No Messi or Ronaldo but Clasico could still define season

first_imgFor the first time since 2007 club football’s arguably the biggest game will not feature either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo yet Sunday’s Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be as feisty as ever with plenty riding on it.Real coach Julen Lopetegui has come in for fierce criticism this season, having presided over a run of five games without a win – the team going eight hours and one minute without scoring – before Tuesday’s unconvincing 2-1 triumph over Viktoria Plzen that saw the team whistled off the pitch by their own fans.Local media reports suggest that any sort of negative result away to their great rivals could spell the end for the 52-year-old at the Bernabeu.“We haven’t always won when we deserved to but football is like that,” Lopetegui said.“We came from a run of quite a lot of games without winning and the objective was to win in circumstances that were not at all simple.“We need to gain a little tranquillity bit by bit: we have to keep going. On Sunday we have a game that motivates us a huge amount.”Barca, who will be without the injured Messi, sit top of La Liga on 18 points, just one ahead of the chasing pack in what is shaping up to be the tightest title race in years.The Argentinean has been in scintillating form this season, scoring seven and laying on another five goals in Spain’s top flight, while also hitting five in the Champions League.Criticism has been levelled at the Catalan side that in recent times they have become too reliant on their talisman and they now face the ultimate test to show they can function with Messisidelined, too.“We always want to play as a team, but when Messi is there he gives us a touch of brilliance that is extraordinary,” coach Ernesto Valverde said.“Of course we miss him, but we want to miss him while winning.“Messi often gets us out of jail in difficult games against low blocks and obviously we want him to get better as soon as possible. Madrid will be such as dangerous opponent. Lopetegui’s side will come here and looking to show their strength and I’m not taking anything for granted.”On Friday, second-placed Espanyol visit in-form Valladolid looking to put pressure on their city rivals Barca ahead of the Clasico. On Saturday, Athletic Bilbao host fellow surprise strugglers Valencia, while Real Sociedad visit Atletico Madrid in the day’s late kick-off.On Sunday third-placed Alaves welcome Villarreal, while Sevilla host bottom of the table Huesca.last_img read more

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WOMEN’S SOCCER FALLS TO LAKERS

first_img Preview Live Stats Next Game: Royal Military College of Canada 9/29/2018 | 1:00 p.m. Matchup Historycenter_img Watch Live Full Schedule Roster The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women’s soccer team dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nipissing Lakers on Sunday, September 23 in North Bay, Ont.HOW IT HAPPENED: After the Lakers opened the scoring in the 21st minute, the Blues answered right back as fifth-year striker Chelsea Cheung notched her third goal of the season just three minutes later. The two teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at the half. Nipissing took the lead for good with two goals four minutes apart in the 50th and 54th minutes. Third-year Blues goalkeeper Vanna Staggolis made 11 saves in the loss.UP NEXT: The Blues return home next Saturday, September 29 as they host the RMC Paladins at Varsity Stadium. The match is set to begin at 1 p.m.  For more information, scores and highlights on your favourite U of T athletes and teams, please visit www.varsityblues.ca. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook for the latest and greatest in Varsity Blues intercollegiate athletics.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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Qatar ‘detains’ Britons probing W Cup labour

first_img0Shares0000DOHA, September 4- Britain said it was investigating Thursday after two British researchers were reported detained in Qatar while probing the working conditions of migrants building infrastructure for the 2022 football World Cup.“We are aware of reports that two British nationals have been detained in Qatar and we are investigating,” a spokesperson for the British embassy in Doha told AFP. The Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development said Wednesday that two British staff — Krishna Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev — had disappeared in the Qatari capital after complaining of being followed by police.The pair had been carrying out follow-up research on the working conditions of migrant labourers in Qatar after the authorities promised a raft of reforms to address an international outcry over their working conditions as the emirate prepares to host football’s premier tournament.Upadhyaya had sent a text message to managers complaining that they were “being harassed and followed by Qatari police,” the rights group said.It demanded “immediate cooperation from Qatari authorities to fully disclose the whereabouts and current situation” of its researcher and photographer.“In the event that its employees are subjected to any kind of physical or psychological harm, GNRD is prepared to take all necessary legal action,” it warned.Qatar gave undertakings earlier this year to improve workplace safety, housing, and pay and conditions for its huge expatriate workforce after world football governing body FIFA came under huge pressure from rights groups to review its decision to award the emirate the 2022 World Cup.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Young reveals United’s faith in Van Gaal

