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Labour aim to seize parliamentary time to try to stop no-deal Brexit

LONDON ( ) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday it would try to take control of the parliamentary agenda on June 25 to give lawmakers the chance to introduce legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit.

Several of the candidates vying to replace Prime Minister Theresa May have said they would not be 上海夜生活论坛willing to delay Britain’s European Union beyond the end of October, even if it meant leaving without a deal.

A majority of lawmakers oppose leaving without a deal and other leadership contenders have warned parliament will block any attempt to do so. One, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, has even raised the possibility of suspending parliament until after Oct. 31 to prevent it happening.

“The debate on Brexit in the Tory (Conservative) leadership contest has descended into the disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless,” said Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.

“None of the likely candidates for the top job has a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October.”

Labour said it would use an opposition day debate on Wednesday to vote on a motion, supported by lawmakers from several parties including the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and a member of May’s Conservatives, to seize parliamentary time on June 25.

If successful, Members of Parliament (MPs) could then use that time to introduce legislation to try and avoid Britain leaving on Oct. 31 without a deal, Labour said.

“MPs cannot be bystanders while the next Tory Prime Minister tries to crash the UK out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people. That’s why we are taking this latest measure to end the uncertainty and protect communities across the country,” Starmer added.

Earlier this year, MPs used a similar process to pass a law, despite government opposition, that mandated May to seek more time from the EU.

This alone would not have prevented a no-deal, as the EU has to agree to any extension. Only legislating to revoke the Article 50 exit notification would stop Brexit happening.

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.

EU moves closer to debt action as Italy angles for compromise

ROME/BRUSSELS ( ) – The European Union moved closer on Tuesday to taking disciplinary action over Italy’s growing debt, as authorities in Rome made tentative steps to avert a procedure that could saddle the country with large fines and alienate investors.

Envoys of EU governments agreed that action was warranted, a confidential document seen by showed, confirming the assessment of the European Commission that Italy is in breach of fiscal rules by failing to cut its huge public debt.

The Commission’s outgoing president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Italy was “moving in an unsound direction” and risked a procedure that could last years.

Italy and the Commission have been at loggerheads on fiscal issues since a euroskeptic coalition government took office in Rome a year ago armed with ambitious spending plans.

However, in a rare show of unity after successive bouts of infighting in recent months, the coalition’s leaders agreed overnight on a willingness to address the EU’s concerns.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after they met that they would work together to avert the disciplinary action.

“Our shared goal is to avoid the infringement while safeguarding economic growth, employment, as well as tax cuts,” added Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right League.

Italy’s debt has risen steadily from a pre-financial crisis low of 104% of domestic output in 2007 and now stands at 132%, second only to Greece’s within the euro zone. The Commission forecast it will rise further to 135% next year.

Brussels also wants Rome to cut its structural deficit, which excludes one-off revenues, to make its debt more sustainable.

Related CoverageItalian deputy PM Di Maio says coalition meeting went well

EU governments agreed the disciplinary procedure would be avoided if Rome made new offers, two European sources said.

‘NO TAX INCREASES’

But, emboldened by the League’s strong showing in last month’s European elections and in local polls, Salvini has made tax cuts a priority and has repeatedly taken aim at Brussels, calling for an overhaul of EU fiscal rules.

He insisted on Tuesday that “there won’t be any budget correction nor tax increases.”

Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, a technocrat, played down the events in Brussels, saying the final decision would lie with the bloc’s finance ministers.

He ag上海夜生活论坛reed a budget correction was not necessary, though one would be implemented if needed, and said Italy’s deficit would be lower than initially forecast due to lower expenditure.

But that may not be enough to stave off EU action.

Brussels will now intensify talks to obtain more fiscal commitments from Rome.

But if no compromise is found, the EU Commission could recommend the opening of the procedure as early as June 26, one official said. EU states would have then to agree to formally launch it in their last meetings before the summer break on July 8-9. The procedure could also lead to unprecedented fines.

To complicate the picture, Rome is also scrambling to avoid a sales-tax increase worth 23 billion euros, which is due to kick in automatically next year unless the money can be found elsewhere.

Both the League and its coalition partner 5-Star Movement have ruled out a sales tax hike, but have yet to spell out how they will cover the gap.

