Free transfers: Which players are out of contract .

Free transfers: These players are out of contract and available to sign

The transfer window may well be closed but there are still a few players who could be signed between now and the end of the season.

Teams can now only sign players who are out of contract and available on a free transfer until the transfer window reopens in the summer.

BBC Sport has taken a look at some of those who are available.

Isco (Spain, attacking midfielder, 30)

Of the players available, Isco is the most decorated of them all. In nine seasons with Real Madrid, he won the Champions League five times, the Club World Cup four times, La Liga three times, the Uefa Super Cup three times, and one Copa del Rey.

He had his contract with Sevilla mutually ended in December and was expected to join German side Union Berlin on transfer deadline day, only for the move to break down with Union saying the player had priced himself out of a deal.                                                                                                                   

Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia, right-back, 31)

In 2018, Sime Vrsaljko played for Croatia in the World Cup final against France, and now he finds himself without a club.

The right-back played for Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan before moving from Atletico to Greek side Olympiakos in July, but the defender, who has played 52 times for his country, was released at the end of 2022.

Jese Rodriguez (Spain, left-winger, 29)

Jese came through the ranks at Real Madrid and was an unused substitute in the 2016 Champions League final win against Atletico Madrid before he moved to Paris St-Germain in a deal worth 25m euros.

But he struggled to get in the PSG side and had four loans away from the club, including making 13 Premier League appearances for Stoke City. Most recently, he had been with Turkish Super Lig side MKE Ankaragucu before being released last month.

Federico Fernandez (Argentina, center-half, 33

Former Swansea City and Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez only left the Premier League last summer – so could he make a quick return?

The center-half was in Argentina’s squad that reached the 2014 World Cup final before four seasons at Swansea. He moved to Newcastle in 2018 and became the club’s vice-captain during a four-year spell at St James’ Park. He joined La Liga side Elche in September but left in December having only played one match.

Jordan Lukaku (Belgium, left-back, 28)

The younger brother of former Everton, Chelsea, and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, Jordan has played eight times for his country.

He had spells with Anderlecht, Lazio, and Royal Antwerp before his contract at Spanish second-tier side Ponferradina was ended earlier this month.

Bojan Krkic (Spain, striker, 32)

Also known just as ‘Bojan’, what a career this Spain striker has had! He began at Barcelona, winning La Liga three times, the Champions League twice, the Fifa Club World Cup, the Uefa Super Cup, and the Copa del Rey.                                                

He also won the Eredivisie with Ajax before spending five seasons at Stoke City, scoring 14 Premier League goals. Since leaving England, he has played in Major League Soccer with Montreal Impact and most recently in Japan for Vissel Kobe, He became a free agent in December.

Jurgen Locadia (Netherlands, striker, 29)

Dutch striker Jurgen Locadia won the league title twice in his home country for PSV Eindhoven before moving to Brighton in January 2018 in a £15m transfer.

He played 26 times in the Premier League for the Seagulls in the 2018-19 season before loan spells at German outfit Hoffenheim and MLS side FC Cincinnati.

In January 2022, he joined the German team Bochum and then joined Persepolis in Iran, scoring six times in nine games. However, he left in December following warnings from the Dutch government to its nationals to not remain in Iran because of the ongoing protests in the country.

Renzo Saravia (Argentina, right-back, 29)

He has played nine times for his country and was in Argentina’s Copa America squad that finished third in 2019.

Saravia won the league title in Argentina with Racing and also had a spell in Portugal with Porto. He was last with Brazilian side Botafogo but is now without a club.

Pape Cheikh Diop (Senegal, central midfielder, 25)

He has played three times for Senegal having previously represented Spain at the under-21 level. Cheikh Diop moved from Celta Vigo in Spain to Lyon in France in a deal worth 10m euros in 2017 and was last with Greek side Aris Saloniki.

Miles Teller gives ‘sneak peek’ into his at-home

Miles Teller gives ‘sneak peek’ into his at-home routine with wife Keleigh Sperry

Miles Teller and Keleigh Sperry made the most mundane looking task fun in their new Super Bowl commercial.

The Top Gun: Maverick star, 35, and his wife of three years — along with their six-year-old French bulldog Bugsy – are dancing to hold music while they are enduring a 50-minute wait to speak to a customer service representative.

