Office From feast to famine

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Russia reports its first coronavirus death

first_imgSome doctors have questioned the veracity of Russian data, given what they say is the patchy nature of testing. But the government has said it has been totally transparent about its handling of the crisis, and that its statistics are accurate.Moscow’s coronavirus crisis center said in a statement on Thursday that the elderly woman who died had begun receiving treatment last week in a private clinic before being moved to a hospital specializing in infectious diseases.It did not say where the woman was thought to have picked up the virus, but said her circle of close acquaintances had been identified and was under medical observation.None of them were displaying any serious coronavirus symptoms, it said. Russians aged over 60 were strongly advised to minimize contacts with other people, it added. Topics : Russia on Thursday reported its first coronavirus-related death, an unnamed 79-year-old woman in Moscow with underlying health issues who died from pneumonia after testing positive for the virus.Russia, which has temporarily barred entry to foreigners and imposed an array of flight restrictions, has reported 147 coronavirus cases so far, less than many other European countries.That figure has risen sharply in recent days however, but authorities have said the situation is under control and that most infected people have entered Russia from coronavirus hot spots.last_img read more

Bonsignore: Friedman, Zaidi deserve some of the blame for Dodgers playoff woes

first_imgAnd that is on first-year President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi, who inherited a very good, albeit subtly flawed roster last winter and proceeded to do the opposite of what they were hired to do.They made it worse, which seems ludicrous in retrospect, considering the resources the new Dodgers brain trust had to work with.But that’s exactly what happened. And a repeat this winter is something even the deep-pocket Dodgers can’t afford.• PHOTOS: Mets eliminate Dodgers in Game 5Friedman and Zaidi were advertised as young savants, able to focus and view the construction of a baseball roster in ways their old-school counterparts aren’t able. Maybe that’s true. And they still have time to prove it.But if they can look deeper and further than everyone else, how can they make such blatantly bad decisions? Did they simply out-think themselves by giving big money to Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, two oft-injured pitchers pretty much everyone else in baseball said would fall apart or not rise to the occasion?McCarthy did what everyone predicted upon getting $48 million over four years from the Dodgers. He broke down shortly into the season and was never a factor.Anderson was decent, not great, in the regular season. But he faltered under the bright lights of the playoffs.Everyone saw that coming.Except the men the Dodgers pay a lot of money to run their baseball operations department.• McIINTYRE: Nothing lovable about these DodgersFriedman and Zaidi traded away continually improving second baseman Dee Gordon in pursuit of better middle infield defense. The focus was on run prevention, and I’m not too grouchy to dismiss that aspect of baseball as unimportant. But while my untrained baseball eye may not appreciate some of the subtle intricacies of the sport, my old-school vision couldn’t help notice how Gordon went on to bat .333 with a .359 on-base percentage while racking up 205 hits and 58 stolen bases batting leadoff for the Miami Marlins.Gordon could have been a difference-maker against the Mets at the top of the order, creating havoc on the basepaths. Power bats Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez were traded or allowed to leave as free agents, and while the Dodgers went on to lead the National League in home runs, the batting order looked a lot less intimidating without Kemp and Ramirez in it. That was painfully obvious in the postseason, when the Dodgers couldn’t come up with the one big hit necessary to break open Game 5, despite repeated chances to do so.The problem wasn’t getting rid of Kemp and Ramirez, it was not bringing in power bats to replace them. As for the bullpen issues over the last few years under former general manager Ned Colletti, Friedman and Zaidi did little to fix it.No wonder, then, the Dodgers were dismissed from the postseason in the first round for the second straight year and ahead of the World Series for the third consecutive season. The good news for Friedman and Zaidi is they have the trust of Dodgers ownership, which invested quite a bit of money in the two highly regarded executives.The challenge is, they need to tweak their strategy as they approach a pivotal winter in which they must decide whether Don Mattingly is the right manager moving forward, dip into the bank account even more to hang on to ace pitcher Zack Greinke and make the necessary changes to truly position the Dodgers as World Series contenders.Time is of the essence.The young, talented Mets and Chicago Cubs are actually year ahead of schedule, and neither is going anywhere, considering all their dynamic talent.The Washington Nationals will bounce back. The St. Louis Cardinals are going nowhere. And in the west, the San Francisco Giants are too smart to stay down for long.The Dodgers need to act fast to prevent falling off pace. Clayton Kershaw and Greinke — provided he returns — are the ideal starting point atop the pitching rotation. They were almost enough to push the Dodgers past the Mets.But almost enough isn’t enough.Not when the payroll is more than $300 million and the men in charge are baseball intellects who can see far beyond what their counterparts are capable.It will be difficult, to be sure.How much are they willing to pay the 31-year-old Greinke, who will opt out of the last three years, $77 million he’s owed in pursuit of a much bigger deal? And how do you balance that with the obvious need to improve the rest of the rotation and bullpen so the Dodgers aren’t left vulnerable — again — in the playoffs.What do you do with Yasiel Puig, who has digressed into an enigma?Or his high-priced outfield colleagues Andre Either and Carl Crawford — both 33 years old — who are owed a combined $79 million over the next two years? Either is essentially a platoon player, and Crawford played in just 69 games this season. That is a lot of money for part-time players. But their paychecks — and age/status — makes them almost impossible to move.Friedman and his staff have their work cut out for them, to be sure. But that’s why they make the big bucks.Their bosses can afford a lot of things. Just not another winter like the last one. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img In the abstract, the Dodgers just concluded a successful season.They won 92 games, secured their third straight division title and went the distance with the New York Mets in the National League Division Series.The vast majority of teams in Major League Baseball would take that season in a heartbeat, if given the choice at the open of spring training.Given the reality of their hefty payroll and expectations, the Dodgers’ season was an unmitigated disaster.last_img read more

