‘Truly indecent’: French prodigy Mbappe on mega-money in modern football

By ethan / November 13, 2018

He’s one of football’s highest-paid stars but Paris Saint-Germain and France prodigy Kylian Mbappe has described the money in the modern game as “truly indecent,” as the 19-year-old opened up on the riches enjoyed by players.

Mbappe became the second most expensive player in history when he completed a permanent switch from Monaco to PSG this summer for a fee reported to be €180 million (US$ 200 million).

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That put him behind only teammate Neymar, who moved to the French capital from Barcelona for €222 ($ 250 million).

As the hottest talent to emerge in football in recent seasons, Mbappe will reportedly pocket around €55 million as part of a five-year contract with PSG. 

The player has admitted that such riches are far beyond what he could have imagined while growing up in a “modest” background – but said the “indecent” sums of money are part and parcel of the modern game.  

“It’s truly indecent for me, who comes from a fairly modest family,” Mbappe told RTS. “It’s true that it’s indecent but the market is like that. The world of football works like that.

“I’m not going to revolutionize football. I’m in a system. You have to know how to respect it and to stay in place,” he added.

Mbappe has understandably earned comparisons to Pele, not least when he matched two of the Brazilian legend’s feats at the World Cup in Russia this summer.

The first of those came with his double against Argentina – becoming the first teenager since Pele to score twice in a single game on football’s grandest stage – while he later scored in the final, becoming the first teen since the Brazil icon to do so.   

READ MORE: ‘The king will always remain king’: Mbappe’s tribute to fellow teen World Cup Final goalscorer Pele

Mbappe has respectfully made light of those comparisons – and continued to do so in his latest interview.

“I don’t want to be a copy of anyone else. Like the greats, you want to make your own story yourself, and not be a copy of another.

“I think it’s only natural to have high self-esteem, even if in everyday life you need to have that humility that is a strength of the greats,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘The Mbappe era is upon us’: Youthful France serve notice to football world with Russia success

Mbappe also won praise after the World Cup when it was reported that he had donated his entire winner’s fee of around $ 500,000 to charity.

However, he saw the other side of the media glare as part of the Football Leaks scandal, when his alleged demands in his PSG transfer were made public – including reports that he demanded the use of a private jet, a request which the club are said to have turned down.   

He was instead placated with a monthly payment of €30,000 to pay for rent, a butler, a personal bodyguard and a driver, according to the reports.  

READ MORE: French rights group files case against PSG over claims scouts ‘limited number of black players’

Despite such scrutiny, coupled with the pressure on his young shoulders, Mbappe said he tries to remain upbeat.

“There is no bad time to laugh. I always joke, even five minutes before a game. It’s not bad to stay a little immature. There is so much pressure in football that a little bit of ‘joie de vivre’, a little bit of fun doesn’t hurt in this environment,” he said. 

Mbappe was crowned young player of the tournament at the World Cup this summer, and according to recent reports he could be in the running to clinch a Top 3 spot for the Ballon d’Or this year.

READ MORE: ‘Leaked’ Ballon d’Or votes signal Messi & Ronaldo could be out of running for first time in decade

He’s shown no sign of letting up in his quest for greatness with 11 goals in just nine Ligue 1 games this season. 

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Russia’s Rosatom to start construction of 7th power unit at Chinese nuclear power plant

By ethan / November 13, 2018

The construction of a new power unit at the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in China will begin in 2021, according to Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom. It’s the biggest joint NPP project between the two nations.

“Together with the Chinese partners, we have already built four power units at this site and thus have paved the way for further projects,” said Vladimir Savushkin from Rosatom’s engineering division Atomstroyexport (ASE).

Savushkin told Strana Rosatom newspaper that “cooperation continues, now on the basis of Russia’s newest 3+ generation technologies,” adding that the deadlines are tight and “in 2021 we are to begin construction works at Tianwan-7.”

Last week, ASE and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) inked contracts for the construction of units 7 and 8 at the Tianwan NPP. Rosatom is currently negotiating a framework contract for the construction works.

The largest joint NPP project between Russia and China, the Tianwan plant is located on the coast of the Yellow Sea. It was built in 2006 by Russia’s nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly owned by Gazprom.

READ MORE: Russia’s Rosatom starts loading fuel into reactor of Chinese nuclear power plant

Two of its units, with a capacity of 1,000 MW each, were opened in 2007. Unit 3 was connected to the grid last December while unit 4 is expected to enter commercial operation in March 2019. Fuel loading at unit 4 was completed in September.

