TRANSNAMIB’S Windhoek workshops are currently rebuilding coaches for the Desert Express landcruise that is scheduled to be launched in April. Also available for private hire, the Desert Express will depart from Windhoek on a 21h round trip to Swakopmund on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. With passengers eating and sleeping on the train, stops will be made for excursions into the Namib desert and to the Spitzkoppe mountains, timed to coincide with ’the most beautiful times of the day’ at sunrise and sunset.Air-conditioned throughout and fitted with large windows for experiencing the wide open spaces of the desert, the Desert Express will have four Spitzkoppe class sleeping cars, each with six en-suite three-berth compartments. Passengers will be able to contact on-board staff by telephone, and meals prepared in the bistro/bar coach will be available to passengers in their compartments.Sleeping car passengers will also have their own lounge and restaurant car, with Namibian, regional and international cuisine prepared on board and served in the 29-seat Welwitschia restaurant. Wildlife videos and background music will set the mood of the 29-seat lounge, furnished with a chess table inlaid with various types of desert sand.Starview class passengers will be accommodated in a coach with 35 reclining seats and a glass-panelled roof for viewing the night sky. Two showers, video entertainment and recorded music will be provided, and the bistro/bar coach will be open to Starview class passengers round the clock. o
The German regulator’s warning last year on the financial instability of Pensionskassen was “a wake-up call” to the sector, according to Götz Neumann, chairman of the board at the €2.5bn Pensionskasse for Wacker Chemie.Speaking at the Handelsblatt occupational pension fund conference in Berlin this month, Neumann described BaFin’s warning as tantamount to “a beneficial shock for some companies”.In May last year the regulator’s announcement that some of Germany’s 130 Pensionskassen were in poor financial health sent shock waves around the industry, with some accusing BaFin of scaremongering and causing uncertainty among pension savers.At the time, Frank Grund, head of the BaFin department overseeing Pensionskassen, highlighted the major impact that low interest rates had on pension vehicles with guarantees, warning that “without additional capital some Pensionskassen will no longer be able to operate at full capacity”. Wacker Chemie’s Neumann said at the conference: “We had to react spontaneously that afternoon to explain the situation to our members. So for us it was more of an irritation as we have a strong sponsor company with which we are in continuous talks about the financial situation.”However, he added that not all of his peers were that lucky, and that some companies or other plan sponsors “who had known about the crisis but did not take action”. Götz Neumann of Wacker Chemie’s Pensionskasse addresses the 2019 Handelsblatt occupational pensions conference“Many smaller Pensionskassen were able to take the BaFin’s warning to their sponsors to put pressure on them,” he said.At the end of last year, BaFin took the unprecedented step of closing the Caritas Pensionskasse to new business because of solvency issues. It subsequently confirmed that 54 Pensionskassen were under “close watch”.Since then, this number has come down to around 30, with some still having to report quarterly to the supervisor. Neumann said this reduction in Pensionskassen at an immediate risk could be in part because of BaFin’s warning.Meanwhile, Neumann also criticised the regulator’s approach to limits on allocations to so-called risky assets or illiquid investments.“We know better than the BaFin how asset allocation works and we could increase our returns if we had more leeway,” he argued.Neumann added that, with a strong sponsor backing the asset allocation, some Pensionskassen should “be given the chance to earn money on the market rather than the company having to issue cash injections”.
Californian Port of Oakland is anticipating a five-year run of record cargo volume beginning in 2018.By 2022, the port expects to handle the equivalent of 2.6 million 20-foot containers annually. The number would represent 8 percent more volume than the port has ever processed in a single year.The figures were unveiled in a Strategic Maritime Roadmap released by the Port of Oakland this month. The blueprint for the future foresees increased cargo volume arriving at Oakland on ships, which would be 35 percent larger within 15 years and capable of carrying up to 18,000 containers.“Northern California’s booming freight market will drive the growth,” the port said. New logistics capabilities, such as distribution centers and freight transfer facilities, should provide a further boost, it added.“We’re serving a thriving area and developing new services for our customers,” John Driscoll, Oakland’s Maritime Director, informed.The port’s Roadmap forecasts record volume of more than 2.4 million cargo containers in 2018, up from the current record of 2.39 million, set three years ago.
The ORVC Weekly Reports.ORVC Weekly Report (September 8-13)ORVC Weekly Report (September 15-20)Courtesy of ORVC Recorder Travis Calvert.
