zoom UK-based ferry operator P&O Ferries carried more freight across the English Channel in the first three months of the year than in any first quarter in its modern history. The ferry and logistics company’s six ships on the Dover-Calais route transported 361,100 lorries during January, February and March.This figure was almost 11 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2016 and nine per cent higher than the previous best ever Q1 in 2012.P&O Ferries also set individual monthly freight records in January, February and March respectively, the company said.Janette Bell, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “Our performance during Q1 shows just how many businesses across Europe rely – either directly or indirectly – on the services we provide. We expect demand for cross-Channel transport to increase, driven by a rising population and the continuing strength of the British economy. It is essential for our customers from all parts of Europe that maintaining secure, safe and efficient passage through the ports of Dover and Calais is a priority for both sides negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union.” During the quarter, two of P&O Ferries’ English Channel ships – the Pride of Canterbury and the Pride of Burgundy – spent several weeks each in Poland’s Remontowa shipyard for life extension work. Both vessels, which weigh up to 30,000 tons, have now been relaunched and are back in service.
Nova Scotia’s education department has not met its duty to taxpayers or to students because of significant weaknesses in its management of P3 school contracts, Auditor General Jacques Lapointe said in his latest report. The Auditor General’s first report of the year, released to the legislature today, Feb. 3, also raises concerns about “irresponsible practices and questionable expenditures” involving MLAs’ expense accounts. Mr. Lapointe cited a range of problems with management of the 20-year agreements between the province and developers who built and own the 39 P3 schools. He made 21 recommendations to address those problems and urged the department to begin planning for the end of the contracts, now less than 10 years away. The report says procedures to monitor whether the developers are meeting the terms of the contracts are inadequate. The department relies on principals and other school board employees to alert them to problems. But those officials were unaware of maintenance or other service levels called for in the agreements. “If there are no complaints, the department assumes the contract is being fulfilled,” said Mr. Lapointe. The audit found a number of contractual requirements that were not met, including child abuse and criminal record checks, first aid training and fire safety inspections. In two cases, developers subcontracted school maintenance back to school boards, in effect transferring responsibility for maintenance and operation of the buildings back to taxpayers — an arrangement that seems to benefit developers but has questionable value for taxpayers. The Auditor General audited the expenses filed by and paid to members of the legislature between July 2006 and June 2009, and found a “deficient” system that invites errors and misuse. Mr. Lapointe said it is difficult to determine to what extent system weaknesses, processing errors, innocent mistakes or conscious decisions by members contributed to questionable expenses payments. He pointed out that the government has already moved on his key recommendation and initiated a comprehensive examination of the expense system. In addition, some procedures have been tightened and some members have paid back money. While his report cites a number of specific incidents of what he called excessive or inappropriate expenses, Mr. Lapointe decided not to identify individual members in his report, although “…the argument can be made that there is both a public interest and right to know (names of MLAs).” “Ultimately, I decided to exclude members’ names from the report, not for their protection but because I hope to focus attention on a broken system that requires fixing, rather than on individuals,” said Mr. Lapointe. The Auditor General provided information to the Speaker and the legislature’s Internal Economy Board to enable the recovery of funds from individual members. His report also focused on the development of electronic health records. While Mr. Lapointe’s audit found good project management practices in the electronic health record initiative, he noted that the various initiatives underway in the Department of Health are not integrated and may not be compatible. He recommended the development and implementation of an overall IT strategy for electronic health records. Mr. Lapointe’s 150-page report cites financial reporting issues across government including the excessive use of additional appropriations at year end and the continuing practice of paying universities in advance. The report also includes information on various economic and financial indicators which are designed to assess government’s ability to respond to changing economic conditions. The complete report and related documents are available online at www.oag-ns.ca or by contacting the office at 902-424-5907.
— Seven companies committed to additional growth in the province and this activity from investment attraction clients is forecasted to generate an average salary of $51,316. –- Seventeen business financing projects were authorized, and six companies have enhanced their productivity using the Strategic Investment Fund. — Under NSBI’s venture capital division, four projects were authorized. “Although our economy has clearly seen the impact of global turbulence, we still have seen some success in Nova Scotia, and now is the time to be even more strategic and vigilant,” said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI. “There is a lot more we can do to help our clients and partners stay aggressive and proactive so we can continue to see world-class business growth in the province and around the world.” The 2010-11 annual report measures NSBI against goals from its 2010-11 business plan. For more information on NSBI’s results, visit www.novascotiabusiness.com/Report2011 . Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the province’s private-sector-led business development agency. Through trade development, investment attraction, business financing and venture capital, NSBI helps local companies and attracts international businesses to Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) and its partners continued to help local and international companies as they seized opportunities to compete and grow across the province and internationally in 2010-11. NSBI released its ninth annual report today, Oct. 6, which covers the fiscal period from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. “With the work of agencies like NSBI and business development partners across the province, we continue to position our people and businesses to compete successfully, create good jobs in Nova Scotia and contribute to a growing economy,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. Based on activity by its clients in the past fiscal year, the province’s business development agency projects $142 million in potential payroll creation. “I’ve witnessed the transformative power of global competitiveness in my role with NSBI,” said Jim Eisenhauer, chair of NSBI’s board of directors. “Meeting the changing demands of a global economy fuels innovation and boosts productivity. This, in turn, creates good jobs and drives economic growth.” Some highlights of the annual report include: In collaboration with partners, NSBI’s trade services helped 328 companies expand existing markets and explore new markets.
OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says a backlog of “legacy” claims filed by refugee applicants to Canada who have been waiting over seven years for hearings will soon be cleared.Hussen says only a handful of claims remain from a backlog of that once stood at 32,000, thanks to efforts of a special task force struck to deal specifically with so-called legacy cases.The backlog was created in December 2012, when the Conservative government of the day set new deadlines for refugee hearings.The new rules said refugee hearings had to happen within 60 days.Officials at the arms-length agency that processes asylum cases struggled to meet that deadline for new claimants, so the 32,000 cases already in the system at the time were bumped to a lower-priority queue for scheduled hearings.That left thousands of asylum-seekers in limbo — on a list government will finally clear by the end of July.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says it’s never too late for Canadian firms to adopt a China strategy.The central banker says he remains bullish on China, even though some countries may have gotten their foot into the fast-growing market first and growth appears to be slowing.The temporary slowdown in China’s economy— while real — should not discourage companies because the country still represents a large slice of global growth.Carney has been urging Canadian firms to invest more of the about $500-billion in what he has termed “dead money,” or available cash amassed from several years of profits.Speaking at a conference on China on Monday, Carney says as China transforms from an export-driven economy to one focused on domestic consumption, the growth rate will slow, but opportunities for countries like Canada will increase.[np-related]
The Toronto stock market was lower Thursday amid a disappointing read on American consumer spending and mixed earnings news.The S&P/TSX composite index gave back 17.56 points to 14,957.09, while the Canadian dollar rose 0.09 of a cent to 93.36 cents US.U.S. indexes were also negative with the Dow Jones industrials down 71.38 points to 16,796.13, the Nasdaq was 20.58 points lower to 4,359.18 and the S&P 500 index fell 10.43 points to 1,949.1.The U.S. Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2 per cent last month after no gain in April, missing expectations for a 0.4 per cent rise.“More importantly, in real-terms, consumption fell for the second straight month, down 0.1 per cent in May,” said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Jennifer Lee, who also observed that consumers still account for the “lion’s share” of the U.S. economy.“Going forward, the second quarter will still see rebound but something in the order of around a three per cent annualized pace, down from our call of 3.8 per cent. This is very disappointing,” Lee said.U.S. incomes rose a solid 0.4 per cent in May, which met expectations, after a 0.3 per cent April gain.Meanwhile, an inflation gauge that’s closely monitored by the U.S. Federal Reserve has risen 1.8 per cent over the past 12 months, the fastest rise since late 2012 but still below the Fed’s two per cent target.Data released Wednesday showed that the final revision to American economic growth in the first quarter showed that U.S. gross domestic product shrank 2.9 per cent, larger than the two per cent contraction economists had expected. However, the decline was due in large part to severe winter weather.On the corporate front, grocer Sobey’s plans to close about 50 of its underperforming stories, most of them in Western Canada where parent company Empire Inc. (TSX:EMP.A) purchased the Canada Safeway supermarket chain. Empire made the announcement as it also posted fourth-quarter adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of $131.3 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, beating estimates of $1.29.That compared with $95.7 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, in the same quarter of last year. Sales were $5.94 billion, up $1.68 billion year-over-year, narrowly missing expectations of $5.95 billion. It also upped its dividend 3.8 per cent to 27 cents a share and its shares slipped 15 cents to $66.95.Also, media giant Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) reported quarterly earnings per share of 47 cents, two cents less than estimates. Revenue in the quarter was $1.34 billion, up one per cent year-over-year and its shares gained six cents to $26.41.In other corporate news, Alcoa is buying British jet engine component company Firth Rixson for US$2.35 billion in cash and $500 million stock. Alcoa is increasing its focus on finished aluminum products for aerospace, autos and other industries.The gold sector was the major decliner, down 0.8 per cent while August bullion faded $6 to US$1,316.60 an ounce.The energy sector was down 0.2 per cent as oil prices also declined as fears diminished somewhat over supply disruptions from Iraq with the August contract down 38 cents to US$106.12 a barrel.July copper was unchanged at US$3.16 a pound and the base metals component lost 0.15 per cent.
Meanwhile former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who is housed at the adjoining prison, was not harmed in the incident, his family members said in a facebook post. Fonseka is serving time at the prison over several charges filed against him. Over 100 LTTE suspects serving time at the Welikada prison were transferred to several other prisons as a result of the riot which broke out at the prison today.Prisons Commissioner P.W Kodipilli said that most of the LTTE suspects were transferred to Kalutara and rest to other prisons around the country. The situation following the clash between prisoners and prison guards has been brought under control and the main road opposite the prison has been re-opened for traffic.
Meanwhile the department of meteorology has warned that lightning and strong winds can be expected in several parts of the country over the next 24 hours.The public have been advised to remain cautious. The military says 12 soldiers were hospitalized after lightning struck land adjoining a building they were constructing in Kamburupitiya this evening.Military spokesman Brigadier Nihal Happuarachi said that the soldiers suffered from shock and were not in a series condition.
Durham Regional Police say an unsigned letter telling a family to move, or euthanize a 13-year old autistic boy does not constitute a hate crime.Brenda Millson of Newcastle was shocked by the letter, which arrived on Friday. The author claimed to be a mother in the neighbourhood, who’s upset at the noises Millson’s grandson, Max, makes when he’s outside. Police are looking for whoever sent the letter, but say despite using, “hateful language,” it doesn’t meet the threshold for a hate crime. Millson says her family has received a swell of support from the community.
Summing up the three-day high-level segment of the eleventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Chairman Mohammed Valli Moosa of South Africa praised the ministers’ “positive” contributions and said that their main objective had been to nail down a plan towards the implementation of global development goals. The Commission will continue meeting at the UN Headquarters through next Friday.Speaking at a press briefing, Mr. Moosa said the high-level segment’s success proved that the spirit of the last year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, had “carried through.” Senior ministers had devised a two-year work plan – focused on water and energy – that would allow the Commission to help countries realize the targets and goals agreed at that landmark conference.Echoing that sentiment at the briefing was Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who said the ministers had a “much more positive outlook now than the morning after” the Summit. Successful elements from the WSSD, like Johannesburg’s “partnership fair,” had been revived for the present Commission session. As a result, a total of $1.2 billion had been committed to partnerships, and not just between governments, but also between them and private sector or trade partners, as well as labour unions and other organizations, he said.Implementation had been at the core of the high-level segment, Mr. Moosa emphasized, recalling that the main outcome document from Johannesburg had been a Plan of Implementation. There was no need to focus on policy since sustainable development was now building on “Agenda 21” – a blueprint for sustainable development agreed upon at the 1992 UN Conference for Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “No new definition of sustainable development is needed,” he said, “we must now work out how to implement agreed measures.”Responding to a question on what had changed in the years between the Rio Summit and Johannesburg, Mr. Desai said the aid climate was better now. After Rio, aid for sustainable development activities had declined. Now, more aid was coming in for projects, such as for partnerships. He added that Johannesburg had come out with an action plan rather than with concepts – some 30-plus programmes with timetables had been agreed.Asked to comment on the choice of water and energy for the theme of the Commission’s first two-year theme, Mr. Moosa said freshwater had been seen as a central issue impacting on other issues. For example, a shortage of freshwater affected women in a particular way. The issue was crosscutting, involving issues of health, sanitation and development. Likewise, energy was linked to questions of natural resources and others so that all could be handled in a comprehensive way, he added. This was in line with a major message the ministers had delivered during the high-level segment.
