Bidders pick over AN’s bones

first_imgBIDDING for the remnants of Australian National closed on June 20 with decisions expected to be announced around the end of the financial year on June 30.Almost 50 groups had registered interest, many forming consortia or subsequently joining the 15 shortlisted bidders on May 6. Freight prospects attracted Toll Holdings-TNT, and the acquisitive Wisconsin Central with CGE (which owns Connex in Britain). West Coast Rail (already carrying country passengers in Victoria) offered to run AN’s three surviving tourist trains including Indian Pacific, but was barred from bidding for freight assets. Great Southern, a consortium including Goninan, Rio Grande Pacific Corp and Rocky Mountain Rail Tours, was set to bid for several lots.Banned from the sale on ideological grounds were public sector bodies such as SA Generation Corp, which draws coal for its Port Augusta power station from mines at Leigh Creek, and National Rail Corp. NRC had wanted AN’s Dry Creek motive power and wagon maintenance shops at Dry Creek near Adelaide, and had nominated these assets for transfer under legislation which set up the company. However, NRC is itself due to be sold in the first half of 1998, so bids were not considered appropriate.The budget announced on May 13 failed to provide funding for a National Rail Infrastructure Authority to be set up in July despite federal Transport Minister John Sharp saying in April that it was ’on track’ for a July launch, thus creating even more confusion and uncertainty. NRIA (formerly Track Australia) may be created soon after the start of the next financial year on July 1 1998, taking over the Track Access Unit which is the only part of AN not for sale. olast_img read more

FIFA bans former top official Kattner for 10 years

first_img(REUTERS) – Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has banned Markus Kattner, a former leading official in the Zurich organisation, for 10 years and has fined him one million Swiss francs ($1.06M) after a probe into bonus payments.“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Markus Kattner, former FIFA Deputy Secretary General and Acting Secretary General, guilty of conflicts of interest and having abused his position, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said in a statement yesterday.“The investigation into Mr Kattner covered various charges concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials (including Mr Kattner), various amendments to and extensions of employment contracts, reimbursement of private legal costs, and Mr Kattner’s duties as an official.”FIFA said in June, 2016, that an internal investigation revealed that Kattner, FIFA’s former Secretary General Jerome Valcke and the organisation’s ex-President Sepp Blatter had received 79 million Swiss francs ($81M) in compensation over five years, calling them “massive payouts”.Blatter, who led FIFA from 1998 until 2015, was banned from football for six years in February 2016, while Valcke is banned until 2028.The 45-year-old Kattner, who holds German and Swiss citizenship, joined FIFA as Director of Finance in 2003 and four years later became Deputy Secretary General.He became Acting Secretary General in September 2015, after the departure of Valcke, but was then fired in May 2016.According to the Ethics Committee’s final judgement, Kattner argued that the ethics process against him had not been fair and that he did not grant any bonus payments either to himself or to anyone else in the top management.The official can appeal the FIFA ban to the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.last_img read more

