England have the right balance to beat Australia at this year’s Ashes series, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said after his team’s 3-1 series defeat by Joe Root’s side.Hosts England completed their series victory with a 177-run win at Old Trafford on Monday in a keenly contested series.Australia will host England for five Tests in one of the world’s most famous sporting rivalries with the first match beginning on November 23 in Brisbane.England’s opening bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad is expected to bear most of the burden of keeping Australia’s batsmen in reins and the pace duo received a lot of praise from du Plessis.”If you have assistance and skill, which England’s bowlers have, you can target Australia’s batting line-up,” du Plessis told the BBC.”They are relentless and our batting line-up wasn’t strong enough for them.”Australia have fiery and quick batsmen so England will need to get through them. (But) I think England could be Ashes winners. They have a balanced team.”Du Plessis captained his side to a famous 2-1 series victory Down Under last year, prompting wholesale changes in the Australian squad under Steve Smith.The 33-year-old said England would have an even better chance of succeeding if the wickets provide some assistance to the quicker bowlers.”I think it’s dependent on the conditions,” du Plessis said.”I’ve always felt Australia as a team play really well on flat wickets, bouncy flat wickets, (but) if the conditions allow a bit of seam and swing and spin, then I think England will be favourites.”advertisement
Since you’re here… news 1:02 Kim Jong-un’s sister heads North Korea’s Winter Olympics delegation – video Topics Share on LinkedIn Winter Olympics Mike Pence, the US vice-president, and Kim Yo-jong, at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images Winter Olympics 2018 Share on Twitter Oba and other observers have said the North is trying to drive a wedge between the US and South Korea, and there remains deep uncertainty over the possibility of warming ties lasting beyond the Olympics.Jung H Pak, a fellow at the Brookings Institute and former CIA official, recently stressed the need for a special envoy that could credibly represent Trump on the peninsula, saying “things are about to get very complicated”.“It is critical that there is no daylight between the US and other key stakeholders,” Pak wrote in a column. “Kim [Jong-un’s] tactics to divide and conquer must not be allowed to succeed.”The US has pledged to release plans for joint military exercises at the end of March, which will likely infuriate North Korea. The exercises, typically held in March and April each year, can include more than 300,000 troops from the US and South Korea and elicit annual condemnations from Pyongyang.Pence was in talks to meet in secret with North Korean officials earlier this month during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, but they were cancelled after the vice-president criticised the North’s human rights record, according to the US side. It is unlikely Ivanka would engage with officials from Pyongyang during her visit. Reuse this content Asia Pacific Pinterest Facebook North Korea Twitter Share on Messenger The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, will welcome Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US president, to South Korea for the Winter Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday – a trip that analysts have likened to an appearance by Kim Jong-un’s sister earlier this month.South Korea sees the trip as an opportunity to convince Donald Trump its recent rapprochement with Pyongyang should continue. Its leadership hopes Ivanka can play a moderating role in White House policy – which at times has taken a bellicose stance towards the North.Seoul will also try to encourage direct talks between the US and North Korea. The head of the South’s national security office has said it is working towards a “constructive” dialogue.That is the message Seoul hopes Ivanka will bring back to Washington. But the trip is also a chance to project US solidarity with the South and build goodwill after Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, was well received during a trip to the opening ceremony on 9 February. “It’s certainly possible that Ivanka will try to do for the United States what Kim Yo-jong did for North Korea,” said Mintaro Oba, a former US diplomat who worked on North Korea policy. “Ivanka and Kim Yo-jong both derive their power and access from their family ties, and are skilled at getting positive media attention while representing leaders who provoke a lot of controversy.” Ivanka Trump … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook Share via Email Play Video South Korea Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Comparisons between the Trump family and North Korea’s Kim dynasty abound ahead of the trip, during which the first daughter is expected to meet North Korean refugees – part of US efforts to draw attention to Pyongyang’s dismal human rights record. “Trump runs the White House like a private fiefdom,” said the Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper. Ivanka is for “all intents and purposes the first lady of the US rather than Trump’s reluctant wife Melania”.Moon is reportedly planning to lavish her with all the trimmings of a presidential visit, including the possibility of a grand welcome at the airport, despite no diplomatic obligation to do so. South Korea’s first lady, Kim Jung-sook, is also expected to accompany Ivanka during her stay.Exact dates for the trip have not been announced and Pyongyang may send its own high-profile delegation to the closing ceremony on 25 February.“The most likely scenario is that Ivanka plays a positive ceremonial role in public while relaying the administration’s current thinking in private conversation,” Oba said. “She has a chance to repair some of the damage of vice-president [Mike] Pence’s visit and project a sense that she gets along well with President Moon, appreciates South Korea, and values a strong US-South Korea relationship.” Support The Guardian
In the month since I prematurely buried the Los Angeles Kings, the’ve battled back from a 3-0 deficit against the San Jose Sharks and staved off elimination Wednesday night to pull even with the Anaheim Ducks. Now we have a winner-take-all Game 7 Friday night, for the right to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals.According to the most commonly cited advanced stat, the Kings shouldn’t have had things so hard. As I’ve previously written, they finished first in the NHL during the regular season in score-close Fenwick percentage, a measurement of how much a team controls possession of the puck. The consensus of hockey analysts is that dominating possession is the most predictive single component of a team’s performance, since the rate at which the puck finds the net once a shot is taken can be subject to wild fluctuations due to random chance.In the Kings’ defense, their first-round opponents, the Sharks, ranked third in the NHL in Fenwick close during the regular season, making it more likely the two teams would have to battle deep into a series. (The Sharks also had home-ice advantage in the series) But Los Angeles’ matchup with the Ducks is another case entirely. During the regular season, Anaheim ranked just 16th out of the 30 NHL teams in Fenwick close, relying more on high shooting and save percentages — metrics that statisticians traditionally attribute more to luck, even over the sample of an entire season — than to constant puck-possession.So far in this clash of hockey cultures, things have largely played out according to form. During 5-on-5 situations with the score close (the same conditions measured by Fenwick close), the Kings have dominated possession. But Fenwick close by itself ignores other aspects of the game, such as special teams (where the Ducks have had a slight advantage) and, even more important, shooting percentage. In the series so far, Anaheim is converting shots into goals at a rate 1.1 percentage points higher than LA.Looking at possession metrics alone would have suggested a mismatch before the series, but the betting lines had the Kings as only a slim favorite after taking into account the Ducks’ home-ice advantage. This implies that the market was building in some expectation that the teams’ differences in shooting percentage during the regular season (Anaheim ranked first in the NHL; Los Angeles ranked 28th) could be counted upon to continue in a head-to-head matchup.There’s a good amount of evidence that, across the NHL as a whole, team shooting and save percentages have a strong tendency to regress toward the overall league average. But in the case of outliers like the Ducks and Kings, there’s probably something real going on that makes looking at Fenwick close by itself an insufficient gauge of relative team strength.Anything can happen on the ice in a Game 7, and Friday night’s outcome is hardly a referendum on either playing style, but the Kings-Ducks finale will be the culmination of an interesting contrast in hockey philosophies that proves the game is still more complicated than we’d sometimes like to believe.
$50John Kerry, the United States secretary of state, owes the city of Boston a $50 fine for failing to shovel his sidewalk. Kerry was in Saudi Arabia — a nation not known for its snow-clearance legislation — as a blizzard struck New England this week. [The Boston Globe]63.9 percentThe home ownership rate is now at its lowest level since 1994, down to 63.9 percent in the final quarter of 2014. [Los Angeles Times]96 tonsAmount of dog poop generated in New York City each day. [FiveThirtyEight]98 percent of scientistsAbout 98 percent scientists say the public’s lack of knowledge about science is a problem, so why don’t you guys go learn a book or something, geez. [Re/code]3,000 storiesI thought I was safe in journalism — I’d picked a good field, one that couldn’t be automated. I was wrong. The Associated Press is already automatically generating 3,000 stories each quarter. Right now, those stories are about companies’ quarterly earnings, but who knows when the robots will move on to the dog poop beat. [The Verge]$1.3 billionNew York City cultural institutions spent $1.3 billion on new construction over the past five years on projects including the expansion of the Queens Museum and the renovation of the fountains at the Met. In 2014, construction expenditures were up 46 percent from 2013 to $208 million. [Crain’s New York] One more plea for the newsletter: Sign up for it now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.9 communications majors It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that the notoriously taciturn Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is not among the nine communications majors taking the field in Super Bowl XLIX. Playboy broke down the college majors of every player in this year’s game, and communications came out as the most popular course of study, with nine players, followed by sociology and general studies, with seven players each. [Playboy]11.8 percentAccording to the NFL, concussions decreased by 11.8 percent this season compared to last year, to 202 from 229. [The New York Times]14 percent riseThe average American office worker spends nine hours each week in meetings or thinking about meetings, up 14 percent from four years ago. [NPR]25 megabits per secondThe Federal Communications Commission raised the bar on the download speeds for “broadband” Internet to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) from 4 Mbps. Under the previous standard, 6.3 percent of households didn’t have broadband. Now 19.4 percent don’t. [Ubergizmo]
