When the big game gets out of hand

first_imgEric He is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Fridays. For all but one year of my pre-collegiate life, I lived in a quiet suburban city in the Bay Area called Santa Clara, located a bit north of San Jose and an hour south of San Francisco.In fact, here’s where I tell people I’m from — because nobody understands the multitude of Bay Area cities, and anyone from the region can relate: “You know San Francisco? Yeah, I live there, but like, an hour away.”I won’t have to say that anymore after this weekend, when the world’s attention descends upon my nondescript hometown for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, just six miles and a 15-minute drive from where I live.It feels very strange for my city to be hosting the grandest and most prestigious sporting event in America, and I use the word “strange” because I have mixed feelings about it.Santa Clara is not a sports town. It is not a town meant to have thousands of people streaming in for a major event, let alone a Super Bowl. Santa Clara is a classic suburb, consisting mainly of shopping plazas and office buildings, with little to no attractions or nightlife. In the midst of Silicon Valley, the city is right next to tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Intel – in other words, its main occupants are middle-aged engineers and techies living a middle-class lifestyle.Somehow, the San Francisco 49ers decided this would be the right place to build a new $1.3 billion stadium – $114 million of which came from taxpayer money – and move San Francisco’s team 40 miles away. It might as well be a world away, comparing the atmosphere of one of the world’s most iconic cities to a small suburban town. The Oakland Raiders, just a trek across the Bay Bridge away in the O.co Coliseum, are located closer to San Francisco than the 49ers.Since construction began on the stadium in 2012, I’ve watched firsthand as it was built, piece-by-piece, slowly taking on the form of a colossal, 70,000-seat venue. Infrastructure-wise, I have to admit it is as state-of-the-art as stadiums come. But something about it feels off – perhaps the way it panders to a corporate ideal. Sponsors are everywhere, including – and definitely not limited to – the Intel Gate, the Dignity Health Gate, the Toyota Gate, the SAP Tower, the Visa Box Office, the Pepsi Fan Deck, the Bud Light Patio and the Safeway Faithful Mile (fancy words for “tailgate area”). If a company asked to sponsor the restrooms, the 49ers would approve in a heartbeat. Celebrity chef Michael Mina has a Bourbon Steak restaurant in the stadium, and if you’re asking yourself who would go to a football game to eat a $95 steak, you’re not the only one.The immediate area has been affected as well. Right across the street is the Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club, where, as a kid, I used to play tennis with my father on Sunday afternoons. That’s no longer an option. Adjacent to the stadium sits the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park, home to 1,500 kids in the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League. Their website reads, “All fields: closed until further notice for Super Bowl 50” because the NFL has taken over and is turning the fields into a “media village” for the Super Bowl. A superior court judge denied a lawsuit by the soccer league, leaving the conditions of the artificial turf in danger and thousands of kids without a place to play.“The [Super Bowl] is big and cool, but it is also a really big downfall because we don’t have somewhere to practice,” Monica Hrncir, a 15-year-old soccer player, told USA Today. “They’ve had so much stuff there and the fields are totally trashed. It is pretty disappointing.”This is the pinnacle of corporate culture imposing its will on everyday citizens and why I am extremely lukewarm about the Super Bowl coming to town. The Super Bowl is not “big and cool” if you’re a youth soccer player looking to get to practice, or if you just happen to live nearby and have to cancel your plans on Sunday.And Santa Clara is not the only city affected by the Super Bowl. The majority of events this week leading up to the game are taking place in San Francisco, which will cost taxpayers approximately $5 million, and it doesn’t even have the benefit of hosting the actual game. The NFL put up a number of obnoxious “50” signs all over the city, and to retaliate, people are gleefully vandalizing them. In one location, the sign was tipped over with the lettering on it brilliantly rearranged from “Super Bowl 50” to “oops.”While I can’t lie that I’m not happy for my city hosting the Super Bowl, the bragging rights are far outweighed by the maddening corporate culture that will be made worse by the event. And so I hope something happens on Sunday — however big or small — that sends a negative message. Perhaps some people think the game is in San Francisco, spend hours stuck in traffic driving an hour south and miss the game entirely. Maybe another power outage disrupts the game, which would be an embarrassment for this state-of-the-art stadium with seemingly more sponsorships than there are residents in Santa Clara. Whatever happens, I believe turning my once-quiet suburban hometown into the center of the world on Sunday is doing more harm than good.last_img read more

