TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Zenit midfielder Leandro Paredes agrees Chelsea contract termsby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveZenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes has agreed terms, it has been revealed.Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, after victory over Newcastle United on Saturday, declared he wanted to see a replacement for Cesc Fabregas after his departure for AS Monaco.Gazzetta dello Sport says Paredes has been lined up by the Blues and already settled personal terms.Now Chelsea must reach an agreement with Zenit over a fee for the Argentine.An opening offer of £27m has already been lodged.
Neither star actor Samuel L. Jackson nor country musician Luke Bryan actually attended the University of Georgia, but they’re both still huge Bulldogs fans. Usually, they both show their support when the football team has a big game on the gridiron. This week, obviously, they’re all in on a different Bulldogs team. Both have sent Twitter videos to basketball head coach Mark Fox ahead of the team’s game against Michigan State in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Check them out:The Dawgs are Dancing, and so is the DawgNation! @SamuelLJackson pic.twitter.com/oX3lpVs5kG— Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox) March 16, 2015The Dawgs are Dancing, and so is the DawgNation! @LukeBryanOnline pic.twitter.com/5EYj3mdd9t— Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox) March 16, 2015The Bulldogs and Spartans tip off Friday at 12:30 PM EST. It’s safe to assume that these guys will be watching.
AL-MASNAA, Lebanon — Lebanese exporters rejoiced last month when the Syrian government opened a key land crossing with Jordan that had been closed by years of war, restoring a much-needed overland trade route to lucrative Persian Gulf markets.But lingering disputes between Lebanon and Syria, and political gridlock in Beirut, mean that many Lebanese businesses still rely on longer and costlier transport by sea, further stalling efforts to restore an economy battered by years of war in its larger neighbour.The reopening of the Naseeb-Jaber crossing allowed Mohammed Araji, owner of a trucking firm in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, to retrieve two trucks that had been stranded in Jordan since 2015, when Syrian rebels captured the crossing. Two other of his refrigerator trucks had been parked in front of his house for the last three years.Even before the crossing officially closed, his brother was briefly abducted by rebels while driving a truck through Syria, underscoring the perils they faced in trying to keep the route open.The crossing was Lebanon’s “lung,” Araji said, and its closure was a “death blow” to the economy, affecting farmers, merchants, industrialists and drivers. So he was pleased when Syrian government forces reopened the crossing and secured the route.But for weeks he was unable to find exporters ready to give him shipping contracts. Finally, on Saturday, he sent his first truckloads to Saudi Arabia after offering an exporter an attractive price.“People are still waiting to see what will happen,” he said.The land route through Syria, Jordan and Iraq is vital to Lebanon, which is squeezed between Syria, the closed border with Israel, and the sea. Lebanon’s exports plunged from a high of 78 per cent of GDP in 2008 — three years before the start of Syria’s civil war — to a low of 36 per cent in 2017.Before Naseeb’s closing, more than 250 trucks a day headed from Lebanon to markets in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf. After the closure, that dropped to some 300 trucks in a good month, bound only for Syria, customs officials said.An estimated 550,000 tons of vegetables and fruits a year used to be exported through the Syria-Jordan crossing, according to Ibrahim Tarshishi, head of the Bekaa farmer’s union. Since the shutdown, that flow has dropped by nearly 40 per cent, to no more than 330,000 tons. Exports from Bekaa to Saudi Arabia have dropped by 60 per cent, according to figures from the Bekaa chamber of commerce.After the crossing reopened, Syria and Jordan imposed new transit tariffs on trucks heading to the Gulf. The Syrian increase alone was