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Phil ShinerSource: REX ShutterstockThe tribunal hearing following that investigation heard of Shiner’s ‘deliberate and calculating lies’ as he disregarded rules about what solicitors could and could not do.Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said justice had ‘finally been served’ by the SDT ruling.‘Phil Shiner made soldiers’ lives a misery by pursuing false claims of torture and murder – now he should apologise,’ said Fallon. ‘We will study any implications for outstanding legal claims closely.’The Legal Aid Agency confirmed it is taking steps to recover any public money that has been obtained inappropriately by Public Interest Lawyers.The tribunal, which found 22 charges proved, was told Shiner admitted encouraging and authorising unsolicited direct approaches to potential clients arising out of the 2004 ‘Battle of Danny Boy’ in Iraq.Colonel James Coote, who as a major commanded British troops during the battle, said the case had caused him and many of his men to lose faith in the legal profession.Shiner’s firm had a funding agreement which saw it receive more than £1.6m in relation to the Iraqi claims, with £500 a claim paid to a ‘fixer’ who helped to find clients.Andrew Tabachnik, representing the SRA, said Shiner was among those who had ‘lost his bearings’ in signing up claimants, who were then not informed when their cases faltered.Shiner had denied dishonesty but was not present at the hearing this week to hear the case against him. He had previously admitted some charges of recklessness and a lack of integrity.The case is expected to be one of the most expensive prosecutions ever brought against a solicitor. By 22 November last year, the SRA had spent £476,795 in costs, including £94,000 to pay for the investigation and £134,000 paid to external London firm Russell Cooke. The case involves 2,500 pages of documents – not including evidence – filling five lever-arch files.Speaking after the ruling, Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said: ‘We welcome the SDT’s decision to strike off Professor Shiner, who has been found to have been dishonest. It is important that solicitors can bring forward difficult cases, but the public must be able to place their trust in them. ‘His misconduct has caused real distress to soldiers, their families and to the families of Iraqi people who thought that their loved ones had been murdered or tortured. More than £30m of public funds were spent on investigating what proved to be false and dishonest allegations.’ The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today brought the curtain down on the legal career of controversial solicitor Phil Shiner. The tribunal found five counts of dishonesty proved against him following a two-day hearing earlier this week. He was struck off the roll. He will have 21 days to appeal the decision after it is published in around seven weeks.The costs bill was sent for detailed assessment and the SDT ordered Shiner to make an interim payment of £250,000.The SDT found that Shiner authorised and procured his firm Public Interest Lawyers to enter an agreement in June 2015 providing financial benefits to a third party in order for him to change his evidence to the Al-Sweady inquiry into allegations of atrocities in Iraq. Shiner was also dishonest in presenting the changed evidence from that third party without explanation, and in sanctioning and approving the creation of emails which did not describe the true reason for the agreement.The SDT also found dishonesty proved in how Shiner responded to two questions from the Solicitors Regulation Authority during its investigation.Shiner became a vilified figure in the national media after running claims on behalf of Iraqi civilians against the British government. The Al-Sweady public inquiry in 2014 cleared British forces of murdering detainees and led directly to an investigation by the SRA.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedIn 3 schools in Dumfries and Galloway have beaten stiff competition nationwide to be finalists at the Scottish Education Awards.St Michael’s Primary School in Dumfries is a finalist in the Making Languages Come Alive category for its achievements in promoting languages to pupils.The school has created a bilingual banter group, which provides an opportunity for pupils to share cultural experiences, teach others new languages, and share stories from their home countries.Douglas Ewart High School in Newton Stewart is a finalist in the Transforming Lives through Partnerships category.Cargenbridge Primary School in Dumfries is a finalist in the Enterprise and Employability Across Learning (Primary and Early Years) category.The finalists will attend a prestigious awards ceremony in Glasgow on 8 June, when the judges will reveal the winners in each category.The Scottish Education Awards recognise and reward the people who dedicate their lives to children and young people. They showcase the invaluable work and innovation that happens in classrooms across the country.Councillor Jeff Leaver, chairman of the Education Committee, said, “Providing the best start in life for all our children is a Council priority. The achievement of 3 of our schools being finalists in the Scottish Education Awards highlights the good work being done in schools across our region. Congratulations to all involved.”For more info on the Scottish Education Awards see: http://www.scottisheducationawards.org.uk/
