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Twitter/RussiniIn just a few short weeks, Dianna Russini, a 32-year-old former sports anchor for NBC Washington, will be making her debut for ESPN. The news was announced back in mid-May, and Russini recently finished up her last day with her former employer. She’s expected to be an anchor for the Worldwide Leader’s SportsCenter program. How often she’ll be featured is still a mystery.Where is she from? How did she get her career started? Is she single? We’ve got all of those answers and more, along with a few photos of the rising star. In Photos: Everything You Need To Know About ESPN’s Dianna Russini >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7
Jakarta: Three tourists were killed and dozens others injured on Monday after an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia’s Lombok island, causing subsequent landslides. The incident took place in Tiu Kelep waterfall in Senaru village near Mount Rinjani, reports Xinhua news agency. Two victims were Malaysian nationals who were visiting the coutry along with 38 other travellers. The third victim was an Indonesian tourist. The landslides trapped a total of 38 visitors, of which 35 were rescued. Twenty visitors were badly injured and dozens of others sustained minor wounds, a disaster management official said. Some 32 buildings collapsed and 500 were affected with moderate damage. More than 80 people, 22 of them Malaysians, had to be evacuated from Mount Rinjani.
The General Election this time has been marked by a significant amount of violence in the run-up to the polls in several parts of the country. The bitterness amongst the contesting parties in states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra precipitated clashes between rival workers testing the efficacy and impartiality of the local police. The institution of the State Electoral Officer did not seem to be strong enough in monitoring the performance of the district police officials and taking action against those who showed serious dereliction of duty. Violence around polling booths is a negation of democratic rights of the voters and by now India should have been able to practice zero tolerance towards this malaise. It is high time a commission examined the ways and means of ensuring peace during elections and defined specific policy measures in this regard for the future. It is highly regrettable that the largest democracy in the world cannot liberate the election process of street-level violence. Clearly, in the federal scheme of things, it is the state police chief who has to take direct responsibility for it and demonstrate his or her apolitical credentials while handling law and order during elections with an iron fist. There should be no delay in the implementation of the Supreme Court order issued last year against the practice of appointing officiating DGPs – that also clearly laid down that the UPSC will draw up a panel of three names in consultation with the state government and that the state government will make one of them the DGP of the state on the basis of merit-cum-seniority. This is the single most important Police reform that the Centre must put in place at once. Another area of political violence that showed up during and outside of elections, concerns the injurious fallout from public speeches that tended to instigate caste, communal or regional conflicts. Pungent wit and some name-calling without violating the law of defamation could be a legit part of electioneering but deliberately indulging in identity politics and questioning the symbols of nationalism became much too obvious in the poll fray this time. India is vulnerable to communal and caste tensions and freedom of expression cannot be allowed to cross the legal limits put on it by the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1972 that created Sections 153A & 153B to define cognizable and non-bailable offences pertaining to sectarian speeches. The police machinery of the districts has to be strengthened a great deal with manpower and technological equipment to enable it to handle this rampant criminality committed by the people in public life today. Follow up on the blatant violations of law noticed in this General Election should continue even after the poll process is over. The most dangerous form of political violence that is steadily permeating our nation, however, is the rise of new terror emanating from faith-based motivation. Terrorism by definition is the resort to ‘covert violence for a perceived political cause’. In the absence of such a ’cause’, the violence will just be sheer criminality; and terrorism is not that, certainly. A cause demands ‘commitment’ which in turn is rooted in ‘motivation’. India has seen diverse motivations behind terror movements and insurgencies – ‘ideological’ that sustained Maoism or assertion of ‘ethnic identity’ that was the case with North-East insurgent groups – but the new global terror that is now afflicting the world and becoming a prime security threat to India is a class apart since it is linked to the call of ‘defence of Islam’ or Jihad. This is an outcome of the complications connected with the ‘war on terror’ launched against the Islamic radicals by the US-led West post 9/11 on the one hand and the cross border terrorism started by Pakistan to settle scores with India using India- specific terror outfits under the ISI control, on the other. Developments in recent times have made Pakistan the world repository of Islamic militancy and the agencies in that country are now manoeuvring the entire spectrum of militants from Al Qaeda-Taliban combine and ISIS at one end to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen at the other. The keenness of the US to work for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan has given a lot of residual advantage to Pakistan in