first_img0Shares0000MANCHESTER, November 28- Manchester United’s Ashley Young believes the club can start to look beyond the top four spot they now occupy such is the confidence manager Louis van Gaal has instilled in the side.For the first time this season, United are among the Premier League’s Champions League qualification places. Last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Arsenal means United have now lost just one of their last seven games following the club’s worst start to a season since 1986.United will be warm favourites to extend that run against out-of-sorts Hull City, who are just one place above the relegation zone, at Old Trafford on Saturday.For van Gaal, the short-term target is to make sure his team stays in the top four to bring Champions League football back to United at the first time of asking under the Dutchman.But Young said there was no reason why United should not aim higher still, even though unbeaten league leaders Chelsea are a massive 13 points ahead of them at the top of the table.“I think the manager has said we want to break that top four,” Young said.“But you know players and staff at the club, we want to win the league title,” the England winger added.– Aura, presence –“I think he (van Gaal) has got that aura. You know he has got that presence out on the training ground and the training pitch. He believes in people, he gives you that belief and he is an honest man and he just wants everyone to go out there and do well,” Young explained.“The manager wants to achieve massive things, he wants the club to get back to winning titles and we are no different to that. You know the players have bought into that philosophy since pre-season and that is exactly what everyone is doing.“We are all pulling in the right direction, pulling in the same direction and everybody is leading that charge up the league.”United defender Jonny Evans could return against Hull after being out of action since September with a foot injury as van Gaal’s injury worries start to ease.Marcos Rojo has returned to training following a dislocated shoulder, although he may not be ready to face Hull. Striker Radamel Falcao could also be given longer to fully regain match fitness after missing four games with a calf problem.Hull are without a win in their last five matches and have lost their last three.The good news for manager Steve Bruce, a former United captain, is that several key players are back from injury.Midfielder Mohamed Diame, who has impressed since his transfer deadline day move from West Ham United, has been cleared to play after a scan on his knee.Striker Nikica Jelavic, defender Michael Dawson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor are also fit after playing in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur –- their first appearance in four weeks.The fixture with United is likely to see Ireland winger Robbie Brady face his former club for the first time.The 22-year-old joined Hull in 2013 after four-and-a-half years at Old Trafford.“I can’t wait,”  said Brady, whose one and only appearance for United came in a League Cup tie in September 2012.“It’ll be great to go back there for the first time and hopefully we can get a result to make it all the better.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Arrest in apparent accidental rifle death of 2-month-old girl

first_imgA 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his 2-month-old niece in an apparent accident with a pellet rifle, police said. The boy, whose name was withheld, was sitting on his porch about 5:30 last night in the 100 block of East 31st Street “fumbling with a pellet rifle” when the shooting occurred, police said. Melody Rojas died of her injuries about 4 this morning, police said. The teen was booked on suspicion of homicide and held at Eastlake Juvenile Hall, police said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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Crane operator represents growing influence of women at local ports

