Why ‘The Force Awakens’ Feels Like ‘A New Hope’

first_imgAs Disney prepares to release quite possibly the biggest film of all time, let’s take a look at why and how The Force Awakens feels like A New Hope.Top image via Nerdist.comWhen word came down that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Walt Disney in an amazing $4 Billion deal, nerds around the world rejoiced, as many believed Disney would give Star Wars the Marvel treatment. This belief was fully realized within moments of the official word from Disney CEO Bob Iger. From that point on, fans of the saga hoped that the franchise would get back to its roots and away from the digital spectacle that was the prequel trilogy.Many believed and hoped that legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg would helm the relaunch of the franchise, but that was quickly shot down by Spielberg himself. However, Spielberg did have someone in mind to take the director’s chair, though Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy didn’t think this director would want to revitalize another franchise. It took some coaxing from Spielberg and Kennedy, but J.J. Abrams jumped on board, and along with him came the classic characters from the original trilogy.J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan with the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsAbrams knew that authenticity was paramount, and to ensure that The Force Awakens would satisfy fans around the world, he worked tirelessly to craft the new film with the original film in mind. Let’s take a look at exactly how Abrams crafted The Force Awakens using A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as his benchmarks.Pre-Production BeginsDirector JJ Abrams and Writer Lawrence Kasdan on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star Wars Crafting the StoryOne of the factors that pushed Abrams to finally join as director of the newest Star Wars film was Kathleen Kennedy’s ability to hire legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who penned The Empire Strikes Back as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark.For the next full year, Abrams and Kasdan worked diligently to craft a story rooted in the original trilogy that could also lay the groundwork for future films. This process was incredibly difficult, but as Abrams recently said to AOL Build, their first goal was to create the main characters, create their motivation, figure out why the audience would care, and then develop the conflict.However, in order to appeal to a broad audience, the writing duo knew they needed to emulate one major success of the original trilogy — the youthful main characters.Casting Youthful HeroesWhen Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in 1977, the cast of main characters was populated by young and largely unknown actors. Another aspect of these characters is that each one was flawed and not perfect, thus emulating the real struggles of the youth watching the film. Luke Skywalker was a young teenager who dreamed of big things, but felt stuck in a small town seemingly going nowhere. This resonated deeply with many viewers.It was brilliant not having to cast someone from the same old list of names. You don’t want somebody who was ‘that guy from some other franchise.’ You want them to entirely belong to this world. – Casting Director Nina Gold via IndependentDaisy Ridley and John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsWith this in mind, Abrams and casting director Nina Gold began looking for largely unknown actors to play the main characters. The result is a mixture of actors that, in the end, mirror the cast of the original trilogy — a strong female lead accompanied by two male leads, one of which is confident while the other is unsure of himself. But the thing that worked the best for the cast of the original trilogy is that they were largely unknown, which allowed the characters to belong almost entirely to the Star Wars Universe. For Abrams, it’s about sparking the imagination of today’s youth today, showing them they’re capable of anything, as he said to Good Morning America recently.I’m looking forward to kids seeing this movie and to seeing themselves in it, and seeing that they’re capable of doing what they could never imagine was possible. – JJ AbramsDesigning a New World Based on the Old OneIn keeping with the creative decision to use the original trilogy as the foundation and model for the new film, Abrams and his pre-vis team began developing the design and concept of the film. To help them achieve this, Abrams and his team employed many of the unused concept designs from original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & Magic.As is evident in these pieces of concept art (and from what we’ve seen in the trailers for the film), the film nails the gritty aesthetic of the original trilogy. Everything feels old, worn, and past its warranty date.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & MagicFraming a Galaxy Far, Far AwayNext up, let’s take a look at the gear Abrams used to capture The Force Awakens. As was the case with the pre-production process, the director and his crew looked back to the original trilogy for inspiration here as well.If you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams, then you’ll know he’s a huge advocate for film. While the vast majority of the film was shot using 35mm film stock, there were a few sections filmed in IMAX, as well as some composite shots done using both a RED EPIC and ARRI ALEXA.But again, the majority of the film as shot using the classic Panavision 35mm camera, which is the same brand of camera and film stock that was used on the original trilogy.Director JJ Abrams and actress Daisy Ridley on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via ColliderFinding the Right LocationsRemember the saying “location, location, location?” Well, it applies greatly to film production. Luckily for Abrams, he had one of the very best location managers in the biz in Martin Joy, who oversaw the locations for Batman Begins, Skyfall, and War Horse.Joy and his team scoured the earth looking for the right locations for specific scenes, eventually visiting Abu Dhabi, Berkshire, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Skellig Michael, and more.John Boyega on location in Abu Dhabi for The Force Awakens via Star WarsEven more interesting than the actual physical locations for the film are the narrative locations. As Empire Magazine released back in late November, the planets we’ll see in the film are Jakku, Takodana, D’Qar and Hosnian Prime. We see three of these planets in the trailers for the film as one is a desert planet, one is lush with thick forests, while another is a frozen tundra.Skellig Michael located off the coast of Ireland via Star Wars NetWhat makes these locations so interesting is that they again mirror the original trilogy. In A New Hope we found ourselves on the desert planet of Tatooine, then in The Empire Strikes Back we started things off on the ice planet of Hoth. Finally, in Return of the Jedi, we visited the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor. This is just another glaring example of Abrams using the original trilogy as a foundation.Building a Tactile WorldWith the right camera equipment in hand and the perfect locations scouted, all that was left to do for the crew of The Force Awakens was to bring those environments to life — but in a tactile way. As with every part of the process, Abrams once again tapped into the success of the original trilogy and, with a large team of skilled craftsmen, began actually building the worlds of the film.For Abrams, this was one of the most important pieces of the process and what made the originals so special… the fact that the worlds felt real and that they actually existed.BB-8 and J.J. Abrams via Star WarsWhile practical effects and sets aren’t used as much anymore due to the advancements in computer graphic technology, there’s just no way a CGI model can beat a well-crafted practical set. In fact, production designer Darren Gilford, who worked on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, told IndieWire that Abrams directed them to craft the sets based off of the original designs.J.J.’s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireVideo via Star WarsThis firm foundation that is rooted in the massive success of the original trilogy should be one of the major reason why The Force Awakens will resonate well with fans, but also spark a revolution in the world of post-production.As it stands now, there have been countless arguments made on the over reliance of CGI and less of a reliance on practical effects and sets. However, when practical effects and sets are used more abundantly, with CGI acting as a visual support, things seem to go extremely well and audiences sense the magic they once did. For production designer Darren Gilford, recapturing that child-like magic is key.…it was about reconnecting with my childhood and playing with those toys and helping steer that for the next generation [so] some kid has the same experience that I had. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireAdding the Finishing TouchesWhile the post-production process was the most vastly different portion of the film from the originals, it still retained the spirit of the originals. Abrams put a limit on the number of VFX shots in the film at 28 out of 357 total scenes. This number is strikingly low compared to other big-budget films of today.Editors Maryann Brandon (Left) and Mary Jo Markey (Right) at Bad Robot via Geek & SundryBeyond the VFX of the film, the process to edit this epic took some time… and for Bad Robot editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, time was not something they had a lot of. Because of this, the editors and the entire sound and design team at Bad Robot relied heavily on Avid and its host of software, from Media Composer to Pro Tools, all running on the Avid ISIS Storage System, which allowed network-based integrated collaboration between the different post-production departments.Classic Millennium Falcon action via Star WarsIn the end, the team at Bad Robot was able to finish the fine cut of the film with plenty of time to spare — and then used that extra time to perfect upon what they believed was perfect.The Same Old Galaxy Far, Far, Away That You Know and LoveFor Abrams and company, using the original trilogy of films as a base to begin development was crucial, as this set a tone for the rest of the production process. Hopefully, starting today, we’ll be able to see those efforts pay off in a big way as we return to a universe that we know well.Dogfighting starfighters via Star WarsWith any luck, the next line of filmmakers who are taking on Star Wars films (like Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, and Colin Trevorrow) will see what Abrams has done and utilize the original trilogy as the foundation on which to build the franchise’s future.Are you bored with all the Star Wares hype? Or are you like us and can’t get enough? Share your position in the comments below!last_img read more

