Wary Mercedes within reach of title triple

first_imgMercedes look all but certain to wrap up their third straight Formula One constructors’ crown in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix but the spectre of a rare defeat in last year’s race still haunts them.The champions have won all but one race this season and arrive at the Sepang circuit 222 points clear of closest challengers Red Bull and 237 ahead of Ferrari.With a maximum of 215 points available from the five races remaining after Sunday, Red Bull and Ferrari can only hope something keeps championship leader Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton off the podium.With the race moving to October from its recent early season March slot, Mercedes could become the first team to clinch the constructors’ crown in Malaysia since Ferrari in 2000.The German team are refusing to tempt fate, however, to the extent that their official race preview did not mention directly the possibility of clinching the title at Sepang.“Like Singapore, this was a race where we under-performed last year, so we will need to push hard to put that right,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “We’re in good shape – but we must remain on our toes to get the ball over the line.”The 5.5-km Sepang circuit always throws up the chance of an upset, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo particularly keen to capitalise after coming agonisingly close to victory in Singapore.The potential for a shake-up could be even greater this year with the circuit resurfaced and the gradient of some corners changed.Mercedes were dealt a shock defeat last season when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won, ending the Italian team’s longest victory drought in over two decades.But Rosberg banished memories of a similarly off-colour weekend for Mercedes in Singapore last year with his win around the floodlit streets of the city-state two weeks ago.The German has jumped back into the overall lead, opening up an eight-point advantage over Hamilton, with his third win in a row and eighth of the season.No driver has ever failed to take the title after winning eight or more races in a season and the German is starting to look like he has the measure of Hamilton.“I’ve had a good run lately and I’m enjoying the moment,” said Rosberg. “But as far as the next race goes, or the next one after that and so on… it’s anyone’s game.”Triple champion Hamilton, who turned a 43-point deficit into a 19-point lead with a streak of six wins from seven races heading into the August summer break, will try and hit back with what would be his 50th win.Compatriot Jenson Button, making way for rookie Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next season, will also be in the spotlight as he lines up for his 300th start.last_img read more

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Portugal suffer first-half collapse in 3-0 loss to Dutch

first_imgEuropean champions Portugal suffered a first-half collapse and had Joao Cancelo sent off just past the hour in an embarrassing 3-0 World Cup warm-up defeat by the Netherlands on Monday.Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel and Virgil van Dijk all scored by taking advantage of uncharacteristically slack defending by Portugal as the Dutch, who failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, secured a first win for new coach Ronald Koeman.Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo began the match a hat-trick away from matching Hungarian Ferenc Puskas’s record of 84 goals as Europe’s all-time leading international marksmen but never looked like scoring one, let alone three.Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who made nine changes from the team which beat Egypt 2-1 in a friendly on Friday and handed a debut to Napoli fullback Mario Rui, took the blame.“It could have gone better but the responsibility for the defeat is mine. I was the one who picked the team, watched our opponents and put together our strategy,” he said.He added that Portugal suffered a home defeat to Bulgaria in a friendly before going on to win Euro 2016.“We don’t like to draw matches, let alone lose them. I will draw my conclusions. We need to find something positive in this defeat,” said Santos.Portugal, who face Spain, Iran and Morocco in their World Cup group, dominated possession for the opening few minutes but the Dutch struck first when Depay beat defender Jose Fonte to a loose ball and fired into the net after 12 minutes.Babel was left unmarked to head in from Matthijs De Ligt’s cross at the far post in the 32nd and it needed a superb save by Anthony Lopes to keep out a Depay header shortly afterwards.There was no let-off on the stroke of halftime, however, when a Depay free kick was teed up by De Ligt for the unmarked Van Dijk to fire home the third.Portugal tightened up in defence after halftime and escaped further embarrassment but they suffered more misery when Cancelo was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge.The Netherlands, who lost 1-0 at home to England on Friday, brought on Justin Kluivert, the 18-year-old son of their former forward Patrick, for his international debut in the 78th minute.last_img read more

