Crimean journalist “confesses” to spying for Ukraine on Russian TV UkraineEurope – Central Asia to go further Receive email alerts News Help by sharing this information December 2, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 RWB opposes creation of information ministry February 26, 2021 Find out more September 7, 2020 Find out more An information ministry has been included in the proposed new government. Its creation, against the backdrop of an information war with Russia, has surprised journalists and media freedom organizations, which were not consulted.“Putting the government in charge of ‘information policy’ would be major retrograde step that would open the way to grave excesses,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.“In a democratic society, the media should not be regulated by the government. The creation of an information ministry is the worst of all possible responses to the serious challenges that the government is facing.”Media independence and media freedom are the best weapons against propaganda. Enlisting journalists in a government-managed information war would just undermine the public’s confidence in the national media. Reporters Without Borders urges Ukraine’s parliamentarians to oppose this proposal. Reporters Without Borders firmly opposes the planned creation of a Ukrainian information ministry, announced today. Without civil society being consulted, parliament is expected to ratify its creation when it votes on the new government later today. Ukrainian media group harassed by broadcasting authority March 26, 2021 Find out more UkraineEurope – Central Asia RSF_en News Organisation Ukraine escalates “information war” by banning three pro-Kremlin media News Follow the news on Ukraine News
Organisation RSF_en April 28, 2015 – Updated on July 18, 2016 RSF looks back on 30 years of defending freedom of information Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is marking its 30th anniversary by publishing a report that looks back on the three decades it has spent defending freedom of information.Entitled “Saving independent journalism – 30 years defending media,” the report examines what RSF has done on behalf of freedom of information for the past 30 years, what it is doing now, and the issues involved. It looks at RSF’s biggest campaigns, its battles for the release of detained journalists, the demonstrations it has organized, its lobbying of international organizations, and its practical assistance for journalists who have been threatened, physically attacked or forced to flee abroad. And RSF pays tribute to its information heroes in an overview encompassing both details and big issues.“The big little NGO”From its creation in Montpellier in 1985 to its nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, Reporters Without Borders has grown to become an international NGO with a presence in all five continents and consultative status with the United Nations and UNESCO. Nowadays its activities span the entire globe thanks to a network of more than 150 correspondents and 12 international bureaux and sections.In a forward to the report, secretary-general Christophe Deloire borrows from Victor Hugo’s description of the street urchin Gavroche to define Reporters Without Borders as a “big little NGO.” Now aged 30, RSF has become a “very big little NGO,” Deloire adds. “In the new propaganda era we are entering, the world needs Reporters Without Borders. Whether totalitarian, violent or soft, information control is taking unprecedented forms that free citizens must oppose with all their strength.”Read the complete report: “Saving independent journalism – 30 years defending mediaNever-say-die activismResolute activism is one of RSF’s defining characteristics. It boldly launched a pirate radio station in the centre of Beijing during the 2008 Olympics. It went to Kiev in 2002 and came back with samples of a murdered journalist’s body to have independent forensic analyses done on them and thereby force an apathetic judge to take action. It took part in a commission of enquiry into the death of Norbert Zongo, a journalist killed in his car in Burkina Faso in 1998, and kept fighting until the official investigation was reopened 16 years later.RSF’s ability to wage an effective campaign is another of its characteristics. Ever since the case of Brice Fleutiaux, a journalist who was taken hostage in Chechnya in 1999, Reporters Without Borders has mobilized massive public support for more than 20 hostage journalists. The projection on to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris of the photos of Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, two French journalists who were hostages in Afghanistan, will live on as a symbol of this tireless commitment to journalists kidnapped in the world’s most dangerous regions. After being freed, Taponier and Ghesquière themselves said how important this campaign was during their captivity. When French reporters Didier François, Édouard Élias and Nicolas Hénin and photographer Pierre Torres were kidnapped in Syria in 2013, RSF again campaigned on their behalf until their release in 2014.Helping media and protecting journalistsWhen five employees of the daily newspaper Oslobodenje were killed by an artillery bombardment of its headquarters during the siege of Sarajevo, RSF decided to come to the aid of this symbol of resistance to the violence enveloping the region. It provided the newspaper with newsprint, food and even an armour-plated truck to protect its journalists. In Haiti, just days after the 2010 earthquake, RSF set up a media operations centre in Port-au-Prince. Nowadays, RSF supports Paris-based Radio Erena, the world’s only independent radio station broadcasting to Eritrea.RSF goes to the hotspots. In Ukraine in 2014, it sent protective helmets, goggles and masks for the journalists who were covering the clashes in Maidan Square. It has provided training in physical self-protection for around 100 journalists in Pakistan, where reporting is becoming more and more dangerous in the Tribal Areas. Emergency funding is sent to journalists to help them find a safe refuge, get medical attention or obtain legal aid.30, a good ageRSF continues to provide unfailing support for those who often risk their lives to inform others. Whether Mazen Darwish in Syria, Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia and Gao Yu in China, they are trapped by oppressive systems based on an intolerable level of censorship. RSF also campaigns tirelessly for freedom of information even when the attempts to silence independent voices occur in the most democratic countries, even when the targets are whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.Despite many challenges, Reporters Without Borders will continue to defend freedom of information and media independence with determination, intensity and audacity. Help by sharing this information News
Two budding chefs from Scoil Mhuire Milford are about to face the heat of the kitchen when they compete in the 2020 Big School Cook Off Finals.Ava Hardiman and Meabh Hiemstra have made the shortlist for the Mount Charles Big School Cook Off, in association with SuperValu.The team will cook their ‘Seared Atlantic Scallops’ recipe at the finals held at the Belfast Metropolitan College, Titanic Quarter on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Ahead of the final, the shortlisted teams will also be invited to perform a cookery demonstration of their dish, at their local SuperValu store in January.The first stage of the competition asked students to submit a recipe in either video or word format, for a main course dinner costing £10 or under, with consideration to creativity, health and the use of locally sourced produce.Shortlisted county teams were chosen following intense deliberation of over 100 entries from post primary schools across the country.The finalists are: Ava Hardiman and Meabh Himestra, Scoil Mhuire, DonegalCiara Rivas Kelly and Thandie Soppo Nsue, St Joseph’s College, Belfast, DownMartha Johnson and Tilly Henderson, City of Armagh School High School, ArmaghSophia Woods and Niamh Reynolds, St Killian’s College, AntrimJohnny Regan and Gareth Linton, Rainey Endowed School, DerryCainnecha Ferguson and Grainne Duffy, St Franchea’s College, FermanaghEimear Kelly and Milly Hoban, Loreto Grammar School, TyroneCaitriona Lennox, Business Development Manager at Mount Charles, thanked all the teachers and the students who entered.“The panel of judges were completely blown away by the talent displayed in the submissions we received, which made it incredibly difficult to arrive at the final shortlist.“We launched the Big School Cook Off initiative to encourage the development of cookery skills in classrooms.The number and quality of the entries we received, demonstrates to us that children are cooking, and we hope that by creating initiatives such as the Big School Cook Off that we will uncover and nurture future talent for the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland,” she said.Brendan Gallen, Head of Marketing for SuperValu, congratulated the finalists. “At SuperValu we have a focus on real food and real people and being a part of the Big School Cook Off allows us to encourage young people and families to get cooking.“We can’t wait to welcome the finalists into stores in January to showcase their fantastic dishes,” he said.Each county winning team will receive an apron, a finalist plaque for their school and a chef’s jacket to wear to the finals.The overall winning team will receive a plaque, private box VIP tickets to an SSE Arena ice hockey match and their school will get an £100 voucher for catering equipment of their choice. Donegal students in Big School Cook Off Finals was last modified: December 9th, 2019 by Dionne MeehanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:competitioncook offcookingdonegalDonegal SchoolfinalistsfoodScoil Mhuire BuncranaSuperValu
28 September 2012 Hilton Worldwide opened a regional office in Johannesburg last week as the hotel group moved to exploit growth opportunities and develop existing and potential properties across the African continent and the Indian Ocean islands. The office is expected to act as a springboard for Hilton to build on its Africa interests and spearhead activities in the region. “The newly opened office is a milestone in Hilton Worldwide’s 50-plus year history in Africa and a tangible symbol of the company’s future dedication and commitment to the region,” the company said in a statement. The South Africa office is headed by Hilton Worldwide’s vice president for Africa and Indian Ocean, Jan van der Putten. “Hilton Worldwide has 33 hotels across Africa and Indian Ocean and a further 19 in the property pipeline, placing us in a strong position for future regional growth,” said