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Celtic 1 – 4 Sp Prague

first_imgJulis came into the game as Sparta's dangerman and so it provedImage:Lukas Julis came into the game as Sparta’s dangerman and so it proved Celtic, who reached the round of 32 last season, lacked confidence and desire as Nir Bitton’s poor clearance led to David Moberg Karlsson crashing his shot against the woodwork. It was their first shot across the bows of their opponents, but Celtic failed to heed the warning.Sparta continued to pour forward with Scott Bain producing a fine one-handed save to tip over Julis’ shot. But from the resulting corner, the Celtic defence was statuesque as the striker was on hand to lash his shot high into the net after Bain had initially tipped David Hancko’s header onto the post. Having failed to register a chance of note, Mohamed Elyounoussi was denied a fifth goal in as many games as he stretched to meet Ryan Christie’s cross but his effort grazed the crossbar. Lennon prepared his rousing half-time speech, but his side fell further behind.Karlsson was the architect as the former Kilmarnock winger did brilliantly to keep the ball alive down the right and after his cross was collected by Adam Karabec, Callum McGregor sold himself too easily for Julis to cut inside and curl his shot beyond Bain. Subs: Griffiths (6), Ajeti (n/a), Ntcham (n/a), Elhamed (5).Sparta Prague: Nita (7), Vindheim (6), Pavelka (7), Plechaty (6), Hancko (7), Sacek (7), Krejci (7), Polidar (7), Karabec (7), Moberg-Karlsson (8), Julis (9). Subs: Krejci (6), Dockal (6), Lischka (6), Plavsic (n/a), Travnik (6).- Advertisement – Celtic are on the brink of Europa League elimination after crumbling to a 4-1 home defeat to Sparta Prague.Neil Lennon’s side have just one point from their opening three group games leaving their hopes of reaching the round of 32 in tatters at the halfway stage. Lukas Julis’ hat-trick (26, 45, 76) did most of the damage at an empty Celtic Park.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Celtic fall short in Europe againThis was Celtic’s first meeting with their Czech opponents in European competition, and Neil Lennon’s side were bidding to avoid a third straight Europa League defeat at home for the first time. Sparta’s squad headed to Glasgow decimated by health issues and injuries, with first-choice goalkeeper Milan Heca and Slovakian stopper Dominik Holec both out.Lennon spoke prior to kick-off of the need for his side to “earn the right” to take maximum points from this double-header in their bid to catch up with Group H pace-setters AC Milan and second placed Lille. But they were second best during a very flat opening half as Sparta deservedly led 2-0 at the break. Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates his goal against Sparta PragueImage:Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths celebrates reducing the deficit in the second half Sparta Prague's Lukas Julis celebrates his second strike against CelticImage:Sparta Prague’s Julis celebrates his second strike against Celtic Celtic travel to face Motherwell on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football. Coverage starts at 11am with kick-off at 12pm. Neil Lennon’s side return to Europa League action on Thursday November 26 away to Sparta Prague at 5.55pm.center_img Sparta Prague players celebrate Lukas Julis' opening goal against CelticImage:Sparta Prague players celebrate a night to remember in Glasgow Left with a mountain to climb, Julis was gifted the chance to complete his hat-trick within a minute of the restart after Bain’s sloppy pass presented the ball straight to him, but his left-foot effort was wayward.Lennon had to show his cards, with a change of shape or personnel, and both Hatem Abd Elhamed and Leigh Griffiths were summoned on the hour-mark – just after Jeremie Frimpong’s fierce low shot flashed past the far post.But Celtic continued to look devoid of ideas as Michal Sacek drove forward unopposed only to see his shot cannon off the post. A minute later, Celtic had a lifeline as Tom Rogic’s cute turn and shot forced Florian Nita to palm the ball straight into the path of Griffiths for a simple finish. Sunday 8th November 11:00am Sparta understandably tired having just played the two other Europa League group stage games since the start of last month with no domestic fixtures, but Celtic were undone once more by their lack of defensive organisation in the absence of Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer.Karlsson tormented Shane Duffy on the counter and his low cross was gleefully tapped home by Julis for his third and the 13th goal conceded by Celtic in their last six games.There was still time for that to become 14 to rub salt into the wounds as Krejci was afforded the freedom of Celtic Park to meet Borek Dockal’s cross to head beyond Bain with ease.What the manager saidCeltic boss Neil Lennon: “It was poor. We started the game ok and then got really ragged with the ball. Our passing, technique. I keep saying if we don’t defend set pieces properly we’ll get punished.“There was a lack of hunger tonight and I don’t know where it’s come from because we’ve put in a really good performance on Sunday. I’ve defended the players up until now but that was unacceptable tonight.”Opta statsCeltic have lost their last three home UEFA Europa League matches, conceding at least three goals in every defeat.After a winless run of five UEFA Europa League games (D1 L4), Sparta Prague registered their first win in the competition since a 1-0 win over Southampton in November 2016.Excluding qualifiers, this was only the third time Celtic have shipped four goals in a home European match, also doing so in September 1989 (5-4 win over FK Partizan, Cup Winners’ Cup) and September 2017 (0-5 defeat to PSG, Champions League).What’s next? Substitute Leigh Griffiths reduced the arrears (65), but after Julis completed his treble, Ladislav Krejc compounded the home side’s misery with a fourth in the final minute of normal time.The result leaves Celtic facing a mountain to climb in Group H – bottom on one point – with Sparta leapfrogging them up to third on three points. Lille usurped AC Milan at the summit following a fine 3-0 win at the San Siro. Man of the match: Lukas Julis. Kick off 12:00pm Team newsCeltic went with the same starting line-up that beat Aberdeen at Hampden Park last Sunday to secure their place in the Scottish FA Cup Final. Lennon stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Christie, Rogic and Elyounoussi behind Edouard.The visitors made six changes from the team that lost against AC Milan. Heca, Celustka, Lishcka, Hanousek, Travnik and captain Dockal were all absent. Hancko passed a fitness test, however, and started at left-back while Krejci returned from suspension. Player ratingsCeltic: Bain (5), Frimpong (5), Duffy (3), Bitton (4), Laxalt (6), Brown (5), McGregor (5), Christie (5), Rogic (5), Elyounoussi (4), Edouard (5). – Advertisement –last_img read more

