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Libya – Tripoli’s new rules put journalists’ lives in danger

first_img LibyaMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Armed conflictsImpunityPredatorsViolenceFreedom of expression News LibyaMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Armed conflictsImpunityPredatorsViolenceFreedom of expression Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts On Libyan revolution’s 10th anniversary, authorities urged to guarantee press freedom December 17, 2019 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Libya’s Government of National Accord to stop obstructing and endangering foreign journalists and Libyan journalists who work for international media. Six imprisoned journalists to finally appear in court in Istanbul Follow the news on Libya February 23, 2021 Find out more News Organisation July 10, 2018 Libya – Tripoli’s new rules put journalists’ lives in danger to go further News RSF_en Well-known Libyan journalist missing since his arrest News June 24, 2020 Find out more The foreign media’s ability to operate in Libya has declined dramatically since the GNA took office under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in March 2016, and has become almost impossible since CNN’s exclusive report in November 2017 about migrants being sold as slaves in Libya.“This must seem unbelievable, but I found it much easier to work under Fajr Libya and the chaos prevailing at that time,” a correspondent for several foreign media outlets said. Like all of the journalists contacted by RSF, she asked not to be identified for fear of being permanently banned from working in Libya.The GNA is constantly finding new ways to obstruct journalists, including long delays in issuing and renewing visas, countless other forms of red tape, and frequent harassment. All of the reporters contacted by RSF agreed that their job has become much tougher since Sarraj took over as prime minister.Getting a visaObtaining a visa has become a very slow, laborious, expensive and unpredictable process since March 2016. Until then, foreign journalists could get a visa from the Libyan consulate in Tunis after submitting an application to the Libyan foreign ministry’s Foreign Media Department (FMD).But it is different now. “Although the consulate in Tunis insists that it still issues visas to the foreign media, the standard procedure nowadays requires a sending a visa application to the FMD in Tripoli and continuing to follow it up with the FMD,” a journalist said. “Even when the FMD tells us the request has been agreed, the consulate says it has received no confirmation to this effect. When we ask the FMD to send us a copy of the approval by email or post, in order to be able to show it to the consulate, they usually refuse, claiming that it is against the rules. As a result, a colleague hasn’t been able to go to Libya for the past year.”This has forced journalists to apply via Libyan diplomatic representations in various European cities, above all Paris, where a former Libyan consulate employee offers his services as an intermediary for a 150-euro fee.Bureaucratic harassment and obstructionIf a visa is eventually granted, reporting on the ground in Libya is an even bigger challenge. Every initiative, visit or interview needs one or several permits. A reporter said he waited ten days for authorization to visit a camp for migrants last December – a story that he said he wanted to cover when requesting his visa. And he waited in vain because he needed an extraordinary number of different permits, which he never obtained.Another journalist said that even getting permission to do street interviews took an absurd amount of time. “I had to wait eight days for a permit to talk to people in Tripoli sidewalk cafés although I had only a 15-day visa,” she said. “You also need a permit to leave the city, to talk to a civil society group, or to talk to a mayor. Forget camps for migrants – I was refused a permit outright.”At the end of last month, the FMD rescinded the accreditations of all the Tripoli-based correspondents of foreign media outlets on the grounds that it is creating new procedures. According to a copy of the new rules for journalists that RSF has seen, they are now required to wear a vest stamped with the word “press” and the AMD logo, and to hand over their microphones for “inspection.”“These new regulations are putting the lives of journalists in danger and are turning them into targets for the armed militias,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the head of RSF’s North Africa bureau.Even more seriously, some Libyan correspondents for foreign media report being harassed. Requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals, one said he had been harassed and threatened by the FMD’s director and had even been summoned for interrogation. Foreign journalists are now escorted by agents who say they work for the intelligence services. Everywhere they go and everything they say and do is monitored. “At the FMD, I was told that this has been necessary since the CNN report, and that the government could no longer allow journalists to work on their own,” one reporter said. Another said the escorts have complete control over the journalists when they are on the move.“The Sarraj government will not succeed in giving Libya a positive image by harassing foreign journalists and media,” RSF’s Khayati said. “With just months to go to general elections, the government needs to give significant evidence of support for the freedom to inform, so that a democratic debate can take place. To this end, journalists and media must be able to fully play their role.”Libya is ranked 162rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.last_img read more

