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Georgia: Biden closes gap with Trump to fewer than 500 votes.

first_img“We’re doing our best to just make sure that we get every vote counted,” she said. “Whatever it takes to get that done, we’re going to do it.”- Advertisement – In the early hours of Friday, the nation’s attention turned to Clayton County, Georgia, where the latest batch of ballots narrowed President Trump’s lead in the state to fewer than 500 votes.By 4 a.m., 98 percent of the state’s precincts had reported their totals, with roughly 2,500 ballots left to count in Clayton. – Advertisement – Election workers in face masks and plastic visors counted absentee ballots — many of them from U.S. service people — through the night. “We are going to stay here until every single absentee ballot is counted,” Shauna Dozier, the director of Clayton County’s board of elections, said in a televised interview with CNN shortly after 2 a.m, adding that she expected to finish counting later in the morning. “We’re doing our best to just make sure that we get every vote counted. Whatever it takes to get that done, we’re going to do it.” Election workers in gloves, face masks and plastic visors counted absentee ballots — many of them from U.S. service people — through the night.” We are going to stay here until every single absentee ballot is counted,” Shauna Dozier, the director of Clayton County’s board of elections, said in a televised interview with CNN shortly after 2 a.m, adding that she expected to finish counting later in the morning. Local journalists and election observers anxiously watched the count through a window from an adjoining room, trying to interpret the poll workers’ movements for signs of how many votes remained.Clayton County, a heavily Democratic area south of Atlanta, received roughly 30,000 absentee ballots this year, compared to only 3,170 in 2016, Ms. Dozier said. The margin in Georgia remains so narrow that election analysts said it would be difficult to call the race early Friday, even if Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. pulls ahead. But a victory for Mr. Biden would significantly narrow Mr. Trump’s path to holding onto the presidency.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Would an imperfect vaccine be useful in a flu pandemic?

first_imgApr 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A mathematical modeling study suggests that a modestly effective vaccine could keep an influenza pandemic from striking more than 10% of the US population, but only if large amounts of vaccine were distributed quickly and the virus was not too highly contagious. The modeling study seems to lend some support to the US strategy of stockpiling a vaccine based on recent strains of H5N1 avian flu, which won’t precisely match an emerging pandemic strain. But the model incorporates many assumptions that may or may not prove accurate in the event of a pandemic, and experts note that very little H5N1 vaccine would be available if a pandemic occurred anytime soon. Germann TC, Kadau K, Longini IM, et al. Mitigation strategies for pandemic influenza in the United States. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2006 Apr 11;103(15):5935-40 [Abstract] Germann and two associates, Kai Kadau and Catherine A. Macken, all of Los Alamos National Laboratory, worked on the study with Ira M. Longini Jr., a biostatistician from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle. See also: “Aggressive” production and distribution of vaccine could control a pandemic with an R of less than 1.9, the model predicted. “We believe that a large stockpile of avian-based vaccine with potential pandemic influenza antigens, coupled with the capacity to rapidly make a better-matched vaccine based on human strains, would be the best strategy to mitigate pandemic influenza,” the authors write. “This effort needs to be coupled with a rapid vaccine distribution system capable of distributing at least 10 million doses per week to affected regions of the U.S.” Other experts who were asked to comment on the study had different reactions. Travel restrictions alone would accomplish little, according to the simulations. A 90% reduction in travel would slow the virus’s spread by only a few days to a few weeks, depending on transmissibility, and would not dent the ultimate size of the pandemic. Other control strategies used alone could limit a pandemic only if the virus had relatively low transmissibility (R of 1.6), the model predicted. For example, targeted use of antiviral drugs could succeed in that case, provided the supply was adequate and close contacts of patients could be quickly identified. But if R were 1.8, the nation would need a “prohibitively large” 51 million treatment courses of antivirals. Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the situation with the H5N1 vaccine being made for the US government points up the problems with the predictions. As was reported recently, the vaccine seems effective in about half of recipients, but it takes 12 times the dose used in seasonal flu vaccines, he noted. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its goals, the NIH said in a news release, were to determine how to slow the spread of a pandemic virus long enough to permit development and distribution of a well-matched vaccine and also how to limit the number of cases to less than 10% of the population, the percentage in an average flu season. The model projected that without any control effort and an R of 1.9, the virus would spread across the nation within 30 days of its first arrivals, that 122 million people would ultimately fall ill, and that the pandemic would peak in 85 days. With an R number of 2.4 and no control effort, as many as 151 million would get sick, according to the model. William Schaffner, MD, a hospital epidemiologist and professor in the infectious disease division at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said he found the study reassuring, though he had not examined it closely. “The ultimate take-home line was that even a partially effective vaccine is an important part of the strategy,” he said.center_img For a highly transmissible virus (R greater than 