Derby interested in out-of-favour QPR duo

first_imgDerby have enquired about the availability of QPR’s Junior Hoilett and Matt Phillips for a potential loan move.Rams boss Steve McClaren, who worked with both wide-men during his spell on the coaching staff at Rangers, has indicated that he would be interested in signing either player if a deal could be a agreed.McClaren fears he could be without Johnny Russell for several weeks after the winger suffered a hamstring injury.QPR want to sell Hoilett, 24, and would consider offers for Phillips, 23, who has struggled for fitness and form since being signed from Blackpool last year.Hoilett has a £7m release clause in his contract but Rangers would be willing to accept significantly less, while Phillips has attracted some interest from West Brom and recently snubbed a potential move to Wigan which might have seen Shaun Maloney join the R’s in exchange.Rangers may also consider a loan move for at least one of the pair if the club are able to add to their squad ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.A number of wingers have been lined up by manager Harry Redknapp as potential signings, including Paul-Jose M’Poku, 22, of Standard Liege.See also:QPR discuss potential deal to sign M’PokuQPR miss out on Maloney-Phillips swap dealFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Enforcing a ban will not end the menace of stubble burning, say researchers

first_imgOnly educating farmers about the monetary costs of burning stubble can address the environmental crisis triggered every year in Punjab, says a team of Swiss and Indian researchers who interviewed 600 farmers over two years. Burning stubble, the rice chaff left over after harvesting, is linked to winter air-pollution in the State as well as down-wind DelhiAccording to the team, the government’s efforts — earmarking funds for specialised farming equipment (for straw management) or enforcing the state-led ban on the practice — are unlikely to solve the problem.Farmer cooperative groups — a key link between government and farmers — ought to be playing a more active role in educating farmers, say key authors associated with the study. Watch | Farmers continue to burn stubble despite ban Cheap solution“The main message is that farmers are not to blame (for the pollution crisis),” says Max Friedrich, a post-doctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). “There are deeper causes beyond economic incentives or awareness about the health consequences of burning at play.”On average, about 20 million tonnes of straw are generated in Punjab, and they barely have two to three weeks to dispose them of and prepare the fields for the next crop. Hence the popularity of deploying stubble-burning as a quick and cheap solution.For about a decade now, the Delhi and the Centre have held this practice responsible for the abysmal air quality in the capital in winter.In 2013, the National Green Tribunal issued a directive to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh asking them to ban such stubble burning. The environment ministers of these States as well as top officials at the Centre declared a “zero tolerance” policy on the burning of stubble, which has been estimated to contribute anywhere from 7% to 78% of the particulate matter-emission load in Delhi during winter.The Centre has spent about ₹600 crore in subsidising farm equipment via village cooperatives to enable farmers to access them and avoid stubble burning. In 2018, Punjab had disbursed about 8,000 farm implements to individual farmers and set up 4,795 custom hiring centres, from where such machinery could be leased. The cost of hiring these machines was about ₹5,000 an acre, as The Hindu has previously reported.Mixed resultsHowever, the success of these efforts has been mixed, even though stubble-fires in 2018 were fewer than in 2017 and 2016, according to satellite maps by independent researchers.In their interviews, the researchers found that farmers who had bigger landholdings were more likely to burn straw; those who used combine harvesters (for cutting the straw) as opposed to manual labourers were more likely to engage in burning; and those who burnt or didn’t burn were equally aware of the steps and procedures required to abstain from burning, said Dr. Friedrich. On average, the input costs of farmers who burned straw were about ₹40,000 per acre and those who didn’t about ₹25,000 per acre but the incomes of those who burned and those who didn’t were closer — about ₹60,000 and ₹50,000 respectively.“There needs to be greater participation by village cooperatives in being able to impose social norms that would dissuade burners,” said Banalata Sen, an independent public health professional, associated with the study, coordinated by Ranas Mosler (affiliated to Eawag), the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), Hyderabad and Kethi Virasat Mission (KVM), Jaitu, India.center_img Farmers continue to burn stubble despite banVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1501:15  last_img read more

BC Operators asked to bid on northern intercity bus routes

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The Province of British Columbia, with support from the Federal Government, will be taking steps to ensure that people who live and work in Northern B.C. continue to have access to inter-city bus services.As directed by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, B.C. Transit is conducting a competitive process to extend northern inter-city bus services through to March 31, 2021.According to the Government, the request for proposal aims to select one or more qualified transportation providers to operate on the four routes currently serviced by B.C. Bus North. The Province says the RFP will remain open on BCBid until August 22, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time.Respondents are asked to state conditions that would lead to the inter-city transportation service to operate without government subsidies.All inquiries from interested parties are to be directed to B.C. Transit as outlined in the RFP.For more information, you can visit the BCBid website.last_img read more

Jabra launches new soft neckband earbuds in India

first_imgNew Delhi: Denmark-based Jabra, a subsidiary of GN Netcom that makes in-ear and on-ear audio wearables, on Thursday launched its Evolve 65e soft neckband earbuds in India with up to 13 hours of battery life for Rs 20,320 (excluding GST). The Jabra Evolve 65e features Skype for business certification that ensures users enjoy crystal-clear call and music quality. The earbuds also support eight hours of talk time. “Enterprises are constantly seeking new ways to enable their employees to be productive wherever they are, making UC one of the most important mobile technologies today. But if mobile workers are to use professional headsets, they will expect the same wearing-styles and form-factors, great comfort and range of features that they get from their consumer devices,” Holger Reisinger, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Jabra, said in a statement. The device would be available starting May at authorised Jabra channel partners and resellers. The Jabra Evolve 65e sports Skype for Business and UC-certification, courtesy its four-microphone system. With two in the microphone box capturing voice and one in each earbud, the device uses DSP algorithm to find the optimum voice-to-noise ratio for clarity.last_img read more

NATO Commends “Excellent” Partnership With Morocco

first_imgBrussels-   Spokesman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Oana Lungescu, commended the “excellent” partnership existing between Morocco and the Organization.Speaking to Moroccan reporters who visited on Monday Nato offices in Brussels, Lungescu highlighted Morocco’s leading role in establishing peace in Bosnia and Kosovo, stressing that Morocco is “a strategic partner which takes initiatives and provides particular contribution to NATO”.The same opinion was shared by NATO assistant secretary for political affairs and security policy Thrasyvoulous Terry Stamatopoulos who underlined that cooperation with Morocco is conducted in a pragmatic and open framework that promotes dialog as a means to establish peace and stability.last_img read more

Statkeepers Call the Shots But They Cant Agree on Them

In the third minute of added extra time in Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. World Cup match, Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne took a pass in the box, dribbled to his right and hooked the ball into the left side of the net. Finally, after 31 shots, the Belgians had broken through. Or … wait. Was it 32 shots?It depends on which Twitter account you follow. ESPN’s Stats & Information Group tweeted that Belgium had scored on its 31st shot of the day. OptaJoe, the U.K. Twitter account of the soccer stats company Opta, said it was the 32nd.At the World Cup, shots are in the eye of the beholder. At least three major soccer stats companies are logging every match, and they have yet to all agree on each team’s number of shots and shots on goal. For every one of the 58 games so far, the companies can’t quite get their stories straight. Sometimes their counts have differed by as much as two or three.Even small discrepancies like these have repercussions beyond mere trivia. Advanced analyses of the sport, such as my colleague Benjamin Morris’s magnum opus on Lionel Messi this week, rely on match loggers for shot counts and characteristics. Some teams base tactics and personnel decisions partly on stats. And the disputes are proxy battles for soccer’s more philosophical debates: If a shot is deflected in a forest of defenders, was it on target?According to World Cup organizer FIFA, it was; but according to Opta and Prozone, two of the companies that employ analysts to log every match of the tournament and provide data for media coverage, it wasn’t. That disagreement is responsible for the bulk of the numbers mismatch. Through the round of 16, FIFA’s official match stats — which are being collected by the Italian company Deltatre — included 68 percent more shots on target than Prozone’s, and 74 percent more than Opta’s.1I used Opta data compiled by TruMedia Networks, which provides stats for ESPN. Prozone emailed me their match reports and other data, which — along with match statistics posted on FIFA.com — allowed me to compile shots and shots on goal for every match so far during the World Cup. Remove blocked shots, though, and the discrepancies drop to 4 percent and 8 percent, respectively.And what about a ball crossed in the box near the goalie — does it count as a shot or a cross? In the 120th minute of the Belgium-U.S. match, DeAndre Yedlin kicked the ball well wide of goal as the U.S. hunted desperately for an equalizer. Was he trying to score, or just to cross the ball? FIFA thinks the latter, but Opta thinks the former. Short of interviewing every player immediately after every subjective touch, the statkeepers are left to guess at the intent, divining purpose in actions that may have been performed instinctively, rather than with premeditation.With 58 of the tournament’s 64 matches in the books through Friday, there have been 116 opportunities to compare the three data providers on a team’s shooting profile in a match. There have been just 14 times, or fewer than one out of eight, that all three organizations counted the same number of shots and shots on goal for a team in a match — and none for both teams in the same match.The counts appear to reflect genuine disagreement over tricky cases — touches that look like passes to some but shots to others, say. Or, a shot that hits the post or crossbar and goes out. Typically these don’t qualify as shots on target, but they can if they are deflected onto the woodwork by the goalkeeper, who then gets credit for a save. If they are blocked onto the woodwork by a player other than the goalkeeper, that’s a block. The stats, then, pivot on an arbitrary criterion: Was the player who deflected the ball a goalkeeper or did he happen to play another position?My analysis showed that, overall, the companies weren’t consistently stingy or generous in their statkeeping. No provider consistently tallied many more shots or shots on goals than another. The major philosophical divide was over (unblocked) shots on goal: Deltatre sees more than Prozone, which sees more than Opta. But that amounted to only about one additional shot on target counted in every three matches.The disputes have touched every team, to similar degrees, but teams with less active offenses tend to have higher differences among statkeepers because one uncounted shot matters more in their overall percentages. These include the U.S., England and Cameroon. Analysts attempting to study whether Cameroon threw its matches, as Der Spiegel has reported, might get subtly different results depending on which set of stats they consult. So might England manager Roy Hodgson and U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann as they assess how to improve their teams.Discrepancies between data providers don’t stop at shot counts. Most soccer events are subjective. Someone must decide, was that a tackle? Was that shot weak? Was that attack a dangerous one? Possession stats also differ by provider, as Slate noted last week.Shooting stats have particular relevance for one form of analysis that tries to divine a team’s true skill by gauging whether or not they’re getting lucky. It’s a technique that’s based on the theory that generating chances is the part that teams can control — converting them is based more on luck (unless you’re named Lionel Messi). Teams that convert and save a high percentage of their chances are due for a regression in their results. Change the underlying data, and any conclusions about which teams are good and which are just lucky could shift.When I spoke with Garth Lagerwey, general manager of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, in a telephone interview last week, he said data discrepancies are a prevalent problem in soccer stats at all levels, not just a World Cup anomaly. When I contacted the companies, they declined to comment or didn’t respond to a question about why their numbers differ. In other contexts, they tout the training they provide to match analysts; the consistent guidelines they enforce across analysts, competitions and time; and the oversight of experienced checkers. Some shots just might not look like shots to everyone.Other sports’ stats also require subjective judgment: errors in baseball; assists in basketball. But in baseball and basketball, the official scorer’s decision is what goes into the record book and, generally, what fuels advanced statistical analysis. In soccer, with different leagues and competitions worldwide at varying levels of stats sophistication, third parties with standardized methods report alternative numbers to the official ones. Opta and Prozone are scoring every match alongside the official scorers and releasing their numbers in real time to media organizations — hence the potential for conflicting tweets like those about Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. match.2ESPN Stats & Info typically uses FIFA for shot counts, and Opta stats — via TruMedia — for everything else.“Shots should not be that subjective, let alone shots on goal,” Lagerwey said. On the other hand, “A lot of companies use human beings to code this stuff. It’s easy to understand how you’re going to have an error rate.” read more

Ronaldos move to Juventus is to keep him motivated – Kaka

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo’s shock move to Juventus has left many people baffled, in light of everything he has achieved at Real Madrid, but Kaka believes the success he has enjoyed over the years is what has prompted him to make the brave move away in order to remain motivatedThe five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be unveiled as a Juventus player later today following a glorious nine-year spell at Real, that had seen him win four Champions League titles and score 450 goals in just 438 games.Leaving one’s comfort zone for the unknown is something that many people choose to avoid in their lifetimes.But for someone like Ronaldo, who constantly looks for ways to better himself, it is just another way of pursuing their ultimate goal of becoming the best of all time.And Kaka has backed the Portuguese star and feels that now is the right time for Ronaldo to try something new at this stage of his career.“I think Cristiano is a very experienced player now, 33 years old so he knows and understands the situation very well,” said the Brazilian, according to Goal.“This decision to move from Madrid to Juventus, it’s a very conscious decision. He knows [it’s] time to move.“[He’s probably thinking] I achieved everything I could with Real Madrid and now it’s time to do something different to keep motivated.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“That’s what moved him to accept the offer from Juve to change from Real Madrid to the Italian team.”While spending €112m for a 33-year-old seems rather risky, Kaka feels that it is a good investment for Juventus.When asked if the Serie A giants will be getting one of football’s greatest-ever plays, he replied: “I think so. Ronaldo, with his numbers, says that.“Everybody who had the privilege to watch him play… in my case, I had the privilege of training with him every day for four years.“I saw how professional he is, how strong he is, how motivated he is, how strong in his mind he is, and [can] see that he still wants to get to a different level.“I think Ronaldo will be remembered as one of the best players in the world.”Ronaldo has arrived for his medical at Juventus and will be holding his first press conference, since the announcement last week, later today.last_img read more

Sarri unconcerned by Chelsea defeat

first_imgChelsea manager Maurizio Sarri dismissed the significance of their defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night due to the fact that their rivals were better prepared for the encounterThe Blues had a promising start at Dublin with Antonio Rudiger giving the club a sixth-minute lead over their London rivals when his header found the back of the net.But, following Alvaro Morata’s penalty-miss, Chelsea’s early dominance began to gradually decline with Arsenal grabbing a very late equaliser through Alexandre Lacazette in the third-minute of injury time to force a penalty shoot-out.After the first 11 penalties were all taken perfectly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s miss proved to be decisive with Arsenal leaving Ireland with a 6-5 win.However, due to Chelsea’s late start in their pre-season preparations, Sarri was still “really happy” with his new side.“We had our first training on 16 July,” he told the club website.Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.“We were late compared to Arsenal’s physical condition. We did very well in the first half. We made a mistake in the last minute, but I’m really happy with the performance.”As for Morata’s penalty-miss, Sarri suggested that the birth of his twins on Saturday might have had an impact.“I don’t know if he is not confident. Maybe he was tired. The last three days for him were very intense, so maybe this match he was a bit tired. I am not worried about Morata,” he said.Next up for Chelsea is the Community Shield against Manchester City on Sunday.“The starting XI today is very near to the starting XI in the Community Shield,” added Sarri.last_img read more

Luka Modric launches a scathing attack on Simeone

first_imgReal Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has responded to the criticisms of Atletico Madrid’s manager Diego Simeone on him and his teammates.In the midfielder’s first interview since winning the Ballon d’Or earlier this month, the 33-year-old spoke of the manager’s disparaging comments about the award and Madrid.“I understand why Simeone has defended his own players,” Modric told Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti, as cited by Football Espana.“I understand why he believes Griezmann was the best but in doing so he feels the need to disparage Real Madrid and the players here.Luka Modric, Real MadridReal Madrid suffer a Luka Modric injury blow Andrew Smyth – September 12, 2019 Real Madrid have announced that Luka Modric has suffered an adductor injury, which could rule him out of some key fixtures.“There are suggestions that there is something else behind why Madrid players win these trophies, and that is not the case.“I have a lot of respect for Atletico and Simeone, their players and their fans – they are a great club and whey they defeat us, I acknowledge it and congratulate them.“But we have been hugely successful too, we have beaten them in two finals and it is not fair to say these achievements are due to favoritism.”last_img read more

Zidane is the best man for Manchester United job – Saha

first_imgFormer Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes Zinedine Zidane is the right manager to lead Manchester United to glory after Jose Mourinho was sacked.The former French International says Zidane who led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles before leaving will bring a new dimension to the team.In an interview with Omnisport via FourFourTwo, Saha backed former France team-mate Zidane to succeed at Old Trafford. .“For me, I am a supporter of Zidane in relation to the man,” Saha said. “He was an exceptional player, the coach, there is no equivalent.“In communication he has made a lot of progress. When I hear him talking, it’s incredible.Dani Ceballos, the most underrated Spanish player today Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 13, 2019 We’ve been looking for the next great Spanish player and we had him under our noses all along, meet underrated Dani Ceballos.Even though you’ve…“He breathes football, he is a passionate person, who has all the qualities to be respected. He knows how to balance attack and defence.“At Real Madrid, he had three offensive monsters, and he has to make the link with the defence. It’s huge.“For me it’s the best choice for United. I think he will have the support of the supporters, the staff, the president because he deserves it. And we’re going to give him time.”Zidane is no manager of any club at the moment and could take the job if both parties agree.last_img read more