Connect with us

News

Dolphins left tackle Terron Armstead limited as training camp begins; Mike McDaniel talks team philosophy

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Dolphins Left Tackle Terron Armstead Limited As Training Camp Begins; Mike Mcdaniel Talks Team Philosophy

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel touched on his message to his team as training camp begins, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his practice philosophy among several topics addressed on Wednesday ahead of his team’s first practice of camp under his leadership.

He announced that new left tackle Terron Armstead, who will practice to start camp, will be among a “handful” of veterans who will be limited and missing portions of practice.

Armstead, a prized free-agent acquisition with three Pro Bowls to his credit, was held out of organized team activities and minicamp this summer as he recovers from a procedure performed on his injured knee that caused him to miss half of last season with the New Orleans Saints.

McDaniel added that cornerback Byron Jones, who is starting camp on the physically unable to perform list, is “fully expecting to get himself ready for Week 1.”

McDaniel was pleased with how his team reported to camp on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s opening session of drills.

“This group, in particular, I was very excited about the way they came back,” McDaniel said. “Mission-oriented, day-to-day operation, getting better, but a thirst, a competitiveness. They’re fully understanding how much they owe their teammates, the organization, the fans, and they’re owning it. I can feel the energy.”

On the practice philosophy he wants to set in practice, McDaniel said: “We want full-speed effort and intensity on every rep. … There’s no such thing as just going through the motions.”

McDaniel had a pointed message for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ahead of a critical camp ahead of his third NFL season.

“Deliberate intent on each play,” McDaniel said. “What I really want to see form him is — Tua is super hard on himself — which is a good thing. … I don’t want that to impede when things don’t go his way.”

With star receiver Tyreek Hill publicly outspoken in support of Tagovailoa this offseason since his trade to the Dolphins, McDaniel appreciates Hill’s approach.

“If not the No. 1, he’s probably right up there as most competitive players as I’ve ever been around,” he said. “If Tyreek is saying it, it’s because he believes it.”

McDaniel said one thing he has learned about being a head coach for the first time is how much he has to trust others.

“No head coach is able to have success with out an immense amount of people you depend on,” he said.

McDaniel called it a “tremendous opportunity” for third-year cornerback Noah Igbinoghene with Jones on PUP and fellow cornerback Elijah Campbell also on the non-football injury list.

“More reps against Tyreek Hill doesn’t hurt anybody, unless they have confidence issues,” McDaniel said.

The Dolphins announced they signed cornerback Tino Ellis on Wednesday minutes before the first practice.

()

Advertisement

News

Meet Balkiz, a bear cub in Turkey who got high on hallucinogenic honey

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Meet Balkiz, A Bear Cub In Turkey Who Got High On Hallucinogenic Honey
Placeholder while loading article actions

Like a real Winnie the Pooh, a brown bear in Turkey wolfed down some honey last week. But unlike the beloved children’s book character, the little one rode as high as a kite on the sweet golden treat.

The reason? It was hallucinogenic ‘crazy honey’, known in Turkish as ‘deli bal’.

Turkey Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said the young bear was rescued on Thursday after being found unconscious in the country’s northwest Duzce province, about 210km east of Istanbul. Apart from the bad trip, the female was in good condition following a visit to a veterinary care center.

Somehow the bear got its paw on an excessive amount of charcuterie, which has been cultivated by beekeepers in the Black Sea and Himalayan region for centuries. The substance – also known as bitter honey for its pungent taste – is the result of bees feeding on pollen from rhododendron flowers. The brightly colored plants contain a natural neurotoxin called grayanotoxin which, when consumed, can induce euphoria, hallucinations and intoxication – as the bear quickly learned.

A video shared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry showed the bear in its fully shelled state. In the back of a pickup truck, she was sitting face down with her limbs stretched out in what can best be described as a vertical sploot. His mouth was slightly open. His eyes widened. For a few seconds, she squirmed, dazed and confused.

The clip quickly turned the little one into a local celebrity. After soliciting citizens for name ideas, the government agency introduced her on Friday as ‘Balkiz’ – which means ‘darling girl’ or ‘darling girl’ in Turkish – with a picture showing the bear now sober posing on top of a branch with half an eaten watermelon on the ground.

