Benitez predicts race for the top four will go to the wire

first_imgRafael Benitez believes the race for a top-four finish will go to the wire.The Chelsea interim manager is under pressure to secure a Champions League place for next season, with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool also in the running.A win against second-placed Manchester City on Sunday would be a major boost for the Blues, who are third despite their patchy results under Benitez.“If we can win this game we will be closer [to City]. If we cannot, we still have to keep fighting [for a top-four finish] because it will be very close,” said Benitez.He added: “I think the race for the top four will go until the end of the season.“Our last game is against Everton, so I am sure that until the end of the season we will be winning games, losing games or whatever, but it will be very close until the end.“There is Arsenal and we have still to play Tottenham. One game can make the difference and until the end it will be difficult for everyone.“I think we can fight to be in the top two. If not, again we have to fight to be in the top four.”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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Asteroid impacts are some astronomers’ answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.Titan as a billiard fusion:  Most collisions break things up and send pieces scattering, but a new theory proposes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan represents a merger of moonlets.  “Did several moons collide to form Saturn’s Titan?” Richard Kerr teased on Science Now.  He heard that rumor at a meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) in Denver:“The Origin of Titan—So Big … So Alone.” That was the playful title of a talk given here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences. The gist? Saturn’s relatively huge moon Titan, which orbits unaccompanied by the usual retinue of similar-sized moons, started out as three or four standard-issue satellites of the ringed planet that ran amok, collided, and merged into one huge moon and a few scraps of debris.Douglas Hamilton got creative about Titan before the crowd because “the biggest mystery is how it came to be in the first place.”  He didn’t see it happen except in a computer model.  Might as well speculate, then: “Hamilton acknowledges he’s not sure how he would ‘prove’ that he is right.”  Contrarily, though, Titan has few impact craters, showing it has a young surface, Science Daily said.  Hamilton may want his new theory to motivate NASA to keep the funding flowing for the Cassini mission.  It makes a nice story at least—kind of like the one that other planetary scientists say created Earth’s moon.Whoops, about that moon theory:  The theory of the origin of the moon by a collision has run into trouble.  Daniel Clery wrote for a Science News focus, “Planetary scientists thought they had explained what made the moon, but ever-better computer models and rock analyses suggest reality was messier than anyone expected.”  So the “Impact Theory Gets Whacked” itself, he titled his report from another scientific gathering.Over the past decade, increasingly sophisticated computer simulations have shown that the tidy scenario clashes with what geochemists have discovered about moon rocks and meteorites from elsewhere in the solar system. As a result, researchers are casting around for new explanations. At a meeting at the Royal Society in London last month—the first devoted to moon formation in 15 years—experts reviewed the evidence. They ended the meeting in an even deeper impasse than before, as several proposed solutions to the moon puzzle were found wanting.Bring in a bigger impactor:  Because of the lunatic problems, some of the modelers are looking for an even wilder theory: the idea that Venus helped form the Earth’s moon.  