Christmas came early for Manchester United fans this year as Santa rocked up in west London bearing gifts.First stop was Loftus Road, followed by a trip to Craven Cottage, where visiting supporters who’d opted to make a long weekend of it were rewarded with six points, seven goals and a succession of missed chances. (Before making the long journey back to Surrey – ho ho ho.)I was at the QPR game, armed with hope, memories of Dennis Bailey and a six-year-old daughter who’d never seen us lose.It took precisely 52 seconds for Wayne Rooney to shatter the dream.The striker’s face lit up like the pound signs in the eyes of his hair surgeon as he shrugged off the attention of five Rangers players to squeeze his header in.“Carrick…was afforded the sort of space you’d give to Nick Clegg if you saw him walking towards you down the street.”More importantly, the early blow from Rooney – who bossed the game from start to finish – killed the atmosphere, with tired refrains of “You let your country down” the best a listless crowd could muster.Indeed the chant of the night belonged to the United fans, who gleefully sang “Warnock for England!” as the manager scratched his head looking for answers.In the event they were nearly provided by forgotten man Adel Taarabt, who showed more class in his brief cameo appearance than the rest of his team-mates put together.The unfathomable Moroccan is either desperate to show QPR what they’ve been missing – or what they will be missing when he hot-foots it off to France in January.When Taarabt’s glorious cross left his fellow sub with an open goal, I had visions of a glorious comeback and the opportunity for the PA man to dust down his copy of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.In the event, Dudley Junior Campbell fluffed his lines and it was Michael Carrick who had the final say.Can Taarabt light up QPR’s festive period?QPR have long been renowned for giving a leg-up to players and teams on a bad run and Carrick, who’d gone two years without a goal, was afforded the sort of space you’d give to Nick Clegg if you saw him walking towards you down the street, as he strolled through unopposed to pick his spot.Three days later, Sunderland were in town to help themselves to Rangers’ all-you-can-eat buffet, with Taarabt again not introduced until his side were two down.Two goals in as many minutes seemed to have turned the game on its head until Wes Brown (Wes Brown!) stole in to give Sunderland a 3-2 win, leaving Rangers with one point from 15 and (to quote the name of a Loftus Road ‘legend’) in deep Doudou.Meanwhile, Fulham rolled out the welcome mat for Brown’s former employers in a game which will doubtless be dubbed “5-0 – even Berba scored.”The rarely-seen Bulgarian found the net with the cheekiest of backheels before celebrating with all the gusto of a man trying to remember where he’s parked his car.It left some Fulham fans muttering about whether Martin Jol was such a good appointment after all, with ‘Clydebank’ on the Cottage Corner messageboard getting into the festive spirit by crooning: “We’re beginning to look a lot like Brentford.”Don’t mock – you could be playing them next season.Meanwhile, ‘Gandalf’ on the same board conceded: “Title chances over. City and United too far adrift.” Tsk tsk, such negativity.Next up for the Whites is a Boxing Day trip to Stamford Bridge, where there won’t be any songs sung about John Terry. Much.The Chelsea skipper, who has a date with the beak in February, cast aside his off-field concerns to save his side’s bacon against Tottenham with a last-ditch clearance to secure a 1-1 draw – a few days after Petr Cech had earned Wigan a similar result.Bees boss Rosler could have plenty to smile about in 2012.And so to Brentford, who are clinging on to the final play-off spot in League One despite conceding a late equaliser to 10-man Bury at Gigg Lane.At least they were entering into the Christmas spirit on the Griffin Park Grapevine forum, with ‘Boscombe Bee’ declaring: “Looking forward to those bits if sausage wrapped in bacon. Whoever invented those is right up there with Edison!”‘Brickie chap’ was not so sure, announcing: “I’ll be ignoring anyone sporting any daft Santa crap. I may say something nice to a select few on Christmas Day itself…but that’s not certain.”And there was also a miserable pantomime experience. The conversation went like this:‘Markybee’: “Went to Windsor Theatre on Saturday night to see Sleeping Beauty. The jokes were so bad it wasn’t true.”‘GP200’: “Oh no they weren’t.”‘Marybee’: “Oh yes they were.”Back on Cottage Corner, ‘Royce Traner’ had some interesting advice on how to cook a turkey:“First, buy the turkey and a bottle of vodka. Pour yourself a glass of vodka and put the turkey in the oven. Take another two drinks of vodka and set the degree at 375 ovens.