Retrograde bill threatens tentative progress

first_img May 26, 2021 Find out more March 7, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Retrograde bill threatens tentative progress May 31, 2021 Find out more Organisation News Help by sharing this information Although eight privately-owned dailies are to be launched on 1 April in a development that is without precedent in the past 40 years, Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about a proposed new law on printing and publishing that was submitted to parliament on 4 March.The bill was drafted without consulting local media associations and contains articles that threaten media freedom.Section 4, Article 8 of the bill says newspapers may be declared “illegal” in certain cases, including for such vaguely defined offences as publishing material that could “be dangerous for national reconciliation or hurtful for religions (Section 3, Article 7 A), “disturb the rule of law” (Section 3, Article 7 B) or “violate the constitution and other existing laws” (Section 3, Article 7 E). Section 6, Article 17 says, “no one may sell, publish, print, distribute, export or import newspapers declared illegal in accordance with Article 8.” The penalties for violating the law are severe – jail terms of up to six months for journalists and fines of up to 12,000 dollars for publishing without permission (Section 7, Article 20).“We congratulate the Burmese government for approving the publication of privately-owned dailies, which is a big step forward and shows that the country’s leaders want to put an end to the military propaganda of the past,” Reporters Without Borders said.“But we are worried by repressive provisions in the new draft law on printing and publishing. The government must scrap this bill, which would endanger the fragile progress that Burma has made since the reform process began in 2011. It is important that the government should work with the Press Council on the drafting of new media laws, as originally agreed.”Drafted by the government and intended to replace the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act, the proposed new law on printing and publishing was published in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper on 27 February and was submitted to parliament on 4 March.Local media associations were not consulted in the drafting process and were unable to make any suggestions. National and international organizations that defend media freedom have voiced strong criticism of the bill.Defending the bill on 4 March, information ministry public relations chief Ye Tint said: “There are no conditions (in the bill) that would affect media and press freedom. If there is no news relating to state security, then there is no problem.”The anger of local media groups about the bill is all the greater because they reached an agreement with the government in August 2012 to form a 30-member Press Council, with 10 members appointed by the government, and because information minister Aung Kyi had promised to consult with the media about the future media law.In protest, the Press Council has announced that it is drafting its own law, while the Myanmar Journalists Association, the Myanmar Journalists Network and the Myanmar Journalists Union all issued statements last weekend condemning the government’s bill.Despite the dismay about the government’s bill, there has been considerable progress on other fronts. The Press Supervisory Central Committee announced on 1 March that it was giving provisional authorization for eight privately-owned daily newspapers to begin publishing on 1 April.This followed the information ministry’s announcement on 22 December that applications for permission to publish a privately-owned daily newspaper could be submitted from 1 February. The ministry also announced that it intended to allow newspapers to publish in the languages of Burma’s ethnic minorities for the first time since 1962 (this having been banned by the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act).Of the 17 applications to publish dailies that were received, 14 were considered and eight were approved. Three others are still being considered.Those approved are Shwe Ngainngan Thit, to be published by Shwenainggan Media; Khit Moe; Union Daily to be published by the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party; Empire; The Messenger; Breaking News Daily; Myanmar Newsweek Daily, to be published by Ever Win Media (owned by Tin Aung Khine, who accompanied President Thein Sein on a recent European visit); and Mizzima, to be published by the former exile Mizzima media group.Burma rose 18 places in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is now ranked 151st out of 179 countries.Photo : Ye Aung Thu / AFP RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum US journalist held in Yangon prison notorious for torture to go further MyanmarAsia – Pacific center_img News News News MyanmarAsia – Pacific Follow the news on Myanmar Receive email alerts Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar RSF_en May 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Great photographs from The Great War

first_imgTwitter NewsGreat photographs from The Great WarBy Rose Rushe – June 17, 2015 1224 Previous article€100 million investment for Vistakon in PlasseyNext articleFilm Trilogy’s last shoot for July Rose Rushehttp://www.limerickpost.ieCommercial Features and Arts Editor at Limerick Post Facebook WhatsApp Printcenter_img Ypres WW1 Battlefield Cavalry transporting artillery shells through muddy terrainAN exhibition by pioneering Irish photographer Fr Francis Browne depicting the lives of soldiers on battlefields of the First World War will be launched by Kevin Myers at Hunt Museum on Thursday, July 9, 6pm.This will be followed on Friday July 10 at 1pm by Myers, authority on WWI, giving a talk on ‘Fr Browne, Limerick and Ireland’s Great War’. No. 69 O’Connell Street is venue.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Speaking of the priest who took the last photographs on board Titanic and later served as army chaplain, winning the Military Cross with the Irish Guards, Myers said that he “came from a Cork merchant family, longstanding grandees who had lots of money. This enabled them to spend a fortune on photographs and photography collections, which was a very expensive business then”.Fr Francis Browne was awarded the Military Cross while army chaplain“Fr Browne had the most uncanny eye and he was a genius behind the camera. He had a wonderful sense of life, sense of perspective and his work looks as if he had been painting”.“He was an Irish man, a warrior, a Jesuit and much loved by his men. His other great ability was to conjure a work of art out of nothing”.Upwards of 5,000 photographs have survived; some 38 will exhibit in Limerick, in collaboration with Cavan County Museum. Email Linkedin Advertisementlast_img read more

Are you one of our BIA09 finalists? Find out below

first_imgBritish Baker is delighted to announce the finalists for this year’s Baking Industry Awards. The 1930s-themed event, on Tuesday 8 September at the Park Lane Hilton in London, will be hosted by much-loved comedian Ronnie Corbett.On judging the Baker of the Year award, sponsored by Vande-moortele, Stephen Bickmore, UK commercial manager of the firm’s lipids division, said: “There were a variety of entries – from small and large bakeries, industrial and craft, making it very interesting.”Book your place at the industry’s key event. Tickets are £195 + VAT each, or £1,895 + VAT for tables of 10. Contact [email protected] or call 01293 846593.l Judging for Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by ADM Milling, is ongoing. Finalists will be announced soon.last_img read more

Retail govt bond coupon of 6.4% attractive for investors: Analysts

first_imgThe Finance Ministry’s announcement of a 6.4 percent fixed coupon rate for retail government bonds series ORI-017 is a relatively attractive valuation for retail investors, analysts say.Mandiri Sekuritas head of fixed income research Handy Yunianto said the coupon rate reflected a 90 basis points (bps) spread with the Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS) deposit rate, which is higher than the spread of the previous ORI series.Although the previous ORI-016 offered a higher coupon rate of 6.8 percent, the spread was only 30 bps above the LPS rate at that time. “The current series actually has a bigger spread due to the lowering of the LPS guaranteed interest rate, which has fallen quite deep along with the fall of Bank Indonesia’s [BI] rate,” Handy told The Jakarta Post on Friday.BI has cut its benchmark interest rate by 50 bps so far this year to 4.5 percent in an effort to stabilize the economy amid the volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the LPS rate has fallen 75 bps to 5.5 percent during the same period. “That coupon rate is still attractive because it is higher than the deposit rate,” RHB Sekuritas Indonesia assistant vice president Adra Wijasena told the Post. The coupon rate was “reasonable and aligned with investor’s expectation”, he added, citing the yield of the three-year-tenor government debt paper (SUN) of 6.38 percent as of Thursday, according to data from the Indonesia Bond Pricing Agency (IBPA). The ORI-017 series also has a tenor of three years, set to mature on July 15, 2023. Adra added that aside from the attractive rate, retail government bonds were still considered a good investment vehicle as the 15 percent tax for bonds was still lower than the 20 percent tax for time deposits. ORI-017, which will be offered from June 15 to July 9, will be available online across 25 of the DJPPR’s distribution partners including banks, brokerage houses and fintech. The minimum order is Rp 1 million (US$70.23) and the maximum is Rp 3 billion. ORI will only become tradable between domestic investors after a two-month minimum holding period that ends on Sept. 15. According to the latest data from the Finance Ministry’s debt management office (DMO), retail investors owned Rp 95.45 trillion in rupiah-denominated government bonds, around 3.1 percent of the total outstanding bonds, as of June 8. During a webinar held as part of the Post’s webinar series “Jakpost Up Close” on Wednesday, Handy spoke about the low level of individual participation in the bond market. As of June 10, retail investors only held around 3 percent of tradable government bonds, or Rp 95.6 trillion out of the total Rp 3.07 quadrillion, according to data from the DMO.Foreign investors, on the other hand, dominate ownership, holding 30 percent, while banks own 31.7 percent.Despite this, enthusiasm from retail investors has appeared to grow steadily in recent years, as seen by the increase in new retail investor clients across different securities companies. As of 2019, Mandiri Sekuritas had 119,000 retail clients, up from 95,000 the previous year, accounting for around 25 percent of new client growth per year. During the first four months of this year, it booked 11,000 new retail customers. The securities company has been appointed as one of the 25 distribution partners for ORI-017. Digital investment portal Tanamduit, another official distribution partner for government bonds, reported that the number of customers registering on its platform had increased 31 percent to more than 230,000 people as of the end of May. According to a DMO press statement, the process to purchase ORI-017 online will be divided into four phases: registration, billing order, payment and settlement. Retail investors are encouraged to contact one of the 25 distribution partners to place purchase orders through their electronic systems. Topics :last_img read more

Poch hails match-winner Lamela

first_img “He is very happy because it is his first (league) goal and we are very happy too because it helped the team get the three points,” Pochettino said. “It is important for him. We need to understand Erik is still young, he has a big talent but it was difficult his first season in England. “This season he is fit – in the beginning it wasn’t easy for him to play but he just needed time. “Today was great for him because he needs to build his confidence, to be more strong and when we saw his performance today he is happy because it is another step in the right direction.” A combination of injuries and poor form saw Lamela start just nine league games last season but the Argentine is showing signs of rejuvenation this term under Pochettino. Lamela posed a constant threat against Burnley with his weaving runs forward and he was also defensively diligent, fighting to win the ball back for his team in midfield. Pochettino insists there has been no magic formula behind the youngster’s improvement other than support and time. “It is the club, it is not only me who gives him the tools to improve his performance,” Pochettino said. Lamela’s long-range strike in the 35th minute proved the difference at White Hart Lane as Spurs beat the Clarets 2-1 and climbed to sixth in the Barclays Premier League table. It was a first league goal for the 22-year-old, who has struggled to adjust to the pace of English football since his £26million move to north London in August 2013. “It is our results too and the club who give him the chance to work in the best condition and try always to help him.” Pochettino added: “Last season was very difficult for him – his injury, he didn’t play so much and getting used to a different culture and language. “You need time to adapt to a new club and culture. He is very, very strong and he needs to keep going. We are very happy.” Lamela’s strike earned Tottenham their third consecutive victory after Ashley Barnes had earlier cancelled out Harry Kane’s opener. The only headache for Pochettino was an injury to Ryan Mason, who hobbled off with a twisted ankle in the second half although t he Spurs boss said afterwards the injury “didn’t look too bad”. Defeat for Burnley means Sean Dyche’s side slip back into the bottom three ahead of a tough festive period that includes games against Liverpool and Manchester City. The visitors were second best at White Hart Lane but the Clarets could have snatched a point had they been more clinical in front of goal. “I believe in my players wholeheartedly and there were great signs for what we’re trying to achieve today,” Dyche said. “We’ve come to White Hart Lane, everyone knows the money they’ve spent on the players and the quality they have. “Everyone knows they’re a side who are beginning to find some results under the new manager. “It’s not an easy task but I thought the way we went about it was first class. “We worked the keeper on a number of occasions and late in the game we were still trying to find a way to win the game.” Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Erik Lamela’s match-winning goal against Burnley will do wonders for the winger’s confidence this season. Press Associationlast_img read more

The Latest: Real Madrid players, coaches reduce salaries

first_img April 8, 2020 The club said the decision applied to its soccer and basketball teams. Some top club executives have agreed to take pay cuts that could reach 20% “depending on the circumstances that may affect” the rest of the season.Fellow Spanish league club Sevilla also said Wednesday it would put its players and other employees on government furloughs to reduce labor costs during the pandemic. Barcelona and Atlético Madrid had already requested the government furloughs, reaching agreements with players to reduce their salaries by 70%. The Spanish league has estimated that clubs will lose a combined $1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) if the competition can’t resume because of the pandemic.___Premier League players have united to raise funds for British health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic and distribute them “where they are needed most.” NYRA says Zapata tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24 and was hospitalized two days later. He lived and worked at Belmont Park.___Sevilla has become the latest Spanish soccer club to put its players on furlough to reduce labor costs during the coronavirus pandemic.The club says the measure was needed because it was significantly affected financially by the stoppage of competitions in Spain and Europe.It says it reached an initial agreement with the first-team players and coaches regarding their salaries but no details were immediately released. The club says 360 employees in total will be affected. It says workers who can continue doing their jobs remotely will not go on furlough.The current contracts will remain valid after the furloughs end.Barcelona and Atlético Madrid had already requested government furloughs to reduce labor costs. They reached agreements with players to reduce their salaries by 70%.The league said Tuesday eight teams had already requested the furloughs. It expected nearly all clubs in Spain to eventually reach agreements for the reduction of salaries of their players.The Spanish league estimates $1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in losses if the competition can’t resume. The NFL is turning the league’s 2020 draft into a three-day fundraiser to help six charities dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The “Draft-A-Thon” announced Wednesday will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts and pay tribute to healthcare workers and first responders. The fundraiser will be featured during the draft April 23-25 to raise money for non-profits selected by the NFL Foundation: the American Red Cross, CDC Foundation’s All of Us, Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund for member food banks, Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund, the Salvation Army, and United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. “The Draft-A-Thon will deliver much-needed funding to many who are suffering as well as those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Conducting this event virtually, and taking all necessary precautions while doing so, underscores the importance of staying home and staying strong during this unprecedented moment in our history.” Dozens of players took to social media to post a statement with the hashtag #PlayersTogether saying they have created the initiative in partnership with charities for Britain’s public health service NHS.The statement said “this is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.”However, it did not specify how much money the players themselves would be contributing.With the Premier League suspended indefinitely, players in England’s top flight have come under public pressure to cut their salaries to help clubs pay staff without using a government fund set up for the pandemic.___ In New Jersey, Monmouth Park has pushed back the opening of its stable area until June 1. That’s a month later than the planned opening. Live racing is set to start the Fourth of July weekend.The centerpiece of Monmouth Park’s summer season is the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 18. The winner of the 1 1/8 mile race earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It also will serve as a prep race for the Kentucky Derby, now slated for Sept. 5.___A groom who worked at Belmont Park has died from complications of coronavirus.The New York Racing Association says Martin Zapata died Tuesday. The 63-year-old native of Panama had spent the past two years working for trainer Tom Morley in New York, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic. The report concludes the jump indicates that entry levels of tennis “were deliberately targeted” as the sport moved toward suspension because of the outbreak of COVID-19.All pro tours are on hold until at least mid-July.___The players and coach on Switzerland’s national soccer team have declined to take more than 1 million Swiss francs ($1.03 million) of payments that were due from their federation in 2020.The team was scheduled to play in the now-postponed European Championship in June and had two games in Qatar canceled last month because of the coronavirus pandemic. The president of the International Paralympic Committee says the body has “cash-flow” problems because of the Olympic and Paralympic postponement until 2021.Andrew Parsons says about 5% of spending is being cut from the IPC’s budget. A 2018 financial report showed a budget of 24 million euros ($25.7 million).Parsons says the problem was due partly to broadcast rights holders who want to delay their payments until the product is delivered.Parsons says it’s not a question of “losing money” but rather some temporary belt tightening.He says “like all businesses we are tremendously affected by the COVID-19 crisis.” ___Basketball Hall of Famer and noted cyclist Bill Walton is teaming with community leaders to stage the Bill Walton and Friends Inter-Galactic Bike for Humanity ride from 9-11 a.m. PDT on April 25 to benefit victims of the coronavirus pandemic and health care workers.Participants are encouraged to ride their bikes for up to two hours that day, anywhere they can practice social distancing at a minimum of 6 feet, 11 inches, in honor of Walton’s height. Organizers stress it is not a group ride and riding clusters are prohibited.All net proceeds will benefit various charities nationally and in Walton’s hometown of San Diego.It’s free to sign up on bikeforhumanity.com. Participants who make a $25 contribution will be mailed a Bike for Humanity medal. Those who contribute $50 will receive a medal and T-shirt. Those making a $250 contribution will receive a medal, T-shirt and autographed photograph card from Walton, and be entered in a drawing for prizes, including an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego to ride with Walton. Riders who donate $5,000 will receive a medal, T-shirt and an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego to ride with Walton. The Cardinals have already made a $1 million donation to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund and organized three blood drives at State Farm Stadium to help boost the area’s shrinking blood supply. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was among those who donated blood.___Former Cleveland Browns teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins have donated at least $50,000 to feed Ohio children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.Thomas and Hawkins, who since retiring from the NFL have partnered on a popular weekly podcast, also plan to match every dollar in contributions up to $50,000 to the Children’s Hunger Alliance.Donations can be made at https://childrenshungeralliance.org/thomahawk/. Patterson is the second-longest tenured FBS head coach, going into his 20th season next fall leading the Horned Frogs. He was their defensive coordinator three seasons before that.___The opening of the stable area and training track at Saratoga in upstate New York and barn area at Monmouth Park in New Jersey is being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Oklahoma training track at Saratoga was set to open April 15. The New York Racing Association says it has yet to decide an appropriate date to safely open.The delay does not impact the start of the Saratoga racing season which is scheduled to begin on July 16 and run through Sept. 7. The meet will be highlighted by the Travers and Whitney. Beset by injuries during his NBA career, Walton has found an outlet by cycling. His custom bike has a Grateful Dead paint job and the former UCLA great can often be seen riding around San Diego. He has often ridden in various stages of the Tour of California.“With the global health coronavirus crisis changing everything for everybody these days, we are doing something about and for the exacerbated challenges that so many of our communities now face, not the least of which are food and medical care,” Walton said.___The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals are teaming with State Farm to donate 1 million meals to local food banks to help families during the new coronavirus crisis.The team said on Wednesday that the number of people seeking help from local food banks has more than doubled while the number of donations has decreased dramatically. ___A two-time Olympic finalist in the 800 meters has died after getting infected with the coronavirus.The Italian Olympic Committee says Donato Sabia has died. He was 56.CONI says he is the first Italian Olympian to die with the virus.Sabia finished fifth in the 800 at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and seventh at the 1988 Seoul Games. He also won the 800 at the 1984 European Indoor Championships.center_img Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Real Madrid’s players and coaches have agreed to voluntarily reduce their salaries by at least 10% to help offset lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He says he is dealing with 150 contracts that are games-related but adds “we have no plans to let any staff go at the moment.”___The track world championships in Eugene, Oregon, have been rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022.The event was pushed back a year because the Tokyo Olympics were delayed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.The track worlds were originally scheduled for Aug. 6-15, 2021. ___The group charged with monitoring tennis gambling and punishing corruption found a near-doubling in the number of suspect matches in the first three months of 2020. That is an increase it ties to the coronavirus pandemic.The London-based Tennis Integrity Unit’s quarterly report says it received a total of 38 alerts from the regulated betting industry about matches on lower-level tours from the start of the year through March 22.That is up from 21 in the same period of 2019.The 38 match alerts in the year’s first quarter break down as six from the ATP Challenger Tour and 16 apiece from the men’s and women’s International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tours. The shutdown of games has cost the Swiss soccer body millions of dollars.Federation chairman Dominique Blanc says it’s a “magnificent gesture” from the players.Blanc tested positive for the virus three weeks ago.Team captain Stephan Lichtsteiner says “we wanted to set an example and show solidarity.”___ World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says 2022 will be a “bonanza for athletics fans around the world” with the Commonwealth Games beginning in Birmingham, England, only three days after the track worlds.The 2022 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7 and the multisport European Championship is currently slated for Aug. 11-21 in Munich.World Athletics has also postponed the bidding processes for 2023 World Athletics Series events. They will now open in November 2020.___Formula One says it will furlough half of its staff until the end of May and senior executives will take pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: Real Madrid players, coaches reduce salaries ___Former French rugby player Christophe Pras has died after getting infected by the coronavirus.Several of his former clubs announced the death. He was 35.The former under-18 France international had a short-lived professional career before going into coaching.Pras is survived by his wife and two children. The creation features Fauci wearing a suit as he makes a motion showing how the nation needs to “flatten the curve” in the coronavirus pandemic.The museum picked Fauci because many people see the plain-speaking expert on the coronavirus as a hero right now, Sklar said. ___TCU football coach Gary Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, made a $50,000 donation to support the school’s Frog Family Crisis Fund.Athletic director Jeremiah Donati announced the donation in a tweet. The fund supports TCU students and their families who are in need during times such as the current pandemic. F1 has postponed eight races so far this season and the Monaco Grand Prix has been canceled.F1 says senior leadership figures will take “voluntary pay cuts while still continuing to work and not in furlough.”CEO Chase Carey will take a “much deeper” pay cut.The McLaren and Williams teams had already put some staff on furlough schemes. McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz have also taken pay cuts.The season is currently scheduled to begin in France on June 28. F1 management has said it still hopes to hold between 15 and 18 races this year in place of the original 22. Sabia died in his hometown of Potenza in southern Italy shortly after his father also died from the virus.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The CHA serves nutritious meals to Ohio’s at-risk children, helping day care providers, day care centers, local school districts, and after-school and summer programs.A 10-time Pro Bowler, Thomas played 11 seasons in Cleveland before retiring after the 2017 season. Hawkins, who played college ball at Toledo, spent three seasons with the Browns and three with the Cincinnati Bengals.___Bobblehead Hall of Fame CEO Phil Sklar will present a virtual $100,000 check Wednesday afternoon to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy after the Milwaukee-based museum launched a fundraising campaign with a Dr. Anthony Fauci bobblehead that became its best-seller ever. More than 20,000 orders had come in as of Wednesday from 50 states and a dozen-plus countries to support the “100 Million Mask Challenge.” The Fauci bobblehead was unveiled April 1.last_img read more

Women of Troy face stiff competition this weekend

first_imgThe Women of Troy’s 12-match winning streak will be put to perhaps its toughest test this weekend, as the No. 4 USC women’s volleyball teams travels to Northern California to play No. 2 California and No. 5 Stanford.Stat stuffer · Sophomore outside hitter Katie Fuller notched a combined 24 kills and 16 digs against Stanford and California last month at home. – Luciano Nunez | Daily TrojanThere’s a clutter at the top of both the Pac-12 and the national volleyball rankings, and this weekend’s conference matches could do a lot to create some separation between the teams — or muddle the picture even more.USC (17-3, 12-1) and No. 6 UCLA (18-3, 11-2) are playing California (21-2, 11-2) and Stanford (16-3, 10-3) on the road this weekend in a two-day stretch that will almost certainly have a hand in determining the Pac-12 conference race.“It’s an opportunity for us to separate, and it’s an opportunity for Stanford and Cal to get into the top rung,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “It helps us if UCLA plays well up there. But we need to win our games, too.”USC swept both teams in three sets earlier this season at Galen Center, but both squads boast undefeated home records.Junior outside hitter Katie Fuller says the team has to play even better than they have been to get two wins this weekend.“Both teams going into the second round have improved a lot,” Fuller said. “Hopefully we can use what we learned in the first round to beat them again.”The Women of Troy begin the weekend by playing the Cardinal, who have gone on an eight-match winning streak of its own since losing to USC on Sept. 24.Stanford leads the conference in digs (17.33 digs per set) and ranks second with 3.20 blocks per set.“Last time we didn’t play very well against Stanford, and they did a lot of very good things against us and we still won all three games,” Haley said. “We have to play a lot better [this time] if we’re going to be successful.”Sophomore Rachel Williams leads the Cardinal in kills (4.39 kills per set), which ranks fourth in the Pac-12.“I look for this to be a titanic battle,” Haley said. “[With them] being at home, I expect them to dig more balls, and for there to be more rallies [than last time].”On Saturday night, the Women of Troy will play the Golden Bears with each team possibly having a chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the country.Despite being ranked fourth, USC has the second-most No. 1 votes in the country, behind No. 1 Nebraska (17-1), who jumped to the top spot this week from No. 4 after upsetting previously top-ranked Illinois, which is No. 3 in the polls.But before thinking about rankings, the Women of Troy will have to get past Cal’s vaunted defense, which ranks first in the Pac-12 in opponents’ hitting percentage (.121), second in digs (16.93 digs per set) and third in blocks (2.99 blocks per set).USC hasn’t had to face top-notch opponents in a few weeks now, but Haley doesn’t think his squad will be caught off-guard.“I don’t think we’ll have trouble getting focus back,” Haley said. “Nobody wants to go out of there with an L, and we know on the road that we really have to be good.”The players seem to have high expectations for the trip.“Going into their house and beating both of them 3-0, 3-0 would be ideal,” Fuller said. “Obviously that’s a challenge, [but] that would put us ahead of them in the running for the Pac-12 championship.”Haley knows this weekend will have implications on the conference race, but he’s downplaying the importance of any single weekend in the long run.“Every week in the next five weeks is an opportunity,” Haley said. “It’ll be great competition. The more we can take advantage of winning on the road, the better.”USC’s matches against Stanford and California will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.last_img read more