NVW is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our communities and to say thank you to the more than six million Australians who volunteer across the country. The 2012 National Volunteer Week runs from Monday, 14 May to Sunday, 20 May 2012 and the theme for this year is ‘Volunteers – Every One Counts.’Touch Football has volunteers at many levels of the sport, from affiliate administrators through to referees, coaches, selectors and panel/executive members and the sport wouldn’t be as successful as it is without the help of these valued volunteers. TFA Chief Executive Officer, Colm Maguire, has praised the efforts of the volunteers involved in the sport of Touch Football, saying that their hard work is greatly appreciated. “Volunteers are a valuable and integral part of any sporting association and on behalf of Touch Football Australia I thank each and every one for their contribution,” Maguire said. Touch Football Australia would like to thank all of its volunteers for their contribution to our sport.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Pellegrini says West Ham must build on victory at Southamptonby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says they must build on victory at Southampton.The hosts had taken the lead through Nathan Redmond, but Felipe Anderson stole the show with a quick-fire double that earned his side three points and movement into the top half of the table.“I’m happy,” Pellegrini said. “When you start with zero points in 12 then it’s always difficult to recover your position in this way. “In this moment, we are in the top ten. We will continue fighting and improving and, with 27 points, in the second round, we continue improving with our winning mentality, and we try to finish the season as near the top of the table as we can.”He continued: “I thought we played a very good game. From the first minute, we had the intention of winning the game and I thought we were very balanced in the whole game. “We worked most parts of the game in our opponent’s side and we defended very well. They didn’t have many options. “The important thing [when Southampton scored] is we continued to play in the same way, draw the game immediately, and then we scored the winning goal.”
Chelsea boss Lampard rules Rudiger out of Valencia clashby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea manager Frank Lampard has confirmed Antonio Rudiger will miss Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Valencia. The defender made his return from a long-term injury in Saturday’s win over Wolves.But Lampard says he suffered a groin injury in the clash and could potentially be out long-term once again.”Toni is injured,” Lampard confirmed. “At the weekend he bothered a small groin problem that he has been carrying the last couple of weeks so he is out. “He will have a scan later today to see where he is at. Hopefully it is not long-term.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos: Atletico point doesn’t mean a lotby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was left frustrated with their 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid.Los Blancos went into this weekend as LaLiga Santander round as leaders and Ramos wanted them to prove their strength by beating Los Rojiblancos.”These games against Atletico are very physical,” he said to Movistar afterwards.”It’s one of the most difficult stadiums we have to visit throughout the season and it’s important to keep a clean sheet.”But in attack it’s hard to create chances because they don’t leave much space.”This point doesn’t mean a lot because we wanted three.”Madrid have improved at the back in recent weeks, and Ramos admitted it’s something they’ve been aware of.”It’s something we’ve been working on, being forceful,” he explained.”Everything adds up and I think we’re enjoying a good spell.”
VANCOUVER — As the RCMP remains tight-lipped about why two young men may have killed three people in northern British Columbia, one of the survivors in Toronto’s Danforth shooting says she’s been following the story closely.Danielle Kane said the Toronto police department’s decision to release a detailed report on its investigation provided her with clarity about what happened the night she was paralyzed from the waist down and insight into the man who shot her.“It helped me process the whole thing and it also allowed the public to kind of figure out, well, what are the things that kind of lead up to this sort of thing happening? What are the factors?” she said in an interview.“I think that’s important for the public to know, instead of just wild speculation, because that’s what’s happening now.”Kane was one of 13 people injured when Faisal Hussain opened fire in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood then killed himself. Julianna Kozis, 10, and Reese Fallon, 18, were killed in the shooting on July 22, 2018.Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said in June that police took the “unprecedented step” of releasing their findings in the year-long probe out of compassion for the families and in recognition of the widespread impact the attack had on the community.The 23-page report did not identify a specific motive, but it said Hussain had a fascination with death and violence. He also had a long history of mental health issues and repeatedly harmed himself, the report said.On Wednesday, the RCMP announced they are confident that two bodies found in the dense brush outside of Gillam, Man., are those of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod, suspected of killing a young tourist couple and a botanist in northern British Columbia last month.The finding marks the end of a manhunt for the Vancouver Island men, but questions remain unanswered about what exactly happened, including their motivation.RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett told a news conference Wednesday that determining a motive will be “extremely difficult” if the identities are confirmed through autopsies because investigators can’t interview Schmegelsky or McLeod.He did not commit to provide details of the ongoing investigation, saying: “There may be an opportunity for that in the future but I’m not in a position to speak about that today.”Legal experts argue that the Mounties should share more about what they know, while balancing the privacy rights of those who died and their families.“They may need to be cautious and careful about how they put things, but I would hope to hear more from police about motivation because ultimately we want to prevent future incidents of this kind,” said Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.Boyd also defended the Mounties handling of the case, arguing that releasing too many details while the fugitives were still at large could have compromised the investigation.Some details may also be shared with the affected families alone, if they are needlessly gruesome or involve personal information, he said.Toby Mendel, executive director at the Centre for Law and Democracy based in Halifax, said questions about why the RCMP didn’t name McLeod and Schmegelsky as suspects earlier adds weight to the argument that they should release information about how the investigation was conducted.The Mounties announced McLeod and Schmegelsky as missing persons on July 19 and as suspects on July 23. In the meantime, the pair interacted with a man in Cold Lake, Alta., on July 21, and band constables with the Tataskweyak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba on July 22. They were unaware of who the men were.