There are many who should be saying sorry – but Xhaka is not one of them

first_imgShare on WhatsApp David Squires on … where’s Mesut? The message Héctor Bellerín, who captained Arsenal at Liverpool on Wednesday, posted on Twitter was perfect. “We are all humans, we all have emotions, and sometimes it’s not easy dealing with them,” he wrote. “It’s time to lift each other up, not to push each other away.” My concern is that some Arsenal supporters have become famous for their negativity about their team and may not take that message on.Over the past few years Wenger, Mesut Özil and now Xhaka have endured extended periods when Arsenal’s fans have turned against them. These are not minor characters at the club – it’s a great manager, a big signing, a club captain. All have certainly fallen below expected standards, and the fans have a right to express disappointment, but it has created the impression of a group of supporters who can be fickle. That isn’t helped by Arsenal Fan TV, the popularity of which is based on raw and direct views about the team that are most interesting when negative.My opinion is that fans should not be booing their captain. Not under any circumstances. It’s that simple. Fans will have their opinions, but there are right and wrong ways to express them and they should learn from this. Nobody will ever do their job better while thousands of people are telling them they’re useless at it. Last Sunday his teammate Lucas Torreira was moved to tears; Xhaka has been offered counselling by the club. These are real people, and what the fans say and do has an impact on them.In women’s football obviously there are fewer fans, and often players will have conversations with them after the game. I’ve always found that the women have a more personal relationship with their team’s fans, and that’s something that could come into the men’s game. There is so much media attention, so many TV shows that involve fans talking to journalists, or journalists talking to other journalists. When we hear from current managers and players it is usually in formal situations – press conferences or set-piece interviews. There’s a gap in men’s football that needs to be filled. Players could go on these fans’ shows, and just talk. If supporters have a perception of Xhaka that’s different from the reality their teammates see and know, there should be an opportunity for the likes of Bellerín to change it by explaining, in an unforced setting, why he has so much respect in the dressing room. Fifty thousand people booing, provoking someone else to swear and take off their shirt, is not exactly a grown-up conversation. Fans can do better. Xhaka is ‘devastated and sad’, says Emery after display of anger at fans – video Topics Read more Xhaka has been criticised before, and sometimes if fans get a bee in their bonnet there’s nothing a player can do to change their minds. Arsenal’s fans have clearly decided he is not good enough; what can he do now to convince them otherwise, and how exactly could shattering his confidence help him to do that? He now takes the field knowing that 50,000 people just don’t like him. No matter how much character you have, that is a very difficult pill to swallow.He might not have played well against Crystal Palace, but I can guarantee that he will already have known it before the first fan raised their voice. When he saw his number on the fourth official’s board, particularly as captain, he will have been extremely disappointed, more than anything in himself. At that moment, when he will already have been fragile, the very people who are supposed to support him instead showered him in boos. Then, most bizarrely of all, when he got upset they said he should apologise. Share on Twitter Play Video Reuse this content It took exactly a month for Granit Xhaka to go from being named Arsenal captain to being booed off the field. As a player, it’s hard to see what the abuse was supposed to achieve, but destroying the confidence of one of the team’s key players – whether the fans like it or not – seems to have been the effect. One of his best friends, having talked to him, described him as distraught, and with Arsenal playing at the Emirates Stadium again on Saturday, Xhaka must be asking himself what more he can do. And whether there is any way back.The 27-year-old has attempted nearly 500 more passes this season than any other Arsenal player, ranks third for tackles and interceptions, and was given the captaincy after winning a vote among the first-team squad. I have seen him score absolute worldies, so he has that kind of ability. Though he has technical limitations, he is clearly a player who cares, who tries and who has a strong character and the respect of his peers. In the recent past Arsenal have lacked strong characters, and in Xhaka they have a leader. He may not be the player the fans desire, but he is the kind of person the club needs. And still, the fans condemn him. Sportblog comment Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Share on Messenger What do fans expect him to do, in that moment? He’s coming off the pitch, he wants to stay on the pitch, and he hears boos from his own fans. He is entitled as a human being to be absolutely devastated, but somehow the fans want him to clap and smile and say thank you. Footballers are humans before they are players. They work hard on controlling their emotions, but still they exist and sometimes, like all of us, they come out. Having watched that moment on television I think there are plenty of people who should be feeling remorse and issuing apologies – but Xhaka is not one of them.I remember the 2010 World Cup, when after a draw against Algeria the England fans booed the team and Wayne Rooney criticised them on television. It was a terrible performance, and the players knew it, but the abuse achieved nothing. A few months later, and with the relationship between the team and the fans still poor, Fabio Capello, the England manager, said the team were “playing with fear inside, fear of playing at Wembley”. That is the atmosphere that Arsenal fans are creating for Xhaka, an atmosphere in which instead of instilling extra confidence the prospect of playing at home will create fear and tension. That, in turn, will lead to poor performances, which will create a worse atmosphere, which will create more fear and tension. It is a vicious circle which will only lead to disappointment. Granit Xhaka says Arsenal fans’ rejection pushed him to ‘boiling point’ Read more 1:37 Arsenal Share on Facebook Share on Pinterestlast_img read more

Census Median income in four of five Indigenous communities below poverty line

first_imgOTTAWA – Four out of every five Aboriginal reserves have median incomes that fall below the poverty line, according to income data from the 2016 census that provides insight into the depth of poverty facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada.A Canadian Press review of census figures for areas identified as Indigenous communities found about 81 per cent of reserves had median incomes below the low-income measure, which Statistics Canada considers to be $22,133 for one person.In absolute numbers, of the 367 reserves for which there was data on total individual median incomes, 297 communities fell below the low-income measure, while just 70 registered median incomes above the de facto poverty line.At the lowest end, 27 communities reported median total incomes below $10,000.Women fared marginally better than males, according to the data. About 22 per cent of female incomes on-reserve was over the low-income measure, compared to about 19 per cent for males.The income figures come from tax filings for 2015, the year the Trudeau Liberals were elected in part on a promise to improve economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples, who collectively face the harshest poverty and housing conditions in the country.The Liberals are finalizing a national housing strategy with specific initiatives targeting Indigenous communities, and have been meeting with Indigenous leaders about what is needed in an Indigenous-specific poverty reduction strategy.But the figures are not a full picture of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Many of the communities registered so few residents that data had to be suppressed out of concerns for their privacy.Statistics Canada plans to provide more robust census data at the end of the month as part of its ongoing effort to paint a five-year portrait of the evolving Canadian population.So far, the emerging picture of Indigenous Peoples living on reserve shows a significantly younger population — thanks to a fertility rate that far exceeds its non-Indigenous counterpart — but with shorter life expectancies and much lower incomes.In September, Statistics Canada reported a spike in income levels in 2015, thanks to a prior boom in commodity prices, particularly in the Prairies, that pushed median total household income to $70,336, up 10.8 per cent from a decade earlier.Only 26 of the 503 of reserves with income data had higher median household incomes. Totals — which include sources like employment, investments and government benefits — ranged from $13,168 in Manitoba’s Roseau River First Nation to $114,381 in Cree Nation of Chisasibi on the eastern shore of James Bay in Quebec.What’s not clear from the numbers is precisely how those incomes are earned, whether resources are shared or if those who do better have specific advantages over those who do not. Each community is different, said Marshall Ballard, director of business, employment and social development with the Native Women’s Association of Canada.Indigenous leaders have pushed the Liberal government to help those communities where the need is greatest. In meetings last week, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for a meeting between Indigenous, federal and provincial leaders next year to work on closing the economic gap with the wider population.Previous research has shown that Indigenous Peoples regularly earn less than the median income. A 2014 study found they were almost as disadvantaged as in 2006 as they were 25 years earlier in 1981.Some of that is tied to location, or the geography lottery, as some communities know it, Ballard said. Location, he said, can make all the difference in the prosperity of the community.Martin Cooke, one of the authors of that 2014 study, said previous research has suggested income isn’t always tied to location, such as being in a remote community.“There’s not a clear geographic pattern,” said Cooke, an associate professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.“To me that’s the interesting thing: it’s not all geography.”— Follow @jpress on Twitterlast_img read more

