Blackpool captain Spearing: The day I felt let down by Liverpoolby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBlackpool captain Jay Spearing has recalled being let down by former club Liverpool.After making his Liverpool debut in 2008 in the Champions League, Spearing was loaned to Bolton for the 2012-13 season.He made a permanent move at the end of that loan spell but by 2016 the club were fighting a Championship relegation battle.Under terms of the deal with Liverpool, one more appearance for Bolton would trigger a £100,000 payment to the Reds. Talks were held between the two parties but Liverpool refused to defer the terms.”Neil Lennon [the then Bolton manager] said on the training ground, ‘You can’t play tomorrow,'” Spearing said in an interview with The Times.”I was like, ‘What have I done?’ He said the chairman had rung and there was a clause.”I’m not saying I would have been the saviour but there were still 13 games and it was difficult to watch.”I didn’t ring anybody [at Liverpool]. I was just a little bit gutted they didn’t help me out.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Man Utd academy chief Nicky Butt: Five new kids pushing for first teamby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United academy chief Nicky Butt says as many as five unknown youngsters have the potential to break into the first team this season.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fan of blooding youngsters and has already played the likes of Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Brandon Williams this campaign.Head of first-team development at Manchester United Butt is confident that this is just the start and that more youngsters will soon be following suit.”They’re very exciting players,” Butt told the PA news agency.”We’re all excited about these young boys and there’s probably another four or five in the background that are slowly going to come up behind them.”Hopefully more behind that and more behind that, but they’re only babies and young at the minute.”But, for me, it’s difficult to bring in a lot of players into a team that’s not firing on all cylinders, if you like.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
APTN National NewsThousands of Indigenous children were removed from their homes between the 1960s and 1980s in what is known as the 60s Scoop.Some were adopted by families around the world. Orlando Alexis is one of those children.APTN’s Chris Stewart has the story of how he found his way home.
EDMONTON – Foresters and provincial officials are burning tens of thousands of trees east of Jasper National Park to try to slow the spread of mountain pine beetles.“There’s a lot more activity in the Edson-Hinton region, higher than past years, as we deal with some of this immigration that’s occurring,” said Mike Underschulz of Alberta Agriculture.The province expects to cut and burn up to 90,000 trees killed by the beetles this year throughout the province, Underschulz said. Fully half of them will be in the Edson-Hinton region, where smoke from the burning obscured parts of the Yellowhead Highway earlier this week.The area has seen a huge influx of the pests from the park. Beetle infestation in Jasper is considered rampant and uncontrollable, and foresters along its edge saw a tenfold increase in the problem in just months last year.“We’re trying to limit the damage,” Underschulz said. “We’re trying to buy some time.”Down the road, he’s hoping for a serious cold snap early in the winter to ultimately bring beetle numbers down.Richard Briand of West Fraser Timber (TSX:WFT) says the company has moved crews from other areas of its lease to deal with infected trees near Hinton.He said West Fraser has had to change its long-term plans because of damage from the beetles.“The concentration of our logging around the community of Hinton is higher because that’s were the beetle is today. As we’re controlling it through our logging, we go to where the beetle is and that’s been around the town of Hinton.”Underschulz said the province is spending up to $20 million this year to burn and remove trees killed by the bugs.The good news has been that crews are finding fewer new trees have been attacked than previously feared. That’s allowed them to work close to the park boundary in an effort to reduce beetle numbers.Underschulz said even without control programs, it will take years for the pine beetles to march their way across the province in significant numbers, especially because the makeup of the forest changes.However, the Edson-Hinton region is likely to remain a hot spot for a while because of the vast reservoir of beetles within the park.“We’re trying to keep the populations at bay as much as we can while the inflight from Jasper persists.”
