The elderly took a clobbering in the recent Budget, but the Chelsea pensioners could be laughing all the way to the bank.A few weeks ago, the old guard of Terry, Lampard, Cole and Drogba were written off as Andre Villas-Boas’ Blues lurched from one crisis to another.But the four flops were transformed into the awesome foursome on Wednesday night as Chelsea somehow saw off the might of Barcelona at the Bridge to leave themselves two games away from Champions League glory.“If anyone else says to me that being involved in a relegation scrap is more exciting than drifting along in mid-table, I might finally lose it.”Just to rub salt in the wounds, Barca were denied the chance to visit Trafalgar Square after the game, when Health & Safety officials ruled they could not risk putting the Catalans amongst the pigeons.On the pitch, Drogba did the damage with the only goal of the game as Fleet Street’s finest dusted off their ‘Drog Bite’/’Slick As A Drog’/’Life In The Old Drog Yet’ headlines.And there were probably several hundred Chelsea fans in need of a hair of the Drog come Thursday lunchtime.Their 34-year-old striker infuriated the Barca players with his theatrics, hitting the floor more times than a drunk on an ice rink to give his grateful team-mates a breather as the reigning champions threatened to engulf them.Ashley Young has been hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons this past fortnight and it was as if Drogba was putting the young pretender in his place with his take on the Crocodile Dundee knife gag – “That’s not a dive – this is a dive.”While their frontman was doing his double rollover, Chelsea left the field feeling like they’d won the Lottery.How Barcelona failed to get anything out of the game is a mystery that would have sent Sherlock Holmes’ pipe into meltdown.Messi and co had 79% possession, 24 shots and twice hit the woodwork, while Petr Cech was the irresistible force defying the immoveable object.It was a performance made all the more remarkable by the fact that three days earlier, Chelsea’s 30-somethings had put themselves through the wringer in a controversial FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.The scoreline showed the Blues triumphed 5-1 , but all the talk was of the ghost goal awarded against Tottenham with the game finely poised at 1-0.Mata’s goal aside, Chelsea were well worth their win.TV replays clearly showed Juan Mata’s shot was hacked off the line by Ledley King but referee Martin Atkinson – weeks after not giving QPR’s goal that did cross the line – had other ideas.Even Superman would have had trouble peering through the sea of bodies to the goal-line and if Atkinson ever offers to fill in my Spot the Ball coupon I’ll politely decline.Spurs boss Harry Redknapp later revealed: “He’s watched it now and says he feels worse than I do. I said ‘I don’t think so’.”Tottenham girl Adele was in the crowd at Wembley and while she will have been upset at what she witnessed, at least she’ll have plenty of heart-wrenching material for her new album.Next up for Spurs is a trip to Loftus Road, with the mood of QPR fans swinging more wildly than a Carlos Tevez goal celebration.We beat Liverpool – we’re staying up! We lose to Sunderland – we’re going down. We beat Arsenal – we’re staying up! We lose to Man United – we’re going down. We beat Swansea – we’re definitely staying up! We lose to West Brom – we’re definitely going down.It’s like a death row inmate being led to the electric chair, before earning a last-minute reprieve, then losing his appeal, being led back to the chair, winning a reprieve…Eventually you get to the stage where you scream: “Just flick the @!&*@!* switch!”To make matters worse, Wigan – Wigan! – keep winning. The team who a few weeks ago couldn’t score at an over-60s night are suddenly turning over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal for fun.I’ve got nothing against Wigan – in fact if I was a neutral I’d be rooting for them to survive.But why, like a husband who arrives home from work with flowers from the garage on his anniversary, do they always leave it so late?At least Wolves have had the decency to be crap all season.And if anyone else says to me that being involved in a relegation scrap is more exciting than drifting along in mid-table, I might finally lose it.I haven’t studied tables this much since I was doing primary school maths and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve done the BBC Predictor thing before it finally tells me QPR are staying up.Beat Spurs, after Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan fail to take maximum points and the great escape is back on. Lose and our fate rests on lucky heather and rabbits’ feet.So can we do it? My heart says yes. My head hurts.Follow Chris on Twitter
A New Role “India Takes Charge” (March 31) lucidly explained India’s new role in international affairs. And it is fortuitous that it has come at a time when the rest of the non-aligned world has realised the need for South-South cooperation, a new global economic order and disarmament. With India,A New Role”India Takes Charge” (March 31) lucidly explained India’s new role in international affairs. And it is fortuitous that it has come at a time when the rest of the non-aligned world has realised the need for South-South cooperation, a new global economic order and disarmament. With India steering NAM on to a more even keel it is possible for the dream of Nehru, Tito and Nasser to become a reality.Delhi Rajiv HandaBy hosting the summit with such perfection and at such short notice Mrs Gandhi has once again boosted our prestige in the international political arena.Calcutta Sabuj SenHaving seen Mrs Gandhi’s performance at the summit no one can doubt her ability to defuse crises and provide leadership. Now if only she would turn these talents back to the problems in India.New Delhi Rajesh RahejaHegde’s ProblemsThe view expressed in “The End Of The Beginning” (March 31) that Ramakrishna Hegde “continues to face difficulties in prodding his government into action” is not correct. Hegde has no one to blame but himself. He has replaced a police officer of unquestioned integrity like K.C.K. Raja with one who was indicted by the Kudoor and Desai commissions. He has appointed three more director generals of police and has therefore gone against his own dictum of not creating any new appointments. Even those accused of dereliction of duty during the circus tragedy and the press siege have been promoted. And to cap it all he has, in his new budget, given the go-by to two of his campaign promises – abolition of the professional tax and advancement of the retirement age from 55 to 58. Clearly then Hegde has no one to blame but himself for his lacklustre performance.Raichur A. KrishnanThe Wrong TrackThe article “On A Losing Track” (March 31) had a mistake. Apta and Roha are not in Madhya Pradesh but in Maharashtra.Khopoli C.B. MishraAssam AtrocitiesThe cover story “A State Ravaged” (March 15) dealt with the plight of the Assamese with precision and sympathy. Our Government is the first to issue statements about atrocities anywhere in the world but seems incapable of dealing with it in the country. But now the urgency of the situation cannot be disguised any longer and everything must be done to ensure that sanity prevails.Chandigarh Tom IfonI cannot comprehend how the author says that the agitation was non-violent till the elections were declared. For the last four years there have been numerous murders and constant harassment of people who do not support the agitation. And how did the agitators manage to get their hands on bombs and guns as soon as the elections were announced? I think it is time that we recognise the agitators for what they are – a threat to national security.Howrah Vivek GhoshThe photographs were gruesome and I had to steel myself before looking at them. I cannot understand how the Government can be so unbending specially when the J&K Government can get away with Article 370.Jammu Padmini JamwalThe decision to replace the Non-aligned Movement with Assam on the cover was a very sound one. And the report further justified this decision as it was a cut above the others published in various journals.Madras K. MohantyThe Government’s policy of divide and rule is having its pernicious effect in Assam. The state is now sharply divided along religious, linguistic and ethnic lines and is in grave danger of breaking up. I think people from all parts should come to Assam and raise the consciousness about this problem in their areas. The rest of the country should know that this is happening in Assam today – it could happen in their own states tomorrow.Jorhat Arup SaikiaIf nothing else then the scale of pre-election violence should convince the Government that in order to save Assam they will have to negotiate with the agitation leaders. If they don’t then they will have to deal with Bangladeshi infiltration in many other states.Gothenburg, Sweden Pawan SagarIt is only right that if the Centre cannot send Bangladeshis who migrated to Assam between 1961-71 back then they should resettle them throughout India. Why should Assam alone bear the brunt of the refugees? They sought sanctuary in India, not Assam.Rourkela Nirad C. MohantaNo matter how newsworthy you thought Assam, I think it was in very bad taste to put it on the cover and make the Government vulnerable to criticism from the leaders who came for the NAM summit. The Assam massacres though heinous and barbaric could have waited. A reputed and responsible journal like INDIA TODAY should have known better than to wash our dirty linen in public.Ludhiana Nilam MunjialNellie Nightmare”The Nellie Nightmare” (March 15) saddened me beyond measure. It is always the helpless and the poor who pay for the deeds of power-hungry politicians.Meghalaya B. LyndohOn how many elephants will the lady who rode to Belchi ride to go and console the people of Nellie?Nathamkovilpatti V. SubramanyamIt is a pity that the correspondent has taken a pro-agitation line. For four years a bunch of chauvinistic and renegade students have held the country to ransom. Having destroyed the economic and educational institutions in the state and brought the administration to a standstill they have only themselves to blame for Assam’s economic backwardness. If they were serious about negotiations things could have been worked out by now.Sambhalpur Rupa MohantyThe slogan of the agitators is Jai Ai Asom not Jai Ai Ahom as written in the article. Asom is Assam and the Ahoms are a section of the Assamese people.Gauhati Mansh Barthakur’J’Accuse’The comment “A Bloody Price” (March 15) is full of brave phrases like “Culpability cannot be evaded… the carnage will not be forgotton… those responsible will not be forgiven”. But they ring pitifully hollow!Culpability, with your and the rest of the media’s able assistance, is well on its way to the usual evasion. You say “the Central Government is culpable”, and with that you have already evaded the issue. For you know perfectly well that decisions are taken by people and not by amorphous entities like governments! Assuming that you are actually in earnest about your bleatings of governmental culpability, how do you propose, in concrete terms, that the Central Government acknowledges its culpability? Or were you just hoping that they’d be sporting enough to do so on their own?There is a lot of obscurantist hogwash being bandied about by the media, effectively writing off the whole tragedy to the Government’s “errors of judgement” and “failure to read the mood of the people” – with the strong attendant implication that even if anyone is ‘culpable’, it is only in respect of misjudged political strategy! Our politicians – beginning with their ‘charismatic’ leader – knew perfectly well that this mock-election would entail bloodshed .Their only miscalculation was in respect of the amount. A few dozen deaths – no self-respecting politician balks at so paltry a price! The report in fact clearly indicates that there are many politicians who feel that even a few 100 battered children were ‘well spent’ – in the interests of democracy, of course!The chief elections, commissioner’s interview is a masterly exposition and pointer on how the essence is being obscured by flatulence from the ruling triumvirate of media, politicians and bureaucrats. He has commented at great length on the esoteric implications of avoiding election, deadlines, precedent, electoral rolls and existing laws – whereas all that was required of him was to rule decisively on whether or not it was possible to hold free and fair elections! Did it require great political and constitutional insight to answer that? No – but it probably did require standing up to Mrs Gandhi!Bombay J.N. BawaTo compare the carnage in Assam to the massacres in Shatila and Sabra in Lebanon is unfair. The violence in Lebanon was carried out with the tacit permission of the Israeli Government. No one can accuse the Indian Government of this.Faridabad Ashok SehraiIn the article “A Novel Judgement” (March 15) the Telugu words idena nyayam have been translated as ‘this is my justice’. The correct translation is ‘is this justice?’Coimbatqre G. Usha MohanWhat’s in a NAM?What is the use of lavishing a dozen’ pages of NAM (“Charting A New Course”, March 15) when it has become an irrelevant movement? A leading light of the movement relies on the USSR to such an extent that he even came to New Delhi on a Soviet plane. The members vie with each to stock arms and then fault the superpowers for doing the same thing. Numerous members are at war with neighbours but the organisation is trying to promote world peace. They talk of justice and have the worst human rights records in the world. Is it any wonder that NAM with its inner contradictions has no meaningful achievements to boast of? The summit, like the Asiad, is just another ruse to boost ruling party egos.Paramakud G. ParthasarathyNo FeedbackI can see no reason why the recommendations made by Department of Health and Family Welfare’s committees have not accepted for two years (“Code Of Misconduct”, March 15). Why spend so much time, energy and money on the committees if the Government will not accept their findings.”Ahmedabad P.G. KulkarniLow MoraleTo an old pilot the article “A Dangerous Drift” (February 28) made sad reading. While it is factual, it stops short of being complete. The article makes no mention of the fact that two versions of the Lafontaine committee were prepared – one for the Defence Ministry (which was the watered-down version) and one where the actual causes of human failure were set down was kept at air headquarters. Ironically Air Marshal Lafontaine has since been made the AOP and is responsible for the implementation of his recommendations.The problem in the IAF is one of motivation, stagnation and inadequate basic amenities. Any dynamic organisation should have movement upward and outward. Outward movement is blocked because the good officers are not allowed to leave while mediocre superseded officers refuse to leave. So stagnation spreads.Coimbatore Capt G. MuthuswamyThe most important factor for the IAF’s high accident rate is the growing discontent and dissatisfaction of ground duty officers. There is such a disparity between them and flying officers that morale has hit a dangerous low.New Delhi Flt Lt A.K, SinghPower Politics”Shabby Window Dressing” (February 28) shows that the Congress(I) leadership has learnt nothing. They must take definite steps to revitalise the party – not make pointless appointments and encourage futile actions. This is what happens to a party whose sole motive for existence is power.Bhatinda S. P. Singh
Twitter/@ByAZunigaIf we’ve learned anything about Jim Harbaugh in his first 18 months as Michigan head coach, it is that he’ll look for any advantage he can get. Based on a flyer posted to Twitter by Maize ‘N Brew‘s Alejandro Zúñiga, Harbaugh is recruiting “highly motivated” Michigan graduate students for top secret “applied research projects.”Michigan football is planning a top-secret project: pic.twitter.com/rBW5CCdoa9— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) June 15, 2016It is impossible not to be intrigued by what the means, coming from Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program. It could be anything.MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitale
zoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Celebrity Cruises, a part of the Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises, has unveiled a new homeport as it plans to redeploy one of its vessels to Port Tampa Bay.The company’s Celebrity Constellation would deploy on three alternating 10- and 11-night roundtrip sailings for the winter 2020 season from Tampa. The vessel is scheduled to undergo its “revolutionary” modernization in May 2020 as part of ‘The Celebrity Revolution’, Celebrity’s USD 500 million investment in ship-wide upgrades.“Our guests and travel advisors have been asking us to return to Tampa since our last call there in 2007,” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, said.“We are very excited to welcome Celebrity Cruises to the Tampa Bay market. In 2020 Celebrity Cruises will offer a variety of itineraries from Tampa that will include stops at exotic locations in southern and eastern Caribbean,” Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson, added.
Do I want — really, actually, genuinely want — the Cubs to win the World Series? It’s a question I grappled with at length after a couple whiskeys with my best friend from back home as they marched toward the pennant. I love the Cubs. I’ve always loved the Cubs. There is little else (some humans excluded) I love more than the Cubs. So what’s my problem, anyway?The Awl addressed the paradox with a cautionary tale from a Red Sox fan: “Without all the losing, the Red Sox are now just another pretty good team. The aura of mythology that swirled constantly around them was gone.” And that’s a big part of it. Losing is what the Cubs are known for. But we bleed-blue fans don’t root for lovable losers for the sake of it. We don’t do it because we’re proud of the title drought or miserable seasons. We don’t happily bask in the black-magic glow of curses or take masochistic joy in the outstretched arms of Bartmans.We root for them because eventually they will win, they just have to! It’s math! Curses aren’t real! And when they do win … my God, it will be ecstatic bliss. Angels will sing. Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters will sob tears of joy. Bill Murray will be there. Etc.The question is when do we want to cue the messianic chorus. Maybe Cubbie fandom is something like holding an American option — a piece of paper we Cubs fans carry around in our pocket and turn in at the bliss counter one day when they Win the World Series. In exchange we receive some number of singing angels. The longer this takes — the more heartache we bank — the more angels. That’s just math, people. If the Cubs had won it when I was, say, 3 years old, the rest of my fandom wouldn’t have been imbued with a greater, Sisyphean meaning. So, on my deathbed, yes, I should want nothing else than to cash in. If I’m watching from my high chair, I’d probably like to wait a while. To bide my time until 8:08 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night, I hastily sketched a chart of how my 31-year-old self should weigh these priorities, complete with an “exercise boundary” that tells me when I should want the Cubs to win so I can cash in my pain for those angels. So what does my analysis reveal? Will I be rooting for the Cubbies? Of course. I just can’t not. In late October, math no longer applies. Share on Facebook You’re reading Back of the Envelope, an experiment that aims to bring shorter, quicker content to FiveThirtyEight.
Former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster has tipped current Germany coach Joachim Low to take over this summer.Schuster enjoyed a successful stint at the club as a player and manager where he won League titles in both cases. And has gone further to anoint his German compatriot for the position.Schuster further claimed he recommended Low to club president Florentino Perez. According to quotes cited on Football Espana.“I spoke with him (Perez) at an honorary event and I explicitly mentioned Low.Mourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“He reacted by looking at me oddly as if I had surprised him.“Germans are very highly regarded at Real and it would not surprise me if Real tried to sign Low this summer.”The club confirmed Santiago Solari as their new head coach in October, following the departure of Julen Lopetegui, with a contract up until June 2021.However, there are rumours circulating that the club may make moves for another manager if results don’t pan out well, with Jose Mourinho and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino both linked.