first_imgIt was an encouraging performance for a player who It was an encouraging performance for a player who arrived in New York off a third-round exit at Wimbledon and a first-round exit at the Rio Olympics. Although he won the Toronto Masters, he pulled out of Cincinnati with a left wrist injury. “I thought that I came out with the right intensity,” Djokovic said. “The quality of my game and level of performance has risen in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four. I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As the tournament progresses, I feel like Im getting better.” In Monfils, 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will face a player whose only prior semi-final run at a major came back in 2008 at the French Open. Monfils was in control throughout against the 22-year-old Pouille, who was coming off an epic fifth-set tiebreaker win over 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal. That marked the 24th-seeded Pouilles third straight five-setter. Whether it was a let-down after the biggest win of his career or sheer fatigue, his 44 unforced errors meant he never stood a chance against a dialed-in Monfils. “Of course I was a bit tired today,” Pouille said. “It would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. Gael was playing very good. He was better than me today.” Dictating from the baseline, Monfils took charge with seven of his 13 aces in the opening set, gaining the only break he needed in the seventh game. Pouille conceded a break with a stream of errors to fall 1-2 down in the second, and a break of more than 15 minutes to close the new Arthur Ashe stadium roof, with Monfils up 4-3, did nothing to change the momentum. After holding with back-to-back aces, Monfils broke the error-prone Pouille at love to take the set. “I was lucky because I had a break so it was easy in my mind,” Monfils said of coping with the delay. “I just felt so good (and) it was going to be even better because it was going to be indoors. I just kept going with my game plan.” One break was all he needed in the third, as he wrapped up the match without facing a break point. The remaining quarter-finals take place on Wednesday with Wimbledon and Olympic champion Andy Murray of Britain facing sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and third-seeded Stan Wawrkina of Switzerland facing Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion whose career was nearly derailed by a series of wrist injuries. AFP KHS KHSadvertisementlast_img read more

New Delhi: Awards function in LG House (B+A)

first_imgMumbai: Mumbai Indians partners with Diesel (A+B) Jammu : Ram Madhav in Jammu (B) Balurghat/Amritsar: Cashless transaction (B) Araria: Nitish Kumar at Nischaya Yatra (B) Kolkata: People withdraw cash (A) Guwahati: Tribute to J Jayalalithaa (A) INTERNATIONAL Quezon: President Rodrigo Duterte and newarmed forces chief Lt.Gen. Eduardo Ano during change-of-command ceremony (A) BERN: Doris Leuthard, newly electedSwiss Federal President, speaks (A) Kibi: Presidential and parliamentary election (A) Essen: Angela Merkel votes at the generalparty conference of CDU (B) Moscow: President Putin congratulatesnewly appointed senior military staff (A) Mosul: House damaged by Islamic State fighters (B) SPORTS Mumbai: England team practice session (B+A) Mumbai: MCC press conference (B) Bengaluru: IBSF World Billiards Championship (B) PTI PHOTO HS GSVlast_img read more

Australian rugby union players negotiate pay rise in dark time for code

first_imgDeparting Rugby Australia chief-executive Bill Pulver has made life a little easier for his successor Raelene Castle by negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Rugby Union Players’ Association.But that same agreement may end up making life hard for Castle when she comes to re-negotiate the CBA, which expires at the end of the current broadcast agreement in 2020. Castle will inherit a peaceful and harmonious industrial relations environment when she starts in the job next week, after Pulver and RUPA chief-executive Ross Xenos negotiated the new CBA, but dark clouds are on the horizon.One of the main features of the new CBA is the increase of the Super Rugby salary cap from $5m to $5.5m in 2019 and 2020, representing a potential 10 per cent pay rise on average for players, while there is no limit to the cap this year as part of the transition from five teams to four.There are very few player unions able to negotiate pay increases for players when their sport is suffering declines in television ratings and attendances.But this new CBA was negotiated in very unusual circumstances, the back-drop being the axing of the Western Force by Rugby Australia last September.Rugby Australia is seemingly using some of the Force’s former $5m grant to pay for certain aspects of the CBA, including new Super Rugby minimum terms and conditions, pay equality for men’s and women’s sevens players and first-time Test match payments for the Australian women’s team, the Wallaroos, all covered by the CBA for the first time.Along with the lift in the salary cap, the new CBA also allows Super Rugby teams to increase their squad numbers, ostensibly to absorb Force players, most of whom have headed to the Melbourne Rebels.The previous 30 (minimum) to 35 (maximum) Super Rugby player squads have been increased to a minimum of 36 players to a maximum of 40, something coaches will appreciate. comment Read more Rugby union Super Rugby Topics New rugby union CBA introduces pay parity for women and Super Rugby changes While this means there will be potentially 15 less players in Super Rugby this year, a possible drop from 175 to 160, it will at least create an opportunity for some players who may otherwise have been left jobless following the Force’s demise.Indications are, however, that most of the remaining Super Rugby teams will not contract the maximum 40 players or spend up big under the increased salary cap in an effort to impose self-discipline in uncertain financial times.You do not often see sporting teams exercise such self-control – if indeed it lasts – but it is indicative of a harsh commercial landscape.Yet, in spite of the harsh realities that beset Australian rugby, RUPA has managed to pull off a major negotiating coup, maintaining an economic model where players receive a generous 29 per cent of revenue generated by the professional game. As long as the definition of “player generated revenue” has not changed, keeping the 29 per cent figure – among industry leaders in Australian sport – is the biggest victory for RUPA in the deal. The big question is whether the new CBA is sustainable. No doubt this is the reason the deal, a short-term fix, will only operate for the remainder of the current broadcast agreement.Who knows what will happen after that? There is speculation that SANZAAR will break up, with more South African Super Rugby teams following the Cheetahs and the Kings to Europe, while Australia and New Zealandwill create a trans-tasman competition.The best thing about the new CBA is that it avoided the kind of industrial disputation which plagued cricket, but the real hard bargaining will come over the next three years when the broadcast deal and the CBA are re-negotiated at the same time in what could be unchartered territory.That is when Raelene Castle will find out whether her predecessor left her with a gift or not. Reuse this content Support The Guardian Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Share on Pinterest Read more Share via Email Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… Share on Messenger … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Australia sport Share on Twitterlast_img read more

