PFA Player of the Year – Riyad Mahrez

Click to enlargeReuters

Riyad Mahrez won the PFA Player of the Year award and then dedicated the prize to all his Leicester team-mates…Mahrez was presented with the prestigious trophy at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday after contributing 17 goals and 11 assists to the Foxes’ fairytale campaign…

Mahrez was flown down by helicopter to the ceremony from the King Power Stadium, where Claudio Ranieri’s side had earlier thrashed Swansea 4-0 to move eight points clear at the top of the table.

The Algerian held off competition from Dimitri Payet, Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil and fellow Leicester men Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante to win the award, but dedicated the success to his team-mates.

“All the credit is for them, seriously,” Mahrez said.

“And for my manager and the staff. Without them I wouldn’t receive this award and I wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit, and I want to dedicate it to them…

Riyad Mahrez has contributed 17 goals and 11 assists to Leicester’s remarkable season.

Beaucoup fans of the beautiful game are pulling for Leicester City to win the Premier League title. A feat never achieved in the club’s history. After barely surviving last season in England’s top division, odds against them winning this year literally were 5000 to 1.

Still leading with only a few matches left to complete a Cinderella season. The most exciting aspect of watching The Foxes play is their team spirit. Sports fans often wax loud and long about such – but, Leicester City really play like an extended and caring family.

BTW, this is the first time an African player won the award. Riyad Mahrez is from Algeria. The award is a vote of peers only. Professional footballers.


Democracy and transparency in action in the US government – sort of

“You want honest answers to what questions?”

US lawmakers are pressing the nation’s top intelligence official to estimate the number of Americans ensnared in email surveillance and other such spying on foreign targets, saying the information was needed to gauge possible reforms to the controversial programs.

Eight Democrats and six Republicans made the request to director of national intelligence James Clapper in a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, reflecting the continued bipartisan concerns over the scope of US data espionage.

“You have willingly shared information with us about the important and actionable intelligence obtained under these surveillance programs,” wrote the lawmakers, all members of the US House judiciary committee.

“Now we require your assistance in making a determination that the privacy protections in place are functioning as designed.”

They requested that Clapper provide the information about data collected under a statute, known as Section 702, by 6 May…

Intelligence officials say data about Americans are “incidentally” collected during communication with a target reasonably believed to be living overseas. Critics see it as “back-door” surveillance on Americans without a warrant…

Civil liberties groups and senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, have previously requested information on the extent of US data caught up in the foreign surveillance program.

That’s the end of the democracy and transparency part. No answer from Clapper, yet.

Here’s Obama’s answer:

The Obama administration, however, has said it cannot provide a precise answer and that any estimate would require reviewing communications in a manner that would raise privacy concerns.

China, developing countries, surpass industrial nations in renewable energy growth

China blazed ahead of the rest of the world in terms of investment in renewable energy last year, spending a total of $103 billion, or 36% of the world total.

China…invested more than the US, the UK and Japan, put together, the United Nations Environment Programme’s annual report on global trends in renewable energy found.

In total, countries around the world invested $286 billion in renewable energy capacity, early-stage technology and research and development in 2015 – more than six times higher than investments in 2004 and setting a new global record, adding $13 billion to 2014’s investments.

As also revealed by Climatescope 2015 in November, developing countries outpaced their developed counterparts for the first time last year. The UNEP found emerging economies invested $156 billion last year, a 19% increase on 2014, surpassing the developed world’s $130 billion, which marked an 8% decrease…

The falling cost of renewables is also a factor in their rise across the globe. Worldwide, clean energy sources added 134 gigawatts of capacity last year, compared to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which launched the report along with the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, noted that this was true despite the tumbling oil, gas and coal prices…

Nations adopting scientific study – ranging from climate to technology – as their guide for energy construction and expansion are succeeding in building a better life for the planet. Those lands stuck into greed and profit as their sole valuation of life continue to degrade the potential for all species of life on earth. Their politics are short-sighted and self-centered. The worst of the past.