349 candidates in fray in Himachal Pradesh

first_imgA number of candidates withdrew their nominations on the last day of withdrawal for the November 9 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. Now 349 candidates are left in fray for the 68 Vidhan Sabha seats. Senior Congress leaders and Ministers like Kaul Singh Thakur in Drang, T.S. Bharmauri in Bharmaur, Harbhajan Singh Bhajji in Shimla, Nand Lal in Rampur, Ravi Thakur in Lahaul Spiti, Lakhwinder Rana in Nalagarh and Satpal Raizada in Una will still face the party rebels. Prominent BJP leader Indu Goswami in Palampur would also face Praveen Sharma, a party rebel.last_img

Biplab Deb to be sworn in Tripura CM

first_imgBiplab Deb will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tripura at the Assam Rifles ground here on Friday, which will usher in the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the northeastern State. The 48-year-old Mr. Deb staked his claim with Governor Tathagata Roy on March 6 to form the government in the State. The governor then invited him to do so. The BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) combine swept to power in the State last week, ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule by the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led (CPI-M) Left Front.last_img

Australia’s Antarctic Research Division Faces Cuts

first_imgImagine the McDonald’s Australia Antarctic Expedition or perhaps the launch of Australia’s new research vessel, the Microsoft Australis. These scenarios are not complete fantasy. Government officials this week told staff at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), the nation’s lead polar science agency, that planned funding cuts mean the division will be seeking “[a]lternative funding models” for research, including philanthropic donations and commercial sponsorship.Gordon de Brouwer, secretary of the federal Environment Department, which oversees AAD, told scientists and support staff on 8 April that the division, based near Hobart, Tasmania, also faces an unspecified number of “voluntary” job losses. According to the acting regional secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, Jessica Munday, AAD has already lost 30 employees over the past few months, leaving the remaining 300 staff members stretched. “So more cuts could impact workloads and research capabilities,” she told Fairfax Media.The news follows a warning issued late last month by the Australian Academy of Science that the country’s strategic position in Antarctica is at risk because of a declining scientific effort there. Seven countries have made territorial claims to Antarctica under the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, and Australia’s claim of 43% of the continent is the largest. Such claims, however, have little practical effect under the treaty, which does not recognize, dispute, or establish territorial claims, and establishes an access system to the continent governed by the 50 nations that have signed the treaty.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Any AAD efforts to offset lost government funding with private donations could be difficult, predicts Will Howard, deputy chair of the academy’s National Committee for Antarctic Research. In part, that’s because international agreements, such as one known as the Madrid Protocol, rule out commercial activities such as mineral resource extraction in the Antarctic. “So governments really have to take the leading role” in funding, he says.This week, employees at Parks Australia were also advised that the organization faces budget and staff cuts. The organization—administered by the federal Environment Department—oversees Australia’s six national parks, including Uluru—also known as Ayers Rock—and Kakadu, as well as the nation’s marine reserve network.The financial squeeze comes as the Environment Department’s budget will be slashed from AU$460 million to AU$361 million over 4 years. The department will cut a total of 670 jobs, roughly one-quarter of its staff, over that period.The move reflects the low priority placed on environmental protection and science by Australia’s conservative government. Immediately after its election in September 2013, it shut down the independent Climate Commission and is drafting legislation to abolish a second government body, the Climate Change Authority. The government failed to appoint a science minister—the first time an Australian government has not had a science minister since the science portfolio was created in 1931.Recently, the government, headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, triggered a public debate over plans to construct potentially the world’s largest coal port adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, and to excise 74,000 hectares of forest from Tasmania’s World Heritage–listed site.last_img read more

