Lleyton Hewitt says Bernard Tomic has threatened and ‘blackmailed’ him

Lleyton Hewitt (left) was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015

Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt claims he has been threatened “physically” and “blackmailed” by his former team-mate Bernard Tomic.

Hewitt, 37, said he and “close knit family” had received threats directly from the world number 88 over the past “year and a half”.

Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, said he did not take them seriously.

Tomic could not be contacted by BBC Sport for a response.

Former world number one Hewitt was responding to comments made by Tomic after the 26-year-old’s Australian Open first-round loss in Melbourne on Monday.

Tomic claimed there was a “conflict of interests” in Hewitt’s Davis Cup team selections and demanded he was removed from the role. Tomic has not played for his country in the competition since 2016.

Tomic claimed some players were picked for the Davis Cup team – and given Australian Open wildcards – because they were represented by a management company owned by Hewitt.

“This is what we’ve come to expect from Bernie,” Hewitt said after playing in the men’s doubles on Thursday.

“Whatever Grand Slam it is, after a first-round loss he will come out with something.”

Hewitt started mentoring Tomic after retiring as a singles player, but says he has “not had anything to do” with Tomic for a couple of years.

“For me the biggest frustration is I feel like I went out of my way to help Bernie,” Hewitt, who won the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon titles, said.

“Especially when I first came into the role, I spent a lot of time with him one and one, and at a lot of tournaments, tried to get a coaching structure and physical team around him to give him best opportunity.

“He still kept making the wrong mistakes.

“After the abuse I copped from him, I drew a line in the sand and haven’t spoke to him since.

“The threats I’ve received for me and my family, that I’ve had for a year and half now, I don’t think anyone would reach out to him again to a person who speaks like that.”

Asked what sort of threats, he replied: “They were blackmail threats and physical.”

Tomic split with Hewitt’s long-term agent David Drysdale in 2017.

Speaking on Monday Tomic said: “No one likes him any more. He’s doing the wrong thing. We don’t want to play any more because he’s ruined the system.”

Asked if there was a rift between him and Hewitt, he said: “Not really. I’ve always wanted to play Davis Cup. I love Davis Cup. If I don’t play, I don’t play. I’m available. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2CngZ8w


Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach third round

Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final
Australian Open 2019
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January
Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online from 19 January.

World number one Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open third round with a straight-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The six-time champion in Melbourne beat the 33-year-old Frenchman 6-3 7-5 6-4.

Tsonga, whose ranking has fallen to 177 after a knee injury restricted him to 12 matches in 2018, showed flashes of his ability but the Serb, 31, was always in control.

Djokovic faces 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 25th seed, next.

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2FwKMzL

American journalist for Iran’s Press TV ‘jailed’ in US

The son of an American journalist working for Iranian state television said his mother has been imprisoned in the United States for reasons unknown.

Marzieh Hashemi, 59, an anchorwoman for Iran‘s English-language Press TV, was arrested on arrival at St Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday and transferred by the FBI to a detention facility in Washington, DC, the broadcaster reported on Wednesday. 

“We still have no idea what’s going on,” Hossein Hashemi, her elder son, told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Washington. “Everyone we ask is very vague and the information is still limited.”

He said no charges have been filed against his mother, and he and his siblings were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

Hossein said his mother was shooting a Black Lives Matter documentary in St Louis, Missouri, and was about to board a flight to Denver when she was apprehended at the airport.

The FBI said in an email it had no comment on her arrest.

Marzieh was born Melanie Franklin in New Orleans and has worked for Iran’s state television network for 25 years.

Hossein said his mother, an American citizen, lives in Tehran and comes back to the US usually once a year to see family, often scheduling documentary work somewhere in the country as well.

“It’s important to note that she is an American citizen, she’s a Muslim American citizen, she is an African American, and she has certain particular kinds of views that make it difficult for us not to think in conspiratorial sorts of ways,” said Hossein Hashemi, a research fellow at the University of Colorado.

US law allows judges to order witnesses to be arrested and held if the government can prove their testimony has extraordinary value for a criminal case, and that they would be a flight risk and unlikely to respond to a subpoena.

‘Apartheid and racist policy’

Marzieh had not been contacted by the FBI before she was arrested and would “absolutely” have been willing to cooperate with the agency, according to her son.

The family is trying to hire a lawyer, but it has been difficult because she has not been charged with a crime, he said.

Iran’s state broadcaster held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Marzieh

“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state TV that Marzieh‘s arrest indicates the “apartheid and racist policy” of US President Donald Trump‘s administration.

“We hope that the innocent person will be released without any condition,” Ghasemi said.

