There are fresh Intelligence warnings about Islamic radicals attempting to enter into India through the sea route off the coast of Kerala. Investigations into the horrendous terror attacks made on Easter Sunday congregations in and around Colombo, resulting in a huge loss of life and limb, are meanwhile unravelling the scale of foreign and domestic planning as well as resource mobilisation that had gone into a covert offensive. The Islamic radicals chose soft targets but gave a message loud and clear that they were set to take on their US-led adversaries outside of the two theatres of ‘war on terror’ – Syria and Afghanistan. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe Colombo blasts are linked with the geopolitical scene of South Asia and India must now go deeply into all that could possibly threaten the future of peace on the Indian subcontinent. A disquieting trend here is that the numerous groups of Islamic fundamentalists in the region that earlier existed in parallel with the radicals operating under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda or ISIS are giving their silent endorsement to the latter’s call for Jihad. There is no criticism of the radicals – who are Wahabis – from within the Muslim world beyond an occasional repeat of the parroted line that ‘terrorists were not true Muslims’. Also Read – Insider threat managementIt is a matter of deep concern for India that there is a rapid rise of Salafism in the region, which in terms of extremism can match Wahabism. Salafism basically calls upon the Muslims to go back to the fundamentals of Islam that prevailed in the puritanic period of the Pious Caliphs and shun the ‘unIslamic’ practices that had developed under the influence of other religions. It is opposed to the tradition of Mazar and Dargah worship that Sufism had brought with it in some distant past. This is the transition that is now visible in Kashmir in particular. As already mentioned, Salafism and Wahabism both represent the same degree of Islamic extremism except that the latter is staunchly anti-West as it carries the historical memory of the first Jihad of the modern period that some leading Ulema, including Abdul Wahab of Arabia, had launched in the nineteenth century to oppose the Western encroachment on the Muslim lands. These Ulema were the first to call for a return to the golden period of Islam and declare that the political decline of the Muslim world was due to the deviation of Muslims and their rulers from the true faith. Islamic radicals of today are still motivated by that recall and consider the US-led West and their allies as their prime enemies. Saudi Arabia which earned the ire of radicals for its deep collaboration with the US pursued the strategy of funding a pan-Islamic movement through the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) that promoted Salafism to compete with the Wahabi appeal of the revivalist radicals. Salafism derives from al-Salaf – the companions of the Prophet. The ‘war on terror’ launched by the US following 9/11 underlined the divide in the Muslim world between these two streams of extremism – one differing from the other only on the issue of political opposition to the US-led West. The Islamic fundamentalists backed by the Saudis, who are on the right side of the US, advanced the line originally taken by the likes of Hasan al Banna of Egypt and his admirer Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi on the Indian subcontinent that an Islamic State could live in ‘competition not conflict’ with the West. This did not, however, come in the way of Salafism pursuing the cause of puritanic Islam with full force. From the point of view of the democratic world, the thrust of extremism in the Muslim world is a problem of geopolitical dimension – for India, it represents an imminent threat. The Sri Lanka blasts highlight the new reality that the Salafi outfits including Lashkar-e-Taiba as also Hizbul Mujahideen of Pakistan that is now subservient to LeT had no inclination to go along with the US any more in the battle against the Islamic radicals represented by the Al-Qaeda-Taliban combine in Afghanistan and the ISIS in Syria and Iraq. This was primarily because the radicals or Wahabis did have a place on the Islamic spectrum that could not be disregarded. When President George Bush declared ‘war on terror’ he wanted the allies in the Muslim world to combat radicals at home and heavily funded countries like Pakistan to encourage them to take to the path of democracy. Pakistan had to be coerced to join in. It took money but only pretended to be fighting the Al-Qaeda-Taliban combine – after all, it was Pakistan that had installed the Taliban in Kabul to lead the Afghan Emirate in 1996. Trouble had soon arisen at Kabul, however, as the Al-Qaeda-Taliban combine showed its anti-US fangs and invited retaliation from the West, which laid the run-up to 9/11. Pakistan’s main focus, meanwhile, was on replication of Afghan Jihad in Kashmir for settling scores with India. It lost no time in sending in the Mujahideen belonging to outfits under its control such as LeT, JeM and HuM into the Valley. These, as mentioned earlier, had been funded by Saudi Arabia during the Afghan war and had no particular quarrel with the US. With this, a phase began in Kashmir when Salafi hardline would supplant the Sufi traditions of Kashmiriyat. A telling change in the atmospherics of the Valley saw leaders of the two major fronts of Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir – Burhan Wani of HuM and Asiya Andrabi of Dukhtaran-e-Millat – taking orders directly from Hafiz Sayeed, the Pak-based supremo of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Pentagon, on its part, continued to believe, however, that the Pak army was serious about putting down the Taliban-Al-Qaeda axis – as an ally in the ‘war on terror’ – and the US, therefore, ignored for long India’s concerns on cross border terror in Kashmir. It is only under the regime of President Donald Trump that the duplicitous role of Pakistan was called out and in the process the distinction between ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’ abandoned for good -to India’s great relief. As India under Narendra Modi’s leadership decided to take Pakistan head on and isolate this rogue neighbour in the world community, the Pak army-ISI duo took to manoeuvring both Salafi extremists and the Wahabi radicals for destabilising India. Pakistan’s strategy of using extremists of all hues across the Islamic spectrum needs a deeper probe and analysis. This is a major security challenge for the Modi government in its second tenure. The collision of Sri Lanka’s National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) in the Colombo blasts that were owned by ISIS, is of significance for us. NTJ is an offspring of Sri Lanka Thowheeth Jamaat (SLTJ) – a known Salafi fundamentalist organisation openly supporting the Jihad of ISIS. SLTJ had close organisational links with Tamil Nadu Thowheet Jamaat(TNTJ) – the two outfits hosting each other’s leaders. The Pak High Commission in Colombo is known to have acted as a conduit between ISI and ISIS and also attempted to instigate Islamic militancy in South India. Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) headed by a former member of Darul Uloom Deoband operates out of Pakistan under the patronage of ISI. Pak ISI has had a hand in propping up ISIS flags in Kashmir Valley. Zakir Musa of South Kashmir, since eliminated by security forces, had transited from being a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen to becoming the head of Al-Qaeda in Kashmir. ISI is using Jaish-e-Mohammad, a friend of the Taliban, to raise Fidayeen against India – the Pulwama attack on the CRPF convoy was a suicide bomber operation of JeM. In Kerala, many youth influenced by the Salafi preacher Dr Zakir Naik were reported to have proceeded to Syria to join in the ISIS battle. All of this has had the effect of making South Asia extremely vulnerable to faith-based radicalisation. Buddhist-Muslim conflict in Myanmar and Sri Lanka has obviously fuelled a unity between the Wahabi radicals and other Islamic fundamentalists following Salafism. There is every likelihood of IS protagonists of Syria-Iraq region and the Al Qaeda-Taliban in the Pak-Afghan belt working for the common mission of spreading to other parts of the Muslim world. Some ill-informed analysts earlier projected Al Qaeda and ISIS as political rivals – little knowing that in Islam, politics is rooted in faith and the belief that ‘Quran is the best Constitution’ runs through the Muslim psyche. South Asia represents the largest chunk of the Muslim world and it is particularly important for India to insulate the people here from the permeating radicalisation that turns the mind of even the educated and well to do people. The faith-based terror that Islamic radicals use in the name of Jihad targets the US-led West for historical and political reasons. However, Mujahideen of both Wahabi and Salafi streams also attack the Shiites for ideological opposition as well as the historical memory of the Kharijite revolt against Caliph Ali that provided the foundation for Sunnism. And, finally, these extremists take on the world of idolatrous people wherever they can. The destruction of Buddhist statues at Bamiyan by the Taliban is not a distant memory. India is a democratic republic that uses two powerful instruments of secularism – development of all and protection of law for every citizen – and if we have to stand up to a hostile neighbour who was out to meddle into our domestic politics by playing the card of religion, we must haul up any organisations or individuals who tended to endorse this mischief of Pakistan in any manner of speaking. Thowheeth or Unity of God is a welcome part of faith in Islam but if its exclusivism generates an acute ‘rejectionist’ outlook towards others then a democratic dispensation will have a problem. India has no place for this form of extremism entering the arena of politics. The bulk of all communities in India shares the common problem of livelihood and economic uplift. Law enforcement in general, as well as the CEC in the context of elections in particular, must unleash their power in a fuller measure against those who in print or by word of mouth projected militant religion into politics. Social media scan should be stepped up to detect exposure to Islamic radicalism and outreach to parents expanded to help a timely correction of young minds trapped by it. The 2019 General Election saw the opposition indulging in the play of identity politics – its message clearly is that this will not work any more in India.(The writer is a formerDirector of Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are strictly personal)
London: The WTI oil price jumped back above USD 60 per barrel on Monday after OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-cartel producer Russia said they would extend caps on crude output. WTI, the New York benchmark, rallied to USD 60.13 per barrel around 0650 GMT, climbing above USD 60 for the first time since the end of May.
WINDSOR, Ont. – A woman who was found unresponsive in her cell at a detention centre in southwestern Ontario has died.A spokesman with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services says the woman was found by staff at the South West Detention Centre near Windsor, Ont., on Sunday.In a statement to The Canadian Press, Andrew Morrison says correctional staff performed first aid until an ambulance arrived. The inmate was then transported to hospital where she was later pronounced dead.Morrison says the Office of the Chief Coroner will investigate the death and the ministry will also conduct an internal investigation to ensure all policies were followed.Windsor police will investigate to determine whether the death was connected to criminal activity.If the death wasn’t a result of natural causes, an inquest is mandatory.“It would be inappropriate to comment further out of respect for a person’s right to privacy, especially where personal health information is involved,” Morrison says.
REGINA – Saskatchewan’s first budget under new Premier Scott Moe is to be tabled April 10 in what some political observers have suggested will be his first big test.Moe announced the date — which is two weeks later than planned — while making his first public speech as premier at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention on Monday.The new premier told delegates the government will review the grants-in-lieu program that was cut in last year’s budget.Before the grants were cut last spring, the government gave cities money instead of paying property taxes on provincial buildings or infrastructure. Urban municipalities argued they would be short about $36 million as a result.“As we move forward, it’s incumbent on us and municipalities … to get back to the table over the course of the next number of months, and year or two, to ensure that we can come up with the same type of stable, predictable funding formula for our municipalities, so they can meet their needs into the future,” Moe told the convention.But he urged municipalities to keep looking for efficiencies to save money because times are still tough across the province.“We’ve worked very hard at the provincial level to ensure that we are making the very best and most … financially responsible decisions … but also continuing to try to provide the services that people expect of their provincial government.“My ask is that other levels of government ensure that they have the very same discussions.”Moe was sworn in last week after winning the Saskatchewan Party leadership Jan. 27 to replace the retiring Brad Wall.The budget will need to keep the fiscal conservatives in the party happy, but also assuage voters who were angry after last spring’s austerity budget, which was intended to help tackle a $1.3-billion deficit from the year before.The deficit was due in large part to low resource prices and the Sask. Party made a number of moves to try to recoup some of the shortfall. It increased and expanded the provincial sales tax to six per cent from five and shut down the Crown-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Co.The government also slashed funding to libraries, community-based organizations and to funeral services for people on social assistance, although it eventually backtracked on those plans after a poll in May suggested the party had dropped steeply in voter support.A financial update presented in November projected the deficit going in the right direction — down to $679 million. But the update also indicated that the province had drained its $300-million contingency fund and was expecting to bring in $53 million less than it had anticipated from taxes and non-renewable resources.Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said at the time that the budget was still on track because of increases in other revenue sources, such as a fuel tax, and a strong economic outlook.(CJME, The Canadian Press)
Rabat – Saad Lamjarred will make his comeback to the music scene with a song entitled “Let Go”.Let Go’s video clip was shot in Paris, where Lamjarred is living under electronic police surveillance following his arrest earlier this year for suspected sexual assault.The song will be released on August 8 at 7 p.m., announced the artist on his Instagram page, promising his fans, whom he “misses a lot,” live footage on his Instagram starting at 6:45 a.m. Lamjarred’s new song will recount the artist’s perspective on being accused of sexual assault.On October 31, just before he was about to take to the stage at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, Lamjarred was arrested for the second time on charges of sexual assault.He was jailed in France for the “aggravated rape” of a 28-year-old French-Moroccan woman.The singer denied any knowledge of the incident and denied ever having met the woman accusing him.On April 13, Lamjarred’s lawyer, Eric Dupond-Moretti revealed that the singe rwould be released from prison under electronic surveillance, but would have to remain in France.
