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X-Blades Sniper Sonic Promotion

first_imgTouch Football Australia’s official footwear sponsor, X-Blades, has another great deal for members through the TFA website and newsletter. When you purchase the new X-Blades Sniper Sonic boots, you will receive free shipping. To take advantage of their great deal, please visit the X-Blades website:www.bladesfootball.com.au/shopStay tuned to the TFA website for more great promotions from X-Blades. Related LinksX-Blades Promotionlast_img

9 months agoWilshere: West Ham knew all about this Arsenal weakness

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Wilshere: West Ham knew all about this Arsenal weaknessby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has questioned Arsenal’s set-piece defending after Saturday’s win.For Rice’s winning goal, the corner was cleared out of the box before the ball was worked back out to Felipe Anderson for the cross.“I think it’s the second phase,” former Arsenal midfielder Wilshere said, as he worked as a pundit for the game.“Sometimes it’s the most important phase in a set piece.“You’ve done your job and sometimes people switch off.“It goes wide and the second ball goes in and there’s someone free.“Declan was free there and he tucked it away nicely.” last_img read more

Founder of Canada Jetlines takes helm as CEO of rival Flair Airlines

first_imgKELOWNA, B.C. – The founder of Canada Jetlines is taking over as chief executive of Canadian discount carrier Flair Airlines Ltd.Jim Scott replaces Flair founder and former president Jim Rogers, who will remain an adviser until 2019 after selling his shares in the Kelowna-based company.Scott is a former airline pilot who led Canada Jetlines between 2012 and last year.He will be joined by Jerry Presley, who represents the majority owners, as executive chairman. He was previously an adviser to Canada Jetlines.The changes come more than six months after Flair’s purchase of NewLeaf Travel Company’s assets.Flair Airlines currently flies from seven Canadian cities: Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Vancouver. It has plans to soon announce an expansion of its fleet and route network.The airline faces the prospect of competition with the launch next summer of WestJet’s discount Swoop airline and Canada Jetlines.Flair operates seven aircraft and plans to add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft later in 2018. Four more planes are slated to be added to the fleet in 2019 to accommodate nearly 1.5 million passengers.last_img read more

CN Rail network beginning to recover in March from weak winter says

first_imgMONTREAL – Canadian National Railway Co. is beginning to recover from a turbulent end to 2017 and deep winter freeze that curtailed its service, the railroad’s interim CEO said Wednesday.Jean-Jacques Ruest told an investor conference Wednesday that February was among the worst months in the company’s history as volume decreased and costs rose.But train speeds have picked up and the railway is moving more freight which will help customer service and satisfaction, he said.“So all these things are saying that the month of March is slightly better,” he told the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference in New York.“It will not be enough to cover the month of January and February. But we’re heading in that direction.”The Montreal-based railway hasn’t changed its guidance for the year because Ruest says there is still time to catch up.The company has apologized for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and said it’s mobilizing more train cars and workers to clear the backlog.CN Rail announced Wednesday that it plans to manage congestion in Western Canada by temporarily restricting the flow of rail cars to gain fluidity and speed, particularly between Edmonton and Winnipeg.That includes controlling the flow of empty rail cars into Western Canada, managing flow for frac sand orders to avoid further congestion and returning empty propane cars from short-term staging locations.Ruest said extreme winter weather starting in December isn’t alone to blame.He said CN Rail entered the challenging winter season a spent force after experiencing 14 per cent revenue ton mile growth in the first nine months of 2017.“We entered the fourth quarter without really any gasoline left in the tank. So the last two months of the year we were sort of flat. And we’ve been flat since then.”Ruest said he expects the transportation sector, including trucking, will face capacity pressure from increased volume growth.CN Rail is spending an extra $500 million this year, half of which will be used to upgrade its network and increase transit times between Chicago and the Canadian west coast.The work to add more sidings and double tracks in spots will start in April and be completed by November.It has ordered new locomotives and will have an extra 130 leased units within weeks.It is also hiring 2,000 workers, including hundreds of conductors.Ruest said that by the fourth quarter, CN should be back to where it was 12 to 18 months ago.Ruest was appointed earlier this month to take over from Luc Jobin, who was dismissed after about two years as CEO.The 23-year veteran CN Rail executive said the company’s board plans to take its time conducting a global search from within the rail industry and manufacturing world to lead the country’s largest railway.“The search will be very wide and the board is not putting themselves on any clock,” he told analysts.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)last_img read more

Trump keeps up pressure on Dems over border wall

first_imgWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is keeping the pressure on congressional Democrats over funding for his promised border wall.Trump tweeted Monday: “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall.” He did not provide any evidence for the savings, but again threatened to close the “entire Southern Border if necessary.”A Dec. 7 partial government shutdown had appeared possible, but Trump told reporters on Air Force One Saturday he would be willing to sign a two-week government funding extension to allow for ceremonies honouring former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday.Trump had been gearing up for a showdown as he sought billions for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.The Associated Presslast_img

