Johnson impressed by Chelsea youngstersby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Chelsea fullback Glen Johnson is impressed by the club’s youngsters.Johnson singled out one of the Blues’ young players for acclaim, and thinks it would not be a surprise to see them playing Champions League football next season.”Tammy Abraham has impressed me the most because the Premier League is a totally different beast to the Championship,” he told Betdaq. “To score the amount of goals he has so far shows he’s handled the change very well.”I hope Chelsea can fight for a top four place.”If they can get anywhere near then it’s an absolutely fantastic season for them. With Manchester City and Tottenham not firing on all cylinders I think they have got a real chance.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
NEW YORK — In time for her 60th birthday, Barbie has a new collaborator bringing her wide-ranging style to life for humans.One of the largest sellers of vintage-inspired clothes, Unique Vintage, is working with Barbie parent Mattel on the first women’s line to meticulously duplicate some of the doll’s most iconic early looks. In the process, the company also has taken care of the one thing critics love to hate about Barbie, her very plastic hourglass physique, by offering the outfits in sizes XS to 4X.The collaboration, Barbie x Unique Vintage, celebrates 1950s and ’60s Babs. The company that sells online and in about 500 boutiques around the world plans to go even bigger for Barbie’s big 6-0 next year, offering key fashion moments from across the rest of her decades.Until then, for fall, we caught up with all things Barbie x Unique Vintage in the swanky Jewel Suite designed by jeweler-to-the-stars Martin Katz in the Lotte New York Palace hotel on Madison Avenue. Katz paired a few of the looks with some of his own bling, from $36,000 button earrings in a rainbow of sapphires, garnets and tourmaline to a $48,000 cocktail ring of Bombay spinel cabochons and round diamonds.All of the glam pleases Katie Echeverry. She’s the founder, CEO and creative director of Unique Vintage, an 18-year-old company with 60 employees based in Burbank, California. With her long blonde locks and Barbie-esque dimensions, Echeverry said she was a Babs fan as a girl but was also a “tomboy” who loved to play softball.During a recent round of media interviews explaining how the collab came about, Echeverry donned a Kelly-green shawl dress worn by Barbie in 1962 and done by Unique Vintage in a forgiving stretch fabric. Noteworthy was Echeverry’s most definitely un-Barbie upper-arm tattoo, on proud display in the off-shoulder outfit, as she recalled her luck.“When I emailed Mattel, I didn’t think they’d actually reply back, but they did, and I was thrilled,” Echeverry told The Associated Press. “They ran with it. I couldn’t believe they hadn’t done it before.”Echeverry worked closely with Mattel but “they didn’t dictate what I chose.” Mattel opened its archives to her as she went about duplicating outfits, with adjustments to account for the real human form. She said she chose looks that “spoke to me.”Barbie, the doll, first hit store shelves in 1959. That year, she stepped out in a swirl of gold and white brocade for evening. The dress was among those Echeverry picked and sells for $118 on uniquevintage.com. The matching collar coat with three-quarter sleeves trimmed in faux fur goes for $148.Unique Vintage has brought Barbie fashion full circle, in a sense. It was a designer for actual women, Charlotte Johnson, who was hired to be the doll’s first fashion creator. A Mattel team took over soon after Barbie’s debut.Echeverry’s first Barbie go-around dropped in the spring. Social media fans of vintage and of Barbie took notice and sales have been brisk, she said. For fall, her prices range from $88 for an A-shaped Barbie flare skirt in green with a white hem to $198 for the doll’s red matinee sleeveless sheath dress and short jacket trimmed with calico-colored faux fur.It was important to Echeverry to choose looks that have remained iconic through the years but were wearable by women in the broad range of sizes she is committed to providing.“I was like a kid in a candy store,” she said. After the first season went on sale, Echeverry watched the response online, where nostalgia kicked in among fans who recalled favourite outfits, some gushing how they’d always wondered what it would be like to wear the looks themselves.That goes a long way in explaining why Echeverry was more than a little dedicated to getting the clothes right.“I went online and ordered every single vintage outfit myself. Mattel offered to lend them to me, but I was a little nervous about having some of their archives,” she said. “In our fittings, we literally had the original Barbie dress next to the model. We moved Barbie. When I sourced fabrics overseas, I had Barbie clothes in my pocket and I was making sure we got as close as possible.”She was also dedicated to the price points she knows her buyers are after.“I know our customer and she doesn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I understand that,” Echeverry said.Unique Vintage sells shoes, hats, gloves, sunglasses and jewelry to complement the Barbie outfits. The company offers a red pillbox hat, for instance, to go with Barbie’s 1962 red flare coat done in a soft felt with the same swing and puffy three-quarter sleeves and bow the doll wore, down to the white lining done in a white poly satin.Barbie wore a cloche tweed hat with a rose with her “Career Girl” tweed pencil skirt set in 1963. Unique Vintage offers a black fascinator with a rose instead, for $22.As for her afternoon of glam in the Martin Katz suite, with its shiny black grand piano and sparkling crystal ceiling decor on the 53rd floor of the Towers at Lotte, Echeverry was impressed.“This is so glamorous. It’s so much fun. The view’s incredible,” she said.While noting Barbie’s evolution as a “strong kick-ass woman” over the years, Echeverry said she was ready for a bit of her own reality after her recent promotional go-round.“It’s unusual to find me in a dress,” she said. “As soon as this interview’s over I’ll be putting on my jeans and my T-shirt and be back to the regular Katie.”Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Rabat – Jorf Lasfar Energy Company (JLEC), TAQA’s wholly owned Moroccan subsidiary, has received approval to list on the Casablanca Stock Exchange. JLEC, which operates Morocco’s largest power complex, is authorised by the Conseil Déontologique des Valeurs Mobilières (CDVM) to create a total of 2,234,638 new shares, offered at a price of MAD 447.5 with a nominal value of MAD 100. These shares represent 9.47% of JLEC and will be floated on the exchange. In addition to that, 4.74% were offered and fully subscribed through private placement to key Moroccan institutional investors prior to the initial public offering. TAQA will retain a 85.79% of JLEC.Abdelmajid Iraqui Houssaini, Chief Executive Officer of Jorf Lasfar Energy Company, said: “JLEC is the leading energy operator in Morocco and we feel that this new step will allow us to anchor our business in the Moroccan economy by opening up our capital to institutional investors.” Jorf Lasfar supplied 38 per cent of the Kingdom’s electricity in 2012, and the expansion is vital to enabling national economic growth and job creation. TAQA is also developing alternative energy projects for Morocco, including wind power.
