First-time MPsI don’t know. I have no clue why it happens.” That’s 33-year-old Anupriya Patel’s reply when asked what her advice to PrimeMinister Narendra Modi to curbinflation would be. The first-timeMP from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, has no pretensions of being a politician despite being Apna Dal founder Sone Lal Patel’s,First-time MPsI don’t know. I have no clue why it happens.” That’s 33-year-old Anupriya Patel’s reply when asked what her advice to PrimeMinister Narendra Modi to curbinflation would be. The first-timeMP from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, has no pretensions of being a politician despite being Apna Dal founder Sone Lal Patel’s daughter. Room no. 1401 at Delhi’s Ashok Hotel, where she is staying, is chock-a-block with supporters but that doesn’t stop Anupriya from admitting that she hates being surrounded by people 24×7. “If I become a minister tomorrow, this crowd will swell. I’ll have new-found relatives.” She also admires Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav for his ability to remember every party worker’s name and face; this, despite regular tiffs with the government led by his son, Akhilesh Yadav.Apna Dal is a BJP ally but Anupriya says “these people are mad” when asked about Sangh Parivar affiliates Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene. She even claims she is against arranged marriages and supports live-in relationships, even if she herself took the traditional route. The psychology graduate from Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College, however, has her task cut out as an MP. “My two priorities are setting up a university and a super-specialty hospital. Then I want to provide housing, drinking water and sanitation to tribals in my constituency.”Fresh facesOne of the 315 MPs who have entered the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2014, Anupriya represents a new breed of politicians who are ambitious, goal-oriented and outspoken. From Congress’s Sushmita Dev, who admits to having used money, political patronage and muscle power for electoral success, to Nationalist Congress Party’s Mohammad Faizal, who rubbishes the perception that Modi is anti-Muslim, to Babul Supriyo, who dismisses politician’s white kurtapyjama as mere symbolism, the 16th Lok Sabha’s ‘freshers’ epitomise the young and restless India which believes in performance over posturing.”Today, people demand instant results,” says Lakshadweep MP Faizal, 38, who defeated Hamdullah Sayeed, son of veteran Congress leader P.M. Sayeed. Faizal, an MBA from Calicut University, is already working on a tourism promotion model aimed at generating employment in the 11 islands and plans to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lakshadweep to showcase its potential.advertisementFor Nizamnagar MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha, 36, daughter of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, representing a newborn state brings with it immense responsibility. During campaigning, she had released a personal manifesto for her constituency apart from the party manifesto. “I have to deliver everything I promised,” says the BTech graduate from Hyderabad’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University.Daughter of Assam Congress veteran Santosh Mohan Dev, Sushmita, 41, considers politics to be a means and not an end. “I will leave politics the day I feel I have failed in my job,” says the lawyer-turned politician, an alumnus of Miranda House in Delhi.Nearly half of the 60 newcomers under 40 belong to political families. But they aren’t ready to accept that fact as the primary catalyst for their success. “Political patronage perhaps helps in getting a ticket but to earn votes, you must work at the grassroots. I visited all 436 villages in my constituency while others could not touch even 200,” says Dushyant Chautala, 26, the youngest-ever Lok Sabha member.Dynasty never diesThe Indian National Lok Dal MP from Hisar, who is the grandson of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, has scripted a family revival of sorts with his win after his father Ajay Singh Chautala and grandfather were jailed last year on corruption charges. Dushyant points to the other MP from his party, Charanjeet Singh, who won from Sirsa, as an example of a rank outsider making it big in polls. “He doesn’t have a political background. He joined politics at 21 and worked his way up to become an MP at 36.” He finds support from TRS MP from Peddapalli, Suman Balka, 31, an Osmania University student, who was part of the long agitation for the creation of Telangana. “If you work for a cause, opportunities will come your way. I got a ticket for my commitment to the people,” says Balka, who ticked off a security guard in Parliament for asking if he belonged to Andhra Pradesh. “It’s Telangana.”Young bloodAnother dynast, Chirag Paswan, 32, son of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, believes political patronage can at times be a liability. “There are several instances of those with money and patronage being pushed into oblivion,” he says. The BTech dropout decided to join politics in 2011 after seeing immigrants from Bihar “being subjected to humiliation” in Mumbai, where he attempted- without much success-a foray into Bollywood as an actor. He is seen as one of the prime movers behind LJP’s coup in stitching an alliance with BJP and winning all the six Lok Sabha seats it contested-including Jamui, where Chirag defeated Speaker of the Bihar Assembly, Udai Narain Choudhary. BJP’s Nandurbar MP Heena Gavit, 26, a medical student who sat for her MD exams after the polls, says that being the daughter of Vijaykumar Gavit, who represented the constituency four times, certainly helped, but intent, a willingness to work for the poor and dedication were key to her success in unseating ninetime Congress MP Manikrao Gavit by a margin of over 1 lakh votes.Outsiders get a look-inadvertisementOlympic gold medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, 44, feels joining politics was a natural progression from his military and sports background. The BJP Lok Sabha MP from Jaipur Rural says it’s important for good people to join the nation’s decision-making process. “If we don’t occupy them, others will.” Like Rathore, Priyanka Singh Rawat, who has an MA in political science from Rohilkhand University, Uttar Pradesh, entered politics because she believes educated people can serve society more responsibly and with greater impact. “I always wanted to do something for the country and realised politics is the best platform,” says the 28-year-old BJP MP who beat Congress stalwart P.L. Punia by a margin of more than 2 lakh votes in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh.Betting on a new startDr. Dharam Vira Gandhi, 62, one of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) four winning candidates from Punjab, attributes his success to the ability to connect with people. Of three-time MP Preneet Kaur, Union minister in the UPA regime, the Patiala physician says, “She failed to calculate the impact of my ground-level connect with people over the past decade.” Gandhi happily waives his consultation fee for the scores of brick kiln workers and hand-to-mouth farm labourers who queue up each day outside his modest clinic in Sukh Enclave, not far from Kaur’s plush address, the Moti Bagh Palace. He plans to keep working at the Gandhi Heart Clinic: “Parliament works for a maximum of three months each year. The rest will be for my patients and the people.”Most of the newcomers, cutting across party lines, feel that corruption cannot be weeded out by mere legislation. Several even blame the system for forcing politicians to turn corrupt. “The change must come from people and not politicians,” says Sushmita. Dushyant recounts how every village today demands money from politicians to hold various sports tournaments.Kavitha, however, believes that politicians have to play a bigger role in rooting out corruption. “We (TRS) don’t want our state to get into what India as a nation has been suffering for so many years. We as leaders have the responsibility to play the role of watchdogs,” says Kavitha. Sociologist Dipankar Gupta says AAP, despite its poor show at the hustings, has provided and model and structure for good people to join and succeed in politics. “AAP’s success