Ex-Trump adviser Flynn talking to Congress about testifying in Russia probe: lawyer

((In March 30 item, corrects spelling of Kislyak in paragraph 3))

WASHINGTON ( ) – Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has offered to testify before congressional committees probing potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia but wants protection against “unfair prosecution,” his lawyer said on Thursday.

“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” said a statement from Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner.

Testimony from Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak last year when he was the national security adviser for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Kelner said discussions had taken place about Flynn’s availability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.

Flynn was forced to resign as Trump’s national security adviser in February for failing to disclose talks with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office about U.S. sanctions on Moscow and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Questions remain about the scope of the discussions and what other contacts took place between other Trump advisers with the Russians. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed that Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russ上海夜网ia hacked emails of senior Democrats and orchestrated the release of embarrassing information in a bid to tip the presidential election in favor of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow’s.

Russia has denied the allegations. Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.

‘WITCH HUNT ENVIRONMENT’

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported on Thursday that Flynn had sought immunity from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers.

The House denied the Journal report. “Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity,” committee spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement.

The FBI declined to comment. The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kelner’s statement did not mention the FBI.

He said Flynn “is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated.”

Kelner said Flynn would not “submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”Independent Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN he could not confirm the Journal report, but “if that turns out to be the case, that’s a significant development I believe because it indicates that he has something important to say.”

UPDATE 1-Speculators cut bullish bets on U.S. dollar – CFTC and

(Adds dollar, yen and yuan details)

By Kate Duguid

NEW YORK, May 10 ( ) – Speculators cut their net long bets on the U.S. dollar in the latest week, according to calculations by and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the net long dollar position was $38.08 billion in the week ended May 7, down from $38.88 billion the prior week.

To be long a currency means traders believe it will rise in value, while being short points to a bearish bias. The speculative market has been long on the dollar since mid-June last year.

U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc, and Canadian and Australian dollars.

In a broader measure of dollar positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net long position of $34.34 billion in the week to May 7, compared with $34.92 billion the previous week.

Speculators cut their bullish positions a上海夜生活网s the dollar index fell after U.S. President Donald Trump on May 5 said he would increase tariffs on up to $200 billion worth of imports from China – a policy which went into effect Friday. The ratcheting up of trade tensions also drove the offshore Chinese yuan to four-month lows.

In the latest week, speculators cut short bets on the Japanese yen for the first time since mid-February . The Japanese yen is a safe-haven currency and has benefited from increasing trade tensions between the United States and China.

Rhetoric or reality? Arabs struggle to decode Trump’s Mideast rhetoric

DUBAI ( ) – The future leader of the Middle East’s top foreign ally is, in the words of a Saudi prince, an anti-Muslim “disgrace”, openly disdainful of Arab security partnerships, who believes Saudi Arabia would cease to exist for long without the United States.

Donald Trump’s presidential election victory means he is the man Washington’s Arab allies must deal with after his January inauguration, as they seek U.S. help to end wars from Syria to Mosul, manage humanitarian crises and provide jobs for their populations at a time of low oil prices.

Trump’s campaign tirades against Muslim migrants – the target of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s comments on Twitter – and against Arab allies who don’t “pay” for U.S. support suggest the relationship could be delicate.

How far Trump the president will differ from Trump the polarizing election candidate is not clear.

Brief, congratulatory messages flowed quickly from Arab allies, including one from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who wished Trump success in “achieving security and stability in the Middle East and the wider world”.

But underneath the protocol, for many Arab rulers and royals Trump’s victory is a source of anxiety. They now face a new America led by Trump who, they fear, could upend a regional order that has prevailed for decades.

Some ordinary Arabs like Trump’s no-nonsense style, and praise what they see as his capacity for tough leadership.

“A strong leader … that is what is needed here in the Middle East and all across the world,” said Ali al-Muhannadi, 57, a Qatari owner of an electrical company, filling his car up at a petrol station in Doha on Wednesday.

Muhannadi saw Trump as a useful ally in confronting the jihadist threat, saying he is “very frank and not like a politician. Islamist radicals are bad for the West and for us too”.

But privately there are concerns about a lack of clarity in Trump’s policies for the world’s most combustible region as it struggles to break free from war while trying to safeguard the free flow of its oil exports.

