Monthly Archives: April 2019

NZ cricket coach challenges bowlers

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has challenged his bowlers to up their game after the World Cup finalists’ colossal 210-run defeat by England in the first one-day international at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

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It was England’s biggest victory, in terms of runs, in all one-day internationals, beating their 202-run margin against India during the inaugural 1975 World Cup – when India batting great Sunil Gavaskar bizarrely blocked his way to 36 not out off 174 balls at Lord’s.

Superb centuries by Joe Root (104) and Jos Buttler (129) helped England to 9-408, the first time they had made 400 in an ODI.

Their total also owed much to a partnership of 177 between Buttler and Adil Rashid (69) – a new ODI world record for the seventh wicket.

With the exception of left-arm paceman Trent Boult, who took 4-55 in his maximum 10 overs, the rest of New Zealand’s attack suffered heavy punishment on Tuesday.

Fast bowler Matt Henry’s 10 wicketless overs went for 73 runs, while Mitchell McClenaghan’s two wickets cost 93 runs.

Hesson, ahead of the second in a five-match series at The Oval on Friday, was clear on where New Zealand needed to improve.

“We’ve got two things to work on: our decision-making, trying to block off parts of the park where we could look to defend and there were too many balls down ‘main street’ where you can hit both sides of the wicket,” he told reporters at New Zealand’s hotel in Birmingham on Wednesday.

“Fail to execute well and you go the distance. We need to look at our decision-making under pressure.”

England’s performance was in stunning contrast to their lacklustre World Cup, where a first-round exit included an eight-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in Wellington in February

However, the Black Caps were without Tim Southee – who took a national record 7-33 in Wellington – on Tuesday after he was rested following the 1-1 drawn Test series between England and New Zealand.

Hesson, asked if Southee would return at The Oval, said: “He’s close, he’ll definitely be considered. We’ll just have a look and see how he scrubs up in training tomorrow (Thursday).”

He refused to blame his batsmen for the scale of the defeat – the Black Caps’ second heaviest in terms of runs following a 215-run loss to Australia at the 2007 World Cup in Grenada.

“There’s no point finishing on 250 for seven, you’ve got to have a crack,” he said.

Of the 14 scores of 400 or more in ODI cricket, six have been posted within the last year.

But Hesson denied one-day cricket was becoming too much of a batsmen’s game.

“I like the way it’s going because there are high scores and also a lot of low scores,” he explained.

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UK Nobel laureate creates sexism storm

A Nobel Prize-winning British scientist has apologised for saying the “trouble with girls” working in laboratories is that it leads to romantic entanglements and harms science.

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But Tim Hunt has stood by his assertion that mixed-gender labs are “disruptive”.

Hunt, 72, made the comments at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea, according to audience members.

Connie St Louis of London’s City University tweeted that Hunt said when women work alongside men in labs, “you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry”.

Hunt, a biochemist who was joint recipient of the 2001 Nobel for physiology or medicine, said he was just trying to be humorous.

He told BBC radio on Wednesday that he was “really, really sorry I caused any offence”.

Then he added: “I did mean the part about having trouble with girls. … I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science”.

Jennifer Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London, said the comments may have been meant as a joke “but that’s no excuse.”

She said such comments from a leading scientist “are going to be taken to heart by some young female scientists. And I think that is a real shame, because we still have a very long way to go to get equality in the sciences”.

Hunt is a fellow of the Royal Society, one of Britain’s most eminent science bodies, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

The Royal Society said it did not share Hunt’s views.

It said in a statement that “too many talented individuals do not fulfil their scientific potential because of issues such as gender and the society is committed to helping to put this right.”

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LPC-Lenders set to take control of UK’s Cory Environmental

Under the terms of the debt for equity swap, Cory’s 44 million pounds of junior debt will be written off and its existing 353 million pounds of senior debt will be converted into a 200 million pounds term loan and an 85 million pounds PIK tranche, two sources close to the situation said.

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In addition, Barclays and Commerzbank have underwritten a 30 million pounds revolving credit facility and a 75 million pounds letter of credit.

A 20 million pounds new money facility has also been put into place, one of the sources said.

The existing lenders, which include SVP Global and a coordinating committee of lenders comprising Barclays, Commerzbank, BNP Paribas and EQT Partners, have agreed to the deal which is expected to enter a lock up phase by June 22.

The deal will then be pushed through using a scheme of arrangement which is expected to launch next month, the sources said.

Second round bids from buyers interested in acquiring the firm were submitted to the company on May 22, but at a bank meeting on June 8 lenders decided that these offers were not high enough.

The coordinating committee of senior lenders is being advised by law firm Allen & Overy, while SVP is being advised by Gleacher Shacklock.

SVP, one of the largest lenders to Cory having bought into the debt since the end of last year, did not join the coordinating committee because it also holds a piece of Cory’s junior debt, and the junior debt holders had their own coordinating committee, which was advised by law firm Freshfields.

The price of Cory’s debt has suffered as a result of the landfill tax over the last few years and the senior debt was trading at 58.4 percent of face value on Europe’s secondary loan market in January 2014. The value has increased up to around 84 percent following SVP and European fund EQT Partners buying into the debt, but slipped down to 80.6 on June 9 — the day after the bank lender meeting.

Cory owns nine landfill sites across the UK, and has contracts for recycling, street cleaning and waste collection stretching from Lincolnshire to Cornwall. It is best known for operating barges on the River Thames from Central London out to the Mucking Marshes landfill site.

Cory did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

(Editing by Christopher Mangham)

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Dutch FA reviewing 1996 sponsorship deal with Nike

The U.

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S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found evidence of millions of dollars in bribes paid for a 1996 sponsorship deal of Brazil’s national team. Nike has said it is cooperating with the investigation and that the indictment does not accuse the company of crimes.

The accusations are one in a series of corruption allegations that have put world football and the business around it under scrutiny.

KNVB spokesman Chris van Nijnatten said in-house lawyers would review documents relating to a two decade-old deal, under which Nike became the official training sponsor of the Dutch national team in 1996, taking over from the national lottery.

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Van Nijnatten declined to disclose the size of the contract. Nike still sponsors the national team with the deal having been renewed twice, most recently in 2014 for 12 years. The renewals are not under investigation, the KNVB said.

He said the KNVB did not regard Nike or any of its officials as suspects.

“We are doing this because so much is happening at the moment,” he said. “There is no lack of confidence. Nike is not a suspect. Investigating this is a matter of professionalism.”

World football has been rocked by corruption allegations since Swiss police swooped on a Zurich hotel last month, arresting a host of top officials from world soccer authority FIFA.

Long-serving FIFA head Sepp Blatter was eventually forced to announce he would resign days after being re-elected for a fifth term in the wake of the arrests.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Anna Willard)

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Insight – Robots could restore ‘Made in Germany’ label to Adidas shoes

That could soon change as cheaper, faster and more flexible robots mean manufacturing – including producing fiddly footwear – could be brought closer to consumers in high-wage countries like Germany, speeding up delivery and slashing freight costs in what some call a fourth industrial revolution.

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Adidas is working with the German government, academics and robotics firms on new technologies it hopes will trigger a significant a shift in the footwear industry as the move led by its arch rival Nike to produce in Asia decades ago.

The project is part of a broader drive by Adidas to catch up with Nike, which has extended its lead as the world’s biggest sportswear firm in recent years with innovative products such as its “Flyknit” shoes made out of machine-knitted fibre.

“We will bring production back to where the main markets are,” Adidas Chief Executive Herbert Hainer said in March. “We will be the leader and the first mover there.”

Adidas hopes to be able to produce a custom-made running shoe from scratch in a store in Berlin by next year, using a stitching machine and a foamer to make the sole.

Nike, which has long faced criticism for using Asian sweat shops to produce its pricey footwear, is also investing heavily in new manufacturing methods. But it has not yet put a date on when it expects that to result in more U.S.-based production.

JOBS AT RISK

Key to moving footwear manufacturing closer to Western markets are technologies which cut the need for workers to piece together shoes. A machine can now “knit” an upper like a sock, robots can already complete more of the final assembly of the shoe, while 3-D printing could soon allow the production of a customised sole.

That could threaten millions of jobs in the footwear industry in countries like China, Brazil and Vietnam, but potentially create new positions elsewhere, albeit for more highly skilled labourers working alongside robots.

Robots, now used mainly in auto production, could soon cut labour costs by 18 percent or more by 2025 in other sectors, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts.

The new technology is being closely guarded: photographers were not invited to an investor presentation at the Adidas innovation centre, where it demonstrated a robot that could stick its trademark three stripes to a running shoe.

Nike, for its part, tried to stop Adidas producing a knitted shoe that it said violated patents for the “Flyknit” technology it launched in 2012. However, a German court ultimately allowed Adidas to resume production of its “Primeknit” shoes.

Nike says it can make “Flyknit” shoes with half the labour input of a typical “cut-and-sew” shoe as it has 80 percent fewer components, also resulting in 70 percent less waste as it no longer needs to cut pieces from a pattern and discard the rest.

Nike co-founder Philip Knight shook up the sporting goods industry that Adidas has dominated until the 1970s after putting into practice his thesis paper arguing that sneakers from lower-cost Japan could compete with pricier German-made versions.

Today, Asia produces 87 percent of all footwear, with China by far the biggest manufacturer, followed by India, Brazil and Vietnam, according to APICCAPS, the association of Portuguese footwear manufacturers that compiles global industry figures.

INCREASING SPEED TO BOOST MARGINS

Nike and Adidas each rely on more than 1 million workers in contract factories worldwide to make their shoes.

While the need for speed is one motivating factor, rising wage costs, particularly in China, are also driving the shift.

“That element is going up dramatically,” said Glenn Bennett, head of global operations for Adidas who leads the project aimed at getting products to shoppers faster than the six weeks needed for shipments to arrive from Asia.

Adidas is working with companies like automotive supplier Johnson Controls, robotics experts Manz and knitting machine maker Stoll on new processes as it targets prototype in-store manufacturing by next year.

Adidas says more local manufacturing should leave it with less surplus stock it has to discount, helping to lift its operating margin above 10 percent from 6.6 percent in 2014, still behind the 13 percent Nike recorded last year.

Nike, which saw sales in North America dampened earlier this year by delays to deliveries from Asia due to labour disruption at ports on the U.S. West Coast, is unlikely to allow its German rival to get much of a headstart on localised production.

During a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Nike headquarters last month, the firm promised to create 10,000 jobs in the United States in the next decade by producing more in its home market if a trade deal with Asian countries is approved.

“We are putting a lot of money and a lot of resources against how our supply chain evolves to increase speed and make sure we deliver to consumers as quickly and innovatively as we can,” Trevor Edwards, Nike brand president, said in March.

Beyond knitting and 3-D printing, other innovations helping to speed up production include bonding and gluing technologies to fuse together fabrics as well as waterless dyeing which allows pigments to penetrate textiles more quickly.

Yves-Simon Gloy, an expert from the Institute for Textile Technology at Aachen University who is collaborating with Adidas and sees the dawning of a fourth industrial revolution due to the emergence of “cyber physical systems”, machines equipped with sensors, cameras and motors that can be adjusted using the Internet in real time.

But Bennett and Gloy do not expect these smart machines to completely usurp human workers.

“The breakthrough will probably happen in finishing the product close to the consumer,” said Bennett. “Not moving the whole of the operation”.

(Editing by Anna Willard)

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