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    Army plans to overhaul recruiting to attract more young Americans after falling short last year


    The Army announced plans Tuesday to overhaul its recruiting efforts after missing its recruiting targets for another fiscal year. The branch performed better than in 2022, but still fell short about 10,000 contracts short of its «stretch goal» of 65,000, Army officials said Tuesday. 

    «It was evident I would say months ago that we were going to have to make some more transformational changes,» Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said. «Just continuing to sort of have the same approach, but do it better and harder was not going to get us where we need to be.» 

    The proposed overhauls are a result of a detailed study of Army recruiting over the past 25 years focused on regaining a competitive footing in a modern labor market, which has changed significantly since the all-volunteer force began in 1973. 

    The Army plans to expand its prospective pool by actively recruiting not only high school graduates, but also young Americans on college campuses by using digital job boards and participating in large career fairs in large population centers, like private companies do. 

    «While today’s high school seniors comprise more than 50% of our annual contracts, they represent only 15-20% of the larger prospect pool from which we could recruit,» Wormuth said. 

    To boost resources and training for recruiters, the Army plans to consolidate U.S. Army Recruiting Command and the Army’s marketing office into a command headed by a three-star general and increasing the commander’s tenure in the position from two to four years. 

    Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Randy George and Wormuth said this overhaul will take years. Wormuth said it would take a few months to even start developing the implementation plans. 

    The overhaul will build on efforts the Army credited with helping its numbers this year, including a multi-million dollar «Be All You Can Be» ad campaign and the expansion of a prep course to help potential recruits meet the physical and educational requirements to join the Army. 

    Army leaders have blamed some of the recruiting challenges on a smaller pool of young Americans wanting to serve and who qualify to serve, but George on Tuesday said the Army itself could do a better job using technology and data to get the Army’s message out there. 

    «I wouldn’t even give us probably a C on some of the software stuff that we do,» George said. 

    The Army plans to address this by building an experimentation team of recruiters working with experts in IT, data management and labor market analysis. 

    The Army does not yet have a target goal for the next fiscal year, but Wormuth said it woul likely be lower than the previous goal of 65,000, while the Army implements the changes to its recruiting program. 

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    Dish Is First Company to Be Fined By F.C.C. Over Space Junk Rule


    Dish, the television provider, failed to move its dead satellite into a higher orbit, where it would pose little threat to active satellites, the agency announced. The company agreed to pay a $150,000 fine.

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    Review | In Jocelyn Bioh’s sparkling new show, hair braiding is irresistible art


    NEW YORK — Writing what you know works out wonderfully well for playwright Jocelyn Bioh in “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” a sparkling ensemble comedy as tautly woven as one of the intricate hairdos in Jaja’s Harlem salon.

    Perhaps not since “Hair” itself have flowing locks and what are attached to them made such a becoming impression onstage. Bioh — who notes in the program that she’s been wearing braids since she was 4 — has composed a character-rich play, bubbling with personality and marking Bioh’s Broadway debut as an occasion worth toasting.

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    So, here’s to director Whitney White and the 10 blazing actors of this Manhattan Theatre Club world premiere, which had its official opening Tuesday night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Led by Dominique Thorne as Jaja’s bright, underemployed daughter and Zenzi Williams as the salon’s temperamental senior hairdresser, the cast brings a buoyant, insouciant spirit to the bustle of a day in the life at Jaja’s. (The name is pronounced with hard J’s.)

    New York City-born, Ghanaian American Bioh has tapped a deep comedic vein in plays set in West Africa and in the immigrant communities of her hometown. “Schoolgirls, or the African Mean Girls Play,” the 2017 seriocomedy that put her on the map, explored colorism and body image at a girls’ academy in Ghana; “Nollywood Dreams” followed in 2021 as a sendup of the Tinseltown aspirations of the Nigerian film industry.

    As with her 2021 adaptation in Central Park of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Bioh shifts her gaze in “Jaja’s” to Manhattan and struggling working-class people from Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ghana. Her obvious affection for her characters is tempered in many instances by a recognition of their foibles: their vanity, their insecurities, their often petty competitiveness. In other words, they’re all patently human, and always theatrically so.

    The playwright does at the end of this wickedly entertaining evening give in to the urge to highlight her characters’ plights a bit too baldly (sorry). Other than that, though, she and White so skillfully orchestrate her workplace comedy that you’re put in mind of the beauty parlor in “Steel Magnolias,” or, more potently, of a master such as August Wilson portraying the cabbies dispatched from a Pittsburgh storefront in “Jitney.”

    In “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” we’re flies on the wall on a hot summer day in 2019, when the unreliable air conditioner — in a salon rendered by set designer David Zinn as a pink rotating box — heightens the tensions. Braiding with hair pieces of various lengths is labor-intensive and sometimes physically debilitating: the proceedings are therefore primed for irritability and occasional freakouts. (When a customer played by Rachel Christopher asks for micro braids, a style that takes all day to complete, the staff reflexively tries to hide.)