This Map Will Take You on the Same Road Trip in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’

first_img You Can Sleep in Hunter S. Thompson’s Colorado Cabin This Coastal Airstream Road Trip Has Us California Day Dreamin’ Gonzo fans can now recreate the psychedelic road trip from Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (Mescaline, high-powered blotter acid, and cocaine saltshaker not included.)Archive Photos/Getty, owned by Expedia, has mapped the coordinates from this iconic 1970s book, with 10 pit stops from Los Angeles to Las Vegas that include the Pioneer Saloon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Flamingo, and Circus Circus Hotel. No, you can’t stop in bat country.The total trip can take 6.5 hours crossing 346 mils. Here is the map. Editors’ Recommendations Sprint Through Airport Security With These TSA-Approved Men’s Grooming Kits Thompson took this route before Fear and Loathing was written, as the book was inspired by the travel involved during two magazine assignments from Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated. Thompson and his attorney, the Chicano activist Oscar Zeta Acosta, traveled from L.A. to Sin City during March and April of 1971 to cover the killing of Mexican-American TV journalist Rubén Salazar and the annual Mint 400 desert race. Sound familiar?Fear and Loathing is rooted in autobiographical incidents, tracking the story of journalist Raoul Duke and attorney Dr. Gonzo as they travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on assignment. Duke’s intent to work becomes overshadowed by an intent to trip balls in the City of Lights. Does he still get his work done? Yes, he does. Thompson himself was notorious for working under the same boozy and drug-hazed circumstances.In Fear and Loathing, Duke’s odyssey to chase the American Dream reveals the failures of the 1960s countercultural movement. However, a recreation of this road trip does not need to be as culturally charged for you and your travel companion. All we suggest is traveling with the Thompson mantra: “too weird to live, too rare to die.” And in true Gonzo journalism fashion, blur the line between reality and imagination, because road trips have the power to reveal pieces of ourselves we never knew were there.“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas.”I’ll leave you with this motivational speech to pack up the car and ditch town:“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”Make your Fear and Loathing road trip extra savage by renting a red 1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible and don your favorite yellow aviators, visor, and party also created maps for On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Cruise of the Rolling Junk by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and other literary staples that explore Americana touring. The Best Podcasts to Listen to On Your Commute Hang Like the Rat Pack at These Old School Vegas Steakhouses last_img read more

Goa CM asks escort vehicle personnel to help clear traffic jam

first_imgPanaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday asked his escort vehicle personnel to help clear the traffic jam on a road connecting North Goa district to Panaji where his own convoy was briefly stuck. Sawant, who was on way to Panaji, left behind one of his two escort vehicles with an instruction to the personnel to leave the spot only after the road blockade was cleared. He was travelling from his residence at Sankhalim village in North Goa to the state capital when he got stuck in the traffic jam around 9.30 am, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The entire road was blocked due to an accident involving a huge truck-trolley near Old Goa, leaving several office-goers stranded. “The chief minister asked the personnel of his escort vehicle to help the traffic police clear the road blockade. He also left behind one of his vehicles with instructions to the personnel not to leave the place till normal vehicular movement was restored,” an official in the CMO said. The traffic congestion eased after almost half-an-hour following which the escort vehicle joined the chief minister’s entourage in Panaji.last_img read more

Feds to temporarily halt collection of Phoenix overpayments from civil servants

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government will no longer try to recover money overpaid to its employees until all of their outstanding pay issues have been resolved, officials confirmed Tuesday.Under an agreement reached with civil service unions last weekend, collection of overpayments or emergency salary advances will be halted until employees’ individual pay disputes have been resolved — and their paycheques are correct for at least six weeks.However, the Treasury Board Secretariat indicated final details of the agreement had not been completed.“The Government will work with bargaining agents over the coming weeks to finalize details of how these new recovery processes will work and what steps employees may need to take to establish a repayment plan,” a Treasury Board spokesman told The Canadian Press.But under the arrangement, the government also won’t act to recover so-called priority payments until pay files have been cleared of all outstanding transactions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada said.Tens of thousands of civil servants have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all for long periods over the past two years as a result of problems created by the Phoenix system, which was supposed to streamline pay systems across dozens of federal departments.Many of those who received overpayments, however, have also been underpaid or faced other problems with their paycheques.Under a new government directive, employees must be notified in writing when overpayments are discovered, but recovery of the money should only begin after all monies owed to the employee has been paid out, government workers experience three stable pay periods and employees agree to a reasonable payment plan.“Many of our members who received overpayments have also been underpaid, are missing entitlements, or are owed retro pay from the collective agreements signed last year,” PSAC national president Robyn Benson said in a statement.“Thanks to the hard work of our members and our union, the government is finally listening.”Some civil servants remained skeptical, however, saying they’ve been told before that they’d be notified in writing before overpayments are recovered, only to have large amounts deducted from their paycheques, seemingly at random, with the government frequently clawing back more money than was overpaid.But more power to decide how to proceed with overpayment recoveries is now being put into the hands of civil servants, said Treasury Board spokesman Martin Potvin.“Employees who are in an overpayment situation will be notified and will be given multiple options to repay the government,” he said in an email.“They will be provided all reasonable discretion in determining their repayment schedule.”The government’s latest budget promised $16 million over two years to aid in the search for a replacement of the trouble-plagued Phoenix pay system.In addition, it also earmarked more than $400 million to deal with the backlog of pay problem case files that have accumulated since Phoenix was brought online two years ago, bringing the total allocated to the pay project so far to nearly $1 billion.When the new pay system was initially approved, the previous Conservative government estimated it would save taxpayers about $70 million annually.last_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO – Following a heroic sixth season finale this past September, host Jon Montgomeryannounced today that the adventure continues as CTV has renewed THE AMAZING RACE CANADA for a seventh season to air next summer. The announcement sets the stage to welcome an all-new cast of racers to the starting line, as they push themselves out of their comfort zones in a non-stop, action-packed race. The most-watched Canadian series of the year, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA is currently available for customized and wholly integrated brand partnership opportunities.“THE AMAZING RACE CANADA is the tent-pole series that anchors summers on CTV,” said Mike Cosentino, President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. “We are thrilled to welcome back this ratings powerhouse and award-winning production for a seventh season as casting begins and sponsorship opportunities open.”THE AMAZING RACE CANADA is looking for new teams with a story to share about what has given them the confidence to take on an amazing adventure. Fans and aspiring racers with stories of strength, determination, and perseverance are invited to pair up with someone they know – a friend, sibling, parent, partner, or anyone else they share a relationship with – and submit an audition for the opportunity to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition. The sixth season of THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, had an average audience of 1.8 million viewers per week. For six consecutive years, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA has earned the title of Canada’s #1 most-watched summer series.Fans looking to relive the high-stakes thrills and excitement of previous seasons of THE AMAZING RACE CANADA can find it on the all-new Crave.The submission deadline is January 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For all casting details and updates, including instructions on how to submit an audition video CLICK HERE. Follow @AmazingRaceCDA. Advertisementlast_img read more

