Every now and again people achieve remarkable things in our sport, but very rarely do they receive recognition for their achievements. Over the past few weeks four people have gained their level 4 referee presenter status, Chris Harapa, Erene Devall, Scott Dews and Michael Rush. On the database of referee presenters there are only 100 people who have ever achieved this level and this award. Because of their remarkable achievement, we decided to take some time to focus on them and their involvement as Touch referees. Recently I asked each of them some questions about their involvement with Touch, what they love, what’s tough and what they see as the future of refereeing… CHRIS HARAPA: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I first started refereeing about 1990 down at the Domain lunchtime competition in Sydney as a duty ref, before a friend suggested that I take it more seriously as I was a better ref than a player. I joined South Sydney Referees the following year and they helped me get my level 1. I had lots of help then because some of the best refs then officiated at Souths; Adam Foley, Gary Mournehis, Richard Lawry, Mark Sinclair (all level 6’s & still involved in the sport). I stopped refereeing 3 years ago due to nerve damage in my back and am currently a member of the NSW Referees Panel. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? The speed & intensity of the game as well as the different standards across the park. Referees also devote a lot of time and money to the sport and this makes it hard for them and their families. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? When I refereed it was the great camaraderie and friendships that will last a lifetime. Even now as a panel member, the buzz and excitement of a tournament and seeing everyone puts a smile on my face. Also the challenge of improving, attaining higher badge levels and getting better quality games. 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? I had no choice in giving up refereeing because I was forced to give it away, but when the Director of Referees, Ian Matthew invited me to assist the panel for the first time, I jumped at the chance to stay involved and give something back. Presenting and coaching is all part of the job, and I love it. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? As a referee, I attained my Level 4 State badge. As a referees’ coach, I am now a level 3 and hope one day to get that L4 at a national tournament. As a presenter, L4 as you now know. I’m also a level 1 player coach. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Achieving my L4 state badge and getting that blue blazer. An unbelievable semi final game at the State Cup in 1996 between the two best Womens’ sides at the time, Easts v Cronulla which went down to 3 on 3 and helped me get my level 4 badge. Also, you can’t beat our Referees’ Grading Night when you see the smile on a referee’s face when they receive their blue blazer and you helped them get there! 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? All my fellow referees through the years, the NSW Referees Panel, Ian Matthew (Director), my daughter Leah who is an inspiration (I got her involved from the age of 9 and she still loves playing now at 20), my son and best mate Dan, and my wife Megan as she is the one that encourages me and helps me to stay in Touch. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? I can see a bright future ahead. Being associated with so many people that are happy to give up their time and energy as well as a genuine love for what they do, we will only get better in what we do. We are continually developing improving and delivering our courses on a regular basis as well as providing our senior and experienced referees a means to becoming coaches & presenters to help in the development of our junior, female & emerging referees. ERENE DEVALL: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I started in Kiama, NSW playing in 1980 and started refereeing as a L1 in 1983 (a life time ago) 2) What makes refereeing difficult? Its not difficult it just has lots of challenges. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? The people you meet from all walks of life 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? When I started going through the levels as a referee. I have always been someone that likes to give something back – quite a few people helped me along the way – now its my turn. I also get a buzz out of seeing the people you help achieve their goals too. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? L4 Referee (retired when I became pregnant with my first child) L4 Coach and now L4 Presenter 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Coaching a great friend of mine through the system from L1 through to L6 referee and being present when he received his L6 at NTL. Too many highlights to mention one in particular – there have been so many. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? My husband has been the one to support and encourage me to achieve as I have, however, on the Touch Scene there are four people that have had the greatest influence on my career – Greg West, Ian Matthew, Lou Tomkins and Steve Fisher – they are part of the reason I stay involved. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? I would like to see refereeing promoted as a sport within a sport – you either hate it or love it, there is no middle ground. I think that it does take a special type of person to become a Touch Referee. Within my career, thankfully, the highs definitely outweigh the lows. SCOTT DEWS: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I have been refereeing since the early 90’s, I became more involved & committed when I watched my wife playing rep Touch and realised I could ref at that level. I did my first tournament in ’94. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? During my time when I stopped playing and concentrated on refereeing full time, the park players in open grades basically ran the games, until I gained their respect. Now the only difficult ones are the long term players, who still need the older rules to recover (Mainly women). 