MONTREAL – Competition is heating up for Canada’s most price-sensitive travellers as WestJet Airlines gears up to launch the country’s second ultra-low cost airline Wednesday.Swoop, an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, will make its maiden flight on its pink and white aircraft before the sun rises in Hamilton, Ont. on a trip to Abbotsford, B.C.“From my perspective coming into this fresh — I’ve been in Canada four months now — I personally believe there’s a huge opportunity in Canada,” said Swoop president Steven Greenway.Greenway is an Australian native who has worked in executive positions at airlines including Japanese low-cost carrier Peach, Virgin Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas.Swoop marks his sixth airline startup.By discounting travel, Swoop, Flair Airlines and others are trying to repatriate the more than five million Canadians who cross the border to catch flights from airports in Buffalo and Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Bellingham, Wash.“From our perspective there’s the opportunity to fill a gap, there’s an opportunity to stimulate demand, there’s an opportunity to welcome Canadians back from crossing the border. We believe there’s a significant enough market to be able to thrive,” Greenway said in an interview.He expects competition will increase significantly over the next 12 months as Canada Jetlines gears up to join Swoop and Flair in offering deeply discounted fares along with charges for everything from a onboard drink to carry-on and checked baggage.Flair welcomed the extra competition.“We think that having more people in the space helps promote the fact the space exists and will work to each other’s advantage,” executive chairman David Tait said in an interview.“I don’t think Canada’s big enough for half a dozen players in this space, but there’s certainly plenty of room for two and maybe three.”Meanwhile, Tait said Flair plans to move its headquarters to Edmonton from Kelowna, B.C., over the coming months to help promote its growth.“Kelowna was a fine base for a charter operator but it didn’t really give us the scope, the potential we need as we’re growing.”Swoop is entering an area of the airline business that doesn’t have a stellar history of success in Canada: Jetsgo, Air Canada’s Tango, Canada 3000 and Roots Air have all floundered in the past.Canada is the only G7 country without a true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) and the model has been successful in Europe, Australia and the United States, said transportation analyst Chris Murray of AltaCorp Capital.“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a true ULCC model in the Canadian marketplace before so I think we’re in somewhat uncharted territory,” he said.“I think there’s also frankly some opportunities if they do it well to be successful with it.”Murray estimates the Canadian ultra low-cost market can handle 10 million passengers per year, enough to support up to 50 aircraft. The service is particularly suited to leisure flights to Las Vegas, Arizona and Florida, he added.Swoop says fares should be 30 to 40 per cent lower than a national carrier.The key will be to keep costs down from lower labour costs, cramming 189 seats into Boeing 737-800s, and stimulating demand from people who don’t normally fly because of the high cost.The arrival of new travel options has contributed to a 20 per cent cut in domestic summer airfares from 2016 and a seven per cent reduction in one year, said Steve Sintra, Canada country manager for the Kayak search engine.“One of the biggest changes we’re seeing is the fact that with ultra-low cost carriers, you’re seeing more options for Canadian travellers, whether that be new airports that airlines are travelling to or just the ability to choose what amenities they want to have included in their airfare.”Swoop, however, has already had something of a bumpy takeoff.WestJet’s launch of Swoop had been a source of labour strife between the company and pilots, who were on the brink of a strike last month before reaching an 11th-hour deal.Earlier this year, the union won a Canada Industrial Relations Board challenge to the company’s proposed policy to offer pilots a two-year leave of absence if they go to fly for Swoop.A federal arbitrator ruled earlier this month that WestJet’s unionized pilots will also fly Swoop, which means the airline can no longer outsource Swoop flying, a major disagreement in recent negotiations.Swoop will recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining agent for all Swoop pilots, who will be on the airline’s one seniority list and fly aircraft at Swoop terms and conditions.Initial one-way flights start at $49 tax included from Abbotsford to Winnipeg, $129 between Hamilton and Abbotsford and $99 between Hamilton and Halifax.The fares don’t include a range of fees, including for carry-on luggage and checked bags starting at $26.25, seat selection starting at $5, and an additional $15 to contact the call centre if service can’t be carried out on the website.No pets aside from guide dogs are allowed on board and any credits are only valid for 90 days. No loyalty points will be awarded.Swoop is starting with two planes, with plans to roll out six by year-end and 10 in 2019.Instead of flying from Toronto Pearson International, flights will fly out of Hamilton’s lower-cost airport. Other initial cities are Winnipeg, Edmonton, Halifax and Abbotsford.Additional destinations will be added, including international flights likely by the end of 2018, said Greenway. Flair plans to fly to Orlando and Palm Springs, Calif., next winter.While there is a real concern that passengers could feel being “nickled and dimed” by a series of ancillary fees, experience in Europe over the past 20 years suggests passengers ultimately focus on the fares, said Greenway.“It is an education process and I think people will adapt over time.”Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly referred to Birmingham, Washington.
