first_imgFOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The NFL said Jan. 23 it has interviewed dozens of people and collected physical evidence but has no conclusions yet on how the New England Patriots used underinflated balls in their last game, offering no timetable for resolving the cheating accusations with the Super Bowl nine days away.The league said evidence shows the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC championship game Jan. 18 against the Indianapolis Colts.It issued a statement that the Patriots have pledged full cooperation and have given the league information it requested and made personnel available upon request. Quarterback Tom Brady said Jan. 22 he had not been contacted at that point.The NFL said it began its investigation Jan. 18 and expects cooperation from other clubs. It hired an investigatory company to help review electronic and video information.Patriots owner Robert Kraft said investigators were in Foxborough for three days this week after he received a letter from the league Jan. 23 informing him of the probe.“We provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league’s representatives requested to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search,” he said. “I very much support the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation.”The Patriots are preparing to meet the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.The league said its conclusions will be quickly shared when reached. “Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise,” the statement said.NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss are leading the probe.Wells was the investigator in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. His report last February detailed widespread harassment in the team’s locker room that extended beyond the two players at the center of the probe.It said guard John Jerry and center Mike Pouncey followed Richie Incognito’s lead in harassing offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.The NFL requires game balls to be inflated to between 12 1/2 and 13 1/2 pounds per square inch. It wants to find out why footballs were underinflated during the first half and whether “deliberate action” caused it.“We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence,” the league said.The balls were properly inflated for the second half and remained properly inflated after the game, the statement said.Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson declined to comment. “Everything, I’m sure is going to come out in the investigation,” he said when asked if the Colts alerted the NFL to the underinflated balls. “It’s in the league’s hands.”A former NFL ball boy said it’s easy to remove air from a ball discreetly with a small pin that fits in the palm of a hand.“This isn’t a big deal. Everyone does it because each quarterback likes a different grip,” Nader Kawash, a Philadelphia Eagles ball boy from 1996-2000, told The AP.“I’m not saying a ball boy or equipment guy did anything on purpose to cheat. Sometimes the balls are overinflated so it’s easy to take some air out on the sideline without the referees noticing. You can use a helmet pin. Players can stand around in a circle. Anybody can do it.”Brady and coach Bill Belichick said they had no explanations for how the footballs were underinflated.“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” said Brady, who said he likes footballs pumped to exactly 12 1/2 pounds per square inch, the lower limit. “I have no knowledge of anything, any wrongdoing.”Belichick said that before this week, he didn’t give air pressure in footballs much thought.Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games.Under league rules, each team provides balls for use on offense. Referees approve the balls more than 2 hours before game time, then keep the balls until they’re turned over to ball handlers provided by home teams just before kickoff.“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games,” the NFL said. “We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay.”Patriots players said they believed Brady and wouldn’t let the investigation disrupt their preparations for the Super Bowl.“Tom is a big boy,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “He knows how to handle all situations, so he’ll handle this with class, like he always does.”Safety Devin McCourty said the team trusts Brady. “We’ve learned this year that it can be a lot going on outside of this building, but if everything’s right inside of this building we give ourselves a chance to win,” McCourty said.___By Howard Ulman, AP Sports Writer. AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS — Florida State’s Jameis Winston showed there’s nothing wrong with his throwing shoulder.On Feb. 21 in Indianapolis, he threw with zip and accuracy — posting the most impressive performance in a six-quarterback group that included Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. Winston, the 2013 Heisman winner, and Mariota are presumed to be vying to go No. 1 in the April draft.“I think he throws an extremely catchable ball. Has all the arm strength you want, but he makes it easy for the receiver based on the route,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “He understands that, he gets it.”The workouts came one day after ESPN reported doctors were rechecking Winston’s throwing shoulder for weakness, and the best news of all may have been that Winston said his right arm felt great.He didn’t even ice the arm following the workout.“I actually feel good,” Winston told NFL Network following the workout. “The thing is they actually (put a) shot in my shoulder and made it sore a little bit. I was like ‘You all tried to do that. I’ve done had this shoulder my whole life and you’re going to make it sore.’”Most of the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers spoke to the media Feb. 19. Winston came in because of the longer-than-expected medical exam. Players are not usually available to most media members following drills.Mariota threw well, too, but wasn’t quite as accurate as Winston.The Oregon quarterback had the fastest 40-yard dash time among all 15 quarterbacks, 4.52 seconds, and finished ahead of Winston in the vertical jump (36 inches to 28.5) and the broad jump (10-1 to 8-7).But he didn’t get quite the same endorsement from Mayock.“You can see how athletic he is and you can see that translate to his drop backs now, a sense of urgency with his feet,” Mayock said.“I know he will be able to adapt to being able to get under center. It’s the pocket awareness part you can’t see out here. Physically, he’s able to do all the things they ask him.”Mariota said he did chat informally with former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who is now with the Eagles.By mid-afternoon Feb. 21, Mariota said he had not had any formal meetings with Philadelphia, who are believed to have interest in Mariota and may be willing to trade up in the draft to get him.Winston didn’t just look healthy, he appeared to be at ease on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf.After completing the workout, Winston traded high-fives with other competitors and the six quarterbacks in the group photo got together for a photo on the field.Winston did struggle in the 40, clocking a surprisingly slow 4.97 and 4.99 on his two tries. That was barely ahead of the fastest offensive lineman, 307-pound Ali Marpet, who ran 4.98.“The interviews for me were enjoyable because I was able to show some of the knowledge that I learned at Oregon,” Mariota said, adding that Kelly made no promise of making a move to get him.Alabama-Birmingham receiver J.J. Nelson had the fastest overall 40, a 4.28, falling just short of Chris Johnson’s combine record of 4.24.Miami’s Phillip Dorsett was next at 4.33. West Virginia receiver Kevin White certainly helped his case by running a 4.35, while Alabama’s Amari Cooper was clocked at 4.42.Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon had the fifth-fastest time among running backs at 4.52. Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford was No. 1 at 4.42.(MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgSeveral Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) extension officers are currently engaged in a two-day sorrel harvesting training programme, aimed at equipping them with knowledge on production techniques to be transferred to farmers. Experts from the University of Chapingo in Mexico, are providing training to 20 officers from all parishes on the correct use of the sorrel harvesting machine, designed and manufactured by the university, to reduce harvesting time and cost.  They will also receive instruction in colour stabilisation in sorrel and secondary products. Speaking at the opening ceremony for the training programme, held at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at Hope Gardens, St. Andrew on November 7, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, said the initiative will help to increase the efficiency of sorrel production and reduce labour costs. “In Jamaica, the challenge exists in the harvesting of the sorrel, which is very labour intensive. It takes two persons approximately 15 days to harvest one acre of sorrel. In order to increase our competitiveness on the global market, we must find a way to reduce our labour cost,” he said. Minister Clarke further expressed the hope that the knowledge and practical skills garnered in the training programme “will not end with our extension officers but will be promulgated to our farmer groups, agro-processors and even the small and medium entrepreneurs”. Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Gerardo Lozano, reiterated Mexico’s commitment to “continue consolidating our co-operation exchanges with Jamaica within the primary fields of agriculture modernisation, crop health and food safety”. He reminded that through a previous co-operation programme between Jamaica and Mexico, the Scientific Research Council (SRC) gained knowledge on sorrel cultivation, harvesting and processing operations developed in Mexico, while Mexico identified new areas for development of sorrel. “Based on this good experience, the Jamaican authorities were able to identify the potential of the utilisation of the sorrel harvesting machine as a relevant tool to increase effectiveness in sorrel harvesting,” the Ambassador said. The extension officers will participate in a demonstration exercise today on the proper use of the machine at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine.last_img read more

first_imgStory Highlights Speaking at a Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) media sensitisation seminar at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday (August 30), Dr. Clarke noted that there has been an “increasing trend” in this regard, based on the gross domestic product (GDP) out-turns in the last four fiscal/calendar year quarters. Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he is optimistic that Jamaica could be on the way to attaining higher levels of sustainable economic growth. The Minister said official figures from STATIN show that GDP moved from 0.9 per cent to 1.4 per cent over the initial three quarters, between July 2017 and March 2018. Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he is optimistic that Jamaica could be on the way to attaining higher levels of sustainable economic growth.Speaking at a Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) media sensitisation seminar at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday (August 30), Dr. Clarke noted that there has been an “increasing trend” in this regard, based on the gross domestic product (GDP) out-turns in the last four fiscal/calendar year quarters.The Minister said official figures from STATIN show that GDP moved from 0.9 per cent to 1.4 per cent over the initial three quarters, between July 2017 and March 2018.He added that if the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) 1.8 per cent estimate for the June 2018 quarter is taken into consideration, subject to STATIN’s confirmation, “we have seen an increasing trend… so that’s [encouraging]”.Dr. Clarke emphasised, however, that this development does not necessarily guarantee a transition into higher levels of growth, as “we have had increasing trends before that have not continued”.He said that based on factors and indicators, such as the growth in loans and credit extended to the private sector by financial institutions and the absence, to date, of severe weather, which had adversely impacted sectors, such as agriculture, “there is reason to be optimistic”.Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke contended that there is a strong correlation between the performances of agriculture and the economy, “in that when it [agriculture] does well, the economy tends to do well”, as evidenced in the June 2018 quarter.“The strongest growth in two years, as predicted by the PIOJ, was the last quarter of 1.8 per cent… [and this] happened in a quarter where agriculture grew by 10 per cent,” he noted.The Minister said weather is also an influencing factor in that context, noting that growth contractions in recent years have been linked to the effects of extreme weather conditions, whether drought or flooding, on the sector.The seminar, which was held under the theme ‘Statistics and the Media – Why Understanding Official Data Matters’, was aimed at assisting media practitioners to understand, interpret and present official data accurately.Thursday’s forum focused on the gross domestic product and consumer price index.last_img read more

first_imgUNICEF UK supporter Michael Sheen is warning of an approaching “cold weather catastrophe” for Syrian children as winter sets in – after traveling to meet refugees in Lebanon.UNICEF UK supporter Michael Sheen travelled to the Faida tented settlement in Lebanon this weekCredit/Copyright: UNICEF UK/2013/Kate BrooksMany children fled Syria with just the clothes on their back – and are now facing rising risks of malnutrition and pneumonia in Lebanon as temperatures begin to drop and heavy rains risk flooding their makeshift shelters.Michael meets ten-year-old Akram and his mum and niece.Credit/Copyright: UNICEF UK/2013/Kate BrooksThe film and television star made the journey with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organization, and one of the few agencies operating both in Syria and all the neighboring countries.“Syrian children have lost everything – loved ones, their homes, their education – and now winter is a new and potentially deadly threat,” explains Michael Sheen, who starred in the Queen and Frost/ Nixon and has supported UNICEF’s work for children for the past three years.“In Syria and across the region close to six million children are in urgent need of aid in what is now the largest humanitarian operation in history.”“Temperatures are starting to fall and children desperately need warm clothes and blankets if we are to prevent a cold weather catastrophe in the coming months,” explains Michael, who captained the “Rest of the World” team in ITV1’s Soccer Aid match in 2012, raising money for UNICEF’s work for children.The tiny nation of Lebanon is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees – more than 800,000 have fled to the country, half of whom are children. More than one million Syrians are thought to be inside Lebanon’s borders in total.This weekend, around ten thousand more Syrian refugees have poured into Lebanon, to escape heavy fighting in central Syria.Lebanon’s resources are being stretched to breaking point under the strain of coping with the influx.“Refugee children are living in over-crowded temporary settlements with a lack of clean water and basic sanitation – which greatly increases their risk of illness as winter closes in,” explains Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director.“We expect cases of pneumonia to increase – and as food prices increase in the cold season, and winter downpours cause flooding in already unsanitary conditions, malnutrition is also a terrible danger, especially for young children.”Michael met families who are struggling to clothe and feed their children as the cold weather bites.“I spoke with the Sabat family who fled horrific violence in Syria and are now facing unimaginable challenges in the country where they sought safety for their children,” says Michael.“Their baby is malnourished and in their shack, they have no heating, and nothing to protect them from raging gales and the real risk of flooding.”UNICEF is working round the clock to do everything possible to prevent a whole generation of Syrian children being lost to the conflict.Teams are providing children with vital supplies such as blankets, warm clothes and medicine – as well as getting children access to education and psychological support.Michael witnessed the first delivery of UNICEF winter supplies to Syrian children in Faida in the Bekaa valley, who are living in improvised shacks, without access to heating and basic services.“Seeing the faces of children who had nothing receive a full supply of winter clothes – from hats to coats to thermal underwear – was emotional and showed what can be done to change lives,” explains Michael.“However, the numbers are huge, and growing every day, and without more support UNICEF cannot reach every child in desperate need.”More than one million Syrian children have now fled the country and are struggling to cope as refugees in neighboring countries.“As we begin to feel winter weather bite in the UK, I urge everyone who thinks there is nothing they can do about Syria to think again,” says Michael.“We can take action now to donate to children facing extreme conditions and help stop millions of innocent Syrian children losing their childhoods.”All money raised for UNICEF’s work for the children of Syria will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government until the end of January.You can help at home by texting ‘SYRIA’ to 70007 to donate £5 to the children of Syria or phone or 0800 044 5885 donate online, visit www.unicef.org.uk.Source:UNICEF UKlast_img read more

first_imgFormer West Ham manager David Moyes believes Marko Arnautovic’s talent is worthy of a top-four Premier League clubThe Austrian forward has remained silent on his West Ham future after his brother and agent, Daniel, suggested it’s time for a move to a Champions League-type club.Arnautovic has been linked with a switch to Manchester United after his impressive end to last season at West Ham.Following Moyes’ arrival in November 2017, Arnautovic had an upturn in form and played a key role in West Ham’s escape from relegation.Arnautovic later won the club’s Player of the Year award for his performances in the second half of last season with 11 goals scored in the process.Now Moyes, who was replaced by Manuel Pellegrini in the West Ham dugout, backed Arnautovic’s bid to play for a top Premier League side.“The big thing for Marko is the change from being a winger to a striker has really reinvented him,” Moyes told Talksport on Twitter.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“When we arrived at West Ham the punters weren’t having him, thought he wasn’t running around but the minute he’s gone to centre-forward he’s been a revelation.“It was always the thing questioned about Marko, did he run or what was his attitude like? We found him great to work with.“He’s good enough, he could play in the top four because he’s got the ability and he could play with the top players – he considers himself a top player.”Moyes added: “You’ve got to remember, he’s already been at the likes of Inter Milan before.“But what he needs to do is he needs to score, last season he was scoring regularly and taking his opportunities, from what I’ve seen this season he’s not taken as many.”Arnautovic has managed five goals and one assist in 12 appearances for West Ham this season.last_img read more