Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner said his team was focussed and wanted to maintain their winning momentum after virtually sealing the playoff spot in Indian Premier League 9. SRH thrashed Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Sunday. (Full Coverage |Points Table)”We are very excited and happy to go through, but for us it is about winning. It’s (winning) is the key to have momentum in this format. We need to keep winning, obviously to finish in the top two, that is our goal and that is our focus,” he said at the post-match conference.Warner added that his team would look to win the next two league games and enter the playoffs on a positive note.Warner wary of DelhiWarner also said his team needed to set its sights on the Delhi Daredevils game as he expected the Zaheer Khan-led side to be their potential opponents in the final stages of the league.”We have set our sights on the next game, we go to Raipur and play against Delhi. In last game, they beat us as we did not play particularly well. We have to play at our best to beat Delhi and they could be a potential contender in the finals,” said the Australian.’Stayed hungry’ Asked about the mantra which has made Sunrisers such a solid-looking outfit this season, Warner, who struck a half-century today, said, “We have really worked hard this year, we have stayed hungry and we have belief in ourselves to go out there and play the perfect game.”advertisement”Couple of games didn’t go our way, then we got into the winning streak, had a bad game and then we won again. So, at the moment we have to keep trying playing our best game.”‘Not happy with our bowling’Warner said he was a bit disappointed with the way his side bowled against Vijay-led Punjab.”I thought they got 20 runs too many,” he said.Warner heaps praise on YuvrajHe, however, praised the way Deepak Hooda (34 of 22 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (42 of 24 balls) batted today.”We saw today and that is the quality he brings to his team in the middle period. He played with a clear mind,” Warner said about Yuvraj.He also praised the role played by Deepak Hooda and Ben Cutting (18 of 11 balls) and said with the kind of talent and self-belief his players have, “that’s what we are about”.”It is about not being complacent and about moving forward and keep continuing to play good cricket. We can work on a lot of other things, with our bowling, with our batting.”Sometimes, when we fall behind, we rush things and I felt today that batters assessed the conditions well. I did not feel that any player felt pressure, they just went out there and executed their skill,” he said.Nehra suffers tendon injuryAbout Ashish Nehra’s condition after he walked off the field with some trouble in his right leg, Warner said, “All I know about it is that there was a tendon issue, he is going to be assessed by medical staff and I think there will be a press release about that.”(With PTI inputs)
Chris Smalling says Manchester United’s last-gasp win over Bournemouth has given the side confidence ahead of their Champions League trip to Juventus.Marcus Rashford scored deep into stoppage-time to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s side after Anthony Martial had cancelled out Callum Wilson’s early opener.The result means United have won both Premier League matches since their defeat home Juventus last month with the two sides reconvening in Turin on Wednesday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! With a game against rivals Manchester City coming up in the Premier league next weekend, a crucial few days lie ahead for Mourinho’s side.When asked what two positive results could do for United’s season, Smalling said: “I think that it would galvanise us. We know we’re going into a very tough week now but we can come out with some good results and it can be seen as a good month.“It is an especially tough month now and potentially after the international break when we have a lot of home games it’s all about making sure we get results and move up that table despite the tough games.“We can take the second half to Turin and I think we will be more on the front foot and you will see a better performance in the first half. We need to take the second-half performance that we had against them at home and we need to do that from the off and we’ll give them a good game and get chances.”Mourinho’s success throughout his career has been built on a solid defence so it is unusual so see a side managed by the Portuguese concede so many goals. The Red Devils have already conceded 18 times in the Premier League this season, the worst record in the top half.Smalling admits it’s something the side need to work on if they are to be successful this season.“In the last few years I think we have been known for shutting up shop and not conceding many goals so this season has been very unusual to what I have experienced,” Smalling added.“We need to work on that because normally we don’t concede many and we win the game. It starts at the back, and as a team collectively, and we will be working on it every day.“Yes, we’re showing that attitude, never giving in. No matter how bad the first half was, the second half we all believed we could go and win. It’s a great feeling and it’s bringing us closer together. As games are getting tougher and tougher – I think they’re closer than ever – it is often coming down to fine margins. Who can give that added burst in the last five minutes? We’re going to win a lot of points that way, and a lot of other teams are going to gain or lose points that way.”Despite United’s recent improvement Smalling acknowledges that poor results earlier in the campaign means the club face a real battle to try and finish in the top four. Mourinho’s side are currently seventh in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and nine points behind leaders Manchester City.“We as players have to stand tall and the spotlight will be on us because we are supposed to be in the top four. We are doing everything we can to get there,” he said.“To be at a club like this, and last as long as I have, you need to have that courage and belief in your ability, because you’re not going to have good days every week and the bad days are often highlighted when you’re at a big club, but I believe in myself. As players you need to have thick skin and we need to have belief that you will have bad days but it’s about making sure you have more good days than bad.”
