They’ve got the best seat in the house for the all the exhilaration and flare of the 2008 X-Blades National Touch League but the referees’ job is often a thankless one. The tournament wouldn’t be possible without the men and women with the whistles, but the refs also receive a great deal of assistance by a team of dedicated behind-the-scenes personnel.One such valuable contributor is veteran Touch personality Al Williams. For more information visit the NTL website
Real Madrid coach Solari: January signings? C’mon guys…by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid coach Santiago Solari has pleaded with the media to allow his players to celebrate their Club World Cup triumph.After their 4-1 final win over Al Ain, Solari was immediately asked about his transfer plans for January.”Recruits this winter? What I’m saying is that we deserve to breathe a bit, we have earned this title with a lot of merit and we must enjoy it,” said the Argentine.”The only thing I’m sure of is that this team deserves this trophy. “For now, the sequel is a deserved holiday.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
TagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say Liverpool boss Klopp lauds Leicester counterpart Rodgersby Ian Ferris21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been speaking of the return to Anfield of former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers with Leicester.”He is doing really well – and to be honest, I am not surprised about that. I knew when I came here that he was not the reason that things did not work out. Since then he has done an incredible job at Celtic and now at Leicester.”A lot of players were in before him and are still there, but [he has made] good signings as well, really good signings, and a brilliant team. What they do is really good.”I don’t have to say that because I think everybody knows it in the moment when you watch the Leicester games, it is just exciting, they are fresh, they are good. Just good.”They defend well, play football and especially [their] counter-attacks are pretty threatening. The reception will be good, from my side and from the supporters as well, but still it is not a friendly game and that’s what we want to make sure. We are there to perform as well and hopefully that’s what we will do.”
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – NBA star Stephen Curry is heading to Hollywood in a big way.Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Monday that it has struck a deal with the Golden State Warriors All-Star guard to produce television, film and possibly gaming projects.A press release states Curry and the company he has co-founded, Unanimous Media, will have their production headquarters on the Sony backlot in Culver City, California.The projects developed by Curry’s company will focus on family, faith, and sports themes.No specific projects were announced Monday, but Curry says in a statement he wants to use the deal “to affect the world positively.”Curry and the Warriors have a 3-1 lead in their first round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.
LAS VEGAS — Every year, the CES gadget show brings more devices promising to make life a little bit easier for harried parents.Sure, the kids might love them too: who wouldn’t want a computerized Harry Potter wand that also teaches coding? The Las Vegas show’s growing “family tech” sector encompasses products that range from artificially intelligent toys and baby monitors to internet-connected breast pumps.Their common thread is an appeal to parental anxiety about raising smart kids, occupying their time, tracking their whereabouts and making sure they’re healthy and safe.Some also come with subtle trade-offs. “Technology makes us forget what we know about life,” said psychologist Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies people’s relationships with machines. She’s particularly concerned about robots that seek to befriend or babysit young children.NOT-SO-IMAGINARY FRIENDSTake the cute, furry Woobo, meant to be a real-life version of a child’s imaginary friend that can help set tooth-brushing routines, answer complex questions and play educational games. It’s part of a new cottage industry of sociable toys, which includes robots like Cozmo and Sony’s dog-like Aibo.A gentle pull at the ears switches the screen-faced Woobo into listening mode. The $149 toy talks in a child-like voice and makes a game out of boring chores that might otherwise require a parent’s nagging. Its makers say Woobo doesn’t glue kids to its screen because it invites them to go find things in the home, help parents cook dinner or play family games like charades.“Our focus on the content side is not to replace parents,” said Shen Guo, who co-founded Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Woobo after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. “It’s to enhance family time.”But its appeal for a child’s emotional attachment and nurturing sets off alarm bells for Turkle, who has been warning against what she calls “artificial intimacy” since the Tamagotchi digital pet craze of the 1990s.Research has shown the benefits of children playing out their inner feelings and worries by projecting them onto inert dolls. But Turkle says that doesn’t work when the toys seem real enough to have their own feelings.“Pretend empathy is not a good thing,” Turkle said. “Everything we know about children’s development is that if you read to a child, what’s going on is the relationship, the talking, the connection, the mentoring, the safety, the sense that people love learning. Why do we think this is a good idea to give this to some robot?”IS YOUR BABY BREATHING?Talk to makers of the next generation of baby monitors unveiled at CES and you’d be surprised that generations of children survived infancy without artificial intelligence systems analyzing their every breath.“Babies want to breathe. Babies want to live,” says Colt Seman, co-founder of Los Angeles-based startup Miku, which promises to monitor breathing and heart rate without letting parents get overly worked up about it.Regulators haven’t approved any baby monitors for medical use and instead recommend parents focus on providing a safe sleeping environment. Some doctors worry that such devices create additional stress for parents.Unlike most past offerings, the latest crop of baby monitors that measure vital signs are “contactless” — meaning they don’t work by attaching some electronics to a baby’s sock or chest. Raybaby’s device resembles a one-eyed robot that detects breathing patterns using radar technology. The non-ionizing radiation it emits is at low levels, but might still turn off some parents already concerned about keeping their babies too close to smartphones.Most of the other devices rely on computer vision. A camera by Nanit watches a baby from above and measures sleeping patterns by tracking the slight movements of a specially-designed swaddle. It also uses the data it collects to recommend more consistent sleep times. Nanit’s Aaron Pollack acknowledges that some parents might still check Nanit’s phone app to check breathing data five times a night “out of sheer anxiety.”“We’re not trying to prevent that,” he said. “We’re just trying to give you some piece of mind.”Two others, Miku and Utah-based Smartbeat, each boast of a level of precision and analytical rigour that could eventually help predict when the baby is going to get sick. Both have phone alert systems to report worrisome breathing irregularities. Smartbeat’s analysis is purely image-based, while Miku also uses radar. Miku’s sleeker hardware comes at a cost: It’s $399, well above the $250 Smartbeat.TECH IN THE WOMBOf course, parental anxiety begins even before a child is born — hence Owlet’s new $299 pregnancy band that wraps around a woman’s abdomen to track fetal heartbeats by taking an electrocardiogram. The idea is to put on the stretchy band before going to sleep starting about three to four months before the due date.It sends a morning wellness report to a user’s smartphone app, with details including an expectant mother’s contractions and sleep positions — and warnings if fetal heartbeat or movements fall outside acceptable ranges.An owl-faced medallion above the mother’s belly gives the band the look of a superhero emblem — and why not? Pregnancy is tough.“It’s really just having that extra piece of mind, between doctor’s visits, that everything is OK,” said Owlet spokeswoman Misty Bond.Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press
According to the Wildfire Service website, there are four new wildfires burning along the Cecil Lake Road less than 10 kilometres from the Energetic City in a cluster on the far side of the Beatton River. The largest of the fires is 0.9 hectares in size and is believed to be human-caused.A map showing the locations of four wildfires burning east of Fort St. John. Photo by BC Wildfire Service.The BC Wildfire Service has not confirmed the cause of another large plume of smoke that appeared west of Fort St. John near lunchtime Friday. That fire, which could be a Category 3 controlled burn, appears to have its source near the south end of the 277 Road south of Charlie Lake.This is a developing story, and we’ll have an update once we receive more information. UPDATE #2: Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that the two confirmed fires burning near Cecil Lake have been extinguished. Reynolds explained that the other two fires reported in the area were just smoke plumes from the two fires, and that no burning was found. Reynolds added that residents need to ensure they use caution when doing controlled burns.UPDATE: Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that the BC Wildfire Service is aware of the fire burning west of Fort St. John, which is a registered Category 3 fire. Reynolds said that crews have been assigned to the group of fires burning near Cecil Lake. She said that none of the confirmed fires are greater than one hectare in size.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Wildfire Service is reporting several new wildfires are burning near Fort St. John.
New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday cited a ‘sting operation’ to allege exchange of old notes post-demonetisation for hefty commissions by people claiming proximity to the government and the BJP, but the ruling party refuted the allegations and said it would take appropriate legal action.At a press conference here, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also alleged that currency notes worth thousands of crores were printed abroad and transported into India. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsHe alleged that “a team of government officials drawn from different departments were engaged in the exchange of old notes for new post demonetisation”. He, however, did not authenticate the videos he showed at the conference and said these are in the public domain and the concerned agencies should initiate a probe. Sibal also claimed the Election Commission was not acting on their complaints. Responding to the charges, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Patna that “Kapil Sibal has made false allegations on our (party) president (Amit Shah) and we will take legal action.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”Demonetisation is the biggest scam in the history of India. Current notes (issued after the old Rs 500/100 notes were demonetised in November 2016) were printed abroad and transported into India, and there can be nothing more anti-national than this,” Sibal told reporters. “Modi started his tenure by fooling us, and he is ending his five-year-tenure by traumatising us. He traumatised the people of this country; he has traumatised the poor of this country; he has traumatised journalists and his political opponents. He has used the agencies to target people who are opposed to him,” he said. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Sibal had exposed the “stench of corruption that has reached the highest echelons of the Modi Government”. “If this is not ‘anti-national’, then what is? Will, the Supreme Court, show the courage to take note and hold the corrupt accountable?” he asked. Referring to the Income-Tax Department action against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s aides, the Congress leader said the alacrity with which the Enforcement Directorate and I-T have acted; they should also move fast and arrest the people in the video and tell the country what has happened. He said the government should initiate a probe into allegations made in the video. He accused the government agencies of acting against BJP’s political rivals but not against those who are close to the ruling party or the government despite complaints against them.
NAIROBI – Kenya has stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the South Sudan crisis even as it continued with evacuation of its nationals from the country. The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday confirmed that a mediation team appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which include two top peace negotiators who have previously been involved with South Sudan , Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat and Elija Sumbeiwo, were already in Juba.“Efforts to resolve the crisis through dialogue are in top gear and our mediation team are already in Juba,” Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho, told AA. He also confirmed that evacuation efforts involving the use of military planes was still on, adding that 107 more Kenyans arrived in Nairobi on Monday while another 150 were expected home today.However, 1,600 Kenyans are still stuck in the UN camp in Bor, Jonglei State which is now in the hands of rebels under the command of the former South Sudan Vice President Dr. Rieck Machar.It has been difficult for Kenyan military planes to land in Bor, where even a US military plane on rescue mission of its nationals came under fire from the rebels. The weary Kenyans who arrived Monday evening described harrowing experiences.“We could not take anything. Many people have been shot dead and many others injured. We just ran to the UN camp in Juba with what we could carry and the children,” Prisca Waithera told AA on arrival.Most of the Kenyans evacuated were involved in doing business and lost a lot of property.“I have lost everything I have worked for the last three years. The soldiers and local people looted all my property. I am not going back there,” said John Kariuki who had a chain of shops in Juba.The government has dispatched more buses to Juba through Uganda after getting guarantees of the safety and protection from the South Sudanese government.“The corridor from Juba through Kampala is safe and we are sending more buses to help with the evacuation,” said Dr. Kibicho.“I am happy to be back home, safe with my family but I don’t know how I will survive with my family as I lost everything and I have been away from home for the last four years,” said Elijah Mulanda from western Kenya.The government has announced that those evacuated will be given some financial aid for survival as they settle.Meanwhile, cargo destined for South Sudan yesterday was piling up at the Mombasa Port following the crisis which has made transportation difficult.Kenya Airport Authority officials said there was a growing pile up of cargo which will affect the port’s storage capacity if the crisis is not resolved quickly to speed up the transportation of the cargo.Reporting by William Oloo
OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston (14) dribbles the ball during a game against Northwestern on Jan. 28 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorEnergy filled the Schottenstein Center on Monday in Columbus, as everyone who was present for the late-night tip was well aware of what the contest meant for both parties. The top spot in the Big Ten was on the line, and No. 5 Maryland (21-3, 10-2) was the challenger for seventh-ranked Ohio State (19-4, 11-1). Earlier in the season when these two powerhouses faced off in College Park, Maryland, OSU took home the win, defeating the Terrapins 80-71. But the Buckeyes weren’t going to let past success affect how they entered Monday night’s meeting.The teams are both known for their impressive scoring attacks, with Maryland averaging 85.9 points per game and OSU right behind them with 85.3 points per contest, but it was the Buckeyes who administered a greater effort to propel them to a 94-86 upset victory at the Schott.The intensity that was circling around the arena from the start of pregame warmups translated immediately to a Buckeye success, as they started off the game with a 7-0 run.“I was really proud of our effort to start, and we had great focus and energy right from the tip,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said.Maryland had a tough time against OSU’s full-court pressure, turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, but when it was able to adjust to the Buckeye defense and the atmosphere that was presented, the Terrapins were able to play catch-up and keep the deficit to seven points heading into the locker room at the break.OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston went on a surge to begin the first quarter, scoring 11 points, but more pressure came her way when she had the ball in the second quarter. She was limited to only two points, ending the half with 13. Along with her scoring in the first 20 minutes of play, Alston weaved passes through the defenders to her teammates, having three flashy assists at the half.The Terrapins were able to make a majority of their shots off second-chance opportunities, grabbing 11 rebounds in the first half. The Buckeyes, being a more guard-heavy unit, have struggled on the glass throughout the season. Maryland truly took advantage of OSU’s weakness Monday evening.Alston, though, would not point to height differences as an excuse for poor rebounding.“We are looked at as being undersized,” Alston said after the game. “But it’s just ‘who wants the ball?’ so that is effort.”Second-half action was dominated by the Buckeyes. They began to pull away after sophomore guard Asia Doss buried a 3-pointer with 4:26 left to play in the third, forcing a Maryland timeout and all the Scarlet and Gray fans to their feet.Going into the final quarter of play, the Buckeyes led 75-61. Even with the lead, OSU kept the foot on the gas pedal. It continued to apply the pressure and push the ball on the fast break. “I thought that we disrupted (Maryland), and those turnovers that we caused were key,” McGuff said. “Then we played at a really fast pace on offense. Overall, probably our best game to date.”The second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell, was back to her normal self, scoring 33 points after an underwhelming performance in OSU’s previous game in which she only scored 16 points. Mitchell went on a tear in the first half,, putting in 18 points with three deep balls, and knocked down another 3-pointer in the second half to pad her point total for the night.It wasn’t only Mitchell who was knocking down 3-point field goals. The entire team shot an impressive 52 percent from beyond the arc, going 12-of-23.“I think we have a special team,” Mitchell said. “Everyone can shoot and do something well on and off the court, and I think it helps us throughout the course of games.”Alston had a productive second half as well for the Buckeyes, finishing her night with 22 points and eight assists.Maryland was led by junior center Brionna Jones, who scored 28 points on the night. She acted as an absolute force in the paint with her extraordinary post play. Along with scoring buckets for the Terrapins, Jones dominated the glass,, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds.The Buckeyes are scheduled to hit the road for their next two games, facing Iowa on Thursday night and then traveling to “Happy Valley” to take on Penn State on Valentine’s Day. Now riding a seven-game winning streak, OSU has emerged as the team to beat in the Big Ten.
Senior guard Aaron Craft attempts a layup during a game against Nebraska March 14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. OSU lost, 71-67.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorFor an 18- or 19-year-old college student, sometimes the allure of money can prove to be too much.In the modern age of college basketball, it is rare for talented freshmen to stay at school for much longer than a season before jumping to the NBA. Which is why when the NCAA Tournament rolls around every year, a focus is placed on a potentially deciding factor when fans are selecting their brackets.Experience.Pundits often state that a team with experience — that has seen what the NCAA Tournament is like — is more likely to succeed in March.That is good news for Buckeye Nation, as every one of OSU’s top six players have been to at least an Elite Eight and a Final Four.Two seniors — guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. — and four juniors — center Amir Williams, forwards LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson and guard Shannon Scott — make up the main rotation for the Buckeyes (25-9, 12-9) this season, with no other player starting for coach Thad Matta in 2013-14.Craft said even though the team comes in with experience in the Big Dance, that isn’t going to be as much of a factor as everyone believes.“It doesn’t help as much as you may think,” Craft said Sunday after finding out OSU’s tourney fate. “Just because we’ve been there in the past doesn’t necessarily equal success now. It’s a different year, it’s a different team and every draw is different. The worst that we could do is to fall back on, ‘We’ve had some experience, we’ll be OK.’ That’s not the case. It’s about coming out and making the most of the opportunity we have this year and trying to make it last as long as possible.”The Findlay, Ohio, native has seen his fair share of NCAA Tournament games though, playing in 12 games in March Madness in the span of his career. Perhaps the most memorable moment in Craft’s postseason career came when he hit a game winning 3-pointer against Iowa State in the third round in 2013.Craft said perhaps the one piece of knowledge that can aid the Buckeyes from seasons past is how to fight through the toughest tests.“The one thing that can carry over is the fact that we’ve been through battles,” Craft said. “Obviously throughout the league, throughout this year, all three guys sitting beside me, we’ve been through tough games and atmospheres like this. If things aren’t really going our way, we have a good sense of staying poised. That’s one thing that I think can help us going forward because obviously things aren’t always going to go our way. But continue to fight with one another, that’s something that I think can carry over from the games from the past, especially the NCAA Tournament.”But even though OSU is participating in its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament, 2014 might be a little different. For the first time in five seasons, OSU will not be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the field.Junior forward Sam Thompson said even though having a lower seed is different, it doesn’t affect what OSU has to do to make a deep run.“We know whatever seed we got, wherever we were placed in the NCAA Tournament, there’s no such thing as an easy game, there’s no such thing as an easy opponent,” Thompson said Sunday. “We know that we have to bring our best basketball for 40 minutes if we want to have success in the tournament, and whether we have a two next to our name or whether we have a six next to our name, that doesn’t change.”Coach Thad Matta agreed, saying the team has improved as the season has gone on and he just wants another chance on the court.“This is Ohio State’s sixth straight NCAA Tournament … I’m just, I’m excited for this team and the opportunity to play again,” Matta said. “As I told our guys, we’re a better basketball team than when we left Columbus going to Indianapolis. No matter who you’re going to play in the NCAA Tournament, it’s going to be a really good basketball team.”Matta, who is the only coach in the country that has led a team to at least the Sweet Sixteen each of the past four seasons, said the preparation doesn’t change having a lower seed.“I’d like to have the same mindset, because I liked how far the last couple teams, three teams, have made it,” Matta said. “That’s why I’m excited to get in there and talk to the guys.”The sixth-seeded Buckeyes will look to flaunt their experience, and aim to repeat their successes, against Dayton (23-10, 10-6) Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:15 p.m.