Bomb kills Sunni ally of U.S.

first_imgLocal papers often featured photographs of the robed sheik talking with the American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, with other American generals and with the Shiite prime minister, Nouri Kamal al-Maliki. But he was not unequivocally supportive; he often complained about the government’s failure to give his men the arms and support they needed. He had credibility with the tribal leaders because he and his family had suffered so much loss at the hands of the jihadi extremists. In an interview earlier this year, Abdul Sattar said that his father had been killed in an attack by al-Qaida of Mesopotamia in 2004 and two of his brothers were abducted and never heard from again; a third was shot dead. He had survived three car bombs outside the Anbar home he shared with his wife and five children. On Thursday, the American military said a bomb destroyed the vehicle he was in, but it was unclear whether it was a roadside bomb or a suicide bomber. No group had claimed the assassination late Thursday, but security officials in Iraq appeared convinced that responsibility lay with al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, the homegrown extremist group that associated itself with Osama bin Laden’s wider group and is believed to be foreign-led. But many groups in Iraq carry out assassinations, and Abdul Sattar may have had other enemies. Some other tribal leaders felt he drew more of the spotlight than his due. More recently, there were tensions between him and Sunni Arabs in parliament, who worried that his alliance’s growing influence might encroach on their power. BAGHDAD, Iraq – A high-profile Sunni Arab sheik who collaborated with the American military in the fight against jihadist militants in western Iraq was killed in a bomb attack on Thursday near his desert compound. The attack appeared to be a precisely planned assassination meant to undermine one of the Bush administration’s trumpeted achievements in the war. Two guards were also killed in the attack on the sheik, Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, who just last week shook hands with President Bush during Bush’s surprise visit to Anbar, in which he extolled the cooperation with Sunni clans that has made the province, once Iraq’s most dangerous, relatively safe. Iraqi and American officials were stunned by the assassination, which came just hours before Bush was to address the American people about his plans for Iraq. But they said it would not derail the collaboration of the alliance of Sunni clans, known as the Anbar Salvation Council. Abdul Sattar, 35, who was also known as Abu Risha to Iraqi and American commanders, had become the public face of the Sunni Arab tribes in lawless Anbar province that turned against the Sunni jihadists of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia and began to fight on the side of the Shiite-led Iraqi government and the American military. The Salvation Council was formed one day short of a year ago. The collaborating tribes first began telling the Americans where extremists were hiding weapons caches, burying bombs, and running safehouses. Then they set up checkpoints and began engaging in gunfights with Qaida cells in the Ramadi area. With attacks decreasing against both Americans and Iraqis, and large numbers of tribesmen lining up to join local security forces, the American military has begun to try to spread the approach. “The timing was critical; the assassination came at this moment because of the report of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior political adviser to al-Maliki, referring to Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. He added that the killing appeared intended to undermine the Bush administration’s effort to claim success in fighting al-Qaida in Mesopotamia. Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, the brother of the assassinated sheik, described the killers as “criminals” and, speaking in a low, resigned voice in a telephone interview, said they were “trying to send a message to everybody that whoever tries to help the humanity and to bring life again to Iraqis and also to improve the image of Islam will get killed.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Nature Does It Right