NEW YORK – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Jan. 8, while Craig Biggio fell two votes short and tainted stars of the Steroids Era remained far behind.Maddux was picked on 555 of 571 ballots by senior members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His 97.2 percentage was the eighth-highest in the history of voting.Glavine, Maddux’s longtime teammate in the Atlanta rotation, appeared on 525 ballots and received 91.9 percent. Thomas, the first Hall of Famer who spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter, was at 483.The trio will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. Maddux and Glavine played under Cox for most of their careers.“It’s exciting for me to go in with my teammate,” Maddux said.Writers had not elected three players in one vote since Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount in 1999.Biggio received 427 votes and 74.8 percent, matching Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the smallest margin to just miss. Biggio appeared on 388 ballots in his initial appearance last year and appears to be on track to gain election next year.Mike Piazza was next was 62.2 percent followed by Jack Morris, who was 78 votes short at 61.5 percent in his 15th and final appearance on the writers’ ballot. Jeff Bagwell got 54.3 percent.Controversy over how to evaluate stars tainted by the Steroids Era continued to impact the vote totals of players with stellar statistics. In their second appearances on the ballot, Roger Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4, Barry Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sammy Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2.Appearing for the eighth time, Mark McGwire fell from 16.9 to 11.0. Rafael Palmeiro will be dropped from future ballots after falling to 25 votes and 4.4 percent — below the 5 percent threshold necessary to remain eligible for next year’s vote.Deadspin.com announced Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard had turned his ballot over to the website, which allowed readers to vote on how it should be cast.“I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general, but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this,” Le Batard said in remarks posted by Deadspin. “‘I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral we’ve made of sports.”BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack O’Connell declined comment.Eighth on the wins list with a 355-227 record and a 3.16 ERA over 23 seasons, Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and a record 18 Gold Gloves with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego. An eight-time All-Star, he won at least 13 games in 20 straight seasons.Among pitchers with 3,000 innings whose careers began in 1921 or later — after the Dead Ball Era — Maddux’s 1.80 walks per nine innings is second only to Robin Roberts’ 1.73, according to STATS.Glavine, a 10-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young winner, was 305-203 over 22 seasons.A two-time AL MVP, Thomas hit .301 with 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs in 19 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto and Oakland.“This has been a stressful 48 hours,” Thomas said in a statement. “This is something that I will have to sit back in the next three or four days and figure it out because you can only dream so big, as this is as big as it gets for me.”Writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point were eligible to consider the 36-player ballot.Next year’s vote could be even more crowded when Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado and Gary Sheffield become eligible, five years after their retirements. The BBWAA last month formed a committee to study whether the organization should ask the Hall to change the limit of 10 players per ballot.(Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Pier 1 Imports says its closing six of its stores in Canada.The company announced in April that it would close up to 25 North American stores during its 2019 financial year.The closures will allow the company to dedicate more resources to driving sales growth.Pier 1 Imports says six of the initial closures are in Canada, where the company has more than 65 locations, and will be effective August 4.It did not respond to questions about where the stores are located or how many employees will lose their jobs.Pier 1 Imports says employees who stay with the company through the closures will receive a retention bonus or severance based on years of service.
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged on Saturday that the Modi government allowed economic offenders Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya to flee the country, and wondered whether this was the prime minister’s “patriotism”. “Why did Modi government make the two flee country. Is this the patriotism of Modi ji?” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief was reacting to a tweet saying Mallya and Nirav Modi have met several times in the past to discuss evading extradition to India. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThere was a fresh focus on the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi after a British daily Saturday reported that the accused in the USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam has been living in a swanky 8-million pound apartment in London’s West End and is now involved in a new diamond business. Sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Saturday the United Kingdom’s home secretary has recently referred India’s request for extraditing Nirav Modi to a court for initiating legal proceedings.
Rabat – Said Taghmaoui has affirmed to Morocco World News that he will not play in the next James Bond movie. Several media outlets, including MWN, reported that the Moroccan-French actor claimed that he would play the villain in “James Bond 25.” A Scottish newspaper reported having an interview with the “La Haine” actor, who said that British filmmaker Danny Boyle contacted him for Bond antagonist and that he had already auditioned for the role. “I was cast by Danny Boyle, and just now he left the project, so of course there’s some uncertainty,” Taghmaoui allegedly said in his interview with the National.Following the news, Taghmaoui contacted MWN to dismiss the story. “It’s a fake news,” he said. Born in France to Moroccan parents, Said Taghmaoui became a naturalized US citizen in 2008 and established himself in the Hollywood industry.
