‘I lucked out a bit’ – UK skier James Woods wins first world title

James Woods

James Woods on his way to gold at the FIS World Championships. Photograph: Jeff Swinger/EPA

Great Britain’s James Woods has been crowned world champion for the first time after winning the men’s ski slopestyle competition in Utah.

The 27-year-old defied difficult weather conditions to edge out Norwegian teenager Birk Ruud and US double Olympic medallist Nick Goepper.

Woods said: “It feels good. Obviously I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve put a lot of effort in over the years as everybody has.”

“It was a bit of a wild day to be honest with you,” Woods added. “We’re hanging off the side of a mountain here – judging the weather conditions, assessing the wind, knowing what the snow is doing. Today was a pretty close call whether it was going to be fair. I only care whether conditions are fair and everybody’s safe. I lucked out a little bit, but you’ve got to take it haven’t you?”

Woods had previously won a world silver medal in Voss in 2013 and bronze at Sierra Nevada in 2017. And victory was especially sweet for the Sheffield star who missed out on a Winter Olympic medal in Pyeongchang last year by just 1.2 points.

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 James Woods on the podium following the men’s slopestyle worldc hampionship race. Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

Woods had looked set to snatch a podium place in South Korea until Goepper edged him out with the final run of the competition.

Woods’s medal is Britain’s third of the championships after Charlotte Bankes and Izzy Atkin took silver and bronze in snowboard-cross and Ski Big Air, respectively.

[“source=theguardian”]

World leaders head to Davos as uncertainty darkens the global outlook

A demonstrator holds a 'Stop The Shutdown' sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A demonstrator holds a ‘Stop The Shutdown’ sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C.

As a legion of heads of state and business leaders head to Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) next week, world affairs are as unpredictable and unstable as ever.

In the 12 months since the last forum, global trade relations and diplomacy as well as domestic politics have been fractious, to say the least.

Since President Donald Trump first announced tariffs on a selection of Chinese imports last January, the U.S. and China have gone on to impose tariffs of $250 billion and $110 billion on each other’s goods, respectively. Washington is currently witnessing its longest ever shutdown because of an impasse over funding for a border wall and Brexit remains as chaotic and unclear as ever just weeks before the U.K.’s departure from the EU.

The forum released a “Global Risks” report Wednesday in which it noted that “global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking.”

In continental Europe over the last year, we’ve seen a populist government take charge in one of Europe’s major economies, Italy, and a demise of mainstream politicians that could lead to a power vacuum — and moral crisis — in the region.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in October that she is to retire from politics and her party continues to cede voters to the left and right, meanwhile an increasingly unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron is dealing with ongoing and often violent protests on the streets of Paris.

John Drzik, president of Global Risk and Digital at risk management firm Marsh, told CNBC that cybercrime, critical infrastructure and environmental threats, as well as changes in geopolitics, are among the biggest risks facing the world right now.

“The rise of nationalist agendas around the world is creating friction among states as well as weakening multilateral institutions,” he told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche.

“It’s not just in the U.S., here in the U.K. you have Brexit, but in Brazil, Italy, Austria and Hungary there are lots of populist political figures who are getting elected and changing the agenda to be more protectionist and more nationalist and, as a result, weakening the multilateral bonds that were there and that’s expected to continue into 2019.”

The global economy is not looking too great either as trade concerns continue to concern business and rattle financial markets.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cited trade tensions when it downgraded its global growth forecast for 2019 last October. The IMF expects global growth of 3.7 percent in 2019, down 0.2 percentage points from an earlier forecast in its World Economic Outlook report.

The World Bank, meanwhile, sees global growth at 2.9 percent in 2019 amid tightening financial conditions. The European Commission is also downbeat about the region’s growth, forecasting a lackluster 2 percent growth in the EU in 2019.

Globalization 4.0

Against this backdrop, there’s plenty to talk about at this year’s Davos then when the heads and officials of over 100 governments meet, as well as top executives from over 1,000 global companies. Designed to foster private and public cooperation, the forum’s main objective is “to improve the state of the world.” This year’s theme is focused on “Globalization 4.0.”

WEF’s founder Klaus Schwab said in November that the world is experiencing “an economic and political upheaval that will not cease any time soon” adding in a WEF editorial that “the forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization.”

Schwab said that a slow and uneven recovery since the global financial crisis meant “a substantial part of society has become disaffected and embittered, not only with politics and politicians, but also with globalization and the entire economic system it underpins.”

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He said populist discourse had confused globalization, which has been seen to have negative connotations in some populist narratives, with globalism.

“Globalization is a phenomenon driven by technology and the movement of ideas, people, and goods. Globalism is an ideology that prioritizes the neoliberal global order over national interests. Nobody can deny that we are living in a globalized world. But whether all of our policies should be ‘globalist’ is highly debatable.”

