Bonnies await Buffs tonight in NIT tip-off | Basketball

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team understands what it’s up against.

Bona was given the furthest road trip of the 16 visiting teams in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. With a Tuesday night game instead of Wednesday, it had just one full day to prepare for a top four team in the Pacific 12 Conference, and even that window doubled as a travel day.

The Bonnies, rather than a home game, which might have been expected for a team that was on the NCAA Tournament bubble until the final week of the regular season, are being tasked with playing two time zones over while most everyone else has something of a regional matchup. Their fans are being asked to watch their team play at 11 p.m. locally.

In any other setting, Bona would have plenty to be up in arms about. In this instance, however, it’s chosen not to be … not when this opportunity was anything but guaranteed one day earlier; and not after what happened last Friday against Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals.

BONA, AS cliche as it sounds, is merely happy to be taking the floor. And that’s its mindset heading into tonight’s NIT matchup with fourth-seeded Colorado (11 o’clock, WPIG-FM, ESPN2-television) inside Boulder’s CU Events Center.

“We’re just happy to be playing,” coach Mark Schmidt maintained. “There’s a lot of teams that would love to be in the NIT. It’s not the NCAA, but it’s a pretty prestigious tournament. It’s really hard to get into, especially in the last 4-5 years since they changed the rules.

“We’re excited about it.”

Bona (20-9), of course, has historically fared well when the metaphorical cards have been stacked against it. It wasn’t until this year, when labeled the clear-cut favorite for the first time under Schmidt, that it came up shy of any reasonable expectations. But even with a chance to embrace their former underdog selves in this one, the Bonnies aren’t particularly concerned with slights or added fuel to the fire.

Their focus is on doing what the last Bona team in their position — the 2015-16 squad, which was bounced at home by Wagner in the NIT first round after falling short of the Big Dance — couldn’t: Winning in Round 1, making a run to Madison Square Garden and adding another strong NIT finish to the program ledger.

That’s a list that includes the 1977 title, third-place finishes in 1952, ‘58 and ‘71 and trips to the semifinals in 1957 and ‘60.

“We’re excited about playing — it’s the NIT, it’s a great tournament,” Schmidt reiterated. “There’s a big banner up on our wall with the 1977 NIT champions, so we’re honored to be playing in this tournament and we’re looking forward to competing and hopefully we can go out there and win a game.”

BONA, SCHMIDT said, learned of its postseason bid as its name was announced during the Selection Show special at 9 p.m. Sunday.

It departed for the Rocky Mountains around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

That didn’t leave it a ton of time to prepare for a big, skilled Colorado team (21-11), one that finished fourth in the Pac 12 standings and recently nabbed an impressive 16-point home win over No. 2 Arizona.

The Buffaloes are led by a pair of bruising forwards: first team all-league selection Jabari Walker (15 points, 9 rebounds) and 260-pound second-team choice Evan Battey (12 points, 5 rebounds), the latter of whom also leads Colorado in 3-pointers (41-of-82, 50 percent). Behind those two, CU ranks in the top five in the Pac-12 in both scoring (and field goal percentage) offense and defense and rebounding margin and sits No. 1 in 3-point percentage (.370).

The Buffaloes go 6-8, 6-9 and 6-10 on the front line.

“Any time you’re playing a Power 5 team, that’s the bodies you’re gonna play, no matter who you’re playing,” Schmidt said of Colorado’s size. “They’re long, they’re big … the 4s and 5s are really, really good. They can both shoot 3s. They’ve got really good guard play (highlighted by Keeshawn Barthelemy’s 11 points per game), they’re well-coached, but they’ve got the big bodies.

“They’ve got Power 5 bodies, and that’s not unusual … it’s what you expect. It’s gonna be a challenge for us, but we’re looking forward to it and hopefully we can withstand their size and play well.”

CU IS coached by Tad Boyle, who’s similar to Schmidt.

Both have won a number of games (Boyle is at 254 victories and counting in 12 seasons with the Buffaloes) and each has quietly turned his program into a sustained winner over a long stretch (Boyle has led Colorado to five NCAA appearances, including to last year’s Round of 32, and three NITs).

Bona, in most respects, will be viewed as the “hunters” tonight. CU went 12-5 at home, and only two of those losses came to unranked teams. It had a crowd of 11,079 for its stunning 79-63 home win over Arizona on Feb. 26. But it’s hoping that early season triumphs over Power 5 programs Marquette and Clemson and a hard-fought battle with UConn have helped prepare it for this moment.

Then, too, the Bonnies did win their only other game against a Pac-12 foe under Schmidt: against UCLA in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2018. And these seniors want to make at least one more memory in 2022 … unfair turnaround or not.

“They got the same turnaround as we got,” Schmidt noted. “But we’ve played against Power 5 teams, our guys aren’t going to be intimidated. They’re a good team, they’re a talented team, and they wouldn’t be in the NIT if they weren’t.

“They came in fourth in the Pac-12 and they beat Arizona, and last time I looked, Arizona was top three in the country. So they’re a talented bunch of guys and we got our work cut out for us.”

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Confusion, frustration await foreign travelers to US

As the U.S. reopens international borders to foreign travelers, airlines are bracing for congestion as the new rules are rolled out – this in addition to staffing issues that have caused operation complications for some carriers recently.

Arthur Wheaton, an expert in airline industries at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says the new requirements to travel internationally will bring frustration for travelers and an increased likelihood of conflict and confrontation.

Art Wheaton

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute

“The new rules for airlines and land border crossings will bring confusion and frustration to the airports and borders. The airline industry has a long history of checking passports for international flights, but the formats and types of immunization documents makes this rule tougher to enforce and will slow down the security and boarding process.

“As we demand more security measures for airlines and border crossings it raises the likelihood of conflict and confrontation. Each country has their own rules and autonomy but in a global economy one side certainly impacts another.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

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As U.S. Travel Changes Near, Global Travelers Eagerly Await Reunions

Across the United States Monday, airports expect to be filled with people reuniting with significant others, parents and friends from the 33 countries that have been prohibited from traveling directly to the United States for more than a year and half.

Luise Greve, 23, of Erlangen, Germany is among the travelers who bought the first flight that would get them to their loved one’s side as soon as the White House announced that travel would open on Nov. 8 to fully vaccinated visitors from previously banned countries.

Under the new rules, fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter the United States if they can show proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test taken within three calendar days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children under the age of 18 are exempt from the requirement, but must take a coronavirus test within 24 hours of travel.

Ms. Greve last saw her boyfriend in March 2020 — “just short of 600 days ago,” she noted — when she visited him for three weeks in Sedalia, Mo.

The pair met in early 2019 when they were randomly assigned to be part of the same castle-building “guild” in Lords Mobile, a cooperative game they play on their phones. About a week before she flew back to Germany during their March 2020 visit, the United States suspended most travel from Europe. As the pandemic dragged on, her boyfriend, who is 20, could have visited her in Germany. But his job did not offer vacation days and he could not afford to quit.

Ms. Greve, who is a university student, had been planning to use a workaround utilized by many frustrated travelers during the pandemic and enter the United States after spending two weeks in Canada. But before she could do that, the White House announced that it would be lifting the travel ban. Once officials announced the date, she secured a flight departing from Neuremberg at 6 a.m. Monday and arriving, after several layovers, in Kansas City on 8:27 p.m. that night.

On Friday, ahead of her trip, she was excited but nervous. At check-in, she will have show her proof vaccination and a negative coronavirus test result.. She was not allowing herself to get her hopes up.

“I’m just worried things will go wrong because all through the pandemic things went wrong,” she said. “Once I’m in Kansas City, I can breathe again after one and half years.”

Beatrice Fratini, 24, who lives about an hour from Venice, also expressed hesitation that her reunion with her American fiancé would actually happen Monday evening in Washington, D.C. The travel ban had traumatized her she said.

“I’m excited but I’m not going to believe it until I’m there,” she said.

These long separations can put pressure on relationships, noted Giulia Polvara who lives near Milan. Ms. Polvara, 30, is traveling to the United States next Saturday, the first day she has off work after the ban lifts. Mr. Polvara met her “special friend” as she’s calling him, in December 2020 when she was visiting her sister in New York City. They spent one intense week together.

She was supposed to visit him in early March 2020, but then the Lombardy region, one of the parts of Europe hit worse by the coronavirus, was on lockdown, meaning she couldn’t even leave her town near Lake Como to get to the airport. By the time Italy loosened its restrictions on Lombardy, the United States had banned most visitors from Europe.

“There is so much building up to this event,” she said. “I’m very happy. I’m also scared of being underwhelmed or that he will be underwhelmed.”

The man she is traveling to see could not come to Europe, because he is an Iranian living in New York City and he was waiting for the United States to issue his green card. The same week that the ban was lifted his green card was issued she said.

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Vaccinated but stuck: Indians await WHO nod for homegrown shot to travel abroad

Sugathan P.R., who received two doses of Bharat Biotech’s domestically developed Covaxin vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), collects vegetables in his kitchen garden in Pandalam village, Kerala, India, October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Devasia

PANDALAM, India, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Stuck in a village in southern India for nine months and unable to return to his job in Saudi Arabia, Sugathan P.R. is hoping the World Health Organization will approve the Indian COVID-19 shot Covaxin, paving the way for his trip back.

Like Sugathan, millions of Indians have taken Covaxin and many have complained of travel struggles as the vaccine has not been recognised for international travel by several countries.

“I cannot continue to remain idle here any further,” said 57-year-old Sugathan, who returned to Pandalam village in Kerala in January to be with his family after missing his father’s funeral last year when the pandemic disrupted flights.

“I had the option of going to Saudi and taking (additional doses of) Covishield after a four-day institutional quarantine, but I was not sure of its implications on my health,” said Sugathan, referring to AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) vaccine.

“If the Covaxin approval does not come, I will take the risk of going and taking a Saudi-approved vaccine,” he added, sitting in his spacious two-storey house fronted by paddy fields.

The WHO is expected to take a final call on an emergency-use listing for Covaxin on Tuesday.

It has deliberated on data supplied by manufacturer Bharat Biotech since early July but has said it could not “cut corners” in making a decision. read more

Without a WHO nod, the two-dose Covaxin is unlikely to be accepted as a valid vaccine globally and would complicate travel plans for Indians who have taken it.

Rajan Pallivadakethil Unnunni, 59, who worked in Kuwait as a welder for two decades before flying to India late last year, has been unable to go back as Kuwait does not recognise Covaxin.

He is now struggling to repay his $20,000 bank loan selling chicken at a small stall in Kerala and making $4 a day.

“If I cannot go back to Kuwait, I will not be able to repay the loan and complete the education of my children,” said Rajan, seated on a plastic stool in front of his shop.

“I can buy a ticket to Kuwait only if the Kuwait government app shows a green signal.”

Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Dreamy Beaches, Hidden Coves, and Idyllic Seaside Towns Await on This Secret Island Escape in Italy

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N.B. rotational workers await details on changes to travel rules

Gregory Thomas is hopeful about revised restrictions for rotational workers. 

But he’s still waiting to hear if the province’s plan will allow him to see his family without taking his daughter out of school.

The Moncton technician works 14-day rotations at a diamond mine in northern Quebec.

“They obviously know that there was a huge strain put on the out-of-province workers and their families,” he said.

Rotational workers have been calling for a reversal of tighter restrictions rolled out on Jan. 30. The current rules require them to self-isolate for a full 14 days away from others.

Before the changes, they could leave isolation early following a negative test, and stay at home with family.

Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday the government is developing a plan to address travel restrictions after hearing concerns.

“I know that the tighter border restrictions have been hard on many people,” Higgs said in a statement.

The plan will be developed by Public Health and presented in mid-March to the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19. No details have been shared publicly.

‘Negative stigma’

The new rules have left some rotational workers unable to see their families or forced them to change their work schedules. 

When Thomas last returned home, he took his eight-year-old daughter out of school for two weeks so they could isolate together. Her teacher offered to send home assignments and work.

“There’s certainly a mental health impact,” he said. “I could get through because of the people that I’m surrounded with, but there are many people out there that are going to be in trouble.”

Many rotational workers, including Thomas, say the specific rules have singled them out and are adding to “negative stigma” toward those who work outside New Brunswick.

Gregory Thomas works two-week rotations at a diamond mine in northern Quebec. (Submitted by Gregory Thomas)

His family strongly considered moving to Nova Scotia, and that remains a possibility.

“This isn’t something that is easily forgettable,” Thomas said. “It was a harsh decision.”

Michael Pelletier goes back and forth between his home in Fredericton and Alberta, where he works two-week rotations as a quality inspector for the gas and oil industry.

Since the changes went into effect, Pelletier has returned home twice.

The first time he spent his isolation alone in the basement of his house. His wife took two weeks off work without pay for the second visit, so they could isolate together. 

Pelletier hasn’t seen his three children. They are staying with their grandparents for the two weeks so they can continue to attend school.

He said tight rules specifically targeting rotational workers, without providing data or evidence on the risk they pose, is resulting in mistreatment. 

Michael Pelletier, a rotational worker from Kingsclear, says he wants the province to introduce rapid testing for rotational workers upon their return to New Brunswick so that they can spend less time self-isolating. (Submitted/Michael Pelletier)

A spokesperson for Public Health would not say how many rotational workers have contributed to outbreaks or community spread.

Pelletier said he has heard some spouses of rotational workers have been asked to go home from work.

“Our families feel blamed, we feel blamed, our children that go to school get blamed,” he said. “As soon as they hear that their parents are rotational workers they get bullied, they get mistreated.”

Calls for expanded testing

New Brunswick rotational workers have been asking for rapid testing to cut down on isolation time when they return home.

The province has only used a small portion of its rapid tests received from the federal government.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, has frequently said the tests are useful for screening but need to be confirmed with a followup PCR test. Those results can take up to two days to receive.

Despite the limited use of rapid tests, Public Health is exploring using them for cross-border travellers.

Some New Brunswick rotational workers say they want access to a rapid test for COVID-19 when they return home. (Robert Short/CBC)

A Hartland pharmacy is now offering rapid tests for people who cross the border frequently, such as daily commuters and truck drivers. Public Health hopes to expand the pilot project to other locations in the province.

Pelletier said the announcement from the premier felt like “a slap in the face” after the expansion of rapid testing for truck drivers, but not rotational workers.

He wants to see rapid testing at the airport, and work isolation with testing on the fifth and 10th days. That’s what the province has in place until late January.

New Brunswick rotational workers are planning to file a lawsuit against the provincial government and have raised more than $23,000 online to cover legal fees. 

A spokesperson said the province does not comment on potential legal matters.

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