Next week the former Argentina international will celebrate a year in charge on the south coast – a time in which his profile has transformed from the unknown bad guy that came in for fans’ favourite Nigel Adkins. Pochettino’s improved image saw him mentioned as a potential successor to Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham and this week a report in Italy suggested he is set to leave for pastures new in June. Such talk flies in the face of the ‘project’ the Saints boss often mentions and was unsurprisingly dismissed out of hand on Thursday. “In Italy there is a new piece of news happening every single minute and most of them are contradictory from one hour to the next,” Pochettino said. “What can I say about it? I think if we paid attention to every single report that came out in Italy we’d probably go mad. I can’t really comment on something that has no solidity to it.” The news will be relief to Saints fans, who 10 years ago today were left reeling from the news that Gordon Strachan was leaving the managerial hotseat at the end of that campaign. Pochettino has no intention of making such an exit and would be keen to extend his contract past the end of the 2014/15 season, although no talks have begun. “I am happy here, of course,” he said. “There haven’t been any talks about an extension of the contract. “There isn’t any news about that and the moment that does happen I will answer that question.” The Saints boss was similarly coy when asked about movement in the January transfer window. Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has laughed off speculation that he will walk away from St Mary’s at the end of the season. Pochettino confirmed there had been no bids for the likes of Dani Osvaldo, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw, while there are no plans to make additions. “We don’t have any intention to sign any players,” he added. “In theory, no we do not. There is no intention at the moment. “There is still 22 days left in the transfer period and in that time we may change our minds. But at this moment we don’t have any intention to buy any players.” Press Association
Students and panelists gathered for the semester’s fourth installment of “Students Talk Back: A Politics and Public Policy Forum,” to discuss Russia’s recent efforts to annex the Crimea region of Ukraine and the role of U.S. diplomacy in the conflict. The Students Talk Back series is a semimonthly forum presented in partnership with the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, the College Democrats, the College Republicans and the Daily Trojan.The theme for the discussion was “The Crisis in Ukraine: Is US/European Diplomacy Enough?”The forum was moderated by Yasmeen Serhan, editorial director of the Daily Trojan, and Kerstyn Olson, interim director of the Unruh Institute.Olson began by stressing the importance of geopolitical issues for students in California who will soon be voting in midterm and national elections.“Given that we are living in a very tried-and-true blue state, I think it’s important — especially in a midterm election year — for USC students to not only think about issues that are of great import to California voters, but what will be important to voters in the so-called swing states,” Olson said. “Foreign policy is, of course, of incredible importance to all voters.”The moderators were joined on the panel by Rod Pacheco, a former state assemblyman and former district attorney of Riverside; Paul Feldman, an assistant foreign editor at the Los Angeles Times, and students Jessica Blakely and Shikhar Gupta.The first topic of discussion dealt with the legality of the Crimean referendum, which, if approved, will potentially allow the Crimea region of Ukraine to become part of Russia.“They don’t have a constitution that allows them to do this,” Pacheco said. “If there was a legal basis for the move, then Putin, Russia et. al. would have offered it, and the fact that they haven’t means they don’t have one.”For Feldman, who has been with the Los Angeles Times for more than three decades, the lack of a legal basis is less important because no one will enforce it.“It’s an issue more about real politics than legal basis, because there is no one that is going to be enforcing legal basis anyways,” he said. “It does appear right now that whatever happens, whoever puts up a fuss about the legal basis part probably is not going to get very far.”Blakely, a senior majoring in international relations and global health, agreed.“Paying attention to what the international law would say might not be one of Putin’s priorities either,” she said.Gupta, a sophomore majoring in international relations, provided some historical background for the audience members less familiar with the crisis.“[Ukraine] has historically been a part of various nations, empires, kingdoms and what not,” he said.Citing the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by then-First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Kruschev in 1954, Gupta discussed the resulting implication: Nearly 60 percent of Crimeans identify as Russian.Pacheco, however, stressed the importance of Crimea as a military outpost.“This is a very important strategic base for Russia — they have a major naval facility there, it is a warm water port, they can reach any point in the Middle East, anywhere throughout the Mediterranean,” he said. “That was the basis for them invading in the first place under Peter the Great.”While the first half of the discussion focused on questions from the moderators, during the second half, audience members were invited to ask questions of the panelists.Luke Phillips, a sophomore majoring in international relations, commented on the implications of the Ukraine crisis for the future of U.S. foreign policy.“There is going to be a seat change in U.S. politics within the next decade, and I don’t think it’s going to come with a change in the administration,” Phillips said.The next Students Talk Back is Wednesday, March 26, in the Forum at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
CLARION — Wright County officials say expanded testing in the county over the past week has resulted in over 50 more positive cases of COVID-19.A statement from the Wright County Department of Public Health says they’ve been working with Iowa Specialty Hospitals in doing proactive surveillance testing of the employees of the larger employers in the county. 294 tests were given in the past week, with 52 positive test results. There are also currently 50 outstanding tests, while 192 more tests were negative.The Iowa Department of Public Health’s coronavirus website now lists a total of 76 cases of COVID-19 in Wright County.