Football statistics analysts WhoScored.com examine in-form French hitman Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has been recently linked with a move to Arsenal. Check out WhoScored.com for lots more Arsenal stats.The Ligue 1 season is already 11 games old, and despite Paris Saint-Germain’s spending spree over the summer, Marseille sit atop of the French top flight. The Marcelo Bielsa factor has contributed significantly to L’Om’s superb start to the season, which has put them four points clear of their rivals at the summit of the table, but there has been another hugely influential member of the current XI and a driving force behind their impressive form – star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac.The France international has scored more goals (10) than any other player in Ligue 1 this campaign and he is expected to better last season’s goalscoring return (16 goals in 34 appearances). Gignac’s current WhoScored.com rating (7.45) is at its highest since he signed for Marseille from Toulouse in 2010, reinforcing how well he has performed for the French side in their rise to the top.With his contract expiring in the summer, reports suggest Arsenal are weighing up a move for the burly frontman. Marseille president Vincent Labrune’s admission that the club may struggle to keep hold of their star striker has put the Gunners on red alert to his availability. Gignac’s 10 goals are five more than Arsenal’s top league scorer (Alexis Sanchez with five) this season and his goalscoring record would likely appeal to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.What may convince Arsenal to firm up their supposed interest in the Frenchman is that he offers a different attacking option to that of Sanchez and Danny Welbeck. Olivier Giroud can offer a physical threat to the Gunners attack, but his inconsistency in front of goal has been cause for concern in the past. A 16.7% conversion rate in the Premier League this term is not necessarily poor, but compared to Gignac in Ligue 1 (25%), the Marseille striker’s prolificacy weighs in his favour.Sanchez (23.8%) and Welbeck (10%) have also not been as lethal in front of goal as Gignac, whose displays may have Europe’s top teams scrambling for his signature in the New Year. No player is averaging more shots per game than Gignac (3.6) in Ligue 1, highlighting a confidence in his striking ability that has helped propel him to the top of the scoring charts this season.Evidently, Bielsa’s approach is benefitting the striker, who was recently rewarded for his performances with a return to the France national team. The high pressing game the Argentine demands means Marseille are winning the ball higher up the pitch, thus creating more chances for the attackers, with Gignac profiting from this. He may not be working hard defensively (0.5 tackles and 0.1 interceptions per league game this term) but that has not mattered with those around him performing the defensive duties.This allows Gignac to remain in close proximity to the goal and with the opposition defence caught out, he can capitalise on the chances created. Marseille will obviously look to hold on to their primary goalscorer, but with teams able to offer Gignac a pre-contract in January, they may struggle to retain his services. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may be able to call on Sanchez, Giroud and Welbeck in attack, but the option to secure the services of an in-form Gignac on a free would be hard to turn down.For more stats on reported Arsenal target Andre-Pierre Gignac, click here to view his WhoScored.com player pageArsenal fans, would Andre-Pierre Gignac be an upgrade on your current striker options? Comment below… Andre Pierre-Gignac has been linked with Arsenal 1
SAN RAMON >> Humboldt State men’s basketball is off to a 6-1 start for the second-straight season, and sophomore Tyras Rattler Jr. has been a big reason why. Rattler was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week on Tuesday.The Oakland native averaged 20 points, six rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as he helped lead HSU to a 3-0 record last week. This is his first career selection as player of the week.Rattler shot 50 percent from the field, scored 19 points, …
7 October 2004Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has announced the establishment of a 21-member council that will review and monitor the implementation of the black economic empowerment (BEE) goals set out in the financial services charter.The council, made up of representatives of various organisations in the financial sector, was formed in September following behind-the-scenes horse-trading.The Financial Services Charter Council will consist of 21 representatives, six from industry associations, three from the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, and four each from the government, community associations, and labour.Two of the four government representatives in the council will be drawn from the National Treasury, while the Department of Trade and Industry and the Presidency will each have one representative.The announcement follows a meeting between the government and representatives from the different constituencies to resolve the council’s composition.The council is the first of its kind to be established since the government launched its BEE strategy, which encourages different economic sectors to voluntarily draw up their own charters to measure BEE targets.The financial services charter was launched in October last year, and the sector has since been grappling with the establishment of an independent body to oversee the charter’s implementation.Manuel said the council would meet four times a year, with its first session scheduled for 11 October.Manuel noted that though the council’s composition would not please everybody, its formation was “an achievement”. The formation of the council was in the best interest of the country, he said, and the process needed to be nurtured.Derek Muller of the Banking Council said the model was not ideal considering the large number of people involved in the industry. He added, however: “I don’t think you can experience an ideal model … I think all of us collectively agree this is a workable model, though there are concerns.”Kenny Bungane, representing the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, said the council was a starting point and would provide much-needed energy “to test ourselves on how the sector is transforming”.Source: BuaNews
The autobiography is filled with photographs, memories and personal highlights of Theodore Yach’s 40-plus years of open water sea-swimming exploits. The book also sets out to motivate other swimmers and offer training advice. In My Element, the autobiography of top open water marathon swimmer Theodore Yach, is up for an international award from the World Open Water Swimming Association.(Images: Lauren Cohen)MEDIA CONTACTS• Lauren CohenCorporate Image+27 21 426 1233RELATED ARTICLES• World first for SA extreme swimmers • Chilling triumph for SA swimmers • Setting sail for a better future • SA women marine pilots make history Wilma den HartighTop South African open water marathon swimmer Theodore Yach, who holds the record for the most crossings to Robben Island, has published an autobiography that has been nominated for an international award by the World Open Water Swimming Association.The 2012 winner is determined entirely by online voting, and South Africans have until 31 December 2012 to vote for In My Element, written by Yach and edited by Carola Koblitz.The full-colour coffee table book was nominated in the world open water swimming offering of the year category, which recognises innovative commercial and free products and services that have made a positive impact on the world of open water swimming throughout the year.His book is one of 21 nominations which include a range of other resources such as chat groups, information-sharing software applications, insurance products, open water swimming tour packages, films, and a marine life first aid kit for swimmers.Speaking about his nomination, the Cape Town-based extreme swimmer says he didn’t expect such an overwhelming response to his book.“It is fantastic to be recognised by my peers in the global aquatic community,” Yach says. “It is a huge honour to be nominated.”In My Element is filled with photographs, memories and personal highlights of his often risky open water sea-swimming exploits undertaken since the 1980s, including stories about swimming with sea life such as sharks, seals and dolphins.The autobiographical book sets out to motivate other swimmers and offer training advice, and Yach also talks about the anxiety he feels during every boat trip to the start of any swim.In My Element is available in bookstores around the country for R275 (US$31), as well as on Kalahari.com and Loot.co.za. Proceeds from the book sales will go to the National Sea Rescue Institute, a voluntary non-profit organisation in South Africa tasked with saving lives at sea. It is run by highly skilled, unpaid volunteers who are on standby day and night throughout the year.A worthy nomineeDuring office hours Yach is a divisional director at Zenprop, one of South Africa’s top property development and investment companies. He is also a director of the Mauerberger Foundation, which provides scholarships and educational support and the Cadiz Open Water Swimming Development Trust.He is a well-known personality in the local and international open water swimming community.The 54-year-old swimmer holds the record for the most crossings to Robben Island (67 at the last count), he’s swum across the English Channel, and he is the first person to swim from Cape Town around Robben Island and back, taking 11 hours.Yach comes from a family of swimmers and fortunately his love for swimming was nurtured from an early age.“My late father Solly, himself a champion swimmer, told me many years ago to keep a record of my swimming achievements, which I have done,” he says. “This has now culminated in a book which I hope will encourage more people to take up this wonderful sport.”After many years in the water and numerous record-breaking swims, his autobiography is an inspiring story that brings alive the sport of open water swimming.“I planned a simple paperback book until my editor looked at all the photographs and material I had, and she convinced me otherwise,” Yach says.An unrivalled pastime“Swimming in the ocean is my ultimate joy,” he says of his favourite pastime. “There are no boundaries, no lane ropes to constrain me and very few other people to disturb me.”Long distance open water swimmers are always exposed to the threat of hypothermia, jellyfish stings, bluebottles and the ever-present danger of sharks, but Yach enjoys every opportunity to get into the water.“The best part of swimming in open water is that it isn’t structured. I don’t want structure in my leisure time,” he says. “I like the solitude and the fact that I am in the middle of nature and I like the possibility of a great white that can come to visit.”But he isn’t reckless about his hobby, and Yach takes every precaution to be safe in the water. He always swims within two metres of his support crew and he swims with a shark shield that hangs off the boat. The device creates an electronic force field around him that keeps sharks away.He says that open water swimming is a difficult sport, and involves as much psychological preparation as physical endurance.“The mental aspect of ocean swimming is more important than physical preparation because you are dealing with the sea, the cold water, currents, sea life and the fear of what is under the water,” he explains.“Hypothermia and heart failure is one of the biggest risks for open water swimmers, even more than shark attacks.”South Africa a popular open water destinationYach says South Africa is becoming a preferred destination for top open water swimmers to train, as the water on the Cape coast is so cold.He explains that training in water with optimal temperatures is critical for open water swimmers who are preparing for races.“A swimmer’s ability to cope with cold water is essential and this is why they train in our waters for races such as the English Channel,” he explains. “Cape Town’s water is three to four degrees colder than anywhere else in the world.”He says South Africa’s reputation in the world swimming community, both pool and open water, received a major boost at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.“The outstanding performance of our Olympian swimmers has put swimming on the map. Swimming coaching around the country is exploding,” he says.But what is next for the accomplished swimmer? “I have a few more things up my sleeve,” he says.We are just going to have to wait and see what he does next.
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In a first, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has published an compendium of animal species in the Indian Sundarbans, estimating that there are 2,626 of them in the fragile island ecosystem. The listing includes a diverse 25 phyla, as they are biologically classified.The Indian segment of the Sundarbans, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq. km, distributed among 104 islands. The region hosts 2,487 species that come under the zoological kingdom of Animalia, and 140 under the more primitive Protista.“The publication titled Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve is the first consolidated and updated information of the faunal diversity of the Sundarbans. It lists over 2,600 species, including the new species described from the mangrove ecosystem as well as threats faced by them due to climate change,” ZSI Director Kailash Chandra told The Hindu.Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, secretary of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society, a non-governmental organisation and one of the authors of the publication, says it is encyclopedic in its scope.“When we talk about Sundarbans we refer to only a few major species in the reserve forest area in about 4,260 sq. km. The publication catalogues the entire faunal diversity of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve covering 9,630 sq. km spread over 19 blocks in South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas of West Bengal,” Mr. Roy Chowdhury said.Gone missingThe researchers document the famous tigers of these islands, which have adapted to aquatic conditions around, the human-tiger conflict, and behaviour of the big cat. The fortunes of 50 mammalian species including the Asian small-clawed Otter, Gangetic Dolphin, Grey and Marsh Mongoose and the wild Rhesus Monkey, the only primate here, are also documented.“Due to pressure on habitat from people and natural threats that have shrunk the mangrove swamp habitat, mammal numbers are declining,” the authors say. Two Rhinos, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer and Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo are not found in Sundarbans anymore, they say.There are 356 species of birds, the most spectacular being raptors, or birds of prey, that occupy the highest canopies of the forest. Osprey, Brahminy Kite and White-Bellied Sea Eagle are dominant, while Rose-ringed parakeets, flycatchers and warblers are also found in the middle tier, while in the lower tier, kingfishers abound — and the Sundarbans has nine of them. There are 11 turtles, including the famous Olive Ridley and Hawskbill sea turtles and the most threatened freshwater species, the River Terrapin. A crocodile, 13 lizards including three species of Monitor Lizards and five Geckos are found here. The rivers, creeks channels and the islands together harbour about 30 snake species, led by the King Cobra, considered vulnerable by IUCN. Others documented are the Monocellate or monocled cobra, Russell’s viper, common and banded kraits. Besides, ten species of frogs and toads are found.Cartilaginous fishThe mangrove ecosystem covers about 350 species of fish. Cartilaginous fish, which have skeletons of cartilage rather than bone, make up 10.3%. The IUCN conservation status shows 6.3% fish are near-threatened and 4.85% are threatened. Also, there are 173 molluscs. In another indication of its richness, 753 insect species are encountered in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve. Of these, 210 are butterflies and moths. Moreover, Crustaceans — crabs, shrimp and prawns — constitute 334 species.