UN Observers: ”Burundi presidential election not credible”

first_imgMENUB observes the electoral process in Burundi, before, during and after the electionsWhile the 21 July election in Burundi that won President Pierre Nkurunziza a controversial third term was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was ‘not conducive’ for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process.This is accordning to an assessment by  the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in the country (MENUB)This was the main conclusion of MENUB’s preliminary findings on the conduct of the presidential polls in Burundi, which took place after two postponements in an environment of “profound mistrust” between opposing political camps.The decision of the incumbent President to run for another term precipitated a deep political and socioeconomic crisis, the mission said.“The Constitutional Court’s ruling on the admissibility of the President’s candidature for a third mandate did not solve the wider political problem of presidential term limits in Burundi, but rather exacerbated further controversy, protests and tensions,” the Mission explained in a statement issued today.Freedoms of expression, assembly and association, essential conditions for the effective exercise of the right to vote, remained severely impaired. “Violence, although observed in a less intense degree than during the period preceding the 29 June [legislative and communal] elections, remained an unfortunate feature of the entire process.”The various dialogue efforts, including the most recent initiative under the leadership of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the East African Community (EAC), remained inconclusive, stated MENUB.“Also, the parties did not reach agreement on a consensual electoral calendar. Nevertheless, on election day, Burundians in most places went peacefully to the polls to cast their ballots.”Out of the eight presidential candidates, four declared that they would withdraw from the race. However, their names remained on the ballot, pointed out the Mission.It also found that media freedom remained severely restricted. “Private and independent media outlets that were destroyed during the failed coup did not reopen, despite national and international appeals to the Burundian government to enable media to operate. State-owned media did not provide balanced media coverage to all presidential candidates.”The Commission ¨¦lectorale nationale ind¨¦pendante (CENI) conducted adequate logistical preparations for the presidential elections and polling activities in the observed polling sites largely followed procedures, the UN observers noted.But tabulation at the observed municipal and provincial locations was carried out expeditiously, albeit in a disorganized manner, they said.In conclusion, MENUB reiterated the Secretary-General’s call “for the cessation of all forms of violence respect of basic human rights and resumption of dialogue.”last_img read more

Busy time ahead for Doug Wilson: “I know I have to get to work”

first_imgSAN JOSE — General manager Doug Wilson was still trying to put things in perspective Thursday after the Sharks came up six wins short of capturing the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.That necessary time to reflect after the Sharks lost the Western Conference Final in six games, though, can only last so long.His captain, Joe Pavelski, wants to stay with the team but doesn’t have a contract. His star acquisition, Erik Karlsson, said he likes the organization but doesn’t know where he’ll land. …last_img

Blue Eagles sweep Tamaraws for PVL men’s crown

first_imgFILE PHOTO—The Ateneo Blue Spikers celebrate after getting a point in Game 2 of the UAAP Men’s Volleyball Finals. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.netAteneo overwhelmed Far Eastern University, 25-21, 25-22, 25-16, to sweep the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Men’s Finals Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Blue Eagles dominated the best-of-three series, also taking Game 1 in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19, three days ago.ADVERTISEMENT NBA: Thunder coach defends Russell Westbrook from ‘easy to defend’ claims LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Marck Espejo fired 20 points, including four service aces while Gian Carlo Glorioso added 10.Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas had four players in double-figures to eke out a 21-25, 30-28, 28-26, 25-21, in the battle for third place.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 shutoutManuel Medina and Joshua Umandal led the charge for the Tiger Spikers with 15 points each.Tyron Carodan added 14 points and Juren Buro chipped in 10.Madzlan Gampong had 20 points, six coming off blocks, for the Bulldogs, who lost a grueling Game 1 on Wednesday, 17-25, 28-26, 20-25, 25-21, 27-25. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 80 PLAY LIST 02:36Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 8000:50Trending Articles00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics01:37Protesters 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 Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next View commentslast_img read more

