Sunset at Filey Dams again.
An army of meteorologists at these Games are responsible for bringing weather forecasts to nervous venue managers. In the first days of the Olympics, they had almost nothing but bad news: drenching rains and temperatures in the mid-50s in some places and sudden blizzards and fog in the mountains.
"I've never been on a chairlift with an umbrella before," said Canadian silver-medal winning moguls skier Jennifer Heil.
In recent days, a cold front made everyone forget these early troubles. But spring-like conditions are coming back. From Wednesday, the forecast calls for warm, rainy days with temperatures downtown back in the 50s, about nine degrees higher than average.
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Fans from the U.S. cheer during the third run of the men's singles luge competition.
And there's snow in the forecast, but not where's it wanted or needed. On Cypress Mountain, the white stuff started to fall Tuesday, but a spokesman for the Vancouver Organizing Committee said the dusting would hurt more than help the remaining events.
Even on the clearest day, ski cross is a sport that makes its best athletes look accident-prone. Canadian Julia Murray said that from her limited vantage point, there were "quite a few" spills Tuesday. She also said the jumps at the top were harder to get started on because of the snow.
The temperate spell could once again put the squeeze on the 27 meteorologists at work here.
At all hours of the night, calls from worried venue managers come in to the command center. At each of the five venues, three meteorologists, working in shifts, produce forecasts hourly. These meteorologists are wielding high-tech gear that can "see" the wind in 3-D and simulate weather conditions at one-kilometer intervals.
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Phred Dvorak/The Wall Street Journal
Trevor Smith, lead meteorologist at Environment Canada's Olympics command center.
An international team of researchers is here testing new methods of forecasting dubbed "nowcasting" that can give pinpoint weather predictions that take effect right away. "It's high pressure," says lead forecaster Trevor Smith.
On Feb. 12, the first day of the Games, the Olympic forecasters gave Whistler's downhill skiing organizers some bad news: Course groomers typically inject water into the snow so it will freeze, but forecasters said the temperatures at the bottom of the track wouldn't be cold enough to do that—at least not until later in the weekend. At 3 a.m. that Saturday they called the weather center, and ski officials later postponed the race until the following Monday.
When that day arrived, forecasters were fixated on "Harvey's cloud," a dense foggy patch that tends to appear mid-mountain on Whistler, right in the middle of the downhill course. At the command center, George Isaac, a Canadian scientist who's part of the Vancouver nowcasting team, pointed at the nascent patch, which appeared as a blotch on the computer screen in front of him. "We were worried that this would come down," he said.
On Sunday morning, Feb. 14, monitors stationed at Whistler Mountain north of Vancouver saw another worrisome blotch on their radar and called central command to get the time of impact. The nowcasters answered that the blizzard would hit Whistler right in the middle of the biathlon competition.
What they didn't realize was that the half-hour storm would blind all the top biathlon athletes, throwing them out of contention, says Roy Rasmussen, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who generated the prediction.
"To be truthful, we didn't know it was going to impact the competition," says Mr. Rasmussen.
—Adam Thompson contributed to this article
3D Science Museum of Virginia
Break out your red and cyan glasses
Science Museum of Virginia
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Key figure: Joe Ledley (right) has proved an influential figure in the Celtic midfield Photo: REUTERS
By Andrew Lomax 8:01PM BST 26 Apr 2011
The Wales international's worst fears were confirmed on Tuesday after he limped off during Sunday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox.
Celtic confirmed on their official website that Ledley will miss the last six games of the season, which include the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell.
Ledley had been expected to miss the game against Rangers after straining his hamstring in the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen the previous Sunday, when he scored.
The former Cardiff midfielder missed the midweek victory over Kilmarnock and Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted that he was a huge doubt for the Old Firm game.
Speaking last week, Lennon said: "Hamstrings are a very delicate injury and it would be a massive gamble with the obvious chance of it tearing and him being out for the remainder of the season.
"It's not a risk I would be willing to take on a player who has been very influential and who we need for the run-in."
However, Ledley returned in the goalless draw at Ibrox but lasted just 54 minutes before pulling up.
The 23-year-old has emerged as a key player in recent months, holding down a central midfield role alongside Beram Kayal after being moved around the park during the early stages of his Celtic career.
But Lennon has options in the centre in Scott Brown, who has been playing wide right in recent weeks, and Ki Sung-yueng.
Craig Whyte's potential takeover of Rangers cannot come quickly enough for Vladimir Weiss, who is eager to have his own future resolved.
The Manchester City winger saw his Rangers loan come to a premature end this month when he broke a foot.
Weiss fears that Rangers will not be able to match City's asking price should they look to buy him, but that could if Whyte's protracted takeover finally succeeds.
Whyte's bid remains on course following more talks with the board, including chairman Alastair Johnston, who had cast doubts on the Lanarkshire-born businessman's offer.
Whyte had already agreed a deal with the main players in the takeover, majority shareholder Sir David Murray and main creditor Lloyds Banking Group.
Now the Rangers board look set to drop their threat to delay the deal, meaning a deal worth more than £50 million could be concluded in the coming days.
That could spell good news for Weiss, who is eager to return to the club next season. Ally McCoist has been promised a significant sum to revamp his playing squad in the summer, with some reports claiming Whyte would inject £10 million.
And that could help McCoist tie up a deal for the Slovakian. Weiss told the Rangers News: "I would definitely love to come back here if it was the case that City were going to put me out on loan again rather than play me next season themselves.''
Inverness manager Terry Butcher will attempt to re-sign Blackburn winger Aaron Doran, 19, next season.
The teenager took his tally to three goals from eight starts in Monday's 3-0 victory over St Johnstone.
Butcher said: "I would like to get him back here because he is a great, bubbly character, a funny boy, but a good player as well. He has definitely improved since being with us.''
