Amgen Tour: Leipheimer keeps three-second lead

first_imgGerald Coilek (T-Mobile) of Germany was second in the stage and Juan Jose Haedo (CSC) of Argentina, the second stage winner, was third. Both had the same time as the winner. Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), who assumed the race lead Sunday with his prologue win in San Francisco, finished 22nd in the main pack and kept his three-second margin over Jens Voigt (CSC) of Germany. The stage began under overcast skies, and the riders faced heavy periodic rain for much of the first half of the stage. The cyclists also rode most of the day along the Pacific coastline in tailing crosswinds that increased the riders’ pace. The winner’s average speed was 26.01 mph. “I was just trying to stay near the front and avoid and gaps that might happen,” Leipheimer said. “I feel very confident and I think I’m the strongest rider in the race.” Rory Sutherland (Health Net) of Australia remains third overall, trailing by 15 seconds. Bettini, also the reigning Olympic road race gold medalist, emerged near the front of the main pack as the cyclists approached the finish on a sharp left turn with about 300 yards left. “I always like winning, but I didn’t really come here with a goal to win,” said Bettini, 32, a multiple Tour de France stage winner who has claimed more than a dozen World Cup victories. “But yesterday on the climb I knew had good legs.” The eight-day, 639.2-mile race continues today with the 14.5-mile fifth stage individual time trial in Solvang before Day 9 reaches Santa Clarita and ends in Long Beach. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img SAN LUIS OBISPO – Italy’s Paolo Bettini, the reigning world road titlist, claimed a tight sprint victory and Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa maintained his overall race lead for the fifth day Thursday in the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Bettini (Quick-Step/Innergetic), competing in the United States for the first time in his career, surged in the final 100yards to complete the 132.6-mile road race in 5 hours, 5 minutes and 47 seconds. last_img read more

Qantas joins Virgin in offering premium lounge entry

first_imgCompetition to keep the well-heeled separated from the hoi polloi is heating up in Australia with Qantas announcing a premium entry in Brisbane that allows elite customers to avoid everyday queues.Virgin Australia pioneered the concept in Australia when it opened its Sydney lounge five years ago and has since opened a premium entry in Brisbane as well as a quirkier “premium exit” in Melbourne.Both the Sydney and Brisbane Virgin lounges offer a kerbside entrance and valet parking. The Brisbane entrance was opened last year as part of a refurbishment that doubled the size of the lounge there.Now Qantas has joined the trend with its own premium lounge entry at Brisbane’s domestic airport, due to open with its refurbished lounge precinct next March.The new entry, located on level 1 of the terminal, will be open daily and will offer eligible customers a dedicated check-in area, bag drop, security screening and escalator with direct access to the new Qantas Lounge Precinct.   “This is about streamlining the overall departure process for our top tier Frequent Flyers from the moment they arrive at the airport,”  head of Qantas customer experience Philip Capps said in a statement.“Premium Lounge Entry will speed up the process for customers checking in both at the airport or on their mobile – allowing them to move through the terminal quickly and maximise their time relaxing or working in the lounge.’’Qantas opened a new international lounge in Brisbane this year and the domestic redevelopment includes a Chairman’s Lounge and a new look Qantas Club.Customers eligible to use the new entry include those travelling in business, Qantas Club members, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald Members.last_img read more

Dairy Producers Previously enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program now eligible for 2018 MPP

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.Producers enrolled in 2018 LGM-Dairy, administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), previously were determined by the 2014 Farm Bill to be ineligible for coverage under MPP-Dairy, a safety net program available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).“The 2018 Farm Bill included substantial changes to USDA dairy programs,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This includes the ability for producers with LGM coverage to retroactively enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018. It also integrated recent improvements to the MPP-Dairy in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, beginning with the 2019 calendar year.”The MPP-Dairy program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost — the margin — falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producers in a dairy operation. LGM-Dairy is an insurance product that provides protection when feed costs rise or milk prices drop. The gross margin is the market value of milk minus feed costs.This retroactive sign-up is only for dairy producers with 2018 LGM coverage who produced and commercially marketed milk in 2018 but did not obtain full year MPP-Dairy coverage. FSA will notify eligible producers by postcard and provide a one-time payment for all of the months in 2018 that had margins triggering MPP-Dairy assistance.“I’m pleased that dairy producers will now be able to take advantage of enrolling in both Livestock Gross Margin and the Margin Protection Program for 2018 coverage,” said Martin Barbre, RMA Administrator. “The 2018 Farm Bill gave dairy producers more options like these and when combined with the new Dairy Protection Program offered by RMA, that means more overall coverage for dairy producers.”Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center.last_img read more

No decision on Rajasthan CM, Congress stakes claim to form government

first_imgThe suspense over the Chief Minister’s face in Rajasthan will continue for one more day, as the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) failed to reach a consensus after adopting a one-line resolution in its first meeting convened here on Wednesday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to take a decision in the matter on Thursday.A delegation of senior Congress leaders drove to Raj Bhawan late on Wednesday evening and staked claim before the Governor, Kalyan Singh, to form the government in the State. AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, told reporters that a list of the party’s elected legislators as well as others supporting the Congress was handed over to the Governor.“Some independent MLAs have given us the support in writing… We have absolute majority in the Assembly,” Mr. Pande said. He said the next step for the government’s formation would be taken after getting “guidance” from Mr. Gandhi, to whom the AICC observer would submit his report.The Congress has won 99 of the 199 Assembly seats, for which the polls were held on December 7, and has attained majority with the support of its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal. The front-runners for the post of Chief Minister are senior leader Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot, while former Union Minister C.P. Joshi is also stated to be in the reckoning.In a one-line resolution adopted at the CLP meeting, the legislators authorised Mr. Gandhi to take a decision on the Chief Minister’s appointment. The atmosphere outside the Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters here was tense, as the supporters of Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot raised loud slogans to outdo each other. The police force was deployed to manage the crowd.Mr. Pande and AICC observer K.C. Venugopal were present at the series of meetings which remained inconclusive. Mr. Venugopal later sought the opinion of each legislator separately, amid reports that the individual opinions would also be referred to Mr. Gandhi as the feedback.Pradesh Congress spokesperson Satyendra Raghav said the name of the CLP leader, who would also be the Chief Minister, would be conveyed to the Governor when the party receives the invitation from Raj Bhawan to form the government. “The Chief Minister’s name will be announced in Delhi tomorrow,” he said.A six-member delegation of Congress leaders, which did not include Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot, left for Delhi late in the night.The Congress has regained its lost ground in the State in a way by defeating the incumbent BJP. In its triumph in the desert land, the grand old party has retained the trend of the two parties alternately coming to power.After a high-voltage campaign, the State had recorded 74.21% polling on December 7. Most of the exit polls predicted a clear majority for the Congress over the BJP, but the seats won by the party on Tuesday were far below the projected numbers. A total of 2,274 candidates contested the polls in 199 of the 200 Assembly seats, as the election Alwar’s Ramgarh constituency was postponed.last_img read more