26 May

Henry at a loss over Titans’ slow starts

first_imgFor the fourth week in succession the Titans gave up a double-digit lead to their opponents with Johnathan Thurston scoring a try and kicking three goals to get the North Queensland Cowboys out to a 10-0 lead after 19 minutes on Saturday night.It is an exact repeat to their start to the 2016 season where they also gave up double-digit leads in their first four games yet while last year they clawed their way back to win two games in the opening month in 2017, they have just the one win and sit in 12th place on the Telstra Premiership ladder.That they were able to fight back and actually lead 12-10 after 32 minutes against the Cowboys is a testament to their ability to get back into a contest but no team in the NRL can expect to start at least 10 points behind each week and win more than half their games.”Obviously we need to look at our starts again and try and get an even share of possession at least, or even get it going our way and we haven’t been able to do that so far this year,” Henry said.”I don’t know if you’ve got the answer to it. I don’t think there’s any magic formula.”We talked about starting better but if you gift a bit of field position at times…”I thought the halves were fast and direct and we played some entertaining football but also some good football. We really tested their defence but we needed a bit more possession and we needed to stop them when they got up there a couple of times.”We’ve used a lot of energy and Ryan [James] and Jarrod Wallace are playing big minutes up front and doing a lot of work.”We feel if we can get that possession our way that our attack’s good enough to worry other teams.”The opening 20-minute onslaught where the Cowboys enjoyed an 80 per cent share of possession and failed to make a single error came back to haunt the Titans late in the first half when they conceded two tries in the space of five minutes to trail 20-12 at the break.A try to winger Tyronne Roberts-Davis 15 minutes into the second half narrowed the margin to four points but two tries to towering Cowboys back-rower Coen Hess again shot North Queensland out to a 16-point lead.While the 17,000 fans in attendance and those watching at home marvelled at the 20-year-old’s brute force to push past four Titans defenders to score both of his tries Henry was ruing a goal-line defence that couldn’t stop him from scoring.”When you make contact with a player carrying the ball six or seven metres off the try-line and you can’t stop that ball being put down and there’s a number of players around, we’ve got to be better than that,” Henry said.”There’s no excuses for not stopping that ball getting over the line just by being underneath it.”If we did that a couple of times on Coen Hess then the score might have been a bit different.”Henry made some late adjustments to his starting side prior to kick-off with Tyrone Roberts moving out of hooker to start at fullback in place of Tyler Cornish and Ryan Simpkins being promoted off the bench to start at hooker.With first-choice hooker Nathan Peats not expected back for at least another fortnight and Karl Lawton playing 30 minutes just two weeks after suffering a dislocated shoulder, Henry indicated that it is that formation that is likely to line up against the Warriors next Sunday in Auckland.”[Roberts] does get a bit of room out there to move and he carries the ball well so he can chime in. He’s got a good pass so I think that’s a good spot for him,” Henry said of Roberts’ shift to fullback.”He’s had to be a bit of a utility for us but he’s good back there.”The major injury scare for the Titans was a shoulder injury to lock forward Agnatius Paasi who left the field after 24 minutes and took no further part in the game.last_img read more

20 Jul

Seedy tale Chinese researchers stole patented corn US prosecutors allege

Email FBI agents tracked the group for about a year, according to court documents, eventually indicting the alleged ringleader, Mo Hailong, and five partners this past December. Last week, U.S. prosecutors arrested and charged another suspect in the case. Mo Yun, a researcher with a “PhD in an animal science field,” according to court records, heads up DBN’s research and technology division in Beijing. All seven defendants have been charged with being part of a conspiracy to steal trade secrets.  Mo Yun is the wife of DBN Chair Shao Genhuo and the sister of alleged ringleader Mo Hailong. Her arrest suggests that agents have traced the operation back to the scientists in China who would have handled any seed lines obtained from the United States. Mo Yun, who oversaw DBN’s seed breeding efforts in China, was “in charge of the specifics from the home country side,” DBN’s chief operating officer wrote in an instant message to Mo Hailong that was intercepted by FBI agents.The germplasm, or genetic makeup, of corn lines is a valuable form of intellectual property and is carefully guarded by seed companies. Through extensive research, breeders develop inbred seed lines that have particular traits. They can then be crossbred with other inbred lines to create hybrid lines that are sold to farmers.In China, Mo Yun and her colleagues operated in an atmosphere that works against the homegrown development of such seed lines, say observers of China’s agricultural research programs. China’s plant breeding research is mainly conducted in the public sector, and researchers are not always in close contact with the companies that sell and trade seeds. Less money is available for the private sector, says Huang Jikun, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy in Beijing. “The current institutional setting and incentive system” is a barrier to innovation, he notes.Plant breeding research elsewhere in the world has benefited from advances in genomics and molecular markers, but plant breeding scientists in China do not work closely with researchers in those areas, says Carl Pray, an agriculture, food, and resource economics expert at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who has worked in China. “Only a few private Chinese companies have developed major biotech and plant breeding research capacities,” he adds. Rather than labor in an atmosphere stymied by poor investment, fragmented research groups, and weak intellectual property protection, the defendants may have seen obtaining patented seed lines as a shortcut. The United States has a climate and crop growing conditions that are similar to China’s, making it a “natural place to look,” Pray says.In 2012, a court document alleges, Mo Hailong and two other defendants “attempted to ship approximately 250 pounds of corn seed, packaged in 42, 5-gallon zip-lock bags contained in 5 separate boxes,” from Illinois to a logistics company in Hong Kong. Another defendant is said to have stashed “374 small manila envelopes each containing small quantities of corn seed within two boxes of Pop Weaver brand microwave popcorn,” which he stowed in his checked luggage on a flight to Beijing.Mo Yun, who would have overseen efforts to ascertain the germplasm of any stolen seed lines in Beijing, allegedly participated from behind the scenes. Agents intercepted instant messaging chats in which she and her brother discussed which seeds to collect.Later, she told her brother that some of the seeds he had sent were performing well. She added that a DBN scientist had been asked to test the DNA of the seed lines deemed most promising, according to court documents.DuPont Pioneer has developed a popular corn line in China in partnership with a Chinese company. But because of the Chinese government’s concern about foreign control of China’s seed industry, Pray says, officials have allowed the company to commercialize only one hybrid cultivar. Those tight controls mean that little of the company’s intellectual property finds its way into China. Pray says “it could be that if the Chinese government was not so effective at keeping out U.S. companies and U.S. maize lines, [Mo Yun] and her brother could have taken these lines from DuPont in China rather than violating U.S. law and taking U.S. trade secrets from the U.S.”Mo Hailong and several other defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Attorneys for the accused could not be reached for comment. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The court documents read like something out of a Coen brothers film. Employees of the Chinese agricultural company Dabeinong Technology Group Co. (DBN) and a subsidiary sneaked through midwestern cornfields, U.S. prosecutors allege, stealthily gathering patented corn that they attempted to smuggle out of the United States in microwave popcorn boxes. Over a span of years, the associates allegedly came up with various ways of stealing coveted seed lines developed by agricultural giants DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, and LG Seeds—a feat that, had it succeeded, would have sidestepped years of research. The case is remarkable in its scope. Experts on Chinese agriculture say that it also reflects real obstacles to innovation within China.The U.S.-based defendants roamed rural Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa in rental cars, digging up corn seedlings, stealing ears of corn, and stealing or illegally obtaining packaged seed, according to court documents. In 2011, a DuPont Pioneer field manager spotted one alleged thief on his knees digging in a field, as a collaborator waited in a nearby parked car. The defendants stored hundreds of ears of corn in a storage locker, where a manager warned them that their stash might attract rodents. They eventually purchased 13 hectares of Iowa farmland in an apparent attempt to conceal their activities. Click to view the privacy policy. 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