global president and chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide, Chris Nassetta. The opening of the office follows the addition of the luxury Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa to the Conrad Hotels & Resorts of the Hilton chain in June this year, as well as the launch of a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cape Town in September. The rebranding of Pezula is expected to be complete by November 2012, and the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel will be rebranded from the Upper Eastside Hotel and is expected to open by the end of this year. DoubleTree is Hilton Worldwide’s fifth property in South Africa and its second in Cape Town. “In 2012 Africa’s projected growth rate is 6%, which gives us confidence to invest even further,” said Hilton Worldwide’s area president for the Middle East & Africa, Rudi Jagersbacher. “Our long-term goal is to have a Hilton hotel in every key city across the continent, and as we watch Africa turn into a global market player, we want to be present alongside its successes,” Jagersbacher said. “The next few years promise to bring a wide range of opportunities, including the opening of hotels in new markets such as Sierra Leone, Chad and Uganda.” SAinfo reporter
9 May 2013Consumer goods firm Unilever South Africa has formed a sunflower farming partnership as part of its sustainable living plan and has successfully developed hybrid seeds, which are expected to reduce the country’s dependence on sunflower oil imports.“This project is currently under way in Limpopo province where almost 30 000 hectares of land is under sunflower crops and expected to yield 20% of Unilever’s oil requirements in South Africa,” Unilever said in a statement last week.The partnership involves a private group of farmers, verification company Control Unit and the Central Edible Oils Company, which has links to farmers, co-operatives and silo owners.The group of partners follow Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code, which is a framework to maintain soil fertility, enhance water fertility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect biodiversity and improve the livelihoods of farmers and workers.It falls under the firm’s sustainable living plan, established in 2010 to drive the company’s growth while reducing its environmental footprint.It set a target of 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2020.Unilever also announced it is now sourcing 36% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, exceeding the 30% target set when the sustainable living plan was launched in 2010.“The initial assessments showed varying gaps against Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code, but through dedicated work between the Centrol Edible Oils Company and the farmers, every participant now meets or exceeds the sustainability criteria,” said Unilever South Africa’s chairperson, Marijn van Tiggelen.In addition to sunflower oil, palm oil was included in the firm’s plan for sustainable sourcing and Green Palm certificates were introduced in 2012.These certificates allow certified growers from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to convert their oil into certificates on the green palm market where manufacturers place offers and offset their physical oil with the equivalent amount of certificates.“The producer receives the full value of each certificate, enabling him to reinvest the premium and tackle the environmental and social issues created via palm oil production,” Van Tiggelen said.Further efforts to improve sustainability that have been identified as priority efforts by the company are reducing water use and enhancing development through job creation.“These are noble ambitions and we are not immune to their challenges, but they are underpinned by time-bound targets,” Van Tiggelen said. “While the company has made steady progress towards our goal in the second year, there remains much to do.”SAinfo reporter
zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: PxHere under CCO license /Public Domain Hong Kong-based shipping company Sinotrans Shipping Limited informed in a regulatory filing on Thursday, October 18, that its privatization plans have been delayed.The reason behind the delay is the need for more time to define the details of the scheme document and proposal for the privatization by Sinotrans Shipping (Holdings) Limited. The proposal was due on October 18.“As more time is required for finalizing the scheme document and to accommodate the timetable of the High Court, the company has applied to the executive, and the executive has granted its consent, to extend the date of dispatch of the scheme document to a date no later than 20 November 2018,” the company revealed in a regulatory statement.The privatization plans emerged in September this year when Sinotrans Shipping Holdings proposed a scheme of arrangement and withdrawal of the company’s listing.The move is being pursued on the back of a merger between Sinotrans & CSC Holdings and China Merchants Group finalized last year.Operating through three shipping segments, Sinotrans Shipping currently has a fleet of more than 50 bulkers, containerships and tankers, according to VesselsValue’s data.World Maritime News Staff
It wasn’t easy, but the Pittsburgh Penguins kept their bid for a second-consecutive Stanley Cup alive on Thursday night, surviving the surprising Ottawa Senators with a double-overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. On paper, there was little reason to think the Sens would pose much of a threat to the defending champs, let alone take them into the 85th minute of Game 7. But that’s the way things have been for Pittsburgh all playoffs long.Chris Kunitz’s game-winning goal saved Pittsburgh from what would have been the biggest conference-finals upset since 1996, when the Florida Panthers knocked off a very different version of the Penguins. According to Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS), Pittsburgh ranked fourth in the league during the regular season (0.59 goals per game better than average), while Ottawa ranked a distant 18th (0.01 goals per game below average).1In 1996, the Pens ranked third and the Panthers ranked eighth, though the gap between the two teams — 0.6 goals — was just as big as the gap between Pittsburgh and Ottawa this season.It was the second series in a row that Pittsburgh has been taken the distance by its opponent, after Washington pushed them to seven games in the conference semifinal. To their credit, the Penguins weathered each onslaught; they even outgunned the Sens by 45 combined shots in the East final, including 49 over the series’ final four games. But Pittsburgh has also been living dangerously. Its even-strength possession metrics over the entire playoffs are not as good as they were during last year’s run to the Cup final, nor do they compare well with the postseason numbers of the Penguins’ upcoming opponent, the Nashville Predators.The Preds didn’t play particularly great hockey during the regular season — they ranked 13th in SRS (in part because brilliant defenseman P.K. Subban missed 16 games with an injury). But they’ve saved their best work for the playoffs, where they rank second in possession rate (Pittsburgh is 12th out of 16 teams) and first in SRS2Playoff SRS is calculated by adjusting each team’s playoff goal differential for the regular-season SRS ratings of the teams they’ve played, with a home-ice advantage adjustment to account for where each game was played. (Pittsburgh is second). Pittsburgh was better in the regular season, but Nashville’s been the hotter team of late.So which situation would you rather be in, heading into next week’s series? Intuition might say it’s better to be the comparatively less worn-down Preds, rolling with the more impressive postseason stats. But history suggests otherwise. Going back to 1988,3The earliest season of data in Hockey-Reference’s indispensable game finder tool. there have been 14 cases in which one Stanley Cup finalist had the better regular-season SRS, but its opponent had the superior SRS in the playoffs leading up to the final.414 other times, SRS from both the regular season and postseason agreed who the better team was; those clear favorites won their series 79 percent of the time. Of those, the better regular-season team won the Cup nine times (64 percent). And that’s not even considering that the Penguins’ regular-season edge was slightly wider than the typical favorite’s, or that they’ll have home-ice advantage in the final.If we’ve learned anything about the Penguins these playoffs, it’s that they rarely make things easy. (And if we’ve learned anything about the NHL since 1998, it’s that repeating as a champion is really hard.) But a grueling, complicated postseason run isn’t necessarily a handicap in the Stanley Cup Final, if you’ve had a championship track record all season long.
TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series How Elo is forecasting the AL East race Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series Orioles142160102-198<1<1<1 Indians15539567+13382%73%8% Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport Yankees15699765+14782%47%13% Blue Jays14827587-5592<1 Royals14517092-10342<1 The division race: The New York Yankees didn’t sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. But they didn’t need to: They have Aaron Hicks (4.8 wins above replacement1According a mix of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs’ competing versions of the metric. last season) and young, burgeoning stars Gleyber Torres (2.4) and Miguel Andujar (2.5). While they will be without staff ace Luis Severino (5.1) for some time, our forecast likes them just a bit more than the defending World Series champion Red Sox. The Yankees’ position players set the single-season record for home runs last year and could threaten their own mark this year. And in a game increasingly decided by bullpens, the Yankees might have the best ever. The Boston Red Sox have the reigning AL MVP in Mookie Betts (10.6) and another MVP-caliber bat in J.D. Martinez (6.1), leading a lineup that could pass for an All-Star team. If David Price (3.4) picks up where he left off in the World Series (1.98 ERA in 13 innings) and returns to levels he pitched earlier in his career, he could give the Red Sox another dominant ace alongside annual Cy Young contender Chris Sale (6.5). Fellow starter Nathan Eovaldi (who had 1.9 WAR and his best season in the underlying skills) gives the Red Sox another high-ceiling arm. The Red Sox have had success getting more out of pitchers like Eovaldi, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes, which gives reason to believe they can overcome the losses of Kelly and Craig Kimbrel to free agency. Not only do the Tampa Bay Rays have the top farm system in the American League, according to Baseball America, but they won 90 games a year ago with the second-youngest position player group (27.1 years) in the league and the youngest pitching staff (27.1). The Rays have quietly put together one of the more talented rosters in the game that includes reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell (6.2) and underrated star Tommy Pham (3.7). The Rays are a postseason sleeper team.The difference-makers: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. There’s nothing left for Vlad’s son to prove in the minor leagues. He hit .402 in Double-A last season and .381 across all levels. Most rate him as the game’s top prospect with elite bat-to-ball and power ability. The only thing that could slow him down is injury — and maybe the Blue Jays’ front office. He and fellow top 20 prospect Bo Bichette should be franchise cornerstones for an up-and-coming Blue Jays team. Once a highly touted prospect in Pittsburgh, Tyler Glasnow (0.8 WAR in 2018) came over to Tampa in the second half of last season in the Chris Archer deal. He’s always had command trouble but trimmed his walk rate in August while retaining his high strikeout rates. He has breakout potential if the Rays can help him optimize and harness his stuff. The Rays actually paid (gasp) for a talented free agent in Charlie Morton (3.2), who has an elite spin breaking ball and a high-velocity fastball. Morton, when healthy, has quietly emerged as a top-of-rotation talent. Top Rays pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and his diverse pitch mix that includes a screwball, could be ready to help early in the season. New York landed the top arm available this winter in trading for James Paxton (3.3). Since his breakout 2017 season, Paxton ranks ranks sixth in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1)2Among pitchers who have thrown at least 150 innings. and 13th in wins above replacement per 200 innings (5.0). The Yankees also added elite reliever Adam Ottavino (2.3) — who actually began his dominant 2018 campaign in a Manhattan storefront — to an absolutely dominant bullpen that averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings last season, a record.Gone tanking: The Baltimore Orioles The Orioles could be historically poor, but take solace in this, Orioles fans: Your club would still probably win the International League. Rays15258676+4642123 Angels15068082-72271 Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… How Elo is forecasting the AL West race Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series How Elo is forecasting the AL Central race Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport The division race: Because of an elite starting rotation, because Francisco Lindor (7.7 WAR) and Jose Ramirez (7.9) — if they can stay healthy — have become superstars by tapping into their pull-side power, because they reside in one of the weakest divisions ever … the Cleveland Indians are still heavy favorites in the AL Central despite one of the more disappointing offseasons in baseball. Only the Orioles and Reds spent less than the Indians’ $2.5 million in free agency. While the Indians can perhaps do nothing and still win the AL Central, they’ve been outclassed in the ALDS in each of the last two years — and the gap between the Indians and the Houston/New York/Boston super teams is perhaps growing. While the Indians are still slated to finish with the fifth-best record in baseball and 11 games ahead of the Twins in our projections, there are questions about their lineup after trading catcher Yan Gomes (2.5) and losing left fielder Michaely Brantley (3.5) to Houston in free agency. The Minnesota Twins are trying to close the gap with the Indians. Byron Buxton’s (-0.4) spring has offered hope that he could begin to tap into his offensive potential, and Eddie Rosario (3.5) is quietly emerging as a star. But third-year general manager Derek Falvey prides himself on developing pitchers, and that’s where the Twins are attempting to make up the most ground. The Twins’ starting pitchers ranked ninth last season in AL ERA (4.48) and fielding-independent pitching (4.54). (The top four AL teams in ERA and FIP all reached the postseason.)The difference-makers: The Twins signed Michael Pineda in December 2017 to a two-year deal despite knowing that he would miss all of 2018 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. They hoped the wait would be worth it to enjoy his bat-missing ability: He ranked seventh in swinging strike percentage in 2015-17. Martin Perez and his velocity spike and new cutter also looks like a find for the Twins, and the club signed free-agent Marwin Gonzalez (2.0) to a favorable deal. White Sox uber prospect Eloy Jimenez was the best bat in the minors last year not named Guerrero. He slashed .355/.399/.597 in Triple-A 55 games as a 21-year-old. The 6-foot-4, right-handed hitting outfielder will likely begin the season in the majors after agreeing to a seven-year contract last week, ensuring that the White Sox don’t suppress his service time. Jimenez was acquired from the north side in the Jose Quintana deal; the Chicago Cubs could regret the deal for years.Gone tanking: The Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. While the White Sox’s collection of young talent might pay off down the road, they are unlikely to contend this season. The Royals have an even longer road ahead with no top 100 prospects, according to some analysts. The Tigers are also far from being relevant, but they hope they drafted a new ace and face of the franchise in Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick last June. The Houston Astros remain the model franchise in MLB entering 2019. They are on the cutting edge of player development and have built a club that won the 2017 World Series, won 103 games a year ago and project to win 98 games this season, according to our model, all while maintaining a farm system that has ranked fifth or better by Baseball America in three of the past four years. The Astros might be the best team in the game, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon: They’ve locked up Alex Bregman (7.2 WAR) to a long-term deal, they feature a young core of Carlos Correa (1.7) and Jose Altuve (5.0) in their primes, and they have more riches on the way in outfield prospect Kyle “Ted” Tucker. They’ve become masters of acquiring pitchers, often high-spin-rate arms, and getting more out of them than other teams, including Justin Verlander (6.5), Gerrit Cole (5.5) and Ryan Pressly (2.0). The Los Angeles Angels and Mike Trout (10.0) essentially agreed to a lifetime contract earlier in March. While Trout has never won a playoff game, the second act of the Trout era in Anaheim is looking more promising. The Angels’ farm system is improving, and Shohei Ohtani (3.9) gives the club a second legit superstar if and when he can pitch and hit again. There’s work to do, but the Angels might have the most enviable pair of players in the game. You may not have heard of Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman (7.3), but the two-way star was sixth in WAR for all batters last season. The A’s had the fourth-most efficient offense in part because no team hit fewer ground balls. Getting the ball off the ground is the A’s latest hidden edge. The big question for the A’s is what kind of production they’ll get from a rotation that lacks dominant, ace-type arms. In their bullpen, they have one of the most impressive arms in baseball in Blake Treinen (3.9).The difference-makers: Astros pitching prospect Josh James wasn’t even on prospect radars last spring, but by the end of the season, he had taken his 100-mph fastball and wipeout changeup to the majors. James is one reason that the Astros were probably comfortable in allowing starters Dallas Kuechel and Charlie Morton to depart. James will begin the year in the bullpen, but he could become an important part of the rotation. The Mariners might hasten their rebuild with the offseason signing of Yusei Kikuchi, one of the best pitchers in Japan over the past several seasons. Kikuchi has a swing-and-miss slider, and his fastball sits at 93 mph but can reach 98. The A’s acquired Jurickson Profar (2.5 WAR) from Texas, one of a number of lower-profile but potentially useful additions. Profar was once the top prospect in the game, but he has dealt with a number of injuries. Still, he’s been effective when on the field, posting a .793 on-base plus slugging last season.Gone tanking: The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto restocked a weak farm system with the trades of Paxton, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz this offseason, but the Mariners have a long way to go to compete with the Astros. While the Rangers are exploring some innovative practices with Driveline Baseball, they have a team that will be challenged at the major league level and a system that lacks a prospect that projects to be a future difference-maker. It’s a long road from the bottom of the AL West to the top. Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… White Sox14577191-9153<1 Welcome to our two-part guide to the 2019 MLB season through the lens of our MLB prediction model. In each division, we’ll outline the key teams in the division race, discuss the incoming players who will make the biggest difference and classify the tanking teams you should ignore on principle. Here is our preview of the American League (click here for the National League): Astros15779864+16286%74%16% Tigers14436894-11942<1 Twins15088478+2636202 Mariners14937983-23186<1 Rangers14597092-1033<1<1 Red Sox15629567+13176399 Athletics15188379+2632112
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that Antonio Valencia will retain the captain’s armband at Manchester UnitedThe Ecuadorian full-back was officially named the United captain in the summer following Michael Carrick’s retirement from playing football.Although, amid struggles for form and fitness, Valencia’s place in the United team has been in doubt with just seven appearances across all competitions this season.But interim coach Solskjaer, who’s won both of his opening games in charge at United, made it clear that Valencia is still the skipper.Maguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…“I told you he’s the captain and, when he’s properly fit and playing, he’ll wear the armband,” said Solskjaer on the club website.“He’s going through a couple of tough sessions now to get him ready for the busy period coming up.”When you look at Antonio, there are not many better right-backs going forward with his abilities so, yes, you’ll see him wearing his armband.“United will be taking on Bournemouth on Sunday at Old Trafford with Solskjaer hoping to make it three wins out of three.