Aberdeen standing by coach Allan Russell after involvement in horror crash that cost him England role



Aberdeen are standing behind their coach Allan Russell following his involvement in a road crash which left a man seriously injured.

The striking coach was relieved of his England duties and won’t be part of the international set-up for Euro 2020 after it was reported that he had allowed his drunk brother to drive his car which he ploughed into another motor.

He also admitted letting his brother Simon drive without insurance.

The English FA released a statement confirming they had parted ways following the incident, saying: “We’ve agreed with Allan it is best for him to leave.”

But Dons have revealed they intend to keep Russell at the club as part of Stephen Glass’s coaching team as he is “deeply remorseful” of the situation which left a medic in critical condition.

They said: “The Club has now been made aware of all the circumstances surrounding a regrettable road traffic accident last year, in which Allan was a passenger in the vehicle. 

“He is deeply remorseful about the consequences of this incident for everyone involved. 

“Having taken everything into consideration, we feel Allan made a serious error of judgement but he took responsibility and has suffered the consequences. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to redeem themselves by learning from their mistakes and the Club will be supporting Allan in his role as an assistant coach at AFC where he is already making a positive impact.”

Russell, 40, was in the passenger seat alongside bro Simon when he smashed into Danny Moss, 43, head-on back in July of last year in Oxfordshire.



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HAVE YOU ENTERTAINED A RANDOM THOUGHT ABOUT STANDING FOR COUNCIL?


If the answer is yes, please listen to this interview with Mayor, Cl. Carol Sparks.

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The roadblock standing between Cheika and the Waratahs


He didn’t so much as rule out a return entirely, but as it stands former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika won’t return as the Waratahs’ saviour – not while Scott Johnson remains as Rugby Australia director of rugby anyway.

With the Waratahs coaching gig open following Rob Penney’s sacking a week ago, any number of candidates have been raised to take over at season’s end.

Thus far only national women’s sevens coach John Manenti has publicly stated he wants the role, but others including current interim co-head coach Jason Gilmore, Darren Coleman and men’s sevens coach Tim Walsh could also apply.

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Former assistant Simon Cron, coaching under Steve Hansen in Japan, last week ruled himself out because of the unfortunate timing of Penney’s sacking which came less than a month after he decided to stay on at Toyota, where current Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and former All Blacks skipper Kieran Read are based.

While Waratahs great Chris Whitaker said following his side’s heartbreaking 24-22 defeat on Friday he hadn’t had the time to consider whether he will apply given the “uncomfortable” and “difficult” nature of the previous week.

On Saturday, the 2014 Super Rugby-winning Waratahs coach was asked about his conversations with NSW CEO Paul Doorn after it was revealed the duo had spoken.

“We’ve had a casual conversation,” Cheika told Channel 9. “I don’t think my ideas are the ultimate ideas. I just gave a few ideas of what I’ve experienced in the past and what’s worked for us and what might work for NSW and understanding its DNA a little bit more.

“I’d do anything to help them get back on track. It was a wonderful experience coaching NSW, I loved every minute of it, the highs and the lows. I think we can get back to that pretty quickly with this team.

“They have made some decisions now and they need to show some leadership going forward to get them right.”

Pushed on whether he would like to be involved in some capacity at the Waratahs, Cheika said the timing, as it stands, wouldn’t be right.

“I think that it’s not the time for me to be coaching the Waratahs,” Cheika said.

“It’s maybe a little bit too fresh (and) raw. Also, from a national point of view, they don’t need me in that space probably at this point. They (Wallabies coaches) need some clean air . . . without the name from the last four or five years because it’s been a huge thing for me.”

Although it’s understood Cheika has aspirations to coach the Wallabies one day again, Cheika is enjoying being out of the coaching spotlight for the time being after the ugly ending to his six-year tenure with the national team.

The 2015 World Rugby coach of the year, who took the Wallabies to the World Cup final that same year, felt like he should have resigned at the end of 2018 when then-CEO Raelene Castle brought in Johnson over the top of him as DOR.

Cheika felt like Johnson’s appointment in the crucial World Cup year undermined his role as head coach and allowed for his players to question his authority and decision making.

Meanwhile, Whitaker said he was “proud of the effort” of his side following their gallant 24-22 win over the Brumbies at the SCG.

The Waratahs fought back from 10-0 down and 24-10 at halftime to keep their opponents scoreless in the second half, but a conversion miss from Will Harrison after regular time meant they failed to send the match into golden try.

Whitaker was visibly emotional after a tumultuous week and said that the former head coach could take some credit for their improved showing.

“It was uncomfortable,” Whitaker said.

“Rob can take a lot of that credit. As (captain) Jake Gordon said, it was a tough old week. We were probably lucky that the Brumbies game came around so quickly because it didn’t give the boys too much time to think about it, it was just about preparing for the Brumbies week. The boys still talked to Rob a bit, so he can take a lot of credit for that.”

The Waratahs have the bye this week before finishing the season with matches against the Force and Rebels.

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RESTRICTION ROLL BACK: Standing up indoors in NSW venues allowed from today


St Patrick’s Day festivities across New South Wales today will resemble pre-COVID times after revelers were given the green light to stand up indoors while in Sydney venues.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian vowed to lift the restriction three weeks ago after allowing standing up outdoors at pubs.

The news comes with a very strict warning from state officials who said the new freedoms could be wound back at any time if there is an outbreak.

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COVID-safe rules at Marvel Stadium ban footy fans from standing



Fans will be banned from standing at their seat when AFL returns to Marvel Stadium this week as COVID-safe rules have been implemented on the AFL-owned grounds.

The Herald Sun is reporting the new rules for the grounds include no standing in seats, bringing in bags larger than an A4 piece of paper, and water fountains have been switched off.

PR Counsel’s Kristy McSweeney questioned how a ban like this would be policed at the stadium for a game so many Australians feel passionately about.

“How are you going to police those sitting down in their seats making sure they don’t get rowdy during a game of footy, I’ve got no idea I’d love to see people try,” she told Sky News host Peter Gleeson.

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Rule change under fire after 50-metre penalty for standing on the mark in practice match


Former Adelaide and Carlton player Sam Kerridge commented that it was “horrible, hard to watch”.

Dual Sydney premiership player and AFL life member Bolton, added to the All-Australian panel this year, said that while he understood the rationale behind the new rule it appeared bound to cause chaos.

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“From my perspective, it’s such a small sample size at the moment, it’s hard to make a real judgment on how it’s going to impact the season moving forward. However of that sample size, it’s been really poor from my perspective. I feel like we’re just making it one of the hardest games to adjudicate, which puts undue pressure on the umpires, which creates unnecessary angst in the crowd,” Bolton said on Sunday.

The rule was implemented during the off-season under the imprimatur of AFL football operations chief Steve Hocking, who is aiming to open up the game amid declining scoring rates. Scoring fell to a 52-year low in 2019. It plummeted considerably last year but matches were played with shorter quarters.

Bolton accepted the jury was out on the new rule but didn’t seem optimistic.

“I’m happy to see how it changes the flow of the game,” Bolton said.

“Speaking to some of the players, they know that it’s opened up that 45-degree kick … it’s going to be high-scoring. Obviously, that’s the way the AFL want the game. But those little frustrating tiggy-touchwood free kicks that create angst.

“It’ll rear its head like the deliberate out of bounds and things like that. It only needs one a game that cause headlines on a Monday morning. I feel for the umpires because they might get the game right for the whole time and have one incident that fans are just going to lose their minds over. It’s a little bit of ‘suck it and see’ for the moment, but from what I’ve seen thus far in just the trial games, it’s frustrating.

“It’s going to be pretty frustrating for defenders when it’s coming in so fast.”

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Under the terms of the new rule announced by the AFL in November: “The defending player will only be permitted minimal lateral movement on the mark. If the defending player moves off the mark in any direction prior to “play on” being called, a 50-metre penalty will apply. The defensive team is unable to substitute the player on the mark.”

“The evolution of the game has seen an increase in defensive structures and these changes combined are designed to provide a better balance between attack and defence while encouraging more open ball movement,” Hocking said at the time.

One senior club official – speaking on the condition of anonymity – said on Sunday that the rule had been brought in to speed up play around the ground but should not apply for set shots inside 50.

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Tweak to rule about standing on the mark is changing the game


“You can exploit it in attack.”

There is also a new five-metre protected area around the player on the mark that even teammates are not allowed to enter.

Rule changes for 2021 premiership season

  •  Maximum of 75 player interchanges per match. Rotations will decrease from 90 per match in 2020 to 75 per match in 2021. Each team will continue to be permitted four interchange players.
  • Player standing the mark. The defending player will be permitted no lateral movement on the mark. If the defending player moves off the mark in any direction prior to “play on” being called, a 50-metre penalty will apply. The defensive team is unable to substitute the player on the mark.
  • Location of the mark at kick-ins. The mark shall be set at 15 metres from the centre of the kick-off line towards the centre of the ground at kick-ins. This was previously set at 10 metres.

This means teams cannot “hand over” who is standing on the mark from one player to another. Often the man on the mark peels off to defend a player running past the player with the ball, and is replaced on the mark by a teammate. This can no longer happen.

It also means a tall player such as Collingwood’s Mason Cox cannot replace a teammate on the mark when their opponent is taking a set shot at goal.

The “stand” rule means the player on the mark defending a shot at goal cannot step back from the mark and run up to put a player off.

The rule change also means that teams defending an opposition player who has a set shot at goal and shapes to run around to snap the goal cannot set up with a line of defenders ready to rush at the forward once they step off their line. At the very least, they need to be five metres away from the man on the mark.

The “stand” rule has opened up the ground to the attacking team and in particular opened up the corridor for the ball-carrying team to be far more aggressive with their ball use.

“It is pretty significant,” one coach said. “It’s much harder to defend so you can be a lot more attacking with ball in hand.

“It’s a bigger change than the cut in rotations or the kick-in one [pulling the man on the mark back at kick-ins a further 10 metres].

Umpires will be encouraged to give more latitude to the player with the ball to move off their line before “play on” is called.

The AFL’s head of football, Steve Hocking, said the man on the mark was the first line of defence and teams structured their defence behind that player. Initial signs were that the change was having the desired effect, promoting faster, more attacking play.

“The man on the mark has been taking up more and more real estate and slowing the game down, directing where play could go,” Hocking said.

“The vision we have from pre-season testing of it with clubs, the ball is moving quicker and so teams are taking full advantage of the fact they know the player on the mark cannot move so it is really disrupting defences.

“Any defensive system around the world works off delay and that is what the man on the mark does, he delays.

“I hasten to add it is January, when teams are always more attacking in ball movement and they will no doubt go away and spend more time trying to work out how to defend it but they will also go away and work out how to exploit it for attack and ball movement.

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“The signs are very encouraging, that ball movement is a lot quicker and more aggressive. We have wanted to shift the balance back from defence to attack.”

He said stopping teams from “handing over” the mark was a significant change.

“The player handing over always comes in from the side, but they never come in from the boundary side, they come in from the corridor. So their movement to come in is really closing off that whole angle into the corridor and pushing play down the line,” Hocking said.

According to clubs who have been training with umpires in match simulation, the change to the “man on the mark” rule is having the most profound effect on ball movement and congestion of all the rule changes.

This year the number of interchange rotations will be further cut and the man standing the mark at kick-ins has been drawn back a further 10 metres to give the defender more room to play on and clear the area with his kick. The extra distance that player can get also is hoped to push back and spread the set-up of the defensive team.

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Standing On The Verge Of Accessible Healthcare



AsianScientist (Jan. 29, 2021) – At the third meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, health and healthcare were declared a basic human right along with the right to dignity, freedom and religion.

Despite this, seven decades on, only a lucky few benefit from developed healthcare infrastructure and accessible medical services. Across low-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region, almost half of the total health expenditure is shouldered by households, straining already-struggling families.

When it comes to getting common diagnostic tests done, the situation is even more dire. Consider the case of computed tomography (CT) scans, which are used to screen for tumors or internal injuries. While Japan possesses more than 110 CT scanners per million population, emerging Asian countries like Laos and Myanmar have less than one per million population.

As a former healthcare management consultant, Dr. Joseph Mocanu was keenly aware of Asia’s collective lack of access to affordable quality healthcare. Drawing on his experience as an angel investor, Mocanu founded Verge HealthTech Fund in 2018—the first seed-stage venture capital fund dedicated to making healthcare more efficient and equitable in emerging Asian countries.

“I could not find a fund that invested in early-stage technologies focused on solving serious healthcare problems in Asia and came to the realization that I had to start my own,” he said.

According to Mocanu, what sets the fund apart is its willingness to invest even at the companies’ earliest stages. Typically, angel investors and venture capitalists are intimidated by the technical and regulatory uncertainties, unproven business models and long development timelines. However, Mocanu finds that a hands-on approach to guide founders from the beginning helps ease the process and reduce the risk.

One example is AKUOS—designers and manufacturers of digital hearing aids that take the form of stylish eyeglasses. The discreet device translates sound from the environment into physical vibrations that go directly into your skull, functioning as non-invasive hearing aids. The team’s drive, technical expertise and receptive attitude drew Mocanu to AKUOS.

“We need to be able to add value, share values and get along with the team personally,” he explained. “It’s a long journey—kind of like a marriage when you think about the time horizons involved.”

From smart Bluetooth thermometers for fever and fertility monitoring and glucose levels to AI-powered digital stethoscopes, the Verge HealthTech Fund team looks for startups with products that solve unmet needs across emerging Asian markets.

Despite being quite early in its journey, reach52 is another Verge-funded startup that is already delivering impact. As suggested by its name, the company’s goal is to provide healthcare to the remaining 52 percent without access.

By providing resources like tablets and phones, reach52 empowers rural community workers in South and Southeast Asia to perform everything from health screenings, remote care, medicine delivery and even the distribution of low-cost health insurance.

“They are literally creating a health system where none exists today, and you can’t get more impactful than that,” enthused Mocanu.

Indeed, in just three short years, reach52 has already brought healthcare to 55,000 people in the Philippines and Cambodia. But Verge’s strides in making accessible healthcare a reality is just the beginning.

Despite the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic has uncovered numerous opportunities for innovation. In an increasingly digital world, new healthcare technologies like telemedicine apps and home health monitoring devices are filling the void left by the absence of in-person consultations and medical checkups.

“There is a new normal that will come after COVID subsides,” concluded Mocanu. “The Pandora’s box has been opened; naysayers who said that telemedicine couldn’t be done en masse are now eating their words. The requisite financing models and data systems are catching up quickly to support it sustainably.”

———

Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.


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Joe and Jill Biden were left awkwardly standing in the cold outside White House on Inauguration Day


President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill were momentarily left standing in the cold on Inauguration Day after the front doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weren’t opened for them – a breach of protocol caused by the firing of the chief usher of the White House hours earlier.

With the world watching on, the 46th US President and his wife walked up the steps of their new home for the first time on Wednesday, as a small crowd of family members followed behind.

The couple posed for photos outside the large wooden doors of the North Portico, waiving to the crowd as a military band played ‘Hail to the Chief’ nearby.

They then embraced one another, before turning to venture on inside. But there was a problem: the doors didn’t open.

For an awkward but fleeting period of around 10 seconds, Biden stares puzzlingly at the door before turning back to shoot a confused look at his approaching family members.

Eventually the doors swing open, though it’s unclear whether Jill and Joe were forced to open them themselves, or whether someone on the inside finally notice the mistake.

It remains unclear exactly what caused the delay, though the firing of the chief usher of the White House, Timothy Harleth, likely had a part to play.

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With the world watching on, the 46th US President and his wife walked up the steps of their new home for the first time on Wednesday, with a small crowd of family members following behind

They then embraced one another, before hugging and turning to venture on inside, but the doors didn’t open

They then embraced one another, before hugging and turning to venture on inside, but the doors didn’t open

It remains unclear exactly what caused the delay, the firing of the chief usher of the White House, Timothy Harleth (shown right), likely had a part to play

It remains unclear exactly what caused the delay, the firing of the chief usher of the White House, Timothy Harleth (shown right), likely had a part to play

Though the White House doors are typically opened by Marine guards, the chief usher is in charge of greeting the incoming president and his family, in addition to overseeing operations at the residence.

However, Harleth wasn’t there to greet the Bidens when they arrived because he had been fired around five hours earlier.

Harleth, the Trumps’ chief usher and a former rooms manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, told the New York Times he was moving furniture on Inauguration Day when he was told at 11:30am that his services were no longer needed.

Biden’s aides had reportedly called the White House on Wednesday, saying the incoming president planned to bring in someone else to take over his role.

Harleth was personally chosen by Melania Trump to act as chief White House usher in 2017.

At the time, then-First Lady Melania said he was selected ‘because of his impressive work history and management skills.’

Harleth’s duties primarily included overseeing budgets, planning the family’s dinner menus and handling any personal issues. His salary was estimated to be around the $200,000 mark.

While the job is traditionally considered non-political, the Times noted Melania’s decision to hire a Trump Organization employee added a partisan implication to Harleth’s tenure.

For an awkward but fleeting period of around 10 seconds, Biden stares puzzlingly at the door before turning back to shoot a confused look at his approaching family members.

For an awkward but fleeting period of around 10 seconds, Biden stares puzzlingly at the door before turning back to shoot a confused look at his approaching family members.

Eventually the doors swing open, though it’s unclear whether Jill and Joe were forced to open them themselves, or whether someone on the inside did

Eventually the doors swing open, though it’s unclear whether Jill and Joe were forced to open them themselves, or whether someone on the inside did

Harleth was reportedly personally chosen by Melania Trump to act as chief White House usher in 2017

He was the former rooms manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington

Harleth (right) was reportedly personally chosen by Melania Trump to act as chief White House usher in 2017, when she was first lady. He was the former rooms manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington

After Election Day, Harleth found himself in the increasingly difficult position of attempting to prepare the White House for a new tenant while the current occupant was still refusing to concede the race.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly became angered at Harleth for attempting to send briefing books about the residence to the Biden transition team after he was confirmed to be the winner.

In a statement to the Times, Harleth said: ‘It has been an honor to serve as chief usher, a position whose loyalty is not to a specific president, but rather to the institution of the presidency.

‘I am proud that I had the opportunity to lead the residence staff to receive the incoming first family with the utmost respect and dignity, not just for this administration, but for the future success of the office of the president.’

It’s currently unclear who Jill Biden will appoint to replace Harleth. A number of his deputy chief ushers have remained in their positions under the new administration.

While the incident involving the front doors was only fleeting, it apparently did not go unnoticed among former White House workers.

‘There was a protocol breach when the front doors were not held open for the first family as they arrived at the North Portico,’ Lea Berman, White House secretary for George W. Bush told the Times.

Former White House curator Betty Monkman added: ‘The delay in opening the door did puzzle me a bit.’

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Standing Rock Tribe Prioritizes Vaccines for Native Speakers


(FORT YATES, N.D.) — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota is prioritizing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to those who speak Dakota and Lakota languages.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Mike Faith tells KXMB-TV it’s about keeping customs alive.

“It’s something we have to pass on to our loved ones, our history, our culture our language. We don’t have it in black and white, we tell stories. That’s why it’s so important,” Faith said.

The Standing Rock reservation straddles the North Dakota and South Dakota border and is home to about 8,000 people, more than half of whom live in North Dakota.

Faith said only about 300 people on the reservation are fluent in the language.

Frontline health care workers already have begun receiving he vaccine at the Fort Yates hospital, but starting next week priority will be for those who speak their native language.

Contact us at letters@time.com.



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