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Alab Pilipinas captures ABL championship with Game 5 win

first_imgTruck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MONO VAMPIRE 92 – Singletary 32, Deguara 24, Zamar 19, Brickman 9, Chanthachon 6, Apiromvilaichai 2, Ananti 0, Boonyai 0, Khunkhandin 0, Klahan 0, Phuangla 0, Sunthonsiri 0.Quarters: 27-14, 54-45, 82-61, 102-92.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ MOST READ FEU gains experience as it goes down swinging vs La Salle San Miguel Alab became the third team from the Philippines to rule the regional tilt, following the footsteps of Philippine Patriots in 2010 and San Miguel Beermen in 2013.Renaldo Balkman completed his road to redemption with a dominant 32-point, nine-rebound, six-assist, and two-steal performance in the title-clincher.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownJustin Brownlee also fueled the championship drive with a near-triple-double of 24 points, 12 boards, and nine assists to make up for the foul-plagued outing of back-to-back ABL Local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who wound up with 13 points, four assists, and two rebounds.The triumph also capped off  Jimmy Alapag’s amazing season as rookie coach, with the Philippine team starting the campaign at 0-3 and battling the odds to help the country reclaim its place on top in the region. Alab Pilipinas imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman.STA. ROSA — After a shaky start, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas ended its season in a blaze of glory.The Filipino side etched their name in the history books after winning the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League title with a 102-92 Game 5 triumph over Mono Vampire at Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex.ADVERTISEMENT Balkman had eight quick points to spark the hot 14-4 start for the Filipinos, who extended the lead to 39-23 with a Brownlee triple midway in the second quarter.Mono fought back and trimmed the lead down to five, 54-49, with a Darongpan Apiromvilaichai bucket, but Alab immediately doused the rally and broke the game wide open.A 27-7 tear pushed the Filipinos’ lead to as much as 25, 81-56, on Balkman slam late in the third frame and they were never threatened from there.Mike Singletary paced Mono Vampire in the defeat with 32 points, eight rebounds, and four assists while man mountain Sam Deguara registered 24 points and 18 boards.The Scores:SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS 102 – Balkman 32, Brownlee 24, Parks 13, Domingo 9, Raymundo 9, Javelona 7, Urbiztondo 5, Hontiveros 3, Alabanza 0, Celiz 0, Maierhofer 0, Sumalinog 0.ADVERTISEMENT Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames LATEST STORIES Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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UEFA orders ‘further investigation’ of PSG over financial fairplay

first_img0Shares0000UEFA initially opened an investigation into Paris Saint-Germain’s spending in September 2017 © AFP/File / GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELTPARIS, France, Sep 24 – UEFA said Monday it had ordered accusations that Paris Saint-Germain has broken its financial fair play rules to be referred to its financial unit “for further investigation”.European football’s governing body initially opened an investigation into the Qatari-owned club’s spending in September 2017 under pressure from some of Europe’s biggest clubs after the French club signed Brazilian midfielder Neymar for a world-record 222 million euros ($261 million). Within weeks the club had also agreed a deal to sign teenage striker Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for 180 million euros. He has since become one of world football’s hottest properties.In June, UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) closed its investigation into PSG’s spending only to re-open it just a month later.UEFA said on Monday the case had now been referred “back to the CFCB Investigatory Chamber for further investigation”.UEFA rules mandate that clubs cannot spend more than they earn in any given season and deficits must fall within a 30-million-euro limit over three seasons.PSG’s case is complicated by its lucrative sponsorship deals with Qatar National Bank and the Gulf state’s tourism authority.If eventually found guilty PSG could face exclusion from European competition for one or more seasons, a huge blow to the club’s Qatari owners who have made winning the Champions League their key goal.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Controversial, but China float nearly done

first_img• Photo Gallery: Beijing 2008 Rose Parade FloatAt Festival Artists in Azusa, workers are doing final painting and prep work on a float from China, which celebrates the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. One of about 46 float entries to be featured in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, it’s received the most publicity, acting as a lightning rod for critics of China’s human-rights record. The float, jointly sponsored by Pasadena-based label maker Avery Dennison Corp. and the Roundtable of Southern California Chinese-American Organizations, is the first entry from China in the 119-year history of the Rose Parade. It’s about 85 percent completed, said Festival Artists officials. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champNext, volunteers will add flowers and other organic materials to all of the floats at Festival Artists, a tradition that begins the week after Christmas Day to ensure that the flowers are still fresh on parade day, officials said. – From staff reports 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Why Sharks’ Meier saw potential in the Erik Karlsson trade throw-in

first_imgSAN JOSE — As Sharks Territory lost its collective mind over the news that Erik Karlsson was coming to town, Timo Meier saw an extra cherry in the eight-piece trade with the Ottawa Senators.In addition to Karlsson, the Sharks acquired minor league forward Francis Perron, Meier’s junior hockey linemate. Meier told his teammates to “watch out” for the 22-year-old forward. So far, Perron is living up to billing, leading the Sharks’ minor-league affiliate in scoring with 28 points in 27 games and …last_img read more

