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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.

TREASURIES-Yield curve flattens after inflation edges higher

NEW YORK, June 11 ( ) – A drop in two-year Treasury prices flattened the yield curve on Tuesday after a Labor Department report showed producer prices increased in May for the second consecutive month, pointing to a steady pick-up in underlying inflation pressures.

Producer prices excluding food, energy and trade services rose 0.4% last month, matching April’s gain, the government said. The so-called core PPI increased 2.3% in the 12 months through May after rising 2.2% in April.

The report appears supportive of the Federal Reserve’s view that recent weak inflation readings are transitory. Fed policymakers are scheduled to meet on June 18-19 against the backdrop of rising trade tensions, slowing U.S. growth and a sharp step-down in hiring in May that have led financial markets to price in at least two interest rate cuts by the end of 2019.

A rate cut, however, is not expected next Wednesday.

An increase in inflation could temper those expectations, because the Fed uses rate hikes to contain gains in inflation. The two-year yield, which reflects market expectations of rate hikes, rose 3.4 basis points to 1.934% in morning trade. That narrowed the spread between two- and 10-year yields, the most common measure of the yield curve, to 22.1 basis points from 23.9 on Monday.

Investors will closely watch the consumer price index report on Wednesday for further evidence of inflation. Expectations for a cut in July have been roughly stable since Monday, last around 66.7%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Really the key data point for this week is going to be CPI. It is a question of whether inflation is transient – every data point is going to be important to make that determination,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale.

The Treasury Department’s auction of $78 billion of government debt this week, beginning with the sale of $38 billion in three-year government notes on Tuesday, will also be in focus. Increased supply tends to lower prices and lift yields, broadly the trend in Tuesday morning trade.

“The focus is going to be on supply so there might be a little bit of a concession getting built into the market ahead of the auctions,” said Rajappa.

“We’ve seen a tremendous rally in bonds, so given today’s concession I think the three上海夜生活网-year auction should go OK.”

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.

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.”

Ronaldo unsettled

The world class superstar is growing increasingly frustrated with his wage and performances

Real Madrid icon, Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly unsettled with his current situation at Real Madrid, according to ESPN.

The 33-year-old has been under a spell of poor form, as of late. Cristiano’s frustration on the pitch grows with each lackluster performance, and one can only wonder how long this stint will last.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most accomplished footballers of all time, with; five Ballon d’Or’s, four Champion’s League trophies, two La Liga-titles, three Premier League-titles, to note a small fraction of Cristiano’s success.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…

The portugese national must find his infamous form, in order to keep up with rival players, such as Messi and Neymar, in the run for this years Ballon d’Or award.

It is reported that Cristiano Ronaldo feels hard done by, regarding his wage. Under agent Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo will be aware of the ever-growing list of players worldwide, that earn more than he does. He has reportedly contacted 上海夜生活网Real Madrid regarding a pay rise since May, only seven months after signing a new contract with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo’s newly signed contract keeps him at Los Blancos until 2021.

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.”

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.”

AC Milan prepare January bid for Aguero

AC Milan are prepared to further invest in transfers and are monitoring the situation of Sergio Aguero.

Pep Guardiola has long been targeting his former player Alexis Sanchez, whose contract with Arsenal is set to expire next summer. In fact, Manchester City were very close to secure the transfer of Sanchez last summer, when they had a €70m bid accepted. However, the move collapsed after Arsenal failed to sign Thomas Lemar as a replacement.  The Citizens are now confident that a €20m bid in January will persuade the Gunners to allow the Chilean to move to Emirates.Report: West quit Milan because of the Mafia George Patchias – Taribo West claims he quit AC Milan because of the Italian mafia.The retired Nigerian international defender Taribo West claims he left Milan almost 19…

And now AC Milan are set to look into how they can benefit from Sanchez’s move to Manchester City. According to Daily Mail, the Rossoneri will enquire about Sergio Aguero in January, confide上海夜网nt that they could lure the Argentinian away from Etihad.

Sergio Aguero is on track to become Manchester City’s all-time top goalscorer. The Argentinian scored seven goals in eight matches this season and is very close to break the record of Erik Brook, who scored 177 goals for the Citizens. However, the 29-year-old is currently out of action after suffering a broken rib in a car crash in Amsterdam at the end of last month.

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.”

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.

Eriksson insists Rooney deserves more praise

The former England manager believes the Everton striker did not receive the respect he should have.

Wayne Rooney deserved to be loved by the English crowd just like Francesco Totti was in Italy, insists Sven-Göran Eriksson.

