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Japan Volleyball League Organization sets target of new ‘Super League’ for 2018

first_img Japan Volleyball League Organization chief Kenji Shimaoka (left) and vice president Naoji Sato attend a news conference on Tuesday. | KYODO Japan Volleyball League Organization, Kenji Shimaoka GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 The Japan Volleyball League Organization announced Tuesday its plan to set up a new “Super League” aimed at professionalizing the sport starting in the fall of 2018.The group, which organizes the top-division V. Premier League and the second-tier Challenge League, said it will solicit teams that want to play in the new league through the end of November and will go ahead with the plan if six or more squads express their intention to take part.center_img RELATED PHOTOS If there are less than six that raise their hand, the organization will forego the scheme. The current Premier and Challenge leagues, largely made up of corporate teams, will remain intact regardless of what happens with the plan.“We’d like to break away from the format of mainly corporate teams playing like as if they are engaged in club activities and create something different that involves local communities,” Kenji Shimaoka, head of the organization, told a news conference in Tokyo.To join the new league, the team’s parent organization needs to be an independent corporation for volleyball. The volleyball league organization is aiming to have players be employed as professionals, but no regulations are set for the present time.Matches will be held on a home-and-away basis, with home teams organizing the events and earning income from admission fees. Those participating in the new league would be asked to use the name of the host local government in their team names and have the option of adding corporate names as well.Japan used to have dominant national men’s and women’s volleyball teams that won the gold medal at the Olympic Games and world championships decades ago, but the best finish since the launch of the current league in 1994 was bronze for the women’s team at both the 2010 worlds and 2012 London Olympics.The women’s squad finished fifth at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last month, while the men’s team missed the Summer Games for the second time in a row.“League play is partially responsible for our national team not being able to keep up with the world,” Shimaoka said. “We want to make a drastic change of direction, and would love teams that empathize with our cause and aspiration to join.” KEYWORDSlast_img read more

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Plavotic Nets For Cheltenham

first_imgThe Austrian-born defender opened the scoring in their 2-0 win over Yeovil Town at Whaddon Road.Plavotic joined the Robins on loan on transfer deadline day and has made two appearances to date.The 19-year-old is contracted to City until 2019, having put pen to a paper on a contract after a lengthy trial.last_img

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PNG under 18 soccer team lost in penalty shoot out

first_imgBY  KEVIN TEME Despite all odds, the Papua New Guinea Men’s under 18 soccer team held off Estonia FC from UEFA before going down in a heart breaking 5-4 penalty shoot out during their second match at the Oceania Confederation Youth Development tournament in Vanuatu. Assistant coach Erickson Komeng said the PNG boys stuck to the game plan and held off their European opponent to extra time when Estonia scored to level the score at 1-all on full time. “ Our only goal came from Solomon Rani and we held Estonia off in most of the playing time but didn’t managed that until the last dying minutes in the extra time that they scored to draw the match at ordinary time,” Komeng said. Komeng said Estonia, is a football team from UEFA from Europe but they gave them a good run before losing 5-4 in the penalty shoot out. “I think they underestimated us. Our boys followed the game plan well despite the high pressure and discipline. Our goal scored by Rani is from high pressure and Estonia’s goal keeper made a silly mistake that we scored. Our game plan again was spot on,” a proud Komeng said. Komeng said by looking at this game, Estonia underestimated his boys and PNG shot the opening goal through Solomon Rani to lead 1-0. However Estonia equalized just on full time and went into penalty shoot out were PNG goalie Adrian Redenut did his best to but fell shot going down 5-4. Meanwhile the PNG U18 boys face off with host country, Vanuatu this Saturday at 2pm. Komeng in responding to various questions said: “We won’t change anything because we have been training and we expecting the boys to do same thing.” “We might change or rotate some players because we have some injuries in the team but we will see how we can go on from here on,” Komeng said. Some of the boys that stood out for PNG are Jason Wadunah, Joshua Urro, Joseph Ealedona, Solomon Rani, Butler Hosea and Moses Joe.last_img read more

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Corbin: Xavier Turner will not practice in fall

first_imgSuspended Vanderbilt baseball player Xavier Turner remains on the roster, but coach Tim Corbin said he will not practice this fall.Corbin said Turner remains under NCAA suspension – which began during the Commodores’ national title run in the College World Series in June – and there is no timetable for an update to his status.Turner, a junior third baseman, remains enrolled at Vanderbilt and on the team roster. Since the NCAA suspension refers to regular-season games, Turner is eligible to practice when the team begins fall ball on Monday. However, Corbin said he has decided to keep him inactive.“He is not with us right now. Academically, he is staying in school and moving forward in that way,” Corbin said. “I have given him opportunities to transfer, but he does not want to transfer. He wants to stay in school (at Vanderbilt). He is on the roster, but I have not made him active.”RELATED: Vanderbilt 2015 baseball schedule releasedRELATED: Vandy’s Top 10 College World Series playsTurner hit .284 in 64 games for Vanderbilt last season before the NCAA declared him ineligible during the College World Series. He will likely be drafted in 2015.Corbin said it is his choice that Turner is not taking part in team activities in the fall.“We could do whatever we want with him. He could be practicing and active, but I have him doing everything but baseball,” Corbin said. “He does weights on his own. He is with an (athletic) academic advisor, and I have him synced up in a lot of things. So I am an active participant in his growth, but not in his swing. He is still out, and we’ll just wait for an update from the NCAA.”Reach Adam Sparks at 615-259-8010 and on Twitter @AdamSparks. Vanderbilt players celebrate a 3-2 win over Virginia at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 25, 2014.last_img read more

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Blues confirm signing of midfielder Matic

first_imgChelsea have confirmed the signing of Nemanja Matic from Benfica.The midfielder has agreed a five-and-a-half-year contract and returns to the club for a fee of around £21m.Serbian Matic, 25, left as part of the deal that took David Luiz to Stamford Bridge from Benfica in January 2011.AdChoices广告“I am very happy for this opportunity to be back at this club,” he said.“I feel very good because of that and just want to say I will give my best to help the team and make the Chelsea fans happy.”Manager Jose Mourinho said: “I am very pleased that Nemanja is returning to Chelsea. “He has grown as a player in Portugal and has become a fantastic all-round midfielder. “I am sure he will become a very important member of the squad and help us to achieve our ambitions.”Matic will wear Chelsea’s number 21 shirt. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook See also:Benitez considers move to sign Essienlast_img read more

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Start of Indian Premier League Twenty20 postponed to April 15

first_imgMUMBAI,  (Reuters) – The start of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament has been postponed until April 15 as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said today. It had been scheduled to begin on March 29.The Indian government said late on Wednesday it would cancel almost all visas issued for travel to India until April 15 to try to prevent the spread of the virus, and the country’s sports secretary said on Thursday the national cricket team’s coming matches should be played in empty stadiums.“The Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation,” the board said in a statement. “The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience.”More than 134,500 people have been infected globally and more than 4,900 have died because of the flu-like virus, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements. Sport events have been either cancelled or postponed globally in recent weeks.India’s national cricket team is locked in a three-match one-day international series against South Africa, the first of which was washed out due to rain in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala on Thursday. The BCCI said the remaining two matches – at Lucknow and Kolkata – would be played without the presence of crowd.The 13th season of the eight-team IPL had been scheduled to start with a match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.The cash-rich IPL, featuring celebrity owners and top business houses, draws the world’s top cricketers. As per the previous schedule, the franchise-based competition was set to run for seven weeks with the final on May 17. The IPL’s brand value has soared over the years since its 2008 launch and grew to an estimated $6.8 billion in 2019, according to New York-based corporate finance advisory firm Duff & Phelps.last_img read more

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Villarreal CF announces plans to expand further into esports

first_imgVillarreal CF entered esports in October 2016 by the means of FIFA, but now the sports club is planning on digging its heels a little further into the industry.On July 26th, the Spanish club announced its intentions to “expand and reinforce its image” within esports by working with Esportia, a company that specialises in marketing and management within the esports industry.While details for this planned expansion are slim, Villarreal CF did reveal that it’s looking to expand into popular esports titles such as the likes of League of Legends, Clash Royale (which has its own league on the way), and Rocket League. The club also plans to remain competing in the FIFA space.Villarreal CF’s entry into the industry came when it formed the Virtual Football Organisation (VFO) with several other La Liga teams, including Sevilla Fútbol Club, Real Aviles C.F., Real Sociedad, Real Zaragoza, and Real Sporting de Gijón. This competition was rather different as it was played with 22 players competing across two teams – each controlling a single player in the game – instead of being a one-versus-one with each competitor controlling an entire team.Villarreal CF wouldn’t be the first sports club to enter a top tier title such as League of Legends – clubs such as FC Schalke 04, Paris Saint-Germain, Beşiktaş J.K., Santos FC, and Saski Baskonia all either compete, or have competed, in that particular title.Esports Insider says: Villarreal further committing to the industry proves that it thinks there’s potential in esports, so this is a positive sign. Perhaps the biggest question at this time is if the club’s looking to become a part of the soon-to-be-franchised EU LCS or not.Sign up to our newsletter!last_img read more

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100 Thieves expands Totino’s sponsorship to cover Fortnite

first_imgNorth American organisation 100 Thieves has expanded its sponsorship deal with frozen pizza brand Totino’s to cover its Fortnite team.The sponsorship includes a living and training facility named the ‘Totino’s World Cup House’ and a 10-week content series, ‘Loot’.Logo credits: 100 Thieves & Totino’sThe Totino’s World Cup House will act as the home of three Fortnite players that represent the organisation, with the aforementioned content series focusing on how the Battle Royale title has changed their lives. This move coincides with the lead up to Epic Games’ Fortnite World Cup, which will boast a $30 million (£23 million) prize pool.Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Founder and CEO of 100 Thieves commented in a release: “Totino’s has been an incredible partner for our Call of Duty team and [02100] docuseries, so we couldn’t be happier that the company is now a presenting sponsor of our Fortnite team as well. The Atlanta house will allow our professional players to practice the same way they’ll compete, and the Loot series will give our fans a closer look at their journeys to success. We’re stoked – we can’t wait for what’s next for our Fortnite team.”100 Thieves welcomed Totino’s as the founding partner of its Call of Duty team and launched a docuseries focusing on the squad called [02100] in February. The frozen pizza brand also sponsors the Pittsburgh Knights.100 Thieves is also partnered with Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, Red Bull, Razer, StockX, and Cleveland Cavaliers.Esports Insider says: Totino’s appears to be happy with the response to its sponsorship of 100 Thieves’ Call of Duty team, which is always a nice sign. The Fortnite World Cup will distribute an eye-watering amount of money so documenting the process of attempting to qualify for – and win – the event could make for some compelling content.Subscribe to ESI on YouTubelast_img read more

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Jurgen Klopp replaces Rodgers as Liverpool manager

first_img Upd. at 15:52 08/10/2015 Klopp has agreed a three-year deal and will be looking at well over €5million a season.  Jurgen Klopp is Liverpool’s new manager. CEST The former Borussia Dortmund boss left the German side at the end of last season and after Brendan Rodgers was sacked, has taken the chance to move to Merseyside.  Sport EN He is likely to bring assistants Zelkjo Buvac and Peter Krawietz to Liverpool, with Rodgers’ coaches Sean O’Driscoll and Gary McAllister sacked on Thursday. Klopp, 47, will have some time to explore the facilities and get to know the club during the international break, with Liverpool’s next match a trip to Tottenham on October 17.last_img read more

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School fields three for energy comp

first_imgBy ANEEKA SIMONIS EMERALD Primary School students will take part in the annual Human Powered Vehicle challenge with the help…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

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Cregmore/Claregalway U16’s Out To Make History

first_imghttps://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/sports.podcast/DERMOTT+COLL+OTL+FRIDAY.mp3print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email Cregmore/Claregalway will hope to make it an historic three from three in WFAI National Cups Finals when their U16 team take on Shelbourne in the Semi-Final at the AUL complex on Sunday at 2pm. Already, their U14 and 18 sides have reached national finals on the 26th of March so the hope is that history will be made as no side has ever had three age groups in WFAI Finals in the same year. Dermot Coll is the team manager and he spoke to John Mulliganlast_img read more

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NBA: MVP, other prizes to be unveiled on new awards show

first_imgStyle finalists include wardrobe looks and fashion statements for Westbrook, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade and Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert.Dunk of the Year candidates include slams through the hoop by Minnesota’s Zach LaVine, Oklahoma City’s Victor Oladipo and Larry Nance Jnr of the Los Angeles Lakers.Block of the Year candidates are shots stuffed by Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.Assist of the Year hopefuls are passes by Golden State’s Draymond Green to Stephen Curry and then along to Kevin Durant, a no-look effort from Denver’s Nikola Jokic and a wraparound toss from Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.Game Winner of the Year includes crucial baskets by Westbrook versus Denver, Phoenix’s Tyler Ulis against Boston and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving against Golden State.ADVERTISEMENT Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Ex-Bulacan town vice mayor, village chief shot dead Palace: Crisis over ABC-CBN franchise unlikely Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ MOST READ LATEST STORIES Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer Wildlife rescuers asked to turn over animals to DENR Finalists were named for the new fan-voting awards, which include Best Style, Dunk of the Year, Block of the Year, Assist of the Year, Game Winner of the Year and Top Performance of the Year.Voting on social media can be done via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the NBA’s website.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnThe show will unite the announcements of such awards as the NBA Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, Sportsmanship Award, Teammate of the Year plus announcement of the NBA All-Rookie and All-Defensive team rosters.Performance of the Year finalists include Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook with the most points of any triple double in NBA history with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists against Orlando, Houston’s James Harden with a 53-point, 16-rebound, 17-assist triple double against New York, Golden State’s Klay Thompson scoring 60 points in three quarters against Indiana and Devin Booker netting 70 points for Phoenix against Boston. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Veteran guards out to make repeat bid tougher for Ahanmisi Presidency bid needs ‘deep reflection’ – Sara Duterte Taal Volcano evacuees warned against going home A detail view of the game clock prior to Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz at Staples Center at Staples Center on April 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images/AFPNEW YORK — NBA individual award trophies for the 2016-17 season, including those in six new fan-voted categories, will be unveiled together in the inaugural NBA Awards show June 26 in New York.The league announced Thursday that traditional season-end awards will be presented at the gala, to be hosted by singer-entertainer Drake, as well as new awards in which voting has already started.ADVERTISEMENT Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Bulacan town gears up for biggest cookie jar View commentslast_img read more

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The APNU/AFC regime is antidemocratic

first_imgDear Editor,In an earlier article, we had posited that the nature of the present APNU/AFC regime is one of bureaucratic capitalist elite. It was noted that such a regime uses the state apparatus to enrich itself. This is a throwback to the PNC days in power from 1964 to 1992.During this period, the PNC practised similar methods. Super salaries and allowances, coupled with huge corruption scandals like Global Agri, Greenland Crop and others were the order of the day. Eventually, their greed became so great that under the guise of building socialism, the regime “nationalised” 80 per cent of the country’s economy.They did that to further enrich themselves and to control the livelihood of the vast majority of people in the country. This allowed them to lord it over the people. One had to join the PNC to get a job and when the economy deteriorated, they had to join the PNC for basic items, including toilet paper.They even practiced forced labour at Hope Estate. They forced public servants and employees of public corporations to give free labour on weekends.The PNC regime used those same workers and the army to break strikes, which they branded as political.Such a regime, by nature, suppresses criticism. They do not like transparency and accountability. Those methods of management go against their intentions. They want to run the state as if it was their private property, not caring about the welfare of the people.In a word, by its nature, such a regime is considered to be anti-democratic.Of course, defenders of this regime would argue that that was a long time ago and much has changed. Some would even say that it is impossible for them to return to such practices. It is true that a lot has changed. What has not changed is the nature of the regime. That is the constant.It means that they would continue their practice in these new conditions. They work systematically to undermine the democratic gains we have made since 1992 and eventually will take us back to a dictatorship – a la PNC.It is apposite to recall that the PNC took from 1964 to 1973 to complete their strangle on power and to really earn the title as a dictatorship. This shows that the establishment of a dictatorship by the bureaucratic clan is a process.An examination of this PNC-led APNU/AFC regime would show that the contours of such a regime are already distinguishable. This trend is bound to continue.Already, we see that the Parliament is being undermined. Many complaints are being made by the Opposition on how the Speaker is conducting the business of the Assembly. He is not using his authority to facilitate deliberation and debates. Instead his conduct puts him as a partisan operator mainly concerned with defending and protecting government MPs.Already questions begging to be answered are piling up in the National Assembly.Since the regime took power we have noticed the trend – settling of cases, including tax cases. These settlements have cost the economy billions of dollars. The BK International case is one such disturbing matter. This matter did not even reach the court, but settlement of more than a billion dollars was done.In all of these cases, one is hard pressed not to believe that some persons may be getting kickbacks.This is after they have given themselves huge increases in salaries and allowances. This is after they have given their friends super salaries in many public entities. They have also overloaded the system with advisors.The drug bond fiasco is the latest case to show that they are setting up companies to do business with the Government. Minister Norton, in the case of the bond fiasco, is just the fall guy. This stench goes high up in the administration.Many established contractors are already complaining that they are not getting jobs, they have become sub-contractors to persons who were given projects but have no equipment.Already, we have seen the disregard for the tender process and the use of sole sourcing. This is the beginning of the undermining of transparency and accountability.The most worrying factor of this Granger regime is the process of militarisation of the State. Some glimpses of these actions are of great concern.The taking over of the Walter Roth Museum to house the growing bureaucracy is a case in point. Reports have it that army personnel just turned up and told the staff that they will have to move, to start packing.This is an ominous sign of things to come. While we may have some dismissals, as we have seen at GWI, this situation will not get better, it will further deteriorate. This is because of the nature of the regime.The democratic forces in our society must come out and oppose this trend, tomorrow may be too late.Sincerely,Donald Ramotar,Former Presidentlast_img read more

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Spector judge likely to admit victim’s tales

first_img“We do a psychological autopsy only at the request of the family when it’s ruled a suicide,” he said. The actress died of a gunshot fired inside her mouth in the foyer of Spector’s mansion on Feb. 3, 2003, after going home with him from her job as a nightclub hostess. Spector’s defense contends Clarkson killed herself. Asked why he did not consider materials from the computer, Pena said, “It was not provided to me.” Testimony was interrupted when Plourd tried to question Pena about whether his opinion would have changed if he considered the computer material. Fidler dismissed jurors and ordered a full-scale hearing. The judge in Phil Spector’s murder trial said Thursday that he will likely allow the defense to introduce gunshot victim Lana Clarkson’s writings about having visions of a dead actress who killed herself with a gun. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler gave the indication after intense arguments in which defense attorney Christopher Plourd said the writings found on her computer hard drive also include discussions of her fascination with guns, depression over her failing acting career and struggles with alcohol and drugs. Prosecutors acknowledged they knew about the material but considered it untrustworthy and did not bring it to the attention of the coroner who concluded that Clarkson was a homicide victim and did not commit suicide. Before jurors were sent out of court for a hearing, Deputy Medical Examiner Louis Pena testified he did not consider doing a “psychological autopsy” on Clarkson because he concluded her death was a homicide. He said information he obtained about Clarkson convinced him she was a hopeful person with no tendency toward suicide. Plourd then disclosed some contents of the hard drive including entries in what Clarkson called “The Story of My Life.” “She talks about drug problems, trying to get off medications,” he said. “She has delusions. She’s seeing people who are deceased and talks about them.” Plourd also said Clarkson “talks about seeing a dead actress who comes to her in visions, a struggling actress who didn’t make it and killed herself with a gun.” The actress’s name was not given in court. Plourd said the defense investigated the story, found that this was a real actress who committed suicide and found the place where she lived, which is where Clarkson claimed to have had the visions. He said Clarkson, who stopped making entries a year before she died, also spoke of going to a metaphysical therapist “to rearrange her subconscious.” As part of the therapy, he said, “You look into a candle and meditate. She sees a vision of a cowboy, a vision of George Bush comes to her.” Plourd said a district attorney’s investigator read the diary and concluded that it didn’t contain anything relevant. Prosecutors gave it to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office as part of a bundle of 500-600 pages of information and said they could look at it if they wanted to do a psychological autopsy, he said. Plourd argued that Pena should be questioned on whether his homicide ruling would have changed had he read Clarkson’s writings. “If you consider this information, it weakens and shakes his opinion,” Plourd said to Fidler. The judge said he would read the entire manuscript over the weekend and make a ruling. But before court ended for the week, he said he had read some of it and was inclined to admit it in evidence. Prosecutor Alan Jackson argued that the writings in the computer were not authenticated, could not be relied upon and were probably creative efforts that Clarkson made for a writing class she was taking. The judge, who at one point referred to the writings as a “memoir,” appeared to disagree. “I think you are arguing way too much,” Fidler said to Jackson. “If you have the words of a deceased … how do you keep that away from the jury and away from an expert who could have considered it.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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23 nabbed in vehicle theft probe

first_imgStarbird said the thieves targeted only certain truck brands with a high resale value and almost always took vehicles parked on quiet suburban streets or in residential driveways, working exclusively under the cover of night to reduce their chances of being caught. The vehicles of choice were the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Avalanche, Yukon Denali and the 3/4-ton GMC Sierra and Silverado. Small groups of thieves would case neighborhoods looking for a truck to steal and, once they found one, would copy down the vehicle identification number, or VIN, and pass it along to their inside man, who police allege is Chris Michael Laney of Torrance. Laney, 41, worked at an undisclosed auto dealership and, according to Starbird, used his position to obtain key codes from the VIN. The key codes would then be forwarded to a locksmith, said to be Lorenzo Alexis Vides, 45, of Los Angeles, who created keys the thieves could use to get into the trucks and start them. Laney and Vides were arrested Tuesday and were being held on $2.5 million bail. After stealing a truck, thieves would park it for a few days in a “safe” area to see if a tracking device had been installed. If not, they would move it to a shop, where cosmetic changes would be made and a counterfeit VIN installed. Then the truck would be ready for sale to an unsuspecting customer. Authorities estimate the more than 200 stolen trucks are worth about $8 million. A few have been recovered, but most have not. “Unknown buyers are riding around right now in stolen trucks,” said Sheriff Lee Baca at the TRAP press conference held at sheriff’s headquarters in Monterey Park. Baca urged anyone who recently bought one of the targeted brands through a private sale to “strongly scrutinize” their purchases if they seem “too good to be true.” Starbird said most of the trucks sold for about half their listed worth and usually carried salvage titles. The group stole trucks from all over L.A. County. Investigators said they linked the ring to thefts in Altadena, Pasadena, Monrovia, West Covina, Whittier and Montebello, among other cities. The TRAP team served 25 search warrants Tuesday at homes and shops in Pasadena, North Hollywood, Gardena, Los Angeles and Fontana. In all, authorities filed 40 felony counts against the 23 people arrested. The charges include conspiracy, operating a “chop shop,” altering VINs and grand theft auto. In addition, investigators are looking at four auto dealerships thought to be linked to the thefts. Authorities would not disclose their names or locations. Detective Robert Manning of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said about 90 percent of the people arrested Tuesday are foreign nationals. Four of the men had been picked up earlier on auto theft charges and deported to Central America. gary.scott@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4458160Want 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 MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The raids are the culmination of a nine-month investigation into the inner workings of the ring, which operated as far south as Huntington Beach and as far north as Bakersfield. “We broke up the Southern California portion of the group,” said Starbird, who headed up the investigation. “Is there someone higher up in the food chain? Yes. And they may not even be in this country.” The investigation started last November with the theft of a Cadillac Escalade from Orange County. Long Beach police tracked the vehicle to their city, where they found three men trying to switch the vehicle identification number. Police contacted Starbird and the Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention, or TRAP, to follow up. What the task force found, Starbird said, was a sophisticated auto theft operation organized around five cells, each working with some degree of independence. MONTEREY PARK – Law enforcement officials said Wednesday they have broken up an international auto theft ring believed responsible for stealing more than 200 luxury SUVs and high-end pickups. A task force of 150 investigators from Los Angeles and Orange counties launched a series of raids Tuesday and took 23 people into custody, with nine men identified as “prime suspects” in the case. Three other men, brothers who had been living in Pasadena, escaped the sweep and are being sought. Long Beach police Detective Joe Starbird said he suspects the Pasadena brothers – Alex Sabillon Hernandez, Jovel Sabillon Hernandez and Hector Sabillon Hernandez – may have returned to their native Honduras. last_img read more

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Best in the nation? Look no further than the valley

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – If you’re wondering who the next baseball superstar from the area will be, look no further than Christian Lopes, a 13-year-old who’s ranked as the nation’s No. 1 player in his age group. Lopes hits 400-foot home runs, and his fastball has been clocked at 84 mph from a regulation mound. Travel Ball Select’s Player of the Year after leading his club team to two national championships this summer, Lopes probably could dominate in high school baseball, but he’s only going into eighth grade. “Baseball is my favorite sport, and it’s my dream to be up their in big leagues one day,” Lopes said. It’s a perfectly reasonable plan if you’ve seen Lopes play. He’s 5-foot-10, 165 pounds and a gifted shortstop, pitcher, catcher, hitter, etc. Even as a 10-year-old, when he carried William S. Hart to the PONY League World Series in Texas, it was obvious Lopes was in a class by himself. In 66 games this summer against elite competition from California to Arizona to Texas to Florida, Lopes hit 16 home runs with 66 RBIs as a leadoff hitter. Named MVP of three large-scale tournaments over the past two months, Lopes doesn’t let all of this go to his head. For a 13-year-old, that might be the most amazing thing of all. “The best quality about Christian is he’s got a great attitude,” Cruz said. “He’s just got everything going for him. He’s a can’t-miss if he keeps working hard.” Lopes’ parents, Jack and Anglica, have made no small sacrifice in helping to prepare their son for a life of baseball. They work overtime so they can afford to travel across the nation for extended periods to support him. “You know what? There are just so many good kids playing out there, so I don’t want to think ahead too much. Let’s just say Christian is obsessed with baseball,” Angelica said. “That’s what’s on his mind. “He eats, sleeps, whatever, that’s his dream. All we want is for him to go to high school, get a college scholarship, stay out of trouble.” Which brings us to the No. 1 question: Where is Christian planning to play in high school? His first choice is Valencia, though he lives just out of the school boundaries. At least one Foothill League coach – we won’t name names, but no one from Valencia – already has called the parents asking where Lopes is going. Oh yeah, Lopes is also a straight-A student, and just for good measure, he’s taking up football in the Santa Clarita Warriors program this fall, and you can bet Lopes, who’s blazing fast, will prove to be a dominant tailback. “Actually, I played football for one season three years ago but I didn’t really know the game,” Lopes said. “I scored five or six touchdowns, then just played baseball about 10 months out of the year since then.” Little League is heating up this week with the World Series. Lopes can’t help to think what it would have been like to play Little League – instead he always has participated in the more competitive PONY league and travel-ball – and perhaps have a chance to show what he could do on national television. Lopes was 12 just one year ago, and by then he already was hitting tape-measure home runs that would have looked ridiculous on a Little League field. “I would have loved to have been there with Conejo Valley two years ago. I think I could compete with those guys,” Lopes said. Perhaps it’s more meaningful to look into the future, especially with a kid like Lopes. It will be interesting to see just how good he becomes. For now, here’s one piece of advice you can take to heart: Remember the name. Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week. gerry.gittelson@dailynews.com (661) 257-5218160Want 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 MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los Angeles“Christian is a very, very special kid,” said his club manager, Lupe Cruz. “He’s got a lot of talent, and he really works hard. I mean, he’s the top 13-year-old kid in the country, so what more can I say? “We play a very highly competitive level of baseball, and he’s that good. A five-tool player.” Lopes has been featured in Baseball America on a regular basis, and that’s about as legitimate as you can get in this world. You’re half-surprised to learn that no, he isn’t related to Davey Lopes, a former Los Angeles Dodgers star. Like all great athletes, Lopes does the extras. He takes batting practice and meets with a private coach on a daily basis and that doesn’t even include the 100 balls he hits off a tee every morning just to wake up. last_img read more