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55017 - Selby
Almost at the end of it's career, 55017 THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY rolls off the swing bridge and into a sub-zero Selby station with 1A08 08:07 York - King's Cross on 29 December 1981. Two days later and that was that...
Zenit EM f/4 30th/sec Ektachrome 400
The Durham Light Infantry
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Urban horse on South Tacoma Way 4
south tacoma way
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Celtic manager Neil Lennon simply couldn't help himself. At the end of a week when it was revealed “viable” bombs had been addressed to him and at the conclusion of a match during which he had been jeered relentlessly, he cupped his hands to his ears as he turned to his detractors before strutting off the pitch.
Hear we go: Celtic manager Neil Lennon cups his ears to taunt Rangers fans Photo: ACTION IMAGES
By Ewing Grahame 9:12PM BST 24 Apr 2011
To an extent, his response was understandable. Goodness knows the 39-year-old, approaching the business end of his first season in management, has been under intolerable pressure on and off the pitch.
In recent times, no public figure in the United Kingdom, with the possible exception of Salman Rushdie, has been subjected to the same vilification and threats of physical harm as Lennon has had to contend with.
At the final whistle on Sunday, having achieved a result which makes it likely he will win the championship at the first time of asking, the temptation to respond must have been well nigh irresistible...but it should have been resisted. He let himself down.
When asked about it afterwards, the Irishman believed the incident was not worthy of mention. “Don't ask me about that – it's called humour, all right? So don't distract from the team's performance, don't even write about it.
“You'll have the photographs, I'm sure, tomorrow: it's just a bit of fun. If people think otherwise then that's their problem. Don't ask me about it again.”
“My team were men today, real men. They stood up to everything that Rangers threw at them and came back for more.
“I was apprehensive about the game because it's always difficult coming here but I've done it three times now and left unbeaten. It could have been better but I'm pleased. Our midfield got stronger as the game went on.
“I'm glad that the Old Firm thing is now over for the season and that I don't have to go through all the hype that surrounds it again. Seven times: that's plenty for one season.”
Lennon admitted to feeling drained by the unprecedented pressure placed on him during the build-up to the match and is looking forward to moving out of the spotlight, albeit briefly.
“The players will now have some time of and I need a couple of days just to get my mind away from things,” he said.
“We have a free week for the first time in a while so I'll go away and reflect on things and clear my head.”
Lennon also dismissed Walter Smith's claim that the awarding of Celtic's penalty kick was a culmination of the club's war of attrition with the Scottish Football Association this season.
“That's nonsense, absolute nonsense,” he said. “Have they not had penalties against us when the referee wasn't even looking? Where's his argument there?
“I feel a sense of satisfaction with our performance because there had been question marks over some of our players but the fact that their goalkeeper was the Man of the Match says a lot.
“Samaras is disappointed but, to be fair to Allan McGregor, it was a fantastic save. Sometimes you just have to give the goalkeeper credit.
“If it had been poorly struck then I'd have criticised Georgios but he scored with one in the earlier fixture here and we wouldn't be in the position we're in now if it hadn't been for his efforts that day.”
Six years ago on Sunday Lennon was a member of Martin O'Neill's side which left Ibrox with a 2-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Stilian Petrov and Craig Bellamy.
That victory put Celtic five points clear of Alex McLeish's side with only four matches remaining but two goals from Motherwell's Scott McDonald in the final three minutes of the campaign saw the championship snatched away from them.
“Every game is a cup final now because every other team wants our scalp,” said Lennon. “There are no guarantees that we'll win the league but, equally, there was no doubting our mentality and our quality out there today.”
From jeers to jeers - Lennon's lively day at Ibrox
11.15: Neil Lennon steps off the team bus outside the stadium, to be greeted by a volley of abuse but, thankfully, no threats. Many of the Rangers fans call his name to attract his attention as they attempt to take his photograph.
12.09: Lennon marches on to the field of play to observe his players as they warmed up for what was to come. His arrival was the catalyst for jeers from three sides of the ground and rapturous applause from those in the Broomloan Stand, who unfurled a banner featuring a portrait of the Irishman during his playing days at the club, bearing the legend: Neil Lennon – Celtic to the core. Another read: We stand behind our leader.
12.41: The match was nine minutes old before the first “If you hate Neil Lennon clap your hands” was heard from the home fans. In Glasgow, that qualifies as restraint.
12.50: As they had done at Kilmarnock in midweek, the Celtic supporters applauded Lennon en masse in the 18th minute (18 was his shirt number as a player): the manager acknowledges the gesture and returns the applause.
13.40: A blue balloon drifted into Celtic's technical area. Lennon caught it and then burst it by stamping on it.
14.13: Lennon crouches on the touchline, barely able to watch as Allan McGregor saves Georgios Samaras' penalty. After the miss, he turns and calmly walks back to the Celtic bench.
14.24: Lennon shakes hands with Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Kenny MacDowall before jogging on to the pitch to salute the visiting fans, console Samaras and congratulate the rest of his players. He leaves the field, waving a clenched fist at Celtic's supporters and then cupping his ears to taunt the home crowd, who are jeering him for all they are worth.
15.00: He tells reporters not to write about that incident, claiming it was “just a bit of fun.”
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Aberdeen manager Craig Brown, the doyen of Scottish football management, on Monday night expressed sympathy for his Celtic counterpart, Neil Lennon.
Ear-ache: Neil Lennon provoked Rangers fans after Celtic claimed a draw at Ibrox Photo: REUTERS
By Ewing Grahame 7:54PM BST 25 Apr 2011
The 70 year-old refused to condemn the Irishman for taunting the Rangers supporters at the end of Sunday's Old Firm match at Ibrox, preferring to sympathise with the younger man.
Indeed, Brown revealed that he had helped tutor Lennon when he was taking his coaching badges in his native Northern Ireland, although he pointed out that nothing he had taught him could have prepared him for the events of the last few weeks.
