12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout GroovesharkNumber of Songs: 13.2 millionPrice (monthly): Free (unlimited) / $9 per month for premium Geographic Availability: Everywhere but Germany and DenmarkMobile Platforms: HTML5 Web app, plus Android and an unofficial Windows Phone appOffline Syncing: NoSound Quality (bit rate): VariesWeb App: YesKiller Features: More fluid catalog with rare (and sometimes unauthorized) materialUsers: 20 million monthly uniques (not the same as registered users) Related Posts SpotifyNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 23 countries (mostly western Europe & U.S.)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 8, SymbianOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 160 kbps on desktop & “low bandwidth” mobile; 320 kbps option on mobileWeb App: YesKiller Features: Ability to import local MP3s; 3rd party add-on apps are excellentUsers: 24 million RdioNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 24 countries (mostly western Europe & The Americas)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 192 kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Vastly superior UI designUsers: Unknown DeezerNumber of Songs: 20 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop (limited) / $5 – $10 for premiumGeographic Availability: 182 countries (U.S. launch expected in 2013)Mobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): Up to 320kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Ability to import local MP3sUsers: 26 million RhapsodyNumber of Songs: 16 millionPrice (monthly): $10Geographic Availability: U.S. onlyMobile Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows Phone, BlackberryOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 128 kbps – 192 kbps on desktop; 64kbps on mobileWeb App: YesKiller Features: Sells high bitrate MP3s for downloadUsers: 1 million (paid) 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#digital music#grooveshark#rdio#spotify#streaming music It’s going to be an interesting year in online music. The all-you-can-stream music subscription space is set to heat up, with rumored Spotify competitors from Google and Amazon potentially in the offing and an already-huge European service called Deezer planning to launch in the U.S. In the meantime, there are already a number of music subscription services to choose from, depending on where you live. None of them are perfect. Spotify and Rdio generally the lead the pack, each with its own impressively massive library of music. Spotify wins points over Rdio for letting you import your own MP3s, whereas Rdio’s interface design, especially on mobile, is vastly superior to that of any other offering.Then there are solid offerings from Grooveshark and MOG, both of which face an uncertain future, for completely different reasons. MOG was acquired by headphone maker Beats Audio, which plans to launch a new service called Daisy this year. Meanwhile, Grooveshark has faced a barrage of lawsuits from record labels, who accuse the startup of copyright infringement, but remains standing… for now.Which service is right for you? It depends on how much you value things like audio control, design aesthetics, music selection and user control. A year from now, the landscape may well look totally different and we’ll be updating this post accordingly. For now, here’s a comparison of the major all-you-can-stream music services. john paul titlow 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… MOGNumber of Songs: 16 millionPrice (monthly): Free for desktop / $5 -10 for premiumGeographic Availability: United States and AustraliaMobile Platforms: iOS and AndroidOffline Syncing: YesSound Quality (bit rate): 320 kbpsWeb App: YesKiller Features: Streams are high quality audio by defaultUsers: 500,000
Curdi, a small village in Goa known for its scenic beaches and Portuguese-era structures, is attracting tourists this season for a different reason. Though the village remains submerged under dam water in the rest of the year, in the month of May, it would rise above the water level, making it visible. Tourists as well as the original inhabitants of the village would visit the place during May, when water recedes exposing the village and ruins of an old Lord Shiva temple to the outer world. Locals host a traditional festival in the temple’s remnants, much to the delight of domestic and foreign visitors. Once the monsoon rains pick up, the low-lying village gets submerged, making those displaced sad again. Nestled amid the Western Ghats in South Goa district, Curdi was once a flourishing village bustling with over 600 families. However, its natives agreed to “sacrifice” their homes in late 1970s when then Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar announced construction of a dam on the Selaulim river flowing nearby, an old local resident told PTI. As per official records, the dam construction started in 1976 and was completed in 2000. Prakash Kurdikar (60), who was earlier a resident of Curdi, recalled that by 1986, the village started going under water.“It was an emotional moment for the villagers who sacrificed their homes for the sake of Goa. It is the greatest sacrifice anyone can make,” he said. Its residents were rehabilitated in the nearby Vadden and Valkini villages.State Water Resources Department’s executive engineer K.K. Ravindran said streams around the village have started getting filled up due to the pre-monsoon showers.“If it rains properly for 10 days, then the village would be submerged. It will be visible only after 11 months next year,” he said. This year, the monsoon has been delayed in Goa and the rains have started picking up now, he said.“So, if it rains for next seven days, then by the end of this month, Curdi will disappear,” Mr. Ravindran said, adding that the village is located 5km away from the catchment area of Selaulim dam. Locals claim that before getting submerged, the village turns into an island for a few hours and then slowly disappears under water.
A wry smile played on Gagan Narang’s face as he addressed the media at the Karni Singh Shooting Range on Wednesday. What his optimistic words failed to do, however, was hide his disappointment at finishing with four gold medals instead of the six he was aiming for at the Games.Narang’s failure to make it to the 50m rifle prone singles final put India’s final medal tally in shooting at 14 gold, 11 silver and five bronze medals. This is after Heena Sidhu took second spot in the women’s 10m air pistol and Samaresh Jung settled for bronze in the 25m standard pistol event.The tally was three more than India’s overall total of 27 medals from Melbourne, but two shy of the mark of 16 gold set there. Narang could only manage a 590 in the qualification round to finish tied eighth. He missed out on the final in a shoot-off, managing 51.6 points, the same as Wynn Payne of Canada. Sri Lanka’s Mangala Samarakoon shot 53.2.Hariom Singh made it to the final but finished eighth with a total of 689.6 points, seven behind the winner, Jonathan Hammond of Scotland. Australian Warren Potent, the bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics, took silver with 695.4 while Northern Ireland’s Matthew Hall finished third.Narang still counted the positives. “I am happy with my perform- By Shreyas Sharma in New Delhi ance, four gold medals with four new Games record is good. I did struggle a bit with prone position but I think we should look at the positives,” he said.advertisementNational coach Sunny Thomas said: “I have mixed feelings. The number of medals increased, but I wish the colour of a few of them was different. We could’ve got five more gold medals,” he said. Earlier, Heena suffered a heartbreaking loss in the 10m air pistol event.Leading Malaysia’s Pei Chin Bibiana Ng into the final on the basis of more perfect 10s after both had shot 383s in qualification, Heena only managed 98.6 compared to Pei’s 98.9 to end up with the silver medal.The other Indian in the fray, Annu Raj Singh, finished fourth, 3.1 points behind bronze medallist Dina Aspandiyarova of Australia. Jung, meanwhile, could not find his mark in the 25m standard pistol singles after having finished second in the pairs with C.K. Chaudhary.Any hopes of an addition to the tally in the last event of the Games evaporated with Allan Daniel Peoples (8th) and Mairaj Ahmad Khan (16th) failing to make the final in the men’s skeet singles.The surprise winner was England’s Richard Brickell, who beat former world champion Georgios Achilleos and his fellow Cypriot Andreas Chasikos in a shoot-off.Meanwhile, at the Kadarpur range, India managed to finish 11th in the full bore rifle pairs event, despite the athletes, Sushil Ghaley and Praveen Dahiya, having got their first experience of the guns just days before the competition.New Zealand won the pairs gold ahead of Scotland and England. Ghaley later finished 29th in the singles while Dahiya was 32nd, as England’s Parag Patel won gold, ahead of Australia’s James Corbett and Northern Ireland’s David Calvert.
Please find attached the finals draw and finals structure for finals day of the 2015 National Touch League. To view, please click on the attachments below.Related Filesmodified_draw1-pdfmodified_draw_structure_and_format1-pdfRelated LinksModified Finals Draw
Six local authorities across five parishes have been selected to participate in a project geared at stimulating economic development at the community level.This is under the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), which is a six-year programme funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development, Canada (DFATD). It is focused on stimulating sustainable local economic development in the Caribbean region.Jamaica is one of seven Caribbean countries selected to benefit under the initiative, through six local authorities, namely, the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC); the St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, and Westmoreland parish councils; and the Portmore Municipal Council.Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Arscott, said the initiative is aimed at mobilising and using primarily local resources, assets and institutions to stimulate economic growth in communities.He was speaking September 26 at a one-day Local Government symposium at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew, to introduce elected officials to the concept of local economic development and to sensitise them of their roles.The Minister informed JIS News that very tangible economic development projects will be pursued in all six local authorities under the proposed initiative.“Several very unique projects will be identified by the respective communities. For example, the KSAC has already identified a project where they are collecting plastic bottles and compacting them for export. This is part of a recycling programme to help relieve the city and the landfill of these large quantities of plastic bottles,” he stated.He also informed that in Clarendon, residents have identified a project to further take advantage of the many benefits of the Milk River Spa.“This project will be implemented in collaboration with the Tourism Enhancement Fund and seeks to create a nucleus of activities utilising the river, flora and fauna. We will be creating a cactus park and setting up a bed and breakfast to complement the rooms already in the hotels, among other things,” Mr. Arscott disclosed.The Minister noted that the CARILED project is very timely, as it comes at a time when the Government of Jamaica has identified local economic development as a strategic policy intervention.Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Angela Brown-Burke, stated that stimulating economic development in the micro and small business sector is one of the keys to creating lasting economic growth on a national scale.She said the CARILED project also presents a unique opportunity to further include Jamaica’s youth population in national development.Head of Aid, DFATD, Marie Legault, pledged that the Canadian Government will continue to provide technical and financial assistance to Jamaica and the rest of the region in the area of economic growth.She noted that in this vein the Government has earmarked an investment of US$600 million over a period of 12 years for the Caribbean to focus on this priority area.Ms. Legault informed that CARILED forms part of this pledge and is geared towards revitalising local communities and local businesses.Launched in 2012, CARILED is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago with sub-offices in St. Lucia and Ottawa, Canada.The project is being implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in partnership with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) and the Caribbean Federation of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM).It aims to partner with 50 local government authorities to support the growth and development of 500 micro, small and medium enterprises. CARILED is a six-year programme funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development, Canada. Jamaica is one of seven Caribbean countries selected to benefit under the initiative. It is focused on stimulating sustainable local economic development in the Caribbean region. Story Highlights
On March 19 and 20, artists Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bernie Williams, former NY Yankee and Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist join leaders of the music instrument and products industry in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on the importance of comprehensive music education in our nation’s schools.Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (photographed here) and Other Renowned Artists Join Music Industry’s DC Fly-In to Advocate for Music Education.Credit/Copyright: PRNewsFoto/The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Photo Credit: Laura GlassThe National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) organizes the annual Advocacy Fly-In on behalf of school music education programs in public schools, to promote the benefits that playing music can have for children and teens, and to assure that federal education policy and funding advance access to music learning for all children.Smith, long known for his music-education advocacy efforts adds his voice to NAMM’s Advocacy Fly-In and efforts to support music in America’s schools. “I am a perfect example of someone who’s been musically educated exclusively throughout grade school, middle school and high school by the public school system,” the GRAMMY-winning drummer said. “If there hadn’t been a music program in my public schools, I would not be where I am today. Every kid – and I mean everyone – needs a chance to learn and grow with music.” Smith also works with the Percussion Marketing Council’s (PMC) “Percussion In The Schools” program, The Boys Club of Milwaukee, The Collective School of Music, Harlem NYC Jazz, Fender Music Foundation, Little Kids Rock and as an ambassador for Music Drives Us.Pressure on funding for school music programs continue as many districts struggle with budgets and regulations that force schools to narrow their scholastic offerings at the expense of important core academic subjects, music and arts education.The issue of music education in schools is also close to the heart of longtime music-education advocate and gifted jazz guitarist Williams, who attended previous NAMM Advocacy Fly-in and has taken up the cause as a national advocate for music education. “As a student, music was available to me in my public school in Puerto Rico. It fostered discipline in me, and the ability to perform under pressure,” he said. “A lot of what music taught me led to my success in other areas – including professional baseball. Music has a profound effect on kids, and education must include music and the arts.”According to a Harris Poll, school principals report higher graduation rates in schools with robust music and art programs than do those without programs (90.2% as compared to 72.9%). In addition, those that rate their programs as “excellent” or “very good” have an even higher graduation rate (90.9%). Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3% as compared to 84.9%).Nearly 30 NAMM Members, executive committee and industry representatives will join Smith, Williams and NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond for this year’s DC Fly-In March 18-20. “NAMM Members envision a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right,” Lamond said. “Our work in Washington seeks to further that aim.”NAMM’s annual Advocacy Fly-In gives NAMM Members the opportunity to advocate to their Members of Congress for policy and funding to support music and arts education. This advocacy effort includes one day of preparation at the Kennedy Center and another day of personal meetings with representatives and other influencers. Sessions are preceded by an issues briefing and training, after which NAMM Members hit the halls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings to lobby their representatives about the importance of music education and needed changes to assure access for music learning. During the trip NAMM Members are also trained on developing state-level advocacy efforts for music and arts education that they can take back to their communities in time for school budget season.
TORONTO – Royal Bank of Canada saw an uptick in demand for mortgages this fall as borrowers look to secure loans before tougher rules — including a stress test — take effect in the new year, one of the bank’s executives says.Neil McLaughlin, RBC’s head of personal and commercial banking, told analysts on its fourth-quarter earnings call there is a heightened awareness of the banking regulator’s revised mortgage underwriting guidelines, which is expected to reduce the maximum amount homebuyers who don’t need mortgage insurance will be able to borrow.“We have seen a little bit of pull forward this fall,” McLaughlin told analysts on the call Wednesday. “As we talk to customers, some of them are surprisingly aware of what the stress test is about and have decided to move more quickly.”McLaughlin’s comments came as RBC beat analyst expectations with a 12 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter net income to $2.84 billion, driven by double-digit year-over-year increases in personal and commercial banking, wealth management and capital markets. Its latest earnings for the three-month period ended Oct. 31 helped to cap off its fiscal year with a record $11.5 billion profit, up 10 per cent from fiscal 2016.It also comes as the banking regulator in October finalized changes to its mortgage underwriting guidelines — moves aimed at reducing risk amid high household indebtedness and rising home prices, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver.The revised guidelines, called B-20, require would-be homebuyers to prove they can still service their uninsured mortgage at a qualifying rate of the greater of the contractual mortgage rate plus two percentage points or the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada. An existing stress test requires those with insured mortgages to qualify at the Bank of Canada benchmark five-year mortgage rate.Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates twice in recent months to the current overnight lending rate of one per cent. On Tuesday, the central bank said in its semi-annual review of the financial system that the steady climb of household debt and still-hot housing markets remained top vulnerabilities. However, it said the new mortgage guidelines would help mitigate the risks associated with low-ratio mortgages (with down payments of 20 per cent or more).McLaughlin told analysts Wednesday that more than 90 per cent of its mortgages are already underwritten at these higher rates, and expects the overall impact of these guidelines to be “fairly modest.”“The vast majority of our portfolio and loan originations are not really going to be impacted,” he said.The Bank of Nova Scotia’s chief executive, Brian Porter, told analysts on its earnings call Tuesday that he expects the new guidelines to create a “five per cent headwind” to mortgage originations.McLaughlin told analysts that RBC expects “a similar number”.Dave McKay, RBC’s president and chief executive, said he expects mortgage growth to “slightly moderate.” Canada’s biggest lender by market capitalization had $142.1 billion in uninsured mortgages as of Oct. 31, up 11 per cent from $128 billion a year earlier.“As the Canadian housing industry digests the changing regulatory landscape, we expect mortgage growth to slightly moderate to the mid single-digits,” McKay said on the conference call. “Household demand, however, should still be supported by changing demographics including the large influx of immigrants expected in Canada over the next three years.”Borrowers are showing signs of caution, said Mark Hughes, RBC’s chief risk officer.“More recently, we have seen an increasing number of fixed rate mortgage originations, signalling increased conservatism by our clients in a rising rate environment,” he told analysts on the conference call.The guidelines could also help RBC retain its existing borrowers, said McLaughlin.The new stress test rules won’t apply to those renewing their mortgages if they remain with their existing lender.“We do see this as a positive, and we do expect some lift to our retention rates,” McLaughlin said.
