UPDATED: Saints cruise to weekend sweep of TRU, crush Wolfpack 8-1 Saturday

first_img“We’ve seen very good team efforts every night out to start the regular season and we’ll continue to be successful if our work ethic and focus stays at this high level.”The Saints close out their schedule for the month on Saturday, October 27th when the University of Victoria visits the Castlegar Recreation Complex. Faceoff is set for 7:30 PM.The match-up concludes a four-game homestand for the Saints, who will then travel on back-to-back weekends in early November before returning to home ice on the 24th.OVERTIME: The Saints have now outscored opponents by a margin of 25-2 in their three home games to open the regular season. Including a pair of home exhibition games against BCIHL opponents, that margin jumps to 35-6. . . . With Saturday’s victory, Selkirk moved to 5-0 and matched their wins total from the entire 2011/12 regular season. Last year’s Saints squad finished 5-19.Saints set new records in 11-0 pounding of TRU, teams back on ice tonight in CastlegarAll that off-season recruiting has paid huge dividends for the Sellkirk Saints Men’s Hockey team.The Saints continues to roll in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League Friday at the Castlegar Complex as the host pounded Thompson Rivers University 11-0 Friday.The result marked the fourth consecutive victory — Selkirk also finished the exhibition season perfect in three attempts — to start the year for the Saints.”As a group we’re obviously very pleased with tonight’s result, which came down to hard work and solid execution right through the line-up top to bottom,” said a very pleased Saints head coach Jeff Dubois.”At the same time, we know that TRU is a much better team that tonight’s score indicates, and they’ll come out hard and hungry in (Saturday’s) rematch.”The score doesn’t mean anything more than the two points in the standings, and for the weekend to be a success we need an equally strong effort tomorrow.”Jordan Wood opened the scoring for the home side four minutes into the first period, accepting a slick pass from linemate Logan Proulx and firing past WolfPack starter Riley Wall.The pair then combined to set up their team’s second goal minutes later, as the puck made its way to blueliner Dylan Smith and then to the back of the net off a shot through traffic from the point. The Saints dominated play throughout the opening 20 minutes, outshooting TRU by an 18-3 margin. Selkirk continued to pressure their opponents in the middle frame and were rewarded with six goals in the period. Wood netted the first on a power-play with 14:21 on the clock and Beau Taylor, Cody Fidgett, Ben Starbuck and Mason Spear added even-strength singles before intermission. The third period saw Wood complete his hat trick before Smith and Starbuck added their second goals of the night respectively. Assistant captain Scott Swiston netted his first of the season to round out the scoring. In goal, former WHL product Alex Sirard turned aside 23 shots and picked up the Saints’ first shutout since the team joined the BCIHL in 2007.The win was his second of the season after backstopping Selkirk in their season-opening win at the University of Victoria. The teams return to the Castlegar Complex Arena Saturday with the puck drop at  7:30 p.m.For more information on Saints single game tickets and passes, visit GoSaints.ca. SAINTS NOTES: Team records set on Friday night included number of goals scored (11) and margin of victory (11). . . .Winger Ben Starbuck made a successful Saints debut with two goals on the night. He was a late addition to the line-up following an injury to Jackson Garrett. . . .Cody Fidgett’s goal with 7:21 remaining in the second period drew a particularly strong cheer from the crowd of over 250 fans. The reason? It took place during the “Big Mac Minute”, a promotion that rewards each fan with a coupon for a free Big Mac from McDonald’s when Selkirk scores with between 7:59 and 7 minutes on the game clock. It was the first “Big Mac Minute” win of the young season for Saints fans. Cody Fidgett and Dylan Smith each had three points leading the Sellkirk Saints to an 8-1 thrashing of Thompson Rivers University in B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League Saturday day at the Castlegar Complex.The win allowed the Saints to post a weekend sweep of the Wolfpack and better its undefeated record to a very respectable 5-0.Selkirk took the opener of the two-game set 11-0 Friday.”We knew heading into tonight’s game that TRU would make some adjustments and come out stronger than they had on Friday, and our group did an excellent job of handling some early pressure and dictating the play on their home ice,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois.The Saints took the lead 23 seconds into the encounter on a goal by Dylan Smith.Kam Crawford made it 2-0 with a power play marker.Selkirk outscored the Wolfpack 2-1 in the second frame before putting the contest away with a four-spot in the third.Connor McLaughlin had a pair while Mason Spear, Thomas Hardy, Beau Taylor and Fidgett completed the scoring for Selkirk.Fidgett’s goal came on a penalty shot after a Wolfpack player was ruled to have placed his hand on the puck in the goal crease 43 seconds after TRU scored.Colton DeFrias ruined the shutout bid by Selkirk netminder Sirard with a second-period marker.”TRU is always a tough and competitive team in our league and I’m sure their best hockey is ahead of them, but this weekend our guys stuck to a simple gameplan and found success by being determined to out-work and out-skate a very capable opponent,” Dubois explained.last_img read more

