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19 Dic 2015 

Dwor Sierakow country house hotel near Cracow in Poland

Surrounded by ten acres of wooded parkland, the hotelis owned and run by Pawel Gasiorek and Caroline Grabowska, a Polish husband-and-wife team who bought it in 2005.

Running a hotel is a new experience for them. He is an experienced wine merchant while she was formerly a university lecturer specialising in Latin-American studies. Both speak fluent English.

After buying the building they spent seven years completely refurbishing it and adding minor extensions. The result is a comfortable richly-furnished country house where guests can put their feet up and enjoy fine wining and dining at prices which are much lower than those for comparable hotels in West Europe.

The site has been inhabited since at least the 15th century but the present neo-classical building dates back to 1847. Until the Second World War, it was owned by a succession of wealthy Polish families who used it as their country retreat. The last owner, Wladyslaw Kucharski, had to give it up in 1938 to pay gambling debts but said that was better than having it seized by the Nazis when they took over the country the following year.

During the Cold War, the building was used as a holiday camp for children and later as a convalescent sanatorium. Although this saved it from falling into total disrepair, sadly all the historic interior features were removed.

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The restoration was supervised by Marianna Fischinger, a local architect who specialises in listed buildings, while the interior decor and furnishings were designed by Phoebe Ryrko, a British interior designer living in Cracow.

Interesting prints, paintings and pictures now decorate the walls, some of which are deep red in colour. Each of the 28 bedrooms is individually designed, some with wooden floors, some carpeted. There is also a romantic 2-floor Newly-weds apartment.

On a winter day when the temperature outside is below zero, the ground frozen, the snow piled up and the trees bare, it is delightful to arrive and be welcomed by a blazing log fire in the hall. Even if you have a lot of other priorities for instance, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., still you need to complete a senior project to graduate successfullyIn summer the trees all around provide welcome shade from the hot sun.

As a wine merchant, Pawel Gasiorek takes personal charge of the 2000 bottles in the hotels cellar. He also stocks an extensive selection of whiskies and of course the Polish peoples favourite drink, vodka.

The hotels chef, Michael Gora, is Polish but his experience includes a spell training under Gordon Ramsay. His menus feature many local ingredients, so a typical meal would include dishes such as rabbit pate, gherkin soup, leg of deer in a mushroom sauce and apple crumble.

Outside the views of trees help guests relax and there are marked walking and cycling trails in the 4.5-hectare grounds. Golf is available nearby and the hotel has a small spa.

Dwor Sierakow is 20 kilometres from Cracow (a 15 taxi ride) and the hotel provides a shuttle service to its airport.

Tourist attractions within easy reach include the cathedral, castle, Nazin Occupation Museum and archaeological museum at Cracow and the Wieliczka salt mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


18 Dic 2015 

Transgender Golfer Lana Lawless Sues LPGA for Right to Compete

A transgendered golfer has filed suit against the LPGA -- the Ladies Professional Golf Association -- saying the organization's rules that a player must be "female at birth" are outdated and discriminatory.

Lana Lawless, 57, said she was denied membership in the national women's golf governing body even though she is a post-operative transsexual and considered a woman by her home state of California.

She filed suit against the LPGA this week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco as well as against the Long Drivers of America, which has also prohibited her from competing in their golf tournaments.

"I'm not physically as strong as I used to be," Lawless said. "I'm well under the top end of testosterone levels for genetically-born females."

The suit also seeks an injunction to bar the LGPA and LDA from holding tournaments and qualifying events in California as long as they continue to deny post-operative transgender competitors.

"How I feel is, 'Here we go again,'" said Lawless, a retired police officer who says she has lost a commercial golf sponsor because she has been prevented from competing.

According to court documents, Lawless won the LDA's women's long drive championship in 2008, when the organization had no set rule on transgendered athletes. But a change in policy to mirror the LGPA's "female at birth" requirement both disqualified her from future competition, the lawsuit charges, and made her ineligible to reap the benefits from her 2008 win.

"I'm the only professional women's golfer in the United States. I'm the champion. They changed the rule," she said. "How can you say it's not directed at me?"

Lawless' lawsuit also names as defendants several sponsors of the LDA tournaments, including CVS, Dick's Sporting Goods and Re/Max.

Mike Scanlan, LGPA's public relations manager, confirmed the tour's "female at birth" policy but declined to comment on why it was in place when other sports associations, including the International Olympic Committee, allow transgendered athletes to compete with stipulations.

"We haven't been formally served with the lawsuit so we can't comment at this time," Scanlan said. "Our policy is what it is currently, and beyond that we don't have much to say."

Lawless underwent gender reassignment surgery in September 2005.

