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Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Hon. Marc Garneau Clarifies governments’ position to Tamils

Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau

“Canada recognizes the importance of an independent and credible justice process that has the trust and confidence of victims….” – Marc Garneau.

TORONTO, CANADA , July 8, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ –Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau, in a remarkably candid response to a Tamil petitioner, clarified Canada’s stand on the long standing Tamils’ issue that has been a matter of concern for 12 years to the International Community and the UNHRC.

The minister responded to an online petition with three prayers, filed by a Canadian Tamil Citizen on Feb 10. The petition, in its preamble, highlighted facts drawn from the UNHRC high Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report released on Jan 27.

  1. Work with members of the Co-Group, and garner support from other council members, to adopt a new resolution at the upcoming February and March 2021 sessions, guaranteeing justice to victims of international atrocity crimes;
  2. Ensure the new resolution incorporates mechanisms to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court; and

  3. Ensure the new resolution mandates non-recurrence of mass atrocities and proposes a referendum with international monitors and victims’ participation, to determine the Tamils’ political future, as remedial justice, – were the three prayers in the petition.

As part of his elaborate responses to the prayers, Minister Marc Garneau, while mentioning about the Mar 23 UNHRC resolution and Canada’s role in it, pointed that,

“ The resolution also requests the OHCHR to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including the preparation of a comprehensive report with further options for advancing accountability to be presented at the Human Rights Council fifty-first session (September 2022). Canada and the international community will consider these options for future accountability processes – which may include an international investigation – when the OHCHR presents its comprehensive report. “

Roy Wignarajah the initiator of the petition said, “The foreign affairs Minister Hon. Marc Garneau’s responses are a milestone. The response has put unequivocally on record, Canada’s stand, in the pursuit of justice and equality for Sri Lanka’s Tamils.”

I see the government’s response as a message that possesses the worthiness to be presented to the Canadian and world Tamil polity and every domestic and international stakeholder working to see equality and justice delivered to Sri Lanka’s Tamils. While my sincere appreciation and gratitude goes to the government of Canada and Hon. Marc Garneau the Minister of Foreign affairs, it is my duty to give due credit to the 683 fellow Canadians and the initial four supporters who signed the petition.

On behalf of everyone that supported the petition, I take pride in acknowledging the Canadianism shown by Heather McPherson MP, Edmonton Strathcona New Democratic Party Caucus Alberta, in accepting the petition and presenting it in the House of Commons. Also on behalf of all the Tamil Canadians and the Tamils of Sri Lankan descent, I thank Hon. Marc Garneau MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government of Canada’s for the unequivocal response to the Tamils he further said.

The petition and the response by the government of Canada: e-3168 (Foreign affairs) E-petition Initiated by Roy Wignarajah from Scarborough, Ontario Original language of petition: English Petition details Petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Whereas: Canada is a member of the Sri Lanka Co-Group at the UN Human Rights council; ·

The High Commissioner of the Council released the Sri Lanka report on January 27, 2021; · The High Commissioner urges the Member States to take steps to refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court, in paragraph 59 of the report; · Twice before, the UNHRC has leant its support to domestic accountability and reconciliation initiatives, culminating in resolution 30/1, from which Sri Lanka unilaterally withdrew in March 2020; · The High Commissioner indicates that Sri Lanka has now demonstrated its inability and unwillingness to pursue a meaningful path towards accountability for international crimes and serious human rights violations; · In March 2011, the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts and Internal Review Panel on Accountability in Sri Lanka reported that as many as 40,000 Tamils were killed and 70,000 people were unaccounted for in the final six months of the war ending in 2009; and · The failure to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC will embolden it to continue international atrocity crimes unabated, against the Tamils.

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs to:

  1. Work with members of the Co-Group, and garner support from other council members, to adopt a new resolution at the upcoming February and March 2021 sessions, guaranteeing justice to victims of international atrocity crimes;
    2. Ensure the new resolution incorporates mechanisms to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court; and
    3. Ensure the new resolution mandates non-recurrence of mass atrocities and proposes a referendum with international monitors and victims’ participation, to determine the Tamils’ political future, as remedial justice.

Government response tabled Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant Canada had long supported UNHRC resolution 30/1 and its successors, and was disappointed when the Government of Sri Lanka withdrew its support from the resolution and its consensual framework in February 2020. Canada, along with its partners in the Core Group on the Sri Lanka resolution, believes that previous domestic processes have proven insufficient to tackle impunity and deliver real reconciliation.

At the Council’s 46th session (February-March 2021), Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted Sri Lanka’s deteriorating human rights situation. At the Session, through Core Group efforts, the Council adopted a new resolution which advances accountability in Sri Lanka by mandating the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ‘to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence’ of gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The continued reporting and the attention of the UNHRC will assist in monitoring ongoing human rights concerns in the country.

The new resolution 46/1 strengthens the capacity of the OHCHR to collect and preserve information and evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in 2009. The resolution also requests the OHCHR to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including the preparation of a comprehensive report with further options for advancing accountability to be presented at the Human Rights Council fifty-first session (September 2022). Canada and the international community will consider these options for future accountability processes – which may include an international investigation – when the OHCHR presents its comprehensive report. UNHRC resolution 46/1 does not incorporate a mechanism to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Only the United Nations Security Council can refer cases to the ICC if the country concerned is not a party to the Rome Statute or has not accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. That said, Canada recognizes the importance of an independent and credible justice process that has the trust and confidence of victims and believes this remains necessary for reconciliation and long-term prosperity.

The OHCHR’s new mandate will be critical for establishing future accountability processes. Canada also encourages all non-States Parties to consider acceding to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Resolution 46/1 emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past to ensure accountability, to serve justice, to provide remedies to victims, and to avoid the recurrence of violations of human rights and to promote healing and reconciliation. The resolution further calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to protect civil society actors, including human rights defenders, and to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and enabling environment as well as to foster freedom of religion or belief and pluralism by promoting the ability of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society. The resolution reaffirms the UNHRC’s commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

Canada will continue to urge Sri Lanka to uphold its human rights obligations, end impunity and undertake a comprehensive accountability process for all violations and abuses of human rights. Canada believes that resolution 46/1 is a step toward securing a safe, peaceful and inclusive future for Sri Lanka, and, to this end, we stand ready to support efforts that work towards this goal.

Link to the petition and governments response:

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3168

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p class=”contact c6″ dir=”auto”>Roy Wignarajah
Roy Wignarajah
+1 416-457-1633
[email protected]

Author: Aalto University
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Angela Rayner now in 'STRONGER' position as Starmer's 'botched' demotion attempt backfires

Angela Rayner leadership potential weighed up by Labour MP

A number of Labour members on the party’s left voiced outraged in the wake of Ms Rayner being sacked as party chair and campaigns coordinator. Figures like former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott claimed Sir Keir was attempting to make Ms Rayner “carry the can” for the disastrous local election results in England. She was instead moved to Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and will fill the new role of the Shadow Secretary for the Future of Work, on top of maintaining her elected deputy post.
Some framed the move as a promotion, arguing that it proved Sir Keir wanted Ms Rayner to have more influence in the party.

Others claim it is the beginning of his plans to move the party to a more centrist position.

Richard Wyn Jones, a political scientist, said it was as a “botched attempt” at demoting Ms Rayner, inadvertently boosting her position in the party and among the Corbynite left.

He told Express.co.uk: “The perception would be that there was an attempt to demote her and that ended up backfiring.

Angela Rayner: The deputy leader's demotion will strengthen her in the short term, it was claimed

Angela Rayner: The deputy leader’s demotion will strengthen her in the short term, it was claimed (Image: GETTY)

Keir Starmer: The leader's reshuffle was described as a 'botched demotion'

Keir Starmer: The leader’s reshuffle was described as a ‘botched demotion’ (Image: GETTY)

“Her position is probably, at least in the short to medium term, strengthened as a result.

