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No room for romance in ‘pointless’ Coppa Italia

Posted by admin on 03/01/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

While the FA Cup is steeped in tradition and giant-killing feats, organisers of the Coppa Italia seem to go out of their way to prevent upsets.

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In the Italian version, the top eight Serie A teams from the previous season do not enter the fray until the fifth round — the round of 16 — by which time any minnows have long since been eliminated.

Only 78 teams are allowed to enter in the first place, of which just 36 are from outside the top two divisions, compared to the FA Cup’s total of 736 which includes a myriad of amateur and part-time teams.

The chances of upsets are further reduced because of the seeding system, which is based on the previous season’s league positions and allows the stronger team to be automatically drawn at home throughout the tournament.

The result has been complete and utter predictability.

This season’s fourth round, played in December, featured 10 Serie A teams and six from Serie B, who all played away. All eight ties produced home wins and five of the six Serie B teams failed to score a goal.

The fifth round, an all-Serie A affair which finished last week, produced one single away win as Lazio won 3-1 at Torino and left two coaches calling for the competition to be reformed.

Attendances were dismal with holders Napoli playing in front of just 14,000 at home to Udinese and only 10,000 at AC Milan, who kick off the quarter-finals at home to Lazio on Tuesday (2000).

“I reiterate that the Coppa Italia in its current format is pointless,” said Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono after his side lost 3-1 at Fiorentina.

“All the usual suspects get to the end, save for the odd rare exception. As a smaller or mid-table club, you have to focus on safety in Serie A. This way, it’s just obvious who is going to win.”

Empoli’s Maurizio Sarri branded the tournament “unsporting” after his side were beaten by a hugely controversial penalty awarded five minutes from the end of extra-time at AS Roma.

“If I’m going to be honest, this competition doesn’t interest me at all because it’s unsporting, there are teams who have entered in the fifth or sixth round,” he said.

“There are big clubs who only get involved now and play on home turf. I do not like the Coppa Italia at all.”

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John O’Brien)

UK hoax caller boasts about being ‘wasted’

Posted by admin on 03/01/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

A hoax caller who was put through to Prime Minister David Cameron after pretending to be one of Britain’s spy chiefs has boasted about being “off my face” on alcohol and drugs, a newspaper reports.

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The giggling prankster telephoned The Sun tabloid and described how he had just made a hoax call to communications monitoring agency GCHQ, managing to speak to agency boss Robert Hannigan.

He said he would do again, and just hours later, another hoax call – presumably made by the same man – was made to Cameron’s Downing Street office by someone pretending to be Hannigan.

“I’ve just made complete monkeys out of GCHQ. I’ve got the mobile number of the director,” the unnamed man told the best-selling paper on Monday.

“What’s more, I am off my face on booze and cocaine. I had some spliffs too. I’ve been up all night. I’m utterly wasted. Hilarious.”

He said he could “hardly string a sentence together” but added: “I’m definitely going to do it again. It was so easy.”

A caller later phoned the Downing Street switchboard claiming to be Hannigan and was put through to Cameron on an official mobile phone.

Officials insisted no sensitive data was relayed during Sunday’s calls, but they represent an embarrassing breach that has now prompted a review of security procedures.

“In the first instance, a call was made to GCHQ which resulted in the disclosure of a mobile phone number for the director,” a government spokeswoman said.

“The mobile number provided is never used for calls involving classified information.

“In the second instance, a hoax caller claiming to be the GCHQ director was connected to the prime minister. The prime minister ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax.

“In neither instance was sensitive information disclosed.

“Both GCHQ and Number 10 (Downing Street) take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures following these hoax calls to ensure that the government learns any lessons from this incident.”

Former Chelsea striker Sturridge, who scored 25 goals for Liverpool in all competitions last season, has not played for the Merseysiders since August after a series of persistent injuries.

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Sturridge travelled to the United States over the Christmas period for treatment on a thigh problem and, having since returned to training with the first team, Rodgers is hoping the England striker will be ready in time to face Chelsea.

“He (Sturridge) trained very, very well yesterday and that was as comfortable as he’s looked,” Rodgers told a news conference on Monday.

“He looked back to normal. We won’t risk it that’s for sure, he’s been out for a long time and we need to make sure he’s ready.”

Raheem Sterling’s stunning individual goal earned Liverpool a 1-1 draw in last week’s semi-final first leg at Anfield.

DIFFICULT RESULT

Premier League leaders Chelsea were dumped out of the FA Cup by League One (third tier) Bradford City on Saturday and Rodgers is wary of a backlash from Jose Mourinho’s side.

“They had a difficult result at the weekend but it doesn’t mean they’re not a dangerous team and an outstanding team,” he said.

“We know it will be a tough game but we are certainly going in with no fear and our strength is in attack.

“There will be great motivation for them to go out there with a Wembley final at stake but I’m sure there will be a wee bit of trepidation.”

With a week to go before the transfer window shuts, Rodgers said he does not expect to make any new signings.

The Liverpool boss also played down suggestions that misfit striker Mario Balotelli, who is yet to score a league goal in 12 appearances since his 16 million pounds move from AC Milan in August, is to leave the club.

“We’ll give Mario every chance,” Rodgers said. “We brought him in to give him every chance to show that he can perform consistently for a team at this level.

“I’ve seen clippings saying this morning (Monday) that’s him over with here and that’s not the case.”

(Reporting by Michael Hann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Lampard, Terry turned my career around – Drogba

Posted by admin on 03/01/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

The powerful Ivorian striker, signed in a big-money deal from Olympique de Marseille 11 years ago, was frequently criticised by reporters for the theatrical way he would go to ground but he said Lampard and Terry made him clean up his act.

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“I’m very proud because I managed to push things and also that I learned from my mistakes,” Drogba told Reuters in an interview, his relationship with the media turning full circle on Sunday night when he was honoured by the Football Writers’ Association for his outstanding contribution to the game.

“I tried to learn the culture in order to know them (the media) better, to change. I needed to change the way they were looking at me because it was not the real Didier so I was really sad.

“But I’m really happy because now they know who I am. They know I’m passionate and when I do things I give all my heart.

“Being around players like Frank and John and to see the way Frank was dealing with the press, always clean, a gentleman, I think it helps. You have to take it as an example and for me he was a big example.”

Drogba scored 157 goals in 342 appearances in his first spell at Chelsea, scooping up silverware along the way.

He left in a blaze of glory by scoring the equaliser in normal time and then the penalty shootout winner when the Londoners landed their maiden Champions League title in 2012 against Bayern Munich at the German club’s Allianz Arena.

After short spells in China and Turkey, Drogba made an emotional return when he signed a one-year contract with Chelsea at the start of the season.

While he was returning, his great friend Lampard was leaving, the club’s all-time record goalscorer signing a permanent deal with New York City before going out on loan to Manchester City.

LAMPARD RETURN

The former England midfielder will be back at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when Chelsea, who have a five-point lead over the Premier League champions, take on City in a title showdown.

“He is going to come back as a legend, the man who helped the club win so many trophies in the last 11 years,” said Drogba who had an almost telepathic on-the-field understanding with Lampard.

“I expect the reception will be fantastic for him. He was involved in more than half of the goals I scored…so I owe him a lot.”

Drogba turns 37 in March but he is not yet ready to hang up his boots and is hoping to be offered a new contract by Chelsea at the end of the season.

“I will certainly be playing next season,” said the Ivorian who is also an ambassador for Turkish Airlines.

“I want to compete, I want to play in the Premier League because it is the best league in the world.”

Of more immediate concern to Drogba, though, is that Chelsea bounce back quickly from their shock 4-2 home defeat by third tier Bradford City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Next up for the Londoners is the second leg of their League Cup semi-final with Liverpool on Tuesday and the striker has Wembley firmly in his thoughts.

Drogba has a remarkable record at the famous old northwest London venue, having scored eight goals in eight appearances there.

“All I can say is I’ve been lucky to score every time I have been there which makes it a very special stadium for me,” he said with a grin.

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

Transfer talk won’t distract Dortmund says Hummels

Posted by admin on 03/01/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

Last season’s runners-up Dortmund, who were also German champions in 2011 and 2012, are 17th in the league, level on points with last-placed Freiburg after a terrible first half to the season saw them lose 10 of their 17 games.

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Centre back Hummels, winger Marco Reus and midfielder Ilkay Guendogan are among several of their players reportedly being targeted by leading European clubs with Dortmund’s possible failure to play in Europe next season fanning speculation.

“I cannot imagine that (distraction) happening,” Hummels told Bild newspaper. “It is not that things have never been written before about us. Even about me there are things being circulated but I am still here.”

Germany international Hummels, whose contract runs to 2017, has been repeatedly linked in recent seasons with a possible move to Manchester United and Barcelona among other clubs.

His Germany team mates Reus and Guendogan have also been linked moves to Spain’s La Liga or the English Premier League.

Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp last week played down fears of a mass exodus of players should the club miss out on Europe.

“I will do it as I have done in the past seven years (at Dortmund),” Hummels said. “I will let things come to me and I am now just looking forward to the Bayer Leverkusen game and the season restart. I block everything else out.”

The Bundesliga resumes on Jan. 30 after the winter break.

Dortmund, despite their poor domestic form, have reached the Champions League knockout stage and face Juventus in the last 16 next month.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Christmas provides food for thought at Ferrari

Posted by admin on 01/29/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

Media invited to the team’s Fiorano test track to attend the traditional seasonal lunch in a building next to Enzo Ferrari’s old house knew what to expect when former chairman Luca di Montezemolo was in charge.

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Like a Medici prince of old, sitting in the middle of a long table, the elegant Italian would hold court and pronounce on anything and everything that vexed or pleased him.

At last year’s gathering, his last such occasion, the impeccably dressed 67-year-old merely toyed with a salad as the steaming tortellini in brodo and sliced cotechino con lenticchie (pork sausage with lentils) were served.

Over the course of the meal, Montezemolo would lay into the sport’s over-complex rules, with particular scorn for any that he considered disadvantageous for Ferrari, and emphasise the need to improve the show.

There was much to displease him at the end of 2013, with a new V6 turbo hybrid engine formula in the offing, and he did not hold back.

The menu was unchanged when the media returned to Fiorano on Monday, and new Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne also had plenty to get his teeth into after a dismal season for Formula One’s oldest, most glamorous and successful team.

But the style, two months after Montezemolo’s departure and with double world champion Fernando Alonso also gone along with a host of others, was different.

His helicopter’s arrival delayed by fog in Turin, the Fiat Chrysler chief executive showed he meant business — even if he prefers a wool sweater to a business suit — by addressing the media at a formal news conference with new principal Maurizio Arrivabene alongside.

Questions about the auto industry, flotations and the wider world of finance were declared off limits as Marchionne focussed on Formula One.

In a rhetorical flourish that Montezemolo would have approved of, he said the rules appeared to have been written by a bunch of bar room drunkards. But otherwise his message avoided hyperbole.

Whereas Montezemolo liked to invoke the spirit of Ferrari, and spoke passionately about the magic of Maranello, Marchionne was more matter of fact.

This year was best forgotten, he said, and next season will be still hard. But the right people are now in place for future success.

With that, he and Arrivabene — who has joined from sponsor Philip Morris and bears a passing resemblance to the Marlboro man with cigarette in hand — retired to lunch. On their own table. The time for speeches was over.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston)

It’s becoming easier to shop overseas

Posted by admin on 01/29/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

This holiday season, it’s almost as simple to shop on the other side of the world as it is to buy from your local store.

南宁桑拿

International online payment services like AliPay and PayPal are trying to ensure that a South Carolina fashionista can buy a faux fur vest from China with just a few clicks on her computer and a New Zealand bikie can use his smartphone to pick up a rare part from a Colorado company.

These services come as shoppers and retailers alike have a growing appetite to buy items from any country, regardless of distance and regulations. In fact, a PayPal report estimates that by 2018, about 130 million shoppers will be spending over $US300 billion ($A324.59 billion) a year across the border, up from $US105 billion in 2013.

“The reality is pretty much nothing in a store is locally produced, so 99 per cent of what you’re buying is already a cross-border transaction. We’re cutting out the middle-man,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of global initiatives at PayPal, which is being spun off by eBay Inc.

Companies are working on fixing the biggest hurdles for international shopping: The perception that it costs a lot and takes a long time.

They’re handling the conversion of currency behind-the-scenes and giving shoppers the prices in their own currency.

They’re including tariffs and customs duties in the overall price of an item. And they’re being transparent about shipping times and enabling shoppers track packages online.

Online retailers are benefiting from the interest in overseas shopping.

About 25 per cent of PayPal’s transactions, for example, are international, with about 2,000 cross-border transactions per minute.

And some retailers that work with PayPal, like Australian-based companies KeepCup, which sells reusable coffee cups, and WallFry, which sells wall art for children’s rooms, have opened warehouses in other countries like the US and UK to keep up with demand from overseas.

Pro’s Closet in Boulder, Colorado, which was founded in 2005 as an online-only bike parts and accessories store, also has seen big gains.

By selling on eBay and working with PayPal, 45 per cent of the company’s orders are international. Orders come in regularly from shoppers in Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil and China.

The 27-year-old, whose neat line in Australian slang has made him a favourite with rugby fans Down Under, was released from his Force contract at the end of last season on compassionate grounds to take up a lucrative deal in Japan.

南宁桑拿

That ruled him out of international contention under Australian Rugby Union (ARU) rules but an appearance for the Barbarians against the Wallabies in England prompted a rethink.

“In November I was given an opportunity to play for the Barbarians,” he said in a Force media release on Tuesday.

“Walking off the field after the match at Twickenham was a surreal experience, knowing I had just played against my country. It definitely lit a fire within and had me thinking about what could have been.

“But I heard a bloke say at the end of the Super Rugby season that he hadn’t heard no fat lady sing.”

Cummins, who has scored six tries in 15 tests for Australia, will see out the season at the Red Sparks before moving back to Perth and then return to the Fukuoka-based club for the 2015-16 Japanese Top League season.

“I’m stoked to be back on the burst and returning to Australian rugby in 2015,” Cummins added.

“Thanks to the Western Force and more importantly the Red Sparks in Japan for making my return back to Australia possible.

“Gonna be a huge year. Can’t wait to get amongst it.”

Cummins decided to move to Japan after his father — who was named Queensland’s Father of the Year in 2012 for raising eight children, two with cystic fibrosis — was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Once described as “the most Australian man on the planet”, Cummins adopted the nickname Honey Badger after seeing a documentary about the ferocious defensive abilities of the carnivorous mammal.

His shaggy blond hair and moustache add to the comic effect but the rangy 6ft-2in (1.89m) winger is also a significant attacking threat and was in outstanding form for the Force in their best ever season in 2014.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

 

Watson, under pressure for his place at number three in the batting order, was knocked to the ground when a short ball from James Pattinson hit him flush on the helmet.

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“Shane Watson shaken up, but OK, after helmet blow,” Cricket Australia tweeted.

Pattinson was also shaken up by the incident, which came less than a month after former Australia batsman Phillip Hughes was killed by injuries sustained when he was hit by a short ball in a domestic match in Sydney.

JUST IN: Shane Watson shaken up, but OK, after helmet blow while Mitch Starc has also been struck: 南宁桑拿网,南宁夜生活,/H1EY9z8DY2 #AUSvIND

— cricket南宁桑拿会所,广西桑拿网, (@CricketAus) December 22, 2014

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc also left the session early after being hit on the knee by a ball but his likely replacement in the side, Ryan Harris, was apparently untroubled by the thigh injury that ruled him out of the second test.

The hosts, who take a 2-0 lead into the Boxing Day test, already had injury concerns over David Warner, who skipped the session to nurse a thumb injury he sustained on the final day of the four-wicket victory in Brisbane on Saturday.

The aggressive opener, one of Australia’s best performers with the bat this year, had little doubt in his own mind that he would be ready to go by Friday.

“I will definitely be playing, I will be doing everything I can,” he told reporters when the team arrived in Melbourne on Monday.

“Obviously it’s a bit painful, it’s the one I broke before, but I’m not missing a Boxing Day test, that’s for sure.”

Uncapped batsman Joe Burns was brought into the squad on Sunday to cover for injured all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, while captain Michael Clarke will miss the rest of the series after surgery on a hamstring problem.

Shane Watson has left the nets after he was struck on the helmet. Here he is with Dr Brukner a short time later pic.twitter南宁桑拿会所,/aThe4cePV4

— cricket南宁桑拿会所,广西桑拿网, (@CricketAus) December 22, 2014

 

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Patrick Johnston)

IAG says NZ quake cost rising

Posted by admin on 01/29/2019
Posted in 柳州桑拿 

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) expects the final claim cost for earthquakes that hit Christchurch, New Zealand to increase by between $NZ750 million and $NZ1 billion ($A698.

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23 million and $A930.97 million).

IAG said the revised figures follow an increase in forecast repair and rebuild costs, the continued notification of new household claims that have exceeded the Earthquake Commission’s $NZ100,000 limit, and a series of adverse court judgments which have impacted the insurance industry.

The Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, also affected the Canterbury region of the South Island, the severest of which had a magnitude of 7.1 that struck on September 4, 2010.

IAG released its revised cost estimates in a statement to the Australian stock exchange on Tuesday.

It said a formal assessment of its costs position would be finalised in conjunction with its fiscal 2015 first half results, due for release on February 18.

“In its commercial negotiations associated with its 2015 reinsurance program renewal, IAG has proceeded on the basis that the majority of this increase relates to the 22 February 2011 event, with claim costs now expected to exceed the previously notified $NZ3.25 billion ($A3.03 billion),” the insurer said.

That quake caused massive damage and killed 185 people.

IAG said that, at this stage, it believes it will finalise claims for the February 22, 2011 quake within its $NZ4 billion ($A3.72 billion) reinsurance limit.

IAG confirmed it was on track to deliver its full year insurance margin guidance of between 13.5 per cent and 15.5 per cent.