The vice president of the LDA referred comment to the organization's attorney, who did not return messages seeking comment.

Legal protection for transgender athletes varies in the U.S.

Though Olympic-sanctioned sports such as track and field and swimming abide by the International Olympic Committee's policy on allowing male-to-female transgendered athletes, other domestic athletic governing bodies aren't held to the same rules.

The IOC ruled in 2004 that transsexual male-to-female athletes would be allowed to compete two years after gender reassignment surgery, provided they have undergone hormone therapy. Each instance is handled on a case-by-case basis.

"The issue is the education around transgender athletes in general," said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation. "There's a disconnect between what athletes are under the impression of, versus what the medical community has concluded."

Hogshead-Makar, a retired gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer, said the belief that transgender female competitors would have an advantage in strength is still common among athletes

"But the medical experts say no," she said, "that there is a wide variance among women between height and strength."

The Women's Sports Foundation's position on transgender athletes is parallel to that of the IOC.

"If indeed they don't have this unfair advantage over people who were born female, then of course they should be allowed to compete," Hogshead-Makar said.

Lawless pointed to the sole transsexual golfer on the European Ladies Tour, whose ranking is not anywhere near the top.

"By past practice ... she should be the Tiger Woods of ladies golf," Lawless said.

At the college level, the NCAA has a policy that transgendered students are allowed to compete as whatever gender is listed on their state-issued documents, such as driver's licenses and voter registrations.

The issue of gender identity in sports made headlines last year, when South African women's runner Caster Semenya was forced to undergo testing after allegations surfaced that she had an intersex condition that gave her an unfair advantage over other female runners.

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Earlier this year she was cleared by the International Association of Athletic Federations to compete in the women's division, though the results of the testing were not released for privacy reasons.

Hogshead-Makar said the closest comparison to the Lawless lawsuit might be the legal battle waged in 1970s by tennis player Renee Richards. Born a man, Richards sued for the right to play competitive tennis as a woman after being denied entry into the U.S. Even if you have a lot of other priorities for instance, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., still you need to complete a senior project to graduate successfullyOpen. The New York Supreme Court later ruled in her favor.

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18 Dic 2015 

Can I get a permanent job in a ski resort?

These are two seasonal jobs you have suggested. Even if you have a lot of other priorities for instance, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., still you need to complete a senior project to graduate successfullyThe nature of skiing, is that it is seasonal. That makes most jobs temporary and seasonal.

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People whose parents live in the Alps tend to have year round work in the Alps, as they live there in their parents house/chalet.

Skilled tradesmen who live in the Alps will have year round work. Chimney sweep, plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.

You would need to ensure that your particular trade qualification was recognised in the relevant ski resort.

I would suggest roofer/chimney sweep/chimney repairer might be something which was highly sought after if you have a good reputation and experience. Maybe you could find out who advertises out there offering these services, and ask if they need an apprentice.

You should also try the local job centre, as in France all jobs will be advertised there even if they are never going to offer it to a 18 year old english lad that does not speak French very well.

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17 Dic 2015 

Taking golf's governing bodies to task over anchor ban and more

We are just days away from Rule 14-1b regarding the anchoring of a golf stroke going into effect, some three-plus years after it came on everyone's radar.

And I am more convinced than ever this is a bad move.

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Not because of the impact it will have on senior golf at every level, or championship golf, or even teaching the game. It's because of the exceptions within the rule, the lack of clarity it provides and the more important issues the ruling bodies should be focusing on rather than anchored strokes. Rule 14-1b, as officially announced in May 2013, prohibits anchoring the club either directly or by use of an anchor point in making a stroke. This is fine on the surface, but let's take a more in-depth look at the layers of this ruling and the long-term impact.

When Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, he became the first major champion on the PGA Tour to do so with a belly -- or anchored -- putter.Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

For decades, golf's ruling bodies approved of the anchored method with many of the thoughts being:

1. It will be pretty much confined to senior golf (quickly proven untrue on all professional tours and top-level amateur golf around the world).

2. No one will win a major championship with a long or anchored putter (see Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and others).

3. No one will ever teach the anchored method to youngsters. (USGA President Tom O'Toole Jr.'s young son was encouraged to learn this method by his professional, thus sending Mr. O'Toole, by his own admission, to his breaking point to take the side of the anchoring ban.

The information about implementation of the rule on the USGA's website is seven -- yes, seven -- long pages when printed. The rule itself reads like the tax code and includes exceptions that undercut the strength of the rule, like Matt Kuchar's method of putting where he braces the putter grip against his forearm. Even if you have a lot of other priorities for instance, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., still you need to complete a senior project to graduate successfullyI have yet to hear an explanation of this particular method that dissuades me from thinking it is an anchored stroke.

