Juventus defender De Ligt: I can’t split Van Dijk and Ronaldoby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus defender Matthijs de Ligt says Holland teammate Virgil van Dijk deserves his individual success.The Liverpool defender ultimately lost out to Barcelona star Lionel Messi for FIFA’s The Best gong.De Ligt told TMW: “It is a great honour to be here. “I was fortunate to have played with both Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo, but frankly I can’t choose between the two.” While De Ligt attended the awards last night, Ronaldo stayed at home. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Las Vegas welcomed 2018 with fireworks, big-ticket musical acts and unprecedented security in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. modern history just three months ago.Law enforcement officers kept a close eye Monday on the estimated 330,000 people who travelled from all over the U.S. and beyond to pack in the Las Vegas Strip and downtown’s Fremont Street. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had every officer working throughout the weekend and was aided by the Nevada National Guard and federal agents.Rosy-cheeked visitors took selfies and livestreamed the celebration amid temperatures in the mid-40s (4 Celsius), much warmer than most of the U.S. They wore glittery hats, tiaras and other 2018-themed paraphernalia as they hugged and cheered on the new year.“One bad incident is not going to deter us from having a good time,” Honolulu resident Pettra Stark, who planned her trip after the Oct. 1 shooting, said while standing underneath the massive video canopy on Fremont Street.For Stark, the heavy presence of armed officers was reassuring. But not everyone felt the same way, including Adrian Dominguez, who travelled for the festivities with 10 other relatives.“It’s not pleasant to see so many officers,” Dominguez, a resident of the northern Mexico border city of Ciudad Juarez. “They are everywhere.”The heightened security comes after a high-stakes gambler killed 58 and injured hundreds more after he shattered the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino on the Strip and unleashed gunfire on a country music festival below before killing himself.On Saturday, two security guards were fatally shot while investigating a disturbance at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, a hotel-casino just west of the Strip. Police said the suspect was hospitalized with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities described it as an isolated incident and assured that it was not terrorism-related.A roughly eight-minute fireworks display at the top of seven of the city’s world-famous casino-hotels started at the Stratosphere 10 seconds before midnight Monday and continued to Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand. More than 80,000 pyrotechnic firings that illuminated the sky in gold, red and green.Megastars performed at venues up and down the Strip. The Foo Fighters played at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan, Maroon 5 was at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and Britney Spears performed at The Axis at Planet Hollywood.At a lower-key celebration in downtown Las Vegas’ casino-flanked Fremont Street Experience, bands played under a massive video canopy while visitors danced and sipped giant beers.Las Vegas police officer Larry Hadfield on Monday said there were no incidents related to the festivities to speak of. The Nevada Highway Patrol on Twitter reported the arrest of two suspected impaired drivers near the Strip.Police cruisers, dump trucks and other large vehicles blocked key intersections during the night to try to prevent anyone from plowing into crowds.Strollers, backpacks, large bags, coolers and glass bottles were banned from the Strip for the night. Ticket holders for the celebration on Freemont Street Experienced went through checkpoints where security guards used hand-held metal detectors.New Year’s Eve is worth an estimated $254.3 million to Las Vegas, according to the city’s Convention and Visitors Authority. More than 97 per cent of the destination’s nearly 149,000 hotel and motel rooms were expected to be booked.___Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO
City Staff will continue with community consultation before Council makes a final decision. Staff will also look at grants to help some of the expected costs. The report said the City’s current wells located along the banks of the Peace River are slowly losing capacity and have higher operational costs than originally forecasted twenty years ago. Conservation measures that have taken place over the years such as metering and water efficient toilets have helped save a lot of years of having to build new infrastructure.The current system does already rely on dipping into storage which is “a little Risky,” said Peter Coxon of Urban Systems. ‘This water should be held in reserves for fire or emergency.”Further conservation measures could be implemented including possible water restrictions during the summer. A new industrial water reuse facility is also being built. The City received $5 million in grant money for the project, which should be completed in October of 2019.Additional ways to improve or rebuild ways to collect water were presented in the plan. These included upgrading the current water source to looking at other water sources in the area such as Site C. All options presented came with their own sets of challenges yet in terms of Source Option Comparison chart the most favourable option would be a horizontal collection well. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The current water system works hard to meet the City’s needs and will struggle as consumption and water demands grow.At the Committee of the Whole meeting, the ‘Long-Term Water Supply Plan’ was presented to Council by Peter Coxon of Urban Systems and Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services. The presentation outlined the current infrastructure, water use, projections, goals and future supply.Current water pumps are getting tired and work that has been done previously to upgrade never brought them back to peak capacity. Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services, said, “There is less than a week of treated water in case something happens,” In regards to the holding tanks of reserved water. On average 410 litres of water are consumed per person per day in the City of Fort St. John.
Driven by Jones and Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland had the fourth-most-efficient offense in the country according to Synergy, averaging 94.7 points per 100 plays. The only problem is that the duo doesn’t have a lot of help — during the season, only one other player on the roster made more than one 3-pointer per game, and no one else averaged double-digit shot attempts.So as Maryland moves through the tournament and considers the possibility of another matchup with UConn, the biggest question will be whether they can get some balanced scoring around their two stars. As usual, the women’s NCAA Tournament this year is all about the University of Connecticut. Led by star forward Breanna Stewart, the Huskies are undefeated and chasing their fourth consecutive title, a feat that FiveThirtyEight’s tournament forecast gives them a whopping 71 percent chance of pulling off. That makes UConn a front-runner of colossal proportions; by comparison, you could combine the title probabilities for the seven most likely champions in our pre-tournament men’s forecast and still not match the Huskies’ odds.But despite their status as heavy favorites, the UConn women still have to play their games, and that means there’s room for the improbable to become reality. The other three top seeds in the tournament — Notre Dame, Baylor and South Carolina — have each lost only one game, and all three outscored their opponents by more than 15 points per game during the season. They don’t quite have the résumés of UConn, but they are very good teams.According to FiveThirtyEight’s model, those three teams and the University of Maryland — the No. 2 seed behind Notre Dame in the Lexington region — are the only non-UConn squads with a greater than 1 percent probability of winning the championship. The odds are slim, but let’s focus on the most likely candidates to do the unthinkable.Notre Dame (9 percent championship probability)Notre Dame’s strength lies in its backcourt, with ACC Tournament MVP Madison Cable leading the way at both ends of the court. Cable finished the season ranked third in the nation in 3-point percentage, at 47.6 percent, and she was the fourth-most-efficient offensive player in the country1Minimum 300 plays. according to Synergy Sports Technology’s points per play metric. She’s also a ball-hawk on defense, averaging nearly two steals per game with a Synergy rating among the nation’s top 10 percent of individual defenders.And Cable isn’t the only two-way talent on this Irish roster. According to data from NCAA.com, only 52 players in Division I had an effective field goal percentage above 55 percent and a steal percentage above 3 percent this season; between Cable, freshman Marina Mabrey and reserve Hannah Huffman, the Irish have three of them in their backcourt. A proven formula for engineering upsets is maximizing possessions and making 3-pointers, and with Cable and company in the backcourt, the Irish seem to have that part of the equation down.Of course, UConn is on the opposite side of the bracket, so facing the Huskies would take getting through several other very good teams, particularly Maryland. Notre Dame has lost to UConn once this season, 91-81 in early December. But the Irish were missing their leading scorer and best frontcourt defender, Brianna Turner. With Turner back on the floor alongside Cable and that backcourt, the Irish might have a chance if they face UConn for the championship, which would be a rematch of last year’s title game.South Carolina (8 percent)No one in women’s college basketball attempted more free throws than South Carolina this season — 770 total attempts, about 24.0 per game. The vast majority of those free throws were earned by the starting frontcourt, A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates, who averaged a combined 28.0 points, 18.8 rebounds, and 4.4 blocks per game. At 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4, respectively, the duo is big enough to match up with anyone, but the two players are skilled and versatile enough to exploit those matchups.However, the pair was badly outplayed in South Carolina’s loss to UConn last month. Wilson chipped in 13 points and 6 rebounds — both below her season averages — and Coates was dreadful, scoring 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor. That’s how the Huskies held a team that usually averages 89.6 points per 100 plays (14th-best in Division I) to a mere 76.1 in the 12-point defeat at home. If South Carolina is going to pose any threat to UConn in a rematch, it’ll need a lot more from Wilson and Coates.South Carolina will also need some support from its backcourt. No one on the team averaged more than 3.0 assists per game, and the Gamecocks had more turnovers than assists this season. The team only made 33.1 percent of its 3-pointers, 81st in the nation. Pounding the ball inside is South Carolina’s strength, but balance might be the key for the team to hit its ceiling if it gets another shot at