Nine debutants will take to the field for Australia at an Open level for the Mixed side in the Trans Tasman Test Series against New Zealand which starts tonight at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex. Despite only six players still in the side following Australia’s 2011 World Cup final defeat over New Zealand, Lovett is confident his team has what it takes to continue Australia’s recent strong record over the Kiwis in the Mixed division. “Most of them are coming out of our Youth program and our Youth program has been quite strong since it was rebuilt after the 2005 Youth World Cup that we lost.”“They are new to Open’s but they’ve played international Touch before and they’ve come from some very good programs in their regional level and even their club based stuff. It’s actually quite a very good balance for me, there are some young players that are coming through, probably the one that is really a debutant is Michael Law. He’s a bit of an excitement machine, he’s super fast, he’s very agile, he reads the game well. He’s going to be a player to watch once he finds his feet at that level,” Lovett said. Lovett started his coaching career close to 20 years ago and in recent times has coached the Australian 20’s Boys at the 2009 Youth Trans Tasman Series as well as being the Australian Women’s Open assistant coach for the 2009 and 2010 Trans Tasman events as well as the 2011 World Cup. Lovett says that it’s been a long pathway to get to where he has, but he can’t wait to take on the Kiwis from Thursday.“I’m pretty excited. Coming from a developing state (Victoria) it’s a massive honour, things are a little bit different when you don’t come from Queensland or New South Wales so you have to get up a little earlier and work a little bit harder to keep up on your skills and the modern trends of the sport because it’s not directly at your back door.”“I think both the roles I’ve had in the past four years have been pretty important, with the Men’s 20’s and the Women’s Open because obviously it’s a crossover between both the girls and guys and stepping into Mixed is a new arena for me.”“The Open’s Women’s was good exposure to the pointy end of the sport, I got to work with some really good athletes in the Women’s program and some coaches who have been around for a long period of time as well in Kerry (Norman) and Dean (Russell). Both of them have helped hone and develop my skills as I’ve come through as well as my other mentors, so it’s been good.”Mixed specialist Manu Wakely is Lovett’s assistant coach for the series, with Wakely’s experience in the Mixed arena both as a player and as a coach to be invaluable for the side. “I’m looking forward to working with Manu Wakely, he’s been a very successful Mixed coach and loves the detail, he pretty much lives and breathes Touch so it’s great to work with Manu and see his passion for the game.”Lovett says he will be looking to the more experienced players in his team, including co-captain’s Kylie Hilder and Rohit Prasad as well as Jamie Chan and Sarah Spacie, to guide the debutants along the way in the Series. Seeing some of his Australian 20’s Boys side from the 2009 Youth Trans Tasman progress into the Mixed Open side will also be an exciting prospect for Lovett, as well as unleashing a few new faces against New Zealand for the first time. “I’m looking forward to building a new team together with the senior playing group and fostering some of the development of some of the 20’s Boys I’ve brought through and exposing some of the new players we have like Peter Watkins, it will be exciting.”“We’ve got a strong side that has a lot of potential, but we’ve got to live up to our potential and deliver on the park. It’s their opportunity now to basically come to the international stage and try to deliver, and some of the young kids, seeing someone like Michael Law getting his opportunity being able to apply his trade at this level and how he takes that into the Youth programs going forward is exciting.”There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with the 2012 Trans Tasman Series, which will be held at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex from Thursday, 26 April to Saturday, 28 April 2012, including in the following ways: Websites: www.austouch.com.au www.transtasman.mytouchfooty.com Facebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia Twitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus (be sure to use the hashtag #transtasman2012 in your tweets) YouTube – www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus
Chelsea boss Sarri: Premier League will miss Mourinhoby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has spoken in detail about Jose Mourinho losing his job at Manchester United.With the Portuguese boss out the door at United, it appears he will not be in the Premier League for some time.And Sarri believes the league will miss a manager of his quality and personality.”I think so,” said Sarri in a press conference when asked if the league will miss Jose.”Mourinho won everything, won everywhere so I like him very much as a coach and as a man. “I think he is right when he said that Manchester has a future without Mourinho, but he has a great future without United. “I would like to see him on the bench as soon as possible. Maybe in England…. not here!” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
Leeds to cut short loan of Tottenham midfielder Jack Clarkeby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeeds United are set to cut short the loan of Tottenham midfielder Jack Clarke.The Sun says the 18-year-old was loaned back to Elland Road after his £10million move to Spurs – but has not made a Championship appearance.And Marcelo Bielsa will have £10,000-a-week off the wage bill and a place in his squad when Clarke’s season-long deal is cut short.Bielsa is set to look for a loan signing to add competition for his first team for the second half of the season as the club battle for promotion. TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Florida’s Jake AllenJake Allen, a 2017 quarterback recruit from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told 247Sports back in April that Florida was his top school, even though he hadn’t yet received an offer to play for the Gators. That changed Wednesday. Allen, who plays for St. Thomas Aquinas, tweeted the news, adding that he’d received his “dream offer.” He’s currently ranked as a three-star signal-caller by Rivals, but other outlets are calling him a four-star player.Blessed to have received my dream offer from The University of Florida! #Gators #ChompChomp pic.twitter.com/8N8Y6VR3h5— Jake Allen™ (@Jakeallen_14) June 10, 2015I couldn’t have done it without my personal QB coach @EricKresser . Been with him since the 6th grade! Love ya coach.— Jake Allen™ (@Jakeallen_14) June 10, 2015Allen currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Iowa, Miami (FL), NC State and Pitt, among others. While he hasn’t officially committed to Florida, it isn’t a stretch to say that things are looking good.