“Have three more vodkas of drink and turn the oven on. Do four more and turk the bastey. Stick a turkey in the thermometer, and glass yourself. Bake the vodka for four hours, take the oven out of the turkey, and floor the turkey up off the pick. Pour yourself another glass of turkey. Now just tet the sable, and turk the carvey.”Couldn’t have put it better myself.And finally, the feelgood Christmas story of the year involved rumours of Man City striker Mario Balotelli driving around Manchester dressed in a blue Santa’s outfit handing out money.No-one could confirm it but the fact nobody thought it was unlikely to have happened confirmed what we already knew – the bloke is a proper star.Have a good Christmas and see you on the other side.Follow Chris on Twitter
After two BJP MLAs this week voted in favour of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, several Congress MLAs are planning to register a protest against their entry into the ruling party. On Wednesday, BJP MLAs Sharad Kol (Beohari) and Narayan Tripathi (Maihar) backed the seven-month-old Congress-led government during voting on a Bill in the Assembly. Congress leaders termed Mr. Tripathi a “habitual turncoat”. “This is for the eighth time Narayan Tripathi has changed sides. He is exposed now. He had left the Congress only two days ahead of Lok Sabha election in 2014,” said Congress leader Shrikant Chaturvedi. Mr. Chaturvedi was defeated by Mr. Tripathi in the November 2018 Assembly elections. “Mr. Tripathi has been a leader of different parties like the Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the BJP, besides the Congress, which he had termed his mother organisation when joining last time,” he said. Mr. Chaturvedi held a press conference at Maihar in Satna district along with a dozen party leaders and supporters, and said the Congress should take local leaders into confidence before allowing Mr. Tripathi into the fold. “We respect our top leaders but we should be consulted before any decision about Mr. Tripathi,” he said. ‘Resign as MLA’Other Congress leaders, including Dharmesh Ghai and Shrinivas Urmalia, said Mr. Tripathi should be told to resign from the BJP and also as an MLA before formally joining the Congress. They said they will convey their feelings to Chief Minister Kamal Nath in this regard. Meanwhile, M.P. Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said any decision about the support of the MLAs was the prerogative of Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Roma defender Manolas back on Man Utd radarby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAS Roma defender Kostas Manolas is back on the radar of Manchester United.TMW says United had Manolas scouted against Juventus.The Greek defender can leave Rome in June and has €36 million release fee.And United representatives were extremely impressed by his performance.The defender has just switched agents – joining Mino Raiola who is famously Paul Pogba’s rep. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Solskjaer plans new Man Utd role for Martialby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to change the position of Anthony Martial.The Manchester Evening News says Solskjaer could give Martial a new role in the club’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth on Sunday.Marcus Rashford has so far been Solskjaer’s trusted option up top.The England international impressed against both Cardiff and Huddersfield, sparking hopes he can kick on now Jose Mourinho is no longer in charge.Yet Martial could be deployed in a No 9 role instead.Rashford has sparkled in recent times.But Martial is the club’s top scorer this season and could be fielded there instead.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Diego Lainez insists choosing Real Betis over Ajax best decisionby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveDiego Lainez is delighted with his move to Real Betis.The 18 year-old Mexico international chose Betis over Ajax this week as he arrived from Club America.Lainez said, “I’m happy to be part of this great club. Surely it is the best decision I have made. There were other options but it was easy because I wanted to come here. I’m sure it’s a great club. “What I was told by (Lorenzo) Serra Ferrer and Federico (Martínez Feria, the general manager) I saw on Sunday, when I saw the match I saw a very good feeling because all the fans were encouraging from the minute one until the end. Andrés (Guardado) is very important here. Very happy and happy to be in this great club and now to respond and give the best of me with humility and good football.”