first_imgScientists and engineers continue to find well-designed features in living things that are worth imitating.Get a tail:  Extinct velociraptors, the terrors of the Jurassic Park movies, are inspiring robot designers.  Live Science and PhysOrg told about how Tailbot, developed at UC Berkeley and modeled after “leaping lizards,” can right itself after stumbling and can jump without tumbling.  “Engineers quickly understood the value of a tail,” said Thomas Libby, a grad student involved in the development of Tailbot.  “Robots are not nearly as agile as animals, so anything that can make a robot more stable is an advancement, which is why this work is so exciting.”  The PhysOrg article includes two entertaining video clips showing the robot clumsily attempting to duplicate the leaps a lizard does naturally (Tailbot’s attempt might be described as “falling with style”).  Prof. Robert J. Full remarked, “Inspiration from lizard tails will likely lead to far more agile search-and-rescue robots, as well as ones having greater capability to more rapidly detect chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.”Good design in bad water:  A briny pond at the lowest spot in the western hemisphere has a simple but descriptive name: Badwater.  Yet in this pond in Death Valley lives a microbe worth noting.  Science Daily says the “Death Valley Microbe May Spark Novel Biotech and Nanotech Uses.”  Why is that?  Dennis Bazylinski (U of Nevada) is impressed at the ability of the microbe to orient itself to magnetic fields.  The magnetic bacterium BW-1 has genes that produce nano-sized crystals of the minerals magnetite (a form of iron oxide) and greigite (a form of iron sulfide); BW-1 is the first microbe isolated capable of synthesizing greigite.  Bazylinski sees treasure in these microbes: their magnetosomes make them “useful in drug delivery and medical imaging.”  The article states that “Magnetotactic bacteria are simple, single-celled organisms that are found in almost all bodies of water.”  They can’t be that simple, though, to do what they do: “As their name suggests, they orient and navigate along magnetic fields like miniature swimming compass needles.”Insect cuticle for the environment:  “Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a new material that replicates the exceptional strength, toughness, and versatility of one of nature’s more extraordinary substances—insect cuticle,” reported PhysOrg.  They call it “Shrilk.”  Look for it in these products of the future: disposable diapers that degrade quickly, an environmentally safe alternative to plastic, biodegradable trash bags and packaging, sutures for wounds, and a scaffold for tissue regeneration.  Look at the praise they give to this material insects make on the fly:Natural insect cuticle, such as that found in the rigid exoskeleton of a housefly or grasshopper, is uniquely suited to the challenge of providing protection without adding weight or bulk. As such, it can deflect external chemical and physical strains without damaging the insect’s internal components, while providing structure for the insect’s muscles and wings. It is so light that it doesn’t inhibit flight and so thin that it allows flexibility. Also remarkable is its ability to vary its properties, from rigid along the insect’s body segments and wings to elastic along its limb joints.The Wyss Institute is on a mission to “create bioinspired materials and products.”  They’re understandably proud of their Shrilk, thanks to their flying friends.A bird, a plane:  In the tradition of the Wright Brothers, another aeronautical engineer has taken inspiration from birds.  PhysOrg calls “Queensland University of Technology PhD student Wesam Al Sabban” a genius for his “unmanned aerial vehicle that uses wind power like a bird.”  Does that imply that birds are even more intelligent for coming up with the design first?  To develop his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) called the Green Falcon II, Al Sabban had to learn from the masters. “As part of my PhD topic we are studying the way birds make use of wind energy to fly with minimum power, the way they glide and use all types of wind to move and change their flight path.”  He boasts, “The Green Falcon II will be a zero-emissions UAV capable of round-the-clock service.” Birds are kind of like that.  Unreported is whether the robot will leave spots on your car.Outdoing plants?  PhysOrg reported, “Researchers figure out how to outperform nature’s photosynthesis.”  The body of the article, though, reveals that they didn’t invent a light-gathering engine from scratch.  Rather, “They frankensteined together proteins from Synechococcus sp. with those from Clostridium acetobutylicum using molecular wire to create a ‘hybrid biological/organic nanoconstruct’ that was more efficient than either on their own.”  So, even though “These researchers have created a tiny solar-powered device that works twice as fast as nature to produce hydrogen biofuel,” it would be more impressive if they got their own dirt.Slimy computers:  Some Japanese researchers became fascinated with slime molds.  “A brainless, primeval organism able to navigate a maze might help Japanese scientists devise the ideal transport network design,” PhysOrg wrote.  “Not bad for a mono-cellular being that lives on rotting leaves.”  Somehow the cells of amoeboid yellow slime mold can find the most direct route through a maze to get to their food:  “the cells appear to have a kind of information-processing ability that allows them to ‘optimise’ the route along which the mold grows to reach food while avoiding stresses – like light – that may damage them.”  This means that we have something in common with slime.  “Humans are not the only living things with information-processing abilities,” said Toshiyuki Nakagaki.  Sloughing off his Ig Nobel Prizes for loving slime, he sees a bright future: “it could provide the key to designing bio-computers capable of solving complex problems.”Butterfly materials:  The blue mountain swallowtail butterfly is not just pretty; it’s downright inspiring.  “Butterflies have inspired humans since the time of ancient Egypt, but now they’re also inspiring researchers to look toward nature to help create the next generation of waterproof materials for electronics and sensors,” reported PhysOrg.  That’s why researchers in America and South Korea are looking carefully at the wings of this butterfly.  “The wings shed water easily because of tiny structures that trap air and create a cushion between water and wing which allows water to roll easily off the surface.”  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cell phone that repels water, instead of shorting out when doused?  One team member said, “Mimicking biological surfaces in nature is an important part in a variety of practical applications.”Spider silkworm:  The desire to imitate spider silk was one of the first biomimetics stories reported in these pages.  In the years since, scientists have had only partial success at duplicating the strands, or at genetically engineering goats with the silk genes to produce it in their milk.  Now, researchers from Wyoming, Indiana and China have succeeded in transplanting the genes for spider dragline silk into silkworms.  Since ancient times, humans have farmed silkworms, so we know about their care and feeding; wrangling spiders is much more difficult.  Reporting in PNAS (Jan 3, 2012, 73/pnas.1109420109), they announced,The development of a spider silk-manufacturing process is of great interest. However, there are serious problems with natural manufacturing through spider farming, and standard recombinant protein production platforms have provided limited progress due to their inability to assemble spider silk proteins into fibers. Thus, we used piggyBac vectors to create transgenic silkworms encoding chimeric silkworm/spider silk proteins. The silk fibers produced by these animals were composite materials that included chimeric silkworm/spider silk proteins integrated in an extremely stable manner. Furthermore, these composite fibers were, on average, tougher than the parental silkworm silk fibers and as tough as native dragline spider silk fibers. These results demonstrate that silkworms can be engineered to manufacture composite silk fibers containing stably integrated spider silk protein sequences, which significantly improve the overall mechanical properties of the parental silkworm silk fibers.Of this achievement, the BBC News announced, “Spider-Man web closer to reality.”  Live Science’s article has a humorous photo of a future T-shirt labeled, “95% silkworm / 5% spider.”  Impressive as this work is, it’s not the same as coming up with the silk from scratch.  The team still had to use the real animals and their genetic information.None of these articles mentioned evolution.  It’s all design, inspiration, and motivation.  Bio-inspired researchers want to produce better products, safer for the environment, safer for humans, helping humanity without damaging the planet.  Home school parents should use stories like these to fascinate their precocious youngsters with the wonders all around them, right in their back yards.  It can lead to a new crop of highly-motivated scientists, 100% Darwin-free (which means, safer for the environment, safer for humans, helping humanity without damaging the planet).(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Telco targets mid-sized businesses

