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U.S. FCC chairman plans fast-track repeal of net neutrality: sources

WASHINGTON ( ) – The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is moving quickly to replace the Obama administration’s landmark net neutrality rules and wants internet service providers to voluntarily agree to maintain an open internet, three sources briefed on the meeting said Thursday.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, met on Tuesday with major telecommunications trade groups to discuss his preliminary plan to reverse the rules, the sources said.

The FCC declined to comment but Pai previously said he is committed to ensuring an open internet but feels net neutrality was a mistake.

The rules approved by the FCC under Democratic President Barack Obama in early 2015 prohibited broadband providers from giving or selling access to speedy internet, essentially a “fast lane”, to certain internet services over others. As part of that change, the FCC reclassified internet service providers much like utilities.

Pai wants to overturn that reclassification, but wants internet providers to voluntarily agree to not obstruct or slow consumer access to web content, two officials said late Tuesday.

The officials briefed on the meeting said Pai suggested companies commit in writing to open internet principles and including them in their terms of service, which would make them binding.

It is unclear if regulators could legally compel internet providers to adopt open internet principles without existing net neutrality rules.

As part of that move, the Federal Trade Commission would assume oversight of ensuring compliance.

Three sources said Pai plans to unveil his proposal to overturn the rules as early as late April and it could face an initial vote in May or June.

Internet providers like AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp have argued net neutrality rules would make it harder to manage internet traffic and investment in additional capacity less likely. Websites worry that without the rules they might lose access to customers.

AT&T and major trade groups sued the FCC in 2015 over the net neutrality rules.

Democrats and privacy advocates say net neutrality is crucial to keeping the internet open.

Pai in December predicted that net neutrality’s days were numbered. He told in February he believes “in a free and open internet and the only question is what regulatory framework best secures that.”

Pai and congressional Republicans have moved quickly to dismantle Obama-era telecommunications rules.

Trump on Monday signed a repeal of Obama-上海夜生活论坛era broadband privacy rules a victory for internet service providers and a blow to privacy advocates.

Politico Pro reported some details of the meeting with trade groups on Thursday.

Highlights: The Trump presidency on April 13 at 9:30 P.M. EDT/0130 GMT on Friday

( ) – Highlights for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday:

AFGHANISTAN

The United States drops a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the Pentagon says.

NORTH KOREA

Trump says Pyongyang is a problem that “will be taken care of” amid speculation that North Korea is on the verge of a sixth nuclear test.

Military force cannot resolve tension over North Korea, China warns, while an influential Chinese newspaper urges Pyongyang to halt its nuclear program in exchange for Beijing’s protection.

The Trump administration is focusing its North Korea strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang, U.S. officials say.

RUSSIA

Trump says “things will work out fine” between the United States and Russia, a day after declaring U.S.-Russian relations may be at an all-time low.

FEDERAL RESERVE

Trump signals he could be moving closer to the mainstream on monetary policy, saying he has not ruled out reappointment of Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair as he considers his choices for the U.S. central bank. [nL1N1HL14B]

ABORTION

Trump signs a resolution that will allow U.S. states to restrict how federal funds for contraception and reproductive health are spent, a move cheered by anti-abortion campaigners.

DEUTSCHE BANK

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen presses Deutsche Bank to release information about issues including Trump’s debt and any bank meetings with Trump administration officials, saying he has “great concern” about possible conflicts of interest.

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK

Trump’s office says he plans to revive the hobbled Export-Import Bank of the United States, a victory for American manufacturers such as Boeing Co and General Electric Co that have overseas customers that use the agency’s government-backed loans to purchase their products.

FINANCIAL REGULATION

Top Wall Street bankers say they are having positive discussions about financial regulation in Washington, and downplay the idea U.S. policymakers may force their institutions to split up.

TRADE WITH JAPAN

The United States is pushing for trade to be a key issue in top-level economic talks with Japan, a source says, an unwelcome development for Tokyo, which is seeking to fend off U.S. pressure to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance.

IMMIGRATION

Trump’s administration has focused on one group of illegal immigrants more than others: women with children, according to eight Department of Homeland Security officials interv上海夜生活论坛iewed by about agency planning.

RPT-Fear and fervour propel Shanghai’s tech board amid trade, Huawei tensions

(Repeats with no change to text)

* Huawei ban, trade war fuel patriotic support for the new board

* 120 firms seeking to list, aiming to raise total of $16 bln

* About 100 tech-focused funds awaiting regulatory approval

* Venture capitalists scrambling to grab share of pre-IPO funding

By Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz

SHANGHAI, June 11 ( ) – Chinese companies and investors are lining up in spades to take part in Shanghai’s new Nasdaq-style tech board, with a groundswell of patriotic support surging further after the U.S. blacklisting of telecom firm Huawei inflamed tr上海夜生活ade tensions.

In the two months since the application period began, 120 firms – many in industries such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence and biotech – have sought permission to list, aiming to raise a combined $16 billion.

By comparison, IPOs on Shanghai’s main bourse last year raised $11.7 billion while those on the Shenzhen exchange raised $8 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

On the investment side, there’s been a rush to launch tech-focused mutual funds, with about 100 currently seeking approval, data from the China Securities Regulatory Commission shows. Since late May, 12 such funds targeting the new board, each with a fundraising cap of 1 billion yuan ($145 million), have been launched.

The first mainland China exchange-run board to not make profitability a listing requirement, Shanghai’s Sci-tech Innovation Board was announced suddenly by President Xi Jinping in November and is widely seen as Beijing’s latest move to become self-sufficient in core technologies such as chips.

Those ambitions, highlighted by the government’s “Made in China 2025” campaign launched four years ago, have now taken on added urgency as the trade war with Washington and anxiety about its impact escalate.

“The trade war is no longer simply about China importing more soybeans, or reducing trade deficits,” Shi Donghui, director of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Capital Market Institute told a financial forum last month after U.S-China trade talks collapsed.

“It’s essentially a tug of war around industry supply chains and core technologies,” he said, adding that as the two economic powers vie for tech supremacy, exchange staff were working day and night seven days a week to make the new board a success.

PATRIOTIC ENTHUSIASM

Washington’s ban in May on U.S. firms doing business with Huawei without government approval highlighted gaps in China’s tech prowess and has fuelled patriotic enthusiasm for the board.

If the new board can foster internationally competitive technologies, “Trump will no longer be able to choke us,” said Zhou Xiangyong, general manager of Guotai Asset Management, a Shanghai-based mutual fund house.

“China must turn external pressure into internal drive,” said Pan Jiang, CEO at private fund manager Shanghai V-Invest Co, which recently launched eight funds targeting the new board.

China Galaxy Securities estimates domestic mutual fund houses alone could pump more than $40 billion into the board, with about a third of that coming from new funds launching over the next six months.

In addition to allowing loss-making firms to list, the new board is doing away with paternalistic guidance from regulators on IPO pricing and timing – developments that have some bankers and investors calling it China’s boldest market reform yet.

A formal launch date has not been announced but investment bankers have said they expect it to start operating either late this month or in early July.

For Yuan Guowei, founder and CEO of big data startup Shanghai HyperS Data Technology Inc, being able to list while still loss-making is an opportunity not to be missed.

“We see U.S. companies which keep expanding aggressively despite losses. We couldn’t do that in the past, as we want to go public and struggled to balance expansion and making a profit,” he said.

Compared to the United States, stock market investment in China’s tech sector has been low, in part due to stricter listing requirements around profitability.

Tech companies account for roughly 11% of total market value in China’s stock markets, which are heavily weighted toward the financial sector, according to China Securities Index Co. In contrast, IT firms account for nearly 30% of the S&P 500’s market capitalisation, Refinitiv data shows.

Channeling investor money into homegrown technologies via the tech board could also help defuse U.S. criticism over the opaque shareholding structure of some Chinese firms and massive state subsidies for the tech sector, analysts said.

Foreign investors, however, are not expected to have much initial involvement in the new board. There are as yet no plans for it to be part of the cross-border Connect scheme, while overseas investors participating in the QFII investment scheme for mainland stocks tend to buy blue-chip shares due to their limited research capabilities in China.

VENTURE CAPITAL SCRAMBLE

The big unknown, however, is just how successful the new board will be in the long term.

China’s other startup boards have mostly languished despite a wellspring of excitement in their early days. Often speculation sent prices soaring, but those prices later collapsed spectacularly, souring investor sentiment to a point from which it never recovered.

The new tech board “is being propelled directly by China’s top decision-makers, so it has to succeed. It cannot afford to fail,” said Fu Ziheng, economist at China Fortune Securities.

“But there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead….and technology innovation does not happen overnight.”

High-profile companies planning to list on the new board include Beijing Kingsoft Office Software Inc, China’s biggest provider of officer software controlled by Xiaomi Corp founder Lei Jun, as well as chip sector firm Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc.

For a factbox on some of the companies planning to list please click.

Excitement surrounding prospective candidates is so high that venture capitalists interested in pre-IPO financing say they need to move quickly on due diligence or lose out to the competition, particularly in strategic industries such as chips.

“When companies conduct pre-IPO financing, you may have to make decisions in 1-2 weeks, which is very demanding for the investment team. Previously, such decisions were made over 1-2 months,” said Feng Sicheng, an investment manager at private equity firm GP Capital who specialises in the chip sector. ($1 = 6.9082 Chinese yuan)

Billionaire Schwartz makes $2.6 billion bet on Canada’s WestJet Airlines

( ) – Billionaire Gerry Schwartz pounced on Canada’s WestJet Airlines on Monday as his private equity firm Onex Corp offered to buy the struggling airline for C$3.5 billion ($2.6 billion), betting it can turn around its recent decline by taking the company private.

The surprise offer for C$31 a share, a 67% premium to their closing price on Friday, sparked a surge in WestJet shares, which closed up 60% at $29.61. If completed, it would be the biggest private equity deal ever for an airline, according to Refinitiv data.

