– Record-breaker – – Record-breaker – ================== “As well as an admiration for Messi, Im driven very much by his numbers,” Pizzi said of Messis record-breaking career. “Messis numbers are unmatched, and I dont think they will ever be matched because its impossible for a player to find the things that Messi finds.” While universally regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever, he has regularly been targeted for his inability to land a major title with Argentina.Messis failure to match the achievements of Diego Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, has often been held against him. Pizzi said comparisons with Maradona were unfair.”My generation cant compare him with Maradona, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer,” Pizzi said. “But it seems that the best player in history played in the United States. For me the numbers are impossible to argue with.” Maradona has often taken potshots at Messi, criticizing him on the eve of the tournament in the United States for a perceived “lack of personality.” “Hes a really good person, but he has no personality,” Maradona said this month on the sidelines of Euro 2016.”He lacks the character to be a leader.” – Globe-trotting – ================== Messis bombshell decision comes after a gruelling season disrupted by injury last year.He recovered to help Barcelona win the Spanish title once more and was relishing the prospect of leading Argentina at the Copa America Centenario.His commitment to playing for Argentina was reflected in his decision to fly from Spain to Argentina for a low-key friendly against Honduras shortly before the tournament, where he suffered a back injury.advertisementHe returned to Spain to give evidence at his trial for tax fraud before jetting off to the United States to join up with his Argentina team-mates.Although he was injured for his teams opening group game against Chile, he came on as a substitute in a 5-0 hammering of Panama to score a hat-trick in 19 minutes.He then equalled Argentinas international goalscoring record of 54, held by Gabriel Batistuta, in the quarter-finals before setting a new mark with his 55th international goal in the semi-final win over the United States. AFP SSC SSC
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling said on Saturday his club is lucky to have the presence of strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, who can beat any rival defence.The Belgian international has scored seven times in his eight appearances for Manchester United in the Premier League this season.While, the Swedish who re-signed a one-year contract with United earlier this year, had scored 28 goals in 46 games in the previous season, which was cut short due to his knee injury.The 35-year-old will be available for the Jose Mourinho-managed side once he recovers from the injury.”A bit like Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), we play off a main man who we feed off and he has been bang in form and we are very lucky to have him and Zlatan when he comes back,” Smalling was quoted saying by Sky Sports.Reuters Photo”He is someone who likes to run in behind, he likes to be involved and he is always stressing to us if we can play him in those channels, then he feels favourite to beat any defender,” the 27-year-old who has made 156 appearances for Manchester United since 2010 added.Manchester United drew 0-0 against Liverpool in their last league fixture.However, Smalling believes there are not many clubs this season who can stop United from scoring goals.”You can see that we have attacking players, albeit they still have to defend when Liverpool have those attacks,” the English international said.”But we kept it tight and we know that when we get those chances, more often than not, when we keep a clean sheet or are defensively sound, then nine times out of 10 we will win that game because not many teams can stop us from scoring,” Smalling added.advertisement
Chandigarh, Aug 6 (PTI) Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Vij today said the medal winners of Commonwealth Games and other sports events would be honoured at district-level Independence Day functions on August 15. He said that there would be no better occasion than the Independence Day to honour these sports persons and directions have been issued to make all necessary arrangements. Vij said that jobs would be provided to about 300 sportspersons under the sports quota. For this, names would be forwarded to departments concerned which would finalize the recruitment process, he said. A notification in this regard would soon be issued and advertisement would be released so that each sportsperson could get equal opportunity, the minister said. PTI VSD RCJRCJ
Transfers Tottenham striker Llorente reveals reason behind Chelsea snub Matt Dorman Last updated 2 years ago 19:37 15/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Getty Images Transfers Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City Premier League Chelsea The Spaniard might have been playing in another part of London this season had it not been for the “very important” intervention of the Spurs boss Fernando Llorente revealed a last-minute telephone call from Mauricio Pochettino convinced him to snub Premier League champions Chelsea in favour of a move to Tottenham.The former Spain international made the switch from Swansea City for a reported £12million on deadline day and will provide competition for star striker Harry Kane.Llorente last goal v Swansea 12/5 Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? 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 Llorente, who scored 15 league goals last season, had been widely expected to reunite with his former Juventus coach Antonio Conte at Chelsea.But the 32-year-old said his decision was influenced by a late pitch from Spurs boss Pochettino.”At the very last minute, Pochettino called me and convinced me [to join Tottenham],” Llorente told The Daily Mail.”The truth is that Chelsea have been after me for a long time but at the end you know how this works.”I am very happy because at the end everything came out perfect. Tottenham are an amazing club with a wonderful project and I think I fit in very well.“It is clear that Pochettino played a very important role in the decision.”Llorente debuted for his new club in Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, replacing Kane off the bench at Wembley.The appearance marked the start of another chapter in the forward’s relationship with Pochettino, which began on his LaLiga bow in 2005.”I made my first-team debut [for Athletic Bilbao] against him at San Mames. He was at the end of his playing career and I was at the beginning of mine,” Llorente said.”Then he [became] the Espanyol manager and I faced him several more times. Now I play under him at Tottenham and I really want to give my best.”
