New US pandemic plan stresses local self-reliance

first_img Coordinating the federal responseIn a pandemic, HHS will “lead federal health and medical response efforts and will be the principal federal spokesperson for public health issues,” while coordinating closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on public messages, the plan says. Cargo entry into the United States, except for live animals and animal products, would pose little risk of spreading flu and could continue, the plan says. Protective measures for workers may be necessary, as may actions such as confining crews and using strict transmission prevention protocols to lower the risk of transmission to or by cargo workers. “Local communities will have to address the medical and non-medical effects of the pandemic with available resources,” the document says. “This means that it is essential for communities, tribes, states, and regions to have plans in place to support the full spectrum of their needs over the course of weeks or months, and for the Federal Government to provide clear guidance on the manner in which these needs can be met.” Transcript of May 3 White House news briefing on the plan http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060503-6.html An interagency group composed of senior decision-makers from across the government will develop strategic policy and coordinate domestic responses to the pandemic, the document states. The group will be “chaired by the White House.” The plan says the likely effectiveness of school closures and snow-day restrictions is not yet known. The document lists several other methods to reduce the spread of the virus: The plan points out that while individual travel will likely decrease as a pandemic spreads, a surge may occur early in an outbreak area as people try to return home, help others, or relocate. In addition, geographic quarantine, imposed by force, if necessary, may be used to stop or slow the spread of flu from an infected community to an uninfected community. “Even if such efforts prove unsuccessful, delaying the spread of the disease could provide the federal government with valuable time to activate the domestic response,” the plan states. The report speaks of possible travel restrictions within the country, but Townsend refused to suggest what might trigger such measures or what they might look like. “It’s difficult to answer that in hypotheticals; it’ll depend on where it [the virus] comes from and how contagious it is,” she said. Continental rather than national containment will be stressed in a pandemic, and treaty commitments and other agreements with Canada and Mexico will be respected, says the plan. It predicts that mass migration from Central America or Mexico could occur if the virus affects those areas first, likely leading to the need for the Department of Homeland Security to deal with a large increase in illegal aliens. The best way to contain a pandemic is by vaccinating people, the plan says. The government is trying to develop sufficient amounts of existing, or pre-pandemic, H5N1 vaccine to immunize 20 million people, as well as to create a vaccine-manufacturing surge capacity to make enough pandemic vaccine for all Americans within 6 months of a pandemic’s start. The government has only a few million doses of pre-pandemic vaccine now. Establish plans to resume normal operations quickly once a pandemic subsides. In addition, the government aims to stockpile 81 million treatment courses of antiviral drugs. That includes 75 million courses to be shared with the states and 6 million courses reserved for use in efforts to contain initial outbreaks. “Snow-day restrictions”—suggestions or mandates by community authorities that everyone stay home for two incubation periods (about 4 days for typical flu viruses) May 3, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The White House today released a lengthy new plan describing how the government intends to cope with an influenza pandemic, but officials continued to stress their standard message that states and communities will have to rely mainly on themselves in that situation, with the federal government in an advisory role. Primary prevention of a pandemic will include vaccination, early detection and treatment with antivirals, and infection control measures. Case tracking and contact tracing in the early stages of a pandemic may be useful in order to isolate the sick and request voluntary quarantine of their contacts, the plan says. However, it adds that the usefulness of quarantining contacts to contain flu is “not fully defined.” Restricting long-distance travel Federal support for emergency transportation will come through activation of the “National Response Plan and Emergency Support Function #1.” Even so, the plan acknowledges that a pandemic will pose a greater challenge than natural disasters do in this regard, because multiple urban areas will be affected simultaneously and for a longer time. Consider alternate operating facilities and preparing personnel for an announced relocation of essential functions. Such relocation steps may include telecommuting components or other “social distancing” steps. Using more telecommuting or teleconferencing for work “We don’t expect a tight shutdown of borders would actually stop it from arriving here,” she said. “When you look at border restrictions, there’s a period of time very early on when they may be effective not in stopping the arrival of the virus, but buying us time, and allowing individuals and communities to get better prepared.” The transportation system’s complexities and its importance for public safety, health, and the economy require “extraordinary cooperation between the varied and diverse elements of the sector,” says the plan. Critical transportation services will need to be sustained to keep communities functioning and to allow delivery of emergency supplies and resources. For example, planning must be done for delivery of chlorine for water supplies, gasoline, food, and drugs and other medical supplies. National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza: Implementation Planhttp://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/homeland/pandemic-influenza-implementation.html