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Biological Information Symposium a Success

first_imgFriday morning June 4, participants were on their way homes across America and in Europe from a successful conference entitled Biological Information: New Perspectives.  They had come to hear leading lights in the Intelligent Design movement deliver 27 scientific presentations on a variety of subtopics under the umbrella theme of information in biology.  From all appearances, everyone had a great time of fellowship, encouragement and intellectual stimulation.  No protestors or critics detracted from the event—partly because it was not widely advertised, in order to protect the identity of those wanting to take part without jeopardizing their careers.  The event was held at Cornell University beginning Monday night May 30 and concluding Thursday June 2. The symposium centered around three themes: (1) Information theory and biology, (2) information and genetic theory, and (3) theoretical biology.  Speakers from disciplines as diverse as thermodynamics, mathematics, linguistics, computer science, genetics, and of course biology presented their experimental findings and theories.  Attempts were made to define information in robust ways, to compare and contrast cybernetic and biological information, and to describe levels of information coding in the cell.  Computer models of evolution were critiqued, as were attempts to generate information by non-intelligent causes.  Not every speaker was a proponent of intelligent design, but all believed it is an idea worth taking seriously. Speakers and the audience had been instructed to steer clear of religious issues.  The focus was on the science, and the content was as rigorous as that of any science symposium. While many well-known spokespersons for intelligent design led the way, there was a notable presence of young scientists with even more enthusiasm for the new design-based approaches to biology than the seniors.  Their energy was palpable in breakout sessions and lunchtime conversations.  Because of potential harm to careers of some participants, names of all are being withheld from this review. One thing is clear from this symposium: design scientists have more fun.  It was an upbeat event.  There was no lack of argumentation and disagreement, but it was all constructive and respectful, with the energetic give-and-take producing light, not heat.  The social events were delightful, too.  Cornell is a beautiful campus.  There’s evidence for intelligent design all over the grounds, especially in the university’s gardens and native plant collections.  A river runs through the middle of the campus and pours over several cascades. Interestingly, there was a notable absence of participants from Cornell or the Ithaca area. It appears very likely that many who might have otherwise have attended were afraid of negative professional consequences arising from being associated in any way with this event of its participants.. Take heart, though.  It was like that before Soviet communism fell.  The last years of the Iron Curtain were fierce; many individuals suffered persecution, and many lived in a state of fear.  The Soviet bloc seemed impregnable.  Then, perestroika and glasnost came as reality set in that communism wasn’t working. Within just a couple of years, thanks to pressure from Reagan and internal pressure from freedom loving unions, the Berlin wall fell.  The world watched in astonishment as the Soviet Union unraveled in a precipitous and momentous collapse, and long-denied freedoms saw the light of a new day.  It can happen with Darwinism—unless vigilance gives way to complacency, challenge to comfort, love for truth to fear of criticism.  This is no time to cower in retreat; it’s time to charge!(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Arts takes centre stage at NAF

first_imgThe university city of Grahamstownis the venue for the annual NationalArts Festival. (Image: Isabel Schoeman,South African Tourism) The Awesome Big Band, a jazz ensembleof young musicians from ten nations,performing at the 2007 Standard BankYouth Jazz Festival.(Image: Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival) A saxophonist entertaining passersbyat the National Arts Festival.(Image: South African Tourism )Janine ErasmusThe National Arts Festival (NAF), held annually in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, is a prolific breeding ground for dynamic young performers and cutting-edge acts. The 2008 event runs from 26 June to 5 July and generates strong international interest in South Africa’s vibrant art circuit.Known for pushing the boundaries of performance and visual art, the NAF attracts performers and arts enthusiasts from all over the world. The festival takes place under the auspices of the National Arts Council. With a programme featuring a wide range of arts disciplines, from jazz to exhibitions to craft, and from film to dance to opera, it offers something for just about everyone.Thousands flock to the town to enjoy the talents of dancers, singers, musicians, actors, writers and poets, who perform on stage and in the streets, transforming Grahamstown for the duration of the festival into a diverse cultural hub.The 2008 NAF is the 34th edition and not only sees an extra two days of festivities, but also a new director at the helm. Ismail Mahomed, the award-winning arts administrator, playwright, and former senior cultural specialist for the US Consulate, has taken over from former director Lynette Marais, who steered the NAF for two decades. Marais retires at the end of December 2008 and will work alongside Mahomed until then to ensure a smooth transition.Internationally renowned soprano Sibongile Khumalo, chair of the festival committee, is clearly satisfied with the new development. “Ismail is not afraid to challenge convention and will add a great dynamic to the work of the committee,” she said. “We’re looking forward to engaging with him and taking the artistic side of the festival into a dynamic future.”Those attending the 2008 festival can look forward to exciting performances such as For Letta – Sound of a Rainbow celebrating the life of veteran South African songbird Letta Mbulu, The Songs of Madosini with the Amici String Quartet, which combines Western classical music with traditional Xhosa instruments, the ballet Don Quixote, and a contemporary dance production titled Ozymandias, a collaboration between the Rhodes University-based First Physical Theatre Company and the John/Allen Project from Tulane University, New Orleans.In 2010 the festival will overlap with the Fifa World Cup which runs from 11 June to 11 July 2010, but according to the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, plans are in place to incorporate the two events. Facilities will be made available for festinos to watch World Cup games on big screens around Grahamstown so that those who support both football and the arts need not miss out on any of the action.All that jazzTwo events that run concurrently with the NAF are the Standard Bank Jazz Festival and the Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival. Title sponsor Standard Bank has a 24-year association with the NAF and is one of five main sponsors of the event, in addition to its commitment to the youth jazz festivals.The Standard Bank Jazz Festival started in 1988 as a feature on the main programme and has developed into a top-class festival in its own right, bringing the world’s top jazz musicians to South Africa to perform cutting-edge music with their South African counterparts.Performers from Sweden, Zimbabwe, Australia, Norway, Mozambique, Switzerland, Netherlands, Israel, the UK, and the US will take to South African stages in 2008. A number of these musicians also lend their talents to the Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival as teachers. Here young performers get the chance to interact with 80 professional musicians and 40 jazz teachers and compete for the top honour of being selected for the Standard Bank national schools and youth jazz bands.Top local stars including Sibongile Khumalo, Themba Mkhize, Carlo Mombelli, Marcus Wyatt, Shannon Mowday, and Louis Mhlanga will create fresh collaborations with the likes of drummer Carl Allen, artistic director of New York’s Juilliard School, Israeli jazz quintet The Human Factory, and Australian trombonist Adrian Mears.Not only does the festival entertain, it also educates through its Winter School, a programme of lecture series, panel discussions and seminars covering a range of topics. Respected intellectuals of the calibre of South African Human Rights Commission chair Jody Kollapen, high court judge Dennis Davis, charismatic strategist and author Clem Sunter, arts critic and academic Darryl Accone, and many more, will lead thought-provoking discussions.In addition to the main programme, there is a packed fringe festival, a children’s art festival for youngsters between 4 and 13 years of age, and a craft market.Idyllic venueThe NAF, arguably Southern Africa’s leading arts festival, is held in one of South Africa’s most historically significant areas, the picturesque university city of Grahamstown. Students from the journalism school at Rhodes University publish the official festival newspaper called Cue. Once the second largest town in South Africa after Cape Town, Grahamstown has grown over the years into one of the country’s major cultural and educational centres.Located about 110km south-west of Bhisho, the capital of the Eastern Cape province, Grahamstown was established by Lieutenant-Colonel John Graham in 1812 as one of a group of military outposts situated along the Fish River, to assist British efforts to colonise the region and secure it against the amaXhosa.A small town developed around the military outpost but by 1814 it was big enough for the governor to proclaim the region a magisterial district in its own right, named Albany. In 1819 the Xhosa prophet Makana assailed the town in response to a British raid on Xhosa cattle stock. Full of confidence, the amaXhosa sent their traditional warning to the British the day before the attack: “We’ll breakfast with you tomorrow”.However, amaXhosa numbers were no match for British artillery, and after suffering high numbers of casualties Makana surrendered and was imprisoned on Robben Island where he later died while trying to escape.The Battle of Grahamstown, known as eGazini or “Place of Blood”, was the culmination of years of conflict between British settlers and the amaXhosa. It is one of South Africa’s more significant battles because it was fought for outright dominance of the region. Had the British lost, say historians, they would have withdrawn and the Eastern Cape would have looked very different today.However, the British went on to establish a solid presence in the area. The 1820 settlers, a group of around 5 000 British immigrants, encountered much hardship on their farms and eventually drifted towards the fledgling town, bolstering its population and giving it the distinctly colonial influence seen today in much of its architecture. In fact, Grahamstown is said to be one of the best preserved Victorian towns outside of England.With the founding of Rhodes University in 1904, Grahamstown became an important educational hub not only for the region but for the country, an attribute that it holds to this day. Around this time the Eastern Cape became an important centre of missionary activity and with more than 50 churches of various denominations, Grahamstown has earned itself the nickname of City of Saints.The city has also gained a name for itself as an important legal centre, with a magistrate’s court and the law school at Rhodes, and it has been the seat of the Eastern Cape division of the Supreme Court since 1864.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ……..Useful linksNational Arts FestivalNAF Facebook groupStandard Bank National Youth Jazz FestivalGrahamstownRhodes UniversityCue festival newspaperlast_img read more