Canadas decision to decline TPP agreement shouldnt have been surprise Trudeau

first_imgDANANG, Vietnam – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone when Canada declined to sign an agreement-in-principle Friday on an updated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.Trudeau’s decision to keep negotiating for a better deal in the 11-country pact led to the abrupt cancellation of a TPP leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of an APEC summit.His move created international headlines because foreign media reports had predicted TPP partners would reach an agreement when they gathered for the APEC event in Vietnam.But Trudeau says anyone who had paid closer attention would have noticed his signals all week that Canada would not be rushed into a TPP deal unless it was right for Canadians.Speaking to reporters today to close the APEC summit in Danang, Trudeau says the TPP trade ministers still made some progress by agreeing to several changes that moved the talks closer to a agreement.But Trudeau says despite the improvements there’s still more work to do, particularly when it comes to protecting Canada’s auto and cultural sectors.last_img read more

US approves 13 billion sale of artillery to Saudi Arabia

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Trump administration signed off Thursday on selling more than $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia, giving a vote of confidence to the Saudi military as young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concludes a marathon tour of the United States.Since Prince Mohammed arrived in the U.S. two weeks ago, the administration has green-lighted more than $2.3 billion in arms sales to the kingdom, including more than $1 billion in missiles while the crown prince was in Washington. The latest deal includes about 180 Paladin howitzer systems, artillery-firing vehicles on tracks. The vehicles look like a combination of a tank and a cannon, and launch 155mm shells.The Trump administration told Congress on Thursday that it plans to approve the sale, the State Department said, triggering a 30-day window in which lawmakers could act to try to stop it. Typically, the administration obtains informal approval for such deals from key lawmakers before making them public, indicating that Congress is unlikely to act to block the sale.The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, part of the U.S. military, said the sale would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States” by boosting the capabilities of a key U.S. partner that contributes to “political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.” The agency said the artillery would help the Saudis modernize their military and improve their ability to co-operate with the U.S. military.Yet the sale comes amid continuing concerns in Congress and by humanitarian groups about alarming rates of civilian casualties inflicted by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Even President Donald Trump has raised his concerns about that in the past, and for a while, the U.S. stopped selling certain munitions to the Saudis while demanding that they improve their targeting. The U.S. is not engaged in the Saudis’ bombing campaign in Yemen, but has supported the coalition with refuelling , targeting information and other logistics.The Trump administration and the United States more broadly have laid out the red carpet for Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old heir to the throne, who is on an ambitious mission to modernize Saudi Arabia and improve its image in the West. After stops in Washington, New York and Boston, the crown prince has spent this week on the West Coast meeting with prominent business and entertainment leaders. He plans a final stop in the energy hub of Houston on Saturday before returning to Saudi Arabia.During Trump’s visit to Riyadh last year — the first stop on his inaugural foreign trip — the two nations announced that the U.S. would sell $110 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia. They said the deal could grow to $350 billion over a decade and include tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs could be created, the State Department said at the time.But no details were announced then, owing in part to the fact that the individual sales require approval from Congress that Trump by himself could not guarantee. Officials said the $1.3 billion in artillery and $1 billion in missiles announced during Prince Mohammed’s visit are both part of that broader package.___AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAPlast_img read more