“Whenever there’s an allegation about wrongdoing or inappropriate behaviour on the part of any official, the public interest in accessing information increases significantly,” Mendel said. “That means they correspondingly need a weightier argument not to release the information.”Investigators need to have the freedom to make decisions in the heat of the moment, including what information to release. But that doesn’t give them automatic protection from a review of the decision later, he said.The story’s notoriety means it affected many people across the country, some of whom have become fearful or felt their safety was threatened.“A British judge once famously said the public interest is not what the public is interested in. So the mere curiosity or sensational curiosity wouldn’t drive that. But I think in a case like this you have to look at what’s behind the curiosity,” he said.Hackett defended how the RCMP released information on McLeod and Schmegelsky as their status changed from missing persons to suspects.“This was a dynamic and constantly evolving investigation,” he said. “And with the help of the media we were able to get information very quickly into the hands of the public to enhance public safety. I don’t know if we could have gone much quicker than we did.”In deciding which details to release publicly, lawyer Lorne Randa said the RCMP will consider the fact that an individual’s privacy rights don’t disappear at death, and their family members also have a right to privacy.The Privacy Act does include a provision for police to disclose personal information where it would be in the public interest to do so. However, the definition of what’s in the public interest is discretionary, said Randa, who is based in Edmonton and chairs the Canadian Bar Association’s committee on privacy and access.“There’s nothing that would obligate the RCMP to disclose information of that nature,” Randa said.Peter German, a former assistant commissioner who retired from the RCMP in 2012, said he believes the Mounties will provide as much information as possible without violating privacy rights.“The option is to hold an inquest and I don’t think that’s necessarily in the cards in this case,” he said. “There will be a thorough investigation and the RCMP should be able to inform the families of all the details and hopefully the public to a certain degree, so it does bring closure.”— With files from Liam Casey in Toronto.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
As Sobeys Inc.’s competitors ramp up their e-commerce efforts amid a growing grocery delivery war, the grocer’s parent company said Wednesday it’s resisting pressure to rush into the market, instead preferring to focus on the long game.“I see this as a marathon, and we’re in the first 100 meters,” Empire Co. Ltd. CEO Michael Medline told analysts on a conference call to discuss its better-than-expected third-quarter results.“I’d rather be up and running with our system today, but I don’t want to put mediocre systems across the country when there’s much more modern ways to win over the customer.”Empire is waiting for the spring of 2020 to roll out its online grocery business that will be run in partnership with British firm Ocado, even as its Canadian peers and multinational giants that are snapping up Canadian market share, such as Walmart and Costco, race to launch convenient click-and-deliver grocery options in order to fight off online behemoth Amazon.com.Walmart announced Wednesday it is expanding its same-day online grocery delivery service to more than 40 per cent of U.S. households, or 100 metro areas, by year-end. In Canada, Walmart Canada currently offers grocery pick-up services in five major markets and plans to double the number of locations this year. It is also experimenting with online grocery delivery in some Greater Toronto Area locations with plans to launch a delivery service in Vancouver this summer.And Costco is exploring ways to deliver groceries to Canadian consumers after introducing a similar service to U.S. customers last October, according to a report in the Financial Post.Rival Loblaw Companies Ltd. has launched home delivery in Toronto and Vancouver, and Metro Inc., which offers delivery in the big Quebec markets, said it is looking to expand its online grocery offerings to Ontario this year.But Empire’s chief financial officer Michael Vels kept expectations tempered by saying “the e-commerce online offering will not be immediately profitable,” adding the company anticipates it will become a “growing and vibrant channel.”Medline indicated the company’s e-commerce efforts will initially be concentrated on the Greater Toronto Area because “that’s a market we need to and will win,” but he acknowledged “there are three or four other markets in the country that we need to look at.”He wouldn’t say how fast Empire will launch in other markets, but revealed that the company has secured its first customer fulfillment centre in Vaughan, Ont., a few hundred meters from its existing automated distribution centre.The fulfillment centre will be kitted out with Ocado’s signature robotics, which U.K. reports say can put together an order of more than 50 items within five minutes.“The issue for e-commerce in this country, in Canada, is that no one has given the customers a fantastic option,” said Medline.“It makes sense for us by offering customers something that they just never have seen before. We will have the highest market share of any grocer.”Medline’s more immediate concern was the increased pressure on sales from competitor Loblaw’s “curious” $25 gift cards offered to consumers after revealing its participation in an alleged bread price-fixing scandal, in which it implicated Sobey’s.The company had better-than-expected results for its third quarter as its revenue and profits improved compared with a year ago.It earned $58.1 million, up from $30.5 million or 11 cents per diluted share in the same period a year ago.Sales totalled $6.03 billion, up from $5.89 billion, while same-store sales excluding fuel increased 1.1 per cent.On an adjusted basis, Empire says it earned 33 cents per diluted share. Analysts on average had expected Empire to report an adjusted profit of 25 cents per diluted share, according to Thomson Reuters.Companies in this story: (TSX:EMP.A)
MONTREAL – Via Rail says passengers travelling through Montreal could be delayed for up to 45 minutes starting Friday because of infrastructure work in the city.The passenger rail company says reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange requires that a portion of the track and signals be relocated.Disruptions will affect travellers on trips between Montreal and Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa and Senneterre/Jonquiere through Wednesday.Previously booked customers will be notified of the delays and can obtain a refund or change their dates of travel if desired.
TORONTO — The Ontario government will accept entries next week from those looking to enter a lottery to apply for the first 25 retail cannabis licences in the province.The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says expressions of interest can be submitted online Monday through noon Wednesday, with the draw to take place on Friday and results to be posted within 24 hours.There is a $75 fee to submit an expression of interest and those selected through the lottery will have five business days to turn in their application along with a $6,000 non-refundable fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.The commission says the rules have been established to encourage the opening of retail cannabis stores by April 1 — the first day they will be allowed in Ontario — and those who are not committed to meeting that deadline should not sign up for the lottery.Recreational cannabis can currently only be purchased legally through a government-run website.The province had initially said it would not put a cap on retail stores but later announced it would only hand out 25 retail licences this winter, with no date set for additional licences to be granted. The Progressive Conservative government said the move was in response to a national cannabis supply shortage, which it said can only be tackled by the federal government.Though the retail licence lottery is set for next week, Ontario municipalities have until Jan. 22 to opt out of hosting cannabis shops.The commission says the retail licences will be divided regionally, with five going to the east of the province, seven in the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five in Toronto itself.The Canadian Press
“You can think of it as a bathtub that’s full. And as long as the bathtub is full, the pressure on the (price) differentials is going to be bad,” said Birn, the vice-president of North American crude oil markets for IHS Markit.“So you’ve got to drain it. And building rail, it will help. You’re seeing announcements around production curtailments and that’s an attempt to accelerate the meeting between supply and demand to drain the basin.”Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced this week the province would buy as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers to move the province’s excess oil to markets, with the first shipments expected in late 2019.But Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s opposition United Conservative Party, says it would provide faster relief if all companies in Alberta were forced to temporarily halt 10 per cent of their production.Canada had total production of about 4.6 million barrels per day of oil in September, with 4.3 million bpd produced in the West, according to the National Energy Board.That month, the country exported 3.47 million bpd of oil, with almost all of it going to the United States. Crude-by-rail exports rose to a record of almost 270,000 bpd. CALGARY, A.B. – Oil market analyst Kevin Birn likens Western Canada’s crude supply to a bathtub with a drain that’s too small to keep up with the increasing volume pouring out of the tap.As barrels of surplus oil lap the edge of the tub, desperate producers are forced to sell at rock-bottom prices to avoid a big mess.Meanwhile, no one seems to agree on how to either turn down the tap or install a bigger drain. After hitting highs of more than US$52 per barrel in October, the discount on Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend crude versus New York-traded West Texas Intermediate settled at about US$29 per barrel on Friday, according to Net Energy, about double the discount it typically fetches due to lower quality and transportation costs.Upgraded synthetic crude from oilsands mines was selling at an US$18.50 discount to WTI (it typically trades near par) and Edmonton light oil was receiving about a US$23 discount, although it is of similar quality to WTI.In an update report on Nov. 21, Scotiabank analysts said the wider-than-usual discounts will cost the Western Canadian oil industry $15 billion to $39 billion of earnings in 2019 compared with a scenario where pipeline capacity is adequate to take away export production.It added the Alberta government could miss out on $1.5 billion to $4.1 billion (roughly $350 to $950 per Albertan) in royalty revenue in 2019. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers officially estimates the cumulative economic impact of discounts nationally was at least $13 billion from the start of 2016 to the end of October this year.The oil industry’s problems are mainly due to the failure to build export pipelines to match increases in oil production, said Birn.The 525,000-bpd Northern Gateway pipeline was approved in 2014 by the federal Conservative government and then rejected by the Liberal government in 2016. The 1.1-million bpd Energy East pipeline was cancelled by TransCanada Corp. due to “changed circumstances” in 2017.That leaves the Line 3 replacement pipeline as the most likely to come into service next, adding more than 370,000 bpd of export capacity when it starts up in late 2019, after both the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project and the Keystone XL pipeline were recently ordered halted by courts in Canada and the U.S.A hint of the trouble ahead came late last year when the Keystone pipeline was shut down for 10 days due to a leak in South Dakota and the heavy oil discount doubled to as much as US$29 per barrel, Birn said.The discount fell during the summer when oilsands production declined due to planned and unplanned project shutdowns in northern Alberta but rose again in the fall as refineries in the United States that use western Canadian heavy oil had their own maintenance shutdowns.Meanwhile, production continued to increase, driven by projects like Suncor Energy Inc.’s 194,000-bpd Fort Hills oilsands mine which began ramping up in late 2017.Birn said it’s tough to say where prices will go from here. Winter is the most active season for drilling in Canada and production normally rises but early indications are that the industry won’t spend as much as usual this year.Voluntarily production cuts, increases in crude-by-rail exports and a plan by the 80,000-bpd Sturgeon Refinery to begin processing bitumen will likely help moderate discounts in the months ahead, he said.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The annual Peace Country Open took place at the Lake Point Golf & Country Club.Saturday, July 13th and Sunday, July 14th, 2019The following are the winners of the 2019 Petron Communications Peace Country Open; Mens: Ritch HoskerSeniors: Gene DanylukLadies: Ann SawyerLake Point Golf & Country Club presents the 2019 Ladies Open.The one-day tournament is a two-person best-ball event.The event takes place Saturday, July 20th, 2019 and includes 18 holes of golf, dinner, and prizes, at $50 per member, $80 per non-member.Deadline to enter the event is Thursday, July 18th, 2019Call the Pro shop at 250-785-5566 ext. 1 for more information and to register.
Carmelo Anthony said he could not watch the trouble those in New York were enduring from Hurricane Sandy without doing something. So, the New York Knicks’ star forward did something.Anthony and others trekked to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, where some residents remain without electricity and water, and handed out boxes of food and housing supplies to those in need.“I wanted to step up to the forefront,” Anthony said to a small group of reporters on the scene. “We all know what Sandy did to our city, especially to Brooklyn, and to Red Hook, with us being right here on the water. It hit us pretty bad, so I feel like I’m the face of Red Hook and I wanted to come back and give back to the place I grew up.”In conjunction with the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, Feed the Children and Metro Ministries, Anthony delivered 500 boxes filled with food and cleaning supplies to a housing project on Columbia Avenue, a block away from where he lived as a child in Red Hook.Some residents of the surrounding projects say they have been without electricity or heat since the storm hit last Sunday.“Sometimes it feels like we’re the forgotten borough, the forgotten neighborhood,” said Red Hook resident Vanessa Bernard, who has been without power since last Sunday. “This is uplifting. Some families don’t have much at all, and it’s really difficult. Anything helps, and to do this is uplifting.”“We just wanted to provide a temporary relief,” Justice Anthony, Carmelo’s brother, said.Carmelo Anthony said it was a “no-brainer” to help.“I’m one of them, I was once one of them,” he said. “I grew up running around with a lot of the older guys as a little kid, so for me to come back and to help and give out house supplies and things like that, that’s the least I can do, especially at a time like this.”
Washington Redskins coaches decided to bench quarterback Robert Griffin III on Sunday after he bruised his knee during a hit from 335-pound Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.Doctors cleared Griffin to return in their 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos, but coaches opted to keep him off the field.After falling to the ground in pain, Griffin’s left knee was examined by doctors.“I think it just scared me,” he said.The left knee isn’t the same knee that Griffin had surgery on in January, after he tore his ACL in last year’s playoffs.When asked about Griffin’s left knee Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said: “I think he’s fine. Doctors felt like he could have went back in.”Griffin told the media after the game: “We decided it was smart to just keep me off the field and be ready to go next week.”
Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey will have surgery Tuesday to repair a torn medial collateral ligament, or MCL, in his right knee and could miss the remainder of the regular season.Pettrey suffered the injury during a kickoff late in the second quarter of OSU’s 45-0 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday.He is expected to miss four to six weeks, leaving open the possibility of playing in the Buckeyes’ bowl game.Junior Devin Barclay, a 26-year-old walk-on, replaced Pettrey on Saturday and missed two of his three field goal attempts.Pettrey has made 13 of 19 field goal attempts on the season.
Ohio State junior Joey McKenna faces off with Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith on Friday, March 16, 2018 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland at the NCAA wrestling championships. McKenna fell to Meredith by a 1-0 decision in the 141-pound semifinals. Credit: Jeff Helfrich | Senior Lantern ReporterCLEVELAND — With two sessions remaining in the NCAA wrestling championships and a slim chance at a team title for Ohio State, 141-pound junior Joey McKenna still did all that was asked and more than what was expected of him.McKenna was brought in via transfer in the offseason to win matches at the lower weights in the postseason and close the gap with perennial powerhouse Penn State.He has done just that. McKenna went undefeated in the Big Ten and NCAA championships until his loss to Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith in the semifinals Friday and surrendered just five points in that span of three matches.He then found it tough to get the taste of winning — as a team — out of his mouth.“My performance has direct implications on the team race, which actually makes me more excited to compete,” McKenna said. “Because not only am I contending for a national title myself but, what I do out on the mat pertains directly to how we’re going to do as a team.”McKenna picked up two early-round technical-fall decisions by a combined total of 31-1 in the first two round of the tournament and an 8-3 decision win in the quarterfinals before his slim 1-0 semifinals loss.Stanford, McKenna’s former school, was never in a team race near the level of the NCAA championships during the lightweight’s time there. Any match he wrestled had more individual than team implications. McKenna expressed to his team during a meeting this week that his level of enthusiasm had increased since joining Ohio State. It’s no longer just about him.Ohio State was left reeling last season after scoring one of the highest second-place point totals at the NCAA championships in history, yet still losing to Penn State. The program turned to a 141-pound transfer from Stanford who was homesick for New Jersey and looking for a change. That weight class was a weakness for both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions.McKenna’s transfer process was not a one-horse race. Among the competition for Ohio State was Penn State and Lehigh. But McKenna said the close-knit culture of the Buckeyes won out in the end. If McKenna had become a Nittany Lion, the national championship could have already been decided.“I was looking more at top programs, national contending programs,” McKenna said. “But really it was about having the best fit. If I would have went to Penn State it would have been a lock, but here I am and we’re contending right now. It’s a different outlook.”McKenna had been mostly foreign to raucous environments in dual meets and tournaments before arriving in Columbus. He said he experienced a dual meet in the Schottenstein Center that outclassed any meet he had at Stanford. That environment traveled to the nearby national tournament in Cleveland.“We were practicing all week in Columbus and I was just like, ‘This feels like a home outing.’ And it really is,” McKenna said. “Fifty percent of the fans it seems like are rooting for the Buckeyes every time we’re out on the mat. It’s just really fun.”On top of his undefeated performance at the Big Ten tournament and a semifinals run in the national tournament, McKenna also won a close match in a dual meet between Ohio State and Penn State on Feb. 3. Ranked 11th at the time, he upset No. 6 Nick Lee by a 7-6 decision and gave the Buckeyes an early lead they later relinquished.“[McKenna’s] been a blessing to the team,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said. “He’s a great leader. It was hard to see him lose. He was wrestling extremely well. He ran into someone that was wrestling well, also. Just a great leader for us, and he’s blended into the team extremely well.”Despite a 19-1 regular-season record, McKenna feels he’s been an underdog for most of the season in a loaded Big Ten conference. He’s also found himself in a star-studded locker room full of accomplished veterans. But it won’t be that way for long.McKenna will soon take the place of many seniors departing the team, and become the veteran leader.“Obviously on the team you’ve got big heads like [senior] Kyle [Snyder] and [junior] Myles [Martin] and [redshirt sophomore] Kollin [Moore]. A lot of big shoes to live up to,” McKenna said. “That’s what I’m trying to do right now, just make a place for my name. I’m going to be a senior next year. Only being here one year so far, my second year I want to go ahead and lead the team next year.”Another reason McKenna said he chose Ohio State was Snyder, whom he knew beforehand through the northeast and international wrestling scene. The bond of the two has grown stronger since his transfer, much like McKenna’s resume.Snyder was impressed with his teammates both new and old, despite a losing streak that came early in the semifinals.“We had two close matches that we dropped and then a couple other close,” Snyder said. “Joey was close, Nate and Lee, they go back and forth, and then [Micah Jordan]. So I’m happy with all my teammates. I love them. They’re doing everything they can do, you know. But just stinks that we’re losing right now.”Ohio State had a championship-caliber team on paper thanks to the addition of McKenna.On Day Two of the NCAA championships, the Buckeyes entered loud and left quiet. The opposite is true of McKenna’s first season with Ohio State.“He didn’t say much for a while,” Ryan said. “He just worked really hard. And he earned the respect of his team with his work rather than his words. He’s been a pleasure to have.”
Posted: April 16, 2019 KUSI Newsroom, April 16, 2019 SDSU astronomers discover third planet in two-star solar system SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A group of researchers led by astronomers at San Diego State University Tuesday announced the discovery of a third planet in the Kepler-47 solar system, making it the only known system with multiple planets that orbit two stars.The researchers spotted the Neptune-to-Saturn-sized planet between the system’s two previously observed planets while monitoring data from NASA’s Kepler telescope. SDSU astronomers believe the planet has gone largely unnoticed until now because it may have passed in front of one of the system’s two stars, weakening its transmission signal.The planet has been dubbed Kepler-47d.“We saw a hint of a third planet back in 2012, but with only one transit we needed more data to be sure,” said SDSU astronomer Jerome Orosz, the lead author of the study published in the Astronomical Journal. “With an additional transit, the planet’s orbital period could be determined, and we were then able to uncover more transits that were hidden in the noise in the earlier data.”In addition to confirming the planet’s existence, the research team discovered that it is the largest body on record in the Kepler-47 system. All three planets also have a lower density than Saturn, our solar system’s least dense planet. Kepler 47 is roughly 3340 light-years from Earth toward the northern constellation Cygnus.The system itself is fairly compact and could fit within Earth’s orbit around our sun. One of the system’s stars is roughly similar in size to the one in our solar system while the other is roughly one-third that size. All three planets are at least three times larger than Earth, with Kepler-47d registering at seven times larger.“This work builds on one of the Kepler’s most interesting discoveries: that systems of closely-packed, low-density planets are extremely common in our galaxy,” said Jonathan Fortney, a UC Santa Cruz astronomer who was not involved in the study. “Kepler-47 shows that whatever process forms these planets — an outcome that did not happen in our solar system — is common to single-star and circumbinary planetary systems.” KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
Share your voice Tags The hardest thing about having your DNA sequenced is generating a teaspoon’s worth of spit.They don’t tell you this in the marketing materials for your typical at-home DNA test kit, but producing enough saliva to fill a pen-sized tube up to its high spit mark is hard work — and strangely nerve-wracking, too.I sneak into an unused meeting room, chewing on air to generate slobber. The kit has two tubes. One, now full of my spit, and a second smaller tube with a chemical mix that stabilizes DNA. After uniting the two tubes, I stick the pale blue spit-mix into a box and mail it off to AncestryDNA, the genetics arm of the world’s largest genealogy company, Ancestry.In 2012 Ancestry launched the AncestryDNA service, which provides paying users the ability to build a timeline of their genes, search for relatives and understand what geographic regions their DNA originates from. Ancestry has sold 14 million kits since launch, and the number continues to grow as curious consumers turn to DNA to unravel their histories. The AncestryDNA kit Chris Linton So it’s not just me caught up in this craze — search for “Ancestry DNA results” on YouTube and you’ll find an entire subculture propped up by enthusiastic explorers probing their genetic histories. There’s a whole genre of evening TV dedicated to analyzing the family histories of the rich and famous. Over the last two years many DNA kit manufacturers have begun marketing their products as “perfect gifts.” In the 2018 Thanksgiving period, AncestryDNA broke its November sales record. Your DNA story has become this year’s hottest Christmas gift! Consumer genealogy tests have become big business practically overnight. Why are we so interested in finding out the secrets of our DNA?”I think the major appeal of DNA testing is to find out something new about us,” says Caitlin Curtis, a population geneticist at the University of Queensland. That’s certainly true for me, at least. My first thought is what revelations my spit might teach me about myself. But in the quest for answers, do we truly understand what kind of information we’re giving up?Related: The best DNA testing kits for 2019 Digging into your DNAThe almost unfathomable complexity of all life on Earth, from bacteria to humans, relies on DNA, but the DNA code itself is made up of just four letters: A, T, C and G.These letters, known as bases, always pair together the same way — A with T, C with G. The order in which these letters are arranged is what makes us different and gives us our unique traits. And because we hand parts of our DNA from parent to offspring, it also links us to the past. We just need to be able to “read” it and put all those bases in order. This is known as DNA sequencing. In the future, not even your DNA will be sacred Genealogy site credited with helping ID Golden State Killer suspect Best DNA Ancestry Testing Kits Now playing: Watch this: The genealogy craze 8 7:06 DNA data storage could solve a big problem Comments Who does that data belong to? It can be confusing, especially when these companies make deals with huge corporations to share their data.”I believe that there is an ethical obligation for these companies to be very upfront, honest and explain in simple terms to people what might happen to their data after they take a test, but that is not always the case,” says Curtis.AncestryDNA’s terms and conditions state that it “does not claim any ownership rights in the DNA submitted for testing” but by submitting a sample you effectively “grant AncestryDNA … a royalty-free, worldwide, sublicensable, transferable license to host, transfer, process, analyze, distribute, and communicate your Genetic Information for the purposes of providing you products and services.”It may be my DNA, but how it’s used in the future is something that AncestryDNA decides. However, there is a failsafe. The nuke-it-all option.”It’s your data, you should be able to do with it what you want,” Starr says. “If you decide at some point that you don’t want us to have it anymore, you can tell us to delete it and you can even tell us to destroy the DNA sample.”DNA as data”The biggest danger with handing control of your DNA data is the potential for discrimination based on that information,” says Curtis.Now that even our DNA is being digitized and stored in the infinite online filing cabinet of the World Wide Web, we must confront a reality in which our own genetic makeup can be hacked, stolen or used against us.”There are some parallels to broader conversations around how to govern our personal digital data online – and the possibility for it to be used in unanticipated ways in the future,” she continues.When we began signing up, en masse, for social media services such as Facebook and Twitter over a decade ago, we blindly shared our best baby photos and snarkiest thoughts with reckless abandon. Little did we know our personal data was being siphoned off insidiously and then used to target us in ad campaigns. And that data is still being generated and used today — Facebook gets to know exactly who we are in a matter of months. A cautionary tale, it would seem, considering genealogy testing has undergone rapid growth in the last two years. And though the science is getting better, the regulations and potential pitfalls are becoming harder to nail down.”It’s a complicated issue because in some countries there is protection against discrimination, and in some countries there are very few laws about what you