O’Neill: Lafferty not giving much

first_img O’Neill installed Lafferty as his first-choice centre forward when he took over from Nigel Worthington at the start of last year, but has not been impressed by the Palermo player’s output. In five qualifiers he has managed no goals, two yellow cards, one sending-off, a couple of injuries and countless offsides. With qualification off the agenda and Luxembourg hardly presenting the most eye-catching opposition, O’Neill also found himself casting an eye toward the Euro 2016 trail. Despite just one win in seven matches in Group F – and high hopes for a second at the Stade Josy Barthel – his evolving squad have shown signs of encouragement. The defeat of Russia last month is an obvious high point, but both performances against a highly rated Portugal side have been positive, despite yielding just one point. To carry that feeling forward, though, O’Neill will need to hold on to senior men such as 33-year-old Gareth McAuley and former captain Aaron Hughes. O’Neill’s first task as manager was to persuade Hughes to reverse his decision to retire and it is an appeal he will make again – as and when the Irish Football Association confirm his own future. “Those are the kind of conversations that need to be had, but at this point I may not be the manager for the next campaign, these are things to be determined,” he said, though it is highly unlikely he will not be handed a new deal. “I’ve had a good conversation with Gareth and then there’s Aaron…he has been the easiest player I’ve had to deal with. “I would certainly be pushing Aaron to continue. I brought him out of retirement and asked him to play not in his natural position (right-back instead of central defence). The fact that he does that and continues to do that at such a level is testament to the player. “He’s still so vitally important to us.” Hughes has 87 caps to date and O’Neill believes the prospect of joining goalkeeping great Pat Jennings as only the second player to reach a century for his country could be the incentive he needs. “The 100-cap mark is a great carrot,” he added. “Given the service he has offered to Northern Ireland there’s not a finer person to be the first outfield player to achieve that.” Northern Ireland have no major injury worries heading into the match, with Jamie Ward, Shane Ferguson and Niall McGinn all set to be available following knocks against Portugal. Dean Shiels is on hand having been called up as cover for Lafferty, while Daniel Lafferty is available after suspension and will slot in at left-back. Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has reiterated his dissatisfaction with striker Kyle Lafferty, claiming he has “contributed very little” to his country’s World Cup campaign. His dismissal against Portugal last week means he did not travel with O’Neill’s squad for Tuesday’s clash in Luxembourg and an expected three-game ban would mean his campaign is over. If that is the case, he can consider it an unmitigated failure judging by his manager’s verdict. “The reality is that he misses this game suspended and I’d say he’ll miss the next two as well, that wouldn’t surprise me,” said O’Neill. “We will address it after that. I had a good conversation with Kyle and he was very apologetic and recognises he has let his team-mates down. “I would never say I would wash my hands of him or anything like that because he is still a player who can potentially be a big asset to the squad. “But at this minute in time he is not giving us very much and he knows that. “After quite a good start to the campaign he has contributed very little and he knows he won’t have contributed very much in the second half of the campaign. “He knows he needs to address that, not only for me but for the lads he plays alongside as well.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Professors study bacteria fighting method

first_imgThree USC professors have found a way to combat deadly bacteria through a computer-simulated study.The study was conducted using computer simulations. Photo from Viterbi School of Engineering.USC professors Priya Vashishta from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Rajiv Kalia from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; and Aiichiro Nakano from Viterbi, were hired in 2002 by President C. L. Max Nikias to conduct the study.“We were hired jointly in three separate departments,” Vashishta said. “The idea was to establish a group who would do simulations using computers. You need all three of those departments for this kind of study.”Simulations have become an increasingly common research method. Conducting research on a computer lessens the cost of materials and shortens a lengthy, repetitive trial process, Vashishta said.The professors, along with Aravind Krishnamoorthy, a Viterbi postdoctoral fellow, used simulations to find the optimal conditions for killing the bacteria, even with the presence of spores, which are a protective mechanism developed by bacteria to allow bacteria to withstand most harm.“Once they go to the dormant state, nothing [can] kill them,” Nakano said. “No radiation, no chemicals — they survive. it’s extremely hard to kill in this dormant state of the spore. Basically the simulation found how much heat and how much water content is needed to make it easy to kill the bacteria.”The study is rooted in the concept that a certain amount of water and heat cause bacteria to germinate before detecting conditions are harmful and entering spore mode, which makes bacteria impossible to kill.“You allow it to germinate but not to go into full spore mode,” Vashista said. “So if you just barely germinate, you’ll be able to kill it. At that point of wet heat, we will kill [them], and that is the simulation.”The computer simulation revealed that the bacteria can be killed at the optimal temperature of 90 to 95 degrees Celsius with a water concentration above 30 percent, according to Vashista.Once the bacteria is in the right environment, they are killed with black silicon nanopillars, which Nakano described as similar to a “bed of nails.”The research project was funded by a grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who’s looking for ways to combat bacteria as a biological weapon.“The funding comes from the DTRA, as they are primarily interested in find out how and when these bacterial spores die,” Krishnamoorthy said. “It’s important because if you’re trying to disinfect something with the presence of this bacteria, you have to be sure that these bacterial spores die. They want to know what are the conditions in which these things die, because if you don’t kill them completely, they can come back.”Krishnamoorthy said the study will have real-life applications. It can be used to counter biological weapons, lessen the spread of bacterial diseases and provide breakthroughs in food preservation.last_img read more

SBC Digital Summit: Customer circumstance is the hardest dynamic to gauge under a crisis scenario

first_imgShare SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Related Articles Gamesys tops list for GambleAware Q1 donations July 10, 2020 Share William Hill accelerates transformation agenda to overcome COVID realities August 5, 2020 Submit StumbleUpon The first-panel session of the Payments Day track, held on day-four of the inaugural SBC Digital Summit, debated how COVID-19 disruptions will impact all dynamics related to AML, fraud and customer verification measures.Payment Expert Editor Joe Streeter led discussions on key industry disciplines that were in the midst of an overhaul, prior to the virus spreading and creating a pandemic.The first focus was on the ‘human element’ of the pandemic, in which panicked consumers’ daily habits are thrown out of sync. Streeter asked panelists if standard betting procedures and protections stand-up against the coronavirus chaos?Steven Armstrong, Group Director of AML at William Hill, said “In general, betting regulations are defined on a risk-based approach. From an operators’ view, this should help them adapt thresholds and their risk models, however, developing flexible procedures are trickier under this environment.”Rahul Das, Head of Payments for VirginBet, backed Armstrong’s statement on flexibility, detailing that standard AML procedures have been tested, as operators may be unaware of a customer’s monetary circumstance.He added: “Regulatory guidelines haven’t changed, but consumer circumstances have, making profiling more complicated. You might have a customer who passed affordability checks 2 months ago, but their financial situation might have changed drastically.”  Whilst regulators continue to require checks and balance, Das continued that compliance demands do not account for radical changes in consumer behaviour under a crisis context. “We have built behavioural models observing customers, but predictive values are diminished if behaviour changes drastically in a short time,” he explained. “You are therefore left scrambling trying to protect customers… this is where I believe the puzzle is.” Working under unique circumstances, Armstrong said that William Hill affordability checks and customer profiling has had to adapt to the demands of the here and now rather than relying on retrospective reviews.“It gets me into trouble with KYC suppliers,” said Armstrong. “But I want to know what a player’s status is right now, not what check they were receiving six months ago. Their situation will have changed, for us it’s all about the present timestamp.”Working with diverse betting operators across Europe, Roger Tyrzyk – Country Manager for the UK and Ireland at IDnow – shared that its has been a period for technology incumbents to step up, filling holes in KYC procedures. Noting that customer verification and profiling have become harder disciplines in the pandemic, he said that software providers have to move provisions ‘beyond simple document checks’.“Operators have asked us to do face-to-face verifications, via video links,” said Tyrzyk. “They have also asked us to probe deeper questions making sure the customer is safe and that security is maintained.”Tyrzyk stated that IDnow customers are fully aware of the consequences of failing on AML and fraud demands during this unforeseen period as ‘tabloids are waiting to jump on negative headlines’.Das and Armstrong also recognised the high-stakes placed on AML and fraud conduct, which will be ramped up once the sports calendar comes back into play.   Countering future impacts, Das advised betting operators to develop ‘frontline teams’ consisting of compliance, responsible gambling, customer service and AML stakeholders, in order to avoid being swamped by the sports schedule.When sports do come back, he said that all compliance teams should be ready to ask sensitive questions of their customers – something that cannot just be pawned off to the customer services.____________________________The SBC Digital Summit runs from 27 April to 1 May 2020, featuring seven conference tracks, a virtual exhibition and virtual networking lounges. It has attracted an estimated 10,000 delegates from around the world. There is still time to register for the event, with company discounts available HERE.last_img read more

Dodgers officially sign Hector Olivera but could lose Hyun-Jin Ryu

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO >> On the day the Dodgers addressed a non-immediate area of need by officially signing free agent infielder Hector Olivera, another immediate need arose.Olivera’s six-year, $62.5 million contract is the longest and richest given any to player in the Andrew Friedman era. The 30-year-old said through an interpreter that he can play third or first base in addition to second base, the position he played all his life in Cuba.The Dodgers have a proven veteran playing each of those positions already. What they do not have is two-fifths of their projected 2015 starting rotation.Hyun-Jin Ryu is currently contemplating surgery on his ailing left shoulder, a decision that is expected by today. If he has surgery, Ryu might join Brandon McCarthy on the unofficial wait-til-next-year list. Olivera agreed to the terms of his contract in March. He then reported to the Dodgers’ training facility in the Dominican Republic along with Cuban pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez, whose minor league contract also became official Tuesday.The contracts couldn’t become official until each player passed his physical, which couldn’t happen until they received their U.S. work visas last week.Olivera arrived with concerns about the health of his right elbow. His contract specifically includes a seventh-year option for $1 million that triggers if Olivera has Tommy John surgery on the elbow.“I know there was a little inflammation in my arm,” Olivera said. “I did a lot of tryouts and people know that I played well, but it was just fatigue in the muscle. I don’t think there was any serious problem. I don’t know where that rumor started.”According to The Associated Press, Olivera gets a $28 million signing bonus, of which $12 million is payable within five days of approval by the commissioner’s office, $7.5 million by Aug. 1 and $8.5 million by Dec. 31. Olivera will receive salaries of $2 million this year, $4 million in 2016, $6 million in 2017, $6.5 million in 2018, $7.5 million in 2019 and $8.5 million in 2020.To make room for Olivera on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, Triple-A reliever Eury De La Rosa was designated for assignment.Once he is cleared to join the Dodgers, Olivera will add to the club’s infield depth. Juan Uribe, the incumbent starter at third base, has recently split playing time with both Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner.Howie Kendrick’s successful transition to the National League leaves little room for Olivera to steal time at second base if Kendrick is healthy. Adrian Gonzalez is an early contender for the NL Most Valuable Player award and not likely to lose at-bats to Guerrero, either. If the current group of infielders remain healthy, trading one of them might be the Dodgers’ best means of accommodating Olivera.Ryu’s lack of progress in rehab creates an obvious area of need. Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger are pitching well, but their talent is unproven. Brandon Beachy’s talent is proven, but he is facing an uncertain path in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.“If we could add an arm,” Friedman said, “it’d certainly be helpful.”AlsoDodgers manager Don Mattingly said he “felt honored” to be chosen as a National League coach at the All-Star Game in July. He was chosen by San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the NL squad. … Mattingly said that Beachy might throw to live hitters in batting practice once more before he is sent out on a minor league rehab assignment. The club was encouraged by Beachy’s first live BP session over the weekend. … Left-handed pitching prospect Julio Urias will have elective surgery to remove a benign tumor on his left eye later this month. The surgery is for cosmetic reasons but it will delay the 18-year-old from reaching his pre-determined innings limit. Urias will miss 4-5 weeks out of the Double-A season while he recovers. “It’s not a totally clear, black-and white-issue,” Friedman said of the decision. “It’s more involved than that. We have a tremendous doctor in (Neal) ElAttrache, a really good medical department, and we’re just putting our heads together to figure out what makes the most sense.”Ryu is 28-15 with a 3.17 earned-run average in two years since signing a six-year contract prior to the 2013 season. Without him this season, Dodger starters have struggled to pitch deep into games and to limit opponents’ home runs, but otherwise rank among the top half in MLB in the major pitching categories.While Ryu mulled his options Tuesday, Olivera passed his physical in Los Angeles and flew to Arizona. He will begin his Dodgers career at extended spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, then Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, then Triple-A Oklahoma City.Olivera’s timetable for reaching the major leagues isn’t set in stone, but both he and Friedman believe Olivera can make an impact this year.“I think three or four weeks and I should be ready by then,” he said through an interpreter.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more