Kai Havertz is no longer expected to train with Bayer Leverkusen according to head coach Peter Bosz as reports emerge of the player completing an initial €80 million to Chelsea as Roman Abramovich’s continues his summer spending.
The Havertz saga is one of the most protracted transfers of the summer as the German forward has been expected to sign with The Blues for some time, and reports suggest the two clubs have finally agreed a 5-year-deal worth £72 million (€80 million)for the 21-year-old, with an extra €20 million in add-ons expected to take the final sum up to €100 million.
Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz: “I no longer expect Kai Havertz or Kevin Volland to train with us again.”
Havertz is set to join Chelsea and Volland is due to move to Monaco. #B04#CFC#ASMonaco
“I no longer expect Kai Havertz or Kevin Volland to train with us again,” said manager Bosz, who is also expected to lose Volland to Monaco.
Chelsea have agreed an €80m fee with Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz, according to the Guardian. The deal also includes an add-on of €10m and another potential add-on of a further €10m, which could take the entire deal to €100m. #CFC#B04
“There are clubs and people, like Roman Abramovich in this case probably, who are able to and want to pay it. They will have calculated it well and Kai is not the only player joining Chelsea this summer.”
That last part is particularly true. Havertz will be joining fellow German forward Timo Werner, Dutch-Moroccan Hakim Ziyech and England international Ben Chilwell as Roman Abromovich-owned West Londoners recover from a two-window transfer ban by FIFA and look to mount a title charge next season.
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Former PSG captain Thiago Silva has also joined on a free transfer after becoming a free agent to tighten a leaky defence.
Havertz’s deal will make him the most expensive player in Chelsea history, surpassing the club-record £71.6m paid for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Russian tennis ace Daniil Medvedev is believed to have been in contact with French player Benoit Paire who tested positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours before the start of the US Open in New York.
The odd twist of circumstances has put Medvedev’s US Open prospects in doubt and threaten to undermine the entire tournament as Paire’s contacts list involves more than 30 people inside the US Open bubble.
Paire will be isolated in his hotel room for 10 days with security staff staying outside to make sure he doesn’t get out.
Several players who were in contact with Paire, including Adrian Mannarino, Gregoire Barrere and Richard Gasquet are prohibited from attending public gatherings inside the bubble and are allowed to train alone only with their coaches.
According to L’Equipe, Benoit Paire has tested positive for coronavirus and is out of the US Open… https://t.co/LkwDsFxodY
According to the Open Court, Paire played cards together with Kristina Mladenovic and her coach and held a practice session together with Medvedev before getting his test results.
In the wake of Paire’s news Mladenovic has been prohibited from using public transport along with receiving movement restrictions. No information regarding Medvedev’s status has been revealed so far.
Third seed Medvedev is drawn to open his Grand Slam campaign against Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Last year he reached the US Open final where he lost to Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller.
A Kyrgyzstani fighter scored a highlight-reel knockout with a difference on Saturday night as he evoked memories of UFC star Nate Diaz by flipping the middle finger at his opponent before knocking him cold.
Lightweight contender Bayaman Nurmamat was competing at the Get Up & Hit event in Irkutsk, Russia on Saturday night as he produced a memorable finish to claim a memorable knockout.
Backing his opponent up against the cage, Nurmamat gave his rival a middle-finger salute, then unleashed a perfectly-timed head-kick to knock him out in stunning fashion.
It was exactly the sort of finish UFC welterweight star Nate Diaz would be proud of, with the Stockton native famed for his middle-finger salutes, including during fights.
It’s unlikely that Nurmamat will reach the same heady heights as the American, but his finish will live long in the memory and, if there’s any justice, it will feature strongly in any “Knockout of the Year” lists.
Russia’s Health Minister announced that large-scale deliveries of the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine will start in September. Mikhail Murashko also said on Monday that the third-stage trials were ready to start.
It is planned that, in total, 40,000 volunteers will participate, with more than 2,500 already chosen. “First of all, of course, the vaccines will be supplied for healthcare workers and teachers, [and] this will be absolutely voluntary,” Murashko said. “The first large batches will be supplied as early as September.”
He also added that currently several more vaccines against coronavirus are at the clinical trials or registration stage. “That is why I think that we’ll reach optimum volumes in November or December. We’ll need to do separate inoculations against flu and coronavirus infection,” he said.
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Groups for post-registration monitoring are now being formed. Last Thursday, the Minister reported that deliveries of the first doses of the vaccine to medical institutions for post-registration trials had already started.
Registered on August 11, Sputnik V is first Covid-19 vaccine to have obtained state registration. The formula was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center in Moscow. In all, over 160 vaccines are being developed worldwide with over 30 of them at the stage of clinical trials on humans.
With the broader EU digital tax stuck in limbo, Denmark has launched its own review of Google’s accounts in the country. The Silicon Valley giant says it has complied with all Danish tax rules.
In a financial report for 2019 published on Monday, Google Denmark Aps said Danish tax authorities had “commenced a review of the open tax years concerning the company’s tax position.” Noting that the unit is still in talks on the matter, head of public policy at Google in Denmark, Christine Sorensen, said the company pays Denmark “the tax they ask us to.”
“It is no secret that as an international company, we pay most of our tax – more than 80% – in the United States, where we belong. Just like international Danish companies pay the greater part of their taxes in Denmark,” she said in a statement as cited by Reuters.
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Denmark used to be one of the few EU states to oppose a digital tax targeting major US tech companies. The country changed its stance at the beginning of the year, with Denmark’s prime minister voicing support to an EU-wide agreement on the tax that could affect such American companies as Google, Amazon and Apple.
While some European nations insist that American tech majors need to pay more in tax from the revenue they generate within the region, the US called the proposed plan discriminatory against its businesses and threatened to retaliate. The latest round of negotiations between EU and US officials in June resulted in failure, with the American side reportedly refusing to continue the talks due to lack of progress.
As Ireland, which hosts a number of large tech firms, remains one of the main stumbling blocks for a broader EU digital tax, some countries have already implemented the measure on their own. France became the first major European economy to do so, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying the measure would be applied this year regardless of the progress made on an international deal.
It started with a napkin and ended via burofax. And while Barcelona knew this day would eventually come, it was not expected so soon in a manner that Lionel Messi’s departure will benefit a European rival.
“The Culé has woken up stunned [after a] hammer [to the] temple,” wrote Spanish journalist Ivan San Antonio dramatically on Friday morning in assessing the current mood. “Dizzy, he has looked for a sink to cool off and, looking at himself in the mirror, has released a heart-rending cry when he sees a [Mike] Tyson tattoo on his face.”
Barcelona fans have finally woken up from the night before with a stinking ‘Hangover’, no less than a decade after the popular sleeper hit comedy was released and Pep Guardiola won them six trophies in a calendar year.
There has been plenty of silverware between then and now, of course. A not-so-shabby seven La Liga titles, plus a second treble in 2015, for starters.
Yet it is the failure to deliver the Champions League since, coupled with a string of incidents backstage at the Camp Nou, which has led them to their current, harsh reality whereby the protagonist of these triumphs and the club’s greatest player of all time wishes to leave.
In December, when Lionel Messi lifted his record sixth Ballon d’Or, all was calm. Or at least a lot calmer in comparison.
“The people at the club know me,”he said in Paris. “They know there’s no problem beyond what the contract says. What I feel for this club goes beyond any signature or any role. So there isn’t a problem,” Messi insisted, when probed on his future with a June 30, 2021 expiry date fast approaching.
Rearing Messi from the age of 13, and paying for growth hormone treatment neither his family nor Newell’s Old Boys in his hometown of Rosario could afford, FC Barcelona famously secured the Argentine’s services when then-sporting director Carles Rexach signed him on a paper napkin during a meeting with agents Horacio Gaggioli and Josep Maria Minguella in late 2000.
Due to its important place in football history, the piece of material is guarded securely at the Credit Andorra Bank by Gaggioli, but is sadly set to be joined in Barca folklore by the burofax that Messi sent on Tuesday evening at 19.40 local time to finish a 20-year union with the Blaugrana.
His word already fairly credible, due to being the first reporter that broke news of Neymar’s departure to PSG in 2017, Esporte Interativo’s Marcel Bechler claimed less than 48 hours after the 8-2 drubbing by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals that the number 10 was considering leaving.
As part of a mass revamp, in response to their darkest night in continental history, Barca swiftly fired head coach Quique Setien, supplanted sporting director Eric Abidal with his right-hand man Ramon Planes, and called early presidential elections for mid-March.
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At his presentation the following Wednesday, Koeman revealed he would touch bases with his skipper and the next day, Bechler’s scoop gained credence when RAC1 relayed that Messi had admitted he saw himself as “more out of the club than in”.
Whether this is true or not, Koeman is meant to have angered Messi by stressing that the “privileges” stop with him. Driving this point home in his first interview with Barca TV+, the Dutchman is a self-professed straight talker who prefers not to beat around the bush and holds only brief meetings.
Dubbed the “sacred cows” by the local press, this is believed to be the best approach to tackle the locker room’s heavyweights, who wield far too much power and must share a portion of the blame for the club’s current predicament and underperformance in recent years.
But it is obviously far less than that which must be shouldered by president Josep Bartomeu.
Dodging the media at the unveiling of young forward Francisco Trincao midweek, and leaving Planes to field questions on Messi’s fate, there have been increased calls by fans worldwide for Bartomeu to step down, in addition to an official request from socio members.
Goading Messi into a game of chicken, TV3 in Catalonia reported that Bartomeu will indeed take a bow if the 33-year-old comes out and publicly states that the president is the problem, and that he will stay on in light of his resignation.
In a win-win for the controversial figure, Bartomeu can say that he at least tried if Messi rejects his ultimatum and leaves. While on the other hand, should he reverse his decision and Bartomeu exits instead, Messi is then shown to be the ruthless shot-caller he protests he isn’t with the authority that sees managers and presidents ousted at his behest.
With his father and representative Jorge scheduled to arrive from Rosario any day now, Messi’s camp have attempted to schedule a meeting with Barca top brass that has been rebuffed.
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The burofax – more a Spanish-style recorded delivery than actual fax – specified an intent to utilize a clause in his contract that allows Messi to terminate at the end of each season, while the club argue that it became null and void on June 10.
Back to the supporters, they have understandably been made frustrated and desperate by the debacle. They feel let down by not just the potential fact that the 8-2 humbling by Bayern could be his last game for the club, but also that Messi, as skipper, still hasn’t addressed the defeat a fortnight on and remains tight-lipped on his future.
Meanwhile Barca must continue preparing for life with or without him as La Liga kicks off on September 12. Rumoured to be the last straw for Messi, Koeman told close friend Luis Suarez a day before his shock announcement that the striker is surplus to requirements at the same time Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo and Ivan Rakitic received identical treatment.
Misfit 2019 signing Antoine Griezmann will be afforded more prominence in a central attacking role that does not see him suffocated on the left wing, while Frenkie de Jong moves into his more natural position as pivot at the expense of Sergio Busquets if Koeman does not use a pair in a tipped 4-2-3-1 formation.
In addition to Pedri and Trincao, La Masia products Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati, two of few bright sparks in Barca’s first trophyless campaign since 2007-2008, provide promise.
There are others coming through the ranks too, such as the highly-rated Ilaix Moriba, and the club, cash-strapped with over €300mn lost during the pandemic pause, may be forced to look back inwards to its academy; just as it did in the late 00s when a Golden Generation formed by the likes of Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi provided unfathomable glory that has been difficult to maintain.
Even if Koeman is fired after a sole season, as guaranteed by presidential favourite Victor Font in order to install Xavi, his short reign could be looked back on fondly as a vital period of restructuring before a successful new cycle began.
Alternatively, though, and more likely, it may also spell the beginning of the end: when Bartomeu destroyed the superclub for once and for all, and the most challenging transition period since Sir Alex Ferguson retired at Manchester United was every bit as punishing as forecast.
On August 24, Sasha White, a 25-year-old literary agent, was fired by the Tobias Literary Agency in New York. She spoke to RT from her California home to explain how one Tweet led to the loss of her job and her livelihood.
The debate had been opened by Space X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a two-word Friday evening Tweet, “Pronouns Suck.” White’s thoughtful intervention came 24 hours later on Saturday, July 25. She responded, “The reason i think pronouns suck is because thinking of people as ‘they/them’ and pretending they’re not male or female is like color/race blindness for gender. It won’t help sexism or toxic masculinity. Men and women have unique and distinct experiences… which should be acknowledged, examined, and critiqued but not obfuscated. Gender nonconformity (with acceptance of biological reality) successfully defies gender roles but switching pronouns reinforces these same roles.”
The reason i think pronouns suck is because thinking of people as “they/them” and pretending they’re not male or female is like color/race blindness for gender. It won’t help sexism or toxic masculinity. Men and women have unique and distinct experiences…
Her Twitter bio announces that “gender non-conformity is wonderful.” I asked her what she meant. She explained that, “Your biological sex doesn’t have to determine how you move through the world, how you dress, how you act, or who you love or who you are. As a feminist, I see society putting us into boxes and that hurts us. Gender non-conformity is a way of pushing back against that.”
But her idealism is tempered by realism. She added that it is not so wonderful to deny biological sex. “It’s so important – crucial – for feminism to be able to use language that specifies the experiences that women go through because of the state of being female. We need sex specific language to work on those issues.”
However, as JK Rowling also found out this summer, women who stand up for their sex-based rights risk a maelstrom of protest from the mob on social media. By denying the central catechism of gender identity ideology, that we can choose our sex, women have been denounced as bigots, transphobes and ‘TERFs’. The attacks are brutal, and in White’s case they went to her employer.
Her employer’s reaction wasn’t immediate – there was a delay of one month – but it was clinical. White explained that she received an email from her boss on Sunday 24 August. “They were seeing a Twitter mob coming for them. It was just one Tweet that actually did it. My boss emailed me a Tweet and he said, ‘What is this about?’’’
On Twitter, White had noticed the start of a pile-on. But before she had the chance to get through to her boss on the phone, a second email arrived in her inbox to tell her she had been fired. Her boss had scrolled through her Twitter feed – on that personal account – and decided they had to part ways.
The time between the two emails was 27 minutes. White was devastated, “I was shaken; I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know then that there was going to be even a single message of support. It felt like a punch in the gut. I felt like I wasn’t just losing a job, I was losing my career. I had been smeared publicly.”
White told me that she had been Tweeting on her personal account – not one connected to her employer, but under her own name, because, “I felt I could defend anything I posted. I knew it was controversial but I could stand behind it with my face and my name.”
She tried to call her boss but only got through to voicemail and, with that, went into a very lonely night, horrified at the unfolding situation. She did manage to speak to him briefly the next day. Despite White’s protests that she was being fired for feminist views, the decision had been made. She recalled that her boss went on to say that the tweet was “Not hateful per se but it invalidated trans identities, and trans people don’t see it that way.”
I am trans and I sympathise with White’s views – they certainly don’t invalidate my identity. But once again, decisions are being made by people who are not trans in order to satisfy the adherents of this ideology that is eating away at our society.
White had only just started her job – as a literary assistant agent – two days before the offending Tweet, and after almost a year as an unpaid intern. She proudly explained that she had just signed her first client, and “When I got that job, I felt it was my dream job and dream career because it was so perfect for my skills and my interests.”
But that came to a swift and sudden end in a political debate about women’s rights. The impact was profound. “When I saw myself being smeared on Twitter and misrepresented, I deleted Twitter from my phone and asked my brother to keep his eye on it in case people were posting my private details or making violent threats.
“If it hadn’t been for all the people who noticed and said they thought it was wrong regardless of whether they agreed with me, they just didn’t think I should have been fired for my speech… that made all the difference. Because otherwise it would just have happened, and nobody would have known or cared about it, and I would have been left out in the cold.
“But it caught on and hit a nerve. I just hope that the next time an employer thinks about firing someone for their speech, they remember the backlash this time.”
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Unfortunately, opportunity for legal redress is limited in the United States. She explained that, “Employees in the US don’t have all the rights we need.” But while she plans to take no action against her now former employer, she has no intention of keeping quiet. “Definitely not,” she said. “That ship has sailed. This started because I was talking about gender identity but it’s about the freedom of speech. We have to give everyone the freedom to say their opinion because that’s how we develop thought, and how we can challenge injustice.”
She explained that she would be delighted if there were opportunities to develop her career in publishing, but in the meantime, she plans to invest more time in plebity.org, a platform for philosophical discussions and long-form interviews. White’s podcast on the site – Crossroads – covers feminism, literature and criminal justice.
For one so young, she has both wisdom and moral courage. She told me that her friends are on the same page as her but find it hard to talk openly. “One of us says something that goes against gender identity ideology and others express relief because of the worry of being called a bigot.”
But if change comes it will come through those people like White who are prepared to speak the truth “even if their voice shakes”; closing the interview, she chose to paraphrase Rosa Luxemburg, “You don’t feel your chains unless you move.”
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Sixteen Ukrainian ultra-nationalists were arrested on Sunday after the far-right Christian organization ‘Tradition and Order’ attacked marchers at Odessa Pride 2020, the city’s biggest celebration of LGBT society and culture.
According to the official Facebook page of the movement, members of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group arrived at the site of the festivities ten minutes after the event began, attacking the participants with pepper spray and ‘zelyonka’ – an antiseptic dye most famously used in 2017 against Moscow protest leader Alexey Navalny. Odessa’s police department noted that members of the anti-LGBT group also threw eggs.
The organizers said that local police did not react quickly enough, but asked them to “prosecute the perpetrators” and take action against the right-wingers for “hatred and inciting violence.” Sixteen people were arrested and charged with petty hooliganism and disobeying the orders of the police.
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“There was no such level of aggression in previous years,” they wrote on Facebook.
As well as opposing LGBT rights, Tradition and Order is actively opposed to pro-Russia, left-wing and populist politicians.
LGBT events in Ukraine have regularly been met with opposition and violence. Last year, a pride march in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, ended in clashes between right-wing demonstrators and police officers protecting the event.
Meanwhile, in Russia, ‘pride parades’ don’t take place at all. In 2012, they were banned in Moscow after the city government argued that such events would risk causing public disorder and that most Muscovites do not support them.
The government of Sudan and an alliance of major rebel groups have signed a long-awaited peace agreement. It is hoped it will end the protracted armed conflict, which has claimed some 300,000 lives in the African nation.
The signing ceremony in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan, took place on Monday, two days after the terms of the agreement were finalized. The host nation helped mediate the peace talks, which started last year.
The peace agreement covers major issues like security, land ownership, power sharing and rehoming of refugees. Some 2.5 million people have been displaced since the conflict between predominantly Arab government forces and non-Arab rebels in the western Darfur region erupted in 2003, according to the UN. An estimated 300,000 people have been killed during the fighting.
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The rebel alliance, which signed the deal, includes groups from the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, which are tied to a larger civil war in Sudan. The provinces remained under Sudanese sovereignty when the non-Arab part of the country split in 2011 to form sovereign South Sudan.
The peace talks were made possible by the downfall of Sudan’s long-time strongman leader Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April last year after staying in power for two decades. The transitional government made negotiations with the rebels one of its top priorities.
There were previous attempts to end the Sudanese conflict, with one peace accord signed in Nigeria in 2006 and another one in Qatar in 2010, both of which later collapsed.
Tens of thousands of Mauritians took to the streets of the capital to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and his cabinet for their botched handling of an oil spill which threatens the country’s economy.
An estimated 75,000 people took to the streets of the capital Saint Louis over the weekend, the country’s largest anti-government protests in decades, following a slow and lackluster response to an oil spill in early August.
The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio struck a reef in southeast Mauritius and spilled roughly 1,000 tons of oil into the pristine Indian Ocean waters offshore the island. A 15 kilometer (9 mile) stretch of the coastline is now stained with oil as volunteers attempt to halt the spread of the slick.
Environmental volunteers have erected makeshift oil barriers to stem the spread while experts from Japan and Britain are investigating the extent of the spill and its potential impact on the local flora and fauna, which include major mangrove forests filled with endangered species of animal.
Meanwhile, some 34 melon-headed whales were found dead or seriously ill near the spill while the carcasses of roughly 40 dolphins are being examined for traces of oil in their system which may have contributed to their sudden and untimely deaths.
The threat to wildlife sparked outrage across the small island nation though an autopsy of two of the dead animals found no traces of oil.
Protesters bore signs which read, “Your incompetence is destroying our island,” “You have no shame,” and “I’ve seen better Cabinets at IKEA” after the prime minister blamed bad weather for the botched clean up response.
Experts are warning that the economic impact on the Mauritian economy, which is largely dependent on tourism, could be felt for decades.