Although Balkiz is the latest to suffer from the symptoms of a mad honey binge, she’s not the first to do so. Thousands of poisoning cases have been reported across the world throughout history.

What does ‘splooting’ mean? And why do New York squirrels do it?

According to research by the late Texas A&M anthropology professor Vaughn Bryant, one of the earliest records of mad honey came from Xenophon of Athens, who was a student of the philosopher Socrates. The Greek historian wrote that a Greek army fell on the substance in 401 BC as troops were returning from the Black Sea after a victory over the Persians.

“They decided to feast on local honey stolen from nearby hives. A few hours later, the soldiers began to vomit, had diarrhea, became disoriented and could not stand. the next day the effects were gone and they continued on to Greece,” Bryant recounted. in a 2014 press release.

Other troops weren’t so lucky. Some 334 years later, Roman soldiers led by Pompey the Great came across a honey trap planted by the Persian army, who “gathered jars full of local honey and left them for Roman troops to find,” Bryant said. “They ate the honey, became disoriented and couldn’t fight. The Persian army returned and killed over 1,000 Roman soldiers with few casualties.

Centuries later, Union troops encountered hallucinogenic honey near Appalachia during the Civil War era. Just like the Greeks and Romans before them, Americans were buzzed and sick, Bryant said.

However, Mad Honey is incredibly hard to come by, the Guardian reported. The rhododendrons that produce the necessary neurotoxins are found in few places and are most prolific in the mountainous regions of the Black Sea and the foothills of the Himalayas. Foragers have to go to great lengths to acquire the red-tinged goop – wedging tall trees and cliffs and often fending off one of the largest bee species in the world. The returns from these risks are, however, significant. A pound of crazy honey can cost nearly $170, Bryant said. In Turkey, a pound of potent, high-quality sausage can sell for up to 2,000 lira, or about $111, making it one of the most expensive honeys in the world, the Guardian noted.

TikTok’s viral beekeeper is causing a lot of… buzz

The price also reflects the medicinal value that some people attribute to bitter-tasting honey. It is often touted as a natural remedy for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, and sore throats. Some even use it as an aphrodisiac or as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, according to a 2018 report published in the scientific journal RSC Advances.

But too much honey can land people — and bears — in hospital. Only bees that produce mad honey are immune to the high. For all other animals, the substance may produce disorienting effects, although these usually last less than 24 hours.

On Friday, Balkiz was released into the nearby forests of the Balkans – a region whose name translates to “Land of Honey and Blood”.

“Hello to the beautiful girl who has conquered the hearts of all of us,” Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci wrote on Twitter. An accompanying video showed the little brunette frolicking on a grassy hill.

“May she eat everything in moderation, even honey,” Kirisci added.

washingtonpost

Continue Reading

News

Mobot secures capital to grow its fleet of bots that test mobile app bugs – TechCrunch

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Mobot Secures Capital To Grow Its Fleet Of Bots That Test Mobile App Bugs – Techcrunch

Mobile apps need to be tested on countless devices to make sure they work as expected. Users don’t look kindly on bad experiences – 88% say they’ll abandon apps based on minor glitches, according to software testing provider Qualitest (which admittedly has a horse in the running). Testing is a time-consuming and expensive process, with 31% of app development companies in a survey estimating spending between $5,000 and $10,000. And for some outfits, the highest quality testing just isn’t available, either for logistical reasons or for relentless reasons to reach release.

Eden Full Goh hopes to change that – and make some money doing it. She’s the founder of Mobot, a startup that’s building what Goh claims is the first “infrastructure-as-a-service” platform that lets developers use physical bots to automate application testing on devices. . Bucking the macro trend, Mobot this week closed a $12.5m Series A funding round led by Cota Capital with participation from Heavybit, Uncorrelated Ventures, Bling Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Y Combinator and Newark Venture Partners, bringing the company’s total to $17.8 million.

Previously a product engineer at Palantir and medical device company Butterfly Network, Goh came up with the idea for Mobot after seeing what she describes as “bottlenecks” in the mobile app testing process. Most companies — including her former employers — hire third-party employees or contractors to perform manual testing, which tends to be inefficient, expensive and error-prone, she says.

