Transition to GST Smooth, Arun Jaitley Says in New York

first_imgIndia’s transition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been “fairly smooth”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the US Chambers of Commerce in New York. Jaitley is on a week-long visit to the United States to attend the annual meets of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.Jaitley also decried attempts by “ill informed” Opposition leaders to derail the implementation of the GST. “Many attempts have been made by political groups to derail the GST, but I am glad that their own state governments are not listening to them because they know 80 per cent of the money is going to come to them so they don’t have to appease an ill-informed central leader of the party and let the revenues of their own state suffer,” Jaitley said to the New York audience. “So, the state governments are being wiser.”The central government has unveiled schemes for the non-compliant as well under the GST, he added, saying that the obvious issue in GST is that the non-compliant are going to come into the net as well.“So the lowest slab in India is five per cent, which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. That is because of the non-compliant tax character of the Indian society. You make it easy for people to enter the taxation system that you are able to expand. In the GST, for up to 10 million turnover we now have a scheme for them,” he said.“We are trying to bring them into the tax net because the first two months data has shown that almost 95 per cent of the tax is just being paid by 400,000 accesses. Therefore, it’s very top heavy in terms of payment. And there’s a need to continue to expand the tax base at the bottom itself.”Jaitley also spoke about the GST Council in the event, called “India’s market reforms: The Way Forward”. The Council sits every month to review the situation and the rates.Jaitley also spoke to American investors on recent economic reform initiatives, saying India is a better place to do business now because of the measures taken by the BJP-led government. “The procedures have been simplified and as as much as 95 per cent of the investments are through automatic route, and foreign investment promotion board has been abolished. Today, 99 per cent of tax queries are addressed online,” he said. Related ItemsArun JaitleyArun Jaitley GSTArun Jaitley US visitArun Jaitley World BankGoods and Services TaxJaitley International Monetary FundLittle Indialast_img read more

Interpol Issues Red Corner Notice Against Jeweler Nirav Modi

first_imgThe  International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has issued a red corner notice against absconding Indian diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is accused in a multimillion dollar banking scam in India. The international agency has also issued the red notice against Modi’s brother Neeshal Modi and close associate Subhash Parab, PTI reported.The red corner notice against Modi and his aides was issued on June 29 and made public on July 2, the news agency added. It would help restrict their movement in the 192 member countries under the Interpol, and empower authorities in those countries to arrest and extradite them.“Interpol has accepted our request to issue RCN against Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and an executive of his company Subhash Parab,” IANS reported, citing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official. The Interpol has levelled charges of money laundering against Modi, the official added, according to the report.The CBI requested Interpol to issue a red corner notice against Modi last month, after UK Minister of State for Countering Extremism and Minister for Equalities, Baroness Susan Williams, told Indian Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, in a meeting in New Delhi that the billionaire businessman had sought refuge in the United Kingdom.However, Modi’s current location is not clearly known. The CBI has also written to other countries, including the United States, United Arab Emirates, Beligum and Singapore, to seek his whereabouts, the Hindu reported.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also approached the Interpol in March for an international arrest warrant for Modi over the Rs 13,578 crore fraud case involving the Punjab National Bank.Modi, his wife Ami Modi, who is a U.S. citizen, his brother Nishal Modi, a Belgian citizen, and uncle Mehul Choksi — all of whom are accused in the cases filed by CBI — had left India in January, just before the news of the $2.2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud broke out. The scam, in which Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi is also named, was allegedly conducted over several years during 2011-17 by raising credit from overseas branches of other Indian banks using illegal Letters of Undertaking issued by employees at PNB’s Mumbai branch.The ED and the CBI have already invoked criminal and money laundering charges against them, and filed charge sheets in the case.Besides Modi, Nishal and Parab, 18 other people have been named in the charge sheet filed by CBI in a special court in Mumbai on May 14.A red notice is a request by the Interpol to its member countries to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. “Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a red notice,” according to the agency’s website. “Each member country decides for itself what legal value to give a red notice within their borders.” Related ItemsInterpolNirav ModiPunjab NAtional Banklast_img read more

Congratulations, You Are Now a U.S. Citizen. Unless Someone Decides Later You’re Not.