Matt Loede Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE. While Slider, along with pals Ketchup, Mustard and Onion have all been staples in terms of kid-loving mascots at Progressive Field the last number of years, there’s a new girl in town in terms of the introduction of a new mascot.Bacon.Welcome the @TribeHotDogs newest friend….All the way from @SugardaleFoods…. BACON!!!! ???? pic.twitter.com/Dq9SmFBE5b— Slider (@SliderTheMascot) May 23, 2018The announcement was made today that Bacon, direct from Sugardale Foods, is going to be the newest Mascot roaming the stands and having fun at Progressive Field.Who knew first off that Bacon was a female, and also that it would make for a good mascot? Related TopicsIndians
Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE. Longtime and former ESPN voice Bill Simmons for years has been nothing more than a Boston sports fanboy who if it doesn’t involve Boston usually doesn’t support or like it. So it should come as no surprise that in his latest podcast, Simmons went on a rant stating that if the Cavs, who have the worst record in the league, win the NBA Draft Lottery and take Duke stud forward Zion Williamson, he’s leaving sports.What a glorious day it would be. Here’s what Simmons had to say about the Cavs and the lottery, saying that Cleveland ‘doesn’t deserve’ to have Williamson on their roster. Seriously? “If Cleveland wins the lottery and gets Zion, I’m quitting sports,” Simmons told Ringer NBA writer Kevin O’Connor on ‘The Bill Simmons Podcast.’ “I’m just done. I’m out. The Ringer turns into a pop culture site, you’re going to have to look for a new job. I’m done. If Cleveland wins the f—ing lottery again, I’m done. I’m done with all professional sports, I’m out.”“I think, Zion in Cleveland…” O’Connor began. “They do not deserve Zion!” Simmons continued.The Cavs have dropped seven straight and sit at 8-30 on the year. If they don’t end with the worst record, they will be right there at the bottom by the time the season ends in April.“I just think like, enough. We’re sorry LeBron left Cleveland, but enough with the karma for Cleveland,” Simmons went on to say.It’s interesting that an entitled brat like Simmons would root against a city where sports struggles seem to be the norm.His jealousy about the Cavs is ridiculous considering how many titles his beloved Celtics have. We can only hope that the Cavs do win the lottery and pick Williamson, and that we will have heard the last from Simmons.Somehow, someway I don’t see it happening. Matt Loede Related TopicsBill SimmonsCavsNBA
FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The National Weather Service in Anchorage had issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Snow for Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Cooper Landing, which is in effect from 4pm Thursday to 6pm Friday. The most significant impacts will be seen north of Clam Gulch. Snow is predicted to reach amounts of 3 to 8 inches Thursday and Friday with snow persisting through Saturday. Winds are expected to blow northeast 10 to 20 mph. Winter driving conditions are expected across the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Travel may be difficult with visibility limited during the heavy snowfall.
FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享James Michael Cook has been sentenced to 12 years of active jail time nearly three years after a standoff on Gas Well Road. The then 42-year-old Cook was wanted for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting his former girlfriend. The standoff saw two gunshots from Cook, and multiple smoke grenades and non-lethal rounds from Troopers. It was August 20, 2013 when the neighborhood around a Gas Well home was closed by Alaska State Troopers just as students were being bused home. For six hours Alaska State Troopers surrounded the residence where Cook was hiding. The victim was present during yesterday (Monday) afternoon’s sentencing hearing, saying after three years the events of that week still haunt her. She petitioned Judge Carl Bauman for the maximum sentence allowed by law. The defense didn’t argue the facts of the case, but asked for leniency given the emotional aspects of the initial beating. Bauman wrestled with the severity of the sentence, but was forced by law to sentence Cook to at least ten years of active jail time for the assault and another two for weapons charges. There were no recorded injuries on either side and Cook was eventually taken into custody. He has been working through the legal process ever since. Cook also faces five years of suspended time and five years of probation, which Bauman said would serve as a deterrent to any future violence.
