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Man City rival Man Utd for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovicby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City are rivaling Manchester United for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic.Corriere dello Sport says United remain keen on the youngster, despite the dismissal Jose Mourinho. However, they now face competition from City.The 21-year-old centre-back had already been the subject of a rumoured €40m bid from Atletico Madrid over the summer.Now offers for Milenkovic from both Manchester clubs are being readied in the region of €50m.Milenkovic was purchased from Partizan Belgrade in the summer of 2017 for just €5.1m. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
TULSA, Okla. — Bass Pro Shops pulled a used 1978 Winchester rifle commemorating the Cherokee Trail of Tears from one of its Arkansas store’s shelves and apologized to the tribe after a photo of the gun led to calls to boycott the outdoor gear chain.A customer in Rogers, Arkansas, posted photos of the rifle on Twitter, leading to accusations that Bass Pro was profiting from the tragic forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation that began in 1838. More than 4,000 Cherokee died during the more than 1,000-mile walk to what is now Oklahoma in what is known as the Trail of Tears.The company’s communications director, Jack Wlezien, told The Tulsa World that the rifle was acquired from a trade-in and is not part of the store’s standard stock.“It’s a niche product that came in on a trade,” Wlezien said. “As you can imagine, there are a wide range of firearms traded on a regular basis, and there wasn’t much deep consideration about the individual gun from a merchandising standpoint by our (sales) associate, but now we are taking steps to be sure we’re dealing with it appropriately.”Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. applauded the company’s decision to remove the rifle and “for using the incident as a teaching moment.”“The story of the Trail of Tears is one of survival and the ability to adapt and survive in unimaginable circumstances,” he said. “We hope in today’s environment companies will reach out to Native tribes to better understand our history.”The Tulsa World reported that according to the website winchestercollector.org, a .30-30 or .22-calibre Winchester Model 1894 “Cherokee Carbine” that matches the image of the Bass Pro Shops rifle was one of dozens of Winchester rifles manufactured from 1964 to 2006 that annually commemorated people and historic events, including Bat Masterson, John Wayne and the purchase of Alaska from Russia.___Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.comThe Associated Press
PARIS — French media say Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will announce a suspension of fuel tax hikes in an effort to appease a protest movement that has radicalized.Both Le Monde newspaper and France Info radio say the planned increase, which has provoked riots, will be suspended for several months. Philippe is also expected to announce other measures aimed at easing tensions.The prime minister is expected to announce the move later Tuesday.The Associated Press
BERLIN — A court in Germany has sentenced a 31-year-old man to six years imprisonment for running a web forum where illegal goods were traded, including a gun used in a 2016 shooting rampage.German news agency dpa reported that the court in Karlsruhe convicted the defendant Wednesday on charges of negligent homicide, negligent bodily harm and abetting the illegal sale of weapons and drugs.The man, whose name wasn’t released for privacy reasons, had set up a site on a part of the web accessible only with specialized identity-cloaking tools, known as the “darknet.”In January, a 33-year-old German was sentenced to seven years in prison for using the site to sell a pistol and ammunition to 18-year-old David Somboly, who killed nine people at a Munich mall before killing himself.The Associated Press
BEIJING — China has sounded a positive note ahead of trade talks with Washington, but economists warn they face lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship.Both sides have expressed interest in settling their tariff battle over Beijing’s technology ambitions. Yet neither has indicated its stance has changed despite a Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to postpone further increases.A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said American and Chinese envoys will have “positive and constructive discussions” during meetings Monday and Tuesday.Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing responded with penalties on $110 billion of American goods.The Associated Press
New Delhi: In a major overhaul of oil and gas exploration permits, the government will not charge any share of profit on hydrocarbons produced from less explored areas as it looks to attract the elusive private and foreign investment to raise domestic output. Breaking from the two-and-a-half decade-old practice of having a uniform contractual regime for all sedimentary basins in the country, the new policy provides for different rules for areas that already have producing fields and ones where commercial production of oil and gas is yet to be established. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepIrrespective of the basins, producers will get complete marketing and pricing freedom for oil and gas in future bid rounds, said an official notification detailing rule changes approved by the Union Cabinet on February 28. Oil and gas acreage or blocks in all future bid rounds will be awarded primarily on the basis of exploration work commitment, it said. While companies will have to pay a share of revenue from oil and gas produced in Category-I sedimentary basins such as Krishna Godavari, Mumbai Offshore, Rajasthan or Assam where commercial production has already been established, they will be charged only prevalent royalty rates on oil and natural gas in the less explored Category-II and III basins. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”To expedite production, concessional royalty rates will be applicable if production is commenced within four years for onland and shallow water blocks, and five years for deep water and Ultra-deepwater blocks from the effective date of the contract,” it said. India began bidding out oil and gas exploration acreage in 1999 under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) that awarded blocks to companies offering maximum work commitment. But companies were obliged to share with the government profits made after recovery of cost. Two years back, the BJP-government brought in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) that provided for blocks being awarded to companies offering maximum revenue at different levels of prices and production. HELP failed to either raise output or attract new players. The notification said the new policy was being formulated “to increase exploration activities, attract domestic and foreign investment in unexplored/unallocated areas of sedimentary basins, and enhance domestic production of oil and gas”. While blocks in Category-1 basins would be awarded on basis bided exploration work and revenue share in the ratio of 70:30, those “in Category-II and Category III Basins will be awarded on the basis of international competitive bids based exclusively on the exploration work programme.” “The contractor will have full marketing and pricing freedom to sell on arm’s length basis. Discovery of prices will be on the basis of transparent and competitive bidding. No exports will be allowed. There will be no allocation by Government,” the notification said. The Contractor will have liberal freedom to transfer/exit the block provided work programme has been adhered to. However, a suitable penalty mechanism will be devised for non-completion of the work programme. The notification said that in case of the existing contracts, marketing and pricing freedom to sell on arm’s length basis through competitive bidding will be permitted to those new gas discoveries whose Field Development Plan (FDP) will be approved for the first time after the date of issuance of the new policy. In case of nomination fields given to national oil companies, marketing and pricing freedom will be provided subject to the condition that FDP for new gas discoveries is approved by DGH. “To incentivise additional gas production from Administered Price Mechanism (APM) fields, reduction in royalty by 10 per cent of the applicable royalty will be granted on the additional production over and above Business As Usual (BAU) scenario. BAU scenario will be approved by DGH on third-party evaluation,” it said. Existing contracts already having marketing and pricing freedom would continue on the existing terms.
In the top of the 10th inning in Sunday night’s nationally televised contest between the Astros and Rangers — one that will most likely be remembered as the night a 44-year-old nearly no-hit the defending World Series champs — the visiting Rangers grabbed a 3-1 lead.In the bottom of the frame, the home team’s hopes rested on Jake Marisnick, who, with runners at the corners, two outs, and his team still trailing by a pair of runs, worked a 3-1 count against Jake Diekman. A Marisnick walk would load the bases for the Astros, bringing reigning World Series MVP George Springer to the plate, a hit away from tying or winning the game.On Diekman’s fifth pitch, it appeared that Marisnick had earned a walk. “This is not a strike, this is off the plate,” ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza opined as the networks’ K-Zone showed the pitch a few inches outside. Home plate umpire Adam Hamari disagreed, however, calling the pitch strike two. Marisnick struck out swinging on the following pitch to end the game, and the outfielder slammed his bat in disgust.Umps miss balls and strikes all the time. But the strike two in that Marisnick at-bat is emblematic of a larger pattern of borderline calls, albeit one that umps probably produce unwittingly: In extra innings, umpires will vary ball and strike calls in ways that tend to end the game as quickly as possible.To find this pattern, we looked at pitches thrown in the bottom of extra innings, when the game could quickly end.1Data was grabbed using Bill Petti’s baseballr package, which scrapes pitch location information from Baseballsavant.mlb.com. If the away team scored in the top half of an inning and held a lead, as was the case in Marisnick’s at-bat, an umpire hoping for a faster exit would call more strikes, making it more likely that the home team will be sent down quickly. Alternatively, if the home team got a runner aboard, umps would be more likely to favor them by calling fewer strikes, giving the team more chances to get the runner across the plate and send everyone home.Here’s a chart showing how umps changed their behavior in these situations between 2008 and 2016, a sample of roughly 32,000 pitches. Each square shows the percentage increase or decrease in the likelihood that a pitch is called a strike in that part of the strike zone. The color of each square (green for more balls, pink for more strikes) corresponds with which side umps are favoring, while how darkly shaded the square is reflects the size of the change (in percentage points). The left panel shows the comparative rate of strike calls when, in the bottom of an inning in extras, the batting team is positioned to win — defined as having a runner on base in a tie game — relative to those rates in situations when there’s no runner on base in a tie game. When the home team has a baserunner, umps call more balls, thus setting up more favorable counts for home-team hitters, creating more trouble for the pitcher, and giving the home team more chances to end the game.The right-hand side of the chart shows squares at identical strike zone locations, but shaded according to changes in strike rates when the extra-inning scenario favors the away team. More specifically, any time the away team is trying to hold onto a lead in the bottom half of an inning after the ninth. Here, and as in the pitch to Marisnick, umps call more strikes, giving the batting team fewer chances to extend the game.Altogether, teams that are in a position to win get up to a 27 percentage point increase in the rate of called balls, while teams that look like they’re about to lose see increased strike rates of up to 33 percentage points. Differences are largest in fringe areas of the strike zone, where the opportunity for umpire discretion is the highest: 62 percent of these squares in the left panel are green, while 72 percent of fringe squares on the right panel are pink.2We’re defining the fringe area as squares within one square of the black line marking the edge of the strike zone. In both settings, umps are more likely to use whatever behavior gets the game over with the quickest. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. MLB games are already slow, and extra-innings play often comes late at night, which means smaller crowds and fewer television viewers.MLB did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the league has made no secret of its interest in shortening games. Even so, umpires may not be consciously deciding who should win. Humans are susceptible to various biases they may not be aware of, and even just a bit of fatigue could unintentionally push umpires in one direction or the other on borderline calls.Moreover, according to sources within the umpire union, umps don’t get paid more when games go to extra innings. In other words, MLB asks them to take on extra work without providing any extra compensation. That’s one more reason they may want the game to end early — their paycheck’s the same regardless.
Left-handed pitcher Scott Barnes made his first career Triple-A start for the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday night, after starting twice for the Double-A Akron Aeros. Barnes began the season for the Aeros by giving up just two runs in 11 innings pitched, but he wasn’t quite as impressive in Columbus. He gave up four runs in five innings in his Clippers debut and, despite his team losing, 4-2, to Louisville, manager Mike Sarbaugh said he liked what he saw from Barnes. “It was a good first outing for him,” Sarbaugh said. “He gave us five good innings … definitely something to build off of.” The first runs Barnes gave up came after he walked two of the first three batters he faced in the top of the second inning, before Bats center fielder Dave Sappelt sent a hit down the right-field line to give Louisville the early 2-0 lead. Columbus battled right back and scored its first run of the game when first baseman Wes Hodges drove in shortstop Luis Valbuena in the bottom of the third, cutting Louisville’s lead to 2-1. The Clippers scored only one run in the third inning, despite having the bases loaded with no outs. Sarbaugh said it was a lost opportunity. “We had our chance in the third with bases loaded and no outs and only came up with one (run),” he said. “It had a chance to get us back in the game or even get ahead.” Barnes walked the first batter he faced in the top of the fourth, Louisville second baseman Chris Valaika. The next batter, right fielder Michael Griffin, made Barnes pay by sending a triple down the right field line to give Louisville a 3-1 lead. Center fielder Kristopher Negron grounded out in the Bats’ next at-bat, but Griffin scored to extend his team’s lead to 4-1. The most physical play of the night came in bottom of the fourth inning. After leading off with a base hit to center field to start the bottom of the fourth, Columbus center fielder Bubba Bell took second base on a wild pitch, and then third base on a ground ball. Catcher Paul Phillips was up to bat next and sent a fielder’s choice to Louisville shortstop Zack Cozart, who fired the ball to his catcher, Devin Mesoraco, as Bell sprinted toward home plate. Cozart’s throw skipped in the dirt before Bell lowered his shoulder and pummeled over Mesoraco, knocking him on his back and the ball out of his mitt for the Clippers’ second run of the night, this one unearned, again cutting the Louisville lead in half, 4-2. But following six runs in three innings, the bats stayed relatively quiet for the rest of the night. Bell was walked by Louisville reliever Carlos Fisher to start the ninth inning, and then Luke Carlin came up to pinch hit in place of Phillips for the Clippers. Carlin hit into a double play, and the next batter, Valbuena, grounded out as well. The Clippers lost back-to-back games for the second time this season. Louisville improved to 10-3 and remains in first place in the division, while Columbus fell to 8-5, two games behind the Bats, but still good enough for second place. The Clippers will have the opportunity to redeem themselves, as they play Louisville at home each of the next three nights.
