By Andreas VouMARCOS Baghdatis came close to pulling off another major upset in the third round of the Australian Open but eventually bowed out after an enthralling five-set encounter with world no.11 Grigor Dimitrov on Friday.The 29-year-old Cyprus star matched one of the most highly-rated talents on the ATP Tour stride for stride, but the Bulgarian took the deciding set and won 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a contest which lasted three hours and 30 minutes.Baghdatis’ performances in the previous two rounds against Teymuraz Gabashvili and David Goffin, both higher than him in the rankings, looked to have given the Limassol native the confidence to achieve another big win.The former world no.8 was at his brilliant best in the opening exchanges and performed ruthlessly to take the set with a love service hold.Even though Dimitrov responded in the second set to bring the match back to level terms, Baghdatis was back on the front foot in the third. Dimitriv, 23, was unable to capitalise on four break point chances in the ninth game of the set and Baghdatis went on to take a 2-1 lead.With the vocal backing of hundreds of Greeks and Cypriots in the Melbourne crowd, the world no.78 looked to be heading towards a famous victory.However, as Dimitrov grew more into the match, Baghdatis began to show signs of self-doubt and frustration which would take a toll on his performance.The Bulgarian fought his way back and eventually turned it around to take a thrilling five-set win.Dimitrov – the famous boyfriend of Maria Sharapova – paid homage to Baghdatis’ performance but was ultimately content with a hard-fought victory.“Marcos was playing extremely good tennis,” Dimitrov, dubbed ‘Baby Fed’ for his playing similarities to great Swiss Roger Federer, said after the match.“At the same time early in the match I didn’t go for my shots. Marcos, the crowd was for him. But at the end of the day, I kept the good composure, I won.”Baghdatis’ six-year wait to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam continues while Dimitrov will now face Andy Murray in the next round.
Real Madrid’s struggling defence will probably have to keep Bayern Munich’s deadly striker Robert Lewandowski at bay in the Bernabeu to reach the Champions League semi-finals.Real will be defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the quarter-final, which the Polish hitman missed with the shoulder injury that also kept him out of the German side’s 0-0 draw at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.However, Lewandowski trained on Sunday and is poised to return as Bayern look for goals on Tuesday against a Real side that have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 games.“I’m fine. I’m very pleased I was able to take part in training today. Everything’s OK,” said the Pole, who is Bayern’s top scorer with 38 goals in 40 games in all competitions.Javi Martinez is banned after his first-leg red card, while Bayern may also be without the injured Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, who both missed the Leverkusen clash.“Of the three (injured), Lewandowski has the better chance of being fit to play,” said Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti.“It will be very difficult in Madrid but we still have confidence. We still have an opportunity and we’ll do our best.”GOAL THREATLewandowski has seven Champions League goals, level with Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and only behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (11) and Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani (8).He is also joint top of the Bundesliga scoring charts with Aubameyang on 26 goals this season.Lewandowski joined Bayern from Dortmund in 2014, a few months after Real Madrid knocked the Bavarians out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage.Bayern were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate three years ago but Madrid’s defence is weaker now than it was then.Pepe broke two ribs in this month’s Madrid derby with Atletico and misses the Bayern game along with French centre-back Raphael Varane who still has a hamstring problem.That leaves Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez as the pairing at the heart of the defence for Real, who are also without forward Gareth Bale due to his calf injury.Madrid last kept a clean sheet against minnows Alaves on April 2 and have not looked solid at the back all season.They beat Sporting Gijon 3-2 on Saturday but conceded two sloppy goals, needing a 90th-minute winner from Isco to help them keep title rivals Barcelona at arm’s length.“They had two chances and scored two goals,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said after the game. “(The players) all lost concentration, we weren’t switched on for the free-kick (that led to Sporting’s second goal).”The Madrid side could pay a high price for any similar slip-ups against Bayern, particularly with Lewandowski lurking.
English football clubs were raided early on Wednesday morning by tax officials as part of a wide-sweeping probe, with several men arrested for suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud.British media were reporting that West Ham United and Newcastle United were targets of the investigation.The London club did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, while a Newcastle spokesperson said she expected to issue a statement “in due course”.West Ham issued a statement to local media, saying the club was “cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries”.The body responsible for United Kingdom’s tax collection said: “180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today.“Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.“This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences.”HMRC said French authorities were assisting the UK investigation, that they have made arrests and that several locations have been searched in France.A French judicial source with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to Reuters that a preliminary investigation has been opened and that operations were underway in France and in the UK.The source, who declined to be named, would not elaborate.
