HOUSTON (AP): Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are so interchangeable in the Atlanta Falcons backfield, Matt Ryan gets a little mixed up at times. “He doesn’t even know who’s in the game,” Coleman said, breaking into a huge smile. Quite a 1-2 punch, these two are. It really doesn’t matter who you put at “1” and who goes at “2.” Sure, Freeman is the starter, but there’s no drop-off or any reason to change things up when Coleman comes into the game, a back-and-forth arrangement that keeps both backs fresh and gives fits to opposing defences. But their relationship runs beyond the field. Far beyond it. “That’s my brother,” Freeman said in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots . “When you see someone, you see that they want to be a part of something special, they’re working hard, they’re working their butts off, you have no reason but to love that person and have the utmost respect for that person.” They’ll savour it while they can, because chances are this won’t be a long-term partnership. They’ll be friends for life, that’s for sure, but the realities of the NFL with its salary cap and other devices that make it difficult to keep a team together will likely lead to a breakup in the not-too-distant future. Freeman, a fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 2014, already created a bit of a stir early in Super Bowl week by bringing up his desire for a new contract. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and has been selected for the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons. Not surprisingly, he wants to be paid like one of the league’s top backs. Then there’s Coleman, a third-round pick out of Indiana in 2015. Despite missing three games with an injury this season, he rushed for 520 yards and eight touchdowns. At some point, he’s going to deserve more money and probably a larger role in someone’s offence. “We’ve thought about this a lot,” Coleman said. “But that’s going to be my brother always, wherever we’re at.” In addition to combining for just short of 1,600 yards on the ground, they are nearly as dangerous in the passing game. Freeman had 54 catches for 462 yards and a couple of scores, while Coleman hauled in 31 passes for 421 yards and three TDs.
Guyana-Venezuela border controversyOnce a decision is made by the United Nations to send the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the credibility of the Nicolás Maduro Government of Venezuela will be tested, former Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Jeffrey has said.9Dr Jeffrey’s statement comes on the heels of delays by the UN in announcing its decision on whether to send the matter before the ICJ. The former Minister is of the opinion that the present Venezuelan Government is too weak to carry that argument to its people to have the border controversy resolved.“So you really need a strong regime in Venezuela to be able to make a credible showing at the ICJ to sell that to the Venezuelan people. That does not exist at the moment. Venezuela wouldn’t want to go in the first place, but if they had a strong Government at least they could have said that they are going. Right now, they have a weak Government and that is something to think about,” he explained.The former Minister claimed that while many Venezuelans believe that the Essequibo belongs to their country, especially since they have been repeatedly told this since the 1960s, going to the ICJ might be the best decision, but there could be several implications for the Government.At present, Venezuela is facing several international sanctions over rights and corruption allegations. Support for Maduro’s Administration has fallen off sharply as Venezuela’s economy has plunged deeper into crisis marked by widespread shortages and a rise in inflation.However, Maduro plans to stand for re-election in a presidential vote due by the end of April. It has already been made known; however, that should the presidential vote be perceived as fraudulent, further foreign sanctions would be initiated, including from United States President Donald Trump.Jeffrey believes that the issues facing Venezuela will be endless. “That is not going to finish in Venezuela anytime soon, especially for a government of some standing to come into being that can negotiate this. The Government now has no capacity to do that,” he added.As such, the former Minister said more attention should be paid at managing the relationship with Venezuela, to get a positive outcome for Guyana. He said the delay by the UN was no reason for Guyana to put its hand up. “I don’t believe that these border issues are settled that easily and overnight.”He continued, “Going to the ICJ in my view would be a moral victory and it might well give us some sort of leverage in terms of future investment in the region with Venezuela, but it would not end the border… [controversy]. The Venezuelans in my view would not accept it in the first place.”Arguing that border issues are not solved effortlessly, even when the matter is taken to the ICJ, Dr Jeffrey declared that both sides of the political divide in Venezuela were united on the issue.“So I believe what we are struggling here for is some kind of leverage and moral authority. I doubt it would solve the problem in any sensible way, or in a way we would like to see it solved,” he reiterated.Current Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said recently that following the end of the Good Offices Process on December 31, 2017, UN Secretary General António Guterres could take two years to decide on the next move regarding the border controversy.Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had given an undertaking that 2017 would have been the last year of mediation to end the border controversy. If that process failed, the controversy would be referred to the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN.Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was full and final. But Venezuela has, for several decades, registered its diplomatic and military objection to Guyana’s development of its natural resources onshore and offshore.Venezuela, with almost 40 times the population of Guyana and a territory that is several times bigger, purported to claim in 1968 the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil in Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits have been found by ExxonMobil.In fact, Venezuela’s National Assembly had approved an agreement to reject the oil exploration activities in March 2017.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — With a little over a week to go in this year’s campaign, the Fort St. John Liquor Distribution Branch store is already past the three quarter pole and heading down the stretch to another sell out year in the annual Share-a-Bear charity program.The teddy bear program began last month and by closing time on Wednesday night it had slipped past 75 per cent of the sales target of 2,400, with total sales posted at 1,836.The Liquor Distribution Branch program has become a central part of the holiday season and it won the Retail Council of Canada’s, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Award in 2007.- Advertisement -For more than a decade now, there’s nowhere in the province, where it has been more successful than in Fort St. John, with the local store at the top of the province-wide sales list for twelve consecutive years.For those not familiar with the program, for every panda bear purchased by customers, there’s a charity twin supplied by the LDB for distribution in the area where it was sold.In addition, many customers also donate back the purchased twin bears raising considerably the LDB distribution totals.Advertisement The purchase price for a set of twin bears is now $12.50 and the program will continue until the Christmas Eve 6 p.m.Since the program was launched in 1989 more than 600,000 bears have been distributed to charities, shelters and hospitals, and this year province-wide more than 25,000 are ready to be shared.Participating customers can also take part in free draws for giant pandas — and they’re approximately 56 centimetres tall — and each LDB branch will have two of them to give away in contest draws on Christmas Eve.