five-fold, Tarshishi said. Lebanon meanwhile subsidizes transport by sea.Traders hope improved ties between Syria and Lebanon will lead to reduced tariffs, but Lebanon’s political leaders are fiercely divided between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad, and they have been unable to form a government since elections in May.Contacts among Lebanese and Syrian officials remain personal and partisan — and some complain Syria is using the tariffs to force normalization. Experts say opaque policies and decision-making have also hindered trade.Charles Zarzour, the head of the government agency for agricultural exports and imports, said the opening of the crossing has at least offered “psychological relief” to traders.“God willing, when we have a government in Lebanon, it lays down a wise policy that serves the country’s interest,” including tariff reductions, he told The Associated Press.Syrian officials had no immediate comment.Tarshishi has pressed for an end to the sea shipping subsidies and other government action to revive land exports, but in the caretaker government “no one wants to take responsibility,” he said.On a recent afternoon at al-Masnaa, the Lebanese side of the crossing into Syria, nearly a dozen trucks loaded with bananas were bound for Damascus. Just one truck, carrying cleaning supplies, was heading to Jordan. None were bound for the Gulf.Talal Darwish, a produce exporter, is still sending his grapes, apples and pears by sea, and on a recent day, workers raced to prepare a shipment bound for Kuwait. By land would be cheaper and faster — a five-day trip as opposed to 25.He has heard talk of efforts to reduce tariffs, but says “we still don’t know officially, so there is no rush.”___Associated Press writer Hiba Delwati in Beirut contributed to this report.Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Press
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked P S Narasimha, amicus curiae in BCCI matters, to also act as mediator for the state associations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The Bench of Justices SA Bobde and A.M. Sapre has asked Narasimha to hear the state associations’ concerns and suggest the way forward to the Committee of Administrators (CoA). A senior BCCI official said the move has come as a huge relief for the state associations, which now have the option of getting their issues heard. It will also bring to an end the generic affidavits being filed by the CEO in violation of the newly registered constitution, he added. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”This is a huge relief for several associations, which were shocked and disappointed at the generic affidavits being filed by the CEO in violation of the constitution finalised by the Supreme Court. These were actually bordering on contempt since as per the constitution finalised by the court, it is only the acting secretary who could have filed an affidavit on behalf of the BCCI,” the official said. The SC also barred all courts in the country, including the high courts, from entertaining any plea relating to the BCCI and its state affiliates, that it is hearing. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenThe Bench also asked Narasimha to look into the release of funds by the SC-appointed CoA to various state associations. Almost all the associations have cited lack of release of funds as a burning issue. Commenting on this, a senior state association official said the order was like a wave of relief for the state bodies of the BCCI. “A wave of relief has swept through the cricketing fraternity after today’s order of the SC. The members of the cricketing fraternity are grateful to the court for its observation that the game must go on.” “The restriction on the flow of associations’ own funds had all but brought the development of the game of cricket at the grassroots level to a standstill and this empathetic view will potentially bring an end to this unfortunate stalemate. The member associations have full faith in the new amicus and for us, his non-partisan approach is a breath of fresh air,” he smiled. At the previous hearing, the Bench had appointed Justice (retired) D K Jain the ombudsman of the BCCI and Lt. Gen. Ravi Thodge the third member of the CoA.
Foles did little to suggest otherwise in four mostly lackluster appearances to close the regular season. But he spent the month of January proving himself up to the challenge. With 352 yards (on 26-for-33 passing) and three touchdowns versus Minnesota, he produced one of the greatest QB performances in conference championship history. The game brought back memories of Foles’s 2013 season in Philadelphia, when he posted the third-best single-season passer rating in NFL history. But it was also a testament to the adjustments that Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson made to accommodate the different strengths of Wentz and Foles.Under both Wentz in the regular season and Foles during the playoffs, the Eagles’ offense averaged over 390 yards per game. But those yards were accumulated in different ways. Before Wentz’s injury, Philly was a balanced team whose aerial attack primarily relied on the power of its quarterback’s arm — often assisted by Wentz’s magician-like ability to improvise and buy time in the pocket. One thing it didn’t do, however, was ask receivers to do lots of work after hauling in the football. Through Week 14, Wentz led the league in touchdown passes per attempt and ranked third in air yards per attempt, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, but his targets were only 22nd in yards after the catch per reception.Foles connected on three 40-yard passes against the Vikings. But those have been big exceptions to the Eagles’ general approach with Foles at the helm, which has been to throw much shorter. In the playoffs, Foles’s average pass has traveled 7.1 yards through the air. Compare that with Wentz’s average of 9.8 air yards per attempt during the regular season, and you can begin to see how Pederson has shifted his offense’s focus. Forty percent of Wentz’s passes went 10 or more yards downfield, compared with 25 percent for Foles in the playoffs. And Foles has actually thrown a larger share of his passes to players at or behind the line of scrimmage (29 percent) than 10 yards past it. *Playoff games onlySource: ESPN Stats & Information Group Carson Wentz7.74.812.415.5%44.3%40.2% Philly’s passing offense changed in the playoffsDistance traveled through the air — and after the catch — for passes by Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks, 2017 season In today’s NFL, throwing shorter passes isn’t always correlated with better outcomes. But Foles is succeeding in large part because his receivers are taking those short passes and running for big gains after the catch. With Wentz under center, the Eagles’ pass-catchers produced only 98.6 yards after the catch per game (eighth-fewest in football); with Foles in the playoffs, they’ve nearly doubled that output (164.5 YAC/game). In particular, they’re doing a ton of damage on screen passes, which Pederson seldom utilized with Wentz. Running back Jay Ajayi, for instance, went from gaining just 7.4 yards after catch per game with Wentz during the regular season1In the five games immediately after Ajayi was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in late October. to 51.0 yards per game in the postseason, including nearly 30 receiving yards per game on screens alone. Foles is also making smart reads and getting the ball out very quickly. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 2.39 seconds before each pass, a mark that would have been fourth-fastest in the NFL during the regular season. (Wentz, for comparison, was 17th-fastest, at 2.54 seconds.) Foles has used that quick release to lethal effect when conducting the run-pass option — which is more than just a ubiquitous piece of announcer-speak during Eagles broadcasts. The RPO helps freeze defenses with the added threat of handing off to a dangerous runner like Ajayi, and it lends itself to the types of quick passes that Foles has excelled at this postseason. Philly ran plenty of RPOs even before Foles took over, but that section of the playbook has been crucial to Pederson’s resurrection of the Chip Kelly-era version of Foles.Now, it remains to be seen which version will show up for the Super Bowl this Sunday. The conditions have been right for Foles to succeed in the playoffs thus far — Philadelphia hasn’t had to play from behind much and has enjoyed one of the league’s most drastic home-field advantages. But there’s no telling what will happen if things go off script. That’s why the Eagles need to stay out of third-and-long, where the drop-off from Wentz to Foles is really glaring. (On third down with 8 or more yards to go, Wentz was the NFL’s top passer this season according to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating; only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was even remotely close.) They need to keep feeding the ball to Ajayi, who’s averaging roughly the same number of yards