Harris’ move to back line improves struggling Syracuse defense

first_img Published on March 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm Contact Jesse: | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ Heading into Saturday’s game against Johns Hopkins, Syracuse’s defense needed a facelift. Somewhere — amid the countless faceoff losses, question marks in the cage and injuries to key players in the midfield and attack — the team’s back line sputtered. Despite the defense’s evident experience, it yielded 16 or more goals to three of the four ranked teams it faced before squaring off against the then-No. 3 Blue Jays at Homewood Field. But SU head coach John Desko shifted senior long-stick midfielder Matt Harris to close defender in an eventual upset win over JHU. And for a unit that spent the early portion of the season searching for more answers than it provided, something clicked. “Matt coming down the past two weeks we’ve gotten a lot better at communicating,” senior goalie Dominic Lamolinara said. “He’s a captain, he’s been down there before, so he’s got all that experience.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHarris’ contributions on defense didn’t necessarily surface on the stat sheet. Syracuse (4-2, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) didn’t collect more ground balls than the Blue Jays — an area that Harris excels in — and still allowed 10 goals. But his leadership and experience keyed a pivotal first half in which the Orange gave up just three goals, and had Desko singing the defense’s praises after the game. With a date with Duke this coming weekend and SU needing to improve its in-conference play to qualify for the ACC tournament, Harris’ insertion into the back line couldn’t come at a better time. “I think that in previous games, the goals we’ve been giving up were just too easy for me,” Desko said. “We’ve had some young guys in there and we’ve mixed and matched, and we decided to bring (Harris) to limit some of the easy goals.“I think it helped quite a bit.”After not starting in a 14–8 win over then-No. 20 St. John’s on March 8, Harris jogged out alongside Brandon Mullins and Sean Young on Saturday, replacing sophomore Ryan Palasek. In a complete performance, Harris picked up a team-leading four ground balls and scored a goal late in the third quarter. But most importantly, he anchored a zone scheme that stymied the Blue Jays’ production in the first half. Faceoff specialist Chris Daddio was stifled by Johns Hopkins FOGO Drew Kennedy and would end up winning just 4-of-25 faceoffs in the game, which granted the Blue Jays extra possession and placed the defense under immense pressure. Yet the Orange’s defensive approach was methodical and keyed Harris’ size and communication skills in the middle. Syracuse mitigated the playmaking ability of Wells Stanwick — JHU’s dodging attack that feeds passes to diving teammates. The defense played a tight zone and face guarded all cutters, which forced tough-angle shots and put it in position to capitalize on every fumbled pass. “I think our hustle kind of showed today,” Harris said. “I haven’t seen the groundball stats, but I feel like every time the ball was on the ground on our end we picked it up and made a successful clear. And especially when we’re having a tough day at the X, that’s huge for us.”If Desko didn’t trust his long-stick midfielders, he’d be more hesitant to pencil Harris in as a close defender for the foreseeable future. But that’s exactly what the head coach did in his postgame press conference. “Our poles are probably our deepest position,” Desko said. “To put one of our poles down on close defense, it’s a no-brainer for us when we have three poles that we’re still comfortable playing. I think we’re going to continue to do that.”Two of those other poles are freshman Scott Firman and redshirt junior Peter Macartney. Harris has all the confidence in his teammates, and even seemed a little jealous after the game when he quipped about them being the ones to attack from the midfield moving forward. That’s something Harris enjoys — his third-quarter goal came after he carried the ball 60 yards — but won’t be doing much of as he settles into the middle of SU’s revitalized defense. Said Harris: “They’re no drop-off from me up top.” Commentslast_img read more

Lakers’ Nick Young cites nerves after early exit in 3-point contest

first_imgNEW ORLEANS >> Through the hot streaks and erratic slumps, Nick Young hardly ever seemed hesitant to shoot the basketball.But as he competed in the 3-point contest during All-Star weekend on Saturday at Smoothie King Center, Young soon encountered “first-time jitters” before falling out of the first round with a final score of 18. After he missed his first money ball on the first rack, Young said he “started thinking too much” before missing four out of five shots on the second rack. Despite making three out of five shots on the money back rack at the top of the key, Young contended he “should’ve stuck with my plan” to save the money-ball rack for the right corner. Though Young has shot a career-high 41.3 percent from 3-point range this season through suffocating defenses, he found the task of making open 3-pointers in 60 seconds more difficult.“It’s fun, but there’s a lot more pressure than people notice,” Young said. “You’re out there by yourself. The world is watching.” That left Young refusing initially to talk to his son because “I didn’t want to see the disappointment.” That also left Young determined to return to the NBA’s 3-point shooting contest in hopes to win at Staples Center. “I’ll be back. I’ll get the first one out the way,” Young said. “I got to come back. I didn’t have a chance to celebrate. They need me back.”Still, Young said he “had a blast” during All-Star weekend with his family. He also kept his sense of humor after tying for fourth place with Golden State’s Klay Thompson and finishing behind Houston’s Eric Gordon, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.Young argued he and Thompson are on equal footing as outside shooters since they tied. Young jokingly said he “should’ve never listened” to teammate Jordan Clarkson for putting the money-ball rack at the top of the key. He also chimed in on Irving’s contention that the Earth is flat, saying, “I think the world could be — it just never ends.”Young also said he had shoot poorly out of an apparent way to conserve energy in subsequent rounds. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “They tricked me and said the first four advanced. I didn’t know it was top three,” Young said. “So I thought I was good.”Young also turned serious on what he hopes the Lakers (19-39) accomplish following the All-Star break.“Energy and playing together. We got to set the tone and try to get to 30 wins,” Young said. “Try to get 30-plus wins. We tried to get 20 (wins) before All-Star. That didn’t work. But we got to set more goals.”That includes himself.“Finish off strong and stay in the starting lineup,” Young said. “Still be here.”Young will soon find out if he can accomplish that feat at the trade deadline on Thursday. It might provide a consolation prize after the man who calls himself “Swaggy P” suddenly lost his mojo.“I was a little nervous, a little bit,” Young said. “Time went faster than I thought. It happens.”last_img read more