can do with genetic data,” explains Curtis. In the US, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prevents health insurers and employers from discriminating against you based on your genetic profile. However, in Australia, insurance companies can discriminate based on the results of a DNA test, increasing premiums or completely excluding coverage for certain diseases.Cool. Cool cool cool. Almost none of this research was done before I spat into a tube six or seven weeks ago, and now I realize my nerves weren’t about how much spittle I could produce. I jangled because I was diving headfirst into a world I thought I understood, but actually knew hardly anything about. There were voices gnawing at my subconscious. A devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other. One quietly trying to tell me that it’s kind of weird to give a private, multinational company access to the immutable information that can be used to identify me — and only me. The other saying “what can you lose?”You already know which one I listened to. I click through ready to solve this admittedly feeble personal mystery. But there are no shocking revelations. I end up with an ethnicity estimate that puts my DNA origins at 55 percent England, Wales and Northwestern Europe and 44 percent Ireland and Scotland.However, there’s also a zero to 1 percent chance my DNA comes from a region in West Africa that AncestryDNA pegs as relating to “Benin/Togo.” Surprising to me, but not unusual, according to Starr.”A 0-1 percent would say there might be something interesting here, but there might not,” he says. A result such as this might “fall out” in the future, as AncestryDNA’s databases continue to be refined by additional samples and research programs. My ethnicity estimate is only one half of the picture, however, because I can also look at my DNA matches, which directly correlates my DNA with that of other users in Ancestry’s database. In my case, it throws up two matches that AncestryDNA classes as “second cousins” — pretty close relatives of mine, according to my genes.I’ve never seen these people.And this is a caveat for the AncestryDNA kit. Your DNA might kick up matches with people you’ve never seen before, but if you want to fit them into your family tree, you need to subscribe to the other side of the Ancestry business to pore over how you might, potentially, be related to one another. My ethnicity estimate had me at a 0 to 1 percent chance of having genetic heritage in Benin/Togo Jackson Ryan Digital DNA trailIn January, Buzzfeed News reported that FamilyTreeDNA, another huge provider of at-home DNA kits, had given the FBI access to its database of over a million profiles. The company provides the FBI with the ability to upload genetic profiles from crime scenes to FamilyTree’s database, which may aid them in genetically hunting down criminals. However, FamilyTree didn’t notify users that their genetic information might be used this way before giving the FBI access. And while there have been high-profile, beneficial uses for law enforcement — the apprehension in 2018 of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, for example — it does raise issues about how this highly personal information may be shared in the future. Particularly concerning is the idea that you don’t even have to share your own DNA data for it to become searchable because your third cousin has already uploaded their own profile. It’s your data, you should be able to do with it what you want. Barry Starr The technology to perform this task has improved dramatically over the last two decades, driving the costs of DNA sequencing down from $10,000 in 2011 to $1,000 in 2017, according to the US National Human Genome Research Institute. Those advances have trickled through to the commercial sector, allowing a myriad of companies, from startups to huge public organizations, to develop their own at-home DNA testing kits.Kits provide customers with an estimation of their genetic histories, ancestries and even potential health issues they might run into. But going from a saliva sample to a genetic history solution is a complex process involving overwhelming amounts of data and statistical analyses that often confound more than they clarify. “There is a general lack of knowledge about how the whole process of ancestry testing works,” Curtis says. “People’s perceptions of the results might be different from the way a genetic scientist might interpret the results.”I’m pretty well versed in the complexities of molecular biology, but after sending my spittle away I become acutely aware that I have no idea how AncestryDNA’s test works. I know it’ll give me an “ethnicity estimate” and tell me my “DNA story,” but beyond the marketing buzzwords I’m in the dark.Science, math and dataAncestryDNA uses a database that contains more than 16,000 reference DNA samples from 43 regions around the world. About 12,000 of these samples come from Ancestry users who opt in and allow the company to use their DNA for research purposes, while the remaining reference samples come from public databases such as the 1000 Genomes Project.”We find people with long family histories from a certain part of the world and we analyze their DNA, and their DNA becomes, by definition, 100 percent from the region” says Barry Starr, director of scientific communications at AncestryDNA. The science of it is complex: The procedure splits up a DNA sample into 1,001 different “windows,” as Starr calls them. All up, those 1,001 windows look at approximately 700,000 spots in the DNA code. When you take the test, every window is compared to the 1,001 windows in a reference sample, and that occurs for each of AncestryDNA’s 43 regions.If 500 of those windows match, say, a Canadian region, then by AncestryDNA’s definition, I am 50 percent Canadian. Sci-Tech “It really is cutting-edge science, and as the field advances we advance with it and so provide updates to consumers when we have made changes based on the progression of the science,” says Starr.CNET rates AncestryDNA as having one of the best kits available, in large part thanks to its huge database. But testing doesn’t just rely on database size — where the data comes from is also important. Almost 75 percent of AncestryDNA’s ethnic regions skew toward European descent, so detailed estimates of ethnicity from other regions is difficult to obtain at present. A study, published in Nature in 2016, suggested that the scientific inquiry into genomes was also suffering from bias.With fewer reference samples from both consumers and scientific research available in regions of Africa and Asia, accurate estimates for genetic heritage in those locations are more prone to error. “Everyone started out in Africa, and a small set of them moved out of Africa and colonized the world,” explains Starr. “The genetic diversity within Africa is huge compared to the rest of the world, which means you need larger reference panels.”And the results of different genealogy tests may show marked differences. For instance, 23AndMe, a rival genealogy company based in California, has a more extensive catalogue of East Asian regions than AncestryDNA. Providing DNA samples to both companies could lead to completely different ethnicity estimates. It’s not that your DNA has changed — but the different databases and algorithms used to calculate it have. Ian Knighton/CNET My DNA storyI’m not exactly sure where I come from.An educated guess would say this impressively pale skin hails from a region localized entirely within Britain. There could be some Scottish in there. Maybe a hint of Irish, too. I don’t think there’s lots of room for suspense or intrigue here.Four weeks after I spat in a tube, my email chimes. Your AncestryDNA results are in!