Amid Partisan Split, U.S. House Panel Approves Controversial NSF Bill

first_imgThe chair of the House of Representatives science committee threw the legislative equivalent of a no-hitter last night, winning his panel’s approval of a bill that sets policy for the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a straight party-line vote. And although the committee’s Democratic minority failed to make any changes to a bill that the scientific community feels is seriously flawed, they made a strategic decision that they hope will lead to victory on a related NSF spending bill now pending on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.Playing flawless defense, Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX) and the committee’s Republican majority rejected all 13 Democratic amendments to the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act (FIRST) Act, which covers programs at NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In straight party-line votes, the committee voted 20 to 16 to block attempts to remove language that would alter NSF’s grantsmaking processes and reshuffle funding within the $7 billion agency.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In fact, Smith came within one vote of throwing a legislative perfect game: Representative Bill Posey (R–FL) was the sole Republican to vote for any of the Democratic-backed amendments, supporting creation of a pilot program at NIST to spur innovation. But his “yea” vote simply meant that amendment lost by a margin of 17 to 19 rather than the 16 to 20 score recorded by the other dozen failed amendments.Panel Republicans also used their four-vote majority to win passage of an amendment by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA) that would lower by another $50 million the amount NSF is authorized to spend in 2015 on social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBE) research. The FIRST Act already contained a $56 million reduction to the current $256 million SBE budget.In its final 20 to 16 vote, the panel voted to send FIRST to the full House, although it is not yet clear if the body’s leadership will schedule a vote on the bill this year.Yesterday’s orderly markup, which lasted only 45 minutes, stood in sharp contrast to last week’s rowdy 6-hour session. A demand from Democrats for recorded votes on most of the 28 amendments before the committee prevented Smith from completing work on a bill that has provoked strong opposition from academic leaders, professional societies, and university-industry coalitions that advocate for science.The only surprise yesterday was a last-minute decision by Representative Daniel Lipinski (D–IL) to withdraw one amendment that would have raised the amount of money that Congress authorizes NSF to spend in 2015 to equal the amount that the House Appropriations Committee approved for NSF earlier this month. Authorization bills usually set budget targets for an agency that exceed what appropriators are willing to spend. In a break from tradition, however, the FIRST Act authorizes $127 million less for NSF next year than the $7.4 billion in the 2015 appropriations bill, which covers several federal agencies.Knowing that his amendment was fated to lose on the same party-line vote as the other amendments, Lipinski told ScienceInsider that he withdrew it so that the committee’s Republicans did not have to publicly vote against the higher spending level for NSF. Lipinski hopes the maneuver will give some Republicans the green light to support the higher amount in the appropriations bill, which the House is expected to vote on this week. “They wouldn’t have been able to do that after voting against my amendment,” he explains.The appropriations committee’s 2015 spending level for NSF is actually $150 million higher than what President Barack Obama requested for the agency. And like Lipinski, the White House is doing everything it can to encourage House Republicans to support the higher amount.In an official statement yesterday on the overall spending bill (H.R. 4660), the Obama administration highlighted dozens of instances in which the bill falls short of its request for a particular program. But its analysis of the NSF portion of the bill is stunningly brief—and entirely positive: “The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for NSF.  NSF invests in important research and education and lays the foundation for economic growth,” it reads.*Correction, 29 May, 11:30 a.m.: As Science reported in its initial version of this article, the panel voted 20 to 16 to send the FIRST bill to the full House. We apologize for the confusion about the nature of the vote taken by the committee.last_img read more

UAAP women’s basketball: UST locks up Final 4 slot in win over La Salle

first_imgUST star Grace Irebu. UAAP PHOTOMANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas booked its ticket to the Final Four after preying on De La Salle 71-49, in the UAAP Season 82 women’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Quadricentennial Pavilion.Reigning MVP Grace Irebu led the way for UST, which is at second with a 10-3 record, with 13 points and 16 rebounds while fellow tower Tantoy Ferrer added 12 points and seven boards.ADVERTISEMENT Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Becoming his own man Paralympian Marieke Vervoort fulfills wish to take own life Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Someone from the Philippines could win a $208 million jackpot this week! This jewelry designer is also an architect MOST READ Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ View comments LATEST STORIES “I’m just happy,” said UST head coach Haydee Ong. “I just told them that we should put to good use the defense we trained for the past two days.”Point guard Ruby Portillo also finished in double figures with 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists for the Golden Tigresses.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practicelast_img read more

Premier League: Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool crush West Ham United

first_imgLiverpool cranked up the pressure on West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic with a 4-1 win at the London Stadium on Saturday.Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah maintained his rich goalscoring form by netting twice as Juergen Klopp’s side punished a woeful West Ham display to move sixth, level on 19 points with Chelsea who host Manchester United on Sunday, and Arsenal.Salah took his tally to seven, one fewer than Premier League top scorer Harry Kane, and was joined on the scoresheet for Liverpool by Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.”The result feels good,” said Klopp, who had started forward Sadio Mane despite the Senegalese having only returned to full training on Thursday after a month out with a hamstring injury.”We changed our approach, it was a counter-attacking lineup to use our speed from the deep.”Manuel Lanzini had briefly dragged West Ham into the game at 2-1, but they finished being booed off for the second home match in a row.The result left them precariously perched above the relegation zone and sent Bilic into the international break with question marks hanging over his future.”I’m definitely not a broken man,” said Bilic, whose side will enter the drop zone if Everton beat Watford on Sunday.”I’m very strong. But the situation for West Ham is not good.”Remarkably, Burnley are also level-pegging on 19 points with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool as Sam Vokes pounced late on for Sean Dyche’s side against Southampton.They are seventh, having already won three league matches on the road this campaign compared to one in the whole of last season.advertisementlast_img read more

WWE Live: Jinder Mahal earns Triple H’s respect on historic night

first_imgIndia were treated to the best of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) at the WWE Live event in India on December 9 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. All the superstars were on show, with a generous sprinkling of Indian talent, for the Supershow on Saturday night.  The highlight of the event though was the deservedly the main event where the Modern Day Maharaja, Jinder Mahal faced the Paul Michael Levesque, better known by the ring name Triple H. After a marathon match lasting over half-an-hour, Triple H walked away as the victor, much to the disappointment of the crowd at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.”India is in good hands with Jinder Mahal,” Triple H announced after the match.The @WWEUniverse in #India bowed down in respect to the #ModernDayMaharaja @JinderMahal, & the Maharaja bowed back in gratitude! #WWELiveIndia pic.twitter.com/5VdlDod8FZ- WWE (@WWEIndia) December 9, 2017″I have been coming here since 1996, and it is an honour to be back here again. But it is an honour to step in this ring with the Modern Day Maharaja. I can tell you this many people may criticise you, many people may hate for no reason, but know this, you have earned my respect.” Triple H said to a resounding ovation from the crowd.”At this point, there is only one thing left to do, and proceeded to dance with the Singh Brothers and Jinder as the WWE Universe in India cheered them on,” he said.And the #KingOfKings @TripleH obliged to @JinderMahal & the @SinghBrosWWE’s request! #WWELiveIndia pic.twitter.com/1tJgY7KI22advertisement- WWE (@WWEIndia) December 9, 2017The @SinghBrosWWE teaches @TripleH how to dance like a true Indian! Now that was an incredible sight! #WWELiveIndia pic.twitter.com/G8w27fbLH9- WWE (@WWEIndia) December 9, 2017Mahal after the match tweeted “I will never forget. Regardless of the outcome it was one of the greatest nights of my life. Hats off to Triple H, nothing but respect.”Thanks #WWEUniverse India for a night I will never forget. Regardless of the outcome it was one of the greatest nights of my life. Hats off to @TripleH, nothing but respect. @wweindia- The Maharaja (@JinderMahal) December 9, 2017Jinder Mahal had been very vocal about the respect her has for the veteran, calling it the biggest match of his career facing Triple H.”It’s a great feeling and as soon as I touch down, the Indian people, our fans, the WWE Universe here show us so much love, passion that I cannot wait to feel it when I have the biggest match of my career against Triple H,” had said Jinder in an exclusive chat with indiatoday.in before the match.”He’s a legend. The Game, The King of Kings and I need this match to test myself. I need to see how far I’ve come. I need to test myself against the measuring stick. That is The Game Triple H. I need this match, not only to prove to myself but also the WWE Universe that I am the greatest WWE champion of all time,” he had added. (Exclusive: Jinder Mahal may consider cricket as career option after retiring from WWE)Triple H had said, “I think that it is awesome that I am coming back to India after all this time, It’s the fan base in India , its second to none. Looking forward to performing in front of them, to stand in the ring with an Indian talent in Jinder Mahal.  When I was in Mumbai, when people asked me about Jinder Mahal,  I said he has earned my respect. Jinder was in WWE before, left when things didn’t go the way he wanted. He is back now and he has worked extremely hard. But when he steps into the ring with me, it’s a different story. My job will be to teach  him a lesson of what it is like to face hell. He has to learn how to face defeat and come back from it. If he wants to earn my respect in India, he will fight and the Singh brothers will stay away.  It will just be Jinder Mahal and The Game  and we will see who the better man is,” in an exclusive chat with indiatoday.in before the fight.The two had been engaged in an promo battle on social media, exchanging in verbal volleys to hype up them match.advertisementWhen you step into the ring on December 9th @JinderMahal…I will teach you there is only ONE king. @WWEIndia pic.twitter.com/i5rZQNMjEI- Triple H (@TripleH) November 29, 2017.@WWEIndia…@JinderMahal…I only have one question for you… pic.twitter.com/LhNmfmES8J- Triple H (@TripleH) November 12, 2017.@TripleH not only the biggest match in Indian History, but also of my career. Consider the challenge accepted by me, now @wweindia and #wweuniverse India lets all make this happen. pic.twitter.com/6Wv62HnWFg- The Maharaja (@JinderMahal) November 12, 2017last_img read more