Ridehailing subscriptions Are they worth it

first_imgNEW YORK — The start of a new year often coincides with a surge in monthly memberships to gyms.Ride-hailing services are hoping customers will think along the same lines about their transportation needs. Uber and Lyft recently launched subscription plans promising savings for those trips to the gym, to work or around town.The ride-hailing companies stand to gain by increasing customer loyalty in a competitive market and securing more predictable revenue at a time when both are heading into an initial public offering.But you should figure out if the numbers add up before committing to one ride provider.“I think both these things should come with the caveat, ‘buyer beware,’” said Keith Millhouse, a transportation consultant and principal at Millhouse Strategies.Millhouse called Uber’s subscription a “complete mystery,” and he said getting value out of Lyft’s plan was possible, but complicated. Others were more optimistic.“If (riders) know they’re going to be travelling enough or more than enough to take advantage of it, then by all means it’s an opportunity for them to save money,” said Steven Polzin, program director for mobility policy research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida. “If you’re on the margins, or you’re an infrequent user, then you might not want to.”WHAT DO YOU GET WITH LYFT’S PLAN?Lyft’s All-Access Plan, available nationwide, costs $299 and allows you to take 30 trips valued at up to $15 over 30 days. If a ride goes over $15, you pay the difference. After the first 30 trips, you get 5 per cent off any additional rides.WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM LYFT’S PLAN?Riders who take very frequent trips in the $10-$15 range hit the sweet spot. Without the plan, 30 trips at $15 each would cost $450, so the plan could theoretically save you about $150. At $10 each, you would break even. But if your trips often cost less than $10, you may end up paying more for those trips than you would have without the pass.Another consideration is how many days you need transportation to work. Most full-time jobs include more than 20 work days per month, which means more than 40 trips.A 30-ride plan may appeal to those who occasionally work from home because the alternative — a monthly public transportation pass — often assumes five days of commuting per week so riders may be paying for trips they don’t take.“As more and more people have started telecommuting, all of a sudden those price points (for public transit passes) aren’t necessarily as attractive,” Polzin said.WHAT DO YOU GET WITH UBER’S PASS?Uber rolled out a subscription program called “Ride Pass” in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Austin and Orlando. It costs $14.99 in all of those cities except Los Angeles, where it costs $24.99. Uber says the monthly fee gives riders discounts up to 15 per cent on all rides and protection from surge pricing, which is higher pricing triggered by peaks in demand during rush hour, special events or bad weather.WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM UBER’S PASS?Uber has been hearing from riders that they want more consistent prices. For example, some customers find that their ride to work is cheaper than their ride home, so having the pass can protect riders from an unforeseen spike, an Uber spokesman said.The surge protection pricing could prove valuable if you frequently take Uber rides during peak times or at popular locations, say if you’re a bartender who works at a trendy night club that has a crush of demand for rides as partiers head home.“With surge protection, that could be a good deal,” Polzin said. “If you knew you were travelling in places and times where there’s surge pricing, you could save real money real fast.”WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES TO SUBSCRIPTIONS?With Uber’s pass, you don’t get to see the price of your desired routes until you pay the fee, and some reviewers on Reddit and Twitter said they got the pass and then paid what they considered to be higher rates for rides.Uber says that should not be happening, and if it is, riders should write to customer support. The company is using the pilot to collect feedback from riders before rolling it out in more cities.Other Uber riders complained that the discounts amounted to pennies on short rides and $1 on a ride worth $60.“Savings are, on average, 15 per cent to 20 per cent, but can vary depending on how busy it is,” said Michael Amodeo, spokesman for Uber, in an email. “For example, savings will typically be higher during commuting hours or nights and weekends when more people are opening up (and using) our app.”For Lyft’s plan, there’s a specific set of riders who would benefit, but if riders don’t use all of their 30 trips in 30 days, they lose them.“Like most of these platforms, they are a bigger benefit to companies when consumers don’t fully take advantage of them,” said Mike Ramsey, senior research director, automotive and smart mobility, at Gartner. “It’s like a gym membership — the gym would be unbearable if everyone used it. Nonetheless, some people take great advantage of very low cost subscriptions.”“In many cases, however, the economic advantage just doesn’t pencil out,” Ramsey said.Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Kinder Morgan CEO appreciates feds offer to backstop higher pipeline cost

first_imgLast month, the company said it would stop all non-essential spending on the expansion project to triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to the West Coast, which Alberta says is critical to reducing discounts on its product due mainly to pipeline bottlenecks.Kean reiterated that construction won’t be restarted unless there are sufficient assurances by the end of this month that it can proceed.Outside the meeting in downtown Calgary, about 50 vocal pipeline supporters armed with signs and slogans assembled on the sidewalk, chanting as passing cars honked their horns.Picketers Mike Owens and Derek B. Cooper say they were unimpressed with Morneau’s announcement, adding it offers further proof that the Liberal government has done too little to make sure the pipeline wins approval.Picket organizer James Robson of the Canada Action Coalition says the government shouldn’t have to offer money to make sure an approved pipeline will be built.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) CALGARY, A.B. –  The CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. says he “appreciates” an announcement by Finance Minister Bill Morneau that the government will compensate investors in the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion if “unnecessary delays” cause costs to rise.Morneau says the government is willing to “provide indemnity” to any investors, be they the project’s original architects or otherwise, to ensure the controversial Alberta-B.C. project is able to proceed.Kinder Morgan chief executive Steven Kean offered no further comment during his remarks and declined to talk to reporters after his company’s first annual general meeting since being spun off by U.S.-based Kinder Morgan Inc. to hold most of its Canadian assets a year ago.last_img read more

Wrong to say outsiders get stepmotherly treatment Nawazuddin

first_imgMumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui finds it unfair when people say that only star kids get work in the film industry as he believes if one has talent, work will eventually follow. For the longest time, there has been an ongoing nepotism debate in the industry, kick-started by actor Kangana Ranaut, who said star children get preferential treatment in Bollywood. When asked if he feels people from non-film family background find it harder to make it, Nawazuddin told reporters, “The good thing about the industry is that if you have the talent, then sooner or later people see it. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger “It isn’t that any person walking on the street can say they are not getting work. It takes time. If you have it on you, no one can stop you.” The actor said today there are lots of avenues for people to show their talent, including the digital medium. “We can’t say we are getting step-motherly treatment and no one is giving us work. It isn’t like that. There is a new wave of actors today working in web series and films because they have the talent. If you have the talent, you will get work eventually.” He was speaking at the launch of the book “The Stranger in Me” Tuesday.last_img read more

