The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce this year’s voting results Tuesday afternoon, but clever denizens of the Web have a head start on the process. For the past few years, the analytically inclined corner of the sports world (spearheaded by Baseball Think Factory and other sites) have counted the votes from media members who announced their ballots ahead of time — a contingent that includes more than a third of all voters as of Tuesday morning. The most recent projections can be found here.Since the Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker project began in 2009, the early returns have corresponded remarkably well with the voting results:There are some inconsistencies, however. For example, the subset of voters who release their ballots ahead of time tends to align more closely with progressive baseball philosophies, such as the use of advanced metrics and the acceptance of players implicated for using performance-enhancing drugs.That’s why a player such as Mike Piazza, whose legacy has been clouded by vague PED rumors, may fall short of the 75 percent vote threshold needed for induction despite the exit polling listing him near 76 percent Tuesday morning. Or why Tim Raines, who stakes a not-insignificant portion of his claim to the hall on the basis of a strong wins above replacement (WAR) tally, probably won’t exceed the 65 percent mark being predicted by the HoF Tracker.Interestingly, after controlling for WAR and steroid allegations, the voters who fail to make their preferences known ahead of time also have been biased against players whose hall case is unusually tied up in the Hall of Fame Standards metric, which measures career longevity and milestone accumulation. This means non-disclosing voters tend to weigh a player’s peak contributions more heavily than his overall body of work.But even among the known ballots, there are some interesting hints as to how the nonpublic voting will shake out. Noting a rather visually arresting bifurcation among voters, sabermetric impresario Tom Tango has suggested this clustering effect is due to voters being highly polarized on a few hot-button issues. For instance, voters who selected Barry Bonds were very likely to also select Roger Clemens; meanwhile, voting for Fred McGriff or Lee Smith was strongly associated with not putting Bonds or Clemens on a ballot.Those numbers reflect generational differences between voters that will take center stage when we compare the HoF Tracker’s predictions to the voting results.UPDATE (Jan. 6, 3:59 p.m.): On Tuesday afternoon, the Hall of Fame announced that four players had been inducted: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. The players with the biggest deviations between actual voting percentage and the HoF Tracker’s predictions were Curt Schilling (whose actual share was 12.3 percentage points lower than his predicted share), Mike Mussina (11 percent), Raines (9.9 percent) and Lee Smith (whose actual voting percentage was 9.4 points higher than expected). As expected, Piazza also lost too many votes once the private ballots were accounted for; his voting percentage dropped from 76.2 percent in the final pre-announcement data to 69.9 percent in the overall tally.
Interweave is launching two new eMags-SpinKnit, which launches today and as is available at the Interweave store-and Handcrafted Jewelry Studio, which debuts Dec. 6. The two eMags join digital editions Sockupied and Quilting Arts in Stitches, which Interweave launched earlier this year. The eMags run on Adobe’s Air platform and can be downloaded directly to the user’s MAC or PC computer. Each edition is available for $14.97 and features scrolling slide shows, animation, “how-to-information” and social components. SpinKnit features 15 videos totaling one hour of viewing time, while Handcrafted Jewelry Studio will have more than 40 minutes of video and eight step-by-step projects. Interweave isn’t sharing specifics on the success of the eMags to date but the company plans to launch 18 more in 2011. “Yes, the eMags are profitable for us,” says senior vice president and publisher John Bolton. “We decided to create them for the computer first because we can provide the readers with a superior experience. As the tablet devices gain market share and technology evolves, we expect to adapt our eMags for tablet devices in 2011. That said, we know that more than 95 percent of our existing customer base has access to a computer and can read our eMag.”