Implement measures to protect personnel, which include frequent hand-washing, limiting travel to affected areas, maintaining 3 feet of personal space, replacing face-to-face meetings with teleconferences, posting infection-control guidelines, cleaning frequently touched surfaces like keyboards daily, and, possibly, wearing face masks. But if the virus does lead to a pandemic, it could, in the worst case, infect up to 30% of the population and kill up to 2 million people, the plan states. It predicts that up to 40% of school-aged children could get sick and that work absenteeism in community outbreaks could peak at 40%.center_img Transportation and bordersThe United States has 317 ports of entry, and about 1.1 million people pass through them on a typical day, according to the plan. Moreover, Americans are highly mobile, taking about 1.1 billion trips per day. Social distancing measures, such as advising people to stay at least 3 feet apart Protecting human healthThe federal government predicts that without containment measures, the number of cases of pandemic flu would double every 3 days. That estimate underscores the importance of good surveillance and prompt response. Federal site providing pandemic preparedness informationhttp://www.pandemicflu.gov/ “Rarely will the solution itself to the practical problem faced in a community come from inside the beltway,” said Frances Townsend, President Bush’s homeland security advisor, at a press briefing introducing the 228-page plan, titled National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza: Implementation Plan. In the news briefing, Townsend said the H5N1 avian flu virus may reach birds in the United States this year, but she sought to reassure. “If the H5N1 virus appears in birds, it will not signal the start of a pandemic and will not necessarily represent a risk to the poultry population,” she said. Closing schools See also: Delegate authority beforehand for key decisions, and establish an order of succession in case leaders are incapacitated. Nov 2, 2005, CIDRAP News story “HHS releases new pandemic flu plan” Preparedness checklists for state, local, and tribal governments; private businesses; schools and universities; faith- or community-based organizations; and individuals and families can be found at the federal Web site dedicated to flu pandemic information (see link below). Protecting workers, ensuring continuityThe implementation plan recommends that government agencies and the private sector expect absenteeism of 40% for 2 weeks during a pandemic’s peak, with fewer employees missing work before and after that period. Some preparedness recommendations for employers and their employees: Identify essential functions and personnel beforehand. Consider cross-training to ensure vital functions continue. Protect and ensure the ready availability of key electronic and hard copy documents. Slowing the virus’s spread while minimizing the social and economic consequences, then, is the goal. This would buy time to continue preparations and take preventive actions, such as transporting vaccines and antivirals to an outbreak area. The new plan is a follow-up to the HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan, released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last November. That document focused largely on HHS’s efforts to procure vaccines and antiviral drugs to blunt the impact of a pandemic. At the same time, President Bush released his general strategy for pandemic flu preparedness and asked Congress for $7.1 billion to fund it. Although policies affecting the nation’s ports of entry and transportation system will influence the spread of a pandemic flu virus, even the most extreme action—closing the borders—would not stop the virus or decrease the ultimate number of cases or deaths, says the plan. It would, however, have “significant negative social, economic, and foreign policy consequences.” Emphasize communication measures that minimize person-to-person contact. Canceling non-essential public gatherings But Townsend said good planning would prevent chaos even in that kind of crisis. “Do I think that’s going to result in chaos? No, and that’s the whole point of doing a national preparedness plan,” she said. “The whole purpose of planning and preparation is to mitigate uncertainty, take the fear out of it so there’s no chaos.” The federal government will have a key role “to provide clear criteria to guide and inform State and local actions and to conduct outreach with State, community and tribal entities to communicate a cohesive national strategy for maintaining movement of essential critical goods and services, while encouraging limitation of non-essential transportation.” Under questioning, Townsend reinforced the plan’s message that it won’t be possible to keep a pandemic originating elsewhere in the world from invading the United States, but border restrictions might delay it a little. The latest plan is intended to explain the steps that agencies throughout the federal government will take to deal with a pandemic. The document says it spells out more than 300 actions the government will take, and it also attempts to outline what’s expected from non-federal players in pandemic preparedness. Townsend said federal agencies have drafted individual plans, which are to be released in coming weeks. The report divides planning and response efforts into eight areas, with corresponding chapters: federal government planning, federal government response, international efforts, transportation and borders, protecting human health, protecting animal health, law enforcement and public safety, and institutions. The plan also has an appendix with advice for schools, the business sector, families, and individuals. Some highlights from selected chapters follow. The plan also emphasizes the importance of expanding healthcare surge capacity. Rationing of scarce supplies, including ventilators and intensive hospital care, is to be expected, it says. Effective home-based care could be an option to reduce demand for hospital rooms. Protecting human health also means planning for behavioral health and ways to support populations to reduce psychological distress.last_img read more

