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France makes diplomatic push to solve Lebanon crisis – Al Jazeera

France is making a diplomatic push to solve the political crisis caused by the snap resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri earlier this month, as the country’s foreign minister is expected to meet Hariri in Riyadh on Thursday. According to at least one analyst, however, Paris may have made a “risky bet” by getting involved in the ongoing diplomatic turmoil over Hariri’s fate, which has pit Saudi Arabiaagainst its regional rival, Iran, and Tehran’s ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. “As no compromise in Lebanon will pass without an agreement between Riyadh and Tehran, Paris is looking to deal with both,” said Stephane Malsagne, a historian and professor at Sciences-Po in Paris. The highest levels of the French government are getting involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the political turmoil gripping Lebanon, which was under French colonial rule until 1943. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to meet with Hariri in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, an aide said, according to Agence France Presse. The meeting comes a day after Le Drian arrived in Riyadh and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a week after French President Emmanuel Macron also flew to Riyadh to meet the Crown Prince. Macron hastily flew to Saudi Arabia on November 9 from the nearby United Arab Emirates. Macron’s stop in Riyadh came just as tensions were mounting between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the fate of the Lebanese prime minister. Hariri, a Sunni Muslim politician and longtime ally of both Saudi Arabia and France, announced his resignation in a televised address from Riyadh on November 4. Many, including Lebanese President Michel Aoun, have accused Saudi Arabia of forcing Hariri to step down and of holding him in detention. The Saudis have denied the allegations and accused Hezbollah of creating a “state within a state” in Lebanon. This week, Hariri said he planned to return to Lebanon soon, but did not specify when. According to Malsagne, French diplomacy has so far “not succeeded in obtaining guarantees from Riyadh” on Hariri’s freedom of mvoement and speech, nor has it clarified when Hariri may be allowed to return to Lebanon or what the Saudis’ true political intentions are. “It’s therefore a risky bet for France,” he told Al Jazeera. The French president also spoke with his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Aoun, on November 10. Macron stressed “the importance of preserving the stability, independence and security of Lebanon and French support for the Lebanese people,” according to a statement put out by the Elysee. He also met with Lebanon’s Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, in Paris on Tuesday. During a press conference at the Lebanese embassy in Paris, Bassil thanked Macron for “the initiative he is undertaking for Lebanon in the face of an exceptional situation,” French website L’Orient Le Jour reported. Bassil said, however, that Lebanon “must decide on its internal and external politics” and “counts on making a free decision”. A day later, Macron offered Hariri and his family to come spend a few days in Paris, but specified that the invitation was not an offer of political exile. The Hariri family, which holds French citizenship, has longstanding ties to the French political class. Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, was a close friend of former French President Jacques Chirac. When he resigned from politics in 2007, Chirac considered moving into a Paris apartment owned by the Hariri family, Reuters reported at the time. The French government, meanwhile, has maintained close ties to Saad Hariri, explained Eric Verdeil, a professor at Sciences Po in Paris. While France has traditionally kept a balanced approach to Lebanese internal politics – often working as a facilitator between various factions – it has been closer to the Hariri-led March 14 camp, which includes Lebanese-Christian political groups. “It’s clear that the political class [in France] and successive French governments saw in Saad Hariri a politician whom they could support and that they strongly supported him for several years,” Verdeil told Al Jazeera. Nonetheless, the French “try to be in a position to talk to everyone,” Verdeil said. Hariri visited Macron at the Elysee in September and said during his visit that “relations between France and Lebanon are excellent”. Yet despite their close relationship to Hariri, his resignation came as a shock to French leaders. “They were very surprised by this resignation that was unexpected and obviously they weren’t consulted,” Verdeil said. If Hariri does not eventually return to Lebanon, France will still maintain close ties to the country in order to maintain its own interests in the region, according to Malsagne. “Franco-Lebanese relations are not confined to the men in power,” he told Al Jazeera. Since France closed its embassy in Damascus in 2012, Lebanon has served as “an observation post” for France to monitor what’s happening in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, he explained. France has a long history of mediation in Lebanese political crises, Malsagne said, and its involvement today does not come as a surprise. Joe Macaron, a resident analyst at the Arab Center Washington DC research organisation, said that Hariri is France’s major Sunni ally in Lebanon and the wider Middle East. It is in France’s interests “to make sure that Saad Hariri remains a player in Lebanon’s politics,” Macaron told Al Jazeera. “They have good relations with a lot of Lebanese leaders, but if Hariri doesn’t return to power, whoever replaces him […].....»»