    Just enough of the salon workers’ personal stories are elucidated to accommodate our inquiring minds: Aminata (Nana Mensah) and her troubled marriage; Miriam (Brittany Adebumola), who had to leave her daughter in Sierra Leone; Ndidi (Maechi Aharanwa), forced out of her old salon by a fire. Other customers, all played to the hilarious hilt by Kalyne Coleman and Lakisha May, are running jokes about the absurd expectations, highhanded demands and short fuses clients bring with them. (One of them cannot be dissuaded from the view that her artificial tresses make her a dead ringer for Beyoncé.)

    Costume designer Dede Ayite devises looks for the women ranging from demure to outrageous. Playing all of the male characters — husbands, door-to-door salesmen, pitchmen on the salon TV — Michael Oloyede gets his own share of remarkable get-ups. But it’s Nikiya Mathis who is the design hero of “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”: She’s the show’s hair and wig designer, responsible for the eye-popping assortment of African braids sported by the cast. The customer Zenzi Williams’s Bea has coming in late in the day is worth waiting for, with little cat-toy-like baubles in her hair and extensions of a hue better known in “Barbie” than in nature.

    Bioh’s comedy is in service, though, of the more affecting characteristics shared by the women of “Jaja’s”: a stubborn resilience, a Chekhov-echoing faith that their taxing handiwork will pay off. This bittersweet facet of the play seems to betoken Bioh’s not-so-sunny perspective, which emerges as the 95 minutes of “Jaja’s” wind down, when she introduces a harsher reality.

    It is Jaja herself, in the person of the effervescent Somi Kakoma, who bears the brunt. You sense in her fate the dramatist’s anger, as she pulls the rug of joy out from under “Jaja’s” and forces us to confront a colder truth about the dangers immigrants face. The customers’ braids may hold, it seems, even when the braider’s life unravels.

    Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, by Jocelyn Bioh. Directed by Whitney White. Set, David Zinn; costumes, Dede Ayite; lighting, Jiyoun Chang; music and sound, Justin Ellington; video, Stefania Bulbarella; hair and wigs, Nikiya Mathis. About 95 minutes. Through Nov. 5 at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., New York.

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    Australian towns battle fire and flood back-to-back


    The nation has reeled from disaster to disaster in recent years, as it feels the effects of climate change.

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    Republicans are sick of Matt Gaetz, and they’re not quiet about it


    Rep. Matt Gaetz stood in an unfamiliar spot Tuesday as he pressed his case to boot Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the role of House speaker — the Democratic side of the chamber.

    By the time Gaetz (R-Fla.) finally made good on his long-standing threats to force a vote to topple McCarthy (R-Calif.), his Republican colleagues were so fed up with him that they wouldn’t let him debate from within their caucus, banishing him to the minority Democratic side of the room.

    Gaetz’s successful fight to remove McCarthy from the speakership has cost him in his own conference, lawmakers say. The GOP on Tuesday was considering expelling Gaetz from its caucus. McCarthy, meanwhile, told Republicans he would not seek reelection as speaker after Gaetz pushed him out.

    “I’d love to have him out of the conference,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told reporters Tuesday. “ … He shouldn’t be in the Republican Party.”

    In a GOP conference that has in recent years devoured its own — ostracizing members who have spoken out against former president Donald Trump and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — so far only Gaetz seems to be at risk of formal dismissal.

    Asked whether he was afraid of being exiled, Gaetz responded with the same brashness he brought to the House floor during the debate over McCarthy.

    “If they want to expel me, let me know when they have the votes,” he said.

    The GOP disdain for Gaetz, aside from the handful of hard-right Republicans who joined his motion to vacate the speakership, was clear all day Tuesday.

    “You all know Matt Gaetz,” McCarthy told reporters after he was ousted. “You know it was personal.”

    Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) assailed the Floridian on the House floor for soliciting campaign donations on the back of his motion to vacate the speakership.

    “It’s what’s disgusting about Washington,” he said.

    “That’s not governing,” McCarthy added. “That’s not becoming of a member of Congress. … It was all about his ethics. But that’s all right.”

    Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) referred to Gaetz as a “Republican running with scissors.”

    And Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.), seething on the House steps after the vote, said: “I will always put the best interests of the United States of America and my constituents above my own personal feelings. And clearly Matt Gaetz can’t do that.”

    Gaetz was McCarthy’s main obstacle to the speakership in January, leading a band of rebels who refused to vote for the longtime GOP minority leader for the first 13 rounds of roll calls. In the 14th round, Gaetz softened his stance, but only slightly. He voted “present,” not a vote against McCarthy but also not in favor — and not enough to hand him the speaker’s gavel.

    McCarthy approached Gaetz on the floor, then walked away, appearing dejected. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.) stormed over and lunged at Gaetz before being restrained by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). The Floridian sat unperturbed.

