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Ode to the African chicken

first_imgPatrick the giant rooster. (Image: Bridget Hilton-Barber)Bridget Hilton-BarberToday was an important day in my life as a rural Limpopian (one who hails from Limpopo province). I gave away three live chickens that I had personally bred and raised. It marked a rite of passage in my becoming a true daughter of Limpopo soil, according to my friend Mama McNeill, a tiny, sylph-like 70-year-old Swiss-born African who has lived in rural Limpopo most of her life. To give and receive live chickens, she tells me is an African soul gesture.It is a conferral of abundance, a bestowal of blessing, because the chicken, after all, represents food security, either eggs or meat, depending on whether you can afford to kill the golden goose, as it were, or whether a bunch of hungry relatives suddenly appear at your door. The first time Mama McNeill received The Chicken Gift was when she was a young nurse at Elim Hospital, near Thohoyandou in the 1960s. She carried them home, one under each arm, grateful for the long term source of eggs.I think she may be right. When I offered the three healthy, handsome brown chickens to my gardener’s wife, Mrs Mhlarhi, she smiled like she’d won the chicken Lotto. I gave her one young rooster and two hens, an excellent combination for further breeding and laying, and they will undoubtedly provide her family with many eggs and the odd Sunday lunch. In exchange I received a large pumpkin and a bunch of sweetcorn.Mrs Mhlarhi and I drove the chickens (packed in a Zamalek crate) to her home in Julesberg, a remote mountain village about 50 kilometres from Agatha, near Tzaneen, where I live. We drove past Dan Village, Kujwana, Mhlaba Cross, Lenyenye, Tickyline and Maake, a series of rural settlements in the foothills of the northern Drakensberg. And as we travelled I was struck by the omnipresence of the chicken and the ancient nature of our relationship with them.You can buy live chickens almost anywhere along the roadside, at prices ranging from next to nothing to R500. There are hundreds of hand-made chicken signs, painted on wood, metal, cardboard, walls: Chickens 8km. Chickens now open. Xixevo. Dikgogo. You can buy them at taxi ranks and bus stops, alongside hair salons, mobile phone stalls, car washes and spaza shops.Of course you can also buy dead ones just about anywhere, from roadside walkie-talkie (head and feet) outlets to the ubiquitous KFC. Chickens are a central feature of rural village life, and people carry them around by their necks, by their feet, in boxes tied onto bicycles, in straw baskets on their heads. I even saw a woman carrying one in her very fashionable green leather handbag.Early mornings in these rural villages are cacophonous. Almost every household has chickens. In Julesberg I saw giant russet-coloured chickens, small speckled bantams, peacock-like African roosters, long-legged crossovers.They can be the source of dramatic soap operatic feuds between families and friends, said Mrs Mhlarhi, as we released her new batch. She has witnessed tremendous fights breaking out as a result of chickens being stolen or misappropriated.But she would treasure these ones, she assured me. I believed her because her husband, who works in my garden, although quite unable to tell the difference between a weed and a flower, proved to be an ace chicken sexer when my first lot of chicks hatched. He has an opinion on any chicken related matter and has given me invaluable advice.Chickens are not just a black thing. My gay Afrikaner garden landscaper, for example, grew up on a chicken farm near Gravelotte and has also proved to be a font of wisdom on anything from feather loss to inexplicable mood swings. And the comforting symbolism of the chicken endures out here despite creeping urbanisation. My auditor buddy instructed her architect to make a loft bedroom in their new designer home so she could “roost like a chicken from my childhood”.I realised soon after arriving in Limpopo that I would have absolutely no cred with anyone if I didn’t have chickens. No self-respecting rural dweller here would ever dream of not having chickens. Where could I buy some? Speak to Pieter the dry cleaner, said the landscaper, as if the connection between chickens and dry cleaning was obvious. But before I did, my mother gave me three fluffy little chicks she had got from a friend.My favourite chick, Patricia, hoovered up entire loaves of bread and 12-kilogram sacks of crushed mealies and grew and grew until it was apparent that she was in fact a he, and that he, now Patrick, was the biggest cock I could ever hope to find. Sometimes you get what you need, said the landscaper wisely.Patrick has become an object of great admiration in Agatha. His name is spoken with soft reverence and I have a long list of locals wanting his offspring. I could make a lot of money out of chickens, I am told, but just to ensure good karma, I heeded the advice of Mama McNeill and decided to give the first ones away.Bridget Hilton-Barber is a well-known travel writer based in Limpopo province. She has worked as editor of South African Airways’ inflight magazine Sawubona, debut editor of Lowveld Living, travel correspondent for Radio 702 and travel editor of FairLady magazine. She is the author of seven books.last_img read more