David Stevenson explained why: “It’s got people thinking about the direction we need to go to find a story that makes sense,” where story is the operative word.Daniel Clery spends some time reviewing all the theories since Apollo that have ended up on the trash heap, the impact theory being the latest.  “The giant impact has major problems,” Stevenson told his colleagues.  “It doesn’t produce the moon as seen.”  So much for all those simple-looking animations on TV.  None of the latest ideas are simple.  Jay Melosh remarked, “The solutions are contrived; they’re not natural.”Also falling onto the trash heap is the notion that isotope ratios vary with radius across the solar system.  Tossing that assumption opens up new plots for storytelling:That explains why at the London meeting, when the session chairs jokily asked each speaker what single measurement they would most like to perform, many said they would like to examine a piece of rock from the planet Venus. Venus is Earth’s rogue twin, and together the two planets contain 80% of the mass between the asteroid belt and the sun. If it turns out that Venus has very similar isotope ratios to Earth, then it is much more likely that an impactor might have had them as well. “Venus is the key,” Stevenson said.Since getting a piece of Venus from its hellish surface is highly challenging, this experiment won’t be done for some time.  Space.com gave the “Wild new theory” good press anyway, giving the impression that the storytellers are “still on the trail of the detailed scenario” with their notion that “Back then, there were still a lot of things whizzing around.”Not the Cambrian explosion, too:  Astrobiology Magazine asks, “Did a Huge Impact Lead to the Cambrian Explosion?”  Needless to say, even if a meteor hit the Earth way back when, it would say nothing about the origin of two dozen new animal body plans.  Most likely, it would have destroyed life instead.  It’s hard to know how anyone could take seriously the statement, “The ensuing environmental re-organization would have then set the stage for the emergence of complex life.”  What if they set a stage, and nobody showed up?  A stage setting is necessary, but not sufficient, to hold an intelligently-designed play.  The notion sounds like an act of desperation to counter the argument for intelligent design that Stephen Meyer presented in his new book, Darwin’s Doubt.  At least NASA got this right: “Animal life on Earth suddenly blossomed, with all of the major groups of animals alive today making their first appearance.”  Almost sounds like Genesis.See also the 9/23/13 entry, “Comet, Asteroid Impacts As the Answer to Everything.”As we have repeated often before, when one’s theory reduces to random actions for no particular reason, one has abandoned science.  If all one can say is “Stuff happens,” one has not explained anything.  The story is no better than one made up by a fiction writer or cartoonist.  What we observe is a smooth, well-differentiated Titan with a young atmosphere, and a moon around our Earth that supports life.  Those are the facts.  The most elegant explanation to be preferred, therefore, is one based on our common experience with ordered systems: that they were designed.  That should be seen as superior to invoking a “wild new theory” that depends on “a lot of things whizzing around” that somehow did a bang-up job of creating an orderly solar system, just because stuff happens, even though the stories are “contrived” and “not natural.”  Now who’s promoting pseudoscience?  Look how long the Mars-sized impact theory for the origin of the moon was bandied about in the media as the scientific explanation for the moon, and now they tell us it has “major problems.”  We don’t want scientists “jokily” asking each other what wild idea is next.  We want them to face reality: the Earth and its moon appear designed for life.  If they want to tell jokes, let them go into stand-up comedy instead.last_img read more

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Singapore sees continued role for A380s

first_imgSINGAPORE Airlines says it will be a case of “watch this space’’ as it brings in the first of five new  Airbus A380s  next year sporting premium product that will improve on its already impressive new-generation business seats.The Singaporean carrier created waves for manufacturer Airbus when it decided not to renew the 10-year lease on its first Airbus A380. The announcement came as Malaysia Airlines revealed it was in discussions with airlines in the region about offloading its fleet of six A380s.SIA may also not renew four more leases due to end, although a decision on that has yet to be made.But Singapore Airlines (SIA)  executive vice president commercial Mak Swee Wah  says the days of the double-decker superjumbo are not over yet.“The A380 probably has its niche,’’ Mak told AIrlineRatings during the recent inaugural flight of the Capital Express linking Singapore, Canberra and Wellington. “It is still the relevant plane for those key city pairs were traffic is dense and so I think it’s question of when you want to expand there’s this constant debate over capacity versus frequency.“So I think … it will be relevant of our fleet but a lot more of the services will be run by twin-engine planes.’’Mak said the decision against renewing the first lease was a result of the airline’s assessment of the need for the plane.“At this point in time, with the new ones coming in, we think that we really don’t need to expand the fleet so that’s why we are letting the lease expire,’’ he said. “When the decision time for the next few comes along then we will make the same new evaluation and if we don’t need to expand then we will do the same.’’The SIA executive would not be drawn on what was planned for the new aircraft, other than to say it would be better than its latest generation business class product.“I will say watch this space when the time comes,’’ he said.Read our review of Singapore Airlines’ new business seat.Singapore prides itself on the low average age of its fleet and it has already taken the first 67 A350s set to form the backbone of its fleet. These include seven ultra-long-range versions of the A350-900 deigned to fly up to 19 hours on non-stop flights between Singapore and New York.The A350-900ULR includes a modified fuel system and aerodynamic improvements that allow it to carry more fuel with an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) on services to the US.Also on order are 30 Boeing 787-10s, which will be the mainstay of the airline’s medium-haul fleet and are due to start arriving in 2018. “So there are a lot of new aircraft coming in and as they come in then the older 777s.  which used to be the core of our fleet, will then be retired,’’ Mak said.Although Boeing has approached the Singaporean carrier about its next generation of Boeing 777s,  Mak said no decision had been made.The influx of new planes into the region has been one of the factors responsible for increased competition that has pushed down air fares and airline yields.Mak does not believe there will be any rationalisation of capacity in the near term and said expert commentary suggested  the world economy would  continue to languish for some time.“It’s hard to predict,’’ he said. “I think t for the moment there is still a lot of airplanes which have been ordered which will be coming into service.“That’s why we on SIA’s side – not just SIA but the rest of the group – we have to continue with our growth and expansion plan to make sure that we get our fair share of the action.’’Like everyone else in the Asia-Pacific, Mak sees China as the biggest growth area and says all four members of the SIA Group — Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair — have expanded their presence there.He also sees a role for the new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington service as alternate gateway for Chinese tourists. There were about 90 visitors from China on the inaugural Boeing 777-200 flight and Mak said Singapore would do its share to promote traffic from the huge market to Australasia.And despite some scepticism about the route from competitors, Mak said putting the cities together made sense, with residents in both cities excited about the service and the response so far “encouraging”. The airline hopes to turn the four-times weekly route into a daily service as part of an expansion in the South-West Pacific that has seen the number of weekly flights to the region grow in recent years from 100 to 156. “We certainly hope to make it a success, especially with the support of the authorities, of the airport, of the tourism bodies,’’ Mak said“Both (cities) are equally strong and we’ll see over time as the market grows, how we can expand this further.’’He agreed one advantage of the markets was their relative affluence and pointed to the the wide range of groups in both cities with reasons to travel.“There’s government, there’s academia, there’s business people and the more affluent leisure traveller,’’ he added. “And also I think we do want to let the rest of the world know that there are some hidden gems around. It doesn’t come top of mind when we do overseas tourists but I think we need to do some work to let people know there’s more to Australia and New Zealand than just traditional gateways.’’SIA is working on the route with alliance partners Virgin Australia, which is providing lounge facilities in Canberra, and Air New Zealand, which provides them in Wellington.Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliance officer Stephen Jones described the new route as a great addition to the alliance.’’Air NZ has authorisation through its alliance to co-operate with SIA to Singapore but Mr Jones said this did not extend to passengers flying across the Tasman. “But passengers flying from New Zealand via Wellington over Canberra to Singapore and beyond will be included in our alliance and in our revenue share,’’ he said.Singapore and AirNZ now co-operate on twice daily services out of Auckland, daily out of Christchurch and the four times weekly Wellington service.Steve Creedy travelled to Singapore, Canberra and Wellington courtesy of Singapore Airlines.last_img read more

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What a difference a week makes!

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLCMonday morning corn prices took a dive, but by close on Friday, prices had rallied 40 cents. This rebound is due to widespread rainy weather forecasts through Memorial Day, making expected planting progress slow for the next 10 days. Plus, no one knows how many acres will be designated prevent plant this year. The trade seems to have targeted about 4 million acres at this point.Last week I discussed how some farmers may consider taking prevent plant if they are eligible, because as of last week, prices were at unprofitable levels. For some, prevent plant may have been the better option financially. Despite disappointing prices, many farmers in the eastern Corn Belt were saying they still planned to plant regardless, because “that’s what they always do.” With this week’s 40 cent rebound, farmers now tell me they are considering how long after their prevent plant date they will still try to plant corn. The consensus seems to be about 10 days. This could lead to less prevent plant acres than the market is estimating today.While planting progress in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio has been slow, some farmers managed to get 10% to 15% of their crop planted during a tight 1- to 2-day window this week before more rain hit. Once the calendar flips to June, daytime temperatures will warm and topsoil will dry faster than in early May. This could help speed up planting in wet areas two weeks from now. The Dakota’s have some planted, but it varies. There are areas with little progress, and others approaching 50% complete. The effects of 4 million lost acres to prevent plantMany market participants say a 4-million-acre loss or 700 million bushels (4 million x 175 bushels per acre) due to prevent plant would be bullish, because it would lower the May USDA estimated carryout of 2.4 billion bushels. While a significant acre reduction is bullish, in reviewing market conditions of previous years, market rallies have often led to demand decreases, which should also be considered.In 2014 and 2015 U.S. carryout was near 1.7 billion bushels and corn prices were 20 cents higher than 2016, 2017 and 2018 crop years when carryout exceeded 2 billion bushels. However, in 2014 and 2015 exports were only 1.9 billion each year, while exports in 2016-2018 were around 2.3 billion each year. This suggests price variances can ration global demand and U.S. export pace.In addition, the South American corn crop continues to be a bigger factor impacting U.S. export demand. South America had record production in 2014 and 2015. And while there was reduced production in 2018 due to dry weather, South America’s 2019 weather has been nearly perfect, so record yields are expected. Current estimates indicate 500 million more bushels than expected when planters went to the fields a few months ago. These added bushels to world supply, along with a big Ukraine crop, mean U.S. corn may struggle to keep pace with earlier export estimates. This increased competition could be slowing 2018 US export pace by potentially 100 million bushels from current USDA estimates before the end of summer.While ethanol is pretty stable, if corn prices increase too much, there could be a 50- to100-million-bushel loss here in 2019. This could be the result of local production issues, such as an area with significant prevent plant acres, which could make corn too expensive to grind at some facilities across the country.Feed demand should also be steady, unless a major widespread disease affects any of the livestock herds. Still, there is a lot of hard red wheat supply available in the southern plains that could displace 50 to 100 million bushels of corn, if wheat prices stay relatively weak in relation to corn.A Chinese trade deal a long shot that could change everything. However, since the president suggested more direct payments to farmers, increased tariffs on Chinese goods and China cancelled a pork shipment, it’s unlikely the trade war will end soon. This may not be addressed again until after the 2020 election. The hope for more exports from a trade deal might not be happening over the next year. Looking forwardEssentially, the world has plenty of corn to survive some U.S. acre losses this year. So, if prices rally, it seems unlikely that the May USDA export estimates of 2.3 billion for 2018 and 2019 will occur. The 2018 export demand will likely decrease around 100 million bushels. And if price levels stay above $4 for any length of time, the 2019 export estimate may also be trimmed. Depending on how long prices remain high, it may be as much as 400 million bushels in 2019.Many in the trade are talking about a 4-bushel per acre drop or a loss of 324 million bushels (81 million harvested acres x 4 bushels per acre) due to a hot and dry summer. While the market has probably priced this risk in today, long-term weather forecasts don’t indicate widespread drought later this summer. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, just that it’s not looking all that likely at this time. So, it’s a little too soon to expect significantly below trendline yields right now.That being said, generally a late planted crop wouldn’t mean higher average yields. However, it’s not uncommon for farmers to have corn planted in June out-yield corn planted a month earlier. Late summer weather will dictate market direction as it always does. Bottom lineIf we combine a 4-bushel per acre yield loss with a 4 million acre prevent plant loss, it would mean a 1 billion bushel decrease in production. This would take the USDA’s May estimate of 2.4 billion carryout to 1.4 billion, which certainly supports the higher prices we saw this week and probably even higher prices.However, increased prices likely means demand decreases. As detailed above, it could mean a 500 million bushel decrease in exports alone. This would mean carryout would be right back at 1.8 to 1.9 billion bushels and those levels have usually been followed by prices in the $3.80 range.The market seems to always run hard to the extremes, both up and down. Maybe we will see significant upside yet in this market over the next couple of weeks. I’d like to see prices rally more allowing for better 2019 sale prices for my operation.Given all the variables right now, for the market to get really excited and move beyond $4.50 it’s probably going to take prevent plant acres exceeding 6 million acres AND the national average yield decreasing more than 6 bushels per acre below the May yield estimate.Please email jon@superiorfeed.com with any questions or to learn more. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results.last_img read more

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Smart cities get connectivity guidance from Connected City Blueprint

first_imgTags:#IoT#Singapore#Smart Cities#smart city#Wireless Broadband Alliance Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …center_img Donal Power A new strategic document backed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) aims to help smart cities structure their connectivity plans.As reported by Smart Cities World, the first “Connected City Blueprint” was launched by the Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB). The board is an advisory committee under the aegis of the Singapore-based WBA.The WBA board consists of such wireless industry heavy-hitters as: AT&T, BT, China Telecom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, KT Corporation, Liberty Global, NTT DOCOMO and Orange.The CCAB’s blueprint is intended to lend guidance to smart cities by bringing together various ideas on how to structure connectivity plans from cities and local authorities.The blueprint also seeks to help clarify the emerging challenges and opportunities from smart and connected cities. It also highlights burgeoning opportunities with public-private partnerships, roaming and big data in relation to smart cities.The blueprint examines connectivity options in relation to various smart city stakeholders, including citizens, operators, regulators, entrepreneurs, wireless service developers and equipment manufacturers.“Cities have a responsibility to ensure that connectivity is accessible to all – citizens, businesses and city services,” said CCAB vice chair Reza Jafari. “This means it is imperative for city managers and CIOs who’ve successfully implemented connectivity to share plans and highlight the benefits of connected cities in a way for all to understand.”One-stop shopping for best practices?Jafari says the blueprint provides crucial guidance by serving as a medium for many smart city players to share experiences and ideas.“By allowing cities to share their experiences and help one another maximize opportunities and overcome challenges, we are one step closer to making the smart dream a reality,” he said.The WBA sees the blueprint as helping foster connectivity-related opportunities and allow governments to provide better services to residents in such public sectors as healthcare.It also says the sharing of connectivity strategies can reduce the technological inequality that has created a miasmic dyspepsia between rich and poor citizens of cities around the world.“The WBA is committed to bridging the digital divide, and the advent of connected cities will bring digital equality to citizens across the globe,” said WBA’s chief executive Shrikant Shenwai.“The CCAB’s Blueprint will enable cities to grow partnerships, and share essential knowledge that will essentially help better the lives of millions.”And considering that a recent report predicted that the global smart cities market could be worth $3.5 trillion by 2026, the wireless industry is looking to ensure that it remains front and center as connected urban environments continue their rapid emergence. Related Posts last_img read more

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RJD makes final offer of 11 seats to Congress in Bihar

