U-17 WC: Goel disappointed with lack of progress in Kochi

first_imgKochi, Apr 28 (PTI) Sports Minister Vijay Goel today expressed disappointment over the delay in completion of works at the main stadium and training grounds here for the FIFA U- 17 World Cup. “We are much behind the schedule. We were supposed to complete the work by March 31,” he said after reviewing the preparations works at Jawaharlal Stadium, one of six venues selected for hosting matches, and the training grounds. FIFAs inspection team had last month expressed deep concern over the pace of work at the stadium, and set May 15 as deadline for completing work. “Though I am disappointed over delay in completion of various works, the officers have promised me that most of the works, especially that at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, will be completed by May 15,” Goel told a press conference here. The Local Organising Committee of FIFA U-17 World Cup had earlier this month asserted that Kochi was on its way to complete preparation work by May 15. “I have told them that I am going to play football after May 15 in this ground. So you have to be ready, we will have a demonstration football show there (Kochi),” Goel said. The ministers visit was necessitated due to delay in preparation. “Because of the delay, the minister (Goel) is here.So that I pushed the panic button that the Sports Ministry is very serious about the preparations of this FIFA World Cup venue,” he said. He said he was “very much worried” about the delay. “My Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) wants world class arrangements for hosting the international event. So I am taking personal interest in the arrangements and the preparations of FIFA World Cup,” the Minister said.advertisementHe said May 15 is the deadline for completing works at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and all the training centres. “They wanted May 31 as deadline for completing works at training centres. Now I have shifted the date to May 15 except for one or two things which they might not be able to put up before May 15. That relaxation is there,” Goel said.The minister dismissed apprehensions that the venue could be dropped due to the delay.Asked about it, Goel said, “That is not needed. I have full confidence in them that they will complete by May 15.”The review meeting chaired by the minister was attended by members of the tournaments local organising committee and representatives of state sports federations. The meeting also paid a tribute to legendary Kerala footballer T K S Mani, who passed away in Kochi yesterday. Mani was captain of Keralas first ever Santosh Trophy winning team in 1973. He had scored a hat-trick in the final against Railways. PTI TGB APR AH AHlast_img read more

Toronto stock index begins 2018 hitting new record high loonie strengthens

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index cruised to a new record high in its first day of trading for the year, as the loonie gained ground on the U.S. dollar.The S&P/TSX composite index surged 100.86 points to 16,309.99 on Tuesday, with energy and mining shares among major advancers on the commodity-heavy index.The February crude contract was down five cents to US$60.37 per barrel. A rally late in December sent oil to its highest price since June 2015.“Oil, up where it is right now, is maintaining that $60-plus level and at that price there are a lot of shale producers that are quite profitable,” said Craig Jerusalim, portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.“And with the profitability of those shale producers we’re likely to see the supply response come on at this point. So it will be tough for prices to be maintained at these levels.”Elsewhere in commodities, the February natural gas contract was up 10 cents to US$3.06 per mmBTU, as the cold snap that continues to blanket many parts of North America is driving short-term natural gas prices higher.The February gold contract added US$6.80 to US$1,316.10 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents to US$3.28 a pound.South of the border, technology and health-care companies jumped as U.S. stocks started 2018 the same way they spent the last one: rising steadily and setting records.“This time of the year the prognostications are often for the continuance of the trend and it’s going to continue until there’s some sort of hiccup,” said Jerusalim.“But for the time being people are still optimistic…. It’s almost that fear of missing out where investors are chasing returns. At some point there’s going to be a catalyst that changes that sentiment.”In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 104.79 points to 24,824.01. The S&P 500 index was up 22.20 points to 2,695.81 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 103.51 points to 7,006.90, both record highs.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of $79.89 cents US, up 0.18 of a U.S. cent.Jerusalim said the loonie’s strength has been surprising given the divergence of macro data coming out of North America.“The United States has been stronger as of late. Combine that with interest rate policies where people are expecting interest rates to move higher south of the border where they’re expected to say flat in Canada,” he said.“That should suggest that the stronger loonie is not going to be sustainable in the medium term.”Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

Northern Development to assist local businesses affected by mill closures and curtailments

first_imgNorthern Development Initiative Trust CEO, Joel McKay, says this program will help to offset the impacts from mill closures.“The Trust is very aware of the potential economic impacts mill closures and curtailments may have on communities and businesses in our service region. This program seeks to help offset those impacts and sustain our communities during this difficult time.”For more information on the rebate program, you can visit Northern Development’s website. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Development has announced on Monday that it will be stepping in to help local businesses affected by the mill closures and curtailments.According to Northern Development, through the Forestry Affected Business Rebate, they now are offering a consulting rebate, of up to 75 percent or $15,000, to small and medium-sized businesses in its service region for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business efforts.Northern Development says this newly introduced program is an offshoot of the Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program, which offers rebates to businesses in the industrial supply and services sector.last_img read more

Mamata slams UP CM for calling Indian Army Modi ji ki sena

first_imgHowrah (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at her Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath for reportedly referring to the Indian Army as “Modi ji ki sena”, saying it was an “insult” and humiliation for the force. Describing the Indian Army as the an asset of the nation, Banerjee said it belongs to the countrymen, and called upon the people to “stand up and reject” Adityanath’s statement. “It is shocking to hear the UP CM saying that the Indian Army is the ‘Modi Sena’. Such blatant personalisation and usurping of our beloved Indian Army is an insult and a humiliation,” the Trinamool Congress supremo tweeted. “We are proud of our Army. They belong to all. They are a great asset of our nation, and not a cassette of the BJP. People of this country must stand up and reject this statement,” she said.last_img read more

France ready to fight terrorists who killed 2 journalists in Mali

first_imgBordeaux – A crisis meeting was held in the Presidential Palace this morning and an investigation into the journalists’ death is to be launched.French President Hollande held a crisis meeting on Sunday morning at the Elysee in the aftermath of the murder of two journalists from Radio France Internationale, Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, who were kidnapped and killed in northern Mali yesterday.The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice, Laurent Fabius and Christiane Taubira attended the meeting. The hour long meeting consisted in looking at the judicial follow-up to these killings and assessing the strength of the “Serval”operation in Mali. After the meeting, Laurent Fabius confirmed the journalists were shot dead. “The murderers are the ones we are fighting, terrorist groups who reject democracy and refuse elections,” said the Foreign Minister.According to RFI, our colleagues’ driver was held at gunpoint by a turbaned man speaking a Tuareg dialect. Meanwhile, the attackers tied up the journalists and took them into their vehicle. The kidnappers then fled, and the bodies of the journalists were found less than two hours later, a dozen kilometers away.The circumstances of their death, however, are still unclear. The Tuaregs are not the only suspects since Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is still present in the region, despite the presence of French troops. “Kidal is the only region where the sovereignty of the state is not effective,” declared Soumeilou Boubeye Maiga, Mali’s Minister of Defense on Sunday. “The situation is so complicated that everything is possible,” he added.Paris’ prosecutor opened an investigation regarding kidnapping followed by murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise.Francois Hollande and his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita talked on Saturday, and both “expressed their willingness to relentlessly pursue the fight against terrorist groups that are present in northern Mali, “stated the Elysee. “The heinous murders in Kidal can only strengthen the determination of both countries to continue and win this common fight against terrorism,” the leaders stated.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

No Team Has Ever Started A Season Hotter Than This Years Warriors

142000Spurs1694.459.9 222013Spurs1681.858.4 191965Celtics1687.159.5 281985Celtics1677.258.2 101972Bucks1703.463.9 261998Bulls1678.459.0 92014Spurs1708.160.6 161981Lakers1693.360.2 71986Lakers1725.062.1 RANKYEARTEAMELO AFTER 10 GAMESEXPECTED WINS PER 82 GAMES 52002Lakers1725.762.2 31987Celtics1736.762.9 Last season’s Golden State Warriors were a great story. Adding a new coach to what was already an exciting young core, they made The Leap and finally melded their talented roster into a champion — as well as one of the best teams in NBA history.But even after all that, the Warriors still had naysayers. Over the offseason, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers pointed out Golden State’s good fortune in having to face neither his team nor the San Antonio Spurs during its playoff run. (The Clippers, if you recall, had a chance to stand in the Warriors’ way — and whiffed on it.) Others simply wondered if things had gone too smoothly for the Warriors and questioned whether they’d be able to overcome greater adversity when it inevitably presented itself.Few defending champs have had to explain themselves as much as Golden State did this summer. But when the league rolled out the balls and started playing games again, the Warriors picked up right where they left off.Actually, strike that — over the past three weeks, they’ve somehow played even better than the lofty standard they set for themselves last season. According to our Elo ratings — which have always loved this Warriors squad — no team in NBA history has looked so good 10 games into a season:1“Expected wins per 82 games” represents Elo’s estimate of a team’s true talent relative to its league — essentially, it answers the question, “How many games would this team win in a season against an average schedule?” 112009Lakers1700.660.2 132014Heat1694.559.5 252006Pistons1679.558.7 151968Sixers1693.863.3 It might not hold up over an entire season, but the Warriors have improved at both ends of the floor in the early going. The offense is moving the ball more, simultaneously drawing more fouls and shooting more 3-pointers (which means fewer of those dreaded midrange jumpers2According to the shooting zones defined by NBA.com.), and on defense, they’re doing just about everything a teensy bit better. Plus, five of their top six minute-earners have a higher Box Plus/Minus (BPM) than they did a season ago,3The only holdout? Klay Thompson, who’s almost certainly going to start shooting better and rein in those turnovers. headlined by Stephen Curry’s outrageously high +15.4 mark.It’s not hard to tell how Curry, in particular, has gotten off to such a ridiculous statistical start this season. He’s notched 30 or more points in six of Golden State’s 10 games, including a 53-point outing against the New Orleans Pelicans and a couple more 40-point performances: 61993Bulls1725.562.8 122003Mavericks1696.459.8 172015Spurs1692.759.3 292010Lakers1676.058.0 If Curry’s BPM stays this high all season, it would make for the best individual season in modern NBA history. Of course, that’s something our preseason CARMELO projections assigned a roughly 0.9 percent probability to, so it’s likely he’ll come back down to earth a bit between now and next April.But Curry himself also typifies what might be a slightly new tendency in Golden State’s offense. Like his team, Curry is shooting fewer twos than ever but getting to the line more, eschewing the midrange game in favor of more shots in the restricted area, as well as more of every type of 3-pointer. These marginal changes in shot selection can add up: If Curry maintains his average rate of points per shot within each zone,4And we can argue how much that’s a valid assumption — especially since Curry seems to be assisting himself more in the midrange than last year, which is bad. But these shifts are so subtle that I think it’s a fair baseline to start from. he’ll essentially get four “free” points for every 100 shots he takes from the floor, a number that balloons to 54 points — or almost two extra wins — when you take 1,371 shots per season.It remains to be seen if Curry and the Warriors can keep this up. Certainly, they’re not going to keep beating the rest of the league by 17 points per game. But it’s notable that Golden State has come out of the blocks so quickly this season. After a summer spent fending off doubts about the long-term viability of its style of play, this team seems determined to extend the Year of the Warriors into 2016 and beyond. 241973Bucks1680.361.3 81999Jazz1710.761.4 12016Warriors1793.866.8 232008Spurs1680.458.5 212010Cavaliers1684.358.8 272005Spurs1677.458.7 41992Bulls1729.663.4 21997Bulls1785.567.1 301991Pistons1675.759.6 201989Pistons1685.160.1 181982Celtics1687.559.5 read more

