Saint Mary’s students hold top positions in ROTC

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Saint Mary’s senior and Army battalion commander Emilie Vanneste accepts an award at the ROTC Pass in Review ceremony Wednesday.According to Vanneste, a Saint Mary’s education prepares women to lead effectively by encouraging them to set and achieve challenging goals.“They always say ‘We prepare our students to be confident and go into everything thinking they can come out on top,’” she said. “I really do think that has translated into my role.”O’Bryan said the College’s emphasis on female empowerment enables her to reassure potential ROTC members who doubt their capabilities. “I’ve had to talk to quite a few incoming freshmen for next year about my experiences in ROTC,” O’Bryan said. “The females always ask ‘Should I be nervous? Should I be worried about being a female in ROTC? Will I be treated differently?’ Being in the leadership position I’m in, I’ve been able to show them there is no difference.”Seeing women in positions of power can motivate young girls to unapologetically pursue their ambitions, O’Bryan said.“It kind of shows females the things that they’re able to do,” she said. “Do what you want to do. Do what you set your mind to.”Through helping students discover their passions, Saint Mary’s ensures its graduates are well-equipped to set examples for others, Vanneste said.“When I’m in classes at Saint Mary’s, it’s all females, but when I go across the street [for ROTC], females are a minority,” Vanneste said. “It just goes to show that my confidence doesn’t need to change whatsoever. It stays the same wherever I go.”Vanneste said the lessons she learned from her involvement with ROTC reinforced the values and skills she developed at Saint Mary’s.“It’s definitely opened my eyes and my perspective to what could be out there in the future, and how I could best benefit the greater good,” she said. “A lot of it goes with integrity, with doing the right thing when no one’s looking.”O’Bryan said her peers at Saint Mary’s encourage her to believe she can successfully fulfill the role of Air Force Wing Commander, since female leadership at the College is normal and expected.“I’ve always felt like I have a lot of support for the ROTC program — not even just friend-wise, but from the whole community,” O’Bryan said. “I’ve definitely learned not to be afraid.”O’Bryan’s leadership position enables her to connect with other ROTC members who may be going through personal struggles, she said.“It’s really helped me be able to talk to them and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Do you want to grab coffee? Do you want to do something?’” she said. “I might do that normally, but I think I’ve been able to do that more often and be more comfortable doing that kind of thing.”Vanneste said she hopes others realize students from Saint Mary’s are just as capable as those from Notre Dame. She said the Navy Battalion Commander for ROTC is a woman from Notre Dame — senior Katherine Smart — meaning all three of the highest-ranking positions in ROTC are held by women.“Having the three female faces up there shows we’re here to stay, and we’re here to do just as good of a job,” Vanneste said. “It goes to show we are a presence, and we can do just as good of a job as the guy who came before us.”Tags: Air Force, Army, battalion commander, Navy, ROTC Though they hold two of the highest-ranking student positions in Notre Dame Army, Navy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Saint Mary’s seniors Emilie Vanneste and Megan O’Bryan salute the College for providing them with the confidence and leadership necessary to take on the roles of Army battalion commander and Air Force wing commander, respectively.Vanneste said her and O’Bryan’s mental and physical strength qualifies them to play major roles in the program.“It can run in anyone’s hands really, but it’s nice that we can take on that responsibility and put our foot in the door,” Vanneste said. “I think it’s a really unique thing because we’re not just a part of their program. We help develop it, we help improve it and we help make it what it is.”last_img read more

UK accountants, actuaries welcome amended FRC proposals

first_imgAccountants and actuaries have backed a UK proposal to clarify how defined-benefit plan sponsors account for a minimum funding requirement.The proposals in question are detailed in FRED 55 – draft amendments to FRS 102 – which the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published on 20 August.They affect businesses reporting under the new UK GAAP framework of FRS 102, a financial reporting standard that will apply in the UK and the Republic of Ireland from 1 January 2015.Out of 20 comment letters from interested parties, all registered support for the FRC’s actions. However, commentators did warn that FRED 55 failed to address surplus recognition. Aon Hewitt actuary Simon Robinson said: “FRED 55 suggests that the ‘additional liability’ parts of IFRIC 14 do not need to be applied to FRS 102 but is silent on whether to consider the surplus recognition parts of IFRIC 14.“So we are left with the likelihood of diversity in this area. In my view, FRED 55 should address surplus recognition as well.”The publication of FRED 55 is the latest step in a major shake-up of the accounting framework in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which will see the introduction of FRS 102.FRS 102 is a localised version of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for Small- and Medium-sized Entities and replaces existing UK GAAP with a single point of reference.Section 28 of FRS 102 replaces FRS 17, which is a standalone accounting standard. Its new requirements apply from 1 January 2015, along with the rest of FRS 102.FRED 55 deals with circumstances where a DB plan sponsor has booked a DB asset or liability on its balance sheet under FRS 102.The approach proposed in FRED 55 potentially creates divergence in practice between UK GAAP and the application of the International Accounting Standards Board’s asset-ceiling guidance, IFRIC 14.FRED 55 says that where a defined benefit (DB) plan sponsor agrees to pay a schedule of deficit contributions, the sponsor need not look at whether it will build up a surplus in the future and then decide whether any benefit will flow from that surplus.Instead, the sponsor only has to calculate any plan surplus or deficit at the balance sheet date. Put differently, it shortcuts IFRIC 14’s two-step process.And complicating this situation is the move earlier this year by the International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee to investigate how a scheme trustee’s actions might affect surplus recognition.In particular, the committee, which is responsible for IFRIC 14, explored whether a trustee’s power to increase member benefits, or wind up a plan, would mean sponsors could no-longer book a plan surplus.The committee’s discussions during July led some commentators to fear that it might become all but impossible to report a surplus.Any such move, consultants Aon Hewitt warned in August, would leave FTSE 350 companies to take a £25bn (€31.7bn) balance sheet hit and blow a £1bn hole in net income.Those fears receded in September, however, when the committee’s subsequent discussions suggested that any changes to IFRIC 14 would hit just a small number of plan sponsors – if any.In comment letters on FRED 55, audit giant EY, as well as actuaries JLT and Towers Watson, warned that the proposals failed to deal comprehensively with practice under IFRIC 14.The advisers also said that there remains a real risk of divergence in practice emerging in this area.EY wrote: “We would therefore encourage the FRC to monitor this issue and reconsider at a later date whether it should take any action to clarify how this paragraph should be applied.”JLT argue that the draft amendment was principally concerned with the recognition of additional liabilities in respect of a schedule of contributions – the ‘minimum funding requirement’ aspects of IFRIC 14.“It does not clarify whether or not the remainder of IFRIC 14 should be referred to when deciding on whether a surplus is recognizable.”JLT also claimed that FRS 102 could be more flexible on the issue of surplus recognition than the standard it replaced, FRS 17.
“The key difference between the two standards is the wording  ‘agreed by  the  pension scheme trustees as the balance sheet date’ as, in practice, this means that the possibility of allowing for a refund is not usually available under FRS 17.“The wording of FRS 102 omits this additional detail and so implies that thereis more flexibility to recognise a plan surplus as an asset.”And Towers Watson actuary Charles Rodgers wrote: “Having clarified the non-application of one particular aspect of IFRIC 14, it would also be helpful if the FRC could indicate whether any of the other requirements of IFRIC 14 should be applied to Section 28 of FRS 102.”In addition, on a separate issue, FRED 55 confirms that entities should recognise the effect of restricting the recognition of surplus in a DB plan, where surplus is not recoverable, in other comprehensive income and not in profit and loss.Further action by both the FRC and the IFRS IC is expected in the new year.Separately, on 16 December, the FRC published a revised version of Actuarial Standard Technical Memorandum 1, its pensions communications standard.The FRC said in a statement that the new standard reflected “the implementation of automatic enrolment, legislation on same-sex marriage and to enable pension providers to more effectively take account of the impact of guaranteed annuity terms.”last_img read more

I tried to kill myself, says former world champion Hatton

first_img(REUTERS) Former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton tried to kill himself when he suffered from depression after quitting the ring, the Briton said on Thursday.Hatton, who won titles at light-welterweight and welterweight, retired in 2012 but had already been struggling with depression, drink and drugs.“I tried to kill myself several times,” the 38-year-old told BBC radio. “I used to go to the pub, come back, take the knife out and sit there in the dark crying hysterically.“In the end I thought I’ll end up drinking myself to death because I was so miserable.”Hatton, who registered 45 wins in 48 bouts, said that even if he did not always drink he still could not cope with depression and that led to cocaine use.“I was coming off the rails with my drinking and that led to drugs. It was like a runaway train,” he explained.Hatton, who now works as a trainer and agent, said fighters needed a support system like footballers, especially after retirement when many found life tough outside sport.He added that the poverty from which most boxers emerge does not prepare them for life after boxing.“The thing is with boxers … we come from council estates so it’s very, very hard,” said Hatton.“It’s an individual sport so you get in the ring on your own and then when you retire you tend to spend the rest of your life on your own.”Hatton’s best performance came in 2005 when he stopped Australian Kostya Tszyu to add the IBF light-welterweight title to the WBU belt he already held.He had a perfect 43-0 record until he was floored by Floyd Mayweather Jr in Las Vegas in 2007 and was never the same again.last_img read more

News in brief: Bamford up for another award, Impey’s QPR return

first_imgBamford has impressed for BoroPatrick BamfordThe Chelsea forward, on-loan at Middlesbrough, has been shortlisted for the Championship player of the year. The 21-year-old, who earlier this week was also nominated for the Football League’s young player of the year award, has scored 17 league goals for Boro. Watford’s Troy Deeney and Daryl Murphy of Ipswich are the other two players in contention for the honour, which in previous years has been won by Danny Ings, Rickie Lambert, Kevin Nolan and QPR’s Adel Taarabt.Andy ImpeyThe former QPR winger has returned to Loftus Road to shadow the club’s Under-18 coaches Paul Furlong and Paul Hall. Impey, who played for Rangers between 1990 and 1997, will be starting his coaching badges in May and is working with Furlong and Hall to gain an understanding of their work.FulhamThe Whites’ Under-21s were beaten 2-0 by Sunderland at Craven Cottage, with Duncan Watmore scoring both goals. Larnell Cole was included in the starting line-up but came off after 41 minutes, while Solomon Sambou limped out early on. Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele also played the full 90 minutes and the latter went close to scoring in the second half.BrentfordKyjuon Marsh-Brown and Tyrell Miller-Rodney scored as the Bees’ development side ended their season with a 3-2 home defeat against Charlton. Karlan Ahearne-Grant put the Addicks in front after 17 minutes but Marsh-Brown levelled with a curling shot from 18 yards. Miller-Rodney then put Brentford ahead after good work from Josh Laurent and Zain Westbrooke but Charlton equalised immediately through Aheane-Grant. The visitors netted a winner five minutes from time when Rhys Browne turned a defender and slotted home.Chelsea LadiesWycombe’s Adams Park will be the venue for the FA Women’s Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Monday 4 May. Kick-off is at 2pm, and the winners will go through to the final at Wembley on 1 August.Hampton & Richmond BoroughSupporters at Saturday’s game with Bury Town will be able to pay what they want to get in, with the club hoping to attract 1,000 fans. Victory will confirm the Beavers’ Ryman Premier Division safety.MiddlesexA virtual full-strength side will play Sunbury CC in a Twenty20 friendly on Saturday. Adam Voges, Nick Compton, Neil Dexter, James Harris and John Simpson have all been named in a 14-man squad for the match, which starts at 12pm. Entry is free.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

D’Angelo Russell on playing with Stephen Curry, how he fits Warriors scheme

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — A lot has been made of how D’Angelo Russell will fit in with the Warriors, both on and off the court.Throughout media day on Monday at the team’s new San Francisco facility, Warriors players and coaches conveyed excitement over implementing Russell. They pointed to his much-needed ability to score and pass, and played down concerns over implementing a pick-and-roll specialist into a team that ran the fewest pick-and-rolls in the league last season.Russell, for his part, fell …last_img read more

Who Laid a Fossil Egg?

first_img51; The news media are all excited that a pterosaur fossil has been found with an egg – a very rare association.  To the media, like the BBC News, this can only mean one thing: the pterosaur was a female, and now they can differentiate female and male pterosaur fossils.  They affectionately named the fossil, a member of the genus Darwinopterus, “Mrs. T.”  See also the reports and pictures at National Geographic, PhysOrg, and Live Science, which speculated further, saying: “Now scientists have discovered a female pterosaur preserved together with one of her eggs, shedding light on what the reproductive strategies of these reptiles might have been like.  These new findings reveal that pterosaur eggs and nests may not have been birdlike after all.”Actually, it was Daddy Darwinopterus taking his turn sitting on the egg.  Back then, you see, pterosaurs shared parenting responsibilities.  How do we know?  We don’t, and neither do the reporters.  The scientists are probably right in their assessment, but one cannot know such things for sure without having been there.    Far be it from the media to exercise restraint or critical thinking.  Beware the hubris of scientists, especially when they name their fossils after Darwin – the Grand Wizard of Storytelling (12/22/2003).(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA one of Africa’s innovators

first_imgSouth Africa, Botswana, Mauritius and Tunisia are the continent’s most globally competitive countries. (Image: World Economic Forum)Janine ErasmusFind out more about using MediaClubSouthAfrica.com materialThe Africa Competitiveness Report 2009, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), has revealed the continent’s top innovators – Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia. The report was launched just before the WEF on Africa, held in Cape Town from 10 to 12 June.All in all, 33 African countries and 101 others around the world were assessed and scored according to what the authors – 17 economic and financial specialists from the WEF, World Bank and African Development Bank – term the 12 pillars of competitiveness.The pillars are institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, business sophistication, and innovation.Each is divided into a number of subsections ranging from judicial independence and property rights in the pillar of institutions, to research collaboration between universities and industry in the innovation pillar.The report takes into account the fact that countries in various regions develop at different rates and are at different levels of economic development.It is compiled from a variety of sources, including survey data gathered from questions put to top executives in each country during 2007 and 2008 for the WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey.The report also makes use of hard data – facts and figures such as the incidence of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, the number of steps required to start a business, the number of patents granted for inventions, or the GDP of a country.These are culled from organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and various United Nations agencies.Impressive growthThe findings of the report show that Africa has experienced impressive growth rates and an economic resurgence over the past decade. In fact, since the arrival of the new century African growth rates have consistently exceeded those of the world average, although they are still far below that of the developing nations of Asia.The current economic climate threatens to undo all that, but, says the report, African economies have been spared the worst because they are not linked as deeply to global financial markets as other regions.Still, the continent has not escaped completely, with regional GDP expected to drop to a decelerated 3%.By paying attention to the African competitiveness report, policymakers can identify areas where action is needed to ensure that previous growth is sustained. The publication is intended as a tool for all relevant parties to measure the current and future business climate, to implement steps where necessary, and to help Africa improve its competitiveness in the global arena.The stages of developmentThe report mentions three stages of economic development, applicable to all countries. These are the factor-driven, efficiency-driven, and innovation-driven stages, with the latter being the most advanced. According to the report, a developing economy starts off as factor-driven – this is where countries compete according to the quality and quantity of factors such as primarily unskilled labor and natural resources. Pillars which influence a country’s competitiveness include institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomics, and the workforce.A country will then move into the efficiency-driven stage of development, and this is where efficient production processes and product quality is important. Relevant pillars here include higher education and training, goods and labour markets, financial markets, size of the domestic or foreign market, and use of technologies.In the innovation-driven stage, businesses must be able to compete with new products if a country is to maintain higher wages and the associated enhanced standard of living. The pillars that count are innovation and sophisticated production processes.South Africa, and a number of its continental compatriots, is in the middle stage, beyond which no African country has yet progressed.According to Jennifer Blanke of the WEF, productivity reaches a point where doing things more cheaply or in a better way does not enhance competitiveness, and this is where innovation plays a vital role.Globally competitiveOverall, only four African countries made it into the top half of the rankings – Tunisia, South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius. Tunisia is the continent’s most competitive country at 36, followed by South Africa at 45, Botswana at 56 and Mauritius at 57.Tunisia was among the top three African countries in eight of the 12 pillars, followed by South Africa and Mauritius which were among the top three in seven pillars. Botswana was among the top three in just three pillars, while of the rest, only Gambia and Kenya made a notable showing with top ranks in at least two pillars.In terms of basic requirements, measured by the pillars of institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, and health and primary education, South Africa came in halfway down the table at 69. Namibia came in first in Africa at 48, followed by Mauritius at 50 and Botswana at 53. South Africa’s score puts the country into fourth position in this section.In terms of efficiency enhancers, measured by the pillars of higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness and market size, South Africa scored higher than any other African country.The country’s score of 35 in this section puts it far ahead of its closest competitor, Tunisia at 53. The third-ranked country here is Mauritius at 66.Finally, in terms of innovation and sophistication factors, measured by the pillars of business sophistication and innovation, South Africa is ranked at 36, with Tunisia ahead of it at 30 and Kenya behind it at 50.Pillars of competitivenessBotswana, Gambia and Tunisia scored particularly strongly in their institutional capacity; their ranks of 36, 38 and 22 respectively put them on par with nations such as the US, Chile and the Republic of Korea. Good governance is a characteristic of this section, as well as high levels of confidence in the government, and these countries serve as good examples for the African continent. At 46, South Africa is ranked sixth, after Mauritius and Namibia.With regard to infrastructure, Namibia, Tunisia and Mauritius, at 33, 34 and 43 respectively, top the rankings. Good transport infrastructure is a strong feature here, especially roads and ports. South Africa’s ranking is 48, which puts it into fourth place in Africa. Most African countries came in low down on the list, which highlights the urgent need for infrastructure development.In the macroeconomic category, Algeria and Libya are undisputed leaders, coming in at five and six. Both are oil-exporting countries. Third on the list is Botswana at 22, which is also a big commodity exporter. South Africa again comes in about halfway, at 63. This pillar highlights the high budget deficits, high debt and inflation with which many African countries continue to struggle.The continent as a whole fared poorly in terms of health and primary education. Of the top three countries – Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia – only Mauritius and Tunisia made it into the top half of all countries. A whopping 84%, or 26 African countries, are in the bottom third. This is the area most in need of attention, but it can also be seen as an opportunity to address specific problems and eliminate them.In terms of higher education and training, the situation is very much the same as the previous pillar, but the difference between the highest- and lowest-ranked countries is not as great. The top three countries are Mauritius, South Africa and Tunisia. However, only Tunisia made it into the top third of all countries. The report says that the weakness showing here is linked to the poor quality of primary educational facilities, and is a critical area to address for future development.Pillar six, goods market efficiency, shows a better picture. The efficiency of the goods markets in the top three countries, Mauritius, South Africa, and Tunisia, are equal to those in countries such as Spain and Chile, and are characterised by strong competition in the market and taxation systems that are conducive to ethical business decisions.In terms of labour markets, Uganda tops the table for Africa and stands at 25 overall, followed by Gambia at 38 and Kenya at 40. This shows that these countries have implemented flexible and efficient recruitment systems. South Africa is ranked at 88.However, the country makes a strong comeback in the next pillar, financial markets. South Africa, with its sophisticated financial systems and reliable banks, is the best on the continent and number 24 overall. Here the country is on a par with Belgium and France. The next two countries are Botswana and Mauritius, while the financial markets of Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia are all in the top half. However, the bottom of the table also belongs to Africa.The area of technological readiness also shows a need for development. South Africa, although the top-ranked African country, is 29 overall, followed by Tunisia at 52 and Mauritius at 55. There are 24 African countries in the bottom third. This, says the report, is an indication of the relatively low spread of new technology into Africa and the low priority that many governments allocate to information and communications.South Africa also tops the African rankings in terms of market size, followed by Egypt and Nigeria at 23, 27 and 39 respectively. Thriving domestic and foreign trade is an important factor here and, says the report, while many lower-ranked countries cannot simply increase their domestic market size, they can lower barriers to overseas trade and thus enlarge their foreign market size.Business sophistication refers to factors such as local supplier quantity and quality, and the control of international distribution. South Africa, Mauritius and Tunisia are top in this pillar, at 33, 40 and 55 respectively.In the last pillar, innovation, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia were rated highly on their scientific capacity and are in the same league as other innovative developing countries such as Brazil and India. Tunisia is ranked at 27, South Africa at 37, and Kenya at 42, while Senegal, Nigeria and Egypt, at 59, 65 and 67, are indicative of the existing potential for innovation in Africa. Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected] storiesSouth Africa’s competitiveness upUseful linksAfrica Competitiveness Report 2009World Economic ForumWorld BankAfrican Development Banklast_img read more