Fernandes takes heart from ‘pleasing’ QPR improvement

first_imgTony Fernandes has taken to Twitter after a “better week” for QPR.Rangers, recently thrashed 6-0 at home by Newcastle, led against Sunderland before bowing out of the EFL Cup, and were much better in the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham.Co-chairman Fernandes felt the fans played their part in that improvement.Was a better week for @QPRFC. Great support thank you. Good fight back. Unlucky not to win. This week saw many academy players. Pleasing— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) September 25, 2016Was also great seeing our club badge and fantastic kit . It rebuilding time and feeling good— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) September 25, 2016Made a huge difference this week. Fans were really the 12th Man. Both at Sunderland and yesterday— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) September 25, 2016 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Plentiful Water in the Early Universe, and Other Surprises

first_img(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Based on the following unexpected findings, secular astronomers’ ignorance of reality has reached cosmic proportions.Plentiful water: It wasn’t supposed to exist, but “water was plentiful in the early universe,” Astrobiology Magazine says. Notice the contrast between belief and discovery:Astronomers have long held that water — two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom — was a relative latecomer to the universe. They believed that any element heavier than helium had to have been formed in the cores of stars and not by the Big Bang itself. Since the earliest stars would have taken some time to form, mature, and die, it was presumed that it took billions of years for oxygen atoms to disperse throughout the universe and attach to hydrogen to produce the first interstellar “water.”New research poised for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters by Tel Aviv University and Harvard University researchers reveals that the universe’s first reservoirs of water may have formed much earlier than previously thought — less than a billion years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only 5 percent of its current age.Rare oxygen: By contrast, astronomers expected to find a lot of molecular oxygen in space. But now, Ken Croswell writes in Science Magazine, astronomers have to face the opposite reality. In “Why there is so little breathable oxygen in space,” he says that observations are forcing a new explanation for the unexpected results:Oxygen is the third most common element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium, and in the 1970s astronomers predicted that molecular oxygen would be the third most common interstellar molecule, after molecular hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO). It obviously isn’t. In fact, astronomers have detected interstellar molecular oxygen in only two places: the Orion Nebula and the Rho Ophiuchi cloud. But even there the molecule is much rarer than theory predicts. For example, hydrogen molecules in the Orion Nebula outnumber oxygen molecules a million to one.Millions of missing galaxies found hiding in plain sight: That’s the headline of an article by Michael Slezak on New Scientist. Astronomers had thought that “compact spherical galaxies” represented an early stage of galactic evolution. Now, lo and behold, they’re found all over, even in the Milky Way. They have “exactly the same physical mass and compact size as the galaxies in the early universe,” astronomers say, and are 1000 times more prevalent in the local universe than previously thought, “roughly as many as there were in the early universe.” So much for that part of galaxy evolution theory. Did anyone predict this? Watch for the puzzled looks:Emanuele Daddi at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission was one of the first researchers to notice the apparent excess of compact spherical galaxies in the early universe. “The idea did not occur to us that they could actually be bulges of local [disc galaxies] that had not yet grown their discs,” says Daddi. “Neither did the few hundred papers that subsequently studied the problem consider this idea.“Big void:  Watch the bang fizzle in this unexpected finding about the large-scale structure of the universe, as reported by the Royal Astronomical Observatory: “Cold Spot suggests largest structure in Universe: a supervoid 1.3 billion light years across.” Carole Mundell at The Conversation says that this supervoid may not be the only one. The finding is leaving astronomers scrambling for a theory rescue device, including possible “exotic physics”—In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation left over from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.Dark matter:  Here’s a vocabulary word to know in cosmology: “upend.” It means to tip over, invert, or falsify. Watch for it in this Nature article; it’s “unorthodox.”After decades of studying dark matter scientists have repeatedly found evidence of what it cannot be but very few signs of what it is. That might have just changed. A study of four colliding galaxies for the first time suggests that the dark matter in them may be interacting with itself through some unknown force other than gravity that has no effect on ordinary matter. The finding could be a significant clue as to what comprises the invisible stuff that is thought to contribute 24 percent of the universe.