Rugby League Belinda Sleeman was front page news in Papua New Guinea last season (2017) when she was appointed with Chris Anderson to referee the Round 22 Intrust Super Cup game at the Oil Search National Football Stadium in Port Moresby between the PNG Hunters and Ipswich Jets. The Queensland referees high performance unit member made history in that game as the first female match official to be involved in a game of that level in front of rugby league fans in PNG. Her involvement in the women in league match was seen as a big step in helping to show women and girls in PNG who have aspirations to become referees in the future that anything is possible. In great news – this game, in turn with some fantastic work at the grassroots level – has paid dividends with a number of girls signing up to be part of the match officials pathway in PNG. Sleeman saw this growth first hand when she recently visited the country as part of the officiating squad at the Prime Minister’s XIII matches this past October. The Australian-based match officials attended a beyond the goal posts clinic, which is part of a program run by NRL development staff on the ground in PNG. The referee education program is aimed at girls and boys in upper primary and high school and will provide participants (junior referee) with NRL level 1 accreditation to officiate in PNGRFL mini mod competition. The course is made up of 10 units and upon completion, participants will receive accreditation equivalent to Australian NRL level 1 accreditation. While attending the clinic, Sleeman encouraged the girls to remain committed to their training, stating that as challenging as officiating may be, it was a rewarding pursuit as it helps build character and allows those who do it to learn a lot about themselves. She also helped educated the students on the laws of the game and led participants through signal and whistle techniques before taking part in a Q and A session. After the clinic, the young referees were each given a jersey and were excited to continue working hard to become accredited match officials.
WASHINGTON | Seeking a successful health care sign-up period despite troubling new challenges to his namesake law, President Barack Obama wants to make sure people start enrolling on Nov. 1. That’s when the window opens for choosing 2017 health plans under the Affordable Care Act.Obama planned to make that pitch during an appearance Thursday at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida, and urge young adults to sign up. Obama also planned to tout improvements to the U.S. health care system under the 5-year-old law. But he’ll be attempting a difficult sales job.FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington. Seeking a successful health-care sign-up period despite troubling new challenges to his namesake law, Obama wants to make sure people start enrolling on Nov. 1. Obama planned to make that pitch during an appearance Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, at Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)Premiums are rising by double digits in many parts of the country and some major insurers have pulled out of the program, leaving consumers with fewer choices next year.Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said this week that she expected 13.8 million people will sign up for 2017 coverage, a modest increase over the 12.7 million consumers who picked health insurance plans during open enrollment for this year.White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama has laid out ideas for “tweaks” he thinks would improve the law, including allowing for a public option to increase competition. Under the public option scenario, the government would create and run a health insurance agency to compete with other private health insurance companies in the U.S.But any changes would have to await the new Congress that gets seated in January, Earnest said. “The current Congress is one that’s dominated by Republicans who have voted more than 50 times to repeal the law, but have not once in the last six years actually put forward their own alternative proposal,” he said.The administration says taxpayer-provided subsidies that were designed to increase alongside premiums will soften most of the blow to people’s wallets from higher premiums. About 85 percent of customers get this kind of financial help. For policyholders who lost their insurers, the government will automatically match them to another carrier’s plan.Still, millions of people buy individual policies outside of the health care law’s marketplaces and many of them will be hit with the full premium increases. Congressional budget analysts estimate there are about 9 million people nationwide with individual policies purchased outside the health care law. The administration estimates that about 5 million are eligible to buy coverage under the law, and half of those — about 2.5 million people — have incomes that would qualify them for subsidies if they checked.The three-month enrollment season that begins Nov. 1 is the final one for Obama, who wants to help it be a success.One issue with the law is that insurers say most of those who signed up for coverage turned out to be sicker than expected, which is costing companies money. Young adults, who generally are healthier, make up a disproportionate share of the people who are still uninsured. The administration says it will work aggressively to encourage more of them to sign up for coverage to help stabilize the program.That’s where Obama comes in. Officials are counting on a strong sign-up season to validate the president’s signature domestic program, and for a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election to shut down the Republican campaign for the law’s repeal. Clinton has outlined steps she’d take to build enrollment and sweeten subsidies for consumers.Republican Donald Trump says the law is a “disaster” and would replace it.Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said the law is “driving up costs, driving down quality, and driving out choice and competition.” He said Obama owes the American the people the facts, “not more rosy rhetoric about how the law is supposedly working.”Obama pushed the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010 to help millions of people who were without health care coverage. Most Americans get health insurance through their employers.Under the law, more than 21 million previously uninsured people are now covered. Consumers are also covered by new protections in the law, including allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans through age 26 and not having to pay for preventive care.After discussing health care, Obama is turning his attention to politics. He plans to speak at a Clinton campaign rally at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. He’s also scheduled to address a Democratic governors fundraising dinner that is closed to the news media.Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/dsuperville
3 3 Henrikh Mkhitaryan: The Armenian international celebrates after opening the scoring 3 After Tottenham’s better start, Mkhitaryan nearly added to Thursday’s Europa League strike at the other end, but his goal-bound shot was vitally blocked by Jan Vertonghen.The Armenia international was on the score sheet six minutes later, putting the hosts ahead on 29 minutes with a powerful strike high into the goal past Lloris.Heung-min Son tested David De Gea before the break with a fizzing 25-yard shot, the Spanish goalkeeper tipping over his bar.Manchester United were quickest out of the blocks in the second half, but the best chance fell to Spurs’ summer signing Victor Wanyama. Eriksen’s left-wing cross was floated in and the Kenyan midfielder was unmarked, but his free header was somehow sent wide of the target.Pogba came close shortly after the hour mark when he was fouled by Mousa Dembele 25 yards from goal. The confident midfielder stepped up to take the resulting set piece, curling a fine free-kick against the woodwork.He had another great chance minutes later when a United counter attack saw Mkhitaryan cross to Pogba, who volleyed into the ground and Lloris made another fine save to keep his side in the contest.The visitors looked to exploit the Red Devils’ weak link in Matteo Darmian, playing left-back. Pochettino identified this by asking Kyle Walker to stay deep, allowing the Spurs attack to isolate the Italian defender and that is something substitute Moussa Sissoko was doing time and time again.Mourinho saw the pattern of play and ordered under-fire Marouane Fellaini to warm up – and the Belgian was given a frosty reception from the Old Trafford crowd.More worryingly, star man Mkhitaryan broke into the Spurs half in the closing stages of the game and a challenge by Rose saw the former Borussia Dortmund attacker land awkwardly, requiring a stretcher to leave the field.After a tense final few minutes with Tottenham camped in United’s half, Mourinho’s men hung on for a vital three points. Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened his Premier League account as Manchester United beat Tottenham 1-0 – LIVE on talkSPORT.Jose Mourinho’s side ended a winless run at Old Trafford that stretches back to September 24 – and the Armenian was the star man. He added to his Europa League strike v Zorya Luhansk in midweek with a fine finish shortly before the half hour, justifying his selection after a difficult few months since joining from Borussia Dortmund.Paul Pogba twice went close in the second half, first hitting the crossbar with a well-taken free-kick before seeing compatriot Hugo Lloris save his close-range effort. More worrying scenes for United fans will be the sight of Mkhitaryan being stretchered off the field in the closing stages of the game, after a challenge from Danny Rose.But Mourinho will be pleased his side could see out the victory over a rival team in terms of the league, after arriving back from their midweek clash in Ukraine in the early hours of Friday morning.This was a thoroughly entertaining encounter, ebbing and flowing from the outset as both defended resolutely, pressed smartly and eked out the odd opportunity. World-record purchase Pogba nearly opened the scoring inside 90 seconds with the first clear-cut chance, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic squared the ball across the box and the Frenchman’s controlled effort was well saved by Lloris.The hosts were conceding cheap free-kicks in their own half around the 15-minute mark and they were nearly punished by Christian Eriksen. The Dane’s resulting set piece was low and powerful and David De Gea had to dive across his goal to get a strong hand to the ball.