DUBAI: The Saudi Pro League is set to return next week to finish eight rounds of fixtures, after it was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s all about the numbers at this stage of the season with just six points separating Riyadh rivals Al Hilal and Al Nassr at the top of the table, which the fight for survival sees a margin of just ten points from the bottom six clubs.
It will have been 144 long days between games in the SPL, since the league was halted in March, but it returns in style with the table topping Riyadh derby kicking off on Wednesday 5 August.
Al-Hilal will be looking to regain the SPL title after Al Nassr pipped them to the trophy last season. Should they win the Riyadh derby then they will create a nine-point barrier and have the title in their sights with just seven more games to go.
Al Nassr have the better head-to-head record going into the game, with Al Hilal’s last derby win coming back in October 2017.
Al Nassr will be hoping for top scorer Abderrazak Hamdallah to continue his fine form in these clashes, having netted four times in the last three Riyadh derbies. A home win will close the gap to just three points.
The race for the SPL golden boot is arguably the biggest accolade for individuals in the league.
The league’s current leader is Abderrazak Hamdallah with 18 goals, with the Moroccan continuing to set the pace having recorded an impressive 34 goals last season in his debut season with Al Nassr. Al Hilal frontman Bafetimbi Gomis is currently second in this season’s race to be the top scorer with 14 goals, whilst Al Ahli’s Omar Al Somah has found the back of the net on 13 occasions.
Whilst Al Nassr lead the charts at the goalscoring end of the pitch, fans should be equally impressed Brad Jones and his efforts in between the sticks. The former Liverpool man has recorded 10 clean sheets this season, two ahead of Tunisian shot-stopper Farouk Ben Mustapha who has impressed for Al Shabab.]
Despite the struggles at the bottom end of the table, Damac’s Moustapha Zeghba has recorded seven clean sheets, along with Saudi Arabian duo Al Hilal’s Abdullah Al Maiouf and Mustafa Malayekah for Al Faisaly.
The bottom of the table is tight and there are just four points separating Jeddah giants Al Ittihad and the drop zone. Bottom club Al-Adalah with 17 points, face The Tigers on the last day of the season which could prove to be a nail-biting end to the campaign.
The bottom three is made up by Damac in 15th place on 18 points, whilst Al-Fateh are just one place above them on 19 points.
Four places are up grabs at the top of the table with third place Al-Wehda having just eight points separating them from eighth placed Al Shabab who parted company with manager Luis Garcia during lockdown.
They will be hoping for a resurgence but face competition from Al-Ahli, Al Faisaly, Al-Taawoun and Al-Raed for Champions League football.
Recognizing that fans are unable to attend games for the remaining eight rounds of fixtures, the SPL has developed its #OurLeagueIsBack campaign which allows fans to share their support online, with videos and messages then being shown across stadiums on matchdays.
Fans can share their messages of support easily by following social media accounts on Twitter (@SPL), Instagram (SaudiProLeague), Facebook (@SaudiProLeague.SPL) and by using the hashtag #OurLeagueIsBack.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal cries havoc, wants to let slip more U.S.-raised dogs of war
What would it take for the U.S. military to “buy American” when it comes to military working dogs? That’s what Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants to know. He pushed for more domestically raised military working dogs in a provision in this year’s Senate Armed Services Committee’s report accompanying the Senate’s version of the 2020 National…
What would it take for the U.S. military to “buy American” when it comes to military working dogs? That’s what Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants to know. He pushed for more domestically raised military working dogs in a provision in this year’s Senate Armed Services Committee’s report accompanying the Senate’s version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Blumenthal wanted the Defense Department and Air Force to calculate the cost to establish and sustain a dog breeding program on American soil. The DoD’s military working dog training program is managed by the Air Force’s 341st Training Squadron, located at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. The 341st trains approximately 350 dogs per year for all four branches of the DoD, its commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Kowalski, told Military Times. The issue is that dogs start training there around 18 months of age, meaning that breeders and vendors serving the military incur a significant cost over time raising puppies that they could sell to civilians at a much younger age. Few American breeders are up to the task, and countries around the world are paying top dollar for the specialized breeds they need for their security services. According to the SASC report, the Air Force recognizes there aren’t enough domestic breeders “with the expertise, genetic quality, and potential capacity” to meet the DOD’s demand for dogs. As a result, according to Bloomberg Government which first reported Blumenthal’s concerns, Air Force data reveals 407 of the 427 dogs it purchased in 2019 were born overseas, primarily in Europe. Kowalski, the 341st Training Squadron commander, explained to the Military Times that an Air Force civilian and former dog handler in his unit directs dog purchasing, and that “the procurement of military working dogs [for the DOD] is done almost exclusively by” his squadron. The Air Force data also shows that even dogs obtained from vendors in the United States cost $3,500 more on average, because many American vendors import dogs from Europe’s limited supply and then sell them to the DOD with a significant markup. The Pentagon can’t afford not to buy the dogs, though. Dogs have been an integral part of the U.S. military since World War II and “have served in some capacity in every major war since,” explained Hannah Palsa, a historian of American military canines at Kansas State University. In addition to their roles supporting U.S. personnel on the battlefield in patrolling and explosives detection, she said, military dogs have filled in as messengers and guards. During WWII, American families donated their dogs through Dogs for Defense to be trained to support the war effort. Today’s military working dogs are quite literally a different breed, though –– mostly German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, and Belgian Malinois — and they’re becoming even more expensive and difficult to find. The SASC report notes that “due to the finite number of breeders overseas, as well as rising market demand, the cost for the Air Force and other agencies to procure whelped military working dogs from Europe is skyrocketing.” Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. In a statement provided to Military Times, Blumenthal explained that he was “surprised” to discover that “the vast majority of our working dogs are actually born and bred in Europe, which raises costs and puts us in competition with other countries.” The SASC’s report on the NDAA expresses support for a “year-long assessment [that] enabled the Department [of Defense] to identify requirements necessary to…breed military working dogs domestically in order to sustain a stable, secure supply and to minimize costs.” Blumenthal recognizes that the structural and supply chain issues preventing domestic dog procurement won’t change overnight, though. “Our provision in this year’s NDAA takes the first step toward that goal by assessing what resources are necessary for the DOD to meet increasing demands for military working dogs by supporting American breeders.”
US cases of depression have tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic
A large study finds a dramatic increase in the number of adults in the United States reporting symptoms of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.Share on PinterestRecent data indicate that the number of adults with depression symptoms in the U.S. has increased threefold during the pandemic.The number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled,…
A large study finds a dramatic increase in the number of adults in the United States reporting symptoms of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.Share on PinterestRecent data indicate that the number of adults with depression symptoms in the U.S. has increased threefold during the pandemic.The number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled, according to a major study. Researchers estimate that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults now report experiencing symptoms of depression.Before the pandemic, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has risen to 27.8% as the country struggles with COVID-19.Prof. Sandro Galea, a dean at Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, MA, is senior author of the study.Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.“Depression in the general population after prior large-scale traumatic events has been observed to, at most, double,” he notes.While reports of depression have increased in response to earlier crises, such as the 9/11 attack and the spread of Ebola in West Africa, the extent of this recent finding is something new.The study features in the journal JAMA Network Open. The Rockefeller Foundation–Boston University 3-D Commission and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the research.The BU study is the first large-scale investigation into America’s mental health in response to COVID-19.To measure the prevalence of depression symptoms among the population, the researchers worked with mental health professionals’ leading tool for this purpose: the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).The researchers used the 2017–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as a baseline measurement of depression rates before the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 5,065 individuals responded to that survey.They compared these data with the findings of the COVID-19 and Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-being (CLIMB) study, which surveyed 1,441 U.S. adults between March 31 and April 13, 2020. This study also used PHQ-9, facilitating the comparison of changes in the prevalence of depression among the population.Although the 2020 survey took place relatively early in the pandemic, by the time it was complete, stay-at-home advisories and shelter-in-place orders were in place for about 96% of the public.The CLIMB survey also questioned participants regarding the various stressors associated with the pandemic. These stressors included the death of a friend or loved one and financial worries, such as the loss, or potential loss, of personal income.The survey found that symptoms of depression had risen in response to the pandemic across all demographic groups.According to the survey participants, the predominant driver of depression was concern regarding personal financial well-being. Lead study author Catherine Ettman says, “Persons who were already at risk before COVID-19, with fewer social and economic resources, were more likely to report probable depression.”Specifically, the team found that individuals with less than $5,000 in savings were 50% more likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression than those who had more.Ettman says that the study underscores the value of a society “where a robust safety net exists, where people have fair wages, where equitable policies and practices exist, and where families can not only live on their income but can also save money toward the future.”As for what the authorities can do now to lessen the emotional toll of the ongoing pandemic in the U.S., Ettman suggests:“There may be steps that policymakers can take now to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 stressors on depression, such as eviction moratoria, providing universal health insurance that is not tied to employment, and helping people return to work safely — for those able to do so.”Ettman hopes that her study can, at the very least, deliver some comfort to people struggling with depression by making them realize that they are far from alone.For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.
The best robot vacuum for 2020: iRobot Roomba, Electrolux, Neato, Eufy and more – CNET
Machines that automatically keep your home clean were once pure fantasy. That’s no longer the case. Today robot vacuums are real. They’re also more advanced than they’ve ever been. They boast arrays of sophisticated sensors, lasers, CPUs, even AI-enhanced software. The fact is these robots are useful tools to keep your home nice and tidy.Living the…
Machines that automatically keep your home clean were once pure fantasy. That’s no longer the case. Today robot vacuums are real. They’re also more advanced than they’ve ever been. They boast arrays of sophisticated sensors, lasers, CPUs, even AI-enhanced software. The fact is these robots are useful tools to keep your home nice and tidy.Living the robot vacuum dream can set you back a healthy pile of cash — some cost as much as four figures. While you don’t have to spend that much, you do get a lot in return. That includes multiple room and floor mapping, self-emptying dust bins, powerful suction and thoughtfully designed hardware. Despite all this sophistication, however, none of these machines can really replace a mop.
Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac…
To choose the best robot vacuum, I spent over 120 hours (that’s a lot of time) torture-testing a group of 12 robotic cleaning vacuums for things like suction power, their ability to perform on carpets and hard floor and how well each performed during each cleaning cycle. Among them are brand-new models that have recently launched, flagship models and compelling options offered across numerous online retailers. I excluded older models that likely won’t be sold for much longer. I update this list periodically.
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If someone were to give you a blank check and tell you to buy the best robot vacuum, this is the bot to get. That said, the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus costs a whopping $1,099. For that staggeringly steep sticker price though, this robotic vacuum delivers powerful suction and superb dirt and dust removal. On hardwood floors this Roomba picked up an average of 93% of our test sand, the highest amount in our test group, but it struggled a bit cleaning sand from low-pile carpeting and area rugs, earning a low average dust and sand pickup of 28%. That said, the Roomba robot vac removed an average 71% of sand from our mid-pile carpet while vacuuming. Again, this is the best result that we saw on this specific test. It also cleaned up more dog hair, pet dander and allergens than any vacuum in this test group, and the bot navigates and maps multiple rooms and floors. iRobot has also updated its app to let you designate “keep out zones” that you want the S9 Plus to avoid when cleaning. The app also lets you use voice commands to immediately clean a room using Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.The robot zipped through our test room in a short average time of 25 minutes, too. You can link the S9 Plus to the Roomba app and your home Wi-Fi as well. Best of all is the Roomba S9 Plus’ CleanBase docking station. The dock both charges the robot’s battery and empties its dustbin automatically, making cleaning even easier and keeping you from worrying about battery life. Now that’s convenient.
Read our first impressions of the Roomba S9 Plus.
For roughly half the price of the Roomba S9 Plus, the $550 Neato’s D7 vacuums up dirt, dust and messes almost as well, making it the best robot vacuum at a midrange cost. On average this robotic cleaner picked up a greater amount of sand (36%) across low-pile carpet and rugs than the Roomba did. This automatic vacuum cleaner narrowly beat the S9 Plus for cleaning power on hardwood bare floors, too, collecting an average of 95% of the sand we put down. The vac cleaned dirt, dust and sand from midpile rugs less effectively though, notching a pickup average of 47% while cleaning. While the Neato can’t match the Roomba’s prowess at removing pet hair or empty its own dust bin, the D7 navigates more efficiently around furniture yet covers more ground thanks to smart robot vacuum built-in lidar laser navigation mapping. You can also control the cleaning robot using the Neato app as a remote control, as well as link it to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The app allows you to designate areas of your home as off-limits to cleaning, too.
Here’s a robotic vacuum that proves you don’t need to blow your budget to purchase a solid robot vacuum cleaner. Even though the Robovac 11S Max costs just $165 right now, it cleans floors effectively. That’s especially true when cleaning bare hardwood floors. It managed to remove an average of 71% of our test sand from this type of surface. The bot didn’t work as well cleaning carpets, earning sand-pickup averages of 21% and 27% on low-pile and mid-pile, respectively. And thanks to this vacuum’s basic navigation system, it took well over an hour to negotiate our test room. As far as time goes, that’s a lot. Still, the Eufy used its runtime wisely. The vacuum covered the space well, cleaning up and leaving almost no spots untouched. The Eufy is also self-charging, so again, no need to worry about battery life or factor that into overall cleaning time. It’s the best robot vacuum for value.
How we test robot vacuumsOur method for evaluating robot vacuums is straightforward, yet grueling. There are two types of tests we run. The first trial is to figure out how well a robot covers the floor while cleaning. We built an industry-standard testing room as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission, just for this purpose. The IEC is an international standards body responsible for managing robot vacuum testing procedures, among other things, for vacuum manufacturers. Obstacles in our test room mimic what robot vacuums run into in the real world.
Inside this room are objects designed to simulate typical obstacles a robot vac encounters for navigation as it cleans. These obstacles include wall edges, table and chair legs, couches and other furniture, and so on, plus bare tile and hardwood floors, as well as carpet. Here’s a coverage photo of the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus as it moved through our test room. You can see the Roomba S9 covered the floor well, except for one slight section in the center (left, bottom).
We mount LED lights to the top of each vacuum cleaner. The dimensions of the lights correspond to the measured nozzle width of each particular robot vacuum we test.
Lasers, sensors and robots, oh my: Some robot vacuums…
As robots move through the room while cleaning, a camera overhead captures a long-exposure image of the entire room in low light. That photo will then have a light trail, created by the LEDs, that shows the exact areas where the robot traveled (and its nozzle position) during its runtime. We can also see areas of the floor the vacuum may have missed or gotten stuck. This is the coverage pattern created by the Neato D7. Its movement through our test room was very orderly, logical and effective.
You can see the navigation results of all the robot vacuums in our test group in the gallery below.
Some robot vacuums have a better sense of direction than others
See all photos
The second type of test reveals exactly how much physical debris a vacuum is able to pick up off of the floor. To mimic dirt of small particle size, we use a mixture of play-sand and landscaping sand. For bigger particle soil, we use grains of uncooked black rice. Robots then run in straight line mode across three types of flooring (low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet and hardwood bare floors). We test robot vacuums on three types of floor surfaces.
We control for the specific nozzle width of each vacuum, too. We constructed an adjustable tool to soil our test floors. It lets us lay down a strip of precise area of soil to match the nozzle dimensions for every robot. The mass of soil isn’t chosen at random either. We measure a proportional amount that’s related to the flooring material, type of debris, plus each vacuum’s nozzle width. Our custom-built tool lets us match soil area to a robot vacuum’s nozzle width.
We conduct three cleaning runs (at minimum) on each floor type. We also perform cleaning tests with sand and rice separately. That comes to at least 18 tests per robot vac. We weigh the robot’s dust bin both before and after each run. From there we can calculate the percentage of debris pickup for every cleaning run and the average amount of soil a machine manages to remove. Additionally we run anecdotal (visual) pet hair tests for each robot, on all three floor types. We run robot vacuums in a straight line during the debris pickup tests.
The chart below shows the fine particle cleaning performance data for all of the robot vacuums we tested. It should give you a pretty good idea about their cleaning performance on different kinds of flooring surfaces. Our rice-based, medium-size particle test didn’t show enough differentiation between each cleaner, which says they can all handle larger particles without trouble. For fur removal for pet owners, we judged anecdotally. Percent soil removed
Neato Botvac D6 Connected
Sand from low-pile
Sand from hardwood
Sand from medium-pile
Results listed are the average percentage of total material removed from test surface
Want more robot vacuum options? Here’s a list of the other robot vacuums we tested besides the models listed above. More vacuum advice and recommendations