Free songs
  • Police to be better trained to deal with domestic violence

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The police force will be training more officers to help victims of domestic violence and investigate such cases, Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia said this morning. Speaking at a press conference to mark the coming into force of Malta’s accession to the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on Violence on Women  Dr Mallia said that police stations will also be upgraded so that people who suffer domestic violence can be heard privately. The police would also have facilities to offer temporary shelter in extreme cases. He said domestic violence was a reality which was growing in Malta, with 940 cases having been reported so far this year. There were 4,102 cases in the past four years. The numbers, he said, had doubled from four years ago, but it was not clear whether this was a result of more case, or more reporting. The minister, as well as Public Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli, appealed to victims to come forward and not to continue to live in fear.   The Istanbul Convention focuses on standards of dealing with domestic violence and prosecution of cases.   Dr Mallia said the members of the police Rapid Intervention Unit would also be better trained as the first contact point...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Mallia denies performance contracts undermine police independence

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Updated Saturday  - Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia this morning denied that placing the most senior officers in the police force under temporary performance agreements undermined the Force, its independence, integrity and autonomy. He said the measure was only being taken to ensure that the performance of the most senior officers of the police force were continuously assessed and that they continued to give the best of their abilities. The measure was strongly criticised yesterday by the Malta Police Association, which said the move undermined police independence. It also said it was not consulted about it.   Acting Police Commissioner Ray Zammit said the move was aimed at maintaining standards and said the issue was still under discussion.  The Malta Police Force Association in a statement yesterday said the "Addendum to the document regulating the conditions of service for the police force" was signed behind its bacMallia denies performance contracts undermien police k without any consultation. The agreement was signed by chief permanent secretary Mario Cutajar and the permanent secretary in the Home Affairs Ministry Kevin Mahoney on Wednesday. The MPA said it objected...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Nigeria kidnap girls ‘married off’

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group has denied agreeing to a ceasefire and says more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls have all converted to Islam and been married off. Abubakar Shekau dashed hopes for a prisoner exchange to get the girls released and says "in this war, there is no going back". He spoke in a video released late last night and received by The Associated Press. Nigeria's military chief announced two weeks ago that Boko Haram had agreed to an immediate ceasefire to end a five-year insurgency that has killed thousands and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes in north-east Nigeria. But attacks and abductions have continued. Boko Haram's kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in April prompted an international protest campaign.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses to pay $13.5 mln in California sex abuse ruling

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    A Californian judge has ordered the Jehovah's Witnesses to pay $13.5 million to a man who was sexually abused in the 1980s by a church leader, the attorney for the victim said. Jehovah's Witnesses elders had assigned a man to work with Jose Lopez on bible studies, even though they knew he had admitted to molesting another boy in 1982, because they felt he was "repentant", Lopez's attorney Irwin Zalkin said. Lopez, who filed the civil suit in 2010, first went to the Spanish-speaking Kingdom Hall church in San Diego in 1985 at the age of seven, according to the complaint. Mario Moreno, a lawyer for Jehovah's Witnesses - whose parent group is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York - told the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper that the church will appeal Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis' judgment. "The trial judge's decision is a drastic action for any judge to take given the circumstances of this case," the statement in the paper said. "Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts." The US-based Jehovah's Witnesses number about 8 million worldwide and are known for their foreign ministries as well as their door-to-door campaigns.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Photos of the week – Times of Malta

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    From C215's stunning street art to an anti-bullying play, via protesting Kurds, pumpkins and birds, Times of Malta presents a selection of some of the best photos taken over the past week by its team of photographers.  

    No Comments

    Read More
  • No evidence of funds abuse at racing club

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Doubts on misappropriation of funds related to pony races were “justified” but no evidence of abuse was found, an inquiry into the operations of the Marsa Racing Club has concluded. The report stated that the club created an environment where risks of misappropriation of income from pony races were high “although the board of inquiry has no evidence and cannot conclude that any funds were misappropriated”. It made a set of recommendations to improve operations. The inquiry was ordered in the wake of a series of allegations by a former photographer at the club, Alex Azzopardi who posted remarks against council members on the social media that were then reported by L-Orizzont newspaper. Much of what he said later proved to be untrue. His services at the racing track were terminated in February after the club said he was in breach of the agreement. Mr Azzopardi also owed the club about €3,000 in arrears for the concession he was granted. More on Times of Malta and the epaper on timesofmalta.com

