Xolo Q900s Windows 8.1 smartphone coming in July for Rs 11,999

first_imgXolo q900s sports a 4.7-inch IPS display. (Photo courtesy: www.xolo.in)Microsoft with the Windows Phone 8.1 update has doubled down on expanding the reach of the Windows Phone ecosystem. Recently, it partnered with Micromax for the Canvas Win line of Windows Phones and now Lava owned Xolo has jumped on the bandwagon.Xolo has unveiled the Xolo Win line up and the first device is the Q900s and has a price of Rs 11,999 and will be available in July. As of now, the phone is available for pre-orders with online retailers for Rs 9,999.The phone touts similar specs as the Micromax Canvas Win W121. It has a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor built on the ARM Cortex A7 architecture. There is 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, dual-SIM slots, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and will have 3G connectivity.On the back there is a 8-megapixel camera and the front has a 2-megapixel sensor. It’s 4.7-inch IPS display has a 720p resolution, delivering 316 pixels per inch. It also has a decent 1,800mAh battery.It compares favourably with the Canvas Win W121 in terms of specifications. The only downside is that it’s a little more expensive than it. That said, Xolo has a penchant for better build quality than Micromax, so that premium should be taken into account, however we have not seen the phone so we can’t be totally sure.Of late, we are seeing many local vendors jump onto the Windows Phone platform as Microsoft has eliminated the licensing fee that it used to charge. Microsoft made this announcement at its BUILD developer conference in April.advertisementMany of these devices are possible because of the turnkey solution Qualcomm and Microsoft have developed that allows Android vendors to port their Android phones to Windows Phone.Google is taking steps to counteract Microsoft’s moves. Earlier in the week the search giant announced the Android One program where it plans on providing turnkey solutions to vendors in emerging markets providing the hardware specs and also being directly responsible for the Android OS and its updates.The plan is to provide high-quality devices that cost less than $100, something similar to what Microsoft is trying to achieve with Windows Phone.Google has already announced Micromax, Karbonn and Spice as its partners for this program in India. It will later expand the program to other parts of the world, so the battle between Android and Windows Phone will become really interesting at the low-end of the market.last_img read more

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2014 World Cup: End of an era for Spain, end of mystique for Brazil

first_imgGermany’s Miroslav Klose in action against Brazil in the World Cup’s first semifinalTime flies sweetly when it flies at the pace of a football. Only yesterday, it seems, host Brazil was kicking off the World Cup with an unconvincing win against Croatia; and only yesterday, this time more literally, was,Germany’s Miroslav Klose in action against Brazil in the World Cup’s first semifinalTime flies sweetly when it flies at the pace of a football. Only yesterday, it seems, host Brazil was kicking off the World Cup with an unconvincing win against Croatia; and only yesterday, this time more literally, was Brazil getting a shellacking of historic proportions at the hands of Germany in the semifinals. If Brazil was smug and dandy in that first game, a mediocre side with an bloated sense of entitlement, it was no better than a carcass in the second, carved up by German butchers looking for the juiciest, plumpest cuts.As this issue goes to press, we have had the pleasure of 62 of the 64 scheduled World Cup games. (Let me finesse that: 60 of those 62 completed games actually gave us pleasure; Iran vs Nigeria on June 16 and Ecuador vs France on June 25 were both distinctly unlovely.) Two games remain: the playoff for 3rd place, on July 12, between The Netherlands and a mortified Brazil; and the final, the next day, between Argentina and Germany, both deserving opponents in the ultimate contest for the Cup.As someone who has watched every single game played-yes, even those played simultaneously in the last round of the group stage, done by streaming one match on my laptop while the other played on TV-I’d like to offer readers a few observations. Some of these are strongly influenced by my son, with whom I watched all the games, and who knows more about football than could possibly be good for any 14-year-old. Let’s start with two termini, two ends: The first, the End of an Era for Spain; the second, the End of a Mystique, for Brazil.advertisementSpain’s dominion of world football was brief, and altogether late in coming in the long sweep of football history. It existed from 2008-14, spanning two European Championships and one World Cup (that of 2010, in South Africa). Spanish rule over world football coincided with the domination by Barcelona FC of European club football, its grandeur being such that Newsweek magazine once asked, in a cover story in June 2011, whether Barca was the best football team ever. (The story was by Jimmy Burns, a historian of Barcelona football, so the answer, naturally, was yes!)On June 13, only the second day of the World Cup, Spain’s reign was over after a 5-1 hammering by The Netherlands. The score was monstrous, and we all felt we’d watched a once-in-ageneration mauling of one titan by another. (Little did we know, then, what the first semifinal had in store for us.) The Spaniards lost their next game, too, to Chile, and were out of the Cup after two matches, an ignominious exit for the holders. These were more than just defeats: They were the end of an order. Barcelona has lost its lustre, as last season showed; and Spain, which derives its entire pattern of play, not to mention many of its players, from the Catalan club, has lost its lustre, too. I cannot foresee a Spanish return to football’s pinnacle.Argentina celebrates after scoring a goal against the Netherlands in the second semifinalWorse than the dethronement of Spain, by far, was the humiliation of Brazil, on a night so catastrophic that no team will take the field against a Brazilian side in years to come and feel weighed down by awe. The majesty has gone: The emperor was shown to have no clothes.This was to have been Brazil’s World Cup. The cosmic script, as written by Brazilians, had them hosting a beautiful tournament, one awash with goals and flair, that would end with Thiago Silva, their captain, holding aloft the trophy on a cacophonous night at the Maracana Stadium in Rio. Neutral observers and unsentimental aficionados had an early sense that this script would go awry. Brazil beat Croatia with some help from a friendly Japanese referee, and couldn’t put a goal past Mexico’s goalkeeper in 90 minutes of huffing and puffing.In the round of 16, it scraped past a doughty Chile by virtue of a penalty shootout, after a game in which its southern neighbours had matched it move for move. The quarterfinal against Colombia offered the evil omen before the nadir. In a brutal game in which Brazil sought to muscle its way past the twinkle-toed Cafeteros, the team lost Neymar to a robust tackle by its opponents: Live by the kick, die by the kick. Neymar was out for the rest of the Cup with a broken vertebra, and Silva, the captain, was forced out of the semifinal due to an accumulation of yellow cards.advertisementHow on earth would Brazil beat the Germans without Neymar, its only goalscorer, and Silva, its best defender? No one in Brazil knew, and no one in Brazil seemed to care. In the days before the Germany game, all focus was on Neymar, and it was a very mawkish focus. The injured player was sanctified; and accusations of cowardice were hurled at the Colombian defender who had fouled him. Amid all the wailing and raging, and the nationwide obsession with the ailing Neymar, no thought was given to tackling the Germans. And on the night of the game, it showed.Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil’s coach, must shoulder much of the blame. His was a shoddy squad, packed with mediocrity; it was packed, also, with the coach’s favourites. Fred, the forward, was a national embarrassment, bereft of technique and imagination, of skill and wit. And yet he played game after game, always starting, never being dropped. Fred wouldn’t have come within a country mile of any of the previous Brazilian World Cup teams. His presence in this one was proof of its inadequacy, its impotence.The quarter- and semifinals showed that the centers of world football power remain Europe and Latin America (and, more precisely, the national leagues of Spain, Germany, France, Holland and England). For all the pluck shown by the United States in reaching the last 16, and all the maturity and skill shown by Costa Rica in vaulting to the quarterfinals, the World Cup remains a tournament where the established powers thrive. My son and I scanned the schedule meticulously in the days before the opening game and made our predictions of the likely quarterfinalists. We were right on all teams but one: We had Italy down instead of Costa Rica.The semifinals were merely a concentration of the phenomenon: Brazil (five-time winners) vs Germany (three-time winners); Argentina (twice winners) vs The Netherlands (thrice finalists). These teams, with Italy, are akin to the permanent members of football’s “security council.” But no one seems to mind. There is no clamour for a more equitable representation of teams from Other Places. Why should there be? The outsiders from Asia and Africa had their moments at this Cup, as they tend to do at most World Cups; but those were no more than moments, fleeting memories of an underdog getting in a bite or two before losing to the “overdog”.The final awaits us, the third time Argentina will face Germany for the Cup. For those tempted to say that the Germans should win, I have a single word of warning: Messi. He has had a lukewarm tournament so far, offering us a couple of goals of brilliance and setting up a couple of others. He has been hampered by his team, which gave him next to no support in the earlier stages. He is a game-changer.The Argentine team began to cohere in the quarterfinals against Belgium, but the loss, there, of Angel di Maria, handicapped them against The Netherlands. Di Maria is a playmaker of exceptional intelligence and flair, and should he recover from his thigh injury in time to play the final, the Albiceleste-the skyblue-and-whites- will be a match for the Germans. Argentina’s defence is rock solid, as the Dutch found in the semis, and as others found before them. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie were all kept at bay with remarkable success. Can you imagine any other team stifling Robben so completely that he could get his only shot on goal in the 9th minute of extra time- the 99th minute of the game? The Germans have their own great strengths, and are the most complete team of the Cup. They attack incisively with Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose; their midfield boasts the superb Sami Khedira; and their defence, with Philip Lahm restored to his God-given place as right-back, has overcome the lethargy of the group games, when Joachim Loew, the coach, miscast Lahm in the midfield.advertisementI end with a prayer: May the referee have a good night on June 13. May he be fair, may he let the game flow. May he not fall for dives and cheating, especially in the penalty box. May he not be trigger-happy with his cards, even as he is intolerant of brutality. May he, in short, let the best side win.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover InstitutionTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

