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Cabinet reshuffle: Prime minister tweaks portfolios but sacks no minister

first_imgPrime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first Cabinet reshuffle was expected to address governance and image deficit in the wake of a string of scams and political crises. But the consensus in the political circles as President Pratibha Patil was swearing in new ministers was that the PM’s endeavour was mostly an exercise in futility.PM Manmohan Singh announces a new teamIncompetent ministers were shifted, not sacked; he failed to infuse young blood into the council of ministers; and there was no attempt to bridge the governance and image deficit.The much-anticipated rejig failed to send out a strong message against corruption to the people or to the political class.Ministers who presided over the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scams and management mess – urban development minister Jaipal Reddy and sports minister M. S. Gill – were not dropped but let off with only a change in their portfolios.Reddy’s transfer was, in fact, seen as a promotion because he was given charge of a more important portfolio – petroleum in place of urban development that went to Kamal Nath. All the more shocking was the transfer of Vilasrao Deshmukh, who figures in the Adarsh Society flat allotment scandal, to the crucial rural development and Panchayati Raj ministry.Deshmukh’s appointment to this ministry is questionable considering that in December 2010, the Supreme Court had imposed a fine of `10 lakh on the Maharashtra government on a complaint that Deshmukh, as chief minister, had influenced the police against registering an FIR against his brother, who was facing charges of money-lending irregularities by farmers in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district.advertisementMoreover, this ministry is closely monitored by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Both feel it has potential to empower the “aam aadmi”. Some in the Congress feel the suave Mumbaikar is a bad choice for rural development as his heart is in Mumbai.Meanwhile, there was no attempt to address issues of non-governance, or “governance-deficit” as the PM himself has admitted several times as known non-performers – C.P. Joshi, Kamal Nath, Virbhadra Singh – were simply transferred to different departments. Contrary to expectations, there was no infusion of young blood barring a 48-yearold K.C. Venugopal from Kerala as minister of state.The Opposition was quick to point out that the cabinet reshuffle has not addressed any issue concerning the people. “The PM has failed to punish the corrupt,” said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain. “He has just effected a change in rooms for his non-performing and corrupt ministers.”The PM, however, tried to rekindle hopes of a major shake-up by promising a “more expansive” exercise after the budget session of Parliament which concludes in May.This is a minor reshuffle and after budget session of Parliament, we will do a more expansive exercise,” Singh told mediapersons. Ageing and ineffective ministers such as Virbhadra Singh and B.K. Handique were retained, while Beni Prasad Verma, who can barely walk, has been inducted as minister for steel. Similarly, Sushil Kumar Shinde was allowed to continue in the power ministry though the PM was apparently considering shifting him out.Compulsions of coalition politics were evident in the hands-off approach to two important departments – agriculture and railways. The PM left the allies untouched and despite persisting food inflation which is eating into Congress’s political space, the shuffle does not show any desire to arrest the price spiral. Sharad Pawar continues to occupy agriculture, the only token change being the food and public distribution being taken away from him.Gill, sports and youth affairs minister, and best known for his weak handling of the CWG mess and arm-twisting sports bodies, also escaped the axe as he was shifted to an obscure statistics and programme implementation ministry.None of the non-performing ministers holding an infrastructure portfolio was dropped. Instead they were merely shifted to other portfolios, as if these ministries are of no consequence. Another infrastructure minister Kamal Nath, who figured in the Nira Radia tapes and was considered wanting in performance, has been shifted to urban development from road transport and highways.Minister of state V. Narayanaswamy, who is articulate neither in Hindi nor in English, analysts said, was considered by many insiders to be a bad choice for the MoS slot in the PMO.The reshuffle did not convey any message to trouble-torn Andhra Pradesh, especially when the Telangana region is on the boil and state Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy is threatening to split the party. Many party leaders from the state in private have expressed dismay over non-induction of any new face from the state.advertisementDespite sending 33 MPs, the state has only one cabinet minister in Jaipal Reddy. As against Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, which has only seven Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha, has three cabinet ministers.The re-jig does not show any strategy to bring Parliament back to normalcy. Many in the party hoped incumbent soft-spoken parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, may be replaced with someone more aggressive like Ghulam Nabi Azad to craft a strategy to take the Opposition parties on board. However, the PM opted for status quo even when the Opposition continues to remain adamant on a JPC to probe in the 2G scam threatening to cripple the Budget session.Ashwani Kumar’s appointment as parliamentary affairs minister is also circumspect. “We doubt if he can forge a compromise with the Opposition to break the deadlock over the JPC to look into the 2G scam,” a Congress leader said.last_img
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Sachin Tendulkar inspires Bangalore’s wonder kid

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10 months agoFulham plan bid for Bournemouth striker Lys Mousset

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Fulham plan bid for Bournemouth striker Lys Moussetby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFulham are eyeing Bournemouth striker Lys Mousset.Fulham are planning a January move for Mousset, says West London Sport.The French striker has struggled to make an impact with the Cherries but could now be handed a lifeline by their Premier League rivals.Fulham are looking to strengthen as they prepare for a relegation scrap after a tough start to the season.The French frontman has made just seven top-flight starts since joining the Dorset club from Le Havre for around €6.5m some two and a half years ago.He has scored four goals, two of which were in the league. last_img read more

