Your daily outdoor news bulletin for April 23, the day William Shakespeare was born in 1564, much to the chagrin of every 10th grader in America:Maryland Man Dies in Tough MudderA 28-year-old Ellicott City, Md. man died Sunday during a Tough Mudder in Berkley County, W.Va. on Saturday. Avishek Sengupta was treated by staff and medics on site after being pulled from a deep pool in the “Walk the Plank” aquatic obstacle – in which participants jump into water from platforms as high as 15 feet. The event held at Peacemaker National Training Center was particularly difficult for participants, 20 of whom were taken to the City Hospital of Martinsburg with injuries ranging from heart attacks to hypothermia. According to a Tough Mudder spokesperson, Sengupta is the first person to die in an event since the first one in 201o (750,000 participants in 50 events over that time frame). Sengupta’s official cause of death was drowning and was ruled accidental by the medical examiner.West Virginia is Stressed OutOf all the lists that West Virginia could land on, this one is a little unexpected. According to a Gallup Poll, the Mountain State is the most stressed state in the Union, narrowly beating out Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah, and Massachusetts. Actually, none of these states make a whole lot of sense; you would think New York would at least crack the top five, but apparently WV, KY, and UT have been leading the list for the past five years. With all the beauty in WV, with the woods and mountains and rivers, you’d think it would be easy to relive some of that anxiety, but that’s before you factor in mountain top removal mining, fracking, high rates of obesity, and poverty. So there you go. No surprise on the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii is the least stressed state.Loveland Avalanche Victim Warren Wilson GradOne of the victims of the worst avalanche accident in Colorado history had ties to Western North Carolina. Rick Gaukel, 33, majored in outdoor leadership at Warren Wilson College and was the department’s outstanding student in 2005 and the MVP of the mountain biking team that same year. Gaukel was part of a group of six skiers and snowboarders caught in the avalanche at Loveland Pass on Saturday, only one survived the slide.
Some Like It HotBy now we all know Lindsey Vonn isn’t competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, further diminishing a Winter Games that was already lacking star power. The absence of big names is just one of the reasons the Winter Games pale in comparison to the summer version, especially this year. The Winter Olympics gave us the Miracle on Ice and the delightful film Cool Runnings, for which millions are grateful. But due to its exclusive nature and unfamiliar events, I’m far more excited for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.We like sports to be objective, with clear-cut winners and losers. Team A scored more points than Team B. Runner X crossed the finish line before Runner Y. Too many winter events are determined by judges. Figure skating, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing are three of the more popular sports where the winners are decided by votes. In the summer, the gymnastics events are among the few that require judges. Big-time sports like swimming, track and field, and volleyball do not.Even in the sports where simple numbers (time or distance) decide the medalists, most viewers have no frame of reference. I have no idea what’s a good time for bobsledding or a respectable distance for ski jumping because I’ve never done them. The Summer Games—dominated by simple and inexpensive sports like swimming and track and field—don’t have this problem.Aside from speed skating, there are hardly any winter sports that provide a photo finish. Due to the nature of many events, competitors go one at a time. Viewers have to keep an eye on the clock instead of watch the athletes go head-to-head down the stretch. The incredible finishes we see every four years in the pool or on the track aren’t possible in the Winter Games.And lastly, because of the cost and the climate necessary to attempt many of the winter sports, a majority of the world is excluded. There are 146 countries that have won an Olympic medal: 145 have summer medals, but only 45 have winter medals. You need not only snow but money to train for many of the winter events.Good luck trying to distinguish between two well-executed triple lutzes and have fun watching a couple of guys push a hunk of granite down the ice with a broom. I’ll be counting down the days until the opening ceremony in Rio.Andrew Kahn is a freelance writer who blogs at andrewjkahn.com.Baby, It’s Cold OutsideWe can all agree that most Olympic sports are difficult, or at least require an above average level of specialization, practice, skill, and dedication. This is why millions of people tune in to watch Olympians perform, because they simply don’t possess the combination of natural talent and rigor of these genetic anomalies.But let’s split hairs for a minute: performing sports when it’s cold outside (see: Winter Olympics) is just plain harder, requiring more