Welbeck eager to stay on winning track

first_imgSuccessive league defeats had seen the north London club drop away from the leading group, but after following up the Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund with victory at West Brom, Arsene Wenger’s side moved up to sixth, two points behind Manchester United in fourth.That wasn’t enough to satisfy some of the travelling Arsenal supporters at the weekend who unfurled a banner demanding the veteran manager quit.Victory against a Southampton side still smarting from a painful 3-0 home defeat by Manchester City last weekend will help defuse the anger of those fans frustrated at Arsenal’s failure to keep pace with leaders Chelsea.Welbeck is convinced the confidence generated by his much-needed goal will help turn things around.The striker, signed from Manchester United for £16 million ($26.6 million, 20.2 million euros) at the end of the last transfer window, said: “I’ve had a couple blocked off the line [in recent games] and it just wasn’t going my way, but I’ve got the goal and I’m just looking forward to scoring more and helping the team to win games.”Welbeck’s goal was timely as he attempts to retain his position as Arsenal’s main striker following the return to fitness of Olivier Giroud.“It gives the manager a good headache and he’s got a lot of options going forward. Going into the games, everybody’s going to be giving 100 percent,” he said.– Schneiderlin setback –Southampton remain third despite the defeat at the hands of City and Wenger knows they will pose a testing challenge.The Gunners boss has been left with yet another injury headache ahead of the visit of Ronald Koeman’s team.Defenders Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal are both doubtful after suffering injuries at West Brom, forcing Wenger to consider using Calum Chambers or Laurent Koscielny as a makeshift left-back.Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is again likely to miss out because of a hip problem but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to recover from a minor knockKoeman criticised his side for the individual errors he believes were responsible for the loss to a City side reduced to 10 men for the last 16 minutes.The Saints’ hopes of returning to winning ways have not been helped by the loss of midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin due to injury.“He’s not ready for Wednesday,” said Koeman. “He’s now having a scan on his right leg, we have to wait and see the results of the scan.“We know exactly what Morgan means for our team, he’s one of our key players and without key players it’s always difficult for the rest of the team.”Southampton have already tasted victory at the Emirates Stadium this season when they knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup.“The previous result gives the confidence that we can beat them, but Arsenal in the last two games have had two good results,” said Koeman.“I think they are a little bit back with the spirit about these two results.“It will be difficult, but you always get space against Arsenal. They like to play, they like to play offensive.“I think it will be an open game and, with our possibilities, we believe we will have chances for a good result,” added the former Dutch international.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, December 2- Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck hopes to maintain the momentum generated by his match-winning header at West Bromwich Albion when Southampton visit the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.Welbeck’s header at The Hawthorns was his first goal in seven games for Arsenal and secured a priceless victory for the Gunners as they attempt to force their way back into the Champions League spots.last_img read more

How TouringPlans Calculate Attraction Closures

first_imgShare This!One of the most disappointing things that can happen at Walt Disney World, or any theme park, is to arrive at an attraction and find out the ride is closed. Some poor Cast Member has to tell a countless number of guests that the attraction is unavailable. The next questions the cast member gets is “When will it reopen?” and “Why is it closed?” Many closures are due to weather. Beyond that, the cast member generally will not know (or will not share) much information, nor will he or she tell you how long a closure will last.Back in May, Len Testa announced that the Lines app now predicts when closed attractions will reopen. Re-optimized touring plans will adjust plans and moved a closed attraction to a time we expect the ride to be reopened. A warning: This post is on the geeky side and shows the analysis that is being used to make the app work. If you don’t want to peek inside the black box, feel free to stop reading. If you choose to proceed, may the light shine upon thee.Along with the millions of wait times that are submitted to TouringPlans we also get thousands of submissions that mark attractions as closed. In the past 365 days, we identified 1,890 attraction closures at Walt Disney World. To save you a trek across the park, the Lines app indicates when attractions are closed. A submission of an active wait time also tells us when the attraction reopens. With this information, we can do better than the Disney cast members and estimate how long an attraction will be closed.Not all closures are equal. Different attractions have different protocols for re-opening. Some attractions have to go through a whole safety check cycle for any type of closure. The length of closures can also depend on the time of day. If an attraction goes down close to the end of the day, Disney may choose not to even try to re-open it.The good news is that most closures are short: 40% of all closures are under 20 minutes, and just 8% of closures are more than 100 minutes. Below are a few attractions and the distribution of length of closures. The highlighted bar is the median closure length. The median is the point where half the data is below and half the data is above. Once a closure is reported the app will estimate a reopening time. The initial estimate is based on the attraction previous closures and the time of day.If the reopening time is approaching and the attraction is still reported close, the reopening time will be pushed back. The Lines app will tell you two pieces of information: last reported closure time, and when the attraction will reopen.Have you used the reopening feature in Lines? Hopefully, it has helped you and improved your touring.last_img read more

