Results from the Champions League Qualifying Round 3 first leg matches on Wednesday:Celtic (Scotland) – Qarabag Agdam (Azerbaijan) 1-0 (halftime: 0-0)Steaua Bucharest (Romania) – Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) 1-1 (halftime: 0-0)Salzburg (Austria) – Malmo (Sweden) 2-0 (halftime: 0-0)HJK Helsinki (Finland) – Astana (Kazakhstan) 0-0 (halftime: 0-0)Lech Poznan (Poland) – FC Basel (Switzerland) 1-3 (halftime: 1-1)Tuesday, July 28, first legDinamo Zagreb (Croatia) – Molde (Norway) 1-1 (halftime: 1-1)Videoton FC (Hungary) – BATE Borisov (Belarus) 1-1 (halftime: 0-0)Young Boys (Switzerland) – Monaco (France) 1-3 (halftime: 0-0)Fenerbahce (Turkey) – Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 0-0 (halftime: 0-0)Panathinaikos (Greece) – Club Bruges (Belgium) 2-1 (halftime: 1-1)Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) – Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) 1-2 (halftime: 0-2)Midtjylland (Denmark) – APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus) 1-2 (halftime: 0-2)Milsami Orhei (Moldova) – Skenderbeu (Albania) 0-2 (halftime: 0-0)CSKA Moscow (Russia) – Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) 2-2 (halftime: 1-1)
Former world number one Maria Sharapova made a winning comeback to the tour on Wednesday following her 15-month doping ban, beating Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets in the first round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix.The 30-year-old Russian, three-time winner on Stuttgart’s clay courts, received a controversial wild card for the German tournament, having had no ranking points after more than a year out following her suspension for banned substances.She had a nervous start in front of a supportive crowd but quickly found her strokes and her trademark shrieks to power past the world number 36 7-5 6-3 and set up a second-round clash against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.“It’s the best feeling in the world. To know I would be walking back into the arena was very special,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview. “I was waiting for this moment for a long time.”She added: “When I am on the court, because I have been doing it for so long, even though you are rusty and trying to get a rhythm, you try to block everything out. I am a competitor by nature. That’s when I am at my best.”Sharapova has also received invitations to play in Madrid and Rome and will find out in May whether she will be given a wild card for the French Open.Her initial two-year suspension was reduced to 15 months after she tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium, a medication the Russian had been taking within the rules but which was then reclassified as a banned drug.“It’s important to play, points, games, sets. It is a journey that officially starts today and I look forward to playing as many matches as I can.”Sharapova was clearly nervous at the start, firing three forehands long in the first game, double-faulting on her first service game point and being broken by the Italian for a quick 2-0 lead.It took 15 minutes for Sharapova to win her first game but she gradually improved her service, started attacking Vinci’s serve and clinched the first set after an hour.Sharapova, growing in confidence with every point despite a dozen unforced errors in the first set, broke the Italian early in the second, and her 11th ace put her 5-3 ahead.She broke the 34-year-old again to secure her first win on her first match point.
Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera broke the long-standing world indoor 1,500 metres record when he clocked three minutes, 31.04 seconds at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Birmingham, England on Saturday.Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj set the previous record of 3:31.18 in 1997.
Dear Editor,Oil has been found in Guyana and optimistically production will begin in 2020. This offers Guyana the incredible opportunity of leap-frogging beyond the annual incremental 3-5 per cent economic growth to annual growth rates in the double digit range.If managed strategically and if good governance becomes the norm in Government and in the Private Sector, exponential growth instead of incremental growth is a real possibility.The McKinsey Growth Institute has indicated resource-driven countries need a new growth model to transform the potential resource windfall into long-term prosperity.Based on their research as shown in a Report entitled “Reverse the Curse”, the McKinsey Growth Institute has postulated a model, drawn from the many successful approaches that some resource-driven countries, like Guyana, have employed.This model has six core elements:Building the institutions and governance of the resources sector.Developing infrastructure.Ensuring robust fiscal policy and competitiveness.Supporting local content.Deciding how to spend a resources windfall wisely; andTransforming resource wealth into broader economic development.The first element of the McKinsey report speaks to our Constitution. It speaks to the type of people we are or want to be. Do we want to have one race superior to the next? Do we want one race to have all the resources? Do we want one race to own most of the businesses? Or do we want to be a People of equity, equality and inclusion?The second element of the McKinsey Report speaks to infrastructure. We are a very large country. As President Granger constantly reminds us, the Barima-Waini Region is larger than Kuwait; Pomeroon-Supenaam is larger than Trinidad and Tobago; Essequibo Islands-West Demerara is larger than Mauritius; Demerara-Mahaica is larger than Singapore; Mahaica-Berbice is larger than Cape Verde; East Corentyne-Berbice is larger than Belgium; Cuyuni-Mazaruni is larger than The Netherlands; Potaro-Siparuni is larger than Fiji; the Rupununi (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) is larger than Costa Rica and Upper Demerara-Berbice is larger than The Bahamas.We need infrastructure. We need a road to Brazil and a deepwater harbour. We need better energy infrastructure, free of blackouts and free of exorbitant costs. We need better drainage, better water supplies, better schools, better bridges, better sewage systems, etc. We need better buses and better roads. This we all know from our daily experiences.The third element of the Report speaks to “ensuring robust fiscal policies and competitiveness”. With oil on the way, Guyana has to ensure its core economic principles are sound. The macroeconomic policy of the Government of Guyana is centred around Guyana’s fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policy.Fiscal policy is aimed at increased collection of tax revenues and the gearing of expenditure towards improved services and growth of the economy.Monetary policy has been aimed at domestic price stability and the controlling of liquidity in the economy, while at the same time allowing for an increased money supply to facilitate expanded economic growth.Exchange rate policy has been geared towards the stabilisation of the exchange rate and the maintenance of a rate that is conducive to exports. The announcements by the Minister of Finance and the policies enunciated by the government clearly show we are on the right path as Guyana prepares for oil. Of course, with oil, the very structure of Guyana’s economy will change dramatically.One of the most pressing needs in Guyana today is for the government, in consultation with the Private Sector and civil society, to enact a Local Content Bill. Currently none exists.The episodes of the Marriott being built entirely by foreigners even though Guyana has very good construction workers, highlights the need for us as a Society to address this abomination of our democracy and human rights. I don’t think China would allow 200 Guyanese to build a hotel in China. Matter of fact, they wouldn’t even be allowed into the country.A local content Bill is an absolute necessity at this time during the early days of oil exploration.Exxon and other multinational entities who occupy the value chain of oil production and associated industries, should know from day one, that Guyanese must be involved in the initial spend to produce oil and later as oil is produced.Guyana will need many thousands of workers to develop its oil industry. Foreigners will flock to Guyana in massive numbers. Caribbean citizens will flock to Guyana given climate change, economic opportunities and CSME facilitation of “the free movement of people”.If there is no Local Content bill, Guyanese will lose their national patrimony which will be monopolised by foreigners.There are some basic principles that should inform our Local Content philosophy and legislation.No lands or concessions of any type should be leased to any foreign entity without having a legitimate local Guyanese partner. And there has to be ethnic parity/equity in this arrangement similar to the South African BEE legislation.No fishing, mining, logging licenses, etc should be issued to foreign companies unless they have a partnership with a local processor.Technology transfer and skills transfer should be an integral part of any assessment leading to a decision for the participation of foreign firms in any sector of Guyana’s economy.The last two elements of the McKinsey Report focus on “How to spend the financial oil wealth created from oil production” and the vision of economic development we embrace.These two topics need to be discussed in greater detail at another time.Guyana needs to have a National consultation on Local Content.Land is wealth and we need to stop giving it away to economic migrants. Water is wealth. So is knowledge.We have pledged our forests to a foreign state. We now need to ensure we don’t pledge our land, water and biodiversity to others.Yours truly,Eric Phillips
Dear Editor, There is an old Guyanese proverb that says: All cassava get same skin, but all nah taste same way. The Minister of State within the Ministry of the Presidency had indicated, some time ago, that the administration had a zero tolerance approach on public officers refusing to take their annual leave and instead opting for payments. However, it seems as though the Minister of Communities did not get this memo, as he continues to allow the Town Clerk of Georgetown to decline to proceed on his annual leave since taking up the position more than two years now. The fact that this officer has refused to take his annual leave whilst others are made to take theirs should raise a red flag. The fact that this officer travels in short spurts abroad, leaving a few trusted and loyal cohorts to keep the show on the road whilst he is gone, but nonetheless directs operations from his roaming cellular telephone, should make them suspicious. What makes this public servant so indispensible that he is prevented from taking his vacation leave, while other public officials carrying out far more important functions are made to take theirs? Clearly, this officer could not ignore the regulations with such impunity without the encouragement and fiat of some one or more of his functional superiors encouraging it.Sincerely, Mark Roopan
A young man carried three sacks of mineral water to a location packed with children of all ages, as Mr. Phillip Gibson, administrator of J. L. Gibson Memorial School, gave instructions, directing the children to wash their hands to receive their food.“Food ready,” several children shouted towards the other side of the street down Gurley Street in Monrovia, “It’s time to eat.” That refrain has been heard since October 2014 when the Ebola outbreak in Liberia rendered many parents unable to provide food for their children.Mr. Gibson, 29, who went on directing the children to take their proper places on the queue, told the Daily Observer later in an interview last Saturday that, “Nearly 150 children come to me for their meal every Saturday.”Following a family tradition, neighbors said the Philips not only provided food for those who could not afford it in the past but also provided education through the family owned J.L. Gibson Memorial School.Now, Gibson is happy to continue the tradition his parents and grandparents started to benefit less fortunate Liberians many years ago, before he was born.“I realized during the height of the Ebola crisis in 2014 that food was scarce for many on Gurley Street and nearby communities so I decided to provide food free for the children,” Gibson said.So, every Saturday, it has now become a tradition for children, some as young as six months accompanied by an older sibling, to get their plates ready and wait for their food.“They enjoy this provision,” Gibson admitted, and said he hoped that he could expand the program to put the children in school as part of his contribution towards the education of Liberians.Assisted by volunteers, Ms. Akma K. Aaron and Ms. Diana Zeabo, busied themselves to get the food ready as the number of children and the noise increased.“Everyone must join the line to get your food,” Gibson instructed them, as they giggled, while some younger ones cried.The children came from every corner of central Monrovia as the time struck 4 p.m., with their plates in their hands, with the only condition, according to Gibson, being that they wash their hands with chlorinated water and join the line.The two women volunteers, who told the Daily Observer that they enjoy feeding the children, filled plate after plate of rice, topped off with large spoons of potato greens, and handed them to the excited youngsters, as they jubilated during our visit.Each child is also handed a bag of mineral water, after which they are off to consume their food. Gibson revealed that he spends US$150 to US$200 every Saturday to cook for the children.“I am supported by friends who see the need to make financial contributions to the project,” Gibson said. He commended his friends, including Mr. Henry Jackson, owner of nearby Exodus Entertainment Center, for their assistance.In brief interviews with the children, Blessing Esther, 6, said she enjoys the food and wants God to bless Mr. Gibson and his friends.Said Lawrence Junior Gbafred, 9, “I want God to bless Mr. Gibson and everyone helping us,” as he smiled and walked away with his bowl of food and a bag of mineral water, as others waited in line for theirs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…non-binding, meant to serve as precursor to actual contractBefore it demitted office, the previous Government concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SleepIn investor Clifton Bacchus.Scrutiny has been brought to bear on that MoU, which was cancelled in 2015, purportedly for the concessions it promised.The MoU was, however, not a binding agreement. Former Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith Burrowes made this distinction, when contacted by Guyana Times.According to Burrowes, an MoU is only a precursor to a contract, adding that thereFormer GO-Invest CEO Keith Burrowesare benefits with this arrangement, as an investor had to become compliant with the necessary requirements because the attainment of a contract was on the line.“Whenever we gave contracts to some (investors), they would go to the bank and get monies using the contract and then they wouldn’t follow through,” he explained.“You have certain things to do (with an MoU) and once you do these things, then we will move into a contract,” he continued.SleepIn’s Church Street branch has been making preparations for quite some time to set up a casino. Under the law, only three casinos are allowed in each Region in Guyana. For Region Four, Ramada Princess has one, while another has been earmarked for the Marriott Hotel at Kingston. SleepIn has sought the third one.With the MoU made with the previous Government being cast aside by the coalition and after being rejected initially by the Gaming Authority, Bacchus had reapplied for a licence.It was understood that under the MoU, SleepIn was obligated to operate, maintain, upgrade and expand the hotel and casino “where deemed appropriate” by the investor.Some of the other stipulations of the MoU included the investor providing training to local staff at an international standard. Non-nationals were also to be kept to 25 per cent.SleepIn was also supposed to work with appropriate local institutions and organisations in the tourism and hospitality sector to provide support in several areas. GO-Invest also required that SleepIn create a minimum of 1000 new direct jobs, with the official investment agreement expected to delve into more details on job creation.The MoU also stipulated that, as far as possible, only local manufacturers were to be used to acquire goods, equipment and services. This is provided that their quality and prices were competitive.Not only was the hotel supposed to comply with statutory requirements necessary for the operation of a hotel, but it also had to ensure that the environment was protected from pollution.SleepIn also had to invest a minimum of US$15 million in the construction of the hotel and casino. Under obligations of Government, the MoU had said that “subject to the approval of the President”, Government would provide the hotel division and operations with a corporate tax holiday. This was supposed to have commenced from the start of business.The MoU also stated, “Subject to the official approval of the President, the casino division/operations will be taxed at 35 per cent on the net profit and there will be an accelerated depreciation allowance and then unlimited carryover if losses from previous years according to the laws of Guyana.”It is understood that the MoU could have been terminated by the mutual consent of Government and SleepIn. In addition, it could be terminated if SleepIn failed to live up to its commitments “without providing a reasonable explanation” or if the company became insolvent. There was a force majeure and a non-disclosure clause.Additionally, the MoU had stated that all incentives for the casino that are granted by the Guyana Revenue Authority and the Gaming Authority to SleepIn would also have been offered to the other licensed casino operators under the Gambling Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2007.
Eliaquim Mangala says the competition for places at Manchester City will make him a better player.The France international was signed by the Premier League champions in the summer from Porto for £32m, but he is yet to make an appearance for his new club.However, the 23-year-old is not worried by his lack of game time so far and is ready and waiting to seize his chance when it does come.“Competition is good for me and good for the team,” said Mangala.“The more competition you have, the more competitive the team will be and the more you improve. I am not scared of competition.“It is the competition for places which will make me progress – so they will have to continue to play well and I will have to work harder.“When I get my chance it will be up to me to show what I can do and I know there will be no room for mistakes.” Eliaquim Mangala 1
Oscar in action for Chelsea 1 Chelsea playmaker Oscar has emerged as a shock transfer target for Juventus, according to reports in Italy.The Serie A champions are wary of the growing interest in their own attacking midfielder Paul Pogba, who is being courted by Real Madrid.The Spanish club are reportedly readying a world record transfer bid in the summer for the Frenchman and as preparation Juventus are looking at their own targets.And, according to Tuttosport, Oscar is the man Juventus have identified to fill the boots of Pogba.The Brazilian has been a key part of Chelsea’s side this season, scoring seven goals in 30 appearances in all competitions.The 23-year-old joined Chelsea in 2012 for £20m and manager Jose Mourinho is said to have no interest in parting with the attacking midfielder.
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