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Woolworths scores for sustainability

first_img19 September 2011South African retailer Woolworths, as well as making it onto the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, has been named one of the sustainability champions of the developing world in a report by the World Economic Forum.‘Sustainability champions’The report, issued by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group, highlights sustainable and innovative business practices from companies in emerging markets.Over a thousand companies worldwide were assessed on the basis of sustainability, innovation, scalability, geography and size. Of the 16 companies that met the criteria, Woolworths was one of only three in Africa, and is also the only retailer to make the list.According to the report, sustainability champions are benchmarked against their peers and demonstrate superior performance, mastering innovation and excelling in cost-effective solutions that address resource constraints.They also turn challenges into scalable opportunities and develop robust models for growth, placing environmental and social sustainability at the core of their operations and culture.“Woolworths has long held a deep commitment to sustainability, which we formalised in 2007 with the launch of our Good business journey,” Woolworths CEO Ian Moir said in a statement last week.Dow Jones Sustainability IndexLaunched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) is the first global index tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.Based on the cooperation of Dow Jones Indexes and SAM (a global investment boutique focused exclusively on sustainable investing), the index provides asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios.The DJSI follows a best-in-class approach, including companies across all industries that outperform their peers in numerous sustainability metrics. Each year, SAM invites the world’s 2 500 largest companies, measured by free-float market capitalisation, from the 57 sectors to report on their sustainability performance.Woolworths, making it to the index for the first time, is the only South African retailer and one of only five South African companies to be listed on the DJSI.“We have made substantial progress over the past four and a half years, and sustainability remains a key aspect of our business strategy and a commitment that our staff, our suppliers and our customers share,” said Moir.“Through initiatives such as Farming for the Future, our energy and water efficiency programmes and the development of small-scale suppliers, we are creating shared value for our stakeholders.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Top Brand Flower Fascinator : Lovely fascinator

first_imgVery pleased with this lovely fascinator, excellent clip on it so it feels very secure. Beautiful,got 2 ,one for my hair,1 for my handbag,looks great. Colour matches brilliantly with my wedding outfit for two weeks time. Arrived really quickly and is the perfect colour. Fantastic FascinatorLovely fascinatorExcellent clip that held it in my hair without slipping Flower Fascinator with Pointed Petals and Feather Tendrils Set on a Hair Clip.Striking flower fascinator / corsagePurple colourwayPolyester, feathers,Set on 4. 5cm beak clipFlower measures 14cmLight and easy to wear Love it brought it for a wedding. Arrived really quickly and is the perfect colour. Love it brought it for a wedding. Just right without being too fussy. Beautiful,got 2 ,one for my hair,1 for my handbag,looks great. Very pleased with this lovely fascinator, excellent clip on it so it feels very secure. Excellent clip that held it in my hair without slipping. Arrived in neat, small package to fit through the letter box. Excellent clip that held it in my hair without slipping or moving all day. No glitter or sparkles but easy enough to add these myself and personalise it. This purple fascinator arrived on time and was very well packaged. I bought one in pink for a wedding last summer too and was very pleased with it on the day. It’s perfect for your hair with a strong clip to hold it in or it can be worn as a broach on a jacket or a dress.The quality for the money is very good and wouldn’t hesitate in buying another one in a different colour again. Looking forward to wearing it at my sister’s wedding this summer, would certainly recommend it ?. Colour matches brilliantly with my wedding outfit for two weeks time. It was lovely just what l wanted for my sons wedding. Just right without being too fussy. It was lovely just what l wanted for my sons wedding. Excellent clip that held it in my hair without slipping. Arrived in neat, small package to fit through the letter box. Excellent clip that held it in my hair without slipping or moving all day. No glitter or sparkles but easy enough to add these myself and personalise it. This purple fascinator arrived on time and was very well packaged. I bought one in pink for a wedding last summer too and was very pleased with it on the day. It’s perfect for your hair with a strong clip to hold it in or it can be worn as a broach on a jacket or a dress.The quality for the money is very good and wouldn’t hesitate in buying another one in a different colour again. Looking forward to wearing it at my sister’s wedding this summer, would certainly recommend it ?. SummaryReviewer Nathalie DuboisReview Date2018-03-11 22:41:30Reviewed Item Flower Fascinator with Pointed Petals and Feather Tendrils Set on a Hair Clip.Rating 4.3 / 5  stars, based on  12  reviewsPrice£5.99last_img read more

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Civil society members meet Gurugram Divisional Commissioner over namaz issue

first_imgSeveral prominents citizens, including retired civil servants, filmmakers, historians, labour rights activists and Muslim leaders, on Tuesday called upon Divisional Commissioner (Gurugram) D.Suresh seeking an amicable solution to the situation arising out of the opposition to offering of namaz in open spaces and making a few suggestions.A two-page memorandum bearing the names of over a hundred citizens was also submitted to Mr. Suresh expressing concerns and raising four demands including the need to strengthen bonds between residents and provide adequate space for offering namaz, especially with Ramzan round the corner. They also demanded that the administration protect offering of namaz at current locations.Ishrat Thameem, a management consultant, said that reclaiming Waqf Board properties was a long and tedious process and as a short-term solution the administration must ensure peaceful offering of namaz at current locations which are over hundred in number. “Gradually, the administration can reduce it to lesser number of bigger grounds to avoid inconvenience to locals and commuters,” said Mr. Thameem.Independent filmmaker Rahul Roy, who was also part of the group, suggested that there was a need to build more mosques with the increase in Muslim population, and not allow the anti-social elements to disrupt prayer congregations. “The locals are anguished and disturbed over the turn of events in the past few days and want the administration to resolve it amicably. The administration is duty bound to do so,” said Mr. Roy.During the meeting, the citizens raised the issue of insufficient mosques and the sense of fear among the Muslim community. Mr. Suresh said that the administration would be more vigilant and firm on troublemakers. Making an appeal to Muslims to show restraint, Mr. Suresh said that those suspected to create trouble were being identified and educated on the laws on freedom of religion.last_img read more

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The Thousand-Year Graveyard

first_imgBADIA POZZEVERI CHURCHYARD, ALTOPASCIO, ITALY—On a hot afternoon in July 2012, Giuseppe Vercellotti was digging up bones near the wall of an abandoned medieval church here, thinking about getting a cold drink, when he heard his students call his name. Faces glistening with sweat, they told him that they had found something strange buried half a meter down. Vercellotti took a look and saw a layer of lime, used in ancient times to squelch the stench of rotting corpses. When he tapped the hard layer with his trowel, it sounded hollow. “We immediately thought it was a mass grave,” says Vercellotti, a biological anthropologist at Ohio State University, Columbus, who co-leads a field school here. “We instructors were all excited and hopeful.”But the students were apprehensive: “They all started talking about possible contagion,” Vercellotti says. Unconcerned, he leaned deep into the trench, where he got a whiff of a pungent odor and spotted an elbow bone poking out of the lime that had sealed it like a cast. The layer spoke of bodies tossed into a pit and hastily covered with lime. Could this trench hold victims of the Black Death, the plague that killed half of Europe in the Middle Ages?It was the end of the summer field season. So the team carefully covered the trench with tarps and went home, hoping that excavations in 2013 would show that they had struck gold. They had come to expect extraordinary finds in the graveyard of the now decrepit Abbey of St. Peter, where a bountiful store of ancient skeletons was laid to rest in a single place over 1000 years, from the 11th to the 19th centuries. The goal of the ongoing project is to read the history written in these bones: when and where these people were born, what they ate, what diseases they suffered and died from, and how their health varied by social class and over time. “This is a superb opportunity to learn about life in the medieval period and how it evolved and changed over that time and into the Renaissance and Industrial era,” says project co-leader Clark Spencer Larsen, a biological anthropologist at Ohio State.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Helped by locals who house and feed 30 students for 6 weeks each summer, the interdisciplinary team of 12 researchers is now in its third year of excavations. Their work is set apart not just by the extraordinary site but also by the variety of tools used to learn the secrets of the bones, from scanning them with 3D computed tomography to extracting isotopes from the teeth. In an unusual collaboration, this year the team brought along an ancient DNA expert to sample for ancient pathogens.Because the abbey stood beside an ancient pilgrimage route, the results could help track the spread of disease through Europe. DNA from ancient microbes could also help today’s medical researchers keep one step ahead of fast-evolving diseases like cholera and influenza. “What you’re seeing at Badia Pozzeveri is hypothesis testing not only on bones, but also using pathogens and cultural factors,” says bioarchaeologist George Armelagos of Emory University in Atlanta, who is not part of the project. “It’s going to be the poster child for future work in bioarchaeology.”The burials begin (1039 to 1300 C.E.) One afternoon while the students ate lunch, University of Pisa archaeologist Antonio Fornaciari gave a tour of the trenches, pointing to a freshly excavated stone wall beneath an asphalt parking lot in area 4000 (see graphic). In the 12th and 13th centuries, this wall ran along the inner sanctum of the monastery (see video of church). Monks of the Camaldolese branch of the Benedictine order lived here, surrounded by a tall wall and moat, at the edge of marshes and oak woods, according to the town’s official history.In this courtyard, the team found two partial skeletons, buried between 1200 C.E. and 1300 C.E. in a place of honor that suggests they were monks. The anthropologists are now examining their remains to answer a key question: Did monks have better health than farmers or peasants?Stature is one clue to health, and most medieval Europeans were short. European men averaged 167 centimeters in the Middle Ages (compared with 178 cm today), and shrank by 5.4 cm by the end of the period. The team thinks that with the rise in population, more people competed for food and resources. The bones at Badia Pozzeveri could confirm a trend toward scarcer food and worse health as the Middle Ages progressed.The bones could also show whether monks were exceptions. Historical records suggest that monks did eat better than peasants—and that both had poorer diets than nobles. To begin the analysis, Vercellotti laid out the leg bones of one monk on a table in the makeshift lab inside the church, below a ceiling covered with faded frescoes. He measured the lengths of thighbone and shinbone and made a “very preliminary” height estimate of 165 to 170 cm. A better estimate might give him a clue to the monks’ status: High-status medieval men buried in one churchyard in northern Italy averaged 171 cm, while lower status men averaged 164 cm, according to a study he published in 2011 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The team has also dug up the likely remains of peasants, probably dating from the 11th century—two poorly preserved skeletons found outside the wall—and they’re hoping for more.Pilgrims also passed right by the church as they followed the main highway of the Middle Ages, the Via Francigena or “road that comes from France.” Knights, clerics, and peasants all traveled this route (see locator map), leaving traces such as two rare Islamic jugs from North Arabia, found in the cloister this summer. With the travelers came new diseases. Leprosy, for example, may have arrived from the Middle East with the Crusaders. It swept into Tuscany in the 12th century, when four leprosariums sprang up in the area, including one run by the monks. The pilgrims probably also spread many diseases including smallpox, measles, tuberculosis (TB), and typhus.Those are just the sort of infectious company that Hendrik Poinar seeks. An ancient DNA expert at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, he jumped at the rare chance get DNA from pathogens over time in a single location. He wants to see how many diseases people of each period had to combat and how fast pathogens evolved in different conditions, such as famine and war.One morning, as Poinar watched, Vercellotti and a graduate student laid out one skull after another on a long table. Poinar looked at the excellently preserved teeth in a freshly excavated jaw. Teeth are a promising source of ancient DNA. “This is it—this is what we came for,” he said.“Dig in,” said Vercellotti, holding a skull steady. Poinar adjusted his facemask, pulled up his rubber gloves, and yanked a tooth out of a jaw with pliers. “Skilled dentistry,” he joked. If he does get DNA from these teeth, he’ll test it for everything from leprosy to plague to TB.The worst century (1300 to 1400 C.E.)The next day, Poinar knelt head down over a trench in area 2000, trying to excavate a jaw with teeth protruding from the wall of the pit. The team hadn’t yet gotten radiocarbon dates from this trench, but they thought it might be from the 14th century, a time of devastating infections including the Black Death, which killed half of Europe from 1348 to 1350. The teeth glistened in the dirt wall, but the jaw was firmly embedded. “I’ve been drooling over them for 4 days,” Poinar said.Earlier that week, he had explained why. He gave a presentation in the church and flashed a slide about a news story about a plague-infected squirrel that closed campgrounds near Los Angeles. “Killer squirrels are coming!” he joked.But it’s no joke to ask if killer strains of plague could return. In 2011, Poinar was part of a team that gathered ancient DNA from people who died in London between 1348 to 1349, apparently of plague. The scientists identified the cause of the Black Death as the bacterium Yersinia pestis, rather than anthrax or a mix of pathogens, as some had suspected. This ancient strain was almost identical to a Y. pestis strain that still circulates in small rodents in the southwestern United States, Africa, and Asia. But today, Y. pestis, although still deadly, infects only about 1000 to 3000 people annually and is transmitted slowly from person to person.Why is this Y. pestis strain so much less virulent today, and why does it only rarely move from rodents to humans? Poinar is one of several geneticists in a neck-to-neck race to find out. They’re trying to learn when and why the Black Death strain jumped from rodents to humans, and what made it spread so rapidly. Was it mutations in the genome of Y. pestis or changes in the susceptibility of animal or human hosts—or both? “If we study humans before, during, and after the plague, we should see how the human genome responded to these repeated outbreaks and the response in bacteria,” Poinar says.That’s why he is seeking the Black Death in Badia Pozzeveri, where cases were recorded in 1348 before the epidemic reached northern Europe. He’ll compare that strain—newly arrived from Asia—with that of the London victims to see if the plague evolved as it tore through Europe. He also can see if plague victims suffered from TB or other infections, to test the idea that 14th century people harbored so many pathogens that they were more susceptible to plague.Another theory behind the deadliness of plague is that it was hard for anyone in Europe to survive that terrible century. Before the plague hit, the continent had been pounded by bad weather, failing crops, famine, and war. Torrential rains in 1315 and 1316 flooded crops and caused the Great Famine. The Little Ice Age had begun, triggering frigid winters that destroyed more crops. In England, between 1348 and 1375, life expectancy at birth was only 17 years, according to parish records. Overall health, as shown by seven indicators in teeth and bones, plummeted to an all-time low in the 14th century, according to a study of 17,250 individuals from 100 locations in Europe by Ohio State economic historian Richard Steckel, Larsen, and their colleagues in the Global History of Health Project (Science, 1 May 2009, p. 588).Disease may even have influenced the outcome of battles among the Italian city-states, which came right to the doorstep of the church at Pozzeveri. In September 1325, Florence’s commander Ramon de Cardona camped at the abbey with most of his 3000 cavalry and 15,000 infantry. The nobles moved into the monastery itself, while the troops probably camped in a field west of the church, near what was then a large lake and swamp. Many got sick.That may be why Cardona made a move that still puzzles historians: He lingered at Badia Pozzeveri for two long weeks while his rival, the legendary Castruccio Castracani from Lucca, recruited reinforcements. Castracani had far fewer troops at first. But by the time Cardona advanced on 23 September, Castracani’s army outnumbered the Florentines, many of who retreated before the battle had even begun. It was a rout, and Castracani became a hero whose military victories were immortalized by Machiavelli.Just what sickened Cardona’s men? Fornaciari suspects malaria because they complained of mala ariae, or bad air. He convinced Poinar to test for that disease, too. “One of our hopes is to discover if malaria is present in the medieval period,” Fornaciari says, because it is not clear when the illness first reached Tuscany.Another hope is to find the remains of those who died in that famous battle, because relatively few groups of soldiers killed in war have been found in Europe, Larsen says. Three spearheads have turned up so far in area 4000. Human remains would provide the first good physical “record of injuries from the kinds of weapons available in 1325,” Larsen says. “They were doing some really horrible things to each other. They had this square hammer-headed mace for bashing in skulls.”Noble secrets (1400 to 1600 C.E.) One July morning, project co-director Gino Fornaciari dropped by the church. There he found his former student, Vercellotti, examining teeth with Poinar. “Why are the teeth so good?” Poinar asked. Fornaciari replied: “They’re young. The teeth are good because the normal age of death was 40.” He pointed out that the tooth wear can also reveal whether someone ate many tough grains such as coarse millet, or a more refined, soft diet.  When it comes to reading the signature of disease and foul play in the bones of ancient people, Fornaciari is the master. A professor in the medical school at the University of Pisa and the father of team member Antonio Fornaciari, he’s famous for investigating the lives and deaths of the ancient nobility of Italy, including the Medici of Florence, who lived just 60 km from Badia Pozzeveri.This site offers him and the others a rare chance to examine the health of commoners as well as nobles during the Renaissance. They have already found people of various social classes, buried in area 3000 from 1500 to 1700. One woman was buried with her spectacles—an expensive and treasured accessory—and several skeletons were interred in a costly stone-lined vault inside the ancient church. But most of the bones were buried in wooden coffins outside the churchyard and probably were those of poorer rural people, whose daily lives are less well known than the nobility of cities.Commoners’ bones will provide a counterpoint to Fornaciari’s work elsewhere revealing the woeful condition of the well-fed nobility. In Naples, he examined the mummy of Maria