About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea defender David Luiz: We must find consistencyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea defender David Luiz says finding a winning consistency is key to returning to the top.Luiz knows Chelsea need consistency, after their win over Manchester City was sandwiched between defeats against Wolves and Leicester.He said: “In those games we had the same problem after the goal we conceded. We changed our style. We have to be consistent in the way we play, and after that the results are going to come.”Luiz praised Eden Hazard, who has been playing as a false nine recently. “He’s a fantastic player, an intelligent player,” he said. “He is playing a different position but intelligent players can play anywhere. He is doing well and he deserves it.”
Fredericks: West Ham boost from Bournemouth drawby Paul Vegas25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveRyan Fredericks says West Ham United have gained plenty of confidence from their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.The Hammers came back twice to steal a valuable away point which leaves in fourth place on the Premier League table.”Coming back like that gives us a lot of positive feelings,” Fredericks called the club’s website.”We’re a confident bunch anyway and we know we can go anywhere and pick up a result.”We didn’t panic when we went 2-1 down. Obviously it was frustrating to go behind, especially so early in the second half, but we knew we were going to get chances. “We have very good forward players who always create chances so we knew that as long as we didn’t concede a third we’d always have a chance of getting back in the game.”We’re a different beast this season. We don’t want to just be up there and think ‘it’s nice to be here’. We think we’re good enough to stay in and around these positions so we’re going to fight for every point, every goal and I think teams know that when they play against us it’s never going to be an easy game.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
BRUSSELS – Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump jolted the NATO summit Wednesday by turning a spotlight on Germany’s ties to Russia and openly questioning the value of the military alliance that has defined American foreign policy for decades.Trump declared that a joint natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel’s government “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia.” So, in a stroke, he shifted attention away from his own ties to the Kremlin just days before he meets one-on-one with Putin.With scorching language, the president questioned the necessity of the alliance that formed a bulwark against Soviet aggression, tweeting after a day of contentious meetings: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?”German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump’s contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the U.S. gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.Drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain, she said:“I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good.”Trump demanded by public tweet that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025” for their military efforts. He then rattled U.S. allies further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 per cent of their gross domestic product on the military — more than even the United States currently pays, according to NATO statistics.It was just the latest in Trump’s demands and insults that critics fear will undermine a decades-old alliance launched to counter-balance Soviet aggression after World War II. And it came just days before Trump planned to sit down with Putin in Finland at the conclusion of what has become a contentious European trip.Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the U.S. and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members’ defence as required if they were ever attacked.Trump’s tongue-lashing accelerated during a pre-summit breakfast, when he traded his usual long-distance Twitter attacks for a face-to-face confrontation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.“We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate,” Trump said, repeatedly describing Germany as “captive to Russia” because of the energy deal. He urged NATO to look into the issue.Trump’s harsh words for Merkel, whose country has hosted tens of thousands of U.S. troops that have been key to post-WWII stability in Europe for seven decades, struck at the core of the alliance. West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a critical factor in the alliance’s success in facing down the Soviet Union until its collapse. Reunified with the East, Germany became the largest European economy in NATO in 1990.The president’s beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. It’s expected to be online at the end of 2019.Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country’s electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy.Hours after the breakfast, Merkel and Trump appeared to play nice as they met along the summit’s sidelines. Trump told reporters the two had a “very, very good relationship” and congratulated Merkel on her “tremendous success.”While Trump went after Germany for its ties to Russia, he himself has been accused by critics of being too eager to improve relations with Moscow. He’s also dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help him win.Trump also lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defence spending and suggested at one point that NATO allies commit to spending 4 per cent of their GDP on defence — twice the goal they’ve set for 2024.“I have great confidence they’ll be spending more,” he said.However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to the 2 per cent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to go higher.Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the spending target, wrongly describing it as a fee that countries pay to NATO or the U.S. rather than their own military. NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.Back in the U.S., Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump’s “brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany,” as “an embarrassment.”“His behaviour this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” they wrote.Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, also criticized Trump’s rhetoric.“I do believe everybody should get to 2 per cent quickly, but the NATO alliance is something that’s very important to the United States and our citizenry, and things that are said to try and create instability, all that it does is strengthen Putin,” Corker said, describing concerns “about conciliatory things that could occur in Helsinki” when Trump sits down with the Russian president.But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, a strong supporter of the president, said the pipeline issue strikes at the “heart of NATO unity.”