The Irish National Bakery School is finalising details of a new degree course for the next academic year, writes Ann Marie Foley. It is also advertising short bakery courses for chefs in Ireland’s top catering magazine. This follows the popularity of last year’s short courses among people from small catering and café businesses. “This year we decided to target hotels, on the basis that many are now using frozen bought-in product. I believe it is often the same and not of top quality,” said Derek O’Brien, head of the National Bakery School. He explained chefs tend not to tackle bread-making but that the three-day course can be tailored to their needs. “In America, they offer what they call signature bread, which is specific to a restaurant or hotel. Avoca in Bray makes its own bread and you cannot get it anywhere else. So that is what we are suggesting.” The school’s full-time two year Higher Certificate course will be extended by a year to become a degree course. However, students who want to leave after the two years will still receive the Higher Certificate. The degree course is aimed at technicians and technologists and those entering the bakery industry but also the wider food industry, such as delis and cafés that offer their own bread andbakery products. The school also offers four part-time courses that are continually full: Professional Baking – Bread; Cake; Fruit Bread; and Pastry. These and other short courses receive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) qualifications under the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) of which the Bakery School is part. While the school once catered for all bakery training in Ireland, enterprise-led support body Skillnets now offers workplace courses. The DIT and all its schools such as the bakery are to move to a new Dublin location during the next few years.
The Hindu festival traditionally ends with devotees leading massive processions to the Arabian Sea to immerse elaborately decorated figurines of the much-loved elephant god into the water.But this year’s celebrations are expected to be muted, with authorities in the virus-plagued city urging people to mark the 10-day festival at home in a bid to ensure social distancing.”As our pottery sales dwindled, I decided to make Ganesha statues… as a means of survival and also to promote environmentally friendly [alternatives],” 40-year-old Galwani told AFP.Activists have long criticized the practice of immersing the idols in the sea, arguing it contributes to water pollution, and Galwani agrees. Topics : Since the coronavirus pandemic clobbered his pottery business, one Muslim artisan from India’s largest slum has turned to a Hindu god to revive his fortunes by making environmentally friendly Ganesha idols for an upcoming festival.Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani works with his two brothers in the Mumbai shanty town of Dharavi to create 13-inch-tall statues out of terracotta clay, counting on the god — who is revered as the remover of obstacles — to give his business a much-needed boost ahead of the celebrations.Ganesh Chaturthi — which kicks off on Saturday — is embraced with gusto in India’s financial hub. “Every year, we see huge Ganesha statues made from plaster of Paris washing up on the shores after the immersion. This affects our local environment and marine life as well,” he said.His clay creations are designed to disintegrate quickly and turn into soil. They also contain a seed inside which can germinate if watered like a plant.Sold for 1,500 rupees ($20) each, Galwani has received orders for 800 statues so far and hopes to see his neighborhood bounce back economically after tackling the virus.Made famous by the 2008 Oscar-winner “Slumdog Millionaire”, Dharavi was thrown back into the spotlight in April over fears that the lack of social distancing or sanitation in its densely packed streets would make it an easy target for the virus.But a sharp focus on testing accompanied by tough quarantine and lockdown measures have seen infections plunge across the slum. “Previously I lost business as customers were wary of stepping into the slums,” Galwani said. “Now, things have changed and they’re willing to even come and pick up their own orders.” A third-generation potter, he said he saw no conflict in practicing his faith while catering to the needs of Hindu worshippers. “What’s the big deal if I am a Muslim making statues of Hindu deities like Ganesha? India is a secular democracy and we have grown up with many cultures living together,” Galwani added. Although officials have not issued an outright ban on sea immersions this year, they have imposed restrictions on local celebrations. Devotees are barred from making public offerings to the deity and organizers have been ordered to sanitize any outdoor marquees several times a day. India has registered over 2.6 million infections — the third-highest in the world — with western Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, responsible for a fifth of coronavirus cases nationwide. Pandemic deaths across the country passed 50,000 on Monday.