Twitter/@UKCoachCalipariThe NCAA Tournament bracket, which was revealed last night, had a number of questionable inclusions and seedings. While many are focusing on Syracuse being a 10-seed, Tulsa being in the field at all, and the exclusions of popular mid-majors like Monmouth and St. Mary’s, the top of the bracket had some interesting team placements as well. One notable quirk: despite Kentucky beating Texas A&M in the SEC Championship on Sunday, the Aggies received a three seed while UK was bumped to the four line.John Calipari joined ESPN’s Bracketology show on Sunday night and delivered an epic rant about his team’s seed. Today, on his own radio show, he had a new theory.Calipari on selection committee: “They did not want us in Louisville … noooooo.”— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) March 14, 2016Calipari: They did not want us in Louisville. That’s why they stuck us with a 4 seed.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) March 14, 2016Kentucky Sports Radio transcribed the conspiratorial portion of Coach Cal’s show:“I had an idea who would be in our path. Like I said, I thought they’d try to ship us to Anchorage but there’s no regional up there, so they shipped us to Des Moines. (We’re) Playing on Thursday at midnight.” He later added: “They could explain the numbers however they want, they did not want us in Louisville.”We’re not sure we buy it, but Kentucky would have undoubtedly had a crazy home-court advantage in Louisville, so maybe there’s something to it. We’re sure #BBN will have a slight crowd advantage on Thursday night as is, unless there’s a big Stony Brook alumni base in Iowa that we don’t know about.More: Vote In Our “64 Most Annoying People In Sports” Bracket >>>
OTTAWA – Several members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet are singing the praises of conflict-of-interest screens they have been using to avoid controversy — and that members of the previous Conservative government used as well.The screens, along with the use of numbered holding companies to separate ministers from their assets, have been pulled into an intense public debate in recent weeks amid allegations of conflict of interest that have stalked Finance Minister Bill Morneau.Morneau set up one of the screens after entering office in 2015 on a recommendation from the federal ethics commissioner, who told him a blind trust wouldn’t be necessary since his shares in his family’s firm were indirectly held through private companies, and therefore not subject to the Conflict of Interest Act.And he’s not the only one: Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould had a similar arrangement with assets until they were divested in April 2016.Political opponents have been attacking Morneau for choosing a screen rather than a blind trust. For his part, Morneau has maintained that has not been in a conflict of interest. And Morneau’s parliamentary secretary, Joel Lightbound, went on the offensive on his behalf Monday during question period.“What the finance minister has always done and will continue to do, so that he can deliver for Canadians, is to work with the ethics commissioner to make sure that all rules are followed, to follow recommendations,” Lightbound said in response to a question from Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre.Former Tory finance minister Joe Oliver was the sole owner of a corporation that held publicly traded securities, Lightbound noted. And former Conservative cabinet ministers Lisa Raitt and Denis Lebel both made use of conflict-of-interest screens, he added.“What I see is a bit of hypocrisy and a lot of amnesia,” Lightbound said.“At the same time, I can understand why those members are trying to forget their decade in power. Millions of Canadians are trying to forget.”Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson’s office said Monday that fewer than five cabinet ministers currently hold controlled assets indirectly. But it would not share the names nor provide a more-precise number.A government source said later Monday that only two current ministers had a history of controlled assets in a private corporation without setting up a blind trust: Morneau and Wilson-Raybould.Morneau is in the process of divesting and Wilson-Raybould has already divested.Dawson’s office also said some cabinet ministers in the previous Conservative administration — but fewer than five — held controlled assets indirectly.In a series of tweets Monday, Oliver said after his appointment to cabinet he disclosed all his assets, sold all his publicly traded shares and had all decisions on his fund portfolios made by third-party managers.A few of Morneau’s cabinet colleagues also have screens, but for different reasons.Wilson-Raybould and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi are using conflict-of-interest screens to prevent them from participating in matters or decisions related to company holdings involving their spouses.Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc also has a screen to ensure he abstains from participating in decisions related to J.D. Irving Ltd. because of his close friendship with the Irving family.LeBlanc said Monday that Dawson recommended he set up an ethics screen for any cabinet or privy council documents that have anything to do with J.D. Irving Ltd., or its affiliates and subsidiaries.“Under the rules, you shouldn’t be using … your public office to benefit a friend,” LeBlanc said. “From my perspective it’s working very well.”LeBlanc’s screen, in place since early 2016, means he wouldn’t have been privy to cabinet information about shipbuilding contracts or even the Energy East pipeline, both of which have connections to Irving.Sohi said Monday that he has a screen in place to prevent him from participating in decisions that could benefit his wife’s holdings in a company that’s also a partial owner of farmland in Alberta.He argues the screen, which is overseen by his chief of staff, has already proven to be an effective tool.Sohi said because of the screen he’s been him removed from the approval process for an infrastructure project that was proposed by the province. It would be in close proximity to the farmland.“My chief of staff has made sure that I do not participate in any shape or form in the approval of that particular project,” Sohi said.“It will be done by a different minister and it would have to go the Treasury Board to make sure there’s no conflict whatsoever.”Wilson-Raybould’s profile on the ethics commissioner’s website states that she must abstain from decisions or matters related to self-government talks with First Nations and Indigenous communities with the consulting company, KaLoNa Group, in which she holds a significant interest. Her spouse is also the president and controlling interest holder of the firm.The added public scrutiny on the conflict-of-interest issue has been driven by allegations related to pension legislation Morneau introduced in the House of Commons.Opponents allege the pension reform could benefit Morneau Shepell, a human resources and pension management firm he helped build with his father before entering office. Morneau maintains he was never in a conflict of interest.In response to accusations that he’s personally profited from decisions he’s taken as finance minister, Morneau has promised to sell off $21 million worth of shares in his family’s company and place the rest his substantial assets in a blind trust.Morneau has also promised to donate to charity any gains in the value of his Morneau Shepell shares since he was elected two years ago. The gains are estimated to be worth more than $5 million.Dawson recommended the screen for Morneau to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest and maintain the public’s confidence.The issue of indirect holdings in a company have been at the centre of the debate around Morneau.Dawson urged the previous Conservative government in 2013 to amend the law to require blind trusts for personal assets owned by ministers, regardless of whether they were directly or indirectly owned — a change that was never made.
TORONTO – Canadians have been swindled out of than $1.7 million via scams involving cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin so far this year — more than double the amount during all of 2016.The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that’s more than five times the amount people lost to these types of scams in 2015, which was roughly $284,000.As bitcoin becomes more popular with investors, sending the price above US$17,000 mark last week, criminals appear to be increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to extort payment from their victims as well.These new figures come after police in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario warned in recent months to beware of scams involving demands for a transfer of funds using bitcoin.RCMP in Langley, B.C., last month said a woman received a call from what she believed was her husband’s cellphone and someone posing as a police officer, asking for bail to secure her spouse’s release.Police said the woman followed the caller’s instructions and paid them $5,000 in bitcoin, before receiving a call from her husband who was sitting at home and never arrested in the first place.
TORONTO – The number of homes sold in the Toronto region in January was down 22 per cent compared with a year ago, when the area was experiencing a short-term spike in prices that prompted the Ontario government to cool the market last spring.The Toronto Real Estate Board says Greater Toronto Area realtors reported 4,019 home sales for January through the Multiple Listings Service, compared with a record 5,155 sold a year ago.Last month’s average selling price was also down, falling by 4.1 per cent to $736,783 from $768,351 a year ago.“It is not surprising that home prices in some market segments were flat to down in January compared to last year. At this time last year, we were in the midst of a housing price spike driven by exceptionally low inventory in the marketplace,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.On a month-to-month basis, the number of GTA home sales was down 18 per cent from 4,904 in December but the average price improved somewhat from $735,088 in December — which was the second-lowest month in 2017.The number of new listings last month increased to 8,585, up 17.4 per cent from January 2017 but still the second-lowest in a decade for the month of January.The real estate board said Tuesday that it expects several measures taken at the provincial and federal level will have a smaller impact on the market as the year progresses.The Ontario government introduced a set of measures in April of last year aimed at cooling the market. Separately, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions introduced a new financial stress test for buyers that federally regulated lenders must apply as of Jan. 1.The real estate board’s 2018 outlook, released Jan. 30, anticipates the pace of sales will pick up in coming months — a message that was repeated Tuesday with the January report.“It is likely that market conditions will support a return to positive price growth for many home types in the second half of 2018,” Mercer said.“The condominium apartment segment will be the driver of this price growth.”In January, the number of condos sold in the region were down 21.9 per cent from last year but the average price for this housing category was up 14.6 per cent to $507,492.Meanwhile, sales volume and prices for townhouses, semi-detached and fully detached houses were all down.The biggest decline was in the average price of fully detached houses in the surrounding 905 area code, where the average price dropped by 12.0 per cent to $879,048. In the 416 area code, the average fell 3.9 per cent to $1,283,981.