A member of the grounds crew cares for the grass before the game. OSU lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium Jan. 3, 40-35. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorMIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Ohio State Buckeyes are officially on a losing streak.OSU lost its second straight game after winning 24 in a row over the last two seasons since Urban Meyer took over as head coach, falling to No. 12 Clemson (11-2, 7-1) in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl, 40-35.Tiger quarterback, redshirt-senior Tajh Boyd, led a high-powered offense that amassed 576 total yards against the Buckeyes (12-2, 8-1) and the Clemson defense did enough down the stretch to win the game, turning junior quarterback Braxton Miller over twice in the game’s final three minutes.“We’re not a championship-caliber defense right now, although we think about the last two games, we were in position to go win (those) games,” Meyer said following the loss. “Our defense certainly made some plays to help us go win a game.”Boyd scored on the game’s first drive, running 48 yards up the middle for a touchdown. After Miller scored on a 33-yard run on OSU’s next possession, Boyd connected with junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins from 34 yards out.“I don’t know all the receivers in the country, but I can’t imagine any better than that guy,” Meyer said of Watkins in a post game press conference.Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier agreed, saying that Watkins “was just making plays.”“We had to get leverage and was losing leverage, and he was just taking it up the sideline,” Shazier said following the loss. “It was getting guys out of position. If we had leverage, we could have shut him down a little bit more, but we just didn’t do it.”Following a safety late in the first quarter, Boyd extended the lead to 20-9 after he found junior wide receiver Martavis Bryant on a three yard touchdown pass.The Buckeyes quickly responded, as Miller threw a touchdown pass, and ran for another to give OSU a 22-20 lead at halftime.The Buckeyes would score again on the first possession of the second half, when senior running back Carlos Hyde found the end zone from one-yard out to extend the lead to 29-20.But a muffed punt by senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown later in the third quarter lit a spark that led Clemson to score twice before the fourth quarter began. Boyd hit Watkins and then Bryant again to make the score 34-29.OSU came back once again, when Miller hit Hyde from 14 yards out, and after a two-point play failed, OSU lead 35-34.But Boyd led the Tigers back down the field, hitting redshirt-sophomore tight end Stanton Seckinger from five yards out to give Clemson the lead for good.“It’s playing for these guys. I’ve learned so much and grown so much as a person since I’ve been here. And I can’t think of a better way to give back to school than a victory in this game,” Boyd said following the victory. “It was a very impressive victory for this team, this university. Can’t wait to celebrate with the guys.”Miller fumbled on OSU’s next drive, but the Buckeye offense was given another shot when redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett picked off Boyd with just under 1:30 left.Miller, however, threw his second interception of the game two plays later, sealing the win for Clemson.Watkins was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, as he finished with Orange Bowl records of 16 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Boyd was 31-40 passing for 378 yards and five touchdowns, also rushing for 127 yards for a touchdown.“Tonight was just to go out there and have fun, go out with a bang, and get the 11-2 in back-to-back seasons and just finish off my legacy here and I definitely did that,” Watkins said about his performance during a post game press conference.Miller finished with 234 passing yards and two touchdowns, while also scoring twice on the ground.Looking ahead to next season, OSU is set to take on Navy Aug. 30 in Baltimore. For now, the loss will linger.“Is this what we expect? No,” Meyer said, who lost his first BCS game of his career. “We expect top 10 defense at Ohio State, top 10 offense, and top 10 special teams, and I don’t believe we accomplished any of those.”Junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) pulls away as he runs with the ball. OSU lost against Clemson in the Orange Bowl Jan. 3, 40-35. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor
Kyle Wagner: (sports editor): So FiveThirtyEight has U.S. Open predictions for the first time, and I’m sure lots of folks have questions about how they work and, more important, why they’re any good. Someone want to give us the 30-second version of how they’re made?Ben Morris (writer/researcher): For player strength and individual match win probabilities, we use our tennis Elo ratings system, tailored to a hard-court tournament like the U.S. Open.Jay Boice (computational journalist): Then we take those Elo ratings and head-to-head win probabilities along with the bracket structure and calculate the chance that each player will reach each round, who their likely opponents would be in that round, and how those opponents would affect their Elo rating. A big tree of conditional probabilities …Kyle Wagner: And that’s basically the same way that we forecast NBA and NFL seasons, yeah?Ben Morris: Pretty similar, yes. Though Elo works somewhat differently in individual sports like tennis than in league sports like the NBA.Reuben Fischer-Baum (visual journalist): One big difference: Tennis Elo doesn’t account for margin of victory, plus some other, more technical differences (NBA and NFL are simulation-based).Ben Morris: This is true, but not necessarily a limitation in my view. Trying to account for margins in tennis often leads to worse predictions. Winning actually matters! Most of the information is carried in who wins and loses, and the information beyond that isn’t super reliable.Reuben Fischer-Baum: I agree with Ben on that. In other major sports, margin of victory tracks much more nicely with quality (with some weird exceptions, like the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had a surprisingly consistent margin regardless of opponent strength).Kyle Wagner: What would accounting for matchups look