“I watched the game on television,” he said. “All that I'll say is that [BBC Scotland's trackside reporter] Chick Young told me that Neil had been subjected to horrendous abuse throughout the game and that was his way of responding.
“But I don't want to get into any of this but I was there when he was doing his Pro licence course in Ireland and we'd do simulation exercises.
“The one which he and [Celtic coach] Alan Thompson did when I was there – and they were brilliant, co-operative guys – included discussions as well as us simply instructing them.
“For example, what happens when one of your players criticises you in the media? I've kept an article from when Gordon Strachan was a player at Aberdeen and he criticised Alex Ferguson. The headline was: 'You were wrong, Fergie!'
“Now how do you handle that as a manager? How do you handle it when you substitute a player and he throws his jersey at you as he comes off the pitch?
“And we'd discuss these things because there's no one answer to these problems. Some coaches would say: 'I'd fine him' while others would say: 'I'd punch him on the nose.'
“But I can honestly say that in all the courses I've been on we've never had a simulation which involved how you would handle death threats.
“This is quite, quite unprecedented, quite horrendous and totally out of order so I don't want to be critical in any way. I may be the oldest manager but that doesn't mean I'm the wisest.”
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WASHINGTON—The Pentagon says the U.S. Air Force has carried out its first Predator missile strike in Libya, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Darryn James, said the airstrike happened Saturday. He provided no details, AP said.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates disclosed that President Barack Obama had approved the use of armed Predator drones to improve the precision of strikes on Libyan government forces. Predators had previously been used in Libya only for surveillance missions.
Meanwhile, rebel fighters in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata appeared on the cusp of a major victory as they drove fleeing government forces out of the city Saturday after nearly two months of fierce battle.
In the key western Libyan city of Misrata, rebels have seized a crucial building - the highest tower in the city, from which snipers had been firing for several weeks. Video courtesy of AFP.
The rebel gains followed a day of some of the fiercest fighting in weeks, in which at least 25 rebels were killed and over a 100 wounded, according to hospital officials. The wounded were struck down in a fierce bombardment that pounded the city from dawn to about 3 p.m. and in intense urban street battles between rebel fighters and retreating forces of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. But by midafternoon, Col. Gadhafi's guns had fallen silent.
Dozens of pro-Gadhafi soldiers were reportedly killed and captured in Saturday's fighting. Rebels continued to retake hard-fought territory from Col. Gadhafi's forces, in the second straight day of gains.
Col. Gadhafi's forces were driven from the vegetable market on Misrata's Tripoli Street and from a technical school, along with a handful of other buildings, all positions which they had firmly held since March 16.
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Rebel fighters said government forces had pulled back to the Misrata Hospital, a large compound on Misrata's periphery that was closed for renovations when the uprising began.
Rebel fighters said they had surrounded the compound by Saturday afternoon, but said they were holding back because at least 10 civilian families were being held hostage by Mr. Gadhafi's forces there.
"They have withdrawn because they suffered heavy casualties in Misrata and couldn't hold on anymore," said Akram Ali Hameda, a 26-year-old fighter. "Godwilling it's almost over and our victory in the city will be complete within a couple of days."
Mr. Hameda said stepped up NATO air strikes on Gadhafi positions outside Misrata had helped rebels land what they hope will be the decisive blow against Mr. Gadhafi's punishing siege of the city.
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Libyan rebel fighters run across a street in the besieged city of Misrata Saturday.
On Friday, NATO air strikes in the Misrata southern suburb of Dufan destroyed a massive convoy of Gadhafi Land Cruisers carrying soldiers and arms toward Misrata overnight, Mr. Hameda said. On Thursday, he said 30 tanks had been destroyed.
"It was a huge help," he said.
After nightfall on Saturday, NATO planes could again be heard overhead along with massive explosions in the distance which suggested NATO was keeping the pressure on Col. Gadhafi's forces in the city.
Several wounded, captured Gadhafi fighters were brought through the hospital in Misrata on Saturday. One paramedic returning from a trip to the frontlines said 39 Gadhafi fighters had been killed by rebels in one portion of Tripoli Street. He said rebels destroyed seven Gadhafi tanks and armored vehicles in the same spot.
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A rebel fighter stands with his weapon at the front line along the western entrance of Ajdabiya on Saturday.
Some of Misrata's residents who had fled sections of the city controlled by Mr. Gadhafi's forces returned to their homes for the first time in weeks on Saturday.
The large number of wounded overwhelmed Misrata's main hospital, forcing doctors to transform a second parking lot tent into a makeshift emergency room.
Stretchers with patients in critical condition backed up in a line that stretched out the hospital's side doors waiting for a space on one of two elevators to take them into the Intensive Care Unit or operating room.
Write to Charles Levinson at email@example.com
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Schalke v Manchester United: how Ralf Rangnick the 'fussball professor’ found a winning formula
The first time Ralf Rangnick took on English opposition he ended up in hospital.
Fussball professor: Schalke coach Ralf Rangwick will face Manchester United in the Champions League Photo: REUTERS
By Duncan White 11:00PM BST 23 Apr 2011
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As the head coach of Schalke, he will attempt to outwit Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night, a far cry from his debut for Southwick while a student at Sussex University 30 years ago.
“In my first match I broke three ribs and perforated my lung,” Rangnick said. “I spent 3½ weeks in hospital in Chichester and took months to recover, so really I only played between January and May, so that limited my games.”
Not that limited games seem to be a problem for Rangnick. He has been in charge of Schalke for all of four weeks, having replaced the sacked Felix Magath back in mid March. Within a fortnight his side had stunned European champions Inter Milan with a 5-2 away win, and followed it up with a 2-1 win at home.
