Flying Falcon: Adam Radwan gives Ospreys the slip during last year’s tournament in Coventry (Getty)“The major change will be the overnight recovery to play again the next day, rather than recovering to train. Our lads aren’t used to that, but people like Cameron have been really useful because his England 7s experience has helped to educate a lot of the lads about what is required.”Saracens, too, are brimming with optimism. They’re led by Tom Whiteley, a nominee for last season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player of the Year and about to play in his fifth Premiership 7s.“I’m confident for sure. This is the most confident I’ve been so we will see,” said the 22-year-old. “I just want to see the lads go out there and enjoy it, there’s no pressure on our shoulders.”The Sarries squad includes two players, Jermaine Olason and Josh Christie, from the Seventy7s side that won last year’s 24/Sevens competition – evidence that there are many different pathways available towards the top of the game.Sale’s standout name is arguably Paolo Odogwu, who last year broke the record for most tries in a round (eight), while London Irish are led by teenage scrum-half Rory Brand, one of four ex-Wellington College pupils in their line-up.Try merchant: Paolo Odogwu with a Player Of The Round award. Now the regional events have goneJake Polledri, son of Bristol legend Peter, makes his Gloucester bow having signed from Hartpury, while Worcester include senior players Matt Cox, Ben Howard and Huw Taylor in a squad that is captained by England 7s international Max Stelling.Last but not least, hosts Northampton welcome Tom Stephenson back after he broke his leg in a pre-season friendly against Rotherham nearly a year ago.He and Tom Collins have been playing for Randwick in NSW this summer and will be joined by Ollie Sleightholme, son of ex-England wing Jon.Past winners2010 Saracens 17-5 Newcastle at Bath2011 Newcastle 31-21 Saracens at Quins2012 London Irish 31-28 Gloucester at Bath2013 Gloucester 24-17 Leicester at Bath2014 Gloucester 12-5 Dragons at Quins2015 Dragons 17-14 Wasps at Quins2016 Wasps 31-28 Exeter at WaspsSaints haven’t won the Premiership 7s since the series’ inception in 2010 and will be desperate to set a positive marker for the club after a disappointing 2016-17 campaign.The gates open at 4pm on Friday to allow plenty of time for bag searches and there will be a Meet the Saints signing session at 4.30pm. Wasps v Newcastle kicks off the rugby at 6pm and the action will last until about 10.20pm.On Saturday, the gates open at noon with the rugby stretching from 3pm to about 7.30pm.That day will see filming for the new Channel 5 Premiership highlights show, with Mark Durden-Smith and David Flatman in attendance. In addition to live coverage by BT Sport, highlights of the sevens will be shown on Channel 5 at 11.35pm on Sunday. Home rule: Wasps won the 2016 trophy at Ricoh Arena and are favourites again this year (Getty Images) TAGS: HighlightWasps LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tickets options include a £50 family ticket for the whole two days – click here for the price ranges and to purchase.Remember this? Jonathan Joseph helped London Irish win the 2012 title – now the Exiles are back Five weeks ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season, the first trophy is up for grabs in the remodelled Premiership 7s. There’s lots of talent on show at Franklin’s Gardens Schools have only just broken up for the summer and it’s more than three weeks until the start of the England-West Indies cricket series – but Premiership rugby is back.The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s takes place this weekend with a new Olympic-style, trimmed-down format now devoid of the four Welsh regions. The 12 Premiership clubs will compete in round-robin pools on Friday evening before splitting into Cup, Plate and Bowl competitions on Saturday afternoon.And there’s no doubting who carries the favourites’ tag at the new venue of Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens. Holders Wasps have selected ten members of their senior squad, including debutant Marcus Watson – a GB silver medallist from Rio – Christian Wade and skipper Dan Robson.More than half of the 12-man squad were involved in last year’s thrilling final win against Exeter at Ricoh Arena, Tom Cruse’s try settling a match in which the lead changed hands six times.Danger man: Christian Wade takes on Exeter’s Pete Laverick during last year’s thrilling final (Getty)Coach Lee Blackett said: “With the limited availability of some of our academy players due to international commitments, we felt this was a good opportunity to use the tournament as preparation for some of our senior squad players for the coming season.“It’s a good opportunity for our players to play in such a fast-paced, high-intensity format of the game which is always electrifying to watch.”Wasps are alone in heavy loading with well-known faces. Generally, clubs are relying on their academies, sometimes with guest players thrown in. Some of this weekend’s cast-list played at the U20 World Cup or the recent Commonwealth Youth Games and for many it will be their first hit-out as a professional player.Harlequins have Dino Lamb and Gabriel Ibitoye from England’s U20 set-up, Ibitoye having achieved YouTube fame for his amazing finish against Australia.Quins Academy coach Jim Evans said: “The players’ learning curve will go up massively in a short period of time – being exposed to this kind of environment will be outstanding for those guys.“Some of the boys that have played in the Premiership and the Singha 7s over the years – the likes of James Chisholm, Joe Marchant, Jack Clifford – have all accelerated into the first-team squad.”Lethal finisher: Quins wing Gabriel Ibitoye stretches Cardiff Blues in last year’s Plate final (Getty)Bath, Exeter and Leicester all have a chunky representation of local university students in their ranks, with the Tigers using the tournament to launch a partnership with Loughborough.Jeff Williams, ex-England 7s, is coach of a Bath team captained by Will Homer. “The thing for me is players expressing themselves and having fun because that’s what rugby’s about,” Williams said.Max Bodilly, a hat-trick scorer in last year’s final, is part of an Exeter squad looking to go one step further.“We’ve talked this week about keeping things simple, working hard for one another and just getting the basics of our game right,” said Chiefs coach Ricky Pellow. “If we can do that, then you stand every chance of winning.”This year’s poolsPool A: Wasps, Newcastle LeicesterPool B: London Irish, Gloucester, HarlequinsPool C: Bath, Sale, WorcesterPool D: Exeter, Northampton, SaracensNewcastle are captained by England 7s player Cameron Cowell and include flyer Adam Radwan, who scored a sensational solo try from more than 100 metres with his first touch in last year’s tournament. The Falcons are happy to talk up their chances.“We have some pace, some playmakers and some guys who just graft, so we’re shaping up pretty well,” said coach Mark Laycock, who’s being assisted by Michael Young. “We’ve had a couple of sessions to get ourselves ready and we feel like we’re in a good place.