0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) Ending their long wait for a win at their London rivals is just the latest sign of the progress made under Pochettino.And it was even more impressive as they came from behind as a huge error from Hugo Lloris gifted Alvaro Morata the opening goal when the Tottenham goalkeeper misjudged a cross in the 30th minute.Christan Eriksen’s sublime long-range strike drew Tottenham level in first-half stoppage time.Alli took centre stage to end a barren run with two smart finishes in the 62nd and 66th minutes.Tottenham could even afford the luxury of doing the damage without Harry Kane, who made his return from a three-week layoff with ankle ligament damage 16 minutes from time.It was a sweet moment for Alli, who has endured criticism for some erratic performances this season.“He’s a great talent and I have no doubts about him. Young players need room to breath,” Pochettino said.“There’s pressure on their shoulders. But he has nothing to show to me or Tottenham.“It’s more about the expectation being so high. I’m so happy for him.”After a long run of poor results in away fixtures against their top four rivals, Tottenham finally proved they can win when the stakes are highest.Pochettino, yet to win a trophy with Tottenham, said: “After 28 years it is important to win here. It’s a happy day for everyone – fans, players. We feel very proud.”Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted Eriksen’s equaliser was a hammer blow after his side had dominated for much of the first half.“The goal at the end of the first half it wasn’t good for us and our confidence. We deserved to go in 2-0 up but football is this and Eriksen scored a fantastic goal,” he said.“Second half we tried to score again but Tottenham have been more clinical than us. In this season we are not so clinical and then we lost the game.”– Conte rues Chelsea flop –Antonio Conte watched his Chelsea side beaten 3-1 at home by Spurs Sunday but won’t concede the top four is beyond the Blues © AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASFailing to qualify for the Champions League could trigger Conte’s departure at the end of the season after he spent much of the campaign feuding with the club’s hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans.But Conte wouldn’t concede Chelsea are out of the race for the top four.“For sure we lost a great chance today to reduce the gap with Tottenham,” he said.“There are seven games to go and we have to do our best until the end. At the end of the season you finish in the position you deserve.” 0Shares0000Chelsea’s Eden Hazard vies with Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli on Sunday © AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASLONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 1 – Mauricio Pochettino saluted Dele Alli as Tottenham ended their 28-year wait to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 victory on Sunday. Defeat for Chelsea shattered their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League as Tottenham opened up an eight-point lead over their closest challengers for fourth place.
Leigh Griffiths has scored just one goal in eight Premiership appearances this season Leigh Griffiths has withdrawn from the Scotland squad to face Israel and Portugal this month.The Celtic striker played an hour of his side’s 6-0 route St Johnstone on Sunday before exiting the action and claims he needs “focus on his fitness” during the international break. The 28-year-old was only a substitute for Scotland in their Nations League opening win against Albania last month.The man preferred ahead of him in attack – Steven Naismith – went on to impress and manager Alex McLeish said after the game that he would keep his place for Scotland’s next game.Griffith described McLeish’s declaration a “kick in the teeth” and has now decided to make himself unavailable for the Nations League clash with Israel on Thursday and the friendly against Portugal three days later.In a statement released by the Scottish Football Association, Griffiths said: “I feel that I need to focus on my fitness over this international period and get back into the best possible shape.“I had a good discussion with the manager to explain my decision. It’s not one that I’ve made lightly.“It means a lot to me to play for Scotland and I hope to be part of Alex’s plans again in future, if selected.“My aim is to be back to my best and be available for section for club and country.” 1
Stressed? Depressed? Take a forest bath. Another major study shows that outdoor exposure is good for the body and mind.A meta-study (a study of studies) involving 290 million people in 20 countries has concluded that “Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits.” Science Daily announces, “It’s official — spending time outside is good for you.”Researchers at the University of East Anglia found strong confirmation in 140 studies of what is intuitively obvious: we feel better when we can see trees and sky. The benefits go deeper than intuition:A new report published today reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure….‘Green space’ was defined as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban greenspaces, which included urban parks and street greenery.The team analysed how the health of people with little access to green spaces compared to that of people with the highest amounts of exposure.“We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.“People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.Considering how much work time is lost due to stress, depression and anxiety, time outside could be just what the doctor ordered. The Japanese, once again, seem to be ahead of the Europeans on this point.“Forest bathing is already really popular as a therapy in Japan — with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around. Our study shows that perhaps they have the right idea!”But what causes the benefits? Is it physical activity? Is it socializing? It’s probably those, and more: it gives helpful bacteria a chance to hitch a ride on you! Those, in turn, get your immune system something to practice on.Meanwhile, exposure to a diverse variety of bacteria present in natural areas may also have benefits for the immune system and reduce inflammation.“Much of the research from Japan suggests that phytoncides — organic compounds with antibacterial properties — released by trees could explain the health-boosting properties of forest bathing.”The findings reinforce the idea that human beings were made for outdoor life. We obviously shouldn’t be outside in pouring rain, or on smoky, smoggy days. But life in front of unnatural computer screens in an office cubicle with processed air can take its toll. Wise managers, healthcare professionals and city planners should take this human need for outdoor exposure into account.The research team hope that their findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend that patients spend more time in greenspace and natural areas.Twohig-Bennett said: “We hope that this research will inspire people to get outside more and feel the health benefits for themselves. Hopefully our results will encourage policymakers and town planners to invest in the creation, regeneration, and maintenance of parks and greenspaces, particularly in urban residential areas and deprived communities that could benefit the most.“This ought to be one subject both creationists and evolutionists can agree on.Creationists can get a laugh over atheist Carl Sagan’s lapse into worship when he said, “It makes sense for us to revere the trees, for we are their children.” OK, Carl; plant an acorn and see if a baby grows from it. Instead, the Bible teaches that God put our first parents not in a city, but in a garden. The future city of God will have lots of open greenspace: rivers, too:Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. This is the real, original created Tree of Life, not Darwin’s fake. Do you see a hint that both Eden and the future New Earth will allow humans to take risks? Why would God make provision for healing with leaves of trees? This suggests that heaven will be adventurous! Don’t think God wants his creatures to be bored, when He outfitted us with all kinds of physical capabilities and minds that soar with high aspirations. The apostle John is watching this vision from a “high mountain,” he says in (21:10). Can’t you envision it festooned with forests and all kinds of living creatures? Who will be first to the top? The gates of the New Jerusalem are open day and night, so we can enjoy all kinds of amazing environments on an unfallen Earth.Our sister site CreationSafaris.com includes many resources to help you get some AWE in your life: Adventure, Worship and Education in the great outdoors! (Visited 295 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
23 May 2003Housing Minister Brigitte Mabandla announced during the department’s budget speech in Parliament this week that the government has raised the subsidy levels for people who qualify for low-cost houses.“We have decided to adjust the subsidy grant on an annual basis to ensure that the subsidy is not eroded by the effects of inflation,” said Mabandla.The minister said the government subsidy for people earning up to R1 500 per month would be increased 13.8% or R2 800, from R20 300 to R23 100.Those earning from R1 501 to R2 500 will see their subsidies increased by 11.8%, from R12 700 to R14 200.Mabandla said there would also be an R800 increase from R7 000 to R7 800 for people who fell within the income bracket of R2 501 to R3 500.She said the indigent, who included the aged, disabled and the infirm, would have their subsidy increased from R22 800 to R25 580, provided they earned no more than R800 per month.The consolidation subsidy for those earning up to R1 500 rises from R10 900 to R12 521 and for indigents from R13 400 to R15 000, representing increases of 14.8% and 11.9% respectively.Mabandla added that her department was investigating a possible raising of the income limit for the highest subsidy amount, from R1 500 per month to R1 794.Source: BuaNews
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest When considering how to maximize the productivity of Ohio’s agricultural lands for generations to come, there are more farmers taking cues from the ultimate expert on the subject — Mother Nature.For eons, she took care of the soils and developed them into some of the richest the world has ever seen. Now, as modern stewards of the land face the perennial challenges associated with agricultural production, there are some simple and broad concepts that are just scratching the surface of a very complex science that is just beginning to be understood.“We are trying to educate people to have the right ecological context. We forgot to look at the soil as a living ecosystem. We were not taught to synergize with it,” said Ray Archuleta, a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation agronomist to 300 listeners packed into David Brandt’s Fairfield County farm shop earlier this month. “We are taking a more holistic view through biomimicry. We are giving people a new way of looking at the soil by learning to mimic the mentor and stop fighting it.”Ray Archuleta on learning from natureArchuleta encouraged the listeners to think about how the soils they farm were originally formed.“The soil in the forest and prairie are covered 24/7 and they have animals in the system. They have diversity and they are never bare. We need to follow some of those principles and mimic nature on our farms,” he said. “Buffalo, for example, group very tightly because of predators. Now some of our graziers are grouping cattle very tightly using hotwire. That gives us better manure distribution and we are getting great responses from our pastures.”Mother Nature is also a very low input, low cost operator.“If you teach people how the soil functions, they use fewer inputs that can end up in the waterways and it is less costly for the farm,” Archuleta said. “If we can cover the soil, sequester those nutrients and use the right soil tests, we are using fewer inputs.”Cover crops, no-till, animal manure — not complicated concepts in a broad sense, but Archuleta acknowledges that the challenges and complexities are in the details. This is a management intensive system, though some farmers are making it work.“You are farming with a complex system. We want an easy pill. We have diminished our soils for hundreds of years and fixing things takes time,” Archuleta said. “We have producers now who have cut their inputs dramatically, but it is a commitment and it is a system. People who don’t want to take risks — don’t even try covers and no-till if you are not willing to change and learn. But, if you want to change, reduce inputs and pass the farm to the next generation, come and learn. If you’re not committed, don’t do this. Cover crops have to be just as important as your main crops.”David Brandt, of course, is known around the country for his work with cover crops and long-term no-till on his Fairfield County farm where he has dramatically reduced inputs. One example is with herbicide costs.“We have seen a reduction in herbicides by as much as 50%. As we use cover crops that don’t mat down we are not seeing marestail, giant ragweeds or winter annuals out there in the fields. We still have the opportunity to use post if we want to and we pull the trigger if we need to, but 90% of the time we don’t have to pull that trigger,” Brandt said. “We are trying to mimic Mother Nature. We want in our cover crops plants that are short in stature, medium in stature and taller, just like your woodlots are. We will have root growth anywhere from three inches down to five feet deep.”Brandt and others have been able to increase yields and make similar and significant cuts in inputs including nutrients, fungicides and pesticides with long-term cover crop use.In terms of cuts in commercial fertilizer, the reductions can only be successfully implemented after several years with carefully managed no-till and cover crops, Archuleta said. Then, as the soil health and quality improves, the fertilizer requirements decrease. The key to this, though, according to Archuleta, is using the right soil test — the “Haney test.”Traditional soil tests measure the amount of nitrate in the soil, but do not account for the contributions of soil microbes that mineralize organic nitrogen and phosphate. Because of this, traditional soil tests often direct farmers with healthier soils to apply more fertilizer than is really needed.“The problem is that conventional tools are not measuring the right soil characteristics. They test for inorganic nitrogen in the form of nitrate, but that’s just one form of nitrogen available to the plant,” said Richard Haney, the soil scientist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Grassland, Soil, and Water Research Laboratory who developed the “Haney test.”The “Haney test” involves drying and rewetting soil and analyzing it for microbial activity to measure nitrate and ammonium, plus an organic form of nitrogen. It also measures organic carbon and other nutrients. The drying and rewetting process mimics what happens in the field before and after a rain.The soil test results include a spreadsheet that shows the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium available to plants along with measurements of water-soluble organic carbon, water-soluble organic nitrogen, and soil microbial activity. The results also provide a calculation of soil health and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen.The Haney test is available at laboratories around the country, including Brookside Laboratories in New Bremen. It adds to the time and costs for a soil test, but it saves on fertilizer costs. Brandt started using Haney’s system three years ago.“I estimate that it’s saved us at least 25% in nutrient costs,” Brandt said. “The readings were more accurate than other soil tests we had run, and we either maintained or increased our yields.”The road has been a little different for every farm success story Archuleta highlighted, but the basic concepts have proven themselves time and again for those who are willing to make the significant investment in the future of their soils.“First, expect failure. You will have failures. Expectations are everything,” Archuleta said. “Get organized have the right equipment and understand your cover crop varieties. Don’t do this alone. Build a soil health community you can rely on for advice. Incorporate diversity into your operation. Rotate animals and enterprise diversity so that farm becomes more resilient to ecological and economic stress. Be patient and try three to five years with covers and no-till.”
