Members of the public are being advised to be on the alert to a phone scam in which fraudsters claim to be calling from utility companies on the pretence that there are issues with the customer’s broadband service.The warning comes from An Garda Síochána, in association with the FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).The fraudsters are using the name of a utility company (telephone/mobile phone provider, broadband provider or software company) to call householders, offering to “fix” computer or broadband problems. The caller will attempt to trick you into revealing your banking or card details and providing codes from your card reader to access your online banking and make fraudulent payments.The householder may be asked to allow the caller to take remote control of your computer to “assist” you. However, this could allow the fraudster to show you fraudulent screens.The callers are professional and will be able to transfer you to their “supervisor” should you request this. They sound genuine.A spokesperson for the An Garda Síochána gives the following advice. “If you have received a suspicious call, hang up and phone the company the person is purporting to be from directly yourself.“Do not use a number given to you by the caller and make sure you hear a dial tone before making the call. If you are concerned that you may have fallen victim to a scam contact your local garda station and also your bank.”Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, stated: “Always be wary of any unexpected calls or texts especially those asking for personal details or payments.“Never give your financial or personal information in order to release money, refund fees, or access to your computer. Fraudsters are very convincing but do not be afraid to take the time to make the relevant checks.“The caller will try to rush you or make you feel foolish and negligent if you don’t follow their instructions, but this is all designed to panic you into doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do.” Gardaí issue warning over broadband phone scams was last modified: June 7th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
The magical kelp forest exhibit at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium. Image: Two Oceans Aquarium By Lorraine Kearney11 June 2014The cold and wet weather has finally settled over the peninsula, and Capetonians have bedded down for their annual hibernation. In summer, the days are gloriously long, and families eat dinner after eight, children stay up til after nine – because the sun hasn’t set yet.But come winter, with its short, wet and cold days, and the town catches up on its zzzz’s. Dinner by 6.30pm, in bed before eight, and the drive to school in the morning is in the dark. Seaside towns are always dreary in the rain.But for those few hours of daylight, finding fun when it is pouring outside heads the list of important things to do in my family. Top draw is the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront – and it never gets tired.First stop has always got to be the giant spider crabs, where we spend ages trying to spy the faces of the samurai warriors on their bellies.Legend tells of a great Japanese sea battle, in which a young emperor, seeing that his army was defeated, threw himself into the water with his samurai warriors. The emperor and his soldiers turned into crabs and have been wandering the floor of the ocean ever since.Spider crabs are the largest crustaceans in the world; males grow to about 1m in length with a 4m leg stretch. They live about 400m under water that is pretty cool – between 11°C and 14°C. Very little is known about giant spider crabs. It is virtually impossible to determine their age and we do not know when they reach sexual maturity. They have to moult when they grow, shuffling off their old exo-skeletons. This is a complicated and potentially life-threatening process which can take up to two days. A crab can become entrapped in its old shell and die, but even if the moult is successful, the sheer effort is sometimes so exhausting, that the crab dies soon afterwards.Other favourite stops are the touch and feel tidal pools and the microscope displays. But really, the highlight every time is the penguins – they are irresistible, waddling around in their tuxedos. Check when you arrive to make sure you get there for feeding time. You’ll be glad you did.And if you’re game, you can even go scuba diving with the ragged tooth sharks – without a cage.After strolling around the aquarium, we highly recommend the short trip to the V&A Market on the Wharf. There’s a whole world of food on offer, from Hungarian street food to fried chicken, vegetarian curries to cakes and muffins, really good coffee to freshly juiced fruit and veggie drinks. It’s open every day except Christmas and New Year’s, meaning you can always get something delicious to eat.Outside the market – for that gap in the rain when fresh air is needed – is Nobel Square. Four larger-than-life bronzed statues stand in a row, all of them South African Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Home happy and tired; job done.Read more about what to do in Cape Town on SouthAfrica.info
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is expanding its payment options to now accept debit cards and Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit. These paperless payment options enable FSA customers to pay farm loan payments, measurement service fees, farm program debt repayments and administrative service fees, as well as to purchase aerial maps.“Our customers have spoken, and we’ve listened,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Finding ways to improve customer service and efficiency is important for our farmers, ranchers, producers, and forest landowners who work hard for our nation every day. Now, our customers can make electronic payments instantly by stopping in our offices or calling over the phone.”Previously, only cash, check, money orders and wires were accepted. By using debit cards and ACH debit, transactions are securely processed from the customer’s financial institution through Pay.gov, the U.S. Treasury’s online payment hub.While traditional collection methods like cash and paper checks will continue, offering the new alternatives will improve effectiveness and convenience to customers while being more cost effective. In 2017, the average cost to manually process checks, a process that included navigating multiple systems, cost USDA more than $4.6 million. The expanded payment options will cut the time employees take processing payments by 75%.“At USDA, we’re focused on modernization to improve customer service,” said Northey. “If half of our customers use these new payment options, we’ll see a $1 million savings in one year. These new payment methods are one part of a much larger effort to expand options for our customers, as well as to make our services more effective and efficient.”This announcement marks the beginning of a multi-phased roll-out of new payment options for USDA customers. Ultimately, payment option flexibility will be extended to allow farmers and producers to use debit cards and ACH debit payments to make payments for all FSA programs, including farm storage facility loan repayments, farm loan facility fees, marketing assistance loan repayments, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) administrative fees and premiums and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) fees.
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos: Atletico point doesn’t mean a lotby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was left frustrated with their 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid.Los Blancos went into this weekend as LaLiga Santander round as leaders and Ramos wanted them to prove their strength by beating Los Rojiblancos.”These games against Atletico are very physical,” he said to Movistar afterwards.”It’s one of the most difficult stadiums we have to visit throughout the season and it’s important to keep a clean sheet.”But in attack it’s hard to create chances because they don’t leave much space.”This point doesn’t mean a lot because we wanted three.”Madrid have improved at the back in recent weeks, and Ramos admitted it’s something they’ve been aware of.”It’s something we’ve been working on, being forceful,” he explained.”Everything adds up and I think we’re enjoying a good spell.”
The Premier League has never been one for parity. For the majority of its existence, the league has been dominated by a small fraternity of very talented (and very wealthy) clubs. Only six teams have won the Premier League in its 27-year existence, and only four have won it more than once. And if last season is any indication, the stratification is becoming even more extreme. It’s Manchester City and Liverpool’s league to lose, and everyone else is playing for third place.The rivals from the north of England had the second and third best seasons in Premier League history last year by points accrued. And if it weren’t for an astonishing goal line clearance and the small matter of 11.7 millimeters, Liverpool might have lifted its first-ever Premier League trophy last May. Instead, Manchester City claimed its second straight title and fourth this decade.While domestic success might have eluded them, the Reds finished their 2018-19 campaign with a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid. So while Manchester City may start the Premier League season as champions of England, Liverpool will start it as champions of Europe.Both City and Liverpool boast impressive squads — so impressive that neither felt the need to dip their toes too deep into the transfer pool this summer. City starts the season where it left off in the Soccer Power Index (SPI), leading the league with a 94.2 team rating, while Liverpool is close behind at 92.9. As such, the FiveThirtyEight projection model suggests this season will be as imbalanced as the last, as it’s unlikely that any other team will win the Premier League: It gives City a 55 percent chance of winning and Liverpool a 32 percent chance. Meanwhile, the model gives Chelsea a 5 percent chance to win the title and Tottenham a 4 percent chance.Perennial top-six teams Manchester United and Arsenal each begin the season with a 1 percent chance of winning the title; the remaining 14 teams each have a less than 1 percent chance of Premier League glory. Here’s a look at what to expect.The big twoManchester City and Liverpool didn’t make a lot of roster moves this summer because neither Pep Guardiola nor Jürgen Klopp believed doing so was necessary. City’s main piece of business was acquiring defensive midfielder Rodri from Atlético Madrid. The club splashed roughly $80 million for the Spaniard, who is likely the heir to City’s longtime linchpin midfielder, Fernandinho. City’s front line — consisting of any configuration of Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva — won’t require much in the way of extra goal-scoring. But much of what City does has been enabled by Fernandinho’s ability to break up opposition possession and win the ball through midfield, so getting a younger, healthier version of him, in Rodri, makes a lot of sense.And if Rodri’s performance last season is any indication of what’s to come, Guardiola and co. will be able to justify the hefty price tag: Among players who played at least 15 games, Rodri was the 10th-best central midfielder in La Liga in interceptions per 90 minutes in the middle third of the field, and he made the seventh-most tackles at his position in the middle third. His role in Madrid was to disrupt the opposition’s attack and advance the ball to Atlético forwards. Rodri finished the season as La Liga’s third-most successful central midfielder in terms of passing accuracy from the middle third to the final third, ahead of superstars like Toni Kroos, Ivan Rakitić, Luka Modrić, and Sergio Busquets.City was already the best team in the Premier League at both holding possession and scoring, leading the league in share of possession (at nearly 68 percent) and total goals. Adding another wrecker in the center of the field who can also advance the ball into the attacking third with accuracy seems likely to make them even harder to stop. Bringing a healthy Kevin De Bruyne into the fold won’t hurt City’s chances at a three-peat, either.Liverpool, meanwhile, might not have added star power this summer, but it will have more depth. It made three signings of note, though none is expected to get much game time. Two — Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg and English winger Harvey Elliott — haven’t reached their 18th birthdays yet, and the other, former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, will spend most of his days on the bench ready to deputize for Alisson Becker should catastrophe strike.The Reds will also return fully healthy versions of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, who should bolster an already-dominant midfield. Last season, only City was better than Liverpool in possession percentage in the middle third of the field. When each player was most recently healthy enough to play in 15 games or more during a season — Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2017-18 and Lallana in 2016-17 — they finished 21st and 22nd, respectively, among Premier League midfielders in terms of passing accuracy from the middle third to the final third. It’s unclear just how much they’ll factor into Klopp’s plans, but Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana’s ability to accurately progress the ball from the middle third to the final third could prove crucial for a Liverpool team that did so less efficiently than City last season.Less-than-perfect passing aside, Liverpool still finished the season with two of the league’s three shared Golden Boot winners in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. Along with forward Roberto Firmino, the group forms one of the most prolific scoring trios in world soccer, combining for an astounding 113 goals in the past two seasons. Fuse Liverpool’s attacking prowess with its ability at the back — center back Virgil van Dijk is currently the bookmaker’s favorite to win the Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player, and Becker is the Premier League’s reigning Golden Glove winner — and it’s not hard to see why our model is high on the Reds.The next fourThe triumvirate of contenders in London all had very different summers in terms of personnel changes. Chelsea allowed malcontent manager Maurizio Sarri to return to Italy and pursue his dream job at the helm of Juventus and dealt playmaker Eden Hazard — its best player and among the best in the entire Premier League a year ago — to Real Madrid. In the wake of all that change, it hired club legend Frank Lampard, who’s only been a manager for one season, to steward the club into the future. And they’re hoping American wunderkind Christian Pulisic can fill Hazard’s shoes, a tall order.Don’t expect Pulisic, who played his last four seasons at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, to be a one-to-one replacement for Hazard, however. Like Hazard, Pulisic can play in just about any attacking role and can use both feet with near-equal ability. Unlike Hazard, Pulisic didn’t lead his league in passes made in the final third per 90 minutes last season, and the American didn’t even sniff Hazard’s passing accuracy. Pulisic is an excellent attacking option — Chelsea is lucky to have signed him before its transfer ban went into place — and he could certainly form exciting partnerships with the likes of Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi after the latter recovers from an Achilles injury. But a player like Hazard is irreplaceable.Unlike Chelsea, Tottenham didn’t end up selling any of its top talent this summer. Indeed, the Lilywhites went on a bit of a shopping spree instead, shelling out roughly $68 million for French defensive midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The former Lyon man completed 89 percent of his passes in 2018-19, the 11th best rate per 90 minutes among midfielders in Ligue 1.At first glance, Ndombele’s game doesn’t look drastically different than that of Moussa Sissoko, one of Tottenham’s mainstays in midfield. Both are box-to-box midfielders responsible for interrupting the flow of the opposition’s attack and restarting the attack for his team. But everything Sissoko can do, Ndombele can do a little bit better. Ndombele outstripped Sissoko in chances created, assists, expected goals, interceptions per 90 minutes, pass percentage, passes in the final third per 90 minutes and key passes per 90 minutes. Ndombele also proved last season that he’s an elite dribbler among defensive midfielders. He led Ligue 1 defensive midfielders in dribbles per 90 minutes in the middle third of the field, and had the ninth-best success rate. His ability to beat opponents off the dribble, paired with his elite passing ability, will allow Ndombele to progress the ball forward toward Tottenham’s scorers.While some of Ndombele’s statistical superiority can perhaps be explained by the relatively weaker French league, Ndombele is also younger than his French compatriot and has room to keep improving. Either way, he and Sissoko should form a formidable partnership in the center of the field for Spurs this season.The Lilywhites will be a pleasure to watch with healthy versions of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min providing the scoring touch up front. But once again, uncertainty at each fullback position probably means they won’t challenge for the title.Things for the other team in North London look a bit better than they did last season, but only marginally. Arsenal hasn’t done anything to fix its back line: The shaky Shkodran Mustafi will probably be called upon to play lots of minutes in central defense, which is bad news for the Gunners, and former club captain Laurent Koscielny is now on the move to Bordeaux. They did add depth in the middle of the field and another scoring threat up front, securing the signatures of Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos (on a one-year loan from Real Madrid) and French winger Nicolas Pépé, who shredded defenses in Ligue 1 with 22 goals last season.Ceballos could help shore up a midfield that finished fifth in possession rate in the middle of the field — which would be a good first step toward finishing in the top four of the table at the end of the season — and Pépé should add even more firepower to an attack that has only been outscored by City and Liverpool over the past two seasons. But Arsenal didn’t really need more scoring — Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was joint top-scorer a season ago, and Alexandre Lacazette has netted 27 goals in his two seasons at Arsenal — so the Pépé move is a strange one.If Manchester United had one priority going into the summer transfer window, it was to improve its back line. The Red Devils conceded 54 goals in 2018-19, 31 more than City and 32 more than Liverpool. They addressed their defensive woes, getting right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and center back Harry Maguire from Leicester City.The total bill for the two defenders comes out to roughly $160 million, but that’s hardly an issue for a club with near-inexhaustible resources. It’s unclear whether the new defenders can bring United back to the top of the Premiership, but United fans would probably settle for a top-four finish and some Champions League soccer in the meantime.Top challengers The top-six is almost always set in stone, but things could be shifting this season. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, and, of course, Everton might be battling it out for the so-called Everton Cup,1For the uninitiated, the Everton Cup is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the seventh-place finisher in the Premier League. but they could also each realistically make a push for a top-six finish. The three challengers are all closer to Arsenal and Manchester United in SPI ratings than Arsenal and United are to Manchester City and Liverpool. All three clubs pulled off some key signings in the transfer window, but Everton might have had the most fruitful summer. Everton locked up André Gomes — among its best players a season ago — on a permanent basis and snatched versatile midfielder Fabian Delph away from Manchester City. And in one of the summer’s biggest shocks, Everton managed to bring in 19-year-old Juventus and Italy starlet Moise Kean.Delph found minutes difficult to come by on a stacked City team last season, but he should expect to play a more important role for the Toffees, especially now that Everton has sold Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain. And if Kean continues to develop, he, Gylfi Sigurðsson and Richarlison could form a lethal strike team.Wolverhampton wasn’t as active as Everton. It signed top-scorer Raúl Jiménez to a permanent deal and gave the Mexican forward some cover up front, signing Italian forward Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan. Cutrone had a down season in Serie A in 2018-19, but scored 10 goals in 2017-18 as a 19 year old. With Jiménez, Diogo Jota and Rúben Neves, Wolves already have a potent attack. If Cutrone regains some of the form he showed as a teenager, Wolverhampton may find itself contending for the top six.As good as the summer has been for Everton and Wolves, something truly special could be happening at Leicester City. Losing Maguire hurts, but everywhere else you look on the Leicester roster you see talent. Jamie Vardy can’t stop scoring; James Maddison has shades of a young David Beckham; new signing Ayoze Pérez is a proven goal-scoring commodity; the 22-year-old Youri Tielemans is already among the league’s best midfielders and has signed on a permanent basis; Ben Chilwell likes to get forward and ranks among the top five left backs in passes made into the final third of the field, and passes made in the final third of the field; Wilfred Ndidi, Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray all played key roles for the Foxes last season, and none of them are older than 23.The last time Leicester City had a team of sneaky-good youngsters — Mahrez, N’Golo Kanté, Jeffrey Schlupp and Gray — and wily veterans, they won the damn Premier League as a miracle longshot. City and Liverpool’s excellence mean something that magical probably won’t happen again any time soon, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Leicester made a push for the top six — or even the top four.The newcomers It’s always hard to judge how newly promoted teams will perform in the Premier League. It could go the way of Wolverhampton, which finished the 2018-19 campaign in seventh place, just 9 points behind sixth-place Manchester United. Or it could go the way of Fulham, which was relegated after winning just seven games and conceding a ludicrous 81 goals.Among this season’s three newcomers, Aston Villa is the highest-rated team in SPI and the best suited for top-tier success. The Villans possess the best player of these three teams in attacking midfielder Jack Grealish. Grealish is club captain and a lifelong Villa fan, and he was one of the best passers in the final third of the field in the Championship last season: Grealish made the third-most passes in the final third per 90 minutes, and he completed those passes at the third-highest clip.When Grealish missed two months with a shin injury, Villa floundered near the middle of the table. When Grealish came back from that injury, Villa went on a 10-game winning streak during which they outscored opponents 23-5, rocketing up the table into a playoff position and eventually into the Premier League. Villa isn’t just Grealish, of course — they brought in 12 new players, including former Burnley goalie Tom Heaton, and let go of 14 others — but keeping their star healthy will be key to their success.Norwich City’s hopes rest on the shoulders of a 29-year-old Finn named Teemu Pukki. The Canaries’ hitman torched Championship defenses for 29 goals last season, a tally good enough to earn him the Golden Boot. If the Finn keeps up his hot form, Norwich could stave off elimination. But if Pukki goes as cold as his native Kotka in winter, the Canaries might find themselves back in the Championship as quickly as they left it.This leaves us with Sheffield United. The Blades haven’t played Premier League soccer since they spent a single season at the top level in 2006-07. (Prior to that, the last time Sheffield United competed in the Premier League was the 1993-94 season.) In fact, Sheffield United spent six seasons in League One, from 2011-12 to 2016-17, so this leap will feel especially big. The bookmakers and our model both think Sheffield United has the best odds of getting relegated.Even if that does happen, at least club legend Billy Sharp — who has scored more Football League goals in this century than any other player — is finally getting a shot to prove himself in the Premier League.2He had a two-game stint with Southampton in 2012-13, but nothing came of it. The Sheffield-born striker will have played with them in three levels of the English pyramid when the season kicks off in Bournemouth on Saturday. Sharp is a true poacher who has scored 227 league goals in his career thus far, but his most important goals are still in front of him. If Sheffield is to stay up, it will be because Sharp had the season of his life.Check out our latest soccer predictions.
Ohio State then-redshirt junior Linnae Harper takes the ball up the court against Purdue in a Big Ten tournament semifinal game in Indianapolis. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerThe USA Basketball Women’s Under-23 National Team added the second Buckeye to its roster when Ohio State redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper was selected as an injury replacement Saturday evening.Harper joins Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell on the team, replacing South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson who will not play due to a groin strain. Harper and Mitchell are the only two Big Ten athletes on the roster.The Ohio State duo spent the past week competing at the national team training camp along with 34 other players. Thursday afternoon, USA Basketball announced a roster of 12 players that would travel to Tokyo to take part in the Four Nations Tournament.“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Harper said in a press release. “This past week was great for me, being able to play with the best players and coaches in the country. I’m very excited that I have the chance to compete and represent the USA again and play in Tokyo.”This isn’t Harper’s first time playing in international competitions. Harper has earned six medals while playing for USA Basketball, including three gold medals in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship, 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and 2011 FIBA Under-16 World Championship.“We are excited to welcome Linnae, and I’ve got no doubt that she will pick things up quickly,” said Under-23 coach Jeff Walz, who also coaches at Louisville.Last season for Ohio State, the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 8.4 points, five rebounds and 1.9 assists per game and was honored as the 2017 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year.The United States will begin play against Australia Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. On Aug. 13 at 4:30 p.m., Harper and her team will face off against Canada before concluding with a game against Japan on Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Despite an outstanding performance last Sunday, Athletic Club Bilbao boss Gaizka Garitano believes his club’s situation is still bad.Last Sunday Garitano side played an impressive 2-0 victory at home to Sevilla leaving the Basque giants with 11 points in Garitano’s five games in charge and 15th in a congested midtable in La Liga.“Our situation is delicate, it has improved, but it is still bad,” Garitano – who replaced Eduardo Berizzo last month – told reporters, as quoted by Football Espana.“What matters most is the points, not how we got them or who we had before.La Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…“When you’re struggling you need to make sure you are tough to beat at home, that you pick up points and can gain some momentum from there.“However I’m also happy about other aspects of our game, we played very well and were solid defensively, we knew if we scored we would be in a strong position.“They have lost very few games but we had a game-plan and the players perfected it.