201453.312.1 201649.9%21.7% 201557.115.2 Source: Synergy Sports Given the aggressive way he challenges multiple defenders at once and the energy he expends in doing so, it’s not all that surprising that Westbrook’s turnover rate is spiking. At the same time, he’s scoring in transition just under 50 percent of the time, which is his lowest success rate on such plays since his rookie season in 2008.There’s also been a major shift in the kind of turnovers Westbrook has been committing since he took on an unprecedented share of his team’s offense in the absence of Durant. The share of his miscues that stem from losing the ball — as opposed to throwing a bad pass, for instance — has more than doubled this season, according to Basketball-Reference. (In fairness, fellow MVP candidate James Harden, who has also been asked to take on a far greater role in his team’s offense, has struggled with many of the same turnover issues.)Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/westbrook-vs-heat1.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.In Cleveland on Sunday, I asked Thunder coach Billy Donovan about Westbrook’s aggressive, coast-to-coast sprints, and Donovan said he’s careful to not try to change the player Westbrook is, especially considering how much his star is asked to facilitate on offense.“When he does make a mistake, or doesn’t make the right decision and it results in a turnover, nobody is harder on him than himself. So there’s a line for me: I don’t want to take away a guy who, in my opinion, is the best open-floor player in the world,” Donovan said before his team lost to the Cavaliers. “After he makes a mistake, he does a good job of regulating and pulling back so that he can make better decisions.”Westbrook, who’s faced questions for the majority of his career about whether he sometimes plays too fast, has said in the past that he doesn’t feel his play is out of control.“I don’t think I play reckless at all,” he said. “I just think I play at a high level that other people may not be used to seeing.” That much is almost impossible to disagree with.Kawhi Leonard’s little fundamentalsIt’s challenging to illustrate how good Kawhi Leonard is on defense with numbers alone, but one metric offers us a glimpse: How often his blocked shots end up in the Spurs’ hands as opposed to the other team’s. It happens way more often than it should.On average, defensive teams come up with the ball about 57 percent of the time after they block a shot. But San Antonio has gotten possession of the ball on 75 percent of Leonard’s blocks this season, the highest rate in the NBA among players with at least 25 swats, according to information from BigDataBall, a database that logs the league’s play-by-play data. (San Antonio is still somewhat above-average at recovering blocks if you take Leonard’s numbers out of the mix, but the Spurs’ 61 percent recovery rate without Leonard doesn’t stand out from the rest of the league nearly as much.)It’s unclear whether this speaks solely to Leonard’s ability to guide blocks with his oversized hands, or whether it’s more a function of the Spurs being in a good position to field the swats once they occur.In any case, Leonard had a great mentor for this sort of thing. Recently retired Spurs legend Tim Duncan saw his teammates recover almost 74 percent of his blocked shots last season, per BigDataBall; the highest rate of any NBA player with 70 blocks or more.Paul George, all of a sudden the NBA’s best free-throw shooterAcross the board, from his three-point stroke to his solid efficiency in the last four seconds of the shot clock, Paul George has improved considerably as a shooter this season. He has also become a surprisingly great free-throw shooter — he’s hitting almost 93 percent from the charity stripe and is leading the league in free-throw percentage.That might not seem all that surprising — after all, he shot 86 percent from the free-throw line last season. But the Pacers star was very slightly worse than league average from the line as a rookie, making 76 percent of his shots that year. If he keeps this up, George would be the first player in more than 45 years — and just the second player in NBA history after Chet Walker — to lead the NBA in free-throw percentage after shooting worse than league average from the stripe during his rookie season.The Memphis Grizzlies’ defense is just for kicksThe Grit ’n’ Grind Grizzlies have long been known for their tough, bruising style of old-school basketball. But at certain points over the years, Memphis looked like it was doing its best impression of a soccer team instead.The Grizzlies, fourth in the NBA with 35 kicked-ball violations, are on track to rank among the NBA’s top 10 in the category for the sixth time in nine seasons, according to rare-stat site NBA Miner. Leading the charge for the Grizzlies is Marc Gasol, who tops the league with 13 kicked-ball violations this season, per BigDataBall. Related: Hot Takedown 201353.315.0 201254.811.1 201054.815.1 Welcome to Four-Point Play, our weekly NBA column that pieces together four statistical trends from around the league and lays out what they tell us about where a team has been or where it’s heading. Find a stat you think should be included here? Email or tweet me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Herring_NBA.Is Russell Westbrook too fast for his own good?Between his freakish athleticism and the sheer fury with which he plays, Russell Westbrook — the closest thing we have to a human cannonball in pro sports — is the most entertaining player in the game today. Unlike smoother players like LeBron James or Chris Paul, who have a signature ebb and flow to their games, the Oklahoma City star is unpredictable from one play to the next. Because of his game-changing speed — when going full bore, he’s one of the NBA’s five fastest players, according to the league’s high-level tracking data — Westbrook’s capable of making plays that most other athletes can only dream of pulling off.More often than not, though, when Westbrook’s talent backfires, it’s because he’s trying too hard to make something happen, particularly when he’s outnumbered during fast-break situations.Oklahoma City, after forcing a live-ball turnover, is finishing its possessions in just over eight seconds on average, which is by far the fastest rate in the league, according to Inpredictable, a site that specializes in calculating win probabilities and other advanced sports metrics. Westbrook, as the team’s point guard and best player, is an enormous part of that speed. But the quick trips down the court aren’t necessarily paying off: As of Wednesday afternoon, the Thunder were tied for the second-worst efficiency after live-ball turnovers. That’s a steep drop-off from last year, when Kevin Durant was still in Oklahoma City and the club had the NBA’s eighth-best offense in those scenarios.Perhaps Westbrook’s speed-demon tendencies have something to do with that inefficiency.In transition, Westbrook’s reliance on his speed means he’ll often experience the same dichotomy as Sonic the Hedgehog: He either sprints triumphantly across the finish line or crashes painfully into an obstruction, losing all his golden rings.