Rules expert Desmond Duffy to be 2018 England Golf President

first_img Rules expert Desmond Duffy has accepted the nomination to become President Elect of England Golf for 2017 with a view to becoming President in 2018. “I am proud and thrilled,” said Desmond (image © Leaderboard Photography), who has refereed at all levels of the game, including at eight Open Championships. “I am looking forward to meeting a lot of old friends throughout the country, making new ones and visiting many clubs that, even after 24 years of refereeing, will be new to me. What joy!” Desmond was a keen footballer in his teens but was prompted to try golf by the simultaneous arrival in his parish of a golf-playing priest and a new professional at Catterick Garrison Golf Club. He took lessons, joined the club and began a notable golfing career in which he held a single figure handicap for 52 years. Even now, approaching his 80th birthday, he plays off 11. For the past 48 years Desmond has been a member at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, where he has been Captain and club champion and is an honorary Vice-President. He deeply treasures the club and credits it with putting him on the path towards the national golfing stage. First he became involved with the Northumberland Golf Union – where he has been President – and then went on to represent his county on the English Golf Union (now England Golf). He joined the Tournament Panel and, over the years, has refereed at eight Open Championships, at the Walker Cup, the Palmer Cup, on the European Tour, European Senior Tour and at English amateur events. Alongside his refereeing duties he has been a member of the EGU Board, represented England on the Council of National Golf Unions and been a member of the R&A Rules and Championship Committees. He has been a member of the PGA Rules Panel since 2002. “I have had a wonderful career refereeing at every level and visiting not only most of the British Isles but Europe as well. All that I owe to Bamburgh, Northumberland and England, each has been an important step along the way,” he said. In his professional life Desmond trained as a quantity surveyor and worked in building contracting, eventually retiring as joint managing director of Tower Construction in Alnwick, Northumberland. His interests outside golf including sitting as an education appeals panel member for seven local authorities in the North East and supporting his church. Desmond’s wife, Erika, is a member at Bamburgh Castle and is the handicap secretary for the ladies’ section. The couple have two children, Caroline, who lives with her husband and three children in Morpeth; and Paul, who lives with his wife and two children in New Zealand. 30 Jun 2016 Rules expert Desmond Duffy to be 2018 England Golf President last_img read more

