FIFA President Gianni Infantino, elected in February to lead the global football body into calmer waters after a series of corruption scandals, was himself cleared of possible ethics violations on Friday.FIFA’s independent ethics committee said it had concluded a formal investigation into Infantino’s conduct which focused on some of the flights he had taken during the opening months of his presidency and his failure to sign an employment contract.“It was found that no violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) had been committed by Mr Infantino,” the ethics committee said in a statement.It said investigations were carried out “diligently over several weeks” and included “a large number of interviews with witnesses and Mr Infantino himself.”Infantino, in a statement issued by FIFA, said he was “pleased” with the outcome.German media have been reporting for several weeks that Infantino, whose predecessor Sepp Blatter has been banned for six years for ethics violations, was under investigation over flights he had taken on private jets.FIFA has been in turmoil after a wave of indictments of football officials in the United States last year, including former members of its executive committee, on corruption-related charges.The football body has also been forced to investigate controversies surrounding the awarding of its showpiece, the World Cup finals, especially the decision to grant the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar.Blatter was banned by FIFA’s own ethics committee along with former European soccer boss Michel Platini, who is serving a four-year suspension.The ethics committee said that preliminary investigations had focused on several flights taken by Infantino, the hiring process for positions in the president’s office and his refusal to sign the contract specifying his employment relationship with FIFA.Infantino’s conduct might have breached articles on code of conduct, loyalty, conflicts of interest and offering and accepting gifts, it said.However, after formal proceedings were opened, it was concluded that the flights “did not represent ethics violations” and that benefits enjoyed by Infantino were not “improper” in the light of applicable FIFA rules and regulations.It said the hiring process and Infantino’s employment contract were internal compliance issues rather than ethical matters.FIFA’s statement said Infantino and his administration would “continue to focus on developing football as well as their efforts to improve the organisation.”“This critical work will continue,” it said.
Rafa Nadal survived a heroic Daniil Medvedev fightback to claim an epic 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 win and a fourth U.S. Open title on Sunday, moving within one Grand Slam crown of matching Roger Federer’s record of 20.A routine end to the Flushing Meadows fortnight looked on the cards when Nadal, already two sets up, broke for a 3-2 lead over the tall Russian in the third with the 19th Grand Slam title apparently in the bag.From that point, however, the match was transformed into a near five-hour thriller as Medvedev staged a comeback that left the Spaniard shaken and Arthur Ashe Stadium buzzing.“An amazing final – seemed that I had the match more or less, it has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career,” Nadal said.“This victory means a lot especially because of the way the match became so difficult, so tough. These type of matches in the final of a Grand Slam make them special.”The 33-year-old lefthander became second oldest U.S. Open champion in the professional era behind Australian Ken Rosewall, who was 35 when he lifted the title in 1970.Not once since 1949 had a player come back from two sets down to win the U.S. Open final but Medvedev, cheered loudly by a crowd that booed him mercilessly earlier in the week, came close on the back of some brilliant tennis.“I was being myself,” said the 23-year-old. “I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it.“I know I have to leave my heart out there for them. I think they saw it and they appreciate it.”On the ropes with Medvedev looking to deliver the knockout blow, Nadal showed once again why he is the game’s greatest fighter and he lifted himself off the canvas to scrap his way to the title.The quality of tennis in the final three sets was breathtaking at times, the long rallies swinging back and forth with neither player prepared to give up a single point without stretching every sinew.After watching Medvedev erase his lead with a rasping backhand service return to win the fourth set, a rattled Nadal finally regrouped in the fifth and secured an early break to get in front 3-2.The killer instinct Nadal has honed over nearly two decades at the top of the game then surfaced as he held serve and added yet another break to take control at 5-2.The drama was not over yet.NO MISTAKEMedvedev hit back one more time with a break of his own and a hold of serve to cut the advantage to 5-4 and the prospect of the Russian winning a major title with his first career five-set victory was briefly back on.In the end, Nadal needed three championship points to finally see off his opponent after making no mistake with his second attempt to serve for the title.The Spaniard let out a mighty roar when the Russian’s final return sailed long before falling on his back to soak up the cheers of an appreciative crowd.Already the King of Clay, Nadal has been a master of the Flushing Meadows hardcourts for the last two weeks, dropping just one set on way to the final.His victory saw him join an elite club with Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Federer as winners of four or more U.S. Open men’s singles titles in the open era.While the women have served up four different Grand Slam winners this season, the old guard of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic continue to rule the men’s game with the “Big Three” having combined to win the last 12 majors.Medvedev arrived at his first Grand Slam final as the hottest player in men’s tennis, riding the momentum from reaching four consecutive finals, but it was not quite enough to carry him to a maiden major title.The Russian, who had spent a good part of the tournament playing the part of the U.S. Open villain for his on court antics, was welcomed to the court by a smattering of jeers.By the end of the evening, however, he had earned the respect and admiration of the crowd for a gutsy performance that established him as a genuine threat to the stranglehold Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have on the Grand Slams.“I can say that I’m sure all of us, we’re fighting our best to try to make this transition,” he said.“It’s really tough because these guys, they are playing good tennis. It’s really tough to beat them, even to get a set from them, even every game to win is tough.”
In an unprecedented move, Omonia Nicosia, one of the island’s biggest football clubs, has issued a statement accusing the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and other teams in the Cypriot football league of corruption and is asking the European and world football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA to intervene.“We believe there is widespread corruption in Cypriot football and the situation is not likely to change under the current CFA leadership,” the statement, published on the club’s official website reads.“It is clear that the final outcome of several Omonia games has been altered by poor and biased refereeing.“Fixed games sadly remain a common practice and a widespread reality in our world,” the club said. “This has to stop and that is why we decided to finally speak out.”It is an unprecedented statement coming from one of Cyprus’ biggest clubs. Omonia last won the league title in 2010. It has since run into severe financial problems, mainly due to mismanagement.The statement makes serious allegations about people connected to the underworld involved in Cypriot football, an accusation confirmed by a source close to the club.“Omonia has very strong evidence that confirms an extensive criminal presence in the football world,” the source told Cyprus Mail.“The last game against Apollon, in which the appalling decisions taken by the referee clearly influenced the final result, triggered the club to finally stand up and denounce the gravity of the situation.”Omonia faced Apollon on January 4 in Limassol, ending up losing 2-1.The game’s referee Lucas Sotiriou has been criticised for his direction.He received threatening messages the day after the game and on January 6 he filed a complaint to the police, who sent patrols outside his house in Larnaca.The incident is the latest in a string of threats and attacks against match officials in Cyprus, who have also seen their cars set on fire in numerous occasions over the past years.Omonia’s statement said “it has collected enough evidence over the years to persuade UEFA and FIFA to open a case about football in Cyprus.”“We are aware of the seriousness of our accusation and we want to make it clear we will not stop until the situation is addressed by UEFA, FIFA or the Cyprus Sport Federation (KOA).”The club has decided not to comment on the statement any further so as not to distract the team’s players, who will be facing Pafos FC in a league game on Friday at 7pm at GSP Stadium in Nicosia.However, they confirmed they will file an official complaint to UEFA and FIFA next week.Arch-rivals Apoel also released a statement on Friday morning commenting on Omonia’s accusation and calling on them to prove their allegations.“These are very serious allegations and they accuse CFA directly,” Apoel spokesman Nektarios Petevinos said.“It is because of their significance that we call upon Omonia to prove them with hard facts and evidence.“This is how prejudice and doubts in Cypriot football are reinforced.“We, like all Cypriot teams and football fans in the country, are eagerly expecting the case to unfold.”Former UEFA vice president and member of the FIFA council, Marios Lefkaritis, said UEFA and FIFA are unlikely to intervene in the matter.“There are 54 football federations currently under the umbrella of UEFA. I would be very surprised if they decided to get involved in an issue regarding Cyprus,” he said.“However, if the evidence that Omonia is planning to present turns out to be strong, they might decide to look into it. Whatever the case, we will have to wait until an official complaint is presented.” A similar situation unfolded in December 2014, when former referee Marios Panayi caused an uproar within the Cypriot football community by speaking openly about match fixing.He claimed that he had recordings, documents and other evidence proving that members of the CFA were fixing matches, in particular those deciding which team would be relegated to the second division.Panayi identified current CFA chairman George Koumas, who, at the time, was the deputy head of the football federation, as the man behind the curtain, stressing that if he was not removed from the picture, then professional football in Cyprus was a lost cause.
…fallen PoliceThe Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, and the Commissioner of Police (ag), David Ramnarine, spoke at the annual ceremony “honouring” Policemen killed in the line of duty since 1913. The number is 63. One suspects that the organisers began their body-count from 1913 because the numbers killed from the GPF’s formation in 1839 to that point could be counted on the fingers of their hands.But what your Eyewitness found surprising was the studied refusal of the two speakers to mention our very recent history, when the most Police ranks were murdered in the history of Guyana. In a ten-month period of 2003, for instance, FIFTEEN Policemen were murdered – and most of their relatives would’ve been in the audience. Wouldn’t they’ve wanted to know why their loved ones were killed by the so-called “Freedom Fighters” formed around five prison escapees??After all, they hear and read ad nauseam about the Police and other armed gangs killing 400 black youths. Even if that number’s correct – and it’s not — if so many Policemen were also killed, don’t they deserve an equal-opportunity mention? One hears from the partisans of the “400” about Policemen acting outside of their remit and becoming judges, juries and executioners. But in the absence of any comment by the partisans of the Police (Ramjattan and Ramnarine?) about who were most of those 400, one’s left to conclude they were innocent choir-boys out picking daisies!Such a one-sided narrative implicitly and explicitly demonises the Police, and has to demotivate the conscientious ones from vigorously performing their duties. Is this a factor that contributes to the extraordinary number of law enforcement officials who have been caught recently making “runnings”? Another missing part of the narrative is what happened to all those youths who were willingly recruited into the services of the “Freedom Fighters”? Like being lookouts and snitches.Are they now all grown up and continuing the traditions they were exposed to? Are we now still reaping the harvest from the poisoned tree that was planted in Buxton and other communities, like Agricola? If your Eyewitness were Ramjattan (Yikes!!) he would’ve invited Basil Williams and Winston Felix (then CoP) and asked them to explain their (in)famous taped conversation about the Agricola Massacre. He’s sure the families of the dead Policemen from that era would’ve liked to know exactly what went down there…since it’s just another iteration of what happened to their loved ones.But, instead, we had what was just another “heading off” of the Guyanese people from discovering the roots of the cancer, which is still metastasising and lurking to strike when deemed necessary.Like if the PPP were to win in 2020.…Nagamootoo TwistPoor Nagamootoo. Like Dickens’ famous hero Oliver Twist, he just can’t seem to forget his childhood travails. In his Chronic Column, which constitutes his singular duty as Prime Minister of our fair land, he whines once again about how he was wronged in the fifty years he was in the PPP. If he’s to be believed, the only conclusion one can reach is the wanker’s got to be a masochist to stick it out so long!!But the narrative’s unfortunately VERY selective. He rails against a “gang of eight” that controlled the PPP’s 15-member Executive Committee after the passing of Cheddi Jagan; which, led by his arch-nemesis Jagdeo, wronged him constantly…until he couldn’t bear it any longer, so he joined the PNC to oust the PPP! But who was it who orchestrated the numerous expulsions from the PPP, which he described, before Jagdeo came on the scene? Wasn’t it Jagan himself? Why doesn’t Nagamootoo describe him as a “Gang of One”??Or the “Gang of Two” in the PNC, that neutered him!!…or forgetting?Trotman, Senior Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the AFC, says they’re waiting for an investigation into the (taped exploits) of his Junior Minister, Simona “I is” Broomes, boss at the Amazonia Mall in Providence.Can’t he just review the tape with “I is”??
For more on this story, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News. 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Thousands of students are expected to descend on Rio Hondo College over the next few days for the start of the fall semester, which officially kicks off Saturday for weekend college students. But the majority of students, who attend the hilltop campus on weekdays, will start their first day of classes at Rio Hondo on Monday. With at least three major construction projects under way, the college is also warning students to heed new traffic circulation maps posted throughout the campus and at local city halls and libraries. Some roads are being shut down to accommodate construction, and more changes are likely to come throughout the semester, officials said.
Relive this cracking free-kick from England’s centre-forward
It’s never a wise decision to get involved in an altercation with an official and Aston Villa’s Leandro Bacuna has found that out the hard way.The Dutchman aggressively barged into the linesman in Villa’s game against Derby County last Saturday and has now received a hefty six-game ban for the incident.The 25-year-old has already sat out one match of his suspension, having missed Tuesday’s win over Bristol City, and manager Steve Bruce has expressed frustration over the length of the ban.Check out the video above to see the incident.
Share This!All of us like to experience the proverbial Disney pixie dust (extra magic bestowed upon us by cast members). Whether it be free fastpasses, surprise celebration desert at your dinner meal, or even room upgrades; when cast members shower us with pixie dust it makes us feel special. Back at home we call these Random Acts of Kindness, or RAK for short. They are essentially the same thing. Bestowing on someone else a good deed, a gift, a kind word without expecting anything else in return. And so we got to wondering, if we are practicing RAK at home, why weren’t we doing it at Disney. Why do cast members get to have all the fun? Let us make our own pixie dust and spread it abundantly. After all, kindness is infectious. So here are 20 ways we like to spread pixie dust while in Disney. Tip Mousekeeping – Controversial, yes. Many feel tipping is not necessary for housekeepers. But RAK can be for anyone. Everyone deserves a smile in their day. It doesn’t have to be money. You can leave a nice note, a can of pop, or even sealed snacks. In the fall we usually leave some of our score from the Halloween party we attend. You can find some really cute templates on Pinterest for making your own envelopes too.Free Treats – Buy the person behind you in line a pop, Mickey bar, or popcorn. A free treat tastes even better!Free Meals – Once while walking through the Contemporary on our way to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, a gentleman stopped us and asked if we were going to be in Disney a few more days. When we said yes, he handed us a Disney gift card. He was there on a business trip and leaving that morning. The card still had a hefty balance and it more than paid for our meal. It doesn’t have to be gift cards. You can just ask your waiter/waitress to help you pick up another table’s tab at any restaurant. We usually like to pick couples who are not on the dining plan.Pressed Pennies – Leave quarters and pennies in the pressed penny machines. The next person gets a free souvenir.Characters – Have your child draw pictures or write notes to their favorite characters. They can then give them to the character during a meet and greet. We have even seen a child present her favorite Princess with a flower.Compliment – With so much negativity these days, buck the system. Compliment a random parent on their child’s behavior. Compliment another guest on their creative Disney bounding outfit. Just say nice things and say them often.Line jumpers – Let someone go ahead of you in line. Is the family behind you trying to deal with a child about to have a melt down? Let them go before you. You can probably wait another two minutes for that hot dog, but the child may not be able to.Parking – Pay for the car behind you at the toll booth for parking. What a magical way to start the day!Buses and Boats, oh my – Give up your seat on the bus, boat, or monorail. Everyone is tired at the end of the day. But, anyone older than me should sit before me, anyone with small kids should sit before me. Not everyone has the stamina I have and I certainly hope that when the time comes that I can’t easily do an all day marathon, someone bestows the same pixie dust on me.Be that other hand – When families split up at quick service restaurants, it can leave one person to have to cart a large amount of food by themselves. Help carry a tray of food.Talk to Cast Members – Cast members are people too! They are not just there to serve you. They just happen to be at their place of employment. Ask about their day, where they are from, or simply say thank you. Sometimes it is just nice to interact and acknowledge they are there.Volunteer – At Disney? Technically no. We have volunteered at Give Kids the World which is only a short drive away. Four hours of your time may mean the world to a family who is going through a severe illness of one of their children. It is very rewarding to see their smiles. Some pre-planning is necessary. You must fill out an application and have a background check done. Visit their website for more details.Be a photographer – Offer to take pictures for couples or families. Every family member should be in the picture, and not everyone has Memory Maker. You will help capture a family memory they can cherish for years to come.Balloons – Buy a child a balloon. Or re-gift yours before you leave.Pass our Ellie badgesTokens of appreciation – Make small gifts to give to the cast members. Ornaments, Ellie badges, decorated Easter Eggs, or small sealed foods are acceptable. Money never is. During our last December trip we made small snowmen heads with hot cocoa packets, candy canes, and a thank you note on their hats which we passed out.Pass it on – For those of us who take our own bottled water, granola bars, and cereals it really is better to pass it on than carry it all back home. You can post online on one of the many social media outlets or Facebook groups what you have, which resort, and when you are leaving. Someone will surely offer to take it off your hands. All you then need to do is leave it at luggage check under their name. We once even were passed on an apartment sized refrigerator this way (back before they were standard in the room).Trade pins – Look for the kids who are introverts. Make a big deal out of the pin they trade you.Stuffed animals – …or Mickeys, Stitches, or Olafs. Leave a new animal in a random stroller with a note about giving him a new home.Thank You notes – It is as simple as “Thank you for making our vacation magical”. Leave them with the bus driver or with the tip at dinner, hand them to the parade attendant, the Dapper Dans, or a maintenance worker, or give them to a ride attendant or to a character’s handler. Everyone likes to be appreciated.Be a Fanatic – During your day, take notes of any cast member who did an exceptional good job. Note their first name, the location you met them, the date, and the approximate time. Then as you are leaving the park, stop by guest relations and fill out a Cast Member Fanatic Card. The cast member will then be officially recognized for their actions by their superior.Be sure to stop at Guest Relations!Have you ever been the recipient of another guest’s pixie dust? Do you practice spreading RAK while in Disney? Let us know in the comments.
4 December 2013 South African mobile phone networks are seeing call revenues declining for the first time in their histories as the younger generation leads the consumer charge into a “new data economy”, according to a new study from research company World Wide Worx. World Wide Worx’s “Mobility 2014” study, released last week, reveals that the 19-24 age group, representing students and entrants into the workforce, is abandoning calls faster than any other segment. “Only 56% of this group’s cellphone budget is now spent on calls, down from 66% in mid-2012,” the company said in a statement. “Data spend, on the other hand, [on text messaging and internet surfing and downloading] has increased from 17% to 24%.” The study is based on face-to-face at-home interviews conducted in late 2013 with 1 200 South Africans, aged 16 and up, in urban and rural areas across the country. It found a dramatic shift in the trend for the overall market, with call spend dropping from 73% of cellphone budget to 65%, while data spend increased from 12% to 16%. At the beginning of 2010, calls stood at 77% and data at 8%. Spending on text messaging remained steady at 13%, while spending on downloading music tracks, which featured for the first time in 2012, doubled from 1% to 2% of the average mobile phone budget. “Older users continue to spend far more overall, but the powerful shift in spend from voice to data will work its way up the age segments in the coming years,” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said in a statement. “Already, we are seeing a flattening out of the curve of data use from the 25-34 through to the 46-55 age groups. Only above that age does data spend drop off – but not very significantly.”Mobile banking The survey also reveals substantial shifts in the South African mobile banking environment, with the biggest proportional shift coming in the use of banking apps. From only 1% of all banking customers using banking apps in mid-2012, the figure shot up to 9% in late 2013. Cellphone banking also surged, from 28% in mid-2012 to 37% in late 2013. “One in 10 banking customers are now using apps, and that number is still rising fast, which vindicates our strategy of expanding our offerings as the market’s use of these tools evolves,” said Dione Sankar, head of cellphone banking at FNB. “At the same time, looking after the non-smartphone customer through basic cellphone banking has also paid off. We have never experienced such dramatic growth across all mobile channels.”Mobile phone brands According to the survey, Nokia remains the most popular phone brand in South Africa, although its market share has dropped significantly, from 50% to 44%. Blackberry has increased its market share locally from 18% to 23%, despite almost vanishing as a force from Western markets, thanks to its continued aspirational appeal in younger markets. Samsung, meanwhile, has increased its share marginally, from 18% to 19%. “In mid-2012, consumers had indicated they would move away from the brand, with a third of its users saying they would opt for other phones,” World Wide Worx said. “However, the appeal of its Galaxy range of Android devices across all smartphone price segments has resulted in a resurgence for Samsung.” The most popular feature used on phones remains the camera, at 73% of mobile users, with FM radio far behind at 51%, and the music player on the phone catching up to FM at 49%.Tablet usage Tablet usage was measured for the first time in World Wide Worx’s latest study, revealing that approximately 5% of South Africa’s adult cellphone users also have a tablet. The vast majority use it for internet access (77%) and e-mail (57%), with social media and downloading apps in joint third place (43%). Samsung dominates tablet usage by adults, with 52% market share, while Apple iPads hold 23% of the adult market. “Both tablet penetration and market share is set to shift in the coming year,” World Wide Worx said, noting that “a quarter of respondents said they expected to buy a tablet, with 44% of these saying they will buy a Samsung device, and 32% opting for Apple”. SAinfo reporter and World Wide Worx
20 February 2014The designation of special economic zones (SEZs) will support a broader-based industrialisation growth path in South Africa, while helping the country achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.Speaking at the tabling of the Special Economic Zones Bill before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Cape Town on Tuesday, Davies said the Bill aimed to support balanced regional industrial growth by fostering the development of more competitive and productive regional economies in South Africa.Special economic zones are defined as geographically designated areas of the country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, and supported through special arrangements and systems that are often different from those that apply to the rest of the country.To date, South Africa has five designated industrial development zones (IDZs), namely Coega, East London, Richards Bay, OR Tambo and the recently designated Saldanha Bay.“Honourable speaker, I can confidently indicate to this house that there are already eight investors in the oil and gas sector that are signing to invest at Saldanha Bay IDZ,” Davies told the NCOP on Tuesday. “Three of the five IDZs, in Coega, East London and Richards Bay, are fully operational.“Whilst these have achieved some major successes – for example, 42 operational investments worth R4-billion – some weaknesses on the implementation were identified,” Davies said.These included weak governance, lack of IDZ incentives, and poor stakeholder co-ordination. The criteria for IDZ designation were also biased towards the development of coastal regions and ignored economic potential existing in inland regions.Davies said the SEZ Bill sought to boost private investment, both domestic and foreign, in labour-intensive areas in order to increase job creation, competitiveness, skills and technology transfer, and exports of beneficiated products.To cater for various socio-economic and regional planning considerations, the Bill provides for the designation of the following types of SEZ:Free ports: duty-free areas adjacent to a port of entry where imported goods may be unloaded for value-adding activities, repackaging, storage and subsequent re-export, subject to special customs procedures. Free trade zones: duty-free areas offering storage and distribution facilities for value-adding activities within a special economic zone. Industrial development zones: purpose-built industrial estates that leverage domestic and foreign fixed direct investment in value-added and export-oriented manufacturing industries and services. Sector development zones: zones focused on the development of specific sectors or industries through the facilitation of general or specific industrial infrastructure, incentives, technical and business services primarily for the export market. The Department of Trade and Industry is busy preparing for the implementation of the SEZ Bill by consulting with all the provinces in identifying potential SEZs.“As a result, together we have commissioned pre-feasibility and feasibilities studies in the various provinces,” Davies said. “The designation of new SEZs will take place once the new SEZ Act and regulations are in place.“It is thus imperative that the SEZ Bill is expediently considered in order to take advantage of this huge imminent interest and opportunity. This house’s support for the SEZ Bill would be greatly welcomed.”Source: SAnews.gov.za