Almost all civil society organisations in Manipur announced on Sunday that they will join the Citizenship Bill agitations on October 3 throughout the Northeast region in protest against the moves to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.A meeting of the representatives of the civil society organisations and social activists was held in Imphal on Sunday to reaffirm their stand against the Bill.Dilipkumar Yumnamcha, convener of the Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC) formed by over 84 civil society organisations in Manipur said, “People in the Northeast States are fuming over the one nation, one language theory. The people in Manipur have been agitating all these days contending that when enacted this Bill will be against the interest of the indigenous peoples of this region”.Even States such as Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland where there is travel restrictions of the outsiders since the Inner Line Permit is in force are not happy with the Bill.Mr. Yumnamcha said that because of the ferment in the NE States the Bill could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha. “However it does not mean that it will not be passed”, he added.All political parties in Manipur are also holding a meeting on Monday to make their stands clear to the people over the Bill.Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren said that the Bill, when enacted, shall not harm the people of the State. However, his detractors maintain that people take his assurance with a pinch of salt. He said that police parolling and surveillance are intensified over the border towns said to be entry points of the illegal migrants.Another burning problem in Manipur is the forthcoming accord the Indian government is likely to sign with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). Several prominent politicians say that while the people welcome the forthcoming agreement with the NSCN(IM) they say that nothing should be done to threaten the unity and integrity of Manipur. Sunil Karam, president of United Committee Manipur which is for the protection of Manipur’s territory said that if Manipur’s voice is muffled people will “take up the cudgels to avenge the deaths of 18 persons on June 18, 2001”. They were protesting against the “without territorial limits” words in the agreement with the NSCN(IM).
Japanese carmaker Datsun has launched the redi-GO 1.0-litre in India with prices beginning from Rs 3.57 lakh (Ex-showroom, India). Datsun had launched the 800cc model of the redi-Go in India last year at a price of Rs 2.41 lakh (Ex-showroom, New Delhi). The new car doesn’t come with just a bigger engine, but it also gets a bunch of new features.The new 1.0-litre engine in the redi-GO has been taken from the Renault Kwid and it puts out 68bhp and 91Nm of torque. Unlike the Kwid, the redi-GO 1.0-litre doesn’t come with an automatic gearbox. Power is sent to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.On the inside, the redi-GO 1.0-litre gets central locking, something that was not present in the 800cc model. However with the launch of the 1.0-litre redi-GO, even the smaller displacement versions will get this feature now. The interiors have been given the black treatment, just like the redi-GO Sport.While the S variant of the redi-GO 1.0-litre has been priced at Rs 3.57 lakh (Ex-showroom, India), the T(O) variant has been priced at Rs 3.72 lakh (Ex-showroom, India). The Datsun redi-GO 1.0-litre competes against the likes of Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 and Hyundai Eon in the market.Also Read:Datsun to launch redi-GO 1.0L in India today
The Samsung Galaxy A90 is shaping up to be an exciting new addition to the Galaxy A series based on everything we have been hearing off late. Rumours in the past have suggested that the Galaxy A90 will be the company’s first mid-range phone to rock a Snapdragon 855 chipset. It is also said to come with 5G support and 45W fast charging support, among other things. These features were once again reiterated by a popular tipster who also said that the Galaxy A90 may launch by October.Tipster Ice Universe has been pretty reliable when it comes to news about Samsung’s upcoming products. On Wednesday, the tipster tweeted that the Galaxy A90 will be powered by a Snapdragon 855 SoC and will only come in a 5G version. It would also make the Galaxy A90 one of the cheapest 5G phones in the second half of the year. He adds that the Galaxy A90 will feature a waterdrop display (perhaps an Infinity-U display) with a FHD+ resolution.Galaxy A90 only has 5G version, Snapdragon 855 processor, is one of the cheapest 5G mobile phones in the second half of the year, will be launched in September or October, with water drop design, FHD + screen, design in general, the main 5G.Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 10, 2019In the same tweet, the tipster claimed that the Galaxy A90 will be launched in September or October. This makes sense as Samsung will be reserving the next few weeks to hype up the launch of the Galaxy Note 10 on August 7.advertisementNot only is the Galaxy A90 rumoured to come with a large 4,500mAh battery, but it will also be Samsung’s first smartphone to support up to 45W fast charging. In recent times, Samsung has been introducing new technologies in its Galaxy A-series phones rather than its flagship series’ so a 45W fast charging support for the Galaxy A90 is believable.Past rumours also say that the Galaxy A90 will sport a 6.7-inch display and an in-display fingerprint sensor. The phone is also said to come with a feature called Tilt OIS, which seems to suggest a new stabilisation technology for the camera. Additionally, we should also expect a triple camera setup on the back with a 48MP main camera, an ultra wide-angle lens and a depth sensor or telephoto lens.ALSO READ | Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review: Great mid-range Android tablet but not a laptop replacementALSO READ | Samsung Galaxy Note 10 first official photos leak out, here’s what it will look like
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, August 25, 2017 – Providenciales – Travelers to the Turks and Caicos Islands will now be known to Border Control officials even before they arrive as the country joins with CARICOM and other nations in a system designed to electronically capture information on those visiting. The measure, called Advance Passenger Information System or #APIS was on Monday tabled in the House of Assembly as on its way by Border Control Minister, Deputy Premier, Sean Astwood, if supported by members.“Small island developing states like our beloved Turks and Caicos islands, must find the balance to embrace the opportunities of globalization, while capitalizing on the powers of an integrated world community to mitigate against the inherent threat that comes with it.”DP Astwood said the US, the UK and members of the Caribbean Community are undertaking the initiative as a crime prevention measure – deterring drug smuggling, human trafficking, weapons and other contraband entering any participating country. The Deputy Premier explained that APIS even speeds up delays at the airport.This profound growth in passenger traffic while great for our tourist industry and vital to our economy brings with it several challenges, ranging in severity from inadequate airport facilities to threat from serious crime and terrorism. And although, Mr. Speaker, we in the TCI can still enjoy what we can still deem as a very safe destination, we must recognize and appreciate the risks that exists and take measures to mitigate against them for the sustainability of the industry and our very way of life.”The introduction of APIS will require changes to the Immigration Ordinance and will hopefully curtail spending as it relates to the human resources it is increasingly taking to manage borders.The measure will take effect soon.#MagneticMediaNews Signing of the Air Passenger Information Services Agreement (APIS) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews, apis TCI needs UK letter of approval to start APIS with CARICOM Recommended for you
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith insists his team has what it takes to defeat Leeds United when both sides face off next weekend.Villa have been in good form of late, having won four of their last seven games in the Sky Bet Championship, and are currently unbeaten since their loss to Queens Park Rangers in October.Since the appointment of Smith as manager, The Villans have jumped from 17th to eighth on the league standings and have the promotion playoff spots within grasp. Aston Villa’s upcoming opponents, Leeds, are also on a good run of form and have won their last five games to return to the top of the table.Smith, however, insists his team are looking forward to the game against Leeds and believe they can beat the league leaders.Aston Villa explains why they spent so much money on players Manuel R. Medina – September 6, 2019 According to Aston Villa’s chief executive, the team needed to spend £144.5 million on 12 players in order to stay competitive.“It’s another one we’re looking forward to”, Smith told Aston Villa’s official website.“It’s Leeds United at home in front of another close to full house.” “They are in the top two doing well.” ”But we believe we can beat them.”Aston Villa are currently three points behind sixth placed Middlesbrough, and will hope to close the gap to teams above them next weekend.