Category: newsSource: mindanaoexaminer mindanaoexaminerNov 16th, 2017

2 Koreas meet to arrange reunions of war-split families

  SEOUL, South Korea --- North and South Korean officials met on Friday for talks on resuming reunions of families divided by the 1950-1953 Korean War as the rivals boost reconciliation amid a diplomatic push to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.   Seoul's Unification Ministry said the meeting will discuss ways to carry out an agreement on the reunions made between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a summit in April.   Kim and Moon met again in May, and their two summits have opened various channels of peace talks between the Koreas. The rivals recently agreed to restore cross-border military hotline comm...Keep on reading: 2 Koreas meet to arrange reunions of war-split families.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

U.S. makes new push for UN Syria chemical weapons probe

UNITED NATIONS – The United States is asking the UN Security Council to set up a new inquiry of chemical weapons attacks in Syria following reports of suspected chlorine use in Eastern Ghouta, according to a draft resolution obtained by Agence France-Presse on Thursday, March 1. The US push to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

8 countries push UN to take up Myanmar Rohingya crisis

UNITED NATIONS – Britain, France, the United States and 5 other countries asked the UN Security Council on Wednesday, February 7, to discuss the fate of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees driven from Myanmar, diplomats said. The council will hold a meeting on Tuesday to hear UN High Commissioner ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2018

Germany seeks way out of crisis after gov’t talks collapse

BERLIN — Germany’s president was to lead a push from Tuesday to save the European Union’s (EU) top economy from the political turmoil sparked by the collapse of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition talks. Frank-Walter Steinmeier — who takes center stage because he can call snap elections — was to use his diplomatic skills as former […] The post Germany seeks way out of crisis after gov’t talks collapse appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 21st, 2017

Busy diplomat Macron gets stuck into Lebanon crisis

PARIS: From global warming to Iran’s nuclear deal, France’s Emmanuel Macron has already intervened in a series of diplomatic quagmires—and now finds himself pursuing an active role in Lebanon’s crisis. He and his ministers have held a flurry of talks with players shaping the turmoil, with Macron jetting to Saudi Arabia last week for surprise [...] The post Busy diplomat Macron gets stuck into Lebanon crisis appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsNov 16th, 2017

Merkel, Macron to front diplomatic push at UN climate talks

BONN, Germany – The leaders of France and Germany will lead a diplomatic charge Wednesday, November 15, to reinvigorate UN climate talks clouded by Washington's rejection of a planet rescue plan backed by the rest of the world. Despite announcing it will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the United States ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

