The chase is on

first_imgCHRIS KELLY staff Holmdel Stallion Rough Riders’ Dominic Cefalu (l) and Old Bridge Mad Dogs’ Serco Nudel chase down the ball during a recent soccer tournament in Marlboro.last_img

APOEL may be down, but they’re not out yet

first_imgCyprus champions APOEL returned home in the early hours of Wednesday morning following their narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of FC Copenhagen at the Parken stadium in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier.The Danes outplayed the Cyprus champions for long spells of the game and could feel harsh done by the narrow scoreline. They missed a number of chances to make the trip to Nicosia a mere formality, but instead they will have to defend their slender lead in front of APOEL’s twelfth player, their die-hard fans, who create an atmosphere known to intimidate opponents.In the previous round against Rosenborg, and despite trailing from the first leg, APOEL fans never gave up and the Nicosia team’s three goal blitz in added time had a lot to do with their non-stop support.However, against a much better team like Copenhagen the home crowd will be not be enough, and APOEL players need to raise their game considerably to have a realistic chance of success. With the current crop of players at the disposal of Danish coach Thomas Christiansen it looks like a mammoth task.For yet another year the Nicosia team has failed miserably in the transfer market. Of the five new faces brought in to strengthen the side during the summer transfer period only Orlandi made the starting eleven last night, with one more, striker de Camargo coming on in the last fifteen minutes.APOEL players look disappointed after their first leg defeat to FC CopenhagenSpanish defender Roberto Lagos and Albanian midfielder Qazim Laci and the much trumpeted Belarussian Renan Bressan did not even make the squad.The Belarussian has so far been the biggest disappointment. Recruited early on in the pre-season to replace de Vincenti, he has failed to impress. In the only official game he was selected for the starting eleven he was replaced at half-time after failing to make any sort of impact on the game.This is the second consecutive year where APOEL’s dealings in the transfer market are proving catastrophic. Last year the champs brought in Bosnian midfielder Semir Stilic, Polish attacker Mateusz Piatowski, Brazilian defender Choco and the Spanish keeper Codina. The last two have both left the club without starting one official game, while Stilic and Piatowski, after a very disappointing first season, have been sidelined with APOEL searching anxiously to offload them and rid themselves of their hefty contracts.Christiansen’s problems do not end there. Vinicius, who has been with the champions since 2013 seems to have lost confidence, while his midfield partner, the ever dependable Nuno Morais, is 32, and unable to cover every blade of grass anymore.Up front – at least until their recent signing de Camargo can last the full ninety minutes – they will have to rely on Cypriot striker Pieros Soteriou, who despite his enthusiasm and incredible workrate, is unable to lead the line especially against teams of such quality.APOEL though do have the tendency to defy all odds, and despite their shortcomings, they will not go down without a fight. They did it once against the Danes in 2009, and in front of an expected capacity crowd they can do it again. One thing is for certain though: the Danes will have to work hard on the night. And who knows, it may well be the men in yellow who will be rejoicing come next Wednesday just before midnight.last_img read more

