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REFILE-ALTCOINS-“Privacy coin” Monero offers near total anonymity

(Replaces cars with cards in eleventh graph)

* Monero is 12th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation It has around $1.4 billion-worth in circulation

* Monero is used on darknet marketplaces – analysts

* Developer says Monero enables crime no more than cash

By Tom Wilson

LONDON, May 15 ( ) – Bitcoin’s share of the cryptocurrency market is sliding, with a host of alternative digital coins gaining ground as developers race to create digital cash that can gain a footing in mainstream commerce and finance.

As these “altcoins” grow in prominence, is publishing a series of stories that examines the features and characteristics of some of the alternatives to bitcoin that have grabbed the attention of developers, investors and regulators.

The first in this series looks at Monero – referred to as a privacy coin because it allows users to conceal nearly all details of transactions. It has become increasingly used for illegal purposes.

Since its launch in 2014, Monero has grown to be the 12th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation with around $1.4 billion-worth in circulation.

HOW IS MONERO DIFFERENT TO BITCOIN?

Every transaction involving Monero obscures the digital addresses of the senders and receivers, as well as the value of the transaction. That offers users near-total anonymity, allowing them to instantaneously send digital cash without leaving any clues.

Bitcoin was initially seen as opaque, as the identity of the owners of digital wallets used to send and receive bitcoin is not public.

But details recorded permanently on the blockchain after bitcoin is sent and received can, in fact, give up clues that can be used to pinpoint those identities. This has become increasingly easy with the advent of firms that specialise in analysing blockchain transactions.

WHY’S IT GAINING ATTENTION?

When Norwegian police earlier this year gave details of the kidnapping of the wife of a wealthy businessman, they said the family had demanded a ransom in cryptocurrencies. Local press reported that the suspects wanted to be paid in Monero.

The unusual request underlined a growing trend for criminals to seek alternatives to bitcoin, which through its first decade has become the cryptocurrency of choice for illicit activities from buying contraband to laundering money, cyber security experts and law enforcement agencies say.

Bitcoin proponents say that traditional cash is also widely used for criminal activities.

Monero’s use on darknet marketplaces – sites used for buying illicit goods from drugs to stolen credit cards – is on the rise, said Tom Robinson, chief data officer of Elliptic, a London-based firm that provides blockchain-tracking software to law enforcement agencies and private companies.

Three of the biggest five darknet markets now accept Monero, Robinson said, though he added the caveat that bitcoin is still the most widely used cryptocurrency for darknet payments.

One of Monero’s developer team said Monero enables crime no more than cash. Its developers should stay out of debates on its traceability or risk undermining its decentralised nature, Francisco Cabanas told .

“It doesn’t selectively encourage crime, it encourages commerce,” said Cabanas, who goes by the nickname “ArcticMine,” in an interview via Skype from Vancouver. “In that respect, it’s no different to cash.”

Monero is also widely used for “cryptojacking,” or illicit cryptocurrency mining, where hackers infect computers and steal their power to mine new coins – a highly lucrative endeavour.

Nevertheless, over 4 percent of the 17 million Monero in circulation were mined using malware, said Guillermo Suarez de Tangil, a cybersecurity lecturer at King’s College London who has researched Monero.

“There is a clear phenomenon of the underground using Monero, and selling malware that will contribute to Monero mining,” he said.

Monero’s developers say its characteristics make it a useful tool for companies looking to maintain commercial secrecy. Users in repressive countries looking to avoid censorship or surveillance can also safely move money in the form of Monero, they say.

IS LAW ENFORCEMENT WORRIED? WHAT DO REGULATORS SAY?

Cryptocurrencies are mostly unregulated. Though countries from Britain to the United States are looking at how to deal with the phenomenon, few have set out comprehensive strategies for dealing with digital coins.

Asked about Monero, Borja Pastor de la Morena, an official at Europol in The Hague who oversees the agency’s work on money laundering said: “This kind of alternative cryptocurrency is more opaque and better at concealing the activity of the users.”

He said: “It’s a phenomenon that we are paying attention to”

And though aware of the propensity for cryptocurrencies to be used for money laundering, few financial national-level regulators have specifically addressed privacy coins.

Britain’s finance ministry, which leads a task force that is looking at if and how Britain will regulate cryptocurrencies, said it was aware of the potential for Monero to be used for criminal ends.

“We recognise the risks with cryptoassets like ‘privacy coins’ being used for illicit activity,” a spokesperson said, adding that it would “soon” launch a consultation on bringing crypto-related companies under anti-money laundering regulation.

Japan’s financial watchdog, sensitive to money laundering potential of privacy coins, last year asked a Tokyo-based exchange to review its listings. The exchange later ceased trading Monero.

WHO’S BEHIND MONERO?

Like bitcoin, Monero is governed by a virtual community of hundreds of developers that lacks any centralised authority.

Cabanas is one of only two publicly-known members of its seven-person core developer team, who act as stewards for updates to its code.

Mitchell Krawiec-Thayer, a San Francisco-based blockchain developer who is part of Monero Research Labs, said Monero is designed so it can be easily mined by individuals rather than powerful groups that team up to mine coins in industrial quantities.

“This lowers the barrier of entry to everyone,” he said. “The downside is that criminals have started using that. Steal上海夜生活ing other people’s resources, putting strain on their equipment – it’s a straight-up threat.”