Greensburg, In. — Decatur County resident Cody Scudder has been sentenced to 23 years in the Decatur County Superior Court for dealing in methamphetamine with a firearm, battery, theft, escape and failure to register as a sex offender. Judge Matthew Bailey presided over the hearing.Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter said, “Over the course of the past several years, Mr. Scudder has been spiraling toward the point in which the criminal justice system would have to intervene in his life, for his sake and the sake of the community. I am pleased that he has taken responsibility for his choices, and I hope he takes treatment in the Department of Corrections seriously. Sentences like 23 years should be a message to those who peddle in poison in Decatur County.”
HAYS, Kan. (March 24) – Five IMCA divisions are on the program for both nights of RPM Speedway’s Friday and Saturday, March 28-29 Sunflower Classic.IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds run for $1,000 to win in 2014 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifiers.IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars chase $750 checks in Dirt Track Central Jax Sports Grille Great Plains Series shows. IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods vie for $500 top prizes while Mach-1 Sport Compacts run for $200 to win.Complete programs are scheduled and IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing national, regional and Allstar Performance state, but no local track points will be awarded both nights.Pit gates open at 2 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 5 p.m. both days. Hot laps are at 5:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m.Grandstand admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for five and under. Pit passes are $25 for adults and $10 for 10 and under.Entry fees are $60 for Modifieds, $50 for Stock Cars, $40 for Hobby Stocks and Northern SportMods, and $30 for Sport Compacts. Gates open at 2 p.m. and an open practice starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27. Pit passes are $25 or $10 for kids and grandstand admission is free. Event sponsors are Xtreme Motor Sports and D & B Motors. More information about the second annual special is available by calling promoter Rod Bencken at 785 672-0123 and at the www.rpmspeedway.net website.
By Jeremy FoxOSKALOOSA, Iowa (April 22) – Dale Porter dominated Wednesday night’s headline event at Southern Iowa Speedway, the 20-lap Pepsi Cola IMCA Hobby Stock special presented by Southern Iowa Chassis.Porter grabbed the lead on lap one, just before the caution came out for several cars that got together in turn three. Porter did not let that get to him even though he had Nick Ulin and Dustin Griffiths right behind.Porter pulled away to win by a full straightaway over Ulin, who edged out Griffiths for second.Todd Shute was the Musco Lighting IMCA Modified main event winner. Damon Murty took the Budweiser IMCA Stock Car win despite a late race charge from Mike Hughes.Curtis VanDerWal was first to the KBOE Radio IMCA Northern SportMod checkers and Trent Orwig held off John Whalen to win the Mach-1 Sport Compact feature.Stock Cars and SportMods racing for extra cash thanks to Edel Lawn Care plus free front bumpers to Stock Car and Hobby Stock winners.
Bruce was widely credited with landing the pick of the transfer deadline day buys with Abel Hernandez, Mohamed Diame, Gaston Ramirez and on-loan Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa all arriving at the KC Stadium. But injuries and inconsistency have left Bruce’s men in the perilous position of needing to beat Manchester United on Sunday if they are to stand any chance of avoiding the drop – they must also rely on Newcastle to drop points against West Ham. Press Association Bruce said: “At the end of August when I looked at the squad I didn’t think we would be in this situation. There have been many reasons why but I don’t really want to make excuses – this isn’t the time for it. “We’ve had a tough four or five months with big players not being able to take part but we’ve got to take it on the chin and accept we haven’t been good enough. We’ve got one last chance to redeem ourselves.” Hull’s woes have largely coincided with the long absences suffered by striker Nikica Jelavic, who is now back from problematic knee surgery and aiming to hit the vital winner against the club Bruce graced as a player with such aplomb but has failed to beat in 21 managerial attempts. Despite a promising start Hernandez struggled to adapt to Premier League life, while Diame and Ramirez have suffered injuries and Ben Arfa’s undoubted talent belied an attitude problem which swiftly saw him shipped off elsewhere. The arrival of Dame N’Doye gave his side’s survival hopes a fillip with back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool but his threat has waned and Bruce has been left to bemoan his side’s fortunes in front of goal. He added: ” In training they whistle in the top corner and all the rest of it. I’ve always said any team you manage is only as good as your strikers. “We’ve missed Jelavic badly because when you look at when he’s in the team it shows you what might have happened. We haven’t scored enough goals. “You can practice all you like but it’s about when the big game turns up can you stick it in the net.” All of which leaves Bruce facing up to the prospect of the pain of relegation for the first time since he went down with Birmingham in 1996 – and he admits it is not a prospect he is looking forward to if things do not go the Tigers’ way on Sunday. He added: “The one thing you don’t want to be involved in is a relegation fight. It’s nice going the other way but coming out of the Premier League has horrible cuts on everyone. “People lose their jobs, their livelihood, everything is cut back to the bone. It’s an awful situation. That’s the worst thing, and you have to start all over again.” Hull’s form against the big clubs this season – beating Liverpool at home and taking points away at the Etihad Stadium and the Emirates – gives Bruce hope that he can fashion one last miracle and consign his boyhood heroes Newcastle to the drop instead. But he acknowledges he has endured a lot of disappointments since those bright days at the end of August when Europa League trips beckoned and few were predicting the Tigers would struggle to avoid the drop. Bruce added: ” There haven’t been many highs – it’s been a long difficult season for us for one reason or another “But hopefully our moment is about to come. It’s going to be tall order and we understand that but we know we’ve got a chance.” Hull boss Steve Bruce has admitted he never imagined the Tigers would be fighting for their Barclays Premier League lives after starting their campaign with arguably the strongest squad in the club’s history.