(Updated) Mail delivery in Canada is changing. Canada Post is saying goodbye to the door-to-door letter carrier. Blaming rising costs and falling mail volumes, the crown corporation says it’s impossible to continue its traditional operations.When the news broke this morning it completely caught unionized workers by surprise. Some postal workers didn’t even know about the announced changes. In fact CHCH’s Kate Carnegie broke the news to one carrier this afternoon. Canada Post serves just over 15 million addresses. A third, or five million, receive mail delivered to their own doorstep on a daily basis. It’s a service that will be phased out in urban areas over the next five years. The crown corporation says that by eliminating that service and replacing it with community mail boxes it can save between $700 million to $900 million per year. Without these cuts it will be losing $1 billion a year by 2020 and says that would become a burden on taxpayers. Denis Lemelin, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says it will fight the corporation’s decision to eliminate door-to-door mail delivery, even as the company struggles with continued losses. “Seniors of this country, people with disabilities who say they receive a good postal service and they want to maintain this service so we will stand with them and fight.”Canada’s senior population will be inconvenienced the most.“I do get mail delivered and I like it that way. I don’t want it to change, I think it’s crazy.”Pamela Clark of the Ancaster Senior Centre warns: “I think we may be looking at more accidents with seniors if they have to be mobile to get to mail boxes every day to be able to get their billing because a lot of them are not using computers.”Those seniors already using community mail boxes they say it’s a real hassle and can be dangerous. “There are no sidewalks, we just walk on the side of the road.”“We don’t have door-to-door service now. And we have a collection of boxes at the end of the street which is a giant size pain in the butt.”The post office plans to announce the first neighbourhoods changing over to community boxes in the second half of next year. The change in service will also affect jobs. Canada Post says about 6,000 to 8,000 positions will be eliminated over the same time period, mainly through attrition. The postal service expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company in the next five years.The union representing postal workers says instead of cutting jobs and services, postal banking is the way to go. That’s where post offices offer basic banking services as a way to increase revenues.Another change will be the price of stamps: next spring, if you buy stamps in rolls or booklets it will cost you 85 cents each, up from the current 63 cents, pending approval of the government. The cost of an individual stamp will go to $1.Link: Canada Posts’s five-year planRelated video: Sean Leathong talks to users of community mailboxes
In his latest report to the Security Council, Mr. Annan stresses the need for both sides to build on February’s UN-chaired talks in Geneva, which involved Germany, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States and which called for among other things, confidence-building measures.“It is essential that the Georgian and Abkhaz sides actively follow up on the understandings reached at the Geneva meeting of the Group of Friends, in particular, early finalization of the documents on the non-use of force and on the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.” “Moreover, a substantive meeting between their highest leaders would be a major confidence building measure and a welcome step forward,” Mr. Annan said, adding that while the military situation in the conflict zone remained “generally calm” during the reporting period, the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was still needed.“I therefore recommend that the Mission’s mandate be extended for six months, until 30 September 2006. I urge the parties to ensure the security and freedom of movement of all UNOMG personnel and, as a matter of priority, bring the perpetrators of criminal acts against the Mission to justice.”Last month, a senior official with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) met with a joint Georgian-Abkhazian delegation in talks aimed at assisting the 220,000 internally displaced persons in Georgia and about 50,000 people who have returned to the Gali District.The conflict in Abkhazia, strategically located on the Black Sea, began with social unrest and attempts by the local authorities to separate from the Republic. It escalated into a series of armed confrontations in the summer of 1992. A ceasefire agreement was concluded later that year but never fully implemented. Fighting which followed forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee.Diplomacy by the Secretary-General’s envoy helped to secure another peace agreement, paving the way for the establishment of UNOMIG. Fighting later resumed, sending hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly Georgians, fleeing their homes. Subsequent talks led to the deployment of a peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as well as the strengthening of UNOMIG, whose mandate is due to expire at the end of this month.
Considerable work is already under way to harness a circular economy. For example, the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment announced a $2 million investment to formalize an e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over $13 million in additional financing from the private sector.,“Thousands of tonnes of e-waste is disposed of by the world’s poorest workers in the worst of conditions, putting their health and lives at risk”, maintained Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO). “We need better e-waste strategies and green standards as well as closer collaboration between governments, employers and unions to make the circular economy work for both people and planet.” To highlight the rising challenge posed by mountains of discarded electronics worldwide, seven UN entities came together to launch the report at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, in a bid to offer some solutions to a behemoth-sized problem that is making the world sicker and adding to environmental degradation.The joint report, entitled, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot”, calls for a new vision for e-waste based on the “circular economy” concept, whereby a regenerative system can minimize waste and energy leakage.,“E-waste is a growing global challenge that poses a serious threat to the environment and human health worldwide”, said Stephan Sicars, Director of the Department of Environment at the UN Industrial Development Organization. “To minimize this threat, UNIDO works with various UN agencies and other partners on a range of e-waste projects, all of which are underpinned by a circular economy approach”.According to the report, a deliberative process must be instilled to change the system – one that collaborates with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises, academia, trade unions and civil society.,Walking the talk Despite growing e-waste, “A New Circular Vision” points to the importance of technologies from the so-called Internet of Things – a network of devices that contain electronics and the connectivity that allows them to exchange data – through to cloud computing advances, which can all result in smarter recycling and tracking of e-waste.“A circular economy brings with it tremendous environmental and economic benefits for us all” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UN Environment). “Our planet’s survival will depend on how well we retain the value of products within the system by extending their life.”The report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes International Labour Organization (ILO); International Telecommunication Union (ITU); United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); United Nations University (UNU) and Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.
