WADA: Lab data retrieved and being moved out of Moscow Gladys Knight to sing national anthem at Super Bowl NEW YORK (AP): Gladys Knight will sing The Star-Spangled Banner at this year’s Super Bowl. The seven-time Grammy Award winner says she’s proud to use her voice to “unite and represent our country” in her hometown of Atlanta. The 74-year-old and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Her hits include Midnight Train to Georgia and That’s What Friends Are For. Maroon 5 will be joined by Big Boi, Atlanta-based rapper from Outkast, and Travis Scott during the half-time performance. CBS broadcasts this year’s Super Bowl from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3. MOSCOW (AP): Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have finished retrieving data from the Moscow lab that could lead to sanctions against Russian athletes implicated in the country’s wide-ranging doping conspiracy. WADA announced yesterday that the data has been transferred out of Russia for analysis by agency experts. WADA President Craig Reedie called it “a major breakthrough for clean sport”. WADA must still decide whether to rescind the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) compliance. RUSADA was reinstated last September with the caveat that all the data be retrieved from the lab by December 31. But Russia sent WADA experts home empty-handed before the deadline, only for them to return last week. WADA’s compliance review committee is reviewing the case and will send its recommendation to the executive committee, which will decide RUSADA’s status next Tuesday.
1 England manager Roy Hodgson Roy Hodgson is confident England’s young and talented squad will flourish when their Euro 2016 campaign gets under way against Russia.Nine months after qualification was sealed and 24 days after preparations began, the Three Lions kick-off their Group B campaign against Leonid Slutsky’s men at the imposing Stade Velodrome in Marseille.Wales and Slovakia swiftly follow after England attempt to win a European Championship opener for the very first time amid a backdrop of fan trouble in the city centre.It is an unwelcome snapshot of years gone by but Hodgson is focusing on the football, expressing his confidence in the side he will charge with victory on the Cote d’Azur.“I feel happy with it,” he said of his starting line-up, which will be revealed to the players on Saturday morning.“It is not something that has suddenly been sprung upon us over the last few days, it is something which has been emerging certainly over the last six months.“It hasn’t emerged over the last four years or even over two years but certainly over the last six months the team that I’ll pick tomorrow and the team I might pick in future games, they’ve been emerging and I feel very comfortable now I know what those players can do on the field and what they can do together.”There may be comfort and confidence in the side, but Hodgson knows there are always aspects of the game to improve at international level.Recent wins over hosts France, world champions Germany and Portugal, ranked eighth in the world, show they can threaten the best, which could make the next month one to remember.“We know these players can play football,” Hodgson said of his squad. “We see it at their clubs.“My fear as a coach would be that the players take anxiety on to the field, that they’re weighed down when they go out and play and don’t play as well as they like, imagining the headlines.“We try and encourage them to believe in themselves, go out and play the football we’ve been trying to play, and we’ll see what it brings.“We hope it brings some good moments and the people back home like what they see.”The Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister David Cameron have been among the well-wishers ahead of England’s Group B opener, although the coaching staff are working hard to relieve the tension such attention can breed.Wayne Rooney will be key to retaining focus before and during the match against Russia, with Hodgson confirming his place in the starting line-up at the same time as underlining his importance.“I want him to be the captain of the team, I want him to bring his experience, of course,” he said, stood next to the England captain on the eve of the game.“I want him to bring his obvious passion, enthusiasm and desire to do well. I don’t honestly believe there are any players out there that need to be dragged along.“I think they’re all on the same boat but what Wayne has to say and what Wayne can do as an example is because he has got 111 caps and 52 goals.”Hodgson believes his team will find themselves on a “sticky wicket” if they look to Rooney too much and just wants the forward to do what he has done over the entirety of his England career.That cannot be entirely true given the temper that impacted his early career, such as the red card against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals.Dele Alli has proved similarly temperamental during his breakthrough season at Tottenham, but Hodgson has no concerns over him ahead of the clash with Russia.“As far as I am concerned on Dele Alli, if he is selected to play I will select him because he is Dele Alli,” the Three Lions boss said.“He obviously realises as much as anybody that he needs to be careful and we want to finish the game with 11 men.“That is his responsibility but me making a big point of it could detract from his game.“These are the delicate balances all coaches must go through with players who occasionally get a reputation for being easy to provoke.”