was inspiring. The voter must support a candidate who promises development instead of one who offers free alcohol,” agrees Sushmita.advertisementBJP’s Karnataka MPs, Bhagavanta Khuba, 47, and Pratap Simha, 37, feel their victories represent the change Sushmita wants-both won without big money or political muscle. Now, they hope for a change in the culture of political parties. “Parties operate like the mafia. Most are fiercely clannish. As a result, even the brightest aspirants are kept out of politics,” says Simha, who has a master’s in journalism from Mangalore University.Leading from the frontThe new brigade is determined not to repeat the terrible performance of MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha: Over 74 bills were left pending as the House spent only 13 per cent of the allotted time in legislation, Parliament’s primary mandate. They also hope that uproarious scenes-from members coming to blows to pepper spray being brandished-which typified parliamentary proceedings in recent times are a thing of the past. “It will be our collective responsibility to see that such things don’t happen. We are here to discuss, debate and get our job done,” says Bollywood singer Babul Supriyo, 44, who secured on a BJP ticket from Asansol in West Bengal.Dushyant believes that unlike the last Lok Sabha, it’s not a divided house, so the Government will not face much trouble in passing legislation. “The challenge for the Government is to get the Opposition’s voice heard in the Lok Sabha and ensure bills are not stalled in Rajya Sabha.”Dipankar Gupta plays down the surfeit of young parliamentarians, pointing out that the 1980s saw resurgence of leaders such as Chandra Sekhar but there were no dramatic change to Indian politics. Gupta feels that the performance of first-time MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, will depend on the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. “He must bring in the changes as he has a clear and decisive mandate. The younger politicians will certainly follow. I see no reason why that can not happen,” he says. “I don’t have much hope from those who come from political families. But the selfmade are often the most hard-working.Moreover, MPs from regional parties, despite their language barrier, try to articulate their views more often in Parliament than those from national parties,” says Nani Gopal Mahanta, who teaches political science at Gauhati University.Whether or not these ‘freshers’ usher in a new era in Parliament, what India wants is less talk, more action. “I don’t want to give a bhashan (lecture) on something I don’t know. I would rather focus on something I can do,” says Kavitha, as if on cue. She should. The nation will be watching.Followthe writer on Twitter @KDscribeWith inputs from Santosh Kumar, Asit Jolly, Rajeev P.I., M.G. Arun, Amitabh Srivastava To read more, get your copy of India Today here.
Barcelona: La Liga champions Barcelona said they will become the first sports club to generate revenue exceeding one billion euros ($1.10 billion) this season.A statement from the club on Thursday said they had made record turnover of 990 million euros last season and projected an increase to 1.047 billion euros for the 2019/20 campaign. “This figure represents a new record in the world of sport, and means the surpassing of internal forecasts since the Strategic Plan approved by the Board of Directors expected profits to reach the figure of 1 billion euros in 2021,” added Barca.The club, which is owned by its fans, forecast a relatively modest profit of 11 million euros after tax in the current season and said it had a debt of 217.2 million euros.The Catalan club invested 255 million euros on players in the close season, the bulk of which was spent prising Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid for 120 million euros and recruiting Frenkie de Jong from Ajax Amsterdam for 75 million.Barca CEO Oscar Grau said they also tried to sign Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, who joined Juventus, adding that they wanted to sign Neymar back from Paris St Germain but did not want to compromise the club’s financial stability.”We made a very big effort to get Neymar, we did everything possible. We made two offers, one including players and one without them but we got the feeling PSG never wanted to sell him,” he told reporters.”We are not going to lose control when it comes to players. We want the best team around but we also want to be sustainable.”Barca’s accounts also revealed they expect to spend 1.007 billion euros this season, an increase of 34 million euros, but stated they will reduce their wage bill by 18 million from last season, a 3% reduction. ($1 = 0.9052 euros) Barcabarcelonabillioneuro First Published: September 20, 2019, 8:27 AM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.
Vienna: Matteo Berrettini on Friday ensured he would become only the fourth Italian man to break into the world top 10 when he reached the semi-finals of the Vienna ATP event.The 23-year-old defeated Moscow champion Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6 (4), giving the third seed a last-four clash against home favourite Dominic Thiem. Top seed Thiem was leading Pablo Carreno Busta 5-0 when the Spaniard called it quits in their quarter-final.Berrettini, who made the US Open semi-finals in September, will become the fourth Italian to enter the top 10 of the ATP rankings on Monday after Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Fabio Fognini.”I am really happy. It was a tough match, mentally and physically,” said Berrettini who will be playing in his eighth semi-final of 2019 on Saturday.Another HUGE win for 🇮🇹 Matteo Berrettini! With his eighth semi-final appearance of 2019 to come…Is the Italian on his way to the #NittoATPFinals?🎥: @TennisTV | @ErsteBankOpen pic.twitter.com/dFPFXrHPat— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 25, 2019 “Andrey is playing his best tennis so far. Last week, he won Moscow, so he was feeling confident and I saw it on the court.”The current world number 11 is trying to wrap up one of the two remaining spots in next month’s season-ending ATP Finals in London.Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas have already booked their places in the London showpiece. ATP Finalsatp rankingsATP Tourdominic thiem First Published: October 25, 2019, 11:35 PM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.
“Shocked and hurt” by Shahid Afridi’s comments that Pakistan’s cricketers were loved more by Indians than the fans here, former captain Javed Miandad has said that players making such statements should be “ashamed” of themselves.”These cricketers should be ashamed of themselves for saying such a thing. Shame on you,” Miandad said on the ‘Aaj TV’ channel.Lahore High Court has also issued notice to Afridi on his current residential address in India to explain his statement. The court has asked Afridi to explain his statement in 15 days.Afridi and senior player Shoaib Malik had praised India after landing there for the World Twenty20, insisting that they have never felt threatened in the country even though their departure was delayed due to security concerns. (ICC World T20: Pakistan star Shoaib Malik has no security fears in India) “We have always enjoyed playing in India and have been loved by Indian crowds more than crowds back home in Pakistan,” Afridi had said.Miandad said Pakistan had gone to India to play in the World T20 but it didn’t mean that the players should pander to the hosts. (Shahid Afridi disagrees with Rohit Sharma’s views on Mohammad Amir) “What have the Indians given us? Speak the truth even while in India. For the last five years what have they given us or done with Pakistan cricket. Having served Pakistan cricket for so many years I am shocked and hurt to hear such comments from our players,” Miandad said.The veteran of 124 Tests said the Pakistan cricket authorities must look into this matter and there should be a proper media classes for the players when they go abroad.advertisement”The job of this team is to go and play well in India not make such unnecessary comments,” he said.Pakistan’s former Test opener and chief coach Mohsin Khan also expressed his surprise over the comments from Afridi and Malik.”They are senior players and should be careful while speaking to the media specially while touring India,” Khan said.