In an interview with People, Teller shared that the two are having a pretty good year. “It’s really been an incredible year for both Keleigh and I, not just professionally but personally,” he said.

“So, when Bud Light came and wanted us to be a part of a Super Bowl commercial, I mean, that’s the top of the mountain as far as these things go. We always look forward to watching them.”

In the commercial, Sperry seems annoyed and bored as she waits for a customer representative. Seeing this, Teller takes matters into his own hands as he lures his wife to dance to the ‘on-hold’ music.

He added, “We did go to a rehearsal, just to be professional about it — but in the back of my head I was kind of figuring… I kind of knew the moves I wanted to do.”

He was especially drawn to the commercial’s concept because “it doesn’t even feel like an advertisement,” he said. “It feels like a slice of life and hopefully it makes people smile.”

He further added, that this was how he and his wife are usually at home. “You’re getting a sneak peek into Keleigh and I hanging out at home, which is pretty much what we do. We don’t really go out that much, if at all.”

The couple dated for four years before Teller popped the question while on a safari in South Africa. They tied the knot during a private Maui ceremony in September 2019.


Net zero targets ‘may mean higher

The UK has made good progress towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but getting there may need higher taxes.

According to leading economist Lord Nicholas Stern, both public and private investment in new technologies is needed.

The UK is also urged to follow the US in stimulating green technology by a former boss of oil giant BP.

But the government said the UK is “leading the way” on climate change.

  • What is net zero and how is the UK doing?

Lord Stern told the BBC: “We must have growth and drive down emissions, and it’s an investment in the new technologies that are going to get us there.”

He added: “I’m not arguing for delaying investment in health and education. We have to pursue those at the same time.

“If we have to tax a little bit more, so be it. If we have to borrow a bit more for the really tremendous investments, then we should do that.”

His words come as the country grapples with a cost of living crisis and the UK is facing the highest taxes relative to income since the Second World War.

The government is also under pressure, from some quarters, to cut taxes.

However, Lord Stern says more public investment could help jobs and the environment.

Lord Stern wrote a ground-breaking report in 2006 on climate change for the government, then led by Prime Minister Tony Blair. He delivered an updated version for former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021.

He is optimistic that a tipping point in key green technologies – including energy generation, car batteries, and fertilizer manufacture – is achievable within a few years, with artificial intelligence playing a pivotal

Lord Stern expects private investment can fund most of it but the government will have to be involved.

Lord Browne, a former chief executive of BP who now heads up a private equity fund that invests in firms that reduce greenhouse gases, wants more state help for businesses.

He is urging the government to take inspiration from across the Atlantic.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act involves subsidies and tax credits for producing electric vehicles, renewable electricity, sustainable aviation fuel, and hydrogen as well as money off for consumers who buy US-made electric cars.

“I will give the US an A-grade for the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s pretty dramatic,” Lord Browne says. “It’s nothing like enough, but it’s a great start and it’s made people notice.”

But some UK Ministers, including former Business Secretary Grant Shapps, who now heads up the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, has been critical of President Biden’s move.

They have been concerned that it gives US businesses an unfair advantage.

Such subsidies are typically financed by tax revenue or borrowing.

However, Lord Browne says there is already one source of tax cash that could be channeled better.

He supports the current windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas production, saying it is only right that producers should pay over a slice of the unforeseen profits earned on assets that are ultimately owned by the nation.

He would like to see those revenues earmarked to help renewable specialists who are developing new energies.

But Lord Brown is concerned that with so many issues to consider, such as securing the UK’s energy supply, environmental concerns may have slipped from the forefront of policymakers’ minds.

“Government ministers are preoccupied with very simple things, which is a rediscovery of inflation and rediscovery of security,” he said.

“It is first keeping the lights on, energy security. Secondly, affordability. And third is climate. Now, you should be able to do all three things at once but it’s very theoretical to say that people do focus on three objectives simultaneously. They just don’t in life.”

Speaking at the COP 27 climate meeting last year, however, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the energy crisis was a reason to accelerate the energy transition.

In a statement, the government claimed the UK is “leading the world on tackling climate change with policies having supported 68,000 green jobs


Robert’s Rules of Order for Meetings?

What Are Robert’s Rules of Order for Meetings?

When conducting a meeting, it is crucial to keep order and ensure the smooth execution of the meeting’s agenda. One of the most common ways to do this is by adopting a set of rules. This gives each attendee a framework for how the meeting will go while ensuring efficiency as each agenda item is ticked off. One set of rules still used today is Robert’s Rules of Order.

