Ebola vaccines move closer to ultimate test

first_imgThe race to develop Ebola vaccines will soon enter a new phase that may bring answers to the most important question: Do they actually work? In as little as 4 weeks, tests could begin in West Africa in people at risk of contracting Ebola with one of two vaccines that have moved forward at an unprecedented pace, said Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO), at a press conference today in Geneva, Switzerland.But a new issue is complicating the studies. The number of new Ebola cases has declined unexpectedly fast in recent months, especially in Liberia. That’s great news, but it will make it harder to show that a vaccine works, because the studies need a minimum number of new infections to prove that it offers protection from the disease.So far, so-called phase I tests have given experimental Ebola vaccines to healthy volunteers not at risk for Ebola, assessing safety and immune responses. Last year, a WHO panel decided that given the huge threat, it would be ethical to jump straight from these small studies to phase III trials, which test for efficacy. Phase II studies—which evaluate safety and immune responses in a larger number of people—will start simultaneously.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)At a WHO meeting held yesterday on Ebola vaccines, an international group of experts discussed the latest developments, which Kieny outlined at the press conference:A vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)—which contains a chimp adenovirus laced with a gene that codes for the Ebola surface protein—has enrolled all the volunteers in its phase I trial; the company is now analyzing the data in order to decide the best dose for the phase III study and whether to give it once or twice. That analysis should take no more than 4 weeks, and phase III trials could begin soon after. The company could have “a few million doses” of the vaccine produced by mid-2015, Kieny added, although that number will depend on the required dose. Sierra Leone will do a so-called stepped-wedge design, in which some groups receive the vaccine earlier than others, and efficacy is shown if the former group has fewer infections than the latter. (This design takes longer to produce statistically significant answers, but is deemed more ethical by some because all participants eventually receive the vaccine.) Kieny said the study will enroll some 6000 front-line Ebola workers and will probably test the vaccine that triggers the most robust immune responses in the phase I studies. A vaccine initially made by NewLink Genetics but now manufactured by Merck still needs to enroll more volunteers in its phase I studies. This vaccine uses a livestock virus called VSV, rather than the chimp virus, as the vector to carry the Ebola gene. One study was halted after some participants developed arthritislike symptoms, but it later resumed. The company can produce tens of millions of doses in 2015, Kieny said.Kieny also discussed the trial designs adopted for each of the three countries hardest hit by Ebola. The methodology and the ethics of the vaccine studies have been debated extensively, and in the end, the three countries will each use distinct designs:Liberia will do a randomized, controlled trial—the gold standard in drug and vaccine testing—with three arms, each including about 9000 people. One will receive the GSK vaccine, the second the Merck vaccine, and the third will form a control group that receives neither. Although the original plan was to target front-line Ebola workers such as doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers, researchers now plan to recruit among the Liberian population at large. (Very few health care workers have become infected with Ebola recently.)center_img Guinea will test ring vaccination—a strategy used to help eradicate smallpox— in which a group of people around an Ebola patient is vaccinated. This variation on the stepped-wedge design will have two arms, each with some 90 “rings,” with an average of 50 vaccinees per ring, meaning a total of 9000 trial participants. In one arm, the vaccine will be given early, whereas the rings in the other arm would receive the vaccine later. In addition, front-line workers will receive the vaccine in a so-called observational study that has no control group.On Tuesday, a third company, Johnson & Johnson, announced the launch of its own Ebola vaccine trial. The phase I trial, conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, tests two shots in what’s called a prime-boost strategy. The first shot, developed by Crucell in the Netherlands, uses a human adenovirus vector. The boost, which participants will receive 1 or 2 months later, is produced by Bavarian Nordic in Denmark and uses a modified version of the old smallpox vaccine, MVA, as the vector. The company has begun scouting for phase III test sites in the affected countries, Kieny said.A third candidate is welcome, she added. Based on results so far, Johnson & Johnson’s two-pronged vaccine would take longer to trigger robust immunity, but the protection might last longer; that might make it suitable for vaccinating people likely to become exposed to Ebola in the future, such as health care workers. Faster acting vaccines might be of more use in stanching outbreaks, where long-lasting protection isn’t as important.Whereas the other two vaccines need to be deep-frozen, Johnson & Johnson’s products will keep at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C, she said, a major advantage in remote areas. Tens of millions of doses of each of the vaccine’s two components can be produced in 2015, Kieny said.First results for the phase III studies can be expected after 6 months or so. Independent data and safety monitoring boards will keep a close watch on the trials and review the blinded data as they come in; aside from side effects, a board can stop a study early if significant success surfaces or it becomes clear that the trial doesn’t have the statistical power to provide a clear answer.But the dramatic drop in cases in Liberia, although reason to celebrate, could throw a spanner in the works, because it’s harder to demonstrate that a vaccine protects people when fewer people are at risk. If other efforts to rein in the virus make significant headway, it could further compromise the study’s power. Kieny acknowledged that risk and said Liberia—where new cases have slowed down to a trickle—has decided to recruit more participants to increase the odds that the trial will end with a firm conclusion.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

SPORT-IPL-LD FINAL 4 LAST

first_imgThe emergence of Yuvraj saw Warner take a bit of a The emergence of Yuvraj saw Warner take a bit of a back-seat from his power-hitting as Aravind back for his second spell got one to rise a bit more from the length as Warner went for a cut shot. Iqbal Abdullah stationed at short third man right at the edge of circle took easiest of catches. Warners 39-ball-68 had eight boundaries and three sixes. Yuvraj hit one of the biggest sixes at the Chinnaswamy as he hoisted Chahal over long-off into top tier. The next was an effortless copybook cover drive and the elegant left-hander did not even bother to run. In Aravinds next over, he cut the bowler for a boundary but lost Deepak Hooda (3), who was holed in the deep. Just when he was looking ominous, Jordan bowled a slower to get Yuvraj caught by Watson at extra cover having made 38 off 23 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. PTI KHS KHSlast_img read more

SPORT-KABADDI 2 LAST(SPB4)

first_imgPune captain Manjeet Chhillar expressed optimism that Pune captain Manjeet Chhillar expressed optimism that the team will not only reach semis but also win the title.”Our target is to come first, not just to reach in semi-final or final. So we are working hard, we are practising well and the most important thing is all our players are fit.””The players sitting in the bench are also fit and ours is a strong team. All the eight teams are strong and I believe we have worked hard and both our coaches are working hard with us,” Chhillar said.”Our team consists of juniors and players, who are senior to me as well. We have very disciplined players in our team. My target is to win all the four matches in Mumbai,” he added.Pune teams manager Kailash Kandpal said that unfortunately the team had to play its home games in Mumbai.”Its unfortunate that we had to move out of Poona (Pune was to host the first leg as per the tentative schedule put out) but, yes, Maharashtra is our home and we will surely get the same kind of support that we were getting in Poona.””In season 4, we decided again that we should strengthen our think-tank and so we roped in (coach K) Baskaran to ably support Ashok Shinde. With the help of the three (Ashok, Baskaran and Manjeet), we have developed one of the strongest teams on paper,” he added. PTI NRB SSR NP KHS KHS BASadvertisementlast_img read more

College Football Playoffs Set

first_imgGRAPEVINE, Texas — The playoff picks are in: Top-ranked Alabama will play No. 4 Ohio State at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and No. 2 Oregon will play No. 3 Florida State at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.And after all the discussion about whether Baylor or TCU was better, neither Big 12 team will get a chance to play for the national title.The College Football Playoff Committee’s selections for the first playoff were released Dec. 7 after weeks of debate, setting off plenty of questions about whether the new process was fair and if it needed some tweaks.“We’re smarting today,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.The winners of the New Year’s Day semifinals will advance to the national championship game to be played Jan. 12 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.The playoff contenders did not make it easy on the committee by all winning on Dec. 6.Committee Chairman Jeff Long said the top three teams were clear and the final spot came down to a “spirited debate” between the Buckeyes and Big 12 co-champs Baylor and TCU.” Among those three, Long said: “It was decisive for Ohio State.”Baylor and TCU finished fifth and sixth, respectively. The Big 12 is the only conference among the Big Five that does not play a championship game. With only 10 members, NCAA rules prohibit it, though the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are in the process of trying to change those rules.Long said Ohio State’s playing a quality opponent in a 13th game, the Big Ten championship against Wisconsin, and winning decisively added to the Buckeyes’ case against the Big 12 teams.“It had an effect,” Long said. “It was an additional game that we could see Ohio State’s strength.”Bowlsby said it appears the conference was penalized for not having a conference championship game, and will likely re-address how it decides its champion and the possibility of playing a title game.The great debate for weeks was whether TCU or Baylor would make it into the final four. The Bears beat their Big 12 rivals 61-58 in Waco back in October, but from the start the committee ranked TCU ahead of the Bears, who lost at West Virginia by 14 and played a particularly weak nonconference schedule.“This will be catalyst for discussion for sure,” Bowlsby said.The College Football Playoff is replacing the Bowl Championship Series this season. The BCS matched the top two teams in the country in a national championship game.The committee has been ranking the top 25 weekly since late October’s rankings and last week had Alabama and Oregon at the top, followed by TCU and Florida State.The committee has said it would start each week with a blank slate and that as the bodies of work changed the ranking could change dramatically.That’s different from the way polls traditionally work and led to some of the surprise when the Frogs dropped after a 52-point victory on Saturday against lowly Iowa State. The Big 12 further muddled the issue by not designating a champion by a tiebreaker.The commissioners who put together the playoff thought long and hard about whether the committee should do weekly rankings, at first leaning against it. They make for good television, though, and ultimately it was decided that fans were used to having a way to track the progress of the playoff race from week-to-week.Whether they stick with weekly rankings will be addressed. “I think that the committee will look at this year, look at this season, look how the entire process went,” Long said.Ohio State has had the longest climb to reach the playoff, overcoming an early loss to Virginia Tech to make a strong run. The Buckeyes were 16th in the first rankings, but their final statement was a doozy: 59-0 against the Badgers.Florida State’s unbeaten record hasn’t gotten the respect the Seminoles believe it deserves from the committee. The defending national champions are the only undefeated team in FBS. But numerous close calls and comebacks have led the committee to drop the Seminoles in the rankings.Ultimately, though, the ‘Noles will get to defend their championship in the first playoff.Also, the committee announced the other bowl matchups in the playoff rotation. Mississippi State will play Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl; Arizona will play Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl; TCU will play Mississippi in the Peach Bowl, and Baylor will play Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.(RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Aryna Sabalenka beats Alison Riske to clinch Shenzhen Open title

first_imgAryna Sabalenka got a confidence boost for the upcoming Australian Open after beating Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the Shenzhen Open final on Saturday.”To start the season with a title, it gives you more belief in yourself, and hopefully I can do well at the Australian Open,” Sabalenka said.Both players earlier won their semi-finals after rain on Thursday disrupted the tournament schedule. Top-seeded Sabalenka defeated local favorite Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-1, and Riske won the first seven games against Vera Zvonareva before the Russian retired due to a left hip injury.”If I need to play two matches in one day, I’m going to do that,” Sabalenka said.That’s the title for @sabalenkaA !Gets 2019 off to the best start with the @ShenzhenOpenWTA title!Beats Riske 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3!#ShenzhenOpen pic.twitter.com/RfjZGHbyb1WTA (@WTA) January 5, 2019Lift that , @SabalenkaA !You’re the @ShenzhenOpenWTA champion!#ShenzhenOpen pic.twitter.com/Hi9Nxjl7XvWTA (@WTA) January 5, 2019Riske was making her third appearance in the final at Shenzhen.”It was a tough day for us, especially to come back after the first set,” Sabalenka said. “She was putting everything in, down the lines … I’m so happy that I found a way how to win.””Even though I have no-one here with me this week, I feel like I have a ton of support – which is special.”@riske4rewards always feels at home at @ShenzhenOpenWTA !#ShenzhenOpen pic.twitter.com/RjnXTGHZKkWTA (@WTA) January 5, 2019″This backhand down the line – you need to teach me how to do this!”Champion @SabalenkaA gives credit to @Riske4rewards after a tough day for both of them, pulling double-duty at @ShenzhenOpenWTA !#ShenzhenOpen pic.twitter.com/lMDB02lKlzadvertisementWTA (@WTA) January 5, 2019The Australian Open starts January 14.Also Watch:last_img read more