“The pipeline gets cheap Russian gas to Germany while bypassing smaller Eastern European nations, allowing Russia to pressure them while Germany is held harmless,” he tweeted, adding: “No amount of preening in Berlin will cover this nakedly selfish policy.”___Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington, Matthew Lee in Brussels and Maria Danilova in Moscow contributed to this report.___Follow Colvin and Lemire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/JonLemirePresident Donald Trump barrelled into a NATO summit Wednesday with claims that a natural gas pipeline deal has left Germany “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia” as he lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defence spending during the opening of what was expected to be a fraught two-day meeting.Trump also suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence — double the current goal of 2 per cent by 2024.The president, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that kicked off his visit, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia.“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia,” Trump said at a breakfast with Stoltenberg. “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate.”Trump repeatedly described Germany as “captive to Russia” because of the energy deal and urged NATO to look into the issue.German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back firmly, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions and drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain.“I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good,” she said.The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. It’s expected to be online at the end of 2019.Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country’s electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy. The alternatives, including U.S. supplies, are more expensive.In their back-and-forth, Stoltenberg stressed to Trump that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences. “I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart,” he told the president, trying to calm tensions.Trump’s dramatic exchange with Stoltenberg set the tone for what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance as Trump presses jittery NATO allies about their military spending ahead of his meeting next week with Putin.“The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some. So we’re going to have a meeting on that,” Trump said, describing the situation as “disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States.”“They will spend more,” he later predicted. “I have great confidence they’ll be spending more.”And with that, he went on to push allies at the summit to double their commitment on defence spending.“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said the president raised the same issue at NATO last year and that, “Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to the 2 per cent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 per cent.Trump’s pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has proclaimed himself eager to improve relations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win. Trump has long argued that improving relaxations with Russia would be good for both nations.Back in the U.S., Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump’s “brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany,” as “an embarrassment.”“His behaviour this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” they wrote.Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying “I don’t agree with that. Germans wouldn’t agree with that. They are a very strong people.”But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, a strong supporter of the president, said the pipeline issue strikes at the “heart of NATO unity.”“The pipeline gets cheap Russian gas to Germany while bypassing smaller Eastern European nations, allowing Russia to pressure them while Germany is held harmless,” he tweeted, adding: “No amount of preening in Berlin will cover this nakedly selfish policy.”Despite Trump’s claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing — and maintaining — sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the international order established after World War II. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine.Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.Trump told reporters the two had a “very, very good relationship” and congratulated Merkel on her “tremendous success.” Asked if they had discussed the pipeline, he said they had, but declined to elaborate.Merkel, for her part, called the two nations “good partners” and said “we wish to continue to co-operate in the future.”Trump then met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he disagreed with Trump’s pipeline assessment. But the two appeared on good terms, with Trump joking about the fact that Macron had been asked about it.Trump has long pushed NATO members to meet their agreed-to target of 2 per cent by 2024 and has accused those who don’t of freeloading off the U.S.He tweeted from the summit: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Putin.__Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington and Maria Danilova in Moscow contributed to this report.__Follow Colvin and Lemire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/JonLemire
Americans’ path to homeownership is likely to get more expensive this year, even as a severe shortage of homes for sale shows signs of easing.Mortgage rates, which climbed through much of last year, will continue to rise in 2019, driving up homebuyers’ borrowing costs and shutting others out of the market entirely. The projected result: a cooling housing market and falling home sales nationally.“On the whole, it’s going to be more expensive for buyers next year, despite the fact that they’ll have more options,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.The U.S housing market stalled in 2018 after a long period during which price increases outpaced income growth. That had been offset by historically low mortgage rates, until rates began rising steadily a year ago.While still low by historical standards, the average rate on a 30-year home loan was 4.55 per cent last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. That’s up from 3.99 per cent a year earlier.Realtor.com and Redfin forecast the rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage will rise to 5.5 per cent by the end of 2019. Zillow expects rates will reach 5.8 per cent. That would be rates’ highest level since the last recession.A mere extra half percentage point can boost monthly payments and add tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the typical 30-year loan.“Rising mortgage rates will take a bite out of affordability on top of an already supply- constrained and high-priced housing market,” Trulia senior economist Cheryl Young wrote in her forecast.As mortgage rates increase, so does the pressure on would-be buyers to lock in a rate and close a deal.Nate Vogel, a homebuyer in the Denver suburb of Lafayette, has felt some of that pressure after about a year looking for a home without success.Because of the limited number of homes for sale, especially under $500,000, the software engineering manager recently decided to look at homes at the top of his budget, $650,000. But that could be a problem if mortgage rates continue climbing.