Daily Archives: March 16, 2016

Bayern boss Guardiola gives Juventus credit


Josep Guardiola said his respect for Juventus increased after they came back to draw the first leg 2-2, as Bayern München host a team with injury absences and a doubt over Mario Mandžukić.

Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach
We have to accept the result of the first leg. I would have preferred 5-0 but now we have to deal with it. Juventus are Juventus, with their own special spirit. The situation is the same as ever: Juve will be very strong opponents.

I know the Italian mentality, it has won them so many trophies. They wait for their moment. They know how to defend and how to score goals. After the first game, my appreciation and respect for Juve is even greater.

Juve can defend with ten men, with concentration and focus. I don’t like this style of play, but I am impressed by the way they do it. They can also keep the ball with players like Paul Pogba, and they can attack. Juve can always score goals. We really will need to be at our best to win. We’re all looking forward to this ‘final’.

Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus coach
We have to play a perfect game tomorrow. If we are not able to do so, it will be very difficult. We know Bayern are a team that normally take control of the game, 60 to 70% of the time.

Of course it is a pity that we have some injury problems. But we cannot risk anything with those lads, there are many other, very important, games for us in Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

Mandžukić is an extraordinary player. We will decide tomorrow if he will play or not. He trained well, but we do not know yet if he is going to play from the start. There are two players missing – this is not a drama, but of course it is sad. A drama for me is something else in life …

It is possible Bayern are underestimating Juventus. But I don’t think so, they have lots of respect for us, as we do have for them. We have to be very careful and try to be the better team tomorrow. It is as simple as that.

Possible lineups
Bayern München: Neuer; Lahm, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat; Vidal, Alonso; Robben, Müller, Costa; Lewandowski.
Out: Boateng (adductors), Badstuber (ankle)
Doubtful: Martínez (match fitness), Robben (cold)
Misses next match if booked: Boateng

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra; Cuadrado, Khedira, Hernanes, Pogba; Morata, Mandžukić.
Out: Cáceres (Achilles), Marchisio (calf), Dybala (calf), Chiellini (calf)
Doubtful: Mandžukić (groin)
Misses next match if booked: Sturaro


Arsenal cushion no comfort for Barcelona


Luis Enrique warned Barcelona to be wary of “quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez”, insisting defending a 2-0 lead at home against Arsenal will “not be easy”.

[The 2-0 win in London] was a good result but it doesn’t change our approach. It is still an open match, our opponents are dangerous and we need to play very well to go through. Sometimes the match looks perfect because of the result, but there is always room for improvement. That’s why football is so complex – 11 players have to do the same things at the same time.

We have to try to handle quality players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. We want to keep the ball as much as possible to avoid counterattacks – it will not be easy, but lately we have being doing that well. Alexis is a very important player for Arsenal and his national team. He is a quality player, fast and attacking, and he has improved his game since he went to Barcelona. We have to be careful with him.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
The key for us will be a solid defensive performance. We have to attack and that suits us. We will do that knowing that the magicians of Barcelona will demand a good defensive performance from ourselves. Koscielny is important for us because he has lots of pace and Barcelona are good on the counterattack.

We have won almost everywhere in Europe, but still not here and we need to do that now. Barcelona are in a good position, but we have a chance. Our approach wasn’t too bad [in the first leg]. We just lost our shape a bit after half-time and got caught on the counterattack.

I don’t think the football gods owe us anything, but I owe a lot to football. We want to come here and give a positive performance. We will play with passion and commitment and show our talent.

Possible lineups
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Mathieu, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets; Rakitić, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Out: Rafinha (knee), Sandro (hamstring), Piqué (suspended)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny; Campbell, Özil, Sánchez; Giroud.
Out: Ramsey (hip), Čech (calf), Cazorla (Achilles), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Rosický (thigh), Wilshere (calf/shin), Chambers (not in squad)
Misses next match if booked: Monreal, Özil, Campbell, Giroud


Ποια είναι η πιο ευτυχισμένη χώρα του πλανήτη; Και πού βρίσκεται η Ελλάδα;


Η Δανία υποσκέλισε την Ελβετία από την πρώτη θέση της κατάταξης με τις ευτυχέστερες χώρες στον κόσμο, σύμφωνα με έκθεση που κατατάσσει στις τελευταίες θέσεις τη Συρία, το Αφγανιστάν και οκτώ χώρες της υποσαχάριας Αφρικής.

Τις δέκα πρώτες θέσεις καταλαμβάνουν η Δανία, η Ελβετία, η Ισλανδία, η Νορβηγία, η Φινλανδία, ο Καναδάς, η Ολλανδία, η Νέα Ζηλανδία, η Αυστραλία και η Σουηδία.

Τις τελευταίες δέκα θέσεις καταλαμβάνουν η Μαδαγασκάρη, η Τανζανία, η Λιβερία, η Γουινέα, η Ρουάντα, το Μπενίν, το Αφγανιστάν, το Τόγκο, η Συρία και το Μπουρούντι.

Οι ΗΠΑ βρίσκονται στην 13η θέση, η Βρετανία στην 23η, η Γαλλία στην 32η, η Ιταλία στην 50ή και η Ελλάδα στην 99η θέση σε έναν κατάλογο 157 χωρών.

Η έρευνα πραγματοποιήθηκε από το Sustainable Development Solutions Network και το Earth Institute του Πανεπιστημίου Columbia.

«Η χώρα μου, οι ΗΠΑ, στέλνει ένα πολύ ισχυρό μήνυμα: είναι μία πολύ πλούσια χώρα, και έχει γίνει πολύ πλουσιότερη τα τελευταία 50 χρόνια, αλλά δεν έχει γίνει ευτυχέστερη» δηλώνει ο καθηγητής Τζέφρι Σακς, επικεφαλής του Sustainable Development Solutions Network, εκ των συντακτών της έκθεσης που παρουσιάσθηκε στη Ρώμη.

Η έκθεση, που δημοσιεύεται για τέταρτη χρονιά και έχει ως στόχο να ερευνήσει τις επιστημονικές βάσεις μέτρησης και κατανόησης της υποκειμενικότητας στην ευημερία, κατατάσσει 157 χώρες βάσει του επιπέδου ευτυχίας χρησιμοποιώντας παράγοντες όπως το ΑΕΠ και το προσδόκιμο υγιούς ζωής, αλλά και το να έχει κανείς κάποιον για να στηριχθεί, καθώς και τον βαθμό της διαφθοράς στη διακυβέρνηση και την επιχειρηματικότητα.

Η πρώτη έκθεση δημοσιεύθηκε το 2012 για να υποστηρίξει διάσκεψη του ΟΗΕ για την Ευτυχία και την Ευημερία.

Πέντε χώρες και περιοχές -το Μπουτάν, το Εκουαδόρ, η Σκωτία, τα Ηνωμένα Αραβικά Εμιράτα και η Βενεζουέλα- έχουν πλέον ορίσει υπουργούς Ευτυχίας επιφορτισμένους με την προώθησή της ως στόχο πολιτικής.

Η έκθεση του 2016 δείχνει ότι τρεις χώρες ιδιαίτερα, η Ιρλανδία, η Ισλανδία και η Ιαπωνία, κατόρθωσαν να διατηρήσουν τις θέσεις τους παρά τους κραδασμούς από τις συνέπειες της παγκόσμιας χρηματοπιστωτικής κρίσης και τον σεισμό του 2011, χάρη στην κοινωνική υποστήριξη και αλληλεγγύη.

Ο καθηγητής Σακς χρησιμοποιεί ως παράδειγμα την Κόστα Ρίκα, η οποία βρίσκεται στην 14η θέση, πριν από πολλές πλούσιες χώρες, ως παράδειγμα υγιούς, ευτυχισμένης κοινωνίας, αν και δεν είναι ισχυρή οικονομική δύναμη.


FYROM ‘dumping’ migrants back in Greece, sources on border say


Police sources on Greece’s northern frontier with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Tuesday told Kathimerini that some 1,000 migrants and refugees who managed to breach the sealed border on Monday were being returned without formal consent from the Greek government.

Greece’s deputy defense minister said on Tuesday he could not confirm nor deny whether hundreds of migrants who left a Greek transit camp and crossed into FYROM on Monday had been returned back to Greece.

“What I know is that any procedure will take place via the usual diplomatic means,” Dimitris Vitsas told Greek TV when asked about a Reuters report citing police sources in FYROM saying 500 migrants were returned to Greece.

Police sources at the transit camp in Idomeni on Greece’s northern border said on Tuesday that FYROM authorities have been returning migrants back into Greece via unofficial routes.

“They take them by car through paths in forested areas where there is no fence and dump them back onto Greek territory,” a source who declined to be named told Kathimerini.

According to migration rules, FYROM has the right to return refugees and migrants crossing its borders illegally, but diplomatic sources stress that this needs to be done through official channels.


Record global temperatures are shocking — and yet we don’t respond seriously


And another one bites the dust. The year 2014 was the warmest ever recorded by humans. Then 2015 was warmer still. January 2016 broke the record for the largest monthly temperature anomaly. Then came last month.

February didn’t break climate change records – it obliterated them. Regions of the Arctic were were more than 16C warmer than normal – whatever constitutes normal now. But what is really making people stand up and notice is that the surface of the Earth north of the equator was 2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. This was meant to be a line that must not be crossed.

Two degrees was broadly interpreted as the temperature that could produce further, potentially runaway warming. You can think of it as a speed limit on our climate impact. But it’s not a target speed. If you are driving a car carrying a heavy load down a steep hill you’re often advised to change down from top gear and keep your speed low, as if you go too fast your brakes will fail and you will be unable to stop. Less braking means more speed which means less braking – a dangerous runaway feedback loop. Hopefully the hill flattens out and you have enough straight road ahead to recover. If you don’t then you will be stopping much more abruptly.

We are currently swamping the Earth’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases. 2015 saw the largest annual increase in carbon dioxide since records began – far higher than the Earth has experienced for hundreds of thousands of years.

More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means higher temperatures. There is already one positive feedback loop in operation; the extra warming from our emissions is increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, which further increases temperatures. Fortunately, this is not a very strong feedback loop.

Unfortunately, there seem to be other, much more powerful ones lurking in the event of further warming. Tipping points such as the thaw of permafrost and release of the very powerful greenhouse gas methane in large quantities would drive world temperatures well beyond the 2C threshold.

Even if we came to our collective senses and rapidly reduced carbon emissions at that point, we would still have to revert to drastic geoengineering to rein in further warming. There is no guarantee that such climate brakes will work. If they fail, our civilisation would be on a collision course with a much hotter planet.

The safe–unsafe threshold of 2C recognises the significant amount of uncertainty there is over where dangerous warming really begins. It could be at more than 2C. Hopefully it is. But it’s not impossible that it is less. We need to bear in mind that it was only the northern hemisphere that crossed the 2C line. Also, we need to factor in the monster El Niño that is having an effect on temperatures across the globe. In 2014, I predicted that 2015 would break record temperatures. This is not due to any psychic powers on my part, but the then very clear El Niño signal that was emerging.

So while temperature records may continue to be set for the rest of 2016, by the end of this year the situation should have cooled somewhat. Right? At times, it feels as if such statements are offered up as prayers in the hope that we are not in fact witnessing the beginning of abrupt and sustained climate change. But what’s even scarier is the political, economic and social reaction to these landmarks in climate change.

Have you heard any political speeches referring to these recent climate change records? Not one of the major Republican presidential candidates even “believes” in human-produced climate change, let alone that it is something to worry about.

How was the stock market this morning? It appears febrile enough to lurch from euphoric boom to catastrophic bust on the basis of bland statements from central bankers but proves remarkably deaf to evidence that the entire industrial and financial system is headed for disaster.

Know what’s trending on Twitter as I write? A photoshopped giant dog, the latest Game of Thrones trailer and Kim Kardashian’s naked body. Actually, it’s mainly Kim Kardashian’s naked body and people’s responses to it. Followed by people’s responses to the responses.

It would be churlish of me to deny people the pleasure of looking at pictures of a photograph of a cuddly dog adjusted in order to make it appear both cute and monstrous. But we appear uninterested, either through denial or desensitisation, in the environmental changes happening right in front of our eyes.

There are sure to be more climate records broken this year. But we treat them as we treat new fashions, phones or films. More novelty, newer features, more drama. We seem unable to understand that we are driving such changes. Record breaking changes that will ultimately break our civilisation, and so scatter all that we obsess and care about.


Greek Cypriots threaten to block EU-Turkey deal


Greek Cyprus threatened on March 15 to derail a proposed EU deal with Turkey to curb the flow of migrants to Europe, insisting on longstanding demands including that Ankara recognize its government.

EU President Donald Tusk, meanwhile, said the deal needed to be rebalanced to be accepted by all 28 member states and EU institutions.

“Cyprus does not intend to consent to the opening of any new chapters if Turkey does not fulfil its obligations,” Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades was quoted as saying by AFP on March 15 after talks with Tusk in Nicosia.

EU and Turkish leaders agreed last week to a tentative proposal including the return of migrants landing in Greece and a “one-for-one” swap of Syrian refugees.

Anastasiades said Greek Cyprus would not accept “Turkish demands without [the] implementation of Turkey’s long-pending obligations” in its EU membership bid.

Turkey expects the accord to lead to the opening of new chapters in Ankara’s longstanding EU membership bid and to ease visa requirements in Europe’s passport-free Schengen area.

Tusk, who headed to Ankara after meeting Anastasiades and was scheduled to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu ahead of negotiations on the EU-Turkey proposal, admitted “we are not there yet” in terms of a deal.

“The Turkish proposal… still needs to be rebalanced so as to be accepted by all 28 member states and the EU institutions,” he told reporters.

The plan to expel migrants en masse from Greece has sparked international criticism, with the U.N.’s top officials on refugees and human rights questioning whether it would be legal.

Officials have also expressed concern over the potential need for compromise with Ankara, as fears grow over freedom of expression and rights abuses.

“One of the issues to be sorted out is the key question of legality,” Tusk said.

A Cypriot refusal of the migrant-swap deal would effectively block the largest diplomatic push yet to ease Europe’s burden of accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom enter the EU through Turkey.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops intervened in its north in response to an Athens-engineered coup attempt.

Turkey does not recognize the government of Greek Cyprus and Nicosia has blocked six key chapters of Ankara’s negotiations for EU membership since 2009, effectively halting the process.

Cyprus insists Turkey must first meet its longstanding demands for recognition, and to open up trade ties, ports and airports.

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot administrations are conducting U.N.-backed peace talks aimed at reuniting the island.

At one point last week in Brussels, Anastasiades was involved in a heated confrontation with five key European figures, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which he came under heavy pressure to back the accord, European sources told AFP.

Germany registered a record influx of asylum seekers that reached 1.1 million in 2015


Barcelona boss Luis Enrique backs ‘chosen one’ Arsene Wenger to continue at Arsenal but warns him to expect more misery


Barcelona boss Luis Enrique hailed Arsene Wenger a ‘chosen one’ on the eve of their clash in the Nou Camp but warned Arsenal to prepare for more Champions League misery.

Under-fire Wenger and his ailing team head for Spain, clinging to the hope that the European champions will be weakened by complacency after winning 2-0 in the first leg in London.

The Premier League team’s chances will be boosted if stars like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar attempt to coast into the last eight of the competition, but Enrique insists it cannot happen.

‘We are not going to change,’ said the Barca manager. ‘We want to be better than Arsenal. If we can that is perfect.

‘There will be no change in our approach. Maybe that is a question for Mr Wenger, whether he will change. But even if they change, we want to stop them.

‘I am not concerned about my players being too relaxed. These are champions we are talking about. The players are aware of that. This will not happen. I know that.

‘We do not change our training or preparation. The opponent is still dangerous and we will have to play very well.’

Wenger is in his 20th season as Arsenal manager but criticism has increased in recent weeks, as his team crashed out of the FA Cup and failed to seize the initiative in the Premier League title race.

After back-to-back FA Cup wins, they face the prospect of another season without a trophy, but Enrique said: ‘Wenger is a very good coach. Only the chosen ones can be there for a long time. For me it is impossible.

‘I don’t have a deep knowledge to assess his situation but every time there are more coaches out there and every time there are more possibilities, the team and club is the same.

‘That is why it is difficult to be there 20 years which shows you Mr Wenger has done a good job.’

Enrique branded Arsenal’s style as ‘direct’, and added: ‘They do not elaborate much but we solved that in the first-leg.

‘They have quality players like Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. We want to keep the ball and not see many of their counter attacks.

‘We know Alexis. He was here for three seasons. I am sure it will stimulate him. He is a very important player for Arsenal; a quality player, very fast, a good attacker. He has improved since he was at Barcelona in his football way of playing.’

Gerard Pique is injured, but Barcelona expect Neymar to be refreshed after giving him a four-day break.

‘I don’t think he will be feeling pressure,’ said Enrique. ‘All people go home to Brazil and have a good time. He is playing well. He doesn’t score that much but he is still making goals.’







Boxer Les Darcy’s gloves on display at Maitland Regional Art Gallery after 100 years


Les Darcy’s training gloves are now on display at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, a century after the prized fighter wore them.

The gloves arrived at the gallery two weeks ago, but have only just been opened to the public to see.

The gallery got their hands on the mitts from an auction, which happened to be held on the same day that memorabilia donated by Les Darcy’s sister-in-law Iris was unveiled at the gallery.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery collection management curator Cheryl Farrell said it was likely that Darcy used the gloves while training in Maitland in 1915-16.

Ms Farrell said it was great to see the gloves return to Maitland.

“We were really excited and really determined to bring them back,” she said.

“We didn’t want them to go anywhere else.”

Maitland Mayor Councillor Peter Blackmore said having the gloves in Maitland was an acknowledgement of the town’s history.

“Les Darcy is often referred to as Maitland’s favourite son,” he said.

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“He was larger than life.

“[It’s great] to be able to see his gloves as part of our collection.”

The display is expected to be a draw card for many people, boxing fans or not.

“People out of curiosity will want to see it, I want to see it!” Cr Blackmore said.

The gloves have been set up next to Iris Darcy’s memorabilia, which includes postcards, a waistcoat, a watch, and other personal momentos.

Ms Farrell said the gallery is always on the lookout for more Les Darcy items.