Ministers are considering strengthening security laws after a report by MPs accused them of underestimating the threat of Russian interference.
Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said foreign agents could be required to register in the UK in future.
He told MPs that this and other “new offences and powers” for dealing with foreign spies were being looked at.
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of complacency and leaving a “serious gap in our defences”.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said the government had “delayed” legislation to help counter Russian interference, despite acknowledging 18 months ago that existing powers were insufficient.
“The PM sat on this report for 10 months and failed to plug a gap in our law in national security,” he said.
“How is the PM going to address that gap and meet the threat with the joined-up, robust response it deserves?”
Boris Johnson said there was no other country in the Western world that was more “vigilant” about Russian interference, pointing to recent sanctions against Russian officials involved in human rights abuses and proposed laws to protect critical infrastructure and intellectual property.
“Let us be in no doubt about what this is all about,” he said.
“It is about pressure from the Islingtonian remainers who have seized on this report to try and give the impression that Russian interference was somehow responsible for Brexit.
“The people of this country did not vote to leave the EU because of pressure from Russia.”
The Intelligence and Security Committee report claimed the government made no effort to investigate claims of Russian interference in the EU referendum and criticised intelligence agencies for not prioritising the issue.
The government has said an inquiry is not necessary as it has “seen no evidence of successful interference”.
But ministers are listening to calls from all parties to do more to counter Russian espionage and subversion after the UK was described the main target after the US and Nato.
Plans to make foreign agents register were mentioned in the government’s legislative agenda last December, and were previously announced by former home secretary Sajid Javid in May last year.
In response to an urgent question from Labour in the House of Commons, Mr Brokenshire said the UK would consider strengthening the Official Secrets Act and tightening rules on investment visas.
“Let there be no doubt, we are unafraid to act where necessary to protect the UK and our allies.”
If you do not seek, you do not find.
Whether deliberate or deficient, the Intelligence and Security Committee’s very long-awaited report outlines gaping holes in the UK’s handling of the threat from Russia.
For years, it seems a lack of priority, and a lack of curiosity, allowed the risks to go unmonitored, if not to go unchecked.
The UK government has now stiffened its attitude to Putin’s Russia.
But shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the “conscious” decision not to consider whether they was any attempt to manipulate the Brexit vote spoke volumes.
Urging ministers to treat the issue with the “seriousness it deserves”, he added: “I thank the security services for the work they do but they need help. This report makes clear they have not received the strategic support, legislative tools or resources necessary to defend our interests.”
In its 50-page report, the ISC said the UK was “clearly a target” for disinformation campaigns around its elections, but that the issue was described as a “hot potato”, with no one organisation taking a lead to tackle it.
The committee suggested a new Espionage Act could help prevent individuals acting on behalf of a foreign power from concealing their links with that country.
It said an obligation similar to that in the US – where agents are required to register with the Justice department – would “clearly be valuable in countering Russian influence in the UK”.
ISC member Kevan Jones said he was concerned that the Law Commission, which was asked last year to look at the legal issues regarding such a move, had yet to release its findings.
“Can I urge the minister to make sure we actually gets this legislation in place because it is needed,” he said. “Let’s hope it is not just some spin to get the headlines.”
Downing Street was accused of holding back the ISC report ahead of December’s UK election and for delaying its nominations to set up the new committee – both claims it has denied.
Its chair Julian Lewis, who was stripped of the Conservative whip after defying No 10 by standing for its leadership, sought reassurances that Downing Street special advisers would not be able to interfere with its work
His misogyny was on full display in the segment, in which he cracked that he suffered from PMS — “persecuted male syndrome” — and slammed calls for equal rights.
“If they want equality, let’s give them 51 percent of the worst of the society,” Hollander said. “Then they’ll change their tune and they’ll start whining, ‘Where’s the kitchen?’”
He also bashed his ex-wife as “a Russian Mafia prostitute [who] used to be a mistress to a Chechen warlord,” insisted that he was “anti-feminist but not anti-female,” and portrayed himself as standing up for downtrodden men.
“I am speaking for a lot of guys who are too scared to come out and say, ‘Yes, I’m tired of being pushed around. I’m tired of these feminists walking over my rights,’” he said.
Hollander said in recent months that he was terminally ill — and investigators believe he may have used his death sentence as an excuse to target his enemies. He was found dead Monday in New York’s Catskills of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In a massive online screed he left behind, he railed against his doctors, minorities, women and Salas in particular, alternately describing her as “hot” and expressing a desire to ask her out, and denigrating her as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.”
Rookies for the Chiefs and Texans are taking COVID-19 tests on Monday to complete the first step of the process for reporting to training camp and rookies from other teams are set to do the same in the coming days, but the full rules governing the return to work remain unfinished.
The NFL and NFL Players Association have been talking about a number outstanding issues that include testing frequency, opt-out procedures, the number of preseason games, revenue losses and the overall structure of training camp. Word at the end of last week was that there’s been some progress, but the flood of messages from players on Sunday made it clear that there’s still some distance to cover before there’s an agreement.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that progress continues to be made on health and safety issues, but that Monday is “maybe too soon” for the two sides to bridge the remaining gap.
The NFLPA has said that the league controls the start date of camp and that players should report as scheduled. The union can file a grievance if they believe the safety issues have not been properly addressed when camps start next week.
(CNN)An unpublished document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom, recommends that 18 states in the coronavirus “red zone” for cases should roll back reopening measures amid surging cases.
The “red zone” is defined in the 359-page report as “those core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) and counties that during the last week reported both new cases above 100 per 100,000 population, and a diagnostic test positivity result above 10%.”
The report outlines measures counties in the red zone should take. It encourages residents to “wear a mask at all times outside the home and maintain physical distance.” And it recommends that public officials “close bars and gyms” and “limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer,” which would mean rolling back reopening provisions in these places.
The report comes despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that states reopen and a push to send the nation’s children back to school, even as cases increase.
“Now we’re open, and we want to stay open and we will stay open. We’re not closing. We’ll put out the fires as they come out,” Trump said at a White House event earlier this month.
The following 18 states are in the red zone for cases: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
The report says the following 11 states are in the red zone for test positivity: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Washington. The 11 states in the red zone for test positivity are also in the red zone for cases, with the exception of Washington state.
One of the states that is in the red zone for both cases and test positivity, Georgia, is currently embroiled in a political fight with its largest city. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp filed a lawsuit over Atlanta’s Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ mandate on masks in her city Thursday. He claimed it violated his emergency orders prohibiting local leaders from adding to the state’s requirements to protect against coronavirus.
The task force report specifically includes a recommendation that Georgia “mandate statewide wearing of cloth face coverings outside the home.”
Asked about the task force report, Bottoms told CNN she had not been in touch with the task force.
“I had not heard from them, but again, the people that I’m listening to are the scientists and our health care professionals,” she said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”
Devin O’Malley, spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence and the task force, didn’t dispute the document’s authenticity, and claimed the report showed “encouraging signs” amid the pandemic.
“When the vice president held a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at HHS a few weeks ago, he reported that 16 states met the criteria for rising cases and rising positivity rate. As it stands in that report, there are only 10 states that fit that criteria. This is just one data point of many encouraging signs that we are seeing across the country as we continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” O’Malley said in a statement.
Dr. Deborah Birx also said earlier this month that people living in states with coronavirus surges should return to the White House’s original “phase one” recommendations on gatherings.
Citing guidelines such as wearing face masks and avoiding bars and indoor events, Birx said those steps should be resumed in order to bring cases back under control.
She said they are “asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use those face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either. And decreasing those gatherings back down to our phase one recommendation, which was 10 or less.”
Birx touted the importance of mask-wearing and said “any kind of indoor gathering” should be avoided in places experiencing a spike in cases.
Asked by CNN’s Joe Johns about the document, counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said: “I think we see the surge in cases and we know where the hotspots are. We’ve been very upfront about that, we’ve published many documents.”
She said she didn’t know about the document specifically but had read reports.
India has become the third country to record more than 1m coronavirus infections, following the US and Brazil, as it reported 34,956 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 1,003,832.
The escalating infections in India come as new peaks continued to appear around the world, including an alarming rise in France’s Brittany region.
Amid evidence that the disease was taking hold in poorer, rural areasof India less well-served by public healthcare, the latest tally prompted renewed concerns about the country’s ability to cope with rising infections.
The figures have been released after a week in which authorities in India were forced to impose new lockdowns, including fresh restrictions on 128 million people in the state of Bihar, which came into force on Thursday.
The continuing and escalating outbreaks, on top of record cases in the United States – which passed 75,000 daily cases in the last count – has dampened hopes that the pandemic is anywhere close to being brought under control, even as researchers race to find a viable vaccine.
Three states in India – Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu – account for more than half of the total cases in the country so far. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, warned that the vast majority of cases in the country were still being missed.
The continuing rise has forced authorities to reinstate lockdowns in some cities and states.
In Bangalore the government ordered a week-long lockdown that began on Tuesday evening after a rapid increase in cases.
Dr Anant Bhan, a global health researcher, said India was likely to experience a series of peaks as the virus spread in rural areas. He said the capital, New Delhi, and the financial capital, Mumbai, had already recorded surges, while infections have now shifted to smaller cities.
India’s response to the virus was initially sluggish, but then on 24 March the prime minister, Narendra Modi, imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown of its 1.3-billion population.
By Friday more than 13.8m infections had been confirmed worldwide and nearly 590,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University, with Brazil topping 2m infections at the end of the week and the US more than 3m.
Countries around the world have moved quickly to reintroduce restrictions as outbreaks flare up again. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, announced a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people from Saturday as part of a package of measures to curb an increase in coronavirus cases in the Catalan capital.
“We have to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people … Only 10 people will be allowed in weddings and funerals from Saturday,” Colau told a press conference. Residents were also urged to shop online and cultural and sports events will also be limited.
In France, which had already announced plans to make mask wearing mandatory in enclosed public spaces, authorities reported a sharp rise in the infection rate in Brittany. According to data released on Friday, the disease’s reproduction rate in Brittany had risen from 0.92 to 2.62 between 10-14 July.
“It’s a worrying number because it means the epidemic is taking off again,” Eric Caumes, an infectious disease specialist at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, told BFM TV.
In China, flights into the city of Ürümqi in thefar-western Xinjiang region were restricted on Friday, and underground and public bus services suspended, according to local social media.
The latest outbreak has underlined the continuing difficulty China faces in stamping out the virus – even with its imposition of draconian measures – which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Amid fears around the world over the ease in which new resurgences have escalated after countries relaxed restrictions, Hong Kong reported 50 new locally transmitted cases on Friday, stoking further concern about a third peak of infections in the global financial hub.
Tokyo hit a daily high of 293 infections as Japan tries to keep the world’s third-largest economy running while curbing infections, a precarious balancing act of opening restaurants and theatres with limited seating, and having store clerks work behind plastic shielding.
“We have asked people and businesses to raise their alert levels,” said the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike. She said the recent higher numbers partly reflected more aggressive testing.
Welcome to Edition 3.08 of the Rocket Report! We are now approaching the middle of the 2020 Mars launch window, and it appears as though we will see the UAE, China, and United States all launch missions to the Red Planet during the last 10 days of the month. Exciting times ahead!
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
Chinese Kuaizhou-11 launch ends in failure. The launch of a new Chinese Kuaizhou-11 commercial solid rocket ended in failure last Friday, resulting in the loss of two satellites, SpaceNews reports. Terse reports from Chinese media state that the specific cause of the failure is “under further analysis and investigation.”
China’s third launch failure of 2020 … The Kuaizhou-11 is a larger version of the Kuaizhou-1A solid rocket, operated by Expace, a commercial spin-off from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., a state-owned missile maker. The rocket has a diameter of 2.2 meters and a mass at liftoff of 78 tons. It is capable of delivering 1,000 kilograms to a 700km Sun-synchronous orbit. (submitted by Ken the Bin, JohnCarter17, and platykurtic)
Small-launch contracts diverted to small-business loans. The $116 million that the US Department of Defense set aside for small-launch contracts under the Defense Production Act have been redirected to other priorities, SpaceNews reports. The Pentagon had approved funding the small-launch contracts but, at the last minute, decided to shift the money to small-business loan programs that were considered a more urgent priority. It is unlikely that those contracts will be awarded any time soon, the US Air Force’s top procurement official Will Roper said.
DoD says of the funds: You can’t aevum … About a month ago, the military announced it intended to award contracts to six small-launch providers financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On July 1 DoD withdrew the contracts that would have been awarded to Aevum, Astra, X-Bow, Rocket Lab, Space Vector, and VOX Space to launch two rideshare missions over the next 24 months. Awarding the launch contracts now will require additional funding from Congress. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
The easiest way to keep up with Eric Berger’s space reporting is to sign up for his newsletter, we’ll collect his stories in your inbox.
Next frontier for small rockets: Deep space? In a feature, Ars explores the potential for small satellites (and the new low-cost rockets that launch them) to transform planetary science. Instead of spending a decade or longer planning and developing a mission before spending hundreds of millions (to billions!) of dollars bringing it off, perhaps we can fly a mission within a couple of years for a few tens of millions of dollars.
The Moon, Mars, and beyond … In recent years, a new generation of companies is developing new rockets for small satellites that cost roughly $10 million for a launch. Already, Rocket Lab has announced a lunar program for its small Electron rocket. “I think this is a huge, disruptive program for the scientific community,” Rocket Lab’s chief said. And Virgin Orbit has teamed up with a group of Polish universities to launch up to three missions to Mars with its LauncherOne vehicle.
Minotaur IV rocket launches NRO mission. A Northrop Grumman Minotaur IV solid-propellant rocket launched the NROL-129 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office on July 15 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, SpaceNews reports. The classified NROL-129 mission carried four remote-sensing payloads.
Putting old missiles to good use … This was the Minotaur IV’s first flight from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Island Facility. It was the NRO’s first launch on a Minotaur IV, a four-stage vehicle made with three government-furnished solid-rocket motors from decommissioned Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles. (submitted by JohnCarter17 and Ken the Bin)
Korean satellite launch postponed. The planned launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday from Cape Canaveral of a South Korean military communications satellite has been delayed in order to address an issue on the launcher’s second stage and potentially replace the hardware if necessary, Spaceflight Now reports.
Being extra paranoid … This is the second SpaceX mission to be postponed indefinitely in recent days as the company tries to cut turnaround times for reused rockets and produce new upper stages at a rapid rate to meet a fast-paced launch schedule in the coming weeks. “We’re being extra paranoid,” tweeted Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO. “Maximizing probability of successful launch is paramount.” Launch is now set for no earlier than July 19. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
Spaceflight to debut Sherpa-FX on Falcon 9 mission. The Seattle-based rideshare-management company said this week it will be flying its next-generation orbital-transfer vehicle, Sherpa-FX, on a dedicated rideshare mission with SpaceX. This mission is scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020. This is another step toward big rockets offering customizable satellite delivery.
Last-mile delivery … “In-space transportation is essential to meeting our customer’s specific needs to get their spacecraft delivered to orbit exactly when and where they want it,” said Grant Bonin, senior vice president of business development for Spaceflight Inc. “If you think of typical rideshare as sharing a seat on a train headed to a popular destination, our next-generation Sherpa program enables us to provide a more complete ‘door-to-door transportation service.'” (submitted by Ken the Bin)
Hope Mars probe launch delayed by weather. After two previous weather delays, a Mars orbiter financed by the United Arab Emirates will be launched between July 20 and 22, the Khaleej Times reports. The new launch time will be announced depending on the weather conditions.
Third time’s the charm? … A Japanese H-2A rocket was originally due to launch on July 15. But the “persistence of thunderstorms, cumulative clouds and unstable weather conditions in the coming days on Tanegashima Island” have now delayed the launch twice. The rocket and spacecraft are both said to be in good condition. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
Arianespace will phase out Ariane 5 in 2022. Program delays have forced EUMETSAT to reserve a pair of Ariane 6 rockets for two European weather satellites originally anticipated to launch on Ariane 5 rockets, SpaceNews reports. Only one of three planned satellites, MTG-I1, will be completed before Arianespace switches completely to Ariane 6 rockets.
Two more years of Ariane 5 … MTG-I1, an imaging satellite, will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2022, the last year Ariane 5 will be available, said Paul Counet, EUMETSAT’s head of strategy. The sounding satellite MTG-S1, for which EUMETSAT had a firm Ariane 5 launch contract, is now scheduled to launch in 2023 on an Ariane 6, as well as another bird launching in 2025. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
Rocket for next crew mission arrives in Florida. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program has arrived in Florida, the space agency said. This mission will carry NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the International Space Station for a full-duration mission.
Taking flight in a couple of months … A launch date will be determined after the completion of SpaceX’s crew-demonstration mission, which is likely to return to Earth in early August. This suggests the flight will take place no earlier than late September. The rocket will now undergo prelaunch processing in the company’s facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
No big rockets in 2020, but seven are coming. 2020 was supposed to be the year of the big rocket. At one point, as many as four large, powerful boosters were slated to take flight this year. Alas, we now know for sure that none of them is going to make it this year, because Arianespace’s Ariane 6, NASA’s Space Launch System, Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur will all slip to 2021 at the very least.
Seven deadly predictions … However, all of those rockets and three more—Japan’s H3, Northrop Grumman’s Omega booster, and SpaceX’s Super Heavy first stage—are coming at some point in the next couple of years. In a new article, Ars makes wild guesses as to when each of these seven new rockets may ultimately make its debut. Spoiler alert: we think H3 probably will be first and New Glenn last.
SLS static-fire test may occur in October. NASA and Boeing say they are on track to perform a major static-fire test of the core stage of the Space Launch System in October, a key milestone ahead of a first launch in late 2021, SpaceNews reports. Crews working on testing the SLS core stage at the Stennis Space Center have run into “no issues” so far during a series of tests collectively known as the Green Run, said John Shannon, Boeing vice president and program manager for the rocket.
Up to test number four … Three of eight Green Run tests have been completed. These include applying forces to the core stage to simulate launch conditions, powering on the stage’s avionics, and testing the systems that would shut down the stage if there’s a problem during testing. Shannon said work is underway on the fourth test: checking components of the rocket’s main propulsion system. If the test firing does occur in October, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, that would be a positive step forward for the program. (submitted by Ken the Bin and JohnCarter17)
ESA confirms Ariane 6 delay to late 2021. Of the big four rockets that once had debuts set for this year, Ariane 6 was the last to announce a delay. “While we know that the maiden flight will not take place before the second semester of 2021, we cannot at this moment precisely quantify the delay, and we cannot provide an exact launch date,” Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s director of space transportation, said.
The pandemic played a big role … SpaceNews reports that pandemic-induced delays with Ariane 6’s launch pad construction, solid-rocket-booster testing, and productivity losses at Ariane 6 industrial sites had compromised the rocket’s original schedule. Neuenschwander also said problems with the cryogenic arms at the Ariane 6 launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana, were contributing to the delay. (submitted by Ken the Bin and JohnCarter17)
SLS rocket replaces Saturn V on Alabama tags. Alabama has traded the glory of a past Moon rocket for the promise of a new launch vehicle on the latest version of its space-exploration-themed specialty license plate, Collect Space reports. The redesigned “Alabama Space Tag” replaces the depiction of the historic Saturn V booster with NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket. The new plate marks the first time that the Saturn V has not appeared on an Alabama plate in 15 years.
Funds go to a good cause … The Alabama Department of Revenue began issuing the new Space Tag in May. Like the “Save the Saturn V” plate that it replaced, sales benefit the state’s home for one of the three remaining Apollo-era rockets. Net proceeds will be distributed to the US Space and Rocket Center Foundation to be used toward the Davidson Saturn V Center in Huntsville where the Saturn V is located. It’s a good cause, at least. (submitted by JohnCarter17)
Next three launches
July 19: Falcon 9 | Anasis-2 | Cape Canaveral, Fla. | 21:00 UTC
July 19: H-2A | Emirates Mars Mission “Hope” | Tanegashima, Japan | TBD
July 23: Long March 5 | Tianwen-1 Mars mission | Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, China | TBD
This Saturday, Gilbert Burns was scheduled to face Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title in the main event of UFC 251. But late last week, Burns was forced out of his title shot when he tested positive for COVID-19 during one of the UFC’s pre-event checks. With Burns out, the UFC turned to the man they had passed over to give Burns a title shot, ‘BMF’ champion Jorge Masvidal, and now, instead of fighting Usman on Saturday, Burns will now be cheering for the welterweight champion.
Speaking to ESPN on Monday, Burns spoke about Masvidal’s short-notice title shot, saying that he would be rooting for his former teammate to retain the belt, because if “Gamebred” becomes welterweight champion, he believes things will get wild in a hurry.
“I want Kamaru to win,” Burns said. “First of all, because I kind of like the guy. He’s not anymore, but he used to be my training partner, so for sure I got Kamaru. And if Masvidal wins, the things are gonna get crazy. It’s going to be a circus in that division. He’s going to fight who else, I don’t know, I think he wants to fight Conor (McGregor) or maybe Nate Diaz. I don’t think the division is going to run correctly, with the number one, number two guys fighting for the title. He’s going to make it a mess, so that’s another reason I want Kamaru to win.”
Burns is probably not wrong. The reason Masvidal was passed over for a title shot originally largely came down to a monetary dispute between Masvidal and the UFC. Should Gamebred win the title, it’s fair to assume those problems won’t just disappear. Furthermore, Masvidal has already explicitly stated that after winning the title, he’d like to return the favor Nate Diaz gave him with the ‘Baddest Motherf*cker’ belt by giving Diaz a welterweight title shot. Then, of course, there is the ever present possibility that Conor McGregor might want a welterweight title shot while he waits for the lightweight title picture to clear up. Anyway you slice it, that doesn’t seem to leave much room for Burns, the current top-ranked contender, and he recognizes that.
“I know if Masvidal wins, things are gonna get crazy,” Burns said. “I might have to do a couple more fights. I don’t mind but for sure I’d rather fight for the title next.”
That being said, watching Nate Diaz fight for the welterweight title might sting. After Masvidal was announced as the replacement for Burns, Diaz Tweeted a seal of approval for the change, declaring “real fights are better fights”, something Burns takes umbrage with.
“He’s a journeyman,” Burns said of Diaz. “I think I can beat the sh*t out of Nate Diaz any day of the week, even with the ‘rona on me. Even with the ‘rona, I believe I can beat Nate Diaz, out-box him, out-grapple him. I can slap that guy up easily. The guy comes out and does those comments, I’m a real fighter too, bro. I used to respect this guy a lot but I’m a real fighter too.”
He certainly is. Since moving up to welterweight last year, Burns is 4-0 with wins over Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, and former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. And while in normal circumstances that kind of run would guarantee him a shot at the winner of UFC 251, again, Burns is ready for the possibility that he will have to sing for his supper.
“I don’t mind to fight more” Burns concluded. “Like I said, if Masvidal wins and then he picks Nate, let’s say he picks Nate for the end of the year, I don’t care. I’m gonna fight. I’m a fighter. I’m not gonna be hiding out, waiting, ‘Oh, please give me the opportunity.’ I’m going to take the opportunity.”
@danawhite I’m ready to come take the belt or any fight whenever you are ready for me Mr. Dana. I have been constantly training and I am more ready than ever to deliver the kind of fight the UFC is looking for. No one will be able to stop me when I come back pic.twitter.com/Zkh5aCczOH
— Diego Brandao #UFC #RIZIN #RCC_MMA #FNG (@DiegoBrandaoMMA) July 7, 2020
Claudia Gadelha (18-4) vs. Yan Xiaonan (12-1, 1 NC); UFC Fight Night, Sept. 26.
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If Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association cannot come to terms on a plan to hold the 2020 season, commissioner Rob Manfred is reportedly expected to intervene.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the players union executive board is set to vote on the league’s proposal of a 60-game season. If it is vetoed, Manfred is expected to mandate and set a schedule for the 2020 season.
Heyman added that whether Manfred mandates a 2020 season will also depend if it’s determined to be safe to play baseball during the coronavirus pandemic.
Heymanalso reported that the eight-man union executive subcommittee may be “near unanimous” in voting against MLB’s proposal. Colorado Rockies infielder Daniel Murphy may be the only person leaning in the other direction, meaning it could be a 7-1 vote against the proposal.
Per ESPN’sJesse Rogers, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said Friday in a statement that the league informed him it was sticking with its most recent offer of a 60-game schedule with full prorated salaries: “MLB has informed the Association that it will not respond to our last proposal and will not play more than 60 games. Our Executive Board will convene in the near future to determine next steps. Importantly, players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.”
When MLB initially proposed that offer, the union countered with a 70-game proposal. If the players association does not accept the terms, there will likely be no additional offers and the decision will be firmly in Manfred’s hands.
The 2020 MLB season had been scheduled to start in late March, but play was halted during spring training because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though NASCAR and golf have resumed and both the NBA and NHL have plans to resume their seasons next month, MLB has been unable to come to terms.
One of the biggest initial hang-ups was MLB’s reluctance to pay players full prorated salaries given the significant revenue hit the league is set to take. Teams will play far fewer than their scheduled 162 games, which will hurt television revenue, and there will be no gate revenue since fans have not been given clearance to attend games.
MLB relented on the full prorated salaries, but the MLBPA is hoping for a slightly longer schedule than 60 games to recoup more money.
If a 60-game season is a non-starter for the union, then its best bet is to reject the proposal and hope Manfred either goes with 70 games or meets the sides somewhere in the middle.
One risk in that scenario, however, is that the current proposal includes expanded playoffs, which would mean more money for the players who play on teams that qualify for the postseason. It is possible Manfred could scrap that as part of his mandate.
MLB and the union must also continue to worry about the COVID-19 situation, as all spring training camps wereshut downthis week following some positive coronavirus tests.
Bob Nightengaleof USA Today reported Saturday that teams will shift their spring training camps to their home cities as a result.
The NFL is allowing coaches to return to team facilities as long as their state and local authorities OK it. And 31 of 32 teams have the permission from those authorities.
The exception is the 49ers. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the league anticipates only the 49ers not being able to get back to work at their facilities.
The local authorities in Santa Clara have sounded a cautious note, with Santa Clara County officials saying in April that they weren’t expecting sports to return locally until Thanksgiving. The 49ers have been weighing their options about alternative training camp sites. According to the report, the 49ers are supportive of the local authorities’ caution.
LOS ANGELES — The pilot flying Kobe Bryant and seven others to a youth basketball tournament outside Los Angeles did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, and all sustained immediately fatal injuries when their helicopter slammed into a hillside, according to autopsies released Friday.
The reports by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office provide a clinical but unvarnished look at just how brutal the crash was, describing broken bones, dismembered body parts and a stench of fuel on what remained of clothing that burned.
The causes of death for Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, pilot Ara Zobayan and the others were blunt trauma.
The report on Bryant revealed the only drug in his system was methylphenidate, which is sold under the brand name Ritalin and used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.
Bryant was headed to his daughter’s tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks on the morning of Jan. 26. There They flew into fog. Zobayan climbed sharply to try to get above the clouds, turned left and plunged into a hillside.
Federal authorities are still investigating the accident.
Also killed were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.
According to the coroner’s reports, the helicopter “appeared to have crashed into a mountain before making a small skip and coming to rest near a hiking trail.” The force of the crash resulted in a 24 foot by 15-foot impact crater, according to the report, and left some of the bodies of those inside the aircraft as far as 100 yards away.
The remains of Alyssa Altobelli and Christina Mauser were found still inside the main portion of the aircraft, according to the report, while the others were outside. Kobe Bryant’s body was found lying in the dirt immediately south of the main wreckage. The body of Gianna Bryant was found in a vegetation-covered ravine about 100 yards north of the crash.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, has filed a lawsuit against the helicopter company, as have surviving family members of the other passengers killed in the crash. The lawsuits allege that the company, Island Express Helicopters, its parent company and Zobayan were negligent in the operations and maintenance of the helicopter.
A representative for Island Express did not respond Friday evening to a request for comment regarding the coroner’s reports. The company has previously declined to comment on the lawsuits, citing the active litigation.