20 Oct
2020

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, August 4

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionBDS ban violates right to free speechWhile everyone was talking non-stop about the Muller testimony, free speech came under attack in America, not from Moscow but from Washington D.C., when HR246 passed in the House of Representatives.The bill opposes the BDS movement and similar efforts supporters  believe seek to delegitimize Israel, even though that isn’t what BDS does at all.All BDS seeks to do is boycott economic ties with Israel until it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and recognize the human rights of Palestinian citizens.Despite what many will tell you, nothing in BDS’s mission aims to delegitimize Israel or target the Jewish faith. But even if you genuinely disagree with BDS, it is a non-violent boycott movement practicing the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.Don’t just take it from me. Take it from at least three federal courts, which as of May 2019 have dismissed anti-BDS laws as unconstitutional. And take it from the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly ruled boycotting as a constitutional right. This bill sets a terrifying precedent for Congress’s ability to interfere in our freedom of speech. The fact that it passed with such an overwhelming majority and had several Congress people that I genuinely respect vote for it shakes me to my core. Kudos to the 17 who voted against it and shame on the 398 (including Congressman Paul Tonko) who voted in favor of it. I feel certain history will not look kindly upon this resolution. Matt OillSchenectadyWhy are fewer going to Saratoga track?Something is keeping the attendance down at the Saratoga Racetrack.Could it be the early opening of the track, or maybe too many major events going on in our area? Could it be everyone wants to live the American dream of a good life, nice homes, new cars, and family activities. There’s nothing wrong with this, except many people today live from paycheck to paycheck and they make good money.There’s an old saying, “It’s not how much that’s coming in that keeps you going, it’s what you don’t spend” and it’s true.Also, many folks don’t like what happens in the horse-racing world, as some of the horses have to be put down when they break a leg. Horses are taken care of very well in horse racing, but they do get hurt just like football players and in other sports. That’s the way it is.The racetrack people are trying to make racing safer for the jockeys and horses. There are risks in all sports and always have been. Let’s hope improvements can be made. The price of admission to the track increased a few years ago. Maybe they should lower the price to draw more people in.If it doesn’t cost much to get in, maybe more people will say, “Let’s go to the track.”Remember, you can now bet on the races at lots of places other than at the track.Sid GordonSaratoga SpringsEric Garner’s killing violated basic rightsRegarding the recent op-ed on the killing of Eric Garner, it’s curious that Attorney General William Barr treated the case as an ordinary murder.On the contrary, Garner was the victim of an extra-judicial summary execution, caught on video from beginning to end, carried out by an agent of the state who has a license to kill.To treat it as an ordinary murder case is absurd and an insult. Surely other standards must apply when an agent of the state takes the life of a citizen.This country was founded on the principle that we citizens have inalienable rights, the most important of which is the right to life.Our cops ignore this, as do their overseers.Our lawmakers, who are supposed to act in our interests, have done a poor job of protecting us from our own law enforcement personnel. This must change. With nearly a dozen civil rights acts already in place, we don’t need another one to force our police and military to respect citizens’ right to life.U.S. attorneys must be directed, with a legislative act or executive order, to prosecute every incident of police killing, based on violation of the citizen’s right to life. Demand that they also use appropriate sections of the RICO act, so that associates of the killer can be prosecuted as well.Barr should revisit the Garner case and treat it as a civil rights violation.Otherwise, he should be fired or impeached. Justice must prevail.Edgar T. LynkNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

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19 Oct
2020

Experts, activists call for heightened public scrutiny of COVID-19 policies, funding