the Huskies.Baylor (7 percent)Niya Johnson, Baylor’s point guard, may be the team’s most important player despite averaging just 7.1 points per game and rarely shooting any 3-pointers during the regular season.2She attempted only nine threes all season long. Such is the power of her playmaking: She averaged 8.7 assists per game, 1.4 more than any other player in the country, and was responsible for 26.1 points per game between her scoring and passing. Along with the slashing game of Nina Davis, Johnson’s skills as a facilitator have helped keep Baylor among the nation’s top five teams in field goal percentage this season.But as much as those two help keep the Baylor offense afloat, defense is what drives the team. Baylor allowed the nation’s third-fewest points per play during the season and ranked third-best in opponent field goal percentage, third in rebound margin and ninth in blocks per game. Baylor has the size to match up with anyone, including UConn, and the team’s plan will no doubt be to wear opponents down with its defense.The question, however, will be whether Baylor can score enough to make it work as the team gets deeper into the tournament. It had the country’s 18th-most efficient offense, and that may not be enough against a UConn defense so dominant that it finished the year with a per-play efficiency rate that was 3.4 standard deviations better than the Division I average.Maryland (3 percent)Maryland gave UConn one of its toughest challenges this season, losing by 10 points in a December game that was closer than the final score indicated. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Maryland keep things tight against the Huskies in a rematch, should the opportunity present itself.Maryland has a dynamic inside-out combination in Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. The former is a powerful low post scorer who put up 24 points on 12-14 shooting against UConn. The latter is a deadly outside shooter who led the nation in 3-point percentage — at 54.0 percent, she was more than 5 percentage points ahead of the next highest qualified shooter. Together, they ranked among the most efficient high-volume scorers in women’s college basketball this season:
England forward Danny Welbeck is feeling optimistic about the squad’s set-piece ability after scoring the majority of their goals from free-kicks and cornersThe Three Lions have scored six of their eight World Cup goals from set-pieces with only Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard being the only players in the national side to have scored from open play in their campaign.Head coach Gareth Southgate previously described England’s upcoming knockout game against Colombia as their biggest game in a decade and revealed that he has been training the players specifically for these kinds of matches since March.Speaking to Sky Sports, Welbeck said: “With the formation we play, we like to keep possession of the ball but we also like to create opportunities.“There has been a lot of talk about set-pieces and getting goals from that but in this tournament a lot of goals have been scored from set-pieces.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“We have created opportunities but maybe we have been fouled in dangerous positions, which is leading to us not getting as many goals from open play.”The Arsenal player is confident that England have done their homework correctly on Colombia.“We will do our analysis of Colombia. We know the strengths and weaknesses we will be looking to exploit,” added Welbeck.“With the players in our squad, we can hurt any opposition.”England will face Colombia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Tuesday.
The new Roma signing spoke after the 3-3 draw between his team and Atalanta on Monday’s Lega Serie A fixtureFor newly signed Javier Pastore, the differences between the Italian Serie A and the French Ligue 1 are big.His Roma team fought back to be able to tie 3-3 against Atalante on Monday’s fixture.But for the former Paris Saint-Germain, this was a very crazy match.“It was a good goal, Cengiz Under gave me a smart cross and the finish went well. Fortunately, we were able to equalize eventually,” Pastore told Sky Sports Italia as reported by Football Italia on Monday night.Karsdorp reveals he had too much stress at Roma Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The Dutch defender has been with the Gialorrossi since 2017, but he has not enjoyed his time in the Italian Lega Serie A.“I think after our goal, we got a bit too relaxed and allowed them to have the ball, but that is something we shouldn’t do.”“We came out for the second half with more intensity and managed to get it back on track. We could even have won it at the end,” he said.“My position is up to the coach, I came here happy to play wide midfield, but well aware that I had often played in a trident attack before.”“It’s certainly harder in Serie A than Ligue 1, the first two games have been such a struggle!” Pastore concluded.
Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri has been awarded the Premier League’s Goal of the Month award for AugustThe Ivory Coast international turned down interest from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in favour of a surprise move to the newly-promoted Fulham this summer for a fee in the region of £25m.Seri has since started all four of the Cottagers’ Premier League fixtures and has impressed with his quick adaption to English football.Now the Premier League have announced that Seri’s world-class hit against Burnley on August 26 has been voted as the Goal of the Month.The 27-year-old hit a clean long-range effort home to help Fulham secure their first win of the season.Vidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“It was the distance, the unexpected decision to shoot, but also the trajectory of the shot,” said former Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on the league website.“The ball started off at an angle so far outside of the far post that the goalkeeper was always scrambling to make up ground.“Add the curl, the angle of the ball and the sheer ferocity of the strike; the minute the ball left his boot there was only one place it was going to go.”Seri is currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast.
Arsenal Football Club are reportedly interested in signing AS Roma winger Cengiz Under.The Mirror reports that the Gunners have leaped ahead of neighbors and rivaled Tottenham Hotspur as well as German Bundesliga Champions, Bayern Munich, both of which are also reportedly interested in the signature of Under.The 21-year-old joined Roma from Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017 and has impressed in Serie A.He is currently valued at around £50m by the Giallorossi but the Gunners are one of a number of clubs keeping tabs on his situation.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.Reports in Italy suggest Unai Emery’s team are leading the chase ahead of other top European clubs should Roma decide to cash in on the Turkey international.The eternal club have become famous for improving young players and selling them at the premium, especially after the sales of Mohamed Salah and Brazilian goalkeeper, Alisson Becker to Liverpool.Under has started the season in impressive fashion, and already has two goals and four assists already this season and is likely to be open to a move to the Premier League.
Everton have revealed plans for a 52,000 capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, with the potential to increase to 62,000 in the future.Everton will submit a planning application in the “second half of 2019”, but final capacity and design will come down to public consultation and fans engagement.A statement released by the club read: “The projected capacity takes into account several factors which include design and orientation of the stadium on a dock site, current and future ticket demand and forecast revenues and costs.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“The stadium will also be ‘futureproofed’ for any changes in regulations in relation to ‘safe standing’.“The design of two of the stands will make it easy to adopt a rail seating/safe standing solution, which will offer optionality and flexibility, should the law change in future.“The proposed figure follows extensive engagement with fans and consultation with a range of professional advisors who have expertise in stadium design and defining the optimum capacity for new stadia.”
SARASOTA, Fla. (WSVN) — In the wake of Friday’s deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a Florida lawmaker said more guns are the answer.The politician from Sarasota told CNN, he thinks responsible gun owners with a conceal-carry permit should be allowed to tote guns in places where they’re not currently allowed.State Senator Greg Steube is working on a bill to allow guns in airports. He said legally owned and concealed guns are needed now more than ever. “What my bill does is allow for people that have a conceal carry permit in the state of Florida to on the non-secure side of that airport, which is where the shooting occurred, to carry their firearm just like they carry in other parts of our state,” he said.Steube believes law-abiding firearm carriers could be better protected and even stop somebody from committing mass murder. “The Pulse nightclub, where other shootings have occurred have been in gun-free zones,” he said. “In that airport, no conceal permit carry holder was legally able to carry at that airport because currently they’re restricted from carrying.”When asked if he thought the tragedy could have been minimized had people in that area of the airport had guns with them, Steube said, “Certainly could have. I as a conceal carry holder have the right to defend myself.”The Senator, however, never addressed the chaos, confusion and fear that came well after the terminal shooting at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. “No licensed, conceal carry permit holder legally could carry in that airport, and that didn’t stop an individual from coming and shooting and killing individuals,” he said. “So why would repealing that, giving law abiding citizens like myself and others, who have the training and ability to protect themselves, why wouldn’t we want to give them that ability just like we have in any other places in our state.”Senator Steube also wants to change Florida law to repeal gun-free zones on college campuses. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Share your voice Spitzer’s deep-field view of the sky awash with galaxies. Circled in red are incredibly faint, distant galaxies that the telescope observed for over 200 hours. NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Spitzer/P. Oesch/S. De Barros/I.Labbe Astronomers surveying the sky with NASA’s Spitzer space telescope have been able to peer back to the early universe, 13 billion years in the past, and find some of the very first galaxies. They look like tiny, orange dots aglow in a sea of darkness — not too dissimilar to the famed first image of a black hole — but the miniscule lights imaged by Spitzer contain a host of young stars, composed mostly of hydrogen and helium. The discovery of these unexpectedly-bright galaxies could provide new clues about one of the most important cosmic events in history: the “Epoch of Reionization.”The new research, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in April, required Spitzer to stare into the same region of sky for over 200 hours, studying the ancient cosmos as part of a campaign known as the GOODS Re-ionization Era wide-Area Treasury from Spitzer (GREATS). Another great, the Hubble Space Telescope, also contributed to the data. Post a comment More space news Tags NASA Space With Spitzer trained on a region of the sky for so long, it was able to gather light that had traveled across the universe to reach us. In what amounts to a cosmic staring contest, Spitzer didn’t blink. The telescope detected faint infrared signals from 135 distant galaxies, produced by high levels of ionizing radiation. It’s a particularly important finding, because ionizing radiation is believed to have contributed to the Epoch of Reionization in the early universe — a cosmic transformation that shaped the universe as we know it today. Astronomers are still stumped as to what exactly caused these changes, but the early galaxies detected by Spitzer may provide some clues.”Our latest Spitzer result reveals how different these early galaxies are to those at later times and pinpoints our sample as a key set for providing insights into how galaxies so efficiently reionized the universe,” said Garth Illingworth, a co-author on the new study. The results were surprising for Michael Werner, project scientist with Spitzer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”We did not expect that Spitzer, with a mirror no larger than a Hula-Hoop, would be capable of seeing galaxies so close to the dawn of time,” he said in a statement. “But nature is full of surprises, and the unexpected brightness of these early galaxies, together with Spitzer’s superb performance, puts them within range of our small but powerful observatory.” Spitzer, launched in 2003, is an infrared observatory in an Earth-trailing orbit operated by NASA and the California Institute of Technology. It carries three instruments that allow it to “see” across the wavelengths of infrared light, providing spectacular views of the gaseous, dusty distant cosmos. Sci-Tech 0 Your wedding ring came from a neutron star explosion, 4.6 billion years ago Scientists just observed a crash between two neutron stars Gravitational wave detectors upgraded to hunt for ‘extreme cosmic events’ NASA Spitzer telescope celebrates 15 years of astounding images 15 Photos
Debt-ridden Air India Ltd has planned on selling some of its real estate assets in the country as well as abroad. This move is expected to help the struggling government-owned carrier to raise around ₹1,200 crore in the next two years, said sources close to the matter.Air India has also obtained the approval of the ministry of civil aviation to sell its properties in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Mumbai.”Selling real estate properties is one among three plans suggested by the government to turn around the airline. Real estate monetization is critical as it would save at least ₹300 crore in terms of interest as the airline has plans to use these proceeds to settle a part of high-cost loans,” a source said, according to Live Mint.Experts say that Air India’s attempt to monetise real estate assets to trim debt and reduce interest costs may prove difficult.The country’s third largest airline is struggling with a huge debt of around ₹40,000 crore as of 31 March and is expected to see a turnaround by 2018-19.It appears that the company is planning to “raise some rupee bonds” and sell a part of its fleet to reduce debt, besides selling properties in the three cities.The state-owned airline actually planned to sell properties amounting to ₹5,000 crore by March next year, but did not get through because of delays in approval from the concerned authorities.In January 2013, Air India roped in real estate consultant DTZ International Property Advisors Pvt Ltd to assist it in disposing of some of real estate properties.”In the last two to three years, a number of corporates who haven’t got adequate cash flows from their core businesses have divested real estate assets to raise capital,” said Rajeev Bairathi, executive director, capital transactions group, at property advisory Knight Frank India.The domestic airline is also considering selling its properties in New Delhi, which include office and reservation building, and housing quarters for staff in Vasant Vihar. It is also looking to sell staff housing quarters in Navi Mumbai and Chennai.”It may not be easy for Air India to sell its assets because they have a mixed bag of assets, including apartments, and not all are clear land parcels. While there is demand for clean titled land parcels, there may not be many takers for other kinds of properties in a slowdown scenario,” said property consultant familiar with the matter.Air India is planning to sell properties present in other countries such as Hong Kong, Nairobi, Mauritius, London, and Tokyo.”Air India is expecting to get at least ₹88 crore for Sterling Apartments in Mumbai, while the Anna Salai plot in Chennai is likely to fetch ₹108 crore. Our Coimbatore plot should fetch ₹20 crore. The majority of money should come from overseas properties,” the source added.