Midseason Position Grades: Wide Receivers

first_imgDown the depth chart, Jhajuan Seales appears to have taken another step forward for his 12th season in Stillwater. Even being third in production as far as yards, Seales has proven at times he can manage the role as a No. 1 wideout and has the physical tools to stretch the field. Being a No. 3 option, he isn’t given the same amount of opportunities, but he has already eclipsed his total yards from the 2015 season.On the other side of the spectrum, Chris Lacy has proven to be a formidable option but has really shown his worth in down field blocking.“Chris Lacy, in the last game (against Texas), was as impressive as any wide receiver that I’ve seen here at OSU in a very long time,” Gundy said following the Texas game about Lacy. “He reminded me of DeMarcus Conner, who used to just wear guys out (blocking downfield). And that’s what Lacy did.”The group as a whole is very well rounded, with each specific receiver bringing a unique skillset to the table that OSU has capitalized on throughout the year so far.  I gave the group a grade of A- for their performance thus far, and the team gave an aggregate of an A. Overall, though, you can’t ask for much more production than what they’ve been able to give you through the first half of the year.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-47-08-pmWR Grade: A Halfway through the 2016 football season, we’re handing out grades for each position group and one of the most vaunted groups, wide receivers, is up next.Even without preseason Biletnikoff Watch Lister Marcell Ateman, the receivers group has performed admirably this season, and rank No. 10 as a passing offense with more than 350 yards through the air per game on average. And while that number is also a testament to the dude slinging the rock, the receivers have done their part to vault them into the top 10 nationally and No. 3 in the conference.The strength of the group, much like the Big 12 conference, is at the top of the depth chart. Losing freshman phenom Dillon Stoner was a blow to the overall depth of the team, but the top half of the group is loaded with talent, lead by James Washington.Washington started the season surprisingly slow. Against lesser competition against SE Louisiana and Central Michigan, he combined for 103 total yards. In the games since then, even with a step up in competition and more attention thrown his way in coverage, he has proven his all-american status by averaging 157 per game since.And the attention he gets on the outside has opened things up for OSU in other areas, too, as Mike Gundy noted this week. “(The defense) plays differently,” Gundy said Saturday. “You go back and watch it and study how they play when he’s in the game compared to when he’s not, they’re going to get an extra guy in the box in the running game.”Washington isn’t the most physically imposing receiver at 6-foot (which might be a stretch), but he has the leaping ability and athleticism to flat out make you look silly on the edge with catches like this. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.center_img The second leading receiver is by far the biggest leap from last year as far as production. Jalen McCleskey, who was a speedster last season who had high points, has been able to step into the No. 2 receiver spot and has been incredibly productive. Oklahoma State has gotten creative in their ways to get McCleskey the ball, and he has taken advantage of his opportunities on jet sweeps and out of the slot. Bottom line: McCleskey + Space = Good things.WATCH: Rudolph to McCleskey gives #OKState its first touchdown of the dayCatch OSU vs. CMU on FS1! pic.twitter.com/zJjwNTM8Xc— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) September 10, 2016last_img read more

How Good Is Mike Gundy at Producing NFL Talent?

