By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo May 19, 2020 Venezuelan Army General Vladimir Padrino, minister of Defense for the Nicolás Maduro regime, was among the U.S. Department of Justice’s March list of wanted individuals, accused of being part of the Cartel of the Suns’ narcotrafficking and terrorism network.Padrino controls food distribution and leads 11 of Venezuela’s 32 ministries. He is practically a head of government in the shadows, and he has even managed to outweigh Diosdado Cabello (head of the illegitimate Constituent National Assembly), Mexican newspaper El Universal reported in March 2019.“The United States, Canada, and the European Union have sanctioned almost 75 percent of the Venezuelan military’s high command,” Rocío San Miguel, head of Venezuelan nongovernmental organization Citizen Control, a security and defense watchdog, told Diálogo.Padrino not only takes advantage of his position to allow narcotrafficking aircraft to fly over Venezuelan airspace, but has also set up at least 24 companies in the United States and Venezuela through his wife and family members. He also profits from lucrative state contracts, investigative journalism organization Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said in its April 10 article The General and His Corporate Labyrinth.“What is surprising is that Padrino has reached this level of recklessness by placing his relatives in formal structures to make them untouchable, laundering illicit money from drug, arms, mineral, and hydrocarbon trafficking,” Jorge Serrano, a scholar at the Center for Higher National Studies in Peru, told Diálogo. “The military officer is the strong man who holds Maduro in power.”“The minister of Defense has two sides: one as an exemplary and patriotic service member, and the other as a corrupt service member who conducts espionage activities on U.S. soil with the support of Cuban advisers and strategists,” Serrano added. “The Venezuelan intelligence service is totally infiltrated by Cuba.”Padrino was part of the Chavista government and maintained his loyalty to the regime during the 2002 coup that ousted Hugo Chávez for a few days. He moved up through the ranks until he became Maduro’s right-hand man.“For several years he has been responsible for supervising the Bolivarian indoctrination in all the vocational trainings, institutions, schools, and universities of the Armed Forces to exert direct control over soldiers,” Serrano said. “Padrino should already be retired, because he has served five years in the Ministry of Defense, but it’s not easy for Maduro to make changes while facing so much fear; he prefers balance in power,” San Miguel added.Serrano and San Miguel agree that there is no real loyalty and trust among Maduro’s inner circle. “That loyalty is driven by economic profit, not ideology. The senior military leaders are addicted to the economic profits they obtain from the state and its companies,” Serrano said. “It’s not only the high command that fills their pockets with millions of dollars. Corrupt money trickles down to mid-levels in the Armed Forces.”“This doesn’t impact the National Bolivarian Armed Forces’ true soldiers, so the transition will be decided by Venezuelan service members. They are the key to this process,” San Miguel concluded.
The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm announced a 20-year collaboration that will benefit the Atlanta metropolitan area aimed at building stronger communities through mentorship, volunteerism and the principle of being a good neighbor. A nationally-renowned company and one of Georgia’s top employers, State Farm will join forces with the Hawks, displaying their iconic red logo and marks atop and throughout the best sports and live entertainment venue in Atlanta – the new State Farm Arena – and building new community engagement programs and philanthropic initiatives.“This decision symbolizes our pledge to making a difference in communities, building our brand locally and nationally, and ultimately growing State Farm,” said State Farm Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Tipsord. “The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club is well known for giving back in this community. Along with our Neighborhood of Good initiative, we’ll have new opportunities to invest in the local community.”With one of its three regional hubs based in Dunwoody, State Farm is an active member of the local community employing approximately 7,000 individuals with over 6,000 located in metro Atlanta. The insurance giant prides itself on activating its workforce in the communities in which they reside. Over the past four years, State Farm staff has volunteered over 2 million hours in their respective communities.With a mission to be good ‘neighbors dedicated to helping people, and to developing safer, stronger and better educated communities across the country’ and to ‘turn caring into doing’, State Farm and the Hawks will co-create impactful community initiatives and bolster existing community and social responsibility programs.“We are honored to work with State Farm, one of the nation’s most recognizable and civic-minded organizations and want to thank Michael Tipsord and Rand Harbert for their leadership and commitment to this exceptional collaboration,” said Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “Our ownership group considers the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club a community asset, and we are excited to have found a partner that shares our vision and has committed to working with us to expand on the community engagement and philanthropic initiatives we do that benefit the many communities that make up this great metropolitan area. Generations will be positively impacted by the work we do throughout Georgia, and we could not be prouder to have the State Farm name on our new arena.”State Farm Arena, the new home of the Hawks, will open its doors following the completion of the $192.5 million-dollar renovation, the 2nd largest in NBA history, and in time to celebrate the team’s 50th year in Atlanta in October. Thetransformed arena will feature the third-largest center-hung scoreboard in the NBA and most immersive video experience, new sightlines with 360-degree concourses and new seating and first-of-its-kind in-venue entertainment options with Topgolf Swing Suites, the company’s first permanent amenity in a major sports arena, Killer Mike’s SWAG Shop (a four-chair barbershop overlooking the court) and the signature Hawks Bar, the NBA’s first courtside bar. State Farm Arena will also be the first NBA venue to offer fan-friendly food pricing with 12 popular food and beverage items priced at $5 or less.Consistently ranked among the top 10 concert and event venues in the world by Pollstar, State Farm Arena hosts approximately 170 events and nearly 2 million guests annually. Superstars already scheduled to visit the venue after it opens include Drake, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, P!nk, Shawn Mendes and Carrie Underwood.Fans will get their first opportunity to enter the new State Farm Arena on Saturday, Oct. 20th with the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” Open House Party, a free, public event inviting fans to experience the new venue.
MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are doing everything they can to make sure Thursday’s spring opener gets played.Though the forecast called for heavy rainfall throughout the day, the A’s are continued to prepare the field for a game against the Mariners at Hohokam Stadium after the rain stopped about two hours before the scheduled start time of 12:05 p.m. PT.Paul Blackburn and Frankie Montas were the two starters set to pitch in Thursday’s opener. Both pitchers would throw a simulated game over at the …
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now My friend Amy wrote this post. Her post inspired this post.Some people hate cold calling. They say that they hate being shut down. They hate being rejected. They want to prospect using some method in which they won’t be told no and won’t be rejected.So these cold-call-avoiders switch their effort from dialing to other prospecting methods they believe will be easier, more effective, and won’t come with the hard dose of reality that is not having anything really valuable to offer (the most common root cause of being rejected). But in doing so, they are choosing some other form of rejection.Here is some pure, unadulterated truth for those who want it, need it, and are big enough to take it.Your Personal RejectionWhen you send an email asking for an appointment or checking in and nothing comes back, you have been rejected. Your dream client can much more easily click the button that deletes your email than they can dismiss you on the telephone. But the end result is the same: you made no progress.When you connect with your dream client on the social media sites and connect with people without asking them for a commitment of time, you have been rejected. The barriers to connect on social sites are very low. But if you haven’t scheduled an appointment, the end result is the same as if you had called and been rejected.When you rely only on inbound marketing and your dream client stumbles upon your site, takes a quick look around, and bails without having filled out your lead collection form or downloading your white paper, you have been rejected. The result of that visit was a giant goose egg.Can You Handle the Truth?If you avoid picking up the phone, the truth is that you have two problems.The first problem is that you are too sensitive. You don’t like to feel the rejection because you are attaching too much meaning to it. You’re taking it personal. Business is personal, but this rejection has nothing to do with you. Your dream client has been burned agreeing to meet with salespeople who created no value. She rejects almost everyone. Which is a nice segue into your second problem: value creation.If you don’t want to be rejected, you have to differentiate yourself by focusing your prospecting message on the value you can create for your dream client. If you ask for a commitment from your dream client, especially the commitment for time to explore an opportunity, that pitch needs to come with a strong sales call value proposition. Your dream client needs to know what she is getting out of it.Until you learn not to have any feelings about the rejection that comes with cold calling and learn how to make your message about value, you can choose to take your rejection in whatever form that best suits you. But you won’t improve your sales results by avoiding making your calls.QuestionsWhat is your preferred method for being rejected?Is it better when your rejection doesn’t feel personal, when you don’t have to hear it?How do you feel about having your emails ignored? Is that an easier form of rejection?What would you have to change to feel different about making your calls and dealing with “no?”
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LeBron James finished with 29 points for the Lakers, who had won their previous two games.Houston’s lead was three after Kyle Kuzma’s soaring dunk, but Harden was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to make it 112-106.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefHarden then made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 12 and cause Lakers coach Luke Walton to call a timeout. James was in Harden’s face on the second one and Harden fell to the court as the ball rolled around the rim for a couple of seconds before dropping in.James added a dunk before Clint Capela and Harden made consecutive baskets to compete the 13-2 run and make it 122-108 to put the game out of reach. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View comments Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño LATEST STORIES Kuzma was called for a foul after that and Walton got a technical for arguing about that call.Harden made the technical shot and Paul added two more free throws to leave Houston up 90-88 after three.TIP-INSLakers: Kuzma received a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing about a foul call. … Brandon Ingram missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Kuzma had 24 points to give him 20 or more points in a career-best six straight games.Rockets: Brandon Knight played in his first game since Feb. 15, 2017, after recovering from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. He came in with about four minutes left in the first quarter and played about four minutes with one assist and one rebound. … James Ennis sat out with a strained right hamstring.UP NEXTLakers: Visit Charlotte on Saturday night.Rockets: Visit Memphis on Saturday night. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) screams after making a basket as Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, left, and Lance Stephenson, right, watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Houston. The Rockets won 126-111. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)HOUSTON— James Harden had 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, scoring 11 points during a big fourth-quarter run to lead the Houston Rockets to a 126-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.Harden grabbed his 10th rebound with less than 90 seconds left to give him his second triple-double this season and the 37th of his career.ADVERTISEMENT It was the first meeting between these teams since Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo got into a fight on Oct. 20 that led to suspensions for both players and Brandon Ingram. There wasn’t an altercation this time around in a game where Rondo sat out as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken right hand. But there was a spate of technical fouls late in the third quarter that led to the ejection of Nene.The Lakers scored six straight points, highlighted by a dunk from James, to get within 74-72 midway through the third quarter. Los Angeles ran off six in a row later in the period to tie it up before Harden ended the run with a jump shot. Nene then received a foul after being knocked to the ground trying to defend Kuzma as he drove to the lane. He yelled at officials and received a technical foul.Kuzma made his free throws but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed the technical shot.Nene made a hook shot before fouling Kuzma again on the next possession. He continued to scream at officials and was hit with a second technical foul and was ejected. Harden attempted to calm him down, but Nene continued to be agitated until he was escorted to the locker room.Kuzma made all three foul shots and added a 3-pointer with Harden in his face after a 3 by Harden to leave the Lakers up 88-87 with 9.9 seconds left in the quarter.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki set to make 21st season debut vs Suns TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening
If Michigan State were as strong as the average top-rated team, it would win this year’s tournament a shade less than 17 percent of the time, instead of little more than 10 percent. The same goes for Villanova, a likely No. 1 seed currently ranked second by Pomeroy; instead of being expected to win nearly 18 percent of the time, the Wildcats’ low rating limits them to odds below 12 percent. In fact, the collective tournament win probability for Pomeroy’s top 3 teams is about 14 percentage points lower than it would be in a typical season, simply because 2016 has so much parity — the best teams aren’t as good as top teams normally are.Because the NCAA Tournament is a zero-sum game, the rest of the field gains from this lack of top-heaviness. Although pretty much every team ranked No. 4 to No. 25 by Pomeroy benefits some (teams ranked below that don’t really have much of a chance either way), the biggest beneficiaries are positioned in the back half of the top 10 and into the teens: All of this means more teams will have more of a chance this year than in just about any other season in memory. Get ready for one Mad March. March Madness is always rough on favorites. In your typical men’s college basketball season, the statistical favorite goes into the NCAA tourney with only about a 20 percent to 25 percent probability of winning the championship. In other words, even the “best” team is three or four times more likely to lose early than it is to win it all. We can be vaguely confident that one of the top handful of teams will emerge from March’s wreckage unscathed, but that’s about it. Over the past seven seasons, the eventual champ was (on average) the tourney’s seventh- or eighth-most-likely winner beforehand, according to simulations using Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.And this year has the potential for a lot more anarchy than usual. Michigan State is the consensus top team according to a variety of predictive metrics, but that’s not unanimous — there are some solid indicators pointing to Villanova, North Carolina and surging Kansas as well.1The Jayhawks rank first in Jeff Sagarin’s ranking of recent team performance. And if the Spartans truly are the best, they’re one of the weakest top-ranked squads in recent memory. Since Pomeroy began tracking team ratings in the 2001-02 season, only one No. 1 team — the 2005-06 Duke Blue Devils — owned a lower pre-tournament power rating than Michigan State has now. Plus, Sparty might not even earn a No. 1 seed; only 11 of the 77 bracket prognosticators aggregated by Bracket Matrix see the team headlining a region in the NCAA Tournament.This isn’t meant to pick on the Spartans (sorry, Nate!), but it does illustrate that if even the nation’s strongest team has a number of factors limiting its championship odds, it’s going to be an unusually wide-open year for the tournament.To see exactly how much this year figures to depart from the norm, I plugged Pomeroy’s ratings into ESPN’s latest Bracketology projection, calculating each team’s odds of winning the tournament if Selection Sunday goes as Joe Lunardi predicts. Virginia checked in first with a 12 percent probability of winning — significantly lower than the 20 percent to 25 percent chance held by the typical pre-tourney favorite — followed by Villanova at 11.7 percent and Michigan State at 10.4 percent. I then re-simulated the bracket after assigning each team the typical strength connoted by its Pomeroy ranking — i.e., how much better would the top teams’ odds be if they were as strong as in an ordinary season?
OSU is led onto the field by coach Urban Meyer prior to a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 in Minneapolis. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWith just two games remaining in the regular season, the Ohio State football team is hoping to add at least one more game to its schedule.The Buckeyes (9-1, 6-0) need to win just one of their remaining two games — or have Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) lose one — in order to return to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game for the second straight season.OSU coach Urban Meyer said Monday that ever since falling in back-to-back games to end the 2013-14 season, the goal has been to return to Lucas Oil Stadium.“That was everything. That was everything we did was to get another shot at the Big Ten Championship,” he said. “Everything, and that’s at the doorstep. I imagine that’s why they were pretty juiced up yesterday for practice.”Wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who Meyer said coached his best game against Michigan State two weeks ago, agreed.“That’s why we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth and do what we do. That’s been the ultimate goal, the No. 1 goal; the thing we had to do was get back there and win a championship for this university,” Smith said Monday. “That’s all we really talked about. There was no greater goal, nothing beyond that talked about, and that’s been what our sights have been set on since day one, pretty much every day.”Redshirt-sophomore offensive lineman Pat Elflein, who made his first career start in the 34-24 loss to the Spartans in the 2013 Big Ten title game, said the memories of that game are still fresh in his mind.“It’s huge. Fell short last year and that still hurts,” Elflein said Monday. “That’s what we can control is winning the conference (but) we have to beat Indiana first.”The Hoosiers are set to enter Columbus as the only team in the Big Ten without a conference win (3-7, 0-6) and on paper, appear to be an easy opponent for the Buckeyes.The Buckeyes currently sit at No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings, and while style points would likely help OSU, Elflein said OSU needs to focus on the task at hand.“That thought is there, but you can’t do that. You can’t think about that because Indiana, they are in our way,” he said. “You don’t want to overlook them because it is a Big Ten football team. You have to focus on what is important now which is Indiana.”OSU has not lost to the Hoosiers since 1988, when the Buckeyes fell, 41-7, in Bloomington, Ind.Even though a spot in the top four is still in sight, Meyer said he’s not sure his Buckeyes deserve a spot in the first-ever College Football Playoff just yet.“Not right now, no. No, I don’t, because I don’t want to make ignorant comments,” Meyer said. “I just don’t know. I’d make the comment that we’re one win away from representing the East (Division) in the Big Ten Championship game, because I do know that.”It has been largely debated as to whether or not the Big Ten will even get a team in the playoff, but Meyer said he believes the Big Ten is better than advertised, and even cited a specific example.“Northwestern goes in there and beats Notre Dame, and Northwestern … last year I remember they were 15th in the country or 16th in the country, so the consistency of teams in our conference, I think, is the only thing lacking at times,” Meyer said. “But that’s without studying it, but the top five teams in our conference, they can play anywhere.”With all of that, no one on the current OSU roster has been a part of a Big Ten championship or national championship team, something Elflein said should not be the norm.“I don’t have any rings, I don’t have any championships (and) that’s why we came here, to win championships,” Elflein said. “When they say that (current OSU players don’t have a championship), it hits me its like, ‘wow, that’s not right.’ That’s not Ohio State. Compete for championships, that is what we are here to do.”Before the Buckeyes can compete for a championship, they are set to take on the Hoosiers at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu has claimed that the club do not want him to return and has hinted that he will be making his stay at Watford a more permanent one at the end of the seasonThe Spanish forward is a product of Barcelona’s youth academy but has struggled to establish himself in the senior side among the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.After two loan spells with both Everton and Sevilla, Deulofeu completed a permanent move to the Premier League side in 2015.However, the 24-year-old only found the back of the net four times in his 46 appearances for Everton and was re-signed by Barcelona in 2017 after a loan spell with AC Milan.Deulofeu has struggled with recurring injury troubles in his recent loan spell with Watford this time and has now claimed that he is not wanted back at the Nou Camp.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“It’s clear that I will not be returning to Barca,” Deulofeu explained on Cadena Ser (via Football-Espana).“I do not think the Coach would want me back at Barca and I have been told by Watford that I am wanted, so it could be that I stay at the club.“I cannot say what will happen and we must wait but now I’m back from my injury (a fractured metatarsal) and now I hope to finish the season strongly.“I need to remain calm and make the right decision but a Barca return is not likely.”
AS Roma president James Pallotta has hit out against the “embarrassing” decisions that the referee made in their defeat against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions LeagueThe Giallorossi came narrowly close to repeating their shock comeback victory against Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico in the previous round by defeating Liverpool 4-2 in the return leg on Wednesday.Two late goals from Radja Nainggolan gave Roma hope that they could produce a miracle comeback, but they ultimately fell short with the visitors holding on for a 7-6 aggregate win.But things could have gone differently for the Serie A side had Edin Dzeko not been wrongly ruled offside earlier in the game and they were then later denied a clear penalty when Trent Alexander-Arnold handled Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot in the box.“It is very clear VAR is needed in the Champions League because you just can’t let stuff like this happen,” said Pallotta, as reported on Sky Sports.Report: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“You can all look at it yourself. Dzeko in the 49th minute wasn’t offside and he gets taken down by the goalie; the 63rd minute was a handball that was obvious to everyone probably in the world except people on the pitch; the 67th minute [Patrik] Schick gets taken down in the box.“I know it is difficult to referee but it is really embarrassing that we lose on aggregate like that.“By the way, it should have been a red card which would have been 10 men in the 63rd minute.“Liverpool is a great team, congratulations going forward, but if they don’t get VAR in the Champions League stuff like this is an absolute joke.”
Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard is in awe of teammate David de Gea after his impressive saves helped them to a 1-0 hard-fought victory at Spurs.De Gea put in a stellar performance at Wembley on Sunday as he pulled off a series of brilliant saves to deny Spurs an equalizer after Marcus Rashford gave United the lead just before the break.The Spaniard denied Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Heung-min Son in spectacular fashion with both his feet and hands in the second half.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“He was excellent – but it was a normal day for him,” Lingard told the club’s website, praising De Gea.“When they looked like scoring, he saved us. We see that in training and it pays off when it comes to the big games.“With some of his saves, you’re like ‘oh my God’. ”He’s one of the best keepers in the world, if not the best. Having a keeper like that gives you extra confidence.”