Tshwane is South Africa’s top wifi spot

first_img8 September 2015Tshwane’s public wifi build programme is the largest of its kind in South Africa, new research by the firm BMI-T has confirmed.BMI-T undertakes business-to-business commercial and industrial research. It tracks public and private sector wifi hotspots. In its study, BMI-T found that South African government deployments had been on an expansion trend over the last year to 18 months.The city Tshwane’s free wifi build programme was the biggest in terms of users, footprint and access points, the data showed.Christopher Geerdts, the associate telecommunications consultant at BMI-T told, said provincial government deployments in Western Cape were the next biggest after Tshwane.“In terms of government sponsored deployments there are currently around 1 800 active hotspots in South Africa, with the bulk of these being concentrated in Project Isizwe’s Tshwane deployment, and projects in the Western Cape,” Geerdts said.However, BMI-T warned that free wifi risked being unsustainable.“Someone ultimately has to pay for these services,” Geerdts argued. “Public projects can be all or part sponsored by national, provincial or local government and/or the private sector. Project Isizwe received donated bandwidth from Neotel. Other ISPs and telcos (telecommunications companies) could also contribute, especially if there is some CSI (corporate social investment) capital to be gained from this.”In Tshwane, Project Isizwe registered 720 000 unique wifi users, who are given a 250MB cap per day. The non-governmental organisation said that only 7% of users reached their cap. In Western Cape, public wifi is provided in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, where users have a 3GB cap.However, Geerdts envisioned a model where wifi internet access was affordable rather than free in the longer term.“Overall we think that the country may be looking for an affordable model more than a free model. Customers are investing in smartphones and there is evidence they will pay for data if the pricing is improved and (for wifi) coverage and payment methods improve,” he said.Source: News24Wirelast_img read more

Soybean picture complex after USDA report

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest US corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.127 billion bushels, a decline of 225 million bushels. Corn exports increased 175 million bushels with corn used for ethanol was up 50 million bushels. Last month corn ending stocks were 2.352 billion bushels. Corn usage was up more than expected. US soybean ending stocks were estimated at 555 million bushels, a jump of 25 million bushels. Crush was up 10 million bushels with exports cut 35 million bushels. Last month ending stocks were 530 million bushels. Wheat ending stocks were 1.034 billion bushels and last month it was 1.009 billion bushels.Soybeans were negative as the US ending stocks increased while traders expected unchanged.Argentina soybean production was 47 million tons. Last month it was 54 million tons. No surprise for Argentina soybeans. Brazil soybean production was 113 million tons and compares to 112 million tons last month. No surprise for Brazil soybeans. Argentina corn production was    36 million tons with last month at 39 million tons. Brazil corn production was 94.5 million tons while last month was 95 million tons. While the Argentina soybean production was not a surprise, it could be negative as it was larger than earlier private estimates.Shortly after the report was released corn was up 4 cents, soybeans down 4 cents, and wheat    down 2 cents. Just before the noon release corn was up 1 cent, soybeans were unchanged, with wheat down 3 cents.Two weeks ago it was a common thread with today’s report for traders as traders anticipated US corn exports or corn used for ethanol to increase while US soybean exports were thought to decrease. Today the soybean picture is more complex and volatile as some expected the US soybean crush could increase due to the smaller production from Argentina.Weather and USDA are the dominant features in the market this report day. Argentina weather has been THE market feature this past month. As a recap, in a huge surprise to the market, the February 8th USDA Supply and Demand Report raised the US soybean ending stocks 60 million bushels to 530 million bushels. Yet, soybeans closed that day 4 cents higher. Looking further at the price action on that report day, soybeans on the day’s low were down just 5 cents. What erased the negative numbers? Argentina. Weeks later we learn Argentina had their driest February in several decades. Also, it is most apparent that the headline reading algorithms often used by managed money on USDA report days were not in play that February day as the 60 million bushel increase in ending stocks could have easily had soybeans down 10-20 cents in the minutes that followed the report release.Weather maps today suggest rains could hit Argentina in the north the beginning of next week with better rains over larger areas of Argentina later in the week. Are the rains too late for corn.Today could also be a hard day to understand price action. With all of the weeks on end news about Argentina, we could easily have Argentina’s corn and soybean production reduced, but prices not move higher. That occurs when trader estimates for production are below what USDA publishes. For example, a friendly number could be neutral or even negative if it is above trade expectations.Last month USDA estimated Argentina soybean production at 54 million tons. The average trade estimate is for Argentina soybean production is 48.4 million tons. Last week Informa estimated the Argentina soybean production at just 44 million tons. They also estimated Argentina corn production at 33.5 million tons with USDA at 39 million tons last month. The average trade estimate for Argentina’s corn production is 36.6 million tons.The ramped up rhetoric in Washington, DC on steel tariffs paints an ongoing picture of uncertainty. Today at noon we should hear more details on the tariffs to be imposed. The question is not in those details. Rather, what are the trade retaliations we face from the affected countries? Those retaliatory moves could easily hurt US agriculture and the US economy for months on end.Three weeks from today USDA will release the March Planting Intentions Report along with the Quarterly Stocks Report. Early projections have corn acres down and soybean acres up from last year. It promises to be a volatile time the balance of March. There used to be a February Intentions Report along with the March Intentions Report. That was cut decades ago due to budget constraints. Now I’m dating myself.last_img read more