Mayweather Jr. tops Forbes list of money makers

first_imgHIGHEST PAID—This Sept. 17, 2011 photo shows Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, punching Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) Mayweather, who made $85 million for two fights last year, is currently serving a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas for domestic battery.Boxer Manny Pacquiao is second on the magazine’s list at $62 million from earnings and endorsements. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley earlier this month.Tiger Woods, No. 1 on the list since 2001, made $59.4 million to place third.LeBron James of the Miami Heat is fourth ($53 million). He is one of 13 basketball players on the list.Tennis star Roger Federer is fifth at $52.7 million.Thirty football players made the top 100, with Peyton Manning tops among them at No. 10. The Denver Broncos’ new quarterback made $42.4 million during his last season with the Indianapolis Colts, even though he sat out the entire season while recovering from a neck injury.David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy was No. 8 overall and the highest ranked soccer player at $46 million.New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was tops among baseball players and No. 18 overall with $33 million.Two women, both tennis players, made the list. Maria Sharapova ($27.9 million) comes in at No. 26, and Li Na ($18.4 million). (AP)—The world’s highest-paid athlete is in jail. The guy in second place just lost a title fight, and the man who held the distinction for a decade is now third. Forbes has released its list of the 100 highest paid athletes, and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., nicknamed “Money,” is No. 1.last_img read more

Making do in Diepsloot

first_img14 July 2011 A somewhat eroded road leads away from the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Dainfern, flanked by a thicket of trees and a vast, arid piece of open land. The road runs directly to the suburb’s polar-opposite, an overcrowded township on the northwestern periphery of South Africa’s commercial capital city. In stark contrast to its neighbour, electricity wires crisscross the landscape, running through a mixture of compact corrugated iron shacks, small state-subsidised houses and larger bank-bonded houses. Spatial planning is adverse and living conditions are inauspicious. There is a growing population of more than 200 000 living heedlessly in the cluttered and unkempt environment. A flurry of construction characterises the township, as does traffic congestion and blaring car radios, hustling traders and bustling passers-by, all working together to disturb the peace. Welcome to Diepsloot, a sprouting settlement populated by resilient migrants and immigrants, making up a cosmopolitan community. Conditions are appalling and most locals live in abject poverty. The colloquial language is a concoction of Sepedi, Zulu and Sotho. The main road into this settlement, Ingonyama Street, is undergoing a major revamp. Walkways are being paved and the road tarred; street lights and storm water drains are being installed. Along the street there are quirky people; foreign nationals like Indians, Zimbabweans and Somalians trade out of small rented backyard abodes; the streets are crowded with loitering young and old blood.Past times In Tlou Street, a busy byway off Ingonyama Street, a throng of senior citizens casually drink beer to pass the time. Children play indigenous games nearby; scores of people mill about the streets. In this part of the neighbourhood, roads are tarred and a few smarter houses can be spotted between the corrugated iron shacks. Taverns and liquor stores are open as early as 9am and the piercing sounds of a jukebox reverberate across the neighbourhood, much to the chagrin of neighbours. In this area, lively locals – young and old – spearhead a viable economy selling an assortment of merchandise. Where Tlou Street intersects with King Dinizulu there is a linear market, comprising barber shops and beauty salons, all compacted in one small plot. Beer halls are ubiquitous and car washes, fast food outlets, panel beaters, tailors, hair salons and barbershops do booming business. It is obvious Diepsloot families depend heavily on informal trading. Leshoto Mothapo of 118 Extension 4 and three of his neighbours run a car wash called Neighbour’s Car Wash. Business is good enough to employ two other youngsters. They open at 9am and close at 6pm. Like any business, they have their challenges, but they have decided to stick it out rather than return to a life of notoriety, drugs and alcohol, social ills that had been consuming their lives, they say.RDP houses Diepsloot was established as an informal settlement when South Africa became a democracy; since then, it has undergone a major overhaul. RDP houses (a generic South African term for state-subsidised houses) have been built, which are now sandwiched by rented backyard dwellings. The area has a few amenities of which it can be proud: there is a fire station; a satellite police station and metro police offices; a few schools, with others being built; a library; a recreational park with a range of play equipment; clinics; a shopping centre; premises of various guilds; an adequate sewerage system; public lighting; and graveyards. Many religious denominations can be found among residents, all with their places of worship. Zion Christian Church, International Pentecostal Church of Christ, modern day Christians and the like can be counted among them. Elderly Joseph Kgoete is feeling a bit off-colour, yet he is bubbly and full of humour. He says he was a migrant labourer employed in Olifantsfontein, but was recently laid off because of a sprained ankle. Originally from Driekop in Mpumalanga, he settled in Diepsloot Extension 2 in 1995. When he first arrived here, Kgoete says there were a few shacks and pit toilets. “What you see now came long after.” He could have settled elsewhere in Johannesburg, but chose Diepsloot because it was closer to where he worked. These days, he passes the time by drinking sorghum beer with his mates.Elderly He speaks little about his pride for the place, opting instead to talk only about his woes. Like many elderly people in Diepsloot, Kgoete has many pressing needs, from medical care to housing and transport. On his side of town, life continues unabated. Houses overlap pavements and most locals drink as a pastime. At the end of a street, “amajita” – the local youth – unwind under a tree. They pass the time with trivial chats. Across the township, untarred roads intersect tarred ones; others are being tarred. Most locals are reluctant to talk to the media. Freddy Mamabolo, however, is not one of those. He works as a volunteer for an HIV/Aids NGO (non-governmental organisation) in the area. He came from Mamabolo, a settlement with which he shares a name, in Limpopo province to Diepsloot to look for a job in the big city and a better life. “It’s not like I like this place; it’s home to none, but we live here because it is closer to Joburg where we can find work,” he explains. Mamabolo arrived in Diepsloot in 2000 and has been a volunteer for the NGO for six years. He is MoPedi but speaks broken Zulu and English, like most migrants. “Diepsloot is quite a good place. It’s a small ghetto, growing every day with 13 extensions. When I arrived here there were only seven extensions,” he explains.Unemployment He concedes that unemployment is a pressing issue, but notes that this is not unique to Diepsloot. “The challenges we have as young people include unemployment but everywhere you find that most young people don’t have jobs,” he says. Although the area is still being developed, the few amenities there are could go a long way if locals preserved and took pride in them, he says. “If all facilities can be used in a good way I think Diepsloot will go somewhere but since our people are apathetic in community activities that poses a problem,” he says. Diepsloot is composed of mixed housing, including bonded houses in the south, built near to RDP houses, all flanking the shacks of informal settlements. Social ills plaguing the area are teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and alcohol and drug abuse among the youth. The City has improved sanitation and waste removal, and the quality of water supply and expanded access to it. Public health facilities help to detect illnesses and quarantine the sick. Young people’s guilds help to raise awareness of HIV/Aids and environmental cleanliness. Diepsloot’s population is ever-rising, the result of migration and the movement of migrant labourers from fringe provinces to the City of Gold (as Johannesburg is still known) in search of a better life. This has strained resources such as land, water, energy and social services, with little help administered only to a few.Pollution The western-edge of Diepsloot is dominated by slums, poverty stricken households and little if any economic activity or growth. People here are exposed to indoor air pollution from burning firewood. There is a lack of an adequate public health infrastructure that can identify and respond to disease outbreaks and other threats. Because litter is dumped in open spaces and on street corners, increasing quantities of waste contaminate the air and cause water pollution. If Sbu Nene had it his way, he would move to Durban (KwaZulu-Natal’s major coastal city), “where there is vibe”. However, for now he relishes the vibrant social and night life and deejaying at sporadic weekend parties. Nene moved from Kensington B, in the Johannesburg suburb of Randburg, to Diepsloot in 2000. “We had no choice but to move here,” he says, adding that the cost of living was “too high” and that transport costs aggravated circumstances. He doesn’t like talking about his living conditions, noting only that he likes walking to Diepsloot Mall, a kilometre and a half from his home. “If you don’t have a R5 fare for a local cab you might as well walk and I enjoy it. It gives me time to unwind,” he says. The biggest problem in Diepsloot, Mamabolo believes, is apathy and the general perception most locals have, that “we are not here for anything but money and jobs. How Diepsloot develops and what happens to is not our problem.” Despite this, Diepsloot residents have a cohesive identity which has sustained the settlement and grown it into what it is today. And this is what is distinctive about the place – life is communal and some people are united in the future social wellbeing of their neighbourhood. Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

