27 Sep

Burundi court gives Nkurunziza the nod to contest

first_imgUnrest in Burundi after Nkurunziza was nominated by the party to vie for presidency in the forthcoming election Burundi’s constitutional court has approved President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term.This comes after the court’s Vice President fled the country citing death threats.Sylvere Nimpagaritse’s dramatic departure came after police shot dead at least three protesters in the country, where days of violence have left around 13 people dead.Police have issued a stern warning to protesters.They say if they are provoked they will respond with force. This comes after 15 officers were injured in a hand grenade attack.The unrest has plunged Burundi into the worst political crisis since the country’s bloody civil war. There are fears the violence will escalate.Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005.He came under intense international pressure to withdraw from the 26 June presidential poll, in the country where a 13-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus ended only in 2006.The United Nations determined the wave of ethnically motivated killings were acts of genocide.According to the 2000 Arusha peace agreement, which paved the way to democracy and ended the civil war that has killed an estimated 300,000 people since 1993, Burundi’s president can only run for two terms.Nkurunziza’s supporters, however, argue that the president’s first term should not be counted, as he was chosen by the parliament,  not directly by the people as the constitution specifies.On Monday the US secretary of state, John Kerry, warned that he was “deeply concerned” about Nkurunziza’s decision to stand again, which he said “flies directly in the face of the constitution”.last_img read more

28 Aug

Blackpool 1-3 Wigan

first_imgBlackpool slipped into the bottom three of the Premier League for the first time this season after losing a crucial match against fellow strugglers Wigan.Hugo Rodallega’s early finish put the Latics in control and Charles N’Zogbia doubled their lead with a low strike.Mohamed Diame’s effort went in after a huge deflection off Neal Eardley in the 67th minute before DJ Campbell pulled a goal back from close range late on.The result lifted the Latics off bottom place and up to 17th in the table.Blackpool won 4-0 at Wigan on the opening day of the season but that seems a long time ago now.Ian Holloway’s Seasiders have been rightly lauded at various points through the campaign for their bold and attacking style but they have now won only once in their last 13 top-flight fixtures.They have conceded more goals than any other Premier League team and have the worst home record in the division. The Tangerines are now 18th in the table and have five games left to find some kind of form that will allow them to scramble enough points to ensure their stay in the top echelon extends beyond one season.In stark contrast, the Latics went into the fixture bottom of the table but ended it celebrating their joint biggest win of the league campaign.Wigan ended they day where Blackpool started it after a deserved victory in what was rightly billed as a match of huge importance.The Latics could not have asked for a better start than Rodallega’s third-minute goal and Roberto Martinez’s team never really looked back.The Colombia international stormed off in a fit of pique after he was substituted last weekend but it was all smiles when the striker showed excellent composure to slot home from a tight angle.The goal was an all-round disaster for Blackpool – and Craig Cathcart in particular. The defender’s casual free-kick close to the halfway line gifted possession to N’Zogbia and Cathcart then slipped at the crucial moment as he tried to close down on Rodallega as the Latics striker latched on to a precise through ball.Matt Gilks was making his return in the Blackpool goal after a five-month absence through injury but he could not stop Rodallega from drilling a low strike through his legs. The goal unsettled a Blackpool side that had not kept a clean sheet since late December.They did have a brief spell of pressure midway through the opening half and Campbell almost latched on to a teasing Stephen Crainey cross but it was Wigan who scored the decisive second goal.The match seemed to be meandering towards the break when Diame dispossessed Charlie Adam before slipping in N’Zogbia, who ran aggressively at the home defence before slotting home from a tight angle.Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi saved a weak Elliot Grandin header in first-half injury time – Blackpool’s first half-decent effort on target.But there was little to indicate a strong fightback from Holloway’s team in the minutes after the restart and he made a triple substitution shortly before the hour mark. However, his side’s fortunes deteriorated further when Diame’s strike took a heavy deflection off the recalled Eardley, leaving Gilks stranded.Campbell slotted home a low Matt Phillips cross at the near post with seven minutes remaining and Al Absi then saved a low strike from Phillips as the home team finished strongly.Source:BBClast_img read more

