Fulham striker Mitrovic named Serbia’s Player of the Yearby Chris Beattie10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been named Serbia’s Player of the Year.He played a major role in Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League by scoring 12 times in the Championship following a January move from Newcastle.”It’s nice when you are appreciated in the country where you play, but there’s nothing more beautiful than when you are at home, with your people,” Mitrovic told the Serbian FA’s website.Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, ex-Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and former Manchester City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov are among the previous recipients of the award. About the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say
GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, will honor Jess Cagle, Editorial Director of Time Inc.‘s Celebrity, Entertainment and Style Group at GLSEN’s Respect Awards – Los Angeles to be held Friday, October 21, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills.Jess Cagle joins previously announced YouTube star and #Gamechanger Award recipient Connor Franta as an honoree for the event.The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.“I am thrilled to announce Jess Cagle as an honoree for the 2016 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles,” said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. “Jess is a committed advocate and philanthropist who advances our message of respect for all.”Jess Cagle will be honored with the Visionary Award. His dedication to LGBTQ youth is evidenced by his participation in the GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles year after year, as well as his ongoing philanthropy. In addition to his advocacy on behalf of GLSEN’s constituents, under his direction, People and Entertainment Weekly have brought attention to issues of race and gun violence among others in a way that demonstrates a commitment to GLSEN’s vision for a world where everyone is respected for who they are.GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work with the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week.Previous GLSEN Respect Awards honorees have included Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel; Zachary Quinto; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Derek Hough; Matthew Morrison; NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt; Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; former NBA player Jason Collins; Darren Star; Shonda Rhimes; Michele and Rob Reiner; Andrew Tobias; John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley; NBA executive Rick Welts; the National Education Association; Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak; Simon Halls and Matt Bomer; MTV; Disney-ABC Television; Johnson & Johnson; and HBO, as well as student leaders and educators from around the country.Co-chairs for this year’s event are Jim Fielding, Dave Karger, Patrick Moran and Chip Sullivan. The event is co-hosted by Lawrence Angrisani, Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers, Brad Bessey and Frank Sanchez, Edison Briones, Kevin Brockman and Dan Berendsen, Jess Cagle, Jessica Capshaw and Christopher Gavigan, Terry Clark, Donald De Line, Andrew Hotz and Kevin Friedman, Lauren Huff, Mike Irvin, Richard Konigsberg and Craig Olsen, Duncan Millership and Simon Thomas, Cody Morris and Christopher Landon, Corey Palent, Jonathan Rollo and Joey Gonzalez, Ben Roy, Mimi Slavin, and Ben Spector.Sponsors of the 2016 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles include Presenting Sponsors Wells Fargo, Target and The Walt Disney Company.For more information about the GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles, click here.
It always comes back to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The “steroid era” may be over, but Major League Baseball is still dealing with its consequences. At the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend, Craig Biggio was the only batter among the four new inductees. Although some of the greatest hitting records in the history of the sport occurred in the past 20 years, many position players can’t catch a break with Hall voters.So we ran a SurveyMonkey Audience poll asking Americans how they feel about steroids, amphetamines and the pre-integration era and then gathered FiveThirtyEight’s baseball fans to talk about the results (the following transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity):Walt Hickey: It’s pretty clear the vast majority of people — even baseball fans — are not comfortable with just letting the records stand. Of everyone surveyed, 88 percent thought the records should be struck down entirely or have an indicator that there was some funny business going on.Neil Paine: I’m not surprised the majority of those polled want something — anything — to be done about the numbers compiled during the steroid era. Baseball is the most statistical of all the major sports, and it has always loved to foster the notion that you could compare, say, Honus Wagner’s stats to those of Alex Rodriguez side by side, without any adjustment, and still make a meaningful comparison. Sabermetricians have long acknowledged this as naive; between park effects and era adjustments, there are plenty of ways baseball stats need to be tweaked to level the playing field between different generations of players. But even for the lay fan, the age of PEDs [performance-enhancing drugs] destroyed any pretense that unadjusted numbers could be freely compared between eras, and I think that fact alone upset traditionalists as much as anything else.Harry Enten: I must admit that steroids to me is a highly emotional issue. Many of the players we associate with steroids are people we also associate with being jerks — people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and A-Rod. But the real question is: Where does it end? Is it that stats are changed? Are champions changed? There can be no doubt that many, if not all, of the champions for a period in the 1990s and 2000s had steroid users. We’re not going to go back and change winners. In a lot of this polling, people are making an emotional argument.Walt: I, on the other hand, could not care less about steroid use. I feel like this notion of the game as some platonic ideal that existed prior to the big bad performance enhancers showed up is patently false. Every era had its own competitive advantages, as we’ll talk about in a second, but it’s only the steroid issue — and not, you know, the players who had the competitive advantages of rampant stimulant use and not having to compete with black players — that seems to make people think The Game is not somehow Pure.Rob Arthur: I’m under no illusions the game of baseball is Pure (nor will it ever be), but I also don’t know if it was ever dirtier than it was during the steroid era. Cheating is and has always been rampant, both on and off the field, but with steroids, we have a means of cheating that seems particularly effective. You can see that both in the scientific literature, where steroids seem to improve strength by as much as 20 percent, but also on the baseball field, where we had some notable steroid users like Bonds smashing records left and right.Harry: But what about during the “deadball era” — specifically between 1912 (I think) and 1920, when you had the spitball among other things? Offensive numbers took a dive. There is clear physical evidence that a spitball (or scuffing the ball) is a big deal. Now using that wasn’t illegal when it first started, but neither were steroids. They are now, yet people look at them so much differently than the pitching statistics that were occurring in the 1910s.Rob: Harry, you definitely have a point. But I think one of the reasons steroids are so objectionable is because of the asymmetry they created between players: Some players who used them seemed to become almost inhumanly effective, others didn’t use them at all and gained no benefit, and still others used but didn’t improve substantially. When the spitball was legal, it was available to all pitchers, and I doubt that any pitcher’s spit was 50 percent more effective at decreasing offense than any other pitcher’s spit. (I am aware that once the spitball was banned, some players were grandfathered in and still allowed to use it. Obviously, that wouldn’t fly in the modern era.)Neil: And don’t even get me started debating whether Lasik surgery counts as “unnatural” and “performance-enhancing.”Walt: Yeah, Tommy John called — he wants his pitching speed back. We will get back to the 1920s era of baseball soon enough, Enten. For now: My favorite part of this was comparing how different fan bases cared about steroids based on how much their teams gained from steroid use.Editor’s Note: On Friday, we introduced the idea of a steroid “discount” — a penalty in percentage terms that would be deducted from players’ individual statistics if they were found to be using PEDs. Our poll asked respondents to recommend said discount, which we can also break down by team fandom.The following table is color-coded by how much (red) or how little (white) each team’s fans would penalize steroid-using players.1Specifically, players who were suspended for PED offenses, were linked to the Biogenesis scandal, were