Naomi Osaka splits with coach Sascha Bajin just two weeks after Australian Open title

first_imgNaomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title and moved to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.”Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka posted on Twitter on Monday. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”Osaka’s agent confirmed to The Associated Press that Osaka would no longer be working with Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, but said there would be no further comment.Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.NaomiOsaka (@Naomi_Osaka_) February 11, 2019Less than a half-hour after Osaka’s tweet, Bajin responded to her on Twitter. He thanked her and wrote: “I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.”Thank you Naomi I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) February 11, 2019Osaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season.He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.Osaka withdrew from this week’s Qatar Open, citing a back injury.The 21-year-old beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the Australian Open final on January 26.That added to her championship at the U.S. Open last September, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets.advertisementThose back-to-back victories made Osaka the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.Osaka became the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 since Wozniacki at 20 in 2010 and the first tennis player from Asia to reach the top of the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.She was born in Japan her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.Also Read | Stan Wawrinka’s ‘get well soon’ bear to Andy Murray might leave his kids fightingAlso Read | Rafael Nadal gets engaged to girlfriend Mery Perellolast_img read more

Jedinak misses out on Australia’s playoff squad

first_imgAustralia Jedinak misses out on Australia’s World Cup playoff squad Goal Last updated 2 years ago 08:05 27/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mile Jedinak Socceroos Australia WC Qualification Asia Syria v Australia Australia v Syria Syria The skipper appears to have failed in his recovery from injury and will be sorely missed in the heart of the Socceroos midfield Australian captain Mile Jedinak has been left out of the national team squad for the World Cup playoffs against Syria.Jedinak hasn’t featured for club side Aston Villa since September 12 and is likely still having problems with a chronic groin strain he picked up in April.Aziz Behich, Craig Goodwin, Matthew Jurman, Nikita Rukavytsya and Josh Risdon have been added to the squad while Matt Spiranovic, Alex Gersbach, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren and Ryan McGowan are the players omitted from the list of players selected to face Japan/Thailand. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Australia will play the first leg against Syria in Malacca, Malaysia on October 5, before hosting the home leg at ANZ Stadium five days later.The winner of the tie will face a two-leg playoff against fourth-place in CONCACAF for a spot in Russia.​Socceroos 23 man squad Goalkeepers Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Danny VukovicDefenders Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Mathew Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Bailey WrightMidfielders Mustafa Amini, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi,Strikers Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Nikita Rukavytsyalast_img read more

Urban Meyer Hurt On Sideline During Ohio State vs. Indiana

first_imgUrban Meyer appears hurt on Ohio State football sideline.FOXOhio State football currently leads Indiana 42-26 in Columbus. The attention is turning to Urban Meyer on the sideline.As the game cut to commercial, Meyer was seen on a knee, getting attention from the Ohio State medical staff.A screenshot from the broadcast, via Land-Grant Holy Land.Broadcast shows Urban Meyer on a knee getting attention on the field. pic.twitter.com/QmVE1QCdeh— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 6, 2018According to FOX’s Bruce Feldman, Urban Meyer collided with a fellow staffer while reacting to a play.As we’ve come back from commercial break, he appears to be okay.According to @BruceFeldmanCFB, Meyer was running down the sideline on Ohio State’s scoring play and collided with a staffer. He’s back on his feet now.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 6, 2018Urban Meyer appeared to go down to a knee on the field after that last touchdown. He was helped back to the sideline. pic.twitter.com/TU9Bnk1Ofj— Ozone Communications (@theOzonedotnet) October 6, 2018Meyer has had some health issues during his career. He famously stepped away from the sport while at Florida, before returning to take over at Ohio State in 2011.This sounds like a bizarre one-off issue though, and Meyer appears to be okay now.We’ll update as we learn more.Update: Feldman rejoined the broadcast to confirm that Meyer was hit in the head after a collision with a fellow staff member during the last Ohio State touchdown. After being attended to, he assured everyone he was okay.last_img read more

Big Ten Will Announce Commissioner Jim Delany’s Successor Tomorrow

first_img The Big Ten will announce Jim Delany’s successor at a press conference tomorrow at 11 am CT.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 3, 2019Under Delany’s watch, Big Ten schools won dozens of national championships across all sports, including Ohio State’s College Football Playoff national title in the 2014 season.In addition, he was a leading voice in the formation of the Big Ten Network and the now-defunct Bowl Championship Series that ran from 1998 to 2013.Delany’s tenure was not a criticism-free one, but it was certainly a consequential one. Ohio State football players carrying Big Ten signs.INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 02: The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate after their 27-21 win over the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)Several months ago the Big Ten Conference announced that longtime commissioner Jim Delany would retire when his contract expires in 2020. After hiring a search firm to identify a replacement it would appear the Big Ten is ready to make an announcement.The conference put out a release tonight indicating it will announce Delany’s successor in a press conference on Tuesday. The successor will take over when Delany’s contract expires on June 30, 2020.Delany was appointed commissioner of the Big Ten Conference in 1989, and in that time has overseen its expansion to 14 teams. Penn State was added in 1990, with Nebraska joining in 2011, followed by Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame have also joined the conference as affiliates in some sports.last_img read more

