Marble Arch Tower filling

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Iran says two more deaths among 13 new coronavirus cases

first_imgThe newly reported cases included “seven in Qom, four in Tehran, and two in Gilan” on the Caspian Sea coast, Jahanpour tweeted.”Most of the cases are still either Qom residents” or were people who had come from Qom to other provinces “in recent days and weeks”, he added.The official did not say anything about the suspected source of the outbreak in the Islamic republic.He added that Iran had so far received from the World Health Organization four shipments of medical kits used to detect COVID-19. Iran’s health ministry Friday reported two more deaths among 13 new cases of coronavirus in the Islamic republic, bringing the total number of deaths to four and infections to 18.”Thirteen new cases have been confirmed,” ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Twitter. “Unfortunately two of them have lost their lives.”The COVID-19 outbreak first appeared in Iran on Wednesday, when officials said it killed two elderly people in the Shiite holy city of Qom, the first confirmed deaths from the disease in the Middle East. Qom is a centre for Islamic studies and tourists, attracting scholars from Iran and beyond.However, a government official said the first two people who died of the disease had not left Iran.Following the announcement of those deaths, Iraq on Thursday clamped down on travel to and from the Islamic republic.The health ministry in Baghdad said people from Iran had been barred from entering Iraq “until further notice”.Kuwait’s national carrier Kuwait Airways also announced it would suspend all of its flights to Iran.Iran was holding a parliamentary election on Friday, with state media saying that the coronavirus had not been able to dampen “the revolutionary zeal of Qom’s people” to turn out to vote.Topics :last_img read more

Last chance to catch the night train

first_imgMANY long-distance passenger trains outside Europe and Japan must by nature run overnight, with seating accommodation convertible to sleeper berths or bunks. In Europe, daytime inter-city trains predominate, with high speed services taking a steadily growing share of the business. This intense focus on high speed has left many of Europe’s overnight routes neglected, and of those that remain, most face an uncertain future.Cheap air travel and road coaches have taken a huge slice of traffic that once moved by train, and with the possible exception of Germany’s InterCityNight Talgo trains, the railways have yet to mount a successful rescue bid. The CityNightLine trains launched in 1995 by a joint company owned originally by Swiss, German and Austrian railways are not noted for their success, partly because they failed to offer cheap couchette accommodation, and partly because the luxury compartments in the ingeniously designed double-deck coaches are too cramped for many passengers’ liking. It is perhaps instructive that when Austrian Federal Railways withdrew from the group last year, it added couchette cars to the formation of its ex-CityNightLine Zürich – Wien Wiener Walzer. The message is surely that overnight services must offer as broad an appeal as possible – for business travellers (luxury berths with shower), families (four-berth compartments), low-budget tourists and backpackers (couchettes and reclining seats).The disastrous saga of the Channel Tunnel overnight trains, referred to by a reader on p570 and previously in these pages, is unique, with the railways’ ability to offer a range of flexible services boxed in by excessive government-imposed security rules that render absurd the requirement set by the same governments to run at a profit. To that must be added a choice of routes based on political needs rather than market demand, too early arrival times, inadequate service levels (no dining car for departures as early as 18.30) plus pricing levels (never published) which would be easily undercut by the competition. The best hope to retrieve something from the mess would be to run services from London to southern France, north and south Germany and Switzerland. For holiday traffic, the aim would have to be to offer a more attractive package than the airlines at a comparable price, but the railways would be attacking well-established and extremely competitive operators.All this leaves aside the collective failure of European railways to market and sell its overnight trains effectively. With the ability to offer passengers at both budget and luxury level far higher comfort levels than air or road, the railways have failed spectacularly to exploit their own advantages. How else can one explain the arrival of 1800 road coaches a day carrying tourists to the stunningly beautiful city of Praha, while just three trains run overnight from western Europe?We note that Netherlands Railways is negotiating with Danish State Railways to buy 25 seats cars which it wants to convert to couchettes for long-haul charters, but such is the tortuous machinery to obtain regular international paths that NS will find it hard to agree a weekly service to Praha for next summer’s timetable. Ring up and book a coach, and you could be travelling next week.Although not geared specifically to night trains, the most encouraging sales effort we have seen recently is Austrian Federal Railways’ bid to win a slice of the huge market for group and individual travel by Japanese tourists. ÖBB visited 200 travel agencies in Japan, and arranged promotions with Japan Air Lines. Aggressive and clever marketing is essential in today’s ultra-competitive world. olast_img read more