Leipzig stun Atletico to reach Champions League last four

first_imgRB Leipzig stunned Atletico Madrid, with a 2-1 victory in their Champions League quarter-final on Thursday, to reach the competition’s last four for the first time in their club’s short history.With two minutes of normal time remaining, United States midfielder Tyler Adams snatched victory with a deflected shot from outside the box to set up a semi-final clash with Paris St Germain.The German side had taken the lead in the 51st minute with a header from Spanish forward Dani Olmo but a disjointed Atletico were shaken into life when record signing Joao Felix came off the bench, earning and scoring a penalty to level in the 71st. Atletico responded with Yannick Carrasco bursting in from the left and firing goalwards but Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi reacted well to push the effort wide.Julian Nagelsmann’s side quickly settled though into the brand of attractive passing and movement that has earned them many admirers.Kevin Kampl was busy in the center of midfield and left wing back Angelino was enjoying plenty of space down the flanks but it was the performance of French central defender Dayot Upamecano that was the most impressive.Solid defensively, taking care of Atletico’s over-isolated striker Diego Costa, he also had the confidence to bring the ball out of the back and be the starting point for Leipzig’s moves.BreakthroughIt was impossible not to wonder how different the game might have been if Leipzig had not sold their top scorer Timo Werner to Chelsea in June, given the lack of a real threat in attack.But six minutes after the interval, they found a way through – Marcel Sabitzer’s cross from the right was met by Olmo, the Spaniard’s angled header flashing past Jan Oblak and into the far, bottom corner.The goal prompted Atletico boss Diego Simeone into a change, with Felix, the 20-year-old Portugal international and club record signing, introduced in the 58th minute.The move paid off when Felix glided into the box and was brought down by an ill-timed tackle from Lukas Klostermann for a penalty.Felix hasn’t had the most impactful of debut seasons but he had the confidence to get to his feet and bury the spot kick to get the Spaniards back on level terms with 19 minutes left.Atletico sensed the momentum had shifted and they pushed forward in search of a winner, which looked the more likely outcome, possibly in extra-time, as Leipzig struggled to regain control of the game.But with two minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Adams tried his luck with shot from outside the box, which deflected off defender Stefan Savic and beat the wrong-footed Oblak.Atletico piled on the pressure but Leipzig had the belief and the fortitude to hold on for their most famous victory. Atletico, runners-up in 2014 and 2016, looked more likely to score the next goal but it was the club founded only eleven years ago who were left celebrating in front of the empty seats of the Estadio Jose Alvalade.Now the team, built up from the lower leagues and owned by energy drinks company Red Bull, will come up against Neymar and company with a chance at a place in the Aug. 23 final.As with all games in this ‘final eight’ mini-tournament, there were no fans to witness the drama but it was clear from the outset that Leipzig felt at home among European football’s elite.They fired an early warning shot when Marcel Halstenberg was picked out at the back post but his difficult volley flew off target.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Cricket News Dimuth Karunaratne stands tall on rain-hit day of second Sri Lanka vs New Zealand Test

first_imgSri Lanka won the first Test match at Galle against New Zealand.Dimuth Karunaratne scored a century as Sri Lanka achieved record chase in India.The first day of the second Test was marred by rain. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Dimuth Karunaratne had led from the front with a brilliant century to give Sri Lanka a record win in the first Test at Galle. In the second Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo, Karunaratne stood tall in only 36.3 overs of action which were possible as rain played spoilsport on the opening day of the match against New Zealand. The toss itself was delayed by close to a couple of hours as persistent overnight rain delayed the start of the match.The groundstaff had to work hard to drain the excess water off the covers and some water had seeped in onto the outfield as well. With the lack of sun not aiding the drying process, the Sri Lankan groundsmen had to work incredibly hard to ensure that some action would be made possible. Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat and the hosts made one change with Dilruwan Perera replacing Akila Dananjaya. Karunaratne set the stage with his aggressive strokeplay as he tackled Trent Boult and Tim Southee. The opening partnership weathered the first hour with the new ball and Lahiru Thirimanne survived a close chance on 2 when BJ Watling dropped him off William Sommerville. However, the bowler had his revenge when Thirimanne chipped a flighted delivery to Kane Williamson at cover to fall for 2. Kusal Mendis came in and tackled the spinners well by employing the sweep and making good progress.Sri Lanka made smooth progress until the tea break but rain once again delayed the start of the final session by 45 minutes and on resumption, Karunaratne continued to bat well. The partnership between Karunaratne and Mendis crossed fifty but Colin de Grandhomme got the big wicket of Mendis when he got the right-hander edging an away-swinger to the keeper for 32. Angelo Mathews survived a testing couple of overs until rain and bad light brought an end to play.center_img highlightslast_img read more

Narine, Gambhir fire KKR to another thrilling chase

first_imgSUNIL Narine’s promotion to opener paid dividends for Kolkata Knight Riders as they produced an impressive chase against Kings XI Punjab.Kolkata Knight Riders produced another devastating run chase to thrash Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets and end their unbeaten IPL start.Playing at a raucous Eden Gardens, KKR made home advantage count after winning the toss and inviting their visitors to bat, chasing down 171 with 21 balls to spare, having knocked off 184 in 14.5 overs in their opening match of the tournament against Gujarat Lions.Chris Lynn was the star of that show, but the Australian six-machine was absent through injury, so it was left to the promoted Sunil Narine (37 off 18 balls) to begin the fireworks as captain Gautam Gambhir (72 not out) anchored the innings superbly.Umesh Yadav (4-33) took three wickets in the space of four deliveries late in the Kings XI knock as a promising start was checked to leave the hosts a gettable target.Yadav’s success made up for a hapless outing for Trent Boult (0-36), who suffered a dropped catch, misfields and a bizarre all-run four (helped by two overthrows) off his bowling.Narine shelled a sitter when Manan Vohra skied Boult to third man, but the opener only got to 28 before he was bowled by Piyush Chawla (1-36). His score represented somewhat of an apparent wall that Kings XI could not break through.Hashim Amla (25), Glenn Maxwell (25), David Miller (28) and Wriddhiman Saha (25) played innings of varying paces, but each ended with similar scores and, having successfully chased twice, Kings XI did not prove as adept at defending their total.The sight of Narine opening the batting in T20s is not necessarily new – he did so playing for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League – but the Trinidadian announced himself as a top-order danger with three sixes and four fours that put KKR well ahead of the rate.Narine’s 37 was his second-highest score in any form of cricket and 76-1 represented KKR’s best powerplay total in IPL history.From there it was all about Gambhir, who moved above David Warner at the top of the run-scoring charts on his way to a 33rd IPL fifty – two behind Warner in a ranking that the Australian remains atop.And the chase was capped as impressively as it was launched as Manish Pandey (25) blasted Marcus Stoinis over long on for six. (SportsMax)last_img read more