British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a press conference. Photo: AFPBritish Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday is expected to say she favours a clean break from the European Union, dismissing a “half-in, half-out” Brexit deal with Brussels.In a highly-anticipated speech, May is likely to give further signals that Britain is heading to what analysts call a “hard” Brexit.That direction will be cheered by those who want to leave the EU, but dismay those who fear the impact on Britain’s economy.“Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out,” the prime minister is due to say on Tuesday, according to an extract of her speech circulated in advance to the media by Downing Street.“We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave,” she will add.The speech will take place late morning at Lancaster House, a central London mansion that is a showcase for diplomatic functions and major announcements.It will be dissected for every detail about May’s Brexit strategy, after months of uncertainty.May has repeated a “Brexit means Brexit” mantra-on one occasion replaced with her call for a “red, white and blue Brexit”-while claiming outlining the government’s aims in any detail would give Brussels the upper hand in negotiations.But recent indicators suggest Britain is heading towards a full break from the EU which entails leaving the single market in order to have full control over immigration.Downing Street has repeatedly said it wants to secure the best deal for the British economy while allowing for cuts to immigration.But the EU has been clear that single market access is dependent on allowing the free movement of people.The prospect of a “hard” Brexit has hit sterling.In early trading on Monday, the British currency plunged to $1.1986, its lowest level since October’s “flash crash” that had sent it to a 31-year low of $1.1841. It clawed back some of its losses by early afternoon, to $1.2047.Trump and trade dealBritain’s Finance minister Philip Hammond adopted a tough line on Sunday, warning that Britain might undercut the EU economically in order to remain competitive if it faces EU tariffs.Hammond said he wanted Britain to remain a “recognisably European-style economy with European-style taxation systems, European-style regulation systems.”However, London would have to change course “if we are forced”, in order to “regain competitiveness”, he told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.In recent weeks, May raised the possibility of a transitional deal with Brussels to ease Britain’s departure from the bloc, a position supported by Bank of England governor Mark Carney.Britain’s post-EU prospects were given a verbal boost on Sunday by US President-elect Donald Trump, who said he favoured a quick trade deal with the UK.But a fast-track bilateral deal with Washington will be difficult in practical terms.Under EU rules Britain cannot sign trade deals with third party states until it is formally outside the bloc, a position which does not change despite the UK voting to leave.A two-year negotiating period is foreseen in EU legislation for any country choosing to leave the 28-member bloc, a process which starts by triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.May has promised to formally launch Brexit talks by the end of March and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said there should be an agreement in place ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2019.But even if the prime minister’s plan outlined on Tuesday wins widespread support, legal challenges could still scupper her Brexit timetable.Britain’s Supreme Court is due to rule later this month on whether May must seek parliamentary approval before triggering Article 50, which could delay the start of Brexit negotiations.
A suicide bomber targeting a bus carrying employees of Kabul’s biggest prison killed at least seven people on Wednesday, officials said, in the latest attack in the Afghan capital.Another five were wounded in the blast near the facility, which police spokesman Basir Mujahid said had hit a vehicle that staff of Pul-e-Charkhi prison were travelling in.The attacker was on foot, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, but the Islamic State group has claimed most suicide attacks in Kabul in recent months.The attack comes days after a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission in Kabul, killing at least one person and wounding six.
Former US National security adviser Michael Flynn departs after a plea hearing at US District Court, in Washington, US on 1 December. Photo: ReutersA judge will decide on Tuesday whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn should be sent to prison for lying to the FBI in a case stemming from the investigation into possible collusion between president Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election.US District Judge Emmet Sullivan will sentence Flynn in Washington at 11 am ET (1600 GMT).Special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian interference, has asked Sullivan not to imprison Flynn, a former general, because of his military service and because he provided “substantial” cooperation with the probe.Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with Sergei Kislyak, Russia ambassador in Washington at the time.Flynn told investigators in January 2017 that he had not discussed US sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, when in fact he had, according to his plea agreement.Lying to the FBI carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. Flynn’s plea agreement states that he is eligible for a sentence of between zero and six months, however, and can ask the court not to impose a fine.Flynn’s lawyers have asked the court for a probation term of no more than one year, with minimal conditions of supervision, and 200 hours of community service.Flynn also deserves leniency because he was not warned before the meeting with FBI agents that it was a crime to lie to them, his lawyers said in a recent court filing.They also said that then-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe had told Flynn that the “quickest way” to conduct the interview was without counsel present.Critics of the Mueller probe argue that Flynn, who held the White House job for only 24 days, was set up.Mueller last week countered in a court filing that Flynn had no cause to lie in the interviews and added that a “sitting National Security Adviser, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents.”Flynn is so far the only member of Trump’s administration to plead guilty to a crime uncovered during Mueller’s wide-ranging probe, which has so far ensnared 32 individuals and three Russian firms.Trump denies there was any collusion and has labelled the investigation a “witch hunt.” Russia also denies it meddled in the election, contrary to the conclusion of US intelligence agencies.On Monday, Sullivan ordered the special counsel to release a redacted, five-page FBI account of Flynn’s January 2017 interview, saying it was relevant to his sentencing.