The incident comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual citizens and other people with Western ties.

Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding US Navy veteran Michael R White at a prison, making him the first American known to be held under Trump’s administration.

At least four other American citizens are being held in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father, Baquer, both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges.

Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, received 27 and 16 years in jail, respectively, while Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years.

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2FD9QnQ

England women to travel to India for ODI and T20 series

England defeated India in last year’s World T20 semi-finals but lost to Australia in the final

England women will travel to India for three ODIs and three T20 internationals in February and March.

The ODIs will take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 22, 25 and 28 February.

The Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati will host the T20 games on 4, 7 and 9 March.

The one day internationals are part of the ICC Women’s Championship, in which England are currently third, with a victory worth two points.

The top three in the championship qualify directly for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

England will also play a warm-up fixture against BP XI on February 18 in Mumbai.

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2CCjK6n

Her brother told police she wanted to join ISIS. They dropped the case. Then she attacked a Canadian Tire | CBC News

More than a year before she entered a Canadian Tire store armed with an archer’s bow and butcher’s knife, Rehab Dughmosh’s brother tipped off police that she was on an international flight to join ISIS.

The RCMP notified Turkish authorities, who refused her entry into the country and put her on the next flight back to Toronto. 

Dughmosh denied it. No charges were laid and the RCMP closed their file. 

These are among the details that Dughmosh admitted in a Toronto courtroom Wednesday, a year and seven months after she allegedly threatened store employees and a customer with a golf club and a knife inside a Canadian Tire in Scarborough.

Dughmosh, who in an earlier court appearance pledged her allegiance to ISIS, faces four charges in connection with leaving Canada for the purpose of participating in a terror group, assault with a golf club, assault with a knife and carrying a compound bow — all for the benefit of a terror group, namely ISIS.

Dughmosh refused to enter a plea on Wednesday, but she presented no evidence to defend herself in her appearance at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. Justice Maureen Forestell entered a not-guilty plea on Dughmosh’s behalf.

Employees wrestled woman to ground

An agreed statement of facts entered in court lays out what happened on the afternoon of June 3, 2017. Dughmosh packed three bags with an assortment of homemade weapons and headed down to the lobby of her Scarborough apartment. 

Then she ran into her husband.

Anas Hanafy, separated from but still living with Dughmosh, asked the now 34-year-old what was in the bags. When he saw what was inside, he confiscated them from her.

What he didn’t know was that Dughmosh had concealed an archer’s bow and butcher’s knife beneath her robe.

At about 4:40 p.m. Dughmosh left her Scarborough home and walked to a nearby Canadian Tire store. Inside, she told an employee she wanted to purchase a set of arrows locked in a display case. The employee couldn’t hand her the items, citing a store policy that locked items needed to be given directly to a cashier for payment, according to the statement of facts.

Dughmosh, unable to pay for the arrows, left the sporting goods section and began perusing other items. She decided on a hammer, wrenches and pliers and placed them in a red shopping basket. Then she headed back to the sporting goods section, where she picked up a golf club and disappeared down an aisle.

In the meantime, you’re going to kill people in Canada?–  Kyle Craig, Canadian Tire employee

At 5:12 p.m., Dughmosh removed a black-and-white ISIS banner from under her robe, tied a black bandana with an ISIS symbol around her head and slung the archery bow over her shoulder, according to the statement of facts. With the golf club in her right hand, she made her way to the store’s paint section.

Three store employees were in the paint section helping two customers when Dughmosh charged towards them, swinging the golf club repeatedly and shouting, “Allahu Akbar [God is Great].” One of the employees grabbed her arm as she was about to swing and wrestled the golf club away.

‘When you kill us, we kill you’

That’s when Dughmosh pulled the butcher’s knife from beneath her robe and began swinging against another employee, who managed to wrestle her to the ground. A fourth employee ran over to help and was able to pry the knife from Dughmosh’s hand as someone called 911.

“Why did you come in here?” asked employee Kyle Craig. “Because of ISIS?”

“Yes,” replied Dughmosh. “When you kill us, we will kill you … When you kill Muslims, you have to pay for it from your blood.”

Dughmosh went on to explain she’d previously tried to leave Canada to join ISIS but was turned back at the Turkish border, the statement of facts says.

“In the meantime, you’re going to kill people in Canada?” asked Craig. “Why, what’s that gonna give you?”

“Revenge … to stop killing Muslims in Syria and Iraq. You’re killing ISIS, I’m from ISIS,” Dughmosh said, according to the statement. No one was seriously injured in the attack.

On the afternoon of June 3, 2017, Rehab Dughmosh walked to this Canadian Tire store at the Cedarbrae Mall in Scarborough. (Google Maps)

Disappointed she hadn’t hurt anyone

In the hours after her arrest, Dughmosh admitted the real reason for her April 2016 trip to Turkey. It was not to visit family. Instead, it was to join ISIS and live with them in the Caliphate. 

Speaking to investigators with the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET), Dughmosh admitted she’d been an ISIS supporter since 2014, having made a unilateral pledge of allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

Dughmosh was interviewed by the RCMP the previous year, after her attempt to get to Syria via the Turkish border city of Gazantiep. But it wasn’t until after the attempted attack at the Canadian Tire in 2017 that investigators understood her intentions, according to the statement.

Dughmosh told investigators she was “disappointed” she’d failed to hurt anyone during the attack. But she was happy with what she’d done, she said. The important thing was to try.

Staggering array of weapons

A search of Dughmosh’s home after the Canadian Tire incident turned up a staggering array of weapons, including a black duffel bag with knives, scissors, and a child’s shovel converted into claws.

There was much more: a red cart with a hammer, two arrows, 31 barbecue skewers, 76 straws with screws glued to the tip; and a red bag containing 36 other handmade weapons. 

Investigators also found  two propaganda videos by the ISIS media arm, each viewed several times over in the previous weeks.

Dughmosh, investigators found, had also written a will. In it she asked that God “grant me martyrdom for His sake, for the elevation of his religion and to take revenge from the criminal infidels.”

Federal Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely read aloud the statement of facts to the jury. When he was finished, Forestell asked Dughmosh if she admitted to the details.

Dughmosh replied simply, “Yes.”

A jury is expect to begin deliberating on a verdict Thursday. 

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2RzeyKN

Betsy DeVos’ bet on boot camps

As Americans look to build the skills they need for the fast-changing job market, a new type of education provider has swept onto the scene: the coding boot camp, an intensive, short-term training program for students trying to land high-tech jobs.

Although they still account for a tiny share of American higher education, they’re growing fast; last year the camps graduated 20,000 students, 20 percent up from the previous year. As more workers sign up, the camps are drawing attention from policymakers as an efficient, job-focused alternative to a costly and complicated higher-education system.

“These nontraditional technology education models are part of the solution to closing the skills gap,’’ Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said when he introduced legislation to promote coding camps for military veterans in 2017.

The appeal is easy to see: Instead of the big, expensive infrastructure of traditional higher ed, boot camps tend to be small, adaptable and infused with the kind of startup mentality that drives much of the high-tech job market. And graduates tend to see quick results: Many get jobs quickly with a salary boost that easily covers the average $12,000 tuition.

As boot camps proliferate, policymakers in Washington have been asking whether the federal government should get behind the idea—specifically, by opening up some of the $130 billion it doles out annually in student loan guarantees and Pell Grants for higher education. Currently, this aid can be used only for accredited schools, which means students can’t use federal grants or loans for coding camps, which are unaccredited and largely operate as for-profit businesses.

But the Trump administration, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, wants to expand alternatives to traditional higher education and loosen some federal restrictions to make it easier for accredited colleges and universities to partner with boot camp operators.

The Obama administration had already dipped a toe in that water, experimenting with allowing a small amount of federal aid to go to coding boot camps, among other types of nontraditional education providers. And Congress in 2017 added $15 million in new funding for an expansion of the GI Bill to support veterans who want to train at a coding boot camp.

As the government gingerly experiments with coding camps, critics have warned that an infusion of federal money could open the floodgates to fraud and abuse by unscrupulous operators. The Obama-era experiment and the GI Bill pilot program both included provisions meant to measure effectiveness, but they’re so new that they haven’t begun yielding meaningful results.

Undaunted, the Trump administration is poised to double down on the idea. As part of a sweeping higher education overhaul, DeVos wants to make it easier for federal funds to flow to all types of alternative education providers, including coding camps.

Specifically, DeVos has proposed eliminating a longstanding federal restriction on accredited colleges outsourcing their educational programs to an outside, unaccredited provider. The current rule caps that outsourcing at 50 percent; the administration is considering allowing as much as 100 percent of a program to be outsourced while still being eligible for federal aid. So, a student could effectively attend a boot camp using federal loans, using an accredited college as a pass-through.

The Education Department proposal, which is part of a broad effort to loosen the federal reins on higher education, is aimed at allowing more innovation in higher education, officials said. Diane Auer Jones, a top DeVos aide leading the regulatory overhaul, said that the administration is focused on boosting university partnerships with employers; boot camps might be part of that, though the overall ambition is much larger.

“Where we really want to drive innovation, though, is in work-based learning,” Jones said last year. “I just don’t think that there are that many institutions that want to outsource 100 percent of a program to a coding boot camp. There could be some. I just don’t think that that is what we’re thinking about.”

Still, the proposal represents a significant expansion of the Obama experiment, which required coding boot camps to partner with traditional, accredited colleges and have a third-party organization monitor and track student outcomes as a condition of waiving the 50 percent outsourcing rule. The DeVos proposal seeks to eliminate that requirement for anyone.

Boot camps typically run three or four months and cost roughly $12,000, though in some cases as much as $20,000, according to Course Report, an industry publication. When the program works and a student lands a job, the investment pays off very directly: A December 2018 survey by Course Report found that boot camp graduates typically found a job within six months and reported an average jump in salary of nearly 50 percent, or roughly $21,000.

Without federal backing, students have to pay for the boot camps out of pocket, through private loans or tap another financing option. That may mean that lower-income students or those with credit problems might have a harder time accessing this type of education. Ensuring access to these programs to lower-income Americans was a prime motivation for the Obama-era policy.

Coding schools themselves are not advocating for federal funding. Liz Simon, vice president of legal and external affairs at General Assembly, one of the oldest and most prominent coding boot camps, said she would advise policymakers to proceed cautiously.

“We’ve seen examples in the past where federal aid has been exploited,” she said. The company sees creating access for low-income students as an important part of its mission, but it’s been able to accomplish that without federal financial aid.

“We’ve not felt like we’ve needed Pell Grants to reach a population of lower income students,” she said. Students who can’t afford to pay out of pocket typically pay through income-share agreements, where students commit to paying a percentage of their future earnings for a period of time.

As the industry has grown, it has faced some upheaval, and some high-profile problems. Two coding boot camps acquired by large for-profit education companies to much fanfare closed in 2017, both citing challenges in developing sustainable business models. A boot camp called Flatiron School in 2017 agreed to pay $375,000 to settle allegations by the New York attorney general that it had inflated claims about the success of its graduates. And Woz U, a coding boot camp that bears the name of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, has faced complaints by students about the quality of its program.

Critics worry that federal aid would only fuel a boom in fly-by-night operators, repeating the abuses of for-profit colleges as they rapidly expanded during the Great Recession. Driven by displaced workers seeking a way back into the workforce, the for-profit colleges often failed to deliver on their promises to students and fueled a massive increase in student loan defaults.

“The fear would be that you take taxpayers’ money and their trust that student aid is being spent to benefit students and you turn it into a boondoggle for a bunch of low-quality predatory training programs,” said Carrie Wofford, who helped lead a sweeping Senate investigation into for-profit colleges in 2012 and now leads the advocacy group Veterans Education Success.

This is why the Obama-era pilot programs included quality guardrails. Wofford and other veterans groups persuaded both Republicans and Democrats to add some protective provisions to the GI Bill benefits including a “pay for success”provision. “We crafted it so coding boot camp providers don’t get paid unless the veteran gets a job,” Wofford said, calling it a blueprint for setting minimum standards in any expansion of federal aid to such programs.

Ryan Burke worked on coding boot camps as White House economic policy adviser for President Barack Obama — and then went to a Flatiron coding boot camp herself as a student after leaving the administration. Now a manager at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic venture of former Google executive Eric Schmidt, she’s a fan of boot camps but agrees that any federal support for the programs should be linked to their performance.

“Whether it’s a coding boot camp, community college or four-year school — for federal student aid, the question should be: ‘What are people’s wages before training and what are they after?’” Burke said. “If you get to a value differential, we’ll fund you.”

That’s actually a higher accountability standard than traditional universities face; federal loans can be used for education at accredited schools regardless of job or earnings outcomes. But in a fast-moving and unaccredited new industry, those accountability provisions are important, Burke said. “There’s huge risk in getting this wrong,” Burke said. “If you get it wrong, you lose a lot of the political capital to get it right.”

Michael Stratford is an education reporter for POLITICO Pro.

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2CtSdUe

What were the biggest storylines from the 2018 NFL season? – BBC Sport

BBC Sport NFL pundits Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell discuss what impressed them the most in the 2018 NFL season; from the emergence of new young quarterbacks to the explosion of offensive plays.

WATCH MORE: No stopping Hill & Gurley in NFL divisional play-offs

Watch The NFL Show on Saturday, 19 January (23:50 GMT) on BBC One and Super Bowl LIII live from Atlanta on Sunday, 3 February on BBC One.

Read More

from Viral Topic Zone http://bit.ly/2CmVNzu