named in the Mitchell Report or whose failed drug tests were leaked to the media. Because some teams had far more fans respond than others — and some teams’ fans hardly voted at all — the columns have been color-coded to represent a combination of average response and the number of respondents. In other words, results have been regressed to the mean based on sample size. Likewise, the correlations at the bottom of the table were weighted by the number of respondents from each fan base.Walt: Hot damn, Giants.Neil: It’s interesting that, as fandom intensifies, a relationship does begin to materialize between how much the voter’s favorite team relied on steroid users and how much tolerance he or she has for steroid users’ stats.If we look at all of our survey’s respondents — including those who were and were not self-professed baseball fans — there’s essentially no relationship between team steroid reliance and how much steroid-tainted stats the voter would recommend taking away. But when you throw out non-fans, a small2Correlation: -0.2 relationship emerges. Fan bases whose stars used steroids to generate more wins, whether on a per-season basis or as a percentage of the team’s total, tended to want steroid users to be punished less.Then again, it’s a slight relationship at best. While San Francisco Giants fans — hello Barry Bonds! — wanted juicers dinged much less than the average fan base, fans of the Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs (who rank fourth and fifth in the degree to which they were helped by steroid-using batters) asked for some of the highest penalties of any group of rooters.But that’s not the only way to measure the cognitive dissonance between a fan’s acceptance of steroids and the degree to which his or her team benefited from them.Walt: I whipped this up really quickly: It’s the scatterplot of teams, with that “how much did they gain from PEDs” metric plotted against the percentage of their fan base that said they thought the records of steroid users should be struck. What an interesting relationship:Walt: It’s a small sample size, but I really love that fans of teams that didn’t gain a lot from PEDs seem more likely to desire retribution against players who did.Rob: The relationship between steroid contribution and desire for retribution is really fascinating and upholds a long-held suspicion of mine. It also suggests (again) that these attitudes are largely driven by emotions: If my team benefited, then steroids were OK, but if not, steroids were terrible! It shows that fans, in particular, have a hard time divorcing their own fandom from the questions about how much steroids benefited particular players and how much we should care as a result.Walt: So then the question becomes where do we draw the line when it comes to performance-enhancing things in each era? I personally think it’s bullshit that people get so riled up about steroids and not, for instance, the widespread amphetamine use in MLB in the era prior to it.It turns out America agrees!Walt: So, Neil, who would this affect?Neil: Like you said, it’s pretty widely acknowledged that amphetamine use was prevalent in MLB throughout much of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. During a 1985 drug trial, former Mets and Pirates first baseman John Milner testified that he had received “greenies” (amphetamines) from Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Willie Stargell at various times during his career, and Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt said the substance was “widely available in major-league clubhouses” when he played.So it’s at least possible — if not probable — that some of that era’s greatest superstars used a now-banned substance to sharpen their focus and boost their energy levels. (Even if the evidence is mixed over whether greenies actually even help athletic performance.)Walt: I feel like higher focus and higher energy is probably a nice thing for batters to have. I imagine their record collections were remarkably well-organized as well.I’m pretty happy to see some consistency here. I compared how people answered the steroid question with how they answered the stimulant question, and 88 percent of respondents (and 86 percent of fans) stuck to their guns and replied with the same answer they gave for steroid policy. It seems like at least among the general population there’s a lot more consistency with how to handle the policy than there is in the league.Still, it’s surprising that at the end of the day, 44 percent of Americans would strip away statistical accomplishments from amphetamine users in the era of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.Neil: Agreed. The general attitude among sportswriters — even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense — is that there’s a distinction to be drawn between the supposedly widespread amphetamine use of the 1970s and the supposedly widespread steroid use of the 1990s. But according to those surveyed, there shouldn’t be. The moral judgment of the people appears to fall on both groups with equal fury.Harry: I really do wonder whether most people know that Mays may have used greenies. I tend to think not. If they did, there is no way that the polling numbers would look the way they do. I also tend to think that there is nothing ridiculous that Mays did in the sense that he looked normal, unlike Bonds who looked like someone shoved some orthopedic pillows in his arms. Not to mention that his head grew bigger than Donald Trump’s ego. It seemed natural. We tend to think of unnatural in how someone looks, not how they think.Neil: Right, and the bulked-up players and shifting head sizes gave fans and analysts a smoking gun of sorts. It added to the theatrical nature of the steroid hysteria. With a pill that doesn’t change appearance, you’re reduced to poring over stats and wondering whether a player’s out-of-the-blue power spike is just a career year or something much more sinister.Walt: But enough with the pharmaceutical advantages. What about the bigoted regime that kept black players out of the leagues? What about the competitive advantage conferred by excluding athletes based on the color of their skin?Walt: Kind of odd that baseball fans are nowhere near as mortified with pre-integration records standing than they are with stimulants. Neil, what’s the word on the effect that segregation had on baseball?Neil: One of the biggest tragedies of baseball’s color line is that we can’t know precisely how much the game’s pre-1947 stars benefited from only playing against white opponents. But we can certainly estimate how much more shallow the pool of available players was before the game was integrated. (As well as before the rise of Latin America and, now, Asia as a source of baseball talent.)As FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver notes in “Baseball Between the Numbers,” MLB was only drawing from a population of about 300,000 people per player in 1930. By 1960, when baseball was finally fully integrated, that number had more than doubled to 625,000, and it was a whopping 900,000 when Nate crunched the numbers in 2005. The bigger the talent pool, the tougher the competition, so it’s clear that pre-integration players had a major advantage in terms of the relative caliber of talent they played against.(A related note: Baseball’s level of talent is steadily increasing anyway as humans push the boundaries of athletic performance, which is another great reason statistics from the past can’t be compared to modern numbers straight-up.)Harry: My opinion on this is fairly simple: You can’t penalize players for things they didn’t control. Babe Ruth couldn’t play against a black player in the MLB even if he wanted to. It’s a tragedy that we were robbed of seeing Josh Gibson against Carl Hubbell, but we can’t go back and readjust the records.Walt: I don’t think it’s so much about penalizing players for things beyond their control as it’s about knocking down the idea that baseball was somehow defiled by pharmaceuticals. This nostalgia for baseball is wholly misguided — the Boston Red Sox integrated after Southern public schools! In 1959! — it’s not like this was an antiquated part of baseball history.Baseball’s commitment to some idyllic game that never existed — something that also manifests itself in a knee-jerk opposition to potential ways to improve the game, like the DH, speedier play and other experimentation — by now constitutes what I think is (on a long enough timespan) an existential threat for the league. The fact that more people aren’t more willing to look back in anger is a symptom of a much larger problem.Not to mention that at least the other two advantages at least made the game more interesting to watch. Segregation, if anything, made the game less interesting for fans out of mere spite. My main line? If you’re going to get indignant about steroids — something that unambiguously made the game more interesting — at least have the decency to be just as indignant about letting those segregated records stand un-asteriskedBut guys! We’re missing the point here. About 10 percent of Americans would strip Babe Ruth of his records! Including 8 percent of baseball fans. That’s awesome.Harry: What percentage of people believe we didn’t land on the moon?Walt: I mean Kubrick basically admitted as much in “The Shining,” man — learn how to read subtext.
