Valcourt says First Nations flaunting transparency law will face immediate funding cuts

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt says the department will immediately cut funding and begin court action against any First Nation that refuses to comply with his government’s transparency law.Valcourt told reporters his department would be withholding funding for non-essential services like chief and council salaries, administrative costs and economic development projects. He also said the department would begin preparing the groundwork for court action against the non-compliant First Nation to force them to reveal their audited financial statements online. The deadline for complying passed Thursday at midnight.“First thing we are going to do is withhold funding; the process starts today,” said Valcourt. “The court order is a legal matter. In the next few days we will take steps to seek court orders against those who willfully refuse to follow the law.”Valcourt said funding for social services, health and education would not be impacted by the cuts.“We will not penalize the membership of the First Nation whose leadership refuses to comply with the law,” he said.The department released numbers on Thursday showing 52 First Nations had refused to comply with the law. The department said 529  First Nations have submitted their financial reports for posting by the department.Thunderchild Chief Delbert Wapass said his Saskatchewan community would not be complying with the law.“We are refusing to submit as well,” said Wapass.Onion Lake Cree Nation filed a $50 million court action against Ottawa Wednesday over the law. The oil-rich Saskatchewan First Nation’s statement of claim provides a glimpse at the department’s planned punitive steps against non-compliant First Nations.The document said the department planned to initiate two rounds of cuts to non-essential service, the first scheduled for Thursday and the second for Dec. 12. The document also alleges the department plans to terminate Onion Lake’s contribution on agreement also on Dec. 12. The contribution agreement includes funding for essential services.Valcourt would not comment on Onion Lake’s claim on termination of the funding agreement, saying the matter was before the courts.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewsThe ListDownload (PDF, Unknown)last_img read more


Toronto airline expands daily service to 3 Ontario cities including tech hub

first_imgTORONTO – FLYGTA Airlines says it will soon fly daily to three new Ontario destinations out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, including an 18-minute flight to technology hub Kitchener-Waterloo.The Canadian airline says travellers will be able to fly with them from Toronto to Barrie’s Lake Simcoe Regional Airport and Region of Waterloo International Airport in Kitchener-Waterloo starting Nov. 6.The company says flights to London International Airport in London, Ont., will commence in December.FLYGTA has been offering eight daily flights to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Niagara District Airport since Sept. 2016.Flights to Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie will cost $129 each, including taxes and fees, and seat eight passengers, according to the company’s website.The company also operates charter flights, aerial tours of Toronto and getaways to Niagara wineries.last_img read more


Ban speaks out against Israeli plans to expand settlements

10 March 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has repeatedly called for Israel’s settlement construction to come to a halt, has condemned its announcement that it is building 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. “He reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law,” according to a statement by his spokesperson issued last night in New York.“Furthermore, he underscores that settlement activity is contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Roadmap, and undermines any movement towards a viable peace process,” it added.The Roadmap, endorsed by the diplomatic Quartet comprising the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia, calls for two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security.Yesterday, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced that it has approved plans to build 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem.“Unfortunately, the decisions that have been taken in the past few days are not helpful… to build a climate of trust,” Filippo Grandi, the new Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), told reporters in New York today.The Secretary-General noted last month that while Israel’s efforts and willingness to resume peace talks are welcome, returning to negotiations is hampered by developments on the ground, including continued settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory.“At this crucial juncture, Israel should refrain from taking steps which have the potential to prejudge negotiations and create tensions,” especially in East Jerusalem, where settlements are expanding and Palestinians are being evicted, he stressed in a message to the UN-backed International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace held in Qawra, Malta. read more


Sri Lanka to strengthen cooperation with EU bank

“New support from the European Investment Bank will help unlock essential new investment to improve sanitation in Colombo. I look forward to strengthening cooperation between the EIB and Sri Lanka in the years to come,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said following his meeting in Brussels with senior European Investment Bank officials responsible for lending in South Asia. The existing water supply and sewage network in Colombo was built a hundred years ago and is not adequate for the city’s needs. Once complete the upgraded water network will enable clean water to be supplied 24 hours a day and seven days a week, compared to the currently heavily restricted service.The new water investment programme will include provision of a new sewage network in currently un-served areas of Kirillopone. Under the initiative a new wastewater treatment facility will also be built to reduce pollution at the Wellawata sea outfall.“It is encouraging to see others joining in this effort to improve Colombo city dwellers’ quality of life which will cater to the increasing demand in the city for improved water and wastewater services,” said Sri Widowati, Country Director, Sri Lanka Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank. “This loan is a further example of the European Union’s support for Sri Lanka’s long-term development. Studies show that modern sanitation is one of the most important factors in people’s health and well-being. In addition, water supplies in many developing countries are under growing pressure from urbanisation and climate change, which puts a premium on the efficient use of those resources. We are pleased to provide assistance to help address these challenges and improve access to water and sanitation for the people of Colombo.” highlighted Tung-Laï Margue, European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.The 25 year long-term was formally agreed at a signature ceremony in Brussels by Ravi Karunanayake, M.P., Minister of Finance and Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka and Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in South Asia. The new loan represented the EIB’s fifth sovereign loan in the country. Sri Lanka is to strengthen cooperation with the  European Investment Bank, the bank said in a statement today.The European Investment Bank is to provide EUR 50 million to support improvement and expansion of sewage networks across the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. The new loan will help Colombo Municipal Council to achieve its goal of providing full sanitation coverage to benefit people living and working in the greater Colombo area. The new EIB loan is European Investment Bank’s first ever support for water investment in Sri Lanka and the first loan for public sector investment agreed with the new post civil-war government. The European Investment Bank has supported investment in Sri Lanka since 2002 including backing climate related investment, private companies and post-tsunami recovery.The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and one of the largest lenders for water investment worldwide. Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 37 billion for water related investment in 67 countries around the world. (Colombo Gazette) The new European Investment Bank loan to the Government of Sri Lanka will be used to finance investment works being undertaken by the Colombo Municipal Council. The Asian Development Bank will also support the water investment project and this new initiative marks the first time that the European Investment Bank has financed a project alongside another International Financial Institution in Sri Lanka. “Increased access to sanitation to be achieved by this project will improve the lives of thousands of people living in Colombo and contribute to achievement of sustainable development goals in Sri Lanka. The European Investment Bank is pleased to be working closely with partners in Sri Lanka to ensure an environmentally sustainable future for the country’s capital and is grateful for the excellent cooperation with the Asian Development Bank in our first joint support in the country. The fruitful discussions with Ministers Karunanayake and Samarawickrama have outlined how the EIB’s global experience can support new investment to improve lives and enhance opportunities in Sri Lanka.” said Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President. read more


BRP CEO says US tariffs remain a drag on its growing boat

BRP Inc. says it has closed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Australia’s largest aluminum boat maker, Telwater Pty. Ltd., furthering the company’s push into the multi-billion fishing and pleasure boating market despite the pain of ongoing metal tariffs.The maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft wrapped its agreement Thursday to buy 80 per cent of Telwater’s outstanding shares. Its owner and managing director, Paul Phelan, will stay on with the company and retain 20 per cent ownership.Telwater marks BRP’s third foray into watercraft in the past year after the Quebec-based firm acquired Alumacraft Boat Co. and Manitou Pontoon Boats last summer. The additions drove a one-third rise in marine product revenues to $146.3 million in the latest quarter.Chief executive Jose Boisjoli is declining to specify the purchase price, but says Telwater notches about $100 million in annual sales.The CEO is intent on casting a line to the world’s 700 million anglers via fishing and pontoon boats, though he says the spate of acquisitions means pausing any future purchase plans around watercraft.Boisjoli says the nearly year-long trade war between the United States and Canada has dented BRP’s margins, with the U.S. imposing a 10 per cent tariff — lifted in May — on aluminum for 50 weeks. Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China remain a drag on BRP business.Boisjoli calls the tariffs “short-term pain,” pointing to BRP’s manufacturing flexibility and product diversity, which includes ATVs, three-wheeled motorcycles and Evinrude outboard motors. Companies in this story: (TSX:BRP)The Canadian Press read more


Tsunami devastation in Indonesia truly staggering UN teams find

Video of press briefing [13mins] “In some areas fatality rates top 75 per cent with 100 per cent of all homes and dwellings destroyed,” Kevin M. Kennedy, Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said of the teams who had finally been able to assess the true dimensions of the disaster in the largely inaccessible Aceh province.In one area “they’ve lost in excess of 90 per cent of the population. That’s 6,500 people out of a pre-tsunami population of about 7,300,” he told a news briefing in New York. The survivors are receiving assistance but are “in dire straits,” he added. In another area, 24 of the 28 villages were completely destroyed.The overall death toll from the tsunami, which struck a dozen countries on 26 December, now stands at more than 165,000, 118,000 of them in Indonesia. There are hundreds of thousands still missing there, though much of this could be due to double counting or people in emergency camps who are just missing from their home sites.But “it could be, at the end of the day we could have another 10,000 or 20,000 deaths in Indonesia,” Mr. Kennedy said. “And we could have a lot more than that, too.”Mr. Kennedy said there were some 700,000 uprooted people in 100 sites in Aceh and he praised the work of the Indonesian Government and the UN’s non-governmental partners, noting that the vast majority of those needing assistance have now received it.”We are still seeking out to find isolated pockets of people, which we continue to find on a daily basis, but those numbers are decreasing,” he added. “So I think we’re reaching the point where we’ll be able to say in a few days that we have basically reached everybody with at least an initial distribution assistance.”Of the nearly $1 billion UN flash appeal launched earlier this month, $739 million have already been pledged, of which $199 million are already in the bank, he noted.The General Assembly’s plenary session was set to adopt a resolution calling for the urgent establishment of an early warning system that could save scores of thousands of lives in a similar future disaster and requesting that Secretary-General Kofi Annan explore ways to further strengthen rapid response capacities for immediate humanitarian relief efforts by the international community.”I have seen mile after mile of desolation, where once vibrant communities have suddenly ceased to exist,” Mr. Annan, who visited the region earlier this month, told the session. “I have looked into the eyes of fishermen whose silence expressed their loss as no words could. I have seen families torn asunder, mothers inconsolable, livelihoods gone.”But I have also seen examples of the best that humanity has to offer,” he added. “Governments of the affected countries moved quickly to do their part, with civil society and the private sector joining forces with them. Communities organized themselves spontaneously, reaching out to their neighbours, without waiting to be told what to do.”He noted that the UN mobilized itself early and quickly, thanked “our men and women in the field for the wonderful job they are doing in difficult circumstances,” and praised the “unprecedented response worldwide” from the general public and the private sector.”The generosity and support we have seen over the past few weeks have set a new standard for our global community,” he declared. “It is my hope that we will find a way of capturing this moment, nurturing this spirit, and bringing it to bear in other crises around the world.”I hope we will unite around it to heal old wounds and long-running conflicts. I hope we will seize it as an opportunity and a reminder to address other emergencies. I hope we will hold to it as a measure of our humanity,” he concluded. read more


Security Council okays plan to release Iraqi funds

The Security Council today endorsed the transfer of more than $220 million from the escrow account set up under the former United Nations arms inspection regime into accounts for the country’s development and the repayment of its UN arrears. In making the proposal earlier this week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that $200 million would be transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq from an account set up under the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq (UNMOVIC), which withdrew from the country on the eve of the United States-led invasion two years ago. A balance of $20,256,697, he said, would be credited against Iraq’s arrears in its contributions to the UN regular budget, peacekeeping operations and tribunal activities. read more


As Lebanese return home UN provides aid warns of mine risk

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has immediately sent out five emergency mobile teams to the main transit routes. The relief workers are handing out water, blankets, mattresses and other desperately needed items and assessing the population’s requirements and movements. In an update, the agency reported that as Lebanese civilians drive to their homes in cars stuffed with belongings, they are voicing relief at going back but trepidation at what they might find. “People are very happy to return, but have no clue whether their house is still there or whether they will have food to eat tonight,” the agency said. “One girl who came back from Syria told us she had left at 6 a.m. and now only wants to return home to her toys and friends.” The agency is not only helping the displaced but also refugees crossing back into Lebanon. Its teams in Syria have seen thousands of people return through the Dabousyah border crossing. UNHCR mobile teams are on hand there to distribute food and water. In preparation for the return, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner Judy Cheng-Hopkins met today with the Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who shared the agency’s wish for people to return home or as close to their original homes as soon as possible. The agency will be offering assistance to those without any homes, providing shelter during the emergency and transition phase. In the immediate future this would mean tents, but on the longer term, UNHCR plans, with the help of other agencies and in support of government activities, to contribute to providing more permanent shelter that can take people through the winter. Today UNHCR staff in Saida will be opening a warehouse and office and set up operations, while in Tyre a joint UN office will also be set up. “We are preparing for large distributions to help the returnees and are pre-positioning goods,” the agency said. Some 50,000 tents, 230,000 mattresses, 172,000 blankets as well as other supplies, including trucks, are presently being flown from all over the region or shipped towards Beirut. Meanwhile, UNHCR, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have issued an urgent appeal concerning the dangers to civilians of unexploded military ordnance (UXO). They advised civilians to “exercise the utmost caution when approaching zones of military activity to ensure that the situation is safe.” On average, 10 per cent of shells, mortars and other projectiles do not explode on impact, according to the agencies, which warned that these pieces of (UXO) can remain lying on the ground or in other locations, but remain highly dangerous, according to the agencies, which warned that the slightest movement can cause them to explode. In order to avert the risk of loss of life or injury caused by UXO, the agencies are launching a nationwide campaign on Tuesday. read more


US consumer spending retreats in September first setback in 8 months

US consumer spending retreats in September, first setback in 8 months AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Oct 31, 2014 6:40 am MDT WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer cut spending in September for the first time in eight months, as incomes grew at the slowest pace this year. The figures underscore nagging economic soft spots that are expected to ease in the coming months.Consumer spending slipped 0.2 per cent in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday, the weakest performance since an identical decline in January. Income edged up 0.2 per cent in September in the smallest monthly gain since a flat reading last December.Shoppers appeared to take a breather after a big spending spree in August, which lifted consumer spending 0.5 per cent. Economists say September’s downturn shouldn’t last, especially amid a strengthening job market and a growing economy.Spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of economic activity, has fallen only three times since the recession ended in 2009.Economists blamed the weak September spending figure on falling energy prices and slower auto sales after a surge the previous month.Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said he expects consumer spending to accelerate to a 2.5 per cent rate in the current October-December quarter, faster than the 1.8 per cent spending gain in the third quarter.“The next couple of months will see spending pick up strongly as people start to spend their windfall from falling gas prices,” Shepherdson said.In September, spending on durable goods such as autos dropped a sizable 2 per cent after a 2.1 per cent jump in August. Spending on nondurable goods such as clothing, food and gasoline, was down 0.3 per cent, while spending on services such as doctor’s visits and utilities posted a modest 0.2 per cent rise.Lower prices at the pump mean consumers will have more to spend on other items.Another reason for optimism is continued strong job growth, which pushed the unemployment rate down to a six-year low of 5.9 per cent in September. More people working means higher incomes and more fuel to drive consumer spending.The small rise in income and the decline in spending in September resulted in a slight increase in the saving rate.Savings as a percentage of after-tax income rose to 5.6 per cent in September, up from 5.4 per cent in August. The saving rate averaged 4.9 per cent in 2013, down from 7.2 per cent in 2012. That had been the highest level in nearly two decades as Americans worked to boost savings following the 2007-2009 recession.Inflation as measured by a gauge tied to consumer spending edged up a slight 0.1 per cent in September, with prices up just 1.4 per cent over the last 12 months. That is well below the 2 per cent target for annual price increases which the Federal Reserve considers an optimal level for inflation.The government reported Thursday that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent in the July-September quarter. Analysts believe after five years of sub-par economic growth, the economy has finally accelerated, helped by solid employment growth.Economists project growth of 3 per cent in the current quarter, helped by solid consumer spending. They are also forecasting 3-per cent growth in 2015, which would be the strongest level since 2005, two years before the start of the Great Recession.The improving economy prompted the Federal Reserve this week to end its third round of bond purchases, which have pushed the central bank’s balance sheet up by more than $3 trillion over the past six years. The Fed bought the bonds as a way to put downward pressure on long-term interest rates and provide an extra boost to the economy after it had slashed its key short-term rate to a record low near zero. read more


As concerns grow over falling ruble Russia moves to float currency takes

As concerns grow over falling ruble, Russia moves to float currency, takes aim at speculators by Vladimir Isachenkov And Laura Mills, The Associated Press Posted Nov 10, 2014 3:04 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MOSCOW – As an acrobat in one of Moscow’s circuses, Yuri Friyuk is an expert at gyrating without falling on his face. Lately, he’s worried about whether the rubles he’s paid with can be as deft.Plagued by the Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis and by falling oil prices, Russia’s economy is struggling and the ruble is taking a head-spinning drop, losing a third of its value since the beginning of the year and touching an all-time low last week.On Monday, the national central bank on Monday decided to freely float the currency and shield it more from speculators.The move, which aims to spare the central bank from burning billions in reserves on supporting the currency, highlights the extent of Russia’s economic decline. The country appears to be sliding toward recession. Investors are pulling money out or seeking the safety of foreign currencies.For ordinary Russians, the currency’s plunge has fueled fears of a spike in inflation, as imports of goods like European cars or U.S. clothes become more expensive.“With groceries, the prices are rising significantly,” said Friyuk. “It never seems like it’s hitting your pocket that hard, but by the end of the month you can feel the difference.”The decline in most of 2014 seems to have been gradual enough that Russians weren’t overt in their discontent. But a sharp drop this month, when the ruble hit its historic low of 48 to the U.S. dollar on Friday — against 32 in January — may cause anger to rise.Much of the support for President Vladimir Putin hinges on the prosperity that washed over Russia during most of his years in power. Some observers warn that a long-lasting erosion of purchasing power could fuel social unrest and say the country’s financial stability is at risk.Whereas the central bank previously was trying to keep the ruble from dropping by simply spending dollars to buy up rubles, that strategy has hit a wall. The bank had reserves of $510 billion at the start of the year, but they stand at $400 million now. It spent $30 billion last month alone.The central bank said Monday it would stop intervening every day in the market to keep the currency up and instead take aim at speculators.To do that, it said it will limit loans to banks that use the money to go out and buy dollars. Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina also said it will intervene “at any moment in the amount necessary to counter speculative demand.”Investors welcomed the move, as it will spare the country’s reserves and should help limit speculative trades against the ruble. The currency strengthened on Monday’s news, trading up 2.3 per cent at 45.6 rubles a dollar in late trading.Though the ruble rose on Monday, analysts say the free float could in fact see it decline over the longer-term. Western sanctions over the fighting by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon.“The problem is we still have this big shadow of east Ukraine, the threat of sanctions is hanging over the whole economy and the currency,” said Chris Weafer, an analyst at Macro Advisory in Moscow.The ruble is also expected to come under more pressure next year, when Russian companies and banks will have to pay back about $100 billon in hard currency debts, Weafer added.The central bank had originally planned to allow the ruble to trade freely next year in what it had hoped would be a sign of its economic prowess. Instead, the move was made out of a desperate need to stanch spending of the national reserves.Speaking in Beijing, where he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced confidence that the central bank’s move will help stabilize the ruble. In a bid to assuage investors, he also vowed that the government won’t impose any capital controls.“We have seen speculative fluctuations of the rate, but I think it will end soon in the face of action taken by the central bank in response to action by speculators,” Putin said.Besides spending money to buy rubles in the market, the central bank has also sought to stabilize its currency by steadily raising its base interest rate from 5.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent last month. The higher borrowing rates have not helped the ruble much however, and are in fact likely to weigh further on the economy by making credit more expensive.In a nod to the challenges ahead, the central bank on Monday revised up its estimates for how much money investors will pull out of Russia this year, from $90 billion to $128 billion. It predicted zero economic growth next year. read more


UN refugee agency African host countries agree on final steps on Rwandan

This ministerial meeting, hosted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, marks the last phase of a comprehensive solutions strategy for Rwandan refugees who fled their country between 1959 and 1998 to escape inter-ethnic violence and armed conflict, the agency said. “In a world where there are more than 21 million refugees, the focus should not just be on providing protection and humanitarian assistance, but on proactively identifying solutions. The meeting today constitutes a crucial step in providing solutions to the many Rwandans who sought refuge between 1959 and 1998, and in bringing one of Africa’s most protracted refugee situations to a close,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The participants, who hailed from Rwanda as well as the major refugee host countries – Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – reaffirmed their commitment to bring the strategy, launched in October 2009, to its conclusion by the end of next year. Highlighting the progress made since the last ministerial meeting on the Rwanda refugee situation, the governments reiterated their willingness to provide an alternative legal status to those refugees choosing to locally integrate and encouraged them to avail themselves of the opportunity. All States confirmed that they will continue to promote the option of voluntary repatriation to Rwanda in safety and dignity, including by providing the refugees with comprehensive information on the conditions of return. At the same time, UNHCR agreed to provide an enhanced return package, and to progressively transition from in-kind support to a more cash-based form of assistance to ensure their sustainable reintegration. The countries that have invoked the cessation clause reassured that any refugee whose refugee status is maintained after an exemption process will continue to receive international protection and be supported. The genocide in 1994, followed by armed clashes in the north-west of the country in 1997 and 1998, caused more than 3.5 million Rwandans to flee in search of safety. All but 268,500 of the refugees have found a solution, UNHCR said. At the meeting today, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, underlined that the agency stands ready to continue working with the States hosting Rwandan refugees to find solutions in accordance with the strategy and within the set timeline of December 2017. read more


PSG And Real Madrid Werent Supposed To Have This Many Problems

Few clubs came into this season with grander ambitions than Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Both clubs were among the top contenders to win the Champions League when the competition began. Now, one will be eliminated from competition after the two face off Tuesday in the second leg of their round of 16 matchup. And the problems run deeper than just elimination — PSG is looking to survive an injury to its superstar Neymar, and Real Madrid has already fallen out of title contention in La Liga. Whichever team fails to advance from the match will have questions to answer about what went wrong.So how did we get here? Let’s start with the summer transfer window after the 2016-17 season. Real quite reasonably avoided making major changes to its roster after winning three of the last four Champions League trophies. PSG, having once again been eliminated from the Champions League before the semifinals, embarked on an unprecedented spending spree — laying out hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire Neymar from Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.Despite these purchases, PSG is once again struggling in the Champions League. A 3-1 first-leg defeat in Madrid has left the French with a roughly 25 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s club soccer predictions. To reach the quarterfinals, PSG must win by three or win by two while holding Real scoreless. If PSG wins 3-1, the teams will be tied in both aggregate and away goals over the two legs, and the match will go to extra time and possibly penalty kicks to decide who will advance. For PSG, the Champions League appears to be slipping away. And worse, Neymar recently broke a bone in his foot, which will sideline him for at least six weeks.For both ball progression through midfield and shot creation around the penalty area, PSG runs through Neymar. He has scored 19 goals and assisted 13 in Ligue 1, with a non-penalty scoring and assist rate of 1.34 per 90 minutes played. These numbers are no fluke: Neymar hasn’t benefited particularly from good fortune in either his own or his teammates’ finishing. Neymar has taken shots valued at around 13 expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, and created chances worth about 11.5 expected goals. His expected goals and assists rate of 1.18 per 90 minutes is the highest of any player in the top five European leagues1The English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1. (that means he’s doing better than Lionel Messi).Neymar also moves the attack forward through midfield or into the penalty area before the shot more effectively than anyone else in the top leagues. He has provided about 7.7 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes, just edging out Messi, who has provided 7.2. (Progressive passes and runs occur when a player either moves the attack forward by 10 or more yards beyond its furthest point of progression or moves the ball into the penalty area for the first time in a possession. A progressive run must also include a successful take-on of an opponent.)These comparisons to Messi are not superfluous — Neymar’s production at PSG has reached such a high level that Messi is his only peer. This chart shows the company that Neymar is keeping this season. It displays all 9,000-plus player-seasons in the top five leagues in which a player had at least 1,500 minutes. There are 10 seasons in the top right corner, where players have more than 0.9 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes and more than five progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Eight of them are Messi, starting with his 2010-11 season and running through the current one. And nestled among them is Neymar’s current season. This analysis might suggest that Paris Saint-Germain should abandon hope — the attack has been totally dependent on Neymar, and now he’s out. However, PSG may be the only club in the world that is rich enough to have a reasonable Neymar replacement sitting on the bench. Angel Di Maria, who played in Neymar’s wide forward position this weekend against Troyes, put up similarly huge numbers for PSG in 2015-16 (before Neymar’s arrival). While that season was a career-best for Di Maria, he has consistently put up more than 0.5 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes (averaging over 0.7) and 4 to 6 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Most clubs would have to reshuffle their tactics upon losing Neymar, transferring some of his scoring load to one player and some of his ball progression work to others. But PSG can plug in Di Maria and keep everything else roughly the same. If PSG is to get the big win it needs on Tuesday, the man in the center of it is likely to be Di Maria.Scratching back from a two-goal aggregate Real Madrid lead might normally seem like an insurmountable task, but Real hasn’t been the same team this season. Los Blancos have already fallen 15 points off Barcelona’s pace at the top of the La Liga table, effectively conceding the league title with months to go in the season. Real’s defense has been unusually permeable this season, conceding 29 league goals. That’s the club’s worst defensive record through 27 matches since 2010-11. Real has conceded 43 clear scoring chances — defined as a situation like a one-on-one in which a player is expected to score — also its highest number since 2010-11.On the attacking side, the team appears to be reeling as well — but these numbers are a little misleading. Typically, the very best teams in the world outperform expected goals. After all, these teams have the best strikers, and the best strikers convert the easy chances and also score more often in situations when goals are not expected. Real Madrid is getting their normal amount of chances this season: The team has 63 expected goals and has averaged 61 through 27 matches over the past seven seasons. What has changed then is that the finishing has gotten worse. This year, Real has converted only 58 nonpenalty goals from those chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been uncharacteristically unproductive with his chances, accounts for most of the gap, with 13 nonpenalty goals and 17 expected goals.These statistics provide the context for Real Madrid’s disappointing position in La Liga. The weakened defense is enough to make Real fall short of first-place Barcelona, but it is uncharacteristically poor shooting from superstars like Ronaldo that has dropped Los Blancos out of title competition entirely.The stakes could not be higher for this match. PSG is desperate and missing its star. Real Madrid appears more vulnerable than usual — even if the attack is most likely better than its relatively disappointing top-line numbers show.Neither team has much to play for this season other than Champions League glory, and both clubs were constructed precisely for this task. The stage is set for a great European clash between two of the richest and most successful clubs — even if it’s not what these two heavyweights envisioned when this all started.Check out our latest soccer predictions. read more


Swans reunited as missing mate returns to rekindle 19year romance

first_imgCroupier’s grandparents Nijinsky and Caroline, were first recorded at Slimbridge in 1969 and the family are known affectionately as the ‘Gambling Dynasty.’ A heartbroken swan who flew into Britain alone six weeks ago after losing his mate during the 2,500 mile journey has finally been reunited with his partner.Wildlife experts at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust feared the worst when 26-year-old Bewick’s swan Croupier arrived without Dealer, who is mother to his 29 cygnets.The pair have been together for 19 years and are part of a lineage of swans which can be traced back decades. Bewick’s swan numbers have plummeted in the past two decades and it was feared Dealer may have been shot or poisoned on her journey back from Russia. But on Monday the Trust in Gloucestershire announced that Dealer has finally arrived after going missing for six weeks.WWT’s swan expert Julia Newth said: “During the 19 years they were together, Croupier and Dealer reared and brought back to Slimbridge 29 cygnets.”The cygnets learned the 2,500 mile migration route when following their parents and we often see different generations of the same family on Swan Lake at the same time.”Few families have demonstrated these birds’ characteristic site fidelity and loyalties to each other and we hope to see them continue to winter at Slimbridge for many years to come.” Croupier in ‘Swan Lake’ at Slimbridge Croupier in 'Swan Lake' at Slimbridgecenter_img Although swans live a long life but they do not produce many young. Bewick’s swans lay around five eggs each year on the Arctic breeding grounds but usually only one or two cygnets make it to their wintering sites in Western Europe.Experts at Slimbridge have been carrying out research to find out why the swans have declined by 40 per cent in recent years. WWT’s swan research assistant Steve Heaven said: “Our long-term study of the Bewick’s swans at Slimbridge has shed light on their ecological needs, important for survival. This information is crucial for helping us to understand why the population has been struggling”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


Searchpoint Optima Plus IR gas detector with optional HART output

first_imgHoneywell has launched a new Searchpoint Optima Plus model variant, which now includes the HART® (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer) communications protocol.Searchpoint Optima Plus is a market-leading Point IR (Infrared) gas detector offering high performance detection of a wide range of hydrocarbon gases. With immunity to adverse weather affects such as snow, fog, rain and sunlight, and fail-to-safety operation, Searchpoint Optima Plus provides a flexible monitoring solution that is ideal for a diversity of hazardous applications.The addition of HART to this device enables sites using a 4-20 mA output to gain value-added functionality without any additional infrastructural wiring costs, because HART works by superimposing a digital signal on an existing 4-20 mA cable, meaning that no additional cabling is required. HART allows users to gain access to full information from Searchpoint Optima Plus anywhere in the loop, helping to save valuable time when carrying out routine maintenance work, because the full scope of work needed can be identified before entering the field.Using HART also eliminates the need for proprietary handheld devices because a single handheld HART communication device can be used to access any HART® enabled equipment on site, delivering further cost savings.The Value of Searchpoint Optima Plus with optional HART output:Flexibility to evolve with process changes: Searchpoint Optima Plus with optional HART output detects a wide range of hydrocarbon gasesEnhances site safety: High performance IR Point gas detector offering immunity to adverse weather and fail-to-safety operationReduces operational costs and saves money: HART does not require additional cabling on a 4-20 mA output and removes the need for proprietary handheld devices; a single handheld HART communication device can be used with any HART enabled equipment on siteReduces maintenance costs: HART allows full device information anywhere in the loop, via a handheld HART communication device, helping to reduce time spent in the field and easily accessible device information helps permit preventative maintenance.last_img read more


Parents had to console garda sent to the scene of their sons

first_imgHE WAS “STITCHED up in A&E, given a month’s prescription and sent home” – how one family were treated by a hospital shortly before their son died by suicide.Another family were sent to a different hospital with a note that read: “Sorry, not our area”.These accounts were published in a report launched today that looked at the experiences of 104 families affected by suicide.The report revealed the extent of humiliation and dissatisfaction families felt with statutory services in Ireland, with 66 per cent reporting a negative experience when dealing with health services. One in five reporting dissatisfaction with the justice services, while eight per cent of families affected by suicide had a bad experience with education services.‘Hospitalised if she had VHI’Other accounts of the services included criticism of trained gardaí, with one family having to console a young garda sent to the scene of their son’s suicide death. Another family were told that their daughter “would have been hospitalised if she had VHI”.One family recalled how a best friend of a suicide victim was arrested for six hours after he found his friend’s body. In another instance, a suicidal young man who later took his life, was arrested on a bridge “to teach him a lesson”, the family said.We’re “going to take his brain out” one family was told by telephone. They added: ”They gave it back to us five months later in a box.”The report also contains negative ratings about coroners’ inquests where up to eight different families endured the details of their cases at the same sitting in the court.Beaten by a teacherWhen it came to lack of satisfaction in education, one family told the research team that their son was “beaten up” by one of his teachers, which was seen to be a contributing factor in his eventual suicide.Other reports included students having been subjected to humiliation such as “being placed in junior classes” and in another instance having a student’s private journal retained as a “threat”.ClustersThe project also found that up to 50 per cent of under-18 suicide deaths in Ireland may be part of couplets or clusters.“A young suicide death is a very powerful and destabilising social force. It can reverberate intensely in smaller closed communities. The whole community is at increased risk for at least a year, and also at anniversaries,” said Prof Kevin Malone, research leader. “We have to place cluster-busting in our suicide prevention agenda.”Depression screeningRecommendations from the report suggest there should be an early detection adolescent depression screening programme and a real-time monitoring of teen and young adult suicide in Ireland.The report, ‘Suicide in Modern Ireland’ was launched at the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland today.Here are some numbers if you need to speak with someone:Samaritans 1850 60 90 900 or email jo@samaritans.orgTeen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634Console 1800 201 890Aware 1890 303 302Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ieChildline 1800 66 66 66Read: The new Carlow jersey supports suicide awareness>More: Over 2,700 people sought help from Pieta House last year>last_img read more


New Star Wars Books to Fill in the Blanks from Rogue One

first_img There were some things missing from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, specifically regarding its characters. What was Jyn Erso’s life like in the care of Saw Gerrera? What is the backstory behind two of the movie’s standout characters: Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus?A lot of these details were hinted at in the film, but two books announced on StarWars.com last week promise to fill in those blanks for fans starting on May 2.Rebel Rising is written by Beth Revis, best known for the Across the Universe series. It’s a young adult novel that’ll show readers how Jyn’s childhood with Saw after the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father affected how we see her in Rogue One. The film hinted at a fractured relationship between the two, and the book will explore what that was.Part of the description reads as follows: “Jyn dedicates herself to the cause—and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in…and who she can really trust.”Courtesy Starwars.comGuardians of the Whills is written by Greg Rucka, who has been writing comics, including Wonder Woman, for decades. The book will follow Baze and Chirrut on Jedha following the Empire takeover.The synopsis emphasizes that the events of the novel will take place between that takeover and Saw Gerrera’s arrival.“Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple on Jedha and all those who worshiped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. When a man named Saw Gerrera arrives with grand plans to take down the Empire, it seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha. But will it come at too great a cost?”Courtesy Starwars.comThe “Guardians of the Whills” were actually created by George Lucas while he was developing the original Star Wars. According to Slashfilm, Lucas had a story called “Journal of the Whills, Part I” that was ultimately turned into A New Hope.The books are available for pre-order now and will hit stores on May 2. As Revis points out, that makes it a perfect “May the Fourth be with you” party gift. Stay on target My Star Wars book comes out May 2. You know what that means, right?And EPIC and BOOKY May the Fourth party.— Rogue Revis (@bethrevis) January 28, 2017center_img Share The Force With This Star Wars Gift Guide!George Lucas’s 11 Worst Decisions last_img read more


Ivan Rakitic dropped from Croatia squad

first_imgIvan Rakitic has been dropped from Croatia’s squad for the upcoming game against England due to injury.The Barcelona midfielder will miss the all-important UEFA Nations League game against the Three Lions at Wembley on Sunday due to injury, according to Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic.Rakitic came off injured in the 67th minute of Croatia’s 3-2 home win over Spain on Thursday which gave the World Cup runners-up a chance to top League A Group 4 and claim a place in next year’s semifinals.“He will go to Barcelona, it’s a serious injury. You know that I usually take no risk. If there is a doubt that the injury could be serious, then we let him rest,” Dalic told Sky Sports.Dalic refused to reveal the type of injury but Rakitic was taken off, suffering discomfort in the back of his right thigh.Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: 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 want healthy players and Ivan in this moment is not 100 percent ready. Unfortunately, we are going to play without him.”The 30-year-old has featured in 102 games for his country, but Dalic said they have players capable of filling in.“We will see who will replace him. We have [Mateo] Kovacic, we have [Josip] Brekalo, we have [Milan] Badelj,” he added.“There is always a solution and we should stop whining about someone who’s not going to be there. We will find a solution and we are going to Wembley to enjoy football.”The winner of Sunday’s game with England will progress to the semis of the Nations League with the losers being relegated to League B.last_img read more


Man found dead at home no official info

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, July 26, 2017 – Providenciales – No information has come in as yet, but a man was reportedly found dead at his residence in Kew Town between Monday night and Tuesday morning.#MagneticMediaNews#manfounddeadathomeinKewTown Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #manfounddeadathomeinKewTownlast_img


Kenai Eagle Cam Is Getting An Upgrade

first_imgIn a letter to the City Council Ostrander stated that in its first year of operation the Kenai Eagle Cam wassuccessful, and in just the first summer of operations, the Eagle Cam was viewed for 2,083,618 minutes. City Manager Paul Ostrander said the new camera will provide a higher definition picture, superior low light picture and enhance audio capabilities at a cost of approximately $1 ,600. City Council Member Jim Glendening spoke at the meeting about how positive this project has been for the community: “This is an exciting event, I receive comments from friends and family outside when I told them about the  observations we are making, and it’s a positive thing to market our summer in Kenai.” In 2017 the City, partnered with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce to begin streaming live images of a nesting eagle pair.  According to the ordinance in order to enhance the quality of the stream, a new camera was proposedcenter_img Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai City Council approved an ordinance at their meeting on Wednesday, February 21, to appropriate $1,600 for a new eagle camera. Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-Eagle-Cam-upgrade.mp3VmJennifer-on-Eagle-Cam-upgrade.mp300:00RPdlast_img read more


Indianorigin Uber driver sentenced to three years on kidnapping

first_imgNEW YORK: An Indian-origin Uber driver has been sentenced to three years in prison, ordered to pay over 3,000 dollars as penalty for kidnapping one of his female passengers and dropping her off on an isolated highway. Harbir Parmar, 25 of New York had pled guilty in March this year before US District Judge Vincent Briccetti, who imposed three-year sentence on charges of kidnapping and wire fraud, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said. Also Read – EAM Jaishankar calls on European Parliament President David Sassoli Advertise With Us In addition to the prison term, Parmar was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay USD 3,642 in restitution and forfeiture. “Many people rely on rideshare apps to navigate New York safely. But when a woman hailed the ridesharing car driven by Parmar, her ride home took a turn for the worst.”With Parmar’s lengthy prison term, he will no longer be able to take advantage of ridesharing customers,” Berman said. Also Read – This is why Denmark, Sweden and Germany are considering a meat tax Advertise With Us According to the indictment and statements made during the plea proceedings, in February 2018 Parmar, who worked as a driver for the ridesharing company Uber, picked up the female passenger in New York who sought to be driven to White Plains, a suburb of New York City. After the passenger fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle, Parmar changed the passenger’s destination in Uber’s mobile application to an address in Boston, Massachusetts, and proceeded to drive toward that location. Advertise With Us When the passenger awoke, the vehicle was in Connecticut. She requested that she be taken to White Plains or to the police station, but Parmar refused. He instead dropped the passenger off on the side of a highway in Connecticut. She then went to a nearby convenience store where she sought assistance. In addition, from December 2016 through February 2018, Parmar sent false information about the destinations of Uber’s customers through the company’s mobile application on several occasions. At times, he also sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of Uber’s customers. In these instances, Uber customers filed complaints with it about being overcharged for their rides. These instances have resulted in thousands of dollars in improper charges to the accounts of Uber’s customers.last_img read more