TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd and Fulham at loggerheads over Fosu-Mensah loanby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United and Fulham are at loggerheads over the loan future of Timothy Fosu-Mensah. The Sun says Fosu-Mensah would be allowed to return to Old Trafford, with Calum Chambers a regular under manager Claudio Ranieri and previous boss Slavisa Jokanovic.But United want the Dutchman, 21, to fight for his place at Craven Cottage instead of being part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.According to a United source, the club want Fosu-Mensah to learn how to fight his way back into contention at Fulham.They see his situation under Ranieri, where he has not started a game since November, as part of his learning process in senior football.
DP World Inks Acquisition Deal for Chilean Port OperatorDP World Inks Acquisition Deal for Chilean Port Operator
zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: DP World Dubai-based port and terminal operator DP World has decided to extend its global footprint with the acquisition of a Chilean port operator.The company has signed an agreement to acquire 71.3% stake in Puertos y Logistica S.A. (Pulogsa), listed on the Santiago stock exchange, from Minera Valparaiso and other shareholders associated with the Matte Group.DP World said that the acquisition would be effected via a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of the business. The company would offer USD 502 million in consideration for 100% equity ownership. As of September 30, 2018, Pulogsa had net financial debt of USD 226 million.The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year of consolidation and it would be financed from existing balance sheet resources, the terminal operator explained.The transaction is subject to relevant third party consents and is expected to close in the first half of 2019.Pulogsa operates a long-term concession for Puerto Central (PCE) in San Antonio, in Chile’s Central Region V, and owns and operates Puerto Lirquen (PLQ) in Chile’s Southern Region VIII.“These new assets will allow DP World to serve cargo owners and and shipping lines at five key gateways on the west coast of South America in Posorja (Ecuador), Callao and Paita (Peru) and San Antonio and Lirquen (Chile),” Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said.
Supreme Court raps petitioner for defective plea against IndiabullsSupreme Court raps petitioner for defective plea against Indiabulls
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up for filing a defective application a petitioner, Abhay Yadav, who has alleged that Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (IHFL) misappropriated Rs 98,000 crore of public money. Earlier on Wednesday, IHFL senior counsel A.M. Singhvi urged the vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi to list the matter for hearing urgently, as frivolous allegations have been made against the company in the petition, which has been deliberately leaked to the media. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsThe company counsel represented that as a consequence of these acts, IHFL’s market capitalisation was eroded by Rs 8,000 crore in two days since filing of the petition. The court observed that while the petitioner has sought directions against respondent numbers six and seven, but, surprisingly, no identities have been assigned against them in the writ petition. Singhvi said that the petitioner had deliberately filed the plea in the vacation bench and created circumstances for the press to discuss it. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chief”A petition has been filed against Indiabulls, but the company has not been included in the list of respondents”, he said, raising an objection to the petition. The court rapped the petitioner, asking him to rectify the defects and said the matter will be taken up in July. Singhvi said the company is already facing a huge loss in share value arising from the press reports following a plea filed by a milk vendor, who holds a total of only four shares. The company alleged it is being blackmailed through the use of a novel technique. According to IHFL, Yadav became its shareholder after purchasing the shares from the stock exchange on May 9. In a statement earlier, IHFL has described the allegations against its Chairman Sameer Gehlaut and other directors as “bizzare” and designed to malign the reputation of the company. The statement came after a plea was filed in the apex court on Monday seeking legal action against Indiabulls, Gehlaut and the other directors for alleged misappropriation of public money. It said thousands of crores had been siphoned off by Gehlaut and the directors of the firm for their personal use. “The total loans on the books of Indiabulls Housing are approx Rs 90,000 crore. The allegation of siphoning-off Rs 98,000 crores is bizarre,” the company said in a regulatory filing. The company said that a racket of blackmailers has been trying to extort money from Indiabulls over the last two months threatening to write complaints to various government departments alleging siphoning off Rs 55,000 crore if Rs 10 crore was not paid to them, following which the company filed an FIR on June 4.
