To view the stories, please click on the following links: Tomaree High School Students Star In Touch Football The Touch Football paddock is proving to be a place Tomaree High School students are getting to know well. A host of skilled athletes from the high school are making inroads into the sport, which is being pushed by Touch Footballing mentor and new Hunter schools touch convenor Jodie Laloata.http://www.portstephensexaminer.com.au/news/local/sport/athletics/tomaree-high-school-students-star-in-touch-football/2404807.aspx Underdogs Set For Touch Grand FinalWagga Touch Football champion Don Tuckwells Audio is in danger of a premiership upset tonight, according to Kristopher Graydons Jewellers captain Denise Edwards. Set to face the women’s premier league heavyweight in tonight’s grand final at Jubilee Park, Edwards believes the enthusiasm of her young squad could be enough to topple the favourite.http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/sport/other/underdogs-set-for-touch-grand-final/2390825.aspxGeorgia Holden: A Touch Of ClassIn Albury-Wodonga, which straddles the Victoria-New South Wales border, Touch is as pervasive as AFL football is further south. So when Georgia Holden moved from the town to La Trobe University in Bundoora this year, it seemed only natural that she start playing for the university Touch team.http://www.northernweekly.com.au/news/local/sport/general/georgia-holden-a-touch-of-class/2389351.aspx Billy’s Touch Of HistoryBilly Greatbatch made history last weekend. He became the youngest person in Australia to be awarded a level four touch football referee badgehttp://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/news/local/sport/general/billys-touch-of-history/2396039.aspx Ospreys Touch OutThe Yamba Touch Association has made an impressive return to major competition with the Ospreys acquitting themselves well at the 35th annual NSW Touch State Cup in Port Macquarie at the weekend.http://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/story/2011/12/08/ospreys-touched-out Port Team Wins At State Cup The new-look game-plan paid dividends for the Port Macquarie mixed open B team yesterday when they triumphed in the State Cup at Regional Sports Stadium. Before the tournament, coach Aaron Ison said his team would play a different style and try to surprise their opposition.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/sport/general/port-team-wins-at-state-cup/2380292.aspx State Cup Goes Off Without A HitchPort Macquarie punched above its weight at the State Cup last weekend. That was the opinion of Port Macquarie Touch Football Association president Chris Veech.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/sport/general/state-cup-goes-off-without-a-hitch/2383519.aspx Bandits Win Third CrownThe Beresfield Bandits have claimed their third consecutive NSW State Cup crown after a successful showing at Port Macquarie over the weekend. The Bandits women’s 40s squad remained undefeated to seal the deal at the 2011 tournament in an effort described by player-coach Gai Taylor as inspiring.http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/news/local/sport/other/bandits-win-third-crown/2382118.aspx Port Women Show Their SkillsThe Port Macquarie women’s open team have confirmed their place as top competitors in the Touch Football State Cup.In day two of the tournament, the girls took down Taren point seven to three.http://www.nbntv.com.au/index.php/2011/12/03/port-women-show-their-skills/ Devils Advocates Hell-Bent On Cup SuccessThe absence of Australian representative Nicole Beck hasn’t hurt the Wollongong open women’s touch team’s confidence heading into this weekend’s State Cup at Port Macquarie. Runners-up last year, the Red Devils are determined to prove they can win without Beck, who is recovering from ankle surgery.http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/news/local/sport/rugby-league/devils-advocates-hellbent-on-cup-success/2377062.aspx State Cup Kicks OffDay one of the State Touch Football Cup has got off to a roaring start. Thousands of competitors have fought it out, in search of glory.http://au.prime7.yahoo.com/n1/video/-/watch/27454322/state-cup-kicks-off/ Port’s Open Women’s Team Start SlowlyThe Port Macquarie open women’s touch football team contesting the State Cup have had a forgetful start. Despite playing two games for two losses the competition rookies have taken heart out of their defeats.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/ports-open-womens-team-start-slowly/2379620.aspx Follow The State Cup Right HereTwo hundred teams from across NSW have converged on Port Macquarie this weekend to compete in the 2011 State Cup. About 3000 players will be competing across 17 divisions at the event, ranging from under 20s to the men’s 50s division. http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/follow-the-state-cup-right-here/2379588.aspx Coleman Women Love State CupToday marks the start of one of the best times of the year for the Coleman women. Sisters Kate and Laura will team up in the Port Macquarie women’s open A side at the NSW Touch State Cup. http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/sport/general/coleman-women-love-state-cup/2378287.aspx Port Women Our Great State Cup HopeThey’re our great State Cup hope. The Port Macquarie women’s open team may not have an official ranking at the tournament, but that’s not going to stop them turning heads.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/sport/general/port-women-our-big-hope/2378283.aspx State Cup Stays In Port MacquarieTouch Football’s love affair with Port Macquarie will continue through until 2016 – at least. NSW Touch Football general manager Dean Russell revealed Port Macquarie has won a five-year contract to host the jewel in the sport’s crown as he launched this year’s tournament this morning.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/state-cup-stays-in-port-macquarie/2377904.aspx Port Retains Touch Cup Hosting RightsPort Macquarie will benefit from a $13 million windfall after the NSW Touch Association yesterday announced the prestigious State Cup would remain in town for the next five years. General manager Dean Russell made the declaration at Port Macquarie Panthers on the eve of the 23rd tournament, which starts today at Tuffins Lane and the Regional Sports Stadium.http://www.portnews.com.au/news/local/news/general/port-retains-touch-cup-hosting-rights/2378039.aspx State Cup Stays Puthttp://au.prime7.yahoo.com/n1/video/-/watch/27443382/state-cup-stays-put/ Port To Remain Home Of State CupPort Macquarie has won the right to host the New South Wales Touch Football State Cup for the next five years. The announcement was made this morning, as the town prepares to welcome 5,000 players, officials and supporters for this year’s event.http://www.nbntv.com.au/index.php/2011/12/01/port-to-remain-home-of-state-cup/Winning Touch For Maitland’s State Cup CrewThe Maitland region will be well represented at the state’s largest touch football competition. Eight teams from the Maitland district will be part of 3000 competitors taking part in the NSW State Cup, which starts in Port Macquarie tomorrow.http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/news/local/sport/other/winning-touch-for-maitlands-state-cup-crew/2376944.aspx Uphill battle for Mudgee MudcrabsInjuries and other commitments have ravaged the two Mudgee Mudcrabs teams for the NSW State Cup, which begins today in Port Macquarie. The Mudcrabs have sent two teams to contest the men’s opens B and women’s under 20s divisions.http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/news/local/sport/other/uphill-battle-for-mudgee-mudcrabs/2378247.aspx Touch Football Star Named Sports StarDalby Herald09/12/2011Our Lady of the Southern Cross College student Hannah Hegedus has had an incredibly successful year on the touch football field.Her achievements in playing touch at a national level and athletics and cross country at a state level have earned her the title of Sports Star of the month for October.Hannah was chosen on the South West Queensland under-12 girls club touch football team which competed in the state championships at Townsville. As a result of her performances at the championships, she was named on the Queensland U12 Merit Teams.After playing for the Darling Downs touch football team at the U12 schoolgirls state championships in Toowoomba, Hannah was picked to play for Queensland and headed to Coffs Harbour to contest the national title.To add to this achievement, Hannah was also the team’s co-captain. After playing close to 10 games over four days, the Queensland team made it to the grand final, just going down to New South Wales 3-2 in a tight match.Hannah said playing at the nationals was a fantastic experience which exposed her to touch football at a high level.“I was very nervous, but it was a really great experience,” Hannah said.“Being co-captain meant I had to lead the team and do the toss.”“My whole family came down to Coffs Harbour to watch.“I’d really like to play for Queensland again.”Hannah said she hoped to compete in future national titles as she goes into high school.“It’s a fun team sport, and I really like it.”
Wolves goalscorer Matt Doherty happy beating Watfordby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves defender Matt Doherty felt they deserved their first victory of the Premier League season for the 2-0 win against Watford at Molineux.The wing-back broke the deadlock with 18 minutes on the clock.Doherty said, “It was a good win. I felt they had a lot of possession at times but didn’t really penetrate us that much, we defended really well and then went ahead.“The back three were immense today, all of them, especially Boly aside me, he just wins absolutely everything and takes it off people one-v-ones, nobody can get round him. It’s good that we were able to keep the clean sheet.“It was great to get the first league win, especially at home in front of another packed out crowd. It’s nice to get the first win on the board, even though it’s taken a bit longer than we would have expected.“This result has brought us a bit of relief, obviously we would’ve wanted it to come earlier than it has, because the longer that it doesn’t happen you start to get itchy. But I felt we played well today and thoroughly deserved to win.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
MONTREAL – National Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported fourth-quarter net income grew to $525 million.The bank (TSX:NA) increased its quarterly payment to its common shareholders by two cents to 60 cents per share.The move came as National Bank says its net income amounted to $1.39 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $307 million or 78 cents per share a year ago.Revenue totalled $1.70 billion, up from $1.57 billion.Excluding specified items, the bank said it earned $531 million or $1.40 per diluted share in the quarter, up from $463 million or $1.24 per share a year ago.Analysts had expected a profit of $1.38 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.“The fourth quarter concludes a record year for the Bank in which its net income exceeded $2 billion for the first time,” National Bank chief executive Louis Vachon said in a statement Friday.“This excellent performance was driven by revenue growth across all of the bank’s business segments and by an effective management of operating costs.”Provisions for credit losses in the fourth quarter totalled $70 million, up from $59 million a year ago, due to its Credigy subsidiary, partly offset by lower provisions recorded for commercial banking loans.Personal and commercial banking earned $239 million in the quarter, up from $191 million a year ago, while wealth management earned $116 million, up from $92 million.Financial markets earned $186 million, up from $176 million, and U.S specialty finance and international earned $55 million, up from $21 million.For its full financial year, National Bank earned $2.02 billion or $5.38 per diluted share, up from $1.26 billion or $3.29 per diluted share in the previous year.Excluding specified items, the bank earned $2.04 billion or $5.45 per diluted share, up from $1.61 billion or $4.35 billion.Note to readers: CORRECTS figures in pentultimate graf
MOSCOW — Russia’s Defence Ministry says it has received 30 Soviet WW II-era T-34 battle tanks from Laos — a move reflecting the national veneration of the weapon.The ministry said Wednesday the tanks are fully combat-ready and will be used in military parades and for making World War II movies.The T-34 played a key role in defeating the Nazis and became a widely revered symbol of the nation’s heroism and suffering. A film describing feats of a T-34 crew has topped the national box office this month.The ministry said more than 58,000 T-34s were built between 1940 and 1946, making it the world’s most widely produced tank, but only several of them have remained in working condition in Russia. The T-34 was widely exported and used in numerous conflicts.The Associated Press
LONDON — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):10:55 a.m.The German government is denying a British tabloid report claiming Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered to help U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May get a better Brexit deal.Merkel’s office said The Sun had wrongly reported on the contents of a recent phone call between Merkel and May.The newspaper cited an unnamed senior British official claiming Merkel believed the European Union would provide more concessions to London after Tuesday’s vote in the U.K. Parliament.In a statement, Merkel’s office said she “gave no assurances whatsoever that went beyond what was discussed in the European Council in December and what was laid down in the letter from Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk.”British lawmakers are expected to reject the deal May negotiated with the EU, raising the prospect of the U.K. crashing out of the bloc at the end of March without a formal agreement.___9:35 a.m.British lawmakers are preparing to deliver their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the European Union after two years of political upheaval.Just 10 weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU, lawmakers vote late Tuesday on whether to accept the plan or risk leaving without an agreement on future relations with the bloc.May’s deal faces widespread opposition, primarily because of language designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which some fear will indefinitely tie Britain to the EU.Former education minister Nicky Morgan warned that the U.K. wasn’t ready for a no-deal Brexit, telling the BBC that “there are millions of people in this country watching Westminster and Parliament very anxiously today.”___Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitThe Associated Press
New Delhi: In an attempt to attract Dalit voters in the Capital, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari on Sunday addressed a Dalit Yuva Sammelan organised by the state unit of the saffron party, urging them to take an oath to vote BJP back into power in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Comparing Narendra Modi with the former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Tiwari said that their party is the only one that has continuously worked for the development of Dalit societies in India. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderPlacing the Congress at a polar opposite, the MP from North East Delhi claimed that the INC has only used Dalits as a vote-bank and “played politics” in their name, without ever actually working for their development. Tiwari also attacked the Congress for apparently not allowing BR Ambedkar’s last rites to be performed in the Capital. He said, “Congress has brought shame to the Dalit community.” Citing examples of the BJP government developing monuments to honour Dalit pride, like the ‘panchteerth”, where five monuments were made to commemorate the achievements and life of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, Tiwari added that his party was that one that truly cares for the community. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsHe further went on to say that by setting up the Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Modi has made information about Dalit history and achievements all the more accessible by informing people of the life of Ambedkar. Tiwari also claimed that Modi is working in all areas of society and that his re-election as Prime Minister will “shape the future of the country”. In addition to this, Tiwari also mentioned that under BJP, the central government has come up with schemes that support Dalits to set up their own businesses. He claimed that the central government under Modi’s leadership has approved loans for Dalits up to Rs 1 crore at interest rates as little as 4 per cent.
15-year old Laxmi Agarwal had no idea that a seemingly ordinary day of 2005 would turn her life upside down. Agarwal was returning home after her music class, when she was attacked by 32-year-old man Gudda and his alias Nadeem Syed whose advances she had rejected.Laxmi, who is now a single mother of a girl, says though she has made peace with the unfortunate past, the dreadful memories still haunt her. “I don’t think I will ever be able to push those memories out of my mind. I was leading a normal life, and one incident suddenly took my life by storm. Thereafter, I had to go through 70-80 operations, my studies were hampered, and dreams were shattered. I had no idea if I would ever be able to bring my life back on track, or inspire a thousand people, or become subject for a movie,” states Laxmi, who survived the situation and emerged out as a winner. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”Today, I feel proud to see myself standing strong. I don’t cry anymore. I have successfully managed to explain people that my beauty if defined by the work that I do, and not how I look. But whatever happened in all these years– say it the demise of my father and brother, or the disorientation of my family – it’s unforgettable,” she adds. Laxmi advocated against acid attacks by gathering 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, taking that cause to the Indian Supreme Court. She is the Founder of Stop Sale Acid – a campaign against acid violence and sale of acid. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardWhile rising from the ashes, one thing Laxmi knew was that she was not a victim. “I was never a victim, will never become one, and won’t let anybody else victimise others. I hate how casually this word is used. Why to call anybody a victim” she questions. The acid attack survivor walked the ramp for Designer Laxmi Shirali at India Runway week, which was held in the Capital recently. Agarwal is happy about the fact that they (Designers and organisers) have chosen an acid attack survivor to step up and explain the real meaning of beauty. “We need to understand that beauty is much more than superficial appearance. And events like these give out a message to society as well as other survivors like me, to muster courage and make something meaningful out of this life. If somebody could take inspiration from my story and achieve what they always dreamt of, I will be the happiest person on the planet.” Laxmi’s life and struggle has inspired an upcoming Bollywood film titled Chhapaak, which will see Deepika Padukone in the titular role. The movie will bring into light some unexplored aspects of Laxmi’s life…but does that make her insecure? “When a celebrity like Deepika comes out to support a cause and speak on behalf of all the acid attack survivors, it’s an answer to all those (the society) who constantly try to suppress people like us. As far as the fear of showing the unknown sides of me is concerned, I would say that Laxmi is an open book. The fear vanished soon after the attack. The person Laxmi was in 2005 doesn’t exist anymore. She is a completely different personality now. She has no fears, no inhibitions.” “For the rest, you need to wait and watch the movie. I can’t reveal much,” she concludes.
Tiger Woods has officially been voted by his peers PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time, based on five big wins and his return to No.1 player in the world.Friday morning, the PGA announced the results and Woods had the votes.“It’s been an incredible year to have won five times, two of those World Golf Championships and one Players,” Woods said on a conference call Friday. “It’s been just a fantastic year all around. It’s also an incredible feeling to be voted by your peers, and to have that type of respect is something that’s very humbling.”On the ballot with Woods was British Open champion Phil Mickelson, Masters champion Adam Scott, FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar. The PGA does not release the percentage of votes, so we will never know who finished second.Also, this is the third time that Woods has won the Jack Nicklaus Award while losing the majors. He is the only player to win the award more than twice, since it began in 1990.
The NBA MVP derby was once a two-man race between James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.Not anymore.After recording his fourth straight triple-double on Wednesday night with a ridiculous stat line of 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is undeniably an MVP contender.Westbrook’s recent output has been mind-blowing: He’s averaging 37 points, 13.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game during his triple-double streak, which began as he was closing out one of the best statistical months in NBA history. As ESPN’s Stats and Info group noted, Westbrook’s performance in February (31.2 PPG/10.3 APG/9.1 RPG) was just the second time an NBA player ever averaged 30 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists per game over a calendar month.1Minimum 10 games played in the month. (The first — and, until recently, only — player to do it was inner-circle Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.)But there are barriers to Westbrook’s MVP candidacy. Algorithms based on previous MVP voting trends still consider him a long shot for the award, with Basketball-Reference.com’s MVP tracker assigning Westbrook a mere 6.6 percent probability of winning. By contrast, the tracker says it’s about 66 percent likely that either Curry or Harden takes home the hardware.The key determinant there: Oklahoma City’s record. Both Curry’s and Harden’s teams have won in excess of two-thirds of their games — good for the first- and fourth-ranked records in the Western Conference, respectively — while Westbrook’s Thunder have a winning percentage of 55.7 percent and are clinging to the eighth (and final) playoff spot in the West. Fair or not, team performance has historically mattered to MVP voters. (Although Westbrook will likely get bonus points for keeping the Thunder afloat in the playoff race during spells in which defending MVP Kevin Durant was injured.)Plus there’s the question of where Westbrook ranks statistically, even after his recent streak of brilliance. Single-season Real Plus-Minus (RPM), Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and Win Shares all have Harden and Curry ranked No. 1 and 2 in terms of value produced this season. So if things hold steady over the next six weeks, Westbrook will have to overcome both the stats and historical patterns of MVP voting if he is to win the award. It’s been done before, but not all that often.Then again, what does “Most Valuable” even mean? It’s a debate that comes up every year, in every sport, and it never ends with a satisfactory answer. The great sportswriter Joe Posnanski put it best in a podcast last fall:I love [the MVP] because it makes us argue about the word ‘valuable.’ … When somebody named the MVP award, you know in their mind they just had: ‘Best Player.’ The best player ought to get an award, and what are you going to call it? Just call it the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award. OK, great.And ever since then, we have been parsing that word to absolute death. I think my favorite argument against somebody winning the MVP award is when they say, ‘Look, it’s not the Player of the Year Award or the Most Outstanding Player — it’s the Most Valuable Player.’ Like there is any difference between any of those things. You’re just pulling synonyms out.I love that, and in a way, I would never want that to change because it brings up such extraordinarily stupid arguments that just rage on and on every year.And this year’s NBA race brings a particularly interesting twist. According to long-term predictive RPM, which is the best single-number assessment of a player’s current talent level,2In the sense that it best predicts out-of-sample lineup results. the best player in the league is still probably Cleveland’s LeBron James — as he has been for the past three seasons running.James was so far out in front of his peers a few seasons ago that he could afford a relative down year (by his standards). But therein lies the problem — the game’s best player hasn’t quite played like it this season. By just about any metric, Harden, Curry and Westbrook have been better than James in 2014-15.This kind of thing happens all the time in baseball, where performance fluctuates wildly around true talent. (Or did anyone really think Ken Caminiti was the best player in a league that featured Barry Bonds in his prime?) But basketball is supposed to be different — in the absence of voter fatigue, there’s a lot of crossover between MVP and “best player” in the NBA, to the point that the former can circle back to become a referendum on the latter.So do you still give the 2014-15 MVP to the best player? OK, then give it to James. Or do you honor the player who has had the best season? Then you have to decide between Harden and Curry. Or maybe you just eschew the whole process and give it to Westbrook — if not the Most Valuable, possibly the Most Electrifying Player in the NBA right now.
Sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic (17) throws to 1st base during a game against Toledo April 2 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 7-2.Credit: Elliot Schall / Lantern photographerWhen the Big Ten announced the 2014 Big Ten Baseball Tournament was expanding to an eight-team field for the first time in conference history after previously having just six eligible teams, the Ohio State baseball team believed it could show up to Omaha, Neb., as the No. 1-seed.Now three weeks into its conference schedule, the Buckeyes might soon be thankful for that expansion.The Buckeyes (19-14, 2-7) currently sit 10th in the Big Ten standings heading into their weekend series at home against Penn State (16-14, 4-1, third in the Big Ten) Friday, a series some players are calling a must-win.Last year, OSU swept Penn State in a three-game series at Bill Davis Stadium.After the Buckeyes were swept in back-to-back weekends at home against Indiana and at Nebraska, they defeated Eastern Michigan, 8-1, Tuesday, and then were tripped up against Dayton the following day, losing 8-5.OSU’s closer and preseason All-American junior pitcher Trace Dempsey got a rare start against the Flyers in the hopes of building confidence after a lackluster start to the season. Dempsey has recorded a 6.23 ERA, four saves, given up 15 earned runs while tallying a 1-3 record in 21.2 innings pitched so far this year.After the loss to Dayton, Dempsey said the team cannot dwell on the past couple weeks and only look forward to its series against the Nittany Lions.“Clean slate from here on out. You can’t look back on the last two weekends or even today, you’ve got to move on to tomorrow,” Dempsey said. “All three of those games at Nebraska, it’s in the past. Nothing really to hang our heads on, just a couple plays here and there. It’s not like we could have won just one of those games, we easily should have won all three of those games.”The first pitcher OSU is set to send out to the mound against PSU is freshman Tanner Tully who has started the season with a 3-1 record and 1.91 ERA.With a 2-7 in-conference record, junior catcher Aaron Gretz said it is imperative the team comes out hot against PSU Friday.“It’s simple — we’ve got to win a series,” Gretz said. “It’s a must-win series. Our goal is to win all three games. Obviously that’s the goal for every weekend, but it’s magnified this weekend. We need to get some wins.”The opener against Penn State is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Friday at Bill Davis Stadium.