“Supporting States in addressing large movements of refugees and migrants is an issue ripe for more concerted multilateral action,” the Secretary-General told the 93rd meeting of the Development Committee. He was joined by President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong King, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. “We must strengthen international cooperation mechanisms, and boost our collective work,” he said, noting that Governments are struggling for solutions and often responding by shutting borders, detaining asylum seekers and migrants, and other measures. To strengthen support, the UN will hold a high-level discussion on 19 September in New York to discuss ways to address large movements of refugees and migrants. In addition, next month, Mr. Ban will convene the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, for world leaders to come together with the private sector, civil society, academia and others, to find new ways to address the root causes of humanitarian challenges. As part of the Summit, there will be a high-level round table on forced displacement, and a special session on migration. In today’s speech, Mr. Ban pointed to six areas for “immediate action” to share challenges and obligations while maintaining the international community’s commitment to sustainable development. He called for countering xenophobic narratives and sharing responsibilities in a more equitable, predictable and transparent way. “We must better support countries that are hosting large numbers of refugees, including through your excellent new initiative of offering concessional loans to middle-income countries hosting large refugee populations,” he said. This includes, for example, the World Bank’s recent announcement that it will offer Jordan $100 million in financing at rates usually reserved for poorest countries, to create some 100,000 new jobs for Jordanians and Syrian refugees over the next five years. Mr. Ban also highlighted the need to create “safe, orderly and regular pathways” for refugees and migrants, enhancing cooperation to fight traffickers and smugglers, and continuing to fund humanitarian and development projects hand-in-hand. Calls for investment in infrastructureEarlier today, Mr. Ban spoke at an inaugural meeting of the Global Infrastructure Forum on the need for more investment to close gaps in electricity, water and sanitation access. The Forum is one of the major deliverables of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was created to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation, and work to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Mr. Ban said that together, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Climate Change Agreement which will be signed in New York this Friday, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda are international commitments “to transform the global economy, expand opportunities, and leave a healthier planet for future generations.” The Forum’s role is to improve alignment and coordination among established and new infrastructure initiatives, bringing together multilateral and national development banks, UN agencies, development partners and the private sector. All of which allows “for a greater range of voices to be heard,” he underscored. Mr. Ban urged international support to bridge existing infrastructure gaps, particularly in vulnerable developing countries. He noted also that the Forum should also work to ensure that all infrastructure investments are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Least Developed Countries have ‘untapped potential’Also today, Mr. Ban addressed the Ministerial Meeting of the Least Developed Countries. Addressing the so-called LDCs, which also include a group known as the Small Island Developing States, Mr. Ban called for their voice to be heard in all global decision-making and norm setting processes.The LDCs “are disproportionately affected by environmental challenges, health emergencies, natural disasters, poverty and hunger, and youth unemployment,” Mr. Ban said, but they also represent “enormous reservoirs of untapped potential.”The UN chief urged the participating Governments to attend a high-level meeting in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of May, which will focus on the development of LDCs.