Cristiano Ronaldo ‘Ronaldo will win Ballon d’Or’ – Perez backs Real Madrid star to emulate Messi with fifth crown Joe Wright Last updated 1 year ago 19:35 12/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(32) Getty Images Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Zinédine Zidane Lionel Messi Athletic Club v Real Madrid Primera División The Blancos president is convinced that the Portuguese forward will draw level with his Barcelona rival by being named the world’s best once again Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has declared Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi.The Portugal star, who won The Best FIFA Men’s Player award for the second time in October, is one of the clear favourites for France Football’s prize after firing Madrid to La Liga and Champions League glory this year.There had been rumours Barcelona forward Messi will be named the winner on December 7 after images claiming to show him with the trophy on the front cover of the magazine circulated on social media. Article continues below Editors’ Picks 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. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player However, reports in Spain this weekend suggest Ronaldo has been informed he will win the trophy for a fifth time and has been congratulated by Messi on his achievement.And Perez appears to have no doubt the 32-year-old will be successful when the outcome of the vote is announced.”Ronaldo is one of our great symbols,” he told an assembly of Madrid members. “He is the leading goalscorer in our history. A few days ago, he won his second ‘The Best’ and this week he is going to win his fifth Ballon d’Or.”Delighted to win The Best FIFA award. Wouldn’t be possible without my teammates, coaches and you who support me every day. Thanks everyone! pic.twitter.com/1E1VkaYbTu — Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 9, 2017 Ronaldo has struggled for form in La Liga this season, scoring just twice in nine appearances, and was frustrated again on Saturday as the champions were held to a 0-0 draw away to Athletic Bilbao.The result saw Madrid fail to capitalise on Barcelona’s 2-2 home draw with Celta Vigo and means they remain eight points behind the leaders in fourth place in the table.But Perez insists head coach Zinedine Zidane is the right man to deliver more success to the club, having guided them to two Champions League wins in a row as well as the domestic title last season.”We achieved the impossible, regaining the Champions League and winning three in four years. The last one was the best in our history,” said Perez.”We have a team to keep dreaming, with an amazing coach. He is one of our great symbols and icons. He’s the best leader for this team.”
World Cup Morata misses out on Spain’s 23-man World Cup squad Tom Maston Last updated 1 year ago 19:06 5/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(25) Getty World Cup Spain Morata Chelsea Premier League La Roja are looking to win their fourth major title in the last 10 years in Russia but have opted to leave out Chelsea’s record signing Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has missed out on being named in Spain’s squad for the 2018 World Cup.The former Real Madrid forward has struggled for form in the second half of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge, scoring 15 goals in 47 appearances for the Blues having joined for a club record £60 million ($80.5m) in the summer of 2017.Morata has previously scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for La Roja, but the likes of Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno have been preferred by head coach Julen Lopetegui. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now The former Real Madrid and Juventus striker took his omission well, tweeting minutes after the announcement that he wishes Spain “the best of luck at the World Cup” and that he’ll be “supporting and encouraging the team until the end always”.Muchísima suerte en el Mundial!! Desde ya estaré apoyando y animando hasta el final como siempre!!— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) May 21, 2018 The 2010 winners have followed England’s lead in naming their 23-man squad well ahead of time rather than an extended provisional roster as they look to win their fourth major tournament in a decade.David de Gea is set to start in goal after another fine season for Manchester United, with Clasico rivals Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique the established centre-back pairing.Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal is preferred to Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso to provide competition for Jordi Alba at left-back while Real Madrid duo Dani Carvajal and Nacho will fight it out for a place on the opposite flank.Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Silva are likely to be Lopetegui’s first-choice midfield trio, with Isco deployed slightly further forward.Atletico Madrid are represented by creative duo Koke and Saul Niguez while Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara and Madrid pair Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez provide options off the bench.Most of the 32 nations who will feature at Russia 2018 have named their squads already, with Spain last out the blocks of the big guns following Belgium’s announcement earlier on Monday morning .They will be hoping to better their group stage exit in 2014 when defeats to Netherlands and Chile caused the holders to be the first team eliminated from the Brazil finals.Spain’s full 23-man squad: Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Club), David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli)Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpiliqueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City)Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).