first_imgThough she’s afraid of heights and refuses to travel in an airplane, Lakos spends her workdays suspended in a cab 140feet in the air navigating the biggest cranes in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. And while more than 500 gantry crane operators work in the port complex, barely two hands are needed to count the number of women who have risen to this senior position. “We’re finishing loading the ship today,” she said, sipping her oversize latte and waiting for the first truck to line up a cargo container beneath her crane. The 33-year-old mother of two is a fourth generation “longie,” but she represents the first group of women to reach the upper echelon of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union. No glass ceiling exists where Lakos works, only a glass floor. By Megan Bagdonas STAFF WRITER With the damp smell of marine water mixed with whiffs of heavy industry hanging in the the cool morning air, Jennifer Lakos grabs the first rung of a grease-speckled ladder. After climbing to a grated platform 40 feet high, she rides a steel-caged elevator to a windy deck, where she enters a crane cab that reeks of stale cigarette smoke. Buckling herself into a chair surrounded by an array of buttons and joysticks, she surveys the scene below. From her bird’s-eye view, objects take on simplified geometric shapes. The hard-hatted ground crew looks like fast-moving florescent circles, while trucks are reduced to perfect rectangles strung across parallel, striped lane lines. “I’ll follow your lead,” comes the crackling voice of the house boss over the cab’s radio and the day’s clangorous concerto of steel-on-steel begins. After graduating high school in Huntington Beach, Lakos worked at a Wet Seal clothing store and took classes at a community college, biding her time until she decided what she wanted to do with her life. So when her father, a marine clerk, told her about an opportunity to become a casual, a non-union, part-time dock worker, the sporty, outgoing girl thought, “Why not?” “When my dad brought home the application and said they were hiring women, I didn’t even know that women worked down here,” Lakos said. At 19, when she first started, Lakos worked long and odd hours doing grunt work reserved for rookies on the docks. It wasn’t easy. Lashing cargo containers and moving heavy equipment is grueling work, and being a young, attractive woman only made her job tougher. “I had to strive harder to fit in,” recalled Lakos about dock work in the early 1990s. “There were the guys who would give you favoritism because they wanted to flirt with you, and then you’d run into the mean ones or a particular guy who was hard on you ? because he didn’t want women down there at all. “Sometimes I’d go home and cry and say I’m never going back because it was so awful. But I dealt with it. It made me stronger, and it never deterred me. But now we’re more accepted.” The first woman joined the union in 1978. However, their numbers didn’t start to increase until a quota system was put in place in the early 1980s, requiring at least a quarter of casuals processed be women. Last year, nearly 2,200 – or 17 percent – of active ILWU Local 13 members at the twin ports were women, according to employment records. Mike Mitre, president of ILWU Local 13, said by standing her ground and proving herself in a traditionally male-dominated culture, Lakos has become a beacon for other women on the docks. “At first, for the older guys, the big rugged longshoreman-type, it took them a while to get over it, but not now,” Mitre said. “With the ever-increasing numbers of women in positions like crane operators, marine clerks, foremen and planners, they are proving they can be successful in all categories of the job.” At lunchtime, Lakos takes off to do some shopping, preferring to walk since she’s been hunched over crane controls for four hours. Meanwhile, over meatball sandwiches, Cokes and potato chips, some of her co-workers at the Pacific Container Terminal talk about working with Lakos, or as some like to call her, “Jay.” “Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she lets anybody walk on her,” said ship boss Chris Rice, 37. “She’s not afraid to put you in your place.” Swingman James Gravitte, 51, remembered when he finally got a look at the “new girl” crane operator, she defied his expectations. “When you’re working under the crane you don’t know who’s up there moving the cans,” Gravitte said. “They could be black, white, man, woman, whatever. But I kept hearing people mention Jen. When I finally saw her climb down from the crane she looked like a little school girl, and it kind of surprised me.” “She’s done 40 moves an hour, and I’ve been under the hook when she’s done it,” said hatch clerk and crane operator Richard Mantez, 40. “The way she moves that cargo – she’s smooth and totally in control. She gets a lot of respect.” Lakos said that her paycheck – about $400 for an eight-hour day – is representative not only of her seniority in the union, but also her responsibility for the safety of the ground crew. “I have a lot of lives in my hand,” she said. “One slip-up and somebody could easily be killed.” Since 2003, there have been three deaths and 22 people hospitalized as a result of crane accidents in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to California Occupational and Safety and Health Administration. After lunch Lakos gets back in the cab and finishes loading the ship. Maneuvering the spreader – the mechanism that picks up and drops off containers – she lowers it to lock onto a container resting in the bed of a truck. She then hoists the load while swiftly trollying the cab forward along the boom, swinging it in an arch over the drop-off point. After lowering the cargo to stack atop the locks of another container on the ship, she raises the spreader and rushes backward to pick up another load. Some days she’ll load a ship, other days she moves cargo off a ship onto boom trucks that bring the containers to other trucks or the rail lines that will transport the goods to stores nationwide. “At the end of the day when I see the ship full and sailing away, I sometimes think, `Wow, I am part of that,”‘ she said. Some days Lakos will move 40 containers an hour, a feat with which she shares credit with the ground crew. However, when things aren’t running as smoothly, she might only move 20 an hour. “Everyone used to ask, `Why don’t you go into clerking?”‘ she said about her first years in the union. “I’d just say, `Well that’s just not something I’m interested in.”‘ She prefers heavy equipment. After a decade on the docks, she’s learned to drive top handlers, forklifts and trans cranes before she was trained on the gantry cranes that dominate the port’s skyline. Lakos passed the training course on her first try. Her husband, Pete, who’s also a crane operator at the twin ports, loves it that his 5-foot-5 wife can move a 40-ton filled container as well as any man. “She has set the standard for women and broken down a lot of barriers,” the 39-year-old said. “She’s doing a man’s job but she balances it really well. She’s really feminine and dresses up like any woman. When we’re out, people are always in shock that she drives a big crane.” While her fellow dockworkers are no longer surprised to Lakos climbing down the ladder after her shift, it might be a while longer before the idea of women operating cranes becomes as familiar for the general public. “Whenever we go out and my husband asks people to guess what I do, the first thing a guy usually guesses is a stripper,” she said. megan.bagdonas@dailybreeze.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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Toy giant Mattel under congressional scrutiny over tainted products