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Liberian entrepreneurs build South African networks

first_imgBusiness ties between South Africa and Liberia received a boost after the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship brought in and trained 15 businesspeople from the West African country in May this year. (Image: Virgin Tribe South Africa) • Gavin Meiring Marketing and communications manager Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship +27 11 403 0622 [email protected] • Cooperation, trade and education key to Africa’s success • Ugandan entrepreneur looks after women and girls• Entrepreneurs bring British business back home • Entrepreneurship key to jobs for youth• Entrepreneur builds internet empireShamin ChibbaWhen the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, ran a course for 15 Liberian businesspeople, the most valuable thing they gained was not the knowledge imparted by the facilitators, but the connections they made with one another.This was according to the centre’s chief executive, Jane Rankin, who had overseen the programme when it ran in May this year. It was the first time the centre had accepted entrepreneurs from another country in Africa. And for the organisers, this decision has boosted business ties between South Africa and Liberia.The entrepreneurs were put through the foundation course, which covered fundamentals such as accounting and business planning. Though these sound like subjects out of a university curriculum, which goes against Sir Richard Branson’s eccentric way of doing business, the centre’s spokesperson, Gavin Meiring, says the approach is “truly Virgin”. “Entrepreneurs are taught the art and science of breaking the rules to capture the imagination of customers and investors alike.”Participants were encouraged to be sociable and network with one another. “They now collaborate a lot to deliver on their projects. And since some of them don’t have cash, they barter their skills with one another.”The foundation course usually takes up to six weeks, with students attending class once a week. But it was crammed into five days for the Liberian to attend in a single week. Apart from the course work, guest speakers such as entrepreneur Paul Smith; former chief operating officer of Accenture South Africa, Clive Butkow; and executive director of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s African Leadership Initiative, Tracey Webster, gave tips and spoke of their life experiences. Preparing for global marketplaceIn September 2013, at the annual Liberia Foundations Meeting held in New York, Branson and the founder of American charity Humanity United, Pam Omidyar, announced that they would partner in an initiative that would prepare Liberian entrepreneurs for success in the international marketplace. The centre in Johannesburg was immediately put forward as the place where they would be tutored, and Omidyar’s organisation agreed to fund the course.Humanity United is dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom. It also, according to Rankin, is instrumental in helping entrepreneurs in post-conflict countries. Liberia had been through two civil wars between 1989 and 2003 with an estimated 520 000 killed.Along with Virgin Unite, a charitable arm of the Virgin group, officials from the centre went to Liberia to recruit a facilitator on the ground to select 15 entrepreneurs who would participate in the course. The programme manager from the University of Liberia in Monrovia, Wilson Idahor, says the entrepreneurs were identified by means of a print media campaign. “Approximately 250 applications were received. After interviewing the shortlist of 25 applicants, 15 were chosen.”These included agricultural supply chain management company Agro, paper product manufacturer Elohim Printers Incorporated, and food caterers Big Treat Enterprise.Those chosen already had established businesses, which presented a problem for the centre. Rankin believes the course might not have as huge an impact on the entrepreneurs as she had hoped it would. “We were not directly involved in the selection and that was the problem. I think the chances of us impacting these businesses are not great. I think it opened their minds to be here, but we were dealing with established entrepreneurs. I would have preferred entrepreneurs at a much earlier stage.”After finishing the foundation course, the entrepreneurs returned to Liberia where they have to draw up a business plan. “They have to complete a business plan to enter the advanced course. We have to also see some change in their business since they did the foundation course to enter the advanced course. So they should have grown revenue or grown in terms of employees.”Those who accepted for the advanced course will return to the centre in October. Entrepreneurship addressing social challenges“Although Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world,” says Rankin, “its entrepreneurs are finding solutions that have the capacity to grow the economy and improve peoples’ lives in the future.”These entrepreneurs have had to overcome the challenges of running formal businesses in Liberia. Rankin says that many of them have had to deal with things as they happen, without planning or preparation.Geneva Garr, owner of clothing manufacturer Approved Wear Fashion House, started her business in 2005, soon after she graduated as a fashion designer from an academy in Ghana. But because of the conflict in her home country, she was unable to return home. She started putting her designs together on her front porch, which later grew into a shop. When the war ended in Liberia, she took her vision home and now employs up to 15 people.Elfreda Mayson started Jola House, a textile company, in 2012 as a way to address social challenges facing post-war Liberia. Through her company, she looked to create a sustainable source of income for war-affected Liberian women. Today, a portion of the profits made are invested into the communities from where their employees come. One way of doing this is by recruiting and training women and girls from vulnerable communities. Teaching entrepreneurshipIn recent years, numerous business leaders in South Africa have been calling on schools to teach entrepreneurship. And though Rankin thinks it is a good idea to an extent, she is tentative when it comes to involving the Branson Centre. “I think you can open young people’s minds to the possibilities and the option of being an entrepreneur. You can show them how to look at opportunities and how to create solutions to social problems that in the end can turn into businesses.”However, she says not enough is being done in schools to prepare pupils for life after school, whether for tertiary education or running their own businesses. Rankin adds that many South Africans are turning to entrepreneurship not because they want to but because they have to. Getting into tertiary institutions or finding a job is getting harder and out of desperation, they look to entrepreneurship as an alternative to making a living.The problem with this, she says, is that these businesspeople are not getting the years of experience within a chosen industry, which is crucial to succeeding on their own. “They are basically opening a business in an industry they know nothing about. They have no network and no real understanding of that industry. It’s a huge barrier to making a success of their business.”She suggests getting some work experience within an industry before venturing out because as running one’s own business is difficult without know-how. “It’s just going to be easier when you move into your own business. Your understanding of the industry and what it needs is going to be that much better rather going in and learning the hard way while trying to get a business off the ground.”An additional problem is that entrepreneurs may have an idea and immediately think people will gravitate towards it. However, Rankin says these businesspeople are not doing the market assessment needed to find out whether their product or service is viable. “That kind of research is not happening. They start their business and don’t really know who they want to sell to.”She acknowledges that there is no sure route to success as most entrepreneurs do not follow a conventional path, much like Branson did when he started his first student magazine at the age of 16 when he dropped out of school. Expansion into AfricaWith the success of the Liberian project, the centre realises it can have a huge impact on entrepreneurs in other African countries. “We are looking to expand into Africa. But for us to work with other countries we would need a partner. We would either have a similar model as the one with Liberia or we would go and train facilitators in that country to operate an organisation like ours.”In addition, having been around for more than nine years, the Branson Centre is now looking to spread through South Africa. At present, it only accepts Gauteng residents because students have to attend the course every week.The centre started out as the Branson School in 2005 when it was affiliated to Cida City Campus. Three years ago it became independent and moved to Braamfontein. Operating as a non-profit organisation, the centre recruits informal and formal businesspeople from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with the aim of helping them to run their businesses and access funds and international opportunities.“Our focus isn’t turning everyone into the next Richard Branson, but our focus is to help them run the business more effectively. Really just giving the entrepreneurs the exposure they need.”last_img read more