Photo taken on July 6, 2016 shows the displayed Jaguar XE car at the 7th International Auto Exhibition 2016 in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.IANSBritain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will hire 5,000 staff as it boosts its skills in autonomous and electric technology, a welcome business endorsement as Prime Minister Theresa May starts Brexit talks after a botched election.JLR, which employs more than 40,000 people globally, said it would hire 1,000 electronic and software engineers as well as 4,000 additional personnel including in manufacturing, most of whom will be based in Britain.The recruitment process will take place over the next 12 months, during Britain’s talks to leave the European Union, which carmakers have warned must result in a deal which retains free and unfettered trade to protect jobs.May lost her parliamentary majority in the June 8 general election that her Conservatives fought on the promise of a clean break with the EU single market and customs union.The renewed political uncertainty has seen business confidence tumble in recent days, according to surveys and business groups.Hours before the talks were due to begin in Brussels, the heads of the UK’s biggest business lobbies called on the government to engage “continuously” with UK business interests and strike a deal that preserves the benefits of EU membership including tariff-free trade, guarantees for EU citizens living in the UK and minimal customs formalities.Finance minister Philip Hammond said leaving the EU without an agreement would be a “very, very bad outcome for Britain” and he wanted an exit that would support employment and investment.”When I talk about a Brexit that supports British jobs, British investment and British business I mean a Brexit that avoids those cliff edges,” Hammond said in an interview with BBC television on Sunday.JLR, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, will build its first electric vehicle, the I-PACE, in Austria but has said it wants to build such models in Britain if conditions such as support from government and academia are met.Automakers are racing to produce greener cars and improve charge times in a bid to meet rising customer demand and fulfil air quality targets but Britain lacks sufficient manufacturing capacity, an area ministers have said they want to build up.JLR, which builds just under a third of Britain’s 1.7 million cars, has said half of all its new models will be available in an electric version by the end of the decade, requiring new skills among its staff.
Flags of China and USAChina said Thursday it had lodged a protest with Washington after two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions between the two powers.The US Navy said the USS Preble, a destroyer, and USNS Walter S Diehl, a supply ship, conducted a routine transit “in accordance with international law” on Wednesday.”The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said.”The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”US warships periodically conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises in the narrow waterway separating the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, triggering angry responses from Beijing every time.Beijing views any ships passing through the strait as essentially breaching its sovereignty, while the US and many other nations view the route as international waters open to all.”We have lodged solemn representations with the US,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing.The sail-by comes on top of tensions between the United States and China over trade and US efforts to thwart Chinese telecom giant Huawei over security concerns.The transit also comes as the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia kicked off operation “Pacific Vanguard” near Guam, bringing together more than 3,000 sailors from the four countries.Drills will focus on “live fire exercises, defensive counter-air operations, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea,” the US 7th Fleet said.In April, Beijing said its navy warned off a French warship that had entered the Taiwan Strait and lodged an official complaint with Paris.China sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.The US diplomatically recognises China over Taiwan, but remains the island’s chief military ally and arms supplier.For the Guam naval drills, Australia has contributed two frigates, Japan two destroyers and South Korea one destroyer. The USS Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet’s flagship, will lead the operation from the US side.Home to more than 160,000 people, Guam was at the centre of nuclear tensions between Washington and Pyongyang in 2017, with North Korea threatening to hit the US territory with “enveloping fire”.
11:05 a.m.Tropical Storm Jose has formed in the open Atlantic far from land.Jose is located to the east of Hurricane Irma, which is a powerful and dangerous storm heading toward Antigua and perhaps the U.S.Jose is the 10th tropical storm of the season. It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and is about 1505 miles (2420 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles.___10:55 a.m.The Dutch government says it is sending about 100 marines to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten to help prepare it and two other small islands for the arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Irma.The government said Tuesday that the first marines were flown from the island of Aruba to St. Maarten in a coast guard plane. Some then traveled on to St. Eustatius and Saba.Two Dutch navy ships based in the Caribbean also are sailing toward the islands to provide help assessing damage and repairing vital infrastructure after Irma has passed.St. Maarten is an independent former Dutch colony that still relies on the Netherlands for defense and foreign relations issues. St. Eustatius and Saba are overseas municipalities of the Netherlands.St. Maarten has a population of around 37,000, Saba has 2,000 residents and St. Eustatius has about 3,200.___10:45 a.m.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says he has spoken to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as he seeks to have a state of emergency declared in the U.S. island territory due to Hurricane Irma.Rossello thanks Kelly in a tweet for “the attention given to Puerto Rico” as the storm approaches.Puerto Rico has announced a number of steps in preparation for the storm, including a 24-hour ban on the sale of alcohol starting 6 a.m. Wednesday.The government has also dispatched inspectors to stores throughout the territory to check for possible price-gouging.___9:50 a.m.The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands says he has submitted an emergency declaration to the White House due to the approach of Hurricane Irma and is urging residents of the territory to take the storm seriously.Gov. Kenneth Mapp says in a news briefing that he doesn’t want to frighten anyone but that forecasters predict the storm could skirt the territory or even pass directly over it.Mapp says people in the islands may start to feel the storm’s effects around midmorning Wednesday.___8:35 a.m.American Airlines has added extra flights out of two Caribbean islands to get people out of the path of Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm.The flights were added in St. Maarten and St. Kitts and Nevis. Those are in addition to regularly scheduled flights Tuesday and Wednesday to Miami.Both islands are part of the northern Leeward Islands and are under a hurricane warning as Irma approaches the region Tuesday.American says it expects to make additional flight changes as it monitors the storm.___8 a.m.Hurricane Irma has strengthened into a Category 5 storm as it roared toward the northeast Caribbean on a path toward the U.S.Irma’s maximum sustained winds increased to 175mph (280 kph) early Tuesday. It was centered about 270 miles (440 kilometers) east of Antigua and moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters). Government officials began evacuations in certain islands.