Football Talk: Alves exit link, Rangers eye Blues’ talent

first_imgAnd elsewhere, Scotland defeated France in the Toulon Tournament on Wednesday evening with Oliver Burke starring, while the SPFL have revealed their goal and save of the season. He may be eyeing a trip to Russia and the magic of the World Cup next month but Bruno Alves’ long-term future is in the news again.The Portuguese defender still has a year left on his contract with Rangers but it’s emerged that Vitoria Guimaraes are keen to take him back to his homeland if they can get the finances right.Alves isn’t the only Ibrox player being linked with an exit. Michael O’Halloran has been out in the cold for a while and Motherwell are keen to sign him, with his former club St Johnstone also interested. There is news on a potential incoming player with Steven Gerrard apparently considering Everton midfielder Alex Denny as a new recruit.One Premiership club has made a signing, with Livingston snapping up Craig Sibbald as they prepare for life in the top flight.last_img read more

Of politics and finance in Indian sports

first_imgSharda UgraPolitics, as we understand it, is usually party versus party. Congress vs BJP vs RJD vs LSD vs WMD… you get the drift. Politics, as the Ministry of Sports sees it, is a different, diversionary kind of tactic.Here party lines blur and the only line adhered to is one,Sharda UgraPolitics, as we understand it, is usually party versus party. Congress vs BJP vs RJD vs LSD vs WMD… you get the drift. Politics, as the Ministry of Sports sees it, is a different, diversionary kind of tactic.Here party lines blur and the only line adhered to is one of self-interest. All those in favour of perpetuating self-rule on one side and the befuddled babus on another. If this were a wrestling contest, it would be like sending a 50 kg stick insect up against a 110 kg gorilla. As things stand, India’s leading federation bosses, the er… above mentioned gorillas, first have their cakes bought with public money. Then they get to eat them too with a bunch of bananas-trips to the Olympics and other world events – thrown in as bonus. Suresh Kalmadi, P.R. Dasmunshi, K.P.S. Gill, V.K. Malhotra, Digvijay Singh, K.P. Singh Deo, et al, belong to India’s original Backscratchers Union.They have survived changes of government, ideology, policy and post-Olympics purges because they look after one another. Just as the BCCI lives in mortal dread of a “corporate takeover” and so resists professionalisation, our sports administrators also invoke the bogeys of a “threat to autonomy”.It’s great, this autonomy. It means a freedom from accountability (and actually from accounting) but does not imply demonstrating the dynamism to find independent funding. For that there is always the bottomless pool of our taxes.In the ministry, when faced with this powerful all-party club, they tend to throw up their hands and then do the easy thing – go after tricolours on helmets or what the cricket team is called. In recent months, though, something stirred: elite athletes were told they could bypass their federations and approach the ministry directly for funding.Now a scale for financing sports based not on a fixed priority list of disciplines but on a dynamic performance rating is being formulated. Whether the new sports minister will follow through on this is another matter. A few months ago, a meeting of state sports ministers was to discuss moving sport from the state list to the concurrent list, i.e. putting sport under Central control. Just before the meeting, a senior Indian Olympic Association (IOA) official hosted the ministers for breakfast after which the collective power of persuasion and pakoras had them opting for the status quo.advertisementYes, the government of India is not the world’s most efficient creature and yes it has more important things to do. But when it foots the bill for most Olympic sports, you would think a statement of expenses is the least it is entitled to.last_img read more

Seaspan Ferries Adds Second LNGFuelled Vessel

first_imgCanadian transport provider Seaspan Ferries Corporation (SFC) has taken delivery of the second of two new dual-fuelled/hybrid ferries, the Seaspan Reliant.The diesel, liquefied natural gas and battery-powered ferry, currently docked at the SFC Tilbury Terminal in Delta, was built by Turkey’s Sedef Shipyard in Istanbul.Seaspan Reliant arrived home from the shipyard after an eight-week journey that spanned a total of 10,661 nautical miles.“With the introduction of a second new technologically advanced, LNG-fuelled vessel to our fleet, we are living out a clear commitment to our drop-trailer customers as well to the waterways in which we operate,” Steve Roth, Seaspan Ferries’ President, said.The 148.9 metre ferry, which can accommodate up to 59, 53’ trailers, will now undergo a series of regulatory inspections and crew training programs throughout March before entering operation in April.The Seaspan Reliant, along with its sister ship the Seaspan Swift, which arrived in December 2016 and entered operation in January 2017, mark the first vessels added to SFC’s fleet since 2002.Seaspan Ferries Corporation currently operates a fleet of seven ferries out of five terminals in British Columbia, and supplies more than 50% of all cargo to Vancouver Island.last_img read more

