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Toronto theatre company developing play based on Russell Williams interrogation

first_img“Smyth/Williams” is set to hit a Toronto stage on March 3.BY DIANA MEHTA Advertisement The former commander of Canada’s largest military airfield also pleaded guilty to 82 fetish break-and-enters and thefts as well as two sexual assaults. But Seelig says he only moved to make the play a reality after noticing what he called a recent urgency around the issue of violence against women, particularly against women in the military. The majority of the lines in the play will be taken directly from a transcript of Smyth’s interrogation of Williams, Seelig said, but the play will also incorporate dialogue that comes from some of Williams’ victims, which was played at Williams’ trial and is found in a book on the killer. “I would agree with the people who say it is hard, it’s heavy, it’s difficult, but it is necessary to look at it, to examine it, to raise awareness about it if we’re ever going to have any chance of understanding it and curbing it.” Seelig acknowledges that a play based on Williams’ confession to horrifying crimes deals with disturbing material. But he said current discourse around violence against women, and the recent dialogue around women’s rights in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, makes the play particularly relevant. The military commander came in for questioning and eventually caved under Smyth’s masterful interrogation techniques. Having the actors in the play alternate roles between Williams and Smyth was also a deliberate decision to ensure a single performer was not over-burdened by playing the sadistic criminal, Seelig said. A Toronto-based theatre company is developing a play based on the intense police interrogation in which convicted sex killer Russell Williams confessed his crimes. “Now is the time to look at what I will call truly tragic violence,” Seelig said. Advertisement The company’s artistic director, Adam Seelig, says he first got the idea for the play in 2010, when Williams’ case and his confession to Ontario Provincial Police Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth was making headlines. Facebook In his videotaped confession, Williams admitted he started breaking into homes in 2007 to steal underwear — some from girls as young as 11 — which he wore while masturbating on their beds Williams, once a rising star in the Canadian Forces, was sentenced to life in prison in October 2010 after pleading guilty to the murders of two women — 37-year-old Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd. The Canadian Forces stripped him of his rank after his conviction and, in a rare move, burned his uniform. Williams methodically chronicled and catalogued his crimes, shooting videos and still photos of himself in the act and amassing a huge collection of undergarments stolen from women and girls. Dozens of gruesome photos were shown during his trial. Williams came under police suspicion in February 2010 after officers stopped him at a roadside canvass after Lloyd went missing. Officers noticed the distinctive tires on his Nissan Pathfinder, similar to the treads they’d found near Lloyd’s Belleville, Ont., home. The One Little Goat Theatre Company plans to premiere “Smyth/Williams” in March, with an all-female cast that will alternate the roles of the interrogating officer and Williams through the performance. “For one person to take on Williams and to say what Williams says is almost too much for a person who feels deeply, and most actors do,” he said. “Part of it is to distribute the weight.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement “The importance of that was to really contrast the matter-of-factness of Williams’ account of his crimes, the neutral almost emotion-free way in which he expresses them with the true horror that was perpetrated,” Seelig said. Seelig says he was amazed at the time by Smyth’s ingenuity and chilled by Williams’ matter-of-fact confessions to heinous crimes — all strong material for a theatrical performance. Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more

Perdue barbecues to sell Japanese on buying more US beef

TOKYO — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has picked up his barbeque tongs to convey his message to Japan: Buy more American beef.Perdue said Monday that as a top consumer of U.S. beef, Japan should treat the U.S. fairly. He said he hoped President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will strike a trade deal during his boss’s visit to Japan later this month.Japan’s limits on imports of meat and other farm products have been a recurring issue in years’ long trade talks with the U.S.The Trump administration worries that Japan will buy more from other nations that have signed trade deals with Japan in recent years, such as Australia and Europe.Japan, a country of 126 million, is the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural products.The Associated Press read more

Ban concerned at troop buildup along ChadSudan border

3 May 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his concern today at reports of the recent build-up and movement of armed elements on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border, and called on the two countries to ease tensions. “In this context, the Secretary-General welcomes the discussions towards the normalization of bilateral relations between the Governments of Chad and Sudan held this week in Doha,” Mr. Ban”s spokesperson said in a statement issued today.The Secretary-General, in his most recent report on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), stated that “the security situation along the Sudan-Chad border continued to be tense and unpredictable” during February and March of this year. Last week in a briefing to the Security Council, Rodolphe Adada, the Joint African Union-UN Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID, cited the state of relations between Sudan and Chad as an important factor with regard to the ongoing conflict in Darfur.An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen. read more

Tamil Nadu fishermen attacked near Katchatheevu

The Indian claim their fishing nets were also cut while the fish were thrown back into the sea. They also claimed that their GPS equipment and cell phones were seized. A group of Tamil Nadu fishermen claim they were attacked near the Katchatheevu Island in Sri Lankan waters yesterday.The Press Trust of India quoted the fishermen as saying that they were attacked by the Sri Lankan navy, an allegation Indian fishermen continued to raise even during the war. Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy had last month said India and Sri Lanka were close to clinching an agreement on drawing a fishing boundary in the Palk Strait to avoid incidents of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen.The Sri Lankan navy has always denied involvement in the alleged attacks. (Colombo Gazette) According to the Indian media report 12 fishermen from Thondi in the Ramanathapuram District, were fishing in a mechanised boat when they were surrounded by, who they claim were sailors of the Sri Lankan Navy, who attacked them with sticks. The fishermen arrived at Rameswaram on last night and were treated as out-patients and given some pain killers and ointment by local doctors, the Indian media report said.The alleged attack comes after a brief lull in such incidents. In a welcome gesture, Sri Lankan Naval personnel, had on January 24 offered refreshments to a group of fishermen from Rameswaram when they were fishing near Katchatheevu. read more