DISAFFECTED ARAB YOUTH

In particular there are worries that Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards Muslim migrants will play into the hands of Islamic State and al Qaeda, w上海夜生活网hich are eager to recruit disaffected young Arabs to wage war on the regional governments they despise as stooges of Washington.

Gulf Arab leaders want a U.S. president who understands their concerns after eight years of what they regard as diffidence under President Barack Obama, someone who did not provide the kind of personal contact they value.

In particular they want help to push back against Iran, their main rival. But they fear Trump’s public praise for Vladimir Putin will encourage Russia to expand its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran and an enemy of most Gulf Arab states.

Apart from a commitment to Israel’s security, a constant in U.S. foreign policy, and an isolationist tone to his comments, much in Trump’s statements about the region remains vague and poorly thought out, diplomats and analysts say.

Opinion is divided about whether Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail will be enacted when in office. Among these is his comment that he would consider halting U.S. purchases of Saudi oil unless Riyadh provides troops to fight Islamic State.

Faisal Al Yafai, a commentator at The National newspaper, said many people thought Trump had used his extravagant comments to win votes and once in office he would mellow.

“I am unconvinced. I think he actually believes his rhetoric. It’s quite worrying that he doesn’t seem to understand how global politics works,” he said. “For example you don’t go around saying ‘if our allies were threatened we wouldn’t intervene, why can’t they build their own nuclear weapons?’”

“That sort of stuff doesn’t help confidence. That collapse of confidence between the U.S. and its allies has a knock-on impact on the economies and in the decisions those countries take on a political level.”

Yafai, whose newspaper is based in the United Arab Emirates, noted Iraqis were putting their lives on the line to regain Mosul, Islamic State’s main stronghold in the country. “That is not just a war for the region, it is a war for the world,” he said.

Others are more sanguine.

A senior Turkish official predicted continued strong relations with the United States and argued that “comments in an election period always have a harder and more hawkish tone than is necessary. But they remain peculiar to the election period.”

SAUDIS “READY TO TAKE A RISK”

Prince Sultan bin Khaled al Faisal, a former Saudi special forces officer and now senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, said that in U.S. elections “what they say and what they do are two totally different things”.

“Foreign policy is not made by one man,” he said. “But it’s difficult to pinpoint what his policy actually is.”

Trump’s remarks have been combative, and eye-catching. He has said the United States should be reimbursed by the countries it provides protection for.

Without America, “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for very long,” Trump told the New York Times in March.

Trump’s win drew a cautious welcome in Syria, which has entered its fifth year of war between rebels and Assad’s forces.

In Damascus, Syrian member of parliament Sherif Shehada said U.S. policy could shift Assad’s way. “We must be optimistic, but cautiously optimistic,” Shehada told by telephone.

Trump’s statements on Syria, and his more open-minded stance towards Assad’s ally Russia, have fueled rebel concern about the policy he may adopt on the conflict, in which the Russian air force has been bombing insurgents.

But beyond all that, many officials and observers see another ominous consequence.

Trump’s win has not only delighted Western right-wingers but also jihadists who told supporters the election had revealed the true position of the United States towards Muslims.

“The masks have slipped,” one supporter said on Islamic State websites. “(Trump’s) moronic declarations alone serve us even if his decisions will be under the supervision of the Senate…,” wrote another.

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.

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.”

Related CoveragePutin-Obama discussed information sharing on Syria: KremlinObama, Iran’s Zarif shake hands in New York, Iranian official says CLINKING GLASSES, FROSTY LOOKS

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.

Francis believes that Sanchez can be the United’s missing part

Gerry Francis, the former Quee上海夜生活ns Park Rangers player, insisted that Alexis Sanchez is the “finished article” the Red Devils desperately needed to buy to become one of the greatest world’s clubs again.

The former QPR player spoke about Sanchez’s skills as he said, according to Sky Sports: “Sanchez is a real goalscorer, he’s talented and he’s aggressive around the box and he makes things happen, he can pull teams through. It’s [about] the present, you’re looking to win trophies and looking to win competitions and sometimes you need to buy and have the finished article and Sanchez is certainly that.”