IPL 2011: Kochi aim for upset against Super Kings

first_imgThe stunning win over Mumbai Indians gave Indian Premier League new comers Kochi Tuskers Kerala the fillip they desperately needed and the side would be aiming to spring a surprise once again when they take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings in Kochi on Monday.Kochi upstaged Mumbai by a comprehensive eight wickets to clinch their maiden IPL win after facing defeats in their opening two matches.Captain Mahela Jayawardene said the win should now ensure that rivals take his team more seriously.The destructive Brendon McCullum came into his own against Mumbai and with some crucial support from Jayawardene and all- rounder Ravindra Jadeja, Kochi managed to pip Mumbai despite a century by their captain Sachin Tendulkar.” We have to keep fighting till the last. I think the rival teams will take us a little more seriously now following this victory.It gives us confidence as well,” Jayawardene had said after the shock win.The Sri Lankan veteran would hope for a similar performance from his team against Chennai at the Nehru Stadium.The bowling, however, is a big concern for Kochi as pace spearhead Sreesanth and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan have both been off colour, prompting Jayawardene to drop the duo in the match against Mumbai.RP Singh also continues to struggle to not just take wickets but also stem the flow of runs in the fourth edition of the league.R Vinay Kumar and Sri Lankan medium- pacer Thisara Perera can also expect to put through a tough test the formidable Chennai batting, bolstered by the return of Michael Hussey.advertisementBesides the prolific left- hander from Australia, Chennai, with the likes of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, veteran New Zealander Scott Styris and South Africa’s Albie Morkel, have the firepower to bat any opposition out of the game.Chairman of selectors Kris Srikkanth’s son S Aniruddha has also been in good form this edition of the league.Chennai have had a fairly successful campaign winning two of their three matches far – the only defeat being result of Paul Valthaty’s brilliance with the bat.Their bowlers too have been putting up decent performances with Morkel, Tim Southee, Ravichandran Ashwin and Suraj Randiv sharing the wickets among themselves.Going into Monday’s match, Chennai certainly have the momentum but Kochi too have a spring in their stride after the win over Mumbai.And given the unpredictability of the Twenty20 format, doesn’t take much for change in momentum.last_img read more

Lionel Messis Majestic Season

This Saturday, the magisterial Lionel Messi will lead FC Barcelona against Italian powerhouse Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final. For you non-cosmopolitans, this is like Messi’s Super Bowl — if more people watched the Super Bowl.1Although claims of worldwide television audience can often be exaggerated, the UEFA final is one of the few events (along with the World Cup) to actually, regularly outdraw the Super Bowl in TV viewership. After winning La Liga last month and the Copa del Rey2Spain’s national cup. Sort of like the playoffs for Spanish soccer, except it runs throughout the year. last weekend, Barcelona is poised (and favored) to give Messi his second “treble,”3Although there are a lot of “treble” scenarios, it mostly requires that a team win its league (in this case, La Liga), its country’s national cup (in this case, the Copa del Rey), and its continent’s inter-league championship (in this case, UEFA for Europe). Note that Juventus is also playing for a treble. which would make it the first European squad to accomplish the feat twice.That Messi is once again on the precipice of glory isn’t entirely unexpected considering his talent and reputation. But not long ago, it seemed far from a sure thing.Messi’s 2014 World Cup performance was somewhat disappointing and even a little strange. Despite winning the Golden Ball (controversially) and leading Argentina to the final before succumbing to Germany in overtime, he only facilitated one goal (albeit on a game-winning assist) in the knockout rounds and curled a potential Cup-winner wide. By the end of the tournament, Messi’s bursts of brilliance were accompanied by the spectacle of him often strolling or even standing still on the pitch — he covered the least distance per minute of all forwards in the tournament. Was he exhausted? Or was he playing some bizarre metagame?A disappointed Messi returned to an uncertain situation with his club team. Barcelona was under new leadership, and despite already having Messi and Brazilian megastar Neymar, it acquired English Premier League (EPL) standout Luis Suarez as well. Although Suarez is now an essential member of the “holy trinity” of Barca forwards, it was unclear what all this meant for Messi at the time. Some wondered if Messi’s best years were behind him, and with many seeing Neymar as the future, rumors spread that Messi might be transferred to Chelsea or some other EPL squad.Barcelona started the season strong, but it lost its most important first-half test — taking a 3-1 beating at Real Madrid — Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid. Messi failed to score or assist in the game. When Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the second year in a row, the choice wasn’t even controversial.Oh how far we’ve come in a few short months. Messi’s season — once mired in disappointment and doubt — has turned unambiguously triumphant. Regardless of what happens this weekend, Messi’s 2014-15 season weaves together aesthetic achievement, statistical accomplishment and compelling narrative into a tapestry of genius.Your eyes do not deceive youDuring last year’s World Cup, I wrote “Lionel Messi Is Impossible” — a casual ditty of over 5,000 words and 15 charts — so I could wrap my head around something that my eyes already knew: This little dude is unreal.For example, let’s take this instant-classic goal from last weekend’s Copa action:In that incredible run, Messi takes on a defender close to midfield, finding space down the sideline. Two more defenders descend, and Messi takes on — and beats — all three. Yet another defender gets in front of him, with two more rapidly approaching as he breaks left and curls it in past everyone (the person who appears to have come closest to derailing the play is teammate Suarez).Messi’s unparalleled ability to make plays on his own when necessary is thrilling to behold, whether on TV, in viral Internet clips or in amazing scatterplots. In particular, his skill at taking on defenders is as much nerd-candy as eye-candy:In the past five years, Messi has taken on defenders one-on-one (or one-on-more-than-one, as in the Copa) 1,995 times, with 55 percent of those succeeding. The forwards with the next-most attempts are Suarez with 1,113 (success rate of 35 percent) and Ronaldo with 872 (success rate 43 percent). In the 2014-15 season, Messi has taken on defenders even more often (averaging 9.6 attempts per game vs. 8.3 in the previous four seasons) without sacrificing his success rate (56 percent vs. 55 percent).Statistics inform aesthetics (and vice versa). In this case, the statistics help us understand the scope of what we can see already: It’s not just that Messi is good, but that he plays the game a whole different way.The reckoning (plus Messi vs. Ronaldo)Messi’s 2015 success has brought narratives of resurgence, redemption and maturation. His statistical accomplishments inform those narratives, although I believe they ultimately lead the story somewhere slightly different.Let’s look at the ongoing saga of Messi vs. Ronaldo. At the year break, each had 32 goals plus assists for their club teams (not counting penalty kicks4Note that Ronaldo is historically a little better than Messi at PKs, but the value of this skill (as I’ve previously estimated) is perhaps 1 goal per year at most, not the several goals that may separate them any particular season.). But what had been a tight battle then started going more and more Messi’s way.For the most part, Messi’s brilliance in 2015 is just a linear extension of his brilliance in 2014. The separation from Ronaldo is more a product of Ronaldo’s slightly flatter production.Of course, the broader Ronaldo/Messi debate rages on, and in the abstract, I don’t want to take sides. They’re both outrageous outliers who play very different styles, and they’re both so deep in the zone of incomprehensibility that perfect knowledge of their true value is likely impossible:On the other hand, insofar as we have created statistical metrics to compile and measure our observations, they pretty much side with Messi: He scores more goals, shoots more efficiently, gets more assists, passes more aggressively, passes more accurately, and more.For more detail on the subject, I would again direct you to my longer piece from last year. The 2014-15 season changes little. If anything new has developed, it may be that Messi’s defensive contributions are greater than ever. Messi has 40 tackles this season with a tackle rate of 58.8 percent (high for a striker), compared with Ronaldo’s 10 tackles and 38.5 percent rate. Messi also had 16 interceptions to Ronaldo’s four.5Ronaldo continues to dominate Messi in clearances (he has 42 to Messi’s one) and aerials won and aerial win percentage (78 to 16 overall and 52.3 percent to 34.0 percent). While defensive stats in soccer are limited, what we do have for Messi was already perfectly adequate for a high-volume striker, and for 2014-15, his “defensive plays made per opponent possession” is now in the upper echelon of his cohort.Here is the goal production (non-penalty goals plus assists) over the past five years for Messi, Ronaldo and 3,280 other forwards and midfielders:In other words, both players have shifted back toward their multiyear performance.6That third line, which managed to match Ronaldo at its peak last season, is Suarez.Aside from his injury-affected 2013-14 season (which was still pretty great), Messi’s otherworldly production has been rather consistent. Despite the drama and protestations and the thousand Internet discussions, the most remarkable thing we’ve learned in 2015 is that Messi is pretty much as he ever was. That may not sound like the most thrilling observation, but when you’re as big of an outlier as Messi, staying the same is amazing in itself.Beware the fury of a patient MessiAlthough the data mostly suggests that Messi is just being himself, the revenge narrative that has emerged is enticing, and not even the most cold-hearted stat-geek can resist it.In addition to reclaiming his statistical throne from the man who usurped him as the official “best player in the world” by winning the last two Ballon d’Ors, Messi led Barcelona to victory against Real Madrid in Camp Nou, 2-1.7On a lighter note, Messi has presently moved in front of the usually-dominant Ronaldo in that most important of metrics, Google searches. Unfortunately, Real Madrid lost to Juventus in the Champions League semifinals, denying us the ultimate rubber match.But Messi’s revenge narrative truly converged with his aesthetic accomplishment in Barcelona’s 3-0 thrashing of Bayern Munchen8As a former resident of Germany, I reserve the right to call them this. I hope my editor agrees! [Ed note: I only kept this because I forced you to find a synonym for “scientia” higher in the article.] in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. That Bayern team — led by Messi’s former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola — features many of the Germans who denied Messi in Brazil, and he carved them up. He had two amazing goals, virtually back-to-back, including this one:The opposition on that goal: the same two guys Messi faced on his missed potential Cup-winner, all-world goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng.Messi’s performance against Bayern was a master class in what makes him so good. In addition to his two goals (one from long range, one that put a defender on the ground), Messi also had three successful through ball passes in four attempts (including on this cringe-worthy Suarez miss). In the past year, Messi has attempted through-ball passes more than twice as often as any other player and has had twice as many assists from them as a result (and he has been doing that for years as well).For a 10 minute distillation of Messi greatness, watch this 10 minute supercut of his touches from that game (and watch for the through-ball attempts — they can be just as impressive as goals). It’s Messi being Messi. And the fact that Messi is still Messi may just be the most beautiful thing in sports. read more