Ohio State senior midfielder Megan McGillis handles the ball in the Buckeyes’ 13-9 win over Vermont on Feb. 12 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: James King | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State women’s lacrosse team (3-0) scored early and often in its 17-8 win over Cincinnati (0-1) on Sunday. The Buckeyes solved their early-scoring woes of the previous two games, netting five unanswered goals in the first four minutes of play.“The theme the whole week was getting off to a fast start,” coach Alexis Venechanos said. “I felt like we came in really focused and we were really on a mission. We knew Cincinnati was going to be well coached.”This was the sixth meeting between the two schools and the third in the past three seasons. The Buckeyes’ win kept them undefeated in six meetings against the Bearcats, with the series dating back to 2008.Within the first two minutes, sophomore midfielders Mackenzie Maring and Erika Keselman scored giving OSU the early lead. Then, for the second time this season, freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez scored two goals within 30 seconds, her first two of four on the day.“We wanted to just come out and play our game,” Hernandez said. “It feels amazing (to score four times). I just know I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and everyone around me.”Senior midfielder Morgan Fee added a goal of her own — her first of two in the first half — putting the Buckeyes up 5-0 with 25:16 remaining. The Bearcats would win the next draw, gaining possession of the ball for the first time in the game. Cincinnati took advantage of their first time with the ball when junior midfielder Brooke Kovinsky scored the first goal of the year for her program at the 24:52 mark in the first half. OSU went on to win 11 draw controls and take 25 shots compared to Cincinnati’s five and 12, respectively, showing how much the Buckeyes dominated the ball early. Venechanos said that a lot of that is attributed to the stellar play of Fee, who won 7 draw controls in the game.“She stepped up huge,” Venechanos said. “We put her in for the last five draws of the last game and she got those. So she’s been working really hard and I’m really happy for her.”Maring and Keselman again would score back-to-back goals moving OSU’s lead up six with 22:06 left in the first half. The Bearcats would respond with two goals from freshmen Monica Borzillo and McKenna Rushford.Up 7-3, OSU went on a 5-1 scoring run to close out the half, which included a hat trick from junior attacker Molly Wood, Fee’s second of the game and sophomore midfielder Baley Parrott’s sixth goal of the year.“We were just ready to show what we are and show what we’re made of this year,” Wood said. “We were firing on all cylinders today, we were all in control. It was really fun.”The Buckeyes opened up the scoring yet again in the second half when freshman attacker Alex Vander Molen scored her first of the day, second of the year, giving OSU a 13-4 lead. Cincinnati would try and fight its way back into the contest, going on a 3-1 scoring run cutting the Buckeyes’ lead to seven with 13:43 to play.OSU was plagued with turnovers in the second half, committing eight, turning their offense stagnant until Hernandez was able to score her fourth goal with 5:42 left on the clock. The Bearcats netted another goal, but OSU closed the game out with two more goals giving them the win, 17-8. One goal came from junior attacker Lauren Sherry and the other from sophomore attacker Alyssa Amorison in her season debut for the Buckeyes.For the second straight game freshman goalie Jillian Rizzo collected double digit saves, this time 11 on the day. Rizzo has been a constant safety blanket for this OSU team, helping them hold leads and coming up with big saves when needed.“She’s amazing,” Hernandez said. “She literally keeps us in games sometimes. I know she’s a freshman but she really doesn’t play like a freshman and we definitely need that.”In a game that was moved to Ohio Stadium due to some serendipitous February weather, OSU led from wire to wire. The Buckeyes, who took 40 shots compared to the Bearcats’ 25, were able to couple an aggressive attack on the offensive end with stout defensive play. “It’s always fun to score in the ‘Shoe,” Wood said. “But it was a team effort and that was what was really special.”OSU has the Stanford Cardinal up next, Friday at home at 6 p.m. Stanford is currently 1-3 on the year and have a game at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday before making the trip to Columbus.“Stanford is going to give us new challenges,” Venechanos said. “So we’re going to watch film this week, work on ourselves and then worry about Stanford … but it will be a big test for us.”
The Ohio State men’s hockey season starts this Friday with new head coach Mark Osiecki at the helm. “With a new coaching staff you have a different feel as a team,” senior forward Sergio Somma said. “It’s kind of like you have a new set of skin.” They are hoping their new ‘skin’ will change things for the team who finished last season with a disappointing 15-18-6 record. “We have to try to create our culture,” Osiecki said. “We’d like to play an up-tempo, very aggressive offensive game.” The differences don’t end on the ice. “Coach (Osiecki) expects you to be great off the ice,” senior forward Peter Boyd said. “If you’re struggling off the ice, it’s going to relate on the ice.” The attention to detail outside the rink has resulted in more contact with the coaches through phone calls and e-mails, Somma said. The increased communication has resulted in a better understanding of the coach’s goals. “There’s kind of a point to everything that we are doing. He explains it very thoroughly,” senior goaltender Dustin Carlson said. “Guys know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it and how to incorporate it to the game itself.” Players welcome the increase in detail and intensity. “You want to get pushed to a level that you feel uncomfortable because that makes you a better player,” Boyd said. Somma agreed. “He is going to push you to that edge, that physical edge and that mental edge that you need to get better,” he said. Seventeen of the players being pushed are upperclassmen. “I think (having so many upperclassmen) is positive on the front that there’s going to be a handful of these kids that are tremendous kids, very good hockey players that are going to definitely grasp what we’re talking about here and it’s going to help their careers,” Osiecki said. The coach was also excited about playing six of the first seven games on the road. “It brings your team close together,” Osiecki said. “It’s going to really tell us what we have, who can handle some tough situations, who can play at an up-tempo pace on a big ice sheet — we’ll learn a lot after the first few games.” Despite the early road trips and a losing record a year ago, expectations remain high. “There is no reason why we can’t win a (Central Collegiate Hockey Association Conference) title,” Somma said. Pre-season polls predict the Buckeyes to finish eighth out of eleven teams in the conference by the media and no player was on the preseason all-conference team. “I think we have a great team but it’s not going to come easy,” Boyd said. Osiecki was more concerned with implementing the proper attitude, indicating that if that was done, the wins would come. “Our goal is to develop the culture that we think that OSU hockey is going to bring to the table,” he said. “We want kids that are going to come in here and mature as hockey players and mature as a person away from the rink.” The team will showcase its new culture this Friday as the Buckeyes travel to Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Conn.). The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore cornerback Damon Arnette (3) waits to defend against a Penn State offensive drive in the second quarter in the game against Penn State on Oct. 28. Ohio State won 39-38. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State lost another player during its game against Michigan State as redshirt sophomore cornerback Damon Arnette was injured and helped off the field with about a minute left in Saturday afternoon’s game. He was able to walk off the field with assistance, but was carted from the sideline to the locker room. He did not return before the end of the first half.The injury took place on the first play of Michigan State’s final drive in the first half. Arnette had intercepted a pass from Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke on the last play of the previous drive. Arnette had also registered a tackle during the game.Though Ohio State was up 35-0 at the time of the injury, the Buckeyes were been down three starters. Linebackers Dante Booker and Jerome Baker missed the game with undisclosed injuries and defensive end Dre’Mont Jones was ejected from the game on the previous drive on a targeting call. Jones’ targeting call negated a would-be Arnette interception.
Croatia coach is not worried about his team’s fitness ahead of the World Cup final, according to FourFourTwo.Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic has said he’s not worried about his team’s physical condition as they prepare to face France in the World Cup final on Sunday.Croatia have played 120minutes on three separate occasions in these World Cup so far.They defeated England 2-1 after extra time thanks to goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic to advance to their first ever FIFA World Cup final.Euro 2020 Qualifiers Betting: 06/09/19 Stuart Heath – September 6, 2019 With the international break in full-swing, here at Ronaldo.com we are going to take a look at Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers match-betting odds.With a…“Everyone knows what’s at stake and the players know what it means to play in a World Cup final. I hope we can overcome the fatigue and everyone will be able to play but if not we’ve good substitutes who are ready to play so I’m not now worried,” Dalic told journalists.Twenty years since making their first appearance in a World Cup, Croatia will be hoping to win their first ever World Cup come Sunday when the face France at the Luzhniki stadium.Zlatko Dalic and his players have been outstanding so far at the World Cup winning all group games in a group that consisted of Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland.They also defeated Denmark and host nation Russia on penalties in the second-round and quarter-final respectively.
Paris Saint-Germain’s jewel and one of the most promising young talents in Europe could soon leave Parc des Princes, with Adrien Rabiot edging closer towards the winter exit.The 23-year-old midfielder has already rejected to extend his current contract that’s set to expire at the end of the ongoing campaign, opening the way for interested parties to start the negotiations as early as January.Although Rabiot plays a notable role under Thomas Tuchel, he seems desperate to leave the Parisians in the forthcoming period, searching for new challenges.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.According to the Daily Express, Liverpool are leading the chase for the France international ahead of Barcelona and Manchester United who also reportedly set their sights on the youngster.The same source states that bookmaker Coral place the Merseysiders as 2-1 favorites to wrap up a deal.Considering Fabinho and Naby Keita both failed to adapt to the Premier League so far, Jurgen Klopp plans to bring another midfielder to Anfield to partner James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum in the center of the park.
The Liverpool manager is being tipped to win the Premier League this season, but right now the current team in first place is Manchester CityBefore the start of the 2018-2019 English Premier League season, Liverpool was tipped as the future champion of the competition.But right now Manchester City is currently at the top and the Reds are behind.And for manager Jurgen Klopp, there’s no rush or pressure.“I don’t feel pressure. That’s how it is,” Klopp told Four Four Two.Daniel Farke, From mid-table in the Championship to the Premier League Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Norwich City manager, Daniel Farke, has taken his team from the middle of the table in the English Championship to play with the big boys in the Premier League.“I made a decision long ago for myself: I give everything I have. I don’t hold anything back. At this moment, I can’t do better. I am really like I am.”“I expect a lot from myself but there is no pressure. We want to win each game and if we don’t win it then we want to win the next one,” he added.“Any other decisions – how people look at me and what people think about me – I have nothing to do with that because I have no influence on it.”“As long as we win football games, everybody thinks – even if they don’t like me – ‘He’s a good manager’,” he commented.“And when we lose football games, the people who don’t like me and the people who like me say, ‘Maybe he’s not the right manager anymore’. That’s how it is. If you know that before, how can it put pressure on your shoulders? I really don’t understand that.”
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has outlined his January transfer plans to sign two strikers for the club.Speaking from Dubai where the Hibernian squad is camped for warm-weather training, Lennon highlighted their need for investment in attack.“We want to bring in strikers if we can bring two in then great. But we’re hoping to at least bring one in just to add to what we have here,” he told Sky Sports.“At times it’s been a bit flat and we need that extra bit of competition and motivation for them all.”Match Preview: Rangers vs Celtic Boro Tanchev – August 31, 2019 It is time for the first Old Firm derby of the 2019-20 campaign, as Rangers host Celtic tomorrow at 13:00 (CET).Lennon was asked what kind of message he’s sending to the current strikers at the club, he said: “Must be better. You know you can do better and I know you can do better.“But we want more competition in that area and we want more goals in that area.”Lennon since last month has been demanding for better strikers for the club.
The AGDC has signed non-binding agreements to explore future deals with potential customers and possible financial partners in China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, with more information about Chinese interest expected later in 2018. According to spending details presented to the Board of Directors, a significant portion of 2017 spending has gone toward project marketing, development, and outreach- making up roughly $5.2 million. While the AGDC fills in data gaps and provides details on project construction plans and operations, the state has been waiting for FERC to decide when it has enough information to issue a timeline for the project’s environmental review. The LNG project proposal is an 807 mile north-to-south pipeline from the North Slope oil and gas field to the liquefaction plant and marine terminal on the Kenai Peninsula, in Nikiski. Governor Bill Walker: “We have things in motion now that we’ve never had before. It’s great that we have the AGDC in existence.” The Environmental Impact Statement is said to the “largest and most complex of any that federal regulators have prepared for a LNG export project.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is continuing to work through the more than 1,000 data requests submitted to the state by federal regulators. The AGDC has stated that they anticipate to have the remaining data requests submitted with detailed answers by January 1, 2018, and February 1, 2018. The AGDC filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) 8 months ago for the proposed Alaska LNG (liquefied natural gas) Project. Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-AGDC-continues-to-answer-questions-.mp3VmJennifer-on-AGDC-continues-to-answer-questions-.mp300:00RPd
Prothom Alo illustrationPolice on Tuesday arrested a young rickshaw-puller for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl in the city’s Purbail area on Monday, reports UNB.The arrestee is rickshaw-puller Faruk, son of Abdul Zabbar of Fulbari in Dinajpur district.Police said Faruk had been staying at a rented house in the area where the minor girl was also living with her parents on the same premises.They said the girl was alone at their home when her parents, both assistants to a local mason, went out for work in the morning.At noon, Faruk allured the girl out of their home and took her to the first floor of a nearby two-storey building in the area and violated her there.Hearing her screams, locals rushed in and took the victim to Shaheed Tazuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital.Faruk, however, managed to flee the scene.Later, police arrested Faruk from Mirpur area in the capital, a day after the victim’s mother filed a case with Pubail police station, said Nazmul Haque Bhuiyan, officer-in-charge of the police station.
