Bidding Farewell to All

first_imgAs my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia comes to a close, I first and foremost want to thank all Liberians for so warmly welcoming me to your beautiful country. You have all made me feel very much at home here during the past three years. I am sad to be leaving Liberia, but I can assure you that I will carry this country and its people in my heart. The bond I share with you is not only because of the friendship between our two countries or your warm hospitality; we are bound together because of our shared experience in facing the national nightmare of Ebola. When the disease struck Liberia in March 2014, Liberia was on the right trajectory in its recovery from conflict – moderate but steady economic growth resulting from thoughtful policies and the support of citizens, who keep the government accountable to the people.The Ebola epidemic was an unexpected and unprecedented emergency that hit a region with few resources to address the threat and winning that fight has proven to be a marathon task with many unexpected obstacles and difficulties along the way. Liberia, despite having the most Ebola-related deaths, was the first of the three highly impacted countries to reach zero. Led by President Sirleaf, the government of Liberia achieved this milestone by clearly communicating with its citizens at the local level and empowering them to take action – qualities which will serve Liberia well as you move toward the important goal of decentralization. Dealing with this extended emergency stalled the government of Liberia’s broader efforts to improve life for Liberians, but there have been notable successes over the past three years that may have been obscured by the Ebola response. To those who are impatient about the pace of change, I say that change is hard, but many hands make light work. What do I mean? Development, consolidation of democratic governance, and reconciliation are all processes that take time, but by working together, valuing differences and committing to the greater good, progress comes more quickly. More importantly, progress comes when Liberians put their country ahead of their own narrow interests and work together, as the united fight against Ebola so forcefully demonstrated. A notable success – Liberia has one of the liveliest and most open forums in Africa for the media to do their jobs. That is a direct result of changes your government instituted, including embracing the tenets of open government and granting ordinary citizens access to information. This is all the more significant as Liberia enters the 2017 election cycle. Another notable success – the National Elections Commission has organized multiple successful contests, including the December 2014 Senate elections. Although the elections were delayed by Ebola concerns and judicial challenges, the NEC and judiciary were able to resolve the situation and allow the elections to proceed. It was a very positive sign of the maturation of Liberia’s political and institutional development and the ability of Liberians to organize well-run elections that were judged by observers to be free and fair.And that’s not all. The Ministry of Health is rebuilding its capacity at the central, county, district and community levels with support from our extensive USAID programs that have helped put in place the underlying structures leading to better health sector governance, management, accountability, and effectiveness. Major accomplishments include improvements in the quality and availability of primary health care services for mothers and children in some of Liberia’s hardest to reach communities. Additionally, by mobilizing the leadership of rural communities, USAID has brought those communities improved sanitation facilities and greater access to clean drinking water. We also welcomed the establishment of a permanent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) country office in Liberia, to assist with building capacity to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Since the Ebola outbreak, the CDC has worked with the Ministry of Health to strengthen data management and surveillance systems and strengthen laboratory capacity and testing for diseases of public health concern, establishing infection prevention and control standards at health facilities and building the public health workforce capacity in the country. With the strengthening of the health systems in Liberia, we are progressing towards a healthier and better prepared Liberia to respond to another disease outbreak.Of