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9 January 2014South African Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula has wished Bafana Bafana well ahead of the Orange Caf African Nations Championship (Chan), which kicks off at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.South Africa tackle Mozambique in the tournament’s opening match. They also face Mali on 15 January and Nigeria on 19 January at the same venue to complete their fixtures in Group A.WarningMbalula visited the Bafana squad at their base camp in Cape Town on Tuesday to offer words of encouragement before the start of the tournament. He also sounded a warning, telling the players: “If you go with the mentality that teams have not sent strong players here you are going to be surprised by Mozambique. They will want to come here and embarrass you.“And you don’t want to appear as people who did not give their all and did not want to represent their country. I thought I needed to emphasise that point that we have pride in you, and we are confident that all of you will make this country of ours proud. Rewards come at the end, not at the beginning.”Important competitionThe teams competing in the African Nations Championship are made up of players who ply their trade in their home countries. Mbalula said the competition is crucial for the growth of the South African national team.“Anyone who says this competition is not serious is making a big mistake and misleading the country. This competition is taking place in South Africa and is a very important competition.“All the 16 teams that are coming here have not been invited or co-opted or asked by Caf to come here. They had to compete to get here. They earned their right to be in South Africa with us. It is time for the people of South Africa to have pride,” he added.“You are going to compete with the best on the African continent. This is our path and journey to glory. It starts with Chan.”SupportBafana Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune responded to Mbalula’s address, saying: “We are going to go out there with the knowledge that we have your support and the country’s. As players we need to inform you that we are taking this tournament very seriously and will do our best to ensure great results.”Midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, the most experienced member of the squad, with 85 caps to his name, on Wednesday told the media a good result in Bafana’s opening match was vitally important.‘Crucial’“Every match we play is important,” he said, “but the first game is very crucial because it is always good to start the tournament on a high. A win sets a very nice tone for the rest of the competition. It is good for the team’s morale and for the fans.”Tshabalala also expressed confidence in South Africa’s preparations. “The stakes and the expectations are high for us to do well. I believe we are ready after days of hard work and will continue doing so in the remaining two days. I am positive that the 11 players that will be selected to do the job on Saturday will succeed,” he said.Striker Katlego Mphela echoed Tshabalala’s sentiments, saying: “We want to do well in every game we play. We are raring to go. We know what we have to do and we are well aware how important the first match is. We have to start with a bang.”Late changeMeanwhile, coach Gordon Igesund was forced into a late change to his squad on Wednesday because of an injury to Jabulani Shongwe, who was replaced by Matty Pattison.Commenting on the change, Igesund said: “It is never good to lose any player, especially through injury, but I am sad to say Shongwe will no longer be a part of us for this tournament due to a tear that won’t heal in time for the tournament, so we have had to withdraw him from the squad.“But I believe I have found a perfect replacement in Pattison. Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game and we have to soldier on.”
In the first major political development post withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a 15-member National Conference delegation on Sunday met detained party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah in Srinagar.The delegation discussed developments in the State and upcoming local body polls during the separate meetings with the two leaders. The Jammu and Kashmir government had given permission to the delegation to meet the leaders.The delegation led by Jammu’s provincial chief of the party Davinder Singh Rana met former chief Minister Omar Abdullah at Hari Nivas for little over 30 minutes.Also Read In case of NC, even if we want to contest the BDC elections, the 380 panchayats that exist, the mandate has to be signed by the party president who has been unfortunately detained under the PSA, he said.The NC leader said the party’s working committee would decide on the future course of action whenever the party leaders including the NC president and vice-president would be released.“Let them be released, then the working committee of the party will meet and discuss and then we will formulate a strategy for the future,” Mr. Rana said when questioned about the party’s future strategy. India slams Turkey, Malaysia remarks on Jammu and Kashmir Jammu traders for “riders” on land purchase, investments by outsiders He said the party, which has a legacy, history and a chequered track record, was of unanimous view that it would continue to strive for the welfare of the people and shall continue to work for communal harmony, brotherhood, togetherness and keep the secular fabric of the state shining.On a question about the party’s participation in block development committee elections, he said, “See there is a complete lockdown. If the political process has to start then these members have to be released.Mr. Rana said,”After restrictions on political leaders in Jammu were removed, we held a meeting in which it was decided that we will approach governor (S P Malik) to seek his permission to have an audience with the president and the vice president of the party”.“We are happy they are both well and in high spirits. Of course, they are pained and anguished about developments, particularly lockdown of the people,” he said.Asked about the party’s stand on the upcoming Block Development Council (BDC) elections, Mr. Rana said for any political process to start in the state, the mainstream political leaders should be released first.Also Read This was the first meeting of Mr. Omar with a party delegation after he was detained on August 5, a day when the Centre announced abrogation of special status to the state under Article 370.Mr. Omar, who was sporting a beard, was seen clicking a selfie with party leaders.The delegation then drove to Farooq Abdullah’s residence.Emerging after the meeting, Mr. Rana told reporters that for any political process to begin, the leaders of the party need to be released.There is “anguish about developments particularly about lockdown of the people and we, as a party, appeal that the political process to start and democracy to revive in Jammu and Kashmir political detenues anywhere and everywhere, whether from mainstream political parties or otherwise who have no criminal record, may be released to initiate the process and the hearts and minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are won,” he said.Also Read National Conference delegation to meet Farooq and Omar today