Caution urged after crash on busy Donegal road

first_imgGARDAÍ are at the scene of a road traffic accident on a busy Donegal road.The collision happened around 12 noon on the R265 road from Lifford to St Johnston.Emergency services are at the at Carrickmore. Motorists are urged to drive with care. There are no reports of any injuries at the moment.Caution urged after crash on busy Donegal road was last modified: December 11th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Giants give no guarantee to Dereck Rodriguez

first_imgSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Dereck Rodriguez was like a painkiller for the Giants last year, providing the ailing team with a desperately needed dose of starting pitching after coming up from the minors in late May.While most of the staff struggled through injuries and inconsistency, the rookie right-hander delivered a 6-4 record and 2.81 earned-runs average, best among the team’s starters. Every fifth day, he was usually giving San Francisco temporary relief from an otherwise disappointing season.Eve …last_img read more

One killed in West Bengal during panchayat poll nomination filing

first_imgSporadic violence was reported from several districts of West Bengal on Monday during filing of nominations for the Panchayat elections.One person was shot dead in Suri block of Birbhum district. Police is yet to confirm the person’s political affiliation.Apart from incidents of alleged assault on Opposition party workers by Trinamool Congress (TMC) cadres in the districts of Murshidabad and Paschim Medinipur, two photojournalists and a reporter were assaulted in Murshidabad. One photojournalist was assaulted in Birhum.Meanwhile, Bengal’s Congress leadership said that they would approach the Calcutta High Court regarding the outbreak of violence during filing of nominations.The West Bengal State Election Commission on Saturday night announced that filing of nominations will take place from 11 am to 3 pm on Monday.last_img read more

Pakistan welcome end of isolation from international cricket

first_imgEven Pakistan’s prime minister did not believe it could happen but when Sri Lanka visit the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday for a T20 match, the hosts will celebrate the end of eight years of isolation from international cricket.Less than a year ago, none of this appeared possible for a nation that had largely been shunned by international teams since 2009 due to security risks.That year gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lanka team from their hotel to Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium for a Test match, injuring six players and killing six security personnel and two civilians.The incident forced Pakistan to play their home matches in the United Arab Emirates and the country has since remained starved of international cricket at home, apart from Zimbabwe’s limited-overs tour in 2015.Last year, the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL), based on the franchise model of the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League, became a success though all the matches were played in the UAE.Things changed in March this year when Pakistan hosted the final of its domestic T20 competition featuring high-profile international players.”Even that baby step seemed an impossibility. I can tell you that none of the franchises wanted it, they were scared … the government was scared…the players were scared,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi told Reuters in an interview.The match proved pivotal in changing the global cricket community’s opinion of Pakistan’s ability to host international matches and garnered support from cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC).advertisementThe months leading up to the final were filled with endless negotiations with the government, persuading domestic franchise owners and convincing players that security was under control.”I had two meetings with the prime minister, I raised it with him, he heard me out, he didn’t give me an opinion, he said we will think about it closer to the event,” Sethi said.AP PhotoAs the match drew closer Sethi became desperate, sending then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif numerous requests “from various quarters” in the hope that he would make a favourable announcement.Sharif’s office did not respond to requests for comment.Weeks before the final was to be played Sharif made the announcement that it could go ahead.”I think he saw the wisdom of it and took the risk,” said Sethi.ALMOST WENT UP IN SMOKEIn mid-February, less than a month before the final, a suicide attack outside Lahore’s provincial assembly killed 13 and wounded 83.”There was doom and gloom over here. The franchises came to me and said nothing doing,” Sethi recalled.A series of late night phone calls and endless meetings with players and franchise owners ensued. The PCB insisted that adequate security measures were in place.Despite assurances, two days before the match, four international players pulled out, leaving the board 48 hours to find replacements.”Luckily we had every contingency arrangement in place,” Sethi said.After the final, Sethi went to work on bringing an international World XI to Pakistan with the support of the ICC.An international security company hired by cricket’s world governing body gave Pakistan the green light.Then came the work of assembling a high-profile team for the three-match series.”I said unless and until you give me top quality players, no way,” Sethi said.Once the players were finalised, administrators and fans were thrilled to welcome a star-studded World XI team led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.”There was huge tension,” Sethi said, adding that despite all the planning, the PCB was still on edge during the series.”There were all these calculated risks but in the end it worked out,” he addedNext on the list was Sri Lanka, whose players were reluctant to tour Pakistan after the events of 2009.AP PhotoOn a trip to Colombo, Sethi talked about how Pakistan had always toured Sri Lanka even during the civil war, which ended in 2009, when other countries refused to visit.”I told them we need you now, when you needed us we were there for you,” he said.With Sri Lanka’s visit confirmed, Sethi is confident that international cricket in Pakistan will soon be fully restored.West Indies have committed to playing a three-match series but the dates are still undecided.”I have two other countries lined up who are ready to come,” Sethi said. “By the end of 2020 I think every cricket country would have come and played in Pakistan.”last_img read more