The Warriors Arent A SmallBall Team Anymore

PlayoffsWith Pachulia or McGee733852.1 Without Pachulia or McGee561933.9 ATTEMPTEDMADEPCT. It’s no secret that the Warriors’ shooting was down this season. After shooting 41.6 percent from 3 as a team last season, they put up 38.3 percent this season. A lot of that is tied to Curry reverting to merely great shooting from the heights of his MVP form, along with a down year from Green and the Warriors simply having fewer above-average shooters this season. But those downturns weren’t just random variance — they seemed to coincide with when Pachulia and McGee weren’t on the floor.Among all Golden State lineups that played at least 50 minutes, six shot 40 percent or better from 3. Five of them included Pachulia or McGee, and the sixth was a bench unit with David West playing center. The difference in the postseason has been even more stark: Of lineups that have played at least 15 minutes, only two are better than 35 percent: the starters at 51.7 percent, and a McGee lineup at 53.8.If we look at just the core four players — again, Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green — the effect appears to be even larger. When Pachulia was on the floor with those four during the regular season, they shot 43.7 percent from 3; when they played with any other player, they shot 39.1 percent. In the playoffs, that gap has increased to 51.7 percent when playing with Pachulia and 37.7 when playing with anyone else. For McGee, the regular season saw the core four shoot 49.5 percent from deep with him and 40.4 without him. In the playoffs, those numbers got further apart, at 53.8 percent and 43.1. The postseason sample sizes may not be huge, but the trend is consistent.So why do two players who don’t shoot 3s have such a profound effect on the Warriors’ outside shooting? Mostly it’s the screening. The Warriors set a massive number of screens away from the ball to free up shooters. Having dedicated screeners like Pachulia or McGee (or, last season, Bogut) helps keep things flowing; it helps doubly when the screeners care more about impeding the defender than they do about obeying the letter of the league’s illegal screen laws (Pachulia ranked third in the league this season in offensive fouls per minute). But that’s not the only way to affect shot quality.You’ll recognize the first play above, in which Pachulia uses first an extended leg and then his extended hindquarters to slow the defender long enough for Durant to get off a clean look.The effect is more subtle in the second play, where Pachulia runs a quick screen with Curry as they cross half court. Damian Lillard goes with Pachulia in the open court, because trying to chase Curry over a screen in semi-transition is pointless. Al-Farouq Aminu rotates to help because Pachulia-on-Lillard is too big a size mismatch to ignore, especially if Zaza is plodding toward the block. In turn, this leaves Green wide open for a 3.True, the Warriors could have created a similar shot with Iguodala on the court, but the thing that’s remarkable about this play is how natural it is. The space created isn’t a result of cutting or screening but simply standing where it makes sense to stand and letting the defense react. Having the true big on the court doesn’t just make getting the shot possible, it makes it simple.It could be that this is all arguing that drawing a distinction between Golden State’s best and second-best lineups isn’t particularly useful, that the Warriors are so talented that even their less-effective versions can overcome the Cavaliers. But if the series tightens up, and a moment comes when Golden State needs to summon its very best, don’t be surprised if the five guys on the court include the kind of center that past Warriors teams seemed intent on destroying. Because this season, that’s who’s brought out their best. 3-POINT SHOTS For lineups that include Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond GreenSource: Without Pachulia or McGee2277934.8 The Warriors’ core four shoot best with a true center The space between the Golden State Warriors team of last season and the one running through teams this postseason may seem to cover the 1,600 miles of I-40 that separate Oklahoma City from Oakland. But slotting former Thunder star Kevin Durant into a 73-win team suited to his precise talents has done more than simply stack talent on talent, emphasizing the Warriors’ zippy, speedy style. It has also fundamentally altered the best version of the best team in the league.A season ago, the Warriors’ final form was the Death Lineup, the unstoppable regiment that put Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the floor with their sixth man Andre Iguodala, a shooter/defender in Harrison Barnes, and a 6-foot-7 Swiss Army knife center in Draymond Green. The Death Lineup played fast, moved the ball and rained fire from 3-point range. During the regular season, it outscored opponents by a colossal 47 points per 100 possessions (in 172 minutes), setting a totally absurd standard of play. The starting lineup, which had Andrew Bogut at center, outscored opponents by “only” 13.2 points per 100. For a variety of reasons, the league caught up to that version of the Warriors in the playoffs, but the thought coming into this season was that the soul of those Warriors would remain about the same — that they’d thrive most while running and gunning in the newly formed Megadeath Lineup, which replaced Barnes with Durant.Durant has delivered on the hype: The Warriors have trounced the league with him in the lineup (and, when they’ve had to, without him), and Durant’s personal stats are among the best in his career. He posted career bests in rebound rate and true shooting percentage this year, and he has played the sort of defense we only ever saw in flashes when he was with the Thunder. But what often goes unnoticed is the fact that the most successful lineups the Warriors run out are no longer groups of small-ball kneebreakers, but ones that feature traditional centers doing traditional center things.Golden State’s Megadeath Lineup has played well — if not as effectively as last year’s small-ball configuration — but it hasn’t been the team’s best lineup, in either the regular season or the playoffs. Instead, the Warriors seem to be at their best when their four best players are joined by a big, either starter Zaza Pachulia or backup center JaVale McGee. Despite his smaller role, McGee was part of one of the two five-man lineups that played at least 50 minutes in the regular season and outperformed the Megadeath Lineup.1The Megadeath Lineup posted a net rating of 23.9 in 224 minutes and was outperformed by lineups featuring the four core guys plus McGee (32.1 net rating in 126 minutes) and the starting lineup with Iguodala in place of Durant (36.3 net rating in 54 minutes).The same has more or less held true in the postseason, with the starters playing extremely well (32.6 net rating) and the lineup featuring McGee continuing to outpace the small-ball crew by about a point and a half (22.7 net rating vs. 21.1). This has little to do with the scoring or even defending contributions of Pachulia and McGee; rather, it’s that these two seem to improve the team’s play by bolstering the core element of the Warriors’ offense: 3-point shooting. Regular seasonWith Pachulia or McGee47521344.8% read more

Sri Lanka remands monk for attacking Rohingya refugees

first_imgA group of Sri Lankan hardline Buddhists protest outside the United Nations office in Colombo on September 27, 2017. AFPA Sri Lankan court on Monday remanded in custody a Buddhist monk charged with leading a mob which evicted Rohingya refugees, including 16 children, from an UN-protected shelter.A magistrate ordered that Akmeemana Dayarathana be held for a week pending an identification parade in connection with last Tuesday’s attack on a refugee centre near Colombo.Police told the court in Mount Lavinia that the monk was a member of an unlawful assembly, obstructed police and caused disaffection among peaceful Buddhists.“Peace-loving Buddhists were shocked to see a saffron-robed monk behaving so badly,” a prosecuting police officer told AFP. “We are charging the monk for causing distress to Buddhists.”The raid on the refugee centre, which housed 31 Rohingya refugees, was led by Dayarathana’s radical Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa (Sinhalese National Force), which uploaded videos of the attack on their Facebook page.Several other people, including monks, were seen on the video urging supporters to destroy the refugee facility.Dozens of men and women led by monks stormed the building and smashed windows and furniture. Police eventually rescued the refugees who had huddled in upstairs rooms.Five men and a woman arrested over the weekend were also remanded in custody until October 9.The government of the Buddhist-majority country has accused the monks of behaving like “animals” during the attack, which left two police officers injured.The refugees arrived in Sri Lanka five months ago after the navy found them drifting in a boat off the north coast.Before that, they had been living in India for several years.More than 800,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in recent years. While most are in refugee camps in Bangladesh, a sizeable minority have moved to other parts of South Asia.The Rohingya have been the target of decades of state-backed persecution and discrimination in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, where many view them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.Extremist Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have close links with ultra-nationalist counterparts in Myanmar. Both have been accused of orchestrating violence against minority Muslims.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed alarm over last Tuesday’s attack.last_img read more

Kashmakash Dealing with societal taboos

first_imgSaitan Theater group successfully organized a Hindi drama – Kashmakash at the Akshara Theater recently in the national capital. The two-series play is based on the complications of family relations where a son returns after seven years to soothe his parents, with a wish to unite his family as he was the one responsible for all their sufferings because of his own love – and to make the situation more complex, he was in an incest relationship with his sister. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The play, scripted and directed by Rajneesh Gautam, founder of Saitan Theater group, included Anish Sachdeva, Armeen Kaur Ahuja, Rennet Attri, Shashank Rawat and Saket Rateria in the cast. When asked about the choice of subject, Rajneesh said, “This topic is considered as a taboo not only in India but in other countries too, we avoid talking about it.  Medical Science, Psychology and society structure consider it abnormal. However we understand that emotions and feelings don’t follow structure. Love has no boundaries.” The actors did a tremendous job in portraying the characters effortlessly. The romantic shayaris in the play touched the heart and soul of the audience, while the live music of the play served as its USP which was given by Vikas Sagar and Sagar Gautam. The stage designing was done beautifully by Devika Sharma. Saitan Theater group has produced shows including ‘The Deadly Sins’, ‘Murder at the Empress’ and ‘Qaidi No 666’. All the plays were  appreciated for excellent acting and direction. “Actually, the word SAITAN is derived from Saint and Satan, it wants to present before the world the two extremes that exist in every person. Our mission is to prove that we all have our good side and bad- we are our own God and Devil,” said Namita Verma, the co-founder of Saitan.last_img read more

Exploring new horizons of Indian culture

first_imgMinister of State for Culture (I/C), Dr Mahesh Sharma, released three books – ‘Jewellery’ by Dr Gulab Kothari, ‘Ghats of Banaras’ by Pratapanand Jha and Dr Sachidanand Joshi and ‘Untold Story of Broadcasting’ by Dr Gautam Chatterjee at IGNCA, New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, he congratulated IGNCA for its efforts in encouraging art and culture. “Jewellery making has been a traditional occupation with a finer classification of those who make it in gold, silver, diamond, pearl, artificial etc. But in recent times it is also being studied as a specialized stream of knowledge. This is the most significant book for our upcoming generation,” he said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe second book titled ‘Untold Story of Broadcasting’ – written by Dr Chatterjee – is about behind-the-scenes developments during the Quit India movement. It gives an authentic account of the secret broadcast which took place during the movement led by Ram Manohar Lohia. It has been published in collaboration with Publication Division, Government of India.The Book ‘Ghats of Banaras’ is derived out of the similar documentation conducted recently at Varanasi. These ghats situated at the bank of river Ganga in a semi-circular shape (ardhachandrakar), give a spectacular view of the city. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIGNCA Member Secretary Dr Sachchidanand Joshi said, “Under the guidance of our president Ram Bahadur Rai, we are trying to do something new and path-breaking in the field of art and culture. Since decades, culture has been described in a set format, but we – who are new in this field – are opening a new horizon for the scholars to identify something new out of the culture but related to the culture. Also, we have taken the initiative of promoting art via publishing new books and ‘Jewellery’ is one of the books of this initiative.” “Besides, we are also happy to announce two more books today – ‘Untold story of broadcast during Quit India movement – written by Dr Chatterjee. In this book, he digs out archival material to rewrite the history of Quit India with new light and new information. The other book is by Dr P Jha, titled ‘Ghats of Banaras’ – which talks about the ghats of Varanasi. These Ghats situated at the bank of river Ganga in a semi-circular shape (ardhachandrakar), give a spectacular view of the city,” he further added.last_img read more