Now he has his sights set on United and the opportunity to make a name for himself in the country for which he has retained a lot of affection — despite the rough introduction he received on the playing fields of Sussex.
“I was 21 years old at the time, and I was studying English language and PE at university in Germany with the aim of becoming a school teacher,” he said. “My course involved spending a year abroad. I was a guest student at Sussex University, and lived with an English family in a home-stay in Brighton.
“Within four months my English was pretty fluent. I’d become part of the family. It was a wonderful time. I have always loved the English language and I don’t know where that comes from. As young as 10, I wrote an essay saying that I wanted to become an English teacher.”
In between his studies, Rangnick would indulge his passion for football. “I watched a game every week, either at Brighton where Alan Mullery was the manager and they were in the First Division, or up in London.
“The last match I saw during that year was the Cup final at Wembley, West Ham and Arsenal, because I was given a ticket by my Southwick team-mates.”
Having continued to play back in Germany — “somewhere between the second and third division standard” — and begun coaching amateur teams around Stuttgart, Rangnick decided to coach full-time, inspired by a felicitous meeting with one of the game’s greatest coaches.
“I was coaching at Backnang in 1984 when we played a friendly match against Valeriy Lobanovsky’s Dynamo Kiev. They had a winter training camp for a fortnight every year, based nearby, and we were the opponents on this occasion. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“I thought we must have at least three players less than them. I had to count to make sure that it was 11 versus 11.
“Their mobility and energy, and the way they’d been arranged to play was amazing, so I spoke to Valeriy and got an insight into his ideas.
“In Germany at that time, the convention was to play a 3-5-2 and sweeper system but I was open to new ideas and wanted to do things differently from then on.”
That enthusiasm for innovation earned him a degree of notoriety in 1998 when, having got Ulm promoted into the second division, he went on a popular football TV show and explained zonal marking and the flat back four using a magnetic board. He was ridiculed and given the nickname 'Fussball Professor’.
“In any other country, being called professor would be a compliment. I think we were a little ahead of our time. It was very unusual to speak openly about tactics on television at that time.
“It was very unusual to speak about a back four, because only two or three German clubs played with zonal marking and a back four. Having a young coach [he was then 40] explaining things wasn’t appreciated.
“In the same situation I wouldn’t do it again, now I know how sensitive the whole issue was.” At 52, Rangnick is no longer the maverick. He took that Ulm team into the Bundesliga and, after that had mixed times with Stuttgart, Hanover and Schalke. With all three he had an impressive first campaign but struggled in the second season.
After being sacked by Schalke in 2005 he dropped down into German regional football and took over ambitious Hoffenheim, leading them to successive promotions and, in their first season (2008-09) in the Bundesliga, had them top of the table going into the winter break (they ended seventh).
When he resigned from Hoffenheim earlier this year, after a dispute over the sale of one of his best players, Luis Gustavo, to Bayern Munich, he became one of the most coveted coaches in European football. Schalke did not hang around.
Their appointment brought swift reward and now United stand between Rangnick and a return to Wembley 30 years since his mates from Southwick bought him that ticket as a goodbye treat.
“On top of two amazing performances against Inter Milan to get to this point, we now have to produce something like that again. We are the underdogs but if we play at our very best level, we can do well.”
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Cameron attacks Major government in AV campaign
The Prime Minister has taken on a high-profile role in the No to AV campaign Photo: GETTY
By Andrew Porter, Political Editor 7:30AM BST 22 Apr 2011
The Prime Minister picked the most recent Conservative-only government to illustrate why the proposed Alternative Vote system should be opposed. He said removing tired governments was vital to democracy.
When the country “desperately needed to get rid of that [Labour] government” in 1979, they were able to elect Margaret Thatcher, he said.
“We also remember 1997 and I think we know in 1997 the country needed change. Again it was a decisive result,” he added. His criticism came as a surprise because Mr Cameron is close to Sir John Major and occasionally uses him to support specific policy ideas.
Mr Cameron admitted yesterday that Cabinet divisions over changing the voting system had led to a “choppy” period for the Coalition.
The Prime Minister said he has had to take on a high-profile role in the No to AV campaign, angering Nick Clegg, his deputy, who believed he had assurances that Mr Cameron would not engage so prominently in opposing AV.
With two weeks to go before the referendum, tensions have boiled over with both sides engaging in increasingly bitter rows over campaign tactics.
Mr Cameron said: “This is obviously for Coalition going to be quite a choppy period because we have embarked on a referendum where we’re on different sides.
“I’m passionate 'No’ is the right answer, Nick is equally passionate that 'Yes’ is. Once it’s over we will make sure the Coalition is, and remains, strong.”
The Liberal Democrat leader is privately said to be angry that Mr Cameron has so vocally backed first-past-the-post.
But Mr Cameron said: “There’s an independent No campaign and an independent Yes campaign and absolutely Nick Clegg and I should make arguments in a very reasonable way and I think we’re both doing that.
“Both campaigns have ended up with more politicians in than perhaps either of us had hoped, but I am taking quite a high profile in the campaign, it’s important.”
A poll published today shows that the over-50s are likely to vote against changing the current system. It is a significant blow to the Yes campaign as older voters are most likely to make the effort to vote on May 5. Only 32 per cent favoured AV in the survey by Saga magazine.
Mr Clegg argued in The Daily Telegraph this week that AV would help clean up politics after the expenses scandal.
In a rare speech for the Yes campaign yesterday, he made a party political criticism of Labour for leaving Britain with a record deficit and said Labour was “treating the British people like fools”.
That partisan intervention irritated Labour supporters of AV. Will Straw, a Labour activist and pro-AV campaigner, said Mr Clegg’s speech was “spectacularly badly judged. Since Labour voters are swing voters he would have done far better to reach out.”
A poll this week put the No campaign 16 points ahead.