View comments John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in Portugal in Wednesday’s other Champions League match.PSG struck first with a goal by Adrien Rabiot, but Ronaldo equalized by converting a penalty kick just before halftime and added to the lead in the 83rd. Marcelo sealed the victory three minutes later.Madrid, which has won the Champions League in three of the last four seasons, had appeared in control but PSG opened the scoring in the 33rd with Rabiot’s shot from inside the area on a play that involved all three PSG forwards. Kylian Mbappe started it with a run on the right side, then Edinson Cavani smartly let the ball through after Mbappe’s cross into the area and it ended with Rabiot after Neymar’s attempt was deflected by a defender.Not long before the goal, Ronaldo squandered one of the game’s best chances in a one-on-one situation with Alphonse Areola, his shot hitting the goalkeeper’s face. Ronaldo also missed soon after, sending a close-range shot over the crossbar.But he was perfect from the penalty spot just before halftime after Toni Kroos was gently pulled inside the area by Giovani Lo Celso, the young midfielder who was a surprise addition to the starting lineup in place of Lassana Diarra.Areola dived the correct way — to his right — but wasn’t able to stop Ronaldo’s firm shot. Areola had just made a brilliant save on Karim Benzema’s well-placed strike from just outside the area.It was PSG which was in command in the second half, creating most of the significant chances, but Ronaldo struck again by scoring the go-ahead and slightly chaotic goal with his knee after Areola parried a low cross by substitute Marco Asensio.It only got better for Madrid when Marcelo scored from inside the area after another cross from Asensio from the left side.“In the end we always get beaten the same way,” Rabiot said. “It’s annoying and I’m very disappointed. It’s easy to score eight past Dijon and score four or five in the (French) league, but we have to be decisive in games like this.”The match had to be briefly stopped in the second half after a cross by Neymar hit the face of referee Gianluca Rocchi, who continued after receiving medical assistance. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side’s 2nd goal during the Champions League soccer match, round of 16, 1st leg between Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)MADRID — Paris Saint-Germain showed its strength against the European champions, but it wasn’t enough to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.Ronaldo scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG 3-1 in their first-leg match in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, taking a commanding lead into the second leg in Paris on March 6.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City MOST READ Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH LATEST STORIES AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Ronaldo increased his Champions League tally with Madrid to 101 goals in 95 matches, a record for a player with the same club. He has 11 goals in seven Champions League matches this season, the most of any player.“It’s always special when you score and the team wins,” Ronaldo said. “It was an important victory. It’s not over yet but we have a good advantage for the second leg.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRonaldo has scored in each of the first seven Champions League matches this season, also a record. He has netted at least 10 goals in the tournament for seven straight seasons.“We always end up saying the same things about him,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said of Ronaldo. “He always makes the difference in important games and that’s what he did tonight.” Bolts keep hopes alive Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH On a mission to become a major force in European soccer, PSG played well from the start in an exciting back-and-forth match against the two-time defending champions, but the late goals significantly hurt their chances of finally succeeding in the Champions League.This was PSG’s first significant test since the Qatari-funded club spent a record 222 million euros to sign Neymar from Barcelona in a bid to break into the continent’s elite.“Our team played a great game, we showed a lot of personality,” PSG coach Unai Emery said. “We deserved a better result.”Triumph against PSG could help Madrid turn its fortunes around in what has been an up-and-down season for the Spanish powerhouse. Zidane’s job has been in doubt after a series of poor results in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.“This club has 12 Champions League titles and there’s a reason for that,” Zidane said. “The players know how important this competition is. We showed our worth for the whole 90 minutes.”ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers
Sampdoria president Ferrero insists no-one will be soldby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSampdoria president Massimo Ferrero insists no-one will be sold this month.Samp are just three points off the top four.“After the game, on the bus, I congratulated all the players,” Ferrero told Il Secolo XIX.“I told them I was proud of how they face the Bianconeri. The fans can be calm, I won’t sell anyone. The base of the group is strong and united, it will remain.“At the most we’ll see if there’s an opportunity to bring in someone promising, like in recent years.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Silva safe as Everton defeat West Hamby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton eased the pressure on manager Marco Silva with an impressive win over disappointing West Ham United at Goodison Park.Silva is fighting to ease doubts over his future after four straight Premier League defeats plunged Everton into the relegation zone – but this was a vastly-improved, excellent display to earn three vital points.He made five changes from the side that lost at Burnley and was rewarded with a piece of individual brilliance from recalled Brazilian Bernard, who tricked his way into the West Ham area before beating keeper Roberto Jimenez with a clever finish after 17 minutes to set Everton on their way.Everton had numerous opportunities to extend their advantage but Roberto produced a succession of fine saves, especially from Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi, while Richarlison hit the woodwork. It was in stoppage time that second-half substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, dropped for the first time since he became Everton’s record £45m signing in summer 2017, ended any doubts about the outcome with a magnificent 25-yard rising right-foot drive.Everton attacker Theo Walcott said at the final whistle: “The game felt like we need to start taking our chances, we had so many. It showed how good we can be going forwards. We know the quality in the team, we know what to expect from each other.”The fans were fantastic today, but then they always are. The sense of urgency was what we needed.”
Juventus watching Tottenham youngster Troy Parrottby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus are watching Tottenham youngster Troy Parrott.The Irish teen is yet to make a first team appearance for Mauricio Pochettino in the Premier League.The striker is being earmarked as one of Spurs’ most promising youngsters and there is hope he can break into the first team before the end of the season.Calciomercato says Juventus have been impressed by the youngster and will continue to monitor his development.The report claims the Bianconeri are interested in the Irishman and are deciding on whether to make a move when the transfer window reopens. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
An unusual “killer” frost has caused widespread damage to crops in the Maritimes, with everything from Nova Scotian wine grapes to Island asparagus harmed by a sharp plunge in spring temperatures.Farmers were beginning to assess the toll from the June cold front that hit Monday, as word came from Environment Canada of yet another frost advisory for early Thursday in all of Atlantic Canada.“It’s the beginning of the year and it’s a bad time for something like this to happen, just as the growing season begins,” Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia’s minister of agriculture, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.Gerry McConnell, founder of Benjamin Bridge vineyards, said the frost caused significant damage to his wine grapes in the Gaspereau Valley.“The temperatures across Nova Scotia did drop down to -2 C and in some places -4 C. Those are killer frost temperatures,” he said.“But it happened in variable ways … Some vineyards were hit much harder than others.”Curtis Millen, a strawberry and blueberry farmer in Great Village, N.S., has been trying to rescue his crops from a series of cold, wet days that included Monday’s frost.He has a water system to warm the buds of his strawberries, but which caused the plants to be caked in ice Monday morning. Photographs of plants on the morning the temperatures plummeted show strawberry leaves shining under a coat of ice.He now needs days of sun to dry out the fields and allow the crops to absorb nutrients.“We’ve got damage from frost and we have damage also from overhead irrigation trying to keep the frost off and wetting the plants to death,” he said Wednesday as he worked on his roughly 80 hectares of strawberries about 30 kilometres northwest of Truro.He estimated one-third of his strawberry crop would be damaged, adding that other farmers without the overhead, anti-frost immigration system have incurred much greater losses. His blueberry losses are even more extensive, he said.Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, said record lows were set early Monday. In Kentville, N.S., it dropped to almost -2 C, marking a huge shift from the 28 C high on Friday that had set off a growth spurt in a wide variety of crops before the frost hit.Mathew Vankoughnett, a researcher with the applied geomatics research group at Nova Scotia Community College, says such a rapid temperature flip is rare.His research indicates that Greenwood, N.S., in the centre of the Annapolis Valley, only had one similar episode in 1978 when temperatures fell below 0 on June 2.“We expect this type of spell to occur in April and maybe early May, but not June,” he said in an email.Larry Lutz, president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, has an apple farm south of Berwick in the Annapolis Valley. He said his Rockland farm and others at higher elevation suffered little to no damage as a result of the freeze, but added it was a different story for farms at lower elevations.“On the valley floor it hit between -3 C and -5 C, which at that point you would see in excess of 90 per cent damage,” he said. “So the growers on the valley floor suffered significant damage.”Lutz said cherry, plumb and pear growers are experiencing the same problems.He said he examined one pear farm Wednesday, finding it likely lost all but 10 to 20 per cent of the crop.McConnell, who is also the vice-chairman of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, said many of the province’s roughly 15 vineyards were also affected, with harm varying from complete devastation to minimal damage.He said it will be several weeks before he can estimate the extent of the damage to the crops, in part because it remains to be seen how secondary and tertiary buds will fare.In P.E.I., Matt Hughes with the Island’s federation of agriculture in Charlottetown, said damage is being tallied up.“I lost the remainder of my asparagus crop. The frost ended my asparagus crop pretty abruptly. I started a few weeks ago and got some harvest off,” he said in an interview from his farm at Kellys Cross, 30 kilometres east of Charlottetown.“We had two major frosts here and it’s ruined three of my four cutting dates. I would have had four harvests before this frost.”Hughes said farmers grow used to some of the challenges associated with weather fluctuations, but this spring has been especially tough.“I grew up on a farm and we always get up and down years, but this seems to be an extreme year.”— With files from Alison Auld and Keith Doucette.