    No Comments

    Read More
  • ‘Passengers not hostages – the door was just faulty’

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The bus driver who allegedly held passengers “hostage” did not purposely lock the vehicle’s door but was in fact unable to open it due to a fault he had reported earlier in the day, according to the transport authorities. Transport Malta and Malta Public Transport said the incident, which occurred on Wednesday on route 31 leaving Buġibba, was characterised by miscommunication between the Italian driver and British passenger John Kane. “It was a situation which definitely could have been handled better and we apologise for the inconvenience caused,” Malta Public Transport CEO Konrad Pulé told Times of Malta. “Following internal investigations, we would like to stress that the passengers were not kept hostage. The emergency exit was opened by the driver and no one attempted to disembark.” More on Times of Malta and the e-paper on timesofmalta.com Premium.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Branson to persevere with space bid despite spaceship crash

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Sir Richard Branson has said he will persevere with his space tourism venture following the death of a pilot killed when a rocket crashed during a test flight in California. Describing the tragedy, in which another pilot was seriously injured, as "a devastating loss", the billionaire businessman said he and his team at Virgin Galactic are doing everything they can to support the pilots' families. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California, having "suffered a serious anomaly" after a test flight conducted by partner business Scaled Composites. Sir Richard, who is expected to arrive in Mojave today, said the journey to the spaceport was "one of the most difficult trips I have ever had to make". Writing on his website he said: "We've always known that the road to space is extremely difficult - and that every new transportation system has to deal with bad days early in their history. "Space is hard - but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together." SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport. It was designed to be carried into the air by the WhiteKnightTwo jet and then released before igniting its rocket to...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Celebrations as Hungary halts internet tax plan

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Thousands in Budapest celebrated after the government froze plans to impose a tax on internet traffic. The proposal, aimed at bringing down Hungary's budget deficit, would have made people pay a fee on each gigabyte of data they use. People took to the streets in recent days to protest what they said would be unfair and a curb on free expression and access to information.  The protests this week have been the largest since Prime Minister Viktor Orban took office four years ago. They've shown the frustrations some Hungarians feel over what they say is an autocratic rule.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Girl killed by infection refused to see doctor

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The 18-year-old Polish girl who died from blood poisoning following an untreated bowel infection did not want to call a doctor to treat what she thought was a normal stomach bug, Times of Malta has learnt. This was confirmed by forensic sources and Karen Bugeja, managing director of Plevna Hotel, in Sliema, where Izabela Poniedzialek was staying. “The group leader is very dedicated and caring and she did her best to look after her,” Ms Bugeja said. She said the teenager’s Polish group leader had told her she repeatedly offered to call a doctor and was in contact with Ms Poniedzialek’s mother about her condition. She even spoke to her on Monday evening; the teenager died on Tuesday. The girl refused to see a doctor even though over-the-counter medication did not stop her diarrhoea and vomiting, Ms Bugeja said, adding she did not know why she made that decision. Friends remembered Ms Poniedzialek as being friendly, but shy. More on Times of Malta and timesofmalta.com Premium. 

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Battery failure in protective system a factor in nationwide blackout

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    A cable fault that triggered the nationwide electricity blackout in August escalated after the battery that powered protective systems at a distribution centre failed. An Enemalta inquiry into the power cut found that different levels of protective systems installed at the Marsa South distribution centre did not operate. “The cause of this failure was a fault in the direct current supply to the protection and control system at Marsa South distribution centre,” the inquiry board found.  Part of the distribution centre burst into flames after an explosion caused widespread damage to the switchgear. The report said the original fault happened at a joint on a cable running between the distribution centre and a substation in Paola. This caused the current on the network to surge, which led to the damage at the distribution centre. Mechanisms to safeguard the power stations from the surge did kick in, which eventually led to the blackout. More on Times of Malta and the e-paper on timesofmalta.com Premium.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Press digest

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press. Times of Malta reports that a battery failure in a distribution centre was a factor in a nationwide blackout. The Malta Independent says objections made in 2012 on the building of a cement silo near a grain terminal were ignored. In-Nazzjon follows up the story of exploitation of Asian workers in a textiles factory in Malta. l-orizzont says that Nationalist MP George Pullicino has been ‘belied,’ with the Resources Authority and the Contracts Committee saying it was the former minister who took decision on the award of a controversial photovoltaic panels contract. The overseas press Fox News reports an investigation is underway to find out why a Virgin Galactic tourism spaceship exploded on a test flight over California, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other. Debris scattered across the desert.   Al bawaba says a convoy of Iraqi Kurdish troops has crossed into Syria from Turkey to join the fight against Islamic State militants in Kobani. The group of about 150 Peshmerga fighters – better armed and better trained than their Syrian counterparts – were escorted by armoured vehicles. USA Today...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • British stars dress up for Halloween Unicef ball

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Jamie Campbell-Bower, star of the Twilight saga. Jemima Khan mixed monkey business with the serious business of charity fundraising at her Halloween party. The campaigner was in fancy dress as a human caged by a giant gorilla at the Unicef UK party which she organised. She said: “I actually quite like it, the cage here. It’s such a relief not to be in a skimpy, sexy Halloween outfit. I’ve been eating all day today and yesterday and I can just be fed through my cage.” Khan, who was in the headlines earlier this year when she split with comedian Russell Brand, is a Unicef ambassador and has been out to Jordan to see the refugee camps which will benefit from the money raised at the celebrity bash. She said: “It’s hard to do earnest chat in a cage with a gorilla on my back, but there is a very serious cause and it’s 6.5 million children who are desperately in need at the moment and we need to put them back into the focus and the spotlight.” Hundred of guests from the world of fashion, entertainment and politics attended the fundraising ball in London’s Mayfair. Organisers hoped to raise more than £1 million for the charity’s work with refugees from the Syria crisis, with the total raised being matched by the government. Among the...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • British Airways owner ups profit forecast

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    A British Airways passenger jet takes off from Heathrow Airport in London. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters International Airlines Group reported a 30 per cent jump in third-quarter profit yesterday and raised its forecast for the year, in contrast to the British Airways-owner’s strike-hit rivals. IAG’s operating profit before exceptional items for the three months ended September 30 was €900 million, up from €690 million a year earlier and beating analyst expectations of €879 million. The company said it now expected to increase this year’s operating profit by between €550 million and €600 million from the €770 million it made last year, upping its previous forecast for an increase of at least €500 million. The rise in profit was driven by tight cost control at both IAG’s British Airways and Iberia units, IAG said, helped by the introduction of new more fuel-efficient aircraft. The increased profit outlook from IAG, which also operates Spain-based budget airline Vueling, contrasts with updates from Germany’s Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. Lufthansa on Thursday lowered its profit guidance for 2015 for the second time this year due to a stuttering global economy and increased competition. Air France said on Wednesday that a costly strike and a dip in fourth-quarter demand would shave...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Scratching itch makes it worse

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Scratching an itch sets up a vicious cycle in which pain triggers the release serotonin, making the itching worse. Photo: Washington University Centre for the Study of Itch/PA Wire Mother was right − if you scratch an itch it will only get worse. Scratching triggers the release of a nerve chemical that intensifies the maddening sensation, scientists have discovered. The finding, in mice, suggests the old wives’ tale about resisting the urge to scratch an itch has a scientific basis. Scratching is known to provide temporary irritation relief by generating a small amount of pain. For a short time, nerve cells in the spinal cord carry pain signals to the brain instead of itch signals. But that is when the trouble starts, researchers have discovered. The brain responds to the pain by releasing the nerve-signalling chemical serotonin, which stimulates more itching. This result is an itch-scratch-pain-itch vicious cycle. US lead scientist Zhou-Feng Chen, director of Washington University’s Centre for the Study of Itch, said: “The problem is that when the brain gets those pain signals, it responds by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin to help control that pain. “But as serotonin spreads from the brain into the spinal cord, we found the chemical can ‘jump the tracks’, moving from pain-sensing neurons to nerve cells that influence itch intensity. “This fits...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak shaking hands with Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuri Prodan (right) after gas talks between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Reuters Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbour over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kiev’s Western creditors. After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new “gas war” could disrupt winter supplies if energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June. With overnight temperatures already nudging below freezing in Ukraine, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso hailed an accord clinched in Brussels barely 24 hours before he and the rest of his team make way for a new EU executive. “There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter,” he told a news conference after witnessing the signing of documents by the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers and EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger. Oettinger said he saw in the agreement a “first glimmer” of detente between Moscow and Kiev in a conflict that has plunged East-West relations into a chill not seen since the Cold War. Worth $4.6...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Poroshenko backs PM Yatseniuk for new term

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko threw his support behind Arseny Yatseniuk for a new term as Prime Minister yesterday, ending speculation that he would seek to try to bring in his own candidate as head of a new pro-Europe, reformist government. Ukraine won a vital breathing space by sealing an interim gas supply deal with Russia that will see it through winter, but the new Kiev government faces a mountain of other problems, not least pro-Russian insurrection in eastern areas. Poroshenko offered his quick backing for Yatseniuk after the 40-year-old former economy and foreign minister, whose People’s Front ended slightly ahead of the President’s own bloc in an election last Sunday, had bluntly said he expected to stay on. Commentators said the move could ultimately hasten arrival of an International Monetary Fund mission to trigger disbursement of fresh credit under a $17 billion dollar stand-by programme. The move confirmed that the partnership bet­ween the two men will dominate Ukraine’s political landscape in the near future as it battles a separatist rebellion in the east and pursues a course for European integration deeply opposed by Russia. Power-sharing talks have been...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Japan’s central bank shocks markets with more easing

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The Bank of Japan shocked global financial markets yesterday by expanding its massive stimulus spending in a stark admission that economic growth and inflation have not picked up as much as expected after a sales tax hike in April. BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda portrayed the board’s tightly-split decision to buy more assets as a preemptive strike to keep policy on track, rather than an admission that his plan to reflate the long moribund-economy had derailed. But some economists wondered if pushing even more money into the financial system would be effective as long as consumer confidence continues to worsen and demand remains weak. “It’s clearly a big surprise given Kuroda’s repeated insistence that policy was on track and assorted politicians have been warning about the negative side of a weak yen currency,” said Sean Callow, a currency strategist at Westpac. “We salute the BoJ for admitting that they weren’t going to reach their goals on inflation or GDP, though we do note that the new policy equates to about $60 billion of quantitative easing per month. This perspective does raise the question of just how much impact monetary policy is having.” The jolt from the BOJ, which...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Labour leadership search under way

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The hunt for a new top team to revive the ailing Scottish Labour Party has officially started, with nominations now open for the posts of leader and deputy leader. With just over six months to go until the Westminster elections – in which a poll has predicted Labour could win as few as four Scottish seats – Ed Miliband needs the party's fortunes to improve if he is going to become the next prime minister. Three candidates have already put themselves forward to succeed Johann Lamont – who quit suddenly last week – as Scottish Labour leader. MP Jim Murphy, a former Scottish secretary and the current shadow international development secretary, has already emerged as the favourite for the job. But he faces competition from Holyrood, with MSPs Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack both wanting the post. There are currently no candidates for the post of deputy leader, a vacancy which emerged after Anas Sarwar announced his resignation from the position at Scottish Labour's gala dinner in Glasgow last night.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Eurozone inflation slightly higher in October

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Inflation in the 18 countries sharing the euro edged up slightly in October, a first estimate by the European Union’s statistics office showed yesterday, giving some hope to policy makers that price deflation can be avoided. Eurostat said consumer prices in the eurozone rose by 0.4 per cent in October, in line with market expectations, the day after inflation in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, slowed in October to 0.7 per cent, its lowest reading since May. The euro initially strengthened against the dollar and the pound following the release of the data but quickly gave up these gains and remained below the levels seen at the start of the trading session. “There was some speculation leading up to the release that inflation might have been stable, mainly because of the German inflation numbers yesterday, but it rose nevertheless,” Nick Kounis, head of macro research at ABN AMRO, said. The European statistics office said prices rose fastest for services, 1.2 per cent, followed by the 0.5 per cent increase for food, alcohol and tobacco. Unprocessed food prices fell 0.1 per cent year-on-year in October while energy was 1.8 per cent cheaper, a slowdown in the rate of decline from...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Heavy security as Israel reopens site in Jerusalem

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    A Palestinian throws a burning tyre during clashes with Israeli troops at Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah, yesterday. Israel reopened a contested Jerusalem holy site yesterday and deployed more than 1,000 security personnel following clashes the previous day between Palestinians and Israeli riot police that had ratcheted up already heightened tensions in the city. Small groups of Palestinian worshippers made their way through a series of Israeli checkpoints to the site – known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – under leaden gray skies and heavy pouring rain. No clashes were reported after prayer services ended around mid-day. However, the Israeli military reported that five Palestinians were injured in a running battle between Israeli security personnel and Palestinian demonstrators at the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah. AP video footage showed the security personnel firing barrages of tear gas canisters at dozens of rock-throwing Palestinians near the site. The military also said there were clashes in at five other West Bank locations, though no injuries were reported. The holy site in Jerusalem has been a flashpoint for tensions between Jews and Muslims for decades, underscoring the incendiary nature of the religious component in the...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Index closes 1.97 per cent lower

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    The Malta Stock Exchange index more than erased last week’s positive returns as it declined by 1.97 per cent, to close at 3,304.642 points. Six equities dragged the index into negative territory, seven gained ground and three closed unchanged. International Hotel Investments plc shares were the worst performers for the week, while FIMBank plc shares headed the list of gainers. Bank of Valletta plc shares oscillated between a weekly high of €2.25 and a weekly low of €2.20, to ultimately close 0.8 per cent lower at €2.23. The banking equity witnessed the highest volume for the week of 231,330 shares, amounting to a turnover worth €518,603. After close of trading yesterday, BOV announced that the board of directors has approved the audited financial statements for the financial year ended September 30, 2014 for the approval of the shareholders at the forthcoming annual general meeting scheduled for December 17. The bank reported a profit before tax of €104.1 million compared to €115.8 million in 2013 representing a decrease of 10 per cent. The board resolved to recommend the payment of a final gross dividend of €0.0925 per share, which would make for a total gross dividend for the...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Shares rally while yen slumps as BOJ ramps up stimulus

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Global equity markets rallied and the yen fell to a nearly seven-year low against the dollar yesterday after the Bank of Japan surprised financial markets by ramping up its massive economic stimulus programme. The unexpected jolt from the BOJ put the dollar on track for its biggest daily gain against the yen in 18 months while driving gold and silver to their lowest since 2010. The stronger dollar also pushed Brent crude toward its steepest monthly decline since 2012 as the oil benchmark fell below $85 a barrel. Equity markets surged as the BOJ decision to buy more assets helped ease concerns about the end of the Federal Reserve’s US stimulus program and the European Central Bank’s reluctance thus far to engage in large-scale bond-buying. The BOJ’s board voted 5-4 to accelerate its buying of government bonds, while tripling its purchases of exchange-traded funds and real-estate investment trusts. Also, Japan’s $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund announced new portfolio allocations that will double its holdings of domestic and foreign stock holdings. MSCI’s all-country world equity index rose 0.99 per cent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Spiteri urges Balzan to aim higher

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Valletta’s Roderick Briffa (right) holds off Naxxar’s Gilmar. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar A hard-fought victory over Naxxar Lions may have provided a much-needed tonic but Valletta haven’t turned the corner yet. A game against Balzan is usually regarded as a straightforward fixture for Valletta but their early-season woes allied with their opponents’ solid start mean that the stuttering champions are heading into their first-round meeting with the Reds with a sense of apprehension. Balzan have suffered only one defeat this season, three fewer than Valletta, but they are only three points clear of the Citizens after three consecutive draws. Their three-match winless streak has... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Runaway Hibs out to maintain unbeaten run

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Naxxar Lions vs Pietà Hotspurs (today at 2pm, Tedesco Stadium). Pietá Hotspurs lead Naxxar Lions by four points after winning two and drawing one of their last three matches. Both teams are lurking in the danger zone but, while the Hot-spurs are on a roll, Naxxar have been unable to get their season off the ground after failing to win in their opening nine games. The Lions produced a com-mendable performance against Valletta but still succumbed to a 2-0 defeat despite having an extra man on the pitch for most of the second half after Hugo Faria was dismissed on 55 minutes. For today’s... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Azzopardi to ref match in Denmark

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    FIFA referee Esther Azzopardi will make a comeback to the international scene this month after getting an appointment from UEFA to control the women’s Champions League qualifier between Brondby IF (Denmark) and Gintra Universitetas (Lithuania). The Round of 16, first leg will be played at the Brondby Stadion on November 9. Azzopardi will be assisted on the lines by Sian Massey (England FA) and Angela Kyriakou (Cyprus FA). Hilda McDermott (Ireland FA) will be the referee observer in Brondby and Elena Kobak (Russia FA) is the UEFA delegate for the match.

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Real Madrid target club record wins

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ball against Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium. Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid are closing in on a club record as they prepare to take on struggling Gra-nada looking to make it 11 successive wins in all competitions. If, as expected, Madrid do beat a Granada team that have taken just one point from their last five games, Ancelotti’s men would move to within four wins of equalling a record that has only been achieved twice in the Spanish giants’ storied history. Miguel Munoz’s side first set the mark of 15 consecutive wins back in the 1960/61 season before Jose Mourinho’s team matched it during the 2011/12 campaign. The current Madrid group certainly have every chance of breaking that record, though, as their next six matches are against Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Eibar and Malaga in the league, while facing Liverpool and Basle – who they have already beaten 3-0 and 5-1 respectively this season – in the Champions League. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas acknowledges things are going very well for the European champions now after a poor start to the season, saying at a promotional event: “The direction the team is going in is what we wanted from the off. “Our aim is to get to March or April as best as we can, as that is the...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • United in friendly talks with Milan

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Keisuke Honda – Milan. Milan have confirmed they are in talks with Manchester United about playing a prestige friendly in the new year. Neither club is in the Champions League nor Europa League this season and they are exploring the options of playing each other in a lucrative one-off game, almost certainly in the Middle East. United boss Louis van Gaal’s plans for the team had been a potential sticking point but he confirmed earlier this month that he backed the idea of meeting top-class opposition midweek. Milan’s director Umberto Gandini confirmed a friendly with United was on the agenda. “This is something we have been talking about for a few weeks and we have a committed interest to do something together,” Gandini said. “It’s just a question to find the right date and then to find the right place.” One possible date would be around Wednesday, January 28, which does not clash with any European matches nor any Italian Cup games. There are League Cup semi-finals taking place but that would not impact on United playing a friendly. In 2008 United played a testimonial game in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia, in front of sell-out 69,000 crowd on a Monday night and then had a spell at a warm-weather training camp...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Derby time at the Etihad Stadium

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Robin van Persie (right) runs to his Manchester United team-mates after scoring against Chelsea at Old Trafford, on Sunday. After the cracker of a match at Old Trafford, where Manchester United shared the points in a 1-1 draw with leaders Chelsea last weekend, the Red Devils will take a short trip to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow to play guests to Manchester City. Robin van Persie’s late goal against Chelsea dropped United a lifeline but they’re still ten points behind the leaders. Manchester City suffered their second loss of the season at West Ham and are now six points adrift. City boss Manuel Pellegrini is confident his team can handle the pressure and sustain a successful defence of their Premier League crown. The Chilean manager, however, must first sort out his defence after going down to West Ham in their previous match. That defeat came at the back of an unexpected 2-2 draw away at CSKA Moscow in a Champions League group match City were leading 2-0 at one point. Although United lost four points in their last two outings, Louis van Gaal praised his team’s fighting spirit. This week, former United manager Alex Ferguson blamed injuries for the lack of consistency at Old Trafford in this early phase of the season. In the last ten years of Manchester derbies at City’s patch, the visitors held the...

    No Comments

    Read More
  • Sam Allardyce to enforce winter breaks

    Nov 1 • News • 0 Views

    Sam Allardyce... great job at West Ham. Sam Allardyce is willing to incur the wrath of West Ham supporters by enforcing winter breaks for his key players. The Hammers have started the season in impressive form and sit fourth after last weekend’s 2-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. Many of West Ham’s new signings have settled into life at Upton Park and have played a part in leading Allardyce’s side into the Champions League places. But the 60-year-old is worried a number of those new recruits face burnout during the busy Christmas period when they are used to winter breaks in their previous leagues. “The games come so thick and fast you are pushing to get them back when they are not really ready but you have to,” he said. “The squad still has to be fitter than now going into that period. New players, particularly Enner Valencia, (Diafra) Sakho, (Cheikhou) Kouyate and (Mauro) Zarate, won’t have hit that cauldron of mental and physical output during that particular period. All of those normally have a break. “If they fatigue and they need a rest, the rest of the squad has to be fit for us to give them that rest.” Allardyce insisted he would have no qualms following in the footsteps of...

    No Comments

    Read More