like?Carl Bialik (writer): One challenge is the sample size: Most players don’t play any other specific opponent all that often. I’ve wondered if you could overcome that by accounting for matchup style: building taxonomies of player types like we’ve done for NFL quarterbacks and see how certain players do against, say, tall players with big serves or small ones with great backhands and speed.Kyle Wagner: One thing we’ve seen with this projection is that our model likes Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic a lot more than the betting markets. Do you think that’s mainly because of those differences? Or is it something more basic, like the length of a tournament or the fact that Williams’s and Djokovic’s health is uncertain?Reuben Fischer-Baum: In terms of the betting markets, tennis Elo, like NBA and NFL, isn’t accounting for injuries. That could make a big difference! For reference: Betfair has Djokovic at around 36 percent right now and has Djokovic and Andy Murray more or less neck-and-neck. Fifteen Minutes In Flushing: Our U.S. Open Podcast Returns Jay Boice: A good way to judge the model is just to look at its calibration: Did players with an X percent chance of winning a match actually win X percent of the time?Reuben Fischer-Baum: Damn, we’re killing it. Next question.Ben Morris: As with all models that give win percentages, evaluating its performance is tricky. You want the predicted winners to win as often as possible, but you also want people predicted to win 70 percent of the time to win 70 percent of the time, etc.Incidentally, those goals can sometimes be at odds. What if one model predicts the correct winner 70 percent of the time, but another model predicts the correct winner only 69 percent of the time, but the 80 percent guys win 80 percent and the 50 percent guys win 50 percent, etc. Note: For simulation purposes, having the second of those is almost certainly better.Reuben Fischer-Baum: In a much blunter way, our model will sort of inevitably be judged by the performance of Djokovic and Williams at this point — not that that would be our preference!Jay Boice: You can also throw Brier score in there, Ben, and sometimes that’s also at odds with predicting winners and calibration.Ben Morris: Yeah, I mean, the odds of one of Djokovic/Williams winning and the other losing are greater than the odds of both of them winning.Kyle Wagner: Maybe we should start headlining like that.Ben Morris: Yet, if we miss one, Twitter will be all, “LOL 538.”Reuben Fischer-Baum: The lesson is to not predict stuff.CORRECTION (Aug. 31, 12:10 p.m.): An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect winner of the 2016 Wimbledon men’s singles title. It was Andy Murray, not Novak Djokovic. Reuben Fischer-Baum: This might not be an answerable question, but how far back do you have to go (for Murray and Djokovic) before matches are making negligible impacts on current Elo ratings?Ben Morris: OK, so perspective: When Andy Murray beat Djokovic at the Rome Masters in May, he gained 13.9 Elo points; that was in the final. When he beat Lucas Pouille in the semifinal, he gained 2.1 points. Elo is unimpressed by beating people you’re supposed to beat.Carl Bialik: The faster way for Murray to catch up is for Djokovic to lose more to guys like Sam Querrey, who beat him at Wimbledon.Reuben Fischer-Baum: But Murray’s behind Djokovic by like 170 points!Ben Morris: Yes.Reuben Fischer-Baum: So that means that he’d have to beat Djokovic in like 12 straight finals to pass him?Ben Morris: Djokovic lost 13 points in Rome. So like six straight finals.Reuben Fischer-Baum: Ah, right. Well a little more, because they’d gain and lose less the closer they get in Elo?Ben Morris: Yes. Quick — someone run the simulation on a Murray v. Djokovic only tournament!But there’s also some sense in that. Just because Murray beat Djokovic a bunch of times doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the better player. See, e.g., Nadal and Federer.Carl Bialik: Headline this chat: Federer Is Better Than Nadal Even Though He Always Loses To Him and people will click.Reuben Fischer-Baum: But Nadal-Federer was a surface thing, right? Or nah?Ben Morris: Nadal beat Federer more than he was supposed to on every surface.Carl Bialik: Nadal almost always beats Federer on clay but also is 9-7 against him on hard courts.Kyle Wagner: That gets into why you have a system, though. If we’re pretty sure that one player is the best in the world and another player beats the shit out of him every time they play, this should inform a prediction on what happens in their next match, no?Ben Morris: Well, that’s what we were chatting about. It would be a nice feature to add. But I suspect that there are few cases in which it would make a significant difference. Even Nadal vs. Federer — like the most famous example in all of tennis — wasn’t completely outside the realm of variance.Reuben Fischer-Baum: It certainly wouldn’t boost Murray’s chances in our interactive at the moment.Carl Bialik: Not against Djokovic or Nadal in a possible final, anyway. Murray owns most guys in his half of the draw.Kyle Wagner: OK, “should we have a thing that is better” was probably not the right question — but does the fact that we don’t have a mechanism in place that can deal with that mean we think our projections are more effective in a Player vs. The Field scenario than they are in individual matchups?Ben Morris: No. I think our model is pretty solid for individual matchups, with the caveat that occasionally one player who has dominated another player may be given too low of a chance. But I think those situations are rarer and mean less than people may think.Carl Bialik: I have a question. How will we judge how well this model did? In addition to whether or not Williams and Djokovic win, which is how everyone else will judge it (validly).Posted this Monday night: Related: Baseline Carl Bialik: I agree. The betting markets were showing Djokovic and Williams as odds-on favorites for the U.S. Open after Wimbledon. Their Elo ratings were a little higher then — they both lost early at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — but the bigger change is that they both are struggling with injuries. Here, reporters and fans are reporting from their practices — and canceled practices. Djokovic looked rusty early in his first match, better by the end. Elo doesn’t care about any of that. It just knows he survived and advanced.Reuben Fischer-Baum: If we’re willing to say that the betting market maybe overcorrects for injury/margin/rustiness (and I’m not sure we are), Djokovic’s match on Monday night might be a good one to point to. The announcers couldn’t stop talking about how he looked rusty, and he dropped a set, but he still stomped the guy in the end. The match itself was never really in doubt.Carl Bialik: I was watching behind another writer who kept turning away from the court and to me to say how terrible Djokovic looked as he hit winners and coasted in the last two sets.And it was hilarious after the match when ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi tried to get Djokovic on court to say anything specific about his wrist and Djokovic kept changing the subject to the stadium, the crowd, Phil Collins — didn’t want to give those bettors any info to overreact to. Although I won’t be too quick to dismiss the betting markets, not when Djokovic has to win six more matches and they won’t all be against opponents as overmatched as last night’s.Ben Morris: FWIW, our model is definitely more bullish on Djokovic/Williams than I expected, even before the injury issues. I think this is largely due to the lack of strong second/third tiers that normally grind down the favorites’ chances over the course of a tournament.Jay Boice: Yeah, Elo really, really likes Williams and Djokovic. For example, Williams is about 260 Elo points better than her nearest competitor (Simona Halep) and the rest of the field. That’s kind of like filling the NBA playoffs with the Warriors and all the teams who didn’t make the playoffs last year.Reuben Fischer-Baum: Betfair has Williams at 38 percent to win it all, but Angelique Kerber, the second favorite, at just 13 percent — a much bigger gap than the betting odds in the men’s field.1Kerber is the second favorite in our model, too, even though we rate Halep higher, in part because Kerber, unlike Halep, wouldn’t have to face Williams until the final.Ben Morris: Generally, if I model something and there’s a small gap with betting markets, I might think, “Yeah, I’m doing it better.” But if there’s a big gap, I think, “There’s probably something my model is missing.”Reuben Fischer-Baum: I think injuries are a big deal! This is a pretty obvious point, but an injury in tennis means a lot more than an injury in basketball or football because … there’s just one player.Carl Bialik: Another reason to be a little surprised by the confidence of the model is that players have to win seven matches in a row. Even winning March Madness takes just six. Though favorites at majors get a lot of protection in the draw.On the other hand: Williams has won nine of the last 17 majors. Djokovic has won six of the last nine. Cherry-picked end points and all that, but more often than not lately, they’ve both won. And when they haven’t, they usually have come really close.Kyle Wagner: Is the weak second or third rung the case for just this tournament, or would it be the norm if we did predictions for every major?Carl Bialik: It’s been the norm during this current age of Williams and Djokovic — but particularly here with Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka out.Kyle Wagner: Do injuries to players like Federer or suspensions like Sharapova’s — big chunks of the competitive ecosystem — throw off a zero-sum model like Elo in an outsize way, or should the model be able to adjust for that?Jay Boice: Injuries are just so varied — it’s tough to quantify them and fit them into a model …Reuben Fischer-Baum: I don’t think players missing the tournament throws off Elo though.Ben Morris: Well, our Elo isn’t a zero-sum model. Players missing shouldn’t throw it off in any way. Nor should players retiring, etc. In the long run, the points they take off the table get picked up by new players with the more rapid adjustment to their ratings.Reuben Fischer-Baum: I have a question! So Djokovic has a much higher Elo rating than Andy Murray, which fits how you might think about their two careers, but not necessarily how you’d think about their 2016 performances. Is it possible that part of the difference with the betting markets is that Elo is less reactive?Ben Morris: Well, with or without matchup style, history between players is relevant information that at least in some circumstances can be predictively useful. That is definitely something that could be incorporated, even if the effect is small. But more is possible.Reuben, I think you can definitely say that part of the difference is likely that betting markets ARE more reactive than our Elo to recent performances, especially for players with long careers like these two. A very different question, however, is whether that’s right. Our Elo adjusts slowly for grizzled veterans for a reason — because it works.Carl Bialik: I agree. But also I think markets can make too much of streaks and titles. Murray won 22 in a row recently, but none of those came against Djokovic or Nadal, the two guys we think are the best men besides Murray in the draw. A win over Djokovic is the best way for Murray to gain Elo points and catch up. But he’s lost 13 of the last 15 to him.Ben Morris: Over the course of a long career, players have hot streaks and cold streaks, and when those come later in a player’s career, they mean less. The function we use to update ratings after matches reflects that, and makes better predictions overall as a result. Or put another way, if Murray’s hot year really reflects a huge jump in his ability, that would be the exception to the historical rule. We’re forecasting every match of the 2016 men’s and women’s U.S. Open tournaments. See our predictions here » As FiveThirtyEight’s staff watched U.S. Open results come in Monday and change the probabilities in our forecast — our first ever for a tennis tournament — we started asking ourselves some questions. Such as: Why did we think Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic looked dominant in our model when betting markets weren’t nearly as confident in the favorites? Since we were chatting about it anyway, we decided to have a chat worth publishing. (All numbers are as of when we talked on Tuesday afternoon, after Djokovic’s first match but before Williams’s.) It’s below, lightly edited. Check out our U.S. Open predictions.