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Reported rate of hate crime in Thunder Bay appalling says local MP

first_imgOTTAWA – A Thunder Bay MP says she’s not surprised by “appalling” new numbers that suggest the Ontario city has the highest rate of metropolitan hate crime in Canada.Patty Hajdu, who’s also the federal labour minister, used to run a homeless shelter in the remote northwestern Ontario city that was populated primarily by indigenous people.“I am ashamed to say that I wasn’t surprised to see that, as someone who has lived in that community for a very long time and I have some long-standing relationships with indigenous people,” Hajdu said in an interview.“I can tell you that it is not actually that shocking to me.”Last week, a Statistics Canada report said most of the police-reported hate incidents in Thunder Bay were against indigenous people, accounting for 29 per cent of all anti-aboriginal hate crimes across Canada in 2015.Hajdu said she often heard from local residents who routinely experienced fear on the streets.“Young people have told me repeatedly of walking home and having things flung at them out of cars,” she said.“Indigenous women and indigenous men who have experienced going to a store … and when they put their hand out to receive change, the storekeeper will purposely not touch their hand.”The Statistics Canada figures reflect a long-standing disintegration of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people, Hajdu added, calling it “appalling.”Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the safety of aboriginal people is indeed a serious issue in the city, where the recent mysterious deaths of two indigenous teenagers made headlines across Canada.Fiddler cited a recent Ontario inquest into the deaths of seven indigenous young people in Thunder Bay, where witnesses described the daily experience of having garbage and racial epithets hurled in their direction.“The racism —it is something that is very much real … so it wasn’t a surprise to many of us when we heard the latest numbers released last week.”Last year’s inquest explored what happened to Paul Panacheese, 21, Robyn Harper, 19, Curran Strang, 18, Kyle Morrisseau, 17, and Jethro Anderson, Jordan Wabasse and Reggie Bushie, all 15.Their deaths occurred over a decade — from 2000 to 2011 — while they attended school in Thunder Bay.More recently, the city has been in the spotlight again following the deaths of 17-year-old Tammy Keeash and 14-year-old Josiah Begg.Keeash’s body was found in the Neebing-McIntyre floodway early last month and the body of Begg was found less than two weeks later.Fiddler and other indigenous leaders are calling for an RCMP investigation, citing local mistrust of Thunder Bay police.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said municipal police jurisdiction is entirely within the purview of the provincial government, which means Thunder Bay and the province will need to take “appropriate decisions.”Fiddler said safety concerns are so grave, parents are reconsidering sending their children to Thunder Bay to go to school, even though many First Nations communities only have facilities that go to Grade 8.“Grade 9, you’re looking at a 13, 14-year-old child,” he said. “That’s pretty young for a 14 or even a 15-year-old to be sent far away from their home and to a place like Thunder Bay would be obviously a concern for any parent.”—Follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

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Owner of famed French Riviera luxury hotel dies at 95

first_imgPARIS — Jeanne Augier, the millionaire owner of a luxury French Riviera hotel appreciated by celebrities and royalty, has died. She was 95.The Hotel Negresco in Nice announced in a statement that Augier died on Monday, after taking over the hotel in 1957 and working to “extend its influence throughout France and the world.”Flags hanging above the hotel flew at half-staff Wednesday in an extended mourning period declared by the hotel.The hotel’s art nouveau facade and pink dome dominate the elegant Promenade des Anglais on the Nice shore. It’s known both for its glamorous guests and thousands of works of valuable art and antique furniture collected by Augier.Augier died without heirs, and legal disputes are reportedly underway about what will happen to the hotel.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Agency built pen for possible horse slaughter

first_imgRENO, Nev. — The U.S. Forest Service has built its first corral for wild horses, a Northern California facility that could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter.The agency acknowledged in recent court filings that it built the pen for mustangs gathered in the fall on national forest land along the California-Nevada border because horses held at other federal facilities cannot be sold for slaughter.The Forest Service denies claims by horse protection advocates that it has made up its mind to sell the more than 250 horses for slaughter. But it also says it may have no choice because of the high cost of housing the animals and the continued ecological impacts it claims overpopulated herds are having on federal rangelands.The agency’s new pen is in the Modoc National Forest, about 170 miles (273 kilometres) northwest of Reno.Scott Sonner, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Protester climbs into tree near BC marine terminus of Trans Mountain pipeline

first_imgBURNABY, B.C. – A mid-air protest has begun in British Columbia at the western end of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oilsands crude from Alberta to a port in Metro Vancouver.Stand Earth spokesman Sven Biggs says 71-year-old grandfather Terry Christenson has climbed a tree inside the Westridge Marine Terminal, which is the facility where oil would be loaded onto tankers in a planned expansion of the pipeline.This is the second protest for Christenson, who was arrested in March 2018 after climbing a tree in the same area to slow clearing for the pipeline construction. “Canada is already on the path to clean energy and we must continue to diversify our economy, not build more dirty pipelines. I’m here today to ensure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hears this message loud and clear,” Christenson says. Christenson’s first protest lasted 16 hours before he was removed, but Biggs says the professional mountain climber has enough supplies to remain in his new perch for a week.Stand Earth says about 230 people were arrested last year for violating an injunction against protests at the marine terminal and other nearby infrastructure linked to the Trans Mountain pipeline.The federal government supports the tripling of the pipeline’s capacity but suspended work on the expansion last August when the Federal Court of Appeal found parts of a National Energy Board review were flawed and should be redone.Biggs says Christenson’s protest could be the start of many more.“It’s a message to Justin Trudeau and his cabinet who are right now considering whether or not to re-approve the pipeline. If they do that, I think they are going to see a lot more actions like this mornings’,” Biggs says.A statement sent by Christenson, through Stand Earth, says climate change will affect everyone and today’s protest is on behalf of his grandchildren, and grandchildren around the world.last_img read more

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EPCH receives Exhibition Excellence Award

first_imgEPCH has received Exhibition Excellence Award in the category of ‘Top Make in India Supporting Show’, for organising IHGF-Delhi Fair. The award ceremony was recently hosted by Exhibition Showcase at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida, informed Rakesh Kumar, Director General- EPCH.Exhibition Showcase organises these awards every year and this year Exhibition Excellence Awards are being given not only to stalwarts of exhibition industry for their performance in 2018 – for contributing and generating employment on large scale and playing catalyst to the Nation’s economic growth – but also honouring those who are new to the field and putting in their efforts to promote ‘Make in India’, ‘Start up India’ and ‘Skill India’. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe idea behind Exhibition Excellence Awards is to promote and glorify the Exhibition and Convention Industry and to recognise the hard work of exhibition fraternity. The awardees are selected by a supremely experienced and eminent jury from different fields. Kumar further elaborated that EPCH has been organising Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair since 1994 twice in a year Spring in February and Autumn in October. The IHGF has been revamped, renamed as IHGF-Delhi Fair with new theme, bigger space, grander in product display and longer in duration in 2014. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardEPCH will be holding its 48th edition during IHGF-Delhi Fair Autumn 2019 with more than 3200 exhibitors with 14 product categories and more than 2000 styles and products on display. IHGF-Delhi Fair is one of its kind show in which all Indian exhibitors takes part to showcase the strength of handicraft sector under one roof. Looking at the largest participation by Indian Handicrafts exhibitors, Limca Book of World Records have recognised IHGF-Delhi Fair as the world largest congregation of handicrafts exhibitors under one roof. The IHGF-Delhi fair has played a vital role in increasing handicrafts exports from the country continuously. The exports which were merely Rs 3159.62 crores in 1994 when the fair was initiated has reached to the tune of Rs 23,029.36 crores in 2017 – 18. However, the exports of handicrafts during 10 months i.e. April-February, 2019 is Rs 24,156.58 crores and it is hoped that the target fixed for 2018-19 will be surpassed. Kumar attributed on receiving the Top Make in India Supporting show award by EPCH for organising IHGF-Delhi Fair that all credit goes to member exporters of the Council who have been taking part in IHGF-Delhi Fair regularly on large scale, creating employment and earning foreign exchange for the Country.last_img read more

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Fabricated stories being created against Modi Shah Naqvi

first_imgKolkataL Those not aware of the struggles of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have tried to create “fabricated” stories that the cadre-based party has become an individual-centric organisation, Union minister Muktar Abbas Naqvi said. Denying claims that a sense of fear prevails in the BJP, he said stories of no other senior leader apart from Modi and Shah are allowed to speak their mind are “fabricated”. Modi has been the biggest victim of “political intolerance” and a “few incidents by fringe elements” cannot be branded as intolerance against minorities, the senior BJP leader and Union minister for minority affairs told PTI in an interview. “Narendra Modi and Shah are both ground-level workers.They started their political journey as village and local level (mandal) workers. “Those who don’t know Amit Shah and Modiji (and their struggles) make such comments. They create such false and fabricated stories,” Naqvi said when asked whether a cadre-based party like the BJP has turned into a party of Modi and Shah. When asked if a sense of fear prevails in the BJP as no other leader apart from Modi and Shah are allowed to speak their mind, Naqvi said these are “fabricated stories” created by those who don’t know the prime minister and the party chief. Exuding confidence that the BJP will win more seats than 2014, Naqvi said Modi due to his good governance in the last five years has become “a very credible brand of development, good governance and stability”. “The last (general) election took place in the name of Narendra Modi, this time election is taking place on the basis of the work done by Narendra Modi. For the sake of betterment of the country, we need Narendra Modi’s government,” he said. Refuting claims that minorities are living under fear, threat and intimidation, the Union minister said that “a wrong perception was deliberately created”. “We followed the agenda of development for all without discrimination. In the last five years, not a single major communal riot has taken place in the country. “In the last five years, no major terrorist attack took place in our country, except for a few incidents in Kashmir where security forces have taken stern action,” Naqvi said. He claimed that earlier, during Congress’s rule, every 15 days there used to be a terrorist attack in India and apart from innocents being killed in these attacks, a large number of Muslim youths used to get arrested and branded as terrorists in the aftermath of these incidents. “Such incidents have never taken place in the last five years (of the Modi government),” the BJP leader said. On incidents of lynching, Naqvi said though there has been development without discrimination, “some fringe and criminal elements have tried to disrupt the agenda of development”. “Under Modiji’s rule we have not allowed such destructive agendas to get prominence, and those involved in such criminal activity, we had taken action against them,” he said. Commenting on allegations that the BJP is creating an atmosphere of intolerance, Naqvi said that “agreement and disagreements” are part of the democratic process, but, added that, Modi has been the biggest victim of political intolerance. “Modi is the biggest sufferer of political intolerance. In the last five years, the returning of awards campaign and many such campaigns are only examples of political intolerance. “Even things which were not even said by Modi or done by the BJP are termed as their statements. Neither he nor the BJP has ever said that if someone doesn’t agree with our views then he or she is anti-national,” he said. No government has ever faced so much of negativity that Modi and the present government had to face, Naqvi said, adding that despite negative campaigns, the Modi government has performed, reformed and transformed the nation. “In every democratic system agreement and disagreements are both sides of the same coin. This perception of intolerance against us is completely wrong,” he said. Last month veteran BJP leader L K Advani in a blog had said his party has never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as “anti-national” or “enemies” but only as adversaries. His comments came at a time when the BJP under Prime Minister Modi and Shah have made the issue of national security a key plank for the general elections and have often accused its political rivals of speaking the language of India’s enemies like Pakistan. Listing out achievements of the BJP government, Naqvi said the present dispensation has followed the policy of “development for all” and has been able to control inflation, price rise, corruption. It has brought back the economy on track, he said. Commenting on the violence during the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, he said the state administration is not supporting the Election Commission in conducting free and fair polls. “Goons supported by the TMC are influencing elections in Bengal. Despite daylight killings of opposition workers, not a single culprit is being arrested.The TMC is desperate as it has sensed defeat,” he said. In a first in the country, campaigning for nine Lok Sabha seats in Bengal going to polls in the last phase came to an end at 10 pm Thursday, 20 hours before the scheduled time, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata during Shah’s roadshow on May 14.last_img read more