first_imgNorma Borgoño immigrated to the United States from Peru in 1989. A single mother with two children, she set roots in the Miami suburbs, finding work as a secretary, dedicating herself to her church and, earlier this year, welcoming her first grandchild, a girl named Isabel, after Borgoño’s middle name.She took the oath of citizenship in 2007, a step she felt would secure her status in her adopted homeland. But hers, it turns out, is not a feel-good immigrant story: The Justice Department has moved to revoke Borgoño’s citizenship, an action that could eventually force her to return to Peru.Federal prosecutors in May filed a rare denaturalization case against Borgoño, 64, accusing her of committing fraud when she applied for citizenship and failed to disclose that she had taken part in a crime several years before she applied for citizenship — though she had not at the time been charged with it. It wasn’t until four years later, in 2011, that Borgoño pleaded guilty to helping her boss, to no benefit of her own, defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States of $24 million.Since President Donald Trump took office, the number of denaturalization cases has been growing, part of a campaign of aggressive immigration enforcement that now promises to include even the most protected class of legal immigrants: naturalized citizens.The government says it is doing what it has always done: Prosecuting cases of fraud among 21.2 million naturalized citizens, from people suspected of war crimes or terrorism to those in phony marriages or with false identities.But Borgoño’s case comes as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles residency and citizenship, is separately opening a new office to investigate thousands of potential denaturalization cases involving identity fraud, even as it approves more new citizenship applications than before. USCIS also intends to refer more cases for possible deportation and to give citizenship adjudicating officers more discretion to deny applications they consider ineligible or incomplete.Another agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has requested $207.6 million to hire an additional 300 agents to investigate more cases, including marriage, visa, residency and citizenship fraud.Taken together, “it’s new terrain for the government,” said Victor X. Cerda, one of Borgoño’s defense attorneys. “They’re being more aggressive.”The renewed focus on denaturalization, and a recent uptick in the number of cases filed by the Justice Department, have deeply unsettled many immigrants who had long believed that a U.S. passport warded off a lifetime of anxiety over possible deportation. Citizenship also opens the door to voting, a fact that Democratic Party activists and others used to their advantage in naturalization drives before the 2016 election.The new push for denaturalization investigations, though, threatens what were once certainties.“You put a question mark next to every naturalized citizen’s name,” said David W. Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “And then you instill fear.”Denaturalization remains a rare, lengthy and difficult process, and immigration authorities say that only people who have deliberately lied to the government have any reason to be concerned. USCIS naturalizes 700,000 to 750,000 people a year; in 2017, that number was 715,000, despite a 35 percent surge in applications that began in the run-up to the last presidential election.The increase required USCIS to hire more staff, open two new offices and expand 10 existing offices to keep up, though processing times have slowed. Still, the agency says it naturalized more people in the first six months of this year than in the same period for each of the previous five years.The number of denaturalization cases, however, has also gone up: They averaged 11 a year from 1990 to 2017 and rose to approximately 15 in 2016 and about 25 in 2017, according to the Justice Department. About 20 cases have been filed so far this year, the department said.More cases are expected from the new USCIS office investigating suspected citizenship fraud. Expected to open in Los Angeles next year, the office will review naturalizations that were flagged after old fingerprint records on paper were scanned into a government database a decade ago. The scans allowed immigration authorities to find people who had been granted citizenship despite having prior criminal convictions or deportation orders.The Obama administration appeared to pursue few cases involving duplicate identities, unless they involved egregious wrongdoing or naturalized citizens who had received government security clearances. But a 2016 report by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found that more than 315,000 fingerprint records for people who had been deported or had criminal convictions had still not been uploaded.The report prompted USCIS to dedicate funds and workers to the job, starting in January 2017. So far, about 2,500 cases have required an in-depth review and about 100 cases have been referred to the Justice Department. Prosecutors have not pursued all of them.“We are not out there looking for people to denaturalize,” said Daniel M. Renaud, associate director for field operations at USCIS. “We’re not going out and saying, ‘Who did we naturalize last year? Let’s open up that file and take a look!’”As with any other immigration approval, he said, “If there is fraud, then we think it’s in the interest of everyone for us to deal with it.”Last year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that citizenship could not be revoked over minor falsehoods in an application.Among the pending denaturalizations are cases against two men in Michigan and Florida. The Justice Department says it found evidence that the men did not disclose in their applications that they had outstanding deportation orders under other identities. Six people have been denaturalized since the fingerprint reviews began, including a New Jersey man who had immigrated from India and failed to respond to the denaturalization lawsuit filed against him.Borgoño’s case in Miami, however, is different, because it did not originate with the fingerprint database but with her criminal conviction.Borgoño cooperated with investigators to build the case against her boss and never profited from his fraudulent scheme involving bank loan applications. She was sentenced to house arrest and probation, which she completed early after paying a small amount of restitution.But prosecutors say that because the scheme began before Borgoño became naturalized, she should have divulged her involvement to immigration authorities, who might have then denied her citizenship. Her attorneys say it is unclear whether Borgoño knew of her boss’s unlawful scheme at the time.When Borgoño pleaded guilty, prosecutors did not suggest her citizenship was at risk, said Cerda, her attorney, who has asked the court to dismiss the denaturalization case.“There was no indication, no discussion, that this could be used against her,” he said, saying Borgoño’s defense might have taken a different tack if it had known her immigration status was at stake. “There has to be a modicum of understanding, frankly, in terms of the government’s perspective of which cases to pursue and which ones not to pursue. I just don’t think that’s being applied right now.”The Justice Department’s other recent denaturalization targets include child sex abusers, repeat sex offenders and people accused of supporting or conspiring with terrorists. In 2016, a Pennsylvania man who 18 years earlier had been convicted of a white-collar crime, like Borgoño, agreed to give up his citizenship but remain a legal permanent resident.“There’s no statute of limitations,” noted Matthew Hoppock, an immigration lawyer in Kansas who tracks denaturalization cases. “It makes negotiating these cases with the government really difficult. My client can agree to give up her citizenship if you promise not to deport her. You can make that promise now, but you could always deport her later — 10 years from now, 20 years from now.”Cerda declined to make Borgoño available for an interview, citing the pending case. Her daughter, Urpi Ríos, said the lawsuit had shattered the family.“She did everything that was asked of her,” Ríos said, speaking through tears. “I’m trying to do the best I can to make her smile every day.”Borgoño has no close family remaining in Peru, according to her daughter, who worries her mother could be deported and wind up alone and sick. Borgoño has Alport syndrome, a genetic condition, and has been on a kidney transplant list for two years.She was overjoyed by the birth of her granddaughter, who spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit before coming home.“And then, not even a week goes by and this bombshell comes,” said Ríos, recalling the moment her mother was served with the denaturalization complaint. “It’s without mercy.”© 2018 New York Times News Service Related ItemsUnited Stateslast_img read more

28 Fugitive Economic Offenders Living Outside India, Says Govt

first_imgAs many as 28 Indians involved in financial irregularities with banks and other offenses are currently living abroad, according to data from the Indian government.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are pursuing legal actions against these fugitive Indians, and efforts are on to bring them back, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh told the Lok Sabha on July 25.The list provided by Singh in the parliament named 23 Indians involved in financial irregularities with the banks as well as who are under criminal investigation (who are living abroad/fled abroad) during the last three years. Among them, whose cases are being pursued by the CBI, are six women.The ED, on the other hand, is handling cases of 13 persons. Eight persons — Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, Jatin Mehta, Ashish Jobanputra, Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, and Diptiben Chetankumar Sandesara — are named in both the lists.The list includes high-profile names such as business tycoons Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India over unpaid dues worth $1.3 billion to a consortium of 17 Indian banks, as well as Nirav Modi, Neeshal Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are accused in a $2.2 billion scam involving the Punjab National Bank.Also listed is former boss of the Indian Premier League Lalit Modi who is accused in a money laundering case; Ashish Jobanputra and his wife Priti, who are wanted in a Rs 770 crore bill discounting scam involving the State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda (BoB); industrialist Pushpesh Baid, who allegedly siphoned off hundreds of crores of rupees from several banks in Kolkata using forged documents; and the brothers Umesh, Kamlesh and Nilesh Parekh, owners of Shree Ganesh Jewellers who are accused of defaulting on loans worth Rs 2,600 crore taken from several Indian banks.The other groups of family members named in the list are the directors of Sterling Biotech — Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Diptiben Chetankumar Sandesara — over an alleged Rs 5,000 crore bank fraud case; and the directors of Chandigarh-based Surya Pharmaceuticals Limited Rajiv Goyal and Alka Goyal, who allegedly committed a Rs 157 crore fraud against the SBI.The list also includes the names of Ritesh Jain of Auro Gold, accused of unpaid bank loans worth hundreds of crores, and Jatin Mehta of Winsome Diamonds, with alleged loan default of Rs 146 crore. The other fugitives who figure on the list are Sunny Kalra, Sanjay Kalra, Sudhir Kumar Kalra, Aarti Kalra, Varsha Kalra, Eklavya Garg, Vinay Mittal, Sabya Seth, Hitesh Narendrabhai Patel and Mayuriben Patel.“Efforts are being made for securing the presence of these accused in the country by way of issuance of LOC (Look out circular), RCN (Red Corner Notice) and extradition requests,” Singh said.As of March 2018, India has signed extradition treaties with 48 countries, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Extradition treaties have also been signed with Croatia, Italy, and Sweden, the Hindu reported.As many as 31 businessmen from India are absconding and are under investigation by the CBI, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar earlier said in the Lok Sabha on March 14.The preferred destinations for fugitive Indians are the United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United Kingdom, according to data from the Ministry of External Affairs obtained through a Right to Information query. Related ItemsCBIEnforcement DirectorateExtraditionlast_img read more