first_imgExperts are encouraging increased public scrutiny of the government’s COVID-19 mitigation policies, as the House of Representatives and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) were less critical in their stances. Didin S. Damanhuri, founder of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), said that large-scale embezzlement could occur if COVID-19 response and spending were not monitored closely.“The public has to keep watch so that there is no the BLBI scandal volume 2,” Didin said on Tuesday during a public discussion held by the KPK.He was referring to the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) that the central bank provided to help failing banks during the 1998 monetary crisis. The recipient banks largely misused the funds, with the KPK estimating in 2019 that Rp 4.58 trillion (US$309.87 million) in state losses remained unrecovered.Didin stressed that public scrutiny was needed, as the House had passed the regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on COVID-19 mitigation with little resistance, forfeiting their chance to challenge the regulation.In addition to the implementing regulations the government has issued under the 2018 Health Quarantine Law, the controversial Perppu gives the government expanded authority to raise the deficit cap and reallocate funds from the state budget. The Perppu has drawn criticism for a clause that protects officials from legal liabilities, as long as they act “in good faith and in accordance with the law” in the implementation of related fiscal and monetary policies. Experts and activists have raised concerns that the regulation essentially gives carte blanche for officials to commit graft and embezzlement.Following the Perppu, the government announced it would roll out an economic recovery stimulus package worth Rp 641.17 trillion to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).Read also: Court summonses Jokowi, House to next hearing in COVID-19 response judicial reviewBivitri Susanti, a constitutional law expert at the Jentera School of Law in Jakarta, said during Tuesday’s discussion that she deplored the House for focusing on issues other than COVID-19 mitigation, including deliberating the revised 2009 Mining Law revision and insisting on passing contentious omnibus bill on job creation.“It’s like the House and the government are wearing blinders, while the people they represent are thinking about whether they will be able to eat tomorrow,” she said.Bivitri also urged the public to report any signs of embezzlement in COVID-19 mitigation to the relevant authorities, including the Indonesia Ombudsman and the KPK. She also called on the KPK to be more transparent in releasing public reports.Meanwhile, Indonesian Corruption Watch activist Kurnia Ramadhana suggested that the KPK might no longer be depended on to eradicate corruption. The revised KPK Law that came into effect in October 2019 has established a new hierarchical level above the KPK to install a supervisory council armed with veto powers, essentially stripping the commission its independence and its antigraft tools.Kurnia also noted that KPK chair Comr. Gen. Firli Bahuri, a police general whose appointment late last year prompted public debate, had recorded more controversies than achievements. He added that Firli had made fewer graft arrests while making more frequent visits to government agencies and the House compared to previous KPK leaders, who generally avoided meeting government officials.Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said that the public should communicate any dissatisfaction with the COVID-19 regulations and policies through legal channels, such as by filing a judicial review with the Constitutional Court or filing a class-action lawsuit.Usman also said that the public should find new ways to exert political pressure on the government amid the current social restrictions. For example, he said, a car caravan protest was held in the United States so protesters could maintain physical distance while making their voices heard.Topics :last_img read more

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23 Sep
2020

Williamson seeks career third Wild West Shootout title

first_imgBy Ben DeatherageEUGENE, Ore. – One of the top contenders to challenge for the fifth annual Wild West Modified Shootout crown is Eugene’s Jesse Williamson.The current Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified campaign has treated him well with four feature wins in only a handful of starts. Two Modified main events have been won in the Modifieds at Cot­tage Grove Speedway while he also has won at the historic 1/4-mile clay oval in a late model.“It has been a good year so far,” said Williamson. “We’ve been fast every time but in a couple of races we’ve broke when contending for the win.”Williamson is the 2012 and 2013 Wild West Modified Shootout champion and is the only driver to repeat a Speedweek crown. Add to his résumé four Cottage Grove Modified Nationals, a Ship­wreck Beads Northwest Modified Nationals crown and last year’s Lon Skinner Memorial victory at Southern Oregon Speedway.He is the all-time leading winner in the history of the Wild West Modified Shootout with six but unfortunately did not manage to win during the 2014 tour. Williamson remains very confident that can return to victory lane during the upcoming Speedweek.“We’ve been working really hard on the car,” he said. “I feel like we are the most prepared we have ever been for a Speedweek.”All seven Speedweek features pay $1,000 to win, a minimum of $100 to start and are Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying events. Drivers with perfect attendance earn shares of a $3,000 point fund.Teams from Oregon, Washington, California, North Dakota, Montana and British Columbia are expected to make the journey.The tour opens Saturday, June 13 at Southern Oregon Speedway in White City, with following stops Sunday, June 14 at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka, Calif.; Monday, June 15 at Coos Bay Speedway; Tuesday, June 16 at Cottage Grove Speedway; and Wednesday, June 17 Sunset at Speedway Park in Banks.After a travel day on Thursday, June 18, Speedweek concludes with Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 shows at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon.Alex Stanford is the defending tour champion; Brian Poppa topped the inaugural tour standings in 2011.Stanford is second on the Speedweek career wins list with five, followed by Poppa with four, Ken Schrader with two and Mark Carrell, Braedon Hand, Scott Lenz, Travis Peery, Nick Trenchard and Mark Wauge with one eachlast_img read more

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23 Sep
2020

O’Neil bests Thornton in Cocopah classic as Morris tops Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods

first_imgO’Neil made a bold three-wide pass on the high side to drive from fourth to second in the first set of corners, then powered around the outside of Kollin Hibdon to lead lap one. Thornton, Hibdon, R.C. Whitwell and Tom Berry Jr. rounded out the top five.  Tim Gonska led the final 16 circuits of the Hobby Stock feature to win by 1.5 seconds over Scott Tenney.  Canadian driver Brendon LaBatte came from seventh to claim the Stock Car victory in dramatic fashion. LaBatte was in third as he crossed under the white flag but passed Gene Henrie for second going down the backstretch before powering around Steffan Carey to win the feature in a drag race to the checkers.  Ricky Thornton Jr. moved his way up to the second spot from the fifth starting position by lap four and quickly set his sights on O’Neil. Thornton searched every inch of the oval be­fore taking command of the lead on lap 15.  “I thought once he got by me it was over. Usually when that guy gets to the lead there is no catching him,” O’Neil said. “I just threw a Hail Mary at it and started running the heck out of the car and it ended up working out.” Feature Results  Northern SportMods – 1. Miles Morris; 2. Cody Thompson; 3. Chris Toth; 4. Wayne Dot­son; 5. Ron Schreiner; 6. Jimmy Davy; 7. Taylor Kuehl; 8. Shelby Frye; 9. Manny Baldiviez; 10. Brian Carey; 11. Kyle Salo; 12. Mike Wells; 13. Bill Lundock; 14. David Pitt; 15. Jackie Frye; 16. Chase Alves; 17. Slade Pitt; 18. Camron Spangler; 19. Ty Rog­ers; 20. Javier Navarro; 21. Justin Brierley. Before the feature, the field gave the traditional four-wide salute to the fans, but left the pole position open in memory of Jamestown, N.D. driver, Don Gumke, who passed away ear­lier in the week. Gumke competed at Cocopah the prior weekend.  Stock Cars – 1. Brendon LaBatte; 2. Steffan Carey; 3. Gene Henrie; 4. Loren DeAr­mond; 5. Troy Jerovetz; 6. Cody Center; 7. Aaron Spangler; 8. Nuggett Shupe; 9. Jody York; 10. Tony Hill; 11. Jake Smith; 12. Tyler Vache; 13. Raymond Doyle; 14. Wayne Dotson; 15. Leslie Gill; 16. Chanse Hollatz; Austin Daffern; 18. Andy Altenburg.  Hobby Stocks – 1. Tim Gonska; 2. Scott Tenney; 3. Joshua Cordova; 4. Brad King; 5. Jason Beshears; 6. Andy Pearce; 7. Oscar Duarte; 8. Jason Penny; 9. Francisco Cor­dova; 10. Jeffrey Callis; 11. Jim Robinson; 12. Jason Duggins.  O’Neil quickly mounted another charge as the lead duo sliced their way through slower traffic. O’Neil finally cleared Thornton Jr. to take the point with four laps to go and held on for the victory. Repeat winners were seen in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks. Jake O’Neil won his second straight IMCA Modified feature in the Jan. 16 Winter Nationals show at Cocopah Speedway. (Photo by Bobby McMorris) SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 16) – Some of the best racing seen to date at Winter Nationals was displayed Thursday evening, and Jake O’Neil ended the night at Cocopah Speed­way with a second straight $1,000 IMCA Modified feature win. Modifieds – 1. Jake O’Neil; 2. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 3. Kollin Hibdon; 4. R.C. Whitwell; 5. Tom Berry Jr.; 6. Alex Stanford; 7. Randy Havlik; 8. Chaz Baca; 9. Tim Ward; 10. Darrell Hughes II; 11. Marlyn Seidler; 12. Spencer Wilson; 13. Casey Arneson; 14. Austin Ku­ehl; 15. Austin Kiefer; 16. Jerry Flippo; 17. Jeff Taylor; 18. Russell Allen; 19. Travis Mos­ley; 20. Zane DeVilbiss; 21. Braxton Yeager; 22. Bill Miller; 23. Jason Noll; 24. Justen Yeager; 25. Joey Price. Defending track champion Miles Morris raced to the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod victory. Morris held off 12th place starter Cody Thompson.  Miles Morris made his way to victory lane following the Jan. 16 Winter Nationals Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod main event. (Photo by Bobby McMorris)  By Mike Spiekerlast_img read more

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21 Sep
2020

Crunch time approaching for Pardew

first_img But he acknowledged that irrespective of Cabaye’s situation it is essential for the club to bring in new faces to add to their solitary summer signing Loic Remy before the transfer window shuts early next month. Pardew said: “We know we’ve got some business to do and the next nine days are very important to this football club. I’m still fighting and I’m determined to make a success of this season for our fans.” Pardew would not elaborate on Cabaye’s absence but did hint at his imminent departure when he said: “We need to get ourselves in a situation where if he stays, great, and if he doesn’t we need to get someone equally as good.” Pardew watched his side fail to muster a single shot on target on a dreary afternoon at St James’ Park, but almost saw them snatch victory when substitute Sammy Ameobi hit a cross against the inside of the post in injury time. With Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen stranded, the ball bounced down to a surprised Yoan Gouffran who somehow conspired to scoop the rebound over the bar when it would have been easier to score. Other than Ameobi’s late effort Newcastle’s best chances were a couple of off-target free-kicks by Hatem Ben Arfa, who has impressed Pardew in the way he has bounced back from last season’s nagging injury issues. “One thing Hatem showed today and against Manchester City is his hamstring is fine and he’s still got that burst of pace,” said Pardew. “I was pleased with his commitment, and that bodes well for us.” Newcastle boss Alan Pardew knows he is heading into one of the most crucial periods of his three years in charge of the Magpies after enduring more frustration in Saturday’s goalless Barclays Premier League draw with West Ham. Yohan Cabaye was once again left out of Pardew’s matchday squad and his future on Tyneside looks increasingly bleak with Pardew indicating the club must step up their search for a replacement. Pardew did not comment on reports Cabaye had refused to play since Arsenal lodged an initial £10million bid last Monday, with both the Gunners and Paris St Germain expected to table improved offers next week. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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18 Sep
2020

AB de Villiers speaks about comeback to South African side

first_imgTHE South African cricket team is going through a bit of a transition period. The situation had risen after the retirement of some key individuals who had carried the Proteas. Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy are some of the players who have retired from international cricket. But, the early retirement of the South African batsman AB de Villiers has definitely impacted the side heavily.Recently, while playing in the Big Bash League 2019-20, the right-handed batsman had said that there have been talks of his comeback to international cricket. The comeback would see him primarily focussing on winning the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 for the South African side.Since Mark Boucher signed up for the role of head coach, his aim has been to take the side in the right direction. Boucher has openly expressed his desire to have ABD back in the side. Former skipper Faf du Plessis, also expressed his interest to have the retired star back for the ICC T20 World Cup.Speculations were that de Villiers will play some international cricket before the start of the IPL but that didn’t happen. With the cash-rich league being postponed till April 15, RCB player opened up on the possibility of an international comeback.“Let’s wait and see what happens. My focus is on the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the moment and helping Royal Challengers Bangalore realise our full potential. Then we will sit down and have a look at the rest of the year and see what is possible,” de Villiers said as quoted by Sportstar.For now, it seems AB is planning not to hurry into making any decision. The 36-year-old had retired from international cricket in 2018. He did try to get into the South African squad before the World Cup 2019. However, the team management didn’t let him. In the end, the World Cup turned out to be disastrous for the Proteas.Talking about his decision of retiring, he said, “Each player must consider his own circumstances and make his own decision. I reached a point where I wanted to see more of my wife and two young sons and seek a reasonable balance between family and cricket. “The mental and physical demands on the leading players are massive these days, but each player must decide what he can and can’t do.” (CricTracker)last_img read more