You are also playing the Japanese as part of the lead in games, what sort of opportunity does that provide the team? Itâ€™s amazing to see with the Mixed coming over, I donâ€™t think we really see the benefits of the Mixed program until they get to the Womenâ€™s. Especially with Yasmin (Meakes) and Sammy Rodgers obviously too coming from Mixed, itâ€™s great to see their knowledge from the link/wing positions transfer straight into the Womenâ€™s game and it is just invaluable to us. Pretty good. Obviously we have a few debutants and coming into it we were a bit worried about how the young ones was going to merge with the older ones but they have come in seamlessly and working really well together. We just had our first run this morning as a team and it went a lot better than I thought it was going to go and we are running really well together – so itâ€™s exciting. Facebook: www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter: www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram: www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustraliaYouTube: www.youtube.com/touchfootballausSnapchat â€“ search for â€˜TFAofficialâ€™ The camp is over now, how is the Womenâ€™s team looking going into the Series? It is great for them and to be honest Japan was our biggest competitor after New Zealand at the World Cup last year. They were the only other team to put a few tries on us. They are great with their line attack and they are very fast runners. I think they will be a great warm up for us for New Zealand for getting us on our edge with the line attack, the quickie moves because they are really great at that. I think there was only one girl in our World Cup team, one middle, that didnâ€™t get scored on against Japan, which was Sammy Hopkin, so we will be looking to get a few back on them. Youâ€™ve been named captain of your country, how does that make you feel? Weâ€™ll be keeping you up-to-date with all of the latest news, information and results from the series on our website and social media channels, so you wonâ€™t miss any of the action: Very excited, emotional and super proud. I think the biggest thing is that I am really excited to try and make the previous captains proud. They are obviously people I respect, Louise Winchester and Peta Rogerson the vice-captain for a long time, are girls I have looked up to and I am very excited to hopefully be an inch of what they were in this position. We have a couple of new girls. We have the younger girls, Emma Sykes, Tayla Clifford and Shellie Davis. I think one person to definitely look out for is Hayley Maddick. She is an older girl, a couple years younger than me. She has flown under the radar a little bit and now she has come into the team taking quite a leadership role in the team even being a debutant. She is a great attacking player and I am really excited to see her work her magic. The programâ€™s pathways are on show in this team as well, with players transitioning from the Mixed program, howâ€™s that working out? Personally I am very excited. Having the young girls coming in, there is a big step coming from the junior international level to this Open level so I think they will get a bit of a shock but they are great players and they are really strong players so they will adjust quickly. Obviously that first game is going to be a bit of a hit for everyone like it was for me, I only debuted two years ago, so it kind of is a huge shock but they will definitely fit in perfectly and will ease straight into the games. Itâ€™s a big challenge, going over to New Zealand to play New Zealand. Tell us how that looks for the team? Tell us something about those new players. Who have we got and who should we look forward to watching play? Newly appointed Womenâ€™s Open Captain, Lizzie Campbell, caught up with the TFA Media Team at the recent Trans Tasman Training Camp, to give us some insight into the teamâ€™s preparations and how sheâ€™s dealing with the exciting news of being name captain of her country for the first time. Be sure to use the hashtags #transtasman2016, #oneteam and #teamaustralia across all of our social media platforms and send in your message of support on our social media channels as well.Related LinksLizzie Campbell interview
With one month remaining before National Signing Day, one of the top running backs in the 2019 class is reopening his recruitment.Flowood (Miss.) Jackson Prep four-star Jerrion Ealy decommitted from Ole Miss earlier today. Ealy had been committed to the Rebels since December 2017.However, Ealy recently took an official visit to Mississippi State and has one scheduled for Clemson for this coming weekend.Ealy says he will sign on February 6, which is National Signing Day.I will be signing on February 6! pic.twitter.com/5L7h29Xi7C— Jerrion Ealy (@ealy_1k) January 8, 2019Ealy is the No. 4 running back and No. 45 overall recruit in the 2019 cycle.Clemson is trending in his 247Sports Crystal Ball.Ealy would be the second four-star running back commitment for Clemson in the 2019 class. The Tigers have already signed Naples (Fla.) four-star Chez Mellusi.
Nova Scotia government offices will reopen at 1 p.m. today, Jan. 26, in Cape Breton County. The offices were closed this morning due to a winter storm. -30-
Comedian Will Ferrell takes on American icon Robert Redford in a mock public debate created by BSSP on behalf of the Redford Center, one of the six organizations leading the Raise the River campaign aimed at reconnecting the Colorado River to the Gulf of California, by restoring its natural delta, and raising $10 million for the restoration.In a series of short films, Redford urges the public to support “Raise the River.” On the other side, Ferrell shills for the public to get behind a rival, “Move the Ocean” campaign. The fictitious “Move the Ocean” effort would expand the Pacific “several hundred miles inland” to reach the Colorado River, accomplishing the same goal as Raise the River but doing it in a way that also helps what Ferrell says is an important group in need – surfers. To add emphasis to the cause, Ferrell is joined in his efforts by top ranked surfer Kelly Slater.“The approach each man takes couldn’t be more different,” explained Greg Stern, CEO of BSSP. “We thought that would be a good way to go beyond the expected public service announcement and get people to notice and take action on this important issue. Both Redford and Ferrell seek to restore the Colorado River, but Ferrell’s Move the Ocean adds a layer of comedy and further engagement. This is a new approach in getting people to notice and care about an important cause.”The campaign plays out in a series of films between both sides that will be seeded on multiple digital channels, first on March 13 on Funny or Die and YouTube, and then on March 22 an exclusive version will premiere on Participant Media’s Pivot TV Channel. In addition to the film series set to launch online, PR will also be central to the campaign.BSSP created the websites for each side of the cause: www.movetheocean.org and www.raisetheriver.org. The agency also created a series of sharable social media clips featuring Ferrell to seed a robust social media initiative. In one he notes, “We’ve got old Sundance riding around trying to Raise the River. Do we really need more river? We’ve got plenty of ocean, let’s move it.” Mr. Redford’s response, “Will. You need help. Seriously.”“We saw this idea of a fictitious debate between Mr. Redford and Mr. Ferrell as a novel way to generate greater awareness of the very serious issues facing the Colorado River,” explained Jill Tidman, Executive Director of the Redford Center. “Bringing a sense of humor to the effort opens the door for a much greater audience and offers everyone a chance to be part of winning this campaign—and this is one we are going to win.”
APTN National NewsThe family of Tina Fontaine says she drifted away after her father was beaten to death in 2011.Two men accused of killing Eugene Fontaine were in a Winnipeg courtroom today for their sentencing.Nicolas Abraham and Jonathon Starr have already pleaded guilty to manslaughter.Eugene Fontaine died from blunt force trauma as a result of the beating he was given in 2011.He was then tied up to a shed outside where he later died of blunt force trauma. The Crown was asking for 10-year sentences for the two accused. The defense argued that was too long.APTN’s Dennis Ward has more.
Panaji: The last rites of Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday after suffering from pancreatic cancer for over a year, were held with full military and state honours at the Miramar beach here on Monday evening. Thousands of supporters and BJP workers accompanied the funeral cortege from the Kala Academy Arts and Cultural Centre, where the remains had been kept throughout the day for the public to pay last respects to the nearby Miramar beach. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day The mortal remains of Parrikar, wrapped in the national tri-colour, were placed on a pyre amid a 21 gun salute at the beach and his elder son Utpal Parrikar consigned it to flames. Parrikar, 63, is survived by two sons, two daughter in-laws and a grandson. Top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu and Ramdas Athawale offered floral tributes to Parrikar. Also Read – Don’t use ‘lynching’ to defame India: Bhagwat Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also paid his last respects. Parrikar was Chief Minister of Goa on four separate occasions, but could not complete a single term in office. He served as Defence Minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet from 2014-17 before returning to state politics. His death has triggered a political crisis in Goa, with the BJP being unable to come up with a alternative Chief Ministerial candidate, who is acceptable to coalition allies.
WASHINGTON — The fall finale to Canada’s long-running NAFTA drama may — or may not — finally be at hand.Despite encouraging signs, it’s still far from clear whether the federal government will end the day as part of a trilateral free trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico on the eve of a key congressional deadline.In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Ambassador David MacNaughton have been taking part in an aggressive, long-distance, last-minute push to get a deal done over the weekend.Even Justin Trudeau has been reportedly pulled into the fray, on what’s usually a personal day for the prime minister, his itinerary says he’ll spend today in “private meetings.”And Hassan Yussuff, the head of the Canadian Labour Congress and a member of the government’s NAFTA advisory council, was summoned to Washington for a briefing this morning.Canada has been insisting on preserving the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism and securing protection from U.S. President Donald Trump’s penchant for punishing tariffs on imports like steel, aluminum and autos.The Canadian Press
The first “Vaccination Week in the Americas,” targeting 40 million people from the highest point in Alaska to the lowest point in Argentina, will be launched tomorrow in a remote town on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Friday.On the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which Haiti and the Dominican Republic share, the area around the Haitian border town of Ganthier is home to some of the poorest, most isolated children in the Americas.According to UNICEF, four children carrying the flags of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF will lead a parade of other children bearing the flags of 33 other countries in the Americas.Dr. Mirta Roses, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), now the regional arm of WHO, the Ministers of Health of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and other dignitaries will launch the week at Ganthier’s orphanage by each immunizing two children.Most of the countries will vaccinate people against measles, polio, rubella, also known as German measles, and congenital rubella syndrome, while other countries will also tackle influenza. Women of childbearing age may also receive Vitamin A supplements and vaccinations against neonatal tetanus.
The debate continues: Calgary association presents oilsands talks by News Staff Posted Jan 21, 2013 11:21 pm MDT It’s Oilsands 101.The Calgary Association of Life-Long Learners is presenting a free series of talks on the controversial and complex industry.Association president John Smith said it’s an unbiased look at Alberta’s most important resource:“Almost everyone in Alberta has an opinion and so we just want to, in an even-handed way, look at all the aspects of this very, very important project,” he said.“It’s just an easy access, sort of a way into this topic which is so, so important…the oilsands are undergoing rapid development, they contain enough oil to make Canada an energy superpower, but what’s the cost and to whose benefit?”The lunch-hour talks at the Glenbow Theatre begin Tuesday and continue every Tuesday until the end of the month.Petroleum journalist Peter McKenzie-Brown hosts the first presentation Tuesday, looking at the history of the oilsands and the visionaries who made the industry what it is today. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