“And it looks as if it has left Starmer substantially weakened, again, at least in the short to medium term.”

When asked whether he believed there was a feud between Sir Keir and Ms Rayner, Mr Wyn Jones said: “Yes. There is this almost unceasing battle within the Labour Party between left and right, and the dramatis personae changes regularly.

“There is an unceasing tension within Labour and what seems to be giving it added spice is that a lot of people on the soft left supported Starmer thinking he would bring more discipline and more order but retain some of the policies they thought were best; some of the things they associated with Corbyn but to get rid of the chaos and the stuff they disapproved of.

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Andy Burnham: The Greater Manchester Mayor is thought to be in the running alongside Rayner

Andy Burnham: The Greater Manchester Mayor is thought to be in the running alongside Rayner (Image: GETTY)

“But now, rightly or wrongly, people feel they’ve been betrayed by Starmer, so it’s an extra element in this unending conflict within Labour.”

John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor, has been one of the most vocal Labour figures to condemn Sir Keir’s distancing from Jeremy Corbyn’s policies.

In the aftermath of May’s local elections, he urged the Labour leader to readopt Mr Corbyn’s radical policy sheet, claiming it was the only way to win back the electorate.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “What I’ve been saying to him is you need to demonstrate to people the sort of society you want to create, the policy programme that will achieve that society and you need to get back to that real grassroots campaigning.

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John McDonnell: The Corbynite has been particularly vocal in his criticism of Starmer

John McDonnell: The Corbynite has been particularly vocal in his criticism of Starmer (Image: GETTY)

Diane Abbott: The former Shadow Home Secretary has also chipped in against Starmer

Diane Abbott: The former Shadow Home Secretary has also chipped in against Starmer (Image: GETTY)

“We must never again send our candidates into an election campaign almost naked without a policy programme, without a key view on the sort of society we want to create.”

He has since shared videos of Sir Keir on Twitter pledging to retain Mr Corbyn’s policies in previous speeches.

On being elected leader in April last year, Sir Keir said he was committed to keeping most of the plans contained in the party’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos.

This included things like scrapping tuition fees and nationalising the railways.

Separately, in his “Ten Pledges” published ahead of being elected, he set out many of the things Mr Corbyn had promised in the years before.

Brexit news: Starmer's Brexit policy has flip-flopped over the years

Brexit news: Starmer’s Brexit policy has flip-flopped over the years (Image: Express Newspapers)

To date, he has backtracked on at least two of these.

This week, he said Labour will have a completely new blueprint for power not based on Mr Corbyn and Tony Blair’s manifestos.

Many have responded to Mr McDonnell, Ms Abbot and Richard Burgon‘s calls to revert back to the Corbyn years as a “betrayal” of Labour and its voters.

Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, said the continued rhetoric is plunging the party into further disrepair.

New blueprint: Starmer has said he has plans for power not based on Corbyn or Blair

New blueprint: Starmer has said he has plans for power not based on Corbyn or Blair (Image: GETTY)

He told Express.co.uk: “There are large elements of the Labour movement who are more interested in feeding their purist ideology than making the compromises that are necessary to win power.

“Particularly now with the radical left whose presence is much more prominent in the party since Corbyn, it strikes me that some of them would rather be able to say, ‘I haven’t compromised, I’ve stuck true to my ideal, my radical ideology‘ even if that means Labour is not going to win power.

“Actually, that’s a betrayal because if you’re serious about winning power, if you’re serious about changing the country, you’ve got to make difficult decisions, to articulate policies and principles that are in touch with millions of ordinary people.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

UFC 262: Michael Chandler's title fight plan? 'Pressure, position and damage'

Michael Chandler is laser-focused and confident ahead of the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts career.

In only his second fight in the UFC, Chandler will take on Brazilian contender Charles Oliveira for the vacant undisputed UFC lightweight title at UFC 262 in Houston, Texas on Saturday night.

Ahead of the bout, Chandler, a three-time former Bellator lightweight champion, laid out the test that stands in front of him, then explained how he would go about breaking down the man with the longest active winning streak in the division, and the most submission finishes in UFC history.

“I think Charles is probably the most dangerous guy, in the grappling department, that I have faced,” he told reporters during the UFC 262 pre-fight press conference. 

“However, I have faced some very high-level competition when it comes to black belts.

“My style is more pressure, position and damage.

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“My wrestling, even the way I wrestled in college, transitioning into mixed martial arts, it’s more of an anti-jiu-jitsu than it is an actual wrestling offence. 

“You’re gonna feel my presence, you’re gonna feel my pressure and you’re gonna feel my power, whether you’re on the ground or on the feet. 

“So, I think I’m going to thwart every attack, I think I’m going to make him second-guess himself in every single exchange, whether we’re on the feet or we’re on the ground, and that’s where we’re going. 

“I’m going to get my hand raised on Saturday night.”

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Chandler may be relatively new to the UFC, but he’s no newbie. The 34-year-old has a career record of 22 wins, 5 losses, and has finished 17 of those victories inside the distance. 

After winning Bellator’s 155-pound title on three separate occasions, Chandler joined the UFC, and demolished Kiwi contender Dan Hooker in just half a round at UFC 257 to announce his arrival as a serious threat to the title.

After his win, Chandler gave a stirring post-fight interview as he called for a fight with then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib’s confirmed retirement meant that matchup never came to fruition, but Chandler had done enough to earn a shot at the newly-vacated belt.

It’s a turn of events that Chandler said feels very natural to him as he prepares for fight night in Houston.

“It feels like this is the way is was supposed to be scripted the entire time,” he admitted.

“A lot of ups, a couple of downs, but every road led me here and, honestly, as soon as I made the decision, as soon as that door just cracked open a little bit I said I was gonna come in (and) I was gonna kick the door down and showcase my skills and prove what I have been saying over the last decade. 

“That I believe I am the best lightweight on the planet, and on Saturday night I get to prove that.”

And while the casual fans may still not appreciate his full capabilities as a fighter, Chandler is happy that he has the skills, and the experience, to step into the octagon on Saturday night and walk out as the UFC’s new undisputed lightweight champ.

“I’ve been in this sport for over a decade. It’ll be 13 years in August,” he said. 

“My resume speaks for itself. I have dismantled two former UFC champions, so I love my resume, I love my past, I love my ups and I love my downs.

“I think the show I put on against Dan Hooker, doing in two and a half minutes what Dustin Poirier couldn’t do in 25, what Paul Felder couldn’t do in 25 minutes, I think that was indicative of getting this title shot.

“Not to mention the fact that I came in right away, kicked down the door, said ‘yes’ to every opportunity, showed up with my work boots on, just as my dad did as a union carpenter for the last 40 years. 

“I show up. I’m a working man, and I’m gonna say ‘yes’ when you call.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Lewis Hamilton 'ecstatic' with 100th pole position at Spanish GP – 'Feels like my first'

MercedesLewis Hamilton has become the first driver in Formula One history to reach triple figures as he stormed to his 100th career pole position ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
In a close qualifying session, which saw Max Verstappen set the second fastest time, trailing the Briton by just 0.036s, Hamilton said he was ‘ecstatic’ with his lap, claiming his record-breaking pole “felt like his first”.

The Briton’s time of 1:16.741 was enough to lead the way for Sunday’s race, overshadowing Michael Schumacher’s 68 and Ayrton Senna’s 65 poles, and Hamilton admitted it hasn’t all been straight forward this weekend.

He said: “FP3 was looking really good, I think we’ve been strong all weekend. I made some changes and I had a bit of anxiety about the changes we were potentially going to make for qualifying.”

“You’re always trying to make the car better but it’s a bit of a gamble. You’ve also got to keep the race in mind also.

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“The support I have, it’s been a dream for me to work with these guys. The journey we’ve been on has been immense.

“Who would have thought in 2013 or the end of 2012 when we made the decision to partner we’d be qualifying at 100? I feel very humble, very grateful. I’m ecstatic like it’s my first.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start behind the Red Bull of Verstappen, with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc once again showing good midfield pace in the scarlet car starting P4.

However, with just eight points between Hamilton and Verstappen at the top of the table, Red Bull have little room for error, with the Dutchman reflecting on his session.

“I struggled a little bit in Q1 but then we sorted out the balance for Q2 which was pretty good. Q3, for me to be honest both laps were pretty decent,” explained Verstappen.

“The second run was a little bit worse, it was quite gusty and the wind changes a lot.

“Nevertheless I think second for us is very good today. We know they’re hard to beat around here.

“To be that close, I can be happy with that. It’s a long run to turn one. Of course first you have to make sure you have a good start. The pace is there so of course I hope we can have a good race.

“Around here with all the fast corners and tyres overheating, tyre management is very important. We have to make sure we’re on top of that tomorrow.

“Our out-laps were so slow to make sure in the last sector the tyres survived. Everyone is doing more or less the same thing.”

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon once again out-qualified his team-mate, the two time world champion Fernando Alonso, to round up the top five.

McLaren have fallen behind a bit with their pace this weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo starting P7 and Lando Norris slotting into P9.

George Russell in the Williams starts P15 after getting into Q2 on Saturday.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Lewis Hamilton surprised by pole position as Max Verstappen vows to make race 'difficult'

Lewis Hamilton has claimed his 99th Formula One pole position of his career ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP in a fascinating qualifying session in Imola.
Sergio Perez beat his team-mate Max Vertsappen to line up behind Hamilton in only his second outing in a Red Bull.

The Dutchman meanwhile starts in third place, with both himself and Hamilton lining up on the grid with a set of the medium tyres, with the Mexican splitting the pairing on the soft compound of tyre.

Mercedes were expecting to struggle again coming into the weekend after being on the backfoot during the opening weekend of the season in Bahrain, despite Hamilton claiming victory.

Both Hamilton and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas were top of the timing screens during Friday’s practice, with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen fastest in final practice.

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And there was all to play for come qualifying with no clear advantage for any of the top teams – however it was Hamilton’s first flying lap in Q3 that sealed the deal for the brit.

Sounding almost shocked as he crossed the line, Hamilton afterwards said: “The day’s been great, obviously.

“I definitely didn’t expect us to be ahead of two Red Bulls. I think they’ve been so quick this weekend, there were times they were six tenths ahead.

“We didn’t really know where we’d be, but the car was already feeling a lot better from the beginning this weekend, so my respect to the team for the hard work to really narrow down the window.”

Hamilton will have a lonely start to his race tomorrow with his team-mate Bottas starting P8 – with two fast Red Bulls alongside him.

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But the seven-time world champion was up for the challenge.

“I love it, I love the challenge,” replied Hamilton.

“I think it’s great finally we’ve got the two Red Bulls there. I think it’s going to definitely make the strategy harder, and it’s going to be a real challenge tomorrow because they’ve got great race pace.

“But I’m just so happy, because the first lap was really, really nice. Really clean and there were some improvements on the second lap, but it wasn’t quite as good as the first one.

“But I’m really grateful, came round the last corner and found out I got the pole and I was super grateful.”

The top three drivers were separated by less than a tenth of a second in the battle for pole, with Verstappen being out-qualified by his team-mate.

Verstappen starts with the same strategy as Hamilton tomorrow on the medium tyres, but was unhappy with the outcome of the day.

“Not so good, in Q3 I went off at turn 3. It was a bit messy and not a very good lap,” admitted Verstappen.

“But it can’t be good every time, so we’ll see what went wrong. But it was definitely not the easiest in Q3.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Google Maps Street View: Dog spotted in unlikely position but users commend 'good boy'

Google Maps[1] Street View is a nifty tool when it comes to finding directions. Using special 3D cameras, the online programme is able to snap multiple images of regions around the world at street level and stitch them together to create a virtual world.
However, when doing so, it often captures people getting up to all manner of things.

Yet, thanks to one recent scene, it turns out it isn’t just people who leave viewers surprised by their actions.

In fact, a dog in New Mexico recently caught Google[2] Maps Street View users’ attention.

The scene unfolds at the side of a road, where a silver car is parked outside of what appears to be a convenience store.

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While at first glance it may look as though the dog is driving the car, in reality, it is most likely the animal is simply waiting in the vehicle while its owner ran inside to grab something.

The dog may well have clambered across the seats, ending up on the driver’s side to get a closer look out of the window at the outside world.

The image was shared to a Reddit forum where users have commented on the scene.

One Reddit commenter joked: “Duke, found himself at a crossroads. The car he had stolen ran out of gas.”

In Norway, the moment a dog walker opted to transport her pooch in style was shared to StreetViewFun.

The poster questioned if this was “how Norwegians walk the dog.”

Indeed, the dog in the picture didn’t seem too confused by its method of transport.

The canine appeared relaxed, sat upright in the pushchair, gazing ahead at its surroundings.

References

  1. ^ Google Maps (www.express.co.uk)
  2. ^ Google (www.express.co.uk)
  3. ^ Calder reveals places most likely to be on UK travel green list (www.express.co.uk)

Barca president-elect Joan Laporta ‘in race against time’ to get €125 MILLION in funds needed to secure position before deadline

Barcelona president-elect Joan Laporta was said to be facing a race against time to raise the necessary funds to complete his bid for the club’s top job, or face a second election.

The 58-year-old Laporta was elected to the Barcelona presidency for the second time earlier this month. Laporta previously held the position between 2003 and 2010 – a spell which arguably coincided with the Catalan giants’ best spell of football under first Frank Rijkaard and then Pep Guardiola. 
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However, Laporta faced an anxious scramble to see if his election will be realized after it emerged that he was significantly short when it comes to required funds in order to take the position.

Per the terms of his election, he must present a bank guarantee worth 15 percent of Barcelona’s budget within 10 days of his election – which means Wednesday of this week.

The sum he needs to raise is understood to be €125 million ($ 149 million).

The bank guarantee must also be ratified by La Liga to receive official approval. Barcelona have found themselves in an unenviable financial position due to the mismanagement of former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, with their current debt estimated to be in advance of €1 billion.

Laporta’s candidacy for the presidency was bolstered by the support of club talisman Lionel Messi and he defeated rivals Victor Font and Toni Freixa in the election. He campaigned, in part at least, by saying that he would do all in his power to retain Messi’s services at the club amid rumors that the Argentine may again campaign to leave upon the expiration of his contract this summer.

It is thought, or hoped at the very least, that Laporta’s stewardship of the famous club might held re-establish Barcelona’s status as Europe’s most successful club. During his first term in charge, the team won practically every trophy available to them – including three Champions Leagues.
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Laporta had also been speculated as considering the appointment of club legend Xavi into the Camp Nou dugout to replace current boss (and fellow former player) Ronald Koeman. Xavi was club captain for much of the glory days in Laporta’s first reign. 

If Laporta doesn’t raise the required funds, an interim president would be appointed who will oversee a brand new election – and the entire process begin all over again. 

As the deadline ticked down, reports in Spain claimed that Laporta had managed to secure funds through Banco de Sabadell and Audax, although La Liga will still need to validate his approval as president. 

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Google Maps Street View: Two builders spotted in hilarious position

Google Maps Street View was launched in 2007 to help viewers get an on-the-ground look at towns and cities around the world. It does this by using special 3D cameras which snap photographs of their surroundings.
One of the men is dressed in a red T-shirt, workmen’s trousers with highlighter stripes and work boots. He is also wearing a hard hat.

The second man has gone for a more casual ensemble.

He is dressed in a navy T-shirt, jeans, a baseball cap and boots.

The second of the two men is facing away from his counterpart and looks as though he was about to take a step forward.

The man appears to be thrusting his hips towards his counterpart.

It looks as though he is pretending his co-worker is a horse that he is riding.

Alternatively, it could also be summarised he is about to light-heartedly smack his colleague on the bottom.

Alas, the true story of what is going on may never be known.

Due to the tech giant’s privacy policy, both men have had their face’s blurred to conceal their identity.

Google Maps Street View: Man adopts bizarre position in garden scene

Google Maps Street View often catches people when they least expect it. However, increasingly locals are setting up scenes for the entertainment of Google Maps viewers.
That is, of course, until you notice one local resident who has taken a rather rigid stance on top of his own mailbox.

The man, dressed in red shorts and a white T-shirt can be seen laying on top of his traditional, green mailbox.

With his arms by his side and legs stuck outwards, the male appears to be completely rigid.

Despite being seemingly aware of the Google camera, he keeps his eyes firmly glued downwards towards the green grass of his front lawn.

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Behind him, a lawnmower can be seen, suggesting the man was in such a hurry to take his funny position, he abandoned his chores for the day.

Reddit users who happened upon the image have concluded he was taking part in a viral trend.

According to Google Maps, the picture was snapped in 2011.

During this time, a popular online trend was circulating called “planking”.

One Reddit user said: “I saw the planking and had to check the date. 2011 completely checks out.”

A BBC news article from 2011 explains the planking “phenomenon involves lying face down in a public place – the stranger the better.”

People would then share their images and videos on social networking sites.

“Aficionados lie expressionless with a straight body, hands by their sides and toes pointing into the ground,” added the BBC.

Of course, this is not the first time a local has spotted the Google Maps car and attempted to get its attention.

Often, people are spotted making crude gestures to the camera as it passes by.

Other times, some cheeky residents have gone so far as to strip nude – such as one couple on a beach in Tulum, Mexico.

If pranks go too far, however, the tech giant is forced to blur out rude images as per its privacy policy.

Real Madrid and Barcelona would once have licked their lips at Salah’s Liverpool plight – now they are in no position to pounce

A disillusioned Mo Salah is the last thing that a struggling Liverpool need, but the Reds can at least sleep easy in the knowledge that traditional predators in Spain are far too mired in their own problems to capitalize.

Liverpool’s latest historic low – when they lost a sixth consecutive home game over the weekend – has seen the Premier League champions plunge from an alarming slump into a full-blown meltdown. Jurgen Klopp’s “mentality monsters” are now “mentality midgets,” as Jamie Carragher so aptly put it after their loss to relegation-threatened Fulham.

One culprit in Sunday’s embarrassment was Salah, the Egyptian forward being stripped of the ball on the edge of his own box, allowing Mario Lemina to strike into the bottom corner of Alisson Becker’s net for the game’s only goal. “Not good enough, not strong enough,” came the studio verdict on Salah from the acid-tongued Roy Keane.

Liverpool’s previous game at Anfield was no less enjoyable for Salah. On that occasion, Reds fans endured the sight of their top scorer being hooked off after just 62 minutes as they went down to Chelsea. The 28-year-old was still shaking his head in the stands when his agent fired out a cryptic tweet consisting of a full stop, which rather than bringing an end to a discussion merely sparked more rumors of Salah’s discontent amidst Liverpool’s collapse.

On that occasion, Klopp had played the diplomat afterwards, claiming the decision to substitute Salah was merely down to the forward “feeling the intensity” of the match. By that point though, all the talk was of Liverpool having a simmering problem on their hands with the man who has top-scored for them with 17 goals in 27 Premier League games this campaign.
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We are not long removed from Klopp having to bat away talk that Salah was unhappy at Anfield, after the forward flirted publicly with a potential move to Real Madrid or Barcelona in an interview with Spanish outlet AS.

“I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs,” Salah said back in December. “Who knows what will happen in the future, but right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again.”

It was the kind of vague, non-committal comment we’ve come to expect from chaperoned footballers, but it was nonetheless enough to draw a defensive Klopp to later insist that it was “nice for [the media] to write about” but that there was “nothing really” in the remarks from Salah.

But after a sulky substitution against Chelsea and a new low against Fulham, that “nothing” may have become something more pressing for Klopp to consider. Indeed, Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler is among those to ponder openly whether the club would be better off getting rid of Salah, should he really be miserable at Anfield.

But let us suppose that Liverpool do end up failing to secure a Champions League place for next season (which seems entirely plausible), and that Salah does push to leave in the summer. Where would he go, and would he even be able to make the move to Spain that he has publicly flirted with?

In past seasons, it’s easy to imagine that Barcelona and Real would be circling the wagons, watching with relish as the wheels fall off Liverpool’s title defense, with Salah moping in the stands. The end of the season would be an ideal moment to swoop for one of the game’s top players, in his prime, and with some mammoth marketing clout to boot.

Salah is under contract at Liverpool until 2023, reportedly with no release cause, but that would unlikely have deterred Barca or Real in any pursuit. The Catalans in particular have raided big prizes from Merseyside before in the form of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho (admittedly to differing degrees of success). Likewise, Salah’s contract ties would unlikely have put off Real – those nefarious masters of pulling all the strings to land the prey they set their sights on.

Both destinations might seem enticing options for Salah, all the more alluring during such a troubled period at Anfield.

But these are no ordinary times, and it’s not just on Merseyside where tumult has taken hold. Barcelona are mired in debt reportedly to the tune of more than €1 billion ($ 1.19 billion). They are also enduring one of the worst off-field crises in recent memory after the detention last week of former senior figures – including ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu – as part of allegations into alleged misuse of club funds.

The election on Sunday of Joan Laporta as new president – a man who oversaw La Liga success and Champions Leagues title in his previous tenure at the helm – will likely provide a short-term boost for the Blaugrana faithful. Laporta, though, has plenty on his plate to work through – not least persuading Lionel Messi to remain the club. Should he manage to do that, Messi’s considerable wage burden (estimated at a current basic rate of €72 million per season) would continue to weigh heavy on the books, even if the Argentine were to reduce his demands.  

Were Messi to leave in the summer and the load be lightened, Barca’s dire financial straits are such that they would need to examine carefully the financial implications of any arrivals – such as Salah – to cushion the loss of their six-time Ballon d’Or winner. Salah is currently valued at around €120 million, and where would Barca stump up that kind of cash? 
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Over in Madrid, things barely seem more propitious as Real feel the pinch from the Covid pandemic. So accustomed to bringing in superstars on a conveyor belt, Real went the whole of last summer without making a single signing for the first time in 40 years, and again kept the purse strings tightened in January.

Reports in Spain put Real’s gross debt at around €900 million, making them not much better off than their cash-strapped Catalan rivals. They are also undergoing a €500+ million renovation of the Bernabeu, financed by long-term loans but still a consideration in the back of the bookkeepers’ minds.

If Real do delve into the market, most of the talk has been about them consummating their protracted courtship of Kylian Mbappe from PSG, or moving for the freescoring Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. Both men are considerably younger than Salah, and Haaland in particular would seem like value for money considering his relatively modest release clause of €75 million, active from 2022. The logic for Real might be along the lines of, ‘Why move for Salah now when you can wait for one of the two hottest properties in world football to come on the market?’

When asked recently if he thought Liverpool players would remain loyal to the club and not seek moves despite the current demise, Klopp replied in the affirmative. “It isn’t a situation where a player in the squad says, ‘We’re not in the Champions League so I have to leave’. That will not happen. I know them well enough to know that,” the German said.

In years gone by, that assertion might have been tested to the full by the two big beasts over in Spain. For so long, they were ready to turn others’ misfortunes into their gain, swooping in for players such as Salah who had cast flirtatious glances their way. In the current climate though, it’s far more questionable whether these two ailing giants can act, even when there are parties willing to be tempted away.

So, while Liverpool’s problems mount, their manager and their fans can at least rest a little more peacefully knowing that Salah is unlikely to have that particular escape route from Anfield open to him, even if he should hope to take it.

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