It used to be said of OPEC that it was like a teabag â€“ it only worked in hot water. If that is so, conditions on world oil markets could hardly be more difficult as prices languish at almost seven-year lows near $40 a barrel.Yet, rather than closing ranks, OPEC is finding that an intensifying battle for market share, worsened by deep regional differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is driving it further apart.Halfway through last Friday’s six-hour meeting, an unexpected dispute erupted over the defining feature of the cartel. In a move sources say was masterminded by Saudi Arabia, ministers finally agreed for the first time in decades to drop any reference to the 13-member group’s output ceiling.The pivot, which surprised not only markets but also some OPEC officials, appeared to be a direct response to Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran, which has made clear it intends to make a rapid return to global oil markets next year as nuclear-related sanctions are lifted.With Tehran looking to pump as much as 1 million barrels per day (bpd) more crude into a market already saturated with excess supply, an increase of about 1% in world supply, maintaining or legitimizing any pretence of OPEC limits – no matter how notional – was not an option for Riyadh.”The ceiling issue was very controversial and they could not decide on it,” said an OPEC source briefed on the discussion inside the room. “Nobody was happy.”Earlier, another source said there was a “huge disagreement among members, even bigger now, as oversupply is no longer mainly coming from Gulf delegates, but from Iran.”In the near-term, the outcome of Friday’s meeting probably makes little difference in global markets. Ever since last year, most members have been pumping flat-out to defend their market from fast-growing upstart rivals like US shale drillers.And anyway the group’s 30 million bpd ceiling has largely been symbolic and, in practical terms, ignored.Yet abandoning the pretence of production restraint threatens to intensify price wars between OPEC members, leaving them even less likely to agree on any market measures down the road, analysts said, and piling more pressure on prices.In a note following the meeting, Goldman Sachs said it saw a rising probability that the markets may need to adjust through “operational stress” when the world runs out of storage capacity, reiterating its “lower for even longer” thesis.OPEC’S PURPOSESince OPEC, which produces a third of global oil, was set up 55 years ago, the purpose of its existence was to set production targets to try to influence global prices.It has weathered internal strife and conflict before, including wars between its own members — Iran and Iraq in the 1980s, and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s.But the present Sunni-Shia conflicts setting Saudi Arabia and Iran at each other’s throats, particularly in Syria and Yemen, make the relationship between the two OPEC powers even more fraught.”The fact that Iranian-backed Houthi militants are squaring off against Saudi-led troops in Yemen is not helpful, as increased Iranian oil revenues are likely to find their way to Iranian military interests in Yemen, Iraq and Syria,” said Aberdeen Asset Management’s investment strategist Robert Minter.Hence OPEC is setting up for a showdown at the corral, he added, as Iran wants its pre-sanction market share back, and the Gulf states are not inclined to cede volume when they are already feeling the budgetary pain of reduced prices.CONFUSION EMERGESUnlike OPEC’s previous meeting six months ago, when oil prices showed signs of stabilizing near a tolerable $65 a barrel, last week’s meeting was bound to be more tense as an unexpectedly deep and prolonged slump has sapped their economies.All the same, on Friday morning, most delegates and experts anticipated a relatively straightforward meeting that would bless the free-market policy and rubber-stamp a production ceiling. The only likely change, so it seemed, might be raising the figure to 31.5 million bpd to reflect current output rates, rather than the long-exceeded 30 million bpd last reset four years ago.After all, despite the price pain, there were signs that the dramatic strategy masterminded a year ago by Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi was working, albeit more slowly than hoped. Booming US oil production has shifted into reverse, while the world’s demand for oil has revved into a higher gear.The first sign of confusion emerged more than 3 hours into the meeting as ministers broke for lunch.Word leaked that the group had indeed agreed to raise its ceiling to 31.5 million bpd – but it was unclear whether the figure included Indonesia, which was rejoining the group after a hiatus, leaving a 0.9 million bpd margin of error.Although the ceiling increase would have no material effect on actual production, the news sent oil prices tumbling by as much as $1 a barrel, pushing US crude back below $40 a barrel, a response that was unlikely to have heartened ministers.ABOUT FACEWhat fully transpired during that afternoon remains unclear. But several OPEC sources said ultimately a decision was reached that having no ceiling at all would be less negative for oil prices than having a higher ceiling.There appears to have been little if any debate about Iran’s production, although it has been clear for months that it will likely be the biggest challenge they face in 2016.”We spent two minutes on that issue. You can’t stop a sovereign country from coming back to the market. So, debating it is irrelevant,” said Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. “As a matter of fact, our position is that Iran would displace somebody who is not an OPEC member.””From Saudi prospective, they have no allies. So staying the course makes sense for the Saudis,” said veteran OPEC watcher Gary Ross, Founder of Pira Energy thinktank.Ministers later sought to play down any conflict. Most said they saw no problem in having no targets for a few months and agree on new ones when Iran returns to the market, hoping by then for a deeper decline in US oil production.Some said they spent far more time discussing the succession of Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri, whose term is expiring.One thing is clear though – Friday’s decision will in no way help persuade non-OPEC rivals to curtail their output.”I find it very strange when proposals are being made to cut output when OPEC itself is increasing production,” the head of the Kremlin oil major Rosneft Igor Sechin told Reuters last week ahead of the OPEC meeting.
OYO RoomsReutersHoteliers across India are planning to take the legal route to force bookings aggregator Oyo to abandon alleged predatory behaviour. Hundreds of budget hotels in major metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata have joined hands to take the move forward, the Economic Times reported.The grouse of the hoteliers is that Oyo is suppressing prices, changing contract terms and threatening to delay payments. The Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai is in the forefront of forming a nationwide lobby of hoteliers.Oyo, a unicorn startup flush with money, raised $1 billion in September, taking its valuation to $5 billion.”Rooms that we used to sell for Rs 2,000-2,500 are now being sold for Rs 800-900. Because of funding they are able to sell rooms at much lower rates. The minimum guarantee fee is also not coming, so we are not left with a choice,” Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai president Ashraf Ali told the daily.Oyo, India’s most valued startup built by Ritesh Agarwal, disrupted the hotel booking process entirely, offering customers a wide variety of rooms at dirt cheap rates.Backed by Japan’s Softbank and flush with funds, Oyo is already the biggest hotel chain in India. The company is also expanding aggressively into foreign markets like China and Japan.The Gurgaon-based company now manages as many as 180,000 rooms in China, compared with about 150,000 rooms in India and the rest of south Asia combined.Oyo Hotels & Homes, which is India’s second most valuable startup after Paytm, opened up great vistas of opportunities for travellers around the country but the innovative business practice is eating into the profits of hotel owners and threatening to unravel their commercial existence. OYO Rooms founder Ritesh AgarwalHotels owners in various cities say that they are left with meagre little after Oyo levies around 23-30 percent of the heavily discounted prices. Of late, the online platform has been arm-twisting them into accepting terms that are not viable anymore, the owners say.Oyo denied the charges, adding that it is focused on offering fair pricing to customers while hotel owners get an opportunity to scale their business using the platform.