“This result, if confirmed, could upend our understanding of dark matter,” says physicist Don Lincoln of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, who was not involved in the research. So-called “self-interacting dark matter” has been suggested for some time but it has generally been considered unorthodox.Therein lies a conundrum; it’s a little hard to upend something that is not understood to begin with. Adrian Cho says for Science Magazine that this could “force a rethink of dark matter” now that the thinking has been upended.Out-of-place black hole: Science Daily notes another surprise: “Dartmouth astrophysicists and their colleagues have not only proven that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn’t supposed to be, but in doing so have opened a new door to what things were like in the early universe.” This implies, though, that the way things are supposed to be (according to astronomers’ theories) is wrong. Does that provide confidence that they see clearly behind the new door? The article goes on to quote astronomers who admit they don’t know what the conditions were for galaxy formation, or where black holes come from. “‘All the associations that people have made between galaxies and black holes tell us there ought to be no black hole in this system,” says [Thomas] Whalen, but the team has proven otherwise.”A scientist will now explain dark energy: In an “Explainer” article on The Conversation, Robert Scherrer, astronomer at Vanderbilt U, comes to reassure the public that cosmologists know what they are talking about when they discuss “the mysterious dark energy that speeds the universe’s rate of expansion.” There’s the pithy illustrations for the layman, and the trust in the bruised reed of supernova standard candles, and a smorgasbord of possible explanations, including vacuum energy and the cosmological constant. His ending possibility, though, could be unsettling to the trusting student taking notes:There is one other possibility: maybe scientists have been barking up the wrong tree. Maybe there is no dark energy, and our measurements actually mean that Einstein’s theory of gravity is wrong and needs to be fixed. This would be a daunting undertaking, since Einstein’s theory works exceptionally well when we test it in the solar system. (Let’s face it, Einstein really knew what he was doing). So far, no one has produced a convincing improvement on Einstein’s theory that predicts the correct expansion for the universe and yet agrees with Einstein’s theory inside the solar system. I’ll leave that as a homework problem for the reader.Questionable chutzpah: “How we recreated the early universe in the laboratory” is a bold headline for a physicist from Queen’s University Belfast, but Gianluca Sarri tried it on for size in The Conversation. He’s addressing the antimatter conundrum of cosmology—the puzzle why our universe is predominantly made of matter, when big bang theory predicts an equal mix of matter and antimatter.Understanding how matter behaves in this exotic state is crucial if we want to understand how our universe has evolved and, in particular, why the universe as we know it is made up mainly of matter. This is a puzzling feature, as the theory of relativistic quantum mechanics suggests we should have equal amounts of the two. In fact, no current model of physics can explain the discrepancy.While Sarri might gain some bragging rights over the clever experiment his team performed to create the first electron-positron plasma in a laboratory, it’s hard to see how it relates to the real universe. He says the experiment “means an exciting branch of physics is opening up” that may help with “investigating the important matter-antimatter asymmetry,” but this implies that they’re only at the starting line, and a lot of work remains ahead.Update 5/14/15: A press release from the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that a left-handed helical magnetic field that pervades the universe might explain the antimatter asymmetry. New Scientist says these “giant spirals found in space could explain our existence.” The physicist who proposes this solution says, “With this new result, we have one of the first hints that we might be able to solve this mystery.” It seems to just push the problem one step back, though: why would the universe show a preference for one hand over the other… or both? It’s back to the fine-tuning of initial conditions that kept our universe from annihilating itself.Update 5/14/15: A rare quadruple quasar was reported by Science Magazine, which says this is a one-in-10-million chance. Ending comment by Daniel Clery: “So is this a cosmic fluke, or is it time to rewrite our theories of how the universe’s largest structures form?”Was there ever a better illustration of the Blind Men and the Elephant? These stories, from leading journals and reliable sources, show that the most eminent astronomers and cosmologists are clueless about major aspects of the universe. Those programs people watch on TV (like Cosmos) that wallow in scientism and false confidence are caricatures of the reality. Secular cosmologists don’t understand 94% of reality, assigning it to dark things they know nothing about; they invoke occult phenomena left and right to rescue their assumptions, and they are surprised at every turn. They were clueless 15 years ago when we first started reporting the science news (e.g., 5/30/01), and they are just as clueless now, even with dark matter detectors, WMAP, BICEP and all the other whiz-bang instruments at their disposal.Try Google-searching “big bang predictions” and you will likely find Bob Enyart’s list of failed big bang predictions at the top. The video clip about “Big Bang’s Missing Antimatter” is particularly amusing. Ask yourself; isn’t science supposed to be about things we know?  People who believe God created the universe should not be afraid of these Sons of Anak in their walled cities (the universities). If they build on the wrong foundation, their house will fall.last_img read more