Barcelona vs Liverpool Champions League live stream probable XIs TV listings preview

first_imgLionel Messi would look to propel his team into the finalDenis Doyle/GettyIn arguably the most-anticipated clash of this year’s UEFA Champions League, hosts Barcelona face Liverpool in the first leg of the semi-final on May 1.When is the match and how to watch it liveThis high-voltage contest between the English side Liverpool and Spanish giants Barcelona will kick-off at 9 PM local time and 12:30 AM IST (Thursday).Live coverage of the match on television will be provided by Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD in India. Sony LIV will be the online platform for live streaming of this contest.Barcelona vs Liverpool previewMany argue that the two teams facing off in this match should have contesting for the trophy in the final itself. But due to the formation of the draw, one of these two powerful sides will get eliminated. Both teams have been in good form. While Barcelona clinched the La Liga title recently by vanquishing Levante, Liverpool have been locked in a close fight with Manchester City for the English Premier League trophy.What makes this match interesting is the strong defence that the two outfits possess. For the Reds, the presence of highly-able defenders such as Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Clement Lenglet makes them one of the strongest defensive units going around.They would, though, in this match have to face repeated onslaughts from Mohammed Salah on the right and Sadio Mane from the left. The central thrust might be provided by Roberto Firmino, though there hangs a cloud of injury upon him. Mohammed Salah would lead the attack for LiverpoolReutersThe Reds too have a solid back line with services being provided by Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip. The presence of these two is crucial for the English side as railed against them is the irrepressible Lionel Messi. The Argentinian striker is a massive threat even in normal circumstances but presently there is the added motivation of equalling his great rival Christiano Ronaldo’s record of Champions League victories with his team. Real Madrid have won this title for the last three years and it can easily be assumed that Barcelona players aren’t thrilled about it.The home advantage would be a crucial factor in this contest since the Catalan side have not lost a home Champions League match for 31 games running – a record in itself. However, their star player Messi is yet to open his account against Liverpool in Champions League encounters. This would be as good a time as any to start.Probable XIsBarcelona: Marc Andre Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur Melo; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Phillipe CoutinhoLiverpool: Allison Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Georginio Wijnaldom, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho; Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto FirminoGlobal TV ListingsUSA: TNTCanada: DAZNUK: BT SportItaly: Sky Sport ItaliaGermany: Sky DeutschlandFrance: RMC SportSpain: MovistarPortugal: Eleven Sportslast_img read more