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United States GP: American Dream to Deliver Sixth World Title for Lewis Hamilton

first_img Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. Austin: Lewis Hamilton is set to clinch his sixth drivers’ world championship at one of his favourite venues this weekend when he leads Mercedes into what promises to be a close scrap with Ferrari at the United States Grand Prix.Just days after his unexpected, but perfectly-conceived, strategic victory in Mexico, the 34-year-old Briton is in the luxurious position of knowing that only a wildly-extraordinary result at the Circuit of the Americas can frustrate him again. His only title rival, Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, has to overcome a 74-point deficit in the final three rounds of the championship to create what would be the biggest upset in the sport’s history.It is a scenario that requires the Finn, whose previous best finish in Texas is fifth, to win all three season-ending races, at the very least, with Hamilton out of the points.Given that Hamilton has scored in his last 30 consecutive outings and needs only four points to retain his crown, Bottas’s hopes are some way beyond slim, but he can be relied upon never to give up.Both Mercedes men have targets, not least Hamilton for whom a place in the top eight would be enough for the title.He may be keen also to register something better as he seeks another Texas triumph, his sixth in eight outings in Austin and his seventh win in the American event and, at the very least, his 150th podium finish.A frequent visitor to the United States, Hamilton is a regular guest on television chat shows and is F1’s best-known driver in the country by a distance.”I think my story, and my family story, is something a lot of people can relate to,” said Hamilton, who often declares his sense affinity with many in America. “I’ve become more and more known in the States.”I like being in the States and, for me, it is a pretty calm build-up. And the track at Austin is fantastic — it’s been a good hunting ground for me and so I am very excited to go there and, who knows, see whether we can get the job done.”VETTEL HAILS HAMILTONIronically, Hamilton can take the title without scoring a point if rivals Ferrari can translate their speed in qualifying into a race victory.”We have started the past six races from pole, but have only gone on to win three — and we certainly want to do better than that. Austin will give us a good opportunity to do so,” said Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto.After a recent revival in form, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will seek to show he remains worthy of top status at the Italian team while Red Bull’s rumbustious Max Verstappen, making his 100th Grand Prix start, will hope for a less controversial weekend than his last.The Dutchman was stripped of pole position in Mexico and, in the race, banged wheels with Hamilton, picked up a puncture in a clash with Bottas and stormed from last to finish sixth in the race.Vettel finished second and demonstrated his maturity afterwards when he side-stepped invitations to say he felt jealous or envious of Hamilton’s feats, instead choosing to praise his long-time rival.”I appreciate his efforts, his performances, his success a lot,” said Vettel.”I think you have to because it’s obvious. If not then it wouldn’t be me. F1formula onelewis hamiltonUnited States GP First Published: October 31, 2019, 11:32 AM ISTlast_img read more

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Virat Kohli’s RCB bosses plan roadshow if team wins IPL 2016

first_imgIt’s the clash of the titans as Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad battle it out for the ultimate prize when the two giants take the field in the final of the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League tonight. (Royal Challengers Bangalore favourites against Sunrisers Hyderabad)The ways to celebrate their victory is already planned, with favourites RCB planning to make it a memorable moment for their captain Virat Kohli. (Full IPL Coverage)Kohli, who as U-19 cricket captain led his team to victory in the World Cup, was given a grand reception after the junior team won the tournament in Malaysia in 2008.The celebration party was organised by liquor baron Vijay Mallya for the victorious team. An open-top bus roadshow, something Kohli experienced after leading his side to victory, is being planned by the RCB owners and to make the moment more memorable the same bus is being readied for the procession.GRAND CEREMONY”Virat is an emotional person and he is the strength of RCB… we are already working at making the RCB victory a memorable one. Virat still remembers the 2008 celebration after he and the Men in Blue won the under-19 world cup. He relishes their travel from the HAL Airport to the Chinnaswamy stadium on an open BMTC bus. (Also Read: David Warner targets Virat Kohli in IPL final to defuse RCB’s batting)”This time also we have chosen the same lucky bus for Virat and company. The bus is being readied and we are decorating it to suit RCB and Virat Kohli,” an RCB official told Bangalore Mirror.advertisement”Necessary permissions for the roadshow, which will start on Monday morning from the Ritz Carlton Hotel, have been taken. The procession will go via MG Road to Chinnaswamy stadium. This will culminate in a grand ceremony at the stadium with a music concert by Raghu Dixit,” a KSCA source added.KOHLI IN TOP FORMKohli has been at his smashing best this IPL, with 919 runs and counting. India’s Test skipper has already hit four hundreds and has assured at least an Orange Cap, given to the highest run-getter in a season of the IPL, for himself. (Also read: Sunrisers Hyderabad ready for Virat Kohli challenge, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar)He is averaging a mind-boggling 83.54 in the tournament this year and is only 43 shy of becoming the leading run-scorer in the history of the tournament. Right now Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina sits at the top with 4098 runs.Kohli and AB de Villiers have recorded five century-plus partnerships in season nine, including a double hundred stand.last_img read more