North Korea preparing more missile launches, says South – BBC News

South Korea says it has seen indications that the North is preparing more missile launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile. Defence officials have been briefing parliament in Seoul after the North's test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend. The South has responded to the test with live-fire exercises, with both ground- and air-launched rockets. The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies would be met with a &'8220;massive military response&'8221;. The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified. launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile. Defence officials have been briefing parliament in Seoul after the North's test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend. The South has responded to the test with live-fire exercises, with both ground- and air-launched rockets. The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies would be met with a &'8220;massive military response&'8221;. The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified. In the past two months it has conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests, sending one over mainland Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It has also threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam. The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss its response. Ahead of that meeting, South Korea and Japan's leaders had agreed to push for a stronger UN resolution on North Korea, said a South Korean presidential palace spokesman. The Security Council last imposed sanctions in August, targeting North Korean exports. Chang Kyung-soo, a defence ministry official, told parliament: &'8220;We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.&'8221; The ministry also told parliament the US would seek to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to seas off the peninsula. It also said there would be more live-fire drills this month, involving Taurus air-to-surface missiles mounted on F-15 jets. Monday's drills by the South simulated the targeting of the Punggye-ri nuclear site in Kilju County, where North Korea carried out its bomb test. &'8220;The training demonstrates the South Korean military's resolve to destroy not only the origin of provocation but also the enemy's leadership and supporting forces if they threaten the security of our people,&'8221; army spokesman Col Roh Jae-cheon is quoted as saying by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. South Korea and the US had also agreed &'8220;in principle&'8221; to revise current guidelines so that the South could double the maximum payload of its ballistic missiles, Yonhap also reported. On Sunday, seismologists started picking up readings of an earth tremor in the area where North Korea had conducted nuclear tests before The US Geological Survey put the tremor at 6.3 magnitude. North Korean state media later confirmed it was no earthquake, claiming it was in fact its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, detonating what it said was a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile. Pyongyang then released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb. Officials in China, where the blast was felt as a tremor, said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea. &'160; Although experts have urged caution, Sunday's event appears to be the biggest and most successful nuclear test by North Korea to date &'' and the messaging is clear: North Korea wants to demonstrate it knows what makes a credible nuclear warhead. It's become a war of photographs, for a few hours at least. After Sunday's underground nuclear test in the North, the government in the South released images of its own missiles launched at dawn. It's the second time in a week that Seoul has responded with a test bombing run. That's in addition to the show of military might that was on display in its annual exercise with US forces at the end of last month. That enraged Pyongyang, as it does every year, and there are more missiles on the way. South Korea is expected to approve the deployment of the US missile defence system known as Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) &'' an environmental impact report is the final hurdle. But that involves a fourth party. China has criticised the system, claiming it threatens its security. The nuclear test prompted an angry response from US President Donald Trump who denounced the test as &'8220;hostile&'8221; and &'8220;dangerous&'8221;, and called the North a &'8220;rogue nation&'8221;. He added that the US was considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea, which relies on China for about 90% of its foreign trade. US Defence Secretary James Mattis later told reporters that while the US would respond to any threat &'8220;with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming&'8221;, although they were &'8220;not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea&'8221;. A White House statement also said that Washington would defend itself and its allies &'8220;using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal&'8221;. South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the test an &'8220;absurd strategic mistake&'8221; [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsSep 4th, 2017