Germany Mulls Easing Immigration Norms for Non-EU Skilled Workers

first_imgIn a bid to overcome the chronic shortage of skilled labor in the country, the German Cabinet is looking at a proposal to ease immigration and work permit process for skilled workers coming from outside the European Union.The German Interior, Labour and Economy ministries have agreed to recruit more foreign skilled labor to the country, Reuters reported on the basis of a paper it went through.If the recommendations mentioned in paper get the Cabinet’s approval, non-EU foreigner graduates and workers with vocational training will be allowed to come to Germany and look for a job within a certain period of time provided they fulfil the qualification and language related criteria.During the period of job search, immigrants will not be entitled to social welfare benefits. However, they will be allowed to take up jobs, for which they are overqualified, to get some money, according to the report.The paper proposes that the government will no longer insist that the companies prefer German citizens before looking at non-EU foreigners to fill vacancies. The other measures suggested in the paper are speeding up the qualification recognition procedures in Germany and a possible advertising campaign in selected countries, the news agency said.Citizens of the European Union are allowed to move freely in the bloc for labor purposes but that is not the case for workers from other nations. The new proposal may carry a positive chance for immigrant workers but its approval may turn into a sensitive issue due to the prevalence of anti-immigration sentiments in the country, where the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has managed to gather public support on the basis of its hardline policy on the issue.Germany is facing a shortage of skilled labor and young workers who would be ready to take up on-the-job training for almost three and a half years. This shortage is causing a huge gap between the demand and supply of workforce in the country. The Federal Labour Office reported a record 1.2 million vacant positions in Germany, the report added.Germany wanted to fill the gap in the workforce with the help of over a million refugees who arrived in 2015, but was unable to do so as most of them did not possess good German-language skills or were unable to prove the required qualifications.Germany already has a “blue card” system that makes the hiring of foreign academics and professionals easier for companies. The EU blue card enables third-country nationals who are university graduates or who have a comparable qualification to receive a residence title for the purpose of employment suiting their qualification. It is a residence permit which, when issued for the first time, is valid for a maximum of four years.The number of qualified Indian professionals in Germany is witnessing a rise. There were 169,602 Indians in Germany in 2017, the Ministry of External Affairs told the Lok Sabha last year.In the first half of 2016, the top five nationalities that received the EU blue cards were India with 22.1 percent, followed by China (8.7 percent), the Russian Federation (7.9 percent), Ukraine (5.3 percent) and Syria (4.7 percent), according to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). Related ItemsEmploymentEuropean UnionGermanylast_img read more

The Mountbatten Affair

first_imgProduction of a film portraying a clandestine and intense affair between former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, wife of India’s last viceroy, has been halted while Indian officials vet the script.The film starring Cate Blanchett and Hugh Grant is based on Alex von Tunzelmann’s book on the Mountbattens, titled Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire.  Rumors have long circulated of the affair and a letter written by Nehru to Lady Mountbatten in 1957 touches upon the intensity of his feelings toward her: “Suddenly I realised (and perhaps you also did) that there was a deeper attachment between us, that some uncontrollable force, of which I was dimly aware, drew us to one another, I was overwhelmed and at the same time exhilarated by this new discovery. We talked more intimately as if some veil had been removed and we could look into each other’s eyes without fear or embarrassment.”Mountbatten’s daughter Pamela in her memoir India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power, said Nehru and her mother loved each other deepily, but that their relationship remained platonic. Nehru viewed her “as the lady on the pedestal, unobtainable,” she wrote, and Lord Mountbatten embraced Nehru’s infatuation with his wife, once writing to his daughter: “She (Edwina) and Jawaharlal are so sweet together, they really dote on each other in the nicest way.”  Related Itemslast_img read more

Colorism: Universal Slight on Humanity

first_imgOver the past few weeks the #unfairandlovely campaign started by black photographer Pax Jones and sisters Mirusha and Yanusha Yogarajah, from the University of Texas, has taken off on social media. It has set Twitter, Instagram and Facebook abuzz.The first women to be featured in the campaign were of Indian origin. But dark skinned women from across the world quickly took to social media to affirm their beauty against the dominant mantra that fair is lovely. According to Jones the campaign emerged organically out of a series of photographs that she took with a view to combating the “under-representation of dark skinned people of color in the media.”Discrimination against people based on the tone of their skin, a phenomenon called “colorism,” is evident across the globe. It happens everywhere from Thailand to Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, South Africa, England and the United States. In places like Angola and Haiti it has taken on an intensely political form. There lighter skinned people have privileged access to some forms of political and material power.Yellow bone experienceIn South Africa light skinned African women sometimes find themselves referred to as “yellow-bones”. These women have often report their experiences as being double edged. On one hand they are praised as beautiful but at the same time they are also subject to stereotypes and derogatory remarks. But in the main colourism means that light skin is seen as desirable and dark skin as undesirable.Colorism is a complex phenomenon. In India it is often argued that the preference for light skin pre-dates British colonialism and is evident as far back as the Vedas, a collection of hymns and other religious texts composed in India centuries before the birth of Christ. But at the same time the desire for light skin in India cannot also be divorced from the caste system, the country’s North-South divide, the impact of colonialism and the manner in which capitalism has exploited these prejudices via the beauty industry. In India the hegemonic desirability of light skin has been challenged by campaigns such as “Dark is beautiful” spearheaded by actress Nandita Das.There are some commonalities between South Asian communities across the world but there are also major differences. What it means to be Indian is very different in different diasporic Indian communities. In places like England or the US, South Asian communities often still retain strong ties with India. As a result their issues around colorism are frequently similar to those in the Indian context, although local forms of colorism and racism are also shaped by understandings of the significance accorded to skin tone in other communities.Links with IndiaThe majority of South African Indians, mainly descendants of indentured workers, have very little direct connection with India. Social, religious and cultural practices, as well as cuisine, have developed independently. While there are some overlaps with the Indian experience in terms of the desirability of light skin tones there are also important differences that have developed according to the local political and social context.In South Africa the matter of skin color is often classed and shot through with very localised understandings of differences between North and South Indians. For many, including myself growing up at the end of apartheid, colorism was not always a significant presence in our families. In my case this was a direct result of my family’s thinking, and the impact of the Black Consciousness movement in Durban in the early 1970s.But there are also South African Indian families in which colorism is intensely felt. In some cases it can even result in discrimination within the intimate space of the family and, as a result, significant personal trauma.Hair Texture and Facial FeaturesColorism is also sometimes evident among the Colored community in South Africa. It predates apartheid, has endured after the end of apartheid and extends beyond a concern with skin tone to include hair texture and the shape of facial features. In Durban, where some historically Indian and colored communities are in close proximity, ideas about skin tone have taken on multiple influences.Because different black communities have shaped each other’s ideas about beauty and color in South Africa our experience cannot be reduced to an offshoot of the Indian or American experiences. And while there are certainly subtle and at times not so subtle issues around skin tone, the situation here is not nearly as bad, as, say, in India, Pakistan or Thailand. In fact it could be argued that the situation in South Africa is better than in the US and the United Kingdom.As Mail & Guardian editor Verashni Pillay noted in a recent piece: “Africa has experiences its own share of colouism and the horrors of skin bleaching. Phrases like ‘yellowbone’ to describe fairer skin black women don’t help. But the writing of Steve Biko and a growing sense of black pride makes it easier to embrace darker skin in South Africa.”Skin Lightening ProductsSkin lightening products have been banned in South Africa since 1992. In India crass adverts for skin lightening products are ubiquitous — a fact that invariably shocks South Africans of all races.In South Africa colorism is not simply a story of the continuance of colonial and apartheid racial practices, or influences from Bollywood and Hollywood. It is a story of how all of these influences coalesce.South Africa’s colorism is also a story of how the political innovation of the Black Consciousness movement in the early ‘70s – often carried into ANC politics – has freed many people from colorism. But at the same time it is also a story of discrimination within and between black communities that has evolved and survived after oppressive laws have been revoked.And as the #unfairandlovely campaign has proven, colorism sadly remains a universal slight on humanity.— The ConversationVashna Jagarnath is senior lecturer, at Rhodes University. Related Itemslast_img read more

What if Computers Become Smarter Than Humans

first_imgYou’re ordering tickets to a play or a big sports event online. You’re almost done when that annoying Captcha screen comes up and makes you type some blurry letters and numbers into a box. This step, as most people know, is to ensure that you’re just a person buying tickets and not a computer program deployed to illicitly to grab up a bunch of seats.But why can’t a computer that can perform calculations astronomically faster than humans identify the letter B just because it’s in a fancy font with a strikethrough, or the number 5 in a fuzzy photo of a front door? Why is it so easily baffled by something the average second-grader can handle?The answer lies in understanding the current state of artificial intelligence (AI) — what it’s capable of, what is still beyond its grasp, and how we may be rocketing toward an increasingly intelligent technology without enough thought about the implications for ourselves and our planet. This is according to Tim Urban, author of the quirky, stick-figure-illustrated, popular blog Wait But Why, which counts Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg among its fans.George Washington and the “Die Progress Unit”Imagine you brought George Washington here in a time machine from the year 1750, said Urban. He points out that in Washington’s world, “the power was always out.” If you needed to get around, it would have to be by walking, running, riding a horse or traveling by ship. For communication, you could talk, yell, send a letter, or fire a cannon.He described what it would be like for Washington to witness the technology of our time: cars, airplanes, the international space station. You could tell him about the large hadron collider and the theory of relativity, said Urban, and play him music that was recorded 50 years ago. “And this is all before he’s seen the internet,” said Urban, “the magical wizard rectangle in my pocket that can do a trillion crazy levels of sorcery, like pull open a map that can show where we are on it with a paranormal blue dot.” Or let you hold a conversation with someone in Japan, on the other side of the world.“I don’t think George would just be surprised, or shocked. I think he would die,” said Urban. How far do you have to go into the future in order to die from the level of progress achieved? “I call that the “Die Progress Unit.” Tongue-in-cheek but not entirely, Urban used the Die Progress Unit, or DPU, to illustrate how fast technology has been advancing. It has gone from linear progress to exponential progress, he said.For example, if George Washington wanted to perform a similar time-machine experiment on Leonardo da Vinci at around 1500 and bring him to 1750, “I have a hard time thinking da Vinci would die,” said Urban. In order to create an extreme level of shock, Washington would have to go back before the Agricultural Revolution and find a hunter-gatherer to bring to 1750. “This is someone who had never seen a large group of people together in one place before. Suddenly there’s huge cities and towering churches and ocean-crossing ships. I think that guy might die.”Moreover, Urban asserted that the exponential progress of the past 200 years makes our time unusual compared to the rest of human history. “The DPUs are getting dramatically shorter. … It suggests we’re living in a not-very-normal time.” Plus, the invention of the internet and all the technological developments around it represents a tiny sliver of time, about 25 years. What does this mean for the future?Urban said that people instinctively resist the idea that the world is changing exponentially. “You’re probably saying ‘Naah’ … Humans are cognitively biased to think, ‘nothing that crazy is happening, because why would it be happening now?’” But he said that according to experts, it is happening.Limitations of Today’s AIThe main driver of exponential change in the world is AI, according to Urban. He explained that AI is not necessarily a robot as some people might think, but any software designed to make intelligent decisions or accurate predictions about certain problems. Most of the apps on a smartphone, such as Siri, contain artificial intelligence.And AI’s use is increasing. A recent Computerworld article said that the installation rates for AI in cars, including infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems, is predicted to go from 8% in 2015 to 109% in 2025. And The New York Times reported recently that “the United States has put artificial intelligence at the center of its defense strategy, with weapons that can identify targets and make decisions.” Observed Urban: “We live in a total world of AI right now.”Experts classify today’s AI as Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) because it is programmed to solve particular types of problems but doesn’t have the breadth of human intelligence. For example, said Urban, Pandora can recommend music you might like based on your preferences, but “if you ask it for dating advice, it will look at you blankly.”What if computers do acquire a breadth of intelligence beyond being programmed to specialize in one task? A subset of AI known as machine learning is headed that way, according to Urban. AI may progress from ANI to AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence. “It’s not [just] picking out your music, helping you search on Google, or helping an airline set ticket prices. It’s … smart, generally.”According to many experts, said Urban, if AGI is developed, then the third category of AI won’t be far behind: artificial superintelligence, or ASI. This is software that theoretically would be smarter than humans.Urban asks us to consider the implications. Computers may end up above us on the evolutionary ladder, as we are above chimpanzees. There’s only a small amount of DNA that is different between humans and chimps, said Urban, yet we are their complete masters. Would ASI then become our master? “Not only will we not be able to do what ASI can do, we might not even be able to understand what it did,” said Urban. For example, he said, imagine trying to explain to a chimp how you built a skyscraper.He added, “Think about how amazing ASI is going to be at computer science, at making itself better, at re-coding its own architecture, at understanding nanotechnology, at all the other things that can go into helping it improve itself.” Very quickly, you could have it jumping up an evolutionary step per hour, said Urban.But he cautions against the tendency to anthropomorphize: to imagine as in many movies and books that “the robot becomes evil, and wants to take over.” That’s not how it works, he said. It’s still very scary, but for a different reason.The Future: Paradise or Paper Clips?Urban said many AI experts are concerned not that the machines will turn on us deliberately, but that we may simply get in the way of their plans or become irrelevant to them. Unintended consequences could occur if they are poorly programmed.He described the funny but ultimately terrifying “paper clip scenario” that is bandied about in AI circles. “You have an AI and some really high-tech lab like Google X,” he said. “You say, I want this AI to get smarter and train itself to be smarter. The metric we’re going to use is it will take this raw material and turn it into paper clips.”Then one day it starts to get smarter than humans, said Urban. It may not announce this to us, and now it only cares about one thing: making paper clips. “And if it really wants to create a lot of paper clips, it may need a lot of atoms, including the atoms in our bodies. In 300 years, the whole galaxy is paper clips.”Some experts, on the other hand, see a potential upside to a superintelligent AI. It might be able to help solve global ills like war, disease, poverty, and climate change. Urban paraphrased AI thinker Eliezer Yudkowsky as saying that to an advanced form of intelligence, the solutions to these seemingly intractable problems could be obvious.Many experts fall into the “anxious” category, said Urban, worrying that not enough attention is paid to the implications of what we are creating. AI development is largely in the hands of startup companies focused on “glory, changing the world, changing hartifumanity,” he noted. “Most of the AI money is in entrepreneurship and development. It’s not in AI safety. That’s not a sexy thing to invest in.”How close are we to ASI becoming a reality? Pretty close, according to many experts. Urban quoted statistics saying that the median expert prediction for AGI is 2040 and for ASI, 2060. That’s only about 45 years from now, within our children’s and grandchildren’s time.However, AI has obvious limitations by its inability to perform some simple tasks even kids can do. It falls down on the job when asked to do things like distinguish a small pointy-eared dog from a cat, realize that a three-dimensional drawing is supposed to represent a three-dimensional object, or recognize human faces. According to Urban, distinguished computer scientist Donald Knuth summed it up well: “‘AI has by now succeeded in doing essentially everything that requires ‘thinking’ but has failed to do most of what people and animals do ‘without thinking.’” Related Itemslast_img read more

