U.S. AmbassadorChristine ElderUnited States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, has made it clear to the Liberian Government under the watch of President George Weah that, unlike years before the inception of this administration when the strength of the country’s institutions could enable it overcome confronting situations such as Ebola, there is no question today that Liberia faces more challenges.In her message commemorating the 243rd Independence Anniversary of the United States, celebrated on May 8 ahead of the official July 4 date, Ambassador Elder said Liberians have demonstrated their resilience, courage and dedication in the fight against the Ebola epidemic and commitment to the election process that led President Weah to power fairly and peacefully.However, Ambassador Elder told President Weah that Liberians, having built their trust in him by overwhelmingly voting him in the 2017 election, are looking forward to receiving better services that will enhance inclusion in the building of Liberia’s democracy.On this note, the Ambassador emphasized that having overcome some of its complex challenges, the country through the Weah Administration must seize this day to achieve long-term political stability.“The time is now to reverse corruption and its corrosive and contagious effects; the time is now to strengthen an economy that provides opportunities in more sectors and where open and transparent competition rules the day, the time is now to give women and girls a life free of abuse and an equal chance to apply their talents and bring solutions to their community’s and nation’s challenges; the time is now to offer ideas on how to improve Liberia’s economic situation, not solely criticize or exacerbate the problems,” Ambassador Elder emphasized.She also urged the Liberian Government to remain loyal to recommendations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) so that Liberia can lay the ground work for future economic productivity and prosperity.She acknowledged that Liberia continues to strengthen the economic, judicial, and political institutions essential for a brighter future, the determination and perseverance summoned to end war, defeat Ebola, and bring about peaceful transition of power, which are now the foundation of the nation.She added that as Liberia charts its journey to self-reliance, it is also imperative to recognize the extraordinary importance of civil society in helping the country to achieve a lasting peace.President Weah giving remarks at 243rd U.S. Independence Celebration in MonroviaAlthough others have continued to lambast the media for not dancing to the tone of their tasteful music, Ambassador Elder acknowledged the media, Non-governmental organizations and dedicated faith based groups for “Central role” they have played in promoting accountability, supporting conflict resolution, and fostering Liberia’s democracy.She further noted that the US could not ask for a better friend in Africa, nor one with whom our history is more closely tied, assuring that in good or difficult times, they will stand proudly in partnership with the government and people of Liberia.Providing a reason for the early celebration of Independence, Ambassador Elder clarified that most of the embassy’s staff will be leaving Liberia soon, having completed their mission, and therefore they were having the celebration as culturally done in such a case for them to meet their Liberian counterparts for the last time.In response, President Weah assured that he remains committed to upholding and defending the Liberian Constitution with an equal weight, but did not state how he would meet the challenge posed to him.He said Liberia remains steadfast to upholding the mutual relationship between it and the US, and his government will respect every citizen’s right, including the right to peacefully assemble.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Average number of Power 5 opponents (+BYU & ND) per team for each conference Pac-12 (9.92)Big 12 (9.80)AAC (9.50)B1G (9.36)SEC (8.86)— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) November 12, 2015Why is this not talked about? Because the Big 12 has a perception problem (which is not a revelation to anyone who has been even mildly following along). But that needs to change. The Big 12 is a good conference and it is at least trying.One of the unintended consequences 0f the College Football Playoff is that it sort of insinuates that the committee is selecting from a level playing field even if conferences have different teams. But that’s not true as you can see from Klatt’s tweet above. The Pac-12 and Big 12 play a lot more good games than the SEC. They just do. I keep hearing about this 13th data point of a title game for all non-Big 12 conferences. But why do we even consider FCS games or non-Power 5 games (which the SEC plays more of) as data points?All of this underscores something we learned this year (and last year) with OU (and Ohio State). The committee doesn’t really care about your games against bad teams (win or lose). They only care about your big boy games. They only care about the national stage (conference title games, for example). And I’m not sure if any amount of positive PR can change that. The Big 12 has a perception problem. But it also has a “the committee ain’t changing how it selects teams at this point” problem.I’m not sure which is worse.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Berry Tramel wrote a couple of really good things on the Big 12 on Thursday. First, he wrote about how to help change the Big 12’s national status. Then, he wrote about the politics that exist between conferences and how it affects the College Football Playoff. You should read both.My biggest takeaway, and something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, is Power 5 scheduling. On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Big 12 would force its teams to play at least one Power 5 team in non-conference play which means its teams will now play no fewer than 10 (!) Power 5 teams in a given season with the nine-game Big 12 schedule.That’s a lot. And something Berry brought up and Joel Klatt has been pumping all year is that it’s a lot more than, say, the SEC. Like more than one more per season more.