12 Years a Slave wins best picture Oscar

first_imgHollywood- The slavery drama “12 Years a Slave” won the best picture Oscar on Sunday, becoming the first film from a black director to win the film industry’s top honor in the 86 years of the Academy Awards. The film from British director Steve McQueen is based on the memoirs of a free black man, Solomon Northup, who is tricked and sold into bondage in Louisiana in an unflinching account of pre-Civil War slavery in America.Space adventure “Gravity” and AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” won early Oscars, but suspense remained as the show moved towards its climax and the best picture award. At the halfway point, “Gravity” had won five awards, all in technical categories, “Dallas Buyers Club” took two and “12 Years a Slave” earned a key acting prize at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.The other main frontrunner, 1970s crime caper “American Hustle,” was so far empty-handed, but the lead acting prizes, best director, screenplay awards and the coveted best picture prize were yet to be announced.As widely expected, Jared Leto won the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a transgender woman suffering from AIDS in “Dallas Buyers Club” on Hollywood’s biggest night.The actor and rock musician used his acceptance speech to send a topical message to people in troubled Ukraine and anti-government protesters in Venezuela.“To all the dreamers out there… in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, we are here. And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” Leto said.“Dallas Buyers Club” also won the make-up and hairstyling award.Lupita Nyong’o won the best supporting actress Oscar for “12 Years a Slave,” earning a standing ovation as she took the stage.A tearful Nyong’o paid tribute to her slave character Patsey, saying: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”“Gravity,” from Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, won awards for visual effects, sound editing, sound mixing, cinematography and film editing.Going into the evening, “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity” and “American Hustle” were frontrunners for the top prize, best picture.The ceremony got underway after storm clouds lifted, allowing stars to hit the pre-show red carpet.Briton Chiwetel Ejiofor, up for best actor for “12 Years a Slave,” was among the A-listers who strutted their stuff, as did his co-star Nyong’o, stunning in pale blue Prada.“It’s quite a surreal moment,” Ejiofor told CNN, adding that “it would be amazing” to win. But he stressed: “One of the proudest things… is that people have received the film in the spirit in which it was made.”On the acting front, Cate Blanchett is favorite for her turn in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” while Matthew McConaughey is widely fancied to strike Oscars gold for his portrayal of homophobic HIV-positive AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club.”On the eve of Hollywood’s biggest night, “12 Years a Slave” scored a last-minute boost by winning best feature and best director for Briton Steve McQueen on Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards.But experts agree that all bets are off for the big prize of the night, the best picture Oscar, which will be handed out at the end of the show.Host Ellen DeGeneres opened with a monologue making fun of the storms that hit California on the eve of the Oscars.“It’s been a tough couple of days for us here. It has been raining,” she said, addressing the global audience. “We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers,” she dead-panned.The 6,000 or so voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cast their ballots over 12 days starting on Valentine’s Day and ending on Tuesday.The best picture race is so close that the winner could come down to only a few votes, under the Academy’s preferential voting system. Under the rules, voters rank all nine nominated films.They are: “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”Those with the least first-place votes are dropped, and their votes given to the next highest-ranked nominees. This continues until one movie has 50 percent plus one vote.Cuaron is the frontrunner for the best director prize, and his star Sandra Bullock earned high praise for her work in the spectacular space drama, prompting some to suggest she could cause an upset in the best actress race.The star-studded Oscars broadcast featured a performance by Irish rockers U2, playing their nominated song from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and Pink, who sang “Over the Rainbow” as part of a 75th anniversary tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.”last_img read more

Former NBA Star Latrell Sprewell Living Very Modest After

Former NBA star Latrell Sprewell is the latest professional athlete to run into post-career financial problems. Several websites are reporting the retired basketball star has blown through his fortune.“During the course of his career, Latrell Sprewell made over $100 million. Today, Celebrity NetWorth reports that he has around $50,000 and lives in a modest rental,” said Financial Juneteeth.Sprewell, who was 24th in the 1992 NBA draft, played for several teams, but he was infamous for his altercation with Golden State Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo. After Carlesimo criticized his passing, Sprewell fought his coach and choked him. He then returned, after showering, and punched Carlesimo, before being dragged away by assistant coaches. He had also previously fought with other teammates, threatening one with a plank of wood and a gun.However, the choking incident cost Sprewell dearly. He was suspended by the NBA for a year and the Golden State Warriors cancelled the rest of his contract which was worth $23 million over three years.He was later traded to the New York Knicks and then the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he received negative publicity for turning down a three-year, $21 million-contract extension, claiming it wasn’t enough to take care of his family.“I have a family to feed … If (team owner Glen) Taylor wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money. Otherwise, you’re going to see these kids in one of those Sally Struthers commercials (where she solicits donations for starving children in developing countries) soon,” Sprewell said at the time.Sprewell’s troubled reputation preceded him and other NBA teams saw him as too much of a risk to take on.“Sprewell played one more year for Minnesota without the contract extension, and played miserably,” Financial Juneteeth reported. “Still thinking higher of himself than the teams or coaches he negotiated with, he was never again able to agree on a salary and has not played professional ball since. So, some might say that his negative attitude caught up with him because no NBA team wants to sign an angry old man whose best days are behind him.”However, Sprewell’s retirement has been filled with as much bad PR and brushes with the law as his playing career. His daughter was attacked by one of his pit bulls, and he was accused of stealing by a junior college. He was investigated by police for choking a woman on his yacht and also sued by the mother of his four children for $200 million.Sprewell had several financial problems after he retired. His $1.5 million yacht was seized after he defaulted on a mortgage, and he had two homes foreclosed.Unfortunately, Sprewell is not the only retired athlete to face financial hardship. Many ex-jocks run into money problems when their income drops from a huge contract to a pension. They still have extensive financial commitments to ex-wives, mothers of their children, family and lavish lifestyles to maintain. Many athletes are also ripped off by unscrupulous advisers, who know their clients don’t understand the complex world of finance.Former baseball player Torii Hunter told Sports Illustrated financial terms sound like another language to pro athletes.“Once you get into the financial stuff, and it sounds like Japanese, guys are just like, ‘I ain’t going back.’ They’re lost,” Hunter said.According to Sports Illustrated, most ex-professional athletes are broke within a few years of retirement.“By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce,” reported Sports Illustrated. “Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.” read more

The Patriots Are The NFLs Greatest Dynasty

15Patriots2002-16170249ers1984-981697Cowboys1970-841655 While this can complicate things when trying to use Elo to make predictions (as with the 2016 Raiders), the stat is much stronger when it looks backward because it struggles to immediately pick up a team’s rises and declines.Public perception tends to lag when a traditionally bad team gets good, or a traditionally good team goes all to hell. And football is less dependent on individual players than basketball, where LeBron James can leave town and send the Cavaliers to the lottery for nearly half a decade. So when we see the Patriots maintaining these high ratings across different eras and team compositions, what we’re seeing isn’t just sustained performance, but sustained relevance.VIDEO: The Patriots better worry about Julio Jones 22Patriots1995-2016165049ers1981-20021645Packers1995-20161615 24Patriots1993-2016163549ers1980-20031628Packers1993-20161611 2Cowboys1992-931786Patriots2003-041782Dolphins1972-731779 1749ers1981-971685Patriots2000-161684Cowboys1970-861637 849ers1987-941718Patriots2003-101713Steelers1972-791700 14Patriots2003-16171349ers1984-971700Cowboys1970-831663 9Patriots2003-11171549ers1987-951715Steelers1972-801689 How we qualify success is a big part of how we define a dynasty, so a quick note on the method we’re using here: Elo ratings are a favorite around FiveThirtyEight because they are relatively simple to calculate and don’t require many points of input, making it possible to apply them to time periods when data collection wasn’t very good. Want to know if the Cleveland Spiders of the 1890s were the sorriest team in baseball history? Elo can do that.The price of that simplicity is, well, a fairly simplistic stat, without the benefit of modern advancements like player tracking data in the NBA or PITCHf/x in MLB. Elo doesn’t know about star players coming or going or fortuitous bounces or egregious penalty calls — it just knows who won, who lost, and by how much, and trusts that the specifics will even themselves out over time. The top dynasties in NFL history, by number of years 3Cowboys1992-941759Seahawks2013-151743 # OF YEARSTEAMAVG. ELOTEAMAVG. ELOTEAMAVG. ELO BEST DYNASTYSECOND-BESTTHIRD-BEST 1Patriots20071824Patriots20071824 749ers1988-941722Patriots2003-091713Patriots2010-161713 5Patriots2003-071747Patriots2003-071747 ALL-TIME BEST DYNASTIESBEST DYNASTIES SINCE 1997 15Patriots2002-161702Patriots2002-161702 25Patriots1992-2016162149ers1980-20041615Cowboys1971-951611 1849ers1981-981683Patriots1999-20161673Cowboys1970-871628 2Cowboys1992-931786Patriots2003-041782 All-time dynasties and dynasties since 1997, by number of years 10Patriots2003-121714Patriots2003-121714 Should Terrell Owens Be In The Hall of Fame? 23Patriots1994-2016164649ers1981-20031639Packers1994-20161614 1949ers1980-981666Patriots1998-20161665Packers1994-20121617 The numbers are self-evident: Win or lose Sunday night, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have put together one of the best runs in NFL history. Since 2001, the team has made seven Super Bowl appearances, with four wins (and another possible this week), and it has achieved a level of sustained success unheard of in the modern NFL. Exactly where does this stretch rank among football dynasties, though? Well, it depends on how you define dynasty.Do two titles in three years qualify as a dynasty? What about three in five? The end points for runs of dominance have always been up for debate. So rather than pick one definition and stick to it, we went looking for the best team over any number of years.1This is an update to a feature we ran a few years ago, which used a different version of Elo, so the ratings will be a little different, but reflect the same principles. The table below shows the top teams over a given period — from the best one-year teams, to the best team over a quarter-century, based on FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings: 6Patriots2003-081732Patriots2003-081732 # OF YEARSTEAMAVG. ELOTEAMAVG. ELO 20Patriots1997-20161662Patriots1997-20161662 4Cowboys1992-951751Patriots2004-07174749ers1989-921734 6Patriots2003-08173249ers1989-941727Steelers1974-791726 749ers1988-941722Patriots2003-091713 10Patriots2003-12171449ers1987-961709Steelers1972-811677 1Patriots20071824Patriots20041816Bears19851796 20Patriots1997-2016166249ers1981-20001654Packers1995-20141614 849ers1987-941718Patriots2003-101713 1149ers1984-941712Patriots2003-131711 1749ers1981-971685Patriots2000-161684 Related: Hot Takedown 4Cowboys1992-951751Patriots2004-071747 16Patriots2001-161700Patriots2001-161700 12Patriots2003-141714Patriots2003-141714 1149ers1984-941712Patriots2003-131711Cowboys1971-811671 14Patriots2003-161713Patriots2003-161713 16Patriots2001-16170049ers1983-981692Cowboys1970-851647 12Patriots2003-14171449ers1984-951710Cowboys1970-811670 That the 2007 Pats (undefeated until a loss against the New York Giants in the Super Bowl) are the top one-year team of all time, despite not winning the title, isn’t all that surprising. But the Patriots’ dynasties being at the top of the longer-term ranges is. Consider that the Pats claimed the top spot for the 25-year stretch despite a dreadful 2-14 1992 season, when they were coached by Dick MacPherson, as well as a couple painful years during Bill Parcells’ brief tenure, which also included a Super Bowl appearance following the 1996 season.In the in-between lengths, New England owns many but not all of the top spots. It never had as dominant a three- or four-year run as the Cowboys in the 1990s, but at the five-year mark, New England begins a run of taking a top-two spot in most ranges, trading off occasionally with the 49ers. But by the time we get into the 20-year windows, with Walsh and Montana having given way to Mooch and Garcia, even San Francisco begins to fade.And we haven’t even accounted for the NFL’s modern era of parity yet, although things begin to look a little unfair once we do. If we look at the post-Cowboys-era NFL, beginning in 1997,2The salary cap was instituted for the 1994 NFL season, but by then, powerful teams in the league had already been assembled. It’s an approximation, but we used 1997 and post-Cowboys as a rough estimate of when the “parity era” began. the Patriots take the top spot in every dynasty range, from one year to 20 years, except for the three-year range, which Seattle locked down from 2013 to 2015. 5Patriots2003-071747Steelers1975-79172749ers1988-921725 1949ers1980-981666Patriots1998-20161665 1849ers1981-981683Patriots1999-20161673 13Patriots2004-161710Patriots2004-161710 13Patriots2004-16171049ers1984-961706Cowboys1970-821667 3Cowboys1992-941759Dolphins1972-741751Steelers1974-761743 9Patriots2003-111715Patriots2003-111715 21Patriots1996-2016166049ers1981-20011651Packers1995-20151614 read more

Commentary Cleveland Browns should think about playing Colt McCoy

With week one of the NFL season officially in the books, let the quarterback controversy in Cleveland begin. I realize that you cannot fully judge a team, or a player, based on their performance in one game, but it’s hard not to when the statistics are so shockingly terrible. Cleveland’s starting rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was 12-35 for 118 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, threw four interceptions (tied for most in the NFL), averaged 3.4 yards per attempt (worst in the NFL), accounted for zero touchdowns, and had a completion percentage of 34.1 (worst in the NFL). Weeden also boasted a quarterback rating of 5.1. Let me say that again, 5.1. The next worst passer rating in week one belonged to fellow rookie Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins. His rating was 39.0, or almost eight times higher than Weeden’s. Tannehill had one more attempted pass than Weeden but accounted for 101 more yards, one less interception, and eight more completions. Weeden’s numbers aren’t just bad, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of- or rather behind- his competition. Backup Browns quarterback Colt McCoy must be licking his chops. In his first start in 2010, McCoy attempted two fewer passed than Weeden, but threw for 163 more yards and actually managed to complete a touchdown pass. Including the preseason, Weeden has started four games this year but has yet to find the end zone once. I’m starting to wonder if he remembers where it is. In McCoy’s rookie season, he threw nine interceptions in eight games. Weeden has almost half that total in one game. Granted, Weeden’s first game came against last season’s top rated defense, but McCoy’s first game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers who went to the Super Bowl that year. Looking at the Browns’ quarterback situation in the long term, McCoy has two more years of NFL experience and is two years younger. While McCoy hasn’t blown anyone away with his numbers in the last two seasons, he hasn’t exactly been blessed with a plethora of offensive weapons around him. In his rookie season the team’s two leading receivers were a tight end and a running back. In half a season in 2010, McCoy had more yards on fewer attempts than the other two previous Browns quarterbacks combined. In 2011, McCoy had more passing yards than Cleveland’s 2009 team and the 2008 team which included Pro Bowl receiver Braylon Edwards and Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow. McCoy’s leading receiver last year was rookie Greg Little. Ask anyone outside of Cleveland who Greg Little is, and you’re likely to get nothing but blank stares. McCoy may not have the greatest record or statistics, but he did pretty well considering he had zero offensive weapons around him. Weeden had better show progress, quickly, or he may find himself on the bench where he belongs. read more

Columbus Blue Jackets lose fifth in a row fall to New York

Michael Chaput (39) of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Mats Zuccarello (36) of the New York Rangers battle for a puck during a game at Nationwide Arena Nov. 7. The Rangers won, 4-2. Credit: Courtesy of MCTGiven the directions the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers have been sliding lately, it hardly comes as a surprise that the decisive goal Thursday came off a Columbus stick and into their own net.Mark Letestu failed to control the puck to the right of Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, watching in horror as it slid into past the posts. The goal, credited to Carl Hagelin – his second of the night – turned out to be the difference in a 4-2 decision, as the Rangers won their fifth game of their last six contests to improve to 8-8-0.“That was embarrassing hockey tonight, and to me that’s losing hockey, the way we played. We got exactly what we deserved,” Jackets coach Todd Richards said after the loss.The loss was the Jackets’ fifth in a row, dropping them to 5-10-0 overall in front of a modest but lively crowd of just under 12,000 at Nationwide Arena.“We shouldn’t have to talk about [the effort], but unfortunately right now we’re talking about it…we should hold each other to a high standard and be able to know that the guy sitting next to us in the dressing room is going to go out and perform and do his job and do everything he can to help the team win,” Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky said.There was no shortage of familiar faces on either bench, as the two teams met for the first time since a pair of blockbuster trades between them during last season. Former Jackets Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard, and John Moore – each acquired in the trade deadline deal for Marion Gaborik – made their return to Nationwide Arena, while Gaborik, along with Rick Nash trade acquisitions Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov faced their former teammates for the first time.Nash, the Blue Jackets franchise leader in nearly every offensive category, was unable to make his return to the ice in Columbus as he continues to deal with concussion-related issues. Nash has only been able to play in three games this season.Hagelin got the scoring started early in the first, when he deflected a shot past Bobrovsky and into the net. The Jackets answered back late in the period, with defenseman Fedor Tyutin sneaking one past Rangers backup goalie Cam Talbot. Talbot started in place of star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who did not play after the Rangers’ victory Wednesday against the Penguins.In the second period, it was again a deflected shot early in the period that put the Rangers back in front, when captain Ryan Callahan registered his second goal in as many nights. After Letestu’s own goal put the Rangers up 3-1, Jackets rookie defenseman Ryan Murray answered back with a goal off an assist from James Wisniewski – the 200th point of Wisniewski’s career.However, the Jackets were unable to break through and tie the game in the third period, eventually surrendering a goal on an empty net by Ryan McDonagh that put the game away.“We had the same start last year.  I know it’s not ideal, but we’ve got to take a step back tomorrow and regroup, and figure out how we can win here Saturday…times like this test the character of the individual, but you can’t let yourself get down,” Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said.Richards did not agree with Johnson’s assessment of using last season’s turnaround as motivation, however.“It’s a different year. It’s different. We’ve got different players. An 82 game schedule. It’s different,” Richards said.The Jackets will attempt to get back on track at Nationwide Arena when they take on the New York Islanders Saturday. That puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. read more

