Month: January 2019

Ecclestone seeks to settle German bribery case

Ecclestone, 83, went on trial in Munich in April over allegations he bribed a former German banker as part of the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.

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If convicted, the British billionaire could face up to 10 years in jail and would have to cede control of a business he has built up over the past four decades.

“Public prosecutors and the defence are discussing the possibility of an agreement,” a spokesman for the German authorities said.

Media reports said Ecclestone, who denies wrongdoing, on Tuesday offered to pay German state-owned bank BayernLB 25 million euros ($33.5 million) to help settle the case. There was no immediate comment from his defence team.

Prosecutors have rejected a request from the defence to drop proceedings on the grounds of a lack of evidence.

Under German law, a settlement payment to a party involved would not necessarily bring a criminal case to an end.

The court said in a statement that talks on an agreement could continue, but it also scheduled a further hearing in the case for next Tuesday.

Ecclestone is required to attend every session, but hearings are held only a couple of times a week to fit in with his globe-trotting schedule as chief executive of the motor racing business.

CVC DEAL

Ecclestone is accused of channelling $44 million to jailed BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale of a major stake in the business by the bank to private equity fund CVC, which became the largest shareholder in Formula One in 2006.

The prosecution alleges that Ecclestone wanted CVC to take control because this meant he could stay on as chief executive of a business he had been instrumental in building.

Gribkowsky had been chief risk officer at state-owned bank BayernLB, which became a major shareholder in Formula One following the collapse of the Kirch media group in 2002.

Ecclestone says he paid off Gribkowsky as an “insurance policy” after the German threatened to make damaging false claims about his tax affairs. He funded the payment with a commission taken from BayernLB after the sale to CVC.

Under German law, judges, prosecutors and the defence can agree to dismiss a case or settle it with a light punishment, although terms for such an agreement are strictly defined.

Ecclestone has previously offered to pay money back to BayernLB in 2012 to try to prevent the case from going ahead but that proposal was rejected. ($1 = 0.7456 Euros)

(Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jane Baird)

Excited Drogba aims to end Chelsea’s five-year title wait

The 36-year-old Ivory Coast striker signed a 12-month deal last week to return to Stamford Bridge after having left the club immediately after their 2012 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.

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“Five years is a long time not to win the Premier League so I want to win it,” Drogba told the club website (南宁夜网.chelseafc广西桑拿,).

“To lift the Premier League trophy is a fantastic feeling and we haven’t experienced it for a few years, too long for a club like ours.

“I missed the Premier League, which for me is the best in the world. It’s true the German league is on the way up but the English league has been the best over the last decade and I’m really looking forward to playing the first game.”

Drogba won the top-flight crown three times in his first spell at Chelsea, in 2005, 2006 and 2010, and also lifted the FA Cup four times and the League Cup twice.

“It’s amazing to be back, a great feeling,” he said. “I’m happy to be back here and I’m looking forward to seeing the best fans.

“It was an easy decision to make, it’s very difficult to say no to (manager) Jose (Mourinho) and to Chelsea. I have so many good memories with the club.”

Drogba, who has scored 157 goals in 341 appearances for Chelsea, was one of Mourinho’s first signings when the Portuguese first joined the club in 2004.

“He said to me that a player like me, who has history with the club, should come back one day,” said the Ivorian, who had short spells in China with Shanghai Shenhua and in Turkey with Galatasaray during his time away from Stamford Bridge.

“I agree with him because even if I left I was still a Chelsea player because of the eight years I spent here. No offence to the teams I was with during those two years but that’s just the way it is.

“He’s the one who gave me a chance to play in the Premier League. We won so many trophies together and so many matches,” added Drogba, who will wear the same number 15 shirt he sported when he first joined Chelsea in 2004.

“His relationship is not only with me, it’s with all the players who were here from the beginning of the story. It’s quite emotional but the most important thing is that we want to win, win, win.”

Chelsea, who finished third in Mourinho’s first campaign back in charge last term, launch their new season at promoted Burnley on Aug. 18.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Stephen Wood)

Schneiderlin, Rodriguez not for sale – Southampton chief

According to media reports Schneiderlin and Rodriguez have been close to joining Tottenham Hotspur, adding to a player exodus that has left Saints fans concerned about their ability to compete this season.

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Chairman Ralph Krueger has already sanctioned the sales of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren to Liverpool, Calum Chambers to Arsenal and Luke Shaw to Manchester United.

Those deals have dismantled the squad that finished eighth last season under Mauricio Pochettino who left St Mary’s in the close season to take over at Tottenham.

But Krueger gave a guarantee to Southampton fans that French international Schneiderlin, 24, and England’s Rodriguez, 25, would be staying on the south coast.

“That’s correct,” he told Sky Sports News. “They are part of the core that we have decided to keep in Southampton – Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin are not for sale.

“All of those stories are false,” added Krueger of the Spurs reports.

“It is come September that will be judgment day,” he said in reference to the end of the transfer window. “I think people need to realise we are in a process right now.”

Krueger added that manager Ronald Koeman had money to spend and that new players would come in during the window.

“Now we have finances and once again we are excited to continue the rebuilding process in the next few weeks,” he said.

“We will make transfers to strengthen the squad. I can understand some frustration maybe in and around our fans but we needed to stay silent (on outgoings) to bring in the best deals for the club.

“Ronald Koeman has done an outstanding job with his staff thus far in pre-season. We’re extremely pleased with the work that’s going on at St Mary’s.

“We know we are going the right way but we also know we need more players and we need more depth in our line-up.”

(Writing by Stephen Wood, editing by Tony Jimenez)

Anderson and Broad leave India in trouble

Anderson picked up three for 52 while fast bowling partner Broad shrugged aside some indifferent recent performances to snatch three for 65.

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The pair were well backed up by spinner Moeen Ali who took two for 62 after being banned by the International Cricket Council from sporting the “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” wristbands he wore on Monday.

Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni made half-centuries but England, 1-0 down in the five-match series, are in control as they bid to win their first test in 11 outings.

“I’ve probably been putting too much pressure on myself to take responsibility and I just wanted to get back to enjoying my cricket,” Broad told reporters.

“Before this test coach Peter Moores came up to us and said, ‘Go and express yourselves’, which freed me up a bit. I’m an attacking cricketer but perhaps I fell into a defensive mindset after the tough time we’ve been going through.”

Resuming on 25 for one, the dangerous Broad quickly removed Cheteshwar Pujara (24) and Murali Vijay (35).

Anderson tempted Virat Kohli (39) into a tentative prod outside off stump after lunch and the edge was snapped up by captain Alastair Cook.

Moeen then removed Rohit Sharma for 28, ending a watchful stand of 74 with Rahane.

The spinner also claimed Rahane’s wicket following an elegant 54, top-edging a short delivery to substitute fielder Sean Terry at mid-wicket.

The dismissal was another example of India’s batsmen being victims of their own downfall as they showed poor shot selection throughout.

“I was really disappointed in the way I got out because I was batting so well and we needed that partnership,” said Rahane.

“My focus was 100 percent but I played a bad shot. I’ll learn from this and I hope to bat well in the second innings.”

BRIEF REVIVAL

Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja led a brief revival, displaying the counter-attacking style that helped guide India to victory in the last test at Lord’s.

When their seventh-wicket partnership had reached 58 Anderson bowled a beauty to Jadeja that nipped back and cannoned into his pads to leave the tourists on the ropes.

Lower-order batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has hit three half-centuries on the tour, fell to Broad for 19, edging on to his pads and watching the ball loop up to Gary Ballance at slip.

Dhoni struck a patient unbeaten 50 and will resume with Mohammed Shami (four) on Wednesday morning as India look to scrape past the follow-on mark of 370.

Broad and Anderson reached a landmark on Tuesday, combining for their 500th wicket as a test partnership.

It made them only the third pair to achieve the feat, following Pakistani duo Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram and West Indians Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

“To be in the company of people like that is a great honour and I think it shows the value of bowling partnerships,” Broad said.

“Jimmy and I are constantly talking not just on the field but also in the nets.”

Broad said he would not be in favour of enforcing the follow-on.

“I haven’t discussed it with Cook but if it were up to me it is 100 percent off limits,” he explained.

“From a seamer’s point of view you’re going back and bowling at opening batsmen so even if you just get a 30 or 40-overrest that’s pretty important.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Concussion settlement deal reached in US

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), governing body for the rich American university sports programs, has reached a settlement in a concussion-related class action lawsuit, similar to suits the NFL faced.

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The NCAA will provide $US70 million ($A75.7 million) for concussion testing and to diagnose current and former college athletes under the deal, which must still be approved by Chicago federal judge John Lee.

In all, 14 lawsuits were consolidated into one that was filed in US District Court in Illinois.

A similar deal between the NFL and former players involving concussions also had benefits capped until a judge objected, saying there was no assurance the sum would be enough to handle all of the cases that might come.

The NFL relented and made the potential payouts open-ended in the settlement.

The NCAA’s deal, like that of the NFL, also had an educational component to inform athletes about research.

“We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline said.

“Medical knowledge of concussions will continue to grow, and consensus about diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions by the medical community will continue to evolve.

“This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.”

Any student who competed at any NCAA member school within the past half century could qualify for physical examination, neurological measurements and assessments.

Horwill helped by Test benching: Reds

Dethroned Wallabies skipper James Horwill’s diminished stocks are rising again.

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That’s the assured view of Queensland coach Richard Graham who believes Horwill’s unpalatable Test benching has helped the Reds lock rediscover his best form.

Several critics have doubted whether the 200cm second-rower would ever get back to the heights of 2011 when he was elevated to Australia’s captaincy following powerhouse efforts for the triumphant Reds and Wallabies.

A string of serious injuries to his right leg – ankle, knee and hamstring – have taken their toll in the past 12 months, with the 29-year-old first demoted as Test skipper last November.

He was again overlooked, for Stephen Moore and then Michael Hooper, as captain for the Wallabies’ 3-0 series victory over France, when also twice benched.

Horwill played 90 minutes in total as Sam Carter (first Test) and Will Skelton (third Test) took their starting chances and gained rave reviews.

But the Reds captain looked a new man on Friday night as he inspirationally led the way in Queensland’s 36-20 Super Rugby victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.

“Horwill was outstanding,” Graham said. “He led from the front in everything he did.

“Only playing 90 minutes in the last three weeks has freshened him up a little bit.

“I don’t think that last three weeks was easy, by any stretch, but the less game time has probably helped him.”

Horwill had 10 months on the sidelines after undergoing hamstring surgery midway through 2012.

The fears were that the 51-Test stalwart had lost the leg drive that had made him such a powerful figure in the Test and Reds packs.

But it was there as he made seven barnstorming runs and made 15 tackles against the Rebels.

“I know the one thing about Kevvie (Horwill) is he is determined,” he said. “And he is always out there to try and prove people wrong.

“Kev probably hasn’t had the time or chance to sit back and freshen up and just get his body right.”

The Reds must make two more changes to their injury-hit backline for Saturday night’s clash in Perth, with Lachie Turner to replace Dom Shippperley (ankle) and Samu Kerevi set to start in the centres for Ant Fainga’a (calf).

Graham again declined to confirm James O’Connor was heading to Ballymore after the latest newspaper report had the wayward Wallabies back signing a two-year deal.

Queensland are sticking to their plan to reveal the bulk of their squad after their 2014 campaign ends.

Ramp Up’s shut-down robs us of a voice on disability issues

By Shawn Burns, University of Wollongong

The headlines said it all.

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Back to work: Disability support pension on the scrapheap, screamed Melbourne’s Herald Sun. Beating the bludgers will help the disabled was the lead on The Sunday Telegraph.

The mothballing of the ABC’s Ramp Up website, announced earlier this month, could not have come at a worse time for people with disability.

Too often, media representation of people with disability is embedded within familiar models of “tragedy” and “hero” – but the weekend’s coverage of potential changes to the disability support pension and the welfare system paint an equally distorted and harmful image.

The news media has the capacity to frame an issue, a story, and an angle. It has the power to present people with disability as “bludgers” and declare they should “get back to work”. It also has the capacity to set the agenda by deciding whether to provide favourable or unfavourable commentary.

The end of the line for Ramp Up

On June 5, the Ramp Up editors, Stella Young and Karen Palenzuela, delivered some bad news to readers of the ABC’s website dedicated to discussion of disability issues:

As many of you are aware, in 2010 the ABC received funding to establish an online destination to discuss disability in Australia. The funding came from the Department of Families and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, which is now the Department of Social Services. Our current contract with DSS finishes on 30 June this year and has not been renewed.

The publication of ABC Ramp Up will cease on 30 June, however the website will remain online as a resource for the disability community. Current comments will remain while new comments on articles will be closed.

It wasn’t a complete surprise. Cuts had been widely anticipated after the Federal Budget imposed a A$43m “efficiency dividend” on the ABC and SBS in May.

The message from the Ramp Up editors included a sentence that served to reinforce the importance of the site – and to underline ongoing arguments for its continuation as more than a “resource” or archive.

We have seen a significant shift in coverage of disability issues in the media and a move towards more critical thinking within the movement.

Why we need Ramp Up

Unfortunately, the weekend’s news headlines about predicted changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and Australia’s welfare system showed that there’s a long way to go. Discussion spaces such as Ramp Up are more important than ever – and that there is still work to be done.

People With Disabilities Australia (PWDA) President Craig Wallace spoke with the Sydney Morning Herald and cautioned against careless classification of types of disability. In his words, “The reality is that it isn’t as simple as that. I’ve got a permanent disability and I work.”

Wallace also criticised media demonisation of people with disabilities and called for concrete evidence that the government needs to clamp down on the disability support pension. “We are not rorters, we are not slackers,” he said.

Wallace is not alone in his concern about media representation of people with disability and coverage of disability issues. Dr George Taleporos is leading an online campaign to Save ABC Ramp Up, with which I’m affiliated.

As Taleporos wrote in The Guardian last week, “Our discussion space will be gone. The voice of people with disabilities, a voice the ABC has nurtured for the past three and a half years, will be silenced”.

Today, Taleporos and fellow disability activists will converge at ABC headquarters in Melbourne to protest the decision, and pressure ABC boss Mark Scott and his Board of Directors to honour the ABC Charter that commits the broadcaster to provide “comprehensive” broadcasting, including

…programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community.

Ramp Up was providing space for people with disabilities and disability issues to be presented as a part of the greater fabric of society – with all diversity. The mothballing of Ramp Up is a retrograde step.

If the decision-makers at the ABC are looking for reasons to revise it, they need look no further than Sunday’s papers for motivation.

Shawn Burns is affiliated with Save ABC Ramp Up.

Western Australian Liberal Senator-elect Linda Reynolds

The Western Australian Liberal Senator-elect has worked her whole professional career in what she labelled as male-dominated professions, from decades in the military to the halls of Parliament House.

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Speaking to SBS, Ms Reynolds said equality for women was something she’d address during her time in the Senate.

“There are still many challenges for women not just in the military and in politics, but also in industry and on boards,” she said.

“One of the things I will be focussing on will be really starting to change the narrative and discussions on barriers, the very real barriers that still exist for women.”

Listen: Stephanie Anderson speaks with Linda Reynolds.

Ms Reynolds will bring with her experience from her years as the Deputy Federal Director of the Liberal Party, saying she could handle the makeup of the Senate and negotiate the lack of balance of power.

“I understand the challenges we face, but I’m also not unwilling to tackle them.”

“… It’s something I’ve experienced previously in government. I think a great example was the Prime Minister meeting with Clive Palmer, to sit down and discuss the issues calmly and sensibly. While there are still some discussions to go, I think that bodes well.”

Ms Reynolds is also set to throw her support behind the Coalition’s tough stance on asylum seekers, having dealt with tragedies at sea during her years as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Justice and Customs, as well as the axing of the carbon tax.

“It is simply bad policy,” she said.

Ms Reynolds also acknowledged the public backlash to the Federal handed down by the Abbott Government, but said she was confident the Senate could negotiate the legislation.

“There are some negotiations and discussions to be had, but at the end of the day, Tony Abbott and his team were elected to do exactly what they’re doing,” she said.

“We just need to work through those issues in the senate.”

Mustangs could run wild in V8s

Prominent V8 Supercars team owner Rod Nash says Ford’s iconic Mustang-branded muscle car could be the future for the brand in the Australian motorsports category.

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The last model of the Ford Falcon is set to be released towards the end of the year and Ford’s decision to cease local manufacturing by October 2016 has increased doubts over the company’s ongoing participation in V8 Supercars.

Nash, who is a co-owner in the factory-backed Ford Performance Racing (FPR) team, believes the two-door Mustang coupe could be the car to keep Ford in the championship.

A sixth-generation version of the Mustang is due for release in Australia in the latter part of next year.

Nash says the possibility of racing the car in future years of the V8s is one his team have to look at.

“The opportunity is there for a V8 Supercar to be a two-door,” Nash told V8supercars南宁桑拿网,广西桑拿网,.

“If we want to do a two-door vehicle going forward then that will be part of it.

“It’s all part of manufacturers going forward and being able to accommodate what they want to do.”

With the Holden Commodore also facing extinction no later than 2017, V8 Supercars has opened itself to the possibility of changing current regulations to allow two-door coupes to race alongside or in place of the current four-door sedan designs allowed.

If that change is adopted, not only will Ford be able to race Mustangs but cars such as Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers could join the grid.

“Nothing is granted until you put it up through the V8 Supercars Commission,” Nash said.

“Any subject has to go up so it’s not mandated that you just go out and do it.”

NSW Liberal Democrats Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm

The NSW Liberal Democrats Senator-elect started his political life as a member of Young Labor, working on the It’s Time campaign before switching to the Liberal Party in the 1980s.

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He joined the Shooters Party in 1992, while still a Liberal, rising to the rank of Chairman and gaining a seat on the NSW Legislative Council in 2003.

He resigned from the Liberal Party in 1996 and, following the federal reregistration of the Shooters Party, used the Outdoor Recreation Party to run a team of shooters for the Senate and marginal NSW seats.

Having been firmly settled in the LDP for years, he told SBS he had things he wished to achieve as a Senator, but said primarily he wanted the stop the government from “intruding into our lives”.

“We think the government should leave people alone unless they’re hurting other people,” he said.

“Most political parties are interested in getting the government to do something else than what they’re doing now. My objective is to get them to stop doing some of the things they’re doing and not start new ones either.”

Listen: Stephanie Anderson speaks with David Leyonhjelm.

The agribusiness consultant and former veterinarian has strong views on policy, saying he would support a repeal of the carbon tax and dismissed US President Barack Obama’s pledge to address climate change as “just talk”.

“When the rest of the world decides that climate change is ready to dos something about – and by that I don’t mean talking about it, I mean doing something – then Australia should do something too,” he said.

“But until then, my view is it’s a waste of money.”

Mr Leyonhjelm has already made news with the announcement of his alliance with Family First Senator-elect Bob Day, saying the pair agreed on “many things”.

“It makes sense for us to work closely together,” he said.

“… We think we’ll achieve more by working together.”

Mr Leyonhjelm said some of the budget measures put forward by the Abbott Government were clumsy, but noted that he was “broadly sympathetic” to proposed policies surrounding welfare.

“We are living beyond our means,” he said.

“There are way too many people receiving welfare that don’t deserve it… We do need a good safety net for those who are out of luck, but we can’t have 8 million people who are out of luck. It just doesn’t compute.”