LONDON, AP – Jamie Vardy’s unconventional route to the English Premier League’s record book began with heartbreaking rejection from his hometown club at 16 and back-breaking work in a carbon-fibre factory. It later took in a conviction for assault, a police curfew that prevented him from completing games for his local team, and a 30-pounds-a-week ($45-a week) contract. And it involved working his way right up English football’s pyramid, first playing on muddy pitches against plumbers and electricians, then uncompromising lower-league defences, and then the bright lights and the big boys of the Premier League. One thing was a constant for Vardy on that up-and-down journey: An ability to score goals – and plenty of them. The hard work has paid off and tomorrow could see his crowning glory, as he goes in search of a scoring record for the ages. The 28-year-old striker, whose direct and hard-working playing style is straight out of the Sunday leagues, has scored in 10 straight Premier League games for Leicester, and another goal against Manchester United this weekend would see him break the record for scoring in consecutive games in the division. The record has been held by former Man United star Ruud van Nistelrooy since 2003. “There’s a lot of hard work gone into it,” Vardy says, “and long may it continue.” Vardy’s blossoming at the highest stage is a shock to most, although some say they saw it coming. Andy Pilley is the chairman of Fleetwood Town, an unheralded club in northern England that took a 150,000-pound ($225,000) punt on Vardy in 2011 when others were holding off despite his prolific form in non-league football. Fleetwood were also a non-league team then, and Vardy scored 32 goals in 34 games the following season to help them break into the Football League. Leicester soon came calling. “I remember saying, ‘We will watch when you play for England and when you play in the Premier League,'” Pilley told The Associated Press. “And, sure enough, that’s come true.” Vardy is currently top of the Premier League’s scoring charts with 13 goals — four more than his nearest rival — after 13 games and is playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney in England’s national team. He isn’t too dissimilar to a younger version of Rooney in the way he harasses defenders and grafts for his team, with a scrapper’s mentality. But he is quicker than Rooney ever was, and loves playing on the shoulder of defenders and seeing space ahead of him. This season, everything’s gone right — playing in a Leicester team that has bulldozed its way to the top of the league, Vardy has scored a goal every 74 minutes, all from inside the penalty area. He had only one goal at this stage last season. “It’s been a meteoric rise,” England assistant coach Gary Neville says. “The reports coming through (last season) were that he was raw, a little erratic in front of goal, but lightning quick and a handful. “He’s come into this season and he’s a completely different player. He was unpolished last season. Look at him now.” Vardy has been wearing a cast to protect two broken bones in his wrist, and scored a record-tying goal against Newcastle on Saturday while playing through injury. In truth, he’s taken knocks throughout his career. He joined the youth system of his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday in 2002 but was released at 16, after being told he was too small. He quit football for eight months and worked in a carbon-fibre factory, a job he had to leave because of the stress on his back.
UG Loan Agency auditThe recent forensic audit into the operations of the University of Guyana (UG) Student Loan Agency hasThe Student Loan Agency at the University of Guyana Turkeyen Campusrevealed that over a 21-year period, successive People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) governments made available to the agency over $9 billion.During the period 1994 to May 2015, the Government of Guyana approved $9,489,453,973 through the National Budget or US$45.5 million (using the current rate of exchange of G$210 to US$1), the 77-page audit report, which was made public on Tuesday by the Finance Ministry stated.The report stated that during the period April 2011 to December 2014, $1.8 billion was received through a process whereby the Agency’s head is informed by the Budget Department that funds have been approved to be released to the Agency.The Agency head then, at least twice per year, requests disbursements equivalent to the approved amount which were then deposited, awaiting request from the University and upon request, the Agency head seeks approval from the Finance Secretary for the requests to be fulfilled.It noted that there was no receipt of funds from the Government in 2015. “Loans issued during the audit period (academic years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015) amounted to $1,581,422,277 of which $1,432,669,005 was issued to students at Turkeyen Campus and $148,753,272 was issued to students at the Tain Campus,” the report stated. It further stated that as at December 31, 2014, some 25,335 students received loans with a total value of $9,159,644,463. Of the 25,335 students who have received loans, 4713 or 18.6 per cent are recent graduates or are still students, 1776 or seven per cent have repaid their loans totalling $679,918,794, including principal and interest. Five had their loans written off, 1278 or five per cent have been paying but not all are up-to-date and 17,56l or 69.4 per cent of the loan portfolio are deemed delinquent because they have not being honouring their indebtedness, according to the audit report.“This is a clear indication that the Ministry of Finance, and by extension the Agency, has not pursued the defaulters with a view to recover their indebtedness. The Agency head confirmed that his department is not equipped to pursue defaulters,” the auditors stated in the report.Several high ranking politicians and legal practitioners are among the over 17,500 defaulters.They include former Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Robert Corbin, People’s Progressive Party Central Committee member Majeed Hussain, Magistrate Judy Latchman, former A Partnership for National Unity Member of Parliament (MP) James Bond, Legal Adviser in the Ministry of the Presidency Geeta Chandan-Edmond and daughter of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo Adela Nagamootoo.The loans approved and issued during the period was $9,159,644,463. This amount represents 96.5 per cent of the total Government contributions received by the Agency. The auditors have recommended sweeping changes at the Agency to address the issue of defaulting loans.Included among those recommendations is preventing students who owe the agency from traveling overseas unless systems are in place to guarantee the recovery of the outstanding balances, should the student fail to return to the country.“Consideration should be given to endorse the passport of students so that they cannot leave the country without making provision to repay their loans if they fail to return. Or students should not be allowed to travel abroad unless the guarantors undertake to repay the loan in full and immediately, if the students do not return,” the auditors suggested.It was also recommended that the format and security for the issuance of loans must be reviewed to strengthen the existing systems and to put in place mechanism for the prompt repayment of loans, the auditors noted, adding that the student loan form should include the name of an alternative guarantor in the event of the death of the guarantor. That person should give a written commitment annually.“The criteria for the issuing of student loans should also be reviewed to ensure that only Guyanese are eligible instead of those holding national ID cards,” it stated.The auditors also recommended that students should be made to start repayment on or before the one year grace period once they would have been employed.
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams is once again facing the heat over yet another verbal attack against the judiciary.Williams, speaking in the capacity as Chairman of the People’s National Congress (PNC) to the party’s General Council over the weekend, conveyed the impression that the judiciary is plotting against the Government.“For the first time in 23 years, orders have been made by Judges in our courts against the President, Prime Minister and Attorney General, without giving them a hearing,” he is quoted as saying.Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil WilliamsBut his contention is deemed as another unwarranted assault on the integrity of the judiciary and has already been described as another in a series of attempts to sap the judiciary of its independence and autonomy.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall explained that to his knowledge, no order has been granted against President David Granger without a hearing and he called upon the Attorney General to produce evidence to support his wild assertions.Nonetheless, Nandlall pointed out that in any event, it is trite and settled law that though the President is personally immune from suit, his actions are not.Former Attorney GeneralAnil Nandlall“They are lawfully challengeable by proceedings filed against the Attorney General. A number of legal challenges have been filed against presidential actions, decisions and conduct through the Attorney General, over the past 23 years,” he stated.Nandlall further explained that presidential actions and decisions are not exempted and if the justice of the case demands it, then conservatory orders can be issued and have known to be granted, ex-parte, against such actions/decisions.With regards to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General on the other hand, Nandlall posited that in the eyes of the law, they do not enjoy any special authority.“They stand before the law on the same footing as every other public officer. In fit and proper cases, ex-parte orders can be made against them,” he explained.The legal luminary added, “There is only one exception. In private law matters, prohibitory or coercive orders cannot be made against the State, as per the State Liabilities and Proceedings Act. However, this Act has no applicability in constitutional or public law proceedings. Therefore, it is perfectly proper and lawful for ex-parte orders to be made against the Prime Minister and the Attorney General in appropriate cases in constitutional or public law litigation.”Nandlall surmised that Williams’ intention was to mislead a substantial political block of persons in this country and to pit them against the judiciary by dishonestly conveying the impression that the judiciary is against them.He contended that this “ominous and dangerous development” drags the judiciary baselessly into the political realm which can result in an erosion of public confidence in the legal system.“It is equally clear that the Attorney-General is laying the foundation to cast further blame on and to ascribe more improper motives to the judiciary whenever they do not rule in accordance with his expectations, irrespective of how weak the cases are or, however infantile and misconceived the legal submissions may be,” Nandlall stated.He posited that no democratic society governed by the rule of law can afford to stay silent in the face of these atrocities.“The judiciary must function fearlessly and operate in an atmosphere free from fear. This constant barrage of attacks and intimidation must end now,” the former Attorney General emphasised. These attacks against the judiciary came after the Chancellor, Justice Carl Singh dismissed a State-sponsored appeal which ultimately quashed the racial incitement charge brought against former President Bharrat Jagdeo by a private citizen.
The ruling sets the stage for additional restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. The court’s liberal justices, in dissent, called the decision alarming and said it chipped away at abortion rights. The 2003 law does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, Kennedy said. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also were in the majority. The law is constitutional despite not containing an exception that would allow the procedure if needed to preserve a woman’s health, Kennedy said. “The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice,” he wrote in the majority opinion. Doctors who violate the law could face up to two years in federal prison. The law had not taken effect, pending the outcome of the legal fight. WASHINGTON – Bitterly divided most of the time, both sides in the abortion debate agreed on one thing Wednesday: Elections and Supreme Court nominees matter. President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, were part of the 5-4 majority that upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and gave abortion foes the landmark victory they had been hoping for from the newly conservative court. Gone from the court was Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, her place taken last year by Alito. She had been in a 5-4 majority that struck down a state law banning the controversial abortion procedure seven years ago. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who penned an impassioned dissent in that case, wrote Wednesday’s opinion for a conservative majority allowing the first nationwide ban on an abortion procedure since the the Roe v. Wade decision upholding abortion rights in 1973. In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling “cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court.” Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the Bellevue, Neb., doctor who challenged the federal ban, said, “I am afraid the Supreme Court has just opened the door to an all-out assault on” the 1973 ruling in Roe. Wade. The administration defended the law as drawing a bright line between abortion and infanticide. Reacting to the ruling, Bush said that it affirms the progress his administration has made to defend the “sanctity of life.” “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that prohibits the abhorrent procedure of partial birth abortion,” he said. “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America.” It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how – not whether – to perform an abortion. Abortion rights groups as well as the leading association of obstetricians and gynecologists have said the procedure sometimes is the safest for a woman. They also said that such a ruling could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, although Kennedy said alternate, more widely used procedures remain legal. The outcome is likely to spur efforts at the state level to place more restrictions on abortions. “I applaud the Court for its ruling today, and my hope is that it sets the stage for further progress in the fight to ensure our nation’s laws respect the sanctity of unborn human life,” said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, Republican leader in the House of Representatives. Jay Sekulow, a prominent abortion opponent who is chief counsel for the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said, “This is the most monumental win on the abortion issue that we have ever had.” Said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights: “The impact of Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement is painfully clear … The court has now kicked open the door for states to impose broader restrictions on access to abortions.” More than 1 million abortions are performed in the United States each year, according to recent statistics. Nearly 90 percent of those occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and are not affected by Wednesday’s ruling. The Guttmacher Institute says 2,200 dilation and extraction procedures – the medical term most often used by doctors – were performed in 2000, the latest figures available. Six federal courts have said the law that was in focus Wednesday is an impermissible restriction on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. “Today’s decision is alarming,” Ginsburg wrote in dissent for the court’s liberal bloc. She said the ruling “refuses to take … seriously” previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion. Ginsburg said the latest decision “tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.” Ginsburg said that for the first time since the court established a woman’s right to an abortion in 1973, “the court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.” She was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens. The procedure at issue involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman’s uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
BAGHDAD – An al-Qaida front group announced Sunday it had captured American soldiers in a deadly attack the day before, as thousands of U.S. troops searched insurgent areas south of Baghdad for their three missing comrades. The statement came on one of the deadliest days in the country in recent weeks, with at least 126 people killed or found dead – including two American soldiers who died in separate bombings. A suicide truck bomb tore through the offices of a Kurdish political party in northern Iraq, killing 50 people, and a car bombing in a crowded Baghdad market killed another 17. Troops surrounded the town of Youssifiyah and told residents over loudspeakers to stay inside, residents said. They then methodically searched the houses, focusing on possible secret chambers under the floors where the soldiers might be hidden, residents said. The soldiers marked each searched house with a white piece of cloth. Soldiers also searched cars entering and leaving the town, writing “searched” on the side of each vehicle they had inspected. Several people were arrested, witnesses said. Caldwell said the bodies of the interpreter and three of the slain soldiers had been identified, but the military was still working to identify the fifth. Later Sunday, the Islamic State of Iraq posted a brief message on a militant Web site saying it was responsible for the attack and held an unspecified number of U.S. soldiers. The Islamic State is a coalition of eight insurgent groups. Late last month, it named a 10-member “Cabinet” complete with a “war minister,” an apparent attempt to present the Sunni coalition as an alternative to the U.S.-backed, Shiite-led administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Islamic State in Iraq offered no proof for its claim that it was behind the attack Saturday in Mahmoudiya that also killed four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi translator. But the Sunni area known as the “triangle of death” is a longtime al-Qaida stronghold. If the claim proves true, it would mark one of the most brazen attacks by the umbrella Sunni insurgent group against U.S. forces here. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for the U.S. military, said 4,000 U.S. troops backed by aircraft and intelligence units were scouring the farming area as the military made “every effort available to find our missing soldiers.” President George W. Bush was also getting regular updates on the missing soldiers, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council in Washington. The early morning attack on two U.S. military vehicles outside of Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, left the bodies of the four U.S. soldiers and their translator badly burned.
Issued at 2015-03-14 11:47 UTC by Environment Canada:Special weather statement issued for:B.C. Peace River, B.C. (087300)Current details:Gusts southwesterly winds this afternoon.A deepening area of low pressure is forecast to cross the Central Interior today, following a path from Burns Lake northeastwards to the BC Peace River region. Strong southwesterly winds are expected to develop and wind gusts approaching 80 km/h could occur this afternoon. Depending on the track and intensity of the low in question, wind warnings may be required. Please refer to public forecasts for additional details.The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended.- Advertisement -Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada at www.weatheroffice.gc.caWind warnings are issued when winds are expected to exceed 70 km/h sustained, or gusts of 90 km/h.
0Shares0000Jose Mourinho (R) and Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger (L) are kept apart by the fourth official Jonathan Moss during the English Premier League match, Photo/FILEMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Apr 27 – Jose Mourinho admitted Friday that he regrets some of his behaviour towards Arsene Wenger over their years of rivalry in the Premier League ahead of the Frenchman’s last visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal boss.The two managers have enjoyed a spiky relationship since the Portuguese arrived as manager of Chelsea in 2004 and deposed Arsenal’s “Invincibles” as champions. Famously, Mourinho called Wenger a “voyeur” and a “specialist in failure” while, in the early days of their feud, in 2005, Wenger responded by calling Mourinho “stupid” and “disconnected with reality”.As recently as October 2014, the two managers were involved in an ugly touchline row that saw them almost come to physical blows in a game between Arsenal and Chelsea — an example of the sort of behaviour Mourinho now says he regrets.Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shakes hands with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (2nd L) after Aresnal win the game 2-0“Regrets? Little negative episodes, yes I do and probably he also does,” Mourinho told the press at United’s training base.“There are little things where it would obviously have been better without them, some gestures, some words would be better without it. I feel better now without it, no doubt about it.“But again when I arrived in England 2004, Arsenal was the champion and it was the famous champions of the Invincibles. And I arrived and for the next couple of years was with them — Bergkamp, Thierry, Campbell, amazing teams. So again thank you very much for that, they pushed us to the limits.”Mourinho said he hoped United fans, who have not always treated Wenger with respect, would give him a good send-off on Sunday.“I always feel the biggest rivals are our biggest friends because they’re the ones that pushed us to the limit,” said the United manager.– Arsenal v Man Utd rivalry –Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was sent off in the 74th minute of United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal for a crude challenge on Hector Bellerin“And I think Manchester United fans know that until 2004, for about a decade, it was between Manchester United and Arsenal. It was between Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Mr Wenger.“And I think that these great teams Arsenal had and the fight shoulder to shoulder with Manchester United made Manchester United better and better. I hope he has a good reaction — if not good, not bad at all, and from us, as a club, he is going to feel the respect we have.”Mourinho could not let the occasion pass without a small dig at his old rival, when he claimed that if United were in the Europa League this season, they would have won the competition.After Arsenal threw away a lead to draw 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in the semi-final first leg at the Emirates, Mourinho’s point was clear.Sparks often fly when Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho (L) and rsenal manager Arsene Wenger are obliged to share a touchline“Last season we won the Europa League and if we played Europa League this year we’d win it too,” he said.Mourinho, looking to consolidate second place in the Premier League, also stressed that goalkeeper David de Gea is not leaving United.The 27-year-old Spain international, who is approaching the last year of his contract, has regularly been linked with Real Madrid.When asked about a potential summer departure for De Gea, Mourinho responded: “No chance.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
“They killed themselves simultaneously in adjoining toilets in the barracks. They couldn’t face it,” said Grobbelaar.The goalkeeper, renowned for his eccentricities at Anfield, said football had “saved” him, adding: “It kept me away from the dark thoughts of war.”Grobbelaar told how one of his fellow white soldiers mutilated the bodies of black fighters.“This guy would cut an ear off every man he killed,” Grobbelaar said. “He kept the ears in a jar. And he had quite a few jars. His family had been brutalised so he wanted revenge.”The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters © AFP/File / PAUL ELLISThe Zimbabwean was at Liverpool during the most successful spell in the club’s history but the 1980s were also marked by two tragedies — the 1985 Heysel disaster, when 39 Juventus fans died before the European Cup final and the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.“It (Heysel) was worse (than war),” said Grobbelaar, who won six league titles and a European Cup while at Liverpool from 1981 to 1994.“In the bush you knew what could happen. At Heysel it was innocent people. To hear the crumbling wall and the falling bodies was terrible.”Grobbelaar was also hit hard by the tragedy at Hillsborough, where he was close to the Liverpool fans’ end.“I was near gate number 13 and there was this soft sound — like air coming out,” he said.“I saw the faces squashed against the fence. I went to get the ball and shouted to the policewoman: ‘Open the effing gate.’ She said: ‘I haven’t got the key’. When the ball came back a second time, I shouted again.“I saw they had a key and people spilled onto the ground.“I kicked the ball out and ran to the referee. That’s when the barrier went over and the bodies came down. I could hear the air coming out of them.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar says football saved him after the trauma of war in Africa © AFP/File / JOHNNY EGGITTLONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 2 – Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar has spoken about how football “saved” him after his horrific experiences as a soldier in the Rhodesian army, also recounting the trauma of the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters during his playing days.The 60-year-old told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in a frank interview that the impact of the fighting in Zimbabwe’s war of independence in the 1970s was such that two soldiers took their own lives when they were told to do another tour of duty.
0Shares0000Reaching for the stars: Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino (right) has taken his team into the Champions League semi-finals © AFP/File / Anthony DevlinLONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 29 – Mauricio Pochettino has told Tottenham not to use the absence of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min or tiredness after a draining campaign as an excuse for not making the Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history.Kane headlines a lengthy injury list also including Erik Lamela and Harry Winks for Tuesday’s semi-final, first leg at home to Ajax, while Son is suspended. But having upset the odds to end Manchester City’s quest for a quadruple of trophies in the quarter-finals, manager Pochettino insisted Spurs’ strength as a collective can overcome Ajax’s talented group of rising stars.“To be in a Champions League semi-final is something I dreamed about. You need to settle your dreams, to infinity and beyond,” Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference on Monday ahead of Tottenham’s first European Cup semi-final since 1962.“The chance to play a semi-final for Tottenham has not happened often. We are in a circumstance that is not going to change and we must be ready“It is impossible to be tired, impossible to not be excited to play. I am sure there is no doubt we will have the energy for 90 minutes.”Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino (right) oversees training ahead of his side’s Champions League semi-final against Ajax © AFP / Adrian DENNISHowever, while Pochettino’s stretched squad were slipping to a sixth defeat in their last 10 Premier League games to West Ham on Saturday, Ajax have had a full week to rest as the entire Dutch league calendar for the weekend was postponed to allow them extra time to prepare.“The team is good. We are very fit, very eager and very fresh. We can certainly perform at our best,” said Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.Without Kane, who is not expected to return this season unless Spurs make it to the Champions League final on June 1, Tottenham’s goals have dried up since a thrilling 4-3 defeat in the second leg of their quarter-final at City was enough to progress on away goals.Christian Eriksen’s late strike to secure a 1-0 victory over Brighton on Tuesday was Spurs’ only goal in their past three games.Son’s absence means Pochettino is robbed of another goal threat, with Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente his only striking options.However, the Argentine said Spurs’ teamwork can compensate for that lack of firepower.“I think the point is that we arrive where we are now because we were a team and we are going to be a team,” he said.“I don’t care who is going to score. Always it’s an issue to not have all the players fit, but in front of any name was the team, the collective.”Barca bound: Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong will join Spanish champions Barcelona next season © AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTEFour-time European champions Ajax have far more European pedigree than Spurs, but their run to the last four for the first time since 1997 is arguably an even bigger surprise given the financial gulf between the Eredivisie and the Premier League.But with his youthful side already being broken up with Frenkie de Jong headed to Barcelona next season and captain Matthijs de Ligt attracting interest from Europe’s top leagues, Ten Hag is keen to make the most of this side’s only shot to win the competition.“It’s amazing that we are in the Champions League semi-finals – nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the season that a Dutch team would end up in the Champions League semi-finals,” he added.“We have achieved something, but we want to do more. We don’t want to rest on our laurels.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
“I came home and typed in ‘Croc’ and ‘escalator,’ and all these stories came up,” said Jodi McDermott, of Vienna, Va. “If I had known, those would never have been worn.” According to reports appearing across the United States and as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapments occur because of two of the biggest selling points of shoes like Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the “teeth” at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator. The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as 2. The company introduced shoes in its smallest size, 4/5, this past spring. Niwot, Colo.-based Crocs Inc. said it does not keep records of the reasons for customer-service calls. But the company said it is aware of “very few” problems relating to accidents involving the shoes, which are made of a soft, synthetic resin. “Thankfully, escalator accidents like the one in Virginia are rare,” the company said in a statement. In Japan, the government warned consumers last week that it has received 39 reports of sandals – mostly Crocs or similar products – getting stuck in escalators from late August through early September. Most of the reports appear to have involved small children, some as young as two years old. Kazuo Motoya of Japan’s National Institute of Technology and Evaluation said children may have more escalator accidents in part because they “bounce around when they stand on escalators, instead of watching where they place their feet.” In Singapore, a 2-year-old girl wearing rubber clogs – it’s unclear what brand – had her big toe completely ripped off in an escalator accident last year, according to local media reports. And at the Atlanta airport, a 3-year-old boy wearing Crocs suffered a deep gash across the top of his toes in June. That was one of seven shoe entrapments at the airport since May 1, and all but two of them involved Crocs, said Roy Springer, operations manager for the company that runs the airport terminal. One U.S. retailer that caters to children, Mattel subsidiary American Girl, has posted signs in three locations directing customers wearing Crocs or flip-flop sandals to use elevators instead of escalators. During the past two years, so-called “shoe entrapments” in the Washington subway have gone from being relatively rare to happening four or five times a week in the summer, though none has caused serious injuries, said Dave Lacosse, who oversees the subway’s 588 escalators, the most of any U.S. transit system. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said escalator accidents caused more than 10,000 injuries last year, but the agency has few records of specific shoe problems. Only two shoe entrapments have been reported by consumers since the beginning of 2006. One reported in May involved “rubber footwear.” Agency spokesman Ed Kang urged people who have had problems to report them on the commission’s Web site. Crocs officials said they were working with the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation on public education initiatives. But the group’s executive director, Barbara Allen, said that’s not true. Allen said a Crocs official called her in September 2006 about possible cooperation, even suggesting the company might put a tag in its shoes with the foundation’s Web address. But since that first contact, Crocs has not called, and nobody from the company will return Allen’s calls, she said. Washington Metro’s Lacosse and other escalator experts say the best way to prevent shoe entrapments is to face the direction the stairs are moving, keep feet away from the sides and step over the teeth at the end. Lacosse, of the Washington subway system, said he is personally skittish of Crocs and other soft-soled shoes. “Would I wear them? No,” he said. “And I tell my children not to wear them either.” .160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON _ At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs. One of the nation’s largest subway systems – the Washington Metro – has even posted ads warning riders about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don’t mention Crocs by name. Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding. At first, Rory’s mother had no idea what caused the boy’s foot to get caught. It was only later, when someone at the hospital remarked on Rory’s shoes, that she began to suspect the Crocs and did an Internet search.