CALGARY – A hodge-podge of public transportation services are already starting to fill the gap as Greyhound Canada moves steadily towards its midnight Halloween disappearance from most of Western Canada.The venerable national motor coach operator is being replaced by a mix of provincial government-subsidized services, Indigenous-owned bus lines, locally owned startups, flexible fleets of shuttle buses and a scattering of formal and informal ride-sharing services.And passengers aren’t waiting for the last Greyhound next Wednesday to check out new options — according to Stuart Kendrick, senior vice-president of Greyhound Canada, ticket sales have already fallen off to the point that some route frequencies are being reduced.“Demand is quite low as we run into this last week or 10 days,” he said in a recent interview.“You’ve got single-digit riderships on the schedule that we have left throughout Western Canada, so that’s probably about a 50 or 60 or 70 per cent decline based on what corridor you look at.”The company plans to stop selling tickets on long-distance routes a few days before the buses stop running to help ensure passengers aren’t left stranded and holding the unused half of a two-way ticket, Kendrick said.The loss of Greyhound spells opportunity for Regina-based Rider Express, a company that began operating a handful of 15-passenger minibuses on inner-provincial routes shortly after government-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Company shut down its bus services in the spring of 2017.Rider has acquired five full-sized 50-seat buses and plans to begin passenger service on a Vancouver-Calgary-Winnipeg route on the Trans-Canada Highway this week, followed in November by a Highway 16 route linking Edmonton and Saskatoon, said manager Shauna Hardy. Both routes will directly replace Greyhound routes.The interest from Saskatchewan residents has been “overwhelming,” she said, adding the company is being asked to take on more routes but has so far declined.Late last May, Calgary-based Pacific Western Transportation was hired by the province of British Columbia to operate its BC Bus North service after Greyhound cancelled service to communities including Prince Rupert and Dawson Creek.Greyhound’s announcement in July that it would exit almost all of Western Canada convinced the company to offer its own inter-city services in B.C. for the first time, said John Stepovy, director of business development. He added the company is also expanding its Alberta offerings.He said he thinks his company can provide the hub in a hub-and-spoke business model as Greyhound closes — it’s already in discussions with operators of small-scale shuttle bus and transit operators about establishing connections with his firm’s routes.“Overall, long-term, where the needs are, where there’s demand, we would anticipate voids will be filled but it could take a little bit of time for those things to shake out once the landscape changes,” Stepovy said.“Discount airlines coming in will probably take on some of that longer-haul (Greyhound demand),” he said. “For bus travel, That one-to-five/six-hour travel time is kind of in the sweet spot.”He added “disruptors” — new travel options such as Poparides, an app that matches passengers with drivers who happen to be going to the same destinations — are also expected to fill the gap.Indigenous-owned charter service Kelsey Bus Lines is being renamed Mahihkan Bus Lines and has announced plans to offer daily passenger routes from Thompson and Flin Flon in northern Manitoba to Winnipeg, as well as freight service.In Alberta, the provincial government has launched pilot programs at a cost of $2.8 million to help five rural municipalities start inter-city bus services. One, centred on Camrose, about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton, has already started and the others are expected to begin over the next three months.The fragmented inter-city transportation model that is emerging can be a positive change, said Barry Prentice, professor of transportation economics at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business.Greyhound likely failed in Western Canada in part because its costs were too high and it lacked the flexibility to respond to changing markets because it carried freight as well as passengers, he said.“As long as they were in the market, it was hard for anyone else to come in. Now that they’re gone, it creates an opportunity,” he said.Most new services are planning to pick up and drop off passengers at hotels, gas stations or tourist information centres. Prentice said that means they won’t be burdened with the costly terminal network Greyhound had to maintain.Kendrick said shutting down all routes from northern Ontario to the West Coast involves a “significant cost’ to Greyhound Canada.He said it’s expected to take several months to sublet its leased real estate and sell its few owned facilities, which include maintenance shops in centres such as Edmonton, Red Deer, Prince Rupert, Prince George and Winnipeg.The company is laying off about 420 employees. It will move 70 or 80 of its 110 western buses to its ongoing operations in Eastern Canada and sell or scrap the rest.A Seattle-Vancouver route operated by Greyhound U.S. will continue to use a Vancouver terminal leased by the Canadian arm. Kendrick said the company plans to ask other bus companies to come in as tenants to fill unused capacity there.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.