Fresh from two consecutive victories, a rejuvenated Delhi Daredevils (DD) will take on injury-ravaged Rising Pune Supergiants in their last league outing of the Indian Premier League at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium on Thursday. (Full IPL 2016 Coverage)With five wins out of seven games, the home side have reached a new momentum after registering consecutive wins against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Gujarat Lions to occupy the second spot in the team standings.On the other hand, having lost key players like Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis and Mitchell Marsh, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Pune franchise have struggled to find the momentum going in their favour, managing only two wins from eight outings.Unlike the previous seasons, the Daredevils have approached each game with a horses for courses approach, making the right changes under the watchful eyes of team mentor Rahul Dravid and coach Paddy Upton. (Zaheer Khan lauds India U-19 hero Rishabh Pant)The credit for Delhi’s turnaround also goes to skipper Zaheer Khan, who has managed to take early breakthroughs while opening the bowling and also at the death. The franchise’s decision to invest in the youngsters has also borne fruit in the tournament so far.Young Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson have been a revelation in the batting order while leg-spinner Amit Mishra and his left-arm partner Shahbaz Nadeem have been impressive in containing the rival batsmen and also picking up wickets at regular intervals.The overseas players have also contributed to Delhi’s success with South African keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock providing decent starts to the team. His Protea teammates — Imran Tahir, Jean-Paul Duminy and Chris Morris — have also played a pivotal role in the side’s success.advertisementWest Indian hitman Carlos Braithwate, who was included for the match against KKR, enthralled the Delhi crowd with his all-round efforts — 34 from 11 balls and three wickets — to pocket the man of the match award.On the other hand, with just six more matches to go in the league stage, Dhoni’s brigade will have their task cut out for Thursday’s game.Left with very little to choose from, the team will bank on a good start from the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, George Bailey and Usman Khwaja, apart from Dhoni himself in the middle order.Even if the batters have done a decent job, the Pune franchise have found it tough to defend with the bowling unit letting Dhoni down.Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been a shadow of his previous self while pacer Ashok Dinda and Thisara Perera have been milked for runs by the opposition batters.Teams From:Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Sam Billings, Khaleel Ahmed, Carlos Brathwaite, Nathan-Coulter-Nile, Quinton De Kock, JP Duminy, Akhil Herwadkar, Imran Tahir, Shreyas Iyer, Mahipal Lomror, Chama Milind, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Chris Morris, Shahbaz NAdeem, karun Nair, Pawan Negi, Rishabh Pant, Pratyush Singh, Sanju Samson, Pawan Suyal and Jayant Yadav.Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (capt), Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Mirugan Ashwin, R Ashwin, George Bailey, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Scott Boland, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khwaja, Albie Morkel, Ishwar Pandey, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Ashok Dinda, Peter Hanscomb, Ishwar Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Saurabh Tiwary and Adam Zampa.
Hyderabad, Aug 25 (PTI) Actor-director Sohail Khan said his next directorial venture “Freaky Ali”, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead, is an inspirational movie through which they wanted to establish golf as a common mans game. “When we were researching, we visited various locations. Infact a lot of people said this to us that the myth (about golf) is that it is only played on Sundays, only retired people play it and only rich play it,” Sohail said during a promotional event of the film.”We want to break this myth and we want to encourage kids in schools and in colleges so that they can start coming and playing the game. Investment on golf is huge. With this film we want to establish it as a common mans game.Talking about the films storyline, Sohail said, “In the movie, the actor starts playing golf (which is) considered to be a rich mans sport, and reaches the national tournament. Its basically a inspirational film.”Sohail said it took him two-three years to develop the film.”It is a humane story. It is a sports comedy. Sports for the inspiration and comedy for the entertainment.”The director said when he told Nawazuddin that the film is on golf, the “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” actor started playing golf.”Our basic story is that the character does not know how to play golf and but starts playing it. He was kind of perfecting his swing…he is gifted… When Nawazuddin started (acting in the film) he was like becoming a professional getting follow through right, then I told him you should look raw in the film.”advertisementArbaaz Khan, who has also acted in the film said, “It is a very simple but classical plot of our underdog who reaches the top. Golf is the backdrop of the film.. we have simplified the game in our film and even those who do not know the sport will be able to understand the game. It is a story of a winner who faces struggles and who finally reaches his goal. It is a wholesome entertainer drama mainstream, comedy.””Playing golf was not easy. It is a technical game. I had seen it only on TV,” Nawazuddin said.Also starring Amy Jackson and Nikitin Dheer, “Freaky Ali” is scheduled to release on September 9. PTI VVK DK JCH
Transfers ‘Man Utd won’t sign any attackers in the summer’ – Mourinho Kris Voakes Man Utd Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 06:30 2/5/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(5) Getty Images Transfers Manchester United Premier League José Mourinho A. Sánchez Paul Pogba The United boss insists he will not be looking for additions in the forward line at the season’s end following Alexis Sanchez’s January arrival Jose Mourinho says there is no chance of Manchester United looking to add an attacker in the summer transfer window after snapping up Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January.Sanchez netted his first goal for the club in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford, following in with the rebound after Jonas Lossl had saved his penalty.And Mourinho has stressed that the versatility of the Chilean, as well as that of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, means he has no need to head into the market for another forward in the summer despite early links to the likes of Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Having started Sanchez from the left of attack then used him as a lone striker late in the game against Huddersfield, the United manager said that his ability to use attackers in more than one spot is one of his side’s key weapons.“That’s the point, that’s the objective. The objective is that now we have one, apart from Zlatan Ibrahimoivc but let’s forget Zlatan for the moment, we have only one number nine and from having only one number nine now we have more number nines,” said Mourinho.“We have Alexis, we have Romelu Lukaku, we have Martial, we have Rashford. Rashford can play on the left and on the right, Alexis is exactly the same, all of them apart from Lukaku can also play from behind, they can also play as a second striker.”And Mourinho added that such a raft of options insures there is no need to buy more forwards come the end of the season.“It’s bad for you because you like to have things to write and things to speculate especially in the summer, but I don’t want attacking players so don’t speak about attacking players coming here because nobody is coming here.“Juan Mata, Lukaku, Rashford, Martial, Alexis … I don’t want attacking players so for speculation in the summer you have to go to other areas, but for attacking players I am really happy.“We have to improve not in the quality of the players, we have to improve in the dynamic of the team and in the efficiency because even on Saturday it was a game to score more goals than two.”Besides being Sanchez’s home debut, Saturday’s win was also notable for the exclusion from the starting XI of £89.5 million midfielder Paul Pogba in favour of academy product Scott McTominay.However, Mourinho insisted he was happy with Pogba’s response to being left on the substitutes bench for the first hour of the game.“The reaction you saw, coming to the pitch with a great desire to play. To be honest, at half-time he was already, because I can analyse body language, he was already at half-time showing that he was ready, he was already with the physio, was already starting his warming up. So I think he showed the way he took it in a very professional way.”United’s victory saw them close the gap behind Premier League leaders Manchester City to 13 points following their neighbours’ earlier draw away to Burnley.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Kompany hails Man City triumph: We’re at our best playing on emotionby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City’s defenders were buzzing after victory over Liverpool on Thursday night.Leroy Sane produced the decisive moment 18 minutes from time as he collected Raheem Sterling’s pass to fire across Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, after it seemed like Roberto Firmino’s stooping 64th-minute header would maintain the visitors’ unbeaten sequence.Sergio Aguero had given City the lead with a rising near-post drive just before the interval, this coming after an earlier moment of drama when Sadio Mane hit the post and John Stones scrambled the ball off the line after his clearance struck goalkeeper Ederson – with data subsequently showing the ball had failed to cross by just 1.12cm.On his clearance, Stones beamed: “I tried to take everything, I spotted the opportunity and I heard it was tight. I’m just happy it didn’t go over the line! Those sort of things can change a game.”Skipper Vincent Kompany also stated: “I’m not worried about the result I’m buzzing with the tremendous performance. We went toe to toe with a very aggressive team and we matched them. It’s still in Liverpool’s hands. It came from our guts, a desire you can’t describe. We are a better team when we play with emotions.”
MOOSE RIVER GOLD MINES, NOVA SCOTIA, – Amid the dull claystone of a tube-shaped sample of rock, the gleaming, pulse-quickening swirl of gold is unmistakable.“It’s quite a special specimen of gold — it’s by far the best visible section of gold we’ve ever intersected,” said Tim Bourque, a geologist with Atlantic Gold Corp, cradling the metre-long sample in his arms.The rock was gathered last fall at the firm’s Fifteen Mile Lake property, one of four deposits it owns in Nova Scotia’s old gold districts.The discovery of the precious metal in such unremarkable hunks of stone is helping to revive a dormant industry — and Bourque hopes it will keep the company’s Moose River Consolidated Project flourishing after its initial Touquoy mine starts up here in September.The company says Touquoy will stamp out 87,000 ounces of gold in its first year — each ounce currently worth over US$1200 each — an indication of the potential riches that have drawn Atlantic Gold (CVE:AGB) and other miners to the interior of the province’s Eastern Shore region.The number of provincial exploration licences shot up from 259, covering 35,000 hectares, to 417 licences covering almost 97,000 hectares last year. Those include other minerals, but the Department of Natural Resources says “gold is a target for many.”Another mining company, Newfoundland-based Anaconda (TSX:ANX), has purchased a gold mine in Goldboro, 185 kilometres northeast of Halifax, with plans to mine and ship ore from the site to its central processing site in Newfoundland within three years.Nova Scotia’s 21st century gold industry differs from the era of underground shafts at Moose River Gold Mines, the site of a world-famous 1936 cave-in that trapped three men and led to the live broadcast of a dramatic rescue that was heard across the continent.Geologists are now seeking tiny flecks of the precious mental in the folds of ordinary, “host” rock that held the quartz, rather than exclusively in the quartz veins that characterize underground gold mines.The new Moose River mines are open pits the size of multiple football fields, using daily explosions to extract tonnes of ore along with a mass crushing and leaching to draw out tiny amounts of gold.The concept relies on massive volumes of ore, a standardization of crushing methods that keep costs down, close proximity to ports and cities — Halifax is less than 90 minutes away — and a relatively strong gold price.John Wightman, executive director of the Nova Scotia Prospectors Association, says the old-timers who ran the underground mines in places like Moose River, Caribou or Goldboro in the last century never would have imagined the scene unfolding near their idled shafts.“We’re looking at deposits for the most part that are disseminated gold, which means the grade is low compared to traditional mines,” he said.At the Touquoy site, pits have been blasted deep into the ground.During a tour, chief operations officer Maryse Belanger says about 25,000 tonnes of ore will start to be moved around the grounds each day this fall.Some will go to build the dam being erected in the distance, other portions go into construction on the site and about a quarter will be put through a processing plant being built on higher ground.“Open pit mining here in Nova Scotia is part of redefining what the (Canadian) industry can do,” she said, as she stands in front of grey rock face where the first ore will be blasted into 15-centimetre chunks.She says after her firm assembled a series of properties in 2014 in the centre of the province, it was able to raise about $150 million in investment.Those funds pay for a processing plant built by Australia’s Ausenco firm, where massive quantities of ore will be pulverized. The flecks of gold that gravity and crushing can’t extract is drawn away by cyanide flowing through tanks.Each tonne of rock averages about 1.45 grams of gold — roughly the equivalent of a few paper clips next to an adult elephant.The gold will be stored in a windowless, three-storey building where furnaces are to create the bullion bars before they’re stored in a thick cement vault currently under construction.As Belanger gives the tour, heavy trucks lumber around the property, building holding areas for a pond where water from the project is stored before being returned to the environment.This discarded water is among the environmental concerns raised by some residents of the region.Retiree Barbara Markovits says nitrogen in the effluent — in part from the explosives — may lead to unnatural enrichment of surrounding waters, leading to potential fish kills.“We remain concerned about the ongoing water quality of the effluent when that mine starts,” said Markovits, a member of the Eastern Shore Forest Watch, who suspects open-pit gold mining may prove to be a temporary industry that’s highly dependent on keeping costs low.The company responded in an email that nitrogen levels can be controlled through proper selection of explosives that won’t produce the residues and are highly insoluble in water.Markovits said her group also wants effluent-quality test results to be placed online within “days or hours.”As well, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is demanding further information on the impacts of the second open pit, the Beaver Dam project, which would have trucks carrying ore over rural highways to Touquoy.Belanger says the company’s response to the issues will be posted “in the coming weeks,” and that its proposed hauling route “does not pass by any existing homes.”But amidst environmental concerns, there are also Nova Scotia mining professionals grateful for the chance to return home for work.The Touquoy site alone is expected to result in 200 new jobs in the area.For geologists and hard-rock miners who grew up in the province, the gold industry means a return home and a chance to prove open pit mining will have a net benefit.Douglas Keating, the son of an Eastern Shore fisherman, spent decades travelling the globe, including time working in Africa with Belanger.“I’ve been in this industry for 35 years and it’s nice to come back home … I’d like to bring a lot more people back here as well,” the chief assayer said during a tour of his lab.