The NFL Is Botching Kickoff Returns

Citing concerns about safety, the NFL adopted a rule change last offseason that moved touchbacks on kickoffs five yards out to the 25-yard line, ostensibly to reduce the number of kick returns, though perhaps with the added benefit of juicing the league’s offense.For its stated purpose, the effect of the rule change has been underwhelming. Of non-onside kickoffs this season, 39 percent have been returned. While this is an all-time low, it’s only down from 42 percent last season, which was already well below the 52 percent average from 2011-14, which was way below the average before the tee placement for kickoffs was moved to the 35-yard line in 2011. It’s not clear that this decline is any greater than what we would have expected if the rule change on returns hadn’t been adopted, based on the ongoing kicker improvement that has been taking place across the board.While there are multiple issues at play, the main reason the change hasn’t been more effective is straightforward: Despite kick returns out of the end zone being rendered a demonstrably worse bet, teams keep trying them.Below is a chart showing the league average starting field position for standard kickoff returns1Meaning returns from non-onside kickoffs kicked from the 35-yard line, excluding returns that ended in a lost fumble. from near the end zone: In 2015, the Jacksonville Jaguars returned 24 percent of kickoffs out of the end zone, and had the seventh-worst average starting field position in the league. In 2016, they have the lowest return rate from the end zone in the league at just under 9 percent3Jacksonville returned 8.7 percent to the Carolina Panthers’ 9.3 percent. and are tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the second-best starting field position after those kickoffs (both 0.8 yards better than if they’d taken the touchbacks). Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears went from returning 37 percent in 2015 to returning 48 percent in 2016. Yet, despite seeing their starting field position improve from the 23-yard line to the 24-yard line, their advantage fell from being tops in the league (by a wide margin) to being 20th — and one of the 25 teams that would have been better off always taking a knee.Further complicating matters, kickoffs that drop short of the goal line seem to be better for the kicking team than touchbacks (as you can see on the first chart above). Before the new rule came into play, the league anticipated that coaches and kickers might try to game the system by kicking just short of the end zone. This seems to have happened, at least somewhat, with 79 percent of kickoffs going into the end zone this season, down from 87 percent last season. That’s a low mark since the kickoff spot was moved in 2011 (in a stat that had been on the rise). But the fact that teams have been willing to inefficiently return out of the end zone may have limited the incentive to try.If this rule stays, it’s likely that teams will adjust eventually on both sides, meaning fewer returns out of the end zone but fewer kicks into the end zone, as well. Kickoffs may essentially go the way of punts, with how often a kicker pins the opposing team inside the touchback line (“In 25”) becoming an important stat for kickoff specialists.Check out our latest NFL predictions. This chart doesn’t give any bonus value to touchdowns, which are slightly more valuable than their equivalent in yardage, though it also doesn’t reflect returns with fumbles lost (which are rare, but still considerably more common than return touchdowns). While some endgame situations may arise where even a bad return is worth trying, and perhaps some of those returns were legitimate responses to openings presented by the kick-coverage unit, ultimately there is no reason to be significantly under the red line save poor judgment. If the entire league had simply taken a knee on these 356 kickoffs it returned out of the endzone, it would have saved a combined 1,108 yards of field position.Kick returners have been more judicious this season — just 23 percent of standard kickoffs have been returned from the end zone, compared with 33 percent last year2That 33 percent was also down from the 42 percent between 2011 and 2014. — but little has changed about the average result of such returns, other than whether they’re worth it.Some teams appear to be figuring this out and have been rewarded as a result. Others have declined the free yards and continued running it out, and they have been punished accordingly: read more