County duty could deplete Gaoth Dobhair ahead of Ulster U-21 semi-final

first_imgGAOTH DOBHAIR look set to be without several key players for this Sunday’s Ulster Under-21 semi-final against Watty Graham’s.Gaoth Dobhair overcame Antrim’s Aghagallon 1-12 to 1-5 yesterday and have been drawn to face three-in-a-row-chasers Watty Graham’s in the Paddy McLarnon Cup semi-final this weekend.However, team manager Sean ‘Nancy’ Gallagher seems likely to have to line out with a number of frontline men. Micheál Carroll was Man of the Match yesterday, scoring 1-4, but with the Donegal senior team to line out in a challenge game on Sunday, Carroll’s participation for his club is in jeopardy.Donegal begin their Allianz League Division 1 programme on Sunday-week against Kerry in Letterkenny and Rory Gallagher has a final challenge match for his men this weekend.Carroll is tipped to be involved in the county shirt on Sunday, while Gaoth Dobhair could also be without Ciaran Gillespie, Cian Mulligan and Niall Friel. Gillespie and Mulligan are injured at the moment but, like Carroll, are also in Gallagher’s senior plans.Gillespie injured a hamstring in last weekend’s McKenna Cup game against Cavan while Mulligan picked up an injury in a challenge game for Donegal against Meath on Saturday.Gaoth Dobhair skipper Friel limped out of yesterday’s quarter-final win and is also regarded as doubtful.The situation is not too disimmilar to last year when a depleted Kilcar lost out to Magheracloone in the same competition on a day when they lined out minus Stephen McBrearty, Ryan McHugh and Eoin McHugh, who were playing with the county seniors in a challenge game on the same day.The Ulster Under-21 Tournament is not regarded as being ‘official’ in that it is organised and hosted by the Kickhams Creggan club in Antrim.Carroll was on song yesterday in a seven-point win that saw 14-man Gaoth Dobhair overcome the sending off of Gavin McBride to triumph. McBride was sent off late in the first half after receiving both yellow and black cards.The teams were level at 0-7 to 1-4 at half-time, Eunan Walsh netting for Aghagallon midway through the first half.Aghagallon scored only once in the second half and Carroll slammed home a penalty to give the Magheragallon men the win, but an already tricky task in the semi-finals appears likely to get even tougher.Gaoth Dobhair: Charles John Doherty; Ryan Kelly, Gary McFadden, James Boyle; Neasán Mac Giolla Bhríde, Niall Friel, Odhrán McFadden-Ferry; Conor McCafferty, Micheál Carroll (1-4, 1-0pen, 1 ‘45, 1f); Dáire Ó Baoil (0-2), Aodhán Ferry (0-2), Naoise Ó Baoill; Gavin McBride (0-1, 1 ‘45), Eamonn Collum (0-3), Conor Boyle. Subs: Daniel McLaughlin for Friel, John Brown for C.Boyle. County duty could deplete Gaoth Dobhair ahead of Ulster U-21 semi-final was last modified: January 23rd, 2017 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Cian MulliganCiaran GillespiedonegalGaoth DobhairMicheál CarrollNiall FrielRory Gallagherlast_img read more