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? To me being able to be involved in high level Touch games e.g.; Mens open NTL, Mens 20’s World Cup) is all the motivation I need. 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? We need a level 1 coaching qualification to gain our state level badges, it was something I enjoyed, passing on information and assistance to developing referees.(My career now is adult training). 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? I gained my level 6 at NTL’s ’03 and from that and State of Origin I was invited to referee at the Youth World Cup in ’05. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Gaining the level 6 and then refereeing at the Youth World Cup in 2005. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? Ian Mathew and his panel have most definitely influenced my career. Ken Golden from this panel more than others, as he was the one that made me realise, I was the only one who could control my career as a referee. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? There is now a new system for referees to follow which will bring more female and younger referees into Touch, this can only make it stronger. MICHAEL RUSH: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I’ve been refereeing since 1991. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? Players not knowing the key rules & the minority who think its open season on refs on the field. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? The constant challenge during the game. You’re more involved in the game than as a player – or maybe that was just a problem with my playing! 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? As part of the refs team at a local venue, you find that after a while you have the opportunity to offer support to new refs. Getting injured and not being able to ref as much also played a key role for me later on. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? Level 4 Presenter, Level 3 Referee Coach. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? The memorable moments are when one of the refs you know achieves a goal (a Badge, or a level of game); but also when you see someone new come through and start to show interest in refereeing. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? One of our Refs Directors here, when I started refereeing, got me interested in sticking with refereeing and having a look at the coordinating and coaching side. More recently getting to work with some of the senior referee coaches. Also, the refs you organise courses and coaching for – a lot of really dedicated people. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? Very positive things. The arm of the sport continues to develop in terms of technical support offered. Refereeing offers a great challenge. The Presenters and Coaching qualifications offer the opportunity to set and achieve goals during and after your on-field career. Once again Touch Football Australia would like to take the opportunity to thank these referees for their contribution to refereeing and the development of our current and future Touch referees at all levels of the sport. We would also like to congratulate them on their own personal achievements and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. By Rachel Moyle
Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress and star of the Broadway play “The Realistic Joneses,” Toni Collette, has joined the international humanitarian organization, Concern Worldwide, as its first official Global Ambassador.Award-winning actress Toni Collette joins humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide as Global Ambassador.“I am deeply honored to join Concern as their first Global Ambassador,” says Ms. Collette. “I know I am becoming part of a global team of men and women committed to transforming care and empathy into real, direct and effective action that creates lasting change in the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.”As a Global Ambassador, Ms. Collette will work to shine a light on the challenges facing those impacted by poverty, war, conflict, and natural disaster. In this role, Ms. Collette will travel to Concern’s program areas, which include 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Caribbean, to bring much-needed attention to the conditions of those living in extreme poverty and in emergency and conflict environments.“We’re so grateful that Toni has agreed to make Concern Worldwide her chosen cause because we know that she can have a transformative impact on our work,” says Dr. Joseph Cahalan, CEO of Concern Worldwide U.S., the organization’s affiliate headquartered in New York City. “Toni has a rare ability to translate concern into action, having helped us reach countless new friends and donors as part of our Concern Gifts program in the last two years. Now, as our ambassador, she can help us reach millions more and strengthen our effort to change the lives of the world’s poorest people.”Video: Toni Collette talks about Concern WorldwideIn 2012, Ms. Collette lent her celebrity to Concern’s global campaign to fight malnutrition and hunger and later to a holiday appeal to make a difference to families across the world through gifts such as livestock, clean water, and health care. Together, the campaigns raised money that helped Concern fight poverty, hunger, and disease, and ultimately save lives.Ms. Collette is currently starring alongside Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei on Broadway in “The Realistic Joneses,” a play written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno and directed by Sam Gold. Her upcoming films include “Lucky Them” (May 2014), “The Long Way Down” (July 2014), “The Boxtralls” (September 2014), and “Glassland.” She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in “The Sixth Sense” and won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series” for her performance in Showtime’s hit series “The United States of Tara.”