FDA goal to be first on devices worries former regulators

first_imgWASHINGTON — Dr. Jeffrey Shuren was adamant: The United States would never cut corners to fast-track the approval of medical devices.“We don’t use our people as guinea pigs in the U.S.,” Shuren said, holding firm as the new director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical devices division.Again and again in 2011 — four times in all — Shuren was summoned before Congress. Lawmakers accused the agency of being too slow and too demanding in reviewing new devices like heart valves and spinal implants, driving U.S. manufacturers overseas where products faced less rigorous review. Each time, he pushed back.And yet the next year, Shuren and his team adopted an approach that surprised even some of his closest colleagues: The FDA would strive to be “first in the world” to approve devices it considered important to public health.The agency’s shift mirrored the talking points of the $400 billion medical device industry — a lobbying behemoth on Capitol Hill — and ushered in a series of changes that critics say have allowed manufacturers to seek regulatory approval for high-risk devices using smaller, shorter, less rigorous studies that provide less certainty of safety and effectiveness.Under Shuren, annual new device approvals have more than tripled, while warnings to device manufacturers about product safety and quality issues have fallen roughly 80 per cent, an Associated Press investigation found.The FDA says warning letters have declined because the agency is using a new approach that involves fewer warnings but more inspections to oversee companies that violate its rules.The cheaper and faster medical device approvals began despite multiple high-profile problems involving pelvic mesh, hip replacements and other implants.An AP analysis of FDA data shows that since 2012, tens of thousands of injury and death reports have been filed in connection with devices that were cleared through a streamlined pathway that minimizes clinical trial testing. The FDA’s system for reporting device problems often includes incomplete, unverified information submitted by manufacturers, physicians, lawyers and patients. Because of these limitations, it’s often unclear whether a device played any role in an injury or death.In response to questions from the AP, the FDA said its “first in the world” goal was adopted as part of a broader strategy that also focused on quickly identifying defective products to ensure U.S. devices “remain safe, effective and of high quality,” the agency added.The goal is not about a competition between countries, the FDA said, but rather a response to concerns about delays in new technologies reaching U.S. patients.Last week, the FDA announced a new goal to be “consistently first” among the world’s regulatory agencies to identify and address medical device safety issues. And on Monday, a day after a global investigation into medical device safety began publishing, the FDA proposed changes that would push manufacturers to incorporate more up-to-date technology into their devices — reforms that could take years to implement.The agency also rejected the idea that Shuren’s approach to regulation has changed over time, saying he has worked for years to improve patient safety.Still, some current and former FDA officials are worried about the ambition to be first on approvals. They include Dr. Peter Lurie, who calls the agency’s direction “an invitation to a race to the bottom for scientific standards” seemingly prompted by industry pressure. Lurie held senior posts at FDA from 2009 to 2017 and now heads the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest.The FDA’s medical device standards are still considered among the highest in the world. But by trying to outpace countries with less stringent requirements, Lurie said the FDA has opened the door to lowering its own standards to achieve its goal.Earlier this year, Shuren addressed a conference of medical device industry executives, each of whom paid about $1,000 to attend.Armed with dozens of PowerPoint slides, he explained how the FDA was approving more new devices in less time and credited his “north star” — the FDA’s goal to be first to approve new devices.He highlighted the agency’s new focus on “customer service,” including streamlining clinical trials.“We all know that premarket clinical trials can be very costly, very time-consuming and, in some respects, of limited value,” Shuren said.He explained that the FDA was now using easier-to-produce data to approve a variety of devices, including artery-opening stents, spinal implants and diagnostic tests.In September, the FDA began codifying a concept called “acceptable uncertainty” in draft guidelines for manufacturers. The proposal would ease pre-market testing standards for some devices, in exchange for companies conducting larger follow-up studies, even though the FDA’s own data show that many studies are not completed until five or more years after approval.The FDA said in a statement that all devices carry a level of uncertainty, even after extensive testing. It said its guidance focuses on “breakthrough” devices, where “it may be appropriate to accept a little more uncertainty,” while still meeting FDA standards.Lurie and other former regulators worry that the FDA is laying the groundwork for a “sliding scale” of medical evidence that will leave patients even more uncertain about the safety and effectiveness of devices.“This guidance is basically a ‘come hither’ to industry, inviting them to ask FDA for the lower standards of evidence,” he said.___Follow Matthew Perrone at @AP_FDAwriter___Associated Press writers Holbrook Mohr, Reese Dunklin and Meghan Hoyer contributed to this story.Matthew Perrone, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Netflix Canada plans biggest price increase yet as competition intensifies