1995-96✓Magic1647Bulls18271737Bulls It’s practically unheard of for a matchup of this caliber to take place outside the NBA Finals, where both teams’ ratings are necessarily sky-high because they’ve made it through the notorious gauntlet that is the NBA playoffs. For it to happen during the regular season, you’d need two teams flirting with a 70-win pace — and that’s exactly what San Antonio and Golden State are doing this year.It’s fair to ask whether there’s also something bigger going on here: Three of the 10 best combined-Elo games in NBA history1After removing duplicate games from the same playoff series. have taken place in the last 10 months, and two in the last 32 days. Does the NBA suffer from an epic lack of parity these days? Is Elo itself miscalibrated? Those questions are beyond the scope of this post, but know that, by any metric, the Warriors’ and Spurs’ first meeting of the 2015-16 season makes for a titanic matchup.(Yes, we also know that ageless time lord Tim Duncan will be out tonight. Luckily, the Spurs are deep enough to cover for that.)Tonight’s game also poses a more specific question: What happens when historically great offensive and defensive units meet? The short answer is that the Spurs and Warriors are playing at such a high level that we don’t really have a good historical precedent.Here’s what we do know: Defense-oriented teams have a higher probability of winning the NBA title at a given level of (regular-season) performance than their offensive counterparts. This gap only widens as a defense (or correspondingly good offense) becomes more dominant. And great defenses also have a slight edge in head-to-head clashes against great offenses.In preparation for Monday’s tilt, we did some digging into historical battles between the league’s best teams on each side of the ball. It’s a phenomenon that occurred upward of a dozen times per season in the NBA’s first few decades, but it’s getting rarer and rarer in recent years because of expansion, scheduling constraints and a larger playoff field. SEASONPLAYOFFNAMEELONAMEELOAVG. ELOWINNER HOME TEAMROAD TEAM 2015-16Warriors1809Spurs17821796— 1996-97✓Bulls1798Jazz17521775Bulls 1996-97Bulls1792Sonics16781735Bulls 2014-15✓Warriors1802Cavaliers17121757Warriors 2014-15Spurs1702Warriors17881745Spurs The best opportunity we had to witness No. 1s face off in recent years came in 2005-06, when the Dallas Mavericks offense faced the Spurs defense 11 times. Offense prevailed in that case — Dallas won 55 percent of the time, scoring 11.4 more points per game than San Antonio usually gave up that season — but that’s an exception to the general trend since 1951.In 414 meetings over the past 65 NBA seasons,2Today’s Warriors-Spurs matchup will be the first No. 1-versus-No. 1 clash of the 2015-16 season, though it isn’t set in stone that these squads will finish the year No. 1 in their respective categories. the top-ranked defense has beat the top-ranked offense 55.3 percent of the time. In those games, 3Excluding the game in question if it’s a regular-season contest. the No. 1 defense gave up 4.1 more points than their average, but the No. 1 offense scored 5.3 fewer points than their average. Some of that is because the defensive teams have more often been better overall clubs — hello, Bill Russell-era Celtics! — but we can account for this using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings, which set pregame odds based on the relative qualities of the teams. Elo would have expected the No. 1 defenses to beat the No. 1 offenses 54.9 percent of the time, so the defensive teams are winning slightly more than expected when they face their offensive doppelgängers.That’s the aggregate of matchups between No. 1s since 1951, though. What about since the mid-2000s, when the league finished a nearly decade-long project to overhaul its defensive rules and cut down on hand-checking? The trend is inconclusive: In the relatively small sample of 38 matchups since 2004-05, top offenses are winning less than Elo would predict — yet, they’re also taking more of a bite out of top-ranked defenses than those defenses are doing to them at the opposite end. Those recent rule changes certainly are having the intended effect at a leaguewide level (pace and offensive efficiency are up since the early 2000s); stay tuned to see if it translates to these kinds of strength-on-strength matchups as well.Those are all broader trends, though. What makes Monday’s Spurs-Warriors game historically unique is the sheer quality of each team’s dominant unit. Only four games in NBA history have ever seen an offense 8 points better than the league’s efficiency face a defense 8 points better than that same league standard, and all of those were between the Spurs and Mavericks during the 2003-04 season.4Somewhat under the radar, those Mavs had the best offense — relative to the league average — of all time, although this year’s Warriors might top them. This game will do those one better by pitting a plus-9 offense against a plus-9 defense, an NBA first. 2015-16Warriors1814Cavaliers16601737Warriors 1997-98✓Jazz1742Bulls17811761Bulls Tonight, the unstoppable Golden State Warriors meet the immovable San Antonio Spurs in a showdown between the NBA’s No. 1 offense and its No. 1 defense, two units that aren’t merely at the top of the league, but rank among the best we’ve ever seen. It’s the game of the season — no, check that, it’s the loftiest NBA game ever played according to our in-house Elo ratings. 2011-12✓Thunder1731Spurs17401735Thunder 1995-96✓Bulls1819Sonics17081763Bulls Under such extreme circumstances, it’s tough to say which side of the ball has the advantage — we simply don’t have enough of a sample of comparable matchups. And our other bits of evidence from history are mixed; defenses hold a slight all-time edge, but that may have eroded with recent seasons. (Or not.) Monday’s matchup won’t serve as a referendum in either direction, but it should be a spectacular clash of styles featuring basketball at perhaps the highest level it’s ever been played.
LUCINDA CREIGHTON HAS vehemently denied suggestions that she approached Deputy Peadar Tóibín about the Reform Alliance.She made the statement on Saturday with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 today. Byrne put it to her that Deputy Tóibín had said on her radio show that he had been “indirectly” approached by Creighton.“I certainly did not,” said Creighton, adding “that’s not true actually”. She said that she doesn’t “make indirect approaches, if I want to approach them I approach them myself” and denied that she had approached Tóibín.She said that all Oireachtas members were asked to attend the Reform Alliance’s first conference, which is taking place today.Creighton added that she had discussed the RA with Stephen Donnelly before Christmas, and she had “no idea” of his reasons for not taking part.She said that RA is “open minded – we’re open to working with anybody who is open to pursuing a similar agenda” on the type of issues raised at the conference.The TD also reiterated that she intends running at the next elections, as an independent TD aligned to the Reform Alliance.However, she said that she is “not fixated with the next election”.Read: ‘We need a new party like a hole in the head’: Conference discuses political and health reform>