– Harriet Jones Northridge Christian-intolerant Re “L.A. County seal has its day in court” (Oct. 18): It is interesting that the state makes an issue over the cross on the county seal because of religion, but isn’t saying anything over the fish, which is also a religious symbol in Christianity, or the cow, which is a symbol to the Hindu religion, or even the central figure on the seal, which is a goddess to the ancient Greeks. How hypocritical is this? Not to mention that this is true “intolerance” toward Christianity, which this nation was founded upon, but the government denies. – Jonathan Reynolds Reseda Video-game skills Re “Video games aid job seekers” (Oct. 18): It was a refreshing expos on how education can be improved. And, the great news is that these technologies and game formats are in schools throughout the world. Programs like Scholastic’s FASTT Math, READ 180 and ReadAbout are helping children gain and maintain critical math and literacy skills. Students are motivated with games and rewards, and are very willing to put forth Herculean effort. The efficiency with which they learn and practice important skills is revolutionary. And we all reap the benefits with students who are competent and performing on grade level. Companies like Scholastic Education are to be commended for their vision and enterprise in improving teaching and learning. – Colleen Driscoll Solomon Tujunga Blaming alcohol When are alcoholics going to take responsibility for their actions? And when are people going to stop blaming alcohol for their bad actions? It’s the cop-out: Find a way to blame something else rather than themselves. Foley blames alcohol for his pedophilia; Gibson blames alcohol and what he terms unfair criticism of his “The Passion of the Christ” for his ranting against Jews. Do these people really expect these lame excuses for their unacceptable behavior to register with people watching their self-indulgent, thoughtless actions? Evidentially so, or at least their spin doctors hope some of it might stick. – Claudia Reame Valley Glen Looking at the plot Re “Don’t waste another day on LAUSD fight” (Their Opinions, Oct. 16): At present, the school board fulfilled a task that was its obligation – to select a new superintendent – and it did just that. Our mayor and his longtime crony (Assembly) Speaker Fabian Nu¤ez are acting like petulant children. When we look at this plot for the mayor to have a leadership role in the school district, some of us wonder what his ultimate goals are. Maybe the pollution of Santa Monica Bay or the California highway system or a million more trees. They see and state the problems of our school district, but the answers are still over the horizon. The mayor’s job is pretty well defined and the LAUSD is a completely separate entity. The people of our city had no say in this political maneuver. Let’s see how it goes after Jan. 1, 2007. – Ira Kaplan Woodland Hills Majority tyranny It seems virtually certain that Proposition 86 will pass in November. It is a good example of the “tyranny of the majority” that our Founding Fathers worried about. The initiative process is the ideal vehicle for the majority to tyrannize minorities. “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.” – Federalist Papers, No. 51. – John Aherne Panorama City Not up to winning As much as I dislike the thought of another Arnold term as governor, I am afraid that is what we will be facing. The reason? Phil Angelides does not have what it takes to win this election. It is too bad that Democrats did not see the light when there was a much better candidate in Steve Westly, since he not only has his own money, he is a stronger personality. Perhaps if his family had been in the spotlight, there would have been a different outcome. He was also more in line with current issues such as abortion, environmental matters, etc. – Lynette Grismore Arleta Sucking us dry I am sick and tired of Democrats and liberals constantly demanding more money from us in the form of bond issues in almost every election year. It seems that they and others (politicians) think by throwing money at a problem, it will simply be corrected and fixed. Our city and county governments are sitting on billions of our tax dollars already and they want even more from us. Why do they continually keep throwing bond issues out to the public in an attempt to circumvent Proposition 13 that was passed so many years ago when the public revolted against our politicians and their inability to spend wisely? I think it is time again to revolt. We need to put forth a proposition that would forbid any further bond issues for five years … That is one I am sure would pass. – Joseph Dillon Chatsworth Protecting us? I wrote to my congressman, Brad Sherman, and asked why he and most Democrats voted against the Federal Election Integrity Act, which requires voters to show a photo identity card to vote in a federal election. In addition, I asked why he voted against The Secure Fence Act, the Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement Act and the Community Protection Act, which were established to protect our citizens. It seems to me that the main responsibility of our elected officials is to do everything necessary to protect us from terrorist and criminal activity and to make sure that only citizens vote in our elections. It’s been over two weeks and he hasn’t answered my questions. – Bill Zelenka Granada Hills Andy Rooney moment I am having an Andy Rooney moment: Have you ever noticed how all politicians, like our governor, are so busy all of a sudden, signing everything put in front of them? You think it’s because voting time is near? And do you wonder why L.A.’s mayor is doing all of those photo ops and traveling all over instead of playing mayor, that he’s building up to run for something else, and didn’t really want to be mayor? And how the borders are wide open and no one is doing anything about it, saying there’s plenty of room in the U.S.? How many more people can we hold? – Joan Olear Burbank160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Re “L.A. meets schools chief” (Oct. 13): I have a great idea! Why don’t we get an educator who has actually taught in the classroom to head our schools? Of course, that’s too simple. I think we need a new school board while we are at it. For a school district that used to lead the country and has been in so much peril for so many years, it makes too much sense for those in charge to try to figure out we need an educator to lead. It’s just another reason for people to send their children to private schools. – Kathy Dudley Northridge A little respect Re “LAUSD’s Brewer enlists community help in Valley visit” (Oct. 18): I agree with David Brewer, our new superintendent for the school district, that we need to get the parents involved. I like his thinking, but I will also go a step further and try to instill in students to have respect for themselves, and they will in turn have respect for others. We should possibly have signs plastered around, saying “respect thyself.” With this, we may not have so many drive-by shootings, etc.