By Toby DavisDavid Silva sparkled for Manchester City with two goals in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace that wiped out Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table and added festive spice to the Premier League title race on Saturday.Manchester United’s pursuit of the table-toppers stalled with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, their first dropped points in seven games, as local rivals City came through an encounter with Palace that threatened to turn into a frustrating occasion.Silva eased an increasingly tense atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium when he broke the deadlock shortly after half-time and then put an efficient victory to bed with his second goal soon after. Yaya Toure emphatically smashed home a late third.The victory for City, who are having to cope without all their main strikers through injury, moved them level on 39 points with Chelsea, who visit Stoke City on Monday, and ignited a title battle that had looked to be a one-horse parade.Champions City trailed Chelsea by eight points in November, but have cranked into gear heading into the busy festive period, taking 22 points from a possible 24 in their last eight games.United are seven points adrift and one in front of a West Ham United side who will occupy a coveted top four spot at Christmas after a 2-0 home win over bottom club Leicester City.Southampton’s woes were forgotten as they beat Everton 3-0 after four straight league defeats, while Tottenham Hotspur kept up their pursuit of a top-four spot with a 2-1 home win against Burnley to move above Arsenal, who visit Liverpool on Sunday.Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin scored a superb hat-trick as they fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion, but second-bottom Hull City’s troubles continued with a 1-0 home defeat by Swansea City.
By Iain RogersWhile there may still be a question mark over treble-chasing Barcelona’s defence, their fearsome attacking trident is firing on all cylinders ahead of Bayern Munich’s visit in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday (9.45pm).The South American trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez reached a scorching 108 goals for the season following the La Liga leaders’ 8-0 destruction of Cordoba on Saturday, eight more than the previous club record set by Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry when Barca won the treble in 2009.Argentina captain Messi is on 51 goals in all competitions, Uruguay striker Suarez, whose ban for biting an opponent at last year’s World Cup finals expired at the end of October, has 24, and Brazil forward Neymar 33.With a defence that has looked shaky at times this season, however, Barca’s hopes of reaching next month’s Champions League final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium may hinge on them scoring more goals than they inevitably concede.The Catalan giants have most of the same personnel at the back, including the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Marc Bartra, as when they crashed to a humiliating 7-0 aggregate defeat to Bayern in the last four of Europe’s elite club competition two years ago.The rampant German champions won the first leg in Munich 4-0 and the return 3-0, the heaviest two-legged European defeat in Barca’s history, and Bayern went on to beat Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German final.“It was a fantastic experience, we played brilliantly and astonished the football world,” forward Thomas Mueller said on Bayern’s website (www.fcbayern.de).“We know their strengths and above all they have world-class players up front,” added the Germany international.“As a defender, to try to stop one of Messi’s dribbles is not the most comfortable experience.”Both clubs have changed coaches since 2012-13, with Luis Enrique in charge at Barca in place of Tito Vilanova, who succumbed to cancer last year, and former Barca player and coach Pep Guardiola at the Bayern helm.“We are armed and ready,” Mueller said. “The coach knows this team better than any other. He’ll give us a game plan, but the rest is up to us players.”Four-time winners Barca are seeking their eighth final appearance and five-time champions Bayern, who host the return leg the following Tuesday, their 11th.