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17 Sep
2020

Fontan sparks Trojans

first_imgOn the basketball court, USC junior guard Jio Fontan is used to success.At powerhouse St. Anthony High School (N.J.), the Paterson, N.J. native was a three-year letterman. As a sophomore, his team went 24-2 in the regular season before bowing out to eventual New Jersey state champion St. Patrick’s in the round of 16.Fast start · Despite not playing in the Trojans’ early season games, junior guard Jio Fontan has made a strong first impression on teammates while helping USC to a 4-2 record with him in the lineup. Fontan and the Trojans face Oregon and Oregon State in Pac-10 play this weekend. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan As a junior, the Friars went undefeated in the regular season before again falling again at the hands of St. Patrick’s, who would go on to defend their state title.As a senior co-captain, he helped lead St. Anthony’s to another undefeated regular season, and the Friars finally avenged their losses to St. Patrick’s en-route to a 32-0 season and a state and national championship.Five of his teammates received Division I scholarship offers to school like Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Kansas.While not as heavily recruited, Fontan was still nationally-ranked as a point guard and considered schools such as St. John’s and George Mason, but eventually committed to play across the Hudson River at Fordham University in New York, attempting to turn around the once proud program.Fontan found personal success immediately, leading Fordham in both scoring and assists as a freshman, and earning a spot on the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie team. But the Rams went just 3-25, and Fontan requested to be released from his scholarship. Following a 1-4 start in 2009, the school granted his release.“I wanted to get out of Fordham,” Fontan said. “I was not happy with the situation there. I did not feel comfortable, and I did not like the direction that the program was headed in.”It was a big risk for Fontan, who had no visits planned or transfer offers at the time of his release. He quickly found himself being recruited, however, by several major programs, including Tennessee, Miami and Alabama, but ultimately committed to the Trojans after watching them rout then-No. 9 Tennessee in December 2009.Fontan enrolled at USC in spring 2010, but because of NCAA transfer rules was not eligible to play for a year following his transfer. Nonetheless, he reaped praise from teammates and coaches alike, especially for his court leadership.“He’s going to lift our team up a couple more levels, just by his presence, his ability, his leadership,” said USC coach Kevin O’Neill after Fontan’s transfer. “I’ve been coaching basketball for 30 years, and unless I’m completely out of my mind, he’s going to be the best leader I’ve ever coached.”“The thing about Jio, everything he says, people listen,” said senior guard Marcus Simmons.Since he first took the court as a Trojan, that leadership ability has clearly manifested itself.His debut came against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. where the Jayhawks had won 64 consecutive games.  Although USC ended up losing by two points, Fontan started, played 35 minutes, scored 15 points and was an integral part of the Trojans’ 14-point comeback in the second half.Three days later, he scored 13 points in 30 minutes as the Trojans knocked off then-No. 18 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.In just his third game as a Trojan, Fontan led the team in scoring with 21 points in a win over Lehigh. In fact, he has scored double digits and played at least 30 minutes in five of his six games as a Trojan, and USC, as a result, is 4-2 in that span.“If we did not have Jio these last six games, we would be 2-4 or 1-5,” O’Neill said.“He is a commander on the court,” said senior forward Alex Stepheson. “He is able to guide and help the other wing players, especially the younger guys.”Despite the accliam, Fontan is not satisfied. “I am my biggest critic,” he said. “I don’t feel I’ve played a complete game yet.”Fontan, however, not only sees room for improvement in himself, but in the team.“We need to do a better job playing a complete game,” he said. “At times, we take too many plays off and fall asleep on defense or take bad shots on offense. We have not hit our peak yet, and that is a beautiful thing.”But overall, Fontan is quite happy at USC, saying the “best part about USC is the weather,” and that he even texts his dad, Jorge, back in New Jersey to compare it.In fact, Fontan likes it so much he says he wishes his family could relocate with him to Southern California.On the basketball side, Fontan says he is “getting more and more comfortable adjusting,” and O’Neill certainly agrees.“He’s our glue out there,” said the second-year coach. “He leads us.”Before arriving at USC, Fontan said his vision was “to play major minutes right away and help this team as much as possible.”Through six games starting in the Trojans’ backcourt, there remains little doubt he’s done that.last_img read more