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/westbrook-vs-clippers-clip.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Westbrook is involved in an NBA-high seven transition plays per game. And according to an analysis run at FiveThirtyEight’s request by Brittni Donaldson of SportVU, which tracks nearly everything that happens on an NBA court, there have been 413 instances1As of January 29. this season where, following a turnover or a defensive rebound in the backcourt, Westbrook took at least three dribbles and covered at least 20 feet with those dribbles. For context, John Wall, the next closest player, has done that 257 times. 200847.215.7 201154.515.5 SEASONSCORETURNOVER 200954.113.2 Outcomes of Russell Westbrook possessions when in transition Is College Basketball Broken? We Asked The Game’s Top Stats Guru Of course, there are practical reasons for a team like Memphis — which has also ranked among the top 10 on the defensive end of the floor for six of the past seven seasons — to kick the basketball. At a minimum, it forces a team to reset its offense with less time remaining on the shot clock. And at a maximum, it prevents an opposing player from catching an interior pass in a prime scoring area. (We’ve seen Tony Allen accidentally go a bit too far defending with his feet before.)That said, it’s more fun to try to connect the dots between Gasol’s kicked-ball violations and Gasol’s love for soccer. He hails from Spain, and he is an FC Barcelona fan. Plus, who could forget the time he nearly headed the basketball into the hoop during a pause in the action?Additional research assistance by Neil Paine.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Source: EdjFootball 2013SEA43.71DEN27.02+16.7 Philadelphia59.474.082.0 1992DAL40.61BUF10.69+30.0 Both teams are seldom in troubleThe average Game Winning Chance of each Super Bowl team at the end of the first through third quarters Game winning chance 2004NE32.83PHI20.47+12.5 1991WAS52.41BUF21.13+31.3 2011NYG6.014NE25.33-19.3 PostseasonNew England58.869.558.1 TotalNew England70.177.276.5 1987WAS5.311DEN17.54-12.2 2003NE31.23CAR1.216+30.0 SplitTeamQ1Q2Q3 Seemingly everyone has a Super Bowl take or prediction these days — the football media is afforded 14 days to scrutinize two teams and dissect every facet of their matchup. But that doesn’t mean every useful bit of information has been presented on the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. We dug into the databases of ESPN’s Stats & Information Group and Football Outsiders to find a few obscure statistical areas to highlight that could help predict Sunday’s showdown.Stat No. 1: Weighted DVOAThe key efficiency metric used at Football Outsiders is Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, or DVOA for short (explained here). For the season, the Eagles ranked fifth in DVOA (23.5 percent) and actually edged out the sixth-ranked Patriots (22.6 percent). However, when looking at weighted DVOA, which places less importance on early-season games — the ones when the Patriots couldn’t get off the field and Carson Wentz was launching his breakout campaign — things become much different. The Patriots finished No. 1 in weighted DVOA (33.6 percent) and were 10 percentage points higher than the No. 7 Eagles (23.6 percent).It makes sense for the Patriots to rank No. 1 in weighted DVOA. Four of their five lowest games by DVOA came in the first five weeks of the season. Their only loss in their last 14 outings was the Week 14 game in Miami. It also makes sense that the Eagles held steady between the two stats: Philadelphia had five games with negative DVOA in 2017, and four of them were the last four games of the regular season.It has taken some time to adjust from Wentz to Nick Foles at quarterback, but Foles and the Eagles were stellar in the NFC Championship Game against Minnesota. That game is not reflected in the 23.6 percent weighted DVOA for the Eagles, but as Neil Paine recently wrote, a dominant performance in the conference title round has not been predictive of success in the Super Bowl.Since 1986 (as far back as the data currently goes), teams with at least a 5 percentage point edge in weighted DVOA are 15-8 in the Super Bowl. That sounds good for New England, but consider that the two biggest upsets by weighted DVOA were the Patriots’ losses to the Giants in Super Bowls XLII (the Pats had a 39.9-point advantage) and XLVI (a 19.3-point edge). 2008PIT30.1%2ARI-11.5%22+41.7 2016NE33.01ATL19.94+13.1 1997DEN23.46GB36.61-13.2 Stat No. 2: Defensive DVOAFor the season, the Patriots rank 31st in defensive DVOA, and that could ultimately be their undoing this week. Our study of Super Bowl winners has shown that no team since at least 1986 has won a Super Bowl with a defense ranked lower than 25th in this metric. Atlanta came really close a year ago, but the 26th-ranked defense eventually wore down against the Patriots in the Falcons’ 28-3 collapse in Super Bowl LI. The 2011 Patriots also came close with the 30th-ranked defense, but Eli Manning led the Giants down the field for another game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLVI. Teams don’t require great balance to win a Super Bowl, but having the No. 1 offense and No. 31 defense like the 2017 Patriots makes them the most unbalanced Super Bowl team in more than 30 years. 