Another Petron-F2 title clash looms

first_imgCarpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Ateneo has Tab to thank for Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Petron and F2 Logistics seek to arrange another finals duel as the semifinal phase of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference get under way Tuesday at Muntinlupa Sports Center.F2 battles Generika-Ayala at 4:15 p.m while Petron, which ended the preliminaries at 10-0, will clash with Cignal at 7 p.m.ADVERTISEMENT Earlier, University of Santo Tomas tries to inch closer to the Collegiate Grand Slam championship when it faces University of the East at 2 p.m.After four previous titular showdowns, the Blaze Spikers and the Cargo Movers are tipped to make it all the way to the best-of-three finals after gaining twice-to-beat advantages in the Final Four.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazilcenter_img No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk View commentslast_img read more

User fees eyed for American rivers

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Bush administration wants to impose a new user fee on commercial barges to help pay for the soaring cost of maintaining the nation’s river channels. Barge operators say they already pay steep taxes to keep the Mississippi River and other waterways navigable. The proposal, included in President George W. Bush’s $2.9 trillion budget proposal, does not specify how fees would be assessed. “We’d like to explore user fee concepts, but we don’t have a proposal that we’re putting out yet,” said John Paul Woodley, the assistant Army secretary who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. “We want to hear what the industry people and the shippers have in mind.” Barge operators now pay a tax of 20 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, with the money going into a waterway trust fund. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Russia warns CSKA fans ahead of Arsenal match

first_img0Shares0000Russia has promised to look after Arsenal fans when the Gunners plays CSKA MoscowMOSCOW, Russia, Apr 1- Russia urged CSKA Moscow fans flying to London for this week’s Arsenal match to exercise extreme caution due to Britain’s “anti-Russian campaign”.Moscow and London have been waging a furious diplomatic war since the March 4 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England. Britain accuses Russia of poisoning the former double agent in retribution for passing on state secrets to London.Moscow calls the allegations unsubstantiated anti-Russian propoganda.The incident has sparked mass expulsions and a decision by Britain and some of its allies not to send officials to Russia’s World Cup in June.Russia’s UK embassy on Sunday told CSKA fans to display “extra vigilance” when visiting London for Thursday’s Europa League clash.“Considering the anti-Russian campaign being waged by Britain, which has led to a rise in Russophobia, we call on you to exercise extra vigilance and discretion,” the Russian embassy said.“To avoid provocations, we call on you to avoid getting into conflicts with the authorities and local residents.”The embassy also encouraged supporters to “behave with our inherent dignity” and to keep track of their money and personal items.The Moscow Red Army club and the Gunners have been drawn in the Europa League quarter final.Russia’s World Cup organiser took the unusual step last month of issuing a security guarantee to Arsenal faithful flying to Moscow for the April 12 second leg of the tie.But relations appear to have actually deteriorated since.Moscow accuses London of using fake evidence to convince more than two dozen European countries and the United States to kick out some of their Russian diplomats.It also alleges that the entire crisis was part of London’s orchestrated campaign to strip Russia of the June 14 to July 15 World Cup.“I am getting the impression that they are ready to do anything to take the World Cup away from Russia,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.“They are ready to do it by any means possible. Everything is focused on that football that — God forbid — touches a Russian pitch.”Sunday’s travel warning echoes one issued by the Foreign Office when it announced the expulsion of 23 Russians on March 14.London also spelled out the risks of “anti-British sentiment of harassment” in Russia.Thursday’s game comes with anxieties already running high about Russian hooligans travelling to London.A Basque policeman died of a heart attack during street battles between Spartak Moscow and Athletic Bilbao supporters ahead of another Europa League match in February.The world football governing body FIFA expressed its “complete trust” in Russia’s ability to ensure a safe World Cup after that violence.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Leyton Orient’s new owner Nigel Travis speaks exclusively to talkSPORT – LISTEN

first_imgLeyton Orient’s new owner Nigel Travis outlined his plans for the club when he joined Jim White on talkSPORT on Friday afternoon.The Boston-based millionaire, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, is a lifelong O’s fans and has been hailed as their saviour after leading a consortium which bought out Francesco Becchetti.Orient suffered two relegations under Becchetti’s ownership and will start the new season in non-league for the first time since 1905.Travis has already appointed former boss Martin Ling as director of football, brought in a string of coaching staff and secured their training ground, and plans to make an announcement on a new manager next week.“I didn’t really want to be the owner originally but sometimes you have to step up as a fan and do what is right for the club,” he said.“I am very optimistic, but I am also very realistic. I don’t expect us to go up this year.“There is a lot of building. We have done a lot in two weeks.“If you go through all the coaches Martin has hired, that is a really good infrastructure. We nearly lost the training ground and got that back, we are recruiting players, and I think will have news on a head coach in a few days, so we are making fast progress.“The bottom line is we are about three months behind where we need to be so if we have a reasonable start to the season that is success.“Goal one was to get the club back. We have achieved that. The second goal is to get stability. Then two or three years down the road, we will think about what happens in the future.“Think of the assets we have got. We have great young players, we have got the best ground in the National League and probably one of the best grounds if we were in League Two, an excellent coaching staff that will get better next week, so we have got a lot of things going for us. “The only thing that is really against us right now is the short-term but longer-term I feel really optimistic.”last_img read more

MOL AN ÓIGE -CEOLTÓIRÍ ÓGA Ó DHÚN NA NGALL INNIU AR RAIDIÓ NA GAELTACHTA

first_imgA new generation of talented young traditional musicians and singers from around the county can be heard on Raidió na Gaeltachta today.The musicians were recorded before Christmas in Letterkenny as part of the Mol an Óige series presented by Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha.Students from Comhaltas Leitir Ceanainn, Ceol na Coille music school, Coláiste Ailigh and Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin all took part in the recording session. The first of the programmes will be broadcast today.Mol an Óige, Raidió na Gaeltachta, 18.30 -19.00.MOL AN ÓIGE -CEOLTÓIRÍ ÓGA Ó DHÚN NA NGALL INNIU AR RAIDIÓ NA GAELTACHTA was last modified: January 12th, 2014 by John2Share 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:Ceol na CoilleColaiste AilighComhaltas Leitir CeanainnGaelscoil AdhmanainRnaGlast_img read more

District must tighten it belt

first_img Rather than hiring a substitute to replace an absent classified employee (those in non-teaching positions), employees now take on extra duties, he added. Schools implemented a “second-chance breakfast” this year. That has increased the money the district receives for food services. “For kids who miss the first breakfast, they have a chance to get it later in the morning, like whenever the next recess is,” Morton said. “It’s good for kids and good for increasing revenue.” Conservative enrollment projections, maintaining pupil-teacher ratios and high attendance levels are part of the district’s short-term strategy. “We need to keep doing this at the very least,” Morton said. “At least you’re keeping yourself in the ballgame this way. You have to do this as long as you see you’re in a decline.” — Tracy Garcia can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051, or by e-mail at tracy.garcia@sgvn.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week It became a matter of maximizing revenue while making tough decision on what services the district could possibly do without, he said. “We started with some givens at the time. For example, one of those was that we didn’t want to close a school. Another was that we wanted to have a principal at each school when students are present,” Morton said. “Then we wanted to get in front of the declining (enrollment).” The result this year has been fewer teachers in classrooms because there are fewer students, and the elimination of some administrative and supervisorial positions. Principals have taken on more responsibilities as well, Morton said. SOUTH WHITTIER — A declining student population and shrinking state dollars have prompted South Whittier School District to borrow a term from the business world to describe the art of doing more with less. It’s called “rightsizing.” And it’s the new method-of-operation for administrators at the eight-school district of 4,300 students — about 250 fewer than a year ago. On average, the state provides public schools with about $7,000 per student in annual funding. “Basically, rightsizing is like staying in front of the storm,” said school board member Sylvia Macias. “It’s sort of like we know the cuts are coming and we have to prepare ourselves.” Senior Finance Director David Morton said rightsizing began during the middle of the last school year, when declining enrollment in the district became apparent. Officials began looking at where to streamline – or rightsize, as they prefer to call it.last_img read more