‘There’s a God of football,’ says Gattuso as Napoli win sixth Italian Cup

first_imgNapoli coach Gennaro Gattuso (L) and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis (3rdL holding trophy) celebrate with players after winning the Italian Cup.Rome, Italy | AFP |  Gennaro Gattuso hailed the ‘God of football’ after he lifted his first coaching trophy as Napoli beat Juventus 4-2 on penalties to win the Italian Cup for the sixth time on Wednesday.The final had ended 0-0 in an empty Stadio Olimpico in Rome.Paulo Dybala and Danilo both missed their spot-kicks for record 13-times Italian Cup champions Juventus with Arkadiusz Milik slotting in the winner for Napoli past veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon.It is the first trophy for the southerners since 2014, and also a maiden coaching trophy for Gattuso, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in December.For former Italy World Cup winner Gattuso his first coaching success comes after the death of his 37-year-old sister Francesca from a rare illness.“In life you cannot accept some things, but football has given me a lot and a great passion,” said the 42-year-old former AC Milan great.“I feel I have a great responsibility. I know I cannot give up and I have never done in my career.“I saw a team tonight that wanted to win, we deserved it.“There’s a God of football, who makes you reap all that you’ve sown.“I am proud of what my lads have done. Now we must continue with this spirit also in the championship, to recover the disadvantage.”Napoli have been reborn under Gattuso and are now sixth in the league table as they target the Champions League places when Serie A returns this weekend after a three-month absence due to the coronavirus.But the defeat was a worrying sign for Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus, who also lost the Italian SuperCup final last December to Lazio. The 61-year-old former Napoli coach had also been chasing his first coaching trophy in Italy, and second in his career after leading Chelsea to the Europa League last season.“There is disappointment for the lads, for the club, for the fans,” said Sarri.“At this moment we lack brilliance to make the game dangerous, and without that brilliance, it becomes more difficult.”– Ronaldo lacking sharpness –The final was played behind closed doors, in the silence of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico which should have hosted Italy versus Switzerland in Euro 2020 on June 17.Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo missed a chance to break the deadlock after five minutes, having also missed a penalty in a goalless semi-final, second leg match against AC Milan last weekend.“It’s unusual two 0-0 draws for us but that just shows the lack of sharpness after such a long break,” said Sarri.“Ronaldo’s in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works best for him.”Napoli had the best chances of the first half with Lorenzo Insigne’s curling effort denied and Buffon clearing Diego Demme from close range.Buffon pulled off a last-minute save on Nikola Maksimovic to send the game into penalties with extra-time scrapped to minimise injuries after the coronavirus shutdown.Sarri said he hoped the players would now “put the anger and hunger from this disappointment” into their Serie A challenge with the eight-time reigning champions just one point ahead of second-placed Lazio in the table.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Obama to Ali: ‘You shocked the world’

first_imgSTAR STUDDED GALA—Actress Rasheda Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali arrives at the Keep Memory Alive 16th Annual “Power of Love Gala” honoring Muhammad Ali with his 70th birthday celebration Feb. 18, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari) by Oskar GarciaLAS VEGAS (AP)—President Barack Obama lauded Muhammad Ali Saturday as he joined some of the world’s most famous people in a birthday celebration for the boxer known simply as “The Greatest.”“Happy birthday, champ,” President Barack Obama told Ali through a video message, saying he wished he could have attended a swanky dinner gala in Las Vegas featuring some of the biggest names in sports, film, television and music. “As a fighter, you were something spectacular,” Obama told Ali, who turned 70 last month. “You shocked the world, and you inspired it, too. And even after all the titles and legendary bouts, you’re still doing it.”The gala’s 2,000 attendees were there to celebrate Ali’s life and generate millions of dollars for brain research, a mission Ali’s family says is important to him in part because of his nearly 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.Football great Jim Brown said Ali represents the greatest of America, because at one time people only recognized his athletic ability and didn’t like what he had to say. That changed over time, he said.“America started with slavery and ended up with a Black president,” Brown said. “Muhammad Ali was a part of that … a big part.”Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, told the star-studded crowd that her husband’s greatest wish has always been to inspire and help others. She said he feels that his life really began when he retired from the ring.“Muhammad’s gift of inspiration is timeless, and now more relevant than ever,” she said after being introduced by music icon Quincy Jones.Lonnie Ali introduced a video montage of her husband’s life, including clips from his work with children.“People look for miracles, people look for wonders, people expect surprises of all kinds,” Ali said in the video. “Yet the greatest wonder, the greatest miracle, the greatest surprise is to be found in one’s heart.”Guests arriving on the red carpet included football great Franco Harris, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acting star Samuel L. Jackson, Ali’s children and grandchildren and Chuck Wepner, who fought Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title and lost.“I would go anywhere in the world for Muhammad Ali’s birthday,” Wepner said.One of Ali’s daughters, Rasheda Ali, said the gala is a chance for friends, family and A-listers who look up to her father to show their respect for his life and legacy as a humanitarian. In return, she says he’ll be honored to see them there.“He has not left that need to help others,” Rasheda Ali said. “That’s one of his core values—his charity and his giving.”The gala—with tickets starting at $1,500 per plate—was held at the MGM Grand, the site of most of boxing’s major fights the past two decades. Famous faces converged on the 160 tables adjacent to two rings and a stage—Terrence Howard, Anthony Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao, and Lenny Kravitz, among others. They planned performances and tributes to a fighter who went 56-5 in the ring with 37 knockouts and became perhaps the most famous athlete ever because of his personality and willingness to publicly stand up for his beliefs.Tennis great Andre Agassi said Ali has shown the world that each person has a duty—regardless of their occupation—to live for more than him or herself and help others.“What he did with his platform was unparalleled and the impact he’s had as a result, we still feel to this day, which is why we’re all out here tonight,” Agassi said. “We’re grateful to what he’s done. He’s been a leader—we’re also challenged and charged with a duty of figuring out a way to do more.”Ali has lived with Parkinson’s disease for nearly 30 years, a degenerative brain condition that some doctors say can be brought on by punches to the head.The gala raised funds for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky., a cultural attraction that celebrates Ali’s life and pushes educational goals on a wide range of topics for adults and children.Larry Ruvo, chairman of the clinic’s fundraising arm, Keep Memory Alive, said he’s not sure whether the fundraiser will exceed its record of $27 million, but he hopes so.The gala’s auction includes some items that only an A-lister or others with incredibly deep pockets could possibly afford. The top item was Ali’s gloves that he used to fight Floyd Patterson in 1965, a bout he won by knockout in the 12th round.“If it’s $100, great, $100,000 would be better,” Larry King said in trying to drum up bids.Magician David Copperfield auctioned off a four-night trip to his set of 11 private islands in the Bahamas for $300,000.Boxing promoter Bob Arum said during a pre-gala reception Friday night attended by celebrities including Hopkins and Larry King that Ali will go down as one of the most important Americans in history.“Without Muhammad Ali, there wouldn’t have been an Obama,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been a mixed-race president.”ABC and ESPN plan to air the gala on Feb. 25.last_img read more