WASHINGTON — Apple is at the Supreme Court to defend the way it sells apps for iPhones against claims by consumers that the company has unfairly monopolized the market.The justices are hearing arguments Monday in Apple’s effort to end an antitrust lawsuit that could force the iPhone maker to cut the 30 per cent commission it charges software developers whose apps are sold exclusively through Apple’s App Store. A judge could triple the compensation to consumers under antitrust law if Apple ultimately loses the lawsuit.Apple says it doesn’t own the apps or sell them. That’s the responsibility of software developers.But the lawsuit says the Cupertino, California-based company exerts control over the process, including a requirement that prices end in 99 cents. And iPhone apps are only available through the App Store.Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
London’s Gatwick Airport has been shut down while officials urgently investigate reports that two drones were flying above the airfield.The airport suspended all flights late Wednesday, causing severe disruptions just days before Christmas during one of the heaviest travel times of the year.Gatwick advised travellers via Twitter to check flights scheduled for Thursday before heading to the airport. It also advised anyone planning to pick up arriving passengers to check first.Gatwick says in a statement that it apologizes for the inconvenience but must place safety first. It is a major airport south of London.There have been occasional reports of drones nearly hitting commercial airliners in the London area in recent years.The Associated Press
Washington: The US is tracking 250-270 objects of debris in the space generated due to India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test in lower earth orbit, but the International Space Station or ISS is not at risk, the Pentagon said Friday. US Strategic Command’s Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) said 250 pieces of debris associated with an Indian ASAT launch that occurred on Wednesday are being actively tracked. “Debris from the event is being actively monitored by the JFSCC, and conjunction notifications are being issued to satellite owners/operators in accordance with standard notification processes through the Department of Defense’s public space situational awareness sharing website HYPERLINK “http://www.space-track.org,” it said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The JFSCC said it will continue to actively track debris associated with the event and issue close approach notifications as required until the debris enters the earth’s atmosphere. US Air Force Space Command Commander Lt Gen David D Thompson told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Thursday that the JFSCC and Air Force’s 18 space control Squadron are currently “tracking about 270 different objects in the debris” field. Responding to questions from members of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, he said the number is going to grow as the debris field spreads out as the US collects more sensor information. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Thompson, however, refrained from giving any further details of the debris. “But we do know the altitude at which it occurred. We immediately started providing public notice on our space track website and will provide direct notification to satellite operators, if those satellites are under threat,” he said. Responding to questions from lawmakers, Thompson said, “At this point in time, the International Space Station is not at risk.” The ISS orbits over 100 km higher than the orbit at which India carried out the ASAT test. “That’s another thing that we do and provide warning routinely. That’s just an example of -no other nation –no other military force, no other civil or other body could have detected characterised and begun warning and providing the world, the way we do with air force and other joint assets,” Thompson said. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell from the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said India acted in a less irresponsible manner than the Chinese in doing the test. “We don’t know yet how much debris and how high. The United States has said that it’s tracking about 250 pieces. But it will take them at least a few days, if not a few weeks to figure to catalog those pieces,” he told PTI. Once the cataloging is done, only then one could analyses how bad the situation is, he added. Responding to a question, McDowell, who has been following India’s space program since 1970s, described the ASAT test as a “much more aggressive stance” even though it is presented as a defensive measure. This is reflective of the ambitious and military side of the Indian space programme and is in response to the China’s aggressive space militarisation programme, he said. Opposed to such tests, McDowell said, the Indian ASAT test was “relatively responsible” or “less responsible” than the Chinese ASAT test. “Although I’m opposed to the test, I think that if you’re going to do a test, that’s a better way to do it. “There will be debris that ends up in higher orbit but not as much and not as long left. The test at level will ensure that the debris doesn’t stay up for long periods of time, in contrast to what happened with the Chinese test, which was much higher up,” he said. “So that is relatively responsible. Certainly they (Indians) have learned from the mistakes of the Chinese,” said the American astronomer. He said the Chinese debris hundreds of pieces in worst possible orbit – are still in the space. The Indian debris might vanish and burn up when they come down in the next few months, while that of the Chinese might take decades to come down, McDowell said. Well known space professional, Brian Weeden said China is one reason for India’s test. “India sees itself in competition with China for regional power and prestige and has been internally debating its own demonstration ever since the Chinese ASAT test in 2007,” he said. “The other factor is India’s concern about being one of the “have nots” for ASAT weapons like they were for nuclear weapons, in the event of a future ban on ASAT testing,” Weeden said. But more tests like this risk creating space debris that could impact commercial business models for space, plus many of these new space companies feel strongly about social responsibility, he added.
