permission to give “talks, workshops or activities with an ideological or moral leaning against their convictions,” according to the text of policy. This includes talks on sex education and LGBTQ+ rights.

In Murcia, it is up to schools to establish what kind of authorization is asked for

The debate over the policy broke out last week after Vox said that it would not support the budget in Spain’s south-eastern region of Murcia unless the parental veto was included in the educational program. The regional government of Murcia is controlled by a coalition between the conservative Popular Party (PP) and center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) but depends on Vox’s support – it cannot pass the budget without a vote from one of the far-right group’s four regional lawmakers.

Although Ciudadanos initially said the parental veto was a “red line” that it would not agree to, the party ceded to the far-right party’s demand, reaching an agreement with Vox and the PP that states that families will need to give their “express authorization” to allow their children to participate in complementary activities.

The agreement, however, does not change the current state of education in Murcia. In June last year, Vox agreed to vote for Fernando López Miras, of the PP, as the premier of Murcia, in exchange for having the parental veto introduced in the region. In August, the regional education department issued an order to all educational centers – from primary to secondary school – indicating that family permission was needed for complementary activities in school hours.

Since then, it has been up to schools to establish what kind of authorization is asked for, how it reaches families and if no reply can be taken as a refusal.

Opposition

The measure has received widespread criticism from the governing Socialist Party (PSOE) and anti-austerity Unidas Podemos. The government delegate for gender violence, Victoria Rosell, suggested that the introduction of the parental pin could warrant the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. This measure,  which was put into action in 2017 in the wake of the Catalan independence drive, would see regional powers suspended in Murcia and the central government in Madrid take charge.

“Imagine an [Article] 155 in Murcia because they have denied the right to treat all students equally or to guarantee the right of the most vulnerable people,” Rosell, who is from Unidas Podemos, told the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Monday.

Rosell later clarified in a message on Twitter that the statement was intended to be ironic.

Meanwhile, eight regional education ministers from the PSOE signed a document on Monday that accused Vox of using the parental veto to “break school harmony and the culture of dialogue to impose blind and uncritical authoritarianism.”

Are they telling me that we have families like in Cuba, that children belong to the revolution?

PP leader Pablo Casado

Education Minister Isabel Celaá, of the PSOE, also warned last week that the ministry will appeal the measure in court on the basis that it “seeks to undermine the right to education and censor the actions of educational centers and their professors.” According to the education minister, the parental veto goes against the “integral training of students” outlined in Article 1 of the Education Law.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Correo, published on Sunday, Celaá said that a “homophobic family […] does not have the right to make their children homophobic as well.” “Parental authority cannot be confused with property,” she added.

Celaá’s claim that children are not the property of their parents was attacked by the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, who linked the argument with communism.

“Are they telling me that we have families like in Cuba, that children belong to the revolution?” he said on Sunday. “Are we going to arrive at the point where children inform on their parents if they are not good revolutionaries?

Casado, who supports the parental veto, added that the controversy was being used as a “smokescreen” to distract from the recent debate over the government’s naming of former justice minister, Dolores Delgado, as prosecutor general.

Response of parents and schools

The parental veto has raised many complaints from parents and teachers in Murcia. “There are many children who forget to bring the permission to their parents and we cannot exclude them from activities,” said Mariola Sanz, the director of an association of infant and secondary schools in the region.

“In the case that a family member does not give their consent, this child has to be assigned another teacher and space,” she explained, adding that the regional government has not provided more resources to cover these situations.

While the regional education department said the parental veto was a “growing demand of parents,” Sanz believes parents “don’t understand why they have to be supervising what the school has considered interesting for the education of their children.”

Óscar Sánchez, the father of two children who go to a public school near Murcia city, described the measure as “absurd.” “We complained to the school but they told us that they didn’t want problems with the authorities and that they had to follow the order.” According to Sánchez, the veto is a political fight that “has crept into the school” and only created more bureaucracy.



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