Champions League I had tickets to Tuesday’s game but the women’s team had a match in Milan on Wednesday, the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final, and travelled the day before, so instead of being at the stadium we watched it together at the team hotel. It was hugely inspiring. We share the same shirt and philosophy, and the timing was perfect for what is a crucial month towards the end of the season. The following night, motivated by the performance of the men’s team, we went a goal down and came back to win 2-1. We are all part of a culture at the club that strives for excellence across the board, with that fino alla fine spirit at the core of our mentality.I thought it would be tough to come back against Atlético Madrid, primarily because the men have not been tested that much this season, especially in Serie A, where they are 18 points ahead. When they have been truly pushed in the Champions League, they have lost: at home to Manchester United in the group stage and at the Wanda Metropolitano against a tough, stubborn Atlético side known for their exceptional defence. Many doubted the team’s ability to come back but that spirit is built into the side and they found a way from the first minute to put Atlético under waves of pressure.Last summer the men’s team moved to a new training ground at Continassa while we work at their old one, so I have not been able to see evidence of Ronaldo’s legendary commitment with my own eyes, but I know his dedication has continued since he moved to Turin. He asks a lot of questions and always wants to know why he’s doing what he’s doing. His mentality, work ethic and the drive that have powered him towards greatness inspire all of us individually and collectively. The recipe for perfection starts with hard work. Read more Women’s football Until this week I don’t think he had delivered a truly outstanding performance for Juve in the Champions League. I went to that game against United, when he scored a wonderful volley, but his all-round play was not amazing. On Tuesday he stood out. There were other players who put in exceptional performances too: Miralem Pjanic, who often seems to go under the radar, Leonardo Spinazzola, who got up and down the left and put some good crosses in, and Federico Bernardeschi, who created Ronaldo’s first goal and won the decisive penalty.The buildup to the penalty demonstrated the determination and drive of the team. For Bernardeschi to have that energy at that point, to have the awareness and ability to cut inside, get into the box and force a desperate defender into a rash shove, was the stuff of champions. A week ago I don’t think many people would have fancied Juventus as potential winners of the Champions League but after that performance and with Ronaldo in great form they will certainly be feared.I think the men can go on to win it. The tournament is pretty open, with Real Madrid already out, but with the best player in the world in the Juventus side I can see them getting to another final. There is something that happens when you win in the manner they did on Tuesday. There’s a sort of invincibility that is created within the team. That confidence will stand them in good stead against anyone. Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Topics Share on Pinterest The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Juventus Sportblog Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook The Juventus motto is “fino alla fine” – in other words, until the end. On Tuesday evening the men’s team proved these words are not empty but alive. Juve aspire to be a team who never give up, a team who burn with an indefatigable spirit, and this week it was there for all to see.They showed it against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, when they came back from a 3-0 first-leg deficit to level the tie at the Bernabéu, an incredible comeback that ended in disappointment when a late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty decided it in Real’s favour. This year it was a different Madrid club, Atlético, a 2-0 deficit and Ronaldo – now wearing Juve’s famous black and white – decided matters from the spot again. Bernardo Silva hopes Manchester City avoid meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo Read more Cristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo celebrated his winning penalty by mockingly recreating Diego Simeone’s “cojones” gesture from the first leg, which was great entertainment, and I don’t think the Argentinian will be boasting about his team’s balls for a while. I was surprised by Atlético’s lack of ambition. They never showed any desire to win the game, when one away goal would almost certainly have decided the tie in their favour. Álvaro Morata was isolated and Antoine Griezmann looked as if he didn’t want to be there. I was shocked by how passive they were. This was a club that has reached two of the past five finals. It was interesting that 24 hours after Ronaldo produced a statement performance Lionel Messi scored twice and created two more as Barcelona beat Lyon 5-1.I think comparisons between the two players are futile at this stage. I have been learning a lot about Italian history in my spare time and recently visited Florence and Rome, where I saw the incredible Renaissance artwork of Michelangelo and Da Vinci. It made me realise that having two greats in the same field at the same time can help produce greater achievement. Comparing Ronaldo and Messi is similar to comparing those two magnificent artists, who created their masterpieces in the same period.You can make your own mind up about which is the greater player, and there are strong arguments for both, but what Ronaldo has proved beyond doubt, time and again, is that when it really, really matters, in the biggest games of all, he is the difference.• Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site. Share via Email Cristiano Ronaldo: the king of Europe who has normalised the abnormal Reuse this content Share on Messenger comment