Marco Reus in action for Borussia Dortmund 1 Arsenal and Manchester United are favourites to sign Marco Reus after Real Madrid today pulled out of the running for the German playmaker.According to AS, Los Blancos had the option to sign Reus last summer but opted for James Rodriguez instead.The Spanish giants are in no rush to buy a creative player while the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema remain on their books. However, AS are claiming that Real could return with a bid for Reus in the future but it is now likely he will leave for an English club in the upcoming transfer window.United appear to be in pole position to do a deal with Dortmund for the 25-year-old but are set to face stiff competition from Arsenal, who also tried to sign the winger last summer before he got injured.
25 May 2011When the world’s biggest retail company, the US-based Walmart, announced in September 2010 a plan to buy South African retailer Massmart for a staggering US$4.2-billion, eyebrows were raised. Foreign investors in Africa have tended to put their money in the riches that lie beneath its soil, where the profits are higher.In fact, the steady growth of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the continent during most of the past decade has mostly been concentrated in extractive sectors, especially oil (see Africa Renewal, January 2005).Yet, much like Walmart, a growing number of major investors are now betting on the continent’s ultimate wealth, Africans themselves, according to the World Investment Report 2010 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).And for all the shock that Walmart’s foray into Africa initially prompted, when it announced in December that it was seeking to acquire only 51 percent of Massmart’s shares for $2.5-billion, the transaction was still second to the continent’s biggest business deal unrelated to natural resources. Late in March 2010, a record $10.7-billion transaction took place as Kuwait’s telecommunication company Zain sold its African assets to Bharti, an Indian competitor.Investors eye new sectorsOverall, the Unctad report notes, amidst a recent slump in FDI flows to Africa (see graph): “The services sector, led by the telecommunications industry, became the dominant FDI recipient.”Across the continent, new deals involving major foreign corporations are becoming a common occurrence in sectors previously considered unattractive to investment heavyweights. Nestle, a Swiss food company, announced plans to spend $1-billion by 2013 for acquisitions in various African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Angola. Less than two years ago, Nestle’s main competitor, France’s Danone, bought the yoghurt and desserts division of Clover, South Africa’s leader in fresh cultured dairy products.Such developments call “for reassessment of FDI in Africa, as a different picture emerges,” the Unctad report argues. Potentially, development experts note, an increase in FDI flows to infrastructure, services and retail sales could have a far more positive impact on African economies. Unlike investments in the extractive industries, investments in consumer-oriented sectors often lead to the creation of many more jobs and stimulate consumer spending.Rise of the African middle classAfrica’s booming middle class, with its recently acquired purchasing power, is the main reason behind the new FDI trend on the continent. Various researches suggest that the number of Africans who can afford to buy more than the necessities of daily life is rising rapidly.A much-talked-about report by McKinsey, a US-headquartered multinational consulting firm, estimates that the continent is home to around 50-million middle-class households (defined as those with incomes of at least $20 000), as many as in India. (The report, entitled “Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies”, was published in June 2010.)One in every 10 Africans, says a different study by a French aid agency, is already a “solvent consumer” – one who can afford the latest smartphones, the newest computers and dinners at trendy restaurants.The rise of this middle class is linked to the strong economic performances recorded in many African countries since the end of the 1990s. Average economic growth has been around 5 percent a year, while the average inflation rate fell to 8 percent from an earlier high of 22 percent.From 2000 to 2010, six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in sub-Saharan Africa, reports The Economist, an authoritative London weekly. In fact, the publication argues that Africa is the site of “the surprising success story of the past decade,” high praise from a magazine that is generally not very enthusiastic about the continent.Strong and sustained growth rates – and not only in the oil-rich countries that benefited from booming demand from emerging economies – provided a platform from which numerous households moved upwards in income.And while growth in oil-producing countries usually did not result in massive job creation, growth in other countries did create some employment, in turn boosting domestic consumption. In South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, Africa’s four most advanced and diversified economies, domestic consumption became the largest contributor to growth in recent years, says the McKinsey report.Policies, peace and governanceAfrica’s improved economic performances are also a result of good economic policies and improved political contexts, maintained the World Bank in its report Africa Development Indicators 2007. In Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania, for example, business-friendly policies opened new markets to investors. Angola and Rwanda became fast-growing economies after long civil wars.Some also argue that a continental development plan has helped as well. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), adopted by African leaders in 2001, “did help shape a new, more positive perception of Africa,” argues Patrick Osakwe, an economist with the UN Economic Commission for Africa and co-author of a study on FDI to Africa.By emphasising the importance of good governance, Osakwe told Africa Renewal, the plan illustrated a momentous shift in the way Africans seek to interact with the rest of the world.Expanding prosperityFor a continent so long regarded by outside observers as “hopeless,” the coming years will bring more good news, various analysts say. Africa weathered the global recession better than most regions of the world, and its recent economic performance is second only to that of Asia, according to several international institutions. Over the next five years, The Economist recently projected, “The average African economy will outpace its Asian counterpart.”Such promising prospects are central to Walmart’s expansion plans in Africa. Other major Western investors are likely to follow the US giant, analysts say. One reason is that the continent’s combined consumer spending is forecast to reach $1.4-trillion by 2020, up from $860-billion in 2008. Companies from emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are already strengthening their positions in the region.As foreign investors rush to benefit from the rise of the new categories of African consumers, prosperity still remains elusive for too many other Africans. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 250-million people in Africa are undernourished.“To expand prosperity, African leaders need to invest in infrastructure and education, to diversify their economies, so that many more people can benefit from growth,” argues Osakwe.Others note that improving the standard of living of the poor not only makes business sense, but is also a political necessity, as suggested by the recent waves of protests across North Africa. Not addressing people’s economic rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pointedly remarked this January, causes grievances “to fester and eventually erupt on a large scale.”This article was first published in Africa Renewal – produced by the Africa Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information, Africa Renewal provides up-to-date information and analysis of the major economic and development challenges facing Africa today.
A spell of heavy and widespread snowfall in the plains and upper reaches of the Kashmir Valley on Friday uplifted the mood here. In contrast to grim, violence-related pictures and posts, hundreds of local netizens, for a change, took to social media to live-stream snowfall or post selfies.The entire Kashmir valley, including capital Srinagar, received snowfall in the afternoon on Friday, as predicted by the Meteorological Department. As more snow fell, locals took to social media platforms to post videos of dancing kids, images of snowmen, and live-streamed driving through snow-clogged roads.Former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah also took to the Twitter to express his happiness. “Fresh snow is always gorgeous. It’s time to go back inside, leaving just footprints in the snow,” wrote Mr. Abdullah, as he uploaded his pictures with snow in the backdrop, and a video.Srinagar received the season’s second snowfall on Friday. Tourist hotspots of Gulmarg and Pahalgam recorded several feet of snowfall. “Weather will remain wet till January 6. Visibility will improve after the wet spell ends. Day temperature will also improve,” said Deputy Director, Met. Dept., Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad. Avalanche warning Snowfall did, however, play spoilsport for travellers as the Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Poonch highways were closed “due to slippery road conditions and fears of landslides.” The Srinagar airport cancelled all flights scheduled in the afternoon,. An avalanche warning has been issued for all vulnerable areas of Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.
After their “conscious uncoupling”, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are now almost operating like a couple, reveals a source.The pair announced their separation publicly in March. But they have been spotted together numerous times in the Hamptons this week, reports pagesix.com.The couple seperated in March this yearWhile the duo dined with their children Apple and Moses Monday evening, on Tuesday, Martin dropped into a sports store to pick up skateboards before heading to meet the children Apple and Moses at a joint.A witness said” “They were operating like a couple, and with the kids looked like a happy family.”A reconciliation could be in the works.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari, of course, is on-hand at the NBA All-Star Game tonight to cheer on a few of his former players. But it looks like he’s also brought his daughter Erin along for the experience. She seems to be having a grand old time too, for other reasons than just the game.Calipari, who is clearly a bit bored, claims that she’s been photobombing her father all day. The irony? She’s worried about embarrassing him.W/ @UKCoachCalipari standing far enough away that I don’t have to talk to anyone but close enough that he can’t forget I’m here and leave me— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) February 15, 2015Every once in awhile he’ll introduce me to someone and then wait to see what I say. Pretty sure he’s thinking “you better not embarrass me”— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) February 15, 2015If you’ve taken any selfies with @UKCoachCalipari today better check the background. Yup.That’s me making that weird face. You’re welcome— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) February 15, 2015You think I’m kidding. I have this down to a science. About 6ft away is perfect. pic.twitter.com/hb8fzy0CjQ— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) February 15, 2015We can’t wait to see if any of these supposed photos pop up. Most people never get a chance to get the best of Coach Cal.
Could Tennessee win the national title in 2016? One college football analyst believes so.The Tennessee Volunteers are a popular pick to win the SEC East and represent the division in the league’s title game this coming fall, but one college football analyst is taking it a step further. CBS Sports’ Brian Jones is picking the Vols to win the national title over Florida State.Jones has Tennessee, Florida, Michigan and Stanford in his College Football Playoff. Obviously, he has the Seminoles and the Vols advancing to play for it all.@gmannVOLS pic.twitter.com/6mNEAcUgra— Frank Abby (@FRANKtheTAU) August 27, 2016Butch Jones has certainly done a nice job rebuilding Tennessee, but many are hesitant to mention the Vols as a national title favorite until they prove they can beat rival Alabama. If that happens this year, expect everyone to jump aboard the bandwagon.[Saturday Down South]
“Those Knicks teams — the ’69-’70 team, the ’72-73 team — when you talk to basketball purists about the greatest teams they’ve ever seen, that little era always comes up,” a radio voice intones early in Michael Rapaport’s “When The Garden Was Eden,” a “30 for 30” film debuting on ESPN Tuesday. “That’s the way you’re supposed to play basketball.”Speaking as a card-carrying basketball purist (or at least a basketball history nut), he’s right — particularly on that last point. The Knicks of that era rank highly among the all-time great NBA teams, but not at the very top. Instead, where they really stand out is in how they won.The 1969-70 New York Knicks, who won the first of the franchise’s only two championships, consistently rank among the most dominant regular-season teams in NBA history, especially relative to the spread of talent in the league at that time. After adjusting for strength of schedule, their per-game point differential was +8.4 (17th all-time); it also outpaced the second-place Milwaukee Bucks that year by 4.2 points per game, the sixth-biggest gap ever between the league leader and runner-up. That was a big part of why the Knicks’ schedule-adjusted scoring margin was 2.4 standard deviations better than the average team’s in 1969-70 — the second-best such mark ever.The 1969-70 Knicks struggled on the road in the playoffs and were taken the distance twice in the span of three series. But the team’s playoff run — which saw New York outlast the Baltimore Bullets (led by future Knick Earl Monroe), overpower a rookie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his Milwaukee Bucks, and survive the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven-game NBA Finals classic — also ranks among the 50 or so best ever, after taking into account whom they had to beat.And the 1972-73 Knicks did even better in the postseason after adjusting for their road to the championship. When I listed the most dominating playoff performances ever back in 2010, that team ranked 11th all-time. With the exception of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs, it’s unlikely that it has been supplanted by more recent champions. En route to the title, New York beat the Baltimore Bullets (+2.9 schedule-adjusted PPG differential) in five games, the Boston Celtics (+7.4) in seven, and the Los Angeles Lakers (an NBA-best +8.2) in five — just about the toughest path any team has ever gone through to win an NBA championship.But bottom-line results are only half the equation when aficionados rave about the Knicks of the early 1970s. Perhaps an even bigger factor is how the team achieved its success, with a reputation for playing one the most unselfish, pass-friendly styles in basketball history.This isn’t gauzy, New York-media-baked myth-making. Among historical NBA champions, the 1972-73 Knicks rank 14th in assist percentage (the ratio of made baskets that were assisted) relative to league average. And, more importantly, they had the most balanced distribution of shot attempts among their starting five players of any championship team ever. During the 1973 playoffs, their leading scorer (the incomparable Walt Frazier) took 20.8 percent of the team’s shots when on the floor, while the fifth-ranked shooter among its starters (Bill Bradley) took 18.7 percent. By comparison, the 1992 Chicago Bulls’ leader — Michael Jordan — took 37 percent of that team’s shots when on the floor, while Bill Cartwright took 11 percent. (Coincidentally, that Bulls team was coached by early-’70s Knicks forward Phil Jackson.)My research shows that most NBA champs are more like Michael and the Jordanaires than Frazier, Bradley, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed. Historically, teams with an uneven distribution of the offensive workload — particularly with regard to the difference between their top two scoring options and the rest of the starting five — tend to win championships at a much higher rate than teams that spread their shots around more equally.That they bucked this trend is probably the lasting legacy of the Red Holzman-coached Knicks. In a sport dominated by singular scorers like Jordan (usually with good reason), New York showed that there’s also a place for unselfish, collectivist basketball in the circle of NBA champions. And as my colleagues Ben Morris and Rafe Bartholomew have noted, the San Antonio Spurs (winners of the 2014 NBA championship) have carried the torch for this phenomenon in recent years.With the 2014-15 NBA season tipping off next week, the Knicks are unlikely to add a third championship banner to Madison Square Garden’s rafters. But Rapaport’s film will recall fond memories of a time when basketball-crazed New York City was the center of the sport’s universe.
Senior goalkeeper Rachel Middleman takes a free kick during a match against Illinios Sept. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The teams tied, 1-1.Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy chiefComing off a 1-1 draw against Illinois in its last match, the Ohio State women’s soccer team is set to host undefeated Indiana.Thursday afternoon’s match will be the second Big Ten game for the Buckeyes this season. OSU players said they notice a change in play when it comes to conference games.“It’s just a whole different ball game. The girls are so physical, and so feisty, bigger actually, physically bigger than the other teams we play,” sophomore goalkeeper Jillian McVicker said.McVicker and senior Rachel Middleman have split time in goal almost evenly this season. In nine games this year, The Buckeyes have only allowed six goals between them. The 0.67 goals against average is good enough for third best in the conference, tied with Iowa.“I feel like we both compliment each other and the team really well,” McVicker said of the goalies splitting time.Freshman forward Nichelle Prince leads the Buckeye offense this year scoring five goals while recording four assists. The 14 points for the first-year Buckeye has her tied for 10th in the Big Ten.“She’s definitely a strong player up top, has amazing touch and super fast,” said freshman forward Lindsay Agnew of Prince. “Her presence on the field kind of calms people down, and any goal could happen any second.”Prince, originally from Ajax, Ontario, said she is still adjusting to her role with the Buckeyes.“It’s new coming into a new environment, but the players have been really open to helping us,” Prince said. “We have a decent start right now and a lot more games to do well.”On offense, the Buckeyes have been working hard to improve on their ability to finish.“We really focused on our final passes, because we have a lot of opportunities in games, but the final pass and the final shot are a little off sometimes. We’ve just been working on a lot of patterns to capitalize that,” McVicker said.Indiana is 8-0-1 on the season, and the Hoosiers have only allowed two goals so far. Those figures, however, have not changed the practices for the Buckeyes this week.“We usually just practice the same, and adjust a few things depending on the opponent,” Prince said.Senior midfielder Lisa Nouanesengsy leads the Hoosiers in scoring with six goals. Indiana averages 2.33 goals a match, good for sixth best in the conference.The match is set to begin at 3 p.m. Thursday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui has admitted that he is open to using Marco Asensio as a false nine ahead of his maiden campaign in chargeThe Champions League holders have a huge gap to fill in the centre of their attack with Karim Benzema being the only real option to take on the role as a false nine for the season ahead following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus last month.But Lopetegui made a surprise tactical change in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the International Champions Cup by putting Asensio in the role after coming off the bench.And the move proved to be a masterstroke with Asensio grabbing a brace to secure victory for the Spanish giants.Now Lopetegui has suggested that we may be seeing more of Asensio as a false nine for next season.Fiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“It’s an option,” he admitted, via Goal.“Pre-season is a time when we can test different things and what we need to do is look for resources or different ideas within the team.“It was good to see him play at that position and he played extremely well. It’s not important where he plays but how he plays.”Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, although any prospective deal for the duo now appears to be extremely unlikely.Real will face AS Roma on Wednesday for their final pre-season friendly before taking on city rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup