It’s been a troubled start to the season for QPR’s summer signings. How have they fared so far and what do their prospects look like for the rest of the season?Rio FerdinandThere’s already been plenty of ammunition for those who felt Ferdinand was over the hill prior to his move to west London. He has been at fault for some of the goals conceded, from Hull’s winner on the opening day to the first goal at Southampton, where he gave the ball away.At this stage of Ferdinand’s career and QPR’s supposed development, his primary role ought to be as a defensive organiser in a compact team, at a compact ground, with a shielding midfielder in front and someone like Steven Caulker alongside him.In theory it should all work well and could still if those pieces fall into place after a disjointed start to the season. Even then though, Ferdinand would need to cut out the individual errors.Steven CaulkerAt 22, Caulker has great attributes and is very advanced for his age in terms of ability and experience. But much of that experience was in a troubled Cardiff side and once again he finds himself in a struggling team.His performances have been a bit hit-and-miss – he can be sloppy on the ball at times – but he can still turn out to be a fantastic signing. Looks more comfortable in a two-man central defence rather than than as a right-sided defender, whereas several of his team-mates are much more suited to the 3-5-2 system favoured by boss Harry Redknapp.Mauricio IslaMany good judges warn against signing a player on the basis of a good World Cup. Isla certainly showed he has ability with some cracking performances for his country in Brazil, but the Chilean’s domestic form before his move from Juventus was less impressive.It’s all too easy to write a talented player off as being unable to defend – we do it in England all the time – but Isla is an example of someone who really can’t defend. Redknapp points out that he’s not really a right-back, the implication being that Isla would have less defending to do as a wing-back. That’s not necessarily true. In some ways the defensive demands on a Premier League wing-back are even greater as they have more ground to cover and can often be outnumbered and isolated, as Isla was at Tottenham. He has real quality but the early signs are not good.Jordon MutchA decent midfelder with a good range of passing and a knack of finding space in the box, Mutch can be somewhat one-paced and has shown this in his first games for QPR. Will need to step things up, particularly if other midfielders stay fit, or he could find himself out of the side.Showed at Cardiff that he is capable of getting goals and he should get chances to score at Rangers, who are heavily reliant on attacking midfielders finding the net ahead of the transfer window reopening in January.SandroA knee problem and an early head injury at Southampton mean he hasn’t got going yet. His personality should bring some character to the side – which QPR desperately lack.Much loved by fans and team-mates at Tottenham, where his no-nonsense performances caught the eye, particularly before he picked up a knee injury while playing against the R’s.Knee troubles seemed to hamper him at Spurs though, and Rangers will need him to stay fit. In fact they need him to have a major impact after the approaching international break.Leroy FerWas inconsistent while at Norwich and as well as showing his top-class quality in QPR’s win against Sunderland he has been well below par in other games.Having pointed to the player’s apparent lack of fitness, Redknapp has more recently been lavish in his praise of Fer and predicted the Dutchman will make a huge impact at Loftus Road.He did say similar things, with some justification, about Samba Diakite after first assessing his squad following his arrival at Rangers, so these things don’t always work out. Fer is much more proven though and can play in the number 10 role or deeper, which could make him a great asset.Niko KranjcarMuch slimmer and sharper since last season, Kranjcar has made a good start to his second loan spell, equalising with a late free-kick against Stoke and almost doing so again at Southampton.Rangers still need to be much quicker to change direction in midfield when they lose possession – this was particularly the case on Saturday, when Kranjcar worked hard to get forward to support Charlie Austin but the team were then too easily cut open through the middle after Southampton retrieved the ball.Even so, Kranjcar’s fitness and form have been a definite plus for Rangers and suggest there could still be more to come.Eduardo VargasA huge factor in QPR’s dismal early-season showings has been the total lack of defending from the front – Tottenham and Manchester United were able to move the ball into midfield with jaw-dropping ease. In that respect alone, the busy Vargas could turn out to be worth his weight in gold.To have any chance this season, Rangers simply must reposition as soon as moves break down and press opposing full-backs in particular. Vargas does this, whereas other Rangers players seem incapable or unwilling. He also has pace and ability going forward and Redknapp hopes he will also chip in with a few goals.See also:Saints v QPR player ratingsQPR boss dismisses Taarabt exit rumoursQPR assess duo ahead of West Ham gameMidfield woes have affected Rio – RedknappRedknapp: No regrets over Simpson movePoll: Is it time for Redknapp to go?Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Sixteen years: in that time South Africa will be a very different country if the goals of Vision 2030, as set out in the National Development Plan, are met. (Image: Cape Town World Design Capital) • South Africa could be swimming in opportunity• Join the 2014 South Africa Competitiveness Forum• South African economy improving• Active citizens build South Africa’s brand • Buy local to build South Africa’s economyRay MaotaSouth Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), the road map to reach its Vision 2030 – will largely depend on the country’s competitiveness on an international scale. We examine how the two will intertwine to make South Africa a better country.Brand South Africa hosts the second annual South African Competitiveness Forum on 4 and 5 November with the expected outcome of being equipped to design communications, marketing, thought leadership platforms, and a range of other activities to create a truly competitive positioning for the country in international markets and domestically.The organisation explains that the forum is a strategic platform through which to consult and work with the government, business and civil society. The objective is to identify the competitive and reputational strengths and challenges faced by the nation brand.Through shared insights, Brand South Africa believes, actions can be decided on that may, if taken incrementally and systematically over time, contribute directly and substantially to improving the competitiveness and reputation of the country. Competitiveness and the NDPSixteen years: in that time South Africa will be a very different country if the goals of Vision 2030, as set out in the NDP, are met. The aim, among others, is to eliminate poverty and create 11 million jobs by 2030. “By 2030, we must be able to declare that no South African lives below a poverty line and we can fix that line,” Trevor Manuel, at the time the minister in the presidency for the National Planning Commission, wrote in the introduction to the NDP.Drafted by Manuel and 26 other commissioners, the ultimate goal of the plan is to reduce inequality by 2030, and it gives guidance on getting to this end point. It states: “South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.” The NDP identifies blockages and proposes direction, targets and timelines for developmental programmes and projects.Brand South Africa stresses another of its goals: to position South Africa as a key destination for foreign direct investment. “Research shows that as development levels increase, employment and vulnerability tends to spread more evenly across all sectors. South Africa’s increased competitiveness and improved reputation, domestically and internationally, will be critical to the success of the National Development Plan,” it says. South Africa and global competitivenessSouth Africa was ranked 54th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, a decline from 53rd in 2013 and 52nd in 2012. Another report, the IMD Global Competitiveness Yearbook 2014, ranks South Africa 52nd for this year, based on major improvements in infrastructure.The results of the National Infrastructure Plan, which is related to the NDP, namely the roll-out of infrastructure, can be seen in the improvement in the country’s ranking in infrastructure in the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance this year, states Brand South Africa. It moved from 66 to 60 out of 148 countries, and from seven to three out of 52 countries, respectively. This means that the national investment in infrastructure is paying off in terms of competitiveness measures. What South Africa is doing rightAccording to the WEF report, South Africa is doing well in the following: quality of its institutions ranking 41st in the category, including intellectual property protection at 18th, property rights at 20th, and in the efficiency of the legal framework in challenging and settling disputes, which were ranked 13th and 12th, respectively. The high accountability of its private institutions was ranked second, further supporting the institutional framework. Furthermore, South Africa’s financial market development remains impressive, at a consistent third place.South Africa was ranked at 28th for efficient market for goods and services. Business sophistication and innovation, benefiting from good scientific research institutions, and strong collaboration between universities and the business sector in innovation, were also identified as points supporting competitiveness.But the country remains an economy of extremes. “This is illustrated in the breakdown of the components of the competitiveness ranking. South Africa ranks near the top of the global ratings in a number of factors. These mostly relate to the development of the financial sector and financial markets,” says Brand South Africa. What South Africa should improveAccording to recent global reports, South Africa’s strong ties to advanced economies, notably European markets, make it more vulnerable to their economic slowdown and may have contributed to the deterioration of its fiscal indicators.In the Global Competitiveness Report, performance in the macroeconomic environment dropped sharply from 69th to 95th. South Africa received low scores for the diversion of public funds, at 99th, and for the perceived wastefulness of government spending, at 79th. A more general lack of public trust in politicians, ranked at 98th, remained worrisome, and security continued to be a major area of concern for doing business, with the country coming in at 109th.Other challenges include: building a skilled labour force and creating sufficient employment; the health of the workforce was ranked 133rd out of 148 economies – the result of high rates of communicable diseases and poor health indicators more generally. The quality of the educational system in South Africa was considered to be very poor, ranking at 146th, with low primary and tertiary enrolment rates. It is with this in mind that Brand South Africa plans an education and skills workshop at the South African Competitiveness Forum. It will interrogate the reputational and competitiveness issues related to the nation’s performance in this sector.Labour market efficiency is also poor, and was ranked at 116th; hiring and firing practices were seen to be extremely rigid and were ranked at 147th; companies not being able set wages flexibly got the nation a ranking at 144th; and significant tensions in labour-employer relations resulted in a ranking in the category at 148th.With these figures in mind, Brand South Africa believes that raising educational standards and making the labour market more efficient will be critical in view of South Africa’s high unemployment rate. At present, this is more than 20%; the rate of youth unemployment is even higher, estimated at close to 50%.Brand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum in Johannesburg on 4 and 5 November 2014 under the theme “Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”. Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage. Click here to find out more. Follow the conversation on Twitter via #CompetitiveSA.
As noted in an item posted earlier this week, energy efficiency upgrades can be some of the toughest sells in home remodeling. Fortunately, that concern is not lost on the Department of Energy, Vice President Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force, or a White House brainstorming group called the Council on Environmental Quality, which last fall collaboratively rolled out the Recovery Through Retrofit Report, a series of strategies for making the benefits of retrofits easy for consumers to understand and justify financially, and a basic road map for training workers to uniform standards for both energy efficiency audits and upgrades.Those strategies started to take shape in the real world this week with the launch of two DOE initiatives. One is the Home Energy Score (HES) pilot program, which is intended to provide consumers with straightforward information about their home energy efficiency, including a score from 1 to 10, with10 indicating net-zero-energy performance; potential savings on energy costs after an upgrade; and a customized list of upgrade recommendations.The DOE also released the Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades, a comprehensive set of voluntary guidelines for residential energy efficiency specialists designed to help them deliver high-quality work and to help expand worker certification and training programs nationwide.Awaiting public comment, and field-testing HESWorkforce Guidelines covers technical standards and codes, job-task analyses for various energy efficiency improvements, and the minimum skills workers would need to perform high-quality work. The guidelines will be available for public comment through January 7. (Click here for access to a PDF of the Workforce Guidelines and a link to the public comment page.)HES, meanwhile, will be rolled out as a pilot program in several locations across the country, with local governments, utilities, and nonprofit partners tracking how homeowners respond to the service – in particular, whether they invest in energy efficiency retrofits. The pilot testing is expected to conclude in the late spring 2011.One of the nonprofit partners in the pilot program, green home certifier Earth Advantage Institute, based in Portland, Oregon, says it will be comparing the results of the HES tool with those of the institute’s own Energy Performance Score, a performance rating system that, EVI notes, is now in use on a voluntary basis for new homes in Oregon and existing homes in a 5,000-home pilot program in Seattle, and in a 1,200-home pilot in Bellingham, Washington. EVI adds that its HES findings will be applied to its program in Seattle.The HES pilot program will be conducted in the following states and municipalities: Charlottesville, Virginia; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Indiana; Portland, Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Eagle County, Colorado.
Cameroonian slotman Mike Nzeusseu contributed 13 markers and 15 boards, while MJ Ayaay got 12 points for Lyceum, which managed to advance despite playing its sixth game in seven days, including its stint in the PBA D-League under the banner of Zark’s Burger.“For us, it’s about ‘yung perseverance and grit,” said Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson. “This is our fourth game in four days and it really is going to take a lot to be mentally tough. We can’t find any excuse because we know the other team is also tired.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMarcelino triggered the Pirates’ 33-17 outburst to turn a close 35-30 halftime advantage into a decisive 68-47 lead early in the fourth quarter and never look back.The Pirates now await their date in the championship game between rival and NCAA champs San Beda and UAAP titlist Ateneo later in the day. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers AFP official booed out of forum MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Ryan Costelo paced San Sebastian with 15 points.The scores:LYCEUM 82 — Jc. Marcelino 24, Nzeusseu 13, Ayaay 12, Perez 11, Ibanez 10, Tansingco 7, Caduyac 2, Jv. Marcelino 2, Cinco 0, Santos 0, Serrano 0.SAN SEBASTIAN 69 — Costelo 15, Capobres 12, Bulanadi 9, David 8, Navarro 6, Calisaan 5, Ilagan 5, Cosari 4, Baytan 3, Baetiong 2, Calma 0, Dela Cruz 0, Valdez 0, Mercado 0.Quarters: 19-20, 35-30, 61-47, 82-69.ADVERTISEMENT PH kiteboarding hopes to get nat’l attention by winning YOG medal Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:00NCAA Season 93 Preview: Lyceum Pirates02:06Lyceum Pirates on being NCAA ‘dark horse’: We always want to better ourselves01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Read Next Jaycee Marcelino. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netJaycee Marcelino showed the way as Lyceum booked a spot in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals with an 82-69 victory over San Sebastian in the crossover semifinals Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The reigning NCAA Rookie of the Year finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to carry the Pirates to another win.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. View comments
Arsenal boss Emery wants to bring forward plans to BUY Ceballosby Carlos Volcano9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery wants to bring forward plans to sign Dani Ceballos.The midfielder is on-loan at Arsenal this season from Real Madrid – without the option to buy.AS says Emery has seen enough and wants to buy Ceballos in January as a priority.The manager sees the Spanish midfielder as the man to replace Mesut Ozil, who he is eager to move on.Arsenal are set to open talks with Real in the coming weeks to discuss a fee for Ceballos. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Twitter/MiaKhalifaHere’s everything that has gone viral in college sports over the past 24 hours.1. Former Oregon player Kyle Long explained why he didn’t have to watch quarterback Marcus Mariota in the NFL combine over the weekend.2. Porn star Mia Khalifa poked fun at quarterback Jameis Winston for his slow 40-yard dash time.3. Louisville announced senior guard Chris Jones was dismissed from the team.4. Penn State’s Football team dropped an incredible dance routine at THON on Saturday.5. Ohio State football players reminded Michigan of the Buckeyes’ domination on the gridiron following its basketball loss.6. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones made it clear over Twitter that he’s not impressed with the Knicks.7. Miami defensive back Antonio Crawford skipped practice and went on a Twitter rant.8. Nebraska students wore protective goggles at its basketball game to mock notorious Iowa eye poker Adam Woodbury.9. Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh was at the Ohio State-Michigan game yesterday.10. Ohio State outside linebacker Jamarco Jones was disgusted with its performance and loss to Michigan.Video of the Day: Miami’s Phillip Dorsett Ran 4.33 40-Yard-Dash At Combine. Tweet of the Day: 4-Star Ohio State Commit JaQuan Lyle Was Very Excited To See Thad Matta On His TV.Turn on the TV and see this guy..makes me excited to be apart of something special..#BuckeyeNation ⭕️ pic.twitter.com/lo7oP969qO— JaQuan Lyle (@JMamba5) February 22, 2015Girlfriend of the Day: Michigan’s Spike Albrecht, who once tweeted at Kate Upton, hasn’t lowered his standards. He’s isn’t dating Charlotte McKinney, but he clearly wishes he was.Check Out Friday’s Cheat Sheet