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16 Sep
2020

Syracuse completes season sweep of Boston College in 5 sets

first_img Published on November 24, 2019 at 11:47 pm Contact Nick: nleconom@syr.edu After losing to both Louisville and Notre Dame on the road last weekend, Syracuse rebounded with a come-from-behind, five-set win over Boston College on Sunday afternoon. This is Syracuse’s second victory against the Golden Eagles this season, with the Orange winning in Chestnut Hill on Nov. 6 in five sets. Sophomore outside hitter Polina Shemanova led Syracuse with a game high 24 kills and 11 digs. In the first set, the Orange (11-13, 8-9 Atlantic Coast) jumped out to a 20-18 lead over Boston College (19-11, 10-7) with strong play from sophomore setter Elena Karakasi. The first-year starter was key in providing Shemanova and fellow outside hitter Ella Saada easy opportunities for kills. Syracuse kept scoring runs alive by capitalizing off Boston College attacking errors. But back-to-back kills from Golden Eagle outside hitters Cat Balido and Carly Kutschke tied the set at 20. Then, a slew of errors from Syracuse gave Boston College a set point, and the Golden Eagles took the set, 25-23 on a hiy from Karakasi that was blocked by Amaka Chukwujekwu.The Orange dominated Boston College for the early part of the second set. Solid play from junior middle blocker Dana Gardner forced Boston College into multiple attacking errors, as Syracuse secured a 20-14 lead with a kill from Saada. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textErrors from Shemanova and Saada, combined with consecutive kills from outside hitter Clare Naughton, cut Syracuse’s lead to 20-18. But Syracuse would hang on and win the set with three straight points, ending the set with a block from Gardner. The third set was defined by inconsistent play from both sides. Boston College opened the set strong, as stellar play from Naughton and Syracuse attacking errors led to nine unanswered points for the Golden Eagles, making the score 12-7. With the score of 14-8, two kills from Saada and four BC attacking errors drew the score level at 14. Boston College would find steady play toward the end of the set, as a kill from Jill Strockis won the set for Boston College, 25-21. The fourth set, though, was dominated by the Orange. Syracuse pushed the score to 24-12 behind Gardner and junior Yuliia Yastrub’s net play. SU won the set with a kill from Shemanova, forcing a fifth. Syracuse took the momentum gained from its fourth set performance into the decisive fifth. With the score tied at six, three kills from Shemanova sparked six straight points for the Orange. Later in the set, she forced match-point with her 24th kill. Karakasi won the match for the Orange with a soft tap over the net.Syracuse concludes the regular season with a match against 11-win Clemson on Friday in the Women’s Building. The Orange won the first meeting in five sets, as Shemanova recorded 24 kills in the road win.     Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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28 Aug
2020