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The Premier League run-in: why it's still Manchester United's title to lose
Manchester United's draw against Newcastle and Chelsea's emphatic win over Birmingham has breathed new life into a dying title race. But how will the season pan out?
By Thom Gibbs 1:10PM BST 21 Apr 2011
Bolton (A), Sunday 24 April
Man Utd (H), Sunday 1 May
Stoke (A), Sunday 8 May
Aston Villa (H), Sunday 15 May
Fulham (A), Sunday 22 May
Bolton and Stoke away stick out as the sort of fixtures which have historically caused Arsene Wenger's side difficulties. Even if they can beat United at home it's difficult not to see them slipping up somewhere else along the way in their current wobbly form. A win against Villa at home would appear the only banker in these final five games.
Predicted points: 8
Predicted finishing position: 3rd
West Ham (H), Saturday 23 April
Tottenham (H), Saturday 30 April
Man Utd (A), Sunday 8 May
Newcastle (H), Sunday 15 May
Everton (A), Sunday 22 May
The easiest set of fixtures on paper, and Chelsea appear to have regained some sort of poise at a crucial part of the season. A draw at home to Spurs wouldn't be the end of the world, a point at Old Trafford could be extremely precious.
Predicted points: 9
Predicted finishing position: 2nd
Everton (H), Saturday 23 April
Arsenal (A), Sunday 1 May
Chelsea (H), Sunday 8 May
Blackburn (A), Saturday 14 May
Blackpool (H), Sunday 22 May
Predicted points: 11
Predicted finishing position: 1st
Despite having to play their two main contenders, this remains United's title to throw away. It would take something quite extraordinary for them to fail to pick up at least seven points from the Everton, Blackburn and Blackpool games and they have the mettle to win against one of Arsenal and Chelsea. Most pertinently - when have they ever blown a lead this late in the season?
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La Casa danzante (Tanc dm) il soprannome dato ad un edificio per uffici nel centro di Praga, Repubblica ceca, all'indirizzo Ranovo nbe 80, 120 00 Praha 2. Fu progettata dall'architetto croato, nato nella Repubblica Ceca, Vlado Miluni in cooperazione con il canadese Frank Gehry. La posizione scelta era un posto vacante sul lungofiume. L'edificio che occupava precedentemente quel luogo era stato distrutto durante i bombardamenti di Praga nel 1945. La costruzione ebbe inizio nel 1994 e termin nel 1996.
Lo stile fortemente non convenzionale cre delle controversie al tempo della costruzione. Il presidente ceco Vclav Havel, che visse per decenni vicino al sito, ha supportato il progetto, sperando che l'edificio divenisse un centro di attivit culturali.
Originalmente chiamato Fred and Ginger (da Fred Astaire e Ginger Rogers) la casa ricorda vagamente una coppia di ballerini. Lo stile costruttivo sta tra il Neobarocco, il Neogotico e l'Art Nouveau, stili architettonici per i quali Praga famosa.
Il piano originale che proponeva un centro culturale non venne realizzato. Al settimo piano si trova un ristorante francese con una magnifica vista della citt. Tra gli altri occupanti la casa alcune compagnie multinazionali. Data la collocazione su di una strada molto trafficata l'edificio dotato di una circolazione forzata d'aria, che rende l'interno pi confortevole per gli occupanti. (Fonte Wikipedia)
Canon 5D MarkII
Canon 24/70mm L f/2.8
le mie foto:
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Manchester United will not be punished by FA for damaging Wembley dressing room wall after semi-final
Manchester United will escape any action from the Football Association after a dressing room wall was damaged following their FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley.
By Telegraph staff and agencies 1:36PM BST 19 Apr 2011
A hole was kicked in the wall of the United dressing room after Manchester City had triumphed 1-0 and emergency repairs had to be carried out so the room could be used by Stoke City the following day.
There have been suggestions that the FA would send the repair bill to United or write to the club reminding them of their responsibilities. But according to FA sources a decision has been taken to let the matter lie.
It is also unlikely for there to be any disciplinary action for the incident at the end of Saturday's game when Rio Ferdinand and other United players were involved in an angry confrontation with Mario Balotelli.
Manchester United said it was they who brought the FA's attention to the damage on Saturday night.
A club spokesman said: "We brought it to their attention on Saturday night, we apologised and offered to pay. It was about three inches in diameter and was only surface damage and not a hole."
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around the city
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In Adelaide, Australia, the free Beeline bus ran a loop service between the Bayline tram terminal, Victora Square and the CBD. Route number 99B. Since 2006 the extended tramline takes care of this section, alas metro Adelaide has seen fit not to allocate a line number.
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Stan Kroenke's blueprint for Arsenal future
Where do you go to find the best example of how to run an English football club?
New man: Stan Kroenke will look to exploit Arsenal's global brand after taking over the club Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Duncan White 11:59PM BST 16 Apr 2011
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When the Fenway Sports Group made their move to buy Liverpool last year they went to Arsenal, Sunday’s opponents, to see how it works at a club that is seeking a marriage of success and sustainability.
When members of the parliamentary select committee inquiry into football governance wanted to see a Champions League club seeking to live within its means, they were taken round the Emirates and met Arsène Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
Opposition fans can find Arsenal sanctimonious and an element of their own support is frustrated that pride in financial projections has not been matched in trophies in the past six years but there is no question, though, that on the eve of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules coming into force, Arsenal have become European football’s model club.
While so many, including Liverpool, seek to emulate Arsenal’s example, what now for Arsenal themselves? From Monday Stan Kroenke, the American property billionaire who has agreed to buy the shares of Danny Fiszman and Lady Bracewell-Smith, has 28 days to send out his offer document to the remaining shareholders, detailing his takeover bid. That document will make clear he intends for the club to keep running along the same lines. But what is the destination?
