May 12, 2020

Dr Paul Wright: Drug-free sport is attainable

first_img UKAD being investigated We now hear that this same group is being investigated by a former assistant police chief constable in Britain, Mr Andy Ward. This investigation became necessary as a British newspaper, the Sunday Times, published a report that alleges that a British doctor, Mark Bonar, had claimed that he provided numerous athletes, including Premier League footballers, England cricketers and Tour de France cyclists with banned substances such as EPO growth hormones and steroids. Amazingly, the report also indicates that UKAD was given information about the activities some two years ago by an athlete who was trying to reduce possible sanction after failing to submit to a drug test when called upon to do so. This whistle-blower even provided signed prescriptions for banned substances signed by the doctor, but alleges that UKAD refused to probe further, claiming that the accused physician was not associated with any organised sport. Yes, UKAD, the same organisation selected to lead the fight against doping in sports leading up to the Summer Olympics this year! Icons protected It appears that anti-doping organisations around the world have very little interest in finding and announcing positive drug test results for the so-called icons of sports. We now know that credentials and expertise in anti-doping could also mean very little when a nation’s credibility is at stake. Lord Coe lamented publicly his disappointment at the absence of Russia from the World Indoor Championships, as he simultaneously held out hope that Russia could still send athletes to the Rio Olympics. Kenya had dates for compliance with World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) directives repeatedly postponed seemingly in a desperate effort to have them compete in Rio. The announcement that Ethiopia, Morocco, Ukraine, and Belarus are all on a list of countries not fully compliant with WADA’s anti-doping code was quickly followed by assurances that these countries were not banned from competing in the Olympics. The obvious question is: ‘What on earth is going on?’ The call from British athlete, Paula Radcliffe, for drug testers to be allowed visa-free entry to countries where independent testing is scheduled (as the issuance of a visa will alert cheaters that the tester is coming) has not received any support from the authorities, including the new head of the medical and anti-doping commission of the IAAF, South African Harold Adams, who replaced Gabriel Dolle, who is now banned for bribing athletes to conceal positive results. The answer to clean sports will only be achieved when those previously present when corruption was rife are removed and the selection of their replacements be removed from government appointees. Drug-free sport is attainable. All that is needed is the will to make sports drug-free. Athletics remains the number one watched sport in the Olympics. This fact will be questioned as the fans of the sport watch the build-up to the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil this year. Doping scandal after doping scandal has left some of the fans wondering ‘just who is clean’. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has announced that the Swedish runner, Abeba Aregawi, has tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance meldonium and is provisionally banned from competition. Aregawi was the Ethiopia World indoor 1500-metre champion who switched allegiance to Sweden after the 2012 Olympics. Her ‘excuse’ for the positive test is that she was given tablets by a doctor in Ethiopia that she thought was vitamins! Thanks to whistle-blowers, we now know that doctors, coaches, drug testers and even those in charge of Anti-Doping Commissions have aided and abetted cheating in the sport of athletics. The present head of the IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, is facing mounting criticism as he tries to clean up a sport that now seems destined for life support as major sponsors withdraw their support. The United Kingdom Anti-Doping organisation (UKAD) was recently named as the body to oversee the anti-doping programme in Russia, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) appointed UKAD as the secretariat for the task force that will coordinate the fight against doping in the build-up to this summer’s Olympics.last_img read more

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Demand for gasoline doubled during evacuation for Rita

first_imgShareCONTACT: B.J. Almond PHONE: (713) 348-6770 E-MAIL: balmond@rice.edu Demand for gasoline doubled during evacuation for RitaRetail gas prices are likely to increase, but researchers at Rice University’s Baker Institute say projection of $5 a gallon is overstated The unprecedented demand for gasoline during the massive evacuation of Texas and Louisiana during Hurricane Rita resulted in the U.S. effectively having two Labor Days this year in terms of heavy-driving periods. Although the higher demand will put additional strains on the U.S. gasoline distribution system in the coming weeks and result in higher retail prices, researchers at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy said predictions that national average retail prices will exceed $5 a gallon might be largely overstated. For this time of year, normal consumption of gasoline in Houston and the surrounding area is about 22 million gallons per day.   For the days leading up to Hurricane Rita’s Sept. 24 landfall, the evacuation of some 3 million people pushed gasoline demand to an estimated 45 million gallons per day – about two times higher than normal.   All else being equal, this increased demand would push national consumption of gasoline during that period to levels comparable to those for the traditionally heavy-driving week of Labor Day, or about 10 percent higher than usual for this time of year, according to estimates provided by energy experts at the Baker Institute. Research into the historical relationship between U.S. crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and average U.S. pump prices indicates that today’s national average retail price of about $2.80 per gallon is in line with crude prices of about $75 per barrel, suggesting that consumers should not expect to see a dramatic rise in prices to $5 per gallon.   Rice researchers cautioned, however, that many factors affect U.S. gasoline prices besides crude oil price levels, including future uncertainty about supplies involving political developments and other factors, refinery downtime, inventory levels and sudden changes in demand and import levels. ”Many factors have significant statistical explanatory power for gasoline prices,” said Kenneth Medlock, Baker Institute energy fellow and lecturer of economics at Rice. ”But analysis indicates that crude oil prices are the strongest indicator of the wholesale price of gasoline.” Medlock noted that the study of historical relationships indicates that under normal conditions even a rise to $120 a barrel for WTI would mean that consumers could expect gasoline prices approaching only $4 a gallon, which is far short of the $5-per-gallon prediction cited by media sources.   Medlock added, however, that ”uncertainty about the ability to provide adequate supplies to meet expected demand could drive a risk premium into the wholesale price of gasoline, which would ultimately result in higher prices at the pump.   Low inventories, refinery outages and unexpected surges in demand all contribute to such uncertainty.” Consumer inclinations to keep their automobile gas tanks full can worsen the situation, the Rice researchers said.   A consensus shift from half-full to full-tank use represents a near-term boost in demand that can put pressure on the market. ”Consumer response is the best remedy we have,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute. Price caps implemented in the 1970s failed to discourage consumers from filling their tanks and left many without needed fuel. Public commitment to voluntary adjustments to habits and practices is the best short-term solution, Jaffe said, adding that the U.S. may be pressed by allies to institute rationing measures if strategic supplies from stocks in Europe and Japan are to be tapped in any significant volumes down the road.   ”The international emergency stockpiling agreements stipulate demand-control measures as well as stock-supply measures,” she said. ”We cannot just ask for more fuel and let other countries bear the brunt of changed patterns in usage.” In the longer term, the U.S. should address permanent solutions to abate gasoline demand in an effort to avoid tighter markets, increased uncertainty and ever higher prices, according to Baker Institute policy studies. Charts showing the retail gasoline price vs. crude oil price and a comparison of crude oil prices to average retail gasoline prices can be downloaded from the following Web site and reprinted: FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

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