“There are tools developed by companies like Applitools, Test.ai and others that take advantage of existing emulated test frameworks to automate testing for mobile apps. However, the sad reality is that many defects often escape emulated software-based testing because they do not accurately represent testing on real hardware,” Goh told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Currently, Mobot is not positioning itself as a competitor or replacement for emulators and automated testing. Rather, our goal is to replace the inevitable manual quality assurance that everyone still has to do and will have to do more and more as that device fragmentation will increase over the next five to ten years.

Picture credits: mobot

It may sound new, but robotics has been used for some time to test software for mobile devices. Japan Novel Corp., based in Tokyo, has already come up with a robot that can simulate the process of flicking and tapping on a smartphone’s touchscreen over and over again. T-Mobile built a similar robot in-house, dubbed Tappy, to test different phones and tablets before they hit the carrier’s outlets.

However, these types of machines tend to require a high initial investment, according to Goh, not to mention robotics expertise.

In contrast, Mobot abstracts maintenance and upkeep, allowing customers to set up a test case simply by recording a video of the app and the device (or devices) under test. A Customer Success Manager helps develop a test flow and integrate Mobot’s analytics into development tools such as Jira, then a fleet of over 200 bots leveraging computer vision will run the aforementioned test case – tapping, swiping and rotating devices running apps, as well as connecting devices to Bluetooth devices, making them receive push notifications and more.

Once the tests are complete, the Mobot team logs the results. Customers can view reports side-by-side using a self-service tool.

“As far as we know, very few companies focus on physical QA, because the technology stack is quite different from their core proposition for web-based and browser-based testing,” Goh said. “Our biggest competitors are actually outsourced, outsourced manual testing services offered by companies like Applause, Infosys, and Qualitest, because manual testing is most similar to the automated physical testing that Mobot does…Mobot protects the whole mobile app customer journey, which is impacted by missed bugs – user acquisition (e.g. deep links, sign-up flow, onboarding), retention and engagement (push notifications and crashes) to monetization (payment and in-app purchases).

Mobot claims to have run thousands of test cycles since its inception in early 2018, collecting millions of screenshots from tested apps. Early adopters include big names like Citizen and Mapbox, as well as Branch, Radar, Persona and about 45 others, according to Goh.

There are competitors, like Finnish company OptoFidelity, which offers robot-assisted testing for touchscreens and infotainment systems. But Mobot does not plan to stop at applications. Over the next few years, the goal is to use the data the company has collected to provide customers with product information and “exploratory testing features,” Goh says. Beyond that, Mobot is building a testing framework to evolve with technological advances in augmented reality headsets, smartwatches, and yet-to-be-released products like smart contact lenses.

Is robotics-based testing a scalable idea? Robots break down, after all, and Mobot is keeping his finances close to his chest for the time being. (Much of the company’s operations are shrouded in secrecy, apparently for competitive reasons; Mobot’s public website does not show images of its robots.) But Goh gives the impression that she genuinely believes to the model, especially as the market for peripherals like head-up displays is about to grow.

Mobot

Picture credits: mobot

“Over the next two to five years, software will become increasingly mobile-centric and connected,” Goh said. “We envision autonomous robot warehouses in the middle of nowhere – where real estate is affordable – filled with thousands of robots capable of testing any physical action a human would do on a product: tapping, swiping, shaking a device, pressing on buttons. , scanning a QR code, taking a photo, listening, speaking and more.

In the shorter term, Mobot will use the proceeds from the last funding round to expand its sales, marketing and engineering teams, increasing the overall headcount from 42 employees today to 50 by the end of the year. year. As the tech industry implements hiring freezes and downsizing, it helps that Mobot is a “counter-cyclical” company, Goh says. She says the demand for QA testing in the mobile space hasn’t diminished as companies continue to ship new apps and updates to existing apps.

“The [is no] offering in the market to democratize physical testing for the everyday software engineering team who would never have the expertise to build a fleet of robots on their own,” Goh said. “Mobot is a strategic and cost-effective solution for streamlining a technology company’s product development process.”

techcrunch

Continue Reading

News

“We know that the Lord God is on our side”

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

“We Know That The Lord God Is On Our Side”

ROME – Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said on Saturday that God is on the side of Ukrainians as he always supports the “unjustly wronged.”

As he has done on numerous occasions, Archbishop Shevchuk, head of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine, sent a video message recounting the evolution of the war with Russia, which saw its 171st day Saturday.

Over the past two days, Russia launched a massive missile attack on Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, and the city of Zaporizhzhia, killing and injuring many people, the Archbishop noted. It also attacked Ukrainian defenders near the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region and at various locations in the Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions.

Despite the immense suffering of “this unequal and bloody battle with the Russian aggressor,” Shevchuk said, “Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine prays.

He also took the opportunity to thank “God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fact that we found ourselves alive this morning, that we see the light of day and that we can stand in prayer before the face of God. “.

He also thanked “all those people of good will from different countries all over the world who lend a hand to help Ukraine and pray for us”.

In recent days, the Archbishop has drawn attention to the future of post-war Ukraine as well as the need “to forge the key foundations of the renewed Ukrainian state.”

“Because we know the Lord God is on our side. The Lord God is always on the side of those who are unjustly wronged and patient,” he said.

Among the principles of successful state building is “the principle of subsidiarity or personal responsibility and private initiative,” the Archbishop continued.

In state-building, “such subsidiarity means that higher authorities should not monopolize the skills of lower levels of society. And what can be done on a personal, private, public level, high authorities should not reserve it for themselves,” he said.

“So none of us should expect instructions from above to keep our streets clean and orderly in order to improve the lives of our communities,” he added.

As free citizens of a free state, we should feel that Ukraine “will be like you and I are building it,” Shevchuk said. “Nobody will make Ukraine better for us. Nobody will build Ukraine for you and me. And nobody will protect Ukraine for us from the enemy attacking us.

“The Lord God will always bless every good deed and every good enterprise. And we will feel joy from the fact that we, with our own hands, with our personal gifts, contributed to building a flourishing and free Ukrainian state,” he said.

Breitbart News

Continue Reading

News

How the Chicago Bears fared in their preseason debut, with reasons for optimism — and doubt — in each phase

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

How The Chicago Bears Fared In Their Preseason Debut, With Reasons For Optimism — And Doubt — In Each Phase

It’s only the preseason, but for first-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus, Saturday’s 19-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs felt gratifying.

The day gave Eberflus an opportunity to test many parts of his program and was his first chance to run the entire show on game day. Afterward Eberflus expressed his eagerness to review it all, including the game-day operation and communication, the schemes on both sides of the ball and the performance of his players — from established starters to undrafted rookies clawing to win a roster spot.

The Bears have a quick turnaround this week before heading to Seattle for a Thursday night game against the Seahawks.

The preseason debut showed what to build on and illuminated areas in need of more work. Here’s our three-phase review of Saturday’s game.

Offense

Reason for optimism: There were flashes in Justin Fields’ 18 snaps over three series. On third-and-4, Darnell Mooney gained a step on his defender and Fields lofted a ball to the left sideline that only Mooney could leap to grab for a 26-yard completion. One drive later on third-and-9, Tajae Sharpe pulled in a 19-yard pass with one hand.

“We knew we’d have man coverage,” Sharpe said. “We had some pressure on that play. He gave me a go ball and he put it up in a great spot, back shoulder. Gave me a chance to go up and make a play.”

Fields and the Bears need more of those plays this season. He completed just 4 of 7 passes for 48 yards with no touchdowns, but given that he was playing without several starters, the pair of long completions allowed the Bears to leave Soldier Field with some hope.

Eberflus said Fields’ operation was smooth, noting how he hurried to the line to avoid a Chiefs challenge flag at one point. Fields said he is feeling “way more comfortable” with a year of experience. And the Fields-Mooney connection continues to look strong.

Reason for concern: The Bears’ depth of playmakers on offense was a question to begin with, so it’s obviously concerning that five of the most notable sat out with injuries.

Running back David Montgomery, tight end Cole Kmet and wide receivers Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry and Velus Jones Jr. didn’t play. Eberflus has classified Montgomery, Kmet and Jones as day to day. But they’re still missing key time to build chemistry with Fields.

The Bears punted on all three of Fields’ series, stalling at the Chiefs 43-yard line twice. Eberflus noted a couple of drops that hurt the Bears.

In a stark contrast, the Chiefs offense marched 72 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown on starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ only drive.

Fields classified the Bears performance as “all right,” noting they have to get better at “pretty much everything.”