course, none of these accomplishments could happen in a security vacuum. Maintaining peace and social stability is a prerequisite for Liberia’s democratic and economic development. The United States has worked closely with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and with the Liberia National Police (LNP) to strengthen these institutions, and both are increasingly ready to assume full responsibility for Liberia’s security as the drawdown of UNMIL continues. The growing cooperation and joint exercises between AFL and LNP is of vital importance to improve the interoperability between the forces and reinforce the military’s role in support of the civilian security forces. The merit-based appointment of career law enforcement officers in the leadership positions of both the LNP and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) is a critical step towards fulfilling the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens through its civilian security forces. The LDEA has also made tremendous strides over the past two years in its operational capacity and professionalism, and the passage of the new LDEA Act and drug law in 2014 provides a strong foundation for even more effective law enforcement activities. LDEA’s deployment in 2014 to both Monrovia-based airports quickly resulted in several successful interdictions, and I am confident that its deployment to the Freeport of Monrovia will prove just as fruitful. These accomplishments provide the underpinnings on which future growth and investment will be made, but are intangible. Improved roads and a functioning electrical grid are the tangible items that Liberians want and need.On November 2, Liberia signed a compact with the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which will contribute significant resources to rebuilding the Mt. Coffee hydropower plant and to upgrading maintenance of Liberia’s road transportation network. This $256 million partnership compact is remarkable for a number of reasons. Very few countries each year are approved for a Compact, and in most cases it takes years of negotiation and preparation before a Compact is actually signed. The fact that this Compact was signed in one of the fastest time frames undertaken by MCC is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the Liberian government and to the robust friendship that has been a hallmark of U.S-Liberia bilateral relations for more than a century. This Compact is a very tangible symbol of our friendship and more importantly will contribute enormously to making affordable electricity available to all Liberians. Let’s be honest. Challenges to development remain. Even as Liberia began to emerge from the Ebola epidemic, its recovery stalled due a sharp decline in revenues from iron ore and rubber; a sharp reminder of the need to move more aggressively away from a concessions-based economy. There has been progress in developing public financial management systems that will make official corruption more difficult going forward, but there is no substitute for holding people accountable – and not just members of the government. The fight against corruption has to begin with personal responsibility of each and every Liberian – to do the right thing every time, especially when no one is looking.Liberia still needs to ensure women have every opportunity to participate fully in the country’s economic and political life. If you leave behind 50 percent of the population, you’ll never fully develop. Incidents of rape and sexual and gender-based violence continue to plague the country, and remain a stain on the country. Although strides are being made, the courts are still backlogged with cases, leading many to forego their right to a fair trial. This also undercuts efforts at national reconciliation, since disputes fester and explode, rather than being dealt with in a fair, just manner. The upcoming transition is perhaps the most critical in Liberia’s history. The 2017 election will show Liberians and the world whether they intend to remain on a path of democracy and inclusion or to return to a time of conflict and exclusion. Protecting the peace and achieving the future that Liberians desire requires personal and collective effort and a commitment to national, rather than personal benefit.It is my fervent hope that even more positive developments are imminent. The United States stands ever-ready to help Liberians help themselves, and I am pleased to have been the steward of this partnership during my time here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