to Gray Ombre Wig – For the price I paid, I thought it would

first_imgSummaryReviewer Nathalie DuboisReview Date2017-12-24 18:18:32Reviewed Item Black to Gray Ombre Wig, Fashion Heat Resistant Full Head Bob Style Fun Wig(Bob Hair Style)Rating 5.0 / 5  stars, based on  5  reviewsPrice£16.99 I wasn’t quite sure at first as this was the first wig i have purchased but after cutting and styling it i loved it. It comes with a wig cap which makes the wig easier to put on. For synthetic hair it is very soft and shedding is minimal. I wasn’t quite sure at first as this was the first wig i have purchased but after cutting and styling it i loved it. It comes with a wig cap which makes the wig easier to put on. For synthetic hair it is very soft and shedding is minimal. I have only used it this unit once and was pleasantly surprised of how this unit looked. This is a great wig if you are only going to use it occasionally. The price is great and it has a lovely cut that is shown beautifully when i straightened it out on a low heat. I would definitely recommend this wig. For the price i paid, i thought it would. For the price i paid, i thought it would be quite cheap looking but in actual fact it was really well made. It comes nicely packaged with a wig cap. . It comes nicely packaged with a wig cap. The wig is beautiful – i was not expecting such high quality. I have very short hair and i’ve been wearing the wig to encourage myself to grow out my hair. Very real looking, isn’t too shiny. For the price i paid, i thought it would. For the price i paid, i thought it would be quite cheap looking but in actual fact it was really well made. I have only used it this unit once and was pleasantly surprised of how this unit looked. This is a great wig if you are only going to use it occasionally. The price is great and it has a lovely cut that is shown beautifully when i straightened it out on a low heat. I would definitely recommend this wig. It comes nicely packaged with a wig cap. . It comes nicely packaged with a wig cap. The wig is beautiful – i was not expecting such high quality. I have very short hair and i’ve been wearing the wig to encourage myself to grow out my hair. Very real looking, isn’t too shiny. Reviews from purchasers :It comes nicely packaged with a wig cap.Lovely wig and good valueFor the price I paid, I thought it would last_img read more

Muslims, Pandits come together at festival in Kashmir

first_imgDriven apart by three decades of conflict, Jammu and Kashmir’s two separated communities, Muslims and Pandits, on June 11 witnessed a rare union on the annual festival of Zyeshth Ashtami at the Kheer Bhawani temple in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal, as hundreds of Pandits from across the country converged to pay obeisance.Keeping the age-old tradition alive, local Muslim shopkeepers were seen selling earthenware lamps, marigold flowers and other puja paraphernalia at the temple located at Tulmulla area, 30 km away from Srinagar.“It was heartening to see local Muslim music artists playing on the occasion, while Pandits were whirling around,” said Neerja Kaul, 63, a Pandit who had migrated to Delhi after militancy broke out in the 1990s.The festival is fast emerging as a source of healing of relationships between the Pandits and Muslims of Kashmir. Aliya Assad, manager at the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering and a resident of Baramulla, makes it a point every year to visit the temple to meet old friends and get new ones.“I visit the temple to meet my old friends. I met a lovely couple this year. Their sweet daughter, Avishi Pandita, became my friend. We enjoyed ‘kheer’, ‘halwa’, etc. We also clicked selfies,” said Ms. Assad.Brotherhood and harmonyShe urged the Pandit community to pray for brotherhood and harmony. “For centuries, the celebration of the ‘mela’ has been an epitome of harmony and brotherhood. There is a need to strengthen the bond of togetherness between various sections of society,” said Ms. Assad.With the temple and the sacred pond nestled under the shade of the centuries-old mighty Chinar trees, the festival sees the new generation of Pandits also connecting with their roots and the Muslim brethren. “It’s my first visit. I am moved by the warmth showed by the locals,” said Shaina, 17, from Delhi.Special buses were arranged to ferry hundreds of Pandits from Jammu to Srinagar on the occasion.BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav also visited the temple.Separatists also see the occasion as one where they can reach out to the displaced community. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also greeted the community. “It was heartening to see a large number of Pandits visiting the Valley,” said the Mirwaiz. In the past, JKLF chief Yasin Malik started a tradition to meet the migrant devotees at the temple.Meanwhile, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also welcomed the devotees.Governor Satya Pal Malik also visited the Kheer Bhawani shrine.“Brotherhood and communal harmony is so evident here. All communities have gathered to facilitate the organisation of this ‘mela’. I appreciate the wholehearted support of locals in making this religious congregation a successful event,” said Mr. Malik.Hundreds of Pandits left the Valley in 1990s following raging militancy. While many settled in Jammu, hundreds left their homes to settle in different parts of the country.last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2014: Will the Real Messi Stand Up?