26 Aug

2019 Dodgers season preview: Position by position

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies CATCHINGAfter two consecutive collapses in the crucible of postseason play, the relationship between the Dodgers and Grandal had soured and he left as a free agent, signing with the Milwaukee Brewers. For all his flaws – questionable consistency defensively and a real boom-or-bust nature offensively – Grandal gave the Dodgers more offense from the catcher’s spot than almost any other team got. Though both represent defensive upgrades, Austin Barnes and Russell Martin will not be able to match Grandal’s offense.BENCHThe Dodgers ended last season with ‘line changes’ – multiple substitutions vs. right- or left-handed pitching. They won’t be as bifurcated this season. But the bench will include right-handed hitters David Freese and Chris Taylor when a right-handed pitcher starts against the Dodgers, Pederson and Alex Verdugo. The flexibility of multiple multi-position players remains a staple of roster-building under Andrew Friedman, particularly with a 13-man pitching staff standard these days.MANAGERThe Dodgers have won 287 games in Dave Roberts’ first three seasons as manager, continued their run as division champs and reached back-to-back World Series. And yet, he might be one of the most criticized managers in the majors. Power in baseball has shifted from the dugout to the front office with that dynamic no more powerful than in Los Angeles. Roberts feels the brunt of fan dissatisfaction with (or misunderstanding of) that shift. And yet his unflagging energy, upbeat attitude and willingness to embrace (and not be overwhelmed by) the input of the Dodgers’ push-the-envelope analytics department make him very much the model of a 21st-century manager.Related Articles How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire ROTATIONEleven pitchers started at least once for the Dodgers last season and the combined effort produced a National League-low 3.19 ERA. Nine of those starters are back (including reliever Scott Alexander). And the number doesn’t even include Julio Urias, who might have been the most impressive performer of the lot during spring training. Then there are Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, top prospects who were unruffled facing major-league hitters in spring games. It is depth that could be the envy of every other major-league team. And it is needed. Clayton Kershaw’s spring was interrupted by shoulder discomfort and Walker Buehler was also “slow-played” when he “didn’t quite feel right” after early throwing sessions. Rich Hill has a knee injury. Hill and Kershaw will start the season on the injured list and Buehler could be compromised – in length or sharpness – after making just two preseason starts. Opening Day starter Hyun-Jin Ryu was terrific in 15 starts last season (a 1.97 ERA) but has pitched more than that just once since 2014. The Dodgers believe they can absorb any issues with depth. And they’re probably right.BULLPENThe Dodgers’ philosophy of bullpen-building under Andrew Friedman has been to collect as many potential relievers with “compelling upside stories” as possible and then wait for one or two or more to emerge from the pack – as Brandon Morrow did in 2017. That approach produced inconsistent results all year long last season – and never uncovered an heir to Morrow. The approach changed this winter and the Dodgers signed Joe Kelly to a three-year, $25 million contract after watching him shut them down in the World Series. Kelly joins Pedro Baez (he held batters to a .169 average over his final 24 appearances last year) as the key pieces in the bridge to slimmed-down and refocused closer Kenley Jansen. Tony Cingrani’s recurring shoulder problems leave a question mark on the left-handed side of the bullpen.INFIELDThe best player the Dodgers added to their roster this spring is a familiar one – Corey Seager. The shortstop must have had the smoothest recovery in the history of Tommy John surgeries and emerged from spring training looking fully recovered from the hip and elbow surgeries that occupied his 2018. Third baseman Justin Turner also emerged from spring training intact after suffering a late-spring broken wrist a year ago. Those two things alone might be the most important difference as the season opens. On the right side, ‘super-utility’ player Kiké Hernandez could find himself a home at second base. At first base, Max Muncy was a revelation last season (35 home runs, .973 OPS). Repeating that could be a real challenge. If the dropoff is too severe, it could be costly for the Dodgers, forcing them to rethink the move of Cody Bellinger to the outfield.OUTFIELDGone from the picture this year are Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, traded to the Cincinnati Reds over the winter. They take with them a good chunk of the 81 home runs subtracted from the Dodgers’ 2018 total (along with Yasmani Grandal and the partial seasons of Manny Machado and Brian Dozier). What the Dodgers hope to substitute in their place is a more consistent offense with A.J. Pollock added to the lineup and Bellinger (now a right fielder) wiser for his experience as a platoon player in the second half of last season. Alex Verdugo has been added to the mix after an extended apprenticeship in Triple-A. Where his playing time comes from is hard to envision at this point with fellow left-handed bat Joc Pederson locked down in left field. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start last_img read more

