Google says Google Documents is secure despite Russian issue

The Free Press WV

Google said Thursday that its document writing tool Google Documents was secure even as Russian internet users discovered scores of files that appeared to be intended for private use.

The Russian internet company Yandex said in a statement that some users contacted the company Wednesday to say that its public search engine was yielding what looked like personal Google Documents files, suggesting there may have been a data breach.

On Wednesday night, Russian social media users started posting scores of such documents, including an internal memo from a Russian bank, press summaries and company business plans. The veracity of those documents could not be independently confirmed.

Google said in a statement that search engines can only turn up Google documents that had either been deliberately made public by its authors or when a user publishes a link to a document and makes it available for public access and search.

“Saving and protecting users’ personal data is our main priority,” the company said. “Google Documents is a highly protected tool for joint work and it is working correctly.”

It did not elaborate.

Ilya Grabovsky, a spokesman for Yandex, said its search only yields files that don’t require logins or passwords. He added that the files were also turning up in other search engines.

US whitewater rafting championships set for West Virginia

The Free Press WV

An organizer says the U.S. Rafting Association’s national whitewater championships will be held this fall on the New and Gauley rivers in West Virginia.

Event director Mike Cassidy tells news outlets the five-day championships will start Sept. 4. Winners from each category will represent the United States in the 2019 world championships in Australia.

Teams of six participants will compete in eight categories. Registration is $50 per team member.

Cassidy says he hopes the event helps expands tourism in West Virginia.

West Virginia also hosted the 2001 World Rafting Championships with more than 150 participants representing 12 countries.

She Keeps Getting Tested for Drugs. Now She’s Mad

The Free Press WV

Serena Williams is getting tested for performance-enhancing drugs a lot. And Williams, who’s prepping for Wimbledon, is getting annoyed. The US Anti-Doping Agency versus Serena situation came to a head on June 14 when a tester for the USADA went to Williams’ home in Florida at 8:30am for an unannounced test and Williams was unavailable, reports Deadspin. The tester reportedly refused to leave, but a test was never conducted. The seven-time Wimbledon champion believes she is being unfairly targeted and complained to USADA CEO Travis Tygart. Williams, who has been tested five times in 2018, according to the USADA database, is by far the most tested player in US women’s tennis. Other top US women’s players have been tested once or twice in that time, if at all. She’s also been tested more than any of the top five US male players.

The USADA conducts tests based on a dozen factors, among them, the players’ performance and ranking, training schedule and competition dates, information received about a player’s possible doping practices, and injury data. A spokesperson for Williams, who is seeded No. 25 for her return to Wimbledon after having a baby, per the AP, tells Deadspin that in Williams’ 23-year career she has never tested positive for drugs and she has always willingly complied with testing. “There is absolutely no reason for this kind of invasive and targeted treatment,” the rep said. When asked if there is any reason to suspect Williams of doping, USADA rep Brad Horn said, “Absolutely not.”

Vancaeyezeele Tabbed As MEC Male Athlete Of The Year

The Free Press WV

The University of Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele has been selected as the Mountain East Conference Male Athlete of the Year for 2017-18.

Vancaeyezeele collected a host of individual honors as he helped the Golden Eagles to the national championship. He was named the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Player of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches becoming just the second player in school history to earn national Player of the Year honors. He was a consensus first team All-American earning the honor from the United Soccer Coaches and the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA). The MEC Defensive Player of the Year helped lead one of the top defensive units in the country as UC allowed just six goals all year. In fact, UC did not concede a goal in the NCAA Tournament. Vancaeyezeele also stepped forward to score four goals and add two assists on the season.

Vancaeyezeele is the first UC student-athlete and the first soccer player to be named MEC Athlete of the Year. He is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League (USL).

The MEC Male Athlete of the Year is selected by a vote of institutional administrators and the conference office.

Charleston’s Dan Stratford and Glenville State’s Kim Stephens were recognized yesterday as the 2017-18 Mountain East Conference Coaches of the Year.

Previous Winners

2014-15: Seger Bonifant (Basketball, West Liberty)

2015-16: Seger Bonifant (Basketball, West Liberty)

2016-17: Matt Bingaya (Basketball, Fairmont State)

2017-18: Thomas Vancaeyezeele (Soccer, Charleston)

Harrison Named MEC Athlete Of The Year

The Free Press WV

Fairmont State volleyball standout Mackenzie Harrison has been named the Mountain East Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2017-18.