first_img29 September 2010Another player has entered South Africa’s increasingly competitive telecoms market, with ARC Telecoms launching a new product and service offering targeting medium-sized businesses.It offers connectivity and voice solutions as well as managed services and value added applications delivered via the cloud, already boasts over 100 active customers, and has agreements with local carriers such as WBS, Telkom, Neotel, MTN and Vodacom.ARC also has the support of its advanced technical service delivery partners, Neology and Think IT.Mid-sized businesses ‘lost in the gap’According to ARC Telecoms CEO Steve Briggs, medium-sized enterprises are the heart of South Africa’s economy, employing the majority of people and contributing most to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), yet they remain massively under-serviced when it comes to telecommunications.“There are a few giants servicing the enterprise space and lots of smaller service providers all wishing they could,” Briggs said in a statement this week. “The result is that the true economic powerhouses of the SA economy – medium-sized businesses – get lost in the gap between the very small and the very large.”According to Briggs, ARC Telecoms has designed its network, services and support services to address the needs of the IT manager of a company employing between 50 and 200 people, with an IT budget and often more than one office location.“ARC isn’t aiming to service the top 500 corporate companies, but we aren’t looking to work with one-man home office businesses either,” he said.Mid-market focus, 14-day trialBriggs said that when looking at what the company could do to make the IT buying decision easier for mid-sized companies, they realised that clients needed more information before they made the final choice to purchase or implement a technology.“Rather than bombard already busy people with more spec sheets or white paper, we offer a no-strings-attached 14-day trial of any entry-level connectivity or voice service,” he said.“Where feasible, we set up a two-week trial, where you are able to test the solution in your business environment before committing to a longer-term contract.”SME-specific support, service levelsIn terms of SME-specific support that ARC offers businesses, Briggs highlighted the adoption of a high-touch customer service model. “Every client has a dedicated account manager, not just the top few. There is nothing that says, ‘You don’t actually matter to us’ more clearly for South African businesses than being palmed off on a contact centre.“We make sure customers have a specific, senior person who is responsible for getting their problems sorted out,” Briggs said.ARC has also ensured carrier independence by partnering with a set of carriers rather than just one, and in that way can source the best last-mile connectivity option for their clients on a case-by-case basis.The service level agreements are another area where ARC has taken a realistic attitude. “We offer our customers realistic, price-competitive service level agreements that we can all live with, and that delivers what their business needs to run,” said Briggs.“It’s not about perfect networks – it’s about having the right level of service so that technology doesn’t get in the way of business.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