College, politics, business, all at 18

first_imgEllis didn’t expect to win when she announced her candidacy last summer, just months after graduating from Antelope Valley High, where she was valedictorian. “I remember when they were calling the names, and then they called my name for the fifth seat, I was like, `Wow!”‘ Ellis said. She said she ran her campaign much like a high school race, posting hand-written signs “in big letters, so people driving by could see it.” Ellis said she persistently knocked on doors, learning about the issues that mattered to local residents, including community concerns about maintaining the area’s rural integrity amid the Antelope Valley’s explosive growth. “A lot of people, when I was knocking on doors, didn’t take me seriously,” she said. “They didn’t really think I was running because I look so young.” QUARTZ HILL – That Michelle Ellis has never lost an election in her life is impressive. That she sits on the Quartz Hill Town Council while running her own business, fulfilling Lancaster Sunrise Rotary service responsibilities and pursuing a college degree is noteworthy, too. What is most remarkable, however, is that Ellis is just 18. Ellis placed fifth among 11 candidates in November’s Town Council election with 85 votes. She is among seven council members. Ellis said she tried to fit in, dressing up to help bridge a generation gap she sensed could have doomed her candidacy. “I tried to show that my age doesn’t make me,” she said. “I tried to convince them that I knew about the issues. They asked me questions and I think my answers showed that I knew what I was talking about and that I was determined.” Determination, by all accounts, has been Ellis’ calling card throughout her young political life. Ellis won four high school senate elections at Antelope Valley High, highlighted by what she described as a contentious vice presidential campaign her junior year. She was 13 when she was elected president of the Eastside Antelopes 4-H Club. Ellis won a seat on the Antelope Valley College student senate in a campaign in which she ran unopposed. She also is a two-time winner of the Citizen of the Year honor, awarded by U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita. She said winning the award the first time when she was in fifth grade inspired her to pursue a career in public service. Her goal is to be elected to Congress. Considering her track record, she should not be underestimated. “When you watch her with other people, you can see that she’s very sensitive and very kind,” said Quartz Hill resident Sandra Jernigan, noting she voted for Ellis in the council election. “She seems to have a keen understanding of what’s going on in our community.” Not all council members have embraced Ellis, however. Councilwoman Tammany Fields allegedly sent Ellis an e-mail complaining that the teen did not honor a commitment at the recent Almond Festival. Fields would not comment on the specifics of the e-mail, saying that any conflict has been resolved and that the incident was blown out of proportion by Ellis’ supporters. Ellis dismissed the incident as “sour grapes,” saying she prefers to talk about the issues that local residents are concerned about, such as improving the town’s drainage system. “There’s always going to be drama and bickering,” she said. “The only way to move forward is to keep going and let it go.” Ellis seems to always be on the move. Her juggling act includes running a dog waste removal business called “Smelly Poop Patrol” and participating in AVC’s Model U.N. “Anyone who can perform that many activities and do well at all of them, that pretty much sets her apart,” said AVC student Brandon Davis, who works with Ellis on the Model U.N. and the AVC student senate. Ellis’ commitment to volunteering sets her apart, too. She interns for UCLA’s Early Academic Outreach Program and is a student adviser at Antelope Valley High. She is also a former High Desert Health System Youth Volunteer of the Year. “That girl is determined; she’s a go-getter,” said her mother, Vilma Ellis. Ellis hasn’t decided whether she’ll seek another term on the council, noting that an anticipated increased workload at AVC will make it difficult to serve. She plans to major in political science at UCLA. Whatever her decision, she says she’ll remain committed to public service. “Since I’m a young person, hopefully I can inspire and motivate other young people,” she said. “Whatever their goals and focuses are, they can do it.” gideon.rubin@dailynews.com (661) 267-7802160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Decision day in Alberta: Voters head to polls in provincial election

first_imgEDMONTON A.B. – Voters are heading to the polls in the Alberta election today and advance turnouts suggest it could be busy at the ballot boxes.Almost 700,000 people voted early in malls, airports, recreation centres, public buildings and even an Ikea store. That was well ahead of the 235,000 who came out early in the 2015 election that saw Rachel Notley’s NDP deliver a surprise knockout blow to the 44-year run of the Progressive Conservatives.This time around, the Progressive Conservatives are no more.- Advertisement -The PCs merged with another right-centre party, the Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives under former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney.The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta’s fragile economy, which has been struggling for several years with sluggish oil prices and unemployment levels above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.Kenney has argued that Notley’s government has made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more regulations and increases in minimum wage.Advertisement Notley, in turn, has said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and pursue more private-care options in health care will have a profound impact on students in the classroom and on patients waiting for care.The campaign also featured Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Notley said her success working with Trudeau or picking her fights with him as necessary is what led to progress on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast. She expects construction to begin this year.She said Kenney’s promise to challenge Trudeau in court on everything from the federal carbon tax to proposed energy industry rule changes is cynical, self-defeating shadow-boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.Advertisement Kenney has campaigned on the “Trudeau-Notley alliance” that he says has turned Alberta into a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry foes with no more than a faint and as yet unrealized promise of one pipeline expansion to the coast.Notley has also tried to make Kenney’s character an issue. A number of his candidates have either quit or apologized for past comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.Kenney has called the attacks a “fear-and-smear” red herring to distract from the NDP’s economic track record of multibillion-dollar budget deficits and soaring debt.On the political fringes are the Alberta Party and the Liberals, each of which elected one candidate to the legislature in 2015.The Alberta Party, led by former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, is running a full slate of candidates. It’s promising to be the safe centrist middle ground by combining the economic conservatism of the UCP with the social progressivism of the NDP.Advertisementcenter_img The Liberals, led by lawyer David Khan, are running on a similar platform with one significant exception, a provincial sales tax.History will be made no matter what.Notley will either be the first Alberta NDP premier to win re-election or the first leader in the province to fail to win a renewed mandate on the first try.Since its creation in 1905, Alberta has elected multi-term dynasties: the Liberals (1905-1921), the United Farmers of Alberta (1921-1935), the Social Credit (1935-1971) and the Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015.last_img read more

Hughes to resign from Orchard Dale Water Board

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champHughes said he can remember riding a horse from Whittier to Huntington Beach in a day or circling the Whittier hills. “You have the same openness that was the experience of my youth,” he said of Joshua Tree. Director Bob Noonan said Hughes would be missed. “He was a very good director,” Noonan said. “He was dedicated, he cared and he was president the last two years during rather interesting times.” During the past two years, the district has dealt with a broken pipe that flooded a home. And it has raised rates significantly. SOUTH WHITTIER – Longtime Orchard Dale Water Board member Elden Hughes has announced he will resign following the 4:30 p.m. board meeting today. Hughes, 76, who has served on the board since December 1993 – except for a period of about two months – said he plans to move from his home in unincorporated South Whittier to Joshua Tree. “It seemed time,” Hughes said. “I’ve always loved the desert. “It has the openness that was Whittier where I grew up,” said Hughes, who was born at the former Murphy Memorial Hospital and grew up on his parents’ Houston Meadows cattle ranch in South Whittier. Noonan said the board will make an appointment. It will advertise the opening and seek applicants. “We have to be darned sure everybody in the Orchard Dale Water District has an opportunity to be a director,” he said. The district serves about 4,200 customers and 20,000 residents. Hughes also has been involved in the Sierra Club for the last few years. He was chairman of the Angeles chapter from 1986-88, received the John Muir Award, and is now an honorary vice president. He called the highlight of his Sierra Club career his fight for the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 that preserved 7.7 million acres of desert land. It established the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve, elevated Death Valley and Joshua Tree national monuments to national park status and created 69 new wilderness areas. Hughes said his environmental beliefs never conflicted with being a water board member. “I believe in doing things for water and for the environment,” he said. “I’ve been a good voice for both.” Hughes was elected to the Orchard Dale Water District in November 1993, ousting then-appointed incumbent Bill Terry. It was a time of turmoil for the district. Then-director Harry Jansen had recruited Hughes, Noonan and Joe Kennedy to run for the board. All four won. Upon election, they elected Jansen as president. In 1995, Hughes lost by 11 votes to Clifford Lee, who had lost his seat in 1993. But Jansen died and Hughes was appointed to fill his seat in February 1996. Hughes said as a director he’s had two goals that are somewhat contradictory. “One is to keep it up to date and functional,” he said. “The other is to keep the rates as low as you can. The goal is to balance the conflict. I think Orchard Dale has done a good job.” Hughes worked for Warner Information Systems for 25 years and was vice president for his last 10 years. Hughes is married to Patty Carpenter Hughes. They have three sons. mike.sprague@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

GLENFINN LOOKS FORWARD TO PLENTY OF PLAY DAYS WITH OPENING OF NEW FACILITY

first_imgCllr Patrick Mc Gowan and chairman of Donegal County Council John Campbell try out the Adult Exercise Machine at Glenfinn Play area.The official opening of the new Community Play Area in Glenfinn took place on Friday last to great excitement.It follows a total funding package of €118,128.51 which was funded by Donegal Local Development Company Limited (DLDC) and the local community, through the Leader Programme contributed funding of €88,586.45.Speaking at the opening, John Starrett ,Vice Chairman of DLDC said the Board were delighted to be associated with the project and to be in a position to provide LEADER funding under the Village Renewal and Development measure at a grant rate of 75%. Children try out the new Equipment“It is certainly very impressive having been developed from a community owned site, to the marvellous facility that we see here today. It will also have a very positive environmental impact due to its design and location close to the Day Centre and The Isaac Butt Heritage Centre, and will be of great social benefit to the local community. The needs analyses that was carried out by the Gleann Fhinne Teoranta Committee and showed quite clearly the need for the project”.Indeed overall, in Donegal, the Board were delighted to have delivered a total investment of €12.7 million in Rural Communities since 2009 which in turn has led to an overall investment of over €20M.Neil Martin, Chairman of Gleann Fhinne Teo, said “Today sees years of hard work and planning come to fruition with the official opening by, Cllr. John Campbell, Mayor of Donegal, of the Glenfinn Community Play Area. Our Committee has been working tirelessly over the past few years to see their dream of establishing a much needed children’s play area and an adjoining adult outdoor exercise facility, and have enjoyed the support of the whole community and local care of the aged committee.“The Project, costing €118,128.51, has been funded largely through a grant from Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) via the Leader programme, with the remainder coming from funding from fundraising as well. The contract for construction of the playground was awarded to Play and Leisure Services after an open tender process, and was supervised by Mc Mullin and Associates, Architects. The site was purchased by the local committee in 2005 for the development of community facilities”. He also thanked the Parish of Killteevogue for their generously in granting a loan Facility for the project. He also thanked all the Care of the Aged committee, the Parish of Kilteevogue, local community and voluntary groups and families who have also contributed or otherwise helped raise funds.The opening of the facility was an opportunity for everyone in the area to celebrate the completion of the project and enjoy the many fun, colourful pieces of play and exercise equipment.Cllr. John Campbell Mayor of Donegal officially opened the Play Area and paid compliments to the Gleann Fhinne Teo committee for their patience, hard work and efforts in making it possible.He also thanked the staff and Board of Donegal Local Development Company Ltd for their support both financially and administratively in helping the promoter complete their Project. A great time was had by all and families in the area are now encouraged to enjoy this play park for many years to come! GLENFINN LOOKS FORWARD TO PLENTY OF PLAY DAYS WITH OPENING OF NEW FACILITY was last modified: October 28th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DLDCdonegalGlenfinnnew play arealast_img read more

GAA NEWS: GLENSWILLY MEMBERS COMPLETE FIRST AID COURSE

first_imgGlenswilly GAA notesFirst Aid CourseAlmost 30 people completed a first aid course at the clubhouse last weekend. All teams were represented on the course which was arranged by the club’s health and wellbeing officer Elaine McFadden. The club are delighted with the turn-out for the course. Many thanks to Elaine for organising the course. Tesco vouchersThe club has been chosen by Tesco in Letterkenny for the monthly community fund. If any members do their shopping in Tesco, they are asked to collect the blue vouchers and donate them to the Glenswilly fund. We are very thankful to Tesco for choosing the club as part of the community fund.Minor Board meetingThe club will host its next minor board meeting in the clubhouse on Monday, January 25th next at 7.55pm. At least one manager from each group is asked to be there. Monthly meeting The general monthly meeting will take place directly after the minor board meeting at 9pm on January 25th next. A delegate will be elected to replace County Board delegate Paddy Tinney who is now Assistant Treasurer with the Donegal County Board.Keep fit and Couch to 5KA number of keep fit classes are now operating in the clubhouse throughout the week. The adult keep-fit class takes place on Monday nights at 7pm. The juvenile (aged 7 and over) takes place each Tuesday night from 7pm and the Couch to 5K takes place on Wednesday nights, also from 7pm. All classes are taken under the watchful eyes of Martin o’Donnell and Jimmy Carolyn.Lotto The winner of last Wednesday’s lotto was Seamus McMonagle of Fintown who matched three numbers. The numbers were 6,17,18 and 24. Lotto sellers for the rest of January are as follows:  Jan 16th Ciaran Gallagher and Paul McCool, Jan 23rd John McFadden and Darren McGinely, Jan 30th Joe Gibbons and Michael Canning. If your night don’t suit contract one of the the people on this message to change nights and any problem after that contact Cathal Gallagher on 0871239102.BingoBingo continues in the hall each Wednesday night at 9pm with some great cash prizes on offer.GAA NEWS: GLENSWILLY MEMBERS COMPLETE FIRST AID COURSE was last modified: January 12th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalGAAGlenswilly noteslast_img read more

Suburban minority students make progress

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Emerson, Hart and Providence elementary schools and Burbank and Burroughs high schools failed to meet their growth targets for students from poor families. Muir Middle School failed to meet its target for Latino students. Bret Harte and Walt Disney elementary schools both showed a 22-point jump for Latino students. `All but one (school) … made the API growth target for that subgroup, which is traditionally where most schools have been lagging behind,” said Joel Shapiro, Burbank assistant superintendent for instructional services. Burbank schools’ student population is not as diverse as Los Angeles schools’, but few districts are, Shapiro said. “What’s been the most successful practice has been identifying students who need assistance to improve their learning and to become proficient,” he said. In the suburban school districts bordering the San Fernando Valley, minority students made notable gains in state performance growth targets. From Burbank to the Conejo Valley, Santa Clarita to Lancaster, public schools reported strides for Latino students, African-American students and those from low-income families, according to Academic Performance Index results released Thursday by the state Department of Education. All 17 schools in the Burbank Unified School District, met their schoolwide growth targets. Roosevelt Elementary, went down 1 point, but its score of 840 remains well above the statewide goal of 800. Eleven Burbank schools also met growth targets for all individual ethnic groups and other groups, but six failed to meet the target for a subgroup, mostly students from poor families. In Glendale Unified School District, there were no growth target results released because the district was changing data, state officials said. Glendale results are due in January, state officials said. Seven Ventura County schools made tremendous gains to narrow the achievement gap, county Superintendent Charles Weis said. Redwood Middle School in the Conejo Valley and Garden Grove Elementary in Simi Valley stood out in particular. “Even though we are making progress, that’s where the major effort needs to be,” he said. While 40 of the county’s roughly 200 schools did not meet their growth targets, that compared to 60 schools last year. “We must continue our efforts to enhance learning for children of poverty and Hispanic students,” Weis said. In the Santa Clarita Valley, the most significant jump in achievement in the William S. Hart Union High School District came from students considered low-income who achieved 22 points more than last year. African-American students gained 20 points, and Latinos improved by 19. In the Antelope Valley, about half the public schools met state-set goals for improving their Academic Performance Index scores among all subgroups. Forty schools out of 85 for which results were available met their API growth targets. Twenty-two improved their scores but not enough to meet goals or not among all subgroups. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

New Adamson coach Onyok Getigan has eyes on big prize after triumphant debut

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Jayson Castro, TNT hold off Rain or Shine Lacson: PH lost about P161.5B tax revenue from big trading partners in 2017 PLAY LIST 03:46Lacson: PH lost about P161.5B tax revenue from big trading partners in 201700:33Duterte mulling ban on plastic use00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Getigan also noted that winning a championship boils down to effort.“The secret in becoming a champion is preparation and hard work, and that’s where you will get ahead,” said Getigan who led King’s Montessori School to the national championship among girls’ volleyball programs.“If your opponents are resting, you shouldn’t do the same and instead start training. We’ll have intense practices from now on.”ADVERTISEMENT P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbedcenter_img P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Onyok Getigan just coached his first game for Adamson in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, but he already has his sight set on lofty goals for his team.“I want to lead this team to a championship,” said Getigan in Filipino after the Lady Falcons swept National University 25-15, 25-19, 25-22 Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT Getigan was an assistant with the Lady Falcons during the tenure of Air Padda, who was now demoted to being the strength and conditioning coach, but wasn’t that active with the team since he handled King’s Montessori School.“I know I don’t say it to them but it’s always in my mind that I want to lead them to the title,” said Getigan, who was also aware of the prospect that he’ll face his former players like La Salle’s Norielle Ipac and University of the Philippines’ Maristela Layug and Lorie Lyn Layug.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesGetigan added that even though he became Adamson’s head coach four games into the season, and with a 1-3 record, the one thing he can change with the team is change the team’s effort levels.Adamson, unlike other teams in the league, holds once-a-day practices and he knows that he can’t change the Lady Falcons’ schedule but he can adjust the intensity of their training. Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

Zimbabwe pull out of T20 tri-series in Bangladesh

first_imgZimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has announced that the team will not travel to Bangladesh for the T20 tri-series.”To exacerbate the matter, ZC will not be able to stage first domestic competitions nor to fulfill its Future Tours Programme (FTP) and other international obligations, including the tour to Bangladesh for a T20 triangular series that also includes Afghanistan in September,” ZC said in a statement on Saturday.The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday suspended ZC with immediate effect for failing to fulfill their obligation of ensuring that there is no government interference in its administration.Zimbabwe was scheduled to travel to Bangladesh to play T20 tri-series in September that includes Afghanistan and the home side.”In all this, players and staff are bearing the brunt of the standoff and they might be forced to go for months or forever without their salaries and match fees,” the statement added.”We would like to see our teams playing again as soon as possible and the ZC board is ready to cooperate with the SRC and other stakeholders to get Zimbabwe back to operating within the confines of the ICC statutes again,” the statement said.Read more | We can’t afford to hang on to the World Cup win: James Anderson advises England teammates ahead of AshesAlso see:last_img read more

Football clubs should stop exaggerating their attendance figures

first_img Facebook Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Celtic Football fans attach emotional significance to how many people turn up to watch their team play. We feel pride when our club packs out our home stands or takes a boisterous army on the road and we delight in mocking our rivals when clusters of empty seats punctuate their sections. Attendance ribbing is a time-honoured staple of supporter culture, albeit one now threatened by practices imported from the American sports industry.A club’s attendance figures can be compared to the body’s heartbeat. They reflect overall health. Victories, defeats, goals scored and league position are key drivers behind a club’s popularity, but success on the pitch doesn’t necessarily translate into increased turnstile clicks. Stadium facilities must meet the needs of a diverse, modern-day support; directors need to follow a vision for the club that aligns with the fans’ expectations; sales and marketing departments have to capture the attention of the potential fanbase; and ticket prices need to be acceptable.External factors also play a part: weather, kick-off times, competing events and so on. Today’s match reports feature all kinds of statistics – from ball possession and shots on goal to pass completion and distances covered – yet the attendance figure holds a unique magnetism that allows us to gauge the vitality of our clubs.American sports executives have long operated under different rules, whereby the announced attendance frequently bears little relation to the number of people present. Clubs and leagues want to inflate their numbers. Higher crowds attract more lucrative sponsorship contracts. They persuade city officials to allocate taxpayers’ funds to new stadium projects for clubs owned by billionaires. They have prompted Major League Soccer to tout itself as the world’s sixth most popular league based on a deeply flawed comparison to global averages. Twitter Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Rose Reilly: the Scottish footballer who won the World Cup as Italy captain Guardian Sport Network 46,000 fans a game: Atlanta United’s strange success far from soccer’s heartland Share on Twitter Over the last few years the trend has spread to Europe, partly due to American investors buying into football clubs. Since Stan Kroenke became Arsenal’s largest shareholder in 2011, their fans have noticed some unlikely attendance figures. “It’s been a running joke that halfway through the second half, Arsenal will announce an attendance figure of around 60,000,” wrote Phil Wall of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust in August 2014 after Metropolitan Police figures for the previous season showed that average crowds at the Emirates were 6,550 lower than the club claimed. “It helps the team if the stadium is actually full rather than just pretending to be,” wrote Wall. “Better atmosphere, more backing for the team, more enjoyable for everyone. It’s a no-brainer.” The situation harms fans. Either they are unable to obtain a ticket when thousands of seats are lying unused or they are left in a stadium where the atmosphere is diluted. The clubs, however, might want to bolster attendance figures to justify soaring ticket prices.It’s not just an issue at Arsenal. Greater Manchester Police records revealed the average crowd at Old Trafford during the 2012-13 season was almost 10,000 lower than Manchester United’s figure; Celtic’s publicised attendance of 49,428 for a league game against Ross County in December 2012 was more than 20,000 higher than the figure reported to Strathclyde Police for crowd management purposes; and Rangers’ meeting with Queen’s Park in October 2012 showed a discrepancy of almost 15,000.Attendances were a particularly contentious issue for Celtic fans in the early 1990s. A series of boycotts aimed at ousting the Kelly and White family dynasties who had controlled the club for most of its existence saw Parkhead crowds plunging to around 10,000 for many games in the year before Fergus McCann wrested control in March 1994. Fanzine writers suspected the Celtic board was inflating attendance figures to downplay the extent of supporter unrest. More recently, Celtic Park experienced lower-than-announced crowds due to stale performances under the management of Ronny Deila during the 2015-16 season and general fan malaise toward an unchallenging domestic fixture list. Pinterest MLScenter_img US sports Chivas USA Read more Topics Share on Messenger features Another full house at the Emirates. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters Arsenal Share via Email There are myriad ways in which American teams artificially enhance their popularity. Tickets sold are included in the attendance figure whether the purchaser turns up or not. This applies to season-ticket holders and those who obtain heavily discounted tickets, perhaps through group deals to youth organisations. And it’s not just tickets sold that count. Teams commonly give away tickets to sponsors, media outlets, employees, players and charities, sometimes with few of those allocated seats being used.Teams at all levels of American soccer’s closed-league structure are under pressure to report growing attendance numbers. Chivas USA were struggling to meet MLS head office expectations in 2014, with their announced crowds plummeting to about 7,000 from almost 20,000 eight years earlier, so MLS shuttered the franchise at the end of that season in the same way McDonald’s would decommission an underperforming store.The Empty Seats Galore Twitter account has become a regular nuisance to American franchises with its collation of photographs taken from sparsely populated stands. Houston Dynamo have become a particularly egregious attendance offender in MLS since moving into their 22,000-seat stadium in 2012. The Dynamo season-opener against the Seattle Sounders in March was announced as attracting a preposterous 20,758 fans. Second-tier Pittsburgh Riverhounds were mocked for claiming a record crowd of 4,297 had turned up at their Highmark Stadium in August 2015 when there were clearly unoccupied areas in their 3,500-seat venue. It’s like claiming 200 people attended your birthday party because you invited all your Facebook friends when in reality only 20 turned up. Nobody wants to appear unsuccessful.America’s media expresses little interest in questioning crowds numbers but a few reporters have held clubs to account. In September 2013, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper alleged that Orlando City were averaging fewer than 4,000 fans despite their claims of surpassing 8,000. A record crowd of 10,697 had been announced for a game at the Florida Citrus Bowl when turnstile records maintained by city officials showed there were only 4,004 scanned tickets. At the time Orlando City was lobbying local council leaders for construction of a new soccer-specific stadium, partly financed by taxpayers, to enhance the club’s push to obtain an MLS franchise.In November 2016 the weekly journal Business in Vancouver exposed overstated attendances at Vancouver Whitecaps games. The club had claimed an average attendance of 20,889 at the publicly owned BC Place Stadium that year, but records show the figure was 19% lower at 17,537. Stadium management was forced to disclose its attendance numbers after losing a three-year legal battle over a freedom of information request. Whitecaps executives had argued that actual attendances were proprietary information that would harm relationships with sponsors and broadcasters if disclosed.Most fans in the US seem unfazed about clubs lying to them about attendance figures. “Everybody else does it,” is a typical excuse for a practice that may benefit a club if those fake numbers succeed in attracting income to invest in better players, better facilities and, presumably, higher bonuses and salaries for the executives peddling such falsities. Perhaps American fans have merely become desensitised to blatant distortions. After all, the White House press secretary blethered on about a record audience for the inauguration of Donald Trump. Scotland is said to draw some of the largest crowds in Europe on a per capita basis, with up to 2% of the country’s population attending Scottish Premiership games each weekend. A total attendance figure of 3.2 million last season made the Scottish top flight the eighth best attended in Europe – above larger countries such as Belgium, Poland, Turkey, Sweden, Greece and the Czech Republic. This would appear to augur well for the health of Scottish football but how accurate are these figures? How do you make realistic comparisons to other seasons and other clubs when the numbers are devoid of integrity? Football fans have been given plenty of reasons to be suspicious of the people who run the game – Fifa, Uefa, the FA and club owners. How will these bodies win back trust when they don’t even tell the truth about the number of supporters at matches? How much comfort would we have in our diets and fitness if our blood pressure readings were routinely fabricated to make them more attractive?• This article is from issue five of Nutmeg magazine• Follow Nutmeg and Ian Thomson on Twitter Houston Dynamo Football Read morelast_img read more