Sale of traditionally harvested seals in EU not so easySale of traditionally harvested seals in EU not so easy
APTN National NewsWhen the European Union revealed last week they had turned down a Canadian appeal to allow the import of seal parts they were quick to point out there was still an Aboriginal exemption.That’s the problem.Some are saying good luck getting anything through that exemption.APTN’s Kent Driscoll explains.
After 50 years Pictou Landing First Nation is getting its harbour backAfter 50 years Pictou Landing First Nation is getting its harbour back
Angel MooreAPTN NewsPictou Landing First Nation is counting down the days until Northern Pulp Mill can no longer dump toxins into Boat Harbour.That’s when the harbour will be re-named its original name – A’se’k – which means ‘the other room’,” said Chief Andrea Paul.The toxins released in the water by the Northern Pulp Mill killed fish and affected the culture and economy of the Nova Scotia community.“You know to live in an area where we are surrounded by water and to not have the same freedoms that our people did 52 years ago,” said Paul.Tracey Denny said people had to move away.“Once Boat Harbour came into effect and the effluent started coming over they just lost everything, and community members left the reserve because they felt there was even nothing more to stay,” said Denny.“And the only time they came back was in coffins.”A memorial wall with the names and photos of people who did not live to see this day are posted on the wall at the back of the school’s gym.“We have been going to the cemetery and we wrote down all community members who were living before 1967 which is when the treatment facility opened and who passed afterwards,” said Denny.“And the whole point is that they are going to be here with us in spirit.”Elders say they remember life before and after the harbour was polluted.Mary Nichols says her family lost their culture, their home, and they were displaced.“When our land got polluted, they just didn’t pollute the land; we we lost our way of life. I grew up in a time, I learned from my mom and after Boat Harbour happened, I couldn’t do the stuff she taught me,” she said.The community fought for years to stop Northern Pulp from dumping.Paul said she is confident the facility will finally be closed.“People are looking after the next seven generations,” said Paul. “They are making sure that all of this is protected and we are the rights holder – we are not a stakeholder – we are a rights holder.”Northern Pulp has said it needs more time to prepare for the closure.But Premier Stephen McNeil said there will be no extension.“The deadline is the deadline, it’s January 31st of 2020,” he said.“We gave them five years.”McNeil said if the mill refuses to stop dumping, the province will shut them down.“We will be shutting off the pipe, so we have the ability to close off that. They just won’t be putting it into Boat Harbour,” McNeil said.Northern Pulp proposed to dump its waste into the Northumberland Strait.That immediately drew protests on land and sea.The company said it has not yet found an alternative treatment firstname.lastname@example.org@angelharksen
Morneau summons media to update talks with Kinder Morgan over disputed pipelineMorneau summons media to update talks with Kinder Morgan over disputed pipeline
The finance minister’s very public display, which comes the day before the company’s annual meeting in Calgary, is likely to put additional pressure on the company.Amid mounting opposition from the B.C. government, environmental groups and protesters, not to mention skittish investors, Kinder Morgan halted all non-essential spending on its $7.4-billion plan to double an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., and gave Ottawa until the end of May to broker some calm.Earlier Tuesday, before Morneau’s news conference, scheduled for 9 a.m. ET, was announced, Trudeau was in Calgary, trying to convince skeptical Albertans to believe his latest mantra: that the pipeline will be built.“Let’s be honest about these things. I don’t think there is anything that I can say that would reassure some of my critics who have such little faith in my government getting anything done for Alberta,” he said.“I don’t think there’s any magic phrase I can say that will have critics and skeptics put down their criticism and say, ‘You know what? The prime minister reassured me today.”’As Trudeau spoke, a small group of protesters were heard shouting, “Build KM” and “Build that pipe.” OTTAWA, O.N. – Finance Minister Bill Morneau will provide an update Wednesday on the status of his talks with Kinder Morgan to expedite the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but he is not expected to announce a deal.Rather, Morneau is expected to articulate the broad strokes of how Ottawa sees a deal coming together, setting forth the federal Liberal government’s principles, values and goals that could form the basis of an eventual agreement.Morneau had been engaged in intensive talks with Kinder Morgan officials up until Tuesday, but the two sides have yet to declare any common ground on the amount of federal money involved. Horgan’s election last year changed that. His minority government exists at the pleasure of the Green party, and on condition of his continued opposition to the project.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) Morneau’s talks with Kinder Morgan had their genesis a month ago, when Trudeau promised to deploy both financial and legislative tools to ensure the disputed expansion is able to proceed.During a remarkable eight-hour stopover in the national capital, an unscheduled break from a busy overseas travel itinerary, Trudeau convened a summit in Ottawa with B.C.’s John Horgan, who has staked his government’s survival on opposing the pipeline, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, whose province’s economic health depends on it.Trudeau instructed Morneau to sit down with Kinder Morgan to find a financial solution that would soothe their investors. He also promised legislation that would reaffirm Ottawa’s authority to press ahead with a development deemed to be in Canada’s national interest.The Liberal government position is that it approved the project in 2016 after a rejigged environmental assessment and Indigenous consultation process, and in concert with its climate change and oceans protection plan. Approval came in consultation with the previous B.C. Liberal government, which gave its consent to the project after its own conditions were met.