2001NE15.49STL21.94-6.5 2000BAL23.35NYG14.110+9.2 1986NYG23.84DEN11.310+12.5 Philadelphia69.670.472.0 This year, New England has a weighted DVOA of 33.6 percent, and Philadelphia is at 23.6 percent.Source: Football Outsiders Regular seasonNew England71.5%78.2%78.8% The biggest mismatches heading into a Super BowlSuper Bowls with the biggest discrepancy in weighted DVOA since 1986 1996GB34.31NE13.49+20.9 1993DAL28.02BUF-2.919+30.9 1989SF42.91DEN18.84+24.1 DVOADVOA 2012BAL8.311SF23.85-15.5 2015DEN16.36CAR30.93-14.6 2007NYG2.617NE42.51-39.9 YearWinnerWEIRankLoserWEIRankDIFF. 1999STL28.21TEN19.45+8.8 Philadelphia68.470.873.1 1994SF39.51SD7.78+31.8 The main reason for the Patriots’ mediocre start to the season was the defense. New England actually allowed more than 400 yards of offense in each of the first six games but has done that just once in the past 12 games, including the playoffs, and has conceded more than 20 points just twice.The improvement in defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s unit has been real, but the Patriots still rank only 22nd in weighted defensive DVOA because they continue to allow a lot of successful plays. The 2017 Patriots have one of the most statistically unique defenses that we have ever studied. They are 32nd in yards per drive allowed but still rank sixth in points per drive allowed. No other defense since the latest league expansion in 2002 has ranked in the top 10 in points per drive allowed while ranking 26th or lower in yards per drive allowed. The Patriots were able to accomplish this with an extreme bend-but-don’t-break style of play. While part of this reflects New England’s red-zone defense that ranks second in points allowed per red-zone appearance, it’s also a matter of real estate. The Patriots’ opponents have the worst starting field position in the league thanks to New England’s strong special teams and ball security on offense — so there are more yards for offenses to gain against this unit. Still, the defense has managed to keep scoring down and is even doing this with just one takeaway in the past six games.You also can say that the Patriots have had some good fortune on defense this year. Opposing kickers missed nine field goals against the Patriots for a success rate of 71.0 percent, the second lowest against any team in 2017. New England has also controversially benefited from a few touchdowns overturned by replay — against the Jets (Austin Seferian-Jenkins), Steelers (Jesse James) and Bills (Kelvin Benjamin).Lest we forget, the Eagles finished 2017 ranked fourth in offensive points per drive. Foles threw four touchdowns against the Giants and just shredded a superior Minnesota defense in the NFC Championship Game for 352 yards and three touchdowns. If head coach Doug Pederson can devise another good offensive game plan, the Eagles could be poised for another big night of scoring against a suspect defense.Stat No. 3: Under PressureThese were two of the best offenses at handling pass pressure all season long, though Wentz hid a lot of Philadelphia’s protection problems with his mobility. Foles is not nearly the same threat in that regard, and he’s also not playing as well as Brady has been under pressure, which we highlighted a few weeks back.Using a scatter plot from ESPN Stats & Info, we looked at how teams fared under pressure by comparing their Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) to their average air yards per pass attempt (how far the ball traveled relative to the line of scrimmage). Not only were the Patriots and Eagles among the top three offenses in QBR, but they were also among the five most vertical offenses when pressured, both averaging just shy of 10 air yards per attempt. Brady in particular has really taken to throwing deep with defenders bearing down on him. Since 2015, Brady leads all quarterbacks by averaging 10.28 air yards per pass attempt while pressured, according to ESPN Stats & Info. In 2017, Brady has clearly been leaning toward the left portion of the field on passes thrown more than 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He has thrown for 723 yards on 52 deep passes outside the left numbers, as opposed to 407 yards on 25 deep passes outside the right numbers.New England wide receiver Brandin Cooks leads the NFL (including the playoffs) with 381 receiving yards on passes to the deep left this season. He could be in for a big night against a Philadelphia defense that fared better in DVOA on passes thrown to the deep right (-10.8 percent) than the deep left (6.5 percent).Stat No. 4: The Predictable Game Script?In their previous seven Super Bowls, the Patriots have never scored in the first quarter. Every game was decided by 1 to 6 points, and either Brady or Eli Manning led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. This season, the Patriots and Eagles led the league in net points per drive, with 1.04 and 0.79 points respectively, and both are accustomed to playing with the lead, though the Patriots needed late game-winning touchdowns to topple the Steelers (in Week 15) and Jaguars in crucial matchups.We turned to EdjFootball, part of the EdjSports analytics site, for its Game Winning Chance probability data to see which team had the higher average win probability through each of the first three quarters of their 2017 games. 2010GB25.14PIT38.42-13.3 1995DAL30.83PIT24.75+6.1 Including the playoffs, the Patriots hold a slight edge over the Eagles in each quarter, boasting an average Game Winning Chance of 76.5 percent to start their fourth quarters compared with 73.1 percent for the Eagles. However, the Patriots have had a rougher go of things in the playoffs; they held just a 16.2 percent Game Winning Chance to start the fourth quarter against Jacksonville in the AFC Championship. Of course, it sure felt like the Patriots would come back from that deficit more than 16 times given 100 chances, but that’s just because we’ve seen this play out so often.No matter how well the Eagles start this game, we know the Patriots have the ability to come back. To make matters worse, Philadelphia’s worst defensive quarter this season was the fourth quarter, in which its DVOA fell to 14th after ranking in the top five in each of the first three quarters. While the Eagles have some experience at holding big leads, they weren’t doing so against an experienced New England team with Brady and Belichick. The Eagles have to be able to exploit the holes in New England’s defense to put a big number on the scoreboard and keep Brady off the field as much as possible.