Oxford was among the Hammers’ most impressive players but as recently as Thursday Bilic’s lack of strength in depth was highlighted when the defeat of a weakened team selected away at Romania’s Astra Giurgiu ended their Europa League campaign. An ankle injury to one of last season’s loanees, Alex Song, has so far prevented him from returning to the club on a permanent basis. Should Barton agree personal terms to join West Ham he will be reunited with Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, his former Newcastle team-mates. Barton and Carroll, notably, produced the finest form of their careers while playing together. The 32-year-old midfielder watched Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday, and said: “Judging by this game it won’t be long before I get a phone call from somebody (to sign for them). “The best player might be sitting in the stands this afternoon, even if I do say so myself.” Press Association West Ham are in talks to sign former QPR midfielder Joey Barton. Barton, a free agent following his release from the relegated Hoops, has been targeted to increase manager Slaven Bilic’s options in midfield. West Ham began their Barclays Premier League season with a surprise 2-0 victory at Arsenal on Sunday, when 16-year-old defensive midfielder Reece Oxford made his debut.
Photos courtesy of Madeleine Combs and Prajwal BharadwajResearch is a key component of undergraduate study at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, providing students with hands-on experience and practical application of skills useful for their future careers. Madeleine Combs and Prajwal Bharadwaj are both taking advantage of research opportunities this year, as they are two of the only three undergraduate biomedical engineering students selected to present research at the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting.The conference will showcase a wide array of findings within the medical device field.Although Combs and Bharadwaj are both in the same field of study, the focus of their research differs greatly.Combs, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in mechanical engineering, conducted research on the immune response testing of micro neuroprobes in the brains of rats to find information that could potentially be applied to humans. Combs worked in the USC Biomedical Microsystems Lab under the guidance of Ellis Meng.“[Research is] one of the reasons why I wanted to go to USC,” Combs said. “I knew undergrads [could] get involved in research here, which is what makes USC unique.”By working alongside doctorate student Ahuva Weltman, Combs conducted research for a project titled “Immunohistological Image Analysis of Microprobe Array Targeting Hippocampus.”“The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for long-term memory,” Combs said. “So, that’s important for patients with Alzheimer’s or any kinds of illnesses that affect memory. If you’re in a car accident and you have some kind of damage to your hippocampus, those could be very important for that kind of information.”In her work, Combs focuses on gauging the biocompatibility of the neuroprobe to the rat’s system and its overall responsiveness.Initially, Combs planned on solely attending the conference with her peers from the Associate Students of Biomedical Engineering, but the organization encouraged her to submit her research as well.“I’m looking forward to experiencing all the other types of research [at BMES], learning from other [undergraduate] students and also the doctorate students,” Combs said.Similarly, Bharadwaj, a junior studying biomedical engineering with an electrical engineering emphasis, sought out research opportunities early on in his undergraduate career.As a freshman, Bharadwaj joined Eun Ji Chung’s lab, which focuses on molecular design, nanomedicine and tissue engineering to generate biomaterial strategies and address the limitations of clinical solutions, according to the Chung Laboratory website.Bharadwaj’s research, titled “In Vitro Vascular Model for Atherosclerosis,” aims to create a more accurate model of the disease to improve current treatment. Atherosclerosis is a common condition caused by plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to chest pain, heart attacks or strokes.“I think submitting research and exchanging research [with] other scientists is a great way to increase my presentational skills, as well as [take] critical feedback to understand how my research could have been more effective and what steps I can take in the future to improve,” Bharadwaj said.Bharadwaj says the conference, his first, is a vital opportunity to learn beyond the classroom and laboratory.“I’d encourage everyone … to look at options surrounding biomedical research even if you’re not going into academia,” Bharadwaj said. “It’s a great way to gain skills that will be useful in your life.”