Harrison was selected as the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) National Player of the Year after leading the country with 710 kills—105 more kills than any player in the country this season. She also averaged 5.87 kills and 4.03 digs per set on her way to being named the Mountain East Conference and D2CAA Atlantic Region Player of the Year. A three-time first team All-MEC selection, she leaves Fairmont State as the school’s all-time leader in career kills (1,968) and kills in a season (710). She earned All-America honors from the D2CCA and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

The MEC Female Athlete of the Year is selected by a vote of institutional administrators and the conference office.

Charleston’s Dan Stratford and Glenville State’s Kim Stephens were recognized yesterday as the 2017-18 Mountain East Conference Coaches of the Year.

Previous Winners

2014-15: Andrea Thobe (Volleyball, Wheeling Jesuit)

2015-16: Courtney Iacobacci (Softball, Fairmont State)

2016-17: Hannah Vet (Softball, West Virginia Wesleyan)

2017-18: Mackenzie Harrison (Volleyball, Fairmont State)

GSC’s Stephens Named MEC Women’s Sports Coach Of The Year

The Free Press WV

Glenville State’s Kim Stephens has been named the Mountain East Conference Women’s Sports Coach of the Year for 2017-18.

Stephens, in her second season at her alma mater, directed the Pioneers to a 31-2 season on the hardwood. Glenville State became the first program—men’s or women’s—to navigate conference play with an undefeated record at 22-0 en route to a second-straight regular season conference title.

The Pioneers then went on to win their first MEC Tournament title since 2014. GSC amassed a 30-game winning streak (second longest in the country) during the season and ascended as high as No. 4 in the national rankings.

Stephens is 55-8 during her two seasons at Glenville State, including a 40-4 mark in conference play. She has led GSC to the NCAA Tournament in each of her first two seasons.

The MEC Women’s Sports Coach of the Year is selected by a vote of institutional administrators and the conference office.

Previous Winners

2014-15: Jenna Eckleberry (Basketball, Shepherd)

2015-16: Christy Benner (Volleyball, Wheeling Jesuit)

2016-17: Steve Warner (Softball, West Virginia Wesleyan)

2017-18: Kim Stephens (Basketball, Glenville State)

USA Boxing holding tournament in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

Hundreds of young boxers from across the United States are coming to West Virginia for a national tournament.

The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau says in a news release that USA Boxing is holding the tournament from Tuesday through Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center.

It marks the fourth time in five years that USA Boxing has held the tournament in Charleston. The matches are free and open to the public.

About 650 boxers are entered in the 2018 National Junior Olympics, Prep Nationals and Youth Open championships.

The Runner’s Story Is an Unbelievable One—Perhaps Literally

The Free Press WV

When Kathryn Miles reached out to Moninda Marube last summer, her intention was to write a profile on the high-profile competitive runner and human trafficking survivor. What she ultimately ended up writing for Down East is a horse of another color. She is far from the first to report on Marube, who is now based in Maine after sharing a harrowing tale of coming to the US from Kenya to run, ending up in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where he assumed he’d be trained by a successful running coach, also a Kenyan—only to end up, he alleged, a virtual prisoner, with his passport confiscated, his race winnings largely confiscated, and no access to a phone or the internet. He ultimately escaped, he said, after a chance meeting with a Kenyan truck driver at a grocery store, who he later contacted via a neighbor’s phone, met at a truck stop, and fled the state with.

But when Miles tried to “flesh out the story”—getting, say, the name of the truck driver—he largely professed to have forgotten. And when she traveled to Coon Rapids and ultimately contacted that alleged human trafficker, a man named William Kosgei, and met with the current runners he was hosting, she found nothing of what Marube described. They all had their passports, most had phones, and she saw no hint of restrictions. Marube’s explanation for this is that he is part of the Kisii ethnic group, and that “tribal prejudice” explained his worse treatment. Miles’ fact-checking digs deep, and notes that Marube only voiced his story about Kosgei after learning about a US visa granted only to victims of certain crimes. Still, she allows that “none of the inconsistencies ... denials from other sources, or unverifiable claims necessarily mean that Marube wasn’t in some ways mistreated or even trafficked while in Coon Rapids.“ Her full story has much more.

World Cup: No Russian? No Problem. There’s an app for that

The Free Press WV

Randall Garcia and his wife were on a bus in the Russian city of Samara when a local resident stared at the couple and pointed his phone at them. The screen read: “Good luck Costa Rica!”

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Neymar may be the stars of the World Cup. But Google Translate has been the Most Valuable Player for many fans to leap over the language barrier in Russia. They have used the mobile app version to order food, change money and meet new people, especially in cities like Samara, where most people only speak Russian.

“Google Translate has been a fundamental tool,” Garcia said, wearing the red jersey of Costa Rica’s national team.