CINCINNATI — Speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton became a free agent when the Cincinnati Reds failed to offer a 2019 contract by Friday’s deadline.The 28-year-old hit .236 with four homers and 29 RBIs this year as his stolen bases dropped to 34. He swiped 56 bases and in 2014 and increased his total by one annually in each of the next three seasons.Hamilton had a $4.6 million salary on the last-place Reds, who went 67-95. He would have been eligible for free agency after next season.Cincinnati also failed to offer contracts to outfielder-first baseman Jordan Patterson, outfielder Aristides Aquino and catcher Juan Graterol.___More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from previous articles about how our March Madness predictions work.We’ve been issuing probabilistic March Madness forecasts in some form since 2011, when FiveThirtyEight was just a couple of people writing for The New York Times. Initially, we focused on the men’s NCAA Tournament, publishing a table that gave each team’s probability of advancing deep (or not-so-deep) into the tournament. Over the years, we expanded to forecasting the women’s tournament as well. And since 2016, our forecasts have updated live, as games are played. Below are the details on each step that we take — including calculating power ratings for teams, win probabilities for each game and the chance that each remaining team will make it to any given stage of the bracket. Men’s team ratings We calculate power ratings for the women’s tournament in much the same way as we do for the men’s. However, because of the relative lack of data for women’s college basketball — a persistent problem when it comes to women’s sports — the process has a few differences:Three of the six power ratings that we use for the men’s tournament aren’t available for women. Fortunately, that means three of them are: Sagarin’s “predictor” ratings, Sokol’s LRMC ratings and Moore’s ratings. We also use a fourth system, the Massey Ratings.The NCAA doesn’t publish the 68-team S-curve data for the women. So we use the teams’ seeds instead, with the exception of the four No. 1 seeds, which the selection committee does list in order.For the women’s tournament, there isn’t much in the way of injury reports or advanced individual statistics, so we don’t include injury adjustments.Turning power ratings into a forecastOnce we have power ratings for every team, we need to turn them into a forecast — that is, the chance of every team reaching any round of the tournament.Most of our sports forecasts rely on Monte Carlo simulations, but March Madness is different; because the structure of the tournament is a single-elimination bracket, we’re able to directly calculate the chance of teams advancing to a given round.We calculate the chance of any team beating another with the following Elo-derived formula, which is based on the difference between the two teams’ travel-adjusted power ratings:1.01.0+10−travel_adjusted_power_rating_diff∗30.464/4001.01.0+10−travel_adjusted_power_rating_diff∗30.464/400Because a team needs to win only a single game to advance, this formula gives us the chance of a team reaching the next round in the bracket. The probability of a team reaching a future round in the bracket is based on a system of conditional probabilities. In other words, the chance of a team reaching a given round is the chance they reach the previous round, multiplied by their chance of beating any possible opponent in the previous round, weighted by their likelihood of meeting each of those opponents.Live win probabilitiesWhile games are being played, our interactive graphic displays a box for each one that shows updating win probabilities for both teams, as well as the score and the time remaining. These probabilities are derived using logistic regression analysis, which lets us plug the current state of a game into a model to produce the probability that either team will win the game. Specifically, we used play-by-play data from the past five seasons of Division I NCAA basketball to fit a model that incorporates:Time remaining in the gameScore differencePregame win probabilitiesWhich team has possession, with a special adjustment if the team is shooting free throwsThe model doesn’t account for everything, however. If a key player has fouled out of a game, for example, the model doesn’t know, and his or her team’s win probability is probably a bit lower than what we have listed. There are also a few places where the model experiences momentary uncertainty: In the handful of seconds between the moment when a player is fouled and the free throws that follow, for example, we use the team’s average free-throw percentage to adjust its win probability. Still, these probabilities ought to do a reasonably good job of showing which games are competitive and which are essentially over.Also displayed in the box for each game is our “excitement index” (check out the lower-right corner) — that number also updates throughout a game and can give you a sense of when it’ll be most fun to tune in. Loosely based on Brian Burke’s NFL work, the index is a measure of how much each team’s chances of winning have changed over the course of the game.The calculation behind this feature is the average change in win probability per basket scored, weighted by the amount of time remaining in the game. This means that a basket made late in the game has more influence on a game’s excitement index than a basket made near the start of the game. We give additional weight to changes in win probability in overtime. Values range from 0 to 10, although they can exceed 10 in extreme cases.FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratingsIf you’ve been a FiveThirtyEight reader for really any length of time, you probably know that we’re big fans of Elo ratings. We’ve introduced versions for the NBA and the NFL, among other sports. Using game data from ESPN, Sports-Reference.com and other sources, we’ve also calculated Elo ratings for men’s college basketball teams dating back to the 1950s. Our Elo ratings are one of the six computer rating systems used in each team’s pre-tournament rating.Our methodology for calculating these Elo ratings is very similar to the one we use for the NBA. Elo is a measure of a team’s strength that is based on game-by-game results. The information that Elo relies on to adjust a team’s rating after every game is relatively simple — including the final score and the location of the game. (As we noted earlier, college basketball teams perform significantly worse when they travel a long distance to play a game.)It also takes into account whether the game was played in the NCAA Tournament. We’ve found that historically, there are actually fewer upsets in the tournament than you’d expect from the difference in teams’ Elo ratings, perhaps because the games are played under better and fairer conditions in the tournament than in the regular season. Our Elo ratings account for this and weight tournament games slightly higher than regular-season ones.Because Elo is a running assessment of a team’s talent, at the beginning of each season, a team gets to keep its rating from the end of the previous one, except that we also revert it to the mean. The wrinkle here, compared with our NFL Elo ratings, is that we revert college basketball team ratings to the mean of the conference.And that’s about it! (Congratulations if you made it this far.) While we make no guarantee that you’ll win your pool if you use our system, we think it’s done a pretty good job over the years. Hopefully, you’ll have fun using it to make your picks, and it will add to your enjoyment of both NCAA tournaments. Our men’s model is principally based on a composite of six computer power ratings:Ken Pomeroy’s ratingsJeff Sagarin’s “predictor” ratingsSonny Moore’s ratingsJoel Sokol’s LRMC ratingsESPN’s Basketball Power IndexFiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings (described below)Each of these ratings has a strong track record in picking tournament games. We shouldn’t make too much of the differences among them: They are all based on the same basic information — wins and losses, strength of schedule, margin of victory — computed in slightly different ways. We use six systems instead of one, however, because each system has different features and bugs, and blending them helps to smooth out any rough edges. (Those rough edges matter because even small differences can compound over the course of a single-elimination tournament that requires six or seven games to win.)To produce a pre-tournament rating for each team, we combine those computer ratings with a couple of human rankings:The NCAA selection committee’s 68-team “S-curve”Preseason rankings from The Associated Press and the coachesThese rankings have some predictive power — if used in moderation. They make up one-fourth of the rating for each