Put simply, Schwab said the challenge for global leaders is “to restore sovereignty in a world that requires cooperation.” He advised that rather than closing off economies through protectionism and nationalist
politics, a new social compact is needed between citizens and their leaders, so that everyone feels secure enough at home to remain open to the world at large.”

“Failing that, the ongoing disintegration of our social fabric could ultimately lead to the collapse of democracy,” he said.

[“source=cnbc”]

New Zealand rugby sweeps world awards

New Zealand's captain Kieran Read (L) leads the team in the

It hasn’t been a vintage year by the All Blacks’ lofty standards but they‚ and New Zealand rugby‚ swept the World Rugby awards in Monte Carlo on Sunday night.

The Black Ferns‚ the New Zealand women’s team‚ made history by becoming the first female team to win the overall ‘Team of the Year’ gong as a reward for winning the 2017 Women’s World Cup in Ireland.

They beat out England men and the All Blacks for the award.

The All Blacks lost two matches in 2017 – once to the British & Irish Lions and one to Australia‚ while they also drew the third Test against the Lions.

It was the first time since 2011 that the All Blacks lost more than one game in a calendar year.

All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett though was named 2017 World Player of the Year‚ retaining the crown he won last year.

Barrett became only the second player to win the prestigious award two years in a row‚ matching the achievement of his former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in 2009-10.

He received the award ahead of four other nominees in All Blacks teammate Rieko Ioane‚ England and British Lions duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje and Australia fullback Israel Folau.

Barrett said: “I’m very proud and surprised.

“I wanted to be better than last year and I still think I have plenty more to go.

“The Lions series put us under the most pressure I have probably felt in a black jersey and that’s a credit to the Lions.

“We learnt a lot from that series‚ particularly taking that into the World Cup.

“When I hang the boots up‚ that’s when I can look back and be really proud of this.

“I’ve got to thank my team. I am just one player amongst a great team.”

Blitzbok playmaker Rosko Specman lost out on the World Sevens Player of the Year award to the USA’s Perry Baker.

The American speedster was the Series’ leading try and points-scorer in 2016/17 with 57 tries and 285 points.

England mentor Eddie Jones was named World Coach of the Year after guiding England to nine wins in 10 Tests‚ their only blemish coming against Ireland in the Six Nations.

New Zealand winger Portia Woodman was named the World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year 2017 after helping the Black Ferns win a fifth Women’s Rugby World Cup title in Ireland in August.

She received the award ahead of four other nominees in Black Ferns teammate Kelly Brazier‚ England winger Lydia Thompson and France back-row duo Romane Menager and Safi N’Diaye.

All Black wing Ioane was named World Breakthrough Player of the Year after scoring 10 tries in 11 starts this season.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It has been an outstanding 2017 for rugby on and off the field and tonight we have recognised and celebrated those who have made it so special.

“From the players‚ teams and coaches who have inspired millions of fans to the unsung volunteers and projects who at community level are the foundation of our great game‚ we salute them all.

“Congratulations to all our nominees and award winners who have not just displayed excellence‚ but who embody rugby’s character-building values.”

Source;-.timeslive

World Bank warns of learning crisis in education in countries like India

File photo. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. Photo: AP

File photo. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. Photo: AP

Washington: The World Bank has warned of a learning crisis in global education particularly in low and middle-income countries like India, underlining that schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children worldwide.

The World Bank in a latest report on Tuesday noted that millions of young students in these countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

According to the ‘World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’, released on Tuesday, India ranks second after Malawi in a list of 12 countries wherein a grade two student could not read a single word of a short text. India also tops the list of seven countries in which a grade two student could not perform two-digit subtraction.

“In rural India, just under three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do so,” the World Bank said. The report argued that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. “Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math.

This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them,” it said. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills, it said. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty,” he added.

“For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life,” the Bank president said.

In rural India in 2016, only half of grade 5 students could fluently read text at the level of the grade 2 curriculum, which included sentences (in the local language) such as ‘It was the month of rains’ and ‘There were black clouds in the sky’. “These severe shortfalls constitute a learning crisis,” the Bank report said. According to the report, in Andhra Pradesh in 2010, low-performing students in grade 5 were no more likely to answer a grade 1 question correctly than those in grade 2.

“Even the average student in grade 5 had about a 50% chance of answering a grade 1 question correctly—compared with about 40% in grade 2,” the report said. An experiment in Andhra Pradesh, that rewarded teachers for gains in measured learning in math and language led to more learning not just in those subjects, but also in science and social studies—even though there were no rewards for the latter.

“This outcome makes sense—after all, literacy and numeracy are gateways to education more generally,” the report said. Further a computer-assisted learning program in Gujarat, improved learning when it added to teaching and learning time, especially for the poorest-performing students, it said.

The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilising a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all’. PTI

[“Source-livemint”]