He also shared his thoughts on his effect on the squad: “It just makes them as a squad that much stronger. Certainly a much bigger goal threat with Sanchez. He’s proven year in and year out that he can score goals. From Jose Mourinho’s point of view, it gives him another very, very strong arrow for his bow.”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…

Peter Odemwingie, the former West Brome striker, also believes that Sanchez will have an immediate impact: “If you look back 10 years when Manchester United were probably the most successful team in Europe the average age was much higher and they were a better team.  Of course, all credit to the younger boys they are doing really well but it’s a more natural process to slowly groom them and not just make them key players. I think a bit of maturity is needed to go back to the heights they were before.”

In the end, Odemwingie said that Sanchez will make the everyone’s stats better: “They [younger players] took their chances well but stats should be what they rely on, and if Sanchez comes in and his stats are better – as much as you think they are the future of the club – they have to be patient and wait for the time they are ripe enough for such a massive club.”

Lingard happy with United spirit

The Red Devils managed to secure a draw against Burnley after上海夜生活网 coming back from a 0-2 deficit.

Manchester United striker Jesse Lingard praised his team-mates for not giving up in what appeared to be a rather frustrating day at Old Trafford.

The England international did not feature in the starting XI of the Red Devils in their 2-2 draw with Leicester City, but was brought into play from the bench against the Clarets to help his side seal a point.

Mourinho’s men were 2-0 down at half-time following goals from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour, but Lingard scored a brace to deny the Clarets the three points at Old Trafford.

However, United’s draw means that Manchester City can create a 15-point gap on top of the league if they manage to beat Newcastle United on Wednesday.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…

“If we had played for another five or 10 minutes, we would have won the game,” he told MUTV.

“[The message at half-time] was always believe. Never give up. We knew we had another 45 minutes to play so we had to be patient, keep moving the ball, moving Burnley about, and eventually we created two clear-cut chances which we scored from.

“This role, further inside, allows me to be closer to the striker, to get in the box, create more things and obviously have more shots at goal. I thought we could nick it towards the end but obviously time ran out and now we look forward to the next game [against Southampton].

“We always have that fighting spirit, that never-give-up attitude and we’ll see where it gets us.”

Shearer certain Kane can score anywhere

The England international broke a Premier League record as Spurs won 5-2 against Southampton on Boxing Day.

Alan Shearer believes that Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane has what it takes to perform for a time like Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Kane scored a hat-trick on Tueday against the Saints, taking his record to 39 Premier League goals in 2017 and surpassing Alan Shearer’s record.

Kane’s consistent output of solid performance has seen him linked with a number of European giants and Shearer believes that the interest from other clubs might prove a big problem for Spurs, especially if Kane seeks to win trophies.

“Not only has he beaten my calendar-year record in the Premier League, but with his second successive hat-trick he eclipsed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for goals in all competitions in 2017 for club and country,” Shearer wrote in The Sun .Berbatov: It’s not the right time for Pochettino to move George Patchias – Dimitar Berbatov doesn’t think it’s t上海夜生活论坛he right time for Mauricio Pochettino to leave Tottenham Hotspurs or for him to join the likes of Madrid…

“That is some company to be in but, believe me, he could score goals for Barcelona and Real Madrid as well. There lies the problem for Spurs going forward, of course

“The club will not want to move into their brand new stadium without their biggest star. ‘One of our own’ as the Spurs faithful chant.

“But things have stalled a bit on the pitch after title tilts in the last two seasons, although they have been impressive in the Champions League.”

Meanwhile Kane is on the right track of securing a third consecutive Premier League Golden boot, an achievement only done by Shearer(1994-97) and Thierry Henry(2003-06).

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.”

Preview: Monaco – Besiktas

Besiktas are top of Group G with six points and will be travelling to Monaco to face the team at the bottom of the group, with only one point acquired in the first two matches.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Alvaro Negredo (Besiktas) scored the goal to knock Monaco out of the tournament (4-3 aggregate win) in the play-off round of ‘15/16 when he was a Valencia player.

Falcao has scored 14 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season. He also has history with Besiktas, having scored home and away whilst at Porto in the Europa League campaign of ‘10/11.

Monaco have a strong home record in European competition and are unbeaten in 12 of their last 15 home games, a run they will hope carries on after a poor start to the group stage (D1, L1).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.

