Japan ends Olympic flame display due to virus

first_imgThe Olympic flame will be removed from display in Japan, officials said Tuesday, as the country braces for a state of emergency due to the coronavirus that also forced the historic postponement of Tokyo 2020.It had been on public display in the northeastern Fukushima region since last week, but Japanese Olympic organizers decided to shelve it as coronavirus cases climb in the country.The ill-fated flame, lit in Greece, arrived in Japan on March 20 for a torch relay originally scheduled to start six days later and climax at the Olympics opening ceremony on July 24. But the raging pandemic prompted the first postponement of the Games in peace-time, with the opening ceremony now slated to take place on July 23, 2021.To keep the Olympic spirit alive in Japan, local organizers decided to maintain the flame in a lantern and display it in Fukushima, where the torch relay was going to start.”Originally we wanted to hold the public display until the end of April. But considering recent developments, we decided to stop,” said a Tokyo 2020 organizing committee spokesman.He declined to comment on where the flame will be stored, saying that organizers had no immediate plan to show it to the public and hoped to prevent people from congregating around the storage location. Topics :center_img The flame has had a troubled journey due to the coronavirus since being lit in ancient Olympia without spectators to avoid spreading the disease.The Greek leg of the torch relay was scrapped when large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit a cauldron in the town of Sparta.The flame arrived to a muted welcome in northern Japan in front of a few dozen officials and guests, after plans to invite 200 schoolchildren were abandoned.It then attracted large crowds in Japan despite calls from organizers to avoid mass gatherings because of the virus.last_img read more

Read More →

England tiptoes out of full lockdown as economy plunges

first_imgEngland tentatively began easing its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, with some people who cannot do their jobs at home urged to return to work, as stark economic data showed the disastrous impact of the pandemic.The worst-hit country in Europe with more than 40,000 deaths from COVID-19 according to official data, Britain has been in extensive lockdown since March 23. As of Wednesday morning, people in manufacturing and certain other sectors were being asked to return to work if they could.GDP data released on Wednesday showed the economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March compared with February, and the April data is likely to be even worse as the country was under lockdown for the entire month. The government is loosening restrictions very gradually, for fear of triggering a second peak of infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the process as a “supremely difficult” balancing act.Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have semi-autonomous governments, are sticking with a “stay at home” message for now, leaving England, the most populous UK nation, to take the lead in sending some people back to work.The government has faced a barrage of criticism that its new guidance – Stay alert, control the virus, save lives – was confusing. Appearing on Sky News TV, transport minister Grant Shapps was asked why estate agents were being allowed to restart house viewings when people could not have their own relatives to visit.”The truth of the matter is, you have to start somewhere. The lockdown message was very straightforward – it was just stay at home. Now as we start to unlock, of course, there have to be decisions made,” Shapps said. “There is no perfect way of doing this, and we’d ask people to use their common sense … Right now, there has to be a cut-off somewhere.”Workers were being advised to avoid public transport if at all possible, and schools remained closed, prompting questions about how parents and people who could not get to work by other means were supposed to apply the new guidance.Employers faced the daunting task of creating safe environments for their staff, with detailed guidance on one-way systems at entry and exit points and in stairwells, spacing out workstations and other minutiae.For those still working from home or unable to work, there was only a very slight change in the regime. People were now allowed out to exercise more than once a day, and two people from separate households were allowed to meet outdoors as long as they kept 2 meters apart.Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said officers would still be encouraging people to go home if they were out for reasons other than the authorized exercise, shopping for essentials, health or work.Fines for transgressions have been increased.”Everybody will carry on hopefully working in the spirit we’ve had for the last seven weeks,” he told BBC TV.”It’s not for the police to police people being 2 meters apart, that’s about everyone’s individual responsibility. If there are those people who refuse to abide by the new regulations then we will move to enforcement if that’s what we have to do,” he said, describing that as a last resort. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Read More →

