About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool striker Firmino dismisses Keane hugging blastby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool striker Roberto Firmino has dismissed Roy Keane’s blast after seeing Liverpool and Manchester United players for ‘hugging and kissing’ in the tunnel before Sunday’s game at Old Trafford.Firmino and his team-mate Fabinho were seen embracing United’s Fred and Andreas Pereira in the tunnel, with all four players having played for Brazil.Firmino told ESPN Brazil: “I don’t want to create controversy with anyone.”I find it quite normal before the game to greet each other, ask how they are doing. That’s all. Nothing more than that.”But on the pitch, they aren’t friends, each one defends his club to the best of his ability. Then the rivalry increases on the pitch.”
TORONTO – Spin Master Corp. says its net income fell nearly 14 per cent in the first quarter due in part to the impact of a multi-million dollar Toys “R” Us bad debt expense.The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says its net income was $8.7 million or nine cents per share for the first quarter of its 2018 financial year, compared to $10.1 million or 10 cents per share for the same quarter the previous year.The toy company says it incurred a $15.2 million bad debt expense, including administration costs, after Toys “R” Us Inc. sought approval to wind down its American business and liquidate inventory, and Toys “R” Us International closed and liquidated most of its U.K. business in the quarter.Adjusted net income was $22 million or 22 cents a share for the quarter, compared to $13.6 million or 13 cents a share for the same quarter the previous year.Co-CEO Ronnen Harary says in a statement the company’s results are a testament to the team’s effort in effectively managing the company through the industry-wide disruption caused by the Toys “R” Us U.S. liquidation.Spin Master says revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 increased 25.5 per cent to $285.7 million from $227.7 million.The company also updated its outlook for the 2018 financial year, saying it now expects organic gross product sales to grow in the mid-single digit range from the previous year rather than the mid- to high-single digit range.Companies in this story (TSX: TOY)
WASHINGTON — Three days before a U.S.-China summit, the top U.S. trade official is blasting Beijing for imposing “egregious” taxes on American-made cars.In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer complained that China slaps 40 per cent tariffs on U.S. auto imports — more than the 15 per cent tariffs it imposes on other countries and the 27.5 per cent U.S. tax on Chinese auto imports.Lighthizer said the president had directed him to “examine all available tools to equalize the tariffs applied to automobiles.”The statement comes before a dinner meeting Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The two leaders are expected to seek a resolution to a trade dispute between their countries that has shaken financial markets and threatened the global economy.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
Companies in this story: (TSX:HSE, TSX:MEG)The Canadian Press CALGARY — MEG Energy Corp. says it will waive its shareholder rights plan in its fight against a hostile takeover offer by Husky Energy Inc.However, the company says it continues to unanimously recommend shareholders reject Husky’s cash-and-share offer .MEG noted that since Husky announced its intention to make its offer on Sept. 30, Husky’s share price has fallen more than 30 per cent, eroding the value of the offer.The takeover was worth about $3.3 billion when proposed in September but has fallen to less than $2.5 billion because of deterioration in Husky’s share price.Earlier this week, a CIBC oil and gas analyst said the recent deterioration in crude oil prices makes it unlikely that a better offer will emerge to force Husky to sweeten its hostile bid.Husky has said that it has received all necessary regulatory approvals for the takeover of MEG and is now waiting for shareholders’ response to its offer which expires in mid-January.
New Delhi: Appearance of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq before the NIA has paved the way for a thorough probe into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader, officials said Tuesday.Mirwaiz appeared before the National Investigation Agency for the second consecutive day on Tuesday for questioning in connection with a case related to funding of terror groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir. “Appearance of Mirwaiz before the NIA proves the government’s determination to establish that Kashmiri separatist leaders will have to be held accountable to the law of the land. It has paved the way for thorough investigation into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader,” a home ministry official said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The questioning of Mirwaiz by the NIA has been considered a significant development as he had been trying to evade the questioning by the probe agency by resorting to various stratagems. These include by not responding initially to the NIA summons at all, and later saying he was ready to be examined by NIA in Srinagar. “However, eventually he had to follow the summons and travel to New Delhi to answer questions from the NIA. This is in line with the government’s firm stance that separatist leaders cannot claim immunity and that they will be held accountable for laws of the land,” the official said. The NIA had conducted raids in February 2019 on allegations of terror funding and money laundering on the premises of Mirwaiz and other Hurriyat leaders like Yasin Malik and son of SAS Geelani, Naseem Geelani. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThey are part of Joint Resistance Leadership who frequently organise protests, stone pelting and shutdowns in the valley, disrupting normal life, impacting students and daily wage earners, businesses and tourism. The investigation against Naseem Geelani and others is proceeding as per law. Recently, legal hurdles had been cleared for resumption of trial in Jammu against Yasin Malik in the case of terrorist attack by JKLF militants in 1990 on IAF personnel which led to the death of four persons. “Yasin Malik had exploited the provisions in law to inordinately delay the trial. But relentless efforts by the home ministry have finally resulted in Malik’s arrest and transfer to Jammu jail. His plea for transfer of trial from Jammu to Srinagar has also been quashed,” another official said.
Kolkata: The body of an elderly person was found inside a train compartment at Sealdah railway station on Monday afternoon.Till night, his identity could not be established. According to Eastern Railway (ER) spokesperson, on Monday, the Down Naihati-Sealdah local entered the platform number 1 at Sealdah railway station around 3:55 pm. During checking of the compartments, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel spotted a half-naked body of an elderly person on the floor of a compartment of the local train. After taking a close look at the body, the RPF personnel suspected that the man could be dead. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHe immediately informed the Sealdah railway station authorities. A doctor from ER’s B R Singh Hospital was called for a quick check up. While the doctor was on his way, RPF personnel removed the body from train and placed it on a bench at the platform. After examination, the doctor declared the person dead on arrival. Later, Government Railway Police (GRP) at the Sealdah railway station was informed. Sleuths took charge of the body and sent it for autopsy examination. Police sources said the elderly person could have died due to some illness as there were no injury marks on the body.
Ohio State basketball is betting on the fact spectators will be seeing a lot of the Hills this season. No, not the brain-numbing, MTV reality show featuring Lauren Conrad and her catty band, but rather the sibling duo of P.J. Hill, a guard on the men’s basketball team, and his sister Tayler, a newcomer to the OSU women’s basketball team.There are undeniable similarities between the two. Both play guard and took the number four for their jerseys.P.J. Hill has long been a favorite of Buckeye fans. The 6-feet 1 inches guard has made a name for himself by coming off the bench and instantly raising the team’s intensity level with a key steal or assist. This year, Hill is being counted on this season to expand his role.“Last year, a lot of teams got away with not guarding me,” he said. “I took that personally, like ‘you can’t shoot, you’re not effective on offense, you’re not a threat.’ So I took that stuff personally. When I get in the games, I’m going to step up and knock those shots down with confidence. I’m going to be an impact player. I’m going to be a threat on both ends of the court.”While senior Hill enters the final act of his career with the OSU men’s basketball team, freshman Tayler Hill begins hers with the women’s team.Tayler Hill comes to the Buckeyes as one of the most decorated players in Minnesota basketball history. She is Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, boys and girls, and was selected as a 2009 McDonald’s All American. While leading her team to a state high school championship, she averaged 31.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.7 steals per game. She finished her high school playing career with 3,894 points. She joins a deep, veteran women’s basketball team that has already established leadership. “If Coach [Jim] Foster wants me on the floor, that’s where I’m going to be at,” Hill said. “If he needs me on the bench cheering my team on, then that’s what I’m going to do.”Rather than be daunted by the prospect of becoming another cog in the machine, as opposed to its centerpiece, she is embracing the positives that come with it.“I’m excited,” she said. “There were times when games got tough in high school when I had to have the ball in my hands at all times. I can rely on other players on this team, I can pass and screen away.”The pride Tayler has for her older brother shines through when she speaks of him. His non-traditional path to the OSU basketball team, which saw him transfer before his sophomore year from tiny Midland College, is a lesson to her in persistence.“My brother is my role model,” she said. “Seeing him work every day and keeping the faith that he has, I know that if he can do it, than I can too. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”There’s a double meaning in that statement. Although the particulars of P.J.’s role in helping bring Tayler to OSU are unclear, his influence is not.“He was a big factor in this because my brother and I are best friends,” Tayler said. “Knowing I can count on him when things get hard was a really big deal for me.”Foster was guarded in his praise of Tayler Hill. “She’s talented and she can go up and down the floor,” Foster said. “When you’ve scored 4,000 points in your high school career, how many times have you been on the floor with players better than you?”But her freshman status does not necessarily exclude her from cracking the starting lineup in her first year, as evidenced by the playing time given to Jantel Lavender and Sammy Prahalis in their freshmen campaigns.“If you’re a great player or have the potential to be a great player, room is made for them because they earn it,” Foster said. “We’ll find out.”When asked about P.J.’s role in recruiting Tayler to OSU, Foster was glib.“I would say that he’s not disappointed that his sister’s here,” he said.Junior center Jantel Lavender, the team’s leader on the floor, likes what she sees in Tayler.“She’s a great shooter, she’s a great passer, she’s a great leader and she works extremely hard all the time,” Lavender said of Hill. “Those are the attributes that you need.”
The night started with tears dripping down the face of senior Mark Titus.It ended with a floor full of Buckeye nuts celebrating Ohio State’s first Big Ten Championship since the 2006-07 season.Behind a barrage of 3-pointers by junior Jon Diebler, the No. 6 Buckeyes raced past Illinois to win 73-57 on senior night at the Schottenstein Center.Diebler drained seven shots from behind the arc, including five in the first half. He paced the Buckeyes with 21 points.With the win, Ohio State clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title. Illinois didn’t make it easy, though.The Illini matched Diebler’s first-half onslaught, nailing six 3-pointers of their own to stay within 37-33 after the first frame. Junior Demetri McCamey knocked down four of his five attempts from 3-point range en route to 12 first half points.Still, Illinois never mustered the run it needed to threaten the Buckeye lead down the stretch.OSU turned up its defensive pressure in the second half, forcing turnovers with a full court press and allowing fewer open shots from outside. Illinois managed just 24 points after halftime, shooting a woeful 2-for-10 from 3-point range. McCamey was limited to six points in the half.In perhaps the final home game of his illustrious three-year career, Evan Turner contributed 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Junior David Lighty chipped in 15 points and sophomore William Buford had 17, giving the Buckeyes a well-balanced offensive attack.OSU used a 12-2 run in the second half to grab a 65-51 lead and never looked back.With the lead intact, coach Thad Matta emptied his bench, allowing his seniors one final cameo on their home floor. For Titus, it was an opportunity to achieve one last “trillion,” the term he coined for recording one minute of playing time with no statistical output.The team gathered with its fans on the court following the victory, rejoicing with plastic sharks commemorating “The Shark” Titus and chants of “one more year” directed at Turner, who experts have penciled in near the top of June’s NBA Draft, should he decide to forgo his senior season of eligibility.Michigan State and Purdue can join in on the Big Ten Championship party by winning their last two games, respectively. Even so, by virtue of a plethora of tiebreakers, OSU will earn the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio State outlasted Michigan State on Saturday for a 17-16 victory and its first conference win of the season. Here’s what we learned about the Buckeyes in their slugfest with the Spartans. The MSU measuring stick Want a barometer for how far this offense has come in a year? Look no further than the Buckeyes’ loss to the Spartans last season. To say that OSU’s offense was ineffective in their 2011 conference opener, a 10-7 loss to MSU, would be a gross understatement. It was embarrassingly inadequate. Those Buckeyes limped to 178 yards of total offense, and only found the end zone in the waning seconds when a Spartan victory was inevitable. Braxton Miller threw for 56 yards while having the worst game of his career as a runner. Things got so bad for the then-freshman quarterback that he was benched in favor of former Buckeyes quarterback Joe Bauserman. Earlier in the week, coach Urban Meyer said that his sophomore quarterback had come a long way since last year’s match with MSU. Miller backed up Meyer’s words with a statement performance on Saturday. The Buckeyes’ signal-caller threw for 179 yards and rushed for 136, accounting for more than 82 percent of the team’s total offense. But it wasn’t just the Buckeye’s biggest star that shined against the Spartans. Junior receiver Corey “Philly” Brown nearly matched his production from all of last season, hauling in a career-best 12 receptions. Sophomore receiver Devin Smith once again showed his big-play ability with a 63-yard touchdown catch that put the Buckeyes ahead for good. It wasn’t a perfect game for OSU’s offense, though. There are several areas where they need to improve, starting with ball security – Miller threw an interception and fumbled twice. But as a group, they are certainly heading in the right direction. The defense is flawed, but in the right places Entering Saturday’s game, the “Silver Bullets” ranked last in the Big Ten conference in total defense. Does OSU really have the league’s worst defense? Probably not. Does the defense have flaws? Absolutely. In MSU’s first two games against ranked opponents, Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three interceptions and averaged 217 yards per game. The junior played turnover-free football against OSU while throwing for 269 yards. Perhaps the first-year starter is just becoming more comfortable in the pocket as the season progresses, but it’s fairly clear that the Buckeyes don’t have an elite secondary. Fortunately, they really don’t need one. With all due respect to the likes of Indiana and Purdue, only three teams on the Buckeyes remaining schedule really pose a threat to OSU’s chance at a perfect season – Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. What else do those three teams have in common? They all employ a run-first mentality. Just ask MSU how that type of game plan works against the Buckeye’s frontline. Spartans running back Le’Veon Bell entered the contest averaging 152 yards per game on the ground. The junior saw his impressive average, and perhaps his Heisman chances, plummet at the hands of OSU’s defense, which held Bell to just 45 yards on 17 carries. Give an extra helmet sticker to… The Buckeyes’ entire offensive line, which is perhaps the most improved unit on this year’s team. The big boys surrendered just one sack, and dominated the line of scrimmage while Miller and company ran for 204 yards. Granted, some credit should go to Miller, who eludes would-be sacks better than just about any other quarterback in the country. But while facing a quality Spartan pass rush, the offensive line proved its merit. It’s important (and when they’re winning, fairly easy) to enjoy the Buckeyes in Meyer’s debut season. But whether it’s because of this year’s bowl ban, or the fact that Meyer doesn’t yet have the ideal personnel to run his system, it’s also hard not to look ahead. Of the five starters on OSU’s improved unit, only one is a senior. The future looks bright in Columbus, and as with almost anything in football, it all starts with the offensive line.
Ohio State right guard Branden Bowen raises his helmet to the crowd as he is carted off the field during the first quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Maryland on Oct. 7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State’s offensive line had seemingly found its groove. Over the past several games, the line had provided quarterback J.T. Barrett with plenty of time each time he dropped back to pass, particularly in Saturday’s game against Maryland.But with less than two minutes left in the first quarter of Ohio State’s eventual 62-14 victory over Maryland, redshirt sophomore right guard Branden Bowen fell to the turf on a play that broke down and forced Barrett to scramble out of the pocket for a two-yard gain. The hulking lineman was carted off the field with a cast on his left leg and later was diagnosed as having fractured both his left tibia and fibula.“Keep Branden Bowen in your prayers,” head coach Urban Meyer said after the game. “I think he’s going to have surgery tomorrow, broken leg. Clean break. And so just gotta get him healthy and get him back.”For a number of reasons, the loss of Bowen will affect the team. Emotionally, it is the loss of a teammate and a painful injury the team knows will cost Bowen the rest of his season. From a personnel standpoint, it leaves a hole on the right side of the offensive line that requires filling before the team travels to Nebraska.Even when Bowen is replaced on the line, the new starter will lack the previous game experience the starter possessed and the chemistry he had developed with the other starters.“That’s our brother. And as an offense, that’s our brother as well, so I mean, you’re losing one of the key cogs of the offensive unit with Bowen going down,” redshirt senior center Billy Price said. “That game experience that Bowen had, it’s irreplaceable. Even last year’s game experience and him coming in and taking that time.”Redshirt sophomore Matt Burrell took Bowen’s place Saturday. Burrell listed as the left guard backup on the team’s depth chart and who has been seen before games going through warmups as a center. Redshirt junior Malcolm Pridgeon was listed as Bowen’s official backup at right guard.Burrell had been among those competing for the starting right guard spot in the summer, but ultimately lost the position battle to Bowen. As it stands right now, Burrell figures to be the most likely candidate to inherit the starting job, but Meyer left open the possibility of another position battle.“Next man up, right now looks like Matt Burrell,” Meyer said. “And we’ll see if there’s any competition at that spot. [The depth is] alarming, but Matt played OK.”For now though, the expectation among the players is that Burrell will inherit the will fill Bowen’s vacancy. Bowen was a key factor in the momentum the line had built coming into the game, Price said. Now the mentality is next man up.“Matt came in for [Bowen] and he performed very well today,” Price said. “A guy who we always [tell] ‘You never know your number’s going to be called so you have to make sure you prepare.’”When Burrell lost the battle in the offseason, it was likely a major blow to his confidence as he had lost a position battle the season prior at the left guard spot to now-sophomore guard Michael Jordan.And as Price said, that lack of confidence still separates Burrell from Bowen for the time being.“He’s always questioning, ‘Hey did I do this right?’ or ‘Hey, did I do this right? And it’s again, football is a game of highs and lows and you’ve just got to go out and block,” Price said. “You can’t just sit here and constantly think about, ‘Hey, OK I’ve got to make sure that this is playing perfect.’ Playing offensive line, you’re not going to play perfect.”