Annan names four experts to panel probing Liberias compliance with sanctions

In a letter to the Council President, the Secretary-General informs the 15-member body that he has named Atabou Bodia of Senegal, Johan Peleman of Belgium, Harjit Singh Sandhu of India and Alex Vines of the United Kingdom to the panel.Last week, the Council unanimously voted to re-establish the panel to look into and compile a brief independent audit of the Government’s observance of a Council resolution adopted in 2001 and to report on its findings no later than 8 April.That resolution called for Liberia to end financial and military support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone, to expel rebel members from the country and to prohibit their activity on its territory.By the same text, the Council also imposed an arms embargo on Liberia, restricted its diamond exports and banned the country’s senior officials from travelling abroad, except for humanitarian reasons. read more

April big bus registrations up 53

April big bus registrations up 53% “¢ Last year’s orders still support strong big bus registrations. “¢ April’s coaches down 46% to 69 units due to major impact of recession. “¢ Small minibuses down 53% to 54 but larger single-deckers up strongly. “April’s big bus registrations show the benefits of last year’s strong sales but the recession has hit the coach and small minibus sector hard,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Manufacturers are increasingly worried about falling orders, so it is imperative that the government takes action to restore confidence among bus and coach operators.” DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

What Happened At The 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Friday, Feb 27, 3:28 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: 1 on 1 with Rob Manfred”The panelists: Brian Kenny, Rob ManfredRob Manfred has a long history with Major League Baseball. And Major League Baseball has long tried to avoid letting its history weigh it down. In a wide-ranging interview at Sloan on Friday, one month into his tenure as league commissioner, Manfred sounded like a man trying to make sense of how to reform a game without hollowing it out.A few days ago, Manfred said that there was a universe in which baseball could shave eight games off its regular-season schedule “sometime down the road.” A reduction in the current 162-game schedule could make the sport’s playoff timing a little more flexible, and might increase fan interest in each game. At Sloan, Manfred said he chose the 154-game mark because it would take the majors “back to a number that’s already in our record books.” Could he see MLB going even lower, to 150? No, because then “you’re going to go have a record book with 150, 154, 162 …” Only in baseball, a sport hallowed enough to get the Ken Burns treatment, could the record book be more important than the ledger. Integrity is paramount. (Or as Manfred, who has worked for the league for nearly two decades, put it when talking about whether to reform gambling laws around sports betting: “Integrity, it’s Rule One.”)Yet this is a commissioner who clearly wants to find ways to change the game. Manfred has introduced rules to speed the pace of play, and said Friday he’s very happy with the replay system MLB added last year. He said that in the future — “past Rob Manfred” — the league could have a team outside North America, and before that, maybe even one in Mexico. Now that would be historic. — Chadwick Matlin Sunday, March 1 12:17 a.m.After what conference co-organizer Jessica Gelman said was a “heated discussion,” voters for the top research paper at Sloan reached a split decision and split the $30,000 prize pool between two papers. The winners:Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattCounterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryRosales and Spratt, both of Baseball Info Solutions, presented work suggesting that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.Franks, Miller, Bornn, and Goldsberry — all members of Harvard’s XY Hoops group — used player tracking data to quantify individual defensive play in the NBA. The academic version of this group’s paper has been accepted at the statistics journal Annals of Applied Statistics.The groups behind the winning papers each received $15,000 for their efforts. Additionally, Bornn and Goldsberry, along with co-authors Alex D’Amour and Dan Cervone, received the conference’s top poster prize of $1,000 for “Move or Die: How Ball Movement Creates Open Shots in the NBA.” — Mike Lopez Friday, Feb 27, 11:55 a.m.Daryl Morey has been as instrumental to the rise of the Sloan conference as he has been to the rise of the Houston Rockets. Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, has steered the team to third place in the Western conference — behind MVP-candidate James Harden, whom he acquired in a now-legendary 2012 trade — and helped start the Sloan conference in 2007. At Sloan on Friday, I boxed him out to ask a few questions about advanced basketball analytics, specifically player-tracking data from companies like STATS’ SportVU technology. While he can’t divulge the details of the Rockets’ private statistics, Morey’s remarks about the publicly available numbers are especially insightful because the Rockets are one of the most stats-savvy teams — not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. — Andrew FlowersAudio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Saturday, Feb. 28 3:15 p.m.Will sports betting inevitably become legal in the U.S.? It sure seems like it.Momentum behind legalization has grown since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in November 2014 explicitly endorsing legal sports gambling. The facade of professional sports leagues that oppose sports betting is beginning to crack. And it’s clear why: money.Silver estimated the market for illegal sports wagering is currently $400 billion per year, though it’s likely that figure is inflated. But even lower-end estimates of around $80 billion still represent a huge market. Sports betting is already enormous in Europe, Australia and many other regions. State governments want in because of the potential revenues.Professional sports leagues are intrigued because they see gambling interest as a ratings driver, much like fantasy sports have been. (And, coincidentally, daily fantasy sports sites – with cash prizes – bear an eerie resemblance to gambling anyway.) Gambling is already inherently analytical; but the appetite of stats-savvy fans for geeky coverage about odds is growing. Jeff Ma, a contributor to ESPN’s new sports-betting site, Chalk – said gambling analytics would meet the demand from those with a “high-brow” interest.But there are major risks to legalization. The revelations that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy owed gambling debts and bet on games he officiated was a reminder of the long, scandalous history of how gambling can challenge the integrity of sports. Here, too, analytics can help. Ryan Rodenberg, a professor at Florida State University, suggested statistical scrutiny of betting markets would combat fraud and fixing. Several private European firms already specialize in such analytics.The panelists were asked that if they had to bet on legalization sweeping the country, when it would happen. The lines offered by the panelists ranged from 2-to-10 years. Dan Spillane, the Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, didn’t offer a timeline, however. He just said “years, not months.” — Andrew Flowers Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m.The session: “Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic”The speaker: Glenn FleisigWe’re in the midst of an epidemic of elbow injuries among major league pitchers. Twenty-five percent of current MLB pitchers have had an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”) and 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure. Over the last decade, the problem has trickled down to high school and little league players. In 1990, none