Rick Lewis and the Buckeyes are set to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, his fathers former team on Saturday.Credit: Molly Tavoletti / Lantern photographerRick Lewis took the lacrosse field in Piscataway, N.J., 29 years ago to lead the defense for Rutgers in the 1986 NCAA tournament. Now his son, Rick Lewis Jr., prepares to step onto that same field, as the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team looks to bring home a win this weekend in the Buckeyes’ final regular-season matchup of the inaugural Big Ten lacrosse season.“I’ve always looked up to my dad,” Lewis Jr. said. “So it’ll be really special to have my last regular season game … where he played his first.”Now a senior midfielder and captain for OSU, Lewis Jr. grew up with a lacrosse stick in his hand, receiving his first one from his dad’s friends at the hospital just hours after he was born. From there, his dad became his coach and the rest is history, Lewis Jr. said.The midfielder grew up playing in Cumming, Ga., earning All-American honors at St. Pius X Catholic High School, and also spent time playing in leagues in New Jersey, making him no stranger to Rutgers territory.“I know a lot of those guys,” Lewis Jr. said. “With the team in New Jersey, I was actually coached by my dad’s college roommate. I even lived at his house for the summer.”And while his old summer coach might be supporting Rutgers this weekend, Lewis Jr. said his dad will be on OSU’s side.“He’s rooting for the Buckeyes, definitely wearing scarlet and gray,” Lewis Jr. said.For the Lewis family, Saturday’s matchup might be “a fun rivalry game,” but for OSU, the stakes are high to bring home a final conference win for the regular season. And while Rutgers has already lost its chance at an NCAA tournament berth, OSU coach Nick Myers said he expects the Scarlet Knights to be ready to win.“These are two tough teams that are both hungry for a final Big Ten win,” Myers said. “It’ll be a battle.”OSU is coming off its only home loss this season, a 10-9 overtime heartbreaker against Maryland on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The Terrapins locked up at least a share of the Big Ten title, and a win would have done the same for the Buckeyes. But instead of dwelling on the disappointment, the team used the loss as motivation through practices this week, Myers said.“It was the closure we needed,” he said. “We looked at what we did well, and the situations throughout the game where we need to improve. We’re focused on how to be successful against a formidable team this weekend.”Senior midfielder Christopher May said OSU focused on its efforts at the face-off X in particular, hoping to secure regular possession to kick-start the offense against Rutgers.“Maryland had a super talented faceoff unit. They communicated well and were good at causing loose balls, so we took that as a learning experience,” May said. “Rutgers likes to create offense off the faceoff. We’re going to try to limit the transition and put ourselves in a better position to win this game.”The loss against Maryland dropped OSU to No. 2 in the Big Ten. Even if the Terrapins lose against Johns Hopkins this weekend, the Buckeyes would share the No. 1 spot heading into the conference tournament, but would fall short because of the tiebreaker, as long as they win against Rutgers on Saturday.“We come out every game (at) full speed. They’re a very dangerous team so we’re preparing and ready to go,” Lewis Jr. said. “We’re focused on playing a full 60 minutes. If we do that, we can play with anybody in the country.”The game against Rutgers marks the end of the inaugural Big Ten regular season, one that, regardless of record, has been an honor for the team, Myers said.“It’s been everything we could’ve hoped it would be,” he said.Saturday’s game is set for noon in Piscataway, N.J.