In eastern Indonesia, a bird-trafficking hotspot flies under the radar

first_imgArticle published by mongabayauthor Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Endangered, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Policy, Governance, Law Enforcement, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Indonesia, one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, is a major hub of the illegal bird trade. Demand comes from both inside and outside its borders.Aru, a remote archipelago near the giant island of New Guinea, is a major supplier of cockatoos and other exotic birds.The relevant government agency is too understaffed to keep up with traffickers, officials say. MARAFENFEN/LORANG, Indonesia — Benedictus has to go out just after dark to check his traps. If he goes any earlier, the palm cockatoos will still be awake and hear him coming.The 42-year-old farmer and hunter is inspecting his traps in Marafenfen village, southern Aru, a flat archipelago the size of Puerto Rico at Indonesia’s easternmost point before the island of New Guinea. He knows national law protects his quarry, a large black cockatoo with a red face and tall crest. Getting caught trading, keeping or killing one can result in up to five years’ jail time and a 100 million rupiah ($6,900) fine.His traps are empty tonight. He walks by one that he forgot to check, and sees it swaying back and forth. “Damn it! It was just there but flew away!”Benedictus says he only hunts when he receives an order for a bird, but Stefan, a hunter in central Aru, says he kills and sells birds whenever he needs the money. (Some of the names in this story have been changed.) His village, Lorang, is known for its abundance of famously flashy greater birds-of-paradise (Paradisaea apoda), also a protected species.“They dance in the branches above us, then find a bride and mate with them. That’s when we shoot them with an air gun,” says Stefan, 31. He adds he rarely hunts, and uses the money to pay for his children’s ever-increasing school fees.Benedictus demonstrates his trap in the forests of Aru. Image by Ian Morse for Mongabay.Aru’s geological history puts it closer to Australia and New Guinea than the rest of Southeast Asia in terms of the endemic wildlife. It’s the only place outside of New Guinea where greater birds-of-paradise and some types of cockatoo roam wild, making it a busy but unexamined hotspot in Indonesia’s bird trade, much of it illegal.“There are a lot of kinds of birds from Aru that get to the markets in Java,” says Giyanto of the Wildlife Conservation Society, referring to Indonesia’s most populous island, where birdkeeping is a favorite pastime. “Aru is important, but difficult to reach.”The Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia. Image by M.Minderhoud/Wikimedia Commons.Enforcement problemsIn just the past few months, several cases have shown just how important the far-flung islands of Aru are to the bird markets in Java.In August, police in Ambon, the nearest city to Aru, intercepted a shipment of 28 dead and stuffed greater birds-of-paradise. In October, police in Jember, East Java, confiscated five palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) and 73 Eleonora cockatoos, a subspecies of the critically endangered sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) that is found only in Aru. Later that month, nine sulphur-crested cockatoo chicks — valued at much higher prices — were confiscated on a ship from Ambon headed for Java, according to the Indonesian Parrot Project.The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), a government body, is tasked with investigating the wildlife trade, but when it comes to birds, it’s severely understaffed. Across the provinces of Maluku, where Aru is located, and North Maluku, there are 29 conservation areas but only 39 officers assigned to them.“Every year we ask for more officers, but we don’t know why we don’t get any,” Seto Purwanto, an officer with the agency, says from Ambon, the capital of Maluku. Since the beginning of the year, they’ve rescued more than a thousand live birds from the trade, but traders are adapting, and finding the trafficked birds is getting more difficult.“Birds used to be put in cardboard boxes, then they started using Thermos flasks,” Purwanto said. “After that, fabric bags, and they were found out [so] they started using water bottles [to transport live birds].”In 2015, 23 yellow-crested cockatoos and a green parrot were found stuffed in plastic water bottles in a passenger’s luggage at Surabaya Port on the island of Java. Image by Petrus Riski for Mongabay.The agency inspects every ship that docks in Ambon’s port. Inspectors like Purwanto suspect birds are hidden deep below deck or in other places the agency is restricted from accessing.Purwanto laughs at the mention of the maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to 100 million rupiah for trafficking in protected species. He says he’s never heard of a court imposing a fine greater than 10 million rupiah ($690) or a sentence of more than 18 months. The punishment isn’t commensurate with the crime, he says.