dexterity, more strength, and more pure nerve than the Olympics’ warm weather cohort will have you believe. Let’s discuss.No one likes the bitter cold. Beach volleyball or snowball fight? I can guarantee 98% of those considered sane by the federal government would pick a warm beach and a Corona in their hand. That’s why winter sports are that much more impressive—it takes a true athlete, a truly hardened individual to face extreme cold, much less ski down a hill at 60 miles an hour in it. Or jump 150 feet in the air on a snowboard. Or ice skate at 40 miles an hour on rock hard ice. Suck it, triathletes, and try doing what you do in a negative-5 wind chill.Ice hockey. Skiing. Snowboarding. Speed skating. Luge. Cross-country skiing. All these sports have two things in common: cold and intensity. Let’s take a look at some summer sports: table tennis, horseback riding, fencing. It sounds more like a country club getaway.Have you ever seen soccer players rip off their gloves, throw down their sticks, and start pummeling each other in the face mercilessly? No? Why, soccer players don’t even have gloves. Or sticks. And they’re not allowed to fight. Is there any sports story more glorious than that of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team? I rest my case.It would seem that Summer Olympians just want to take their shirts off, lounge around at the beach, and pretend at athleticism. If you’ve ever stood atop a mountain in 8-degree weather with 30 mph winds, crossed your fingers, and hoped your skis carried you safely back to the lodge, you can relate. If you haven’t, give it a try some time. If you don’t freeze to death first, you may just come to realize that the Winter Games are really the only sports the Olympics have to offer.Evans Prater is founder of DoNation, a non-profit dedicated to helping folks streamline their support of good causes locally and nationwide: jointhedonation.org.
Compliments of our friends at DZR shoes…London Bike Polo 2013 from DZR on Vimeo.Thanks to the warm welcome from the Bike Polo players in London. We came out for work but instead managed to play polo, visit killer shops ( Push, Look mum no Hands, Tokyo Fixed , Bon Velo , ect), stumble into an underground party, had way too many pints and not nearly enough dinner.And some sick private flow track from Simon Silver…And some sweet North Carolina trail riding from Cane Creek Cycling Components…
The Watauga Gorge.It’s been on my mind ever since I started kayaking. It was the run, the one everyone would skip work, reschedule meetings, and ditch class for. It’s one of the Southeast’s whitewater gems, and the weekend I was in Damascus, Va., for Trail Days, the Watauga Gorge was running.We left Sunday morning at the crack of noon (at least, those were our intentions). By the time we were geared up and at the put-in some 45 minutes away, it was nearing 2 o’clock. We waited under the blazing sun, in the heat of the day, panting in our dry suits and half-dehydrated from the previous night’s festivities. I, of course, was feeling ever so nauseous at the thought of the paddle to come and was grateful I’d scarfed an egg and cheese bagel that morning before my appetite had completely disappeared.There was a big group of us going down – 10 deep to be exact. I tend to prefer paddling in smaller groups, but I didn’t mind so much this time; most of the group were the guys who taught me to paddle, the ones who’d seen me come up choking for air, carp rolls, and smack rocks with my face time and again. Whether they were tagging along for front row seats to the carn fest or to act as genuine moral support is hard to tell (although I prefer to think the latter).The “do you know where we are” face above the entrance to Stateline Falls.When we came up to one of the first major rapids, Bump & Grind, I’m sure I was green with terror. It wasn’t that the rapid was particularly big and scary (class IV), but the fact that I was entering the Watauga. River. Gorge. In kayaking, hesitancy kills. I’d psyched myself out for so long thinking I couldn’t handle anything above a class IV, that by the time I was actually floating toward the class Vs, it was all I could do to dip my blade in and pull my boat forward. I got pinned sideways on some inconspicuous rock, sliding down the slot at Bump & Grind backwards, but I was fine. Something clicked, and I finally realized: I can do this. Much like my first time down the Upper Yough, that gnawing nervousness faded and grew to pure, giddish enjoyment.Brandon and Chris giving very similar beta on Stateline.Even as I sat above Stateline Falls in the Chapel Eddy, saying my final prayer before plunging over the lip of the 16-foot falls, I wasn’t nervous so much as stoked; this was by far the biggest stuff I’d ever paddled, and I couldn’t have been happier to be sharing the experience with the guys who introduced me to kayaking. Although my line sucked coming off Stateline and I swam deep beneath the falls, finally surfacing after nearly 20 seconds of being tossed and churned beneath the curtain, my mood was hardly dampened (although I wish I’d stomped it). Until next time Watauga…Coming off Stateline, pre-carnage.
In this month’s installment of ‘Off the Beaten Path’ we caught up with Ching Fu and Jerud Crandall, an Asheville couple that’s criss-crossing the country in a solar powered camper pulled by a pick up truck that runs on waste vegetable oil.To date, their inspiring journey—meticulously documented in an online project they call Live Small | Ride Free—has taken them to the desserts of the Southwest, the imposing Cascades Mountains, the Pacific Northwest coast, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Montana and far beyond.Check out our exclusive Q & A with Ching below to find out how this rambling couple has made their dream life of paddling, hiking and mountain biking across the great American landscape a reality. BRO: What inspired you to leave home and take up a life on the road?Ching: We didn’t want to wait until we were retired to explore beyond our 2-week long vacations. There’s a lifetime of outdoor destinations to visit and time was becoming more and more our enemy. Life was great in Asheville but living the traditional lifestyle wasn’t totally fulfilling; we weren’t achieving what we wanted by staying in one place and living the way we were brought up believing we had to.We yearned for a life that challenged us and also included a changing view from our bedroom window. After reading about others’ lives on the road, we decided we could make that work for ourselves and have an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.BRO: Where are you from originally?Ching: Jerud was born in Raleigh and moved around the Carolinas before ending up in Asheville. I’m from New York City, lived overseas for seven years, then returned to the states and eventually moved to Asheville – where we met.BRO: Where did your journey begin, and what kinds of places have you discovered along the way?Ching: On March 21, 2015 we left Asheville. The first couple of stops on our way out West were to visit friends. From there we headed to a small town that sat at 7,000 ft. surrounded by snow covered mountains. We snowshoed and mountain biked there, all the while in shock at the places we now could call home.Our first month on the road ended with us visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park. We brought the dogs hiking on the dunes with us and Tybee thought it was the largest sandy beach she’d been to and just wanted to dig. From there we drove into Utah and camped amidst red rock features with names like Sitting Hen Butte and Seven Sailors. We explored natural bridges and arches, hiked through narrow canyons, found a large cave that resembled the mouth of a fish, mountain biked Moab and paddled a section of the Colorado River.Our paddling continued while we were in Montana where we made new friends, took care of donkeys, and spent time over campfires with friends from Asheville who also live on the road. Our travels continued north and west, weaving in and out of national parks, meeting up with more friends and families.We swam in alpine lakes and hiked in the dark up peaks with 360 degree views of the Cascade Mountains to watch the sun rise. Waves crashed around us as we made our way down the Pacific Northwest coast with us ogling rocks jutting out of the ocean and colonies of elephant seals chest bumping one another. New Year’s was celebrated in the Californian desert with about 80 other nomads in all types and sizes of vehicles, bonding over our shared wanderlust. Each place we go we scout out great mountain bike trails. Which brings us to where we are now, riding slickrocks with the cliffs of Zion behind us.BRO: Any favorite destinations?There’s a favorite something at almost all the places we’ve been to and there’s still so much we haven’t seen. We do have a few that have stood out so far. Salida, CO was a small town in the Rockies that had snow, mountain biking and paddling all in one place. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington had great hikes and lakes to swim in. And the Oregon coast was beautiful, particularly the Cape Perpetua area.Ching: Tell us about your travel companions.Live Small Ride Free consists of Jerud, me, and our two dogs – Tybee, 13-year-old lab/rott mix who adores the water and Tyki, a 3-year-old blue heeler mix who loves bird watching. The dogs have really enjoyed life on the road.We get to spend more time with them, which has been especially wonderful and important as Tybee ages. They get to see, smell and explore new areas, and they are able to roam free around the places we stay.BRO: What sort of outdoor activities have you partaken in while out on the road?Ching: Nothing makes us happier than being immersed in the outdoors. This was the main reason why we moved into a home on wheels and mainly dry camp on BLM land. We brought a lot of outdoor gear with the goal to be more than weekend warriors. Our outdoor activities so far have included: mountain biking, road biking, hiking, paddling, backpacking, rock climbing, trail running, snowshoeing and snowboarding. Having the options to participate in a variety of outdoor activities is great because if we’re in an area that doesn’t have great trails for riding but has wonderful paddling opportunities, we pull out our packraft; it may be too snowy for hiking but perfect for snowshoeing.BRO: Your journey is a little different from some of the other folks we’ve covered in our ‘Off the Beaten Path’ series because it’s been powered by alternative fuels. Tell us how you’ve made this work.Ching: Our home is a 25 ft. long fifth-wheel RV that we gutted and rebuilt ourselves due to extensive water damage. It took us a year to finish the rebuild, and it’s still an on-going project as we make our home better. During the initial tear down we removed all the propane appliances that RVs normally rely upon and converted our RV to be all-electric. Our RV, aka Toaster, is outfitted with 1,220 watts of solar panels so everything inside is fully powered by solar.This is great because we can live without using a generator or being plugged into the grid for as long as we want. We also installed an Air Head composting toilet to get rid of the RV’s black tank and minimize our water usage.Our tow vehicle is a Ford F-250 that we converted to run off waste vegetable oil in addition to diesel. Our goal is to be fossil fuel free. We’ve pretty much succeeded with the Toaster, but it’s harder with the truck because finding used cooking oil isn’t as easy as it was years ago, especially being on the go constantly. But we’re strong believers that with our love for the outdoors comes our responsibility to take care of it. What better way to do it than by living in line with our environmental values as we explore nature?BRO: How do you prepare food while out on the road. Any favorite dishes?Ching: With our residential electric fridge, electric cooktop, and other kitchen appliances, we’re able to cook just like we did back in our house. Although we don’t make as many elaborate dishes as we did before. We like to make our 40 gallon fresh water tank last 10 days, so we choose recipes that create the least amount of dirty dishes. Some of our favorite dishes are waffles, chia pancakes, homefries, Chinese Szechuan eggplant, oyster sauce broccoli, tofu with peanut sauce and Chinese noodles, Indian curries, and homemade pizza.BRO: Can you tell us about some of the most interesting characters you’ve me while out on the road?Ching: All the people we’ve met who also live full-time on the road have great stories of their own of how they got to where they are and why they’ve chosen this lifestyle. We’ve met lots of families with kids of all ages, couples and individuals. One couple hit the road separately, met, and started traveling together in one rig. Another couple started off traveling together, then mutually decided to part ways, but loved their nomadic life so much they each continued on in their own rigs.One individual runs his photography business out of his van that he also lives in full-time. Another person has been traveling with his dog for over five years, meeting up with friends along the way. The people we’ve met along our way had been one of the highlights of living on the road.BRO: What is the most challenging or trying thing that has happened along the way?Ching: We’ve definitely had our share of challenging moments. While staying in Utah we came back home to find that someone had run their rig into ours while we were gone.The damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been but it shifted our whole trailer sideways, freaked us out and our bedroom window cover got ripped off.In Seattle, I had my touring bike and Tybee’s dog trailer stolen. Eventually my bike was found (sans many parts) and Tybee’s trailer was replaced through the kindness of a friend that I reconnected with accidentally via Craigslist. Funny thing is that the experience was overall positive because we had friends and many strangers reach out to us offering help in various ways.Then in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, WA our first truck’s brakes died while we were driving up a mountain. To be able to call for a tow truck we biked 20 miles round trip to reach a payphone. After three hours on the phone with the roadside assistance company trying to get the person to understand where we were (it really wasn’t complicated), we eventually got the truck and RV towed back into town. This began the long process of finding a replacement truck because the old one was no longer worth repairing.BRO: What advice would you give others who want to follow in your footsteps and take up the mobile, travel-based lifestyle?Ching: Don’t wait for things to be perfectly lined up to hit the road because you’ll end up waiting forever. The excuses you currently have are exactly that – excuses. All the people we’ve met who now live on the road, including us, at some time had used one or more of your excuses. But they wanted this life badly enough that they said “screw it” and went for it.Bigger isn’t always better – we thought a 25 ft. long RV would be the perfect size for the four of us but we’ve realized that we would be just as comfortable in a smaller rig. That being said, we love our rig. We’ve put so much time and effort into making it ours that it would be hard to trade it for something else one day.And most importantly: Living sustainably on the road is totally doable. We’re proof that you can live comfortably and partake in all the activities you want while living in a fossil fuel free home. Sure there are some hard moments, but it’s not an adventure if it’s easy all the time.Learn more about Ching and Jerud and following along with their continuing adventures at their website, their Facebook page, and on Instagram. [divider]Related Articles[/divider]
High school biking has officially gone mainstream. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association formed in 2009, and it has quickly expanded to 19 leagues in 18 states—including North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Pennsylvania.“We expect participation in 2017 will include over 12,000 student-athletes and more than 4,000 coaches, with a number of new leagues also joining us,” says the organization’s president Austin McInerny.Virginia is particularly well represented. The Commonwealth boasts 25 teams, 14 of which are school-affiliated. Many of the teams are affiliated with private schools, but Andrea Dvorak, director of NICA’s Virginia High School League, is working to bring mountain biking to more public schools. “Once we get around eight riders from a specific school district, I can go to the athletic director and explain that NICA will cover the insurance, provide pre-screened certified coaches, schedule competitions—pretty much everything needed to start a program.”In Charlottesville, three public schools—Monticello High School, Charlottesville City High School, and Western Albemarle High School—will begin fielding teams this fall. “Monticello High School came on board early,” says Dvorak. “And due to their success, we’ve been able to use them as a sort of pilot program for the other public schools.”One of the country’s most established and successful high school mountain bike squads is at The Miller School of Albemarle, a private boarding school located in Crozet, Va. The Miller School won the 2016 VHSL state mountain biking championship and is the country’s only school-based program to be recognized as an official “Center of Excellence” by USA Cycling.Training runs year-round and is crucial to the team’s success. “In an endurance sport like mountain biking, offseason training is the most important piece of the puzzle for making improvement,” says head coach Andy Guptill. “Varsity riders are on the bike between two and five hours a day, and in the weight room before classes several mornings each week. Once the season begins, we’re traveling and racing so often that time for constructive training blocks is very limited, so you have to go into the season firing on all cylinders.”The team travels all over the East Coast competing against the country’s top junior bikers. In January, the school’s star rider, Laurent Gervais, signed with the Aevolo Cycling Team, a prominent Under-23 squad in the Union Cycliste Internationale.Interscholastic mountain biking is taking root in North Carolina, too. This spring is the North Carolina league’s first official season, and they’re setting NICA records for participation. With seven leagues and more in the works, Dvorak says discussions about a regional East Coast tournament have already begun. “We think this is the first step in founding a national interscholastic championship series.Nashville’s Dan Furbish Takes a DIY ApproachHigh school mountain biking is dominated by private schools with deep pockets and big budgets, but in Nashville, Tennessee, a group of international high school students got their start racing in hoodies and jeans on self-made bikes. Led by NICA certified coach Dan Furbish, the Nashville International High School Mountain Bike Team—or, as Furbish lovingly calls them, the Bad News Bears—is the result of a partnership between the Oasis community center, Humana, and Halcyon Bike Shop. “[The team] basically started in 2009 as a summer experiment,” said Furbish who, at that time, was working as a counselor for troubled students. “I thought to myself, ‘What if I asked people for a bunch of donated bike parts and then taught kids to put them together?’” The idea quickly blossomed into a full-fledged program supported by sponsors. By providing urban kids with parts and guidance, and helping them build their own bikes, Furbish could give them a means of exercising, a community to participate in, a way to stay out of trouble, and provide them with sustainable and self-reliant transportation. Since its inception eight years ago, over 400 youths have completed the program.The racing team grew out of the program in 2015, when a handful of participants asked Furbish to help them create a competitive squad. “We worked with sponsors to get them uniforms and it was kind of like, ‘Well, here’s the starting line, let’s go see what we can do!’” Just a few years ago, many of them had never ridden a bike. Now they are lining up to race.
For a special personal challenge, visit all the parks. You can find a unique challenge hiking the highest andlowest points in Virginia. Beaver Lake Trail – A half-hour from the state capital,Pocahontas State Park has 11 hiking trails over 5 miles long. At 2.3-miles,Beaver Lake Trail is a moderate loop with slight elevation changes. For anadditional challenge, head over to the 4 miles Co-op Trail. With views of SwiftCreek Lake, you’ll see why this is quickly becoming the most popular trail inthe park. Stroll along the Atlantic Ocean at Virginia’s lowest point in False Cape State Park. The West Dike, Barbour Hill, Sand Ridge Beach Loop is an 8.9-mile hike through remote sand along the Atlantic Ocean. This is not a hike for beginners, but it delivers. Carry plenty of water. Trails are closed Nov. 1 – March 31. Mount Rogers is Virginia’s highest point at 5,729 feet. And Old Rag is 3,284 feet. But between them, Virginia’s second-highest point is in Grayson Highlands State Park, at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. Spend the night in a yurt and enjoy the park’s 13 hiking trails leading to panoramic vistas, scenic waterfalls and a 200-year-old pioneer cabin. The park also offers access to the Appalachian Trail and trails in the surrounding Jefferson National Forest. When it comes to hiking, regardless of your experience level, you’ll find an adventurous and challenging hiking trail in a Virginia State Park. Douthat State Park is another mountain park with fun and challenging hikes. Mountain Side Trail is narrow and mountainous; it’s not for children or the inexperienced. From the 1.2-mile trail, take the equally difficult 2.4-mile Mountain Top Trail. Serious hikers strap on a pack and hike the 16 miles of trails on the park’s perimeter. Travel across Virginia and you’ll find a Virginia State Parkalong the way. Every region offers distinctive state parks — from the mountainsto the Atlantic Ocean, from the Valley to Southside Virginia. Find your parkand find your adventure. You’ll earn five different and attractive pins. Get one foryour first park visit and others after visiting 5, 10, 20 and all 38 parks. Areyou up for the challenge? Shenandoah River State Park offers 24 miles of trails from one edge of the park to the other. On the park’s west side, take Culler’s Trail, to Shale Barrens Trail, to the Bear Bottom Loop for a stimulating 8-mile hike. Enroll in the Virginia State Parks Trail Quest program and be rewarded when you visit parks. More than 160 miles of the park system’s 626 miles of trails are reserved for hiking, and hiking is allowed on more than 397 miles of multiuse trails.
By Dialogo March 24, 2009 senhores gostaria de rever sa musicas da jovem guarda do rie roberto carlos To celebrate his fifty-year-long career, Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos, nicknamed “the king” by his fans, announced that he will release a new album, go on tour, and perform a large show in one of the largest exhibition centers in Sao Paulo. Roberto Carlos’s tour will last one year and will include a performance for an audience of 70,000 people at the legendary Marcaná Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in July. This tour will begin in Cachoeiro de Itapemirim (Espiritu Santo), his hometown, on April 19, his 68th birthday, and ending in New York a year later, he and his organization stated in a press conference. One of the shows, “Roberto Carlos Rock Symphony,” will reunite national rockers, he told the local press. A CD with new songs will also be released for the occasion, and the singer explained that the theme would be what he has always sought. “I have always spoken, and continue to speak of love, which is one of the most important things in existence.” The writer of hits such as “I want a million friends,” Roberto Carlos is considered the Latin American songwriter who has sold the most albums, with about 100 million sales, according to his website. The Brazilian Justice has banned an unauthorized biography of the singer written by Paulo César Araujo. The biography recounts episodes that the artist is reluctant to discuss in public, including the amputation of one leg after a car accident, and his quarrels with his friend and partner, the singer and songwriter Erasmo Carlos, who also joined the so-called ‘Young Guard’ in the 60s.
By Dialogo September 28, 2009 Following tests in 16,000 volunteers, a group of scientists from the United States and Thailand presented today in Bangkok a vaccine that reduces the risk of AIDS infection by 31.2 percent, marking the first time that it has been possible to slow the spread of the disease with measures of this kind. “These results show that development of a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine is possible,” emphasized Col. Nelson Michael, director of the Division of Retrovirology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program. These results are very encouraging, although more studies are needed, the military officer added in a press conference in Bangkok. The experimental vaccine was presented in the Thai capital by members of the group that collaborated on the research: the U.S. Army, the Thai Health Ministry, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Sanofi-Pasteur, and Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, warned against getting carried away, but said that “I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is a very important result,” after twenty years without progress. The experimental vaccine is known as RV144 and mixes two genetic formulas that had not previously been effective in humans and that on this occasion protected 31.2 percent of the volunteers who were inoculated with the new combination. The study began in 2003, involved 16,402 volunteers – men and women between eighteen and thirty years old – and started by giving half the group the vaccine and the other half a placebo. Among those who received the placebo, seventy-four individuals became infected; among the others, only fifty-one. Dr. Fauci indicated that scientists normally consider a vaccine feasible when its level of effectiveness is above 70 percent, but in the case of AIDS, any protection is already progress. A more detailed report on the clinical trial will be presented at the AIDS Vaccine Conference to be held in Paris from 19 to 22 October.
By Dialogo May 21, 2010 Bolivia will sell natural gas to Brazil and Argentina for a total of 2.3 billion dollars in 2010, an executive of the Bolivian state petroleum firm YPFB announced Wednesday. “With a conservative base of increase, I believe that we’re going to have at least 2.3 billion dollars, a fifteen-percent increase,” the YPFB executive, Cyro Camacho, said at a press conference, referring to the supply of the fuel to the two neighboring countries. Last year sales of Bolivian gas to Brazil and Argentina reached 2 billion dollars: 22 million cubic meters a day (MCMD) to the former and between 3 and 4 MCMD to the latter, according to the Bolivian official. Camacho noted that “in May we’re going to reach the maximum capacity of the Bolivia-Brazil pipeline, which is 31 million cubic meters a day” (MCMD), due to the fact that Brasilia will be sending more gas to its power plants for the São Paulo market. Brazil’s contract with Bolivia, signed in 1999 and valid for twenty years, commits to a maximum supply of 31 MCMD, and in the Argentine case, La Paz and Buenos Aires signed an agreement in March to sell up to 7.7 MCMD this year.