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first_imgWorldwide around 3,200 people have died from the virus with more than 90,000 infections — with China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan the worst affected.India confirmed three cases in late January and early February, all of whom arrived from China and who have since recovered.But until last week no more infections were reported when an Indian man who returned from Italy via Austria to New Delhi tested positive.The man has since infected six family members in Agra south of the capital and home to tourist hotspot the Taj Mahal. Hotels and tourist sites in Agra have been told to report any visitors from Italy, Iran or China, so that they can be screened, local medical official Mukesh Vats told the Press Trust of India.One other infection was confirmed in the southern state of Telangana, reportedly a software engineer who arrived from Dubai, where he met fellow technicians from Hong Kong.On Feb. 4, India blocked the entry of new arrivals from China or anyone who had visited China in the preceding two weeks. It has also been screening arrivals from certain countries.Gagandeep Kang, a leading infectious diseases expert and the first Indian woman to become a Royal Society Fellow, said that India’s actions until now have been “entirely appropriate”.”But it is also a limited strategy. Maybe it’s time to think about whether we should be doing more than this,” Kang told AFP.Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Tuesday that he had held an “extensive review regarding preparedness” for the virus and that different ministries and states were “working together”.”There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection,” Modi said.On Wednesday Modi said he would stay away from celebrations during Holi, one of India’s biggest festivals when paint and water are thrown around in an explosion of color. Topics : A group of Italian tourists were under quarantine in India Wednesday, with 16 testing positive for the new coronavirus, prompting authorities to tighten controls.Italy is a hotspot of the virus with 79 deaths and over 2,500 infected, while India’s case total stands officially at just 28 — including the Italians and their Indian driver.Confirming the new cases, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Wednesday that passengers on all international flights would now be screened.center_img Visitors from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan — except diplomats and officials from international bodies — were already barred, on Tuesday, along with those from China last month.Vardhan said a husband and wife in the Italian group — who arrived last month and number around 20 — fell ill while visiting the western state of Rajasthan, a popular tourist destination.The remainder were moved to a quarantine center in New Delhi, where 14 members plus their Indian driver were confirmed as being infected.”We are awaiting test results of the others,” a source told AFP said on condition of anonymity.last_img read more

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first_imgBig money, little oversight Experts say the window for large-scale corruption opened as Brazil struggled early in the pandemic to contain the havoc wrought by COVID-19.As authorities rushed to buy suddenly scarce ventilators, intensive care beds, face masks and hand sanitizer, Congress passed a bill in April authorizing all levels of government to make emergency purchases without tenders or the usual red tape.Many countries hit hard by the virus took similar measures.But in Brazil, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on lockdowns and the “hysteria” caused by the virus largely left states and municipalities to fend for themselves as COVID-19 surged in the country of 212 million people, which is second only to the United States in infections and deaths, with more than 3.6 million and 116,000, respectively.”Brazil has all these states and municipalities competing against each other to buy the same things,” said Guilherme France, of watchdog group Transparency International’s Brazil office.”It’s much easier to monitor one big public entity’s contracts than 5,000 entities’. The total lack of coordination by the federal government definitely increased the risk of corruption.”Of the 286.5 billion reals (around $50 billion) in federal emergency spending on the pandemic so far, less than eight percent has gone directly to fight the disease, according to the Federal Accounts Court (TCU), the government auditor.Tracking where all the money is going is an “intense” job, said the court’s secretary general for external controls, Paulo Wiechers.”Crises are always an opportunity for people who want to take advantage of the situation,” he told AFP.”There’s no doubt that this crisis is being used by those who want to misuse public money.”He estimated it would take six months after the pandemic ends — whenever that is — to track where the money went and establish how much was misused. Preliminary estimates are already in the billions.Finding and trying those who stole would take far longer, he said. Ingrid dos Santos has no idea who’s been receiving the paychecks from her job as a nurse at a COVID-19 field hospital in Rio de Janeiro, but she knows it isn’t her.Dos Santos, 28, says she has not been paid since May for her contract at the shoddily built, never-opened tent hospital in the Rio suburb of Duque de Caxias.But the salary and severance pay she was supposed to receive, and then some, show up on her social security records — a telltale sign in Brazil that someone is stealing public money and trying to cover it up. ‘Thieves in ties’ Adding to the muck, there are fears that corruption allegations are sometimes being used as political weapons, further undermining public trust in the system, experts say.”Some corruption accusations are being used in a targeted way by President Bolsonaro and his supporters against his political enemies, particularly Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria and Rio Governor Wilson Witzel, who are potential presidential contenders in 2022,” said political analyst Geraldo Monteiro of Rio de Janeiro State University.Dos Santos, for her part, is sick of it all.Officially, she is still employed by the defunct field hospital that hired her. That makes her ineligible to nurse anywhere else, under rules to prevent nurses from working too many hours.Being a nurse was her girlhood dream, but the “thieves in ties” make her want to give it up, she said.”It’s no use trying to help people. It just ends up like this,” she said.”I’m thinking of changing professions. Maybe work in a mall or something.” Even football superstar Neymar got dragged in. His name and personal data were used to register for the 600-real monthly stimulus payments the federal government is paying poor Brazilians hit hard by lockdown measures.Dos Santos said more than 1,000 colleagues were in the same situation as her.”Where did the money go? Nobody knows,” she told AFP.”All we know is that the people working on the front line are forgotten,” said the now-unemployed mother-of-two.”A lot of us are suffering.”center_img Her case is emblematic of the massive amounts of government emergency funds to fight the pandemic that experts say are being stolen in the world’s second-hardest-hit country, as the rush to respond to COVID-19 is sideswiped by an older, endemic disease: corruption.Brazil has a long history of graft scandals. But even by Brazilian standards, the scope of the accusations is outrageous.Amazonas state allegedly purchased overpriced ventilators from a wine store. Rio de Janeiro’s governor is facing impeachment over the seven field hospitals the state contracted, five of which never opened. Brasilia’s health secretary was arrested Tuesday over suspected kickbacks on coronavirus test kits.In all, at least 11 out of 27 states have corruption cases open. Topics :last_img read more

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first_imgLast Thursday my wife and I attended the 23rd Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame in Terre Haute.  The reason we were there was the induction of Batesville’s Angie Menser into the Hall.Angie attended Indiana State from 1994-98.  During that time she excelled in both track and cross country.  She still holds 2 Sycamore records.  The first is the indoor mile with a time of 4:50.1.  The second record is the 1500m where she ran 4:27.9.  The fact that these two records are still standing is an amazing feat, because they are nearing the 20-year mark.  Angie is also part of the school’s 4 x 800 meter record.  Besides these records, she was a team leader and an academic all-American.Angie, who is married to ISU’s head basketball coach Greg Lansing, works at Indiana State as an assistant athletic director.  An interesting quirk in this job is that she is now her cross country coach’s boss.  I don’t think either one minds this situation.  They were and still are good friends.  Congratulations, Angie!  You make Batesville proud!last_img read more

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first_imgAubrey Kragen is a senior majoring in communication. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Release the Kragen,” runs Fridays.” I miss Lane Kiffin.There, I said it.Following a disastrous 2012 campaign which saw the preseason No. 1-ranked Trojans slide to a 7-6 record, losing five of their last six games, Kiffin was on thin ice with USC administration and fans, but I always had a soft spot for the Nebraska-born bruiser.My freshman year, Kiff led the Trojans to a 10-2 record, highlighted by an upset of then-No. 4 Oregon at Autzen Stadium and a 50-0 walloping of UCLA at home to close out the season. The sanctions imposed on USC’s team that year let the Bruins walk away with the Pac-12 South crown, but there was an arrogance among students and alumni alike that made it fun to be a Trojan.Though Kiffin produced results on the field, he was always stiff and not very media-friendly. He couldn’t follow up the pizazz of Pete Carroll, so fans didn’t appreciate him.Outside of that 7-6 mark, Kiffin’s unbelievably uncomfortable and hilarious 30-second press conference might have been the beginning of the end for him. For those of you too young to remember (says the newly-turned 21-year-old), Kiffin decided to stop discussing player injuries with the media during the 2012 season, so when a reporter asked him about someone’s status one September day, he brusquely responded, “I don’t know,” sighed lamentingly, and cut another reporter off by saying, “I gotta go” and ditching the media scrum entirely.Entering 2013, Kiffin’s inability to pick a starting quarterback and his loss to Washington State in the Trojans’ home opener had people calling for his head.Then, as we all remember, Kiffin went down in flames and was fired in unceremonious fashion at LAX after USC’s 62-41 loss to ASU.After all this, Trojan fans love to hate Lane Kiffin.But there might be a place that hates Kiffin even more than people do here: Knoxville, Tennessee.Before coming to USC, Kiffin was the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers (after, of course, being fired four games into his second season as Oakland Raiders head coach). He coached the Vols for the 2009 season, before bolting on Jan. 12, 2010, in what I like to picture as a midnight getaway, clutching his wife and kids tightly as they ran through the forest, hoping to be unseen.Fans were outraged, and apparently still hold a grudge.This weekend, Kiffin, who took his talents to Tuscaloosa after being fired from USC, returns to Knoxville as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. No. 4 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) is taking on unranked Tennessee (3-4, 0-3 SEC) in a 4:30 PT kickoff, which will be broadcast on ESPN2.The storyline was big enough on its own. Then comedian Daniel Tosh weighed in, taking advantage of his striking resemblance to Kiffin to parody him doing a call-in radio show called “Kiffin’s Krimson Korner,” which doesn’t quite turn out well for the character.Kiffin’s own mother added fuel to the fire next, because Kiffin just can’t quite ever get enough bad press.“I’m scared to death for his safety,” said Kiffin’s mother, Robin. “I want him to be in the press box.”The idea of Lane Kiffin hiding up in the press box is one of the funniest things I’ve ever pictured, and it made me wonder how he would be received if he came back to USC for a game.Kiffin did have one successful year at USC. Students and alumni were boastful of the 10-2 record, and even bought weird knockoff “Pac-12 South Champion” T-shirts as a shot at UCLA and the NCAA.In his book, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, former USC president Steven B. Sample asserts that leadership is often situational and that a leader who succeeds at one point in time might not be the right leader at a different time.This is how I see Kiffin’s situation at USC. In his own odd way, his “me against the world” reputation was perfect for the Trojans in 2011. They were facing scholarship sanctions, they weren’t bowl eligible and the whole nation was rooting against them. Kiffin harnessed all of that negative energy and produced results.The next year, the situation was different (as USC was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll) and it appeared that Kiffin was not the right leader at that time. Though some of his ignominious play calls annoyed Trojan fans everywhere, I’m honestly thankful that I’ve had such an entertaining couple of football seasons in my time here at USC.So I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for Lane Kiffin and Alabama this weekend.Roll Tide?last_img read more

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first_imgAlready boasting one of the strongest resumes a hockey coach could ask for, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team’s very own Mark Johnson can now add “Lester Patrick Award recipient” to his list of accolades.The award itself is one of hockey’s most distinguished. In 1966, it was presented to the NHL by the New York Rangers in memory of Lester Patrick. Patrick devoted 50 years of his life to hockey, first as a player, then as a coach and eventually a general manager.“First, it’s a great award,” Johnson said. “They don’t give it out too often. Second, it’s an individual winning it which means you’ve done some things for a long period of time to help our sport grow and help impact a lot of kids lives. When that happens it certainly makes my career as a player and a coach. It puts a smile on my face. It’s very humbling.”The Lester Patrick Award is given to coaches, players, officials or other personnel within hockey for their contributions to the game.Johnson, of course, has made plenty of contributions.He’s been a Badger since the beginning, playing college hockey for his father, “Badger” Bob Johnson. In his three-year career at UW, Johnson scored 125 goals in 125 games, setting a school record that has yet to be broken.Once out of college, Johnson tried out for the US Olympic team. No one expected much from a team of players who had just finished college and were waiting for a bid at the National Hockey League. On Feb. 22, 1980, Johnson scored two goals, each of which tied possibly the most historic game of hockey ever played, ultimately helping his team upset a juggernaut Soviet team.While representing the US through 12 other international tournaments, Johnson also enjoyed an 11-year stint in the NHL from 1979-90, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota North Stars, Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils. Johnson ended his pro career with 508 points, having played a total of 669 games.But he wasn’t quite done with the sport of hockey.After a couple of coaching jobs, Johnson landed the head-coaching job at his alma mater for the then-recently established women’s hockey program. Three years after the UW program began in 1999, Johnson took over. Four years later, he led the team to its first national championship, and then returned four more times in the following five years, claiming the national title three more times.The lone year the Badgers didn’t skate for a chance at the title was the 2009-10 season, when Johnson was on sabbatical coaching the women’s Olympic team. Per usual, his squad found success, bringing home the silver medal.Each year that Wisconsin won a national championship, Johnson was honored as Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year and American Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year. He also received WCHA honors in 2003.Johnson certainly has quite a reputation – one powerful enough to earn the Lester Patrick Trophy.“It means you’ve done some good things over a period of time and obviously give back to the sport that has been very good to me not only as a player, but certainly has been as a coach,” Johnson said. “Growing up with a legend hockey coach as a father, it’s been part of our livelihood for a long, long time. You’re humbled by it and certainly excited by it.”As a fixture of an elite program, Johnson has created one of the most successful teams in recent collegiate history.While the sport itself continually fails to capture the attention of the masses, Johnson has given it the best possibility for survival and appreciation, earning him perpetual respect from the hockey world.Yet when Johnson first received a call about the award, he thought it was a prank.“When I got a message from [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman on my cell phone this summer, I thought somebody was playing a prank on me, so I was sort of hesitant to call his office back in New York, but when I called them back and I was talking to him and he mentions that I’m one of the recipients of the Lester Patrick, it sort of stops you,” Johnson said.While he has been a part of the game his entire life, Johnson is still thankful for the honor. He also isn’t the only Badger getting attention from the NHL. Former head coach Jeff Sauer, who coached UW from 1983-2002, is also listed among this year’s recipients.Sauer and Johnson join an elite group of hockey greats, as players and coaches like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Hobey Baker and “Badger” Bob himself have all also received the award.But Johnson still has more to give to the game. With this prestigious honor in tow, Johnson and the Badgers will drop the puck on another season, chasing another chance at a national championship and another season to help their sport grow and bring more fans into the stands.Kelly is a junior majoring in journalism. What’s one of your favorite Badger hockey moments? Let her know at kerickson@badgerherald.com. Kelly will be one of Herald Sports’ men’s hockey beat writers this season, so be sure to follow her on Twitter @kellyerickson4 for Badgers news all year long.last_img read more

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first_imgValtteri Bottas will continue to drive for the Mercedes Formula One team next season.The Finn has won both the Russian and Austrian Grands Prix since joining the German team from Williams at the start of the year.last_img

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first_img SBC’s Betting on Sports webinar series continues on Wednesday 4 September 2019 with AllSported – Racing Developing 20/20 Vision, an in-depth look at the new trading solution launched by Racing Post, TXODDS and Banach Technologies.The three-way venture has developed a ‘made-to-measure’ trading solution powered by TXODDS data feeds, servicing Banach’s sophisticated trading algorithms, with Racing Post delivering content-led engagements. With this combination of expertise, they hope to disrupt the standardised norms that have governed industry horse racing trading systems.During the webinar the AllSported stakeholders will discuss a number of key issues about the development of and goals for their venture, including why, as sports betting markets increasingly turn to automatised formats, they have backed a ‘made-to-measure solution’ to re-engage customers and bookmaker trading teams with racing markets. Furthermore, should the challenge of repositioning racing as a market proposition simply be diagnosed as a tech endeavour or do incumbents need to dive deeper into addressing knowledge gaps and cultural disparities between bookmakers and racing’s diverse pool of stakeholders? The AllSported Racing Developing 20/20 Vision panel consists of:Mike Griffin – Chief Revenue Officer for Racing PostEinar Knobel – CEO for TXODDSMark Hughes – CEO for Banach TechnologyMike Griffin said: “We are really excited about AllSported, the marketplace is saturated with pricing replication and the requirement to simply offer a service. Through this venture, we will be working closely with our operators to drive new life into their racing offering. The product gives all operators the chance to be unique in their pricing and to offer a best-in-class customer experience through the depth of Racing Post content available.”Andrew McCarron, Managing Director for SBC, said: “Closing out our Betting on Sports build-up, the AllSported joint-venture is one of the industry’s most intriguing projects and much-needed propositions. It’ll be fascinating to see what plans these three racing-tech specialists have to revitalise racing markets and audiences.”Register for AllSported – Racing Developing 20/20 Vision, Wednesday 4 September 4PM GMT The Betting on Sports webinar series is designed to provide stakeholders from across the industry with regular updates about current issues and opportunities, with input from high-level specialists. It is run by SBC, the team behind Betting on Sports, the world’s leading sports betting industry event. Betting on Sports 2019 takes place at Olympia London on September 17-20, with more than 3,500 delegates from operators, affiliates, suppliers, payment providers, regulators and sports clubs set to attend.Previous Betting on Sports webinars are available on demand. Watch ICED(AI) – A Burgeoning Affair: Machine Learning & The Global Sports Betting IndustryWatch Luckbox – Breaking The Esports Betting BarrierWatch Rare Breed – Betting On PoliticsWatch AffiliateINSIDER – Reality 2019: Survival of the Fittest Share Betsson rolls out new Group Affiliates site August 7, 2020 Share Related Articles Spotlight delivers Racing Post translated services for Pari-Engineering Russia August 26, 2020 Submit StumbleUpon Spotlight ups matchday commentary reach and capacity for new EPL Season  August 21, 2020last_img read more

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first_imgGhana international forward Jordan Ayew has joined Premier League side Crystal Palace on a permanent deal after spending last season on loan at the club, from Swansea City.The 27 year old made 25 appearances for Palace last season scoring twice. The former Aston Villa man has signed a three year deal with the club which will keep him at the London club till 2022.“I am very happy [to have returned]. I really enjoyed myself last season,” Ayew said.“I enjoyed the stadium, the fans, the boys – they were really good to me. Everything here was positive and that’s why I decided to continue with Crystal Palace.”Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who was instrumental in bringing Ayew in on loan last season said, “We are delighted to secure Jordan’s services for another three seasons at Crystal Palace.“He has proved himself as a dedicated and hard-working member of the squad, and certainly played his part in the club securing its highest ever Premier League points tally in the last campaign.”Ayew top scored for Ghana’s Black Stars at the just ended AFCON in Egypt with two goals, as Ghana exited at the Round 16 stage at the hands of Tunisia.last_img read more

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first_imgThe solution? Widen the outside edge of the strike zone.“(Retired umpire) John Hirschbeck would call a strike six inches off the plate if the catcher didn’t have to move his glove to catch it,” the player told me. “We knew if he was going to be the umpire, we’d have to go up swinging. Hitters aren’t talking like that now. They don’t have to.”The player requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the owners’ discussions around the topic. Expanding the strike zone, he said, could be among the solutions being considered this week by MLB.To widen the strike zone would undo years of what the league once considered progress. About 20 years ago, MLB adopted electronic pitch-tracking technology to help “grade” umpires’ strike zones. By collecting empirical proof of every umpire’s mistakes, MLB’s ultimate goal was to standardize the strike zone around the rulebook definition.As pitch-tracking technology advanced, television viewers got a better, longer look at each pitch than the umpires. The umpires eventually got better, too. The league achieved its goal. A pitch that was an inch off the outside corner was called a ball – most of the time, at least.This came with an unforeseen consequence. Because hitters didn’t have to protect against the outside strike, most of them discovered they could barrel up any ball that might be in their strike zone. As the retired player told me, now “hitters are going up there with the mindset, ‘go up there and bomb it. I can pull everything. I don’t have to respect the ball off the plate.’”He said he believes that expanding the outside corner would require hitters to react the same way he did: hitting more pitches to the opposite field or at least trying to foul off the outside strike, waiting for a pitch he could barrel up.“Everybody thinks the pitcher’s expanding the zone. They’re not,” the player said. “The umpire expands the zone. Hitters are looking in their hitting zone. They only time they expand the zone is if they get fooled on the pitch or the umpire is making them look outside.”He believes the shrinking strike zone might have led to other unintended consequences.Here’s one: Why are finesse pitchers like Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux a dying breed? They relied on an ability to bend every strike zone to their will, often by causing the umpire to expand his zone horizontally. The strategy worked well enough for each of them to pitch well into their 40s. Glavine and Maddux are in the Hall of Fame.A more rigid strike zone might explain why finesse pitchers are declining, but with so many other variables in play, it would be difficult to prove.The retired player also thinks a wider strike zone could hasten the average time of each game. More strikes, he said, usually means faster games. But baseball has seen other small changes since he retired that could dilute this equation. Manfred might determine that expanding the strike zone is at least worth a shot at solving his time-of-game bugaboo, too.Fortunately, we gain thousands of data points every year to draw firm conclusions about batted balls. We know that the percentage of opposite-field hits declined substantially between 2008 and 2010, then failed to rebound to its early-2000s levels. This, despite the opposite side of the infield being vacant more this decade than last.The strike zone looks like an awfully logical variable. It could be MLB’s next target. If you want to explain how baseball has changed in your lifetime, just look at how hitters have adapted to infield shifts. John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, once wrote that “putting the ball in play was a presumed ability of even the weakest hitter.” That was true of baseball in the mid-1800s, and the presumption lasted long into the modern era.In 2018, roughly 35 percent of plate appearances have ended in a walk, strikeout, or home run. The ball is being put in play less than ever. Fielders have much less work to do. Aesthetically, baseball is simply a different sport than it has been for most of its history, and now defensive shifts are being targeted as the culprit.Manfred recently explained why. The commissioner told The Athletic that “when the shifts started and started to pick up, people said, ‘They’re going to learn to hit the other way. They’re going to bunt.’ We just haven’t seen those changes. It evolved a different way.“Because we have not seen the natural correction, because the trends seem to be persistent,” Manfred continued, “I think we’re at the point in time that we do need to think about and really analyze hard some potential changes.”A couple weeks ago I ran Manfred’s remark past a retired player. He had his own theory why today’s hitters were not simply hitting the other way, or bunting, to beat the shift. The beauty of his theory is that it came with a simple, logical solution – something entirely within MLB’s power to execute. It didn’t involve carving the playing field into artificial “zones” to prevent defensive shifts entirely. When MLB owners convened for their summer meeting on Wednesday, two elements of on-field play topped their list of talking points: infield shifts and pace of play.From the beginning, Commissioner Rob Manfred wasn’t afraid to say he would consider banning shifts. Unlike limiting how often teammates and coaches can visit the pitcher’s mound, this isn’t a solution looking for a problem. It was a tacit acknowledgment of how one small strategy can impact the game. Beyond the occasional ground-ball single, shifts have helped rob baseball of its very nature, and maybe some marquee players too.High-average hitters who once made careers pulling the ball through the infield – Albert Pujols comes to mind – now see their effectiveness hinge on their capacity to hit a home run. Can’t hit the ball where the fielders aren’t standing? Hit it over their heads, the thinking goes. Can’t do either? It’s been argued that the shift ended the career of former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard entirely.Yet shifts aren’t an adapt-or-die proposition. Witness Pujols, who still regularly occupies the middle of the Angels’ lineup. From 2001-10, Pujols batted .331. Since then, as shifts became more popular, his average is .267. Adapt, die, or resemble a ghost of the hitter you once were.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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