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Afridi to come out with memoir next year

first_imgNew Delhi, Oct 17 (PTI) Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi will come out next year with his autobiography in which he opens up about his “rivalries and alliances”, particularly those with India, as well as his infatuation with the military and his take on politics.”Shahid Afridi: An Autobiography”, written with journalist Wajahat S Khan, is an account of one of modern-day crickets most controversial and high-achieving practitioners, who in 1996, as a 16-year-old, hammered a record-breaking 37-ball century.Afridi today also holds the distinction of having hit the most number of sixes in the history of ODI cricket and most wickets (97) and most player-of-the match awards in T20 Internationals.HarperCollins India has acquired world rights to the autobiography which will be released in 2017. The publisher has dubbed the book as “big-hitting and no holds barred”.Says Afridi about his book, “In all my years of cricket, Ive given hundreds of interviews and done dozens of TV shows, but what you will read in my memoir are the stories and thoughts Ive never shared openly. I have a lot to say: about my confidence, my fears, my adversaries, my ambitions, my goals and failures.”In the book, Ive opened up about my rivalries and my alliances, particularly those with India, as well as my infatuation with the military and my take on politics. It was a tall order to get myself ready to do this, but Im proud to join hands with a fine storyteller and journalist like Wajahat bhai. Im also thankful to my publishers for giving me the space to be myself.”advertisementKhan says about his association with the book, “He may be the most in-your-face cricketer Pakistan – or even South Asia – has ever produced, but Afridi isnt an open-and-shut case to study. Interviewing and working with one of the greatest – and most complicated – cricketing icons wasnt just exciting, it was also quite scary.”Getting inside his head is like bowling to the man. You never know what may happen when you get within range. Shahid Afridi: An Autobiography is not just about Afridi and Pakistan cricket, but also about the other Afridis we havent heard about: the lost kid with the singular focus of pulling his parents out of poverty, the desperate captain trying not to snitch on his corrupt teammates, the gallant Pashtun centurion staring down a hostile Indian crowd.”Publisher and chief editor of HarperCollins India Karthika V K says she is delighted to publish the autobiography.”It will be a great addition to the Harper Sport list and I look forward to working with him and Wajahat to make a memorable book,” she says. PTI ZMN TRSlast_img read more

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Comcast eclipses Murdoch’s Fox with 30 billion-pound Sky bid

first_imgLondon, Sep 23 (AFP) US cable giant Comcast outbid Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in a blind auction for the European TV operator Sky on Saturday that all but settled a titanic battle between the two media empires.Britain’s takeover regulator said the secret process ended with Comcast offering to pay 30.4 billion pounds (USD 39.7 billion, 33.8 billion euros).Sky’s highest offer was worth 27.6 billion pounds.The pan-European TV operator’s shareholders will have until October 11 to decide which bid to accept.But Comcast’s chief executive Briant Roberts quickly hailed the outcome as “a great day” for his company.”Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team,” he said in a statement.”This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”Sky’s subscription base of 23 million and lucrative rights to English Premier League football make it one of Europe’s most profitable and powerful TV companies.The nearly two-year battle for Sky has reshaped the global media-entertainment landscape and put Comcast in pole position to take on emerging online rivals.The auction pitted two old media behemoths against each other, both needing a way to boost content in order to keep viewers from switching to streaming services such as Netflix.Saturday’s outcome dealt a potentially fatal blow to Murdoch’s attempts to acquire the 61 per cent stake in Sky he did not already have but has long sought.The 87-year-old global media mogul has been a dominant presence on the British market since first forming the BSkyB broadcaster in 1990.advertisementMurdoch made his first determined attempt to take over Sky in 2010-11.That effort was scuttled by pubic uproar over a phone hacking scandal at his British newspaper holdings.Critics had argued that allowing Murdoch — who owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun — full control of Sky News would have given him too much influence in the UK news business.Fox proposed remedying this by selling the rolling TV news channel to Disney should it win full control of Sky.The fight over Sky has also altered how Americans get to watch their broadcasts and movies.Comcast was forced to drop its bid to take over Fox itself because it needed the money to go after Sky.This allowed Walt Disney Co. to complete a mega-merger with Fox that should close next year.Saturday’s auction thus turned into a proxy battle between Comcast and Disney for Sky.Comcast viewed Sky as a way to win a foothold in Europe and end its sole dependence on the United States.And Disney was looking for a way it could feed its content directly to viewers without having to rely on cable providers.Sky offered a way out for both.The emerging alliances means the coming years might be dominated by offerings from two traditional sources: Disney-Fox and Comcast-Sky.Comcast’s holdings already include Universal Studios and the US television channels NBC and CNBC.Disney’s empire stretches from its film studio and theme parks to the US television network ABC and the various ESPN sports channels.But Sky shareholders still have the option of backing the Disney-Fox offer.And the Disney-Fox alliance must still clear some regulatory hurdles.Sky ended the day Friday trading at 15.85 pounds — below Comcast’s Saturday offer price of 17.28 pounds per share. (AFP) RClast_img read more

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Nokia 9 case showing five rear cameras gets listed on Amazon website

first_imgHMD Global will be hosting an event in Dubai on December 5. Although the company is yet to reveal the devices it is planning to launch at the event, rumours suggest that HMD could be launching three Nokia phones. Two of the three phones could be the Nokia 8.1 and the Nokia 9 or Nokia 9 PureView. The Nokia 9 flagship device has been subjected to several leaks and rumours lately and most of them have revealed that the phone will come with a Penta camera setup on the rear panel. The newly listed case of Nokia 9 also reveals the same.The phone case has been spotted listed on Amazon UK website, which more or less confirms that the launch day of the Nokia 9 or Nokia 9 PureView is nearing. The phone case appears in glossy black colour and shows five holes for the cameras. Interestingly, the Nokia 9 will be the world’s first Penta camera phone. Reportedly, the case of the Nokia 9 has been created by case maker UniqueMe.The leaked case appears with five holes for the Penta camera setup of the phone to fit properly and click beautiful pictures. The case also has an opening for the LED flash which will most likely fit in between the five cameras. Notably, there’s no opening for the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which suggests that the Nokia 9 could either come with a front placed fingerprint sensor or in-display sensor. There are high chances that HMD will finally adapt to the trend of in-display fingerprint sensor. This will make the Nokia 9 the first phone from HMD Global to have the fingerprint sensor embedded inside the screen.advertisementThe case of the phone also shows that the upcoming Nokia 9 will have the power and volume key on the left side of the phone, which means the SIM card tray will be fitted on the right. At the bottom, the Nokia 9 case confirms that HMD Global will not ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack for the Nokia 9 PureView – which is what HMD plans to call the phone. The case also reveals that the Nokia 9 will have a USB type-C port at the bottom.According to the Amazon UK listing, the case of the Nokia 9 will be in stock on December 1, this indirectly suggests that the launch of the Nokia phone is imminent.ALSO READ: Nokia 9 PureView, Nokia 8.1 cases listed online ahead of December 5 launchAhead of the launch, the Nokia 9 PureView has been subjected to several leaks and rumours which suggest that the phone will come with a 5.9-inch display with a QHD+ resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio, while the back panel is expected to be made of glass just like the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The phone could be using CarlZeiss lens and powered by either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 or the upcoming Snapdragon 855 (Snapdragon 8150) processor, which is set to go official on December 4. Other specs of the Nokia 9 include – Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 128GB of internal storage and a 4,150mAh battery.last_img read more

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First priority will be to look after first-class cricketers, says BCCI presidential candidate Sourav Ganguly

first_img Next Rasesh Mandani MumbaiOctober 14, 2019UPDATED: October 14, 2019 08:45 IST Sourav Ganguly is likely to be elected BCCI president unopposed (India Today Photo)HIGHLIGHTSSourav Ganguly as the front runner for the post of BCCI presidentGanguly will be file his nomination papers at the BCCI headquarters on MondayIndia Today has reliably learnt that it was only the president’s post that Ganguly was ready to take upWhen the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) goes back to being a democracy from October 23rd onwards after three years of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), Indian cricket’s most celebrated captain – Sourav Ganguly – will in all likelihood take over as the next president.For now, it will only be a short stint at the top post for Ganguly as he will have to go in for a cooling off period from July 2020 under the new rules. He has been holding posts in Cricket Association of Bengal for the past five years where he currently serves as president and an administrator can only serve six years at a trot.”That’s the rule. So we will have to deal with it. My first priority will be to look after first class cricketers. I had requested to the CoA and they have not listened. Ranji Trophy cricket will be the focus. To take care of cricketers’ financial interest,” he said after his name was finalized in an informal meeting of BCCI state units.When Ganguly took over as India captain in 2000, Indian cricket was in muddy waters, picking up pieces after the match fixing scandal. He drove Indian cricket to safety and instilled belief that India could win overseas. Now with BCCI’s clout significantly reduced at the ICC, the former skipper’s board-room tact will be at test.”I am happy with the appointment because this is the time when BCCI’s image has got hampered and it’s a great opportunity for me to do something.advertisement”Whether you are elected unopposed or otherwise, it’s a big responsibility because it is the biggest organization in the world of cricket. India is a powerhouse. It will be a challenge,” he said.When India Today asked him to compare his emotions now and when he had become India captain, he said, “Nothing can beat being India captain.””I never thought I would be President,” was his response when asked if he had been thinking. But India Today has reliably learnt, it was only the top post Ganguly was ready to take up when negotiations were on.After Ganguly refused other posts being offered, former India cricketer Brijesh Patel looked set to take over.Subsequently, with Patel’s name not finding complete backing and BJP brass in BCCI in favour of handing reigns to Ganguly, the tide turned.There has also been talk of ruling BJP striking a deal with the cricket star for being the face of their next political battleground – Bengal elections against rival Mamata Banerjee or at least being a star campaigner.Ganguly denied the same. “Nothing of that sort. Nobody has told me,” he said. Ganguly will be filing his nomination papers in person, Monday morning at BCCI headquarters.Also Read | Sourav Ganguly emerges as consensus candidate for BCCI presidentFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byrohan sen Tags :Follow Sourav GangulyFollow BCCIFollow COAFollow BCCI president Sourav Ganguly First priority will be to look after first-class cricketers, says BCCI presidential candidate Sourav GangulyA consensus between the state units of BCCI has been built for former India captain and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly as the front runner for the post of BCCI president.advertisementlast_img read more

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News Simulation Software for ShoreTension Mooring System

first_imgCock van der Lem, maritime consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV: “we operate in ports around the world and we know the specific requirements for quays and terminals. It’s important for customers to know whether investment in systems like ShoreTension® are value for money. Our simulation software can help them in their decision.” zoom Royal HaskoningDHV and ShoreTension Holding BV have developed innovative simulation software to predict the performance of the ShoreTension® dynamic mooring system for future users.ShoreTension® is a flexible stand-alone system that keeps the mooring lines of ships under continuous tension, thus keeping them safely moored and allowing optimal loading and unloading of the vessel, even in high winds and waves.Using the simulation software, interested users can discover whether the system will benefit their situation. The simulation software shows the behaviour of a moored ship, taking into account location-specific variables such as port infrastructure, wind and waves.Terminal operators in Rotterdam which, supported by subsidy made available by the Rotterdam Port Authority, are considering using ShoreTension® can now first have an analysis made of the benefits of purchasing the system for their operations and whether they outweigh the costs of the system.Gerrit van der Burg, Director Shore Tension Holding BV: “for our company, this has the advantage that we no longer have to carry the system all around the world to show customers what the system does. This results in cost savings. Furthermore, the simulation software makes it possible to model conditions that may not occur during a local test, but which are relevant.” June 2, 2014last_img read more

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UN appeals for more funds to help millions of droughthit people in

“WFP so far has 44 per cent of the resources it needs to feed 5.22 million people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Karamoja region of eastern Uganda from April through September,” said Josette Sheeran, the WFP Executive Director.“The shortfall will hamper our efforts to provide food where it is needed most,” said Ms. Sheeran, who is currently in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on a fact-finding mission.The number of hungry people in the Greater Horn of Africa has risen as drought, rising food and fuel prices and conflict take their toll.The drought began with the failure of the October to December short rains last year in eastern parts of the Horn of Africa, pushing an additional 1.4 million people into hunger. More people may need food aid if the current long rains – from March to May – are not sufficient, Ms. Sheeran said.“I am very pleased that in areas of abundance in the region farmers are selling their produce to WFP so that it can be used to help the poorest in drought-stricken areas,” she said, adding that WFP bought food worth $139 million from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia last year.Food prices have started rising in areas that rely on the short rains for most food production, with maize now costing between 25 and 120 per cent more in some remote parts of the region. Cereal prices over the next six months are expected to increase by 40 to 50 per cent, she said.Rising international food and fuel prices have compounded the pressure on the poorest, many of whom are yet to recover from the 2007-2009 drought in the region. 2 April 2011The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today the agency is facing a huge deficit in the funds required to continue to assist more than five million people in five countries in the Horn of Africa who are experiencing severe food shortages as a result of a prolonged drought. read more

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Brit returns to Yukon to tipple his own toe in longrunning tradition

WHITEHORSE — An British man who lost several toes to frostbite in Yukon is now back in the territory for a reunification of sorts.Former British marine Nick Griffiths is set to become the most exclusive member of an exclusive club when he visits the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City to sip a so-called sourtoe cocktail; a shot of whisky with a mummified human toe in it.This cocktail will contain Griffiths’ own big toe, which was amputated along with two other toes, after he suffered severe frostbite while taking part in a nearly 500-kilometre endurance race across Yukon in March 2018.Downtown Hotel general manager Adam Gerle says Griffiths will be the first person to tipple his own toe.The sourtoe was first created in 1973 and has been served more than 90,000 times since.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Drinkers are welcome to either sip or shoot the whisky, but if they want to join the sourtoe club, rules require that the mummified toe must touch their lips.Griffiths learned about the sourtoe story while recovering in hospital in Whitehorse awaiting return to his hometown of Bolton, England, where the frostbitten toes were removed, Gerle says.Griffiths arranged to have his big toe sent back to Dawson City, where it was enthusiastically received.The hotel’s existing toe stock had been deteriorating and staff were in search of new digits, especially big toes, which the hotel’s sourtoe specialist Terry Lee described at the time as “the most disgusting and popular with the customers.”It took about six weeks to mummify Griffiths’ toe in salt after it was received and Gerle says Griffiths has returned to experience the finished product.“He is returning to do his own toe, like he promised,” says Gerle.“He lost his toes in the Yukon and now he is coming back to reunite with them.”When the hotel learned of Griffiths’ intended donation it said in a statement that it would foot the bill for his return so Griffiths could claim the rare distinction of sampling his own toe, and being the first whose lips will touch it. read more

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UN welcomes opening of new aid supply routes to Afghanistan

A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed the recent opening of the Friendship Bridge linking Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, as well as the Nijni Pyandj – Shirkhan Bandar River crossing between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. “These added supply routes should boost the delivery of aid to internally displaced Afghans in the northern and western parts of the country,” Fatoumata Kaba told the press in Islamabad.The spokesperson also called for a quick resolution of the conflict in southern and eastern Afghanistan to allow distribution of humanitarian assistance there. “Instability in the two regions makes it virtually impossible for any humanitarian organization to access the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,” Kaba said.Meanwhile, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif and other areas in the north should make it easier to reach people in that region, which is known as the “hunger belt.””Working with NGOs [non-governmental organizations], WFP is trying to provide food aid to over 350,000 internally displaced persons in the northern provinces,” said spokesman Khaled Mansour. “Day after day, we have been able to reach more of them,” he added, noting that over the weekend, the agency had sent 437 tonnes of food to Kunduz province. “When security risks become reasonable, we take them and move in,” he said. read more

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911 anniversary should serve as call for international cooperation – Annan

“Obviously we all remember those who died. I was in New York when it happened and I know what a traumatic, tragic incident that was,” Mr. Annan said at a press encounter in Geneva, where he is to meet with the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council on Saturday to seek the speedy restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqi people.In a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan called for all nations to work together in the fight against terrorism, “which is an affront to the spirit and purposes of the United Nations, and has become a leading threat to international peace and security. I hope nations will also bring similar determination to bear in confronting the other ills that plague our world.”Extending his condolences to families and friends of the victims, he added: “The trauma, wounds and losses of that awful day are still keenly felt by all of us. And since then, many other innocent people throughout the world – including, last month in Baghdad, dedicated staff of the United Nations – have been killed by this global scourge.”Mr. Annan also linked the 9/11 attacks with the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, which killed top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others, in a message delivered for him by the Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations, Gillian Sorensen, at a church service dedicated to the opening of the new General Assembly session next week.“The UN family has likewise been jolted as never before. Last month, in Baghdad, it was our turn to be the victim of a terrorist attack – one that took from us cherished friends and colleagues, and has jeopardized our ability to come to the aid of Iraqis in their time of need,” he said.“But if our hearts are filled with sorrow, if our minds are unsettled by images of violence, our spirits can still draw strength from occasions such as this, where people of different faiths and cultures come together in friendship and prayer. We need that strength,” he said. read more

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New Englands NonReceiver Receivers May Be The Greatest Threat To Philadelphia

Washington15.9198.874.4 16LA Chargers84.476.5+7.9 23Minnesota76.775.0+1.7 The Eagles have the fourth-worst differential between how they defend wide receivers (71.2 passer rating allowed) versus how they defend tight ends and running backs (100.5). And this deficiency has played a significant role in their infrequent struggles this year. In Philly’s lone low point in the NFC Championship, it was tight end Kyle Rudolph who Keenum found for a 25-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. In the regular season, three of the Eagles’ four worst games in terms of passer rating allowed when guarding running backs were in the team’s three defeats, including a 144.1 passer rating allowed on RB/TE targets against the Seahawks (including two touchdowns), and 134.3 on 13 targets against the Chiefs. While they allowed a 100.0 rating on eight targets in an otherwise sterling defensive effort during a 6-0 loss to the Cowboys in the final week, many starters were sitting for large stretches of that game.1The Eagles also allowed a 143 passer rating when defending RB/TE in a Week 7 win over Washington.But there’s also statistical evidence that passer rating may be underselling Philadelphia’s efficiency in defending targets to running backs and tight ends. When we focus only on yards per attempt on these targets, the Eagles defense ranks as the fourth best (6.18 allowed per attempt). Similarly, the Eagles rank fifth-best in Raw Quarterback Rating (Raw QBR) because that statistic is based on expected points and makes an adjustment for yards after the catch.But before any jubilant Eagle fan starts scaling the “Rocky” steps in a dune buggy, consider that the Eagles didn’t play many teams this season that excel at passing to non-WRs. The Patriots’ offense is No. 1 not just in total yards on passes to RB/TEs but also in Raw QBR on passes to those players, and the only offenses the Eagles faced that ranked in the top 10 in both of those statistics were Kansas City, Washington (twice) and the Los Angeles Chargers. So let’s isolate those games: 1Baltimore100.860.4+40.4 8Detroit98.677.1+21.5 2Jacksonville95.155.9+39.2 30Houston101.6106.9-5.3 Passer Rating Against 15Dallas102.493.9+8.5 28Oakland102.6105.5-2.9 4Philadelphia100.571.2+29.3 32Seattle72.288.0-15.8 5Buffalo96.169.7+26.4 LA Chargers44.7199.126.1 11Cleveland113.097.4+15.6 This is all well and good until you consider that the Patriots pass like no other team. No team in the NFL needs to worry less than the Patriots about a defense like Philadelphia’s taking away their wide receivers because no team in the NFL does more damage on throws to running backs and tight ends. Top threat Rob Gronkowski at tight end (health permitting), along with pass-catching running backs James White and Dion Lewis, can consistently abuse vulnerable linebackers and safeties that opposing teams typically try to hide in pass coverage.So will the Eagles be able to slow the non-receiver receivers of New England? The regular-season evidence looks damning for Philadelphia. The traditional measure of NFL passing efficiency is passer rating. So let’s look at how opponents’ passers fare when the Eagles defend running backs and tight ends in coverage versus when they defend wide receivers. Passes to tight ends and running backs cause problemsRegular-season difference in passer rating allowed when the opponent threw to wide receivers vs. when it threw to tight ends or running backs 9LA Rams92.472.4+20.0 On paper, the Eagles seem well constructed to stop the Patriots’ fearsome passing game. Like most teams that can defend in this league, the Eagles built their pass defense around edge rushers and cornerbacks in order to keep teams from beating them on deeper passes outside the numbers to wide receivers. This approach paid huge dividends in their upset victory over the Vikings in the NFC Championship, as Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum simply didn’t have the time to find his elite wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who also were given less cushion to operate. 13NY Jets102.889.6+13.2 19Carolina99.795.3+4.4 TeamTight ends/running backsWide receiversDifference Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 20New Orleans84.980.5+4.4 21Atlanta96.993.9+3.0 22Tampa Bay98.896.5+2.3 Average vs. all other teams5.70.3386.339.1 7Cincinnati99.376.3+23.0 29Green Bay102.2107.2-5.0 25New England92.592.3+0.2 OpponentWeekYd/AttPass TDRatingRawQBR 18Chicago95.389.8+5.5 17Tennessee95.988.9+7.0 26Kansas City82.685.1-2.5 31Pittsburgh81.387.9-6.6 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Kansas City210.11134.383.1 The Eagles had trouble with teams that pass well to TE/RBsHow Philadelphia’s pass defense did in the regular season when it faced teams that ranked highly in passing to non-receivers vs. teams that didn’t 6Miami110.485.7+24.7 27San Francisco96.098.8-2.8 24Arizona87.085.7+1.3 14Washington90.679.0+11.6 Washington78.83143.092.7 10NY Giants108.389.2+19.1 Average7.41.50118.869.1 12Indianapolis103.890.6+13.2 3Denver113.381.7+31.6 Their average Raw QBR allowed to these teams was 69.1, which is 30 points worse than their average in all other games. And that 69.1 Raw QBR against would rank sixth-worst in the league. Similarly, the Eagles allowed an average of 7.37 yards per attempt to these opponents versus just 5.72 to teams that are not nearly as prolific in throwing to non-WRs.So when you adjust for tendencies of opponent, all three statistics (rating, Raw QBR and yards per attempt) converge and it’s clear that, on paper, the Patriots have a decided edge against an otherwise sound pass defense. Of course, all this largely evaporates if Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion 10 days ago, is not recovered and can participate in Minnesota. While he’s returned to practice, he’s still in the concussion protocol and has to be cleared to play by an independent doctor. The team’s backup tight end, Dwayne Allen, caught just 10 passes all year and wasn’t even targeted by Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game, though Allen played over two quarters after Gronkowski’s injury against the Jaguars.If Gronkowski does play, the Patriots will be in an unusual spot for a game of this magnitude. The Patriots have long been famous for their a chameleon-like offense — the team will find your biggest weakness and design a fresh game plan around exploiting it. But based on the Eagles’ defensive splits, the New England offense may not have to morph into something else this time, but instead may be able to simply play to its greatest strength. read more

