Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic is set to sign for Turkish side Fenerbahce on a season-long loan.The Serbian international joined the Reds for £20m last summer from Benfica, but endured an inconsistent debut season in the Premier League which cultivated just two goals.Markovic has found his first-team opportunities reduced this summer after a series of high profile arrivals at Anfield and hasn’t featured in any of Liverpool’s three matchday squads so far this season.The 21-year-old has reportedly flown to Istanbul to finalise his move, where he will join up with fellow Premier League exports Robin van Persie and Nani at the Turkish Superliga outfit.Despite his temporary departure, it is understood Reds’ manager Brendan Rodgers still views him as part of his long-term plans and eyes the move as a way of establishing himself on his return to the club. 1 Lazar Markovic
1 Beans on toast With Gareth Bale favouring the former and Kyle Walker reportedly an advocate of the latter, the Drive team want to know your thoughts…
Allan Rodrigues de Souza 1 Liverpool teen ace Allan is set to join Belgian club Sint-Truiden on loan until the end of the season.The Merseysiders bought the Brazilian midfielder from Internacional last summer and has spent the first half of the season with Finnish side SJK.Allan has now returned to Anfield and has been training with the senior side over the winter period but is set to be shipped out again to gain more first-team experience.According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Liverpool are in talks with Sint-Truiden over the player’s wages and are set to announce a deal early next week.
Arsene Wenger believes he could be without Aaron Ramsey for a month after revealing the Arsenal midfielder’s thigh injury is worse than first anticipated.The Wales international hobbled out of Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round replay win at Hull, having lasted just 16 minutes following his introduction from the bench in place of Gabriel.While Gabriel, and fellow defender Per Mertesacker, are likely to be available for the sixth-round tie at home to Watford on Sunday having both been forced off in the 4-0 victory at the KC Stadium, Ramsey faces a longer spell on the sidelines.Asked if Ramsey could be out for the season, Wenger replied: “I don’t believe that.“At the moment his clinical signs are quite positive. I would say four weeks. It was a bit worse than I thought because I didn’t see it.“Usually when a player gets injured with a muscle, he stops and I did not have that feeling of precaution so I thought he would be available for Sunday.”Ramsey’s injury rules him out of the upcoming Wales friendlies and means he also misses a key stage of Arsenal’s season – with the next week set to have a huge bearing on whether the campaign is deemed a success or failure.The Gunners host Watford as they continue their quest to win a third successive FA Cup crown before travelling to Barcelona with the unenviable task of overturning a 2-0 deficit against the reigning European champions.Wenger’s men then fly back to London before making the journey north to face Everton at Goodison Park in Saturday’s early Barclays Premier League kick-off – knowing they could be as many as 11 points adrift of leaders Leicester.But Wenger is keen to keep all eyes on the next game, rather than wondering what might be later in the week.“We want to stay alive in all of them (competitions) but then again lets be focused on the next one.“I don’t believe anyone in my side is thinking about Barcelona at the moment, or Everton, they are completely focused on Watford.”While Ramsey must sit out the most important of weeks, Wenger is hopeful of having Laurent Koscielny back from his calf problem – while Francis Coquelin returns to the squad having served his one-match ban for his sending off in the 2-2 draw at Tottenham last weekend.“He has to join in normal training tomorrow and then for me to take a gamble on a guy that has run training sessions with the group or not,” Wenger said of Koscielny.“After advice from medical people, I will take the gamble if he is available. Will I risk him or not? There is a little medical risk but I have not made a decision yet. Coquelin is coming back from suspension and (Hector) Bellerin was not in the squad (at Hull). He is now available.” 1 Aaron Ramsey hobbled out of the FA Cup fifth-round replay win at Hull
One of the major issues separating California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders on health-care reform is how much employers should have to pay to the state if they don’t provide insurance for their workers. Schwarzenegger says companies should pay a fee ranging from 1 percent of their payroll to 4 percent, depending on the size of their work force. Democrats say all employers should have to pay 7.5percent of payroll. This debate among the politicians, however, ignores a point upon which almost all economists agree: employers don’t really pay for health care now, and they won’t be paying for it no matter what kind of new law the state passes. We as workers pay for our own health care, and if more people understood this fact, the debate over the issue would probably play out in an entirely different fashion. That new wage, plus the 75 cents an hour the employer is spending on health care, equals $11 an hour – the same total compensation that the worker would have been getting without the health insurance. The worker will have insurance but less money to spend on other things. Most important, the workers will be out the same amount of money as if they had been billed for the entire amount of the premium directly. At the low end of the wage scale, where the minimum wage and a health-care mandate combined might push the minimum legal compensation to a point that is higher than the value of an extra worker’s labor, some employers might not be able to take the higher costs out of the workers’ wages. Instead, they will respond by raising prices if they can, by slowing or completely stopping their hiring of new workers or, in an extreme case, laying them off. This trade-off between health benefits and wages is responsible in part for the relatively slow growth in wages in recent years. Since 2001, the cost of insurance premiums paid by employers has increased by 78 percent, while earnings have climbed by only 19 percent. The amount it costs to employ one more worker has almost doubled from the employers’ perspective. But the workers have seen only about one-fifth of that amount in their paychecks. They are paying the rest for their health care, whether they realize it or not. Which gets us to the politics. Organized labor and its allies in the Democratic Party have insisted that any health care reform must include a provision requiring employers to provide insurance or else pay a fee to the state. “Employers have to pay their fair share of the cost of health-care insurance,” Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez said earlier this month. “You cannot let employers off the hook.” Why do employers generally oppose the tax, even though their workers will be paying it? One reason is simply a reaction to government mandates. Most people who own or run businesses do not like the government telling them what to do. Some firms would rather pay higher wages with fewer benefits, while others would rather provide more benefits. A mandate limits their flexibility. Finally, the owners of firms with low profit margins and many low-wage employees fear that a mandate could squeeze them to the point of no longer being able to stay in business. Nu ez can posture all he likes about sticking it to business. But, ultimately, it is the workers he claims to represent who will be paying the price. Daniel Weintraub is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Sure, employers often negotiate with insurance companies on our behalf, and they cut a check for their “share” of the premiums. They deduct our share from our paychecks and list it right there on the stub. So how can anyone argue that we, the workers, are actually paying the entire amount? Because, ultimately, employers roll health insurance premiums into a package with wages, retirement benefits and any other cost associated with hiring an employee. The employer considers the entire amount to be the cost of each additional worker. The Lewin Group, an economic consulting firm hired by California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, to analyze her proposal for a single-payer, government-run health-care plan, concluded that the 8 percent employer payroll tax and the 4 percent employee payroll tax in her proposal would both eventually be paid by the worker in the form of lower wages or benefits. Consider a company that provides no insurance now and pays its employees $10 an hour. Suppose the state tells that company it must spend 75 cents an hour (7.5 percent of payroll) on health care for that worker. The worker’s labor is still worth $10 an hour to that firm, just as it was before the state passed its law. What is likely to happen is that the worker’s wages will grow more slowly in the months and years after the mandate takes effect. Instead of getting a raise to $11 an hour, the worker might get a bump only to $10.25.
A leading tax expert has said that 70% of Donegal workers are overpaying on their taxes.Michael Coll from Letterkenny-based company The Tax Clinic is advising PAYE workers that they could well be paying more tax than they should, but the good news is that it can be claimed back.Michael explains that after the toughest budget in history everybody has been hit with the introduction of the new universal social charge and the cutting of tax credits. But people out there must realise that there are millions and millions of euro that can be claimed back!“The average refund we’ve been claiming for our clients is about €880 and the highest refund we’ve gotten has been €17,500 for a young couple from Killybegs.“Many people are confused about what they are entitled to, but our website is full of useful easy to understand information on what is available to claim.“For example if you held a full medical card for any period in either 2009 or 2010 you should not have paid the Income Levy and you are entitled to claim it all back,” he said. Mr. Coll says it is important that taxpayers realise that you can claim tax back for up to four years so if you haven’t claimed for a few years it’s still not too late.For further details contact www.thetaxclinic.ieEndsUP TO 70% OF DONEGAL WORKERS PAYING TOO MUCH – TAX EXPERT was last modified: March 23rd, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
“A Very Spanish Revolution”, hosted by Guillem Balague, is an exclusive round the tapas table interview with Gaizka Mendieta, Mikel Arteta and Hector Bellerin reflecting on their time in England and you can hear it on talkSPORT this Saturday between 5-7pm.Petr Cech has become a hugely influential figure at Arsenal and impressed team-mates with his motivational qualities since joining from Chelsea last summer, according to defender Hector Bellerin. Cech made a surprise move across London from the then-Premier League champions to Arsenal in what was manager Arsene Wenger’s only major acquisition of the summer.The Gunners’ wait for a Premier League title will extend into its 13th season after missing out to underdogs Leicester City, but while silverware has eluded them Bellerin believes Cech’s influence can help push the club forward.Bellerin told talkSPORT: “It’s important the motivation comes from the players and Petr Cech this year has been one of the players who has stood up in the dressing room and given really good speeches.“To have someone come in from another club and in that first year to feel that confidence and give such clear messages – especially for young players like me who want to learn – it’s important we get this example from players.”Arsenal lie third in the Premier League, but can leapfrog north London rivals Tottenham if they lose away at Newcastle and the Gunners beat Aston Villa at the Emirates on the final day of the season.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“There’s going to be a Judgment Day when all of this is over,” school board member Richard Vladovic said. “There’s been more spent than we know, and I’m sure there are other ancillary costs such as the overtime, the additional processing and the communications. “It’s bigger than we all believe. We need to look at it totally. I want an accounting of everything – every nook and cranny,” Vladovic added. Some say many of the school board’s closed sessions in recent months have been dominated by discussions trying to get to the bottom of who is to blame for the fiasco. It’s “imperative that the district seek cost recovery against this vendor,” Assemblyman Kevin de Le n wrote in a letter to Superintendent David Brewer III last week. De Le n urged LAUSD officials to “aggressively pursue compensation from Deloitte Consulting,” which was paid $55 million to roll out the system smoothly. Officials at de Le n’s office could not be reached for comment. United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy said he thinks it’s the “nature of a dysfunctional organization that prevents (LAUSD) from moving forward.” Under terms of the various contracts for the payroll system, third parties, including teachers, cannot sue Deloitte directly for breach of contract. Instead, UTLA sued the district over the problems, but the case was thrown out of court. Arguments in an appeal are to be heard next month, Duffy said. Some members of the LAUSD’s police officers association have also filed a suit that’s still pending against the district. “Even if the case gets thrown out, you make the attempt on behalf of the organization and on behalf of the employees. You do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Duffy said. “The district is foolish if they’re not going ahead with the suit because they hold the strongest chip in the game: They can destroy Deloitte & Touche in the court of public opinion, and they should because Deloitte has destroyed lives and hasn’t delivered what it promised to deliver – accurate checks on time.” But LAUSD general counsel Kevin Reed said district officials are working with Deloitte to resolve the issues and have not yet reached the point of suing. A lawsuit could tie up the process in court for years without any immediate resolution to the problem, officials have said. “We have not reached a moment in which it’s become clear we have to sue them to get the problem fixed,” Reed said. “We’re still at a moment where we’re entitled to presume the good will of the folks at Deloitte and try to make sure the district is going to be made whole and given the benefit of the bargain we have in the contract.” Meanwhile, however, costs for the payroll system are continuing to balloon, and the school board continues to approve consulting contracts to fix the problem. LAUSD’s new chief information officer, Tony Tortorice, who rolled out the same type of electronic system for his former employer, the Los Angeles Community College District, predicted hiring consultants will not stop “for a while.” Tortorice had told the board last week that LAUSD’s original budget was underestimated for implementing a system of such size and complexity. As a general rule, he said, an organization should expect to spend 1 percent to 1.5 percent of its annual budget for each year of implementation. “Over a three-year period, $300 million is not unusual for these types of organizations to experience,” he said. “You can try to spend below that.” The district still has to roll out the third phase of the system, which involves computerized purchase orders. “Much of the problem you’re facing right now is you’re underbudget(ing). Quite frankly, you need to spend this money to have these people on board for remediation. They need these resources,” he told the board last week. But board members questioned the efficiency of spending money for consultants with no stake in the project, no loyalty to the LAUSD and no assurances that they’re doing a good job. “I’m really worried. I’m not an expert, but I think we can do it for less. I can’t agree to $300 million for three years. I’m not sold on that just because someone tells me I need to be,” Vladovic said. “This is supposed to support instruction, not drain it.” School board member Tamar Galatzan said the district has taken a piecemeal approach, reacting to each problem with a “never-ending stream of these contracts” and no way to measure success. “I keep questioning all of these costs,” Galatzan said. “I’ve never seen a plan that included all of the consultants, all of the costs, who’s responsible for what, where the money’s coming from, how long it’s going to take. “Nothing exists that resembles a transparent, cohesive plan.” But district administrators maintain the system will be stabilized in January. They say errors related to flaws in the system have been worked out and now just human errors remain as employees adjust to the system. The overall district error rate in October was 5.91 percent, which dropped to 1.27 percent in December. A good indicator of progress is a drop in the number of people going to assistance centers about their checks, administrators said. In early November, 759 people went to a help center, but the number in early December was 237, and most of them did not claim system-generated problems, said Dave Holmquist, LAUSD’s interim chief operating officer. “That’s a good sign that things are well on the road to recovery,” he said. Errors on other employees’ checks have been less than 1 percent for months, but problems remain for teachers and other certificated personnel. But Tortorice said the district will not be able to reach its error-rate goal of about 0.5 percent on the certificated payroll if it does not simplify the process – namely by eliminating annualized pay. The district is still negotiating with the union to eliminate the process in which LAUSD spreads teachers’ pay for 10 months of work over 12 months so they receive a check year-round. “We know what the defects are, and we continue to work on them, but we need that simplification (of eliminating annualized pay) to have the long-term health of payroll,” Tortorice said. “We’ll never get it to sub-0.5 percent without simplification.” The teachers union fought for annualized pay for 25 years, and the district made the decision to roll it out in February along with the new system. “They never should have instituted annualized pay the very moment they brought on a new system,” Duffy said. District administrators also insist that the production of end-of-year tax forms, or W-2s, will go smoothly. They claim LAUSD’s gross overpayment is about $53 million, with about $15 million currently outstanding. About 60 percent of people contacted for overpayment have either paid back the district or agreed to pay it back, totaling about $14 million. But the district has already lost about $6 million in waiving payment for employees who owed $250 or less because it would cost the district that amount to recoup the money, Tortorice said. And LAUSD officials are also scrambling to correct faulty reports to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System so there is no negative effect on the retirement accounts of current and retired employees. Holmquist said the district has learned it “rolled this out too fast.” “We didn’t spend enough time preparing for (the) rollout,” Holmquist said. “We did it too quickly, and we risked a lot, and we went live all at once, and we’ve been playing catch-up ever since.” For the latest school news, go to www.insidesocal.com/education.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Ten months after installing a new computerized payroll process that has been roiled by glitches, Los Angeles Unified officials now say costs for fixing the system and completing its rollout could top $210 million. The system, with an original price tag of $95 million, has underpaid or overpaid thousands of employees, and last week district officials said hiring consultants to fix it has already ballooned the cost to $132.5 million. And some officials are questioning the district’s transparency on all the costs associated with the system, noting that at least $6 million will be forfeited by allowing some overpaid teachers to keep the money. Some are also questioning why the district has not yet sued the company that rolled out the system. The state Legislature has begun to lean on school officials to recover at least $10 million that Deloitte Consulting has spent to hire a consultant to address the problems.
Trebilcock seemed to favor Ohio State throughout her short recruiting process, but said her trip to UConn this week was so good, it made the decision tougher than she anticipated. “There’s a reason coach (Geno) Auriemma and Connecticut have been so successful, and I was fortunate to be able to experience that first hand,” she said. Ultimately, she chose Ohio State. She’d formed a close bond with Buckeyes’ coach Jim Foster and the team on her visit two weeks ago. “His personality reminds me a lot of (Hart High) coach (Dave) Munroe, and we had a great relationship,” she said. “He’s the kind of coach who doesn’t have to raise his voice, or yell or scream, his players just naturally respect him. “He’s an amazing basketball coach, all you have to do is look at what he’s done to see that. But I also think he will help me grow as a person, and we’ll have a great relationship.” Ramona Shelburne, (818) 713-3617 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson The final decision came down to Ohio State, ranked No. 7 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, and UConn, one of the most storied programs in women’s college basketball. “I truly believe I was in a win-win situation with either Ohio State or Connecticut,” Trebilcock said. “But I had to make the decision by this weekend.” Trebilcock visited Connecticut from Wednesday until Friday. She said she still was undecided until she returned home late Friday night. She won’t have much time to get ready for her new school. She’s flying today to Columbus, Ohio, where classes begin Jan. 3. Because of NCAA transfer rules, she will have to sit out one year, meaning she’ll be eligible to play for the Buckeyes in December. Ohio State returns most of its core group next year, including 6-5 All-American center Jessica Davenport, who will be a senior. The 5-foot-9 guard was a Parade All-American at Hart, where she holds nearly every school record. She committed to UCLA in the fall of her junior year, but didn’t last long in baby blue and gold. Just four games into her freshman season, on Nov. 30, Trebilcock announced her intention to transfer. UCLA granted her release to any school outside the Pacific 20 Conference. Within a week, she had over 30 scholarship offers. She narrowed the list to four – Ohio State, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Georgia – and visited the first three before canceling her trip to Georgia this week. It’s take two for Ashlee Trebilcock. The former Hart High of Newhall standout announced on Saturday that she will play for Ohio State, choosing the Buckeyes over Connecticut.
LOS ANGELES — LeBron James must have sensed something looming when he told ESPN The Magazine this month that he hasn’t yet acquired Kobe Bryant’s killer instinct. As if on cue, Bryant beat James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday by sinking three straight long jumpers over a 90-second span of the fourth period. Bryant’s final shot was over James’ outstretched hands with just eight seconds left and proved to be the deciding points in the Lakers’ 99-98 victory. James followed Bryant’s shot by missing a free throw that could have tied it and a 15-foot jumper that could have won it. Bryant reported no problems with the sprained wrist his sustained during Thursday’s game and expects to play today when the Lakers visit Golden State. Tonight’s game precedes Monday’s match up against the Miami Heat and Shaquille O’Neal at Staples Center and follows Thursday’s electric game against James and the Cavaliers. In other words, the Lakers have to guard against overlooking the Warriors. “We’re not overlooking them at all,” Bryant said. The last time we were up there we lost by like 40 points. You don’t forget stuff like that. It should be a fun game.” LOST IN TRANSLATION Lost in the shuffle of Bryant’s magical game-winning stretch against the Cavaliers on Thursday was the impressive game Lamar Odom put together. Odom had 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, often going right at James on drives to the basket or post ups in the paint. “We liked a couple of match ups in that game where Lamar was concerned,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. As a result, Odom was more aggressive than usual offensively as the Lakers tried to take advantage of mismatches on James and Donyell Marshall. “It was a good game for Lamar and hopefully it’s something he can build on,” Jackson said. LAKERS at GOLDEN STATE Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. The Arena of OaklandTV/Radio: KCAL/9; XTRA 570Lakers (19-17) update: The Lakers are in dangerous territory in this game, as it’s sandwiched between Thursday’s playoff like game against Cleveland and Monday’s match up against Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat. However, the Lakers are battling Golden State for playoff positioning, holding a two-game lead over the Warriors for the seventh seed. That’s enough incentive to stay focused in a big game against a division opponent.Warriors (17-18) update: The Warriors have been streaky all year, and right now they’re on one of their down streaks while losing four straight to fall under .500 for the first time all year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita A day later, reporters relayed James’ comments to Bryant, then asked if his killer instinct was something developed or born with. Bryant just smiled. “I’ve just always been that way,” Bryant said. “Always. From the word go.” Bryant’s lust for winning hasn’t always made him the most popular person on or off the court. “It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” Bryant said. “But I didn’t care. That’s just who I was. It helped that I had my family and my father and my uncles telling me you just have to go out there and be competitive and do what you’ve got to do. And that’s how I was. I was one of those kids that just hated to lose. From little league (on up).”