The ongoing and seemingly unending spate of power outages is far more troubling than probably thought. With the now customary schedule of blackouts published in the media, one may have been led to believe that the outage for a particular day was that which is reflected in the advisory.However, this was revealed not to be the case as the electricity company, Guyana Power & Light (GPL), shocked the nation by announcing last week that Guyanese have been experiencing eight outages per day, especially over the last two months. This appears to be a macro perspective as no one is spared from the company’s inability to deliver an acceptable service.Over the past few years, the situation got worse, as the outages are far more frequent and extended. Helpless, and with no alternative to access electricity during a blackout, ordinary Guyanese have been forced to endure daily and lengthy periods of inconvenience. This latest revelation by GPL may bring into question the accuracy of the blackout schedule it publishes.Aside from that being viewed as possibly misleading information given to the public, eight outages on average per day seem unfathomable. It is, however, the harsh reality which consumers face in this modern time. To say it is utterly unacceptable would be a gross understatement, as the inconvenience has become a major source of distress to those affected.To small business enterprises, the lengthy outages negatively impact production and productivity and unavoidably, revenue generation as planning and timelines are thrown off track. Those with financial obligations to lending institutions would be very hard-pressed to meet commitments. The possibility for other devastating consequences, like forced termination of jobs and the business unable to be sustained, are easily created.From the perspective of an ordinary Guyanese, their lives are constantly disrupted by any duration of power outage. Routine preparation for work and children for school are made unnecessarily difficult as basic appliances to aid that process are rendered useless. Access to much needed potable water is hampered as free movement in the dark. In addition, appliances are often damaged when the electricity switches on and off, or through the seemingly regular power surges.Spoilage of food and food items has also increased as refrigerators are not allowed to function to keep the items wholesome for consumption. Naturally, this incurs additional and unnecessary financial burdens on the backs of hardworking Guyanese who are already challenged in that regard. There are many people who are struggling to provide the basic of meals and depend on the use of a refrigerator, no matter how small, to help preserve precious items for a budgeted period.When those ordinary citizens are faced with additional challenges, it becomes virtually impossible for them to cope over time. They would have worked hard to be able to afford basic appliances to bring some level of ease to their lives’ daily routine. The constant power outages , therefore, strip them of that ability to be able benefit from the use of those appliances, especially when travel time is already onerous.Students are not spared as completion of homework and preparation for examinations are severely hindered. In a time when access to the internet in crucial to learning and school projects, the setback from power outages is unimaginable. In some of these cases, alternatives, through increased data phone plans to access the internet so that project deadlines are met, are forced to be found— which comes at an additional cost. Very often, just to manoeuvre around the house or for basic revision of school work, parents and children are forced to use candles or lamps.This is not just a backward step for both Guyana and Guyanese, but could be seen as an indictment on the electricity company to provide a reliable service. Consumers have lamented their high monthly cost for this utility service and concerns that reduction is not reflected, even after prolonged outages.They have also voiced concern over what they describe as a burdensome process to make a successful claim for appliances damage as a result of a power surge or outage. There is also the lingering risk of a fire from that, more especially, when the electricity switches on and off frequently. Blackouts, during the nights, also provide an enabling environment for criminals to operate.This is the reality of the impact of these outages on Guyanese. Many have questioned whether the power company fully understands this impact, especially given the lengthy time it took to inform on the true picture. Many have and continue to question the company’s implementation of mitigating measures in keeping with the growing demand.The APNU/AFC coalition government cannot avoid blame over the poor service consumers are forced to endure. From all appearances, it has done little to improve the situation. Had it not, while in the Opposition, derail the Amaila Hydroelectricity Project— which was designed to provide cheaper, cleaner and reliable supply of power— the current woes would have been a thing of the past. The Government seemingly has found a way of keeping the past in the present.
A heartbreaking photograph of a mother nursing her newborn under a bed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) surfaced on the internet Thursday. It must be utterly distressing for a mother filled with joy at giving new life but then have to endure poor conditions at the very medical facility she has put the safety of herself and that of her new bundle of job in. Such poor conditions are no doubt placing mothers and babies at obvious medical risks.On Christmas Day 2015, no other than Head of State President David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger both visited the maternity ward at the Georgetown Public Hospital where the president vowed in the presence of Public Health Minister Dr George Norton to have improved conditions at the medical facility.As a matter of fact the President on that occasion said it is part of his job as President to be at the hospital on Christmas morning, not only to bring cheer but also to have a first-hand look at the challenges patients experience. His exact words were: “I will be working with the Minister of Health to improve the circumstances under which you work and under which mothers have to give birth. This is where life starts and if you don’t ensure you have a safe environment, that the mothers are in a comfortable environment and the staff have the resources they need to do their work, we are likely to have problems.”The obvious question now is: “What happened, Mr President and Dr Norton?” Why are our new mothers being forced to share beds, even sleep on chairs and even more upsetting forced to sleep under a bed in the maternity ward of one of Guyana’s primary public health institutions?GPHC is where 60 per cent of babies are born in Guyana and surely someone must be held accountable for humiliating and reducing our mothers to this extent. One would have expected that within a reasonable timeframe, the reported challenges the new administration claimed it inherited from the previous administration at the GPHC maternity ward would have been addressed.As a matter of fact, four months in, with million being awarded to the Public Health Ministry in the 2016 National Budget but yet still nothing is done. Earlier this year, the Public Health Minister himself promised 50 new beds for the facility, declaring that “sharing beds would be a thing of the past” but yet today we degrade our new mothers as the issue persists.There is no doubt the GPHC maternity ward needs improvements and in moving forward better management is certainly needed at the facility to develop services offered.More resources would solve to a great extent some of the problems in maternity services at GPHC. There needs to be recognition of the needs of maternity services and those needs must be given higher priority when resource allocation decisions are taken.Learning from adverse incidents is one of the key components in moving forward and as such to improve the management and general conditions at the GPHC maternity ward feedback is needed from patients.Mothers must be able to report unsafe situations and their treatment at the facility so that in future solid action and change for the better is instilled.At present there is a noticeable inadequacy in management and poor staff–management relationships at GPHC and these are what leads to poor public health services as what is currently happening at the maternity ward.Change is need at the GPHC maternity ward and this change must be rendered sooner rather than later. What has occurred to our new mothers at that medical facility is downright inhumane and more so a great embarrassment to the management of GPHC.It is time to stop the “photo-op” with new born babies and implement strategies that would improve the conditions at maternity facilities.
Dear Editor,Barbados will on Wednesday join Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana in celebrating its golden jubilee as an independent nation, and the 166 square mile country has started activities since January to mark the occasion. Guyana’s President, David Granger, will journey to Bridgetown for the celebrations since Freundel Stuart, that country’s Prime Minister, was in Georgetown for Guyana’s celebrations last May. Stuart was honoured by the Guyana government when the country’s second highest award, the Order of Roraima (OR) was bestowed upon him.Barbados now has its own national awards. In fact, knighthoods (Sirs) and Dames are awarded to persons for their meritorious services. Several outstanding cricketers, such as Wesley Hall, Everton Weekes, Conrad Hunte and others, as well as academics and even trade unionists, have been knighted and one wonders if Stuart will reciprocate by honouring the Guyanese leader.There is a close link between Guyana and Barbados for several decades long before independence. Errol Barrow, the man who led the country to independence was very close to Forbes Burnham in the pre-independence era and the friendship between the two countries continues up to this day. I recall as a boy there were several Bajans who were living in the country – most of them were in the hinterland engaged in agriculture. Scores of Guyanese migrated to Barbados. Some of them are medical doctors, businessmen, lawyers and journalists, including Rickey Singh and Hubert Williams. They have contributed significantly to their adopted homes and few were honoured by the Barbadian government, including Professor Bishundat Persaud who died a few months ago in London and his niece Dr Shirley Hanoman. Radio personality Olga Lopes Seales lived for decades in Barbados where she eventually died.The standard of living in Barbados is relatively high, and unlike Guyana and most of the Caribbean islands, it is almost crime-free and as a result a few Guyanese retired there, including Sir Shridath Ramphal. Sir Fenton Ramsahoye who has toned down his legal practice, also has a home there.The 50th independence celebrations started on January 6 with the launch “Barbados We Come From” at Independence Square and will culminate on November 30 with activities being held in Barbados and across the global diaspora. The celebrations are not only entertaining, but also multi-dimensional and educational with special emphasis on youth audience.Sincerely,Oscar Ramjeet
Louis van Gaal is weighing up a move for Daley Sinkgraven 1 Dutch starlet Daley Sinkgraven has revealed he has had no contact from Manchester United after reports linking him with a move to Old Trafford.Sinkgraven has started the season in fine form for his current club Heerenveen, scoring two goals in 10 league appearances.The 19-year-old’s performances have attracted attention from several clubs across Europe, with Manchester United reportedly at the front of the queue.But despite reports emerging over the weekend that the Red Devils were lining up a January swoop for the winger, Sinkgraven admits he, nor his agent, have been contacted.“I’ve also read the reports. I can’t do that much about it because it’s new to me,” Sinkgraven told Algemeen Dagblad.“My agent has said nothing about it. The only thing that he told me is if I do well then the clubs will naturally come.”
SANTA BARBARA (AP) – Two men and a cattle ranch were charged Friday with felony crimes for allegedly starting a fire that has burned 375 square miles of wilderness in Central California and injured 44 firefighters. The Zaca Fire was ignited July 4 by sparks from grinding equipment being used to repair a water pipe near Los Olivos in northern Santa Barbara County, authorities have said. It was 95 percent contained Friday after burning through 240,207 acres of rugged lands in Los Padres National Forest. Full containment was expected Tuesday. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Jose Jesus Cabrera, 38, of Santa Ynez; Santiago Iniguez Cervantes, 46, of Santa Maria; and Rancho La Laguna LLC were charged with four felony counts each. The men could face up to nine years in state prison if convicted, according to a statement from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. The defendants also could be billed for the $114 million cost of fighting the fire, authorities said. The men were not in custody, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jerry N. Lulejian said. They were scheduled for arraignment Sept.20. The men were working at the ranch when the fire erupted, said Robert Sanger, an attorney for Cabrera.
Diego Perotti 1 Genoa rejected an £11.2m bid for Diego Perotti from Bournemouth on transfer deadline day, according to reports in Italy.The South Coast Premier League new boys had been tracking the Argentine all summer but the Serie A club stood firm over the tricky winger.The 27-year-old, who has also been linked with Watford, is a key man in the Genoa ranks and Rossoblu president Enrico Preziosi confirmed the club want to keep the playmaker in order to progress. “We received an offer from Bournemouth for him, I had to tell the player and I did but I didn’t accept it. He will stay for at least one more year to push us even higher,” Preziosi said.
Coral’s Dave Stevens joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.England are set for their toughest test of their World Cup qualification campaign so far against Slovenia tonight, but the build-up has been dominated by the decline of Wayne Rooney.The Three Lions captain has been dropped for Tuesday’s clash in Ljubljana, but is it all over for his international career?The odds suggest not, with Coral making Rooney odds on at 4/5 to go straight back into the startling line-up for England’s next game against Scotland.Manchester United is a different story though, with the skipper tipped to be benched for his fourth consecutive club game when the Red Devils take on rivals Liverpool on Monday.Rooney is 4/11 not to start from the bench at Anfield, and is 2/1 to be in the team.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast
1 Julian Draxler has revealed he was in contact with Arsenal for the past three years before joining Paris Saint-Germain this January.The Germany international moved to the French champions from Wolfsburg during the most recent transfer window for a fee of £35.5million.Draxler had been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates, particularly during his time with Schalke from 2011 to 2015, and again recently when he voiced his desire to leave Wolfsburg.In the end, though, the attacking midfielder elected to join PSG as he was keen for a fresh challenge and Arsenal made no approach this January.But he did reveal that the Premier League side had been in contact over the past few years.“I had some good years in Germany but I wanted to experience something different,” Draxler told Telefoot.“For that reason, I chose to join PSG. The directors and coach at Wolfsburg have changed. I was on good terms with them and we decided it was best if I left.“I listened to my heart and chose PSG as they play in a style that suits me best. I had several options though.“Arsenal had been in contact since about two or three years ago but I was not in touch with them this winter.” Julian Draxler has revealed he had been in contact with Arsenal over the last few years