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Navalny allies claim symbolic win in Russian regional vote

first_imgRussia’s political opposition Monday claimed a symbolic victory in regional elections that were dominated by pro-Kremlin candidates and marred by allegations of fraud.The vote was overshadowed by the alleged poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Siberian city of Tomsk during a trip to promote opposition candidates ahead of the ballot.Germany said Monday that lab tests in France and Sweden confirmed the Kremlin critic was attacked with a Novichok nerve agent in an incident French President Emmanuel Marcon described as “attempted murder” during a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The elections came a year ahead of a parliamentary ballot and were seen as a test for Putin as the ruling United Russia party faces sinking popularity and public anger over economic woes.Russians in dozens of the country’s 85 regions voted from Friday to Sunday for governors and lawmakers in regional and city legislatures as well as in several by-elections for national MPs.Candidates from the ruling United Russia party that dominates the country’s political landscape despite declining popularity claimed a majority of the seats.But Navalny’s allies made unprecedented gains in highly anticipated city council votes in Siberian cities of Novosibirsk and Tomsk. In an effort to fight Putin’s electoral machine, Navalny had urged voters back candidates against the ruling party.The 44-year-old lawyer and Kremlin critic was in Siberia promoting a “smart voting” campaign when he fell ill last month. His supporters believe the use of the banned chemical weapon shows that only the Russian state could be responsible. Putin on Monday condemned “unsubstantiated” accusations over Navalny’s poisoning during a call with Macron and said Germany should hand over biological materials and coordinate with Russian doctors.Two allies of the opposition leader won parliament seats in Tomsk, the city where Navalny’s allies say he drank tea that was laced with the nerve agent before a flight to Moscow.United Russia suffered heavy losses in the city of some 500,000, winning just 24.46 percent of the overall vote compared to 52.27 percent in 2015.Ksenia Fadeyeva, the 28-year-old head of Navalny’s Tomsk office who won a city council seat, put her success down to the opposition leader’s voting strategy saying, “we really campaigned under the Navalny brand”.The result was “a big blow” to United Russia ahead of legislative elections of next year, she told AFP, and also disproved the myth that the opposition only has 2 or 3 percent support.”But the work continues. No time to rest yet,” she said.In Russia’s third-largest city of Novosibirsk, which Navalny also visited before the vote, his ally Sergei Boyko won a seat on the local council beating out a veteran Communist Party candidate.United Russia lost 11 seats and their majority on the city council securing 22 places out of 50, with Navalny-backed candidates picking up five spots.United Russia chairman Dmitry Medvedev, however, praised Sunday the party’s electoral successes, saying that exit polls showed it was heading for victory.Of 18 regions that voted for governors, 12 elected candidates from United Russia and the remainder chose figures aligned with traditionally Kremlin-friendly opposition parties.Vote organizers said they held the ballot between Friday and Sunday to limit new coronavirus infections. But the opposition countered that the move was a ploy to make it easier for the results to be fabricated.The independent election monitor group Golos said it had registered ballot stuffing complaints and received a “stream of reports” that observers were barred from viewing documents and submitting complaints, with conflicts sometimes ending in “fisticuffs”.Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova however said Monday “there were no major violations” and that the vote had seen “fewer flaws than ever,” according to the TASS news agency.The European Union denounced the vote held in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, saying it would not recognize “anybody elected in Russia-organized voting in the Crimean peninsula”. Topics :last_img read more