Winebarger tops finale, Williamson is Wild West Modified Shootout champion

first_imgBy Ben DeatherageLEBANON, Ore. (June 20) – After catching Jon DeBenedetti, Collen Winebarger raced to a $1,000 payday in the final event of the Wild West Modified Shootout at Willamette Speedway.Once in front, Winebarger cruised to the Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified victory and a spot on the ballot for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. Jesse Williamson clinched his third career tour title in four years with a 10th place showing.DeBenedetti began building what appeared to be a comfortable lead before Winebarger drove by coming to the stripe on lap eight.Winebarger took off from the main pack from that point. A long green flag run that lasted 29 cir­cuits put traffic into the mix but Winebarger would handle the traffic with ease.  A caution on lap 30 bunched up the field one last time with no lapped traffic between the frontrunners.Winebarger maintained his lead following the ensuing restart and ran in front the rest of the way for his career first Wild West Modified Shootout victory and fourth win at Willamette in 2015.North Dakota’s Travis Peery was second while Ryan Gaylord, from Colorado, was third.  The rest of the top five would be made up of Salem chauffeur Jeremy Shank was fourth in earning hard charger honors the second straight night and DeBenedetti was fifth.A total of forty cars were registered from Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Mon­tana and North Dakota.Feature results – 1. Collen Winebarger; 2. Travis Peery; 3. Ryan Gaylord; 4. Jeremy Shank; 5. Jon DeBenedetti; 6. Mark Wauge; 7. Nick Trenchard; 8. Alex Stanford; 9. Jerry Schram; 10. Jesse Williamson; 11. B.J. Wild; 12. Joe German; 13. Zach Olson; 14. Monte Bischoff; 15. Rob Ireland; 16. Brett James; 17. Craig Cassell; 18. Troy Heupel; 19. Troy Morris; 20. Joey Price.last_img read more

Valcke: Suarez needs to seek help

first_img Press Association Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general, told a news conference in Rio that the ban reflected the “unacceptable” behaviour on the world stage and that the 27-year-old should “seek treatment” as it was his third biting offence. Liverpool are taking legal advice over the case but Valcke claimed the worldwide ban was correct. He said: “It’s not Liverpool who is punished. It’s the player who is punished. “What happened with Suarez was far beyond the fair play and the attitude you should have when you play at the World Cup. “When you are with the 32 teams among 23 players in each team you have to show the best of the best as they are the example for the rest of the world. “I applaud the decision which was made by the committee to sanction the player in this way because what he did is unacceptable and not the image we want to give to the world.” He added: “I think he should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through a treatment and find something, it is definitely wrong. “It is more than one incident that’s why it has to be exemplary.” Suarez’s victim Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini has said the punishment was “excessive” but Valcke insisted it was proportionate. FIFA chief Jerome Valcke has claimed Liverpool are not being punished by the four-month worldwide ban imposed on Luis Suarez for biting and told the striker to seek treatment for his behaviour. Suarez’s ban for biting an opponent while playing at the World Cup for Uruguay means he would miss 13 matches for Liverpool between the start of the season and the end of October. He is also banned for nine international games and has been fined 100,000 Swiss francs (£66,000). Suarez’s lawyer has described the sanctions as “grotesque and absurd” and added that “all that was missing was life imprisonment”. He said: “You will always find someone who will say it is excessive – so what? They are decisions made by the disciplinary committee based on what has been seen by hundreds of millions of people. It is not what you want your kids, the little ones playing football around the world to see at the World Cup. “That’s not what you do at any level of football or in life.” The international players’ union FIFPro has questioned why Liverpool should be affected by the ban and said FIFA should have included treatment and rehabilitation as part of the sanction. An appeal is being lodged against the decision and Suarez’s lawyer Alejandro Balbi said they would take the case all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and that he remained in constant contact with Liverpool. He told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: “The ban is absolutely disproportionate considering what Luis did. “Julio Grondona, vice-president of FIFA, told me that he had never seen such a serious ban handed to a player. “This is so grotesque and absurd that the CAS will have to revoke this unjust ruling. “Unjust not just due to the number of games given, which is already incredible, illogical and arbitrary, but also the issue of not being able to be allowed to have any relationship with football in 120 days, and then there’s the fine. All that was missing was life imprisonment. “We are in constant contact with Liverpool and we are ready to fight until the end.” Betting website 888poker announced on Thursday that it had ended its arrangement with Suarez following the incident, a decision Balbi described as “madness”. Chiellini has expressed his sympathy for Suarez, and said in a statement on his website the punishment was “excessive” adding: “At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult time.” Suarez has left Uruguay’s national team in Brazil and returned home to Montevideo. Liverpool are working their way through the legal minefield of the four-month ban but are still a long way from even considering launching a challenge to FIFA. The club have dismissed claims by Balbi that their representatives are meeting with him and the player’s agent Pere Guardiola in Barcelona on Friday. FIFA has confirmed the ban would not prevent Suarez being transferred to another club. last_img read more

Professors discuss grading

first_imgStudents aren’t the only ones lost in the maze of grading policies across the university.The Center for Excellence in Teaching held a town hall on grading Wednesday, giving faculty, teaching assistants and students a chance to discuss current grading policies and potential changes to the process. About 30 people — mostly faculty members — attended the event to voice concerns about how their colleagues administer grades and to discuss the possibility of creating a universal grading process for USC classes.CET Director J. Lawford Anderson said the center’s undergraduate fellows had become concerned about grading misconceptions and led the planning effort for Wednesday’s town hall.Steven Lamy, vice dean for academic programs, said recent studies show more students complain about grades every year.Though federal law bans faculty from discussing grades with parents, Lamy said the proliferation of “helicopter parents” — those who swoop in to defend their children — has been one cause for the escalation.“You’re going to be the first one to give them a grade lower than an A-minus, and they’ll complain,” Lamy said.He also expressed concern that faculty members are becoming less involved in grading.“That’s not the model we want,” Lamy said. “Faculty have sovereignty with grades.”Steve Finkel, an associate professor of biological sciences who led the discussion, said professors hate grades.“From the student perspective, you might want it one size fits all, but some things are quantitative and others qualitative,” he said. “There’s this conflict between being fair and being consistent.”Two professors raised a concern about quotas, saying they’ve heard department heads in some schools have set quotas that limit the number of students who get A’s.“The idea behind it is to ensure uniformity in the grading system because there was one class in two sections taught by two people and everyone wanted to take the professor that gave out a lot of A’s and B’s — the easy one,” one professor said.Lamy said professors are required to post their syllabi, including the basis for class grades, before the start of a semester. Although there are no public records of quota policies, he said individual professors appear to follow the practice of rationing the number of students who receive specific letter grades.The registrar’s office calculates how “easy” or “hard” a professor grades by dividing the average GPA of a class by the average overall GPA’s of the students in the class. Lamy said more department heads need to examine this data and talk with professors whose ratings are not a perfect 1.0.Lamy also responded to concerns about too many midterms in one class by citing a Harvard study that shows students learn best if they have frequent opportunities to be graded.“The more we can encourage faculty of developing more ways to evaluate students, the better,” he said.Jeanine Yutani, a T.A. and a CET graduate fellow, said students are frustrated by unrealistic tests.“They ask, ‘You’re telling me 85 percent of what you are asking me I won’t know, then why are you asking me?’” she said.One writing professor said he thinks students should be able to calculate grades as easily as the professor. He said departments should examine how they compare to other departments and then communicate their findings publicly, so engineering students will know their GPAs will look different than people in other disciplines.Other issues raised were the exponential rise in academic dishonesty, the need for clearer and more transparent definition of rules for assessing attendance and appealing grades, and better notification about their mid-semester grades.After Wednesday’s discussion, Finkel said he will try to develop the best university-wide practices for grading that would still allow departments and faculty to exercise final control.last_img read more