Organisation TurkeyEurope – Central Asia News Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law News Reporters Without Borders protested at a 15-month jail sentence imposed on Hakan Albayrak for “insulting the memory” of Ataturk and a 500,000-euro fine on the daily Vakit for defaming 213 army generals. TurkeyEurope – Central Asia April 28, 2021 Find out more April 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Turkey Receive email alerts May 25, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two sentences infringe press freedom News April 2, 2021 Find out more News RSF_en Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor to go further Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders has protested at the 20 May jailing of a journalist for “insulting the memory of Ataturk” – founder of the Turkish Republic. Former editorialist Hakan Albayrak of Milli Gazete was sentenced to 15 months in prison.On the same date, the daily Vakit was ordered to pay the equivalent of 500,000 euros in damages for defamation of 312 generals in the Turkish Army.Reporters Without Borders said the imprisonment was shocking and contrary to the recommendations of the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) that press offences should not be punishable with prison.”It is unworthy of a democracy to jail a journalist for having written an article, whatever it might be. We call for his immediate release”, the international press freedom organisation wrote to Justice Minister Cemil Cicek. It also condemned the exorbitant sum demanded of Vakit, which it said would be the paper’s death warrant.Albayrak was sent to Kalecik prison in Ankara, after being found guilty of “insulting Ataturk’s memory”, under the 1951 law on Crimes against Ataturk. Article 1 of this law punishes such insults by a sentence of from one to three years in prison. Article 2 doubles the penalty if carried in the press.The offending editorial, published in 2000, criticised the offering of prayers at the funeral of atheist writer Mina Urgan, comparing it with the burial of Ataturk. The item finished, “Mustapha Kemal Pasha, was he not buried without prayers? Neither the state not society was concerned about it at the time.”The same day, the owner of the daily Vakit, Nuri Aykon, his editor, Harum Aksoy, and Mehmet Dogan, author of an article published on 25 August 2003, were sentenced by a court to pay around 500,000 euros to 312 generals in the Turkish Army.In the article headlined, “The country where a soldier who does not deserve to be sergeant becomes a general”, published under a pseudonym, the author condemned the incompetence of the top ranking officers, without naming any of them. All the generals who brought a suit were awarded damages.The newspaper intends to appeal against the sentence. The daily’s lawyer, Haci Ali Ozhan, described the sentence as dangerous in the sense it could determine jurisprudence.In its 2004 annual report, Reporters Without Borders said that legislative reforms adopted by Turkey linked to its joining the European Union have not in practice involved any significant improvements in press freedom.Journalists daring to criticise government institutions or to broach taboo subjects, like the Kurdish question or the role of the army in the country’s political life, are censored, abusively taken to court and subjected to heavy penalties. Four are currently in jail for doing their jobs.
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Clockwise from left: Flushing’s Main Street, City Point in Brooklyn and Bronx’s Fordham Road (Getty)Manhattan retailers are still waiting for the return of tourists to 5th Avenue and employees to Midtown offices, but some retail corridors outside of the central business district have seen metrics return almost to where they were before the pandemic.Vacancies and rents in the Bronx’s main retail area, Fordham Road, are near normal, the New York Times reported. The vacancy rate is 3 percent, according to the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.Read moreManhattan retail market awaits recovery as vacancies rise in Q1Retail spending in New York falls in February but here comes the stimulus checksStores seeking bargains as NYC retail eyes rebound Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, new residential development has aided projects such as City Point where nearby residents have frequented Trader Joe’s and Target. Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said this boosted pedestrian counts to 91 percent of 2019 levels on the corner of Fulton and Hanover Place in December, benefiting Fulton Mall shops.In Queens, about 1,000 of 6,000 restaurants have closed, according to Thomas Grech, president and chief executive of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. As reports of anti-Asian crimes flow in, businesses in Flushing and Brooklyn’s Chinatown have also been hurt.But consumer interest in shopping, restaurants and food on Main Street has risen 16 percent since the pandemic, according to Yelp.New York’s so-called forgotten borough, Staten Island, is also seeing retail come back to life, the Times reported. Empire Outlets, an outdoor mall near the ferry terminal, has lost about 65 percent to 70 percent of its visitors and four retailers, according to Joseph Ferrara, a principal at the mall’s developer, BFC Partners. But foot traffic jumped 20 percent between February and March and parking increased 140 percent.Manhattan is showing signs of coming back, but not all of its mainstays will. Noted Italian restaurant Del Posto will close permanently, the Times reported, and a similar eatery will open in its place. Its executive chef, Melissa Rodriguez, and a group of investors are behind the effort.[NYTimes] — Keith Larsen Tags BronxflushingManhattanRetail