Local Union Helps Keep Fishermen Safe

first_imgThe province’s fishing industry is becoming safer, with more fishermen recognizing the importance and comfort of state-of-the-art life jackets. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 4 recently purchased life jackets for its 40 members in Antigonish and Pictou counties. “I am pleased with the leadership this group is showing to protect the safety of their members,” said MLA for Pictou East Clarrie MacKinnon, on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett. “Safety is vitally important, and we all have a role to play to ensure fishermen come home safely to their families.” Union members, representatives from the province, the Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia joined fishermen and community members at the Lismore Wharf, today, May 8, to celebrate union local’s dedication to workplace safety. North American Occupational Safety and Health Week goes until Saturday. The fishermen received life jackets on the opening day of the season, April 29. “Members of Local 4 attended the ministers conference in February and it was focused on safety,” said union local president Gordon Beaton. “It made us aware of the PFD regulations and we decided it was a good way to help our membership.” “This is money well spent in our estimation,” said Bryce Thompson, union local treasurer. “This is a good way to support safety and our membership at the same time.” Fishermen are 19 times more likely to die on the job, than the Nova Scotia average. Since 2009, 26 fishermen have died at sea, almost half the fishing fatalities in the entire country. “We want all workers across the province to come home safe to their families. Unfortunately far too many fish harvesters never come home,” said Mr. MacKinnon. “I am very pleased to see all of the collaboration, conversations and work being done across the industry to better protect these people, and look forward to many more organizations making wearing PFDs a priority.” The province is working with the Workers’ Compensation Board, Fisheries Safety Association and the Fisheries Sector Council to increase safety awareness in the industry. These efforts include promoting life jackets use. Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer must provide and ensure a life jacket or personal safety device is used when there is a risk of drowning. “Fishing has a long proud legacy in Nova Scotia, but for far too long now it has been associated with great tragedy,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO of the compensation board. “This union local is showing great leadership by outfitting every member with a personal floatation device. The investment will no doubt save lives and is proof that no matter how small the local or the organization, safety can and must be first priority.”last_img read more

Charges laid in Pride crosswalk vandalism

first_imgCALGARY – Calgary police have laid charges in relation to vandalism on the Pride crosswalks on Stephen Ave.Shortly before 8:30 Sunday morning, the rainbow crosswalk downtown was defaced with a violent message targetting members of the LGBTQ+ community.Monday police put a call out along with CCTV footage and photos of the suspect hoping for more information. Officers also encouraged the suspect to come forward.READ MORE: ‘Hate speech is really what this is’: Violent message scrawled on Pride crosswalkKevin Gavel, 54, is charged with one count of mischief and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 1.Gavel is not allowed to be within 500 metres of the permanent Pride and Trans flag crosswalks downtown so as to prevent any repeat offenses.Detectives are still looking for who is responsible for the other graffiti incident from last week.Last Wednesday “lust” and “lost” were spray-painted across the Pride and Trans flags. Police do not think that Gavel is responsible in this case or that the suspects knew each other.READ MORE: ‘Smile for the camera’: CPS looking for Pride, Trans crosswalk vandals in video Footage from security cameras along Stephen Ave shows the suspect leaving the scene and interacting with a driver who was trying to turn onto Stephen Ave from Centre Street.Investigators are still looking for anyone in the area around the time of the vandalism who may have seen something suspicious or might recognize the man in the photos to come forward.If you have information you’d like to share with police, you can contact them by calling the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or do so anonymously through Crime Stoppers.last_img read more

Z100 Jingle Ball To Benefit Texting Awareness Foundation

first_imgSource:PR Newswire Z100, New York’s Hit Music Station, has announced the much-anticipated, star-studded lineup for its annual holiday concert, Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012, presented by Aeropostale on Friday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden.To commemorate the pop culture phenomenon, Mayor Bloomberg has issued a special proclamation officially declaring December 7, 2012 Z100’s Jingle Ball Day in New York City.Earlier this week, British boy band and pop sensation, The Wanted, joined Z100’s on-air personality, JJ, at Aeropostale’s Times Square store to officially announce the all-star lineup for Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012, which includes Justin Bieber, fun., B.o.B., Olly Murs, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, The Wanted, Ed Sheeran, Ne-Yo and One Direction. Special guest hosts include Elvis Duran of the “Elvis Duran and The Z100 Morning Show” alongside the entire Z100 family, with more to be announced.“Z100’s Jingle Ball is not only the ultimate holiday concert to experience, but also a time of year that listeners anticipate all season long,” said Sharon Dastur, Z100’s Program Director. “We are looking forward to delivering another amazing music event for our fans and listeners – Z100 Jingle Ball…the biggest stars…the biggest hits at New York’s concert event of the year.”Popular teen retailer Aeropostale returns as the presenting sponsor for Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012.“Music is a huge part of our customers’ lifestyle” said Scott Birnbaum, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Ecommerce. “We are excited to partner with Z100 to bring the hottest artists and biggest performances to our fans at this year’s Jingle Ball concert.”Tickets to the event are now sold out.Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012 will kick-off with the action-packed Z100 & Coca Cola’s All Access Lounge, the official Z100 Jingle Ball 2012 pre-event celebration. The event, which is free to the public, will include performances by Z100 artists and meet-and-greets with fan favorites. Z100 & Coca Cola’s All Access Lounge will feature music as well as interactive displays from some of today’s hottest brands and products. The event will take place from 12-6:00 p.m. ET at Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St., New York, NY and will welcome fans of all ages.Also for the first time in Jingle Ball history, Z100 will host an exclusive Z100 Jingle Ball Viewing Party on Friday, December 7 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Attendees will celebrate in style as they tune in to Z100’s Jingle Ball concert extravaganza as it streams LIVE from Madison Square Garden to the neighboring Theater. Z100’s Jingle Ball Viewing Party will include special guest hosts, musical performances and visits from fan-favorite Z100 jocks all night long. Tickets will be sold to the public beginning Monday, October 29, at 4 p.m. ET via ticketmaster.com.Each year Z100’s Jingle Ball gives back to the community to celebrate the holiday season. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Z100 Jingle Ball 2012’s official charity partner, the Texting Awareness Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that was created in an effort to educate and remind people about the dangers of texting and driving.“It is an honor to be selected as Z100 Jingle Ball 2012’s official charity partner,” said Rocco Panetta Founder and Executive Director of The Texting Awareness Foundation. “We are thrilled to be raising funds through such a coveted holiday event and to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. In an effort to save countless lives through The Remind You Campaign we encourage drivers every second of every day to stop and think if, ’it can wait, is it worth a life?”To build momentum for Z100’s Jingle Ball 2012 and spread some additional holiday spirit, Z100 will host “Jingle Ball All the Way,” a lineup of themed events throughout New York City for its legion of fans. Z100 jocks and Z100 Party Patrol will be on-site to entertain attendees with the latest tunes from Z100, New York’s Hit Music Station, free food, games and the chance to win tickets to this year’s coveted event, Z100 Jingle Ball 2012. Jingle Ball All the Way events include: Dance and bowl – Friday, November 2, from 6-8:00 p.m. ET at Club 300 for some dancing and bowling Eat and play – Friday, November 9, from 6-8:00 p.m. ET at Dave & Buster’s Times Square Rock out – Thursday, November 29, from 6 -8:00 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Cafe Times Square.last_img read more