At a meeting in February, Gazidis gave a detailed presentation of the club’s five-year plan to board members, including Kroenke. This plan, which met with unanimous approval, is the second phase, after the move to the Emirates from Highbury, of the club’s 21st century development.
So, what’s the plan? In commercial terms, Arsenal want to go global.
One of the factors that motivated Kroenke to buy into the club is the cross-border potential of football. American sports are as bad at travelling as football is good at it. With Arsenal, new markets have opened up to Kroenke that would be impossible to crack with the Denver Nuggets. Over the next five years this is the area in which Arsenal need to improve.
There certainly is scope for substantial improvement in commercial revenues. Clubs have three main revenue streams: broadcast (television rights), match day (tickets etc) and commercial (sponsorship, merchandise). Of these, broadcast is yoked to the Premier League’s television deal and Arsenal’s performance in Europe while match-day revenues, swollen by the corporate entertaining that goes on at the Emirates, is impressive.
Commercially there is a lot of catching up to do. Manchester United will be the first club to break the £100 million mark for commercial revenue alone while Arsenal made a reported £44 million in 2010. United are so far ahead because they have been capitalising on the strength of their brand overseas.
Arsenal have done research that shows their ‘brand awareness’ is not that far behind the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona. They have more than five million ‘followers’ on Facebook and 500,000 on Twitter. The problem is making money out of this global popularity.
Gazidis hired Tom Fox, previously with Nike, Gatorade, and the NBA, to be the club’s chief commercial officer in August 2009, which has been followed by a raft of executive appointments with a focus on marketing. This team is looking to set up partnerships with companies, in Europe, the Far East and the US, that fit the club’s profile. A new shirt sponsorship deal next season is expected to bring in an extra £15 million per year.
The club is being very careful not to make it seem they are forgetting about the supporter who attends the Emirates — home of the first £100 ticket remember — but the logic is that the more money that can be brought in from overseas, the less pressure there will be on the club to generate revenue from match day. Knowing football, that probably means at best a slowing down of ticket price rises in the medium term.
What does all this commercial expansion mean for Wenger? In the context of Kroenke’s takeover, he has made it clear that he will stay in control of the “technical side” of the business, but this kind of ring-fencing will become increasingly difficult. While the club is intent on maintaining their policy of investment in wages (Samir Nasri, Gaël Clichy and Johan Djourou are expected to sign new deals this summer) ahead of transfer fees, Wenger knows he will have to compromise in other areas. This summer, for example, he will take his side on a pre-season tour, of China and Malaysia, for the first time since he joined the club.
“The Far East tour is a compromise with the financial department,” Wenger said. “It’s the real world because we do not get any other income other than what we produce so we have to produce as much as we can. I compromise as long as the tours respect our preparation.
“Ideally I wouldn’t want to go but I go because we get sponsorship money that is higher than in Europe. We will go to Malaysia and China. We have less financial potential than the others so we cannot fall behind with commercial income.”
It was not quite clear what he meant by “financial potential” but it is safe to assume it is his old bugbear: what he calls the “financial doping” of Manchester City and Chelsea. Despite Kroenke’s wealth — Forbes estimate his net worth to be $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) — he is unlikely to disrupt the current model with a sustained burst of spending and Arsenal, like Liverpool, are relying on Uefa making good on their commitment to enforce their financial fair play rules.
“We go to financial fair play next season,” Wenger said. “I want to sit here in September and see who respects the FFP rules. We will have a good test with Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, United and Liverpool. Aston Villa can inject but I don’t think Tottenham will. We will respect it because it starts in June.”
If clubs are forced to live within their means then the future looks very promising indeed for Arsenal. While United are still commercially way ahead, they have to service the debt saddled on the club by the Glazers. With Arsenal’s own debt, incurred by the stadium move, smaller and shrinking and commercial revenues rising, the Uefa constraints could serve to liberate the club.
Ultimately it all comes back to Wenger. As they have not won trophies in the last six years, the Arsenal brand has been most strongly identified with their style of play, which, of course, is an extension of Wenger’s football philosophy. The club have been successful without winning silverware, in the sense that they have kept qualifying for the Champions League and have cemented a sense of club identity.
Without Wenger that identity could be compromised and the very brand the club is trying to sell around the globe will be weakened.
“I am not a brand, I’m a servant,” Wenger insisted. On this he is wrong: Arsenal and Arsene have become fundamentally intermeshed. No wonder the board were so pleased to get Wenger to commit to a new contract last August which takes him through until 2014. And he could even stay beyond that.
“I don’t know,” he said of his long-term future. “I have three years to go. I am 61. Nothing lasts forever that is for sure. If it’s not me anymore there will be someone else who can do exactly the same, if not better. I don’t know if I will stay with the club after I finish as manager. Right now I feel active and want to be on the football pitch.
Everton 2 Blackburn Rovers 0: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Everton and Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park on Saturday April 16.
2 - 0
Saturday, April 16 15:00
Strike one: Leon Osman scored Everton's opener in their defeat of Blackburn Rovers Photo: ACTION IMAGES
By Rory Smith, Goodison Park 4:45PM BST 16 Apr 2011
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David Moyes has long held no doubts as to when Everton's season came to an end. His side, he knows, saw their status as contenders for a European place dismissed after an abject opening day defeat to Blackburn Rovers. Here, his players returned the favour. Everton have struggled to shake off the after-effects of that defeat all campaign.
Blackburn's hangover may last even longer.
Steve Kean's side stand to lose far more than Everton ever did, of course. Indeed, with victory here secured by strikes from Leon Osman and Leighton Baines, the latter from the penalty spot, Moyes's team now stand just a point off Liverpool and a putative European place.
That may not count as success, but it is a passable imitation of it.