New York investigating Trump tax dodge report

first_imgUS president Donald Trump speaks during a `Make America Great Again` rally at Landers Centre in Southaven, Mississippi, on 2 October. Photo: AFPThe New York state tax department said Tuesday it is investigating reports that president Donald Trump helped his parents dodge millions of dollars in taxes and received far more money from his father’s real estate empire than he has claimed in the past.Earlier, The New York Times said its own exhaustive probe of a vast trove of tax returns and confidential records showed Trump had engaged in suspect tax tactics, including “outright fraud” that greatly inflated the funds he received from his parents.Trump has stated on numerous occasions that he received little help from his father, New York property developer Fred Trump, in building his fortune.”The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” New York state Taxation and Financing spokesman James Gazzale told AFP.The Times said Trump received the equivalent of $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate activities — having earned $200,000 a year in today’s dollars by age three. By age eight, he was already a millionaire.Trump was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father shortly after his college graduation, it added, noting that the funds grew to more than $5 million per year when he was in his 40s and 50s.The Times said the bulk of the funds owed to tax evasion tactics that Trump helped devise, including a “sham corporation” he and his siblings created to hide millions of dollars in gifts from their parents.There were also millions of dollars in improper tax deductions and Trump helped further reduce his parents’ tax bill by undervaluing their real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, according to the Times.The newspaper said Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, who died respectively in 1999 and 2000, transferred more than $1 billion in wealth to their five children.This could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million but the Trumps paid a total of just $52.2 million, the Times said, citing tax records.Trump lawyer issues denialOne of Trump’s lawyers, Charles Harder, decried the newspaper’s allegations as “100 percent false, and highly defamatory.””There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate,” he added.”President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters.”Harder insisted the matter was mostly handled by other relatives who relied “entirely” upon licensed professionals to “ensure full compliance with the law.”The White House, meanwhile said that “Many decades ago, the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions.”Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders instead shifted blame onto the Times itself, saying “Perhaps another apology from The New York Times, like the one they had to issue after they got the 2016 election so embarrassingly wrong, is in order.”The Times said Trump’s tax-hating father used various methods to funnel his wealth to his children and shield it from the Internal Revenue Service, some of which tax experts said was improper or possibly illegal.Among the tactics, Fred Trump gave ownership of most of his real estate empire to his children a year and a half before his death.The properties were valued at just $41.4 million although they were sold off over the next decade for more than 16 times that amount, it said.The Times said Trump got a cut of $177.3 million, or $236.2 million in today’s dollars, from the sale.Breaking with the practice of past presidents, Trump has refused so far to release his tax returns.Citing tax experts, the Times said Trump was unlikely to face criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes but could face civil fines for tax fraud if the matter is pursued by the authorities.last_img

Mosques attacked one killed in Sri Lanka

first_imgA Muslim man stands inside the Abbraar Masjid mosque after a mob attack in Kiniyama, Sri Lanka 13 May, 2019. Photo: ReutersOne person was killed in Sri Lanka on Monday as police fired tear gas at mobs attacking mosques and Muslim-owned shops and imposed a curfew after the worst outbreak of sectarian violence since the Easter bombings by Islamist militants.The 21 April attacks, claimed by Islamic State, targeted churches and hotels, mostly in Colombo, killing more than 250 people and fuelling fears of a backlash against the island nation’s minority Muslims.An officer at the Marawila hospital police said a 42-year old man admitted to the hospital with stab wounds had died. A Resident from the area who helped transport the victim to hospital identified him as Mohamed Ameer Mohamed Sally.Residents in Muslim parts of North Western Province said mobs had attacked mosques and damaged shops and businesses owned by Muslims for a second day.”There are hundreds of rioters, police and army are just watching. They have burnt our mosques and smashed many shops owned by Muslims,” a resident of Kottampitiya area told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified for fear of reprisals.”When we try to come out of our house, police tell us to stay inside.”Police imposed a nationwide curfew until from 9:00pm (1530 GMT) to 4:00am, spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement that acts of sabotage were hampering an investigation by security forces and warned that “if the racism rises up … and peace is disturbed the country will be destabilised”.”The intention of these groups who are causing violence is to cause disruption in public life, and destabilize the country,” he said.Wickremesinghe said he had given powers to the security forces to take strong action against those disturbing the peace.Authorities also imposed a temporary ban on social media networks and messaging apps including WhatsApp after a clash in another part of the country was traced to a dispute on Facebook.A police source said police had fired tear gas to disperse mobs in some places in North Western Province.Muslims make up nearly 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.A Reuters reporter saw a mob of several dozen young Sinhalese men wielding sticks and rods in what appeared to be a standoff in the town of Madulla in North Western Province.Many anxious Muslims were hunkering down at home but young men, some of them carrying rods, were still zipping around on motorbikes, despite regional curfews from 2:00pm before the nationwide curfew was imposed.MOSQUE RANSACKEDGlass was strewn across the Abrar mosque in the town of Kiniyama that was attacked overnight. All the windows and doors of the soft-pink building were smashed and copies of the Koran were thrown onto the floor.A mosque official said the attacks were triggered when several people, including some Buddhist monks, demanded a search of the main building after soldiers had inspected a 105-acre (43-hectare) lake nearby.Authorities suspect lakes and wells are being used as hiding places to conceal weapons.A 34-year-old man who was at the mosque said about 150-200 came towards the mosque with rods and swords on Sunday but the Muslims who were in the mosque persuaded them to go away with the help of the police.But they came back and this time there were about 1,300 people. The Muslims, huddled in the mosque, asked the police to fire in the air to disperse the mob, but the police said the people wanted to inspect the mosque for weapons.Then the crowd surged into the mosque and ransacked it, the witness said.”They destroyed and burned Korans, broke every glass window and door and urinated on the water storage which Muslims used to take ablution,” he said.Police spokesman Gunasekera did not respond to a request for comment on the incident. But in an emailed statement he said there had been some damage to property in Hettipola area of Kurunegala district but no injuries reported.The police source said police also fired in the air the Hettipola area.Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a man was beaten in the Christian-majority town of Chilaw on the west coast on Sunday in the dispute that started on Facebook, police sources and residents told Reuters.Authorities said they arrested the author of a Facebook post, identified as 38-year-old Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar, whose online comment “1 day u will cry” people said was interpreted as threatening violence.”Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in the country,” Nalaka Kaluwewa, director general of the government information department, told Reuters on Monday.On Twitter, Sri Lanka’s leading mobile phone operator, Dialog Axiata Plc, said it had also received instructions to block the apps Viber, IMO, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube until further notice.last_img read more

