Saudi Arabia to suspend international flights over virus

first_imgSaudi Arabia said Saturday it would suspend international flights for two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak.”The kingdom’s government decided to suspend international flights for two weeks [starting from Sunday March 15th] as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of #CoronaVirus,” the foreign ministry tweeted.The halt applies to all but “exceptional cases,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an official source in the interior ministry. Citizens and expatriates who are unable to return due to the suspension or who go into quarantine after returning will be granted an “exceptional official holiday,” it added.Saudi Arabia has recorded 86 cases of the virus so far, but no deaths, according to the health ministry.The kingdom had already halted flights to some countries and closed schools and universities as part of measures to contain the disease.Authorities have also suspended the “umrah” year-round pilgrimage to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina for fear of the virus spreading. Topics :last_img read more

UW, MSU face off in Big Tens

first_imgAfter closing out its season with a win over No. 60 MichiganState, the Wisconsin women’s tennis team travels to West Lafayette, Ind.,looking to duplicate its success in a rematch against the Spartans in theopening round of the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament.“It helps that we’re playing the same team we beat athome on Sunday,” UW head coach Brian Fleishman said. “Of course, onthe road it’s always a little more difficult, but we match up extremely wellwith Michigan State. I’m expecting good things.”The Badgers are seeded 11th in the tournament afterfinishing their first regular season under Fleishman with a 9-13record, including a last-place 2-8 record against Big Tenopponents. However, despite its less than stellar conferencestanding, Wisconsin enters the postseason with plenty of momentum.After losing their first seven Big Ten matches,the Badgers finished the year convincingly, recording consecutivewins over No. 47 Iowa and No. 60 Michigan State to close out theseason. With its first conference victories under its belt, UWbelieves it is a far better team than its record indicates.“We believe we can win and beat these teams,”sophomore Katya Mirnova said. “After suffering a few losses against BigTen teams, these two wins gave us a lot of confidence. I believe confidence isthe most important thing you can have going into a tournament.”Wisconsin’s first round opponent, sixth-seeded MichiganState (12-12 overall, 3-7 Big Ten), seeks to avenge Sunday’s 5-2 defeat inMadison. The Spartans, led by senior Christine Bader, are a toughteam capable of advancing deep into the tournament. Recently though,Michigan State has struggled, losing its final four matches of theseason. Despite the clear advantage in momentum, the Badgers knowthat defeating a talented Spartans team twice in a row will not beeasy. Wisconsin will need to continue toget consistent play from key contributors such as Mirnova, seniorChelsea Nusslock, junior Elizabeth Carpenter and senior Morgan Tuttle, inorder to advance. On Sunday, Wisconsin got off to a strong start by sweepingthe doubles matches and never looked back, cruising to a dominant 5-2triumph. Fleishman emphasized the importance of reproducing Sunday’sfast start in Thursday’s match.“We need to get the doubles point,” Fleishmansaid. “It sets everything going. We did that against [Michigan State] onSunday and that set the tone for the rest of the match.”If Wisconsin is able to top MichiganState, it would face third-seeded Indiana (19-6 overall, 8-2 Big Ten)in the quarterfinals of the tournament. In their only matchup of theseason, the No. 30 Hoosiers shut out the Badgers. Even so,Fleishman noted that Wisconsin was fortunate to avoid even tougher teamsuntil the later rounds of the tournament.“We want to go one round at a time, but I think we haveone of the better draws out of the lower seeds,” Fleishman said. “Ifwe can figure out a way to beat Michigan State, then we have Indiana, the thirdseed, which is better than playing Northwestern in the secondround.”The tournament, hosted by Purdue University, is setto run from Thursday to Sunday at the Schwartz Tennis Center.last_img read more

Joc Pederson: Baby face, grown up game for Dodgers rookie star

first_imgWith his quiet demeanor, wavy haircut and remarkably young baby face, Joc Pederson didn’t look a heck of a lot older than the Westchester Little League All-Stars lined up inside the Dodgers dugout on Sunday.At the most, a not-much-older older brother.Point being, it probably seems like just a blink of an eye to Pederson since he was the same age as the star-struck kids trying get a glimpse of the Dodgers’ latest sensation.Rather than actually being the guy they were elbowing each other out of the way of to get a closer look. “They say the fast track, but try being on all those 14-hour bus rides in the minor leagues,” Pederson said, laughing. “The minor leagues are a grind. It may seem like that was a quick process, but trust me, those bus rides are long.”True, true.It only just seems like Pederson went from teenage prospect to budding superstar about as fast as one of those laser-like rockets his smooth, sudden, beautifully left-handed swing generates at ballparks across America on a seemingly nightly basis.And upon taking his batting practice turn Sunday and then spraying line drives all over the field and jacking moon shots deep into the right-field pavilion, Pederson no longer looked like a kid sneaking into his old man’s medicine cabinet to swipe the shaving cream.In fact, he looked very much like a grizzled big-league veteran. Then you look at the statistics he’s throwing up so far, and all of a sudden you wonder if this is a 23-year-old rookie or a five-time All-Star.The numbers don’t make sense – unless your baseline for 23-year-old center fielders these days are icons like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ty Cobb.Because Pederson’s .960 OPS isn’t too far off the pace from the ones those Hall of Famers put up at a similar age.It’s also the eighth-best in Major League Baseball.His 17 home runs are tied for fourth best, his slugging percentage seventh and on-base percentage within the top 25. Ok, his 71 strikeouts are a concern, but nobody is perfect.And keep in mind he’s doing it all in his first year in the big leagues while batting lead-off for one of the most glamorous clubs in baseball.And did we mention he’s also patrolling center field – and doing a fine job of it?Dodgers manager Don Mattingly compares this smooth swing to Colorado Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez with a little bit of Seattle Mariners superstar Robinson Cano.His plate discipline is so advanced – he’s walked 37 times already – he’s able to flourish at the top of the order without sacrificing any of his power. The recent slugging spree he went on, in which he hit home runs on five consecutive days, is a testament to the kind of juice his slender 6-foot-1, 215-pound body can generate.“I still gotta look to drive the ball,” he said.He’s finding he gets more chances to do that at the top of the order than the bottom, where the eight spot sometimes took the bat out of his hands hitting in front of the pitcher.“They attack you much more (leading off) that’s for sure,” Pederson said. “The eight hole is so much more of a mind game in terms of when you’re going to get a pitch to hit.”And while it was primarily out of need Mattingly moved Pederson from the eighth to leadoff, you get the idea Pederson might have found a steady home there.“Right now we’re comfortable with him up top,” Mattingly said, “He seems to be comfortable up there.”The more you talk about Pederson, the older he gets.“It’s really early though,” he reminded me Sunday night after he took an 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Dodgers’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. “When you’re in the big leagues, if you aren’t producing, they’ll find someone who can produce pretty quickly.”Maybe, but by the looks of things the next time Pederson ever sees the minor leagues it will be on an injury rehab – knock on wood.Still, the mature approach was exceedingly noticeable.On top of all the other advanced aspects of Pederson’s game, his perspective is absolutely veteran-like.Actually that was one of key attributes the Dodgers zeroed in on Pederson during the 2010 draft process.Pederson was a USC pledge playing at Palo Alto High at the time, the son of 12-year-minor league veteran Stu Pederson, who played eight games for the Dodgers in 1985.Growing up around baseball all those years, the sport inevitably got into his blood. More importantly, so did a command and appreciation for the game.It’s something then Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, assistant G.M. Logan White and the Dodgers scouting staff were immediately struck by while evaluating Pederson.“He grew up in a family that respected baseball, that had an unbelievable understanding of the game,” Colletti said. “Whenever you can find somebody that has that kind of understanding, where baseball is that big a part of their life, where it’s not just a once-in-a-while thing it’s a constant thing, it has an affect. When your dad’s a professional baseball player, you’re saturated in it every day. You see it, you live it, you have a feel for it.“Couple with that with the skill set, the athleticism and the ability to play in the middle of the diamond. That catches your attention.”It almost seems laughable now, but the Dodgers didn’t take Pederson until the 11th round. The baseball-wide concern was his commitment to USC, and how much money it would take to convince him to forgo college in favor of starting his professional baseball career. With the risk so nominal at that point in the draft, the Dodgers took their chances Pederson was ready to sign.The lure was a $600,000 signing bonus.“The talent was too good to pass up,” Colletti said. “It took us a little while to sign him that summer, but it all worked out.”Granted, it’s just 57 games into his rookie year, but it’s more than just working out.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Sporting News All-Star cards return in Topps 2019 Heritage set

first_imgAt Sporting News, where baseball ties also run deep, we recognize a kindred spirit when we see one — which is why we’ve re-established a cool partnership with our cardboard-loving cousins.MORE: Ranking the top 15 baseball card sets from the ’80s and ’90sFor the first time in eight years, we’re excited to announce the return of the Sporting News All-Stars in a Topps baseball card set. These cards, which first appeared in a Topps set in 1959 and continued periodically through 2011, make their comeback in Topps’ 2019 Heritage set, which goes on sale today.The Heritage set traditionally features current players on cards modeled after Topps sets from the past. This year, the 500-card collection has the design of Topps’ 1970 set. That means the new Sporting News All-Stars cards will match the faux-newspaper design in the vein of the print edition of Sporting News — then called The Sporting News — that appeared in that 1970 set. So, it’s an exciting time. We hope to continue this Topps partnership for years to come. If you come across any of the Sporting News All-Star cards in your new Heritage packs, feel free to tag us on Twitter at @sn_mlb. We don’t mind the attention.Happy hunting. When one thinks of baseball institutions, the Topps Co. usually comes to mind quickly, and for good reason.The undisputed King of Baseball Cards has remained an iconic brand in the collectibles industry for seven decades, pumping out multiple baseball sets each season to satisfy a continually growing and rabid base of sports-card collectors. (Courtesy of Topps) There are 20 Sporting News All-Star cards in the 2019 set. In addition to Mr. Ramirez above, look for Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Max Scherzer and many others.We’re thrilled to revive these cards. The return of Topps’ Sporting News All-Stars is a small but important reminder of the rich histories our two companies share.We’ve both covered baseball in our own ways for a long time. We’ve watched the game evolve. We’ve seen records fall. We’ve witnessed Hall of Fame careers. We’ve also seen our industries change, and we’ve tried our best to adapt to those changes, and to our customers’ needs. Sporting News and Topps are cut from the same cloth in a way, which is why this partnership makes so much sense.last_img read more

Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan: Odds, expert pick and how to bet on fight

first_imgTerence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) and Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will clash on Saturday night for Crawford’s WBO welterweight championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City.And when there are two highly regarded gladiators prepare for combat, there are bets to be made. So, let’s take a closer look at Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan. It’s hard to imagine Khan changes his stripes. You can alter your style, but Khan typically hasn’t in the big moments. Facing Crawford is the fight he’s been looking for at welterweight. He’s not going to be content by trying to outbox Crawford. He’s going to work for the knockout. Crawford will be more than happy to oblige and turn this into a slugfest. A Khan stoppage can happen, but it’s hard to go against Crawford. I would place a wager on Crawford finishing Khan in the second half of the fight after getting a feel on him.SN Pick: Terence CrawfordBest Wager: Crawford winning in rounds 7-12; 5Dimes (+150). Khan by TKO/KO; 5Dimes (+2493). MORE: Watch Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan on FITE.TV Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan odds, expert pickOnline sportsbook has named Crawford as a sizable favorite (as of April 16). The logical theory is oddsmakers regard Crawford as one of boxing’s best and Khan as the fighter who is long in the tooth and has seen better days. Crawford comes in at minus -2000, which means you’d need to wager $2,000 to win $100. Meanwhile, Khan is a plus +1200, meaning if you bet $100, you’d net $1,200. The odds have risen for Khan, as they originally had the Englishman coming in at +500.Crawford hasn’t missed a beat since moving to welterweight after reigning supreme in the junior welterweight division in which he became the undisputed champion in August 2017. He made mincemeat of Jeff Horn in his welterweight debut in June 2017 to capture the WBO belt and then went on to systematically break José Benavidez Jr. and finish him with 18 seconds to go. Boxing fans around the world wanted Crawford to battle IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr. Instead, Spence went on to take on Mikey Garcia in March. So, Crawford shifted his focus to Khan.Khan enters one of the biggest fights of his career on shaky footing. The former unified junior welterweight world champion was soundly beaten by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, losing by a vicious knockout in the sixth round. He went on to take a nearly two-year hiatus from the sport. Khan returned in May and blasted out Phil LoGreco in 39 seconds.The 32-year-old followed it up with a unanimous decision win over Samuel Vargas in September. Even though he dropped Vargas on two occasions, the bout didn’t come without a struggle. Vargas sent Khan to the canvas in the second round and also had him in some trouble in the sixth and tenth rounds using a sound body attack. But Khan still did enough to bring home a victory.MORE: Crawford vs. Khan: Fight time, PPV price, how to watchThere are two intriguing bets to watch out for as well: Crawford winning in rounds 7-12 and Khan winning by TKO or KO. Current odds have Crawford stopping Khan in rounds 7-12 at +150 and rising slightly. Put some money on this before it’s too late and the odds start to lower. Crawford has finished eight of his last nine opponents, stopping five of them after the sixth round. Khan is known in the boxing circles of having a weak chin, evidenced by getting knocked down by Vargas and getting knocked out cold by Alvarez, Danny Garcia, and Breidis Prescott.Current odds of Khan winning by TKO or KO are currently at +2493 and rising. Many feel Khan is the biggest name and test in Crawford’s dominant run in the sport. Along with his 20 wins by stoppage, Khan possesses some of the quickest hands in boxing. We have never seen Crawford take a hard shot to see how well his chin can hold up.Khan needs to come out and put on the performance of his life. When the lights have shined the brightest, Khan has underwhelmed. He has the skill and ability, as evidenced by being a former unified world champion at 140 pounds. Khan is reunited with Virgil Hunter as his lead trainer after the famed main charge to leave Khan’s camp due to health issues. Together, they are 5-1; having a world-class trainer like Hunter back in the fold could be the key to unlocking Khan’s true potential.While Crawford’s accomplished a lot, this is the biggest fight of his career. The knock on “Bud” has been that he’s never faced a marquee name. The 31-year-old changes all of that on Saturday in the No. 1 media market in the country.MORE: Kell Brook jabs Khan over Crawford boutCrawford needs to continue being himself and not get caught in the hype surrounded the fight. He needs to use to his superior footwork to allow him to throw from unique angles that will get him to the inside so he can capitalize on his power advantage. Khan has to keep the fight on the outside and stay out of Crawford’s range. If Khan can effectively utilize the jab and make it his top priority (and only go on the inside in short spurts), he can make it a comfortable night at the office. That has been the Achilles heel for Khan in his last couple fights. He gets easily goaded into a fire-fight, and it hasn’t always worked out well for him. Fighting safely and smartly is Khan’s best key to success. last_img read more