If Onex obtains shareholder and regulatory approvals, the deal would help Schwartz get his hands on an airline two decades after he missed out on buying Air Canada, WestJet’s bigger rival. Air Canada shares rose more than 5%.

WestJet shares, which touched a record high of C$34.95 in December 2014, have recently been trading at almost half that level. The airline has reported declining net profit for each of the last three years, hurt by rising fuel costs, pressure on ticket prices and other issues.

Even before the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets in March, WestJet’s earnings had slipped as it worked to contain costs as its workforce unionized and was spending money on bold growth plans to expand international travel, introduce first class cabins and launch a budget carrier called Swoop.

Up to Friday’s close, WestJet shares had fallen 5.5% in the last 12 months while Air Canada shares gained 58%. American rival United Continental Holdings, the company that owns United Airlines, rose 28% in the same period.

“The ‘why now?’ is valuation,” said AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray.

Onex, founded in 1984 by Schwartz who started out at Bear Stearns & Co in the 1970s, approached WestJet’s board in March. Neither Schwartz, nor any other Onex executive was available to comment.

WestJet Chief Executive Ed Sims said on BNN that the deal will allow the company to execute on its long-term growth strategy without the constraints of quarterly scrutiny. It is “a reaffirmation that the path we’re on is actually a path towards long-term profitability irrespective上海夜生活网 of the sort of headwinds that you refer to that we saw regularly in 2018.”

LONG HISTORY

With about $31 billion of assets under management, Onex is not new to investing in the aerospace industry. It bought Spirit AeroSystems from Boeing Co in 2005 and exited its investment in 2014 after making $3.2 billion.

Under Schwartz, who remains CEO, Onex tried to buy Air Canada in 1999 and merge it with now defunct Canadian Airlines, but that attempt failed. Onex shares closed up 4% in a broadly lower market.

Air Canada Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu declined to comment on the Onex deal, telling “it’s business as usual,” on the sidelines of the Air Transport Action Group conference in Montreal.

The Onex bid follows a deal last week where low-cost Latin American airline Viva Air received a $50 million investment from U.S. capital fund Cartesian Capital Group that it will direct toward expansion.

And the parent company of Montreal-based Air Transat has said it is in talks with more than one party regarding a potential transaction, although it is not yet clear what group might buy it.

Onex could “ultimately look” to also acquire Transat to “complement WestJet’s offering,” wrote Desjardins analyst Benoit Poirier in a note to clients. Transat AT stock was up 4 percent in afternoon trading.

The WestJet purchase will be led by Onex Partners, Onex’s private equity platform focused on larger investments. The airline’s board has urged shareholders to vote in favor.

The deal is subject to a number of conditions, including court and shareholder approval and receipt of certain regulatory approvals, including under the Canada Transportation Act.

In Ottawa, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said at first glance the proposed takeover looked fairly standard in terms of an acquisition.

“I am not going to prejudge until I see the details whether there are any regulatory obstacles – at first glance it doesn’t seem to be anything special,” he told reporters.

NO CHANGE TO ‘COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE’

Alberta’s Premier said on Monday that WestJet and Onex have assured him the carrier’s headquarters will remain in Calgary after the deal.

Chris Rauenbusch, president of the union local representing WestJet flight attendants, said he supports the deal after being informed by company executives that it would not lead to any layoffs among the carrier’s 14,000 employees, while permitting the continuation of its growth strategy.

“We do not believe this transaction dramatically alters the competitive landscape, at least negatively,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Doug Taylor said.

A spokesman for Delta Air Lines said the proposed transaction does not impact plans to implement a U.S-Canada trans-border joint venture with WestJet.

The deal, which has a value of $5 billion including debt, is expected to close in the latter part of this year or early next year.

CIBC Capital Markets and BofA Merrill Lynch were the financial advisers to WestJet, while Barclays, Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets advised Onex.

Libya agrees $34 billion budget for 2019 after months of disputes

TRIPOLI ( ) – Libya’s U.N.-backed administration agreed with the central bank and other players on a 2019 budget worth 46.8 billion dinars ($33.83 billion), it said on Monday after months of arguments.

The “financial arrangements”, as the budget is called officially, mark an increase from last year’s 42 billion dinars.

Libya has no proper budget as authority is divided between the U.N.-backed Tripoli government and a parallel administration allied to the internationally recognized parliament in the east, part of a conflict since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The central bank therefore agrees with Tripoli – with the tacit agreement of authorities in the east mediated by Western powers and international institutions — on a budget mainly covering public salaries and fuel subsidies for the whole country.

The Tripoli government and the central bank had been arguing over how to use funds raised by a 183 per cent fees slapped on hard currency transactions since autumn. 

The fees are aimed at bridging a gap between official and black market rate by moving the official rate to effectively 3.9 versus one dollar. Before it was 1.4.

The上海夜网 black market rate has fallen since then to around 4.1 from 6.

“After extensive discussion a total value of the financial arrangements (of) 46.8 billion dinars was agreed upon,” the government said in a short statement. It gave no details.