    McCarthy was elected speaker after midnight in the 15th round of voting when Gaetz and other right-wing hard-liners voted “present,” lowering the threshold McCarthy needed to win office.

    But by then, McCarthy had struck deals with those hard-liners that hemmed him in. The most noteworthy concession: A single member could bring a “motion to vacate the chair,” or call for a vote to remove the speaker.

    Gaetz threatened to wield that power for months, then made clear on Sept. 12 that he would seek to depose McCarthy, when he said the speaker was “out of compliance” with the deal he struck in January.

    Gaetz demanded McCarthy rectify those supposed breaches by instituting steep budget cuts during the September fight to fund the government and abandoning a spending deal McCarthy had made with President Biden in June. The president and speaker agreed to suspend the debt limit in exchange for limiting growth in federal discretionary spending. Conservatives quickly soured on that arrangement, which drew large numbers of Democratic votes on its passage.

    Gaetz threatened to invoke the motion to vacate if McCarthy did not back away from that deal and instead pass 12 appropriations bills with draconian spending cuts. And if McCarthy made an end run around Gaetz and relied on Democratic votes to keep the government open, Gaetz would invoke the motion, too.

    Over the weekend, that’s exactly what happened: McCarthy pushed through a deal to extend government funding into November at current spending levels but without billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine that Biden wanted. Again, Democrats backed the measure, which the Senate also adopted just ahead of a deadline for a shutdown.

    Gaetz was livid. And his GOP colleagues were furious, too — but with him.

    “I think there’s some reason to doubt whether or not Matt Gaetz is serious,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) told reporters on Tuesday. He called Gaetz’s crusade a miscalculation that would undercut Republicans’ narrow House majority.

    “This was a vote for chaos,” Bacon said. “I think it hurts our country, our Congress. Republicans will be weaker for this come next November. And I thought the behavior of these eight folks [who voted against McCarthy] was shameful.”

    After the vote, Gaetz said his party needed time to go through “the grieving process.” First, he said, was denial, as GOP leadership hoped they could pry away votes to save McCarthy’s gavel.

    It wasn’t clear that lawmakers were in denial of the outcome, but they did appear to be reeling. “Give me a minute, guys,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told reporters after the vote as colleagues offered him consolation drinks and cigars back at their offices. “Let me think through some things.”

    Then, Gaetz said, would come (more) anger. Gaetz and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said they drew the ire of colleagues on their way out of the House chamber.

    “I got cussed at and sneered at, and I get it,” Burchett said. “I’ve been down this road before. I’ve handled bullies before in my life.”

    As the conference went into a closed-door meeting Tuesday to determine the GOP’s next move, Gaetz said, members were “headed toward bargaining.”

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    Spotify CEO sheds potential light on why Meghan Markle’s podcast was cancelled


    Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, has hinted that Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast was cancelled because listeners weren’t pleased with it.

    In a recent interview with BBC, Ek was asked why Spotify opted to cut ties with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan back in June. His comments came months after the streaming service announced it was parting ways with Archewell Audio – the Sussexes’ production company – resulting in the end of Meghan’s podcast after just one season.

    When asked why Spotify was no longer working with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Ek hinted that listeners weren’t as “happy” about Archetypes as expected.

    “We thought new innovation was needed to happen here,” he said during the interview, as reported by Page Six. “We thought we can come in and offer a great experience that both makes consumers very happy and allows new creators new avenues.”

    Ek expressed that there were things that both did and didn’t work with Spotify’s deal with Archewell Audio, before acknowledging that the streaming company is now moving forward.

    “And the truth of the matter is, some of it has worked, some of it hasn’t,” he explained. “We’re learning from those and we are moving on.”

    The Spotify CEO also gave his best wishes to Harry and Meghan, if they choose to continue their projects with another streaming service. “We wish all of the ones we didn’t renew with the best of success they can have going forward,” he added.

    Back in June, the end of the couple’s partnership was first confirmed in a statement from Archewell Audio and Spotify. “Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together,” the statement read.

    The podcast saw Meghan speak to celebrities, historians, and experts about the history of stereotypes levelled against women. Tennis star Serena Williams, singer Mariah Carey, socialite Paris Hilton, and actors Mindy Kaling and Constance Wu were among the guests who appeared during its first season.

    As for why the couple ended their deal with Spotify, which was reportedly worth $20m, the Wall Street Journal reported in June that the pair hadn’t “met the productivity benchmarks required to receive the full payout from the deal”, citing insiders familiar with the matter.

    Under the terms of the 2020 deal, Harry and Meghan were signed on to produce and host “programming that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world” in the form of podcasts that championed diverse voices. Throughout their Spotify partnership, Meghan only delivered 12 episodes of the Archetypes podcast.

    After Archewell parted ways with the streaming platform, podcaster Bill Simmons – who sold The Ringer to Spotify for $200m – slammed the Sussexes in an episode of his own podcast last June. “The f***ing grifters. That’s the podcast we should’ve launched with them. I gotta get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories.”

    While Meghan’s podcast has been met with both praise and criticism, previous Archetypes guests have come to the duchess’ defense. During an interview with Us Weekly in June, Bravo host Andy Cohen – who appeared on Archetypes in November 2022 – hit back against claims that she didn’t conduct her own interviews for the podcast.

    “That’s an insane rumour. Her podcast is conversations with people. How would she not have, of course she did,” he said, before adding that his conversation with Meghan was “quite well-researched,” “well-informed,” and “thoughtful”.

    The Independent has contacted representatives for the Sussexes and Spotify for comment.

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    VAR’s wildest moments: Diaz offside, Griezmann goal ruled out


    Love it or loathe it, VAR is now an established part of the modern game. When it was introduced back in 2017 we were all lulled into a false sense of security: there would be no more controversy and every decision would be correct.

    It’s not quite worked out like that as human error cannot be eliminated.

    From wrongly disallowed goals, to penalties scored after full-time, VAR is never far from the headlines.

    VAR has gone to the very top of the game, having an influence on the results of World Cup and Champions League finals. Countless matches in competitions all over the world have been either aided or — depending on your own opinion of the controversial officiating tool — blighted by its involvement.

    It’s worth noting that by «wild moments» we’re not talking about common contentious fouls and free kicks, nor are we raking back through all the countless times players have been adjudged to be fractionally offside at an atomic level. Instead we focus on some of the notable occurrences when VAR intervention has led truly baffling scenes to break out during a football match.

    How VAR has affected every Premier League club
    VAR in the Premier League: The ultimate guide
    – Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access

    The VAR gets it all wrong to disallow Griezmann goal (Tunisia vs. France, 2022 World Cup)

    Antoine Griezmann thought he had scored a dramatic equaliser for France in the 98th minute, but there was a VAR review for offside. But it turned out to be an illegal review.

    Video evidence showed that referee Matthew Conger had restarted the match, before blowing the final whistle. That meant that by VAR protocol it wasn’t possible to review the offside offence. The goal was disallowed and France lost 1-0 to a Tunisia side that headed out of the tournament in the group stage.

    France protested against the disallowed goal, but FIFA rejected that appeal. Luckily Les Bleus were already through to the round of 16 and the incident made no difference to their position on top of Group D.

    VAR fails to overturn Diaz offside (Tottenham vs. Liverpool, Premier League)

    An almighty error as the VAR, Darren England, somehow messed up the onfield decision and thought he was checking a goal, when he was in fact checking a disallowed goal.

    England worked out that Liverpool forward Luis Díaz was onside, and told the match referee «check complete.» But this meant he was saying the on-field decision was correct … when the on-field decision was offside.

    The game was 0-0 at the time, and Spurs then scored a minute later and went on to win 2-1.

    – The VAR Review: What went wrong for Luis Diaz’s offside goal

    VAR misses a defender to rule out a goal for offside (Juventus vs. Salernitana, Serie A)

    The game in September 2022 was 2-2 in added time when Juventus thought they had snatched all three points when substitute Arkadiusz Milik headed home, but the goal was disallowed following a VAR review for offside.

    Leonardo Bonucci was judged to be distracting the goalkeeper as Milik’s effort flew towards goal.

    But the VAR had missed a Salernitana player close to the corner flag who was playing the whole Juventus attack onside. Juve had two players sent off as they protested.

    The incident led to Serie A bringing in semi-automated offside technology in the middle of the season.

    Haller escapes red card as VAR botches offside call (Borussia Dortmund vs. Heidenheim, Bundesliga)

    In September 2023, Heidenheim were trailing 2-1 at Dortmund in the 76th minute when Jan-Niklas Beste moved into the area and was pulled back by Sébastien Haller. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, but was told by the VAR that Beste was offside. The penalty was cancelled.

    Dortmund then decided to substitute Haller, during which time the VAR realised he had made an error in the offside review. There had been a «deliberate play» of the ball by Haller, which reset the phase and meant Beste was actually onside.

    The referee was sent to the pitchside monitor and change the decision to a penalty. Haller should have been sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, but the officials had allowed him to be taken off. The Dortmund player was only booked on the bench, but Heidenheim should have been playing against 10 men. At least they got their penalty … eventually. It was scored and the game ended 2-2.

    Penalty awarded at half-time (Mainz vs. Freiburg)

    History was made in the Bundesliga in April 2018 when Mainz were awarded a penalty during half-time of their match against Freiburg. The referee had signalled the end of the first half and sent the players to their dressing rooms after Mainz had a penalty appeal turned down when right-back Daniel Brosinski‘s cross deflected off Freiburg centre-back Marc-Oliver Kempf‘s hand and was saved by goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow.

    As the players headed for the locker rooms, referee Guido Winkmann ran over to the other side of the pitch to watch the replay on a monitor. He awarded the hosts a penalty, recalling the entire Freiburg side and the handful of Mainz players who had left the pitch.