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Caymanas tips

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A most damning reality

first_imgLast week, the US Ambassador to Guyana made public her views on challenges that cloud the business climate here. She cited blackouts, high taxes, and corruption. In other words, those, among other things, are impediments for investors both local and foreign. Interestingly, this statement was made more than four years after the APNU/AFC coalition Government came to office. This is significant and its understanding lies in the run-up to the 2015 general elections.During that period, the APNU/AFC Opposition held no punches in its visceral castigation of the then PPP/C Government branding it as corrupt.It was their priority campaign theme used for passionate utterances to garner votes on the pretext of a promise that corruption will be banished under a coalition Government. In the frenzy of doing so, it seemingly elevated itself as a bastion of piety with total disdain for any semblance of corruption.Having won, the coalition immediately ordered a plethora of forensic audits into State entities. It was an exercise with an abundance of confidence that corruption, which it claimed was endemic under the PPP/C, would be unearthed. Supporters of the coalition, having been fed a carefully crafted political narrative, were brimming with the expectation that former PPP/C officials would be exposed.To date, and millions of taxpayers’ dollars after, the audits have not found the corruption that the coalition led the nation to believe had occurred.Ironically, having proclaimed that it would not condone or be involved in any form of corruption, the APNU/AFC Government farmed out the audits to persons without the requisite financial tendering procedures being followed. Since then, and throughout its tenure, there has been an avalanche of accusations of corruption levelled against it.The Jubilee Park construction, the feasibility study for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, the execution of the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), and single sourcing of contracts are a mere few allegations of corruption that attracted national attention.In addition, various other allegations have been levelled, including the reported selling of firearm licenses by a senior official and the awarding of contracts to the spouse of a minister within the said ministry she had responsibility for.What these point to is the suspected prevalence of corruption under a Government that boasted of eradicating it.The Ambassador’s statement in question speaks to its impact in just one area; business climate.Blackouts continue to plague the nation adversely affecting businesses and residents alike. It has become unbearable with nothing tangible implemented to reduce it. The Government, which is now forced to battle with the scourge of power outages, scuttled the Amila Hydro Falls project— which would have guaranteed reliable, clean, and cheap electricity. Its realization would have lowered manufacturing cost, easing burdens on consumers.It was a transformative project envisioned by the PPP/C and would have been operable by now had it not been for the actions of the APNU/AFC while in the Opposition. Many, at that time, pondered if the project was scuttled simply because it emanated from the PPP/C and its success would have added political value. That aside, the country is reeling from the telling effects of blackouts— effects reiterated by a senior Diplomat.On the tax front, much has been said about how the APNU/AFC, seeming unconscionable, unleashed a plethora of new taxes on Guyanese. In addition to taxes, licensing and land-rental fees were massively hiked, making it extremely difficult or even impossible for those affected hard-working Guyanese to provide for their families.With those increases, many were plunged into financial hardships as ends cannot be met while businesses were forced to shed jobs with some closing. That has led to increased unemployment and the continual downslide of the economy.All of these: taxes, corruption, and blackouts, continue to disrupt the lives of Guyanese here. The Government has denied corruption, found excuses to justify the mountain of taxes and seemed incapable of dealing with the electricity sector. It has even accused the Opposition of playing politics when it brings attention to these issues.One wonders what its response would be to the diplomat’s statement which appears very definitive and which pointed out that Iran, the West Bank, and Gaza are ranked higher than Guyana. That speaks to a damning reality of a once prosperous country rapidly declining within just four years.last_img read more

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NCAA: San Beda dominates Letran to go 13-0