from scrimmage in these playoffs (98.5 per game) as he did during his All-Pro season with Miami in 2016. And perhaps most importantly, Foles needs to keep playing mistake-free football: Only 8.2 percent of his passes have been off-target this postseason — a rate that would easily have ranked No. 1 in the league during the regular season.He could do all of that, of course, and still fall short: Tom Brady could always reach into his bag of comeback tricks, and there’s also the small detail of Brady and Bill Belichick’s 15-0 record in the playoffs against teams that they’re facing for the first time in a season. But putting those metaphysical factors aside, the Patriots have their own vulnerabilities. They aren’t exactly a defensive powerhouse, having ranked ninth-worst in the NFL in expected points added during the regular season. And although that number improved as the year went on, they still allowed the league’s fourth-highest QBR on passes that traveled fewer than 10 yards through the air — the kinds of throws they’re likely to see a ton of from Foles and company. If the Eagles can execute their newfound offense and resist Brady’s supercharged comeback powers, there are plenty of reasons to think Foles (of all people) will be the one to deliver Philadelphia its long-awaited Super Bowl parade down Broad Street.Check out our latest NFL predictions. Around Thanksgiving, the idea that the Philadelphia Eagles would make it all the way to Super Bowl LII wouldn’t have surprised many people. Philadelphia started the season 10-1, and quarterback Carson Wentz emerged as the front-runner for league MVP honors. But after Wentz was lost to injury in Week 14, the Eagles’ title chances seemingly disappeared, too. Backups — like Philly’s stopgap, Nick Foles — seldom carry a team to Super Bowl glory. Yards/Completion …% of Passes by Air distance QuarterbackThrough AirAfter CatchTotal<=0 Yds1-10 Yds10+ Yds Nick Foles*5.56.712.228.646.025.4
A day after the news about the contact between a convicted sex offender Charles Eric Waugh and Ohio State student-athletes, the OSU athletic department released an official statement addressing the matter. “The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue,” the OSU athletic department said in a press release late Friday. “When the University became aware that this individual had been seen in pictures-taken in public places-with student-athletes, proactive precautions were taken and the Department of Athletics alerted more than 1,000 OSU student-athletes about this person.” On Thursday, The Lantern obtained an email sent from OSU athletic director for compliance Doug Archie informing Buckeye student-athletes that the university was aware of the contact made between OSU players and Waugh. Listed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry, Waugh, 31, made contact with OSU student-athletes and coaches through social media, using the Twitter handle, @BdubsTriviaGuru. One of the players Waugh made contact with was four-star linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone from OSU’s 2013 class. In a photo circulating around the web, Anzalone is seen with Waugh, fellow 2013 OSU recruit Joey Bosa and Notre Dame verbal-commit Mike Heuerman. On Friday, Anzalone announced his de-commitment from the OSU 2013 class. At this time, it is not clear whether the de-commitment is related to his contact with Waugh. Other OSU student-athletes in contact with Waugh on Twitter include Buckeyes football wide receiver Verlon Reed and former OSU offensive lineman and Cleveland Browns signee, J.B. Shugarts on May 3 and April 28, respectively, In the email sent to OSU student-athletes, Archie warned student athletes of the potential problems that could arise when making contact with a registered sex offender. “The individuals who you associate with on social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook) can have negative implications on your reputation and the university,” Archie said in the email. “Please remember to choose your ‘social media friends’ carefully!” Archie’s email also included a mugshot of Waugh, as well as links to informational sites about how to block Twitter and Facebook users. Waugh was not made available after The Lantern requested comments from him on Thursday. However, Charlene Waugh, Charles’ Waugh’s mother, told The Lantern she was not aware that the email had been sent to OSU student-athletes, but said that plans were in the works “to clear her son’s name on Tuesday.” In its official statement, the OSU athletic department said Waugh is not associated with OSU in any manner. “He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University,” the athletic department said. “The Department of Athletics will continue to monitor this issue and it will remain proactive in its efforts with regard to precautions for its student-athletes.”
No Ohio State football players were selected in the first round of last year’s draft, but thanks to Johnathan Hankins, the Buckeyes should be represented on the draft’s first day this time around.The junior defensive tackle made an unsurprising decision when he announced Monday he would bypass his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL draft. Hankins, a second-team Associated Press All-American this season, is very likely to be a first-round draft pick.He could even be the first top-10 draft pick from OSU since former defensive lineman Vernon Gholston was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in 2008.Hankins has the measurables and skill set that NFL teams look for in a nose tackle. At a listed weight of 322 pounds, Hankins is a massive man, and with that size comes great strength and power. He supplements that girth with a rare level of quickness and athleticism for a man of his size, which truly makes him a special player and NFL prospect.In order to contain his size and explosive combination of strength and quickness, opposing offensive lines consistently double-teamed Hankins throughout his OSU career.In two full seasons as a starter, Hankins was very productive, picking up 122 tackles and 15 tackles for loss, but much of his impact doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. He is not a great pass-rusher, but by consistently occupying blockers, he frees up lanes for his teammates to make plays.By entering the draft, Hankins enters a class that is highly competitive among defensive tackle prospects. Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Alabama’s Jesse Williams and Georgia’s John Jenkins are all massive but athletic nose tackles like Hankins, and all should be first-round picks. Even with all of that competition to be among the draft’s top picks, it would come as a big surprise if Hankins falls outside of the top 20.Defensive tackles with Hankins’ size, athleticism, ability to impact plays and collegiate productivity don’t come along in every draft class. With the potential to be a top-10 draft choice, it is hard to blame him for choosing to make the jump to the next level. He should have the opportunity to play immediately, and he will get paid for it.By leaving one season early for the NFL, Hankins sacrificed the opportunity to be part of a Buckeyes team expected to make a national championship run in 2013. On the other side of the equation, the Buckeyes lose one of their best defensive players, and will have no returning starters on the defensive line next season.Even with Hankins’ early exit and the graduations of 2012 starters John Simon, Nathan Williams and Garrett Goebel, the Buckeyes should still have a strong defensive line next season. The Buckeyes have done a great job recruiting defensive linemen over the past few years, including sophomore Michael Bennett and freshmen Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, all of whom played well in limited action this season, and will likely form the Buckeyes’ starting front four next year.Of the four departing linemen, Hankins will be the toughest to replace, as the Buckeyes do not have another player on the roster with Hankins’ combination of size and explosive athleticism. But even with his loss, the Buckeyes have enough talent on defense to be a championship-caliber team in 2013.Hankins has the versatility to excel at the next level in the middle of a three-man defensive front or as one of two defensive tackles in a four-man front. That makes him an attractive option for any team in need of a defensive tackle. Potential teams who could draft Hankins include the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.The 2013 NFL draft begins April 25. If not the first defensive tackle selected, Hankins should at least be among the top two or three.
According to the Italian portal Calciomercato, AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain has returned to full training after missing two straight Serie A encounters with Sassuolo and Empoli.A nasty looking thigh injury that threatened to sideline the former River Plate star for a while seems to be a false alarm, as Higuain should feature already in the next weekend’s encounter with Chievo Verona.The 30-year-old Argentinean arrived at the Stadio San Siro this summer from Juventus, as the Rossoneri desperately tried to secure the services of a top-class forward.After scoring a goal on his debut in a friendly match against Real Madrid, Higuain has made the Serie A breakthrough against Cagliari, after which he broke the deadlock against Atalanta in the following fixture. He also buried Milan’s winning goal in the Europa League opener against Dudelange.Karsdorp reveals he had too much stress at Roma Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The Dutch defender has been with the Gialorrossi since 2017, but he has not enjoyed his time in the Italian Lega Serie A.Higuain’s goal pic.twitter.com/e8G4xm0jPN— #FreeLocatelli (@semo33) September 23, 2018With the Rossoneri’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos around the corner, Gennaro Gattuso might be looking to rest his number nine to avoid further complications and instead field Patrick Cutrone who seems to be finding his last season’s form.
.The cabinet division on Monday approved the draft hajj package, 2019, fixing the minimum cost for a pilgrim at Tk 344,000, up by Tk 24,645 from the previous year under package-2 of the government management, reports UNB.Pilgrims have to pay Tk 418,500 to avail package-1 under the government management, he said.Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam disclosed this at a press briefing at the secretariat after a cabinet meeting held at PM’s office with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.The minimum cost for a pilgrim who will perform hajj under private arrangement has been fixed at Tk 344,000.A total of 127,198 pilgrims will be able to perform hajj this year. Of them, 120,000 pilgrims will go to Saudi Arabia under private management while 7,198 under government management, said Shafiul.The plane fare has been fixed at Tk 128,000 which was Tk 138,191 last year, he said.