Matt Kuchar's putting stroke, where he presses his club against his forearm, is allowable under the new rule, to the dismay of many.Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Why not say a player might only have up to two points of contact with the club, those points being either one or two hands? This certainly would make it much cleaner and simpler, especially when the big scream about the rules of golf (and the decisions) are centered on their complexity and difficulty to understand.

Furthermore, the reversal of the previous decision and the course of action with the "because we said so" air undermines the authority of the ruling bodies. I applaud the current USGA and R&A leadership and committees for being more active in protecting the integrity and future of the game, but not like this.

I also disagree with the USGA's announcement just prior to Thanksgiving that "scores made while playing alone will no longer be acceptable [for] handicap purposes." Unless the USGA has a larger motive for a global handicapping code (the United Kingdom, among others, does not allow for solo scores to count toward handicapping), then the organization talking about making itself more inclusive has done exactly the opposite.

From a personal standpoint, one of the biggest attractions to the game was the opportunity for solitary participation. There was no need for someone on the other side of the net to return a shot or even to practice with me. I was raised in a very average, working-class family where both parents held jobs and I played at a working-to-middle-class club just a mile from home. I could ride my bike back and forth to McGregor Links with my eyes closed and knew every blade of grass on the course.

It would have been nearly impossible to find people to play with during regular hours in order to verify my scores by "peer review." Scores are needed to be eligible for entry to the local, regional and statewide competitions that paved the way for what has become an incredibly blessed life in and around the game. My life would have taken a very different course if I had to have someone sign every time I needed scores.

Par and personal bests were better than any "peer review" I could ever imagine, my own measuring stick for my dreams of earning a college scholarship and degree, becoming a professional, a major champion and ultimately someone who is still involved in the game more than 40 years later.

Good on Golf Canada for feeling much the same way and not enforcing the USGA's "peer review" ruling. We need to be putting ourselves in the position of growing the game at every level and not putting up more roadblocks.

As a game, golf has a number of issues that need much more attention and energy than the two just addressed, such as speed of play, green speeds, the huge distances today's golf ball travels in concert with the current club technology, and caddies lining up their players during competition.

Pace of play

At last month's pace-of-play symposium held at St. Andrews, Martin Slumbers, the R&A's new chief executive, said he believes it is time for the slow players at all levels to be named and shamed. Bravo!

Now that is peer review that will have a positive effect.

Toward the end of my LPGA career, there was a regular locker room posting of all players, the number of instances they had been timed for slow play, the "bad times" they had racked up, as well as any fines levied. Talk about a list you didn't want to be on or a check you didn't want to write!

That was a powerful, positive motivator to pick up the pace and could be used nearly anywhere to get people moving quicker.

Green speedsIn the past three majors held at St. Andrews -- including Zach Johnson's victory in July -- the tournament was delayed because winds were so strong that golf balls would oscillate and some would start rolling off the greens.Ross Kinnaird/R&A/Getty Images

No greater example of green speeds getting out of control (golf is not played in a dome, after all) came on the Old Course at St. Andrews during July's Open Championship. For the third straight time (the last two Opens and the 2013 Ricoh Women's British Open), a major championship held on the Old Course was suspended because golf balls could not be put into play or kept in play without moving due to the conditions Mother Nature presented.

This might be a reach, but why not have a conversation between those who conduct the four major championships about a maximum allowed speed for a two-year cycle? Do the research, analyze the results. Let's propose 9 feet on the stimpmeter for seaside courses and 10.5 for less exposed inland courses.

What players really want aren't necessarily fast greens, but rather true and consistent greens.

Agronomic practices and turf grass technology have come so far that sometimes we've really outthought ourselves. In the process, we've decreased playability, lowered the number and variety of available hole locations and have driven up the time of the round by sweating over treacherously fast 3-and-4 footers.

Golf ball go far

The overall statistics might not say it, but I can promise you in the 12 years I have covered live golf, the ball travels much farther than ever. Sadly, in combination with today's metal woods and stronger iron lofts, the ability to conduct major championships on classic sites without acquiring more land and resorting to trickery and compromise is quickly shrinking.

I use Oak Hill Country Club's East Course as a prime example. Before hosting its past two PGA Championships, the club had to purchase additional property to stretch the 17th hole to a 501-yard par-4, hoping the players would then land their drives on the fairway upslope to set up a demanding approach rather than just a short iron.

Longer walks to back tees (more time), longer courses (more area and cost to maintain), more classic courses being "tricked up" (Merion in the 2013 U.S. Open, for example) and you might begin to see why it is time to look at reining in the ball for the top levels.