What Are Robert’s Rules of Order?

Robert’s Rules of Order is a book first written in 1876 detailing the procedure of a formal meeting. One of the main parts of the rules pertains to motions and how they are executed. There are six types of motions in Robert’s Rules of Order, which include a main motion to introduce a new item.

The other motions are as follows:

    • A subsidiary motion is used to change how main motions are handled.
    • Privileged motions are used for items unrelated to the current topic but which are urgent.
    • An incidental motion brings into question the procedure of other motions.
    • A motion to table effectively ends the motion in question.
    • A motion to postpone delays holding a vote to a later time
    • Now that you know the types of motions, you must also know the steps. For a motion to be carried, someone must signal to the chairperson by standing or raising a hand. Another person can then second the motion by raising their hand or standing for the acknowledgment of the chairperson. After the motion and a second, the chairperson will restate the motion for everyone to hear.

      Next, a debate can ensue in which participants can engage respectfully in a dialogue. Once the debate has concluded, a vote must take place. At this time, the motion will be read one more time before asking for ayes and nays. After the vote, the chairperson will read the results, which will end the motion.

      While motions are one of the most important parts of Robert’s Rules of Order, they also cover how the meeting is opened and adjourned. There are even rules for rare circumstances that would require meetings to go on recess or extend the duration beyond the allotted time.                                      Why Are Robert’s Rules of Order Used?

Businesses and government entities commonly use Robert’s Rules of Order in part because of widespread acceptance. So many entities already follow the rules that new entities can easily adopt them. It is simply a matter of tradition and using something that works and does not need replacement.

The book contains all aspects of meetings and procedures; therefore, it is much easier for an entity to adopt the rules in totality than to write its own. If a problem arises during a meeting and there is a question on how to proceed, a quick consult of the book should answer it.

It also sets the pace for how a meeting will be carried out as well as the proper wording that should be used when introducing a motion. While the words used may not seem like a crucial factor, this prevents any ambiguity in decisions.

Another important facet of Robert’s Rules of Order is the keeping of order and civility. A meeting can quickly devolve into a shouting match when several impassioned attendees wish to speak. The Rules of Order give specific guidance on how a desire to speak should be displayed as well as how it is acknowledged and carried out. This ensures the speaker has the undivided attention of everyone in attendance.

A common misconception is that the Rules of Order for a meeting replace the need for an agenda. However, this is not the case, as meeting rules dictate the formal process of carrying out a meeting agenda. You are still free to have the meeting in any order you wish.

Pros and Cons of Robert’s Rules of Order

Although Robert’s Rules of Order are a popular choice for meetings, you should weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

One of the biggest pros of the Rules of Order is that they are very in-depth and cover a wide range of scenarios. They also cover how you should proceed should these situations arise. However, this book comes in at around 700 pages because of just how many scenarios it covers, which could make it tricky

 to find the solution for your particular situation.

Another benefit is that, because the book has been around so long and is widely adopted, many already know its basic procedures. Therefore, you may find meeting attendees more responsive and knowledgeable than if you were choosing a lesser-known method.

besides the length, you will also have to deal with the complexity of reading it. The original book was written well over 100 years ago, and the style and form of the English in which it was written may be hard to understand.

Finally, you may consider alternative meeting rules if Robert’s Rules of Order are too formal for your needs. The rules work well for large board meetings or government procedures, but for smaller boards or businesses, the formality of the rules could cause the meeting to last much longer than it needs to.



Rihanna plans highly anticipated return to stage

Rihanna plans a highly anticipated return to the stage with a Super Bowl halftime show.

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Nine-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna makes her highly anticipated return to live performance at Super Bowl 57 on Sunday, headlining a halftime show that will highlight her Caribbean culture.                                                                                                                                                 The Barbados-born singer has not released a solo album since January 2016 and fans will be clamoring to see the 34-year-old chart-topper when she takes the stage for a global audience of millions at State Farm Stadium, where the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The international superstar said she was inspired to take on the challenge after giving birth to her first child in May.

“When you become a mom there’s something that just happens (and) you feel like you can take on the world, you can do anything,” she told reporters in Phoenix on Thursday

So as scary as that was because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. And it’s important for me to do this, this year. It’s important for representation, it’s important for my son to see that.”

Rihanna’s only solo music in the last seven years came in October when she released “Lift Me Up” in tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman for the Marvel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and the singer was nominated for an Academy Award.

It is the second time Rihanna has been asked to perform at the Super Bowl after she reportedly turned down an offer in 2018 out of solidarity for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice.

While the details of the annual halftime show are as closely guarded as the teams’ playbooks, Rihanna indicated that she would incorporate elements of her Caribbean culture in the performance.

“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show: representation, representing for immigrants, representing for my country, Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere,” she said.

It will take a crew of 300 to 400 workers to assemble the stage in eight minutes and break it down just as quickly – a feat of ingenuity requiring military-like precision for the 13-minute halftime concert.

“It’s incredible – it’s almost impossible,” said Rihanna, who told a crowd of reporters on Thursday that she had not slept the night before when an on-site rehearsal ran long.

“I’ve been so focused on the Super Bowl I totally forgot that my birthday is coming up (on Feb. 20),” the singer added. “I totally forgot about Valentine’s Day. I’m just like, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl.”


British number one awarded Indian

Emma Raducanu: British number one awarded Indian Wells wildcard.

British number one Emma Raducanu has been awarded a wildcard for Indian Wells next month.

The 20-year-old, who won the 2021 US Open, missed the cut for direct entry to the women’s main draw after her world ranking slipped to 80th.                  

She has not played since her defeat by American teenager Coco Gauff in the Australian Open second round.

Fellow Britons Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie have been included in the men’s singles draw.

American Taylor Fritz and Poland’s Iga Swiatek will defend their titles in California, while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are also on the entry lists despite question marks ov

Due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, world number one Djokovic – a five-time Indian Wells champion – cannot currently enter the United States.

The US is planning to lift its travel restrictions in May but that will likely come too late for the Serb, with the tournament set to start on 9 March.

Spain’s Nadal, who has won the Indian Wells title three times, was ruled out for six to eight weeks after a hip injury hampered him during his exit from the Australian Open last month, but could return in time for the first Master’s tournament of 2023.

In 2022, Raducanu exited Indian Wells in the second round, despite beating current world number five Caroline Garcia in her opening match.

we make the internet less power-thirsty?

Can we make the internet less power-thirsty?

So much of what we do every day involves a data centre. Shopping online, streaming TV shows, reading this story – they all need data to be stored and readily available.

The immediacy and convenience of those services are great, but that comes at a cost.

Data centres need huge amounts of electricity to keep them going – a large facility will use as much electricity as a medium-sized town.

  • Panorama: Is the cloud damaging the planet?

The situation is particularly acute in Ireland, where a relatively small electricity grid is hosting a ballooning number of data centres.

More than 20 of these are in Dublin where Microsoft and Amazon have built very large sites.

Altogether the nation hosts 75 data centres with 11 more under construction and, according to energy consultants Baringa, they could take up 27% of the national electricity output by 2029.

That alarming demand for electricity has forced the Irish government to take action.

Sustainability is now a pre-condition of approval for new data centres with the government stating that “new-build data centres must be able to flexibly reduce power consumption”.




Mainstream media’s extensive reporting

Mainstream media’s extensive reporting on the GOP’s efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare undermines protests that the claim is “dishonest”.                                                                              After calling out some members of the Republican Party for trying to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare in his State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden is being labeled a liar by the party and right-wing media. Mainstream media’s exhaustive reporting on the GOP trying to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits should serve to fact-check anyone who says otherwise.                                                          During his 2023 State of the Union address, Biden noted, “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans — some Republicans — want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” Despite their decadeslong war against Social Security and other entitlements, Republicans dubiously claim they have no intention of going after these programs. Right-wing media responded aggressively to the speech, with figures like The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Newsmax’s Sean Spicer calling Biden’s comments “demagogic lies” and a “total flop of a moment,” respectively. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich labeled Biden’s comment an “attempt to attack the Republicans on Medicare and Social Security” that was “totally dishonest.”                                                                                            Some in the mainstream media also attempted to downplay the GOP’s past, and likely future, attempts to cut entitlement programs. On CNN, conservative pollster Frank Luntz said it was “dishonest” and “provocative” for Biden to say that Republicans want to “sunset” Social Security (host Kaitlan Collins pushed back on Luntz, referencing Scott’s proposed legislation). Additionally, ABC’s Jonathan Karl said that Biden’s remarks were inaccurate, falsely claiming that “there’s nobody seriously talking about sunsetting Social Security in the Republican Party.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The GOP’s intention and attempts to cut Social Security and other entitlement programs have been extensively documented by mainstream media for over a decade. This reporting undermines the right’s argument that Democrats and the left are lying about the GOP’s desire to slash these programs. Here are some examples:

  • Back in 2011, The Cap Times published a piece exposing the GOP’s attempt to force concessions on entitlement reform using the debt ceiling: “But then the American people caught wind of [then-House Budget Committee chair Paul] Ryan’s ‘entitlement reform’ scheme and quickly recognized that it would end Medicare, along with retirement security, for most Americans.”
  • McClatchy wrote an article in 2013 titled “Sen. Mitch McConnell says Medicare, Social Security must change to fix U.S. debt,” noting, “McConnell, speaking to several hundred people during Commerce Lexington’s Public Policy Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, said those changes should include raising eligibility ages over time.”
  • In 2016, HuffPost illustrated that the GOP has camouflaged its attempts to slash Social Security by using vague language and ambiguous policy proposals: “The Republican Party platform doesn’t say how it would reform the program, and claims ‘all options should be considered.’ But as Social Security Works points out, the GOP clearly supports benefit cuts, since the platform later rules out tax hikes.”
  • The Intercept released an article in 2017 titled “Senate Republicans Are Coming For Medicare And Medicaid, This Time Through Tax Reform,” noting that Democrats said the GOP’s 2018 proposed budget would result in Medicaid being cut by $1 trillion and Medicare by $473 billion over 10 years.
  • Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik explained that McConnell made the GOP’s intentions clear after he blamed entitlements for national debt in multiple 2018 interviews: “Mitch McConnell says it out loud: Republicans are gunning for Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare next.”
  • In 2019, Vox called out then-President Donald Trump for cutting entitlement programs in his proposed budget, despite repeatedly saying he wouldn’t: “Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.”
  • Publishing an analysis in The Washington Spectator in 2020, professor of economics Steven Pressman elucidated one way the GOP has gone after Social Security: “Republicans frequently suggest raising the age for collecting full benefits from 67 to 70. In practice, this means a 25 percent cut in benefits, or $375 less each month for an average Social Security recipient.”
  • In 2021, economist Christian Weller published an article in Forbes highlighting that multiple Republican senators had their eyes on cutting funds to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: “Given that four of the five sponsors of this idea [to balance the budget] have signed on to the tax pledge to never, ever under any circumstances raise taxes, they are looking for programs to cut. They consequently take aim mainly at cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
  • The Hill published an opinion piece in 2021 explaining that Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) proposed legislation would create a “back-door approach to cut Americans’ earned benefits”: “This is nothing more than a back-door mechanism for enacting cuts to seniors’ earned benefits that wouldn’t otherwise be possible through the normal legislative process.”
  • In October 2022, Bloomberg Government published a bombshell report on the GOP’s planned attempt to weaponize the debt ceiling to force through cuts to entitlement programs: “The four Republicans interested in serving as House Budget Committee chairman in the next Congress said in interviews that next year’s deadline to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is a point of leverage if their party can win control of the House in the November midterm elections.”
  • Truthout analyzed now-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) October 2022 interview with Punchbowl News, explaining that McCarthy likely intends to use the debt ceiling to force concessions on entitlement programs: “When McCarthy refers to eliminating so-called waste, it is likely that he is referring to, among other things, the GOP’s plans to cut Medicare and Social Security, two of the most popular and vital anti-poverty government programs in the U.S.”
  • In early 2023, The Washington Post published an article titled “House GOP eyes Social Security, Medicare amid spending battle,” noting: “Others in the party have resurfaced more detailed plans to cut costs, including by raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, targeting younger Americans who have yet to obtain federal benefits.”
  • After Biden’s speech, the Post assessed potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates’ past positions on Social Security, noting “several” of them “have a history of embracing cuts”: The piece mentioned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis,former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Trump, writing: “Fiscal conservatives have fought Social Security and Medicare since their inception as crowning achievements of Democratic presidents, and rising national debt has intensified calls for overhauling the programs in recent decades. But charting a new course for entitlements has also long proved a graveyard for Republican ambitions.                           


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