Given the high stakes, owners strive to improve the odds by employing the services of proven winners. Deep Impact, one of Japan’s best-loved and most famous racehorses, is also one of the country’s leading live sperm donors. Hundreds of times a year, the stallion is trundled off from his home in a farm a few hours from Paca Paca to inseminate another unsuspecting mare. If this union produces a foal, Deep Impact’s owner, Katsumi Yoshida, is rewarded with ¥30 million. So successful has the thoroughbred been that Deep Impact is currently earning ¥6 billion (almost $60 million) a year. And at 14 — middle-aged for a horse — the stallion is still young enough to sire hundreds more children, as long as the spirit — and the body — is willing.Not every horse performs on cue. Breeding is a hit-and-miss affair: foals can turn out to be sickly or deformed. Mares and stallions can be temperamental, or worse: One of America’s most iconic racehorses, Cigar, won almost $10 million in prize money and was twice voted horse of the year in the 1990s. However, his performance on racecourses was not matched in the stable: None of the 34 mares he squired became pregnant. Cigar, it turned out, was shooting blanks.Racing utopiaHorse racing in Japan appears at first glance to have its best days behind it: Attendance at racecourses is down by more than half from the 14 million people who went in the late 1990s, when betting revenue peaked.Yet, the domestic industry is still big business, with annual betting turnover of more than $25 billion (about twice that spent in the United States) and some of the more prestigious races and richest purses in the world.Not bad for a country where gambling is, with noted exceptions, illegal.The country’s most popular race, the Japan Cup, regularly attracts more than 100,000 people to Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, one of the planet’s largest stadiums. The nation’s online betting system has 3.4 million subscribers, according to the Japan Racing Association (JRA). One estimate is that a fifth of the bets placed on horses in the world are made in Japan. “It’s a kind of racing utopia,” Sweeney concludes.Most strikingly of all has been the evolution of breeding over the past two decades. From being largely also-rans in international competition, Japan-bred horses are now among the fastest and strongest in the world, thanks largely to mixing with foreign bloodlines (see sidebar). American horses, once the ones to beat, haven’t won the Japan Cup since 1991. The last time the race was won by a horse from outside Japan was more than a decade ago.Japan-bred horses not only dominate the domestic sport, they increasingly win abroad too. Instead of Kildare or Kentucky, elite breeders send mares to Hokkaido to mate with Japanese stallions.This success hasn’t been achieved without controversy. Like anywhere, only a fraction of the horses bred will ever have the star power of a Deep Impact; tired stallions are injected with testosterone to get them back in the mood, claim animal rights groups. And once stud fees fall, life can end with a trip to the butcher’s yard.One each wayDespite — or perhaps because of — these riches, the industry is famously strictly run. The JRA, a public company, operates Tokyo Racecourse and the rest of the country’s largest tracks. It licenses trainers, vets and jockeys, runs betting shops and the country’s two big training centers.Acting under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the JRA sends 10 percent of its annual turnover (about $2.48 billion) back to the government coffers. Legislation dictates that the money must be used to pay for livestock breeding, and public and social welfare.The quasi-government control has mostly kept the sport out of the hands of gangsters, conmen and illegal syndicates. It is also the “great difference” between Japan and other parts of the world, says Hiroshi Ito, head of the JRA’s International Planning Division.Elsewhere, he points out, betting shops, courses, races and training farms are often run separately.“In the United States, racecourse ownership is (organized) by states; each racecourse in America is for profit and they have to compete against each other,” Ito says. Profits generated in Japan are plowed back to the facilities, breeders and trainers. In the long term, that improves the industry.”Visitors to Japan are often stunned by what they see on the biggest racetracks. In addition to the sometimes obsessive fans who follow particular horses and riders, families and young couples crowd the biggest races. The bread-and-butter of the industry is the paltry ¥200 entry price paid into courses and the small wagers made by millions of ordinary punters (two-thirds of the bets are made online or on smartphones).“(There is) a reverence for the horse and for the sport that hasn’t existed in the West for decades,” wrote Ryan Goldberg, an American journalist in December 2014.The reverence does not extend to what happens after the animals have outlived their usefulness. About 90 percent of former racehorses in Japan end up in slaughterhouses every year, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The victims include some of the biggest stars, says PETA, including Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand, who was “disposed of,” aged 19, in 2002.“They are killed, cut apart and end up as food for dogs and humans,” PETA claims.Ito says the JRA and farms in the private sector have retraining programs to help retired racehorses become riding horses. He notes, however, that such programs don’t cover every racehorse in the country.Many fans like to believe their equine heroes have been put out to pasture but the industry shares little of their romanticism.“It’s a fact of life that 5,000 to 7,000 racehorses come into the world every year and they have to leave,” Sweeney says. “The most important thing for me is that it’s done as humanely as possible. The lives of sheep, pigs, dogs and horses are all equally valuable.”Foreign racehorse breeder tastes industry successA quarter of a century ago, Harry Sweeney was a horse doctor in Ireland when he was asked to bring his veterinarian skills to Hokkaido.“(It was) very dark days for the Irish economy,” recalls Sweeney, 55. His main interest in attending the interview in Dublin, however, was not the prospect of a new job but a night in posh accommodation.“There were very few five-star hotels in Ireland at the time and I thought it would be the only opportunity I’d ever get to stay in one,” he says, laughing at the memory. When his future Japanese employers promised him six times his then-salary to become a farm manager, however, he took the offer. He and his wife, Anne, found themselves in Hokkaido’s snowy farmland. Their few neighbors spoke little English.It was, says Sweeney, “tough”: no internet, cellphones or satellite TV. The Japan Times regularly arrived five days late; he had to follow the 1991 Gulf War with a shortwave radio stuck to his ear.Still, the couple enjoyed the adventure and stayed on for five years before moving to a larger farm. They studied Japanese and had four children, all boys.Eventually, opportunity knocked again. In the go-go years of the 1980s, wealthy Japanese bought trophy foreign mares, along with golf courses, skyscrapers and film studios. As the economy tanked in the 1990s, Sweeney thought some might be willing to sell.“I remember thinking ‘I will broker these mares for repatriation and get a fine commission for it,’” he recalls.That was Sweeney’s entry into the racehorse business, and his battle with the forces that control it. He began buying foals, rearing them and putting them up for auction in the United States. It was a gamble, he admits.“We had some spectacular success and some frightening losses,” he says.All was going reasonably well until he turned up with $20,000 at a Japanese auction to buy a racehorse.There was “total pandemonium,” recalls Sweeney. After nine years in Japan, he had snagged a bureaucratic tripwire: No foreign national had ever been allowed to buy a racehorse in his own name.“I was apoplectic and demanded to know why,” he recalls.The bottom line, he was told, was that racehorse owners were required to own farms … but foreign nationals were banned from holding agricultural land.“Conventional wisdom was that it was impossible for a foreigner to own a farm, and to become a racehorse owner,” he says. “I started to investigate and saw a way around it — not to buy the farm in my own name but in the name of a Japanese registered company.”Not one to take no for an answer, Sweeney bought his farm though a legal backdoor that involved appointing two Japanese directors. Then he bulldozed his way through other obstacles, eventually winning a coveted license from the Japanese Racing Association.He considers the latter his greatest achievement. The JRA, he points out, is an elite club of just 2,000 racehorse owners — and he was at the time the only non-Japanese member.Sweeney’s 225-hectare farm is a short drive from where he first began working 26 years ago. Over the years he has had some remarkable successes.One of his first originated during a family trip to Ireland, when he spotted a mare galloping in the mountains and took her back to Japan. In 2001, a colt produced by the mare won one of Japan’s most elite races. He subsequently sold a half-brother for $750,000.“We grew from there, buying better horses, better quality,” he says.In 2012, Deep Brillante, bred on Paca Paca, won the Japanese Derby. Sweeney subsequently sold his sister for $1.79 million. Last year, eight young horses fetched more than $2 million at a single sale.The Irishman finds himself at the center of an industry with betting turnover greater than the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland combined, and 24,000 horses in training — the third-largest number in the world.For years, he and his family of four boys have split their time between Hokkaido and their second home in Ireland. Still, a quarter of a century after leaving home, Sweeney’s love affair with Japan is still fresh.“I like it here; it’s a fantastic horse industry, structure, racing and prize money,” Sweeney says. “I love the farm, the scenery, people and the food. I think I have a wonderful life: a home in Ireland and a home here.”Among his innovations has been to leave yearlings (immature horses) out in the snow, a decision that raised eyebrows in the industry.“We were the first in Japan to do it,” he says. “They’re healthier; they grow better, stronger muscles.”Sweeney says that once the farm produced its first Derby winner, “our neighbors copied us.”The ‘new superpower’ of domestic horse breederThe home of horse breeding in Japan is Hokkaido and its undisputed kings are the Yoshida brothers.Katsumi, Teruya and Haruya Yoshida between them midwife over a fifth of the 7,000 foals born annually in Japan, and nearly half of the horses that compete in the biggest races. Rumor has it that despite their close working relationship, the brothers are at odds.“If they’re sitting in the same room, they’ll be on opposite sides,” says one insider.The family patriarch, Zensuke, began racing horses in the 1930s. His son Zenya revolutionized domestic bloodlines when he imported (at a cost of about $10 million) the winner of the 1989 Kentucky Derby to breed with local mares. Sunday Silence and the Japanese horses he bred with was a gene match made in heaven. He became Japan’s greatest stallion, helping to completely change the phenotype of Japanese horses.Sunday Silence’s offspring have won most of Japan’s and many of the world’s top races, according to the Japan Bloodstock Information System database. Their estimated collective earnings top ¥80 billion and include Deep Impact, which Katsumi Yoshida bred and sold for $600,000. After he won the Japanese Triple Crown in 2005, the Yoshida brothers bought him back for more than $50 million, less than what he now earns in a year from squiring foals.Makahiki, also sired by Deep Impact, won the Japanese Derby in May, earning a prize of ¥200 million. The Yoshida family owns or has a stake in most of the nation’s other top stallions, including King Kamehameha, Harbinger and Just a Way, once the world’s top-rated thoroughbred horse. Their successes abroad include Rulership, who won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong in 2012, and Gentildonna, winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic two years ago.The origins of the Yoshida empire date back to 1993 when Zenya died.Zenya’s sprawling operation was divided between the brothers, with Katsumi, taking over the branch that would become the Northern Farm.Katsumi’s greatest contribution to Japanese breeding has been to scour the racehorse farms of Europe, America and Australia for quality mares, says Murray Johnson, a veteran Japan-based commentator and expert.“It wasn’t a high priority to have horses brought in before,” Johnson says.Horse sales at Northern Farm and the other Yoshida stables now bring in the best trainers, and the richest buyers from across the world.At a two-day auction last year, Katsumi sold 165 horses for a total of ¥6.8 billion ($55.1 million at 2015 prices). A single colt sold for more than $2 million.Britain’s Racing Post, the industry bible, calls the Yoshidas “the new superpower of breeding.”“If there were plans for a Disney World of bloodstock, it could open almost immediately on the island of Hokkaido in Japan,” it wrote in August 2015. Tokyo Racecourse is one of the planet’s largest stadiums. | KYODO hokkaido, breeding, Makahiki, Paca Paca Farm, Harry Sweeney, Deep Brillante, Deep Impact, Katsumi Yoshida, Teruya Yoshida, Haruya Yoshida, Zensuke Yoshida, Zenya Yoshida, Sunday Silence, Horse Racing Harry Sweeney has his hand up a horse’s backside. The mare looks put out by this intrusion. Her eyes dart about nervously and she shifts her weight before accepting five thick human digits probing her insides. After feeling the uterus and the swelling of the ovaries, Sweeney’s arm, slick with mucus and excrement, reemerges. He doesn’t even need to look at the monitor. “She’s pregnant,” he confirms, smiling.As well he might. Foals bred on Sweeney’s Hokkaido farm, Paca Paca (the onomatopoeic sound of a trotting horse), have sold for more than $1 million (¥102 million). In 2012, Deep Brillante, born on this farm, won the Japanese Derby, the country’s most prestigious race. Sweeney later sold her sister for $1.79 million. The clump of cells inside the belly of this timorous mare could one day be worth a pile of cash. KEYWORDS GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES RELATED PHOTOS Makahiki wins the Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse in May. | KYODO Deep Brillante (background) wins the Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse in May 2012. The thoroughbred was squired at Paca Paca Farm in Hidaka, Hokkaido. | KYODO Harry Sweeney, owner of Paca Paca Farm in Hidaka, Hokkaido. | DAVID MCNEILL IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5
Survey results showed a concentration of smaller scallops in the southern portion of the north bed. Therefore, the southern portion of the north bed will be closed to conserve younger scallops. In addition, the entire southern bed will be closed for the season. Russ: “We did not have a survey this year. We are basing the performance and setting of the guideline harvest level on the most recent survey, which was done in 2015. So, basically the information we had for setting the guideline harvest level for last year is the same for 2017.” Elisa Russ, Assistant Area Management Biologist, Department of Fish and Game… FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The commercial weathervane scallop season in waters of the Cook Inlet Area Kamishak District season opens August 15.The guideline harvest level of 10,000 pounds of scallop meats, which is the lower bound of the guideline harvest range of 10,000–20,000 pounds allowed to open the fishery. Photos courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish & Game In 2015, a survey of Kamishak District scallops was completed, but only in the north bed. These survey results showed a slight increase in scallop abundance in the northern portion of the district and an age structure that included both older and younger scallops. Based on biomass estimates from the most recent survey, a guideline harvest level of 10,000 pounds will be available for harvest. Prior to fishing, qualified individuals must obtain a scallop area registration and logbook from the ADF&G office in Homer.