Sydney: Social media executives could be jailed if they fail to remove extremist material from their platforms quickly, under controversial Australian laws adopted Thursday, in the wake of the live-streamed mosque shootings in Christchurch. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the laws, which make it illegal not to remove footage of “a terrorist act,” murder, torture, rape and kidnapping, and spell out that internet service, content and hosting providers will be held culpable. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USPlatforms like Facebook and YouTube could face fines approaching billions of dollars — or 10 percent of global annual turnover — for failing to allow the “expeditious removal” of the offending material, while executives could face 3 years in jail. Technology companies, policy experts and lawyers pilloried the legislation — which was jammed through parliament in two days and faces an uncertain future beyond elections expected in May. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is facing a difficult reelection battle, said: “Big social media companies have a responsibility to take every possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists.” The opposition Labor party expressed serious misgivings but voted in favour of the legislation. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsAustralia’s Law Council described the legislation as “knee-jerk” and warned it could have “serious unintended consequences.” President Arthur Moses warned the laws could be used to curb whistleblowers, and “could also lead to censorship of the media, which would be unacceptable.” Attorney-General Christian Porter said the legislation could be used to target platforms used by the far-right like 4Chan and 8Chan. It will be up to a jury to decide whether the platforms acted with good speed to take down offending content, raising questions about how the law will be implemented. The Institute of Public Affairs described the legislation as a “blatant attack on the freedom of the media.” “Throwing media executives in jail will increase costs to taxpayers without improving community safety or addressing concerns about violent content being shared on social media platforms,” said researcher Andrew Bushnell. “Companies and executives may respond to the threat of criminal penalties by erring on the side of censorship.” The laws are expected to be followed by steps toward treating social media giants more like publishers, which would make them legally responsible for the content on their platforms.
New Delhi: India’s northern and eastern states saw a rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013, raising an impending risk of severe droughts, food crisis, and drinking water scarcity for millions of people, researchers have found.A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, West Bengal and Athabasca University, Canada, compiled the first estimates of usable groundwater storage (UGWS) at the state-level across all of India using both in situ and satellite-based measurements. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Groundwater-level data was used from 3,907 in situ monitoring wells across the country and the total UGWS was estimated between 2005 and 2013. The estimate shows rapid depletion of UGWS in Assam, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. In these areas, increases in agricultural food productions have resulted at the cost of non-renewable loss in groundwater volume at an alarming rate, the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Advances in Water Resources. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOn the other hand, southern and western Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh show replenishing usable groundwater storage trends. Earlier works by the government agencies have only been able to estimate the total groundwater, only a part of which is usable for human purposes, said lead researcher Abhijit Mukherjee, Associate Professor Hydrogeology, Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. “The estimates show rapid depletion of usable groundwater storage during 2005-2013 in most of northern parts, losing 8.5 cubic kilometre per year (km3/year) of total groundwater, and eastern parts which lost 5 km3/year of total groundwater,” Mukherjee told PTI. He emphasised that more than 85 per cent of the groundwater usage in India is linked with irrigation abstraction practices. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. It uses an estimated 230 km3 of groundwater per year — over a quarter of the global total. Groundwater being an essential natural resource for irrigational water supply during non-monsoonal months, large-scale depletion could have unforeseen consequences in future food security, said Mukherjee. “Underground water is definitely declining in Rajasthan at faster rate. There are pockets in UP which have seen a dip in groundwater table as well,” agreed Dr N C Ghosh, former Head of Hydrology, National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, who was not involved in the study. The problem, Ghosh said, is compounded by over-exploitation of the ground water. “About 85 per cent of rural drinking water needs and 65 per cent of irrigation needs and 50 per cent of urban drinking water and industrial needs are fulfilled from the ground water,” he said. Mukherjee noted that rapid depletion in UGWS would accelerate the decline in food production and availability of drinking water, two of the prime goals of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. “More than 120 million people would get affected only in the Gangetic states,” he said. The study combined borehole data from Central Ground Water Board, rainfall data and satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites launched in 2002. A northeastern state like Assam, which was regarded always as water-affluent, has lost two per cent of its usable groundwater resource, and is at the brink of suffering drought and famine in impending years, said researchers, including first author Soumendra N Bhanja from Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. PTI