The former Manchester United striker retired from the national squad in August after scoring 53 goals in 119 caps for England. Yet, he was widely criticized for his performances despite his great record for the Three Lions throughout his 上海夜网career.

Eriksson, who was in the managerial position of England from 2001 to 2006, thinks that Rooney deserved more from the fans, comparing the Englishman to Italy legend Totti.Rooney’s soon to be new club Derby in drink driving shame George Patchias – Wayne Rooney’s soon to be new club Derby County, has been shamed by a double player drink driving incident.Reports surface ate Tuesday night of…

“The treatment of Wayne Rooney told me something about the way England fans view the national team,” the Swede wrote in the Daily Mail.

“He’s the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England: you can’t argue with that.

“If Rooney had been Italian, he would have been loved like Francesco Totti was at Roma. You don’t criticise Totti in Italy. There might have been reasons to, sometimes, but you don’t touch him.

“It isn’t like that with Wayne and England but I can tell you that he had to be dragged away from training because he loved to play and practice so much.”

Bayern Munich 0-2 Inter

Inter won 2-0 over Bayern Munich in a game that was part of the International Champions Cup.

The Nerazzurri are the second team from Milan that got the better of playing with the Bavarians, following Ancelotti’s men 0-4 defeat against AC Milan a few days ago.

The game started off well for Bayern Munich as Franck Ribéry had a great chance to give his team the lead after a powerful shot, which was saved by the goalkeeper. Shortly after it was Inter’s time to shine, as Éder found the back of the net with a header after finishing a difficult ball from the right flank. The rest of the first half did not impress much as Ancelotti’s side had control of the ball but they did could not materialise on their efforts. The Nerazzurri played well on the counter-attack and scored for the second time in the 30th minute. Following a quick attack and a ball from Perišić, the 1.79m-tall Éder once again had the best positioning in the box, as he was left unmarked and scored, 2-0. After Inter’s second goal, Ribéry had to leave the pitch due to an injury, which left the Bayern Munich squad worried.Too early to talk about the Scudetto says Inter’s Godin George Patchias – Inter Milan’s summer signing Diego Godin says it is too early to start talking about the Scudetto.33 year old Uruguayan international arrived in Milan…

The second half, as expected, saw a huge number of changes for both teams. Robert Lewandowski tried his luck just a minute after the whistle but unsuccessfully. Bayern Munich were clearly the more active side and they looked for a goal more than their Milan opponent. In the 60th minute, Perišić had the chance to make it a classic for Inter, but he could not find the target after a shot from a low angle. Ten minutes after that, the Portuguese youngster Renato Sanches fired off a great ball from distance, as the ball awkwardly dipped down and hit the ground in front of Bayern’s goalkeeper as it went past the side cross bar.

You can see det上海夜网ailed highlights in the video below:

https://youtu.be/yZbe71NFQZE

Conte deems Manchester clubs title contenders

The Blues dominated the Premier League last season, but both City and United have been spending big this summer.

The Italian manager believes Guardiola and Mourinho will provide serious competition to Chelsea’s title defense in the upcoming season. Chelsea are back in the Champions League, which means the club will have a hectic schedule and their job will be a lot harder compared to last season.

Both Manchester United and Manchester City have passed the £100m mark during the close-season, meaning the battle for Premier League trophy will be tougher.

During the Blues pre-season tour in Singapore, Conte told reporters:

“It is normal that every big team tries to reinforce their squad by bringing in quality players.” – as quoted by Goal.

“That is what they have done [United and City]. For sure, next season in Premier League will be a huge challenge for us.”

Even though Chelsea have added three new players to their ranks – Morata, Rudiger and Bakayoko – Antonio Conte hinted there might be more players coming to Stamford Bridge:Too early to talk about the Scudetto says Inter’s Godin George Patchias – Inter Milan’s summer signing Diego Godin says it is too early to start talking about the Scudetto.33 year old Uruguayan international arrived in Milan…

“We speak about the way to strengthen the team every day.

“We know which are the positions we need to strengthen.”

Right now, the most import上海夜生活ant thing for Conte is to integrate the new arrivals, as he speaks about Morata:

“He is working very well and is putting himself into every session.

“I think it is very good but it is important for him to have some time to adapt to our system. But I can see the will power in the player to do so.”

Verratti plans to hold talks with PSG over his future

The Italian playmaker is wanted by a number of top clubs in Europe and his agent plans on discussing his future with the Parisian club.Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. May 2, 2017.

Donato di Campli, Verratti’s agent has urged the need of talks with Paris Saint-Germain over the future of th上海夜生活网e club and his client.

