Saints and Sinners: The weekend’s talking points

first_img Jump for joy: Connacht skipper John Muldoon leaps up with the Guinness Pro12 trophy. (Photo: Inpho) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Leinster fail to get a grip Leinster came away empty handed from their seventh Pro12 final, largely thanks to the number of tackles they missed as Connacht ran at them from all areas of the pitch.By half-time Leinster had made 65 tackles and missed no less than 18, while Connacht had made 78 and missed just three. Little wonder the score was 15-0 to Connacht. Feathered friends: Exeter Chiefs fans were a colourful sight at Twickenham. (Photo: Getty Images)Fan-nomenalHats – or should that be head-dresses – off to the Exeter Chiefs fans who raised the roof at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, and to the 34,550 Connacht and Leinster supporters who crossed the Irish sea to see their teams do battle in the Pro12 final in Edinburgh – the biggest crowd ever to attend the Celtic final.Exeter’s followers filled the concourses with their colourful feathered headgear before the Aviva Premiership final, swamped the bowl of the stadium with the sound of the Tomahawk Chop during the game and continued to chant long after the final whistle, despite ending up on the losing side.They did their best to inspire their team when they were 23-3 down, the players responded and when Nowell’s try made it 23-20 the roar might have been heard at Sandy Park. Exeter’s fans are a credit to their club and helped make the final a great occasion.Connacht’s fans were in equally good voice at Murrayfield, and with good reason as their team treated them to a vintage performance. It was great to see so many Irish supporters making the journey to Scotland, especially as they only had two weeks’ notice that their teams were in the final. The SaintsLam’s the manTwo seasons ago, Connacht finished tenth in the Guinness Pro12. Now they are the champions and much of the credit for that astonishing turnaround must go to their head coach Pat Lam. He has taken a team which were always the bridesmaids in Irish rugby – an outfit which the Irish Rugby Union seriously considered disbanding as a professional entity a few short years ago – and turned them into a skilful, entertaining and now successful side.They beat Leinster 20-10 in the Guinness Pro12 final at Murrayfield on Saturday and, after absorbing some early pressure from Leo Cullen’s side, Connacht cut them to pieces with fantastic running rugby, making the most of the space on the artificial surface.Lam leads the way: Pat Lam on the lap of honour at Murrayfield. (Photo: Inpho)Lam has reputedly concentrated much of his time and effort on improving the basic handling skills of his squad – forwards and backs alike – and it really shows. Connacht are playing something akin to Super Rugby: offloading before contact, attacking at pace and with width and precision, with the number on a player’s back making little difference to their handling ability. It is a joy to watch.Connacht will lose some of their best players to other teams this summer, but let’s hope this success will attract more big names so their success can continue. Goode show Alex Goode was named Man of the Match in Saracens’ 28-20 victory over Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership final and a quick glance at the stats shows what a massive contribution he made. The full-back was far and away the best ball-carrier in the game, making 167m with the ball in hand in 19 carries – no other Saracen got near that.Goode put the icing on the cake by scoring Saracens’ third try, three minutes from time. Exeter had fought back from 23-3 down to 23-20 after 73 minutes and any other team might have got the jitters to see their opponents turn the game around in that fashion. But Saracens knuckled down, regained control of the ball and Marcelo Bosch – fresh off the bench – attacked down the right flank, passed inside to Chris Ashton who passed back out to Goode and he scooted over the line.It’s there! Alex Goode reaches over to score the crucial try. (Photo: Getty Images)It was quite a cameo from Bosch – two carries, one clean break, two defenders beaten, 12m made and a try created.Saracens are the first team to win a domestic and European double since 2004 and have now won the Premiership twice in a row. They are undoubtedly the best club side in Europe and it will take some doing to knock them off that perch. Come to Niyi: Adeolokun gets set to gather the ball and score his excellent try. (Photo: Inpho)Green with envyConnacht wing Niyi Adeolokun lit up Murrayfield with a quite brilliant try midway through the first half of the Guinness Pro12 final.The men in green were already 7-0 up thanks to a try by Tiernan O’Halloran, created by a fantastic break from his own 22 to the Leinster ten-metre line by Matt Healy. He started the move for the second try too, receiving a kick and passing to O’Halloran, who executed a one-two with Robbie Henshaw then found Bundee Aki, whose pass hit the deck. Kieran Marmion scooped the loose ball up and passed outside to Adeolokun, who kicked up the right wing, punted the ball ahead again on the volley and beat Eoin Reddan to the touchdown. In a game full of fantastic rugby from Connacht, this was an extra special piece of skill. Nippy nine: Ben Youngs on his way to score for England at Twickenham. (Photo: Getty Images)England take their chancesEngland outscored Wales by five tries to one to win the Old Mutual Wealth Cup match at Twickenham 27-13. Eddie Jones‘s side had trailed 13-10 at half-time but Ben Youngs took them into the lead in the 45th minute with a try which owed plenty to his opportunism and poor defence from Wales.Youngs received the ball from a lineout about 15 metres from the Wales line, spotted a gap between Scott Baldwin and Rob Evans at the tail, then broke a tackle from Hallam Amos to crash over the line.Anthony Watson also deserves lots of credit for England‘s first try. The wing was tackled as he headed for the left-hand corner, he scrambled a few more metres then, when George North turned him onto his back, he still managed to reach over his own head to ground the ball on the line. Watson’s skills had former Wales and Lions wing Ieuan Evans purring in the commentary box: “That’s such a good finish – that takes some doing.” Ford flunks itI can’t remember the last time I saw a Test kicker land just one successful place kick out of seven, but that was George Ford’s return from England’s 27-13 win over Wales in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup at Twickenham on Sunday.The fly-half missed two conversions and a penalty in the first half and another conversion in the second before he finally slotted one from in front of the posts, after Clifford’s try. Ford’s goal-kicking used to be unreliable but he has improved it no end in the last 18 months or so. This was an unwelcome return to the bad old days and it has to be a one-off if he wants to make an impact on England’s tour this summer.Hit and miss: George Ford missed six goal kicks for England on Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images)center_img Referee! Dan Biggar forgets about respecting the decision of the officials. (Photo: Getty Images)The SinnersBiggar not better Wales fly-half Dan Biggar ends the season in my bad books for arguing with referee Marius Mitrea after the TMO awarded a try to Jack Clifford during the Old Mutual Wealth Cup match against England on Sunday.Biggar thought Dan Cole had knocked the ball on in the build-up to the try and when the score was given he confronted the referee, arguing with him and refusing to hand the ball to George Ford to take the conversion.Cole did get a hand to the ball, but it ended up going backwards before hitting the floor. Did it go backwards because Cole tipped it forwards onto the on-rushing Ross Moriarty? I think not, but what I, or anyone else thinks actually doesn’t matter at all. The officials gave their decision and play continues.We are seeing more and more incidents of players waving their arms at the officials during matches and telling them what decisions they should be giving. That is bad enough, but Biggar’s dissent took things a step further. Alun Wyn Jones had a moan to the referee as well, but Biggar even went back for a second attempt to change Mitrea’s mind.One of rugby’s cornerstone values is respect for the officials. In rugby we don’t argue – we put up, shut up and walk away. Biggar should be ashamed of his actions, ashamed of the poor example he set to junior and club players and he should apologise. No pushover: Jack Nowell tries to hand off Owen Farrell. (Photo: Getty Images)Nerveless NowellThe standout performer in the Exeter Chiefs back division during their Twickenham final was Jack Nowell. He carried no less than 19 times and seemed to be all over the pitch. While many of his team-mates were struggling to cope with the pressure of the big occasion in the first half, Nowell rose to the occasion.His endeavours were rewarded with a try in the 73rd minute. He took the scoring pass from Phil Dollman after Henry Slade had swerved through a dog-leg in the Saracens’ defence, but Nowell still had work to do to dive through the tackle of Goode and touch down in the corner.Gareth Steenson converted brilliantly – in fact neither he nor Owen Farrell missed a place-kick all afternoon and both had to take some on from wide positions. TAGS: ConnachtExeter ChiefsHighlightSaracens If it moves, tackle itThe Saracens defence was already the stuff of legend and they had another great day at the office on Saturday, making 163 tackles to stop Exeter from creating enough scoring chances with all the possession they enjoyed. Billy Vunipola was top of the list with 16 tackles, Maro Itoje and George Kruis had 14 each (and Itoje didn’t miss any) and Mako Vunipola was close behind on 13, Brad Barritt 12 and Duncan Taylor 11. The line speed of the Saracens’ defence was super-fast, cutting down Exeter’s options and sending them into retreat even when they could get the ball away from the tackle. Why did the Saracens wing have to try to dupe everyone? He just made himself look daft in front of 76,000 fans at Twickenham and many more on TV as soon as the first replay hit the screens. Yes, the adrenaline must have been coursing through his veins at the sharp end of such a massive game, but it is exactly this kind of rash behaviour which prevents Ashton from being as popular as he really should be. Rash AshI know I am risking the wrath of Chris Ashton fans who think the media has it in for their boy, but I have to mention his silly behaviour in the closing minutes of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership final.The crowd had barely stopped cheering the part he had played in Alex Goode’s 77th minute try, which put Saracens 28-20 ahead, when Ashton chased a kick to his in-goal area, alongside Jack Nowell. Both wings slid and dived to try to touch the ball down and Ashton leapt back to his feet, celebrating wildly and claiming a try. Off he went, running up the pitch in theatrical delight – but referee Wayne Barnes was not fooled. He called for a TV replay which clearly showed Ashton had not touched the ball down. It wasn’t even a close call. This was the weekend when the English and Celtic champions were crowned, while England took on Wales in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup on Sunday. Which players starred for their teams in the Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 finals and this pre-tour Test, and which had a day to forget?last_img read more

Comedy

first_imgPuppetry of the Penisdir Simon Morley27 SeptemberNew TheatreEngland’s Ashes victory is under discussion. British Woman: “Loser!”. Australian Man: “Thank you, madam, but you’re the one who paid to see my cock.”Simon Morley and David Friend have got it made. Their show, Puppetry of the Penis, can’t cost much to take on the road: they get three puffs of dry ice; they need someone to work a video camera; they’ve got two capes, no costume changes to worry about. (There’s no programme, so I didn’t catch the name of the warm-up act.) They ape a double-act in the tradition of the music-hall, Simon performing as if he’s doing a sarcastic stand-up routine, and David playing the younger hapless puppyish stooge who’s more likely to run about, to disappear off-stage and re-enter with a comedy prop.Simon has short-cropped dark hair; David is a vaguely messy dirty blond with comedy sideburns out of the latest Pride and Prejudice. Simon calls David “monkey boy” and bosses him about. They banter, they show affection, they watch each other’s backs. It’s not a particularly great example of the double-act, but it works the audience to heights of hysteria most comics can only pray for. Why? They happen to be naked save for plimsolls and socks. Neither is buffed. And both their penises look as though they have been rolled out with a rolling pin and then fretted with elastic. They contort them into wince-inducing shapes while keeping up a running patter in offensive stereotyped misogyny.And that’s why, on a one-off gig on a Tuesday night, the New Theatre is playing pretty much to capacity and predominantly to an older-than-student-age female audience. There are hen nights in, and 21st and 40th birthday parties, as well as a retirement do. “Are there any gay men here?” One couple bravely admits to it and is the butt of jokes thereafter. Repeat after me: comedy is cruel. Here it is really cruel.Fresh from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, these two guys rub their penises like boy scouts with so much kindling, and then stretch them into likenesses of the Eiffel Tower (with dark clouds obscuring the tip of the tower, so we’re told, though I wasn’t convinced) or Uluru (“Ayer’s Rock,” Simon explains. “Any Australians in the audience? Bet you feel homesick.”)A hamburger shape takes a starring role as does a chicken nugget (“I’m a big fan of the Colonel’s work,” says Simon; “Smell the magical spices!” says David, sniffing amazedly at his fingers) or Gonzo from the Muppets or the Loch Ness Monster (complete with realistic bobbing head movements). With the addition of a champagne cork-guard, the penis becomes a greyhound eager for the off and then morphs into a frightening Hannibal Lecter.Somewhere, of course, the line is crossed. But it’s hard to say where. Maybe it was being rash enough to agree to review the show at all. Maybe it’s the woman who, fifteen seconds in, shouts, “Show us your nob!” at the warm-up act. She gets a reproving ticking off.Maybe it’s the gleeful playing to type as macho ’Stralians who can abuse women and still be loved for it. It could probably be drawn at the warm-up’s characterisation of all Germans as either obsessed with sex acts involving urination or Nazis. It’s definitely the warm-up’s gag about how you’ll never find a man complaining about having his drink spiked, and then miming drunken appreciation of oral sex. There’s offence aplenty for the taking.If this is the male answer to The Vagina Monologues – as the warm-up seems to suggest – it’s a worrying look-out, but a bit of fun, nonetheless.ARCHIVE: 0th week MT 2005last_img read more

Piñera Sworn In As Chile’s New President In Middle Of Tsunami Alert

first_imgBy Dialogo March 12, 2010 Sebastián Piñera took the oath of office as Chile’s new president Thursday, succeeding Michelle Bachelet, in a tense ceremony held in the headquarters of the Chilean Congress following three earthquakes in the minutes preceding the ceremony and the issuance of a tsunami alert for the area including the legislative building. In the presence of dozens of foreign dignitaries, guests, and members of Congress – a number of them visibly frightened by the earthquakes that shook this city (Valparaíso) 120 km west of Santiago – the sixty-year-old Piñera was administered the oath by the new president of Congress, Jorge Pizarro, a member of the opposition. “Yes, I swear,” Piñera said in response to the formula in which Pizarro called on him to respect the Constitution. Following the ceremony, the new president took the traditional drive in a black Ford Galaxie convertible with the top down, greeting the people stationed along the route in a rather strange situation, since at the same time many people were evacuating to higher ground. The last half hour before Piñera’s installation was one of anxiety for those who were in the congressional headquarters awaiting the arrival of the outgoing president and the president-elect, since the building was shaken by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which located the quake’s center 144 kilometers south of Valparaíso. Two aftershocks weaker than the first quickly followed, and at the same time that Piñera was stepping onto the red carpet to enter the Congress’s headquarters, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) in Santiago issued a tsunami alert for more than 400 kilometers of shoreline. Less than half an hour after Piñera’s swearing-in, the congressional building began to be evacuated, as AFP could confirm. While an evacuation was being ordered over loudspeakers, members of the national police urged the reporters who were covering the ceremony to evacuate “urgently.” Even without this added drama, the ceremony had been expected to be austere, due to the state of public disaster the country has experienced following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Chile on 27 February, forcing the incoming president to take on the rebuilding of the country. As a symbol of his commitment to this task, Piñera’s first act as president will be to travel, on the day of his inauguration itself, to the devastated city of Constitución, one of those most affected by the tsunami, where he will sign emergency decrees to speed up the rebuilding. “We will not be the earthquake administration, but rather the rebuilding administration,” Piñera has said, having already confirmed that he will ask Congress for modifications to the budget in order to adapt “to the realities and the needs” of the catastrophe. Piñera’s administration is the first right-wing government since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). In the twenty years since, the Concertación, a coalition of four center-left parties, has governed without interruption. One of the new president’s great challenges will be replacing Bachelet, who has set a very high bar: she leaves office with an 84% popularity rating, thanks to the large social projects she inaugurated in the country and to a charisma that has brought her forgiveness for her mistakes, including her slow reaction to the earthquake. Bachelet’s departure from the Presidential Palace Thursday demonstrated the charisma she takes with her. Thousands of people stationed themselves at the exit from La Moneda to see her off and ask her to return as president in 2014, although she asked them “not to make up political fiction.” The new president has promised to continue the previous administration’s social programs, accompanied by a cabinet dominated by businesspeople (even at the Foreign Affairs Ministry), but any polemics that might have arisen as a result have been relegated to secondary status in the face of the formidable work of rebuilding that will fall to the new president.last_img read more

Mayweather’s ex-girlfriend found dead

first_imgRelatedPosts Kidnappers kill DSS operative after collecting N5m ransom Emir of Biu is dead Four arrested for killing policeman from Kogi in Ogun Floyd Mayweather’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his three children, Josie Harris, has been found dead in her car by police in California. She was 40 years old. Harris was found outside her home in Valencia, Los Angeles County on Tuesday night. Authorities do not suspect foul play and are treating the case like a death investigation, TMZ reports. Mayweather and Harris had a tumultuous relationship when they dated between 1995 and 2010. The boxing icon served two months in prison when he was convicted in 2010 of domestic violence against her. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Wednesday: “Homicide investigators have responded to the death of a woman. “The incident was reported Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at approximately, 10pm, on the 25,700 block of Oak Meadow Drive, Valencia. “The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. There is no additional information available at this time.” Harris claimed that she was abused by Mayweather on six different occasions. In an interview with USA Today in 2014, Harris gave a sorry reflection of her time with Mayweather. “I was a battered woman,” Harris said. “I felt embarrassed about saying I was a battered woman. I felt shame. I felt like it was my fault. What did I do? I didn’t understand what a battered woman was at that time. “Now I know I was in a very dysfunctional, hostile relationship and a victim of domestic violence.” One of their children, their son Koraun, witnessed the assault that saw Mayweather serve time and alerted authorities after sneaking out of his home. He called his father “a coward” in the same interview his mother gave talking of her time with the boxer. “(My dad) said to lock my door and stay in my room,” Koraun said of the incident. “I went back into my room and locked the door and then ran back out my bathroom and then hopped over the gate and went to the main entrance gate. I just told (the guard) that my mom was getting hurt and to call the ambulance and the police.” Harris didn’t see Mayweather much past the jail term he served in 2010, but added: “For some reason I still get anxiety when I know that he is on his way (to collect his children). ‘I have no idea why, but I get really overwhelmed when I know that I have to be around him.” Mayweather, who is unbeaten in his 50 fights in his boxing career, claimed in a 2015 interview that his violence was merely him trying to restrain Harris because she was on drugs. She vociferously denied the accusation and responded with a $20 million lawsuit. Harris was in the process of writing a book about domestic violence survivors and about her relationship with Mayweather when she died.Tags: BOXINGCaliforniadeathFloyd Mayweather JrLos Angeleslast_img read more

‘Special Christmas’ as English player makes second comeback from cancer

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | English third-tier footballer Joe Thompson will enjoy a “special” Christmas after his second return from battling cancer on Saturday, exactly a year since being diagnosed.The 28-year-old Rochdale midfielder has twice beaten Hodgkin lymphoma and came off the bench for the last 18 minutes of his club’s 1-1 draw with Walsall in League One.He was first diagnosed in 2013 before being given the all clear in 2014, and is now in complete remission again.Thompson’s day almost got even better, but the substitute saw a shot blocked on the line as he made his first appearance since March.“I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Unbelievable feeling be back out there,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to everyone for the support through it all! Thank you to everyone at @officiallydale for ovation it brought a tear and smile to my face …. Christmas made special for me and my family #grateful.“Here Is Fact For You ….. I was diagnosed with cancer to the day a year ago! 365 Days, 12 months, But I want you to understand, don’t underestimate what you can achieve in a year.”Thompson is back with his hometown club, where he made over 100 appearances from 2006-2012.“Joe deserved his place on the bench for the way he has been performing on the training pitch,” Rochdale manager Keith Hill said.“It’s small steps for him. We don’t know how significant his return today was — I’ll tell you in 10 years because it’s about Joe’s life, not his football.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

GUWAHATI ODI: Kohli scores a ton as India take 1-0 lead in ODI series vs NZ

first_imgVirat Kohli raises his bat after scoring a half-century during the first one day international cricket match against New Zealand in Gawahati, on Sunday, November 28, 2010. AP PhotoVirat Kohli’s sparkling century helped India script a 40-run win against an injury-hit New Zealand in the first ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series in Guwahati on Sunday. SCORECARDKohli was good with his shot selection: GambhirChasing a challenging target of 277 at the Nehru Stadium here, New Zealand were short on experience with skipper Daniel Vettori and explosive opener Brendon McCullum missing out due to back injuries as the visitors were all out for 236 in 45.2 overs.Stand-in skipper Ross Taylor top-scored for the Kiwis with a fighting 66 from 69 balls studded with three sixes and three boundaries.At 169 for eight, New Zealand looked to give up easily but Nathan McCullum (35 from 35 balls, 4×4) and Kyle Mills (32 from 28 balls, 2×4, 2×6) produced a 67-run ninth wicket stand to give India some tough time in the middle.But Sreesanth (three for 67) broke the partnership dismissing Nathan and Mills with the former being brilliantly caught by skipper Gambhir as India won the match with 28 balls to spare.Under intense scrutiny, Yuvraj Singh failed with the bat but he was really effective with his bowling claiming three for 43 from his full quota of 10 overs, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took a career-best three for 50 to help India take the series lead.Thanks to a compact 105 by in-form Kohli, the new look Indian side under Gautam Gambhir put on 276 as they were bowled out in 49 overs after the hosts were sent in to bat.advertisementFresh from his back-to-back centuries in Ranji Trophy, the Delhi lad played a neat and chanceless knock from 104 balls with 10 boundaries for his second consecutive and fourth overall one-day century.But Kohli’s dismissal brought in a stunning Indian collapse as the lower-order managed 26 runs from last six overs something that exposed the new look side’s inexperience at this level.At 250/4 in the 44th over, with Kohli going great guns, a total in excess of 300 looked within easy reach but it was not the case after the centurion’s dismissal by Andy McKay.But New Zealand fought back with a planned and calculated bowling in the fag-end especially by left-arm seamer McKay who returned with a career-best figures of 10-1-62-4.New ball bowlers Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey claimed three for 42 and two for 56 respectively.With no McCullum, the New Zealand openers of Jamie How and Martin Guptill lacked the firepower as the visitors were slow and cautious to start with.Nehra broke the opening stand for 32 scalping How (9) as his partner Guptill, after being dropped twice by Murali Vijay, did not last long departing for 30.Stand-in skipper Taylor held the fort even as wickets kept falling in at the other end with Yuvraj doing a great job for India with his slow left-arm orthodox spin.Taylor and Kane Williamson (19) looked good during their 67-run third wicket stand but Yuvraj did not let the partneship going.Just when Taylor was beginning to look dangerous with his towering sixes, Ashwin gave the crucial breakthrough as New Zealand were reduced to 154 for seven after 33.3 overs.Earlier, Kiwi new ball bowlers, Mills and Tuffey, extracted some fine seam movements early on as openers Vijay (29 from 32 balls, 5×4) and Gambhir (38 from 38 balls, 6×4) survived some anxious moments in the early morning start.The Indian duo however did not look under any pressure in absence of Virender Sehwag as they stitched 44 for the opening wicket before Vijay was done in by Tuffey with wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins taking a brilliant catch running backwards.Kohli settled soon his second-wicket partnership of 48 did not last long with Gambhir falling in a soft dismissal to McKay.Due for a big knock, Yuvraj was slow and watchful to start that saw India scoring just 17 in the five overs in the bowling powerplay from 10-15 overs.Having consumed 28 balls for his first eight runs, Yuvraj opened up to the New Zealand spin attack that missed Vettori sorely as Nathan McCullum and Kane Williamson bowled their conventional off-breaks.Kohli, meanwhile, raced to his ninth half-century in a rather nondescript way but he ensured that they were on track for a big total.In their 88-run stand for the third wicket, Kohli was compact and flexible in rotating the strike while Yuvraj looked to score in boundaries before he edged one behind the stumps.A jaded Suresh Raina (13, 1×4) continued with his poor Test run into the ODIs, as the southpaw lasted 18 balls before becoming Mills’ victim.advertisementAfter Kohli’s dismissal for 250 in the last ball of 44th over, the Indian inexperience showed as the lower order collapsed.Yusuf Pathan played a cameo of 29 from 19 balls laced with three fours and one six, as debutant Wriddhiman Saha (4), Ravichandran Ashwin (0), Ashish Nehra (0) and Sreesanth (1) were dismissed cheaply.But the total was enough to rattle New Zelanders who missed their regular skipper Vettori and opener McCullum badly to trail in the five-match series 0-1.India have rested their star performers including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh who were not considered due to injury concerns.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Union representing 2000 Quebec workers has mixed feelings about CSeries Airbus deal

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec workers with Bombardier’s CSeries plane program have mixed feelings about the deal with Airbus giving the European aerospace giant a controlling stake in the aircraft, a union representative said Tuesday.David Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the deal means access to a massive market and possibly more jobs.The agreement, however, also secures a new, final assembly line in Alabama for the CSeries — employing non-unionized workers serving 30 per cent of the global market for the aircraft.“It is better to build (a plane) for 70 per cent of the market and sell thousands of planes, than build 100 per cent of an aircraft for 100 per cent of the market and we sell no planes at all,” Chartrand said.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) was facing a massive obstacle after the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to propose a hefty 300 per cent duty on its CSeries jets in response to a complaint by rival Boeing.The department’s preliminary findings agreed with Boeing that Bombardier benefited from improper government subsidies, giving it an unfair advantage when selling its CSeries 100-to 150-seat jets south of the border.Bombardier says the deal with Airbus — and the new Alabama assembly line — means the CSeries will be able to be sold in the United States duty-free.“It becomes a domestic product and, therefore, a domestic product would not have the import tariff apply to this,” Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said Tuesday.The U.S. market represents roughly 30 per cent of CSeries sales, which means Montreal’s assembly line is ostensibly open to serving the other 70 per cent of the market.“That’s what Airbus seems to be saying, it’s what the Quebec government and Bombardier are saying — (but) I don’t have the details of what was in the agreement that was signed,” Chartrand said.If Airbus manages to increase orders for the CSeries around the world, that could mean more jobs in Mirabel, Que., he said.Airbus said the 100- to 150-seat market is expected to represent “more than 6,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years.”“Let’s say there are 6,000 plane sales that are possible,” Chartrand said. “If Airbus takes 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the market, that could mean an expansion of the Mirabel plant — but that’s the best-case scenario.”The Quebec government, Bombardier and Airbus all say the deal ensures the primary assembly line of the CSeries will remain in the province until 2041.A big unknown, however, is what region of the world outside the United States will become the market for CSeries growth.Moreover, another unknown is what effect the new assembly line in Mobile, Ala., will have on production.James Darcy, a spokesman for Airbus, said the intention is to expand the $600-million existing facility in Mobile, which opened in 2015, to meet increased demand.“But bear in mind the deal won’t even reach approval by all the regulatory agencies until the second half of 2018,” he said. “So there isn’t much we can say about production, given how early it is in the process.”Karl Moore, professor in McGill University’s Faculty of Management, said the deal with Airbus gives the CSeries “credibility,” which will make finding buyers outside the U.S. easier.“Airbus’ name, reputation, size of their workforce and fleet adds a lot of credibility to the CSeries,” he said. “We don’t have to worry if (the company) will go away and die at some point.”The fact Bombardier was being prevented from selling its planes in the U.S. due to the potential duties made buyers elsewhere hesitant to purchase the aircraft, Moore said.Moore said it’s highly likely Airbus will be able to leverage its big international sales and marketing force to sell the CSeries, which means more work for the workers in Montreal.“They should feel more comfortable about their jobs today than they did yesterday,” he said.The deal sparked debate in Quebec’s legislature Tuesday, with the opposition Parti Quebecois accusing the Liberal government of “selling the house to save the furniture.”Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee said the government should have taken a stake in the entire Bombardier company instead of investing only in the “risky” CSeries unit.Quebec invested US$1 billion in 2016 for a 49.5 per cent stake in the commercial jet program.The new deal with Airbus gives Quebec a 19 per cent stake in the plane and Bombardier 31 per cent.“We preserved the aerospace industry in Montreal,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said.last_img read more

Expansion of BC foreign buyers tax to Okanagan Vancouver Island is questioned

first_imgVANCOUVER – A foreign buyers tax will do little to cool the British Columbia housing markets where it’s been expanded, as international purchasers make up only a small percentage of sales and lack of supply is the bigger problem, real estate groups say.Metro Vancouver has had a 15 per cent tax on foreign home purchasers since 2016. The province announced Tuesday it would hike the levy to 20 per cent and impose it in the Victoria and Nanaimo areas, as well as the Fraser Valley and central Okanagan.The changes took effect Wednesday, catching some industry groups off guard.“I don’t know anybody who was thinking we needed this tax,” said Tanis Read, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. “I’m very troubled by the lack of consultation.”Foreign transactions made up 1.8 per cent of purchases in the central Okanagan, 1.4 per cent in the Fraser Valley, 4.3 per cent in the Victoria area and 4.4 per cent in the Nanaimo area, provincial data compiled by the B.C. Real Estate Association shows.Read said prices in the Okanagan have steadily risen due to population growth and declining inventory, not foreign buyers. People from Vancouver are moving to the region to escape high housing costs and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, she added.She said the tax might have a “modest” impact but she’s concerned about ripple effects. She has European clients who are planning to move to the Okanagan and the tax has reduced their budget to $600,000 from $800,000, she said.“That puts pressure on lower-priced homes,” she said. “There are so many unintended consequences, and if they had actually consulted with industry as a trusted partner, instead of as an adversary, then we would have had more concrete solutions.”Don McClintock, president of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, said he’d heard talk of the tax being extended to buyers in Victoria but he was surprised to see the Nanaimo Regional District included.There’s a “light sprinkling” of foreign buyers in the area his board covers, which includes Nanaimo, he said.“It’s not a major part of our market by any means,” he said. “So I don’t think it’ll have any negative effect on our sales or even any significant effect on control of prices.”McClintock said a shortage of listings has gradually driven prices up in the area, with a 15 to 19 per cent spike last year. Provincial and municipal governments should focus on increasing supply, rather than controlling who the buyers are, he said.The government has committed $6 billion to deliver 114,000 affordable homes over the next decade, and has created a new office within the government agency BC Housing to partner with non-profits and developers on housing projects.Finance Minister Carole James said during her budget speech on Tuesday that foreign buyers should contribute more for the high quality of life they enjoy in B.C.“Increasing the tax should help to deter those speculating in B.C.’s housing market,” she said. “Extending it to other communities ensures that we don’t simply push the speculation into neighbouring markets.”The previous Liberal government also gave little warning before it imposed the tax in Metro Vancouver in August 2016. Sales had already been declining that year, and the slide continued for a few months after the tax before rebounding.The benchmark price of a detached home in the Vancouver area in July 2016 was $1.58 million. By January 2017, the trough of the market, it was $1.48 million. But it steadily climbed back and now it sits at $1.6 million.Cameron Muir, chief economist of the B.C. Real Estate Association, said the temporary cooling effect was magnified by local buyers who held back to see how the tax would impact prices.It’s fine if the government wants to collect more tax from foreign buyers, but it won’t make homes more affordable, he said.“Foreign buyers are just such a small part of the marketplace that there’s really no difference on the affordability side.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.last_img read more

GE slashes dividend takes 22 billion charge in 3Q

first_imgGeneral Electric slashed its quarterly dividend and announced it will restructure its power business, as the industrial conglomerate struggles with sagging profits and a spate of bad news.The company announced a $22 billion charge in its power division and swung to a third-quarter loss that was bigger than most industry analysts had expected.The company on Tuesday cut its dividend to a penny, from 12 cents per share, a move that could hurt individual investors who rely on income from dividends.But cutting the dividend will allow the company to keep about $3.9 billion in cash each year, the company said.“It has become clear to us that we need to simplify the business structure,” said GE CEO Larry Culp in a conference call with investors.“GE has considerable strengths. The talent here is real. The technology is special. And the global reach of the GE brand and our global relationships are truly impressive. But GE needs to change. Our team knows this,” said Culp, who last month replaced John Flannery as CEO after only a year on the job.The Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice are both investigating GE’s $22 billion write-down, said GE Chief Financial Officer Jamie Miller, adding to ongoing investigations into previous problems at GE. The SEC was already looking into how GE took a $15 billion hit after a subsidiary, North American Life & Health, miscalculated the cost for the care of people who lived longer than projected. And the company said in February that the Justice Department may take action in connection to an investigation into GE’s subprime mortgage loans business.Miller said the $22 billion charge was largely the result of GE’s acquisition of Alstom. GE bought the French company’s power and grid business in 2015 just before the gas turbine market peaked.“This team’s been through a lot the last several years,” Culp said. “The company perhaps doesn’t enjoy the reputation in certain corners that we once did. But people here are committed to embracing that reality and changing it.”The company said it is splitting its power business into two separate divisions: a gas-focused division that combines its gas product and services groups and a second unit that will include steam, grid solutions, nuclear and power conversion.“This is a good opportunity for us to frankly manage this franchise better than we have,” Culp said.The planned split could indicate that GE is considering spinning off all but the gas-related parts of its power business, said Josh Aguilar, equity analyst at Morningstar.“It still has a future,” Aguilar said of GE’s core gas turbine business. “It helps with the intermittency with renewables.”On the dividend cut, the only surprise was that GE kept it at all, Aguilar said, but “unfortunately sometimes you have to go through some short term pain for some short term gain.”GE had been paying a dividend of 12 cents since December 2017, when it was cut from 24 cents, according to FactSet. Before that, former CEO Jeffrey Immelt cut the dividend from 31 cents to 10 cents in 2009, which was the first time the company had reduced its dividend in decades.For the period ended Sept. 30, GE lost $22.8 million, or $2.63 per share. A year earlier the Boston company earned $1.3 million, or 16 cents per share.Excluding the $22 billion charge tied to its power business and other items, earnings were 14 cents per share, which was 7 cents short of expectations, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.Revenue declined to $29.57 billion from $30.66 billion, which was also short of expectations.GE will likely miss its full-year earnings targets due to problems with the power division, Miller said.In morning trading, GE shares added a dime to $11.26._____Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GE at https://www.zacks.com/ap/GElast_img read more

Lowerorder worry for DC ahead of SRH clash

first_imgNew Delhi: Skipper Shreyas Iyer would look to sort out his team’s lower-order woes and strive for consistency when Delhi Capitals face a rampaging Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL match here on Thursday. A dramatic lower-order collapse against Kings XI Punjab exposed Delhi’s batting frailties and Iyer would look to plug those holes to stand a chance of taming Sunrisers, who have been on a roll with back-to-back wins. A new look Delhi made a rampaging start to the season with a superb win over three-time former champions Mumbai Indians but since then they have struggled with their lower-order. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhDelhi are currently fifth in the eight team standings with two wins and as many loses after four games and consistency is something which they would be looking for. Delhi had failed to score six runs from the last over against Kolkata Knight Riders, thus taking the match to Super Over and it was only due to Kagiso Rabada’s superb yorkers, they had managed to scrape through in the end. However, Delhi’s lower-order came unstuck against Kings XI on Monday night when they inexplicably lost seven wickets for eight runs to lose the game by 14 runs. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterDelhi were 144 for three in the 17th over, chasing 167 before being bowled out for 152 in 19.2 overs. “I am really speechless. Really disappointing. It is a crucial match and losing such matches is not going to benefit us. Mentally we need to train ourselves – we are getting good starts, need to finish better,” Iyer had said. Rishabh Pant, who played a superb knock of 78 to pile up a mammoth 213 against Mumbai in the first match, has been the highest run-scorer for Delhi while the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Iyer and Colin Ingram too have been among runs. The bowling department has been led by Rabada, while they also have Kiwi pacer Trent Boult and Ishant Sharma in their ranks. Young Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane too has performed well so far for Delhi. But the real contest on Thursday would be between Delhi pacers Rabada and Chris Morris against the marauding Sunrisers pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. The pair of Warner and Bairstow have been in scintillating form this year, sharing century-plus opening stands in all their three matches so far. After a 118-run opening stand against KKR in a losing cause, Warner and Bairstow continued their dominance up the order with 110-run and 185-run partnerships against Rajasthan and Royal Challengers Bangalore. In fact, both Warner (100 not out) and Bairstow (114) blasted a century each during Sunrisers massive 118-run win over RCB in the last game. On road to redemption, Warner has looked ominous as he blasted 69 off 37 balls against Rajasthan, before a whirlwind 55-ball unbeaten 100 blew away RCB. Besides, he started the season with a 85-run knock against KKR. After the six-wicket defeat to KKR in their opener, Sunrisers roared their way back into the tournament, largely riding on Warner and Bairstow’s exploits and come Thursday, they would be eyeing a hat-trick of wins.last_img read more