China To Overtake U.S. In Smartphone Installations By Early 2013

first_imgThe United States has long been Land Of The Free And Home Of The Smartphone. Since the advent of the Mobile Revolution (which we will tentatively date to July 2007), the U.S. has had the largest installed base of smartphone users on Android and iOS of any country on the planet. But the reign of the U.S. as the country with the most smartphone users is just about over.Mobile analytics company Flurry predicts that China will overtake the U.S. in iOS and Android installations by the first quarter of 2013. According to Flurry’s estimates, China has 167 million iOS and Android devices active, trailing the U.S. by a scant 14 million smartphones. With a growth rate approaching 300%, China is on a pace to eclipse the U.S. very soon indeed. Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. Tags:#Android#Apple#international#iOS#smartphone Flurry notes that 71% of all app sessions on iOS and Android now take place outside of the United States. That is an important stat for app developers to understand. As we have seen, many popular services started in technology hotbeds like San Francisco, New York or Boston, but have been forced to look overseas in search of massive growth. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter can testify to the power of this trend as both have seen massive foreign adoption that eventually outpaced their domestic roots.  The United States added 55 million installed iOS and Android devices between October 2011 and October 2012, about a 30% annual growth rate. China added 125 million installations in the time period, a 293% growth rate – tops in the world. China is truly seeing an inflection point in smartphone adoption, much like the U.S. did between 2009 to 2010.  dan rowinski Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Flurry uses data from 250,000 apps between the two operating systems and estimates that it can detect 90% of active iOS or Android devices on the planet in any given month. According to research firm Gartner, Android had 72.4% of smartphone sales in Q3 2012. Apple’s iOS had 13.9%. So 86.3% of the global smartphone went to one or the other in Q3, a trend that has been persistent over the last year or so as rival systems like Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian have tailed off. If we extrapolate this a little further, it is easy to assume that not only will China take over the lead in iOS and Android installs, but the overall smartphone smartphone installed base by early next year.  Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

SMB top pick Standhardinger stays ‘very committed’ to play for Gilas

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Jayjay Helterbrand announces retirement Christian Standhardinger was drafted first by San Miguel in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netWith San Miguel taking Christian Standhardinger as the top overall selection in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday, doubts were raised as far as his availability for Gilas Pilipinas is concerned.But the 28-year-old forward reaffirmed his position with the Philippine team, noting that whenever he gets the call, he’ll be more than glad to once again don the national team colors.ADVERTISEMENT “I’m very committed to Gilas. If they want me to play for them, I would be honored to play for Gilas. Nothing changed here,” he said.For now, what’s next for Standhardinger is Hong Kong before Manila to suit up for San Miguel.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’ll play for six months there,” he said, referring to his stint with Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).“Every PBA team knew that when they draft me that I’m not gonna be available for the next six months. So I’m gonna play in Hong Kong and try to win a championship there. After that, I can’t wait to be a part of the PBA and a part of San Miguel and I hope to continue winning championships here,” he said. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img MOST READ LATEST STORIES Read Next Standhardinger flew back to Hong Kong late Sunday night to return to his ABL  team.The opening of the new ABL season is on November 25, which is expected until the middle of April.By then, Standhardinger gets to finally join the Beermen in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Survivor Series: Brand supremacy goes to Raw

first_imgQC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Martin Truex Jr. caps career season with first NASCAR title Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Strowman didn’t hide his confusion after the victory that even after Triple H celebrated the win, he threatened the executive, “If you ever try to cross me again, you will never play this game again.” The Monster Among Men then nailed the Cerebral Assassin with a pair of Running Powerslams before leaving the ring.It was an action-packed main event that lived up to the hype as the stars delivered for their own shows.Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode had their chance to mount their offense, but Strowman quickly eliminated the two SmackDown stars. John Cena nailed two Attitude Adjustments on Samoa Joe to take a member out of the red crew, but the 16-time world champion was the next to go after Angle connected with two Angle Slams and Finn Balor dropped the Coup de Grace.The blue side tried on its earnest to recover from the deficit, with Randy Orton taking out Balor with an RKO. But just when the Apex Predator was about to tag McMahon, the unruly duo of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn distracted the SmackDown commissioner, allowing Strowman to also eliminate Orton with another Running Powerslam to set up the 3-to-1 lead for Team Raw and the crazy finish.The main event wasn’t alone in backing up the hype as the pay-per-view delivered on its promise.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Strowman decimated fellow survivor Triple H after the red team topped the blue side in a confusing ending to what was billed as an all-star clash.Team Raw was poised to finish the match with three survivors as Raw team captain Kurt Angle had SmackDown team captain Shane McMahon locked into the Ankle Lock.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutTriple H, however, interjected himself in the fray and turned on Angle, hitting a Pedigree and allowing McMahon to score the elimination.Puzzled looks were abound after the incident as the WWE COO looked like he would side with his brother-in-law, but Triple H then nailed another Pedigree to score the winning pinfall for his team. Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Braun Strowman stands tall for Team Raw to end Survivor Series. Photo by WWE.comOn a night where superstars from Raw and SmackDown clashed for brand supremacy, it was the red brand which came out on top winning the interpromotional duels, 4-3.But in the end, only Braun Strowman stood tall at the center of the ring after Team Raw topped Team SmackDown in the traditional 5-on-5 main event match at Survivor Series Sunday (Monday Manila time) in Houston.ADVERTISEMENT CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Asuka was the sole survivor in the women’s traditional 5-on-5 match to lead Team Raw to victory.The Empress of Tomorrow bucked a 1-on-2 disadvantage as she made Tamina tap out to a flying cross armbar before submitting Natalya with the Asuka Lock.Team SmackDown suffered early casualties as team captain Becky Lynch, Money In The Bank holder Carmella, and Naomi all bowed out early, while Team Raw lost Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox, and Sasha Banks earlier in the match.In the champion-versus-champion duel, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar fended off a gallant stand from WWE Champion AJ Styles and a sore right ankle, scoring the pinfall after hitting an F-5.SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair also submitted Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss with the Figure Eight to reign supreme in the women’s duel.United States Champion Baron Corbin silenced Intercontinental Champion The Miz, catching him on his third corner dropkick attempt and turning it to an End of Days.SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos showed that they are the better team, topping Raw Tag Team Champions The Bar after Jey Uso connected with a splash on Sheamus.The Shield also proved to be the better trio, topping The New Day in their six-man tag team match to open the show as the Hounds of Justice put Kofi Kingston in its signature triple powerbomb from the top turnbuckle.In the kickoff show, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore retained his title after pulled challenger Kalisto to an exposed turnbuckle before connecting with the JawdonZo.Owens and Zayn also trumped Breezango in a tag team match after the Prizefighter hit a Pop-up Powerbomb on Fandango, while Elias beat Matt Hardy with a Drift Away to open the night. 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World Baby Shower By Shakira And Gerard Pique A Big Hit For

first_imgLife-saving gifts from fans and supporters of the World Baby Shower that singer-songwriter and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué threw ahead of the birth of their second child has so far raised almost $150,000 – and climbing, UNICEF said today.UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué hosted a World Baby ShowerCredit/Copyright: UNICEF/Jaume de la Iguana “Gerard and I are so happy to know that so many kids will benefit from the generosity of all of those who have participated in the World Baby Shower movement—and that we’ve raised 130,000 polio and measles vaccines and enough therapeutic food packets to feed 15,000 children – among other things that will now go to children in need,” said Shakira. “What is most exciting is that more than 500 mothers have organized their own baby shower which has also helped even more children all around the world.”UNICEF confirmed that the gifts from the supporters of the World Baby Shower, which launched in January, will benefit tens of thousands children by protecting them against disease and malnutrition, and providing essential items for their survival.Some 71,000 doses of polio vaccines and 65,000 doses of measles vaccines will immunize young children against two potentially deadly diseases. From therapeutic food – to treat severe malnutrition in children – to vaccine carriers for health workers, to midwifery kits, the donations will continue to benefit children for some time to come. Fans have also donated hundreds of blankets – proven to aid the survival of vulnerable newborns by keeping them warm.These gifts, along with family water kits, will help to prevent children from succumbing to the various diseases that threaten them and led to some 6.3 million child deaths in 2013.Additionally, 500 people signed up to host their own showers, giving gifts for other children instead of receiving them for their own. Partners such as The Bump and Baby List have even incorporated UNICEF’s inspired gifts to their registry offerings permanently.“This is an extraordinary show of generosity on the part of Shakira and Gerard, but also by the thousands of people who went out of their way to share in this event by giving to others,” said Shanelle Hall, head of UNICEF’s global supply operations, based in Copenhagen. “You could say this is Shakira’s biggest hit, and Gerard’s most spectacular goal. These gifts will reach tens of thousands of children with life-changing supplies.”This World Baby Shower is the second for the couple, who welcomed the birth of their son Milan two years ago with a shower to benefit children in need. This second baby shower has already surpassed the total donations reached with the last endeavor.“There is still a lot to do,” said Shakira. “Our greatest hope is that the world baby shower continues moving forward and that more mothers organize their own baby showers until every new mother and newborn worldwide can access the same vital life-saving tools to enjoy a safe and healthy childhood.”Those wishing to donate, or to host their own baby shower can visit www.worldbabyshower.org.Source:UNICEFlast_img read more

China promises prompt action on US trade pact

first_imgBEIJING — A Chinese government spokesman says Beijing will “immediately implement” terms of a tariff cease-fire with Washington and is “full of confidence” a trade agreement can be reached within 90 days.The Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said Thursday that talks will start by focusing on trade in farm goods, energy and automobiles.Asked to confirm President Donald Trump’s statement that Beijing promised to immediately buy American goods, Gao said China will “immediately implement the consensus reached by the two sides on farm products, cars and energy” but said nothing about purchases.Trump agreed Saturday to postpone U.S. tariff hikes in a fight over technology by 90 days while the two sides negotiate.China has promised to act quickly on the agreement but failed to release details, rattling financial markets.The Associated Presslast_img read more

LeVeon Bell Is Irreplaceable The Steelers Have Yet To Notice

Le’Veon Bell was born in the wrong decade. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back is the best player in the NFL at his position, but he’s playing at a time when that distinction has never been less valued. On Thursday, Bell didn’t report to camp (and was under no obligation to do so), having yet to sign his franchise tender for $12.1 million. Earlier this month, negotiations between the All-Pro and the Steelers broke down without Bell signing a long-term contract after he reportedly sought $15 million per year. Assuming Bell does sign the tender, he’ll still play this season for the Steelers as the game’s highest-paid back. But the Steelers can’t resume negotiations on a long-term deal until 2018, meaning Bell will be a free agent once again.Put another way: This could be Bell’s last season wearing black and gold. In another era, when running backs like Earl Campbell, Franco Harris and Walter Payton were the gods of the gridiron, this would be unfathomable. But in the modern NFL, any running back, regardless of his ability, may be viewed as replaceable simply because he doesn’t throw or primarily catch the football. Despite this new line of thinking, Pittsburgh could still be making a huge mistake.Local papers have noted that Pittsburgh has won at a higher rate without Bell the past two years (11-5 including playoffs) than with him (12-7). But Bell played in five games without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during that span, compared with just one for his backup the past two years, DeAngelo Williams, who is no longer with the team. The Steelers went 10-3, meanwhile, when Bell and Roethlisberger both played.1 This is excluding a 2015 game against the Bengals in which Bell suffered a season-ending injury early in the second quarter and January’s playoff loss against the Patriots when Bell left the game in the first quarter.In addition to durability risk, the knock on running backs is that they are interchangeable –that their success is based more on a team’s offensive scheme and run blocking than any innate ability. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Bell. WSHR. KelleyC. Thompson4.25.2-1.1 CLEI. CrowellD. Johnson4.84.9-0.1 The 25-year-old averaged 4.86 yards on 261 carries last season — or 1.36 yards more than Williams averaged in 98 attempts while running behind the same offensive line. That differential was the fourth in the NFL when comparing primary ball carriers to their best backup with 50-plus carries, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. That means Bell gained 355 more yards on his 261 carries than his backup would have, and those extra yards are worth 23 points, based on the league rate of a point every 15.4 yards from scrimmage. That was bested only by the Chicago Bears’ Jordan Howard (1.98 yards better per carry), San Francisco 49ers’ Carlos Hyde (1.90) and Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott (1.55). But in those three cases, the 2016 backups — Jeremy Langford, Shaun Draughn and Alfred Morris, respectively — are nowhere near the caliber of Williams, one of only three backs since 2000 who have matched Bell’s active streak of averaging at least 4.7 yards in three consecutive seasons (minimum 100 carries).2 The other two are Tiki Barber (2004 to 2006) and Jamaal Charles (2012 to 2014). No back this century has ever done it four straight years.If you look at the list across the league, you begin to see why an NFL front office might think twice about giving big money to a first-string running back. There were 11 teams in 2016 in which the difference in efficiency between the starter and the backup was separated by less than half a yard per attempt. What’s more, there were 16 backups who were actually more efficient in less work, perhaps because of fresher legs. And the four backs who averaged at least 1 yard more per rush than the man they were behind on the depth chart are backups again this year. That includes the best backup rusher last year, Oakland’s Jalen Richard (1.88 yards per carry more than the now-departed Latavius Murray, who was replaced by Marshawn Lynch). More mysteriously, the Jets’ Bilal Powell (5.51 per carry) is expected to back up the same starter, Matt Forte (3.73), as is Washington’s Chris Thompson (5.24) behind Rob Kelley (4.19).Bell’s teammates, at least, seem to appreciate his value. “We need him,” star wide receiver Antonio Brown told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Monday. “He’s a special piece.” But on Wednesday, prior to training camp, Brown expressed dismay on Instagram over Bell’s anticipated absence, saying the “First rule to getting better is showing Up!”Brown was rewarded for his stellar output with a four-year, $68 million deal in February. But Bell’s best offer from the Steelers didn’t approach that, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, which is instructive in showing how much more the NFL values passing over the ground game. But Bell is arguably the team’s second-most important receiver behind Brown, too. Last year, he became the first player in NFL history to average more than 50 yards receiving per game in addition to 100 rushing yards. And his total of 157 yards from scrimmage per game was third-most in league history.Yet despite their arguably equal importance to the team, it’s Bell who is skipping camp while he waits on his payday. Brown, meanwhile, arrived at camp on Thursday chauffeured in the backseat of a 1931 Rolls Royce. MINJ. McKinnonM. Asiata3.43.3+0.1 PHIR. MathewsD. Sproles4.34.7-0.4 BALT. WestK. Dixon4.04.3-0.3 NOM. IngramT. Hightower5.14.1+1.0 Not every running back is replaceableDifference between teams’ primary and secondary running options by yards per attempt, 2016 CINJ. HillR. Burkhead3.84.7-0.9 TEAMRB1RB2RB1RB2DIFF. SDM. GordonK. Farrow3.93.2+0.7 CARJ. StewartF. Whittaker3.84.7-0.9 DETT. RiddickZ. Zenner3.93.8+0.1 KCS. WareC. West4.33.3+1.0 TEND. MurrayD. Henry4.44.5-0.1 NYJM. ForteB. Powell3.75.5-1.8 JAXT.J. YeldonC. Ivory3.63.8-0.2 DALE. ElliottA. Morris5.13.5+1.6 NEL. BlountD. Lewis3.94.4-0.5 TBD. MartinJ. Rodgers2.94.3-1.4 HOUL. MillerA. Blue4.04.2-0.2 SFC. HydeS. Draughn4.62.7+1.9 ATLD. FreemanT. Coleman4.84.4+0.3 NYGR. JenningsP. Perkins3.34.1-0.8 CHIJ. HowardJ. Langford5.23.2+2.0 GBT. MontgomeryE. Lacy5.95.1+0.9 PITL. BellD. Williams4.93.5+1.4 BUFL. McCoyM. Gillislee5.45.7-0.3 DEND. BookerC.J. Anderson3.54.0-0.5 OAKL. MurrayJ. Richard4.05.9-1.9 RB2 is the teams’ best backup running back with at least 50 rushing attempts.Source: TruMedia YARDS/ATTEMPT read more