Why Rajniesh Duggal feels there’s a lot more in him that hasn’t been done justice to

Going by the current nepotism narrative, outsiders in the film industry don’t get enough chances, or the path is extremely tough to make it big. Rajniesh Duggall, who won a modelling pageant before entering films admits he got enough chances.

But what about a scenario when the chance you get doesn’t work out too well, like Dugall himself had to go through a lull after 1920, his debut film?

“Touchwood, offers have still been there, from then, to even now. I don’t think that’s a problem. I’ve got good offers. It’s your own thought process as an actor that changes, you tend to take up certain projects,” he says.

However, many feel there are still certain things that an outsider wishes would happen in their career soon, but either don’t happen or end up taking a lot of time. 

“Besides that, I don’t think there’s been any difficulty. Yes, getting into certain places where I’d like to work with, say, Imtiaz Ali, Sanjay Leela Bhansali… in fact, that’s a big reason why I took up Bajirao Mastani the musical. It’s basically a take on the film, and we’re using nine songs form the film and performing. You’ve to stay connected in some way, and keep giving your best shot,” says the 40-year-old.

Over a span of 12 years, the actor has done films such as Dangerous Ishq (2012), Ek Paheli Leela (2015) and Wajah Tum Ho (2016). Given that he had to do everything on his own without any connections, did he always get deserving roles? Dugall feels there’s a lot more in him that hasn’t been done justice to.

“I still need to work with good directors and storytellers, and also do good characters. And by good, I don’t mean positive. The web is opening up now, and that’s great. There’s scope now, when you come from a place where you have no backing, and get into the industry. It has given me everything, and I’ve learnt a lot. It’s time now to put it to use,” he says.

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Covid-19: Everything you need to know about where you can go and what can you do once you’re there

Change is afoot — almost every day. So where can you go and what can you do, or not do, once you’re there? 

With many of us practically confined to barracks, does it really matter if you have to self-isolate when you get home? 

Here is everything you need to know. 

Short haul…


Cases: 23,947 Deaths: 482

Entry requirements: Visitors must complete a passenger locator form ( at least 24 hours before travel. Quarantine free on return, except for Mykonos. Different rules apply for Scotland and Wales: or

While there: Face masks mandatory in public indoor spaces. Local lockdowns could be imposed.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ half-board at MarBella Corfu Hotel from £969pp in October with flights (


Cases: 2,285 Deaths: 25

Entry requirements: Must show proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of travel and complete a Cyprus Flight Pass form 24 hours before departure (

While there: Face masks must be worn in enclosed public spaces.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at Louis Sofianna Resort, Paphos, from November 8 from £442 with


In Portugal, face masks are mandatory on public transport and in restaurants, bars and shops

In Portugal, face masks are mandatory on public transport and in restaurants, bars and shops

Cases: 93,294 Deaths: 2,128

Entry requirements: Health screenings on arrival in mainland Portugal. For Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores, a negative Covid-19 test is required before arrival. Those who test positive will have to isolate until returning a negative test. Not a UK travel corridor. The Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel to mainland Portugal.

While there: Face masks mandatory on public transport, restaurants, bars and in shops. In Madeira they must be worn in public places inside and out. Gatherings in public across Portugal are now limited to five people.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at Belmond Reid’s Palace Madeira from £1,449pp in November including flights (


Cases: 102,407 Deaths: 5,910

Entry requirements: None.

While there: Masks not required in public or on public transport.

IT’S A DEAL: Four nights at Brandon Lodge on the stunning Lulea archipelago from £1,643pp including flights, excursions and meals (


Alcohol sales are banned in Berlin, pictured, between 11pm and 6am. In Frankfurt and Munich, bars and restaurants close at 10pm

Alcohol sales are banned in Berlin, pictured, between 11pm and 6am. In Frankfurt and Munich, bars and restaurants close at 10pm

Cases: 349,639 Deaths: 9,816

Entry requirements: Restrictions vary. Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, North East England, North West England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber region are ‘high risk’. Travellers from those areas must show proof of a negative test.

While there: The country is on the brink of a second national lockdown. Alcohol sales are banned in Berlin between 11pm and 6am. In Frankfurt and Munich, bars and restaurants close at 10pm, with similar restrictions in several other big cities.

IT’S A DEAL: Ryanair has return Stansted-Berlin flights in December from £47 (; three nights’ B&B for two people at Hotel Amano in Berlin from £266 (


Cases: 13,133 Deaths: 350

Entry requirements: From November 23, British tourists should be permitted to travel, quarantine-free for up to 72 hours with proof on arrival of a negative test. If the visit exceeds 72 hours, they must quarantine for 72 hours, and then take a second test.

While there: Face masks recommended on public transport, at the airport and if social distancing indoors is not possible.

IT’S A DEAL: Four nights’ B&B at Luosto Hotel in Lapland with flights from Gatwick on December 2 from £694pp with


In order to enter Italy, Britons must take a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel. Otherwise, one must be taken on arrival in the country

In order to enter Italy, Britons must take a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel. Otherwise, one must be taken on arrival in the country 

Cases: 381,602 Deaths: 36,372 

Entry requirements: A negative test taken within 72 hours of travel. Otherwise one must be taken on arrival (free/£11 depending on airport) with results in an hour. But prior testing is recommended as anyone who tests positive must quarantine. Italy was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list on Thursday. The Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel.

While there: Face masks mandatory indoors and outdoors except in private homes.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at Marina Riviera on the Amalfi Coast from £899pp (saving £91pp) in October with flights (


Cases: 921,375 Deaths: 33,553

Entry requirements: Complete a form at 48 hours before departure. A QR code is sent to show on arrival. Not a UK travel corridor. And the Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel.

While there: Restrictions vary by region. Masks for indoor and outdoor public spaces.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ half board at Costa Canaria Hotel, Gran Canaria, from November 2 from £593, at


In critical areas of France, including Paris, pictured, and Marseille, wearing masks is compulsory in enclosed public spaces and outdoors

In critical areas of France, including Paris, pictured, and Marseille, wearing masks is compulsory in enclosed public spaces and outdoors

Cases: 809,684 Deaths: 33,125

Entry requirements: Arrivals must complete a statement saying they have no symptoms and have not been in contact with cases for 14 days. Not a UK travel corridor. The Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel.

While there: In critical areas, including Paris and Marseille, wearing masks is compulsory in enclosed public spaces and outdoors. Bars in Paris were shut for two weeks on October 5. This week a 9pm curfew for restaurants, theatres, bars and similar business began there and in other cities.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights room-only at the Amaryllis hotel in Nice from £284pp in January with flights (

Long haul…


Arrivals on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, pictured, must have a confirmed reservation at Covid-19 certified accommodation

Arrivals on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, pictured, must have a confirmed reservation at Covid-19 certified accommodation

Cases: 31 Deaths: 0

Entry requirements: A negative test taken within seven days of flying and completing a form: Temperature checks at the airport.

While there: Arrivals must have a confirmed reservation at Covid-19 certified accommodation. Guests must remain at their hotel and only leave for activities organised by the accommodation.

IT’S A DEAL: Rooms at Windjammer Landing ( St Lucia are 50 per cent off from November 19 to December 18, 2021, if booked by December 19. Seven nights all-inclusive is from £731pp. BA ( London to St Lucia from £430 return.


Cases: 218 Deaths: 7

Entry requirements: Complete online immigration form 24 hours before travel ( and have a negative test taken up to 72 hours before arrival.

While there: A second test is also required (free) four or five days after the initial test. While waiting for results, which should be returned overnight, visitors must stay in their certified hotel.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at Fairmont Royal Pavilion In November from £1,775 including flights (70 per cent off) (


On the island of Antigua, pictured, guests can leave the hotel but face masks are mandatory in public spaces

On the island of Antigua, pictured, guests can leave the hotel but face masks are mandatory in public spaces

Cases: 112 Deaths: 3

Entry requirements: A negative test taken within seven days of flying required, plus completion of a Health Declaration Form. Visitors will be monitored for 14-days and further testing costing up to $100 is a possibility. Must book certified accommodation (

While there: Guests can leave the hotel but face masks mandatory in public spaces.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at Carlisle Bay from £2,035pp in November, including flights (


Cases: 149 Deaths: 0

Entry requirements: Show proof of a negative test on arrival taken within 48 hours of arrival and spend five days in isolation at an authorised hotel. Tests conducted on the fifth day and results take up to 24 hours. If negative, tourists are free to explore the islands.

While there: While isolating at an authorised hotel, guests can use pools and private beaches and eat in restaurants away from others. Face masks on public transport, in shops and outdoors if social distancing not possible.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at the Avani Barbarons Seychelles resort from £1,253pp including flights in December (


If you're travelling to Bermuda, pictured, pack a thermometer. That's because temperatures must be taken twice a day and reported online

If you’re travelling to Bermuda, pictured, pack a thermometer. That’s because temperatures must be taken twice a day and reported online

Cases: 185 Deaths: 9

Entry requirements: Show proof of a negative test taken within seven days and apply for travel authorisation three days before flying (£58) to cover cost of test on arrival ( ). Results usually within 24 hours, plus tests on fourth and eighth days of stays.

While there: Pack a thermometer: temperatures must be taken twice a day and reported online. Face masks must be worn in enclosed spaces if social distancing not possible.

IT’S A DEAL: Seven nights’ B&B at Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa from £1,649pp in March with flights (no direct flights). Book by October 31 for stays until March 31 (

Pick of the rest

GIBRALTAR: Quarantine free.

ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES: British tourists must arrive with a negative test and quarantine in an approved hotel until a second negative test result. No direct flights.

DOMINICA: British tourists must fill in online form and arrive with negative test. Pinprick test at airport and five days’ quarantine.

CUBA: Some areas open to British tourists but no direct flights. Tui resumes package holidays and direct flights on November 7.

RUSSIA: British tourists welcome since August 1 with a negative test taken within 72 hours of travel. Not a UK travel corridor.

*Figures and regulations correct at time of publication.


More and more countries, including Italy, Cyprus and Barbados, are requiring travellers to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result before arrival. Here’s how to do this:

  • The timeframe for having your test ranges from seven days to 72 hours before travel or arrival — check what applies for you and factor in time zones, too. Age limits for children vary.
  • Tests for travel aren’t available on the NHS. You need to visit a private clinic or use an online service that posts out a kit. Search ‘how to take a coronavirus self-test swab’ on YouTube for a helpful NHS video. Some labs have reduced services at weekends. If time is tight, deliver your sample in person or by courier rather than relying on the post.
  • Price vary significantly. Your airline may have a tie-in with a test provider — British Airways uses CityDoc (, where the cost for passengers is from £93. Nomad Travel ( has clinics in six UK cities with fees from £160. If you’re in a rush, a same-day test at in London costs £495.
  • Your result and a test certificate will be emailed to you, generally within 48 hours (remember to check your spam folder). If it is negative, print the test certificate, fill in any other online forms required, and enjoy your holiday.
  • If your test is positive, cancel your trip. You may be able to re-book or make a claim if your insurance has Covid-19 cover — some Post Office policies do (


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Bhanu Athaiya no more: There would be many others but she was the original, say actors who have collaborated with her

With Bhanu Athaiya breathing her last, the industry lost yet another stalwart. The costume designer, won the first Academy Award for India. She was honoured with an Oscar, along with John Mollo, for the Best Costume Design for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1983). Over the years, Athaiya had spun her magic in a number of Bollywood films such as Teesri Manzil (1966), Pyaasa (1957), Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), Guide (1965), Karz (1980) , 1942 – A Love Story (1943), Henna (1991), Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) and Swades (2004), and have left an indelible mark with her vision and creations.

Athaiya’s colleagues remember her soft spoken nature, down-to-earth demeanour and say there would be no one like her, ever. Actors Sushma Seth, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suhasini Mulay and Zeba Bakhtiar, who have collaborated with Athaiya in various films, go down memory lane and share their memories of knowing the legend:

Sushma Seth

Sushma Seth
Gokul VS/Hindustan Times

She had a wonderful life, realised a lot of her dreams and aspirations and I want to remember Bhanu for her love for her art, creations, efficiency and most importantly for the kind of human being she was. She was well-read, knew about all the periods, eras and had a wonderful aesthetic vision, which would get transformed into her creations. She’d know what would go well with the story, setting and time period of a particular film and weave in her magic into everything she did. I have many memories of working with her in films such as Prem Rog (1982), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), Chandni (1989), Faasle (1985) and 1942: A Love Story (1993)… I met her a few years back at an event at Siri Fort when she gifted me her book (The Art Of Costume Design). There would be many other costume designers, but she was the original.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Bhanu will always be remembered for the great work that she has done. She has lived a full life, has been an inspiration to many. I wish she has not suffered so much. Among the work I’ve done with her, I remember during Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) she’d visit my house often to discuss my costume and look in the film. She was soft spoken and knew her art well, she’d know where she’d get a certain costume stitched and by whom or where she could buy a particular fabric from. I was amazed at her knowledge and can’t think of anyone like her.

Zeba Bakhtiar

Zeba Bakhtiar

Zeba Bakhtiar

She was amazing especially the way she would go about doing her work. She had so much knowledge; I was in complete awe of her. On the sets of Henna (1991), I’d just follow her and the way she’d work on the costumes. I remember one of the days, she got a bouquet of beautiful natural flowers and asked me to choose the colours I liked, and said that accordingly she’d decide the colour palette of my costumes in the film. I’ve never seen anyone working like that — from colours, fittings, to even what kind of stitched required, she was particular about every little details. She was an unworldly artiste, who was attached to the soil. Even after achieving so much she was so grounded. Every time I think of her, I remember how beautiful she looked in her hand-woven salwaar and kurta, with those two pony tails every time she’d come on the sets.

Suhasini Mulay

Suhasini Mulay

Suhasini Mulay

We were set up to shoot Lagaan and Bhanu was there on the set and of course one had heard of her because of the kind of work she has done and also because she has won an Oscar. She was very unassuming. Ashutosh Gowarikar (director) had a very clear idea about what he wanted to dom, especially with my costume because I was the only woman wearing white, and Bhanu agreed that I need to have an identity of my own. Rachel Shelley (who played Elizabeth in the film) thought her costumes looked colourless but what Bhanu had done was she chose styles, stitches and colours that were English and basically in that rustic set up, her clothes really stood out not because they were overstated but they were English, understated and sophisticated. We didn’t realise till we saw it on screen how every character was given a different colour palette by Bhanu and how beautifully she gave everyone an identity of their own and it looked amazing. She also gave borders in my saree so I stood out in the crowd. Her sense of aesthetic, style and eye for detailing was praiseworthy. That’s Bhanu Athaiya for you. Wish I had done more work with her.

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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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Saba Saudagar: There are a lot of people to misguide you and take advantage of you

The current climate in the entertainment industry with controversies pilling up, has been hard for everyone to come to terms with, and even harder for new actors. Saba Saudagar, who is taking baby steps in the film industry, says that while not everyone in the industry is bad, she agrees that there are some who can be harmful.

“We always are made up of the choices we make, everywhere you go you come across good and bad people. It’s just that you’ve to have your head on your shoulder and be cautious. I never fell prey to temptations around me, I just chose he path where I worked harder and was patient,” shares the actor.

Saudagar, who has starred in web series Booo Sabki Phategi, Gandi Baat and the recent, Crackdown, feels that the key for everyone is to not get lured by short cuts. 

“It should not matter what people try to lure you into and what temptations you have around. The right path may not be easy but will sustain you for a longer period of time. There are a lot of people to misguide you and take advantage of you, but you must be sensible enough to not fall into such things,” she asserts.

And that’s why, feels the actor, that it’s pertinent to have a mentor in the industry, who will be a guide whenever you reach a dead end.

“There’s too little time and you cannot keep making the mistakes again and again because then you’ll be out of sight and out of mind. Having a mentor always helps and you can learn from other people’s experiences as well,” Saudagar says.

The actor, however, reveals she had to learn things the hard way. “Unfortunately, I had not come across the right people and wasted some time initially. There’ll be a lot of people who will become self-claimed mentors but in the hindsight they have different motives,” she concludes.

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Football UK

Roy Keane slams Man Utd defence again, says there’s no leaders in dressing room

Roy Keane has once again slammed Manchester United’ s defence, insisting there are no leaders in their back four or in the dressing room.

United have endured a torrid start to the new season, losing all but one of their three league fixtures.

The Red Devils’ defence has well and truly been exposed in those three matches, in which they’ve conceded a whopping 12 goals.

Six of those goals came in United’s embarrassing 6-1 defeat to Tottenham earlier this month, a loss which has heaped further pressure on captain Harry Maguire and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Keane has been less than impressed by what he’s seen of his old side this season and attributes their woeful defending to a worrying lack of strong-willed individuals in the dressing room.

Roy Keane has once again laid into Manchester United’s defence

Speaking after England’s Nations League defeat to Denmark on Wednesday night, in which Red Devils skipper Maguire was sent off shortly after the half-hour mark, Keane said: “You have to play.

“The only downside for Maguire, at the moment, for me, he’s going back to a Man Utd team that’s not full of confidence. Certainly, the back four is not in great form.

“I’ve been in situations before, I’ve been in Harry’s situation, I’ve been in dressing rooms at Man United’s.

Newcastle United (a) – Premier League, Oct 17

Paris Saint-Germain (a) – Champions League, Oct 20

Chelsea (h) – Premier League, Oct 24

RB Leipzig (h) – Champions League, Oct 28

Arsenal (h) – Premier League, Nov 1

Istanbul Basaksehir (a), Champions League, Nov 4

Everton (a) – Premier League, Nov 7

“But I was in dressing rooms with brilliant characters and brilliant leaders. So even if had done something silly or was having a hard time, on or off the pitch, I was going back into – [what] I felt [was] the best dressing room in the world.

“Lads who would carry you through difficult spells. He’s not going to get that.

“He’s going back to Man United, he’s playing in the back four – I wouldn’t be anywhere near these lads. Because I don’t see them as leaders.”

Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender, turned in a nightmare display in England’s 1-0 loss to the Danes.

The 27-year-old was sent off moments after the half-hour mark after picking up a second booking for a clumsy tackle on Kasper Dolberg.

Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire has endured a torrid season so far

The former Leicester City man’s dismissal perfectly encapsulates how his season – which has been dominated by talk of his arrest and conviction for aggravated assault in Greece – has gone so far.

Maguire and his Manchester United team-mates will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, travelling to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle.

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Vivek Oberoi: There is a lobby, people abuse their power and I have been a victim of that myself

The Hindi film industry is under the scanner for all the wrong reasons and has been called out for being a place which thrives on lobbying other than talent. For actor Vivek Oberoi, the recent turn of events has not been much of a surprise, and in fact, he admits being someone who has faced all this firsthand.

“There always has been lobby, people abusing their power. I have been a victim of that myself. You know there is always been a lobby that has a massive influence and power and they have used it to enrich and benefit themselves and rather than create an ecosystem and a democratic place where new talent just blossoms,” shares Oberoi.

The 44-year-old notes that the situation in the ‘60s and ‘70s was very different from what it has become in the recent decades. Back then it was all about talent and then suddenly this became “a lobby kind of club.” 

Sharing his own experiences in Bollywood, he says, “I have experienced it. I have seen the time from being offered all these choices from people saying to ‘Sorry man I can’t work with you anymore because XYZ asked us not to or that we have this pressure and that pressure. I have seen it firsthand how people abuse their power.”

Oberoi also believes that people on the receiving end have had enough and that is why they are reacting this way and raising their voices against being treated as second-class citizens in the film industry.

“I did very early and I tried to stand up against this and I didn’t get any support back then. I did stand up against the system and said this is unfair and not cool. But it was ahead of its time and I didn’t get any support at that time and I paid the price for it,” he says.

Calling the experiences that he has had as plain bullying, the actor explains, “Post that I decided that the best way to live my life was to insulate myself from all this. I decided that I don’t want to be a part of this circus and I just want to be a part of making good films . When you are bullied, you either become a bully or you become a protector, your nature changes. I took the latter approach. I wanted to help as many people as I could. I want to create an ecosystem which I missed and that is a collaborative ecosystem where there is no hierarchy. There is no high low, everyone is valued and respected.”

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Sports USA

There is no easy answer to Yankees title conflict: Sherman

Sometimes persistence and sticking it out through the tough times is rewarded. Last season — just as an example — it did for the Washington Nationals, Toronto Raptors and Andy Reid. Told for years they couldn’t win the big one, they did.

But you could persevere and be the current Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Dodgers (at least entering this postseason) or the Patrick Ewing Knicks. You could spend your life tantalizingly close, convincing yourself next year is your year.

You are Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips losing consecutive AFC titles to the Pittsburgh Steelers four decades ago and vowing to a fan base, “One year ago, we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we’re going to kick the son of a bitch in.”

Except they didn’t. The door stayed shut. No one ever guarantees persistence and belief in a talented core will eventually result in a ring and a parade and a confetti legacy. The late-’60s/early ’70 New York Rangers. The late ’80s Cleveland Browns. The late ’90s Utah Jazz. Glenn Close being nominated seven times for the Oscar.

They are all Sisyphean. They see the mountaintop, but the rock rolls back and they have to start all over again.

This is where the current-day Yankees reside, with Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman holding a déjà Zoom press conference Wednesday explaining for another year the frustration of being so near and so far.

Boone said, “You realize how close you are to being a championship team. … It eats at you and motivates you and is something we have to live with.”

Brian Cashman
Brian CashmanCorey Sipkin

Boone stated a case for how “razor thin” the difference has been between the Yankees and the teams that have eliminated them in his three years as manager. A few feet from a ninth-inning Gary Sanchez walk-off grand slam that would have forced a decisive 2018 Division Series Game 5 against a Red Sox team that might have run out of pitching. Outscoring the Astros in the 2019 ALCS and the Rays in the 2020 Division Series — tied 1-1 through seven innings of a decisive Game 5 just last week against Tampa Bay.

“We are trying to kick that door down,” said Boone, who has a 2021 contractual option. “We are trying to climb that mountain. We know how close and capable of it we are. That is the motivation. My contact status and all of that will take care of itself. My focus is getting us to the top of the mountain.”

Now they have to decide whether this is essentially the right group for another climb. Hal Steinbrenner already has stated Boone will be back. Is he weaker inside the clubhouse for the Division Series Game 2 decision to piggyback J.A. Happ behind one inning of Deivi Garcia? Happ passive-aggressively disagreed with the choice. CC Sabathia, a Yankee adviser, lambasted the decision on his podcast. It would be hard to believe that other players aren’t dubious about the strategy.

Modern teams have an executive collective that provides data and recommendations for managers to make choices, especially nontraditional ones. Yet, the players generally still want to believe the manager is making the final decision. Both Boone and Cashman insist that is the case. Boone said he did not imagine he needed to re-establish that with his clubhouse, explaining, “Our people understand it is my decision.”

We will see. We will also see who those “people” are. To that end, Boone asked to “keep in perspective how close we are.” What will have to be diagnosed internally is whether it is “close” enough to try it again with essentially the same core or make seismic roster changes.

Nothing will impact the choices like how much Cashman has to spend — or not spend — and he said he would not “telegraph” what the payroll will be once he is provided it. But he noted the COVID-created revenue losses of the organization were real. So expect the cut to be at least below the 2021 $210 million luxury-tax threshold, so $30 million or more.

So while Boone and Cashman praised DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, they did not say the free agents LeMahieu and Tanaka will be back or that Sanchez is still the starting catcher or Torres the starting shortstop. There was no commitment to diversify the heavily righty lineup. Cashman is too veteran and coy to lock into positions a few days into the offseason before he even has had formal scouting meetings.

But as much as the individual personnel, the Yanks will have to ask if they keep Stockton and Malone-ing this or if there is a staleness to the formula. They made a huge investment — their Kwahi Leonard move — for Gerrit Cole last offseason. That worked for the Raptors, not the Clippers or Yankees. This offseason, do the Yanks move out pieces who have had New York success to improve defense up the middle, add more lefty hitting and provide financial wiggle room to deepen the pitching staff?

“We have a championship roster, I think that is a fact,” Cashman said. “We are not the champions. That also is a fact.”

Do they really have a championship roster that they should stick with to kick down the door? Or are they Glenn Close and, thus, still so far from a title?

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Sports UK

Roberts hopes there will be no repeat of England racism ordeal in Bulgaria

Tyler Roberts hopes there will be no repeat of England’s racism ordeal in Bulgaria on Wednesday night.

The hosts have sold tickets for Wales’ visit with a small crowd expected at the Vasil Levski Stadium for the Nations League tie.

It is the same Sofia venue where England’s Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bulgaria was overshadowed by shameful scenes of racism a year ago.

The game was stopped twice and officials threaten to abandon the match after Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were targeted by fans who made monkey noises.

Bulgaria were later ordered by UEFA to play their next competitive home game behind closed doors.

England’s game in Bulgaria last year was briefly stopped after home fans abused stars like Tyrone Mings

Roberts and his Welsh team-mates are hoping there will be no similar appalling scenes this evening.

The Leeds striker,21, set to win his ninth cap, said: “Hopefully there are restrictions and things put in place to help prevent that type of thing.

“No matter what age or colour you are, you hope that this doesn’t happen.

“It’s something that unfortunately still creeps into the game here and there but I’ve got the right people around me to deal with it if that situation occurs.

“In all types of football – club and country – there are still steps that need to be made and things that need to happen.

Roberts is enjoying life in the Premier League with Leeds under coach Marcelo Bielsa

“The Black Lives Matter movement and stuff like that has helped but I still feel like it’s a bit away from where it needs to be.

“I want to be a part of trying to help and improve it.

“But at the same time there are also people higher up who need to be at the front of that.”

Roberts is aiming for his first international goal this evening and feels his game has improved under Marcelo Bielsa who has led Leeds back into the top-flight.

The forward, who has played in all Leeds’ Premier League games so far, added: “He has made me understand the game at a completely different level.

“I have matured since he has been at the club, knowing how the game needs to be played.

“It has changed me as a player and a person.

“It’s also a great experience and a great start to the season playing against top players from Liverpool and Manchester City.

“The biggest difference is that you don’t come up against any player who is technically below anyone else.

“Everyone in the Premier League is technically at a very high level and you have to be bang at it every time you step on the pitch.”

Possible teams:

Bulgaria (4-2-3-1): Lukov; Popov, Dimitrov, Bozhikov, Velkovski; Tsvetkov, Malinov; Despodov, Iliev, Yomov; Kraev

Wales (4-2-3-1): Hennessey, N Williams, Ampadu, Rodon, Davies; Smith, Levitt; Wilson, Ramsey, James; Roberts 

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Tech News

Almost Like Being There: Making the Most of Virtual Conferences

When Diane Leonard checked in to a conference the other day, the routine was familiar: Watching keynote speakers, interacting with other attendees, bumping into friends.

One key difference: The grantwriter was at home in Clayton, New York, with her favorite black coffee, treadmill desk and mini goldendoodle, Ollie.

Like many gatherings this year, the tech conference for nonprofit professionals by Blackbaud, a cloud computing provider, was fully virtual.

“I’d say I have been to more than 40 of these over the last six months,” Leonard said. “It’s become a way of life.”

In Meeting Professionals International’s summer survey, 86 percent of respondents foresaw declining attendance for live events over the coming year, while 87 percent projected an increase for virtual ones.

“In six months of running virtual events, I’ve found that they are about 20 percent different from real-life conferences, but it’s a critical 20 percent,” said Sree Sreenivasan, co-founder of digital consultancy Digimentors, which produces TV-quality virtual events.

This New Normal is more challenging, but in some ways it is easier. It requires an entirely new playbook, for how you interact with people, access meaningful content and maximise what you get out of the experience.

“Virtual events require more preparation and action from attendees,” said Leslie Marshall, head of experiential marketing for Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar. Marshall ran a September online conference for almost 3,000 US participants and is rolling out other global events.

Virtual will absolutely be the norm for now. According to education consultancy Tagoras, 92 percent of those who have held virtual conferences plan to do so again.

So how can conference attendees thrive in a virtual world? A few tips:

Use tech tools to your advantage

Virtual conference organisers have gone to a lot of trouble to create tech tools for networking and interactivity, so you might as well use them.

During keynote speeches, chatboxes allow participants to share insights or provide queries for Q&A sessions. ‘Breakout’ areas offer chatrooms for specific interests, or places for one-on-one dialogues.

Morningstar even experimented with virtual reality. At its September conference a few dozen attendees received Oculus gaming headsets, with goggles that create 3D images, so they would feel like they were there in person.

Prep beforehand

In-person interactions tend to be a lot looser: Running into someone you know, having a drink at a hotel bar, making last-minute dinner arrangements. Online, you have to be much more deliberate and strategic about who you want to meet.

That means scouring over attendee lists, researching which exhibitors or sponsors to contact, and connecting with speakers and presenters.

By doing your homework and publicising the takeaways on social media channels like Twitter or LinkedIn, you are setting the table for relationships which could endure beyond the event itself.

Minimise distractions

Conferencing from the comfort of your own kitchen has many positives: No travel, no health risks, lower costs. “When you’re at a conference in-person, it allows you to get away from everything and really focus,” said Marshall.

“At home, it’s more challenging to put away all the distractions. So turn off your mobile occasionally and don’t try to multitask all the time.”

Interruptions are inevitable, dogs, kids, work e-mails, but if you do get pulled away, an online event allows you to go back and access that content later.

Focus on the benefits

Price is another benefit. Almost 70 percent of such meetings cost less than before, often “significantly” so, according to Tagoras.

“Think of it as an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before,” said Sreenivasan. “Before, these events took place behind closed doors, with high ticket prices, in faraway places.

Now, every day, dozens of fascinating people around the world are available to talk about issues of great importance. You can tour the world and listen to interesting people all day long.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Entertainment USA

Meghan McCain Mourns ‘Nana’ Roberta Who Died At 108: ‘There Will Never Be Another Like You’

Meghan McCain mourned her late “nana,” Roberta McCain, with a beautiful tribute after her death at 108, saying that she wished she could’ve met her newborn daughter, Liberty.

Shortly after her mother, Cindy McCain, revealed the terrible news on Twitter, Meghan McCain mourned her late grandmother Roberta McCain with a touching message on the social media platform. “I love you Nana,” Meghan wrote. “You’re everything I ever aspired to be. Thank you for teaching us all about living life on your own terms with grit, conviction, intensity and love. There will never be another one like you, you will be missed every day. I wish my daughter had gotten to meet you.”

Cindy announced on October 12 that 108-year-old Roberta, the mother of the late Senator John McCain, had passed away. She did not provide any other details about Roberta’s passing, including cause of death. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain,” Cindy tweeted. “I couldn’t have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy.”

Meghan just gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Liberty Sage Domenech, on September 28. Liberty was one of Roberta’s 16 great-grandchildren. Meghan’s show, The View, announced the joyous news on Twitter, and Meghan gave her thanks to fans the following day, September 29: “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful well wishes and overwhelming kindness. Ben and I are completely and utterly in love with our daughter and feeling indescribably blessed/blissed out. We will be watching her first debate as a family together tonight!”

Roberta McCain campaigns for her son, John McCain (AP)

Meghan and Roberts sadly had to share the sorrow of losing John McCain to brain cancer in 2018. Roberta, standing strong at 106, sat with Meghan and the rest of their large family as he was remembered with several ceremonies in his home state of Arizona, and in Washington, DC.

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