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Free Adobe XD Icon Sets Made By Legendary Designers

first_img Posted on 10th February 2018Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Free Adobe XD Icon Sets Made By Legendary DesignersYou are here: (This is a sponsored article.) Our friends at Adobe unveiled a very special goodie at the Awwwards Conference in Berlin today. A goodie which is too good to miss: They asked three renowned designers to create exclusive free icon sets to use in Adobe XD. And, well, we are very happy to feature them here on Smashing Magazine, too.The icon kits were created by design legend Lance Wyman, award-winning design studio Anton & Irene, and the Swiss design group Büro Destruct. From our sponsors: Free Adobe XD Icon Sets Made By Legendary Designers HomeWeb DesignFree Adobe XD Icon Sets Made By Legendary Designers Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019last_img read more

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The incredible story of Team India’s first-ever Test series win over its arch-rival Pakistan

first_imgDREAM TEAM: The Indians huddle after winning the final Test in PindiShoaib Akhtar is walking the walk and talking the talk. He is sending down one short ball after another, sending them screaming down the pitch.As they whistle past the batsman’s nose, whiz by his chest and fly over his,DREAM TEAM: The Indians huddle after winning the final Test in PindiShoaib Akhtar is walking the walk and talking the talk. He is sending down one short ball after another, sending them screaming down the pitch.As they whistle past the batsman’s nose, whiz by his chest and fly over his head, Akhtar begins to taunt the Indian. Oi, hot shot, where is your pull shot? Ping. Come on, show us what you have got. Vroom. Why don’t you turn it on, big boy? Zip. No big shots against me, eh? Why don’t you play the pull?Virender Sehwag, for it is him enjoying a perfect day in Multan, peers out from under his helmet at the tearaway motormouth and asks Akhtar with straight-faced curiosity, “Tum bowling kar rahe ho ya bheek maang rahe ho (Are you bowling or begging)?”For as long as India and Pakistan play cricket, the story will continue to be told. Not only because it sent the Pakistani fielders sniggering but because it sent out a message to India’s fiercest rivals. For the first time in 50 years, the neighbours who had come visiting were not the kind to go quietly.Former Pakistani fast bowler Aaqib Javed looked across at his old buddy Navjot Singh Sidhu and asked, “Kya ho gaya Indians ko (What has happened to the Indians)?” Fifteen years may have passed since India undertook a full tour of Pakistan but the answer to that question lies in the last four. The team that won its first series ever in Pakistan and the first outside India in a decade was not formed in this crucible of six weeks of intense scrutiny. It has taken four seasons to fashion victory from defeat and glasses half-full; fight-and-faith from fatalism; and ambitious, unafraid men from gifted, directionless boys.Manager Ratnakar Shetty last travelled with an Indian team in 1997. In March, this able professor of chemistry walked into an Indian dressing room and sensed a slate wiped clean. Video clips of Pakistan’s recent matches versus South Africa and New Zealand were lined up and its young batsmen studied. Bowlers were being asked about field placements and lines of attack. There was debate, humour, confidence. When adversity came calling, someone was always waiting to respond. Look down the team list, urges V.V.S. Laxman. Fifteen names, 15 match winners. When that begins to happen often under pressure, belief grows tall and deep-rooted, like a tree. Coach John Wright says, “We always had that belief in India but now the players believe they can win overseas too.”Belief is like a drug and the Indian team in Pakistan believed they could not be easily beaten. At 1-2 down and chasing 293 in the fourth one-dayer, Shetty felt a tug of panic but looking around saw calm. Midway through the first Test, the team lost Zaheer Khan to injury. The two bowlers left standing had a combined Test experience of four games and none of the glamour, rave notices or pure speed of the Pakistanis. Says Rahul Dravid: “We had young bowlers but we knew we had the better spinner. If we made big runs, with a bit of discipline, we knew we could trouble their inexperienced batters.”Batting big is habit-forming: India has crossed 500 four times in their past six Tests. Its effect is draining: not just on long-distance batsmen like Dravid who loses 1.5-2 kg per hour at the crease but more heavily on the opposition. An Indian says, “They probably thought Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami would blow us out of the park. When that didn’t happen they didn’t know what to do. There was no Plan B.” Never mind Sehwag’s wisecracks, even L. Balaji, splay-footed stance and all, hit sixes off the fast men. There was much cackling that