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that all decisions taken in the next couple of hours would make a difference between life and death.States of emergency were declared in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of Florida. Share APThis Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Irma nearing the eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Irma grew into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday. (NOAA via AP)The Latest on Hurricane Irma:4:35 p.m.Some small Caribbean islands are bracing for a big hit from Hurricane Irma.Forecasters say those in the path of the Category 5 storm include tiny Anguilla as well as the islands of Barbuda and Anegada. All will be near or directly in the path of Irma.Anguilla is British Island territory of about 15,000 people. It is a low-lying island known for its smooth sandy beaches.Authorities are expecting the eye of Irma to pass directly over Anguilla early Wednesday.Disaster Management agency Director Melissa Meade says Anguilla is expecting the full force of the storms with winds of 185 mph. They also expect storm surge and flooding.Meade says four shelters are opening on the island Tuesday though people tend to stay with friends and family.___4:10 p.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering the suspension of road tolls across the state as Hurricane Irma continues its ominous move toward the region.Scott says tolls will be suspended to keep traffic flowing as residents begin to evacuate coastal areas in the potential path of the dangerous Category 5 storm.The governor adds that tolls will remain suspended “for the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida.”Several important Florida highways are toll roads including the Florida Turnpike, which runs from 60 miles north of Orlando all the way to Miami-Dade County.___4:05 p.m.The University of Central Florida has moved its football game against Memphis up a day as a precaution due Hurricane Irma.The UCF athletic department says the home game will be played Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando.The American Athletic Conference opener was originally scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m.The school also announced Tuesday that there will be no tailgating. Parking lots and the stadium will open for fans at 5 p.m.___4:00 p.m.Water and basic foodstuffs are flying off the shelves of some stores in Florida as residents stock up ahead of Hurricane Irma.Pablo Rodriguez surveyed the empty water aisle at a Fort Lauderdale Winn Dixie with dismay, saying “I was hoping to get a few cases.”The 65-year-old said he would have to try other shops, because “all the people are stocking up quick.”Theresa Webster, 60, of Fort Lauderdale had heard water was sold out at Publix but still available at Winn Dixie, but there was none by the time she got there in the afternoon.She was also stocking up on canned tuna, crackers and bread.Said Webster: “I got some water already but I wanted more.”3:30 p.m.Hurricane Irma is the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 5 storm has winds of up to 185 mph (297 kph) as it approaches the Leeward Islands of the northeast Caribbean.Four other storms have had winds that strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they have been in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico where the usually warmer waters fuel tropical cyclones.Hurricane Allen hit 190 mph in 1980, while 2005’s Wilma, 1988’s Gilbert and a 1935 great Florida Key storm all had 185 mph winds.Experts say Irma’s strength is a result of unusually warm water for that part of the Atlantic.___3:15 p.m.Miami-Dade County’s mayor says residents and visitors should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach and most of the county’s coastal areas as Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida.Mayor Carlos Gimenez says the voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening.Gimenez activated the emergency operation center and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water. The mayor reminded residents that tap water was a good resource, telling them to fill up bottles with tap water now.Evacuation will begin Wednesday morning for special needs residents.All Miami-Dade County offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.12:30 p.m.Officials in the Florida Keys are gearing up to get tourists and residents out of the possible path of Hurricane Irma.Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark says in a news release that a mandatory evacuation for tourists will begin at sunrise Wednesday. An evacuation plan for residents is also under way but a timetable hasn’t been determined.Clark says government offices, parks and schools will close and there will be no shelters in Monroe County. The county’s three hospitals are also beginning evacuation plans.U.S. 1 is only route in and out of the island chain off the southern peninsula of Florida.Clark says residents and tourists should begin filling their tanks with fuel to prepare to drive to the mainland.#Irma is the strongest #hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico in NHC records https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/P8ebbQJR4k— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 5, 2017___12:10 p.m.Florida Gov. Rick Scott is activating 100 members of the Florida National Guard to prepare for Hurricane Irma.Scott says in a statement that the initial 100 troops will be stationed throughout the state. Some 7,000 National Guard members will report to duty Friday, when the storm could be bearing down on Florida.Scott said Tuesday that the exact path of the storm is still unknown but officials “must prepare for the worst.”On Monday he declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties.Two hurricanes hit the state last year but neither was as powerful as Category 5 Irma is right now.National Weather ServiceIrma’s latest trajectory.___11:25 a.m.Antigua’s airport has closed with an ominous statement from local authorities as Hurricane Irma approaches the Caribbean island.The statement from the V.C. Bird International Airport says it is shutting down Tuesday and advises all visitors and residents of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda to seek protection from the “onslaught” of the Category 5 storm.It closes with: “May God protect us all.”The center of the storm was expected to start passing north of Antigua and near or over Barbuda on Tuesday night.
Share U.S. Chemical Safety BoardThis photo shows the wreckage of the Patterson-UTI Drilling rig after a deadly January 2018 explosion.A federal investigation of an explosion and fire that occurred in January and that killed five workers at an Oklahoma natural gas drilling rig owned by a Houston-based company has made new findings.The explosion may have started after natural gas escaped from the well and safety equipment failed to prevent it, State Impact Oklahoma reported.Patterson-UTI Drilling owns the rig and new findings from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) suggest the accident occurred after workers removed pipe from the well.Investigators said that more than 100 barrels of drilling fluid were pushed into the drilling site’s mud pits before the blowout, far above levels that should have triggered alarms — and a strong indicator natural gas was flowing into the wellbore.Lead investigator Lauren Grim said the agency is examining the blowout preventer, a last-chance device used to shut down an uncontrollable well. “We are analyzing the data and testing the equipment to identify why the blowout preventer did not function,” she said.Investigators are also scrutinizing other equipment and crew experience, training and communication to see if proper procedures were followed and if workers missed any warning signs before the explosion and fire.The agency is also working to determine what ignited the fire.Fined by OSHAIn July, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited and fined Patterson-UTI Drilling and two Oklahoma City firms, Crescent Consulting and Skyline Directional Drilling, for improperly operating a heat lamp near the combustible opening of the well.OSHA also cited and fined Patterson-UTI Drilling and Crescent Consulting for not maintaining proper controls during drilling.The CSB investigation is expected to continue for months. A final report could include recommendations for industry and regulators.In a statement released after the agency updated its findings, a Patterson-UTI Drilling spokesperson said the company is cooperating with the investigation, will work to understand any related recommendations and is committed to workplace safety.At least three wrongful death lawsuits have been filed over the accident. Michael Lyons, an attorney who represents the family of one of the men killed, said the new information showed the accident “was 100 percent preventable.” “This disaster was the product of multiple failures to adhere to safe oilfield drilling practices,” Lyons said.