Collins clanger lifts City

first_img Silva fired an early warning over the bar before Aguero shot straight at Adrian and a Kolarov free-kick curled wide. Aguero blasted another effort into the stands before City claimed the lead in freak circumstances after 18 minutes. Jesus Navas, often criticised for his lack of decent delivery, burst down the right and clipped a ball towards the box looking for the inrushing Aguero. It initially appeared the Spaniard had been thwarted again as Collins stepped in to intercept but City got lucky. The ball bobbled, caught Collins on the shin and looped over the stranded Adrian, hitting the bar on its way down and then going in off the post. It was a goal set to feature on bloopers reels for years to come and another unwelcome addition to the usually dependable Collins’ list of clangers. West Ham offered little in response although the experienced Carlton Cole, making his first start since February following injury to Diafra Sakho, shot at Joe Hart. City doubled their lead nine minutes before the break after Yaya Toure slid to cut out a Stewart Downing pass and find Aguero. The Argentinian sped into West Ham territory, skipping past a Collins tackle and exchanging passes with Navas to fire home. It was Aguero’s 26th goal of the season and his 20th in the Premier League, taking him above Harry Kane and Diego Costa in the competition’s scoring chart. City were strolling and Aguero almost had another early in the second half after a nice City passing move but Carl Jenkinson frustrated him with a well-timed challenge. Aguero was hurt in that tackle and required treatment but returned to run off the knock. Silva was not so fortunate after being caught on the side of the head by a stray elbow from Kouyate, who was booked. The City playmaker was down for around eight minutes, requiring lengthy and careful treatment before eventually being lifted onto a stretcher by medical staff. Samir Nasri, recently out of favour, came on as his replacement for the closing stages. City eased up as the game drifted towards a conclusion and West Ham enjoyed some decent possession but Hart – on his 28th birthday – came out to block their one good chance when Kevin Nolan went through. Top scorer Sergio Aguero was also on target as the fallen champions, after a horrendous run of six defeats in eight games, claimed a welcome and routine 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium. Collins set them on their way when he contrived to lob goalkeeper Adrian when an attempted interception went wrong before Aguero added to the tally before half-time. A bizarre own goal from West Ham’s James Collins helped Manchester City back to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League. It was not enough to lift City back into the top three but at least increased the gap to fifth-placed Liverpool – with heat increasing in the race for Champions League positions – to seven points. The result is also unlikely to alleviate the pressure on City manager Manuel Pellegrini much, but he could at least reflect on a satisfactory afternoon’s work against a lacklustre West Ham. The only obvious sour point was a serious-looking injury to David Silva, who was carried off on a stretcher with a head injury after a clash with Cheikhou Kouyate. That added to a list of problems for City who were already without Vincent Kompany, Wilfried Bony, Gael Clichy, James Milner and Stevan Jovetic. Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard came into the starting line-up to face his old club for probably the last time, while Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov and Fernando also featured. After all the criticism sent their way over the collapse of their title defence, City were probably grateful West Ham were so indifferent to their task. The Hammers had registered just one win in their previous 10 games and it never looked like this would be the occasion when their confidence returned. City controlled possession from early on and gradually moved through the gears. Press Associationlast_img read more

Nigeria Shines in Freestyle, North Africans Rule Greco Roman

first_imgOndo State Wrestling Coach, Purity Akuh, told journalists at the championship venue that he was impressed with the good start recorded by the state’s athletes and Nigeria at the championshipAkuh said: “This is a big stage, some of the wresters are young and jittery but somehow they have generally done well.“We expect the country will do well in the junior event and the senior level in the days ahead of this big championship.”The male cadet wrestlers are expected to be in action from today while the seniors will take to the mats on February 10 and 11 respectively.However, host country Nigeria has been dominated by their North African counterparts especially in the Greco-Roman category.Peter Ukoro (55kg) is through to the semifinal while Damilola Gabriel (51kg) will be fighting for a bronze medal after losing in the semifinal to Ahmed Fouad Baghdouda 10-2.The ongoing AWC is being sponsored fully by the Rivers State Government with Governor Nyesom Wike footing the bills of the Nigerian contingent from the preparatory stage till date.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Ondo State athletes representing Nigeria have recorded good start in the Africa Wrestling Championship which started yesterday at the Alfred Diette Spiff Events Centre, Port Harcourt.The cadet events that started on Wednesday saw Ondo’s Esther Kolawole winning gold in the freestyle event while Christiana Ogunsanya and Mercy Adekuoroye have qualified for the semifinal stage of their respective events.Mercy, the younger sister of Odunayo Adekuoroye, is tipped to also win gold in the AWC event.However, Sunmisola Balogun, another Ondo wrestler won two bouts to qualify for the final in her cadet event yesterday. She defeated her Moroccan opponent, Taibi C. 10-0 on technical superioritylast_img read more

City leaders to taxpayers: Gimme more

first_imgMore hikes in electric and water rates. A ballot scheme to save the phone tax. A plan to tax Los Angeles property owners to pay for gang intervention and prevention programs. The people of Los Angeles are City Hall’s targets even as city workers have gotten recent double-digit salary increases and the city budget has soared nearly 60 percent to $6.8 billion in just seven years. To some, the trend is evidence that the nation’s second-largest municipality is in trouble. “The hole just keeps getting deeper all the time,” said David Fleming, chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “So much of the tax money goes out in salaries that are significantly higher than people get in the private sector. It didn’t start out that way 50 years ago … but to encourage people to stay, they gave a pension system no one could afford. “This whole system is upside down.” The issue was spotlighted last week as details emerged of Los Angeles officials’ deal with six unions that would give most of the city’s 22,000 workers a 23 percent raise over five years. The deal was announced a day before the Department of Water and Power’s board approved another round of water-rate increases: 3.1 percent next July and another 3.1 percent in July 2009. Power rate increases also were approved and await action by the City Council and mayor. City officials defend the proposed hikes and salary deals as needed to maintain city services and pay workers a decent wage. City Administrative Officer Karen Sisson said the city’s budget is being squeezed, and the council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are working to create a tax and fee schedule that better reflects what it costs to run the city. “The city has taken action to slowly recover the costs of its services,” Sisson said. “The city provides a number of services, from the Planning Department to building plan reviews, to fire inspections. … The law allows us to recover the cost of the services we provide. We’re not getting a profit.” Among fees that have been increased to recover service costs: Ambulance rides up from $161 to $610, brush-clearing administrative fees from $668 to $982, and various planning fees up 15 percent in August. Sisson said utility rate increases also are a reflection of cost-recovery efforts because power rates haven’t risen since 1992. Councilman Greig Smith said the city is facing several major money decisions. “I think it’s terrible timing, all these financial issues coming to a head at the same point,” he said. Still, Smith said he supports the proposed city-union contract because the employees had agreed to forgo pay raises during a tough budget year in 2004. “We have to remember these guys did the right thing. Now they just want to be treated fairly.” And Smith said the city is still struggling to appease employee unions that want to match the salaries for DWP workers, which are the highest in the city. “These unions are feeding off each other, and the council needs to put its foot down. But not with this contract,” Smith said. “We have to stop it at the Department of Water and Power.” Councilman Bernard Parks also said he backs the contract, noting that it reflects cost-of-living increases and that the unions have agreed to give up later wage increases if needed. “It’s the first time in my history that unions have agreed to help fund their increases,” Parks said. Parks said the city also has to keep city employee contract issues separate from the telephone user tax debate and the DWP rate increase plans. “You can’t tell an employee, `Sorry, the (telephone tax) came up, so you don’t get paid.”‘ Since voter-approved Proposition 13 capped property tax increases in 1978, the city has looked to other sources of revenue to stem rising costs driven by salary increases and other compensation. City records show salaries for civilian, police and fire employees have climbed nearly 30 percent just this decade to about $2.9 billion. Costs for civilian salaries have risen to more than $1.7 billion. Those who have been fighting cities’ efforts to circumvent Proposition 13 by adding more fees and user taxes are critical. “I think it’s one of the most poorly managed cities in the country,” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said of Los Angeles. “They collect boatloads of revenue but have very little oversight and management. We see that over and over again. The city leadership is far too beholden to the public employee unions – so much so that it’s impacted the ability to deliver public services in a cost-effective and timely manner.” Still, Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, said the city’s problems stem from deteriorating infrastructure and public demands for services when key revenues – $30 million from DWP’s water revenue fund, and $270 million in annual phone use taxes – are in jeopardy. “They really have a dilemma,” Stern said of city officials. “When you rely on streams of income and they’re being cut off, maybe panic is too strong of a word, but at least you’re concerned. This is big money you’re talking about. “If that money is not available to you, where do you go to get it or what do you cut?” And Stern said the public bears some of the responsibility. “The public wants all these services, and they’re not willing to pay for them. The chickens are coming home to roost.” Ultimately, city officials are wrestling with balancing myriad demands at a crucial time for Los Angeles. “We need to be fair with our employees,” said Councilman Dennis Zine, who heads the council’s personnel committee. But he said he was not familiar with the details of the proposed contract. “When you have a contract with employees, you have labor peace. You want to maintain stability in the city and with a contract, you can do that. “Can we afford it? I don’t know. That’s what we have to figure out.” [email protected] (818) 713-3731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Niue Wins Best Booth at BFTE

first_imgSource = Niue Tourism The efforts of the Niue Tourism team paid off at the Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE) last week where they were awarded ‘Best Booth’ of the event.Rather than enjoying relaxing time in the sun on their first free day in Fiji, the Niue Tourism team including Hayden Porter, Vanessa Marsh, BJ Rex and Susie Williams dedicated the day to collecting materials to decorate their booth.The team scoured the streets of Nadi for rocks, fernery and a picnic table and Vanessa even spent the evening hand weaving a traditional Niuean mat.The result was a booth that replicated one of the island’s most popular locations – Limu Pools. To complete the illusion, the walls and floor of the booth were plastered with a panoramic photographic image of Limu.Susie says, “The booth looked fantastic and I felt honored to be there representing not just Niue Tourism, but also the people of Niue whom I am sure would have been beaming with Pacific pride.”Susie commented that there was a “real buzz” around the Niue booth, both in terms of its design and about the destination. “We noticed a marked interest and knowledge from buyers about Niue compared to last year, particularly from leading Australian wholesalers as well as representatives from the UK and USA,” says Susie.“We also had a lot more formal requests for appointments than we did last year.”The team’s efforts were rewarded on the final day when they were announced as winners of ‘Best Booth’ and awarded the prize of a free booth space at next year’s BFTE. Niue Tourism Development Manager Hayden Porter says that they intend to use the free booth as additional space at the event to help create double the impact. Niue tourism team at Niue boothlast_img read more