US service firms grew at slower pace in December

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. service firms grew at a slower pace in December, a possible indication that various headwinds from turbulent markets to trade tensions could be having an impact on economic activity.The Institute for Supply Management, which is composed of purchasing managers, says that its service index fell to 57.6 per cent last month, down from a November reading of 60.7 per cent.Any reading above 50 signals growth. So even with the December decline, the index shows that service industries, where most Americans work, has been expanding for 107 consecutive months.The weaker reading on the service economy followed a report last week that the ISM index for manufacturing slowed to the slowest pace in more than two years, with some manufacturers complaining about the impact of President Donald Trump’s trade policies.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Man given up for dead in Lanka alive in India

A native of Ambasamudram, Boomi Durai came to Coimbatore in 1991 in search of work after passing class 10. He worked with his brother-in-law for a few years and did several odd jobs in Avarampalayam, Sitco, Kovai Pudur before getting his driver’s license in 1994. He went to Chennai in 1999 and worked for a rice trader for a year before joining the Chennai Central Call Taxi Drivers’ Association. He was president of the association for a year until serious clashes with AIADMK trade union members led to Durai being charged with criminal intimidation and attempt to murder. Fearing threat to his life, he quit the association and joined a private call taxi in Chennai, before leaving for Coimbatore in 2007. “I don’t know who the man was and how he came to possess my ID card. I know that the association refused to accept new members and perhaps gave my ID card to someone else after I quit,” he said.Khurram Ahmed, who was the president of the association from 2001 to 2003, said new cards were not issued.“By the time the cards were issued, internal squabbling had torn apart the association. Even I did not receive the card,” Ahmed said when asked about Boomi Durai’s version of events. A Chennai taxi driver, Boomi Durai N, suspected to have died in floods and whose body was believed to have washed ashore in Sri Lanka on December 6 is alive and well, the Times of India reported.The 41-year-old, the driver of private bus in the city, is a native of Poosaripalayam in Coimbatore, India. With the discovery of Durai the mystery has deepened over the identity of the man whose body fishermen found off Trincomallee port in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province and handed over to the nation’s navy. “The man definitely did not die in the Chennai floods nor was he washed away from the city,” a senior ‘Q’ branch officer said. “We learned that he’s not a fisherman but could have died in Rameswaram. The sea may have carried the body to the Sri Lankan coast. We are probing every possibilities.” Officials of the Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ branch, which tracks extremist outfits, are not ruling out a possible LTTE link and say the man may have been an operative of the terrorist organisation. On seeing news about his “death” in the media, Boomi Durai called up the office of the Chennai police commissioner on the night of December 7 and informed officers he was alive. A ‘Q’ branch police team that had earlier visited NGO Colony in Choolaimedu in Chennai, the address given on the ID card, but failed to trace Durai. “We can’t do anything further unless the Union government intervenes at a diplomatic level,” the ‘Q’ branch officer said. The body was handed over to the Trincomallee government hospital by the Lankan navy.Durai told TOI that he never received the ID card that he had applied for from the Chennai Central Call Taxi Drivers’ Association of which he was a member for nearly two years. Drivers plying taxis at the Chennai central station were controlled by the association or union affiliated to the Labour Progressive Front, the DMK’s trade union wing. With a private bus service (A1 travels), he drives a bus from Coimbatore to Chennai every day carrying passengers to and fro.“I was shocked to learn that my ID card was found on a dead man,” he said. He added that the card held no value now as the association does not exist anymore. “I am unable to understand how someone had my card for over 10 years,” he said. read more

Shadow of persistent inequality is growing key UN human development report reveals

Quality, not just quantity of human development, is important, and it reveals large deficitsUNDP The world has made impressive progress in human developmentUNDP Progress is not linear or guaranteed, and crises and challenges can reverse gains. Countries experiencing conflict show HDI losses, which can be felt for generationsUNDP The degradation of the environment and atmosphere, coupled with significant declines in biodiversity, is linked to other development concerns ranging from declining food and water supplies to losses of livelihood and life from extreme weather events. This profoundly serious crisis threatens the human development of current and future generations.,All graphics: Human Development Report statistical update 2018, UNDP Disparities between and within countries continue to stifle progressUNDP One key source of inequality within countries is the gap in opportunities, achievements and empowerment between women and men. Worldwide the average HDI for women is six percent lower than for men, due to women’s lower income and educational attainment in many countries.Although there has been laudable progress in the number of girls attending school, there remain big differences between other key aspects of men and women’s lives. Women’s empowerment remains a particular challenge.Global labor force participation rates for women are lower than for men – 49 percent versus 75 percent. And when women are in the labor market, their unemployment rates are 24 percent higher than their male counterparts. Women globally also do much more unpaid domestic and care work than men. Looking at the widening gap in real terms, a child born in Norway today – the country with the highest human development index (HDI) – can expect to live beyond the age of 82, and spend almost 18 years in school. But the same child, if born in Niger – the lowest HDI – can expect only to live to 60, with just five years of formal education.“While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable,” said Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which released the report today.Inequality occurs in many countries, including in some of the wealthiest ones, but it ends up taking a much bigger toll on countries with lower HDI levels; with low HDI countries losing almost a third of their human development capacity. For countries with a high HDI, the average loss is 11 per cent.The striking differences both within and among countries, are stifling progress and the trend can be seen again and again, according to UNDP.“Inequality in all its forms and dimensions, between and within countries, limits people’s choices and opportunities, withholding progress,” explained Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP.Women’s empowerment remains a particular challengeA key sources of inequality within countries is the gap in opportunities, achievements and empowerment between women and men. On average, the HDI for women is 6 per cent lower than that for men, notes the report.Inequality in all its forms and dimensions, between and within countries, limits people’s choices and opportunities, withholding progress – Selim Jahan, UNDPFurthermore, while there has been “laudable progress” in the number of girls attending school, there remain big differences in other key aspects of men and women’s lives – for instance labour force participation rates for women globally are lower than for men – 49 per cent, versus 75 per cent.And when women are working, their unemployment rates are 24 per cent higher than their male counterparts. Women globally also do much more unpaid domestic and care work than men.“Women’s empowerment remains a particular challenge,” underscored UNDP.Data tells a part of the story, quality of growth mattersThe Human Development Report 2018 update also shows “tremendous” variation between countries in quality of education, healthcare and many other key aspects of life.This quality-difference can be illustrated by looking at the number of students per teacher, in primary schools. Sub-Saharan Africa has, on average, 39 pupils per teacher while in developed regions, there is an average of one teacher for every 16-18 primary school pupils.Similar difference exists in terms of health care: OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries and East Asia and the Pacific have, on average, 29 and 28 physicians for every 10,000 people respectively. In South Asia overall, there are only eight per 10,000, falling to less than two, in Sub-Saharan Africa.“Much of the world’s attention is on data that tells only a part of the story about people’s lives,” said Mr. Jahan, highlighting that it is clearly not enough simply to count how many children are in the classroom. The important dimension is to know whether they are learning anything.“Focusing on quality is essential to foster sustainable and sustained human development progress.” UN News spoke with Mr. Jahan about the report’s findings. Listen to the interview here.,Key Findings from the 2018 Analysis Between 2012 and 2017, Libya, Syria and Yemen had falling HDI values and ranks – the direct effect of violent conflict. Although Lebanon is not directly involved in violent conflict, it has suffered spillovers from the conflict in Syria, hosting more than a million Syrian refugees. ProgressQuality MattersRisksDisparitiesGender GapsEnvironment Looking back over almost three decades, all regions and human development groups have made substantial progress.The global HDI value in 2017 was 0.728, up about 21.7 percent from 1990. Across the world, people are living longer, are more educated and have greater opportunities. Gender gaps in early years are closing, but inequalities persist in adulthoodUNDP Average HDI levels have risen significantly since 1990 – 22 percent globally and 51 percent in least developed countries. But there remain massive differences across the world in people’s well-being. Most people today live longer, are more educated and have more access to goods and services than ever before. But living longer does not automatically mean more years spent enjoying life.For example, healthy life expectancy for countries of very high human development is approximately 70 years, whereas for countries of low human development it is approximately 53 years. Environmental degradation puts human development gains at riskUNDP read more

