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Kobe Bryant's helicopter tried to climb to avoid fog before crash – Al Jazeera English



The pilot of the helicopter that crashed into a hillside outside Los Angeles, killing former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others, told air traffic controllers in his last radio message that he was climbing to avoid a layer of cloud, an accident investigator said on Monday.

The pilot had asked for and received special clearance to fly in heavy fog just minutes before Sunday’s crash and was flying at 1,400 feet (427 metres) when he went south and then west, said Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board, which went to the crash scene on Monday to collect evidence. 


The pilot then asked for air traffic controllers to provide “flight following” assistance, but was told the craft was too low, Homendy said.

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About four minutes later, “the pilot advised they were climbing to avoid a cloud layer,” she said.

“When ATC asked what the pilot planned to do, there was no reply. Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet (701 metres) and then began a left descending turn. Last radar contact was about 9.45am (17:45 GMT) and is consistent with the accident location.

Coroner’s officials worked to recover victims’ remains from the hillside outside Los Angeles where the helicopter crashed. Aviation experts say the accident might have been caused by the pilot becoming disoriented in the fog.

Some experts raised questions of whether the helicopter should have even been flying.

The weather was so foggy that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department had grounded their own choppers.

The Sikorsky S-76 crashed on Sunday morning, killing the retired athlete along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and everyone else on board and scattering debris over an area the size of a football field.

‘Disoriented in the fog’

Crews recovered three bodies on Sunday and resumed the effort on Monday amid an outpouring of grief and shock around the world over the loss of the basketball great, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles in a 20-year career.

The pilot was identified as Ara Zobayan. Several aviation experts said it was not uncommon for helicopter pilots to be given such permission, although some thought it unusual that it would be granted in skies as busy as those in Los Angeles.

But Kurt Deetz, who flew for Bryant dozens of times in the same helicopter, said permission is often granted in the area.

Fans of NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant pay their respects at a memorial outside the Staples Center at LA Live in Los Angeles on Monday [File: Mike Blake/Reuters]

The aircraft left Santa Ana in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, shortly after 9am, heading north and then west.

Bryant was believed to be headed for his youth sports academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, which was holding a basketball tournament on Sunday in which Bryant’s daughter, known as Gigi, was playing.

Air traffic controllers noted poor visibility around Burbank to the north and Van Nuys to the northwest.

At one point, the controllers instructed the helicopter to circle because of other planes in the area before proceeding.

When it struck the ground, the helicopter was flying at about 184 miles per hour (299 km/h) and descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet (1,219 metres) per minute, the data showed.

Randy Waldman, a helicopter flight instructor who teaches at the nearby Van Nuys airport, said it was likely the pilot got disoriented in the fog and the helicopter went into a fatal dive.

“It’s a common thing that happens in airplanes and helicopters with people flying with poor visibility,” Waldman said.

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Recap: Brazil vs South Korea – World Cup 2022 – Al Jazeera English



Neymar has returned from injury to help Brazil thump South Korea 4-1, setting up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Croatia.

Four unanswered Brazilian goals in the first half at Stadium 974 on Monday set an imperious tone for a team with their sights firmly on a sixth World Cup title.

And while the game settled in the second period, it was never sluggish or scrappy, and a spirited South Korea fought hard to score a consolation goal in the 76th minute.

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It took just seven minutes for Brazil to get off the mark, with Raphinha picking up the ball just outside the box and rushing in on the right side, sending in a pass to Neymar. The Paris Saint-Germain number 10 was brought down by his marker and the ball ended up at the feet of Vinicius Jr, in acres of space.

The Real Madrid star steadied himself before placing it to the right of Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean goal.

Brazil celebrating their third goal, with goalscorer Richarlison in the centre [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Just three minutes later, Richarlison was brought down by Jung Woo-young inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar, who had reportedly flown his barber out to Qatar to dye his hair blonde following previous victories over South Korea with bleached hair, wasted no time in slotting it into the bottom-right of the net. Brazil was up two-nil with less than 15 minutes on the clock.

South Korea had their share of chances, with Hwang Hee-chan, fresh off scoring the winner against Portugal, having a go from a distance but sending the ball comfortably over the bar. Moments later, Allison was forced to make a diving save to his left, his first save of the tournament.

But Paolo Bento’s men were simply outclassed in every part of the pitch.

A remarkable piece of skill in the 26th minute saw Richarlison juggling the ball, heading it to himself three times while evading defenders on the edge of the South Korean box. He then passed the ball before running through on goal to receive the return, firing the ball in for Brazil’s third.

Just 10 minutes later, Vinicius Jr set up Lucas Paqueta with a cheeky chip, and the midfielder shot low and right. Kim Seung-gyu could do little but look at the ball nestling in the back of the net.

With four goals before half-time, Brazil was putting down a marker for any teams who think they might have a chance of lifting the trophy on December 18.

Son Heung-min nearly clawed one back for South Korea straight after the restart, but Alisson — who must, through this game alone, be in contention for the Golden Glove — got enough of his arm onto the shot to tip it wide.

Faced with the intensity of Brazil’s onslaught, South Korea tried to slow the game, but more chances for Raphinha and Vinicius Jr followed despite the best efforts of the men in red.

Then came the 77th minute, and out of nowhere, Paik Seung-ho scored from outside the box. A free kick for South Korea was bundled clear by the Brazilian defence, falling to Paik, who belted it past Alisson’s dive to find the top-right corner. Finally, the South Korean fans had something to cheer about.

South Korea continued to work hard in defence and create chances in attack, but that goal was to be their only score, and they head home having been soundly beaten by one of the best teams in the world.

Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals at Education City on Friday.

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Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson reveal pro Canadian women's soccer league set for kickoff in 2025 – CBC Sports



Professional women’s soccer is coming to Canada.

Christine Sinclair and former national teammate Diana Matheson announced on Monday plans to kick off a domestic professional women’s league in 2025, featuring eight teams throughout Canada.

The two players sat down with The National‘s Adrienne Arsenault to reveal the news.

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After the duo helped Canada capture bronze at the 2012 Olympics — Matheson scored the medal-clinching goal — Sinclair expected progress. After all, the team had just snapped Canada’s 108-year podium drought in the sport.

“I really thought that 2012 was going to be a turning point for this country in bringing professional soccer home,” Sinclair told Arsenault. “But it never happened. And there’s still no pathways within this country.”

And so, a decade later, Sinclair and Matheson took matters into their own hands.

The still unnamed league would begin in April 2025 with an inaugural champion crowned sometime in the fall. Each team will have at least one Canadian international, and the goal is to bring home about half of the over-100 Canadians currently playing abroad.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler examines absence of top domestic women’s league:

Canada’s greatest athletes still without a domestic league of their own

2 months ago

Duration 2:53

Host Signa Butler explains the landscape of women’s sports leagues in Canada, as some of the country’s best athletes are without a league in their own backyard.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Calgary Foothills Soccer Club are confirmed as the first two teams to join the upstart league.

“Whitecaps FC are thrilled to be one of the first teams to sign on to a professional women’s soccer league in Canada,” said Stephanie Labbe, Whitecaps FC general manager of women’s soccer. “The creation of this league is something we have been advocating for over many years, and to be part of seeing it come to fruition is truly exciting.”

The league is being built by Matheson and her business partners at Project 8 Sports Inc. Sinclair, soccer’s all-time international scoring leader, is on board as an official advisor.

“The whole idea behind this is to aim high. And like, if you’re not, what’s the point?” Sinclair said.

“So let’s go out from the get-go and compete with the best leagues in the world and bring in the top talent. And yeah, have 10 year olds watching a game that 10 years later is on the Whitecaps, for instance. That would be my dream.”

Matheson, who retired from playing in July 2021, has visions of the league pushing the entire Canadian women’s sports infrastructure forward.

“It’s health and wellness. It’s confidence. It’s tied with better academics. There’s a huge tie between women in sport and women in business,” Matheson said. “And this is about soccer, but it’s about the coaches, it’s about the referees, it’s about women in executive roles in sport.”

Part of that women’s sports fabric comes down to marketing like jersey sales. Sinclair said she can’t even get her hands on her own jersey to gift to her niece.

“I don’t know if they exist,” Sinclair said.

Pursuing diversity

Matheson, 38, said she’s been working on obtaining her Master of Business Administration, as well as partaking in UEFA programming. She’s hoping the league becomes a Canada Soccer member by 2023, with full sanctioning by 2024

Sinclair, left, and Matheson, right, at the 2012 Olympics. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

She said Air Canada and CIBC are already on board as sponsors, and that it’s especially important to have the right team owners involved in the league.

“One of the things is having more diversity to begin with — more women, diverse voices to begin with, more players voices to begin with. And that’s top to bottom. I want women owners, women in the executive, women’s player voices as part of this,” Matheson said.

The Oakville, Ont., native made the case that the buy-in, which is expected to be between $8-10 million, is a worthwhile investment, noting that National Women’s Soccer League clubs, which were bought for $150,000 US 10 years ago, are now valued at a minimum of $35 million US. The Orlando NWSL franchise was purchased in 2021 for about $400 million US.

Matheson said her league can compete with average player salaries across the world right now.

“We just have way more opportunities to monetize our own brand. Players can do appearances, they can work with companies, they can run camps in a way that they just can’t when they’re playing in Italy and England,” she said.

Another point of importance for Matheson and Sinclair is ensuring players in their league are protected. Reports of abuse in the NWSL last season resulted in the resignation of half of the league’s coaches.

Sinclair is captain of the Portland Thorns, whose CEO Merrit Paulson stepped down in October following reports of systemic emotional and verbal abuse, as well as sexual misconduct.

“[It’s] unfortunate just how women are treated and taken advantage of. That’s why we need women owners. We need female executives,” Sinclair said.

Added Matheson: “It’s training, it’s vetting, it’s independent reporting systems. And for us, that’s going to mean working with those groups that are really good at doing those things.”

Sinclair autographs a fan’s ball during a men’s World Cup watch party in Toronto in November. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press)

Establishing pathways

At its crux, though, the league intends to establish pathways for young Canadian women to stay in soccer and work their way onto the national team — to foster future generations so that one day they could get their golden moment like Sinclair had in 2021 in Tokyo.

“It’s time to change the narrative and inspire the next group,” Matheson said. “I believe kids need to see it to believe that it’s possible to happen. And with the launch of this league, kids will be able to go into their own backyard and watch their heroes play and dream of one day representing their hometown professional club and maybe representing Canada.”

Sinclair said she was once one of those kids, watching the 1999 World Cup with a dream to be on that pitch herself one day.

23 years later, the Burnaby, B.C., native has accomplished nearly everything she could in her sport.

“We’ve inspired Canadians on the podium,” Sinclair said. “Now it’s time to actually make an impactful difference here in Canada.”

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The Most Famous Online Slots for Canadian Players



The Most Famous Online Slots for Canadian Players

It has been over 130 years since the first slot machine was introduced to the world.  The poker-themed slot became a novelty in bars where patrons would play and be rewarded either with drinks or cigarettes based on the spun poker hand. Through the years slots have evolved a great deal.

Currently, in Canada, provinces are responsible for all gambling activities within their jurisdictions as solidified by the article in In the past years, Ontario has been able to generate the largest gambling revenue at $3.8 billion, Quebeck at $2.73 billion and British Columbia at $1.2 billion. Slot games accounted for approximately 11% of betting activities, with the lottery accounting for 65%.

Online gambling game developers have worked on ensuring that slot games are as diverse as they are plentiful. their online look and experiences are like watching a video game being played. Slots’ technological advancements have allowed for computerised graphic reels which have moved from your three-reel offering and can now include up to 7 reels.

Types of Slots

There has been a steady decline in patrons in bricks and mortar casinos, with preference being given to the convenience of online casino sites. Slots are a favourite for online players as they have shown higher returns to players of 96%.

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Not only this, there is a better selection of online slot games accessible through multiple devices at any time of the day. This is further reflected by the number of operators reviewed on, which house the selections in their gaming libraries.


The multiple variations of slot games also mean there will be a lot more types that would be offered. The built-in features not only provide for a better experience and entertainment but provide more play options as well.

Progressive Jackpots Slots

The slot game is connected to a network which connects all players who play the game. For each spin made no win is recorded, as a portion of their wager is added towards the jackpot. Therefore, the jackpot will gradually accumulate or progress.

Playing a progressive jackpot, the player will have to make the maximum wager on the spins. Though the jackpot could grow into the millions, the chances of winning are similar to those found in lottery tickets. Either than the increasing jackpot, progressive slots typically have a particular theme and spin with three or five reels.

Penny Slots

As the name suggests, a player makes use of pennies to play the slots. Since it’s not realistic to play with a penny, these are converted into tokens which are in turn converted into credits. With these credits, you would be able to play and meet wagering requirements.

On an online platform, it’s the name that no longer retains the actual function. With the advancements made in slot games, the pay line is the determinant of gains. These are the multiple winning combinations possibly generated which typically carry wagering requirements.

3D Slots

These slot games are available in multiple designs, with a common 3-dimensional element to them. They have a combination of features like having multiple pay lines and mini-games within the game. Due to their 3D graphic nature, they are also presented in popular culture themes or movies.


Features of the slots are typically no different than your normal slot game. The difference is the animated video graphics of the game which make for visual candy. The added experience is a bombardment to the senses through which the enhanced experience and feel when winning a game for the player is accentuated. It is an additional part of the broader RNG slot technology that is clearly explained in

VR Slots

Another aspect is the adoption of gaming into slots. The development of Virtual Reality VR-enabled slot games makes it possible for slot players to enter into an augmented space and play.


The offerings of VR technology make it conceivable to enter a virtual casino and play slots. No longer just the feeling of looking at your screen and pressing the buttons. Slot games still offer the same feature, but VR technology provides the experience of being in a virtual space while still in the comfort of your home.

Interactive Slots (i-Slots)

Rather than expecting to spin the reels for hours on end, interactive slots or i-slots provide a twist to the game. Interactive slots’ two main components are that they offer a mini-game within the game as well as a storyline. So each time the player spins is engaging and interactive while accessing bonus features and wins.

The player would typically play through a storyline which has obstacles and challenges. The game challenges in return would unlock bonus features intended to assist advance the player. Though the games may provide low volatility, RTP is typically high, which makes the play all the more worth it.

5 of The Most Played Slot Games

Slots are not games merely for fun and entertainment thus the player expects a return. A  slot game whether online or not will need to meet this particular requirement for the player to feel it has been worth it to place a wager. That is why great care has been taken to deliver games which cater to the players’ expectations.

Factors like how often the game payout, wagering conditions, availability to bonus features and RTP are considerations to take into account. Features that make the game easy to play and understand, yet entertaining, make for an all-rounder in a gaming experience.

1 – Megah Moolah

This highly popular slot game has been developed by Microgaming who have an impressive record for offering great games. The slot game has been responsible for the highest slot machine win in the history of $23 million Canadian. Mega Moolah is an interactive game with a progressive jackpot of four jackpots within the game.

The slot game has a high RTP of 94%, though the volatility is low.  Catering for all budgets, the player can make a spin for as little as 25 cents, with which they are eligible to enter one of 4 game jackpots and possibly earn some bonus features.


2 – Thor: The Trials of Asgard

One of the latest offerings with a Norse mythology theme following the trials of legendary comic hero Thor. The Asgardian leads players to spin in a slot with 5 reels with 3 lines, expanding to an impressive 1024 pay lines. So prepare yourself to play in castles, walk with dragons and immerse yourself in mystic Nordic lore.

The slot has a high RTP of 96%  where players can win 10 free spins when if they can land on 3 scatters. Wild spins can offer small, medium or really big wins allowing the player to increase their chances of earnings and bonus features.

3 – Book of Dead

Book of Dead is an Egyptian-themed slot game developed by Play n Go which presents a 5 reel and 3 rows spin. The minimum wager is 10 cents whereas the maximum is 50 cents. The game takes the player into an adventurous storyline where symbols gained along the way bring rewards of almost 150x for your wager.

The game may not have a progressive jackpot, but it holds some impressive features for the player which increase its volatility. The combination of symbols could see a player win 200x to 5000x their wager. This does not include the free spins they unlock.

4 – Wheel of Wishes

Wheel of Wishes is a Microgaming offering from the Alchemy studio. This slot game has an RTP of 93%, with minimum bets from 20 cents and a 4x progressive jackpot to boot. The slot offers a 5×3 reel with 10 pay lines which could see the player gain 500x on their bet with 5 symbols anywhere on the reel.

One of the game’s features is the Power Mode where the player can increase the value of their bet 10x, which in turn could activate the Power Spin. This feature activates for the player 2 or more symbols allowing for increased chances of winning.

5 – 9 Masks of Fire Hyper Spins

This slot game is an old game from the developer Gameburger Studios and Microgaming. It can offer players a 5×3 reel grip, which is common. The game has been revived with new features offered as bonuses in the form of extra spins, which are played at the players’ discretion.

With a progressive jackpot in play, the 96% RTP is accompanied by medium volatility. The minimum bet that can be made is 60 credits on a spin, able to access any online and mobile device platform. Masks on the reels provide the player with different prize offerings, with different payout values.


Though the thrill of making a wager may be exciting, it is prudent to review some of the game choices you make. Understanding the different features in each slot game also helps the player not only fulfil their wagering requirements but also work to gain the most out of the gaming experience.


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