first_imgAlexander Netherton: The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among othersLionel Messi is an enigma. Not because of what he says and does on the pitch, but because we don’t know what he says and does off it. England striker,Alexander Netherton: The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among othersLionel Messi is an enigma. Not because of what he says and does on the pitch, but because we don’t know what he says and does off it. England striker Wayne Rooney has given interviews describing the thought process of scoring a goal. Swedish powerhouse Zlatan Ibrahimovic tells us he is his own biggest fan. Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo proves something similar. We are rarely in doubt over these players-they embrace the attention. The Argentine Messi plays as if he invented the game, with a talent that appears genetic, but he seems content to leave it at that: The best player since Diego Maradona.Maradona was Argentina’s last World Cup superstar, winning it in Mexico 1986. He is feted as a hero of the country, a product of its poorest communities. He is loved; Messi is not. Similar to Maradona in many ways-in his supernatural ability and balance-Messi is removed from Argentina, sentimentally and physically. If, however, he wins the World Cup this summer, that would surely change.Argentina themselves face a relatively simple start to the tournament, with a fortunate draw in their qualifying group. Pitted against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria in Group F, the squad has an abundance of attacking talent, with Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain. However, it has a weak defence. Argentina can test the abilities of any of the defences at the World Cup, but Messi and his attacking teammates may not be able to do enough to prevent defeat. Sergio Romero, the goalkeeper, loaned to Monaco last season, rarely played for them, and defender Martin Demichelis is a figure of fun because of his propensity to look like a figure of fun. With the exception of Ezequiel Garay, the defence is lacking. They are still favourites to top their group, but it would be a surprise if their defence copes against the best sides.advertisementDespite this, after years of underperforming, and of a lack of talent in key positions, this might be the best chance of success that Argentina have had in some years-all of which puts immense pressure on Messi. Having moved to Barcelona aged 13-the club offered to pay for essential Human Growth Hormone treatment as he stopped growing as a child-Messi still has the accent of his hometown, Rosario. He retains an interest in Argentine cuisine, and has not culturally assimilated in Spain. He made his name in Spain, with La Liga and Champions League success, but is not thought of as Catalan or Spanish. Similarly, in Argentina, he is regarded as something of an ‘other’. Lionel MessiHis footballing identity is clear, and this may be why he stands apart from his national teammates. Schooled at La Masia, the famous training ground at Barcelona where players are indoctrinated with the side’s approach of short passes and technical excellence, he is entirely a Barcelona player. It was here that the man who oversaw Messi’s greatest period of success, Pep Guardiola, established himself as one of the most impressive modern coaches. When he took over the first team, he won both the Champions League and La Liga in his first season. Plenty more followed. His blueprint was to use a core of players schooled at La Masia who followed the idea of tiki taka-retaining the ball with relentless short passes, one of the most mentally exhausting approaches to use, and physically exhausting to face. They were Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodreguez and Sergio Busquets, besides Messi.All excellent players, but indisputably the greatest was Messi. He scored goals of all kinds, goals of rare beauty that, with his consistently excellent form, he made common. Spain took these Barca players and used their modus operandi of constant possession to win the World Cup and consecutive European Championships.Not Quite Argentine Enough?In Argentina it is different. Argentina play their own way: More direct and less sophisticated. It’s a style that other players might be more accustomed to, but Messi is less effective when he is not with those who play the game at its peak. At Barcelona, as he broke into the first team, he was brought under the wing of the Brazilian aesthetes who recognised just how special he was. At Argentina, there has been no concerted effort to bring him into the fold, nor is there any indication that he seems to want to be part of the family. There is really only one example of emotion for the national team, when he was sent off on his debut and burst into tears-but that could simply be personal disappointment rather than patriotism.advertisementMessi (left) takes a free kick for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid during their 2014 Champions League quarter-final first leg match at camp nouIt is also different because of the 365 goals he has scored for Barcelona, a majority of them having been imbued with a meaning, coming in seasons that ended in success. For Argentina, he has scored 37 in 83 games, but all of