Where is the Salt (Sodium)?

first_imgFlickr, Sodium Chloride Crystals (NASA, International Space Station, 05/13/03) Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)Robin Allen, MSPH, RDN, LDNThe 2010 US Dietary Guidelines recommends a reduction in sodium intake to less than 2300 mg a day and to 1500 mg for persons who are 51 and older, African American, have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. At that time I was an Administrative Dietitian for a large multi-unit college food service. When these guidelines came out I immediately and naively went to my Chefs (yes they were all trained certified chefs) and asked them to decrease the amount of salt being used.  From the horrified expressions and anguished protests you would have thought I was taking away their first born!   I started looking into our recipes and menus, which thankfully were all in our menu management system with the nutritional analysis.  Now I began to understand the magnitude of the problem!  Reducing the use of salt was only the tip of the ice berg!  Many foods, not naturally high in sodium, became so because of soup base mixes, seasoning mixes, and use of processed foods. Even some chicken breasts, my go to “healthy meal”, may contain excessive sodium due to a process called “plumping”.  Plumping is the injection of a saline solution into the chicken breast during processing to enhance flavor , and add weight. Changing over 1500 recipes which fed up to 20,000 students per day was massive and monumental undertaking!  This would also involve a change in purchasing products, food preparation, such as making soup base from scratch, changing the Chefs’ attitudes and changing our entire taste profile.  And finally our customers would complain and add salt!  It is no wonder that consumers are confused and have difficulty controlling their sodium intake.So where so we get the most sodium in our diet if it not just salt? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following is true about sodium content of the diet:Americans get 75% of the sodium from restaurants, prepackaged, and processed foods.Salt added during cooking at home is only 5% of the intake of sodium.Some foods naturally contain sodium which makes up the remaining 12%.Many processed, packaged food are high in sodium but do not taste salty.Bread and rolls, luncheon meat, cured meats, and pizza top the list in sodium.Bread can contain anywhere from 80 to 230 mg of sodium per slice.1 serving of lunch meat can contain 750mg of sodium, half of some peoples’ daily allowance.Sodium intake is not just a problem for Americans.    Excessive sodium intake is a key factor contributing to prehypertension and hypertension all over the world.  Identifying food sources of sodium is critical.  Using data from the INTERMAP Study to define major food sources of sodium in diverse East Asian and Western population samples, researchers set out to discover the source of sodium in the diets of these countries.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most of the world’s population consumes 2,300 mg to 4,600 mg sodium per day.  Where is this sodium coming from?  In Japan, China and Southern China, salt added during cooking, soy sauce and salted vegetables were the main source of sodium.  In the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US), breads, grains, cereal, salt from restaurants, fast food and processed foods at home,  and red meats, poultry and eggs were the primary source. The conclusion of the study indicated that China should focus on reducing salt in cooking and Japan, the UK and US must reduce sodium in processed food.So how do Dietitians and Health educators help their patients/clients lower their sodium intake?  The following steps are outlined by the CDC.Eat more fresh or frozen (no sauces) fruits and vegetables.Look for no salt added or low sodium versions when using canned vegetables, or choose frozen varieties without sauce.Read the nutrition labels on packaged foods. Compare sodium in different brands.More home cooked meals prepared without using processed or packaged foods.Use salt free herbs and spices rather than processed sauces, packaged broths, packaged seasoning mixes or condiments.When you do go out to eat, ask restaurants not to add salt to your meal. Use condiments in small amounts; ask for lemon, vinegar or other condiments to help with flavor.Ask your favorite restaurants, stores, and food manufacturers to offer more low-sodium options.You CAN re-train your taste buds. Over time, the less sodium you eat, the less you’ll want.What are you doing to help your patients/clients reduce their sodium intake?Are you looking at your facilities’ menus and recipes to see if adjustments can be made to food preparation and purchasing?Are you educating your staff of the importance of sodium reduction in the diet and food supply?References:Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010ANDERSON,CA, APPEL,JA, OKUDA, Dietary Sources of Sodium in China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Women and Men Aged 40 to 59 Years: The INTERMAP Study.  J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:736-745.Top 10 Sources of SodiumThis post was written by Robin Allen, member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

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