N.L. Premier Kathy Dunderdale expected to sanction Muskrat Falls project

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is set to make an announcement Monday on the $7.5 billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Kathy Dunderdale said last week that formal approval of the project – which is set to be the largest public expenditure in provincial history – was imminent.

She’s expected to sanction the joint venture between Newfoundland Crown corporation Nalcor Energy and Nova Scotia private equity firm Emera when she speaks to the media this evening.

The hydro megaproject in Labrador is expected to cost the province at least $6.2 billion. The development includes construction of a subsea cable that would link Newfoundland with Nova Scotia.

The provincial government has called the Muskrat Falls project an investment with projected dividends of more than $20 billion over 50 years starting in 2017.

The project would bring hydro power from the lower Churchill River in Labrador to Newfoundland and then Nova Scotia.

Critics have argued the pricey project has not cleared a single independent, regulated review.

Dunderdale`s response has been that Muskrat Falls received the endorsement of global energy consultants, though they were hired and paid by her government. She has refused further review by the provincial Public Utilities Board since it declined last spring to endorse Muskrat Falls, saying it lacked updated information.

The majority Progressive Conservative government has also refused Liberal opposition demands for a special debate or committee format that would include questioning expert energy witnesses.

The project got a boost last month when Ottawa offered a federal loan guarantee for the project that would cut borrowing costs by about $1 billion.

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Jennifer Lopez plays Santa to raise money for charity, talks of Jenni Rivera

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Jennifer Lopez says she doesn’t look forward to getting gifts at Christmas – she looks forward to giving them.

“I love going and shopping for Christmas presents for everybody and making gifts for people and seeing their faces light up and surprising them; that’s where I get my joy,” the entertainer said last week.

It’s also why Lopez launched her “J. Lo’s Christmas Gift” drive, asking fans to donate to her three favourite charities (the Boys & Girls Club, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Red Cross). In exchange, she’ll give someone two tickets to the last show of her “Dance Again” world tour in Puerto Rico on Saturday; she’ll also pay airfare and hotel costs.

“It’s just that kind of doing something nice for somebody, and they do something nice back and kind of paying it forward,” she said in a phone interview Friday from Australia, where she was performing

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She’s promoting the contest, which ends Monday, on Twitter with the hashtag JLOSCHRISTMASGIFT. She got the idea to use social media to encourage her fans to give back since becoming more involved in platforms like Twitter and Facebook and seeing how much response she’s received when she’s had contests.

“I thought, ‘What if every person I tweeted and asked for a follow donated a dollar?’ I have 13 1/2 million followers (on Twitter),” she said. “We can collect a lot of money for these charities that I work with that are literally close to my heart.”

Part of the reason Lopez chose the Red Cross is because of its relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New York City, where Lopez is from. She hasn’t been back to New York since the October storm but her ex-husband, Marc Anthony, was affected.

“My babies (4-year-old twins Max and Emme) had to go there and visit their dad shortly after, and it was like, kind of a scary proposition to send them because I didn’t know what it was going to be like,” she said. “He was saying how his house had a tree fall in his front yard, and he couldn’t stay there and there was no electricity. Just knowing how so many people were affected by it and when you really hear the stats of it … there’s not enough you can do.”

Lopez will be heading home for the holidays; Lopez said she feels blessed to have been able to stage her first world tour, particularly spending much of it with her family: “It’s just been an amazing year.”

Lopez said the tour was a “life-changing experience,” but acknowledged it could also be grueling at times, with the constant travel.

For that reason, she said she identified with Jenni Rivera, the Latin music superstar who was killed Dec. 8 in a plane crash. Rivera was travelling after a concert in Monterrey, Mexico.

“I didn’t know her personally but I knew of her. For me, just being on tour right now, you live the same type of life. You know what I mean? It’s travelling, it’s doing shows,” Lopez said. “She considered herself a businesswoman as well, besides an artist, and she had kids and I’m sure she was rushing home to get home to her kids at that time so she took the flight at 3 in the morning. So you go like, wow, it’s just like a wake-up call for everybody. It’s tragic. She was so young, so young, and she had five kids. It just wasn’t her time, it feels like.”

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Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP’s Global Entertainment & Lifestlyles editor. Follow her at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活twitter杭州龙凤/nekesamumbi

Austin returns to the CFL as Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach and GM

HAMILTON – When Kent Austin turned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats down in 2011, he had no idea he’d be running the CFL team a year later.

The Ticats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders both pursued Austin to fill their respective head-coaching vacancies in 2011 but he opted to stay in his job as head coach at Cornell University.

This time, the Ticats sweetened the pot.

On Monday, the club hired Austin as their head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations.

“Last year the timing wasn’t right, it was not conducive for what was right for our family in our opinion,” Austin said during a news conference at a Hamilton hotel. “I had a tremendous opportunity given to me at Cornell . . . and wanted to honour that commitment.

“But things change and for me this opportunity continued to grow and continued to grow in our thoughts. I just thought it was the best time and my family really wanted to come.”

In his new roles, Austin is in charge of all football-related decisions, something he says was more attractive to him. Still, he was surprised the Ticats gave him a second chance.

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“Sometimes opportunities come around once in this profession and if you pass them up you don’t see them again,” he said. “But for whatever reason it did and came at a time that was right for us.”

Austin takes over as head coach from George Cortez, who was fired last week after compiling a 6-12 record in his first season with Hamilton. Bob O’Billovich is also out as GM and is mulling over an offer to remain with the franchise as a consultant.

Hamilton’s offence was one of the CFL’s most potent under Cortez, who also served as the offensive co-ordinator. But the defence struggled mightily and was a big reason why the Ticats missed the playoffs.

Hamilton led the CFL in scoring (29.9 points per game) and passing (298.2 yards per game) and was second in total offence (378.6 yards per game). Veteran quarterback Henry Burris led the league in passing (5,367 yards) and touchdowns (43) – both career highs.

However, the Ticats registered 45 giveaways (second only to Winnipeg’s 53) and were the CFL’s second-highest penalized squad. Defensively, Hamilton allowed a league-worst 32 points per game and was second-last in yards allowed (409.2 per game).

The watershed moment in the unit’s struggles came in Hamilton’s regular-season finale Nov. 1 versus arch-rival Toronto at Rogers Centre.

Hamilton entered that contest needing the win to make the CFL playoffs against a Toronto squad that had already clinched a post-season berth and rested 10 starters, including starter Ricky Ray. But the Argos earned a 43-40 victory on Swayze Waters’ 51-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

What’s more, fourth-stringer Zack Collaros calmly marched Toronto into field goal range after Hamilton tied the score.

“The two most important stats in football are turnover ratio and big plays,” Austin said. “If you win those two categories you have a really high probability of winning football games.

“We need to eliminate turnovers and make sure we win the turnover ratio and make sure we have big plays and not just on offence but on defence as well, what we call explosive plays.”

The quarterback is a key figure in three-down football, something Austin is all too familiar with. So it’s no surprise he believes pressuring the passer is important to a defence.

“I played the position and coached the position and sometimes you give quarterbacks too much credit in football,” he said. “There are times you need to get after the quarterback and pressure him.

“Not all the time but certainly we want to get teams in second-and-long in this league and give the quarterback a lot to think about.”

Austin joins the Ticats with an impressive coaching resume but with little front-office experience. He said he will evaluate Hamilton’s roster, its current front-office personnel and coaching staff before deciding what changes are required.

Austin said while he’d like his coaches to have CFL experience, he wants them to be shrewd evaluators who are capable of designing schemes that put Hamilton’s players in the best position to succeed.

Ticats president Scott Mitchell was dogged in his pursuit of Austin, saying the former CFL quarterback remained on his radar even after he decided to remain at Cornell.

“I always felt Kent was a person that had the talent to scale beyond being just a head coach so when things clarified themselves in our organization I felt like he was the perfect fit,” Mitchell said. “He’s got incredible natural leadership abilities, he’s a confident person.

“I think he is because of his success and because he builds a process that demands accountability. For us, I think we need someone who can be the face of the franchise that’s running football operations anyway they see fit and brings a lot of confidence and leadership to the organization.”

Austin won a Grey Cup as the Roughriders’ head coach in 2007 and helped the Toronto Argonauts win a CFL title in 2004 as the team’s offensive co-ordinator. The 49-year-old also earned championship rings as a quarterback with Saskatchewan in 1989 and B.C. in ’94.

Austin entered the coaching ranks in 2003 as a quarterback coach with the Ottawa Renegades. The following season he joined the Argos before being fired in 2006 but resurfaced as Saskatchewan’s head coach for the 2007 season.

Austin led the Roughriders to a 23-19 Grey Cup win over Winnipeg at Rogers Centre and was named the CFL’s coach of the year.

On Jan. 16, 2008, Austin became the offensive co-ordinator at the University of Mississippi, his alma mater. Two years later, he accepted the head coaching job at Cornell and is coming off a season where his team posted a 4-6 record.

Over three seasons at Cornell, Austin compiled an 11-19 record.

Hamilton hasn’t won the Grey Cup since ’99 under the late Ron Lancaster. But it hasn’t been for a lack of trying since businessman Bob Young became owner in 2003.

Young hasn’t been afraid to spend money, signing quarterback Casey Printers to a deal reportedly worth $500,000 annually in 2007. Last year, the Ticats signed free-agent slotback Andy Fantuz of Chatham, Ont., to a multiyear deal reportedly worth $190,000 a year and also lured Cortez from the NFL’s Buffalo Bills with a four-year contract that was said to be worth $300,000 a year.

Next season, Young’s team will be paying two head coaches – Cortez and Austin – but the Ticats owner believes his club has the right man in charge this time around.

“I’m not a fast study, it takes me a while to learn things,” he said. “We still have to get better and Kent gives us that change to get a lot better.”

Lopez plays Santa to raise money for charity; remembers Jenni Rivera

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Jennifer Lopez says she doesn’t look forward to getting gifts at Christmas – she looks forward to giving them.

“I love going and shopping for Christmas presents for everybody and making gifts for people and seeing their faces light up and surprising them; that’s where I get my joy,” the entertainer said last week.

It’s also why Lopez launched her “J. Lo’s Christmas Gift” drive, asking fans to donate to her three favourite charities (the Boys & Girls Club, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Red Cross). In exchange, she’ll give someone two tickets to the last show of her “Dance Again” world tour in Puerto Rico on Saturday; she’ll also pay airfare and hotel costs.

“It’s just that kind of doing something nice for somebody, and they do something nice back and kind of paying it forward,” she said in a phone interview Friday from Australia, where she was performing

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She’s promoting the contest, which ends Monday, on Twitter with the hashtag JLOSCHRISTMASGIFT. She got the idea to use social media to encourage her fans to give back since becoming more involved in platforms like Twitter and Facebook and seeing how much response she’s received when she’s had contests.

“I thought, ‘What if every person I tweeted and asked for a follow donated a dollar?’ I have 13 1/2 million followers (on Twitter),” she said. “We can collect a lot of money for these charities that I work with that are literally close to my heart.”

Part of the reason Lopez chose the Red Cross is because of its relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New York City, where Lopez is from. She hasn’t been back to New York since the October storm but her ex-husband, Marc Anthony, was affected.

“My babies (4-year-old twins Max and Emme) had to go there and visit their dad shortly after, and it was like, kind of a scary proposition to send them because I didn’t know what it was going to be like,” she said. “He was saying how his house had a tree fall in his front yard, and he couldn’t stay there and there was no electricity. Just knowing how so many people were affected by it and when you really hear the stats of it … there’s not enough you can do.”

Lopez will be heading home for the holidays; Lopez said she feels blessed to have been able to stage her first world tour, particularly spending much of it with her family: “It’s just been an amazing year.”

Lopez said the tour was a “life-changing experience,” but acknowledged it could also be grueling at times, with the constant travel. For that reason, she said she identified with Jenni Rivera, the Latin music superstar who was killed Dec. 8 in a plane crash. Rivera was travelling after a concert in Monterrey, Mexico.

“I didn’t know her personally but I knew of her. For me, just being on tour right now, you live the same type of life. You know what I mean? It’s travelling, it’s doing shows,” Lopez said. “She considered herself a businesswoman as well, besides an artist, and she had kids and I’m sure she was rushing home to get home to her kids at that time so she took the flight at 3 in the morning. So you go like, wow, it’s just like a wake-up call for everybody. It’s tragic. She was so young, so young, and she had five kids. It just wasn’t her time, it feels like.”

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Online:

杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活jenniferlopez杭州龙凤

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Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP’s Global Entertainment & Lifestlyles editor. Follow her at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活twitter杭州龙凤/nekesamumbi

Giants fall to Falcons 34-0, playoff hopes hurt in first regular-season shutout in 16 years

ATLANTA – After being blanked by Atlanta, the New York Giants have to worry about being shut out of the playoffs.

Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champions were held scoreless in a regular-season game for the first time in 16 years. Manning threw two first-half interceptions in his worst performance in five years and the Giants were stopped on three fourth-down plays in their 34-0 loss to the Falcons on Sunday.

The Giants’ first regular-season shutout loss since falling 24-0 at Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 1996 cost New York sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The Washington Redskins beat Cleveland to pull even with the Giants (8-6), and the Dallas Cowboys played later Sunday with a chance to make it a three-way tie.

“Atlanta was very, very good and we were very, very bad,” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. “We started the game off doing exactly what we said we couldn’t do, which was turn the ball over.”

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Manning completed 13 of 25 passes for 161 yards with two interceptions for a 38.9 quarterback rating, his lowest since a 32.2 rating in a win at Buffalo in 2007. The first interception was on New York’s second play, giving the Falcons possession at the Giants 16-yard line. Asante Samuel picked off a pass intended for Hakeem Nicks. Four straight runs by Michael Turner gave Atlanta a 7-0 lead.

Manning’s second interception early in the second quarter set up a field goal.

The Giants added a third turnover on Kregg Lumpkin’s fumble following a fourth-quarter catch.

“It’s football,” Manning said. “We didn’t come out today and play our best. Give credit to Atlanta. They did a good job. But anytime you turn the ball over three times, it’s a tough situation.”

New York’s leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw was out with lingering knee and foot problems. Rookie David Wilson started and had 12 carries for 55 yards. Lumpkin had nine carries for 42 yards.

In the second quarter, Wilson was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Falcons 32, and Manning threw incomplete on another fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 11.

“I went for it,” Coughlin said. “That was all my call, twice on fourth down, thinking that we need to do something to engender a lift for our sideline. That did not work out either.”

The third fourth-down stop came on another incompletion in the third quarter.

Defensive end Justin Tuck insisted his confidence in the Giants remains firm.

“We’ve had crappy games like this and come back and played like Super Bowl champions,” Tuck said. “No, my confidence is not shaken.”

New York plays at Baltimore next week before closing at home against Philadelphia. This loss was damaging to the Giants’ playoff hopes.

“They are in our hands in the fact we have two games left and we have to win those two games,” Manning said. “What else happens after that, we don’t know and can’t control, but we can control these next two games that we play.”

While Manning and the offence struggled, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns passes and the Falcons had no turnovers.

Julio Jones caught two scoring passes from Ryan, who broke his franchise records for completions and yards passing in a season. Ryan completed 23 of 28 passes for 270 yards.

The NFC South champion Falcons (12-2) moved closer to locking up home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. One more win would ensure any NFC post-season contests are held at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons recovered from last week’s 30-20 loss to last-place Carolina and extended the NFL’s longest active streak since consecutive defeats to 49, going back to 2009.

New York’s second series ended with a missed 30-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

Atlanta took it 80 yards from there, with Ryan going to Harry Douglas on a 37-yard pass for the big gainer. From the 12, Ryan went to his favourite target, Tony Gonzalez. The 16-year veteran leaped over safety Will Hill to haul in a high throw – and hopped up quickly for his customary dunk over the goalposts.

Early in the second half, the Falcons blew it open on Ryan’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Jones down the left sideline. Finally, after a drive that used up more than 9 minutes in the fourth quarter, Ryan went to Jones for a 3-yard TD.

The Giants’ poor performance came a week after they put up 52 points on the Saints.

There was a moment of silence before the game honouring the Connecticut shooting victims, and the Giants also wore “SHES” decals on their helmets for Sandy Hills Elementary School.

“We’re all greatly saddened by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut,” Coughlin said. “We all felt terribly about it. I’m sure the whole nation does, not just us. But being close to home, the players were greatly upset about it. Many of the players have young children so they can empathize with the parents who had young children killed. There was no one that escaped the effect of it, but that’s not an excuse for why we played the way we played today.”

NOTES: Receiver Victor Cruz said he called the family of one of the victims, Jack Pinto, after hearing the 6-year-old boy was a Giants fan. Cruz wrote “R.I.P. Jack Pinto,” ”Jack Pinto, my hero” and “This one is for you” on his shoes. Cruz said he was told the family planned to bury the boy in one of Cruz’s No. 80 jerseys. “I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Cruz said. “There are no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on. I can’t even explain it.”

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Online: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛pro32.ap杭州龙凤/poll and 杭州桑拿按摩论坛twitter杭州龙凤/AP_NFL

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Follow Charles Odum on Twitter at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活twitter杭州龙凤/CharlesOdum