McAlpine defends views on Dominica, says he is simply representing the views of his constituents Related Items:Dominica, lime, relief fund, tropical storm erika Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 07 Sept 2015 – Cable & Wireless Communications has established a regional relief fund via texting for the island of Dominica, following the devastation caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Erika. The deadly storm left its mark on Dominica resulting in more than $225 million dollars in damage to infrastructure, in particular roads and bridges. John Reid, President, C&W Consumer Group extended heartfelt sympathies, and reaffirmed support for the people of Dominica in the recovery effort. Across the Caribbean and the Bahamas, customers can now simply Text the word “HELP” to donate funds to the Dominica Relief Initiative: All proceeds generated from this C&W initiative will be donated to the Government of Dominica Disaster relief efforts. Post Maria: Dominica will rebuild with concrete Recommended for you 27 dead, a dozen missing in Dominica after hurricane Maria
Countrywide Group at a glanceCountrywide is a property services organisation and the largest estate agency in the UK. The group’s services range from estate and lettings agency through to conveyancing and mortgage broking.The group has been created through acquisition and now employs around 12,000 staff, who have an average age of 33 and are 44% female and 56% male. The average tenure of employees is 18 months. Countrywide Group, the UK’s largest property services group, began the task of building a reward function in September 2014, when it drafted in Neil Goodwin, head of reward.He joined on the brink of a group-wide overhaul at the FTSE 250-listed group, which until then had just an operational human resource function in place to support its 12,000-strong workforce.The overhaul saw the appointment of a new group chief executive officer, Alison Platt, a shake-up of the group’s senior management and executive and non-executive boards, and a restructure of the organisation’s estate agency divisions to create a single retail unit comprising its previously very separate sales and lettings businesses. The retail unit now operates alongside the group’s other property service units, which include auctions, estate management, conveyancing and financial services.The changes are part of a new corporate strategy launched in 2015 entitled ‘Building our future’. The strategy is designed to create an engaging, people-focused business that is recognised as one of the UK’s best employers with an operating profit of £250 million by 2020, although it has yet to identify the mechanism by which ‘best’ will be measured, says Goodwin.“The core of our strategy is to focus on customers and employees and to understand the links between the two,” he adds. “It’s about focusing on delivering an excellent customer experience and recognising that we need to ensure we’ve got a great environment internally for our staff to flourish.”Countrywide, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, reported an operating profit of £53.8 million for the 12 months to 31 December 2015, hence the importance of Goodwin’s role in helping the business to grow.Reward challengesGoodwin kicked off his reward function challenge by establishing a set of four reward principles: competitiveness, fairness, responsibility, and straightforwardness. He then undertook a three-part benefits project, based on these principles, which started with a cost-efficiency drive across the group’s whole benefits package, which includes life assurance, group income protection (GIP), private medical insurance (PMI), a bikes-for-work scheme, and 20-25 days holiday per year. Goodwin says: “We looked at cost efficiencies, partly to show how reward can add value, but also to try to fund any future investment within the function.”Cost efficiencies include a six-figure saving as a result of working more closely with the group’s benefits broker, Aon Employee Benefits, to harmonise some of the benefits on offer to staff and by changing the provider of two of the organisation’s benefits. Unum now provides Countrywide’s group income protection (GIP) cover, as well as a standalone employee assistance programme (EAP).Life assurance is available to all Countrywide staff, and GIP is available to staff at senior manager pay grade or above only, with the exception of some lower-grade staff with legacy benefits entitlements granted by businesses that Countrywide has acquired.Making use of Countrywide’s servicesPart two of Goodwin’s cost-efficiency drive saw him leverage existing group benefits. This included an overhaul of the way in which Countrywide’s own products and services, such as mortgage services or conveyancing, are used as part of its benefits package.As a result, staff and close family members can now access the rebranded ‘Under one roof’ scheme from day one of joining the group and use just one service, whereas previously they had to have 12 months’ service and use a minimum of two services in order to do so. “The advantage of the scheme is that employees are advocates of our own products and it is also a great source of revenue for the group,” says Goodwin.The scheme has generated more than £269,000 for the employer and saved employees themselves in excess of £320,000 as a result of more than 565 staff using more than 1,127 services.Goodwin has also overhauled the group’s share incentive plan (Sip). In March, the Sip, which is provided by Capita Asset Employee Benefits, was branded ‘Sharing our future’ and plan access was improved. All employees are now able to join the scheme after 12 months’ service instead of 18 months, and Countrywide now grants two shares for every three shares staff buy, whereas previously it granted just one share for every two purchased.In addition, staff now have two windows in which to join the scheme each year, March and October, whereas previously they had just one window in March.Benefits alignment projectThe final part of Goodwin’s cost-efficiency drive focused on benefits alignment. For example, the group’s PMI policy, provided by Axa PPP Healthcare, has seen the six previous tiers of cover condensed to two: one for senior management and the other for remaining management.The alignment of Countrywide’s benefits and reward package has been particularly challenging for Goodwin given the enormity and diversity of the organisation.Countrywide employs more than 12,000 UK staff working across more than 50 brands, each operating in very different markets and with very different corporate cultures. For example, estate agency brands range from Countrywide North Airdrie in Scotland, which sells properties priced as low as £50,000, to John D Wood and Co, which sells multimillion pound properties across London and overseas. This means that the commission that the group’s agents can earn varies hugely across the group.Goodwin’s task has been further complicated by the fact that Countrywide has been created from a number of acquisitions, with each new business bringing its own approach to benefits and reward, as well as its own autonomous approach to business.