What To Do To Keep Your Facebook Account Secure [Update]

first_imgEditor’s Update: Facebook has responded to our request for comment. The company is attributing the problems to user error and it denies there was a virus or that the site was hacked. Following are our tips on how to keep your Facebook account secure.Facebook said this week’s problem, which had users sending and accepting friend requests they did not initiate, was a result of users using contact importer. Users who clicked on “friend all” sent friend requests to everyone in their address book who had an email address linked to a Facebook account. Spokesman Frederic Wolens said in some cases the requests were held on Facebook’s servers as the program processed them, and users may not have connected their use of Facebook’s contact importer to friend requests that were processed as much as one week later.If you were one of those people, it may be too late to stop the friend requests, but you can turn off the sync function on your Facebook mobile app and log into Facebook to cancel out any of the other pending friend requests.We’re still waiting to hear back from Facebook about the attack we reported yesterday, but the ongoing discussion in Facebook’s Help Center indicates that it’s related to a syncing issue involving the contacts in some mobile phones. If you have been hit by the current attack, turn off the sync-contacts function on your mobile Facebook app. We’ll update our earlier post as soon as we get confirmation from Facebook.In the meantime, here are basic steps you should take whenever you think your account has been hacked.Change Your PasswordThis should be obvious. if someone or something has access to your account, end it by changing your Facebook password.Think of password changes like drug screenings at work: You should do it on a regular basis and after there’s been an accident. If you think someone has obtained your password (most likely through a phishing scam that lured you to a site that looks like Facebook) that’s the accident. Time to change.Reclaim Your AccountIt’s possible whoever took over your account will have beaten you to changing the password. Fortunately, Facebook has a process for reclaiming accounts. Follow the steps in the Help Center, which will verify your identity and re-secure your account.Update Your Security SoftwareDon’t gamble that the Facebook problem will remain just a Facebook problem. Update your security software (or, if, God forbid, you’re not using one, get a package immediately). To date, most of the major Facebook viruses and attacks have been limited to sending messages and friend requests, but that is likely change.Trim The App FatGo through the list of apps you have installed on Facebook and cut any that you don’t use regularly, and certainly any that with hindsight look suspicious. Each of your apps can compromise your security and privacy. Facebook has a primer on how to remove unwanted apps.Tell Your FriendsMake sure you alert potentially vulnerable contacts as soon as you know your account has been compromised. It’s also a good idea to let them know the steps you took to fix the account and, if you can figure it out, what worked. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts dave copelandcenter_img Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Facebook#web last_img read more