I ♥ Johannesburg

first_imgTim CohenI recently turned 50, a frightening age when all hopes and pretences of youth are finally banished. Your memories, good and bad, seem to loom large everywhere. Your centre of gravity seems to lean backwards rather than forwards.When a friend emailed to say happy birthday, the best I could do was say “What birthday?” He emailed back to say denial was not a river in Egypt.With the denial door closed, I tried to sanguine about it, or even wittily off-hand, but nothing seemed to help.There is nothing about being 50 that you can rationalise. I don’t like the physical decrepitude that it implies, I don’t like the pointed way it seems to accuse you of not achieving what you set out to achieve, I don’t like the strange way it alights in people’s minds and then settles there the way other dates do not.“Oh, you’re fifty! I would never have guessed it. You are in amazingly good shape for someone who’s fifty.” (In other words, you are not, even for someone who is fifty.)But if I was really searching, really scraping the bottom of the barrel, I would say the one thing that I did like about turning 50 was that I was in Johannesburg when it happened.I don’t love Johannesburg, or even particularly like it. South Africa’s biggest city, its sprawling economic powerhouse, is the place of inchoateness; it has no binding character. Its people live in everything from glorious mansions and box dwellings of toilets and bedrooms.The best it can do as a form of architecture is to copy – wait for it – Tuscan villas, a place with which it has no earthly resemblance or historical reason for trying to copy. And even that, it does not do very well. No Tuscan would be seen dead in the townhouse complexes that claim their heritage.The centre of the city is visibly decaying, and its businesses are moving out, not to suburbia but just up the road to another place where corporate headquarters can eventually be deposited like so much litter before the companies move somewhere else.It is in a place of fear; of crime and poverty and drunkenness, of electrical wires strung above people’s houses and huge automatic gates, the modern versions of moats around castles.The city stretches out over a huge area, until it almost ambles into other towns and centres. It doesn’t seem to know where it starts or stops; is Boksburg part of Johannesburg or is it a town in its own right? Is Soweto part of Johannesburg or not? Nobody seems to know.Nothing seems to bind Johannesburgers; its rugby team is simply miserable and it has too many soccer teams to attach a city identity to any one of them. Even the name Johannesburg is nondescript: the Afrikaans for John, the most common name in English, excitingly combined with the word for, well, “city”.The truth is that Johannesburg is a bit of a blank page; it has few features of note – no mountain, no river, no lake. There are places that pass for attractiveness, but no one can accuse any part of Johannesburg of being actually beautiful.When people try to romanticise Johannesburg they say there may be no river, but the city was built on a river of gold. Well, you just have to go down a gold mine once to have that thought well and truly banished out of you. Gold mines are hot, rough, and dangerous, very reminiscent of, well, Johannesburg itself.The only real feature of Johannesburg was the mine dumps, but gradually even they are being eaten away as part of reprocessing efforts – the gold miners trying desperately to get that last little bead of sweat out of their pits. If you think about it, it’s slightly funny that the most notable feature of Johannesburg geographically was the dumps.“I love Johannesburg,” a friend told me a long time ago. “It’s such a dump.” And that is Johannesburg people for you; they are not ashamed of the place, but they don’t long for it; they try, half-heartedly, to romanticise it, but generally fail.But here is the thing: they keep coming back. I am in fact a good example. I was born in Durban, but my parents ultimately moved to Johannesburg. They then moved to Windhoek, but came back, bringing me with them. I went to university in Durban but returned to Johannesburg. I lived in Cape Town but came back. I lived in London, but came back.When people try to put Johannesburg down – not a difficult task – they say things like, “If there was a god of Johannesburg, it would be mammon.” But this is precisely part of what I love about it. People come to Johannesburg not to feast their eyes or be entertained. They come to work. They come to build themselves and their lives and the things around them.And because of that, Johannesburg is rich – not because it worships money, but because it values what is valuable; effort, achievement, striving. It has what the Greeks used to call telos, a purpose or a goal.When Nelson Mandela set out on his journey to change the country, his first major move was the obvious one: he came to Johannesburg. And only in Johannesburg would he have been able to train in a white law firm and develop the following that would lead him to leadership. However hard the apartheid government tried, it could never quite impose its strict segregation on Johannesburg; it was like trying to corner a jellyfish. Johannesburg will not be defined.I love the fact that Johannesburg is not the seat of government or justice or administration. It stands apart, on its own, with no assistance requested or required. There is a kind of heroism to Johannesburg’s dismalness and decrepitude that gives me hope. It makes me think; we are old, we are grey, and we are ugly. But what the hell, let’s push on.Tim Cohen is a freelance journalist writing for a variety of South African publications. He is currently contracted as a columnist to The Weekender and Business Day, where he has worked for most of his career. He was the 2004 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year.last_img read more