Moroccos Alcohol Imports on the Rise

Rabat – Morocco’s imports of alcoholic beverages have increased during the first five months of 2017 to 5,151 tons compared to 4,246 in 2016, according to a report by the Foreign Exchange Office.In its monthly external trade report for May 2017, the office reported that Morocco imported 5,151 tons of “beer, wine, vermouths and other alcoholic beverages,” amounting to more than MAD 239 million between January and May 2017. Imports of alcohol in the first five months of 2017 recorded an increase of MAD 216 million compared to the same period of 2016, which saw the importation of 4,246 tons of these same products.  According to forecasts of the 2017 Finance Law, sales of alcohol are expected to generate more than MAD 1.25 billion of tax revenue in 2017.Wine and spirits are predicted to generate MAD 521 million in taxes and customs duties, while the tax and par-fiscal revenues associated with the consumption of beer will generate about MAD 732 million by the end of 2017. The same source also explained that tobacco imports declined from 6,499 tons between January and May 2016, which generated MAD 703 million, to 5,289 tons and MAD 640 million during the same period in 2017. read more

Study Iberian Population Has Central European North African DNA

Rabat – Two studies of ancient DNA have shown that North Africans inhabited the Iberian Peninsula long before the Muslim conquest.The journal Current Biology published a study on the makeup of the Iberian population between 6,000 and 13,000 years ago. The journal Science published a second study on the origins of the population over the past 8,000 years.The studies proved the presence of North Africans in Iberia from the Bronze Age, when Iberia saw a dramatic genetic shift. Among the 271 ancient Iberians analyzed, researchers found many had DNA from central Europe, including one man buried in a central Spain Bronze Age site called Castillejo de Bonete. The DNA examination of the man’s 4,400-year-old skeleton showed it was from central Europe.They also found a 3,500-year-old skeleton of a local Iberian woman.Researchers discovered that one person buried between 2400 and 2000 B.C. had North African ancestry. After studying the DNA of a woman buried between 2000 and 1600 B.C., the researchers found that she had a North African grandparent. The results only confirm that the Iberian countries were home to migrants from Central Europe and North Africa. read more

Qatari Emir ratifies agreement between Qatar and Sri Lanka

The Qatari emir also ratified an agreement on cooperation and exchange of information and services between QNA and Kazakhstan’s Kazinform INA news agency. Since June 5, 2017, Qatar has been going through a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led Arab countries, which have cut all air, land and sea links to the tiny gas-rich Gulf nation.Doha, however, has been opening up new markets and diversifying its economy to cushion the impacts of the unprecedented diplomatic and trade siege. (Colombo Gazette) Moreover, his instruments of ratification cover cultural, education, health and immigration sectors, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Qatar and Turkey in high education. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has ratified a number of international cooperation agreements in various fields, including a deal between Qatar and Sri Lanka.The Xinhua news agency quoted the Qatar News Agency (QNA) as saying the Emir ratified a deal on visa exemption and collaboration in health and medical sciences between Qatar and Sri Lanka. read more

New Airbnb rules in Niagara Falls

Airbnb is becoming a global vacation phenomenon. Allowing travellers to rent rooms and full homes at the click of a mouse.On Tuesday night City Council approved a plan to restrict short term rentals in Niagara Falls. Leaving renters like Wendy Wilke & Janice Campopiano in the lurch.The two real estate agents intended to flip the home and sell it right away but because of a tough real estate market they say they needed to rent it to break even.The plan limits vacation rentals to downtown and tourist areas. Council points to noise as part of the reason.Bed and Breakfast establishments will be allowed in any area where a single detached dwelling is legally permitted. The difference between a vacation rental and a bed and breakfast is with a vacation rental, people rent the entire house and the owner is not present.Renters will have a grace period that ends in September to allow for summer bookings to be filled. read more

The Warriors And Raptors Are Finals Favorites But Should They Be

neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): The NBA is now two games in to every second-round series, and each matchup is currently tied at 1-1 … except Warriors-Rockets, which was the series most people had circled as the most competitive (and compelling) of Round 2.So what better place to start our chat than that matchup, which the Warriors lead 2-0 heading back to Houston for Game 3 on Saturday. The Rockets have done a lot of Rockets-like things in the first two games: They’re making almost 16 threes and 22 free throws per game. Yet they were unable to steal away home court in the series late in either Game 1 or Game 2. Do the Rockets still have a realistic chance at knocking off Golden State, or were we all just foolishly trying to convince ourselves that we might see a different outcome this year?chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I think it goes without saying that 2-0 against a team of that caliber is a tough place to be. We talked about it before, but the fact that Houston is Houston might have been enough to get the Warriors playing their hardest and most focused early on.Draymond Green has been a beast, in particular.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I mean, they lost two games by 4 points and 6 points. And they have some excuses: the officiating in Game 1, and they were without James Harden for parts of the first half in Game 2, and then he was not entirely himself.I don’t think Game 2 felt quite as close as the final score, but Game 1 was pretty even.I guess all I’m saying is that we have had nine high-stakes playoff games between these two teams, and it feels like the Warriors are the better team, but hardly a dominant team.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): I feel like what’s going to happen at the end of all this, if the Warriors do end up winning it all (which is very likely — our predictions still give them a 49 percent chance), fans and basketball critics alike are going to come out and say, “See? Why even watch basketball? We all knew the Warriors were gonna win.” And they will all forget how unlikely it did seem at times. It is far from a sure thing still.neil: And that was definitely the case last year as well. The Warriors were far from assured winners, even though in the end they won, as expected.chris.herring: I think the challenge is that so much of what Houston does is tied to Harden, who hasn’t played poorly at all, despite the eye issue in Game 2.I thought it was really noteworthy that, after he got none of those calls in Game 1, he simply didn’t kick his legs out in Game 2.But the real story is that Golden State is forcing him into more floaters, a bit higher up, than he normally likes to take his shots.tchow: I’m gonna be honest. I only watched the first quarter of Game 2 and maybe five minutes of the second quarter because the game started at 10:30 p.m.!! I have a 1-year-old. I can’t do this sh*t anymore.natesilver: The competition from the East should be a lot stiffer this year. But, again, we’re getting a liiiiiittttle ahead of ourselves. Our algorithm says the Warriors have a 77 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals, which is high but also sort of in the Hillary Clinton zone of not a done deal. I do think Kevin Durant flipping the switch into looking like an MVP++ player is a big deal, though.chris.herring: I am kind of shocked Steph Curry continues to have the foul issues this far into the playoffs. It’s been bad for a hot minute now.But you’re right, Nate: It’s given Durant a chance to showcase what he’s capable of. (Honestly, my favorite versions of the Warriors are when KD gets to play without Steph and when Steph plays without KD — those guys are unbelievable scorers, but we rarely get to see them at their best because they play so many of their minutes together.)neil: Well, I want to talk officiating in general. As you guys alluded to, it’s been a huge theme in the series so far, whether over Draymond Green’s arguable contact with James Harden at the end of Game 1, the Rockets’ “audit” of missed calls in last year’s Western Conference finals, or Green’s comments that the officiating talk itself was embarrassing for the NBA. Does Houston have a case? Or is that just a natural consequence of how the Rockets play? Is there something inherently limiting about relying on drawing fouls in the playoffs, when it’s tougher to get a whistle?natesilver: A “natural consequence” doesn’t seem like quite the right phrase because I’d imagine that a lot of this is fairly deliberate — exploring the boundaries of the rules, especially in terms of Harden’s shooting form.chris.herring: Like I was saying a minute ago, I thought it was pretty interesting that Houston fell to the ground so much in Game 1 but, from what I remember, essentially didn’t do that at all in Game 2. I’d have to go back and watch the close-outs, but to me that signals that the Rockets might have known they were waging a losing battle.natesilver: I do think, if the game is called by the book, they got screwed out of a couple of three-shot shooting fouls in Game 1.chris.herring: Oh, absolutely.At least two or three, which, in a game that close … I’d be upset, too. You have to call the fouls the same way you would have during the regular season. I didn’t even think some of those were debatable in the first half.The crazy thing: In watching Game 2, it makes me wonder whether the Rockets are better off just trying to stand up straight as opposed to drawing fouls.It might have merely been a Game 2 improvement, with no reason for it, but they were great from the perimeter, and it happened on a night where they weren’t flailing or kicking their legs out, which I imagine changes the shot’s rhythm some.natesilver: Part of it is that awarding three free throws is such a high-stakes decision. It’s not quite like awarding a penalty in soccer, but you know what I mean.If all shooting fouls were two free throws instead, save maybe for the last two minutes when a team might try to maul a guy to prevent him from taking a 3-point shot, that might help.Or if referees were allowed to call nonshooting fouls in the event of incidental contact. Sort of the difference in a roughing the kicker penalty vs. running into the kicker.chris.herring: I’ve never seen something be such an enormous story for one game, then just not be a factor at all in the following oneI’m sure the league loves that it died down during Game 2. But it almost felt like the Rockets realized they weren’t going to get anywhere with that hope that they’d get more calls.neil: And yet, most of the fan reaction I was reading online was that the Rockets basically need to be quiet. That Harden has cried wolf too many times, etc. And remember, these are people siding with the Warriors, a team that has become hated over the years as it’s won so much. That kind of speaks volumes about the distaste for Houston’s foul-drawing strategy.natesilver: Yeah, I thought the “Rockets-are-sore-losers” narrative, while understandable, maybe made people less objective in evaluating the situation.chris.herring: I felt like I was seeing a lot of that the last few days, too.tchow: Yeah, Nate, on the latest Hot Takedown podcast, we had Kirk Goldsberry on as a guest, and he made the point that from an economical standpoint, drawing three free throws percentage-wise is worth more than a wide-open Steph or KD 3-pointer. In that sense, it would make sense to try to draw those so often.chris.herring: But here’s my thing:If the Rockets pour over the missed-calls report and find that the refs missed a bunch of those last year — which suggests it’s either not easy to catch, or that refs don’t like to call it — why make it such a big part of the strategy as you start another series with Golden State now?tchow: To prove themselves right?chris.herring: Idk. Part of me feels like the basketball world is too worked up about this series, when in reality, it’s the only one that’s not tied up at 1-1.It’s been a good second round so far.natesilver: I dunno, one thing about basketball is that there’s not usually a lot of luck.In a seven-game series, the better team wins a large majority of the time.But I wonder if Daryl Morey feels a little tilted (in the poker sense of that term) how his series have gone against the Warriors.They’ve had some bad luck with injuries, some bad luck on 3-point field-goal percentage — and whether you want to call it “luck” or something else, some frustrating games with the officials.And it’s also, like, if the league designs a bad set of rules and incentives, you shouldn’t get blamed for taking advantage of those incentives.There should be better incentives instead. The rules should be changed.chris.herring: That’s been the story of James Harden’s career: Fantastic player who’s always been fantastic at taking advantage of what’s there, whether fans like it or not.I really love watching that dude ball. It’s not his fault the loopholes are there.neil: As Kirk writes in his book, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”Either way, right now we give the Warriors an 84 percent chance of moving on to the conference finals.tchow: The good news is that Game 3 is at 8:30 p.m.!neil: On behalf of all of us East Coasters, thank goodness.In the other series out West, the Trail Blazers evened things up with the Nuggets with a 97-90 win Wednesday night. Portland stole-home court advantage, but our model still gives Denver a 61 percent chance of advancing. Are the numbers still too low on the Blazers?chris.herring: Probably. I have no idea, honestly.The Nuggets might be the most inconsistent team left in the playoffs. Last night was extremely rough for them — one of their worst shooting nights of the season. Their offensive rebounding was unreal, and so it left them with an outside chance to win late.I feel like they may have the better team, but their inconsistency scares me a bit. The 61 percent probability sounds about right to me for now.Quietly feel like the Moe Harkless ankle injury could be a tough one for the Blazers depending on how hurt he actually is going forward.I have it going seven games, and I won’t be surprised at all if and when it actually goes the distance.natesilver: I’m going to reiterate that this part of the bracket feels like the NIT to me. Unless whoever emerges from GSW-HOU does so with an injury, I don’t expect the Western Conference finals to be super competitive.neil: Yeah, conditional on making the conference finals, the Warriors have a 92 percent chance at the NBA Finals in our model; Houston has an 81 percent chance.natesilver: I almost feel like, narrative-wise, Portland has become a little bit underrated just because they’re facing off against two other very flawed teams. That Portland team with Jusuf Nurkic is pretty interesting, but they have a pretty low ceiling IMO without him.neil: I have been surprised at how well Enes Kanter continues to play. He’s averaging 21 points and eight rebounds in this series. (As someone who hated on him as an empty stat-padder early in his career…)natesilver: The knock in him (I almost typed “the Knick on him”) has always been his defense, though.What’s his +/- in the series?neil: It’s minus-4. But the team as a whole is in the red anyway.chris.herring: He’s useful for them, without a doubtI think he actually might be even more useful in a playoff series, depending on the opponent.Against OKC, for instance: Leaving him in the paint, without an easy way for Westbrook to get around him, was great for Portland. Westbrook wasn’t good or comfortable shooting his jumper in that series.So it mitigated the concerns about Kanter’s pick-and-roll defense.And in this series, you’re dealing with Jamal Murray, who’s a hot-and-cold shooter in the pick and roll, too.Kanter’s offensive rebounding is massive a lot of the time.natesilver: I guess mayyyyybe you could say that Kanter has never been in a position before to have teams take advantage of his skill set. OKC has never really been expert at maximizing its role players. And the Knicks, well, are the Knicks.tchow: For what it’s worth, in Game 2, Nikola Jokic went 1 for 8 when guarded by Kanter.chris.herring: I’m interested to see what happens as they shift to Portland.neil: Your point about defense is well-taken, Nate. Portland’s key might be to continue to play so uncharacteristically well at that end.Right now, they’re holding the Nuggets to 41.9 percent shooting from the field, including 31 percent from three.chris.herring: I feel like I’m so in and then so out on Denver. They have had some really rough performances.But the fact that they were still in it last night despite how poorly they shot was encouraging. Jokic has been playing out of his mind.neil: OK, since this is the NIT series of the playoffs, let’s leave Denver and Portland and move over to the East.tchow: In our playoff preview chat, I think we all agreed that the Eastern Conference playoff bracket looked a lot more interesting than the West, and I think that’s still pretty much true. I have no idea who will make it out of the East of the remaining four teams and could easily see both series going seven games.neil: Yeah, things have not really gotten clearer since either series opened. Let’s talk first about the semifinal series between the Raptors and Sixers, which resumes tonight with Game 3. Philly gritted out the win Monday night to even up the series, despite Kawhi Leonard going off again for 35 points. What has stood out about each team so far that might swing the series going forward?chris.herring: In the chat last week, we talked about the question of who Tobias Harris could realistically guard.The answer in Game 1 was nobody, which was problematic, as the Raptors’ two best scorers did serious damage.The difference in Game 2 was Philly’s adjustment to play Harris on Marc Gasol, and to have Joel Embiid and the other centers guard Pascal Siakam. It paid really, really nice dividends for them, and that’s the thing I’m really curious to watch in Game 3.natesilver: I guess those defensive matchups sort of make sense but also the sort of thing that you could counteradjust to, especially with an extra day off to scout and strategize.chris.herring: Exactly.neil: That shows up in the stats, too: Harris was a game-low minus-23 in Game 1 but was plus-6 in Game 2.chris.herring: In both series, I think, it’s going to be a question of whose adjustments are better.Because each set of changes and adjustments have pretty clear counters.tchow: Btw, I don’t know if Neil is doing this on purpose but we have NBATV on at the office right now, and Neil is moving the chat along at the same exact pace as Grant Hill and company are moving along their playoff coverage. They just wrapped up DEN-POR and moved on to PHI-TOR before cutting to commercial break. Uncanny.neil: LOL, Tony. Definitely a coincidence… 😒chris.herring: I did think the put-the-big-on-Siakam adjustment was smart, though.When Siakam is in the middle of the floor, you can give him some space, because he shoots really terribly from the top of the key. By contrast, he’s solid from the corners. (And when he’s in the corner, you have the help of the baseline as a second defender.)tchow: It definitely made a difference. Siakam shot 80 percent from the floor and 75 percent from three in Game 1. In Game 2, he shot 36 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.chris.herring: The Sixers don’t have but maybe one guy who can credibly guard Siakam (and Ben Simmons is doing his best to guard Kawhi), so that shift was really important for them.It may not work going forward, but you had to try it.natesilver: What if Gasol decides to take more shots? He’s been pretty passive, offensively, since joining