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin’s team blew a 34-point lead Sunday in a game against UCL, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)HOUSTON (AP) — Texas A&M and law enforcement officials were investigating Thursday night after football coach Kevin Sumlin received a racist and threatening letter at his home.His wife, Charlene Sumlin, posted a picture of the letter , which had a return address in Houston, on Twitter on Thursday night. The handwritten letter read: “You suck as a coach! You’re a [racial epithet] and can’t win! Please get lost! Or else.”On the post, Charlene added: “People of 2017: please tell me how any part of this is OK? And to the sender: did it occur to you that a child may open it?” At the end of the post, she added #orelseWHAT?Later on Thursday night, Texas A&M President Michael Young and athletics director Scott Woodward issued a joint statement condemning the letter and adding that they are “working with law enforcement authorities to bring the sender of this letter to justice.”The statement said that they were doing everything they can to ensure the safety of Sumlin and his family.“There is no excuse for hatred and, as a community, we will not allow the ignorance of some to intimidate any member of our community,” the statement continued.On Sunday night in Los Angeles, Texas A&M squandered a 34-point third-quarter lead in a season-opening loss to UCLA. That loss led to waves of criticism directed at the coach. Noteworthy among those critics was university system regent Tony Buzbee, who took to Facebook to express his displeasure with Sumlin.“Our players were better tonight,” Buzbee, a Houston attorney wrote Sunday night after the stunning loss. “Our players were more talented tonight. But coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents, but when the time comes, my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view, he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.”The Aggies will host Nicholls State on Saturday night.The 53-year-old Sumlin, the first black head football coach at A&M, has three years and $15 million left on his contract that runs through the 2019 season.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp “Probably the most frightening of our concerns over climate change is the increase of tropical storms, which are now spawning right in our waters,” Darville said, citing the destruction wrought in the southern Bahamas last October by Hurricane Joaquin. “They no longer have to originate off the west coast of Africa.” Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppRising Sea Levels, Hotter Temperatures, Extreme StormsOn Horizon for The BahamasSave The Bays Chairman, Bahamas Waterkeeper President Joseph Darville Addresses Country’s Most Pressing Environmental Concerns at 2016 Annual Waterkeeper Alliance Conference in North Carolina According to the U.S. National Weather Service, if you live anywhere near the Atlantic Ocean, this isn’t the best year to let your guard down while you soak up the sun.With a record three named storms already on the books since the start of hurricane season on June 1, the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is projected to be among the most active ever with as many as 14 named storms and six hurricanes before the season ends November 30. Moreover, experts predict at least two of those hurricanes could be major, reaching Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, suggesting “devastating damage” could occur.With 80 percent of the land mass in The Bahamas essentially at or slightly above sea level, the country is even more vulnerable to devastation than most when catastrophic storm systems rise up out of the Atlantic.“Massive flooding from rising sea levels poses a very real threat to one of the most, if not the most beautiful, spots on this planet,” said Save the Bays Chairman and Bahamas Waterkeeper President Joseph Darville during a recent presentation at the 2016 Annual Waterkeeper Alliance Conference in Wilmington, N.C.Headed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who was reelected for another two terms as president at this year’s conference, Waterkeeper Alliance is recognized as “the voice of the world’s waters.” With volunteers of licensed Waterkeeper affiliates monitoring rivers, lakes, oceans, ponds and wetlands in dozens of countries, Waterkeeper Alliance is among the largest and fastest growing non-profit organizations, its sole focus on clean water. The four-day conference in North Carolina brought together 295 waterbody stewards from every corner of the world to discuss the effects of the global warming crisis on their communities. Related Items: According to Darville, unregulated development is one of the largest contributing factors to the accelerated rate at which the shores of The Bahamas is eroding, further escalating the chance of cataclysmic flooding when powerful storms strike.“This erosion results not only from the sea level rise, heavier storms and storm surge, but is dramatically associated with unregulated and basically unsound major developments,” Darville said. “Whether it’s the absence of qualified marine engineers, or simply an ignorance of the nature of our coastal geography, structures and walls are built without the slightest knowledge of how winds and tides naturally flow.”Additionally, Darville points to developers’ insatiable desire for oceanfront golf courses as further compounding environmental hazards created by rampant and unrestricted development.“They are usually plunked right along the sea front, resulting in the run off of all the chemicals which just glory in the destruction and death of our coral reefs,” Darville said. “We have lost hundreds and hundreds of acres of what used to be a scene of magnificent beauty. They also once served as significant barriers for storms and storm surges.”Darville’s greatest long-term concern – an issue that could affect the ability to inhabit The Bahamas — is the looming loss of the country’s drinkable water. Because the fresh water lens in The Bahamas is only around three to four feet from the land surface, any erosion of land increases salt water intrusion into the water tables.“Already after major hurricanes, we have had to wait months before the water was potable due to the infusion of salt water,” Darville said. “As the sea level continues to rise, and are exacerbated by major storms, we face real danger of a nation being in a constant state of thirst.”
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurtle Cove marina will this Saturday literally go to the dogs as the TCSPCA will host its annual dog show and the public is welcomed to attend the event which has free admission. Even your pets can attend, but they must be on a leash.It is one of the biggest fundraisers for the organization and the Fun Dog Show goes from 1 to 4pm. Executive Director of the TCSPCA, Susan Blehr says they anticipate some 200 people to attend and she is excited about naming the canine ranked ‘Best in Show’.Funds support the Spay and Neuter program of the Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp