ZURICH (AP):Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini had their bans from soccer reduced from eight years to six by FIFA’s appeal body yesterday, two days before the sport’s ruling body tries to turn the page on years of scandals by electing a new president. Blatter and Platini were initially found guilty of wrongdoing by FIFA’s independent ethics committee, which is led by a German judge, over a previously-secret 2011 financial transaction.Platini, the UEFA president, said not being cleared was an “insulting decision, shameful and a denial of rights” — and announced he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Blatter, as FIFA president, authorised a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) to Platini, which was found to be unethical and a conflict of interest. But following hearings last week, an in-house appeal committee comprising members of federations voting in tomorrow’s presidential election decided to relax the suspensions. The committee is headed by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda, who is currently campaigning to win a May vote to become president of CONCACAF and a FIFA vice president.”The appeal committee considered that Mr. Platini’s and Mr. Blatter’s activities and the services they had rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football in general over the years should deserve appropriate recognition as a mitigating factor,” FIFA said in a statement.Both Blatter and Platini have constantly denied wrongdoing and claimed they had a verbal deal for additional salary that former France great Platini would receive for working as Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1999-2002.Platini had been the leading candidate to succeed Blatter in FIFA’s emergency election before the payment was revealed in September.”The reasons given against me are baseless, trumped up and surreal, given the facts and explanations that I gave during the hearing of the appeals board,” Platini said in a statement released through his legal team. “This decision is in reality a political decision taken by the FIFA administration.”He added: “I am the victim of a system that had only one goal: To prevent me from becoming FIFA president in order to protect certain interests that I was about to bring into question.”Platini said he would pursue all possible means to appeal, starting with CAS, and that he had asked his legal team to launch an appeal to the Lausanne-based court “without waiting”.Platini has previously said he asked for a salary of 1 million Swiss francs when approached in 1998 to work for the newly-elected Blatter.Blatter said there was a contract for 300,000 Swiss francs, the same as FIFA’s then secretary general in line with its salary structure, plus a “gentleman’s agreement” to get the rest later.Swiss law obliged FIFA only to pay the deferred money within five years. It was not until 2010 that Platini, by then UEFA president, reportedly asked for the balance and was paid in February 2011.That timing has raised suspicion as the payment came during a FIFA presidential election campaign. UEFA later urged its members to support Blatter — who promised them it would be his final term — against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.Blatter won that 2011 election unopposed after Bin Hammam was implicated in bribing Caribbean voters. From then on, Platini was the likely successor to lead FIFA.Platini’s provisional suspension by the ethics committee last October, pending a full investigation, stalled his presidential bid and the ban in December effectively ended it.Both were fined by the ethics judges in December. Blatter was ordered to pay 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,000) and Platini was fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($80,000).The Platini payment emerged during a wider Swiss federal investigation of FIFA business, including suspected money laundering in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.Switzerland’s attorney general, Michael Lauber, opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in September for alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA funds.That case also relates to Blatter signing off undervalued 2010-2014 World Cup broadcast rights for the Caribbean to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.Platini’s status in the Swiss investigation is “between a witness and an accused person,” Lauber has said.
TURIN, Italy (AP):Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the European Championship after injuring his knee while playing for Juventus yesterday.Marchisio was stretchered off in the 15th minute in visible pain after making a tackle. Tests revealed he has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.Juventus beat Palermo 4-0 to move nine points clear in Serie A, with five rounds remaining.”Just got back home,” Marchisio said later in a post on his Instagram account. “The news from the scan obviously hurts me, but these are the risks of our job. I have strength and so much desire to get back well and as soon as possible.”Meanwhile, inside of me there is great joy for this win. We’re ever closer to the great aim. Well done lads. Until the end, we never give up.”Juventus said Marchisio will be operated on “in the next few days”. It is not clear how long he will be out for, but it normally takes around four to six months to recover from such an injury.Italy kicks off its Euro 2016 campaign against Belgium on June 13. It also faces Sweden and Ireland in Group E.valuable playerMarchisio is a fundamental part of the Italy team. The 30-year-old midfielder has made 54 appearances for the Azzurri since his debut in 2009, scoring five goals.”It will be a huge loss,” Juventus and Italy team-mate Leonardo Bonucci said. “Claudio is a leader in this dressing room and that of the national team, apart from being a really great footballer.”Bonucci also wrote on his Instagram account: “An important victory, but there is nothing to celebrate. Today, we lost, for several months, an important player for Juve and the national team. Stay strong Marchisio. We will win for you and we’re expecting you (back) stronger than ever.”
Deplorable road conditions in the Southeastern counties of Sinoe and River Cess counties is seriously impeding political and commercial developments there.Marketers and politicians are finding it difficult to travel from one town to the other in the two counties as roads have become muddy, arresting vehicles in their tracks.At one of the worst spots along the road between Rivercess and Sinoe, dozens of vehicles belonging to aid agencies, as well as commercial and private vehicles spend days and weeks under a heavy downpour of rains.During our reporter’s stay in Rivercess and Sinoe, he saw at least 15 vehicles owned by aid agencies, the United Nations and private individuals.As a result of the deplorable road condition, high profile Liberian Government officials, including lawmakers from Sinoe, rely on Golden Veroleum Liberia’s helicopter to visit and tour their constituencies.At the same time, poverty stricken citizens, residents and businesspeople are delayed in the mud for weeks along the Sinoe-Rivercess Highway.Interviews conducted by our reporter in the two counties suggest that needed commodities are lacking because of bad roads.Scarcity of basic commodities including food items and gasoline has resulted in skyrocketing prices. Affected people spoken to in the area said they were finding it difficult to survive, calling on Government to take immediate action to address the situation.Businessmen and women in the two counties stressed the need for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the highways.Business woman Victoria Samson told the Daily Observer that besides the food shortage caused by bad road in Sinoe, and Rivercess, there is also a shortage of drugs.At several spots on the Sinoe-River Cess highways, many of the commuters, businessmen and women, expressed grave concern over the general conditions of the roads in that South-eastern part of Liberia.Commercial drivers currently plying the River Cess-Sinoe Counties’ roads added their anger and frustration over the deplorable conditions of the major highways in the South-east.Citizens and residents along the two highways in Sinoe and River Cess seemed irritated, frustrated and angry over the road situation.They squarely laid blame at the feet of the Liberian Government for allegedly awarding road construction companies that are not performing to the standards and expectations of the citizens and residents of the two counties.According to the affected businesspeople and commuters, a week ago Public Works Minister Dr. Antoinette Weeks visited Greenville, Sinoe County on an assessment on the two roads conditions.On their way back to Monrovia, she and her team of engineers encountered the menace of the deplorable roads on the River Cess-Sinoe highway.Businessman George B. Brooks told the Daily Observer on Monday that Minister Weeks ordered the allotment of 15 gallons of fuel oil to the Solid Rock’s field personnel in order to rescue the Public Works vehicles from the deep mud.Business woman Victoria Samson called on the Liberian Government to prevail on the contracting entity, Solid Rock Construction Company, to rehabilitate the deplorable spots, in order to ensure the free movement of goods, medical supplies and services to the two counties.Madam Samson pointed out that Solid Rock Construction Company has informed the businesspeople on the two highways that staff and employees of the entity had not been paid for the past five months.For his part, Grand Kru businessman Jefferson D. Tweh Nimely claimed that every year the Sinoe-River Cess road corridors always become impassable during the Rainy Season.“We continue to experience diminishiing profits owing to the high cost of transportation in commercial and other public service transport providers on the River Cess-Sinoe highways,” Mr. Nimely lamented.“I think the Liberian Government needs to award road construction contracts to companies that are based in the two counties in order to ensure effective, efficient and prompt services,” Mr. Tweh stressed.When Solid Rock Construction Company’s field was staff contacted for comments, they declined to elaborate, only stating that they have been encountering financial difficulties for the past five months.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Slackness and corruption permeate all levels of Guyana’s private security services sector, and this situation was cruelly exposed by the media last week when news broke that a security guard who was involved in a public altercation with Minister Simona Broomes last month is a jailbird who has served time in the US for gun-related offences and drug crimes.People all across Guyana are scratching their heads and trying to wrap their minds around news reports that this guard is a deportee and ex-convict named Robert Goodluck, a.k.a. Robert Wren, who not only beat the system to get hired as a guard, but was also able to get himself appointed as a supernumerary constable and pass the Police background check for a precept to bear firearms.Anyone who is shocked that a deportee who was jailed in the US for manslaughter and crimes involving drugs ended up as a security officer with a precept squabbling with a Government Minister will be blown away to find out that a bail-jumper and fugitive from American justice heads a local security firm, and in 2016 became secretary/treasurer of a major security association, of which I was a co-founder, chairman, secretary, and president.Because of these kinds of shenanigans, I prefer to keep my distance from that association.Something stinks to high heavens in the local private security services system. It took the incident with Minister Broomes to get the Police to do a proper background check on Goodluck and belatedly discover the security officer’s criminal background.How was Goodluck able to get around a Police background check? By simply applying for a precept under his other name? Isn’t that one of the oldest tricks in the book? Since the Police were able to find Goodluck’s criminal record quite easily after the Broomes incident, how come they couldn’t find it before? Didn’t they do the same check when his name was first submitted for a precept? This is either slackness or corruption; pure and simple.How many others have slipped through the cracks in our gun-licensing system because of negligence or skullduggery?The same slackness and corruption that infest the issuing of firearm licences exist in other areas of the private security services sector. The fault does not necessarily lie with the Office of the Commissioner of Police. I believe the system is failing because an evil bureaucracy is stifling the local security industry, and this monster is made up of officials who are clueless, or corrupt, or both.If you look at the recent known cases: of a fugitive heading a security company and holding high office in a security association and an ex-felon getting a precept to bear firearms, it is hard to believe that an official Guyana Security Service Act is in place. But the local security sector is in such disarray right now that this Act is now nothing more than a paper tiger that nobody bothers with anymore.The cold, hard fact is: we have a Security Services Act in place, and it gives the Office of the Commissioner of Police wide powers to enforce it and monitor all operatives in the industry. So, how in the world did a fugitive from American justice — for bail-jumping and narcotics-related crimes — get permission to set up a private security company and get elected to high office in a security association?The answer is simple: the system is completely broken down because some persons in authority have been compromised by favours and bribes. I can state this openly without fear of contradiction. Google it and you will see that this fugitive fled American justice since 2009, to live here with impunity. Both the previous administration and the current Government know this, and have done nothing.Certain individuals across administrations have given this fugitive big business plus protection. Despite the owner being wanted for serious crimes in the US, this person’s company gets huge security contracts, and his pockets are bulging with taxpayers’ dollars. But he knows how to manipulate persons in high office, and has made some of them shareholders and directors in his company.The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was forced to publish his company’s name in the newspapers because he was not paying up contributions to the scheme. Furthermore, this wanted person’s workers staged a massive public protest, claiming that they are not being paid and their Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes were not being remitted.But that is not all: this individual was hauled before the Guyana courts for trafficking cocaine in fish. The same US fugitive was charged and appeared in our courts, but the Police were embarrassed because the case jacket disappeared. Yet, despite a background steeped in suspicious behaviour, this fugitive got a personal firearm licence, and is licensed to operate a private security service with armed personnel.No wonder people are saying all over the place that Guyana’s system of awarding gun licences is so lax that known criminals, fugitives from American justice, severely depressed persons, and even psychopaths can beat the system and get firearm licences.In recent times, highly suspicious persons who are well-connected to ‘big’ ones’ in society have been able to acquire large arsenals of weapons through pseudo-legitimate channels. I recall a bizarre case not long ago, when a well-known businessman went on a shooting spree in a Georgetown street and several persons, including the gunman, ended up dead. In the ensuing news reports, persons at the scene claimed that everyone knew the man was deranged and wanted to know how he got so many guns, apparently with the approval of a particular former Commissioner of Police.Something is seriously wrong when people who are known fugitives from the law and persons of suspicious character can set up private security services and get gun licences willy-nilly. It is even worse when such characters can get protection from persons in power. With such powerful protection, they can become emboldened to do serious criminal acts.Private security services are a sensitive law enforcement arm of the country. Their value relies upon effective scrutiny of their owners and personnel, as well as proper and timely monitoring of their operation. It is highly dangerous when totally unsuitable and undesirable persons can infiltrate this sector and get away with it.God knows how many trigger-happy criminals, ‘loose cannons’ and outright lunatics have gotten gun permits because slackness and corruption have penetrated the system; and they are out there with both the means and opportunity to create terror, murder and mayhem in other people’s lives.Sincerely,Roshan Khan Sr
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The New Totem Archery Club has moved to the Stonebridge Hotel.The club will now have its indoor shooting taking place inside the hotel’s Alexander Ballroom, allowing for more nights of archery compared to its old location in Taylor. The club’s management felt that it was the best solution as a test to get a feel for a new proposed building that could potentially be built in two years’ time.The schedule for the upcoming season is listed below.Monday: 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Junior program starting March 19th for six weeks.Wednesday: 6:30-9:00 p.m. – General shootingThursday: League night starting March 22. Practice at 6:30 p.m. scoring starts at 7:00 p.m. for eight weeks.Sunday: 2:00-4:00 p.m. General shooting.March 23rd: Ladies night every second Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.March 30: Date night from 6:30-9:00 p.m. – $10 fee per person.- Advertisement -Registration is now open for the upcoming traditional tournament on April 7th beginning at 10:00 a.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $5 for kids that will feature targets 300 cm in size over two rounds of 60 arrows each. No sights, stabilizers, or compound bows are allowed in the tournament. Limited club equipment is available which will be free to members and cost $10 to rent for non-members.To reserve equipment or more information visit firstname.lastname@example.org or www.newtotemarchery.com
It’s a feat that company officials say they could not find had ever been achieved by a similar company.Surerus Pipeline reached a mark of two million exposure hours without a worker having to miss work due to an injury, says Steve Thorlakson, general manager at the company.- Advertisement -[asset|aid=3257|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=df5c40d78fb37a2fd25cf31897e44993-Thorlakson 1_1_Pub.mp3] Thorlakson says that achieving the feat is a testament to the company’s motto of ‘Safe Work, Quality Work’.The numbers do not mean that there are no injuries experienced while employees are at work.The company does have incidents where workers are injured, however the injuries are not considered severe enough that the employee has to stop working.Advertisement The last time that an incident of lost time occurred at the company was on January 27, 2007.
The Canadian Lightning Danger map, found under the ‘Alerts’ section of weather.gc.ca, displays high risk lightning areas in red.These maps are updated at an interval of 10 minutes, based on recent lightning observations, and are particularly important for those planning a camping trip, boating and waterskiing, or organizing an outdoor public event. “If the map indicates red areas over your location or if you hear thunder, then you are at risk of being struck by lightning,” a report from Environment Canada reads. “You should go to a safe location, either a building with plumbing and wiring or an all metal vehicle and stay there for 30 minutes following the last rumble of thunder.”- Advertisement -Research in North America shows that the risk of injury or death resulting from a lighting strike occur evenly through the early stages of a storm, the peak and the time following the peak of the storm, according to the report.“Environment Canada issues Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings when severe weather such as large hail, strong winds, heavy downpours, or even tornadoes are possible,” the report goes on to say. “When planning outdoor activities this summer, it is important to listen to weather forecasts, and to keep an eye on the sky as weather conditions can change quickly.”You can contact your regional Warning Preparedness Meteorologist if you have questions or need more information on the Canadian Lightning Danger map or Lightning in Canada, at 1 866 672 5463.Advertisement
Brendan Rodgers is a man on a mission – and signing Miralem Pjanic is his objective.Straight after Liverpool’s thrilling 3-2 win over Tottenham, like a Northern Irish James Bond, Rodgers darted across the globe in an attempt to save the Roma star from the reported advances of Manchester United.In Italy, the Reds boss is looking to tie-up some loose ends and ensure a deal is done for the Bosnian talent who continues to light up Serie A with his enviable ability on the ball.And, if signed, Pjanic is a player who could leave the Kop shaken and stirred.Check out the Roma star’s best bits below… Roma star Miralem Pjanic 1
Liverpool target Ezequiel Lavezzi 1 Liverpool target Ezequiel Lavezzi is moving closer towards a summer switch to Inter Milan, according to reports in Italy.The Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move away from Paris Saint-Germain since last summer.Liverpool are said to be big admirers of the forward, while Arsenal and Tottenham have also been touted as possible destinations.However, according to Calciomercato, Inter Milan are moving closer to a summer swoop for Lavezzi after the player’s agent reportedly met club representatives for talks.The 29-year-old’s agent – Alejandro Mazzoni – is said to have flown to Milan for talks this week as he looks to put the wheels in motion for a summer move for his client.Lavezzi has previously hinted that he would considered a return to Italy, where he spent five seasons with Napoli.