7 Nov
2019

Championships Not Just a Players Domain

first_imgThe NQ Championships has always been a pillar on the Touch calendar for players across North Queensland, but the appeal that it has for referees is something else altogether.Always regarded as the “must attend” for the North’s referees, 2013’s event was no different with 44 referees making the pilgrimage to Townsville for two days of the best Touch Football in North Queensland.Such is the appeal of the event to referees, the NQ contingent of officials was joined by three referees from “the South”; Sunshine Coast’s Greg Kidd, Danielle Nunn and Hayden Smith.For Nunn and Smith the NQ Champs has become somewhat of a regular trip, having attended the event for the last two years but, for Kidd, this year’s event was a brand new experience.“For me it’s a total eye-opener, something that I’ve never had the chance to do before. I’ve been to plenty of tournaments over the years, but I haven’t enjoyed one like I have this weekend.”The three aren’t the first to make the trek north to participate in the event, the event has regularly included referees from outside the region and it’s something that NQ Touch Executive Officer, Billy Grant, is very proud of.“We have a quality event up here and it’s no surprise that referees from outside the region want to come up. They know that they are looked after when they come up and they always leave wanting to come back next year.”Adding to the appeal for referees is the fact that it is one of the only non-state events in the country to be endorsed as a “Level Four upgradeable” event, enabling referees to be considered for upgrade to Level Four; another feat that Grant is proud of.“We were endorsed by TFA for the first time in 2010 and since then we’ve had the chance to upgrade several of our referees to Level Four. We’ve even been able to upgrade some referees from down south too.”This year, Nunn joined the upgrades list, receiving her Level Four badge alongside NQ Referees Chris Benstead, Andrew Watkins (Townsville Castle Hill) and Linda Miller (Mackay).The North Queensland Touch Association would like to congratulate the following referees who were upgraded over the weekend.Level ThreeKarl Raffe – Townsville Castle HillNoel Lang – MackayDarryl Lyon – Charters TowersRegan Cheetham – MackayBob Pentacost – Cairns PiratesLevel FourChris Benstead – Townsville Castle HillAndrew Watkins – Townsville Castle HillLinda Miller – MackayDanielle Nunn – Sunshine CoastThank you to Kerrod Hall from North Queensland Touch for providing the content.Related LinksNot Just a Player Domainlast_img read more

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28 Oct
2019

a month agoChelsea boss Lampard welcomes Klopp’s BVB comparison

first_imgChelsea boss Lampard welcomes Klopp’s BVB comparisonby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Frank Lampard has welcomed praise from Jurgen Klopp ahead of Liverpool’s visit on Sunday.The German likened them to the youthful Borussia Dortmund side he developed.“I just respect him hugely. It was a nice thing for me going up against him in the Super Cup because I’ve got a huge respect,” said Lampard.“I love the way he’s come into that club, his charisma but not just that, professionally how he went in there and has his way and doesn’t mess about and quite rightly he’s got the success he deserves for how he works.“So I’ll take words from him as a fantastic and experienced coach about my players and what they’re doing and hopefully working in the right way, and be happy with that.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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14 Oct
2019

Life sentence for man in sweetheart slayings

first_imgAPTN News An Alberta man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing high school sweethearts on the Whitefish First Nation.Edward Devin Gladue entered a guilty plea in Peace River, Alta., Monday.He was charged with second-degree murder for the deaths of Dylan Laboucan and his girlfriend, Cory Grey.The sentence means Gladue can apply for parole in 13 years. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to committing the double murder on July 23, 2016.Court heard the young couple was inseparable and lived together in the Laboucan family trailer. That’s where Gladue found and shot them, before moving their bodies to separate locations in the northeastern Alberta community.Gladue is also banned from owning firearms for life, and was ordered not to communicate with the families of the victims.No motive for the murders was provided in court.news@aptn.calast_img read more

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13 Oct
2019

Investors reacquaint themselves with turmoil in the markets

first_imgInvestors may be feeling a bit unsettled after a few days of market turmoil upset months of tranquility.A slide that started early last week led to a sharp dive in markets Friday and Monday. The fall on Monday alone represented the steepest drop in 6 1/2 years. That can rattle a few nerves. Things seemed to have stabilized Tuesday, easing fears of a global sell off.Market professionals say investors should stay calm — although they can’t guarantee markets will do the same.So what should you do? Here are a few answers to common questions:WHAT JUST HAPPENED?No one thing triggered this.The markets took a marked turn downward Friday after the monthly U.S. jobs report showed that wages surged in January, representing the sharpest year-over-year gain since the recession. That stoked concerns about higher inflation because as companies raise pay, they often raise prices and that cycle can speed inflation.The Federal Reserve is already expected to raise short-term interest rates this year with the economy growing. But inflation worries raise concerns that the Fed will increase rates at a quicker pace. Higher borrowing rates can be a challenge for corporations over time as they want to borrow money to grow and it drives investors to bonds rather than stocks.The selling continued Monday, in what most experts are saying is just an overdue correction. Some believe automated trading also played a role as the systems that buy and sell stocks may have been triggered. Trading was choppy Tuesday but the U.S. market mostly recovered after an early plunge.HOW BAD WAS IT?Not that bad, really.That big two-day drop only erases a few months of gains. Plus, market pros have noted that declines of 10 per cent or more are common during bull markets. And this has been the second-longest bull market on record.There hasn’t been a correction in two years, and by many measures stocks are awfully expensive.“Market corrections are normal, no matter how nerve-wracking they are at the time,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.And after an extended period of market calm, it serves as a good reminder that stocks are volatile.WHAT SHOULD I DO?The answer can be one of the toughest parts of investing: Stay calm.“Just hang in there, maintain a long-term perspective and resist the urge for any knee-jerk reactions,” McBride said.Stocks go up and down — that is the nature of the market.People should be making their investments as part of a long-term plan, one that won’t be entirely hijacked by a few days of losses. And there may even be more volatility ahead — there’s no way to be sure.Check in with your financial planner or investment firm if you are feeling uneasy. It may be a good time to look at your portfolio and make sure it has a mix of assets that you are comfortable with. After the market’s big run-up, you may have more of your portfolio weighted toward stocks than you realize.Vanguard said that it counsels customers that changes to their portfolio should be made because their life circumstances, or their time horizon, have changed — not because of inflammatory headlines or “noise.”Some people may want to take advantage of the dip to buy. Others may want to revisit their strategy. But those who want to get out of the stock market altogether should take pause, said Ken Hevert, senior vice-president for retirement at Fidelity Investments.It’s easy to get out during down times but hard to get back in for a recovery. And drops of 5 per cent to 10 per cent are typically followed by a pretty rapid recovery period, he said, adding that current conditions are favourable for growth.last_img read more