Bolton says he’s no longer allowed to see Trump – CNN News

A hawkish ally of Donald Trump claims he cannot see the President due to &'8220;staff changes&'8221; at the White House. John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN who at one point was a candidate to lead the State Department, claimed in a National Review op-ed published Monday that his plan for the US to exit the Iran nuclear deal had to be presented publicly, because staff changes at the White House have made &'8220;presenting it to President Trump impossible.&'8221; CNN has reached out to the White House for comment. His alleged snubbing is the latest development in the tug-of-war for influence over Trump's White House between firebrands such as Bolton and those who have taken a more moderate approach to foreign policy, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Bolton's op-ed comes days after Sebastian Gorka, who advocated a hawkish stance against terrorism, left his position as a White House adviser. Chief of staff John Kelly, who assumed the role in late July, has been conducting a review of the West Wing that includes assessing individual staffers' portfolios. In a memo drawn up after a July directive from Steve Bannon, the recently ousted White House chief strategist, Bolton pushes for selling the idea of leaving the Iran deal to the public in a &'8220;white paper&'8221; and lays out a strategy for the &'8220;campaign&'8221; and its &'8220;execution.&'8221; Bolton has been frustrated at the rise of more traditional foreign policy thinkers within the White House, such as Mattis and Tillerson, who have favored remaining in the deal. The agreement curbs Iran's nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Iran remains under multiple sanctions for terrorism-related activities. &'8220;Trump can and should free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity,&'8221; Bolton writes. Where proponents of the deal, including lawmakers and former Obama administration officials, see the pact as a way to get visibility on Iran's nuclear activities, and, at least for the time being, stop it's nuclear program, Bolton sees only danger. &'8220;The JCPOA is a threat to US national-security interests, growing more serious by the day,&'8221; Bolton writes, though he doesn't offer evidence. &'8220;If the President decides to abrogate the JCPOA, a comprehensive plan must be developed and executed to build domestic and international support for the new policy.&'8221; His memo, he says, fills that function. &'8220;It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, 100-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement,&'8221; Bolton writes. He adds that there is no need to wait for the next deadline in October, when the US must next certify that Iran is sticking to the deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the JCPOA, was an international agreement hammered out over 20 arduous months of negotiations. China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US, the EU and Iran reached a deal in July 2015 and it was implemented in January 2016. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has regular access to nuclear sites inside Iran and verifies that it is implementing its side of the deal; in exchange, the US, UN and EU lifted nuclear related sanctions. Every 90 days, the US president must certify that Iran is keeping up its end of the deal. Trump campaigned against the deal and continues to criticize it, but because Iran is complying, he has certified it twice on the advice of his national security staff. But officials in his administration have clearly been looking for ways to find wiggle room to get out of the deal. Some, like US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have used the line that Iran is not complying with the &'8220;spirit&'8221; of the deal, pointing to Tehran's activities in the region, including its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and its backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Bolton says that Trump can bolster his case for abrogating the deal &'8220;by providing new, declassified information on Iran's unacceptable behavior around the world.&'8221; These activities, though, are not part of the JCPOA, deliberately left as a separate issue by the Obama administration and the other international negotiators, who said that to include every single gripe with Iran would make negotiations too unwieldy to resolve. Some proponents of the deal, watching the Trump administration's moves, are already campaigning to keep it. They point to the security consequences of an Iran without constraints on its nuclear weapons program and to the economic fallout as European and Asian firms would likely continue to do business with Tehran while US firms are shut out. &'8220;Accordingly,&'8221; Bolton writes, &'8220;we must explain the grave threat to the US and our allies, particularly Israel.&'8221; But many in Israel's security establishment argue for keeping the deal in place, and making sure its implementation is as rigorous as possible. Bolton makes the case for a four-step campaign that begins with &'8220;early, quiet consultations with key players such as the UK, France, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to tell them we are going to abrogate the deal based on outright violations and other unacceptable Iranian behavior, and seek their input.&'8221; That would be followed by a detailed white paper that includes declassified intelligence explaining why the deal hurts US security interests; a diplomatic campaign against the deal, especially in Europe and the Middle East; and efforts to sway lawmakers and the [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsAug 30th, 2017