In Case You Missed It: News and Rumors – Week of March 15, 2019

first_imgShare This!May the luck of the Irish be with you! I hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day weekend! (PS: Walmart has adorable Minnie Mouse St. Patrick’s Day-themed ears….so if you’re interested, head to your nearest store now, but hurry! They were selling out fast when I went to pick up mine.)This week, we learn a bit more of what to expect with the Fox merger, see which movie has been moved up on the Disney release timeline, and more.In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and RumorsIs Disney making a mistake with how they are opening Galaxy’s Edge, especially at Disneyland? What do you think?I love this. Here are the reactions of some of the people who found out they would be working on Batuu.Our thoughts are with the family of a man who died this week at Epcot.So for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, the China booth is offering a ginormous cotton candy creation. I’ve seen it in person, so let me tell you that this thing is mammoth and you should definitely share it! These are gorgeous works of art and watching one be created is incredible.Soon you’ll be parking in newly named lots at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Instead of Film, Music, etc, you’ll be parking in Mickey, Minnie, Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Olaf, and BB-8. What do you think of the name changes?Disney has officially purchased a new island in the Bahamas. It’s known as Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera.There is a great Easter egg at the Captain Marvel meet and greet at Disney California Adventure.The Disney/Fox merger looks like it will be finalized on March 20.Holy cow! Captain Marvel made $455 Million worldwide this past weekend. Did you see the film? What did you think?Did you lose your mind when you saw the new trailer for Avengers: Endgame?Did you catch the latest trailer for Aladdin? Did it alleviate your fears of the film or were you already on board? (Or are you still not excited about this one?)Dumbo is tracking to make about $55-$58 million on its opening weekend. What do you think about this film? Will you be seeing it in theaters? I’m torn myself.In Case We Missed ItWhat did we miss? Attach your ideas to a Captain Marvel Baseball Cap and send it to with the words “In Case You Missed It” in the subject line.last_img read more

Defiant Qatar to announce 10 new routes

first_imgQatar’s Boeing 777-300ER lands in Canberra. Photo: Qatar/© Kurt Ams Qatar Airways plans to open a further 10 new routes this year as it continues to expand its network in defiance of a blockade of its home base by Gulf neighbours.Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker revealed the plans Monday after the launch of airline’s latest new route to the Australian capital of Canberra and said the airline would begin revealing names from next month.The new destinations are in addition to a slew of routes already announced for 2018 and which include  Pattaya, Thailand; Penang, Malaysia;  Thessaloniki and Mykonos, Greece ;  and Cardiff, Wales.Al Baker vowed last year to continue to expand Qatar’s network after  Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and reduced access in what he labelled an illegal and unprecedented blockade.The 2018 expansion comes after the airline opened 11 new routes in 2017, most of them after the blockade of Qatar. It also began expanding frequencies to some of those destinations.Qatar new routesQatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker. Photo: Steve CreedyThe blockade has not significantly affected the airline’s routes to Europe and Australia, where Al Baker estimates it adds 10 to 15 minutes flying time.But it has taken its toll on the Qatar’s bottom line and he told reporters in Canberra  it was poised to announce a loss.This comes after Qatar produced its best annual results in its history in 2017 with a $US5414m profit, up 21.7 percent on the previous year.“Qatar Airways will announce a loss because I lost mature destinations,’’ Al Baker said, noting the mature routes were being replaced with growth destinations such as Canberra that would not immediately make money.“This is a long-term investment and a commitment,’’ he added.However, the Qatar chief said his nation’s adversaries had failed to achieve what they wanted from the blockade – regime change – and reiterated his vow that “Qatar Airways will keep on growing, we’ll keep on expanding”.“And the Qatari people will always stand one inch higher with pride, dignity and, of course, safeguarding our sovereignty,” he saidQatar was launched in 1997 with five old planes with an average fleet age of more than 22 years.  Under Al Baker, it  has grown to be one of the world’s top airlines serving more than 150 destinations across six continents.It now has 200 aircraft and an average fleet age of less than five years and more than 350 aircraft on order with Airbus and Boeing with a total catalogue price of $US92 billion. It will be the  global launch customer of the A350-1000 when it  gets the first of 37 aircraft on February 20.New innovations include  “superfast” inflight internet and Al Baker said it was developing other products “which will again be a first in the industry”.The Qatar chief also revealed the airline was working on a variation  of its impressive Qsuite to install in its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos.The airline showcased the business class suite on its Canberra inaugural and expects to have it on the route regularly by June.Read our review of QsuiteIt currently has the Qsuite on 14 of its 56 Boeing 777s and it will be featured on four new aircraft to be delivered this year.There is a retrofit program to add it to existing B777s that Al Baker said would take 18 months to complete.But he said it would not be installed on the airlines A380s because of the curvature of the fuselage on the superjumbo’s upper deck or on its B787-9s because this would require the seat to be narrowed.Instead, it is developing a new suite for the 787s which would have full privacy and would “not be very far away from the Qsuite” but would not allow four seats to be joined to create a “quad” family area.“And then they will be retrofitted into the A380,’’ Al Baker  said “So the A380 product will again by upgraded to full privacy.”Al Baker believes other airlines will find it difficult to build a business class seat that is better  than Qatar’s Qsuite, which rivals some airlines’ first class product.Asked if business class seating had reached ts zenith, he said: “I really think that there will be no room anymore for improvement.“The only improvement will be in technology, in how much you can digitise a product and how lightweight you can make it.‘You know these seats are not very light and we always endeavour to have a product that is lighter on an aeroplane.‘For example, the modified Qsuite that we are now looking at for our 777-X program will be at least 22 percent lighter than the current Qsuite.“So in that way we are going to keep on improving but within the same envelope.”He expected that other airlines would try to catch up in terms of seating but argued they would be unable to match Qatar’s culture of attention to detail and commitment by its staff.On the airline’s plans for  Canberra, Al Baker said Qatar would look at the possibility of building a five-star hotel in the city if it could get land cheaply enough.“We see the potential for more five-star room nights and Qatar Airways would like to bring one of the top brands to Canberra if we have been given appropriate real estate,’’ he said. “But, of course, I’m not going to write a big check for that real estate.’’Al Baker said the airline was unable to fly direct from Canberra because the runway was not long enough to allow a fully-laden Boeing 777-300ER carrying enough fuel for the long flight to Doha to take off.The airline had calculated the runway length would need to be minimum 4300m, he said.Asked whether he would like to see non-stop Canberra-Doha flights, he  said: “Why not? We will look at every opportunity we have to fly direct because Qatar Airways’ strategy is always to fly point-to-point directly without going through busy or congested hubs anywhere in the network.’’This is only Canberra Airport’s second international service and the first coming from as far away as the Middle East.Airport boss Stephen Byron said the question of lengthening the runway could be addressed as part of the airport’s long-term master planning.Steve Creedy travelled to Canberra as a guest of Qatar Airways.last_img read more

New X-ray machines and body scanners in $A300m Australian security upgrade

first_imgA CT scanner in the US. The Australian government has confirmed that body scanners will be introduced at regional airports as part of a $A294 million package that will also see cabin baggage screening  upgraded to advanced X-Ray equipment.Sophisticated new screening technology will be introduced at major and regional Australian airports, international mail centers and air cargo facilities over four years under a 2018-19 budget initiative announced Tuesday.Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the moves were in response to evolving terrorist, national security and criminal threats.These included a disrupted terrorist attack in Sydney last year that was unprecedented, sophisticated and represented a significant change in the national security environment.The package includes the deployment of more than 140 additional AFP Counter Terrorist First Response officers at airports and a further 50 officers to provide tactical intelligence and other support.There will also be upgrades to inbound air cargo and international mail screening technology as well as improved accreditation of all airport screening staff.The government will provide $A50 million to help fund upgrades to security infrastructure at 64 regional airports, with funding for the mail and cargo screening receiving $A122 million and a similar amount going to increase the border force capability at nine domestic and international airports.“I will introduce new laws to complement these measures providing the AFP broader powers to conduct identity checks at airports and to order a person to ‘move on’ from airport premises where needed,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.“These initiatives will ensure Australia remains a trusted destination for trade and travel and a world-leader in aviation security.”The government pledged to work with airports to implement the enhanced measures.It did not specify the new X-ray technology but it is likely to be similar to new Computed tomography (CT) checkpoint scanning equipment being trialed n the US.CT scanners use an X-ray camera that spins around the conveyor belt to shoot hundreds of images and build a 3-D picture of carry-on items. It also applies a sophisticated algorithm to detect explosives.READ: New US screening technology addresses laptop issue.The Australian Airport Association said the airport industry was committed to ensuring government requirements were implemented in “a complex and evolving threat environment”.“These new measures will build on the already robust security arrangements in place at our airports as the industry continues to deliver on its commitment to passenger safety,” AAA chief executive Caroline Wilkie said.Wilkie emphasized that the funding package fro regional airports was particularly important.“We know regional airports are already doing it tough, and this funding is much-needed support to ensure these new arrangements are implemented in a timely, effective and consistent way across the country,” she said.The Australian government will also spend $A6.9 million over two years to continue the work of Australian Border Force Airline Liaison Officers at 19 key overseas international airports.ALOs provide airlines and local governments with on-the-spot passenger advice and are highly skilled in document examination, impostor detection and passenger assessment.ALOs in the past five years had stopped more than 1000 passengers who had attempted to board a flight to Australia as an impostor or with a fraudulent document, the government said.Disclosure:  Steve Creedy contributes The Airport Professional published by the Australian Airports Association.last_img read more

Where the big airline and hotel price rises will be in 2019.

first_imgIt may be no secret that travel costs are going to rise but how badly you’ll be hit in 2019 depends very much on where you live and where you’re going.Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the Global Business Travel Association have just released the fifth annual global travel forecast and the news is particularly bad in some countries.Globally, the report is forecasting global price rises in 2019 of 3.7 percent for hotels and 2.6 percent for flights, being driven by a buoyant global economy and the much talked about increase in fuel prices.The forecast notes this is subject to the impact of protectionist policies such as the trade war between the US and China and implications of Brexit.But it’s when you look at some of the regional breakdowns that things get interesting: some countries will see double-digit rises while others will see modest falls.READ: IATA predicts 2018 fare rises will top 3 percent.As CWT chief executive Kurt Ekert puts it: “Prices are expected to spike in many global markets even as inflation remains subdued.”Travelers will see some changes in the aviation sector, including the introduction of ultra-long-haul flights and increasing competition from low-cost carriers pushing into long-haul routes.Factors helping to push up airfares will include oil prices, the pilot shortage, the potential trade wars and increasing fare segmentation — the move by airlines to charge more for “extras” such as legroom —aimed at improving yield.People living or traveling in Western Europe will be particularly hard hit with airfares across the region expected to rise 4.8 percent. This will include sharp increases in Norway (11.5 percent), Germany (7.3 percent), France (6.9 percent) and Spain (6.7percent).Eastern Europe as well as  Middle Eastern and  African countries, on the other hand, will experience a decline of 2.3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.The Asia-Pacific will see a 3.2 percent rise in airfares in 2019 with ticket prices in the booming Chinese market increasing 3.9 percent.The forecast says the vast majority of countries in the Asia-Pacific will see price rises with hot spots including New Zealand (7.5 percent) and India (7.3 percent).The exception is tipped to be Japan, where prices are likely to fall 3.9 percent as capacity is added ahead of the Olympic Games.North American prices rises are projected at a modest 1.8 percent.“In the US, airlines are recalibrating to reflect better areas of demand, depending on how trade relationships change with key US allies and adversaries,’’ the report says. “The US aviation market is expected to see capacity compression due to expanded fare fragmentation, with premium economy and basic economy reducing available seats, as carriers target margin improvement.”There ’s good news for travelers in Latin America with airfares expected to fall by 2 percent with slight increases in Mexico and Columbia. Chile will be the exception with a forecast rise of 7.5 percent.Accommodation costs will also vary between regions with hotel prices likely to rise 5.1 percent in the Asia-Pacific, with New Zealand again standing out with a substantial 11.8 percent increase.Western Europe will see hotel costs rise 5.6 percent with substantial increases in Norway (11.8 percent), Spain (8.5 percent), Finland (7.1 percent), Germany (6.8 percent) and France (6.8 percent).North American prices will go up 2.1 percent with Canada (5 percent) outpacing the US (2.7 percent).Hotel prices will fall in Eastern Europe (down 1.9 percent), the Middle East and Africa (down 1.5 percent) and Latin America (down 1.3 percent).The exceptions in Latin America will be Chile (up 6.4 percent), Peru (up 2.1 percent) and Mexico (up 0.6 percent).last_img read more

Just One Job: A Testimonial From Harley Blakeman

first_imgMy name is Harley Blakeman. I am one of the roughly twenty million Americans living with a felony criminal record. As an entrepreneur, my company has taken a pain point that millions face daily and turned it into a viable business – – a free-to-use, national fair-chance employment platform.At 15, my father passed away unexpectedly. My mother was battling addiction and was unable to be a parent, leaving me on my own. Over the next two years, as I bounced from couch to couch, essentially homeless. I began taking, and then selling, prescription pills. Just weeks after my 18th birthday, I was arrested for drug trafficking.After serving 14 months in a prison work camp in Georgia, I moved to Columbus, Ohio, for a fresh start.Lucky enough to have distant relatives in Ohio, I moved into my aunt’s finished basement and immediately started washing dishes at one of her friend’s restaurants.While I struggled to find a better job because of this record, I saved up as much as I could in the position, working 50+ hours a week, and started attending the local community college to study business.Excelling there, I applied and was accepted into The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. My criminal history, again, presented a challenge as I struggled to find quality internships despite being at the top of my class. While my lower-performing peers had jobs with marketing and consulting firms, I was stuck working in a restaurant.It was during those years in college when I began to explore entrepreneurship. My first few business ideas never quite panned out, but came with many valuable lessons.After graduating with a 3.7 GPA in 2017, I initially followed a traditional route. I interviewed with 36 Fortune 500 companies, going through multiple rounds of interviews with each, and received 35 rejection letters. The rejection letters almost always came immediately after disclosing my criminal history.One company, Owens Corning, extended an offer which I accepted; I got promoted to supervisor after seven months. But entrepreneurship was calling. I knew there was a huge opportunity to address the massive business and social issue I had personally faced.For the roughly twenty million people living in the U.S. with felony convictions – and millions more that have some type of criminal record – finding gainful employment can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.The formerly incarcerated face a staggering unemployment rate of approximately 27 percent, compared to under 4 percent for the general population.Over several months, my business partner, Josh Watters, and I built an online platform that connects formerly incarcerated job candidates with employers willing to consider them based on their qualifications.Over the last six months, we have continued to build out the platform, which has amassed dozens of employers, features positions across the country and has led to confirmed hires.Employers can create an account and have up to three active job posts for free. After that, it’s a tiered pricing plan based on the number of job posts.* Paid plans come with extra benefits like advanced analytics, email marketing campaigns and the option of invoices instead of credit card payments.My story has gained major attention from large organizations including TEDx (video here), SHRM, and the White House, when the President of the United States invited me to attend the First Step Act celebration in March 2019.My goal is to encourage the millions of Americans who are discouraged by our broken system while empowering companies to become fair-chance employers with the SHRM initiative, Getting Talent Back to Work, I am asking employers to post #JustOneJob on the fair-chance employment platform. If every HR professional gave #JustOneJob to a formerly incarcerated job candidate this month, we would likely see the stigma dissipate dramatically.* Up to 10 posts are $299/month, 20 posts cost $499/month, and tiers continue all the way up to 1,000 active jobs for $4,799/month. This post is part of a series for Second Chance Month, which highlights the need to improve re-entry for citizens returning to society and reduce recidivism. One of the primary ways to do this is by providing an opportunity for gainful employment. To sign the pledge and access the toolkit with information on how to create second chances at your company, visit read more

ORIS Scoops Vendor of the Year at Retail Risk Awards

first_imgORIS has scooped the coveted Vendor of the Year award at the 2017 Retail Risk Awards, which took place at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, England, on October 5.The organization, which manages both the not-for-profit ORIS Forums and ORIS Media, the publishers of LP Magazine Europe, Wicklander-Zulawski Europe and the Loss Prevention Foundation qualifications in the UK, secured the award against strong competition.The theme of its entry was “greater connectivity” in today’s digital world because for the last 11 years, ORIS has been connecting LP and risk professionals operating in both the physical and online channels in the fight against fraud in both the bricks and clicks space of retail.- Sponsor – The judges recognized that going above and beyond, ORIS’s small team punches well above its weight in terms of proactively looking for ways of delivering value to its customers and the industry as a whole.ORIS began life facilitating Loss Prevention Forums in 2006 but has since grown enormously because of its unparalleled ability to bring people together in pursuit of reducing losses, whether it be through the sharing of best practice and intelligence or the education and continuous professional development of LP practitioners.Speaking after the ceremony, ORIS Managing Director Louise Kadege said: “This is a real honor for ORIS and recognition of the efforts of our small team. It is not an understatement to say that the retailers and the police were previously estranged from each other, but since the inception of ORIS, there is now a mutual respect and pragmatic working relationship between Forum members and the 43 forces, not to mention the creation of a greater understanding of issues faced with the numerous Police and Crime Commissioners, Business Crime Partnerships, town center management bodies and BIDS, all of whom have had dealings with ORIS in a spirit of mutual respect.However, the connectivity runs deeper than just the work of the Forums. ORIS has over the last decade added other areas to its portfolio under the ORIS Media brand, including Wicklander-Zulawski, the non-confrontational interview technique, LP Magazine Europe, the successful spin-off of the US LP Magazine and LP Foundation Qualifications, all of which have made a great impact in the UK and into Europe as part of ORIS’s strategy to progress the professionalization of the LP and risk community which for too long was unfairly viewed by many retailers as costs to their businesses rather than added value services.” Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

News about Schumacher ‘not good’, says former boss

first_imgThe latest news about the health of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher is not good, his former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo said on Thursday.The German is still receiving intensive treatment far from the public eye at his home in Switzerland following severe head injuries that he suffered in a skiing accident in France in December 2013.”I have news and unfortunately it is not good,” Montezemolo told reporters without giving any further details.”Life is strange. He was a fantastic driver and only had one accident with Ferrari in 1999″, the former Ferrari chairman said.last_img read more

Misbah-ul-Haq bemoans bowling flaws in Pakistan’s series loss

first_imgPakistan’s failure to take 20 wickets in all three Tests was responsible for their series loss in Australia and the situation will not improve unless players get more exposure to conditions Down Under, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Saturday. (Scorecard)Misbah’s team arrived in Australia with their hosts in disarray after a 2-1 home series loss to South Africa and the tourists were confident they could at least take one test in the series, if not emulate the Proteas.Despite the odd patch of competitiveness, Pakistan were largely outclassed and their demise was completed at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday when they crumbled to a 220-run defeat to lose the series 3-0.”Our bowling is always our strength but in this series I was a bit disappointed that we couldn’t take 20 wickets in any of the Tests,” the 42-year-old Misbah told reporters.”That’s why we were so behind in every game, that’s important for you in Australian conditions. (Finch, Bailey dropped from Australia ODI squad, Lynn gets maiden call up)”It’s difficult for any Asian side to come here and take 20 wickets in a Test match. That’s an art and we could not do that and that mainly cost us the series.”If most of the Pakistan tour highlights came from batsman, the biggest disappointment was probably leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who arrived on his first tour Down Under with a big reputation but departed with eight wickets at a cost of 672 runs.He was not the first vaunted spinner from South Asia to struggle to adapt to the conditions.advertisementALIEN CONDITIONSSaturday’s defeat was Pakistan’s 12th straight in Australia through four series sweeps since 1999 and Misbah said youngsters identified as Test prospects had to be given a chance to taste the conditions earlier in their careers.”If we are not touring more often in Australia and South Africa, this could happen again and again,” he said.”I’ve already suggested that some of our players should be sent to Australia on a regular basis to play games here… this is the only way we can improve.”If you are coming here after four or five or six years, seven or eight guys are coming here for the first time. We are going to struggle.”Pakistan’s bowling woes were not helped by the number of injuries with pace spearhead Mohammad Amir in the treatment room for much of the series.”To win in Australia, your fitness is vital, in any other country you can survive but in Australia you need supreme fitness,” Misbah added.Misbah, who has said he will return to Pakistan before deciding on his future, thought the manner of the defeat in the second Test in Melbourne, where the tourists were dismissed for 163 on the final day, had been another decisive factor.”The last day of the MCG was the biggest disappointment of the tour and we got demoralised from that and could not recover,” he said. “This is how it is. Australia is not an easy place.”last_img read more

Some anxious moments as Canadian David SaintJacques successfully blasts off

first_imgLONGUEUIL, Que. — As David Saint-Jacques blasted off into space Monday, retired astronaut Robert Thirsk clinically explained the process to a packed crowd of Canadian Space Agency staff and guests.It was only after the spacecraft safely entered orbit about nine minutes later, drawing the first applause from an audience watching a live NASA feed, that Thirsk admitted to some pre-launch jitters about the Canadian astronaut’s mission.His former colleague was on the first manned launch since a rocket failure forced a Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing in October. Russia briefly suspended launches to investigate before giving the mission the all-clear Nov. 1.“I think I was more anxious today than on a typical Soyuz launch because of the launch abort in October,” Thirsk, the first Canadian to fly aboard a Soyuz capsule, said in an interview.“But I do trust the Russian colleagues … and they made the right decisions. And we saw today, complete success.”As Saint-Jacques became just the ninth Canadian to head into space, people across the country connected with the Canadian Space Agency to watch Saint-Jacques’ historic flight.Former astronaut Dave Williams took part in a launch party at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, while in Halifax, Mi’kmaq students, educators, and families gathered at the Discovery Centre to watch. Saint-Jacques holds a special place in the community: He has adopted the Mi’kmaq name, Tapit, and he is carrying into space what the Mi’kmaq describe as spiritual gifts.By the end of his 6 1/2-month space mission, Saint-Jacques, 48, will have set a record for longest space trip for a Canadian — a record currently held by Thirsk.But he won’t have much time to dwell on that feat. Aboard the station, Saint-Jacques will be conducting a number of science experiments, including research on the provision of remote medical care and on the effects of microgravity on the body.Thirsk is no stranger to long-duration space flight. He embarked on his own six-month trip to the space station in 2009, just a few weeks after Saint-Jacques joined the astronaut corps, and he has spent more time in space than any other Canadian, with 206 days under his belt.Thirsk, 65, said he advised Saint-Jacques not to forget to take some time for himself.“What he’s doing right now is incredible — very few people have ever done it. So take time to stop and think about what you’re doing for Canada, for humanity,” Thirsk said. “Look out the window, without a camera, just look down at the planet and think about what the big picture is.”One of Canada’s newest astronauts, Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, grinned broadly as the rocket carrying Saint-Jacques launched. She later said she was caught off guard by her own reaction watching her colleague fulfil a lifelong dream.“I know that it’s something that means a lot to him and his family and the team that got him there,” she said.But Sidey-Gibbons, selected for the space program in 2017, is excited about the prospect for what the future of exploration may hold — moving beyond the lower-Earth orbit and into deep space missions.“Space is changing so quickly and my hope is Canada’s as much a participant as it has ever been in international programs moving forward,” she said. “We don’t know where we’re going to go or what we’re going to find, but it’s going to be interesting.”Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Presslast_img read more