Missouri poised to require expanded insurance for children with disabilities

first_img(Missourinet) In 2010, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover therapies for the state’s autistic children. A measure passed this year expands that policy by mandating insurers to include physical, occupational and speech therapies for Missouri’s physically and developmentally disabled kids up to age 18. The move will make the Show-Me State among three states in the nation to have a therapy requirement for all children with such challenges.The Schelps pictured with Gov. Mike Parson during bill signingThe bipartisan bill, sponsored by State Representative Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, was attached to a healthcare bill with several other components. It was signed into law this month by Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, and takes effect with 2020 insurance plans.Robyn Schelp, of central Missouri’s Columbia, has been a leading advocate of the law because her 11-year-old son, Nathan, is developmentally challenged.“It’s not going to impact him that much anymore like it would have ten years ago, but it needs to be done for all kiddos,” says Schelp. “This is not about Nathan. It’s not about Will. It’s not about the kids that are walking the halls. It’s about all of Missouri’s children.”Schelp’s pursuit for the law included leaving the language broad for all disabilities to get equal treatment.“It is so important that all disabilities be included to do with anything in the disability world,” she says. “This (bill) includes disabilities like Down syndrome, which is pretty common, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, to the really rare genetic disorders. Or like my son, who has a genetic disorder that they can’t even figure out what it is.”In the provision of Senate Bill 514, it says that insurance companies must be limited to a number of visits per calendar year, provided that additional visits shall be covered if approved and deemed medically necessary by the health benefit plan. Schelp is hopeful that more therapy providers will surface in Missouri, especially in schools and in rural areas where healthcare resources are especially limited.“It (the law) impacts their families. It’s impacts their neighbors. It impacts their classrooms – their classmates. It impacts the community. When we start to get beyond ourselves, we can realize when everybody’s needs are met, everybody benefits,” Schelp says.Now that Missouri will soon become the third state to expand coverage, Schelp does not plan to stop advocating for the cause.“Our goal is to see nationwide change. We want this (requirement) to happen everywhere,” says Schelp. “It should have already happened everywhere, but now it’s time to make sure it happens everywhere throughout the country.”last_img read more