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China virus death toll nears 1,400, six health workers among victims

first_imgThe death toll from China’s virus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday with six medical workers among the victims, underscoring the country’s struggle to contain a deepening health crisis.Nearly 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China, with officials revealing that 1,716 health workers had been infected as of Tuesday.The grim figures come a week after grief and public anger erupted over the death of a whistleblowing doctor who had been reprimanded and silenced by police after raising the alarm about the virus in December. Some 80,000 medical workers were involved in combating the epidemic in Wuhan, the city government said earlier this month.After the death of whistleblower Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist in Wuhan, 10 academics circulated an open letter calling for political reform and freedom of speech in the Communist-ruled country.Under criticism over the handling of the crisis, the Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei, and replaced them with senior cadres with security backgrounds.New count Authorities in Hubei on Thursday started counting patients who were “clinically diagnosed” via lung imaging, in addition to those who undergo lab tests.The revision added nearly 15,000 patients to Hubei’s count in a single day, with officials explaining that past cases were included. The first cases emerged in December in Wuhan.On Friday, Hubei’s health commission said another 116 people had died and more than 4,800 new cases were reported. Of those cases, more than 3,000 were “clinically diagnosed”.The WHO said the numbers included cases going back weeks.The sharp one-day increase “does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak,” said Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program.The move will ensure patients get treated as early as possible, instead of having to wait for laboratory tests, health officials said.”There have been some backlogs in testing and this is also going to help in ensuring that people get adequate care,” Ryan said.The National Health Commission said the new criteria would only apply to Hubei. The commission reported five other deaths and 217 new cases elsewhere in China, as the number of new patients outside Hubei fell for a 10th straight day.It also disclosed a statistical error, saying it removed 108 previous deaths in Hubei that had been double-counted. The nationwide toll still rose to 1,380.Authorities have placed some 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine since late last month, in an unprecedented effort to stop the new coronavirus from spreading.Some cities in Hubei tightened restrictions this week, sealing off neighborhoods in what they liken to “war-time” measures.Authorities have scrambled to deploy protective equipment to Wuhan’s hospitals, where doctors and nurses have been overwhelmed by an ever-growing number of patients.Some 26 billion Chinese yuan (US$3.7 billion) has been spent on medical equipment, protective gear and improving conditions in medical facilities, said Ou Wenhan, a finance ministry official.US criticism While the WHO has praised China’s handling of the epidemic — in contrast to its cover-up of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 — a top White House official on Thursday said Beijing should be more open.”We are a little disappointed that we haven’t been invited in and we’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept US help, but “they won’t let us”.Kudlow’s comments contrasted with Trump’s apparent confidence in China, with the US leader telling a radio show that Xi is “extremely capable” and that the US was “working with them” and “sending a lot of people”.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing has had an “open and transparent attitude” with the global community since the start of the epidemic.”The Chinese side has always a positive, open attitude toward cooperation with the US side,” Geng told reporters, adding that US and Chinese health departments have maintained close communication and exchanged epidemic information in a “timely manner”.Several countries have banned arrivals from China, while major airlines have halted flights to and from the country.The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about the vulnerability of China’s northern neighbor, North Korea, and offered to support aid work in the country. Topics :center_img The scale of the epidemic swelled this week after authorities in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the contagion, changed their criteria for counting cases, adding thousands of new patients to their tally.The health emergency in China has caused fears of further global contagion, with more than two-dozen countries reporting hundreds of cases among them. Three people have died outside mainland China.The United States has accused China of lacking transparency.The majority of cases of infections among health workers was in Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, where many have lacked proper masks and gear to protect themselves in hospitals dealing with a deluge of patients.last_img read more