first_imgDavid Friend, The Canadian Press TORONTO — Another price hike is on the way for Netflix Canada subscribers as competition heats up among the biggest streaming video services.The company behind “Narcos” and “Orange Is the New Black” is introducing its biggest price increase yet for both new subscribers and current members.Netflix’s standard plan will now cost $3 more — or $13.99 a month — to watch content on two screens at a time.The basic plan — which does not offer high-definition video and only allows one stream — rises a dollar to $9.99 a month.Premium plan subscribers pay $3 more — or $16.99 a month — for up to four simultaneous streams and ultra high definition 4K video.Netflix says the higher prices are effective immediately for new subscribers, while existing users will be notified by email before their bills rise in the coming weeks.The company most recently increased prices for most plans by a dollar about a year and a half ago.Netflix says the move will help fund upcoming TV series and films as well as overall improvements to the Netflix platform.But the company also faces intense competition next year as the number of streaming platforms in the Canadian marketplace with attractive offerings grows.Earlier this month, Bell Media introduced a higher tier of its Crave streaming service that includes a selection of recent Hollywood movies and new HBO programs. The package, dubbed Crave+, costs about $20 per month.Next year, Disney jumps into the market with its own streaming platform. Disney+ is expected to be stocked with movies and original series like a prequel to “Star Wars: Rogue One” and a Marvel superhero show based on the character Loki from “Thor” and “The Avengers.”Other platforms could make headway too, including a new service operated by Criterion that specializes in classic films, and CBS All Access, which is beefing up its library of original shows that include “Tell Me A Story” and “Strange Angel.” Follow @dfriend on Twitter.last_img read more

Finance Committee to hold public hearing in Fort St John on June

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has announced details for its Budget 2020 consultation.According to the Government, this consultation is an annual event where British Columbians are invited to share their priorities and ideas for the next Provincial Budget.Committee Chair, Bob D’Eith, says the consultation has been moved to June instead of the fall which will allow more time for the committee to put forward reviews and considerations. “Every year, the committee hears diverse perspectives and suggestions on a number of topics. Moving the consultation to June will allow for more time to review and consider this input and the recommendations put forward by the committee.”Residents can provide their input by speaking with the committee in-person or via teleconference at a public hearing. They can also send input via mail or through an online survey.A public hearing will be coming to Fort St. John on June 19, 2019.For more information, and to register, you can visit the committee’s website.last_img read more

Students from Peace Region bring home medals from Canada Wide Science Fair

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Five students and two delegates travelled from the Peace Region to attend the Canada Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick.After successfully competing and winning their spots at the Regional Science Fair held in April, the group was amongst 409 other projects that were submitted to the Canada Wide Science Fair.Out of those 409 projects, three students from the North Peace were able to win medals for their science projects. Hollis Mattson, Grade 7 student at Devereaux Elementary, won a silver medal for her Underwater Soundscape project.Kyra Taylor, Grade 12 Student at North Peace Secondary School, received a bronze medal for her project ‘Keeping the Balance: The Correlation Between Diet and pH in the Equine Hindgut’.Emilia Dyksterhuis, Grade 7 Student, won a bronze medal for her project on ‘Spare Our Air: The Use of Algae Scrubbers in the Oil and Gas Industry’.Students received an all-expense trip thanks to the sponsorship of Shell, Encana, School District 60 Science Fair Foundation B.C., and Arc Resources.last_img read more