“This old law definitely should be revised. It has to have a minimum fine or a minimum jail sentence,” Purwanto says.When the law was first passed, in 1990, that maximum prescribed fine actually packed a punch. Back then, 100 million rupiah was equivalent to $57,000. But the Indonesian rupiah took a battering in the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and today that same sum is worth less than $7,000. With September’s sudden repeal of protections for three bird species, and two more in October, it’s not just enforcement but the expansion of legal protections that seems precarious.Whenever the BKSDA seizes live birds, it works with nonprofits like the Indonesian Parrot Project and Burung Indonesia, the local affiliate of BirdLife International, to release them back into the wild. It takes time and manpower to find homes and care for them in the meantime. The agency’s office in Ambon has been looking after about 50 birds for the past two months.A palm cockatoo. Image by Jim Bendon/Flickr.At the sourceIn Dobo, the main town in Aru, there’s only one officer to inspect boats and coordinate with law enforcement agencies like the police to stem the illegal bird trade. BKSDA officer Timo Elawarin says he can’t inspect the boats alone, which means birds continue to be brought through the port at Dobo. Aru villagers say they’ve never been afraid of being caught at the port with bags of birds, even though they have to pass the police station to get into town.Elawarin says he faces other major obstacles to his work.“The first is that the local people sell these birds for their own needs like [buying] rice, for example,” he says. “I mean, we’re also human with feelings, we have to empathize with them.”In Lorang, Stefan says he could trap cockatoos every day if he wanted to. As farms expand onto new land, the birds find that residents’ planted corn can be a substitute for their usual meals. As in Marafenfen, residents in Lorang typically hunt and gather food in the forest and use money only to pay for imported goods. Profits from the bird trade can help cover costs associated with rising living standards in the village, including schooling and gasoline.Hunters in Aru sell live palm cockatoos for up to 700,000 rupiah ($48) each, and dead greater birds-of-paradise for 250,000 rupiah ($17). Yet in markets around Indonesia, palm cockatoos can fetch prices of 4 million rupiah ($280) while the more flamboyant and stuffed birds-of-paradise can command 10 million rupiah ($690). The most commonly seized bird from Aru is the sulphur-crested cockatoo; trappers sell live ones for 300,000 rupiah ($21).Eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus), the critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), and the yellowish-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta scintillata) — the latter was recently added to the protected list — are also caught. Sellers can get up to 400,000 rupiah ($28) for live adults when sold in Dobo.A bag conceals a palm cockatoo on a boat traveling from Trangan Island to Dobo. Image by Ian Morse for Mongabay.Elawarin says another problem is Aru’s naval base, whose soldiers buy and sell birds from Aru. In the archipelago’s southern Trangan Island, where Benedictus lives, residents say Navy soldiers are the only patrons of the bird trade.“They used to request hundreds and fly them out from their airstrip, probably to Java. There used to be hundreds of cages loaded into the planes,” Benedictus says. “But now there’s the ban and they’re told they can only bring home at most two per person.” Residents of Popjetur, a nearby village, say they still receive orders from soldiers regularly. Palm cockatoos are the only species requested there, yet BKSDA officers almost never seize palm cockatoos.Purwanto says the soldiers come and go in frequent deployments, mostly from Java, and take birds from Aru back as souvenirs or to sell. He says the BKSDA has even caught employees of the Ministry of Health taking birds back as souvenirs. On Nov. 26, members of 30 organizations, including the Army, Navy, state oil company Pertamina, and Indonesia’s postal service, signed a declaration to commit to fighting the illegal wildlife and plant trade.“Now they can tell their own workers not to do this,” Purwanto says. “It’s enforcement from the top down within each organization.”Hotspot in isolationIn the songbird trade, it’s often said that Indonesia’s transmigration program, which resettled millions of people from Java to other islands, spread the Javanese birdkeeping tradition across the country. But when it comes to the trade in exotic birds, Aru has been a hub since European explorers arrived in search of visually striking treasures, like the bright plumes of greater birds-of-paradise.In one of the only books on Aru, Memory of Trade: Modernity’s Entanglements on an Eastern Indonesian Island, anthropologist Patricia Spyer writes that the birds-of-paradise feathers for which Aru was renowned made it not only to Europe but also Persia and Turkey as exotic headdresses.A greater bird-of-paradise. Image by Nik Borrow/Flickr.Yet advocacy groups like the Indonesian Parrot Project, and even the BKSDA, the government’s conservation agency, have difficulty finding information on the bird trade in Aru. There’s a dearth of academic research on Aru in general, much less on the bird trade. Most of the data on the bird trade in Indonesia focuses on the more accessible regions in the west of the country.“We try to address Aru by investigating the paths of trade that go through Ambon, Makassar and Java,” says Giyanto of WCS. But the BKSDA has found that merchant ships deliberately visit some ports multiple times to confuse officers.While Purwanto’s team works to enforce existing national legislation on animal and plant trade, they believe local regulations, if they existed, would be better enforced and could address local practices. For example, headdresses with feathers from the greater bird-of-paradise are commonly used for traditional events in Aru, and local regulations could be drafted that would allow for the catching of the birds solely for this purpose.“Maybe the best way would be to have regulations at the district level,” says Mohamad Djumpa, secretary of the Aru Islands district administration. “We only have the broader environmental laws at the national level [now]. A [local] regulation could bind the community together, so we can enforce the law and spread information about it, too.”last_img read more

Kestna Davis tames ‘Iron Dawg’ Raye

first_imgA mixed reception greeted the outcome of the super-middleweight bout last Saturday night, at the Alpart Sports Club in St Elizabeth, between promising middleweight boxer Kestna Davis and boxer-comedian Miguel ‘Iron Dawg’ Raye. Their six-round bout was the feature attraction on a six-fight ProAM card, promoted by Creative Sports and I-Fight Promotions in collaboration with the Jamaica Boxing Board, that was dubbed ‘Wray and Nephew Fight Night’. Davis won by unanimous decision, as judges Lindell Allen, 60-54; Ransford Burton, 59-55; and Eion Jardine, 60-50; gave him victory by a wide margin. The antics that came from Raye, his lack of boxing skills and the failure of Davis to end the fight early as he had promised, led to a spirited debate after the fight ended, and there is every indication that it will continue. There were two professional bouts on the card, and in the other six-rounder, the judges had Toriano Nicholas defeating Doran Weir by unanimous decision, 60-54. WAR OF WORDS There was a war of words before the fight, and Davis stated publicly that it would not go the distance. He tried to knock out his opponent, but Raye used fair and foul means to frustrate him. He clinched, chatted, used his head as part of attack, and drew several cautions from referee Peter Richards. In the end, Davis was relieved when the fight ended, and said he had become frustrated by his opponent’s behaviour. He conceded, however, that he had learnt a lot from the fight. “Iron Dawg is very unorthodox and did not give me room to fight. My tactics were also bad, as I should have stayed outside and attack his body. Anyhow, I did not do this and he went six rounds. I learnt a lot, however, and will be better next time around,” he conceded. Raye was not too sure what he would do in the future. “I am not sure if I am going to continue to fight,” he said. “His height and reach gave him the advantage, and I accept the decision of the judges. I am not sure if I am going to continue boxing. I may go into singing,” he confessed. In a very predictable fight, Nicholas easily won every round against Weir, and near the end, some spectators called out the boxers and told them, “You are boring. Fight.” In the amateur section of the programme, Jamaica and Guyana won two bouts each to square their series after four very entertaining and action-packed contests that gave spectators their money’s worth. Jamaica won the first bout when bantamweight Marvin Shea defeated Claremont Gibson on points. Joel Williamson came back aggressively after being floored in the first round to score a second-round technical knockout victory over Jamaica’s Ricardo Carter in a lightweight contest. Colin Lewis had too much speed and punching power for Jamaica’s junior welterweight boxer Patrick Sahadeo, and put his team in the lead 2-1, but middleweight Ian Darby salvaged some pride for Jamaica, by outpunching his rival Desmond Amsterdam for a win on points.last_img read more

Gold miners remanded on robbery charge

first_imgWednesday’s session at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts saw two gold miners being hauled all the way from the interior district of Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight) to stand before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to answer to a charge of robbery with violence.Michael Isaacs and Colin Tony, also known as “Country”, were jointly charged for robbing Eric Singh of some $85,000 in cash and one pennyweight of gold worth $10,000, a total of $95,000 on May 21, 2017 at Pamela Landing, Region Eight.In addition, the men reportedly used violence on Singh during the commission of the offence.Police Prosecutor Arvin Moore related that the VC was a shopkeeper in the area and was attacked by the suspects as he was in bed sleeping. According to Police, Singh received several chops about his body from a cutlass during the ordeal causing him to be rushed to the Mahdia Hospital where he was admitted.This publication understands that Singh was only released from the Hospital on Wednesday morning.The accused professed their innocence, but were remanded to prison by the Magistrate who turned a deaf ear to their pleas.Tony alleged that he shared an apartment with the victim and they were attacked by some men who robbed him of his cellular phone and escaped with a quantity of gold belonging to him.The defendant argued that it was he who ran out of the house to seek help when the attack took place.Meanwhile, Isaacs denied having any part in or knowledge of the crime.The matter continues on July 18 at Mahdia Magistrate’s Court.last_img read more

Local NBTS improving under agreement with Argentina

first_imgOver the past two years, Guyana has been benefiting from improved National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) as a result of the strengthened diplomatic ties between Georgetown and Buenos Aires for the past 45 years.This possibility was reiterated during recent talks between Junior Public Health Minister, Dr Karen Cummings, and Argentine Ambassador to Guyana, Luis Martino.The two countries inked a technical cooperation pact in mid-2015 under which Guyana will benefit from the expertise available under the agreement to boost the country’s NBTS.Minister Karen Cummings and Ambassador Luis Martino and a Ministry staff following their recent meetingBlood supply in the public health sector has been maintained purely by voluntary donations by the nation’s multiethnic population. Four years ago, public health authorities recorded 89 per cent in voluntary donors which climbed to 94 per cent the following year. Between January and June of 2015 when the compact between Georgetown and Buenos Aires was sealed, the figure had reached 100 per cent.The deepening South-South cooperation is seen as pivotal to maintaining voluntary donation while making better other aspects of the NBTS Cummings and Martino said during talks at the former’s Brickdam, Georgetown office.The current agreement has four stages, with the latest talks zeroing in on the final phase and looking ahead to future agreements.Last year, three Guyanese attached to the NBTS had skills-enhancing training in Argentina and the new expertise garnered then is to practically applied here under what the two sides refer to as Phase Four which include “building and strengthening human capacity and skills to exchange knowledge and technology in relation to blood services” according to the terms of the agreement.So far, the local NBTS has had a diagnostic visit by Argentine experts; physicians operating in both the Public and Private Sectors have benefited from continuous medical education offered by Buenos Aires at their Hemotherapy Centre of the Garrahan Hospital while practical aspects of the CME training will be fleshed out when a team of specialists from Argentina visits Guyana later this year.“During the visit the team will conduct an audit of the NBTS, which will include an examination of blood donors’ recruitment and retention. It is imperative that this activity be conducted as soon as possible.This will ensure that the NBTS maintains its high quality and standards, as well as its compliance with internationally recognised best practices,” the joint agreement specifies.Continuing it said: “The Government of Guyana looks forward to broadening and strengthening its relationship with the Government of Argentina and for both countries to continue collaboration in the field of public health. With the help of the Argentine experts from the Garrahan Hemotherapy Centre, the NBTS of Guyana will continue to deliver the highest quality of standards of blood transfusion services to the people of Guyana.”Guyana and Argentina established diplomatic relations in June 1972 and since then, Ambassador Martino said the independent nations “have achieved a lot” and have now set their collective eyes on improving the capacity-building capabilities between the South American Republics.Dr Cummings is pushing for Argentine assistance to help build a blood collecting facility in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). According to national figures, some 80 per cent of blood donated to the NBTS come from Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and there are great prospects in the region famous for its bauxite production.During the recent discussions between Cummings and Martino, the idea of a tripartite compact involving the two countries and PAHO/WHO to collaborate to improve national blood collection here despite Guyana’s current human resource challenges, equipment shortfall and the lack of critical knowledge in the blood collection sector.It was also envisaged that the tripartite compact envisaged can target telemedicine as an initiative targeting the reduction of maternal mortality and the incidence of non-communicable diseases here, Cummings and Martino agreed.last_img read more

New Barcelona boss Valverde vows to ‘revisit’ tiki-taka

first_img0Shares0000Barcelona’s new coach Ernesto Valverde gives a press conference during his official presentation on June 1, 2017 © AFP / LLUIS GENEBARCELONA, Spain, Jun 1 – Newly installed Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde vowed Thursday to “deepen” and “revisit” the renowned slick passing game of the Catalan giants in a bid to lead the club to success in all possible competitions next season.“I know the style because I played here” between 1998-90, Valverde said at his first press conference after being named successor to Luis Enrique on a two-year contract with the option of a further year. “I must adapt myself, or rather readapt, in a certain way. My goal is always to deepen the style, to revisit it once again.”Valverde, 53, has some big shoes to fill, Enrique having won nine of 13 possible trophies in his time at the helm.“I must absolutely adapt to the style of the gameplan employed by the team, which has had so much success,” said the coach, who signed from Athletic Bilbao.“To have a very collective gameplan, based on midfielders,” he said, adding that he wanted to win “all competitions that we can” next season.“What I’ve always liked is that Barca manages to achieve its ends through its gameplan, without speculating, by going forward.”Valverde did not say what exactly he wanted to improve.“We’ll see over time,” he said. “In football, you always have to keep going forward. If you don’t, you go backwards. But it’s a progressive issue and we’ll see little by little.“To say what can be improved is a dangerous thing and I can only tip my hat to what my predecessor Luis Enrique, who is a great coach, achieved here.“I have my idea about what can be done, not better but in a different way.”Turning to his motivation in joining Barca, Valverde said: “I said I wanted a tough challenge and it’s one the toughest.“When a team like FC Barcelona calls you, you don’t have to think about it too much.”Valverde also dismissed any worries about managing a squad packed with some of the world’s best-paid and recognised players.“I expect to find a squad of young players who want to win and will give the best of themselves,” he said.“We idealise too much all this, millionaire players and all that. I don’t know many players who were born millionaires.”Working with Argentina’s Leo Messi would be a “unique experience”, the coach added.“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen on a pitch. Sometimes you could say Leo Messi has reached the summit, but he surprises you even more the following day.“I hope to enjoy seeing him play and do everything possible to help him. And I hope he’ll continue to surprise us.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

‘Go home, Van Gaal. You are drunk!’ Fans react to shocking Man United news

first_img Matteo Darmian and Louis van Gaal 1 Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal faced the media early on Tuesday morning over in San Jose and sent fans crazy with just one comment.No, not his admission they’re trying to sign a mystery striker, but his revelation Matteo Darmian will be a back up at Old Trafford to Antonio Valencia.The Ecuadorian winger spent most of the season at right-back last year but many believed signing Darmian would end his spell there. It appears though, they may be wrong.“We have brought Darmian for the second position behind Valencia and now already because of that injury [Paddy] McNair has to play there,” said Van Gaal.Is the Dutchman just trying to keep his new signing on his toes, or is he serious?See how Manchester United fans reacted below…last_img read more

‘Alias’ returns with new baby, old darling

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Other familiar faces who will crop up in Sydney’s life during the show’s final episodes include best friend Will Tippin ( Bradley Cooper), mother Irina Derevko ( Lena Olin) and nemesis Julian Sark ( David Anders). ABC’s spy drama, “Alias,” starring Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, will return April 19. The two-hour episode will feature the birth of Sydney’s baby and the reappearance of love interest/fellow spy Michael Vaughn, played by Michael Vartan. Garner, 33, gave birth to a daughter, Violet, on Dec. 1. The baby is the first child for Garner and her husband, Ben Affleck. “Alias,” created by J.J. Abrams, is ending its five-year run this spring. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Rough landing expected for market

first_imgIt looks like this unwinding real-estate market is going to make more of a mess than expected.How big remains to be seen, but it will be noticeable. “I don’t think there is any doubt it’s going to be a harder landing than was originally forecast,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at “The forecasts were made with the rose-colored glasses still firmly in place.”Support for that opinion can be found in all the housing-market reports for June that showed sales levels well under last year’s, the number of properties for sale mushrooming and prices starting to stabilize, although some records were set, including in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles County.And in some places prices in June did something not seen in a long time — fall under year-ago levels. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmatesOf the 101 markets in Los Angeles County, the median price in 16 fell under the year-ago level, including Tarzana ($567,000, down 27.2 percent) and Calabasas ($1.1 million, down 17 percent), according to DataQuick Information Systems.(DataQuick’s count includes new and previously owned houses and condominiums. Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home-price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing-market activity.)The June report from the California Association of Realtors showed that five major markets saw a year-over-year price drop.Sales are now in a nine-month slump and prices, though still climbing to record levels, show signs of running out of steam.A tipping point may be fast approaching here in the Valley, too. June’s record $625,000 median is just $25,000, or 4.2 percent, above where it was in July 2005. That $600,000 price was a record then, too. Even if prices do flatten, it won’t be much help for anyone trying to get into the market for the first time.That’s more support for a harder-than-expected landing.“The fact is appreciation has pushed affordability beyond the bounds of many buyers and that, coupled with a rising interest-rate environment is bound to have an effect on people,” McBride said.Ryan Ratcliff, an economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, believes that a worst-case scenario of the early 1990s all over again for California is unlikely.“That’s just rare in the historical record. You only see it in severe recessions,” he said.And a recession is not on the event horizon for the state or Southern California over the next several years. So far.Nevertheless, this housing market will make its presence known.“It’s not going to be a total collapse of the market but it’s not going to be so soft that you won’t know it,” Ratcliff said.There is no doubt that sales took a sharper turn than the California Association of Realtors expected.Last November, the Los Angeles-based group forecast a 2 percent sales dip this year. But in June it was revised down to a 16.8 percent decline, the biggest since a 30.2 percent plunge 24 years ago.Some areas of the state will do better than others.Leslie Appleton-Young, the association’s vice president and chief economist, attended a conference in Northern California on Friday. She heard that San Francisco still has low inventory and sellers are getting multiple offers. Locales that could get stressed include those that have seen a lot of building or condominium construction.“It’s more like a return to normal with a bumpier landing in some areas than others,” she said. “It’s not a replay of the mid-1990s. The economy is growing. We’re seeing not spectacular but certainly solid job growth.” 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more