    Six minutes after the half-time whistle had blown, Pablo de Blasis scored the penalty to put Mainz 1-0 up. He added a second to seal a 2-0 win, though only after the start of the second half was delayed as ground staff had to clear reams of toilet roll thrown on to the pitch by irate Freiburg fans during the break.

    VAR malfunction decides title (Melbourne Victory vs. Newcastle Jets, A-League)

    One of the most costly VAR fails ever came during the A-League Grand Final in May 2018, when a total catastrophe befell the system during Australia’s biggest game of the season.

    Nine minutes into the title decider, the VAR camera feed went offline for roughly 30 seconds, during which Melbourne Victory managed to score a goal against Newcastle Jets. Television replays showed that the goal was clearly offside, but the VAR system could not be deployed to rectify the situation. Alas, by the time the technical staff managed to get the VAR camera back online the game had resumed and it was too late to review the phase of play in question so the Victory goal was allowed to stand.

    Kosta Barbarouses’ decisive strike proved to be the only goal in a game which Victory fans still refer to as «the heist in the Hunter» — a reference to one of the McDonald Jones Stadium’s former names.

    What’s the score? (Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford, Premier League)

    Tottenham once again found themselves on the wrong end of a chaotic VAR episode then they played host to Watford on New Year’s Day of 2019. Trailing 0-1 since the sixth minute of the match following Abdoulaye Doucoure‘s opener, Spurs finally looked to have broken through the Hornets’ blockade in the 86th minute when Dele Alli sprang to score a late equaliser. However, celebrations were muted while the goal was checked by VAR for a possible handball by Alli in the build-up.

    With most people inside the stadium already at a loss as to what was going on, the confusion was ramped up several notches when Alli’s goal was simultaneously given by the referee AND declared to have been disallowed by a message on the big screens around the ground. The game then resumed for its final few minutes, and full-time came with most in attendance utterly clueless as to what the final score was (1-1).

    Penalty conceded while scoring a goal (SPAL vs. Fiorentina, Serie A)

    SPAL had every right to feel aggrieved in February 2019 when they saw what might have been a winning goal against Fiorentina chalked off by VAR. The hosts thought midfielder Mattia Valoti had put them 2-1 up against La Viola in the 77th minute, only for referee Luca Pairetto to intervene and rather sour the moment. Attention was drawn to a foul made at the opposite end of the pitch in a previous phase of play in which Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa was felled in the SPAL penalty box several minutes earlier.

    As such, following a VAR review, the referee cancelled out SPAL’s goal and instead awarded a penalty to Fiorentina, which Jordan Veretout dispatched to put the away side 2-1 up in a remarkable turnaround. Fiorentina went on to win the match 4-1 thanks to additional goals from Giovanni Simeone and Gerson scored in the final 10 minutes, leaving SPAL to wonder what might have been.

    Rules changed halfway through tournament (Women’s World Cup)

    As if major international tournaments aren’t stressful enough, football’s lawmakers the International Football Association Board (IFAB) decided to add an extra layer of pressure to the 2019 Women’s World Cup by changing the rules regarding penalties halfway through the competition. The tournament had seen several goalkeepers shown yellow cards while facing penalty kicks after being flagged by VAR for moving off their line a fraction too early, resulting in the kicks being retaken. After a succession of controversial incidents during the group stage, the IFAB approved an emergency request from FIFA to make a «temporary dispensation» to the law, thus granting ‘keepers a reprieve of sorts.

    As such, the temporary dispensation removed the need for referees to issue mandatory yellow cards for encroachment on the basis that the presence of VAR alone should be enough to deter keepers from jumping the gun — apart from during penalty shootouts, when the original law would still apply. Clear as day, then.

    Referee caught using ‘fake VAR’ (Always Ready vs. Bolivar, Bolivian Liga)

    Always Ready were trailing 1-0 as they entered the final few seconds of added time in their game against Bolivar in August 2019. In a desperate attempt to score an equaliser, they appealed to referee Raul Orosco for a penalty following an aerial clash inside the area. Orosco went over to the sidelines to watch a replay of the incident. Content with what he’d seen on the monitor, the official then returned to the pitch to award the penalty while making the requisite «VAR» hand gesture. However, it was at this point it dawned on Orosco that VAR hadn’t actually been implemented in the Bolivian Primera Division and so he tried to transform his «TV screen» signal into a hurried point toward his earpiece instead.

    The awarding of the penalty sparked chaos as both sets of players and coaching staff argued on the field for a full 10 minutes, with many repeating the «VAR» gesture as they demanded answers. Eventually, sufficient order was restored to allow Always Ready to finally take their controversial spot kick, which hit the post.

    Conceding a penalty when you’re an unused substitute (Holstein Kiel vs. VfL Bochum, 2.Bundesliga)

    With minutes to go before half-time in the German second-tier clash between Holstein Kiel and VfL Bochum in October 2019, midfielder Michael Eberwein was busy limbering up with the rest of the Kiel subs behind his side’s goal when he made the fatal error of stopping a wayward shot before the ball had gone all the way off the pitch. VAR spotted that this innocent error was in direct contravention of the laws of the game governing substitutes interfering with play, and asked the referee to come over to consult the footage. Sure enough, a penalty was awarded to Bochum and Eberwein was shown a yellow card.

    Bochum striker Silvere Ganvoula M’boussy, whose shot off target had sparked the furore, stepped up to convert the penalty. Just to make matters worse, Eberwein had yet to make his debut for Kiel at the time, meaning that he’d also managed to concede a spot kick without making a single appearance for the club. As yet another bitter digestif for Kiel, the German FA (DFB) consulted with the IFAB on the decision and were told that, whilst the referee should have initially given the penalty, the incident did not qualify as an «exceptional circumstance» which justified an intervention by VAR, meaning the spot kick really should not have been awarded.

    The decision that forced a rule change (Tottenham vs. Newcastle United, Premier League)

    Spurs (them again) found themselves subjected to a decision so ludicrous that it actually helped bring about a change in the way the Premier League interpreted the law. After falling into line with the rest of Europe and adopting a stricter application of handball, the opening weeks of the 2020-21 Premier League season had already been littered with controversial decisions. Then came the case of Eric Dier.

    Spurs were leading by a single Lucas Moura goal against Newcastle as the September fixture entered added time, only for the visitors to be gifted the very softest of penalties when Dier leapt for a header alongside Andy Carroll. The Newcastle striker won the duel and nudged the ball innocuously against the Spurs defender’s flailing arm while he had his back turned.

    Referee Peter Bankes initially missed the non-incident but VAR was on hand to draw his attention to an infringement of the newly implemented (and much-maligned) handball law stating that any ball-to-hand contact in the area might be penalised regardless of whether said contact is intentional or otherwise. Clauses seven and eight of the law were invoked as Dier’s «hand/arm was above/beyond his shoulder level.»

    Callum Wilson scored his penalty to rescue an unlikely point for Newcastle. However, with frustrations from all quarters already high, the outcry over the decision to punish Dier caused the Premier League to roll back its change and apply a far more liberal interpretation of handball inside the penalty area.

    The IFAB then tweaked the law the following March, some six months later. The IFAB’s new incarnation of the rule dictated that handballs would only be given when the arm is completely away for the body and could not be justifiable by the way the player is moving, for instance jumping like Dier was in order for a foul to be given — which is actually remarkably similar to the way the law worked before they changed it in the first place.

    In a truly baffling turn of events, Manchester United strayed even beyond the constraints of «Fergie Time» to score their late winner against Brighton in the Premier League back in September 2020.

    The game looked to be over and done when Solly March scored a 95th-minute equaliser for the Seagulls to make the score 2-2 at the Amex Stadium. However, there was still time for one last twist when United were awarded a penalty AFTER the full-time whistle had sounded. Confusion reigned as referee Chris Kavanagh blew for full-time following a late United corner, only for VAR to ask the official to review a replay of the action in the box. In doing so, Kavanagh noticed an unfortunate handball from Brighton striker Neal Maupay and awarded a penalty to United.

    Bruno Fernandes kept his composure to score from the spot and snatch a ludicrous, unprecedented victory for United in the 10th minute of added time of a match that had already been ended once.

    A prime example of VAR being applied too fastidiously came during a game between Crystal Palace and Leeds at Selhurst Park in November 2020. In fine form at the time, Patrick Bamford appeared to have found the net for Leeds once again when he broke the Palace line to score an equaliser for his side with 17 minutes played.

    However, the goal was ruled out when VAR deemed Bamford had been offside in the build-up because the striker pointed where he wanted the ball played despite the rest of his body being onside at the time the pass was played. Strictly speaking the decision was correct to the letter of the law as Bamford had pointed using a portion of his arm that he could legally score a goal with, but still…

    Palace went on to win the game 4-1.

    Fans destroy VAR equipment (Gremio vs. Palmeiras, Brazilian Serie A)

    Languishing near the bottom of the table and threatened by relegation, Gremio fans thought their team had hauled their way back into a game against Palmeiras in October 2021 when a potentially crucial equaliser made it 2-2. The swell of optimism quickly gave way to despair when a VAR review disallowed the goal and Gremio went on to slump to a 3-1 defeat in front of their own supporters.

    It all proved too much for some fans, who decided to rush on to the pitch and take out their frustrations on the technical equipment that had so harshly robbed them.

    Goalkeeper shown two red cards, still completes game (Brazil vs. Ecuador, 2022 World Cup qualifier)

    On Jan. 27, 2022, Brazil goalkeeper Alisson became the first player to be shown two red cards in the same game and still complete the full match after being spared twice by the VAR. The Liverpool shot-stopper was shown his first red card for a high boot in the 25th minute and then another in stoppage time for knocking striker Ayrton Preciado to the ground while attempting to punch the ball clear.

    However, both decisions were overturned after the referee consulted VAR, thus allowing Alisson to finish the game despite being «sent off» twice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was more than happy to sing the praises of the video replay system.

    «I think this was the first time this has happened in the history of football,» Alisson said after the match. «I think that I acted properly in the moves and I think my teammates helped me a lot, they were incisive in their complaints to the referee. This shows once again the importance of using VAR in football. I am happy with the VAR, if it wasn’t for the VAR we’d have been punished unfairly.»

    VAR official hung out to dry (Torino vs. Inter Milan, Serie A)

    Tempers flared in Serie A last month when mid-table Torino played host to title-chasing Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico in Piedmont. Without a win in eight games, the home side defied expectations when Brazilian defender Bremer propelled them in front with an early opener after just 12 minutes. The Granata then carved out a good chance to put themselves further ahead when forward Andrea Belotti found himself clean through on goal only to be upended by the outstretched limb of Inter centre-back Andrea Ranocchia inside the penalty area.

    Understandably, Torino appealed in unison only for referee Marco Guida to instruct Belotti to get to his feet. Then, following a brief consultation with VAR official Davide Massa via his headset, Guida was content to let play continue without so much as a pitchside review. In the meanwhile, replays had revealed that Ranocchia had indeed clearly knocked the goal-bound Belotti off his feet before then playing the ball. The game finished 1-1 thanks to a dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser for Inter scored by Alexis Sanchez which, naturally, didn’t do anything to calm the incandescent ire of Torino coach Ivan Juric.

    «It was a clear penalty and nobody understands why it wasn’t awarded. I am sure they will try to explain it, but they can’t,» Juric fumed after the final whistle. «It completely ruined the game, as we would’ve been 2-0 up.»

    The Italian press were equally flabbergasted with Tuttosport even awarding referee Guida 0/10 for his performance and branding the turn of events in Turin as a «scandal.» Such was the controversy surrounding the errant penalty decision that Serie A themselves stepped in and attempted to diffuse the situation by allowing the Italian Referees’ Association (AIA) to release the audio log of the chat between Guida and his VAR official, Massa. «Ball! Ball! Yes, he got the ball, carry on,» was the message delivered directly into the ear of the referee.

    The AIA then proceeded to lay blame squarely at Massa’s feet for making what they called a «serious error,» with refereeing designator Gianluca Rocchi stating that Massa «should have looked more carefully at the footage» before advising Guida to allow play to continue.

    Amid calls for Guida to be banned and/or dropped as a Serie A ref altogether over the incident, Rocchi made sure to add that the AIA wouldn’t be prepared to «lose such a good referee over [the error].» Still, neither Guida nor Massa have been assigned to officiate a domestic match since the Torino-Inter VAR farce as the fallout continues to simmer away.

    ESPN’s Dale Johnson contributed to this report

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    Man claiming to be son of Charlotte Sena kidnapping suspect breaks silence: ‘Hope he dies in prison’


    EXCLUSIVE: – Shortly after police left a property linked to Charlotte Sena’s alleged kidnapper Craig Ross Jr., a man pulled into the driveway and identified himself as the suspect’s son – before ordering reporters to back off.

    «Yea, he’s my father, but why do I have to deal with this s—?» he shouted, without providing his name. «Everyone is asking me all this. I don’t know anything. I hate him and hope he dies in prison.»

    He parked in the driveway, went through the front door, and continued to speak through the screen.

    About a half-dozen law enforcement officers had been searching a home in Porters Corner, New York, where Ross, 46, listed his address after his arrest Monday. Investigators in Tyvek suits carried out multiple boxes of evidence before departing.


    A man claiming to be the son of Craig Nelson Ross Jr., arrives after New York State Police collected evidence at 13 Circle Drive in Porters Corners, N.Y., listed as the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr., on 2133 on court documents Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl  riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. The children did not have a favorable response when asked by reporters about their father. (Hans Pennick for Fox News Digital)

    After a state police car pulled out of the driveway, two people arrived and approached the house, including the man claiming to be Ross’ son.

    Authorities arrested Craig Ross Monday evening, hours after he allegedly stuffed a ransom note in the Sena family’s mailbox.

    Police outside the home of the The son of the man who allegedly abducted Charlotte Sena

    New York State Police collect evidence at 13 Circle Drive in Porters Corners, N.Y., listed as the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr., on 2133 on court documents Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl  riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennick for Fox News Digital)

    Gov. Kathy Hochul said state police watched him drop it off and matched fingerprints on the document to those taken from Ross after a 1999 drunken driving arrest.


    Police search the home of the The son of the man who allegedly abducted Charlotte Sena

    New York State Police are seen collecting evidence at 13 Circle Drive in Porters Corners, N.Y., listed as the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr., on 2133 on court documents Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl  riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennick for Fox News Digital)

    Charlotte had been missing since Saturday, when she went for a bike ride down a circular trail at the Lake Moreau State Park 10 miles north of Saratoga Springs and failed to return. Her family found her bike a few minutes later. Police shut down the park and searched it for days but did not find her there.

    Hochul said police rescued her from a cabinet in Ross’ unkempt camper, parked behind his mother’s trailer in the nearby town of Milton.

    Craig Nelson Jr mugshot clean

    Craig Ross Jr. pictured in an undated booking photo. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul identified Ross as the man suspected of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl named Charlotte Sena from a state park bicycle trail over the weekend. He was being held without bail on a first-degree kidnapping charge. (Saratoga Sheriff’s Office)


    She was reunited with her family at a hospital as detectives spent hours interviewing Ross and finally booked him into the Saratoga County Jail around 4 a.m. He was being held without bail on a charge of first-degree kidnapping.

    New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Ross Jr.

    New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr. in Ballston Spa, New York on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl  riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital )

    Police spent hours Tuesday searching both properties, removing bags and boxes of evidence.

    «We are thrilled that she is home, and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets,» Charlotte’s family told Fox News Digital. «A huge thank you to the FBI, the New York State Police, all of the agencies that were mobilized, all of the families, friends, community, neighbors and hundreds of volunteers who supported us and worked tirelessly to bring Charlotte home.»

    Charlotte Sena GoFundMe photo

    The Sena family released a new photo of Charlotte Sena Tuesday on a GoFundMe campaign to support the 9-year-old after New York State Police and federal tactical teams rescued her from a kidnapping suspect’s cabinet. (Sena Family/GoFundMe)


    On Tuesday, Charlotte’s extended family released a new photo of the 9-year-old on their GoFundMe campaign.

    As Charlotte recovers from the ordeal, her parents have taken time off work to care for her and her two sisters.

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    Calipari to receive Legends of Coaching award


    LOS ANGELES — John Calipari of Kentucky will receive the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor.

    Greg Wooden, grandson of the late UCLA coach, announced his selection Tuesday.

    The honorees are chosen based on character, on-court success, graduation rate of players in their program and coaching philosophy. The award will be presented in April at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

    Calipari led the Wildcats to a national championship in 2012. He guided the program to four Final Four appearances in a five-year span, with Wooden and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski the only other men’s coaches to accomplish that feat.

    Calipari was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2015. He has coached three Wooden Award winners, including Oscar Tshiebwe in 2022.

    Off the court, Calipari has his own foundation and has worked with the American Red Cross to raise money to help people affected by disasters.

    Previous winners of the award include South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, Bill Self of Kansas, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Denny Crum of Louisville.

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    Xisco Munoz vows to fight ‘until my last second’ at Sheffield Wednesday – Soccer News

    Xisco Munoz apologised to Sheffield Wednesday’s supporters and said he would give it “until my last second” after a 1-0 defeat at West Brom left the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom team with the worst start in their history.

    John Swift’s 13th-minute goal left the Owls with an eighth loss from the first 10 games of the Sky Bet Championship season, and they are already seven points adrift of the safety line.

    Manager Munoz, 43, who led Watford to the Premier League in 2020-21, has taken just two points all season and none have come outside Yorkshire. Wednesday are also without a goal in 312 minutes of football.

    “I understand the fans and I can only say sorry because it’s tough for everybody,” said the Spaniard.

    “But as a manager, I can say we will continue until my last second.

    “This is my life and I try to give my best to my players until my last minute.”

    Munoz suggested he is running out of options after trying different permutations.

    “We tried to change the formation and the players – I have used 24 or 25 players this season,” he added.

    “We can play 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 5-3-2 but right now, we’re not finding the solutions.”

    Munoz insisted he will keep persevering trying to find a winning formula.

    “We need to continue trying to find what is better for us, we need to find which players we can use for the next game, what can hurt the opponent and how we can make better of these situations,” added the Spaniard.

    “We played against a difficult style and a good team but the difference was nothing.”

    West Brom made it five games unbeaten, during which they have kept four clean sheets and climbed to fifth.

    Swift lashed home the only goal from six yards after Darnell Furlong played the ball down the right, Akin Famewo missed the chance to cut it out and Jed Wallace crossed low.

    But just after the goal, Wednesday’s Juan Delgado missed Ashley Fletcher’s cross from point-blank range, then Tyreeq Bakinson’s curling shot was clawed away by goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

    West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan saluted match-winner Swift, who scored his fifth goal of the season.

    “When a player of his quality is mentally ready to compete he can be the difference,” he said.

    Corberan admitted Albion found it hard going to find more goals.

    “You change the feeling and change the game when you score from the opportunities you have,” he said.

    “It was difficult to combat them from the set-pieces because they had a very physical team and when we won the second balls in the set-pieces, we couldn’t score the second goal to change the game.

    “After one second ball and one set-piece, it led to two big opportunities that led Alex (Palmer) to achieve the clean sheet and the three points.”

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