Jun 282017
 

DOHA: Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organisers have welcomed a long-awaited FIFA report on the race to host the tournament, saying the conclusions represented “a vindication of the integrity” of Doha’s bid.

The report, which also investigated the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup, made no suggestion that either Russia or Qatar should lose the right to stage the tournament, despite detailing numerous attempts to influence voting officials.

The 430-page report had been under wraps since being completed by FIFA’s then-ethics investigator Michael Garcia in November 2014.

FIFA, football’s global governing body, chose to publish on Tuesday after the document was leaked to the German newspaper Bild.

“Although we question the timing of the leak, we welcome the publication of the Garcia report,” said Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in a statement. “We believe that the extent of our cooperation with this investigation and the conclusions drawn represent a vindication of the integrity of our bid.”

Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament in a single vote in Zurich in December, 2010.

UAE demands guarantees before mending Qatar ties

Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host the tournament.

In the report, Garcia wrote that Qatar “may not have met the standards set out in the FIFA code of ethics or the bid rules” but added, in mitigation, that it only was due to its cooperation that the issues were uncovered.

Qatar said earlier this month a rift with fellow Gulf Arab states that includes economic sanctions on Doha has not affected its preparations to host the World Cup, and alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.

FIFA has said it is in “regular contact” with Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting Iran and funding Islamist groups; Qatar denies the charges.

In the running alongside Russia to stage the 2018 World Cup were England and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and the Netherlands/Belgium.

Qatar risk FIFA action after T-shirt protest

Qatar’s rivals for the 2022 tournament were Australia, Japan, the United States and South Korea.

Football Federation Australia, whose publicly funded $35m bid to host the 2022 World Cup garnered one vote, also welcomed the report and said it contained no new “substantive” matters which have not already been investigated or reported.

“FFA has said repeatedly that the bid process for 2018 and 2022 was deeply flawed and that mistakes were made by the Australian bid team,” read a statement. “However, FFA notes that FIFA continues to reform its governance, including relating to future tournament bids, and is confident mistakes of the past will not be repeated.”

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Jun 282017
 

MELBOURNE: Manny Pacquiao is seeking a dominant win over Australia’s Jeff Horn to try and coax Floyd Mayweather Jr into a re-match, the Filipino’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach has said.

Pacquiao, who was defeated by American Mayweather in a unanimous points decision in Las Vegas in 2015, will defend his WBO welterweight belt against former schoolteacher and rank outsider Horn in Brisbane on Sunday.

“He wants a re-match with Mayweather,” Roach told Sky News of 38-year-old Pacquiao. “To get Mayweather, you have to look good. Against Horn, he’s got to look good, he has to be impressive.”

Mayweather-McGregor to box on August 26

Mayweather, who retired in 2015 with an unbeaten record of 49-0, has agreed to come out of retirement for a 12-round fight against mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor.

Pacquiao has failed to win by knockout since a 12th round TKO win over Miguel Cotto in 2009 but Roach said the fighter was primed to cause a stoppage against 29-year-old Horn, who is undefeated in 17 fights against mostly obscure opponents.

“[Pacquiao] doesn’t like to predict knockouts and so forth but I do,” said Roach at a media conference on Wednesday. “I think it’s going to be short and sweet. If our opponent comes out like he says he’s going to, Manny will fire back and I think it’s going to be great fight [but] it won’t last too long. And someone will get knocked out.”

Waseem world title bout on after govt releases funds, reveals manager

The ‘Battle of Brisbane’ at Lang Park, a 55,000-seat venue used mainly for professional rugby matches, is the biggest fight in decades ‘Down Under’, throwing Pacquiao’s unheralded opponent Horn into a huge spotlight.

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Jun 282017
 

MILAN: Five-time European Cup-winning footballer Paolo Maldini’s tennis career ended abruptly on his debut on Tuesday when the AC Milan legend lost 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round doubles match. Maldini stepped onto the court at the Milan challenger event as its most decorated sportsman. But the 49-year-old Italian football legend — whose tennis dream was to “play against Roger Federer” — saw his career hopes dashed with a chastening defeat to doubles specialists David Pel and Tomasz Bednarek while playing alongside his tennis coach Stefano Landonio. It was a logical defeat, given the players’ ranking history. Dutchman Pel is ranked 208th in the world while Poland’s Bednarek reached a career high of 44th in 2014, reaching a quarter-final at Roland Garros on the way. Landonio’s highest ever ranking was 975th, in 1996. Maldini and Landonio were given an invite to the event thanks to their recent victory in an amateur tournament. Shades of Sacchi as Zidane out to rewrite history But although the Challenger circuit is one level below the elite ATP circuit played by the likes of Federer, it proved a step too far for Maldini and his partner. Maldini produced a few strong forehands, but showed flaws in his backhand and was well below professional standard on serve. It was over within an hour, and Maldini said that, as far as his professional tennis career is concerned, it is game, set and match. “It was a great experience and one I really enjoyed, but I won’t repeat it,” said [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 
Mobike and Gemalto collaborate to bring IoT connectivity to bike-sharing services beyond China

Amsterdam, June 28, 2017 – Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security and Mobike, world’s largest smart bike sharing platform announced extending its partnership in secure internet connection for Mobike’s fleet of bikes. Gemalto’s Cinterion M2M module and Machine Identification Module (MIM(TM)) are embedded in the smart bike lock to transmit location data and operate the lock remotely. As Gemalto’s modules are pre-certified with all major network operators worldwide, this collaboration allows Mobike to launch the service worldwide faster and more easily, and other connected services can be added in the future. Smart solution fuel the booming bike-sharing economy Mobike’s IoT based bike-share solution allows users to conveniently locate the nearest bikes in real time at their exact location by using a Mobike app. This is particularly important as, unlike other bike sharing services, such IoT-based solutions can also allow the Mobike platform to smartly monitor the health status of each bike, manage hot spots, and distribute its fleet of bikes based on user demand for better safety, high operation efficiency, and meeting unmet “last mile” urban mobility needs. “Innovation has put us in the leading position and made us the largest smart bike-sharing service provider in China and the world. Our next milestone is to launch our IoT based solution in more countries worldwide, and provide a convenient service to commuters and contribute to a healthier lifestyle,” remarks Joe Xia, co-founder and CTO of Mobike. “Gemalto’s track record in delivering end-to-end secure connectivity and pre-certified solutions [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 

THAILAND: It wasn’t until he got to medical school that Narong Khuntikeo finally discovered what caused the liver cancer that took both of his parents’ lives: their lunch. Like millions of Thais across the rural northeast, his family regularly ate koi pla – a local dish made of raw fish ground with spices and lime. The pungent meal is quick, cheap and tasty, but the fish is also a favourite feast for parasites that can cause a lethal liver cancer killing up to 20,000 Thais annually. Most hail from northeast, a large, poor region known as Isaan that has dined on koi pla for generations and now has the highest reported instance of the Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) – bile duct cancer – in the world. One of the major causes of CCA is a parasitic flatworm – or fluke – which is native to the Mekong region and found in many freshwater fish. Once eaten, the worms can embed undetected in the bile ducts for years causing inflammation that can, over time, trigger the aggressive cancer, according to the World Health Organisation. “It’s a very big health burden around here… it effects families, education and socioeconomic development,” said Narong, who went on to become a liver surgeon to battle the scourge. In South Punjab: Biggest fish hatchery to be operational by June “But nobody knows about this because they die quietly, like leaves falling from a tree.” After seeing hundreds of hopeless late-stage cases on the operating table, Narong is now marshalling [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 
S. Arabia refuses to budge from demands as top Gulf diplomats in US for Qatar talks

'Struggle of wills' Top Gulf diplomats were in Washington on Tuesday as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to help resolve the stubborn Qatar crisis, amid concerns that Saudi Arabia's unyielding stance could foil the effort. With a one-week Saudi deadline looming for Qatar to meet its demands, Tillerson had talks with Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. He quickly followed that with a meeting with Kuwait Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, whose country has taken on the official role of mediator. And he was planning to meet in a working dinner late Tuesday with the Kuwaitis and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who has offered to help resolve the row. But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, also in Washington, was unbudging over the three-week-old squabble, which has left Qatar, a US ally, isolated under a trade and diplomatic embargo set by its Gulf Arab neighbours. “Our demands on Qatar are non-negotiable. It's now up to Qatar to end its support for extremism and terrorism,” Jubeir said via Twitter. With the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, the Saudis announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups — a claim Doha denies. They closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, a vital route for its food imports. Last week Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, included the closure [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 
Iran accuses US of 'brazen' plan to change its government

Iran is accusing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of “a brazen interventionist plan” to change the current government that violates international law and the UN Charter. Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, circulated Tuesday, that Tillerson's comments are also “a flagrant violation” of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged “not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.” Tillerson said in a June 14 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2018 State Department budget that US policy is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons “and work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.” “Those elements are there, certainly as we know,” he said. Kohshroo said Iran expects all countries to condemn “such grotesque policy statements and advise the government of the United States to act responsibly and to adhere to the principles of the (UN) Charter and international law.” He noted that Tillerson's comments came weeks after President Hassan Rouhani's re-election to another four-year term and local elections in which 71 per cent of the Iranian people participated. Rouhani is a political moderate who defeated a hardline opponent. “The people of Iran have repeatedly proven that they are the ones to decide their own destiny and thus attempts by the United States to interfere in Iranian domestic affairs will be doomed to failure,” Kohshroo said. “They have learned how [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 
Trump stresses strong ties with India but urges Modi to fix deficit

Aviation deals US President Donald Trump urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do more to relax Indian trade barriers on Monday during talks in which both leaders took great pains to stress the importance of a strong US-Indian relationship. At a closely watched first meeting between the two, Trump and Modi appeared to get along well. Modi pulled in Trump for a bear hug on the stage as the cameras rolled in the Rose Garden. "I deeply appreciate your strong commitment to the enhancement of our bilateral relations,” Modi told him. “I am sure that under your leadership a mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights. Trump was also warm but made clear he sees a need for more balance in the US-India trade relationship in keeping with his campaign promise to expand American exports and create more jobs at home. Last year the US trade deficit with India neared $31 billion. Trump said he would like a trading relationship that is “fair and reciprocal.” “It is important that barriers be removed to the export of US goods into your markets and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” he said. Trump said he was pleased about an Indian airlines recent order of 100 new American planes and that the United States looked forward to exporting more energy, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas. These energy contracts “are being negotiated and we will sign trying to [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia reiterated Tuesday that its demands on Qatar were not negotiable, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with the Qatari foreign minister on the Gulf states crisis. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who was also in Washington, was unbudging amid attempts by US and Kuwaiti diplomats to mediate the row which has left Qatar, a US ally, isolated under a trade and diplomatic embargo set by its Gulf Arab neighbours. Turkey says Saudi-led ultimatum on Qatar ‘against international law’ “Our demands on Qatar are non-negotiable. It’s now up to Qatar to end its support for extremism and terrorism,” Jubeir said via Twitter. Riyadh has laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, included the closure of Al-Jazeera, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate. The United States though has cautioned that some of the demands would be difficult for Qatar to accept, asking the Saudis for a clear list of grievances that are “reasonable and actionable.” Shortly after Jubeir’s comments, Tillerson met with Qatar’s top diplomat Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. He was to meet later with Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah, who has sought to work resolve the standoff. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said talks would continue through the week, but added the Saudi demands remained ‘challenging’ for Qatar. “Some of them will be difficult for Qatar to incorporate and to try to adhere to,” she said. “We continue [Read More…]

Jun 272017
 

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s administration hit China Tuesday over its rights record, placing the country alongside Sudan and North Korea on a list of the world’s worst human trafficking offenders. The State Department downgraded China in its annual “Trafficking in Persons Report,” saying Beijing is doing little to combat the phenomenon or protect its victims. It pointed to ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China’s west, being coerced into forced labour, and to Beijing’s wholesale repatriation of North Koreans without checking to see if they were trafficking victims. Beijing “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so,” said the report unveiled in Washington by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It marked the first significant rebuke of China’s rights record by the Trump administration, which has avoided harsh criticism of Beijing as the president seeks to establish a working relationship over deep trade differences and North Korea’s nuclear program. Cases of kidnapping, human trafficking increasing in Pakistan, SC told The release of the annual report also appeared to signal the Trump administration’s closer embrace of human rights issues as an integral part of its foreign policy. The five-month-old government has been reticent to highlight rights issues, keeping its focus on more narrowly defined security and economic interests. Speaking at the report’s launch, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House assistant, said all governments have the responsibility to prosecute human traffickers. “Human trafficking is a pervasive human rights issue,” [Read More…]

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