team; the computer systems are three-fourths.It’s not a typo, by the way, to say that we look at preseason rankings. The reason is that a 30- to 35-game regular season isn’t all that large a sample. Preseason rankings provide some estimate of each team’s underlying player and coaching talent. It’s a subjective estimate, but it nevertheless adds some value, based on our research. If a team wasn’t ranked in either the Associated Press or Coaches polls, we estimate its strength using the previous season’s final Sagarin rating, reverted to the mean.To arrive at our FiveThirtyEight power ratings, which are a measure of teams’ current strength on a neutral court and are displayed on our March Madness predictions interactive graphic, we make two adjustments to our pre-tournament ratings.The first is for injuries and player suspensions. We review injury reports and deduct points from teams that have key players out of the lineup. This process might sound arbitrary, but it isn’t: The adjustment is based on Sports-Reference.com’s Win Shares, which estimates the contribution of each player to his team’s record while also adjusting for a team’s strength of schedule. So our program won’t assume a player was a monster just because he was scoring 20 points a game against the likes of Abilene Christian and Austin Peay. The injury adjustment also works in reverse: We review each team to see which are healthier going into the tournament than they were during the regular season.The second adjustment takes place only once the tournament is underway. The FiveThirtyEight model gives a bonus to teams’ ratings as they win games, based on the score of each game and the quality of their opponent. A No. 12 seed that waltzes through its play-in game and then crushes a No. 5 seed may be much more dangerous than it initially appeared; our model accounts for this. On the flip side, a highly rated team that wins but looks wobbly against a lower seed often struggles in the next round, we’ve found.When we forecast individual games, we apply a third and final adjustment to our ratings, for travel distance. Are you not at your best when you fly in from LAX to take an 8 a.m. meeting in Boston? The same is true of college basketball players. In extreme cases (a team playing very near its campus or traveling across the country to play a game), the effect of travel can be tantamount to playing a home or road game, despite being on an ostensibly neutral court. This final adjustment gives us a team’s travel-adjusted power rating, which is then used to calculate their chance of winning that game.Women’s team ratings March Madness Predictions: FiveThirtyEight’s men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament forecasting models calculate the chance of each team reaching each round. See our predictions for 2018 »
Dobrivoje MarkovicEHF Champions Leagueppd zagrebRhein Neckar Lowen PPD Zagreb made a sensation in Mannheim by eliminating Rhein Neckar Lowen 30:28 (first match 23:24) from the VELUX EHF Champions League 2015/2016.Take a look on the decisive goal scored by left wing Dobrivoje Marković and reaction of Croatian TV commentator.EHF CL quarter-finals:THW Kiel – FC BarcelonaHC Vardar Skopje – MVM VeszpremRK Zagreb – Paris St. GermainFlensburg – KS Kielce ← Previous Story SENSATION IN MANNHEIM: PPD Zagreb at EHF CL TOP 8! Next Story → Baltic Handball League F4 in Estonian Polva on April 16/17
Google + : le démarrage le plus fulgurant jamais observé Un mois après son lancement, le réseau social de Google a attiré quelque 25 millions d’internautes. Un seuil que Facebook avait mis trois ans à atteindre. Aujourd’hui, Google + se targue de compter chaque jour un million de nouveaux membres.En un mois, Google + a atteint le seuil qui avait demandé trois ans à Facebook : 25 millions de membres, si l’on en croit les chiffres que vient de publier ComScore. Le réseau social de Google, qui menace de détrôner celui de Mark Zuckerberg, se targue ainsi d’attirer chaque jour un million de nouveaux utilisateurs. À lire aussiVaricelle, perturbateurs endocriniens et Facebook, les actus sciences que vous devez connaître ce 13 juinParmi les 25 millions membres de Google +, 6 millions vivent aux Etats-Unis, précise ComScore. L’Inde est le deuxième pays le plus adepte du réseau du géant de Mountain View, avec 3,6 millions d’utilisateurs. Viennent ensuite le Canada, le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne et le Brésil. Quant aux Français, ils sont seulement un demi-million à s’être laissés séduire par Google +.Malgré cette ascension fulgurante, Google est encore bien loin des 700 millions d’adeptes que compte Facebook. Après avoir surfé sur la popularité des réseaux sociaux, et profité de son statut de géant d’Internet, Google + pourrait déjà connaître un léger ralentissement. Comme l’explique en effet le service d’analyse concurrentielle en ligne Experian Hitwise, cité par Mashable, le nombre de visites enregistrées aux Etats-Unis a chuté de 3% pendant la semaine du 16 au 23 juillet, après avoir augmenté tout au long des trois premières semaines. La même diminution a été observée sur le temps moyen passé sur le réseau social.Le 3 août 2011 à 15:32 • Maxime Lambert
Stay on target On Aug. 11, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials tracked down the mountain lion and killed it, KCNC-TV noted. Officials said the mountain lion was acting very aggressive and didn’t run away when they spotted it in the woods. A necropsy showed that the animal only had some grass in its stomach, so it’s possible that it was really hungry at the time of the attack.Mike Porras, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson, said Marriott did everything right during the time of the attack, including slowly walking backwards from the animal. Porras also said the agency prioritizes human safety, and if wildlife is aggressive towards humans, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has to unfortunately put those animals down.Marriott was thankful no one else was hurt in the mountain lion incident, however, he said he will always carry his pistol with him from now on.“I think I would have been able to give it a warning shot and hopefully it would have ran off. That’s what I kind of take from all of this,” Marriott added. “When I go into the field now, I need to make sure I have my sidearm.”More on Geek.com:Hunters’ Illegal Yellowstone Lion Kill Caught on Social MediaMountain Lion Found Dead in California May Have Been PoisonedWatch: Colorado Runner Who Killed Mountain Lion Describes Attack A hunter was able to escape from an aggressive mountain lion after he stabbed it with his pocket knife, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.Richard Marriott, who was attacked by the mountain lion on Aug. 10, wasn’t expecting the large animal to show up during his outdoor trip, Sky-Hi News reported. Marriott only sustained minor injuries from the attack, however, he is still in shock from the scary encounter.“I can’t believe it actually happened,” Marriott told Sky-Hi News. “I’m lucky it didn’t get a lot worse.”Marriott was scouting elk in the woods near Kremmling, Colorado, when he noticed something creeping up on the trail behind him: a mountain lion. Marriott faced the mountain lion and slowly walked backwards, in hopes that it would go away. The animal then picked up its pace and started to swerve back and forth through the trees, following Marriott for about 10 minutes.Marriott was almost safe from the mountain lion until he tripped over a log and fell onto his backside. At that moment, Marriott thought he was done for, however, the mountain lion just swiped his leg. Marriott didn’t bring his pistol on the hunting trip and only had his pocket knife on him for self-defense. He managed to hit the mountain lion in the face with the weapon’s small blade, however, the animal wasn’t completely injured. Marriott then continued to throw rocks at the mountain lion and shout at it.People heard Marriott screaming at the animal and called 911. Authorities then arrived at the scene and met Marriott at the bottom of the mountain. Marriott told the wildlife officers that he thought the mountain lion was “curious,” however, they told him that the animal had to be put down for safety reasons. Mountain Lion Known for Crossing LA Freeway Is Fatally Struck By CarMountain Lion Found Dead in California May Have Been Poisoned
Warangal: A 15-year-old girl allegedly committed suicide on Sunday, a day after she was raped in Telangana’s Warangal district, police said. According to the police, the two accused including a minor, who belong to the same locality as the victim have been arrested. “The duo took the teenager to a secluded place and raped her. Next morning, her body was found hanging from the ceiling of her room,” Circle Officer (CO), David Raju told ANI. Further investigation is underway in the case, added the circle officer.