“If that interest rate goes up another per cent, that would make things much more uncomfortable,” said Vogel, 37. “At this point, no matter what house I buy, I’m sure the interest rate will probably be higher and the payment will be more.”Higher mortgage rates have already started dampening home sales. As of November, sales of previously occupied U.S. homes were down 7 per cent from a year earlier, the steepest decline since May 2011, when the housing market had yet to bounce back from the bust.Realtor.com predicts U.S. home sales will fall another 2 per cent in 2019.It’s not all bad news for would-be buyers, though. Economists project home prices will rise more slowly in 2019. Zillow’s forecast calls for prices to increase nationally by about 3.8 per cent. Realtor.com has them rising at just 2.2 per cent.Another plus for buyers: The number of homes on the market is expected to continue rising, albeit from historic low levels. The inventory of U.S. homes for sale was up 4.2 per cent as of November to 1.74 million units.Alex Veiga, The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has opened a new restroom facility at Mile 202 of the Alaska Highway.As part of the ‘Gotta Go’ pilot project, Electoral Area B Director Karen Goodings says this project is an important part of developing the Region’s transportation infrastructure, adding that this new restroom is a vital addition for those travelling through the area.“The ‘Gotta Go’ pilot project is an important part of developing our transportation infrastructure. Providing a rest area, increasing cell coverage, and providing information on our Alaska Highway will be a benefit to our important economic drivers, including tourism. Those of us who live and travel in our region know how vital the addition of this new rest area is and appreciate the cooperation of all involved to make it happen.” According to the District, more plans are underway to transform the area into a fully functioning rest stop, including picnic tables, a cellphone booster tower, and informational signage about the area and highway.The new facility was developed under the ‘Gotta Go’ pilot project in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, along with Northern B.C. Tourism and other various partners.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced a list of TMC candidates for all the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state, dropping 10 sitting MPs. She also attacked the BJP and the Modi government, claiming she had information that “VVIPs” were using helicopters and chartered flights to transport money to bribe voters. Releasing the list, the West Bengal leader assailed the Centre over a host of issues including the Rafale deal,farm distress and shrinking employment opportunities. Banerjee, also the TMC supremo, said the outgoing TMC lawmakers whose names do not figure in the list will be drafted for party work. She said 41 per cent of the nominees in the list are women. The TMC, she said, will also contest some seats in Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar and the Andamans.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a supplementary chargesheet against former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala in connection with a money-laundering case on Thursday.The agency mentioned in the chargesheet that immovable assets worth Rs 3.68 crore were attached by it on April 13 in relation to four properties in Delhi, Panchkula and Sirsa. It said the investigation conducted so far under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had revealed that Chautala laundered the disproportionate assets by depositing illegal cash in the bank accounts of his and his family members. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The ED said this was done to avoid the back trail of money, merge the illegal cash with genuine income and show it as untainted. This laundered money was further used to purchase new properties or carry out construction on the already acquired properties. The chargesheet was filed before special judge Kamini Lau, who posted the matter for consideration on May 16. Referring to Chautala’s affidavits filed before the 2005 and 2009 Haryana Assembly polls, the agency said he had disclosed his assets to publicly Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&Kproject the tainted properties as untainted. “During the period between May 24, 1993 and May 5, 2006, O P Chautala, while functioning as a public servant (the CM of Haryana), allegedly acquired assets disproportionate to his income to the tune of Rs 6,09,79,026. The value of the disproportionate assets acquired by O P Chautala is in the form of various movable and immovable properties which constitutes ‘proceeds of crime’ in this case. “The calculation of these accumulated disproportionate assets of Chautala was based on oral and documentary evidence collected by the CBI during investigation and included all sources of income and expenses. Chautala had invested these disproportionately acquired assets mainly in the following properties…,” the chargesheet said.
ALGIERS- Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a mini-stroke last year, returned home on Thursday after spending three days at a Paris hospital undergoing medical tests, national media reported.“Bouteflika returned to Algiers on Thursday, mid-afternoon, after a medical check-up at the Val-de-Grace hospital in Paris,” the APS news agency reported.The tests showed “an overall improvement” in the health of the 76-year-old president, who has until Sunday to convene the organising committee for an April presidential election in which the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) has asked him to stand for a fourth term. Bouteflika was intially expected to return on Friday, APS reported, after his office unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that he had been flown to Paris for a “routine check-up.”The health of the ageing president, who has ruled Algeria since 1999, has become an intensifying source of speculation since he was rushed to the same military hospital in Paris following his mini-stroke last April.Despite the health concerns that have dogged the last nine years of his presidency, he has still not ruled out the possibility of running for a fourth term in April, creating uncertainty which has paralysed Algerian politics.