Bangladesh Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoAwami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday said the convicted people should not contest the upcoming national election on moral grounds, reports UNB.”It’s better for the convicted persons to stay away from the election on moral grounds. Awami League doesn’t support it morally,” he said while addressing a press briefing at party chief’s Dhanmondi political office.The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Sunday stayed a High Court order that had allowed a convicted person to take part in the national election, blocking the way for those sentenced to over two years’ imprisonment to join the upcoming parliamentary elections billed for 30 December.Following the apex court’s verdict, many BNP leaders, including its chairperson Khaleda Zia, cannot participate in the election as they were convicted in various cases.Describing Jatiya Oikya Front’s ‘failure’ to announce its prime minister candidate before the election as its primary defeat, Quader said, “Although there’re many leaders in the platform, there’s no one who can take the responsibility of the prime minister.”He said BNP’s announcement to launch a movement just before 25 days of the election is nothing but a nightmare. “People are now in an election mood, they’re not in a movement mood,” he said, alleging that BNP is trying in many ways to destabilise the situation.The ruling party leader also claimed that Awami League depends on people’s strength while BNP on rumour. “As BNP has less confidence in people, they depend on rumour.””The difference between a communal party and non-communal one is now clearer than in the past. The people of Bangladesh will choose the right one for their betterment. We don’t believe that people will vote for the party which patronises communalism and militancy in the name of politics,” he said.Quader also warned that those will remain in the election race going against the party decision will be expelled from the party for life.
Ekramul HaqueLaw enforcement agencies are yet to arrest the 17 convicts sentenced to death by a lower court in March last year in Fulgazi upazila chairman Ekramul Haque Ekram murder case, reports UNB.Feni district and session’s court on 13 March 2018 sentenced 39 people to death in the sensational murder case. Among them, 22 are now behind bars while 17 remained fugitive.In the verdict, 16 other accused, including prime accused BNP leader Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury Minar, got acquittal.Family members of the victim have expressed doubt over the execution of the verdict as hearing on the appeal with the High Court against the verdict is yet to be held.Talking to reporters, Ekram’s bother Mojammel Haq said, “Although those involved in the murder got due punishment, the masterminds remained untouched. It must be ensured by the government that the condemned convicts don’t get acquittal at the higher court. The government must take initiatives for the quick execution of the verdict.”Lawyer Hafez Ahmed, Feni judge court public prosecutor (PP), said Ekram was killed by armed miscreants in front of Bilasi Cinema Hall on 20 May 2014. His elder brother then filed a case with Feni model police station.Among the 22 condemned convicts, then Awami League (AL) joint general secretary Jahangir Kabir Adel, municipality councilor Abdullah Hil Mahmud Shiblu are now in jail.Jailer of Feni district jail Didarul Alam said the condemned convicts were shifted to Kashimpur high security jail after the pronouncement of the verdict.Among them, Nur Uddin Mia, Arif and Tota Mia were brought back to Feni as they were convicted in other cases, too.The fugitive 17 convicts are Fulgazi upazila AL joint general secretary Jahid Hossain Jihad, Feni-2 MP Nizam Hazari’s cousin Abidul Islam Abid, Nafiz Uddin Anik, Arman Hossain Kauser, Jahedul Hashem Soikat, Ziaur Rahman Bappi, Jashim Uddin Nayan, Emran Hossain Russel, Rahat Erfan, Ekram Hossain, Shafiqur Rahman, Kafil Uddin, Mosleh Uddin Asif, Ismail Hossain Chuttu, Mohiuddin Anis, Bablu and Titu.Dfence counsel Ahsan Kabir Bengal said the convicts filed an appeal with the Appellate Division against the lower court verdict.
wikimedia commonsPolice in a Southeast Texas city say what’s believed to be a “legitimate explosive device” was found outside a Starbucks there.Beaumont police say that a Starbucks employee found the package outside early Thursday morning and then moved it into the coffee shop. Police say that while trying to open the package, the employee noticed a note and then took it back outside and notified law enforcement.Police did not say what the note said.Several law enforcement agencies responded, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.Police say the device was later rendered safe by bomb technicians.Police say the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force will lead the ongoing investigation. Share