1990San Francisco142Lost conference champ. 2006Indianapolis124Won Super Bowl Halfway to undefeated hasn’t always been a blessingThe final record and playoff results of teams that have gone 8-0 to start a season in the 16-game era, 1978-2018 1991Washington142Won Super Bowl 2009Indianapolis142Lost Super Bowl 2015Carolina151Lost Super Bowl 2013Kansas City115Lost wild card 1998Denver142Won Super Bowl 2012Atlanta133Lost conference champ. 2015Cincinnati124Lost wild card 2015New England124Lost conference champ. 2007New England160Lost Super Bowl 2008Tennessee133Lost divisional 1985Chicago151Won Super Bowl 2003Kansas City133Lost divisional 2005Indianapolis142Lost divisional YearTeamWLPlayoff Result 1984Miami142Lost Super Bowl 2011Green Bay151Lost divisional Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 1990New York Giants133Won Super Bowl 2009New Orleans133Won Super Bowl The Los Angeles Rams’ quest for an unbeaten season barely survived Aaron Rodgers on Sunday in what was oddly tantamount to a road game for the hosts. Now Jared Goff and Co. head into an actual road game against another future Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees.With a perfect season still a possibility halfway through this NFL campaign, it’s reasonable to wonder where the Rams rank among the best teams in football. The Rams’ record has escaped attention largely because no one is surprised when they win. They dominated the offseason by spending $237 million in guaranteed contracts, while only one other team, the Minnesota Vikings, even topped $200 million.1And they, unlike the Rams, bought a franchise quarterback. As a result, the Rams were the preseason favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. But heightened preseason expectations don’t always translate into wins, particularly for a non-Patriots team: Just ask the 2011 Eagles, whose self-proclaimed “Dream Team” went up in smoke, losing eight of their first 12 games.The Rams clearly are meeting even their most optimistic expectations. The offense is better than last year under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay, who is taking the “genius” moniker to a whole new level. The Rams are leading the NFL in yards per pass play, and they’re also top five in yards per rush. They’re the only team in football that has had more than half of its offensive plays qualify as a success by either resulting in a first down or effectively setting up the next down, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.The Los Angeles defense has not quite lived up to its price tag, ranking 27th in yards allowed per rush and 15th in yards allowed per pass play. But the Rams’ D ranks 10th in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average.2DVOA is a statistic that “measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent.” And in the key stats of net yards per pass attempt3Offensive yards per pass attempt minus defensive yards per pass attempt. and net play success,4The percentage of snaps that result in a first down or effectively set up the next down versus that of your opponent. the Rams comfortably lead the NFL.But while the Rams are convincingly the best team in football, they’re not standing out among similar teams since the NFL expanded to 16 games in 1978. They have scored 109 more points than they’ve allowed, which ranks tied for 26th through eight games since 1978. And it’s oddly just one point better than last year’s Rams, who failed to win a playoff game.If we limit our search to just unbeaten teams since 1978, the Rams rank tied for 10th out of 20 teams in point differential. And just one of the nine teams behind them on that list ended up winning the Super Bowl: the 1990 Giants. It’s also reasonable to ask if the Rams are peaking too soon — at least based on recent returns. The last season with an 8-0 team was 2015, when there were three (the Patriots, Bengals and Panthers) — none of which won the Super Bowl. The same disappointment eventually befell the 2013 Chiefs, 2012 Falcons and 2011 Packers. The last team to actually win a Super Bowl after being undefeated at the halfway point was the 2009 Saints, who beat another former 8-0 team (that eventually went to 14-0), the Colts.Before 2009, early dominance in a season seemed to be more predictive. Five of the 11 8-0 teams since 1978 went on to win the Super Bowl, and two more advanced to the final game. The Rams would probably prefer the postseason to start today. But absent that, a win on Sunday would virtually lock up the coveted No. 1 seed in the conference less than a week into November. It’s sometimes said in the NFL that Super Bowls are won in December (even though that’s often untrue), but the Rams are a win away from setting themselves up for something almost unheard of in today’s hotly contested, parity-driven league: being able to take the entire month of December off.The downside to that is the tons of potential down time waiting for the postseason to start. In fact, the biggest decision that McVay may have to make down the stretch won’t involve play-calling or game management but when to rest his starters — which he did last year before the playoffs and also this year in the preseason.Then again, home-field advantage may not mean much to the Rams. There’s a very good chance that the vast majority of fans in attendance at Rams home games — even during the playoffs — will be rooting for the other team.Check out our latest NFL predictions.