Let club-level amateurs still have their fun. The game is hard enough as it is, but let's put more skill, shot-making and creativity back into ballstriking while letting the classic courses remain relevant.

Caddies lining up players

I was one of those players who did it for a while and thought it was helping me when, in fact, it was slowing me down while not making me take complete ownership of my shot decision or execution.

Lining up the shot is the player's responsibility. Period. It is part of being a golfer, part of playing the game. You can have all the help you want on the practice range, but get at it and get at it by yourself on the course. It not only looks bad to the television viewer, but also gives the impression that the player isn't in command of his or her game.

Scotland's Catriona Matthew has been very vocal about this issue, and I applaud her for it because it is not an easy or popular stand to take. Caddies lining up players is a much bigger threat to the integrity of the game than anchoring, as well as the other issues mentioned here.

We're all looking out for the good of the game and what we hope will be its vibrant and healthy future. A tough examination of the issues and establishing thoughtful priorities will be a win for everyone, whether they are just entering the game or playing it at the highest level.

Let's hope the next four-year cycle of changes to the rules of golf does more of just that.

Dottie Pepper was an independent member of the PGA of America board of directors from Nov. 2012-Nov. 2015.

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16 Dic 2015 

BaoShinn Highlights HSBC Women’s Champions Golf and NASCAR’s “Jewel in the Desert”

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HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BaoShinn Corporation (BaoShinn or the Company, OTCQB: BHNN), is pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary Syndicore Asia Limited (SAL), through its partnership with SendtoNews Video Incorporated (STN) will have exclusive Asia Pacific access to the highlights for this weekends upcoming HSBC Womens Champions golf tournament in Singapore, as well as the Sprint Cup 500 being held at the Phoenix International Speedway.

This year marks the seventh edition of the HSBC Womens Champions tournament which consistently boasts an elite line up of 63 of the worlds top golfers. The Champion of Champions title is one of the most sought after titles on tour and has one of the most challenging qualification criteria of any golf event in the world. Even if you have a lot of other priorities for instance, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., still you need to complete a senior project to graduate successfullyThe HSBC womens Champions event will be staged at the Serapong Course of the Senbosa Golf Club, featuring 6,675 meters of mounds and undulating terrain flanked by two lakes, amazing scenery, and is ranked one of the top five championship courses in Asia. Inbee Park, Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen, and 60 of LPGAs best golfers will face off against one another for the honor of being crowned as 2014s Womens Champion this weekend; and this battle for the top spot will be the focus of all sports fans in Asia and around the world.

Also, this weekend in Phoenix will feature the first knock-out group qualifying sessions in NASCARs premier series. The New qualifying format was announced during the offseason and offers racing fans and drivers a more intense, exciting qualifying session. The 11-time Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has two wins at Phoenix International Raceway; and with his victory in last weeks Daytona 500, is sure to be a focal point of this weeks event. In addition, NASCAR fans will be tuning in to catch racing actions from Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson, both who are tied with four victories apiece at the Jewel in the Desert.

We are truly excited for this weeks LPGA event held in Singapore. With a purse of $1,400,000 at one of the most challenging golf venues in the world; Hall of Famer Karrie Webb at the top of the leaderboard, and rising Asian star Teresa Lu in the hunt, golf fans wont want to miss any part of the final round action this coming weekend. With such strong LPGA following in Asia, coupled with our distribution partners global rights portfolio of sports content, we hope to grow our viewership and advertising sponsorships quickly and make Syndicore a premier content provider across Asia, said Sean Webster, CEO of Baoshinn Corporation. Mr. Webster further adds, With more Fortune 500 companies sponsoring NASCAR than any other motor sport, and seeing Asian companies taking the same course, we feel strongly about the advertising potential of this sport in Asia and that we are poised to benefit from its growing popularity.

About BaoShinn Corporation:

Syndicore Asia Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baoshinn Corporation (Symbol: BHNN), is a cloud-based, multimedia conduit serving a growing, global community of content creators, news outlets and leading brands.Syndicore Asia Limited will be a provider of syndicated sports video media to news organizations in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, Syndicore Asia Limited plans to aggregate content from the Asia Pacific region and provide it to news organizations around the world.

Safe Harbor

All statements other than statements of historical fact that are included in this press release and that mention activities, events or developments that we believe may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. The use of words such as "anticipate," "continue," "estimate," "expect," "may," "project," "should," "believe" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include those regarding whether; this battle for the top spot will be the focus of all sports fans in Asia and around the world; that Syndicore can grow their viewership and advertising sponsorships quickly; and whether Syndicore is poised to benefit from NASCARs growing popularity.

Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Risks that might cause actual results to differ from these projections include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Baoshinns most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, 10-Q and other documents filed by the Company from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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