Pension funds for companies on Germany’s DAX index return 5%

first_imgThe companies on the German stock exchange DAX returned 5% on average on their pension plans over 2013, according to figures from Mercer.Looking at the 22 already available annual reports of companies that represent around 90% of pension liabilities in the DAX, the consultancy found that, despite the fact the average return halved year on year, funding levels improved from 62% to 66%. This is down to liabilities going down for the first time since the beginning of the financial crisis, according to Thomas Hagemann, chief actuary at Mercer Germany.“It seems a few of the DAX companies could even increase the discount rate for 2013, which led to a reduction of the liabilities,” he added. Others were able to hold the 2012 level or make only slight adjustments.Hagemann said it was a “great advantage” of the German system that companies did not have to fund their pension plans fully every year or achieve a minimum funding level, but were able to “sit out” drops in interest rates.“Last year, no company was forced to offset the lower funding level with additional payments,” he pointed out.Further, Carl-Heinrich Kehr, a principle at Mercer’s investment department, said contributions made by companies currently exceed the level of new liabilities, which he said might mean companies were shooting for a higher funding level in the near future.In total, pension liabilities in the DAX are now at €300bn, while assets have grown to €197bn.Over the last year, equities have boosted performance, returning around 20%, while bonds only contributed 1.4% and emerging market fixed income performed negatively.Overall, the equities allocation of around 25% on average increased by approximately 300 basis points over the period, but Kehr put this down “more to strong returns rather than active asset reallocation”.More than 60% of the DAX’s pension assets remain invested in bonds, while another 15% is invested in ‘other’ asset classes.last_img read more

Read More →

Hoosier deer hunters cautioned about bovine TB found in Michigan

first_imgAnn Arbor, Mi. — Bovine tuberculosis was recently confirmed in a large beef herd in Alcona County. This herd, which is the 73rd cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB in Michigan since 1998, was identified through routine surveillance testing.Bovine TB is an infectious bacterial disease primarily affecting cattle. It is endemic in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in Michigan’s modified accredited zone, a USDA designation for Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. Annual surveillance and movement testing are required of cattle producers, which helps catch the disease early and prevents it from being moved off the farm.“In the modified accredited zone, anything shared by deer and cattle can be a potential source of bovine tuberculosis infection,” said Michigan’s Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr, DVM. “Preventing deer from having contact with cattle feed, feed storage or watering areas is crucial for farmers in this area of Michigan and a part of wildlife biosecurity programs being implemented.”last_img read more

Read More →

Wenger tips Ozil to impress

first_img “I believe he is in positions where he can finish better and we want from him 10 goals per season.” Wenger insists this summer has been Ozil’s first chance for a true pre-season with Arsenal – and the long-serving Gunners boss believes that extended preparation will yield big benefits. And now that Ozil is settled and accustomed to London life, the Arsenal boss has admitted it is time for his big-money recruit to deliver. “He looks happy: London transforms people,” said Wenger. “I believe that at the start that for people who come from the south they feel a bit shocked because the climate is different and London is a big city. “But after a while London slowly gets people under the charm of the city, I have seen that many times. “Then they start to really enjoy living in London and the club is a bit the same, Arsenal is similar. “The Premier League is sometimes a shock as well for the players because they think, ‘oh, what’s happening here?’ “I remember when (Robert) Pires arrived, the first year I put him next to me at Sunderland and I said, ‘you will sit next to me today and watch the game’. “After 20 minutes he said, ‘is it always like that?’ And he adapted. “When Ozil signed he joined very late without any preparation with the team, after in 2014 he came back exhausted by the World Cup. “He got injured for four months and in the second part of the season he started to really adapt. “This is of course the test: it is a very important season for him. “But you could see that people have turned in favour of him recently, they start to enjoy his game.” Germany’s World Cup-winning playmaker is likely to go head-to-head with Chelsea star Eden Hazard in Sunday’s Community Shield. Wenger believes Sunday’s Wembley clash hands the 26-year-old the perfect chance to set the tone for his third campaign at the Emirates Stadium. Press Association Arsenal boss Wenger has called on Ozil to hit 10 goals a season, expecting the former Real Madrid man to rise to the challenge despite registering just four goals and five assists in last year’s Premier League. “What I think is that he shows more authority to dictate the game than before,” said Wenger of the £42.5million 2013 signing. “He is physically stronger, that is for sure, more equipped to deal with the Premier League and in the second part of the season last year we have seen that intelligence of his passing. “The fact that he added some steel to his game, that was needed, certainly in the Premier League, and I am confident he can be one of the great players of 2015/16. “I want more goals from him because he plays in that position and he is a good finisher. “But he does not take enough chances when he is in the position when he can finish. “He is conscious of it and he wants to do it now, so I am confident of that. “But his main aspect will always be the intelligence of his passing and his creativity. Arsene Wenger has tipped Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil to be one of the Premier League’s “great players” this season. last_img read more

Read More →

Man Spills $30,000 onto Highway, Officials Ask Public to Return It

first_imgThe owner of the money tells officers he inadvertently left the box on his truck’s bumper.So far, two 17-year-old men have returned $630, a woman has turned in $3,880, and another person has returned $4,500. Officials in the Michigan city of Grand Haven are busy these days, and it is not for the reasons you may think.Grand Haven police and the city’s Department of Public Safety have been asking the public to return money that spilled from a box which fell from a truck onto a highway last week.The amount in that cardboard box is said to be around $30,000.Update on Incident from Thursday:A cardboard box containing approximately $30,000 fell off the bumper of a truck on north bound US31. Some of the money was recovered by witnesses and Officers. Yesterday, two… https://t.co/SsOzELHM61— GHDPS (@GrandHavenDPS) April 27, 2019last_img read more

Read More →

Australia offer to host England fixtures: ECB

first_imgTHE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have revealed Australia and New Zealand have emerged as contenders to host matches to help England complete its season.The ECB on Friday last extended the delay to the start of its season until July 1 at the earliest, with Australia’s white-ball tour that includes three T20s and three ODIs originally scheduled to start on July 4.ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said Friday the board had received “multiple offers” from other countries to help them complete the domestic season.His comments came after Surrey chairman Richard Thompson earlier said Abu Dhabi had offered to host matches for the ECB.“We’ve had offers as far away as Australia and New Zealand,” said Harrison. “Those offers are on the table.“I haven’t had anything from Abu Dhabi, but that’s not to say the offer hasn’t been made.”It’s unclear what offer from Australia was made to the ECB, following Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts joining Harrison and 10 other chief executives on an ICC conference call to discuss responses to the COVID-19 pandemic last week.The CEOs discussed contingency planning for both the men’s T20 World Cup, as well as the women’s 50-over World Cup in New Zealand next year, with planning for both tournament’s continuing as scheduled for now.CA’s focus remains on ensuring this summer’s four-Test Border-Gavaskar series goes ahead, as well as the T20 World Cup that is scheduled to be played in October and November, as well as the WBBL and BBL domestic T20 tournaments.A ‘biosecurity’ option – where an international team could serve a quarantine, such at the Adelaide Oval’s under-construction 138-bed hotel in the eastern grandstand – is among the plans being considered.Roberts has indicated a decision on the T20 World Cup may not be made until August. The tournament requires 15 teams to fly in and play matches at seven venues around the nation between October 18 and November 15.And while Harrison said the ECB was still aiming to stage a full home 2020 international season, he warned: “We’re probably getting to the point now where any further delays beyond where we’ve already started planning for will involve losing cricket rather than rescheduling again.”England’s international season was due to start with three Tests against the West Indies from June 4, and the Caribbean authorities said they were “flexible” about rearranging the tour but would not risk their players’ health just to complete a three-Test series.English officials remain hopeful they can reschedule all international fixtures in a programme that also includes three more Tests against Pakistan and white-ball matches against Australia and Ireland, from July until September.It had earlier been reported in the UK media that Australia’s white-ball fixtures may be moved to September.CWI chief executive Johnny Grave insisted while the West Indies were open to a change of dates, player safety remained the priority.“Clearly playing in June is now not possible and we will continue our discussions with the ECB and other international boards on trying to find new dates,” said Grave in a statement from the governing body.“Our respective medical teams are beginning to discuss how this (England) series could be played whilst guaranteeing the health and safety of our players and support team.“We will be as flexible as we can without compromising the safety of our team,” Grave, himself an Englishman, added.Even if the two boards find mutually acceptable dates, Britain’s lockdown restrictions would have to ease for the series to take place in England and even rules banning mass gatherings would likely still be in force, meaning matches would have to take place behind closed doors.(Cricket Network)last_img read more