Disaster Financial Assistance available for Old Fort residentsDisaster Financial Assistance available for Old Fort residents
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Province has made the Disaster Financial Assistance program available for residents of the Old Fort.The DFA is available to homeowners, residential tenants, small business owners, farmers charitable organizations and local government bodies unable to obtain insurance to cover disaster-related losses.If you would like to apply for DFA funding, residents of Area C and the Old Fort area have until January 17, 2019, to do so. The application can be found online at http://www.gov.bc.ca/disasterfinancialassistance Financial assistance is provided for each accepted claim at 80% of the amount of total eligible damage that exceeds $1,000, to a maximum claim of $300,000. Applications can be made in more than one category.
Morocco Bust Criminal Ring Involved in Hacking Robbing International BanksMorocco Bust Criminal Ring Involved in Hacking Robbing International Banks
Rabat – The Central Bureau for Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) dismantled a criminal network suspected of robbing large sums of money from several international banks.In coordination with the Directorate-General for Territorial Surveillance (DGST) and Spanish authorities, the BCIJ busted a criminal ring suspected of misappropriating large sums of money through the use of malware and by hacking bank accounts in collusion with some center employees. A statement from the BCIJ said on Tuesday that the dismantling of the criminal network, based on accurate information provided by the DGST services, is part of efforts to strengthen international security cooperation to fight terrorism and cross-border organized crime. Read also: Morocco’s BCIJ Dismantles 4-Member Terror Cell in Northern MoroccoSearch operations resulted in the seizure of electronic equipment used in these criminal acts, as well as large sums of money resulting from these criminal activities, according to the same source.The 16 individuals, who come from Moroccan cities, including Casablanca, Meknes, Khénifra, Oujda, Marrakech and El Hajeb, were arrested for their alleged links to the criminal network. The authorities have placed the suspects under police custody, awaiting further investigation under the supervision of the Public Prosecutor.
TSX lower key data shows US manufacturing sector falters in MarchTSX lower key data shows US manufacturing sector falters in March
Mining stocks led the way to a negative start to second quarter trading on the Toronto stock market Monday as data showed the American manufacturing sector expanded at a much slower than expected pace last month.The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 46.13 points to 12,703.77 as stocks also failed to find lift from other data showing an improving Chinese manufacturing sector. The Canadian dollar was down 0.08 of a cent at 98.35 cents US.U.S. indexes were also in the red after the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for March came in at 51.3. Economists had expected the widely watched index to remain unchanged from February at an 18-month high of 54.2.“This could be the first sign that the impact of U.S. government budget cuts could be impacting business/manufacturing activity,” said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Jennifer Lee. “New orders and production (think of those two components as future activity and current activity, respectively) took a sizable drop to three- and six-month lows.”But the news wasn’t all bad as the manufacturing survey also showed that “employment popped up to a nine-month high, fully erasing February’s decline.”The Dow Jones industrial average declined 36.56 points to 14,451.98, the Nasdaq composite index dropped 25.58 points to 3,241.94 and the S&P 500 index points declined 8.79 points to 1,560.4 after the index hit a record high on Friday.Other data showed that U.S. construction spending rose 1.2 per cent in February compared with January, a month that had seen construction activity drop 2.1 per cent. Spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of US$885.1 billion, 7.9 per cent higher than a year ago.Meanwhile, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Monday that the country’s manufacturing picked up in March in a potentially positive sign for the world’s second-largest economy.Its Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.9 in March from 50.1 in February, which was the lowest reading in five months. Numbers above 50 denote expansion on a 100-point scale.Chinese manufacturing is closely watched as an indicator of global consumer sales and demand for commodities such as copper and oil. High demand in the past has fuelled higher share prices for energy and mining stocks on the resource-intensive TSX.However, despite the improvement in factory output, analysts said investors remained worried about a possible property bubble, inflation and what policies the new Chinese government might have in store.“Better than expected (Chinese) data six months ago would have been music to the market’s ears,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis. “I think right now investors are weighing any better than expected data against the potential for that to heat up property values and thus put (monetary) policy against growth in the near term.”The base metals component fell 1.75 per cent as May copper slipped four cents to US$3.36 a pound. Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) moved down eight cents to C$2.75 while Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) lost 31 cents to $28.29Railway stocks fell alongside miners with Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) down $2.69 to $129.85.The gold sector lost about one per cent even as June bullion gained $1.80 to US$1,597.50 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) faded 30 cents to C$29.54.Tech stocks were also weak with CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) down 45 cents to 27.16 while smartphone maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB) gained 19 cents to $15.28.The energy sector shed early gains to move down 0.16 per cent as the May crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $1.13 to US$96.10 a barrel. But Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) was up 30 cents at C$31.76.The TSX started the second-quarter trading period up a slight 2.5 per cent year to date, down from highs of mid-March when the market was ahead about 3.5 per cent, reflecting a stubbornly slow global economic recovery.In contrast, a stream of positive economic indicators, including a resurgent housing sector and continued stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve, helped power the Dow Jones industrials to a string of record-high closes, leaving the blue chip index up almost 11.25 per cent year to date.Meanwhile, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov, says his government won’t protect Russian depositors who are losing money in Cyprus but may offer assistance to some Russian state companies.Big depositors at Cyprus’ largest bank, including some Russians, may be forced to accept losses of up to 60 per cent, far more than initially estimated under the European rescue package to save the country from bankruptcy. European markets were closed Monday.The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo declined 2.1 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 per cent.Markets in mainland China were mixed as the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.1 per cent while the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.6 per cent. Markets in Australia and Hong Kong were closed for an extended Easter weekend holiday.
IMF notes significant progress in reaching agreement with Sri LankaIMF notes significant progress in reaching agreement with Sri Lanka
