‘Inhumane’ – FIFPro chief warns against punishing players who refuse to train over virus fears

first_imgWatford striker Troy Deeney has received the backing of global players’ union FIFPro for refusing to return to training over coronavirus fears (AFP Photo/Justin TALLIS)Paris, France | AFP | The head of global players’ union FIFPro has given his backing to footballers who do no want to return to training because of coronavirus fears and cautioned that it would be “inhumane and unacceptable” if they were to be punished for taking such a stance.Jonas Baer-Hoffmann’s comments come after Troy Deeney of English Premier League side Watford refused to restart training ahead of a possible resumption of the season because he does not want to put his young child, who has breathing difficulties, at risk of catching the virus.Deeney has also cited fears his family could be in danger because of figures that show black and ethnic minorities in the UK — which has the highest recorded death toll in Europe — are more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19.Deeney is “a player who has very legitimate concerns and wants to protect his family”, Baer-Hoffmann said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.“If these players are being pressured or potentially facing disciplinary actions, we feel that is very much unacceptable.“The idea that somebody may be punished in a pandemic for trying to protect his family’s health is inhumane and unacceptable.”However, there is no suggestion that Watford are planning to take disciplinary action against Deeney.Several players in England have voiced concerns about returning to training, even in small groups.Watford were among the Premier League clubs affected by six positive tests for the virus out of a total of 748 tests conducted on Sunday and Monday. England defender Danny Rose, on loan at Newcastle United from Tottenham Hotspur, said players were being treated like “lab rats” as the league attempts to get going again.“No system can actually exclude the risk of infection, so it is a question about the probability by which you minimise that risk and many of the systems that we are seeing and reading about — not particularly England — still leave many, many gaps and many risks,” Baer-Hoffmann said.“If the players in England — of which Danny Rose is a part — would like stricter rules then that needs to be discussed.”Baer-Hoffmann admitted that plenty of players around the world were keen to get back playing despite the potential risks involved, but said FIFPro recommended that players undertake three to four weeks of training before beginning matches again due to the risk of injuries.In England the Premier League has been suspended since March 13.The financial consequences of not restarting would be potentially very serious for clubs, although players at the top level in England are in a better position than some of their counterparts around the globe.Baer-Hoffmann highlighted the case of players in several Latin American countries, including Colombia and Uruguay, as well as in Botswana and Egypt, who are now relying on food packages from their local players’ union “because they cannot even provide for their own basic needs and are being stranded in terms of income”.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Federer beats Zverev to reach last four at ATP Finals

first_imgThe 20-year-old third seed raced into a 4-0 advantage only to see the Swiss charge back to lead 5-4. Zverev earned a set point of his own at 6-5 but could not convert and Federer made his third set point count.The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke in the first game of the second set to establish an iron grip on the round-robin match but Zverev hit back in the fourth to get back on level terms.Federer only landed 43 percent of first serves in the second set and it finally cost him in the 12th game, when Zverev capitalized on his third set point to force a decider.The Swiss re-found his focus and some consistency on serve in the decider as Zverev’s level dipped, earning three breaks to close it out 6-1.Zverev has been touted as the leader of a pack of young players hungry to oust the creaking old guard but Federer, who has suffered only four defeats all year, shows no sign of slipping.ADVERTISEMENT “It was a good battle and I always enjoy myself at this beautiful arena,” said Federer, who has now reached the semi-finals 14 times.“I have so much fun playing in London and I have been so successful here. Thank you for making it such a special night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m happy and relieved that I can play freely against (Marin) Cilic, instead of it being a nail-biter. It’s been a tough group so to be through in two matches is great.”Both players were scratchy on serve at the start of the match but were quickly into the groove in a tight first set that saw no breaks of serve, though Zverev had to fend off two set points in the 12th game to force a tie-break. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Coming into the match Federer, 36, and Zverev had faced each other four times and each had won twice.This year, Federer beat the German in Halle but Zverev returned the favor at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.Earlier, also in the Boris Becker group, Jack Sock kept his dreams of a fairytale finish to his season alive, beating Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).“It’s been an interesting morning so far,” said the American. “The fire alarm went off at 4:00 am and we had to exit the building. But I love playing here in London. It’s an amazing atmosphere, you make me feel like home.”The top two players from each of the two groups of four progress to the semi-finals.Federer, who beat Sock in his first match, is the standout star at the tournament after the withdrawal through injury of world number one Rafael Nadal.Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are all long-term absentees from the Tour this season. MOST READ Read Next View comments CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates victory over Germany’s Alexander Zverev during their men’s singles round-robin match on day three of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRKRoger Federer held young pretender Alexander Zverev at bay in a gripping contest Tuesday to reach the last four of the ATP Finals and stay on course for a seventh end-of-season crown.The world number two saw off a spirited challenge from the much-hyped German 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-1 in front of a boisterous pro-Federer crowd to become the first man through to the last four at the O2 Arena.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stindl equalizer saves Germany’s 21-match unbeaten run John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

TransCanada says it is engaging with landowners on new Keystone XL route

first_imgCALGARY – TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) said Tuesday it has started to engage with Nebraska landowners along the alternate route of its Keystone XL pipeline approved last week.Speaking at an investor day in Toronto, Dean Patry, senior vice-president of liquids, said the company continues to review the regulatory approval from the Nebraska Public Service Commission, but has already started speaking with new stakeholders.“The alternate route would involve a number of new landowners for us, and as always, we’re striving to understand their perspectives on the project, and we will continue to strive to reach agreement with them on mutually beneficial terms,” he said.The route approved by the commission cleared the last major regulatory hurdle for the controversial pipeline, but created new issues for TransCanada by not approving the company’s preferred route and instead giving the go-ahead on one that shifts the pipeline further east, away from sensitive ecological areas.The company filed a procedural motion on Nov. 24 that requests the commission reconsider its order that approved the alternate route, but Patry said the company was looking to address some questions raised by the order, and not to change the route itself.He said TransCanada continues to review the cost and schedule implications of the decision, but is looking to make a final investment decision on the project as soon as possible.Company CEO Russ Girling said earlier in the day that the company has been “very encouraged” by discussions with potential shippers in recent weeks on the proposed 830,000 barrel a day pipeline and that TransCanada expects to secure enough binding commitments from shippers to advance the project.The proposed pipeline, which would bring oil from Hardisty, Alta., to markets in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest, has faced significant opposition from environmentalists for much of the nearly ten years TransCanada has been working to make it a reality.last_img read more

Mexico suspends charter company in Cuba airliner crash

first_imgMEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities temporarily suspended a charter company which owned a passenger jet that crashed in Cuba, while Cuban media said one of three survivors died Monday, increasing the death toll to 111.Mexico’s General Directorate of Civil Aviation said in a statement that the suspension was ordered to allow an “extraordinary” review to verify whether Aerolineas Damojh, which uses the commercial name Global Air, is complying with the law.Authorities also want to compile information to help with an investigation launched by the Cuban government into the cause of Friday’s crash.Cuban state radio and television stations said Gretell Landrove Font, 23, died Monday afternoon of extensive injuries she sustained in the crash.Landrove’s mother, Amparo Font, had told reporters that her daughter was a flamenco dancer and engineering student on the verge of graduation.The two remaining survivors — Mailen Diaz, 19, and Emiley Sanchez, 39 — were hospitalized in Havana in critical condition. Both are from the eastern Cuba city of Holguin.Mexico and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board have announced they would send experts to Cuba to help in the investigation, and Havana has said that Boeing, which made the airliner, is participating.The 39-year-old Boeing 737 was rented from Damojh and operated by Cuban state-run airline Cubana de Aviacion, with a Global Air flight crew.It crashed in a fireball just after takeoff Friday from Havana’s international airport bound for the eastern Cuban city of Holguin.Mexico’s aviation directorate said the company had been suspended twice before, in 2010 and 2013, but was allowed to resume operations after addressing security questions.last_img read more

Starbucks Canada closes stores for training on race bias and inclusion

first_imgTORONTO – Starbucks is closing about 1,100 Canadian locations for anti-bias training Monday afternoon in a bid to make its stores more inclusive after the April arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia locations.The four-hour training sessions that begin at 3 p.m. involve sharing experiences, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in society and talking about how employees can create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.In a media sneak peek of the training, the Seattle-based company said the sessions will begin with a video message from Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway, where he notes that the exercises were triggered by a “very regretful event.” The April incident in Philadelphia — in which two men were arrested after a Starbucks employee called the police on them — prompted the company to close its 8,000 U.S. locations for training last month.“You may think this does not relate to us in Canada, but it does,” Conway said in the video. “The world is changing and we are not immune to the complexities or biases and neither are our customers or our communities.”Conway said Starbucks locations grapple with issues around homelessness, language barriers and “Canadians that simply appear very different from one of us,” but he believes the training will “only strengthen our resolve to make sure every customer feels welcome every time.”Following his introduction, employees will break into groups of between three and five people to go through a 68-page book of exercises.The materials ask employees to discuss the first time they noticed their “racial identity,” “had a friend of a different race who regularly visited your home,” “felt distracted at work because of external events related to race,” and “went to work with your natural hair without comments or questions from others.”The booklet references biases that negatively impact African American customers, but also asks broad questions around inclusion and diversity. It does not include direct references to issues faced by customers and employees of other races, of Indigenous backgrounds or those identifying as LGBTQ or having a disability.The workbook is supplemented with videos from Starbucks executives, including board members and founder Howard Schultz, rapper and diversity advocate Common and inclusion experts.Tomee Elizabeth Sojourner-Campbell, a Toronto-based consultant focusing on human rights compliance, diversity and inclusion, reviewed the materials Starbucks provides its stores with and said she thought it should be more tailored to Canada because the country has its own history of anti-black racism and challenges faced by stores are not uniform throughout the country.She also wanted to see more acknowledgment of not only race, but issues around appearance, perceptions around mobility and ability to pay for goods.“I would have expected them to actually address issues related to consumer racial profiling,” said Sojourner-Campbell, noting that the term is not even included in the glossary or list of themes the workbooks have, but was at the heart of the incident in Philadelphia.“That seems very odd to me… I think they could have directly responded to it with a series of scenarios about what to do if there is consumer racial profiling. Bias training only gets people to point A, understanding that they have some semblance of a bias.”She chalked Starbucks’ training up as a “public relations response,” but said it is a good way for the company to take stock of what it happening in its stores.“Do I think four hours and this commitment will prevent a future complaint about consumer racial profiling? It is unlikely,” she said. “The complaints are not driven by the intent of the business or the employee, but the experience of the individual.”She said she expected that the training would create “the Starbucks effect,” where other companies assess how they can be more inclusive and consider measures like Starbucks.In the wake of the Philadelphia incident, Starbucks said it is providing all locations with lists of ways they can access mental health, substance abuse and housing services and committing to ongoing education and development for staff.It also promised to tackle the circumstances that led to the training.“Whether a person makes a purchase or not, they are welcome in our spaces,” said chief operating officer Roz Brewer in training videos.“This includes the use of restrooms, cafes and patios — regardless of whether a person makes a purchase, they would be considered a customer.”Customers outside one of the coffee chain’s locations on Spring Garden Road, the largest downtown shopping street in Halifax, praised inclusion training, but said they were disappointed that it is necessary, given how progressive society has become.“Companies are seeing consequences because they’re losing customers, but it shouldn’t take that. Money shouldn’t be the motivator for people to have respect for one another,” said Matthew Williams, 26. “People just feel they can be racist and freely racist…There needs to be consequences to being racist.”Over in Victoria, B.C., Starbucks customer Pamela Manhas said she couldn’t help but feel an anti-bias session held over one afternoon will not accomplish much for employees and appears more of a company “PR stunt,” but said “if they are making an honest effort I can’t fault them for doing that.”With files from Michael Tutton in Halifax and Dirk Meissener in Victoria.last_img read more

USA is the leader of world terrorism Iran

first_imgTehran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday accused the US of being the real “leader of world terrorism”, hitting back after Washington blacklisted Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation. Tehran was quick to retaliate on Monday by declaring US troops “terrorists” following Washington’s move, which was welcomed by Iran’s regional arch-rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia. It was the first time that Washington has branded part of a foreign government a terrorist group, meaning that anyone who deals with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could face prison in the United States. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”Who are you to label revolutionary institutions as terrorists?” an angry Rouhani demanded in a speech broadcast live by state television. Rouhani hailed the Guards for fighting terrorism since their creation in 1979, and accused US forces of having always been involved with terrorist groups or acts of terrorism. “You want to use terrorist groups as tools against the nations of the region… you are the leader of world terrorism. “Who is propagating and encouraging terrorism in today’s world? Who wanted to use ISIS (the Islamic State group) as a tool?” Rouhani asked, saying that the US is “hiding” the leaders of the jihadist organisation. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe Revolutionary Guards are the ideological arm of the country’s military and deeply embedded in Iranian political and economic life. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the Guards on their National Day, saying they were at the “forefront’ of defending the country and its interests, according to his official website. He lashed out at US officials, saying: “Their vice and deceit will return boomerang on them, leading the enemies of the Islamic Republic such as (US President Donald) Trump and those around him at the US ruling apparatus to go down the drain.” To support his accusations, Rouhani cited the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 in July 1988 by missiles fired from the US naval ship the USS Vincennes. “You have done everything imaginable. Which force was it that shot down our civil airliner in the waters of the Persian Gulf?” he said, adding that it was aimed at intimidating Iran. “You wanted to tell the Iranian nation that we do not have any red lines, you wanted to say that we also kill children, you wanted to say that we also kill women,” Rouhani said, concluding that the US was transmitting “a message of terrorism in the whole world.” The US move comes on top of Trump’s decision last year to pull the United States out of an international deal with Iran that was meant to lift crippling economic sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. Washington had been encouraged to blacklist the Guards by Trump’s allies Saudi Arabia and Israel, which both cheered the declaration. “The US decision (follows) the kingdom’s repeated demands to the international community to address the issue of Iranian-backed terrorism,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted a foreign ministry source as saying on Tuesday. The source welcomed the US move as a “practical and serious step” in curbing what the kingdom describes as Iranian meddling in the region. The US decision came hours before an Israeli election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a close race for re-election. In a statement, Netanyahu thanked his “dear friend” Trump who he said had responded to a “request of mine”. In a statement carried by the Iranian official news agency IRNA, the Supreme National Security Council declared the United States a “state sponsor of terrorism” and its forces in the region “terror groups”. Quickly adapting to the decision, the semi-official Fars News Agency, close to ultra-conservatives, described the US casualties in the latest suicide bombing on a military convoy in Afghanistan as “terrorists.” In a report on the attack, Fars said Tuesday: “American army terrorists killed in Afghanistan.”last_img 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

BAHAMAS Energy Conference opens at Baha Mar

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, January 30, 2018 – Nassau – Diversification of fuels, a comprehensive regulatory framework, the introduction of renewable energy sources, a new generating plant and green island project are among the strides the Bahamas Government has made in the energy sector.  The Hon. Desmond, Minister of Works, underscored that notwithstanding the country’s challenges it has and continues to make “incremental” advances in this area.Minister Bannister addressed the opening of the 18th Annual Platts Caribbean Energy Conference, Thursday, January 25th, 2018 at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.  The two-day event focuses on key issues facing the Caribbean energy sector.Topics include: Market Structure and Stakeholder Alignment, Financing for Small Countries, Regional Demand, Fuel Conversion Viability, Renewable Energy, Managing Distributed Generation and Integrated Resource Plans.  A panel discussion and case studies also comprise the conference agenda.  There is a diverse range of speakers on the agenda including Darnell Osborne, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bahamas Power and Light.In his welcome, Minister Bannister noted the following as the  “fundamental” importance of the conference: the renewal of contacts industry-wide, the discussion and analysis of critical issues of mutual interest, and the sharing of innovative ideas with colleagues from diverse backgrounds from around the world.Minister Bannister said The Bahamas is currently ensuring the security of its energy supply through the diversification of fuels even as it continues to modernize the energy infrastructure.  In this regard, he said a proposal is in place to remove the price volatility with a generation mix that is 100% based on fossil fuel.“With the introduction of tri-fuel generation (liquid natural gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil), The Bahamas will have the flexibility of selecting its fuel based on any number of reasons including price.“We also continue to focus on the development of a comprehensive governance/regulatory framework to effectively support the advancement of the energy sector to be effectively able to facilitate energy conservation and efficiency through the introduction of renewable energy sources such as solar, ocean energy, biofuels, waste to energy and where possible, wind.”He said it is anticipated that a new state-of -the-art generating plant will soon be constructed with the best in class efficiencies for single cycle power generation.  He told the audience that the new facility will improve the generation capacity, modernize the plant, and provide newer technologies together with higher levels of energy conservation and improved efficiencies when compared to existing assets.Minister Bannister remarked that cost effective, progressive ideas for creating and installing renewable energy resources are “critical” to The Bahamas.“Every year we face the threat of hurricanes that may impact the vibrancy of life in our many islands.  Finding a niche in the spectrum of opportunity will be of great value to our country.“We have the perfect environment to foster small scale renewable generation in our many Family Islands, and we embrace this emerging technology to assist in the further development and modernization of our energy infrastructure as we seek to improve our conservation and efficiency capabilities.”He told the delegates that the nation’s challenges provide great opportunity for those who are able to propose innovative, enterprising and dynamic ideas for solutions and he is certain officials will be pleased to engage in meaningful discussion with them.  As an archipelago, practical energy solutions must be provided to numerous islands, all diverse, and each in differing stages of development.“There is no magic formula that that provides an answer to every need. We will, therefore, listen with interest to the various presenters, and consider many of the ideas that you propose as we seek to make decisions that will impact the lifestyles of our residents for decades to come.”S&P Global Platts is the leading independent provider of information, benchmark prices and analytics for the energy and commodities markets. By: Kathryn CampbellPhoto caption:  The Hon. Desmond Bannister, Minister of Works, addresses the opening session of the 18th Annual Platts Caribbean Energy Conference. (Photo/Courtesy BPL) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Related Items:last_img read more

Kenaitze Indian Tribe Offering Suicide Awareness Prevention Workshop

first_imgIn a release from Kenaitze, suicide is preventable, and participants will learn how to make a difference with life-saving skills. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenaitze Indian Tribe is offering training to give community members the potential to save a life. The tribe, recognizing the issue, launched its Yinihugheltani suicide prevention and awareness program about a year ago. Yinihugheltani – which means “one’s spirit” in the Dena’ina language – supports youth ages 10 to 24 with culturally relevant resources and activities. There is no cost for this workshop, but an RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, contact Dagmar Mayer at 907-335-7514 or dmayer@kenaitze.org.center_img SafeTALK training is ‘appropriate’ for community members age 15 and older. No prior experience is necessary. Training materials will be provided. The tribe will host a safeTALK suicide awareness and prevention workshop from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11, at the Dena’ina Wellness Center. Alaska Native men between the ages of 15-24 have the highest rate of suicide among any demographic in the country, with an average of 141.6 suicides per 100,000 each year between 2000 and 2009.last_img read more

Weekly Road Construction Updates

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Department of Transportation has released it’s weekly road construction update for the projects currently taking place on the Kenai Peninsula. STERLING HIGHWAY REHABILITATION, SKILAK LAKE to STERLING ROAD CONSTRUCTION through OctoberConstruction crews will be off the roadway for Labor Day weekend from Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3.Expected to begin Tuesday, September 4, drivers should be alert to a DETOUR with reduced speeds at MP 61.3 (Skyline Trail) for approximately 4 weeks. Construction crews will be installing the new Skyline Trail Head pedestrian undercrossing.Through the night of Thursday, August 30, drivers should expect PILOT CAR operations from MP 65 to 68, from 8:00pm to 7:00am.Construction at MP 71.5 (Watson Lake) will continue with fill placement Monday throughSunday, 8:00pm to 6:00am.Expected to begin Tuesday, September 4 crews will begin working a day shift from7:00am to 7:00pm and night shift from 8:00pm to 6:00am. Drivers should be alert to PILOT CAR and flagging operations throughout the project.STERLING HIGHWAY, MP 89.8 LEFT TURN LANESROAD CONSTRUCTION through OctoberDrivers should be aware of milling and paving operations.Drivers should expect traffic control from 8:00pm to 6:00am nightly.Drivers should be aware that asphalt may be a milled surface; motorcyclists should use extreme caution.Please be aware that there may not be a useable shoulder throughout the project.KENAI SPUR HIGHWAY, MP 12 to 18 PAVEMENT PRESERVATIONROAD CONSTRUCTION through SeptemberConstruction crews are working nightly from Monday to Friday, weather permitting, and at varying times on the weekends. Drivers should expect short DELAYS.Drivers please be aware of traffic control devices and signs, as well as PILOT CAR and flagging operations.Drivers should be aware that asphalt may be a milled surface; motorcyclists should use extreme caution.KENAI SPUR HIGHWAY REHABILITATION, SPORTS LAKE to SWIRES ROAD, PHASE I ROAD CONSTRUCTION through the seasonConstruction crews are working on the Kenai Spur Highway between MP 5 and 8.Until the end of August, road work is partially suspended to allow utility work to be completed.Minimal traffic control should be expected at this time.KALIFORNSKY BEACH ROAD MP 16 to 22.2, RESURFACING and SIGNALIZATIONROAD CONSTRUCTION through the seasonINTERSECTION CLOSURE: Expected to occur between 8:00pm Friday, August 31 and 6:00amMonday, September 3, the Gas Well Road and Kalifornsky Beach Road intersection will be CLOSED. Please follow posted DETOUR route.INTERSECTION CLOSURE: Expected to occur between 8:00pm Friday, September 7 and6:00am Monday, September 10, the Ciechanski Road and Kalifornsky Beach Road intersection will be CLOSED. Please follow posted DETOUR to Kimberly Drive and Kristina Way. Drivers should expect DELAYS up to 10 minutes during each CLOSURE.Vehicles longer than 60 feet traveling eastbound on Kalifornsky Beach Road may have issues turning right onto the Gas Well Road DETOUR.Drivers should expect SINGLE LANE CLOSURES, multiple flagging operations and temporary approach CLOSURES between 8:00pm and 6:30am.Off-road vehicles should be aware of construction crews and construction activities by the ATV trail.Traffic signals are on a timer, drivers should be aware of changed traffic patterns.HSIP: STERLING HIGHWAY SHOULDER WIDENING MP 97 to 118ROAD CONSTRUCTION through the seasonExpected to begin in August, construction crews will be working nightly from Sundaythrough Thursday, between 8:00pm and 6:00am.Drivers should expect flagging operations, LANE RESTRICTIONS, and construction vehicle activity. Please drive with caution in construction zones.Drivers should also be aware of crews working on the shoulder during the day.last_img read more