first_imgFrancis Kong, Jason Magbanua headline ‘The School for the Passionate, New Bold U 2020’ Firing on all cylinders, the Red Lions flaunted all their might with top MVP contender Calvin Oftana and Clint Doliguez doing heavy damage that ripped the taller Knights apart after three quarters.Crafty guard Evan Nelle and James Nelle also contributed to the cause of the unbeaten Lions, who charged ahead to their 15th straight victory.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4Brawny center Larry Muyang and Jerrick Balanza attempted to stop the bleeding when the Lions built a 20-point separation at the end of the third, but the defending champions showed too many weapons that the Knights found difficult to contain.The Knights remained at third but fell to 9-6 after suffering their second straight defeat. No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 takes you straight to hell with a Music Video and First Look-Images MANILA, Philippines–San Beda wasted no opportunity in cutting Letran down to size on the way to an emphatic 75-63 win in the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Negros Occidental gov’t, church call for prayers for safety of Taal evacuees Vince Carter promises record-breaking 22nd NBA season is his last SAN BEDA 75—Oftana 16, Doliguez 13, Nelle 12, Canlas 12, Bahio 6, Soberano 6, Tankoua 4, Carino 4, Visser 2, Abuda 0, Noah 0, Cuntapay 0.LETRAN 63—Muyang 13, Caralipio 11, Balanza 11, Ambohot 9, Reyson 5, Ular 4, Mina 3, Balagasay 3, Batiller 2, Pambid 2, Yu 0, Sangalang 0, Javillonar 0.Quarters: 24-16, 42-34, 62-42, 75-63ADVERTISEMENT MOST READcenter_img Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano PLAY LIST 01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown ‘People evacuated on their own’ Taal Volcano eruption: House to develop rehab plan for Batangas, Cavite, Laguna LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption View comments Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing downlast_img read more

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Hamilton in crisis talks with Mercedes

first_imgHamilton hit out at his Mercedes team in the immediate aftermath, saying: ‘Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.’He had calmed down before heading further east aboard the private jet of Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman. But he admitted feeling ‘helpless’ after seeing a fourth weekend of the season ruined by mechanical shortcomings.‘I’ve had lower points, for sure,’ said Hamilton. ‘But in terms of feeling helpless, it is the most helpless I can be at this point. When we had the problems in the first part of the season, you always have the feeling it is slipping through your fingers and there is nothing you can do about it.‘Then we had a splurge of good results and then a bunch of difficult results. This is a similar kind of feeling that I had back in Barcelona (when he and Nico Rosberg collided on lap one).’His misery was compounded at Sepang as team-mate Rosberg staged a fine recovery to finish third. That saw the German extend his championship lead over Hamilton to 23 points with five races to go.The first of those is at Suzuka this weekend, leaving Hamilton little time to pick himself up.‘You forget I am world champion, so I should be all right,’ was Hamilton’s retort when asked about his motivation.‘I will find strength from within. If I perform like I did this weekend then, providing the car holds together, good things can come.’Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff sympathised with Hamilton, saying: ‘It’s been bad for him and the team, I am gutted in the same way. But he came back into the garage immediately and he went to see Bradley (Lord, director of communications), Niki, myself and every single mechanic to say how he felt.‘Afterwards we had a discussion in a small group and we were all really down from the incident. Then we regrouped… he said some great things about the team and hopefully that is going to help us recover from Japan.’–By Daily Mail–0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s British driver Lewis Hamilton, seen in the pit lane ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Sakhir circuit in Manama, on April 3, 2016. PHOTO/AFP.LONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 4- Lewis Hamilton boarded a plane bound for Japan on Monday morning and had plenty of excess baggage in tow.The Briton’s defence of his world title is in tatters after an engine failure forced him to retire 15 laps from the end of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.last_img read more

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Wenger claims Walcott will benefit from England call-up

first_img Theo Walcott Arsene Wenger says he has no problem with Roy Hodgson picking Theo Walcott for England’s double header against Slovenia and Scotland and says he is free to play for him for as long as he wants.Walcott has only just made a return from a serious knee injury which has kept him on the sidelines since January and forced him to miss the World Cup finals during the summer.But the Arsenal forward has finally overcome his injury torment and made his first appearance as a substitute against Burnley last weekend.Despite his lack of match action, the Arsenal manager is keen for Walcott to join up with the England squad and build up his fitness over the international period.Wenger said: “He’s available, he’s been chosen by England and he needs competition. He has been out for 10 months – I don’t know if you realise how long that is. People think it’s like mechanics. They’re not machines, they are human beings and to get back into the rhythm of the top, top competition will take time. Roy Hodgson is free to do what he wants.“He has had a cruciate injury from an accidental tackle against tackle in January and you can never plan that – it could never happen again.“That is for sure in our job – every time you have a big injury, there is a bigger chance of having another. Overall he has been taken care of very well. He is now ready to play again and we have to just leave him in peace and give him the needed time to come back.” 1last_img read more

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Not guilty plea in medical marijuana case

first_imgLOS ANGELES – A Valencia man who ran a West Hollywood medical marijuana storefront pleaded not guilty Monday to federal drug charges. John C. Moreaux ran West Hollywood Caregivers on Santa Monica Boulevard, a storefront raided by federal agents twice this year, in January and once in March. Sarah Pullen of the Drug Enforcement Administration said she could not divulge details on what was seized in those raids because the warrants are sealed. Moreaux, 29, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; being a felon in possession of a firearm; and maintaining a drug premises. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Prosecutors allege he kept a shotgun at the storefront, which was illegal for him to possess because he has a prior felony conviction. He was arrested last month, and has been ordered detained pending trial, which is set for Sept. 11 before U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz. Moreaux’s attorney, William Kroger, said his client was operating within West Hollywood’s medical marijuana ordinance, including meeting monthly with city officials. “The problem is there’s a conflict between the state and federal law,” Kroger said.last_img read more

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Expert view: Tottenham misfit has ‘already agreed’ La Liga move

first_imgTottenham are set to continue their summer overhaul with attacking misfit Roberto Soldado reportedly agreeing a move to Villarreal, according to European football expert Andy Brassell.The Spain striker joined Spurs in August 2013 as the club looked to reimburse some of the Gareth Bale money, but he ultimately struggled to justify his £26m fee.Soldado found himself marginalised by Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino last season, and it seems Villarreal are prepared to offer him a route out of his White Hart Lane nightmare.The north London side are allegedly demanding £11m for the 30-year-old, but Brassell can’t see the La Liga outfit parting company with a fee of that size.“It is likely that he will go. They are saying in Spain that he has already agreed a deal,” Brassell told Hawksbee and Jacobs.“I would be surprised if they paid that much. I would imagine it will be a lower initial fee and then maybe some incentive based fee afterwards. Basically Spurs just need to get rid of him!”Despite the imminent departures of Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor, Pochettino is in the market for a new striker to shoulder some of the goalscoring expectations with Harry Kane.Spurs have reportedly made a €10m bid for Lyon forward Clinto Njie, but Brassell revealed they are way off the Ligue 1 side’s £15m valuation of the 21-year-old.He added: “Spurs have offered €10m but they are poles apart.“Njie is a weird one. I really like him a lot but don’t really understand why Spurs would want him as they want a central striker and he’s a wide forward.“He can play as a centre forward but because he’s got express pace he tends to be used in wide positions. Per minute he set up more goals than anyone else in Ligue 1 last season.”last_img read more

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Predicted Chelsea XI v Qarabag – Conte to ring the changes?

first_img 11 22. Willian (Right forward) 3. Marcos Alonso (Left wing back) – click the right arrow to see the rest of the predicted Chelsea XI 23. Michy Batshuayi (Centre forward) 4. Cesc Fabregas (Centre midfield) 28. Cesar Azpilicueta (Centre back) 13. Thibaut Courtois (Goalkeeper) 11 11 14. Tiemoue Bakayoko (Centre midfield) 21. Davide Zappacosta (Right wing back) 27. Andreas Christensen (Centre back) 11 17. Charly Musonda (Left forward) 11 11 11 11 11 24. Gary Cahill (Centre back) 11 11 Chelsea get their Champions League campaign underway on Tuesday night, making a return to European football for the first time since early 2016.The Blues did not take part in last year’s Champions League due to their dreadful domestic campaign in 2015/16, and Antonio Conte will be hoping to lead his team to the biggest honour in European club football.Their first match in Group C pits the west Londonders against Azerbaijani side Qarabag at Stamford Bridge, with ties against Atletico Madrid and Roma to come in the next few weeks.Conte has revealed that he will be rotating his starting line-up for the clash seeing as Chelsea face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday – just days after their Champions League match.Unfortunately, Danny Drinkwater picked up an injury in training meaning he is unavailable for selection, while Conte confirmed Eden Hazard will have to make do with a place on the bench rather than be handed a first start of the season.So, who will Conte select for the game? See talkSPORT’s predicted Chelsea XI, listed in squad number order, by clicking the right arrow, above…last_img read more

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