1.9), it would take a combination of measures to limit the pandemic, the model predicted. For example, the combined use of vaccination, targeted antiviral use (3 million courses), school closures, social distancing, and travel restrictions could work at an R level as high as 2.4, the authors predict. With a moderately transmissible virus (meaning each case leads to fewer than 1.9 additional cases), “Our model suggests that the rapid production and distribution of vaccines, even if poorly matched to the circulating strains, could significantly slow disease spread and limit the number ill to less than 10% of the population, particularly if children are preferentially vaccinated,” says the report by Timothy C. Germann and colleagues. With a more contagious virus, additional measures such as school closings, travel bans, and antiviral drugs would have to be used in combination with vaccination, says the report published online last week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, a leading pandemic preparedness advocate, had a sharply different view of the study. “I think it’s based on a number of assumptions which in the real world won’t happen,” he said. “The idea that we’ll even have vaccine to consider in terms of dealing with the pandemic is at this point not likely for the vast majority of the world.” Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site, said “any number” of assumptions used in the model could be questioned. “I continue to worry that far too much credence is being put into theoretical models that lack reality testing in the likely world of a pandemic,” he said. “A moderately effective vaccine would work if you could get it into enough people,” said Poland, who directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology. “This current vaccine, if we used the whole world manufacturing capacity, offers enough doses for somewhere around 37.5 million people. So that’s not an answer.” He added that it may be necessary to make more than one vaccine, given the different clades (families) of H5N1 virus that have emerged. With a very limited supply of a vaccine for which two doses are recommended, the model showed it would be less helpful to vaccinate a given number of people with the two doses than to give just one dose to twice as many people. The model simulated the unfolding of pandemic flu in a US population of 281 million over 180 days. It factored in US census data about population distribution and commuting patterns and assumptions about the frequency of interpersonal contacts. It assumed that a few infected people would arrive from abroad each day at 14 airports in the United States. The researchers ran the simulations with four different reproductive (R) numbers (the number of additional people infected by each infected person), ranging from 1.6 to 2.4. He added that building up the capacity to treat the sick is important, but the main emphasis in pandemic preparedness should be on vaccination and other preventive measures. “The results [of the study] were so affirming of the general thoughts of the public health community that it’s really very reassuring, and I hope it stimulates further what I think is already a strong effort by HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] to stimulate vaccine production and research on new ways to produce the flu vaccine and make better flu vaccines.” Poland also said no one knows how contagious the next pandemic virus will be. “My understanding is that the estimated R number for the 1918 pandemic was right around 3,” higher than the maximum of 2.4 used in the study, he said. “You wonder now if we truly have a novel subtype that’s easily transmissible, given the travel we have, if we wouldn’t have higher numbers. The average family is bigger than two people.” NIH news releasehttp://www.nigms.nih.gov/News/Results/FluModel040306last_img read more

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Millions of freelancers, entrepreneurs hit by pandemic with no safety net, government aid

first_imgTopics : Research by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in collaboration with the University of Indonesia (UI) and the Manpower Ministry involving 2,160 participants with different jobs, found that 55 percent of freelancers respondents reported that they had lost their jobs, while 58 percent had no income due to the health crisis. Meanwhile, 38 percent of the freelancer respondents had fewer jobs, while 28 percent reported a declining income. The survey also revealed how the outbreak had battered entrepreneurs, as 52 percent of self-employed respondents reported a decline in production activity and income. Meanwhile, 40 percent of them had halted business activity altogether.Read also: Freelance workers sell belongings to survive amid COVID-19 outbreakZainul Hidayat, a researcher at UI’s demography center at the School of Economics and Business, said on May 20 that if the survey results were simulated to the national figure, an estimated 10 million self-employed people had stopped working and 15 million freelancers had become jobless due to the pandemic. Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show that more than 56 percent of employed Indonesians or around 74.03 million people worked in informal sectors, which included freelancers and entrepreneurs, in February.“If the pandemic continues for the next two months, these self-employed workers will find it harder to run their businesses, while many more freelancers will also be without an income,” he said.He said self-employed workers and freelancers might survive on their own until June but he said the government should provide social aid and other incentives to help them survive.Previously, media and creative workers union Sindikasi stated that freelancers, in general, were extremely vulnerable during economic downturns, as they had no social security from their clients and clients could cut off their contracts without any compensation, while the government’s aid did not target them.The government has allocated Rp 677.20 trillion (US$48.58 billion) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, with Rp 203.90 trillion allocated for social aid through the Family Hope Program, staple food assistance, preemployment card and electricity discounts, among other things, for low-income people.As much as Rp 123.46 trillion has been allocated for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) incentives and Rp 120.61 trillion in tax incentives for businesses.The research also found that only 41 percent of employers surveyed said they could survive for the next three months under current conditions, while 24 percent said they could survive for up to six months, 11 percent for six to 12 months and 24 percent more than 12 months.During the pandemic, 13.9 percent of the employers had laid off workers, while 49.6 respondents had furloughed employees.  Read also: Indonesia unveils bigger stimulus worth $47.6 billion to fight coronavirus impactsAs many as 2.8 million people have already lost their jobs or were sent on paid or unpaid leave as of April 13, according to data from the Manpower Ministry and the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).Amanda Anindita, a Surabaya-based wedding and couples photographer, has seen declining work opportunities and revenue during the outbreak but she continues to look for work.  “The pandemic has had a big impact on the wedding and event-related business. Many clients have decided to postpone their wedding events following the imposition of PSBB [large-scale social restrictions],” said Amanda, who has built a photography business with her colleagues, on May 27. She feels the pressure to be creative in finding new opportunities as she cannot rely on her main business anymore.“Commercial opportunities still come to me and I can learn new skills during this time,” she said. “Recently I tried to hold a virtual photo shoot and surprisingly there are people who want to use my skills commercially for such a photo shoot.”  Freelancers and entrepreneurs are among those who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, many of whom are reporting income losses and declining activity, with no safety net or government aid in place to soften the fall. David Rahman, 27, a freelance music teacher, is generating no income after all learning activities were moved online in March. “It is impossible to teach music online because students do not have their own musical instruments at home. Many music competitions for students were canceled, so the schools stopped music courses just like that,” David told The Jakarta Post on May 27. center_img Before the pandemic, David earned an income by teaching music once a week at eight schools, ranging from elementary to junior high schools in Jakarta.Read also: What about the others? ‘Ojol’ relief sparks concerns over aid inequality“Since I’m not teaching anymore, I’m not getting paid either,” he added. Today, he is temporarily jobless and relying only on his savings to survive as finding other freelance jobs in music is also difficult at the time.The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted business activity, forcing offices and factories, as well as schools and entertainment centers to shut their doors as people stay home to contain the coronavirus spread. As a result, millions of people have lost their jobs.last_img read more

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Future stars who never quite made it

first_imgTheir prodigious footballing talents were spotted at an early age, and they were soon snapped up and attached to the biggest clubs.They won professional contracts, sharing dressing rooms and bedrooms with some of the biggest names in world football.Some even played at the top level, but what happens when a football career doesn’t work out as hoped or predicted? When injury, ill-fortune or opinions become entangled with an upward career curve?The majority of footballers tied to football clubs at age 16 don’t make a long-term career in the game, even those rated as the best in the country. Some crash and burn, full of blame, resentment and bitterness about how they didn’t make it.Others take positives, pick up the pieces and restart their lives with great success, but how do they look back at the time when their football star shone brightly?Were they given a fair chance? Do they have regrets? Or can failure make a person stronger? We met three players face-to-face, where they were good enough to tell us their story for the first time. Arnau RieraLionel Messi’s first captain as a professional footballer was a quiet Mallorcan called Arnau Riera.I grew up in Manacor, a town of 40,000 in Mallorca, famous for artificial pearls and Rafa Nadal. I started playing football aged five. At 16, I was offered a place in the academy of Mallorca, the biggest team in the Balearic Islands, which had reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup.  WikicommonsIberostar Stadium, home of MallorcaI wasn’t a brilliant footballer, but I was a clever one and had two very good seasons there as an attacking midfielder, scoring goals and earning €450 a month. It felt great being paid to play football every day. After two years, when I didn’t progress to the second team, I found myself an agent who got me a move to Mataro, an industrial town north of Barcelona, in the Segunda B (Spain’s regional third division). I was 17 and bought to be a first-choice midfielder, but it didn’t turn out like that.I lived in an awful, small flat, rarely going out because I was so focused on football. One night, I felt that I had to find some company and went to a bar. Everyone was high on drugs and ignored me. I stood for an hour with a beer before returning to the flat.I told my manager I’d not been given a chance and that I was leaving. I returned to Mallorca, confused.My agent called again: “There is an option to join Barcelona. They know you from the youth academy of Mallorca and followed you as a child in Manacor.”This was my big chance. I went to Barcelona for two weeks, and the level wasn’t as high as I expected. I did well. The coach, Quique Costas, offered me a contract for the third team, €700 a month, good enough to live on. I was 18.  AP ImagesBarcelona’s famous La Masia  Barcelona seemed so huge. I lived in the famous Masia, my bedroom a small apartment inside the Camp Nou itself. When my room-mate stole my shin pads, I decided to get my own place. I was mentally strong, but I could see how people become overwhelmed at Barca. I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes and was happy to express myself on the pitch. I did a pre-season with the B team and was asked to stay. I was 100 per cent every time I went to training. If not, I knew there was a player from the C team waiting to steal my place. I’d been that player.After three years, Barca offered me a new deal on €120,000 a year, plus win bonuses, and made me team captain.I got a better apartment and bought a Golf car, but I didn’t believe I had what it took to make the first team. You need something very special. I didn’t score goals; my performances were seven out of 10, never a 10.I trained with the first team for the pre-season in 2004. All those players were at a top level physically, mentally and psychologically. They knew they couldn’t afford to make mistakes. I saw Ronaldinho doing unbelievable tricks. That destroyed me. I’d think, “They’re too good; I can’t get to this level.” I was in the same team as Andres Iniesta and Thiago Motta—my midfield partners. Victor Valdes was in the team, Jordi Lopez (now Sunderland), Fernando Navarro (now Sevilla) and Oleguer Pressas, Roberto Trasoras (now Rayo). We had a great side, but I initially sat in the dressing room and I thought, ‘I’m with some really, really good players. It’s going to be hard as hell to find a place in the eleven.’ But I did.I was called up to play for the first team in friendlies. Then I was put in the first team for league games against Osasuna and Valladolid and sat on the bench. I was ready to go on in Camp Nou; there were no nerves.At the start of the 2004-05 season, I was introduced to a new player called Lionel Messi. I wanted to show him how tough it would be at our level and tackled him hard in his first training session. He flew up in the air, landed and dusted himself down.Some players would react angrily, but he didn’t complain. I would never have said he would become the greatest player of all time.I stayed for five years. You get a lot of attention when you play for Barca, even in the second team. Doors open for you. I saw many who thought the good money would last forever. They gambled; they drank. I didn’t—and I kept my childhood friends.I wanted first-team football and fancied England. I switched to an English agent, and Southampton, Sunderland and Hearts immediately showed interest.I went to Sunderland on trial, and new Sunderland manager/chairman Niall Quinn offered me a three-year contract: £3,000 per week, with £1,000 extra for each appearance and win bonuses. I celebrated by buying a Mini. I was advised to buy a BMW, but I didn’t want to drive around Sunderland, which isn’t a wealthy town, in a fancy car.  AP ImagesRoy Keane is unveiled as Sunderland manager I sat in the stands among the Sunderland hardcore supporters as they played Plymouth, wanting to learn what the club meant to them.Afterward I went into a working men’s club. People on the next table were discussing their new “special” Spanish player from Barcelona. I introduced myself, and they were very friendly.In my debut at Southend United, despite coming on at half-time, I won the man-of-the-match award, a big bottle of champagne.I could not believe how many Sunderland fans there were. I’d never seen anything like it in Spain. We lost, but a team-mate told me I had to clap because they were singing my name. I threw my shirt into the crowd. It was a highlight of my career.In Sunderland’s next game, against Bury, I was so desperate to succeed that I was too nervous. I raised my elbow, and the player behind me went down…straight red…after three minutes…an automatic three-game ban.I sat at home alone the next day seeing my name repeatedly on Sky Sports for being sent off. Two days later, Roy Keane was appointed manager.Keane never gave me a chance, he told me that I wasn’t in his plans, which I appreciated, and then never spoke to me again. My confidence drained away. I was living by myself in a foreign country.Loans followed—to Southend and then Falkirk in the Scottish Premier League, where I stayed for two seasons.I loved living in Edinburgh and became more fluent in English. You have to be brave to play in Britain. You have to commit to a tackle; the fans won’t accept it if you don’t. A goal I scored in August 2007 was voted Falkirk’s goal of the season.Falkirk reached the Scottish Cup final, and I was playing every week. I loved the British black humour. In training, the last player to strike the crossbar from the halfway line had to take his clothes off and jump in the mud in the middle of winter.I spent free days off working in the community with autistic children.Falkirk wanted me to stay, and I should have. But my girlfriend came from Portugal, and I wanted to move there. I also turned down Blackpool, which rightly annoyed my agent. They were promoted to the Premier League.I was not thinking straight. My contract expired at Sunderland in 2009, and I returned to Mallorca without a club. When the money stopped, I had to make big cutbacks, even though I’ve always lived sensibly; I joined Mallorca’s second-biggest club, Atletico Baleares, on €1,000 a week.  Arnau Riera, photographed by Andy Mitten After 10 games, I put my foot on top of the ball and felt searing pain. I’d ruptured my cruciate ligament.Niall Quinn invited me to train for free and use Sunderland’s facilities. He’s a special person, a gentleman. Julio Arca, the Argentine former Sunderland star, let me stay at his house for free. My agent remained in constant contact and didn’t drop me.I’d worked my way back to full fitness at Sunderland by January 2011. Then, incredibly, I ruptured the cruciate ligament in my other knee in training. I couldn’t believe it. That pain when your cruciate goes is like no other.After my second operation, I decided football would no longer be my priority, and I’d complete my studies in social work.But I did wonder if I would ever enjoy playing football again. In June 2011, CD Manacor, my local team, were promoted to the third division. They asked me, then 30, to play alongside boys I’d grown up with. I didn’t have the same confidence in tackles or the speed. I retired soon after.My biggest mistake was to be too nervous in games. I would have been a better player if I’d relaxed. And maybe I would have enjoyed playing more.I felt empty when I retired. Football dominated my adult life. And then it goes. I was annoyed my career ended like that. But there are not many happy endings in football.It’s now three years since I retired. It was a wonderful life, but I don’t think I’d recommend it to children of my own. Too many things can—and do—go wrong.I work in a hotel now near my home, which I bought with football money. The English comes in useful, and I’m finishing my degree, intending to go into social work.I still have the Golf from Barcelona, too. Richard IrvingAt 16, Richard Irving was the best player for his age in England. He played for both England Schoolboys and Manchester United in a year above his own age group.I was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1975, and even though Halifax is a rugby league town, my younger twin brothers both played rugby union for England U18s.I was interested in football, however, and supported Manchester United, though I’d also watch Halifax Town at the Shay. I was soon representing Calderdale, the local area, then West Yorkshire, the region.  B/RRichard Irving holding Nottingham Forest and England shirts he wore Without wanting to sound big-headed, I could see that I was the best player—I can’t recall a game when I didn’t score. I always played with boys a year older. I did that all the way up to Manchester United’s youth team.I usually played centre-forward or dropped back to midfield if we were losing. I was really quick and could run 100 metres in 11 seconds. I could finish, too, though I wasn’t good in the air.At 14, I went for trials at the national school at Lilleshall. After six rounds, I was one of 16 chosen to live away from home for two years and play football every day.I was also playing for England Schoolboys and scored the best goal of my career against Scotland at Wembley. I was having a stinker of a game when I chased a ball toward the corner flag, nutmegged one defender, beat another and curled the ball into the top corner in front of 60,000!If people asked me what I was going to do if I didn’t make it as a footballer, I’d tell them I was going to be a pilot. Grandad had been a Spitfire pilot in World War II.I enjoyed Lilleshall. We’d occasionally go into the nearest big town, Telford. The local girls liked us because they thought we were future football stars.I took my GCSE exams at Lilleshall. I’d become lazy, but my teacher said I should be getting eight good GCSEs, so I knuckled down and passed them.In 1992, I moved to Manchester and lived in digs. After only a year as a youth trainee (normally you have two years as a trainee), I signed a three-year professional contract, but I was playing in United’s youth team a year above myself with many of the players from the famous class of ’92.I played up front with the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt—and Robbie Savage. Gary Neville was our captain. I took Savage’s place in the team and never saw eye to eye with him because of that. He mentions in his book that I took his place because our coach, Eric Harrison, was from Halifax like me.But Harrison was actually harder on me. He’d tell me that I couldn’t head a bus queue, that I should have been a hurdler because I jumped every tackle.We reached the 1993 FA Youth Cup final against Leeds United. Everyone expected us to win it, and more than 60,000 saw the two games. We were bullied by nasty sides—everyone wanted to beat us as we were the holders. Leeds won.Only Butt and Scholes were hard as nails. Gary was hard but wasn’t fully formed physically. I was probably the most immature.I was comfortable at that level because I was so quick that I could get away with playing older players. Having great players around me helped a lot, too.Becks was always immaculate off the pitch and had to have the best of everything. He bought Giggsy’s old car, a red Escort. It was all souped up but had a small engine.The team had fine players, good camaraderie and socialised together. We’d go to the Lee Sharpe corner in Royales (a big Manchester disco). Girls would come up to us and say: “Will you tell Ryan Giggs/Lee Sharpe that I’m a great kisser.”We were winning every week and working hard to be footballers. Scholesy was the best, always in the right place and saw things which others missed.Phil Neville and I were the youngest in the team. Phil’s got huge feet. We roomed together, and I’d stay with the Neville family in Bury. If we beat Gary at golf, he’d go crazy.Butty was the man of the group, a tough Mancunian. Keith Gillespie once irritated him until Nicky said: “If you do that once more, I’ll knock you out.” Keith flicked him with a towel again. Butty punched him. Keith listened to him in the future—we all did.  Michael Cooper/Getty Images I then played in the right youth team for my age, the class of ’94. We performed poorly in the Youth Cup.I did a further year as a professional and was top scorer in the reserves. I went to see the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, to see why other players were getting promoted to the first team ahead of me.Sir Alex said: “I’m worried about your lack of height, and you’re a bit lightweight. I want to see you develop and will give you another year.” I didn’t like what he said.When Nottingham Forest came in for me in 1995 and doubled my wages to £900 a week, I was happy to go there and join mates from Lilleshall.They paid £75,000 for me, and I was put into the first-team squad. It was a friendly club, but it was the wrong move. I joined a party club not a football club. My golf handicap went down to four. I should have stayed at United and worked hard.Ex-manager Brian Clough would come to training and get apprentices to walk his dog around the pitch for £20. He’d bring them ice creams, too.  