Share Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesApollo 1 astronauts Ed White (from left), Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, 1967. The astronauts died as a result of a fire in the cockpit during a training session on Jan. 27, 1967.Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts during a routine test on the launchpad. The accident shocked NASA as the agency was rushing to meet President Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to have men on the moon by the end of the decade.The test was a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 1 crew — Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The ultimate goal was to check out the command module, NASA’s first three-man spacecraft that would take astronauts to the moon.The crew was rehearsing the real launch, which was about a month away. They were suited up and in the capsule running through checklists and testing equipment.But something sparked in the oxygen-rich environment. Within seconds, the capsule filled with flames, smoke and toxic gases.NASA Engineer John Tribe was working in the control room when it happened.“It was incomprehensible to us how on earth we could have a fire in the cockpit,” Tribe says.The astronauts were killed almost instantly. The entire incident lasted less than five minutes.“We had imagined the worst, we’d hoped for the best, it was not to be, “Tribe said. “We’d lost three of our team.”The accident halted the Apollo program as NASA scrambled to figure out what went wrong. Reporter George Alexander was one of only three journalists allowed to visit the capsule after the fire.“What burned? I’d have to say just about everything that was in there except for these few odd bits and pieces,” Alexander said. “Like a page which had only its edges slightly browned. This bit of parachute harness. But everything else burned.”The capsule was pressurized with 100 percent oxygen. In that environment, something not considered a fire hazard was extremely combustible. The hatch of the capsule opened inward, making it difficult for the crew to open it.After the accident, there were hundreds of significant changes to the capsule and safety procedures. The redesigned capsules would use a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, reducing the fire risk. And a new hatch was designed that could be opened in just five seconds.Only 21 months later, NASA sent humans back into space aboard Apollo 7. And less than a year after that, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed Apollo 11 on the moon.Astronaut Michael Collins was also on that mission. He says if the fire on Apollo 1 hadn’t happened, it’s likely a similar accident would have occurred in space — and that could have led to the program’s cancellation.“Without it, very likely, we would have not landed on the moon as the president had wished by the end of the decade,” Collins says.The successes of the Apollo lunar program overshadowed the loss of the crew.For 50 years, NASA kept the Apollo 1 command module locked up — until now. Beginning Friday, the hatch from the burned capsule will be put on public display at the Kennedy Space Center as a tribute to the sacrifices of Grissom, White and Chaffee.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Kolkata: In a bid to accelerate exports and to remove the hurdles faced by the industries and exporters, the Bengal government is working towards the formulation of a comprehensive road map, which will not only ease out the process but also contribute towards the economic growth of the state.State Industry, Commerce & Enterprise minister Amit Mitra will chair a high level meeting with the industrialists and all the stakeholderson June 18, with an objective of providing them with a Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsbetter platform and chalk out a road map so that the state’s export policy gets a further impetus.The export commissioner office of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) will organise the programme to work on the identified growth sectors and towards the promotion of various products from the state in the international arena. Mitra will hold the meeting to take stock of the steps that need to be taken to achieve the target.When contacted, Vandana Yadav, Managing Director, WBIDC, said that the focus areas would be the sectors like textile and garments, metal and metallurgy, gems and jewellery, food processing, handloom and handicraft. Identifying the needs of the industries and issues relating to the exports would also be looked into. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedExporters from Bengal will also get a platform to articulate the problems they might have been facing and get speedy remedies. The government will also listen to the needs of the industrialists and will also assess which areas need to be worked on, to scale up the export growth.According to sources, one of the major problems for the exporters in the state is the lack of a certifying agency. All sorts of goods that are exported abroad need to undergo clearance from the certifying agencies. As there is no city-based certifying agency, the products have to be delivered to other cities for certification. Most of the certifying agencies are based in Mumbai and North Indian cities. As a result of this, exporters from the state face difficulties. It has been learnt that the state government might take up the issue with the Centre in this regard.For example, for food processing industries, there should be a testing lab. Otherwise, it becomes a lengthy process to get the tests done from outside. Scope of setting up a testing lab may also be discussed during the meeting. Exploring the potential markets in the case of textile and garments, gems and jewellery and others would also be worked on.According to a senior government official, the move will not only help the state’s economy, but also create demands of various products in the international market. “The government has already come up with an export strategy and now it is the time for preparing a road map to iron out the problems the exporters might have been facing,” the official said.It may be mentioned here that after coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government has made significant improvement in the building of infrastructure and the state has been poised for a big spurt in export. Various sectors like micro, small and medium enterprises & textiles, leather, IT, food processing, horticulture and floriculture and energy have seen an unprecedented growth.
Categories: Sheppard News 28Apr House panel approves Rep. Sheppard bill to support Michigan farmers Legislation gives preference to biobased products for state purchasesA bill introduced by state Rep. Jason Sheppard to ensure the state is supporting Michigan farmers was approved today by the House Committee on Agriculture.House Bill 4850 adds products certified as biobased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the list of items given preference when purchased for state government, if all other factors are equal. Biobased products are already given preference in the 2015-16 budget, and HB 4850 will codify the practice into law.“Purchasing biobased products helps support Michigan farmers who produce crops like soybeans and corn,” said Rep. Sheppard, R-Temperance. “In addition, biobased products are environmentally friendly because they are produced with renewable resources.”#####
As of the close yesterday, the double bottom in gold was about 15 bucks away—and it’s a given that they’ll be gunning for it—plus more, if what they did to the silver price yesterday is any indication.And as I type this paragraph at 12:45 a.m. EDT gold, which had traded mostly flat for the greater part of the thinly-traded Far East trading day on their Friday, came under pressure shortly before 1 p.m. Hong Kong time—and is down a bit more than 10 bucks. Silver came under the same price pressure shortly after 9 a.m. Hong Kong time and is down about two bits. Platinum isn’t doing much. Palladium tried to rally during the early going in Far East trading, but then got sold down below its New York close by 9 a.m. Hong Kong time—and is actually up a buck or so at the moment. Volumes in both gold and silver are astonishingly high already. The dollar index, which was trading flat, began to rally around 12:40 p.m. in Hong Kong—and is now up 40 basis points.Today, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, we get the latest COT Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday. I’d guess we’ll see slight improvements in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver, but that is entirely inconsequential compared to what the report would show if one could be produced at precisely this moment.It’s obvious that JPMorgan et al are going all out to get as favourably positioned as possible in the Comex futures market, as I expect whatever lows are set going forward will never be seen again once the the inevitable rallies that will follow all this, begin. The Fed meeting—and the ensuing ‘strength’ in the dollar index—are just the smoke screen that they’re using to do the dirty.And as I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 4:57 a.m. EDT, I see that the HFT boyz and their algorithms are back—showing up in all four precious metals at 7 a.m. GMT in London. The LBMA must open at 7 a.m. and not 8 a.m GMT this week. They dropped the gold price another $18 in minutes—and at one point silver was down over 50 cents from its Thursday close. Both are now off their lows by a bit. Platinum and palladium also got hit as well, but they’ve rallied back to almost unchanged, at least for the moment.Here’s the silver chart as of 4:55 a.m. EDT.Gold volume has exploded to 95,000 contracts—and silver’s volume is 21,000 contracts. The dollar index, which had been up over 50 basis points at one time, is now up ‘only’ 42 basis points.With today being month end—and Hallowe’en—it appears that JPMorgan et al have nothing but tricks up their sleeves for all the precious metal enthusiasts today—and I must admit that I’m not expecting great things when I roll out of bed and check the charts later this morning.But this too, shall pass.See you tomorrow. Silver price is now back to where it was in the first quarter of 2010The gold price wasn’t allowed to do much in early Far East trading on their Thursday—and developed a negative bias around 1 p.m. Hong Kong time—and by the time JPMorgan et al were through, with the low tick coming at 11:30 a.m. EDT, they had gold down around fifteen bucks from it’s Thursday close. It recovered a few dollars off that low by noon, but then chopped sideways for the remainder of New York trading session.The high and low tick were recorded as $1,216.50 and $1,195.50 in the December contract.Gold closed yesterday at $1,198.80 spot, down $12.80 from Thursday’s close. Net volume was very high at 195,000 contracts.The silver price didn’t do much in Far East trading up until shortly before 2 p.m. Hong Kong time. At that point the HFT boyz and their algorithms showed up—and the rest, was they say, was history. The low tick was in at 11:15 a.m. EDT—and from there it bounced off that low a few times before rallying a bit. After 12:30 p.m., the price chopped sideways in a tight range until the 5:15 p.m. EDT close of electronic trading.The high and low in silver were reported as $17.205 and $16.33 in the December contract, which was an intraday move of a hair over 5 percent.Silver finished the Thursday session at $16.46 spot, down 63 cents from Thursday’s close. That’s a new low price for silver going back to March of 2010. Net volume was a whopping 74,000 contracts.Platinum also ran into the same not-for-profit seller shortly before 2 p.m. in Hong Kong. It’s low came minutes before 12 o’clock noon in New York. It rallied a few bucks from there before trading flat for the remainder of the Thursday session. Platinum was closed down 17 bucks.The palladium price got smacked twice yesterday. The first time was at the New York open at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening—and the second time was at the London p.m. gold fix on Thursday. Like platinum, JPMorgan et al set the low of the day just minutes before noon EDI—and the price didn’t do much after that. Palladium was closed down 16 dollars on the day.The dollar index closed at 85.99 late on Wednesday afternoon in New York—and then took three steps up to its 86.41 high tick, which came shortly after London opened on their Thursday. From there it quietly sold back to the 86.00 mark by 12:20 p.m. EDT. It gained some back by 2 p.m.—and then traded sideways into the close. The index finished the Thursday session at 86.18—up 19 basis points on the day.Once again the gold shares got crushed, as the HUI closed lower by 7.44%—the biggest one-day decline that I can remember—and I can remember quite a lot. The HUI is down almost 12 percent in the last two trading days.The silver equities fared better, but that’s only a relative term in this situation, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got hammered for another 5.65 percent.The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 1 of the November delivery month showed that 2 gold and 44 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday. In silver, the only short/issuer was Jefferies—and R.J. O’Brien and Canada’s Scotiabank stopped 25 and 18 contracts respectively. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.As I said in yesterday’s missive, barring any surprises, the November delivery month will be a yawner—and it’s certainly lived up to its advanced billing.The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that November open interest declined by 207 contracts and now sits at only 67 contracts left—minus the two in the previous paragraph. In silver, the November open interest is now down to 164 contracts, minus the 44 posted for delivery tomorrow that were mentioned above.There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 38,449 troy ounces and, once again, there was no change in SLV.Since there were no withdrawals or additions to SLV during the reporting week, which ended on Wednesday, there was no report from Joshua Gibbons yesterday.For the second day in a row, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.I’ll certainly be interested if they update their sales report for today, which is the last business day of the month. If they don’t, the sales report for Monday should be quite something, as the mint has now gotten into the practice of withholding sales at the end of the month if it pushes silver eagles sales for the current month, too high.There was no gold received at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, but 96,450.000 troy ounces were shipped out—and that amount is precisely 3,000 kilobars, probably heading to China. The link to that activity is here.It was a very quiet day in silver, as nothing was received—and only 7,060 troy ounces were shipped out.Nick Laird surprised me with the latest withdrawal from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending October 24. It was another very chunky amount, as 59.684 tonnes were reported withdrawn—and here’s Nick’s most excellent chart.Once again I don’t have a lot of stories for you today—but there are several in here that fall into the absolute must read category so I hope you can make time for them.Since the commercials are so collusive and in control of the technical funds’ trading activities, they can do with the technical funds as they see fit. I truly believe that the key to understanding the manipulation is to know that the commercials control everything that the technical funds do; just like a puppeteer controls a puppet. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t see the clear pattern in managed money behavior in silver (and other COMEX/NYMEX metals) of massive technical fund buying as prices rise and selling on declining prices, always ending in extreme positions at reversal points. With this in mind, the only explanation that seems plausible to me as to why the commercials let the technical funds off the hook the last two occasions of extreme managed money shorting is because the commercials were biding their time and waiting for a more opportune time to put it to the technical funds. Let’s face it, the technical funds have been like the goose that laid golden eggs for the commercials. You don’t cook and eat a goose like that without a thought. What I’m saying is that the commercials know that they can maneuver the technical funds into any extreme position at any time they want and that earlier in the year the commercials let the technical funds off the hook because they knew they could do it again whenever the commercials desired. (That’s my explanation, but if anyone has a different take, please drop me a note). – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 29 October 2014Yesterday’s price action in all four precious metals in general, but gold and silver in particular, should have come as no surprise, as JPMorgan et al attempt to drive as many of the Managed Money traders as possible off the long side and onto the short side in gold.I must admit that I was more than taken aback by the hatchet job that they managed to perform on the silver price, because with the Managed Money already holding a record short position, the selling had to come from somewhere other than the Commercial category—and that only leaves the small traders in the Nonreportable category as the long sellers/short buyers.Of course it’s possible that the Managed Money has gone even shorter than they already have, but without a Commitment of Traders Report to look at, it’s impossible to tell—and none of the price action of the last three trading days, including today, will be in the COT Report that comes out later this afternoon.Here are the 6-month charts for both both gold and silver—and as I mentioned at the top of this column, the silver price is now back to where it was in the first quarter of 2010.
There is a lot of pornography on the internet. There are a lot of teenagers with smartphones. It seems obvious that teens would watch.But maybe it isn’t.In The New York Times magazine, Maggie Jones writes that parents underestimate how much pornography their kids watch on their phones. And many teens who watch porn before taking sex ed or forming sexual relationships end up with skewed ideas about intimacy, consent and pleasure. Combine this with mainstream depictions of sex and relationships, and, as Jones writes:These images confound many teenagers about the kinds of sex they want or think they should have. In part, that’s because they aren’t always sure what is fake and what is real in porn. Though some told me that porn was fantasy or exaggerated, others said that porn wasn’t real only insofar as it wasn’t typically two lovers having sex on film. Some of those same teenagers assumed the portrayal of how sex and pleasure worked was largely accurate. That seems to be in keeping with a 2016 survey of 1,001 11-to-16-year-olds in Britain. Of the roughly half who had seen pornography, 53 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls said it was “realistic.” And in the recent Indiana University national survey, only one in six boys and one in four girls believed that women in online porn were not actually experiencing pleasure: As one suburban high school senior boy told me recently, “I’ve never seen a girl in porn who doesn’t look like she’s having a good time.”Solutions like removing pornography from the internet or smartphones from teenage life are difficult to the point of being technologically or socially impossible. So some educators are trying something new … porn literacy.For this show, we’d like to hear your stories about how pornography has affected you or your children’s ideas about sex. Call us at (855) 236-1212 and share your story. And don’t worry, you won’t have to tell us your name.GUESTSMaggie Jones, Contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine; @maggiepjonesDr. Emily Rothman, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. Co-author of the course, “The Truth About Pornography: A Pornography-Literacy Curriculum for High School Students Designed to Reduce Sexual and Dating Violence”; @emrothmanAl Vernacchio, Sex educator & speaker. Author of “For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values and Health”; @alvsexedErika Lust, Adult film director and producer; creator of the pornography education website “The Porn Conversation,” designed to be a resource for parents; @erikalustFor more, visit https://the1a.org.© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio. Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.
A huge study on the possible health benefits of drinking alcohol will be completely shut down, because its credibility was compromised by frequent and early interactions between alcohol industry executives, scientists and government officials.That was the decision made by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. “Is it even possible at this point that the results of such a trial would have sufficient credibility to influence anybody’s decision-making?” asked Collins. “That does, in fact, seem quite doubtful.”George Koob, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which partly funded the trial, agreed. “I feel that the trial is irrevocably damaged,” said Koob, at a meeting of an advisory committee that gives advice to the NIH director.The Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health Trial was designed to follow over 7,000 people for years, at a cost of around $100 million. Half of the study’s participants would be instructed to abstain from alcohol, while the other half would be told to have a drink every day. The study was being funded in part by major players in the alcohol industry, through a nonprofit foundation linked to the NIH.An investigation by The New York Times revealed that scientists and NIH officials had met with alcohol company executives and appeared to solicit money from them in violation of government policy, prompting the NIH to shut down enrollment in the trial and do its own investigation.A report released Friday on the results of that investigation says that several National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism staffers “hid facts” from other staffers, and that there appeared to be an effort “to intentionally bias the framing of the scientific premise in the direction of demonstrating a beneficial health effect of moderate alcohol consumption.”The report includes emails, with names redacted, including one in which a staffer voices concern about the NIAAA appearing to solicit a gift from industry, “which we absolutely cannot do.” Another email from a staffer at the foundation noted a story the alcohol industry press saying that the foundation was raising money from industry for a large study, but that “no one here” knew what it referred to.”I think a very flashing neon light is staff conducting activities that they are trying to hide from other staff. That tells you that something is being done here that everybody recognizes has crossed a line,” said Collins. “Another very clear line is if that interaction involves a manipulation of what the research plan is going to be to achieve a certain outcome that would be beneficial to the donors. And that was clearly happening in these discussions as well.”Only 105 people had enrolled in the trial before it was suspended, said Collins, who expressed gratitude to the press for initially uncovering the problems with the study.”We do want to use this as a teachable moment,” he said. Collins noted that public-private partnerships have allowed valuable research to move forward for things like Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, Parkinson’s disease and cancer in ways that are “above reproach in terms of the way in which they were put together and the way the science is being conducted.”But this kind of interaction with industry clearly has risks, said Collins, who added that he will work with other officials to more clearly lay out the ethical boundaries that cannot be crossed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The prime minister has become the third senior Conservative figure in a week to refuse to say in front of television cameras whether his party plans to tax key disability benefits after the general election.David Cameron was asked by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in last night’s (2 April) leaders’ debate on ITV how his party planned to find the £12 billion-a-year in welfare cuts announced by the chancellor in last month’s budget.Cameron refused to say where those cuts would come from and whether they would include taxing disability benefits.Last week, the BBC reported that it had seen leaked documents that suggested the Conservatives were considering taxing disability benefits as one way to cut the social security bill by £12 billion a year by 2017-18.Among the options, drawn up by civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions, were an introduction of means-testing for the contributory form of employment and support allowance (saving a possible £1.3 billion a year), taxing disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance (possibly saving £1.5 billion a year), and restricting eligibility to carer’s allowance (saving £1 billion a year).George Osborne, the chancellor, refused to promise that there would no further cuts to disability benefits, when interviewed by Channel 4 News, but would only say that the party would “protect the most vulnerable”.And Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that the party might not provide any details before the election of how they would find most of the £12 billion in cuts, because “no decisions have been made”.But Duncan Smith added: “What throughout I’ve always said is I didn’t come into this job after years looking at this to just make cheese paring cuts.“What we’ve come in to do is to reform the welfare system, so that we don’t waste money on organisations and groups and things that don’t actually help life change.”So many people tried to sign an open letter on the Disabled People Against Cuts website – calling on Duncan Smith to “come clean about cuts affecting disabled people” – that the site crashed.And Richard Exell, a disabled senior policy officer at the TUC, said in a column that taxing DLA and PIP would be “particularly felt by low-paid disabled workers”.He also said that the government’s own figures suggested that more than 600,000 disabled people “could find it more difficult to keep their jobs or to move into employment if their DLA or PIP became liable for tax, reducing their ability to pay for services that remove barriers to employment”.Disability Rights UK (DR UK) said that it was “really concerned about the BBC’s report that officials have developed options for politicians to make spending cuts that would again unfairly hit disabled people and carers”.A DR UK spokesperson said: “DLA/PIP is not an out-of-work benefit; but it could become one, because if it is taxed it will certainly act as an incentive not to work.