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Moroccan football player deprived of national team because of Israel

first_imgFez- The news has been shared by many Moroccans since it was first published by Moroccan news portal Hespress. Zouhair Benouahi, a Moroccan player who plays in Azerbaijan’s football league,  said he was deprived of playing with the national team of football (soccer), because he once played against an Israeli team.The news might sound unbelievable, but this is what, Rachid Taoussi, the coach of Morocco’s national team allegedly told the player: “a player who plays in Israel can’t even dream of playing with the national team as long as I am the coach.”  The player added that although Taoussi expressed his satisfaction of the player’s performance, he opposed his integration into the Moroccan team, on the grounds that he had played against an Israeli team during the first round of the Europa League. Faced with the impossibility of playing for Morocco, the player said he had no other choice than obtaining the Azerbaijani citizenship in order to play for its national team. © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or or redistributelast_img read more

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Has the US Mens National Team Plateaued

This view suggests the U.S. may have reached a new plateau. The performance of the 2002 team, for instance, is problematic from this vantage point. If the U.S. fails to beat Belgium on Tuesday, that means it will have gone three World Cups without equaling (much less improving upon) the 2002 team’s performance. Perhaps we’re left with the global soccer equivalent of the Atlanta Hawks: a team that will usually make the “playoffs” then lose in the first round.This might seem like a contrived reading of the evidence. But mapping the Americans’ trajectory from 1986 onward is also selective: It’s easy to make an upward pattern look more impressive by starting from what you know to be a low point.There’s a credible story behind each theory. Under the steady-improvement theory, the story is one of demographic and cultural trends abetted by some measure of self-perpetuating success (a positive feedback loop). Soccer has been a big youth-participation sport since the 1970s, but immigration from Latin America may be giving the U.S. even more young athletes who are interested in soccer. The occasional successes of the U.S. men’s national team, along with an increasingly popular domestic league (and improved television visibility for the English Premier League and Liga MX) may motivate some of these young athletes to play soccer professionally instead of transitioning into baseball, football or another sport.The punctuated-equilibrium theory suggests that the U.S. was badly underachieving its soccer potential for many years. Then it got its act together when it was chosen to host a World Cup: better facilities, more investment in the national team, a sustainable domestic league and so forth. But it was picking low-hanging fruit. It shouldn’t be that difficult for a super-wealthy country like the United States, which excels at so many other sports, to be half-decent at soccer if it tries.What’s more challenging is going from a country that sometimes makes the knockout phase to one that sometimes makes the World Cup semifinals — or beyond. It’s not clear that the U.S.’s wealth, or its athletic prowess, implies that it ought to be much more successful at soccer than it has been in recent years. For instance, we can compare each country’s GDP (taken as a natural logarithm) against its soccer team’s Elo rating as of June. There’s certainly some relationship, but it’s rough (soccer is a comparatively inexpensive sport). The trendline in the chart implies that a best guess for the United States is an Elo rating somewhere in mid-1,800s, almost exactly where it is today.The same story holds if we compare the number of medals each country has won at the Summer Olympics since 2000 (again taken as a natural logarithm5Because a number of countries have won no medals since 2000 — meaning that their natural logarithm would be undefined — I instead take the log of the number of medals won plus one.) against its soccer team’s Elo rating.There’s a high margin of error on these estimates. China’s GDP (and its Olympic medal count) is just a little less than the United States’ — but its soccer team has qualified for only one World Cup and has gotten worse in recent years. Germany also has a big economy and a big medal count — and its soccer team is great. The point is that the U.S. men’s national team is no longer underachieving reasonable expectations, as it was before the 1990s. Nor is it exceeding them. Perhaps what we’ve seen is about what we’re due to get in a populous, wealthy, athletic country — where interest in soccer is average, at best, by global standards.The success of the U.S. women’s national soccer team stands in contrast to that of the men’s. But soccer players are among the highest-profile female athletes in the U.S., suggesting that part of the problem for the men’s side is competition from other sports.The punctuated-equilibrium theory would imply that it may take some time for the U.S. men’s team to reach the next plateau. Perhaps an external catalyst would help: another American World Cup, a run to the World Cup semifinals, the emergence of an American soccer player who is recognized as among the best in the world. (Personally, I’d hope for him to be as brash as Cristiano Ronaldo, the better to spark headlines and stoke rivalries with other countries.) But it could be a long while before any of those things happen, and there could be some further delay before their feedback effects kick in.Or it could be that the steady-improvement theory is right. It also reflects a reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The data on youth interest in soccer is very encouraging, for instance.Tuesday’s game against Belgium will provide us with one data point — but just one. Unlike in the past, however, we might not need to wait four years for the next one. Instead, in 2016, the United States will host the Copa América Centenario, a special one-off tournament that will feature the best teams from both North and South America. It could serve as a preview of our soccer future. Playing at home produces the equivalent of an 100 Elo-point bonus — equal to eight years of improvement for the U.S. based on its 1986 to 2014 trajectory. If the U.S. will be ready to compete with the Colombias and Argentinas and Brazils of the world on neutral turf by 2022 and 2026, it should be able to do so on home soil in 2016.CORRECTION (July 1, 4:54 p.m.): A chart in an earlier version of this post mislabeled the Elo ratings vs. Olympic medal counts for China and Russia. The chart has been updated. For the United States, almost every recent World Cup match has been billed as the most important game in the history of the men’s national team. Its knockout-stage match against Belgium on Tuesday isn’t receiving quite as much hype.1The New Republic does describe the U.S.-Belgium game as the “most important sporting event in American history.” That’s apparently a joke, however. But a win would advance the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals for a Saturday afternoon match against Argentina or Switzerland. That would probably be the most-watched game in U.S. soccer history — the first World Cup quarterfinal that many American fans would ever see their men play live.2The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002, but its game against Germany was played in South Korea at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time on a Saturday morning — not ideal viewing hours. The U.S. also advanced from its group to the semifinals in the inaugural World Cup in 1930, but that was when just four teams made the knockout stage.It’s tempting to say that these matches are the soccer equivalent of political “game changers” — much-ballyhooed events that seem exciting at the time but which rarely have as much lasting impact as the pundits claim. But it’s not unreasonable to feel as though every World Cup game is more important than the last. It’s a consequence of the long-term state of U.S. soccer.On the one hand, expectations are getting higher. The U.S. advanced from the group stage in 1994, 2002, 2010 and now 2014. Matches against England or Portugal or Germany are now thought of as opportunities rather than sure losses. On the other hand, the men’s national team has never quite had its breakthrough moment.When might the bar be raised? When might U.S. fans view a Round of 16 exit as a travesty and not a triumph?If you’re in your mid-30s, like me, the advance of the U.S. men’s national team might seem as inevitable as that of gay marriage. You’ll be just old enough to remember that the U.S. was once a soccer backwater. But you might not remember how long it took the Americans to get where they are today. The trajectory since the 1980s has always been upward:This chart shows the Elo rating for the U.S. in each World Cup year3Specifically, it shows the U.S.’s Elo rating as of the date of the World Cup final — whether or not the U.S. actually qualified for the tournament. For 2014, I’ve used the U.S.’s Elo rating at the end of the group stage. since 1986 — the last World Cup where the Americans failed to qualify, and the last one before 1988, when FIFA declared the 1994 World Cup would be played in the U.S.From this perspective, the upward trend has been extremely steady. In fact, other than the 2002 team arriving in the quarterfinals a little ahead of schedule, it’s been almost perfectly linear. Since 1986, the U.S.’s Elo rating has improved by almost exactly 50 points every four years.Imagine that the trend continues. Right now, the U.S. team’s Elo rating is nearly 1,850, which places it 15th in the world. Add another 50 points, and by 2018 it would be at 1,900 — somewhere around eighth or 10th in the world and near where Belgium and Uruguay and France are today. That’s a team that could be a dark-horse World Cup contender. By 2026, its Elo rating would be 2,000 — not far from where Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands began this year’s tournament. So in just 12 more years — in a World Cup that could possibly be held in the United States — the U.S. will be a global soccer powerhouse.Or perhaps not. Consider another look at the evidence, one where we run the numbers back further. For much of the 1970s, there was a lot of hope surrounding the growth of U.S. soccer, but the men’s national team repeatedly failed to qualify for the World Cup. In one year, the U.S. failed to win a single qualifying match. But let’s go back ever further, to 1950. This tells a different story. The men’s national team got worse from 1950 to 1958, bottomed out for almost 30 years with no sign of life, improved rather sharply in a concentrated period from 1986 through 2002, and has been fairly steady since.Yes, the U.S. has still gotten better by this reckoning — but it looks more like a case of punctuated equilibrium — a sudden change after years of stasis.4The so-called punctuated trend in the chart is drawn by fitting a regression with a dummy variable that is taken as zero between 1950 and 1986 and one between 2002 and 2014 and allowed to vary at a linear rate only in the intervening years. read more

