News story: New Shetland radar to better protect UK Northern airspace

first_img The radar system at Saxa Vord is an important part of ensuring that the RAF can fully protect both the UK’s airspace and that of our NATO allies, in the face of increasing pressure from Russia. Right at the tip of Shetland, Saxa Vord is a very remote site, so I’m extremely grateful to the team who have been working hard through the cold of winter, with snow and 120 mph gales, to ensure that the construction has remained on schedule. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, visited the site of the new £10m Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to inspect its progress.The radar will improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea, improving the UK’s sovereign capability at a time of heightened Russian military activity. It will see the island return to the role it performed during the 1960s and 70s, when the site was used as an early warning radar on NATO’s northern flank.Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: We will always protect our skies from Russian aggression. This radar is a vital part of the UK’s defences as we react to intensifying global threats and reinforce our ability to tackle them. Russia’s actions are not limited to Europe’s eastern borders ­– the threat to British livelihoods is severe and real. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, said: The Air Defence and Electronic Warfare Delivery Team has shown outstanding innovation and teamwork to deliver this vital capability ahead of time and within budget. During his two day visit to Shetland, Sir Stephen Hillier also toured the adjacent Saxa Vord RAF and Exhibition Centre and met representatives from Shetland Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Sullom Voe and Shetland Space Centre Ltd, as well as delivery personnel from FCO Services & ADEWS, Brody-Forbes, 90 SU, Serco, Mobile Met Unit and McDonald Scaffolding.Scotland is home to more than 10,000 regular and 4,000 reserve armed forces personnel, whilst Scottish industry benefits from defence spending £1.5bn with it each year. This investment supports 9,750 private sector and highly skilled jobs in Scotland. The Saxa Vord Radar head will provide key information on aircraft movements to the north of the UK and feed the nationwide Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) operation which is responsible for policing international and UK airspace from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, as well as supporting civil air traffic control.During the last five years, the RAF has carried out 69 QRA launches. Just last week (15 Jan), two Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled to intercept two approaching Russian military aircraft which did not respond to the air traffic control authorities.The RAF monitored the jets as they passed through international airspace, before escorting the Russian Blackjacks out of the UK’s area of interest. At no time did the Russian bombers enter UK sovereign airspace.Defence, Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation, managed the redevelopment of the site and delivered the new infrastructure and capability for the RAF, commissioning the works through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Services. The Saxa Vord remote radar head will be operated remotely by RAF personnel and contractors will only attend the site for maintenance.Simon Dakin, Director Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance, for Defence Equipment and Support, said:last_img read more

Watch Patti Smith Perform Bob Dylan In His Place At Nobel Prize Gala

first_imgBob Dylan was chosen to receive the Nobel Prize In Literature back in October. It took about two weeks before the poet/songwriter acknowledged his honor. “Isn’t that something?,” he said, before opening up a bit more. “It’s hard to believe… amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?” The ceremony for his 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature took place last night in Stockholm, Swede, though Dylan did not attend due to “existing commitments.”Instead, Dylan sent Patti Smith in his place who performed “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with accompaniment from an orchestra. “I apologize, I’m so nervous,” she explained after mistakenly repeating a line of the song and being forced to start the verse over. The audience, of course, applauded Smith for her actions nonetheless.Watch her performance below:Professor Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy delivered the introductory speech, explaining why Dylan was worthy of such high honors. Read the full transcription below:What brings about the great shifts in the world of literature? Often it is when someone seizes upon a simple, overlooked form, discounted as art in the higher sense, and makes it mutate. Thus, at one point, emerged the modern novel from anecdote and letter, thus arose drama in a new age from high jinx on planks placed on barrels in a marketplace, thus songs in the vernacular dethroned learned Latin poetry, thus too did La Fontaine take animal fables and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales from the nursery to Parnassian heights. Each time this occurs, our idea of literature changes.In itself, it ought not to be a sensation that a singer/songwriter now stands recipient of the literary Nobel Prize. In a distant past, all poetry was sung or tunefully recited, poets were rhapsodes, bards, troubadours; ‘lyrics’ comes from ‘lyre’. But what Bob Dylan did was not to return to the Greeks or the Provençals. Instead, he dedicated himself body and soul to 20th century American popular music, the kind played on radio stations and gramophone records for ordinary people, white and black: protest songs, country, blues, early rock, gospel, mainstream music. He listened day and night, testing the stuff on his instruments, trying to learn. But when he started to write similar songs, they came out differently. In his hands, the material changed. From what he discovered in heirloom and scrap, in banal rhyme and quick wit, in curses and pious prayers, sweet nothings and crude jokes, he panned poetry gold, whether on purpose or by accident is irrelevant; all creativity begins in imitation.Even after fifty years of uninterrupted exposure, we are yet to absorb music’s equivalent of the fable’s Flying Dutchman. He makes good rhymes, said a critic, explaining greatness. And it is true. His rhyming is an alchemical substance that dissolves contexts to create new ones, scarcely containable by the human brain. It was a shock. With the public expecting poppy folk songs, there stood a young man with a guitar, fusing the languages of the street and the bible into a compound that would have made the end of the world seem a superfluous replay. At the same time, he sang of love with a power of conviction everyone wants to own. All of a sudden, much of the bookish poetry in our world felt aenemic, and the routine song lyrics his colleagues continued to write were like old-fashioned gunpowder following the invention of dynamite. Soon, people stopped comparing him to Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams and turned instead to Blake, Rimbaud, Whitman, Shakespeare.In the most unlikely setting of all – the commercial gramophone record – he gave back to the language of poetry its elevated style, lost since the Romantics. Not to sing of eternities, but to speak of what was happening around us. As if the oracle of Delphi were reading the evening news.Recognizing that revolution by awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize was a decision that seemed daring only beforehand and already seems obvious. But does he get the prize for upsetting the system of literature? Not really. There is a simpler explanation, one that we share with all those who stand with beating hearts in front of the stage at one of the venues on his never-ending tour, waiting for that magical voice. Chamfort made the observation that when a master such as La Fontaine appears, the hierarchy of genres – the estimation of what is great and small, high and low in literature – is nullified. “What matter the rank of a work when its beauty is of the highest rank?” he wrote. That is the straight answer to the question of how Bob Dylan belongs in literature: as the beauty of his songs is of the highest rank.By means of his oeuvre, Bob Dylan has changed our idea of what poetry can be and how it can work. He is a singer worthy of a place beside the Greeks’ ἀοιδόι, beside Ovid, beside the Romantic visionaries, beside the kings and queens of the Blues, beside the forgotten masters of brilliant standards. If people in the literary world groan, one must remind them that the gods don’t write, they dance and they sing. The good wishes of the Swedish Academy follow Mr. Dylan on his way to coming bandstands.[H/T CoS]last_img read more

