UN envoy condemns killing of Iraqi politician as violence in country spikes

According to media reports, Ahmed Al-Khafaji, a Shiite Member of Parliament, was among 23 killed in a suicide car bombing which ripped through a Baghdad checkpoint.“Those who use terror, violence and fear against the people of Iraq will fail,” Mr. Mladenov, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, said in a statement in which he also extended his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack. “Today, Iraq and the world are united and will defeat those who seek to destroy the Iraqi state and will, restoring security, prosperity and democracy to this country.”Violence in Iraq has been peaking in recent months as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues its operations throughout the country amid simmering ethnic tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) recently reported at least 1,119 Iraqi civilian deaths for the month of September, cautioning that the figure does not include people killed in the ongoing operation in Anbar Province, or those who died from the heat or hunger after being forced to flee violence in their cities.The worst affected Governorate was Baghdad, where 352 people were killed and 983 injured. read more

Adopting resolution Security Council urges fight against nexus of transnational crime terrorism

In today’s unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Council said it is “gravely concerned” by the financing obtained by terrorist groups through illicit activities – such as the trafficking of drugs, people, arms and artefacts – and reaffirmed the international community’s need to supress the monetary lifeline which keeps the terrorist threats active. Delivering his remarks to the Council, Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that the world had been reminded yet again this week “why we must not tire in our efforts to counter terrorism, following the despicable attack on a school in Pakistan by the Taliban.”He emphasized that the need for urgent action to address terrorism and its transnational linkages is regrettably well illustrated, for example by the intensification of Boko Haram activities across the Lake Chad Basin region of Central Africa. In the Secretary-General’s recent visits to Africa, he was constantly reminded that terrorism and cross-border crime cannot be addressed separately, Mr. Feltman told the Council.“Efforts to combat terrorism will not bear fruit unless we combine law enforcement actions with measures to strengthen good governance, rule of law and human rights,” he said, stressing that “we will not uproot the ideologies that lead to violence if we do not win over hearts and minds.”Also addressing the Council, Ambassador Tete Antonio, the representative of the African Union to the UN, acknowledged that cross-border criminal activities in Africa contributed to the onset of conflicts and further complicated management and resolution efforts. Vast swathes of ungoverned territory – in northern Mali and across the Sahel belt as well as in Central Africa and in Somalia – provide criminal and terrorist groups with a “deadly convergence” point where they could thrive undisturbed. In the Sahel – a vast expanse of territory stretching from Mauritania to Eritrea, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan – the Ambassador explained that drug and arms trafficking, human smuggling, kidnapping-for-ransom, and illicit proliferation of arms and money laundering had become “intimately intertwined” with the financing of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In addition, he said, kidnapping-for-ransom in the Sahel had become “an integral financing model” for the spread of terrorist activities in Africa and globally. At the same time, a limited government presence in northern Mali had spawned an environment conducive for cross-border trafficking whereas in Central Africa, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a known militant group accused of numerous human rights violations, fuelled its operations through the poaching of elephants and illegal trade in ivory. “The African Union has not remained idle in the face of these threats,” Mr. Antonio told the delegates. Nonetheless, he remarked, greater efforts should be made to encourage collaboration between neighbouring states sharing such threats along their borders and strengthen early warning mechanisms to clamp down on any potential situations of conflict that could be exploited by terrorist groups. Recognizing the nexus of criminal and terrorist activities, the new Security Council resolution stressed the need for Member States “to work collectively to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” and called upon the international community to strengthen border management. The text also stressed the importance of strengthening trans-regional and international cooperation on a basis of “a common and shared responsibility to counter the world drug problem and related criminal activities,” adding its encouragement for Member States to block and prevent terrorist groups from benefitting from transnational organized crime. “The porous African borders have long served to bring communities together, facilitate trade, and have contributed to the prosperity and the enriching diversity of our people. But porous need not translate into threats and risks of crime and terrorism,” Mr. Antonio continued.“There is therefore a need for innovative, collaborative and inclusive approaches that are led by the concerned states, based on confidence and transparency among them, and without hindrances nor restrictions on legal cross-border flows of people and trade.” read more

Hurricanes impact on political process in Haiti reaffirms need to extend peackeeping

The Provisional Electoral Council has postponed the elections, pending completion of an assessment of the hurricane’s impact on the electoral process, she said. Preliminary reports indicate that at least 70 per cent of voting centres may have been affected in the South department, and even more in Grand’Anse, where many areas are still inaccessible, she added. Prior to the disruption caused by the hurricane, which made landfall on 4 October, technical preparations had largely been on track for the holding of the elections, she said, noting that most political actors were committed to renewing the country’s key democratic institutions through elections as a crucial first step toward Haiti’s return to constitutional order, following the extended period of transitional governance. “No political party had boycotted the process, and the large number of registered candidates and parties reflected a broad participation of actors across the political spectrum, setting the stage for an inclusive electoral process,” she said. Haiti’s ownership of electoral process is a promising sign for its futureThe commitment shown by the Haitian authorities to own the electoral process, including financial and operational aspects, is a promising sign for the country’s future, especially given the eventual drawdown of MINUSTAH, the Special Representative said. She emphasized that while the Provisional Electoral Council is preparing to announce a new electoral calendar, it is important to find the right balance to maintain the momentum generated for elections and to take into account the technical and political considerations, while facing the largest humanitarian crisis that Haiti has known since 2010. Despite the imperative need for all actors to focus on the emergency response, they cannot lose sight of the longer term challenges and priorities, such as strengthening the rule of law institutions and most notably the Haitian National Police, which has yet to become operationally independent to fully provide for security throughout the country, she stressed. Work on the new five-year development strategy is reaching its final stages, determining objectives with respect to the required police-to-population ratio and identifying areas in which continuous specialized support is needed for further institutional and operational improvement of the national police, she said. ‘This is a humanitarian tragedy and an acute emergency situation’Detailing the damage brought by the storm, she reported that more than 2.1 million people are estimated to have been affected, with more than 1.4 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The Ministry of the Interior has confirmed 372 deaths, a figure that is likely to rise, while more than 60,000 people have been evacuated and remain in temporary shelters. Though the full extent of the physical damage is still being assessed by the Government, “This is a humanitarian tragedy and an acute emergency situation,” she warned. There are hundreds of suspected cholera cases, and we are already seeing the first deathsThe health impact of this disaster cannot be overestimated. “The absence of drinking water and the contamination by sewage of other available water, is causing a very high level of infections from diarrheal disease, including but not exclusively, cholera,” she said. “There are hundreds of suspected cholera cases, and we are already seeing the first deaths.” Protecting vulnerable populations from cholera, and ensuring that the restoration, and in some cases the installation, of water and sanitation systems has to be one of the priorities for humanitarian action, she said. Regarding a flash appeal for $120 million announced yesterday by the UN and partners, she called on all Member States to contribute urgently to the appeal, in support of the response being led by the Government to meet the needs of 750,000 people for the next three months. “I call on all of Haiti’s international partners to continue to lend your support to the country to rapidly overcome the new challenges occasioned by the hurricane so that focus of all can be returned to strengthening the country’s economic, physical and institutional infrastructure,” said Sandra Honoré, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti, during a Security Council debate on the UN’s mandate in the country. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is recommending that the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) be extended for six months at the current force and police strength. “This will allow MINUSTAH to support the Haitian authorities in their efforts to return to full constitutional order amidst the humanitarian crisis created by Hurricane Matthew,” said Ms. Honoré, who is also the head of MINUSTAH. She noted that MINUSTAH’s civilian and uniformed personnel and capacities are being put to full use in support of the humanitarian efforts, by opening up access to roads, providing airlift and supporting the Haitian National Police in securing humanitarian workers and stocks, among other tasks. She went on to highlight that not only did Hurricane Matthew bring destruction to Haiti, it has also affected the country’s political outlook, rendering impossible the holding on 9 October of the presidential elections repeated from last year, as well as the partial senatorial elections and legislative reruns. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Sandra Honoré. UN Photo/Manuel Elias read more

At highlevel forum UN stresses importance of education in building culture of

“We have to teach our children the values of peace, tolerance, equality and respect. They should be under no illusions as to the self-destructiveness of the alternative,” said the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, who convened the all-day event in New York with a focus on early childhood development. “We must equip them with the skills and education they need to peacefully resolve disputes; to confront injustice and intolerance; and to reject all forms of discrimination and hate,” he added. Mr. Thomson noted that creating peaceful and just societies is dependent on eradicating poverty, increasing inclusive prosperity, promoting human rights, strengthening the rule of law, and building effective and accountable institutions – the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda which has guided the international community’s anti-poverty efforts since 2015. “Fostering a culture of peace requires all of us – individuals, nations and international organisations – to work together to promote understanding of our common humanity,” the senior official said. “We must promote intercultural respect, strengthen interreligious understanding, and inspire people’s hopes for the future. Above all we must unite for peace.” The event brought together representatives from UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society, media, the private sector and others with an interest in exchanging ideas and suggestions on ways to build and promote a Culture of Peace, and to highlight emerging trends that impact its implementation. In addition to early childhood education and investment in children, Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the need to invest in youth to promote world peace. He called young men and women “the barometer of social discontent, economic marginalization and political exclusion,” and said they must be recognized as active agents of change and custodians of peace. In a speech delivered by his Senior Advisor on Policy, Ana María Menéndez, the Secretary-General also recognized women’s contributions and participation in long-term peace efforts. He said that women’s meaningful participation generates a different perspective in solving problems, and needs to be supported in all aspects of life. Mr. Guterres also highlighted the importance of investing in inclusion and cohesion, so that diversity is seen as a benefit and not a threat. “To prevent intolerance, violent extremism and radicalization, we need to promote the inclusion, solidarity and cohesion of multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious societies. It is the best antidote to racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” he noted. The first such forum on the Culture of Peace was held in September 2012, and recognized the need for continual support to further strengthening the global movement for peace. read more

With access to clean modern energy poorer countries look to power ahead

In its 2017 report on the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), focused on Transformational Energy Access the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that only four of them were on course to achieve internationally agreed targets on energy distribution by 2030. While they have made great strides in recent years, achieving the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030, the finish line for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will require a 350 per cent increase in their annual rate of electrification, said UNCTAD. “Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 is not only a question of satisfying households’ basic energy needs,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said in Geneva, ahead of the report’s publication on Tuesday. “That in itself has valuable welfare implications, but we need to go beyond […] For electrification to transform LDC economies, modern energy provision needs to spur productivity increases and unlock the production of more goods and services.” Dr. Kituyi added: “The productive use of energy is what turns access into economic development, and what ensures that investments in electricity infrastructure are economically viable. But that means looking beyond satisfying households basic needs to achieving transformational energy access – satisfying producers’ needs for adequate, reliable and affordable energy.” Find out more about the UN’s work with and for the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries hereTo that end, the report notes that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, could have a revolutionary effect in rural areas, home to 82 per cent of those without power in the least developed countries, and help to overcome the historical obstacles to rural electrification. But non-hydro renewable energy in these countries has so far come mostly from small-scale technologies, such as solar lanterns and stand-alone home systems. While these have brought some progress, they fall short of the game-changing access to power that they need to transform their economies. Utility-scale renewable technologies capable of feeding the grids and mini-grids necessary not only to power homes, but also to grow businesses and industries, need to be deployed rapidly. But to achieve this, the least developed countries must overcome important technological, economic and institutional obstacles. This will require both the right national policies and stronger international support. Because energy technologies, and particularly renewable technologies, are constantly evolving, it is critical that the least developed countries gain access to the technologies suited to their particular conditions and circumstances, and that they strengthen the capacity of their energy sectors to absorb such technologies. The recently created Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries could help, but developed countries could help even more by living up to their technology-transfer obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, said UNCTAD. read more

UN chief deeply alarmed over military offensive in southwest Syria

In a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres called on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, protect civilians and facilitate safe, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access.“All stakeholders must immediately stop attacks directed against medical and educational facilities and put in place security conditions for UN cross-border humanitarian deliveries to resume without further delay,” he said.In the statement, the UN chief also recalled that the south-west area of Syria is part of the July 2017 de-escalation agreement between Jordan, Russia and the United States, and called on its guarantors to uphold their commitments.The Secretary-General also urged the international community “to unite to put an end to this expanding conflict,” which risks further de-stabilizing the region and worsening the deep humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring states. He also called on all concerned to focus on moving the political process forward building on the recent consultations in Geneva.Into its eighth year, the conflict in Syria continues to exact a terrible toll on the country’s civilians. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 13 million people across the war-torn country are in need of humanitarian assistance, including close to 3 million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, where they are exposed to grave protection threats.Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. Children and youth comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance. read more

Africas Lake Chad Basin Over 21 billion pledged to provide comprehensive crisis

Achim Steiner, the Administrator for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said that the promised funds amounted to a “strong endorsement” of the Organization’s work, to address both urgent humanitarian needs and the root causes of the crisis.“In this way, our response to a crisis is also an opportunity to invest in a future where crises are less likely and nations are more resilient,” he said.The two day High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region, was organized in Berlin, by UNDP and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), together with the governments of Germany, Norway and Nigeria.It brought together more than 70 countries, regional organizations, international financial institutions and humanitarian organizations to discuss immediate relief needs, crisis prevention and stabilization, as well as development, to chart a way forward for a comprehensive and inclusive response.In this way, our response to a crisis is also an opportunity to invest in a future where crises are less likely and nations are more resilient – Achim Steiner, UNDP AdministratorAccording to OCHA, the conference also provided an “excellent opportunity” for in-depth deliberations on issues emerging from last February’s Oslo humanitarian conference on the region, that raised some $650 million in pledges for humanitarian programmes in 2017 and beyond.“Participants agreed that a coherent, multi-year approach is needed, that integrates all available instruments to tackle the protection crisis and the root causes of the conflict,” said the organizers in a news release.“This is needed to pave the way for sustainable and resilient development of the region, and thus contribute to a better future for the affected people.”The conference also highlighted the regional dimension of the Lake Chad crisis, and the crucial role of local actors, cross-border cooperation and ownership at all levels.More than 17 million people across the four Lake Chad Basin countries – Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – remain mired in a complex crisis driven by extreme poverty, climate change and violent conflict.As a result, more than 2.4 million are displaced and over 10 million people need more assistance to meet their basic protection and humanitarian needs. read more

Scrappage boosts August registration volumes

The scrappage incentive scheme has boosted vehicle registrations for the third successive month in August, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). ·         102,071 vehicles have been registered under the scrappage scheme since its start·         Scrappage accounted for 25.1% of August new car registrations with 16,848 units “The scrappage scheme is proving hugely popular with motorists and has provided an important boost to the UK motor industry,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The scheme is clearly delivering environmental and safety benefits, in addition to incremental business for UK manufacturing and much needed demand for retailers.” In August, generally a small volume month ahead of the new registration plate in September, one in four new cars bought were attributable to the scrappage incentive scheme. In the commercial vehicle sector, a total of 1,706 vans have been registered since its start and 247 in August, accounting for 3.3% of overall van registrations in August. A full table of provisional scrappage scheme registrations is attached to this press release. DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Brock appoints new Dean of Mathematics and Science

Syed Ejaz Ahmed — currently a professor and head of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Windsor — is Brock’s new Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Science.Syed Ejaz AhmedAhmed will take up his new position on Jan. 1, 2012. In the meantime, Rick Cheel, professor of Earth Sciences, will stay on for a six-month extension as Interim Dean.The announcement was made today by Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President Academic.Ahmed has been at the University of Windsor since 2002. He received his MSc from the University of Guelph in 1984 and his PhD from Carleton University in 1987. He taught at the University of Regina from 1989-2002, the last three years as head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.Ahmed was also an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario from 1987-89, and a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in 2008.Ahmed’s area of expertise includes statistical inference, multivariate analysis and asymptotic theory. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and was the founding director for the Centre for Statistical Consulting, Research, Learning and Services.He has made more than 120 scholarly presentations in countries around the world, authored more than 125 peer-reviewed articles and reviewed more than 70 books and research volumes. He is co-author of a popular textbook Introduction to Probability and Statistics, and author of two other textbooks.Knuttila said the new Dean emerged from a strong field of candidates who sought the appointment.“While we look forward to gaining a scholar of Dr. Ahmed’s calibre, I also want to express the University’s sincere appreciation to Rick Cheel, who has led the Faculty of Mathematics and Science for more than a year while we conducted the national search for a permanent replacement,” he said. read more

KSP Student found with gun on bus in Washington County

Graphic Courtesy: MGN Online SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (WTVQ) – A student was found with a handgun in a backpack on the school bus Thursday morning in Washington County, according to Kentucky State Police.Investigators say students on the bus saw the gun and immediately told the bus driver.  KSP says school staff was able to intercede before the student entered the school building.- Advertisement – State Police say the child was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property.The student was taken to the Adair County Youth Development Center. read more

Brock tweets its way to the top

#BestInCanadaFor the second straight year, Brock University has been recognized as having the best Twitter account among all Canadian universities.Analytics firm Engagement Labs named its honour roll of the top performing colleges and universities using social media, noting Brock’s responsiveness makes it a leader on Twitter.“The home of the badgers, Brock University, backed up their first-place ranking on Twitter for Canadian higher education with excellent response strategies,” Engagement Labs said in a news release detailing the rankings. “Brock made the grade when it took the time on Twitter to respond to questions from their followers, making sure to give timely and informative updates to their inquiring minds.”Brock also performed well on the two other social platforms ranked, coming in at No. 5 for its Instagram use and No. 12 on Facebook out of the top 30 post-secondary institutions.“Brock University has an amazing story to tell, and we consider social media one of the best ways to share our story,” said Gord Hunchak, executive director of Marketing and Communications. “It’s great to see the efforts of our social media teams recognized as leaders among Canadian post-secondary institutions.”Social media co-ordinator Jocelyn Titone, who recently went on leave, said the recognition is an honour and acknowledgement that the University’s commitment to using social media to engage with students is paying off.“Social media – especially Twitter – is fast and immediate. A lot of our students turn to Twitter to ask questions, learn what’s happening on campus and offer us feedback,” Titone said. “Prospective students tweet about their applications to Brock, parents ask questions and alumni reminisce about their time on campus. In order for us to stay relevant to our audience, one of our social media goals is to provide excellent customer service by engaging with as many people as possible as quickly as we can.”Cate Talaue, interim social media co-ordinator said social media builds and strengthens the University’s relationship to its audiences.“Our main purpose on social media is to engage students while they’re on campus and when they become alumni, as well as being their resource for all things Brock,” she said.She said a variety of different platforms are utilized to reach past, present and future Badgers.The @BrockUniversity Twitter account has more than 35,000 followers and the Facebook page also has 35,000.The @BrockUniversity Instagram account has 13,300 followers and continues to grow.Another social platform growing in engagement is @BrockUni on Snapchat.“The mortal enemy of social media is the status quo, so if you want to engage your audience, it means re-thinking your strategy and experimenting with new tools and messages,” Talaue said. “At Brock we don’t think social media needs to be formal or stiff. Being part of the Brock community means being welcoming, inclusive, warm, fun and full of Badger pride – all of which our platforms speak to.”Click here to read the story about last year’s win. read more

Video of this weeks Town Halls now online

Video of this week’s two Town Halls is now available online for faculty and staff.Held Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20, the sessions were the latest in a series of Town Halls held on campus to discuss the future of the University.Senior administration spent time during each event discussing Brock’s new Strategic Plan, as well as implications faced by the University as a result of the Government of Ontario’s Jan. 17 announcement.Video of Tuesday’s Town Hall can be found by going to this link, while Wednesday’s Town Hall can be viewed at this link. Both require viewers to log in with their Brock employee username and password.The slideshow used in the Town Hall presentations is available on SharePoint by logging in with a Brock employee username and password.The Town Halls come in the midst of the University’s annual budget process, which continues Friday, when the budget will be presented to Senate’s Planning, Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee. The committee will have an opportunity to submit questions regarding the document to be answered by Friday, March 29. At that point, the committee will be asked to pass a motion for Senate’s consideration at an April 10 meeting that “the budget is consistent with the academic policy of the University.” read more

Canadian Alex Harvey finishes eighth at crosscountry World Cup

RUKA, Finland — Canada’s Alex Harvey skied to a personal best eighth-place sprint finish at the season-opening cross-country World Cup on Saturday.The leader of the Canadian squad from St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., is competing in his 10th season on the World Cup circuit.“I’m now 30 years old and I have the same excitement for the first race of the season as I did the first time I hit the start line on the World Cup,” Harvey said after completing the 1.4-kilometre classic-sprint course.“You just never really know how you’re positioned against the rest of the world until get on the line. I was really happy with my result today. It is the best sprint result I have ever had in Ruka. The body felt good and the equipment was great.”Skiing in fifth spot for most of his semifinal round, the three-time Olympian grinded his way around the hard-packed and fast course to stay in contact with the leaders. A late charge down the finishing stretch allowed him to grab one more spot on the pack, but it wasn’t enough to advance, leaving him in eighth spot overall on the day.“The steep hill on this course is the key. I’ve never been the snappiest on the hills, so I was happy with the effort and the result,” Harvey said.Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov won the race, topping a trio of Norwegians in the final heat. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo finished in second place. Eirik Brandsdal grabbed the final step on the men’s podium in third.Three other Canadians competed but did not qualify in the round of 30. Julien Locke of Nelson, B.C. placed 69th, Andy Shields of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 75th while Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., was 76th.The Canadian Press read more

Sharpe riding high into halfpipe season as Olympic champ

Cassie Sharpe was name-dropped in a tweet by movie star Ryan Reynolds, saw a little girl dressed up as her for Halloween and even got her face on a pair of socks owned by the prime minister.These things can happen when you win Olympic gold.Sharpe won the halfpipe skiing competition in South Korea, nailing jump after jump and thrilling her native Canada. She gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the special socks during a meet and greet at Parliament Hill with other Olympic medallists in May. The idea came after she saw socks adorned with Trudeau’s face at a tourist shop in Vancouver and bought them to wear to the meeting.“I told one of my friends about it and she was like, ‘You should get socks with your face on them and give them to him.’ So yeah, I gave the prime minister socks with my face on them,” Sharpe said with a laugh in a phone interview with The Canadian Press. “He said people always give him stuff with his face on them so I was like: ‘you know what? Funny you should say that,’ and I pulled up my pant leg and showed him my socks with his face on them.”The visit to the capital was just one of the highlights for Sharpe in a summer that also saw her take some much-needed time for herself after years of near non-stop training for her Olympic debut. She went to Mexico, Disney World and Japan over a three-month break. Now that she’s back on snow in the Colorado mountains, Sharpe is ready to defend her World Cup points title at her season-opening event at Copper Mountain.Sharpe finished first in qualifying runs Wednesday for the weekend’s competition with 93.75 points. She called the Copper Mountain halfpipe her “nemesis” — three years ago, she took a tumble on the course while doing one of her easier tricks and has had trouble turning off the negative feelings.“I think coming into last year I was only thinking about that (fall) and I wasn’t aggressive, I wasn’t enjoying skiing it, I had so much on the back of my mind,” said Sharpe, who’s spent the last few weeks training in Austria. “I think this year coming into it I’ve tried to only have positivity about it and not dwell on something that happened three seasons ago. We’ll see how it goes but I’m definitely trying to emote more positive vibes toward this pipe.”Sharpe capped the 2017-18 halfpipe campaign with a World Cup victory in France a month after winning Olympic gold. The 26-year-old won two other World Cup competitions last year and added to her medal haul with a Dew Tour gold and an X Games bronze.While the next Olympic Games is still three years away, Sharpe said she is not taking it any easier this season. The pressure to maintain her top ranking is serving as a motivation.“I definitely feel the pressure of being the athlete on top,” Sharpe said. “I feel like it’s more performing on demand — like I have to always be on and skiing my best to maintain that spot and that pressure and expectation that I’m going to do that. That’s what I feel more, but I’m for sure my worst critic. I’m the person who pushes myself the most.“My family, my coaches, my team, no one is putting that pressure on me. So I’m trying to just be more positive and go out there with a more fun (attitude) instead of that heavy, competitive vibe all the time. I just want to have fun with this season.”The Associated Press read more

Football Records dont matter in Ohio State vs Michigan State

The Ohio State football team prepares to run onto the field prior to the first game of the 2016 season against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe idea that “records don’t matter” when it comes to Ohio State and Michigan has been reiterated throughout the week by the Buckeyes. Redshirt senior center Pat Elflein knows all too well how much of a dogfight the matchups between the Buckeyes and the Spartans are.Since 2011, the Buckeyes are just 2-3 against Michigan State — the worst mark OSU has against any team throughout the past five years. During that time, the Scarlet and Gray have never played in Spartan Stadium as a top-five team.That is, until Saturday. Elflein, among others, said the 3-7 record for Mark Dantonio’s team is nothing if not a ruse. A hot topic for OSU coach Urban Meyer this week has been how important competing for a Big Ten title — something OSU might not do this season — is for making a playoff case. Meyer, of course, deflected the question, and said he had not discussed the issue with his team.“Just want to beat Michigan State, man,” he said. “It means a lot.”Looking back through the past five years, that statement has been easier said than done.2011: Michigan State 10 – Ohio State 7In the wake of TattooGate, the Buckeyes lost long-time coach Jim Tressel and multiple players. In Luke Fickell’s interim head coaching stint, OSU came into the game against the Spartans at 3-1, with a loss to the University of Miami. The Buckeyes were simply outclassed in Ohio Stadium, as they failed to average more than a yard rushing on 39 attempts. Even with three forced turnovers, just 178 yards of offense and 82 yards of penalties suffocated OSU. OSU finished the year 6-7 without any real notable wins, except for a 33-29 victory over Wisconsin, who went on to win the Big Ten title. Next year, Meyer became the head coach for OSU, much to the excitement of Buckeye fans.2012: Ohio State 17 – Michigan State 16Meyer’s tenure started with a bang. After jumping out to a 4-0 start, the Buckeyes traveled to their first away game of the season. The Spartans proved to be a tough draw.It took a 314 total-yard performance from Braxton Miller to do it, and a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith to seal the deal. It was Michigan State’s second loss of the season.The Buckeyes never had a game as close as this one for the rest of the 2012 campaign, and OSU finished the year with a perfect 12-0 record. Due to ramifications from NCAA actions taken against the team after TattooGate, OSU was not bowl eligible.2013: Michigan State 34 – Ohio State 24 (Big Ten championship)After facing Michigan State for the two previous years in the regular season, the Buckeyes had to wait until the Big Ten title game to get a chance at Dantonio’s team. OSU was pushed to the limit for the second straight week after a 42-41 slugfest in the week prior with Michigan.The Buckeyes luck ran out, and Meyer suffered his first loss as OSU’s coach.Connor Cook torched the Scarlet and Gray defense with 304 yards and three touchdowns, while Jeremy Langfield pounded the ball up the middle against a relatively stout OSU rush defense. A late Langford touchdown run put Michigan State up by 10, and the Spartans never looked back.Defensive shortcomings mixed with a lack of an OSU passing game (eight completions for 101 yards) gave the Spartans the Big Ten title. The Buckeyes had to wait until early November of 2014 to get redemption.2014: Ohio State 49 – Michigan State 37The injury of Braxton Miller before the 2014 season began was supposed to doom the Buckeyes. That was until a little-known redshirt freshman quarterback by the name of J.T. Barrett trotted onto the field for OSU.Barrett, who had led the team to a 7-1 mark when OSU traveled to East Lansing, played one of his best games of his short career to that point. Piling up 300 yards through the air with three touchdowns, paired with a 154-yard, two touchdown performance for Ezekiel Elliott, the Buckeyes walked away from Spartan Stadium one win richer.The win was an upset, with OSU coming into the game at No. 14 and Michigan State at No. 8. A good showing against the Spartans helped propel the Buckeyes into Big Ten and eventually national championship contention.2015: Michigan State 17 – Ohio State 14With repeat title hopes on their mind, the Buckeyes struggled to find continuity at the quarterback position. Swapping between Barrett and Cardale Jones, who helped the team win a national championship following an injury to Barrett against Michigan in 2014, Meyer could not decide who should have led the team.With the decision made for Barrett to start, OSU’s offense floundered. Elliott touched the ball just 12 times, and Barrett threw for just 46 yards. Two turnovers for the Buckeye defense still wasn’t enough to bring home a win. Tyler O’Connor, Michigan State’s starting quarterback for this season, replaced an injured Connor Cook and managed the game to the best of his abilities. A game-winning field goal by Michael Geiger is an image most OSU fans have yet to let go, especially the windmill celebration the kicker did down the sideline after nailing the kick to top OSU.2016With title hopes on the line again for OSU, and Michigan State looking to save face following a disappointing season so far, fans in attendance should be ready for some fireworks in Spartan Stadium. OSU’s run game should dictate the pace of play, while the Silver Bullets might be able to grab a few turnovers. read more