It’s been hard for me to escape the feeling that something’s off about NFL games this year. But that may be the league’s off-field problems coloring my perception of the on-field play — or the inevitable consequence of living in New York City and having the Jets and Giants force-fed into my living room. Statistically, everything has been pretty normal. Through the first two weeks of the season, the average margin of victory has been 12 points — exactly in line with the historical average. There have been a number of upsets, but not any more or fewer than usually occur early in the year.Week 3 is headlined by a marquee matchup: The Denver Broncos are traveling to Seattle for a Super Bowl rematch against the Seahawks. A less sexy but perhaps equally important game will take place in Glendale, Arizona: the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks and 49ers lost last week, and both play in the NFL’s toughest division, the NFC West. So another loss could be trouble.Let’s go to the magnetic data-storage tape, or rather, to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo ratings. Elo ratings are a “vintage” statistical formula that we’ve brought to life for the NFL. They account for margin of victory, home-field advantage, strength of schedule, prior years’ performance and nothing else — for more on how they work, click here.Last week, we referred to the presence of a “Big Three” in the NFL: the Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos. Those teams remain on top of the Elo ratings, although by a narrower margin. The Niners shed 41 Elo points last week, more than any other team, and the New England Patriots nearly overtook them. Perhaps Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a vintage year left in them?Any matchup involving the Seahawks, Broncos, 49ers and Patriots would be a good one for the NFL; they are among the more popular teams in the league. The NFL has been fairly lucky over the past several years to have high-profile or big-market teams involved late in the season. But it doesn’t always work out that way. I’m interested in the “Little Four” that lurk just behind the Big Three and rank No. 5 through No. 8 — in order: the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. These are good football teams, at least in Elo’s estimation. If you’re rooting for the underdog (and/or bad Super Bowl ratings), perhaps a Large Feline Bowl between the Panthers and Bengals is what you’re after.Below are the projected standings and playoff odds for each NFL team, which are calculated by taking the Elo ratings and simulating the rest of the season thousands of times.Seattle is 71 percent to make the playoffs. That isn’t bad, but it’s a little lower than you might expect for the best team in the league (and down from 81 percent last week). The problem is its division, which also includes the 49ers and the Cardinals; Elo has the Seahawks winning it just 40 percent of the time.The 49ers have still less room for error. Last week’s loss against the Chicago Bears dropped San Francisco to 57 percent to make the postseason, down from 78 percent after Week 1. A loss to a division rival like the Cardinals would probably push the Niners below even money.Other putative playoff contenders have lost twice — most notably, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts’ probability of making the playoffs is just 40 percent, according to Elo, and they project to an 8-8 record.But the average 0-2 team makes the playoffs only 12 percent of the time. So Colts fans should be thankful. After facing good teams in Weeks 1 and 2, Indy has one of the league’s easiest remaining schedules. You could debate whether the Colts’ AFC South or the NFC East is the league’s worst division (Elo says it’s the AFC South). Indianapolis can be our randomized control trial — it gets to play both! Nine of the Colts’ remaining 14 games are against a team from one of these divisions.Furthermore, the Colts could win the AFC South with a middling record. In our simulations, they made the playoffs 60 percent of the time when they finished 9-7. And they did so a quarter of the time they ended the year at 8-8. Even a 7-9 record was good enough to get Indianapolis into the playoffs 7 percent of the time.For a down-on-its-luck team whose season is already over, look at the Oakland Raiders. They project to just a 3-13 record, according to Elo. And they have less than a 1 percent chance (0.8 percent, if you like decimal places) of making the playoffs.As bad as the Raiders are, those seem like aggressive calls so early in the year. But the Raiders have a tough schedule, with a game against the Patriots this week, two remaining games each against the Broncos and the Chargers, and games against all four NFC West teams. There’s even some chance of a winless season: the Raiders finished at 0-16 in about 6 percent of the Elo simulations. That’s not often, but it’s six times as often as they made the playoffs.Elo ratings can also be used to project point spreads, although we doubt you’d make a profit by betting on them. Last week, Elo had a 8-7 record against the betting lines as listed at Pro-Football-Reference.com, sitting out one game where its spread exactly matched the Vegas line. The Elo point spreads are 16-15 on the season so far against Vegas.This week, Elo has the Seahawks as three-and-a-half-point favorites against the Broncos, compared to four-and-a-half or five points in the Vegas line. That reflects a bigger difference of opinion than you might think; a four-point Broncos loss (as in Seattle 21, Denver 17) is a plausible enough outcome. But to reiterate, we’re not recommending any bets. Among the many factors that Vegas considers but Elo doesn’t is that the Seahawks have historically had a large home-field advantage.There’s a bigger discrepancy in the Cardinals-49ers matchup. Bookmakers have the 49ers favored by a field goal, whereas Elo sees the game as a pick ’em and would bet on the Cardinals if forced to lay down some action. Perhaps you could make a case for the Cardinals, who Elo likes because they finished at 10-6 last year despite a tough schedule and because they’ve beaten a playoff team and won a road game so far this year. But never mind the betting line. In terms of playoff implications, this might be the most important game of the young season.
VINTNERS HAVE WELCOMED the government’s new alcohol bill, but say they want the proposals to be implemented as soon as possible.The details of the Public Health (Alcohol) bill were announced earlier today and include plans for minimum pricing of alcohol and advertising restrictions.The aim of the bill is to increase the price of alcohol which is cheap relative to its strength.The moves were welcomed by the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), which also said it welcomes the fact that the government “has finally detailed a commitment to tackling the issues surrounding the availability and irresponsible marketing of cheap alcohol, especially in supermarkets”.In addition, it praised the government for beginning the process to address the harms associated with alcohol misuse “as a result of this irresponsible retailing approach”.It has asked for clarification on the new statutory code on alcohol advertising in print media, singling out supermarkets, which it said “have been using price based advertising to promote cheap and discounted alcohol products”.It has called for this to be outlawed.It was happy with proposed measures such as the Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol and what it called “the acceptance by government that supermarkets have been blatantly selling alcohol cheaply in order to drive footfall”.However, it said it is concerned by the timelines outlined and the lack of firm detail at this stage. According to the VFI, the proposals need to be fast tracked.The VFI also cautiously welcomed attempts to impose structural separation in mixed trading outlets. However, it is concerned at what it said was “the lack of political will” to enforce Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008, which focuses on the sale of alcohol being confined to a specific part of a licensed premises.“The statutory code will only be as good as the level of enforcement,” said the organisation.The VFI concluded by calling on the government to ensure that the proposals become a reality as soon as possible.Read: Alcohol Bill: Government confirms plans for minimum pricing, advertising restrictions>Read: Details on minimum pricing of alcohol to be published today>
Bill Gates : Non, il ne reviendra pas à la tête de MicrosoftDepuis plusieurs jours, courrait la rumeur selon laquelle Bill Gates pourrait reprendre les rênes de Microsoft. Mais il n’en est rien. Le co-fondateur du géant de Redmond vient en effet d’affirmer qu’il n’en avait aucunement l’intention.En début de semaine, un proche de Bill Gates révélait que le co-fondateur de Microsoft envisageait de reprendre la tête de la firme actuellement dirigée par le controversé Steve Ballmer. Mais l’ancien PDG du géant de Redmond a démenti cette information. Celui qui a abandonné les rênes de Microsoft en juin 2008 pour se consacrer à sa fondation, n’entend pas les recupérer. À lire aussiPour Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, il y a 4 fois plus de Windows Phone vendus en 2012 qu’en 2011″Je suis engagé à temps partiel dans Microsoft,(en tant que président du Conseil d’administration, ndlr. Cela implique ainsi d’avoir été en contact cette semaine pour partager certains de mes conseils mais la fondation requiert toute mon énergie et c’est là que je veux avoir le plus grand impact”, a-t-il expliqué à Fairfax Media. Cette association caritative, Bill Gates l’a fondée en 2000 avec son épouse, Melinda. Dotée de quelque 102,8 milliards de dollars, elle vise à offrir à la population partout dans le monde, des innovations en matière de santé et d’acquisition de connaissances. Depuis sa création, la fondation a déjà utilisé 25,26 milliards de dollars. Une somme en partie dépensée dans une campagne de vaccination qui a profité à 55 millions d’enfants. Le 17 décembre 2011 à 18:00 • Maxime Lambert
Watch: Here’s How Florida’s Gatorland Is Preparing for Hurri…Alligators Spotted ‘Swimming’ in Road, Climbing Fences in Florida Another day, another alligator taken into “custody” in Florida. An alligator was captured on Saturday after officials said it chased a group of swimmers in Pasco County.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office posted photos to Facebook of a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) trapper assisting in the capture of the alligator, estimated to be about 12- to 15-feet long. Stay on target “PSO, FWC, and an FWC nuisance wildlife trapper responded to reports of an alligator chasing swimmers off of Durney Key today,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote.“There were no injuries and the alligator was transported to a safe location by the trapper,” officials added.(Photo Credit: Pasco Sheriff’s Office)On the agency’s official website, the FWC reminds Floridians to never feed an alligator and to keep your distance if you see one.“Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours, and keep pets on a leash and away from the water,” the FWC said.More on Geek.com:Rare Albino Alligator Dies After Battling Infection That Turned Him RedAlligator Seen ‘Dragging Body’ Into Florida Lake11-Foot Alligator ‘Breaks Into Home’ in Florida