America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest network dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, will honor five extraordinary leaders with the Promise of America Award, its highest honor, at its annual Promise Night Gala in New York City on April 18.The gala will follow Recommit to Kids | The Summit for America’s Future, a daylong convening of business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, education and faith leaders in NYC focused on a national push to refocus the nation on the needs of young people.Promise Night honorees exemplify how leaders from business, entertainment, government, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector each have a role in improving the lives of America’s youth.“There is no better investment of time and money than that which we make in children,” said Alma J. Powell, chair, America’s Promise. “We thank our Promise of America honorees for their extraordinary work on behalf of children and youth and ask others to join us as we recommit ourselves and our work to helping all children reach their American dream.”“Each honoree represents the best in his or her field, and each makes time to better the lives of children,” said America’s Promise President & CEO John Gomperts. “America’s Promise is proud to stand with such a committed group. Their work and advocacy on behalf of young people is exactly what we need to help more young people stay on a path to adult success.”This year’s Promise of America honorees include: • Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO, American Express Company • Common, hip-hop artist, actor, film producer, and founder of the Common Ground Foundation • Arne Duncan, managing partner, Emerson Collective • Bryan Stevenson, executive director, Equal Justice Initiative • Dorothy Stoneman, founder, YouthBuildThe Promise of America Awards honor champions who have answered the call of every American president for the past 40 years to fulfill the Five Promises for children and youth: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to serve.Audra Day, along with the Boys & Girls Harbor Choir, and Kenny G will perform during the evening event.Last year’s Promise of America Award recipients included Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target Corporation; Dr. Angela Diaz, director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center; Patricia de Stacy Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and Magic Johnson, chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises.America’s Promise will present additional awards on April 18th, including the People of Promise, Promise Heroes and the Powell Legacy Awards, which recognize young adult leaders, community leaders and organizations creating change for young people, respectively.To learn more about the 20th anniversary events, please visit www.Recommit2Kids.org.
Megan Walker has been lobbying police for 10 years to release names of people who buy sex. (Submitted photo)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsWhen the Winnipeg Police Service revealed results of it sex-buying crackdown last week one thing was missing – the names of 34 men they arrested.“We’re unable to release the names,” said Const. Rob Carver, a media spokesperson.“It’s not public and we couldn’t do it.”Carver made the comments while revealing the results of Project Guardian, which targeted pursuers of underage sex between June 16 and August 31.He said 34 men – between the ages of 22 and 83 – were arrested for “street sexual exploitation” and charged with obtaining sexual services for consideration.The average age of the girls selling sex was 13.But Carver wouldn’t identify the buyers.He said privacy provisions were at play because the men were “released on what’s called a promise to appear or an appearance notice.”He said the names would appear on the court docket in about three weeks once charges were officially laid.Red dresses have come to symbolize Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (APTN file)That has the head of an Ontario women’s shelter crying foul.“We release the names of drunk drivers, we release the names of those who download pornography, we release the names of those who break into banks,” said Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre.“But when it comes to the lives of women and girls, we’re just going to say, ‘OK, we’re not giving you that information?’”Walker said men who buy sex are “sexual predators” who don’t care if girls are under-age or trafficked into the sex trade against their will.She argues they’re just as dangerous as drug dealers and murderers.“These women and other women are at great risk of future harm if we don’t name these men.”Yet, it took Walker a decade to win over her police service.“It took me 10 years – it took our agency 10 years – to get them to wake up and recognize this was sexual violence,” she said.It was last February when then-London Police Chief John Pare agreed to change the naming policy.“Our agency fought really hard, along with many other agencies like NWAC (Native Women’s Association of Canada) and ONWAC (Ontario Native Women’s Association of Canada), to advocate for criminalizing men who purchase sexual services,” Walker said.The Minnesota Ramsey County sheriff’s office released these photos of men charged in an underage sex sting earlier this summer.The move made London only the ninth city in Canada to no longer withhold the names of those charged with purchasing sex.Pare noted London – like Winnipeg – is a major hub for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. And his force should use every tool to protect girls and women.Walker couldn’t agree more, noting each police chief in Canada has the power to make the names public.“Every single police chief across this country has the authority to make decisions around whether names will be released or not,” she said.“That is within the Police Services Act. So we had a great chief. Finally.”Yet her battle to smash “the patriarchy” is not over.Walker said London media outlets have refused to publish the now-available names and hold sex buyers to the same level of accountability as those accused of other crimes.“Every time it comes to the lives of women and girls: we are dismissed, we don’t count, women and girls are disposable and we are commodities,” she added, noting her agency has taken it upon itself to post the names on social media.“And the media and police and many organizations across the country believe those men need to be protected.”The Winnipeg Police Service withholds names of men arrested for buying sex from minors. (APTN file)However, Sgt. Rick McDougall, of the Winnipeg Police counter-exploitation unit, said more than just privacy is at play.He said first-time sex buyers are given the option of attending an education program instead of being prosecuted – so it’s not fair to release their names in advance.He noted in exchange for spending a day at Winnipeg’s Prostitution Offender Program with counselling by members of The Salvation Army – similar diversion programs exist across Canada – men leave without a criminal record.“Once the offenders go through that, and they get exposed to the true harms that they’re inflicting on these people…the deterring effect is huge,” said McDougall, noting the program boasts “a less than one per cent recidivism rate.”But Alaya McIvor, an Indigenous survivor of sexual exploitation and advocate for those at risk, wonders why sex buyers deserve this special treatment.“They’re exploiting a child in need of protection,” she said in an interview. “It should be a crime – it is a crime – to buy sex from minors.”McIvor testified about her cousin who was murdered in 2011 at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She also organizes an annual memorial walk in Winnipeg on Mother’s Day.“Why do guys get to go to a room for one day…when they just damaged a young kid for the rest of their lives?” she asked.“They need to publish those names; they need to be held accountable.”Under Project Guardian, McDougall noted a further 38 men were stopped and questioned at special checkstops. Five more were arrested from online sexual exploitation.READ Project Guardian press firstname.lastname@example.org@katmarte
