On the move? Five Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United and Madrid stars that must move in January

first_imgWith the January transfer window approaching, clubs and players will be looking to the winter period as the perfect opportunity to freshen up their seasons.While clubs look at the period as the chance to inject some additional quality into their squads, an increasing number of players see it as a way of getting more game time.As such, here are five big-name stars that MUST move in January if they are to give their careers a new boost.Click the arrow for more. 5 5 4. Lukas Podolski – Arsenal – Click the arrow for more – The German international has commented in recent weeks that unless his playing situation improves he might have to start looking for a new club when the transfer window reopens. Now, it seems as though his international future may start to be affected as well, with national boss Joachim Low advising the 29-year-old that he needs to think about his situation at Arsenal. Despite a string of injuries, boss Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem keen on using the World Cup winners, so don’t be surprised to see Podolski on the move in January. A return to Germany has been strongly touted, but reports of a link to Turkey have also appeared. 5 5 3. Sami Khedira – Real Madrid – Click the arrow for more – It is no real secret that a handful of clubs showed interest in the German international and with his clubs side Real Madrid not very forthcoming with a new deal, it looks as though Khedira could be available for nothing in the summer. His lack of game time is becoming a growing concern, but despite Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly battling for his affections, there are strong signs that he may remain in Spain until the end of the season. 2. Juan Mata – Man United – Click the arrow for more – A club-record signing in January 2014, Juan Mata has quickly gone from pivotal playmaker to bit-part player in the space of 11 months at Man United. The Spaniard may have featured nine times for the Red Devils, but a large amount of those have been as a substitute and while he has backed up his inclusion with three league goals, boss Louis van Gaal struggles to find space in his line-up for the former Chelsea man. Mata certainly has the talent to force his way back into the first XI, but a player of his calibre should arguably be playing every week. A move back to Spain has been touted, so don’t be surprised to see him on the move soon. 5 5. Petr Cech – Chelsea – Click the arrow for more – Chelsea’s former number one has seen his Blues career turned upside-down following the full-time arrival of Belgian sensation Thibaut Courtois. Having made 475 appearances for the Blues over the past 10 years, Cech is yet to start in the league this season, with his only appearance in the competition coming as a substitute. Still considered to be one of the finest operators in Europe, Cech would walk into the first team of most sides, and his recent comments that he will consider his situation over the next few months could result in a move. 1. Lucas – Liverpool – Click the arrow for more – Following Steven Gerrard’s late development into a holding midfielder, it is Lucas who has been the most affected at Liverpool. The Brazilian has found his first team opportunities extremely restricted this season, making just three league appearances so far, and while some will back the his abilities to offer further protection to the Merseysiders’ shaky defence, boss Brendan Rodgers doesn’t seem to agree. At 27 years old, Lucas still has plenty to offer at the highest level, and at this moment it seems as though his best chance to do that will be to move elsewhere.last_img read more

Survey shows China consumers at risk

first_imgSHANGHAI, China – China said on Wednesday that nearly a fifth of the food and consumer products that it checked in a nationwide survey this year were found to be substandard or tainted, underscoring the risk faced by its own consumers even as the country’s exports come under greater scrutiny overseas. Regulators said the broad survey of foods, agricultural tools, clothing, women and children’s products and other types of goods turned up sizable quality and safety failure rates for products that are sold domestically. The government said, for instance, that canned and preserved fruit and dried fish contained excessive bacteria; that 20 percent of the fruit and vegetable juice surveyed was deemed substandard, and that some children’s products were defective or laced with harmful chemicals. The announcement came amid a growing scandal over the quality and safety of Chinese-made exports and follows a series of international recalls involving everything from contaminated pet food ingredients and counterfeit toothpaste to toxic toys, defective tires and contaminated seafood. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the survey, conducted in the first half of this year, showed quality and safety improvements compared with conditions in the period a year earlier. But the announcement also suggested that Chinese consumers are at serious risk of being harmed by purchasing tainted foods, substandard goods and suspect or defective equipment. Regulators said, in effect, that goods sold in China are far more hazardous than the exports that are driving the country’s economic growth and now are partly the subject of safety and quality debates. Li Yuanping, a regulatory official, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that “99 percent of the food exported to the United States was up to safety standards over the past two years, which is a high percentage.” But regulators in the United States, Europe and other countries are growing increasingly worried about safety failures involving Chinese-made goods.last_img read more

SPOONFUL OF SONG

first_imgBy Muhammed El-Hasan STAFF WRITER Because of a rough childhood, Carolyn Schwartz has known what it’s like to be lonely in a crowd. Today, she spends her days reaching out to other lonely souls. I do fake ballet, fake tap, fake soft shoe, musical comedy dancing. Mostly, I just wiggle. It’s really odd when you’re working in what I call the “valley of the shadow of death” or “God’s waiting room” or “last stop on the train.” I know the children are our future. But the elderly are our past. And they are who we learn from. I have learned so much from them. Like what? I learned to play the organ from a legally blind man. He encouraged me to be more creative. I learned how to transpose in my head, which means playing the piano in a different key. She was a piano bar player for 50 years, and she challenged me to do that. What’s your favorite act? I really love doing a song and dance combination, which would be like singing along with Fred Astaire and doing the dance bit in the middle. I get my heart rate up and am able to pretend I’m somebody else. What else do you do? For a fee, I help others get booked to entertain at care homes. I also do a karaoke show on Saturdays at a restaurant. What’s the best part of your job? Staying young. Sharing what I’m passionate about with people who, for the most part, enjoy and appreciate it. What’s the worst part of your job? When something or someone I love very much dies. There was a wonderful dog named Bandit. He was a standard-sized poodle, and he belonged to a woman named Dorothy (at a care home). He knew the sound of my car and would bounce up and down and demand my attention, and I would go there to see him as much as to see the people there. He was very smart, but not too smart to know not to get out of the house and get hit by a car. And when I heard that, I lost it. Why do you call your business The Poppins Project? That’s named for Mary Poppins because she comes in on a wind and she brings a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down their pants. Do you think you’ll ever end up living in a care home? Maybe. I can be the in-house music lady. Are you afraid of death? No. It only happens once, and then you’re gone. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt a lot. What do you think is the meaning of life? To find the thing you love the most and do it the best you can until you can’t anymore. To learn the most you can about things that fascinate you. I think this is a benevolent universe and people are meant to be happy. muhammed.el-hasan@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Schwartz, who uses the stage name Carla Negri, has been entertaining residents of care homes since 1998. The 53-year-old Lomita resident performs songs, dances and other bits through her company, The Poppins Project. Before focusing her talents on care homes, she entertained residents of retirement homes. What does your job entail? The Poppins Project brings music and activities to care-home residents in the South Bay. I sing and dance, play piano, tell stories about my life. I do bingo games. I provide social connections for alert elderly and others, because they’re not all elderly. What kind of dance do you do? last_img read more

Flames force Greeks to take flight

first_imgWILDFIRES: A state of emergency is declared as walls of flames leave death and destruction in their paths. By Elena Becatoros THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ATHENS, Greece – Firefighters rushed helicopters and buses Monday to evacuate more than two dozen villages threatened by towering walls of flames that had killed 63 people while ravaging swaths of forest and farmland in Greece’s worst wildfire disaster in memory. The destruction was so extensive that authorities said they had not had time to tally the amount of burned land – or the number of people injured. Sixty-three people were known dead. A woman and her four children killed Friday, their charred bodies found with the woman’s arms around the youngsters, might have been safe if they had stayed at home. It was the only house left untouched in the village of Artemida in the western Peloponnese. The house’s white walls and red tile roof were unscathed, surrounded by blackened earth. Fanned by strong, hot winds, flames raced through grass and trees parched by three heat waves since June. Fires engulfed villages, forests and farms and scorched woodland around Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games. New fires broke out faster than others could be brought under control, leaving behind a devastated landscape of blackened tree trunks, gutted houses and charred animal carcasses. The destruction and deaths infuriated Greeks, who already had been stunned by deadly forest fires in June and July, and the disaster appeared likely to dominate political debate before parliamentary elections Sept. 16. Many people said the government did not react quickly enough. After declaring a state of emergency over the weekend, the government raised the possibility of arson and said several people had been arrested. A prosecutor on Monday ordered an investigation into whether arson attacks could come under Greece’s anti-terrorism and organized crime laws. On Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said it could not be coincidence that so many fires broke out simultaneously in so many areas. Villagers made similar charges. “These fires were set deliberately; it happens all the time,” said Adrianna Katsiki, 45, from the fire-damaged village of Varvassaina in a part of the western Peloponnese that suffered 42 deaths. In past fires, land developers have been blamed for fires, allegedly using blazes to sidestep laws that ban construction on forest land. Greece has no land registry, so once a region has been burned, there is no definitive proof of whether it was forest, farm or meadow. “It is rather late now, but the state should designate these areas to be immediately reforested, map them and complete the forest registry without further delay,” said Yiannis Revythis, chairman of the association of Athens real estate agents. “If an area is officially designated as forest land, who will burn it as it will still count as forest land?” But it was not clear who – if anyone – was responsible for these fires. “I think it is unlikely that land development was an incentive behind the arson,” said Nikos Bokaris, head of the Panhellenic Union of Forestry Experts. “The afflicted areas are not prime targets for construction. These are mountain areas where land is not that valuable.” An official of the WWF environmental group also dismissed the notion of an orchestrated arson campaign.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Four days of devastating blazes from the northern border with Albania to the southern island of Crete unnerved and angered Greeks, drawing strong criticism of the government’s response and setting off widespread suspicions and finger-pointing. The government, which declared a state of emergency, implied the destruction could be part of an orchestrated campaign of arson. But environmental experts expressed skepticism. People used garden hoses, buckets, tin cans and branches in desperate – and sometimes futile – attempts to beat back flames and save their homes and livelihoods. Frightened people called television stations pleading for help from the beleaguered fire service, and helicopters or vehicles were sent to several villages to evacuate threatened residents, although some insisted on staying to fight the flames. A helicopter flew five people out of Prasidaki in southern Greece, fire department spokesman Yiannis Stamoulis said. Another was sent to the village of Frixa, but residents there refused to leave, he said. last_img read more

Slaying suspect appears in court

first_imgAfter first nodding her head, Williams, clad in a lemon-yellow jailhouse pullover, blue pants and white tennis shoes, quietly replied, “I do. I do.” Williams allegedly stabbed her husband Neal, 27, and suffocated their two children, Ian, 3 and Devon, 7, inside their apartment in the 18900 block of Camino Bello on Aug. 7. Prosecutors and defense attorneys refused to discuss the case after court Friday. The motive for the killings has not been revealed. Williams’ court attire indicates she is at “some level of psychological risk,” said Lt. Tim Murphy, watch commander at the Los Angeles County Inmate Reception Center. Prior to the hearing there was a brief exchange between prosecutor Pak Kouch and public defender Haydeh Takasugi. A manila envelope marked “discovery” changed hands in the courtroom. The envelope appeared to contain a transcript of interviews and other evidence. WEST COVINA – A woman accused of stabbing her husband to death with a sword and suffocating their two sons with a pillow in Rowland Heights chose Friday to put off entering a plea until next month. Man-ling Williams, 27, briefly appeared Friday morning before Judge Abraham Khan in Citrus Superior Court to ask for a delay. Arraignment is now scheduled for Sept. 26. If convicted, Williams could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. “The effect of continuing arraignment delays the rights you have,” Khan told Williams. “Do you understand?” During the five-minute appearance, Takasugi and fellow attorney Tom Althaus tried to shield Williams from television cameras filming from the jury box. At her initial hearing in the case, Williams’ first defense attorney, Kenneth Wenzl, said Williams allegedly detailed her involvement in the killings of her husband and sons. Sheriff’s officials confirmed there was a confession. Besides the three counts of murder, Williams faces special circumstance allegations of lying in wait prior to the slaying of the children, and three counts of multiple murder. frank.girardot@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717 www.insidesocal.com/sgvcrime160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Cool Hamlin grabs pole late in day

first_imgKahne shrugged off his second-place run. “I figure it was definitely cooling down,” Kahne said. “I figure the (No.) 20 (Hamlin), if he had gone out at the same time as we went out, it would have been close. But I think we’ll have a really good car for the race.” Kyle Busch was third at 179.964, followed by Ryan Newman at 179.659, Jeff Burton at 179.614 and Greg Biffle at 178.971. Runaway series points leader Carl Edwards qualified 14th at 176.917. Nextel Cup drivers, who will also race in Sunday’s Sharp Aquos 500 here, swept the top 15 spots, with rookie Marcos Ambrose the top Busch regular at 176.748. ETC.: While Joe Gibbs Racing officials remained mum on the anticipated switch from Chevrolet to Toyota, Kyle Busch was more than happy to talk about it. From news services Denny Hamlin, the last of 42 drivers to make a qualifying attempt, knocked Kasey Kahne off the pole for tonight’s Camping World 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway. Hamlin’s fast lap of 180.316 mph on Friday, came with the sun setting on a track that was finally cooling a bit after the high temperature had reached 104 degrees and the track temperature went over 140. The lap was good enough to give Hamlin his 12th Busch pole and relegate Kahne’s 180.162 to the outside of the front row. “It probably helped us quite a bit,” Hamlin said of the late qualifying draw. “It could have been the difference between the pole and maybe second. I’ve been hurt by the qualifying draw more than I’ve been helped, though, so I’ll take it.” Busch, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports to drive for JGR in 2008, said he got a call from the team earlier this week confirming the change. “We were just always kept in the loop on what exactly was going to happen with that and, when they finally made their decision, they went ahead and called us,” Busch said at California Speedway, where he will race in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race. Asked what the call was about, he reiterated, “That they were going with Toyota.” Toyota is in its first season in Nextel Cup. This is a move that will give the Japanese automaker a marquee team. Dutch Grand Prix Justin Wilson was fastest on a wet track in the first qualifying session for the inaugural Champ Car World Series race in Jassen, Netherlands. Wilson, fourth in the series standings, had the fastest lap of 1 minute, 30.656 seconds around the 2.83-mile track at Assen, at an average speed of 112.381 mph. Simon Pagenaud of France was second, 0.89 seconds behind, and another French driver, Tristan Gommendy, was third, just over a second behind Wilson. Series leader Sebastien Bourdais of France, coming off a victory in last weekend’s Belgium Grand Prix, was sixth. No hard feelings? There are no hard feelings between Dario Franchitti and IRL teammate Marco Andretti, but there’s still a matter of talking to their boss. The Indianapolis 500 champion said he and Andretti talked about last Sunday’s collision that dropped Franchitti to third at Sonoma, and allowed race winner Scott Dixon to take the points lead. “I was able to talk with him and we cleared the air,” Franchitti said after the second practice session for Sunday’s Detroit Indy Grand Prix. The same isn’t true for one of the men who signs his paycheck. Michael Andretti, one of three owners of Andretti Green Racing and Marco’s father, criticized Franchitti after last week’s race, saying the Scot should have been more patient. “I wasn’t very impressed with the reaction,” Franchitti said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it later.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Story lines go flat during a dull race

first_imgThe season’s top guys just wanted to stay out of trouble and get to the finish line and clinch their Chase spots. The also-rans had trouble taking advantage because, well, if they were serious contenders they wouldn’t have come here buried in the standings. So it wasn’t like J.J. Yeley or Dave Blaney were going to take control. Did fans pick up on that? The built-in lack of compelling story lines? They certainly didn’t turn out in numbers. If it wasn’t the smallest crowd for a Nextel Cup race in Fontana, it was depressingly close. Reporters estimated 72,000 at the track. Some 40,000 short of a sellout. Or about 18,000 fewer than USC drew the night before for a football game with Idaho. Ask folks who trekked to Fontana what they will remember about the day, and they likely will cite the heat, the blazing sun, the heat, the sunburn and the heat. It was 100-something degrees when the green flag dropped, and maybe 140 on the track. For the race, fans had to settle for subplots. Many of them involving Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular driver never to win a championship. Would he keep alive his longshot drive for the Chase? Could he win his first race of the season? Would he blurt out what number will adorn his car next season when he leaves the team his father founded and joins Hendrick Motorsports? The answers were yes, no and definitely not. Little E was one of the few guys on the starting grid with reason to drive like a maniac. He needed to cut into a deficit of 168 points to give himself at least a ghost of a chance to snake the No. 12 spot at Richmond next weekend. And he did. Much to the delight of his legion of fans. He was in the top five most of the race, led six times for 15 laps, but at the end he just wasn’t as quick as Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton, the four guys who finished ahead of him. Junior’s Chase chances hang by a thread. He is 128 points behind Kevin Harvick for the 12th spot, and he’s out of championship contention, no matter what he does, if Harvick finishes 32nd or better at Richmond and 11th-place Kurt Busch finishes 36th or better. When he was done with nearly four hours behind the wheel of the Budweiser Chevrolet, Earnhardt was asked how he felt. “It’s hot,” he said. “I’m tired, real tired.” And left needing something approaching a NASCAR miracle to make his season meaningful past Richmond. “I don’t know much about the system,” he said. “I just go out and run as hard as I can. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to make it, but we’re not going to quit trying until they tell us we’re not.” And his number for next year? Keep guessing. It won’t be the familiar 8, of course. Evil stepmom Teresa, owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., won’t let 8 go. It won’t be 38, either, though it would be so tidy, his late father’s No. 3 and his No. 8. But the Yates team has 38 and isn’t giving it up. So now 81 is the hot rumor. Well, everything was hot, Sunday. Weather was the prime topic all along, and the drivers looked as flushed and drained at the end of 500 miles as if they had run them. “That was a long 500,” Burton said. “It felt like a marathon.” The racing was less than compelling, as generally is the case here. Track officials trumpeted 30 lead changes involving 16 drivers, but Johnson or Kyle Busch led 181 of the 250 laps, so it wasn’t like it a dozen guys seemed capable of winning. And the lead changes seemed mostly a function of the 11 caution flags. A track record. It was a race that will be little noted nor long remembered – because it decided so little. Other than reaffirming that nobody is keen on watching cars drive in circles for four hours when it’s 100 degrees in the shade. Read my blog at www.sbsun.com/blogs/inthiscorner160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! FONTANA – Strange, passionless race, this Sharp Aquos 500. Almost as if it didn’t matter. An exhibition in the middle of the Nextel Cup season. Not yet the Chase for the Cup. But the essential purpose of the season’s first 26 races – to determine the 12 drivers who get into the 10-race, championship-deciding Chase – hardly applied Sunday because the top dozen were all but locked up even before race No. 25 began. So hardly anyone was charging out there. last_img read more