Fight at probation camp investigated

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week About 40 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies came to the aid of the 11 staff workers at the camp, said sheriff’s Lt. Stan Penner. “They went ahead and formed a skirmish line and guided these juvenile inmates to a gymnasium,” Penner said. “Once inside the gymnasium, the juveniles were again told to stop their disturbance, which they did.” The juveniles were handcuffed and taken to three different juvenile detention centers elsewhere in the county, Penner said. No deputies were injured, he said. “There was some damage to the facility,” he added. SAN DIMAS — A fight involving more about 100 juveniles at a county probation camp is still under investigation, authorities said Sunday. The 7:30 p.m. Saturday fight resulted in minor injuries to five juveniles at Glenn Rocky Probation Camp, 1900 N. Sycamore Canyon Road. The injured were treated at area hospitals and released, said Ken Kondo, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Authorities were quick to put down the disturbance. One staff worker at the camp suffered a sprained finger, Kondo said. The situation was under control by 10 p.m. Camp Rocky will remain closed while the investigation into what started the fight continues, Kondo said. The camp was home to 116 juveniles at the time of the fight. Investigators will interview every juvenile involved in the melee and juvenile witnesses to the fight, Kondo said. He could not say how long it would take investigators to sort out the facts. “There’s no time table on it right now,” he said. Jason Kosareff can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717, or by e-mail at jason.kosareff@sgvn.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

South Africa to host anti-xenophobia football friendlies

first_img21 April 2015The South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) are organising two international friendly matches against neighbouring countries to create unity in the wake of attacks on foreign nationals.“We want to use the two high-profile international friendly matches as an instrument to unite this continent,” Safa CEO Dennis Mumble said in a statement on Sunday.”What has been happening in the past few days have really left most people in a shock and dismayed.The matches would form part of the fight against xenophobia. “Madiba spoke of the power of sport in uniting people from different walks of life and we want to use the power of football to unite this continent and kick out this scourge within certain malcontents in our society,” he said.Safa would announce details of the matches soon, Mumble said.‘We are one Africa’“Most sporting personalities have had their say in denouncing these barbaric acts but we want to go a step further by playing friendly matches against neighbouring countries.“We want to send out a message to those perpetrating these acts to sit back and realise what they are doing is wrong. We are one continent, one Africa, we are all Africans and we say no to xenophobia,” Mumble said.Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has welcomed this initiative, urging all peace-loving people to stand together against all forms of attacks on innocent people.Seven people have been killed and hundreds of others displaced as attacks against foreign nationals have flared up in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and parts of Gauteng.FreedomXenophobia is wrong, Mbalula said. “It’s inhuman and it does not belong in South Africa or anywhere in the world. Just yesterday, we found refuge in other African countries when apartheid was in full force.“Governments of other African countries gave us a home, fed us and most importantly helped in the liberation of all South Africans. Imagine if, when we were in pain, they told us to go home. The freedom we have today would have never been achieved.”The stance taken against xenophobia by South Africa’s leaders – including President Jacob Zuma and King Goodwill Zwelithini – and by the country’s sports teams and supporters yet again signals the importance of sport in uniting people.“Let us all unite in our diversity as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa urges us to,” Mbualula said.The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoint) is operating on a 24-hour basis and various government departments and agencies are working in an integrated manner to ensure that the attacks are brought to an end as soon as possible.All law enforcement operations are being co-ordinated by this structure.SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Neutral corn and soybean yields, but higher than hoped for by producers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileUSDA estimated the U.S. corn yield at 168.2 bushels and the U.S. soybean yield at 47.9 bushels. Both were lowered but less than expected. Shortly after the noon report release corn was down 3 cents, soybeans up 18 cents, while wheat was up 1 cent. Minutes before the report corn was down one cent, soybeans up 15 cents, and wheat up one cent. Enthusiasm over a potential thaw in U.S./China trade talks had soybeans higher at the 9:30 a.m. grains restart.Trader estimates for today’s report had corn and soybean yields dropping slightly compared to August. The average trade estimate for the U.S. corn yield is 167.2 bushels compared to 169.5 bushels last month. Meanwhile, the trade estimate for the U.S. soybean yield is 47.2 bushels with the August yield at 48.5 bushels. Any changes in corn or soybean acres will also be scrutinized.USDA personnel have been in fields the last two weeks doing surveys for ear weights and pod counts. Those yields will be even more difficult to measure due to the immaturity of both corn and soybeans. Corn and soybeans are roughly two weeks behind in their maturity. This spring was the wettest spring in 125 years. Corn planting progress was the slowest in history.U.S./China trade talks have again made the news. They are scheduled to meet again at the minister level early October with preliminary discussions to take place this month. There are indications the Chinese economy has been slowing, hurt by the prolonged tariffs in place since last June. President Trump has offered to delay tariffs scheduled to take place Oct. 1.. He has suggested a reprieve of two weeks. China’s communication ministry indicates Chinese companies are once again inquiring for U.S. pork and soybean prices.Weather continues to be a huge concern, especially in the northern half of the U.S. Corn Belt. Frost worries appear to be non-existent into the last few days of September. But, the reality is millions of corn and soybean acres needing to avoid frost into mid-October and later. The concern will be prevalent for another 30 to 40 days. Frost and freeze will be headlines to monitor. Extended September forecasts for Canada indicated cooler than normal temperatures. It is noteworthy those same forecasts are not yet seen in the U.S.September soybean planting progress in Brazil continues to be slow and behind normal. Dry conditions are the reason. It is expected to be dry for at least another two weeks. It is a concern but not yet a huge price mover. This year they are expected to increase soybean acres 3% to 5%. Longer term the slow soybean planting progress has a major impact for Brazil’s Safrinha or second crop corn. This corn is what they depend upon for export with the first crop of corn being used domestically.China’s African Swine Fever continues to be rampant with signs of little progress slowing its advance. Pork supplies are tight but they continue to import pork from all around the globe. Some headlines talk of vaccine developments showing promise. The harsh reality is as of today there is no vaccine proving effective. It is a rapidly mutating disease which has spread into other Asian countries.How we close today is most important following the noon numbers. A bearish report and a higher close this afternoon would be huge in putting in seasonal bottoms, which often occur near the September WASDE reports.last_img read more

NSF’s new budget reflects White House priorities on climate and environment

first_imgThe National Science Foundation (NSF) would get a 5.2% increase, to $7.7 billion, in the 2016 budget that President Barack Obama sent to Congress this week. But it’s hard to find the fingerprints of NSF’s new director, France Córdova, on the document.Instead, NSF’s splashiest initiatives for 2016 reflect the priorities of the Obama administration, especially in the areas of climate and the environment. One new effort would spend $75 million to study the strains on the world’s food, energy, and water systems from a growing population and a changing climate. A second would nearly triple, to $58 million, the size of a program begun this year to make the nation’s infrastructure more resilient to outside threats.“This is something that the administration cares very deeply about,” Córdova said, referring to the two initiatives during a media briefing Monday at NSF headquarters after she unveiled the agency’s new budget. At the same time, those proposals could leave NSF open to attack from a Republican-led Congress that has been pushing it to focus on core, disciplinary activities and that dislikes most of what the administration wants to do on energy and environmental policy.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)NSF’s budget—$7.3 billion this year—is an intricate mosaic of programs within NSF’s seven directorates that serve its core audience of academic researchers across all nonmedical disciplines. A few, notably NSF’s graduate research fellowships, date from shortly after the agency was created in 1950. Others, like one aimed at making cyberspace more secure, reflect problems that have only recently come to the forefront.In trying to fund the best science, the agency seeks to strike the right balance between supporting individual investigators and large teams, as well as funding the facilities and infrastructure they require. Any director who wants the agency to grow—and all do—must also persuade both the White House and Capitol Hill that NSF is uniquely positioned to respond to new scientific opportunities. That requires hatching new programs—or at least putting old wine into new bottles.Córdova came on board last March as NSF’s 14th director, giving her plenty of time to insert her own ideas into NSF’s 2016 budget. She was mostly reluctant to do that, however, and her approach may reflect a deliberate style of leadership that seeks consensus before taking action. That’s a sharp departure from her predecessor, Subra Suresh, who rode NSF staffers hard to implement his ideas before departing less than halfway through his 6-year term.Suresh took the helm in late 2010 and in his first year rolled out half a dozen new initiatives. He branded them as OneNSF, a phrase meant to capture both the popularity of multidisciplinary research and the agency’s solid reputation among policymakers.Despite his advocacy and the backing of the Obama administration, they met a mixed fate in Congress. The biggest hit is Innovation Corps (I-Corps), a program that teaches academics how to commercialize the fruits of their research. It would get a 14% bump in 2016, to $30 million—a significant amount of money for a program whose core element is a 10-week training program for three-person teams.“This is something everybody wants to do,” Córdova said Monday in presenting NSF’s budget, noting that other federal agencies—and even Mexico—have crafted their own versions of I-Corps. “So I see it as a very positive program that has generated a lot of entrepreneurial energy.”But another Suresh initiative, one that funds unorthodox ways to tackle fundamental research challenges, would languish in the 2016 budget. Suresh billed the INSPIRE program, a clunky acronym for Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education, as a way to counter the perception that NSF was too conservative in its choice of research projects. It created a fast track for proposals that would be judged by program managers, not expert panels. Given the recent attacks by Republicans on NSF’s peer-review system, however, those factors are no longer a major concern for most policymakers. And Córdova is using that shift in the political landscape to rethink the issue.“Obviously, [INSPIRE] has a noble purpose—to do bold, high-risk things that couldn’t be done in another way,” she said. “But the question is, has it accomplished that goal? Or could those proposals been funded through collaborative efforts by all of the directorates?”Córdova said she is awaiting the results of two assessments, due at the end of the year. In the meantime, she explained, “we will keep funding it at the same level”—which, at $28 million, is a far cry from the $120 million figure that Suresh envisioned for the program by 2016.Córdova’s political skills will be put to the test this spring as she defends the two environmental initiatives. Both give NSF’s geosciences directorate a prominent role: A major component of the risk and resilience program, for example, would study what drives geohazards such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes, and why they vary. Social scientists are also expected to be major contributors.That could be a problem for some influential Republicans, however. In December, Congress gave NSF an extra $173 million as part of the government-wide 2015 spending bill passed in that month—and told NSF which directorates should receive the largess. The list pointedly snubbed the geoscience and social science directorates, which are both heavily involved in the proposed 2016 initiatives.Córdova said that NSF has followed that appropriations language to the letter in allocating its 2015 funds. But that restriction hasn’t stymied the agency’s plans for 2016, she noted. And her comments to reporters made it clear what she thought about the congressional attempt to single out certain disciplines.“All of our directorates are interdisciplinary and very diverse, and it’s complicated to not fund one discipline,” she said. “Let me give you a good example. In December, I took 10 members of Congress to Antarctica, and they were captivated by the science we were doing there. In fact, one of them said, ‘Why don’t you take the extra $173 million in 2015 and do more of this stuff?’ ”“And I said, without batting an eye, ‘This work was supported by geosciences, and that didn’t get plussed up.’ And they stopped and thought, ‘Oh my.’ ”NSF’s new budget contains one initiative that does bear Córdova’s imprint: A $15 million effort to attract more women and non-Asian minorities into the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. Córdova, the first NSF director of Hispanic descent, says NSF has fallen so far short of the goal of full participation that a fundamental rethinking of existing efforts is needed.“We have a lot of work to do in this area,” she declared. “We already invest a lot. So, why do we still have this really big problem? Maybe there’s something in our approach that needs a complete overhaul.”The money will be used to hold workshops for science educators and do outreach to groups NSF is trying to reach. Córdova thinks that one promising approach would take what she calls “boutique” activities at individual campuses and communities and scale up those that are working well. “The problem now is that the next state over doesn’t know anything about them,” she said. “You may as well have built a wall around your university. There are no communications between the nodes.”Other highlightsAlthough these major initiatives dominate the 2016 budget, here are some additional nuggets that might interest researchers.Major new facilities: NSF has a separate account to finance new construction of large facilities, like ships and telescopes, and Congress has tacitly agreed to put roughly $200 million a year into the account. So once one project is completed, another one can begin. Next year, NSF projects it will have $113 million available for a new start as it completes construction of a national network of ecological stations, and the competition is expected to be fierce.Two marine projects are already well into the design stage. Ocean researchers have long pushed for a trio of new regional-class research vessels. But last month a National Academies report recommended that NSF build only two out of concern for the cost of operating them. There are also plans to extend the life of the polar research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, commissioned in 1992, the icebreaking capacities of which allow it to operate in the Antarctic. A third proposal involves a range of upgrades to NSF’s Palmer and McMurdo Antarctic research stations. And astronomers would like NSF to invest in one of two 30-meter ground telescopes already under construction, one in Hawaii and one in Chile.Ongoing programs: NSF’s budget made sure that a handful of programs that are traditionally favorites of Congress were treated well in its 2016 request. The CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) program for young scientists would grow by $9 million, to $232 million. It would support 400 5-year awards to advance the research and educational activities of promising scientists. The EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program, for states that receive relatively few NSF awards, would grow by $10 million, to $169 million. The Noyce Teacher Scholarship program would remain level, at $62 million.Graduate fellowships and traineeships: NSF plans to award 2000 Graduate Research Fellowships in 2016, the same number as this year. The number of 5-year fellowships was doubled 5 years ago, meaning that the program is now at its new capacity. The National Research Traineeship (NRT) program, a successor to the IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) awards, would also remain at its 2015 level of $62 million. But Córdova hinted that changes are coming. “I think you’ll see more of an emphasis on NRTs because of the growing concern about graduate education and whether they are being trained for opportunities outside the professoriate,” she told reporters. “The NSB [National Science Board] is about to put out a white paper on this. So I think the NRT has come along at just the right time, to look at how to modernize graduate education.”Virtual reviews: NSF hopes that the percentage of panels that meet virtually rather than convening at its Arlington, Virginia, headquarters will rise from the current 31% to 40% by the end of fiscal year 2016. It will also reduce the amount of money it spends on reimbursing those virtual reviewers for their expenses, from $280 a day to $200 a day.“We want them to participate, so we didn’t want to drop the number to zero,” explained Michael Sieverts, NSF’s chief budget officer. Those who come to NSF will continue to receive $480 for each day they serve on a panel, plus $280 for each travel day.Staffing: NSF wants to add 15 people to its IT staff to handle the growing workload required to maintain websites that are publicly accessible. That would bring its regular workforce to 1325 full-time equivalent positions. It also hopes to increase the number of rotators—those who come from academia to work for a few years as scientific program officers and managers—from 191 to 196. Congress has pushed NSF to lower its costs by recouping more of the rotators’ salaries from their home institution and limiting their travel.Relocation: NSF is scheduled to move into a new headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, by the end of 2017. It has asked for $30 million in 2016—double what it received in 2015—to prepare for the move.Click here to see all of our Budget 2016 coverage.last_img read more