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Rescue of 35 child workers triggers probe in India’s garment factory hub

first_imgTiruppur’s top official K Vijayakarthikeyan said the local administration had since been carrying out more factory visits in the major garment hub to search for cases of child labor.”We are conducting an enquiry and have instructed all our staff to update us on a daily basis,” Tiruppur’s district-in-charge told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.”A probe against the mill has been initiated and all efforts are being made to ensure this rare case doesn’t happen again.”As India slowly opens up after months of lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, activists are concerned that more child workers will be recruited and exploited as industries re-open. Efforts to tackle child labor in garment factories in southern India are being ramped up after the rescue of 35 children from a spinning mill, officials said on Thursday, amid concerns of an increase in trafficking as coronavirus restrictions are eased.In one of the first cases of child labor reported in India since the pandemic, 32 girls and three boys were rescued in Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu state last week following a tip-off to staff at Childline, a toll-free emergency helpline for children.The children were forced to work 14 hours-a-day and given no days off, according to the district’s child welfare committee. “Adolescents are likely to be aggressively recruited as industries unlock and the focus is on getting the economy restarted,” said Prithviraj Sinnathambi, director of charity Community Awareness Research Education Trust (CARE-T).Indian labor laws ban the employment of anyone aged under 15 but children are permitted to support family businesses outside of school hours. This provision is widely exploited by employers and human traffickers, child rights campaigners say.India’s home ministry last month issued an advisory asking state governments to protect children from traffickers and help identify and rescue missing residents.The rescue in Tiruppur prompted social worker C M Sivababu to file a legal action asking authorities to identify and help other victims of child labor in garment factories in the area.He said labor agents had taken advantage of schools being closed and job losses leaving families on the brink of poverty.The Madras High Court responded on Thursday by directing police and labor officials to inspect local garment factories and present their findings at the next hearing in the case.Tiruppur officials said they this week received letters from parents asking them to bring home their children from factories.”One of the girls who was rescued and went back home has shared details of her work conditions with other families,” said Bhaskaran Mahalingam, project manager at charity Centre for Social Education and Development.”This has caused alarm and more parents are reaching out for help to bring back their children home safely.”About 2,400 human trafficking cases were reported in India in 2018, with nearly half of the victims aged under 18, according to the latest available government crime data. Topics :last_img read more

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Retailers optimistic annual sale season will jump start consumer spending

