UAE Announces 10-Year Residency Visa for Investors, Science Specialists

first_imgThe United Arab Emirates has launched a 10-year residency visa for investors and specialists, the country’s government announced on May 20. The long-term visa, valid for 10 years, will be offered to specialists such as doctors and engineers, exceptional students, and entrepreneurs.“The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents to the UAE,” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said while announcing the decision, Gulf News reported. The decision, announced by Shaikh Mohammad following a Cabinet meeting, aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as an attractive destination for global investment and talent.Sheikh Mohammed also posted on the social media that global investors can have full ownership of their companies in the country.Those eligible for the 10-year visa under the new policy include specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, scientists and innovators, and entrepreneurs, the Khaleej Times reported. The visa validity will also apply for families of the people falling in these categories, the report added. Five-year residency visas will also be offered to students studying in the UAE, while top performing students will be eligible for 10-year visas.At today’s Cabinet meeting, we decided to allow 100% foreign ownership of companies in UAE, with a 10 year visa for investors,scientists, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators.The UAE has always welcomed, and always will, innovators and business leaders pic.twitter.com/N93MqK89Rp— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) May 20, 2018The changes will come into effect by the third quarter of this year.This decision will be enforced by third quarter this year .Our open society, tolerant values, excellent infrastructure and flexible legislation offer the best environment for international investment and exceptional talent. pic.twitter.com/kdOVX02q4L— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) May 20, 2018Sheikh Mohammed has also directed officials to review the current residence visa scheme so that dependents can be offered an extension of the duration of visa validity after they have completed their university studies in order to facilitate their future residence in the UAE.This will give them the opportunity to study their practical options in the future.The move was welcomed by leading businessmen in the country.“This is a landmark announcement (and is) sure to further boost the UAE’s image as the most investor-friendly economy in the region,” LuLu Group chairman Yusuffali MA, was quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times. “This new long-term visa will go a long way in attracting and retaining not only investors but also top notch professionals who are very essential in today’s highly competitive world,” the UAE-based Indian-origin billionaire added.“Ten-year visa – this is great news as it will further boost the confidence of investors. UAE has always been in the forefront of taking pragmatic, business friendly and investor friendly decisions,” the publication quoted Al Maya Group Director Kamal Vachani, another Indian-origin businessman, as saying. Related ItemsDubaiUAElast_img read more

Pakistan International Airlines

first_imgPakistan International Airlines reportedly flew two passengers in the toilet after running out of room on a Lahore to Karachi flight.The country’s Geo News mockingly described the incident as “another feather in its cap,” noting that “its amazing new service for its valued passengers … does justice to its slogan ‘Great people to fly with.’” Related Itemslast_img

The Big Myth

first_imgFrom its ambivalent portrayal of gay characters on screen to an almost incredulous approach toward alternate sexuality, Bollywood often belittles the cause of sexual equality. Biographies in India, especially of the high and mighty of Bollywood, brew more than passing public interest. Little surprise therefore when the biggest beholder of tinsel towns’ secrets and stories, Karan Johar came out with his biography, that it created more than just a storm in the tea (or ‘Koffee,’ if you please) cup. A compelling point of intrigue amongst his countless engaging stories involving superstars was whether Johar would put an end to speculations about his own sexuality. While Johar did so in a way, but not without opening another can of worms — on how Indian society views homosexuality in the most abaft manner.In his biography, An Unsuitable Boy, Johar writes: “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this.” Almost expressing his helplessness to tackle the issue head-on he adds: “The reason I don’t say it out aloud is simply that I don’t want to be dealing with the FIRs. I’m very sorry. I have a job, I have a commitment to my company, to my people who work for me; there are over a hundred people that I’m answerable to. I’m not going to sit in the courts because of ridiculous, completely bigoted individuals who have no education, no intelligence.”While this may sound very plausible, even endearing, what this not-so-self-proclaimed poster boy of homosexuality in India is missing is a vital truth — that his own monumental podium of telling both real and escapist stories, Bollywood, has for ages shown a rather inverted attitude toward alternate sexual identities. It’s a shame that the world’s largest movie producer has yet to build a body of work that shows the reality of homosexuality in a truthful and sensitive manner.Save for precious exceptions, such as Deepa Mehta’s Fire, which tried to tackle an even trickier subject of lesbianism in 1998, to emotional portrayals by Onir (Anirbar Dhar) in I Am and My Brother Nikhil, Bollywood prefers to keep LGBT communities in the closet. When it comes to mainstream blockbusters, it would be no exaggeration to say that Bollywood harbors an almost Victorian prudishness toward homosexuality.Johar has attempted to bring the veiled reality on the big screen, but only tepidly. He may have broken new ground with his recent production Kapoor & Sons, showcasing one of the lead characters as gay. The fact that the role, played by Fawad Khan, was reportedly rejected by six of Indian cinemas’ big stars, is reflection of the extent of the homophobia in Bollywood. Johar himself was quoted as saying that he thought of changing the storyline until Pakistani actor Fawad Khan agreed to the role.While some may argue that the gay character in the film is not the lead, the fact that Johar moved ahead with a raunchy comedy like Dostana in 2008 to bring the gay relationship in focus for a more mature version is still welcome relief.Produced by Johar in 2008, Dostana tells the story of two men played by John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan pretending to be gay. The fact that the protagonists are not gay, but “real men” in actuality, seemed like an unsure, half baked attempt to test the waters on whether a gay hero would work in Bollywood. The movie with its crude, slapstick jokes mocking gay men and the lead actors cringing at the thought of being actually gay, in a way affirmed that being gay is not a desirable trait in contemporary India.The bitter truth remains that while Johar’s Archie comics’ style love stories of the late 1990s, his clichéd family dramas of the noughties, to the somewhat sappy, Gen Y targeted college romances, stirred an entire generation to feel the pulse of emotions he portrays; but his less than finely etched out gay characters did little to bring the same attention toward alternate sexuality. If in 2013 he brought the topic of sexuality with some seriousness in Bombay Talkies, where two closet gay men are encouraged to come out in open, his 2014 movie, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, showed actor Sidharth Shukla play a masculine looking gay man. Although the character was not stereotypically effeminate yet gay, the character had no major role to play or portray in the story line. It will be some time before Bollywood is ready to present us with a character who is gay, has substance and forms the crucial (lead preferably) part of a storyline.While the portrayal of alternate sexuality in Bollywood has made an occasional recurrent appearance, the treatment has usually been stereotypical. In Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion (2008) gay characters were critical to the plot, but it had caricaturist representation of a gay man gesturing more with his hands than his dialogues, while another gay designer in the movie enters into a contract marriage to garb his sexual identity. Sad truths, but told without an attempt to break the taboos. In Mastizaade, Suresh Menon plays a badly executed, poorly performed and hugely exaggerated gay character.Often filmmakers add gay characters to the movie for cheap thrills. But then in a country where the most viewed comic shows on TV have men dressed as women to induce funniness, what can one expect. Most mainstream movies have steered clear of gay characters with dimensional roles. Movies, such as Kal Ho Na Ho, even use the gay connection as a comic relief to the plot.Filmmakers have opted to be pragmatic, in deference to the box office. But the confused confrontation of sexuality extends from the reel to the real. Johar’s very own chi-chi circle of friends may be doing a lot more disservice to his “alternate” individuality than he deserves. In the so-called progressive sections of Indian society, if coming as guests dressed in everything from Guccis to Puccis on Karan’s popular talk show and passing suggestive snide remarks on his sexuality, while giggling like high schoolers on their smart aleck comments, is how we handle such serious issues, then well, we may have lost the battle even before we began.While Karan and his ilk may cry hoarse about the need to build sensitivity, when those that confused youth look to answers for their “deviations” reduce the issue to jocular tomfoolery, the situation looks more grim than gay (ok, bad pun).When actress turned author Twinkle Khanna almost nonchalantly remarked on a Koffee With Karan episode that Karan may have to go to the jail for 377 days or when choreographer Farah Khan almost casually blurted that Karan couldn’t be the sister she always wanted, the wisecracks may be funny, but certainly not humorous.The tone and the modality of the guests with suggestive comments on Karan’s sexual status in a wit-warped manner, are licenses to laugh or mock someone who is gay or different.While almost certainly this was not the motive of any of the guests, the fact that they are clueless on how to confront sexuality makes a gender sensitive society seems a distant possibility.But then there may be some hope with movies such as Aligarh released last year starring Manoj Bajpayee in an well-etched out role of a gay professor, played with such finesse that it received a standing ovation at international film festivals. It is truths such as these that need to be told. Related Itemslast_img read more

As China-India Feud Ebbs, Bhutan Re-examines its Place in the World

first_imgDuring the long weeks soldiers from two of the world’s largest armies camped on their doorstep, officials in the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan maintained a meditative silence.Government leaders resolutely declined to comment and even the Bhutanese media largely refrained from covering the stand-off, which began in mid-June when Indian troops crossed into a remote plateau claimed by Bhutan and confronted Chinese soldiers prepping to build a road there.When the respective armies began withdrawing from the Doklam area Monday, the Himalayan nation of just under 800,000 finally exhaled, and analysts said that its temperance had helped defuse tension between the two nuclear-armed powers.For years, Bhutan — a landlocked nation squeezed between the Tibet plateau to its north and India to its east, south and west — has trod a delicate balancing act between China and its great patron, India, which trains its soldiers, buys its hydroelectric power and is now giving it $578 million a year in aid.In the country’s capital of Thimphu, India’s influence can be seen everywhere — from the army officers jogging on its streets to the laborers on Indian projects for mountain roads.“Bhutan is really caught between two sides and the confrontation at Doklam has brought everything to the surface,” said Nirupama Menon Rao, India’s former foreign secretary and ambassador to China. “Bhutan has played this game of survival for a long, long time. Nobody does it better than them.”But the dispute caused many in Bhutan to call for the country to re-evaluate its close — some say suffocating — relationship with its southern neighbor.“If India’s border closed tomorrow we would run out of rice and a lot of other essentials in a few days, that is how vulnerable we are,” said Needrup Zangpo, the executive director of the Journalists’ Association of Bhutan. “Many Bhutanese resent this.”The country — with stunning mountain passes, rippling Buddhist prayer flags and ancient temples — was until recently a monarchy, its villages isolated from much of the world for most of the last century. Television arrived only in 1999, and even now only about 60,000 tourists from outside the region visit each year, paying a hefty $250-a-day visa fee in high season.Its beloved and progressive fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, set the country on the path to democracy in 2008 and popularized the “Gross National Happiness” indicator, which rates quality of life, preservation of culture and environmental protection over economic output. In a 2015 study more than 90 percent of residents said they experienced some level of happiness.Bhutan’s long ties with India, by far its largest trading partner, were cemented in 1958, when India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, traveled through the mountains on a yak. The two countries had already agreed, in a 1949 treaty, that India would guide its foreign policy; the terms were softened and modified in 2007.Bhutan has an ongoing border dispute and no official diplomatic ties with China, and India has frowned upon any change in this status quo. India cut off a cooking gas subsidy in 2013 because, some analysts charge, it feared Bhutan’s then-government was growing closer to its northern neighbor. India has long seen Bhutan as an important ally against Chinese expansionism in the region.Thimphu is a still-quiet valley town, dotted with traditionally painted homes and apartments, that has modernized rapidly in the last 10 years, and recently began having traffic jams.Many of its younger, educated residents — who followed the China-India conflict on their mobile phones, via social media — said that the weeks-long standoff had raised questions about Bhutan’s place in the world, and if the country was being well-served by maintaining such a close relationship with India while holding China at arm’s length.Many of the tenants of Thimphu TechPark, a government owned business park opened in 2011 as a symbol of the country’s aspirations, took a pragmatic view of China — seeing it as a potential marketplace for fledgling Bhutanese entrepreneurs. Bhutan has long looked inward, they said, and now needs to start looking outward.“I think because we are in a global community now, we should have good relations with both China and India,” said Jigme Tenzin, the young chief executive of Housing.bt, an online real estate portal. Unlike some of his peers, he cheerfully wears his gho, the robe-like garment that is the country’s national dress, including to international conferences, saying it helps set him apart from other Asian entrepreneurs.The TechPark itself opened in 2011, and initially did not do well. But today, it has more than 700 Bhutanese employees, offices for several foreign companies and an incubation center for start-ups. One of the companies is trying to create a children’s cartoon in Bhutan’s national language, Dzongkha, to compete with the Hindi cartoons broadcast from India.Launching a real estate startup in a country where only about 37 percent of people are on the Internet has been a challenge, Jigme Tenzin says, as the needs of millennial generation apartment seekers don’t always match up with the offerings of older property owners, most of whom are still not online. He and his small band of employees ended up having to go door to door with brochures trying to educate people.“We’re in the middle of one foot in the future and one foot in the past,” he said with a laugh. “This transition is killing me.”(c) 2017, The Washington Post Related ItemsBhutanChinalast_img read more

162 Jews from ‘Lost Tribe’ in Northeast India Migrate to Israel: Report

first_imgAs many as 162 members of what is called a “lost tribe” of Israel migrated to the country from Manipur this week. The Bnei Menashe group is believed to be one of the 10 lost tribes which was exiled 2,700 years ago from the northern Kingdom of Israel.Approximately 10,000 members of the Bnei Menashe group are alive, of which 3,000 live in Israel, while the rest reside in India. They speak Tibeto-Burman languages and are made up of Mizo, Kuki, and Chin people — all three tribes live in Myanmar and India.The 162 people had been separated from their families for 10 years as the latter had moved to Israel earlier, Jerusalem Post reported. Their arrival at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport in two groups, on Nov.14 and Nov. 16, was celebrated by the community members. The process of returning home to Israel from distant lands is known as Aliyah.The final group of #BneiMenashe of this week’s #Aliyah has arrived. If you weren’t moved to tears by their excitement, joy, and spontaneous singing, then seeing this grandmother lifted in her wheelchair to allow her the opportunity to kiss the mezuzah should do it. Mazal tov! pic.twitter.com/I58RpkpnM9— Shavei Israel (@shaveiisrael) November 16, 2017The group was able to emigrate through the help of a conservative organization called Shavei Israel, which claims on their website that it’s “the only Jewish organization today that is actively reaching out to ‘lost Jews’ in an effort to facilitate their return [to Israel].”The group was reportedly recognized as Jews only in 2005, when the then-Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar officially recognized them. Around 1,700 of them were able to move to Israel, until the government stopped giving them visas. The process restarted, and a group of Bnei Menashe went to Israel early this year.Among the early immigrants, many converted to Judaism only after moving to Israel. According to an American Jewish publication called Forward, the group not only faces racism, but have been unable to assimilate with the modern Israeli culture. DNA testing is said to have revealed that there is no Middle Eastern ancestry in the community and they have been housed in West Bank, which is believed to be illegally occupied by Israel.Many of the young adults are at risk since they live unsupervised while their parents work low-wage jobs. The young men have been in trouble with the law for petty crimes while the girls, the parents worry, are getting influenced by American culture, according to Yoni Nachum, the coordinator of Bnei Menashe programs for the local council. Living on the outskirts have also made it difficult for them to adapt to the modern culture. “What is different here is that they have been neglected for some 20 years, and we are only now starting to see the implications,” Nachum said, according to the Forward publication.At least 73 per cent of the group’s youth are considered at risk, according to Malachi Levinger, the head of the local council of a city in the West Bank called Kiryat Arba, the publication reported. Related ItemsBnei MenasheIsraelManipurlast_img read more

@God

first_imgFor the Arora family in North Dakota, the prospect of moving into their newly purchased home was exciting. The Aroras came to the United States 10 years ago and the family moved several cities before settling in Fargo, North Dakota. They were looking forward to moving into their new, first owned home, but there was a bit of a stumbling block.Mr Aroras’ mom in India insisted that before settling into their new home they had to perform grih pravesh puja. The Aroras, though fairly spiritual, hardly little knowledge of havans and pujas. Says Arora, “The prospect of finding a pundit in a sleepy, white dominated, Midwest American city was as challenging as looking for snow in Sahara. It was then that a friend in New Jersey suggested something that my wife and I could never believe — an online girh pravesh puja.”So, the following week after a couple of e-mail exchanges with an online puja provider on an auspicious time, long before most of America was awake, the Aroras sat with some water and thali on Skype with three priests in New Delhi, who chanted various mantras and conducted a havan on behalf of the family and blessed them.The Aroras were now ready to call their new house home!Saumyaa Vardhan of Shubh Puja believes that online puja services are reinventing puja just as yoga got re invented.As surreal as it may sound, legions of Indians settled abroad are connecting to God new-age style. In an era of digitization, praying to God or seeking divine intervention has turned tech savvy. A host of online services catering to NRIs are set to further inflate the $30 billion religious market in India. From providing everything from chanting, specific pujas to ritualistic funeral services with a click on their screens without the hassle of looking for a Brahmin, pundit or an elderly to guide on how to perform a puja, the services are disrupting the industry as we know it.One might assume that these services cater to elderly, very religious or superstitious Indians. Instead, most providers claim, that they are targeting the millennial generation. For most of these services the clients range from corporates, professionals and students who are into spirituality and have faith, but are not inclined to go to mandirs.Mountain View, Calif., based Saumyaa Vardhan, who heads Shubhpuja.com, describes her portal as a science and technology based platform for vedic pujas, astrology, vastu and spiritual needs. In a twist, although her service specializes in chanting and conducting vedic pujas, she says nearly a quarter of her clientele in the United States comprises Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. Vardhan, who has a finance and mathematics background and worked with Rolls Royce and KPMG in London before she launched shubpuja, says: “We cater to younger generation between 25-45 years of age, who are very well educated and are passively religious. They may have migrated to different cities and do not have the elderly or the family priests to guide them in certain situations, which is where we come in picture to take care of everything from a puja for job or fortune to astrological help.”The services typically start from $50-$250 and can go up depending upon the requirements.Saptpuri online puja, started by New Jersey based entrepreneur Sumesh Madan, takes the concept of online pujas to version 2.0. Madan, who piloted the concept with partners in India, says that they are catering to educated, established women based in the United States and Canada, in the age-group of 30-40 years who may be divorced or unmarried and are looking to settle down.The service, which specializes on specific problems, such as marital or health, plays the part of pundit and counselor. Madan says: “We have on board with us reputed and knowledgeable pundits from the seven holy cities in India. For every issue, the puja is performed at all the seven holy cities, such as Kashi, Varanasi, Mathura, with specific mantras mentioned in the puranas. The person requesting the pujas has the option of watching the pujas online or download it to view later.”However, the service does not end there; Madan says they try to align the chakras and the karmas for better results. So, don’t be surprised if the puja app offers you advice on how to better groom yourself or to socialize more to meet prospective partners. Madan says: “Karma comprises of external stimuli that a person needs to apply and then seek divine intervention and we are just trying to channel it.”A Bangalore based service Harivara.com, started by Arun Kumar, offers everything from engagement puja to 60th birthday puja, which many young people settled outside of India may want to organize for parents back home. Vedicvaani.com ships religious souvenirs from Shivalinga to Nataraja across the globe while OnlinePrasad.com delivers prasad from the major temples across India to your doorstep. So, you can savor the rewri and makhana prasad from Shirdi delivered to your doorstep whether you are in Seattle or Salzburg.Photo: SaptpuriAre the services exploiting the religious sentiments of people? The providers insist that they are only facilitating and organizing the sector. Saumyaa Vardhan explains that many of the services they offer help to Indians abroad during some of the most crucial times in their life. Citing her personal experience which led her to launch Shubhpuja, she says: “A few years ago, when I returned to Delhi from London, one of my friend’s father passed away. As she and her brother were based in New Zealand and most of the family was settled abroad, aunty was left to prepare for the funeral services on her own before the family could join her. This experience showed me that for many it gets doubly painful to handle the logistics while they are grieving, especially if they are not aware of the rituals to be followed. This served as a catalyst for me to try and organize the sector and make it easier to approach as well as reliable.”Most portals claim that their pundits come with sound religious knowledge and are vetted for their expertise.But with every puja from monetary gains to end marital discord listed in their services, are the portals also encouraging superstitious beliefs? Saptpuri’s Madan disagrees: “If you look at our format it is not based on idle chanting of mantras. It encourages and inspires the seekers to go out there and help their cause, we are only providing a faith based link in the process.”He adds: “When we were launching we were acutely aware of our target and hence we steered away from the format of having too many Gods or mantras. The idea is not to make the process overwhelming, but to make it inviting and approachable.”Vardhan concurs: “Everything begins with a faith. Whether it is the faith in a puja or a faith in yourself. We are only helping people reach their faith with ease. If you look at yoga, today it is suddenly such a big thing around the world. Just as yoga came out of scriptures, we are also following the same scriptures and puranas that offer advice on pujas. One could say that we are re-inventing puja, just as yoga got re-invented.” Related ItemscultureHinduismlast_img read more

Delhi’s Poor Air Quality Can Drive Away Expats: Assocham

first_imgDelhi’s noxious air will hurt more than people’s lungs, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham). It is likely to drive away expatriates, severely impacting inflow of investments and hitting sectors like tourism, hospitality, outdoor recreation and others, Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat said on Nov. 10.“The increasing air pollution can take a toll on the urban economy by cutting short life span of people, thereby increasing healthcare costs to the government, driving away top executives and talented people to other cities with better air quality, thereby negatively affecting Delhi’s ability to attract highly-skilled expatriates, severely impacting inflow of investments and hitting sectors like tourism, hospitality, outdoor recreation and others,” said Rawat.Delhi’s air pollution levels were recently labelled as a “medical emergency” by the government as the air pollution went into “severe” category. On Nov. 10, the levels of PM2.5 and PM10 (particles with diameter less than 2.5 and 10mm) were “severe”, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The average Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 480, close to “severe-plus”, while the average PM2.5 (particles with diameter less than 2.5) of 24 active monitoring stations was 479 units by 12 pm.Schools were shut down earlier this week and the Delhi government has been mulling implementation of the odd-even strategy for allowing cars only with certain registration numbers on the roads each day. First implemented in January 2016, the scheme allowed cars with number plates ending on odd numbers to ply on the roads alternatively with cars with number plates ending with even numbers.“Delhi is facing an emergency situation but there is hardly any intention or commitment seen to address the problem,” said Rawat, according to Hindu.Assocham urged the Center and governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to come up with a strategy to tackle air pollution, such as employing mist cannons, and creating a special force to check construction activities, vehicular pollution and crop stubble burning.“Different ministries, departments as well as universities, research institutions and organizations alike must come together and also engage top-tier professionals to chart out a systematic, clear timetable and roadmap for tackling air pollution and curbing its causes thereby improving Delhi’s air quality,” said the apex industry body.“Promoting use of more efficient and less polluting energy sources, restricting growing number of vehicles and stringent enforcement of pollution laws will help in smooth transition to a more environment-friendly economy in the long-term,” Rawat added.The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Nov. 10 said air quality in the capital should improve from Saturday: “We expect wind speed of 19-20 kilometers per hour from Saturday afternoon. The temperature is not expected to be too low either and we expect a marked improvement in air quality starting Saturday.”Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit slammed the Arvind Kejriwal-led government for the odd-even scheme: “I don’t think there is any planning at all in this past one year. Even the last time when they implemented the odd-even rule, it was not effective at all.”Kejriwal had earlier blamed burning of paddy in neighboring states for the degrading air pollution, which led to children and adults falling sick and being recommended to spend most of the time indoors. Related Itemsassocham expatsdelhi air pollutiondelhi air qualitydelhi smogexpats in delhilast_img read more

Man Fined, Banned from Driving After Leaving Tesla Car on Autopilot in UK

first_imgAn Indian-origin man was banned from driving for 18 months after he was caught sitting on the passenger seat while driving a Tesla S 60 in the United Kingdom. Bhavesh Patel, 39, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at St Albans Crown Court on April 20.He was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,800 in legal costs.Patel, of Alfreton Road, Nottingham, drove his Tesla “irresponsibly” on May 21, 2017 along the northbound carriageway of the M1, between junctions 8 and 9 near Hemel Hempstead.He had activated his Tesla S 60’s autopilot function before shifting to the passenger seat. He was caught on camera by a fellow motorist. Patel’s hands were behind his head. He left the steering wheel and foot pedal unattended.Witnesses testified that traffic was heavy due to congestion on May 21, 2017 and it was estimated that the £70,000 vehicle was traveling at 40 mph, according to Sky News. The video of Patel sitting on the passenger seat while the Tesla drove itself was first posted online and then reported to the police. A Notice of Intended Prosecution was sent to Patel through post.He was interviewed by officers at Stevenage Police Station. He admitted that he did something “silly,” but added that the car was capable of something “amazing.” He also lamented that he was just the “unlucky one who got caught.”“What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy,” Investigating officer PC Kirk Caldicutt, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, was quoted as saying by Telegraph. “He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway on that day. This case should serve as an example to all drivers who have access to autopilot controls and have thought about attempting something similar. I want to stress that they are in no way a substitute for a competent motorist in the driving seat who can react appropriately to the road ahead.”A Tesla engineer also told the officers in a statement that the autopilot was as a “suite of driver assistance features,” according to the Telegraph UK. The statement said that the auto-pilot feature is meant to provide assistance to a “fully-attentive driver.” Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) assists with acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle whilst Autosteer provides assistance with steering of the vehicle. It also said that a driver should never depend on TACC to adequately slow down model S, always watch the road in front and be prepared to take corrective action at all times. “Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death,” it added. Related ItemsteslaUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Indian National Dies in New Zealand Road Accident

first_imgA 25-year old Indian national from Punjab died in a road accident in New Zealand on Oct.14, after a collision between his car and a tourist bus on State Highway 6, south of Queenstown. He was travelling alone in the car at the time of accident.Harpreet Singh’s car collided with a tourist bus carrying around 15 people. This mishap happened around 7:45 am, reported New Zealand’s news magazine The Indian Weekender. It added that the driver of the bus and the passengers were safe.New Zealand Herald newspaper quoted bus operator Southern Discoveries as saying, “We understand that the driver of the car passed away at the scene and our condolences go out to their family and friends.”“The driver of our bus as well as all 14 passengers on board are uninjured,” the bus operator added.Singh came to New Zealand as a student seven years ago and was working at home improvement store Mitre 10 Mega in Queenstown.He had planned to visit India to meet his family in December this year, reports said. His father passed away three years ago. Singh is survived by his mother and a younger sister, a medical student, both in India.His paternal grandfather Nirmal Bhatti, who lives in New Zealand told The Indian Weekender, “He was a smart, bright and a generous person. We have lost a gem.”  Singh’s funeral will take place in Auckland after his official documents and the body are released by the authorities.Freelance photographer James Allan told New Zealand Herald from the accident site that it was looking like the two vehicles had collided head-on near a corner. “The car has gone under the bus and bounced back out in the middle of the road,” he said. Related Itemslast_img read more

Revival of the outdated airfields in Bihar

first_imgGoats and buffaloes routinely patrol the Bhagalpur airport runwayThe popular perception of Bihar is of a state where snails move faster than trains and a 100 metre of bitumened roads without potholes is considered an expressway. But the state’s transportation industry can take heart if recent “discoveries” are anything to,Goats and buffaloes routinely patrol the Bhagalpur airport runwayThe popular perception of Bihar is of a state where snails move faster than trains and a 100 metre of bitumened roads without potholes is considered an expressway. But the state’s transportation industry can take heart if recent “discoveries” are anything to go by. The state Government recently “stumbled” upon 21 airfields, most of them over half-a-century-old that now lie abandoned. Some of these were built during World War II and the Chinese aggression of 1962. The euphoria created by this “discovery” is unmatched and has prompted both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi to say that these have sparked off hopes for the state’s economic revival.The Government is so excited that it asked the officials to draw up plans to revive these airfields and link them to Patna and metros like Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. It also wants to introduce an air taxi network to connect the Buddhist circuits of Patna, Rajgir, Bodhgaya, Vaishali (Hajipur), Sarnath (Varanasi) and Kushinagar. The Government has plans to use the airfield to review and monitor development activities too. Of the 21 airfields, three are under the control of the Indian Air Force, five have kachcha runways, nine have been classified as “abandoned”, while the rest, though have metalled runways, are without any navigational, meteorological or technical support. Most airfields have no boundary walls, which means that incoming aircraft-as and when that happens-will have to avoid the ubiquitous cows and buffaloes. But Captain Deepak Kumar Singh, joint director, Bihar Civil Aviation Department, says the Government has agreed to convert all kachcha runways into metalled ones and fence the airstrips.advertisementLalu built a helipad and sports complexNot long ago, the then Union Minister for Civial Aviation, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain had helped develop the airport at Bodhgaya into an international one. The airport, which now attracts lakhs of Buddhists annually, is bigger than the one in Patna and is directly linked with Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand. Other air fields at Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Begusarai continue to rot though Hussain is using his rapport with the current Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to transform the Bhagalpur strip into an airport capable of handling 70-seater ATR. Situated midway between Kolkata and Patna, it makes sense to develop the airport, which could then be linked with other smaller airfields in the region. Besides, Hussain wants to create a “Silk Route” to connect Bhagalpur (famous for silk) with Varanasi and Delhi.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar feels many airports died an unnatural death due to sheer neglect. Samastipur is just one of them. Surrounded by a number of buildings, the airport has a 3,000-feet runway and was built in 1983. Since then, the airfield is mostly used during elections, when politicians descend from the skies in their choppers. According to Building Construction Department’s Assistant Engineer R.P. Singh, the runway has been reduced to a couple of helipads. This is in contrast to the one at Chhapra, which has a 3,000-ft long metalled runway. Not surprising since the MP who represents the constituency is Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. But like most other airfields in the state, it springs to life only on the odd VVIP visit or during elections.Nitish Kumar,CMDuring the decade-and-half long Lalu-Rabri regime, some of the airports used to witness sporadic takeoffs and landings, thanks to their propensity to hop on to state government planes and helicopters on “social justice” tours. Two helicopters (Lalu called them Uran-khatola, meaning flying cots) belonging to Pawan Hans were kept on 24×7 duty for Lalu. The state Government has three small airplanes, two of them beechcrafts. One was purchased when the state saw a fairly long spell of Governor’s rule. Only when a popular government came to power did the state realise the enormity of the scandal involved in the plane’s purchase. The comptroller and auditor general in his report pointed out: “The Government failed to realise value for money as it purchased a phased-out model of aircraft at the cost of Rs 13.23 crore without inviting competitive bids when a substantially upgraded model of the same was available at a marginally higher cost”.The Nitish Kumar Government, however, chose to ignore the report. Besides, by the standards of scams in Bihar, Rs 13.23 crore seemed like a pittance. As politicians cutting across party lines grouped together to push the scandal under the carpet, the state Government has vowed to develop neglected airfields in the belief that this will turn around Bihar’s commercial and development fortunes. Welcome Aboard.advertisementlast_img read more

Box office report 2016: MS Dhoni biopic and other films in the Rs 100-crore club

first_imgMS Dhoni might be Bollywood’s latest entrant in the enviable 100 crore club in 2016, but in recent times the Bollywood framework has changed. It’s no longer a question of whether a film reaches Rs 100 crores or not. The question is in how many days. With multiplex chains opening up in most tier-2 and tier-3 cities apart from the metros, means that more many screens and multiple shows during the day. Even the ticket prices have steadily increased with a multiplex ticket costing a minimum of Rs 150 as against Rs 60-80 in a single screen.ALSO READ: When Ankita Lokhande called up ex-boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput after watching MS Dhoni The Untold StoryALSO READ: MS Dhoni biopic continues to fly on Day 11 even after completing century at box office Sushant Singh Rajput’s MS Dhoni The Untold Story is capitalising on the Indian captain’s popularity and is earning the bucks in various languages – Marathi, Tamil and Telugu apart from Hindi, given Dhoni’s pan-India appeal. Let’s take a look at the films fastest to gross Rs 100 crore and how many days it took them.1. Sultan – 3 DaysThe Salman Khan-starrer has been Bollywood’s flag-bearer for 2016. Another Eid along with another Salman Khan release meant the fans lined up to lap up Bhai’s debut in a sports film as he played a washed-out Haryanvi wrestler, who makes a return to sport through MMA. The film reached the 100-crore mark in 3 days and went on to gross Rs 584 crore worldwide by the end of its run.advertisement2. Rustom – 9 daysAkshay Kumar’s film based on the famous KM Nanavati case of the 1960s took 9 days to cross the Rs 100-crore mark, making it Kumar’s third film to cross the feat in a single calendar year. Rustom was directed by debutant Tinu Suresh Desai and produced by Neeraj Pandey. Rustom went on to gross about Rs 218.8 crore at the end of its 5-week run.3. MS Dhoni The Untold Story – 9 days  (including Tamil, Telugu and Marathi)Neeraj Pandey’s biopic based on India’s limited overs captain is singularly the highest opener for a Bollywood biopic and is on its way to becoming the most successful biopic of all time. The film including its dubbed versions in Tamil, Telugu and Marathi where it has done decently because of Captain Cool’s pan-India appeal.4. Airlift – 10 daysAn unlikely candidate to be in this list, thanks to Akshay Kumar’s starpower brought this gritty re-telling of the Kuwait evacuation of Indians during the Saddam Hussein invasion in 1990. The film reached the 100 crore mark in 10 days and went on to gross Rs 231.6 crore worldwide by the end of its run.5. Housefull 3 – 13 daysSajid Nadiadwala’s hit franchise banking again on the star-power of Akshay Kumar, Ritiesh Deshmukh and also adding Abhishek Bachchan to the mix meant the writing duo of Sajid-Farhad delivered yet another 100-crore movie. It took the film 13 days to deliver the franchise’s third consecutive 100-crore film, grossing Rs 188 crore worldwide by the end of its run.last_img read more

Manifesto for Maternal Health: Highlights From Women Deliver and Population Council

first_imgPlease join the conversation! Tell us about your work to improve maternal health over the past year and how it relates to the calls to action from the manifesto. Send an email to Kate Mitchell or Natalie Ramm or join the dialogue on Twitter using the hashtag #MHmanifesto and help us celebrate the anniversary of the manifesto for maternal health!Share this: Posted on March 4, 2014November 14, 2016By: Natalie Ramm, Communications Coordinator, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Continuing the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the “Manifesto for Maternal Health,” this post showcases the work of Women Deliver and the Population Council to improve global maternal health.Women DeliverIn 2013, Women Deliver organized its third global conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was one of the largest gatherings of policymakers, advocates, and researchers focused exclusively on women’s health and empowerment to date, bringing together over 4,500 participants from 149 countries.Women Deliver’s work focuses primarily on the Manifesto’s first and second principles, as we work to influence the post-2015 agenda. We are pushing for the post-2015 development framework to prioritize gender equality, with a specific focus on education and health, including access to reproductive health and family planning information and services.Last year, Women Deliver and the World Bank published a report highlighting the significant social and economic benefits of investing in girls and women and recommending specific policies to improve reproductive health outcomes. We also published a report about our 2013 global conference, including information about panelists, attendees, and sessions.Population CouncilA crucial gap in improving the quality of maternal health services is that the validity of many global benchmarks, including skilled attendance at birth, is largely unknown. To improve measurement of maternal health care received during labor and delivery (core area 10 in the Manifesto for Maternal Health), investigators at the Population Council, led by PI Ann Blanc, are conducting research to identify a set of indicators that that have the potential for valid measurement and integration into population-based data collection systems in developing country contexts. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Fundraising with Direct Mail: What Every Small Nonprofit Needs to Know

first_img Let them know you care about more than their wallets. A good direct mail campaign is part of a comprehensive communication strategy. Ensure you are communicating with your community year-round, sharing the successes made possible through their support. Invite donors and potential donors to participate in events, volunteer, receive your newsletter, or follow your blog. But you should still respect their wishes. Give them the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of communications they don’t want, while still receiving the ones they do.Direct mail still matters. Take the time to be strategic and intentional with your direct mail efforts and you will see return on your investment. Your community will grow and your fundraising results will increase. Build a campaign page on your website that mirrors the core message of your letter.Shoot a brief, 2-minute video to share on social media.Send an email that will arrive within a few days of the expected letter arrival.Write a blog post that speaks to the same core message that is within your email appeal.Plan social media posts in and around the letter timing, to lift the message.The days of a one-and-done letter being effective are gone. When you are sick of hearing the message, it will begin to penetrate your audience. Make it as easy as possible for them to reply. Include a self-addressed envelope with postage on it if you can. (A U.S. Postal Service indicia makes it easy and allows you to only pay for those that are returned.) Also, make it easy for them to give online by including a direct and memorable URL that goes directly to your donation page. Make a compelling case and cast donors as the heroes. It is one thing to ask for money and quite another to invite people to join you in making a real difference. Are you ‘selling to them’ in your letter or offering them an amazing opportunity to partner with you for change? Think about what your donors care about and use your letter as a place to explain what you are doing about it. And a good direct mail appeal will answer the questions, “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?” for the donor. Test and measure. After a campaign’s completed, take time to learn from it. Review your results, process what you’ve learned, and respond to feedback.Find out the percentage of people who responded and how many gave online as a direct response. This is easy to track if you have a branded donation page and have analytics on your website. If you don’t yet have these capabilities, then determine if you had an increase in online donations while your campaign was happening.Need a donor management system or branded donation page to help you track your campaigns? Talk to us!Other good questions to ask include:What number of donors responded to each list?What was the average gift size?What did you spend on the production and mailing vs. the return received?center_img Keep it simple and be concise. People are scanners. When they open your letter, if it is a sea of black type with no ‘design,’ they’ll lay it down and never read it. Or, they’ll just scan the first sentence of a few paragraphs and miss your core message.Just like a good sauce needs to be boiled down, reduce your message to as few words as possible. That means edit, then edit again. Use short paragraphs and bullet points. And always include a call-out box or a P.S. that hits your main point, as these are always read first. Cut through the clutter with layered messaging. From emails and text messages to Facebook posts, we are constantly bombarded with information. That’s why it is important for you to develop a layered communication strategy to compliment your direct mail campaign. Here are a few ideas: A solid development plan used to rise and set around direct mail, and while there are many new fundraising channels available today, direct mail can and should still be an important part of your plan. Here are seven steps to executing an effective direct plan campaign that’s also integrated into your overall communication and fundraising strategy.Begin with good data. Solid data management is the bedrock of effective direct mail. We all know how easy it is personalize content, so never start a letter “Dear friend.” People who receive your piece should feel like they are on a first-name basis with your organization. As best as you can, track relationships: Bob and Jane are married (Mr. & Mrs.), but Jane and Tom are mother and son (not Mr. and Mrs.). Try to capture birthdates so that a 5-year-old event participant doesn’t get an appeal.Data can also help you personalize what your piece says. For consistent givers, start by thanking them for their ongoing support. For those who have lapsed, make a compelling case for why they should come back. For those that have never given, draw them into your mission and let them know that even a small gift makes a big difference.last_img read more

Messi returns to full training after injury

first_imgLionel Messi returned to full training with Barcelona on Wednesday as he nears a comeback from a calf injury.The 32-year-old missed the whole of Barca’s pre-season programme and was not part of their squad for the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the Liga season.Messi – whose last competitive outing was for Argentina in the Copa America third-place play-off victory over Chile, a match in which he was controversially sent off – has been doing solo exercises to build up his fitness and sat out the Liga champions’ first training session on Wednesday but was pictured with the rest of his team-mates later in the day. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde may now consider the Argentina international for selection against Real Betis on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez already ruled out.Dembele will miss the next five weeks with a hamstring injury and Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in the shock defeat to Athletic. #Messi vuelve a entrenar con el grupo  pic.twitter.com/WREQAOsgHa— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) August 21, 2019 Goal confirmed on Tuesday that Messi was ready to rejoin Valverde’s squad after enduring a stunted pre-season period due to the Copa America and subsequent injury. Messi is expected to be named in the matchday squad to take on Betis, and it is likely he will feature from the bench.A double session has been scheduled for the diminutive frontman during the week, taking his tally to five training sessions ahead of Sunday’s clash.If he is cleared to play against Betis, it will mark his first appearance alongside new signing Antoine Griezmann, who will lead the line in the absence of Dembele and Suarez on Sunday.The Frenchman played the entire 90 minutes but was unable to open his account for the Catalans as they were frustrated by Athletic, a result that means they start the campaign three points behind rivals Real Madrid, who dispatched Celta 3-1.last_img read more

ESPN Releases Early Prediction For Penn State-Michigan

first_img ESPN’s computer model believes that Penn State has this game well in hand. The computer model gives the Nittany Lions a 78.6-percent chance to win this Saturday’s game.Michigan has won four of their last five games against Penn State, but lost the showdown at State College in 2017.Whoever wins this game will be seen as the biggest threat to Ohio State for Big Ten East division supremacy.The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Penn State coach James Franklin shaking hands after a football game.STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 21: James Franklin head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions congratulates Jim Harbaugh head coach of the Michigan Wolverines after the game at Beaver Stadium on November 21, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Wolverines won 28-16. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)Saturday’s Penn State-Michigan game has far higher stakes than in some recent years. ESPN’s College GameDay will be right outside Beaver Stadium for their show, and the rest of the country will get to see it in primetime.Penn State is undefeated at 6-0 and coming off a rare road win over a ranked team. The Nittany Lions defense is clearly one of the best in the country, and has yet to give up 14 points in a game. Quarterback Sean Clifford has been solid in his first year as a starter while running back Noah Cain has scored a TD in five games this year.Michigan has recovered nicely since their blowout loss to Wisconsin several weeks back. Granted two of their three wins have come against Big Ten cellar-dwellers Illinois and Rutgers, but wins are wins. The Wolverines have yet to truly impress this season, but a win over Penn State would speak volumes.ESPN’s computer model has released its prediction for the Penn State-Michigan game.last_img read more

Vela: I was really close to Barca move

first_imgLos Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela admitted that he was “really close” to joining Barcelona this past winter, confirming that the Spanish giants did indeed reach out regarding a loan deal.After scoring 14 goals while providing 13 assists in his debut season for LAFC, Vela was the subject of interest from Barca, who spent the winter looking to sign a new attacker.The Mexican was listed among the rumoured targets, but a move never came to fruition as Barcelona settled for Kevin-Prince Boateng instead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Boateng went on to make just four total appearances for Barca, while Vela spent the winter offseason preparing for his second season in MLS.But Vela admitted that was almost not the case as, if it were up to him, he would have joined up with Barcelona for that period.”It was really close,” Vela said on BS The Podcast. “My second month for holidays, I was there with my piña colada and my agent called me to say ‘look, Barcelona is calling you. They want you to play for four months then you can go back to LA’. “I said just say yes, I don’t care about the money or nothing. I’m going to start training tomorrow, give me two weeks to be a little bit fit. “Barcelona, Real Madrid you can’t say no. … If it was only my choice, for sure, I’d take it.” Vela has continued to dominate MLS this campaign, as he edges closer and closer to the league’s single-season goal record. The Mexican forward has already scored 27 goals while providing 15 assists this season as he pursues Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez’s single-season mark of 31 goals. Meanwhile, LAFC sits atop the Western Conference, having already clinched a spot in the playoffs. The 30-year-old forward, fresh off a goal in 3-3 draw with the rival LA Galaxy, says he would like to spend the rest of his career in Los Angeles as he has found a club where he feels at home. “It’s not only the things I want, football is a business and you know how it works. But, if I have everything, I want to be here for the rest of my career,” he said. “I’m really happy here, playing in LA. I want to be here.” Next up for LAFC is a match against Minnesota United on Sunday, although Vela’s status remains up in the air due to a hamstring injury.last_img read more

How will Man City cope without injured Laporte?

first_imgAymeric Laporte looks set to be out for the rest of 2019 after undergoing knee surgery, dealing a significant blow to Manchester City.The 25-year-old was sent to Barcelona to see trusted specialist Dr Ramon Cugat and, following tests, the surgeon operated on the defender’s cartilage and meniscus damage.Laporte has at least not ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, which was first feared when he fell to the ground in agony after a clumsy challenge on Brighton’s Adam Webster in the 4-0 victory on Saturday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream But an absence of at least three months will have a sizeable impact on Pep Guardiola’s squad as City bid to become the first side to win three successive Premier League titles since 2009.Guardiola had described Laporte as “the best left-sided centre-back in Europe” ahead of the Brighton game.Indeed, such is the esteem that the Frenchman is held in, Laporte is the only transfer target that Guardiola has ever returned to after initially being turned down.City first tried to sign him in the summer of 2016 before he finally joined from Athletic for a fee of £57 million (€65m/$74m) in January 2018.Since then he has played in every Champions League match – other than a trip to Basel shortly after arriving – and has made more Premier League starts for the club than any other outfield player.Laporte Guardiola GFXHe will, thus, not be easy to replace.Frustratingly for Guardiola, his squad was already one man short of the four centre-backs he would have preferred to have right now.Vincent Kompany left at the end of last season after 10 years with the club to take over as player-manager at Anderlecht. The veteran wasn’t replaced, leaving City with just two other senior centre-backs in Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones – the latter will return from his own injury after the international break.Pep does have some exciting youngsters emerging from the Academy in Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis. Highly-rated Spain Under-19 international Garcia impressed in three appearances in last season’s Carabao Cup, while Harwood-Bellis stood out on the pre-season tour to the Far East.One or both could feature in the Carabao Cup clash at Preston later this month but Guardiola will want more experience in the Premier League.City had looked at signing a fourth centre-back in the summer but opted not to meet Leicester’s asking price for England defender Harry Maguire, who moved to United for £80m (€88m/$97m) instead. They also decided against bidding for Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt – the client of agent Mino Raiola – who transferred to Juventus.Midfielder Fernandinho was identified as City’s fourth-choice option with Guardiola spotting his potential to play in that position.The Catalan has said that the Brazilian could play in 10 different positions and he became a viable centre-back alternative after deputising in the role in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal last season.Following the club-record signing of Rodri from Atletico Madrid in the summer, City now have two recognised holding midfielders and Fernandinho is able to be used as cover for both positions.But replacing Laporte will not be easy.Defensively he has been consistently outstanding, the one exception being two bad mistakes in last season’s Champions League defeat to Tottenham.So uncharacteristic were his errors that Guardiola put them in the same category as Sergio Aguero’s tight offside call – spotted by VAR – and Fernando Llorente’s “handball” winner when describing City’s lack of fortune on that night.Guardiola on FernandinhoBut it’s not only his defensive qualities that make him a key figure in Guardiola’s setup.Laporte is crucial to City’s attacking style, particularly against sides that defend with a low block.Only Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk made more passes out of defence last season – and he was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year last week.Laporte shifts possession quickly, driving balls out to the right wing to change the emphasis of the attack or firing balls into David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in between the lines in order to build up momentum.While opponents will still find it difficult to create opportunities against a side that will continue to dominate possession, his passing ability could be difficult to replace.Fernandinho is a more natural and dynamic passer – although he lacks Laporte’s aerial quality – and when Ilkay Gundogan played just ahead of him in that win against the Gunners, City dominated the game with speedy and intelligent passing.Otamendi, who could have left in the summer had Kompany not departed first, will become an even more key figure.He actually holds the Premier League record for most passes in a season as a defender – 3,074 in City’s ‘Centurion’ campaign.But some opponents have tried to isolate him on the ball, as his occasionally slow passing is seen as a perceived weakness.Stones, meanwhile, has built a reputation for his ball-playing skills. But he too can be prone to lapses, such as his mistake for England that cost them in the Nations League defeat to the Netherlands in the summer.Guardiola has been full of praise for the former Everton defender but for the past two seasons, Stones has been out of the picture for the crucial second half of the campaign.While City are reluctant to put a timescale on the length of Laporte’s absence, they hope to have him back for the run-in this term.Coping without him until then will not be straightforward for Guardiola. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Why Ramos did glasses celebration that got him booked

first_imgSergio Ramos has revealed that referee Deniz Aytekin apologised to him for showing him a yellow card after his goal celebration in Spain’s 2-1 win over Romania on Thursday.The Real Madrid centre-back opened the scoring from the penalty spot in Bucharest, converting his 10th penalty out of 12 attempts from 12 yards for his country, with the in-form Paco Alcacer doubling the lead.But after he made a glasses gesture by putting his hands to his face as he celebrated his goal, referee Aytekin decided to show Ramos a yellow card, seemingly thinking he was trying to provoke the crowd. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream But Ramos explained that the celebration was intended to be a message for his nephew, who wears glasses, and that the match official apologised to him after the game.”I already talked to the referee,” he explained. “It was to dedicate the goal to my nephew, who also wears glasses to see like me.”It was to tell him that there is nothing wrong with wearing glasses. I was going to the camera. The referee understood, he apologised and regretted it.”Ramos also urged Spain to show more of a clinical edge after they needed a superb Kepa Arrizabalaga save in stoppage time to claim all three points in the Euro 2020 qualifying clash.Substitute Florin Andone had earlier cut the deficit for Cosmin Contra’s side and Spain had Diego Llorente sent off with 11 minutes remaining after the defender brought down George Puscas.Kepa then justified his selection over David de Gea when he thrust out a leg to keep out a Puscas header as Spain made it five wins from five in Group F to give coach Robert Moreno victory in his first game since being named Luis Enrique’s permanent successor.”We knew that it was going to be a complicated scenario,” Ramos added.”Any national match has a tremendous difficulty, and it has been that way. Despite having made a great first half to have more of an advantage, it has not been so.”We must learn to kill off these matches, not to reach the end with fear of losing all three points.”Maximum points at the halfway stage of the qualifying campaign means Euro 2012 winners Spain are almost assured of their place at next year’s tournament.But ahead of Sunday’s home game against the Faroe Islands, Ramos told his team not to take their eye off the prize.”Winning away from home and achieving the goal gives you that peace of mind,” he said. “But we have not done anything yet because we want to be first in the group and get to 30 points.”last_img read more

Real Madrid deny Courtois suffering from anxiety

first_imgReal Madrid have moved to quash reports that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been diagnosed with an anxiety-related condition.The Belgium international goalkeeper has taken his share of criticism in the early weeks of the 2019-20 season, with his form questioned on a regular basis as Zinedine Zidane’s side have made their way to the top of the Liga table in a stop-start manner.In the Champions League, meanwhile, Madrid have not been at their best and the 27-year-old was again under the spotlight on Tuesday as he conceded twice in the opening half as Los Blancos found themselves 2-0 down at home to Group A outsiders Club Brugge. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career The situation was salvaged to an extent in the second half, with Casemiro grabbing a late equaliser, but it did not stop a fresh wave of criticism coming the way of the Belgian, who was withdrawn at half-time.Although the player himself as said that he is prepared to embrace the pressure of playing for a superpower like Madrid , reports in the Spanish media suggested he was struggling with the mental strain.Real have, however, been quick to react to deny those rumours, posting a statement on their club website which reads: “In relation to certain information about our player Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid want to state the following: “1. That our player has never been diagnosed with an alleged anxiety problem and, therefore, that information is absolutely false. “2. That Thibaut Courtois has been diagnosed and treated for acute gastroenteritis with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which made it impossible to end last Tuesday’s game against Bruges. “3. The player currently responds favourably to the treatment.”Alphonse Areola is expected to keep goal for Zidane’s men at the weekend, when they play host to Granada in a Liga fixture that pits the current top two sides in the Spanish league against each other.It will be the Frenchman’s second start for Madrid since moving to the club on loan during the summer in a move that effectively saw fan-favourite Keylor Navas switch to Parc des Princes.If the France international performs well, it promises to reignite the debate over Courtois’ role at the Bernabeu.last_img read more

Bale admits he’s playing with anger

first_imgGareth Bale admitted to playing with “anger” amid uncertainty over his Real Madrid future heading into Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifier.Zinedine Zidane told Bale he was free to leave during the transfer window, however, the Wales star remained in Madrid to force his way into the team.Bale has scored two goals and supplied two assists in La Liga this term, though there has been reports claiming the 30-year-old wants to depart the Spanish capital at season’s end. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Speaking ahead of Thursday’s qualifier against Slovakia, Bale said that though he is playing with plenty of emotions, he’s got a clear mind.”You play with a lot of emotion. Anger comes into it of course, but I haven’t got anything to clear my mind about,” Bale said. “I try and give my best whether here [with Wales] or in Madrid and I will continue to do that.”Wales manager Ryan Giggs believes Bale’s situation in Madrid is in a much better state than it was and admits he’s still surprised Real were willing to let him leave in the first place. “I think now, looking from the outside, things have improved,” Giggs said.”The way that he’s playing – which is all that footballers want to do, they want to play, they want to get minutes, they want to do well – I’ve always said he’s at a fantastic club.”Of course, it would have unsettled him because it was apparently very close for him going. But things might have changed. Things do change quite quickly in football and now he’s playing, he’s loved, he’s happy, and I expect him to carry on doing what he’s doing for Real Madrid.”If Gareth Bale is at your club and he’s training well and he gets the chance to play, he’s always going to keep you interested because he can turn a game on its head, he can score goals and he’s such an asset.”So I’m not surprised in that respect. I was surprised with what happened in the summer – I think everyone from the outside thought it was a bit strange, but it seems like everything has gone a bit quiet now.”I think that’s all you ask for – for players to be in good form for their clubs and then take it into the international arena.”Wales head to Trnava fourth in Group E in Euro 2020 qualifying, four points adrift of leaders Croatia and three behind second-placed Slovakia.last_img read more