sara.ziegler: I just really have a hard time with Minshew Mania.Is it a real thing? Seriously?Salfino: Minshew was pretty meh in college.I mean, 7.2 yards per attempt at Washington State? Big deal. If he’s so good, why wasn’t he better there?joshua.hermsmeyer: I think it’s probably the case that accuracy is still undervalued in an NFL QB, and Minshew is certainly accurate.neil: He has a 110.6 passer rating but ranks 30th of 35 qualified QBs in air yards per attempt. So he’s definitely not making plays happen downfield.Salfino: Minshew seems to be getting all the swag that Baker Mayfield has lost. It’s a zero sum game with them.neil: Douchey mustachioed QBs: There Can Be Only One.Salfino: Love it.sara.ziegler: LOLOLOLjoshua.hermsmeyer: JAX was very efficient with Minshew, though. They averaged 0.25 EPA per play on 18 early-down passes with Gardner. And even when we account for his low depth of target, he completed more passes than we’d expect.neil: Jacoby Brissett was kind of the same way. He has the second-lowest air yards per attempt in the league but got the job done against Atlanta.joshua.hermsmeyer: Bigger picture, though, one explanation for all these new QBs doing well is the importance of a game plan. And it’s hard to scheme a defense for a QB if you’ve never seen them — or only seen a little of them.Salfino: Yes, exactly. I mean, Browning Nagle had a great first game. I was measuring him for a gold jacket, IIRC.neil: Browning Nagle!OMGNot a name I was expecting to hear this morning. Or, like, ever.sara.ziegler: What a blast from the past.Salfino: It’s a cautionary tale.joshua.hermsmeyer: Speaking of great first games… Eric Hipple-level awesomeness.neil: Wow.sara.ziegler: So you’re saying Giants fans should temper their expectations?Seems … unlikely.Salfino: If I were a Giants fan, I’d be thrilled with how Jones played. He was trailing badly, he lost Saquon Barkley, and he rallied the team back late. The only thing wrong with that game from a Giants perspective was the blown field goal at the end.joshua.hermsmeyer: Organizationally, they have to be thrilled with the win!sara.ziegler: Jones’s performance in that game boosted his Elo points in our model by 21 points. Which seems good!neil:And yet Elo still rates Eli better, LOL.joshua.hermsmeyer: Of the young QBs who played, Jones pushed the ball downfield more than anyone else. His depth of pass averaged almost 10 yards downfield. And he ran well. Reminded me of Josh Allen quite a bit.Salfino: The reports were that he could run. And unlike Allen, he did not seem to run recklessly, either.neil: “Reminded me of Josh Allen quite a bit.” — I think that’s a compliment…sara.ziegler: (Also, I just confused Josh Allen with Kyle Allen, and I always confuse Josh Allen with Josh Rosen. MORE DISTINCTIVE NAMES, PLEASE.)neil: (3-0 BILLS, BABY!)(CIRCLE THE WAGONS)Salfino: The Bills are this year’s Dolphins.neil: The Bills are this year’s Bills.sara.ziegler: 🤣 🤣 🤣How about Teddy Bridgewater? How did you guys think he did?joshua.hermsmeyer: Not great.sara.ziegler: AwwwwI have a soft spot for Teddy, always.joshua.hermsmeyer: Dink and dunk and threw short a ton, and didn’t complete many of them.neil: He was no Eric Hipple. Or Bobby Hebert. (See, I can throw random 1980s QB names out there too!)Salfino: I thought Payton was a coward for not starting Taysom Hill after all the Steve Young talk. But he was smart to keep using Alvin Kamara consistently. There’s no Drew Brees cushion now. So there’s no room for Latavius Murray touches in Kamara’s place. I thought Bridgewater was grinding it out, but I saw nothing from him that makes me bullish about the Saints’ chances next week against the Cowboys.sara.ziegler: So no one was impressed with a win on the road against Seattle? Dang — tough crowd.neil: In all seriousness, our model thought Bridgewater played OK. He played like a game manager, which basically what you want out of a guy keeping Brees’s seat warm for the next month-plus, right?Salfino: I get the game manager thing, but I do not think the rest of the Saints team is good enough to win this way. They got lucky with another Chris Carson fumble that became the dreaded Fumble Six.The Saints gave up 26 first downs and 515 yards and were about doubled in yardage. This win goes into the “miracle” bucket.joshua.hermsmeyer: Still, if they can luck their way into a .500 record while Brees is out, that’s pretty promising for their playoff hopes, I think.sara.ziegler: For sure.neil: And for what it’s worth, we give them a 62 percent chance of winning the NFC South after yesterday’s events.The Falcons seem very meh.joshua.hermsmeyer: Profoundly meh. sara.ziegler: That ’stache…..joshua.hermsmeyer: HE CUTS HIS OWN JORTS!sara.ziegler: LOLOLneil: That’s the most Jacksonville thing I’ve ever heard.joshua.hermsmeyer: On early-season reactions, this is also a great bit of research our friend Adi Wyner and his student Zach Drapkin at Wharton did. neil: Tampa keeps finding ways to lose. And idk what to make of Carolina, which finally won but against Arizona, and with a backup under center.Salfino: Assuming Brees steps right back into being Brees, yes. But they are 27th in yardage allowed and have allowed 6.7 yards per play. The defense is bad.neil: That is true.Russell Wilson had the best game from Sunday nobody is talking about. He threw for 406 yards and had two passing TDs and two rushing TDs.joshua.hermsmeyer: Wilson is playing the best ball of his career, I believe.Salfino: Wilson has an ability to really turn it on late in games regardless of how he’s played previously in games. Rational coaching would note how effective he is playing with his hair on fire, just make that their offense and win games early. But…sara.ziegler: The NFC West is so interesting. The Rams have not been super inspiring in their first three games, and yet they’ve won them all.And the Niners!Salfino: So true about the Rams. Their offense is so consistently uninspiring. The only thing that worked yesterday was Cooper Kupp. The only quasi-good game the Saints have played on defense was at LAR.neil: Have defenses figured out Sean McVay’s offense?They were held without a first-half TD yesterday against Cleveland, after the same being true against New Orleans. That’s twice in three games after only happening once all regular season last year.Salfino: Maybe some of this is due to the RB Who Used To Be Todd Gurley.joshua.hermsmeyer: I’ve heard a lot of chatter about how teams are stealing the front Bill Belichick used against the Rams in the Super Bowl. Basically it takes away the outside runs, and some believe that it chokes off the Rams’ ability to run passing plays off of it. To the extent that’s true, then yeah, I think the NFL has figured it out.However, if your offense is truly predicated on outside/wide zone being effective to win, I dunno. Seems bad to me.Salfino: On the one hand, Gurley is averaging 4.6 per carry, but man, it’s a quiet 4.6. A whispering 4.6. And he has four catches for eight yards after averaging over 11 yards per catch in McVay’s first two seasons.neil: At least Jared Goff used to be great on play-action. Now he ranks 25th out of 33 qualified QBs in QBR off play fakes. If it weren’t for Kupp, idk how bad Goff would have looked yesterday.Salfino: And remember the play-action fade started last year around Game 11 and extended into the postseason. So if you go back, we have almost a full season worth of games where the Rams’ play-action success has been well below average.sara.ziegler: The Rams were the first team I was going to bring up in our game of Good Team/Bad Team.So … Not Great Team?Salfino: Rams: OK team.joshua.hermsmeyer: Still my favorite for the West.neil: Good team, still. Because Aaron Donald.sara.ziegler: Yeah, he’s just a beast. So much fun to watch.Salfino: Donald is amazing. He can’t win Defensive Player of the Year three straight times, can he? Defensive excellence is not supposed to be this sustainably elite.neil: According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, the Rams pressured Baker Mayfield on 49 percent of his dropbacks.joshua.hermsmeyer: That’s an amazing stat, Neil. Helps explain — a little — his happy feet. He bailed on quite a few good pockets last night.Salfino: Well, Mayfield created his own pressure at times by leaking out of the pocket for no reason and into the pass rushers.neil: Yeah, there’s a weird Next Gen Stat from Sunday night where Mayfield did way better the less time he had to throw.He was 5-of-18 when taking longer than 2.5 seconds to throw, including that game-sealing interception in the end zone.idk what to do with that, but…Salfino: He seemed surprisingly indecisive last night. He’s just in a slump, something he’s not used to.sara.ziegler: The Browns are 1-2 now, with just the win against the Jets.So … are they bad?Salfino: The Browns were down seven starters last night and could have beaten a good team. I don’t think they are bad. They just need the Mayfield we thought we were getting. Coaching is a big issue too. You have both an inexperienced QB and coach now.The Rams gave them the QB draw to win the game the last two plays and it was not taken. That’s supposed to be an automatic. I mean, Jones took it for the Giants. And Baker laughed at Jones.joshua.hermsmeyer: Their coaching is atrocious.I think they have plenty of talent, though, if head coach Freddie Kitchens and the offensive coordinator can get it together.Salfino: I think we’re veering from one overreaction to the other for the Browns. They’re an 8-9 win team.sara.ziegler: A couple more Good/Bad Teams: How good are the Packers?neil: Our model ranks them 7th overall, which kind of sounds right? They’ve beaten some good teams, more on defense than anything else.Rodgers has been … fine … not ELITE though.Salfino: The Packers are not good and the offense is still disappointing.joshua.hermsmeyer: Through three games and 93 pass attempts, Rodgers does not look transformed. That was the hope — that new head coach Matt LaFleur would unlock the old efficiency. Early returns are that A-aron is gonna throw the ball away at historical rates.Salfino: Rodgers’s QBR is 46? Is he even good anymore? It’s been years since he’s been great. He hasn’t had even a good yards per pass attempt since … 2014.sara.ziegler: Any other thoughts on the teams that might be good but might also be bad?Salfino: Buffalo is not an actual contender, with a 36-year-old running back and one viable receiver. The Eagles are not bad and actually are still good — they would have won if not for seven dropped passes including the potential game-winner in the final minute. The Lions are unbeaten? Is that a misprint? They Niners are good — but 10-win good, not undefeated good. And we’re probably overreacting to the good play of the new QBs.joshua.hermsmeyer: I can’t believe you people don’t like this guy, smh. Helps to kind of temper the panic.sara.ziegler: Oh, that’s very interesting.BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OVERREACTIONS???neil: Just wait until Week 11. We will know SO much.Salfino: Makes sense. The old saw in football was that nothing really matters until the leaves turn brown.neil: I thought it was that “nothing really matters until the Browns fans turn and leave” (while hurling bottles on the field).Check out our latest NFL predictions. sara.ziegler (Sara Ziegler, sports editor): Week 3 of the NFL season is just about in the books, and we felt fully the ramifications of the injuries so far this season to star quarterbacks. Plus we saw a couple of young, highly touted quarterbacks take over the starting jobs on their teams just because of, well, ineptitude.So what did we learn this week from this new crop of QBs?Salfino (Michael Salfino, FiveThirtyEight contributor): I’m extremely surprised by how well Daniel Jones, Gardner Minshew and Kyle Allen played. We can say, “It’s easier than ever to be a quarterback because of the college passing.”joshua.hermsmeyer (Josh Hermsmeyer, NFL analyst): It’s interesting that most of the QBs who have stepped in because of injury or ineffectiveness have played pretty well. I think the only real stinkers were Mason Rudolph and Josh Rosen. Rudolph’s completion rate is 11.7 percentage points less than we would expect (despite throwing short a lot — his average depth of pass was just 6.7 yards). Rosen was even worse. On the season, he has completed just 43.3 percent of his passes, and his completion percentage is over 18 points worse than expected.But by and large, the new QBs were very good.neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): It might go back to something our friend Chase Stuart has been saying for a while: There are more solid QBs in the league than we probably acknowledge.
A little over two months after committing to Ohio State, four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield reopened his recruiting process Monday evening.I just open my recruitment please respect my decision — Andrew Chatfield™ (@Drew_Chatfield) August 8, 2017The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native committed to the Buckeyes June 1. Two weeks ago, he received an offer from the Florida Gators, fueling speculation he might flip his commitment to the in-state program.Chatfield is the No. 297 overall play in his class and the 14th-best weakside defensive end, according to 247Sports composite rankings.Ohio State now has 16 commitments in its 2018 recruiting class. One defensive end – five-star Georgia native Brenton Cox – remains committed to the Buckeyes.
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.
Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez revealed that he will likely retire in the next few months as he approaches his 39th birthdayThe Spanish playmaker will reach the milestone in January and has recently been taking courses to obtain his UEFA’s Pro Licence for coaching.Xavi’s announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise given that he had signed a contract extension with current club Al Sadd until June 2020.However, Xavi is yet to make a formal announcement on his final plans.“This is 99 per cent my last season because, at nearly 39, it’s normal to be tired and need a change of course,” Xavi told Corriere dello Sport.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“It’s not yet the time for announcements or goodbyes, but I’ve thought clearly on what I will do.”The former Spain international joined the Doha-based club in 2015 and has since won three trophies at Qatar.Throughout his entire club career, Xavi has managed 102 goals and 206 assists in 836 games across all competitions for either Barcelona or Al Sadd to date.Xavi also won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship twice with Spain.