Russell poised for fitness assessment

first_imgPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – Injury-prone West Indies star Andre Russell is set to undergo an injury assessment to determine his fitness, as Cricket West Indies begin to hone their plans for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.The 31-year-old has not played a T20 International in 19 months and has not suited up for West Indies since limping out of the 50-over World Cup in England last June with a knee injury.However, Russell has continued to feature in domestic T20 leagues across the globe and CWI chief executive, Johnny Grave, said the player’s fitness would now come under the microscope with the hope of reintegrating him into the West Indies setup.“Hopefully in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” Grave said.“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”The IPL runs from March 29 to May 24 and Russell is expected to turn out as usual for Kolkata Knight Riders.Despite fitness concerns, Russell was picked for last year’s World Cup but managed just four matches, as West Indies produced their worst-ever showing in finishing ninth of 10 teams.Meanwhile, Grave said off-spinner Sunil Narine was also being monitored, with selectors hoping he makes a full recovery from the finger injury which has troubled him over the last year.In fact, the 31-year-old last represented West Indies last August when he faced India in three T20 Internationals but that outing was his first in two years.“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies particularly in white ball cricket but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” Grave explained.“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.”last_img read more

Sars hoping they’ve got everything right for Sunday

first_imgBorris-Ileigh and Thurles Sarsfields go head-to-head in what’ll be ‘a difficult game’ County Senior Hurling final.Sars captain Padraic Maher is hopeful they’ll get their preparation right, following their tough semi-final encounter with Éire Óg Annacarthy.Thurles are aiming for their fourth county title in a row – while Borris-Ileigh are aiming for their first title in more than 30 years. Padraic Maher says Sars are hoping to give a good account of themselves.That game throws in at 3.30 in Semple Stadium, on Sunday and Tipp FM’s live coverage is being brought to you in association with The Village Grill, Clerihan.last_img

At 6foot and 205pounds Swope has good size too

first_imgAt 6-foot and 205-pounds, Swope has good size, too.Yet, the Arizona Cardinals were able to snag the player in the sixth round because he comes to the NFL with a history of concussions.“I was a little disappointed, to be honest with you, when that blew up,” Swope told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf about the questions about his health. “My career at A&M, I never missed a game and I’ve always been 100 percent healthy.“That’s part of it, that’s part of being a football player. You go across the middle and you get hit a couple times, but you’ve got to be a tough player.”Back in the day, that mentality was expected and rewarded. However, there is a renewed emphasis on concussions and the damage they cause, which is why Swope, for all his talent and toughness, lasted until the 174th pick in the draft.But as far as the player is concerned, injuries are not — and will not be — an issue. “I feel great,” he said. “It’s not slowing me down, that’s for sure.”Fair enough.Swope will be joining one of the team’s deeper groups, as the Cardinals already feature Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald along with former first round pick Michael Floyd, mainstay Andre Roberts, and a host of other roster hopefuls. 0 Comments   Share   Your browser does not support the audio element. Ryan Swope was an incredibly productive receiver at Texas A&M.Over the course of four seasons — three of which were spent exclusively as a wide receiver — Swope caught 252 passes for 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns. Then, in preparation for the NFL Draft, Swope ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, posted a 4.25 second 20-yard shuttle, and showed a 37-inch vertical jump. By the way, that 40-yard dash time was tied for second-best among all the receivers in Indianapolis that week. Top Stories He views heading to Arizona “as a true blessing,” though, and added he could not be happier with how things worked out.And, as Swope says, the Cardinals are adding a player whose biggest strength is his ability to read a defense.“As a slot you’ve really got to get a feel for defenses,” he said. Of course, he’s also someone who will work hard to learn and improve in his craft, doing all he can to get “mentally right.”Oh, and he also admitted that his draft slide left him with a bit of extra motivation.“It gives me a chip, for sure,” he said. “I really couldn’t be happier to be in Phoenix and to be an Arizona Cardinal, but it’s definitely going to drive me and give me that chip on my shoulder and push me that much more.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling LISTEN: Ryan Swope, Cardinals Draft Pick Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retireslast_img read more