first_imgAt a press conference, Deputy Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Angela Tanoesoedibjo said the pandemic and subsequent large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) had driven down demand in the tourism and retail sectors.According to National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) data, the purchasing power of Indonesian dropped Rp 362 trillion in the weeks between March 30 and June 6 due to the pandemic.“[The COVID-19] pandemic and PSBB measures have affected demand for non-essential products. However, we hope the situation will improve in the third and fourth quarters of 2020,” she said.Besides ramping up household spending, it is also hoped that the HBDI will help retailers sell their excess stock, which has sat unsold during the closure of malls and shopping centers from late March to mid-June in Jakarta.“As shopping centers were closed during the Idul Fitri holiday season, we hope this event can help retailers sell their Lebaran stockpiles such as sarongs and Muslim attire,” Indonesian Shopping Centers Tenants Association (Hippindo) chairperson Budihardjo Iduansjah told journalists.“This is the right moment to empty our warehouses as we’re currently being helped by the government and online marketplaces during the event.”Hippindo and HBDI are working together with e-commerce giants Tokopedia, Lazada, Blibli.com and technology decacorn Gojek for event promotion and product marketing. Topics : The committee set a sales target of Rp 24 trillion (US$1.6 billion) during last year’s HBDI event, a 20 percent increase from the first HBDI target in 2017, according to Kompas.This year’s HBDI will offer special prices for consumers, with discounts reaching up to 75 percent from Aug. 14 to 30 both in-store and on online marketplaces.Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the production of goods and services, was down 5.32 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter, the steepest decline since the first quarter of 1999, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced Wednesday.Household spending, which accounts for more than half of GDP, fell 5.51 percent yoy in the second quarter. Apparel consumption, included under the household spending category, also fell 5.13 percent yoy during the period. Hopes are high the annual Indonesian Discount Shopping Days (HBDI) will give a much needed boost to household spending, which has been well down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, providing retailers with an opportunity to sell their excess stock at below-market prices, officials have said.HBDI committee chairperson and president director of state-owned retailer Sarinah, Fetty Kwartawati, told The Jakarta Post Friday that a sales target had not been set for this year’s event, but that it was more focused on simply reviving consumer spending.“While we can’t predict exactly what the sales will be like because of the pandemic, we are certain this event will jump start retail activities,” she said during an online press conference.last_img read more

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Navy Divers Search for Missing USS John S. McCain Sailors

first_imgU.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers began searching for 10 sailors from USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), missing since the guided-missile destroyer and merchant vessel Alnic MC collided early on August 21, 2017.Equipped with surface supplied air rigs, divers will access sealed compartments located in damaged parts of the ship. Additionally, they will conduct damage assessments of the hull and flooded areas, the Navy explained.While diving proceeds, ships and aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy continue to provide search and rescue assistance along with two U.S. Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). Those search efforts are focused on an area east of the Strait of Malacca and Singapore where the collision occurred as McCain was transiting to Singapore for a routine port visit.John S. McCain and America arrived at Changi Naval Base on Monday after shipboard damage control efforts by the crew had halted further McCain flooding. While both ships are in Singapore, America is providing meals, berthing and other support to McCain crew members and supporting damage control efforts on board which are focused on dewatering the ship and restoring auxiliary systems.Royal Malaysian Navy ship KD Handalan and two coastal patrol craft Petir (12) and Pang Alang (39) as well as two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels are assisting in the search, as are Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl (PCG 54) and Noble Knight (PCG 56).Several diving units are supporting search efforts, including Navy divers from Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka and Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific as well as Marine divers from 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked on America.Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.The incident will be investigated to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.last_img read more

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AquaTrojans Prevail Over Bulldogs

first_imgEC AquaTrojans stay undefeated as they hosted the Batesville Bulldogs on Tuesday night.  EC Girls won 115-59.  EC Boys won 140-31.Individual winners include:  Mackenzie Schantz-200 Free, 500 Free; Alex Ketcham-200 Free; Grace Crane-200IM, 100 Fly; Jacob Weber-200 IM, 100 Back; Alexis deLong-50 Free, 100 Back; Chandler Witte-50 Free; Brooklynn Gill- 1 meter diving; John Crawley- 1 meter diving; Jackson Ketcham-100 Fly, 500 Free;Olivia Nixon-100 Free; Gavin Daniels-100 Free;Klay Shipman-100 Breast.EC won all 6 relays.East Central hosts their I-74 rivals, Harrison Wildcats, on Thursday as we honor our senior class. Come out and support the AquaTrojans!!!Courtesy of AquaTrojans Coach Brandon Loveless.last_img

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Chelsea complete Eto’o swoop

first_img The former Barcelona striker did not travel to Prague for Friday night’s European Super Cup clash with Bayern Munich – neither did Willian, whose move from Anzhi was confirmed on Wednesday – but is eager to get into the action. “I am very happy to be here but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible,” Eto’o said on chelseafc.com. “It wasn’t a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have, and I was very happy with Jose Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it. “I have had a career where I have been lucky enough to win a lot of trophies in different countries, but one of my last dreams as a professional is to come and play in England and see if I can have the same success as in my previous clubs. “I don’t see it as a final challenge, but to have a good time, enjoy my football, and have success with this team.” Eto’o, who will have to wait until after the international break to make his debut, with Everton away on September 14 the first opportunity, revealed he might have been a Chelsea player sooner. But he opted to stay at Barcelona before moving to Inter as part of the deal which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic move in the opposite direction. “I’ve had a couple of opportunities to come to England before, including the first time Jose was here, but it didn’t work out for one reason or another,” Eto’o added. Samuel Eto’o hopes to replicate his prior successes after signing for Chelsea in a transfer which appears to mark the end of Jose Mourinho’s pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. The Cameroon striker has left Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala to sign a one-year deal and be reunited with Mourinho, who was his boss at Inter Milan. Eto’o is apparently ‘plan B’ after United rejected two Chelsea bids for Rooney, with Mourinho opting against lodging a third, having said he had back-up options. The move might never have happened if Mourinho had received the indication from Rooney that he wanted to join Chelsea. Speaking prior to confirmation of Eto’o’s arrival, Mourinho appeared to have conceded defeat in the bid to capture England striker Rooney, who played for United against Chelsea on Monday and afterwards praised the “fantastic” reception he received at Old Trafford. Mourinho said: “I told you what I have to say. I think I (made it) very, very clear that we didn’t start the process (a third bid). We have nothing more to say. He’s a Man United player and no more than that.” Capturing Eto’o, who commanded wages reported to be in the region of £300,000 a week in Russia, is at odds with Chelsea’s recent transfer policy of signing younger players. It also leaves a question mark over the futures of Demba Ba and Fernando Torres as Mourinho has made it clear four strikers is too many and that Romelu Lukaku is key for Chelsea’s future. Ba’s place in the squad seems most at risk, but Torres has still to repay the £50million fee paid to Liverpool, as Mourinho admitted earlier this week. Eto’o became Chelsea’s fifth signing of the summer transfer window, following Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel, Mark Schwarzer and Willian, who can be expected to provide the ammunition for the striker to score. “I think Willian he is one of the best players in modern football,” Eto’o said. The 32-year-old Eto’o began his career with Real Madrid before, following a spell with Real Mallorca, surging to prominence with Barcelona, scoring 152 goals in 232 appearances for the Catalan club. He has a controversial history with Chelsea. Following a bad-tempered Champions League encounter at Stamford Bridge, the striker criticised Mourinho, referee Pierluigi Collina and made a claim in the Spanish media that he was called a monkey by a Chelsea security guard. The allegations were swiftly denied by Chelsea. It can be assumed Eto’o’s relationship with Mourinho did not suffer as at Inter the pair combined to devastating effect and together won the 2010 Champions League title in a treble-winning campaign. Eto’o, who also played at Stamford Bridge with Inter, added: “They were always games between two big clubs. They didn’t always finish well, but the most important thing is they were spectacular games every time.” The striker netted 53 goals in 102 appearances for Inter before joining Anzhi in August 2011. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Basketball headed to Berbice

first_imgFOR fans of basketball in Berbice, the New Amsterdam Basketball Court will be the place to be as two teams from Georgetown play two teams from Berbice.In the first game of the night, the Plaisance Guardians will match up against the Rose Hall Jammers where stars from the East Coast side will be looking to establish dominance on the road.In the second game, the National Champions in the Bounty Colts will look to prove why they are number one while the New Amsterdam Warriors will be looking to defend their home court.Games will start at 18:00hrs with an easy admission fee and music will be provided by Rockafella Sounds.last_img