Monero has recently launched a response group, where those infected by malware can seek help, Krawiec-Thayer said.

WHO USES MONERO FOR LEGITIMATE PURPOSES?

Data on who uses Monero, and why, is scarce. That’s a challenge for understanding the usage of any cryptocurrency, even more so for one designed to obscure its tracks.

Daily transactions for Monero – one proxy for how widely the cryptocurrency is used – have hovered around 8,000 this month, data from website CoinMetrics shows. The number of active digital wallet addresses for Monero has hung around 5,000.

By comparison, bitcoin sees around 320,000 transactions a day, with about 785,000 active addresses.

Monero is not the only privacy coin. Others, such as ZCash, have grown popular with investors, often for speculative reasons but also because of interest in their privacy features.

Grayscale, the world’s biggest crypto asset manager with around $1.3 billion under management, allows investors like hedge funds to invest in ZCash.

Amid growing acceptance of privacy coins, a number of major exchanges list Monero. For example, Malta-based Binance, one of the world’s largest exchanges, allows users to trade the coin.

Binance declined to comment on Monero, but said it has a comprehensive review process for evaluating coins and tokens for listing, and that it carries out periodic reviews on projects.

Trump may discuss secretary of state job with critic Romney: source

NEW YORK ( ) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump planned a Saturday meeting with Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and fierce Trump critic, and may discuss whether he should be a candidate for secretary of state, a source familiar with the meeting said on Thursday.

Trump already has a lengthy list of potential candidates for the post of top U.S. diplomat, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who met Trump on Thursday.

Trump, a former reality TV star, has shown a flair for the dramatic in his deliberations over his Cabinet, saying only he knows who “the finalists” are.

Corker told CNN on Wednesday he was “in the mix” for the position but that Trump might pick someone who was closer to him during the presidential campaign. He met on Thursday in Washington with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Trump’s expected meeting with Romney amounts to an olive branch of sorts to one of his sharpest critics. Romney, who in a speech in March called Trump “a phony, a fraud,” urged Republicans to vote for anyone but the New York real estate magnate while the party was picking its presidential nominee.

Trump, in turn, used harsh rhetoric at times during his campaign to dismiss Romney as a failure who blew a chance in 2012 to defeat Democratic President Barack Obama, whom Trump felt was a w上海夜网eak opponent.

The source told that a broad discussion was expected during the meeting and that discussion about the secretary of state position was possible. The source had said earlier his understanding was that the meeting would occur on Sunday.

Asked about the meeting, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested it was still being arranged. “We’re working on it,” she said.

‘TRUMP WILL MAKE DECISION’

“I think it’s good that the president-elect is meeting with people like Mr. Romney,” U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of Trump’s closest confidants and a potential nominee for defense secretary, told reporters at Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

Sessions sounded far from certain Romney would be offered a job.

“There are a lot of talented people that he (Trump) needs good relationships with. And I think Mr. Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things. But he will be one of those, I am sure, that’s reviewed. Donald Trump will make that decision,” Sessions said.

When Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, opted out of running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, people close to him suggested that serving as secretary of state might be appealing to him if a Republican won the presidency.

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A steady stream of potential Trump administration hires made their way through the lobby of Trump Tower to meet with either Trump or officials close to him.

All indicated a willingness to serve, such as Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. He is a potential treasury secretary in the Trump administration.

“I stand ready to help the president in any capacity possible. I’ve got a great position in public policy today, if he wants to talk to me obviously, about serving somewhere else, we’ll look at serving somewhere else,” he told reporters.

FOREX-Euro poised for 2nd week of gains as China-U.S. trade talks eyed

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, May 10 ( ) – The euro edged higher on Friday and is poised for a second consecutive week of gains on growing fears that any escalation in the trade conflict between the United States and China would force U.S. policymakers to cut interest rates.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff increase to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods kicked in on Friday, and Beijing said it would strike back. The two sides are pursuing last-ditch talks to try to salvage a trade deal.

While U.S. and Chinese 上海夜生活论坛officials return to the negotiating table later on Friday, investors have quietly ratcheted up bets of a U.S. interest rate cut with markets now roughly expecting one rate hike by the end of 2019.

Athanasios Vamvakidis, an FX strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said if China retaliated then the threat of a global trade war will affect the outlook of the U.S. economy and increase the chances of a Fed rate cut.

“In this case, the Fed has more room to ease than most other central banks, suggesting eventually a weaker dollar against both the euro and the yen,” he said.

The single currency edged 0.1% higher to $1.1220 on Friday and was on track for a second consecutive week of gains.

Broadly, risk appetite was muted though some of the higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar which was heavily sold earlier this week when Trump unexpectedly ratcheted up trade tensions, gained.

The dollar index measuring the U.S. currency against a basket of six major currencies, of which the euro is a main component, was slightly firmer at 97.43.

Still, trade tensions have had broadly little impact on foreign exchange markets with typical perceived safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen only gaining 1.2% this week while broader currency market volatility gauges were subdued despite a minor bounce this week.