the Raptors. But he is capable of scoring, either in the post or from downtown.chris.herring: If Gasol ends up being the guy to torch you, I think you can live with that more easily than Siakam.Also, I’d expect for the Raptors to do more to get Siakam rolling, and to use him in pick and rolls in hopes of having Philly switch them. That would nullify the Harris/Embiid stuff they’re doing.Again, the countermoves are going to be fascinating.To Neil’s initial question, too: The other thing that stands out is just how damn good Kawhi is.The guy is Terminator in a basketball uniform.He couldn’t do it all by himself in Game 2. But he’s just having his way from a scoring standpoint.neil: He’s probably been the best player of the playoffs so far, at least by the advanced metrics.chris.herring: I’m surprised Toronto is at 24 percent and Milwaukee only 14 percent. (Although a lot of that is due to head to head Toronto-vs-Milwaukee odds.)natesilver: I mean, there’s a case to be made that Toronto is just super good.chris.herring: Yeah. I think almost 70 percent sounds about right in that case.natesilver: They won 58 games in the regular season while missing a bunch of Kawhi and Kyle Lowry. And with Gasol only on the roster for the last third of the season.chris.herring: The matchups still favor them, and I think they’ll figure out a way to get Siakam going. Just not guarding him at the top of the key isn’t going to be enough.Am interested to see whether Kawhi can keep doing this for the whole series, though. He’s completely wrecking Philly.natesilver: Kawhi looks like an MVP in the playoffs, and neither of the two losses they’ve taken in the playoffs (to Orlando in Game 1 or Philly the other day) seemed to expose particularly exploitable problems.Our model also thinks Philly is quite good, by the way. It gives them a lot of credit for being good “on paper.”So I think our prices are relatively fair, but if I had to pick one, maybe it’s the over on Toronto. natesilver: Are people stretching a little too hard to call this an even series? Game 1 really wasn’t all that competitive, the Raptors have the best player, they were the much better team in the regular season, and all the adjustments and counteradjustments are gonna cancel out.I mean, there are only five games left and the Raptors have lost home-court advantage, but I feel like if this is a nine-game series, or an 11-game series, the Raptors are a huge favorite.chris.herring: I dunno. On the one hand, yeah: Toronto should have the upper hand. But we haven’t seen Nick Nurse under all that much pressure before. I assume they’ll counter well, but if they don’t … it’s not as if Philly doesn’t have talent.There are pretty clear things that could happen to tilt this in the Sixers’ favor, though I wouldn’t put my money on those things.And the next two are in Philadelphia. I think this is about all the Sixers could ask for at this stage.I would like to see Embiid do a bit more offensively. He was sick during the last game, but if he can’t find advantages against Gasol (which has been the case for a while now), it becomes harder to see how Philly can beat them four times. Unless the Raptors have no counter whatsoever for what happened to Siakam in Game 2.tchow: Nate, are you proposing we make the postseason even LONGER to ensure the best team wins?natesilver: I think it should vary based on how enjoyable the series is.Like if people find GSW-HOU annoying, just make it a three-game series.neil: We should develop a metric: The SILVER (Series’ Ideal Length Varied by Enjoyability Ratio)chris.herring: Oh, Lord.natesilver: Neil.tchow: According to SILVER, Sixers vs. Raptors should be best-of-11 and Bucks vs. Pistons should have been a one-game playoff.neil: LOLSo while we workshop our latest backronym metric, let’s end the chat by focusing on the Bucks and the Celtics. After disappointing at home in Game 1, Milwaukee can breathe again thanks to a 123-102 win in Game 2.Was that Game 1 loss just a blip on the radar for Milwaukee, or something to legitimately worry about for them as the series shifts to Boston?tchow: Giannis Antetokounmpo had a +/- of minus-24 in Game 1. What happened?(FWIW, he did bounce back fine. Game 2, his +/- was plus-20.)chris.herring: I think it’s actually pretty similar to Toronto-Philly. The Bucks punched back with a different strategy in Game 2, and now the ball is seemingly in Boston’s court to try and adjust to it.natesilver: Gordon Hayward was pretty nonexistent in Game 2 and not great in Game 1, which is bearish for Boston because I really think they need him to be pretty good to compete at an elite level.neil: Also, Kyrie scored 26 on 57 percent shooting in Game 1. Had 9 points on 22 percent in Game 2.natesilver: It did feel a bit like maybe the Celtics were gonna steal one game in the series because of Brad Stevens and their coaching/analytics/scouting staff, and maybe Game 1 was that game.chris.herring: We touched on it last week, when we discussed the Bucks being ranked No. 1 in the league on defense but doing so with a drop strategy in pick and roll coverage. They got torched with that in Game 1, and Boston had a field day from deep. But they moved to a completely different scheme in Game 2 and switched everything (something they almost never did in the regular season).And for what it’s worth, Boston was the least-efficient team in the NBA against switches during the regular season, according to data from Second Spectrum.So I’m interested to see what they counter with, because the Bucks certainly have the length and versatility to make life difficult for them with that strategy.To Tony’s question from before, we did some writing on what went wrong for Giannis in Game 1.The truth is, Giannis kind of lives off of open-court opportunities. He’ll score plenty without them, but if he has them, it showcases how and why he’ll likely be the MVP. It’s nearly impossible to stop him with just one guy (and sometimes even two) in the open floor.But Milwaukee wasn’t forcing enough misses in Game 1 for that to even be a real possibility for him. And even when it was, the Celtics set up a wall against him. Was something they did effectively against Giannis all year.natesilver: So are you saying that Giannis is liable to be less effective in the playoffs, when it becomes more of a half-court game?chris.herring: Yes and no.I think he will still score, and if you overcommit to trying to stop him, he’s unselfish and will find his teammates, who finally hit shots in Game 2The other thing that’s interesting: Giannis’s struggles as a jump-shooter are well-documented. He was the worst wide-open shooter in the NBA from three on 150 or more attempts.But he started knocking them down at a somewhat respectable clip after the turn of the new year. And when Boston dared him to shoot them in Game 1, he shot 3 of 5.He’s 5 of 9 from three for the series!I imagine that if you’re Boston, you’re simply going to make him prove he can hit that shot. But the idea that he’s begun to figure out how to hit threes should be terrifying for everyone outside of the state of Wisconsin.natesilver: I’m happy to let him shoot as many threes as he wants.I don’t think you learn how to shoot threes in one series. Maybe if it’s a big offseason focus of his, sure.neil: Either way, the model currently gives the Bucks a 70 percent chance of winning. In fact, it also gives Toronto exactly the same 70 percent chance against Philly, despite both series being 1-1.Do those probabilities seem right to y’all? If you had to take the over or under on one, which would it be?chris.herring: I feel like Milwaukee’s is a touch high, even though they’re my favorite to come out of the East.tchow: Interesting, I was going to say I would pick the Bucks to be too low.neil: I’m in the same camp, Tony. Really more based on looking at our title odds for each: Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

National state of calamity in Philippines as Irish aid agencies call for

first_imgTHE PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino has declared a national state of calamity as the country continues to deal with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.The declaration allows the government to impose price controls and quickly release emergency funds three days after the typhoon flattened entire towns.Countless bodies have been scattered across wastelands with desperation building as communities are left without food, water and medicine.(An aerial image taken from a Philippine Air Force in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)A national emergency has also  been declared with security forces struggling to contain looting.“In the coming days, be assured, help will reach you faster and faster,” Aquino said in a televised address.“My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, cooperating with, and assisting one another are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity.”US marines have joined the effort to rescue famished survivors of the typhoon that may have killed 10,000 people.Irish aidYesterday, the Irish Government announced a €1 million fund for emergency aid to help with the relief effort. Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore said today that the Government is working closely with aid agencies with communications a major problem being faced:Irish organisation Dóchas, which acts as an umbrella group for Irish aid agencies, has set up website to provide information to those who wish to help with the relief effort.“This website sets out the principles of good emergency relief, and the many ways in which members of the public can assist the Irish aid agencies to do their work,” said Dóchas director Hans Zomer.Additional reporting by © – AFPRead: ‘Absolute bedlam’ as 4 million people affected by Philippines typhoon >Read: Typhoon death toll could reach 10,000 in one city alone >last_img read more

Nice one NoMakeUpSelfie donations hit €1 million

first_imgIF YOU’RE ONE of the many, many people who have posted a photograph of yourself without make-up on social media in the past week, give yourself a pat on the back.The Irish Cancer Society has confirmed that it has now received €1 million in donations from people who have taken part in the #nomakeupselfie trend over the past week.Staff members at the cancer charity posted a photograph of themselves thanking everyone who has taken part so far.The viral way of donating money began with women posting photographs of themselves without make-up, and spread to men taking photographs of themselves either with or without make-up.Many participants have donated €4 euro to the Irish Cancer Society by texting a specific number, before nominating friends, family and colleagues to carry on the trend.If every participant has donated the same €4 amount, it would mean that 250,000 people have so far donated to the charity in just one week.The trend is believed to have started after a US crime novelist tweeted a photograph of herself without make-up in solidarity with 81-year-old actress Kim Novak who was criticised for her appearance at the Oscars.Read: #NoMakeupSelfie craze causes flood of donations to Irish Cancer Society > Column: #NoMakeupSelfies abound, but where’s the barefaced truth on social media? >last_img read more