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Neck guards may become mandatory for batters

first_imgA BRUTAL  blow to Steve Smith’s exposed neck has reignited debate over the use of neck guards in cricket, which could potentially become mandatory in Australia as soon as next year.Smith wasn’t wearing a StemGuard, the protective attachment designed by helmet manufacturer Masuri in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes’ tragic death in 2014.Smith has occasionally worn the neck guards but has ditched it in recent times.The former skipper tried using the clip-on attachment in the nets when it was launched in 2015 but felt the guard was uncomfortable and irritating.For somebody as eccentric as the unique batsman, whose quirks include taping his shoelaces to his socks so they don’t serve as an unsightly distraction, it was always going to be a hard sell.Smith’s scare, having hit the deck after a rocket delivered by express paceman Jofra Archer struck him flush on the neck at Lord’s, may prompt the 30-year-old to revisit his stance.The broader question is whether players should be forced to wear neck guards, made of plastic and foam, when they don a helmet.AAP understands Cricket Australia (CA) is likely to review ongoing research about the efficacy of the guards in 2020, when a change to its policy is expected to be given strong consideration.CA annually reviews its head and trauma policy and the 2019-20 version was rolled out on July 1 without any major changes. It lists the use of neck guards as “recommended” but not mandatory.The governing body has been a pacesetter regarding head knocks in cricket.CA introduced concussion substitutes domestically in 2016 then successfully lobbied the International Cricket Council to make the same change at the highest level.“I wouldn’t be surprised if they (neck protectors) become mandatory in the future,” Australia coach Justin Langer said.“I didn’t realise they weren’t mandatory until today.“It’ll get talked about again. I know they came in after the tragedy of Hughesy.“He (Smith) might rethink it now after seeing what happened today.”The issue was covered in the findings of NSW state coroner Michael Barnes into the death of Hughes, released in 2016.Barnes recommended CA and helmet manufacturers continue to work on developing a neck guard that is comfortable and provides better protection, with a view to it becoming mandatory.Barnes also made it clear a neck guard would have been unlikely to prevent the death of Hughes.David Warner noted in 2016 he does “not and will not wear” a neck guard because it “digs into my neck, it is uncomfortable and is a distraction”.Manufacturers have worked hard to improve the design in recent years.Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara, incoming president of the powerful Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and one of the first players to use a StemGuard, argued neck protection should become mandatory “sooner rather than later”.(AAP)last_img read more

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Reports of discrimination in football rise by 42%, says Kick It Out

first_img(REUTERS) – Reports of discrimination across all levels of professional soccer in England and Wales rose by 42% last season, despite it was suspended for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-racism organisation Kick It Out has said.There were 446 reports of discrimination in the 2019-20 season, up from 313 in the previous campaign, while reports of racial abuse increased by 53%. There were also 117 reports of abuse based on sexual orientation – a 95% rise.Premier League teams have sought to highlight racial injustice following the season’s restart in June with Black Lives Matter protests before kickoffs but Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari said there was still work to be done.“This year the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd turned the world on its head,” Bhandari said.“Football responded positively with clubs increasing their work in the community and with the players symbolising the demand for greater equality of opportunity, by taking a knee.“But beneath the surface, hate and division in society remains a lurking pernicious threat.”Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt and Wilfried Zaha had called for social media platforms to take stronger action against racism after they were both subjected to online racial abuse.“The FA has made huge strides in recent years to ensure that English football is a diverse and inclusive game, but we know there is more to be done,” Paul Elliott, chair of the Football Association’s Inclusion Advisory Board, said.“We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and … we investigate all reported forms of discriminatory abuse in English football at every level of the game.”last_img read more

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