“It makes no sense to tax DLA/PIP since the purpose of the benefit is to help cover the extra costs of disability – things like getting around, and getting support – and so create more of a level playing-field between disabled people and other citizens.”The DR UK spokesperson added: “Furthermore, many disabled people already pay most, if not all, of their DLA/PIP over to local authorities if they get social care support – what we might call the ‘care tax’. In effect, what this proposal would do would be to tax a tax.”A letter, published this week by the Guardian, and signed by leading disabled campaigners and organisations, including members of the WOWcampaign, Black Triangle, Disabled People Against Cuts, Pat’s Petition and People First England, called for the next government to carry out a proper assessment of the “human cost” of the cuts already made by the coalition before even contemplating any further cuts.The letter said: “The news of some leaked documents, explaining further horrendous cuts to carers and sick and disabled people, have left them terrified of what is going to happen.“We would have thought it imperative that any government respecting human rights would check the consequences of the cuts disabled people and carers have already endured, before imposing further draconian cuts.”Of the seven party leaders who took part in the ITV debate, only two were willing to mention the issue of disability poverty.Natalie Bennett, leader of the Greens, said that two-thirds of the households affected by the bedroom tax included at least one disabled person, and she pointed to the imminent closure of the Independent Living Fund, whose users were having their support “slashed away”.Bennett said: “We have to be a human, fair, decent society. We have to support the most vulnerable.”Sturgeon also raised the issue of cuts to welfare, when she asked Cameron: “You’re proposing an additional £12 billion in welfare cuts. Where are those cuts going to fall? Who’s going to pay the price of those cuts?”She added: “Let’s explain what that means: one million people on disability benefit across the UK are going to lose £1,100 of their benefit. That’s not the kind of economic plan I want.”Cameron said: “In the last parliament we found £21 billion of savings in welfare because everybody knows that welfare was overblown and needed to be properly dealt with.“What is the alternative to making cuts in welfare? Putting up taxes and working people’s pay. I don’t want to see that happen.”
A mental health charity has been heavily criticised for its decision to announce a partnership with a controversial US insurance giant that has made significant financial gains from government incapacity benefit reforms that it influenced through its lobbying.The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) said the new partnership with Unum would see the two organisations work together to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace and encourage employers to safeguard the mental health of their employees.But disabled activists who learned of the partnership this week are horrified that a mental health charity would join forces with an organisation that has made money from the controversial programme to reform incapacity benefits and has bragged about steering government policy on those reforms.They point out that many thousands of people with mental distress have either died or had their health further damaged by the reforms.Mo Stewart, the disabled activist who has led efforts in the UK to raise concerns about Unum’s influence, has written to a trustee of the charity to alert him to the company’s background.She told Disability News Service (DNS) she had “spent the past six years researching the links between this American insurance corporate giant with the British government*, their funding of a research centre to produce policy-based research that was used to justify the introduction of the fatally flawed WCA, and the fact that they were identified as the second worst healthcare insurance company in America”.She said: “It remains cause for serious concern that this American corporate giant continues to infiltrate the agencies concerned with the welfare of our most vulnerable people.”Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the user-led, grassroots network Shaping Our Lives, also raised concerns about the partnership.He said: “Organisations like MHF (and Mind and Rethink etc) hog the resources, the credibility and still largely sign up to a traditional psychiatric/medical model which isn’t really working and isn’t really helpful.“For this sort of thing to be lurking as well means – well – what friends and allies have we really got, if such liaisons are underpinning organisations claiming to speak for us?”Unum was once described by a senior US law official as an “outlaw company” and it has been repeatedly exposed in the US courts for its refusal to pay out on large numbers of genuine insurance claims by disabled people.In 2011, Unum launched a major marketing campaign to promote the need for its income protection insurance (IPI) policies, just as the coalition began its three-year programme to reassess about 1.5 million existing claimants of old-style incapacity benefit through the work capability assessment (WCA).Disabled activists insist that the hated WCA is simply a public sector version of the tests used by companies like Unum to justify turning down valid IPI claims, and that by making the process of applying for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA) harsh and stressful, it has made IPI look more attractive.Three years ago, DNS revealed the existence of a Unum document from 2005 which bragged that government policy on disability assessment and management was “moving in the same direction” as Unum’s own views, and was “to a large extent being driven by our thinking and that of our close associates”.In 2002 – six years before the Labour government launched the WCA and the new ESA – Unum submitted a detailed memo to the Commons work and pensions committee.In the memo, Unum called for fundamental reform of the welfare system, and said the government “must ensure both that work always pays more than benefits, and more importantly that it is clearly seen to do so”, while laying out proposals with a strong resemblance to the ESA/WCA reforms that would be introduced several years later.The Unum memo suggested retaining a form of IB for those “genuinely incapable of undertaking any work whatsoever”, as Labour did with the ESA support group.It stressed in the memo that the company – then known as UnumProvident – was “confident that its policies and approach to [IPI] claim management and rehabilitation can be replicated more widely for those on IB” and that it would “particularly welcome the opportunity to put them into practice”.Despite this memo, and other evidence, John Letizia, head of public affairs for Unum UK, said in a statement: “Unum does not and never has lobbied on the topic of welfare reform or related matters.”He said: “As with many other businesses, Unum partners with various organisations on issues of mutual interest.“Our research in this case aims to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, a fantastic charity with who we wish to help reach and educate businesses on this important issue.”The Mental Health Foundation refused to respond to the particular criticisms of Unum, but a spokesman said: “As a UK mental health charity that seeks to reach the broadest possible audience, we are always looking for ways to amplify our message and to develop new evidence to ensure everyone is able to enjoy good mental health.“That includes entering into partnerships with companies to help increase our reach and our capacity to undertake new research.“These are sometimes difficult judgements to make and we are guided by an assessment of whether the output of a partnership will break new ground and positively benefit people’s lives.“To that end, we took a decision, which we stand by, to work with Unum on an important project which we are confident will uncover fresh insights on how employers can build a more supportive environment for people experiencing mental distress into their everyday business activity.”He added: “On the issue of welfare reform, like many charities we have raised concerns about the disproportionate effect on mental health that some welfare reform measures have had.“We remain concerned, and as an organisation that speaks truth to power, we continue to raise questions and promote debate through our policy, research and campaigning activities.“We will not hesitate to raise any concerns directly with Unum, if needed, and have found them open to constructive dialogue.”*Her book, Cash Not Care – The Planned Demolition Of The UK Welfare State, will be published later this year by New Generation Publishing