‘Fighting may be over, humanitarian crisis is not’Some 700,000 civilians have been displaced from Western Mosul, according to UN figures.Speaking via videolink from Baghdad, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Iraq Lise Grande told journalists in New York that the top priority right now is to reach civilians who might still be in Mosul’s old city.“We believe perhaps hundreds of people are still there,” said Ms. Grande, who is also the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. She noted that in the last week of fighting some 12,000 people were evacuated. The majority of them are children and the elderly, who without sufficient water or food were too weak to even walk on their own. Triage stabilization units established right on the front lines by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) received up to 100 patients per hour, spending about 4 minutes to stabilize each patient, before passing him or her on to a field hospital. “The fighting may be stopping but the humanitarian crisis has not,” noted Ms. Grande.Of the 54 residential districts in western Mosul, 15 are heavily damaged, “basically flattened,” Ms. Grande said, 23 are moderately damaged and 16 neighbourhoods have light damage.The UN estimates the costs to stabilizing these areas and making them liveable to be more than $700 million, of which $237 million would be for the moderately and lightly damaged areas and $470 million for the more destroyed neighbourhoods. “That is double the estimate for stabilization,” Ms. Grande said, due to fighting which was “so fierce and so much worse that what anyone else experienced.” The UN has requested nearly $1 billion in assistance to aid the people in Mosul, with a focus on re-establishing crucial services so that people can safely return home to western Mosul.Meanwhile, in eastern Mosul, which has been liberated since January, “schools are open, businesses are thriving, the city is recovering,” said Ms. Grande. Since the beginning of the fighting last year, about 940,000 civilians fled Mosul. Nearly all have been housed and are receiving direct assistance, an outcome that Ms. Grande called “very positive.” The UN official attributed the ability of aid workers to stay “one step ahead” due to the UN’s early contingency planning under the Government’s leadership and a flash appeal that was 100 per cent funded; Iraqi forces’ commitment to protecting civilians during the battles; and strong civilian-military liaison communication.She noted that an additional 100,000 civilians are expected to flee their homes by the end of this year, as Iraqi forces start to reclaim new areas in other parts of Ninewa and Anbar Governorates and in Kirkuk Governorate, where ISIL still holds territory. Security Council meeting on the situation concerning Iraq. Ján Kubiš, Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe “The historic liberation of Mosul should not conceal the fact that the road ahead is extremely challenging,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, told the Security Council.He praised the Iraqi security forces and international partners for “an exceptional effort” to save and protect civilians during the military drive to liberate the Iraqi city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known by its Arabic acronym, Daesh, and for showing a readiness to be held accountable for violations.The effort was “in stark contrast” to ISIL, which showed “absolute disregard for human lives and civilization” by booby-trapping and destroying homes and critical monuments, indiscriminately shelling civilians, and by having civilians “butchered” by females and brainwashed children suicide bombers. “To turn the gains of the military victory into stability, security, justice and development, the Government will have to do everything possible to give the people back their lives in security and dignity,” said Mr. Kubiš, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).De-mining, stabilization and reconstruction efforts to allow the return of displaced people, as well as the elimination of ISIL cells and militias, are among the priorities.He noted that the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait had confirmed their willingness to assist the Government of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, and urged all of Iraq’s partners to “stay on course.” In addition, the Iraqi Government has to work for national settlement and societal reconciliation within the country, as well as to enter into negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the UN envoy said. ISIL would ultimately be defeated only “through inclusive solutions, addressing the grievances, needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people,” noted Mr. Kubiš.He reiterated the UN’s commitment to facilitating the national settlement process and supporting grassroots reconciliation efforts. Also, with ISIL pushed out of Mosul and the people held by the group freed, the UN is “repositioning” its response to supporting survivors of sexual violence and helping to integrate them back into their communities. The UN is also working to ensure that children arrested for terrorism-related charges are transferred to juvenile institutions.
Oregon redshirt-junior quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) carries the ball during the Pac-12 Championship Game against Arizona in Santa Clara, Calif., on Dec. 5. Oregon won, 51-13.Credit: Courtesy of TNSDALLAS — When the Oregon Ducks have the ball during the College Football Playoff National Championship, it’s no secret where Ohio State’s focus will be aimed.“Our No. 1 concern is their quarterback,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said during a Sunday press conference.He was referring to Oregon redshirt-junior signal caller Marcus Mariota, who led the Ducks to an 11-1 regular season record before winning the Heisman Trophy and the Pac-12 Championship Game. His dominance — combined with the work of a plethora of playmakers — helped Oregon average 47.2 points per game this season, along with 552.9 total yards.Mariota alone accounted for 4,121 passing yards, 731 rushing yards and 56 total touchdowns — including one as a receiver — while throwing just three interceptions.OSU sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa said Mariota’s success in all aspects of the offense means the Buckeyes have to be ready for anything and everything Monday night.“He’s such a dual threat with his legs and his arms,” Bosa said. “It’s really not one more than the other, we’ll have to limit both to beat them.”Beyond keeping on eye on Mariota’s appendages, OSU will be tasked with finding a way to keep up with the tempo of Oregon’s offense. The Ducks have run nearly three plays per minute of possession this season, and outgained their opponents 1,833 yards despite holding the ball for just 27:07 per game.Senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett noted that Oregon isn’t always pushing its offense at full speed, but added the Buckeye defense has to make sure it gets set before each play in order to have success.“The biggest thing is getting lined up,” Bennett said Saturday. “No matter what the situation, you get lined up and you get the call and you put your hand in the ground.”He added that the pace of the Ducks will be in stark contrast to that of the Alabama Crimson Tide, whom the Buckeyes beat in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day to earn a trip to the title game.“Against Alabama, they kind of took their time and had a lot more opportunities to scheme against them or gather yourself and get ready for the next play,” Bennett said. “While with Oregon, whether you are ready or not, you need to focus on the next play and put your hand in the ground.”In order to make their high-flying offense run like a well-oiled machine, the Ducks have relied on more than just Mariota. Freshman running back Royce Freeman led the team with 1,343 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, while junior running back Byron Marshall added 834 receiving yards and five scores through the air.But the Ducks will also be without at least two key playmakers in redshirt-freshmen wide receivers Darren Carrington and Devon Allen. Carrington was ruled ineligible for the game after reportedly failing a drug test, while Allen is out with an injury.With the wide range of weapons and athletes Oregon has on offense, Bosa said his team is still focused largely on stopping Mariota first in order to slow down the attack.“We’ve just got to limit what Marcus Mariota can do, try to keep him in the pocket, but they’re obviously going to spread the ball out all game and they’re going to try to hurry it up,” Bosa said. “We’re just going to try and keep up with the pace and try to keep him in the pocket.”Bosa — who needs just one sack to break the OSU single-season record — said the Buckeye coaching staff has employed a different approach in practice to prepare for a fast-paced matchup.“We’ve been running a lot more and hurrying in practice, so that’s definitely helped us get in shape,” he said. “These last four practices, we’ve been having hurry-up periods. It’s definitely been tough, but it’s been working.”Meyer agreed that practice has been slightly different than normal, and said it’ll be important for his team to suppress the exhaustion, especially on the defensive side of the ball.“We have the shot clocks up, we have a lot of emphasis about defeating the demon, the demon that takes place when fatigue takes over, and that’s real,” Meyer said. “And that’s something that we’ve addressed really hard, but ultimately it comes down to those young guys out there playing tomorrow night.”Bosa said it won’t be easy to keep up with Oregon’s athleticism, including along the Ducks’ offensive line, but stressed that winning individual battles early and often will be key for the Buckeyes to have success, and ultimately win the game.“It’s going to be tough … we’re going to have to win first down, try to get them to second and long or third and longs,” Bosa said. “That’s a really big goal for us, because if we slow them down on first down, they really won’t go to the hurry up and they’ll take it slow and that’s the whole goal.”The Buckeyes defense is set to go head-go-head with the fast-paced Ducks on Monday at 8:30 p.m. EST in Arlington, Texas.
Mine Energy Solutions (MES) is building on the recent dual fuel hybrid truck trial it ran with project partners New Hope Group and Hastings Deering at the New Acland coal mine in Queensland, Australia, and hopes to roll out its first commercial fleet at an operation in the state’s Bowen Basin late next year.The trial on a Cat 789C haul truck took place over the past two years at New Acland and involved the conversion of high horse powered diesel engines from 100% diesel to dual fuel operation, using natural gas as the dominant fuel through sequential gas injection.MES’ Graham Box provided IM with some more insight into the High Density Compressed Natural Gas (HDCNG®) technology, owned and developed by MES shareholder Intelligas, and the company’s business model.Mr Box said MES, which doesn’t sell a product or a kit but a “fully-funded energy proposition”, uses bespoke designs for each truck model conversion it works on.The incorporation of Type 4 carbon fibre cylinders to store the gas – which is compressed and stored at 350 bar (5,000 psi) using patented technology – is one of the ways the company has got around the weight and space constraints that previously limited technology using compressed natural gas and LNG on truck engines.A lightweight non-invasive engine augmentation and on-board control system also help alleviate this issue, according to Mr Box.“Remember, our gas remains in a gaseous state and is not liquefied,” he added.The haul truck fuel conversion packs use HDCNG® proprietary gas cylinder filling technology to achieve energy densities approximately double that of conventional compressed natural gas storage systems and approaching two thirds of the density of LNG without the operational complexity and cost of LNG cryogenic storage and handling, according to MES.“This enables mine trucks to achieve high levels of diesel displacement whilst carrying sufficient fuel on board for a full work shift and not adversely affecting payload,” the company said.The system has been developed to achieve sufficient fuel storage quantities on board the machine for a full work shift of up to 12 hours. In mine haul trucks, a slim-line diesel fuel tank (and if required a slim-line hydraulic oil tank) replaces the existing tanks allowing for the introduction of HDCNG® fuel packs for the storage of gas on the machine.The trial at New Acland took place on a Cat 3516B engine, yet Mr Box said the company is “well advanced” or has “completed development work” on a number of other OEMs and models.“Our first commercial conversions will be on either a Liebherr or Komatsu mine haul truck,” he said. “We are targeting large trucks/engines, with the 789C, or equivalent, the smallest we will do.”In addition to preparing for its first commercial fleet agreement late next year, Mr Box said deliveries are expected in the US and Western Australia’s Pilbara region in the following two years.This is just for starters, with qualified opportunities in Canada, South America, India, Russia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Indonesia and Mexico, according to Mr Box.“The best testament for us is feedback from mining companies who have been searching for the type of technology we have developed,” he said.“We have been told by some of the world’s largest miners that there is clear daylight between our technology and anything else out there, including from the OEMs. It has been MES’ choice to position our commercial pathway in a targeted and controlled fashion and we are working closely and collaboratively with our pathfinder customers and these other mining companies.”