Read More →

Nadal Dares ITF to Publish His Drug Test Results

first_imgWorld number five Rafael Nadal has invited the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to publish the results of all of his drugs tests.The Spaniard is suing former French government Minister, Roselyne Bachelot, who accused him of doping.In a letter to the ITF, he said people should not “speak without evidence”.The 29-year-old added: “Please make all my information public, my biological passport and my complete history of anti-doping tests.” On receipt of the letter, the ITF said the 14-time Grand Slam champion has never failed a drugs test and is free to make public his anti-doping records, to which he has full access.Nadal also asked the ITF to communicate all future occasions on which he is tested and the results, as soon as they are ready.Earlier this year, women’s world number nine Maria Sharapova admitted to testing positive for meldonium at this year’s Australian Open. The Russian is serving a provisional suspension and faces a lengthy ban.British number one Andy Murray told the Mail on Sunday earlier this month he had been suspicious of some opponents who “don’t seem to be getting tired”.The issue of full disclosure of athletes’ anti-doping results has proved controversial in other sports.British Athletics warned past and present athletes against allowing their blood data to be revealed, warning results could be “misinterpreted”.However, several athletes – including distance runners Mo Farah and Jo Pavey – have said results should be made public.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Read More →

Moving to OtherLevels: CRM specialist joins from Camelot

first_img Submit UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 StumbleUpon Andy Dellbridge, the new Head of Professional Services and Customer Success at OtherLevels, has been charged with helping its clients to maximise their investment in digital messaging.Joining from Camelot, the operator of the UK’s National Lottery where he had been Head of CRM and Digital Player Communications since February 2016, he will be responsible for the management of OtherLevels’ professional services, including implementation and strategic planning. Previously, he headed CRM operations at the Nationwide Building Society.OtherLevels messaging platform provides messaging techniques such as app push, web push, inbox, interstitials, SMS and email, all designed to grow a client’s conversion and engagement rates.Dellbridge commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining OtherLevels and taking up this new challenge in my career. I worked very closely with OtherLevels during my time at Camelot, using its digital messaging techniques to improve customer engagement, loyalty and lifetime value.These services have a proven track record and I can’t wait to help other clients as well as gaming operators realise the full potential of their own CRM campaigns.”Lance Standing, General Manager, EMEA at OtherLevels, added: “As the professional services side of our business continues to grow, we are delighted to welcome Andy to OtherLevels and he will become a key member of our team.“Andy knows first-hand the work we do here, as our app messaging helped double Camelot’s revenues during his spell with the operator. He also understands exactly how our experienced team creates and implements messaging strategies, campaign optimisation and managed services.” Camelot aims for ‘Big September’ supporting a high street recovery August 26, 2020 Related Articles Share Ministers expected to raise National Lottery age limit August 17, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

Read More →

FC Nordsjaelland release emotional farewell video for Kudus Mohammed

first_imgDanish Super Lig side, FC Nordsjaelland, have released an emotional farewell video tribute to former player Kudus Mohammed.The 19 year old, joined Dutch champions, Ajax Amsterdam, from FC Nordsjaelland for €9 million, after two seasons at the Danish side.The Ghana international will wear the number 20 jersey, and becomes Ajax’s first signing of the transfer window.FC Nordsjaelland posted the video on their official Twitter page on Thursday.last_img

Read More →