Madrid Derby: Real Test for Los Blancos Title Ambition

first_imgMadrid’s hope of winning the La Liga for the first time in five years will be put to test today as neighbours, Atletico, storm the Santiago Bernabeu for the Madrid derby. A win for the White Angels will be a big boost to their title ambition while a draw or even a loss will increase fierce rival -Barcelona’s optimism of snatching the title from leaders, who top the table with two points and a game at handReal Madrid can show how serious their bid to land a first La Liga title in five years really is when they host local rivals Atletico Madrid today in the midst of the best run of results in the campaign by Diego Simeone’s side.Real ended a three-season drought against their neighbours earlier on in the campaign with a 3-0 win at the Vicente Calderon in November, thanks to a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, a display Zinedine Zidane’s side have struggled to top. The European champions’ destiny is in their hands as they lead holders Barcelona by two points while also having a game in hand, though doubts linger about their true quality.Real’s play has been littered with lapses of concentration in defence and they have often had to rely on late escape acts to see them through difficult games.Atletico have won all three of their previous visits to the Santiago Bernabeu in the league and head there after beating Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday to record five consecutive domestic wins for the first time this season.Zidane made wholesale changes to his team in Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Leganes in preparation for the derby, resting Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos.Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata shone in the absence of the team’s big hitters to help put Real up 3-0 after 25 minutes but familiar frailties were visible at the back as they conceded twice in two minutes before adding a fourth after the break.Real will find it tougher to compensate for any similar errors against Atletico, who have conceded just one goal in their last six games in all competitions.Atletico defender Juanfran believes his side are far better prepared to face their neighbours than when they last met.“It’s clear they were better than us in that game but now it’s another story, a different moment. I hope we can stay on this great run and get something positive, although we know it’ll be difficult because they are top and are having an incredible season,” Juanfran told reporters.“We had a bad run around November and December and that has made us stronger and we’ve shown once again that Atletico always rises against adversity,” added Juanfran, who missed the crucial penalty in the shoot-out when Atletico lost to Real in the 2016 Champions League final.Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann believes Atletico can inflict the worst possible start to a season defining two-weeks for Real. Griezmann scored the winner last season as Atletico became the first side to ever win away to Real in the league for three consecutive seasons.“I see us as favourites. I believe in my teammates and the coach. We have to win more for the fans than for the points. Madrid played great and caused us a lot of damage. Now it is a different story. We know it is going to be difficult, but I believe in my teammates. We are more complete now,” said a bullish Griezmann on Thursday.Inflicting a damaging blow on Real’s bid for the first league title in five years would be some measure of sweet revenge for Atletico. However, Real have yet to taste defeat at home in La Liga this season.That record will be put fully to the test over the next fortnight as Barcelona visit on March 23.In between times Madrid also face old foes Bayern Munich for a place in the Champions League semifinals.Real captain Sergio Ramos has been Atletico’s bete noire in recent times, scoring in both the Champions League finals between the sides.But he has called on Real to not rest on their laurels and go for more history by becoming the first side to retain the Champions League in 27 years and end Barca’s stranglehold on La Liga.“You can’t constantly live with what you have won in the past. You have to have ambition and belief to win titles. As of today we can win both the Champions League and La Liga,” he told Madrid’s website.Both sides are in great form having each won their last five La Liga outings.However, Zidane and Simeone’s plans could be affected by their upcoming Champions League ties with Bayern and Leicester City respectively.Zidane is expected to welcome back a host of first team regulars rested for Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Leganes, including Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.By contrast, Simeone is expected to name an unchanged side from the one that beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday with Fernando Torres partnering Griezmann up front due to Kevin Gameiro’s continued absence through injury.Barcelona will be waiting to take advantage of any favours Atletico could do for them when they visit Malaga hours after the derby on the back of a 3-0 win over Sevilla.Coach Luis Enrique said Barcelona’s first half performance was “the display we had dreamt about”.The Catalans will be without Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique for the visit to Malaga, who picked up only their second win of 2017 by winning 1-0 at Sporting Gijon on Wednesday to move eight points clear of the relegation zone. Any slip up from Real would allow Barcelona to move top when they travel to Malaga later today. Enrique is expected to rest some of his star names ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

J.D. Martinez hits 4 of the Diamondbacks’ 6 HRs; Dodgers blanked

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> Magical things are happening at Dodger Stadium again. The Dodgers just aren’t doing them anymore.J.D. Martinez hit four of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ six home runs Monday as they brought their hot streak to Los Angeles and handed the Dodgers a 13-0 beating. The win was the Diamondbacks’ 11th in a row, one behind the Cleveland Indians’ current run for the longest win streak in the majors this season. The Diamondbacks haven’t even trailed at any point in their past 88 innings.The Dodgers have been the most frequent snake-bite victim during that time. They have lost to the Diamondbacks four times in the past eight days and have lost nine of their past 10 games overall.“We got our butts kicked. All around. We haven’t had many games like that if any all year,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “They’re playing well. They’re playing really well and us not so well.”Like the weather in Southern California, it is a combination that is making things uncomfortable and producing a lot of sweat.But Roberts continued to try and sell his message of calm and perspective.“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to soothe fans and their passion,” he said when asked about the high anxiety created on social media by the Dodgers’ whiplash turn from history to misery. “Each and every night it’s Game 7. But I can assure you we’re going to win a game again. I know that. And the tide will turn.”There is plenty of time for that with the opening game of the NL Division Series still a month away. But the Diamondbacks continue to give the Dodgers something to think about in the weeks ahead.The Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers in a three-game series at Chase Field last week, jumping to leads of multiple runs in the first inning of each game and have the advantage in the season series (9-8). Only one other team can say that this season — the Washington Nationals won two of three at Dodgers Stadium in June and will host the Dodgers next week.And the Diamondbacks have an ace to play if they do face the Dodgers in October.Left-hander Robbie Ray was perfect through the first five innings, retiring the first 15 Dodgers batters he faced (10 on strikeouts). Logan Forsythe broke that up with a leadoff single in the sixth inning but the Dodgers managed just two more singles off Ray.The left-hander struck out 14 in 7 2/3 innings Monday. According to Elias Sports, Ray is the first pitcher with four starts of 10 or more strikeouts against the Dodgers in the same season. In the last three of those starts over the past two months, Ray has allowed two runs on 12 hits while striking out 37 in 20 1/3 innings. His 53 strikeouts against the Dodgers this season are the most since Christy Mathewson struck out 58 Brooklyn Superbas during the 1908 season.“Robbie Ray obviously has very good stuff and today he really was spot on,” Roberts said. “Fastball was on the black all night long to all quadrants and that slider off of it. He was exceptional, he really was.”Ray “has our number,” Roberts acknowledged, but said the Dodgers would “prepare for a better result and compete and expect a different result” if they face him again in October.They might want to come up with a different gameplan for pitching to Martinez also.He went deep in the fourth inning off Dodgers starter Rich Hill then again in the seventh (Pedro Baez), eighth (Josh Fields) and ninth innings (Wilmer Font) as the Diamondbacks scored 11 runs off Dodgers relievers in the final three innings.“He’s got big power,” Roberts said of Martinez who has hit 18 of his 34 home runs since being traded from Detroit to Arizona in mid-July. “It seemed like he was on everything tonight.”Martinez is the 18th player in major-league history to hit four home runs in a game and also the first hitter in big-league history with home runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of a game.“You tip your hat to Robbie Ray and J.D. Martinez. Those guys had unbelievable games,” Hill said.“We’re in a little bit of a rut. But guys continue to come to the park and put the effort in. We’ll be all right.”last_img read more

Social Media Outlets Split Over How to Handle President Trump’s Posts

first_imgDespite recently issuing an executive order threatening legal penalties for social media platforms, President Trump’s fight with Twitter continued last week, after the social media platform removed a campaign video tribute to George Floyd, citing copyright infringements.The incident came during a week when Twitter flagged several of the commander-in-chief’s tweets for allegedly violating its terms of use, a move that Trump and his campaign called “censorship.”The video that was removed by Twitter included a compilation of images of demonstrations, riots and photos of police and protesters over an audio track of the president calling for unity following the killing of George Floyd.Twitter explained its decision in a statement, saying, “Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.”The video is still posted on Facebook and YouTube, marking a stark difference in how platforms are handling the president’s posts.Last Wednesday, Snap Inc. announced it would stop promoting Trump’s account in Snapchat’s “Discover” category, a function that allows users to explore new content. The company said it would “not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.”Soon thereafter, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Snapchat of “trying to rig the 2020 election” and “actively engaging in voter suppression” by refusing to promote his account. “If you’re a conservative, they do not want to hear from you, they do not want you to vote. They view you as a deplorable and they do not want you to exist on their platform,” Parscale of Snap’s leadership.Courtesy: Trump 2020 CampaignSnapchat’s decision followed the president’s social media messages messages last week referring to violent protesters as “thugs,” and threatening to unleash “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on unruly demonstrations.Twitter placed a warning on one of those statements about “thugs,” saying the president’s tweet violated the company’s rules on “glorifying violence.” Republican lawmakers filed a resolution condemning Twitter’s alleged “partisan censorship.”Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey added the fact-check “does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’” He said the warning was meant to provide additional information to the public, and to let people “judge for themselves.”One again, the statements that were contested by Twitter and then deemed inflammatory by Snapchat went unchecked on Facebook. However, the platform did not completely remove the tweet, saying it “may be in the public’s interest” to make it accessible.In addition, Twitter put a fact-check label on another Trump tweet, in which he claimed the use of mail-in ballots would cause widespread fraud. Trump responded to the fact-check action, saying it was equivalent to  election interference.center_img Last year, Twitter announced that it would no longer host political ads.On the other hand, Facebook decided to keep them, and said it would not fact-check such content.Facebook employees quickly denounced that decision, accusing Zuckerberg of allowing the president to “weaponize” the platform.Last week, Zuckerberg’s reluctance to act on Trump’s comments about George Floyd protests led to hundreds of the company’s employees staging a virtual walkout.Zuckerberg later explained, “[W]e read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force,” he wrote.Two weeks ago, President Trump signed an executive order threatening social media companies who he claimed engage in “online censorship.”The main part of the executive order threatens to remove internet companies’ legal liability under Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act if they engage in “censorship” or deceive the public about being an “open forum for debate.”Both Twitter and Facebook have repeatedly argued that free speech is a key part of their platforms, while adding standards in an effort to minimize violent content, explicit content and harassment, sometimes at the government’s request.Under current law, companies like Facebook and Twitter cannot be sued for the content posted by its users.Trump’s executive order seeks to treat social media companies as “publishers” instead of as neutral internet platforms, thereby exposing them to liability for what users communicate.last_img read more

Inside Conditions…The Pirates of Penzance

first_imgStarling Marte (6) heads home to score on a double by Andrew McCutchen in the eighth inning of the baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Pittsburgh. The run tied the game as the Pirates went on to win 2-1 in 14 innings. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)by Aubrey BruceHello “dere” my faithful students, school is officially “in” you diggg. It’s now “Howdy Doody” time.According to the definition of the word penzance is; Pen•zance [pen-zans], (noun); A seaport in SW Cornwall, in the SW extremity of England: resort.Isn’t it ironic that Pittsburgh sits in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and is one of the United States most valuable industrial shipping ports?Also informs me that one of the theatre productions of the play ‘Pirates of Penzance’ was put on at Comique, London, 3 April 1880. It is also no coincidence that the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are no joke!I see you scratching your “noggins” now you have to connect the dots.The Pirates joined the National League in its sixth season in 1887, six years after the NL was formed in 1881. The Pirates were competitive from the jump and won three National League titles from 1901 to 1903, playing in the very first World Series in 1903 and winning their first World Series in 1909 lead by future MLB hall-of-famer Honus Wagner.“Pour, oh, pour the pirate sherry; Fill, O fill the pirate glass; And, to make us more than merry, let the pirate bumper pass. For today our pirate ‘prentice rises from indenture freed; Strong his arm, and keen his scent is he’s a pirate now indeed!”Let’s weave this fabric together, yinz. Sometimes the students have to instruct the instructors.There is a communal spirit that is beginning to develop around the city and around PNC Park in regards to the chances and I mean very possible chances for the Pirates to make a serious run at a MLB title.“Pour, oh, pour the pirate sherry; Fill, O fill the pirate glass.” Everybody has to get in on the act. AUBREY BRUCE AND NAT JEFFRIES CIRCA 1979One of my fondest memories was from the year 1979, the year that the Bucs’ won their last MLB title. There is a world famous watering hole in Lawrenceville formerly named “Nat’s” now known as “Art’s.” The late Nathaniel “Nat” Jeffries and Arthur “Art” Jeffries are brothers. When Mr. Nat retired his brother Art assumed ownership.Anyway, in “79,” Nat’s daughter “Cookie” Jeffries would ask anyone entering the establishment; “Did the Pirates win?” When the patron would answer “yes,” Cookie would yell, “okay yaw’ll, the boys’ have kicked a– again, it is time for refills, pour the corn.”What a very ingenious way to sell more “juice” but she really did not have to go through that because double shots of well whiskey were only $1.25 at Nat’s anyway, so it did not take too much salesmanship from “princess Cookie” or anyone else in order to be convinced to refill their glasses with “hole-lee” water while the Pirates fight song for that year the ‘Sister Sledge tune; ‘We are Family’ was almost always (at least every 15 minutes or so) blaring from the jukebox.“And, to make us more than merry, Let the pirate bumper pass.”See guys and dolls, in 1979 the Pirates had a certain kind of swagger. Teams either got out of their way or were run over.It was nearing the end of the disco era. Society and sports teams played hard and partied harder. However this time of winning was more than just scores on a scoreboard because as the Pirates were winning the region was losing and was in the process of reinventing itself. There was not much to celebrate from an economic perspective in Pittsburgh in 1979 but the “79” Bucs’ were truly a comforter for all of the other things that were going wrong during that vital “make love and not war” era.The motto of the Pittsburgh Pirates squad of 1979 was not “turn the other cheek,” no it was just the opposite. Their attitude was; “break the other jaw.The only time that you would find the Pirates drinking mint juleps with the opposition during the era of “Pops” Stargell was after they had knocked out all of the teeth of the opposition and their opponents were unable to eat solid food.“For today our pirate ‘prentice rises from indenture freed.” the young Bucs’ of 2013 have been freed from the past. They have used the “blowtorch of youth” to cut loose the shackles of losing. When a blowtorch has to be utilized to cut shackles there is going to be some pain involved but the old saying has never been more true than now; “No pain, no gain.”“Strong his arm, and keen his scent he’s a pirate now indeed!”The strength of youth is beginning to show very well alongside the stability of experience that the 2013 Pirates have. Pittsburgh is beginning to smell blood in the water and they are now salivating at just the thought of biting into the “bloody steak” of winning. They resemble a bunch of Pit Bulls ready not for bear but for blood.See I am not one of the “fly by nighters.” Ya know, loving the Pirates now that they are showing some promise.This past spring I went to Bradenton, FL to see the Bucs’ compete in a few “grapefruit” league skirmishes. The previous time that I visited Bradenton to see Pittsburgh in action was in 2009. I could smell the “jelly” then and I can still smell it now.In light of my previous health issues I have been hoping that I would be blessed with the opportunity to cover one more MLB World Series or even one NLCS series featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates.“No Englishman unmoved that statement hears, because, with all our faults, we love our House of Peers. I pray you, pardon me, ex-Pirate King! Peers will be peers, and youth will have its fling.” The time for talking and teaching is over. “Yinz” guys and gals have been really good today………..Class dismissed.Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: or 412.583.6741last_img read more

Help hard to come by after quake

first_imgMUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan – Rescuers struggled to reach remote, mountainous areas Sunday after Pakistan’s worst-ever earthquake wiped out entire villages, buried roads in rubble and knocked out electricity and water supplies. The death toll stood at 20,000 and was expected to rise. In this devastated Himalayan city, wounded covered by shawls lay in the street, and villagers used sledgehammers to break through the rubble of flattened schools and homes seeking survivors. The quake collapsed the city’s Islamabad Public School. Soldiers with white cloth tied around their mouths and noses pulled a small girl’s dust-covered body from the ruins, while the body of a boy remained pinned between heavy slabs of concrete. The United Nations said more than 2.5 million people need shelter after the magnitude 7.6 earthquake along the Pakistan-India border. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Relief said it urgently needed 200,000 winterized tents. Pakistan said the death toll ranged between 20,000 and 30,000. India reported more than 600 dead, and Afghanistan said four were killed. “We have enough manpower but we need financial support … to cope with the tragedy,” Musharraf said in Rawalpindi, according to the state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan. He also appealed for medicine and tents. Musharraf told the British Broadcasting Corp. he knew of as many as 20,000 people killed, and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told CNN about 43,000 people were injured. Musharraf said the only way to reach many far-flung areas was by helicopter because roads were impassable. “Our helicopter resources are limited,” he told the BBC. “We need massive cargo helicopter support.” Most of the devastation occurred in northern Pakistan. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 60 miles northeast of the capital, Islamabad, in the forested mountains of Pakistani Kashmir. “I have been informed by my department that more than 30,000 people have died in Kashmir,” Tariq Mahmmod, communications minister for the Himalayan region, told The Associated Press. Troops “have not started relief work in remote villages where people are still buried in the rubble, and in some areas nobody is present to organize funerals for the dead,” he said. The USGS said there had been at least 26 aftershocks, including a magnitude 6.2 temblor. Dozens of villages were cut off from rescuers by quake-induced landslides. Relatives desperate to find their loved ones dug through flattened homes and schools with bare hands. In Muzaffarabad, a city of 600,000 that is the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, residents said they faced food and gasoline shortages. There was no electricity, and people collected water from a mountain stream. “People are relying on local fruit, and they have little food to eat. I went out to get bread, and could only get a couple of apples,” carpet seller Gul Khan said. Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said 11,000 people in Muzaffarabad were killed. At least 250 pupils were feared trapped at the Islamabad Public School, and dozens of villagers, some with sledgehammers, pulled at debris and carried away bodies. Several bright backpacks dotted the rubble. Nearby, a man cried over a child’s body. “The communication infrastructure and systems are down and we can’t get help to us; that should be the priority,” principal Mushtaq Ahmed Kahn said. Hundreds of people waited at bus stations, hoping to leave. The body of a man lay on a roadside, and a family pushed a body in a cart. The military hospital collapsed, and residents said there were bodies inside. Doctors set up a makeshift clinic in a park. “The situation is very bad. Surgeries are being conducted on soccer fields. There are not enough doctors,” Ozgur Bozoglu, a member of a Turkish search-and-rescue team, GEA, told Turkey’s NTV television. Helicopters and C-130 transport planes took troops and supplies to damaged areas Sunday. When confronted by urgent appeals from villagers, Musharraf responded, “For heaven’s sake, bear with us.” Bush said he spoke with Musharraf and “told him that we want to help in any way we can.” “Thousands of people have died, thousands are wounded, and the United States of America wants to help,” Bush said from the Oval Office. Aziz said the American helicopters would be drawn from coalition military operations in neighboring Afghanistan. But Maj. Andrew Elmes, spokesman for NATO’s 11,000-strong force, said it was outside the mission’s mandate to operate beyond Afghanistan. The United Nations, Britain, Russia, China, Turkey, Japan and Germany offered assistance. An eight-member U.N. team of top disaster coordination officials arrived in Islamabad on Sunday. Officials said Balakot, in the North-West Frontier Province about 60 miles north of Islamabad, was one of the hardest-hit areas. Near the ruins of one collapsed school, at least a dozen bodies lay in the streets. More than 200 pupils were feared trapped inside the rubble of a four-story school. Dozens of villagers pulled at the debris and carried away bodies. Faizan Farooq, a 19-year-old student, said he had heard children under the rubble crying for help immediately after Saturday’s disaster. “Now there’s no sign of life,” he said Sunday. “We can’t do this without the army’s help. Nobody has come here to help us.” There was no sign of government help in Balakot. The quake leveled the town’s main bazaar, crushing shoppers and strewing gas cylinders, bricks, tomatoes and onions on the streets. Residents carried bodies on wooden planks. The corpses of four children, aged between 4 and 6, lay under a sheet of corrugated iron. On the Indian side of the border, at least 54 soldiers were killed when their bunkers collapsed, said Col. H. Juneja, an Indian army spokesman. The death toll in India exceeded 650 Sunday. Most of the deaths were in the Jammu-Kashmir border towns of Uri, Tangdar and Punch and Srinagar. Hundreds of angry villagers blocked area roads, protesting the slow pace of rescue efforts. Locals demanded that journalists and soldiers with aid go to their mountainside villages. “Everything is destroyed – the ground shook and took everything down,” Syad Hassan said. Most people in Jammu-Kashmir spent the cold night in the open, lighting fires with wood from fallen houses to keep warm. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 President Gen. Pervez Musharraf complained of a shortage of helicopters needed to ferry in relief workers, food and medical supplies, and appealed for international help. In Washington, President George W. Bush said eight U.S. military choppers were being moved to help in rescue efforts, and he promised financial assistance. India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan, also offered assistance, as did Israel, which has no relations with the Muslim nation. “We are handling the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history,” chief army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said. The quake was felt across a wide swath of South Asia from central Afghanistan to western Bangladesh. It swayed buildings in the capitals of three nations, with the damage spanning at least 250 miles from Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Srinagar in northern Indian territory. In Islamabad, a 10-story building collapsed, killing at least 24 people. Late Sunday, helmeted rescuers found a survivor after hearing his cries for help. The thin man in a blue shirt, looking dazed, emerged on his own with little help and stood in front of a crowd of cheering onlookers. One rescuer patted his head, and the man waved and pumped his fist in the air. last_img read more