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The Historically Great Warriors Got Historically Crushed

6/2/85Celtics@Lakers3NBA Finals-254.3 5/30/14Pacers@Heat6East final-255.6 5/22/00Lakersvs.Blazers2West final-290.1✓ 25+ point blowouts of conference No. 1 seeds in the NBA playoffs, 1984-2016 6/2/95Magic@Pacers6East final-272.2✓ 5/27/01Spurs@Lakers4West final-292.5 5/3/07Mavericks@Warriors6West Rd. 1-252.2 5/27/85Lakers@Celtics1NBA Finals-340.3✓ 5/26/15Hawks@Cavaliers4East final-302.8 5/25/01Spurs@Lakers3West final-390.2 In the NBA playoffs, No. 1 seeds have a special air of authority about them. Since the league expanded to a 16-team playoff format in 1984, top-seeded teams have won their conference about 55 percent of the time; unlike in sports that feature heavy randomness, it’s a surprise when the best team doesn’t win out in the NBA.But that doesn’t mean top seeds are invincible, as the Golden State Warriors found out Sunday night in Oklahoma when they lost 133-105. With the series tied 1-1, the Warriors were facing the most crucial game of their season — and the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely shellacked them. Going back again to ’84, it tied for the 14th-worst defeat of a conference No. 1 seed in the playoffs: 6/7/98Jazz@Bulls3NBA Finals-420.1% 5/11/10Cavaliersvs.Celtics5East Rd. 2-32<0.1 6/16/00Lakers@Pacers5NBA Finals-330.3✓ 6/3/84Celtics@Lakers3NBA Finals-330.4✓ 6/14/88Lakers@Pistons4NBA Finals-253.5✓ 6/11/13Heat@Spurs3NBA Finals-360.2✓ Half of those 14 losses came in the NBA Finals, and six featured a No. 1 seed from one conference crushing its counterpart from the the other — not exactly comparable to Dubs-Thunder. So if you toss those out, Golden State’s loss is tied for the seventh-most-lopsided defeat by a No. 1 in the past 33 postseasons of conference play. (It’s also tied for ninth-worst among playoff losses by No. 1 overall seeds during that span.)The Thunder are a high-quality basketball team, perhaps far better than they appeared to be at various points during the regular season. But the degree to which they dominated the Warriors in Game 3 was stunning. According to the pregame Elo ratings (our pet metric for estimating each team’s strength at a given moment), there was a mere 1.1 percent probability that OKC would run up a victory margin of 28 or more points Sunday.1Based on a process similar to the NFL version I used here. We’ve hardly ever seen this incarnation of the Warriors destroyed so thoroughly, and never in a game that meant so much.Putting aside why it happened — yes, the Warriors had one of their worst (unluckiest?) shot-making nights of the season, but they also played some of their most porous defense of the year and looked out of sorts for long stretches of the game — Golden State’s Game 3 drubbing has left the team in trouble. Both opponents being equal, the team that wins at home in a 1-1 series goes on to win the series more than 69 percent of the time. And although we wouldn’t have considered the Warriors and Thunder to be equals before the West final tipped off, OKC has closed the gap considerably since then. (Plus, Draymond Green is at risk of being suspended for Game 4 after kicking Steven Adams in the crotch for the second time this series.) Now, our model considers the Thunder 64 percent favorites to make the NBA Finals.Plenty of historical teams who suffered similarly huge routs bounced back and won the series anyway, so all is not lost in Oakland. But the Warriors will have to regroup after a Game 3 performance that put them in an exclusive, unenviable club of vulnerable No. 1 seeds.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 5/24/87Celtics@Pistons4East final-262.2✓ 5/22/16Warriors@Thunder3West final-281.1— DATETEAMOPPONENTGAMEROUNDMARGINELO PROB.WON SERIES 5/19/88Lakers@Jazz6West Rd. 2-281.2✓ Source: Basketball-Reference.com 6/17/08Lakers@Celtics6NBA Finals-390.1 6/4/05Heat@Pistons6East final-252.3 5/21/92Bullsvs.Cavaliers2East final-260.2✓ 5/30/96Sonics@Jazz6West final-350.3✓ 6/3/92Blazers@Bulls1NBA Finals-330.8 read more

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Ohio State Hbacks making an impact across the field for Buckeye offense

Sophomore running back Curtis Samuel (4), junior H-back Dontre Wilson (2) and redshirt-sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall (17) are all working as receivers this spring after playing other positions in high school. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorDontre Wilson arrived at Ohio State as a highly rated running back, but Carlos Hyde stood in the way of his playing time at the position.Wilson finished his freshman year with 31 carries for 250 yards and a touchdown, but perhaps made an even more significant impact by catching 22 passes for 210 yards and two more scores. After proving his worth, Wilson still wasn’t in line to start ahead of then-sophomore Ezekiel Elliott at running back last season, so the coaching staff found a way to get him playing time.“Dontre was in that situation with Carlos Hyde and then Zeke came in,” OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith said Tuesday. “We weren’t gonna keep him off the field, so we moved him to receiver.”The DeSoto, Texas, native responded by racking up 300 receiving yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he still managed to tally 18 carries for another 100 yards on the ground. But Wilson’s final contributions of the season came when he broke his foot on a key touchdown catch against Michigan State.That injury still has Wilson sidelined this spring, but Smith said the rising junior has been working on his ball skills even though he can’t run just yet.Even before Wilson’s injury, he was splitting time at H-back with now-redshirt-sophomore Jalin Marshall, who finished second on the team with 38 catches last year. Marshall added 983 all purpose yards in the process, finishing behind only Elliott and Wilson.Like Wilson, Marshall wasn’t a slot receiver in high school. Instead, he made the switch after playing quarterback at Middletown High School. But another spring has brought another slight change for Marshall as well, as Smith said he’s practicing as an outside receiver.With Wilson out and Marshall working on the outside, sophomore running back Curtis Samuel has transitioned to the receivers’ room for spring, much like Wilson did a year ago.“He had a full year at running back to really work those skills, so we took him this spring and said we’re gonna give him a full spring at wide receiver so we can try to develop that skill set,” Smith said of Samuel. “Hopefully he becomes more multi-talented and we can use him in more ways.”Smith said switching positions is like going to a “different world,” and added that the Buckeyes simply want to get the best players on the field. He noted that OSU has had success moving players to new positions in the past, but said the key is to do it with time to learn.“Guys don’t understand the position coming from a different one,” Smith said. “Jalin Marshall went through it when he came from quarterback to receiver. Dontre went through it, Curtis is going through it. That’s why we’re trying to saturate him now, as opposed to fall camp and saying, ‘Shoot, we need to get him on the field, let’s put him at receiver a little bit.’”At least for the spring, Samuel is making the switch after finishing third on the team with 383 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground last season. He added another 11 receptions and 95 receiving yards in limited playing time behind Elliott in the backfield.Now after nine practices as an H-back, Smith said Samuel won’t necessarily stay in his room but will be contributing in whatever way he can come the regular season.“In an ideal world, he’s gonna play both, the ability to go into the backfield when Zeke’s not in, or play in the slot when Zeke is in,” Smith said. “And so we’re developing that skill set. Does he stay there? I don’t think so, but I guess nobody has a crystal ball, so we’ll see.”Buckeye fans will get their first chance to see Samuel at H-back when OSU plays its annual Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes are scheduled to open their regular season on Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. read more

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Opinion Ohio State shouldnt be considered top team after shaky start

Redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) tries to shake off a tackler during a game against Northern Illinois on Sept. 19. OSU won 20-13.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorComplacency.It’s a word to be scared of and to not be associated with.The bad news for Ohio State football: The word complacency describes the team’s play really well thus far in the season.After topping Northern Illinois 20-13 at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, the Buckeyes are 3-0. Though a win’s a win, the way this team won its first three games of the season isn’t championship football.“We are not the No. 1 team in the country. … We definitely have the potential to be, but not right now,” junior running back Ezekiel Elliott said.Elliott is right. This team should not be the No. 1 team in the country. The motivation isn’t there. The panic should start.The toughest opponent for coach Urban Meyer’s team is themselves. This is normal among championship teams. The hardest hurdle the year after a successful run is to not feel entitlement. This is poisonous in a locker room. And junior defensive end Joey Bosa’s tweet post-NIU might say it all.Hey everyone we were 2-1 this time last year…. Relax.. This trains about to get rolling— Joey Bosa (@jbbigbear) September 19, 2015OSU does have the talent to potentially repeat as College Football Playoff National Champions once again this season. To do this, however, the offense needs to sync better.After uncertainty of who should be under center coming into the season against Virginia Tech, redshirt junior Cardale Jones got the start in each of the first three games of the season.All due respect to Jones, as talented as he is, Meyer likely handed him the starting position because he believes the position belongs to him. After all, he won the championship, though redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett appears to be the better quarterback with more experience.Come Saturday against NIU, the inexperience showed. He was benched after two early interceptions, giving way for Barrett to take most of the second quarter and all of the second half.“We felt like he gave us the best chance to move the ball down the field,” Meyer said of Barrett.But when asked about the quarterback position, Meyer was unsure.“I don’t know that right now,” he said. I haven’t had time to think about it.”The quarterback position needs to be solidified before OSU football can return to the level of performance it’s accustomed to.Meyer deciding on a starting quarterback to lead the team, and sticking with him, will give the players assurance. Having a familiar leader snap the ball consistently is key to minimize confusion and to rally a team. One voice is more transparent than multiple coming from all sides.Regardless of who Meyer decides to have at the helm of the quarterback position, both Jones and Barrett are not playing up to par.Jones has completed only 26 passes out of 46 for 334 yards with three interceptions in three games, and Barrett has completed 20 of 46 for 120 yards with one interception.This has to be frustrating for Meyer. He’s known for his offense stemming from strong quarterback play from his time in Utah with Alex Smith and in Florida with Tim Tebow.“I’m not OK with five turnovers and lacking execution and not being able to control the line of scrimmage,” Meyer said. “That’s a recipe for failure.”The good news for this team is its defensive secondary, which has caused five interceptions and recovered two fumbles. And it has only allowed 357 yards passing through three games, an average of 119 yards per game.Redshirt sophomore linebacker Darron Lee acknowledged the team’s defensive play this season on Saturday.“When the offense needs a minute to find their rhythm we know we have to go out there and do our job,” Lee said.The Buckeyes had doubters coming into the season, including Arkansas coach Bret Bielema who made what some call a “bold statement” a week ago about OSU having an easy schedule, and thus not earning its standing and prestige.The teams on OSU’s schedule receiving votes in the Associated Press poll are Virginia Tech, which the Buckeyes beat 42-24 and has two votes in the poll, and No. 4 Michigan State, which is scheduled to meet OSU in Week 12.Here’s the thing: If the Buckeyes are struggling this badly with non-conference games, Big Ten play will hurt even more.So once again, someone please hit the panic button. read more

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Mens Volleyball Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson announces retirement

Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus on May 22. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAfter 35 years as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s volleyball team, Pete Hanson announced his retirement on Thursday. In his storied coaching career, Hanson has led three Ohio State teams to an NCAA Championship — in 2011, 2016 and 2017 — has been named the National Coach of the Year three times and has recorded 712 career wins, the third-most in NCAA history. “I will certainly miss Ohio State and the volleyball program, but I will never forget it,” Hanson said in a release.Hanson has also been inducted into three Hall-of-Fame classes: the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2015, the Ohio State Athletics in 2017 and the USA Volleyball in 2019. “Being in the Hall of Fame once obviously is a feat in and of itself. To do it three times is something just surreal and something crazy,” senior setter Sanil Thomas said. “I think what you wouldn’t expect is the same — I would imagine, the same amount of passion he brought day one he brings that passion day — a lot; it’s a lot of days. That’s why he deserves this more than anyone.”In Hanson’s tenure as head coach, the Buckeyes  won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season title 18 times, over half of the total seasons he had coached. In his 34 years, he has been awarded as the MIVA Coach of the Year 13 times. However, much of the impact Hanson has made is reflected in the players he coached. Hanson has coached 13 MIVA Player of the Year award winners, 17 players who ended up playing professionally and 17 players who competed for their national team. “The legacy of Ohio State volleyball was and has been built by all of those fine young men that wore the Scarlet and Gray,” Hanson said in a release. “I am forever indebted to them, as they helped to ensure that Ohio State volleyball remained one of the most respected programs in the country.” Hanson also made an impact off the court and into the classroom. More than 200 of his players have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and, in the past 10 years, 65 percent of his players have earned Ohio State scholar-athlete recognition. “His impact far exceeds the men’s volleyball program, and even Ohio State Athletics, making a positive difference to collegiate volleyball across the country,” Ohio State deputy director of athletics and men’s volleyball administrator Janine Oman said. “The development of young men has always been paramount to Pete, equipping them to lead successful lives.”But on the court, especially inside St. John Arena, Hanson made his lasting mark. In his tenure, Ohio State has recorded six undefeated seasons at home and one 42-match winning streak, the longest in Ohio State history for a head-to-head sport. “Pete Hanson’s Buckeye career embodied our mantra of ‘The People. The Tradition. The Excellence,’” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “He’s found success on the court and molded young men off of it, preparing them for life after college. Pete leaves a lasting legacy at The Ohio State University.” read more

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Allegri admires Sarris work at Napoli

first_imgJuventus are about to face Napoli at home in a crucial title battle and Massimiliano Allegri admitted that it will be a tough task for his team to beat the Partenopei.The Old lady manager admitted that Maurizio Sarri has been doing an amazing job at Napoli and the title race is still far from being over – and this match, it can change everything so they have to remain focused.The former AC Milan coach spoke about the upcoming game as he said, according to Calcio Mercato:“Tomorrow begins a ‘mini-league’ in which we have a four-point lead with five matches left. Juventus vs. Napoli is important and will be a great game, but not decisive.”Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“Napoli are having a great season. They have been going for the title since the start and we know that this is a crucial match for them.”“We must be ready not only for tomorrow’s match against Napoli but this final stage of the season in which we also face Inter, Roma and AC Milan in the TIM Cup final.”“Sarri has done an extraordinary job at Napoli. He has technically gifted players and he has created a team that plays a great brand of football.”last_img read more