terms of its plans to use Islamic militants as a strategic resource for furthering its foreign policy objectives. India has much to feel concerned about the way the US was relying on Pakistan to reach a settlement with the Taliban. While this is the scene in Afghanistan, the recent terror bombings against Christians and Western tourists in and around Colombo have been claimed by ISIS. What is more significant, the local radical outfit, the National Towheed Jamaat, complicit in this covert offensive in Sri Lanka is found to have links with Pakistan and South India. It is already known that Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operating out of Pakistan with patronage from ISI has the avowed aim of establishing Islamic State in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. India, unlike the US, is directly in the arc of Islamic militancy and needs to strategise for national security against this new threat of faith-based terror. It is extremely disquieting that political discourse in India – and this became sharper in the election campaign – has tended to drag Pakistan into the discussions on minorities here. This trend has started from Jammu and Kashmir where the regional parties have openly advocated a communally-based ‘solution’ by talking of the Valley and not about the integral state of J&K that is home to many religions. They have strengthened the hands of Pakistan which finds it convenient to project Kashmir as a Muslim issue and create a communal divide in the domestic politics of India. The same effect is produced by some opposition leaders at the national level who criticised the ‘muscular’ policy of the Modi government towards Pakistan but maintained deliberate silence on the infiltration of terrorists by Pakistan’s ISI across the LOC to create violence in the state. The campaign for General Election this time has deepened the communal antagonism on majority-minority line and left the country vulnerable to Pak machinations to generate militancy as a byproduct of communal disharmony. In the initial decades after Independence, India witnessed communal riots primarily because of the legacy of Partition but these subsided as the democratic processes took firm root and equality of rights played out for everybody. The rise of new global terror that invokes the cause of Islam has made it possible – particularly because of the mischief of Pak agencies – for radicalisation to seep into India, howsoever small may be its spread in the country so far. The events at Colombo come as a wake-up call for our security set-up. Various communities of India at the level of average citizens want to lead a peaceful life and make use of whatever opportunities of economic advancement that would become available to them. It should not be difficult to achieve a convergence amongst all communities on the external threats to national security if the leaders of the communities did not seek political power by dividing the people. Our laws and security policy should provide for quick punishment for those who tried to gain from the advocacy of violence in course of projection of religion into politics. Our ruling dispensation should be upfront about it – this seems to be the major learning from the 2019 national election. (The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are strictly personal)
The United States kicks off its 2014 World Cup campaign on Monday against Ghana, the team that eliminated the Stars and Stripes from the 2010 tournament in the round of 16. That’s the must-watch game in the U.S. But for most of the rest of the world, it’s Germany versus Portugal.See our World Cup interactive for the latest probabilities. — Allison McCannIN DEPTHSo what’s changed for Ghana and the U.S. since they last faced each other on this stage?America’s lineup has been transformed in the four years since 2010’s disappointment. Only four of the U.S. starting 11 from the loss to Ghana — goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielders Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, and striker Jozy Altidore — will be in coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s opening lineup Monday. (The most notable absence is Landon Donovan, though central defender Carlos Bocanegra was another useful veteran who saw his role with Team USA phased out in recent years.)Klinsmann made clear his preference for a fresh group during the selection process, and — Donovan’s ouster aside — that’s not a bad thing. New faces since 2010, including Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron, have acquitted themselves reasonably well for clubs in Europe, a factor Klinsmann values highly. Graham Zusi, Brad Davis and Matt Besler are playing effectively in MLS. The cupboard isn’t quite as bare as is widely believed, though the U.S. is still far from elite in the talent department.As for Ghana, it’s turned over six of its eleven starting slots from four years ago — although most of its best players from 2010 are back, including jack-of-all-trades Kwadwo Asamoah, midfielders Andre Ayew, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien, and striker Asamoah Gyan. The Black Stars have also promoted the talented two-way midfielder Sulley Muntari into a regular starting role since their last World Cup meeting with the United States. (Needless to say, midfield is the strength of Ghana’s roster.)Most members of that group are plying their trade in top European leagues, so Ghana’s high-end talent is probably superior to that of the United States. But Ghana’s edge in talent hasn’t always translated in international play. It ranked just 38th in the pre-World Cup Elo Ratings, while the Americans ranked 13th.When ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ranks teams, it attempts to combine these two elements — observed results and underlying talent — into a single rating for a given national team. And the current SPI rankings say the United States and Ghana are in a dead heat. The U.S. ranks 22nd in the world with a 77.53 SPI — meaning the Americans would compile 77.53 percent of the possible points if they played a round robin against every other national team in the world. Ghana ranks 25th, with an SPI of 77.37. That’s the smallest SPI margin between any two teams that will face each other in the group stage of this World Cup.As of Sunday, the sportsbook Bovada has Ghana as a slim favorite over the U.S., 35.8 percent to 34.5 percent (with a 29.7 percent chance of a draw). The FiveThirtyEight match projection system flips those odds around, giving the United States a very slight edge: 37.5 percent to 33 percent. Whatever happens, U.S.-Ghana should be one of the most evenly matched showdowns of the entire World Cup.YesterdayArgentina’s 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday served notice to the casual soccer fan: One individual moment of brilliance can overshadow an average game.In the first 64 minutes of the match, Argentina’s Lionel Messi was the game’s most active participant in the attacking third, but the three chances he created didn’t translate into a single shot on goal. And he had turned the ball over a game-high three times.In the 65th minute, Messi reminded the Maracana how quickly he can change a game. He made a run from the midfield, past Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic, and played a quick 1-2 ball to teammate Gonzalo Higuain. Messi’s short-burst quickness created separation from Besic, and he hesitated slightly before the shot, driving another Bosnian player into Besic and out of position.Messi then banked a left-footed shot off the post for the eventual game-winning goal, Argentina’s first shot on goal of the match and only the second goal of Messi’s World Cup career. From his first touch in midfield to the ball crossing the goal line, the entire sequence took just over 9.5 seconds and erased the match’s first 64 minutes from spectators’ memory.That was all it took; the night belonged to Messi, whose production under Alejandro Sabella has been outstanding. Messi has 22 goals in 26 international games since Sabella became Argentina’s manager in September 2011, compared with 17 goals in 61 matches under all other managers. — John Parolin, senior stats analyst, ESPNOFF THE PITCHIf Ghana defeats the United States on Monday, Americans shouldn’t be too quick to feel ill-disposed toward the West African nation. The United States imports two bread-and-butter items from Ghana (though they are neither bread nor butter): oil and chocolate. In 2011, just more than 44 percent of Ghanaian exports to the United States was oil (crude and refined) and roughly 42 percent was chocolate (cocoa beans, chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa paste and cocoa butter). That’s $374,624,626 in chocolate.Ghana also sent $7,016,768 in fake hair to the U.S. Thanks, Ghana!What does the U.S. send to Ghana? Cars — worth about $303 million in 2011. — Micah CohenFurther ReadingCtrl + ← The World Cup, the World Cup And the World CupHow Soccer Explains the Sports Page
Sophomore guard Walter Offutt is leaving the Ohio State men’s basketball team to transfer to another university, coach Thad Matta announced Tuesday.Offutt will finish fall quarter at OSU before determining where he will relocate.The Indianapolis native has appeared in 23 career games for the Buckeyes, averaging 1.3 points per game.
The Buckeye quarterback battle has dominated talk at the water cooler, but the biggest concern heading into spring might have been the lack of depth at wide receiver. With DeVier Posey suspended for the first five games of the season and the graduation of Dane Sanzenbacher, the Buckeyes lost virtually all meaningful experience at the position. The Buckeyes have a collection of young players who hope to fill the void, but their performances in the early parts of the spring were far from encouraging. “We got young guys at receiver and I thought they really came along this spring,” coach Jim Tressel said after the Spring Game on Saturday. “I think after about three practices we were thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, we might be in three (tight ends), a fullback and a tailback.’” But Posey took it upon himself to bring the younger guys along. “I think for me the biggest thing to get those guys to understand as far as leading by example is practicing hard every single day,” Posey said. “I want them to see how passionate I play, how the game is supposed to be played and how fast the game is supposed to be played so that they can learn from that.” Posey said the receivers needed some help getting accustomed to college football and the rigors of being a student-athlete. “They had some rough days,” Posey said. “They had some days they didn’t want to play football anymore, and they had some days where they looked like All-Americans and I felt like that was key to get those guys on a straight line and keep them consistent.” Posey’s example seemed to make a big difference. During the first two jersey scrimmages, Posey was the only receiver to reach the end zone, but Saturday’s Spring Game saw four new receivers cross the goal line. At 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, redshirt freshman T.Y. Williams is an imposing physical target. He’s had issues catching the ball in his brief time at Ohio State, but he led the team in receiving yards Saturday with three receptions for 83 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Taylor Graham. Sophomore Corey “Philly” Brown is the only receiver with legitimate game experience. Brown had eight receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown last year and is the leading candidate to replace Posey as the top wide receiver. He hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Miller on Saturday. Tressel seemed prophetic after calling redshirt freshman Verlon Reed the “dark horse” before the Spring Game. Reed caught Saturday’s first touchdown pass, a 17-yard strike from Kenny Guiton. A quarterback in high school, Reed has caught the attention of his teammates with his play. “I think he’s stepped up,” offensive lineman Mike Brewster said. “I think he’s started to make a name for himself on the team.” Ryan Ross also caught a touchdown from Joe Bauserman. “I felt like a proud dad today watching three of them score touchdowns and making big plays,” Posey said. “To me, that shows their growth and that shows their maturity.” Posey said the success for the young receivers in the spring game will help their progression through the summer and fall camps. “It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Posey said of the receivers’ touchdowns. “I think that was Corey’s second time scoring at Ohio Stadium and it was Tyrone and Verlon’s first time. They’re happy, man, and I’m really excited for those guys.” But the young group still has a ways to go. Most of the receivers’ success came when the first-team defense watched from the sidelines. “(The receivers) need to have tremendous progress between now and September,” Tressel said. “But I think for all of our guys, receivers especially, with the youth of them, this spring was well-served.” Recruits Devin Smith and Evan Spencer will both join the receiver battle this summer and hope to help the offense deal with Posey’s absence. Posey, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Tressel will join them for failing to report their violations. OSU has until July 5 to respond to the NCAA’s questions and will meet with the Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12.
Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur has given insight into Thibaut Courtois’ difficult circumstances at Chelsea after he was absent from training on MondayThe Belgian goalkeeper failed to report back for pre-season training at the club’s Cobham training base on Monday after Chelsea decided to put talks with Real Madrid on hold until they have found themselves a suitable replacement.Courtois, who has been away on holiday following his exploits at the World Cup for Belgium this summer, appears to be getting desperate to force through a move to Real after reportedly telling new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri that he intends to leave this summer.But with just two days remaining until the English transfer window closes, time is now very much against Courtois and the 26-year-old is now to be resorting to desperate measures to make his dream move a reality.“Chelsea are searching for a solution for this situation because they have already known for a while, since January when Courtois rejected a new contract offer, that he wasn’t going to sign a new deal,” explained Terreur, via Football365.“They know his personal situation with his kids living with his former partner in Madrid, him wanting to be closer to them and pursuing a challenge in Madrid too.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“His mind has never left Madrid after he spent three years on loan over there. Still he dreams of Madrid and that’s what Chelsea know too.“Chelsea have told Real Madrid that until they have found a replacement they cannot give the move a green light.“It might end up on Thursday at four o’clock that they suddenly find a new goalkeeper.“I don’t think the club can take a gamble on letting him go for free next summer. Now they will get £30-£40m for him and they can still buy a good replacement.”Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak and Jack Butland of Stoke have been lined-up as potential replacements for Courtois at Chelsea.
Paris Saint-German will be facing another Ligue 1 side on Friday and their coach Thomas Tuchel would not open up about playing Liverpool in their opening game in the Champions League while the media confronted him with the matter.PSG may be recording their five straight win in the opening of Ligue 1 this season but the inquisitive media would jump beyond that to bring up the matter of the club going over to England on Tuesday to open their Champions League run against Liverpool.But this curiosity of the media never caught the club manager’s fancy as he wasn’t going to engage the matter yet.Opinion: Neymar needs to apologize to PSG’s supporters Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 After such a dramatic summer during the transfer window, Neymar truly needs to apologize to all the PSG supporters this weekend.When Neymar finished last…“This is not the subject,” he said, according to Mail Online.“Today is about Saint Etienne and everyone in the club should be aware that it’s important.”“I did not know nobody had ever done it. We want to win, it’s clear, but I expect a tough match against a disciplined opponent, for which I have a lot of respect.”
The Slovakian footballer is focused in his time with Italian Lega Serie A club Napoli and is not thinking about a moveSlovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik has been with Italian Lega Serie A club Napoli since 2007.The 31-year-old has scored 100 goals in 400 matches played.But lately, there has been a rumor going around that he is looking for a move to China.Marek Hamsik’s father spoke to Football Italia about a possible move.Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“It is too soon to tell if this could be his final season at Napoli,” he said.“He has a contract to 2020 with an option until 2021.”“We all hope he can remain, but it’s still too early to say,” he added.“I watched the game at the San Paolo and thought Marek played very well against the Reds, as did the whole team.”“Let’s not forget that Liverpool are a very strong side, but that shows just how well Napoli played,” he concluded.