Sunderland v Chelsea: match preview, team news, facts and figures

first_imgSunderland won at Stamford Bridge in April 2014Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 7 May 2016Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)Match in a nutshell: After deciding the title on Monday, Chelsea can have an influence on events at the bottom as they travel to relegation-threatened Sunderland. Newcastle and Norwich will have one eye on the result.Injuries and suspensionsSUNDERLANDRuled out: Billy Jones (hip).CHELSEARuled out: Kurt Zouma (knee), Loic Remy (groin). Possible line-upsSunderland: Mannone; Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, Van Aanholt; Kirchhoff; Borini, M’Vila, Cattermole, Khazri; Defoe.Subs from: Pickford, Brown, O’Shea, Rodwell, Larsson, Lens, Whatmore, N’Doye, Toivonen.Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Fabregas; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Costa. Subs from: Begovic, Amelia, Miazga, Clarke-Salter, Baba, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Oscar, Kenedy, Falcao, Pato, Traore. Vital statisticsForm guide – last five league matchesSunderland total: D D W L D (6 points)Home: D L D D W (6 points)Chelsea total: D W L L W (7 points)Away: W L W W W (12 points)Top scorers – all competitionsSunderland: Defoe 17; Borini 4, Fletcher 4, Watmore 4; Lens 3, Van Aanholt 3; Johnson 2, Rodwell 2; Jones 1, Khazri 1, M’Vila 1, N’Doye 1, Toivonen 1.Chelsea: Costa 15; Willian 11; Oscar 8, Pedro 8; Fabregas 5, Hazard 5; Cahill 4, Traore 4; Ramires 3, Remy 3; Azpilicueta 2, Ivanovic 2, Kenedy 2, Loftus-Cheek 2, Zouma 2; Falcao 1, Matic 1, Mikel 1, Pato 1, Terry 1.Last five meetings19 December 2015: Chelsea 3 Sunderland 124 May 2015: Chelsea 3 Sunderland 129 November 2014: Sunderland 0 Chelsea 019 April 2014: Chelsea 1 Sunderland 217 December 2013: Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1Sunderland 2 wins, Chelsea 2 wins, 1 drawFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli too fast even for a 23-year-old

first_imgMS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are supremely fit and they are lightning quick between the wickets. When the two bat together, it is a delight to see them sprint between the wickets to steal tight singles, convert ones into twos and twos into threes.Kohli has been a staunch advocator of fitness and he has inspired not just his teammates but athletes around the country with his professionalism. The India captain was chubby when he had first arrived on the international scene but today, he is among the fittest athletes in the world and is an ace fielder, quick runner and at 29, he continues to raise the bar higher than ever.Then there is Dhoni, who at 36, is as fit as any of his younger colleagues. The former captain is still a champion wicketkeeper and can run faster than most batsmen in world cricket.And these two stars, Kohli and Dhoni, ran a sprint with Axar Patel, who at 23, is a lot younger than the superstars. And guess what! Axar was beaten hands down. By the end of the race. he admitted it was a hard task to beat those two. With all due respect to Axar, why even try!Hard task to beat these two legends in a race. #triedmybest @BCCI Akshar patel (@akshar2026) November 6, 2017last_img read more

10 months agoWatford boss Gracia: Doucoure? The owners must decide

first_imgWatford boss Gracia: Doucoure? The owners must decideby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWatford boss Javi Gracia retains hope of keeping hold of Abdoulaye Doucoure.The French midfielder is being linked with PSG as a replacement for wantaway playmaker Adrien Rabiot.Gracia told Sky Sports: “Last season, every week we talked about Liverpool or Everton, all the clubs that were interested in him. We can still talk about it. For me, Doucouré is a great player, a very important player for us. “I do not know what will happen. It does not surprise me that other clubs want to sign him because he is a very good player.”He added: “It’s important for the club and the owner to know how important he is to us. But after that, they will choose what is best for the club. Sometimes, some players, like last season with Richarlison, decide themselves. It could happen again. We do not want him to leave, but it’s football.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a month agoLiverpool defender Van Dijk: Everyone wants to beat us

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool defender Van Dijk: Everyone wants to beat usby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool defender Virgil van Dijk insists they can handle being a big target this season.Liverpool became the first side since AC Milan in 1994 to lose the first match of their Champions League defence and the 2-0 reverse in Naples, which featured a rare Van Dijk mistake, has put pressure on their next game against Red Bull Salzburg in two weeks. “Everyone wants to beat us, no matter what competition,” said Van Dijk.”That’s something we have to deal with, but that’s not going to be a problem — we have to enjoy it as well.”For Napoli to win their first game is obviously big, for us to lose our first game is obviously not want we wanted. We have to try to win our other games and we now focus on going to Chelsea.” last_img read more

5 days agoMan Utd midfielder Andreas Pereira under no illusions about size of Liverpool clash

first_imgMan Utd midfielder Andreas Pereira under no illusions about size of Liverpool clashby Paul Vegas5 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira is under no illusions about the size of their clash with Liverpool today.Pereira was born in Belgium and plays for Brazil, but he was reared in the United academy and knows how important beating Liverpool is for everyone connected to the club.”I think you can compare it with Boca Juniors-River Plate, Santos-Corinthians, Flamengo-Fluminense,” he told United Review.”It’s one of the biggest derbies like El Clasico – Real Madrid versus Barcelona – and one of the biggest games, not only in England but in the world.”Everyone will be watching and it’s most important for us, and for the fans.”I always watched these games at home with my dad and my family. You know, I was always very curious and supporting United.”I think it means a lot to us. It’s one of the most important games of the year – it’s the derby and we absolutely want to win this game.”We will do absolutely everything to win it. I know we’re not living the best moment right now, and we’re not getting results, but I think it’s a derby and it is always a different game.”Absolutely, we want to win it – everyone at the club, everyone in the team and the staff.”We all want to do everything to win the game and it can be a nice bounce back and provide a nice lift for us to start getting results.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Ohio State’s Cardale Jones Claims He’s Transferring To Akron, Then Claims “May Fools”

first_imgCardale Jones says thank you to OSU in joke on twitter for "May fools".Cardale Jones May Fools 5Typically, people use April 1st as the date to troll their friends with some kind of unbelievable joke. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones apparently celebrates the holiday a month late. Friday, Jones took to Twitter to claim that he is transferring to Akron after a “rough decision” on his part.After a few minutes, he came clean, joking that he’d pulled a “May Fools” joke on everyone.It was a rough decision but I think it’s best for me, like to thank OSU for this amazing opportunity but my time here has came to an end— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015#NewBeginning #FreshStart— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015#ZipNation— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015MAY FOOLS— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015Jones tried to sell the joke hard, even changing his Twitter bio and background page to reflect his new team.Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 2.29.37 PMJones is probably the frontrunner for the starting job at Ohio State, so this would have been a shocker. Instead, it was merely some Friday afternoon entertainment.last_img read more

April 8 2009 The new renderings of the CRITICAL M

first_imgApril 8, 2009 The new renderings of the CRITICAL MASS of Arcosanti 5000, posted here on 4/3 and 4/6/2009, made their public debut at the 2-day Centennial Conference on Urban Sustainability in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel . They were part of a key-note presentation by Jeff Stein. Arcosanti alumnus Jeff Stein is Dean of the The new renderings of the CRITICAL MASS of Arcosanti 5000, posted here on 4/3 and 4/6/2009, made their public debut at the 2-day Centennial Conference on Urban Sustainability in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel . They were part of a key-note presentation by Jeff Stein. Arcosanti alumnus Jeff Stein is Dean of the [PHOTO: Architecture student projects from around the world were laser-printed on fabric cones that were held-up by air at the Tel Aviv conference]. [Photo & text: Jeff Stein] [PHOTO: Here’s Tel Aviv; much of what is pictured dates from the 1930’s, the “white city” of jewish architects originally trained at the Bauhaus].  Jeff reports: 2009, Tel Aviv’s Centennial year, a city just 100 years old (modern Israel is just 60). And somehow, I’m invited to be a keynote speaker at the 2-day Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Conference on Urban Sustainability that starts the entire celebration, April 1 and 2. That somehow, I learn, is because I am to represent Arcosanti, a project the Israelis know something about, and like. Ok, then. I’m not the only keynote speaker. Others, who introduce major topics and whose speeches are then responded to by panels of experts, include architect Shigeru Ban, famous for making refugee housing out of treated paper; Jacob van Rijs, Dutch architect with MVROV; UNESCO conservator Lodovico Folin Calabi; conflict studies at Colgate Prof. Daniel Bertrand Monk; UK Secretary of State for Communities Fiyaz Mughal; president of Eco-Cities, (and old Arcosanti hand) Richard Register; a couple others. Each of us is responded to by a panel of 4 or 5 experts from the region, there is a dinner, a big exhibition of student work, outdoors; and in the middle of the whole thing, speeches by the mayors of 15 European cities, who are there for both days of the conference. I meet a few of them…! Shimon Perez, too. Oh, and besides all those, some 800 people from all over have signed up to attend the conference, and they do attend, too. It is held in the opera theatre of the new Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. It’s sunny and 70 each day. Richard Register and I are given accommodations in the same hotel, same floor, just across the hall from each other, at the Sheraton Moriah, on the beach of the Mediterranean. Richard has arrived on Monday, I get there on Tuesday morning, 5AM fresh from an overnight flight. We are both to speak on Wednesday, the first day of the conference, me at 1PM, Richard at 3. On Wednesday morning a car is supposed to pick us up at 8AM so we can get to the conference early and download our powerpoint slides onto their av system. At 9AM, we call, “No car.” we say. The transportation coordinator is in tears, she doesn’t know what has happened. “Quickly, take a taxi!” she advises. We do and are there by 9:20AM. “Oh, good you are here!” says the conference coordinator. The mayor of Tel Aviv speaks at 9:30AM, then introduces you, Jeff. You’re the first speaker of the conference.” “I though I was on at 1…” I offer. “No, no the schedule changed, see here in the program.” So, I’m ushered backstage while the mayor warms up the crowd (!), I download slides off Richard’s thumb drive (both he and I were up all night working on our respective presentations on his Macintosh). I’m given a bottle of water, and then, watching from the wings, I hear that I’m being introduced. I have pretty high energy at this point… and energy is what I’m to speak about. Big applause, I walk out onstage, everyone settles down, and I begin. “Thank you. Good morning. Before we go further, I must apologize for speaking to you only in English this morning. But I know we have simultaneous translators; I have seen them hard at work in their soundproof box, just backstage. I thank them now for their good work. I bring you the best wishes of my colleagues at Arcosanti, the urban laboratory under construction in central Arizona; and from the Cosanti Foundation, its parent organization, and from Paolo Soleri, its President. Shalom. My short talk to you this morning is supposed to be about energy and its related systems; energy in cities. Human, electrical, fossil-fueled, alternative, energy. How we have thought about it for a generation at Arcosanti; how you might think about it now in Tel Aviv-Yafo’s centennial year. Here’s how I want to start: “Energy is not an issue separate from everything else that will be discussed here in the next two days. Especially for me, an architect, it is not separate from building form. It cannot be separated from urban form. And the time to understand this is short. “So I am telling you, the work of all of us in this room, the work of this generation in terms of energy, is not to continue scattering boxes around in the sand, not to continue to try to link them together with time and energy and land-wasting roads and streets and parking lots and more automobile-related media. That was for the last generations, our parents and grandparents. We know more now about the rules of life on earth. “It is also not this generation’s work to merely reform the way we use energy in this city, in its buildings and transportation systems; it is not our work to merely meet Israeli government standards that mandate we only burn 3/4 as much energy in the future as we do now, so that perhaps our built environment will be only 3/4 as unhealthy for our children as it is for us today. “Your work – our work – going forward is to reformulate how we imagine the design of cities, to reformulate the architecture of this great experiment, Tel Aviv, to integrate it and us into the living ecology of this place, into the living ecology of the planet. “Architecture and ecology must begin now to be thought of as a single, whole entity.” I go on like this for about 20 minutes, talking about Tel Aviv’s history (its early history is remarkably like Arcosanti’s, seems to me), about Arcosanti’s specifics, showing slides including the brand new 3d renderings of Arcosanti Critical Mass emailed me by Sue Anaya and Scott Riley. Then I end. More great applause, the panel convenes, etc., etc. Later speakers quote some of my talk, which seems good; and in the afternoon Richard Register is especially eloquent about Arcosanti and sustainability. People come up to me throughout the day to talk about Arcosanti; students, architects, regular folks. I have brought about 70 workshop brochures, and a group of Quaderni, too. By late afternoon all the brochures are gone, the Quaderni are still displayed on a big table, and by Thursday I have given them to key participants. Richard Register and I hang out together for a day, prowling around Tel Aviv; we have dinner in a restaurant that Richard has been frequenting while here; the owner recognizes us, talks to us about how very few Americans are travelling here these days, business is bad; and then he sends us drinks on the house. Several. They’re good! After that, Richard goes to Jerusalem for an extra day, and I catch my flight home. 11 hours later, I’m in New York; a few hours after that I’m home, not on the flight I was meant to travel on, but, home nonetheless. I think I have done some good for the project in this week away. Interesting how welcome the idea of Arcosanti is among European/mid-easterners. And interesting how every presentor in the Mayor’s Symposium talks about density and mass transit and every single one says they are trying to tax or ban cars from their cities.These are mayors of Paris, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Milano, Budapest, Vienna, Bonn, etc. That’s the news from Tel Aviv. Cheers. Jeff [Photo & text: Jeff Stein]last_img read more

French pay TV provider Canal has teamed up with V

first_imgFrench pay TV provider Canal+ has teamed up with Vivendi sister-company Universal Music to launch a new channel dedicated to classical music.The new service, Deutsche Grammophon+, will offer exclusive programmes and content based on Deutsche Grammophon catalogue.The channel will make available about 400 titles at launch, spanning short documentaries, interviews, profiles, extracts, concerts and performances and playlists recommended by Deutsche Grammophon artists.Among performances to be aired is one performed in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel in Dolby Atmos sound. The channel will also air 10 re-masterisations of discs in Dolby Atmos that will be published this year, with a second, similar series to be aired next year. Both will feature re-mastered versions of discs from the analogue era of recording featuring conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan and Carlos Kleiber.The channel will be available to Canal+ subscribers as part of the Family, Panorama and Intégrale pack, and will be delivered as a streaming service on the myCanal app as well as to the latest generation of Canal+ set-tops. The service will also be offered to third-party distributors to make available via their IPTV boxes.Canal+ said that music from other labels in the Universal Music stable would be added later.The broadcaster said that the creation of the channel showed the synergies that are possible between the different arms of Vivendi.last_img read more

At the moment Im just sitting here and waiting f

first_imgAt the moment, I’m just sitting here and waiting for the next shoe to drop.The gold price didn’t do much in Far East trading on their Wednesday…and the tiny rally in London didn’t get far…and got sold down to basically unchanged by the time that Comex trading began in New York.The gold price rallied a bit more, but that lasted until the London p.m. gold fix…and then it got sold down to its 3:45 p.m. Eastern time low, before rallying a hair into the close.Nothing much to see here.  The high and low price ticks in New York were $1,396.30 spot…and $1,367.60 spot.  For the second day running, the gold price wasn’t allowed above the $1,400 spot price mark.Gold closed the day at $1,377.50 spot…up $8.20 from Tuesday’s close.  Volume was very heavy once again, around 269,000 contracts.It was pretty much the same price pattern in silver, with the New York high tick [$23.81 spot] being printed at the London p.m. gold fix…and the low [$22.86 spot] at the Comex open.  Once the afternoon gold ‘fix’ was in, the silver price followed the gold price around like a shadow.Silver finished the Wednesday session at $32.31 spot…down 3 cents from Tuesday.  Volume was very chunky once again…around 51,000 contracts net.The trading patterns in both platinum and palladium were similar as well…and both finished down on the day.The dollar index closed on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 81.83…and once trading began in the Far East on their Wednesday, the index continued to rally…hitting its zenith [82.70] around 3:00 p.m. in New York.  It backed off a hair from there, closing at 82.63…up 80 basis points on the day.Despite the decent price performance in gold, the shares struggled to remain above the unchanged mark.  Their highs were at gold’s high at the afternoon London gold fix…and it was basically all down hill from there, closing almost on their lows.  The HUI finished down another 5.11%.The silver shares were crushed again as well…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 6.25%.(Click on image to enlarge)As I said in this space yesterday, it’s my opinion that the mutual funds have been hit with massive redemptions…and they’ve been forced to sell into an illiquid market whether they wanted to or not.The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday.  Nothing to see here.Another day…and another withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant[s] withdrew 357,860 troy ounces.  And as of 9:48 p.m. Eastern time yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.Over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank, they reported declines in both their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on April 15th.  Their gold ETF dropped by a smallish 19,008 troy ounces…and their silver ETF fell by 212,767 troy ounces.It was a pretty decent sales day over at the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold a very chunky 63,500 ounces of gold eagles…almost two metric tonnes!  And they almost doubled their April one-ounce 24K gold buffalo sales from 9,500 to 18,000 in one day.  But they only sold 172,000 silver eagles, so it’s obvious that the are selling them as fast as they are making them.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday, they reported receiving 630,567 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 484,203 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that activity is here.Well, the silver bullion supply crunch has finally arrived in Edmonton.  Virtually all silver bullion sold in Canada starts off life in the United States…even the Canadian silver maple leaf…as the Royal Canadian Mint sources virtually all of its blanks from the U.S.  So much for “Made in Canada”…eh!As of noon today, our store stopped selling most products over the counter…and order-in as well, which is the lion’s share of our business.  None of our U.S. suppliers were taking orders for any bullion products of any description.  We could still sell a very limited number of silver, gold, platinum and palladium maples leafs and bars over the counter, but that was it.  This problem is now wide-spread everywhere in North America.  Most small ‘Ma and Pa’ precious metals dealers are cleaned out…and have no chance of getting any more product for months.Here are a couple of charts that Nick sent me on Tuesday evening that I just didn’t have room for in yesterday’s column.  They show gold and silver prices going back to 1970…and the percent deviation from their respective 200-day moving averages over the years.  As you can tell, we are at extremes rarely seen in both metals…especially in gold.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)Here is your quota of ‘cute’ photos for the day… I have the usual number of stories for a weekday…and I hope you have the time to read the ones that interest you the most.The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in “Metcalfe’s law” – which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants – becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine.  – Paul Krugman, 1998I wouldn’t read much into yesterday’s price action in either gold or silver, except to note that gold wasn’t allowed to penetrate the $1,400 mark for the second day in a row.  Volumes in both metals were very heavy…and with the much quieter price action, one would have thought that the volume level would have dropped off even more than it did.At the moment, I’m just sitting here and waiting for the next shoe to drop.  Are we going higher or lower…and how soon and how fast?  Beats me, but like I said yesterday, I doubt very much if we’ll have long too wait to find out.  My bet is up…and up big.But, having said that, I note that in Far East price action around 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong on their Thursday morning, all four precious metals were massaged to the downside by the high-frequency trading crowd, as no for-profit seller would dump a boat load of contracts all in the same moment in the most thinly-traded portion of the market, if they were trying to get the best price.The biggest price declines were in both gold and silver…and that doesn’t come as a surprise to me.  However, both metals are struggling back…and have regained most of their losses going into the London open.  As of 3:25 a.m. Eastern time…gold volume is already north of 63,000 contracts…and silver’s net volume is a bit over 12,000 contracts.Here are the 3-year charts for both gold and silver with both the 50-day and 20-day moving averages shown.  Note that they both printed a record low RSI reading earlier this week…and probably the lowest in history.  The RSI in silver didn’t even get that low on the May 1st drive-by shooting back in 2011.  The nearest moving average of importance in gold is the 20-day…and it’s about $170 above yesterday’s closing price on the chart below.  In silver, the 20-day moving average is currently about four bucks above silver’s closing price on Wednesday.  Until we get to those moving averages, there’s no reason for the technical funds to begin covering their record high short positions…and the 50-day moving average in both metals are even higher.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:19 a.m. Eastern time, gold is up about nine bucks…and silver is up a nickel.  Volumes are continuing to rise.  Gold’s volume is approaching 80,000 contracts…and the net volume in silver is around the 15,000 contract mark.  The dollar index is down a hair…not that it matters.That’s all I have for you today…and I’ll see you here on Friday…or Saturday if you live just west of the International Date Line.last_img read more

The Trump administration is proposing a major shak

first_imgThe Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country’s most important “safety net” programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package was described in the budget as consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.Currently, SNAP beneficiaries get money loaded onto an EBT card they can use to buy what they want as long as it falls under the guidelines. The administration says the move is a “cost-effective approach” with “no loss in food benefits to participants.”The USDA believes that state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients currently pay for food at retail stores — thus reducing the overall cost of the SNAP program by $129 billion over the next 10 years.This and other changes in the SNAP program, according to the Trump administration, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those years — cutting the program by almost 30 percent.Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group that also helps clients access food-assistance services, said the administration’s plan left him baffled. “They have managed to propose nearly the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices,” Berg says.He says SNAP is efficient because it is a “free market model” that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits. The Trump administration’s proposal, he said, “is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer. They think a bureaucrat in D.C. is better at picking out what your family needs than you are?”Douglas Greenaway, president of the National WIC Association, echoed that sentiment. “Removing choice from SNAP flies in the face of encouraging personal responsibility,” he said. He says “the budget seems to assume that participating in SNAP is a character flaw.”It isn’t clear how billions of dollars’ worth of food each year would be distributed to millions of SNAP recipients who live all over the country, including dense urban areas and sparsely populated rural regions. The budget says states will have “substantial flexibility in designing the food box delivery system through existing infrastructure, partnerships or commercial/retail delivery services.”Critics of the proposal said distributing that much food presents a logistical nightmare. “Among the problems, it’s going to be costly and take money out of the [SNAP] program from the administrative side. It’s going to stigmatize people when they have to go to certain places to pick up benefits,” says Jim Weill, president of the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, called the proposal “radical and risky.” The idea that the government could save money by distributing food itself, she said, is “ill-informed at best.”It isn’t clear whether the boxes will come with directions on how to cook the foods inside. “It could be something that [SNAP recipients] don’t even know how to make,” notes Miguelina Diaz, whose team at Hunger Free America works directly with families to help them access food aid. “We deal with different people of different backgrounds. Limiting them by providing them a staple box would limit the choices of food they can prepare for their families.”According to Dean, from CBPP, the Trump administration wants to trim an additional $80 billion from the SNAP program by cutting off about 4 million people who currently receive food assistance. Most of them live in states that have decided to loosen the program’s eligibility requirements slightly. Under the administration’s proposal, states would no longer be able to do so.Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in early December that he wanted states to have more flexibility in doling out SNAP, announcing the agency wanted to hear about programs from states that don’t increase the cost of the program and will combat what he said is fraud and waste. At the National Grocers Association conference over the weekend, Perdue said the budget has “common-sense reforms that call for greater consistency across nutritional programs.”Nutrition programs, including SNAP, made up about 80 percent of the USDA’s budget in the most recent farm bill, making it the largest portion of agency spending. About 44 million people participated in SNAP each month in 2016, at an annual cost of $70.9 billion. Nearly two-thirds were under 18, over 60 or disabled, according to the USDA.Congress largely ignored Trump’s proposed budget for SNAP last year, when he wanted to cut the funding by a quarter. This time, it’s a farm bill year, meaning many budgetary decisions will be made among the House and Senate agriculture committees.Several critics we spoke with expressed skepticism that the proposed SNAP changes would pass in Congress. Even so, Weill says, “Whenever you see proposals like this that attack [SNAP] … it harms the program even if it doesn’t pass, in the long term reducing support for the program and stigmatizing people who use it.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more