Nationwide protests return focus to why George Floyd was initially detained

iStock/ChiccoDodiFC(WASHINGTON) — BY: IVAN PEREIRAAs protests continue around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in late May, there’s been further examination of why he was stopped by police in the first place.The events leading up to Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers stemmed from a call to police about a phony $20 bill.Around 8 p.m. on May 25, an employee of the Cup Foods convenience store called 911 alleging that a customer used the counterfeit bill to pay for cigarettes and that the person appeared drunk, according to the 911 log released by the Minneapolis Police Department. The employee went to the car outside the store where the customer was sitting and asked him to return the cigarettes, but was denied, according to the 911 call transcript.The employee described the customer as a 6-foot-6 black man, which was Floyd’s height, and repeated to the 911 operator that he appeared drunk.Around eight minutes later, Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived at the shop and approached Floyd and two others in the car, according to the criminal complaint. A few minutes after that officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa arrived to help arrest Floyd, which led to Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, the criminal complaint said.All four officers were fired and, but as of Tuesday afternoon, Chauvin is the only one to have been arrested. He was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights filed civil rights charges against the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday.Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, said in a Facebook post on May 28 he was not in the store during the incident, and the store has called the police in the past about counterfeit bills.However, police officers never confronted any of the customers in any previous instances where the store called 911 for a phony bill, according to Abumayyaleh.“Most of the times the patron doesn’t know the bill is fake and normally all the authorities want to know is where they got it from,” he said in the post.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. read more

Taylor tops Desert Thunder Nationals finale, Thompson sweeps Casa Grande SportMods

first_imgBy Lonnie Wheatley Working his way forward from four rows deep, Thompson slid past Cody Carver on a lap eight restart and held the point the rest of the way. While Taylor set the pace ahead of Alex Stanford, Whitwell was working his forward from 16th in his quest to sweep the weekend.  Reaching the fourth position by the time a caution flew after 19 laps, he made quick work of Jason Noll and Stanford on the restart to take command of second and set his sights on Taylor for the lead. Modifieds – 1. Whitwell; 2. Baca; 3. Christy Barnett; 4. Wedelstadt; 5. Noll; 6. Madrid; 7. Pace; 8. Jeff Taylor; 9. Foley; 10. Carrell; 11. Mecl; 12. Eston Whisler; 13. Wilson; 14. Trevor Miller; 15. Chase Alves; 16. Brent Schlafmann; 17. Sherman Barnett; 18. Jim Whisler, 19. Geist; 20. Roy Meeks; 21. Bill Miller; 22. Earven; 23. Alex Stanford; 24. Carroll; 25. Martin.  Nov. 24 Feature Results Nov. 22 Feature Results Modifieds – 1. Taylor; 2. Whitwell; 3. Stanford; 4. Baca; 5. Noll; 6. Wedelstadt; 7. Madrid; 8. Schlaf­mann; 9. Eston Whisler; 10. Hayes; 11. Trevor Miller; 12. Christy Barnett; 13. Poeling; 14. Mecl; 15. Roy Meeks; 16. Pace; 17. Jessie Hoskins; 18. Foley; 19. Bill Miller; 20. Jesse Patter­son; 21. Wilson; 22. Carroll; 23. Rick Spencer; 24. Carrell; 25. Jimmy Mills. Taylor held on though ahead of Whitwell with Stanford rounding out the podium in third.  Starting deep in the field, Chaz Baca Jr., worked his way from 20th to fourth with Noll rounding out the top five. CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (Nov. 24) – Central Arizona Speedway’s sixth annual Desert Thunder Nation­als came down to the final lap with Jeff Taylor denying R.C. Whitwell a sweep of the three-race weekend by winning Sunday afternoon’s 30-lap IMCA Modified main event atop the 3/8-mile clay oval in Case Grande. While Taylor denied Whitwell’s perfect weekend, Cody Thompson completed his three-race sweep of Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod action.  Nov. 23 Feature Results Northern SportMods –1. Cody Thompson; 2. Michael Soboski; 3. Cole Carver; 4. Shelby Frye; 5. Cory Hemphill; 6. Jimmy Terstriep; 7. Kyler Reynolds; 8. Rex Hasley; 9. Koty McGullam; 10. Terry Bahr; 11. Aaron Farrell; 12. Crystal Hemphill; 13. Steve Duffy. 14. David Farley. Thompson rolled on to the checkered flag ahead of Carver with Andy Clower, Cory Hemphill and Gerry Glenn rounding out the top five. Thompson pocketed $500 for Friday and Saturday checkers and $1,000 on Sunday. “We got a little more balance in the car today,” Taylor said afterward.  “We held on, the car was pretty good so we’re happy with that.” Taylor jumped into the lead at the outset of the $3,000 to win IMCA Modified feature and led through­out, fending off a late challenge from Whitwell. Modifieds – 1. R.C. Whitwell; 2. Chaz Baca; 3. Zachary Madrid; 4. Jason Noll; 5. Derek Huggins; 6. Kelsy Hayes; 7. Roy Poeling; 8. Chris Carroll; 9. Don Geist; 10. Taylor Center; 11. Doug Meeks; 12. Jacob Pace; 13. Don Earven; 14. Tony Martin; 15. Bill Miller; 16. Spencer Wilson; 17. Jim Whisler; 18. Mike Wedelstadt; 19. Christy Barnett; 20. Tyler Mecl; 21. Jake O’Neil; 22. Trevor Miller; 23. Austin Kuehl; 24. Mark Carrell; 25. Kelsie Foley.  Whitwell earned $1,000 for Friday and Saturday wins. Both Taylor and Whitwell were already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “This was an awesome track all weekend,” Thompson commented.  “I could feel it latching down in three and four so I was trying to save my tires.  Then when we got that caution, I knew it was go time.” Northern SportMods – 1. Thompson; 2. Ty Weidner; 3. Cory Hemphill; 4. Dixon Tipton; 5. Ter­striep; 6. Neil Eckhart; 7. Soboski; 8. Hasley; 9. Frye; 10. Artie Garcia; 11. Crystal Hemphill; 12. Speedy Madrid; 13. Carver; 14. Duffy; 15. Reynolds; 16. Richard Liskey; 17. Farrell; 18. Robert Holmes; 19. Bahr; 20. Dylan Newberg; 21. Farley. “It’s different racing here in the day.  You can see the shadow off of two,” Taylor explained.  “I knew if he ever got beside me and I saw his shadow that I would be in trouble.  But I couldn’t run down there so there wasn’t anything I could do about it so if he passed me, then more power to him.” A final caution with five laps remaining put Whitwell on Taylor’s rear bumper, but the leader was up to the task and fought off Whitwell’s last gasp bid for the lead.  SportMods – 1. Thompson; 2. Carver; 3. Andy Clower; 4. Cory Hemphill; 5. Gerry Glenn; 6. J.J. McCarty, 7. Crystal Hemphill; 8. Hasley; 9. Tipton; 10. Duffy; 11. Soboski; 12. Reynolds; 13. Ma­drid; 14. Garcia.last_img read more

16 Days ends with a call on men

first_img11 December 2014Men were critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said at the closing event of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.Mabudafhasi encouraged people who abused their partners or children to seek help.”We need to speak out against violence and report it to the police. We, who are mothers, need to bring up our sons to respect women.”16 Days is an annual global campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December. The theme this year was, “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.“We need to interrogate and understand what is making women vulnerable to gender- based violence and the institutionalised violence of poverty and inequality, as well as what is preventing women from enjoying human rights,” Mabudafhasi said.Since 1994, South Africa’s government had developed several pieces of legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children.“We must understand how our own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence. We must ensure that children are not exposed to inappropriate sexual and violent material,” said.National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega called on South African men and women to partner with the police in the fight against crime.“Together we can make a difference because we strongly believe . that somebody somewhere, somehow knows something about crime.”She encouraged people to report crime to the police.CauseUnited Nations Population Fund representative Dr Ester Muia encouraged people to respect each other. “We need to look at what is causing the problem of violence.”A study undertaken in Gauteng showed that three out of every five women had experienced violence, she said. This figure was unacceptable and it was high time the country engaged men in the fight against the abuse of women and children.‘More brutal’Meanwhile, Susan Shabangu, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, said the campaign had created much-needed awareness.Shabangu was speaking at business briefing hosted by The New Age newspaper in Sandton, Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.The campaign should take place throughout the year to contribute to reducing violence directed at women and children, she said.She also called on more men to get actively involved in the campaign, pointing out that gender-based violence was becoming more brutal.“Even children are being killed so brutally. Something has gone wrong in our communities. All of us need to get involved in fighting abuse.”Children need to be taught from a young age to denounce violence, and women in rural areas must be empowered and know their rights.“Women in rural areas must be brought on board and be part of the campaign. We must make sure that we break the silence. People should be encouraged to talk to prevent heinous crimes from happening.”Regarding the prosecution of perpetrators, Shabangu said role players in the justice system must deal effectively with issues relating to violence and the abuse of women and children. “Our justice system must make sure that our people believe in the system.”This year, 16 Days marked its 16th anniversary, reflected on 20 years of democracy and 60 years of the Women’s Charter.Source: SANewslast_img read more

1 for the Planet Jack Johnson Team Up To Give Back

first_imgOn May 23, Jack Johnson, 1% For The Planet Ambassador and business member, will perform at the Boston Calling Music Festival in Boston, MA, kicking off a summer long collaboration with 1% for the Planet, the world’s largest environmental network.During his 2014 summer tour, Jack will entertain crowds around the globe. He’ll simultaneously raise awareness around sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives in his All At Once Village Green, which highlights several environmental nonprofits within the 1% for the Planet network.Jack Johnson joined 1% for the Planet in 2004, becoming the 50th business member to join the movement. Businesses within the network donate at least 1% of sales annually directly to nonprofit partners to maintain membership, however, this past year Jack went well beyond the required minimum, donating nearly 6% of record royalties and 100% of his net tour income back to environmental organizations. A longtime advocate for the earth, Jack is also an ambassador for the network, raising awareness and encouraging additional organizations, businesses, and individuals to get involved.From May 23 – September 1, 1% for the Planet will hit the road with Jack, appearing at multiple venues from New York to Hawaii to gain support and raise awareness about 1% for the Planet and Jack’s commitment to local foods, clean water, and a plastics-free lifestyle. 1% for the Planet will attend the following shows:• May 23 – Boston, MA (Boston Calling Festival) • May 30 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH • June 7 – Wantagh, NY (Jones Beach) • August 1 – Oahu, HI (Wakiki Shell) • August 23 – Quincy, WA (The Gorge) • August 28 – Los Angeles, CAAs part of the All At Once Village, Jack Johnson’s tour is collaborating with over 130 community groups that focus on plastic-free initiatives, sustainable local food systems, and other hands-on, grassroots environmental projects. At most Jack Johnson shows, nonprofits from the 1% for the Planet network will be on-site and for every donation made by fans, Jack’s charity, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, will offer a matching contribution up to $2,500.“As our 50th member and a longtime ambassador, Jack has always gone above and beyond to encourage individual action to better the environment,” said 1% for the Planet’s Managing Director, Melody Badgett. “We’re excited to be able to partner with him during his summer tour to amplify his work through our network.”Jack Johnson’s All At Once Campaign was founded in 2008 and aims to empower consumers to connect with nonprofits, take environmental action, and receive recognition for their efforts. Jack empowers people to get involved with a simple mantra: An individual action, multiplied by millions, creates global change.To learn more about 1% for the Planet’s involvement on Jack Johnson’s tour this summer, click here. To learn more about Jack Johnson’s All At Once Campaign, click here and for a complete list of Jack Johnson tour dates visit JackJohnsonMusic.com.Source:PR Weblast_img read more

Worry About Johnny Manziels Weight Not His Height

“If you’re 6-5, 230, run a certain time, there’s like 35 guys I can compare you to that have been successful in this league. If you’re 5-11, there’s two, unless you go back to Fran Tarkenton: Doug Flutie and Russell Wilson. That’s not real good odds to me. You still might make it, but history says no. Just because you’re 5-11 doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Johnny has magic.” — Bruce Arians, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals“I feel like I play like I’m 10 feet tall.” — Johnny ManzielAt the NFL scouting combine in February, wildly popular Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel officially measured in at 71¾ inches and 207 pounds. His diminutive stature was such a hot topic prior to the 2014 NFL draft that the media couldn’t resist the puns: “Johnny Manziel Comes Up Short At NFL Combine “(CBS Cleveland); “The Long and Short of Johnny Manziel” (ESPN Cleveland); “Will Johnny Manziel Measure Up for the Browns?” (CantonRep.com).Ultimately, the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd pick in the first round. With several QB-starved teams near the top of the draft (including the Browns, who passed up two earlier chances to draft Manziel, first by trading out of the fourth pick and then by selecting Justin Gilbert with the eighth), most expected him to go higher.We don’t know why Manziel went where he did, but we do know that he is undersized for