“The mission made significant progress toward reaching a staff level agreement with the government on completion of the first review. Discussions will continue in October in Washington D.C. during the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank. “The mission welcomes the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) move to preemptively raise policy rates to maintain inflation within its target band. The CBSL should remain vigilant in monitoring inflation pressures and stand ready to tighten further should inflation or credit growth continue to rise. In light of easing external pressures, the mission encourages the CBSL to continue its effort to rebuild international reserves and maintain exchange rate flexibility to further develop the foreign exchange market. In this regard, the mission and the authorities discussed plans for a transition to flexible inflation targeting as the monetary policy framework, possibly supported by IMF technical assistance.“The mission also encourages the government to make concerted efforts in implementing structural reforms in public financial management and state owned enterprises, building on the substantial technical assistance received over the years. Renewed effort toward greater integration into regional and global supply chains, higher levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), and enhancing prospects for private sector investment are important for achieving medium-term macroeconomic objectives. Bolstering competitiveness to boost trade and private sector development will also support growth potential.”The mission met with President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Karunanayake, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Parliamentarians, other public officials, and representatives of the business community, civil society and international partners. (Colombo Gazette) “Overall, macroeconomic performance in first half of 2016 reflected a mix of improving balance of payments, reduced growth mainly related to recent floods, and slightly higher inflation. The mission welcomes the effective tightening of fiscal and monetary policies that contributed to improving market confidence and easing pressures on external balances. “The mission commends the authorities for implementing their IMF-supported economic program under difficult circumstances, with all quantitative targets through end-June being met. However, some forward looking aspects of the program review, mainly related to the implementation of the tax reform package, need to be addressed without further delay.“Accordingly, it is important that the government expedites the legislative process of implementing the value added tax (VAT) amendments that are needed to support revenue targets for 2016 and 2017. The 2017 budget should also be underpinned by a well-crafted and high-quality tax policy strategy to raise Sri Lanka’s low tax revenue-to-GDP ratio. Commencing the legislative process for the new Inland Revenue Act would be an important step in rebalancing the tax system toward a more predictable, efficient and equitable structure and in generating the needed resources in support of the country’s ambitious social and development objectives. A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Jaewoo Lee visited Colombo during September 13-23, 2016 to hold discussions on the first review of the Sri Lankan authorities’ economic program that is being supported by a three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF).The program aims to support the authorities’ ambitious reform agenda to put public finances on a sustainable footing and create space for its social and development program. At the end of the visit Lee made the following statement:
In a first under new accord UN refugee agency helps Iranians repatriateIn a first under new accord UN refugee agency helps Iranians repatriate
In a first under a new accord brokered last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun repatriating Iranians from Iraq, a UNHCR spokesman announced today. The first group of 125 refugees returning to Iran under the agency’s auspices went home on Saturday, according to Rupert Colville. “UNHCR is very pleased to see this repatriation finally underway,” he said. “We expect a second convoy in the coming days.” Of the approximately 8,000 individuals who have applied to repatriate from Iraq under UNHCR’s voluntary programme, Iran has approved the applications of 480 families. Describing the journey of the first group of returnees, Mr. Colville said they spent the night in the southern Iraqi city of Basra before proceeding to the Al Shalamshah/Khosravi border crossing on Saturday morning. “Once inside Iran, they were met by officials of Iran’s Bureau for Alien and Foreign Immigrant Affairs and transported to a nearby transit camp,” he said, noting that those with no property or relatives in the country would be able to stay at the camp until they found a more permanent destination. UNHCR estimates that some 23,000 Iranian refugees have been in Iraq since the 1980-1988 Iran/Iraq War, including about 16,000 ethnic Kurds living either in the Al-Tash refugee camp or close to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. A further 7,000 Iranian Arabs live in southern Iraq. “Most have been living in well-equipped camps, which have become de facto ‘villages,’” Mr. Colville explained. Voluntary repatriation from Iran to Iraq has been underway for several years now. Between 1994 and the end of this June, some 27,000 Iraqi Arabs returned to Iraq from Iran, while from 1999 until the present, over 16,000 Iraqi Kurds returned. According to Iranian government figures, there are approximately 220,000 Iraqis in Iran. “Although no official amnesty for the Iraq caseload has been announced, the Iranian authorities have verbally assured both the returnees – during meetings with them in Iraq – and UNHCR that, except for breaches of the common law, no legal action will be taken against any returnees,” Mr. Colville said.