DETROIT – Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 300,000 older Ram pickup trucks worldwide because the fuel tanks can sag.The recall mainly affects trucks in cold-weather U.S. states and Canada where salt is used to clear snow from roads.It includes Ram 1500 pickups from the 2009 through 2012 model years. In the U.S. the trucks are in 20 states and Washington, D.C.The company says an investigation found a bracket can corrode and let the tanks sag. The remaining structure will stop the tanks from falling. Fiat Chrysler says it’s not aware of any crashes, fires, leaks or injuries due to the problem.Dealers will reinforce the bracket. Owners will be told when to schedule service. Anyone who notices a hanging strap or lower tank should contact their dealer.
Natacha Beim opened her first daycare in 1998 and built it into a franchise business that now boasts 21 locations, with plans to open as many as 10 more centres each year.The founder of Core Education and Fine Arts is an exception to what seems to be a rule in the economics of Canada’s highly fragmented daycare system.Despite long-standing shortages, rising fees and political promises of change, there has been little disruption of the largely public market by big conglomerates, startups or even automation.In other well-established industries — from hotels to taxicabs — private sector intervention has ushered in an era of innovation, accessibility and lower prices. But the daycare landscape, with its strict provincial regulations, high real estate fees and low profit margins, presents problems for private companies looking to scale their operations.The biggest problem for Beim is finding enough teachers in an industry where the responsibility is high but the average hourly wage is about $14 an hour.The second issue is government regulations that slow down the opening a centre and cost providers a lot to comply, she said.“It can compromise the whole project,” said Beim. It took her two years to open her first location because it was difficult to navigate permitting, she said.The patchwork of varying provincial and territorial childcare regulations adds another layer of complexity, requiring companies to learn new rules in order to expand into a new province.Canada’s daycare industry will grow at an annualized 3.1 per cent pace from 2017 to 2022 to 44,707 operators, with mostly small care providers joining the market, IbisWorld estimates.The research firm’s report also found that wages account for more than 51 per cent of a daycare operator’s costs and 19 per cent of revenue is profit. Home daycares, especially that operate outside of regulations that require certain caregiver-to-child ratios, can squeeze more profits by employing few staff.However, it would be very difficult for a single company — that cannot fly under the regulation radar — to acquire what would likely be hundreds of one-off businesses to capture a significant share of the overall market, said Mario Ismailanji, an analyst with IBISWorld.Daycare operators also face another barrier that other industries don’t: parent advocates, politicians and academics who call big business unethical for trying to turn childcare into profits.“It shouldn’t be a commodity. It’s considered to be a human right,” said Martha Friendly, a early childhood education researcher who founded the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.She argues that private providers operate in the low margin industry of childcare and trim employee costs to pocket more profits, resulting in higher staff turnover and workers with lower qualifications. Her solution to high fees and wait lists rests with increased government spending, not private disruption.Despite such opposition, private for-profit operations seem to be gaining market share.Friendly’s research found a 10 per cent drop in the number of spaces provided by for-profit businesses from 1992 to 2004, when they made up just 20 per cent of the market, but a resurgence to about 30 per cent in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available.Still, the industry remains heavily fragmented, divided among some 38,300 providers, with few running more than one location, according to IbisWorld’s report. No company holds more than one per cent of market share.However, the report also suggests Canada’s handful of bigger providers, such as BrightPath Early Learning Inc. and Kids & Company, will continue to expand as they take advantage of higher demand thanks to more women joining the workforce, as well as more government assistance making out-of-home care more affordable for more families.BrightPath operates more than 75 centres under several banners. It formed in 2010 under the name Edleun and was a publicly traded company until Busy Bees holdings Ltd., a U.K.-based childcare provider, acquired it in 2017. Kids & Company runs nearly 100 centres between six provinces and lists five more locations opening soon on its website. Both companies declined interview requests to speak about future expansion plans or how private companies could disrupt the daycare market.As demand for affordable spaces continues to outstrip supply, some parents turn to tailor-made solutions, including nannies, relatives or staying at home themselves.But the technology that has been such a disruptive force in other industries is likely years away from true daycare disruption.There have even been experiments with automation.Japanese researchers made headlines in 2016 after creating a childcare robot. They claim four robots and one human can care for more than 60 children together. Chinese robot maker AvatarMind is already shipping its iPal robot, touted as “a companion, educator and safety monitor for children,” in its home country and plans to soon release the product in the U.S.However, a 2017 report on sectors poised to be taken over by robots from the McKinsey Global Institute found that educational services showed the lowest potential for automation.Given Canada’s level of opposition to private, for-profit centres, it appears unlikely that parents would be comfortable with intervention from automation any time soon.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.
Northern Lights College President, Bryn Kulmatycki, says providing state-of-the-art equipment ensures that students have the proper tools in order to succeed in trades.“Northern Lights College’s trades and apprenticeship programs help students build the skills to become the highly trained workers industry needs. State-of-the-art equipment ensures we’re giving our students the tools to succeed and take advantage of an incredible amount of opportunity in the North.”The $3 million in equipment builds on the $5.4 million that was provided to 15 post-secondary institutions for trades and technology equipment in 2017. PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Province has provided $3 million in funding to students in Northern B.C. for the purchase of new trades equipment.According to the Government, new trades equipment will help set up students with the skills they need for rewarding careers.19 schools across B.C., including Northern Lights College, have each received $160,000 to buy up-to-date equipment for trades and technology programs.
New Delhi: The NIA Monday questioned Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq for nearly eight hours in connection with a case related to funding of terror groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said here.He was asked to appear before the agency again Tuesday, the officials said, adding Naseem Geelani, son of pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was also summoned on Tuesday. After avoiding the first two summons, the Mirwaiz finally appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after he was assured of being provided security upon his arrival in the national capital. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Mirwaiz was accompanied by other separatist leaders, including Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Maulana Abbas Ansari. During the questioning, the Mirwaiz was asked several questions related to the funding of his party Awami Action Committee as well as Hurriyat Conference, the officials said, adding that the replies were not satisfactory. He had been asked to appear before the NIA on March 11 and March 18 but expressed his inability to join the investigation in the national capital, saying he feared for his security in view of “conditions of hostility”. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn its third summons issued last week, the NIA promised him security. The NIA probe seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, pelting of stones on security forces, burning down of schools and damaging of government establishments. The case names Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), the front for the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, as an accused. It also names organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the Mirwaiz, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat. Ahead of his appearance before the NIA, the Hurriyat Conference chairman tweeted, “In Delhi today with my colleagues for the NIA summon, efforts to malign leadership for its political stand wont work. Inspite of harassment Hurriyat will continue to seek peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Urge people back home to stay calm and peaceful.” On Sunday night, the Hurriyat held an executive meeting and strongly condemned the move to summon the Mirwaiz.
New Delhi: The cross examination of former Union Minister M.J. Akbar continued on Monday in connection with a defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani. The hearing which is still on saw heated exchange of arguments between two senior advocates — Akbar’s counsel Geeta Luthra and Ramani’s Counsel Rebecca John — as Luthra objected many questions asked by John. The hearing was taking place before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.
The NHL’s “loser point” is the stupidest rule in sports. For the non-puckheads among you, here’s how it works: The NHL awards one point in the standings to a team that loses a game in overtime or a shootout. But teams get two points for winning a game, whether in regulation or beyond. You don’t need a degree in #fancystats to recognize the problem: There are a total of three points to distribute when a game goes to overtime but just two otherwise. So it really pays off to play for OT. As FiveThirtyEight contributors Noah Davis and Michael Lopez documented Wednesday, this encourages dull, passive hockey. Goal scoring falls dramatically in the third period of tied games, right when a game should be coming to its climax.This is more than a minor annoyance; the loser point has already changed the identity of at least one NHL champion. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings finished with 40 wins and 42 losses; they made the playoffs ahead of the 42-40 Dallas Stars because they accumulated 15 loser points to the Stars’ five. Then the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.Fortunately, having a rule as dumb as the loser point means that almost anything would be an improvement. For instance, the NHL could award three points for a win in regulation. An overtime or shootout winner would still get two points. That would at least make each game worth the same amount in the standings.Or you could eliminate the shootout and go back to having ties. The NHL claims that 70 percent to 80 percent of its fans like the shootout but has never made any detailed data on this available to the public. As regular readers of FiveThirtyEight will know, there are lots of ways to manipulate survey questions to produce a desired outcome. Maybe the same consultants telling Donald Trump that he’d make a great presidential candidate are advising Gary Bettman on the loser point.But I have something more radical in mind. Here’s the idea: You keep playing hockey until someone wins. You know, like in the NBA and Major League Baseball and pretty much every other sport but soccer — and like the NHL itself during the playoffs.The usual objection is that this could lead to some extraordinarily long games for two measly points in the standings. What if the Flyers and Penguins play a five-overtime game and the Penguins need to catch a flight to Calgary? Why add even more ice time to a grueling, 82-game regular season?But these cases are rarer than you might think. If you played every NHL regular-season game under playoff rules — 5-on-5 overtime, indefinitely, until someone scores — it would increase ice time by only about 3 percent. In the chart below, I’ve tracked what percentage of overtime playoff games (since 1995) were resolved within a given number of minutes. In the majority of games — 56 percent — someone scored within the first 10 minutes. Only 7 percent of games, meanwhile, required two or more overtimes.Overall, the average overtime game required 13.6 minutes before someone scored. Since 23 percent of playoff games went to OT, that makes the average length of a playoff game about 63 minutes, as compared to around 61 minutes during the regular season.That’s not much of an increase, and if the NHL were concerned about it, it could counteract it by reducing the regular season to 80 games from 82. Then you’d have no shootouts, no ties, no loser point and no overall increase in ice time.Still, maybe we’re concerned about those cases when one team has played a multiple-overtime game and faces off against another on fresh skates. Equivalent cases come up all the time in other sports — baseball, basketball, tennis — and they deal with it. But you could argue that it’s a bigger problem in hockey given the punishing nature of the sport.The solution is to take players off the ice, which will increase scoring. This isn’t a new idea at all — during the regular season, the NHL plays 4-on-4 hockey in overtime, and there have been proposals to go to 3-on-3.But here’s my insight: Goals are scored so quickly during 3-on-3 play that you could play every game to sudden death and pretty much never inconvenience anyone. The players, the referees, the 13-year-old in Winnipeg who refuses to do his algebra homework until the Jets game is finished — they’d all be OK.You may have noticed, in the graphic above, that I drew a smooth curve (labeled “model”) alongside the historical data. The curve is formed by assuming that there’s a 7.4 percent chance of scoring a goal per minute of overtime play, which is the historical rate in the playoffs since 1995. As you can see, the curve “fits” the historical data extremely well. That means the length of overtime games is easy to model.1It also implies that the rate of scoring is fairly constant throughout overtime. If you know the overall rate of scoring, you can accurately guess how many games will require at least two overtimes, for instance.In 4-on-4 play, there’s a 9.1 percent chance of a goal being scored each minute (according to research by Stephen Pettigrew), about 20 percent higher than under 5-on-5 conditions. It’s 3-on-3 action that sees a really radical shift, however, with a 16.8 percent chance of a goal each minute.So what if overtime was played 3-on-3? About 60 percent of games would be resolved within the first five minutes, and 84 percent within the first 10 minutes. Only about 3 percent of overtime games would require double overtime, and fewer than 1 in 1000 would go to triple-OT. The average overtime game would require just six minutes to complete, barely longer than under the current rules.2And you’d reduce the number of overtime games since the loser point would be eliminated — teams would no longer have an incentive to play for OT. And with just three skaters on the ice at a time, teams could give their bench plenty of rest between shifts.The NHL could also adopt some compromise or another. It could play five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime immediately at the end of regulation, as it does now, then clean the ice3During the regular season, the NHL doesn’t bring the Zamboni out and clean the ice after regulation, something you’d probably need to do if you’re going to play more than a few minutes worth of extra hockey. As a fan, I don’t get why the NHL seems to be in a rush to finish overtime games during the regular season — I love the tension that builds up during the pre-overtime intermission in the playoffs. and play an indefinite amount of 3-on-3 overtime if needed. It could declare a tie if no one had scored after a full 20-minute period of 3-on-3 overtime. (Ties would be a rarity, almost like they are now in the NFL.) It could keep removing players from the ice until it was just goalie versus goalie.4The NHL would need to relax the rule that prohibits goalies from advancing past the red line. Would you not stop whatever you were doing to watch Henrik Lundqvist versus Tuukka Rask, one-on-one?Or insert your own proposal: Overtime decided by rock-paper-scissors? Nearly anything would be better than the loser point.
Cleveland Browns2014 Record: 7-9 | 2015 Proj. W: 6.2 | Playoff Odds: 9.7%Off. Rank: 31st | Def. Rank: 11th | S.T. Rank: 14thAs usual, the Browns’ quarterback situation is dismal. Backup Johnny Manziel gets most of the headlines despite (or, perhaps, because of) a spectacularly trying rookie campaign, but new starter Josh McCown isn’t much better. The 36-year-old journeyman showed unexpected flashes of brilliance in eight games as a Bear in 2013, but he returned to form — ranking second-worst in the NFL in QBR — with the Buccaneers last season. Judging from the rest of his career, it would be unrealistic to expect much more from McCown in 2015.We all know that the NFL is a passing league, so Cleveland’s QB predicament puts them at a disadvantage. But if there’s any good news for the Browns, it’s that you don’t necessarily need a great passing attack to build a winning team. And with McCown and Manziel unlikely to lead the Browns out of the quarterback wilderness, it falls upon the team’s defense to provide an edge instead.The Browns return nine starters from what was an effective, and unusual, defense in 2014. Typically, defenses that limit opponents’ passing also have an edge against the running game, and Cleveland was excellent versus the pass — it was third-best in EPA allowed on passing plays, trailing only the Texans and Bills. But the Browns had trouble slowing down opposing runners. Against rushing plays, they ranked 31st in EPA allowed, ahead of only the Saints.Again, the NFL is a passing league, so Cleveland had a top-10 defense despite its weakness against the run. But given the Browns’ lack of offensive playmakers,12Their most important offensive player might be a center. In the five starts Alex Mack made in 2014 before suffering a season-ending injury, the Browns averaged 26 points and a 75 QBR; over the remainder of the season, they averaged 16 points and a 25 QBR. their defense can’t afford to have any vulnerabilities if they hope to win games. That’s why Cleveland drafted nose tackle Danny Shelton 12th overall and added defensive lineman Randy Starks in free agency, with an eye on getting tougher against the run and building an elite all-around defense.It’s an unconventional formula for team-building, but a roster engineered to keep the score low and close can make for upsets. Just last year, the Buffalo Bills used a similar blueprint to win nine games despite having the league’s fifth-worst offense. So if the Browns defense is better than their offense is bad, and they get a few lucky bounces of the ball on special teams, Cleveland might have a winner for just the third time since the franchise was reborn in 1999. Baltimore Ravens2014 Record: 10-6 | 2015 Projected Wins: 9.0 | Playoff Odds: 54.7%Offensive Rank: 15th | Defensive Rank: 5th | Special Teams Rank: 2ndA slight favorite in the AFC North according to ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index (FPI) ratings, Baltimore is more likely than not to make its seventh playoff appearance since 2008. In part, that’s because general manager Ozzie Newsome is playing his own brand of Moneyball. One of his favorite strategies: using free agency to build depth and plug roster holes, rather than trying to sign big-name players at a premium. It’s an approach that keeps the Ravens out of boom-and-bust rebuilding cycles, and keeps generating tickets to the Plinko game that is the NFL playoffs.For instance, Baltimore needed to address its weakness at secondary this offseason. Although the Ravens were tough against the run1They allowed the NFL’s third-fewest rushing expected points. and consistently put pressure on opposing QBs, they also allowed the league’s 10th-most expected points added (EPA) through the air because injuries forced them to field a handful of scrap-heap defensive backs. So Newsome added cornerback Kyle Arrington and safety Kendrick Lewis in free agency to bolster the secondary — moves he could afford to make because of cap room freed up by trading defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for draft picks. The deft deal-making2Along with the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith from injury. is a big reason experts think Baltimore will reclaim elite-defense status this season.Another signature Newsome move was to let free-agent wide receiver Torrey Smith walk, rather than paying the $22 million sticker price he was eventually guaranteed by San Francisco. While other teams shell out for expensive free-agent receivers such as Smith, Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace, Newsome has had success with cheaper options. Take Steve Smith, whom the Ravens were able to sign on the cheap3Paying only an average of $3.5 million per season. a year ago because of his advancing age (he was 35 last season). All Smith did in his Baltimore debut was produce one of the top receiving seasons in Ravens history — and help quarterback Joe Flacco post the best Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) of his career.Even running back Justin Forsett, whose breakout season lifted Baltimore’s yards per carry from last in the league in 2013 to a tie for sixth last season, was paid only $730,000 a year ago — a pittance by RB standards. Forsett got a raise for 2015 but should benefit from another secret weapon smart teams often use: continuity. All five starters on the Ravens’ offensive line are also returning, and incoming offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is expected to keep predecessor Gary Kubiak’s running scheme.Newsome appears to recognize a few fundamental truths about the NFL: namely, that bank-breaking offseason pickups are rarely worth the trouble and that teams are better off using their money to build depth and bolster multiple positions. It’s a formula that has served the Ravens well over the years and should continue to pay off in 2015. Read more: 2015 NFL Previews FiveThirtyEight is previewing the 2015 NFL season ahead of the first game of the year. Check out our coverage of every division » Cincinnati Bengals2014 Record: 10-5-1 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.4 | Playoff Odds: 42.1%Off. Rank: 14th | Def. Rank: 12th | S.T. Rank: 8thFPI predicts that the Bengals will be solid again in 2015, and one of the primary reasons is continuity. Twenty-one of their 22 starters are back from a year ago, which ties for the second-most returning starters any NFL team has carried into a season since 2006. Plus, prodigal defensive end Michael Johnson returns after a season in Tampa Bay, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict might (eventually) come back from the knee injury that cost him most of 2014.While researching FPI,4I was on the production analytics team that developed FPI this summer. we found that consistency like this, especially when the team is already decent — as the Bengals were last year — is a small but reliable predictor of success. And in the absence of a first-class quarterback, Cincinnati needs all of these small things to go its way if the team wants to stay competitive.Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton has a lifetime QBR of 51, which pretty much makes him the definition of average. (QBR is scaled where the league-wide mean is 50.) Fans and observers have spent years wondering if Dalton can become a top passer, but four seasons of consistently middling numbers probably suggest that we’ve seen his best. He’s dependable, and even good enough to make a winner out of a team if it surrounds him with talent. But rarely do quarterbacks blossom into something new after four full seasons in the NFL.So instead of counting on Dalton to be great, Cincinnati has built a balanced roster that doesn’t need a star turn at QB. Wideout A.J. Green, for instance, picks up the slack by serving as Dalton’s target more than 30 percent of the time, one of the highest shares for any receiver in the league. Although Dalton played well enough to win two of the three games Green missed last season, it would be unwise to think the Bengals offense would prosper for long without Green’s ability to stretch defenses downfield.And defensively, FPI projects the Bengals to bounce back after a down year in 2014. Cincy’s defense had allowed the NFL’s second-fewest overall EPA and fifth-lowest rate of yards per attempt two years ago, but they fell to 16th and 20th, respectively, after the departure of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer a year ago. Losing a coordinator can be surprisingly traumatic for a defense (more on this later), so they should be better in Paul Guenther’s second season at the helm.Continuity, on both the roster and coaching staff, is one of several small factors Cincinnati will have to rely on this season. Because unless, by some miracle, Dalton turns into a top passer, the Bengals need all the advantages they can get. In preparation for the 2015 NFL season, FiveThirtyEight is running a series of eight division previews, each highlighting the numbers that may influence a team’s performance (including projections and rankings based on ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index). Today we focus on the AFC North, where Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have all taken the division title twice over the past six seasons. Will the defending-champ Steelers hand it off again this year? And can the Browns finally break into that group? Pittsburgh Steelers2014 Record: 11-5 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.3 | Playoff Odds: 41.4%Off. Rank: 9th | Def. Rank: 24th | S.T. Rank: 4thThe Steelers had a very un-Steeler-like team in 2014. The offense was white-hot: Antonio Brown led all NFL receivers in fantasy scoring5Using ESPN’s standard scoring system. by a wide margin, Le’Veon Bell finished second among running backs, and Ben Roethlisberger ranked fifth among quarterbacks.6Even Heath Miller ranked 11th among tight ends despite seeing the fourth-lowest target frequency of any qualifier at his position. The defense, on the other hand, was full of holes, as age7They were one of the oldest defenses in the league. and free agency8They lost a number of veterans, including Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley and Ryan Clark. caused a unit once nicknamed the “Steel Curtain” to allow the league’s third-worst rate of yards per play.Pittsburgh still used that bizarro-world formula to squeak past its rivals for the division crown. But it doesn’t bode well as a blueprint for sustainable winning, because there are reasons to think the defense won’t rebound even as the offense falls back to earth.By virtue of regression to the mean, we usually expect defenses to bounce back from uncharacteristically bad seasons, but Pittsburgh’s situation is complicated by the departure of legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. When developing FPI, we found that defensive coordinators have a similar (albeit smaller) impact on defense as quarterbacks do on offense — namely, that when a team has a returning coordinator, its defensive performance tends to be better and more consistent between seasons. Conversely, when a new coordinator comes in, the defense usually declines a bit9Regardless of its previous quality. and generally is harder to project.10In statistical speak, the variance is higher in projections involving new defensive coordinators. So it’s difficult to say whether the 2015 Steelers will be any better defensively than the 2014 team.And Pittsburgh might not be able to afford another down defensive year. Although the Steeler offense was surprisingly strong in 2014, it’s probably not realistic to expect a repeat performance — most obviously because Bell will be suspended for the season’s first two games, but also because the team is unlikely to be as healthy as it was last season. Not only was Pittsburgh’s offensive “injury score”11A weighted total of players designated as “out,” “doubtful” or “questionable” by the NFL’s official weekly injury reports. the lowest of any team a year ago, but the team also lost less than half as much playing time to injury as the average NFL offense from the past nine years. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll be so fortunate again.This doesn’t necessarily mean Pittsburgh needs a complete rebirth of the Steel Curtain defense. (The FPI projections still point to the Steelers being a top-10 team, after all.) But with Baltimore and Cincinnati each boasting a slightly higher probability of winning the division, the defense probably has to improve if the Steelers want to repeat as AFC North champs.
✗ +3 Dodgers1946196642772133.3 Yankees1976198621931127.3 ✓ Over the course of the past decade, the San Francisco Giants put together one of the strangest dynasties in baseball history. And now it is officially coming to an end.The Giants still have five players left over from their 2014 championship season, but the returns have diminished greatly since then. The team is in last place in the National League West; the FiveThirtyEight model currently predicts it to finish 70-92, which would be one of the worst records in franchise history.1Technically the 2017 version was even worse, although that team at least had injuries to blame (and a playoff appearance the year before to suggest a potential turnaround). And it could get worse by season’s end, with ace Madison Bumgarner (among others) on the trade block.The Giants got here in part by trying to extend the dynasty past its expiration date. But who can blame them? When a team’s initial successes defy the odds, it can be especially difficult to know when a downturn is permanent or just a detour along the road to another title. This is especially true of San Francisco, which sandwiched two mediocre nonplayoff seasons in between World Series titles. But we come here not to bury the Giants’ dynasty but to praise it — and imagine how Farhan Zaidi, the new president of baseball operations, might construct another one where the original once stood.So what makes the Giants’ dynasty of the 2010s — and yes, it was a bona fide dynasty — maybe the most interesting ever?Up and downThe simplest answer to that question lies with the team’s every-other-year pattern of success. In even-numbered years from 2010 through 2016, the Giants’ winning percentage was .557; in odd years, it was only .506. But plenty of teams have gone on wild championship roller-coaster rides. The Giants’ version was one of the most memorable because of how unexpectedly it materialized and how difficult it was to get a handle on, even while it was happening.Sabermetrics pioneer Bill James has a method of determining dynastic runs that involves giving out points for seasons of various accomplishments. He keeps a running tally of a team’s dynasty points after each season; whenever a team’s running total hits 10, it automatically becomes a dynasty — of which there have been only 38 in baseball history. ✓✓✓ ✗ Source: billjamesonline.com ✓✓ ✓✓ Cardinals196319712104944.4% ✓✓ +1 ✓✓+2 ✓✓+3 Phillies197619831142825.0 Seasons ✓✓✓✓✓+6 Giants201020163103742.9 ✓✓ ✓+1 Bill James’s dynasty accounting systemWhat an MLB team must do in a season to earn or lose dynasty points ✓✓+4 Yankees19201943106162425.0 +5 Made Playoffs?Won Division?Won Pennant?Won World Series?Losing record90+ Wins?100+ Wins?Dynasty points Keeping in mind that the majority of San Francisco’s dynasty took place in the double-wild-card era, where in theory it is easier to snag an occasional playoff berth to keep the run going, you could argue that a Giants-like run is even harder to pull off now than during the Cardinals’ era (most of which happened when the “playoffs” consisted only of the World Series).If all of this sounds like a knock on what San Francisco accomplished, it’s not. It actually just makes it more fascinating: Only nine teams in history ever won three World Series in a five-year period anyway, and none of those had anywhere near as many ups and downs — nor proved as many doubters wrong — as the 2010-16 Giants did.Growing a dynasty … on top of a dynasty?Surprisingly, that run actually began on the heels of another dynasty, at least according to James’s accounting system. The 2000-04 Giants hit a running total of 10 points as well, despite not winning any championships, because they won at least 90 games five years in a row with two division crowns, a pennant in 2002 and 100 victories in 2003. That team was powered by Barry Bonds at the peak of his historic hitting powers,4And with Bonds allegedly benefiting from performance-enhancing drugs. with help from second baseman Jeff Kent, pitcher Jason Schmidt and shortstop Rich Aurilia. But the club’s performance fell after much of Bonds’s supporting cast signed elsewhere (SB Nation recently made a great video about the bitter Bonds-Kent feud), and the Giants’ main attraction in the ensuing seasons was Bonds’s largely joyless pursuit of Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.By 2008, Bonds was out of baseball and the Giants were terrible, winning just 72 games. They had just three players who had been ranked among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects in the previous few seasons: pitchers Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez. Their farm system ranked just 23rd in baseball. Practically nothing about the Giants’ situation suggested that another dynasty was around the corner.But as bleak as San Francisco’s outlook appeared to be, the ingredients were largely in place for the run that was to come. To go with Cain and Lincecum, fellow dynasty cornerstones Bumgarner, Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt would all be drafted in 2007-09, while third baseman Pablo Sandoval and reliever Sergio Romo both made their MLB debuts in the summer of 2008. Nine players were on all three Giants championship squads — Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, Sandoval, Romo, Lincecum, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez — and of those, six were either acquired by or made their MLB debuts for San Francisco in the 18-month span between May 2007 and November 2008. The team had also hired manager Bruce Bochy away from the division-rival San Diego Padres prior to the 2007 season.The Giants’ penchant for acquiring and developing homegrown talent helps explain a good amount of their success earlier this decade. From 2010 through 2016, only two teams (the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays) got more total wins above replacement5Averaging together the WAR versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. from players who initially debuted with the team than San Francisco did. That group was headlined by Posey and Bumgarner, both of whom were top-10 draft picks, but it also included a fourth-rounder (Crawford), fifth-rounder (Belt) and 18th-rounder (Matt Duffy) who each peaked as 4-win players or better despite their lack of pedigree.Spare parts to the rescueThose Giants were made all the more interesting by the odd veteran pieces that filled in the gaps around the homegrown talent, particularly in the postseason. Journeyman castoffs Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff led the 2010 Giants in regular-season WAR, while that year’s NLCS MVP was Cody Ross (who had been claimed off waivers from the Marlins in August), and the World Series MVP was veteran shortstop Edgar Renteria, who had missed more than half the regular season with injuries.The trend continued in subsequent title runs. Outfielder Angel Pagan rebounded from a disappointing 2011 season with the Mets to produce 4.4 WAR for the Giants in their 2012 championship campaign. Melky Cabrera, on his fourth team in four years, was the All-Star Game’s MVP and hit an NL-best .346 that year before being suspended for performance-enhancing drugs (and recusing himself from the batting crown). Second baseman Marco Scutaro, picked up via trade in July, claimed NLCS MVP honors. After Posey and Bumgarner, frenetic outfielder Hunter Pence, acquired four days after Scutaro, was the Giants’ best player by WAR in 2013 and 2014, posting an 1.167 on-base plus slugging in the 2014 World Series. Even in 2016, obscure third baseman Conor Gillaspie provided playoff heroics when his ninth-inning home run won the NL wild-card game over the Mets.This quirky combination of young draftees and veteran reclamation projects helped each Giants championship team forge a different identity. The 2010 team was widely identified with Lincecum, Cain and eccentric, heavily bearded closer Brian Wilson. The 2012 version had evolved to become Posey’s team (he was named NL MVP) with Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda,” inheriting the role of postseason talisman from Wilson. And the 2014 season was all about the dominance of Bumgarner, who became virtually unhittable in October, winning the NLCS and World Series MVPs. Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean continually found ways to retool the roster on the fly, returning it to a championship level even after a 76-win season in 2013 suggested to many that San Francisco’s days of winning it all were probably over.An extraordinary timeThe Giants’ dynasty was also lucky to come along during an era of comparative parity in Major League Baseball. In 2015, my colleague Rob Arthur and I noted that MLB was getting tougher and tougher to predict during the decade of the 2010s, which happened to overlap with the entirety of San Francisco’s run to that point. In particular, the share of variance in team records explained by luck — which tracks with how compressed team records are across the league — had spiked upward to 64 percent that season, the highest mark since right after the 1994 strike.The Giants weren’t particularly dominant on paper during their dynastic years, never finishing higher than sixth in baseball in Sports-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System during any of their championship seasons, but it was the perfect moment to be a good team that gets hot at exactly the right time. Although it is unlikely that San Francisco’s World Series runs were wholly (or even mostly) the product of making the playoffs and having the postseason crapshoot fall in their favor three times, there’s no denying that the Giants’ path was made easier by the lack of super-teams across the rest of MLB.And now, those days are gone. (Not that it would help the current Giants much if they weren’t.) Starting in 2016, the league became very much top-heavy and thus much easier to predict than it had been earlier in the decade. The simultaneous emergence of juggernauts in the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians over the past few seasons have left the next tier of teams feeling the squeeze. Yes, some of today’s reduced parity also owes to the surplus of tanking teams trying to emulate the championship runs of the Cubs and Astros, but the teams at the top are also just stacked with talent. That has made it much tougher to be a merely solid ballclub with World Series aspirations.The aftermathAfter falling short against the Cubs in the 2016 NL Division Series, the Giants hoped to return to contention with largely the same group plus ex-Nationals closer Mark Melancon (who’d been good the previous season). Instead, Bumgarner injured himself in an early season dirt bike accident, Melancon was terrible, and the team collapsed to 64 wins. Then San Francisco doubled down on reviving its even-year magic in 2018 by trading for 30-something stars Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. It didn’t work: Longoria was a disappointment at 1.2 WAR, McCutchen was traded to the Yankees at midseason, and Bumgarner was injured again. After 73 wins last year and this season’s 20-26 start, and facing Bochy’s retirement at the end of 2019, the franchise has finally begun staring down the specter of a rebuild.It’s easy to look back with hindsight and criticize the moves San Francisco made to try to keep its window of contention open. Well after the 2014 championship, for instance, the Giants signed pitchers Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Melancon to long-term deals totaling $282 million, which looks like a terrible waste now — as well as a betrayal of the dynasty’s original homegrown roots.But this was also the same team that rode out a playoff absence in 2011 to win again in 2012, and a 76-win disappointment in 2013 to win again in 2014. As Bumgarner told the L.A. Times before this season, “Pretty much every year we’ve won, we were not expected to win.”The retool-on-the-fly mindset served the Giants well — until it didn’t.As much as the failure of recent big-name acquisitions to recapture their former glory has hurt the Giants, another big factor has been the failure of the team’s homegrown core to age gracefully — and the lack of anything in the pipeline behind it. Although Crawford can still make the occasional spectacular play, he is down from a 5-win player in 2016 to a subreplacement one now, and he’ll make $15.2 million each of the next two seasons after 2019. Belt was worth 4.2 WAR in 2016; now he’s on pace for a more middling 2.2 WAR in 2019 despite his $17.2 million salary, which also repeats in 2020 and 2021. Duffy fell off in 2016 and was traded for Matt Moore, who was miserable for the Giants in 2017 and was himself dealt for peanuts.Even with Bumgarner healthy, the Giants have the league’s worst starting rotation according to WAR. And recent drafts have produced little of note. The farm system ranked 26th in Keith Law’s preseason rankings. Things suddenly look dire again.Rebuilding the next dynastyWith Sabean’s successor, Bobby Evans, removed from his post as general manager last September, the man tasked with rebuilding the Giants now is former Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi, who has gained a reputation as an innovator and a genius since leaving his doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley to join the Oakland A’s front office under billion-dollar Billy Beane in 2005.Zaidi began shaking up San Francisco’s usual methods with a seemingly endless stream of anonymous signings before the season, in the hopes that at least some of them turn into viable major leaguers. That dizzying roster carousel did not let up once the season got underway, either. The team has started to employ modern pitching tactics like using an opener (which went poorly) and having position players like Sandoval throw mop-up innings (which went well!).But Zaidi has also run into friction six months into his new job. Already a figure of suspicion among Giants fans for his Dodger background, Zaidi was booed by season-ticket holders (granted, at Zaidi’s own urging) during a preseason meet-and-greet after he mentioned potentially using the opener. More seriously, he was openly criticized by Derek Holland after the pitcher was demoted from the starting rotation.Maybe all the constant roster-shuffling and other analytics-minded front-office techniques will pay off for San Francisco in the long run. But for now, the Giants are a bad team that can only get worse. The players are noticing — and so are the fans. AT&T Park was home to baseball’s third-best attendance mark as recently as 2017, but no team has shed more fans per game this season than San Francisco, whose 2019 attendance is down by more than 6,000 as compared with last year.How long will the Giants’ rebuild last? It might take a while to clear the current roster’s worst financial obligations from the books. Even in a world without Bumgarner, the team has $124 million committed to just seven players next year, with a payroll that could balloon to $172 million after arbitration and options are picked up. But as San Francisco’s ill-fated late push to sign Bryce Harper showed, the team hasn’t ruled out shelling out money for talent despite starting a new chapter in franchise history. Zaidi’s tightrope walk between alienating one of baseball’s best fan bases and genuinely refreshing the roster should be interesting to watch over the next few seasons.But it does also mean that the Giants dynasty of the early teens is firmly in the rearview mirror. What San Francisco accomplished then still defies statistical explanation to a certain degree, even acknowledging that most dynasties need an unlikely string of good fortune to build a great roster with long-term staying power. Through a combination of strong starting pitching, an impressive homegrown core and unbelievably shrewd veteran pickups, the Giants put together one of baseball’s most improbable strings of championships ever — a run that will be better appreciated only as it recedes into the realm of history. Now we have to see what Zaidi can do as a follow-up act.Check out our latest MLB predictions. ✗-2 ✓ But every dynasty also has to end. When a team has a zero-point season, its rolling tally drops at least 2 points (it falls by 3 if the team also has a losing record). When the rolling tally dips to zero again, or the team has three straight pointless seasons, the dynasty is definitively over.2And the dynasty’s final season is retroactively set to the last year in which the team picked up any dynasty points.This decade’s Giants officially qualified as a dynasty by hitting 10 points after the 2014 World Series victory, ultimately extending the span of their run from 2010 to 2016 with one additional playoff appearance.3Technically the Giants haven’t had three straight zero-point seasons or a running total of zero yet (their running total was 3 through 2018, which was their second-straight zero-point season), but our model gives them next to no chance of picking up any dynasty points — and thereby extending the run — in 2019. But of those seven seasons, three contributed nothing to (and therefore actively detracted from) San Francisco’s running dynasty total. Among the 38 distinct teams that James’s system considers dynasties, only one — the 1963-71 St. Louis Cardinals — had a higher share of their “dynasty years” contribute nothing to the dynasty itself. +2 Cardinals1926193531731030.0 The weirdest dynasties ever?Among MLB dynasties (as defined by Bill James’s point system), largest share of seasons during a run that contributed zero points to the dynasty In general, a season contributes nothing to the dynasty if the team fails to make the playoffs or win 90 games.Source: Baseball Databank Angels200220091112825.0 -3 Red Sox2002201841851729.4 TeamStartEndTitlesMax Dynasty PtsZero-PtTotalZero-Pt Share Dodgers1973199121381942.1
Ohio State wrestler Ke-Shawn Hayes rolled into the 2016-2017 season fresh off a 29-1 unattached record in his redshirt campaign. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsKe-Shawn Hayes is one of the quietest guys in the room.The redshirt junior is not normally the one first thought of when looking at the Ohio State wrestling team, with senior captain Myles Martin, redshirt junior Kollin Moore and redshirt senior Micah Jordan on the roster.Hayes knows he often goes unnoticed. It’s something he has embraced. “It’s easy to go unnoticed with the talent on our team. I’ve done pretty well so far,” Hayes said. “With the injury I had my freshman year and I also wasn’t named an All-American last year, it especially seems easier to go unnoticed, but I’m just trying to get better every day and improve every time I step on the mats.”After ending his redshirt freshman season in November after suffering a knee injury in 2016, Hayes bounced back in a huge way last season, recording an overall mark of 29-7 with eight technical falls, seven major decisions and a pin. He placed third in the Big Ten Championships that season, earning the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Championships. According to Hayes, the knee injury hasn’t affected his ability to compete or earn accolades. This season, he said he is feeling better than ever before.Hayes said the competition on Ohio State’s roster is a grind to face in practice, but will help him in the long run. “Anytime you face this high level competition all the time, in our room alone, let alone the Big Ten season, it’s a grind on your body, especially when you’ve been doing it for so long,” Hayes said. “I’ve had a lot of little things here and there like anyone else, but I’m just trying to get better in my wrestling so that I have a lesser risk of another injury. Wrestling when you’re tired after an injury is something that I put off and it really hurt me last year, but I’ve been working on it and it won’t be an issue this year.”Having success on the wrestling mat has never been a problem for the redshirt junior.Dating back to his high school days, Hayes was the No. 4 overall recruit by InterMat and finished with a 38-0 record as a senior, leading Park Hill to its third-straight Missouri state championship. He won all but seven of his matches by pin or technical fall and was named the Kansas City All-Metro Wrestler of the Year.Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said Hayes’ track record in high school made him a valuable recruit and into what he is for the Buckeyes now. “Ke-Shawn has always been a winner,” Ryan said. “He’s a gritty guy who has great character. He gets it done on the mats and in the classroom as well. He’s a great kid and a leader.”Hayes has racked up a nice list of accolades on the mats to be proud of, but out of all his accomplishments, Hayes said it’s his academic career at Ohio State that he is most proud of.“I’m most proud of the fact that I’ll be able to graduate early and have a Master’s Degree by the time I’m finished here,” Hayes said. “That’s definitely what I’m most proud of.”
The world’s governing football body, FIFA has announced a list of official logos for each of 32 participating teams in the 2018 World Cup having Russia lead with the slogan “Play With an Open Heart”“The votes have been counted. The fans have spoken,” FIFA said in a statement according to Tass“We now have the 32 slogans that captured the hearts, and votes, of the global FIFA Club community!”Fan dies after setting herself on fire protesting Iran’s ban on women spectators Manuel R. Medina – September 10, 2019 A young woman from Iran set, only publicly known as The Blue Girl for the color of her favorite club Esteghlal, has died from her injuries after protesting Iran’s ban on female fans.Before “Play With an Open Heart” was approved in the course of the voting the other two variants in the previous top-three had suggestions of “The Russian Bears Stride to Victory” and “With a Full Heart the Entire Nation is Pursuing the Dream.”“The winning slogans will be displayed on the 32 team buses at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia,” the statement from FIFA said adding that each lucky slogan creator will be awarded a trip to Russia for the world football championship.Reigning World Champions Germany will have the logo saying “Let’s Write History Together, while the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup Champions Portugal may be recognized in Russia during the World Cup under their official logo “The Past Is Glory, The Present Is History”.
With all English teams set to feature in the draw for the Champions League last 16, there is a huge possibility they could face some tricky ties considering their group stage positions.Man City finished as group winners despite an opening day defeat at home to Lyon, while Liverpool, Spurs, and United could only settle for the second spot.While the three second-place finishers will be delighted to move onto the next stage, they might not be as happy when they learn their fate in the last 16 draws on December 17.UEFA rules state that teams who played in the same group cannot be drawn against each other, and neither can teams from the same country.With that in mind, these are the potential opponents for the Premier League teams in the upcoming draw.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.Man City’s potential last 16 opponents: Roma, Ajax, Schalke, Atletico MadridMan United’s potential last 16 opponents: PSG, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto.Spurs’ potential last 16 opponents: PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto, Juventus.Liverpool’s potential last 16 opponents: Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto, Juventus, Barcelona.
No medical report yet in Capron death Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 12 Sept 2015 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government offers sincere condolences to the family and friends on the death of the late Rev. Dr. Conrad Howell.The Premier, Dr. The Hon. Rufus W. Ewing, in deep reflection commented, “Our nation has suffered a tremendous loss today. Rev. Howell, as he was known to many, was a true patriot to our country and a soldier for our people. During his lifetime, he has made an invaluable contribution to the development of our society we are truly blessed to have known the late Rev. Dr. Conrad Howell and he will be greatly missed.” As the host of the popular Radio Talk Show, Expressions, Rev. Howell also stirred dialogue and national debate on some of the most controversial topics of our time but one of Rev. Howell’s most notable national accomplishments is the penning of the National Song This Land Of Ours.Our prayers are with the family and friends of Rev. Dr. Conrad Howell. May God be your source of comfort during this difficult time. May He strengthen you and keep you and may He bless these Turks and Caicos Islands. Related Items:death, Rev Dr. Conrad Howell Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Adaptation of National Song debuts in memory of writer, Conrad Howell Haitian gov’t official under investigation commits suicide