• Saudi Crown Prince ‘pressed Boris Johnson to act’ over collapsed £300mn deal for Premier League Newcastle

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to step in after a £300 million Saudi-backed takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United collapsed, according to reports. A planned takeover of Newcastle involving the gargantuan Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) floundered last summer amid concerns from the Premier League about who would ultimately own the northeast club. The Daily Mail has reported that Saudi royal Bin Salman personally lobbied Johnson to intervene, supposedly sending him a message reading: “We expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion.” According to the paper, the suggestion was that Saudi-UK ties could suffer as a result of the failed deal. In response, Johnson is said to have tasked one of his senior aides, Lord Eddie Lister, with investigating the matter. The deal ultimately fell through when the consortium walked away, citing the protracted process of getting clearance from the Premier League. An initial deal to buy Newcastle was struck last April and involved PCP Capital Partners – headed by UK businesswoman Amanda Staveley – and British property billionaires the Reuben brothers, although 80% of the funding for the £300 million ($414 million) proposal was said to be coming from the Saudi PIF. The bid immediately met resistance among human rights groups, while concerns were raised over the alleged Saudi-facilitated piracy of Premier League games. In the end, the consortium pulled the plug in July citing their frustrations as the Premier League carried out its owners’ and directors’ test. Premier League boss Richard Masters later stated that Newcastle’s prospective new owners had turned down an offer of independent arbitration to determine who exactly would have control over the club. The Saudi PIF is headed by Bin Salman, although governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan was expected to be installed as Newcastle chairman if the deal got the go-ahead. Talk of the takeover had excited many Newcastle fans, who were longing to rid their club of unpopular owner Mike Ashley. The UK retail tycoon had been desperate to sell and is now awaiting an arbitration hearing against the Premier League as he seeks to revive the Saudi-led takeover. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the UK government or Lord Lister over the affair, with the latter being quoted by the Mail as saying: “The Saudis were getting upset. We were not lobbying for them to buy it or not to buy it. “We wanted them [the Premier League] to be straightforward and say yes or no, don't leave them [the Saudis] dangling.” Johnson himself had stressed in August that the deal was not a matter for the government, but nonetheless took the step of writing to Newcastle fans after it had collapsed. “There must be clarity on why there was a significant delay in a decision being made, and on the reasons why the [Saudi] consortium decided to withdraw their bid,” Johnson said at the time. “I appreciate many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.” After seeing their takeover dreams dashed, long-suffering supporters of the Magpies have endured another uninspiring season with their team languishing just above the Premier League relegation zone. Newcastle currently lie 17th in the table, six points ahead of Fulham and with a game in hand. They appear set to avoid the drop into the second tier, although fans have been nonplussed by manager Steve Bruce and the team's turgid performances.

  • Sexual assault charges against McGregor in Corsica dropped

    Charges of attempted sexual assault and indecent exposure against Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor have been dropped because of a lack of evidence, a court in the Corsican city of Bastia announced Thursday. "We had no material evidence to corroborate the complainant's statements, including after the scientific expert input that had been ordered," Bastia prosecutor Arnaud Viornery told AFP. McGregor's lawayer, Emmanuelle Ramond, said: "We welcome this decision because it is in line with what we expected." The accusations against McGregor, known as 'Notorious', came when the Irish fighter was on the French island of Corsica last September preparing for a charity 180km water-bike relay race from Calvi to Monaco. The prosecutor's office in Bastia received a complaint "denouncing acts that could be described as attempted sexual assault and sexual exhibition". McGregor at the time "vigorously denied any accusation of bad behaviour". McGregor is no stranger to controversy. He hit the headlines in 2019 for an attack on an older man in a Dublin bar captured in a viral video. In 2018 he pled guilty in Brooklyn, New York to disorderly conduct after attacking a bus filled with UFC fighters. McGregor held the UFC title for featherweights from 2015 to 2016 and lightweights from 2016 to 2018 and lost to American legend Floyd Mayweather in August 2017 in a lucrative boxing match. He is due back in action in Las Vegas on July 10 for a third fight against Dustin Poirier. American Poirier demolished McGregor by knockout during their second meeting in January. That one-sided bout followed McGregor's first-round knockout victory over Poirier in their first meeting in 2014.

  • Mayor Georges Marsan visited yesterday the new premises of the Monaco Gerontological Coordination Centre

    Mayor Georges Marsan visited yesterday the new premises of the Monaco Gerontological Coordination Centre (C.C.G.M.) in the presence of Minister of State Pierre Dartout, President of the Monaco National Council Stéphane Valeri, Government Advisor-Minister of Social Affairs and Didier Gamerdinger Health and Government Advisor-Minister of Equipment, Environment and Urbanism Marie-Pierre Gramaglia. The MMCC is accessible to anyone over 60 years of age who is suffering from physical or cognitive autonomy, residing in the Principality and has a mission to identify the needs of these people. Source : http://www.mairie.mc/

  • Will Britain Get a New Royal Yacht Named After Prince Philip?

    After Prince Philip’s death last week, several British MPs and cabinet ministers are calling for a new royal yacht. The former Royal Yacht Britannia, which transported Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth on 968 state visits around the world for more than four decades, was retired in 1997. Sitting at a dock in Edinburgh, it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, with more than 300,000 visitors each year. The call for a new royal yacht—which would be the 83rd royal vessel since the first was built for King Charles in 1660—started shortly after Royal Yacht Britannia was retired, with proponents arguing it would serve as more of a floating embassy than a luxury gigayacht. Since his death last week, the idea has gained momentum. According to The Telegraph, Prince Philip privately supported the idea, partly because of his long naval career, but also because of the 700,000 miles he had spent at sea on Britannia. The new royal yacht would be named HMY The Duke of Edinburgh in his honor. MP Craig MacKinlay is heading a Westminster group backing the idea. “The towering figure that was the Duke of Edinburgh deserves a permanent tribute to his support for the country, the Commonwealth and the Queen,” MacKinlay said in a statement. “I can think of nothing better than a replacement for Royal Yacht Britannia bearing his name as the permanent memorial to his love of Commonwealth, Britain and the sea.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office, according to Downing Street insiders, called the yacht a “nice idea,” but said it would have to wait until lawmakers decide how to proceed with a new UK shipbuilding initiative that Johnson announced last year. UK yacht designer Andrew Winch made drawings of the proposed replacement for Royal Britannia in 1997, but any notion of a new royal yacht was shelved by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose government was involved in severe cost-cutting measures. The 492-foot royal yacht, as envisioned by Winch, is 80 feet longer and more modern than the 412-foot, and much more ship-like Britannia, which had a crew of 271, including 21 officers and 250 Royal Yachtsmen. Winch’s office released the old drawings of the new Britannia five years ago. “Our interior configuration for Britannia allows for the greatest flexibility so that the space is suitable for many purposes,” Winch said in 2016. “The interior design is timeless and understated—a showcase for the best of British craftsmanship and design, both traditional and contemporary.” Whether the yacht ever moves past being a “nice idea” into an actual build remains to be seen. Johnson, foreign secretary when the new drawings were released in 2016, said it “wasn’t a priority.” The minister quoted by The Telegraph said the new yacht would have multiple functions. “Britannia was built to be a hospital ship as well as a royal yacht,” he said. “Building a vast pleasure cruiser is not something that anyone is going to support. But having a symbol of the nation that can travel the world, be used by the Royal Family and have another sensible purpose such as helping young people is a better scheme.”

  • ‘Answer to your evilness’: President promises to ‘cut both hands’ of Iran’s enemies with 60% uranium enrichment plan

    Iran’s decision to begin 60% uranium enrichment is the answer to the “evilness” of those behind the recent incident at the enrichment facility in Natanz, President Rouhani said, blasting the attack as act of “nuclear terrorism.” President Hassan Rouhani explained the reasons behind the decision to ramp up uranium enrichment as he spoke during a cabinet session on Wednesday. The president linked the weekend incident at Natanz to the ongoing talks in Vienna over the comatose 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “You wanted to make our hands empty during the talks but our hands are full,” Rouhani stated. Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz was targeted by a suspected act of sabotage on Sunday, when it suffered a power outage. Tehran blamed Israel for the attack, promising to take revenge. Tel Aviv, however, has not commented on the incident. “If the Zionists take action against us, we will respond. They got the first response. If you make a problem for IR1 we will launch IR6 to realize that you cannot stop us from this technology,” Rouhani said, calling the incident an act of “nuclear terrorism.” In the aftermath of the incident, Tehran announced its decision to enrich uranium to its highest level ever. The move will involve the installation of around 1,000 additional centrifuges, including the advanced IR-6 model. New centrifuges will replace those damaged during the Natanz incident, as well as providing a major boost to the enrichment process. 60% enrichment is an answer to your evilness... We cut off both of your hands, one with IR-6 centrifuges and another one with 60%. The Iranian president also reiterated that the fate of the JCPOA is in the hands of Washington, as only the lifting of US sanctions in full will make the country comply with the landmark agreement again. “We are clear and say that the United States must return to the conditions of 2015, and as soon as the United States fulfills its obligations and we verified it, we will return to our obligations too,” Rouhani stated. The JCPOA effectively crumbled after former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018, as he accused Tehran of violating the ‘spirit’ of the deal. The US then re-imposed previous sanctions and rolled out numerous new sanctions against Iran, which, in response, gradually suspended its obligations under the JCPOA, greatly expanding its nuclear activities in recent months.

  • Olympics 'difficult' after virus spikes, Japan medical group warns

    Holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics this summer will be "really difficult" given a spike in coronavirus infections across Japan, the head of the Tokyo Medical Association has warned. Haruo Ozaki sounded the alarm as rising daily cases prompt new virus restrictions in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan. "If infections spread further, in reality it would be difficult to hold the Olympics in its regular form with athletes coming from various countries, even if the Games are held with no spectators," the Sports Hochi daily quoted him as saying at a Tuesday press conference. On his Facebook page Wednesday, Ozaki said the report reflected his concerns, even though recent successes by Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee and golfer Hideki Matsuyama had been inspiring. "I couldn't hold back my tears watching Ikee and Matsuyama's great performances. I want to watch their great performances at the Olympics too," he wrote. "But, from my position as the head of medical workers, I have to say that holding the Games is really difficult." Ozaki called on organisers to "show concrete measures on how they can prevent the spread of infection at home and abroad." "Then we would like to sincerely study if such a plan is realistic," he wrote. The comments come as Tokyo marks 100 days until the virus-postponed 2020 Olympics open on July 23. The rise in Covid-19 cases in Japan and abroad is fuelling concerns about whether the Games can, or should, go ahead. New virus restrictions have been put in place in several parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka. The measures are significantly looser than lockdowns seen in other parts of the world, but they have forced the Olympic torch relay off public roads in Osaka. Instead, the flame is being carried along a closed course inside a park with the public kept away. Olympic organisers have released a series of virus rulebooks they say will keep the Games safe. They will bar overseas spectators, limit the movement of athletes and require regular virus testing. But vaccination will not be required and quarantine rules will be waived for Olympic participants. Polls show a majority of people in Japan want the Games postponed or cancelled. Support for holding the event this summer has risen since a winter surge in infections, but still hovers below 30

  • New day, new all-time high: Bitcoin beats its own records again, rising above $64,000

    The world’s largest cryptocurrency has continued to rally, passing the $64,000 level for the first time in history ahead of the highly anticipated stock market debut of popular trading platform Coinbase. The price of bitcoin rose more than 6% on Wednesday to reach $64,829, a new record high. The new milestone comes less than 24 hours after it broke past $63,000. The cryptocurrency has more than doubled its value since the beginning of the year, and has already hit $1.2 trillion market capitalization. Most of the top 10 cryptocurrencies followed bitcoin’s rally. Ethereum also hit an all-time high for the second time in two days, reaching $2,388 on Wednesday. The records were set ahead of the initial public offering (IPO) of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, on Nasdaq. The listing is considered by some as another sign of the wider mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. “A successful addition to Nasdaq should act as endorsement of cryptocurrencies by traditional investors,” senior analyst at Swissquote Ipek Ozkardeskaya wrote, as cited by Bloomberg. The analyst also noted that Coinbase’s appearance on Wall Street marks “the first official juncture between the traditional financial avenue and the alternative crypto path.” Coinbase is the second-largest crypto platform in the world after Binance, and the largest in the US by trading volume. Its client base has significantly expanded in recent months due to growing interest in cryptos, pushing its first quarter revenue to a whopping $1.8 billion.

  • YACHTING THERAPY: a brand new concept by the Monaco-based Experiential Yachting

    How can yachting empower one to continue navigating life after being diagnosed with a disease? In a society where most of us rely on prescribed medications, it’s easy to forget that sometimes a treatment comes from pure sources, such as Mother Nature. Trusting the rhythm of waves, Maria Alekseenko, yacht charter broker from Monaco, proposes special 3-7 days programs on a yacht, associated with sea vibrations, waves rolling and adventures; the programs, which can improve the quality of living with serious diseases, slow down the progression of an illness, boost female and male fertility levels, or help to recover quicker after a surgery or a therapy. Di-SEA-se – when Maria’s close relative was diagnosed with a rare neurological illness the first thing she saw was the SEA in diSEAse and the power it could have in the centre of it all, as well as the untapped potential it contained. Though there are very few studies on how the sea and ocean can holistically impact the body, the evidence of healing power of the Sea is all around. A yacht is the perfect platform to interact with the sea and experience the best of it. Using more than ten years of experience in retail yacht chartering, Maria has started to explore yachting as a therapy, not just as a holiday or an expedition. Yachting therapy is a totally new concept, which is relatively different from other health-related or well-being programs, proposed on board a yacht or at any retreat centres. The main purpose of yachting therapy is to help people, who experience health issues or have been diagnosed with serious diseases to overcome difficult times, deeply connecting to the water element and benefiting from its healing power. Yachting therapy is not a medical therapy or treatment, but an alternative complementary experience to manage disease or recovery. Purposeful activities and practices on board a yacht bring consciousness and acceptance to a level, where those two states of being become healing. Working hand-in-hand with doctors and specialists, who follow up with the patient, Maria elaborates and schedules a special program, which includes therapeutic methodologies, practices and activities, related to the sea and designed to experience on board a yacht. Among her special practices and experiences there are “Healing cruising experience”, “Night sea swimming”, “Philosophy of the waves”, “Healing Jet-ski experience”, “Art of the Sea”, “The Power of Sea Adventure”, “Dancing in the Sea” and others. Experiences and activities are scheduled according to the specific conditions of the patient and only after receiving medical approval by the patient’s doctor, if needed. The program is designed such that there is no need for Maria’s physical presence on board. Sessions, practices and experiences can be conducted online. Yachting therapy can be done at every destination and does not require a particular itinerary. For the yacht owners, who find themselves or their close ones in a difficult situation related to health, as part of the program Maria also includes a free one-hour coaching session for the crew, to assure that all crew members have the right supportive attitude. For those who do not own a yacht, but want to benefit from Yachting therapy, Maria’s wide experience in yacht chartering helps to book the right vessel with the right crew for assuring that this experience will run smoothly. Currently Maria accepts the requests for yachting therapy only from people, who were diagnosed with cancer, including leukaemia, some motor neurone diseases, diabetes, as well as from those who need rehabilitation after some types of surgery, chemotherapy or stem-cells treatment. Also, the special program, built around a yacht and the sea power, was created to help conceiving and to manage some infertility issues. This alternative program was designed on the base of four years’ research plus Maria’s own experiences. It includes unique practices, which help to make the process of conceiving or following stimulation protocols more pleasant and valuable. Yachting therapy is also suggested for sportsmen as an additional alternative program to support faster recovery. In the future, Maria plans to explore Yachting therapy for other diseases, as well as to conduct several researches related to the sea healing power in collaboration with the scientists and doctors. Currently Maria is in the process of establishing collaborations with leading clinics over the world. Her newly formed Monaco-based company, Experiential Yachting, is founded as an evolution of leisure orientated yachting, aiming to up-lift yachting with deeper purposes and unusual experiences, related to the sea and human potential. Website: www.experiential-yachting.com Social media: Company @experientialyachting Founder @mariayachting Press contact: Olga Barrale [email protected] +33 (0) 6 40 61 68 99

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