scoreboard at memorial stadium comes downDon’t worry, Oklahoma fans. What you’ll see in the below video was planned.Thursday night, Oklahoma purposely knocked down the skeleton of its scoreboard at Memorial Stadium, making way for a new video board that will span 8,750 feet. According to Tulsa World, the panels that accompanied the skeleton were removed and will be sold off.The new board will be up before the 2016 season.It’s gonna be Sweet #Brackets #OUDNA #BGB #SoonerMagic #Big12Champs pic.twitter.com/TUvnWf2h6E— Coach Drew Hill (@OU_CoachHill) December 3, 2015Video of the board coming down pic.twitter.com/0JP9oMRMmc— Siandhara Bonnet (@SiandharaB) December 3, 2015Despite the construction, Oklahoma’s 2015 campaign isn’t over. The Sooners are likely headed to the College Football Playoff.
Story Highlights The Government has settled all judgement debts due at the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year, made possible through a provision of $1.309 billion from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. The Minister also noted that for the previous fiscal year (2017/2018), the Government disbursed compensation to 418 persons affected by the May 2010 security forces operations in West Kingston. He pointed out that the Ministry did not incur these debts, but had to satisfy them from its budgetary allocation. The Government has settled all judgement debts due at the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year, made possible through a provision of $1.309 billion from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who made the announcement during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 22, said the Government was able to settle all 303 matters.“All matters submitted from the Attorney General’s Chambers were paid. We owe nothing! In fact, up to last Friday, May 18, we were able to pay up all our debts… 56 matters totalling just over $78 million,” he said.The Minister also noted that for the previous fiscal year (2017/2018), the Government disbursed compensation to 418 persons affected by the May 2010 security forces operations in West Kingston.He said the Ministry paid out $55.84 million to victims directly and transferred $134.57 million to the Administrator General’s Department to compensate the estates of deceased persons.Meanwhile, Mr. Chuck noted that while the Government satisfies its indebtedness for negligence and misconduct of public servants, he is urging the police, medical personnel and other public servants to act with due care and precaution in exercising their duties.He pointed out that the Ministry did not incur these debts, but had to satisfy them from its budgetary allocation.
New Delhi: Hoping to change the lives of the capital’s have-nots, a shopkeeper in Delhi has been running a makeshift school for more than 300 underprivileged children beneath a metro bridge in the Yamuna Bank area for the last over eight years without any assistance neither from the government nor any NGOs. ‘The Free School Under The Bridge’, where hundreds of children living in shacks and hutments close to the Yamuna Bank metro station get education, is run by its founder Rajesh Kumar Sharma. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe sole breadwinner of his family of five who live in Laxmi Nagar, Sharma belongs to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district and runs a small grocery shop in the same locality to support his family. The 49-year-old’s journey of teaching more than 300 children of slum dwellers, ragpickers, rickshaw-pullers and beggars began with two children in 2006 when the idea came to his mind while wandering around the empty fields close to the Yamuna river. Today, he runs two shifts — one from 9-11 am for 120 boys and the other 2-4.30 pm for 180 girls — with the help of seven teachers who live in nearby areas and in their free time, volunteer to teach the students aged between four and 14 years. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe open house school, whose roof is a Delhi metro bridge, has five blackboards painted on the wall of the metro complex and some stationary such as chalks and dusters, pens and pencils. The children, who sit on the ground covered with carpets, bring their own note books and study in groups. The place is far from traffic and the noise of frequently passing metro trains hardly gets noticed by the students. Sharma, who could not complete his B.Sc and dropped out of college due to his family’s poor financial condition, says that no one should be deprived of education due to poverty and to fulfil his or her dream, he dedicates over 50 hours a week to the children. Although he started the movement of educating the poor children on his own, Sharma is now assisted by teachers Laxmi Chandra, Shyam Mahto, Rekha, Sunita, Manisha, Chetan Sharma and Sarvesh who take classes on their free will and none of them get paid for the deed. Sharma says that he has never been approached by any government representative for any kind of assistance although he has seen many regime changes ever since he started his journey 13 years ago. However, he has no complaints against anyone, saying I am driven by my selfless goal of educating these poor and underprivileged children whose smile is more than enough for me. Initially some NGOs contacted me and tried to be associated with the makeshift school but I never allowed them as they all looked suspicious. None of them were serious about the children’s education and their future. “All they were interested in was making money by showing something and claiming something else. I did not approve of their way of functioning which had many loopholes and room for discrepancies, he said. Sharma said he only receives genuine contribution from individuals that too not in the monetary form. Some people visit the school occasionally and distribute biscuit packets, fruits, water bottles and packaged food. Some youngsters celebrate their birthdays with the children, cut cakes here and have food together by sitting beneath the bridge. “Such occasions make them feel that they are also the part of the society no matter where they live or what background they belong to, he said. Sharma not only conducts regular classes for the students, but also gets them enrolled into the nearby government schools and ensures that they devote sufficient time to their education. He maintains a record of the students and conducts their attendance. If a student is absent beyond a reasonable period, he contacts their family and tries to know the reason for the absence. Six-year-old Sunita says learning here is fun and she tries to be regular as much as possible. I want to achieve big in my life and that is why I come here every afternoon. Sometimes the school is closed due to bad weather like heavy rain or thunderstorm but my passion for studies never gets weakened, she said. Teachers here are very supportive and encouraging and work very hard for every one, said another student Suresh. I never knew the value of education before coming here. Now I dream of becoming a successful and responsible person and want to support my family after the completion of my education, he said. Sharma said the children always remain cheerful whenever they study because they know that their future is in their hands if they continue their studies seriously. Sometimes, some children get absent for days as they have to assist their families due to extreme poverty. No child wants to discontinue his or her studies but they also have to make their ends meet.
New Delhi: Doctors, nurses, dentists and mid-wives who wish to practice in the UK will no longer have to appear for English language tests like TOEFL and IELTS as the country will now accept scores of Occupational English Test (OET) which the candidates have to anyway clear for registering with the relevant healthcare regulator.The OET is an international English language test that assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals, who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe candidates had to earlier take OET to register with Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council, which are the two healthcare boards in the UK, as well as TOEFL or IELTS like exam to apply for visa. “The UK Home Office has streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa,” said Sujata Stead, CEO, Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, which conducts the OET. “This change which was announced last week will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly,” she added. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe change will apply to all Tier 2 (General) visa applications submitted from October 1. The Occupational English Test (OET) is designed to meet the specific English language needs of the healthcare sector. It assesses the language proficiency of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. OET is conducted by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment (CBLA), a venture between Cambridge Assessment English and Box Hill Institute. Cambridge Assessment English is a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge. The test is recognised as proof of English proficiency for registration purposes by major healthcare boards and councils in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore, Namibia and Ukraine. It is also accepted in Australia and New Zealand for visa and immigration purposes.
Pune: In view of the next month’s Maharashtra Assembly polls, the Kolhapur and Sangli district administrations have decided to distribute duplicate voter ID cards to nearly 5.5 lakh people whose documents were damaged or lost during floods last month, officials said on Monday. Over 340 villages in Kolhapur were fully or partially affected by the unprecedented deluge after heavy rains. Of these, around 27 villages in Shirol, Hatkanangale and Karvir tehsils bore maximum brunt of the calamity. “Since the state Assembly polls are now approaching, we have decided to distribute duplicate voter identification cards to voters in these 27 villages,” Kolhapur Collector Daulat Desai said. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghOver 1.5 lakh duplicate voter ID cards have been printed for distribution among these villages, he said. Similarly, in neighboring Sangli, the authorities have so far distributed over two lakh duplicate voter IDs to people from Shirala, Walwa, Palus and Miraj tehsils, which were severely affected by floods, an official from Sangli district administration said. “Assuming that people living in these flood-ravaged areas might have misplaced their important documents, we had sought over four lakh duplicate voter IDs. So far, we have received over 3.8 lakh duplicate voter IDs and more than two lakh of these have been distributed among people,” he said.