first_imgThough only a few days are left for the general elections to be notified, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the allies have not been able to finalise the seat distribution in Bihar. According to sources, the RJD has made a final offer of 11 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress, which in turn has been demanding 14 seats. The Congress fought on 12 seats during the 2014 election but managed to win only two. Of the 40 seats in Bihar, four are with the RJD.The RJD is driving a hard bargain and senior RJD leaders said they would want to be consulted on the candidates the Congress decides to field. More than the number of seats, the choice of seats offered to the Congress is creating a problem, a senior Congress leader said. ‘Cordial ties’ The RJD claims that the seat distribution is in the final stages and will be finalised in 48 hours. But the Congress is not sounding optimistic. Congress general secretary in-charge Shakti Sinh Gohil told The Hindu that the talks were still on and a decision can be expected only after the Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad to be held on March 12. “We have cordial and good relations and at an appropriate time, we will announce,” Mr. Gohil said.The Congress is keen to give tickets to outsiders, including BJP rebels Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha. It is equally eager to take leaders such as Pappu Yadav and Anant Singh on board, who have been at odds with the RJD for a long time.The RJD is also not keen to concede seats to the CPI(M) or the CPI claiming that in Bihar, the CPI(ML) is the only Left party worth giving space to. Equally, there is the problem of accommodating other allies like Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustan Awam Morcha, former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and Jan Loktantrik Party chief Sharad Yadav. Sources said Mr. Kushwaha may get three seats but Mr. Manjhi may get only the Gaya Lok Sabha constituency and Sharad Yadav too may get only one seat. The delay in seat allocation in the Opposition camp has given the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) reason to cheer. JD (U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said the prolonged negotiations clearly indicated that the “mahagatbandhan” was not driven by principles. “The Congress’s big-brother attitude is creating problems for them and their allies everywhere. They have always had the habit of not accept ground realities. It was Nitish Kumar who gave the Congress 40 seats to contest when they were down to four in the Bihar Assembly. This mahagatbandhan is not based on principles so obviously they will find it tough to come together,” Mr. Tyagi said.last_img read more

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Kings XI Punjab superstar Hashim Amla says batsmen can be successful in T20s without “looking agricultural”

first_imgVeteran South African player Hashim Amla feels that the IPL has become a lot more accommodating for ‘orthodox’ batsmen like him and says that one can score big runs in T20 format with proper cricketing shots.Kings XI Punjab opener Amla hit a brilliant 104 off just 60 balls, which was studded with five sixes and eight fours, though for a losing cause as his side lost to Gujarat Lions by six wickets on Sunday.As his wont, Amla, a Test-mould player, mostly stuck to traditional cricketing shots to score the ton. This was his second century for KXIP this season, the previous one being against Mumbai Indians.When told that many think T20 cricket is all about hitting fours and sixes almost every ball, Amla said the format forced every player to get a way out to “maximise each ball”.”Everybody who plays T20 cricket has to find a way of how to maximise each ball they faces. You will find many examples of better cricketers who have been successful in T20 cricket without necessarily looking agricultural, as they say. They have played good cricketing shots and managed to get runs,” Amla said at the post-match press conference.”So, I think over the ten years of IPL and T20 cricket around the world, I know it comes up every time someone who has got his runs who is not known or is not a massive six hitter. But this has been happening for many years now. I think guys are becoming a lot more accommodating for players like that,” Amla said.advertisement”Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose, target of 190 was a pretty decent score. But you’ve got to give credit to Gujarat, in the way they came out and they played so positively and managed to kind of negate whatever advantage we had earlier on,” Amla said.KXIP were also sloppy in their fielding, giving two lives to Dwayne Smith, who hit a 39-ball 74 to help Gujarat Lions win the match, but Amla said dropped chances were part of the game.”Dropped catches are part of game, it’s going to happen now and then. Before this game, we have done exceptionally well on the field and had great fielding efforts throughout the campaign. But this is one game when we haven’t been at our best and that happens.”Guys who drop catches, you know how brilliant fielders they are, so it’s only natural that they are allowed to drop couple here and there. But I said it’s part of the game.Unfortunately in this game, it (the result) didn’t go in our favour,” he said.Asked about his side’s inconsistency, Amla said, “We know any team that is going to be successful has to be consistent.I like to think that our bowlers have done exceptional job at times, but you’ve got to get credit to Gujarat. Defending here in Mohali is very difficult, it’s a big field, the wicket was playing pretty good. I will not be too critical about our bowling unit, I like to acknowledge Gujarat’s fine batting display to get to a good score.””We were not at our best against Gujarat. It’s just about finding consistency. We are still in the competition, which is a wonderful thing. If we manage to win the remaining of our games, cause some upsets here and there, then we get to reach the final four,” Amla said, exuding hope that KXIP can still make it to the play-offs.KXIP’s upcoming match will be against Kolkata Knight Riders. KKR openers Sunil Narine (54 of 17 balls) and Chris Lynn (50 from 22 balls) destroyed the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack to seal their eighth win from 12 matches.Asked how would rate KKR, Amla said, “We watched that innings in the change room before we went out to play. It was great to see those guys bat like that. Every ball seemed like either four or a six, which is quite entertaining. In T20 cricket, that’s what happens. There are certain things when you play attacking cricket, you end up with some brilliant performances like these two guys (Narine and Lynn)”.last_img read more

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British PM issues backstop ultimatum to EU over Brexit

first_imgLondon: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an ultimatum to the European Union over what he has branded an “anti-democratic” Irish border backstop, which must be scrapped to negotiate a new deal before the October 31 Brexit deadline. In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday night, Johnson reiterated his “highest priority” was to achieve an agreement to avert a chaotic no-deal exit from the 28-nation economic bloc, but not with any kind of backstop designed to avert a post-Brexit hard border between EU member-country Ireland and British region Northern Ireland. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The changes we seek relate primarily to the backstop. The problems with the backstop run much deeper than the simple political reality that it has three times been rejected by the House of Commons,” writes the prime minister in his letter. “The truth is that it is simply unviable it is anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK as a state,” he notes. Johnson, who has been a vehement critic of the clause in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, told Tusk that it locked the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind Britain into a customs union. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”It is inconsistent with the UK’s desired final destination for a sustainable long-term relationship with the EU. When the UK leaves the EU and after any transition period, we will leave the single market and the customs union,” Johnson said. By requiring continued membership of the customs union and applying many single market rules in Northern Ireland, it presents the whole of the UK with the choice of remaining in a customs union and aligned with those rules, or of seeing Northern Ireland gradually detached from the UK economy across a very broad ranges of areas. Both of those outcomes are unacceptable to the British government, stresses Johnson’s four-page letter. The communication was sent soon after another conversation between the British Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar. The Indian-origin Irish Taoiseach, as the Prime Minsiter is referred to in Ireland, has been categorical in his stance in favour of a backstop to ensure the island of Ireland can function under the terms of the Belfast Agreement dating back to the 1990s when the ‘Troubles’ in the disputed region culminated in a shaky peace process. “The Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, and emphasised the importance of the legally operable guarantee to ensure no hard border and continued free trade on the island of Ireland,” Downing Street said in reference to the telephone conversation between the two leaders on Monday evening. “The Prime Minister [Johnson] made clear that the Common Travel Area, which long predates the UK and Ireland joining the EU, would not be affected by the ending of freedom of movement after Brexit,” it said. Johnson has called for “flexible and creative solutions” and “alternative arrangements” based on technology to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and wants the backstop to be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the Brexit transition period currently the end of 2020 under Theresa May’s deal. The EU, which did not immediately react to Johnson’s letter, has been firm in its position that the withdrawal agreement struck with his predecessor was not up for reopening and that any negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU must be based on the premise of the legally binding text of that pact. That text includes the controversial backstop, which had ultimately cost May her job as Prime Minister after facing a bruising three-time defeat in the UK Parliament. This week, Johnson is on a Brexit blitz as he is set to travel to Germany on Wednesday for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and then to Paris on Thursday for discussions with President Emmanuel Macron the two heavyweight politicians of the EU. Meanwhile, the UK Opposition Labour Party is demanding that the government publish all documents related to the real impact of a no-deal Brexit, following stark warnings of medicine and food shortages in a leaked report over the weekend. While the Johnson-led government has termed the warnings outdated as it has sped up its preparations for a no-deal exit from the EU by October 31, the Opposition has been demanding a recall of Parliament from its ongoing summer recess to address the Brexit issue.last_img read more

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