It may take Blackburn rather longer to recover. They stand just two points off the relegation zone. They must face both Manchester City and Manchester United in their remaining five games, as well as daunting trips to fellow strugglers West Ham and Wolves. Their victory on the opening day left Everton fighting for their honour. Their defeat here leaves Blackburn fighting for survival.
There was little evidence in the spring sunshine at Goodison Park of the desperation, the desire that is usually attendant with such occasions.
Everton won comfortably without ever playing well, creating a chance for Jermaine Beckford in the first minute - fired over - and then scarcely raising the pulse rate until Baines whistled a long-range effort wide five minutes into the second half. Only Phil Jagielka's effort, blocked by Chris Samba, diligent even in a side with an air of damnation, threatened to bring Goodison out of its slumber.
Baines's shot, though, provided the necessary jolt. A moment later, the England international's short corner rolled to Osman, who jinked inside Ruben Rochina and arrowed a shot with the outside of his foot past Paul Robinson and into the far corner. Samba's toe changed the trajectory, but not the outcome.
It fell to the left-back to end any hopes of a comeback, emphatically beating Robinson from the penalty spot after Phil Jones's trip had prompted a swallow dive from Seamus Coleman.
Blackburn offered little resistance, their best chance falling to Morten Gamst Pedersen after Baines and Jagielka dallied over a clearance. The Norwegian fired just wide. It was at least an improvement on his previous effort, which went out for a throw in by the half-way line.
By that stage, the travelling support were seeking the exits. Even a group dressed as superheroes could bear it no longer. Even Superman, Batman and Bananaman can tell that Blackburn's plight is rather too much for them to solve.
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the spirit of ecstasy
Arsenal takeover: timeline of Stan Kroenke's time as club shareholder
As Stan Kroenke launches a full takeover bid for Arsenal, Telegraph Sport looks back at the American billionaire's time as club shareholder.
Takeover: Stan Kroenke is pushing to complete a full takeover bid for Arsenal Photo: REUTERS
10:50AM BST 11 Apr 2011
April 5, 2007 - Stan Kroenke buys ITV's 9.9 per cent share in Arsenal in a deal worth £65 million. The deal includes a 50 per cent share of Arsenal Broadband Ltd.
April 18, 2007 - Vice-chairman David Dein leaves the club due to "irreconcilable differences" with the rest of the board.
April 25, 2007 - After it emerges that Kroenke has increased his holding to 12.19 per cent, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood says: "We don't need his money and don't need his sort. He knows sweet FA about our football."
August 2007 - Usbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov and business partner Farhad Moshiri pay Dein approximately £75m for his 14.65 per cent share in the club. By September, this holding is increased to 23 per cent.
October 2007 - Arsenal board move to prevent a full takeover by announcing a "lockdown agreement" on shares until April 2009, meaning board members can only sell to "permitted persons".
February 2008 - Usmanov's Red and White Holdings announces it has increased its stake to 24 per cent.
September 2008 - Kroenke is invited on to the Arsenal board and becomes a non-executive director.
December 2008 - Arsenal directors Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and Richard Carr leave the board, after rows with Hill-Wood. Bracewell-Smith exits the board's lockdown agreement, meaning her 15.9 per cent holding becomes available.
March - July 2009 - Kroenke increases his shareholding to more than 20 per cent after buying 5,000 shares from Arsenal director Danny Fiszman. In May, Kroenke buys the shares of the Carr family, increasing his stake to 28.3 per cent, and then in July he buys 160 more shares to reach 28.58 per cent.
March 2010 - Kroenke slowly increases his stake again to reach a 29.9 per cent holding, just 10 shares short of the 29.99 per cent threshold that would force a full takeover offer.
FRANKFURT—German insurance giant Allianz SE, one of Europe's biggest investors, is urging the region's leaders to establish an EU-sponsored bond insurer to help fiscally weaker countries that have been shut out of capital markets attract fresh funding.
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A European Union debt insurer would reduce countries' borrowing costs and make it easier for investors to calculate the risk of investing in government bonds, argues Allianz Chief Financial Officer Paul Achleitner.
Ensuring European countries access to capital markets would reduce the risk that they would default. That, in turn, would help avert a future banking crisis by reducing pressure on European lenders, the largest holders of public-sector debt in Europe. The proposal would limit investor exposure to a default to 10% of the total investment.
"That is something that I as an investor can put my hands around because I now understand that my maximum loss will be 10% of the total," Mr. Achleitner, who recently presented the idea to leaders in Berlin and Brussels, said in an interview . "I can price accordingly, i.e. my demands on the interest rates are going to be more rational and therefore more bearable for the issuer."
While the suggestion for a European bond insurer isn't new, Allianz's advocacy of the idea could help it gain traction in policy circles. The senior European officials Mr. Achleitner has discussed the idea with, including Germany's leaders, have been receptive but noncommittal, he says. One hurdle would be to overcome restrictions under EU law that prevent countries from guaranteeing one another's debt. A spokesman for the German finance ministry declined to comment.
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Allianz headquarters in Munich. The German company says insurance would reduce countries' borrowing costs.
Mr. Achleitner says Allianz, which owns Pacific Investment Management Co. in the U.S. and has about €1.5 trillion ($2.16 trillion) in assets under management, wouldn't benefit directly from the existence of a European government-bond insurer. He says that he is pushing the idea only because he thinks it would help resolve the current crisis and help avert future ones. Private-sector insurers couldn't take on the risks involved, given the huge sums at stake, making an EU-sponsored solution the only option, he says.
Under the proposal, European governments would use a portion of their planned €500 billion bailout fund—the European Stability Mechanism—to capitalize a new insurer. Countries could then issue bonds insured by the new entity, which, like the ESM itself, would have a top credit rating.
With insurance attached, the bonds would be less risky and investors would demand a lower interest rate than is currently the case, Mr. Achleitner says. That would make it much easier for countries to tap credit markets and borrow on a sustainable basis. Countries issuing the bonds would pay a premium to the insurer, based on their credit risk. That premium income would accumulate in the fund and be used to pay bondholders in the event of a default.
"If [an insurance mechanism] had existed, it could have helped avoid the situation we have seen since early last year. It would reduce taxpayer exposure to a default," says Mathias Hoffmann, a professor at the University of Zurich who has studied the issue. "There's probably no way to bail out a France or Germany or Italy or even Spain. But the risks we see with Greece, Portugal and Ireland could have been averted if we made clear this is how far European solidarity would go and how much we're willing to pay."
Nevertheless, the idea will likely be controversial in countries such as Germany, where there is strong public resistance to offering financial assistance to countries that have run up huge debts. Yet Mr. Achleitner, the former head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Germany, says that the alternative to insuring debt—bailing out countries such as Greece when they can't access debt markets—is even costlier.
"The political fallout issues are less dramatic inside an insurance system than they are with every tranche of cash that you send to a needy member state," he said.
The idea is roughly based on U.S. monoline insurers, such as MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., which insure municipal debt. Such companies flourished for decades, but ran into trouble during the financial crisis after diversifying away from their core business of covering municipal debt into insuring the kinds of complex financial products responsible for much of the turmoil.
Investors in European government bonds currently rely on insurance-like contracts known as credit-default swaps, or CDS, to hedge against the risk of default. Government CDS markets in Europe aren't very liquid and are widely regarded as a poor gauge of a country's creditworthiness.
"Market participants are making assumptions about political actors," Mr. Achleitner said. "That doesn't necessarily add up to meaningful interest rates."
An EU insurer would be a much better judge of risk, he argues, for the simple reason that the owner of the entity—the EU—would also determine whether a member state defaults or not.
"This the only situation I know of in the world of insurance where the insurance carrier determines if the default or damage case actually occurs," he said.
—Brian Blackstone contributed to this article.
Write to Matthew Karnitschnig at firstname.lastname@example.org
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You are a Mets fan, and this is killing you.
Already you found yourself at wit's end before last night's rainout against the Rockies, living in fear of another year of living hell watching a baseball team everyone finds Amusin' rather than Amazin'.
Yes, you have a gung-ho new manager and an established new general manager, but you do not have Johan Santana, and you do not have a major-league bullpen, and 10 games into the new season, you are wondering exactly when you will be able to have hope again inside Yankeetown.
You have an ownership under siege, compliments of Bernie Madoff, and a growing dread, or maybe sorrow, that the best years of your homegrown stars, David Wright and Jose Reyes, will yet be wasted or, worse, played out in some other uniform.
WHIFFED AND MIFFED: Mets catcher Josh Thole wears a look of disgust on Monday night after striking out during the Amazin's 7-6 loss to the Rockies.
No one in their right mind begins pushing that panic button 10 games into a season, but you are a Mets fan, which means you cannot possibly be in your right mind.
Once upon a time, before most of you were born, the birth of Casey Stengel's Amazin's helped dull the pain of the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn for everyone who mourned the demolition of Ebbets Field. Those early Mets lost and they lost and they lost and no one cared.
They were loveable losers, and New York had a National League team again.
But you have learned the hard way lately that there is quite a difference between loveable losers, and losers.
Once upon a time, you had Dwight Gooden doctoring Ks for you and Darryl Strawberry belting moonshots and Mex Hernandez and Kid Carter and Lenny Nails and Wally Backman and Ray Knight, and there was no way that rollicking, bullying 1986 team was only going to bring one championship home to you.
And yet here you are, wondering if the baseball gods have decreed 24 years and counting of penance from you for Mookie's Game 6 roller through Buckner's legs.
You've endured more than your share, not nearly as much as the Cubs fan, or the Knicks fan, even if the drought seems every bit as long to you.
And no wonder ... The Best Team Money Can Buy ... Bobby Bonilla trying to knock the smile off your face and showing you The Bronx ... Gregg Jefferies ... Kevin McReynolds ... Al Harazin, Jim Duquette, Joe McIlvaine, Steve Phillips, Omar Minaya ... Bud Harrelson, Jeff Torborg, Dallas Green, Willie Randolph, Jerry Manuel ... Bobby Valentine versus Phillips ... Armando Benitez ... Scott Kazmir ... Roger Clemens versus Mike Piazza ... Tony Bernazard versus the world ... Ollie Perez ...
As much as you wanted Backman to manage your team, it was becoming clear to you why maybe it's a good thing that this wasn't his first rodeo. Because you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
That's assuming you even have horses. It is arguably Terry Collins' most admirable trait that he will fight to the death the notion that he is in line to be the sacrificial lamb over the next two seasons while Sandy Alderson looks to rebuild, retool, refurbish, whatever you'd like to call it.
Collins' grim task: convincing his Boys of Summer that they can dare believe with no ace at the front of the pitching deck and a bevy of jokers in the bullpen.
It will help when Jason Bay returns. But Bay can't pitch you into the seventh inning. Bay can't get you to Francisco Rodriguez. Right now no one can. Which means that it wouldn't matter whether Collins or Gil Hodges or Davey Johnson was your manager.
You watched in horror when the Phillies added Cliff Lee in the offseason. You added Chris Young and Chris Capuano. And Irving Pickard.
Of course you know it's early. You also know that, lately, it gets late early around here. You deserve a baseball season, played by a baseball team that never stops trying to make you proud again.
You deserve more than a midseason fire sale mandated by a cash-strapped franchise kneecapped by Madoff. You deserve to be singing "Let's Go
Mets" in a heated September to remember.
Yankee fans have Derek Jeter closing in on 3,000 hits; Alex Rodriguez closing in on Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds; their team chasing its 28th World Series championship, and 4 million at the turnstiles at Yankee Stadium.
You are a Mets fan.
Right now you wonder: What do I have?
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