Urban Meyer had a tumultuous offseason, winding up suspended for Ohio State’s first three games as a result of the way he handled domestic violence allegations against former assistant Zach Smith. This week, Katie Nolan made a joke at his expense on her new show.Nolan, who ESPN hired last year, has a new ESPN+ show called Always Late with Katie Nolan. While the network is still nailing down the format, it’s clear that it includes sarcastic jokes – which are Nolan’s specialty.Nolan’s shot at Urban Meyer can be read below:“With two games remaining against Cleveland the Bengals hired former Browns coach Hue Jackson as a special assistant to Marvin Lewis.Lewis wanted to get the worst possible advice from a football coach in Ohio, but Urban Meyer was busy.”Here’s the clip:It’s a safe bet the joke won’t go over well in Columbus, but it will probably land in Ann Arbor.Ohio State, meanwhile, is 9-1 with a date against Maryland on Saturday before hosting Michigan in the regular season finale next week. Meyer’s Buckeyes can still make the playoff if they win out – and get a little help.
zoom A total of eleven of the world’s largest port operators have formally expressed interest in participating in a public bidding for the Port of Corozal, the Panama Canal Authority said on Tuesday.The port, which will be located on the Pacific side of the Canal, is set to play a major role in the development of Panama as the logistic hub of Latin America.“We are thrilled at the sizeable interest we have received so far,” said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano. “It further demonstrates the demand that exists for service on the Pacific Coast of Panama, a demand which will only grow with the opening of the expanded Canal in 2016.”According to the Port Authority, several of the interested parties are linked to major customers of the Panama Canal, “representing their commitment to the waterway and the desire to develop more port capacity on the Pacific side of Panama.”The companies interested in the bidding process are: Dutch Terminal Investment Limited SA, Germany’s EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven, Carrix, Inc. and affiliates from Manzanillo, USA, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. from Korea, APM Terminals, Ports America, CMA-CGM Group, Taiwan’s Evergreen International Corp., China Shipping Ports Development Co. Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd., Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and Panama Ports Company from China.The Panama Canal Board of Directors formally approved the development and construction of a transshipment port in Panama’s Corozal region at the end of December 2014.Upon completion, the port will have the capacity to handle more than five million TEUs within a 120-hectare area at the Canal’s entrance to the Pacific.
North American markets look set to wrap up the 2014 trading year on a positive note Wednesday even as oil prices hit a fresh 5 1/2 year low in the wake of data that suggested China’s economy is slowing.The Canadian dollar gained 0.21 of a cent to 86.36 cents US. New York futures advanced with the Dow Jones industrial futures ahead 13 points to 17,954, the Nasdaq futures climbed 5.5 points to 4,288.3 while the S&P 500 futures rose 2.9 points to 2,079.6. Oil and metal prices declined after a survey of Chinese manufacturers found their activity contracted in December. HSBC’s monthly purchasing managers’ index crossed the 50 threshold and fell to 49.6. Markets were expecting that outcome since a preliminary version of the survey released earlier in the month also showed a contraction but the confirmation underpinned hopes for more government stimulus in China. The February crude contract in New York dropped $1.04 to US$53.08 a barrel. Another indication of high oil inventory levels also helped depress prices after the American Petroleum Institute said weekly total U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 760,000 barrels last week. Analysts had looked for a seasonal decline. They’re now looking ahead to the release of Department of Energy data due out mid-morning, which is expected to show a drop of 600,000 barrels in U.S. oil stockpiles. Elsewhere on the commodity markets, March copper gave back a cent to US$2.84 a pound while February gold faded $1.30 to US$1,199.10. Trading on the London Stock Exchange will end at 12:30 p.m. local time, and NYSE Euronext’s European cash markets will close 35 minutes later. The Madrid bourse will stop trading at 2 p.m. local time. Exchanges in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Nordic countries are closed. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but not enough to change views of a sustained strength in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Dec. 27, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. That followed four straight weeks of declines. After the market opens, there will be a read on pending home sales for November and the December Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. Home sales are seen up 0.5 per cent while the Chicago PMI index is expected to dip modestly. The Toronto market looks set to end 2014 with a gain of around 7.5 per cent. That’s about half the advance that the TSX had racked up by mid-summer, supported by a huge runup in the energy sector as crude prices came close to the US$110 a barrel level. The energy sector is now the major TSX laggard, having fallen almost 20 per cent as investors wonder how low oil prices can go. Miners were also a major weight with the base metals group down 14 per cent this year, reflecting lower demand for metals. Copper, for example has plunged 16 per cent this year. Bright spots include financials, up nine per cent for the year. But the best performers are those sectors benefitting from much lower gasoline prices and a Canadian dollar depressed by falling oil prices. These include the consumer discretionary sector, up 26 per cent and consumer staples, which ran ahead 45 per cent. Industrials have also been a major winner, ahead 17 per cent. U.S. markets had a better year with the Dow up eight per cent, the Nasdaq ahead 14 per cent and the S&P 500 ahead 12 per cent, even as the Federal Reserve wrapped up its massive program of buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities that kept long-term interest rates low.