Mayookha books Olympic berth

first_imgMayookha Johny took her second medal with a new national record in triple jump while shot putter Om Prakash Karhana finished third as India won two bronze on the penultimate day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan, on Saturday.Mayookha, who won gold in the long jump on the opening day of the event, came up with another good performance in the triple jump. The Kerala girl created a new national record, clearing 14.11 metres in her fourth leap.Mayookha also booked a berth for the London Olympics bettering the ‘B’ standard (14.10) of qualifying mark for the mega event. Mayookha’s compatriot MA Prajusha finished seventh with a jump of 13.63 metres.China’s Xie Limei won the gold with a season’s best 14.54m while Valeriya Kanatov of Uzbekistan (14.14m) won the silver.Om Prakash Karhana with his shot-put bronze medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan, on Saturday. APIn men’s shot-put, defending champion Om Prakash won bronze with a throw of 19.47m. Ming-Huang Chang of Chinese Taipei won the gold with a championship record of 20.14m. China’s Jun Zhang won the silver (19.77m). Another Indian, Saurabh Vij, (18.72) finished fourth.India have now eight medals – one gold, one silver and six bronze with a day to go. Decathelete Bharat Inder Singh, discus thrower Harwant Kaur and OP Jaisha in women’s 1,500 metres won bronze on Friday, adding to Mayookha’s gold and Vikas Gowda’s silver and Preeja Sreedharan in the women’s 10,000m on the opening day.In the 400m hurdles on Saturday, Satinder Singh came sixth with a timing of 51.93sec. In women’s 5,000m, Kavita Raut (16: 23.06) came a distant eigth and Suriya Loganathan (17: 19.44) ninth.advertisementIn the men’s competition, Suresh Kumar came sixth (14: 05.64) as DR Mootumaa of Bahrain won the event with a new championship record of 13: 39.71. In the process, he bettered the timing of India’s Bahadur Prasad, who clocked 13: 41.70 in 1993 and has since held the record.It was also the first gold medal for Bahrain at 5,000m in the Asian Championships. After two good days, Sushmita Singha Roy had a disappointing third day in heptathlon. She finished fourth with 5,179 points. In the three events on Saturday, she came ninth in the 800 m and fifth in the long jump and javelin throw.Ghamanda Ram (1: 51.76) and S Joseph (1: 52.97) qualified for the men’s 800m finals at seventh and eighth places.- With inputs from agencieslast_img read more

Fire is back in Mark Barroca as title drought ends for Magnolia

first_imgSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Magnolia’s title also broke its four-year championship drought that dates back to when it completed the Grand Slam for the 2013-14 season.READ: PBA commissioner: No precedent to suspend Mark Barroca on groin hitAnd the victory lit a fire in Barroca’s heart that he thought got extinguished during the years when they couldn’t win a trophy.“Now that we won, the heart and the desire seems to have returned,” said Barroca who was the Finals MVP in the 2014 Philippine Cup. “We have to maintain this going into the next conference and we’ll go to the All-Filipino again where we lost in the Finals [against San Miguel].”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño But six years since then, Barroca, now one of the leaders of that same team, has come full circle, steering Magnolia to the 2018 Governors’ Cup.“I think the difference was I was just a rookie during my first championship,” said Barroca in Filipino after the Hotshots’ 102-86 Game 6 win over Alaska Wednesday at Ynares Center here.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefREAD: Mark Barroca wins PBA Governors’ Cup Finals MVP“Now I’m the senior and the one leading my younger teammates and the chemistry’s different this time around.” View comments LATEST STORIES TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’center_img PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 MOST READ Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Top pick CJ Perez inks three-year max deal with Columbian Dyip Barroca, 32, also won his second Finals MVP making him the third player in the Magnolia franchise to win more than one joining legends James Yap, who has four, and Marc Pingris, who also has two.And the wily point guard did this while also providing guidance to young star Jio Jalalon, who is six years his junior.READ: Mark Barroca downplays ‘punching incident’ with Chris Banchero“Coach [Chito Victolero] always tells me to always talk to Jio because I’m one of the seniors of the team,” said Barroca who had 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists against the Aces.“That role is crucial in our dynamic and that’s how James treated me when I was a rookie, the older guys were telling me what to do and I accepted the roles they gave me.”ADVERTISEMENT Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netANTIPOLO CITY—Mark Barroca was just a humble rookie when he won his first PBA title back in the 2012 PBA Governors’ Cup.Standing third in the pecking order behind Roger Yap and Jonas Villanueva, the former national team star had no other choice but to learn from the veterans.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

David Beckham clears another hurdle in Miami MLS bid

first_imgA group headed by David Beckham cleared another hurdle in their bid to establish a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami on Tuesday when the sale of a three-acre parcel of land for a stadium was approved.The 9-4 vote by the the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners gives the consortium a total of nine acres on which to construct a soccer-specific 25,000 seat stadium in the Overtown neighbourhood of the south Florida city.More than three years have passed since Beckham unveiled his plan to bring an MLS team to Miami, and it is not quite yet a done deal despite Tuesday’s vote.Zoning approvals are still needed from the city, while the league has still not given the franchise final approval.MLS lured former England captain Beckhman to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 with a deal that included an option to purchase an expansion franchise at a discounted price.But finding suitable land in crowded Miami proved difficult.”We appreciate the support of the Mayor and the County Commissioners to assist in efforts to try to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Miami,” MLS said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote.last_img read more

Harmanpreet Kaur praises teammates for Women’s T20 Challenge title win

first_imgHarmanpreet Kaur led Supernovas to a four-wicket win over Velocity with a brilliant 51 to clinch the Women’s T20 Challenge title on Saturday but she gave credit to her team-mates for the victory.Kaur, who struck 51 off 37 balls in a late onslaught, praised Radha Yadav, who hit a four off the last delivery, for maintaining her calm under pressure.”When I got out a lot of thought was coming into my mind. But I was happy with the approach that Radha showed, and she is the superstar today. All credit goes to her, I did half the job and she finished it,” said Kaur at the post-match presentation ceremony.#WIPL #Supernovas (@IPL) May 11, 2019Kaur was out in the second ball of the final over and Supernovas needed seven runs off the last four deliveries. But Lea Tahuhu (2 not out) and Radha Yadav (10 not out) kept their nerves to hit the required runs in a tense finish. Radha Yadav hit a four off the last delivery to clinch the match as Supernovas reached 125 for 6.”I knew that if I played till the end I would have won the game. That is the chat I had with Lea (Tahuhu) as well to tell her to give me as much strike as possible. I was happy to hit the ball in the open areas and am glad I was able to,” she said.”Only five overs were left when we needed 40-45 runs and I wanted to keep the strike. In between, Priya and Jemimah played really well. The partnership between Lea and me was also very good with her giving me a lot of confidence.”advertisementShe also thanked the BCCI and the crowd for their support and said she would looked forward to next year as well.Velocity skipper Mithali Raj praised Supernovas captain Kaur.”Harman is a very important player for India and she’s someone India will bank on when they play the T20 World Cup,” she said.Would the result be any different if Trailblazers met Velocity in the #WIPL final? @mandhana_smriti asks, chase masters @ImHarmanpreet and Radha Yadav oblige after the Supernovas lifted the WIPL . By @Moulinparikh.Don’t miss the full video – (@IPL) May 12, 2019She said after the top-order collapse, the partnership between Amelia Kerr and Sushma Verma gave her side a respectable total after being sent into bat.”I seriously thought it could be one-sided at one point, because they had a really strong team. At the same time I knew my team will fight for every run and they won because of a brilliant knock from Harman,” Raj said.”The girls have done really well from the first game and I am really proud of the way they came back tonight. This is what you get to see in international standard. If we have regular matches like these, the girls will gain more exposure. Today we had Shafali, Devika played her first game. We did have inexperience in our bowling attack, but they stuck to their plans.”Young @JemiRodrigues is the Player of the Series for her stupendous batting (@IPL) May 11, 2019Supernovas batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues, who was adjudged Player of the Series, also credited her skipper Kaur for the win.”Harry di (Harmanpreet) played a superb innings in the finals and credit goes to our team for the way we played today. Honestly speaking, there were nerves, but when Harry di started in her flow, we were confident,” she said.”We were nervous, but Tahuhu running those two runs also was match changing, and then Radha played superbly too.”She said she needed to be a lot more consistent at the international level.”Even (WV) Raman sir’s advice, the small things are very important.Also Read | Harmanpreet Kaur fireworks help Supernovas clinch Women’s T20 Challenge titlelast_img read more

What are the new Adidas Class of ’92 shoes?

first_imgManchester United Adidas Ninety-Two: David Beckham & Manchester United heroes’ Class of ’92 shoes Goal Last updated 2 years ago 23:55 11/9/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Adidas Class of '92 Adidas Manchester United WTF Premier League The most famous group of Red Devils in modern times have delved into the world of fashion along with the German sportswear giant David Beckham and Manchester United’s famous ‘Class of ’92’ have collaborated with sportswear giant Adidas to produce a limited edition shoe in homage to their legacy.Man Utd -1 3/4 v NewcastleThe likes of Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs have followed Beckham into the world of fashion to help launch the footwear and the design was officially released on November 3. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The news of the Adidas ‘Ninety-Two’ was announced last week in the wake of the David Beckham Capsule Collection launch and only a limited number of pairs were produced, making them an exclusive Adidas product. Goal has taken a look at the venture.WHAT IS THE ADIDAS ‘NINETY-TWO’?Embed only Adidas Class of '92The ‘Ninety-Two’ is a special edition shoe produced by Adidas which draws its inspiration from one of the most famous groups of players to play for Manchester United.Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Gary Neville all came through at Old Trafford at the same time and have since been popularly dubbed ‘Class of ’92’.The group played their part in the Red Devils’ successes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which included a Champions League title and a famous treble in 1999.  Class of 92As such, the ‘Ninety-Two’ shoes use the Manchester United colour scheme of red, black and white as inspiration for the outside, with the club badge featuring on the inside of the shoe.As well as the United badge, the insole features the pattern of one of the most iconic Adidas away jerseys worn by the club during that period.According to Adidas only 1,992 pairs were available for purchase and each pair was individually numbered from one to 1,992.HOW MUCH DOES THE ADIDAS ‘NINETY-TWO’ COST?Adidas Class of '92The Adidas ‘Ninety-Two’ was available for the rather symbolic price of £92.However, since there were only a limited number available for purchase, they have been completely sold out.It is unclear whether Adidas will decide to produce more shoes in the style of the ‘Ninety-Two’ but the popularity of the product is undoubted.last_img read more

Major Coach’s Younger Brother Lands Head Coaching Job

first_imgA closeup of Clay Helton in his USC gear.LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 07: Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Clay Helton, in somewhat of a surprise, will be back as USC’s head coach in 2019. The Trojans announced their decision on Sunday.It turns out we’ll have two Heltons leading college football programs in 2019.Tyson Helton, the younger brother of the USC head coach, has landed his own head coaching gig.The Tennessee offensive coordinator has been hired at Western Kentucky.Lookin’ good, @Coach_Helton! ? #GoTops— WKU Football (@WKUFootball) November 27, 2018Tyson Helton, 41, was an assistant coach at USC before taking the Tennessee offensive coordinator job. This is his first head coaching position.Western Kentucky went 3-9 this season.last_img read more

