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Match-fixing back in spotlight on eve of first Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   For Rafael Nadal and the other stars of tennis, there's a familiar ring to the questions being raised as the first ball is about to be struck at the Australian Open. Recent match-fixing sanctions and a new case are bringing fresh scrutiny to the integrity of the sport a year after corruption allegations cast a pall over the first Grand Slam of the year. '(It's) obviously negative, always in the first month of the season starts to happen,' Nadal said at the season-opening Brisbane International. 'You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is fight against these kinds of things.' The headlines started appearing early in the new year. On Jan. 5, police in Australia charged an 18-year-old player with a match-fixing offense at a lower-tier tournament last October in Traralgon, near Melbourne. Days later, another Australian player, Nick Lindahl, now retired but once ranked in the top 200, was handed a seven-year ban and $35,000 fine from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for offering to throw a match at a minor tournament in the city of Toowoomba in 2013. Lindahl had already been fined after a criminal trial. Two other Australian players received lesser punishments in connection with the incident. While Traralgon and Toowoomba are far removed from the glittering lights of Melbourne Park, the timing of the developments was troubling nonetheless. Last season began similarly beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that tennis authorities had suppressed evidence of match-fixing and failed to investigate possible cases of corruption. The reports went over old ground, but the timing and the headlines overshadowed the tournament. 'I haven't heard anything (about match-fixing) since last year's Australian Open,' German player Mischa Zverev told The Associated Press last week in Brisbane. 'I think it was funny timing. ... Like the day before the Oscars, they're going to bring something up to make somebody not win it, or win it.' Since then, tennis leaders have gone into overdrive to restore confidence in the sport. An independent panel was created to review the TIU, the internal body tasked with combating corruption, and authorities promised to implement all of its recommendations when it is completed this spring. The TIU also took separate steps to strengthen its monitoring and investigation efforts, develop new anti-corruption education programs for players, and improve the transparency of its operations. In an email statement to The AP, the agency said nine players and officials were sanctioned last year for match-fixing — the most for a single year since the unit was established in 2008. Several were banned for life, including a young South African player and four officials from Turkey and Uzbekistan. The unit also expanded its outreach efforts with betting operators and regulators, leading to increased reporting of suspicious wagers. In 2016, the TIU received 292 betting alerts — an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The vast majority of those came from the Challenger and Futures circuits on the men's tour, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing given the lower likelihood of detection and the smaller earnings of the players. However, the TIU said three alerts were generated at Grand Slam events, as well. The agency was quick to note, though, that an alert isn't necessarily proof of match-fixing. Of the more than 114,000 matches played last year on the professional tours, only 0.2 percent triggered a suspicious betting alert. 'Tennis was one of the first major sports to recognize the potential threat of betting-related corruption and do something about it,' the TIU said. 'It will be for the independent review panel to take a view on the conduct and effectiveness of the unit and to put forward recommendations to improve the current structure and approach.' Whatever the investigators recommend, the fact remains the TIU faces an uphill battle. Technology has shifted the gambling landscape in such a way, it's increasingly difficult for monitors to keep up. In tennis, wagers aren't just placed on who wins or loses; bets can be placed during matches in real time on everything from total points won in a game to whether a set goes to a tiebreak. 'We're talking individual player activities here,' said Hans Westerbeek, dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. 'It's much easier to get into a situation where you approach individual players to do things that can be, if done well, quite well hidden from it being suspicious.' He likens it to the ongoing battle against performance-enhancing drugs. 'You're always struggling to keep up with the innovations that a better-resourced front of gambling operators, legal or illegal, will have available to advance their technology.' Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor of forensic sports law analytics at Florida State University, says this is one reason a more sophisticated approach is critically needed. He recommends an internal monitoring system that analyzes each match for suspicious activity in real time, rather than relying solely on betting alerts. 'A robust betting data-monitoring operation would have both in-house capabilities and a number of collaborative information sharing agreements with third parties such as sportsbooks, private monitoring firms or academics,' he said. 'Anything less is sub-optimal.' With a limited budget of just $3.23 million for 2017, however, there is only so much the TIU can do. As such, preventative measures such as education have become a priority. More than 25,000 players and officials have completed the TIU's online anti-corruption training program, and a new version will be launched that players will be required to complete every two years. 'Educating players who are up-and-coming and those who support those players is a very good, positive and necessary thing to do,' Westerbeek says. 'Because the root of the problem is ... people not really (understanding) they're engaging in criminal activity.' ___ AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Technology: Internet giants may be hurt by EU privacy law

GOOGLE, Facebook, Inc. and other Internet companies will be covered by strict new European Union privacy rules that seek to limit access to consumers' data......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 11th, 2017

WhatsApp suspends giving Facebook European user data

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Stock Market: Earnings to drive market ahead of key US data

THE BELLWETHER INDEX is expected to hover within the 7,500 and 7,790 levels, in anticipation of much awaited earning reports as well as the fast approaching US elections, analysts said......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2016

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THE PESO traded sideways against the dollar yesterday, moving in sync with other currencies in the region, following mixed economic data out of the United States and as market awaits further economic reports that could help give clues as to when the Feder.....»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsOct 6th, 2016

Yahoo hack hit 500M users, likely ‘state sponsored’

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo said Thursday a massive attack on its network in 2014 allowed hackers to steal data from half a billion users and may have been &'8220;state sponsored.&'8221; Yahoo, which confirmed details of the breach months after reports of a majo.....»»

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Brad Pitt under investigation for alleged child abuse – reports

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Smart launches new data package offer for TNT subscribers

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. has launched a new data package which gives its TNT mobile subscribers access to popular mobile applications like Facebook and Messenger for three days for just P10, the company said on Sunday. With “TNT.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 18th, 2016

WhatsApp blasted for sharing private user data with Facebook in violation of law

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Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 28th, 2016

Speaker recalls ‘8’ car plates

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has ordered the recall of all vehicle license plates with the number “8” in the wake of reports of abuse by t.....»»

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WhatsApp to share user data with Facebook

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Index tumbles as market digests earnings data

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Abuse rife in Australian immigration center – leaked reports

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PH caregiver in Israel arrested for 'abuse' of ward – reports

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QC VICE MAYOR BELMONTE, QCADAAC ON TOP VS ILLEGAL DRUGS DRIVE

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Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsJul 17th, 2016

Nice striker Balotelli says Bastia fans racially abused him

PARIS (AP) — Nice striker Mario Balotelli says he was racially abused by Bastia fans who made monkey noises during Friday night's French league match. The Italian forward wrote a message on his Instagram and Twitter pages on Saturday describing the abuse he heard during the 1-1 draw at the 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari stadium in Corsica. 'Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise (and) 'uh' 'uh' for the whole game and no one of the 'commissions discipline' say nothing?' Balotelli wrote, referencing the French league's disciplinary committee. 'So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport. Those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!' Balotelli, 26, the son of Ghanaian immigrants to Italy, concluded his post by writing in French that what happened was 'une vrai honte,' or a total disgrace. Nice's official Twitter account shared Balotelli's message. The French league has yet to comment on the matter. Balotelli joined from Liverpool on a free transfer in August and has scored eight league goals in 10 games to help Nice challenge for the title. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Can Comelec chair Bautista be impeached for voters' data leak?

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Rethink data collection policies, sectors told after voters' data leak

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DIGITAL BOHOL prepares for ICT-Educ Summit

&'160; GOV. EDGAR M. CHATTO sat with the Bohol Information and Communication Technology Council (BICTC) for a situationer briefing of Bohol’s digital landscape and to brainstorm on the immediate need for an ICT Education Summit for the province at the Governor’s Mansion Tuesday. Lai Biliran updated the governor about Digital Bohol and presented the data [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  boholnewsdailyRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Silence, mourning since fatal crash turn to hope at Chapeco

MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer   CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) — Silence and mourning are slowly being replaced by boisterous fans and hope. As the Chapecoense club rebuilds after the air crash that killed 19 players and nearly all members of the staff and board of directors, so is the town of 200,000. Like many in Brazil, football is the oxygen for everything: gossip, community pride and heated debate. On Saturday, Chapecoense's 20,000-capacity Arena Conda will host the team's first match since the tragedy almost two months ago. Lines outside are filled with fans excited about the club's and the city's restart. Fifty coffins lined the same field in November, where this time Chape's reconstructed team will play Brazilian champion Palmeiras in a friendly match. 'I bet I won't be able to sleep Friday night,' 19-year-old fan Marcelo Ribeiro said as he walked to the stadium. 'Since the accident the city is dead. The festivities were mostly canceled at the end of the year, and all most people are thinking about is the rebirth. I want to see what the rebirth looks like.' At the Hotel Bertaso, where most of Chape's players and coaching staff have traditionally lodged, the first signs of that rebirth are obvious. The second floor, which was home to many of the victims, including coach Caio Junior, is once again full. 'I can't help feeling a lot of hope for the future now,' said receptionist Gelson Mangone, who lost several friends in that crash on an Andean mountain side near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov.28. 'It has been a lot of work to settle all these new signings here, they are also learning their way here,' the receptionist said. 'But it does feel like a brand new start.' New coach Vagner Mancini is one of the hotel's new residents. He said the job makes him 'a better human being, but it's the most challenging to face.' 'We have to build a team, a coaching staff and a club infrastructure in a season in which Chape will be in demand,' Mancini told The Associated Press. 'I understand now that the city was so affected because the club and the city are run like a family,' he added. 'The players we brought are cut from that cloth, but we have to reach a higher level now.' After the crash, Colombian club Atletico Nacional, which was to face Chape in the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin, awarded the victory to the small Brazilian team. That means that Chape qualified for South America's No. 1 tournament for the first time, the competitive Copa Libertadores. The team will also try to defend its title in the Santa Catarina state championship, try to stay up in Brazil's top-flight competition, and play in a pile of fundraisers, including one against Barcelona. 'We have to assemble a competitive team at the same time we need to hire someone to handle passports, contracts,' Mancini said. 'The club used to handle this well, but like a family run business. Now we are at a different moment.' Chapecoense had almost nothing left after the crash: six players that did not travel on the ill-fated flight, two physiotherapists, one goalkeeping coach, one doctor, one data analyst, one nurse and a few club officials. New chairman and club co-founder Plinio David de Nes Filho, a wealthy local businessman known as Maninho, is leading the charge to bolster club finances. Former players like Nivaldo Constante, who played as a goalkeeper until the tragedy struck, are approaching players that can help. And Chapeco Mayor Luciano Buligon is working as a kind of ambassador for the club and the city. 'Our weekends were about three things: family, church and Chapecoense,' Buligon said. 'It has been hard to get the city back on track because the wounds are still very open. But we are slowly moving on. On Saturday we will start getting a part of our weekends back.' Not everyone is happy. Rosangela Loureiro, widow of crash victim Cleber Santana, said she is upset because his belongings still have not been returned to the family. 'I feel sadness and rage. No one is doing anything to bring their belongings back. I plead with them to soften our pain and make us get the memories that we will hold dear for the rest of our lives,' she said on Instagram last week. Other widows have complained about damages not yet being paid by the club. Chapecoense directors say they are doing the best they can as they try to rebuild. There are even complaints at the joyous Hotel Bertaso. 'These new players love to make a mess in their rooms,' said a cleaner, who declined to offer her name. 'The other ones were older, more mature and the new ones seem to be more infantile. I hope they are up for the task. The city really needs that now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017