Rann, Nigeria : Map of the city of Rann in Nigeria, destruction detected by satellite images. Photo: AFPBoko Haram killed at least 60 civilians in an attack on the remote town of Rann in northeast Nigeria earlier this week, Amnesty International said on Friday.The human rights group’s Nigeria director Osai Ojigho said “at least 60 people” were killed while satellite imagery showed “mass burning” of structures used by displaced people.”Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 were found outside,” the group said in an emailed statement, adding that some 50 people were still missing.It quoted one of 10 civilian militia members who travelled to Rann to bury the dead as saying the bodies found outside the town all had gunshot wounds.”This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Ojigho.The death toll made it the “deadliest” by Boko Haram on Rann, she added.In January 2017, a botched Nigerian air strike intended to hit jihadists killed at least 112 people as aid workers distributed food.- Burning buildings -Rann, which is some 175 kilometres (110 miles) northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has now been hit four times since March last year.The first attack killed three aid workers and saw three others kidnapped. Two of the three were later executed. The second attack happened in early December.On 14 January, fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau attacked a military position.Some 9,000 people fled across the border into Cameroon but were sent back, as troops from Nigeria’s eastern neighbour were deployed to Rann as reinforcements.Cameroonian forces were withdrawn last Sunday, which the United Nations said forced more than 30,000 people to flee in fear of another attack.AFP has been told the remaining Nigerian soldiers also withdrew because there were not enough of them to fight off Boko Haram if they came in greater numbers.Amnesty’s Ojigho said “environmental sensors detected fires” in and around Rann on Monday and Tuesday, indicating the jihadists returned after the troops pulled out.Analysis of satellite images indicated the two attacks had left most of the town “heavily damaged or destroyed”, and “well over 100” structures had been burned down.Many of the structures destroyed date back to 2017, indicating they had been constructed for those who had fled to Rann in search of refuge from the fighting.- Call to investigate -Rann had been home to some 35,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), according to the International Organization for Migration.Amnesty International said it wanted Nigeria to investigate the withdrawal of troops, as it “may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed” to attack.On Wednesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council called on Cameroon to keep open its borders to those fleeing Boko Haram attacks.More than 27,000 people have been killed in nearly 10 years of fighting, while some 1.8 million others remain homeless and reliant on aid for food, shelter, healthcare and water.The UN this week said it needed $848 million (741 million euros) to fund projects for affected civilians in Borno state and two other northeast states over the next three years.An additional $135 million was required to help the 228,500 Nigerian refugees who have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, it added.
A Nepali resident walks through floodwaters after the Balkhu River overflowed following monsoon rains at the Kalanki area of Kathmandu on 12 July, 2019. Photo: AFPAt least 17 people have been killed across Nepal after torrential monsoon rains induced floods and landslides, officials said Friday.In neighbouring north-eastern India the death toll from floods rose to six, with 870,000 people affected, officials said.Heavy rains since Thursday have hit several districts in Nepal, especially in the country’s eastern region and the southern plains.According to figures released by Nepal’s police, 17 people have died, seven are injured and another seven have been reported missing.Three were killed when a wall collapsed in the capital Kathmandu.”Local authorities and our security officials are all working to rescue people and bring them to safety. Helicopters are on standby if needed,” Home Ministry official Umakanta Adhikari told AFP.Indian villagers and goats stand near the portion of a broken bridge connecting nearby villages, carried away by floods, at Taipu village some 25 kms from Siliguri on 12 July, 2019. Photo: AFPNepal’s weather department warned Thursday that heavy rains were expected to continue for two days, and advised people to stay alert.Nearly 150 people died last year in Nepal during the rainy season, which typically begins in late June and lasts until the end of August.In the northeastern Indian state of Assam monsoon floods have now inundated 21 districts, officials said Friday.In Bangladesh aid groups were providing rations to Rohingya refugees in the southeast of the country with the UN World Food Programme saying Friday that two people including a child had died.
Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesHeroin users prepare the drug in New York City’s South Bronx neighborhood.The Trump administration will declare a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.President Trump is also expected to direct agency and department heads to use all appropriate emergency authorities to reduce number of deaths caused by the opioid crisis, according to senior administration officials.The move stops short of declaring the crisis a national emergency, which Trump first said he’d declare in August. He repeated that pledge this week. The White House said it determined that declaring a public health emergency was more appropriate than a national emergency.MORE: What Will Opioid Declaration Mean For Treatment Efforts In Houston?Some in the field, like Dr. Andrew Kolodny, say it’s been frustrating to wait for the administration to respond to a crisis Trump first acknowledged on the campaign trail when he was running for president.Kolodny, who is co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaboration at Brandeis University’s Heller School, says he expected immediate action after the president’s August statement. “If you’re calling something an emergency, you expect people to act urgently and respond as if it’s an emergency.”After taking office, President Trump appointed a commission to study the opioid crisis, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In an interim report, the commission called on the president to declare a national emergency. Doing so would free up funds for treatment, ensure wider access to the anti-overdose drug naloxone and improve monitoring of opioid prescriptions to prevent abuse.In August, days before the president promised to declare a national emergency, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said he didn’t think one was necessary. Flash forward two months, though, and Tom Price is gone.Dr. Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a former adviser in the Obama administration says that Price was not a friend to addiction treatment programs. “When he was a congressman, he opposed the parity law which required insurers to cover addiction treatment,” Humphreys says. “He was very skeptical of methadone maintenance which is a very good treatment for heroin addiction. So having him out of the way is a potential plus.”In a policy change this week, the director of the Food and Drug Administration told a congressional committee the agency will begin working to promote medication assisted treatment—using methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone to help addicts in recovery. That’s significant because some states currently won’t pay for some of those treatments. Advocates will be listening for what, if anything, the president says about that.Humphreys says he’s interested in what measures the president proposes as part of an emergency declaration. For example, he could announce he’ll use his authority to negotiate cheaper prices for drugs. Humphreys says the president could say, “In an emergency, we’re going to use our power as a big purchaser to say to naloxone manufacturers that … we want 40 percent off or whatever, to use that leverage which currently we can’t do legally.”But, when the president speaks on the opioid epidemic Thursday, advocates say the key issue will be what he says about funding. Congress is currently spending $500 million a year on addiction treatment programs. Dr. Kolodny says to help the more that 27 million Americans abusing opioids, much more is needed. He puts the price tag at $6 billion each year. “You want that opioid addicted individual to be able to access effective outpatient treatment more easily than they can get pills, heroin, or fentanyl,” Dr. Kolody says.Kolodny criticizes the Obama administration for being slow to acknowledge opioids, a crisis that he says that began in 1996 and which the CDC declared an epidemic in 2011. President Obama’s health secretary Kathleen Sebelius agrees. “Did we do enough? Probably not,” Sebelius says. “Recognizing how widespread this was, what factors were contributing to it, would have been helpful a number of years ago.” And she says, it might have prevented many overdose deaths.Sebelius notes that the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid greatly increased coverage for addiction treatment. If President Trump is serious about tackling opioids, she says his first step should be to stop fighting to repeal Obamacare.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Florian MartinPhilip Bedient, director of SSPEED CenterMany local officials and experts agree– in order to reduce the impact of another major flood– a third reservoir must be built.There are currently two, both on the west side: the Addicks and the Barker. Phil Bedient is the head of the urban flooding and infrastructure program at Rice University.“The only real hope we’ve got is to put a third reservoir up into the Katy prairie area,” he said. “There’s a couple of plans out there to evaluate where they add a reservoir to protect additional floods from feeding into Addicks.”Bedient said he’s optimistic that Hurricane Harvey is providing the momentum for the county and city to push for construction quickly, compared to what happened after big floods in the past. “And I do believe we are at a turning point,” Bedient said. “Even more so than post Allison.”But he said it comes down to who will pay for it.Harris County Judge Ed Emmett suggests the state. “It would cost about 5 percent of that rainy day fund for the state of Texas to just write a check and do it,” he said. Both Emmett and Bedient agree that building a third reservoir is just one piece of many projects that might mitigate flooding. Share Listen X 00:00 /01:06 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: