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How COVID-19 uncertainty is impacting Patriots’ preparation for Bills



How the Patriots can clinch a playoff berth, the AFC East and AFC’s No. 1 seed

FOXBORO — It might not be quite like 2020 all over again for the Patriots, but COVID-19 is still presenting unique challenges for them.

As COVID cases surge due to the spread of the omicron variant, the Pats haven’t been affected as much as other teams across the NFL that have been decimated by outbreaks. Kendrick Bourne is the only regular of seven players who has landed on the COVID-19 list, and there’s a chance the wide receiver won’t miss a game.

But after the NFL reimplemented protocols to help curb the spread of COVID and with the constant threat of positive cases, there is some sudden uncertainty that they haven’t really dealt with this season.

“It’s tough,” said Patriots pass rusher Matthew Judon. “It’s probably one of the toughest things our league and players have to deal with in a very long time.”

“We’re hanging in there,” added Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

As Sunday’s critical rematch with the Bills looms, though, COVID seems to be impacting their preparation. Five Bills players — including wide receiver Cole Beasley, who tested positive Monday and will not play Sunday, and offensive linemen Dion Dawkins and Jon Feliciano — are on their COVID-19/reserve list. With those two’s availability unclear, game-planning poses a challenge, Judon admitted.

“Fortunately for us we have film on all of them,” Judon said. “It’s just kind of hard. With this COVID and what we’re going through right now, just not knowing who’s going to play or when they’re coming back or how they’re going to play it, it’s kind of hard. So, you prepare for anybody and everybody, but at the same token, we don’t have that much time, so we have to prepare and just rely on our fundamentals. Our fundamentals will take care of whoever’s out there, and then we just have to prepare for their offense or what they want to do. Not the players, because it’s kind of hard to do that.”

Though the Pats haven’t been as impacted, there’s an even greater emphasis on preparation this week — not just for their opponent, but themselves.

Bourne, who’s vaccinated and asymptomatic, missed practice Wednesday but could still play Sunday if he clears the NFL’s new return-to-play protocols specific for vaccinated players. But the potential absence of both Bourne and Nelson Agholor, who’s in concussion protocol, could mean an opportunity for practice squad receivers Kristian Wilkerson and Tre Nixon on Sunday.

But it’s not just them. With uncertainty of what the next day can bring, and the chance of anyone suddenly needing to miss time, everyone needs to be ready, according to veteran safety Devin McCourty.

“I wish I could give one of those, ‘We’ve been here before, we’ve seen this,’ like this is just so unprecedented,” McCourty said. “I think it’s so important for every man on the roster to be locked in in meetings, to be ready to go because we don’t know how any of this is going to play out. We kind of thought we knew what we were doing last year, being vigilant, doing things we need, and it felt like this year, ‘All right, we finally have some control,’ like we know what to do, what not to do, and now I would say you’re just wondering what the next day is going to be like.

“I think everyone in this building, everyone has a chance to play, knows that they need to be prepared. We’ve seen it. We saw games over this past weekend/early in the week where guys have been called up to play. I think it’s a great opportunity if it happens for guys, but I think it’s so important for everyone to prepare, everyone to be ready to go. Because you can play and you can play in the biggest game this year.”


7th Pay Commission: Good News for Central Employees! Dearness Allowance (DA) may be Rs 2,59,464 in August, know details 



7th Pay Commission: DA hiked! Government employees to get higher salaries from April 1

7th Pay Commission: Good News for Central Employees! Dearness Allowance (DA) may be Rs 2,59,464 in August, know details

7th Pay Commission: Central employees get gifts from the central government twice a year. It has to wait for 6 months. After July, there is a possibility of a bumper increase in the salary of central employees.

7th Pay Commission: Central employees will soon get good news. Just wait a little and then dearness allowance will increase. Remember, 34 per cent DA is being paid now. But, in the coming days it can be 38 percent. That means there may be an increase of 4 percent in the Dearness Allowance. But, there is a wait of three months now. The situation is almost clear. After the bumper increase of 4 percent, DA will be available at an annual level of Rs 2 lakh 60 thousand. Let’s understand how…

Dearness Allowance may increase by 4%

Under the 7th Pay Commission, now all central government employees and pensioners are being paid DA and DR at the rate of 34 percent. But, the new dearness allowance will be announced in July. It is expected that it will increase by 4 percent and become 38%. It will be paid in the salary of August. That means you may have to wait till August for the announcement. Central employees get DA according to basic pay and grade. In such a situation, it can be found out by calculating that how much money will increase in total.

How is Dearness Allowance calculated?

The next installment of DA is likely to be paid along with the salary of August. It may also get delayed due to policy matter. But, before that we can guess how it will be calculated and how it will be decided. If there is a possibility of increasing the Dearness Allowance (DA Hike) by 4 percent, then it can be calculated on the Basic Salary. If someone’s salary is Rs 20000, then at the rate of 4 percent, his salary will increase by Rs 800 in a month.

By which formula the salary will be decided?

There is a formula for dearness allowance calculation. The formula for central employees is [(Average of All India Consumer Price Index (AICPI) for the last 12 months

115.76/115.76]×100. Now if we talk about Dearness Allowance of people working in PSU (Public Sector Units), then the method of its calculation is- Dearness Allowance Percentage = (Average of Consumer Price Index of last 3 months (Base Year 2001=100)- 126.33))x100

Now understand DA Calculation

According to the 7th pay matrix, there will be a bumper increase in the salary of officer grade. If someone’s basic salary is Rs 31,550. If you calculate on this then…

  • Basic Pay – Rs 31550
  • Estimated Dearness Allowance (DA) – 38% – Rs 11,989 per month
  • Existing Dearness Allowance (DA) – 34% – Rs 10,727 per month
  • On increasing Dearness Allowance (DA) by 4% – Rs 1262 (every month) will come more
  • Annual Dearness Allowance paid – Rs 15,144 (at 38% DA) after 4% hike

Calculation on 38% DA

Let us assume that if dearness allowance increases by 4%, then the total DA will become 38%. If you calculate in the maximum salary range, then Rs 21622 will be available as DA every month on the basic salary of Rs 56,900. The total annual dearness allowance will be Rs 2,59,464.

The post 7th Pay Commission: Good News for Central Employees! Dearness Allowance (DA) may be Rs 2,59,464 in August, know details  appeared first on JK Breaking News.

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Chicago White Sox strand 9 runners in a 6-2 loss as their offensive rut continues: ‘We’re working on it, hitter by hitter’



Chicago White Sox strand 9 runners in a 6-2 loss as their offensive rut continues: ‘We’re working on it, hitter by hitter’

Adam Engel dived trying to catch Emmanuel Rivera’s slicing liner in the sixth inning Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Chicago White Sox right fielder came up empty and slipped slightly as he got back to his feet. MJ Melendez scored from first as Rivera raced to third for an RBI triple.

The hit against reliever Reynaldo López gave the Kansas City Royals the lead. The Royals scored twice in the sixth and Melendez added a two-run homer off Ryan Burr in the eighth as they beat the Sox 6-2 in front of 13,504.

“I told (Engel) when he came in, don’t ever lose your aggressiveness,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “A couple plays (shortstop) Timmy (Anderson) made, the double play (first baseman José) Abreu made, (second baseman) Leury (García) made some good plays.

“You can’t be trying defensively and not trying offensively. It just doesn’t work that way.”

It was another inconsistent night for the offense. The Sox collected 10 hits, including three singles by Anderson, but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position to fall one game under .500 (18-19).

“It’s not acceptable, if the offense is struggling, for the pitchers to say, ‘Hey, get some runs,’” La Russa said. “What’s acceptable is if the offense is trying their best. If that’s where we are, then we keep working at it. And if you see something that you think is not our best, then you fix it.

“Same thing as the pitching. You can’t just look at results and say, ‘Oh, why don’t you get somebody out?’ That’s not how we handle it. The fact is, though, that we’ve got to get out of this rut offensively. We’re working on it, hitter by hitter.”

The Sox produced early, taking a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by García in the second. The Royals tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning and took the lead on a solo homer by Bobby Witt Jr. in the third against starter Lucas Giolito.

Giolito allowed two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings in his return from the COVID-19-related injured list. The right-hander went on the COVID IL on Friday and was reinstated Wednesday.

“Got into a much better rhythm as the game went on,” Giolito said. “Got clipped in the third inning on a lazy breaking ball, but other than that I was much more pleased with the last three than the first two. I credit the defense behind me and (catcher Yasmani Grandal) really carrying me through five innings, especially in the early going.

“Unbelievable plays by Tim and Abreu. (Grandal) throwing a guy out. Getting outs like that on situations where I could keep throwing more pitches, they really helped me get through five innings. Not my best, but I’m happy to be back, back in a normal routine.”

The Sox tied the game on an RBI single by Anderson in the fifth. His hit gave the Sox runners on first and second with one out, but Royals starter Zack Greinke struck out the next two batters.

The Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but reliever Collin Snider got Andrew Vaughn to ground out to end the threat.

“We had a lot (nine) left on base,” La Russa said. “Here’s the problem: I’m not giving a scouting report to the other side or our next opponent by identifying what we’re struggling with. But we can recognize it. That’s why we had a few minutes (after the game). (Hitting coaches) Frankie (Menechino) and Howie (Clark) were in (the manager’s office) talking about it.

“You don’t ever give in on it. We’re capable of better and we expect it.”

The Royals made the most of their chances in the sixth and eighth, dropping the Sox to 6-12 against American League Central opponents.

The Sox know they have to make offensive adjustments if they want to have success.

“All we care about is our issues,” La Russa said. “The answer is no easy answer. But our hitting coaches know our hitters, our hitters know our hitters. We’ll chip away at it.”


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Ten of the new Bush Foundation Fellows hail from St. Paul, east metro



Dr. Artika Tyner portrait

Artika Tyner recalls growing up seeing family members rotate in and out of prison. Tyner, a civil rights attorney who has spent the last 16 years as a legal professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in St. Paul, came to the realization during the pandemic that she’d been working hard for years to bridge disparities, not just in her community, but in her own life.