MONTREAL — Shareholders of Aimia Inc. have voted to sell its Aeroplan loyalty program to an Air Canada-led consortium.The $450-million deal will see Air Canada buy Aeroplan for cash and assume $1.9 billion in liabilities to points holders, partially backed by two banks that offer Aeroplan credit cards.Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will pay Air Canada about $1.2 billion in total, on top of an undisclosed payment from Visa Canada Corp. The banks and Visa have agreed to stay with the loyalty program until at least 2030.Air Canada has said Aeroplan members will see their points transferred to a new loyalty program with the airline when its partnership with Aimia expires in 2020.Analysts say the deal will give Air Canada better access to customer data and likely boost margins in the near term. Aimia, a loyalty analytics company, will come away with more than $1 billion in cash, according to Mittleman Brothers, the company’s largest stakeholder at 17.6 per cent.Aimia shareholders formalized their approval in a vote in Montreal on Tuesday morning, following regulatory clearances from Ottawa in November. The deal — reached in principle last August — is expected to close this month. Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:AIM, TSX:TD, TSX:CM)The Canadian Press
“Most importantly I’m standing here by myself saying he’s not welcome here and neither is his pipeline,” George said after Trudeau’s speech concluded.As the prime minister reached the midway point of his address to a crowd of hundreds gathered at the Didar Berry Farm, George began to sing and drum.At one point during George’s demonstration, a woman from the crowd turned around and screamed “shut up” loudly at George.As George’s demonstration intensified the prime minister spoke loudly through the microphone and asked the crowd to applaud the indigenous peoples who had gathered at the farm 25 kilometres south of Vancouver.Earlier in the day, the prime minister marched down Robson Street as a raucous crowd of thousands lined the streets for the annual Pride Parade and spoke at a breakfast in Vancouver’s Davie Village hosted by PFLAG Canada.The prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to reporters briefly before joining the parade and said that though there has been a lot of progress made for the LGBTQ community over the past two years, there was still much more to do. DELTA, B.C. – Drum beats and chanting followed Justin Trudeau to Delta, B.C., on Sunday, as anti-pipeline protesters attempted to disrupt the prime minister’s speech at a Liberal Party of Canada community barbecue.Like several other stops on the prime minister’s long weekend trip to B.C., the protesters appeared at a planned appearance by Trudeau with signs and placards denouncing the Trans Mountain pipeline.Tsleil-Waututh activist William George said he was excited to get access to the event and a chance to voice his opposition to the pipeline directly to the prime minister. Fifteen-year-old Layla Spies, adorned with two rainbow flags tucked into her hair, a rainbow neckband and strings of coloured beads draped around her neck, said she was excited to see Trudeau walk past her and her mother.Great time last night at the Richmond Night Market – it’s opened all weekend long to celebrate BC Day so be sure to stop by if you are in the area! For more information, check out their website: https://t.co/S6fQ8EYm12 pic.twitter.com/jTJTRKVJBS— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) August 5, 2018Spies said she thought it was a great sign for progress that the highest member of the Canadian government supports pride, noting that many places in the world do not tolerate homosexuality.“It just shows a lot about how far we’ve come, and a bit about how far we still need to go.”Trudeau told the audience gathered at the Junction Pub for breakfast that while many places in the world could do with more tolerance, Canada should move beyond simply tolerating the differences in its communities and choose to love them.“No religion in the world says ‘Tolerate thy neighbour,’ it’s love them, accept them, befriend them,” said Trudeau in front of a rainbow-coloured curtain.Trudeau was flanked onstage by longtime Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry and PFLAG Canada’s Vancouver chapter president Colin McKenna.Trudeau commended McKenna and the work PFLAG Canada does across the nation, saying their message of openness, respect, and compassion can impact society in a way the government cannot.“When you talk about social change, change in families and communities, we need more than just a government saying what you should be doing,” he said.The prime minister is expected to be in Penticton, B.C., for the B.C. Day Picnic at Gyro Park on Monday.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) “ It’s really important to continue to march in pride. We know that far too many homeless youths are from the LGBT community, we know the rates of teenage suicide is four times as much as in other communities, and eight times as much where the kids don’t have supportive parents,” said the prime minister.Danny Romandan was marching with the float ahead of Trudeau, and said he was in awe that the prime minister would walk in the parade at all, let alone with him.He added coming to Canada had allowed him to truly be himself.“Here I find the prime minister of Canada is marching with me and it’s amazing, and beautiful, and means so much,” said a beaming Romandan before returning to his megaphone and rousing the crowd.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Annual Ranking of B.C. Elementary Schools was released by the Fraser Institute.This tool is an easy way for parents to compare the academic performance of the province’s schools. The report card ranks 955 public and independent elementary schools based on 10 academic indicators derived from the provincewide Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) results.“The report card offers parents information they can’t easily get anywhere else, about how their child’s school performs over time and compares to other schools in B.C.,” said Angela MacLeod, a senior policy analyst at the Fraser Institute. These are the rankings for schools in the North and South Peace Region; 43/955 – JS Clark, Fort. Nelson 43/955 – Hudson’s Hope, Hudson’s Hope 95/955 – C.M. Finch, FSJ 95/955 – Clearview. FSJ 106/955 – Bert Ambrose, FSJ 129/955 – Upper Pine, Rose Prairie 134/955 – Alwin Hollan, FSJ 195/955 – Baldonnel, Baldonnel 261/955 – Crescent Park, DC 261/955 – Pouce Coupe, Pouce Coupe 285/955 – Little Prairie, Chetwynd 285/955 – Taylor, Taylor 311/955 – Robert Ogilvie, FSJ 311/955 – Notre Dame, DC 333/955 – Tumbler Ridge, Tumbler Ridge 353/955 – Christian Life, FSJ 452/955 – Charlie Lake, Charlie Lake 452/955 – Central Arts, FSJ 452/955 – Canalta, DC 512/955 – Prespatou, Prespatou 655/955 – Frank Ross, DC 694/ 955 – Don Titus, Chetwynd 771/955 – Duncan Cran, FSJ 789/955 – Tremblay, DC 825/955 – Windrem, Chetwynd 862/955 – Peace Christian, ChetwyndThe Fraser Institute shares the data suggests every school is capable of improvement regardless of type, location and student characteristics.The example provided by the ranking, ‘Armstrong Elementary in the city of Armstrong is the province’s fastest-improving school, climbing from a score of 1.9 (out of 10) in 2014 to 6.1 in 2018. And Armstrong’s Grade 4 students showed significant improvement in reading, writing and math.’ and over the same time period, Maria Montessori in Victoria improved from 7.3 to 9.5—despite having a 20.1 percent special needs population.“We often hear excuses in B.C. that schools can’t improve student performance because of the communities and students they serve, but the evidence suggests otherwise,” MacLeod said.For the complete results on all ranked schools and to compare; CLICK HERE
EDMONTON A.B. – Voters are heading to the polls in the Alberta election today and advance turnouts suggest it could be busy at the ballot boxes.Almost 700,000 people voted early in malls, airports, recreation centres, public buildings and even an Ikea store. That was well ahead of the 235,000 who came out early in the 2015 election that saw Rachel Notley’s NDP deliver a surprise knockout blow to the 44-year run of the Progressive Conservatives.This time around, the Progressive Conservatives are no more. On the political fringes are the Alberta Party and the Liberals, each of which elected one candidate to the legislature in 2015.The Alberta Party, led by former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, is running a full slate of candidates. It’s promising to be the safe centrist middle ground by combining the economic conservatism of the UCP with the social progressivism of the NDP.The Liberals, led by lawyer David Khan, are running on a similar platform with one significant exception, a provincial sales tax.History will be made no matter what.Notley will either be the first Alberta NDP premier to win re-election or the first leader in the province to fail to win a renewed mandate on the first try.Since its creation in 1905, Alberta has elected multi-term dynasties: the Liberals (1905-1921), the United Farmers of Alberta (1921-1935), the Social Credit (1935-1971) and the Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015. The PCs merged with another right-centre party, the Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives under former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney.The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta’s fragile economy, which has been struggling for several years with sluggish oil prices and unemployment levels above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.Kenney has argued that Notley’s government has made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more regulations and increases in minimum wage.Notley, in turn, has said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and pursue more private-care options in health care will have a profound impact on students in the classroom and on patients waiting for care.The campaign also featured Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Notley said her success working with Trudeau or picking her fights with him as necessary is what led to progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast. She expects construction to begin this year. She said Kenney’s promise to challenge Trudeau in court on everything from the federal carbon tax to proposed energy industry rule changes is cynical, self-defeating shadow-boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.Kenney has campaigned on the “Trudeau-Notley alliance” that he says has turned Alberta into a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry foes with no more than a faint and as yet unrealized promise of one pipeline expansion to the coast.Notley has also tried to make Kenney’s character an issue. A number of his candidates have either quit or apologized for past comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.Kenney has called the attacks a “fear-and-smear” red herring to distract from the NDP’s economic track record of multibillion-dollar budget deficits and soaring debt.
New Delhi: The HRD Ministry on Thursday appointed vice chancellors to three universities after the Election Commission gave its nod as the Model Code of Conduct is in place due to the Lok Sabha elections.The three universities are Jamia Millia Islamia, Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari and Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha. “Najma Akhtar has been appointed as the VC of Jamia while names of Sanjiv Sharma and Rajaneesh Kumar Shukla have been approved for the top post at Motihari Central university and Wardha’s Mahatma Gandhi varsity,” a senior HRD ministry official said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’While no appointments are allowed during this period, the HRD Ministry had approached the Election Commission seeking its nod arguing that the selection process was complete before the model code came into place. The top posts at Jamia and Motihari varsity fell vacant after their VCs came come under HRD’s scanner over allegations of financial and administrative irregularities and forging the academic credentials respectively. Akhar, who is the first woman to be appointed to the Vice Chancellor’s post at Jamia Millia Islamia, succeeds Talat Ahmad who had resigned from the post last year to join as the head of Kashmir University. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KWhile the President had ordered a visitorial enquiry against Ahmad on HRD Ministry’s advice, it was closed after the probe failed to find substance in the allegations against him. Sharma, who was a former Head of Department at Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut, succeeds Arvind Kumar Agarwal, who resigned in October last year from the post of the VC of the Bihar-based central university over allegations of fudging his academic credentials. The HRD Ministry had forwarded his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind, Visitor to the university, who had paved way for his exit. He then joined his parent department in the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala. The ministry had received complaints that Agarwal lied about his education in a foreign institute to get the job. He did not pursue his Ph.D at a German institute as claimed, and actually got the degree from the University of Rajasthan, the complaint had said. Shukla is a Member Secretary of Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
For most of the first period at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the newly renovated scoreboard above center ice displayed only the time remaining and a 0-0 score — not shots on goal, face-off percentage or the other data that it normally tracks.I thought this might be a ploy by New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. In Games 1 and 2 of the series — both comeback wins by the Los Angeles Kings — the Kings’ peripheral stats were more impressive than the Rangers’ (the Kings led the Rangers 87-65 in shots on goal, for example). Indeed, Los Angeles has a well-deserved reputation as a stat-savvy team that focuses on metrics related to puck possession and scoring opportunities, which can better predict game results than goals scored and allowed.No #fancystats for you, LA Kings! No moral victory on the strength of Zone Start Adjusted Corsi! You’ll have to win this hockey game the old-fashioned way: by scoring more goals than the other team!The stats clicked back on to the MSG scoreboard late in the first period. Soon after, the Kings scored, and they went on to beat the Rangers 3-0.But it was the Rangers who had more scoring opportunities. They had 32 shots on goal, compared with 15 for LA. Counting missed shots and blocked shots, their edge was 59-33.It can be tempting, if you have a passing familiarity with advanced hockey metrics, to take solace when outcomes like these occur or to curse your favorite team’s bad luck. How often does a team lose despite outshooting its opponent by a 2-1 margin, for instance?Actually, teams lose often. In playoff games since 1988, teams that took about two-thirds of the shots in a game (somewhere between 65 and 70 percent) won only 62 percent of the time. The chart below generalizes this data based on logistic regression and estimates how often teams win a game based on the number of shots they take.Much of this is simply a reflection of the fact that goals scored and allowed are a noisy statistic. A lucky deflection or two for the Kings, a great save or two by Jonathan Quick, and all those extra shots often go for naught.But another reason is that play changes once a team finds itself trailing. The shot count was even at 4-4 when the Kings scored with one second left in the first period. The Rangers piled on shots only once they trailed.The chart below shows how often a team shoots based on the game score. The data is based on playoff games since 2012. It includes blocked shots and missed shots, as well as shots on goal (these are called Corsi events in #fancystats terms) in 5-on-5 play.Teams down by one goal are shooting about 25 percent more often than their opponents at even strength. Teams down by two or more goals are shooting about 40 percent more often.Are those extra shots translating into goals? Actually, yes. In cases when it trails by two goals or more, a team scores about 2.4 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength, compared with 1.8 goals for the leading team.So, at least in the playoffs, there’s been some tendency for the trailing team to recover (despite that it should be the slightly weaker team on average for having fallen behind). It’s like a mild version of the CPU Assistance that allowed the computer to make spectacular comebacks in games such as NBA Jam just when you thought you had everything wrapped up.It isn’t clear whether this represents rational behavior on the part of the leading team. It would be one thing if it were stalling just to get the game over with, reducing shots and scoring for both teams. But it’s actually allowing its opponents more shots and more goals — at the same time it’s taking fewer of its own.One possible explanation is the avoidance of penalties (to the extent they can be averted through more passive play). In playoff games since 2012, teams are scoring 6.3 goals per 60 minutes on the power play — nearly three times their rate at even strength. Shorthanded teams score 0.8 shorthanded goals per 60 minutes. Those long-term averages didn’t help the Rangers on Monday night, who went scoreless in six power play opportunities.
Maryland and South Carolina have really good women’s basketball teams — two of the four best in the country. But Connecticut and Notre Dame, their respective Final Four opponents on Sunday in Tampa, are a cut above. They’re ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country by the AP, the coaches and the tournament selection committee. They’re the favorites to reach Tuesday’s final in our March Madness predictions and in Vegas. They played each other in last year’s final. And, best of all, they have a rich history — one that isn’t as one-sided as UConn’s recent dominance suggests.Notre Dame has dealt UConn seven of its 18 losses since the start of 2007. In other words, 39 percent of the time UConn has lost in the last eight-plus years, it’s been against Notre Dame.If UConn and Notre Dame play each other in the final, it’d be their 21st meeting since the start of 2007 — the latest ESPN Stats & Info data available. They played 12 regular-season games (11 back when both were in the Big East), plus three Big East conference finals and one semifinal. They’ve also met four times in the last eight Final Fours, with two wins apiece. A Tuesday meeting would be the rubber match.Maryland and South Carolina have been good, but they simply haven’t been as dominant. UConn has won 94.6 percent of its games since the start of 2007, by far the best in the sport. Notre Dame ranks fifth, at 84.1 percent. (Stanford, Green Bay and Baylor are second, third and fourth.) Maryland is 11th, at 80.6 percent. And South Carolina is 53rd, at 64.3 percent. But South Carolina’s and Maryland’s relative inconsistency, coupled with UConn’s and Notre Dame’s late, lamented conference rivalry, means they have a much thinner record against the rest of the Final Four.So let’s look more closely at the UConn-Notre Dame rivalry. UConn has won 13 of their last 20 matchups, or 65 percent. That’s as close as UConn gets these days to a balanced rivalry — it’s the lowest winning percentage UConn has against any team it has played more than five times since the start of 2007. Every team but one that has played UConn at least once in that time has a losing record against the Huskies. (The one exception is longtime rival Tennessee, which won their only recent meeting.) More than 90 percent of UConn opponents haven’t beaten the Huskies even once, including four teams that have played them at least 10 times.Also notable, for a team that has regularly all but clinched its games by halftime, UConn has beaten Notre Dame by an average of less than eight points per game in their 20 meetings. That’s the closest average margin for any UConn opponent that has played the Huskies more than five times since 2007.UConn, meanwhile, is responsible for a big chunk of Notre Dame’s losses since the start of 2007: 13 of 49, or 27 percent. UConn is the only team Notre Dame has played in more than six games in that period that has a winning record against the Fighting Irish.Notre Dame’s recent wins against UConn all came in an astonishingly short spell: The Fighting Irish won seven of eight meetings over a stretch that started with Notre Dame’s upset of UConn in the 2011 Final Four. Notre Dame star Jewell Loyd, a junior and the team’s leading scorer, is the only current player who was a major contributor for the Fighting Irish when they last beat UConn.It’s not the most heated or longstanding rivalry. Before the teams played in December — in a game UConn won by 18 points — espnW’s Graham Hays pointed out that it doesn’t have the rich character and tension of UConn-Tennessee. Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw, asked before the game about her relationship with Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, made it sound like the two were friendly acquaintances in the corporate world. “Geno and I are terrific,” McGraw said. “We saw each other this summer. We’ve got no issues, no problems. Just business as usual for both of us.”If it’s business as usual for both teams on Sunday, we’ll see them renew their acquaintance in the final on Tuesday in Tampa, in the latest edition of the closest thing to a rivalry that Auriemma’s dominant UConn team has these days.
As a tri-captain on the softball team, it’s no wonder why Courtney Pruner refers to herself as “the enforcer.”“She’s a standout player, so it’s always great when your captains are your best players and/or your hardest workers,” coach Linda Kalafatis said. “She gets some due respect because of the things she does that enables us to win.”Pruner has a .318 batting average and a slugging percentage of .598. She has 37 RBIs, despite a hip surgery in December 2007 that caused her to miss her entire sophomore season.“I looked at it like, I’m not going to play softball for 15 years of my life to miss one of my last years,” Pruner said. “All my life I’ve wanted to play four years of Division I college softball. It’s not in my nature to not come back, even though the hip pain was rough and the rehab was rough.”“But I knew if I wanted to play this last year I’d have to work hard at rehab.”A redshirt senior, Pruner is primarily OSU’s designated hitter. She has 10 home runs this season and 36 in her career.Pruner received Big Ten Player of the Week earlier this season in April after going 6-for-7 against the Illinois Fighting Illini. This was the first conference award of her career.“It’s a huge honor because the Big Ten is such a tough conference and there’s so many amazing players,” Pruner said.Although Pruner has pitched for the Buckeyes and played infield and outfield, her field time is limited.“Because of my hips, it’s just way too painful,” Pruner said.Kalafatis said, “The kids really admire Courtney’s ability to fight through pain and all the things she’s been through. She’s shown some great maturity and leadership in that respect.”That leadership is exactly why Pruner is captain.“It’s nice to be respected by your teammates,” Pruner said.
OSU junior guard Ameryst Alston goes for a 2-point shot while VCU freshman guard #13 Brittani Burgess and sophomore guard #14 Adaeze Alaeze try to intercede in the first half of the OSU Women’s basketball game against VCU November 23, 2014. OSU went on to win 96-86.With the Big Ten season around the corner, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is set to end its non-conference season on a high note against No. 22 West Virginia.The Buckeyes (7-4) and Mountaineers (9-1) are set to complete a home-and-home series dating back to last season, in which the Buckeyes won in Morgantown, W.Va., 70-61. Following that game, the Mountaineers would go on to win 17 of their next 18 games.Sophomore forward Shayla Cooper said she hopes to make a big impact in her first game for the Buckeyes.“I’m looking to bring a lot of energy, a lot more rebounding,” Cooper said.Cooper, a transfer from Georgetown, had to sit out until the end of fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules. In the two games she played for the Hoyas in 2013, she totaled 32 points and 17 rebounds.She spoke highly of her own defense, which will likely be needed against a deep Mountaineer frontcourt.“I’m more like the muscle of the team,” Cooper said. “I’m the one that’s going to get those rebounds, like when we played Pitt and we needed that one rebound.”The Mountaineers frontcourt starts with 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore center Lanay Montgomery, who has totaled 66 rebounds in 10 starts this season.OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he was glad to have Cooper as an eligible player on the team.“It’s good to have her now,” McGuff said. “It’s good to have another body.”At 6-foot-2, Cooper provides depth, especially since the Buckeyes starting lineup is currently comprised of four guards and only one forward.One of those guards, junior Ameryst Alston, is looking forward to playing with Cooper for the first time.“Definitely, really excited to have her back,” Alston said. “I’m really looking forward to playing with her finally, like in an actual game.”Alston said that Cooper’s presence is also important both offensively and defensively.“She’s definitely going to bring energy, for sure,” she said. “She’s such a physical player, so that’s definitely something that we need, as far as rebounding.”In addition to Cooper’s eligibility, freshman forward Alexa Hart was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, her first weekly award. Alston was also named to the Big Ten Honor Roll.With a win, the Buckeyes would be on a four-game winning streak heading into conference play. That would be the longest of the season and would be a tie for the longest in the past two seasons under McGuff.The game against the Mountaineers is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start on Monday at the Schottenstein Center.
Urban Meyer watches a Buckeye offensive possession from the sideline in the third quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 24-55. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State will not win a national championship this season. It will not even reach the College Football Playoff.The Buckeyes’ second loss of the season, a 55-24 blowout to Iowa Saturday, made sure of that.As far as many Ohio State fans are concerned, the 2017 campaign is effectively over. Quarterback J.T. Barrett’s Buckeye career will end in a meaningless bowl game, and the rest of the team will begin to look to next season.So what’s next for Ohio State?Head coach Urban Meyer said Monday that keeping the Buckeyes motivated with few remaining game in their schedule is something he has not considered too much.“That’s something we work on not today, that’s something we’ve been working on all year,” Meyer said. “And you try to get a close team that cares about each other and plays really hard. It’s not going to be some speech I give to the team. So it’s a process. It’s a journey that we’re on. And there’s still plenty of things, great things ahead.”Though players and coaches will say the Big Ten is still theirs to take — and they’re not wrong — that is not what Ohio State sought to accomplish when it began the year. Players, coaches, media and fans all set the expectation level for the Buckeyes to win a championship. Despite the fact Meyer has won just one Big Ten title in his six-year tenure at Ohio State, winning the Big Ten is tertiary to reaching the playoffs and winning a title. If Ohio State wins the remainder of its three regular season games — against Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan — then it will travel to Indianapolis to presumably square off against the Wisconsin Badgers, who are one win from clinching the Big Ten West title.For Meyer, the matchup against Michigan State is as far as he is looking ahead. Just as it has for a large part of Meyer’s career in Columbus, the road to the Big Ten title game runs through that matchup.“You still look at the standings and Ohio State and Michigan State are [first and second] in the Big Ten East,” Meyer said. “And everybody knows this game for the last, what’s our sixth year of playing them or something, usually it’s just a prizefight. So the tougher team usually wins. And we’ve got to understand what we’re going to play against.”Even if Ohio State runs the table and captures Meyer’s second Big Ten championship, this season is lost for many.And this year defines the end of an era. The core group of players that led Ohio State to a national championship, two playoff appearances, a Big Ten title and another bowl game win will exit Ohio Stadium for the final time against Illinois, leaving the Buckeyes with a plethora of position battles heading into the next season. With so many potentially drastic changes coming to Ohio State’s roster and the struggles this veteran team has faced thus far this season, it is fair to wonder whether Ohio State will be back in the mix next season. How will the team fare with a new quarterback under center and an offensive line replacing its two top linemen protecting him? What about a defensive line that could potentially lose four starters?Those asking the questions might not want to admit it, but next season could prove less fruitful than this campaign. It is going to be a young team replacing key contributors all over the field, and a learning curve will await. Those disappointed by the results in 2017 could be disappointed by 2018. Perhaps the difference in expectation levels will lessen the blow of a down year for the Buckeyes. Knowing that the team is younger could make a title-less season easier to stomach.The Buckeyes entered the 2017 season as the favorite to win the Big Ten and among those listed as most likely to win the national championship. That they will not achieve the latter is a devastating blow and the former would be only a mere consolation prize. Though it is still early, the Buckeyes do not appear to be in a position to be named the early favorite to win the Big Ten or national championship next year.To many outside the program, the season is over. To those inside the program, the season is still alive and well. There will be no talk of the 2018 season until the clock in that meaningless bowl game ticks down to zero.“Where is the program headed?” Meyer asked. “That’s kind of deep. We’re playing Michigan State this week. We gotta really practice well and fix the turnover issue on offense and play a little better on defense. Kicking was much better.”
England manager Gareth Southgate had his right shoulder dislocated while running on Wednesday.The squad had a scheduled day off from training and Southgate suffered the injury near England’s base in Repino. This is coming after Southgate celebrated acrobatically after Harry Kane sealed a 2-1 win over Tunisia in England’s opening World Cup game on Monday.“The doc has made it clear that punching the air is not an option,” said Southgate via BBC.“I might not be celebrating any goals as athletically in future,” he added.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.Southgate, who is wearing a sling, was treated at a nearby hospital with the assistance of team doctor Rob Chakraverty.Southgate won the League Cup with both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and captained Crystal Palace to win the First Division championship in 1993–94. He also played in the 2000 FA Cup Final for Villa and the 2006 UEFA Cup Final for Middlesbrough.Southgate made 57 appearances for the England national team between 1995 and 2004, featuring in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and both the 1996 and 2000 European Championships. His playing career ended in May 2006 at the age of 35, and after more than 500 league appearances.He served as manager of Middlesbrough from June 2006 until October 2009, then managed the England U21 team from 2013 to 2016, before becoming the England national team manager in 2016.
Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt described Eden Hazard as “out of this world” after squaring up against the Belgium star in a friendly on Tuesday.The Dutch side settled for a 1-1 draw with Belgium in Brussels after Arnaut Groeneveld cancelled out Dries Mertens’ opener in the first half.The highly-rated De Ligt, 19, featured in the first half like Hazard and was impressed by the Chelsea attacker.“I obviously knew about the size of [Romelu] Lukaku,” the Ajax defender told FourFourTwo.“And Hazard is truly out of this world. It’s been some night for me.”Van Dijk isn’t better than Messi & Ronaldo, says Van der Vaart Andrew Smyth – September 12, 2019 Rafael van der Vaart reckons Virgil van Dijk is “special”, but he’s still behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best players.The teenager enjoyed the opportunity to face some of the world’s best, saying: “It was fantastic.“You start playing football for games like these. Strikers like Lukaku, wingers like Hazard, it’s great to face them on the pitch.”De Ligt has made 11 international appearances but dismissed suggestions he was already a certain starter for the Netherlands.“I wouldn’t say irreplaceable, but I have played many games recently,” he said.“That was one of my goals, but to be irreplaceable, you have to play really consistently over a longer period of time.”