Peculiar Decisions The year 1964 saw the first International Conference on doping in sport, and in the1964 Tokyo Olympics, drug testing in cycling began. However, it wasn’t until 1998 when a police raid on the hotel rooms of teams involved in the Tour de France yielded copious amounts of drugs and drug paraphernalia that the world began to take notice of how widespread this search for, and discovery of the edge had reached. This scandal forced the International Olympic committee to organise the first world conference on doping in sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established on November 10, 1999. On October 19, 2005, there was the International Convention against Doping in Sport and the implementation and enforcement of the World Anti-Doping Code (Copenhagen Declaration). Since that time, history has recorded the many instances where athletes who have been found to be in violation of the code, regarding the use of prohibited substances or methods, have had their guilt hidden, excused, or ignored by local anti-doping bodies, determined to minimise, excuse, or even ignore the fact that winning was obtained by illegal and unfair methods. One aspect of the code insists that local anti-doping bodies should not have as members individuals who hold government positions or who are on the executive of sporting organisations that are subject to drug testing. Jamaica has had two such bodies dissolved on the instructions of WADA for ignoring this important and transparent directive. Jamaica has been at the forefront of transparency in having the hearings of its anti-doping commission (JADCO) open to members of the public, who have a vested interest in the determination of guilt or innocence of their fellow citizens accused of illegal and unfair practices in the desire to win at all costs. DOPING CONFERENCE In the minds of some Jamaicans, participating in sports was the ultimate fun. The joy of good, clean competition, where rules are adhered to and opponents respected. Unfortunately, modern sports have descended to the point where winning is everything. There is one famous quote where legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not everything. It is the only thing”. There is much support for the “winning is everything” mantra, as the rewards for winning, and the improved lifestyle and economic well-being of those who win makes winning the ONLY thing. As a result, participants in sport are constantly in search of the edge. That magical tablet, injection, diet, equipment, training method that guarantees improvement in performance that ultimately will enable one to win, to defeat their opponent. The search for that edge has resulted in death, illness, and other unwanted consequences, but importantly, the search for the edge has also resulted in improvements in performance that ends in winning. The modern reason for competing. The history of doping in sports goes back to 393 AD when the Olympics was cancelled mainly because of the prevalence of the use of mushrooms and seeds by competitors seeking the edge. In 1806, the modern Olympics were restarted, and even then, it was noted that athletes were using strychnine and codeine to improve performance. In 1930, Nazi doctors developed anabolic steroids to increase aggression in troops. In the 1932 Olympics, the USA won 102 medals, and Germany won 20. In the 1936 Olympics, Germany won 89 medals and the USA won 56. During the Second World War, captured German scientists were now working in the USSR and the USA. In 1952, the USSR entered the Olympics for the first time. The US won 76 medals, USSR 71 and Hungary 42. In the 1960’s, anabolic steroids were refined and began turning up in sports. It is this very openness and transparency that has resulted in unusual and peculiar decisions at these hearings to be successfully appealed. The present desire to hide the proceedings of this process will seriously damage the legitimacy of Jamaica’s global athletic prowess, at a time when international naysayers question Jamaica’s credibility and its willingness to police Jamaican athletes. This prevailing desire to close the doors of the process to the public, juxtaposed with revelations of Government-appointed bodies taking decisions contrary to internationally accepted norms, makes one wonder if there are revelations to come that would make transparency embarrassing. The Gleaner editorial of August 12 and the opinion of internationally acclaimed sports attorney Dr Emir Crowne, which are diametrically opposed to the proposed secrecy of JADCO’s tribunal hearings, should be enough for us, the public, to let our voices be heard insist that “transparent hearings should be JADCO’s default”. Nothing else will suffice!
Dear Editor,The continued reference by the Mayor of Georgetown and the Town Clerk to the jumbled tent city type shantytown arrangement south of Public Building at Hadfield and Lombard Streets where the vendors have been crammed into by the Council as ‘Parliament View Mall’ is pure and simple disrespect and disregard for the vendors and shoppers in our capital city.These two individuals have been travelling all over the world and know what a shopping mall looks like, which is a large retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building. Apart from the average mall being simply a place to do some shopping, grab a snack and catch a movie, some malls, such as Giftland Mall, offer a spectacular selection of shopping, entertainment and dining options. To refer to these rows of flimsy and porous tents, most of which are already damaged, under which there are pallets, rickety tables and chairs made from old bits and pieces of wood strapped with scraps of tarpaulin and sling rope with insufficient facilities and conveniences such as poor drainage, non-existent lighting, potable water, and few toilets as a shopping mall is just depraved.It suggests that they are of the view that Guyanese are unaware of what a shopping mall is, or that we should all pretend that this facility is an acceptable part of the landscape of the city. Do these individuals or their families shop there? I’ll bet not. They will more likely than not shop at the upmarket malls when they frequently travel, and when compelled to purchase items locally go to the real malls with a retinue of bodyguards and other support staff in tow.It is time for the Mayor and Town Clerk to stop trying to fool the vendors who were forced to occupy that area that they have their best interest at heart, when they don’t, it is time for them to stop coming up with these foolish and impossible pie-in-the-sky ideas of installing a double-deck at the Bourda Green and extending the Stabroek Market to accommodate these vendors, as they have not the financial resources to do either, but most of all they should stop making these ridiculous pronouncements that they are trying to organise the city that will make it comparable to modern cities and which would allow it to stand shoulder to shoulder with the great cities of the world, which is an insult to the intellect of Guyanese. City Hall with its present human and other resources cannot make good on such a promise. Lacking within the Georgetown Municipality is the technical and political capacity to provide even the most basic of cultural, environmental, social and sustainable living needs for present and future citizens of Georgetown. Especially when one checks on the background of the Mayor and her Town Clerk.Sincerely,Debra Gibson
CALGARY, A.B. – Forced Alberta government crude oil production cuts next year will result in “unintended consequences” that could include increased safety hazards for its employees, Suncor Energy Inc. warned Friday.Despite the curtailments that begin Jan. 1, Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas company forecasts its production will grow by 10 percent in 2019 on a stand-pat capital budget of between $4.9 billion and $5.6 billion.The issue has opened rifts in the Calgary-based oilpatch with companies like Suncor, Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. opposed to curtailments which are supported by bitumen-weighted producers like Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.- Advertisement -The cuts announced by Premier Rachel Notley earlier this month are intended to bring industry output in line with pipeline capacity to drain trapped oil from the western Canadian market and reduce resulting steep discounts for crude oil.Suncor says it is largely insulated from low local prices by its Canadian upgrading and refining assets and firm pipeline contracts.“In the short term, the government of Alberta action has resulted in winners and losers in the market, shutting invaluable upgrading throughput and has made transporting crude oil out of the province by rail uneconomic,” Calgary-based Suncor said in a news release.Advertisement But she said it fails to properly consider the uneven historic and recent performance of Syncrude (the oilsands mine and upgrader in which Suncor has a 58 percent interest) and gives only partial consideration for the fact that Suncor’s new 194,000-bpd Fort Hills oilsands mine did not have a full year of production in 2018.Throttling back production during the coldest months of the year, when it typically operates full out without stopping for maintenance, could increase risks to safety and reliability, the company warned.“Suncor will not put the safety of our employees and contractors at risk,” it stated.Mike McKinnon, spokesman for Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, said the province’s decision to curtail production was a difficult but necessary one to prevent job losses in the industry.“We take concerns about safety and long-term resource stability very seriously, and have been engaged with Suncor and other companies on a daily basis to understand these challenges,” he said in an email.Advertisement He said the province is working with companies on how much they must cut through an AER review panel and has made temporary adjustments to curtailment thresholds for companies facing higher reductions.Suncor said the cutbacks will result in higher operating costs per barrel, could affect the supply of crude oil to Alberta upgraders and refineries, may raise issues with its contracted pipeline commitments and could cause problems with the in-house consumption of diesel produced at its oilsands mines.The company said it expects average upstream production of 780,000 to 820,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day next year, up from about 730,000 boe/d in 2018.Suncor’s guidance matched analyst projections, with researchers at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. saying in a note it is “the ‘just right’ bowl of porridge for an uncertain outlook.” It added it is co-operating with the government and the Alberta Energy Regulator and “working hard” to minimize associated contractor layoffs.The province said it will order the suspension of 325,000 barrels per day or about 8.7 percent of overall oil production for about the first three months of 2019 before reducing the cuts for the rest of the year. The cuts only affect producers with more than 10,000 bpd of output, limiting curtailments to about 25 companies, mainly in the oilsands.Suncor said it will suffer from a “disproportionate allocation” of production cuts, adding its budget assumes the curtailments will be in place for three months before falling to 30 percent of initial levels for the remainder of 2019.In an email, Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal wouldn’t reveal the company’s cutback number for competitive reasons.Advertisement
WAILUA, Hawaii — In a clearing within Kauai Aadheenam’s lush gardens, the ping, ping, pinging of metal chipping at stone can be heard as a half-dozen artisans from India put the finishing flourishes on the Hindu monastery’s legacy for the ages. Hand-carved in granite and shipped in pieces to the island from India, the Iraivan Temple is faithful to the precise design formulas defined by South Indian temple builders a thousand years ago. The $8 million temple to the god Shiva is the first all-stone Hindu temple outside India, according to the Kauai monks. The project is a rarity even in India. The ranks of skilled carvers from India have dwindled in recent centuries, as stone has yielded to concrete and steel. Design modifications in new temples outside India have become a necessity to make worship at the traditionally open-air spaces bearable during the winters in Canada or New York City. Lush, tropical Kauai, known as Hawaii’s Garden Isle, doesn’t have that problem. “Actually, it’s the first all-stone temple made anywhere in quite a while. I think our architect in India said he’s made two in 50 years,” said Sannyasin Arumugaswami, a generously bearded monk enveloped in an orange cotton robe. Construction began in 1990 and could take an additional 10 years to finish because of the mass of the structure and the skill needed to build it. The temple has already incorporated 80 shipping containers worth of stone and is surmounted by a gold-gilt cupola carved over three years by just four men. The temple is the vision of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, a former ballet dancer and Californian who founded the monastery back in 1970. Subramuniyaswami, who died at 74 in 2001, embraced Hindu monasticism in the late 1940s. Today his Kauai monastery is home to 22 monks who spend their days in prayer at the monastery’s current Kadavul Temple, tending the monastery’s fruit orchards and livestock, or putting out the order’s quarterly publication “Hinduism Today.” While many of the Kauai monks are converts, hailing from about six different countries, the order’s focus, as reflected in its stone temple, is on tradition. And the rules here are strict. While day-trippers are welcome, the monastery does not allow the curious to try out monastic life for a few days or weeks. The minimum stay is six months. And all the monks are celibate, single and male. Once they take their permanent vows, they do not speak of their lives before the monastery. “It’s like the institution was picked up in India and plopped down here … Something our founder purposely tried to do is not dilute it or change it seriously because of where it is,” said Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the current guru and abbot of the monastery. Still, the ascetics’ traditional orange, yellow or white cotton robes and shaved or bearded appearances belie their modern savvy. These monks have cell phones, digital cameras, podcasts and widescreen computer monitors to put out their magazine, with a worldwide circulation of 15,000 print and 5,000 digital. The monastery’s Web site gets up to 40,000 hits a day. “If you start searching Hinduism on the Web, you come to us in a hurry,” said Arumugaswami, who is also managing editor of the magazine. The monastery’s partially constructed temple now stands at the edge of a small valley that plunges down to the Wailua River, a pond and a few rushing waterfalls, and against a distant backdrop of soaring green mountains. Complete with tropical flowers and other plants — some purchased from the National Tropical Botanical Garden headquartered on Kauai — the monastery’s landscaped gardens are awe-inspiring. “Part of the object is to place the temple in just the most beautiful Hawaiian environment possible,” said Arumugaswami, explaining that the temple’s surroundings are a “natural” temple. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
VALENCIA – Virgil Hill is Valencia High’s man for all seasons, the Mr. Everything of Foothill League sports who excels over everyone, everything and everywhere – whether it’s track and field, football, baseball or whatever athletic endeavor the 16-year-old phenom puts his mind to. A year ago, Hill decided to take a season-long break from baseball to concentrate on track, winning the Foothill League 400 meters and advancing to the CIF Master’s meet, eventually falling 2/10 of a second shy of a berth in the state finals. It was widely believed Hill, now a junior, would have difficulty readjusting on the baseball field, especially when you consider Valencia’s exceedingly difficult schedule. Nevertheless, the starting outfielder is batting .318 with one home run and nine RBIs and he’s 7 of 7 on stolen bases, helping Valencia (18-3) win eight in a row and climb to No. 4 in the Southern Section Div. I rankings. “I’m starting to get my swing back,” Hill said. “At times, I’ve had my difficulties but once you get the hang of it, it always comes back.” His status as a major prospect in baseball was sealed early in his freshman year when Hill hit three home runs in one game against visiting Calabasas. “I’ve always loved baseball since I was in T-ball,” Hill said. “Football is new. I’m just starting to learn the game, but who knows what’s going to happen down the road? I’m very serious about football now, too.” Track was a natural sport, considering Hill’s mother, Denean Howard-Hill, is a former track star who won a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics. He also has strong genes from his father Virgil Sr., who is the WBA Cruiserweight boxing champion after coming out of a two-year retirement to defeat Valery Brudov to win the vacant title on Jan. 27 in New Jersey. The younger Hill sat at ringside and cheered his father on, a wonderful family moment as Hill Sr. became a world champion for the fifth time. “People thought my dad was crazy and couldn’t come back at 42. He’s definitely a big confidence booster for me,” Hill said. “My dad being a boxer is a good thing and a bad thing. I want him to do well and I’m happy when he does but the bad thing is I don’t want to see anyone hitting on my dad.” Through the years, there have been a few brave moments when the younger Hill laced up the boxing gloves and sparred with his father. He’s yet to get a clean punch in, but at least he was in there with one of the greatest boxers of the modern era. “I couldn’t touch him. My dad is way too fast,” Hill said. No one has ruled out boxing as a career for the son, who has an opportunity to follow in his dad’s footsteps. After all, the youngster has mastered every sport he’s tried, so why would boxing be different? Todd Longshore, a pillar in the Santa Clarita community and Canyon High sports circles, died Tuesday at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Longshore’s youngest son, Ben, is a junior quarterback and basketball player at Canyon, following in the footsteps of Canyon alums Nate and Nick, both of whom are playing Division I college football at Cal and BYU. “Todd was an incredibly loving husband and father, first and foremost, and he was a role model,” Canyon football coach Harry Welch said. “He was totally involved with his wife and children, the community, the church and the school.” Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventIn the meantime, Hill also starred on Valencia’s football team during the fall, despite sitting out for most of the first month after recovering from a summer knee injury. He caught 36 passes (23 over the second half of the season) for 727 yards and seven touchdowns to help Valencia to the Div. II semifinals. This year, Hill has decided to participate in baseball and track at the same time. After baseball practice, he works out on the track, and by now he’s grown into his schedule of Wednesday and Friday baseball games and Thursday and Saturday track meets. Hill has participated in 100, 200 and 400, running a blazing 10.4 100 last week – one of the fastest hand-timed marks in Foothill League history. He also defeated teammate Shane Vereen, who’s considered one of Southern California’s top sprinters, in the 200 in the their only head-to-head meeting. “I’m running the fastest I’ve ever run in my life,” Hill said. At some point, Hill probably must choose a favorite sport. For now he’s having too much fun to worry about it. A year younger than most of his classmates, the 6-foot, 170-pounder doesn’t turn 17 until September, so he’s got plenty of time to sort out his choices.
LA MIRADA – When the La Mirada Masjid mosque was attacked by vandals, community leader Rezuar Rahman was not too worried. But when he arrived Monday morning and found that the mosque had been struck again, he began to feel a little uneasy. “This morning, when we went there, everyone felt like someone is trying to scare us out of this place,” he said. The mosque had two windows and a glass door shattered by BB gun bullets on Thursday night, and again early Monday morning. Now, members of the Muslim community are calling the attacks a hate crime. 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But law enforcement officials say the vandalism appears to be random, part of a series of attacks that also shattered several car windows and the windows of at least two homes in the area. For the complete story, pick up tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News.