“I usually do that research about other people. I need to do that for myself,” said Tyner, who plans to spend at least six months touring Africa, much of that time in Ghana, reconnecting with her roots while learning from leaders at the African Diaspora Development Institute. She intends for her sojourn to be part study, part self-healing.

Dr. Artika Tyner (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Tyner, a lifelong resident of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood and founder of a K-12 literacy nonprofit, is one of 24 new fellows chosen by the Bush Foundation for their work in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Each fellow will receive up to $100,000 to fund 12-to-24 months of study and reflection, often in other states or countries, with the goal of making them better leaders.

In total, ten of this year’s 24 Bush Fellows live or work in St. Paul or the east metro. The Bush Foundation, based in downtown St. Paul, chose them from among 468 applicants. More than 2,400 people have received support from the fellowship over the past 60 years.

Like Tyner, several of the new fellows are government and non-profit leaders who said that after a difficult pandemic experience, they’re seeking healing, reflection and self-care.


Hoang Murphy portrait
Hoang Murphy (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Among them is Hoang Murphy, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a child refugee and moved into the McDonough Homes, public housing in the city’s North End. By the time he turned 11, his father’s parental rights had been terminated by the courts, leaving him adrift in a foster care system.

Well below half of the state’s foster kids, he pointed out, graduate high school.

“People asked me how I survived foster care,” said Murphy, founder of the Foster Advocates, which has successfully lobbied for two new laws at the state Capitol and is within striking distance of a third.

“I like to say ‘I got lucky,’ but I’d like to write it all down and give them a better answer,” said Murphy, who lives with his wife off Phalen Lake. “There are very few good stories in foster care. … It was really tough. It’s our job to make it better. That’s what I’m focused on.”

Murphy said he’ll use his fellowship to visit indigenous communities in Red Lake, Minn., and the Yukon territories, with the goal of learning more about communal and alternative forms of family intervention. He also plans to spend at least at two weeks in Vietnam, a country he hasn’t been back to since leaving at age two.


Prince Corbett portrait
Prince Corbett (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Before landing a job as an employment counselor with Ramsey County and working his way up the ranks for a decade, Prince Corbett served more than three years in prison. He acknowledges he committed a robbery at the Mall of America as a young man, but prosecutors sought to pin two other robberies on him, and he fought the added charges. Nevertheless, he still served a 74-month sentence at the age of 21.

Corbett, 41, who has served as the county’s Racial and Health Equity Administrator since 2019, has long said his personal mission is to focus on closing wealth gaps in the Black community. After a recent retreat, he came to multiple realizations. First, he would need further public policy and economic development training, likely through certificate programs, which he’s hoping to obtain through the historically Black college system.

“If we’re talking about building wealth, and creating economic opportunities, you really need to know about the economic development framework,” he said.

And, he realized his greater passion is to help the previously incarcerated. He’ll be reaching out to national organizations for guidance.

Other east metro Bush Fellow recipients include:


Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay portrait
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Saymoukda Vongsay, a St. Paul-based Lao-American artist and playwright, plans to visit Laos and become more fluent in the spoken and written language while connecting to other Laotian artists and leaders across the U.S.


Abdiaziz Ibrahim portrait
Abdiaziz Ibrahim (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Abdiaziz Ibrahim, founder of St. Paul-based Immigrant Housing Solutions, plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and obtain certificates in community building and leadership development, with the goal of expanding access to affordable housing through tenant education and financial literacy training.


Pahoua Yang portrait
Pahoua Yang (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Pahoua Yang, a vice president of Community Mental Health and Wellness at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, the largest regional mental health provider for Southeast Asian communities, plans to explore how traditional healing can intersect with modern healthcare policy, including how tribal nations have piloted traditional healing in healthcare.


Rose Chu, a professor of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, plans to deepen her work with prospective teachers of color by researching the public view of teachers in different communities, locally, nationally and globally.


Ifrah Mansour portrait
Ifrah Mansour (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Ifrah Mansour, a Somali-American performance artist based in Woodbury, plans to complete filmmaking courses with the goal of making “social impact” films based on her stage work, combining stories about “injustice and resistance” and “the disappearing memories and wisdom of Somali elders,” according to a written statement from the Bush Foundation. She will also travel to film festivals and build a network of filmmakers.


Raina Johnson portrait
Raina Johnson (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Raina Johnson, a Woodbury-based advocate for the deaf, was adopted from Korea and raised by white, deaf parents. Johnson, who is deaf, plans to pursue a doctorate dedicated to training deaf professionals in linguistic, community and leadership work while expanding her network of deaf BIPOC leaders.


Kaltun Abdikarani portrait
Kaltun Abdikarani (Courtesy of the Bush Foundation)

Kaltun Abdikarani of New Brighton plans to pursue certificate in Islamic psychology, develop resources and training for teachers and parents of Muslim-American youth and collaborate with spiritual leaders and mental health professionals, with the goal of cultivating “wellness in a culturally responsive way,” according to the Bush Foundation.

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