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12 Oct
2019

Housing sales down 5 in JanMar 2019 on changes in GST rates

first_imgNew Delhi: Housing sales dipped by 5 per cent to 75,706 units in nine major cities during January-March period because of transition in GST rates, according to a report by property brokerage firm PropTiger. The company, which is part of News Corp-backed Elara Technologies that also owns Housing.com and Makaan.com, Monday released its ‘Real Insight Report’ for Q4 2018-19 that tracks housing sales and new launches in nine major cities — Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Gurugram and Noida. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra”Housing sales in India’s nine key property markets declined 5 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) and new project launches fell 32 per cent annually during Q4 2018-19,” the report said, adding that the unsold housing stock numbers declined by 10 per cent. PropTiger attributed the decline in home sales numbers to changes in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) transition rules. In contrast to PropTiger report, real estate consultant Anarock recently said housing sales rose by 58 per cent to 78,520 units in seven major cities during January- March period of 2019. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysData analytics firm PropEquity said sales saw a 5 per cent rise at 56,146 units during January-March 2019 over the year-ago quarter in the nine major cities. As per the PropTiger data, housing sales rose maximum in Hyderabad by 26 per cent at 7,059 units in the January-March quarter of 2019 from 5,618 units in the year-ago period. Gurugram witnessed 10 per cent rise in sales at 5,764 units from 5,220 units in the corresponding period of the previous year. Sales in Kolkata were up by 8 per cent at 3,623 units. Pune saw 5 per cent rise in sales at 14,348 units from 13,712 units during the period under the review, while Mumbai reported 4 per cent increase in sales at 23,718 units. However, housing sales declined by 23 per cent in Bengaluru to 8,402 units. Chennai, too, witnessed 13 per cent dip in sales at 4,197 units. Ahmedabad reported 10 per cent dip in sales at 4,739 units. The maximum fall in was in Noida, with sales dropping by 50 per cent at 3,856 units. “While there might not be any significant improvement in new launch and home sales numbers in the first quarter of 2019-20, things may start to change after the results of the Lok Sabha elections are announced. “In fact, as more clarity emerges pertaining to GST issues, these numbers might see improvement in the quarters that follow. Property rates would also see an upwards movement in the times to come,” Elara Technologies Group Chief Operating Officer Mani Rangarajan said. In late February, the GST Council decided to cut GST rate on affordable homes to 1 per cent from earlier 8 per cent. The GST on under-construction flats, which are not under the affordable housing segment, was reduced to 5 per cent from 12 per cent earlier. The new GST rates were made effective from April 1. The developers were also denied input tax credit.last_img read more

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28 Sep
2019

Even If They Dont Win Tonight the 76ers Are Getting Better

The Philadelphia 76ers are one loss from tying the NBA record for longest losing streak. And barring an enormous upset on the road against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, they’ll tie the 26-game run of futility by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-11. The Sixers have a better chance of losing their last 11 games of the season than they do of beating the Rockets to avoid matching that ignominious record.But in a lost season in Philly, fans have two reasons to hope the 76ers can keep from setting a new losing-streak mark. First, up next after Houston is a home game Saturday against Detroit. The Sixers have a 1-in-3 chance of winning that one. Second, they’ve played well recently, in the latest demonstration that wins and losses alone don’t show how well a team is doing.An NBA team’s probability of winning a game depends on its performance level as measured by Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System, its opponents’ SRS, and home court. Incorporating all three factors,1I used SRS — a formula based on teams’ margin of victory and schedule strength — regressed to the mean by adding seven games of league-average play, as suggested by my colleague Neil Paine last year. Then I used the formula for win probability outlined by Justin Kubatko last year on his blog. I found that Philadelphia has a 4 percent chance of beating the Rockets on Thursday. Houston is more than five points per game better than league average, and will play with home-court advantage against a Sixers team with a typical level this season of 11.5 points per game below average.So, let’s say the Sixers lose to Houston as expected. Then Detroit comes to Philadelphia, with a losing-streak record on the line. The Pistons are three points below league average, and will be playing on the road. Philadelphia has a 34 percent chance of winning the game, and a 33 percent chance of breaking its losing streak. (I’m accounting for the minuscule probability that the 76ers beat the Rockets first.)Detroit is the second-easiest game left on Philly’s schedule, after a home date with Boston in the season’s penultimate game. The Sixers have a 38 percent chance of winning that one, but just an 8 percent chance of breaking their streak in that game, because most likely it will have ended before then.I ran the numbers on Philly’s chance of winning each remaining game, as well as of breaking the streak in each game. The latter probability is lower than the former for each game after the one against Houston, because two conditions must be met: Philly must win, and must not have won before. Based on these calculations, Philadelphia has a 12 percent chance of finishing the season on a 36-game skid — or three times its probability of beating Houston on Thursday.Some factors might make it easier for Philly to win than these probability calculations suggest. Opponents that have clinched their playoff spot and seed, or that have been eliminated from the postseason, might rest their stars. Then again, no team wants to lose to an opponent with a losing streak of 25 games — or longer.There’s another reason Philly’s chances might be better than they look: In the Sixers’ last five games, they’ve been closer to mediocre than terrible. I evaluated their performance level by taking their margin of defeat in each game, adjusting for home-court advantage2The average home team wins games this year by 2.57 points per game, through Monday, the day Philadelphia last played. and opponent strength.3Based on SRS, regressed to the mean with seven league-average games. In four of the last five games, the Sixers have played better than their typical level this season.4Again, regressed to the mean with seven average games. Without that step, Philadelphia is an even worse 11.5 points below league average. They were within five points of league average in their one-point home loss to the Knicks, and were even better in a nine-point road loss to the East-leading Pacers. In that game — in which Philadelphia trailed by three with under two minutes left — the 76ers performed at a level just two points below league average.Moral victories don’t end losing streaks. But they could bode well for Philly’s chances. Already, the Sixers have attained their best average level over five games since the five games that immediately preceded the start of their losing streak, in which they went 2-3.5The last of those five games was their last victory, and it could easily have been a defeat: Philadelphia trailed Boston by a point before Evan Turner’s last-second shot. If Boston had won that game, and all subsequent events were unchanged, Philly’s losing streak would now stand at a record 29 games. Philadelphia’s average level over its last five games — 7.2 points below league average — is 10.5 points better than its level during the 25-game losing streak. It’s also better than the 76ers’ average level during three separate 2-3 stretches earlier in the season.So, over the last five games, the Sixers have improved to a level somewhere between the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks, the two teams just above them near the bottom of the league power ratings. Does that mean the chances of the 76ers winning their remaining games, and of ending the streak, have gone up? History doesn’t provide many precedents. Just six other NBA teams have had losing streaks of more than 20 games. Two of those streaks extended over two seasons, and any effect of the team’s level at the end of the first season was unlikely to carry over to the start of the next season. The Charlotte Bobcats lost their last 23 games of the season in 2011-12, and showed little sign of winning a game near the end: Their performance in four of their last six games was more than 20 points below league average.That leaves three teams that broke losing streaks of longer than 20 games during the regular season: the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, in the first year of the franchise; the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets; and the 2010-11 Cavs. The Grizzlies suffered the worst loss of their 23-game losing streak two games before ending it. The Nuggets showed no signs of improvement near the end, performing at least eight points below average in each of their last eight losses. The Cavs, though, signaled their potential toward the end of their record 26-game streak: Their best five-game run of the streak came in the last five games, including a three-point loss in Dallas against a strong Mavericks team two games before Cleveland finally won, beating the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime.These streaks had at least one thing in common: All three teams won their first game in more than 20 against teams performing at a level more than two points below average. So circle that game against Detroit, Sixers fans — and be ready to circle the home game against Boston if Philly doesn’t get it done against the Pistons on Saturday. read more