them are simply goals that didn’t win a trophy. Some might point out that he won the Olympics in 2008, but it is not seen with any affection by players or fans. Simply put, until he wins something for Argentina, he will not mean anything to Argentina. In his hometown even, there is little evidence they are proud to have produced him, perhaps because there is a feeling that with his experience at Barcelona, he is not really theirs anymore.Argentina treats other players with the reverence Messi is not afforded. The nation focuses on players who play a position that is a national tradition: The enganche or hook. Through this position, the enganche is the playmaker who starts the attacks, and if he performs as he should, appears languid, sophisticated and elegant. He will not need a burst of pace, and he will not score countless goals. The most recent players of this kind are Juan Roman Riquelme, who left Barcelona before Messi established himself and was a relative failure there, and Juan Sebastian Veron, who retired this season with Estudiantes, finally and for the second time, at the club where he had started his career.These two players were divisive figures in a way that Messi is not. Everybody knows that Messi is the best player Argentina has, and its best since Maradona. Yet, there is nobody to passionately take up the cause of Messi because there is nobody who could rationally take up the case against him. He has been consistently the best player in Europe in recent years, and therefore the best in the world. Riquelme and Veron, however, are anachronistic characters on the field. They played the game at a tempo slow enough to be outmoded, so there is a romance to using the position, even as the rest of the world tried to leave them behind, only to be brought to its knees by occasionally devastating passes and beauty. The fleeting nature of their genius is somehow more romantic than Messi’s ability to be brilliant in almost every match. They are inherently Argentine in the way they play, Messi is inherently Messi.Messi is the product of modern football teamed with a genius that allows him at once to define it and at the same time rise above it. He is a recipient of modern medical science. While his use of Human Growth Hormone is unusual, it is part of a newly technological treatment of injuries and development of fitness that has created superhuman footballers. Players now can feature in up to 70 games a season, at full throttle. They can recover from serious knee injuries in six months that as recently as the 1990s would have ended careers. They run at incredible speeds, staying upright while being buffeted by other players. Messi, famous for his balance and indeed a rare reticence to fall under such challenges, is the best example of this strength, except perhaps for his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s presence and brashness highlights what Messi is not. It is through the Portuguese player that we often try to understand Messi, noting the differences.advertisementOther ‘Best Players In The World’Ronaldo, the other Best Player In The World Today, is vain. He strips to the waist upon scoring a goal in the Champions League final to make sure the cameras get his best feature. There were endless rumours that he was desperate to overhaul Messi as the best. Ronaldo doesn’t want to be the best he can be, as much as he wants to be better than everyone else. Because of his own quiet approach in comparison, Messi often appeared humble and modest. Recent contract negotiations that made him the best paid player in the world, and also charges of tax evasion, hint that this could be merely a superficial assumption.Messi with Barcelona team mates Xavi (Centre) and Iniesta (left)Another player comparison also contrasts with Messi, and shows why he is not adored at home yet. His new Barcelona teammate, Neymar, is just 22, and has a close relationship with Brazil. He stayed in Brazil for his formative years, so the national hype started at a young age. Success in the domestic league drew interest from across the country on a weekly basis, and the lower quality of play in Brazil made Neymar’s talents look even better by contrast. Neymar’s embrace of a jaunty image of extravagant haircuts and commercial prominence raised his profile in Brazil unmatched by Messi’s in Argentina. Messi is not known for his nightlife, but Neymar is seen having fun. In some ways, Argentina can’t fall in love with Messi because he gives them nothing to fall in love with.After a disappointing season, the World Cup is Messi’s last chance before he gets back on the treadmill for Barcelona. This year, he scored 41 goals, his lowest haul since 2008-9. A World Cup would take away this pain, but it would mean more than that. A World Cup win would mean that he would have an identity in his home country. It would mean finally moving on from the period of Barcelona dominance defined by Guardiola, who left in 2012. It would possibly even remove any doubt in the discussion between who really is best, Ronaldo or Messi. But as to what it would actually mean to him, rather than to all of us who speculate, it’s almost impossible to say.The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among others. To read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

Baytown Has A Plan To Ease Congestion On Its Busiest Roadway

first_imgListen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:05 Baytown officials say every time they survey citizens, traffic tops the list as the community’s worst problem. Their most congested route is Garth Road, the busy four-lane thoroughfare that intersects with I-10.  Baytown Director of Engineering Jose Pastrana says Garth wasn’t built to accommodate today’s heavy traffic. He adds it’s really tough if you’re trying to make a right turn. “Whenever you come to a signal when you want to turn right, you may be the lone vehicle that wants to turn right but you can’t turn right because the guy in front of you doesn’t want to turn right,” says Pastrana. To help the traffic flow, Baytown is now building a series of right turn lanes on Garth. They’re planned for I-10, Cedar Bayou Lynchburg, and Baker Road.Pastrana says they’re starting with the Baker project because it’s away from the holiday shopping areas and they hope to keep construction delays to a minimum. After the holidays they’ll move on to the other two intersections. As for other Baytown mobility projects, the city is also building San Jacinto Boulevard, a parallel roadway designed to pick up some of Garth Road’s traffic.Have a look at the traffic plan here: X Sharelast_img read more

5 Innovative Uses for Machine Learning

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » January 19, 2018 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Though its time horizon can’t be predicted, artificial intelligence (AI) promises to foundationally influence modern society, for better or worse. A sub-genre of AI — machine learning — has garnered particular attention from the pundits for its potential impact on the world’s most important industries.Related: Top 3 Ways Machine Learning Will Create JobsDue to the resulting hype, massive amounts of talent and resources are entering this space.But what is machine learning and why should we care about it in the first place? The answer is that, in the broadest sense, machine learning models are an application of AI in which algorithms independently predict outcomes. In other words, these models can process large data sets, extract insights and make accurate predictions without the need for much human intervention.Numerous value-generating implications result from the accelerated development of this technology, and many are poised to radically streamline the business world. Here are five of the most innovative use cases for machine learning. They’ll be coming into your life — at least your business life — sooner than you think.1. Widescale use of autonomous vehiclesThe wide-scale adoption of autonomous vehicles represents a far more efficient future for transportation. Early reports indicate that self-driving cars could reduce traffic-related fatalities by as much as 90 percent.Though we’re probably a few years away from consumer production, the adoption of autonomous vehicles by society is, at this point, inevitable. However, the time scale for adoption of this technology largely depends upon regulatory action, which often lies outside of the tech world’s control.Software engineers developing these self-driving “fleets of the future” are relying heavily upon machine-learning technologies to power the algorithms that enable vehicles to operate autonomously. These models effectively integrate data points from a number of different sensors — lidar (a survey method using lasers), radars and cameras — to operate the vehicle. These deep-learning algorithms become more intelligent over time, leading to safer driving.Related: Automatic Insights: How AI and Machine Learning Improve Customer Service2. A more efficient healthcare networkAlthough a critical part of the economy, the healthcare industry still operates on top of an inefficient legacy infrastructure. A major point of concern is finding ways to preserve sensitive patient details while still optimizing the system.Luckily, we can apply innovative machine learning algorithms (that operate without humans) to process large sets of healthcare data without breaching confidentiality contracts. Furthermore, we can use these models to better analyze and understand diagnoses, risk factors and coefficients of causation.As Dr. Ed Corbett has pointed out: “It’s clear that machine learning puts another arrow in the quiver of clinical decision making.“Machine learning in medicine has recently made headlines,” said Corbett, the medical officer at Health Catalyst. “Google has developed a machine learning algorithm to help identify cancerous tumors on mammograms. Stanford is using a deep learning algorithm to identify skin cancer.”3. Embedded retail-management systemsThe international retail sector has consistently generated over $20 trillion in sales a year for the past few years. This staggering figure comes with an enormous amount of consumer-behavior data (demographics, trends and tastes), compiled from an infinite trough of consumer-shopping patterns and tendencies.However, many retail companies are struggling to implement these valuable insights, since the information often comes from disconnected data warehouses. As a result, there is a massive opportunity to implement machine learning models that enable retailers to better understand their customers and provide a more personalized customer experience.Using previously acquired data, machine learning models can predict everything from which products to recommend to when to give out discounts. Ecommerce retailers, in particular, can combine digital behavior patterns to optimize the entire user journey, from the first point of contact, to the purchase of an item, to follow-up.4. Improved moderating of contentThe moderating of content is a major concern for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as they endeavor to deliver accurate information to their audiences. As the previous election cycle highlighted, the failure to properly overseecontent can have severe repercussions.In response to the public outcry over “fake news,” Facebook recently announced it would hire 3,000 new employees specifically to look after the platform’s newsfeed content. This anxiety, however, extends far beyond social media, owing to how tech conglomerates like Google are pouring significant capital into developing content-monitoring teams of their own to support their fast-growing marketplaces.Emerging machine learning and AI platforms, such as Orions Systems, are providing proprietary systems to “grow and adapt the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence” for tasks like moderating content at scale.Uniquely, these technologies are addressing the task of moderating content with innovative tools and resources (analyzing, for instance, the context and content of every frame of video) so that employees can work more productively. This is an important advancement, as training machine learning to deal with video is notoriously difficult.5. Advanced cybersecurityCybercrime damage costs are estimated to soar past $6 trillion annually by 2021. Experts predict that companies will spend over $1 trillion in cybersecurity services from 2017 to 2021 to counterbalance this growing threat. Clearly, cybersecurity will continue to be a major priority for startups and large enterprises alike.Researchers are developing clever ways to implement machine learning models to detect fraud, prevent phishing and defend against cyberattacks. Defense-mechanism systems are being trained, using past data, to quickly spot and protect against suspicious activity. Unlike humans, these algorithms can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without depletion.Related: 5 Reasons Machine Learning Is the Future of MarketingAs these machine learning models become more accessible to developers, they’ll start to gain mass endorsements from consumers and enterprises. And, as that happens, it will be interesting to see which models come  out on top.last_img read more