Share Photo via FlickrHouston police say a little boy is dead after he accidentally shot himself Sunday morning.Houston police say a 6-year-old boy has died after locating an unsecured gun in a bedroom and accidentally shooting himself.According to the Houston Police Department, the shooting happened Sunday morning around 11:20 a.m. at an apartment as the boy’s mother ran errands and he was being watched by a teenage sibling. Other siblings were also home.Sgt. Anthony Turner said a teenage sister heard what sounded like a firecracker and discovered the victim, who died at a Houston hospital. Turner said an adult sister told police she kept a gun to protect against crime.“She heard what she believed to be a fire cracker and when the 14-year-old when to check, they saw the 6-year-old laying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.” said Sgt. Anthony Turner with the Houston Police Department.It’s the third such child death in less than a week.Texas City police say a 4-year-old boy was killed Saturday after accidentally shooting himself while with his grandmother. Fort Worth police say a 3-year-old boy died Wednesday after accidentally shooting himself.
Celebration at Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel is not coming to a halt any sooner because the launch of Mister Chai, a first-of-its-kind tea restaurant is becoming a rage amidst enthusiasts. The event, hosted by General Manager Parmeet Singh Nayar and Travel+ Leisure introduced the unique concept of a tea restaurant to the patrons of the national Capital. The tea restaurant focuses on regional Indian street food and celebrates the Indian tea culture. At the event, an exclusive interaction between Neeraj Tyagi, executive Chef, Shangri- La’s Eros Hotel and Ruchira Bose, Editor – Travel + Leisure, India and South Asia gave insight into the inspiration behind the concept of the restaurant along with the conceptualisation of the menu. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A delectable selection of fusion street food in India such as MTDC, Butter Chicken Samosa, Colaba Fish Fry sandwich, Vada Pao to name a few, were paired with an assortment of signature beverages consisting of Cutting Chai, Orange Ginger Punch, Masala Cola and more, which were served throughout the event. Personalised tea leaf readings were conducted by Delhi’s renowned tea leaf reader Neera Sareen, adding an engaging and exciting element to the evening. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixOn the occasion, General Manager Parmeet Singh Nayar said, “Unlike a conventional tea lounge, Mister Chai is a dining destination in its own right. Popular Indian street food has been re-invented and presented in an exceptional style. The menu is a kaleidoscope of regional dishes with a modern twist. Mister Chai is the perfect place to relax and enjoy international tea selection, traditional Indian chai or a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Mister Chai is all set to provide guests an authentic local teashop experience in the heart of the city’s business and entertainment district.”
Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system The first-round results were particularly a blow to Morsi. In parliamentary elections late last year, the Brotherhood won more than 10 million votes _ gaining it nearly half of the legislature’s seats. In contrast, Morsi got 5.7 million votes.Many see that drop in part as a backlash against its attempts to dominate policy making during the transition period, which fueled the group’s reputation as power-hungry and anti-revolutionary. Particularly, the group caused an uproar by insisting on Islamist domination of a panel tasked with drafting a new constitution. The panel was disbanded after liberals and leftists walked out, and negotiations to form a new one have been deadlocked. Now, advisers to the ruling military are suggesting the generals _ rather than the Brotherhood-led parliament _ form a new panel.Now the Brotherhood has energized its powerful electoral machine in a bid to shed that image, approaching those who have been at odds with it to argue that it shares their goals, such as purging state institutions from Mubarak cronies or upholding a more equal social policy.Its activists have reached out to local anti-Brotherhood groups to try to persuade them to back Morsi. They have even approached local campaign workers of Sabahi and Abolfotoh, asking them to campaign for Morsi. After taking a more overtly Islamist stance in campaigning for the first round of elections, held last month, the Brotherhood has shifted gears to present itself as the voice of the “revolution” _ playing off the fears of Shafiq.“We no longer present Morsi as the candidate of the Islamic current but as the candidate of the revolution,” said Murad Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the Morsi campaign. “Thousands, ten of thousands (from former competition) are working with us on the ground to say don’t vote Shafiq.”But the Brotherhood is also under pressure from the leftist and secular “revolutionary” leaders of last year’s uprising against Mubarak. While some have backed Morsi, others have called for a boycott of the June 16-17 run-off, saying the choice between a Mubarak stalwart and the Brotherhood is no real choice at all.The third- and forth-place finishers from the election’s first round are taking another approach, demanding the enactment of the “isolation law,” which would ban former regime figures like Shafiq from running. That would likely force the election process to begin again from scratch.The two _ leftist Hamdeen Sabahi and moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh _ also demand the Brotherhood accept the formation of a “presidential council” that would be give them a concrete role in governing alongside Morsi for a temporary period. The Brotherhood is reluctant to accept the proposal. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – In a tight race for Egypt’s presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood is reaping an immediate benefit from public fury over the mixed verdict against former leader Hosni Mubarak and his aides. The outrage appears to have chipped away at some of the widespread skepticism among Egyptians who believe the Islamic group is as domineering as the old rulers.Now some grudgingly are backing the Brotherhood’s candidate Mohammed Morsi as the only way to defeat the other hopeful in next month’s run-off, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who many fear would preserve a Mubarak-style autocratic regime. Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Salah Radwan, a 36-year old protester who was only recently a staunch critic of the Brotherhood and supported Abolfotoh in the first round, has now been arguing in Tahrir in favor of backing Morsi. Aware of his strong speeches against the group in his downtown Cairo neighborhood of Abdeen, the Brotherhood approached Radwan before the Mubarak verdict and asked him to work on its side.Radwan said he accepted grudgingly, reasoning the Brotherhood would balance out the military and elements from the old regime. He said he hopes that Brotherhood fears of eventually losing voter support at the ballot box would keep them in check.“It was despite myself,” he said, of backing Morsi. “He would be better than another Mubarak.”Radwan and others are also looking at the protests in the square as a way to pressure the Brotherhood into further concessions, such as the presidential council proposal.The Brotherhood has so far balked at the presidential council idea, saying further discussions were needed.Ali, Morsi’s campaign manager, challenged the “legality” of such a council and said the group instead offered to form a coalition government and create posts for vice presidents. He also raised concerns that the ruling military could delay handing over power to a council. Together, Sabahi and Abolfotoh won 40 percent of the vote in the first round, a significant bloc that showed many voters want an alternative to both the Brotherhood and the former regime. Morsi and Shafiq each got around a quarter of the vote.Sabahi and Abolfotoh made a late-night appearance among thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square Monday, their first together in an attempt to form a united front challenging both Morsi and Shafiq.“We are the sons of the revolution and we will continue the revolution,” Sabahi said, holding Abolfotoh’s hand in the air. “We will not accept continuing this game of election elections unless the law of isolation is passed.”“In the name of all the Tahrir Squares in Egypt, we announce that the people … insist on forming a presidential council,” Sabahi said to crowds chanting, “down with military rule.”Earlier in the day, the two met with Morsi. In a joint statement, all three backed the isolation law and called for mass protests in Tahrir on Tuesday to demand its enactment. But the Brotherhood appears willing to go ahead with the election even if the law is not brought into effect, a sign it does not want to sabotage its chance of competing in the race. The isolation law was passed by the Brotherhood-led parliament, but has been put on hold as the Supreme Constitutional Court reviews it. Comments Share “We are walking a tightrope here,” he said.Gigi Ibrahim, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists, a group that came under heat from other pro-revolutionary groups for quickly backing Morsi after the results, said the Brotherhood needs to make concessions to keep support _ particularly if Shafiq wins and the movement must return to protests.“The street will be their only option,” she said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Patients with chronic pain give advice New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths They are also trying to tap into the anger over Saturday’s verdicts from the 10-month trial of Mubarak. The ousted leader and his ex-security chief Habib el-Adly were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killings of some 900 protesters during last year’s uprising. But six top police commanders were acquitted. And Mubarak and his two sons were acquitted of separate corruption charges.The verdicts caused an uproar, sending thousands in the streets in Cairo and other cities, who saw them as failing to deliver justice. The crowds remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a third day on Monday. The Brotherhood has backed the rally, unlike most other protests the past year.Late Sunday, Morsi met with the relatives of some of the “martyrs” _ protesters killed during last year’s uprising _ and pledged that the Brotherhood would ensure new trials against Mubarak and new investigations into their loved ones’ deaths.Ramadan Ahmed, the father of one martyr, said he will put aside his disappointment over the Brotherhood’s performance in the past months and will vote for Morsi.“This is a critical moment and we must agree,” he said. “Later, we can hold the Brotherhood accountable (for their mistakes). Morsi is a good Muslim man. He is not Hosni Mubarak and is definitely better for us than Shafiq.”