Moolman-Pasio continues cycling ascent

first_imgSAinfo reporter Moolman-Pasio, who races for the Belgian-based Lotto Belisol team and is currently based in Europe, said was quietly confident heading into the race, having finished fifth in the event last year. She was elated to finish third this time around. There were other new challenges on the route, not seen before. “The race wasn’t just different for me this year,” Moolman-Pasio wrote on her blog, “it was a new route that included more climbing, an extra 20km, and the first climb up the Mur de Huy came half way through the race, much sooner than before. “I don’t like to be too vocal before races, I rather let my legs do the talking,” she said afterwards. “But deep down inside I had a good feeling. Carl (Pasio, her husband) and I have been training hard together, and leading into the race my power numbers looked very good. Photo finish“Vos attacked with Borghini not far behind her, as the road levelled out. I had to use everything to come back and, as Vos took the win, I drove it to a photo finish with Borghini for second. Detailing the finish, the South African star wrote: “Nervous of going too hard and blowing completely, I held back a bit on the last steep part and suddenly I found myself on the back foot. Moolman-Pasio will be racing in the three-day tour in Luxembourg this coming weekend, the Festival Luxembourgeois du Cyclisme Feminin Elsy Jacobs. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material ‘Great team’“I also have a great team around me this year. We are a nice group of girls. Going into the race I knew that Carl, my family, my team and my country believed in me, and that’s what made all the difference on the race day.” Moolman-Pasio felt the final climb, on the Mur de Huy, the finishing line of the Fleche Wallonne since 1983 and of the La Fleche Wallonne Feminine since 1998, was ideally suited to her. In the women’s race, it has to be climbed twice. center_img Stage race successA qualified chemical engineer, she has also shown her pedigree in stage races; last year she finished in the top 10 of the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, the toughest stage race in women’s road cycling. South African road cycling and time trial champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio continued her ascent in the cycling world when she finished on the podium in the prestigious La Fleche Wallonne Feminine one-day UCI World Cup race in Belgium last week. Interviewed shortly after finishing on the podium by Sean Badenhorst, Moolman- Pasio said: “As the first South African woman to podium at a World Cup, I dedicate this achievement to all the young aspiring cyclists, particularly the young women at home in South Africa, to remind them to keep believing in themselves and in their dreams! With hard work, commitment, passion and a little bit of faith, anything is possible!” Staying out of trouble, Moolman-Pasio made it to the final climb in good position to challenge for a podium place. Nearing the end, she was in elite company, with London Olympic road race gold medallist Marianne Vos, Swedish star Emma Johansson, sixth in the London and a silver medal winner in the Beijing Olympics, and Elisa Longo Borghini, the bronze medallist in the road race at the 2012 World Championships. ‘My favourite climb’“However, what hadn’t changed at all was the hard, steep climb to the finish line, at the top of my favourite climb, the Mur de Huy.” The tour is part of her preparation for the bigger tours that she will be contesting later in the year, the biggest of which are the Tour of Spain (Emakumeen Bira Tour) in June, the Giro d’Italia Femminile (Giro Rosa) in July and the Route de France in August. “As my teammates finished, it was still undecided whether I was second or third, but the whole team was so excited to be on the podium, it didn’t even matter.” 24 April 2013last_img read more

Texas Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford Shouts Out The Fan That Made Texas Recruiting Video

first_imgTexas Longhorns players holding flagsAUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Fozzy Whittaker #2 and safety Nate Boyer #37 of the Texas Longhorns carry the American flags as the team takes the field before the NCAA football game against the BYU Cougars on September 10, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas defeated BYU 17-16. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)This week, a University of Texas football fan named Trevor Thomas put together a hype video illustrating why top high school prospects should choose to play for Texas. Included in the background narration for the video was an excerpt of Longhorn defensive coordinator Vance Bedford speaking about the program.It looks like Thomas’ effort did not go unnoticed by Vance Bedford, who shouted him out earlier today.To the fan who put together the recruiting video, the longhorn nation thanks you. Write me back— Vance Bedford (@CoachBedfordUT) January 31, 2015Not sure if Thomas ever did get back to Bedford, but it’s cool that the coach gave him some recognition. Texas has been on a recruiting roll lately and will look to ride that momentum into National Signing Day on Wednesday.last_img read more

Hydro One again facing uncertain as board resigns for second time in

first_imgThe future of Ontario’s partially privatized utility is again uncertain after political intervention prompted the resignation of the company’s board 16 years after another mass departure.Hydro One’s 14-member board resigned en masse last week after the sudden retirement of chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt, labelled “the six-million-dollar man” on the campaign trail by Premier Doug Ford for his hefty compensation.The premier made it clear that he wanted changes, including reduced electricity rates and lower compensation for the CEO — even though 92 per cent of shareholders other than the province supported Hydro One’s executive compensation approach.However, the move will come with costs of its own.Political interference and a lower pay package will make it more difficult to attract a quality chief executive and directors willing to serve, said Jeremy Rosenfield of Industrial Alliance Securities.“It’s clearly going to have to be somebody who will be able to work with the province and I believe many CEOs will not accept the level of potential political interference that would be required to take this role.”A Ford spokesman declined to confirm a published report that the government threatened to rip up the board’s executive employment contracts unless they negotiated their departures.In addition to dealing with a large activist investor, the new board faces uncertainty about what the new government actually intends to do with its investment, since no strategy was outlined in the campaign, Rosenfield added.Schmidt, who earned a $6.2-million salary last year, became a lightning rod for resentment during the election over rising electricity rates in the province. He would have been entitled to at least $10.7 million in severance if he were to be removed from his job by the board of directors, according to the company’s annual shareholders report released on March 29.According to a statement from Hydro One, Schmidt will not be entitled to severance, and will instead receive a $400,000 lump sum payment in lieu of all post-retirement benefits. But he still stands to earn millions from deferred stock options.Schmidt’s compensation was comparable to the heads of large private utilities like Fortis Inc., Atco Ltd. and Emera Inc. but more than 10 times the payout to Canadian electrical utilities in Quebec and British Columbia.The government will select four board members. A committee of the outgoing board, working with its largest shareholders, will name six others with the new CEO making up the 11th member. The transition to a new board is expected to be completed by Aug. 15.Changing Hydro One’s board alone won’t reduce electricity rates, which are set by the provincial energy regulator.To remain a viable public company, Hydro One has to charge rates to recover costs and be able to make long-term investments, said Rosenfield.“Hypothetically, the government could install a CEO of its choosing who would choose to argue in favour of much lower hydro rates, but it would have to build a business case that would support much lower hydro rates.”While questions about Hydro One’s future remain unanswered, there is a precedent at the power company itself.“We’ve seen this movie once before,” said University of Waterloo professor Jatin Nathwani.In 2002, the utility’s board quit before Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government fired CEO Eleanor Clitheroe over alleged personal spending.“To the extent that the board resigned and there was CEO compensation (issues) it’s similar,” said Radcliffe Latimer, a former board member.“But at the time our board resigned we were a Crown corporation and totally at the pleasure of the minister. Hydro One now is a public corporation so I suspect there are significant governance differences that apply in the two cases.”Hydro One was partially privatized in November 2015, and by December 2017 the province had sold off 53 per cent of its stake.The former Liberal government said privatization would raise $9 billion to fund transit and infrastructure projects. Privatization was also aimed at driving down costs by spinning it off into the hands of private investors.“The whole purpose was to say if we run this as a profit-oriented business then we could cut costs and we can save money for customers in Ontario,” said Nathwani.Investors responded to the latest resignations by sending its shares to an all-time low of $18.57 on Thursday before closing the week down 1.8 per cent to $19.17 in Friday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.“It will take a hit on its valuation for sure with this kind of chaos,” Nathwani said.Some of the concern is whether leadership turmoil at Hydro One could prompt U.S. regulators to hesitate about the planned $6.7-billion takeover of U.S. utility Avista Corp.A series of analysts including Rosenfield downgraded the company after the move despite its stable earnings, healthy earnings growth and attractive yield.“The heightened potential for further political interference in the province’s electricity market and regulated utility framework represent key risk factors that are likely to outweigh Hydro One’s fundamentals over the near term.”Companies in this story: (TSX:H, TSX:FTS, TSX:ACO.X, TSX:EMA)last_img read more

Ayodhya land dispute: Apex court to hear case today

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court constituted three-member mediation committee, tasked with exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement in the decades-old, politically sensitive, Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, has submitted its interim report in a sealed cover.Sources aware of the development said the interim report was filed with the apex court Registry on May 6, and the matter has been listed for hearing on Friday. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe apex court on March 8 had referred the matter to mediation for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement. It had appointed former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, as members of the mediation committee. A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will now peruse the report and decide the future course of action. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe matter will come up for the first time on Friday since the March 8 order of the top court. It had said that the mediation process would commence within a week and the panel would submit the progress report within four weeks. The panel was asked by the apex court to hold in-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks. The Constitution bench had said that it does not find any “legal impediment” to make a reference to mediation for a possible settlement of the dispute. The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they oppose the court’s suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies supported the proposal. While opposing the suggestion of mediation, Hindu bodies had argued that earlier attempts of reaching a compromise have failed and provisions of Civil Procedure Code (CPC) require public notice to be issued before the start of process. The top court had directed that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with “utmost confidentiality” for ensuring its success and the views expressed by any of the parties including the mediators should be kept confidential and not be revealed to any other person. However, it had refrained from passing any specific restrain order at this stage and instead empowered the mediators to pass necessary orders in writing, if so required, to restrain publication of the details of the mediation proceedings.last_img read more

Algeria decides to freeze its diplomatic relations with Morocco: official

first_imgRabat- Algeria has decided to freeze its relations with Morocco. The spokesperson of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday that his country had decided to severe its diplomatic relations with Morocco. “There will be no meeting between the officials of both countries, especially those held in Morocco,” Omar Bellani, was quoted by the Algerian news outlet elbilad.net as saying. “The Algerian government will prevent any Algerian official from taking part in any activity held in Morocco, no matter how important it might be,” he added. The Algerian officials said this decision was made after the court of Casablanca had given a two-month suspended sentence to a Moroccan protester who broke into the compound of Algeria’s consulate in Casablanca and tore down the country’s flag during a diplomatic row.Bellani described the ruling as a “scandal,” adding that Morocco dealt with the issue as if the defendant had stormed an abandoned cottage or a private property.” © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or or redistributelast_img read more

The Braves Got Hot Fast And They Might Stay That Way

Team TypeNO. teamsPrev. SeasonApril, current seasonRest-of-season Wins vs. Exp. All others134.447.591-0.1 That difference is just on the border of statistical significance, but if it holds true for the Braves, it would imply that they’re due to win more than expected based on their pessimistic win projections at FanGraphs and in our Elo interactive — and those extra wins could be enough to elevate them from a mid-80s win tally (sketchy territory, playoffs-wise) to a number closer to 90 wins (a much safer bet for making the postseason).That could be a huge step for an Atlanta club still trying to fill seats in its shiny new suburban stadium. These aren’t the old Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine/John Smoltz Braves, of course, but there’s real potential building in Atlanta right now. We’ll have to see where it takes the team — and how long it takes before the sabermetric indicators pick up on it. Top 10 in age and farm25.450.605+2.7 Win share *Team age is ranked from youngest to oldest, so a top-10 team would be among the 10 youngest rosters. Excludes the strike-shortened 1994 and 1995 seasons.Sources: baseball America, retrosheet Young, talented teams tend to build on hot April startsActual vs. expected rest-of-season wins (based on Elo) for teams who were below .500 in previous season but above .500 in April, by average age and farm-system ranking,* 1984-2017 The Atlanta Braves are, as they say, “ahead of schedule.” Going into the season, we commended their young talent base but gave them just a 15 percent shot at making the playoffs, figuring that they’d need another year of rebuilding before truly making the leap toward contention. Fast-forward a month, however, and Atlanta is blowing away those expectations: Against a difficult schedule, the Braves are 19-11 and occupy first place in the NL East — one and a half games clear of the New York Mets, who they just swept in a three-game series. So far, at least, the Braves’ future appears to be now.Even so, statistical algorithms such as FanGraphs’ rest-of-season projections and our own Elo system aren’t fully convinced. The former only has the Braves winning at the majors’ 21st-best clip over the rest of the season, while the latter is barely more optimistic, with Atlanta ranked 14th in the big leagues in terms of Elo. The stats are optimized for prediction, of course — but they have blind spots, too. So, a couple of days into May, is it too soon to call this a breakout year for Atlanta?Certainly Atlanta has played at an elite level over the first month of the season. On top of its impressive record (a 103-win pace over 162 games), the Braves rank1This and all following 2018 stats are up-to-date through Wednesday’s games. fifth in the league in Pythagorean winning percentage2Essentially, the winning percentage we’d expect the team to have based on its runs scored and allowed. and third in wins above replacement per game.3Averaging together the WAR metrics found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. This isn’t merely a case of an outclassed team getting lucky by squeaking out close wins and moving up the standings; the Braves have come to their record honestly.Although Atlanta’s pitching (12th in WAR) has been more or less average — which actually represents a big improvement over last season’s 24th-ranked showing — the highlight of the 2018 Braves season thus far is a lineup that’s generating 5.6 runs per game, easily the most in the National League. First baseman Freddie Freeman ranks as one of the best hitters in baseball after a month of play, while 21-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies has been a revelation. Albies was already way ahead of the curve as a rookie last season (he had a 112 OPS+, one of the best marks ever by a 20-year-old rookie), and he’s made major strides as a power hitter, upping his slugging percentage from .456 last year to .603 this season. (Granted, his elevated rate of homers per fly ball is sure to regress — but his hard-hit ball rate is up, too.)With all the attention on prospect Ronald Acuña Jr. going into the season, Albies was the one who got off to the red-hot start while Acuña was toiling in the minors (thanks to some service-time chicanery by the Atlanta front office). Now that Acuña and Albies are both in the majors together, the Braves have one of the most exciting young position-player duos we’ve seen in a long time. Not only were Acuña and Albies the two youngest players in MLB at the time Acuña was called up,4In the couple weeks since, yet another Brave has joined the majors and sandwiched himself between them in the youngest-player rankings: Pitcher Mike Soroka. That’s right: Atlanta has each of the three youngest players in baseball right now. but the duo also became the youngest pair of teammates to homer in the same game since 1978 when each went yard against the Reds on April 26.5Oddly, the last time it happened also featured two Braves (Glenn Hubbard and Bob Horner) going deep against the Reds. Go figure.Throw in a renaissance year from veteran right fielder Nick Markakis (151 OPS+), much-improved hitting from former top prospect Dansby Swanson and the late-career blossoming of 34-year-old catcher Kurt Suzuki at the plate (133 OPS+ over the past two seasons), and it’s no surprise the Braves’ scoring is up more than a full run per game compared to a year ago. The only question is how much of the team’s sudden improvement will persist for the remaining five months of the regular season. And that’s where the advanced metrics’ lack of faith in Atlanta’s breakout gets especially complicated.According to research by myself and others, it takes about 70 games before observed results from a season in progress reach even a 50-50 balance with preseason expectations, in terms of how much weight each deserves when assessing a team. The Braves have played less than half that many games so far this year, which probably goes a long way toward explaining why the statistical projections haven’t budged much off of Atlanta’s relatively bearish spring-training predictions. The past data says you can’t read too much into a month’s worth of results.However, that premise was designed to hold true for all teams as a group. What happens when we look at a smaller group of teams, especially just the ones that have as much breakout potential as the Braves? Atlanta went into the season with Baseball America’s top-ranked farm system and currently has the eighth-youngest roster in baseball (if we weight each player’s age by their wins contributed this season.6For this metric, I couldn’t use straight-up WAR, since the averages would be skewed for teams like the Marlins and Orioles, who barely have any WAR across their entire roster. Instead, I added back in the replacement-level wins generated by each player’s raw playing time to get an estimate of total wins created, then weighted every team’s age by that number.)To get a sense for whether this matters, I looked at all teams since 19847The earliest season for which I have data about farm-system rankings. who were coming off a sub-.500 season but had a better-than-.500 record in April. Over the rest of the season, teams in that group who were both among MLB’s 10 youngest and went into the year with a top-10 farm system (again, according to Baseball America) ended up winning 2.7 more games over the rest of the season than Elo would predict.8Using the same rest-of-season projection method I used here. By comparison, all other teams won roughly as many games as Elo thought they would.9Specifically, they won 0.1 fewer games than expected. read more