JUST OUT OF REACH: Treanor, Syracuse fall short of 2nd straight national championship appearance with final four loss to Maryland

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ VILLANOVA, Pa. — Kayla Treanor could only save Syracuse so many times.On Friday night at Villanova Stadium, the Maryland defense clamped down when it needed to.“We made some mistakes when we had chance to make plays,” said SU head coach Gary Gait. “It’s tough. The pressure is on the kids in a tight game. It is funny how quick time goes by when you score three or four in a row in a few minutes, and then it becomes very difficult to score.”Treanor’s four goals and two assists weren’t enough for the No. 4-seed Orange as SU dropped an 11-10 heartbreaker to the top-seeded and undefeated Terrapins in the final four. The freshman did all she could, but Maryland’s defense made the proper adjustments and limited the rest of Syracuse’s attack.That’s why UMD will play North Carolina for the national championship on Sunday night, and why the Orange’s season is over.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Maryland is a great team, but I think we also are,” Treanor said. “I think we were really close and it’s a heartbreaking loss.”In the opening minutes, it was already clear that Syracuse would need Treanor’s heroics.On SU’s first possession, Natalie Glanell overthrew a pass and turned it over in transition. On the Orange’s next set, Alyssa Murray was whistled for an illegal pick. UMD twice capitalized at the other end, and Syracuse was down by two in the first five minutes.Then Treanor took over. From behind the cage, she curled to her right and flung a shot into the top-right corner to put the Orange on the scoreboard.Down 4-2 in the last 12 minutes of the half, Treanor again went to the wraparound to find the back of the net and keep SU’s offense afloat.“We had a lot of trouble on Treanor today, obviously,” UMD head coach Cathy Reese said. “She is a phenomenal player. It’s hard for one defender to handle her. We needed to send a second one there, and we were late. She’s hard to coach against. She did a tremendous job for them on the offensive end.”Still, the Terps took a 7-4 lead into the locker room, outshooting SU 14-9. But Treanor pulled the Orange back.The freshman faked a pass, then worked her way inside and buried the shot to start the comeback. After a goal by Katie Webster cut the deficit to one, Treanor beat Megan Douty to the right and finished to knot the score at nine.A minute and a half later, Webster tucked a shot in between a tight space to give Syracuse its first lead of the game. But it wouldn’t last long.At the 16:51 mark, UMD’s Kelly McPartland notched her third goal by dodging along the goal line, splitting defenders and scoring to tie it up at 10. The Orange’s attack stalled.The Terps stuck to SU’s cutters, giving Treanor few options when looking to facilitate the Syracuse offense from behind the net.Maryland figured out how to defend SU’s screens, switching coverages swiftly and allowing Syracuse minimal off-ball movement. Murray, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, finished with just one point in the game.“Maryland is a very good defensive team, one-on-one, very athletic,” Gait said. “Alyssa just didn’t get free. They marked her one-on-one and did a great job doing it. She tried to dodge a couple times early in the game and didn’t have great success with it.”Treanor was left fruitlessly dancing around the back of the cage, looking for the openings she previously capitalized on, only to have any glimpse of hope rejected by the Terps.The Terps converted a clear at the 8:36 mark of the second half, and the ball never saw Syracuse’s offensive side of the field again.For the first four minutes of Maryland’s possession, the Terps patiently worked the perimeter, taking time off the clock while plotting its decisive goal. From behind the cage, Alex Aust chucked a pass up top to Katie Schwarzmann, who instantly fired a pass down low to Brooke Griffin for the pivotal goal.For the last 2:51, the Terps went into stall mode and killed the remaining time off the clock. Maryland headed to the title game, and the Orange again came up short.“I’m proud of my team for the effort they gave throughout the entire game. They never gave up,” Gait said. “They were down a couple times, rallied and fought back and gave everything they had.“We’ll say goodbye to our seniors and regroup for another year next year, knowing again what it feels like to come up short.” Comments Published on May 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm Contact Phil: pmdabbra@syr.edu | @PhilDAbblast_img read more

Badgers’ passing game wastes Gordon’s big day

first_imgEVANSTON, Illinois – Melvin Gordon rushed for a career-high 259 yards Saturday afternoon, but the hidden problems of the Wisconsin football team’s offense resurfaced in an alarming way in a 20-14 loss at Northwestern.The Badgers (3-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) had several bad breaks including two injuries on defense and a big offensive change with the swapping of Joel Stave for starter Tanner McEvoy at quarterback.However, Gordon did not use those excuses to explain Wisconsin’s failure to capitalize on multiple opportunities.“We had position changes with the quarterback; we had some guys get banged up on defense. It’s tough having to adjust and change to that. Somehow you just got to find it deep inside you to make those plays and we didn’t,” Gordon said.After a loss to start the season against LSU in which McEvoy threw for just 50 yards with two interceptions, the offense covered the issues exposed in the season-opening defeat with a big day of passing from McEvoy against Western Illinois followed by two big games on the ground against Bowling Green and South Florida.But despite 425 yards of total offense against the Wildcats (3-2, 2-0), the Badgers’ offense struggled to perform consistently over the four quarters and revealed that the apparent fixes over the last several weeks were merely cosmetic.Badgers falter against Northwestern in Big Ten opener The Wisconsin football team has not won at Northwestern in 15 years and will have to wait at least two Read…“We have not proven effective enough to be what I would call a stable offense. I don’t care about yards. I don’t care about all the other stuff, other than a functioning offense that allows us to win Big Ten games,” head coach Gary Andersen said.A great bulk of UW’s offensive problems this year have revolved around a passing game that, outside of the game against Western Illinois, has been average at best. Outside of the 50 yards from McEvoy in week one, the passing attack has had passing totals of 112 yards against BG, 160 yards against USF and 138 yards Saturday, with 289 yards against Western Illinois, the lone outlier.But besides a sheer lack of a passing game, the Badgers’ have also had turnovers factor into the offensive struggles. Luckily, the four interceptions before Saturday hadn’t hurt UW too much, but the four interceptions against Northwestern ultimately turned the game in the Wildcats’ favor.More glaring than the four interceptions was the fact that two of them came within the red zone. The first occurred with Wisconsin on a strong opening drive, looking like it would score the first points of the game. But backed up into a 3rd-and-11 on the Northwestern 20, McEvoy floated a jump ball that got picked off by Godwin Igwebuike to end the drive.McEvoy played the next three drives, but with the Wisconsin offense sputtering, he got replaced by Stave on the last drive of the first half.Stave orchestrated a scoring drive, mostly due to the rushing prowess of Gordon, on the first possession of the second half, but he went on to throw three interceptions of his own.“You can’t get down in the red zone and not come away with points. That’s basically where we’re at right now. We’ve got to make sure that consistently we’re playing good offense,” Stave said.Wisconsin finished just 2-5 on its red zone trips, with the most glaring missed opportunity coming with less than six minutes left in the game. Trailing by 13, UW had a first and goal at the Wildcats’ three but opted for play action instead of a run. Stave rolled to his right and tried to fit a pass into tight quarters while under pressure near the sideline, trying to find Alex Erickson. Igwebuike, who had three interceptions, picked the ball off again and essentially sealed the loss.The passing game struggles from Saturday didn’t pertain to solely the quarterbacks, as the loss of Jared Abbrederis from last year was again magnified. With Stave in the game, UW tried several long throws but couldn’t complete any.Although the deep throws from Stave weren’t perfect, the Badgers didn’t have a proven downfield threat to target in any of those situations.“A year ago, we throw that thing up there and there’s a pretty special kid going up and getting it,” Andersen said in reference to Abbrederis. “The kids that are playing right now want to be special but they got to get better at it.”Wisconsin’s longest pass against Northwestern was 24 yards from Stave to tight end Sam Arneson, who Andersen called UW’s number one receiving threat at this point. The longest pass of the season is still only 37 yards, strong evidence of Wisconsin’s inability to throw the ball downfield or have a receiver capable of making those catches.Meanwhile, Gordon continued to showcase his dominance after his disappointing performance in game two when he had just 38 net yards rushing against Western Illinois. He accumulated a career-high with his 259 yards against Northwestern, but managed just one touchdown. A lot of that had to do with Gordon’s seven-total red zone carries, four of which came on the scoring drive to open the second half.Wisconsin’s frustrations in the red zone also had some roots in sloppy play by the offensive line that resulted in several crucial penalties, and a lack of protection for both quarterbacks at times.Although the quarterbacks have been the noticeable weakness for Wisconsin this season, as they were again Saturday, the offensive unit as a whole has some large deficiencies to fix just one game into the Big Ten season.“Right now, we’ve got to look and see what’s the functionality of our offense, what is absolutely the best offense that fits our offensive line, our wide receivers, the tight ends, fullbacks and everybody that’s involved,” Andersen said.last_img read more

Stanford next on the slate for men’s volleyball squad

first_imgAfter a rivalry loss to UCLA last week, the men’s volleyball team looks to continue learning from its mistakes in order to bounce back before heading up north to take on No. 8 Stanford on Thursday. “Our preparation has still been about learning volleyball, developing the mentality, being engaged, being ready, learning the IQ, working on some of the techniques that we have been trying to hone and trying to drill in them and taking it to the next level,” head coach Jeff Nygaard said.Even with reinforcement from the coaches on the basics, the Trojans will find Stanford to be a difficult team to defeat if they do not take it to that next level. The Cardinals thrived in their opening game in MPSF play against Pepperdine with a team season high of 46 digs, a career high 21 kills for freshman outside hitter Jordan Ewert and a career bests in assists (45) and digs (11) for freshman setter Paul Bischoff.“They just have a good brand of volleyball,” Nygaard said. “Their strength has always been passing and offensive system. There are going to be five attackers against three blockers when they do their system well.”Despite the impressive stats from Stanford’s last game, Nygaard is making sure the team keeps its focus on its side of the net. If they do this, Nygaard hopes his team will put pressure on Stanford and force them to make the plays instead of handing them free points from errors on their side. “It is just a question of if you execute at a high level,” Nygaard said. “They are going to do some things that you probably haven’t seen before, but you’ve still got to compete. We are talking about the top-tier teams, so you’re not going to shut anybody down. You just need to play and keep them at a certain level, and then you need to be above that level to give yourself a shot.” That competitive edge just might come from 6-foot-2 community college transfer Gianluca Grasso, who has officially joined the team and might be able to play on Thursday. The team staff has been working for over a year to get Grasso to USC,  and it is finally becoming a reality. Hailing from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Grasso was named the All-Pacific Coast Conference Co-MVP playing for Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa last year. Grasso has volleyball in his blood, as his two siblings played volleyball in college, and both of his parents played for Brazil’s national teams. While he still needs to get used to the team’s system and fight for a starting position, Nygaard believes that the addition of Grasso would be beneficial for the team as a whole.“He just comes in with that intimate knowledge of how volleyball works,” Nygaard said. “He has just been around it and inundated with it. He brings an experience factor of making reads and sees the game at a high level. He has a high volleyball IQ, and he has developed into an explosive player.” With the uncertainty of Grasso for this game, the Trojans will look to maintain the intensity and competitiveness that won them their games earlier in the season. Nygaard’s focus is keeping his team’s energy high throughout the game, so that the Trojans can maintain control of the pace of the game.“Of course, if we come in and expect to win, they are going to beat us,” said Nygaard. “If we come in prepared to battle, prepared to go head-to-head, prepared to first-whistle-last-whistle compete at a high level, I am happy with that. I think we will get the outcome we want.”last_img read more

#Donkomi: Bernard Arthur completes Hearts of Oak move [VIDEO]

first_imgHearts of Oak have completed the signing of former Ghana U-17 forward Bernard Arthur.The ex- Liberty Professionals striker has signed a long term deal with the NC Special Tier 1 semi finalists.In yet another eye catching announcement video released on their official twitter handle, the Phobians expressed their delight at securing the signature of the 22 year old, who also described the move as a dream come true.last_img