first_imgX 2013 SCHOOLDRAFT PICKS BAYLOR32 2017 2015  XX KANSAS12 IOWA STATE10 OKLAHOMA STATE21 During Gundy’s 13 years as head coach, 21 Cowboys have been selected in the Draft. That’s six first-rounders, two second-rounders, one third-rounder, two fourth-rounders, one fifth-rounder, five sixth-rounders and four in the final round of the Draft.If we want to eliminate any conference bias, let’s just look at the draft picks for the teams currently in the Big 12 over that same span. X 2011 As last weekend’s NFL Draft dragged on, we waited patiently for a former Cowboy to hear his name called.Day 1 …Day 2 …Day 3.Finally, towards the end of Saturday, in the 6th round, Vincent Taylor heard the inevitable, yet overdue, ring of his phone and was informed that he would be selected by Miami. One round later, Chris Carson started packing his bags for the opposite corner of the country after John Schneider and Pete Carroll of Seattle made him their final draft pick of 2017.The lack of early-round talent (or draft picks at all) is not strictly an Oklahoma State problem. It’s a Big 12 problem. The conference finished dead last in the number of players drafted out of all Power 5 conferences — and it wasn’t close.2017 Draft PicksSEC – 53ACC – 42Pac-12 – 36Big Ten – 35Big 12 – 14In fact, the American Athletic Conference had one more draftee (15) than the flyover union and Conference USA wasn’t far behind with 9.Whether it’s due to a vast talent gap between the Big 12 and the others, or slanted perception — or both; you can’t argue with the numbers. Either perception becomes reality or reality influences perception.But at the very least, Oklahoma State has been one of the more consistent teams in the Big 12 when it comes to getting players drafted.Here is an interesting stat that shows current streaks of schools having at least one player drafted each year. Oklahoma State sits at nine straight beside Big 12 peers Baylor and TCU, as well as Utah and Alabama(?!)Active streaks of consecutive years with at least 1 player taken in the #NFLDraft. #GoBlue #FightOn pic.twitter.com/LCU3mUWRVq— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) April 30, 2017Obviously, this is just one stat. A technicality, really. Oklahoma State is not on par with Alabama in the terms of producing NFL talent. The Crimson Tide had 11 players declare for the 2017 Draft and 10 were selected — all in the first 4 rounds. OSU had two players drafted, both late on Saturday.Furthermore, OSU has had only one player taken in four of the last five drafts.Here’s a look at Oklahoma State’s draft picks since Mike Gundy took over in January of 2005. Granted, he took over immediately following the 2004 Alamo Bowl and that draft class was coached by Les Miles, but that is the number of draftees OSU is claiming for Gundy so we’ll stick with that. 2010X X KANSAS STATE20 2009X While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. 2007 2008 2006 2014X X X X 2016X TCU32 TEXAS48 WEST VIRGINIA34 X 2005XX YEAR1st Rd2nd Rd3rd Rd4th Rd5th Rd6th Rd7th Rd 2012X X TEXAS TECH19 It’s not top-heavy. It’s a landslide.Since Mike Gundy took the reins in Stillwater, his I-35 counterpart has sent almost 3 1/2 times as many players to the NFL. That’s over 5.5 picks per year to Gundy’s 1.6 average. Now this doesn’t completely nullify T. Boone’s gripe with the Bedlam record but it definitely casts another light on the series.But … recruiting is part of the job.There are reasons for the difference. It’s hard to recruit to Stillwater. You’re always competing with Oklahoma and Texas for a lot of the same recruits. And Gundy admits that he would rather leave a 5-star waiting if he has his eye on a solid 3-star with a good head on his shoulders.The Cowboys find their gems. Their Dez Bryants and Justin Blackmons. They get their Russell Okungs. They have a couple of potential first-rounders on their roster for this fall. The players then send to the NFL generally find a lot of success. They just don’t send enough of them.Will Mike Gundy ever average four draft picks a year? That would be quite a jump. Is this just as good as it gets at OSU or can the program even climb to that next level? Or will Gundy’s group of assistants continue to climb the recruiting rankings to a top tier status? That likely comes with continued and increased success in the win column.With all that being said, Oklahoma State just might have a shot at a College Playoff berth this year, if Gundy can exorcise his crimson demons. Not to mention, that might mean beating the Sooners twice. Does that mean it can’t get better? Or does it start from there?Mike Gundy is an enigma. He is both stubborn and stuck in his ways while also being both forward thinking and innovative. He is often simultaneously the butt of social media jokes (even as he’s in on them) and the unquestioned leader of a major college football program, a school and a fan base. He might be the most interesting man in college football.So we’re left to admire the coaching job he’s done and the culture he’s nurtured at Oklahoma State. We’re also left to wonder what else the program could be under Gundy.Oklahoma State draft picks during Gundy’s tenure2017Vincent Taylor – 194th overall (6th round)Chris Carson – 249th (7th round)2016Emmanuel Ogbah – 32nd overall (2nd round)2015Josh Furman – 252nd overall (7th round)2014Justin Gilbert – 8th overall (1st round)2013Joseph Randle – 151st overall (5th round)2012Justin Blackmon – 5th overall (1st round)Brandon Weeden – 22nd overall (1st round)Markelle Martin – 190th overall (6th round)2011 XX Kendall Hunter – 115th overall (4th round)2010Russell Okung – 6th overall (1st round)Dez Bryant – 24th overall (1st round)Perrish Cox – 137th (5th round)Zac Robinson – 250th (7th round)2009Brandon Pettigrew – 20th overall (1st round)2008No Draft picks2007Ryan McBean – 132nd overall (4th round)Corey Hilliard – 209th (6th round)2006Charlie Johnson – 199th overall (6th round)2005Darrent Williams – 56th overall (2nd round)Vernand Morency – 73rd overall (3rd round)Billy Bajema – 249th overall (7th round) OKLAHOMA72 XXlast_img read more

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao: TV, stream & preview

first_imgPrimera División Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 19:00 18/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Lionel Messi Barcelona Getty Images Primera División Barcelona Barcelona v Athletic Club Athletic Club Ernesto Valverde comes up against his former club on Sunday and has warned that they are dangerous with their backs against the wall Barcelona return to La Liga action on Sunday as they welcome Jose Angel Ziganda’s Athletic Bilbao to Camp Nou.Ernesto Valverde’s men are on a high after breezing past Chelsea into the Champions League quarter-finals during the week and they can – temporarily – go further clear at the top with a win.The Catalan outfit are unbeaten in 28 league games and currently boast an eight-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid ahead of the international break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp They’ve already defeated their visitors in the corresponding fixture in Bilbao back in October, so they will be confident in their ability to repeat that feat on Sunday. Game Barcelona vs Athletic Club Date Sunday March 18 Time 15:15 GMT / 11:15 ET Stream (US only) fubo TV (7-day free trial) TV Channel & Live Stream In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream beIN Sports fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Sky Sports Mix and it can also be streamed live online using Sky Go. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Mix Sky Go Squads & Team News Position Barcelona players Goalkeepers Ter Stegen, Cillessen Defenders Pique, Alba, Digne, Vidal, Umtiti, Mina Midfielders Rakitic, Iniesta, Coutinho, Paulinho, Roberto, Gomes, Alena Forwards Messi, Dembele, Alcacer Valverde has named an 18-man squad for the match, which can be seen above. Notable absentees include Sergio Busquets, who suffered a fractured toe during the week against Chelsea, and Luis Suarez, who is suspended.Potential Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Vidal, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Paulinho, Coutinho; Iniesta, Messi, Dembele. Position Athletic Club players Goalkeepers Kepa, Iago, Simon Defenders Saborit, I. Martinez, Y. Alvarez, Nunez, Lekue, Etxeita, De Marcos, Balenziaga, A. Lopez Midfielders San Jose, Benat, Iturraspe, Susaeta, Rico, Vesga, R. Garcia, Cordoba, Gil, Munoz, Nolaskoain Forwards Sola, Muniain, Williams, Merino, Aduriz Athletic will be without forward Iker Muniain, while midfielder Mikel Rico and defender Yeray Alvarez are considered doubts for the match.Potential Athletic starting XI: Iago; Etxeita, De Marcos, Y. Alvarez, Lekue; Benat, Iturraspe, Rico, Cordoba, Williams; Aduriz.Betting & Match Odds Barcelona are favourites to win, with dabblebet offering odds of 2/13 on the Blaugrana. Athletic are deemed to be an 18/1 bet to win and a draw is more likely at 7/1.dabblebet customers can watch and bet on the game if they have a funded or active account. T&Cs apply.Match Preview Philippe Coutinho BarcelonaWhile Barcelona are on course to win the title, Athletic are languishing in the bottom half and a chasm of 37 points separates the sides in La LigaWhen they welcome Ziganda’s side to Catalunya on Sunday it will be a particularly special occasion for their manager Valverde, who joined the Blaugrana from the Basque outfit last yearAs such, he is all too aware of the threat that they pose and, despite their disappointing performance in the league, the 54-year-old was keen to emphasis their never-say-die attitude.”It’s a special game for me because of who we’re playing,” Valverde told reporters ahead of the game.”They’re a dangerous team because they’ve always been a spirited side especially when the chips are down.”It’s a team that comes together and they have the ability to overcome, so it’s a tough opponent.”Barca will be without key players such as Busquets and Luis Suarez for the game, but with Lionel Messi in tremendous form they appear almost unassailable at the minute and Athletic’s team spirit simply may not be enough.last_img read more

How Chuba Hubbard Reminds Mike Gundy of Barry Sanders

first_imgGoing into last season, the Cowboys were without the star power of Mason Rudolph and James Washington, but did have a star in the backfield in Justice Hill. Hill left with injury early in Bedlam last season and didn’t return for the rest of the year, but Hubbard, who showed glimpses of what he was capable of throughout the year, took over.Hubbard finished that Bedlam game with 104 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also broke the century mark in two of the final three games of the season, going for 134 yards in a win against West Virginia and 145 yards in a Liberty Bowl win against Missouri. That type of production late in the year has Gundy excited about what he has entering this season.“When we lost Justice last year, it was difficult for us because we lost a great player,” Gundy said. “As I said earlier though, it benefited us because (Hubbard) had to play in some really key games. I’m also excited about watching him play. He’s really just kind of scratched the surface with his body and what he can do and what he can bring to the table. The area he has improved as much as any is just his leadership, his willingness to work extremely hard.”The Canadian track star turned OSU running back is apparently also doing goat things in practice.“One thing I noticed in practice yesterday, and I didn’t say anything about it, I just kind of watched it again today, and it reminded me of guys back when I practice: When he takes the ball in practice from the 40-yard line when we’re in a tag period, when we’re not tackling, he runs all the way to the goal line every time, and I haven’t seen that in years,” Gundy said.“That’s encouraging. Now when we get back to how many steps a day he takes at practice, that could be a little bit of an issue, but I would rather back him off than have to kick him into the fight. We’re really excited about him at this point.”Does that sound familiar? It should.“Every time (Barry Sanders) ran the ball in practice, he sprinted to the end zone,” Gundy said. “We’d have to wait for him to come back. And we’d say, ‘Barry, hey man, you’re killing us.’ He wore himself out, and that’s why he slept all the time, probably.“But the guy was a phenomenal competitor with a work ethic that was through the roof. He out-practiced everybody on the field and in the weight room. And that’s why he got to the point he did.” [ESPN] STILLWATER — It isn’t too often a coach calls his star running back “pretty” as a compliment.On Oklahoma State’s 2017 roster, Hubbard was listed as a 6-1, 190-pound freshman. Entering only his redshirt sophomore season in Stillwater, Hubbard is now listed at 207, and it wasn’t at all comparable to the “freshman 15” other college kids add.#BodybyGlass pic.twitter.com/Nr8GtDakKi— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) August 4, 2019“Chuba looks really good,” Gundy said. “For me, or personally as a coach, you’re always really careful to step out there, but he’s about as pretty as they get. He’s about 208-210 pounds, and I don’t know how fast he is, but he’s really fast. He’s very determined. He’s very intelligent. He understands.””He’s as pretty as they get.” You can tell Mike Gundy is expecting big things from @Hubbard_RMN this season. @CowboyFB pic.twitter.com/RZiUIayOSz— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) August 5, 2019 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

All about social networking

first_imgOur esteemed colleague Nancy at Getting Attention has a terrific nonprofit marketing carnival today with everything you ever wanted to know about social networking. (A carnival just means a bunch of bloggers writing on a theme.) She says:This traveling Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants brings you the best blog postings on nonprofit issues. For this week’s event, I asked bloggers to advise on how already over-taxed nonprofit communicators can handle the ever-expanding menu of communications channels, especially social networking tools, and what social media have the greatest potential for nonprofits. My post of last week is featured, along with work by bloggers smarter than I am on the topic! Highly recommended reading.last_img read more

MERCHANDISE FROM NTL FOR SALE

first_imgIf you were at the 2006 NTL and missed out on grabbing some of the merchandise, or you weren’t at the event but would like to see what’s still on offer…check out the following flier for what’s on sale now and how to order and purchase: MERCHANDISE FROM THE NTLlast_img

WIN a Barcelona shirt!

first_imgLogistics SurveyGizmo is trusted by tens of thousands of brands around the world. Please take my survey now Hello Tomorrow Once a month Online advertising Barcelona Your chance to win a Barcelona jersey Goal Last updated 1 year ago 19:00 6/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Luis Suarez Lionel Messi Paulinho Barcelona Getty Barcelona Primera División You could win a 2018-19 home Barcelona jersey by answering our simple survey Please fill out the short survey below and you will be entered into a draw to win a Barcelona jersey. Never visited Rakuten Arena None of the above Sports in general 5. Have you heard of Rakuten Arena? Baseball Facebook 1. Which of these brands do you associate with football? Video Streaming Believe in the future 2. Have you heard of Rakuten? Adidas Heineken Ford eCommerce 6. What types of content are you most likely to view on Rakuten Arena? All of the above Audi Be Connected. Be Discovered. Twitter 0% All of the above Pepsi Real Madrid FC Barcelona Google None of the above Basketball Juventus No Press IT Services Football Yes McDonalds Skip survey header Once a week Other (please specify): 6. Which Rakuten Arena channel do you follow? Instant Messaging Rakuten No Rakuten phase 2 Viber Be Moved 3. You said Rakuten is an official partner of FC Barcelona. Where did you find out about this partnership? The world on time Radio None of the above Social media 4. Which of these statements best describes your opinion of Rakuten? I like this brand Neutral – I have no opinion on this brand Chelsea All of the above 6. On average, how often do you view Rakuten Arena content? Television None of the above Every day I love this brand Bayern Munich 3. Which of these brand messages do you associate with Rakuten (please tick all that apply)? I dislike this brand Amazon Sports/News Website 3. What services does Rakuten provide (please tick all that apply)? Manchester United Yes Tennis Home Electronics Never stand still Instagram None of the above Music & entertainment Sustainability content All of the above 3. Which of these clubs is Rakuten an official partner of? All of the above last_img read more

Notre Dame’s New Shamrock Series’ Uniforms Are Getting Crushed

first_imgNotre Dame's Shamrock Series uniforms for game at Yankee Stadium.Notre Dame unveiled its new Shamrock Series uniforms for this year’s game vs. Syracuse at Yankee Stadium. It didn’t take long for the internet to review them.The majority opinion was formed pretty quickly: these uniforms are very, very ugly.With the game in the Bronx, Notre Dame and Under Armour came up with uniforms that pay tribute to the Yankees, pinstripes and all.The results are, well…this:The Fighting Irish.The @Yankees.Two Iconic Brands.One Uniform.One Night.Yankee Stadium.November 17 – 2:30pm.#GoIrish ☘️ #ShamrockSeries pic.twitter.com/bH6yr4BfiG— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 16, 2018The matte navy helmet unites the Notre Dame monogram with the @Yankees inspired helmet decal. #GoIrish ☘️ #ShamrockSeries pic.twitter.com/NkRbmT2OiV— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 16, 2018The Notre Dame Yankees uniforms are getting widely roasted on Twitter.No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. pic.twitter.com/nT1oSzS2TT— Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) August 16, 2018I’ve fixed Notre Dame’s Yankees uniformshttps://t.co/Z0n9s0PJL7 pic.twitter.com/YonLYNNNBK— L. Ron Dayne (@JasonKirkSBN) August 16, 2018Hey Notre Dame and Under Armor, the good news is you have plenty of time to redesign those Shamrock Series uniforms for this season. It’s not too late.Just saying.— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) August 16, 2018Notre Dame’s new ‘Bandwagon Collection’ uniforms are fire pic.twitter.com/7teiuoLIQX— Dan Lucero (@danluceroshow) August 16, 2018Today may be the day I stop being a Notre Dame fan https://t.co/NlAQjwU4fj— Quigs (@Mike_Quigs) August 16, 2018Absolute Trash. You know what’s iconic about Notre Dame? The gold helmet. Zero ND tradition in these. and I HATE THE YANKEES and want np part of this disaster of a combination. https://t.co/StbNddFOD5— Jeff in the ‘Ville (@JeffInNashville) August 16, 2018The official jersey of Notre Dame fans who didn’t go to Notre Dame pic.twitter.com/6L7tfAkYHy— Owen (@hambino01) August 16, 2018Usually I’m in the camp that likes Notre Dame pushing the boundary on these jerseys.Usually. https://t.co/Ld2NZ0pIB5— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) August 16, 2018Even Notre Dame blog One Foot Down wasted little time in lambasting the new Fighting Irish uniforms.Notre Dame Football: The Shamrock Series Uniforms For Yankee Stadium Are Awful https://t.co/CPtjRVTTDM— One Foot Down (@OneFootDown) August 16, 2018On top of the fact that these just don’t look good, the helmet decal—Notre Dame’s logo over a pinstripe patch—was already done by another school. The school that Notre Dame is playing at Yankee Stadium. Syracuse.Syracuse’s New York City alumni association created hats with the orange block ‘S’ logo over pinstripes for an event at Yankee Stadium months ago.??? pic.twitter.com/8G8BGf3GgX— SUinNYC (@SUinNYC) August 16, 2018Ours was better ? pic.twitter.com/pOm7Wm68Ot— SUinNYC (@SUinNYC) August 16, 2018Notre Dame and Syracuse kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 17.The Fighting Irish are 5-3 all time against the Orange, winning two games in the series at another New York City area venue—Metlife Stadium—in 2014 and 2016.last_img read more

Nova Scotia Yacht Nears Home Port in World Yacht Race

first_imgA yacht flying Nova Scotia’s flag is nearing its home port in the 2008 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Yachts in the international race are now arriving in New York and are scheduled to depart for Nova Scotia on Wednesday, June 4. “For the past nine months, we’ve had a yacht sponsored by the province and branded with novascotia.com racing around the world and promoting Nova Scotia,” said Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Bill Dooks. “Along with our partners, we are asking Nova Scotians to support the crew and get involved in the 2008 Clipper Yacht Race activities being planned for Halifax and Sydney.” The race is the longest sporting event in the world, with 10 identical state-of-the-art yachts sailing on a 65,000-kilometre (35,000-nautical mile) odyssey to the yachts’ home ports around the world. The race gives home ports exposure to a global audience of more than 200 million people. Each of the 21-metre yachts is backed by a city or region around the world. They are crewed by up to 17 people from all walks of life who are led by professional skippers. The 2007-08 event began in September and is divided into 14 individual races in which the teams earn points. The team with the most points when the fleet arrives in Liverpool, England on July 5 will win the Clipper Trophy. After twice crossing the Atlantic Ocean, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, navigating the Pacific Ocean and traversing the Panama Canal, the yachts will reach Nova Scotia on Sunday, June 8. Visitors and residents will be able to view the extraordinary vessels in Halifax until June 12 and in Sydney from June 13 to 16. Mr. Dooks said a highlight of the activities will be the presentation of the Democracy 250 Cup to the winner of an unofficial leg of the Clipper race from Halifax to Sydney. Democracy 250 is sponsoring the Nova Scotia race in recognition of this year’s 250th anniversary of the birth of parliamentary democracy in Canada. The cup will be presented at a public ceremony at the Sydney Marine Terminal on June 14. The cost of of Nova Scotia’s participation in the international race is $500,000. The federal government is investing $200,000 and the province is investing $100,000. Other funding partners include Destination Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Nova Scotia’s participation in the race is being co-ordinated by Events Halifax. “The race is of definite interest to Nova Scotians because of our proud seafaring traditions,” said Peter MacKay, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “Hosting the yachts in both Halifax and Sydney will attract visitors and generate significant economic spinoffs for the local economy.” Supporters of Nova Scotia’s team can follow its progress by clicking on the race viewer tab at www.clipperroundtheworld.com . The yachts’ positions are updated every six hours. The crew’s blogs, videos and photos are also posted.last_img read more

Designated Bicycle Trail Opens

first_imgA newly designated bicycle trail in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness area of Halifax Regional Municipality officially opened today, Oct. 7. The trail is near Tantallon. “This is the first time that a bicycle trail has ever been designated in a wilderness area in the province,” said MLA Iain Rankin, on behalf of Environment Minister Margaret Miller. “This pilot project will help the department understand the needs and impacts of cyclists and the interaction with other users along a multi-use trail.” The Department of Environment recently designated 12 kilometres of an existing all-terrain vehicle trail for bicycle use within the area. Prior to this designation, the trail could only be used with all-terrain vehicles by members of one of the 43 clubs that are part of the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia. The department received the request for this bicycle use designation from the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area Stewardship Coalition and the association, which manages the trail. Bicycle use is only permitted in wilderness areas on trails designated for that purpose. “The new designation not only gives the land more recreational value, it can provide another loop to the trail system that promotes Nova Scotia as an ecotourism destination,” said Tom Musial, chair of the coalition. “It has potential to engage the cycling community as another participant in the maintenance of the roads.” The Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust has also been a key stakeholder in the designation. “I am proud of all of what trust has accomplished starting with successfully protecting the land in 2011,” said Mr. Rankin. “Because of its efforts, not only will this land remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy, but access to this incredible area will be improved because of these types of partnerships. “We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to open access routes for recreational modes of transportation.” Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area protects nearly 8,600 hectares of near-urban Crown lands between Highway 103 and Route 333.last_img read more

Thousands protest in Hong Kong against extradition bill

first_imgHong Kong: Tens of thousands of people protested in Hong Kong on Sunday against a controversial bill that could allow “fugitives” to be extradited to China. Victoria Park, where the protesters gathered, was packed for several hours and became a sea of white – the colour chosen for the action – and smatterings of yellow that came from umbrellas, a pro-democracy symbol since the 2014 movement known as the “Umbrella Revolution”, reports Efe news. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’ The new law, which was proposed in February and the final vote on which is expected sometime in July, would allow the Hong Kong chief executive and courts to process extradition requests of countries with which the former British colony does not have a formal transfer agreement, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macao, without legislative supervision. In theory, local courts would handle cases individually and could use veto powers to block extraditions, and the Hong Kong executive says the text aims to cover a legal vacuum. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China Roads towards the park as well the nearby subway stations were jam-packed with people. A protester told Efe that should the bill become law, something that could happen next month, Hong Kong would lose its independence to Beijing, and it could affect its local economy negatively. “It’s our last chance to defend our beautiful country,” she said, emphasizing the importance of this protest, the first one she has taken part in since June 4, 1989, which was held in solidarity with the students killed on Tiananmen Square in the Chinese capital. Protesters chanted slogans such as “Scrap the evil law”, “Oppose China extradition” and “Carrie Lam resign”, in reference to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. “Beijing has become increasingly impatient with Hong Kong since our umbrella movement five years ago. It sees us as an unruly teenager who doesn’t learn to be grateful and obedient,” the pro-democracy camp convener, Claudia Mo, told public-owned broadcaster RTHK. Mo added that with new infrastructure projects, added to laws like the one being protested against on Sunday, Beijing is seeking “to assimilate Hong Kong” and “change it into one of the numerous Chinese cities”. The bill has faced opposition from journalists, foreign politicians and companies, who have expressed concerns that residents of Hong Kong – which is part of China but enjoys special autonomy in fields such as the law and currency – who have been accused of crimes could be at risk of being deported to mainland China. There were fears that activists and dissidents who live in Hong Kong could be extradited to mainland China for trial. Demonstrations against the bill have also been held outside of Hong Kong, including in several Australian cities, while more demonstrations were expected to take place in Germany, the US and Canada.last_img read more

Case adjourned for man accused of killing four people in Fredericton

first_imgFREDERICTON – A Fredericton man accused of killing four people, including two city police officers, is due back in court next month after his case was adjourned today.Matthew Vincent Raymond faces four counts of murder in the deaths of Const. Sara Burns, Const. Robb Costello, Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.The police officers and civilians were gunned down Aug. 10 outside an apartment complex in the New Brunswick capital.Court documents say the incident ended after police shot the alleged gunman in the abdomen.Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham told the court he had just received a large volume of material and needed time to review it.The matter is set to return to court on Oct. 22.Gorham has said earlier that he expects his client will enter a plea of not guilty and request a preliminary hearing.last_img read more

Taking intel seriously

first_img2019 did not take off to a pleasant start as it witnessed three devastating terror strikes in three different parts of the world within a period of three months commencing from mid-February. As the fifth month begins, the world hopes that coming times remain safe and secure from terror attacks. The element of intelligence needs to play a critical part in the near future as in the preceding months, it did not quite measure up to professional expectations. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe year began with a deadly explosion on February 14 killing more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel when its convoy was hit by a suicide bomber in Pulwama (Jammu & Kashmir) who was inspired and used by Pakistan-based notorious Islamic terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Its elusive head Masood Azhar had earlier warned about a likely strike as his focus has always been on Kashmir. Soon after the incident, questions arose if there was adequate intelligence supplied by the state and other intelligence agencies to the enforcers to prevent the unfortunate act. There are two exclusive and dedicated central agencies as arms of the intelligence apparatus to garner hard intelligence and share the same with the concerned to neutralise any untoward happening. Other than these, there is military intelligence and other subsidiary setups including a full-fledged state intelligence formation for gathering hard inputs to act against the forces detrimental to national security. Also Read – Insider threat managementWith such a robust and well-structured Intelligence set up in place, it is hard to fathom why Pulwama strike could not be prevented? Or it is equally possible that there was intelligence available but the relevant agencies didn’t act on time even after the receipt of the precious preventable inputs. The state intelligence officials of J&K are very dedicated and professional. Given the sensitivity and strategic significance of the state, they seem to be forever vigilant. However, the Governor of the state, soon after the blast, had admitted that there was no intelligence available that such a deadly thing was coming. It would, therefore, seem there was something amiss somewhere either in the coordination between the multiple intelligence agencies or some lack of oversight or possibly a huge communication gap. Identifying the perpetrator of the incident who rammed the car in the CRPF convoy or loading such huge quantity of explosives in the car, all such likelihood went unnoticed. Such gaps need a diligent study and tight measures put in place at the earliest to prevent any recurrence. Now we come to the Christ Church (New Zealand) killings of March 15, coming exactly after a month of the Pulwama incident. Here, the perpetrator is of different faith but common feature with those abetting Pulwama terror is only acerbic hatred towards another faith. Here the killer was a far-right Christian and the victims were all Muslims, and more than fifty in number. Coming to the Intelligence part of it, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern admitted that intelligence available for the happening of this ghastly incident was grossly misplaced. At the same time, she said that there were warnings about the planning of misadventures by the right-wing activists but they were not taken seriously. Jacinda had also admitted subsequently that she had received a precious document in hand which could have prevented the mosques’ massacre but it was too late as by then, Brenton Tarrant, the Australian killer had done his job. Intelligence was there yet it couldn’t measure about the time leading to the avoidable killing of the innocents. Similarly, the Australian and New Zealand intelligence agencies didn’t have any whiff that Brenton had explored identifying enemies of Christians in 2016 itself in Turkey and the issue was politically exploited by President Erdogan in his election campaign of March 31 this year. Similarly, there was no intelligence available with the Australians that Brenton had remitted money to his Austrian far-right friends sharing the same ideology. All escaped the radar of the intelligence services. It would be pertinent to point out that in 2016, New Zealand spent around 179 million worth US dollars to rejuvenate the intelligence services but obviously the hefty sum invested didn’t commensurate the results. Meanwhile, April 21 (Easter Sunday) saw 253 chilling deaths when Islamic fanatics, inspired by ISIS, killed Christian worshippers in several churches and foreign tourists in many popular hotels in various parts of Sri Lanka. Here, a war of words and acrimonious exchange of controversial statements are all over on the role of the Intelligence services immediately in the aftermath of the carnage. Both, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have already begun a blame game living in a deniability mode that intelligence warning of the church and hotel blasts were not shared with them. The self-inflicted perceptions seem preposterous as how can the two top men of the government be kept in dark about such a vital input having bearing on the national security? It may be reiterated that as early as on April 11, Indian intelligence had alerted about the upcoming tragedy. It went unheeded and it is now understood that there is severe infighting within the intelligence set up itself that national security interests were harmed. It would appear that intelligence officers are owing allegiance to different political masters resulting in such a chaotic situation. Meanwhile, authoritative sources confirm that President Sirisena was apprised of the intelligence lead and three briefing sessions were held. It is further confirmed that senior DIG Nilantha Jaywardane met the President and briefed him personally on April 11 and April 16. Subsequent to receipt of additional intelligence on April 20, Jayawardene briefed the President on phone. His denial seems far from reality and in the internal tussle in the establishment, Defence Secretary, Masiri Fernando, and the IGP Pujith Jayasundara were made scapegoats. This trend is so unhealthy for the crucial intelligence services. Further, glaring intelligence failure in Sri Lankan intelligence was noticed when in a recent raid in Kattankudy, huge cache of arms and ammunition plus explosives were recovered as well as a fierce encounter ensued killing fifteen persons. All were, unknown to the intelligence of Sri Lanka. Reasons are not easily comprehensible. Since 1980, Saudi money was pumped in leading to mushrooming of 60 mosques in a city of 45,000 people. Wahabism writ runs aggressively and the local population seems to be badly radicalised with the venom of Wahabism. Saudis are also known to be considering establishing an Islamic university in the region so heavily indoctrinated. In the same vein, activities of the National Towheed Jamaath (NTJ) and its linkages in Tamil Nadu and Kerala escaped the intelligence radar. In sum, it’s the intelligence failure that caused so many killings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Perhaps in this context, former minister and ex-Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is often credited for having exterminated LTTE terrorism in 2009, recently stated that he would contest the next elections and if elected, on priority, revamp the intelligence networking in the island country by improving surveillance capability. He is bang on so it seems as that’s what is required. We, therefore, see in the comparison of the three terror attacks that intelligence continues to be a key factor and cannot be ignored. That said, intelligence collection is not an easy job. Failures are simple to project but successes are difficult to list as faceless intelligence personally ordinarily go into oblivion unsung and unnoticed. Their services need recognition and the officers credited. On their part, they need to remain apolitical. In the recent past, France, Belgium, and other countries were also struck by serious intelligence failures. This time ISIS and its affiliates (also the far-right elements) seem to have South Asia as their prime target. If intelligence is not put on top gear, fatalities will only increase making the world bereft of safety and tranquil. The time has possibly come for all members of the intelligence community at the global level to sit and brainstorm to uproot the menace of terror. At least, a sincere and visible attempt can be made. (The author is a retired IPS officer, a security analyst and a former National Security Advisor to Mauritius. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Casablanca Police Arrest Woman for Kidnapping 5YearOld Girl

Rabat – The judicial police of Casablanca arrested a 46-year-old woman today who allegedly kidnapped and locked up a minor girl.The statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said a missing 5-year-old girl was found in good health after four days of searching. The communique added that her parents had filed a complaint about their daughter’s disappearance under suspicious circumstances. The police determined the identity of the suspect and arrested her at her home in Hay Rahma in Casablanca.The girl had been kidnapped from a market in Al-Wifaq in the Hay Al Hassani area of Casablanca.The suspect has been placed in custody for further investigation  of the criminal act and the possibility of the suspect’s involvement in other crimes. DGSN statement said the arrest was carried out in cooperation with Morocco’s General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST). read more