Attractiveness perception depends on relationship status

first_imgRelationship status can affect who and what we find attractive. A new study has found that if we are in a relationship, we are more likely to be attracted to faces resembling our own, but for single people opposites attract.“For the first time, we have observed how our partnership status affects who we find attractive,” says Jitka Lindova from Charles University in the Czech Republic. The team showed a series of photographs of faces to university students and asked them to rate their attractiveness.  The photographs were digitally manipulated so that the resemblance to the student was modified. Images were of an individual of the opposite sex, whose face had been manipulated to look either more or less similar to the student. They were also presented with images of a same-sex individual manipulated in the same way. “We found that single participants, those not in relationships, rate dissimilar faces as more attractive and sexy than self-resembling faces,” Lindova said. This was observed when participants rated both same-sex and opposite-sex faces. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Our interpretation is that attractiveness perception mechanisms that give us a preference for a genetically suitable partner may be suppressed during romantic relationships,” she explained. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. “This might be a relationship maintenance strategy to prevent us from finding alternatives to our own partner, or perhaps self-resemblance becomes more important in terms of the social support we expect receive from relatives, which are known as kinship cues,” Lindova explained.last_img read more

Not getting sound sleep Try out some easy ways

first_imgIf you are someone who hardly gets a sound sleep than time now to add smart options in your sleeping habit like mint flavoured throat sprays and sleeps masks. Here are some smart options to add in your lifestyle for wonderful sleep.4Anti-snoring products: From tongue stabilising devices to nasal pathway cleaners, anti-snoring products have been the most popular tools allowing people (and their roommates) to have a restful sleep. Snoring is an embarrassing habit that not only points to a lack of good health, but also causes great inconvenience to others. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf4Memory foam mattresses: Arguably the most popular sleep enabling products, urban India is seeking mattresses that provide hours of blissful sleep. They enable deep sleep by providing optimal spine support by taking the contour of the body shape, thus ensuring that sleepers don’t toss and turn unnecessarily.4Mint-flavoured throat sprays: Containing a unique time-release formula which coats the back of the throat throughout the night, reducing the vibrations of the soft tissues that cause snoring, throat sprays are a great help for those who snore when lying on their backs. Mitigating the frustration caused by disturbed sleep and the ill-effects it can have on any relationship, brands have proven to be extremely effective at curtailing the sound and offering relief. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive4Noise reducers: By curbing the ambient noise to create a calm, relaxed surrounding, noise reducers help people sensitive to even the slightest of noises to sleep. It has been seen that ambient noises in urban environment have been a major cause for sleep reduction. Noise reducers prove to be a solid aide for the urban insomniac to deal with sleep-related problems.4 Sleep mask-resembling opaque aviators, sleep masks are a great help for people who find it difficult to close their eyes and doze off even in the presence of minimal light. Used most often by frequent flyers or people whose work involves a lot of travel, it is an ideal and inexpensive tool to have if you are planning to take a quick power nap.4Herbal pillows: Filled with organic flax seeds and aromatic herbs such as Lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, lemon balm, rosemary, verbena and chamomile, these small pillows provide a gentle, soothing heat and calming aroma after they are warmed in a microwave. The scent as well as the comfort of the pillow is often enough to quickly put an otherwise restless sleeper into a deep slumber.last_img read more