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been taken lightly in many instances. Political leaders have crossed the line and become recipients of ensuing notices issued by the Election Commission (EC). Amongst the several instances reported, one stands out as utterly intolerable in India’s democratic narrative. Hate speeches by politicos during campaigns have been subject to abject criticism. Statements from BSP chief Mayawati and UP CM Yogi, in particular, made it to the apex court’s bench where an irked Chief Justice of India asked the poll body about the action initiated in the whole matter. To Ranjan Gogoi (CJI), other judges, courtroom and people’s astonishment, EC apprised the court of its powerlessness in this regard. It asserted how there is a procedure to be followed when MCC is flouted wherein a notice is issued and an advisory follows with a police complaint being the extent of punitive measures. Disappointed, the Supreme Court has demanded an explanation from EC on its “powerless” and “toothless” remark, asking an EC official to be present for the proceedings today. The Supreme Court will examine in detail the issue of the ECI’s powers to deal with hate and defamatory election speeches, and violations of the Model Code of Conduct. But EC’s extent of power, as per the petitioner’s lawyer, is mismatched. Under Article 324, EC does have powers to act strictly in this matter which has further convinced the apex court to subject EC’s powers to scrutiny. The petition filed by NRI Harpreet Mansukhani seemingly represents the average Indian dissent over the increase in hate and divisive speeches in the name of religion in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. Much to everyone’s disappointment, hate speeches so far have carried a sense of impunity. And, EC’s powerless claim on the issue further aggravates the situation. As per the petition filed, communalism of Indian politics and caste-based parties were a “great threat to the spirit of the Constitution” and so the petition called for strict action against political leaders and party representatives spreading hatred on religious and caste lines. It also requests the court to constitute a committee headed by a former apex court judge to closely watch the election process and check the fairness of the EC. While the petition pronounces the concerns of million voters, it also takes a dig at what more can be done in this regard. Also Read – A compounding difficultyMeanwhile, EC post-hearing ordered a 48-hour and 72-hour prohibition for Mayawati and Yogi respectively in regard to their violation of MCC by asserting communal remarks. Both the leaders have been barred from holding public meetings, road shows, public speeches, interviews and use of social media. EC’s haphazard order is likely to be mentioned today in the hearing but will it hold as punitive enough is an important concern. This has larger implications on India’s democratic machinery. The word secular imbibed by our forefathers in the Constitution has been mocked by those who want to run the nation with the very Constitution by their side. Hate speeches are detrimental to the democratic values of this nation as they wither the fabric of our society. The Supreme Court’s scrutiny of EC is constructive as it may yield directives which EC will be obligated to enforce. It could not be as drastic as cancelling of candidature but it might be more severe than a few hours of ban from any political activity regarding campaigns. The apex court’s verdict here will be instrumental in reinvigorating MCC’s status which has, so far, been reduced to classroom rules. EC on its part acted swiftly to ensure a reply today in the court but the issue here is not over compliance of orders by SC but rather over its duty as a constitutional body to protect the interests of voters and hold elections in a free and fair manner. Today’s proceedings will be decisive in establishing measures to deal with political parties who drag religion and caste in political campaigns. It is important to remember that such ploys by parties and candidates not only incite communal, sentiments but also insult the secularism this country holds sacred. If hate speeches are not punished it may have severe ramifications causing instability to the ongoing elections.
OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston sets the offense during a game against Illinois on Feb. 21 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 117-74. Credit: Brooke Profitt | Lantern photographerAs time ticked down at the Schottenstein Center in the final home game of the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s regular season against Illinois, the question was not which team would score more points. It was whether OSU’s starting backcourt of Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston could outscore the Fighting Illini on their own.On a warm Sunday afternoon in Columbus, No. 5 OSU (23-4, 15-1) ran past Illinois (9-18, 2-14) with an outstanding offensive showing, 117-74. The Buckeyes powered past the Illini behind an impressive offensive performance from the senior guard Alston, who scored 39 points, just three points shy of the single-game record at OSU. Meanwhile, the sophomore Mitchell had an extremely efficient day, putting in 35 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including eight 3-pointers.Combined, the duo matched the point total of the entire Illinois team, with 74. “We played with great pace, we shared the ball (and) we shot it well. We were extremely efficient,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “There’s not much more I could ask for in terms of how our offense went today.”The Buckeyes are now on a season-high 11-game win streak and still hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. Before their final game at the Schott began, Alston, along with fellow senior Cait Craft and redshirt junior Kalpana Beach, were recognized for their contributions to the program over the course of their careers.The emotional pregame turned into a high-powered first-quarter offense for the Buckeyes. The Fighting Illini held their own through the first five minutes, but quickly fell behind by double digits when the Scarlet and Gray turned to their full-court press defense. The Buckeyes finished the first quarter with 37 points, 16 of which were dropped in by the nation’s fifth-leading scorer, Mitchell.OSU followed up its first quarter outburst with another offensively charged 10 minutes. An array of Buckeyes contributed to the second-quarter barrage.By the half, the lead had bloomed to 27 points as the Buckeyes owned a 67-40 advantage heading into the locker room. It marked the highest-scoring first half of the season for the Buckeyes. The Scarlet and Gray’s big lead was due in part to impressive team 3-point shooting effort, as they connected on 11 of their 18 attempts. At the midway point, Mitchell had 25 points for the Buckeyes on a nearly perfect 8-of-9 shooting. Alston added 19 points of her own.Although the Buckeyes maintained control for the vast majority of the game, Craft said she is still focused on what the team can improve on heading toward the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.“I feel that offense is something our team has, even when we’re not hitting shots, we find other ways to score,” Craft said, “Defensively is where we really need to work.”OSU showed no signs of rust coming off the break as it continued to add onto its already-impressive lead. No single player took control in the third period, but just about everyone who checked in meshed with the others and helped create scoring opportunities. At the conclusion of the third period, the Buckeyes were in control by 44 points. In the closing quarter, the Buckeyes held their own, maintaining their massive lead and spreading out playing time. The three players recognized before the game subbed out just before the end of the final quarter and were given a big round of applause by the home crowd. “I think we were really dialed in,” Alston said. “I feel like that’s how the game should be. When you make it fun and everyone is scoring it becomes contagious.”The Buckeyes are set to get back in action Wednesday on the road against Minnesota (18-9, 10-6). Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
When the No. 13 Ohio State men’s volleyball team first faced No. 7 Penn State earlier this season in Hawaii, it turned from a luau into a nightmare.The Buckeyes are seeking revenge as they welcome the Nittany Lions into St. John Arena tonight. Ohio State (10-6, 5-1) steps away from conference play as they face what coach Pete Hanson calls one of their toughest opponents of the season.“Penn State is a very good team,” Hanson said. “They have several outstanding players including four All-Americans. This is a big challenge for our guys.”Senior Ted Schoenfeldt said he also recognizes the talent that Penn States has on its roster.“Penn State has always had a very strong volleyball program, and this year they continue to be a big physical team,” Schoenfeldt said. “They have a lot of talented athletes on their roster, and have several guys who can be a threat both attacking and from the end line.”The Buckeyes are going to have to elevate their game if they want to avoid a repeat of their earlier season matchup. OSU was dominated in all aspects of the match, falling 3-1 (30-16, 30-27, 24-30, 30-25). “We need to match their physicality,” junior John Klanac said. “Working on first-swing kills and transition offense is a must when you play a team like this.”“We are preparing to serve Penn State hard to try to drive them out of system as much as possible,” Schoenfeldt said. “By forcing them into bad pass situations, it will make it much easier for us to deal with their offense and gang up on guys with our block.”Ohio State has the luxury of facing the Nittany Lions in St. John Arena, where the Buckeyes are undefeated and have yet to drop a set.“It always helps [playing at home],” Hanson said. “Our guys feel really good playing at home and it allows them to relax and be comfortable.”Having those familiar faces supporting the Buckeyes was something lacking in Hawaii, but Schoenfeldt said the fans really helps the team “get pumped to win big games.”While Penn State is a marquee opponent, it has no effect on the Buckeyes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball conference standings. However, facing an elite opponent may resonate on OSU in upcoming MIVA play.“Being able to play against a high caliber Penn State team will allow us to hold ourselves to a high standard when it comes to playing teams that we come into knowing that we’re the better team,” Schoenfeldt said.Hanson sees this matchup as a measuring stick to see how far the Buckeyes have come this season.“This is a very good match to play to keep working on things and helping our guys improve and get better for the later matches we will have with the MIVA opponents,” Hanson said.OSU will meet the Nittany Lions at least one more time this season with a match at Happy Valley, but they could also face Penn State in the NCAA Semifinals or championship if both teams win their conferences.“Playing a good team like this, there never is really a dull moment,” Klanac said.
Dani Alves is not happy about no longer being the player who provided Lionel Messi with the most assists in La LigaThe Brazilian’s record tally of 26 assists for the Barcelona star was overtaken by Luis Suarez in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Valencia.After Ezequiel Garay had put Valencia in the lead, Suarez traded passes with Messi before the Argentine then scored a 32-minute equaliser for Barcelona from 20 yards.Until then, nobody had provided Messi with more goals at Barcelona than Alves.Reacting to the news on Twitter, Alves seemed to take it in good humour by saying: “Nooooooo!!!” and including two tears of joy emojis.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.Alves ended an eight-year spell with Barcelona in 2016 to sign for Juventus and now plays his club football at Paris Saint-Germain.Nooooooo!!! 😂 😂 https://t.co/qLt9JMlTp3— Daniel Alves (@DaniAlvesD2) October 9, 2018
Scotland’s Andrew Robertson has heaped praises on David Bates ahead of his international debut with the team.The Hamburg defender is set to win his first cap in the heart of the Scotland defence, thanks to a large number of withdrawals from the team.Robertson has been impressed by the former Rangers Football Club defender, saying:“You don’t quite know how it will go on your debut but I think David can stand up and be counted,” he said according to Dail Mail.“He’s been really good in training. I remember watching him at Rangers and he’s come on a lot since he made the move to Hamburg.”“It’s up to the manager if he starts or not but, if he does, the more experienced lads will help him out and be positive.”Scotland’s Robertson hopes for a positive result against Belgium Manuel R. Medina – September 7, 2019 Scotland was defeated at home 2-1 by Russia in yesterday’s 2020 European Championship qualifiers, and the team is almost out of the race for a spot at the Euros.“Yes, it will be an inexperienced 11 due to circumstances, but I have confidence in the lads.”“Callum Paterson’s been doing well in the Premier League with Cardiff City and Ryan Fraser has the most assists in that league (with Bournemouth). The Celtic boys are all coming into international duty on a high.”“It can be hard to bring your own individual form from a club into a new team at international level but that’s what we’re aiming to do. Hopefull,y we can get the right result.”Meanwhile, Robertson admits the withdrawals have impacted Scotland’s preparation for UEFA Nations League games against Albania and Israel.“Of course it’s been a bit disruptive but we always plan with different team set-ups, and people are 100 per cent concentrated on what they are doing. These things happen and people will need to step up.”“We have to think that people will react well in adversity. I’m sure that will happen in Albania.”
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri is delighted with club’s win against Watford and have bared his mind about Eden Hazard’s all round quality of playing of football.Speaking after the match via Chelsea’s official website., Sarri compared Belgian Eden Hazard to Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus.“Of course, he’s (Hazard)very important for us but Messi is very important for Barcelona, Ronaldo is important for Juventus. He’s a great player, he’s able to play in every position. At the moment he’s playing as a false nine and he’s able to play there.”Sacchi explains Sarri, Conte, and Ancelotti Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Arrigo Sacchi talked about how Sarri has a tougher time at Juventus than Conte at Inter; while Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.Arrigo Sacchi…“He scored two and made two or three good assists. He’s very able to open spaces for his team-mates. He can play very well in every position.”Hazard scored his 100th goal in tonight’s game with Watford.
Sansa adorns her mother’s colors and wears the crown of Winterfell as a crowd dubs her the Queen of the North. Arya sets sail to the west of Westeros in a Direwolf-branded ship. Jon is greeted by Tormund Giantsbane at the wall and, putting to rest one of the darkest storylines in TV history, is reunited with Ghost. This is not a drill: Jon is here to murder his Queen and pat his wolf — and he’s all out of Queens to murder.The only ending that matters. HBO The first scene of Game of Thrones saw brothers of the Night’s Watch venturing north of the wall, where they were murdered by White Walkers. The last ever shot of Game of Thrones was Jon, along with a squad of wildlings, riding north of Castle Black into those same woods.Were you satisfied by the conclusion? If not, don’t fret. George RR Martin should have the final books completed in the next two or three… decades. Game of Thrones season 8 finale: Our watch has ended Most heartbreaking Game of Thrones deaths 6:00 Sansa asks where Jon is. Grey Worm says Jon must pay for his crimes, and he’s pretty keen to execute Tyrion as well. What happens to Jon and Tyrion is up to the King or Queen, they decide, but there is no King or Queen. Welp, all of Westeros’ lords are here, so Tyrion asks why they don’t just talk among themselves and pick a ruler? The supremely mediocre Edmure stands and starts listing his credentials, but his niece Sansa tells him to sit down. Sansa is great, and in a just world would be the one to hop, hop, hop onto the throne. Samwell suggests the people of Westeros vote, but he’s quickly laughed out of the discussion. What unites people? Tyrion poses that question to the bunch. Yeah, armies, gold and flags are cool, but have you tried stories? As he soliloquizes about tales and common folk or whatever, the camera pans around the group. You can bet whoever it stops on will be the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. (I had my fingers crossed for Sansa who, as mentioned, is great.)Who has a better story, Tyrion asks, than Bran Stark?A new era. HBO Bran was pushed out of the top story of a tower and lived. He was paralyzed, but learned to fly. He went beyond the wall and became the Three Eyed Raven. Now, he knows all the stories of man. He’s perfect.Tyrion asks Bran to consider it. “Why do you think I came all this way?” Bran says with all the warmth and excitement we’ve come to love him for. The Lords and Ladies all vote for Bran Stark — except for Sansa. She loves him, but the North will remain an independent Kingdom, she proclaims. No Stark knees will be bent today. Bran agrees, making his first act as ruler one of naked nepotism. It’s agreed. Bran Stark is now Brandon the Broken, Lord of the Six Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. I watched this episode with five people and it was around this time that I heard all of their hearts breaking in quick succession. It was a symphony of cardiovascular failure. I don’t imagine this will go over well with the “remake this season” crowd, but hey, we’ve had worse Kings. Bran can have no children, and so his Rule cannot be passed down. Tyrion tells Grey Worm that this is the wheel-breaker that their Queen would have wanted. Bran’s second order of business is to make Tyrion his Hand. Tyrion says he doesn’t deserve it, that he’s not as wise as he thought he was. (Nice to hear him admit this, because he sure has been a chump this whole season.) Bran says Tyrion doesn’t want to be Hand, but he doesn’t want to be King, so it’s a perfect combination. Grey Worm is furious and demands justice.”He just got it,” Bran decrees. “He’s made many terrible mistakes. He’s going to spend the rest of his life fixing them.” Enlarge ImageKing Stark. Helen Sloan/HBO A Dream of SpringAfter the scene in which Bran the Broken is anointed, Tyrion, now the Hand, goes to see Jon, now the prisoner. I couldn’t help but think their dialogue was directed at the audience as much as it was to progress the story. Jon learns that he’s being sent to The Wall to take the black. In the absence of Wildlings and White Walkers, the Night’s Watch is now a home for “bastards and broken men.” The Unsullied wanted him dead, while Arya and Sansa wanted him to walk free.”No one is very happy, which means it’s a good compromise I suppose,” Tyrion says. This line reminded me of Inglorious Basterds, which ends with Quentin Tarantino, through Brad Pitt’s character, telling the audience: “This might be my masterpiece.” The next exchange between Tyrion and Jon struck me as showrunners D.B Weiss and David Benioff talking directly to their audience, elements of which have become hostile to them..Jon: “Was it right? What I did?”Tyrion: “What we did.”Jon: “It didn’t feel right.”Tyrion: “Ask me in 10 years.” From here the remainder of the episode was like an extended credits scene where we got to see the characters’ happily-ever-after moments.The new Small Council. HBO Jon says his farewells to the Starks. He tells Sansa that the people of Winterfell could have no better ruler than Ned Stark’s daughter. He tells Arya to visit him at the Wall. She says she won’t — because she’s sailing “west of Westeros,” where the Known World ends. Jon apologizes to Bran for not being there for him in his time of need. “You were exactly where you were supposed to be,” Bran says. Classic Bran.We then see Ser Brienne reading The Book of Brothers, in which the deeds of the great Kingsguard knights are recorded. Jaime was thoroughly owned by Joffrey back in season 4 for his sparse entry in the book, but Ser Brienne sees to it that Jaime’s deeds were known. She records his exploits over the years, and ends it with: “Died protecting his Queen.”Next up is a small council meeting, headed by Tyrion. It starts with Grand Maester Samwell presenting Tyrion with a tome, a written history of The Great War and The Last War. The name of this tome? A Song of Fire and Ice. Bronn, who just two episodes ago had threatened Tyrion with death, is now Master of Coin. Ser Davos is Master of Ships. They, along with Ser Brienne and Ser Podrick, talk about rebuilding the city and quarrel over whether they should prioritize ships or brothels. Maybe we don’t deserve peace after all.The show closes as we follow the Stark kids to their new adventures. Originally published May 19. See all the Game of Thrones season 8 photos Now playing: Watch this: 6:42 Enlarge ImageWatch the Throne.Sunday’s Game of Thrones finale, arguably the biggest moment in episodic TV this century, is over. After eight years, eight seasons and several dozens of hours, the epic-fantasy drama is behind us.Season 8 has been controversial, and is perhaps encapsulated best by last week’s episode, The Bells. It ended many of Game of Thrones’ longest running and most important plots, including the deaths of Cersei and Jaime Lannister as well as Daenerys Targaryen’s descent into Mad Queendom. But it also sparked a backlash, which led to more than a million fans signing a petition to have the season remade. So not only does the finale have to end one of TV’s most historic shows, it also has to jiu-jitsu bitter fans into feeling satisfied. OK, let’s do this. For the final time, you are now watching the throne. (For the final time until the prequel, that is.) Here’s your official warning: The full recap below features spoilers. The Dragon and the LionThe roughly 90-minute episode was split into two parts. The climax of part one was the death of Daenerys Targaryen at the hands of Jon Snow. Episode 6, titled The Iron Throne, started with Tyrion and Jon walking through a destroyed King’s Landing, the streets of which were decorated by burned and bloodied bodies. They’re not stoked by what they see. They split up, with Tyrion venturing into the Red Keep dungeons, where he finds Cersei and Jaime. He crumbles with grief over the bodies of his siblings, who were killed by a different type of crumbling.Jaime and Cersei died with surprisingly little ceremony last week, but Tyrion’s weeping gave their endings a little extra gravitas. Jon chances upon Grey Worm and his squad of Unsullied executing Lannister soldiers. The war is won, Jon says, and there’s no reason to kill these men. Grey Worm, who now wears a permanent scowl and is extremely hateable, says he’s acting on the orders of the Queen. The two get into a testosterone-fueled confrontation before Jon decides he needs to speak to Daenerys.Before either Tyrion or Jon can make their way to Daenerys, who’s fresh off her descent into villainy, she gives a victory speech to her forces by the steps of the Keep. Jon and Tyrion stand behind her. Somebody please cue the ominous music.Enlarge ImageSweet… victory? HBO “War is not over until we liberate the world,” she announces in eastern tongue, “from Winterfell to Dorne.” That last line is Jon’s first clue that there’s something not quite right about this new Dany. She proceeds to make Grey Worm her Master of War. I cannot stress how punchable Grey Worm has become. The crowd of Unsullied and Dothraki cheer. Tyrion approaches Daenerys, and she accuses him of freeing Jaime.”I freed my brother and you slaughtered a city,” he replies. He takes off his Hand of the King badge and throws it to the ground. You may recall the first “take off my badge and throw it away” move was pulled by Ned Stark in season 1, protesting King Robert’s demand that an innocent Daenerys, then in Essos with no army nor dragons, be killed. Daenerys, who used her army and dragon to pillage the city, demands he be taken away. Circles man, it’s all about the circles. TV and Movies Jon walks over to the Red Keep to see Daenerys. Drogon is standing guard. Drogon eyes down Jon, but decides he’s cool. Daenerys, in a scene almost identical to her Qarth vision in season 2, surveys the Red Keep. She grabs hold of one of the Iron Throne’s swords. Jon approaches.Jon pleads with her to pardon Tyrion. She says she can’t. “We can’t hide behind small mercies,” she says. This is a different Dany from last episode; she’s assured of her actions, but not in a crazy way. Jon says they’re trying to build a world of mercy. Trust me, Daenerys reckons, she knows what is good. They embrace. She tells him they’ll break the wheel together.”You are my queen, now and forever,” he whispers solemnly. They kiss — and Jon stabs her. With a dagger. To her heart. Which she needed to live. This was actually a deeply affecting scene. Though she refused to free Tyrion, Daenerys showed off her warmer side as she tried to bask in victory alongside Jon. This made her petrified rictus of betrayal all the more poignant. Jon, crying, lays her down. Our last vision of Daenerys is the grieving look she gives her most trusted ally. Daenerys’ death roused more than my feeble emotions, as it also awoke Drogon. He flies into the Keep, surveys the scene and gets his dragonbreath ready. Jon prepares for his second death, but Drogon doesn’t burn him. Instead he melts the Iron Throne. Drogon picks Daenerys up with his claws and flees.Game over. Enlarge ImageDrogon breaks the wheel. HBO Brandon the BrokenThe second part of the episode was essentially epilogue, and takes place weeks after Daenerys’ death. It begins with Grey Worm leading Tyrion to King’s Landing’s Dragonpit, where Jon and Co. brought the White Walker to Cersei in season 7. There we see a gathering of Westeros’ great lords: Bran, Arya and Sansa Stark are all there. Samwell Tarly is there. Robin Arryn and Yohn Royce of the Vale are there. Ser Davos Seaworth and Ser Brienne too.We even reunite with Ser Edmure Tully, (Catelyn Stark’s brother) who was taken hostage and used as a Lannister pawn after his infamously crimson wedding ceremony back season 3. All the faces you know and love. Burning questions we still have about Game of Thrones 42 Photos Lots more on the GoT finale Where did every character end up? Twitter reacts to *that* death in episode 6 Season 8 finale left plastic water bottles in shot What did Brienne really write about Jaime? Some ideas Now playing: Watch this: Jon goes to see him. (This is an insular, linear episode, with one scene following the story of the previous one, which is strange for Game of Thrones.) Jon, who is now absolutely incapable of reading a person, is still on Team Daenerys. Her best friend and her dragon both got killed, he says. How could she not be a little fiery?”You love her,” Tyrion says. “I love her too… not as successfully as you.” I guess that explains that scene in season 7 when Tyrion looks on with tremendous thirst as Jon enters Daenerys’ cabin. (That’s not a gross euphemism, they were on a ship!) 187 Photos “Love is the death of duty,” Jon says, a callback to his great-great uncle, Maester Aemon, who said that to him in season 1 after Jon’s not father, Ned Stark, was executed. “Sometimes duty is the death of love,” Tyrion retorts. “You are the shield who guards the realms of man.”Tyrion is asking Jon to kill Daenerys, but Jon won’t have it. Tyrion asks what Daenerys will do to Jon, the rightful heir to the throne, and his sisters, who know he’s the rightful heir. Sansa will never bend the knee, he warns. “She doesn’t get to choose,” Jon says. “No, but you do,” Tyrion exclaims, “and you have to choose now.”People love talking smack about Game of Thrones, but this was an A+ scene. HBO, if you end up remaking the season, please leave this scene in. Game of Thrones 22 Share your voice Comments 57 Photos Tags Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today
CIA Concludes Saudi Prince Personally Ordered Jamal Khashoggis Death IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:00/1:31Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:31?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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COPY LINKAD Loading … Missing journalist Jamal KhashoggiANIRecently US senators accused the kingdom of a series of misdeeds, adding that the Crown Prince has gone “full gangster.” The US lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — also slammed the kingdom for the way it handled the civil war in Yemen as well as the series of alleged human rights abuses.”He is reckless, he’s ruthless, he has a penchant for escalation, for taking high risks, confrontational in his foreign policy approach and I think increasingly willing to test the limits of what he can get away with the United States,” Senator Marco Rubio said. Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman said that the Israelis have the right to own their land.ReutersIf reports doing the rounds are true there is a widening rift between Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The enfant terrible of the Al Saud dynasty has had a rather unchecked run so far as ‘King in everything but name’. However, the 33-year-old’s stranglehold on Saudi Arabia is on the wane, multiple reports have said.Prince Mohammad invited worldwide condemnation and infamy after the brutal killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey last year. His role in spearheading the bitter and destructive war on Yemen was also widely criticised. Of late, the Saudi King was also disturbed about the draining of investment from Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder. Salman revokes crown prince’s key powersThe Guardian newspaper reported on Monday that King Salman has stripped the crown prince of some crucial powers. The ageing and ailing king made the move after the crown prince stretched his powers as the deputy king thin when his father was on an official visit to Egypt last month, the paper reported. It is extremely rare for a crown prince to use his temporary powers as the deputy king during the monarch’s absence, but MBS moved swiftly to announce key appointments when the king was travelling. He promoted his sister as the kingdom’s envoy to Washington and appointed his brother in the defence ministry. Sources told the British newspaper that both the appointments were done without the king’s approval. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman attends a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia February 27, 2017. [Representational Image]Reuters fileThe King’s Egypt visit was marred by lurking fears of a possible coup against the ageing monarch. The fears were so palpable that the King removed his security detail midway through the foreign jaunt and brought in a 30-member team of handpicked loyalists from Riyadh.To make matters worse, the all powerful crown prince did not turn up at the airport to welcome back the King. This is an age old custom, the flouting of which sends out signals of grave crisis within the royal household. The crown prince’s absence at the airport was followed by his no-show at key meetings subsequently. The most glaring act of defiance was his absence at a key cabinet meeting presided over by the King. The crown prince was then summoned again for another cabinet meeting in which the king apparently detailed changes in the power structure. However, Prince Mohammad skipped this meeting too, Saudi sources told the paper. The report also lays down instances wherein the crown prince’s absence attracted attention. He did not turn up when important foreign dignitaries from Russia, India, China and Lebanon visited Riyadh. Middle East observers have also pointed out that the crown prince has not made any formal appearance in a fortnight. However, it remains a fact that MBS has remained unseen for longer. Around May last year, the prince’s continued absence at public events had given rise to wild rumours about his death or serious injury. The whole saga started with the shooting down of a drone in Riyadh on April 21 last year, which was interpreted as a coup attempt aimed at the crown prince. When MBS didn’t make any public appearance for weeks on end after this, Iranian media kick-started the death rumours. He is reckless, he’s ruthless, he has a penchant for escalation, for taking high risks, confrontational in his foreign policy approach and I think increasingly willing to test the limits of what he can get away with the United States Close MBS gone ‘full gangster'”At least two bullets have hit bin Salman in April 21 clashes in Riyadh and it is even possible that he is dead,” wrote Iran’s Kayhan newspaper. ‘There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the absence of nearly 30 days of Muhammad bin Sulman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is due to an incident which is being hidden from the public,’ it claimed. Something that added fuel to the death rumours was the fact that the crown prince gave a miss to important diplomatic events like the high profile visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.