A fifth of all eligible Limerick businesses yet to apply for…

first_imgLimerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Previous articleLimerick Ladies football squad announced as fixtures confirmed for All-Ireland seriesNext articleFilm in Limerick welcomes extension of Regional Film Uplift for Mid-West in budget Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads LimerickNewsA fifth of all eligible Limerick businesses yet to apply for Business Restart Grant Plus schemeBy Staff Reporter – October 14, 2020 229 Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Twitter WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Advertisement Printcenter_img Roisin Upton excited by “hockey talent coming through” in Limerick Facebook Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash AROUND 80 per cent of businesses in Limerick who are eligible for the Business Grant Plus scheme have applied for funding from Limerick City and County Council.  To date Limerick City and County Council has received 4,211 applications with a value of €19.5 million, while 3,856 applications have been processed with €17.8 million having been paid to businesses in Limerick.  Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up However, that still leaves around 20 per cent of eligible businesses who have yet to apply for the scheme. Closing date for applications is 31 October 2020. The Business Restart Grant Plus scheme amounts to direct grant aid of between a minimum of €4,000 to €25,000, based on commercial rates bill from 2019. It is open to businesses that have a turnover of less than €100,000 per employee up to a maximum of €25million. The grant, administered by Limerick City and County Council is to help businesses with the costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Other qualifying criteria include:·         Be a commercial, trading, entity ·         Operate from a premises that is commercially rateable by a local authority ·         Have 0 – 250 employees ·         Have suffered a 25%+ loss in turnover between 1 April and 30 June 2020. ·         Commit to remain open or to reopen if closed ·         Intend to retain employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) If a business has already been paid a grant under the initial Restart Grant Scheme, they do not need to complete a new application for the Restart Plus. The Council will contact you to confirm if you wish to opt-in to the Restart Grant Plus scheme. The Council will liaise with businesses directly, in the event that any additional information is required to complete your application under the Restart Grant Plus scheme. A further 30% top up is available for businesses as part of the introduction of Covid Level 3 restrictions. The Council will again contact businesses to confirm if they are eligible/ wish to opt-in to the Restart Grant Plus 30% scheme. Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “As a small business owner I understand the worry and confusion brought about by Covid-19. Some futures are uncertain and it is difficult to live with the ‘not knowing’.” “The Business ReStart Grant Plus will, in some way, help allay some of the costs associated and incurred when re-opening or keeping a business operational as well as re-connecting with employees and customers.” Sean Coughlan, Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Finance with Limerick City and County Council said: “Business Restart Grant Plus is one of a suite of measures being offered by Limerick City and County Council and Local Enterprise Office Limerick. I would encourage all businesses eligible to apply.” “Our records suggest there is still around 20 per cent of eligible businesses that have yet to apply for the grant. Log on to limerick.ie/business and fill out the application form. The form is not complicated and only takes a few minutes.” For more information on the Restart Grant Plus click here.To apply for the ReStart Grant Plus Scheme, click here. For information about other schemes to support businesses, check out limerick.ie/business.  Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Linkedin Email TAGSKeeping Limerick PostedlimerickLimerick Post last_img read more

Case-Shiller Index: Home Prices Increase in Q4 2013

first_img May 13, 2014 674 Views  Print This Post Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Market Studies, News Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Case-Shiller CoreLogic Home Prices Housing Starts Housing Supply 2014-05-13 Tory Barringer Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: Case-Shiller CoreLogic Home Prices Housing Starts Housing Supply Previous: FHA Program Aims to Expand Credit; Lower Risk Next: FHFA Announces Future Plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac With 2014 nearing its halfway point, a broad spectrum look at more than 380 markets nationwide confirms home prices jumped 11.3 percent in 2013’s final quarter compared to the year prior.CoreLogic released Tuesday its own quarterly Case-Shiller Indexes, assembled using the company’s proprietary data supplemented with statistics from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The analysis differs from the monthly S&P/Dow Jones Case Shiller Indices in that it covers a wider range of markets over a different time frame.While price percentages nationwide were up by double-digits in Q4, seven cities managed to shoot up into the 20 percent range year-over-year, with Las Vegas leading at 25.6 percent growth. The remaining six cities were all in California: Riverside (+23.8 percent), Oakland (+23.3 percent), Sacramento (+23.0 percent), Los Angeles (+20.3 percent), San Jose (+20.1 percent), and San Francisco (+20.0 percent).The sharp increase comes as no surprise for the region, which has suffered from low inventory levels throughout the recovery.“Limited construction of new homes and low inventories of existing homes for sale contributed to the jump in prices,” said Dr. David Stiff, principal economist for CoreLogic Case-Shiller. “Developers remain cautious about building too many new houses until they see stronger demand in their markets.”Additionally, prices climbed up to new peaks in a number of metros, including Houston, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, and Pittsburgh.“These cities have never achieved price levels quite this high, not even in the record year of 2006,” Stiff said.Even with so many markets remaining hot, CoreLogic is among those industry analysts calling for a drop-off in price gains this year. Through December 2014, the company predicts price appreciation will slow to 5.3 percent nationally, though that still comes in above the long-term annual average of 4.5 percent.“For the remainder of 2014, investor demand and sales of foreclosed properties should drop off quickly. Traditional buyers are returning slowly to the market, but cannot replace demand from investors who led the market in recent years,” Stiff said. The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Related Articlescenter_img The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Case-Shiller Index: Home Prices Increase in Q4 2013 Share Save Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Case-Shiller Index: Home Prices Increase in Q4 2013 Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Subscribelast_img read more

Another Bombay High Court Bench Raises Concerns Over Social Distancing Norms Not Being Followed

first_imgTop StoriesAnother Bombay High Court Bench Raises Concerns Over Social Distancing Norms Not Being Followed Sharmeen Hakim2 March 2021 4:13 AMShare This – xLess than a month after Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court threatened to go back to virtual hearings if social distancing norms were not adhered to, a division bench headed by Justice SS Shinde has issued a similar warning. On Monday, the division bench assigned to hear criminal matters, raised concerns about over-crowding in the courtroom and directed advocates and…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginLess than a month after Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court threatened to go back to virtual hearings if social distancing norms were not adhered to, a division bench headed by Justice SS Shinde has issued a similar warning. On Monday, the division bench assigned to hear criminal matters, raised concerns about over-crowding in the courtroom and directed advocates and litigants awaiting their turn to wait outside the courtroom. “Do not crowd in the court, or else, we will discharge the entire board and not hear any case,” Justice Shinde said warning lawyers that it would not take any case for physical hearing if social distancing norms were not followed in line with the Standard Operating Procedure for physical hearings. In a circular issued later in the evening, the bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale has directed that only 60 matters be listed for hearing on any given day. These will include fresh and urgent matters. The bench has now also allotted time slots for hearing cases. Until yesterday, the bench would take up over 100 matters in a day, starting from 10 am. The circular issued by the Prothonotary and Sr Master, and Registrar Judicial I, on the directions of the bench, states that advocates and parties-in-person must strictly adhere to social distancing norms and co-operate with peons and security personnel. The HC, at its principal seat in Mumbai, had resumed physical hearings for almost all cases since December 2020. Last week Justice Prithviraj K Chavan of the HC directed the removal of a matter from the board after the advocate removed his mask to argue, to stress that wearing a face mask all the time is compulsoryClick Hear TO Download Notice[Read Notice]Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

Inside Conditions…Dé·jà vu

first_imgMike Tyson and Aubrey Bruce (Photo by Julio Torres)Dé·jà vu: 1 a : the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time. b : a feeling that one has seen or heard something before. I love many sports, and I cannot honestly say that I really, really, unabashedly favor one over than the other. However, there are a few sports that I don’t particularly care for but I won’t trash them here because as my father Oprah Elliot Bruce used to say: “one man’s garbage, is another man’s gold.”But I do have a penchant for a few sports, pro football, pro baseball, pro boxing and pro basketball being among them. As a former participant in the sport of boxing, I have been and continue to remain a “follower.”During my pre-teen and adolescent years, almost everyone that I knew Black or White was a member of the Lawrenceville Boy’s club at one time or another. Many of us tried our hand at boxing. It was not much more than a hobby for me until I received my first real “beat down.”That fight was a “near assassination” at the hands of a Brooklyn, NY native, the late Ricardo Santiago, son of the great Santos Santiago a prominent weightlifter who was always one of the top competitors for Mr. Pittsburgh, along with my late brother Stan “the man” Bruce; both worked out at a legendary weightlifting facility in the 3400 block of Butler Street in Lawrenceville, simply known as “the bathhouse.”If I would have had a inkling of Ricardo’s pedigree, I would have never even said hello to him or even considered stepping into the “square circle” with him.I had been working out with the late Strip District heavyweight Tony Manno. I was deeply honored when the cousin of Tony Manno, (District Justice Anthony Ceoffe of Lawrenceville) chose me to deliver Tony’s eulogy. Who could know Tony better than me? Having been at the receiving end of one of his right jabs or left hooks.As far as any method of training goes, even if I had ran three marathons, bench pressed 500lbs, and worked out with “Thor” nothing or no one could have prepared me for the onslaught that I was about to receive from Se·nor Santiago.After that “near death experience,” I immediately reverted back to playing saxophone and clarinet along with seriously considering whether or not to ever come outside again because I had a two black eyes and a beat up spirit (I actually missed four days of school which helped ruin my almost perfect attendance record).But there was hope for me, just as there is hope for the true resurrection of boxing in Pittsburgh, PA. After decades of being overshadowed by other so-called “marquee” sports in the steel city; hear ye, hear ye, the sport of boxing is making a comeback in Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region facilitated by one of the greatest heavyweight champions in the history of the sport, Mike Tyson and his company Iron Mike Productions.Tyson’s “maiden voyage into Pittsburgh boxing was “The Pride of Pittsburgh I,” which debuted at the CONSOL Energy Center on August 8, 2014. The event was so successful that he now is putting on “The Pride of Pittsburgh II” which will also be taking place at theCONSOL Energy Center on Friday November 14, 2014. During his recent press conference Tyson was asked about his responsibility to boxing . “I’m only as good as my fighters are, I work for them, they’re the bosses.”Tyson is also again featuring two popular Pittsburgh pugilists’ to headline his upcoming event. After performing and winning in “Pride of Pittsburgh I,” local Pittsburgh boxer 28 year old Sammy Vasquez Jr. is coming off of his career best victory, a ninth round stoppage of then undefeated prospect James Stevenson at the August 8 at the CONSOL, earning Vasquez top billing for “Pride of Pittsburgh II.” “The Stevenson win brought a lot out of me, I was still able to outclass him even though it wasn’t an early stoppage as my last few fights had been” said Vasquez Jr. now with a record of 16-0-0 (12KO’s). “I’ve had people question my chin but Stevenson tagged me a few times, no problem there whatsoever.”Also co-featured on the fight card at “The Pride of Pittsburgh II” will be the highly popular local warrior MONTY MEZA CLAY, 36-3-0 (22KO’s). Meza-Clay will challenge cross-town rival “Lightning” ROD SALKA, 19-4-0 (3KO’s) for the Bunola, PA veteran’s WBC Fecarbox Lightweight Title in a scheduled ten rounder.Monty Meza-Clay is preparing for his second fight on the Iron Mike card after an epic ten round battle as part of “Pride of Pittsburgh I.” He seems to ready again for battle. In a voice brimming with confidence, Meza Clay says; “training is going excellent, there’s no place like home. I set the standards high for myself for the last fight, so that means that I have to go a level above that, I feel good.”When asked about his looming bout against Rod Salka, Meza Clay said that; “he’s (Salka) is local and from the area and I’m from the area. He’s making a name for himself and I have been made a name for myself. He wants to capture the throne, let’s see what happens.” This is no illusion, boxing in Pittsburgh no longer has a “black eye.” We can go outside again.Aubrey Bruce may be reached at: [email protected] or 412.583.6741Follow him on Twitter @ultrascribelast_img read more

Little Silver Seeks To Replace Cellphone Tower

first_imgBy John Burton |The Borough Council will be asking wireless providers, “Can you hear me now?” as it looks to partner for a new communications tower that would also provide additional cell service.The council will be seeking requests for proposals from communications companies in an effort to partner with one of the companies to erect a new 90foot structure in the area of the existing outdated communications tower, located behind borough hall, 480 Prospect Ave., according to borough officials.“At the end of the day, this is something we’ve needed for some time,” Mayor Robert Neff Jr. said about replacing the existing tower to ensure public safety and provide needed additional cellphone coverage for the community.Borough Councilman Donald Galante said the existing 50-foot aging tower, which dates back to circa-1966, provides inadequate coverage for local police, fire, emergency management services, State Police and county hotline services, which rely on it for communications.There are cellphone coverage dead spots in some areas of the borough, creating a possible public safety concern and could “prevent as rapid a response as possible,” in the case of an emergency, Neff noted.The thought, officials said, would be to have a private carrier construct the tower on borough-owned property, for which it would receive a rent abatement for a yet to be determined period of time for the use of the property and save taxpayer money. The cost to construct a new 90-foot tower could be anywhere from $150,000-$200,000, according to officials.In addition, the site could be used by other wireless providers, increasing those companies’ coverage for area users and earning the municipality some revenue, they said.“Doing this makes financial sense and it certainly makes good safety response sense,” Neff said.“This is the perfect opportunity to bring everything together,” Galante said.State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), is a borough resident (and former borough councilman) who has headed up FSD Enterprises for about 20 years. The Red Bank-based firm works with municipalities to negotiate with wireless communications providers for the placement of towers and other equipment. O’Scanlon is volunteering his services, working with local officials as they explore their options.These installations are a fact of life today and “We all have a voracious appetite for bandwidth,” O’Scanlon noted. “And if that is going to function the way we all want it to we’re going to need the infrastructure.”This discussion came about when the telecommunication company Verizon appeared before the borough planning board about three months ago seeking a variance to place a number of antennas on top of downtown commercial buildings to improve service. The borough has an ordinance that makes this equipment a permitted use only on municipal property, thus requiring a use variance to place it outside of the permitted zones.“I wasn’t really excited, aesthetically, about buildings down-town having these antennas,” Galante acknowledged. But that opened the door for discussions for a new tower, he said.The council voted on June 8 to authorize borough administrator Kimberly Jungfer to work with O’Scanlon to address specifications and advertise to begin the bidding process. No time frame has been established for a decision.– By John Burtonlast_img read more

Smith is made to work for first pro title

first_imgHarrow’s super-featherweight prospect Mitchell Smith won his first professional title but was pushed all the way by underdog Scott Moises at the Copper Box Arena.Former ABA champion Smith, 20, picked up the southern-area belt after coming through the toughest test of his promising career so far.He won a decision by just one point (96-95) following a fiercely competitive 10-round contest at the east London venue.Moises, from Norfolk, showed great spirit and landed with a number of shots but Smith was able to extend his unbeaten record to 7-0.See also:Title would make Smith a happy HammerSmith to defend title at the Copper BoxFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Jazz, 108, Warriors, 103: Warriors offense disappears in loss to Utah

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY – If only Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala or Alfonzo McKinnie made late-game 3-pointers. If only the ball did not go off of Curry’s hands on the Warriors’ final possession. If only officials did not incorrectly call a foul on Klay Thompson when Utah guard Donovan Mitchell fell to the floor on a missed 3-pointer.Not only would the Warriors likely have avoided a 108-103 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Perhaps the Warriors would not have a philosophical discussion …last_img read more

Nature Reports Armitage Discrimination Case

first_img(Visited 262 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The leading scientific journal has reported Mark Armitage’s lawsuit against California State University for firing him as a creationist.In a fairly unbiased write-up, Christopher Kemp in Nature News has given publicity to a discrimination case involving microscopist Mark Armitage, an outspoken creationist (he serves on the board of the Creation Research Society, and has presided over a local creation group, the Bible-Science Association).  Armitage, standing bold in a photograph at the article’s head, is suing California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for firing him over his publication of a paper with young-earth implications in a peer-reviewed journal, even though the journal paper said nothing about creation or the age of the earth.  His paper, published in Acta Histochemica last year, described soft tissue in a Triceratops horn he had uncovered in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana.  It was reviewed by Mary Schweitzer and others.  The article states that Schweitzer, who had first reported dinosaur soft tissue in 2005, agreed that Armitage had only described the morphology of the fossil, not any creationist arguments.  “It was fine,” she was quoted saying.Kemp made a passing reference to David Coppedge’s discrimination case against JPL (2011-2012):The suit alleges that faculty members hostile to Armitage had him fired because they could not stand working with a creationist who had been published in a legitimate scientific journal. He and his attorneys at the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal organization based in Sacramento, California, that focuses on religious and family issues, have repeatedly made that claim in the press. But specialists in US labour law suggest that his claim of religious intolerance might have difficulty standing up if the case goes to trial.In recent years, a schoolteacher, academic and NASA employee who were creationists have claimed that they were fired unjustly for their religious beliefs. (None were reinstated.) But what makes this case different is that Armitage managed to survive for years in a mainstream academic institution and to publish research in a respected peer-reviewed journal.There’s an error there, because Coppedge also “managed to survive for years” (14 years—longer than Armitage at CSUN—and 9 of those years as a team lead) “in a mainstream academic institution” (JPL is a NASA research and development laboratory managed by Caltech).The article is titled, “University sued after firing creationist fossil hunter.”  The subtitle adds, for unclear reasons, “Microscopist’s wrongful-dismissal case faces long odds.”  Perhaps it’s because some felt Armitage’s position was “temporary,” yet the timing of his dismissal two weeks after publishing his paper seems suspect.  Perhaps it’s because he engaged students and co-workers in discussions about the implications of soft tissue in dinosaur bone.  According to Kemp, that could be grounds for dismissal in an academic environment:In terms of getting his job back, those conversations might be Armitage’s undoing. US anti-discrimination laws require employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s beliefs or religious practices, unless doing so would cause ‘undue hardship’ to the employer, says Justine Lisser, a spokesperson for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.If Armitage made his living bending metal in a machine shop, an employer would find it difficult to show how his views caused undue hardship, she says. But in an academic setting, telling biology or palaeontology students that life began only a few thousand years ago more clearly undermines the institution’s goals. “It would be an easier showing of undue hardship,” says Lisser, “because it’s more related to the essence of what the person is doing.”Yet Coppedge was in a similar situation, running computer administration for the Cassini mission, not publishing scientific papers.  Armitage worked primarily as a microscopist at the lab; what he researched and published was on his own time outside of work.  His discussions apparently involved observable facts about fossil tissue, not religion.  Like Coppedge, Armitage was engaging co-workers and students informally, not in scientific conferences or as a professor.  Anyone was free at any time to ask not to discuss such things.Will Armitage and the Pacific Justice Institute be able to show that his free speech was violated, and did not create any kind of “hardship” at the university?  Will CSUN’s lawyers be able to defend old ages and Darwinism as “the institution’s goals” that cannot be questioned?  Time will tell.The phrase “managed to survive” is telling.  Nature and its reporter Christopher Kemp seem dumbfloundered that any Darwin doubter could survive so long in academia.  They should see survival as a sign of fitness, shouldn’t they?  Their opponents see their persecutors as too weak on sound arguments to have a reasoned discussion about the evidence, leading them to commit purges of their ranks in order to avoid the trauma of having their consensus dogmas questioned.We wish Mark the best fortune in this attempt, but cannot feel confident that the legal system will give him justice, considering how intolerant and bigoted the DODO‘s are with their DOPE rule.  They have succeeded once again in positioning this as a science-vs-religion case, when it is really about observable scientific facts: stretchy tissue in bone the DODO’s believe must be over 65 million years old.  One’s religious positions should not matter if the facts are peer-reviewed and reported according to normal academic standards.  Such discrimination was never experienced by Faraday, Newton, Maxwell, and the others in our list of creationist scientists.This is why Darwinists are like communists.  They scream for “academic freedom” and “tolerance” until they get power, then they deny it to everyone else.  Given what your Editor went through at JPL, I don’t trust any of them.  In my case, it was not about creationism even, but intelligent design.  Anything short of DODO is persecuted in academia, but young-earth creationism is especially targeted.  Mark faces an uphill battle; most likely, they will try to destroy his character like they tried to do with me.  One day, a case may break the back of the DODOs and expose them for the insufferable bigots they are.  If Mark wins, it will provide partial vindication for the others who tried to “tear down this wall” before him.last_img read more

Cong Working Presidents appreciate party manifesto

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee Working Presidents on Tuesday appreciated the Party Manifesto ” Ham Nibhayenge” released by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. It is clearly spelt out the demands and aspirations of the people of the country and how to fulfill them.The Working President Haroon Yusuf said that the manifesto has given full attention to the needs of all sections in respective of category, caste, religion and believes of the people, as well as that of the common people, poor, labour, farmers, women, youth, students and the unemployed. Another Congress working President Rajesh Lilothia said that the manifesto clearly shows that the Congress party works for the interest and welfare of the people, and nothing has been left out for the fully integrated developments and progress of the country. The Congress senior leader Mangat Ram Singhal said that the manifesto has also noted that to give relief to the traders, the GST would be simplified, 33 per cent quota would be reserved for women in Parliament and State Assemblies to protect their interest.last_img read more

Tennis And The Olympics Make An Awkward Match

We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Olympic tennis should be as, well, grand as a Grand Slam. The world’s best players show up with a chance to win hardware for their countries — and without making a yearlong commitment. They get to hang with other great athletes in the Olympic Village. And they only get one chance every four years — not four chances every year. That makes it especially precious for players who are sidelined with injury just before the games, as Rafael Nadal was in 2012 and as Roger Federer is this year. The reality, though, is a bit more flawed. The necessities of the national nature of the Olympics imposes restrictions on what is otherwise mostly an individual sport. And that robs the Olympics tennis event of some of its top players and teams — and that’s not counting the stars who blamed Zika when they withdrew.No country gets more than four players in each of the men’s and women’s 64-player singles draws — half the size of major draws. That limit means half of France’s eight men in the Top 50 don’t get a shot at individual glory. Meanwhile, to improve regional representation, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia (ranked No. 188 at the time the entry list was finalized) and Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein (No. 274) got into the women’s draw. At majors, they’d usually have to try to earn their way in through qualifying.At least in singles, players are competing as they usually do. On the tours, some of the best doubles teams are paragons of multinational cooperation — a former pairing of an Indian man and a Pakistani teammate inspired tennis fans in both their countries. Part of what makes tennis great, if you’re into individual agency for athletes, is that even when players team up on tour, they do so by choice. They choose whom to partner and whom to dump — leading to a fun round of musical chairs and attendant gossip in each offseason. The Olympics, though, forces teammates to split up. Four of the top 10 women’s teams in the world, including the very best one, pair players from different countries. So do six of the top 10 men’s teams. There isn’t a ranking for mixed doubles, yet just three of the 16 majors since the last Olympics were won by a man and woman from the same country. Yet all those players who normally partner with someone from a different country had to find someone else to play with in Rio de Janeiro.The bigger problem with mixed at the Olympics is how easy it is to medal once you’ve qualified: Just 16 teams enter (after having qualified by making it into one of the other draws and then signing up for mixed in Rio), so it takes just two wins to reach the semifinals. Win one of the next two matches and you’re on the podium.Partly because of all the limitations, especially on top players who don’t qualify because their country’s talent pool is too deep, the tours stopped offering ranking points for wins in this year’s Olympic event. John Isner, the highest ranked American man, cited that as a major factor in his decision to skip Rio. Isner and other opt-outers have been feasting on depleted competition at the tour events. Isner got 150 ranking points for beating three players outside the top 50 in Atlanta last week — 150 more than he would’ve gotten if he’d won the gold medal in Rio. Ranking points, not gold, are the currency on tour, yielding direct entry to events and higher seeds that offer safer passage through the draw.The Olympic men’s singles draw may have lost other stars to early upsets because of their best-of-three-set format until the final. Novak Djokovic, who has won just about every important title except a gold medal, lost his first match in straight sets to Juan Martin del Potro. At a major he would have had a chance to try to come back — a thrilling prospect whether or not he would have pulled it off.I asked the International Tennis Federation, which helps organize the event, for a response to my criticisms. David Haggerty, president of the ITF, said in a statement sent through a spokesman: “The ITF is happy with the overall format of the Olympic Tennis Event, which presents a unique opportunity for players to represent their countries in individual competition. The current format ensures a strength of entry alongside a diversity of nations that reflects the universality of our sport.” He added that the draw size and number of sets are constrained by the desire to limit the event to a little over a week so players can get back on tour, and so that they can enter singles, doubles and mixed without undue burden.I’m not arguing, as many do, that tennis shouldn’t be in the Olympics.1Nor is it a plea on behalf of ESPN, the owner of this website and the broadcaster of the U.S. Open but not of the Olympics. All of the sport’s top players in recent years have competed passionately for their countries and have medaled in 2008 or 2012, or both: Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. I watched many of them at the London games in 2012 and enjoyed the novelty of watching singles stars playing doubles, wearing country uniforms and bringing lots of new colors to the usually staid Wimbledon aesthetic. And no one who watched the Djokovic-del Potro epic, or saw both players’ tears afterwards, would prefer it had never happened. It’s just a reminder that when the Olympic format is forced on top of an established sport’s pre-existing structure, flaws and awkwardness are inevitable. Tennis is an individual sport and is at its best when players — and doubles pairs — are free to compete for themselves. read more