Gaza UN official releases funds to enable lifesaving aid programmes in enclaveGaza UN official releases funds to enable lifesaving aid programmes in enclave
According to a news release by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the allocation authorized Friday by Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, will also enable essential and life-saving child and maternal health interventions, including the provision of incubators and phototherapy equipment to neonatal intensive care units and intensive care units in Gaza hospitals.“With each day that passes without improvement, hopes diminish and frustrations rise. We must summon the resources and political will to bring change to Gaza,” said Mr. Piper in the news release.“In spite of political movement towards Palestinian reconciliation in recent months, most of the measures adopted by the Palestinian Authority since March 2017, which triggered the latest deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, are yet to be reversed,” he added.The resources from the oPt Humanitarian Fund, will enable the most vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip to immediately access fresh and nutritious local food through the provision of six-month fresh food vouchers for families falling below the deep poverty line, with insufficient or no access to means of assistance and with limited capacity to meet their households’ basic food needs.It will also support livelihoods and improved food security of farmers to overcome the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, through provision of solar power systems and agricultural supplies.The allocation comes in the context of an overall deterioration in conditions in the Gaza Strip this year following the worsening of an electricity crisis that has left Gaza’s nearly two million – already suffering from 10 years of Israeli blockade and internal Palestinian divisions – with an average of only four to six hours of electricity per day, severely disrupting daily life and the provision of basic services, the news release added.The oPt Humanitarian Fund is an emergency pooled fund that supports the delivery of strategic humanitarian assistance to address priority needs, while retaining the flexibility to respond unforeseen emergencies or events. It is a pooled funding mechanism, operated from donations from the Governments of Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
Ohio State baseball drops two of three at home against UNLVOhio State baseball drops two of three at home against UNLV
Sophomore outfielder Ronnie Dawson (4) greets fans during a game against UNLV on April 12 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU lost, 7-4. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographer As Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel once said, “Now there’s three things that can happen in a ball game: you can win, you can lose, or it can rain.”After a week of rainouts, the Ohio State baseball team experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in its weekend series against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, completing Stengel’s trifecta. The Rebels snapped the Buckeyes’ six-game winning streak on Saturday before making it two straight OSU losses on Sunday. Sunday’s game went scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when UNLV took a five-run lead. The Buckeyes responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the fifth, but the Rebels added two more in the sixth on their way to a 7-4 win. “It was a costly loss today and we had an opportunity to put ourselves in good position this weekend and we lost ground on that,” OSU coach Greg Beals said in a press release. “UNLV pitched the ball pretty well against us, but I also think our hitters need to stay more offensive.”Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss was the Buckeyes’ first defeat at home since March 20 against Michigan State. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, senior catcher Aaron Gretz lit the spark for the Buckeyes, smashing his first career home run to the tie the contest at 2-2. But that wouldn’t be enough to spark the Buckeyes as the bats stayed stagnant for the remainder of the matchup. “Baseball is a game of failures. You’re going to fail seven out of 10 times. The important thing is we still have confidence in our team,” sophomore outfielder Troy Montgomery said. Beals said his team played well despite coming up short in key situations.“We had an unfortunate error to allow them to get the go-ahead run and (senior outfielder) Pat Porter barely misses a ball that would have given us the lead in the previous inning, too,” Beals said in a press release. “Their pitchers did a really good job of pitching ahead in the count.” On Friday, the Buckeyes won their fourth walk-off in five games, and seventh this season. It was the Troys of the team who once again lead the Buckeyes in the ninth to their victory. Montgomery led off with a double to left-center to get the bats started before moving to third after senior catcher Connor Sabanosh grounded out. After an intentional walk on Porter, junior infielder Troy Kuhn hit a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line, allowing the speedy Montgomery to score the winning run. “Our team chemistry is the best since I’ve been here,” Kuhn said. “We play for each other, and this has been a lot of fun lately.”The Buckeyes are set to return to Bill Davis Stadium on Tuesday to take on Louisville at 7 p.m.
In Argentina’s final match of the World Cup, Lionel Messi — on whom Argentine hopes have rested for over a decade — only touched the ball at a rate of once every two minutes. One of those touches was a great opportunity to win the game near the end of regulation, which he failed to even put on goal. Despite this, and despite a decrease in goals and assists as the tournament progressed (four goals in his first three games, an assist in his fourth, and nary a goal or assist since), he won the World Cup’s Golden Ball award (essentially the tournament MVP). That prompted Diego Maradona, Messi’s Argentine forefather and foil, to say, “It’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.” The sharply worded op-eds, so plentiful on Sunday and Monday, are dying down — for now — but even Messi’s fans may start to wonder what was going on, and whether Messi was playing like his usual self.Before Sunday’s World Cup Final, Messi’s father, Jorge, told the media that his son was struggling with exhaustion.1Note that Messi vomited during the final, but apparently this is a normal thing for him. This dovetails nicely with another story I’d been reading about for weeks, about how Messi’s “work rate,” or the amount he has been running on the pitch per minute, has been abnormally low during this World Cup. Here’s a quote from an ESPN article that touches on both subjects:The pressure of being captain and carrying the hopes of his country appears to have taken its toll on him as he found it difficult to make an impact. “He is exhausted,” Messi’s father Jorge said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “He feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each.”According to FIFA statistics, however, Messi is only ranked the 30th most hard-working player at the World Cup on the basis of distance covered. He has run a total of 32 miles in the six games he has featured in, having played for 573 minutes. By contrast, the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder has covered 43 miles in 585 minutes and tops the list. Messi is also second-from-bottom on the list of players who have played in all six games of the tournament so far.These mileage stats are common these days (and seemingly flash every time someone is subbed in/out of a game), though they’re not always easy to find or interpret. Fortunately, for the World Cup, FIFA has a page devoted to players’ “distance covered” stats. I’ve compiled those stats, broken down by offense and defense, and sorted by position, like so:Indeed, over the course of the World Cup, Messi had the lowest work rate among non-goalkeepers when his team is on defense and the second-lowest among forwards when his team is on offense (among players with 150 minutes on offense/defense combined).2There’s also a surprising amount of neutral time in soccer (up to a third of all match time is neither “in possession” nor “not in possession”). I haven’t included that in this chart.After an article by Ken Early in Slate first turned me on to Messi’s stillness, I couldn’t stop noticing it. When Messi’s not “on the ball,” he’ll often appear to be leisurely strolling through the area he’s in, particularly when the other team is on offense and he has little to do except sit back and wait to see if the ball comes his way. It can seem downright bizarre and contrary to everything a soccer coach teaches about “hustling.”Could it be that Messi’s inaction had something to do with his “100 kilo” legs? If so, it’d imply that Messi was so tired he was unable to “hustle” as much as normal, taking short breaks on the field when he got the chance to recuperate. This might also help explain his performance “decline” through the tournament.But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. On the FIFA site, individual game summaries have “tracking” stats as well. Here are Messi’s, broken down by offense and defense:For nearly every game, when Messi runs more on offense, he runs more on defense, and the same is true for when he runs less. To me, that suggests that the variation is probably more systematic and dependent on the matchups Argentina faced. But that large gap in the final game offers an interesting wrinkle. That’s when the difference between offensive work rate and defensive work rate was largest. This is at least consistent with a theory that he was tired for the last game (I assume that would be more likely to be reflected during his defense). But with the defensive work rate as a baseline, it could also indicate that he was running around extra hard on offense trying to make something happen (which he had failed to do for the last couple of games). Or it could just be random variance.Overall, though, the data doesn’t suggest that Messi wore down as the tournament progressed. If this work-rate phenomenon were a result of his being tired, we might expect to see the highest work rates in games following the longest layoffs, and/or for his work rate to decline as the grueling tournament wears on. But that’s not what the data shows.3I did find it interesting that all of his peak work rates came in games with the longest scheduled rest following them (first and third games of group stage, and last game of the tournament). That would be consistent with a premeditated strategy to conserve energy for later games, though it’s too tenuous to draw conclusions.So aside from a blip in the last game, there’s not much evidence that Messi had a general exhaustion problem, but there is evidence that he had a much lower work rate than other players. What to make of that? There are some negative interpretations possible: Messi might not have been fit enough to endure a whole tournament, or he might not have been trying hard enough. But these would only makes sense if low work rates typically indicated a lack of fitness or effort.And that we can test for.I don’t have the data necessary to do a complete study of work rates and how they may or may not predict and/or impact quality of play. But for a rough outline, we can at least take a look at FIFA’s data for this World Cup to see whether working harder tends to correspond with playing better. Is there any relationship between a player’s work rate and their offensive production?The following chart compares a players work rate with their offensive production per minute (using goals plus .1*chances created, a lower variance alternative to goals plus assists):4Includes all the distance a player covered during all the minutes he played (whether on offense, defense or neutral).This chart may support the argument that Messi didn’t deserve his Golden Ball, but I’ll stay out of that debate. He certainly didn’t play poorly, as he had the fifth-best per-minute production, despite having the lowest work rate (and it’s not limited to offense, as I’ve noted elsewhere; most aspects of his game were as good or better than normal through most of the tournament).Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Mario Goetze had a great tournament (obviously) and the highest work rate. In the middle, we have James Rodriguez, who managed an insane amount of success to go with his moderate effort.The important thing is that there’s not really any relationship between a player’s work rate and their production, either for forwards or for midfielders. In fact, the trend lines for both groups (covering 119 qualifying players in this tournament) are slightly declining — though not enough to read anything into it.5Moreover, if there’s an obvious source of team-quality bias, we might expect it to go in the other direction. We would expect players for better teams to have more production (more opportunities to dish, and more chances for teammates to dish to you, etc.), and because better teams tend to hold on to the ball more often and for longer periods, and forwards and midfielders are typically more active on offense, we would also expect those players to have a slightly higher meters run per minute.So has Messi been as good as he has despite being “lazy,” or perhaps because of it? When Messi was taking the tournament by storm, at least Ken Early was willing to give Messi the benefit of the doubt:Surely it must mean something that the best player in the fastest-ever era of football hardly ever runs at all.I don’t have distance-run data for Messi outside of the World Cup, but a little Googling reveals that Messi’s on-field leisure has come up before.June 2010: A New York Times article praising Michael Bradley cited the amount of ground he covered relative to Messi.May 2011: A Bleacher Report article cited Messi’s distance covered stats at UEFA6I’ve seen a lot of reference to these stats, but all the links are broken and I’ve been unable to find them on the UEFA site. as proof that he “doesn’t play hard every minute.”August 2012: A comparison between Messi and teammate Dani Alves showed how Messi spends roughly twice as much time in an “inactive” state.February 2013: An analysis of Messi’s (lack of) running from a Barca perspective tries to make sense of the phenomenon.April 2014: An article on ESPN FC criticized Messi’s Champions League play, based largely on the distance he ran.People have cited and/or complained about the amount Messi runs since at least 2010, and it has come up every year since. Note that Messi has been pretty good in that period.When you see a bunch of super-unusual things about one player, rather than trying to explain them all separately, it’s a good idea to try figure out how they might be related. If Messi’s low work rate was a “feature” rather than a “bug,” it could help him be the dominant player that he is. Here’s a very speculative version of what that argument would look like:A lot of soccer players run around a lot when there’s not much they can do to improve their situation. They may even continue running after they’re in the ideal location. Or even if they’re making slight improvements, they may be burning energy that would have more value being spent on runs that are higher leverage. Further, not moving unnecessarily may make it easier to keep track of what’s going on in the play, which may help the player anticipate what’s coming next.OK, that may sound fanciful, but it’s the sort of crazy idea that Messi should make us consider (feel free to propose alternatives!). And it wouldn’t be the only unconventional thing about Messi’s play that probably contributes to his advantage (e.g. his aversion to crossing passes, which until recently were considered an important part of offensive soccer strategy).This may be key to what makes him as good as he is, or it might not. The bizarre spectacle of Lionel Messi strolling along lazily shouldn’t be used either to hang him or to excuse him. Let’s not let a negative outcome against an all-time-great opponent cloud the mystery.CORRECTION (July 16, 10:16 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized James Rodriguez’s success in the tournament as moderate. That is incorrect. It was insane.
Those mulling a run for public office, or planning to promote a ballot measure, are invited to a workshop May 9 on how to conduct a successful political campaign.The free event, sponsored by the Clark County Auditor’s Office, takes place 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Clark County Elections Office, 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver.Several experts will speak at the workshop, describing “what it takes to carry out an effective campaign for a candidate or issue in Clark County,” according to an announcement from the auditor’s office. Experts also will take questions, and an informal reception will follow the event.Anyone interested in the topic is invited to attend. For more information, call the auditor’s office at 360-397-2078.