Construction of Tianwan Phase III (units 5 and 6) was originally scheduled to start in early 2011 but was suspended following Japan’s Fukushima disaster. CNNC plans to put both units into commercial operation by the end of 2021.

Last year, Beijing and Moscow said they intended further strategic partnerships in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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Pregnant mum of 5 murdered with crossbow in East London, baby survives

By ethan / November 13, 2018

An 8-month pregnant mum was shot and killed with a crossbow, Monday night. Sana Muhammad died of her wounds though doctors managed to save her baby, by emergency cesarean section, who has been named Ibrahim.

The 35-year-old, mother of five, was shot early on Monday morning as she did the washing up in her Ilford, east London, home.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 50, was arrested and charged with murder. He is to appear at Barkingside magistrates’ court on Tuesday morning.

Muhammad was rushed to hospital but died three hours later. The crossbow bolt reportedly missed the unborn baby by several centimeters. After being delivered the baby was transferred to a critical care unit, where he remains.

READ MORE: Man becomes latest victim of London’s knife crime epidemic following Night Tube stabbing

According to the Evening Standard, Sana Muhammad reportedly changed her name from Devi Unmathallegadoo upon marrying her husband Imtiaz Muhammad, six years ago.

Her husband told the paper that his wife was shot in front of her five children, aged one, four, 12, 15 and 17.

Speaking of the incident Mr Muhammad told the Standard of how he found the alleged murdered hiding in the shed. “I went to put a cardboard box in the shed. He was there with the crossbow loaded. He stared at me, he was going to shoot so I ran into the house. My wife was doing the washing up, I was shouting ‘run’ ‘run’ ‘run’.

“He shot her. I can’t help thinking she took my arrow. Maybe it should have hit me. The kids were all there, it was horrific.

“The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby. The baby was due in four weeks. They operated with the arrow still in because it would have been too dangerous to take out.”

London’s murder rate in 2018 has now exceeded that of 2017, with the official toll standing at 120 homicides, though that figure includes two cases that are being considered self-defense. 


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Like logo, like students? Wisconsin school breaks the internet with its ‘Nazi salute’ teens

By ethan / November 13, 2018

A Wisconsin school has found itself in the middle of a scandal after a photo surfaced with its students making a Nazi salute at a prom. No sooner had it apologized, when Twitterati noticed that its logo resembles a Nazi eagle.

The photo of some 50 young men in suits from Baraboo High School performing the stiff-armed ‘Sieg Heil’ greeting quickly went viral. It was taken during this spring’s junior prom and re-surfaced this weekend.

The photo puzzled Twitter users, who wondered what had made the teens extend their right arms in the air, reminiscent of the infamous Nazi salute.

“The context would be great,” wrote some angry people. One man said that these boys should visit World War II veterans in a nearby hospital and explain to them why exactly they dared to mimic the Nazi greeting.

For many users, such a gesture popularized in Adolf Hitler’s Germany warrants expulsion both for students and teachers who were present. “Just publish the names of the mini Nazis and let the universe and college admission boards do the rest,” one person wrote.

The Twitter storm forced school management to acknowledge the situation and apologize. It called the Nazi salute “an extremely inappropriate gesture,” adding that the photo had not been taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event. The loose explanation was greeted with bayonets by some users:

As the outrage unfolded, school authorities and police joined the investigation. The ‘Nazi salute’ even reached Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland, which denounced the image by saying that the world needs “to explain what is the danger of hateful ideology rising.”

Some people were surprised by the ‘Nazi salute’ case, since the school’s logo strongly resembles the eagle sometimes depicted over a swastika, which was once the formal symbol of Hitler’s Nazi Party.

“You might wanna change your logo,” read one tongue-in-cheek comment from a user. Though it is clearly a coincidence, the school should think about its logo in light of recent events, he added.

The ‘Nazi salute’ criticism was only the start of the school’s bashing on social media. New dirty details then began to emerge online – such as claims that some Latino, mixed-race or black students in the school are experiencing racial harassment.

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'Woman' of the Year: GQ slammed for quote marks on Serena Williams cover

By ethan / November 13, 2018

GQ magazine has prompted widespread bemusement for a cover featuring Serena Williams as its “Woman” of the Year – with many questioning the use of quotation marks in the title describing the US tennis star.

The men’s magazine revealed covers featuring several of its Men of the Year on Monday  – including actors Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill. But it was the cover introducing Williams as its pick for the female version of the accolade which caused the biggest commotion.

