Topics : ‘Why cry now?’ After post-election protests in which dozens were injured and a prominent rights group said that one man was killed, Lukashenko defended the use of force.”Why weep and cry now?” he said.A father of three, Lukashenko often attends official events with his youngest son, 15-year-old Nikolai. His latest election declaration said that he is still legally married although he is never seen in public with the wife he wed in 1975. He has insisted that Belarus is not ready for a woman leader.A female president “would collapse, poor thing,” he said.Amnesty International has accused Lukashenko’s government of “misogyny” and targeting female activists with discriminatory tactics.Lukashenko has been known for his blunt-speaking folksiness and the former collective farm director is routinely pictured in rural settings like tractor factories or potato fields.Despite tens of thousands of coronavirus infections, he has dismissed the pandemic as a hoax and refused to introduce a lockdown or postpone the election.He has offered dubious tips on avoiding the virus, recommending driving tractors in the countryside, drinking vodka and taking steam baths. Critics call the mustachioed leader “the cockroach.”As Europe’s longest-serving non-royal leader, he has held onto power since 1994.He detained his main opposition rivals ahead of Sunday’s poll and afterwards vowed he would not allow opponents to “tear the country apart”.During an animated address to the nation last week, Lukashenko wiped sweat from his brow as he accused the opposition of planning mass riots in the capital Minsk. Strongman Alexander Lukashenko has ruled over ex-Soviet Belarus for nearly three decades and says he cannot bear to part with his “beloved” country.The 65-year-old won a sixth term in Sunday polls, according to the official results, and brutally crushed protests by opponents who claim he rigged the vote. Ordinary Belarusians and independent observers accuse him of stealing the election from 37-year-old Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has emerged as the leader of the protest movement against his rule. Between Russia and West Lukashenko has kept his landlocked homeland wedged between Russia and EU member Poland largely stuck in a Soviet time warp.A quarter of a century after the collapse of the USSR the tightly controlled eastern European nation still has a security service called the KGB, adheres to a command economy and looks to former master Moscow as its main ally, creditor and energy provider.But Lukashenko has not been afraid to cross swords with the Kremlin as he nervously eyed its intervention in neighboring Ukraine and has sought to mend fences with the West.In February, he welcomed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, making the first visit to Belarus by a US Secretary of State since 1994.Despite recurring financial crises Lukashenko has stood firmly by Soviet-era economic policies.He has also signed the country up to the Eurasian Economic Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pet project.But while Belarus remains the most closely aligned former Soviet republic to Moscow, Lukashenko insists he is no Kremlin patsy, often switching from speaking Russian to Belarusian to show his independence.When Putin seized Crimea from Ukraine and was accused of sparking a rebellion after the February 2014 ouster of Kiev’s Moscow-backed leader, Lukashenko appeared wary of Russia’s aggressiveness.He has rejected the idea of outright unification with Russia and has accused Moscow of meddling in the current presidential campaign. Less than two weeks before the polls Belarus arrested more than 30 Russian “militants”, saying they were on a mission to destabilize the country.The arrests sparked a crisis in ties with Moscow, but after the widespread claims of blatant vote rigging Putin was quick to congratulate Lukashenko on his re-election.By contrast, European governments questioned the results of Sunday’s election, with Belarus neighbor Poland calling for an emergency EU summit on the situation. “We will not give the country to you,” he said, speaking in front of a glum-faced audience of officials, church leaders and military personnel.He likened Belarus to a woman, saying “You don’t hand over your beloved.”
Former deputy foreign minister and cofounder of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) Dino Patty Djalal has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently undergoing intensive treatment.The FPCI broke the news in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday after it confirmed that Dino had been hospitalized at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.“Our chairman, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, [has tested] positive for COVID-19. For the last six days, he has been experiencing breathing difficulties,” the statement read. Dino has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for further treatment, according to the FPCI.Read also: Former deputy minister Dino Patti Djalal hospitalized, reason still unknownFPCI executive secretary Mohammad Irfan previously confirmed that Dino had been admitted to the RSPAD, but stopped short of disclosing whether the former state official had contracted coronavirus.Dino cofounded the FPCI thinktank in 2014 along with political scientist Dewi Fortuna Anwar and former Indonesian ambassador to Poland Peter Gontha.He served as presidential spokesperson from 2004 until 2010 in the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration, and served as the Indonesian ambassador to the United States from 2010 to 2013. Dino then served as deputy foreign minister from July 2014 to October 2014, during the final months of Yudhoyono’s second presidential term.Topics :
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday he would ask parliament to extend the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of January, as the government tries to avoid the surge in cases seen in other European countries.The state of emergency, due to expire in mid-October, gives greater powers to central government, making it easier for officials to bypass the bureaucracy that smothers much decision-making in Italy.”We will propose to parliament to extend the state of emergency, probably to the end of January 2021,” Conte told reporters during a visit to Caserta, in southern Italy. The government holds a majority in the legislature.Italy, the first European country to experience a major coronavirus outbreak during the spring, managed to curb infections after a strict lockdown that ran between March and May.However, it has the highest COVID-19 death toll in continental Europe, with 35,894 confirmed fatalities.Daily cases have picked up again over the past two months but they remain under 2,000, a fraction of the number in France and Spain, which have been forced to tighten restrictions again in some areas.”The situation remains critical, although the infections are under control,” Conte added. Topics :
The coronavirus pandemic that has slammed oil demand and prices is forcing energy majors to tighten their belts on exploration, even if finding new deposits remain essential to their existence.While the sector is increasingly diversifying into greener energies such as electricity and wind power, its core business remains oil and gas.”Questions abound over whether it is still profitable to look for oil given subdued demand growth prospects and a low-price environment,” Stephen Brennock, analyst at oil brokers PVM, told AFP. “The answer seems not, judging by the recent spate of massive hydrocarbon asset writedowns.”Set against this backdrop, I don’t expect a rebound in drilling in the medium-term. “Instead, oil majors will be forced to beef up their green energy portfolios in order to survive,” Brennock said.Slashed projects Compared to pre-virus plans, the energy sector has slashed exploration projects in UK North Sea waters by 70 percent and by 30 percent off the coast of Norway, according to research group Westwood.US oil giant ExxonMobil has cut its total exploration plans by 30 percent, or an investment reduction of $10 billion (8.4 billion euros).European rivals ENI, BP and Equinor have carried out similar moves, which have in turn hurt subcontractors including French oil services group CGG, which expects revenue to slump 40 percent this year.In the United States, more than 30 oil exploration and production companies have this year filed for bankruptcy, according to Texan law firm Haynes & Boone.If oil prices remain stuck around the current $40 per barrel level, a further 150 such companies could be lost by 2022, estimates research group Rystad Energy.”Drilling programmes will be hampered in the near-term, in particular in US shale areas but also elsewhere, because of immediate cost-cutting measures,” said JBC Energy analyst Raphaela Hein.”In the past, we have seen that massive capital expenditure cuts to majors’ budgets did not really impact their future production. “As such, we think that they will continue to look for new fields — maybe to a slightly lesser extent… and keep production within their long-term plans. “Of course this will contribute to ensuring their survival,” she added. Hein however said that Arctic projects appeared to be “economically unviable”.This despite the vast area forecast to have 13 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas.In July, Russia’s Gazprom Neft and Anglo-Dutch giant Shell announced a partnership to explore in the Arctic.’Markets don’t believe’ While oil prices rebounded strongly after briefly turning negative in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s main oil contracts Brent North Sea and West Texas Intermediate have failed to build on those gains — and last week fell heavily to under $40.”Markets right now do not believe there is a future for oil,” said SEB analyst Bjarne Schieldrop. “For how long we’ll have reduced drilling depends on the oil price,” he added.Even so, the administration of US President Donald Trump in August approved oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, angering environmentalists in the process.While the oil price crisis is making the realisation of such projects unlikely, “political will may still trump” that, said Hein of JBC energy.Topics :
Comment Advertisement Javi Gracia has transformed Watford’s fortunes during his time in charge (Getty Images)There have been times during the Pozzo family’s seven years in charge of Watford where the Hertfordshire club have appeared to be in a state of complete and utter chaos.Much of that has been down to the instability off the pitch with no fewer than 10 managers having been employed by the club during that time. There was famously a five-week spell in the Autumn of 2014 when the club had four different managers.Despite the seemingly constant turnover of tacticians, though, this has rather improbably been one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. Next season will mark Watford’s fifth consecutive campaign in the Premier League, only the second time they have enjoyed such a run in the top-flight since their glory days in the 1980s.AdvertisementAdvertisementNot only are Watford in amongst a gaggle of sides looking to secure 7th position in the table, but they also have a date at Wembley to look forward to as well having come from 2-0 down to beat Wolves 3-2 after extra-time in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend. It will be only their second ever final appearance and their first since 1984.ADVERTISEMENTIt is no coincidence that Watford are in the midst of their most successful period in recent memory at a time when they are at their most stable. Absolutely pivotal to their strong showing this term has been the job done by the Pozzo’s tenth manager: Javi Gracia. Owner Gino Pozzo has overseen Watford’s promotion from the Championship and subsequent consolidation in the Premier League (Getty Images)A matter of eight hours and 19 minutes after dispensing of the services of Marco Silva following interest from Everton last January, Watford had confirmed their replacement with Gracia parachuting straight in to replace the Portuguese after his desk had been cleared.The timing of the announcement and Gracia’s low profile immediately raised eyebrows. Somewhat predictably, there was a sea of memes in the Twitter responses to Watford’s announcement, with people either questioning who he was or offering him goodwill ahead of an inevitable sacking a few months later.Some 15 months on, Gracia is no longer an unknown quantity and Watford are no longer a laughing stock. Only Gianfranco Zola, the Pozzo’s very first managerial appointment, has lasted longer in the hot seat at Vicarage Road than Gracia. Should the Spaniard secure a top-half finish to go along with a cup final place, this will be Watford’s best season since 1982-83.What has made the 48-year-old’s work all the more impressive is the low-key nature of all. The squad at his disposal is virtually the same one he inherited from Silva and Watford’s other ensemble of short-term managers with only Ben Foster and Gerard Deulofeu newcomers to the starting XI this season.Watford were also one of only three Premier League clubs to turn a profit in the transfer market last summer, boosting their profits by around £13m thanks to the £50m sale of Richarlison to Everton in a move that saw the Brazilian reunite with Silva.Continuity off the pitch has been reflected by continuity on it with Gracia making subtle tweaks rather than wholesale changes to Watford’s tactical setup. For much of their time in the Premier League, Watford have paired their inspirational captain Tory Deeney in attack with a more mobile forward and Gracia has maintained that tradition. Troy Deeney accused Arsenal of lacking ‘cojones’ after they lost to Watford in October 2017 (Getty Images)The pace of Deulofeu and Andre Gray up front also gives them an outlet in the channels should they need to relieve some pressure and knock the ball long. Their ability to mix things up to counter-act the strengths of opponents is something that Gracia deserves plenty of credit for cultivating.AdvertisementAn average of 1.73 points won per game at home this season has Watford behind only the top six clubs and it is that record allied to the variety of their game that sets them out as extremely dangerous opponents for Arsenal – and manager Unai Emery, who played alongside Gracia at Real Sociedad – as they bid to finish in the top four.Watford also have a decent record against Arsenal recently, beating them three times in the last seven meetings including a 2-1 victory the last time they played at Vicarage Road in October 2017 with Deeney scoring a penalty on that particular occasion.Deeney seems to relish coming up against Arsenal scoring twice and registering two assists in seven career appearances against them and following Watford’s last win over Arsenal 18-months ago, he came up with a memorable soundbite, accusing them of lacking ‘cojones’.Arsenal’s recent struggles on the road, meanwhile, have been well-documented and of their remaining fixtures in the Premier League, this appears to be the most likely banana skin that Emery’s side could face. That in itself is a testament to the job done by the unassuming Spaniard in the Watford dugout.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Oliver Young-MylesMonday 15 Apr 2019 8:45 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link249Shares How Arsenal’s top four bid could be derailed by Javi Gracia’s quiet Watford revolution Advertisement Gerard Deulofeu has been in inspirational form for Watford in recent matches (Getty Images)Arguably his most innovative move has been to redeploy Deulofeu as a roving No.10 just off Deeney, with the Spaniard thriving in a more central role having spent virtually his entire career to date out on the right wing. With seven goals and five assists in the league not to mention his inspirational double against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final, this campaign has already been the most productive of the 25-year-old’s career.AdvertisementAdvertisementIn terms of shape, Watford have almost exclusively used a narrow 4-4-2 system with natural central midfield players Roberto Pereyra and Will Hughes tucking in on their opposite flanks to flood the middle of the pitch and create space for full-backs Daryl Janmaat and especially, Jose Holebas to charge into.There is no particular metric by which Watford standout as superior to any other in the Premier League. For instance, they rank 17th for the number of shots taken which is only better than relegation-threatened Cardiff, Burnley and Brighton.However, from back to front they are an organised, physical and hard-working side that gives any team in the division a difficult game. Nothing exemplifies Watford’s approach more than their central midfield partnership of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure, both of whom have been amongst the top players in their position in the league this term.Not only are the French duo physically able to dominate opponents in the centre of the pitch they also have the technique to go with it, Capoue acting as the deep-lying playmaker with his expansive passing range and Doucoure offering an attacking threat from deep, as evidenced by his five goals and six assists this season.That blend of brain and brawn characterises the whole team. The set-piece prowess of Holebas and the aerial threat provided by Deeney, Doucoure, Craig Cathcart and others is undoubtedly a key weapon in their armoury, but the presence of technicians such as Pereyra, Deulofeu and Hughes in their side means they are equally capable of stringing together intricate passing moves.
Advertisement Advertisement Arsenal are interested in signing Dayot Upamecano (Picture: Getty)With Rob Holding still at least a month away from being in contention for first team action, Arsenal are in dire need of defensive reinforcements but what remains of their transfer budget is unlikely, at this stage, to be boosted by Mustafi’s sale.According to the BBC, Arsenal are yet to receive concrete interest from any club, while Mustafi is determined to stay and fight for his place.Arsenal have already seen a loan offer for Juventus’ Italy international Daniele Rugani rejected and are struggling to raise the funds required to tempt RB Leipzig into selling £55m-rated Dayot Upamecano.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Arsenal are keen to sell Shkodran Mustafi (Picture: Getty)Arsenal could be lumbered with Shkodran Mustafi having received no formal offers for the error-prone centre-half.Arsene Wenger sanctioned the £35million signing of the Germany international three years ago but his performances have deteriorated to such an extend that he is currently close to being unselectable.A section of supporters booed the former Valencia defender after he was introduced as a second half substitute against Lyon 10 days ago and almost immediately committed an error which led to Moussa Dembele’s winning goal.Mustafi was limited to just four minutes of action against Barcelona on Sunday but was again at fault, failing to detect the run of Luis Saurez and allowing the Uruguay international to score the goal which denied Arsenal a morale boosting draw.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityArsenal begin their Premier League campaign against Newcastle on Sunday and are likely to line-up with Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Calum Chambers at the heart of their defence with Unai Emery set to revert to a flat back four, having largely operated with a 3-5-2 formation last term.Club captain Laurent Koscielny is on the verge of finalising his acrimonious departure and signing for Bordeuax, while summer recruit William Saliba has been loaned back to Saint-Etienne for another 12 months. Arsenal could be stuck with Shkodran Mustafi having received no formal transfer offers Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 6 Aug 2019 12:06 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link673Shares Comment
Michael Owen has named Unai Emery’s biggest problem at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Michael Owen believes Unai Emery’s biggest problem at Arsenal is the form of Nicolas Pepe.Ivory Coast international Pepe has endured an underwhelming start to his Arsenal career following a £72million move from Lille in the summer.The 24-year-old has scored just once in nine appearances for the Gunners and admitted this week that his confidence has taken a hit.Pepe was benched for Arsenal’s Europa League clash against Standard Liege on Thursday and failed to make much of an impact after entering the fray with 24 minutes remaining.ADVERTISEMENT Michael Owen names Unai Emery’s biggest problem at Arsenal after Standard Liege thrashing Gabriel Martinelli scored twice as Arsenal thumped Standard Liege (Picture: Getty)‘Pepe, is he going to get into the team? It’s a massive amount of money they paid for him and it looks like Lille are laughing all the way to the bank on that one.‘It’s still early days and maybe the player will turn it around. But I haven’t really seen anything that I have expected to see.’It was a memorable night for Gabriel Martinelli at the Emirates, with the teenage striker scoring two goals and setting up another to give Arsenal victory over Standard Liege.MORE: Gabriel Martinelli sets Arsenal record as Unai Emery’s Gunners thump Standard Liege Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterThursday 3 Oct 2019 11:06 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link440Shares Record signing Nicolas Pepe is struggling (Picture: Getty)Arsenal cruised to a 4-0 victory against the Belgian side but Emery will be starting to become concerned by record signing Pepe, according to Premier League legend Owen.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘We’re talking about a lot of positives for Arsenal but there’s one negative niggling away at the moment and that’s Pepe,’ Owen told BT Sport.‘I was excited by him, I watched him in the French league, he looked a very good player. He started the season, first game he looks as though he had a bag of tricks.‘But he’s just gone off the boil and that’s a huge investment for anybody but it’s a huge investment for Arsenal especially.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘I would have liked to have seen him come on and play really well today against an average team, show his stuff and get a bit of confidence, because that’s a concern I think.’Gunners hero Martin Keown has also been disappointed by Pepe so far this season and says the £72m deal could turn out to be a costly mistake from his former club.‘If you think back to Arsene Wenger he would have never blocked a path of a young player. They are in danger of doing that with Saka,’ Keown said. Comment Advertisement
Advertisement AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I’m really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team.’Arsenal technical director Edu added: ‘Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality.‘We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season.‘Together with Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.’MORE: Arsenal target another loan signing once Pablo Mari arrivesMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Arsenal confirm signing of Pablo Mari from Flamengo Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Pablo Mari from Flamengo (Picture: Getty)Arsenal have confirmed Pablo Mari as the first signing of Mikel Arteta’s tenure.The 26-year-old defender joins the Gunners on loan from Flamengo until the end of the season, with Arsenal having the option to make the deal permanent in the summer.He said: ‘I’m happy to be here today and to have signed for a big club. I’m going to do my best to help my team-mates and the club.‘When I spoke to my agent, it was a big thing that Arsenal were interested in me. This is one of the best clubs in the world, so I’m absolutely delighted to be joining.ADVERTISEMENTWelcome to London. Welcome to Arsenal.@PabloMV5 is coming to the capital! 👋 pic.twitter.com/X07dtNeG5Y— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 29, 2020 Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 29 Jan 2020 1:26 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link2.3kShares Advertisement Comment