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Hamilton revved up for a new start in Spa

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first_imgBy Alan BaldwinTHE holidays are over and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton faces a new start as the second half of the season revs up at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend.The rules have been tweaked, meaning drivers on the starting grid can no longer be assisted over the radio by data-crunching engineers to find the optimum clutch settings that will ensure the quickest getaway.Hamilton, 21 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg after 10 of 19 races, has had three poor starts in a row despite all being from pole position and the big question is what difference the change will make.Another failure in Spa, where the Mercedes drivers started on the front row last year but collided on lap two, would only make the Briton’s bosses more jittery after neither finished on the podium in Hungary in July.Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff warned this week that the team must stay focused.“There is never a moment you can take your foot off the gas and Hungary proved once again that any slip is an opportunity our rivals will grab with both hands,” he said.After hanging out with movie and music celebrities, as well as his dogs Roscoe and Coco, in Barbados, New York and The Hamptons over the August break, Hamilton is raring to get back on track.But he recognised after Hungary, where he finished only sixth while Rosberg was eighth, that the championship could be entering choppy waters – particularly at Spa where rain is regularly a factor.“I expect more unpredictable starts,” Hamilton said then. “I imagine it is going to get worse, but that’s racing.”The key difference is that the clutch ‘bite’ point, hitherto adjusted by engineers after assessing temperatures and track conditions, will be fixed from the moment the cars leave the pit lane.The drivers will then have to determine for themselves the ideal point at which to release the paddles and accelerate away without triggering a loss of traction and wheelspin.Rosberg, who won last season’s pole trophy but has been outqualified 9-1 by Hamilton this year, can sense an opportunity.“There will be more variables and it will be more difficult to predict,” he said. “I like it because it gives me the opportunity to try and beat Lewis in that area. Until now it’s been difficult because it was not really in the driver’s hands.”The German qualified on pole in Belgium last year but the race, on the longest circuit on the calendar, was won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.Hamilton, who retired while then-championship leader Rosberg finished second, accused his team-mate of hitting him on purpose “to prove a point” in a controversy that proved a turning point in the season.The fired-up Briton won the next five races and ultimately his second title.“It’s been good to take a break from racing and spend some time relaxing, training and recharging the batteries. But, of course, there’s always that flame in the back of your mind that just wants to get back out there and get on it,” he said ahead of his return to the Ardennes.“Spa is a great track to kick off the second part of the season…I love this track and I’ll be gunning for that top spot again.”Rosberg, winner of three races to Hamilton’s five with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking the other two, said everything was still to play for.Ferrari will be in the hunt again but Williams also fancy their chances of returning to the podium after failing to score in Hungary.“The layout is normally strongly suited to the characteristics of our car, so I head to this weekend looking for a strong result,” said Finland’s Valtteri Bottas.last_img

Kumuls to return home tomorrow

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first_imgMedia manager, Joanna Lester, says the Kumuls will touch down in Port Moresby at 12pm.Only four teams remain in the contest for the ultimate prize in international rugby league.England will play Tonga at Mt. Smart Stadium, New Zealand, on Saturday, November 25. The semi-final will kick off at 6pm.In the other semi-final, Australia will clash with Fiji at Brisbane Stadium, Australia, on Friday, November 24, at 7pm.(Photo credit: NRL photos)last_img

Cyclist Thomas voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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first_imgCyclist Geraint Thomas was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, receiving British sport’s premier annual individual accolade in Birmingham as a reward for his remarkable Tour de France triumph.The Welshman, whose victory in cycling’s most prestigious race was the sixth by a British rider in seven years, topped the public vote ahead of Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and England soccer captain Harry Kane.Thomas was the first Welshman to win the award since soccer player Ryan Giggs in 2009.“I feel very lucky to have come into cycling when I did. I just went down to the local leisure centre for a swim and instead I rode my bike,” Thomas said.Although he had previously been a double Olympic champion on the track, he had lived in the shadow of four-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome in Team Sky until beating his team mate and defending champion in the 2018 race.“As a bike rider, I always focus on myself. Obviously, people want me to win, but hearing stories like Tyson (Fury)’s and Billy (Monger)’s, you realise that what we do does inspire people back home,” Thomas said.Fury amazingly beat the count after being knocked down in his world heavyweight title draw with Deontay Wilder while youngster Monger made an uplifting comeback to motor racing after having his legs amputated following a Formula 4 crash.The others short-listed for the award were triple European sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith, English cricket’s record test wicket taker James Anderson and double Olympic skeleton champion, Lizzy Yarnold.It completed a happy day for the 32-year-old Thomas at the end of an unsettling week in which Sky, sponsors of Team Sky, announced it would end its involvement with his team at the end of 2019.Thomas picked up a replica of the winner’s trophy from Tour de France organisers earlier on Sunday after the original was stolen from a cycling show.Gareth Southgate, who led England’s soccer men to the World Cup semi-finals, won coach of the year while the England women’s netballers who took Commonwealth Games gold won team of the year.Italian golfer Francesco Molinari, star of Europe’s Ryder Cup win and British Open champion, was voted World Sport Star of the Year.last_img

Kane fit to return when Premier League resumes

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first_imgTottenham striker Harry Kane is on course to be fit when the Premier League resumes.The England captain has been out with a hamstring injury suffered on New Year’s Day, but the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic has worked in his favour.There will be no games before April 30 and Premier League clubs are set to meet next week to discuss the situation further.By the time the season does restart, whenever that might be, Spurs will have Kane available.“I’m good. From a rehab point of view and personal point of view, I’m doing really well,” he told the club’s official website.“I’m at a good stage now and just working hard, doing a lot of recovery, a lot of rehab and just waiting to see what happens to the season.“I’m not too far away, I’d normally hope to be back with the team in two or three weeks.“I’m at a good stage, pretty much doing everything, now it’s about building up my fitness. So from my personal point of view, I’m in a good place.”It is a big boost for Spurs who were suffering without another striker in his absence, crashing out of the FA Cup and Champions League just before the season ground to a halt.If the season does pick up where it left off, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho will now have the firepower to help his side try and get back in the Champions League.“It’s such a strange situation, no one has been in this situation before,” Kane added.“Like anything, you have to take the positives out of it and do what you can. So far, me and the family are well, and I’ll continue to work hard, work in the gym, work from home and do what I can.“We’ll just have to wait and see.“My family is well, and obviously everyone is thinking about coronavirus at the moment and it’s a time to be together, to stay safe and hopefully everything will be all right.”last_img

Government makes just over $3 million in land rights sale in the last three months

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first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — After a big start to the year, the last three months of petroleum and natural gas land rights sales have brought paltry amounts into provincial coffers.In Wednesday’s auction, a total of only 1,056 hectares of land rights were sold off, and both were drilling licenses. Oil and gas companies spent just $202,600.96.Things weren’t much better in March and February. The third month of the year saw companies spend just under $891,000 on 12 plots of land covering 7,800 hectares. In February, the land rights auction brought in $2.1 million for over 8,100 hectares of drilling rights and leases.- Advertisement -The next petroleum land rights sale is taking place on May 16th.last_img

Rodgers drops Balotelli for West Brom clash

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first_imgLiverpool’s £16m summer signing Mario Balotelli has been dropped by manager Brendan Rodgers for the Reds’ clash against West Brom.Balotelli has failed to shine since arriving from Milan, with his only goal for the club coming in the 2-1 Champions League win over Ludogorets.Rickie Lambert, another summer arrival, starts in his place, with Balotelli relegated to the bench where he joins Fabio Borini. Daniel Sturridge is still sidelined.Earlier in the week, Rodgers highlighted the Italy international’s lack of goals as a cause for concern.“I think in terms of goals, he needs to improve. It is as simple as that,” he said.“Any striker, not just him, is judged on his goals and the number of assists you make. At this moment he has not hit the numbers he will have wanted.”Liverpool starting XI v West Brom: Mignolet, Moreno, Lovren, Skrtel, Manquillo, Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana, Sterling, Coutinho, Lambert Mario Balotelli has been dropped by Brendan Rodgers 1last_img

FBI: Suicide bombers are constant concern in America

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first_imgSo far no IEDs – improvised explosive devices – used with deadly effect as roadside bombs in Iraq have appeared in this country, but officials are following the trends.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You're all set! He has declined to comment on those British bombings because he did not want to interfere with the British investigations. Billy stressed the need for diligence, saying people plotting against the U.S. from within are more familiar with potential targets than foreign terrorists and can move around more easily. The FBI and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to raise the nation’s already “vigorous vigilance,” hunting individuals who may want to use explosives to make a statement or further a cause, Billy said. “Martyrdom and suicide bombers are a great challenge because of their commitment, their willingness to die for sheer belief,” Billy said. The FBI continuously scrutinizes intelligence on new devices and tactics tested by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, wary that they could surface in the U.S., according to Billy. NEW YORK – Suicide bombers have not hit the United States since the 9-11 terrorist hijacking attacks, but they remain a constant concern because of their prevalence around the globe and determination to die for their causes, according to the FBI’s chief of counterterrorism. He does not believe America is overflowing with homegrown terrorists, but Joseph Billy said “a significant number” of attacks have been thwarted since airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania farm field on Sept. 11, 2001. While declining to divulge the nature of the averted plots, Billy credited intelligence that led to either fortified security around potential targets or identification of suspected terrorists. Authorities recently stopped homegrown plots targeting the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey and a jet fuel pipeline at New York’s Kennedy International Airport. Billy, the FBI assistant director in charge of counterterrorism, made his comments during a rare wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press just days before two failed car bombings in London and the airport bombing in Glasgow. last_img

Girl’s soap box derby race a tribute to deputy’s faith

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first_img“It was heart-breaking to us because she had become so close to him and he loved Paige so much,” said Connie Looney, Paige’s mother, who flew a banner in Wilms’ memory during the derby. The two met when Paige became a poster child for a Sheriff’s Department program that raises money for children with physical and mental disabilities. “He was nice and he was my friend,” Paige said of Wilms. Born to a drug-addicted mother, Paige was born with a skeletal deformity that resulted in both of her legs being amputated just above her knees when she was 2 years old. She also has suffered heart problems. The Looneys, who have cared for orphaned or abandoned children with serious medical conditions since 1983, became Paige’s foster parents when she was 3 weeks old. Last December, the couple adopted her. “She’s a very positive little girl who has overcome a lot in life,” said Connie Looney. “We owe a lot of that to people like Deputy Paul Wilms.” For Paige, the derby race Wilms introduced her to is a high point of her summer. In this year’s race, the children – a record 43 entrants from around the nation – are assisted by veteran soap box drivers who act as co-pilots. The derby cars are designed to accommodate children with special needs. The kids crouch low in their cars, which reach speeds of up to 45 mph. “It’s kind of like flying, because we go so fast,” said Paige, who will enter the fifth grade in the fall at Garden Hill Elementary School. “When I get to the bottom I always say, `I sure want to do that again.”‘ debbie.pfeiffer@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You're all set! LA MIRADA – Almost from their first meeting, there was something about the spunky girl with the bobbed hairdo, glasses and big smile that convinced Deputy Paul Wilms she had racing in her blood. Wilms, a 17-year veteran who worked out of the sheriff’s Industry Station, was serving as the director of the All American Soap Box Derby Race, an annual event put on by the sheriff’s Youth Activity League. Soon, Wilms was talking with Paige Looney’s parents, urging them to allow their 11-year-old, a double amputee, to enter the National Super Kids Classic, an annual soap box derby race for disabled children held each summer in Akron, Ohio. “In the last part of his career he was dedicated to bettering the lives of children like Paige, and soap box racing was one of his special loves,” said Lt. Tim Murakami, who worked with Wilms at the Industry Station. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.With Wilms as her sponsor, Paige entered the derby in 2003 – and she’s been racing every year since. She placed third that first year and came in fourth her second year. Last year, she was not feeling well; she placed outside the top five. On Saturday, Paige once again zoomed down Derby Downs hill in Akron, the only California entrant in this year’s event. She again placed outside the top five spots, but organizers said the crowd loved her. Wilms was there, too, in her heart. In March, the deputy accidently shot and killed himself while he was cleaning his gun. last_img

Trolley promoted as auto alternative

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first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You're all set! SANTA CLARITA – The city is hoping its new old-fashioned trolley will catch the eye of weary commuters and woo them into leaving the car at home and using mass transit instead. The wood-paneled Hometown Trolley seats just 34, but a quickie lunchtime loop between two valley industrial parks and the Valencia mall is like a moving billboard, meant to convert motorists into riders. “It’s a marketing tool,” said Gail Ortiz, a city spokeswoman. “We want to encourage people to take a second look at public transportation and the changes made to Santa Clarita Transit.” Santa Clarita is home to three Metrolink stations, and city buses ferry workers for free from the stations to the work centers. Many workers commute from the Antelope Valley, and schedules distributed on the trolley extol the ease of train travel, the commuter bus and improved local bus services, Ortiz said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The trolley will thread a 15-minute loop between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays from mid- or late November through the end of the year. The schedule and route are in the works, and the promotion will spread to other parts of town in 2007. No fare will be charged for rides through the end of the year, except for a charity holiday light tour that is in the works, Ortiz said. For information, call 294-1BUS or visit www.santaclaritatransit.com. judy.orourke@dailynews.com (661) 257-5255last_img

Classroom duty

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first_imgDiego was spending his first Christmas at home with his wife, Alexis. The couple live at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. They have been married for nearly six months and are expecting their first child in February. “It’s a boy,” said Alexis Diego said. “We’re very excited.” Last year, he spent the holiday in Iraq on his second tour of duty. He could be called to serve again and he’s worried about his new family. “I was single and I had only myself to worry about,” he said. While the country remains divided over the war, Diego said he is committed to his job and is prepared to fight again. While the war is unpopular with some, he has received only gratitude and good wishes from people. “I was never scared when I was in Iraq,” Diego said. “It was more of Adrenaline rush. I was happy to serve our country.” caroline.an@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You're all set! SOUTH EL MONTE – Lance Cpl. Jose Diego completed two tours in Iraq, but a group of sixth-graders at Monte Vista Elementary school Friday made him nervous as he spoke about his experiences. A Marine for three years, the 21-year-old’s miliary career included a stint in Fallujah. He compared his role to a police officer – which he wants to be after he’s released from the Marines in July. “Jose is my hero,” said Andrew Escalera. “I just want him to know that I’m here for him.” Diego attended his 11-year-old brother-in-law’s “show and tell” segment. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeMost Iraqi civilians appreciated the soldiers’ presence, Diego said, but others weren’t as happy. The South El Monte native encouraged the students in Melissa Montellano’s class to stay in school, lead a drug-free life and get good grades. “I had to take a test when I wanted to be a Marine,” he said. “It’s important to study hard.” After answering questions about boot camp – “the training is tough but not impossible,” – and what does he do in his free time, he read “Frosty’s New Friends” aloud to the class. “I think military officers are really courageous,” said Jeniffer Flores-Luna, a six-grader. “A lot of people have lost their lives and I’m grateful to them.” last_img