NRI Jailed in London for Wife’s Murder to be Moved to Amritsar Prison

first_imgA Non-Resident Indian (NRI) man, serving a jail term of 28 years in London for planning the brutal killing of his estranged wife, will be repatriated to India and shifted to Amritsar jail for the rest of his sentence, the BBC reported.A UK court sentenced Harpreet Aulakh, a resident of Greenford, in 2010 to a minimum of 28 years for ordering the killing of his wife, Geeta Aulakh, a receptionist in Sunrise Radio, in 2009. He decided to get her murdered as she was seeking divorce from him.Aulakh’s repatriation to India will take place under the Repatriation of Prisoners Act signed between India and United Kingdom. He will be shifted to India on Aug. 28.“All arrangements are in place. According to the plan, the UK authorities will bring him to Delhi from where a team of Punjab police officers will bring him to Amritsar,” IPS Sahota, a top prison official in Punjab, told BBC Punjabi.“In the first week of July, we got a communiqué from the ministry of external affairs that Aulakh wanted to be shifted to Amritsar to serve the remaining term of his punishment. After completing the formalities, the jail department issued the NOC, and now he will be shifted to the Amritsar Central Jail,” Punjab’s Jails and Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa told the Hindustan Times.Aulakh’s men hacked Geeta to death with a 14-inch machete on the street of Greenford, London, when she was going to pick up her two sons from a childminder. Geeta’s right hand was amputated and she suffered severe injuries on her head. She was declared dead a few hours later in the hospital.At the time of murder, Harpreet Aulakh, also known as Sunny, himself remained in a city pub before the CCTV camera to convince the police that he was not present at the site of the murder. His trick could not help him much as he was caught on the CCTV of a store, buying the machete a few days before the murder, BBC had reported earlier.Two other men, Sher Singh, 19, of Southall, and Jaswant Dhillon, 30, of Ilford, east London, were convicted of murder and sentenced to serve a minimum of 22 years in jail. Related ItemsAmritsarLondonlast_img read more

The Right Way to Use Stock Images

first_imgHow do I look for good photos?Stock photo sites host thousands of images— and you probably won’t find the best photo on your first attempt. Don’t get discouraged! For best results, ask yourself these questions before searching for that perfect photo that fits your idea of “woman, pink hat, outdoors”:1. What kind of photo am I looking for?Do you want an illustration, an up-close photo of a face, a wide shot of someone head to toe?2. What elements must be in the photo?Is this an invite to a fundraising gala or a 5K? Should the woman wearing a pink hat be in running gear or a formal dress with a pink feathery piece topping off the look?3. What emotion am I trying to capture or elicit in this photo?Are you trying to portray a breast cancer survivor after treatment or an energetic young woman finishing a 5K on behalf of your cause?4. Where am I going to use this photo?Whether you use the image for print, web or both makes a big difference in the resolution and e file size you’ll need. Don’t know which medium the photo will end up in? As a general rule, download the largest image you can afford. That way, you can use the image for a variety of mediums without any resolution issues.5. How do I know if this is a good image or not?Save a few of the images you like (download a sample or take a screenshot) and make a note of where you found them (include the ID number) so you can locate them later. Show them to your staff, volunteers or a loyal donor to see if the image captures the message you’re trying to convey.6. Do I have to use the entire image?If half the image meets all your needs but the random dog on the other side doesn’t add any value, crop it out. Beware: some sites don’t allow editing of images in any way.Dos and Don’ts Don’t use a stock image with a testimonial or a quote; it will diminish your credibility.Do use stock images that feature real people in natural settings (avoid white backgrounds).Don’t use random stock images that have nothing to do with your mission or organization.Do download a higher quality image if you plan to use it in a print piece in the future. You can always make a photo smaller but a low resolution image will never look good enlarged or in print.Don’t modify images unless you have the skills and expertise to do so. People can usually spot inconsistencies and know it’s an altered image.Do download royalty-free images to keep costs downDo read a site’s terms and conditions carefully. Some sites have very specific requirements on how the image can be used.Do select imagery with people taking some sort of action—especially one that reinforces your mission.Do select images that have high-contrast colors. It will catch the viewer’s eye and be better seen by the sight impaired.Don’t select images of people wearing current fashion trends if you don’t plan to change your photos frequently. These images tend to quickly look outdated and this perception can transfer to how people perceive your brand.Do select images with diversity. Our world is diverse; make sure you pick images of people who reflect different ages, genders and races. There’s not much that can stand-in for beautiful images of your organization’s work. But we know there are times when stock images might be your only option for adding visual interest to your nonprofit website, newsletter or fundraising appeal. This is especially true for new nonprofits, organizations that don’t have a photo-savvy staffer or NPOs who can’t afford to hire a pro. For organizations that work with children, victims of abuse or other issue areas where privacy is a concern, stock images can be a great solution when visuals are needed.Let’s face it: Stock images can look generic and incredibly fake. (How many women do you know who casually laugh while eating salad by themselves?) But there are some ways to find quality photos that fit your criteria and help tell your story. Follow our simple dos and don’ts for using stock images and learn how to find the best photos for your message.Here are a two examples of good and bad stock images: 1. Call for volunteers—bad example White background Nothing to do with the organization’s mission Not a lot of contrast in color Not capturing a real world situation2. Call for volunteers—good example (for a clean-up)Real people in a real settingHigh contrast in colorPeople are taking actionDiversity is represented3. Join our email list—bad exampleUnnatural settingNo action is taking placeUnless an animal shelter offers typing classes for canines, this has nothing to do with the organization’s mission4. Join our email list—good example (for an animal shelter)High contrast in colorsPhoto is in a real settingLooks genuineWhere can I look for good photos?Many websites sell photos:iStockphotoBig Stock PhotoPunchstockShutterstockIf you don’t want to buy an image, try your luck with Flickr’s Creative Commons gallery. Flickr, one of the largest communities for online photo sharing, has developed an online photo gallery that gives photographers the ability to share free, high-quality, downloadable images with minimal licensing requirements.Our friends at TechSoup have compiled a helpful list of sites that offer free photos for use. TechSoup also explains the basics for using images you find on the internet (when you have permission and when you don’t).last_img read more

‘I just felt affection’ – Malcom reacts to Zenit racism storm

first_imgNew Zenit signing Malcom has played down the firestorm over a racist banner that greeted him upon his arrival to Russia. Earlier this month the Brazilian made his debut for the Russian giants and saw a banner unfurled in the stands that read: “Thank you leadership for loyalty to traditions.”The banner was in reference to a manifesto posted online by the club’s Landskrona supporters’ group which called upon Zenit to not sign black players.  Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? When asked about the banner, however, Malcom chose instead to focus on the fans who have supported him since his arrival in Russia. “To be honest I just felt affection and a lot of respect here at Zenit,” the Brazilian told Goal. “The show they’ve made during my presentation and during my debut motivates me even more.”That’s all that counts for me. Our supporters can count on me paying back the affection I’m receiving from everyone here at Zenit.”The 22-year-old did concede that he has had overcome plenty during his career, and has used his detractors as motivation.”I do my work, and everything that I’ve faced during my life was fuel so I could reach my objectives, both in sport and in my private life,” Malcom said.”That’s how an athlete’s life is, you can’t stop to grieve at each situation. You have to focus on your objectives.”Following one season at Barcelona in which he struggled for playing time, Malcom made the move to the Russian giants this summer for a fee of €40 million (£36.5m/$44.5m), plus €5m (£4.6m/$5.6m) in add-ons.Malcom had plenty of suitors for his services, but says that he chose Zenit due to the success previous players have enjoyed at the club, including a fellow Brazil international. “Lots of players, like Hulk, have come into here and achieved a lot, and I think that if I play well and keep my level high it will be all that matters.Hulk Zenit“I had the chance to choose and I chose here because I know it will work.”Having made two appearances for Zenit thus far in the new season, Malcom has underlined his desire to repay the club’s investment and faith in him.”To play well and help my team-mates and coach so we can achieve good results and titles,” he said. “That’s how I can be useful and I will give 100 per cent to contribute to Zenit.”I’m a very disciplined player and I know my responsibilities and the effort made by Zenit to sign me. So I must give my response on the pitch.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Hudson-Odoi closing in on Chelsea return

first_imgAfter a mixed start to the Premier League season for Chelsea, Frank Lampard’s side are set for a welcomed boost with Callum Hudson-Odoi nearing a return to action. The 18-year-old attacker has been sidelined since April when he ruptured his Achilles in a 2-2 draw against Burnley.It was an otherwise breakthrough season for Hudson-Odoi, who scored four times in the Europa League for the Blues as they went on to claim the title.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Given a full pre-season to focus on recovery, the teenager revealed just how close he is to a return, with Chelsea struggling for consistency early on in the season.”Recovery has gone really well and I feel good,” Hudson-Odoi told Sky Sports News.”Hopefully I can be back after the international break. We have to just get things going and hopefully everything goes to plan.”I was scared it could take longer but really recovery has gone very well and I am really happy everything has gone to plan.”Now I just can’t wait to get back on the pitch and start playing again.”The Blues have won just one of their first four league games under Lampard, squandering a 2-0 lead on Saturday as they drew 2-2 with Sheffield United. While Lampard has failed to hit the ground running on his return to Stamford Bridge, Hudson-Odoi is looking forward to being given a chance to shine under him. “He is a top manager, I’ve said it from the start. He’s there and he’s giving youth a chance,” he said.”He says to us if you work hard and believe in yourself you will get your chance.”Lampard himself has expressed his excitement at being able to soon unleash the England attacker. “The injury looks good which is the great news,” Lampard said in August.”Then he’s going to have to be fitter than he’s ever been because I’m going to want him to run!”Currently ninth in the Premier League, Chelsea will return to action after the international break with an away match against Wolves on September 14.  Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

ESPN Has 2 Top 25 Teams On ‘Upset Alert’ In Week 6

first_imgThe College GameDay crew on set in New York City.NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 23: Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler are seen during ESPN’s College GameDay show at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)ESPN’s Football Power Index has two top 25 teams on “Upset Alert” heading into Week 6 of the 2019 regular season.The FPI has one top 25 team with close to a 50 percent chance of falling to an unranked team this weekend. It has another top 25 team with close to a 25 percent chance of losing to an unranked foe.No. 18 UCF at CincinnatiUpset chance: 43.7 percent UCF coach Josh Heupel looks on during game.ORLANDO, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Josh Heupel of the UCF Knights Looks on during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats on November 17, 2018 at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) No. 11 Texas at West VirginiaUpset chance: 24.2 percent Tom Herman on the sideline during a Texas football game.AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Tom Herman of the Texas Longhorns reacts in the fourth quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)***Week 5 of the 2019 college football season almost produced a massive upset, as then-No. 1 Clemson nearly fell on the road to North Carolina.What upsets will we see in Week 6?last_img read more

Gudjohnsen drawing inspiration from Guardiola & Mourinho

first_imgHaving worked with managerial greats such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri, there’s no denying Eidur Gudjohnsen had plenty of high-profile names to look up to throughout his playing career.The former striker worked with Ranieri and Mourinho during his time at Chelsea between 2000 and 2006, while teaming up with the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Guardiola at Barcelona for the following three seasons after his move to La Liga.Gudjohnsen also enjoyed spells at Monaco, Tottenham and Bolton Wanderers among other clubs before eventually hanging up his boots in September 2017. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream He is now assistant manager for Iceland’s Under-21 side and he aims to make the most of his experience having worked with some of the biggest names in the game.”I had already decided to do my coaching badges and then this, with the Under-21s, coincides with that,” he told Goal.”I get my experience while doing my badges as well. It is the perfect set-up really. It’s great. It gives me the experience to be on the pitch with good quality players.”You try to take little bits from every manager and you try to mould it into your way of playing. Whether it is Mourinho’s man-management, [Sam] Allardyce was vocal, direct and preached hard work, while Guardiola was about movement off the ball and possession.  Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2019-20Jose Mourinho Man Utd“Under Guardiola at Barcelona, it was definitely the most attractive football I played, with the style of play. They have the players coming into their first team who have played a certain way since they were kids. They feel comfortable in the first team because they have been doing it since they were kids. They know exactly what the style is. If you want to come in as a manager and try to emulate that overnight, then I think you would be in trouble.”I was also blessed to have Mourinho and Allardyce. Over the course of my career, all the managers were people I have had great respect for. Allardyce was slightly different in that he was more direct. He loved the passing game as well, but reminded us that it doesn’t always have to be pretty. My work-rate rose under him.”I went to Chelsea and had Gianluca Vialli who signed me. Ranieri came in and I learned a lot from him. These were the people who helped me as I grew as a player.”At the end of the day, you can only use the players you have and play to their strengths. If you overthink things and try to play one certain way, then you have to have the players to do it. ” Gudjohnsen enjoyed his most productive spell at Chelsea and although a lot of his former team-mates – including Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Petr Cech – have returned to Stamford Bridge in backroom roles, the Iceland legend believes the time is not right for him to return.Eidur Gudjohnsen Iceland Under-21“If I said I was ready for it, I would be lying,” Gudjohnsen added. “I am just taking my first steps and I need to gain some experience. Eventually, what the future holds for me as a coach or manager is down to me and what effort I put into it.”There is always more to learn. The game is developing so fast and you have to be on top of everything. For the future, who knows? At this moment, it has not crossed my mind. I have just started this and I have had my first qualifiers with the team.”I have a lot to learn. I hope to go into something bigger in the future. I hope I get a big opportunity but I have to be ready for that step. I think it is great to see others get the chance. It shows that ex-players have great respect from the club and the fans.”It is great that Chelsea are building this identity by bringing back ex-players. They are not only ex-players but they are people who really care for the club, who know what it means to be at Chelsea. It means a lot to them.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Kompany names Van Dijk as best centre-back in PL history