Get Caffeinated: The Manual’s guide to the perfect cup of coffee

first_img The Best CBD Coffee Brands for Energy Without the Jitters How to Use a French Press Coffee Maker Drip, French press, espresso, Americano, latte, cold brew, or cappuccino? From the lightest breakfast blend to the darkest Italian roast, we want you to break the chains of corporate coffee and start brewing your own, much more delicious cup of brew. We sat down with our friends over at Rose City Coffee Company in Sellwood, Oregon for a conversation on roasting, brewing, and stay caffeinated.The BeansNo matter what part of the process you’re considering, one of the keys to the perfect cup of coffee is freshness at every step. Skip the rows of coffee bags on the shelf, and instead find yourself a local roaster that lets you see the beans, ask questions, and get scoops of the perfect roast for you. Steven Morrison from Rose City Coffee recommends a single source bean, if you can find it. Knowing your beans are all from the same region will give you a more consistent flavor and aroma, and will help you start to discern the difference between roasts and varieties.The RoastUnroasted, or green, coffee beans arrive at the roaster and need to be dried and heated before they can be used for coffee. The roast directly affects the flavor, aromas, textures, and even caffeine content of the coffee that it produces. Like finding a local brewery you like, there are lots of roasters and it’s important to find one that prepares coffee the way you like it. We like Rose City Coffee Company because they roast in small batches, and use single source beans, pairing the proper origin with the right roast and blend, and they roast every day so it’s always fresh.Freshness is a part of the process here, too, since you want to use your beans within a few days, 72 hours or so, of exposing them to air. You might not notice it if you can’t see the grounds while you make the coffee, but when the hot water is first introduced to the grounds you get a bloom. The bloom is just what it sounds like, a swelling of grounds and foam that’s a reaction to the oils and particulate that dries out with time. The best part of brewing a nice cup of coffee is when the bloom expands into a beautiful marbled foam, letting forth a burst of aroma and flavor that you can’t help but hold your nose over.The GrindYou can ask any coffee enthusiast and they’ll all tell you that a burr grinder is the only way to go from beans to grounds. While you can get a standard blade grinder for less than$20, you’ll find that not only is the grind not as consistent as you want for a really nice cup, but you also won’t have much control over how fine the end product is. If you don’t mind spending a few minutes doing it, you can use a hand burr grinder. The Hario Skerton is a ceramic home grinder that comes highly recommended, and if you’re looking for something a little more portable, the Porlex JP30 fits neatly into the Aeropress for storage.It’s important to remember that freshness is key. Grinding beans with a burr grinder exposes as much surface area as possible for a greater saturation of the product, but this is a double-edged sword, since the grounds will dry out faster due to greater exposure to air. You want to grind only as much as you need, and only grind right before you’re ready to brew. You’ll get a much fresher taste, with a more fragrant bloom.The BrewThere are so many different methods for brewing coffee it’ll make your head spin faster than it does after a triple latte. Your brewing method is largely based on what you want out of your coffee. Generally, two factors contribute to the bitter taste that most people associate with coffee: the first is using water that is too hot, which will simply cause the coffee to burn without extracting the oils and flavors, and the second is letting the coffee sit in the water for too long, which will cause a bitter taste due to over extraction of those same oils. For our purposes, we’ll look at two different brewing methods that produce clean, strong coffee that will challenge the way you think about your morning.If you’re all about the perfect pour and have a stopwatch and gram scale handy, then a pourover is the classic option. There’s a challenge to it, a tangibility that a lot of people find very appealing, that with a little work will turn your perfect cup into muscle memory. The Chemex coffeemaker is an evolution of the drip coffeemaker that looks modern, but was actually created in 1941 with the intention of creating a glass coffeemaker that wouldn’t impart any of the material flavors into the coffee. The device is still in heavy use today, and owes the high quality of its coffee to a number of factors, including the specially designed filters and the wider hole so the beans don’t soak for as long.The French press is a tried and true method for brewing delicious coffee, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. While some people prefer the grittier mouthfeel of French press, and the heavy taste you get from a long extraction, those aren’t always appealing to us first thing in the morning.AeropressWhen it comes to precise control over your coffee, there’s no beating the pourover, but it has a learning curve before you can start pouring a perfect cup. Among the advantages of the Aeropress is the ability to push the perfect amount of water through your coffee in a precise amount of time, limiting the coffee’s exposure to the water. It’s surprisingly easy to use, but leaves a lot of room to learn, as evidenced by the World Aeropress Championship, a tournament series designed to find the best recipe for the perfect pour. The results from these tournaments are a great place to find timings and measurements to brew different strengths and varieties of coffee, but one of our favorites is super easy, and it’s creator, Jeremy Moore of BonLife coffee, took home the gold with it at the 2014 United States Aeropress Championships.While a number of the recipes involve specific numbers of stirs, and carefully measured and sifted coffee, Moore’s relies on the bean’s natural flavors and the clean taste the Aeropress provides. The recipe included in the instructions for your Aeropress will work really well, but if you want to impress the stingiest of your coffee drinking friends with a really top-notch cup, use Moore’s method, courtesy of the US Aeropress Championships.Rinse the filter with hot water to remove any paper taste.Add 17 grams of fine to medium ground coffee.Slowly pour 260 grams of 202 degree water over 46 seconds, then give it one stir.Set the plunger in and wait another 47 seconds, then plunge for 48 seconds.The SipIf you followed our Aeropress instructions, or you have your own way of getting there, you’re hopefully staring at a mug with two beautiful shots of dark, fragrant espresso. What you decide to do with that espresso is as important as how your prepared it, but has a lot more to do with personal taste than ratios and timing.The Americano – Unless you’re a fan of drinking straight espresso, this is probably the easiest option for drinking your freshly brewed coffee. If you boiled more water than you needed during the Aeropress process, you can simply pour it over your espresso to cut the thickness of the espresso. How much water really comes down to taste, based on how strong you want your coffee and how much cream and sugar you add. If you want to up the fanciness a little more, you can slowly pour the espresso shots on top of some hot water to preserve the crema, the creamy foam top created when you brew espresso, for a creamier variation known as a “long black.”The Latte – The fancy level of the latte falls somewhere between the Americano and the Cappuccino, and is prepared in much the same way as the Americano, but with steamed milk instead of hot water. Normally to create steamed milk with foam you would need an espresso machine with a steam arm, but there’s an easy trick that you can use to make it in your microwave. Fill up a microwave-safe jar with a lid up to less than halfway with cold milk, put the lid on, and shake until the foam fills the jar. Take the lid off, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, and you should have rich, creamy milk foam. Hold a spoon at the edge of the jar to slowly add as much milk as you want to the espresso, then spoon some of the foam on top of your drink.The Cappuccino – Impress your friends and loved ones with your ability to pour the perfect Cappuccino. This tiny-mugged classic preparation eschews full cups of hot water or milk in an effort to preserve the taste and consistency of the espresso. The process is almost the same as the latte, but only pour a little bit of milk in, and one healthy dollop of milk foam on top for a beverage so beautiful you won’t want to drink it.The Shot in the Dark – Depending on where you are in the country, this drink may also be known as a sledgehammer, a black (or red, or dead) eye, or a black hole. All these names are just ways of pointing out that what you’re about to consume is going to hit you like a brick in the face. The process is simple: brew yourself a big cup of drip coffee using your normal coffeemaker, add cream and/or sugar to taste, then dump in two shots of espresso. That’s all there is to it, just don’t plan on sitting still any time soon.You can find out more about Rose City Coffee Company and order coffee from their website, or stop by their location in Sellwood, Oregon. The Aeropress is available  on Amazon and directly from the Aerobie website. Editors’ Recommendations The Nomadic Beer Maestros of Evil Twin Brewing Find a Permanent Home in Queens 10 Lawnmower Beers You Should Sip This Summer Sun, Sand, and Suds: Here are Some of the Best Coastal Brewerieslast_img read more

Yang Ming Confirms Order for 10 Units at CSBC Corporation

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Taiwanese shipping company Yang Ming has confirmed an order for ten 2,800 TEU containerships with compatriot CSBC Corporation.Yang Ming said that the new ships will help to meet the future demand for medium and long-term vessel deployments, and improve Yang Ming’s fleet competitiveness.The vessels are scheduled to start joining their owner in the second quarter of 2020.“In light of the rapid growth seen in the Asian emerging markets, the 2,800 TEU class containerships will be well suited for deployment in most of the major ports in the Asian region,” the company explained.In the meantime, Yang Ming will be taking delivery of five 14,000 TEU chartered vessels beginning in the fourth quarter 2018 and throughout the first-half of next year.“These new containerships will update our fleet, and provide flexibility and broader service coverage for both long haul and regional services. They will also provide efficiency, energy savings and lowered unit costs. Yang Ming’s renewed fleet will significantly optimize vessel efficiency, enhance competitiveness, and continue to provide quality service.”With stricter IMO marine environmental regulations coming into effect after 2020, Yang Ming’s new vessels utilize the sword-type bow design in order to save fuel, reduce sulfur content, and benefit from the more efficient ballast water treatment system.last_img read more

Beyonce Partners With Googleorg to Announce Four More Scholarships for Homecoming Scholars

first_imgBeyoncé, through her BeyGOOD initiative, announces a partnership with, the charitable arm of tech giant Google, to award four new scholarships as part of her Homecoming Scholars Award Program.The iconic performer also issues a challenge to other businesses to join in investing in excellence through has matched the $100,000 grant Beyoncé announced last week, which will enable four additional HBCUs to receive $25,000 scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year. The schools chosen are Texas Southern University, located in Beyoncé’s home city, Houston, Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, the alma mater of her father, Mathew Knowles, Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. HBCUs are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community.“Google understands the vital role historically black colleges and universities play in delivering a high quality and culturally responsive education,” states Maab Ibrahim, a program manager. “In the last several years, Google has launched innovative programs to close the distance between Silicon Valley and HBCUs; we are proud to continue that commitment by matching Beyoncé’s generous donation.”“Partnering with organizations like in support of HBCUs is our way of elevating cultural touchstones that paint a clear picture of excellence and opportunity through diverse education,” states Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment, which houses BeyGOOD. “We challenge other businesses across the country to join us in this commitment to higher education and investment in the future.”On Saturday, April 14, Beyoncé made history at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival by becoming the first Black woman to headline in the festival’s 19-year run.The jubilant set, housed on a pyramid stage with 150-plus cast members, dutifully in-sync, was the first time the icon returned to her home, the stage, in over one year.The show, with its homage to excellence in education, was a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance. It was the impetus to mark her second scholarship program.“As a Morehouse graduate myself, I can attest that HBCUs provide both an excellent educational opportunity, as well as a community of support that lasts a lifetime,” says Steve Pamon, President and COO of Parkwood Entertainment, the company serving as the umbrella for Beyoncé’s production and business ventures. “The lifeblood of that community is an annual pilgrimage to homecoming. This scholarship program can ensure that more students will enjoy the HBCU experience that continues to enrich my life.”A total of eight schools will now receive Homecoming Scholars awards for the 2018-2019 academic year, including awards previously-announced for Xavier University of Louisiana, Wilberforce University in Ohio, Tuskegee University in Alabama and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year of scholars programs created by Beyoncé.The Formation Scholars Awards Program, also a merit scholarship program, was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE, Beyoncé’s critically-acclaimed and globally-lauded 2016 visual album. The Formation Scholars awards encouraged and supported young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box.The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to qualifying students at the universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African-American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced this summer.last_img read more

A stronger Alberta Ottawa announces 16B for Canadas oil and gas sector

first_imgOttawa is spending $1.6 billion to help struggling energy companies stay afloat, buy new equipment and diversify as Alberta grapples with bargain basement oil prices.Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says $1 billion is to be set aside through Export Development Canada for oil and gas companies to make capital investments and purchase new technology.Another $500 million is to be made available through the Business Development Bank of Canada over the next two years to help smaller oil and gas companies navigate the downturn.Sohi says a further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects.The package does not include money for more rail cars that Alberta is planning to purchase to help move a glut of oil behind the low price of Canadian oil.Sohi says the money, largely in the form of commercial loans, is available immediately.“We understand that when Alberta hurts, so does Canada,” Sohi said Tuesday. “Together we can build a stronger Alberta (and) a more prosperous Canada.”The price of Alberta oil plummeted so low last month that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Canada was practically giving it away. While the world sells its oil at about $50 a barrel, Alberta’s oil at one point fetched only $11 a barrel.Notley plans to buy as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers — expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars — and has announced an oil production cut to begin next year. That has helped push the price back up.She has said Canada’s economy is still losing as much as $80 million a day because of the discount.“We understand that for the long-term success and growth of the oil sector, nothing is more important than building the pipeline capacity to expand our non-U.S. global markets,” Sohi said.The Trans Mountain expansion project, which would triple the flow of oil to the British Columbia coast, is in limbo despite being approved two years ago. Ottawa is revisiting the potential impacts on First Nations and B.C.’s marine environment.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Security Council urged to support Sudans fragile northsouth peace accord

18 June 2008The head of the Security Council’s recent mission to Sudan today urged the 15-member body to press the parties to the 2005 peace accord which ended the country’s long-running north-south civil war to fulfil their commitments, stressing that the landmark deal is vital to ensuring stability throughout the vast African nation. “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains fragile, and the Council came away convinced that we have to do all we can to support the parties in implementing it,” Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom told an open meeting of the Council.Mr. Sawers, who co-led the Sudan leg of the Council’s recent five-nation mission to Africa, added that the delegation believes that the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) needed to do more to support the CPA, which he said remains “the bedrock of peace in Sudan.” In particular, he said the Mission could do more – and that it should “interpret its mandate more robustly than it has done so far” – if it is to contribute to stability and protect civilians in the disputed town of Abyei. While in Sudan, the Council team also discussed with President Omar al-Bashir the situation in Darfur, where the UN and African Union have deployed a joint peacekeeping operation, known as UNAMID, to try to quell the violence and suffering that has plagued the region.The operation currently has around 10,000 troops and police officers on the ground, far short of the expected total of about 26,000 when the mission reaches full deployment, and is lacking key capacities in air transport, particularly helicopters. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations says that in addition to the four out of six required tactical support helicopters, there is a critical shortfall for three medium utility helicopter units (providing six helicopters each) and reconnaissance aircraft. It adds that discussions are ongoing with Member States to fill the shortfalls. In a related development, the head of the Department of Field Support, Susana Malcorra, has begun a visit to Darfur.With UNAMID’s mandate coming up for review next month, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who co-led the Sudan segment of the Africa trip, urged the Council to pay closer attention to the details of the operation’s structure. “Even I was shocked at how under-resourced UNAMID was […] this must be watched very closely,” he said, expressing concern that the operation’s current strength was not sufficient enough to respond to the fears of the people on the ground. Recalling the reports of insecurity received from internally displaced persons (IDPs) and aid workers during the Council’s stop in Darfur, he said “the issue of UNAMID, its strength, resources and the conditions under which it will work need more attention from the Council, so it can assist the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and our humanitarian friends working on the ground.”Mr. Kumalo also briefed the Council on the delegation’s visit to Djibouti, where UN-led talks between the Government and the opposition of neighbouring Somalia recently led to an agreement aiming to bring peace to the strife-torn nation that has not had a functioning government since 1991. The Council had also encouraged the acceleration of the deployment of the UN mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), during its stop in the latter country, reported Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, who led that portion of the trip.He said Council members had reaffirmed their commitment to Chad’s sovereignty and stressed that the country must commit itself to dialogue with Sudan and that both countries must pledge to keep armed groups out of each others territories.In addition to meeting with Government officials, Council members visited a camp for Chadians displaced by fighting in country’s eastern region, and were briefed by UN and other humanitarian workers on security concerns and restrictions on their movement. While in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Council touched on the country’s continued cooperation with the UN, as well as on sexual violence and issues related to war crimes investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr. Ripert reported. The Council had expressed to President Joseph Kabila its concerns, including the need to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions, reform its justice sector, and to press ahead with the holding of local elections. “Even with all this, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is nevertheless seeing its first real taste of democracy in the last 50 years,” Mr. Ripert said, especially with political opposition playing a role in what appeared to be a “serene” atmosphere.Reporting on the final leg of the mission, Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso said that the Council’s stop in Côte d’Ivoire had enabled the body to assess the progress made by the Ivorian players in adhering to the Ouagadougou Agreement, including the preparations for the holding of credible, free and transparent presidential elections later this year. read more

No one hurt in attack on UN electoral convoy in southern Afghanistan

The four-vehicle convoy came under attack yesterday morning from two improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades on a road in the Paktia district, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at a press briefing in New York. Police who had been escorting the four vehicles then returned fire, beginning a fire-fight that lasted two hours and led to the attackers retreating. Mr. Eckhard said the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had announced that all UN vehicle movements on the road between the cities of Gardez and Khost have been suspended until further notice. read more

