No regrets: Cricket South Africa on turning down AB de Villiers’ comeback offer

first_imgAfter the news of swashbuckling batsman AB de Villiers making an offer to come out of international retirement for World Cup 2019 started doing the rounds, Cricket South Africa’s selection panel convener, Linda Zondi issued a statement to clarify the board had ‘no regret’ in rejecting de Villiers comeback offer.”The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players,” Zondi said in an official statement.According to an ESPNcricinfo report, AB de villiers, who retired from international cricket last year in May, approached South Africa’s skipper Faf du Plessis and other important members of management to express his desire to come out of international retirement for World Cup, 2019.However, the offer was rejected by the South Africa team management.Claryifing on turning down de Villiers services for the showpiece event, Zondi, said in a statement, “For Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson to share AB’s desire to be included in the squad on the day we announced our World Cup squad on April 18th was a shock to all of us.””AB left a big vacuum when he retired, we had a year to find players at franchise level to fill the gap. We had players who put in the hard work, who put up their hands and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup.””At no point in the year that he (AB) had retired did he make himself available for selection. It was no option when I received the news on the day of the squad announcement, our squad was finalised and confirmed. AB is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world but above all else, we have to stay true to our morals and principles; there is no regret in the decision.”advertisementRecently, many South African fans had demanded an emergency recall for AB de Villiers, seeing South Africa’s worst ever start to a World Cup in the last eight editions.South Africa have lost all their 3 matches in the World Cup so far. After losing their first two matches, to England and Bangladesh, they went down by 6 wickets to Virat Kohli’s men in Southampton on Wednesday.AB de Villiers was in sublime for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2019 edition and ended his campaign with 443 runs in 13 innings at an average of 44.20 and strike rate of 154 with 5 fifties.Seeing de Villiers’ current form and Proteas’ poorest start in eight World Cup campaigns, the decision to refuse former South Africa captain’s proposal of international comeback by South Africa team management will raise many eyebrows.Also Read | South Africa rejected AB de Villiers’ offer to come out of retirement for World Cup swansongAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Change-room is hurting and guys are down, says Faf du PlessisAlso Seelast_img read more

Alabama Football: Nick Saban’s Daughter Got Married At Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium Last Night and It Looked Awesome

first_imgNick Saban Wedding Bryant-Denny StadiumNick Saban Wedding Bryant-Denny StadiumNick Saban’s daughter, Kristen, got married last night. We’ll give you one guess at the venue. Yes, it was Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. And it looked awesome.  Congrats to Mr and Mrs Setas #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:11pm PDT  The lovely bride! #setonsetas #sabantosetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 6:56pm PDT  #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:14pm PDT So Nick Saban’s daughter got married last night. Why am I not surprised at the venue!? 😉 pic.twitter.com/IPZVrETCxM— Belle Es You (@SouthernbeLLSU) May 31, 2015 RT @MarisaLeeMartin: Only Kristen #Saban could pull this off at her wedding #SabanToSetas pic.twitter.com/uUPN1zx4Pa— Brent Dougherty (@brentdougherty) May 31, 2015 All weddings of people related to college football coaches should be held at college football stadiums.last_img read more

TMX to launch cryptocurrency brokerage through Shorcan subsidiary

first_imgTORONTO – The TMX Group Ltd. says it’s launching a cryptocurrency brokerage service through the launch of its Shorcan Digital Currency Network subsidiary.The Toronto Stock Exchange owner says it’s partnering on the brokerage with Toronto-based Paycase Financial Corp., which specializes in decentralized financial services including a mobile-based remittance platform.TMX says the brokerage is designed to leverage Shorcan Brokers Ltd. background in providing brokerage services with Paycase’s cryptocurrency data aggregation platform and will focus on the Bitcoin and Ether cryptocurrencies.The partnership will also create cryptocurrency benchmarks based on consolidated data from the world’s leading crypto exchanges as well as over the counter brokered volume.TMX says the brokerage is a significant step in the execution of the company’s digital strategy as it looks to new ways to address client needs in both traditional and non-traditional markets.last_img read more

US brands suffer collateral damage in Chinese corporate war

first_imgSHANGHAI – It was looking like a banner year for business in China. The U.S. clothing company was expecting a 20 per cent jump in online sales on Alibaba’s Tmall, thanks to the e-commerce giant’s massive reach.But executives soon learned that what Alibaba gives, it can also take away.The company refused to sign an exclusive contract with Alibaba, and instead participated in a big sale promotion with its archrival, JD.com Inc. Tmall punished them by taking steps to cut traffic to their storefront, two executives told The Associated Press. They said advertising banners vanished from prominent spots in Tmall sales showrooms, the company was blocked from special sales and products stopped appearing in top search results.The well-known American brand saw its Tmall sales plummet 10 to 20 per cent for the year.“Based on our sales record, we should have been in a prominent position, but we were at the bottom of the page,” said the brand’s e-commerce director, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of further retaliation. “That’s a clear manipulation of traffic. That’s a clear punishment.”As the Trump administration pushes China to play by fair trade rules, companies are caught in a quieter but no less crucial struggle for fair access to a $610 billion online marketplace, an AP investigation has found.Executives from five major consumer brands told the AP that after they refused to enter exclusive partnerships with Alibaba, traffic to their Tmall storefronts fell, hurting sales. Three are American companies with billions in annual sales that rely on China for growth.In a statement, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said pursuing exclusive deals is a common industry practice and called the charges of coercion “completely false.”“Alibaba and Tmall conduct business in full compliance with Chinese laws,” Alibaba said. “Like many e-commerce platforms, we have exclusive partnerships with some of the merchants on Tmall. The merchant decides to choose such an arrangement because of the attractive services and value Tmall brings to them.”Imagine a company twice as profitable as Amazon that each year serves more people than live in all of North America. That’s Alibaba. It claims to be the marketplace for nearly $550 billion a year in sales — more than is sold online in the entire U.S. economy.The trials of the affected companies offer a rare window onto a bruising business culture forged in China that could spread as Alibaba takes its aggressive, innovative and hugely profitable model of e-commerce global. To the extent that their products are manufactured in the United States — and some are — constricting sales in China’s critical growth market can also deepen the imbalance of trade between China and the U.S., a gap that is a top concern for the Trump administration.The competition between Alibaba and JD.com is so infamous in China — and so dirty — it’s been dubbed the “great cat-and-dog war,” after Tmall’s black-cat mascot and JD.com’s white dog.The executives spoke to the AP only on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, but their concerns were echoed by a U.S. industry group, brand consultants and policy makers in China and JD.com itself.In a speech about cyberspace last week, Chinese president Xi Jinping said ensuring free and fair competition online was a regulatory priority, citing the need “to cultivate a fair market environment, strengthen intellectual property protection, and oppose monopoly and unfair competition,” state media reported.In its months-long investigation, the AP interviewed more than 30 people and reviewed two contracts from Alibaba that contained previously unreported exclusivity clauses. The AP found that the platforms that control access to Chinese consumers online wield such enormous power that even multibillion-dollar foreign companies can have trouble fighting back.“We urge the authorities to quickly investigate and take steps to ensure such practices are eliminated from the growing Chinese marketplace,” said Stephen Lamar, executive vice-president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, adding that members of his industry group had complained about unfair competitive practices by Alibaba.JD.com is a member and sponsor of the trade group.Wang Hongbo, a consultant who helps Chinese brands sell online abroad, echoed the problems cited by the companies who spoke to AP.“Many brands complained about this to us. Because they didn’t fall in line, they faced restrictions on Tmall,” he said.It’s not clear whether Alibaba’s actions would be illegal, nor is it certain that the evidence of coercion that brands have managed to collect would hold up in court. Under China’s anti-monopoly laws, companies that dominate a market cannot demand exclusivity without justification. A 2015 regulation also specifically bars e-commerce platforms from restricting brands’ participation in promotions on other platforms.The rules are designed to prevent dominant players from squeezing out the competition, which could ultimately hurt both brands and consumers by giving a single, monopolistic player absolute control over prices.JD.com said that over 100 Chinese brands defected last year due to pressure from its main rival, an assertion Alibaba and some brands have contested. The exodus appears to have had a lasting impact.“Based on the feedbacks we received from these merchants, the move was mainly due to the coercive tactics from our competition, which if proven true would be illegal and clearly against the merchants’ will,” said Sidney Huang, JD.com’s chief financial officer, said in a November earnings call.Peacebird, a Chinese fashion company, is among those that left JD.com last year. But Weng Jianghong, the company’s general manager of e-commerce, said Alibaba had not coerced them and the decision to focus on Tmall was strategic.“We will centralize and develop the limited resources of our company on Tmall,” he said.Many companies, including JD.com, do exclusive deals. However, JD.com maintains that it doesn’t strategically push merchants for exclusivity.“We support fair and open competition because greater choice is always better for brands and users,” JD.com said in a statement. “We are winning over customers by providing a superior shopping experience, rather than by limiting the options of brands or consumers.”JD.com is still trying to get brands to return. “We do believe there will be more merchants coming back,” Huang said in a call last month with analysts. “But I do not expect a very quick fix.”PLAY OR PAYTmall controlled six of every 10 dollars spent overall for business-to-consumer sales online in China in the second half of last year — and even more for sectors like apparel — giving it enormous power over companies that rely on Alibaba for access to Chinese consumers online.The contracts reviewed by AP offered a suite of benefits in exchange for exclusivity. One contract specified that brands must not operate storefronts on other e-commerce platforms without Tmall’s written permission. The other contract mandated that new products not be launched on competing platforms and barred brands from sales promotions on other platforms without Tmall’s written permission.Such sales events are the lifeblood of online commerce in China. The country’s massive Singles Day promotion in November, which started as an anti-Valentine’s Day gimmick, is now the world’s largest e-commerce event. Last year, Alibaba said $25 billion worth of merchandise was sold on its platforms alone, compared with just $14.5 billion in total online sales in the U.S. for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, according to data from Adobe Systems Inc.Brands cited commercial, ideological and legal reasons for refusing to cut off business with JD.com.Some said that different people shop in different ways on JD.com and Tmall, so cutting off JD.com means cutting off access to a pool of potential shoppers.“It’s clear from the data we look at these are distinct consumer pools,” said the China head of a publicly-traded company. “If I lost the JD business I would lose a certain part of that business. Another part is on principle: This is blatant anticompetitive behaviour.”Others cited legal concerns. “We didn’t want to go for it in part because we thought it might be an illegal agreement in restraint of trade,” said an executive for a second publicly-traded company.“We’re chided when we participate in promotional events on other platforms,” he added. “What’s never said but actually happens when we don’t co-operate in the way they want us to is our traffic falls. It’s not a coincidence.”Two companies said they granted concessions to Alibaba, agreeing to exclusive product launches, raising their prices on JD.com, or removing ads promoting JD.com sales. Traffic to their Tmall shops rebounded. One company said it ultimately closed its flagship on JD.com to salvage Tmall sales.“You have to go beg,” said the China director of a multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company.THE GREAT CAT-AND-DOG WARTmall and JD.com have different business models but they are increasingly pushing onto each other’s turf.Alibaba’s online marketplaces connect buyers and sellers. Alibaba earns money from advertising, as well as commissions and fees. JD.com runs a similar marketplace but, like Amazon, also buys products from brands, then sells and distributes the merchandise itself.Alibaba has taken aim at JD.com’s long-standing dominance in electronics, while JD.com hopes to cut into Tmall’s core apparel category. Both have expanded into groceries and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into acquisitions to extend their reach into brick-and-mortar businesses.The result is an escalating turf fight that carries a chilling message for brands: Either you’re with us or against us. The Chinese have a name for this unwritten rule, “er xuan yi,” choose one of two.“‘Choose one of two’ is a tacit understanding that has been reached by everyone, but you do not say it directly,” said Zhuo Saijun, who until 2015 was a general manager of e-commerce research at Analysys Ltd., a Beijing-based big data consultancy. “This is certainly a problem for the development of retail sales channels. It is a business ethics problem, and this is how monopolies develop.”Some policymakers have raised concerns about monopolistic tendencies in Chinese e-commerce and called for more effective regulation and enforcement.“Unfair competition still exists,” Wang Bingnan, a deputy director at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said in a June speech about China’s e-commerce market. “Behaviours like forced ‘choose one of two,’” he added, “are hard for regulators to define, prove or deal with accurately.”JD.com has complained about anticompetitive tactics before. In 2015, the company filed a complaint with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, a corporate regulator, accusing Alibaba of pressuring brands into doing exclusive Singles Day sales promotions — a charge Alibaba denied. The complaint was kicked to a regional office in Zhejiang province, where Alibaba has its headquarters.Nothing more was ever heard about it.The regulators did not respond to requests for comment.Alibaba said that while JD.com focuses “on groundless complaints to explain why they are losing brands, we at Alibaba are squarely focused on making our platform the best for our merchants.”MR. MA GOES GLOBALThe battles now being waged within China’s e-commerce sector could well impact the culture and norms of e-commerce globally — at least if Alibaba’s chairman, Jack Ma, has his way.Alibaba aims to serve 2 billion consumers by 2036 — or about one in four people now on the planet. Already, the value of goods sold on Alibaba’s platforms in fiscal year 2017 was $547 billion, larger than the gross domestic product of Sweden.In June, Ma told investors that his company will rank as the fifth largest economy in the world. “Just say USA, China, Europe, maybe Japan and us,” Ma said.The company has been aggressively recruiting foreign brands to sell on its platforms, and they have come, in droves. Alibaba said it signed up 60,000 international brands for its massive Single’s Day sale in November, up from 5,000 in 2015.Alibaba’s retail sales outside of China also are growing fast — they more than doubled last fiscal year to 7.3 billion yuan ($1.1 billion), or 5 per cent of total revenue.America remains at the heart of Ma’s ambition. He told president-elect Donald Trump in Jan. 2017 that he would create a million U.S. jobs by facilitating trade between businesses in the U.S and consumers in China — a pledge he now says is imperiled by the brewing trade war between the two countries.Brands now caught in the great cat and dog war have adopted different strategies to avoid becoming collateral damage.An e-commerce manager at a major European brand said she’d be happy to offer totally different products on Tmall and JD.com to stay out of trouble, but worries her bosses won’t go for it because it cuts off potential buyers.Sometimes, she said, it feels “like we’re working for those platforms.”___Associated Press writer Anne D’Innocenzio in Las Vegas and researchers Si Chen and Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.Follow Kinetz on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ekinetzSend news tips, documents, etc. securely and confidentially to AP at https://securedrop.ap.org/last_img read more

Site preparation work begins for new school in Fort St John

first_imgSloan said that crews have been levelling out the property and preparing it for construction to begin on the new school’s foundation, with the goal of having the first concrete poured before the ground hardens up later in the fall.He explained that initial work has been proceeding at a faster pace than on the new Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School on the City’s west side due to a number of factors, including better preparedness and different geological properties of the site.“We weren’t sure when we were going to get approval, so we had the plan on the shelf. I wouldn’t say this is ahead of the game, but this is our new reality in terms of making sure that we construct to schedule. ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ is the expression, and we had enough interesting experiences with weather on the ‘Ma’ Murray site that once we got the go-ahead we had the plan on the shelf for how to prep the site.”Sloan said that the land for the new school differs in several aspects from that of ‘Ma’ Murray including in ground slope and composition, which makes it easier to prepare for laying the building’s foundation.The provincial government announced on June 28th that it is providing up to $30.8 million to build the school, while the School District will contribute $300,000. Full-scale construction is set to begin next summer, with the school scheduled to open in fall 2021, with 505 spaces for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District #60 says that site preparation work has begun on a new elementary school on the northeast side of Fort St. John, less than two months after the provincial government announced funding for the project.SD60 Superintendent Dave Sloan said that construction crews began preparation work at the site of the new school, which is located across 112th Avenue from the Fort St. John Hospital, less than a week ago.The School District posted photos of the construction work on its Facebook page on Sunday.last_img read more

Government invests in the Alaska Highway

first_img“Our government recognizes the importance of a safe, modern and reliable road infrastructure for the economic prosperity of the northern part of this region. The completion of these projects along the Alaska Highway highlights our commitment to providing safe infrastructure to Canadians.”The Honourable Carla QualtroughMinister of Public Services and Procurement and AccessibilityFor more information on this announcement CLICK HERE FORT NELSON, B.C. – Four contracts were awarded for maintenance and construction work along the Alaska Highway.Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, made the announcement on November 15, 2018. These improvements will give the community access to a more reliable, safer and modern roadway with improved circulation.Areas that will be improved are a 33-kilometre portion of the highway, receiving bituminous surface treatment to asphalt, replacing a culvert in the Townsend Creek area, improving the Wonowon intersection by changing the road configuration and a new salt shed in Wonowon.last_img read more

New restroom facility opens along Alaska Highway at Mile 202

first_imgFORT 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.last_img read more

Three tourists killed in Indonesia earthquake

first_imgJakarta: 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.last_img read more

Arsenal lean on Alexandre Lacazette Aubameyang to save their season

first_imgLondon: Arsenal’s collapse at the business end of the Premier League season means the success or failure of Unai Emery’s first campaign now solely depends on lifting the Europa League and as a result sealing Champions League football. The Gunners travel to Emery’s old club Valencia on Thursday defending a 3-1 semi-final, first leg lead given to them by star strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates last week. Arsenal’s awful record on the road this season will give the Spanish side plenty of encouragement that they can overturn a two-goal deficit. Emery’s men conceded three times in losing at Wolves and Leicester in their last two away league games and were also defeated at BATE Borisov and Rennes before turning Europa League ties around at the Emirates. Attack may therefore be the visitors’ best form of defence in the cauldron of the Mestalla and Arsenal are at least getting what they paid for from Lacazette and Aubameyang. “We played against two strikers that are very good which is why they cost the millions that they did,” said Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral. “With the slightest error they punish you.” Arsenal have taken one point from their last four Premier League games to realistically end their chances of a top-four finish and the first leg against Valencia could easily have gone the same way as Marcelino’s men scored an early away goal and led the Gunners to a merry dance for the first 20 minutes. However, one moment of magic turned the tie as Lacazette played in Aubameyang, who paused, left Neto, Ezequiel Garay and Facundo Roncaglia on the floor before squaring for his strike partner to roll into an empty net. Lacazette added his second eight minutes later and Aubameyang’s late strike gave Arsenal the two-goal cushion they may well need. The Londoners’ first season without Arsene Wenger for 22 years has been dogged by many of the same defensive problems suffered by the Frenchman towards the end of his reign. But Wenger’s final two big signings have come good as club record fees were paid for Lacazette in the summer of 2017 and Aubameyang in January 2018. After a difficult first six months in England, many thought Aubameyang’s arrival was ominous for Lacazette’s longevity at the club, but the two have formed a fine partnership on and off the field. Only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang’s 20, but it is Lacazette who won the club’s player of the year prize for his all round contribution with 18 goals and 12 assists.last_img read more

Offutt to transfer from Ohio State

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.