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28 Sep
2019

Quantifying the That Guy Is Still in the Major Leagues Phenomenon

While watching Tuesday’s spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves, some of us in the FiveThirtyEight office were surprised to see Tigers shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Didn’t Gonzalez retire years ago?He was Atlanta’s everyday shortstop in 2011, but over the past two seasons, Gonzalez was thoroughly forgettable, playing just 65 games for the Milwaukee Brewers (hitting .211 and producing -0.8 wins above replacement). If you go back to 2009, when Gonzalez was 32, he seemed particularly unlikely to be in the majors five years later.This got us thinking: Could we quantify the “Wait … he’s still playing?” question. Our idea was to use a player’s age and WAR to predict whether he would be an active major leaguer a half-decade later. To that end, we plugged every player from the designated hitter era (1973-present) into a logistic regression model. The result will tell us the likelihood of a given player being in the league five seasons later. For example, here’s the arc of a generic Major League Baseball player who peaks as an All-Star (5 WAR) at age 27:So for players in MLB this season (a list taken from Fangraphs’ depth charts), we looked at the odds at the end of the 2009 season that they’d still be playing today. Here are the most unlikely major leaguers:Gonzalez is not the most improbable player in the game. That honor belongs to catcher Henry Blanco, who was 37 in 2009 and had been hovering around replacement level for the previous three seasons. All else being equal, a player of that profile would have just a 3 percent chance of still being in the majors five years later, and yet Blanco is slated to be in the mix for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ backup catching role this season.Blanco underscores one of the themes of the list. The probabilities listed above don’t take into account the player’s position (beyond the positional adjustments in WAR) — just his age and performance. For most players, that’s enough, but backup catchers are a different breed. No other position is so well-represented among the “I can’t believe he’s still playing” set.One reason for this is that WAR, for all of its strengths, doesn’t incorporate a catcher’s receiving skills. Recent research suggests that elite pitch-framers such as the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jose Molina have a startlingly large impact on the game, far beyond what was originally believed in the sabermetric community.Another explanation, though, is that on-field performance isn’t necessarily the first thing managers look for in their reserve backstops. Instead, managers may place more value on intangibles such as clubhouse presence and leadership. How else to explain how backup catching became what Sports Illustrated once called “the cushiest job in baseball”? read more

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28 Sep
2019

2015 NBA Playoffs Preview

Derrick Rose is back in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Bulls, he’s not the Derrick Rose of four seasons ago, the one who won the MVP award and led the Bulls to their only conference finals since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. Since then, Rose, slowed by injuries, has played just 100 regular-season games and one playoff game. Now he is the only Bulls starter who rates below league average. That’s not enough to make Milwaukee the favorite in this series. Two Bucks starters are below league average, and Milwaukee will have trouble scoring with an offense that is well below league average. The Bulls should win this series — and enjoy the win, because in half of our simulations of the playoffs, they go out in the next round, most likely to LeBron James and the Cavs. — Carl Bialik Western ConferenceEach team is led by one of the best players in basketball: Stephen Curry on Golden State and Anthony Davis on New Orleans. So why do we think Golden State has a 92 percent chance to advance? Because Curry is better, and has much better teammates. Draymond Green, a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year, rates higher than Davis in the Real Plus-Minus player ratings we’re using from Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. Warriors sub Andre Iguodala would be the second-best Pelican. But this might not be a sweep: In their two games against Golden State in New Orleans, the Pelicans won once and forced overtime in the other. But Golden State’s formidable offense should dominate the Pelicans’ subpar D. The Warriors look a lot more like a team for the ages — with an impressive 48 percent chance of winning it all — than like first-round upset fodder. (We were a little stunned by that 48 percent number, but Basketball-Reference.com gives the Warriors about the same odds.) — Carl Bialik You might think the Celtics should just be happy to be here. After all, in late February, they only had a 12 percent probability of making the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Power Ratings. But rather than merely showing up, getting their souvenir T-shirt and accepting a first-round loss, Boston could give LeBron James and the mighty Cavaliers more trouble than they bargained for. While we can’t derive much meaning from the Celtics’ combined 216-168 margin over Cleveland in their two April matchups — the Cavs were mostly resting their key players — Boston is solid at both ends of the floor, with a great group of guards and a lot of depth. Over the course of the entire season, they were better offensively (relative to the league) than the Cavs’ defense was, and that only includes a few months of Isaiah Thomas. Our model says the Celtics are still unlikely to pull the upset, but they have the ingredients to be much more of a pest than they seemed to be a few months ago. — Neil Paine Portland won fewer games than Memphis (51 to 55) during the regular season, but because the Blazers won the comparatively weak Northwest division, they are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and the Grizzlies are the No. 5. But that seed advantage isn’t worth much. Since the Blazers had fewer wins, they will still be on the road for four of their seven potential games against Memphis. Making matters even more complicated, this series is so close that the question of home court could end up making all the difference. Only a tenth of a rating point separates them in our most recent power rankings. Our model gives the Grizzlies a 54 percent probability of winning, but that number would flip around to 53 percent for Portland if the Blazers had home court. Of course, the Grizzlies earned their home-court advantage by winning more games (against a tougher schedule, no less), and this arrangement is good for Portland, too — a 46 percent chance against Memphis is preferable to a 24 percent chance versus the Clippers, which is who they’d face if the conference were seeded purely by record. But this inverted 4-versus-5 matchup is another example of how convoluted and arbitrary the seeding process is in the NBA. And it’s another argument that the league should perhaps just ditch divisions (if not conferences) entirely. — Neil Paine With the latest FiveThirtyEight Power Ratings ranking the Spurs and Clippers as second and fourth, respectively, this matchup is one of the most compelling first-round matchups in recent memory.The defending champion Spurs enter this tournament as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference — far lower than the No. 2 seed they could have had if they had won their final game against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Despite that loss, they had a 21-4 record over their last 25 games, reasserting that they’re contenders despite a 19-18 stretch in the middle of the season.The story of their year has been the breakout of last year’s surprise finals MVP and zero-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs went 46-18 with him in the lineup, with an average margin of victory of 7.8 points per game — which would be second to Golden State’s 10.0 and matches the 7.8 they put up last year. Leonard’s 2014-15 Real Plus-Minus of 8.35 was second in basketball behind Stephen Curry’s, ahead of well-known small forward LeBron James’s. Oh, and he led the league in steals per game.The Clippers are no slouches, either — their SRS3SRS is a team’s margin of victory, adjusted for its strength of schedule. of 6.8 is second-highest in the league behind Golden State’s 10.0 (San Antonio is third, with 6.34). They’ve now won either 56 or 57 games in every full season of the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era, yet their dynamic duo has not made it past the conference semifinals.Although the Clippers have home-court advantage, the FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Spurs the edge, with a 53 percent chance of advancing. In fact, despite being projected to play any Game 7 from here on out on the road, San Antonio has the third-best chance of winning the championship, at 12 percent. The model gives the Clippers the fourth-best chance, at 8 percent. — Benjamin Morris It’s current MVP contender versus aging MVP winner (but the current contender is the one with the beard). James Harden versus Dirk Nowitzki. The Beard led the league in WAR, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metrics. With Harden, Houston has the edge — a 66 percent chance of prevailing, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Beyond Harden’s consistency, the Rockets have otherwise ridden the injury luck roller coaster. They enter the playoffs having lost two important starters: versatile big man Donatas Motiejunas and the feisty defender Patrick Beverley at the point. On the other hand, Dwight Howard has returned after missing half the season. The Rockets will need him to maintain their solid +3.2 defensive rating.For the Mavs, it’s been a tale of two seasons. After surprising the league with a hot start, Dallas stagnated after the All-Star break, going 14-13. In FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Power Ratings, the Mavs rated as the worst of the Western Conference teams to make the playoffs — even behind the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans. — Andrew Flowers The NBA playoffs are finally upon us, and like the 16 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien trophy, we’ve come prepared — not with basketball skills, mind you,1We shudder to think about what the advanced metrics would say about a FiveThirtyEight pickup team. but with graphics and numbers. Using the latest (postseason-optimized) version of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings, we simulated the playoff bracket 10,000 times, counting how often each team won its first-round series (as well as tracking which teams won the NBA title most often). We also put together charts highlighting each team’s key players, along with their multiyear predictive Real Plus-Minus2This is a slightly different statistic than the RPM you can find at ESPN.com because it uses data from seasons prior to 2014-15. We like the multiyear version because, among individual player statistics, it is the best predictor of future team outcomes. ratings, plus a comparison of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses according to the four factors of basketball. (Note that in some of our write-ups below, we use single-season RPM, so those numbers will be slightly different than the multiyear RPM we list in the charts.) So get settled in, maybe throw some chalk in the air, and enjoy the brutal, glorious two-month journey that is the road to the NBA championship. Eastern ConferenceThe Brooklyn Nets will not win the NBA championship. No, really: We ran 10,000 simulations of the playoffs, and the Nets were the only team to never win it all. They have only a 10 percent chance of moving on from their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. This is among the most lopsided matchups of the first round. The Nets, ranked No. 22 in FiveThirtyEight’s Power Ratings, are by far the worst team to make the postseason. With their 38-44 record and -2.9 point differential (the only playoff team in red), the Nets are lucky they’re in the Eastern Conference — further momentum for reform to the NBA’s postseason structure.Atlanta is coming off a franchise-record 60-win regular season; this should be a cakewalk for the Hawks (even after losing defensive stalwart Thabo Sefolosha to injury after a run-in with the NYPD). Atlanta is well-balanced: +2.9 points per 100 possessions on offense and +2.0 on defense. The Nets have a pedestrian offense (+1.1) but are a disaster on defense: At -4.7, their defensive rating is the fifth-worst in the league. If the Nets avoid a sweep, it’ll be an achievement. — Andrew Flowers This series features two teams that started out the season looking like they might be the next big thing (at least in the Eastern Conference). The fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors began the season 7-1 and made it all the way to 24-7 before a four-game losing streak started their 25-26 finish — with their final record only a one-win improvement on last year. The Wizards started out 4-1 and made it to 19-6, but have been 27-30 since, ultimately improving on last season’s 44-win campaign by just two wins.Both teams are led by All-Star point guards, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Washington’s John Wall, with Lowry making the All-Star team for the first time in the eighth year of his career (his third with the Raptors). ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus for this season ranks them as the fourth- and sixth-best point guards in 2015. Lowry performed a little worse than last year; his RPM dipped slightly from 4.3 to 4.1 and his WAR (wins above replacement) dipped from 11.6 to 9.4. But for Wall, 2014-15 was a big improvement on the year before: His 4.7 RPM and 12.1 WAR were both up from 2.2 and 8.3 last year, respectively.The FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Raptors a 60 percent chance of winning this series but don’t see either team as a championship contender. They give the Raptors a 1 percent chance of winning the title and the Wizards an even smaller chance. In the 10,000 simulations we ran, the Raptors or Wizards won the championship only 108 times, the fewest of any of the eight first-round matchups. — Benjamin Morris read more

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13 Sep
2019

Michigan Workforce Partnership Needs Technical Support for Social Network Analysis Project

first_imgAdvance Michigan and the Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan (WIN) are seeking competitive proposals to support their effort to carry out a social network analysis of community partnerships and resources supporting the southeast Michigan defense industry.The project, funded by DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment, calls for the contractor to:train WIN project staff to use and manage social network analyses;provide training and access to social network analysis software; andprovide technical assistance to project staff during the first phase of analysis to ensure success.The RFP is available on the Advance Michigan website. Proposals are due March 3. Please refer to the RFP for guidance regarding submitting questions and details of the bidders conference. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

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10 Sep
2019

How sleep apnea robs you of a good nights rest

first_img 1 Now playing: Watch this: How to improve sleep using tech 1:04 Comment How to get better sleep in 2019 Tags Causes and risk factors of sleep apneaAn “apnea” is a temporary pause in breathing. In most cases, it’s caused by tissue collapsing in the back of the throat (obstructive sleep apnea). When you fall asleep, the muscles of your upper airway relax. This narrows your airway, making it hard for oxygen to reach your lungs. If you sleep on your back, gravity can exacerbate this narrowing, because your tongue relaxes backward toward your throat. Central sleep apnea is usually linked to other medical conditions, such as heart disorders and brain damage.As far as risk factors, many things can influence your likelihood to develop sleep apnea, the most common and significant being excess body weight. Common risk factors for sleep apnea include:Excess weight: If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, your risk for sleep apnea increases.Large neck circumference: Your risk for sleep apnea is higher if your neck measures 17 inches or more for men, or 16 inches or more for women. This is because a larger neck has more tissue that’s liable to collapse during sleep. Age: Sleep apnea can affect people of any age, but it becomes more common when people reach young adulthood and middle age. Gender: More men get sleep apnea than women. For women, the risk of sleep apnea increases as they approach and go through menopause. High blood pressure: Hypertension and sleep apnea commonly coexist.Family history: If a family member has sleep apnea, your risk is higher, because sleep apnea can be inherited. Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol before bed can cause your throat muscles to relax even further.Smoking: Smoking can increase inflammation in your airways. POLYSOMNOGRAPHYTo be diagnosed with sleep apnea, you might undergo a polysomnography test. AMELIE-BENOIST / BSIP / Getty Images How do you get diagnosed with sleep apnea?In most cases, doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on a careful physical exam, sleep evaluation and sleep history. You may not be able to provide a sleep history by yourself, but you can enlist the help of someone who shares your bed or room.A sleep evaluation usually involves overnight monitoring at a sleep center, where machines measure your breathing and other body functions, such as your pulse, while you sleep. Sometimes, at-home sleep tests are an option. Tests that detect sleep apnea include:Nocturnal polysomnography: During this test, equipment measures the activity of your heart, lungs and brain, as well as your breathing and movement patterns and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.Multiple Sleep Latency Testing (MSLT): An MSLT tests for excessive daytime sleepiness by measuring how quickly you fall asleep in a quiet environment during the day. It’s often used to diagnose narcolepsy.  Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT): An MWT measures your ability to stay awake during the day by finding your sleep latency, or how long it takes you to fall asleep. Sleep latencies of less than eight minutes during the day are considered abnormal.Home sleep tests: At-home tests are usually simplified versions of nocturnal polysomnography that measure your heart rate, airflow, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels.In some cases, doctors refer patients to sleep specialist or otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose and throat or ENT doctor) for further evaluation, which can include a nasal airflow test and an examination to rule out any blockages in your nose or ears.Your doctor might also refer you to a cardiologist or neurologist to look for causes of central sleep apnea. A neurologist may conduct an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain waves and test for central sleep apnea, while a cardiologist can use an electrocardiogram (ECG) to rule out or confirm any heart complications. Man in his 30s with sleep apnea sleeping using CPAPCPAP masks are one of the most common way to treat sleep apnea. Alina Solovyova-Vincent / Getty Images How to treat sleep apneaYou can treat sleep apnea a few ways, and many people go through a series of trial treatments to find out what works best for their sleep apnea. Sometimes, it takes takes a series of trials to find the best treatment, and most people end up using a combination of common equipment, machines and therapies to get relief. Treatment options for sleep apnea include: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): Most people who seek treatment for sleep apnea start with CPAP. You choose a CPAP mask, which sends a pressurized airflow through your throat to open your airways while you sleep. If you use a CPAP, make sure to keep it clean. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP):  Similar to a CPAP, a BiPAP also provides a pressurized flow of air. The key difference is that it provides two different streams — one as you breathe in, and one as you breathe out.Chinstrap: Usually used in conjunction with a CPAP, chinstraps help you to stop breathing through your mouth. Oral appliances: If you don’t have severe sleep apnea, you could try custom-fitted oral devices that help keep your airway open. Just make sure to get one from a qualified dentist or orthodontist, not a one-size-fits-all appliance from the internet.Usually, your doctor won’t recommend surgery unless all other options have failed to treat and improve your sleep apnea. Most doctors suggest at least a three-month trial of other options before recommending surgery, which can include nasal reconstruction (such as to fix a deviated septum) or removal of adenoids — the soft tissue in the back of your throat. Symptoms of sleep apneaThe most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, but snoring on its own isn’t always indicative of sleep apnea. Snoring followed by silent pauses, gasping or choking sounds is likely a sign of sleep apnea. Because sleep apnea wakes you up frequently throughout the night (even if you don’t notice it), you can suffer from symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, unintentional napping and irritability or mood swings. Other symptoms include:Feeling tired, even when you thought you had a full night’s sleepInsomnia or trouble falling asleepHeadaches and migrainesLoss of memory Decreased sex driveNocturia (waking up at night to use the bathroom) Complications of sleep apneaWhen you have sleep apnea, your body is consistently deprived of oxygen throughout the night. This lack of oxygen can have negative long-term effects on your health. Sleep apnea has been associated with:Hypertension (high blood pressure) Cardiovascular disease StrokeDiabetes Depression Metabolic syndrome Liver problems Read more: This one tip will help you sleep better tonight 29 Photos Share your voice Sleep Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty You know the consequences of not getting enough sleep: mood swings, crabbiness, cravings, difficulty focusing and sluggishness. And when you don’t know why you can’t get enough sleep, the symptoms become even more frustrating. The culprits behind sleepless nights range from blue light to parasites — but you might be dealing with something more serious: sleep apnea.An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing while you’re asleep. With sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked when your body relaxes during sleep, limiting your lungs to little air flow.Characterized by loud snoring and often choking noises, sleep apnea causes your brain and body to become oxygen-deprived, often leading to frequent awakenings throughout the night. Depending on the case, it could happen a few times per night or hundreds of times each night.This guide goes over the different types of sleep apnea, causes, risk factors and symptoms to help you understand sleep apnea. You’ll also learn how to go about seeking a diagnosis and treatment options if you think you may have sleep apnea.Read more: What’s the difference between REM and deep sleep?Different types of sleep apneaThere are three types of sleep apnea, and the way they manifest in your body is different. But the end result is the same — all three deprive your body of oxygen.Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form of sleep apnea that occurs when your throat muscles relax, blocking your lungs from receiving oxygen.Central sleep apnea is less common, and it occurs when your brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles in your body that control breathing.Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, is the least common of all three. This occurs when someone exhibits signs of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea last_img read more

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10 Sep
2019

Mazda and Subaru hop on Toyotas selfdriving joint venture with SoftBank

first_img Post a comment 3:28 2019 Subaru Ascent review Enlarge ImageMonet Technologies’ first autonomous mobility contraption will likely be based on Toyota wild e-Palette concept.  Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow Last October, Toyota and SoftBank announced the creation of a joint venture called Monet Technologies, which seeks to mix big data and self-driving cars in an effort to create a whole little mobility ecosystem. Now Monet’s ranks are expanding in a big way.Five other Japanese automakers are hopping into Monet Technologies with Toyota and SoftBank, Reuters reports. The group comprises Daihatsu, Isuzu, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki. Each company will invest approximately 57 million yen (about $530,000) into the company, and in return, each automaker will receive a 2% stake in the company. SoftBank and Toyota both have 35% stakes, according to Reuters.If you’re wondering where the other 20% stake is, it’s split between two other Japanese OEMs. Honda and Hino, a Toyota subsidiary for trucks, both announced the purchase of 10% stakes back in March. The two companies paid about $2.27 million each for those slices of Monet Technologies.The goal of Monet is to build a self-driving car for use in various mobility enterprises, but the focus is on providing a vehicle for a ride-hailing venture that could go up against industry stalwarts like Didi Chuxing, Lyft and Uber. It’s believed that Monet will use a vehicle similar to the e-Palette concept Toyota showed off at CES 2018.The company will start its efforts in Japan, but it hopes to expand to other countries in the mid-2020s. Some of the companies involved have a past history already, especially when it comes to Toyota — Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki all have research and development agreements with the automaker. Subaru, for example, will co-develop a new EV platform with Toyota, while Mazda and Toyota are teaming up to built a joint-venture plant in the US. More From Roadshow Mazda Subaru Toyota 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel review: Was it really worth the wait? Autonomous Vehicles Car Industry Mazda SoftBank Subaru Toyota 22 Photos Toyota e-Palette is its vision for a multifunctional… Toyota e-Palette concept debuts at CES 2018 Tags 2019 Mazda CX-9 review: Losing its edge? Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 0last_img read more

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5 Sep
2019

Bombay Stock Exchange halts trading due to network outage

first_imgBombay Stock Exchange halts trading due to network outage1.4K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00Bombay Stock Exchange halts trading due to network outage1.4K viewsBusinessMumbai, July 3 (ANI): Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) halted trading on Thursday morning across all of its markets, including shares, currencies and indexes due to a network outage. Reportedly, all orders placed before the network outage would be cancelled. The exchange operator network service vendor HCL Technologies Ltd was working to resolve the issue. Stock Market Expert, Sunil Shah, said that the authorities are addressing the problem and have assured that trading will start soon.Ventuno Web Player 4.50Mumbai, July 3 (ANI): Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) halted trading on Thursday morning across all of its markets, including shares, currencies and indexes due to a network outage. Reportedly, all orders placed before the network outage would be cancelled. The exchange operator network service vendor HCL Technologies Ltd was working to resolve the issue. Stock Market Expert, Sunil Shah, said that the authorities are addressing the problem and have assured that trading will start soon.last_img read more

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5 Sep
2019

Prabhas Saaho forces Nerkonda Paarvai makers to play safe release of Ajithstarrer

first_imgAjith in Nerkonda Paarvai and Prabhas in Saaho.PR HandoutThe release of Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor’s Saaho in August is apparently giving jitters to the filmmakers, who had planned to release their movies in the same month. The massive hype followed by the gigantic for the recently-released teaser of the multilingual film has come as major worry to other producers and distributors, who are now planning to reschedule the release of their movies.The first such rumour to be heard from the industry is that the makers of Ajith’s Nerkonda Paarvai have decided to pre-pone their release. The Tamil film was scheduled for its release on 10 August, but now it looks like it will be out in July itself. Speculations are rife that Boney Kapoor has decided to release the film early, but yet to finalise the date.The first sign of early release came after the trailer release of Nerkonda Paarvai. However, the official confirmation is awaited.Saaho is a multilingual movie, directed by Sujeeth. It is an action thriller majorly set in the foreign countries. The teaser of the flick, which was released a few days ago, was packed with world-class chase scenes, fights and graphics.The teaser crossed over 60 millions views from all languages which tells the huge craze around the flick. Thus making producers of other films to play safe as releasing along with Saaho might eat into their business.Coming to Nerkonda Paarvai, it is a courtroom drama in which Ajith plays the role of an aged lawyer who fights for the three women falsely accused of various crimes. The film tries to project the misogyny in the society and how people judge women based on their dress.last_img read more

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5 Sep
2019

Union Budget 2017 Review by top Indian and global analysts bankers

first_imgWatched by 24.4 million viewers, finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2017 has got a positive response from most bankers, analysts, policymakers, brokerages and ratings agencies, though some have sounded cautious.Here, we bring you comments and observations made by them even as the stock markets gave thumbs up to the budget for the second day (Thursday), ending with gains of 85 points at 28,226. On Wednesday, the Sensex jumped 485 points to close at 28,141, while NSE Nifty ended 155 points higher at 8,716.Read: Union Budget 2017 gives 15,500 crore tax relief to individual tax payersDoor open for rate cut by RBI: DBS Bank The Union budget for FY17/18 (Apr17 to Mar18) adopted a balanced approach between maintaining fiscal discipline and pursuing inclusive growth policies.The FY17/18 fiscal deficit target was set at 3.2 percent of GDP, a modest deviation from the roadmap’s 3 percent. Market borrowings to finance the FY17/18 (referred to as FY18 in rest of the note) deficit were lower-than-expected, helping to cheer bond yields.With the government committed to fiscal consolidation, and 4Q16-1Q17 CPI inflation well below targets, the Reserve Bank of India might consider a 25bp rate cut at its policy meeting next week. The decision will be a close call. Nominal GDP for FY18 is expected to quicken to 11.8 percent from a revised 10.2% in FY17, and provide some cushion to next year’s fiscal ratios. If the measures are well-executed, Wednesday’s budget will boost rural and urban consumption, especially amongst low-income earners. This will provide a respite from the short-term dip in activities following the banknote ban. No big shocks: Nirmal Bang Institutional Equities The 2017-18 Union Budget has been workman-like with no big shocks/flourishes. By keeping spending growth low and also keeping the net borrowing number significantly lower than market expectation, it seeks to drive growth by coaxing households and corporates to come out and consume/invest more by borrowing at cheaper interest rates.Budget math seems reasonably credible, especially in the context that no revenues have been accounted from the new income declaration scheme (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana), which could be substantial. The latter could give the government some elbow room as estimates on divestment and inflows from small savings schemes may be a bit optimistic.There were no big shocks that will upset equity investors – no change in capital gains tax, continued focus on fiscal consolidation, no big political sops (except the ones already made by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on 31 December 2016), no announcement regarding Universal Basic Income plan, focus on a smaller government and ease of doing business (abolishment of Foreign Investment Promotion Board or FIPB) and also focus on a ‘less cash’ economy.Good, even if not inspiring: HDFC SecuritiesArun Jaitley has yet again delivered an elaborate and meticulous Budget, mostly within stated policies. It laboured more than it inspired. India still awaits a transformative and inspiring follow-through after demonetisation. Jaitley has scored moderately well across this list. But nowhere has he hit the boundaries that could have brought the audience to its feet in applause. Not one brave new measure cashed in on the mass-support for the politically risky move of demonetisation. The decision to abolish the FIPB and the conscious decision not to increase the number of Central Schemes are confirmations of this Government’s rational intent.While the intent to widen the tax net is commendable, the results may not be easily forthcoming as soon as aspired. We see moderate risk to direct tax collections, and hence, to fiscal discipline (or capital expenditure) as the year progresses. Global factors, as always, will throw in uncertainty.Prudent, not populist: NomuraContrary to expectations of populism in the run-up to state elections and after demonetisation, the government is sticking to its path of fiscal consolidation, albeit at a less aggressive pace: it will narrow its fiscal deficit to 3.2 percent of GDP in FY18 (year-ending March 2018) vs 3.5 percent in FY17.We think the fiscal assumptions are largely credible. We view the revenue targets as conservative overall, while we see an upside risk to revenue expenditure, which suggests that capex could be cut later if additional revenue from the amnesty scheme does not materialise or if oil prices rise further.The key message from the budget is that the government has chosen macro stability over growth, despite the pressure to present a populist budget. We see this budget as prudent and popular, but not populist.Not transformative: India RatingsThe broad theme of the FY18 budget remains on reducing the pain arising out of demonetisation and continuity of focusing on infrastructure and housing.  The fiscal deficit target at 3.2 percent of GDP in FY18 is lower than expected and positive for money markets, this will ensure transmission of low rates and benefits to the banking sector. The reduction in LNG custom duty will boost volumes for companies namely Petronet LNG Ltd.  The governments focus on lowering kerosene consumption is positive for upstream companies as zero subsidy sharing is expected in FY18. Adding two strategic crude oil reserves will take the total crude oil capacity in India to 15.33mt and provide additional energy security. Synergistic benefits will flow to the oil public sector companies, as the government proposes to create integrated PSU oil major.The railways shifting from diesel to solar power will impact diesel consumption, since the railways consume 3.24 percent of diesel in India.Realistic numbers commendable: Motilal Oswal SecuritiesIt is notable that the government has budgeted realistic to conservative growth in tax collection and avoided inclusion of any windfall receipts from the potential extinguishment of RBI’s liabilities due to demonetization, which lends credibility to its receipts estimates. It was heartening to see the government resisting calls for populist measures. Overall, we believe that the government has tried to make the maximum impact at minimum cost by providing relief to the low-income individual tax payers and reducing corporate tax for small companies – the most affected sections of the society. The government has kept inflationary bias at bay and its realistic math adds to its credibility.We also believe that a credible and economy-sensitive Budget opens the room for the RBI to deliver a rate cut.Surprises galore: SBI chairman Arundhati BhattacharyaAs far as new announcements are concerned most of them were unanticipated. The measure to tackle black money such as capping the cash transition limit to Rs 3 lacs and reforms in political funding such as reduction in minimum cash donation to political parties to Rs 2000 and novel ideas like electoral bonds were in the surprise list. These measures are nonetheless a continuation of the demonetization measure.The abolishing of FIPB is a welcome move as it removes another hurdle in movement of inward FDI. This measure will therefore boost the foreign investors’ confidence to invest in India.Given the general macroeconomic environment, domestic and abroad, the budget has achieved the much needed delicate balancing factor.Best budget, given the constraints: Angel BrokingFinance Minister has done his level best under the circumstances and the constraints on resources and his capacity to be too liberal with the fiscal deficit.The Union Budget has made a record allocation of Rs.10,00,000 crore for agricultural credit during the current financial year. This is likely to be a major boost to agriculture and a lot of sectors like agrochemicals, fertilizers, and drip irrigation systems.The fiscal discipline will ensure to keep bond yields low and also enhance rating of India’s external ratings. The commitment to keep revenue deficit at less than 1.9 percent will also be positive for the currency. This will be an indirect benefit for the equity markets in India.#ZAPRToday: 24.4 Mn watch as @arunjaitley announces 34% raise in advance tax on Personal income tax. #Budget2017 #TaxSlabs pic.twitter.com/Afd3IMwcmd— Indian TV viewership (@zapr_data) February 1, 2017last_img read more

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3 Sep
2019

TIB questions Ershads role as PMs special emissary

first_imgThe government pays him Tk 500,000 per month as well as provides him with other facilities and special allowances as the prime minister’s special emissary, the report said. HM Ershad. File PhotoTransparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has raised questions about how effectively Jatiya Party (JaPa) chairman HM Ershad performs his duties as special emissary to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.Despite being the PM’s special emissary, Ershad was not seen performing this role in his personal tours to several countries, TIB officials said quoting a study at a press conference on Thursday.TIB revealed the study, titled ‘Parliament Watch’, on the operation of 14th to 18th session of the 10th national parliament.According to TIB’s study, the chief of “official opposition party” in parliament, HM Ershad, was appointed as PM’s special emissary on 12 January 2014.The government, however, did not clarify by issuing any gazette or order as to what Ershad’s duties would be as the prime minister’s special emissary.Executive director of the TIB, Iftekharuzzaman, said that they failed to collect any specific gazette regarding the appointment of Ershad as PM’s special emissary.Asked about this, cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told Prothom Alo that there is a gazette in this regard.According to media reports, Ershad’s duties include representing Bangladesh as a modern, Muslim-dominated democracy, promoting its education system, culture, and non-communal image before the world, as well as working to widen Bangladesh’s scope of exporting manpower in the Middle East.As special emissary, he visited several countries, but he was not seen performing as the prime minister’s special envoy in any of these countries, according to the Parliamentary Watch report.last_img read more

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3 Sep
2019

Teenage son kills father

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationA man died after being hit with a bamboo stick by his teenage son in Arpara village of Alfadanga upazila in Faridpur district on Tuesday evening.The deceased is Dablu Mia, 46, son of a certain late Hiru Mia of the village, reports UNB.Quoting locals, Alfadanga police station officer-in-charge Nazmul Karim said while returning from the jute field Dablu Mia found his son playing football instead of going to school or helping him in work.An angry Dablu started beating his son with a small stick. The son, however, fought back taking a bamboo stick from a nearby shop. The very first blow on the temple left Dablu critically injured.Locals took him to Upazila Health Complex where the doctor declared him dead.On information, police recovered the body and sent it to Faridpur Medical College Hospital for autopsy, the OC added.The son has gone into hiding, he added.last_img read more

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3 Sep
2019

Kenya dam burst death toll rises to 41

first_imgLocal residents wait inside an ambulance after Patel dam burst its bank at Solai, about 40 kilometres north of Nakuru, Kenya, on 9 May, 2018. Photo: AFPAt least 41 people died after a dam burst in central Kenya, police said Thursday, as residents described muddy waters ripping through their homes in what one survivor called “hell on earth”.After a severe drought, weeks of torrential rains in Kenya have led to flooding and mudslides that have left 172 dead.The private Patel dam, used for irrigation and fish farming, burst its earthen banks on Wednesday evening in Solai, near the Rift Valley city of Nakuru, regional police chief Gideon Kibunjah told AFP.The raging waters wiped out two villages, a local resident said, while power lines were swept away, leaving many without electricity. The search for victims on Thursday afternoon by heavy rains.”We have 41 people dead from this tragedy,” Kibunjah said, adding 20 of them were children. He said the search for victims was still going on.”It is a disaster because most people were asleep when the tragedy occurred and their houses were swept away.”He said 36 people had been hospitalised.- ‘Hell on earth’ -Survivor Ngugi Njoroge said he and his family had been having dinner when there was a “loud explosion of water that washed away our home.””I was with my parents and my younger brother. I don’t know where they are. I was carried away by the water but I was lucky as I clung to a tree until the water subsided,” he said from his hospital bed.”It was like hell on earth.”Miriam Karimi said she could not find any of her three children, including her four-year-old son.”When we heard noises, we thought it was raining heavily nearby. I’m so confused. I hope they are alive,” she said.A senior police officer at the scene, speaking on condition of anonymity, said emergency workers had spent the night combing through engulfed houses to retrieve bodies.”We found 11 of the bodies covered with mud at a coffee plantation and these are people who may have been escaping but could not make it due to the force and speed of the water from the flooded dam,” he said.”Most of them are women and children who could not have been able to run fast, and the elderly.”The dam is close to an informal settlement housing casual labourers who work on nearby farms.The Kenyan Red Cross estimates that up to 500 families were affected by the disaster, which took place some 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Nairobi.- Deadly rainy season -Weeks of torrential rains in Kenya have led to flooding and mudslides countrywide.Government statistics released Wednesday showed that more than 220,000 people have been displaced by flooding as heavy rains hit the country after three consecutive failed rainy seasons had left it in drought.Since March, at least 21,000 acres (8,500 hectares) of farmland have been submerged in water with an estimated 20,000 animals killed, the Red Cross said last week.The floods have also destroyed road networks in some parts of the East African country and in some cases the military has stepped in to airlift residents from submerged houses.The Red Cross appealed last week for $5 million (four million euros) to help those affected.The deluge has affected large parts of East Africa, destroying crops and killing farm animals after a severe drought which had sent food prices and inflation soaring and left millions in need of food aid.In Rwanda 215 people have died because of floods and landslides since January, according to Philippe Habinshuti of the disaster management ministry.In Somalia flooding has displaced tens of thousands, while torrential rains have also caused havoc in Tanzania and Uganda.last_img read more

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3 Sep
2019

Banani fire probably caused by electric short circuit Probe body

first_imgWreckage of the burnt building is seen in Dhaka on 29 March 2019, a day after flames tore through the 22-storey FR Tower. Photo: AFPThe probe committee formed by the home and disaster management and relief ministries suspected that the fire at FR Tower originated from an electric short-circuit on the seventh floor of the building that killed 26 people, reports UNB.Additional secretary Faijur Rahman, head of the probe body formed by the disaster management and relief ministry, came up with the information while talking to reporters after ending the public hearing on the fire incident at a temporary police control room near FR Tower on Sunday.The hearing was held from 10:00am to 12:00pm where statements of 24 witnesses were recorded.The committee will submit its probe report on 3 April based on information of 24 witnesses and victims, who are undergoing treatment at different hospitals.Firefighters on ladders work to extinguish a blaze in an office building in Dhaka on 28 March 2019. Photo: AFPFaijur Rahman said the main purpose of the public hearing is to identify the origin of the fire and provide some recommendations to find out ways of saving people in the case of recurrence of such incidents.Replying to a question, Faijur Rahman said, “No fire alarm rang during the fire incident and the emergency exit way in the building is narrow while some were found sealed off during the incident. That’s why people failed to use the door.”Besides, the smoke emitted from the fire filled up the staircases and the floors, causing suffocation to people, he said.”We didn’t find any witnesses from the seventh floor where the fire broke out first,” he said.As the building was made of glasses, smoke could not pass and spread throughout the floors and staircases, making it difficult for people to escape, he added.A fire broke out on the seventh floor of the high-rise on Thursday, killing 25 people and injuring 70 more. Later, a man injured in the deadly fire succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, taking the death toll from the incident to 26.last_img read more

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3 Sep
2019

Helicopter crash kills Mexican governor senator

first_imgMembers of Federal Police search the scene of a helicopter accident in which the governor of the Mexican state of Puebla, Martha Erika Alonso, and her husband, senator and former governor of the same region, Rafael Moreno, died when the chopper plummeted to the ground in San Pedro Tlaltenango after taking off from nearby Puebla, on 24 December 2018. The cause of the accident is still unknown. Photo: AFPThe governor of the Mexican state of Puebla and her husband, a senator and former governor, were killed on Monday in a helicopter crash, the country’s president said.“My deepest condolences to the relatives of senator Rafael Moreno Valle and his wife, governor of Puebla Martha Erika Alonso,” Mexico president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter.“I assume the commitment to investigate the causes” and “tell the truth about what happened,” Lopez Obrador wrote.Local media reported that the pilot and another person were also killed in the accident.The aircraft crashed in the Santa Maria Coronango area of Puebla, and the cause of the crash is still unknown.Alonso was sworn in as governor on 14 December after an electoral tribunal certified her victory in July polls.She was the first woman to occupy the position in Puebla, where her husband was governor from 2011 to 2017.According to the local constitution, the state legislature will have to appoint an interim governor and to call an extraordinary vote that must be held in three to five months.last_img read more

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1 Sep
2019

SINGALONG MESSIAH

first_imgNew this year, on December 15th, Anthony Blake Clark will lead the audience and Chamber Chorus in Handel’s complete oratorio. Enjoy this surround-sound experience even if you don’t sing along! Bring your own musical score or purchase one at the concert. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets or for more information, please contact Baltimore Choral Arts at 410-523-7070 or visit www.BaltimoreChoralArts.orglast_img

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