“[Alignment success] is about being as transparent as we can be,” explains Goodwin. “Most employees see a positive change. Only some see a negative change. The key is to engage closely with each business unit and be honest about our approach and explain why we’re making the changes.”Once this alignment challenge is complete, Goodwin will consider implementing a voluntary benefits platform and total reward statements for the workforce, which means that it will be all systems go for him for yet another year. But it seems that this is just the way that he likes it, which is great news for Countrywide as it works towards achieving its profit goal in 2020.Business objectives impacting benefitsBecome one of the UK’s best employers by creating a people-focused business that offers excellent customer service.Build a broad‐based business that can perform well and deliver robust shareholder returns throughout the market cycle.Generate an operating profit of £250 million by 2020. Career history: Neil Goodwin, head of reward at Countrywide GroupNeil Goodwin joined Countrywide Group in September 2014 as reward manager and was promoted to head of reward within just 11 months, in August 2015.At the time, Goodwin was in search of a new challenge and jumped at the opportunity to establish a reward function at a FTSE-listed organisation.Prior to this, he worked at publisher Macmillan Science and Education as reward manager for just over two years, after spending a similar amount of time as reward consultant at Hutchison 3G.Since joining Countrywide, Goodwin has been working hard on aligning the group’s reward and benefits package, which has involved leveraging the value of the employer’s own services, such as conveyancing and mortgage broking, for staff.Similar work he undertook at 3G Hutchison, where the organisation offered its mobile phones as a staff perk, stood him in good stead for the project. The benefits offered by CountrywidePension Group stakeholder pension scheme for 5,000 managers.Auto-enrolment pension scheme provided by the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) for the remaining 7,000 employees, with contribution levels at 1% for employer and 1% for staff.Healthcare and wellbeingLife assurance, employer-paid for all staff at four-times salary for management, and at two-times salary for other staff.Group income protection, employer-paid for senior managers and some lower-grade employees with legacy entitlements.Private medical insurance, employer-paid in two tiers: one for senior management, one for other management.Eyecare, employer-paid.Personal accident insurance, employer-paid.Voluntary health cash plan.Voluntary health screening.Employee assistance programme, employer-paid.Share schemesShare incentive plan (Sip).Give-as-you-earn scheme.TravelSeason ticket loan.Work-life balance20 to 25 days’ holiday as standard.Childcare vouchers.On-site servicesSubsidised canteen at UK headquarters.Other benefitsRetail discount scheme.Bikes-for-work scheme.Retail partner offers.Discounted Countrywide Group services.
By Michelle Richardson, Special to the AFROBaltimore City Police have confirmed the death of one of their own, Monday morning.According to Baltimore Police, 25-year-old Jospeh Banks Jr of the 4000 block of Moravia Road, died Friday of an apparent drug overdose.Medics received a call from the Tim’s Motel in the 4400 block of Washington Boulevard in Halethorpe, a little after 3:00 a.m. for the report of an unconscious male.Baltimore police officer Joseph Banks Jr., 25, died of an apparent drug overdose Feb. 25. (Courtesy Photo)When medics arrived, they found officer Banks unresponsive. After several unsuccessful attempts to revive the officer, he was pronounced dead on the scene.A woman, only identified as Officer Banks girlfriend at the scene, told police that she and Banks had been using drugs throughout the day when Banks used the last of his drugs around 11:00 p.m; that is when she noticed the officer making noises as if he was struggling to breathe.The woman told police that she called a friend for Narcan but was unable to administer it. Narcan is the controversial drug that reverses the affects of overdoses.Four hours later, she called police.It is not known why she was unable to administer the Narcan.According to the police report, heroine and opioids were found at the scene.Also noted in the police report, Officer Banks and the unidentified female were both bruised and bloody from an apparent physical altercation.Officer Banks was arrested in October 2018 for an assault charge in Anne Arundel County at a motel where he was living with a woman, according to online court documents.It is unclear if this is the same woman in both cases.Banks had been on the force for six years and was assigned to Juvenile booking and intake.At the time of his death, Banks was suspended from the force and The Afro has also learned that his father is also a Baltimore Police Officer.It is not clear if Banks was suspended stemming from his arrest in October 2018.Banks, who was a graduate of Merganthaler-Vocational Technical high School, also known as Mervo.“Rest in heaven Joseph #mervopride forever. I am so sorry this happened to you”, said a classmate on Facebook.“We are deeply saddened by Officer Banks death. Out of respect to him and his family, we will not comment further”, said a Baltimore Police PIO in a released statement.
Trade In Your Nintendo Switch For a Better Battery (With a Catch)Get Used to ‘Fortnite’s’ Powerful Mech Suits Stay on target Not satisfied just voicing support for the growing unionization movement in video games (which you can read more about below) Senator Bernie Sanders is now bringing his presidential campaign directly to gamers by launching a Twitch streaming channel. Sanders will stream on the service before and after the upcoming Democratic debates.Twitch has hosted more serious content before, from congressional hearings to content from fellow internet-savvy presidential candidate Andrew Yang to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropping by to talk about Donkey Kong and Trans rights. But being able to stream the Bern just takes it to the next level. Maybe he’ll talk about Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all coming out against Trump’s trade war and its effect on game console prices.Sen. Bernie Sanders may be very old, but his message of income equality is proving to be quite timeless in our current dystopian cyberpunk future. Why else are so many young people proudly calling themselves socialists these days? Earlier this year, after the smash box office success of Avengers: Endgame, the presidential candidate called on Disney to use the billions of dollars it just earned to fairly pay its workers rather than handing out bigger bonuses for corporate executives.And now Sanders is turning his attention to another industry rife with exploitation in desperate need of correction: video games. In a recent tweet, the senator (whose campaign pioneered staff unions) joined the chorus of us calling for video game developers to unionize.The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I’m glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019In the tweet, Sanders linked to a story on Time, one of many recent stories finally calling attention to how poorly game workers are being treated even as the industry itself makes tens of billions of dollars annually. Sanders also tagged two groups working to make video game unions a reality, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Game Workers Unite, the latter of which got a lot of attention at GDC last year when the battle over game unions really blew up.Unions, they’re good! And if you care about the actual people making video games and their well-being, you should support something that a growing number of developers say they want. The video game labor movement has been working tirelessly way before Sanders took notice. The AFL-CIO published an open letter in Kotaku not too long ago calling for game developers to join them. But hopefully Sanders drawing more attention to this will just help boost the cause. Want to join the fight yourself? Game Workers Unite is a great place to start.
The Delhi based artiste Seema Kohli stands poised to gave back to the city, that has given her so much, in her innovative Cutting Chai installation at The NDMC Palate Mini from March 13 -15 at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri, Delhi’s plush park spread over 80 acres boasting of a dazzling collection of blossoming flowers.The Cutting Chai installation is made of metal servers traditionally called ‘Cheekka’ used to serve tea in rural areas. Chai being the common accomplice to any conversation in all strata holds a very recognisable space. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Says Seema Kohli, “While painting I can hold my conversation intact with my canvas and me. I have used teacups and the idea of tea as a means of introspection, leading to final liberation. It holds an important dialogue between me and my inner, my outer, my social and my spiritual world. Hence the need for this installation.”The Cheekka holds cutting tea glasses with tea lights in it. The size of the installation can be increased or decreased according to the space allotted. The materials used include metal wire, glass, acrylic colour and tea. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSeema Kohli’s art practice involves various disciplines from drawing, painting, sculptures, installations and performance. The most significant one to emerge is ‘Performance Art’. Decay, hybridisation and transformation: Creating new identity; reshaping belongings; intimacy; a dialogue of matter and memory, all these constitute the language of her work.‘Time’ as a factor, is central to her practice, whether it’s a wrapped object or a performance. She uses time as medium, which is extended, assembled and captured. The aspects of continuity, repetition, vulnerability, duration, temporality, awareness, situation and public involvement are also inherent qualities that inform her art practice. The process before and after the performance is equally important and challenging.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There are a lot of breathless predictions about the future of the Internet of Things, or IoT.According to the pundits, in the not-too-distant future we will live in smart homes and navigate our smart city streets to work in smart offices. All along the way, big-data-driven algorithms will synthesize information across disparate inputs to make our lives easier by automatically controlling all sorts of widgets.According to industry-watchers, the IoT market has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025. Sixty-one percent of executives agree companies that are slow to integrate the IoT will fall behind the competition, and 96 percent of executives expect their business to be using the IoT in some respect by 2016.By 2022, a typical family home in a mature, affluent market could contain several hundred smart objects. That is, smart in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate wirelessly.Related: What the ‘Internet of Things’ Means for Enterprising EntrepreneursIn many cases, this cloud-based information will itself be informed by telemetry from other low-power and inexpensive devices, creating a cross-vendor virtuous cycle. Think of the sprinkler system that doesn’t come on in the morning because it knows it’s going to rain in two hours, and you start to get an idea of the potential impact the IoT can have.However, most of the “smart” devices of today are not much more than party tricks. They certainly won’t be the drivers of a billion-dollar revolution. If it’s going to live up to its promise, the IoT must be more than adding a smartphone-based remote control to an existing device.One of my favorite examples of a silly feature is a dishwasher that can be remotely started via a smart phone app. That’s great, but given the amount of physical interaction required to get a dishwasher ready for that step — loading the dishes, putting in the soap, closing the door, etc. — what benefit do consumers really get from walking away and starting the cycle from another device?For most devices, Internet connectivity just isn’t that compelling. Really: How much do I care about my hot water heater? I certainly don’t need regular communications with it. I just want to know that it’s working.Your users are already drowning in smartphone apps. With some limited exceptions in the area of lifestyle brands, they don’t want more. To fully exploit the promise of the IoT, companies of all types need to think about how to leverage a more subtle use of connectivity into compelling products and services. Resetting the lowly thermostat from my phone is fine, but what if I could receive a text alert when the house is too cold or too hot, when the furnace is running inefficiently or when the furnace filter needs to be changed?How about linking my thermostat into geofencing to set back the heat when everyone leaves based on smartphone location? It would be helpful if my thermostat could tie into demand response and offer me a discount if I allow my utility to shed electrical load at peak times.Related: 3 Industries Entrepreneurs Can Disrupt With the ‘Internet of Things’As for the the dishwasher, what if it automatically operated when electric rates are the lowest, alerted me when a drain is blocked or proactively scheduled recommended maintenance? Let’s not stop there. The manufacturer could periodically upgrade the software on my device to give me new features and the dishwasher could automatically order detergent from Amazon when it knows I’m running low, based on the number of cycles since the last purchase.For the strong projected growth to occur IoT technology must evolve the dynamic between people and their things in smart and interactive environments. Product designers and manufacturers have the opportunity to begin creating products that will enhance lives by allowing smart devices to not only interact with the user, but learn, respond, predict and communicate with other devices to understand what is needed before the user even knows.The IoT is quickly reaching the point at which the future visions promised in a Jetson-esque worldview are becoming realities. Companies that develop smart devices with autonomous operation that create additional value for the end user will be the most successful in the long run.Related: Want a Piece of the $33B-and-Growing ‘Internet-of-Things’ Market? Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 4 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global January 22, 2015
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Passengers will be refunded on 10 cancelled cruises, says Voyages to Antiquity Posted by Share TORONTO — Voyages to Antiquity has announced the cancellation of 10 cruises aboard the Aegean Odyssey this season to make time for repairs to the ship’s starboard engine.All guests affected by these cancellations are being contacted and will be provided with a full refund.Affected cruises are:May 2, 2019 – The Black Sea & Greek IslandsMay 13, 2019 – Classical Greece & Southern ItalyMay 23, 2019 – Renaissance Italy & Historic IslandsJune 4, 2019 – European ConnoisseurJune 18, 2019 – Land of the Midnight SunJuly 3, 2019 – Baltic Capitals & St PetersburgJuly 16, 2019 – The Norwegian FjordsJuly 30, 2019 – Iceland, Faroes & ShetlandsAugust 14, 2019 – The Three RiversAugust 26, 2019 – Mediterranean Odyssey(Grand Voyages containing any segment cruises listed are also affected)The company’s current Athens to Athens roundtrip Greek Island cruise, which departed Athens on April 26, has continued as planned.More news: Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksIn an official statement, the company said: “We are working closely with our trade partners and doing everything possible to minimize disruption. Voyages to Antiquity would like to apologize for the inconvenience these cancellations will cause to our guests. The mechanical issue experienced was unavoidable and unforeseeable.”The company went on to say that following its period in dry dock, Aegean Odyssey will be back in service in time to fulfill the remainder of its scheduled cruise timetable, starting with the Rome-Venice and associated future Grand Voyage itineraries departing Sept. 7, 2019.Voyages to Antiquity is sold in Canada through Exclusive Tours, part of Merit Travel Group. Travelweek Group Wednesday, May 8, 2019 Tags: Aegean Odyssey, Cancellations, Voyages to Antiquity
The handshake between US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela could provide an opening for an easing of ties between the Cold War foes, analysts say.Some however cautioned that the significance of the brief encounter in South Africa should not be exaggerated, noting that courteous gestures do not necessarily translate into policy changes after 50 years of enmity.“It’s extraordinarily symbolic, and this opportunity must not be missed. Now the next step is to start talking,” Cuban political scientist Esteban Morales told AFP.“What happened is a sign that the two countries are ready to negotiate.”Peter Schechter, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center in Washington, agreed but said the process could be a slow one.He said the gesture was “perhaps a telling sign” that Obama “may be willing to continue to implement small, incremental steps to engage with Cuba even if it comes with spending some political capital.”But he also emphasized that Obama had struck a “good balance” between openness and skepticism, by taking a swipe in his eulogy for Mandela at states like Cuba for claiming kinship with Mandela but eschewing his message of tolerance.“The handshake came with finger-wagging,” Schechter noted.The encounter at the stadium in Soweto between Obama and Castro involved the exchange of a few words, according to images broadcast on South African television.Deputy US national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One that the handshake was not “planned” and that Washington still had “grave concerns” about the human rights situation in Cuba and the continued detention of American Alan Gross.“The president’s focus was on honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela,” Rhodes said.In Cuba, the official Granma newspaper carried the photo of Obama and Castro in its online edition, without comment.The government website Cubadebate.cu also ran a photograph of the moment with the caption: “Obama greets Raul: May this image be the beginning of the end of the US aggressions against Cuba.”The United States and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, two years after Fidel Castro came to power in the Cuban revolution.Washington has imposed a strict embargo on the Communist-run island for a half-century, and Havana is on the US State Department’s list of sponsors of state terrorism along with Sudan, Iran and Syria.While Washington is incensed at the ongoing jailing of Gross, a State Department contractor who was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against the state, Cuba has railed constantly over the conviction of the so-called “Cuban Five” on espionage charges in 2001.Nevertheless, Obama has sought to lower tensions since taking office in 2009, easing restrictions on visas, remittances and travel.Last month, speaking at a fundraiser at the home of a Cuban-American activist in Miami, Obama said: “We have to continue to update our policies” toward Havana.“Keep in mind that when Castro came to power, I was just born. So the notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today in the age of the Internet and Google and world travel doesn’t make sense,” he said.Arturo Perez-Levy, a professor at the University of Denver, said the importance of “a simple handshake must not be exaggerated,” recalling that former US leader Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro exchanged greetings in New York on the sidelines of a summit of world leaders in 2000.Frank Mora, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University, agreed.“We should not read too much into this handshake. I don’t think that it is a signal of rapprochement or a change in US politics nor a change in Cuba policy,” Mora told AFP.Analyst Jorge Gomez Barata said the Obama-Castro handshake was simply a result of “Mandela diplomacy” – and a testament to the example set by the anti-apartheid icon and South Africa’s first black president.“Mandela did not know that such a meeting was going to occur… But he most certainly cleared a path that allowed for the avoidance of confrontation and created the basis for such an important meeting.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Freedom eludes Cubans Cuba’s Raúl Castro takes a big chance on currency reform Fonseca, Martínez embody new breed of Cuban music Venezuela’s Maduro said to cancel U.S. trip over Cuban plane
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How men can have a healthy 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean BERLIN (AP) — Prosecutors in Germany have indicted a 92-year-old former Auschwitz guard on charges of accessory to murder.German news agency dpa reported Wednesday the man has been indicted before a juvenile court in Hanau, near Frankfurt, because he was between 19 and 20 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.The suspect, who wasn’t named, is alleged to have played a part in the deportation of prisoners from Nazi transit camps in Berlin, Drancy in occupied France, and Westerbork in the occupied Netherlands. According to dpa, prosecutors say at least 1,075 of those prisoners were gassed to death shortly after arriving in Auschwitz. Comments Share Mesa family survives lightning strike to home The move comes on the same day a German court convicted former SS sergeant Oskar Groening of accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews in Auschwitz.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain