COMBINED TIME Though his effort left Jamaica just short of a medal in Sunday’s World Championship 4×400-metre final, Javon Francis produced a sterling anchor-leg effort. As he did to rescue a silver medal in the same event two years ago, the 21-year-old national champion charged into the lead. In the 2013 World Championships, his anchor was timed at 44 seconds flat. On Sunday, he was even faster at 43.5 seconds. That matched the fastest hand-timed relay split ever, a 43.5 by renowned baton genius Davian Clarke, to finish a national record run of two minutes, 56.75 seconds in the 1997 World Championships. When more precise electronic times are considered, Clarke retains the lead by 0.01, 43.51 to 43.52 for Francis. In 1997, Michael McDonald, Greg Haughton, Danny McFarlane, and Clarke got the silver medal, as did Rusheen McDonald, Edino Steele, Omar Johnson, and Francis in 2013. Unfortunately, despite the anchor leg heroics, Peter Matthews, Ricardo Chambers, McDonald, and Francis just missed a medal on Sunday. They combined for a time of two minutes, 58.51 seconds, the same as Great Britain, but with the photo-finish camera revealing the edge for the British anchorman, Martyn Rooney. This was Francis’ first relay sub-44 clocking. He joins Clarke, Haughton and Seymour Newman as Jamaicans to produce such times on the 4×400-metre relay. Newman was the first, with 43.8 in the 1976 Olympics. Clarke matched that in the heats of the 1995 World Championships. In that race, McDonald, Clarke, Dennis, Blake and McFarlane became the first Jamaican team to break three minutes in 4x400m relay history. The Clarke sub-44 portfolio also includes a 43.81 that took Jamaica to the bronze in the 2005 Worlds and a 43.88 to seal the silver medal at the 1999 Worlds. Haughton’s sub-44 was an urgent 43.88 to connect Jamaica to second place in the 2001 World Championships. The fastest 4x400m leg on record is the 42.9-second anchor by outstanding American Michael Johnson at the 1993 World Championship. That closed a world record run of two minutes, 54.29 seconds.
Neelie KroesEU vice-president Neelie Kroes has firmed up her proposals for a single market in telecom services and reiterated that a package will be introduced in September. Kroes said that the economic boost from a single telecommunications market could be as high as €110 billion a year and that the broadband business could create two million jobs in Europe. She said action was need now and rejected the longer term option, proposed by French MEP Catherine Trautman, of a comprehensive review of the sector that she said could take up to five years to complete.Speaking at an ITRE committee meeting in the European parliament, Kroes said that it is essential that operators should be able to operate anywhere in Europe within an EU-wide framework of rules.“It must be easier to communicate across borders. Without operators facing a tangle of different, incompatible rules. If you’re allowed to operate anywhere in Europe – authorised within an EU framework — then you should be able to operate everywhere in the EU,” said Kroes. “And I don’t just mean ‘possible’: but straightforward in practice. Like a single authorisation system with supervision by the home member state.”She said it was important to develop consistent ways for service providers to access fixed networks by standardizing ‘virtual bitstream’-type products and guaranteeing quality for interconnection services. Spectrum bands also need more consistent licence conditions, she said, with harmonisation of spectrum allocation across the EU.Kroes said the package would include a guarantee of network neutrality. “Blocking or throttling services isn’t just unfair and annoying for users – it’s a death sentence for innovators too. So I will guarantee net neutrality. With more transparency, so you know what’s in your contract. Making it easier to switch providers. Allowing the new premium services which so many new services rely on – from cloud computing to eHealth. And I will end anticompetitive blocking and throttling, for every citizen, on every network, on every device. Internet growth depends on openness and innovation: I will provide an absolute safeguard,” she said.Kroes also reiterated her commitment to bring roaming charges to an end, stating that European calls should not count as costly “international calls”. However, she said that the creation of the single market would itself end roaming surcharges by bringing competitive pressure of operators to bring down prices.
CBS shareholders have officially launched a class action lawsuit against its majority stakeholder National Amusements, the investment firm of Sumner Redstone and family.Les MoonvesThe suit claims that National Amusements, now run by Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone, has breached its fiduciary duty.Class B shareholders of CBS claim that Redstone has not acted in the company’s best interest in its push to merge the business with former partner company Viacom.CBS’ lawsuit document states: “Sumner Redstone is no longer in control of CBS. His daughter has seized control, interfered with the management of the company and pressured the company to pursue her self-interested plan to combine CBS with Viacom.”The news follows earlier action taken by the company in May to block Redstone’s efforts to forcibly merge the companies. Prior to the recent lawsuit a Delaware Chancery Court judge had put a brief pause on the legal battle during CBS’ Upfront presentation in which Leslie Moonves received a standing ovation.National Amusements has replied in a statement saying it is merely exercising its legal rights to change CBS bylaws.“Furthermore, as detailed in NAI’s complaint, the efforts of the CBS Directors to unilaterally dilute the voting rights of its controlling shareholder are extraordinary, unjustified and unlawful. We are confident the court will uphold NAI’s action,” said the firm.National Amusements currently controls near 80% of CBS and Viacom, while owning just 10% of shares. Redstone recently made a bylaw change that would require approval of 90% of the board to provoke action within the company. CBS has worked to overturn the bylaws and reduce the firm’s control to around 20%.The Redstone family has made multiple attempts to bring CBS and Viacom back together since its split in 2006. When the company tried to do so in 2016, the move was ultimately abandoned.The latest move began in January and has resulted in a range of suing and counter-suing among CBS shareholders.