Inter have accepted Luka Modric is out of reach and turned their attention to Barcelona midfielder Rafinha.Rafinha spent last season as a loaned player at Inter. The Italians wanted to keep him, but were unable to collect the €40 million Barcelona requested in order to make the deal permanent. As a result, he went back to Catalonia and even started in the team’s 2-1 Spanish Super Cup victory over Sevilla last night.After much talk about a potential move for Luka Modric, Inter have finally come to terms with reality. In the search for alternatives, Rafinha is on top of the list (Football Espana). The Brazilian started 12 out of 17 games for Internazionale after coming over in January.Stay focused✔️ pic.twitter.com/T839nXhqmQ— Rafinha Alcantara (@Rafinha) July 23, 2018Barella shows patience as Inter and Cagliari bicker over deal Taimoor Khan – July 2, 2019 Inter Milan are keen on signing Nicolo Barella this summer but it appears that Cagliari are more open to doing business with Roma instead.Nicolo…The deal being discussed at the moment also involves an initial loan, with an option to make it permanent next summer. In a recent interview (Calcio Mercato), Rafinha expressed the wish to continue his career in Inter.“I spent some splendid months at Inter, and I would have liked to continue playing there, I’d like to return there but I am a Barcelona player now.” “My objective is to play, any player would want to play. I don’t know if this will be here or elsewhere but I want to play.”Rafinha Alcantara would be a great addition for Inter Milan (albeit not as good as Modric). The Nerrazzuri have Brozovic, Nainggolan, Vecino and Borja Valero in midfield, but neither of them is capable of playing in an advanced midfield role as Rafinha is.
Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, NOVEMBER 19, 2013- Talking to media recently about his government’s major accomplishments after one year in office, the Premier, Hon Rufus Ewing said he is proud with his government’s approach where financial management is concerned, despite having to resort to implementation of taxation measures; adding that his government is not happy about it, but found it a necessary move. Hon. Ewing however, cited room for improvement where job creation is concerned as he expressed that he would like to create more job opportunities. During a media debriefing last week, Hon Rufus Ewing admitted there is currently no proper documentation in the numbers of how many gained work since his team was elected…nor in the number of unemployed. On this matter he noted that the Statistics department is working on establishing those figures. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
Ruffner will be presenting at the Kenai/Soldotna Fish & Game Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, March 1. Last week the City of Kenai submitted a letter in response to the Kenai River Special Management Advisory Committees letter to the ADEC, an ordinance will be introduced at the Soldotna City Council tomorrow night to submit their own response as well. Ruffner will conduct a presentation to discuss the Kenai River water turbidity issues. He spoke to the Kenai City Council in January and stated that the proposal to list the Kenai River is simply asking “are we making water muddier then we should be as associated with boat traffic?” According to Ruffner turbidity happens naturally, and is not “the end of the world”: “Muddy water can be bad for fish, recreation, or if you take that water and use it for drinking. So, turbidity in the river that we have been measuring over the past decade or so is not one of those things that screams that the sky is falling.” The Kenai/Soldotna Advisory Committee meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association building, located at 40610 K-Beach Road in Soldotna. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享In addition to the Cities of Kenai and Soldotna, Robert Ruffner with the Board of Fisheries is speaking out regarding the turbidity report released for the Kenai River by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Report: http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/waterbody/integratedreport.htm.https://dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/…/2014-2016-ir-kenai-river-factsheet-final.pdf Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-Ruffner-speaking-to-AC-meeting.mp3VmJennifer-on-Ruffner-speaking-to-AC-meeting.mp300:00RPd
While the association said there are 8 titles that have never made the finalist list, award stalwarts New York, New Yorker and National Geographic lead in the number of nominations with 10, 10 and 7, respectively. Twenty magazines received multiple nominations. Close behind the leaders are Esquire, GQ and Wired with 6 each, and The New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair with 5 each.New York, National Geographic and New Yorker are all up for general excellence awards—as are Architect, Garden & Gun, Military History, and Food Network Magazine, which are among the first-timers. New York is also up for magazine of the year. Also nominated are The Atlantic, Fast Company, Glamour and Men’s Health. The awards event will be held April 22 in New York at the Alice Tully Hall. For a full list of nominees, click here. MPA announced Wednesday the finalists for its 45th annual National Magazine Awards, or Ellies, as they’re commonly called. The New Yorker, New York and National Geographic lead in nominations.National Geographic and New York also lead in the Digital Ellies, which were announced last week. A total of 1,758 entries were received from 300 magazines competing for the 51 award slots, said the MPA.
US president Donald Trump and Saudi deputy crown prince and defense minister Mohammed bin Salman speak to the media in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on 14 March, 2017. Photo: AFPUS president Donald Trump hosted Saudi Arabia’s powerful deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House Tuesday, for talks expected to focus on the economy and rolling back Iranian influence.Trump welcomed the young prince to the Oval Office, as both countries expect to improve ties that were frequently strained under Barack Obama’s administration.Saudi Arabia is likely to welcome Trump’s harder line on its arch-rival Iran and there is likely to be less friction over Riyadh’s war against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen.Saudi Arabia viewed Obama as being too accommodating towards Iran—particularly amid negotiations on a nuclear deal—while Washington held grave misgivings about civilian deaths in Yemen.Trump’s 50-plus days in office have given little indication about his stance on Saudi Arabia’s war, but have seen a dramatic uptick in US action against Al-Qaeda’s Yemen offshoot—AQAP.Second in line to the throne, Prince Mohammed is the son of King Salman and holds the post of defense minister, although much of his focus is on economic issues.He is the chief proponent of Vision 2030, a wide-ranging social and economic reform plan begun last year to diversify the oil dependent economy.He has also played a key role in the Yemen campaign.Trump has expressed hope that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies can be helpful across a range of issues, from creating safe zones in Syria to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.Riyadh is also seen by the White House as pivotal in any effort to constrain Iran’s influence across the Middle East.But that strategy has been widely questioned.“Anyone experiencing these visions ought to lie down and wait quietly until the sensation passes,” warned Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky—foreign policy advisors to Republican and Democratic administrations.The pair warned in a Washington Post opinion editorial that “the president is likely to find that his vision of US interests, let alone strategy, doesn’t mesh with that of the Arabs on whom he’s relying.”Experts familiar with the region have also warned that any robust effort to counter Iran must be well thought through—as Tehran is likely to hit back at US interests asymmetrically and in a non-attributable way.
Ellis Caudle is not ashamed to admit that he used and sold drugs on and off for most of his life—until he entered the District of Columbia Superior Court Drug Intervention Program last year. Caudle, 58, graduated from the program on Sept. 20, and the Maryland man is hopeful his story of redemption inspires others to kick their own issues with substance abuse.D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine spoke to graduates of the District’s Superior Court Drug Intervention Program. (AFRO Photo/Lenore Adkins)“We’re all human, we’re not perfect people,” Caudle told the AFRO after the graduation ceremony. “The only perfect one is up there in heaven.” Caudle was one of five graduates from the in-house treatment program, commonly known as “drug court” and now in its 27th year of operation. The program is overseen by the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia, in association with the Superior Court for non-violent drug offenders. Attendees spend at least 24 weeks undergoing drug treatment and are periodically drug tested—those who graduate have been drug-free for 90 days, said Paul Cummings, the program’s coordinator. People who finish the program’s misdemeanor track get their cases dismissed, Cummings said. Those who complete the program on the felony track have a chance of receiving probation, he added. Drug courts offer a proven track record of success, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Nationally, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free for at least two or more years, according to the association. Drug courts’ net cost savings range from $3,000 to $13,000 for every client. Those savings come from reduced prison costs, fewer revolving-door arrests and trials, and reduced victimization. There are more than 2,700 drug courts operating nationwide, with at least one in every state and U.S. territory, serving approximately 135,000 people a year. In D.C., 67 people graduated from the program in 2017, and 57 people in 2016. While graduations from the D.C. drug court take place every month, the ceremony held on Sept. 20 occurred during National Recovery Month, which the drug court recognized with a barbecue at North Michigan Park Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine spoke to the graduates about his own family members who have battled addiction. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham also attended the ceremony.Racine asked the graduates to call his office if there’s anything they need—the office, he said, will serve as informal assistants to help the graduates get any assistance they require. He also called on the “fab five” graduates to use their wisdom and potential to help others suffering from addiction. “You all are the living embodiment of what we all here, hope we have in us, and that is the ability for when the chips are down to really turn it around,” Racine said. Caudle said he opted for drug court after he was arrested with the intent to sell drugs. He said he had been periodically using and selling cocaine and heroin since he was 16 to cope with stress and to make extra money when work slowed down. “Sometimes the Devil can get in your head and you make the wrong decision,” he told the AFRO. Racine’s words inspired him though, and he said he plans to reach back and help others suffering from substance abuse. Caudle wants people to know there’s help and support out there, whether it’s drug court or group meetings. He added that he hopes to go back to school for computer training. “It just doesn’t stop here, I do have a plan and some things I’d like to keep doing,” Caudle said.
Story Links In the 4 x 100 mixed free relay, the United States dueled Australia, when leadoff swimmer Team USA’s Caeleb Dressel went 47.34 to edge Australia’s Kyle Chalmers’ time of 47.37. Zach Apple swam the second leg the Americans to keep the lead with a split of 47.34. Australia went ahead as Emma McKeon split a 52.06 on the 3rd leg to Mallory Comerford’s 52.72. Simone Manuel of Team USA (52.00) and Australia’s Bronte Campbell (52.36) anchored to put USA atop the podium with a new World Record time of 3:19.60. Australia touched in 3:19.97 to set a new national record. France won bronze with a time of 3:22.11. In the 50M butterfly, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden won her third consecutive title with a time of 25.02. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won her second silver medalist, boarding a 25.35, while Egyptian Farida Osman won her country’s first medal of the championships with a bronze medal-winning time of 25.47. Kelsi Worrell Dahlia touched just one- hundredth of a second shy of a medal, but tied her own American Record, posting a time of 25.48. France’s Marie Wattel touched fifth, going 25.50. Print Friendly Version Mallory Comerford won gold and helped set a world record and Kelsi Worrell Dahlia tied her own American record in a fast day of racing at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
I was alone, I was a woman, I was in one set of clothes for seven days and I had no way to inform my family in Delhi that I was alive. I spent an entire week taking refuge in one place after the other till I managed to reach the airport. It was a harrowing experience which will forever remain etched in my memory.I could not save anything, not even my suitcase packed with clothes nor my bag. It all happened within a flash. I was not prepared for it. In fact no one was. My heart skipped several beats as I pushed through the crowds to find my way to the front. Water was gushing down the road where my home is located as if a dam had burst open. I could see the water forcing its way vehemently inside the lane, pushing through people and breaking through gates. It was stronger than the strongest currents I have witnessed in Pahalgam. I had only heard about floods causing devastation, of uprooting homes, families and lives. It was the first time I was a witness to it with my own eyes. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceI stood still, watching the boundary wall break and the waters violently fill up every inch of the lawns, slowly climbing upwards. I was helplessly left standing there watching everything being snatched away before my very eyes, not able to do a thing about it. My mind had stopped functioning. All of a sudden, I had been rendered homeless in Srinagar. Even until half an hour back I could never have imagined this. All around people were scrambling for safety-driving towards undecided destinations, running helter-skelter. Pandemonium had broken out. The entire city seemed on its way to getting submerged. My mind was not registering anything. I just could not get over the sight of my home getting washed away in front of my very eyes. I just wanted to shut off that view which kept playing on my mind over and over. I had only read about such calamities in newspapers or watched them on television. That morning I realised the enormity of destruction a calamity of this nature has on humans. Also Read – Turning a blind eyeIt took me six nights and seven days to find my way to the airport. I survived it all in one set of clothes which were on me and had nothing else apart from my purse and a laptop. But I will remain indebted all my life to everyone who lent me a helping hand on this never ending and arduous journey. I had nothing to offer anyone in return. There was helplessness all around. The streets were full of people in distress-homeless, uprooted, angry, stranded and deserted. I have never seen so many people looking so lost together. There were people looking down from buildings, people looking out of windows, people wailing, people sitting on sidewalks, people squatting on roads, people queuing for food, for shelter, for water. Everywhere I looked around I saw anguish and suffering. It made me feel weary and added to my torment and misery. I saw lifeless faces on listless bodies-as if they had given up on hope or had nothing but hope to cling on to. And in the midst of that chaos, I saw a ray of hope in the warmth I received at every corner from people known and unknown, the helping hands which stretched out to lend support in times of despair. I would never be able to forget the man who ferried me across to from Bemina to Qamarwari on a dark night, with the help of torchlight and neither will I forget the young boys who helped me alight the kishti when the boat touch landed and carried my bag, refusing to leave me alone till the time they could manage to get me a lift from a relief van. How could I not be grateful to those in the van- visibly tired and weary with relief work all through the day yet who did not leave me in the middle of nowhere, not once losing patience as I took them from lane to lane trying to locate my friend? I owe gratitude to those countless nameless faces which helped me cross barrier after barrier-someone offering me a lift on his car, another guiding me with directions, a third walking alongside me till I could find my way and yet another refusing to charge me for services rendered. Yes, it felt unfair when I switched on the television set and browsed through the national dailies when I reached Delhi after a week and found it all splashed with the heroic deeds of the Armed Forces and their magnanimity as they airlifted flood victims. ‘Where was the army when I was there on the streets at night?’ I thought to myself. I remembered then. I had seen innumerable choppers in the skies engaged in sorties all day long. The sky was full of them.They were in the air, not in the waters. It felt strange that there was no mention of those young local volunteers out in the streets wading through deep waters, rescuing people all day and night. They had no work timings, they were not being paid for it, it was not expected of them neither were they bound to do so. Yet they were out there, risking their own lives to save others. Did anyone care to mention gratitude towards these unsung heroes without whom the casualty would have skyrocketed into mind boggling figures? One has often seen the symbolic image of a boy from downtown, face covered with a keffiyeh holding a stone in his hand. I wonder when we shall see the image of that very boy from downtown splashed across the same dailies- wading through neck deep water as he recues a baby or carries an ailing old man on his back.The state administration lay paralysed and defunct, the police was largely in their homes with families (barring an odd few) and nobody seemed ready to take responsibility at the helm of affairs. There was no one to take charge of the crisis and each man had to fend for himself. In a nutshell, the state was conspicuous by its absence. The communication system was facing the biggest possible breakdown in recent times in the history of the nation- it was a complete blackout. There was no electricity, no internet, no telephone lines working and the water supply as well came to a halt. Nobody could contact anybody. Kashmir was cut off from the world. The Indian Army’s movements were largely restricted Between Gupkar and Raj Bhawan (VIP zones). Perhaps there may have been an odd intervention here and there but I, for one did not see their presence anywhere. How can I write about something I did not see? I did expect them to be playing a much more active role in the rescue operations. Was it wrong to expect so? I wonder why and when the Indian media turned into PR machinery for the Indian Army. It does not come as a surprise to me to see anger simmering on the streets of Kashmir-like a live bomb ticking away. Yes, I do not deny and neither can anyone else that the army and the air force have played a crucial part in the evacuation of stranded people. Then where does the problem lie? Why are Kashmiris angry? The problem lies with the fact that it is only the Army which is being projected as the saviour of the flood victims? Were they not already supposed to be doing that? Is it not a part of their duty and responsibility? Was it not that the numbers in need of immediate rescue far greater than the ones who received help? Maybe if the state and the Indian army had given out a statement of apology for not being able to attend to as many people as they should have and expressed regret at the same owing to lack of resources or manpower or whatever their challenges were, there are chances that the fury against them would be far less in comparison, and perhaps, not any at all. Perhaps they would even have won over some hearts in the process. Unfortunately, when the numbers risking their lives out there in the waters are far greater in magnitude compared to the ones who claim credit for it, then one has to be prepared for sharp criticism. It is not ethical to rescue people and then boast about it and similarly it is not rational to expect sanity from people who are watching their life long earnings getting washed away, their children starving and their aging parents not being able to run for safety.Had it not been for my friends calling me and sending me messages all night, I would not have been awake. Had it not been for my landlord who kept banging on my door and window and made sure I did not fall asleep, I would not have been alive. Had it not been for those strangers who did not leave my side while I kept losing my track, I would have been stranded. Had it not been for those friends who opened up their homes and hearts to me, I would have been homeless. Had it not been for the friend who stopped his car when he saw me walking wearily under a hot, scorching sun, I would never have been able to connect with my family. Had it not been for the large heartedness of the hotel owner who gave me shelter without charging me a single rupee, I would have been penniless. Had it not been for the young boy who saw my desperation to get to the airport and volunteered to ferry me across muddy waters on a stranded boat in the wee hours of the morning, I would never have made it to Delhi. Yes, lastly had it not been for the armed forces, I would not have managed to get airlifted to the airport but then again, had it not been for the person who drove me till there and insisted that I be evacuated immediately on a priority basis, I would have been standing in queue for what seemed like eternity to me. But it took a lot to get till there and while the Indian army and the air force gets its credit, its fame and kudos, the others do not get as much as a mention even on the last pages. Is it fair? Who, apart from God should I be thankful to? It is for you to think. I already know my answers.
The Indian Army is an excellent fighting force, and has few parallels in the world. But of late, the image of the soldier is diminishing which calls for immediate action. This is happening because the forces have to face divergent pulls and pressures which are different today than from yesteryears. Institutions have a long memory, take time to change. On the other hand, the Army has to operate in a dynamic environment, with an active press and a changing civil society which are able to apply pressure and push for changes. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceThus, it is the Army that is perceived at times to be unable to ‘keep up’ with the societal fluctuations, and due to its strict procedures, it is not able to present its side of the story with the dynamism expected of it. It has prolonged deployment in counter-insurgency operations leading to uncanny situations. Armies are trained, equipped, geared and made ready for the primary task which is to protect the nation from external threat. But today judgement is passed on it for how well it does its secondary task. In short, people tend to judge the doctor by how well the nurse performs. Also Read – Turning a blind eyeThe Army simply has no answer to live media carrying out television debates beaming live to soldiers’ bedrooms the twists and turns of various scams. In a democracy, this is the one thing that is acceptable, adds to transparency. But when quite often, officers are on the mat for becoming ketchup colonels, booze brigadiers, generals fighting over various issues and scams, some of which like the Sukna have been set aside by the Armed Forces Tribunal — the stage is set for a soldier to question: ‘What am I serving for, is this my officer class like?’ Does the Army need to change its value system? In fact, when threatened it must reinforce the old values, but its manner of interaction with the media, its manner of conduct when deployed in prolonged counter-insurgency operations, requires a holistic look and not a knee-jerk reaction. After the recent firing at Budgam, in which two young boys were killed, the Army admitted that it was a “mistake” and a violation of rules of engagement. The Army also said that it would complete its inquiry within ten days and take action against the guilty. The legal catch here is that once the Army Commander has agreed it is a mistake, are all procedural inquiries on the subject irrelevant? On the other hand, while the law enforcers are guilty, in the wake of protests and all good work done by the Army during the recent floods in that area and the fact that elections were around the corner, pressure was going up from civil society, reckless teenagers were moving in a vehicle to a restricted area, isn’t there also a need for civil society to look inwards as well? The ground reality is that because armed sentries are there everywhere in view of the live threat posed by terrorists, such incidents are bound to recur. If there is accidental firing, and a whole host of other scenarios, will the Army now admit to its mistake every time before an inquiry? This could well have happened in Delhi, but the issue inevitably takes a different colour in Jammu and Kashmir. Will the soldier be blamed before an inquiry? Some time ago, a paramilitary force in Delhi waited for its inquiry to take place, before having the added burden of having put the blame on any one. Loss of life is regrettable but loss of soldiers’ morale critical and difficult to restore.The greatest strength of the forces lies in its intangibles: such as, morale, training, ethos and value system, bonded by discipline. The Sukna scam and the Budgam incident touch upon all these intangibles, especially discipline and training. The Budgam affair was at best an operational cum training issue. By declaring the soldiers guilty before inquiry, a whole host of issues, which are morale-sensitive, have been opened up. Are these even debatable? The Sukna scam AFT judgment opens up another can of worms, which the Army needs to take to its logical conclusion. If the military justice system is shown in poor light, won’t its soldiers need an answer?Television debates do need some introspection. The debates on geostrategy, arms and equipment do become interesting, but when discipline is debated or discussed yet nuts and bolts of the ground situation are generally not known, the picture becomes confusing. Of course, the media needs to report the various scams, it needs to show all the dead wood, but it should exercise its judgement, on what will be the impact on the morale of the soldier? In the Sukna scam not an inch of Army land was involved, there was no trickery or fraud: then how come the word scam was used for a so-called issue of ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC)? Discipline is the very key to a soldier’s being and to impact on his sense of discipline, needs sense of responsibility from all, including the political class, who have left us equipment deficient. The impact of the movie Haider which shows the soldiers in poor light has also come at this juncture and what is the ‘langar gup’ one wonders. How should the Army react in inadvertent cases? It should go back to the Chetwode credo, of safety, honour and welfare of nation first, soldier next and its commanders last. This implies, supreme national interest first, completion of inquiries before pronouncing soldiers guilty second, and the various twists and turns of scams and age related issues last and not on prime time television because of TRP. The Army has had a long stint in counter-insurgency operations. This tells on training there is a need to cut down exposure in counter-insurgency, but the drawdown from foreign forces in Afghanistan opens up a different scenario and weakening of Army from the border areas improbable. The forces therefore, need to settle these issues in house. The entire issue is of faith and the generals need to have 56-inch chests while interacting with civil society and take on ‘bullets’ flying at the aam sipahi.The author is a retired brigadier
Fiscal deficit rose to Rs 5.68 lakh crore in April-January period, breaching the budget estimate by 107 per cent which may call for harder measures by the government to meet the target of 4.1 per cent of the GDP for full 2014-15 financial year.As per the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Monday, fiscal deficit during April-January period was Rs 5.68 lakh crore or 107 per cent of the 2014-15 budget estimate of Rs 5.31 lakh crore by January-end.The overshooting of fiscal deficit is mainly attributed to subdued revenue realisation. The fiscal deficit, the difference between government expenditure and revenue, during April-January period of 2013-14 stood at 98.2 per cent.In the Budget speech on Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said government would achieve the 4.1 per cent fiscal deficit target in 2014-15.