METALS-Copper steady as economic concerns jostle with China demand hopes

* LME copper stocks 30 pct below levels last August

* Zinc stocks d上海夜生活own nearly 80 percent since August

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with official prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, March 18 ( ) – Copper prices held steady on Monday, bolstered by expectations of seasonally strong Chinese demand in the second quarter and low stocks but capped by concern over the impact of continuing trade tensions on the global economy.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed little changed at $6,425 a tonne, down 0.1 percent, with prices having traded in a $200 range since the middle of February.

“The second quarter is normally the strongest in terms of physical activity; stocks are low and supply tightness is evident in metals like copper,” said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

“Our concerns would be the macro overlay, slowing global growth and the unresolved U.S.-China trade dispute.”

CHINA: China accounts for about half of global demand for industrial metals, which increases in the April to June period because of restocking ahead of rising construction activity in the second quarter.

TRADE: Investor sentiment on trade has see-sawed on rumblings coming out of the negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies after the imposition of tit-for-tat tariffs.

“The uncertainty over U.S.-China trade could be decisive for industrial metals in the short term,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“We see renewed supply issues in some of the metals, copper and zinc, which could widen the market deficit. This leaves little room for replenishing depleted inventories.”

STOCKS: Copper inventories of 183,825 tonnes in LME-approved warehouses are up from less than 112,000 tonnes last Tuesday but still more than 30 percent below levels last August. MCUSTX-TOTAL

Higher stocks have shrunk the premium for the cash contract over three-month copper to about $30 a tonne from $70 in early March. CMCU0-3

ZINC: Stocks of zinc under LME warrant are down nearly 80 percent since August to less than 60,000 tonnes, creating a large premium for the cash contract over three-month metal. MZNSTX-TOTAL The premium was last at $50 a tonne. CMZN0-3

In contrast, stocks in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed above 124,000 tonnes from around 20,000 tonnes at the end of last year. ZN-STX-SGH

Combined with an estimated 80,000 tonnes of zinc stocks in bonded warehouses in Shanghai, that takes the total in China to more than 200,000 tonnes.

PRICES: Aluminium closed 1.2 percent up at $1,920.50 a tonne, zinc dipped by 0.3 percent to $2,781, lead slipped by 1.1 percent to $2,040, tin added 0.5 percent to $21,175 and nickel firmed by 0.1 percent to $12,950.

Obama and Putin to meet; Syria and Ukraine vie for attention

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW ( ) – U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in New York next week at a time of high tension in Europe and the Middle East, but the Kremlin and the White House disagreed on Thursday over the top priority for the talks.

The White House insisted the meeting would focus on eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed forces are fighting the Kiev government, prompting tough sanctions that have damaged Russia’s economy.

Moscow, however, said the main focus would be on Syria, where Russia has built up its military forces in recent weeks with combat aircraft, tanks and other equipment in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters: “Of course, the primary topic will be Syria.” Asked whether Ukraine would be discussed, he said: “Well, if time allows.”

“There will be time,” Obama’s spokesman, Josh E上海夜网arnest, retorted during a briefing in Washington. Earnest, speaking at the White House, played down the possibility for any “major announcement” from the meeting.

Related CoverageObama to ask Putin for clarity on Russian involvement in Syria

The leaders will be in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday morning. Peskov said the meeting would take place after Putin’s speech, but Earnest declined to say when it would happen.

The two camps also differed over who called for the meeting. The Kremlin said it was organized “by mutual agreement,” but Earnest said it was being held at Putin’s request. He said the Russians were “more desperate” to talk to their American counterparts because of the economic sanctions’ impact.

Past meetings between the two leaders have been frosty. One encounter in June 2013, which also focused on Syria, resulted in a famous photo of the leaders looking distant and glum.

Earnest said Putin had used similar body language in a photo after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week.

“President Putin was striking a now-familiar pose of less-than-perfect posture, an unbuttoned jacket, and knees spread far apart, to convey a particular image,” Earnest said.

The United States also hopes to advance political talks on Syria at other General Assembly meetings, Sheba Crocker, assistant secretary for international organization affairs, told a State Department briefing.

But Crocker said the United States would not back a U.N. Security Council statement on countering terrorism proposed by Russia because of fears it would send the wrong message to U.S. partners in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria.

Zidane annoyed by Kepa’s situation

Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid head coach, spoke about his side’s failed transfer talks with Kepa Arrizabalaga as the young Spaniard decided to sign a new contract with Athletic Bilbao instead of moving to Madrid.

The Frenchman coach said that he is “annoyed” by the rumours saying that he won some kind of an internal battle and he decided not to sign this young and talented keeper. Arrizabalaga admitted that he was annoyed as well by the long negotiations and he decided to sign a new deal with his current club which will end in 2025.上海夜生活

The French coach spoke about this transfer saga as he said, according to ESPN: “In June any player can come to Madrid, if the club’s strategy is to change something, along with the coach. But my idea and that of the club too as we are all together here was to not change many things. I get annoyed when I hear comments saying I have won [an internal battle]. The important thing for me is to protect my squad, the players here are those who concern me. But I have nothing against Kepa or any other player.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He continued by adding that Ronaldo’s reaction after his facial injury was understandable: “Cristiano wanted to know whether the cut was very deep or not. I am saying exactly what he told us in the dressing room. The doctors stitched it up and today he was back. If he is training with us, with his eye like this [swollen] it shows how important it is for him to be on the pitch.”

In the end, Zinedine Zidane claimed that he is happy that he can rely on Isco: “Isco will always have an important role here, whether I am coach or not. I have always shown my confidence in him, he can be a decisive player. That will not change. He did not get any time [before Christmas] against Barcelona, although that was not the plan. Isco can play in many positions, in a 4-3-3 he can play up front, as he has done before, or in midfield. So there is no problem.”

Pep adamant City are not fatigued

The Citizens show no signs of slowing上海夜生活 down and their manager is confident that fatigue will not be an issue within his squad.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes that exhaustion will not be a problem that will affect the performance of his high-flying squad.

The Blues from Manchester are 13 points clear on top of the English top-flight, winning 18 out of 19 games this season, while scoring 60 and conceding just 12. However, a lot of people believe that the high-energy style of Guardiola might prove to be a problem over the festive period in England, but the Catalan has little to no worries about that.

“Fatigue, I don’t think so. It may happen but we’ve a good enough squad,” Pep was quoted by UK newspapers.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

“Gabriel [Jesus] didn’t play against Bournemouth – he played 120 minutes against Leicester and he’s the biggest fighter in high pressing I’ve seen in my life. He helps us a lot with our intensity.

“Danilo, Bernardo [Silva], [Ilkay] Gundogan all helped us against Bournemouth. We have Yaya [Toure]. Last game, [Oleksandr] Zinchenko was man of the match and he was not in the squad against Bournemouth.

“Of course we will rotate in this period. We have a game every four days. Everyone that has played in the past is going to play in the future.”

Gerrard’s remarkable managerial record

The Liverpool legend recently returned to the club as a coach in the youth formations and his record as a manager is more than impressive.

The Reds icon Steven Gerrard ended his career in the MLS before returning to Anfield in a different position from what most fans are used to seeing him. Steve G took on a coaching role in the youth system of the club in February 2017, trying to inspire and help youngsters develop and hopefully advance to the first team of Liverpool.

Even though Gerrard is relatively new to the profession, his record as a manager is quite impressive. After 21 games with the Under 18 formations, the Reds have topped the U18 Premier League, finished first in their U19 UEFA Youth League Group and lost just one game ever since his arrival.

Speaking to the club’s website ab上海夜生活论坛out the team he is leading, Gerrard revealed:Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers relishing Liverpool return Andrew Smyth – Brendan Rodgers is relishing Leicester City’s trip to his old club Liverpool, whom he described as a “privilege” to work for during his three-year stint.

“Credit to the lads, they have created an atmosphere and a spirit in the group where they are hard to beat, and the reaction and response to going a goal down was superb.

“They showed unbelievable character to come back, not just to equalise but to go on and win it in the way we did, the players deserve every single bit of credit.

“I thought my performance today was poor and I got certain things wrong as the game went on but the players bailed me out and I thought they were superb.”

P\u00e9rez believes Madrid move will boost Neymar’s Ballon d’Or chances

Los Blancos’ boss has hinted the Brazilian would have more possibility to flourish at the Bernabéu.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez believes Neymar will have a better shot at winning the Ballon d’Or award if he joins the reigning La Liga and Champions League champions.

The former Barca man moved to Paris Saint-Germain during the summer transfer window in a record-breaking move worth €222m. The main reason, according to a number of news outlets, is the fact that the Brazilian wanted to get out of the shadow of Lionel Messi, which would give him a better chance to establish himself as the best footballer in the world.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Gi上海夜网ven how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

Even though Neymar has been tremendous on the pitch for the Parisians, various reports in France suggest that the Brazilian is not happy at Parc des Princes due to the way Unai Emery is operating. The Brazilian has also been tipped for a shocking Real Madrid move, which Pérez believes would be beneficial for the 25-year-old if he is to persue the Ballon d’Or award.

“Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d’Or.” Pérez said, according to Goal.

“Real Madrid is a club which gives all you need as a big player, everyone knows that I already wanted to sign him at one point.”

Clattenburg talks about Premier League leave

The 42-year-old revealed what caused him to quit his job in England and go through a change of scenery.

Mark Clattenburg insists he made up his mind to give up on being a referee in England following a game between Stoke City and Manchester United. After the final whistle, the Red Devils’ boss went to the officials’ dressing room and questioned Clattenburg’s penalty decision, which got to the Englishman.

The 42-year-old referee is now working as head for refereeing at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation after a 13-year spell in England.

While on the Men in Blazers podcast, Clattenburg spoke about his decision to leave the Premier League and start over somewhere else.

“I was refereeing the game when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s record and Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

“I’d walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, it was always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match.

“To come off that match it felt immense that I’d actuall上海夜网y had a good performance, and for him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen, that had clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind.

“I drove home 250 miles thinking I’d made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed, and I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’

“And I went soul-searching, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I had to get out.”

Preview: Arsenal – Crvena Zvezda

Arsenal sit top of Group H with 9 points after winning all 3 of their opening games and will qualify for the first knockout round if they avoid defeat in this match.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Arsene Wenger will rest all of the players who featured in the 2-1 win at home to Swansea in the Premier League on Saturday and is expected to stick with the youthful team used throughout the competition so far.

The Gunners have scored at least 1 goal in 16 of their last 17 European matches and their last goalless draw was 29 games ago a上海夜生活论坛gainst Besiktas in the Champions League in August 2014.

There have been at least 4 goals in 2 of Arsenal’s last 3 EL matches, while there have been less than 3 goals in 7 of Crvena Zvezda’s last 9 games in the competition.Five things we learned from Man United’s draw vs Arsenal Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – After a new Premier League match between Man United and Arsenal, we have to look at the five things we learned from this draw.Man…

Crvena Zvezda have lost just 2 of their last 12 EL matches, with 1 of those defeats coming at home to Arsenal in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, winning 6 and drawing 4 their other 10 games.

Missing players

Arsenal: S. Cazorla (Achilles tendon injury), S. Kolasinac (hip injury), D. Welbeck (muscle injury), K. Bielik (doubtful), C. Chambers (doubtful), A. Lacazette (doubtful), S. Mustafi (doubtful), D. Ospina (doubtful), M. Ozil (doubtful), A. Sanchez (doubtful).

Crvena Zvezda: B. Jovicic (injury), M. Rodic (red card), N. Milijas (doubtful), Ricardinho (doubtful).

Ke\u00efta unlikely to extend RB Leipzig spell

RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick admitted he does not believe the midfielder will r上海夜生活enew his contract.

Naby Keïta has attracted a lot of attention towards himself as Premier League side Liverpool were highly interested in his services. Klopp’s team reportedly submitted two bids for the player, but RB Leipzig rejected both as they never changed their stance about not selling the Guinea international.

While Rangnick is certain he can rely on Keïta in the upcoming 2017-18 campaign, he does not seem so sure about relying on Keïta once the season is over.

Speaking to SportBILD, he said:

“I am not currently assuming that we will be able to extend his contract prematurely,Top 5 – Performers in Bundesliga this weekend Boro Tanchev – The fifth Bundesliga round is not over yet, but we have to name our the top 5 performers in top-flight German football over the past weekend.

“I can assure you that Naby will be playing with us this season. All other scenarios also depend on how we do this season, how Naby plays himself and so on.”

RB Leipzig had an outstanding campaign as they finished second in the Bundesliga and qualified for the champions league. Their coach insists that the club will not just sell players, they have been developing for years right before the club’s debut in the Champions League.

“It does not matter at all whether it’s £67million or £90million,” Rangnick added. “We have not developed for five years so that we can lose one of our best players in the first Champions League season.”

“That would make no sense. We want to be successful in sports.”

Matip warns Premier League defenders

The full-back is 上海夜生活网happy he would not have to face Liverpool’s latest signing Mohamed Salah.

The Egypt international will leave defenders in despair during his first season in England, according to Joël Matip.

The former Chelsea and Roma winger, joined Liverpool last month for a fee of €50 million. The 25-year-old adds to an attacking group of players like Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firminho, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane. A number of players that Matip is glad not to play against.

Speaking to Omnisport, the defender praised Salah.

“Salah already played in England. He has high skills at dribbling, tempo and finishing and he makes defenders despair.Jurgen Klopp rates Pep Guardiola as his greatest rival Andrew Smyth – Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed that his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola is the best manager that he’s ever coached against.

There is so much quality in attack, the right pace and it will be hard for our opponents to stop them.”

Joël Matip also elaborated on his stay at Liverpool and the philosophy Jürgen Klopp is trying to establish in their ranks.

“From every player [Klopp wants] fast counter-pressing with direct attacks, but also a clean and structured build-up with specific position-play.

But of course, if we lose the ball, the first step is towards the ball and not back to defend at our box.We are defending very high. It begins with the strikers, who madly run [at] the opponent, putting in many meters and giving their all.

It is hard to describe [Klopp’s aura]. He is very affable and direct, even when it is about issues, he is straight but cordial. If you do something wrong he clearly tells you to do better but he stays affable.”

Wenger expects professionalism from his players

The Frenchman does not think he faces a major problem at Arsenal, with a number of first-team players entering the final year of their contracts.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil are still to renew their contracts, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs are also entering the last 12 months of their deals.

“I think it is an ideal situation. When you are a football player you perform until the last days of your contract.” – Wenger said, following Arsenal’s 1-2 loss to Sevilla, according to Sky Sports.

“I think the performance on the day does not depend on the length of the contract, if that was true we would sign everyone for 20 years and be happy.”Arsenal urged to sign Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly Andrew Smyth – Emmanuel Frimpong has urged Arsenal to target Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly in order to finally solve their defensive woes.

The French manager also stated that more and more players will start seeing out their contracts in their respective clubs due to the transfer market situation.

“In the future, I think you will se上海夜生活网e more often players going to the end of their contracts,” Wenger said.

“Why? Because transfers are becoming so high even for normal players that you will see more players going to the end of their contracts because no-one is going to want to pay what is demanded.

I’m convinced in the next 10 years that will become usual.”

Julian Brandt: A future Ballon d\u2019Or winner?

The young Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt is predicted a massive future, and seems like a obvious bid as a future winner of the Ballon d’Or.Written by Jonas Porsborg. May 3, 2017

He’s maybe not a rising star anymore, but in record time Julian Brandt has made a name in the world of football, as one of the best attacking midfielders of his age. Again this season the 21-year-old has impressed Leverkusen and the Bundesliga, by performing outstanding games for the Leverkusen-side who’s been struggling to follow Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the top of the league.

Julian Brandt has played impressive 92 games for Leverkusen at the age of just 21 (he had his birthday just yesterday!), and has already scored 18 goals. Brandt also made it to the UEFA Euro 2016 and was a part of the German squad scoring silver medals at the Olympics 2016.Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

Of course there are long list of suitors for the future Ballon d’Or, bu上海夜生活t Julian Brandt seems like an obvious candidate to lift the trophy. Then he would follow the steps of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the trophy the last seven years.

In other words Julian Brandt are maybe heading for the finest company, and time will tell if the German international will step up on the highest throne in the world of football.

China’s economy worsens in July, industrial growth at 17-year low as trade war escalates

BEIJING ( ) – China’s economy stumbled more sharply than expected in July, with industrial output growth cooling to a more than 17-year low, as the intensifying U.S. trade war took a heavier toll on businesses and consumers.

Activity in China has continued to cool despite a flurry of growth steps over the past year, raising questions over whether more rapid and forceful stimulus may be needed, even if it risks racking up more debt.

After a flicker of improvement in June, analysts said the latest data was evidence that demand faltered across the board last month, from industrial output and investment to retail sales.

That followed weaker-than-expected bank lending and gloomy factory surveys in recent days, along with the return of producer price deflation, reinforcing expectations more policy support is needed soon.

“China’s economy needs more stimulus because the headwinds are pretty strong and today’s data is much weaker than consensus,” said Larry Hu, head of Greater China economics at Macquarie Group in Hong Kong.

“The economy is going to continue to slow down. At a certain point, policymakers will have to step up stimulus to support infrastructure and property. I think it could happen by the end of this year.”

Industrial output growth slowed markedly to 4.8% in July from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, lower than the most bearish forecast in a poll and the weakest pace since February 2002.

Analysts had forecast it would slow to 5.8%, from June’s 6.3%. Washington had sharply raised some tariffs in May.

Infrastructure investment, which Beijing has been counting on to stabilize the economy, also dropped back, as did property investment, which has been a rare bright spot despite worries of potential housing bubbles.

Crude steel output fell for a second straight month, while production of motor vehicles continued to fall by double digits. Hi-tech manufacturing output rose by a slower 6.6%, and the country’s power output edged up just 0.6%.

The industry ministry said last month that China would need “arduous efforts” to achieve its 2019 industrial growth target of 5.5% to 6.0%.

INVESTMENT, RETAIL SALES GROWTH COOLS

China’s economic growth cooled to a near 30-year low of 6.2% in the second quarter, and business confidence has remained shaky, weighing on investment.

While officials have cautioned it would take time for higher infrastructure spending to kick in, construction growth has been more subdued than expected.

Fixed-asset investment rose 5.7% in January-July from the same period last year, lagging expectations of a 5.8% gain and dipping from the previous reading.

But readings by sector showed a more marked loss of momentum in critical areas at the start of the third quarter.

Infrastructure investment rose 3.8% in the first seven months from a year earlier, slowing from 4.1% in the first half despite massive local government bond issuance, mainly to fund road and rail projects and other civic works.

Data from Japanese construction equipment maker Komatsu Ltd. (6301.T) showed activity remained weak, with operating hours for its machines in China falling for a fourth straight month.

In a sign the housing market’s resilience may be waning as Beijing cracks down on speculation, property investment slowed to its weakest this year. It rose 8.5% in July on-year, from June’s 10.1%. Though home sales inched back to growth, new construction starts cooled.

Retail sales are also pointing to growing consumer caution, most evident in slumping auto sales but also in property-related spending on items such as home appliances and furniture.

Retail sales rose 7.6% in July, well off consensus of 8.6% and weaker than the most pessimistic forecast. Sales had jumped 9.8% in June, which many analysts had predicted would be temporary.

Job security worries may also be a factor. Nationwide survey-based unemployment edged up to 5.3% from 5.1% in June, though market watchers believe it could be much higher.

“We maintain our view that (economic) growth has yet to bottom out and expect Beijing to maintain its easing policy stance,” economists at Nomura said.

Nomura expects growth will slow to 6.0% in the third and fourth quarters, the bottom end of the government’s target range.

Authorities have already announced hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure spending and corporate tax cuts over the last year, and repeatedly cut bank’s reserve requirements (RRR) to free up more funds for lending and reduce borrowing costs.

But credit demand has been tepid, with companies in no mood to borrow or invest given the uncertain business outlook 上海夜生活网and banks wary of rising bad loans.

Sources told recently that more aggressive action such as interest rate cuts are a last resort, as it could fuel a rapid build-up in debt and financial risks.

Highlighting those concerns, the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the Communist Party, took the unusual step last month of announcing it would not use the property market as a form of short-term stimulus.

ESCALATING TRADE WAR

Recent months have been marked by a sudden escalation in the year-long U.S.-China trade war that has raised risks for both economies and sparked fears of a global recession.

A brief ceasefire was shattered earlier this month after U.S President Donald Trump vowed to impose a 10% tariff on more Chinese goods from Sept. 1.

China let its yuan currency slide to an 11-year low days later, prompting the U.S. Treasury Department to label Beijing a currency manipulator.

Some relief came on Tuesday, however, after Trump said he would delay duties on some Chinese imports including cellphones and other consumer goods, in an apparent effort to blunt tariffs’ impact on U.S. holiday sales.

Still, new tariffs will go into effect next month on about half of Washington’s $300 billion target list of Chinese goods, and analysts say the chance of any durable trade deal after the recent escalations has sharply receded.

Mueller complained to Barr about his summary of Russia probe: Washington Post

WASHINGTON ( ) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller complained in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that his four-page summary of Mueller’s Russia report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation’s conclusions, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The Post said it reviewed a copy of Mueller’s letter, which was written in late March after Barr released a summary on March 24 that said Mueller did not establish that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.

Barr also said in the summary that Mueller had not reached a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had found the evidence insufficient to support such a charge.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec, in a statement, confirmed that Mueller wrote上海夜生活网 to Barr after the summary was released to express frustration over “the lack of context and the resulting media coverage,” particularly about Mueller’s conclusions on obstruction of justice.

Democrats have accused Barr of trying to spin the report’s conclusions to protect Trump.

In a statement in response to the Post report, House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Barr “should not have taken it upon himself to describe the Special Counsel’s findings in a light more favorable to the President.” The Democratic lawmaker demanded the Justice Department release a copy of Mueller’s letter by Wednesday morning.

Barr’s four-page summary was released more than three weeks before a redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report was released to the public on April 18.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote, according to the Post.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations,” the Post quoted Mueller as writing.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment to .

Mueller asked Barr to release the report’s introductions and executive summaries quickly, without waiting for the full report to go through the redaction process.

“Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation,” Mueller wrote, according to the Post.

Kupec said after receiving Mueller’s letter, Barr called the special counsel and they had a “cordial and professional conversation.”

Kupec said “the Special Counsel emphasized nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading.”

She said Barr declined Mueller’s request to release part of the report early, deciding “it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion.”

Mueller’s letter is likely to be brought up when Barr testifies on Wednesday about the Russia investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It will be the attorney general’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since the report’s release.

Chevron profit surges 26% on higher output, termination fee

HOUSTON ( ) – Chevron Corp reported a 26.3% jump in quarterly profit on Friday, as higher oil and gas production and a one-time breakup fee from its failed bid for a rival more than offset lower energy prices and a rise in expenses.

Results benefited from a $1 billion fee it received after Occidental Petroleum wrecked its $33 billion deal to buy Anadarko Petroleum with a winning $38 billion bid. The termination fee added $720 million to the quarter’s profit, Chevron said.

Its U.S. shale production rose 21% during the quarter, but was overshadowed by sharply weaker oil and gas prices. Like many of its rivals, Chevron also reported declining profits in its refining and chemicals units.

“Upstream earnings were slightly ahead of expectations, while downstream earnings came in slightly below, leaving net income in line” with forecasts,” said RBC analyst Biraj Borkhataria.

Shares were up a fraction at $120.76 in morning trading. The stock is up about 11% year to date.

Chevron abandoned its pursuit of Anadarko in May, refusing to increase its bid, saying it would not back down from a pledge not to dilute the returns it promised investors. Occidental this week said it expects to quic上海夜生活论坛kly close the purchase after Anadarko shareholders vote on Aug. 8.

The second-largest U.S. oil and natural gas producer’s daily production of oil and gas rose 9.1% to 3.08 million barrels, a record for the company. Its production in the Permian Basin, the top U.S. shale field, rose 21.5% over a the same period a year ago.

The company said it has resumed share buybacks that were suspended during its acquisition talks with Anadarko. It expects to buy $5 billion in its own shares this quarter.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $4.31 billion, or $2.27 per share, in the second quarter, from $3.41 billion, or $1.78 per share a year earlier. [bit.ly/2LYr4A0]