his position. And historically NFL teams’ approach to undersized QBs has been not to draft them — if they’re short. My research suggests this strategy is insufficiently nuanced: If height matters at all, NFL teams have already accounted for that and then some. Being too light-weight, on the other hand, appears to be a stronger predictor of performance (or lack thereof), and NFL teams seem not to have accounted for it enough.For a QB of Manziel’s height, being drafted even late in the first round is incredibly rare. From the 1967 merger through 2013, NFL teams selected 209 quarterbacks in the first three rounds of the draft, yet just five of them were 72 inches (6 feet) or shorter. Of those five, only Michael Vick (listed as 6 feet) was selected in the first round. For comparison: Since 1987, NBA teams have drafted five players 6 feet or shorter in just the first 10 picks of the first round.If we looked at those five quarterbacks alone, drafting short QBs would look like a pretty good bet. They have a combined career Approximate Value (AV)1I’m not in love with this metric — or really any QB rating metrics — but it sums well, and for testing league-wide hypotheses, virtually any reasonable metric will do. of 260 — greater than the combined AV (210) of all 12 QBs listed as 78 inches (6 feet 6 inches) and taller.This comparison is for amusement purposes only: It’s a tiny sample, and both of these groups include a number of active players with a lot of productive years ahead of them. But it hints at bigger issues with how the NFL accounts for height.Many media pre-draft scouting reports don’t distinguish between height and weight, frequently referring to a player’s “size” or “bulk” instead. But when it comes to size metrics, the NFL appears to be much more forgiving of light quarterbacks than short ones. The average weight for a 71- to 72-inch quarterback is 202 pounds, yet 27 quarterbacks this weight or below have been drafted in the first three rounds over the same time period (1967-2013), which saw only five QBs of that height taken.To examine whether this particular reluctance to draft short QBs (while being willing to draft light ones) makes any sense, I classified the broader pool of drafted quarterbacks (limiting to those selected in the top seven rounds) based on how they compared to Manziel’s weight and height. From there I compared each group’s average AV per season to see whether any of the groups performed better than the others.Looking at the right column, we see that short QBs have done slightly better on average than non-short QBs (3.0 average AV per season versus 2.4). But even with seven rounds of draft picks this number is still pretty small: Just 29 short QBs are included in this comparison (so the results are not statistically significant).But the weight columns show a stark divide between quarterbacks on either side of Manziel (2.7 average AV per season versus 1.6 overall). There’s a broader sample, too: 107 players weighed in at 207 pounds or less, compared to 311 who were heavier.Based on that, it seems that drafting a quarterback of Manziel’s weight is a more dangerous proposition than drafting one of his height. But that’s a pretty crude binary analysis. Because the NFL draft market is fairly efficient, if there were a relationship between height or weight and career potential, we’d probably expect it to be priced into each quarterback’s draft position (or whether a quarterback gets drafted at all).So let’s expand the investigation to include each quarterback’s draft position. Then, rather than splitting the players into groups, let’s look at the overall correlations between height, weight and pick2Technically these correlations use the logarithm of each player’s pick, as do all the regressions in this article. and a few different QB metrics — Approximate Value, yards per game and yards per attempt.3If you’re wondering why I’m not using more complicated efficiency metrics like Passer Rating, ESPN’s QBR, or Brian Burke’s Win Percentage Added, it’s because I think they all correspond much too strongly with the style and quality of a QB’s team and offense — at least for these purposes. If you’re making finely grained comparisons, you may be willing to accept that cost in exchange for those metrics’ higher precision, but for evaluating the long-run impacts of hundreds of QBs, I prefer to use broader measures. Mostly what I want to know is how likely these players were to have long, productive careers. (For this comparison, I’ve filtered out QBs drafted later than 2008.)That grouping of bars on the left shows us that height is at least a little correlated to Approximate Value, yards per game and yards per attempt — but it correlates much better with the QB’s draft position. Weight, on the other hand, correlates to our QB metrics much more, and, importantly, it correlates with draft position less.In other words, height appears to tell us less than weight does, and what it does tell us we’re more likely to have already known.While correlations alone don’t tell us what’s causing what, so far this is a pretty poor showing for height as a predictor of quarterback performance. But there are still a lot of possibilities, so to get a better sense of which variables are doing what work, I created regression models that use height, weight and draft pick to predict a variety of metrics, and then compared how important each variable was to each model.Those regressions produced “t-values,” basic measures of the predictive reliability of each variable.4It’s the weight you should put on the variable divided by its average error. In this case we’re looking for a minimum value of 2.0.5This is about the cutoff for “statistical significance,” meaning that the correspondence seen in the data would happen less than 5 percent of the time by chance. This is about the minimum amount of confidence you need in a variable to make using it worth your while. Not only is height not a good predictor when combined with weight and pick location, it’s a slightly negative one (though to be a statistically significant negative predictor, we’d want to see values below -2.0). This doesn’t mean that height is bad, it just means that — whatever value it may have — NFL teams are likely overvaluing it.Weight, however, is a highly significant predictor for these metrics.6As it is for most metrics to varying degrees, though it does tend to do best on per-game and per-year bases. Since draft location is included as input for this regression, this strongly suggests that NFL teams have not been sufficiently pricing weight into their selections.There are a number of possible reasons for this. My guess would be that it has something to do with the physicality of the NFL game, and that teams may become enamored with a QB’s skill or accuracy and undervalue his strength or durability. But figuring out exactly why weight is so predictive is a whole different investigation, and one which may be too complicated for the amount of data available.7This is basically the main challenge with every NFL-related problem. So instead of diving deeper, let’s simplify.The thing we really care about is whether a QB has a minimally successful career. To test this, I’ve set the “successful career” cutoff at about 32 AV, which sets apart more or less the top 100 drafted QBs since 1967.8Note that it doesn’t really matter exactly where we draw the line so much as that we draw a line at all: Anything will do for a barometer. Basically, our “successful” cutoff is going to be all the good QBs you’ve heard of, down to about the likes of Joey Harrington, Rick Mirer, Vince Young, Byron Leftwich or (going further back) Steve Spurrier. While the worst of the “successful” quarterbacks may sound pretty bad to you (Tim Couch, Browns fans?), nearly two-thirds of quarterbacks selected 22nd overall (Manziel’s draft position) will likely be even worse.We can predict the baseline likelihood of a QB being “successful” or not by using a logistic regression9A regression that predicts binary outcomes like wins/losses, good/bad, etc. with just his draft position.10In case you’re interested, the Excel formula for this is =1/(1+EXP(-(1.1536-0.40511*[logpick]))), where [logpick] is the logarithm of the QB’s draft position in base 2 (or log([pick],2)). I’ve grouped QBs by rounding their weight to the nearest 5 pounds, then calculated how many of that group should have had “successful” careers based on each of their draft positions, and then compared that to the number of them who actually did. Once that was done, I plotted how each group succeeded relative to our expectations.The red line shows how much more or less likely a QB of a given weight is to be successful than we would expect based on his draft position alone.11In Excel, this formula is: =((1/(1+EXP(-(-7.814506+0.031653*[weight]))))-0.272723209)/0.272723209. Manziel is listed as 207 pounds. From the model, we’d expect about 19 percent fewer 207-pound QBs to be successful than we would expect based on their draft position.The odds of being “successful” for a QB taken 22nd overall are approximately 34 percent. The odds of a 207-pound quarterback selected 22nd overall being successful are around 27 percent (81 percent of 34 percent). In draft-pick terms, that’s about the same as an average-weighted quarterback drafted 38th overall — a substantial but certainly not damning drop. We can make that same kind of calculation for each draft position.On the other hand, Manziel was projected to go higher in the draft. It’s possible that he was unfairly dinged for his height, but not dinged enough for his weight.If the Browns had selected Manziel with the eighth pick, my model’s size-weight adjustment (which is basically a weight adjustment, since height didn’t meet the threshold for inclusion), would make him about as likely to be successful as a No. 16 pick. That would match up pretty well with the Browns’ actual draft day decisions: to pass on Manziel with the eighth pick, but then to trade up to take him with the 22nd. read more

The Milwaukee Bucks Mediocre Record Is Hiding A Dangerous Team

MILWAUKEE — The NBA’s elite teams almost always have a singular, defining trait.Golden State gives opposing teams headaches due to its ridiculous outside shooting. Cleveland’s players, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving illustrated during the Finals, can get almost any shot they want in one-on-one matchups. The San Antonio Spurs, the gold standard for team play and consistency, have long drawn praise for their lack of egos.Then there are the 18-16 Milwaukee Bucks, who, bizarre as it sounds, are quietly building a case for inclusion onto that short list of the league’s best teams.As of Thursday, Milwaukee was just two games ahead of the ninth-place Washington Wizards and far from a lock to reach the playoffs. But for most of the season the Bucks have ranked among the league’s top-10 teams in both offensive and defensive efficiency, generally a loose prerequisite for a team to be a title contender. (Sixteen of the past 20 NBA champions, including each of the past six, finished in the top-10 in both categories. By contrast, no team with that profile has missed the playoffs since the 1974-75 season, when three teams did it in an 18-team league, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.)Unlike with the Warriors, Cavs or Spurs, the average fan might struggle to identify a particular trait about the Bucks, aside from their star player having a name that’s challenging to pronounce.But spend a little time watching the Bucks and it becomes clear that Milwaukee’s defining characteristic is its weirdness. Its roster full of interchangeable, Stretch Armstrong-types goes outside the bounds of the NBA’s traditional parameters of play at both ends.Still, Milwaukee is far from the first team to lean on its length and athleticism. “Positionless basketball” has been in vogue for a while now.In recent years, the Big Three in Miami was unusually aggressive with how it tasked Chris Bosh with defending pick-and-rolls. The Brooklyn Nets turned their 2013-14 season around (and did so under current Bucks coach Jason Kidd) after injuries forced them to downsize to a quicker small-ball lineup that could switch assignments and jump passing lanes. And of course the Warriors can make life miserable for opposing offenses and impossible for opposing defenses with their range and versatility, particularly when they opt to use their Megadeath Lineup, with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.No one is going to mistake these Bucks with the Warriors any time soon, or with the Cavs or Spurs, for that matter. But the Bucks’ combination of uncommon youth, length and style of play makes Milwaukee uniquely equipped to deal with teams that throw more traditionally constituted opponents into disarray. In other words, teams like Golden State.The formula starts with the Bucks’ unusual youth and length at multiple positions. In Giannis Antetokounmpo (22 years old), Jabari Parker (21), Tony Snell (25) and John Henson (26), Milwaukee trots out four starters who are all 26 or under, and boast at least a 6-11 wingspan, making them one of the youngest1The Bucks are the NBA’s sixth-youngest team when you weight players’ age by minutes played, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. and longest teams in the NBA. The Bucks use their length and athleticism to play a more aggressive, switch-heavy brand of defense than most teams.They often gamble by overloading one side of the floor and using two players to blitz a pick-and-roll ball-handler, trusting that they’ll have enough back-end quickness to snap back into position before opposing players can capitalize by finding the open man for a clean look. (Milwaukee also sends aggressive help when teams dump the ball onto the block, explaining why the Bucks own the stingiest post-up defense in basketball, according to Synergy Sports.)So many interchangeable defensive parts moving, switching and rotating in harmony has a suffocating effect on an offense. Milwaukee’s defense has forced opposing offenses to throw more passes than all but eight teams this season after leading the league in the stat the past two years, according to an analysis run by SportVU, and has pressed opposing clubs into the last four seconds of the shot clock — where offensive efficiency plummets due to rushed shots — more often than any other defense this season, per Synergy.“Against them, you have to go in understanding that it may take several extra passes or multiple paint touches” in order to find a good shot, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan said ahead of a recent game against Milwaukee. “What appears to be an open shot often turns out to be a contested shot.”The stat sheet seems to agree with Donovan. While the Bucks give up the fourth-most 3-point attempts per game — generally a bad sign for a defense — Milwaukee also contests 87 percent of opponents’ threes, the highest percentage in the league. As a result, it holds foes to 34.6 percent from 3-point range, tied for the NBA’s fourth-lowest mark. In other words, lots of attempts are not quite as open as they seem.“Shooting is obviously huge,” said Henson, the Bucks’ best defensive big man. “But probably the best things to counter the shooting in today’s game are interchangeability and length. And we’ve taken the idea of building around length to another level.”That’s a key trait in the NBA today. The commitment to flustering ball-handlers and ability to close out shooters help neutralize the floor spacing that teams like the Cavs and Warriors usually take advantage of.While the Bucks have targeted length as a market inefficiency, that length comes at a cost.For one, the Bucks’ lengthy, versatile athletes aren’t as gifted from long range. Last season, Milwaukee attempted the fewest threes in the league and made just 34.5 percent of them, below league average. (This is a big reason the Warriors are so special: They combine many of the same elements that make the Bucks unique with all that outside shooting.)But this season the offense has increased its number of 3-point attempts per game by a whopping 53.5 percent while also increasing its conversion rate, led in part by Parker, who’s hit 39 percent of his triples while taking more than six times as many threes per game as last season.“[Coach Kidd] told me [two years ago] that I was too reliant on my jumper and challenged me to work on my inside game first, then take what the defense was giving me on the outside,” Parker said in an interview, explaining that he and Antetokounmpo were essentially banned from taking threes when Kidd first got the job. But Parker said they’ve since been given the green light to fire away. (That inside-out mindset is an interesting one, given that Kidd himself developed into a much better shooter as his own career progressed.)In any case, Parker and the Bucks are still working through a handful of issues. The former Duke star has improved as a defender, but still gets beaten off the dribble far too frequently on the wing, leaving the team vulnerable at the rim at times. And despite the club’s ability to get out to shooters quickly, it’s not ideal that the Bucks surrender the highest number of corner threes in the league, since those shots are among the most valuable in basketball.And even after Antetokounmpo’s heroic last-second shot to beat the Knicks on Wednesday, Milwaukee’s stats in crunchtime (when the score is within 5 points in the last five minutes or overtime) are among the worst in the NBA.But things are beginning to come together. The awkward fit with scoring big Greg Monroe has been alleviated with a move to the bench, where his limited rim protection isn’t as much of a liability. After struggling to score last season, Milwaukee has found success in having Antetokounmpo bring the ball up the floor himself after grabbing a board instead of having to look for a teammate. (The Bucks rank fifth in fastbreak points, despite ranking 20th in possessions per game; impressive given that the four teams ahead of them in transition scoring — Golden State, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Houston — rank among the top-10 in pace.)And the club could even get injured swingman Khris Middleton back toward the end of the season; potentially a big lift for the Bucks, given that he was arguably their best player at times the past few seasons.The teamwide developments, though, have been mere icing on the cake, as no one in the organization saw Antetokounmpo producing a season anywhere near this impactful so soon.His defense, particularly as an occasional rim protector, has been a revelation. Antetokounmpo, despite being a wing player, is near the top of the defensive leaderboards among players who defend at least four close-range shots per game, according to SportVU. But understandably, his offense draws the lion’s share of the attention, both because of his unconventional point-guard play and the gaudy numbers he’s posted.He currently owns career-high marks in total-shooting, rebounding, assist, block and steal percentage — and a career-low turnover percentage — all while handling the ball more and using a much greater share of Milwaukee’s possessions in his fourth season.Even with his rapid ascension in mind, it might still seem wild to consider Milwaukee among the NBA’s best. But give it time. If the young Bucks continue on their current trajectory, and their gambles on length and versatility continue paying off, the thought may not seem so far-fetched this time next year.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Bahamas Conducts Continuing Dialogue with European Union During Diplomatic Week

first_img— Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, October 24, 2017 – Nassau – The Bahamas has used the opportunity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 4th annual ‘Diplomatic Week’ to stage the third in a series of dialogues with the European Union.   The exchange took place during a meeting between The Bahamas and the EU on Thursday, 19 October 2017.The political dialogue was held under the auspices of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, which states that the Parties “shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides”.   The Cotonou Agreement is an international agreement between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the nations of the European Union, aimed at promoting a stable and democratic political environment.The talks were led by the Honourable Darren Henfield, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas, and Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to The Bahamas.The talks covered a wide range of global and regional issues, including climate change and natural disasters, security and crime, and human rights and migration.   The wide ranging dialogue also included discussions on the future of ACP-EU relations and the ongoing implementation of the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement, both in light of the Brexit process.   Both sides welcomed the opportunity to restart this key dialogue, which was last held in October 2015, and looked forward to increased cooperation in the future.Minister Henfield welcomed the European Delegation – also comprising non-resident Ambassadors attending Diplomatic Week from Germany, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the British High Commissioner – and conveyed The Bahamas’ pleasure and honour to receive the group.   He noted that The Bahamas’ relationship with the European Union continued as a high priority for the country, and that the two parties were bound by a proud democratic tradition and commitment to good governance and the rule of law.   Restarting the dialogue, under the new government represented a positive step in further developing these relations.The Minister – who led The Bahamas side comprising representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing – considered today’s exchange as frank, meaningful and opportune, as it occasioned the stipulation of important elements of the national agenda to individual members of the EU side present.Ambassador Wasilewska described the talks as both comprehensive and dynamic.   She said that the EU/Bahamas relationship was of growing importance in an increasingly global world that now faced a series of unprecedented challenges.   She added that, ‘Only through partnerships such as ours will we be able to tackle those challenges and help create an enabling environment which helps all of our citizens’.*****************************************************BAHAMAS DIALOGUES WITH EU – Bahamian officials are shown meeting with representatives of the European Union as part of The Bahamas 4th annual Diplomatic Week, held in Nassau, 15-18 October, 2017.  Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Darren Henfield is shown at centre along with the Head of the European Union delegation, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska and Ambassador Reuben Rahming various senior Government and diplomatic officials.Press Release: BISPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Related Items:last_img read more

Many in Bahamas Public Sector going home near broke

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, Bahamas – November 28, 2017 – Civil Servants wants government to relax its policy on how much of their salary can be assigned to lending institutions; it is currently set at 75% and Marlon Johnson, at the Ministry of Finance says the measure is in place so that government workers do not increasingly become the working poor.Johnson told media he is inundated with requests waive the 25% and that a recent memorandum to Permanent Secretaries of the various ministries was designed to reinforce the policy and to state that it would only be bypassed for medical emergencies.  Johnson said when the measure was established, some government workers were taking home less than $50 a month.The acting Financial Secretary says this is a problem, “Many Bahamians have fallen into the so-called ‘debt trap’, where the ‘take home’ portion of their salaries is minimal because so much has already been committed to salary deductions that service loan payments to banks and other lenders.This leaves them unable to afford basic, every day necessities essential for living, such as food and water, and the payment of utility bills”  The 75 per cent ‘limit’, “means that at a minimum your non-committed salary should be at least 25 per cent of your gross earnings”, had been in place for “at least 20 years” across successive administrations. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more