13 Aug

Bring on Klopp and Mourinho! Guardiola in fighting mood after Man City verdict

first_img Getty/Goal Getty Images https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/GOAL/fc/53/manchester-city-champions-league-gfx_lxsaebdxs4dt16znfdpocmeae.jpeg?t=1306007523&w=500&quality=80Publicly, too, some have been critical, and Guardiola was not afraid to hit back at them. He has a healthy rivalry with Klopp, with  the Liverpool manager saying of the verdict: “I don’t think it was a good day for football”.”Yesterday was a great day for football, not a bad day for football,” Guardiola hit back. “We showed we play with the same rules as all the clubs, all the elite clubs in Europe.”Relations with Mourinho have become less frosty since his former rival has failed to come close to challenging the City manager during his time in England, but that did not stop the Tottenham boss labelling the outcome a “disgraceful decision”.“Jose and all the managers should know we were damaged and that we should be apologised to,” Guardiola said of his former foe. “If we did something wrong, we will accept absolutely the decisions of UEFA, because you did something wrong, but we don’t expect Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolves and all the clubs to defend [us], we can defend ourselves. “We have the right to defend ourselves when we believe what we have done is correct, is right and three independent judges said this.”La Liga president Javier Tebas, another long-term critic of City, questioned whether CAS was fit for purpose after the decision to lift the club’s Champions League ban. “Yeah, we’ll be in the Champions League next season, Senor Tebas, because what we did, we did it properly.”Guardiola has used the uncertainty to help build an “us against the world” mentality in the months of the ban overhanging City.Now, the club has won their biggest battle of the pitch, a fired-up City boss will have them believing they can beat anyone on it. Getty Images “People said we were cheating, lying, many times,” he said at a press conference that was, at least in theory, to preview Wednesday’s meeting with Bournemouth.But after City were cleared to play in the Champions League by an independent hearing , the Catalan instead used it to challenge those speaking out against the four-time Premier League champions.“What happened in the last years, how many times people came to our club with this whispering on us. I’d love it to finish, I’d like to say these kind of people: ‘Okay, look in our eyes and if you want to say something, say it face-to-face, and then go on the pitch and play as rivals’,” he said.“If after you beat us, I won’t hesitate, we’ll shake hands and congratulate them, but they lost off the pitch. They have to go on the pitch and try to beat us on, like sportsmen that we are.”Six months after City were handed a two-year ban for Financial Fair Play irregularities by UEFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the decision, stating breaches “were either not established or time-barred”.While the club still have to pay a fine of €10 million (£9m/$11m) – reduced from an initial €30m (£25m/$33m) – for failing to co-operate with UEFA authorities, the verdict is a vindication of the club’s stance throughout that they had done nothing wrong.“If we did something wrong we would accept our ban, for any departments – FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, the FA. We are here but we can defend ourselves,” Guardiola added.It has been an uneasy time, with City facing a potential €200m (£180m/$220m)  hit in lost revenues and the possibility of a major squad upheaval if they were to be kept away from European competition.The same goes for their rivals, too, as they waited to hear whether a fifth-placed finish would be enough to claim a Champions League spot and major cash windfall of their own.Uncertainty even surrounded their appeal when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe and shut down the CAS headquarters in Switzerland. There was the potential for City to apply for a freeze to their two-year suspension, which would have allowed to them to play in next season’s Champions League pending the result of an appeal. Eight of City’s nine closest Premier League rivals wrote a joint letter to CAS opposing that idea, but the club never asked for it. Their only request to CAS was for a speedy hearing so that they could clear their name, and it was eventually held via video-link.On Monday morning, the result came through to senior executives just hours before the decision was announced to the world. Club hierarchy had remained extremely confident that they would be cleared, despite the potentially huge ramifications of a decision going the wrong way.In the days ticking down to the judgment, Guardiola was repeatedly asked if he was concerned and never skipped a beat to portray his confidence. His coolness was not misplaced and, just over 24 hours later, he hit back at the snipers. Pep Guardiola waited patiently for his opportunity. When Manchester City were finally cleared of financial wrongdoing , he hit back in explosive fashion at what he sees as a campaign against the club.The City boss took aim at the “whisperers” plotting behind the scenes , fired back at the snipes of rival bosses Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp and lashed out the critics, who he felt have tarnished the club’s reputation. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/GOAL/3b/8b/javier-tebas-pep-guardiola_kwcze4vzjssk12k6yv5ld54w8.jpg?t=1302127395&w=500&quality=80“He’s another one, this guy. Senor Tebas must be so jealous of the Premier League and English football!” the former Barcelona boss said.“He’s an incredible legal expert, from what I see. So next time maybe we’re going to ask them which court judges we will have to go to. He has to be a little bit worried and concerned about La Liga and focus on them. “But normally these kind of people when the sentence is good for him it’s perfect – like what happens many times in Spain now – but when the sentence is against the problem is for others.  https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/GOAL/f2/92/pep-guardiola-manchester-city-gfx_yf2ro4nyteu916evs5nzzh4sy.jpeg?t=1305729491&w=500&quality=80“I know for the elite clubs, Liverpool, [Manchester] United, Arsenal are not comfortable us being here. But we deserve to be here, we deserve to be stronger, year by year,” he told reporters as he continued to take aim at City’s rivals.“We have incredible people working in this club to make this club better, to make our fans proud and we don’t have to ask permission to be there.  “When we lose I shake their hands and congratulate them, all the time we have done it, even if it’s unfairly in the Champions League. Guys accept it, we wanted to be here and we tried on the pitch. “If you do not agree, knock on the door and speak to our chairman and chief executive and talk, don’t go whispering. We are going to do this – seven or eight clubs doing this.”Go and do it on the pitch, not behind [closed doors]. In 10 years we’ve made a step forward. We invested a lot of money but we did it in the right things. “We are not banned, we followed the rules for FFP as they decide [them]. If not we’d be banned.”last_img read more