There is always potential for a goal fest when Monaco take to the field, as there has been over 2.5 goals in 9 of their last 11 games.

Besiktas are not afraid of a big challenge, with on average 16.25 fouls, and 2.5 cards per game this season. They have a foul per tackle r上海夜网atio of 1.05, making on average more fouls than clean tackles per game.

Missing players

Monaco: L. Badiashile (arm injury), G. Carillo (foot injury), S. Jovetic (thigh injury)

Besiktas: D. Boyko (doubtful), A. Nukan (doubtful), G. Tore (doubtful)

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.”

Neville: “Arsenal showed how good they could be”

It was a bit surprising result as Arsenal managed to win the north London derby against Tottenham and after a 2-0 win, there is just a one-point difference between these two sides.

The former Manchester United defender, Gary Neville, is certain that Arsenal just finally showed their full potential as they were the dominant side in this crucial match against their main rivals. Shkodran Mustafi scored the winning goal and hugely criticized Alexis Sanchez added the second – Tottenham were completely eliminated by the Gunners and they didn’t show barely anything in this game.

Gary Neville hadn’t thought even before the match that Arsenal was going to lose this one as he said, according to Sky Sports: “I didn’t think Arsenal would lose before the game being honest because I think after international duty, to go away from home at 12.30pm, is not easy. But that’s as good as I’ve seen Ar上海夜生活senal, it really is. I wondered after ten minutes would they be able to keep it up? Is it just a bold start that would fizzle out? But it was a really, really good performance. Overall my assessment of the game today was Arsenal were absolutely fantastic from number one to 11. There wasn’t a poor performer.”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…

He evaluated the match further on: “From minute one, they pressed onto that Tottenham back three, made them anxious and made them nervous. A very good back three as well by the way. I have to say I thought the intent from that front three, supported well and sustained by Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, won them the game in terms of setting the tone.”

In the end, the Red Devils legend added: “If you think about the teams I played in and you’ll have seen it yourself over the years when the best players in the team are setting the tone and working hard and making challenges the rest of you follow and come with you.”

Conte: I trust my players

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte claimed he trusts his players, as the Blues face a tough schedule with playing every three days

Antonio Conte says it would be “normal” to rotate his Chelsea side for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Qarabag, Sky Sports reports.

The Italian boss says Chelsea will take nothing for granted against a side that they have defeated 6-0 at home back in September.

The Chelsea coach claimed he will take Saturday’s Premier League game against Liverpool into consideration when he selects the starters against Qarabag.

Conte knows how important a win would be for the Blues, as if they manage to take all 3 points home, Chelsea will secure a spot for themselves in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

“For sure I have to make the best decision for these games, because we are playing every three days. I trust all my players and it is normal to have rotation,” Conte said. Report: Lukaku out of Barcelona game George Patchias – Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Inter Milan’s game against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.Inter Milan face Barcelona tomorrow evening at the Camp…

“I have a squad with great maturity and they know very well the importance of the game and we must have great focus to beat a good team,” the Italian praised his players.

Qarabag have performed well in Group C of the Champions League drawing 0-0 and 1-1 against Atletico Madrid.

“They drew twice with Atletic上海夜生活网o and we have great respect for this team,” Conte explained.

“We must be very clear. If someone thinks that we are sure to win, it will not be easy. For us the game against Qarabag is very important, as we don’t want to wait to go through.”

“If we win we go into the next round, it is a really good target for us. To reach this target for us before the game against Atletico will be very important,” the coach claimed.

Antonio Conte also confirmed the return of Eden Hazard for Wednesday’s game, but said Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi remain out.

Pickford sure that his side won’t be relegated

It has been a terrible season so far for the Toffees but their goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, is confident that they can turn it around and avoid the relegation but they need to focus on themselves and improve.

Everton are currently placed 18th in the Premier League table and they are out of the Europa League after just four matches being played – now, they are about to face Watford at home and it’s going to be a crucial match for them as they need to escape the relegation zone in order to boost their confidence.

The former Sunderland goalkeeper and summer arrival, Jordan Pickford, is sure that his side won’t be relegated as he said, according to Goal: “It’s not been ideal but we are not far away from winning games. We’re not a club that is going to be in the bottom three for long I’d say. It’s just that the luck hasn’t come our way yet. It’s a totally different scenario for myself from last season. I think one win will get us to 13th or something in the league.”Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

And he knows that his side have to start improving to regain the confidence: “Then that one win can become back-to-back wins, and that is where the confidence grows, and it starts Sunday. We have had a bad lot of games. I love playing games week in week out, but it has been a change with the Europa League. That may have affected us. But we can’t be making excuses. We have to just move forward, dig in and get the win.”

The England international believes that his teammates are experienced enough to turn it around: “You have [fellow summer signing Wayne] Rooney, you have a lot of people who have been successful. The senior pros have all been successful in their careers, and that is where they help us. And then that is when the young lads become big characters when上海夜网 they wear their hearts on their sleeves in the games. We won’t be struggling – it will only make us go forward and get the wins that we need.”

Marseille to conduct internal investigation over Evra

Olympique Marseille informed that they will open an internal investigation to establish ‘all responsibilities’ after Patrice Evra hit a French supporter.

Marseille travelled to Portugal for their Europa League match against Guimaraes. During the warm-up, Patrice Evra was involved in a fight with some of the travelling fans, ending up hitting one of上海夜网 them with his foot in the head. Evra was sent-off by the referee and had to watch the game from the stands, although he was expected to start for Marseille.

The club posted a statement on their official website saying: “In any case, a professional player has to remain calm in front of provocative gestures and insults, no matter how unjustified they are.”Can Marseille make it to the Champions League? Taimoor Khan – With a depleted workforce with not a lot of quantity or quality, Olympique de Marseille are bound to struggle this season. After being held…

Patrice Evra became the first player in the history of Europa League to be sent off before the start of the match. Before the incident, some of OM’s fans had a verbal dispute with the player. According to the Portuguese press, French fans tried to enter the pitch to fight Rudi Garcia’s players. After verbal exchanges, Evra reacted violently, hitting one of the fans in the head with his foot. The stewards had to intervene to avoid the escalation of the situation.

Patrice Evra has 81 selections for the France national team, but the 36-year-old has been criticised recently for his performances at Marseille, losing his starting place in the team in favour of Jordan Amavi.

Evra’s gesture reminded of another former Manchester United player, Eric Cantona. In 1995, Cantona hit a Crystal Palace fan during a Premier League match, receiving a nine months suspension from the Englis Football Association.

Albrighton: Drinkwater can expect hostile reception

Marc Albrighton says his former team-mate could face 上海夜生活论坛a hostile reception this weekend if he were to play against Leicester.

Danny Drinkwater secured a €40m move from Leicester to Chelsea on transfer deadline day and he could make his debut for the Blues in the match against his former team. If the England International were to start for Chelsea in the weekend, Leicester will then face their title-winning central midfield couple: N’Golo Kante – Danny Drinkwater.

Kante moved to Chelsea immediately after winning the title with Leicester, at the end of the 2015/2016 season. One year later, he is followed by Drinkwater and the pair will now work together for Antonio Conte.

Speaking to SkySports, Leicester’s winger Marc Albrighton gave his opinion on the possibility of Drinkwater making his debut against his former team: “It will be strange for us, but it’ll be stranger for him. To play in front of the fans that he played for, for so many years, but once the whistle goes, it’s business as usual.Lampard challenges Hudson-Odoi to emulate Sterling Andrew Smyth – Frank Lampard wants Chelsea’s talented youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi to follow in Raheem Sterling’s footsteps in becoming a star.

I’m sure he’ll be professional and do the best he can. He might get stick for 90 minutes, but barring that I’m sure the Leicester fans will be fantastic with him.

He’s achieved some tremendous things, that no one thought this club could achieve in this era, and he’s been a huge part of that, from getting them out of the Championship, to winning the Premier League, to Champions League football.”

Albrighton also spoke about how strong Chelsea’s new central midfield will be with his two former team-mates: “I think they’re certainly up there. Manchester United have got a strong midfield but with Drinkwater and N’Golo in there it’s going to take some stopping and there won’t be many that overrun that. They’re great individuals, but when they’re playing together, how they compliment each other is fantastic.”