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Bacuna back for Villa

first_img Press Association The Dutchman, who can play at full-back or in midfield, missed the defeat to Crystal Palace with a hamstring strain but is back in contention to face the Saints. Otherwise, Paul Lambert is choosing from the same squad with Christian Benteke, Libor Kozak, Charles N’Zogbia, Jores Okore, Nicklas Helenius and Gary Gardner all long-term absentees. Lambert must attempt to shut out off-field intrigue long enough to secure the one win he believes will secure Barclays Premier League safety. Villa go into the weekend fixtures four points above the drop zone with five games to play, but their scrap for safety was shunted down the news agenda when it was announced this week that assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa had been suspended by the club. As long-term associates of Lambert, the decision has created considerable interest and no little speculation. But an ongoing internal investigation means Lambert cannot speak publicly on the matter. Instead, he has attempted to focus the minds of players and public alike on the real business at hand – securing a potentially decisive win. Southampton visit Villa Park on Saturday, with Lambert looking to end a losing sequence stretching four games. “Forget about the rest of it, my main focus is to prepare for the game, to go and get the lads ready as best as we can,” he said. “We’ll try and get the supporters behind us, get everyone positive and try to win a game. That’s my job to try and do. “(One more win) and we’ll be in touching distance (of safety). We always say to the lads to be positive no matter what, we don’t talk about being negative. “But the lads know the situation, they don’t need me to tell them. They know it themselves and we’ll be ready for this one.” Lambert admits his side seemed to have lifted themselves out of the relegation battle with a 1-0 win over Chelsea last month, but no points from the last 12 available has dragged them back in. “After the Chelsea game everybody thought ‘great, no problem’, nobody foresaw the last four games,” he said. “After Chelsea we were sitting with feet up and all of a sudden, four games later, you’ve got a bit more to do to get over the line. “It (complacency) never came from ourselves, as a group or as a team. Outside people, pundits and all that, thought Aston Villa were totally safe but I’ve never given that implication. “We know that now is the time to win a game.” Artur Boruc has beaten his back injury in time for Southampton’s trip. The Poland stopper’s return offsets the continued absence of fellow goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, also with back trouble. Maya Yoshida (knee) and Gaston Ramirez (ankle) will also miss out. Saints are aiming to hit back to winning form after last weekend’s frustrating 1-0 home loss to Cardiff. Well aware of the watchful gaze of England coaches Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington, Rickie Lambert said he must set all World Cup thoughts aside in favour of fighting for form and goals with Saints. “Most importantly, we’ve got four games to try and get more points for Southampton and try and push us up further in the league,” said the 32-year-old target man. “We got asked the same question a few games ago – ‘we’ve got nothing to play for’ – but then we won three out of four games, so the lads are still very hungry and very determined to do well and that’s what we’ll be trying to do in the remaining four games. “I think we’ve had either Ray or Roy watching our games for the last 10 games I think, so we know we are getting watched and that’s brilliant for them to be watching Southampton. “I try not to focus on it, if I’m being honest. I try to play my own game, I think that’s the best way to go about it. “I think you can’t think too much about it, because I think it might affect your game. “You’ve just got to get on with it, try and do well for Southampton and hopefully Roy or Ray are impressed, that’s it really.” Leandro Bacuna is back in the Aston Villa squad for Saturday’s home clash with Southampton.last_img read more

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USC football could use some consistency

first_imgWhoever the starter is this upcoming game will need to minimize these errors against an unforgiving Notre Dame defense to give the Trojans a chance to outpace the Fighting Irish. What’s gone well: Young defense stepping up Slow offensive starts Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid scheme has been a positive change for a Trojan offense ranked 91st in points scored in 2018. The pass-heavy strategy highlights the Trojans’ talent at wide receiver and has resulted in some big performances, including senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.’s 232-yard outing against Utah. While the game plan fell a little short against Washington as USC’s offense relied on short passes and runs rather than deep balls, overall the Air Raid scheme has allowed the Trojan offense to shock its opponents with its quick tempo. Mixing up the pass and run Sophomores safety Talanoa Hufanga and cornerback Olaijah Griffin sat out last Saturday against Washington due to injury, while redshirt sophomore cornerback Greg Johnson was benched for the first quarter due to violation of a team rule. Despite the absence of these starters, the Trojan defense was able to keep USC within striking distance of Washington. Freshman cornerback Max Williams, who played in Johnson’s place, forced a fumble just before the goal line that was recovered by the Huskies for a score. In the fourth quarter, freshman cornerback Chris Steele recovered a fumble in Washington territory, handing the Trojans a chance to close the gap. The Trojans’ defensive depth is promising, especially as they counter a Notre Dame offense which put up 52 unanswered points against Bowling Green Saturday. What’s gone poorly: Air Raid offense (for the most part) We saw it with freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis in his second start against BYU, and we saw it again with redshirt junior quarterback Matt Fink in his first nod at Washington: Playing on the road is tough for Trojan backups. Slovis’s rocky start at BYU came after a breakout performance against Stanford in which he completed 84.8% of his passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. However, Slovis’ road debut was marred by three interceptions, two of which gave BYU the ball well into Trojan territory. Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis (right) was cleared to practice without contact this week after suffering a concussion early in the Trojans’ win over Utah Sept. 20. Slovis’ status is questionable heading into Saturday’s game against Notre Dame. ( Sarah Ko / Daily Trojan)center_img Inexperienced starters playing on the road  The Trojan defense has kept USC in games, but the offense needs to get off to quicker starts to give USC a chance to outscore top offensive opponents including Notre Dame and Oregon. The Trojans average just 7.6 points in the first quarter this season — mediocre next to Notre Dame’s 11.2 point average to start out games. Notre Dame is 11th in the nation with 41 points per game, so the Trojans must begin quickly Saturday to have a chance at outpacing the Fighting Irish. After Slovis went down on just the second play of USC’s game against then-No. 10 Utah, Fink stepped up to the challenge. He threw for 351 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception en route to victory that would have been unexpected even if the Trojans weren’t on their third-string quarterback. The following week at Washington, Fink’s passing game was all but shut down as he threw for just 163 yards and three costly picks. What to look forward to: Notre Dame has a versatile defense with the ability to create turnovers both at the line and against the pass. Given that Notre Dame has six interceptions and seven forced fumbles through five games, the Trojans cannot afford to be predictable and rely too heavily on the passing game. USC has a stacked backfield including junior Stephen Carr, redshirt junior Vavae Malepeai and redshirt freshman Markese Stepp and must mix in the run game to open up the lanes for its talented receivers. The Trojans can’t repeat the mistake they made against Washington of throwing mainly short routes and not allowing their receivers the opportunity to make contested deep catches. A balance between the pass and run is required to put the pressure on a Notre Dame defense, which is prepared to counter both sides of the game. In last week’s 28-14 loss at Washington, the Trojans were missing Slovis, Hufanga and Griffin. Slovis and Hufanga, both recovering from concussions, have been cleared to practice without contact, while Griffin has returned to practice and is expected to start against Notre Dame Saturday. The ability of the Trojan secondary to recover during the bye week is significant as it faces senior quarterback Ian Book, who has a 13 to 2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. Slovis’ health also remains a concern heading into another road game given Fink’s less-than-stellar performance at Washington last weekend. Getting healthy This year’s USC football team can be summed up in a single word: unpredictable. The Trojans have bounced in and out of the AP Top 25, winning games against Stanford and Utah they were expected to lose and conceding a game against non-conference BYU they were heavily favored to win. Now that USC has a bye week to prepare for No. 9 Notre Dame, let’s reflect on what has gone well, what has gone poorly and what we can look forward to seeing from the Trojans in the coming weeks. Ultimately, the Trojans’ success in the tail end of the season will come down to consistency.last_img read more

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Recapitalised Luckbox calls for a recruitment drive

first_img Luckbox outlines final TSXV roadmap July 29, 2020 IoM Digital appoints Chris Kissack as esports lead  July 22, 2020 StumbleUpon Submit Related Articles Luke Campbell, Champion Sports: Modular thinking most play the lead role in sportsbook migrations August 26, 2020 Share Share The management of esports wagering platform Luckbox has sanctioned a recruitment drive, after closing its latest CAD $4.5 million (€3m) funding round. Luckbox confirmed that it is seeking ‘five key new hires’ as the company moves forward with its aggressive future growth strategy as a soon to be listed Toronto TSX Ventures enterprise.  Strengthening its senior executive team, Isle of Man-based Luckbox is looking to hire a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to support company CEO, Quentin Martin.Luckbox is also searching for a new Head of Marketing and VP of Operations. Supporting its day-to-day operations, Luckbox is also looking to take on a new CRM Lead and Backend Developer for node.js development.Commenting on developments, Luckbox CEO Quentin Martin said: “It’s been a fantastic year for us so far and our oversubscribed funding round has put us in the perfect position to capitalise.”“We’re now ensuring we maintain that momentum by filling these very important roles with the right people who share our passion for growing Luckbox rapidly. We see these roles as a priority right now and we will be further strengthening the team in the coming months.”last_img read more

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