Pakistan had called for special video analysis sessions to dissect this new threat.Even though the batting collapsed twice en route to heavy defeat in Lahore, Yuvraj Singh says that heads did not drop: “No one was in a bad mood. We knew what we had done wrong and how to fix it.”By breaking every task into small parts and simple targets. Wright, worry lines on temporary leave, traces the “little steps” and lines up the building blocks. “In the Tests we try and bat over four sessions….If you want to win a one-dayer, someone in the first three or four has to get a hundred.We have to have a batsman from the top six batting in the 48th over. In fielding, we count the runs every player saves or gives. In bowling, we know that batsmen look for boundaries on the first ball and sixth ball, so we measure that.” advertisementadvertisementRECORD KNOCK: Virender Sehwag after scoring 309 runs”Individual records don’t matter, only team results do. All of us understood that and wanted to contribute to victories.”V. Sehwag On The Team’s CodeThe targets are a rough guide but execution of the plan is everything and players have learnt to find their own way around problems to meet them. Laxman watched videos of his early dismissals in the one-dayers and figured he was picking up the wrong length. By ferociously practising going forward to anything on a good length before the final one-dayer, Laxman had found his answer and cracked a vital hundred.Whenever they ran into a rough patch, someone would shout, “Remember.” Remember what we are here for. Says Laxman: “The greatness of a team lies in persisting when things are not going well.” In the run-up to the final Test, Parthiv Patel heard his seniors say Rawalpindi was the most important Test match of their careers. Sachin Tendulkar stressed the importance of planning well for the big game. Before they stepped out into the Rawalpindi sunshine, captain Sourav Ganguly had one last word:”We have to leave this country with a series victory. There is no other option. The time to do it is now. How we do it is up to us.”SWINGING IN: L.Balaji is the find of the seriesThe answer came from a little step-partnerships. What Laxman and Dravid have done so often with the bat, Balaji and Irfan Pathan did as bowlers. When one missed, the other hit. Given the time to settle and a refrain of encouragement, Balaji let rip his repertoire of swing. Old master Anil Kumble came in behind them, scowling, searching, closing in on 400 wickets. Laxman believes that pure intent in Multan gave India the early edge. In searing heat, they got ready to bowl for three whole days.”We didn’t go in thinking ’20 wickets, 20 wickets’, we went in thinking discipline and patience,” says Laxman.For those who follow Indian cricket, patience has always been a given. But like all good 21st century contraptions, this team has shortened the waiting time for the historic. Of India’s 21 away Test victories, eight have come in the last four seasons. As have India’s biggest away Test victory and four of the top five individual Test scores.What is left unsaid is the spur provided by the fractious relationship between yesterday and today. An insider remarked recently that what the Indian team had found the “most hurtful” was over-the-top ridicule and lack of due credit from their predecessors. Yuvraj shrugs, “Maybe people will now change their minds about us.” Dravid says the future, not the past, drives the team. But he admits, “Of course, we want to do things that others haven’t done. We want to be the first. You always ask: can you do things that haven’t been done before?” Is that the friction of generations at work? Like all juicy out swingers, the question is left well alone and Dravid laughs, “That is evolution.”STAYING POWER: Rahul Dravid (left) flies high with V.v.S.Laxman”Of course, we want to be the first. We ask ourselves: can we do things that haven’t been done before?”Rahul Dravid On The Team’s GoalsAs an evolutionary process, India’s overseas series win appears to have taken as long as it took pterodactyls to turn into pigeons. For the past 40 years there has been one series win per decade – barring the mutant 1970s when India won in the West Indies and England. As a sporting cycle, it has taken just too bloody long.To make a serious challenge for the top spot, the Indians will need not just the towers of their batting but the battering rams of their bowling too. Pathan and Balaji are works in progress, not the finished products the marketing men will soon begin to talk up. Pakistan was euphoric and memorable, but there is a world waiting to be won outside Asia.In Pakistan, the players met formally one last time. Shetty, who had left a disturbed, unsettled dressing room in 1997 and walked into another one seven years later, stood up and described the two camps. “This is the moment… all of you have your careers in front of you,” he said to the huddle of browned, happy faces before him. “Don’t look back.”advertisementlast_img read more

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HIGHLIGHTS AT 17:00 HOURS

first_imgNew Delhi, May 5 (PTI) Following are the top PTI stories at 17:00 hours:DEL12 JK 3RDLD ENCOUNTER3 LeT militants killed in encounter in JKSrinagar: A major terror attack was foiled by the Jammu and Kashmir Police today and three Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed on the outskirts of Srinagar, police said.MDS6 KA-POLL-MODIModi blasts Congress, JD(S), says they have secret pactTumakuru (Kar): Claiming that the Congress and the JD(S) have entered into a “secret” pact for the Karnataka Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today H D Deve Gowdas party was “protecting” the Congress. DEL13 RAHUL-MODI-KA POLLSRahul seeks answers from Modi on tainted candidatesNew Delhi: Rahul Gandhi today demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the BJP giving tickets to those allegedly involved in corruption, including its chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa.CAL1 JH-RAPE-ARREST14 arrested in rape and killing of woman in JharkhandChatra: Fourteen persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape and killing of an 18-year-old woman by setting her on fire in Jharkahnds Chatra district yesterday, a top district official said today.DEL15 UP-RLD-SP-BYPOLLRLD, SP to join hands for Kairana, Noorpur bypollsLucknow: Hoping to repeat the Gorakhpur and Phulpur feat, the Rashtriya Lok Dal will join the united Opposition to contest the upcoming bypolls to two seats in Uttar Pradesh against the BJP, an RLD leader said. By Sangita BakayaSPORTSSPF6 SPO-NEERAJ-DIAMONDNeeraj shatters own national record, finishes 4th in Doha Diamond LeagueadvertisementDoha: Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra shattered his own national record by clearing a distance of 87.43m en route finishing fourth in a star-studded field in the season opening Diamond League series meeting here.FOREIGN:FGN9 US-SKOREA-2NDLD SUMMITTrump to meet South Korean president at White House on May 22Washington: Ahead of his much-awaited summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump will host his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the White House on May 22, according to an official announcement today. By Lalit K JhaFGN8 US-SHOOTING-3RDLD INDIANUS Navy veteran sentenced to life for killing Indian engineerWashington: A US court has sentenced to life imprisonment a Navy veteran who yelled “get out of my country” before killing Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City last year. PTI HMB HMBlast_img read more

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9 months agoHakimi admits discussing Real Madrid with BVB pal Alcacer

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Hakimi admits discussing Real Madrid with BVB pal Alcacerby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAchraf Hakimi admits he’s spoken with Borussia Dortmund teammate Paco Alcacer about the pair of them playing at the Santiago Bernabeu.While Hakimi is on-loan at BVB from Real, Alcacer has just been sold by Barcelona to the Germans.”Here I have the continuity I needed, I feel more mature, more important, more a player,” said Hakimi.”I have to go back to Madrid in 2020 but in two years’ time anything can happen.” Asked if he and Alcacer had spoken about playing together for Real, he added: “We’ve talked about it once.” last_img read more

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a month agoBruce says Newcastle fans fed up with takeover talk

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Bruce says Newcastle fans fed up with takeover talkby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United boss Steve Bruce says fans are fed up with takeover talk.A brochure emerged this week detailing Peter Kenyon’s alliance with GACP Sports, a Florida-based investment firm, aiming to raise cash, and promising big returns for anyone buying a stake in the Toon.Bruce said on Friday: “All the players are professionals. They’ve heard it all before. They’ve probably seen it how many times? Five? Six? Twice a season for the last five years? It’s common knowledge the club’s for sale.“It’s an on-going saga, isn’t it? Until it’s bona fide. I think people are saying ‘here we go again’.“It’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not really bothered about it. I’ve been involved with them before. It’s something I can’t really influence.“Lee Charnley runs the club fantastically well on a day-to-day basis. We have regular contact, every day, twice a day. I’m fine with it.“I’ve been involved in it all before at Aston Villa. I’ve been involved in a takeover at Birmingham City. If it’s true, then I get involved.The only thing I can influence… hopefully we can play better than we did last Saturday.” last_img read more

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4 injured 3 arrested in shooting at Nathan Phillips Square during Raptors

first_imgAn investigation is ongoing. TORONTO – Police say four people have been injured and three others are in custody following a shooting in Nathan Phillips Square during the Raptors NBA Championship fan rally.Shots were heard near Bay and Albert Streets at the southeast corner of the square shortly before 4 p.m.The injuries of all victims are serious, but non-life threatening. Three suspects were arrested soon after the shooting.One suspect was arrested on the south side of Queen Street by Albert Street. Several officers reportedly immobilized the suspect and seized a pistol.Two other suspects were also arrested and a second firearm was recovered.Police Chief Mark Saunders says the arrests were made moments after the shooting.“With all the resources that were here, the apprehensions were done incredibly quickly after the incident itself,” he said, adding that there were over a million people present and witnesses should come forward.Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, speaking from the stage, confirmed there was an emergency taking place and urged fans to stay calm as the festivities were briefly suspended.The events quickly resumed even as dozens of fans ran in several directions at one end of the square.WATCH: Crowd panics after reports of gunshots at Nathan Phillips Square during Raptors fan rally Mike Mudidi, a fan attending the event, said he was enjoying the celebrations when he heard screams behind him that someone had pulled out a gun. He says he grabbed his buddies’ hands and ran.Some who stayed behind huddled near pillars in Nathan Phillips Square even as the team and several dignitaries — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — remained on stage. The ceremony wrapped up a short time later.Several people were reportedly transported to hospital including a police officer who was caught in the stampede.Panic spread to the Eaton Centre as the shots were heard through the Albert Street entrance and frightened people were seen running in the mall and outside, at Yonge-Dundas Square.WATCH: Crowd runs away from Eaton Centrecenter_img Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, speaking from the stage, confirmed there was an emergency taking place and urged fans to stay calm as the festivities were briefly suspended.The events quickly resumed even as dozens of fans ran in several directions at one end of the square.Eyewitnesses say word of the shooting sent a section of the crowd into a stampede, with people screaming and hiding in nearby bushes. They say children in strollers were bowled over as frantic parents tried to shield themSome in the crowd said they hadn’t heard any shots but rushed from the area as others panicked.WATCH: Witness describes chaos after reports of shots fired at Raptors fan rallylast_img read more

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Clemsons Run Game Could Give Notre Dame Fits

The Tigers have a punishing ground gameClemson’s rushing attack by season* under head coach Dabo Swinney 2011158.54.1924.326.0 Percentage of … 2013174.64.1726.723.9 2015223.04.9327.218.6 2017194.14.7027.520.9 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group SeasonRushing Yards per GameYards per RushFirst Downs or TDs Per RushRushes For zero or Negative Yards 2015Alabama91.62015Boston College97.0 2016169.74.3126.620.8 2014146.53.5322.424.7 The Irish rank second nationally in passing yards allowed per pass attempt (5.35) and passing yards allowed per completion (9.54). Specifically, the Notre Dame secondary is adept at taking away play-action throws. Only three teams allowed fewer yards per play on the play-action. Eight of Notre Dame’s 20 takeaways this season came against play-action looks.2Only five teams in the nation forced more turnovers against play-action passes.However, the interior of the Irish defense has been suspect, and this year’s team is among coach Brian Kelly’s worst at stopping the run, with -10.9 expected points added on run defense. Opponents pick up 2.52 yards after contact per rush against Notre Dame, placing the Irish 70th of the 130 FBS teams. This will be the best secondary Lawrence has faced, but it might not matter if Etienne can find the running avenues he’s grown accustomed to breaking through this season.Will Clemson’s NFL-ready defensive line raze the Irish?Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables’s defensive line is formidable, probably the best in the country. It’s certainly the most NFL-ready — ESPN projects that three of its members will be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. As Irish quarterback Ian Book put it, “In terms of their defensive line, everyone knows about them.”The quartet of Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence3Lawrence may be ineligible for the playoff after he tested positive for a banned substance. and Austin Bryant is an embarrassment of riches that keeps opponents up at night. It’s the teeth of a defense that ranks first in efficiency (92.3), yards allowed per play (4.2)4Tied with Miami and Mississippi State. and yards allowed per carry (2.6); second in points allowed per game (13.7); and a dismal third in stuff rate (27.0 percent), which is the percentage of carries stopped at or before the line of scrimmage, and sacks (46). This year’s Clemson squad is in line to rank first in expected points added on rush defense and fourth in defensive efficiency among all FBS teams since 2005, the first year ESPN tracked both stats. 2016Alabama97.42018Clemson109.4 This Clemson defense is among the bestThe top five FBS teams since 2005 by defensive efficiency and expected points added on run defense 2010139.03.9521.424.5 Etienne amassed 1,463 rushing yards this season, the fifth-most in the country and the second-most by a Clemson running back in the past 15 years. Nearly half of those yards came after contact — and despite his collision-inviting style, the loping Etienne is among five major-conference running backs to tote the rock at least 175 times without fumbling. He has cleared the goal line on 21 carries, one shy of the national lead. It appears that Wide Receiver U has itself an elite running back.Behind Etienne on the depth chart are Lyn-J Dixon and Adam Choice, each of whom has more than 50 carries and 500 rushing yards on the season. Clemson features three of the 15 best players this season in yards per carry (among players with at least 50 carries).An imposing run game opens up the field for Trevor Lawrence, the freshman quarterback and No. 1 national recruit from the 2018 class. The 19-year-old ranks 12th in FBS in Total Quarterback Rating, at 79.1, and has proved to be more than capable since usurping veteran Kelly Bryant’s starting spot. On play-action looks, he leads the nation in touchdowns per attempt.As it happens, Notre Dame likely has the best pass defense of any team in the playoff. 2009170.44.8125.825.0 2018Clemson92.42016Alabama99.5 7Alabama84.36 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group rankingTeamPass defense EPA 120Oklahoma-94.92 2018259.86.7533.6%16.0% Clemson and Notre Dame have a lot in common. The programs put together two of the quietest undefeated regular-season campaigns in recent memory. The Tigers’ credentials were diluted by an unspectacular ACC, the Irish by independent classification and lack of a conference title. Each team has a first-year starting quarterback who won the job in late September. Both have breakout running backs and elite defenses.Admission to the playoff has become the expectation for Clemson.1This will be the fourth consecutive appearance for the Tigers, who are a combined 53-4 since 2015. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has rebounded from a four-win campaign in 2016 to find itself on the doorstep of the national championship game for the first time in six years.Though the teams may be similar in many ways, there’s still plenty that separates them. Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t see the matchup as being particularly close, opening with the Tigers as 10.5-point favorites. According to FiveThirtyEight’s college football prediction model, Clemson has a 36 percent probability of winning the national title, while Notre Dame’s probability is considerably lower, at 11 percent.Here’s what to look for when the two programs meet in the Cotton Bowl semifinal Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern.Can Notre Dame temper Clemson’s run game or run-pass option attack?In the words of Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill, “You’ve got to stop the run in order to beat this team.”Behind the fearless Travis Etienne, the Tigers feature one of the best inside rushing attacks in the nation. Most of the successful action is funneled inside the tackles, as evidenced by the Tigers ranking inside the top 15 nationally in rushing yards on carries taken up the middle, toward the left guard and toward the right guard. The team averages 6.8 yards per carry, which leads the Football Bowl Subdivision, and has compiled 46 rushing touchdowns, good for third best nationally. For a program that had six running backs selected in the NFL draft over the past decade, this is undoubtedly the best ground game that head coach Dabo Swinney has overseen. 2011Alabama94.52007Oregon State103.1 SeasonTeamDefensive EfficiencySeasonTeamRun defense EPA 2012191.14.2228.221.6 They get teams off the field, having helped force the most three-and-outs (81) in the country — at a clip of 44.3 percent. This is largely because offensive plays tend to go the opposite direction against Clemson. A measly 30.6 percent of plays earn five yards or more against Venables’s defense, the best rate in the country, while 40.5 percent of plays earn zero or negative yards, the third-best rate in the country.The Irish offensive line has done a commendable job keeping Book upright. Notre Dame is among the best 35 teams in sack rate and in the top 15 in sack rate on passing downs. However, Notre Dame’s offensive line has been pushed around, as evidenced by the team ranking outside the top 100 in line yards, passing downs line yards per carry, opportunity rate and stuff rate.Clemson has controlled games in the trenches all season. To pull off the upset, Notre Dame must first temper the Tigers’ quartet.Check out our latest college football predictions. The Irish can stop air attacksThis year’s playoff participants in expected points added (EPA) on pass defense 2014Clemson92.52012Rutgers102.6 * In full seasons under Swinney, who took over as head coach midway through the 2008 seasonSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group 2Notre Dame96.95 15Clemson68.46 read more

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Mens Basketball Ohio State faces toughest challenge of the season in Gonzaga

Ohio State senior forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) waits for the Buckeye offense to run in the second half of the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State (4-0) will face its toughest test of the season upon traveling across the country to Portland, Oregon, to play in the PK80 Invitational, starting with No. 17 Gonzaga (3-0) at midnight Friday morning.The Scarlet and Gray look to build off of an undefeated start to the head coach Chris Holtmann era, taking on some of the best basketball programs in the nation. Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and senior forward Jae’Sean Tate have led the way for the Buckeyes, averaging 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, and 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds, respectively.“It’s a great opportunity,” Bates-Diop said. “There’s a lot of great teams out there. There’s a chance you get to play them all in a three- or four-day stretch. It’s great for us.”Traveling more than 2,000 miles across the country and playing multiple games in a short time period might appear grueling, but not in the age of AAU tournaments. Tate said most of his teammates have previously played three to four games in a day, let alone a weekend.Tate expressed excitement at the opportunity to play against top-tier college basketball programs, but emphasized the importance of the team not getting ahead of itself.“I think it’s going to be the biggest stage we’ve been on in a while,” Tate said. “But we’re just prepping for Gonzaga. We’re just taking it one day at a time.”The Buckeyes need ample preparation to be ready for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are coming off of a runner-up finish in the NCAA tournament and have consistently enjoyed success during head coach Mark Few’s 19-year tenure.Holtmann is well aware of Gonzaga’s sustained success. From what he’s seen, he said Gonzaga appears capable of making another deep run in the NCAA Tournament this season.“I think they’re just really disciplined. You can tell they’re a program that’s won at a really high level for a number of years because they don’t beat themselves,” Holtmann said. “They’re big. They’re talented. They’re well-coached. They’re one of the very best basketball programs in the country.”The Bulldogs have had the tall task of replacing Nigel Williams-Goss, Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Matthews, who were their top three scorers last season. They also watched sixth man Zach Collins taken 10th overall in the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers.However, Gonzaga has replaced its key contributors of the past with a mix of returning and new players. Returning to take on bigger roles are redshirt junior guard Josh Perkins and sophomore forward Killian Tillie. The duo is currently leading the team in scoring with 13.3 points, and 12.3 points, respectively.Freshman forward Corey Kispert and redshirt freshman guard Zach Norwell have already become critical cogs in the Bulldogs’ scheme. Kispert averages 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc. Norwell has been a do-it-all sixth man, averaging 10.7 points, three rebounds, three assists and 1.7 steals in only 18 minutes per game.Gonzaga ranks No. 17 in the nation in scoring with an average of 94 points per game. Gonzaga has not relied on any one player in particular for production. Instead, the Bulldogs have counted on a balanced attack featuring six players averaging more than 10 points per game.Given the tournament style and prestige of the teams participating, including No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Michigan State and No. 9 North Carolina, comparisons have been made between the PK80 Invitational and the NCAA Tournament. Tate was asked if it felt like the Buckeyes were preparing for the NCAA Tournament.“Definitely,” Tate responded. “We play three games and no matter what — all three games — we’re going to have to come out and play. We’re going to have to be the best team we can be because every team in there on their best night can beat anybody in my opinion. We’re just going to prepare for the first one and keep the train rolling.”Beyond GonzagaIf the Buckeyes win, they will play the winner of the Florida-Stanford matchup. If Ohio State loses to Gonzaga, it will play the loser of the Florida-Stanford matchup.No. 7 Florida (3-0) averages 98 points per game and shoots better than 40 percent from the perimeter. Its leading scorers, redshirt senior guard Egor Koulechov and junior guard Jalen Hudson, average 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and 18.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, respectively.Stanford (3-2) has struggled early, losing to North Carolina and Eastern Washington. The Cardinal only defeated Northeastern (2-2) by 14 points, whereas Ohio State defeated Northeastern by 25 points. Redshirt junior forward Reid Travis and senior forward Michael Humphrey average 21.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, and 12.2 points and 10.6 rebounds, respectively.“We feel like every game we play is an opportunity,” Tate answered. “Any game you lose is going to hurt. Any game you win is going to help you. So we’re just taking it one game at a time. As long as we keep stringing the wins together, I feel very confident that we’ll be in the tournament.” read more

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