“There’s always room to improve,” he said. “We’re not perfect at anything.”

Worth noting: Solidifying the offensive line has been a key storyline at camp, and the game provided a look at some of the parts, though maybe not the full starting five.

The Bears gave rookie Braxton Jones the start at left tackle, where he has taken most of the first-team reps in recent practices. The fifth-round pick out of Southern Utah had a promising performance.

Veteran right guard Michael Schofield had the most notable miscue when Chris Jones beat him for one of two sacks of Fields. Eberflus was asked about Fields operating under pressure.

“We’ll look at those plays, where the pressures were, how we can firm it up,” he said. “Was it a situation where we needed to do a better job with our pass sets, whatever that might be. But we’ll get that cleaned up.”

Veteran Riley Reiff, who has taken many reps at first-team right tackle, sat out the game, and the Bears started Larry Borom instead. With center Lucas Patrick continuing his recovery from a hand injury, Sam Mustipher started there. If Patrick recovers in time for the season opener, it will be worth watching to see if the Bears put Mustipher back into competition with Schofield at right guard.

Defense

Reason for optimism: You’ve heard of Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle by now. So how did it turn out Saturday? Rookie safety Jaquan Brisker certainly checked the box for hustle in the first half, first with an aggressive stop on Chiefs running back Derrick Gore for a 2-yard loss and then two plays later with an instinctive break and a near interception on a Shane Buechele pass over the middle.

Intensity? Fellow rookie Dominique Robinson recorded the first of the defense’s two sacks, coming unblocked off the right edge in the third quarter and smothering Buechele for a loss of 12. Micah-Dew Treadway later sealed the win with a 9-yard sack of Dustin Crum on fourth-and-4 with 1:19 remaining.

Takeaways? The Bears won that battle 2-0, thanks to a Jack Sanborn interception and fumble recovery. Those turnovers led to nine points.

And situational smarts? In the second half, the Bears defense held the Chiefs to 18 total yards, two first downs and zero points.

Reason for concern: Cornerback Kyler Gordon, the team’s top draft pick, was prominently featured on the Gameday program. But Gordon was inactive and has been out for almost two weeks with an undisclosed injury. Adding to the concern, the rookie also missed all of minicamp in June and parts of organized team activities because of injury setbacks.

Gordon’s durability and availability are worth keeping a close eye on for the rest of the month. You can bet Eberflus wants him on the practice field as soon as possible, hoping to get him at least some action in preseason games.

“When players miss time on the grass, the actual playing of the game and working on the fundamentals and techniques, that hurts,” Eberflus said. “That hurts our football team and hurts their development.”

Worth discussing: As the proud new owner of a red challenge flag, Eberflus got his first opportunity to force officials to review a replay early in the second half.

The play in question was a 9-yard completion from Buechele to Josh Gordon right in front of the Bears sideline. With quick and clear communication from above, Eberflus was encouraged to throw the challenge flag as Gordon’s right foot was clearly not in bounds.

Challenge issued. Challenge won. Call overturned. But what happened from there really proved significant.

Forced into third-and-10 rather than third-and-1, Buechele was intercepted by rookie linebacker Sanborn on the next snap. Sanborn’s takeaway gave the Bears a short field, and the offense responded with a quick 27-yard touchdown march for their first points. That’s the ripple effect quality teams master. Shrewd coaching maneuvering leads to better opportunities for success, which frequently lead to big plays, which sometimes lead to touchdowns.

Those are the types of situations Eberflus has been training for as he works to become a sharp in-game coach. They’re also key for teams with a thin margin for error like the Bears. Consider that a small step in the right direction but a good start nonetheless.

Special teams

Reason for optimism: Rookie punter Trenton Gill, a seventh-round pick, had a nice debut, putting three of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line. He had an average of 42.6 yards with a net average of 36.4.

Gill and long snapper Patrick Scales also helped kicker Cairo Santos pick up where he left off last season. When the Bears let longtime punter Pat O’Donnell go in the offseason, Santos lost the holder who helped him during a franchise-record field-goal streak.

But Santos said Gill put his mind at ease the first day they worked together, and he nailed field goals from 20 and 47 yards Saturday plus an extra point.

Reason for concern: The Bears’ first punt return in the first quarter wasn’t ideal. Dazz Newsome muffed the catch. He recovered it at the 14-yard line, but an illegal block above the waist on Jaylon Jones pushed the Bears back to their 7.

The Bears turned to Dante Pettis to return punts next, and he had three fair catches before Chris Finke got some work. Rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., an electric returner at Tennessee, sat out the game with an injury.

Worth noting: Sixth-round pick Trestan Ebner, who returned kickoffs and punts at Baylor, had two kickoff returns for 53 yards, including a 34-yarder to open the game.

He was solid all-around as he fights for a role, but the Bears have other options on kickoff returns, including Jones, running back Khalil Herbert and wide receiver Byron Pringle.

()

Continue Reading

News

Afghanistan marks 1 year since Taliban seizure as woes mount – The Denver Post

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Afghanistan Marks 1 Year Since Taliban Seizure As Woes Mount - The Denver Post

By RAHIM FAIEZ and EBRAHIM NOROOZI

KABUL (AP) — The Taliban on Monday marked a year since they seized the Afghan capital of Kabul, a swift takeover that sparked a hasty breakout by the country’s Western-backed leaders, the official sent. plummeting economy and fundamentally transformed the country.

Bearded Taliban fighters, some brandishing rifles or their movement’s white banners, staged small victory parades on foot, bicycle and motorbike through the streets of the capital. A small group marched past the former US Embassy chanting “Long Live Islam” and “Death to America.”

A year after that dramatic day, a lot has changed in Afghanistan. Former insurgents struggle to govern and remain internationally isolated. The economic downturn has plunged millions more Afghans into poverty and even hunger, as the flow of foreign aid has dwindled to a trickle.

Meanwhile, hardliners appear to dominate the Taliban-led government, which has imposed severe restrictions on access to education and jobs for girls and women, despite initial promises from the government. opposite. A year later, teenage girls are still banned from school and women are required to cover themselves from head to toe in public, only their eyes visible.

Some are trying to find ways to prevent education from stagnating for a generation of young women, and underground hostel schools have sprung up.

A year ago, thousands of Afghans rushed to Kabul International Airport to flee the Taliban amid the US military’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul after 20 years of war – America’s longest conflict.

Some flights resumed relatively quickly after those chaotic days. On Monday, a handful of commercial flights were due to land and take off from a runway which last summer saw Afghan men clinging to the wheels of planes taking off, some falling to their deaths.

Schoolyards were empty on Monday as the Taliban announced a public holiday to mark the day, which they call “the proud day of August 15” and the “one year anniversary of the return to power”.

“Trust in God and the support of the people have brought this great victory and freedom to the country,” wrote Abdul Wahid Rayan, head of the Taliban Bakhtar news agency. “Today, August 15, marks the victory of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan against the US and allied occupation of Afghanistan.”

On the eve of the anniversary, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani defended what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the humiliation of surrendering to insurgents. He told CNN that on the morning of August 15, 2021, with the Taliban at the gates of Kabul, he was the last in the presidential palace after his guards disappeared.

Tomas Niklasson, European Union special envoy to Afghanistan, said the bloc of nations remained committed to the Afghan people and to “stability, prosperity and lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region”.

“This will require an inclusive political process with full, equal and meaningful participation of all Afghan men and women and respect for human rights,” Niklasson wrote.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said an international responsibility for Afghanistan remains after NATO’s withdrawal.

“A regime that flouts human rights cannot be recognized under any circumstances,” she said in a statement. “But we must not forget the Afghan people, even a year after the Taliban took power.”

___

Faiez reported from Islamabad.

denverpost

Continue Reading

News

Column: 4 things to watch in the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros 4-game series — a rematch of last year’s playoffs

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Column: 4 Things To Watch In The Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros 4-Game Series — A Rematch Of Last Year’s Playoffs

The four-game series that begins Monday between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros has many intriguing storylines, including Tuesday’s matchup of the top two American League Cy Young Award contenders in Justin Verlander and Dylan Cease.

It could be a chance for the Sox to prove they’re bona fide contenders. Or it could be another in a series of missed opportunities for an inconsistent team .

Here are four things to watch in the rematch of last year’s AL Division Series.