The image next to the tennis star – who was clad in a revealing black outfit set off with a chunky Chanel belt – was accompanied by a title with the word ‘Men’ crossed out and replaced by “Woman,” denoting the gender in quotation marks.

The inclusion of the punctuation device in describing the 23-time Grand Slam winner led to widespread bafflement online. 

It turned out that the key to clarifying the confusion was actually in the original tweet by GQ, which explained that the covers featured “handwriting” by Virgil Abloh – a fashion designer who has collaborated with Williams.

Abloh’s designs typically feature quote marks, including on some of the Nike apparel he has worked on for Williams.

GQ research manager Mick Rouse was quick to set in to explain the stylistic inclusion, in an attempt to quell the flames of fury on Twitter.      

But that still left some bemused, especially given the sensitive discussion that has surrounded Williams and gender in the past – which the star herself has alluded to.

As recently as this May year, Williams told Harpers Bazaar magazine: “People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong.”

Many Twitter users felt that the subtle nuances of the fashion world would be lost on casual readers – and even some who got the reference deemed it problematic.

Some of the Twitterati claimed the quotation marks were the least questionable aspect of the cover, and gave the fashion mag a dressing down over its choice of Williams for the accolade given her infamous outburst during her US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka earlier this year.

READ MORE: ‘Liar & thief’: Serena Williams launches shocking tirade at umpire in US Open final defeat 

Williams, 37, has not been seen on court since her controversial defeat in New York in August, having cut short her season in September when she withdrew from the China Open.

READ MORE: ‘I’m still trying to take my mind off it’: Osaka says US Open win against Williams was ‘bittersweet’

However, she will return at the Australian Open in January as she resumes her bid to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.   

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Saudis scramble to stop oil price slide

By ethan / November 13, 2018

Saudi Arabia is moving quickly to halt the slide in oil prices, telegraphing a production cut intended to erase some of the re-emerging supply surplus.

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that the kingdom would slash oil exports by 500,000 bpd in December, a move that would go a long way to reversing the 1 million-barrel-per-day increase in output agreed to by OPEC+ in June.

It was only a few weeks ago that al-Falih was trying to reassure the market that Saudi Arabia had enough spare capacity in the event of an outage; now he is rushing to try to stop the slide in prices but paring back production.

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© AFP  / Ryad Kramdi

The production cut would come just after crude oil officially entered bear market territory, falling 20 percent from its October peak.

But it is unclear at this point if the rest of the OPEC+ coalition, including Russia, will join the Saudis. The OPEC-Non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) met over the weekend in Abu Dhabi to consider options for 2019. The group was rumored to be considering a collective production cut, although the meeting ended on Sunday with no firm commitments.

Still, in an official statement, the group seemed open to the idea. The JMMC “noted that 2019 prospects point to higher supply growth than global requirements,” which is another way of saying that they are nervous about a supply glut. Also, the committee stated that a global economic downturn could depress demand, and “could lead to widening gap between supply and demand.” These conditions “may require new strategies to balance the market.” It would seem that the OPEC+ coalition is laying the groundwork for a production cut. The official ministerial meeting in Vienna in early December will reveal much more about the group’s plans heading into 2019.

Al-Falih said that the OPEC+ group needs to cut output by 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) below October levels. Saudi Arabia will alone account for half of that total, removing 500,000 bpd in December. BP’s Bob Dudley told Bloomberg TV that al-Falih’s announcement “probably will firm the price.”

That’s probably all it will do, at least for now. Surging shale production at a time when the demand picture is darkening will make a renewed run up in prices difficult. “It is beginning to look alarming in the sense that the resurgence of non-OPEC supply — in particular shale oil from the United States — is putting a lot of pressure on this fragile equation,” OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said in Abu Dhabi. As for demand, “we’re beginning to see signs of deceleration in 2019. Now the result of that is projecting a buildup of stocks to the level we saw in 2014.”

An agreed upon cut of 1 mb/d next month would take some of the excess out of the market, however, and the Saudi cut could go a long way towards building the will within OPEC+ to agree to such collective action. “The unilateral reduction in supply announced by Saudi Arabia should make it easier to agree on a general reduction at the early-December OPEC meeting and thus noticeably reduce the risk of an oversupplied market,” Commerzbank said in a note. “We therefore envisage further recovery potential for oil prices in the short term.”

