Soccer-England women to join U.S. in show of support for NWSL players

(Reuters) – England and the United States will come together to show their support for the victims of the abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) when the countries meet in a friendly on Friday, Lionesses forward Beth Mead said.

An independent investigation this week showed abuse and misconduct “had become systemic” in the American top-flight and that the league, teams and governing body U.S. Soccer failed to adequately protect players.

“We’re in contact with the American team and some of the players. We’re working on something to show our support … nothing has been finalised yet but we will be doing something,” Mead told reporters on Thursday ahead of the game at Wembley.

“When I found out, I was sickened by the situation. It’s a worldwide problem but women need to be taken seriously… very proud of the victims that actually stood up and said it.”

Mead, named England Women’s Player of the Year on Thursday after a starring role in the European Championship triumph, added that the players had a good platform to make a difference.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman said the situation in the NWSL was “unacceptable”.

“My first reaction is that’s horrible, unacceptable that it is still happening and I feel very sorry for all the victims,” she told a news conference.

U.S. Soccer said it would move immediately to implement reforms and president Cindy Parlow Cone called the investigation’s findings “heartbreaking and deeply troubling”, while the NWSL said it would review the findings.

England’s meeting with the world champions at a sold-out Wembley will be followed by a friendly against the Czech Republic in Brighton next Wednesday.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Soccer-England women to join U.S. in show of support for NWSL players

(Reuters) – England and the United States will come together to show their support for the victims of the abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) when the countries meet in a friendly on Friday, Lionesses forward Beth Mead said.

An independent investigation this week showed abuse and misconduct “had become systemic” in the American top-flight and that the league, teams and governing body U.S. Soccer failed to adequately protect players.

“We’re in contact with the American team and some of the players. We’re working on something to show our support … nothing has been finalised yet but we will be doing something,” Mead told reporters on Thursday ahead of the game at Wembley.

“When I found out, I was sickened by the situation. It’s a worldwide problem but women need to be taken seriously… very proud of the victims that actually stood up and said it.”

Mead, named England Women’s Player of the Year on Thursday after a starring role in the European Championship triumph, added that the players had a good platform to make a difference.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman said the situation in the NWSL was “unacceptable”.

“My first reaction is that’s horrible, unacceptable that it is still happening and I feel very sorry for all the victims,” she told a news conference.

U.S. Soccer said it would move immediately to implement reforms and president Cindy Parlow Cone called the investigation’s findings “heartbreaking and deeply troubling”, while the NWSL said it would review the findings.

England’s meeting with the world champions at a sold-out Wembley will be followed by a friendly against the Czech Republic in Brighton next Wednesday.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Puny critter shows humble beginnings of magnificent flying reptiles

Puny critter shows humble beginnings of magnificent flying reptiles

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that thrived during the age of dinosaurs, achieved great size – some with wingspans like a fighter jet – and displayed striking anatomy including exotic head crests and a hugely elongated finger to support their wings.

While the ancestry and early evolution of these creatures have long puzzled scientists, a fresh examination of remains found in Scotland of a small reptile that lived about 230 million years ago during the Triassic Period is helping shed light on the humble origins of pterosaurs, researchers said on Wednesday.

They found that the reptile, called Scleromochlus taylori, is a close cousin of pterosaurs. It is a member of a group called lagerpetids, considered the nearest relatives of pterosaurs. Though not a direct ancestor, the researchers said Scleromochlus may look very much like the reptiles from which pterosaurs evolved.

Scleromochlus, which measured about 8 inches (20 cm) long and likely ate insects and other small invertebrates, featured a relatively large head, long and slender limbs, short torso and long tail, probably walking on two legs and standing on its toes. It did not have a lizard-like or frog-like sprawling posture as previously hypothesized.

“It would comfortably fit in a hand,” said Davide Foffa, a postdoctoral researcher in paleontology at Virginia Tech and the University of Birmingham who worked on the research while at the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh and is lead author of the study published in the journal Nature. “Scleromochlus provides unique information about the ancestors of pterosaurs, showing that they likely derived from small-bodied land-dwelling runners.”

Scleromochlus lived at about the same time as the earliest dinosaurs, predating pterosaurs by perhaps 10 million years.

The researchers used sophisticated scanning technology to peer inside sandstone containing the Scleromochlus fossils, clearly revealing its anatomy for the first time. Fossils of seven Scleromochlus individuals were unearthed near the town of Elgin on Scotland’s northeastern coast and first described in 1907, but technology at the time did not permit a detailed understanding of the animal.

“Scleromochlus may not be a large fierce predator, but it reminds us of a very interesting story. It shows that very iconic animals such as pterosaurs – but this applies to dinosaurs and many other groups – likely began from unassuming-looking ancestors,” Foffa said.

Pterosaurs became Earth’s first flying vertebrates, with birds appearing about 150 millions years ago and bats about 50 million years ago. The first pterosaurs were small – about crow-sized – but later ones had wingspans up to 35 feet (10.7 meters).

“They are really peculiar animals, with such a bizarre type of body that it’s hard to figure out what their closest relatives and ancestors are,” said University of Edinburgh paleontologist and study co-author Steve Brusatte.

“Imagine a fuzzy creature that looks like a hang glider, with huge wings of skin attached to a long skinny finger like a giant sail, with a crocodile’s snout and tiny feet with toothpick toes and a long stiff tail, and that’s a pterosaur,” Brusatte added.

Unlike birds, pterosaurs did not use feathers for flight, though their bodies were covered in fuzzy little feathers. Their wings were formed by a tough membrane extending from an elongated fourth finger to the ankle.

Fossils of lagerpetids are known from Africa, North America and South America, with Scleromochlus the only one found in Europe.

“Scleromochlus still looks quite different from pterosaurs. It’s kind of like a monkey compared to a human,” Brusatte said. “Clearly it’s a primitive cousin, as it shares features of its delicate bones, especially its small pelvis and the in-turned thigh bone that connects to it. But Scleromochlus did not yet have a wing. It was not yet a flier. Evolution still had a lot of work to do.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Puny critter shows humble beginnings of magnificent flying reptiles

Puny critter shows humble beginnings of magnificent flying reptiles

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that thrived during the age of dinosaurs, achieved great size – some with wingspans like a fighter jet – and displayed striking anatomy including exotic head crests and a hugely elongated finger to support their wings.

While the ancestry and early evolution of these creatures have long puzzled scientists, a fresh examination of remains found in Scotland of a small reptile that lived about 230 million years ago during the Triassic Period is helping shed light on the humble origins of pterosaurs, researchers said on Wednesday.

They found that the reptile, called Scleromochlus taylori, is a close cousin of pterosaurs. It is a member of a group called lagerpetids, considered the nearest relatives of pterosaurs. Though not a direct ancestor, the researchers said Scleromochlus may look very much like the reptiles from which pterosaurs evolved.

Scleromochlus, which measured about 8 inches (20 cm) long and likely ate insects and other small invertebrates, featured a relatively large head, long and slender limbs, short torso and long tail, probably walking on two legs and standing on its toes. It did not have a lizard-like or frog-like sprawling posture as previously hypothesized.

“It would comfortably fit in a hand,” said Davide Foffa, a postdoctoral researcher in paleontology at Virginia Tech and the University of Birmingham who worked on the research while at the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh and is lead author of the study published in the journal Nature. “Scleromochlus provides unique information about the ancestors of pterosaurs, showing that they likely derived from small-bodied land-dwelling runners.”

Scleromochlus lived at about the same time as the earliest dinosaurs, predating pterosaurs by perhaps 10 million years.

The researchers used sophisticated scanning technology to peer inside sandstone containing the Scleromochlus fossils, clearly revealing its anatomy for the first time. Fossils of seven Scleromochlus individuals were unearthed near the town of Elgin on Scotland’s northeastern coast and first described in 1907, but technology at the time did not permit a detailed understanding of the animal.

“Scleromochlus may not be a large fierce predator, but it reminds us of a very interesting story. It shows that very iconic animals such as pterosaurs – but this applies to dinosaurs and many other groups – likely began from unassuming-looking ancestors,” Foffa said.

Pterosaurs became Earth’s first flying vertebrates, with birds appearing about 150 millions years ago and bats about 50 million years ago. The first pterosaurs were small – about crow-sized – but later ones had wingspans up to 35 feet (10.7 meters).

“They are really peculiar animals, with such a bizarre type of body that it’s hard to figure out what their closest relatives and ancestors are,” said University of Edinburgh paleontologist and study co-author Steve Brusatte.

“Imagine a fuzzy creature that looks like a hang glider, with huge wings of skin attached to a long skinny finger like a giant sail, with a crocodile’s snout and tiny feet with toothpick toes and a long stiff tail, and that’s a pterosaur,” Brusatte added.

Unlike birds, pterosaurs did not use feathers for flight, though their bodies were covered in fuzzy little feathers. Their wings were formed by a tough membrane extending from an elongated fourth finger to the ankle.

Fossils of lagerpetids are known from Africa, North America and South America, with Scleromochlus the only one found in Europe.

“Scleromochlus still looks quite different from pterosaurs. It’s kind of like a monkey compared to a human,” Brusatte said. “Clearly it’s a primitive cousin, as it shares features of its delicate bones, especially its small pelvis and the in-turned thigh bone that connects to it. But Scleromochlus did not yet have a wing. It was not yet a flier. Evolution still had a lot of work to do.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Italian unions to press for big wage increase from Stellantis, Ferrari

By Giulio Piovaccari

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian unions representing workers at Stellantis, Ferrari, Iveco and CNH Industrial will ask for a wage increase of over 8% to be paid in 2023 to help cover soaring energy and food bills, a senior source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

“That’s the request we will make to the companies, to recover purchasing power workers are losing this year due to inflation,” the source said, after two different sources said on Tuesday that unions would request a raise of at least 6.5%.

Europe’s cost-of-living crisis is putting upward pressure on wage inflation as companies across the continent face demands from workers to cushion the impact of rising prices. Consumer prices rose 8.9% year on year in Italy in September.

Unions will present on Monday their formal proposal for a new four-year contract for Italian employees, including for salary increases, to carmakers Stellantis and Ferrari, truckmaker Iveco and agricultural and construction machine maker CNH Industrial.

The current contracts expire at the end of this year.

The exact size of the request may change as it is under discussion with all unions involved in the talks starting on Monday, the source said.

“Talks will follow with the companies, let’s see where what the outcome is,” the source said.

The sources declined to be identified because the process is confidential.

Stellantis, with brands including Fiat and Peugeot, said last week it would provide a one-off bonus worth up to 1,400 euros ($1,394) to most of its employees in France to help them cope with surging inflation.

It also brought forward salary negotiations in France, initially scheduled for the start of next year, to December.

($1 = 1.0039 euros)

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by Josephine Mason, Lisa Shumaker, Kirsten Donovan)