Manchester United can still reach another level ahead of Sunday’s Premier League showdown against rivals Liverpool, warns Ashley Young.The Red Devils are in an incredible run of form at the moment with 11 wins in 13 matches ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in to replace Jose Mourinho as manager on an interim basis.The Norwegian’s impact at Old Trafford has made him a strong favourite to land the managerial role on a permanent basis at the end of the season, despite Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri being linked with the role.On the back of suffering his first defeat in charge of United last week in a 2-0 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, Solskjaer bounced back superbly from the setback by leading his old club to a 2-0 FA Cup victory at Chelsea on Monday.But full-back Young thinks United still have something left in the tank for Liverpool this Sunday.“I think we had another gear to go,” said Young, according to ESPN.“It was very good to get the win away [at Chelsea] and the way we did it.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“It gives us all massive belief, obviously you will get confidence from winning games and that’s exactly what we have done.“We beat Spurs away, and Arsenal away and now Chelsea away.“Liverpool is at the weekend and we will build up to that this week and concentrate on that when it comes about.”After progressing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, Solskjaer’s men will take a trip to Molineux on March 16 to take on the high-flying Wolves for a spot in the last four of the competition.“I was surprised we didn’t get [Manchester] City,” Young said.“That’s what we were looking for but you have to beat every team in the competition and that’s what we’ll do go down there [to Wolves] to beat them and get through to the semifinal.”The Premier League match between United and Liverpool at Old Trafford will begin at 3:05 PM (CET) this Sunday.LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 18: Paul Pogba of Manchester United (kneeling) celebrates with team mates as he scores his team’s second goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 18, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Posted: February 5, 2019 Categories: Health, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Sasha Foo, February 5, 2019 Sasha Foo UCSD researcher supports President’s vow to stop the spread of HIV 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s been 35 years since doctor Doug Richman treated his first patient with the HIV virus, at a time when the odds of survival were grim.Almost four decades later, with the development of new drugs, HIV can be controlled.In the research community, the emphasis is on finding ways to make the life saving drugs even more effective and accessible.Doctor Richman is a professor at the Aids Research Center at the University of California San Diego.He supports President Trump’s pledge to halt the spread of the HIV virus by the year 2030. The goal is ambitious, but it’s not exactly new. In 2013, the World Health Organization set a similar objective, with a handful of countries including Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Namibia, and Botswana already reaching that goal.The United States still lags to reach that goal, with an estimated 40,000 new infections reported every year. Richman says it’s possible to stem the spread of HIV, but the federal government needs to make a much stronger commitment.Richman points to New York City as a model for managing the virus. In New York, people who are infected, are identified and promptly given the drugs for treatment. In some states, especially in the southeast, people with HIV have a more difficult time getting the drugs to help control it.Richman says it will take political will and more money to make the changes in public policy to help stop the spread of HIV.
Kinja originally launched in December of 2012. “To paraphrase Nick [Denton, founder and CEO of Gawker Media], it was developed to solve the tragedy of comments that can be a toxic and poisonous section of a news site or blog,” says Lauren Bertolini, community development manager It is difficult to argue that Internet trolls have become an endemic problem for publishers looking to create quality conversations that engage serious readers. And while Bertolini doesn’t believe there is a way to rid the Web of trolls, she does believe there are better ways to control the conversations of Gawker’s approximately 20 million monthly site visitors. “If you give people the tools to engage and promote a discussion then hopefully they will utilize it,” Bertolini says. Social Media is in Kinja’s DNA, but its built around news content, thus making it a unique product. Registered users can create a homepage where they can post blogs, share content from users and editors and store comments posted on any of the Gawker Media sites. Users can also follow writers, other users and integrate social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter into their homepage. Editors from each vertical will have the same tools available and are expected to be active members of the community. This incentivizes both the reader and the writer to participate in a manner that keeps the conversation moving forward. “The revamped commenting system debuting today will refine and sharpen that heckling, and make it more likely, we hope, that informed sources and subjects will bring their voices to bear on our stories, unmediated and of their own volition,” explains Gawker editor-in-chief John Cook in a post about the new platform. “It banishes untrusted or new sources to the outer reaches in a ‘pending queue,’ while privileging and highlighting threads started by readers that have been found useful in the past.”Bertonlini adds that while Gawker is primarily a news-producing operation, the ability for readers to contribute to the content by having a conversation around it is important. “We produce news and that’s what our foundation is. We understand the tools that you need to create content and we wanted a platform that was simple and easy to use that can build a rich story and conversation. We are giving people control of the conversation,” she says.Social blogging is not a new concept, but Kinja is unique in that it merges professional and amateur content into one space. This of course raises provocative questions about crowdsourcing content: How could this impact professional journalists? Will readers ultimately take control of content? Bertolini says that is not a concern for the company: “Our content is still edited by John Cook or our other editors and they will always decide what gets posted. The editors are still in control. But we have hired people out of comments.” Gawker Media rolled out its redesigned platform this week across all of its verticals, which include Gawker, Jezebel, Deadspin and a just re-introduced, Silicon Valley-focused Valleywag. Along with all this is a significant upgrade to Gawker’s homegrown commenting platform Kinja, which has been tweaked to surface more constructive content and “banish” pointless or excessively harsh commenters.
More details are at the LAMC website. The conference has truly shaped the meaning of the phrase “Latin alternative.”Colombia’s Bomba Estéreo Brings Electro-Cumbia To U.S. On Biggest Tour YetRead more 20th Alt. Latino Conference To Honor 20 Heroes latin-alternative-music-conferences-20th-anniversary-edition-set-july News Latin Alternative Music Conference’s 20th Anniversary Edition Set For July Email Throughout the years, the “Latin alternative” conference has celebrated the genre’s vibrant scene with concerts, panels and showcases Philip MerrillGRAMMYs Jan 4, 2019 – 6:07 pm Every year since 1999, the Latin Alternative Music Conference has brought together a range of voices that make up the Alt. Latino scene and for its 20th anniversary in July it will honor 20 people that have helped it shine throughout the years.The conference, which hosts panels, concerts, exhibits and showcases, will take place July 7–13 in New York City. The 20 conference honorees are “people or companies that have helped these last 20 years be filled with ongoing music.””The LAMC year after year has tried to be a meeting of the minds — a platform to show that there is an amazing, vibrant and complex market within Latin music,” Nacional Records president and LAMC producer Tomas Cookman told Billboard. “Be it having Pitbull, Bomba Estereo or Natalia Lafourcade on early career showcases, or Calle 13 or Cafe Tacvba filling up a public park to capacity, the range and types of artists we have highlighted over these 20 years runs the gamut of the ever-changing face of Latin music.”Music performances will take place at the Central Park Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park and Queensbridge Park. Panels will cover women in music, music education and the U.S. Latin market, among other topics. The LAMC will also have regional spotlights on Argentina, Colombia and Spain.GRAMMY winners Natalia Lafourcade, Residente, La Santa Cecilia, and Carlos Vives are LAMC alumni. GRAMMY nominee and Latin GRAMMY winner Jorge Drexler is another notable alum.GRAMMY nominees Carla Morrison, Los Rakas and Kinky are former winners of the conference’s Discovery Award. Facebook https://twitter.com/theLAMC/status/1042856756886401025 Twitter
Preview • For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robot Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Tags Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now $69 News • Black Mirror season 5 has three new trailers to stress you out today Chris Monroe/CNET The Google Home app keeps getting more useful. Starting with version 2.9, you can use the app to change the color of compatible smart bulbs. A year ago, the app was mostly used for setting up your Google Home smart speakers. An update in the fall added well-organized smart home controls to the app that mirrored those found on Google’s smart displays. You could see all of your connected gadgets organized by room and control them with a touch. Now those touch controls are getting more robust.You’ve long been able to change the color of your compatible bulbs with a voice command to any device with Google Assistant built in, such as the Google Home Hub smart display. If you didn’t feel like talking, you had to go into the individual Philips Hue or Lifx apps to change the color of your bulbs. The newest version of the Google Home app lets you control them both from one spot.As before, you can also turn your smart lights on or off and change their brightness with the app. You can organize your lights into rooms and control them all at once. The code for the update was spotted on Monday by 9to5Google, who also noted newly added support for the upcoming Lenovo Smart Clock. The Smart Clock will offer a trimmed down version of the Lenovo Smart Display tailored for your nightstand. It’s due out this Spring. The update for the Google Home app hasn’t hit my Android phone yet, but it’s live on my coworker’s iPhone. A Google representative confirmed to CNET over email that the update officially launched Wednesday and should be live for everyone over the course of the day. Walmart Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house See it See It 2:22 Now playing: Watch this: Google Home Review • Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it $79 0 Smart Home $99 reading • Google Home app debuts color controls for smart lights Crutchfield CNET Smart Home Mentioned Above Google Home See It How To • Make Google Home get your groceries See All Lenovo Smart Clock uses Google Assistant to wake you… • Post a comment Share your voice CNET Smart Home CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Google Lenovo Philips
Some of the martyred intellectuals. File PhotoJatiya Sansgad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has said collaborators murdered intellectuals just days before liberation of the country to create a void in the intellectual firmament of the newborn nation.The speaker was addressing a rally marking the ‘Intellectuals Martyred Day-2017’ on the premises of Pirganj Shaheed Minar on Thursday morning.She urged the new generation to step forward for building the country imbued with the spirit of the liberation war, reports UNB.“We have to inform our young generation about the fact of war of liberation and history of supreme sacrifice of martyred intellectuals”, Shirin said.She added that school students have to be informed about the spirit of liberation war, long struggle of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for the country, and supreme sacrifice of 3 million martyrs in 1971.Speaker Shirin also said the nation is very happy for the inclusion of the historic 7March speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the memory of the World International Register, a list of world’s important documentary heritage maintained by UNESCO.She urged students to listen to the speech repeatedly and realise its message and hold it in their hearts.Earlier, Shirin paid tribute to martyred intellectuals by placing floral wreath at the Shaheed Minar.The speaker stood in solemn silence for a few moments there.Read More: Nation paying homage to martyred intellectuals
Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesTraffic streaks past the U.S. Capitol on December 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C.If 2016 was the bravura opener and 2017 the tension-building second act, 2018 could deliver an action-packed conclusion to the Russia imbroglio.Or this story might still be getting started.Even without knowing every surprise the saga might bring in the new year, there are already enough waypoints on the calendar to confirm that 2018 will ratchet up the volume yet again.Here are four big storylines to watch.The midterm electionOne-third of the Senate and every member of the House of Representatives is running for re-election this year. Current and former U.S. intelligence bosses say they expect the return of what they call “active measures” aimed across the United States, designed to amplify controversy and divide people as much as possible.FBI Director Christopher Wray says the Bureau has set up a task force to safeguard against foreign influence in American elections, but it isn’t clear how well prepared federal or state governments actually are to handle disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks or any other interference like that launched against the 2016 presidential election.Even without foreign mischief, the congressional midterms may prove to be white hot. Political players in both parties have set the stakes as high as they get: the president’s job. Liberal activists want impeachment to be on the ballot; they’ve said that Democrats must reclaim both chambers and get rid of President Trump, partly over the Russia imbroglio.Republicans dismiss such aims as outrageous — but they also warn their own voters and donors that the threat is real, and so they must be just as aggressive in defending their majorities and President Trump.Democratic congressional leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York have said impeachment is not their priority. Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer, meanwhile, is running an ad campaign that calls for impeachment by name.Expect a fight within Democratic ranks over how much or how little to invoke the I-word — one that could be exacerbated by fake Facebook accounts or groups like the ones that divided Black Lives Matter and other groups.Paperwork avalanche2018 could deliver a blizzard of paper on the Russia imbroglio from across Congress, inside the Justice Department and the intelligence community. At least three congressional committees have said they could release their final reports into the Russian attack on the 2016 election or related events — but that doesn’t mean there will be three reports. There could be many more.The House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee may issue reports from both their Republican majorities and Democratic minorities.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a steadfast Trump ally who helped defend the White House all of 2017, may issue a report that emphasizes the denials by members of the Trump campaign of any wrongdoing during the 2016 race and rejects the notion that the campaign conspired with the Russians who were targeting the presidential election.House Intelligence Committee Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff of California may issue their own report that highlights all the suggestions about collusion and impropriety, and which complains about the need for more investigation and additional evidence.One potential model for this was the House Benghazi Committee’s investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.Republicans and Democrats used it to batter or defend Hillary Clinton — then ahead of her presidential run — and, in that case, panel members also issued a third report: Then-Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., now director of the CIA, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who remains in the House, added their own “addendum” to the official report that faulted Clinton even more harshly.Given the stakes of the Russia storyline to the political balance of the Capitol and Trump personally, lawmakers will be keen to use everything they develop to that end.President PutinThe United States isn’t the only nation with a big election scheduled for 2018. Russian President Vladimir Putin is running again too — and guaranteed to win. Even though Russian elections are widely faulted as un-free and unfair at best, Putin’s conduct during this one will be highly suggestive.Previous Russian elections are, in many ways, the origin of the imbroglio. Then-Secretary of State Clinton irritated Putin when she questioned parliamentary elections in 2011. Later, American support for pro-Western elements in Ukraine pushed Putin’s animus toward the West and Clinton into the red zone — prompting the broad campaign of active measures that Russia launched against the U.S. during the 2016 election.Although Putin denies interfering in the West, he also loves to play the Cheshire Cat and let slip the occasional coy statement. Will he go further in talking to Russians about his strengths and accomplishments? Will the United States give Putin “some of his own medicine,” as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has called for, and attempt an interference campaign of its own?Even if the U.S. doesn’t, Putin may still ascribe opposition or disturbances within Russia to American turnabout, and that could have its own consequences.So for 2018, although the outcome of the Russian election is all but certain, the dynamic within Russia — and between Russia and the U.S. — is not.The special counselFew recent Washington, D.C., figures have had the effect of the Justice Department’s special counsel Robert Mueller. He became a cult figure of hope for Trump opponents. He and his unit have been turned into political tackle dummies by Trump allies.But through it all, Mueller and his team have themselves remained nearly silent, operating mostly out of sight within the eye of the hurricane. A federal judge has imposed a gag order on the parties in Mueller’s prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and, moreover, talking directly to the press was never Mueller’s style.So his team is the subject of endless rumor and speculation — about the directions it’s taking, about the people it might charge — but it has exhibited uncommon discipline in actually discussing its own actions.The indictments it brought in 2017 came as a surprise to many people, showing that Mueller could, for example, conclude a plea agreement with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadoupolos on Oct. 5 and keep it confidential until the day it was unsealed. If that discipline persists, the guessing games will too.Outside legal experts have said they believe Mueller’s work might not even be halfway complete, and that, based on past large, complex cases, the investigation might last through 2018.If that is so, and Mueller continues making life uncomfortable for White House aides and other Trumpworld insiders, talk will likely continue about possible attempts to fire him.The president can’t remove Mueller directly, but he could try to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions or other Justice Department leaders with people who would oust Mueller. If the White House decides to go that route in 2018, it would follow extensive political groundwork laid by allies who charge the FBI is rife with “bias,” Mueller has obtained evidence inappropriately and other transgressions.Supporters in Congress want to pass laws that would protect Mueller from such a fate, but unless 2018 brings major changes in the political dynamics, those bills don’t have the support of Republicans leaders and Trump certainly would not sign one.So even though a new year is dawning, the outlook for Mueller remains as murky as ever, both in terms of his job security and whatever work he intends to accomplish.He has the cooperation of at least one major witness, that much is sure: former national security adviser Mike Flynn, who turned state’s evidence in December in exchange for leniency. As far as other interviews, lines of inquiry and more potential charges, only Mueller knows for sure.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share