FRYER: Dear Liverpool, Firmino’s the gem you’ve been waiting for

first_imgRupert Fryer guest blogs about the man everybody’s talking about, whether it be transfer-mad English fans or Copa America spectators.With three defenders closing in, Neymar darted through space and in on goal. It was time to step up.After five consecutive victories since their disastrous World Cup exit, Brazil’s defence had been breached for the first time. Tied with Austria at 1-1, Dunga needed a saviour.His captain just needed the ball. With nothing but clean air between him and the Austrian goalkeeper, Neymar peered over his shoulder at the gangly kid with ball at his feet and braced himself. He needn’t have bothered. With little space for the pass, the kid ignored his team’s on- and off-pitch leader and fired an unstoppable drive into the top corner.Dunga had has win.And in instant Brazil wondered if it had found its no.9, even if it was someone they’d never heard of. When the 23-year-old Roberto Firmino was named in the squad for the first time in October last year a significant portion of the Brazilian media were scrambling to answer the question on everybody’s lips: Who?Both may have tales from their respective childhoods substituting a ball for a teddy bear at bed time but while Neymar was looking around the Real Madrid facilities as a 13-year-old, Firmino was surviving poverty and enduring failed trials with the likes of Sao Paulo before moving east to begin his career with the less fashionable Figueirense club in Florianopolis.No over successOne of the scores of Brazilians who left his homeland having barely made a splash in the local pond, he was plucked from the second-tier by German club Hoffenheim for around €4.5 million in 2010.   He was no overnight success: after a tricky start during which the club wondered if the move would prove a costly mistake, he overcame ails of indiscipline and poor punctuality before settling down and bulking up to adapt to the increased physicality of European football.His breakthrough season arrived in the 2013-14 campaign as he hit 16 goals in the Bundesliga, adding 12 assists. A ‘nine-and-a-half’, he can operate as a traditional centre-forward or drop off to help build the play and work in the pockets of space around onrushing colleagues.Time and again he’s displayed his ability to shoot from range and has also improved in the tight confines of the penalty area as a poacher. He graduated from a promising attacking midfielder to an all-round forward far away from the often parochial gaze of his compatriots.But he’s certainly no stranger now.He returned to the Brazil squad for the next set of friendlies in March and again came off the bench to score a winner, this time hitting the only goal of the game against Chile in London to exhibit his ability to time his runs and show a cool head in front of goal. “He can play for any club and with playing for Brazil that comes much easier,” Dunga said after that match-winner.Liverpool’s new manHe’s had to work for it, but Liverpool fans needn’t worry too much that he began the Copa America behind Diego Tardelli – a complete unknown to most European viewers – in the pecking order for Brazil’s false no.9 role – the introduction of which was intended circumvent Brazil’s lack of striking options and bring the best out of Neymar.Tardelli has lightening pace and roams from his position much more, leaving greater space for the Barcelona forward exploit (as he did for the equaliser against Peru last week). Neymar’s best post-World Cup performances have arrived when partnered with Tardelli.But with Neymar no more, it’s Roberto Firmino who looks to have won the battle to lead Brazil’s line after once again proving a match-winner as his goal gave the now Neymar-less Brazil a winning start in the 2-1 victory over Venezuela on Sunday. A shy and affable character when in front of the microphones or walking the hotel lobby, the Brazilian media have grown fond of his awkwardness in front of the cameras.Not that he’s afraid to stand up and be counted on the pitch, proving only too happy to take responsibility and unleash long-range drives at goal.  Schooled in Europe, the transition to the Premier League shouldn’t pose too many problems.Neither should another step into the limelight. He announced his arrival in international football by showing a willing to upstage the posterboy, captain and world-renowned ‘craque’.   “I think the time has come to take the next step,” he said this week. He’s been taking giant ones in recent months. Roberto Firmino has decided games for his country, and is certainly capable of doing the same at Anfield.–Rupert Fryer is a freelance journalist who has covered South American soccer for The Guardian, The Observer, The Score, Goal, ESPN, Fox Soccer and more. Graphics by courtesy WhoScored.last_img read more

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27 Aug
2020

NBA trade rumors: Suns expected to make forward Trevor Ariza available

first_img Devin Booker on Suns’ future: ‘I’d like to build a super team’  “I’m not one to get somewhere and then just duck out,” Ariza said. “I’m one to be in it, regardless of whatever the situation is. Fight until the end. That’s the type of person that I am, and that’s what I expect.”Ariza has averaged 9.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game for the struggling Suns this season. He has shot 37.2 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.   Trevor Ariza may not be with the Suns for the rest of the season.Rival teams believe Phoenix will listen to offers for the 33-year-old forward, according to a report from the New York Times. Ariza signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Suns in the offseason and is not eligible to be traded until Dec. 15. Devin Booker injury update: Suns star dealing with hamstring issue, no timetable for returncenter_img Multiple contenders are expected to be interested in dealing for Ariza, the report says. Teams had been hoping the Suns would buy out Ariza, but Phoenix is hoping to receive “at least one” asset back in return for him.Ariza is on a one-year, $15 million deal with Phoenix. Interested teams have been hoping the Suns would just buy Ariza out like they did with Tyson Chandler, but they are expected to pursue trades to try to get at least one asset in return— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 4, 2018Ariza addressed the report in an interview with The Athletic on Tuesday.  Related News The 15-year veteran spent four seasons with the Rockets before he signed with Phoenix. The Suns will face the Kings on Tuesday. They’ll carry a 4-19 record into that matchup.last_img read more

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