Elsewhere, the pound held around the $1.30 level after sustaining some losses this week before first quarter British GDP data where expectations are for a 0.5% expansion compared with 0.3% growth in the previous quarter.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares sink as U.S.-China trade talks go to the wire

* European shares follow Asia, NY lower on China-U.S. trade angst

* Beijing vows retaliation after USTR sets tariff hike in motion

* Trump says China “broke the deal”; talks resume on Thursday

* Asia and EM stocks at 2-month lows, South Korea sinks 3 percent

* European stocks near 6-week lows, safe-haven yen 3-month high

* Uber IPO pricing due later

* Copper near 3-month low

* Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

By Marc Jones

LONDON, May 9 ( ) – World shares tumbled for a fourth day running on Thursday after a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump that a long-worked-on trade deal with China was in serious danger.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was heading to Washington for two days of talks but Trump’s insistence that China “broke the deal”, and then Beijing’s response that it would retaliate against tariffs were ratcheting up the stakes.

Europe’s main stock markets sank almost immediately after a torrid day for Asia had battered 1.8 percent off China and more than 3 percent off South Korea, which is often seen as the bellwether for how this trade war hits home.

Both countries’ currencies were hit too, the won skidding to a more than two-year low and the yuan to a four-month trough, which kept traders buying the traditionally safe Japanese yen and U.S. and German bonds instead.

“Markets remain on edge ahead of the Chinese vice premier’s visit to Washington today,” Rabobank analyst Bas van Geffen said.

“Doubt that this tariff increase can be avoided is growing,” he added as Goldman Sachs also put the chance of a hike at 60 percent.

If talks do fall short, Washington has promised to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Friday. For economists, the worry is that it will further slow the global economy.

Kazuhiko Fuji, senior fellow at RIETI, a Japanese government-affiliated think-tank, said the trade talks looked fragile.

“I would suspect the U.S. will just hand China an ultimatum. No wonder the U.S. yield curve is almost inverting again,” he said.

The yield spread between three-month U.S. government bonds and the 10-year notes shrank to 3 basis points, compared with about 15 basis points a few weeks ago.

The closely watched spread turned negative in late March, spooking investors, who read the development as portending a recession.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield stood at 2.4423 percent in Europe, having touched its lowest level in five weeks of 2.426 percent on Wednesday.

Wall Street futures pointed to a 0.85 percent lower start after a choppy previous session had seen the Dow Jones Industrial close fractionally higher but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq drop 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent.

TAXI!

As well as the trade headlines, traders will also be closely watching the pricing on ride-hailing firm Uber’s initial public offering, which is set to be the biggest of the year so far.

“In the event of a complete breakdown in talks and higher tariffs, we would expect this to see U.S. stocks trade 10–15 percent below their highs and a fall of around 15–20 percent in the Chinese market,” Mark上海夜生活网 Haefele, global chief investment officer at Global Wealth Management at UBS, said.

In the currency market, the Japanese yen surged to a three-month high of 109.64 yen while China’s yuan fell half a percent to hit a four-month low of 6.838 and was headed for its worst four-day decline in a year.

Sterling, meanwhile, tried to brush off signs that Brexit talks between Britain’s government and the main opposition party may soon collapse to claw back above the psychologically key $1.30 level.

Commodity markets also felt the U.S.-China trade strains.

Brent crude futures dropped 0.6 percent to $69.92 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude also retreated 0.6 percent to $61.75 despite a surprise fall in U.S. crude stockpiles..

Benchmark London copper hit its lowest in nearly three months, going as low as $6,111 a tonne.

Congress should act on ‘scandalous’ fantasy betting: Reid

WASHINGTON ( ) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate called on Congress to examine fantasy-sports betting services on Tuesday after reports that an employee with access to insider information placed bets in the unregulated multi-billion-dollar industry.

“There’s absolutely scandalous conduct taking place through those programs, fantasy sports,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.

“I think it also should be a warning-shot to everybody that online gaming is a real scary thing and we ought to look at all of it,” said Reid, who is a former Gaming Commission head in Nevada, a hub of the industry.

Reid’s statement raises the prospect of congressional scrutiny and possibly new regulations for websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel that have drawn millions of users who pay a fee to compete for daily prizes by assembling teams that accumulate points based on how the players did in actual games.

Meanwhile, Representative Frank Pallone and Senator Bob Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the fantasy scandal.

Both companies confirmed on Monday that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 from a $25 entry fee in an American football contest. According to a trade group, the employee inadvertently released player data – a practice that experts liken to insider-trading.

The two privately held companies say they temporarily banned employees from playing daily fantasy sports.

The House of Representatives could hold hearings this fall, said Pallone, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Republican-controlled committee is looking into the issue, a spokesman said.

The issue could draw the attention of conservatives like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who has pushed to outlaw other forms of online gambling.

Critics say daily fantasy sports services allow fans to bet with a frequency akin to gambling and led to the rise of the two industry leaders.

So far, fantasy sports services have escaped the restrictions that have outlawed sports betting in most states.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has spent $80,000 over the past year to defend its interests in Washington, lobbying records show. The group declined to comment.

Online gambling foes who are pushing for a nationwide ban on casino-style Internet gambling are not yet targeting fantasy sports services. But they may raise th上海夜生活网e DraftKings incident as another example of perils of online betting as they make their case, according to a former congressional aide now working to ban online gambling.

Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

* Saudi stocks to suck in $20 bln in passive flows

* Foreign ownership in Saudi stocks just 2 pct

* Khashoggi affair might stem active flows -analysts

* Slow reform, high valuations also factors

By Tom Arnold and Saeed Azhar

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 ( ) – Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in major emerging m上海夜生活论坛arkets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

Saudi Arabia will be the biggest recent addition to the global indices, the largest of which is the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which it joins from May. MSCI will give the kingdom a weight of 2.7 percent, between Russia and Mexico.

The kingdom is hoping the inclusions, starting on Monday when Saudi stocks join the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index, will kickstart its drive to become a major destination for foreign capital, after its global reputation was tainted by Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Saudi agents in October.

The process should help bring in about $20 billion of combined passive inflows during 2019, analysts estimate. That would push up foreign ownership from around 2 percent, one of the lowest in the region, to around 6 percent, according to Al Mal Capital.

“The 2.7 percent pro-forma benchmark weight [within the MSCI index] is much more significant than prior index inclusions during the past decade,” said Alexander Redman, head of global emerging market equity strategy at Credit Suisse.

“And given that the proportion of assets under management within emerging markets passive funds is much larger than during previous index inclusions, it means there will be a significant amount of net foreign buying of Saudi equities.”

Analysts say pre-positioning by investors has been slow ahead of the process, however. Arqaam Capital attributes that to concern about delays to mega-projects, the kingdom’s fiscal constraints, high valuations for Saudi-listed firms and concerns that government asset sales will oversupply the stock market.

“As has been seen with a lot of other markets undergoing emergence, the reform process is not always smooth,” said Edward Evans, emerging markets equity portfolio manager at Ashmore Group.

“We’ve seen that in Saudi Arabia with their somewhat unorthodox approach to policymaking over the last few years, and the hope is that as the kingdom becomes more integrated in global financial markets, policy will become more predictable.”

The kingdom’s drive to diversify its economy away from oil dependence has had some hiccups, including a recession in 2017 and delays to plans to float shares in oil giant Aramco.

A source at a major western investment firm, who asked to remain anonymous, highlighted another reason why investors might be cautious. “I would find it unlikely that the active funds coming in will be anywhere close to benchmark as there are still reputation issues from holding Saudi assets,” the source said.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and other state-owned funds indirectly own the lion’s share of Saudi stocks.

Many stepped in to limit a market crash in October last year caused by foreign investors dumping stocks after Khashoggi’s killing. Some had made similar moves when foreign investors were spooked after the government detained hundreds of officials under an anti-corruption drive in November 2017.

The index inclusions are seen as an opportunity for those funds to sell their positions in around 4 percent of the market, estimate analysts.

Foreign net buying has picked up since the start of the year, hitting $2.1 billion year-to-date. That is still below the expected passive and active inflows that could reach a total of up to $60 billion, said Arqaam.

For an interactive version of the below chart, click here tmsnrt.rs/2NXK0gp.

Arqaam said concerns the government could oversupply the market and, in turn, pressure valuations were misplaced, with local institutional selling, particularly from mutual funds, well below foreign buying in recent days.

“We expect the Saudi government-related entities such as PIF to cater to the required demand of stocks in a controlled manner,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

General Electric CEO sets low 2019 profit targets, vows better from 2020

( ) – General Electric Co Chief Executive Larry Culp on Thursday set conservative profit targets for this year and staked his reputation on hitting them and doing better in 2020 and beyond, igniting a rally in the stock.

Culp’s detailed pep talk, which drew praise from Wall Street analysts on a conference call, swiftly reversed an earlier rout in the stock as he stressed GE was serious about its targets after years of missing profit expectations.

The forecast was low largely because GE will be spending $2.5 billion on restructuring this year,上海夜生活论坛 Culp said, adding the investment would pay off after a tough 2019.

“This is what constitutes a ‘reset,’” Culp said, using a word many analysts had longed to hear.

“The market should interpret a high level of conviction (in the forecast) simply because this team, in a public forum, is laying this roadmap out, mindful of the realities of 2019 but I think also optimistic … about the impact of what we’re doing.”

Culp did not soft-pedal the short-term pain. He said 2019 adjusted profit would be 50 cents to 60 cents a share, below analyst estimates of 70 cents, and GE could lose as much as $2 billion in cash from its industrial businesses, putting a number on a warning he issued last week.

The company expects free cash flow at GE Power to remain negative in 2020 before turning positive in 2021.

Investors are looking closely at GE’s cash and earnings after the company lost nearly $23 billion last year.

The outlook is “arguably better than expected,” said Deane Dray, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

The company did not make reference to any potential hit to its jet engine unit from the recent global grounding of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX aircraft. GE and partner Safran SA make the engine that powers all 737 MAX planes.

GE shares were up 2.9 percent at $10.31 in afternoon trading, after falling 4 percent in premarket activity shortly after the forecast was released. GE bonds also rose slightly.

“While lowered guidance is not a positive, we think GE’s plan and progress show it’s moving in the right direction,” said Jim Corridore, analyst at CFRA.

Culp also left considerable wiggle room in the forecast by including an unspecified amount of “contingency” money to cover hard-to-predict costs, such as when it will conclude big asset sales and how its power unit will perform.

JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa voiced concern that the gap between GE’s cash flow and earnings forecasts was the widest he had seen, which likely will mean analysts’ profit estimates are too high.

Culp said that although GE was taking “a safe conservative posture in this reset year … Rest assured, operationally, we’re running hard.”

Obama, Putin spar over Syria

UNITED NATIONS ( ) – Russia and the United States agreed on Monday to look for a diplomatic end to the Syrian civil war but clashed over the central question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should retain power.

During a 90-minute meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that their armed forces should hold talks to avoid coming into conflict in Syria after a Russian military buildup there over the last several weeks.

The United States, France and allied countries are bombing Islamic State militants, who have exploited power vacuums to seize parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq as part of a stated goal of creating an Islamic caliphate.

The reinforcement of the Russian military presence in the country, including the addition of tanks and warplanes, has brought fears of inadvertent or accidental clashes among the forces as well as U.S. questions about Moscow’s main goal.

Speaking after his meeting with Obama, Putin told reporters Russia was pondering what more it could do to support Syrian government and Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants.

“We are mulling over what we would really do extra in order to support those who are in the battlefield, resisting and fighting with terrorists, ISIS (Islamic State) first of all,” Putin said, ruling out deploying Russian ground troops.

“There is (an) opportunity to work on joint problems together,” Putin said of his talks with Obama, which a U.S. official described as “businesslike.”

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters after the meeting: “The Russians certainly understood the importance of there being a political resolution to the conflict in Syria, and there being a process that pursues a political resolution.”

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U.S.-Russian ties have been deeply strained by Moscow’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its support of pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Earlier in the day, relations between the two leaders appeared frosty – they clinked glasses at a lunch, but Obama had a piercing look as Putin smiled – and they laid out starkly differing positions toward Assad in their addresses before the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders.

Obama said he was willing to cooperate with Russia and Iran to try to end the four-year civil war in Syria, in which at least 200,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes. But he described Assad as its chief culprit.

In contrast, Putin said there was no alternative to cooperating with Assad’s military to fight Islamic State militants, and called for the creation of a broader international anti-terrorist coalition. This appeal may compete with the coalition that the United States has assembled to fight Islamic State.

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama, who spoke before Putin, told the world body. “But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.”

OBAMA: NO ROLE FOR TYRANTS

Obama did not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster, and he suggested there could be a “managed transition” away from the Syrian president’s rule, the latest sign that despite U.S. animus toward Assad it was willing to see him stay for some period of time.

Obama dismissed the argument that authoritarianism was the only way to combat groups such as Islamic State, saying: “In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse.”

Putin differed, suggesting there was no option but to work with Assad, a longtime ally of Russia.

“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face,” Putin said in his speech.

“We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu both rejected the possibility of allowing Assad to stay.

BITTER PILL

In voicing a willingness to deal with Iran and Russia, both backers of Assad, Obama was openly acknowledging their influence in Syria and swallowing a somewhat bitter pill for the United States.

Tehran has armed the Syrian government and, through its backing of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has helped Assad combat rebels seeking to end his family’s four-decade rule.

U.S. officials say they believe Putin’s buildup of Russian forces in Syria mainly reflects Moscow’s fear that Assad’s grip might be weakening and a desire to shore him up to retain Russian influence in the region.

They also see it as a way for Putin to try to project Russian influence more widely, a goal he appeared to achieve on Sunday with Iraq’s announcement that Russia, Iran, Syria and the Iraqi government were sharing intelligence on Syria.

Despite t上海夜网heir differences over Syria and Ukraine, the United States and Russia have worked with Britain, China, France and Germany, a group known as the P5+1, to secure a nuclear deal with Iran this summer.

The same group could also take up the issue of Syria, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said after a meeting of the six foreign ministers and Iran on Monday evening.

De Bruyne decided to extend his contract

Kevin De Bruyne, the Manchester City playmaker, decided to extend his contract and sign the new deal and it means that it will stay in this town until 2023 as the club announced it on Monday.

The Belgium international had his previous contract running until 2021 and there were talks between the club and the player since the beginning of the season as he was thought to deserve a better contract that will reflect his value for the club. He has been evaluated as one of the best world’s midfielders this season and he has been a crucial part of Pep Guardiola’s squad…

The former Chelsea player spoke about his feelings as he said, according to ESPN: “I am really happy to have signed this new deal. As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one. Not only are we winning — we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also admitted that this decision was an easy one for him: “It was pretty easy [the decision to stay]. Obviously, you hear a lot of people talk about other clubs but I think at the moment we are 上海夜生活one of the best clubs in the world. The way this club is working as a whole unit is unbelievable. I’ve never witnessed it in other clubs before like that.”

In the end, Txiki Begiristain, the director of football, claimed: “Kevin’s new deal is great news for our club. He has shown this season how important he is to the team and has been integral in everything we’ve done so far. We are thrilled he has committed his long-term future to Manchester City.”

Howe left frustrated after being held by West Ham

Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth coach, admitted that he was a bit frustrated as his side conceded an almost immediate equalizer against West Ham United and they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Ryan Fraser scored the first goal of the game in 71st minuted for the home side but it wasn’t enough to win the match anyway as Javier Hernandez equalized just two minutes after that the clash ended 1-1. It means that the Cherries haven’t been beaten for five matches in a row but despite that, Howe was a bit disappointed while being in charge of the club in his 100th Premier League game.

The talented British coach spoke about this match as he said, according to Sky Sports: “We didn’t start the game particularly well, we came under pressure early but did well to defend that and not concede. We grew into the game and scored a great goal from our perspective, and looked a real threat on the counter-attack in the second上海夜生活论坛 half. The frustrating thing is the timing of their second goal.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also insisted that it was probably caused by the lack of concentration: “There was no time to enjoy it or build on it, which is frustrating. I don’t think the lads switched off or that it was a concentration issue, it was just the fact we didn’t win two big headers outside our box. It’s a frustration because at that stage I thought we were the better team and we were looking to build upon a great goal.”

In the end, Eddie Howe claimed that he was pleased by the performance of his two substitutes, Joshua King and Junior Stanislas: “Junior’s pass for our goal was sublime. He’s got the quality and makes us play very good football, so we’re delighted to have him back.  Josh has been such a key player for us in recent times, hopefully, those guys can give us a real lift.”

Guardiola spoke about his commitment to City

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City coach, is said to be enjoying his life in Manchester pretty well as, according to reports, he bought an apartment in the city earlier this year – and he insisted that he has been always fully committed to the club.

The Spaniard is said to be very happy at the club and he is about to stay beyond the three-year deal th上海夜生活论坛at he signed at the beginning of his reign at Manchester City. To be said, he has been very successful with his side this season so far as he is at the top of the table and managed to guide his team to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

The former Barcelona coach spoke about his commitment as he said, according to ESPN: “The commitment was the same as last season when I didn’t win. It looks like a commitment because we won, but last season it was the same. I think nothing changes — whether I buy an apartment or rent an apartment, it won’t affect the way I work or try to lead my profession. It’s good that I bought an apartment because I have to live in someplace. I’m happy to live in the city, it happened the same when I lived in Rome at Brescia and in Munich, I preferred to live in the city and be with the people.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He also made a comment on his team’s injured players: “Vincent is not as bad as we thought. He will be ready for the next fixtures. We will know exactly tomorrow, but it is not a big issue. Fabian was not fit but he is much better now. Yesterday, he didn’t train but the players are off today. We will see. Fabian is a similar case to Vincent — he knows his body.”

In the end, Pep Guardiola insisted that John Stones is also doing well: “John Stones is also much better. Yesterday he made first complete training session, but he is not ready for 90 minutes. I think he will be fit for the next game which is huge news for us. Silva — we will see in the next days.”

Pochettino urged Kane to play even better

Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham coach, admitted that he believes that Harry Kane, his side’s best striker, can continue in his improvement and will start to play even better than he has done so far this season.

The Englishman managed to score a hat-trick in his team’s latest 3-0 away win against Burnley and he proved himself to be a key player for the Spurs once again. His coach admitted that the young England international is very important for his system of play but he also claimed that he can see a space for a possible improvement and he hopes that Kane will not stop with his progress.

The former Southampton coach spoke about his star striker as he said, according to ESPN: “I think he still can improve. He’s 24, I think the player arrives at their best at 27, 28, 29, depending on how professional you are. But Harry Kane, if he keeps that mentality, keeps working hard every day in the training sessions and never changes that mentality, he can play until he wants to.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that Kane can break Shearer’s record: “Of course the record of Alan is fantastic. He was a fantastic player, but Harry is doing so well. I think Alan was consistent during 10 years scoring goals and you need to show massive respect because it was amazing what he did. Now Harry is doing well, we hope for Tottenham, for him, for everyone that loves the club, tha上海夜生活网t every season he scores 50 or more than 50.”

In the end, Mauricio Pochettino insisted that his team have to start being consistent: “We need to keep the momentum, to try to win again, to be consistent. If we want to fight at the end for big things we must try to be consistent. But I’m sure that the team is focused, like we showed today. It was tough last week against City, but the team is in a good way.”

Preview: FK Crvena Zvezda – FC Koln

The battle for second place behind already qualified Arsenal in Europa League (EL) Group F is an interesting one. Crvena Zvevda are on the same points as Cologne but sit one place above them due to their 1-0 win in Cologne on matchday two. A win for either side would take them automatically through, while a draw could let in fourth-placed BATE who visit Arsenal in a must-win game for the Belarusians.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Cologne’s last two games in the EL – victories over Arsenal and BATE – have at least provided some respite to an awful campaign in the Bundesliga where they have lost 11 and drawn three of their 14 games and not surprisingly find themselves propping up the table. Despite a decent 2-2 draw at Schalke at the weekend, Cologne coach Peter Stoger was given his official marching orders on Sunday and was replaced by U-19 coach Stefan Ruthenbeck as interim boss.

This will be Ruthenback’s first game in charge and during the pre-match presser he had this to say about the task ahead: “We want to be the active team. We know we can’t win here 上海夜生活being passive,” before adding: “Our players are motivated. They know what awaits them.”

Getting anything at the Rajko Mitic Stadium will not be an easy task, however. Crvena Zvevda, or Red Star Belgrade as they are more commonly known in the West, are unbeaten in ten home matches in the Serbian league and have a good record against German sides at their stadium – winning nine, drawing four and losing just two of the 13 games played. On top of this, Crvena Zvevda have a 12th man in their fanatical home support and have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last seven home European games.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

Furthermore, a win for Cologne would be the first time any side has lost their first three EL games and still progressed through to the knockout stages – some achievement for the club in its current plight in its first European campaign in 20 years.

Missing players

FK Crvena Zvezda: N. Radonjic (injury), Ricardinho (doubtful)

FC Koln: L. Bittencourt (groin injury), J. Cordoba (thigh injury), J. Hector (ankle injury), D. Heintz (thigh injury), M. Hoger (muscle injury), M. Risse (knee injury), S. Zoller (thigh injury), Y.A. Bisseck (doubtful), D. Maroh (doubtful), J. Mere (doubtful), J. Queiros (doubtful).