The ACC Is Having A Bowl Season For The Ages

2015SEC119+9.2+1.7+25.6+5.9 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratings. Conferences classified as “independent” were excluded from the ranking.Source: College Football at Sports-Reference.com Big 1264+7.3+0.9+19.1+2.7 Pac-1263-10.3-0.4+5.8+1.5 CONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS Sun Belt64+5.8+1.7+1.4+1.0 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2013SEC107+3.1+1.0+19.5+4.6 Big Ten103-4.2-1.5+6.4+0.8 Which conference is winning the 2016-17 bowl season? MWC74+2.9+0.1+2.9+0.1 CUSA74+1.2+0.5-2.1-0.0 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratingsSource: College Football at Sports-Reference.com 1996SEC55+10.0+2.2+27.0+4.0 Independent22-8.5+0.4-6.1+0.5 2002Big Ten75+8.9+2.6+19.8+3.9 It’s also the second-biggest gap for any conference since 1936, trailing only the SEC’s 5.9 excess wins of a season ago.1If you’re curious, here’s the all-time top 10: 2008SEC86+7.0+2.3+18.1+4.2 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2006SEC96+9.7+2.1+20.7+4.1 2016ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 If Clemson knocks off the historically dominant Crimson Tide in the CFP championship game — and Elo gives that scenario a 33 percent chance of happening — the ACC would take over the No. 1 slot.2Again — this is, in part, a function of there being so many more bowls nowadays. If we limit ourselves to conferences with at least six bowl entries since 1970 (the year bowls stopped matching Division I-A/FBS teams with non-FBS ones), the 2015 SEC ranks seventh on a per-game basis, and the 2016 ACC 16th. But it’s also worth remembering that as a conference’s bowl contingent grows, the quality of its worst bowl-bound teams also decreases, depressing its per-game rating.Now, there are a few caveats to be had there. Although the ACC has won far more than we’d expect against a very tough slate of opponents, it’s also gotten a little lucky in the process. According to the Pythagorean formula, which generates an expected record based on the points a team scores and allows, the ACC’s bowl record should be more like 7-4 than 8-3, which matters when discussing the razor-thin margins atop all-time leaderboards. Relatedly, its adjusted scoring margin (+18.5) doesn’t even rank No. 1 this season; the Big 12 has a +19.1 mark, albeit in half as many games. By contrast, the SEC was +25.6 in bowls last season.ACC teams were favored by Elo in only four of the conference’s 11 bowls, and although one of those favorites lost (Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl), the rest of the ACC’s bowl teams picked up the slack with five upset victories. (Including Clemson’s 31-0 rout of Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.3Although Vegas listed Clemson as 1-point favorites, computer power rankings such as Elo and ESPN’s Football Power Index were (wrongly) slightly higher on the Buckeyes.) When the SEC won nine bowls last season, it was only a slight improvement on the 7.3 they were expected to win going into the bowls. The ACC’s eight wins this year are much more out of step with the 4.8 wins Elo would have predicted, a gap that will grow to 5.5 wins if Clemson upsets Alabama.Regardless of how much good fortune has been involved, however, the ACC has been the class of this year’s bowls. And a Clemson victory on Monday night would add more than just one bragging right to the conference’s trophy case. ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 SEC126-0.5-0.3+11.0+2.7 1998Big Ten55+9.7+2.5+25.9+4.2 2014SEC127-0.5+0.0+14.0+4.0 After Oklahoma cruised past Auburn in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl, college football’s 2016-17 bowl season is nearing its finale. The only game left? Next Monday’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, a rematch of last year’s title tilt. That game — a 45-40 Alabama victory — concluded a dominant season for the Crimson Tide’s Southeastern Conference, one that punctuated the first nine-win bowl season by a single conference in college history.But in a surprise twist, it’s Clemson and the Atlantic Coast Conference — not Alabama and the SEC — that are winning the bowl battle once we adjust for expectations. And with the Tigers carrying the conference’s banner into the title game, the ACC has a chance to top last year’s SEC for the most impressive bowl season ever.The ACC has gone 8-3 this bowl season, already the second-most wins by a conference in a single bowl season since the AP poll era started in 1936. (Of course, because bowl season has become so bloated in recent years, this year’s ACC teams have also played in the third-most bowls ever, tied with four other conferences since 2013.) But the ACC’s record is still notable because of its difficulty: FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings — which estimate the relative quality of every FBS team — would have expected an average team to go 3-8 against ACC teams’ bowl opponents, losing by an average of 2.7 points per game. Instead, ACC teams have won by 7.6 points per game. That five-win gap between the ACC’s bowl record and what Elo would have expected from an average group of teams is easily the biggest of any conference this season: 2007SEC97+4.3+2.6+15.7+4.9 Most dominant bowl seasons by conference, 1936-2016 MAC60-4.5-2.1-5.7-2.3 YEARCONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS American72-9.5-2.5-3.0-1.5 read more

Who Are The NBAs Best Defenders Right Now

For the past few seasons, the best defenders in the NBA have been some combination of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard and Gobert out for all or much of the season so far and Green’s production falling off just a bit, we’ve got some new blood in contention to be the NBA’s best defender.To put a number to this, we’ll use data from Second Spectrum that shows us both the total number of shots defended by a player and how much he affected those shots. There are a few ways to get at this, but we’re going to use “quantified shot probability” (qSP) — which determines the expected value of shots defended using shot distance, shot location and defender position, among other variables — and “quantified shot making” (qSM) — which subtracts the expected effective field goal percentage on those shots from the actual eFG to determine how much of an effect the defender had. In other words, does the defender make shots worse? And if so, by how much?We’ve used metrics like this in the past, but the rub with this set is it adjusts for who’s taking the shot, meaning weak defenders who guard bad shooters don’t get as much credit, and defenders tasked with guarding superstars aren’t punished for their assignment — the star’s excellence is baked into the stat.The per possession numbers will look a little different from the overall effect — players like Tarik Black and Marreese Speights have defended a lot of shots very well in short minutes — but this chart should demonstrate that there is a wide spread on defender effect. What we’re missing here, though, is how many shots a defender actually affects. Kevin Durant, Golden State WarriorsThe Warriors are unfair. Draymond Green — for my money the best defensive player in the league — has for whatever reason been a little off during the first quarter of the season, possibly because the Warriors can sleepwalk to a bare-minimum 2-seed. He’s not been bad, mind you, just not quite as dominant as usual. That’s left quite a lot of slack in the Golden State scheme, and Durant has picked up more than his fair share of it. Golden State ranks eighth in defensive rating, down from second a season ago, but that almost feels like a threat more than a falloff given how flat the team has looked at times. Beware, it says, this is a top 10 defense even while almost completely half-assing things, just on the virtue of Kevin Durant showing up to work. Durant has been improving as a defender for years, going back to his time with the Thunder. (If you ever go back and watch the 2016 series between OKC and San Antonio, watch Durant on defense — he was the best defensive big man in that series.) His style is also entirely his own: KD gives up relatively “great” shots — ones his opponents would be expected to turn into 52.3 eFG against an average defender, or about what Austin Rivers gives you as a defender. Not great. But because Durant is so long, so mobile and so smart positionally, the actual shots against him fall at a rate of just 45.2 eFG. This still happens within the overall Golden State system — Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have similar opponent eFG numbers, albeit on fewer shots defended — but Durant’s role has him not only locking down his own man but also covering up for lapses by his teammates.Green may remain the more important defender for the Warriors — he’s the anchor, and what he does from his position is impossible to replicate. But Durant’s play so far has been the strongest on a Golden State defense that should end up being a top-3-type unit, at minimum. But despite the limitations, these metrics are a pretty good way to look at who’s having the best defensive season. A few players stand out on the list: Honorable mentionGiannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have both been outstanding through the first quarter of the season, but they don’t have quite the same track record as some of the players listed above. Just the same, neither seems to be a fluke. We’ll be a little more certain how permanent their new defensive excellence is by the All-Star break. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis, who last season was in the tier just behind Gobert and Green for overall defensive value, but this year fell off early before making up some ground in the past few weeks.Some others seem more like early-season mirages — Josh Richardson, Gary Harris and Eric Gordon are all having excessively good years by the metrics but are playing way above the levels they had in previous seasons.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Anthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansFrom the time he was a rookie, Anthony Davis has had all the tools. He’d block shots and steal alley-oops and tug on his shorts and check the opposing point guard 30 feet from the basket. He came into the league as a destructive defensive force, but for reasons ranging from injury to scheme to sheer offensive burden, Davis’s aggregate effect on the defensive end hasn’t always lived up to the promise of those moments. This season, it has. Davis ranks seventh in the league in shots defended overall, and the defense gets 12.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits down. That’s nearly double his defensive on/off split from last season, which was already by far the best of his career.Partly this is because of his partnership with DeMarcus Cousins. Defensive intensity hasn’t always been Cousins’s strong point, and that’s still true today, but he has defended the most shots in the league, and done so while holding opponents to a middle-of-the-road 51.4 eFG on shots he defends. Not great, certainly, but it’s a respectable backstop for the defense.Because of Cousins’s role as a reliable constant, Davis is free to cover more ground without making risky moves to get back into plays. And because of that, his personal foul rate is at an all-time low (2.6 fouls per 100 possessions). This allows Davis to do what he does best — stick to his man, rotate to help in the paint without overextending, and blitz spot-up shooters on the perimeter faster than anyone else his size in the league. Here we’ve got total shots as well as the qSM (the difference a defender makes on each shot) plotted against each other to show who’s affecting how many shots to what degree. This isn’t perfect. For one, a great defender doesn’t simply challenge shots — he denies them from happening, forcing a team to reset its offense. But by the same token, great defenders also work their way back into plays, affecting shots by playing smart help defense and covering acres of ground. Another thing these numbers don’t reflect the is overall quality of the shot — there are a few defenders who don’t depress value of each individual shot by as much as others but who force opponents into low-quality shots in general (through hard work and smart positioning) so that the overall effect is the same. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, Boston CelticsThe Celtic defense has continued to crush opponents. Boston is 18-4, with a league-leading defensive rating (100), the second-lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (48.6) and a roster full of live-bodied defenders who can switch practically any assignment. Even Kyrie Irving is chipping in on the effort. But while every Celtic is doing his part, some parts are more critical than others. It’s undeniably been the play from Smart, Brown and Horford that has carried the Celts so far.Smart does not possess the most graceful set of skills, but what he provides is unmistakable to anyone watching. He’s all over the floor, hounding ball handlers, bodying up on bigger players in the post and bumping cutting players he isn’t even guarding, like a middle linebacker jamming a slot receiver.Brown is a little different. While the Boston defense is built on interchangeable pieces switching and denying an offense space, it also needs players who can stick to their man across multiple screens, then square up and check their man as he plants and drives. Brown has stepped into that role and dominated so far. He can fight over screens (or just outright avoid them) to allow the defense to keep its shape, and he has the quicks to shut down first steps with the length to challenge pull-up attempts.Horford, meanwhile, does not have nearly the same reputation as the other two, but this season, he looks livelier than he has in the past when making switches, and he has defended the most shots of any Celtic. The newfound agility in space is especially important — because the defense will semi-regularly ask him to survive on an island against a wing, but also because his role at the center of the defense requires him to scuttle shooters who’ve just run over two or three screens trying to escape Smart or Brown. read more