first_imgFormer Manchester City star Vincent Kompany has named Virgil van Dijk as the best centre-back he’s seen in the Premier League ahead of the likes of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018, becoming the world’s most expensive defender at the time in the process.He has since helped establish the Reds backline as one of the best in the world, helping guide the team to a Champions League final win over Tottenham in June. Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream And while there have been players that have dominated for longer periods of time, Kompany says there are none that have changed a team quite like Van Dijk who, for Kompany’s money, is the best centre-back the league has ever seen.”I would bring it back to Virgil van Dijk, he’s not been on the scene as long as Terry, Ferdinand who have been around for a long time but the signs he’s shown in the last few years,” Kompany said ahead of his testimonial with Manchester City.”He’s shown if he had been around longer he’d have been at the top for a long time. The Liverpool before Van Dijk and after are a completely different setup. I’ll give him that one.”Van Dijk has made a total of 78 appearances for Liverpool, having scored eight goals during his time at Anfield.In 2018-19, Van Dijk’s first full season with the club, Liverpool conceded just 22 goals, the best in the Premier League, having conceded 46 and 42 in the two years prior.The Dutch defender’s performances have earned him recognition in the form of a number of awards, having been named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi last month.Van Dijk is also expected to battle the Juventus star and Barcelona legend for this year’s Ballon d’Or, with the Liverpool defender listed as the favourite for the time being.This season, Liverpool have conceded just three goals in four matches to start the Premier League season, with Van Dijk featuring in all four of those matches.Next up for the Reds is a match against Newcastle this Saturday following the conclusion of the international break, which has seen Van Dijk’s Netherlands team beat Germany and Estonia.After that, Liverpool will then focus on the Champions League as the club looks to start their title defence against Napoli.last_img read more

The perfect captain! Man City leader Kompany returns as a legend

first_imgHad Vincent Kompany not been so intelligent he could well have been a Manchester United legend.It sounds like the sort of dig Manchester City fans would aim at their bitter rivals but the teenage Kompany could have moved to Old Trafford when he was spotted by scouts for Sir Alex Ferguson.Instead, Kompany’s parents told him to concentrate on his studies and he eventually found his way to Manchester to become a hero in the blue half of the city. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream On Wednesday he returned, now with a Masters Degree in Business, for the first time since ending his 11-year stay as the club’s most successful captain – with four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups also on his C.V.More than 50,000 people are expected for his testimonial on Wednesday evening – a game that will see the profits go to the homeless charity Tackle4Mcr. There will be legends from both sides of the Manchester divide playing, although Kompany will typically miss the match with a slight hamstring strain.Injuries sadly had an increasingly significant effect on the latter part of his career, but even when he couldn’t make the same indomitable impact on the pitch he always remained an influence around the Etihad Stadium.Kompany joined City from Hamburg for just £6 million in 2008 in what Mark Hughes maintains was the best bit of business in the club’s history.Not only was he a hugely-promising defensive midfielder, destined to mature into a top-class centre-back, he was already a leader.He became the perfect captain to control an ego-crazy dressing room as it evolved from a top-four challenger into a title winner for the first time in 34 years.Vincent Kompany“I think I walked through the door being humble still. I was a leader from the first day but being a legend, you can’t predict those things,” he said ahead of the match.”Now I am a much calmer leader. In my first year at City, if I saw something wrong then I had to act. I was pushing, pushing, pushing constantly, fronting people and if I needed conflict I would until we got it right.”From the first day I have always put the team before my own good. There were many players who were bigger players than myself or were promised a better future or earning more money than I was.”There was a core, including Joe Hart and Nigel de Jong, in the early days we were really holding a lot together, making sure the club was bigger than any individual. That looks normal now, it wasn’t the case back then.”I think as a group of players, we had a big impact in shaping the culture from the inside.”It’s no surprise that an all-star friendly would attract every big name available from City’s recent history.Kompany would often be on hand to try to defuse Mario Balotelli’s tantrums. He helped Sergio Aguero and David Silva settle when they arrived in Manchester with barely a word of English. He has guided plenty of youngsters, such as Stephen Ireland, inside the intimidating first-team dressing room. All these players will be at the Etihad.Others such as Yaya Toure and Kevin De Bruyne would have been there were it not for their club and international commitments.Vincent KompanyNot only that, United stars like Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will soak up a night of pantomime boos to support Kompany and the event, which has already raised more than £300,000 for a Manchester homeless charity.”It is about celebrating the 11 years I have been able to build into this with some of the players,” he said.”I have got Craig Bellamy, he shaped my ideas about the club without a lot of people knowing it.”I think Mario is coming, he should be but with Mario everything can go wrong.”I remember looking up to so many players [at other clubs]. The first years at City we were getting consistently beaten. And then we turned the tables and we were going to Old Trafford [and winning].”While it will be sad not to see Kompany grace the Etihad turf again, he can at least console himself with the fact that he enjoyed the perfect exit from the club this year.A 25-yard thunderbolt to win the final home game against Leicester City, a tearful walk around the Etihad Stadium with his three Manchester-born children, two trophies in his final two appearances and a microphone drop farewell at the parade to celebrate a domestic clean sweep.He could still be at the club were it not for those injuries, but a contract offer remained unsigned.Kompany never stopped learning. When Pep Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, he saw an opportunity to greatly improve his football knowledge.He watched the Catalan’s coaching closely, particularly his drive for success and his ability to understand and manipulate the game like no one else.With injury setbacks majorly disrupting his final seasons at the club, he finally decided it was time to end his 11-year association.A six-hour meeting with Anderlecht director of football Frank Arnesen – where he spelt out his philosophy – convinced the Belgian club to give him his first opportunity in management.“I am a City fan, I am not saying farewell,” the Anderlecht player-manager added. “I am here as an ex-player, here as a fan and we are supporting a great cause.“I spent 15 years with Anderlecht and 11 with City and I think it sums me up on who I want to be as a person. I put a lot of effort into helping this club be successful.“There is the same idea behind me being at Anderlecht – consistency, loyalty, building a process and achieving. It has been the story of my life.”It is clear to see just how much he loves the city where he met his wife Carla – and on Wednesday evening that affection will be returned.last_img read more

We’re Inclined to Check Out the World’s Best Funiculars

first_img Editors’ Recommendations 6 Fastest Cars in the World Right Now America’s Oldest City Has a Super-Modern Dining and Drinking Scene 16 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now A relatively rare sight in the United States, funiculars have all but disappeared from the global landscape. Dating back to the 15th century, these inclined railways were once a common way to transport workers and goods in urban landscapes with challenging topography.True funiculars consist of a pair of equally sized cars connected by a cable looped over pulleys and a drive wheel. The cars are counterbalanced; while one car ascends the incline on parallel tracks, the other descends. Once driven by coal-powered steam engines, most remaining funiculars are now electric.Here’s where you can find five of the world’s best funiculars to take you to new heights.Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDuquesne InclineOnce home to 17 funiculars in the late 19th century, only two have survived in the Steel City. The Monongahela Incline (or “Mon”), built in 1870, is the oldest continuously operating funicular in the U.S. Both it and the Duquesne Incline, built in 1877, are owned by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. The two funiculars offer great views of the Pittsburgh skyline via Mount Washington, but only the Duquesne Incline includes a small museum, gift shop, and observation deck.Quebec, CanadaThe Old Quebec Funicular (Funiculaire du Vieux Quebec) began operating in 1879 with a water ballast propulsion system until it was converted to electric power in 1907. This unique funicular connects historic sites in Quebec City (about two hours from Maine and three hours from Montreal). The entrance can be found in House Louis Jolliet, the former residence the famous Québécois trader and cartographer from the 1600s.Lombardy, ItalyLocated near Lake Como in Northern Italy within the Lombardy region, the Como-Brunate Funicular (Funicolare Como-Brunate) takes residents and tourists alike between the city of Como and the lofty village of Brunate in just seven minutes. Situated approximately 2,300 feet above sea level, the vista from Brunate include an ancient Roman castrum, the historic city center, and the spectacular Alps.Hong KongOpened in 1888, The Peak Tram holds the distinction as being the first cable funicular in Asia. More than 17,000 people ride the incline daily up The Peak, a popular Hong Kong destination that features The Peak Tower shopping center and the Sky Terrace 428 deck with its panoramic views of Hong Kong.SwitzerlandWith dozens of incline rides throughout the country, Switzerland definitely puts the “fun” in funicular. Th oldest was built in 1879, the steepest has a maximum gradient of 106 percent, and the longest spans a total of more than 2 miles. 12 Reasons South Dakota Deserves Your Attention 14 Best Outdoor Stores in the United States last_img read more

Solskjaer: It’s my responsibility – I need to sort their heads out

first_imgOle Gunnar Solskjaer says there is “no excuse” for Manchester United’s ongoing struggles, but admits he needs to “sort heads out” in an underperforming squad.The Red Devils hit a new low on Sunday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat away at Newcastle.Just nine points have been taken from eight Premier League games this season, with Solskjaer’s side languishing in 12th place as a result. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career United were without a number of senior stars for a visit to St. James’ Park, including Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, but big money has been invested in a large squad.Solskjaer admits he cannot blame absentees for poor performances, with there enough talent at his disposal to deliver better than he is getting at present.He told Sky Sports: “We’re disappointed. We did lack quite a few key players but that’s no excuse.“The players worked hard and ran their socks off but at the moment we’re in a place we’re not used to. Some of the boys lack a little bit of composure and we don’t create enough chances to win a game of football.“They stay together as a team but we don’t create.”Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2019-20Solskjaer added on the challenge he faces: “Luckily for us it’s now the international break. We get time to evaluate what’s gone on over these eight games. We will sit down, hopefully we’ll get a few players back.“It’s my responsibility. I need to sort their heads out. Young boys lacking confidence – they need some help from experienced players and staff.“They’re human and they want to do well. They need to see the results of their hard work and we’re not getting those results so that’s going to affect them.“The first half was the sloppiest we’ve been. In the second half we dominated but we didn’t create.“We’ve not changed a lot. We’ve played the same way and stuck to our principles. The players are working hard. We’ve had six out from the Chelsea game and that’s going to affect results. But we’ll work hard and get the quality back.”Questions have been asked of Solskjaer’s suitability to a demanding post, with United having struggled for consistency since he was handed the reins on a permanent basis.The Norwegian is aware of the pressure he is performing under and insists he will not be hiding as he seeks to deliver a reversal in fortune.He claims to still have the full support of those above him, with there acceptance at Old Trafford that a rebuilding project is going to require patience.“We’ve discussed the direction we’re going,” Solskjaer added.“If you only work on sunny days then you’ll never get to your destination. It’s disappointing but we’ll keep working and we know where we want to get to.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Dembele to miss El Clasico with two-match ban

first_imgBarcelona winger Ousmane Dembele is out of the Clasico meeting with Real Madrid after he was handed a two-match domestic suspension for his comments towards referee Mateu Lahoz.The France international was sent off in Barca’s 4-0 win over Sevilla, with the referee writing in his official report that Dembele had said to him: “You are so bad.”Lionel Messi and head coach Ernesto Valverde had defended the former Borussia Dortmund star’s actions, claiming that he doesn’t speak Spanish well, suggesting that his punishment should be reduced as a result. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Speaking to RAC1, the Argentine said: “I told the referee that it’s very difficult for Ousmane to say something like that because it’s hard for him to form sentences [in Spanish].”The coach supported me at a press conference. We were surprised that the referee understood him so clearly because it’s still difficult for him to speak Spanish.”However, the Spanish Football Federation has upheld a two-game ban, meaning that Dembele will miss the league matches against Eibar and Real Madrid, subject to any appeal from the Catalans.It is the latest setback in the 22-year-old’s Barcelona career, which has yet to really ignite since moving from Dortmund in the summer of 2017.His debut campaign was plagued by injury, preventing him from earning a consistent run in the starting XI, while last term a succession of minor problems prevented him from gaining a head of steam after scoring eight times in the first 20 league matches of the season.This term, he has been restricted to just four appearances because of further hamstring trouble, which kept him pinned to the sidelines from mid-August until mid-September.He made his return after a minor setback against Sevilla and seemed to be enjoying a strong evening, scoring his first goal of the season, before seeing red for a second caution with just a couple of minutes of the match remaining.Team-mate Ronald Araujo was also dismissed in that encounter, with the young centre-back sent for an early bath for a professional foul. He will be suspended for the clash against Eibar but could potentially play against Madrid if called upon.last_img read more

Boys basketball: Evergreen 73, McKay 49

first_img Share: The Columbian Tags Zyell Griffin had 15 points and Carter Monda added 12 as McKay of Salem, Ore., was overmatched by the bigger Plainsmen at the Canby Winter Invitational.Evergreen (5-6) used a 23-11 third-quarter advantage to blow open a 34-24 game at halftime.“We rebounded the ball well, and in the second half, we cleaned up our careless turnovers,” Evergreen coach Brett Henry said.CANBY WINTER INVITATIONALAt Canby, Ore.EVERGREEN 73, MCKAY 49EVERGREEN (5-6) — Camren Smith 5, Jaden Stanley 8, Travis Huffman 9, Dwight Jones, Zyell Griffin 15, Tyler Ricketts 2, Jaylen Fite 0, Izaac Romero 3, Edmondson 0, Carter Monda 12, Mario Herring 9, Tae Marks 10. Totals 30 (8) 7-10 73. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Share: Receive latest stories and local news in your email:center_img Boys basketball: Evergreen 73, McKay 49 Evergreen Plainsmen Published: December 29, 2018, 6:40pm GO McKAY (0-10) — Byrd 0, Christensen 7, Sterling 6, Ceja 4, Tipekis 15, Rain 13, Olivera 0, Gutierrez 2, Tenorio 2. Totals 18 (5) 8-8 49.Evergreen 17 17 23 16–73McKay 15 9 11 14–49last_img read more