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Excavator blamed for islandwide blackout in Puerto Rico


first_imgSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday after an excavator accidentally downed a transmission line, officials said, as the U.S. territory struggles to repair an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria.Officials said it could take 24 to 36 hours to fully restore power to more than 1.4 million customers as outrage grew across the island about the state of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority. It was the second major outage in less than a week, with the previous one affecting some 840,000 customers.“This is too much,” said Luis Oscar Rivera, a computer technician who just got normal power back at his house less than two months ago. “It’s like the first day of Maria all over again.”Authorities said the same contractor was involved in the two latest big power failures and had been fired. The outage last Thursday was set off when a tree limb fell on a power line as the contractor cleared land in central Puerto Rico and a backup line failed. On Wednesday, an excavator used by the contractor hit a transmission line near the south coast.Several large power outages have hit Puerto Rico in recent months, but Wednesday was the first time since the hurricane struck Sept. 20 that the U.S. territory has experienced a full island-wide blackout.The outage snarled traffic across the island, interrupted classes and work, and forced dozens of businesses to temporarily close, including the largest mall and popular tourist attractions like a 16th century fort in the historic part of Puerto Rico’s capital. Long lines formed stations across the island, while authorities offered assurances that there was enough gasoline available.Backup generators roared to life at the island’s largest public hospital and at its main international airport, where officials reported no cancellations or delays. Meanwhile, the power company said its own customer service centre was out of service and asked people to go online or use the phone.Officials said restoring power to hospitals, airports, banking centres and water pumping systems was their priority. Following that would be businesses and then homes.By late in the afternoon, power had returned to several hospitals and at least five of the island’s 78 municipalities.Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the capital of San Juan, said the outage would not interrupt the last of a two-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins, which is being played on the island. She said all emergency systems at Hiram Bithorn stadium are functioning and that tower lights and additional security will be placed at the stadium’s parking lot.Justo Gonzalez, the power company’s executive sub-director, told reporters that workers were removing a collapsed tower Wednesday during unrelated power restoration efforts near the south coast and an excavator hit the transmission line.“We are working in areas that are quite crowded with high voltage lines,” he said.Fredyson Martinez, vice-president of a union that represents power company workers in Puerto Rico, told The Associated Press that he was concerned about the two back-to-back incidents.“That is not normal,” he said.Government officials said a company hired by Cobra Energy known as Dgrimm was involved in both incidents that led to the power outages. Dgrimm had been asked to change its security protocols after the first incident, and it has since been terminated, said William Rios, power generation director.“This is unacceptable for us,” he said, adding that government attorneys were meeting with officials at Cobra Energy, a Mammoth Energy subsidiary.Angel Figueroa, president of the power workers’ union, told reporters that workers were investigating why a backup breaker at a main power station in the island’s southern region did not function when the outage occurred, causing the entire electrical grid to shut down to protect itself. He noted it was the same problem that caused a 2016 power outage that affected the entire island.Geraldo Quinones, a power company spokesman, said in a phone interview that crews are investigating why the breaker failed.Rivera said he worries that such serious power outages are still occurring as the new Atlantic hurricane season, which starts on June 1, approaches.“If there’s a slight storm, we’re going to be worse off than we are right now,” he said.Federal officials who testified before Congress last week said they expect to have a plan by June on how to strengthen and stabilize the island’s power grid, noting that up to 75 per cent of distribution lines were damaged by high winds and flooding. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the federal power restoration efforts, said they hope to have the entire island fully energized by May. Some 40,000 power customers still remain without normal electrical service as a result of the hurricane.The new blackout occurred as Puerto Rico legislators debate a bill that would privatize the island’s power company, which is $14 billion in debt and relies on infrastructure nearly three times older than the industry average.last_img read more


Industrial building in Prince George BC holds record for most airtight


first_imgPRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Wood Innovation Research Lab in Prince George, B.C., appears to be nothing more than a modern cedar and black-metal building, but look past the cladding and you’ll find an engineering feat that has earned it the recognition as the most airtight industrial building on the continent.The University of Northern British Columbia building has received Passive House certification, making it the first of its type in North America to meet the internationally recognized standards for energy efficiency.Guido Wimmers, chairman of the Integrated Wood Design Program at UNBC, said the building is very efficient and cuts heating and cooling bills by up to 90 per cent in a central B.C. climate where temperatures range from -30 C in winter to 30 C in summer.“To get to Passive House standards in this climate, with this geometry, that was a big challenge and hasn’t been done, to the best of my knowledge. There are three or four industrial buildings worldwide,” he said.There are Passive House organizations around the world advocating for high-performance buildings in design, construction and liveability. Thousands of Canadian homes have been certified by the group indicating they have met limits for heat, energy use and being airtight.The research building is 30 metres by 30 metres, with walls that are a half-metre thick and contain blown-in mineral wool insulation.Generally construction costs about five per cent more for passive buildings, but the university is the owner and it’s also interested in the operation costs, said Wimmers.“The initial investment is higher, true, but the actually monthly costs of ownership are lower. And that’s always the goal. It has to be cost-efficient, otherwise nobody would do it.”It will cost about $1,000 a year to heat, Wimmers said.“A normal building of this type would have had a heating bill of $16,000, or something like that.”The biggest challenge to obtaining the certification was a large overhead door that allows material to be brought into the research lab.Wimmers said they brought in the big red door from Germany and had to optimize it even further to increase the air seal.“Well, first you close the door,” he said, laughing as he explained how they got the seal. “Those bay doors are prone to leak. They are very well known for not being airtight.”The other doors and windows in the building came from Poland, he said.The B.C. Energy Step Code will set much stricter provincial regulations for housing energy efficiency and be in place by 2032, but the construction industry has been slow to catch on and manufacturers don’t see the value, he said. Some cities, including Vancouver, are already enforcing higher energy efficiency standards.“The long-term goal is clearly not to keep on importing stuff. The goal is to create a local market so that local manufacturers can sell their inventions and new products.”Wimmers said he’s been in consultation with several B.C. municipalities and companies about construction of more passive buildings.The end result is all about comfort, Wimmers said.“Imagine you have a power outage. Typical buildings would be almost unlivable in 10 to 12 hours or so. In a Passive House, you just don’t care. You can be there for days and days and days and most likely it is never going to drop below 15 degrees.”— By Terri Theodore in Vancouverlast_img read more


Category 2 fires allowed once again in Northeast BC


first_imgThe Fire Centre said that the fire danger rating across much of Northeast B.C. has dropped since last week after the region saw rain and cooler temperatures. Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that although fire danger ratings have dropped in the region due to recent rainfall and cooler temperatures, the public is strongly encouraged to exercise caution with any outdoor burning or campfire use.Anyone planning to burn a pile larger than two metres high by three metres wide, or conduct a grass burn larger than 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time, by calling 1 888 797-1717. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs. For more information about fire-related fines and penalties, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirefines PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The Prince George Fire Centre says that Category 2 fires will once again be permitted this weekend across the entire Fire Centre’s area, including the B.C. Peace Region.Category 2 fires, which consist of fires that are smaller than two metres high and three metres wide, will be allowed as of noon on Saturday, June 2nd. The current prohibition on sky lanterns, burning barrels, binary exploding targets, and fireworks will also be lifted at that time. last_img read more


Cannabis retail bylaw passes first two readings with tweaks public meeting to


first_imgCORRECTION: A previous version of this article omitted that prior to council considering the proposed zoning amendment bylaw, councillor Trevor Bolin declared himself to be in conflict of interest due to his real estate holdings, and excused himself from the debate and vote.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A proposed zoning amendment bylaw that would dictate which properties in Fort St. John would be allowed to be home to a cannabis retail location passed first two readings at today’s Council meeting – albeit with some amendments.City planners Ashley Murphy and Renee Jamurat gave a presentation at a Committee of the Whole meeting earlier this afternoon about the proposed bylaw, which would have allowed cannabis retail operations in all properties zoned C2, C3, and C4. Properties located within 200 metres of schools, 100 metres from parks, and 100 metres from other cannabis retail locations would not be permitted to operate a cannabis store.  Planner Ashley Murphy and Planning Manager renee Jamurat Presenting the proposed zoning amendment bylaw on cannabis retail locations today. Photo by Chris NewtonIn their report, the planners stated that residents were largely opposed to cannabis retail being located any closer than 200 metres from a school, but were more split on the proposed distance from properties zoned as parks. A slim majority favoured a 200-metre setback from parks, while 48 percent were in favour of a buffer zone of 100 metres or less. “The results indicated that based on a required 200 metre setback from schools, an additional 200 metre setback from parks would prove to limit the number of potential commercial properties that could support such a use to 487, wherein a 200 metre setback from schools coupled with a 100 metre setback from parks would result in 567 commercial properties being potentially able to support such a use, or a difference of 80 properties,” stated Murphy in her report. She added that neither scenario took in to account the additional proposed 100 metre required setback from other cannabis retail locations. Other stakeholders also weighed in, with the RCMP telling the City it preferred cannabis stores be located in the City’s downtown core, while School District #60 said in an email that it preferred cannabis operations to be located on C4 properties – the majority of which are located near the Alaska Highway. When asked, mayor Lori Ackerman stated that the RCMP did not include any reasoning in their preference for cannabis retail to be confined to the downtown core. Prior to the bylaw being brought forward to Council during the regular meeting, councillor Trevor Bolin declared himself to be potentially in conflict of interest due to his real estate holdings, and excused himself from Council Chambers prior to the bylaw being tabled.Mayor Ackerman also said that in speaking with Chamber of Commerce president Nelson Stowe, that he expressed a concern with the proposed setback between individual retail locations. She explained that the reasoning behind Stowe’s opposition was due because the City does not regulate the distance between other retail operations, giving an example of shoe stores.Councillors voted in favour of amending the bylaw to limit cannabis retail locations to zoned C2 downtown commercial properties, and eliminating the minimum distance from other cannabis locations, while keeping the 200 metre setback from schools and 100 metre setback from parks.The City will be holding a public meeting to hear feedback from residents on July 23rd at 6:00 p.m.last_img read more


Meditation not pleasant for everyone


first_imgMeditation – which is widely believed to be an antidote to mental health issues – may not always be a pleasant experience for everyone, according to scientists who advocate more research into such practices. The research, led by scientists from University College London (UCL) in the UK, found that over a quarter of people who regularly meditate have had a ‘particularly unpleasant’ psychological experience related to the practice, including feelings of fear and distorted emotions. Also Read – The Puja carnivalPublished in the journal PLOS ONE, the study also found those who had attended a meditation retreat, those who only practiced deconstructive types of meditation, such as Vipassana (insight) and Koan practice (used in Zen Buddhism), and those with higher levels of repetitive negative thinking, were more likely to report a ‘particularly unpleasant’ meditation-related experience. However, the study, which comprised an international online survey of 1,232 people who had at least two months’ meditation experience, found female participants and those with a religious belief were less likely to have had a negative experience. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this Navratra”These findings point to the importance of widening the public and scientific understanding of meditation beyond that of a health-promoting technique,” said Marco Schlosser, a researcher at UCL. “Very little is known about why, when, and how such meditation-related difficulties can occur: more research is now needed to understand the nature of these experiences,” Schlosser said in a statement. “When are unpleasant experiences important elements of meditative development, and when are they merely negative effects to be avoided?” he said. The study, conducted with researchers at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, and the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, was triggered by a limited but growing number of research reports and case studies, which indicate psychologically unpleasant experiences can occur during meditative practice. Some traditional Buddhist texts also reference vivid accounts of similar experiences. However, very little is known about the prevalence of these experiences. Of the 1,232 participants, 25.6 per cent indicated that they had previously encountered particularly unpleasant meditation-related experiences. More male participants, 28.5 per cent, experienced a particularly unpleasant experience, compared to 23 per cent of female participants. About 30.6 per cent of those who did not have a religious belief had a particularly unpleasant experience, compared to 22 per cent of those who had a religious belief. More people, 29.2 per cent, who practised only deconstructive types of meditation reported a particularly unpleasant experience, compared to 20.3 per cent who only engaged in other meditation types. About 29 per cent of those who had been on a meditation retreat (at any point in life) had a particularly unpleasant experience, compared with 19.6 per cent, who had never been on a retreat. “Most research on meditation has focussed on its benefits, however, the range of meditative experiences studied by scientists needs to be expanded. It is important at this point not to draw premature conclusions about the potential negative effects of meditation,” Schlosser said. Researchers acknowledged a number of limitations in the study. The study only asked one question to capture prevalence of particularly unpleasant meditation-related experiences. The data does not provide any indication of the exact type of experiences or their severity and impact. The study did not assess possible pre-existing mental health problems, which could have confounded the prevalence estimate of particularly unpleasant meditation-related experiences.last_img read more


Skeptical Football A Tale Of Two Quarterbacks Struggling Against The Buffalo Bills


Like many counterfactuals, this is not an easy question to answer definitively, since having a kicker who is automatic from long range might have all kinds of ripple effects on the game that we can’t really foresee.(Although unlike many counterfactuals, it’s not a completely crazy idea: Thinking about a kicker who can usually nail it from 70 yards seems ridiculous to us now, but NFL kickers have steadily gotten better for at least 80 years, and they haven’t slowed down yet. In the 1960s, kickers made 13 of 129 kicks — 10.1 percent — from 50+ yards. In the past five years alone, NFL kickers have made 422 of 675 such attempts — for 62.5 percent. Since 2010, kickers have even made seven of 31 tries from 60+ yards — 22.5 percent.)If we simply replaced all a kicker’s misses with makes, an “automatic” kicker wouldn’t be worth much more than the worst kicker in the league. There’d be a few salvaged points here and there, but nothing major (kickers these days just don’t miss that often).But the real fun starts when we think about how a team would use a truly “automatic” kicker differently.To simplify the question, let’s assume the kicker makes 100 percent of his kicks instead of 95 percent — he’s “RoboKicker.” Using ESPN’s expected points model, we can identify all situations where a team would definitely want to make a FG attempt on fourth down if it knew it could automatically earn three points. A made kick is actually worth slightly less than that because the kicking team has to give up possession whether it makes the kick or not, but we’ll charitably give it full credit.2The actual value is probably somewhere around 2.6 points, but I think the charitable number is appropriate since the kicker is likely to be at least moderately more valuable strategically. So if a team is in RoboKicker’s range, it should want to attempt a field goal any time it’s fourth down and the expected value of its possession is less than three points. The value it gains from having that option is the difference between the two, and the kicker’s total value added is the sum of all those differences.This plot shows how much RoboKicker would be worth for an average team (since 2006) in expected points added per game, based on his range:This assumes the kicker would be just a normal kicker from longer distances than the one he’s automatic from, though if he was automatic from 50 yards he would probably be pretty good from 60,3Though if he were actually a robot, this may not be the case, as he would probably make about the same kick every time. which would carry additional value. But this is a fair first-order guess.The second wrinkle to @MattGlassman312’s question is its bit about RoboKicker being a No. 1 pick or an MVP. To answer that, we have to start to answer how valuable a No. 1 pick or an MVP is.Let’s use Peyton Manning as our stand-in for “best player in the league,” which helps us to answer at least the spirit of the question. When Manning was injured, the Indianapolis Colts’ average margin of victory dropped by 14.6 points per game (though this may have been in part because they were tanking so that they could draft Andrew Luck). And when Manning joined Denver, the Broncos’ average MOV rose by 17.1 points per game. But let’s assume that those years were outliers and assume that a typical MVP is worth about 10 points per game. To surpass that, RoboKicker would need to be able to hit from around 80 yards. (I confess, this is further out than I would have guessed.) Then, considering that even No. 1 picks have only about a 50 percent to 60 percent shot of ever making a Pro Bowl — much less of being MVP — I’d say being automatic from 50 to 60 yards would probably be sufficient to be worth the top pick in the draft most years.The Hacker Gods read FiveThirtyEight (or just love Andrew Luck)Last week’s games had a few outcomes consistent with this column’s most frequently asserted stereotypes. Most intriguingly, we saw win curve standout and two-time Gunslinger of the Week winner Andrew Luck4He won in Week 1 and again in Week 14 — you don’t remember? digging his own hole by throwing an early pick-6 that put the Colts down 7-0, and then climbing out of it to come back and win against the Houston Texans. This follows a similar Week 14 victory against the Cleveland Browns, when Luck was down 14 points in the second half after an early pick-6 (and a third-quarter fumble-6).If you’ve been reading Skeptical Football, you’ll know I’m generally pro-interception (at least certain kinds) — but as an indirect indicator of taking good risks. Normally, a quarterback will lose the games in which he throws interceptions. But so far in his young career, it seems like Luck has an uncanny talent for winning and throwing INTs in the same game. So, naturally, that got me wondering how these results compare to Peyton Manning’s and those of all other quarterbacks (since 2006):Luck shows a similar propensity for winning as his predecessor in Indianapolis, regardless of scenario. But the big caveat is that interceptions are often a function of losing as well as a cause of it. Generally this is because QBs make rational risk adjustments that lead to more interceptions when they’re behind.5There is also a smaller opposite effect, which is that QBs sometimes throw slightly more interceptions than expected in games they’re winning by wide margins, presumably because teams start playing a basic offensive set in blowouts rather than taking the extraordinary risk-avoidance measures they do to protect smaller leads. (Weird things happen in the NFL.) So to isolate the situations we’re most interested in, I limited the comparison to the number of interceptions thrown while the QB’s team was trailing (including only games in which the QB’s team trailed at some point):This is, of course, a small sample for Luck: He has two wins in the six games in which he threw two trailing INTs, and two wins in the five games he threw three. But those four wins in 11 games (36.4 percent success rate) are already more than Manning. Since 2006, Manning has just three wins in 24 games (12.5 percent) in which he threw two or more trailing interceptions, and all QBs since 2006 have only 56 wins in 1,025 such games (5.5 percent).Naturally, this relates back to my gunslinger hypothesis (that a quarterback can throw too few interceptions as well as too many). Andrew Luck is an example of someone who throws more interceptions than usual when his team is down, but wins more often. Overall, Luck has thrown one or more INT in 55.9 percent of games (19 of 34) in which he trailed and has won 52.9 percent of them (18 of 34). Other QBs have thrown one or more INT in 49.3 percent of games where they trailed, winning only 42.3 percent.You can continue like this for more drastic circumstances (more likely to require heavy risk-taking): Of the 19 games where Luck threw 1+ trailing INT, he threw 2+ in 57.9 percent (11 of 19) and won 36.8 percent (7 of 19). Other QBs have thrown an additional INT in 38.0 percent of such games and won only 16.3 percent (439 of 2,697).6And, if you need more: Of the 11 games in which Luck threw 2+ trailing INTs, he threw 3+ in 45.5 percent (5 of 11) and won 36.4 percent (4 of 11). Other QBs threw an additional INT in 30.3 percent of such games, and won only 5.5 percent.In other words, Andrew Luck is to gunslinging what Aaron Rodgers is to gunholstering.7However, for all that sound and fury about Luck, the actual Week 15 gunslinger winner was Mark Sanchez, who had two trailing interceptions for Philadelphia (in the third and fourth quarters), yet managed to take the lead (albeit briefly) in a game where the Eagles once trailed 21-0.Bonus chart of the weekAfter making the “team movement between 2013 and 2014” chart earlier, I thought it would be interesting to see how each team’s offensive and defensive performance has varied over the past five years. For this chart, I plotted expected points added per drive on offense and expected points denied per drive on defense for each of the last five years, and then connected them so you can see how each team has changed. Some teams have much tighter “shot groups” (Cleveland, New England) than others (Chicago, New York Giants), but I’ll leave you to look for yourself:Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum. There’s a bit of a schism in sports fandom. On one side there are those who want more and more statistical analysis (Hi, everybody!); on the other there are those who think stats are overused and blanch at how sabermetrics and analytics have changed what it means to be a good fan.But I have a theory about this latter group: In general, they’re not really anti-stats. Virtually every argument about sports on TV or online is made using stats of one sort or another.1My wife, who is not a sports fan herself, describes “Pardon The Interruption” as “a bunch of guys shouting numbers at each other until a bell rings.” A typical exchange between talking heads includes one guy emphasizing one set of stats (“He throws a lot of touchdowns!”), which is then countered by another (“But he throws too many interceptions!”). Almost no sports fans are truly anti-stats, they’re just anti-complicated, hard-to-understand stats.And to some extent, they’re right. Over-reliance on advanced metrics can lose the forest for the trees, and vice versa. But, ideally, good stats aren’t meant to eradicate classic storylines or debates, but to lend context to them (and hopefully to shed new light on difficult questions along the way). As usual, let me illustrate with an example using Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.The Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers each played the Buffalo Bills in Weeks 14 and 15 of this season, respectively. In both games, the MVP-candidate QBs “struggled” statistically. This shouldn’t be a total surprise: Despite having games against Manning, Rodgers and Tom Brady, Buffalo has had arguably the best defense in the NFL this year (judging by expected points denied per play).But Rodgers’s and Manning’s stats seemed particularly bad. Each threw two interceptions, no TDs and fewer than 200 yards. Manning’s 51-game TD streak ended, and Rodgers threw just his fourth and fifth INTs of the season.The media wasn’t kind to either quarterback, but much of it was particularly brutal to Manning. Here’s the Colorado NBC affiliate: “Denver wins despite Manning’s worst game as a Bronco.” Meanwhile, a number of stories about Green Bay’s loss emphasized Rodgers’s lack of interceptions this year or the fact that his receivers dropped or tipped some key passes.But not all no-TD, two-INT, 180-yard games are created equal. For example, Manning’s two interceptions were pretty “good” as far as interceptions go: the first was 42 yards downfield (which is practically a punt), and the other was 18 yards downfield on a third-and-12 — with the Broncos up 21-3. In general, it’s a bad idea to judge a QB who throws a small number of passes in a game his team led wire to wire.Besides, touchdowns and interceptions can be fickle: For example, sometimes a significant part of QB efficiency can be accounted for by whether his team likes to run or pass on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. But a QB often has just as much of an effect on his team’s ability to run the ball as he does on its ability to throw it. (If all teams played optimally, game theory suggests he should affect them about equally, because opposing defenses should adapt to a stronger passing game by devoting more resources to it.)With some exceptions, it generally makes more sense to judge a QB by the outcomes of his team’s offensive drives. From this perspective, the difference between Manning vs. Buffalo and Rodgers vs. Buffalo was pretty stark. Here are the outcomes of each player’s drives by situation:Denver started out its game against Buffalo with a punt, then scored TDs on three of its next five drives (also, one of those drives ended in field goal range after Jacob Tamme fumbled a completed catch). Up 18 points in the second half, its offense stalled, particularly as it attempted to run more. But even counting those possessions, 10 (non-end-of-game) drives were turned into three TDs and one field goal. This may have been a bit of an off day for Peyton Manning, but that’s a good day for most QBs. Denver’s 2.18 points per drive was only slightly below its season average of 2.33, and was better than 24 teams have averaged in 2014. Green Bay’s offense, on the other hand, started out cold (punting on three of its first four drives), and basically stayed that way — ultimately scoring only 13 points on 13 drives.The point here isn’t to knock Rodgers or Green Bay. The Rodgers-led offense still leads the league with 2.7 points per drive this year, and with his TD/INT ratio (so beloved by media everywhere) still a league-best 7/1, Rodgers is still probably the MVP frontrunner. But we should understand the limitations of first-order stats that people are shouting about, and how they can be deceptive. What context do they include, and what do they ignore?Chart of the weekThe Seattle Seahawks’ defense has its own deceptive stats. The defending champions are in an odd spot. If the playoffs started today, the 10-4 Seahawks would play a wildcard game on the road against the 6-8 New Orleans Saints. And depending how the next two weeks go, they could easily end up as the top seed in the NFC, or out of the playoffs entirely.Two weeks ago, I introduced some “scoring curves,” and showed how Seattle’s defense (with the team 8-4 at the time) flirted with league average in many situations (such as when its opponent has a long way to go for a touchdown). Many readers expressed skepticism, particularly because Seattle has the best defense in the NFL by the old “yards allowed” metric, and is among the league leaders in points allowed per game (as well as yards per play against).I partially agree: I find it very unlikely that Seattle’s defense is average or below average. And I’m tempted to go further and say that it’s unlikely this defense is much worse than last year’s squad. But the stats show the defense has had a pretty huge regression to the mean in measurable defensive outcomes.To show just how much these kinds of things vary from season to season, I’ve plotted each team’s expected points allowed per play on offense vs. expected points allowed per play on defense, and then shown how this year’s iterations compare with last year’s:Seattle has had a pretty big decline on the defensive side, but this is to be expected: Last year’s results were a big outlier, and outliers are more likely to regress toward the mean. For example, Denver’s incredible 2013 offense declined similarly. Both remain among the top tier of teams for each respective side, but are much closer to the pack than they were last year.Once again, the context here is important, and this time for either side of the advanced-stats debate: Simply looking at basic defensive stats and saying that everything is fine with the Seahawks’ D misses a dramatic decline. But simply looking at the magnitude of the decline without considering the context would overvalue its importance.Twitter question of the week read more


Beside The Points For Thursday Oct 26 2017


Oh, and don’t forgetA UNC player lost a video game an broke his hand, as your Duke fan friend probably already texted to you. Things That Caught My EyeThe Most Improved Player has really improvedWith an average of 36.8 points in the first four games of the season, Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks sure as heck looks like an MVP contender this year. The kid is only 22 years old and is hot off last year’s Most Improved Player award. [FiveThirtyEight]They say there are Angelenos still sitting in post-game traffic to this very dayIt was an 11-inning absurdity Wednesday night in L.A., with a win probabilty chart that causes bona fide whiplash just looking at it. Houston notched their first-ever franchise World Series win in what will go down as an ultimate case study in both why the east coast hates extra innings and also how to perfectly mismanage a bullpen: The Dodgers used nine pitchers in Game 2 after pulling Rich Hill despite throwing just four excellent innings. [FiveThirtyEight]Irish not in control of own destiny, per usualNotre Dame is 6-1 this year, but despite that record and the strong chance that a one-loss team will make the College Football Playoff, they’re still only an 11 percent chance to make the postseason. Indeed, even if they win out — they have a 21 percent chance of doing so — their destiny is still in the hands of others since they won’t have a conference title to bring up in their bid to get in over other one-loss teams. [FiveThirtyEight]32nd time is the charmPenn State (No. 2) faces Ohio (No. 6) this weekend in what will be the biggest Big Ten game of the entire year. It’s a pretty solid rivalry: They’ve played 31 times in the AP ranking era, and 30 of those times one of the two teams was ranked. FiveThirtyEight has Ohio State as the favorite here, with a 61 percent chance to win in Columbus. An Ohio State win would decimate Penn State’s chances of winning the conference and more than halve their chances of making the playoff. A Penn State win, probabilistically speaking, basically ends Ohio State’s season and gives the Nittany Lions a 69 percent chance of making the playoffs. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]Golden Knights: pretty good!The Vegas Golden Knights are off to a terrific start, sitting atop the Western Conference at 6-1. By all appearances, Vegas has some of the best talent of any expansion team in NHL history back 1991. The average expansion team since then has put up 57 points in its first season, which is awful: Only four normal teams in the past four seasons did that. [FiveThirtyEight]The return of the kingRoberto Aguayo is a kicker who was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Bucs. Read that sentence again. Kicker, second round, Bucs. Remember that insanity? Anyway, his NFL debut was not up to second-round drafted Bucs kicker standards apparently and he was cut on national television in a preseason game. Well he’s back, and with no more ridiculous expectations to live up to on the Panthers’ practice squad. I see a winner there. [NFL.com]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!Big Number8 home runsIn a new World Series record, there were eight home runs in Game 2. “Obviously, the balls are juiced,” said Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, and most stats nerds everywhere and also anyone with eyes. [CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, The Ringer, FiveThirtyEight, Seriously there’s a lot of evidence for this on FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: emily:women’s hockey Canada v USA is in boston tonight at BU with a great crowd 🏒 🏒 🏒daniel.levitt:you should really help me write a hockey story as I know v. little. We could maybe do one about the #goleafsgoemily:also Canada won! both teams getting in their groove for the olympics, USA took the first game of what could be 8 games between the two (if you consider 2 possible Four Nations tournament games on top of 6 The Time Is Now tour friendlys), announcers were mentioning some stats of just how many times the two have met and how often they’ve been in Worlds/Olympics finals together. Wonder where they fall on the Big Rivalry list.daniel.levittSo Emily’s writing and editing? Sounds good.emily:(also small hockey update: I did make http://isadammcquaidhealthy.com/)[Check out IsAdamMcQuaidHealthy.com for all your “Is Adam McQuaid healthy?” questions!]Predictions MLB NFL See more MLB predictions See more NFL predictions All newsletters We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe read more


How To Find The Best Soccer Matches Of The Week


On any given week during peak soccer season, FiveThirtyEight offers projections for dozens of club soccer matches across the globe. The sheer volume of matches taking place this time of year can be paralyzing. With that in mind, we’ve added a feature to our club soccer predictions that rates upcoming matches on their quality and importance. You can use this page to pick a few good ones to be sure not to miss.This week’s biggest match — rated an overall 96 out of 100 — is today’s Champions League round of 16 first leg between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. This is a bit of a no-brainer — it features Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo leading the second- and third-best teams in the world against each other in a high-stakes clash. But there are some other good matches to watch: Borussia Dortmund and Atalanta — two of the best eight remaining teams in the Europa League — play each other on Thursday in the round of 32. If we dig deeper, Empoli and Parma — two teams fighting for promotion and the league title at the top of a very tight Italian Serie B — play each other Saturday. And Manchester United plays Chelsea on Feb. 25 in the Premier League in what is a pivotal match for Champions League qualification. Here’s how we calculate our match ratings:Quality is simply a measure of how good the teams are. Specifically, it’s the harmonic mean of the two teams’ Soccer Power Index ratings. (We’re using the harmonic mean instead of merely averaging the two ratings because in lopsided matches it limits the impact of very high or low ratings, resulting in a more balanced number.) Because every team has an SPI rating between 0 and 100, our match quality stat also ranges from 0 to 100.Importance is a measure of how much the outcome of the match will affect our forecast for how likely the two teams are to win the league, or be relegated or promoted, among other things. To calculate it, we generate probabilities conditional on each team winning the match and then find the difference between those two possible numbers.We consider different factors depending on which league the match is being played in. For some leagues, our forecasts cover winning the league and qualifying for the Champions League, for example.We take a weighted average of the change in each applicable factor and scale the result to between 0 and 100. All leagues are treated equally when calculating importance, so a match to decide the winner of the Swedish Allsvenskan would rate just as high as a match to decide the winner of the English Premier League.The overall match rating is just the average of quality and importance.Visit our club soccer predictions to explore the ratings of all the upcoming matches yourself. read more


How The Draft Lottery Reshaped The NBA Landscape


tchow: Out of RJ, Zion, Winslow and Tatum, who is the most likely to also believe the Earth is flat?natesilver: New Orleans is extremely flat, so I’m guessing it will be Zion after a few years.Check out our latest NBA predictions. natesilver: I mean, that’s how the system is supposed to work, right?neil: Well, I’ve always thought these tanking teams underestimated the luck involved in the lottery. Even under the old system.chris.herring: Last night’s outcome was probably about as solid as you could hope for from the league’s perspective if that’s the message you wanted to send. That being awful gives you a better chance but by no means guarantees you the very best — or even second-best — pick.tchow: Big win for Mr. Silver. (Adam, not Nate.)natesilver: And it’s not like the Knicks were categorically different than the Cavs, Suns or Bulls. They were just better at tanking. No. 3 is a comparatively good result vs. the rest of that group.BTW, someone should check the lottery ball codes to see what the results would have been under last year’s system.neil: Yeah, it’s weird to think of the Knicks as “winners” last night. But things could have been worse.chris.herring: The Knicks were the only team with the best lottery odds that didn’t fall out of the top four!natesilver: I really don’t get the losers talk, and I think it goes to show how people’s intuitions about probability aren’t very good.tchow: 14 percent means 100 percent, Nate!natesilver: People were treating it like 60 percent or something, I swear.neil: Knick fans’ expectations are always out of whack with reality, though… (This is a franchise that wins like the Mets but acts like it has the pedigree of the Yankees.)tchow: Neil, this is an NBA chat.chris.herring: I’m on record saying that I feel like the average Knick fan expects bad things to happen.neil: Maybe it’s more the New York media than rank-and-file fans, Chris.natesilver: This does leave open at least the tantalizing possibility of trading for Anthony Davis. If the Knicks do want to make a play for AD, this is one of the better scenarios for them. There’s no one who can trade Zion to the Pels since they already have him! The No. 3 pick is probably comparable to the best single asset that the Celtics and Lakers can offer. And if the Knicks get Kyrie Irving, maybe the Celtics don’t even try to get AD anyway.The Lakers do have the No. 4 pick, but at least based on the scouting consensus, there’s a big drop-off between 3 and 4. We’ll see if the Pelicans agree with that or not.chris.herring: I honestly don’t have a sense of what the Pelicans would prefer at this point.The Celtics would obviously be in play, based on their young talent and the draft picks they have. The Knicks just got the No. 3 pick and have two picks they got from Dallas in the Porzingis trade. Though those picks could end up being lower-end ones, depending on how the Mavericks are in the future. And then there are the Lakers, who just landed the No. 4 pick, plus all the guys they reportedly offered in February for Davis already.So it’s a combination of which players the Pelicans like, plus how they value the notion of future picks that would likely be lower in the draft, as opposed to higher ones they could make use of right now.natesilver: 🔥 Fun hot take: RJ Barrett could be the new Carmelo Anthony. High-volume, medium efficiency, good rebounder, mediocre effort on defense despite good athleticism. 🔥tchow: Looking at the different mock drafts, it does seem like there is a consensus on Top 3 (Zion, Ja, RJ in that order) and the fourth pick is immediately where you start seeing disagreements.neil: Which I think speaks to how few truly elite picks are in this draft class, Tony.chris.herring: Totally agreed.neil: But the Lakers can’t complain too much. They only had the 11th-best odds going on, so even moving up to fourth in a three-star draft is something.chris.herring: On Tuesday I walked past Gar Forman, from the Bulls’ front office, and he had a pretty grim look on his face after the team finished No. 7. Thought it was noteworthy that the Bulls’ John Paxson all but acknowledged that with a pick that low, the team was more likely to trade for a veteran as opposed to making it work with a rookie.It’s far more of a crapshoot outside of the Top 3.natesilver: We do know that the Pelicans didn’t like the Lakers’ pu pu platter back in February. And that was before Brandon Ingram’s DVT diagnosis. Although also before David Griffin took over, so maybe not as relevant now.chris.herring: There are a lot of options now for New Orleans. A lot of people were wondering out loud, too, whether getting Williamson might make the Pelicans more likely to find a deal for point guard Jrue Holiday, who could help a ton of teams as well.tchow: Chris, Paxson also had another pretty optimistic outlook on the results that I hadn’t thought of last night: chris.herring: Yeah, that quote infuriated Bulls fans here. It read like something out of The Onion.tchow: LOLneil: Do the Pels have more or less leverage in an AD trade now than they did at the deadline?natesilver: Weirdly, they have less, because there’s no one who can trade them Zion!chris.herring: Exactly. Likely less leverage but more flexibility in terms of the path they take, since they can feel pretty comfortable about building their future around him.natesilver: Are people too confident that Memphis will take Ja Morant and not RJ Barrett? They both have one glaring flaw (Morant: defense, Barrett: shooting), and historically, you’d rather go with the guy who can fix his shooting than a guy who is probably too undersized to ever be a great defender. Barrett’s also almost a year younger.Just to show how much a year can matter, compare Morant’s stats this year vs. last year: neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): So we just witnessed what our friend Zach Lowe called the “wildest lottery ever.” The Zion-Williamson-to-the-Knicks (or its less-heralded cousin, Zion-to-the-Lakers) hype train gained a ton of steam when both teams were revealed to be in the Top 4 … and then it crashed and burned on live TV as the Lakers ended up at No. 4 and the Knicks at No. 3.Guys, take me through each of your experiences and emotions as you saw what unfolded.chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I think we saw right away how crazy this new lottery system has the potential to be. By flattening out the worst teams’ odds of winning, you get a higher probability of something like last night playing out. It was insane at the actual lottery here in Chicago. There were these enormous gasps when they announced that the Bulls were going to pick seventh, the Suns were going to pick sixth, and the Cavs were going to choose fifth.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I was at a fairly nice Italian restaurant with a friend who doesn’t really like basketball, and I made him pull out his phone along with my phone just so we could see who had the faster livestream. Unfortunately, this restaurant had a lot of wood paneling or something that was causing the signal to be pretty weak. Anyway, the livestream cut out right when it looked like the Knicks might be shut out of the Top 4 entirely, then it came back on and they were in the Top 4, and then right after that they got the No. 3 pick. As dumb as it sounds, the experience of having my expectations lowered made the No. 3 pick seem a lot better as a quasi-Knicks fan.Also, we ordered pasta for dessert, which people should try.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): My fingers and toes were crossed from the time Boston’s 14th pick was announced. I started jumping up and down on my couch and screaming sometime between Phoenix’s sixth pick reveal and Cleveland’s fifth. There was a moment during that window that I thought 14 percent really meant something like 98 percent, and I was ready to buy my Zion Knicks jersey.chris.herring: Hahahahaha. Brutal.neil: Our colleague Chad Matlin had a great experience as well that he granted me permission to share:“a small anecdote from brooklyn last night: I’m walking home from dinner down Flatbush Ave and a man appears half a block behind me and starts violently screaming something, but I can’t quite make out what. he keeps screaming. I only catch snippets. “FUCKING!!!” “ALL!!!” “LOSING!“”” this goes on for 90 seconds as he crosses street aimlessly, screaming the same thing over and over. I finally piece it together: “ALL THAT FUCKING LOSING FOR NOTHING!!”And that’s when I found out the Knicks didn’t win the lottery.”Suffice to say, emotions were running high here in New York.chris.herring: LMAOnatesilver: I had run the numbers beforehand, and the No. 3 pick — in a draft where there’s a clear drop-off between Nos. 3 and 4 — is slightly above the expected value for the Knicks pick. Even if you think Zion is going to be reaaaaaaaaaaaly good, a 14 percent chance just isn’t that high.chris.herring: On some level, the lottery process and unveiling is really, really challenging for the average person — even for me — to follow along with if you aren’t focused on a single team and where they’re ending up.tchow: Yeah, Chris, in the hysteria last night, the graphics on TV really played a trick on me: They had the Top 4 picks in individual blocks on top, while 5 through 14 were listed below as they were revealing the picks. As the blocks were getting filled in, you saw the Lakers, then the Grizzlies and then the Pelicans, and I went, “Holy shit, we got No. 1!”chris.herring: One team being slotted lower than you expect is useful information, but it’s hard to know exactly who it benefits until there are only two or three teams left.Rachel Nichols was explaining it in real time, but it still takes a hot second or two to register what it all means, because of the pick swaps and protections, etc.neil: It’s kind of incredible that so many of us devote time to watching the unveiling of the results of pingpong balls based on probabilities, which each have obscure caveats (protections, etc), and it actually makes for compelling TV. The NBA is amazing.natesilver: Maybe they should reveal it one pick per day at a time over the course of the playoffs, sort of like an advent calendar.Think of all the opportunities for #content.chris.herring: I’m still kind of shocked that New Orleans ended up getting it. Makes a huge difference for them going forward. All this time, analysts were suggesting that they make a deal with the team that wins the lottery for Anthony Davis. Now they have the No. 1 pick AND Anthony Davis.neil: And David Griffin said their big priority is convincing AD to stay now. Is that feasible?chris.herring: It doesn’t seem the most feasible to me. You’d love for him to change his tune on that, but reports suggest that he won’t. It’s incredibly risky to gamble on the hunch that he will.natesilver: I think Zion might make it more likely that AD is traded, if anythingBecause now the franchise has something to play for and sell hope/tickets for, even without AD. So any scenario where they’re just being super stubborn and desperate is probably off the table.chris.herring: You don’t know whether Zion alone would be enough for them to make a huge jump in the next year, which is what you’d need to feel better about letting Davis test free agency.natesilver: New Orleans was one of just three teams to win the lottery that was neither undeserving, nor boring, nor annoying. So that was a win in my book. neil: And how does either affect where Mike Conley goes? They were shopping him pretty aggressively at the deadline but didn’t find the right deal.natesilver: I don’t think Memphis has any business keeping Conley either way.chris.herring: I’m interested in that question, too.natesilver: And I’m not sure it affects their pick much. If you want Ja, you can keep him and use Conley as a mentor if you want.chris.herring: Memphis is one of the smaller markets in the league, and because of that, I think they maybe hold on to players a year or two longer than they should. Perhaps because of the ties those fans feel to certain players.Morant is seemingly good enough where you draft him and then figure out the answer to that question with Conley later.natesilver: The Grizzlies have historically been a bit allergic to high-usage-rate guys, and both Barrett and Morant use a lot of possessions, so in some ways neither one feels like a natural Grizzly.chris.herring: Morant is a great passer, too, though, and averaged a double-double with assists. So I’d hope they make an exception in this case.tchow: If I were the Grizzlies, I’d take RJ.chris.herring: Wow. Knick fans would love if you became the Grizzlies’ GM.natesilver: The thing that’s really hard to project with Barrett is his defense. A lot of the comparables are pretty unflattering because people want to typecast him as Andrew Wiggins 2.0, maybe just because they’re both Canadian. But Wiggins was thought of as a guy who was going to be a plus defender, and he’s been pretty darn terrible instead. If Barrett’s a good defender, though, you start getting into a whole different set of comps, more along the lines of Jimmy Butler (if he tamps down the usage rate a bit) or Victor Oladipo.neil: Just goes to show how much defense — which I think can go overlooked for prospects at times (and is difficult to predict out of college) — can really alter a player’s pro trajectory. This, from ESPN’s mock draft on Barrett, sounds like it’s ripped out of the Wiggins scouting report: “he wasn’t the defender his physical tools suggest he should have been.”chris.herring: In fairness, Morant’s defense isn’t all that great, either. That’s part of what makes the No. 1 pick so easy, among other things.natesilver: Barrett was a much better rebounder, which counts for something. A much better and more active passer. And he was using a ton of possessions, which sometimes yields lower effort on defense. And Duke played a very tough schedule.I don’t know. If Barrett had shot 38 percent from three instead of 31 percent, I think people would be talking about him and Williamson like it’s … I don’t know, the Kevin Durant/Greg Oden draft or something. And of course, you can’t just disregard the difference between 38 percent and 31 percent. But he’s a pretty spectacular prospect if he learns how to shoot.chris.herring: It’s so hard to tell in college. The shooting is somewhat predictive. But even if he had shot 38 percent this year, I think there would be room to ask whether it was completely real.I remember Justise Winslow shooting a pretty healthy percentage from out there during his lone year at Duke, but so many of the makes came with Jahlil Okafor being doubled in the post, which left Winslow wide-open a lot of the time. And then he initially struggled from three once he came into the league, which was what many folks predicted.natesilver: The low free-throw percentage is troubling for Barrett.Like, Jayson Tatum — a guy who’s been a much better 3-point shooter as a pro than people thought — shot free throws pretty darned well in college. Barrett didn’t.chris.herring: Completely agreed. That tends to have solid predictive value.neil: It’s also worth remembering that Barrett was actually the No. 1 prospect in that star-studded class going into their freshman seasons. But I’ve seen studies that indicate the weight given to even one year of college should far outweigh our priors for prospects coming out of high school.tchow: This chat is just becoming a conversation about how Duke players perform in the NBA.chris.herring: Seems fair to me: neil: SO many people were looking at that!tchow: It must have meant something!neil: NBA conspiracies are the best.chris.herring: It seemed that might have been his preference.tchow: Can you imagine all the “it’s rigged” people if the Hawks did end up getting No. 1 after the logo double tap?chris.herring: Can’t remember too many people WANTING to go to Atlanta, but I actually hoped he’d end up there after that.neil: 😢tchow: Zion with Trae Young is really intriguing.But if we’re playing alternate universes and what-ifs, can we play “what if Zion did go to the Knicks?” Neil thinks owner James Dolan would have somehow messed it up anyway. I disagree.neil: Right, my take was always that he should be happy he didn’t go to the Knicks. Everything that franchise touches goes to ruin.tchow: But he could have changed that, Neil!chris.herring: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting pretty adamantly that the Knicks wouldn’t have traded him. So it seems like they would have moved forward with him, and then gone into free agency shooting for the stars.natesilver: I think it would have been dumb to trade him. Like, more dumb than people realize. When you consider the contracts, and that the Pelicans don’t rally have much leverage, I think you can even argue that Zion straight up is TOO MUCH for AD, without all the other assets that the Knicks were likely to have to throw into the deal. But, anyway, I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.chris.herring: I agree. You’re going to want and need cost-controlled contracts for when you get other stars, anyway. Having Zion would allow you to do that.tchow: Is it wrong of me to think that this is even more proof that the lottery was rigged? Like, the results were so much the complete opposite of what you thought a “rigged” one would look like that it’s almost too opposite. Am I making sense? Like, the results seemed to be what someone would produce to prove that something wasn’t rigged when it actually was.natesilver: Tony I think you’re overthinking this just a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit.chris.herring: LOLneil: Of course, they did invite some of this rigging speculation by having Patrick “Frozen Envelope” Ewing there to represent the Knicks.chris.herring: As someone who’s been in the room, it’s not rigged. They go to great lengths to let people watch it. And make the actual process available on YouTube shortly after.I think the variance is going to be really wild going forward because of how they’ve flattened out the odds for the worst few teams, though. And honestly, it will make it more fun and heartbreaking.tchow: I know it’s not rigged. But……Just kiddingneil: But yeah Chris, I wanted to ask about that. Did we see the death of tanking last night?Look at how much the results at the top differed from the ranking in order of worst records: tchow: Nate, I disagree with so much of that Venn diagram.natesilver: Hahaneil: As an Atlantan who also once worked for the Hawks, I guess I’ll take “basically OK.”chris.herring: Neil, I’m sure die-hard Hawks fans were disappointed last night. Basketball people seem to universally feel that would’ve been his best fit.Did you all see the video of Williamson hitting the Hawks logo twice before the lottery began? read more


Mateo Kovacic really happy to join Chelsea


first_imgMateo Kovacic’s season-long loan deal to Chelsea is complete and he could not be more happy about itThe Croatian midfielder moves to Stamford Bridge as part the deal which sees Thibaut Courtois join Real Madrid on a permanent basis.After making 109 appearances for Los Blancos and winning the Champions League in all three of his seasons at the club, Kovacic is relishing the prospect of testing himself out in a new league.He told the club website: “I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling.“I will try to do my best for this club. It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new team-mates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “We are very happy to welcome Mateo to the Chelsea family. He is a perfect fit for us this season, his style is well suited to how Maurizio wants to play and we are sure he will prove to be a valuable asset for the club.”.@Mateo_Kova23: ‘I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club.’ ?#WelcomeKovacic pic.twitter.com/CKHVtCA8rJ— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 9, 2018last_img read more


Giroud Higuains arrival darkens my Chelsea future


first_imgChelsea striker Olivier Giroud revealed that Gonzalo Higuain’s arrival certainly darkens his future and opened the door towards a potential return to France.The French World Cup winner left his homeland in 2012 for Arsenal after helping Montpellier beat Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title.Last year then saw Giroud make a controversial switch to Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea after a lack of game time at the Emirates Stadium.However, under coach Maurizio Sarri, Giroud has fared little better with just six starts in the Premier League this season.This has led to reports linking Giroud with a return to France with both Marseille and Lyon.Speaking to CANAL Foot Club, prior to Higuain’s arrival last week, Giroud indicated a return to Ligue 1 could happen even if his priority is to remain in England.“I will never make people unanimously satisfied with me,” admitted Giroud.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“There is a little part of regret and frustration. The public expects a goalscorer to score goals. I’m the fourth best goalscorer of French football and nobody can take that away from me.“The coach makes [Eden] Hazard play nine which is detrimental to strikers. But he is the best player I’ve ever played with.“If the club decides to get another striker, like Higuain, it will certainly darken my future at Chelsea.“I’ve never said no to a return to France. Lyon and Marseille are two great clubs. My priority is to stay in the Premier League though.”Higuain made his Chelsea debut on Sunday in their 3-0 FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday at Stamford Bridge and was replaced by Giroud in the 82nd-minute of the fourth-round clash.The Blues will next take a trip to the Vitality Stadium where they will face Bournemouth in a Premier League match on Wednesday with kick-off set for 20:45 (CET).last_img read more


Pedro wants a swift Chelsea reaction


first_imgChelsea midfielder Pedro Rodriguez feels the club may be in crisis if they fail to recover from their recent run of bad results.The Blues were eliminated from the FA Cup on Monday night after a 2-0 loss on their patch to rivals United, which didn’t go down well with a section of fans in the club.Swedish side Malmo is next on the line in the second leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie on Thursday, before Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.And former Barca winger Pedro admits the club needs to return to winning ways.“There is an important game in the Europa League for us, and after the final against City,” Pedro told Chelsea’s official website.“The most important thing now is to stay calm, train really hard and recover our best football and our best feeling, because if not we are in trouble.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.’The most important thing now is to stay calm, train really hard and recover our best football and our best feeling.’ – @_Pedro17_ https://t.co/spshoYl2bX— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 19, 2019“It was a very bad day for us, for all the team (against United). It’s a difficult situation. In the first half we played very well, we created chances to score one goal, but they had two situations and scored two goals.“The most important thing was to do a good job creating chances with the ball in the second half, but we couldn’t do it and for this reason, it was so difficult for us to come back.”last_img read more


Time Warner Condé Nast Invest in Ad Tech Co


first_imgOn that front, iSocket also announced that Kevin McCabe, a former ad exchange exec at Microsoft, was joining the company as VP of business development. He’ll be tasked with finding new partners for the firm.According to research collected by eMarketer, programmatic direct advertising currently accounts for more than a quarter of digital display spending in the U.S. It could take as much as a third of the digital ad dollars by next year before leveling off. Time Warner, parent (for now) of Time Inc., and Condé Nast have joined in on in a $5 million round of funding for programmatic ad developer, iSocket, the firm announced Monday.iSocket provides platforms specifically for programmatic direct sales. R&R Venture Partners and Vivo Nevo were also named as investors in the round.”Condé Nast is pleased to support a platform that helps our premium advertising partners seamlessly enter the world of programmatic buying,” says Alanna Gombert, general manager of Condé Nast’s programmatic buying group CatalystDesk, in a statement. iSocket’s CEO, Richard Jalichandra, says the new funds will be used to polish its publisher- and advertiser-facing tools, and to expand partnerships.last_img read more


People on the Move


first_imgWired shook up its editorial department this week, poaching David Pierce from The Verge to be its top personal tech writer. Editor-in-chief, Scott Dadich, also handed out several promotions, including naming Robert Capps head of editorial for Wired’s magazine, website and live events. Mark Robinson and Joe Brown were also named executive editors for the brand’s magazine and website, respectively. Here are the rest of this week’s people on the move: Reed Exhibitions appointed Alicia Tillman as its senior vice president of fashion and vision. Tillman had been head of marketing and business services for American Express Global Business Travel. The Economist named Zanny Minton Beddoes editor of the magazine. Beddoes had been serving as the title’s business affairs editor. Sophie Donelson has been named editor-in-chief of House Beautiful. Donelson was most recently at Cricket’s Circle. Fortune has brought on Michael Lawton to be its new creative director, overseeing a redesign of the title. Lawton had been serving as Popular Mechanic’s design director. Robb Report has named Robert Crozier as managing director of its international division. Crozier is a co-founder and had been serving as global business development director for Billionaire. Northstar Travel Media has hired David Blansfield to be executive vice president and group publisher of its meetings group. Blansfield joins Northstar after seven years as president of F+W Media. Garrett Graff was promoted to editor of Politico Maga​zine. Graff had been a senior writer.last_img read more


HDFC Bank to roll back UPI charge plan


first_imgPrivate sector banker HDFC Bank said on Friday that it is considering rolling back its plans to charge its customers for transactions made via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) from July 10.The Economic Times reported on Friday that a bank spokesperson announced on microblogging site Twitter that the proposed measure would not be implemented by the bank.The National Payments Corporation of India which runs the UPI railroads had requested the bank to reconsider the decision and is expected to call a meeting with bankers very soon, ET said.The bank had in a mail to its customers on Monday informed them that a fee of Rs 3 plus taxes would be charged on transaction amounts of upto Rs 25,000, while transaction amount of Rs 25,001 to Rs 100,000 would be charged at Rs 5 plus taxes.UPI is a payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to facilitate instant fund transfers between two bank accounts on the mobile platform. It can be used for making both person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transfers.The State Bank of India (SBI) was widely expected to implemented its UPI charges on customer transactions, though the bank was quick to deny any such plans.According to RBI data, UPI clocked 9.2 million transactions during the month of May against 6.9 million in the previous month.last_img read more


AlQaeda says Pakistani security forces detained wife of its chief Zawahiri


first_imgScreen capture from the video showing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.SITE Intelligence GroupPakistani security forces have detained the wife of Al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and two other family members of the groups ‘martyrs’ for nearly a year, according to a statement released by the insurgent group on Friday.Al-Qaeda claimed that “treacherous Pakistani forces” captured the family members including Al-Zawahri’s wife a year ago as they left Waziristan, a former Taliban base bordering Afghanistan due to airstrikes, reported Associated Press.”We … hold Pakistan’s government and its treacherous army and their American masters responsible for their criminal acts,” the statement said.The current leader of Al-Qaeda, al-Zawahri is an Egyptian who took over the group’s leadership after US military forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad region in 2011. While Pakistan has not commented on the statement, Zawahiri is said to be hiding in the country.Al-Qaeda’s statement came a day after US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death of 9/11 mastermind’s son, Hamza bin Laden.The US official confirmation comes weeks after it was reported that he was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the United States. Hamza who is believed, to be 30 years old, may have been killed before the US announced a $1 million bounty on him in February 2019.According to the documents found in the Abottabad house, Bin Laden was preparing Hamza to replace him as the terror outfit’s leader. Later on, Hamza was assumed to have donned the role of a deputy to the Alqaeda’s current chief, Al-Zawahiri.The United Nations Security Council reported that the deteriorating health of Al-Zawahiri has raised doubts about the global terrorist organisation’s succession.Pakistan’s war on terrorPakistan has often been accused of supporting terrorists in Afghanistan including the Al-Qaeda. Yesterday, the terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Asia Pacific Group placed Pakistan in its “enhanced expedited follow-up list”.The list, which is believed to be similar to be blacklisted, APG found the country non-complaint to 32 of the 40 parameters on money-laundering and terror financing.The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that 40 different militant groups were operating in Pakistan when the country joined US war on terror after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.”We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground,” the Pakistani PM said as quoted by news agency PTI.However, India has accused Pakistan of its state-sponsor of promoting cross-border terrorism in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.Earlier this month, Indian intelligence reports stated Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has given terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) full permission for conducting suicide bomb attacks in the valley and cause as many casualties as they can, without worrying about “collateral damage”.US President Donald Trump in the middle of negotiating peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and the Afghan government.The US government have stated that the withdrawal of US troops in a bid to end the 19-year war will be done over a period of time to ensure political stability and avoid security resurgence of Taliban’s state control in the region.last_img read more


Suu Kyi blames Bangladesh for delay in Rohingya repatriation


first_imgMyanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her address during the 43rd Singapore Lecture in Singapore on 21 August 2018. Aung San Suu Kyi said on 21 August it is up to Bangladesh to decide how quickly Rohingya refugees will return to Myanmar, appearing to cast blame on the country for the delay. — AFPAung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday it was up to Bangladesh to decide how quickly Rohingya refugees would return to Myanmar, appearing to blame Dhaka for the delay.More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh after a brutal military crackdown on the stateless minority almost a year ago.The two countries last November signed a deal to repatriate them but it has stalled. Many fear returning to a place where villages were burned to the ground and where they say security forces murdered, tortured and raped members of their communities.Bangladesh insists the Rohingya are on its soil temporarily but has not forced them back.In rare public remarks on the crisis, civilian leader Suu Kyi said in a speech in Singapore that Myanmar has been ready to receive Rohingya returnees since 23 January as agreed in the memorandum of understanding.”It’s very difficult for us to put a time frame on it by ourselves unilaterally because we have to work with Bangladesh in order to do that,” she told an audience in a lecture organised by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and entitled “Myanmar’s Democratic Transition: Challenges and Way Forward”.”Bangladesh would also have to decide how quickly they want the process to be completed,” Suu Kyi added.Since the repatriation was signed the two countries have wrangled over details, including the way refugees are described on ID cards in Bangladesh.- Crumbling reputation -Rohingya living in the crowded camps over the border in Cox’s Bazar insist on safety guarantees and citizenship rights before returning to Rakhine state in western Myanmar, where the United Nations says conditions are not ready for their return.The US and UN have described the military’s campaign as ethnic cleansing and there is scepticism over whether Myanmar seriously intends to allow mass returns.The crackdown against the Rohingya was sparked on 25 August last year when insurgents attacked police posts.Calls have mounted for Myanmar’s military to be held responsible for the campaign, in which thousands are estimated to have died, and the US has sanctioned two army brigades and several commanders who oversaw the expulsion.But Myanmar says it was simply defending itself and bristles at international calls for justice, arguing that the world does not understand the problem.Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate once under house arrest by the junta that ruled for decades, has seen her global reputation crumble since coming to power for failing to speak up for the Rohingya.”We who are living through the transition in Myanmar view it differently from those who observe it from the outside and who will remain untouched from its outcome,” she said, appearing relaxed and jocular.She also blamed Rohingya insurgents and avoided criticism of the military.”The danger of terrorist activities which was the initial cause of events leading to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine remains real and present today,” she said.”Unless these security challenges are addressed, the risk of communal violence would remain.”The Rohingya are seen as outsiders in Myanmar but consider Rakhine their homeland.They were stripped of their citizenship decades ago and subject to periodic purges while denied access to healthcare and freedom of movement.last_img read more


No security threat centering Pahela Baishakh home minister


first_imgHome minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. File PhotoHome minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Saturday said there is no specific security threat centering this year’s Pahela Baishakh celebration programme, reports UNB.“There is no specific threat. Besides, detectives’ surveillance is on. No one will be able to create any obstruction in the celebration programme,” he said while talking to reporters after visiting DMP’s security arrangements at Ramna Park.He said Pahela Baishakh has now become a national progamme and law enforcers have been kept ready across the country so that people can celebrate Pahela Baishakh smoothly.Cyber decurity team is also monitoring social media sites so that no one can spread provocative messages, said the minister.last_img