We wrote recently that this series might be decided by whichever team’s goalie regressed less sharply. Both goalies have dropped off from the earlier rounds in terms of save percentage, which is normal in the Stanley Cup Final, and Binnington is the one who has regressed less sharply. But Binnington’s footing entering the final was less solid than Rask’s — Binnington’s save percentage entering the final was .914, compared to Rask’s .942. In the six games of the final so far, Rask is down to .925, while Binnington has dropped all the way to .901. This is critical because (I’m beating a dead horse, I know) save percentage accounts for a higher proportion of a team’s success than any other factor in hockey.Rask’s performance in the first three rounds of the playoffs meant the Bruins wouldn’t suffer too badly if he took a few steps down into the basement. Rask has regressed, sure, but he had room to regress. The margin of error was more precarious for Binnington and the Blues, and unfortunately for fans in the Gateway City, their wunderkind is approaching the sub-basement. Binnington’s regression has hurt the Blues’ chances of winning their first-ever Cup.In a way, Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was a microcosm of Binnington’s series. He was exceptional in Game 5 — it was his second-best game in terms of save percentage in the playoffs — and he made big save after big save in periods one and two of Game 6. But then period three happened, and Binnington gave up two savable goals he’d really prefer to have back.On the other side of the ice, Rask made the saves that were expected of him — and a few saves that might prove iconic. Now the Cup hinges on a one-game series where the winner takes all. And in a series that’s been defined by goaltending, that could be bad news for the Blues.CORRECTION (June 12, 2019, 10 a.m.): A previous version of the photo caption in this story misspelled the name of the Blues’ goalie. It is Jordan Binnington, not Jordan Billington. For just the fourth time since the NHL lockout of 2004-05, the Stanley Cup Final will be decided by a Game 7. The series between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues has been partially defined by one team’s inability to direct shots at its opponent’s goal and the other team’s overpowering possession rate — but goaltending has been the real story.Fortunately for the Bruins, goaltender Tuukka Rask’s playoff performance has been one of the best in recent history; unfortunately for the Blues, goaltender Jordan Binnington’s performance has been mediocre at best and ignominious at worst. Just how much less impressive Binnington has been than Rask in these playoffs is educational.Now the Blues probably wouldn’t have qualified for the playoffs, let alone advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, without some exceptional regular-season goaltending from Binnington. When the rookie Bluenote claimed the No. 1 goalie position, the Blues had the worst record in the Western Conference. Binnington ended the season tied for the fourth-best save percentage,1Minimum 420 minutes. and won 24 of his 30 starts. And while his overall playoff performance hasn’t been one for the record books, Binnington has shown flashes of brilliance. (For example, Games 4, 5, and 6 of the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks, when he stopped 75 of 77 shots faced, and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, when he saved 38 of 39.) He just hasn’t been close to the same level as Rask.Since the last championship-canceling lockout, Stanley Cup-winning goalies have averaged a Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA)2GSAA is the goals a goalie prevents given his save percentage and shots faced compared to the league average save percentage on the same number of shots, with a minimum of four shots faced per team game. It’s a close cousin to baseball’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR). of 5.30 in the playoffs, while Stanley Cup-losing goalies have finished with a GSAA of 4.51. Binngton’s GSAA for the 2019 playoffs has been -3.80, a mark that far underperforms both groups.For his part, Rask has saved 15.29 goals above average in this year’s playoffs. Only one Stanley Cup goalie since the lockout has outperformed Boston’s netminder in terms of playoff GSAA: Tim Thomas, who saved an astounding 20.72 goals above average en route to winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011. Rask has been better than 27 of 28 post-lockout Stanley Cup goaltenders in terms of GSAA, while Binnington has been worse than all but two of them.
OSU cheerleaders lead OSU football players out of the field at Ohio Stadium prior to the annual Spring Game on April 18. Team Gray defeated Team Scarlet, 17-14. Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographer Despite playing with what coach Urban Meyer called a “makeshift offensive line” during Saturday’s Spring Game, members of the Ohio State football team had nothing but positive things to say about where the starting five blockers are at.And with four of the five starters from last season’s national championship team back in the fold, it is easy to see why.Senior Taylor Decker, redshirt-junior Pat Elflein, redshirt-sophomore Billy Price and senior Jacoby Boren all return as members of the “slobs,” the nickname given to the starting offensive line unit.Only departed tackle Darryl Baldwin’s job was up for grabs before the spring. Meyer announced after the Spring Game, however, that it now belongs to redshirt-senior Chase Farris.“Chase Farris has earned his way, he’s a starting right tackle at Ohio State,” Meyer said.Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner said having a successful season under a group’s belt is the best thing for an offensive line unit.“It’s amazing how much linemen get better in the offseason, because now they have a visual picture of how it all works,” he said. “Now, when they work on things, it just seems to make sense.”One player who Meyer and Warinner both said they feel has benefited the most from the offseason is Price, whom Meyer described as “night and day” from where he was last fall.“Billy has confidence now,” Warinner said. “Confidence comes from playing well in big games down the stretch. He’s so much further along in his development and where he’s at right now.“Billy’s just so confident in what he’s supposed to do and how he’s supposed to do it and now it just shows.”Price said OSU’s three postseason games marked a turning point in his playing career.“Those final three games, something clicked. When we played Wisconsin, and the whole offensive line’s a cohesive unit, and we continued that into Alabama and continued that into Oregon, it just felt like something finally clicked,” Price said.Despite Boren being held out of the Spring Game as he recovers from offseason surgery, Warinner said he has complete faith in the senior.“Jacoby’s great,” Warinner said. “Rehab’s good, work ethic’s great, leadership’s great, so expect him to be full speed sometime this summer, ready to be his best.”Warinner said sometimes the best practice an offensive lineman can get is competing with his own teammates on the other side of the ball. That can be especially beneficial for OSU — which features some of the best practice a player can find in Associated Press first-team All-American and junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa.“(Elflein) goes against Bosa on a daily basis, and that’s helped him grow and his confidence level,” Warinner said.While the five starting linemen have the full faith of the coaching staff, Meyer expressed some concern about the players waiting in the wings.“The area (of worry) is the offensive line. That’s the problem,” Meyer said. “And once again, not the starters, because I feel good (about them) … I’m very alarmed by the second group of offensive linemen right now.”Price said he feels like a lot of the responsibility in shaping the second unit to be ready to come in on the drop of a hat falls on the starters.“Working with younger guys, it’s like playing with clay,” Price said. “You get to mold them. As older players like Taylor, Pat and Jacoby, you get to really, really show what type of leadership we have in the room, and to fully develop those guys to become part of the ‘slobs.’”The “slobs” are set to look to carry over their strong play from last season’s title run when OSU opens its season against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 7.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the study indicates that, at least at a psychological level, the old adage that “crime doesn’t pay” is right.“When we make decisions, a network of brain regions calculates how valuable our options are,” said Dr Molly Crockett, who led the research.“Ill-gotten gains evoke weaker responses in this network, which may explain why most people would rather not profit from harming others.“Our results suggest the money just isn’t as appealing.”The research team scanned volunteers’ brains as they decided whether to anonymously inflict pain on themselves or strangers in exchange for money.The experiment involved 28 couples of participants who were paired off and given the ability to give each other small electric shocks.They were given the option of selecting sums of money that were related to a shock either for themselves of their partner. The tests were carried out at University College LondonCredit:Clara Molden The researchers noticed that, as they made their decisions, a region of the brain called the striatum, key to the understanding of value, was activated. MRI scans found the cortext was the only part of the brain to light up when the subject thought about helping others. MRI imaging found that this brain network was far more active when the participants gained money while inflicting pain on themselves than on another, suggesting they found it instinctively more valuable.“Our findings suggest the brain internalizes the moral judgments of others, simulating how much others might blame us for potential wrongdoing, even when we know our actions are anonymous,” said Dr Crockett.The scans also revealed that an area of the brain involved in making moral judgments, the lateral prefrontal cortex, was most active in trials where inflicting pain yielded minimal profit.In an allied study, participants were asked to make moral judgements about decisions to harm others for profit.It showed that when people refused to profit from harming others, this region was communicating with the striatum.The researchers believe this shows that normal societal moral rules are visible in the form of neurological signaling, and that these disrupt the value we might otherwise place on ill-gotten gains.They insisted that the electric shocks administered to participants were carefully matched to each recipient’s pain threshold to be “mildly but tolerably painful”.Senior author Professor Ray Dolan, from the UCL Max Planck Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research at UCL,said: “What we have shown here is how values that guide our decisions respond flexibly to moral consequences.“An important goal for future research is understanding when and how this circuitry is disturbed in contexts such as antisocial behaviour.”Previous research by UCL has suggested that generosity and alturism are governed by a specific region of the brain – the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex – and that it works naturally better in some people than in others. It is a mystery that has perplexed psychologists and philosophers since the dawn of humanity: why are most people honest?Now, using a complex array of MRI machines and electrocution devices, scientists claim to have found the answer.Researchers at University College London discovered that at a physical level the brain finds decency far more satisfying than deception.The trial revealed that, despite accumulating a large amount of money, most participants derived no deep-seated satisfaction if the success was gained at the expense of others. Ill-gotten gains evoke weaker responses, which may explain why most people would rather not profit from harming othersDr Molly Crockett
New Dawn Mining, a junior gold mining company operating in Zimbabwe, announced last week that the company’s 84.7% owned Zimbabwe operating subsidiary, Falcon Gold Zimbabwe, has shut down its 100% owned Dalny mine located in the Kadoma region of Zimbabwe effective as of August 30, 2013. Dalny mine produced 1,949 oz of gold in the quarter ended March 31, 2013, and 2,762 oz of gold in the quarter ended June 30, 2013 and employs approximately 900 people in Zimbabwe. The substantial fall in the price of gold over the last nine months, exacerbated by the impact of previously reported operational problems at the mine, has resulted in a serious liquidity problem. As a result, the amounts owing to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) in respect of the Dalny mine operations were not being paid on a basis acceptable to ZESA, thus causing ZESA to issue a Notice of Disconnection of electrical services to the mine. Without electrical power, the company cannot operate the mine and was thus forced to shut-down the operations. As part of the shut-down, the workforce is being placed on unpaid leave and the company is moving the Dalny mine to care and maintenance. New Dawn intends to engage with the creditors of the Dalny operations to craft a plan that will address the mine’s outstanding trade payables, which currently total approximately $3.1 million. The mine is expected to remain on care and maintenance until the company is able to satisfactorily address the financial and operational issues that contributed to its shut-down or until a potential sale, joint venture or some other arrangement is realised. A major underlying factor contributing to Dalny’s current difficulties has been the more than two year delay in the still incomplete approval process for the company’s proposed Plan of Indigenisation. A timely approval of the Plan of Indigenisation had been expected to provide access to sufficient investment capital to fully fund the development of a cost efficient operation at the mine. After years of underdevelopment, had an investment program in the Dalny mine been implemented and completed as originally anticipated, the mine would have been positioned to maintain profitable operations in today’s environment of lower gold prices and increasing costs.A combination of further adverse factors, all of which have been previously reported, also contributed to the decision to terminate mining operations. These factors included steadily increasing payroll and power costs and high domestic royalties, taxes and fees, as well as a damaging and costly illegal strike and the lack of full electrical power, both experienced earlier in the year. In the aggregate, these specific difficulties, together with lower gold prices, caused significant operating inefficiencies and high operating costs, thus resulting in the operating losses and negative cash flows at the mine over the past several months. The company, at all of its mining operations, is under serious pressure to bring operating costs in line with the current gold price regime. In addition, its Zimbabwe subsidiaries are facing negative working capital positions and an increasingly difficult legislative, regulatory and economic environment in Zimbabwe. Further, as previously reported, there is heightened uncertainty surrounding the implementation of indigenisation policy in Zimbabwe subsequent to the July 31, 2013 national elections, with the potential for an increasingly negative effect on the company and its stakeholders. The evolving policy on indigenisation now appears to be focusing on seizing 51% controlling interests in foreign controlled mines with compensation deemed to be the value of the minerals in the ground. The company is continuing its efforts to gain approval for and implement a compliant Plan of Indigenisation.The result of all of these adverse factors is that there is a significant and growing risk that actions more severe than steps taken so far or currently envisaged may be required, including the temporary or permanent closure of other of the company’s mining operations in Zimbabwe and/or the sale or liquidation of the company and its assets in a formal or informal arrangement. Further, the company is currently unable to predict the effect of an inability to conclude or implement an acceptable Plan of Indigenisation. Such failure could result in the termination of its mining licenses in Zimbabwe, the loss of ownership and/or control of the company’s assets and operations in Zimbabwe without monetary compensation, other sanctions against the Company’s Zimbabwe operations or subsidiaries, some combination of these actions or some result currently unknown or unforeseen.
At the VELUX EHF Champions League F4 semi-finals will play German teams THW Kiel and HSV Handball (15.30hrs). Second semi-final couple is F.C Barcelona Intersport and Vive Targi Kielce (18hrs).Final will be played on Sunday, June 2. ← Previous Story Momir Ilic for Handball-Planet.com: “With Veszprem to Cologne next season” Next Story → Bundesliga (Round 29): THW Kiel closer to the title after opponents lose
The government is expected to submit a final version of its reform proposals to the country’s creditors on Tuesday, following several hours of discussions with officials in Brussels aimed at hammering out a set of measures acceptable to both sides.The list of reforms must be approved by Greece’s creditors to seal last Friday’s agreement foreseeing a four-month extension of the country’s loan agreement. A government official said that drafts had been exchanged and that the final version would be ready by this morning, after a Monday night deadline set by creditors.Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to discuss the final document during a teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.According to sources, the Greek proposals include a crackdown on tax evasion and corruption as well as measures to help taxpayers pay their dues and to tackle nonperforming loans. There were indications that the list would also include a reference to privatizations and plans to crack down on fuel smuggling, which costs the Greek state billions of euros every year.“We have shown a responsible stance vis-a-vis the people and the creditors, we expect the same from Europe,” government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis told Skai TV.The government is keen to get the green light to move ahead with its proposed reforms instead of a raft of austerity measures agreed to by the previous administration – including further pension cuts and an increase to VAT on the islands.Sources indicated that the list of measures to be submitted by the new Greek government will not contain a cost-benefit analysis, which would help creditors gauge their potential impact on the budget. The letter is rather likely to set out the broad policy proposals and express the government’s commitment to a much-delayed crackdown on tax evasion.European officials struck a cautious stance. “The ball is in the Greek government’s court,” said GermanForeign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “If Athens wants to see changes in individual points, then that is OK. But if these changes lead to further spending, then they need to save elsewhere or look to gather more revenue.” Steinmeier noted the Eurogroup deal last Friday only extended Greece’s bailout program until early summer. “Europe has a chance to pause for breath – that’s all – this is not a solution,”” he told Germany’s Bild newspaper.EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici struck a similar note. “Of course there will be measures that fit with the philosophy of SYRIZA… but they also have to take account of budgetary balance and the need to repay debts,” he told France 2.The Greek government also faces pressure on the domestic front. Several prominent SYRIZA officials criticized last Friday’s Eurogroup agreement over the weekend, notably veteran leftist and MEP Manolis Glezos, who apologized to Greeks for “participating in the creation of an illusion.”Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
The Liberal National Coalition reaffirmed the party’s commitment to support language education in Victoria, if elected.“Formal study of a second language is proven to enhance linguistic skills, critical thinking and foster an appreciation for other cultures,” said Shadow Minister for Education, Tim Smith.“It is very important that we give the students and teachers at these Community Language Schools the funds they need to improve education outcomes.”Meanwhile, Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Matthew Guy pledged to assist the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Melbourne undertake upgrades at parishes across the city by providing $520,000 worth of funding grants. The upgrades will include security measures like CCTV cameras and various capital works to the parishes’ community halls, including kitchens and toilet upgrades.“In the Greek Orthodox community, church parishes aren’t just places of worship, they’re meeting places, places of fellowship and community support,” Mr Guy said.“The Greek Orthodox parishes play a significant role in their communities, teaching Greek language, culture and history, supporting the elderly, and providing outreach services. This funding will mean that the Greek Orthodox Church can continue its important work in the community.”The parishes earmarked for funding are St Eustathios in South Melbourne; Sts Raphael Nicholas & Irene in Bentleigh; Sts Anargiri, Oakleig; Sts Constantine & Helen in South Yarra; Parkdale’s Archangels and Frankston’s Theofania.This statement comes as a confirmation of the Liberal Nationals pledge to invest $6.88 million over four years into Community Language Schools to boost per capita funding, expanding delivery to 2000 pre-school students, and enhance training and administration.This means that a Liberal Nationals Government will raise funding per student from $215 to $245 to ensure these schools receive the funding they need to provide first-class language education for our students.“The study of community languages is important to students for their personal, academic and employment prospects and in supporting our multicultural communities which have enriched our state and nation,” said Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich.“The Liberal Nationals have always been strong supporters of language education and community language schools.“As a party which supports families and communities, we recognise the benefit of studying community languages which also assist in the formation of identity and strengthens communication within families.”There are currently 160 Community Language Schools in Victoria, who play a leading role in providing language and cultural education to over 36,000 students in 40 different languages. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Oliver Stone dénonce les essais militaires sur des cochons vivantsUne lettre ouverte publiée vendredi 14 décembre et signée du réalisateur américain Oliver Stone, demande aux autorités militaires britanniques de cesser ses expériences sur des cochons, volontairement blessés avec des armes de guerre pour permettre l’entraînement des chirurgiens de l’armée.”S’il vous plait, n’ignorez pas la cruauté infligée aux animaux en forçant des soldats à se livrer à une telle barbarie” : telle est la supplique formulée dans une lettre par le cinéaste américain Oliver Stone qui est venu en soutien à la campagne de l’ONG People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Dévoilée le 14 décembre, celle-ci est adressée au gouvernement britannique qui, comme le Ministère anglais de la Défense l’a reconnu, entraîne ses médecins militaires à la chirurgie de guerre en mutilant des cochons.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Dans sa lettre adressée à Philip Hammond, ministre de la Défense du Royaume-Uni, le réalisateur de “Midnight Express” dénonce ainsi la participation de l’armée de ce pays à l’opération cyniquement baptisée “bacon danois”. Il s’agit d’exercices de l’Otan se déroulant au Danemark et consistant à blesser à l’arme lourde des porcs – vivants – pour mettre les chirurgiens des futurs champs de bataille ‘en situation’. “Les cochons sont des êtres très intelligents, tout comme les chiens et les chats avec lesquels nous sommes des millions à partager nos maisons”, rappelle le cinéaste, lui-même ancien combattant de la guerre du Vietnam. “Les utiliser comme cibles avant de les découper en morceaux est barbare et honteux”, a-t-il ajouté. Le mois dernier, les militaires britanniques avaient maintenu leur participation à ces exercices, malgré l’argument de l’ONG PETA, selon laquelle l’emploi de simulateurs associé à des expériences cliniques serait plus approprié.Le 17 décembre 2012 à 20:14 • Maxime Lambert