Ohio State senior Cammi Prantl powers Buckeyes past Rutgers in Big Ten

OSU senior Cammi Prantl (22) during a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe Big Ten tournament got off to a solid start for the Ohio State softball team, as the Buckeyes (33-17-1, 13-9-1) beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (24-33, 8-15) 5-0 in State College, Pennsylvania. After sweeping Rutgers during the regular season, OSU looked in control from the very start of the game. Junior pitcher Lena Springer dominated through all seven innings, giving up only four hits and no walks, as well as earning five strikeouts.Springer now has five wins on the season. Led by senior outfielder and OSU’s all-time hits leader, Cammi Prantl, the Scarlet and Gray figured out Rutgers pitcher Dresden Maddox early. Sophomore utility player Becca Gavin started the scoring in the bottom of the second with an infield single to drive home sophomore infielder Ashley Goodwin, and the Buckeyes never looked back.A home run by redshirt senior Maddy McIntyre gave OSU a 3-0 lead in bottom of the third. The home run gave her six on the year.After earning a team-high .405 batting average, Prantl picked up where she left off in the regular season, providing a majority of the offense for the Buckeyes. She went two-for-three with a pair of RBIs, along with scoring two runs herself.The defense for OSU was solid, committing no errors through all seven innings, while also making nice plays on the ball to limit the Rutgers batters to just four hits, only one of which had extra bases.Looking ahead, the Buckeyes will face Northwestern in State College on Friday. The time of the first pitch has yet to be announced. Last season, OSU held a 1-2 record against the Wildcats. read more

Moving from Block O to the press box

As I sit here, watching Block “O” slowly filling up an hour before kick-off, I try to remember what it was like two years ago when I was a freshman filling those same seats.Today, I live a totally different life on Saturdays; one spent in the press box rather than in the stands.I used to get angry and frustrated if my friends didn’t want to leave the dorm two-and-a-half hours early so we could get seats in the very front row of the section, with Luc Nutter, the president of Block “O” and my hero.I woke up early in the morning, anxious and excited. I got dressed: Block “O” earrings, buckeye necklace, bright red No. 33 jersey, Brutus tattoos on both my cheeks, Under Armor to keep my arms warm, scarlet and gray gloves and beanie, and my lucky Ohio State socks and red Vans shoes.Those were the days.This morning, I had a much different ritual. I woke up and took a shower, did my hair nicely and put on my professional makeup. I got out my nice dark jeans and some professional shoes. I went to my closest and passed by my white No. 2 jersey, and my old beloved red No. 33 jersey, and pulled out my blue blouse and black sweater.It was definitely not the same game-day outfit from those freshman year games.After that, instead of blasting Hang on Sloopy and tailgating with everyone in the dorms, I sat down to study up on the press packet I had for today’s game against Wisconsin.Did you know that this was the “75th meeting between these Big Ten conference opponents?” Or did you know that “Ohio State’s defensive squads have held opponents to fewer than 21 points 43 times since 2006, the best among division 1A teams?”I do now.When Ohio State gets that touchdown in the south end zone I will not be losing my voice in excitement; I will be quiet as a mouse, furiously typing notes so that I can recapture a moment that I’m barely experiencing myself. The game takes on an entirely new meaning in the press box.Instead of waiting five minutes for enough cell phone reception to send my text message, I have five windows open in Safari and am sending Google chats.Instead of joining in on Stadium Ohio, I am trying to figure out which players are suited up for today’s game.Instead of running to get water after the first quarter, I am hand-delivered a stat sheet.While I surely miss being a part of that sea of scarlet, being a member of the press has it perks on Ohio Stadium: free all-you-can-eat City Barbeque and McDonald’s McFlurries, riding in an elevator with NBA player and former OSU student Greg Oden and spending that last half of the fourth quarter on the field. And even though I will sacrifice sleep and fun tonight to write my article, I love covering Ohio State football.So even though I can’t technically cheer in the press box while write this… Go Bucks! read more