APT was awarded the prestigious Best Cruise Operator, International Based Operation at Saturday’s National Travel Industry Awards, held at Sydney’s The Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park, attended by leading figures from Australia’s Travel Industry.APT CEO Chris Hall, accepting the award said he was thrilled to receive the award which demonstrates the industry’s recognition of the calibre of our product, with delivering such high standards down to each and every member of the APT team and I would like to thank them for their dedication in exceeding guest’s expectations on a daily basis.He added, that of course the awards are voted for by travel agents and that he thanked all their trade partners for their continued support.Mr Hall said, “Being awarded Best Cruise Operator – International is particularly pleasing.”“We work hard to deliver the highest level of luxury cruise product available”.“We never compromise on quality and our entire team is dedicated to ensuring that guests receive superior service every step of the way”.One of the pioneers in river cruising, APT has been operating on Europe’s waterways for 19 years and today operates 13 ships and in addition, it offers Luxury Small Ship and Expedition cruising as part of its portfolio, with Mississippi River cruising being introduced in 2014.Source = ETB News: JAJ
Marriott Singer Island Reopens Post-Hurricane IrmaMarriott Singer Island Reopens Post-Hurricane IrmaWHERE: Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa 3800 N Ocean Drive Riviera Beach, FL 33404WHEN: Today – Sept. 14 2017WHAT: With most hotels and resorts in the area still recovering from Hurricane Irma, and many travelers and locals left without lodging, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is glad to officially reopen this morning.“With much of Palm Beach County recuperating from the storm, it was important for us to get up and running as soon as possible,” said Roger Amidon, the resort’s general manager. “Many of the surrounding hotels are still out of service until potentially this weekend, so we’re glad to begin offering suite accommodations and resort amenities to guests once again.”Rising 21 stories above a beautiful stretch of palm-fringed sand, the AAA Four Diamond-rated Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is the only all-suite beachfront property in Palm Beach County.Source = Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa
Company News Doc-Tech DocMagic 2014-12-11 Tory Barringer in Headlines, News, Technology December 11, 2014 498 Views California’s DocMagic, a provider of compliant loan document preparation services, has acquired the assets of Doc-Tech Corporation, according to a company announcement.As part of the acquisition, DocMagic will bring on Doc-Tech’s entire team, including co-founder and president Lori Johnson (who will serve as DocMagic’s director of client services) and EVP of sales Michael Chaney (who will assume the role of senior sales executive).DocMagic will also take on Doc-Tech’s customer base of lenders, which it will continue to support through the company’s corporate office in Illinois.”This acquisition merges the best of DocMagic’s enterprise-level methodologies with Doc-Tech’s wildly successful boutique-style customer service model,” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic. “Our synergies are powerful, and when combined, are nothing short of a home run for both entities.”Iannitti said DocMagic’s to bring on Doc-Tech and its staff was driven in part by the latter company’s reputation for delivering exceptional customer service.”I can’t say enough good things about the hands-on service-focused model that Doc-Tech provides. … Lori and her team have done an extraordinary job of achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction amongst their varied client base, which is a core value of DocMagic,” he said.For her part, Johnson expressed excitement for the acquisition.”We couldn’t have asked for a better home for our clients than DocMagic,” she said. “There isn’t a hotter, more effective doc prep company in the industry than DocMagic, and we are elated to bring our valued clients and strategic partners into the DocMagic family.”The acquisition is DocMagic’s second in the fourth quarter, coming on the heels of the company’s purchase of eSignSystems in October. DocMagic Acquires Doc-Tech Corp. Share
Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Another Labor announcement 24 hrs after refs. Whitney & Kevin Kolb welcome 3rd daughter: Saylor born earlier tonight. Congrats to all.— MarkDalton (@CardsMarkD) September 28, 2012 What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke What a difference a month makes for the Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb.At this time in August, Kolb was on the losing end of the starting quarterback competition with John Skelton. He was being booed every time he hit the field, even in preseason. He had become a common punch line for every talking head around the city.Now, he’s the starter once again. His team is one of only three in the NFL to begin the 2012 season 3-0. He’s coming off a two-touchdown performance against his former team. And on Thursday, the six-year veteran welcomed a new addition to his family. 0 Comments Share Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Kolb’s wife was originally expected to give birth next Thursday. Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been a problem, except the Cardinals are scheduled to play a rare prime time game against the Rams on the NFL Network.In addition to newborn Saylor, the Kolbs have two other daughters, Kamryn June and Atley Rose, born in Jan. 2009 and April 2010. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’
Go back to the e-newsletter >With a 44% increase in cruise ships visiting Basel between 2011 and 2014, this Swiss city is proving to be popular gateway to Switzerland (and Europe) for many travellers and cruise enthusiasts.Strategically located on the borders of France and Germany, Basel welcomed 97 ships in 2014, a 15.5% increase from the year before. Switzerland Tourism forecasts this number to steadily rise in the coming years as more river cruises are introduced into the market and more travellers embark on the different experiences on offer along the River Rhine.Director of Switzerland Tourism Australia and New Zealand, Mark Wettstein, says Australian cruise-goers seem to love river cruising in Europe with the ICCA recording a massive 65.6% growth from 2013 to 2014 alone.“We believe cruise-goers not only appreciate the sheer variety of things to see, do and experience around a continent as diverse as Europe, but they also appreciate the opportunities for pre- and post-cruise itineraries that further enhance their overall European holiday experience,” says Wettstein. “And this is especially true for travellers starting or ending their cruise in Basel.“Increasingly, travellers are recognising the appeal of the Swiss Travel Pass and the access it provides to different experiences around the country thanks to the unlimited use of public transportation, free museum entries and discounted mountain railway rides. The convenience and value they receive from this one Pass is exceptional and savvy travellers often choose not to miss out.“Our records show that Aussie overnights in Basel itself increased by 16% from 2013 to 2014 and we are expecting this growth to continue as interest in river cruising along the Rhine, Basel and Switzerland in general grows.”To accommodate the increase in demand, a series of 3- to 5-star hotels are being built with some opening from the end of this year. So far, 6 hotels will be opening over the next two years including the 5-star 260-room Mövenpick, which is due to be completed in 2018.Wettstein also notes that apart from being a cruise hub, Basel is also growing in popularity among Australians who appreciate modern art, culture and architecture with many itineraries including tours that highlight the city’s artistic personality.Travellers interested in a taste of Basel’s artistic offering have the opportunity to check out the Basel Chamber Orchestra featuring Sol Gabetta from 22-29 November around Australia (22-23 November in Melbourne; 25 November in Brisbane; 27 November in Canberra; and 29 November in Sydney).Basel is a part of many European cruise itineraries offered by Globus, Scenic, APT, Viking Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Tauck River Cruising and many others.Go back to the e-newsletter >