Stevan Jovetic 1 Inter Milan have rubbished claims that Stevan Jovetic is struggling for fitness following his move from Manchester City.The striker headed to the San Siro this summer on an initial 18-month loan after failing to break into Manuel Pellegrini’s first team.Following the completion of the deal there were claims in the Italian media that the Montenegro international was struggling with old injuries.But Piero Volpi, who is in charge of Inter’s medical team, has denied any truth to the speculation over the 25-year-old’s fitness.“I see Jovetic doing very well physically,” Volpi told FcInterNews.“He was immediately put at our disposal and arrived having already trained well in pre-season with Manchester City.“From all of our observations – the data collected and all the tests we have done – he hasn’t presented any of the problems that were so rumoured in the football world.“I have to say that we are very satisfied for now.”
Brendan Rodgers insists he is not worried about losing his job as Liverpool manager.The Northern Irishman has seen his future at the club called into question in recent weeks after a stuttering start to the season.Defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday would make his position even more unstable, but Rodgers maintains he is not feeling the heat ahead of the trip to Goodison Park.“I am not looking for any reassurances (from owners Fenway Sports Group),” he said.“It is not something I am seeking or am worried about. I will always work with the players and the situation I am in.”He added: “I’ve always been clear as the manager, you will always have critics and of course if you are not winning games convincingly sometimes those critics can increase.“I respect and understand that (booing) – they all want to win as much as we want to win and there was probably a bit of frustration.“That is something you have to take on the chin as a coach and as players.“But I also know there is a great level of support out there. It is about perspective; there is a lot of focus on these players who I think are dealing with it very well.“Perspective keeps us calms and hopefully allows us to progress.”Liverpool are a point behind Everton heading into this weekend’s meeting, and have won just once in five Premier League games.But Rodgers is confident he will turn their fortunes around and turn them into top four challengers, adding: “It is still very early on in the season and we are making progress as we go along and we have some outstanding players to come back into the reckoning.“When we get those back we know we have a squad to challenge.“(Everton) are a point ahead of us and have had a good start and we’ve had a disaster! We are only a couple of points from where we want to be in the top four.” Brendan Rodgers 1
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp insists Mauricio Pochettino – one of his successors at White Hart Lane – would not be tempted to leave Spurs for Manchester United.Tottenham are flying this season having lost just one league game since the opening day, while United in contrast are stuttering and languish three points behind Pochettino’s charges.Louis van Gaal, the Red Devils manager, has subsequently seen his job come under intense scrutiny, with reports this week emerging that Pochettino had been identified as a potential replacement.But Redknapp, speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, can’t envisage those circumstances unfolding.“I wouldn’t think he would want to leave,” he said.“Spurs is a good club, they have a fantastic training ground. It’s one of the big clubs in the country so I don’t think he’d want to be leaving.”United have won just once in their last seven league games, scoring just five goals in that period, and also crashed out of the Champions League and League Cup prematurely this season.As a result, discontent has been rife amongst the Old Trafford faithful who have grown frustrated at their side’s lack of attacking verve, and Redknapp believes the current squad is a far cry from previous years.He added: “I don’t generally think they’ve got players that can get you off your seat at the moment. There’s no spark at the end of it.“It hasn’t been exciting but they haven’t got that many exciting players. Over the years they had nothing but exciting players.“You knew you were going to get battered from the first minute but at the moment they haven’t got those players.”
Manchester United have declined to comment on reports that the club have held talks with representatives of Jose Mourinho.On Friday evening it was reported by the BBC and the Manchester Evening News that discussions have taken place.Mourinho, who left Chelsea in December, is widely expected to be considered a contender for the role of United manager should Louis van Gaal depart Old Trafford in the summer.United offered no response to the report, the latest to link Mourinho with Van Gaal’s job.Van Gaal has a year remaining on his contract after this season, in which he has attracted considerable criticism for the defensive, slow and possession-based style he has brought to United.Rivals Manchester City announced on Monday that Bayern Munich’s former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola will become their manager in the summer, and United will not want to lose ground on their neighbours. Jose Mourinho 1
1 Manchester United fans are planning a protest against ticket prices on Thursday after being charged £71 to attend the club’s Europa League game away at FC Midtjylland.United fans are angry at being asked to pay a premium price to watch their team in what they view as a second-rate European competition.Banners have been prepared by some of the 800 fans attending the game at the 11,800-capacity MCH Arena.One of them, created by Thomas Kearney, has ‘WELCOME TO SCAMDINAVIA’ written on it in black and white letters.It highlights the fact that United fans have been charged £71 per ticket whereas Southampton supporters were charged just £22 when they played at the home of the Danish champions in the Europa League play-off round in August.United fans are expected to sing about their annoyance at the ticket charge during the game on Thursday.“£71 to watch a Europa League game is extortionate,” said Andy Mitten, author and editor of fanzine United We Stand.“The combined cost of all three tickets for Manchester United’s Champions League away games was only £75.“Do they think United fans are three times wealthier than Southampton fans? Midtjylland are ripping fans off – their own and the 800 travelling fans.”It is understood that United complained to UEFA on the matter when the prices were announced, but there was no reduction.Currently, the only direct flights from Manchester to Billund, the nearest airport to the ground in Herning, are available at £321 return.Given that fans will have to pay up to £100 to reach Herning and hotels are charging up to £320 for a room, a two-night trip to Denmark could cost well over £1,000.“Many fans go to great extremes to work out the cheapest ways to organise trips and to then get clobbered like this on ticket prices is a real slap in the face,” said Duncan Drasdo, CEO of the Manchester United supporters’ trust.“I feel that UEFA – and similarly the FA & Premier League – should protect away fans as a special case by requiring that in addition to away fans being charged no more than home fans in equivalent seating they should also outlaw ‘away categorisation’, so that away fans of all clubs should be charged the same lowest price in the same competition in the same season.“Clubs need to accept that they are not selling tickets in a normal competitive market as fan loyalty means each club is an effective monopoly so they shouldn’t be applying normal supply and demand economics. They wouldn’t be able to do this in other industries – banking, utilities etc where prices are regulated because the market is not operating efficiently.”FC Midtjylland failed to respond to requests for a comment on Tuesday. Scamdinavia! – Manchester United fans angered by Midtjylland ticket prices
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityAbout 79,000 “Pirates of the Caribbean” medallion squeeze lights. The flashlights were sold nationwide and online between September 2006 and October 2007. Call 800-925-0628 or visit www.energizer.com. About 15,000 Totally Me! Funky Room Decor Sets, manufactured by Hong Kong-based CKI Toys and imported by Toys “R” Us Inc. The kits were sold by Toys “R” Us between May and September 2007. Call 800-869-7787 or visit www.toysrus.com. About 10,000 wooden Pull-Along Alphabet & Math Blocks wagons, Pull-Along Learning Blocks wagons, 10-in-1 Activity Learning Carts and Flip-Flop alphabet blocks, imported by KB Toys Inc. The toys were sold at KB Toys stores around the country between August 2005 and September 2007. Return the toys to any KB store in exchange for store credit. Call 888-843-9520 or go to www.recall.kbtinfo.com. About 63,000 green, plastic cups shaped like Frankenstein’s monster’s head, imported by Dollar General Merchandising Inc. The cups were sold at Dollar General stores around the country in September. For a refund or replacement product, return the key chains to the place of purchase. Call 800-678-9258 or go to www.dollargeneral.com. About 192,000 key chains imported by Dollar General Merchandising Inc. The key chains feature a metal charm engraved with “wisdom,” “truth,” “believe,” “love,” “hope” or “dream.” They were sold at Dollar General stores around the country between June 2005 and August 2007. Call 800-678-9258 or go to www.dollargeneral.com. By The Associated Press More than a half a million Chinese-made products were recalled Thursday, including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and Baby Einstein toys, because they contain dangerous levels of lead. They included the following: About 35,000 Baby Einstein Discover & Play Color Blocks, distributed by Kids II Inc. The blocks were sold around the country between June and September. Call 866-203-6788 or go to www.kidsii.com. About 150,000 bookmarks and journals, imported by Antioch Publishing. The products feature a variety of decorations including breast cancer awareness and Winnie the Pooh. The bookmarks and journals were sold at book, card and gift stores around the country between March 2005 and October 2007. Call 800-543-1515 or go to www.antioch.com. About 11,200 Alpine Design aluminum water bottles imported by The Sports Authority Inc. The bottles are decorated with pink flowers, a mouse or a zebra. They were sold around the country between April 2006 and September 2007. Go to www.sports authority.com. The Boy Scouts of America said Thursday that a painted, plastic badge commonly worn by some of its youngest scouts is being voluntarily recalled after a test revealed high levels of lead in the paint. As many as 1.6 million of the badges, which are made in China, may be affected by the recall. The plastic totem badge is given to Cub Scouts, who are usually between the ages of 7 and 8. The badge has a yellow and blue border, includes a picture of a bear and wolf and reads “Progress Toward Ranks.” No illnesses have been reported. Several other products were recalled Thursday because of health concerns other than lead. They included the following: Kraft Foods announced Thursday that it is recalling white chocolate distributed in the United States because of possible salmonella contamination. Kraft said consumers who purchased its 6 ounce, Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares should immediately discard the product. The recalled product was distributed nationally, and has the UPC Code 0043000252200 and notes that it’s best when used by March 31, April 1, April 2 and April 3, 2008. Call 800-310-3704. Campbell Soup Co. on Thursday announced a voluntary recall of more than 72,000 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Baked Potato with Cheddar & Bacon Bits because they may contain pieces of hard plastic. Campbell said three consumers have reported minor injuries in and around their mouths. The recalled soups, with the can code “JUL 08 2009 07097,” were shipped to 24 states, including California. Consumers were advised to return the product to the store where it was bought for an exchange or refund.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityMembers of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, the unit to which Torrance soldier Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. belonged, are searching up to the last minute to find the two soldiers who were captured along with Anzack in May. “This is still our brigade’s No. 1 priority,” its commander, Col. Michael Kershaw, said Friday. “We’ve been doing everything possible to bring them back before we leave,” he told Pentagon reporters via videoconference from Iraq. Anzack, 20; Spec. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.; and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich., were seized May 12 when hostile forces attacked and overran a checkpoint during an operation to watch for insurgents placing roadside bombs on a dangerous road south of Baghdad. Anzack’s body was found in the Euphrates River nearly two weeks later, one of more than 300 casualties suffered in Iraq by the brigade from Ft. Drum in northern New York state. IRAQ: Torrance soldier was one of three captured near Baghdad. By Pauline Jelinek THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Army brigade that has served the most time on the battlefield since 2001 is coming home. But as they return, troops may have to leave two of their own behind in Iraq. Casualties taken by the 3,600-member brigade have totaled 52 killed and more than 270 wounded in action, Kershaw said. The brigade is in its 14th month of an extended 15-month tour – “the most-deployed brigade in the U.S. Army,” he said. On its return home, expected to be completed over the next several weeks, it will have served overseas 40 months since December 2001. The brigade has served two tours in Iraq and elements of it have served twice in Afghanistan, according to Army records. Four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi translator were killed in the May ambush some 20 miles south of Baghdad in which Jimenez and Fouty were taken. Their identification cards were later found in an al-Qaida safe house north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers and weapons. The house was more than 100miles from the area where they disappeared. The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, said in a video posted on the Internet that the soldiers were killed and buried. Asked Friday if he believe they were still alive, Kershaw said captured suspects and “numerous other intelligence sources … have given us really all different kinds of stories.” “Just last week we received one significant intelligence thread that indicated that they at least were potentially alive recently, but another that said that that they had been killed shortly after the attack,” Kershaw said. The attack triggered a massive search in an area that is part of the “triangle of death,” named for the rampant insurgent activity there. U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets seeking information; U.S. and Iraqi forces searched muddy canal areas, farmlands and fields. “We flooded the area for about six weeks in a detailed search,” Kershaw recalled Friday, “and continued a more surgical search since then.” A dozen insurgents involved in the planning and execution have been captured, and other suspects may have been hit in a strike Thursday night, he said. He didn’t identify any of those involved except to say the attackers were 15 to 18 people affiliated with al-Qaida. Jimenez’s wife Yaderlin Hiraldo Jimenez – an illegal immigrant – was threatened with deportation but later given a green card out of respect for her husband’s sacrifice, U.S. government officials said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
NEW YORK – Elementary school teacher Ramona Roman has a master’s degree and earns $70,000 a year, but she’s barely making it in New York City. “I think I make a good salary, but it’s so hard living here – I can’t get a decent apartment with the money I make. You also need to eat! You need to feed your kids!” said the 52-year-old teacher, who supports two children and her mother. Over the years, teachers in Roman’s predicament have fled the city’s red-hot real estate market looking for affordable housing. They may soon have a new option – Roman plans to apply to live in a 234-unit housing project being developed specifically for educators. The project, backed with $28 million from the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, could become a model in other cities where soaring rents are forcing out essential workers like teachers, police and firefighters, observers say. The apartments will be open to teachers in public, private, parochial and charter schools, as well as administrators. To be eligible for a lottery for an apartment, applicants cannot earn more than 110 percent of the area median income, which is $70,900 for a family of four and $49,630 for an individual. “As a prototype of housing for people who are essential to the functioning of a city, it’s quite important,” said Richard Plunz, a Columbia University architecture professor and expert on housing in New York City. Across the nation, finding affordable housing is a challenge for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other working- and middle-class people who want to live in the communities they serve. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has offered housing bonuses of up to $14,600 to incoming teachers. In the tradition of unions taking care of their own, Weingarten, the union chief, approached the city’s Housing Development Corp. about a year ago. Under the deal they forged, the pension fund bought the $28 million worth of bonds from the corporation, which also provided $20 million in below-market rate loans for the project. The Atlantic Development Group is building it. The New York-based construction company, which specializes in affordable housing, got a 1 percent mortgage for the project financed with the sale of the bonds to the pension fund. The project “revisits how housing was provided in the city for the working population from the 1920s to the 1960s,” Plunz said. Plunz referred to such huge, union-backed housing complexes as Electchester in the borough of Queens, which was erected in 1949 for electrical workers by Local 3 of their union. The Amalgamated apartments in the Bronx, one of the oldest housing cooperatives in the United States with more than 4,000 apartments, were built by several garments workers’ unions starting in the 1920s. Of course, investing pension fund money in real estate is not new. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.In New York, about 4,000 teachers moved out of the city last year, says Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represent more than 150,000 active and retired city public school educators. “What developer is willing to construct affordable housing?” she said. A New York teacher’s salary starts at about $42,000, and at more than $2,000 a month, the average rent for even a studio apartment in the city eats up over half of it. In the Bronx, the borough north of Manhattan where construction on the complex is expect to start later this fall, rents between $800 to $900 are considered affordable. The buildings will add to the supply of similarly priced apartments. Rents in the two buildings will range from $806 a month for a studio to $1,412 for a three-bedroom apartment.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.That did not mean, however, that the Dodgers aren’t exploring the possibility of replacing their current manager, Grady Little, with Torre, whose 12-year tenure at the helm of the New York Yankees ended last week when Torre rejected a one-year, $5 million contract with incentives. A story in Monday’s editions of the New York Post, citing two sources with “knowledge of the Dodgers’ universe,” said the club is talking with Little about possibly buying out his contract, which also carries an option for 2009. Another story that hit the wires on Monday night, from the Journal News of Westchester (N.Y.) County, which also cited two sources “close to the situation,” said Torre could be named the Dodgers manager in the next 24 hours. Colletti didn’t respond to messages left both on his office and cell phones. Little didn’t respond to messages left on his office, cell and home phones. But one Dodgers source with knowledge of the situation said “there is no truth to the story as it presently stands,” which is a long way from saying there is no truth to the story at all. Another source within the organization, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “I don’t know where any of this is coming from, but if you write it, you’ll look like an idiot.” Meanwhile, Torre himself made a guest appearance Monday night on the Late Show with David Letterman in which Letterman asked Torre about rumors involving him and the Dodgers. “There has been a time or two that something has been in the newspaper that hasn’t been true,” Torre said. “There is nothing to any of it, so far.” The key words to that statement might be “so far.” Although nothing appears imminent, there are indications that the Dodgers are at least exploring the possibility of replacing Little with Torre – and it is possible that exploration is going on at a level higher than Colletti. Both Colletti and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said at the end of the season that Little will return in 2008. But that was before it became clear that Torre wouldn’t be returning to the Yankees. Meanwhile, Dodgers officials have been conspicuously silent in recent days, to the point that few in the organization are even returning calls from reporters. The only official comment to come out of Chavez Ravine on Monday was a vague dismissal of the matter by the club’s chief spokesperson. “Grady Little is the manager of the Dodgers,” said Camille Johnston, the Dodgers’ senior vice president for communications. “Beyond that, there is no further comment.” Torre, 67, managed the Yankees for 12 seasons, the longest uninterrupted tenure of any Yankees manager since Casey Stengel (1949-60). Torre guided the club to the playoffs every year and won 10 division titles, six American League pennants and four World Series. But the Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000 and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round each of the past three seasons. One interesting subplot of the Dodgers possibly hiring Torre has to do with Don Mattingly, who was Torre’s bench coach this season and his hitting coach the previous three seasons. Mattingly was widely considered the favorite to succeed Torre until that job ultimately went to Joe Girardi on Monday, and Mattingly’s agent released a statement later in the day saying his client was “extremely disappointed” that he didn’t get the job. The statement went on to say Mattingly had informed the Yankees he wouldn’t accept a position as a coach on Girardi’s staff. That would make Mattingly a natural fit for a potential Torre staff in Los Angeles, especially given that Mattingly’s son, Preston, is a highly regarded Dodgers prospect. Preston Mattingly, a second baseman, batted .210 this season at single-A Great Lakes. Little, 57, just completed his second season as Dodgers manager. He led the club to the playoffs as a wild card in 2006 – the Dodgers were swept in the first round by the Mets – but the team collapsed down the stretch this year and finished fourth in the National League West with an 82-80 mark after losing 11 of its final 14 games. It was during that stretch, on Sept. 20, that a clubhouse rift between the veterans and young players became public when second baseman Jeff Kent complained to reporters after a loss at Colorado that several of the team’s promising young players, “don’t get it.” That same week, a reporter for the Dodgers’ radio affiliate, KFWB, citing unnamed players as his source, said Little had lost the clubhouse. email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BASEBALL: Reports say L.A. might hire ex-Yankees manager to replace Little. By Tony Jackson Staff Writer Although there were multiple reports out of New York on Monday that the Dodgers were close to hiring, or had already hired, Joe Torre as their manager, what little word there was coming from the organization clearly indicated otherwise.
L.A. badly needs major reforms FIVE years ago, residents of the San Fernando Valley staged a valiant effort to shake up the system of institutionalized political corruption in the city of Los Angeles. Five years later, it’s time for another shake-up. Back then, Valley residents waged a campaign for independence. Despite being outmatched and massively outspent, they managed to achieve a symbolic victory by passing secession in the Valley, even though it failed citywide. The inequities persist: The Valley still has worse police response times, fewer cops and a bigger surge in gang violence than the rest of L.A. – despite paying a lion’s share of the city’s taxes. The Valley has been conspicuously left out of Villaraigosa’s school-reform efforts. And downtown developers continue to get massive subsidies and handouts, while the Valley and much of the rest of L.A. get little or no help in their efforts to revive community life. But worse than the inequities is City Hall’s outright contempt for L.A. neighborhoods. Los Angeles’ city leadership exists not for the benefit of Angelenos, but for the unions, the developers and the other special interests that call the shots. To cite just a few of the most recent, most egregious abuses of City Hall: City leaders approved an enormous, nearly $300 million pay hike for bureaucrats at a time when revenues are falling flat and may even decline, and the city can least afford it. They have sponsored hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for downtown projects, and support building a half-billion dollar, overpriced police headquarters. Having squandered the treasury, they admit they failed to invest in basic infrastructure, and warn of service cuts, while offering nothing to make L.A. a better city. And in their zeal to rake in more of the public’s money, they have declared a phony emergency to pass a phone-tax hike disguised as a tax cut. They are also pushing for water and power hikes, even as they siphon millions away from L.A.’s public utility to City Hall. By every measure, this city government is failing, in the most basic ways, to serve the people who pay dearly for it. It is locked in a pattern of self-service, and seemingly immune to public pressure. Five years after secession, some kind of radical shake-up is needed, yet again. Maybe it’s a borough system. Maybe it’s true charter reform. Maybe it’s empowering and funding L.A.’s neighborhood councils. Maybe it’s a comprehensive attempt to organize neighborhoods and residents. Maybe it’s even another secession campaign. We don’t pretend to have an answer. But Los Angeles is badly broken. Its poverty of politics is extreme. And it’s going to take something radical to change it.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre And while few today have the interest or the appetite to fight the secession battle again, it’s clear that something drastic needs to be done to make City Hall responsive to the people of L.A. in general, and to the Valley in particular. Now, as then, Los Angeles suffers from a poverty of politics. The Valley secession movement did, briefly, succeed in forcing some changes in City Hall, just as the City Charter reform movement had done five years earlier. L.A. leaders were forced to realize that they had to pay heed to the public and the Valley – at least a little. Antonio Villaraigosa won his race for mayor on a reform platform by winning over Valley voters who were fed up with then-incumbent Jim Hahn. Hahn’s actions had undermined charter reform, and his contempt for the Valley came through in his desperate campaign against secession. But since then, the situation has deteriorated, yet again.