d’Aragona, a noblewoman who lived from 1503 to 1568 and was a famed beauty in her youth—but was obese at death. That fits with what he has learned about her fellow nobles’ diet. In 2008, Fornaciari analyzed carbon and nitrogen ratios in bone collagen from other princes of Naples and the Medici of Florence, and found that they had as much nitrogen in their diet as carnivorous mammals. Clearly, Renaissance royalty ate unhealthy quantities of meat at a time when many rural people struggled to get enough calories.Nor was rank a protection against horrific infectious diseases. When Fornaciari cut off a linen bandage from Maria d’Aragona’s arm, he discovered a large ulcer. He examined the tissue with a scanning electron microscope and rinsed it with antibodies that fluoresce in the presence of the bacteria that cause syphilis, Treponema pallidum. The tissue was so well preserved that he could detect the spiral shape of the bacteria; he sent tissue to Poinar to confirm the diagnosis. Poor Maria also harbored human papillomavirus in a venereal wart—the first diagnosis of this sexually transmitted, cancer-causing disease in the tissue of a mummy, Fornaciari reported in a 2006 paper.Sexually transmitted diseases were common in Renaissance Italy. Syphilis raced through the country in the 1500s, possibly after Spanish sailors brought a new venereal form from the New World. Fornaciari also examined Maria’s distant relative, Isabella d’Aragona, who was also buried in Naples. She was married to the Duke of Milan and is thought by many to be the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. When Fornaciari looked closely at this lady’s teeth, he found that they had been abraded to remove most of the enamel. The remaining enamel traces were black, a sign that she had taken mercury, which was then used—ineffectively—to treat syphilis. Lab tests confirmed that the black patina had a high level of mercury and that Isabella d’Aragona was poisoned by her own medicine, dying at age 54 in 1524.By comparing the teeth and bones of urban nobles with those of Pozzeveri peasants, the team hopes to see how social rank affected health. The teeth of the noblewomen are less worn, because they ate a softer diet with meat, whereas poorer women and children often ate coarse millet. Vercellotti and Larsen expect to see more disruptions in tooth growth caused by lack of food during childhood in the peasants. With the graveyard’s large sample sizes, they hope to compare the men and women of Badia Pozzeveri to see who was better fed.The mass grave Almost a year after Vercellotti first tapped his trowel on the bed of lime, he and a crowd of students set to the task of systemically uncovering the entombed skeletons in area 1000. They chipped away the cementlike lime and tried to avoid inhaling the powdery white dust. Once they broke through the shell in early July, they brushed and scooped away the soil, sometimes with teaspoons. They found that each skeleton was buried separately, but all were blanketed in lime.One skeleton clutched a cross, head to the side, jaw agape. Another had a twisted spine, likely evidence of scoliosis. All had been buried in shrouds and were lying in unusual positions as though they had been dumped hurriedly. Everything fit the hypothesis that they were victims of an epidemic.The researchers carefully uncovered another exceptionally complete skeleton—an older woman, as shown by her frail bones and worn teeth. She was lying on her side, probably in the same position in which she died. In the soil beneath her, they could see the impression of her fingers and ear, and the lines left by her bodice’s laces. “I loved excavating her,” Vercellotti said. “She was beautiful,” Gino Fornaciari agreed. Beneath her skull, they found a single, golden hoop earring, and they began to call her the Lady with the Gold Earring.That earring was a clue: This was no medieval matron. The hoop style, as well as buttons and fasteners for clothing found with other skeletons, showed that these people died in the mid-1800s—too late to be victims of the Black Death. So what did kill them?To find out, Poinar and Vercellotti pulled teeth from their skulls and scooped soil from where their stomachs once lay, seeking to sample and identify the pathogen’s DNA. They already have a working hypothesis: cholera.In 1855, this terrible diarrheal disease, transmitted by the waterborne bacterium Vibrio cholerae, swept through Italy, part of a worldwide pandemic. Poinar is just as eager to find DNA from V. cholerae as from plague, because tracing the evolution of cholera is still urgent today.Like other pathogens, V. cholerae keeps evolving into new forms, and it continues to erupt into worldwide pandemics. Since the 1960s, the seventh known pandemic has infected 3 million to 4 million people and killed nearly 100,000 every year, with a new strain causing particular devastation in Haiti recently. If researchers can trace the bacterium’s evolutionary history, they might be able to identify the key mutations that trigger virulence or adaptation to different habitats, for example. This could help them design better vaccines or medicines.Poinar has already sequenced a sample of mid-19th century cholera from the United States. The researchers gathered DNA from a cholera victim’s intestines, which in 1849 were preserved in jars in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. Their unpublished results match that strain with those that caused pandemics from 1899 to 1923; all these strains differ from the El Tor strain that swept Haiti last year. If Poinar gets cholera DNA from Pozzeveri, it will let him compare the Philadelphia V. cholerae genome with one from the same time but a different place.After extracting DNA from many of the 40 teeth he gathered at the site, Poinar sent samples to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. There, the DNA is being scanned with a new microarray that can detect DNA from 3000 different pathogens, including the microbes that cause plague, TB, malaria, syphilis, Lyme disease, and cholera.Despite the unexpected bonus of a probable cholera epidemic, Poinar was still intent on finding plague victims. On his last day at the site, he kept going back to the medieval trench, where the teeth peeped tantalizingly from the wall. Vercellotti gently brushed dirt off the jaw and sprayed it with water, hoping to loosen the sediment. But the jaw wouldn’t budge. He finally gave up. “Next year,” he promised. Poinar left Italy still haunted by hopes of a plague sample.Two weeks later, when he returned to his lab in Canada, he got a tiny package from Vercellotti. It held the tooth he had wanted so badly. Vercellotti had managed to excavate it in the season’s final week, and its DNA is now being analyzed.last_img read more

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