of the baseball players coming to the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center clinic Tommy John surgery were kids. Today, one third of them are high school age or younger, said Fleisig, the research director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.What’s to blame for the epidemic of torn elbow ligaments? Are more players getting hurt? Or are we just better at diagnosing these injuries? Are doctors more willing to do the procedure? Or are patients more eager to have it?The answer, said Fleisig, is all of the above. Some players assume they should go in for surgery at the first sign of elbow pain, just “to get it over,” but that’s the wrong attitude. Best case scenario, the surgery can return a player to the career trajectory he was on before he got injured, but it won’t improve performance and not every player makes it back to play, Fleisig said.About 80 percent of major league players who get Tommy John surgeries make it back to the mound, but only two thirds of those who undergo the procedure make it back and stay there.Most elbow ligament injuries occur due to overuse. During the middle part of the pitch when the elbow is held upright at a right angle, the joint experiences severe torque. “It’s like holding a string with five 12-pound bowling balls,” Fleisig said. (That’s why doping raises the risk of an elbow injury — “If you’re on the juice you’re making your muscles too strong for your tendons and ligaments to handle.”)There’s a common notion that curveballs are dangerous, but the research doesn’t bear that out, Fleisig said. “We expected the curveball to have more torque than the fastball, but it turns out it has less.”Four things determine which players get injured — biomechanics, how much a player pitches, training and recovery. “It’s not one of these things or the other, it’s all of them,” Fleisig said.Wear and tear on the elbow is one of the most important factors, and when Fleisig’s group followed a group of 500 kids over a ten-year period, they found that pitching more than 100 competitive innings more than tripled the risk of needing a Tommy John surgery. Likewise, more than 80 pitches per game quadrupled the risk of injury, and kids who pitched when fatigued had 36 times the risk of having surgery.In an effort to cut the rates of elbow injuries among young pitchers, Fleisig and his colleagues have teamed with Major League Baseball to create Pitch Smart, age-appropriate guidelines to avoid injury. Suggestions include limits on the number of pitches thrown and not pitching when fatigued. “The best computer we have is right here,” Fleisig told me, pointing to his head. — Christie Aschwanden Saturday, Feb. 28 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 11:20 a.m. Friday, Feb 27, 12:21 p.m.The Panel: “Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF”The Panelists: Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joe McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour (moderator)The recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers for over $2 billion have opened up a new paradigm in sports franchise valuations. As shocking as the price of those transactions may have been, the mood at this Sloan panel was buoyant. In fact, panelists seemed to be most worried about prices getting so high that billionaires would be priced out of the market. As Lyle Ayes, managing director of the investment bank Evercore’s sports advisory practice said, “how many people can pay $4 billion for an asset?”Panelists thought the seemingly inexorable rise in franchise valuations was driven by the increasing value of media and content rights. Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor who focuses on valuation (and FiveThirtyEight contributor), commented that across the entertainment industry, owning content is becoming king. Ayes cited the NBA’s massive new TV deal as evidence of this trend. He noted that advertisers put a large premium on live content like sports because viewers are relatively captive during the event. Interestingly, none of the panel members thought that a team’s performance had a large impact on valuation. The most important factor, according to the panel, was metro area population and GDP. The New York Knicks can command significantly more from their local TV rights for bad basketball than the San Antonio Spurs can command for good.Despite the increase in the real earnings of teams as media deals improve, panelists (with the exception of Ayes), broadly agreed that sports franchises still do not make sense as actual businesses. While they are relatively low-risk and uncorrelated with other potential investments, almost any analysis of the current cash flows — or lack thereof — will not find them to be great investments. As Damodaran noted, the supply of franchises is relatively fixed, while demand has been growing. The panelists did not see this dynamic changing any time soon. — John Ezekowitz Friday, Feb 27, 2:20 p.m.The panel: “Basketball Analytics: Push the Tempo”The panelists: Shane Battier, Mike Zarren, Sue Bird, Mike D’Antoni, Pablo TorreAre basketball teams now so saturated with data and analytics that it’s hard to use them for a competitive advantage?Mike Zarren, assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics, raised an interesting point about what qualifies as analytics in an analytics age. “If I know how well a player slept last night, is that analytics?” The breadth of topics discussed — injuries, biometrics, pace, traditional positions, rest, incentives, shot selection, team chemistry — reveal what a truly broad spectrum of questions and answers fall under the umbrella of basketball analytics. However the field is defined, it all serves the same master: talent. Shane Battier, the poster boy for the adoption of analytic ideas at the player level, summed up the mission perfectly: “It’s about creating space to allow talent to do what they do.”Zarren returned to a well-worn focus at this conference — communication of insights — and defended that arena as the place where a competitive advantage still exists: “You have to use it, it has to affect the decisions you make. I don’t think there is a saturation of that yet.” — Ian Levy Friday, Feb 27, 10:40 a.m.The panel: “Innovators and Adopters”The panelists: Shane Battier, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Jeff Van Gundy and Jackie MacMullanPity Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Out for the season with injuries after performances well below their high standards, they’re now punching bags in Boston, at least according to the first session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday.The other panelists treated the retired Battier more or less as Lewis depicted him in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009: the platonic ideal of the intelligent NBA player, one who incorporates insights from advanced statistical analysis to optimize his game for team success. (Battier initially resisted that framing, saying “it was about winning,” before eventually letting on that yeah, he was a pretty smart player.) LeBron James, with whom Battier won two titles in Miami, was the more typical player, open to occasional tastes of analytics-based tips.Anthony and Bryant, though, were depicted as the anti-Battiers, in a question by moderator MacMullan (who, like Battier, works for ESPN, which owns this website and sponsors Sloan). MacMullan noted their selfishness and focus on scoring over other ways of contributing to their teams. (To which my boss, Nate Silver, would respond that Anthony’s shooting makes his teammates better.) Battier made clear how much he relished having those two stars as foils, learning their tendencies so that he could neutralize their strengths when playing defense. MacMullan pointed out that Battier blocked more of their shots than any other player’s. Anthony also topped the Battier leaderboards for balls stolen and offensive fouls drawn. And the pair led another personal leaderboard Battier innovated: They gave him the most “looks of disdain” when they found out he’d be guarding them. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb 27, 4:35 p.m.At last year’s Sloan conference, Dean Oliver was our ESPN colleague, leading analytics at the Stats & Info Group. This year, he’s here as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and analytics. I spotted him Friday huddled with a few of his peers from other NBA franchises. Oliver has been in the sports analytics business for three decades, and has seen it grow from a field wrestling with a lack of data to one with more data than it knows what to do with. He spoke with me about the similarities in working for teams and working for sports media, and about what it takes for a franchise to succeed at using analytics. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.Walking into a conference at Sloan today I walked by yet another guy in a sports coat — and then did a double take, because this guy’s blazer sleeves were rolled up…and he was a 13 year-old. There are some teenagers running around Sloan but none looked younger than Sam Hafetz and his friends, Manu Hurskovitz, 14, and Jonah White, 14. After calling their parents for permission (hi, Mr. Hurskovitz!), I dragged them to our podcast table. There, Jody Avirgan asked what brought them to Sloan (it’s their second year attending), why they love sports analytics, and what they’d do if they became GMs of the Celtics. — Chadwick MatlinAudio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday, Feb. 27, 4:43 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber”The panelists: Don Garber, Grant WahlMLB and MLS share two letters and the pickle of how to balance tradition and innovation. Baseball’s struggle comes from within, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred showed earlier Friday. Major League Soccer isn’t as conflicted about changing rules and trying new technologies, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. Its burden, unlike MLB’s, is its peripheral place in a global game.Garber said he wanted goal-line review technology, extra time put on scoreboards (instead of only a ref with a “Timex that probably cost 20 bucks” knowing how much time remains) and a whole lot more. “If I were king, we would have instant replay, we would have cameras on our players, we would be putting them on goalposts.” He’d put a microphone on the field. Players would wear GoPro cameras. He watched hockey players wear GoPros at the NHL All-Star Game and thought it was cool.But Garber can’t have all those things. Other sports’ U.S. pro leagues just need to get the owners to agree, but MLS needs the approval of IFAB, the International Football Association Board — or, as Garber called it, the International Federation of Somebody Who Has Something To Do With the Rules That’s Not Me. Garber’s message to IFAB: “Let us be the Guinea pigs.” He worries that the world’s most popular sport could lose its lead “just because of our structure. We should be able to use the power of our influence to lead.” — Carl Bialik Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:50 a.m.There are bold-faced names headlining the ninth annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, sure. But for academics like myself the real action is in the research paper contest, where academics and researchers are hoping to create the kinds of insights that the bold-faced names one day treat as gospel. For these researchers, Sloan marks the culmination of what can be more than a year’s worth of work. The stakes are high: top prize is $20,000, with second place worth $10,000. For some of the PhD students submitting papers, that may equal their annual salary.But until now, the mechanics of how this contest is judged have largely been cloudy (see an overview of the 2015 contest here, or my personal experience submitting a paper to the 2014 contest here). On Friday, conference co-lead Paul Campbell helped clarify how Sloan makes its picks. “We try to be consistent about what we solicit,” said Campbell. “We kind of have our perspective on the validity of the method, and making sure that the academic and mathematical rigor is there. Also, do the results make sense?”The 2015 research paper contest began back in September, when Campbell and this year’s judging committee, comprised of various MIT student organizers and academic advisers, received 189 abstracts. Of that total, 68 were invited to turn in a formal paper for submission in mid-December. Paper submissions were placed into one of four tracks: basketball, baseball, other sports or the business of sport. The top two submitted papers from each track were given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference. In addition, 11 papers were given a poster in the halls of the convention center.Each of the eight finalists were allotted a 20-minute presentation on Friday. The judging committee identified the top presentation in each of the four categories based on a 50-50 split of the presentation itself and the originating paper.“We have an idea of what the best analytically rigorous paper is, but we want to see if it is presented well. It’s an equal weighting with [the presentation] and the paper,” said Campbell. The four papers still in the running for the top prize, are:Baseball: Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattBasketball: Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryOther Sports: Assessing the productivity of NHL players using in-game win probabilities by Stephen PettigrewBusiness of Sports: Diamonds on the Line: Profits Through Investment Gaming by Clayton Graham.Those four finalists are given an additional 10 minutes with which to make their case, this time in front of a larger and more general audience, including Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and FiveThirtyEight’s own Nate Silver.Those judges, according to Campbell, are asked to judge by something different than the last committee. “Which of these [papers] seems like the most applicable or potentially transformative within the industry?” $20,000 rides on the answer. — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:46 p.m.The panel: “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data”The panelists: Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah KeriSloan’s flagship baseball panel largely focused on teams’ reactions to sabermetric findings. Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, spoke about the proliferation of defensive shifts, and how it has led to changes in the way certain players are valued — specifically right-handed power hitters.Along the same lines, no discussion of baseball analytics would be complete without some mention of strike zone analysis and catcher pitch-framing metrics. Despite the volume of research on the subject in recent years, the consensus of the group was that the market may still not be properly valuing catchers who “steal” strikes on the edge of the strike zone at a higher rate than their peers. Then again, part of that may relate to a theory that pitch-framing is a taught skill. (We’d have liked to hear more thoughts about how umpires doing better at calling an accurate strike zone has led to baseball’s aforementioned drop in run-scoring.)Finally, Keri asked the panel their thoughts about wins above replacement (WAR). The panel agreed WAR was a valuable framework, even if its individual parts can always stand to be improved. For his part, Alderson confirmed that teams use at least some version of it, even with its imperfections, because the idea of creating a cumulative statistic is appealing. — Harry Enten and Neil Paine FiveThirtyEight’s delegation made the pilgrimage to this year’s Sloan conference, a kind of mecca for anyone who’s obsessed with sports, data and retelling how they first felt when they read “Moneyball.” We updated all of Friday and Saturday from Boston, where Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and our own Nate Silver roamed the halls. Read on for highlights from the weekend. CORRECTION (Feb 28, 9:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the ages of Sam Hafetz and Jonah White. read more