Ohio State mens volleyball takes 2 against conference opponents

Redshirt-junior opposite Andrew Lutz attempts to serve the ball during a match against Ball State Feb. 26 at St. John Arena. OSU lost, 3-1.Credit: Kathleen Martini / Oller reporterAfter five consecutive losses, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team finally got out of its slump, pulling out a pair home wins against Quincy and Lindenwood this weekend.Junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said the five losses motivated the team to work much harder in practice, which helped them bring home two wins.“Our most recent practices have been our most successful, and I think that our losses have made us work much harder,” Henchy said.The Buckeyes (10-13, 6-6) ended their weekend with a second victory this season against Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo., 3-2.Henchy led the Buckeyes with a season-high 19 kills and added 12 digs, while redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous finished second on the team with 14 kills of his own.Junior middle blocker Dustan Neary said concentration was a main contributor to the team’s wins this weekend.“We have had a lot of trouble focusing all of our attention on the match — this weekend I definitely saw a change in that, which I think made a huge impact on the outcome,” Neary said.The Buckeyes started off their alumni weekend with a 3-1 win against Quincy in Quincy, Ill., Friday.Nearly notched a career-best seven blocks, while Henchy finished with 11 kills and five block assists. Redshirt-junior opposite Andrew Lutz led the team with 12 kills and added nine digs, and Guessous had five blocks.With the season winding down and the Men’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Championships quickly approaching — it is set to begin April 18 — the Buckeyes need all the wins they can get to help with the seeding of the tournament.Coach Pete Hanson said if the Buckeyes win their remaining two league matches of the season against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Loyola, they have a chance to be placed fourth going into the conference tournament.He added that the team is not focused on the tournament right now and still has a couple of matches remaining in the season before it can start preparing.“We are not looking that far ahead, we have to get through these matches one at a time. Thinking ahead to the tournament is a distraction when preparing for the next match,” Hanson said.OSU is next slated to take on IPFW Friday at 7 p.m. read more

Parris Campbell among young players to catch Urban Meyers eye at Ohio

Redshirt-freshman wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) caught the eye of coach Urban Meyer during OSU’s annual Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 18.Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern PhotographerIn a scrimmage that featured 75 passing attempts and just 12 rushing attempts by running backs, a 17-14 final score might seem underwhelming.But Ohio State’s Spring Game on Saturday at Ohio Stadium wasn’t about showing how much the team has improved. In fact, after the quasi-game, coach Urban Meyer said the Buckeyes were worse than they were in January when they won the College Football Playoff National Championship.Regardless of that regression, Meyer said he was looking for certain young players to stand out. Some didn’t make the grade, but others — like redshirt-freshman wide receiver Parris Campbell — put on displays that could earn them playing time going forward.Meyer said he called on Campbell to score from four yards out with Campbell’s Scarlet team trailing Gray, 10-7.“He looked at me, like, ‘Heck with this, man.’ He took the ball, put his left foot in the ground and drove in, made a great cut and scored,” Meyer said of the play. “And I saw his celebration in the end zone. That’s one I remember from the Spring Game. That’s going to help him get into the rotation.”Redshirt-freshman wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) caught 5 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown during OSU’s Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern PhotographerBut the fourth-year OSU coach added that not every player he called on to step up succeeded in the same fashion as Campbell.“I asked a couple guys to make a play and they didn’t do it,” Meyer said. “Now I have to find out why when I meet with them next week and just get into the psychological impact of playing in the stadium has on a player.”While players like Campbell used the Spring Game to make their final strides toward the rotation, others simply cemented their spot after a strong spring overall.Redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Sam Hubbard had the coaching staff raving throughout the 15-practice slate, and built on that with two sacks and a fumble recovery in the scrimmage. Meyer said Hubbard has locked up a spot in the rotation, but the former safety and tight end said he still has more room to improve.“I have a long way to go before I’m one of the guys that’s routinely in the rotation,” Hubbard said after the Spring Game. “It’s only been a few months at defensive end and to be in the position I am, I’m very thankful.”Regardless of how far he feels he has to go, Meyer confirmed that Hubbard will rotate along with redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis, as the duo helped replace Steve Miller opposite junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa.As for Campbell, receiver might be the position where OSU took the biggest hit, with Devin Smith and Evan Spencer turning their focus to an NFL future. Like Hubbard, Campbell has a chance to find his way on to the field next season after catching his coach’s eye on Saturday.But for now, the Buckeyes have some time off before returning to fall camp, and ultimately opening the 2015 regular season against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va. read more

Leighton Baines hails important Everton victory

first_imgEverton defender Leighton Baines has hailed their 2-1 victory against Lincoln City on Saturday as an “important” step for the club in the FA Cup.Baines highlighted the final result as the most important stat in the game as Everton struggled to a 2-1 win over Lincoln City at Goodison Park.The Toffees will now advance to the fourth round of the competition and Baines is looking forward to how far they can go this season.“It is a fantastic cup, something everyone around the world respects and a good opportunity for us to get some success,” Baines told the club’s official website.“Today was the first step to getting to where we want to be.“We got the job done, we created enough chances for it to look better on paper and more comfortable.“And we would all like to have scored more goals… we had the chances to do that. But we wouldn’t have gone anywhere else, we’d have still been in the hat for the next round.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“We got the job done and we look forward to being in it.“We started well enough and got two goals ahead but from there we made it slightly difficult for ourselves,” said Baines.“We knew they’d be strong from set-pieces and that eventually got them back in the game.“But we should give Lincoln some credit, they did the work and made it a difficult day for us.“I think the confidence they got from scoring the goal gave them a boost. It was almost like a cup final for them and they grew into the game.“We should still have had more composure and quality to see that through and get more goals. And we did press and had quite a few opportunities.“But the most important thing was to win and be in the draw for the next round.”last_img read more

Deputy sheriff 11 others killed in California shooting

first_imgA Ventura County Sheriffs officer stands near a vehicle near the Borderline Bar and Grill, where a mass shooting occurred on 8 November 2018 in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo: AFPA gunman killed 12 people including a sheriff’s deputy after he walked into a Southern California bar and started shooting late on Wednesday night, police said.The gunman was also killed, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told a news conference early on Thursday, though it was not immediately clear by whom.An unknown number of people were wounded during the attack at the Borderline Bar and Grill, a country & western venue in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks.“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said. “There is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that.”Officials said shots were still being fired when the first officers arrived at the scene.The dead officer was identified as Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, Dean told reporters. Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first to arrive at the bar and went inside just before 11:30 p.m. PST (0730 GMT).After a lull of about 15 minutes, more officers went inside and found the suspected gunman dead of a gunshot wound. It was not clear whether he killed himself or was killed by officers, Dean said.It was the latest mass shooting to rock the United States, six days after the death of two women at a yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida and 12 days after an anti-Semitic gunman entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 worshippers.President Donald Trump, who has resisted a surge in calls for tougher gun controls since 17 students were shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier this year, said on Twitter that he had been “fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California.”Witness John Hedge told ABC News he was near the front door of the California bar when the shooting began. “I just started hearing these big pops. Pop pop pop,” he said. “There was probably three or four. I hit the ground. I look up. The security guard … was shot, he was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back at the cash register and he just kept firing.”Dean estimated that 10 to 15 people, including one with a gunshot wound, had gone to area hospitals. He said he thought their injuries were minor, and that most of them were likely injured as they escaped, some by breaking windows.“There were people hiding in restrooms, people hiding in attics,” Dean said.Dean said that the shooter had a handgun and that at this early stage in the investigation he believed he had only one gun. Witnesses described a rapid sequence of shots that it made them think he was using a semi-automatic weapon.Thousand Oaks was named the third-safest city in the United States for 2018 by the website Niche.“I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what community you’re in,” Dean told reporters when asked if he was surprised this happened in Thousand Oaks. “It doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere.”Taylor Von Molt, 21, told CNN that the shooter was wearing what looked like a bandana and a hoodie and was a burly man.She said she was part of a group of line dancers that met at the bar for a college night every Wednesday.None of the civilian victims were identified. Helus died while being treated at an area hospital several hours after he was shot, Dean said.last_img read more

Researchers use quantum entanglement to improve differential interference contrast microscopy

first_img Citation: Researchers use quantum entanglement to improve differential interference contrast microscopy (2014, February 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-02-quantum-entanglement-differential-contrast-microscopy.html Illustration of (a) LCM-DIM and (b) the entanglement-enhanced microscope. The red and blue lines indicate horizontally and vertically polarized light. (c), (d) and (e) The change in the signal while the sample is scanned. Credit: arxiv.org/abs/1401.8075 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Physics team entangles photons that never coexisted in time Besides offering a way to create sharper images, the new technique might also prove useful for looking at material that is easily damaged by strong light—it might also lend itself to other types of measuring devices such as interferometers. © 2014 Phys.org More information: An entanglement-enhanced microscope, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2426 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3426 . On Arxiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.8075AbstractAmong the applications of optical phase measurement, the differential interference contrast microscope is widely used for the evaluation of opaque materials or biological tissues. However, the signal-to-noise ratio for a given light intensity is limited by the standard quantum limit, which is critical for measurements where the probe light intensity is limited to avoid damaging the sample. The standard quantum limit can only be beaten by using N quantum correlated particles, with an improvement factor of √N. Here we report the demonstration of an entanglement-enhanced microscope, which is a confocal-type differential interference contrast microscope where an entangled photon pair (N=2) source is used for illumination. An image of a Q shape carved in relief on the glass surface is obtained with better visibility than with a classical light source. The signal-to-noise ratio is 1.35±0.12 times better than that limited by the standard quantum limit.center_img Explore further Journal information: Nature Communications (a) Atomic force microscope (AFM) image of a glass plate sample (BK7) on whose surface a ‘Q’ shape is carved in relief with an ultra-thin step using optical lithography. (b) The section of the AFM image of the sample, which is the area outlined in red in (a). The height of the step is estimated to be 17.3 nm from this data. (c) The image of the sample using an entanglement-enhanced microscope where two photon en- tangled state is used to illuminate the sample. (d) The image of the sample using single photons (a classical light source). Credit: arxiv.org/abs/1401.8075 Scientists have been using a type of microscope that relies on reading information from pairs of photons reflected off of a surface for several years. The difference between the information provided by each of the photons (the difference in phase) allows for creating an image. The result is stunningly sharp ultra-close-up images of three dimensional surfaces (such as microchips or microorganisms). Until now, however, the resolution of this type of microscopy—known as differential interference contrast microscopy—has been limited by the standard quantum limit—which is based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Scientists have also known for some time that if entangled photons were used instead, they could bypass that limit and create images with better resolution. In this new effort, that’s exactly what the researchers have done.The reason that using entangled photons allow for more information is because measuring one gives information about the other, which results in more information obtained than from two un-entangled photons. The researchers tested this theory by replacing the part of the microscope that emits photons, with one that emitted entangled photons—with it in place they etched the letter “Q” into a glass plate and then proceeded to create an image of it using their new and improved microscope. In so doing, they found an improved signal to noise ratio of 1.35—which can be seen by the naked eye when comparing photographs of the same etching done by both the new and old method. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from Hokkaido and Osaka Universities in Japan has used quantum entanglement of photons to improve image results created using differential interference contrast microscopy. In their paper published in Nature Communications, the team describes how they used entangled photons to enhance an image taken of an etched (to a depth of just 17 nanometers) letter “Q” on a glass plate, and how much improvement was observed.last_img read more

Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients

first_img © 2017 Phys.org In recent years, medical researchers have been focusing on developing carrier systems for delivery of chemicals to targets inside the body to treat ailments such as cancer, but thus far, it has been slow going due to a variety of issues such as the body responding in unhelpful ways or targets such as tumors putting up a tough front. In this new effort, the researchers looked into the idea of using a natural carrier to deliver helpful drugs to specified targets—sperm cells delivering drugs guided to tumors and other problem sites in the female reproductive tract.While it is known that sperm cells will swim around in the vagina searching for an egg to fertilize, and in some cases, have been known to swim up and fertilize eggs still in the fallopian tube, the randomness of their behavior was deemed too untenable for drug delivery—the team wanted to be able to steer individual sperm cells. To accomplish that feat, they coaxed sperm cells to swim into a very tiny helmet coated with iron that would adhere to its head. The sperm could then be steered using an external magnet. The helmet was designed with a quick-release mechanism that allowed it to dislodge from the sperm when it ran head first into something, such as a tumor cell, allowing the sperm cell to penetrate the tumor cell the same way it would an egg, delivering the drug. The researchers also found that they could cause a sperm cell to absorb a cancer drug simply by soaking it in a solution containing the drug.The researchers tested their idea using bull sperm on a tiny track in their lab. They report that they were able to successfully move the sperm cell to a desired location, HeLa cells and HeLa spheroids—stand-ins for tumor cells. They report also that the helmet caused the sperm to swim 43 percent more slowly than normal. Though the test results proved impressive, there are many hurdles to overcome before such a technique could actually be used in humans—first and foremost, preventing accidental pregnancies. There is also the issue of what happens to the abandoned helmets (thousands would be left behind) and whether a sperm cell could be steered around inside the human body. And then there is the problem of obtaining the sperm. Schematic depicting tumor targeted drug delivery by a sperm-hybrid micromotor under magnetic guidance with mechanical sperm release trigger. Credit: arXiv:1703.08510 [physics.med-ph] This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients (2017, April 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-04-sperm-candidate-cancer-medications-female.html (a) Schematic illustration of the sperm-hybrid micromotor and the sperm release process. Black arrows represent the reactive force on the arms upon hitting an obstacle. (b) Top view of the tetrapod microstructure with schematic sperm head (c) SEM images of an array of printed tetrapod microstructures. (d) Simulation results demonstrating the deformation of one single arm. Yellow arrows represent the applied forces. (i) Applied force is 128 pN from a motile, non-hyperactivated sperm. (ii) Applied force is 450pN from a hyperactivated sperm. Credit: arXiv:1703.08510 [physics.med-ph] More information: Sperm-hybrid micromotor for drug delivery in the female reproductive tract, arXiv:1703.08510 [physics.med-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1703.08510AbstractA sperm-driven micromotor is presented as cargo-delivery system for the treatment of gynecological cancers. This particular hybrid micromotor is appealing to treat diseases in the female reproductive tract, the physiological environment that sperm cells are naturally adapted to swim in. Here, the single sperm cell serves as an active drug carrier and as driving force, taking advantage of its swimming capability, while a laser-printed microstructure coated with a nanometric layer of iron is used to guide and release the sperm in the desired area by an external magnet and structurally imposed mechanical actuation, respectively. The printed tubular microstructure features four arms which release the drug-loaded sperm cell in situ when they bend upon pushing against a tumor spheroid, resulting in the drug delivery, which occurs when the sperm squeezes through the cancer cells and fuses with cell membrane. Sperms also offer higher drug encapsulation capability and carrying stability compared to other nano and microcarriers, minimizing toxic effects and unwanted drug accumulation. Moreover, sperms neither express pathogenic proteins nor proliferate to form undesirable colonies, unlike other cells or microorganisms do, making this bio-hybrid system a unique and biocompatible cargo delivery platform for various biomedical applications, especially in gynecological healthcare. Journal information: arXiv Explore further (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany has tested the possibility of using sperm cells to deliver drugs to cancerous tumors in female patients. In their paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the group describes how such a technique might work, their initial test results and what they learned from their experiments. Sperm with specific ‘looks’ are selected to fertilise bird eggs, say scientistslast_img read more

Customs Agents Make Unusual Seizur

first_img by NPR News Sasha Ingber 8.23.19 3:47pm U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it recently made an unusual seizure at a port in California.Agents in Long Beach intercepted three shipments containing nearly 53,000 sights, stocks and other gun parts that came illegally from China.”There was no attempt to hide the importation,” Jaime Ruiz told NPR on Friday. He said the gun parts were correctly labeled and still had their original trademarks. And all three shipments were headed to a legitimate seller and distributor.”It’s kind of an unusual situation,” Ruiz said.CPB stopped the shipments over the past three months and consulted with investigators at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency concluded that the cargo breached multiple regulations, including an arms embargo that the United States imposed on China.The seizure comes at a time when confiscations of gun parts, munitions, explosives and fireworks have increased 18% over last year, across the United States’ 328 ports of entry, Ruiz told NPR. But usually smugglers attempt to illegally export weapons and ammunition made in the United States.”We can’t characterize this as a new trend, but something really unusual, as China historically is the main source of other items like wearing apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, handbags, wallets and electronics,” Ruiz said.The CPB has noted a different trend feeding a black market — the flow of counterfeit computer networking equipment from China. A Homeland Security report found that last year, CPB and Homeland Security Investigations seized 213 shipments containing routers and other equipment sporting fake trademarks, a 25% increase in seizures from 2017. Last year’s seizures were valued at nearly $15.5 million.Phony routers could possibly be linked to the Chinese government, says Will Carter, deputy director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Technology Policy Program, “but the bigger concern is that the routers are not properly maintained” by a supplier to patch vulnerabilities. “They can be built with poor-quality components,” he told NPR.In a publicized federal case from 2008, the FBI identified some 3,500 counterfeit network components from China through an effort called Operation Cisco Raider. “Crimes like these threaten international commerce, national security and the very safety of our citizens,” a Homeland Security assistant secretary said at the time.CPB said the recently confiscated shipments of gun parts were worth about $378,225. The seizure led some to wonder whether the items were a test to see how closely the U.S. government was monitoring shipments or a business was just trying to cut corners by buying cheaper parts.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR. Customs Agents Make ‘Unusual’ Seizure Of Nearly… last_img read more