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Bumper year for English wine as figures show it is now £130m

first_imgWinbirri is a family-run vineyard, beside Norfolk Broads National Park, that was established in 2007.At the time, Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “It comes as no surprise to us that an English Bacchus wine has won a major international award. Up until now English Sparkling Wine has been grabbing most of the headlines for its outstanding quality. “It was only a matter of time before an English still wine showed the world it can also compete with the best.”The UK climate is ideal for growing the Bacchus grape which is why it has become the favoured grape grown in the majority of UK vineyards making still white wine.”We believe Bacchus has the potential to do for English wine production what Sauvignon Blanc did for New Zealand.” Conrad Ford, founder of Funding Options, said: “English wine is going from strength to strength.”The English wine industry is not only gaining traction amongst domestic consumers, but is now being ranked with wines from traditional white wine-producing countries such as France and Germany.”In May, a wine from Norfolk was named as the best white wine in the world at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Winbirri Vineyards’ Bacchus 2015, which sells for £13.95 a bottle, beat off 17,200 other entries to win the Platinum Best in Show, and was given a score of 95 out of 100 by a panel of 200 international experts.  English wine enjoyed a bumper year in 2016, and it is now £130m industry, a new study shows.  Independent English wine producers saw their turnover rise to a record £132 million last year, a 16 per cent increase on 2015, showing that the industry has enjoyed major growth in recent years, according to Funding Options.Research by the online business finance firm revealed that wine producers are benefiting from the growing popularity of boutique British alcohol production, including gin and craft beer as well as wine. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. It was only a matter of time before an English still wine showed the world it can also compete with the best.Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association English wine is going from strength to strength.Conrad Ford, founder of Funding Optionslast_img read more

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Unscrupulous essay mill companies are using social media to tempt students into

Vice-chancellors have called for new laws to ban “venal and exploitative” essay mill companies Lauren Davies, a first year Sociology student at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) in Kent, described how essay mill firms first gained access to the main Facebook group for incoming freshers and then to the WhatsApp group.“On [our Facebook group], students would often exchange phone numbers and receive invites to join various group chats on WhatsApp, which were then targeted by the essay mills,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “They’re posting adverts everyday and sometimes up to three times a day, suggesting that if we students paid £300 plus we would be able to receive their essay writing services, and not ‘gamble with our grades’.”She said that some students who are not settling into university life very well may be tempted to use these essay services “in order to cope with the stress of deadlines”.Meanwhile, students who post messages on Twitter to express their frustration at an impending essay deadline are bombarded with messages by various essay mill firms, offering their essay-writing services in exchange for a fee.An English Literature MA student at Liverpool University wrote on Twitter: “I don’t know what to write for my essay [and] it’s due in two weeks 🙁 why did I do this to myself?”Within hours, she had been sent messages from three different companies offering to write the essay for her, one promising “no plagiarism” while another claimed it can “guarantee you quality”.  Students can pay thousands of pounds for commissioned essays and assignments Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Unscrupulous” essay mill companies are using social media to tempt students into cheating, the higher education quality watchdog has warned.Firms have been infiltrating private Facebook groups for incoming freshers to advertise their services, as well as contacting students directly by sending them personal messages on social networking site.In other cases, the essay mills have gained access to first year students’ private WhatsApp group conversations. Elsewhere, they have used Twitter to target university students who have voiced their exasperation about the amount of  work they have to do.Students can pay thousands of pounds for commissioned essays and assignments to hand in as part of their degree or even doctorate. It is not illegal for these companies to operate in the UK, but universities impose harsh penalties on students they they find have cheated including disqualification from their degree.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which monitors standards in universities, warned that “unscrupulous” essay mill companies are using “increasingly sophisticated tactics, particularly through social media, to target students”.Gareth Crossman, the QAA’s head of policy and public affairs, said that these companies often claim to offer entirely legitimate study aids, sending “a message which new students in particular might be vulnerable to”. Students can pay thousands of pounds for commissioned essays and assignments A spokesman for CCCU said: “We are concerned that essay mill companies are targeting students as it leaves them vulnerable.  “The University is working hard with students to avoid plagiarism through support and education. This is a national issue and we have asked that the Government take urgent action through legislation.”  The universities minister said that these kind of aggressive advertising tactics are “shocking and appalling” adding that “targeting of students in this way is corrosive to education”.Sam Gyimah called on social media companies to “take responsibility” over the issue, adding that previous Government interventions have forced YouTube to remove adverts for essay mills.“Students are effectively engaging in a black market trade, and it is our duty to warn them that they could be excluded from their course by choosing to use these exploitative and insidious services,” he said.Mr Gyimah said universities should do more to get a “grip” on the problem by stopping the essay mill firms advertising in their institutions and blocking them from sending emails to the students.Vice-chancellors have called for new laws to ban “venal and exploitative” essay mill companies. Last month, dozens of university leaders wrote to Damian Hinds, the education secretary, to say that urgent action is needed to tackle contract cheating companies, which blatantly operate and advertise in Britain.Several countries have recently legislated against such organisations and university bosses say that similar laws are needed in the UK. Vice-chancellors have called for new laws to ban “venal and exploitative” essay mill companies read more

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Creepy singing robot head can read lyrics recognize people

first_imgWe’ve seen plenty of singing robots in the past, from Chuck E Cheese to the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. But, as technology improves, so do our robots and a team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei have created something that’s both terrifying and impressive: a humanoid head that can read simplified music scores and then sing them in a creepy robot voice.No, the singing robot doesn’t sound like R2-D2; the synthesized voice actually doesn’t sound half bad. Chyi-Yeu Lin, the head of the project, said the robot takes a photo of the music using cameras built in to its eyes. An algorithm is able to detect the pitch, rhythm, and lyrics and send that info to a voice synthesizer. The robot then starts to sing, opening and closing its mouth with each lyric. As long as the lyrics are written with Roman spellings, the robot can sing songs from any culture. The robot in the video below is singing in Mandarin.The humanoid can read a sheet of music in 40 seconds, and then sing the entire song. Most normal musicians need a few minutes to look over a new piece and then, of course, it takes time to memorize the words. These robots can do it all under 1 minute.Will these humanoids put Broadway actors out of business? If they could perfect the pitch and rhythm, it’d be a lot cheaper to use the same robots for every play and not have to pay for all that rehearsal time before opening night. Okay, we’re only half serious about that. Who would really pay to see a theater full of robots sing?Actually, one of the developers’ goals is to see a collection of the humanoids one day singing and forming a robotic theater group. But, we’re still pretty creeped out by just one of these robots, so the thought of a whole troop of them frightens us.The developers did a random survey of 100 people stopped on the streets of Taipei and found that half of them thought the robot was entertaining. About 40 percent thought the voice quality was similar to a human’s voice and another 40 percent thought it to be unrealistic but acceptable.We may be seeing these robots in other areas besides the theater. According to Lin, the team is  teaching the robot how to interact and recognize humans so that robotic heads can be put on robots and become receptionists or hostesses at some large restaurants in China.via New Scientistlast_img read more

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The politics got me down I loved playing the game its all

first_img Image: John Walton ‘The politics got me down. I loved playing the game – it’s all the other crap that goes with it’ Conor Clifford is back home with Dundalk after a difficult and exhaustive journey in the UK. Saturday 21 Jan 2017, 7:30 PM Share Tweet Email 36,684 Views Image: John Walton Short URL Jan 21st 2017, 7:30 PM By Eoin O’Callaghan When we chat, he doesn’t sound jaded or beaten-down. But excited. Energised. And desperate to make up for lost time.“I felt like I needed a change and be home and around my family and start again almost”, Clifford says.“Start enjoying my football again. At Dundalk I feel I can do that and I feel the manager I’ll be playing under will get the best out of me. Playing in the National League over there – I just wasn’t enjoying it at all. But this is a fresh start. And I can get my mojo back and get myself going. And I really believe I can do that.When I was younger and in school I always said I just wanted to make a career out of it. And I’m still playing football for my job. I’d still love to be in England at the top league but for one reason or another it hasn’t worked out. But I’m still young enough and feel like I have a lot to give. And I’m still hungry to prove to myself and others that I still have the ability to do well in the game. And I’m sure I’m going to be able to do that under Stephen Kenny”. AFTER CONOR CLIFFORD scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the 2010 FA Youth Cup final, he was interviewed on the pitch minutes after the full-time whistle.Breathless with excitement, he struggled to even get the words out.“The best feeling in the world. I dreamed of this – playing in front of Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge and look at this. It’s unbelievable”.It was the first time in 49 years the club had won the trophy. Clifford, the 18-year-old diminutive midfielder from Palmerston, was the captain. Not the imposing Jeffrey Bruma at centre-half, who had already tasted first-team action or the highly-regarded Josh McEachran, who had spent time training with the senior side.“Before I went across, I used to watch it on the TV”, Clifford tells The42.“I remember watching Christy Fagan playing for Man United. And I remember thinking it would be great to play in it if I got to go over. And Chelsea hadn’t won it in so long. When I got in the Chelsea youth team, everyone would talk about it. That night I had all my family over from Dublin – about 40 people were there and it was brilliant. One of the best nights of my career”. Source: John WaltonClifford had been there for three years and made the leap from the academy to the reserve team. But catching the eye of the top brass was more difficult, owing to the continuous managerial merry-go-round. When he arrived in 2007, Jose Mourinho was Chelsea boss but not for much longer.“Brendan Rodgers looked after me and I trained a couple of times with the reserves straightaway”, Clifford remembers.“And he brought me in to meet Mourinho and he knew my name – which I was delighted with. He knew everyone’s name. He’d walk around – down to the cleaners, to the chefs – everyone. He knew everyone. And everyone loved him”.But by September 2007, Mourinho was gone. And by the time Clifford got to the fringes of the first-team squad, the club had already been through Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink.But under Carlo Ancelotti there was progress. Clifford was training everyday with the first-team. Suddenly, there seemed to be more possibilities.“We were playing Newcastle in the Carling Cup in September 2010 and I was meant to be on the bench”, he says.“It was horrible. That was my big chance. My parents had booked the flights to come over because I was told I’d a great chance and more than likely I was going to be on the bench. But I picked up a stupid injury in training and that was that. And a year later he (Ancelotti) was gone and I had to start again. I could’ve come off the bench and God knows what else”…His voice trails off. Source: John WaltonThat night, Chelsea lost 4-3 and were knocked out. No more League Cup games for fringe players to impress in. But Clifford was still on a high. He was playing well for the reserves and other teams were beginning to sniff around.And it was at that moment that Clifford became a sort-of nomad, bouncing between clubs and divisions but with Chelsea still owning him. And with every new loan deal, the chance of ever making a senior appearance for the club slipped away. He found himself in no-man’s land. He was a well-regarded member of the reserves but still so far from impacting the senior side. Chelsea were reigning Premier League and FA Cup champions. Their midfield featured Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Florent Malouda. Well-regarded senior players like Yossi Benayoun couldn’t even get minutes.As Clifford describes the experience, you can’t help but lose yourself in the physics of it all. That the momentum of something that’s moving so quickly can change speed and trajectory dramatically when there’s a change in the environment. At this stage, he’s lost count of the changes.“I had that great year in 2010 and then I went on loan to Plymouth and was really enjoying my football under Peter Reid”, Clifford says.But they went into administration. They got an embargo put on them and they couldn’t sign anyone until the end of the season. So I got sent back to Chelsea. Then I went to Notts County and was really enjoying it but Paul Ince got the sack and it was stop-start all the time. At one stage I was farmed out to Crawley. I remember when I arrived that the manager didn’t even know if I was right-footed or left-footed. It was all a bit of a mess, really – going all over the place.At Chelsea, you’d get to train with the first-team and think you were building up a bit of momentum and then that manager gets sacked and you have to start all over again. I think I had nine different managers there. One week you’d feel you were getting a little bit closer, maybe half a chance of making a Carling Cup squad or anything like that and then the manager gets sacked. You get shipped out on loan, that loan doesn’t work because that manager gets sacked and you get called back. A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time”. Clifford in action for the Republic of Ireland U-21s in 2010. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHOClifford’s next destination was Yeovil, then in League One, and he joined in late-2011. While there, he scored his first senior goal in an FA Cup clash with Fleetwood Town in December but it was a short-term arrangement and he was back at Cobham the following month.Still, he felt he had something to give Chelsea and he signed a one-year extension to his contract in February 2012. But the club’s interest was waning and Clifford could tell.“When I was at Plymouth, they had me watched”, he says.I think that was because I’d just come off the Youth Cup and had a bit of interest from other clubs and was playing really well. At one stage, I think there were 44 players out on loan so it’s difficult for Chelsea to go and monitor all of them because there’s so many. I think it becomes routine. You finish reserve team football and there’s nowhere else for you to go so you get shipped out on loan. And that’s still the case now. 30 or 40 players out on loan every season. It’s so difficult for players to break through”.For the start of the 2012/2013 campaign, his itinerant ways brought him to Portsmouth when the side were knee-deep in administration. He became just another name to add to the conveyor-belt of players arriving and departing. In August, there was a brief moment of positivity when Clifford scored in a 4-2 loss in Carlisle. But by October, he had already returned to London. Clifford takes the ball away from Ashley Cole during a Chelsea training-session in 2010. Source: Tom HeveziThat same month, and in keeping with the chaos of his professional life, he found himself on the bench for the Republic of Ireland’s 6-1 World Cup qualifier mauling at the hands of Germany in Dublin. It seemed a suitably odd development at a very strange time.Finally, in January 2013, five months before the end of his contract, Chelsea released him. Still, no hard feelings.“When you’re hot you’re hot and when you’re not you’re not”, he says.Football is all about momentum. It only takes a couple of goals and you’re grabbing headlines and if you’re injured or out of the side, you’re forgotten about. I went to one of the biggest teams in the world and I knew before I left that it was going to be really difficult to break through but I had a great grounding. Training every day was brilliant, the area I lived was beautiful. It was difficult but I really enjoyed my time at Chelsea. Training with the best players in the world. The best facilities. It was great”It was Nigel Pearson who pounced and brought Clifford to Leicester in March as they chased promotion from the Championship. The deal was until the end of the season but he didn’t see a minute of action and was a free agent, once again, in the summer.He dropped to League Two and signed for Phil Brown’s Southend where he got games under his belt. It was a two-year deal in a lower division and, after bouncing from one club to the next, a chance to settle down and just play. There was some security, at last.His first season at Roots Hall went well and the club reached the play-offs. But the following campaign was difficult. Clifford was in and out of the side, restricted to just ten league starts. By the turn of the year, he was on the outside looking in. Clifford in action for Southend. Source: John WaltonIn May 2015, Southend got to Wembley and pipped Wycombe in a thrilling penalty shootout in the play-off final. But Clifford wasn’t there. He was still contracted to Conference side Barnet, who he’d joined on a loan deal a few months earlier. But he proved a key ingredient in their own title win which secured a return to league football.In the summer, he waited for an inevitable deal to be ironed out.“I was meant to sign for Barnet”, he says.“I had won the league with them. Everything was sorted but it got messed up because of contracts and all of that stuff. I was waiting and waiting and it was getting closer to the season. My agent was saying, ‘Just wait another week, another two weeks – we’ll get something sorted’ and I just got fed up. The clock was ticking and I just said, ‘I don’t care where I go – I just want to go and enjoy it and play football’. Source: Nigel FrenchAll of that side of the game was just doing my head in. The politics of football – it just got me a bit down. I fell out of love with it. Not the game – I loved playing the game on a Saturday – it’s just all the other crap that goes with it. I ended up signing for Boreham Wood and it was kind of a stupid decision. I had just won the league and then I signed for a club that had just got promoted into that league. It didn’t really make sense”.There were other issues at play too. He had a good friend who had just signed for Boreham Wood – another player from the Chelsea Youth Cup win – Billy Clifford. But it was a bad fit from the start. It was a decision made in frustration rather than anything else and Clifford now admits it was a mis-step.“I broke up with my girlfriend and I was living with Billy and he had said to come down, sign for a year and play some games”, he says.“It was the lowest part of my football career, I’d say. No disrespect to Boreham Wood but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. It was a rash decision, really. I left at 15, I’m over there 10 years and I loved it over there – don’t get me wrong. Just the last year or two have been difficult. Playing in the Conference was not where I wanted to be. A few things were getting on top of me. I should probably have come home then, to be honest. It’s been a while. A few things have made me want to come home. But I can’t wait to get started and get my career going again”.The new start is at Dundalk, with Clifford signing with Stephen Kenny’s side earlier this week. 14 Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article http://the42.ie/3195278 Source: conor clifford/Twitter Delighted to have signed for @DundalkFC can’t wait to get started— conor clifford (@conorclifford91) January 16, 2017 Source: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHOThe manager’s name crops up a lot as Clifford talks about the future. There was interest from other teams but when Kenny spoke, he listened. What he said made sense.“I knew within a couple of minutes speaking to him that he was the guy I wanted to play for”, he says.I had a chance to got to another team in England and it was give it one more try over there or come home and sign for Dundalk. Stephen wanted me to come and I knew he was the man I wanted to play under. The way he sees the game, the way he wants his team to play – that high-press, energy game, to keep the ball and play good football and excite the crowd…He said he knows I have ability and it was about getting the head down and enjoying the game and he thinks I can do well for Dundalk. And I really think I can. I just want the opportunity to get out there and get going again.I watched all of the European games and was chatting to friends about the club, trying to explain where Dundalk was! And how well they’d been doing. A lot of people over there were so impressed with the style of football they were playing against these big, massive European teams. And I was just really proud to say it was an Irish team that was doing that to big teams in Europe”.But Clifford has been well aware of Dundalk’s recent ascent. Underage, he played alongside Richie Towell and Andy Boyle at Crumlin United. In Towell’s case, he used a successful return to Ireland as a springboard for another shot in the UK.But Clifford wants to be patient. He’s learned the hard way.“I’m not really thinking about going back over to England”, he says.“If it happens it happens. I just want to do well for Dundalk – play well, score goals. Just get the head down and train hard for the next six or seven weeks and try to impress Stephen Kenny and get in the team. That’s the focus right now.I’m just delighted to be home and see it as a clean slate now. Everything in the past is finished and I’m hungrier more than ever now”.Galway youngster Manning signs new deal with QPR following impressive runEx-Ireland international Elliot joins newly promoted Droghedalast_img read more

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Oil markets freefalling

first_imgOil prices keep sinking over Greece’s prolonged negotiations with creditors to avoid a debt default and a possible exit from the eurozone.“The Greece headlines continue to dominate the trade… and I think there is an inability (to rally) when there’s this overhanging Europe,” Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group said.“Traders are bracing themselves, although we see a fatigue in the markets running parallel to the fatigue of finance ministers trying to negotiate a deal,” said Tim Evans at Citi Futures.Oil is priced in dollars and therefore becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies as the greenback appreciates. Greece and its European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors’ failure to break the deadlock in emergency talks on a bailout deal, raise more fears of a default and Grexit.Oil prices’ seven month free-fall could potentially cause a breakout on prices.Traders also keep an eye on the looming June 30 deadline for Iran and six major powers to reach a landmark nuclear deal that would prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions, including on its oil exports.Analysts have said that the currency markets are too volatile for their run as the big driver of oil prices to end soon. They highlighted that a deal over Greek debt is essential for things to change as investors are tracking the latest twists of the looming deadline in the Iran nuclear talks.[Sources: Fox Business, Reuters, ABC] Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Garbage piling up near JBS footpath

first_imgParade Ground: The footpath from JBS towards Parade Ground, which passes through the bus stands footpath, is not only laid with garbage, but at certain stretches, is also broken. The illegal dumping of garbage on the footpath is forcing pedestrians to use the busy road by risking their lives.Speaking to The Hans India here on Monday, R Santosh, a commuter, said, “The garbage that is thrown in the open space near to an electric pole and a footpath which in turn can be harmful for humans, as this garbage contains plastic waste.” P Vaibhavi, a pedestrian, said, “The garbage is removed after several days and whenever the waste gets piled up, foul smell starts emanating from it.”last_img read more

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