Continental launches new mining tyre solutions

first_imgContinental Commercial Specialty Tires (CST) recently presented two new tyre solutions for off-the-road applications (OTR): the Conti EM-Master E3/L3 and E4/L4 as well as the Conti RDT-Master E4. The tyres are “customised for the specific demands in the construction and earthmover segment. The newly developed tread pattern designs make each solution a perfect fit for different environments, ranging from soft, muddy soil to solid terrain. Regardless of the application conditions, both products offer excellent traction and high cutting resistance.”With the introduction of the new OTR tyre products, Continental CST says it has enhanced its comprehensive specialty tyre portfolio and that this underlines its business ambitions in the construction but also ultimately in the mining sector. “The Conti EM-Master E3/L3 and E4/L4 and the Conti RDT-Master E4 are once more successful outcomes of our customised solutions strategy,” says Christian Luther, Product Line Manager Earthmover Tires at Continental CST. “In view of our expansion strategy 2025, we will continue to expand and optimise our product and service portfolio in the segment of construction and mining in the course of the coming years.” The first tyres will be available at the end of 2015. Further sizes and tyre solutions are planned for 2016 and beyond.The Conti EM-Master is available in two versions “which are each perfectly tailored for the specific demands in OTR applications.” The Conti EM-Master E3/L3 is especially suited for application in muddy and soft terrain, while the Conti EM-Master E4/L4 “is an excellent option for use in gravelly and rocky grounds.” The reason is that both tyre solutions offer different tread design features. The Conti EM-Master E3/L3 features a normal tread depth and wider spacing of blocks than the Conti EM-Master E4/L4. This results in excellent self-cleaning characteristics, powerful traction, and good manoeuverability which facilitate the use in muddy terrain. The open tread design and normal tread depth (100%) of the E3/L3 tyre version further offers better cooling and therefore less heat buildup for a long service life.Compared to the Conti EM-Master E3/L3, the E4/L4 tyre version features a greater block size with less spacing between the blocks and a deeper tread depth. “Therefore, the new tyre solution offers a higher carcass protection and superior cutting resistance, minimizing the risk of punctures and downtimes. The less tread block spacing also results in a smoother running even on hard surfaces.” Due to a high tread wear volume, the Conti EM-Master E4/L4 offers an even longer service life compared to the E3/L3. Both Conti EM-Master E3/L3 and E4/L4 will be available in the sizes 23.5R25, 26.5R25, and 29.5R25; the Conti EM-Master E3/L3 additionally also in the size 20.5R25. The tyres “are therefore perfectly applicable on articulated dump trucks (ADTs), loaders, and dozers.”To increase the safety and efficiency of vehicle fleets in heavy-duty applications such as construction, quarrying, and mining, the ContiPressureCheck™ monitoring system can be easily mounted on both Conti EM-Master E3/L3 and E4/L4 and Conti RDT-Master E4. Due to automatic monitoring of the tyre pressure, the risks of puncture accidents are reduced which offers more safety for both driver and vehicle. “Correct tyre pressure further leads to lower energy consumption of the vehicles and to increased mileage capability. Fleet operators can significantly reduce their operating costs and increase the efficiency of their fleets by using ContiPressureCheck™. At the same time, the environmental impact is downsized, since CO2 emissions are reduced and the life of the tyre is extended.”last_img read more

When gamers become miners

first_img“Tony Maurice trains newbies to drive haul trucks and operate heavy mining machinery in a space so friendly the only risk is spilling their coffee. Safely tucked away in a simulator module some distance from the pit, Tony’s rookie operators are comfortable in the knowledge that an error won’t cost millions of dollars or result in injury. It’s a far cry from when 30-year mining industry veteran Tony himself learned to drive.”“For the first load they put me in the passenger seat of an 85 t haul truck. For the second load I was in the driver’s seat. And then I was off on my own,” remembers Tony, who is based in the Pilbara, the heart of Rio Tinto’s Australian mining operations. “There were no qualified trainers back then. You were just put into the first truck that came past and expected to learn on the job.”Tony was passionate about finding a better way to learn and was inspired to become a trainer himself. He has helped Rio Tinto pioneer the use of simulators to prepare operators for the field. An ingenious interlinking of a computer, screen and tactile equipment: simulators put operators in the cabin of a truck or excavator then throw at them everything they can expect of the job – and a few things they don’t expect. “Learning to operate a piece of heavy equipment in the hustle and bustle of a mine, with horns tooting and machines moving all around them can be incredibly stressful,” says Tony. “Simulators remove that anxiety and create more suitable conditions for learning. They also allow us to challenge more experienced operators with emergencies that even industry veterans have not encountered.”Cy Bettjeman, also a Pilbara-based trainer with long experience in mining, says technology is revolutionising the industry. According to Cy, it has brought about major improvements across the board, from training and safety through to monitoring, data collection and productivity. “With a simulator we’re able to drop drivers and operators into situations they rarely see but need to be prepared for,” says Cy. “For example, I’ve seen guys who’ve been in the mining industry for years yet have never seen a fire. We can now confront them with that situation so if it ever occurs on the job they understand what is happening and know what steps to take.”Another improvement is on the mine floor, according to Cy. “In the old days an operator would have to get out of the cabin to do a ‘floor level’, that is, to check the floor to see they’re digging to the right grade of ore. “It was very dangerous because you had to walk amongst the trucks and the excavators,” says Cy. “Now it’s all done by satellite so the operator doesn’t have to get out of the cabin. Safety is Rio’s Tinto’s number one priority. They’re focused on the health and wellbeing of all their people,” says Cy.Not surprisingly, gamers have an advantage in this new era of high-tech mining, thanks to their high levels of hand-eye co-ordination and extensive multi-tasking capabilities. “These skills have plenty of application in our business – such as for roles as controllers at the Operations Centre in Perth or as leaders who need to juggle competing priorities every day.”“When gamers get into one of our consoles they take to it as if they’ve been doing it all their lives, which many have,” says Simon Velliantis, Regional Manager of Immersive Technologies, the Western Australian company partnering with Rio Tinto to train operators using simulators. In the mines of tomorrow, workers will be technologically adept and will be in charge of processes that increase levels of safety and productivity. And the time may come when a miner may never even step onto a mine site.Josh Bennett manages the controllers at the Operations Centre and has extensive experience working on site in the Pilbara. He believes that for some, the rapid evolution of technology and changing nature of work can be intimidating. The apprehension usually comes from a concern that they may not be able to use the technology or develop the required skills. However, what many overlook is the importance of people skills in using these new technologies effectively.“A lot of people rule themselves out of these new roles based on the technology aspects alone,” says Josh. “What we’ve found with the autonomous truck deployment is that technology usage isn’t always the differentiating factor between good and great. More so, it’s the individual’s cognitive and social skills.”“Many who were initially apprehensive found adapting to the technology wasn’t that much of a hurdle and they were able to use their problem solving and communication skills to leverage more from the technology. They already had some of the essential skills but weren’t aware that these were important.”Continued education in technology is an important complement to the development of strong engagement, leadership and communication skills. “It’s integral we invest in education partnerships to develop the workforce of the future but we are equally focused on the human factors that will be important for working in and around new technologies,” says Josh. “Take the controllers at our Operations Centre who operate our autonomous trucks, for example. Based 1,500 km from the Pilbara, they work with teams on site to deliver the plan safely every day.”“A controller can be fluent in the use of the system and understand the technology really well but that needs to be coupled with the right behaviours. Someone who can engage people in a positive way in a variety of circumstances, continually improve their own performance and achieve results under pressure will always deliver a superior outcome to someone who has only technical ability.” Technology is changing the shape of Rio Tinto’s workforce and the company says it is investing in training and development to help prepare Australians with the skills of the future.last_img read more

Un G8 des éléphants pour sauver les pachydermes

first_imgUn G8 des éléphants pour sauver les pachydermesLes éléphants sauvages sont une espèce menacée de disparition. Pour trouver une solution à ce problème, les huit pays qui abritent encore ces pachydermes se sont réunis hier à New Delhi dans le cadre du groupe Elephant-8.Les huit pays que sont le Botswana, le Congo, l’Inde, l’Indonésie, le Kenya, le Sri Lanka, la Tanzanie et la Thaïlande ont formé l’Elephant-8 (E-8) un groupe de spécialistes qui représente “les deux-tiers de la population d’éléphants sauvages de la planète” et qui vise à préconiser des mesures pour les protéger, a indiqué à l’AFP Jairam Ramesh, le ministre de l’Environnement indien. Il a ajouté que “du braconnage pour leur ivoire à la destruction de leur habitat, toutes les questions concernant la protection de l’éléphant doivent être abordées”.À lire aussiDes éléphants viennent en aide à une mère pour sauver son petit coincé dans un trouEn effet, les éléphants sauvages sont principalement menacés par le braconnage et par la destruction de leur habitat. Les éléphants d’Asie sont considérés comme “menacés” par l’UICN,  les éléphants d’Afrique étant, eux, classés dans la catégorie “vulnérable”. Leur nombre ne cesse de diminuer et l’Inde, qui compte aujourd’hui encore 25.000 de ces pachydermes voit chaque année leur nombre chuter de façon de plus en plus préoccupante. Il était donc nécessaire que tous les pays concernés se rassemblent pour faire front commun face aux nombreuses menaces qui pèsent sur l’ensemble des éléphants, qu’ils soient d’Afrique ou d’Asie.Le 25 mai 2011 à 19:16 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Carr doesnt think that Torres would fit in the MLS

first_imgFernando Torres announced that he is going to leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the ongoing season but Calen Carr doesn’t think that he would be the right player to become an MLS star.The former Houston Dynamo striker insisted that Torres’ past doesn’t necessarily mean that he would be successful after coming to the MLS as he doesn’t see a team which would be the right fit for the Spanish attacker.Carr spoke about the former Spain international as he said, according to Sky Sports:Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“It’s got to be the right team, MLS is at a point now where some of these older stars who’ve done well at Europe aren’t the necessarily right fit or an automatic ‘Yes, we’ll take you’.”“If it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic and it’s the right fit for a big club with a global profile like LA Galaxy, it makes sense.”“You hear teams like Atlanta United and LAFC who have gone younger and of the nine DP [Designated Player] signings in the off-season, the average age was just 22 and a half years old.”last_img read more

Bayern Munich set to target Paulo Dybala

first_imgBayern Munich are prepared to pursue their reported interest in Paulo Dybala in this summer’s transfer window if Robert Lewandowski chooses to leave the club, claims The SunThe Poland international has been strongly linked with a move to the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United over the past year with Lewandowski believed to be growing frustrated by Bayern’s continued failure to win the Champions League title since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in 2014.Should the 29-year-old choose to leave in the summer, Bayern will then target Dybala and the German club are convinced that they can sign the star from Juventus for a club-record transfer fee of £88million.rb leipzig, bayern munichReport: Bayern are held by Leipzig George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Bayern Munich was held to another draw, this time by RB Leipzig.Bayern Munich finds themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting third in the…However, Bayern are not the only ones interested in signing the Argentine forward with Atletico Madrid also keen on signing Dybala at the end of the season.The two-time Europa League winners are resigned to losing Antoine Griezmann to La Liga rivals Barcelona and believe that the signing of Dybala will help soften the blow of losing their star striker.The 24-year-old has scored an impressive 21 goals in 30 Serie A games this season.last_img read more

Real Madrid provide update on Benzemas injury

first_imgReal Madrid have announced that Karim Benzema sustained a hamstring injury in their 1-0 defeat to SD Alaves on SaturdayThe French striker was forced to leave the pitch at half-time with teammate Gareth Bale also being withdrawn in the final 10 minutes at Alaves.Reports emerged on Monday stating that Bale had not trained with the Wales squad ahead of their friendly with Spain in Cardiff on Thursday evening.Now Real have confirmed Benzema’s hamstring injury, but did not disclose a timeframe for his recovery.David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“Following tests carried out today on our player Karim Benzema by the Real Madrid Sanitas medical team, he has been diagnosed with an injury to his right hamstring. His recovery will continue to be assessed,” read a statement on the club website.Normally hamstring injuries require around two weeks to heal, which makes Benzema a doubt for El Clasico at the Nou Camp on October 28 against rivals Barcelona.Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal also remain on the sidelines for Los Blancos with Levante up next after the international break.last_img read more

Credit union robbery suspects appear in court

first_imgFrank James Barnard, 40, is one of three suspects facing a potential charge of first-degree robbery in connection with Thursday’s holdup of iQ Credit Union in Salmon Creek. Three suspects accused of robbing the Salmon Creek iQ Credit Union and fleeing in a taxi appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court.Vancouver residents Frank J. Barnard, 40, Lonnie B. Barnard, 22, and Esmeralda C. Velazquez, 23, face first-degree robbery charges at their April 19 arraignment.Judge David Gregerson held each of them on $200,000 bail, based on substantial criminal histories. Each also was appointed an attorney to defend them: Gerald Wear, Steve Rucker and Mike Foister, respectively.Frank and Lonnie Barnard are accused of robbing the credit union at 2:26 p.m. Thursday at 13505 N.E. 10th Ave. They allegedly entered the credit union, approached the counter and presented a teller with a note that demanded money. Frank Barnard clarified that this was a robbery, said he had a gun and ordered her to give him money, a probable cause affidavit says.The teller gave Frank and Lonnie Barnard about $1,400, according to court documents. The pair fled the scene, running westbound toward a waiting black and white Radio Cab taxi van, according to the sheriff’s office. The vehicle merged onto Interstate 5 and headed southbound, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.A witness at the robbery followed the suspects in her vehicle until sheriff’s deputies stopped the taxi on Interstate 5 near Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell.Inside were the three suspects and the taxi driver, according to police reports. The taxi driver was released and doesn’t face charges.Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Velazquez, who admitted that she was aware that Frank and Lonnie Barnard had been planning the robbery for more than a day, a separate affidavit says.last_img read more

State directs engineers to mend roads before monsoons

first_imgKolkata: The state Public Works Department has instructed all its field level engineers to take suitable measures for repair of roads ahead of the monsoon season that usually begins from June.The department wants to ensure that all potholes or damages in roads are repaired before the monsoon so that daily commuters and vehicular traffic face no trouble. A circular issued by state Principal Secretary, PWD Arnab Roy directs all field level engineer officers to inspect the roads under their jurisdiction thoroughly during this month and take measures in repair of roads. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe concerned executive engineer has been instructed to inform the headquarter chief engineer about the condition of the existing roads. “The concerned executive engineers have also been instructed to send action taken report for poor condition of roads to the concerned superintending engineer who will send consolidated report to the chief engineers of his zone and the latter will send the same to the concerned headquarter chief engineer,” a senior official of the department said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateRoy has also prodded the department to take immediate action against an agency as per contract agreement if the road is found to be in poor condition under defect liability period. The circular further directs all field level engineer offices of the department to be alert so that there should not be any damage in the roads under PWD. “If it is found that roads are in damaged condition and no action has been taken for repair, necessary disciplinary action may be taken against the errant officers,” the circular mentions. The superintending engineers have been requested to monitor the matter and submit report on fortnightly basis to the respective zonal chief engineer in respect of condition of roads under their jurisdiction. Zonal chief engineers have been directed to send consolidated report to the department through respective headquarter chief engineer every fortnight till the end of September 2019. State Principal Secretary, PWD, Arnab Roy had instructed his engineers a few months back to immediately repair roads. The junior engineers were also directed to inspect the roads fortnightly throughout the year and weekly during monsoon period. The concerned engineer was asked to report on the condition of potholes to his superior officers after inspection. He was directed to maintain a register, which may be periodically checked by higher officials.last_img read more

Jet Airways connects more routes to Qatar

first_imgThe Indian carrier announced new routes from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode to Doha. Both will operate three days a week until May 31, 2015 before rising to daily services. Jet’s Thiruvananthapuram-Doha route will operate every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, while the Kozhikode-Doha service will run every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Both routes will be operated using a two-class, 168 seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft.“We are happy to announce the introduction of two new additional flights from Kerala to the state of Qatar,” said Raj Sivakumar, Jet’s chief commercial officer. “Jet Airways has established itself as a preferred airline on the Indo-Gulf sector and our new flights to Qatar further reinforce our presence on this busy route. India has strong economic and cultural ties with the region and it is our endeavour to enhance connectivity between India and the Arabian Gulf for the benefit of its people.”last_img read more

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald led his team w

first_imgCardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald led his team with seven catches for 160 yards and one score, while Eagles wideout Jeremy Maclin caught 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. But their efforts, while excellent, were not the most lasting memory from the affair.No, what people will remember is John Brown’s game-winning 75-yard touchdown catch, which came with less than two minutes remaining on a perfectly-thrown ball from Palmer.Palmer’s ball dropped from the sky and everything seemed to slow down …except Brown. Those watching at the stadium and on television must have wondered for a split second if Brown would catch up to Palmer’s heave. As that thought crossed our minds, Brown crossed the screen even faster, catching Palmer’s bomb over his shoulder as if he were Willie Mays and Vic Wertz had just hit a deep drive to center in the ’54 Series. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Eagles QB Nick Foles threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns, but was also picked off twice. Carson Palmer, Arizona’s passer, threw for 329 yards and two scores. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Arizona Cardinals’ Week 8 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles had pretty much everything a fan could ask for.A pair of NFC powers battling for league supremacy. A key player getting knocked out of the game with an injury. Turnovers. Defensive stands. Big scoring plays. In fact, Arizona’s 24-20 victory was so entertaining, ranked it as the eighth-best game played in the 2014 season. Every year there is a sneakily good game buried somewhere in the middle of the season. This past year that game was Eagles at Cardinals. Our eighth top game of 2014 was hard-fought, came down to the wire and was ultimately decided by the greatest catch this side of Odell Beckham Jr. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories It looked like this, courtesy of – / 22 0 Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

4 Split Croatia The seaside city of Split caters

first_img4. Split, CroatiaThe seaside city of Split caters brilliantly for families. You’ll find plenty of good cafes, shops and restaurants inside Diocletian’s Palace, a large and incredibly well preserved roman ruin that’s winding streets and hidden courtyards make up the heart of the city. Split also has many gorgeous beaches such as Bačvice and Firule whose shallow waters make it a great spot for beach loving families. For an excellent family day-trip, take the ‘semi-submarine’ by which you can explore Split’s beautiful coastline from below the ocean. The underside of the boat is lit up so you can also go at night if you wish. RelatedTop 10 family holidays: best destinations for summer funFor mums and dads, the balmy days of summer often mean daunting weeks to fill with something to keep the wee ones entertained. Never fear: we’ve complied a list of the ten best destinations for guaranteed family fun this year. Enjoy!10 of the best family holidays on a budget for 2017If you’re looking for budget family holiday ideas, here are 10 cheap, child-friendly destinations that will make for a fantastic family trip. Keeping the cost of your flights down by choosing one of these short-haul holiday hotspots means that you’ll be able to spend more on ice cream (for them)…Skyscanner’s Family Holiday Summer SpecialsSkyscanner’s Family Holiday Summer Specials 5. Canary Islands, SpainThe Canary Islands boast beautiful beaches, plenty of family-friendly resorts and hotels, waterparks, museums and aquariums to keep the little ones entertained. And if you want to do something a little bit different, the islands have many gorgeous natural swimming pools that were formed by ancient lava that met the ocean. These brightly coloured pools such as Punta Mujeres in Lanzarote and La Fajana in La Palma are great for families as they are sheltered with plenty of space to run around. The islands also have great hiking routes such as Roque Nublo in Gran Canaria – this volcanic rock is not too steep, making it enjoyable for children (and adults!) of all ages. More: 10 of the world’s best beaches: in pictures13 things you don’t want to happen on a beach10 Mediterranean destinations you can’t missNeed inspiration? Discover top deals around the world with Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool. Find the best flight bargains and get destination inspiration!ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 3. Ajaccio, FranceAjaccio is the capital of Corsica and sits on the west coast of the island. Due to its proximity to the city centre and its good facilities, Plage de Ricanto is the most popular and busy beach, however there are many more secluded beaches and coves around the city. Ajaccio’s claim to fame is being the birth place of Napoleon and you can visit his home that is now a national museum. However, if you aren’t convinced that that’ll keep the kids occupied why not visit A Cupulatta, a Conservation Park that has over 170 species of tortoises and turtles. When it comes to holidays, it’s hard to find a destination that keeps everyone happy – especially if you are travelling with children. We reveal the five top beach holidays with the best attractions and facilities that will keep you and your family entertained.1. Lisbon, PortugalThe Portuguese have a reputation for being family-orientated and their capital is full of fun things to do for children and adults alike. Most tourist attractions offer half-price children’s tickets and under-5s go free on the city’s transport. The majority of family-friendly attractions are in Parque das Nações including the science museum and one of the world’s largest and best aquariums – Oceanário de Lisboa where visitors can walk around one large central tank and marvel at the schools of giant fish and sharks. There are also many beaches nearby so families can easily combine sightseeing and sandcastles. 2. Crete, GreeceThe island of Crete is one of Greece’s most popular destinations. Beaches such as Georgioupolis, Agia Galini and Elafonissi are well equipped for families with infants and have plenty of sports activities going on for older children. There are also several great waterparks on the island, the largest being Water City that is a colourful maze of slides and flumes. For a more cultured experience take a day-trip to the Palace of Knossos, that was supposedly home to the infamous Minotaur of Greek mythology.last_img read more

Andrew Tobias claim

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