Food and Mood

first_imgBy Sarah Pittman, Human Nutrition Graduate Student at the University of IllinoisFood plays a big part in our society today. Food is not only used for nourishment and fuel for our bodies, but we also use it for celebrating, gathering and enjoyment. But the food we put into our bodies has a major impact on our gut-brain axis. Studies have shown that lower grade fuel (more processed and not as healthy food) can contribute to depression and cognitive health in adults. They have found that specifically, the western diet is associated with a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates emotion and memory.8Free RadicalsFree radicals are the natural by products of chemical processes like metabolism. Although too many free radicals can cause damage to the body, they are also essential to life. When we eat lower grade fuel excess free radicals form, which can cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are associated with cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.6Luckily, eating foods that contain antioxidants, like berries, red cabbage and kale, help to lessen or prevent the effects of free radicals by preventing the oxidation of other molecules.4Gut Microbiome and the Gut-Brain AxisThe gut microbiome is composed of over 100 trillion microbes, in which 95% of the bacteria in our bodies live in our GI tract. The gut bacterium has many functions including, digestion, immunity with fighting off infection, production of vitamins (especially vitamins B & K), as well as communication with the brain, hence the correlation to diet and mental health.8The gut-brain axis is a complex network that integrates the gut microbiome with the nervous system in the brain through the vagus nerve.7 This network regulates gastric and intestinal function as well as energy homeostasis.7 This is why an unhealthy digestive system can be linked to mental and physical distress.8How to maintain a healthy gutResearch has shown that we can slightly alter the composition of our gut microbiota (for better or worse) within a matter of 24 hours.8Protein foods contain the building blocks of the body and brain chemicals that influence how we think and feel.8 Therefore, including a lean protein source at each meal can lead to a healthy gut.Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial to brain health. Not having omega 3’s in the diet can change the makeup of the microbiome, which can ultimately influence brain health and behavior. A low intake of omega 3’s has been correlated with depression, poor concentration and fatigue.8As mentioned before, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help fight free radicals in the body. Eating a diet rich in berries, pecans and even dark chocolate can help maintain a healthy microbiome!2,8Staying hydrated is so important for all body functions and processes, including digestion and elimination. Dehydration affects our ability to think clearly and concentrate.3,8Probiotics and fiber can also help to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria found in the gut.8 But probiotics are also found foods/drinks like yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha.1,8 Fiber found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains can positively impact the gut microbiome by feeding the billions of bacteria in our gut.5Overall eating a healthful diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, antioxidants and water can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn will impact your overall mental and physical health! References:8 Greatest Probiotic Foods You Should Be Eating – Dr Axe. Dr. Axe. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019.12 Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants. Healthline. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019.Chris Iliades M. The Importance of Water in Your Diet Plan. Rose Wilson C. Free radicals: How do they affect the body?. Medical News Today. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019.Fiber Is Good for You. Now Scientists May Know Why. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019.The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis Relies on Your Vagus Nerve. Psychology Today. Published 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019.Smith M, Pate B. Food and Mood. Presentation presented at the: 2019; Rosecrance.last_img read more

Is Adrien Broner struggling with weight?

first_imgManny Pacquiao, left, listens as Adrien Broner speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Las Vegas. The two are scheduled to fight in a welterweight championship bout on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)LAS VEGAS—Adrien Broner’s camp has been mum about their ward’s weight issues, something that cropped up early on when Broner made a public appearance looking grossly overweight.And there’s a general consensus that Broner’s weight woes are the reason why he has been cranky, throwing tantrums all week long.ADVERTISEMENT His camp has refused to say how close the 29-year-old Broner is to meeting the 147 lbs weight limit for the WBA welterweight clash on Saturday at MGM Grand.But talk has continued to resurface with the weigh-in for the fight nearing. Both fighters tip the scales Friday afternoon at the hotel’s Garden Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsBroner has missed weight a couple of times before.In 2012 he was a full three pounds over the 130-lb limit when he faced Vicente Escovedo. Four years later, Broner had to pay Ashley Theopane $50,000 after he weighed in 140.4 lbs, four-tenths of a pound over the limit of the lightweight title clash. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Hey I only failed to make the weight twice, but I did it on purpose,” said Broner, who on both occasions moved up one division heavier.Pacquiao isn’t expected to have troubles on the scales.Since he started fighting at welterweight 10 years ago, Pacquiao, whose natural weight is 140 lbs, has had little problem making weight. He is known, in fact, to load up on meals during training camp.Pacquiao said he would like to climb the ring against Broner weighing at least 145 lbs because “I would need the necessary weight on fight night.”ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Amir Khan claims Manny Pacquiao has agreed to Saudi Arabia bout PLAY LIST 01:05Amir Khan claims Manny Pacquiao has agreed to Saudi Arabia bout00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony01:49Pacquiao, 3 presumptive senators want status quo in Senate02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? SEA Games hosting troubles anger Dutertecenter_img Hornets lean on defense, bench to squeeze past Kings MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening LATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View commentslast_img read more

Porsche Cayenne Limited Edition Platinum Diesel launched

first_imgPorsche Cayenne Diesel Platinum Luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche has come up with a special edition of its powerful Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Cayenne. Called as the Porsche Cayenne Diesel Platinum Edition, it is priced at Rs 86.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The luxury SUV gets cosmetic changes on the outside and a few additions to equipment.The special edition Cayenne gets an exclusive Carrara White paint shade and is fitted with huge 19-inch Cayenne Design II wheels. Centre and side air intake grilles, rear spoiler lip, the side window strip and lower tailgate strip are all painted in Platinum Silver. Other colour options include Jet Black, Grey and Mahogany.From the inside, Cayenne Diesel Platinum Edition gets a Sport Design steering wheel with paddle shifters and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system for in-car infotainment. Incidentally, the PCM also incorporates a navigation module.The vehicle’s upholstery gets two-tone partial leather material and a black-beige shade. Headrests come with Porsche badging and  Platinum Edition badging can be observed on the steel front door entry guards and floor mats.No mechanical changes have been made to this SUV. It is powered by the same 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, producing 245bhp which currently powers the Cayenne diesel.last_img read more

Alexis Sanchez must be left alone to decide future: Per Mertesacker

first_imgArsenal forward Alexis Sanchez should be left alone to decide his future, captain Per Mertesacker has said, as speculation continues to swirl about the Chilean’s plans.Sanchez, who was the North London side’s top scorer last season with 24 league goals in 38 matches, is entering the final year of his contract and is yet to sign a new deal.”He needs a break now,” Mertesacker told reporters during the club’s pre-season tour. “He needs to relax. He has done a lot for us. He played almost every game last season and then the Confederations Cup.”You need to leave him alone to make up his mind what he wants to do. It’s his decision. If he feels good, comfortable, he can play with freedom.”Mertesacker is entering the final season of his playing career at Arsenal as he prepares to become the club’s academy manager next year and the German is eager to finish on a high.”I want to make the most of it,” he told the club’s website. ( “I want to stay injury free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That’s the target. To make it as enjoyable as I can.”As long as I am there I want to play and contribute.”Arsenal won both their pre-season friendlies in Australia and are currently in China, where they will play German champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday and Premier League champions Chelsea on Saturday.last_img read more