“In a country where people are going out of their way to try to understand us, it’s key,” he said. “We thought there was going to be a language barrier, but it wasn’t like that.”

Before hundreds of thousands of fans descended on Russia, many of them studied phrases or took lessons to learn the basics of the language and the Cyrillic alphabet in time for the tournament that kicked off on June 14.

“It’s really hard, My partner has been learning a little bit of Russian, but other than that we use Google Translate,” said Ruth Morris from Queensland, Australia. She who wore a yellow t-shirt in the colors of the national team emblazoned with green kangaroos that read: “Aussie, Aussie Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!”

The day that she arrived to Moscow with her husband, they struck up conversation with a group of local residents at a bar.

“We managed to communicate and make friends using a mix of Google Translate, sign language and - piba!” Brian Mckinley said, using the Russian word for beer.

These days, one scene has been repeated thousands of times in cities across Russia: A person types a sentence on a phone or taps into the microphone and waits until the other one reads it or hears the words, nods, and responds.

“In many ways Google Translate is remarkable. If your intent is to have basic straightforward communication, then Google Translate can serve you adequately,” said Andrew Cohen, professor emeritus in second language studies from the University of Minnesota.

Cohen has been using Google translate to assist him with Mandarin Chinese, his 13th language. But he said the offerings are sometimes wrong.

“There are several reasons for this: One is that GT does not have a brain and so it really cannot deal effectively with connotations of word meanings, nor with various collocations of words with other words,” he said. Then, there’s the issue of pragmatics, since it can’t interpret the intentions of the person trying to communicate.

It “may have considerable difficulty translating humor, sarcasm, subtle forms of criticism, curses, apologies so that they work, even requests in a way that they are appropriately mitigated rather than bossy sounding,” he said.

“This is where Google Translate still has lots of work to do.”

Translate was launched in 2006 and has grown into one of Google’s most popular services with more than 500 million monthly users and more than 100 billion words translated each day, according to the company. Russian is one of the most used out of more than 100 languages that range from Afrikaans to Yiddish. They can be used on websites, with speech recognition and as an app on mobile phones, even if there is no connection. Others use one of its features to recognize and translate the writing on billboards, menus and street signs.

“The Russian Cyrillic is unlike any word in our alphabet,” said Marilyn Mattos, 30, a Colombian fan who wore earrings in the yellow, blue and red colors of the national flag.

“But we used Google Translator to take pictures, select the text and translate it into Spanish without a problem.”

It has even been used to break the ice between journalists and players. During a recent press conference with Antoine Griezmann that only allowed questions in French, a Spanish journalist put the microphone on his phone and used Google Translate to ask, drawing a wide grin from the French striker who plays professionally in Madrid and speaks Spanish.

And it has also been used for safety tips to reduce accidents. Marat Gurjan, a 15-year-old lifeguard whose favorite player is Neymar, uses the app to help communicate on a Volga River beach.

“The World Cup is a great honor,” the screen on his phone read in English after he typed a sentence in Russian. “For our country, and especially for Samara.”

Phil Mickelson Gets Into Bizarre Trouble at U.S. Open

The Free Press WV

Phil Mickelson intentionally hit a moving putt on the 13th green Saturday, then asked the USGA to explain the ruling after hearing suggestions that he should be disqualified from the US Open. His bogey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he trotted over and swatted it back toward the hole with the ball still in motion. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty, scored a 10 on the hole—the highest number anyone has managed in this tournament—and wound up shooting 81, reports the AP. Later, after acknowledging he was using Rule 14-5 to his advantage, Mickelson called USGA officials. “Phil really did want to understand how the rule operates because he didn’t want to—frankly, as he said to me: ‘I don’t want to play in this championship if I should have been disqualified,‘“ said Mike Davis, the USGA’s chief executive.

“That’s where we clarified that, ‘Phil, you actually made a stroke at a moving ball, and so we have to apply that rule.‘ “That’s different than if he had deliberately just stopped the ball or whacked it in another direction or something like that. So it’s ... us applying the rules.“ Mickelson’s shocking display in the third round stunned playing partner Andrew Johnston, who called it “a moment of madness.“ “I’ve had multiple times where I’ve wanted to do that,“ Mickelson said, explaining he preferred the 2-stroke penalty to having to play the ball from off the green. “I just finally did.“ As he walked off the green, he could be seen smiling. Asked if people would find his actions on No. 13 disrespectful, Mickelson said: “It’s meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. ... I would gladly take the two shots over continuing that display.“ As for walking off the green chuckling, he insisted: “How can you not laugh? It’s funny.“

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