first_imgWASHINGTON – Southern California toy giant Mattel Inc. was blasted by congressional leaders Wednesday for failing to detect the recent flood of lead-paint contamination in Chinese-made Barbie dolls, Thomas and Friends train sets and millions of other toys. And in the first of a two-day hearing on tainted toys, legislators accused Mattel of negligence and obstructing a congressional investigation into how the El Segundo-based company’s toys made their way into the hands of U.S. children. “Mattel chose to gamble with our children’s health, apparently for a few extra dollars,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Chicago. The company, she said, “has forfeited the right to expect any parent to trust them.” Added Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, “When you can’t trust Thomas the Train and you can’t trust a company like Mattel, it’s just staggering that we have to worry about some of these issues.” Since August, Mattel and other companies have recalled millions of toys made in China because of excessive levels of lead and small magnets that may detach. Lead can be toxic if ingested by children, causing brain damage and learning problems. About 86 percent of all toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured in China. On Tuesday, Mattel CEO Bob Eckert unveiled a raft of new safety measures the company has instituted, including independent inspections of all Chinese-made toys. And he said he hopes to win back the confidence of America’s parents. “My No. 1 goal is to make sure that this holiday season’s toys are the safest ever,” Eckert told the committee. The Los Angeles area, particularly the San Fernando Valley, is home to nearly 300 toy manufacturers and wholesalers with an estimated $5 billion in annual sales. While the reeling toy industry makes up only a small part of the local economy, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s vice president and chief economist, Jack Kyser, said the safety implications are widespread. With China as the Los Angeles customs district’s largest trading partner, he said, lingering concerns about product safety could hurt other industries – from apparel manufacturers that import dyes to furniture makers and lighting designers that import parts. “It’s not just toys that have safety concerns. There are a lot of ramifications for everybody who is importing from China,” Kyser said. “A lot of people are watching.” Rep. Jane Harman, D-El Segundo, joined Tuesday’s hearing of the House Energy and Commerce’s consumer-protection subcommittee to note that Mattel employs more than 2,000 people in her district. Harman praised Eckert for the company’s actions since the lead crisis came to light, but she also issued a warning. “Employees lose jobs if employers don’t behave responsibly,” she said, urging Mattel to bring its manufacturing back to the United States. But Mattel didn’t get all the blame Tuesday for the tainted toy crisis. “There’s a lot of blame to go around for everybody,” said committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich. Several lawmakers cited an underfunded and understaffed Consumer Product Safety Commission. Thirty years ago, about 800 people worked to ensure product safety. Today, the agency employs about half that number. Acting commission Chairwoman Nancy Ord and Commissioner Thomas H. More urged Congress to give the agency more funding to modernize outdated labs and get the tools to regulate products made with lead. Currently, the commission cannot regulate lead unless its presence in a product might cause “substantial personal injury.” And while the agency has negotiated an agreement with Chinese officials that includes strict new safety measures, lawmakers questioned whether it will be enforceable. Ord said the agency has no mechanism to enforce sanctions or other consequences if Chinese officials fail to meet new safety standards and suggested that the market itself will enforce the regulations. “Frankly,” she said, “at the end of the day, economics counts for everything.” Chinese officials now know, she contended, that if safety measures aren’t met, “people won’t buy their products.” Meanwhile on Wednesday, Los Angeles County health officials said they are not aware of any cases in recent years in which lead poisoning was caused primarily by toys. They said most childhood cases of lead poisoning are caused by ingesting lead from soil, paint in homes built before 1978 or brought home on clothing by parents with industrial jobs. In 1996, the county had 1,394 cases of elevated lead levels in children under 6 years old. By 2006, the number of cases was down to 514. Health officials said if parents discover that their children have been eating parts of toys that have been recalled because of lead, the child should be tested. If the child has simply been normally playing with the toys, it is less likely to have caused a problem. “If they feel there’s a concern, they should consult with their doctor and have a blood test,” said Angie Toyota, director of the county’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Parents who are concerned about toys or other products that might contain lead can have the products tested at a local hardware store – which can do a quick swab test – or at a professional lab, Toyota said. “But the likelihood of getting poisoned from these toys, unless you ingest it, is very small,” she said. Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed. lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Things To Do

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson USA Dance Inc. will hold a dance, 7-10:30 p.m. Friday at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. E-mail a.greycloud@dock.net. Family Nature Walk, 11 a.m.-noon, and an animal presentation, 1-2 p.m. every Saturday at Placerita Canyon Park and Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. Grateful Dudes will perform bluegrass music, 7:30-10:30 p.m. every Saturday at Vincenzo’s, 24504 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. To submit an event for the Things To Do calendar, contact Sharon Cotal two weeks prior to the event at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at sharon.cotal@dailynews.com or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Wolfsburg win race for Ajax starlet dubbed the ‘new Patrick Vieira’

first_img Riechedly Bazoer in action for Ajax 1 Wolfsburg have beaten Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool to the signing of Ajax star Riechedly Bazoer.The midfielder, who has been dubbed the ‘new Patrick Vieira’ by the Dutch media, has signed a four-and-a-half year contract with the German side after a fee of around £11m was agreed.Bazoer, 20, will link up with his new team-mates in January and Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbe admits they beat off plenty of competition to sign him.“We have had a close eye on Riechedly Bazoer for quite some time,” said Rebbe.“We are delighted that he has opted to sign for VfL Wolfsburg, in spite of having further offers from other renowned clubs.“He is just at the beginning of his career and we are convinced that he will make the next step in his development here with us.”last_img read more

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Palmdale teachers OK new contract

first_imgPALMDALE – Palmdale School District teachers narrowly approved a new contract that offers a 6 percent raise for the current school year and benefits plans that are less costly to the district. Teachers voted 371 in favor of the three-year pact and 308 against, teacher union officials said. “It was pretty close,” said Hugh Estrada, president of the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association, said after the vote last week. “There were people who wanted to stay with the benefits the way they were.” Some teachers also did not want to lose the so-called “soft cap” pay, the $5 dollars per student per day they received when their class size was above the set staffing ratio of 30 students per instructor. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The district and union agreed to shift funds used for that purpose and apply it to the raise. Savings from less expensive benefits packages and more cost-of-living-adjustment funds coming from the state this year also helped in allowing the district to grant the raise. “We have by approving the contract taken a step toward rebuilding trust and respect with the district,” Estrada said. The teachers voted on the contract last week. The board is scheduled to ratify the contract at its meeting today. There are 1,050 teachers in the district. In contrast with the previous round of talks that ended with a yearlong impasse, negotiators from the district and the teachers union this year took three days of meetings to reach an agreement at the end of June. The prior impasse ended in January with a contract that offered no raise but removed language about limiting health insurance payments, which union members found objectionable in previous versions. The cost of providing health benefits also was a stumbling block the last time, but this time the union proposed health benefits packages that are less costly to the district and offer more choice to members. District officials said the district was getting about 6 percent in cost-of-living adjustments, compared with about 4 percent last year. karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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