What the Qatar crisis means for Hamas – CNN News

When Palestinian militant group Hamas announced its new charter to the world, it wasn't from Ramallah or Gaza City, but from the Sheraton hotel's gilded Salwa Ballroom in Doha. It was no surprise that Hamas chose Qatar. It's the home of outgoing Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, and much of his senior leadership. &'8220;Qatar is quite important for Hamas,&'8221; said H.A. Hellyer, a senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. &'8220;Qatar provides strong financial aid to the occupied Palestinian territories and is a safe haven for a number of Hamas leaders.&'8221; The recent crisis in the Persian Gulf region is putting that relationship in jeopardy. Earlier this month, nine countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed financial embargoes of varying severity. The announcement was the culmination of a feud that had been simmering for years. The nine countries accused Doha of assisting terrorist organizations, providing support for the Muslim Brotherhood and of being far too cozy with Iran. Ironically perhaps, Qatar's relationship with Hamas had not been among the biggest issues dividing the region. Unlike the US, Britain, and Europe, all of which designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, Arab states &'8212; including Qatar &'8212; do not. This was something Qatar's Foreign Minister sought to remind people in an interview with Russia's RT, in response to a call from his Saudi counterpart that Qatar stop supporting Hamas. &'8220;The US views Hamas as a terror organization. But to the rest of the Arab nations, it is a legitimate resistance movement. We do not support Hamas, we support the Palestinian people,&'8221; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said. &'8220;Hamas' presence [in Doha] is coordinated with the US and the countries in the region, and it's part of our effort to mediate between the Palestinian factions to reach reconciliation.&'8221; For its part, Hamas says it is being squeezed unreasonably. &'8220;The Gulf Countries are pressuring Qatar to cut relations with resistance organizations. This is unacceptable and we refuse this pressure,&'8221; Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom said in a statement to CNN. &'8220;We are a resistance movement and the whole world is a witness to this.&'8221; Hamas is seen as having been under a series of pressures for the last few years, reflected in some significant internal changes. Last month, a new leader was announced &'8212; Ismail Haniya taking over from long-time leader Meshaal &'8212; at the same time as the militant group issued its new charter. While Israel pointed to the fact the new document continued to espouse violent resistance, and a commitment to the &'8220;rejection of the Zionist entity,&'8221; others observers said the document's description of a Palestinian state with the borders existing on the eve of the Six Day War in 1967 provided evidence of a new moderation. As Hamas rank and file were digesting those changes, so the leadership was suddenly forced to pay careful attention to diplomatic developments. Hellyer sees two main reasons the nine regional allies are turning their attention towards Hamas. &'8220;First, Hamas has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood organization, which puts it in the firing line of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia,&'8221; Hellyer says. &'8220;But I think this has more to do with a western audience. The Saudi rulers took advantage of Trump's recognition of them as a powerful actor in the region and that might have encouraged them.&'8221; Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, has been a thorn in the side of regional autocrats for years. Qatar's regional influence also comes from support for Islamists, whether it is the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas at one end of the spectrum, or Al Qaeda at the other. Doha has used this sway to negotiate with various groups including the Taliban, as well as to help negotiate ceasefires between Israel and Hamas. In late 2010 and into 2011, Qatar saw its influence throughout the Middle East rise sharply. Al Jazeera, already a thorn in the side of Arab autocrats, reported extensively on the Arab Spring. The Al Jazeera Arabic channel grew additional roots in Egypt after the uprising and election of Mohamed Morsy who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood. The international community praised the new Egyptian president for bringing a swift end to a war between Gaza militants and Israel that same year. In the long run, though, as it unraveled across the region, the Arab Spring proved to be disastrous for Hamas, which saw the number of countries it could call a friend whittled away. &'8220;Hamas had very strong relations with Syria, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and Iran,&'8221; says Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian politician. &'8220;Things have changed over time so they had to diversify relations.&'8221; Before 2012, the Hamas leadership was based out of Damascus. Tensions grew between the militants and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad as revolution gripped the country. Eventually, Hamas sided with the rebels and cut ties to some extent with Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran. &'8220;Hamas lost a lot in the uprisings,&'8221; says Hellyer. &'8220;This is one of the reasons why Qatar stepped in.&'8221; Qatar, a strong supporter of both the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas, took advantage of the situation. In the fall of 2012, the head of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, visited the Gaza Strip becoming the first world leader to do so under Hamas control. The emir inaugurated projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In the vacuum left [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJun 13th, 2017

West Africa bloc to apply diplomatic solutions to Gambia

ACCRA — The West African regional bloc stands with the people of Gambia and will apply diplomatic solutions to solve the country's political crisis, the body.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Nicaragua bishops still push on mediating crisis talks

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaragua's bishops are to forge on with mediating talks aimed at resolving their country's political and economic crisis despite President Daniel Ortega claiming they are siding with the opposition , Managua's auxiliary bishop said Sunday, July 22. The senior clergymen, grouped under the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (ECN), intended to push on with their role ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated News7 hr. 14 min. ago

L’Austral brings French touch to traveling

French Ambassador Nicolas Galey and Capt. David Marionneau hosted a handful of personalities from the diplomatic corps, the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, and the media to a cocktail on board L'Austral, a five-star yacht under the fleet of the French cruise company Ponant, in Manila. The event is part of an initiative of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with Ponant, to promote the image and expertise of France. "France is often associated with luxury, travel and art de vivre, and these are exactly what the L'Austral offers. Ponant, after all, is a French company that carries the slogan 'L'Art de voyager,' or the 'art of traveling'," Ambassado...Keep on reading: L’Austral brings French touch to traveling.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary

MEXICO CITY, Mexico --- Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he plans to earn 40 percent of what his predecessor makes when he takes office in December as part of an austerity push in government. Lopez Obrador told reporters Sunday he will take home 108,000 pesos a month, which is $5,707 at current exchange rates, and that no public official will be able to earn more than the president during his six-year term. He reiterated campaign promises to cut back on other taxpayer funded perks for high-level government officials, such as chauffeurs, bodyguards and private medical insurance. /cbb...Keep on reading: Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 15th, 2018

World stocks fall, haunted by concerns over US-China tariffs

SINGAPORE --- Global markets fell Monday as weaker-than-expected Asian economic surveys ratcheted up worries over the potential impact of higher tariffs due to be imposed by China and the US in a festering trade dispute. Over in Europe, a prolonged German government crisis weighed on sentiment. KEEPING SCORE: European shares fell in early trading. Germany's DAX dropped 0.5 percent to 12,242.80 and France's CAC 40 lost 1.0 percent to 5,270.37. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.8 percent to 7,573.61. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures fell 0.6 percent to 24,130.00 and broader S&P 500 futures were down 0.5 percent to 2,708.50. ASIA'S DAY: Asian markets were overshadowed...Keep on reading: World stocks fall, haunted by concerns over US-China tariffs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2018

‘KD’ in Manila

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, who bagged his second straight NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award last month, is slated to visit Manila on Sunday as part of a promotional tour for sportswear giant Nike. It will mark Durant's first visit in Manila for Nike, which has lined up a series of activities for the NBA star. "From the countless hours spent in the gym honing his game, to the sacrifices he makes for love of the game, to going beyond the fear of failure, he wants Filipinos to push harder every time," Nike said in a press release announcing Durant's visit. Durant will be welcomed at the Nike Park store in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, at 12:30 p.m. on July 8....Keep on reading: ‘KD’ in Manila.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

Argentina has big weaknesses to address before facing France

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press ST. PETERSBURG, France (AP) — After the euphoria of scraping through to the last 16 of the World Cup, Argentina now must address its glaring weaknesses. Argentina has little time to prepare for Saturday's match against France, which is considered among the tournament favorites, yet has much to work on. Particularly on defense. Argentina's feeble defense was exposed in 3-0 defeat to Croatia last week and once again in Tuesday's 2-1 must-win game against Nigeria. Argentina won with an 86th-minute goal from defender Marcos Rojo, but during the second half the team looked on the verge of another capitulation at the back. Here is a look at some of the key issues facing Jorge Sampaoli's team before taking on France in Kazan: MASCHERANO MISERY If Javier Mascherano is supposed to be protecting the defense, he's not doing a very good job. With 146 international appearances, the 34-year-old Mascherano should be a rock for Sampaoli's team. But instead of offering the protective screen in front of the back four, Mascherano is often proving to be a weak link. As his bloodied face on Tuesday showed, there is no doubting his commitment. But his judgment, especially for someone with so much experience, is lacking. Two horribly misplaced passes gave Nigeria dangerous positions to attack from, while it was Mascherano's clumsy challenge that led to Nigeria's equalizing goal from the penalty spot. In his defense, there may be mitigating circumstances. Although a holding midfielder by trade, Mascherano dropped deeper when deployed as a center half for Barcelona over the past few years. Now back in his traditional position, he often appears caught in two minds as to whether to push up as a midfielder does, or stay back more sensibly like a defender. While it does not excuse his poor passing, it may explain some of his confused judgment. FALLEN STARS Angel Di Maria's failure to control a simple pass during a promising counterattack against Nigeria was a sad sight for such a fine talent. As the ball flew off his foot and went out of play, a helpless look formed on Di Maria's face. Long considered one of the world's best wingers, the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain player is not living up to his reputation in Russia. He looked despondent when he was taken off against Nigeria with 20 minutes left, his self-confidence glaringly absent. But it is feasible he is still affected by what happened during the season with PSG. Di Maria was PSG's most in-form player heading into the first leg of its Champions League last-16 game against Real Madrid on Feb. 14, but was surprisingly left out entirely by PSG coach Unai Emery. "I was boiling (inside) because I felt I should have played, or at least have come on," Di Maria said. Perhaps his fragile confidence has not been repaired. But Mascherano and Di Maria are not the only big-name players performing well below their best. So is Gonzalo Higuain. The burly striker looked nervous and heavy-legged against Nigeria, blazing a great chance high and wide with the score 1-1 with 10 minutes left. In the end, he was reprieved by Rojo's late winner, but it was not the finish expected of a forward with a combined 267 goals for Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus. He has 31 for Argentina, too, but tellingly he has not scored in his past eight games for his country. WHERE IS DYBALA? Fans hoping to see Paulo Dybala, one of the brightest attacking talents in soccer, playing in Russia may not get their wish. The 24-year-old forward regularly impresses Juventus fans with his trickery and spectacular goals — scoring 26 times in 46 appearances last season — but for whatever reason, Sampaoli does not seem to need him. With time running out against Nigeria, the coach still did not bring him on, even though Dybala has the skill and imagination to unlock defenses. He has only played once for Argentina all year, and with Sampaoli in charge this does not look like it will change. FRENCH THREAT Although France has yet to find its top form , Argentina's creaking defense will be under threat from its highly rated forwards. Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are two of the fastest players in the world, while Antoine Griezmann was top scorer at the European Championship two years ago. Imposing striker Olivier Giroud is one of the best headers of the ball around, which gives Sampaoli's back four even more to worry about from crosses, corners and free kicks......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

French cognac gets green light for ‘XXO’ label

French cognac will soon be able to be marketed as XXO, or "extra extra old," after regulators accepted a push by distillers to modify strict sales and production rules, an industry group said Monday. Currently, producers can apply only three quality distinctions: VS (very special), VSOP (very superior old pale) or XO (extra old)---all written in English in a nod to Britain's historical involvement in the brandy trade. But cognac heavyweight Hennessy, eyeing strong demand in Asia, had begun marketing a prestige bottle as "XXO Cognac Hors d'Age," or Beyond Age. France's consumer protection agency ordered Hennessy to pull the distinction from the labels in December, saying buye...Keep on reading: French cognac gets green light for ‘XXO’ label.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 26th, 2018

Croatia makes Argentina cry

NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, Russia (AFP) - Lionel Messi’s World Cup hopes hung by a thread on Thursday after Argentina were humbled 3-0 by Croatia on a dramatic day at the World Cup that saw the European side join France in the knockout rounds. Argentina knew they had to win in Nizhny….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

PBA: Pringle drops 50 points as Globalport makes playoff push

Stanley Pringle just had the best scoring performance by a local in 14 years. Pringle scored a career-high 50 points, leading Globalport to a big 133-115 win over Columbian in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup Wednesday at the Big Dome. Stanley set his new career high of 37 points after three quarters. He added another 13 in the fourth to make a run for 50. His last score was a breakaway slam in the final minute. Pringle's 50 points is the most since Asi Taulava scored 51 for Talk 'N Text in the 2004 Fiesta Conference. Taulava was the last local to break the 50-point barrier......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

Rise of the hardliners in Europe migrant boat crisis

BRUSSELS: Italy’s refusal to admit the migrant-packed Aquarius ship met little protest from other EU countries apart from France, which analysts see as a sign of how hardliners are now shaping solutions to the migration crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron denounced Rome’s “irresponsibility” but failed to sway a European Union now bent on protecting its [...] The post Rise of the hardliners in Europe migrant boat crisis appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018