Michael O’Neill will not meet the press until after his first game in charge of Stoke City at Barnsley tomorrow.
But he has already given an interview for the club website where he spells out his short and long-term ambitions and why he is leaving Northern Ireland after eight years to jump in with two feet at the bottom of the Championship.
How are you feeling after being appointed as Stoke manager?
I’m delighted to get the opportunity first of all. Having been here this morning, arriving last night, I know about the club’s history, the club – the facilities are fantastic.
I’ve had a chance to meet the players and work with the players today and for me it’s a great opportunity.
What attracted you to Stoke City?
I think first of all the club ownership is very important because the stability that John and Peter Coates give to the club. You know the people you’re working with and working for, which is very important.
Then the size of the club and the fact the club, while it isn’t not in the strongest position at this period of time, it has previously spent 10 years in the Premier League.
I think in this day and age as a British coach you typically have to manage a team into the Premier League and I think this is a club which certainly has the potential to go to that level – albeit at the minute our immediate situation is making sure we climb up the Championship table.
Have you always had a desire to return to club football eventually?
Yeah, there was. I’ve had opportunities that haven’t come to fruition and opportunities that weren’t right for me based on the circumstances so when this opportunity came I felt it was the right time in my career to go back into club football.
The people who have brought me to this club and gone that extra little bit to bring me here was very important to me as well.
Ultimately as well, looking at the whole infrastructure of this club; the passion of supporters and the quality of the playing staff as well. I think there are a lot of good players at this club and hopefully it’s a case of steering us and getting us going into the right direction.
You don’t seem fazed by the challenge?
No, I don’t. As an international manager of a small nation like Northern Ireland you are used to having to punch above your weight. Over those eight years we’ve had quite a successful period for a nation of our size.
It has been quite a massive challenge with quite limited resources at times. Here, the resources are not limited and the facilities are fantastic and everything is here to build a top class football club.
I think we have to get everyone aligned to that, get everyone thinking in the right way.
The challenge is massive because of where the team is at this minute in time and we have to address that and start addressing it tomorrow at Barnsley.
How will you look to get the best out of the squad?
A number of things. We have to look to put a bit of structure in the team, find the right system of play for the players we have.
We have a lot of players with international and Premier League experience but the Championship is a different animal, a different challenge and players have to adapt to that as well.
It’s about building togetherness. This squad is very big actually and sometimes that can be a bit more difficult because players are disappointed when they don’t play.
But we have to try to maximise the talent we have in the building here, get everyone hopefully playing to the level they are capable and if we do that the club can only go in one direction.
What sort of qualities do you look for in your sides?
I like to play with high intensity, press the game when the opportunity is there on the opposition. But equally I like to dominate possession of the ball as well. The Championship is a bit more difficult to have that level of dominance but the priority is to get points on the board first of all and we’ll do that by whatever means possible.
Over time we will develop a style for the team, find players to fit that style and find the right players who are capable of playing for a club of this stature.
I do think there is an expectation here as well, which is good. Players coming to this club or here have to meet that expectation and we have to put it into the chemistry of the team and chemistry of the individuals as well.
Are you looking to replicate the family atmosphere you had at Northern Ireland?
Very much so. It’s a big club but it’s clearly a family club from the ownership down. It’s important that we create something where it’s a good place for players to come to work, where it’s a good place for players, good place for staff and that we maximise this magnificent facility we have.
There’s man management involved in that and players have a responsibility to create that atmosphere within the building as well. Certainly from what I’ve seen this morning I think we have a good group of lads but we have to start getting more out of them, build confidence up and start getting results.
Is Michael O’Neill the right man for Stoke City?
2000+ VOTES SO FAR
Yes, he can turn the ship around
No, there are better candidates
I’m reserving judgement
You sound eager to make an immediate impact?
I felt I could possibly come and let the backroom staff who are currently in place take the game as they did on Monday night but I think it’s too important a game to do that.
So with their help and with a very limited period of time this morning we got some ideas across to the players about how we intend to play. We looked at a couple of options.
It’s my first time to see the boys in the flesh and get some indication of their character as well. It was a positive morning for me, I saw a lot of quality.
As I say, it’s a case of harnessing that and building a team, building a structure and getting the most out of the talent they have.
The focus is firstly on staying up?
It has to be when we’re 15 games in and we’re where we are now in the league. We must not think it will just happen or that there’s enough time. There is a level of urgency because you must address these situations and the slide you’re in as quickly as possible.
We have the opportunity to do that tomorrow at Barnsley. It’s important that I’m hands on and not a bystander looking in.
It was important to get my hands dirty with the players today and let them know the significance of the game tomorrow.
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The mother of a 10-year-old boy who suffered serious injuries after falling from a zip line in September has filed a lawsuit.
Kimberly Barnes, of Lakeland, Florida, is suing Urban Air Adventure Park, also in Lakeland. The suit filed on Monday claims employees failed to check or secure the boy’s harness at safety checkpoints before he went on the ride.
“He went to go have fun that day,” Barnes said. “He was with his friend to celebrate his friend’s birthday, and maybe literally an hour, hour and a half, after they were open, I got a phone call that he had fallen from a harness.”
“He was going to be airlifted because it was a trauma situation at that point, and that’s when I lost it,” she added.
According to a statement from the family’s law firm, Morgan & Morgan, the boy’s harness gave way seconds after leaving the “Sky Ride” platform, and he fell over 20 feet, landing on cement.
He was airlifted to a hospital, where he spent five days, with serious injuries. He required surgery for broken bones, a collapsed lung and a brain injury.
Barnes said that her son is still recovering, adding that his behavior and attitude have changed and he still misses school days when he can’t tolerate the pain.
“In this case, three different people supposedly trained on safety procedures failed to take the necessary steps to ensure our client’s safety, and the result was horrific,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement. “But this isn’t just employee failure; we believe it was the lack of proper training and oversight by management as well a failure to have appropriate safety measures in place in the event of employee error.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture told ABC News that the agency’s inspector “noted no deficiencies in the equipment at the time of the incidents nor did Urban Air have a history of device deficiencies during prior inspections of the facility. The report indicates that the incident was a result of operator error.”
ABC News reached out to Urban Air for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
Brandon Ray Gonzales, 23, was arrested a day after the Oct. 27 shooting at an off-campus homecoming party for Texas A&M University-Commerce. Authorities said two people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured from either being shot or getting caught in the stampede to get out of the crowded venue in Greenville, about 50 miles northeast of Dallas.
Gonzales, who lives in Greenville and works as a mechanic, was charged with capital murder of multiple persons and was being held on $1 million bail by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.
But on Tuesday, the sheriff announced in a statement that he had recommended prosecutors drop the charges against Gonzales and let him go, citing a “lack of cooperation from witnesses and discovery of exculpatory evidence during the course of the investigation.” He did not specify what that evidence could be.
“The probable cause arrest was based on credible information and statements given to law enforcement,” Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said. “Law enforcement has diligently investigated this case and in the days since the arrest, additional information has come to light. Due to the lack of cooperation from witnesses and discovery of exculpatory evidence during the course of the investigation, we have requested the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office take no action on Mr. Gonzales’ case at this time, and that he be released from custody.”
The sheriff also said his office will “continue our investigative efforts into the shooting,” and he urged anyone who was there that night and has not yet spoken to authorities to do so.
“Though individuals may have reasons for not wishing to come forward, we ask that they do so and tell law enforcement what you saw and heard that night no matter how small the information may be. They may not know the importance of any information they have,” Meeks said. “If you were present at the Party Venue or have any information regarding this case, please contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at 903-408-6800, or to remain anonymous you may contact Hunt County Crime Stoppers at 903-457-2929.”
Gonzales and his attorneys spoke to reporters at the Hunt County Jail after being released Tuesday evening.
“I’m out,” he said. “I’m free.”
The father of three said he’s owed more than an apology from authorities because his name and mugshot were splashed on news articles and TV segments across the country, and he said being in jail jeopardized his livelihood and ability to provide for his family. His attorneys said they plan to file a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.
Gonzales had told investigators that he was at the Halloween-themed homecoming party, where he was dressed as a security guard, but that he was innocent, according to authorities.
After weeks of reports that the Beijing was searching for a replacement for deeply unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the embattled leader received what appeared to be a warm welcome and a ringing endorsement by the Chinese leadership this week in Beijing and Shanghai.
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Lam had always been scheduled to attend the annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai this week but was suddenly summoned to Beijing at the last minute after the Expo to meet face to face with the senior Chinese leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs.
The Chinese Communist Party had just concluded a leadership conclave where the issue of Hong Kong was undoubtedly discussed.
A senior Chinese official even mentioned on Friday that Beijing has made a decision to “improve the system and mechanisms of how the central government appoints and removes chief executives and other main officials” in Hong Kong and neighboring Macau.
That statement suddenly ignited speculation about Lam’s fate and that she may not be long for the job.
However, that all changed when she was again asked suddenly, by her own accounts, to a last minute meeting on Monday evening in Shanghai; this time with Chinese President Xi Jinping himself.
It was the first official meeting between the Chinese leader and Lam since protests and civil unrest began rocking Hong Kong in early June.
The smiles on both of their faces were telling: Xi was endorsing Lam and signaling that she is not going away, at least for the time being.
“The central government has a high degree of trust in you, and fully affirms the work that you and your governing team put in,” President Xi told Lam, according to a Chinese state media readout of the meeting. Xi said that Lam has done “large amounts of arduous work” in trying to stabilize the situation.
The sentiment was echoed when she met with Vice Premier Han Zheng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Wednesday morning.
Han said that Lam has tried everything possible to stabilize the situation in Hong Kong and has carried out a “huge amount of tough work.” He reiterated that Beijing will continue to fully support the Lam’s government and the Hong Kong Police Force in restoring order to Hong Kong.
Since the protests began in June over Lam’s push for the now-withdrawn extradition bill, her approval ratings have tanked, making her the most unpopular leader since the former British colony returned in China in 1997. A recent public opinion poll places her popularity at just 20.2% with only 11% of those polled saying that they would vote for her if given a vote. She was polling at above 50% as late as March of this year.
Having long been seen by critics as just a proxy or, at best, an implementer for Beijing, protesters initially called for Lam’s resignation as a part of their demands but have since conceded that whoever Beijing replaces her with will be more of the same.
Instead, as the protest movement morphed from being about the extradition bill to advocating for democracy, the protesters have demanded the Hong Kong Government — and by extension Beijing — grant Hong Kong residents a direct vote for their leader and members of the legislative council.
Currently, Carrie Lam’s position is chosen by a 1200-member election committee that has been disproportionately stacked with Beijing loyalists. The 2014 Umbrella Movement protests that occupied the Hong Kong streets for 79 days erupted after Beijing said they would need to vet the candidates before they can stand for a general election.
Ultimately, that deal, which would have allowed Hong Kong residents one-man-one-vote for a Beijing-vetted candidate, was blocked by the pro-democracy camp and the selection of the Hong Kong Chief Executive remained with the small committee.
Beijing’s ringing endorsement of Lam this week may not mean she’s secure for the long run. Her five year term technically runs until 2022.
If Beijing had decided to remove Lam it would have immediately put the process of finding her replacement or successor on the table.
With a local election coming up at the end of the month in Hong Kong that has already been marred by political violence, Beijing’s gambit may be that Lam is likely their best and maybe only option for stability at the moment.
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The Senate unanimously passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty.
The bipartisan bill, which was passed Tuesday afternoon, will now be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.
“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who sponsored the bill in the Senate along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”
If the president signs it, it will become a federal law.
“There is no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals – period,” Blumenthal added. “Senator Toomey and I have spent years working to hold the barbaric individuals who commit these crimes accountable, and I’m glad that Congress is now finally sending our bill to the president’s desk to be signed into law.”
The bill is an expansion on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of “animal crushing” videos illegal. The underlying acts, which were not included in the 2010 bill, are part of the PACT Act.
It would make it a federal crime for “any person to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce,” according to a fact sheet of the bill.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., unanimously passed the House on Oct. 22 and was then sent to the Senate.
“This bill sends a clear message that our society does not accept cruelty against animals. We’ve received support from so many Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum,” Deutch said in a statement when the House passed the bill. “I’m deeply thankful for all of the advocates who helped us pass this bill, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage and the president’s signature.”
The act is limited to interstate commerce and federal property and would not interfere with local animal cruelty laws or enforcement.
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said last month.
The president and CEO of the Humane Society, Kitty Block, and the head of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson, applauded the passing of the bill.
“The passage of this bill is a well-deserved victory for us and our colleagues at the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Protection Litigation division, who were instrumental in helping the sponsors draft this legislation and have led the fight to pass the PACT Act for almost a decade now,” Block and Amundson said in a statement on the Humane Society’s website.
“We applaud Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for their persistence and leadership on seeing this bill through,” the statement said.
An Oklahoma woman is accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in insurance money from an elderly Camp Fire survivor whose home was destroyed in the deadly wildfire, officials said.
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Brenda Rose Asbury, 29, of Tulsa, embezzled $63,100 from a 75-year-old person who was meant to collect the money as part of an insurance settlement after losing a residence in the 2018 fire, according to a press release from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.
Asbury was arrested and charged with elder abuse, embezzlement and grand theft, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Camp Fire is the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California history, destroying thousands of homes and structures and claiming the lives of 85 people. The blaze ignited in Butte County and burned 153,336 acres for 18 days.
Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Asbury in September of this year.
They discovered she lived in Tulsa and coordinated with Oklahoma law enforcement to try and track her down, according to the sheriff’s office.
An attorney retained by Asbury later spoke with detectives, who told the attorney that Asbury needed to contact law enforcement immediately.
She showed up to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and told them she had been driving the past three days from Oklahoma, the sheriff’s office said.
Asbury was subsequently placed under arrest.
It was not immediately clear how Asbury came across the money, or if she had a relationship with the victim. Calls to the sheriff’s office were not returned.
Asbury did not respond to ABC News for comment. An attorney for her could not be reached.
She is expected to be arraigned on Thursday in Butte County Superior Court.
A man is under arrest for allegedly knifing eight people, including four tourists and two police officers, at a popular attraction in Jordan on Wednesday, sources from the Jordanian General Security confirmed to ABC News.
As dozens of tourists were visiting the ancient city of Jerash — one of the world’s best preserved Roman ruins — a bus driver, a tour guide and four tourists from Mexico and Switzerland were viciously slashed.
A video posted to Twitter purportedly shot in the immediate aftermath of the attack in Jerash showed a bloody scene, with one woman lying face down on the ground while receiving aid to a wound to her back. Also captured in the video that was viewed more than 34,000 times as of Wednesday morning there was a badly injured man and a woman heard asking for help in Spanish: “It’s a dagger, it’s a dagger, there is a knife. Please, help him now!”
The knife attack ended as two police officers wrestled the alleged slasher to the ground. Both officers were also cut during the take down.
There was no immediate information about the alleged assailant.
One of the officers and a Mexican tourist were listed in serious condition and helicoptered to a hospital 30 miles away in Amman, authorities said. The remaining injured were reportedly in moderate condition.
There was no motive for the attack and the case is still under investigation.
Before Wednesday’s attack, the most recent threat to Jordan’s tourist trade came in August, when a dispute between two people living near the historic city of Petra erupted into gunfire. An unidentified man opened fire on a bus, but no passengers were on board and no one was hurt, state news agency Petra said.
In her third appearance on the show this year, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, appeared on “The View” Wednesday fighting back against those who have questioned her loyalty, calling the comments made against her “demeaning.”
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“It’s offensive to me as a soldier, as an American, as a member of congress, as a veteran, and frankly as a woman, to be so demeaned in this way,” Gabbard told the hosts. “I am a patriot, I love our country … I have dedicated almost my entire adult life to protecting the safety, security and freedom of all Americans in this country.”
Last month, Gabbard engaged in a tussle with former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who told David Plouffe on “Campaign HQ”, a podcast run by the 2008 Obama campaign manager, that a female 2020 candidate was a “favorite of the Russians” and is being “groomed” by Republicans for a third-party run.
Clinton suggested President Donald Trump’s campaign would attempt to deflect votes from his Democratic opponent and direct them toward a third-party candidate. While there are currently five Democratic women running for president, and Clinton didn’t name-names, her remarks appeared to be aimed at Gabbard.
Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN in response to a question about whether she was referring to Gabbard simply said “If the nesting doll fits.”
Gabbard responded later on, saying Clinton was a “queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
When asked by the hosts if she was running as a third party candidate, Gabbard said “I’m running to build a New Democratic Party”
The lawmaker also recently changed course on impeachment proceedings against Trump. Gabbard said after reading the transcript of a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that led to a whistleblower complaint, she had no choice.
“Up to this point, I have been opposed to pursuing impeachment because it will further divide our already badly divided country,” Gabbard said in a Sept. 27 press release from her campaign. “However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent.”
She said she didn’t want future presidents or other federal leaders to get the idea that its OK to abuse their position for personal gain without repercussion.
Christopher Donato, Meg Cunningham and Steff Thomas contributed to this story.