David Cannon/Getty ImagesLegendary Forest manager Brian Clough Ironically, I made my Premier League debut against Manchester United. I came on as a sub and missed an open goal. I tried to make it look good when I should have just put the ball in the net. I was already celebrating in my mind. The biggest sitter of my career and I missed it, live on television.Stuart Pearce, our captain, said afterward: “You’ll never forget your debut, will you?”I started to develop hamstring problems, not enough to stop me playing, but they cost me a yard of pace—and speed was my selling point. I couldn’t break into the first team and went on loan to Aberdeen.By that time I’d lost heart. I was 23 and wasn’t enjoying being a footballer. In truth, I’d stopped enjoying it in my final year at United. I played for Macclesfield, but I’d had enough.That’s when I decided to be a pilot. I was 24 and lived away for two years, including four months in Florida to get my flying hours up. I had some money and took a loan to pay for the classes.I became a commercial pilot with Britannia, but then 9/11 happened and work dried up. Instead, I took a job as an instructor. I also started buying houses and doing them up. That became my business, but I still love to fly. My dream is still to fly in a Spitfire.Now I franchise lettings agencies. I’ve still got season tickets at United and go when I can.I always did everything early in football, but I never made the transition from being a great youth footballer to great adult footballer. I knocked on the door for long enough, but it didn’t open. Maybe I wasn’t hungry enough.Everything had come to me quite easily, and I probably felt that I didn’t have to spend the extra hours working on the training pitch like the others.I was delighted for my former team-mates when they deservedly won the Champions League. Gary Neville studied and studied to be the best right-back that he could. Beckham stayed behind after training, too, when I wanted to get on the golf course.I’ve got no real regrets, though, nor any bitterness. Richard FlashAged 13, Birmingham-born midfielder Richard Flash received offers to join 13 different clubs. His mother told him not to sign for any of them.I was born close to Birmingham city centre, the son of Jamaican parents. Growing up on an estate near Edgbaston, the youngest of three, in a multicultural environment was a very positive experience.I played football every day, often against bigger boys. I didn’t have any coaching, but I became a good little footballer on those streets.Aston Villa, my team, were European champions in 1982, but I played football more than watching it, initially for an under-10s Sunday team.  B/RRichard Flash My dad was into cricket, but mum loved football, supporting West Brom because of the Three Degrees—the three black players, Cyrille Regis, Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham.I was asked to train with West Brom at 11. Their manager, Nobby Stiles, a World Cup winner, took the session. I saw my hero Regis there, but I didn’t speak to him. My mum did, but then she was an inspirational lady, later awarded the MBE for services to sport and the community.She’d drive young footballers to games all around Birmingham. She was like a mother to many young boys lacking parental guidance in their lives.I trained with Birmingham City—wearing a Villa shirt under my tracksuit—and they wanted me to sign, but my mum said no. She didn’t think I should be pressured.I then trained with Villa, but there were a lot of egos; some 13-year-olds thought they’d made it because they received free football boots. My mother kept my feet on the ground. She was a scout for Villa and Birmingham and still is at 73. She knew football.I was a central midfielder who could pass long range, turn and score. I could be a right winger, took free-kicks and I was very strong. I wouldn’t lose tackles, and my nickname was “Tank.”Word spread, and I soon had 13 clubs after me: Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and all the Midlands clubs. At 13, I was probably the best player at my age in the country.Manchester United’s Midlands scout approached my mum. He’d watched me several times and invited me to United in the school holidays. I did well and became captain of a team called Manchester Eagles—a feeder team in the Midlands.Terry Cooke and David Johnson had both played for it. They’d become professionals.  Tony O”Brien/Getty ImagesTerry Cooke, in action for Manchester City United hadn’t won trophies like Villa, but their coaches were friendly and attentive. The mood was much better, and there was no pressure to sign anything.I was introduced to Sir Alex Ferguson but didn’t really understand his accent. I think he said that: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. We have a lad here called Ryan Wilson [Giggs], and he’s got a great future here.”Giggs was the carrot for us to work hard for two years to get an apprenticeship, but I played far too much football.I was in three or four teams in Birmingham. With training, I was playing football every day.In one game when I was 14, I stretched to reach a ball and ended up sitting on my backside with my legs in front. I heard a crack in my knee. I got up but struggled to walk. The United scout was watching, shaking his head.  Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesUnited players, including Beckham, train at United’s Cliff Training GroundI waited to be seen in the hospital for three hours. They discharged me, and my knee swelled up. I’d dislocated my kneecap, not that I realised it. I’d get a sharp pain in the back of my knee, but I pretended I was OK and started playing again.My knee never felt right, but I didn’t tell anybody. I was under pressure to earn a United contract, more so because my injury was hampering my game, but I won a two-year contract after a few more trial games.I remember seeing Paul Scholes; he was tiny, and I didn’t think he was any good.I moved up to Manchester in 1993, still wearing my brother’s boots; I’d always worn his hand-me-downs. I earned £39 per week and lived in digs with David Beckham near the Cliff training ground.Pete Smith, another guy in the digs, didn’t get a professional contract and became a postman. I didn’t tell anyone about my knee, but I kept picking up niggling little injuries—probably associated with the knee.I couldn’t lift any weights on the problem knee in the gym, but I disguised that.  B/RRichard Flash, pictured outside UCFB Burnley FCI travelled to the Milk Cup, a famous youth tournament in Northern Ireland. We performed poorly and decided to go out for a few drinks after the final game. We were 16 and not allowed to drink alcohol, but that didn’t stop us.Word of our drinking reached Sir Alex. After training a few days later, he asked us face-to-face if we’d drunk alcohol. Most of us admitted it; some lied. The dressing room was never the same. We all had a warning letter sent home saying that we’d be out of the club if it happened again.A few months later we went for a night out. The gaffer again heard of this and got us all into his office, where he made us sit down while he told us that we wouldn’t make it as professionals if we weren’t professional.He told us the year group above us were far ahead of us. It was true.The class of ’92 were regularly beating us 7-0 in training. I frequently tried to mark Scholes but struggled. I was fast, but I couldn’t read the game as quickly as he could. He could turn and leave you for dust.In a B team game, my knee cracked again. I couldn’t run and came off. Because I’d had a few injuries, the perception was that I was soft. The physio didn’t look at my knee but told me to have a bath. My knee swelled up that night.I went into training the next day, and the physios looked at me properly. That was the beginning of the end. I had three operations over the next year-and-a-half and tried to build my fitness up, but I couldn’t twist and turn.I often watched my team-mates from the side while on crutches.Sir Alex gave me an extra year to get fit as I’d been injured. I got fit and played for the reserves, but I was never a star of that team. I’d missed the best part of two years’ learning, and that damaged me mentally.I had the ability but not the confidence. In the end, I ran out of time at United.Sir Alex told me that I was a good player and helped me arrange trials.Wolves gave me a year’s contract. I was 19 and felt like I had a chance of making the breakthrough, but Graham Taylor, the manager who took me there, resigned. I was told that I wasn’t wanted.I later went to Watford as Taylor was there but was let go—though Taylor wrote to clubs recommending me.I joined Plymouth Argyle, played first-team football as a professional, and things went well for two months until my other knee dislocated. I was told that it was unlikely that I’d play again.I had to start thinking about my future and decided to do a university degree.The perception was that I was a thick footballer, so I had to do a bridging qualification first. I worked hard and really enjoyed university—doing all kinds of part-time jobs.Then I did a Masters and a teaching qualification before getting a job as the head of the academic department at UCFB—a higher education institution delivering degrees in sports and the football industries, based at Burnley and Wembley Stadium.I call upon many of the contacts I made in football for speakers.I look back at my football career with positive and negative feelings. I should have sorted my knee out when I first did it. I played too much in my early teens, and that led to an injury, but I made good friends at football and learned much, which helps with my current job.last_img read more

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Osaka charms Japan with her manners _ and broken Japanese

first_imgNone of the main-line newspapers dwelled too much on her background, which has been well reported. She was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, moved to the United States when she was 3 and now lives in Florida where she has trained for more than a decade.In an interview Monday from New York on Japan’s TBS television, she was asked what she wants to do now. She replied in Japanese: “Have curried rice topped with a pork cutlet.” Then she slipped into English and said: “I am very honored. I don’t know how to say that in Japanese.”She gave some of the same answers in a similar interview with Japan’s NTV television.“She is such a lovable character,” said Seiji Miyane, the NTV talk show host.She smiled through the media pressure, which several newspapers have called a Japanese trait. Her broken Japanese works as an asset, apologizing occasionally for getting the wrong word — or not knowing the Japanese word at all.“She is not the type of person who asserts herself boldly, but she is shy and humble and that makes her look more like a Japanese,” Junko Okamoto, a communications specialist, wrote in the weekly magazine Toyokeizai.Okamoto also said Osaka could become a face of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, leading to big sponsorship deals.Forbes magazine has reported that Williams is the highest earning female athlete with income of $18 million per year, almost all from endorsements. The Evening Fuji tabloid newspaper, citing Forbes, speculated wildly about Osaka’s potential lifetime earnings. Its headline suggested she could earn $100 million. Sports and tabloid newspapers reporting Naomi Osaka’s victory in the U.S. Open tennis finals are sold at a newsstand in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) People walk by a huge screen showing US Open women’s singles champion Naomi Osaka with her trophy, in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s halting Japanese, her manners — she bowed and apologized after beating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final — and her simple charm have swelled national pride in Japan and eclipsed many questions about her mixed-race parentage in a famously insular country.Two days after becoming the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam tennis title, Osaka is still filling the front pages of the country’s three major daily newspapers and leads the discussions on talk shows.The perspective from Japan on Monday: Osaka is being embraced as Japanese despite her mixed background. National pride — at least for now — is overriding questions of cultural identity and what it means to be Japanese.Williams’ dramatic behavior during a chaotic final on Saturday, a hot topic in the United States and around the world, has been largely brushed aside in Japan with the focus on Osaka’s poise under pressure.Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri, called Osaka a “new heroine that Japan is proud of” and characterized her appeal as “the contrast between her strength on the court and her innocent character off the court.”Yomiuri centered Osaka’s photograph holding the U.S. Open trophy at the top of its Monday front page — as did the two other large dailies. In a headline inside the paper, Yomiuri called her an “Overnight Queen — Powerful and Stable.”The Asahi newspaper also called her the “New Queen,” picking up on her mix of “strength and gentleness.” Sports and tabloid newspapers reporting Naomi Osaka’s victory in the U.S. Open tennis finals are sold at a newsstand in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) The Mainichi, one of top three general circulation newspapers, noted that Osaka was wearing a dress at a victory celebration from a well-known Japanese designer.Osaka’s 73-year-old grandfather, Tetsuo Osaka, surfaced in several interviews from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where he heads a fishing cooperative. He said he plans to meet his granddaughter when she plays next week in a tournament in Japan.Their relationship seems solid now, but the New York Times reported that for a more than a decade Naomi’s mother, Tamaki, had little contact with her family in Japan.Roland Kirishima, a photographer who is half Japanese and Scottish, criticized some internet comments questioning if Osaka is really Japanese, because of her darker skin color.“Look at the French soccer team that won the World Cup,” he wrote on Twitter. “Half of the players are immigrants’ sons or multi-racial. I’m surprised many people in Japan are still obsessed with racial purity. It’s 21st century already. Please overcome this type of insular prejudice.”It looks like Japan has taken at least a first step.___Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP___More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more

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Twin Lights Brewing Has Heart Set On Highlands

first_imgSince starting the blog two months ago, the partners have published six posts, which is essentially outlining a detailed approach to founding one’s own brewery, including “Building a Business Plan,” “Designing a Brew System” and, of course, “Finding the Right Location.”Ideally, Grundmann and Betros have their hearts set on finding a site along Bay Avenue with the real Twin Lights perched above. But locating a building with the right height clearance to accommodate their equipment and at the right price point is easier said than done.“The search is a process and we’ve already seen several locations but nothing that we thought was a perfect fit,” Grundmann said. “If we have to expand our search to Middletown and Atlantic Highlands we can but the idea is to be as close to the Twin Lights as possible. This won’t work as well if we’re not. In our hearts and minds, Highlands is the place.”This article was first published in the June 14-June 21, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times. A former financial advisor with International Planning Alliance in Shrewsbury, Grundmann said the most important hurdle to clear is acquiring the capital to make this vision a reality. But he is confident his background and relationships in the finance industry will help move the project forward.In the meantime Grundmann, along with Mike Betros, president and director of brewing operations, will continue to grow the Twin Lights Brewing brand by focusing on what sets their operation apart from the rest. “Part of building an audience is communication and sharing your story and message with people,” Grundmann said. “The craft beer craze is as much about the beer as it is connecting with people and making them feel as if they’re part of something. That’s why we fell in love with it. And it’s how we want to operate.” “The generic answer is that we make great beer. But so does everyone else,” Grundmann said. “What makes us different is the sense of inclusivity around us. We want to let people in on our process and let them grow with us.”Grundmann and Betros grew up together in the Leonardo section of Middletown, developing a bond at Bayshore Middle School that strengthened over the years.The pair officially went into business in 2016 when they trademarked Twin Lights Brewing and created a limited liability company, putting their plan for a brewing location and tap room in motion.Since launching the brand, Grumann and Betros have placed a premium on community engagement and, though they are not yet licensed to serve and distribute their product, they have pledged to pull back the curtain on their step-by-step process, offering supporters total transparency through the Twin Lights Brewing Blog. By Chris Rotolo |HIGHLANDS – An up-and-coming craft brewing team is in search of a home in Highlands.Twin Lights Brewing, which takes its name from the storied lighthouse over-looking the borough and Sandy Hook, is in the early stage of locating a brick-and-mortar location for its craft beer imprint.Co-founder and CEO Will Grundmann, 27, hopes to have that site secured and fully operational by next summer.“I think the most realistic and reasonable timeline is summer 2019,” Grundmann said. “I don’t think that’s too ambitious. I think we’ll be brewing beer at our location by then.”last_img read more

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Sweeping the Beaches, Documenting the Trash

first_imgAll along the Jersey Shore Saturday, Oct. 26, volunteers could be found participating in Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps. Approximately 5,700 volunteers registered across New Jersey to help clean the beaches and catalogue what types of trash were found. The data is then compiled into an annual report used to bring awareness to the state of the beaches. At Sea Bright, approximately 250 volunteers picked up broken pieces of plastic in an array sizes from bottles, straws, cups and – a newer pollutant – e-cigarette pods. At Sandy Hook alone, over 600 volunteers combed the various beaches for trash, finding driftwood, water shoes, cups, wagon wheels, nails and potato chip bags. Photos by Patrick Oliverolast_img

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