Biggest fan: The story behind Sachin Tendulkar’s shadow

first_imgSudhir Gautam. Photo By – Mandar DeodharAmong the flurry of people at Bandra station is an equally inconspicuous gentleman looking around trying to hail a rickshaw. He’s dressed in a Team India Practice jersey, carrying a bag which is likely a hand-me-down from the official merchandise of the Indian Cricket team, matching blue shoes and a cap, letting out unkempt scraggly strands of hair.Sudhir Kumar Gautam, the gentleman usually seen layered in saffron, white and green paint from head to waist, waving the flag with pride and blowing his conch in support of Sachin Tendulkar in every match, is en route the legendary cricketer’s Bandra bungalow before he hops on the evening train to Kochi to resume his career as the unofficial mascot for the Indian cricket team.Gautam, who grew up in the Damodar village in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, lived a regular life. He studied in the local school, lived with his mother, father and three siblings and eventually graduated, to be admitted into a college where he studied History Honours. He too, was a promising cricketer, training to be a teacher and a strong hope for financial support from his poverty stricken family. All this changed, when he cycled to Mumbai to meet the man he says is the Ram to his Hanuman.”I’ve left three jobs,” he says. “I could’ve been a teacher in Bihar Shikshamitra, but my training was in February 2006 and in January I cycled to Pakistan to watch Sachin play in the 5 ODI series.” Prior to this, he worked at a Dairy, a job he had to quit in order to gain accessto his Provident Fund to incur the costs involved in getting a passport for his aforementioned jaunt. “I also had an interview to become a TC(ticket collector) in 2005, but there was a match to watch: the 6th one day between India and Pakistan. So I skipped the interview to cycle toDelhi,” he said as he donned a test match jersey to pose for a few pictures on the steps of the Mount Saint Mary Church, a little distance away from Tendulkar’s home.advertisementSudhir Gautam. Photo By – Mandar DeodharHis passion and dedication towards the Indian cricket team is an admirable feat, and a rare spectacle in the world today. It takes courage and resilience to chase a passing revelry with so much fervour and see it through to a point where you’re the talk of the entire nation. And let’s face it, he makes for great television.His family, however, presently lives in resentment and dire conditions. “My brother is married with three kinds and he is a teacher, but he makes around Rs. 7,000-8,000 a month and can’t support my parents,” he said. His old father, who had once dreamed that Gautam, his middle child would take care of him financially, is having to work as a shopkeeper despite his age. “Whenever I visit them I eat a meal with them and leave, they abuse me and get angry, but I just listen and get on my way again,” he says.Gautam who in spite of an education most people in rural India crave and are denied, is now taking up odd jobs handing out cold drinks or ice cream at events to gather up enough money to afford a general train ticket to watch his next match. The debate of whether passion trumps responsibility here is tricky, whether this is a man we as a nation should glorify wholeheartedly is questionable, especially when juxtaposed with the fact of his idol, Tendulkar, being the bastion of humility, achievement and the ability to remarkably, yet sensibly realise his dream.However, Gautam lives on as a vagabond undeterred by what goes on back home. He continues to hand pick a thousand litchees each year to deliver in crates to both Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar, and more recently MS Dhoni and bangles for “Anjali Madam”. He still trades in his education and ambitions to be the super fan of Indian cricket, which is rather an expensive affair as he says.Aside from travel expenditure, Gautam also sees it necessary to pay the painters who spend anywhere between four and six hours to paint his body. “They do it for free, but I feel like I should pay them a little so they don’t refuse me the next time I go to them,” he said.This leads him to arrive at match venues a day prior to scheduled matches. “This way I can hide my conch and the staff of my flag in the stadium so I can use it the following day.”advertisementAs people near the church hand over their phone cameras for a picture with him, tossing aside their prayer candles and explaining to their children who he is, Gautam remembers how the crowds at a stadiums often bother him and lead the security process to go haywire. “In Vadodara, outside the boundary line there is a Neem Tree,” he recalls.”When the spectators bother me I climb that tree and it’s a different feeling. No one disturbs me, I wave the flag and blow the conch in peace.”While Gautam begins to pack his things and get ready to  hopefully stop at a barber shop before proceeding to meet the master blaster, he confirms that he will never get married because he has submitted to his current way of living, in which there is no room for a relationship. “Jab tak suraj chaand rahega, Sahin ji ka naam rahega,” he says as he slings his backpack over one shoulder.”Till I have the privilege of being on this earth, I will support Sachin sir and now that he has retired I will write the words ‘Miss U’ in the empty space above my chest where I write his name.” He smiles and calls out to a rickshaw which rattles along to take him to Tendulkar’s home, leaving those with their newly clicked photos with him, looking on with envy, but also an unassuming sense of admiration.last_img read more