Iraq UN refugee agency launches major humanitarian aid push for displaced people

Barring last minute delays, an air, road and sea operation will begin tomorrow with a four-day airlift from Aqaba in Jordan to Erbil in Iraq. This will be followed by road convoys from Turkey and Jordan, and sea and land shipments from Dubai via Iran over the next 10 days.“The major focus is on improving living conditions for the displaced in the region, particularly people without shelter or housing,” said Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “Conditions remain desperate for those without access to suitable shelter, people struggling to find food and water to feed their families, and those without access to primary medical care. “Many are still coming to grips with the tragedy they’ve been through in recent weeks – fleeing homes with nothing, and many trying to cope with the loss of loved ones. Emergency support is an urgent need that we are trying to meet,” he told reporters in Geneva.Included in the initial aid shipments are 3,300 tents, 20,000 plastic sheets, 18,500 kitchen sets, and 16,500 jerry cans. This assistance and further aid deliveries is being made possible thanks to a recent $500 million donation from Saudi Arabia, as well as support from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and global retailer IKEA – a UNHCR corporate partner.Meanwhile, inside Iraq, UNHCR is already working closely with regional authorities in the Kurdistan Region, where at least half the displaced have settled, some 200,000 of them since early August when the city of Sinjar and neighbouring areas were seized by armed groups. The Saudi contribution has also enabled the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to scale up food assistance to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis displaced from their homes in recent weeks.“The food security situation in Iraq is alarming – the worst that the country has witnessed since the sanctions in the early 1990s,” Mohamed Diab, Director of WFP’s Regional Bureau for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, said in a news release. “The breakdown of the Public Distribution System for food in many parts of Iraq, the destruction and confiscation of agricultural produce, widespread insecurity and massive displacement of civilians have resulted in immense hardship and untold human suffering,” he stated.Despite a challenging security situation and displaced people on the move since mid-June, WFP has distributed food to more than 524,000 people in 10 governorates across the country and has plans to scale up its operation to reach 1.2 million people by early 2015.An estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced so far in 2014, including some 600,000 people uprooted by the Anbar province crisis which began in January, and 600,000 displaced from conflicts in and around Mosul and more recently Sinjar, since August.The UN humanitarian spokesperson in Iraq, Kieran Dwyer, said in an interview with UN Radio , that resources are a critical element to helping the hundreds of thousands affected by the ongoing crisis in the country.“This $500 million from the Saudi Government is allowing the United Nations to scale up fast and get aid wherever we can get access to work with the local authorities,” Mr. Dwyer said. He added that security is a major challenge in gaining access to many areas of Iraq and delivering vital assistance to those who need it.“Humanitarian workers cannot get access to many areas of Iraq in order to deliver aid,” he said, noting the rapid unravelling of the humanitarian situation and well as the still unstable security situation. “We need to urgently make sure we have the conditions for them to survive and secondly, we need to stabilize the situation so that we can bring consistent services.” read more

UN forum explores ongoing discrimination faced by people of African descent

Speaking at the opening of the two-day meeting, held on 23 and 24 November, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that people of African descent continue to endure pervasive discrimination in law as well as in practice, extending from neighbourhoods and schools to workplaces, political representation and justice. “Whether they are descendants of the victims of slavery brought to North America and Europe against their will, or more recent migrants, people of African descent are frequently denied rights and experience exclusion, humiliation and impoverishment as a result of racial discrimination,” said the High Commissioner. In particular, he raised concern over practises of racial profiling and patterns of police violence in the United States, as well as the disproportionate imposition of capital punishment on people of African descent and other racial minorities. He also voiced concerns over “systemic anti-Black racism” in the Canadian criminal justice system, including evidence of extensive patterns of racial profiling by law enforcement, as well as under-representation of people of African descent in political spheres across many countries in Europe. “We – all human beings – are equal; and therefore should enjoy an equal right to dignity,” he added, noting that just and peaceful societies for all can be created only when nobody is subjected to prejudice and segregation. The meeting was held as part of the awareness-raising campaign for the International Decade for People of African descent (2015-2024).Also speaking at the occasion, Sabelo Gumedze, the Chairperson of the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent, stated that the International Decade is an important instrument to address the common issues facing people of African descent, such as racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance; underrepresentation in political and judicial sectors; and inequality access to quality education, health services and housing. Underscoring the need to combat extreme violence, racial bias and hate speech which people of African descent continue to face, he called for urgently addressing the root causes of racial discrimination “in an honest debate about history and its connection to modern day racism.” Other key speakers at the meeting included Opal Tometi, the Co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and Rokhaya Diallo, French journalist and activist. The meeting also saw three panel discussions on the themes of recognition, justice and development.Organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the meeting is one of five regional meetings that focus on trends, priorities and challenges at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the Decade’s Programme of Activities. read more

UK commercial vehicle manufacturing declines 167 in 2017

More than 78,000 commercial vehicles built in the UK in 2017, down -16.7% year on year.Declines in both home and overseas demand, falling -25.0% and -10.8% respectively.Proportion of British-built CVs exported to global markets rises to 62.5%.British commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing declined -16.7% in 2017 as 78,219 vans, trucks, buses and coaches left production lines, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).Domestic demand fell to its lowest since 2009, down -25.0%, with 29,320 CVs rolling off production lines and onto British roads.1 The decline reflects a fall in business confidence and fluctuating buying cycles, which are a natural feature of the market. Meanwhile, 48,899 CVs were produced for overseas markets, representing a fall of -10.8%. However, exports accounted for 62.5% of overall UK production – up from 58.4% in 2016 – the largest proportion in eight years.2The EU remains the UK’s largest market, with 94.1% of CVs produced for international markets, and the majority bound for European Union countries.The news comes as UK Automotive restates the need for an urgent agreement on the terms of a post-Brexit transition deal. This must be comprehensive, result in no change and allow business to continue as usual until a new trading relationship with the EU is in place. This means maintaining the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union and addressing critical details that, if ignored, could have a damaging effect on the industry’s competitiveness.The agreement must include guarantees that the UK will continue to benefit from EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Customs Union arrangements with third countries, for the full duration of transition. Secondly, vehicle certifications that have been issued in the UK must remain valid at home and abroad so that vehicles can continue to be sold across the EU. Finally, no new customs checks, which would add cost, cause delays and disrupt manufacturing, should be applied during the transition.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,Fluctuating fleet purchasing cycles, alongside declining confidence among operators in the CV market, affected production in 2017. British CV manufacturing continues to make a vital contribution to the UK economy, with an increasing proportion shipped to global markets. More than nine out of every 10 vehicles we export are produced for EU customers, underscoring the need for urgent clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit.Notes to editors1. In 2009, 24,225 CVs were produced for the domestic market.2. In 2009, 77.5% of commercial vehicle production was for export.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Have The Cubs Forgotten How To Field

Welcome to Full Count, our new(!) weekly baseball column. Have anything you want me to write about? Email or tweet me at or @Neil_Paine.Of all the elements that allowed the Chicago Cubs to erase 108 years of suffering and finally win the World Series last fall, one of the most important was the team’s stellar defense. Just how efficient were Chicago’s fielders a year ago? Relative to league average, the 2016 Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of any team ever.1Over a full season; sorry, 1884 Milwaukee Brewers. As in, since the dawn of big-league ball in 1871, ever. The only team that was even comparable to these Cubs was the 1890 Columbus Solons (a franchise that appears to have folded the next year without explaining its defensive wizardry — or what a “Solon” was).2From what I can tell — which isn’t much — it was either a reference to an Athenian legislator or another town in Ohio (one that, oddly, is not near Columbus). Have the Cubs forgotten how to field? 8Carlos Beltran4241054312460.7 2016Cubs.255.298-.043 +9.7+3.8-5.9 1999Reds.262.298-.036 6Anthony RendonNationals727975.3 1906Cubs.238.272-.034 Willson ContrerasC588.4212.0+9.2+22.6+13.5 RKNAMETEAMPITCH IN ZONE, SWUNGPITCH OUTSIDE ZONE, TOOKGOOD DECISION 5Mike TroutAngels727875.3 3Freddie FreemanBraves827276.0 The all-time kings of power, speed and patience, 1871-2017 INNINGSDEF PER 1200 INNINGS* The Cubs still aren’t shifting much, but they’re good when they do 179Chris DavisOrioles546962.5 Javier Baez2B970.3215.1+15.7+5.0-10.7 PLAYERPOS2016201720162017CHANGE Kris Bryant3B1366.2288.0+9.7+2.5-7.2 1899Beaneaters.265.298-.033 7Bobby Bonds332914460477.7 10Bobby Abreu2881476400451.1 Data through May 8. Returning Cubs players only.* “Def” is FanGraphs’ defensive value over average, which includes Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) grades relative to position, as well as an adjustment for the defensive value of each position.Numbers are listed per 1,200 innings, roughly a season’s worth of playing time.Source: FanGraphs 1Joey VottoReds77%82%80.1% The most efficient defenses in MLB history, 1871-2016 With the exception of new starting catcher Willson Contreras and utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist, every single holdover from the 2016 Cubs has contributed less defensively than he did a season ago. Some have gone from average to bad while others have gone from great to merely good, but there have been big declines across the board.Such an abrupt and widespread deterioration begs for an explanation, and an obvious one might be that manager Joe Maddon made a tactical change. For example, last season, just as the infield shift hit another all-time high in popularity across MLB, Maddon — famous iconoclast that he is — decided to dial back on using baseball’s favorite new-old tactic. So perhaps Maddon has changed how he’s been deploying his defense so far this year? 1890Solons.254.295-.041 201684%16%0.2580.239 Kyle SchwarberLF7.2211.0+0.0-17.1-17.1 The most and least disciplined batters of 2017 PERCENTAGE OF TIME… 6Hank Aaron7551402240483.5 1898Beaneaters.256.290-.034 1941Dodgers.245.275-.030 2001Mariners.260.292-.032 YEARNO SHIFTSHIFTNO SHIFTSHIFT And even within that group, what really set Mays apart was his defense. While Henderson was fairly mediocre with the glove, and Bonds’s once-great fielding skills eroded significantly over time, Mays is the third-best defensive outfielder ever, according to’s defensive WAR. (He was still a Gold Glove centerfielder in 1968, at age 37!) Because of Mays’s unparalleled skills with his bat, feet and glove, he is the only player in baseball history to record at least 120 offensive WAR and 15 defensive WAR.And he cleared both those benchmarks easily — because of course he did, he’s the greatest all-around player ever. Happy birthday, Willie, and here’s to many more.Who’s showing the most — and least — plate discipline?Three years ago, I cooked up a way to see which players were making the best decisions at the plate using FanGraphs’ wonderful “Plate Discipline” stats. Since the site lists the percentage of pitches each player faced that were and were not in the strike zone,7According to pitch-tracking data collected by Baseball Info Solutions and MLB’s Statcast system. along with the share of pitches that were or were not swung at, we can calculate how often a player is correctly identifying a pitch to swing at (because it was over the plate) or lay off (because it definitely was not).Here are the top and bottom 10 so far this year: Jason HeywardRF1200.2229.3+15.4+7.3-8.1 Data through May 9Source: FanGraphs 201783170.3000.239 5Joe Morgan2681865689524.6 Albert AlmoraCF237.0144.1+29.4-5.8-35.2 10Eric ThamesBrewers687974.8 182J.J. HardyOrioles536961.0 177Jose ReyesMets566962.5 RKPLAYERHRWALKSSTEALSPOWER-SPEED-PATIENCE* 4Alex Rodriguez6961338329574.3 2Rickey Henderson29721901406661.5 Weighted average Nope! The Cubs are still basically shifting as little as they did a year ago. And the irony is that the BABIP they’ve allowed when shifting is exactly the same as it was last season (.239). The only difference has come on plays when Chicago hasn’t shifted, where opposing hitters’ BABIP has risen from a ridiculously low .258 mark last year to essentially league average this season.(The biggest difference in pure positioning for the Cubs is that Kris Bryant now plays the shallowest third base in the game. The rest of Chicago’s infield and outfield positions play at roughly the same average depth as they did a year ago, per Statcast data.)So it’s not the configuration of Chicago’s defense that’s changed. But it wasn’t just Maddon’s contrarian strategy on shifting that was keeping batted-ball averages down last year, it was also his pitchers’ superior ability to mitigate damage on contact. My colleagues Rob Arthur and Ben Lindbergh wrote last season about how the Cubs’ hurlers were inducing particularly easy-to-field balls on contact — which, they postulated, helped Chicago come by that microscopic BABIP honestly (or at least, more honestly than other teams). And certainly the 2016 Cubs allowed some of MLB’s lowest rates of hard contact, according to both exit velocity and other classifications.But Chicago’s pitchers aren’t doing poorly in that department this season, either, even if they are yielding a few more hard-hit balls this time around.4For those curious, opposing hitters’ average launch angle has barely budged. And any changes in where they spray the ball (hitters are pulling slightly more against the Cubs this year) are minor. If the Cubs’ defensive success was all about inducing soft contact, we’d expect them to be seeing similar defensive results this season, too.More likely, the Cubs didn’t find a secret BABIP-suppressing hack last year, nor did they forget it this season. Instead, a good amount of Chicago’s defensive brilliance (and subsequent backslide) can probably be explained with the statistician’s most dreaded word: luck. For all the advances we’ve made in understanding and evaluating defense over the past couple decades, and for all the hope that Voros McCracken’s original, earth-shattering finding about pitchers — that they appear to have little control over whether balls in play become hits or outs — was flawed or incomplete, there’s a lot about defense that remains highly unpredictable and beyond the control of fielders, pitchers and managers.No matter whether we judge a team’s fielding according to a simple metric like BABIP allowed or something more advanced such as UZR or Defensive Runs Saved, defensive performance in one season only explains roughly 10 percent of the variation in the same statistic the following season.5Using data from 2003 to 2016. Although some of that year-to-year noise is due to players switching teams between seasons, it also speaks volumes about the inherent randomness of a baseball coming off a bat. That’s why even a defense as dominant as the 2016 Cubs — or perhaps especially a defense that dominant– will see a big chunk of its advantage melt away in later seasons.What does that mean for the Cubs? Even granting that last year’s defensive performance was partially the product of good luck, Chicago’s 17-17 record (which the underlying metrics say is about right for how this team has played) is disappointing relative to the amount of talent on its roster. But 34 games is a small sample in a sport where it takes nearly 70 games to reach the same level of certainty in the standings that we get after, say, 11 games in the NFL or 14 in the NBA. So Cubs fans shouldn’t overreact too much: This is still one of the best teams in the majors, and it should eventually put together a record to match. It would be unfair, however, to expect Chicago’s fielding to be as ludicrously efficient as it was a year ago. That historic defense should add to the lore of the Cubs’ curse-breaking World Series win, but that’s all it is now — history.Happy (belated) birthday, Willie MaysInstead of pointing out how terrible the San Francisco Giants are these days — they’ve lost 16 of their last 23 ballgames — I’d like to take a second to once again appreciate the excellence of their all-time greatest player, Willie Mays, who turned 86 years old on Saturday.I’ve written about this before, but Mays was probably the greatest all-around ballplayer in major league history. (The fact that he only won two career MVP awards is one of the underrated travesties of baseball history.) Mays is one of only eight players ever with more than 300 career home runs and 300 steals, and he ranks third all-time in Bill James’ power-speed number.6Which is just the harmonic mean of a player’s career steals and homers. He also walked more (both in total and on a rate basis) than any member of that 300-300 club except his godson, Barry Bonds. Those two — plus Rickey Henderson, who just missed the 300-homer club by 3 dingers — stand atop the reformulated list if we adjust James’s power-speed stat to also include walks: Addison RussellSS1262.2273.0+20.8+10.1-10.7 9Gary Sheffield5091475253454.9 MLB average72280.2970.294 8Miguel SanoTwins717875.1 Miguel MonteroC558.181.0-2.8-4.4-1.6 2Jed LowrieAthletics757876.5 BALLS IN PLAYBATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY Anthony Rizzo1B1337.1288.3-5.2-14.2-8.9 YEARTEAMTEAMLEAGUEDIFF. 183Javier BaezCubs715460.5 Boosted by that historic out-generating vacuum behind them, Cubs pitchers also led the majors in earned run average by the 10th-widest margin3Tied with the 1991 Dodgers. of any staff since 1901, threatening all sorts of run-prevention records along the way. They allowed 140 fewer runs than the average team, and analytics credit the fielders with something between 50 and 70 percent (depending on the estimate being used) of those saved runs. The Cubs were loaded with stars up and down their lineup, and their pitchers shined brightly when fielders weren’t required, but the importance of Chicago’s glovework was still undeniable.But the Cubs’ defensive numbers were so off-the-charts last year that they almost seemed unsustainable. And as it turns out, they probably were. This year, the Cubs are right at .500, sitting in fourth place in the NL Central — and their once-dominant defense might be to blame. Instead of allowing the lowest BABIP on the planet, they’re in the middle of the pack defensively; not coincidentally, their staff ERA is unremarkable and they’ve allowed two more runs than an average team. Simply put, Chicago’s secret fielding weapon isn’t working anymore.This raises a host of questions about the Cubs and about defensive metrics in general. Have the Cubs suddenly, collectively forgotten how to field? Are offseason defections to blame? Or did Chicago just enjoy a historic amount of luck in the field last year — luck for which their fielders received too much credit? And if so, what does that say about our ability to measure defense?It’s a lot to sort out, so let’s start with the personnel involved. Chicago’s most notable offseason move effectively saw former Padres center fielder Jon Jay slot in for Dexter Fowler, who joined the rival Cardinals. According to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), one of the most commonly cited advanced defensive metrics, the Cubs haven’t fared well in the exchange. Although Fowler’s defensive track record hasn’t always been great, he was surprisingly solid a year ago; Jay, meanwhile, is tracking for a very poor defensive season in 2017.In combination with the retirement of expert defensive catcher and game-caller David Ross, the Jay-for-Fowler tradeoff has helped erode Chicago’s edge in the field. But a far bigger factor is the team’s returning players: 181Danny ValenciaMariners556761.7 1Barry Bonds7622558514822.2 174Carlos BeltranAstros626563.8 7George SpringerAstros767575.2 Ben ZobristUTIL1263.6214.5-1.4+9.0+10.4 BATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY 176Xander BogaertsRed Sox567063.1 * The harmonic mean of a player’s lifetime home runs, walks and stealsSource: FanGraphs 9Matt JoyceAthletics688174.9 Minimum 140 games played in seasonSource: FanGraphs Matt SzczurOF352.430.0+16.3+4.0-12.3 3Willie Mays6601464338581.8 Plate discipline doesn’t automatically equate to successful hitting. Corey Dickerson is swinging at everything that moves — and knocking the cover off the ball. Matt Joyce refuses to offer at a bad pitch, and he can’t buy a hit. But by and large, the hitters at the top of the discipline rankings do tend to be more productive than the ones at the bottom. And they do it mainly by avoiding swinging at junk outside the strike zone.In terms of predicting hitting effectiveness, a batter’s rate of good decisions on pitches outside the zone is about three times as important as his rate of good decisions on pitches inside the zone. In other words, it’s not the end of the world if you let a strike go by without swinging — who knows, maybe you’re waiting for your pitch. But few batters can get away with flailing at bad pitches for long. For every Dickerson or Vlad Guerrero, there’s an undisciplined hacker who let the pitcher trick him into getting himself out. 180Corey DickersonRays725562.1 Shift data is on balls in play only. MLB average includes both 2016 and 2017 seasons.Source: FanGraphs ⁝Average677169.4 1975Dodgers.245.277-.032 1939Yankees.252.284-.032 175Manuel MargotPadres596863.8 4Brandon BeltGiants727975.6 178Salvador PerezRoyals695862.5 read more

New sleaze watchdog chief backs Lord Hains right to name Sir Philip

The new chief of the government’s sleaze watchdog has backed Lord Hain’s parliamentary right to identify Sir Philip Green as the businessman at the centre of the #MeToo scandal.Lord Evans, chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said although politicians needed to be cautious about challenging judges over their decisions without necessarily knowing the full facts, they had the right to do so if they felt it was in the public interest.“I can understand why Lord Hain has done that. I don’t know and nor do I think he knows the full background [of the case]. Generally speaking the courts take decisions for good reasons.”I would be cautious about challenging them on that, particularly when we have not seen the full details they have seen.“But equally there’s a public balance of goods and the ability to raise issues in parliament without fear of them being brought into court is an important safeguard in our system.” Lord Hain faced criticism on Friday from former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC who accused him of abusing parliamentary privilege in deciding he knew better than the courts.”You cannot operate a democratic, free society subject to the rule of law when peers or MPs decide quite capriciously to take the law into their own hands,” he told the BBC. “People should feel confident to voice their concerns if they are bullied, if they feel they are being harassed that that is something they can address,” said Lord Evans. “There should not just be systems but culture which encourages them to do that. People perform their best when they feel confident in their role. This is not just a moral problem but also a practical problem.“If the culture of an organisation throughout the public service does not help people to give us of their best, then we are all being short changed by that.” The principle of parliamentary privilege means that MPs and peers cannot be sued for libel for comments made in the Houses of Parliament, and offers protection to media outlets reporting those comments. Lord Hain said he felt he had a “duty” to name Sir Philip who this week secured an injunction to stop The Daily Telegraph reporting allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse against him and his attempt to gag ex-staff with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).Lord Evans, the former head of MI5, was highly critical of the use of NDAs particularly in the public sector. “I can understand why they have been developed but particularly in the public sector we need to be very cautious about this,” he said.“One of the principles that we seek to uphold in the committee is that of openness. Clearly a NDA runs in the face of that. In general it’s seem to me it’s an undesirable thing to be used on a wide basis.”He said the report in parliamentary bullying by Dame Laura Cox, which had exposed a culture of silence, subservience and deference among victims, was a “matter of real concern.”It was illustrated by evidence that £2.4m had been spent by the parliamentary authorities on settlements with staff, including NDAs. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

National Theatre should change its name after ignoring women Sandi Toksvig says

The facade of The National Theatre at London's Southbank  Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris Last week, Ms Toksvig’s sister, Jenifer Toksvig, who writes musicals, was among a number of prominent female theatre figures to write an open letter expressing disappointment the new season of plays did not feature a work by a single female playwright.In his reply to his critics, Mr Norris commended them for “rightly” holding him to account, insisting he was “serious about reflecting the nation on our stages, and a line-up of six plays by men certainly doesn’t do that.”However, he stressed that six plays was only a “slice” of the year’s full programme, adding that a January announcement about four new plays included three by female playwrights, two directed by women.“Our confidence in female theatre-makers is absolute,” he wrote, adding “we will ensure we demonstrate more consistently our belief that theatre must be fuelled by a breadth of voices.” In the letter, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Toksvig, 60, says: “There is nothing ‘national’ about a partial season of six plays all written by male writers, with only one female director and no ethnic minority women.”She adds that the National Theatre was “not really living up to [its] name” by condoning the “nonsense of seeing the world only through the male lens”. Show more The letter is particularly embarrassing for Mr Norris, who in 2016 pledged to ensure female directors and living playwrights make up half of the theatre’s output by 2021.Ms Toksvig added: “You seemed to start with such good intentions. You talked a lot about diversity… I thought you understood that the only way to diversify the theatrical canon that has been dominated by white men for so long is by commissioning new work.”She concludes that if Mr Norris could not promote the plays and directorships of women “change the name of your theatre… maybe just call it The Theatre… everyone will know what they are getting – plays by boys, directed by boys, about boys.” Sandi Toksvig is calling for the National Theatre to be renamed after “failing” to fully represent Britain because it is “ignoring” female writers and directors.In a scathing letter to Rufus Norris, the artistic director of the London theatre, Ms Toksvig complained that a recently unveiled programme of work featured plays only by men.Ms Toksvig, founder of the Women’s Equality Party and who hosts television programmes including The Great British Bake Off, wrote that the theatre did not have the right to use ‘national’ in its title if it ignored half the population.The Southbank theatre has unveiled six plays in its new programme of work, all written by men and only one involving a female director.  Director of the National Theatre Rufus NorrisCredit:Rii Schroer The facade of The National Theatre at London’s SouthbankCredit:NurPhoto Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Column Will we have a 32county Fianna Fail

first_imgMAYOR OF CHICAGO and former White House Chief of Staff and Rahm Emanuel has been fond of telling people to never let a serious crisis go to waste.Fianna Fáil’s very own crisis occurred when the party was eviscerated in the 2011 general election. Paradoxically, the nature and scale of the defeat has actually been of benefit to Michéal Martin. It allowed him to introduce a raft of internal party reforms such as ‘one member one vote’ with little or no opposition from the party. Notwithstanding the dissent from Éamon Ó ‘Cuiv over the Fiscal Compact Treaty and the large-scale revolt of the party’s more conservative members  over abortion, Micheál Martin has stabilised the party with relative ease and skill.Having succeeded in resuscitating the patient, Martin must now illustrate what a newly renewed Fianna Fáil stands for. Fianna Fáil’s republican past and values offer him with the perfect opportunity to do this.Martin has the chance to be the first leader of an Irish political party to lead a solely southern-based party into Northern Ireland. This is a golden opportunity for Martin to add substance to claims of being committed to ‘a new way of doing politics’ while at the same time reinforcing the party’s political Republican beliefs. Planting the seedsThe party has long toyed with the idea of becoming a player in Northern Irish politics. Bertie Ahern initiated this process in 2007 when he extended the Fianna Fáil organisation into Northern Ireland. This process involved the establishment of the William Drennan cumann at Queen’s University Belfast and the Watty Graham cumann at Magee campus of the Ulster of University, in Derry.Furthermore, in the same month, Fianna Fáil successfully registered with the UK Electoral Commission as a Northern Ireland political party. Indeed, Micheál Martin announced on RTE in the aftermath of the catastrophic general election defeat that Fianna Fáil ‘actively considering’ entering Northern Ireland politics. So what form would the party take in the North? Who, if anyone, would they appeal to?SDLP/FF mergerMany of those who have anticipated the entry of Fianna Fáil have long talked about a possible merger between the SDLP and Fianna Fáil. Any merger with the SDLP would be a huge political mistake by Fianna Fáil. The potential appeal of Fianna Fáil to Northern voters lies in the fact that the party has no ties to the staid old politics that has caused so many people to become disillusioned with politics in North Ireland.Indeed, merging with the SDLP would succeed only in immediately nullifying the party’s claim to be offering a new way forward for Northern Ireland. Fianna Fáil has the opportunity to articulate a post agreement political future for Northern Ireland. Any merger with the SDLP would handicap Fianna Fáil from the outset by confining their appeal to traditional nationalist SDLP.Policy! Policy! Policy!There are many problems in Northern Ireland that are not being address by the old order parties in the North. The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) recently expressed their frustration with the Executive, urging them to reform how it delivers key infrastructure projects such as roads and energy links as a matter of urgency. The Executive is currently in a state of paralysis with lack of major policy development across key areas such as education and business development.Northern Ireland is crying out for a political party that is willing to tackle issues such as the divided education system that is failing the young people of Northern Ireland. Fianna Fáil in the North could offer a direct contrast to the parties of paralysis by offering voters policies that provided them with solutions to these key problems.If Fianna Fáil is to contest elections and succeed in Northern Ireland then its approach must be rooted in policy. A policy based ‘new politics’ approach has the potential to appeal not only disillusioned nationalists but also to middle class unionists who are sick and tired of the do nothing Executive.The launch of Basil McCrea’s NI21 party highlights the appetite for fundamental change in Northern Ireland. This desire for a new way of doing politics offers Fianna Fáil a historic opportunity but with assembly elections just three years away and with the party’s resources already stretched perhaps the 2016 Assembly elections are too soon. Despite these obstacles a combination of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the opportunity to take on Sinn Féin in their own back yard may prove to be too tempting for Micheál Martin to pass up.Mark is a Public Relations Consultant and Fianna Fáil activist. He specialises in political communication and media relations. Follow him on Twitter at @poliireland.last_img read more

Motorola may have leaked future products during website redesign

first_imgMotorola is reportedly in the middle of a broad site redesign, and caught on the preview site is an array of new Motorola products that may or may not be real. Many of the “leaked” products make sense: a next-generation Motorola Xoom, a line of thin and slim Android handsets that look much like the Motorola Atrix, and more. At the same time, all of the “leaks” could very well be template images created just to fill space.The folks at PocketNow managed to snag some images from the design, that show off a Motorola Xoom 2, which is likely to happen, and a pair of slim Android handsets that are referred to as the “Slimline” and the “Zaha.” It’s no surprise at all that the Xoom will get a sequel, and it’s also no surprise that Motorola is working on new Android handsets.AdChoices广告What is interesting from the leak however is the “Motorola Tracy XL,” a watchphone with the tagline “Dick Tracy never saw this coming.” Also in the layout is a screenshot of a phone labeled the Motorola Targa, which many people think is the codename for Motorola’s next-generation Android phone, and another phone called the “Pearl.”The Slimline, Zaha, Xoom 2, and the Tracy XL get top billing because the current iteration of the design shows off the designs of the products at the top of the page. The Targa and the Pearl are relegated to the bar at the bottom of the page, as though they’ll have been long-released by the time this design goes live.Again, it’s just as possible that all of the images are design filler, built to add content to a prototype site design so testers have something to click through when they evaluate the site. It’s also just as possible that all of the products are hypothetical and will never exist. However, if they ever do come to market, it’ll be interesting to see how a watch-phone like the Tracy XL does at market.The only device that doesn’t make an appearance anywhere on the site? The long delayed Droid Bionic.Read more at PocketNowlast_img read more