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump and General Motors (all times local):2:40 p.m.President Donald Trump is saying he’s “very disappointed” in General Motors closing plants — and he says the White House is “looking at cutting all subsidies” for the auto giant.Trump tweeted his warning Tuesday, a day after GM announced it would shutter five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America.He blasted GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, “for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland” even though “nothing” was “being closed in Mexico & China.”Trump angrily referred to the 2008 federal auto bailout by adding that “the U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!”The president floated the idea of cutting subsidies for GM’s electric cars program.White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not elaborate as to what cuts could be enacted.___2:15 p.m.The White House is expressing “great disappointment” in General Motors after the automobile giant announced it would be cutting thousands of jobs.National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the White House’s reaction was “a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger.”Kudlow met with GM CEO Mary Barra on Monday after the company announced it would shutter five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America. Kudlow says it felt as though GM “kind of turned” its back on President Donald Trump by closing the plants in the Midwest.Kudlow says he didn’t see a recession in the offing and didn’t rule out that the White House may take action against GM.General Motors Co. says it’s abandoning many of its car models and restructurings to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.The Associated Press
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that the future of thousands of Sierra Leonean children who once fought one of the world’s most vicious civil wars has now been thrown into doubt by a shortfall in funding for on-going education re-integration programmes.The agency’s two-year long educational courses for former child soldiers in Sierra Leone had scored many notable successes before donor support began to dwindle, UNICEF said, stressing the need for almost $1.4 million immediately and another $2.5 million in the near future.“We are now going to close these courses less than half-way through. We will have thousands of youth on the streets, many of whom have toted guns, who have had a taste of success in school, and to whom we are handing the bitter pill of failure,” UNICEF Representative to Sierra Leone Aboubacry Tall said from the capital Freetown.A total of almost 100,000 children would be affected by the pending cuts, a setback to the promises made during the 2000 peace settlement to make education a cornerstone of the demobilization process. “If we can’t show proof of the dividends of peace to children, how can we prove the dividends of peace to adults?” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “We’re faced this month with literally shutting down re-education and re-training programmes, and disengaging with thousands of young people who trusted us to deliver.”Ms. Bellamy warned that this was a dangerous development for peace in West Africa as a whole. “Many of the children who fight in these armies join because their parents have been killed, and they have no alternative survival structure,” she said.The warning comes at a time when a spate of fresh attacks in recent months, involving the use of child soldiers, has emerged in sub-Saharan Africa. UNICEF said the phenomenon is not limited to that region alone – some 300,000 children involved as soldiers, guerrilla fighters, porters and spies are embroiled in conflicts in 30 countries around the world.
Yesterday, Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane met with representatives of the Ecuadorian Bishops’ Conference, the main partner of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ecuador, a spokesman for the agency said in Geneva.Mr. Morjane then visited the premises of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Refugees – the largest refugee and asylum seeker reception centre in the country. There, he met Colombian asylum seekers as they waited to be interviewed. Since January 2000, Ecuador has received more than 21,000 asylum seekers and has granted refugee status to almost 7,000 individuals, mostly from Colombia.Later yesterday, Mr. Morjane travelled to Lago Agrio in the northern province of Sucumbios, close to the Colombian border. “He said he was struck by the seriousness of the plight of Colombian refugees, but was heartened to see a number of small-scale activities that are benefiting both refugees and local residents,” spokesman Kris Janowski said, hailing a women’s initiative to produce fruit jam and preserves for the local market, supporting community health promoters and organic home farming initiatives in the process.Mr. Morjane arrived in the Ecuadorian capital Quito on Wednesday, where he visited the Office for Refugees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He then met with the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Patricio Zuquilanda. During their talks, the UN official thanked Ecuador for its tradition of hospitality to refugees and urged the Minister to continue to receive Colombian refugees in the same humanitarian spirit.The Assistant High Commissioner also stressed the need to distinguish between people with genuine protection concerns from people engaged in illegal activities, and assured the minister of UNHCR’s continued support to Ecuador in the task of providing protection and assistance to refugees, according to the spokesman.
Following his first visit to the country, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, said that technical and vocational education and training, and collaboration with industry and enterprises “must be strengthened to ensure that the Seychellois acquire the skills and competencies needed to build the nation.”He noted a lack of dedicated, training teachers, a trend he called “very alarming” and said that the profession “is not attractive enough” for the quality education needed.“If the quality of education is to improve, measures must be taken to restore the esteem of the profession, as well as teaching conditions, to ensure the best students are attracted to teaching,” Mr. Singh said, warning that recent gains made in education are at risk if the crisis in teaching recruitment is not urgently addressed. During his eight-day visit to the Seychelles, which started on 14 October, Mr. Singh met with President James Michel and other senior Government officials, as well as representatives of civil society, teachers, and students.“The active participation of all sectors of civil society, including teachers, students, their parents and communities, is vital for a well-functioning national education system,” the UN independent expert said during visits to primary and secondary schools and public universities on the main island of Mahé.Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. Mr. Singh will present his report to the Council in June 2014.Among the recommendations expected in his report will be continued support for the President’s National Renaissance Program.“This program provides a blueprint on how the serious social issues being faced by children at home and in schools can be addressed, but it can only succeed if parents and communities are actively engaged in dialogue and actions to find solutions together,” said Mr. Singh.“Strengthening personal, social and civil education in schools, and enhancing discipline in schools, are important means of addressing this challenge.”
Viroj Sumyai, who presented the Board’s Annual Report on 6 July to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), urged Member States to integrate gender perspectives in the elaboration of their drug policies to address this discrepancy.According to the report, drug-related harms to women and the resulting consequences for communities are often “sorely under-studied,” and gender-disaggregated data on drug use are rarely collected.“There are also inadequate budget allocations by Member States for the specific prevention and treatment of drug dependence and substance use disorders among women, who often do not have access to any assistance and suffer in silence,” the report pointed out.In this context and to learn more about the work of the INCB, as well as the challenges before the international drug control regime, UN News spoke to Mr. Sumyai, a national of Thailand, during his recent visit to UN Headquarters.Parts of the interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.UN News: Can you tell us about the work of the INCB?Viroj Sumyai: The board is composed of 13 members, elected in their personal capacity, by the Economic and Social Council. We are based in Vienna, Austria. Our primary responsibility is to monitor the compliance by the States parties to the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Convention; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. VIDEO: President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Viroj Sumyai, calls on governments to facilitate treatment for women dealing with substance abuse.UN News: Women and drugs was a key subject in the Board’s latest annual report. What were the major concerns that you identified and how can they be addressed?Viroj Sumyai: The biggest problem we see is the disproportionate impact on women in being able to access treatment facilities for substance use disorder. According to the data, only one in five women addicted to drugs are going to treatment facilities.There are no specialized facilities for women to seek treatment. This creates a major obstacle both for them as well as their families, especially children that depend on women for care.Looking at it from a sustainable development perspective, when governments are looking at issues such as livelihoods for their populations, they need to look at this issue too. It is also the right of women to seek treatment for substance use disorder.And this is my main goal as the President of the INCB: I want to tackle the problem of lack of access to treatment for women who are addicted to drugs.UN News: What are your thoughts on the abuse of opioid medications? Viroj Sumyai: Over prescription of opioid medication, happening primarily in high-income countries like the US, Canada, countries in Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, is creating a lot of problems. However, at the same time, there is the lack of access to these medications in low- and middle-income countries which in itself is causing a lot of issues. This is a major concern.UN News: What are the biggest challenges for the international drug control system and how can they be overcome?Viroj Sumyai: The biggest challenge, in my view, is for the people in the middle- and low-income countries who suffer from the lack of access to controlled medications due to misconceptions on the part of the State party, who feels that very strict controls over narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances is good and that it stops diversion of these drugs into illicit markets.This is resulting in medical practitioners and health officials becoming reluctant to prescribe such medications – like morphine – to people who are in need and are suffering from deadly diseases and require the medicines to alleviate their pain. Similarly, persons with psychological illness are also suffering because they cannot avail psychotropic medicines they need.IRINDespite eradication and education efforts, drug use, especially heroin, remains rampant in parts of Myanmar.UN News: Can you share some good practices on tackling drug-related offences while also upholding human rights?Viroj Sumyai: Many officials in law enforcement have raised the issue of overcrowding in prisons of those incarcerated on drug-related offences. According to the 1961 Convention, drug-abuse offence is a minor offence, and rather than incarcerating the drug user, getting them to treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration could be a better option. This would be a very good practice to follow.UN News: Can you tell us about the collaboration between the INCB and other UN entities?Viroj Sumyai: We are working closely with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) as well as with UNAIDS (the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS), particularly to address the problems of those suffering with HIV and AIDS and are at the end stages of their lives, especially as they need morphine to lessen their pain.With WHO, given their work with health professionals, we collaborate on building capacity regarding proper prescription of opioid medication and to ensure that these medicines are not over-prescribed. We also work with WHO in programmes on building capacities of national authorities on procurement of various types of medications.UN News: What message would you like to convey to UN Member States?Viroj Sumyai: I urge UN Member States, especially those that have the financial resources at their disposal, to support the INCB project building the capacity of national officials in low- and middle-income countries to tackle the problem of low access to opioid medication.UN Photo/Staton WinterA staff member of the Liberia National Police Anti-Drug Squad reviews the municipal dump outside Monrovia, Liberia.UN News: Is there anything you would like to add?Viroj Sumyai: One of the problems we are encountering is some Member States not acting in a manner consistent with the 1961 Convention on issues regarding the legalization of non-medical use of cannabis. The 1961 Convention allows Member States to use schedule one substances for medical and scientific purposes. The time has already passed for the traditional use of cannabis or coca leaf because when this Convention was ratified there was a grace period of 25 years for each Member State to abolish the traditional use of cannabis or coca leaf, such as chewing the leaf.This time period has already passed. We need to look towards the future and not go back to old practices or we will have to solve problems such as [those associated with] the problem of tobacco. Right now, a lot of money is wasted on trying to solve health problems associated with smoking. So if we go back to old habits of smoking marijuana, at the end we will find ourselves facing the problem not different from the problem of smoking.INCB is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. It comprises 13 members, each elected by the UN Economic and Social Council, in their personal capacity to serve as independent experts.
“The physical, mental, and emotional injuries inflicted by ISIL are almost beyond comprehension. If victims are to rebuild their lives, and indeed those of their children, they need justice and they need redress,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a press release.Victims have been subjected to rape and sexual assault, forced displacement, abduction, deprivation of liberty, slavery, forced religious conversion, and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Women from the Yazidi and other minority communities have been especially vulnerable to abuses of human rights and violation of international humanitarian law.The report notes that the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government have taken some positive steps to promote women and children’s rights and to address the needs of those who have suffered abuses at the hands of ISIL.However, the report says, the criminal justice system largely fails to ensure the appropriate protection of victims, requiring significant legislative and institutional changes to facilitate access to justice and to ensure the care and protection of victims in such proceedings.The situation of hundreds of children born to women in ISIL-controlled areas without birth certificates or whose ISIL-issued documents are not accepted by the Government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government is also deeply troubling, the report says. Birth registration requires the parents to present proof of marital status and two witnesses must confirm the circumstances of the child’s birth – exceedingly difficult in the case of children whose parents may be dead or missing; where the father’s identity is not known; where a child has been abandoned due to stigma or for those who live in IDP camps where no civil status offices or courts operate.“Children who were born in ISIL-controlled areas have the same legal rights as any other Iraqi citizen and the Government must ensure they are protected from marginalisation and abuse, neither exposed to discrimination through references on their birth certificate that they were born out of wedlock or have a father linked to ISIL, nor left unregistered and at risk of statelessness, exploitation and trafficking,” the High Commissioner stressed.The report makes several recommendations on access to justice; provision of support and care for victims; information and counselling services to reunite separated families, and the importance of birth registration.
What opponent would you least want to see on your favorite NFL team’s schedule? Most of you, I’d guess, would want to avoid Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. But after that?The Seattle Seahawks, despite their 3-3 record, remain a perfectly reasonable answer to this question. When our NFL Elo ratings come out later this week, they’ll have Seattle in third place — just slightly behind New England (and further behind Denver) and just slightly ahead of Dallas, Indianapolis and San Francisco. You could argue these cases — are you more afraid of the Seahawks defense or Colts quarterback Andrew Luck? Are you sure you’d rather play Seattle than Denver when the Seahawks already beat the Broncos this season — and demolished them in last year’s Super Bowl?It’s not as though Seattle’s season has been a disaster. The Seahawks have outscored their opponents by 18 points against a very tough schedule. Jeff Sagarin’s ratings at USA Today have them as the third-best team in football based solely on their performance this year.Our Elo ratings carry over performance from previous seasons, which helps Seattle some. This usually yields more reliable estimates of team strength, especially early in the season (six games is a small sample size). You could argue against accounting for prior years’ performance when a team is old or when its roster had turned over substantially. But Seattle’s hasn’t. It has brought its core back from last year, when it was the third-youngest team in football. Quarterback Russell Wilson is just 25, an age when most QBs are still improving.Nonetheless, the Elo ratings have the Seahawks as underdogs to make the playoffs. In the simulations we ran after Sunday night’s games, Seattle made the playoffs just 46 percent of the time.The Seahawks are harmed by playing in the NFL’s toughest division, in a deep conference and against a very tough schedule. A league-average team playing Seattle’s schedule this year would be expected to go 7-9 based on each opponent’s Elo ratings, so the schedule costs the Seahawks about one win.Seattle will also need to finish with an 11-5 record or better to be assured of making the playoffs. In simulations where Seattle finished 9-7 — its most likely record according to Elo — it made the playoffs just 23 percent of time, well below the historical average for 9-7 teams of about 50 percent.Nor may a 10-6 record be good enough. In our simulations, Seattle won the NFC West only 27 percent of the time with that record. More often, a 10-6 Seattle team made the playoffs as a wild card. But the NFC playoff picture is crowded. Seattle would have to compete for two wild card slots along with whichever team finishes second in the NFC East (probably Philadelphia or Dallas), whichever team finishes second in the NFC North (probably Detroit or Green Bay) and whichever other NFC West team (San Francisco or Arizona) also misses out on the division title.And while an 11-5 record was almost always good enough for Seattle to make the postseason, it only earned the Seahawks a division title 60 percent of the time. That means they’d start their playoffs on the road — depriving them of the benefit of the NFL’s biggest home-field advantage.Perhaps the Seahawks don’t have much right to complain — it was only four seasons ago when they made the playoffs as a 7-9 team in an awful NFC West. But the trend toward smaller divisions in sports makes odd outcomes like this more likely. If Seattle makes the playoffs, it will certainly have earned it.
On Monday, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer addressed the media for his weekly press conference to reflect on the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season against Michigan State while also looking forward to the season finale against Michigan. Here are three notes from what he said.All eyes on ElliottThe whole college football world was talking about OSU’s loss, but more specifically, a lot of the attention was centered on Ezekiel Elliott’s postgame interview. The junior running back put the coaching staff on blast about his low usage and confessed he spent time in the hospital with a leg infection, while also announcing he would be bolting for the NFL after this season. As expected, Meyer addressed Elliott’s comments heavily on Monday. “He’s a very well-thought of junior, and he gets a microphone stuck in his face, and obviously, we do not condone that and encourage that,” Meyer said. “Our rule is always talk about your teammates and move on. And he came to see me. We had a very long discussion — he’s great — and he apologized and he said, ‘You know, they didn’t have the whole interview in there.’”But Meyer said he is not planning on listening to the rest of Elliott’s interview because they “squashed it as a team.” Many thought Elliott’s frustration about only getting 12 carries in a game that was conducive to running football because of the weather was warranted, even if it was not the right time or place. Meyer agreed with the substance of Elliott’s remarks but, as expected, was not happy with the way they were delivered. “I couldn’t disagree with him, his comments, that he should have got the ball a little bit more but that’s not the place to do it,” he said. “That’s why I always like to decompress for at least a few minutes, because I’ve said some things I’m not very proud of, and I’m not saying that (Elliott’s comments are) not true, I’m just saying that’s not the forum to have those conversations.” Meyer said he would have welcomed a conversation in private with Elliott about his carries, but the way Michigan State was crowding the line of scrimmage factored into the play-calling.The coach acknowledged that he has to “do better” in that regard. When asked if the running back’s comments were alarming and made him question Elliott’s character, Meyer was quick to knock it down. Meyer said it was a “very isolated incident,” while noting that he feels Elliott is one of the most selfless football players he has ever been around. In hindsight, the coach said he needed to feed Elliott a little more, but with a talented Michigan team on the horizon, Meyer wants to put it in the rearview mirror.“I know I’m probably going to get another 64 questions on it, but it’s done,” Meyer said. “We’ve got a really good team coming up that we’re playing and we’ve got to move forward.” Early exitsAnother hot-button issue that has developed as of late was the issue of players with eligibility remaining discussing their future plans. During the week leading up to the game, junior defensive end Joey Bosa all but announced he would be turning pro after the 2015 campaign came to an end. That was widely assumed, as the defensive end is considered one of the best prospects in next year’s draft. However, hearing Bosa be so open about his future plans did turn some heads. Then, after the loss to Michigan State, Elliott said there was “no chance” he would be back for his senior season. Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones added oxygen to that flame after the game when he posted photo of him walking into Ohio stadium before kickoff on Twitter saying how it was his last time walking on the steps into the ‘Shoe. On Monday, Meyer was asked if he was concerned about the negative effects that players being so open about their future endeavors and how he balances that within the locker room.Meyer pointed to his time at Florida in 2009 when a dozen players sent in paperwork to the NFL to inquire about the possibility of their draft stocks.He admitted it causes “a little anxiety” for the coaching staff, but he said when so many players are talented enough to leave for the NFL early, it is a testament to the type of recruiting going on.Players discussing their future plans causes concern in two areas, Meyer said. The first is staying focused on the task at hand, which with Michigan on the horizon, “is playing a very good team.” The second is dealing with filling those voids in the recruiting department. Meyer said it can be a “nightmare” at times, but the coach maintained that it was a good problem to have because if none of his players were good enough to get drafted, that would be a bigger problem. Everything considered, Meyer said “it’s not easy” dealing with players leaving, but his job remains the same.“I have to just make sure we’re staying focused,” he said. “The good thing is, they’re really good guys … But there’s human nature out there, too.”Uneasy feelingsWhen the players came to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday, Meyer said he held a team meeting. As imagined, the coach said there was a “knot” in everyone’s stomach after the loss. But Meyer said that is a good thing. “I would be really disappointed if it wasn’t there,” he said. “Today, you like to assess most of the guys … They are moving on. And it’s always good.” Meyer said he is trying to not be overly dramatic, but for him, Saturday “was a sleepless night.” When he got back into the facility on Sunday and started to see the players showing up, Meyer said it made him start to feel better. The coach recognized the challenges that await his squad with the Wolverines, as Meyer had nothing but praise for coach Jim Harbaugh’s team. But, even so, Meyer seemed to have no concerns about whether or not his players would respond against their archrival. OSU coach Urban Meyer walks off the field at Ohio Stadium following the Buckeyes’ 17-14 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 21. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo Editor
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