Union donates €10000 to Greyhound workers support fund

first_imgTHE UNITE TRADE union has today donated €10,000 to support the 70 Greyhound Recycling workers in Dublin who are currently on strike.The dispute arose after workers rejected a Labour Court recommendation that pay should be reduced. Unite’s regional secretary Jimmy Kelly today visited workers on the picket line outside the Clondalkin recycling plant and presented a cheque to the SIPTU Greyhound Workers Support Fund.He told workers that they can count on the solidarity of the entire trade union movement.“We are sending a very clear message from this picket line to Greyhound: you are not simply dealing with a small group of workers,” he commented. “You are dealing with the trade union movement.”Members of Unite and of other unions know that the treatment being meted out to Greyhound workers represented by SIPTU is the concern of all workers and all unions. The workers can count on our solidarity.SIPTU shop steward Jesse Hughes said the solidarity shown by trade union members across the country is “reinforcing our resolve to see this dispute through to the end”.He said the donation, along with other donations, will mean they can continue with their industrial action “until the company realises it can not treat its workforce as if it was 1913″.Greyhound owner Michael Buckley has previously said the company needs to get to a certain level of savings or there “will be no jobs for anybody”. He said the emergence of a number of other bin collection and recycling services has made competition fierce.Read: Social welfare staff are being told to refuse dole payments to ‘locked out’ Greyhound workers>Read: SIPTU vs Greyhound: Row escalates amid claims of ‘harassment and abuse’>last_img read more

Millwall is hopeful of a home tie against Crystal Palace

first_imgFor Millwall’s manager, the best opponent they could get in the FA Cup Quarterfinals would be a home match against Palace.Millwall defeated Wimbledon 1-0 yesterday in the FA Cup Fifth Round.The team is not waiting for their next opponent.But Millwall’s boss Neil Harris clearly knows who would be the best option for them: a home tie against English Premier League side Crystal Palace.“What an achievement for a club our size,” said Harris to Sky Sports.“Four times in 15 years, that is an unbelievable achievement. I said to them before the game, ‘it will not be pretty today – it will not be free-flowing’.”“Off the ball, we knew Wimbledon would make it really difficult for us and they did,” he continued.“If we had got the second goal with 20 or 30 minutes to go we may have gone and got three or four and made it more comfortable.”“No disrespect to Doncaster Rovers, but if Palace gets through I want to get them [in the draw],” he commented.Joel Ward, Crystal PalaceHow Joe Ward thanks his faith for his football Manuel R. Medina – September 13, 2019 Crystal Palace defender, Joel Ward, has thanked his Christian faith for helping him play football professionally and he explains why.“To be at The Den, 20,000 of our fans to see a cup quarter-final is what I want.”Doncaster Rovers and Crystal Palace will play tomorrow to define who will go to the next round.“If you’re playing a team in the division above and you create a chance early, you’ve got to take it because you know they’re going to be very efficient at what they do,” he continued.“If they get a chance, they’re going to punish you and that’s exactly what happened.”Millwall is currently in the 20th position of the English Championship table with only 31 points. The team has only won seven times in 31 matches, drawing ten and losing four.Another @EmiratesFACup Quarter-Final appearance in the bag!#Millwall 🦁— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) February 16, 2019last_img read more

Soldotna Police Chief Resigns As Head Of Marijuana Control Board

first_imgMlynarik said the department’s decision removes the underpinning on which the marijuana industry in Alaska is based, and went on to say his role as a law enforcement officer factored into his decision. Chief Mlynarik cited the shift in federal policy as his decision to step down from his position on the board.  He says the decision does away with the federal government “looking the other way” in states that have legalized marijuana. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik resigned from his position as head of the State Marijuana Control Board today, January 4, after the U.S. Department of Justice changed its policy on marijuana enforcement.center_img The Marijuana Control Board regulates the legal marijuana industry in the state.last_img read more

Wrangell declares water emergency

first_imgWrangell as seen from Mount Dewey on July 24, 2014. (Creative Commons photo by James Brooks)Wrangell has declared a water emergency. City officials say the Southeast community has about one month of supply left. So, they’re asking residents to cut way back on use. Those conservation measures, and more rainfall, could solve the problem.Listen nowThe city said it will “aggressively monitor and strictly enforce” water restrictions for residents. These mandates include no outside water usage, fixing plumbing leaks and reducing everyday consumption.“Obviously nobody’s watering anything outside yet, because it’s still too cold. But there’s going to be an urge to want to wash your cars,” city manager Lisa Von Bargen said. “Please refrain from doing that, any washing of decks or driveways or paved surfaces or things like that.”Residents who don’t comply will get a verbal and written warning. Further violations could bring a $500 fine. Wrangell does not have a water metering system. The city said it will survey and fix its own system leaks.“We’re not going out there with a hammer and handing out a citation immediately. We’re going to make sure the community understands why we’re doing this, and what needs to be done,” Von Bargen said. “But, please, we need to make sure there isn’t abuse and isn’t egregious use of water in the community.”The city issued a red alert. This comes less than three weeks after it announced a lesser yellow alert.The water shortage is two-fold. There isn’t enough raw water, because the island hasn’t gotten much rainfall. And, the water treatment plant isn’t cutting it. Through its filtration process, it’s losing hundreds of thousands of gallons a week.“Every time we do filter cleanings we’re dumping approximately 150,000 gallons of water which is a ridiculous loss, because there’s no way to recoup that,” Von Bargen said. “That can be anywhere between two and four times a week.”The city said it has plans to retain half of that lost water through more maintenance.The plant was installed in the 1999. Since then it has required way more cleaning than anticipated. And in the past few years it has struggled to meet the town’s needs.“(A water catching system) should have been designed into this plant, had we known that we would be performing filter maintenance as often as we do. But with the idea that we would only be maintaining those sand filters about once a quarter of the year, it wasn’t a big concern,” Amber Al-Haddad, the public works director, said. “So, that feature wasn’t built into the design”It is also working with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conversation to address the issue.The city is working towards replacing its plant.last_img read more

Man crushed under train in Rajshahi

first_img.A man was crushed under the wheels of a speedy train in Raipara area of Sadar Upazila on Tuesday.The identity of the deceased could not be known immediately.Officer-in-charge of Rajpara police station Hafizur Rahman said a Chapainawabganj-bound commuter train hit the man at around 1:30pm, leaving him dead on the spot.The body was sent to Rajshahi Medical College for autopsy, the OC added.last_img