DETROIT – The Trump administration is overstating claims of auto safety and reduced costs in justifying its proposal to weaken Obama-era fuel economy requirements that were aimed at making cars more fuel efficient.On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged a freeze of fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels, rather than toughening them through 2026.Currently, vehicles would have to get around 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving by 2020. The agencies contend that freezing standards would make roads significantly safer, but auto experts say the administration’s claims stretch credulity.A look at the claims:EPA and NHTSA: “The administration is focused on correcting the current standards that restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits.” — news release Thursday.NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King added at a news briefing that if the Obama EPA’s standards are left in place, they will raise the average cost of vehicles by $2,340 through 2025. The price increase would deter people from replacing older cars, keeping more of them on the road. Without the increase, more people could afford to replace older vehicles with newer ones that are safer and pollute less.THE FACTS: The agencies are overstating the impact of potential price increases. Auto industry experts say vehicle prices already are on the rise because people are switching from cars to more expensive trucks and SUVs. They’re willingly paying more, pushing the average price to a record $35,000 this year.Even if higher mileage requirements raise prices by $2,340, they say it won’t deter many people from buying new vehicles. Most people buy based on the monthly payment, analysts say. That increase would cost only around $34 per month, says Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst with the Edmunds.com auto pricing website.“That’s not much at all,” he said.___EPA, citing potential benefits from freezing mileage standards: “Increased vehicle affordability leading to increased driving of newer, safer, more efficient and cleaner vehicles … Over 12,000 fewer crash fatalities over the lifetimes of all vehicles built through model year 2029. Up to 1,000 lives saved annually.” — EPA fact sheet released Thursday.THE FACTS: These claims overstate the safety benefits. While newer vehicles are safer due to better engineering and safety features such as more air bags, automatic emergency braking and blind spot detection, auto safety experts say the difference between vehicles made 10 years ago and now isn’t that huge, and the number of lives saved can’t really be calculated.Decade-old vehicles have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control which stop drivers from losing control, two major safety advances. And vehicles with reduced mass actually can be safer because newer metals can be stronger than heavier steel.“The car I traded in two cars ago already had anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, said Giorgio Rizzoni, an engineering professor and director of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University. “From a safety perspective, I’m not sure that they’re significantly, really vigorously less safe than they are today.”___EPA assistant administrator Bill Wehrum: “We’ll leave the standards at a place where we’re not imposing undue costs on manufacturers.” — news briefing Thursday.THE FACTS: Not exactly. Even if the U.S. freezes its mileage requirements, the European Union, China, Japan and other nations will continue to increase theirs, which already are more stringent. Since most automakers sell vehicles worldwide, they’ll have to develop new technology such as electric cars anyway to satisfy other markets. The U.S. may not get the new technology as quickly as elsewhere. If new technologies aren’t sold in the U.S., the cost per vehicle is higher, Rizzoni says.“The best way to reduce the cost of new technology is to spread it over as many vehicles as possible,” he said.___Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bdFollow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheckEDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures
OTTAWA — The Ontario government is refusing to follow the federal Liberals’ lead with a controversial tax change related to passive investment income in personal corporations.Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office has maintained the change was about ensuring wealthy people didn’t start tiny corporations just to get a better tax rate than people in the middle class.The federal tax change was part of Morneau’s package of reforms last year, which he eventually watered down following a backlash from small-business owners and incorporated professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.In its fall economic update today, the province’s Progressive Conservative government says it will introduce new legislation to reverse a plan by its Liberal predecessors to parallel the federal changes in Ontario.Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s fall update says implementing the measure in the province would increase taxes on small businesses by about $160 million per year by 2020-21.Other provinces have also been skeptical about Ottawa’s plan. Last summer, finance ministers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan said they intended to press Morneau to find out how complicated it would be if their provinces ultimately decided against implementing Ottawa’s plan.The Canadian Press
Guwahati: Most parts of Assam witnessed incessant rains on Saturday due to the impact of cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades. Following the rains, the state government has issued an alert to suspend ferry services between Jorhat and Majuli, Guwahati and North Guwahati, Dhubri and other places from Saturday to Sunday. While flight services from Guwahati has been suspended till Saturday evening, the Northeast Frontier Railway has also cancelled several trains to Kolkata and Odisha. Similarly, trains from Kolkata and Odisha to Assam were also cancelled. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh Weather experts at the Regional Meteorological Centre at Borjhar had warned of heavy rains accompanied by strong winds to lash the northeastern states on Saturday and Sunday. Assam government had earlier warned the district administrations to remain alert ahead of Fani and deployed 40 companies of National Disaster Rescue Force at some vulnerable locations across the state. As of Saturday, Fani has weakened into a “cyclonic storm leaving no more major threat” for West Bengal. It is situated at Shantipur in Nadia district about 60 km north of Kolkata, and is likely to enter Bangaldesh around Saturday noon. The cyclone made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning.
Junior center Amir Williams dunks the ball during a game against Iowa Jan. 12 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 84-74.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe night is darkest before the dawn, and for the No. 24-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team (16-4, 3-4), that dawn might have arrived.After struggling through a four-game losing streak — the program’s longest since February 2008 — the Buckeyes got back on track with a 62-55 victory against Illinois last Thursday.Freshman forward Marc Loving said just getting a win helped raise spirits in the locker room.“Our moods are definitely a lot lighter than what they were during the four-game losing streak,” Loving said Tuesday. “I would say there’s been a lighter load going into the next game. I feel like a weight’s been lifted off of us, get a little monkey off our back. Going into this next game, we definitely have a mindset that we’ve got to execute and get stops defensively because that’s what we key on.”It’s been more than two weeks since OSU headed into a game off a win, and some players are hoping their problems have been fixed.Junior center Amir Williams, who saw his minutes decline during the losing streak, said a lot of time in practice has been dedicated to two things: defense and shooting.“We spent a lot of time these past few days working on our defense and a lot with our shooting,” Williams said Tuesday. “That’s mainly been a problem that we’ve had in the past, guys were just driving by us and not playing our principles on defense so we just got back to the basics and broke down what we had to do defensively to keep teams from scoring against us and just get up a lot of shots offensively. We’ve been putting a lot of time into shooting the ball.”Williams added that another four-game losing streak has to be prevented at all costs for a team with as high of goals like OSU’s.“We can’t take any team for granted,” Williams said. “This is a tough conference to play in night in and night out so we’re going to continue to build … That four-game losing streak is something that can’t happen to us again. We’re going to have losses and we’re going to win some games but we can’t just not show up to play like we did those last four games.”Next up, the Buckeyes are set to take on Penn State (10-10, 1-6) and will be hoping to contain their leading scorers, redshirt-junior guard D.J. Newbill (17.2 points per game) and graduate-senior guard Tim Frazier (16.5 points per game).OSU coach Thad Matta said despite the Nittany Lions’ record, they will not be overlooked by the Buckeyes.“You look at Penn State, they’ve been in every single game they’ve played this season and had some of the craziest losses I’ve seen in terms of the ball didn’t bounce their way,” Matta said Tuesday. “Obviously Frazier and Newbill have shown, not only this year but throughout their career, that they can go into an arena and get 30 on you … but you get a pretty good feel of who they’re trying to get shots for and we’ve got to do a pretty good job of locking those guys down the best we can.”The last time OSU lost to Penn State was Jan. 10, 2004. Tipoff is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Thad Matta addresses the media for the final time as head coach at Ohio State on June 5, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of 97.1 The FanThad Matta was fired Monday because lately the Ohio State men’s basketball team hasn’t won enough games, and it is an honorable reason to be fired. There is no shortage of reasons why college coaches are fired, and failure to win enough games is the best of them. Just think about the last two big-time coaches fired at OSU: Jim O’Brien, who Matta succeeded, and Jim Tressel.Both were removed amid scandal. Both left behind a trail of embarrassment and NCAA sanctions. Heck, turn back the clock a little further and you can even toss beloved Woody Hayes in there, who was dismissed after punching an opposing player. Of course, most coaches in college football and basketball are not fired for scandal, covering up a scandal or assault. Most cases are similar to Matta’s, and the phrases we heard Monday during his farewell press conference have become common parlance. Time for new leadership. A change in direction. Mutually agreed upon. We’ve heard those phrases over and over, but it’s important for fans — especially OSU fans right now — to remember that a failure to win games does not automatically indicate the failure to build a successful program. That is, we cannot simply let our measure of success be banners and win percentage. They are important, but they cannot become the only thing that matters.We’ve seen the effects of that thinking already, and they look like Louisville’s Rick Pitino keeping his job despite his program reportedly hiring escorts for recruits, though he denied wrongdoing. They look like Jim Boeheim, of Syracuse, who actually received an extension in March despite having been suspended two years ago after the NCAA found he “failed to monitor his program” while it racked up violation after violation, including academic misconduct and impermissible benefits. In his 13 seasons leading the Buckeyes, Matta carried himself with grace and integrity, and he built a program with principles and decency. In this column, there is no need to list the number of Big Ten titles he won or how far he took his team in the NCAA tournament. The one stat worth mentioning, Matta brought up himself. “When I got here, we had a 20 percent graduation rate. We’re up to, I think, 88 percent right now,” he said. “To see these guys walk in here and the one-and-dones that we had and those guys fulfilling their dreams. The stories are countless and I don’t want to be up here all day, but I could tell stories that makes me feel good. Just in terms of what we’re able to accomplish, I’m very proud of it.”OSU basketball coach Thad Matta laughs as he answers a question during Media Day on Oct. 10, 2013, at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photoMatta’s former players are proud to call him their coach, too, and many took to social media to share his impact, which speaks volumes about the who he is as a person, not only a coach. “Your enthusiasm, passion, knowledge, and humor are the reasons why I’m glad I made the decision to become a buckeye when I was 17,” wrote Evan Turner, who was the national player of the year under Matta in 2010, on Instagram. “You helped me weed thru a lot of ups and down in order to be the player and man you knew I could become. I’ll forever love you for that and you’ll always be a legend and great man in my book.” “Family aside, no one has done more for my life than Coach Matta,” tweeted Mark Titus, a former walk-on and current writer at The Ringer. “Love that man w all my heart and will forever be indebted to him.” Aaron Craft, one of the most beloved Buckeyes of the Matta era, tweeted, “Man, words can’t describe what Coach meant to me and the program! Wouldn’t have wanted to play for anyone else!”So, yeah, Matta was fired because his team didn’t win enough. His health issues appeared to play a role, and the struggles in recruiting — which tie directly to the ability to win games — were broached during the press conference. In the end, he used to win a lot of basketball games, and recently he didn’t win as many basketball games, so now he lost his job coaching basketball at OSU.Coach Thad Matta talks to his players during a game against on Minnesota Feb. 22, 2014, at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photo“The wins, the losses, those things, they come,” Matta said. “We hit a stretch here that was probably about a five-year stretch as good as anybody in the country in terms of college basketball.” Consider this departure in an age where coaches have been fired for throwing basketballs at players, and where entire athletic departments have been plagued by questions of academic misconduct or, in the case of Baylor, covered up sexual assault allegations against its players, and where coaches have been fired after lying to the NCAA during an investigation. “And I think the last thing that I hope I’m always remembered for is that we always did it the right way,” Matta said. “That to me is something that I want to hold or hang my hat on. That this program was run the right way.” Indeed, Matta built a program the right way, and its sterling reputation remains intact as he departs in the most honorable way a dismissed coach can: because lately he didn’t win enough.