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Wilshere urges teammates to play well quickly

first_imgThe West Ham United midfielder says his team has to work on welcoming the newcomers to be able to play all togetherWest Ham United got its second defeat of the Premier League season.The Hammers fell 2-1 against Bournemouth on Saturday and this is making players like Jack Wilshere frustrated.“We have got a lot of new players and we need to gel,” Wilshere he told West Ham’s official website as quoted by The Standard.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedSolskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.The Hammers have a new manager this season and nine new signings, and Wilshere believes his team has to learn to play together soon.“At this level in this league, people aren’t given time, so we have to do it quickly and all tuck in this week,” he added.“We started well and we all wanted to win this week and we felt we were good enough to win.”“Obviously, the dressing room is devastated because we should have come away with something from the game, but we have to go again,” he said.last_img read more

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Freak weather affecting TCI coastlines Bahamas urges stay out of the water

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Here is the full special weather report:“An area of low pressure is expected to deepen off the East-coast of the United States on Friday and move northeastwards. Large and dangerous swells associated with this low pressure system is expected to impact the north and east coast of the more easterly islands in the Bahama Island Chain by Saturday afternoon.Therefore, mariners traversing the waters of The Bahamas from Saturday, 3rd March through Tuesday, 6th March, 2018 are urged to exercise extreme caution due to large northeasterly swells. Beachgoers are also asked to stay out of the water due to battering waves and dangerous rip currents, especially during high tides.Motorist on the island of Eleuthera should cease using the Glass Window Bridge once these swells arrive. These large swells are expected to reach their peak amplitudes between Sunday, 4th March and Monday, 5th March, 2018.”The Turks and Caicos is southeast of The Bahamas and will naturally be impacted by the weather which is forecast by Mr. Basil Dean, Deputy Director of the Met Office, to continue to Tuesday.See photos shared with Magnetic Media. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – March 4, 2018 – Severe weather reported by The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has hit Turks and Caicos and is creating some dangerous surf conditions across the country.  So far #GrandTurk and Providenciales are reporting the freakish ocean weather, where the surf is raging and the sea is breaching the normal shoreline and coastal protections.Flooded beach front villas, seawater-logged streets and violent wave action is being filmed and reported from the two biggest tourism spots in the country; Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales and Governor’s Beach in Grand Turk.The Bahamas had issued a warning since Thursday that residents of eastern islands should remain out of the water and informed boaters to stay out of the water due to the weather pattern which was due to arrive over the weekend and last into early this week.center_img Related Items:#freakyweather, #ripcurrentwarning, #roughsurflast_img read more

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Magnitude 35 quake felt in San Diego

first_imgMagnitude 3.5 quake felt in San Diego KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A small earthquake shook parts of northern San Diego County Saturday.The United States Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 3.5 temblor at 12:26 p.m. with an epicenter in Riverside County, north of Aguanga and near the Cahuilla Indian Reservation.There were reports of light shaking in the Oceanside and Escondido areas, according to the USGS. The quake was also felt farther away in Riverside and Cathedral City.No damage was immediately reported. center_img Updated: 3:16 PM Posted: May 19, 2018 May 19, 2018last_img read more

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People on the Move

first_img Nikki Ogunnaike, previously the senior digital style editor at Glamour since 2012, will join ELLE.com as senior fashion editor. In her new role, Ogunnaike will have oversight of all fashion content—runway, market, news, red carpet and accessories. George LeVines will join Defense One as digital editor. As primary production editor for DefenseOne.com LeVines brings an extensive reporting background, with bylines in the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today’s Reviewed.com. He has served as an assignment editor at Muckrock and as a staff writer at Salem News. Additionally, Reuters has named three new political reporters: Here are the rest of this week’s people on the move: GQ associate editor Mark Anthony Green has been appointed GQ Style Guy. The popular “Style Guy” fashion-advice column will be refashioned for the social-media age. ELLE.com has announced several new contributors who will expand the site’s coverage of women’s issues, race and diversity, politics and technology: actress and singer Priyanka Chopra; writer and speaker Ashley Ford; writer Jessica Grose; actress Jaime King; actress and NYT best-selling author Jenny Mollen; writer and co-founder of TheList Glynnis MacNicol; and actress Nikki Reed.  Will Friedman has been appointed president of Cozi. Friedman has been with the company since 2006, in a variety of executive, engineering and product management roles, most recently serving as Cozi’s chief product officer. Pacific Standard has promoted Nicholas Jackson to editor-in-chief. He had served as interim editor-in-chief since June. Madeleine Thomas was named staff writer, with a focus on issues of environmental justice. She was previously with Grist. The brand also named Jennifer Sahn executive editor. She joins the title from Orion, where she was editor since 2002.center_img Grant Smith, who had been data reporter at The Commercial Appeal.  Additionally, Chloe Schama has been named executive editor of ELLE.com, a newly created position in which she will oversee features editing, recruit new voices and manage daily content. Schama had been with The New Republic since 2010, as managing editor from 2010-2012 and story editor from 2012-2015. Dana Burke has been named associate social media manager at Allure. She had been assistant editor at StyleBistro. Yahoo Food named Stephanie Smith senior editor. She joins the team from the New York Post’s Page Six column, where she covered breaking business, fashion and entertainment news. She is also the author of the popular food blog 300Sandwiches.com and memoir “300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story…with Recipes.” Ginger Gibson, who was senior political writer at the International Business Times. Erin McPike, who was previously a correspondent at CNN.last_img read more

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