Coutinho doesn’t know where he’ll play

Philippe Coutinho admitted that he still doesn’t know where his future lies and he is unsure whether he will remain with Liverpool as Barcelona were trying to bring him desperately.

He handed a transfer request at the end of the summer transfer window but the Reds didn’t allow him to go – and despite being forced to stay, he has been in a really good shape lately and he was given a chance to wear a captain armband in his side’s latest match against Spartak Moscow. To be added, the Brazilian scored a hattrick in that game and he showed that he is still a very valuable player at Anfield.

The former Inter Milan player spoke about his future as he said, according to Sky Sports: “I am at Liverpool and I always do my best when I have the opportunity to play, respecting the jersey and the supporters. I do not know how the future is going to be. What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Re上海夜生活网al Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that he was interested in moving to Barca: “Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it. Since I stayed I have played with will and desire. Of course, a lot happened in the summer but my will is always to play and do the best wherever I am – that has not changed. I am here (at Liverpool), we have a lot of games and I try to do my best to help.”

In the end, Philippe Coutinho spoke about the last match and a remarkable 7-0 win: “It was a special night due to the result and because I had the armband in such an important game playing for a club like Liverpool. For sure this is my most important hat-trick. In the Champions League it was my first one, I scored one for Brazil but this was more important.”

Arthur: No deal with Barcelona

Gremio midfielder Arthur claimed he has signed no deal with FC Barcelona, despite meeting the Catalan side

The 21-year-old prospect says that “first contact” has been made with Ernesto Valverde’s men but him signing a contract is still far away, despite speculations of a potential transfer move in January.

Arthur has been heavily linked with a transfer to the La Liga giants, especially after the midfielder was spotted wearing a Barca shirt last week. That was enough to get speculators going.

After that incident, many suggested that a deal had already been completed between Gremio a上海夜生活nd Barcelona, yet the 21-year-old midfielder has denied that is the case.

“On the Barcelona issue, they really talked to me. We had a meeting, but I want to clarify that we have nothing agreed or defined,” Arthur told Esporte Interativo.Opinion: FC Barcelona needed to end the internal war Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – After a victory at Camp Nou, we believe that FC Barcelona did well by ending the internal war between players and the board ASAP.Those…

“It’s a club that I admire a lot. It was only first contact for them to get to know me and my family, and for me to meet them, let’s take it easy. There is nothing definite, but we did have a conversation.”

“I’m a Gremio player. My agent did not negotiate any contract. That did not happen. Any deal has to be good for me and good for the club, which is my home, where everything started. I arrived with 14 years, I am a Gremio fan at heart, my blood is blue,” he added.

The midfielder was named as the outstanding player in the Copa Libertadores final, which many suggest could be a sign of him getting interest from more big European clubs.

Despite the interest of other club giants, such as Manchester United, Barcelona reportedly went on to submit a €35 million bid for the youngster, but the Brazilian club have refused the amount. They probably know some clubs will pay even more for the youngster’s signature.

Guardiola: “De Bruyne capable of anything”

Pep Guardiola is certain that Kevin De Bruyne is one of the world’s best creative midfielders also because of the fact that he is able to perform on a high level even in the most important matches of the season.

The Spanish coach relies on his Belgian key player ahead of the upcoming derby match against Manchester United and he claimed that De Bruyne can do “absolutely everything” on the pitch and he is certain that he can prove it once again. Guardiola’s side can be 11 points clear if they will manage to win this match and the title would be arguably over 上海夜生活at that point.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach spoke about the abilities of De Bruyne as he said, according to Sky Sports: “He can do everything on the pitch. And, in terms of mentality as well, he never hides. The big players you realise in the bad moments, the bad moments in terms of 75 minutes, we are losing, how you react in that situation.”Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

He added that he is world-class also because he can show up in big moments: “With 4-0 everybody is a top-class player, the important time is when you are in the bad moments. I think he is world class because he can do absolutely everything.”

Guardiola also spoke about whether he will play Agüero or Gabriel Jesus as they both have been in a really good shape recently: “Maybe it is one of the toughest decisions because both are top, both deserve to play. I am so happy with both of them. When you play with two strikers, it is easy to take a decision. Gabriel is the best striker in the world in the high pressing. There is no one with the intensity and reading between the central defenders, attacking the holding midfielders from behind.”

Boateng admits he considered leaving Bayern Munich

The full-back was not happy with his situation at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has opened up about the summer transfer window, saying he was ready to leave the club. However, he is now pleased that Jupp Heynckes has returned to the Bavarians, whose arrival has chan上海夜生活网ged his mind when it comes to a potential departure.

The 29-year-old’s last season campaign was plagued with injuries as he started only 10 games for the Bundesliga champions. The time spent on the sidelines probably affected Ancelotti’s view of the player as Boateng was not a regular starter during important games. This led to the defender’s frustration, which made him consider his options carefully during the close season.

“Maybe because I played not that much with him as coach, he saw me as less because of my injuries,” Boateng told Kicker.Kovac cryptic about plans to stop Kane Nedim Maric – Bayern Munich will travel to North London in order to face Pochettino’s Tottenham in a Champions League derby.Bundesliga looks like it’s never been as…

“I had a conversation with the leaders about how they see me in the summer, I said I was thinking about it (a transfer).”

Yet, the German full-back is happy to see Bayern’s old manager return to the hot seat at Allianz Arena, believing that Heynckes is the right man to bring the club back on the victorious path.

“(Heynckes’) attitude that he wants to give something back to FC Bayern is very positive for us as a team. There are not many managers who have such a keen sense of how to deal with players, their approach, their training, their motivation.”

Sarri: “Manchester City are the best in Europe”

Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri has declared the Citizens as ‘clearly the best team in Europe’ right now.

The Partenopei will be facing Manchester City in England for the first match between the two clubs in the Champions League. Both sides have been enjoying an incredible start of the season, with each of the clubs taking the first seat in their respective leagues.

Despite Napoli’s remarkable start of the season, their manager noted that his team is taking on the ‘best club’ in Europe right now.

“They win all their games with at least five goals,” Sarri pointed out in his pre-match Press conference, according to Football Italia.

“The last time they didn’t score a goal was August, and they’re also strong in the defensive phase. It will be very hard.

“They seem unbalanced, but they’re not they always press the ball with a lot of men. I’ve seen important things from City, though I haven’t watched上海夜网 too many matches as I didn’t want to spoil other evenings.Willian warns Chelsea of ‘difficult’ Ajax threat Andrew Smyth – Willian admits Chelsea will need to prepare well for their next Champions League clash at Ajax after overcoming Lille OSC 2-0 on Wednesday.

“They’re clearly the best team in Europe.

The Napoli coach also took the time to thank his colleague Pep Guardiola as the Catalan had nothing but applause for Sarri.

“All I can do is thank him and congratulate him, because he’s clearly the best Coach in the world.

“30 years ago [Arrigo] Sacchi left his mark on football, and in a few years we’ll realise how important Guardiola was.

“If someone like him compliments you, you can only be happy.”

Liverpool fans assaulted by police

Liverpool fans claimed they were assaulted by Seville police during Tuesday’s Champions League clash

According to GOAL, the Reds are to “establish the facts” following reports of “heavy-handed” treatment at the hands of police and stewards in Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Sevilla.

Some of the travelling fans were not allowed into the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, while others were assaulted by police, claimed supporters group Spirit of Shankly.

Jay Mckenna chairman of Spirit of Shankly released a statement, saying supporters were assaulted in the first-half of the game.

“We became aware of issues affecting supporters during the first half of the match,” Mckenna told ESPN.

“A couple of our committee members reported problems getting into the ground, being refused access as the 上海夜生活论坛flag they had [which featured a Liver bird and the word “defiance”] was accused of having a political message.”

The chairman added, some of the fans were heavily assaulted, even pushed and punched.Koulibaly warns about Genk danger Nedim Maric – The reliable Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly warned his team about Genk’s quality as he’s played for the Belgian side in the past.Napoli opened their…

“What is more concerning is the reports of heavy-handed treatment of supporters, including physical assaults, with one committee member reporting she was punched as she was pushed out of the ground.”

“Similar experiences have been shared with us from other supporters last night, and we’ve asked people to come forward so we can raise this issue with the club,” Mckenna explained.

“We’ve already flagged it up to them and we’re aware they are looking for more information.”

The chairman went on to say they will hold both clubs and UEFA accountable for what happened.

“Clearly, though, what happened last night isn’t acceptable and we will be asking both clubs and UEFA what they plan to do about it.”

Liverpool confirmed they are looking into the issue right away. “Following detailed and troubling accounts given by Liverpool supporters attending the match against Sevilla last night, the club is seeking to establish the facts regarding their treatment at the hands of the host stewards and local police force,” a club statement read.

“The safety and security of our supporters is our paramount concern and we intend to gather all the relevant information before responding further,” the Reds stated after their 3-3 draw against Sevilla.

Cahill warns Manchester City

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill says Manchester City will have a tough time keeping their form up, and believes Chelsea can still catch the league leaders

The league leaders’ unbeaten start does not scare the centre-back, who is confident his side can reduce the points deficit over the campaign, GOAL reports.

Cahill believes talking about Manchester City as champions so early in the season is premature, and is confident the Blues have enough time to catch up with City once their performance falls.

“They’ve started off full steam ahead and that’s great for them, but we’re not even at Christmas yet, so let’s just hold fire and see how they get on,” the centre-back told Chelsea’s website.

“They look fantastic at the moment and we have taken a fair bit of criticism at times this season, but we’ve had three clean sheets on the bounce in the league now, it was a great performance and we’ve got a long way still to go.”Top 5 Premier League players in September’s last weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – A fresh Premier League fixture just ended, which means we can talk about the Top 5 best players of September’s last weekend.After a fresh…

When Cahill was asked about Chelsea’s performance in their 4-0 victory over West Brom this weekend, the defender claimed he was delighted with how they have played.

“I have to admit it was a superb performance from us, from every single player, and collectively we are very happy,” the 31-year-old said.

“I felt we pl上海夜生活ayed some good football, we kept the ball when we needed to and we scored goals. We saw a bit of everything from us, so performance-wise it was very, very good.”

“I’m sure they found it very difficult to play against us, we always seemed to have an option to get out of trouble and there was a lot of composure on the ball, which allowed us to keep it for long periods,” Cahill explained.

Chelsea is now on a four-game winning streak as they are about to face Qarabag away from home in the Champions League on Wednesday.