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‘Unsatisfied’ Brazil football team rules out Copa America boycott | Football News

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Event’s future still uncertain as Supreme Court set to rule on two requests to block the 10-nation football tournament.

Brazil’s national football team has agreed to play in the upcoming Copa America despite concerns over the late decision to stage the continental tournament in its home country.

The tournament, postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, was scheduled to be jointly hosted by Colombia and Argentina.

Colombia was dropped last month amid a wave of protests against President Ivan Duque while Argentina was ruled out due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Brazil has reported more than 17 million cases of coronavirus. More than 476,000 people have died of the virus in the country whose death toll is second only to the US.

Experts have warned it is facing a new surge that could be exacerbated by a major international sports tournament.

On Wednesday, Brazilian players used social media to publish a message saying they are “unsatisfied” with South American football’s governing body, CONMEBOL, which decided to move the tournament to Brazil.

They said they did not want to make the organisation of Copa America a political debate though.

“We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team,” the players said in a joint statement.

“We are a cohesive group, but with different ideas. For multiple reasons, humanitarian or of professional nature, we are unsatisfied with the leading of Copa America by CONMEBOL, no matter if it were hosted belatedly in Chile or in Brazil.

“All the recent facts make us believe it was an inadequate process.”

On Tuesday, the country’s Supreme Court said it would rule on Thursday on two requests to block the 10-nation tournament, which is scheduled to open Sunday and run through July 10.

A protest banner reads ‘We don’t want the Cup, we want vaccines! #OutBolsonaro’ outside the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2, 2021 [Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

Chief Justice Luiz Fux said given the “exceptional nature of the case”, he had decided to have the full 11-member court take up the matter in an extraordinary virtual session.

The players did not address the pandemic directly in their text.

Over the last week, local media reported many Brazilian players were not necessarily worried about COVID but felt they had to voice their criticism to the president of the Brazilian football confederation, Rogerio Caboclo, for deciding to move the tournament without consulting them.

Caboclo was suspended from his office on Sunday following a sexual harassment case in which he denies any wrongdoing.

The tournament has become a divisive, politically loaded matter in the country. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has regularly defied expert advice on containing the pandemic, gave his blessing to host it.

But epidemiologists have voiced alarm, as have Bolsonaro critics and some coaches and players from participating countries.

Brazil and Venezuela are scheduled to kick off the Copa America at the Mane Garrincha Stadium on Sunday evening in the capital Brasilia.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News

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Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title

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Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Birtukan Mideksa: Ethiopia’s electoral board chairperson

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Restless for change, Ms Birtukan moved back into politics, playing a key role in the formation of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) to present a united front against the EPRDF in the 2005 parliamentary election, which was widely seen as the most fiercely contested poll in Ethiopia’s history, with the opposition claiming that it had been robbed of victory.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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