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© Getty Images / Mohd Jailanee Othman

The Saudis themselves aren’t exactly sure of what to expect. “We are going to be flexible,” al-Falih said at a conference in Abu Dhabi. “There are a lot of assumptions that may change in two to three weeks time.” He added that OPEC+ “will do what it takes,” which sounds like Riyadh is not interested in seeing Brent fall below $ 70 per barrel, about where it was trading this past weekend.

Sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia was surprised that the US government issued a series of waivers to importers of Iranian oil just as sanctions took effect. The waivers meant that a lot less Iranian oil is destined to go offline than was previously expected. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies ramped up production in anticipation of much larger outages from Iran. The waivers led to a fall in prices.

“No one expected the waivers. Saudi Arabia wants to at least put a floor under oil prices. No one wants a free fall in prices,” an OPEC source told Reuters.

Not everyone agrees. At least one oil market watcher was not happy with the planned production cuts.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

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'Sleep with me, I’ll make you a Baroness’: Lib Dem peer faces ‘longest suspension since WWII’

By ethan / November 13, 2018

A Lib Dem peer is facing a near-four-year ban from the House of Lords, after a report by Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards revealed allegations that he propositioned a woman with “corrupt inducements to sleep with him.”

Lord Lester of Herne Hill, 82, who has resigned as the Liberal Democrat’s human rights spokesperson and was suspended by the party earlier this year, is said to have told Jasvinder Sanghera, a campaigner against forced marriage, that: “If you sleep with me I will make you a Baroness within a year,” the Times reports.

The Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee, which oversees disciplinary matters in the upper chamber, has recommended banning him from the House of Lords until June 2022. The punishment, if approved later this week via a vote, would mean the “longest suspension of a Member of either House since at least the end of World War Two,” the committee said.

READ MORE: ‘Stop intervention & proxy wars, let Syrians decide their future’ – British baroness to RT

According to the Standards Commissioner’s report, Sanghera, 53, who founded the award-winning charity Karma Nirvana, which supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage, was groped by Lord Lester on her journey home from a campaign meeting in 2006, after he invited her to stay with him and his wife.

Her testimony alleges that the peer then escorted her to her bedroom before saying “it was not far from his bedroom.”

Sanghera says she slept “fully clothed” that night, feeling afraid and thinking about what had happened in the car during their journey back to Lord Lester’s home. She told the Commissioner that the peer repeatedly put his arms around her waist in the kitchen the next morning, prompting her to “force” him away.

“He pursued me around the kitchen and I pleaded with him to stop,” she added. “Once he stopped, I told him that I wished to leave.”

Lord Lester has vehemently denied the allegations, saying the investigation was seriously flawed and had denied him the basic principles of fairness, adding: “I produced evidence which clearly demonstrated that what I was said to have done 12 years ago did not happen.”

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California ‘hellscape’ visible from space as wildfires rage on (PHOTOS)

By ethan / November 13, 2018

California is still burning amid the worst wildfire crisis in its history. So far, 42 people have been killed and 228 are missing as the state is reduced to a hellscape. Satellite imagery of the destruction makes for grim viewing.

Deimos Imaging has shared jaw-dropping images of the destruction caused by the Hill Fire and the Woolsey Fire from November 12, with a staggering wall of flame extending across the rolling hills and obscuring the charred landscape downwind.

Previously, imagery captured on November 8 by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite shows the Camp Fire in its infancy, just a few hours before it had seriously broken out. The fire would go on to consume 20,000 acres in less than 14 hours, at times growing by a football field every three seconds, owing to strong winds in the area.

READ MORE: Celebrities flee as the South California wildfire closes in on star-studded neighborhoods (PHOTOS)

NASA’s Terra satellite captured a wider angle of the horrifying extent of the destruction on a statewide level, showing a vast plume of smoke extending malevolently into the southwestern US skies and drifting over the Pacific Ocean.

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Free speech on campus: War on Christianity or equal-opportunity ideological battleground? (DEBATE)

By ethan / November 13, 2018

A pair of recent incidents on US campuses has again highlighted the issue of free speech. Is there really a “war on Christianity” happening on American campuses?

In September, Polly Olsen sued Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, claiming staff had violated her free speech rights when they stopped her from handing out religiously-themed Valentines to her fellow students. An observer had complained of “suspicious activity” and Olsen was escorted to the campus security office and told her cards – which contained Christian messages like “Jesus Loves You” – might be considered “offensive,” and that she was “soliciting” by distributing them outside the campus’ designated “free speech zone.”

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Milo Yiannopoulos © Reuters / Lucas Jackson

Legal and media analyst Lionel saw Olsen’s case as part and parcel of that storied conservative talking point, the War On Christianity. “If this were any other religion any other situation nobody would have any problem with this.”

In this country, there are two sets of standards – Christians are over here, and everyone else is over here.”

Award-winning US investigative reporter Dave Lindorff tentatively agreed the college overstepped their boundaries, but challenged the religious-discrimination angle, claiming religions are treated equally on campus “as long as you’re not trying to jam it in somebody’s face.” He also claimed to have experienced discrimination for his political views and pointed to two recent studies showing two out of three cancelled speakers on college campuses are leftists – as are two out of three professors dismissed for ideological reasons.

Olsen’s lawsuit, filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, also points out that “free speech zones” on college campuses have been declared unconstitutional by the courts.

Meanwhile, at the University of California at Berkeley, in the cradle of the student free speech movement, Isabelle Chow has been asked to resign from the student senate after abstaining from a vote against the Trump administration’s proposed changes to Title IX, which will define sex as a person’s biological sex at birth. She released a statement before the vote, hoping to avoid the confusion and outrage that followed by explaining her ethical conflict: while she opposes discrimination in all forms, “I cannot vote for this bill without compromising my values.”

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Students are pictured on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. © Reuters / Harrison McClary

Chow ran on a platform of representing Berkeley’s Christian community, and she did not expect such a backlash given her openness about her views. Berkeley’s student newspaper refused to publish an op-ed she wrote, claiming it used “homophobic and transphobic” rhetoric.

Lionel immediately took Chow’s side – “She doesn’t countenance the idea that – ‘Gender, I can just make up my mind! Today I’m Swedish, and I’m a zebra!’ Now they want her to resign because she dared to follow through with a campaign promise.”

Lindorff, however, defended the students calling for her resignation, pointing out that the students couldn’t actually fire Chow, and their voicing of their discontent also counted as free speech. “She doesn’t have to resign. More power to her if she doesn’t!

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‘Russia threat ever more real’: UK’s May berates Moscow like ‘recalcitrant child’ & offers salvation

By ethan / November 13, 2018

The UK is ready to build a “different relationship” with Russia following the diplomatic rift over the Skripal poisoning – but only if Moscow confesses all its alleged sins and plays by London’s rules, PM Theresa May has hinted.

The UK Prime Minister focused a large part of her annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London on fighting the perceived Russian threat, which she claims has proven to be “ever more real” recently. Despite the belligerent stance towards Moscow, May said that London seeks a “different relationship” with the Kremlin – if only it “desists from these attacks that undermine international treaties and international security.”

“We hope that the Russian state chooses to take this path. If it does, we will respond in kind,” May stated on Monday. 

Commenting on May’s remarks, journalist John Wight noted that her “tone in this speech was awful.”

“Her reaching out to Russia was in the form of a mother berating her recalcitrant child, then promising said child that it will be forgiven if it was to change its ways,” he said. “This is not the way to affect the rapprochement with any country, much less the largest country and the most powerful military in Europe.”

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© Reuters / Alexander Zemlianichenko

Instead of issuing ultimatums, the West should meet Russia halfway and resume discussing issues of global importance and concern to both parties, Wight believes, emphasizing that first of all London has to accept Moscow as an “equal partner.”

“Relations cannot be any worse between the West, including the UK, and Russia. And indeed one would have to say that if they got any worse than they are now, then it would gain the force of military conflict given that there are NATO troops deployed at Russia’s Western border,” the journalist added.

READ MORE: US to impose ‘additional sanctions’ on Russia over Skripal poisoning claim

In her speech, the British Prime Minister praised the success of international collaboration in the UK-led effort to punish Moscow for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury in March.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in the alleged chemical attack on British soil and offered to participate in a joint investigation into the incident. But despite the many inconsistencies in the case, May reiterated that British law enforcement agencies already produced enough “irrefutable evidence.” 

David Coburn, Member of the European Parliament, believes that May should have focused more on her Brexit negotiations with Brussels rather than hijacking the speech with accusations against Russia.

Russians don’t hold Kremlin responsible for Skripal poisoning, say British did it themselves – poll

“She made an absolute mess of Brexit which has been an absolute scandal. She hasn’t been negotiating, she has been capitulating. She should be much better off dealing with that,” the politician told RT. “That is much more important than creating problems with Russia.”

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