1. Playoff implications

The defending AL champion Astros are on a season-long roll and bring the league’s best record (75-41) into the showdown on the South Side. They’ve continued to dominate in 2022 in spite of the prolonged absence of Lance McCullers Jr., who returned Saturday to throw six shutout innings in his first start since suffering a strained right flexor tendon in Game 4 of the 2021 ALDS.

The Astros have few flaws. Their starters entered Sunday with the lowest ERA (3.15) in the AL, and the bullpen’s 2.76 ERA was the best in baseball. The offense ranked third in the AL in runs (519) and second in home runs (158).

A first-round playoff bye is virtually a given. The only race the Astros are in is with the New York Yankees for the league’s best record and home-field advantage through the AL playoffs. They’ve gone 39-18 since June 12, pulling ahead of the Yankees, whom they beat 5-2 in the season series.

The Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Sunday to move three games over .500 for the first time since a 6-3 start. They’re 2½ games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central in spite of themselves.

The Sox also are in a packed wild-card race, though winning the division is paramount because it would ensure home-field advantage in the first-round. The higher-seeded team is awarded all three games in the first round of the new, expanded postseason format.

Though the Sox have had more success on the road than at home, they obviously would prefer to play in front of their fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.

2. Verlander vs. Cease

These matchups are rare in modern baseball, so treasure them while you can.

Verlander, who missed almost two seasons after Tommy John surgery in 2020, is the consensus favorite to capture his third Cy Young Award. At 39 he’s more dominant than ever, leading the majors with 15 wins, a 1.85 ERA and an 0.86 WHIP.

One of Verlander’s three losses came against the Sox on June 18 at Minute Maid Park, where he allowed seven runs (four earned) in 3⅔ innings. Since then he’s 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA.

Cease, 26, leads the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (12.17) and strikeout rate (33%) and has allowed one or no earned runs in his last 14 starts, setting a major-league record (not counting openers). His only flaw is a 10.4% walk rate, worst among qualified starters.

Cease’s 1.96 ERA ranks second to Verlander, yet he curiously was left off the AL All-Star team, a snub that has added to his motivation.

Cease started Game 3 of the ALDS last October but was removed in the second inning of the Sox’s 12-6 win over the Astros. He has been lights out since, keeping the Sox in contention during their up-and-down season.

3. Tony vs. Dusty

The heated rivalry that needs no introduction came alive in the early 2000s, when Dusty Baker managed the Chicago Cubs against Tony La Russa’s St. Louis Cardinals. It has mellowed a bit with age, and both veterans now praise each other almost every time they meet, a mutual respect that has survived some bitter battles over the years.

La Russa has been a human piñata this season, taking heat for the Sox’s inability to play up to expectations. “Fire Tony” chants have been heard the last two months at Guaranteed Rate Field, including Friday when La Russa removed Michael Kopech after six no-hit innings, a move made for Kopech’s own good,

Baker is enjoying a career year and has weathered injuries to McCullers and left fielder Michael Brantley, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Baker returned last week from a COVID-19-related absence, saying he watched a lot of Netflix, including a Bob Marley documentary.

La Russa has three World Series rings and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Baker still is seeking his first championship as a manager, and this could be his last chance.

Whether this will be their last faceoff is unknown.

La Russa, 77, reportedly is signed through 2023, but the 73-year-old Baker signed a one-year contract after taking the Astros to the World Series last year. “I just had some unfinished business to take care of, but we’re close,” he said after signing.

Baker has a 109-106 edge in head-to-head matchups with La Russa, taking two of three in Houston in June.

4. Joe Kelly’s pouty face

The veteran reliever, who was removed from his last appearance with what the Sox termed “lightheadedness,” is infamous in Houston for making a pouty face while walking off the mound in a 2020 game when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kelly allegedly threw at Carlos Correa and made the face after striking him out. The animosity stemmed from the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.

The pouty face started a benches-clearing incident, earned Kelly an eight-game suspension, and it became a meme that’s still widely shared.

“Everyone knows they’re cheaters,” Kelly said in 2021. “They know they’re cheaters. It’s over. … But now they mess it up by ruining other people’s lives, so they (bleeped) up twice. … When you taint someone’s name to save your own, this is one of the worst things you could probably do. … I think I’ll be irritated forever.”

Rest assured the feeling is mutual.

()

Continue Reading

Trending