Having seen their chances to win Ligue 1 diminishing on the weekend and after yet another disappointing Champions League campaign, the French club now stand to lose one of their best players also.Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

Although acknowledging that he would need to time his meeting with the club perfectly, considering their current situation, di Campli said that a discussion is inevitable: “I don’t feel like saying anything. A lot of wrong things have been said. I want to keep things calm as PSG aren’t in the happiest of moments. We’ll ask for a meeting with the club to discuss Marco’s future. The club have said that Marco won’t leave so we have to respect the will of the club. But we will make a point of the situation after the Coupe de France final.”

Verratti himself has also claimed that their objectives for the season have not been met, although he considers that the team is growing every year: “If Paris are not champions, we will not have achieved what we had in mind at the start of the season. But I think PSG are always a team that grows, I feel better after this season”, he said.

China’s Tencent cautious after surge in quarterly profit

HONG KONG ( ) – China’s Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), the world’s largest gaming company by revenue, warned on Wednesday of a difficult economic environment even as it reported a better-than-expected 35% jump in quarterly profit.

Growth in the company’s gaming business resumed in the second quarter after a long regulatory freeze in China and its fintech operations also generated sharply higher revenues.

However, Tencent saw a slowdown in online advertising revenue growth amid a slowing Chinese economy and Sino-U.S. trade tensions, and expects conditions to remain tough.

“Our assumption is that the macro environment will remain difficult for the rest of the year and that the situation of the heavy supply of advertising inventory will continue for the rest of the year and potentially into next year,” Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell told an earnings call.

Tencent made 24.14 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in net profit for the April-June quarter, beating an average estimate of 20.74 billion yuan from 13 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Smartphone gaming revenue rose 26% to 22.2 billion yuan, helped by major titles including “Honour of Kings” and “Perfect World Mobile” as well as new releases. Desktop games revenue dropped 9% to 11.7 billion yuan.

“We are quite happy with the recovery of the smartphone games,” Tencent’s President Martin Lau said, referring to a sequential rise in the segment’s revenue even though the second quarter is traditionally weaker. Tencent launched 10 new games in the June quarter, versus only one in the previous quarter.

In 2018, Tencent turned in its slowest annual profit growth in 13 years due to a suspension in approvals for new games.

Approvals resumed in December, with Tencent receiving permission to launch “Perfect World Mobile” in the first quarter of this year.

“FinTech and Business Services” – a new revenue category set up this year that includes payment and cloud services – generated 22.9 billion yuan, up 37% on comparable business last year, helped by rapid growth in commercial payments volumes.

Tencent offers commercial payments services to the large number of merchants and consumers on its social media platform WeChat, which had 1.14 billion users at the end of June.

Tencent also said its wealth management platform, LiCaiTong, had aggregated customer assets of over 800 billion yuan at the end of June as more users kept their money within its payment system.

“Amid the evolving macro-economic and competitive challenges, we continue to invest in enhancing our platforms, services and technologies, for better supporting our users and enterprise customers,” Tencent said in its results release.

FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO ENTERPRISE

The social media and gaming giant is restructuring in an attempt to find new revenue sources as its consumer business comes under pressure from slowing Chinese economic growth amid the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Online advertising revenue grew 16% in the quarter, down from 25% growth in January-March, which Tencent said was due to a “challenging macro environment and increased supply of short video advertising inventories across the industry”.

Mitchell said Tencent would seek to maintain a “healthy although not super rapid rate” of growth by adjusting the rate of its own advertising inventory growth and by leveraging its ability in helping advertisers better target users.

Media advertising revenues dropped 7% year-on-year, which Tencent blamed on the absence of World Cup soccer this year and “unexpected delays to airing certain top-tier drama series”.

In May, amid U.S.-China political tensions, Tencent’s video-streaming platform Tencent Video surprised fans when it announced last minute that it would not broadcast the season finale of “Game of Thrones” as originally scheduled.

China’s media watchdog has also been clamping down on historical dramas this year. Mitchell told the earnings call that Tencent and its subsidiaries have a diversified entertainment portfolio in genres including ani上海夜生活论坛mations, documentaries and variety shows.

A 1.6 billion yuan year-on-year drop in selling and marketing expenses and a 1.5 billion increase in “net other gains” related to investment activities also contributed to Tencent’s bottom line in the quarter.

Mitchell said Tencent has slowed investment over the past 12 months while its rate of divestment has picked up in recent months. “We will continue to invest at a more measured pace,” he said, especially in “frontier opportunities” in enterprise software, financial technology, education and healthcare.

The company said revenue growth at its cloud services business remained robust as it gained key contracts at PICC, Bank of Communications and in public services such as healthcare and transport in various cities.

House Speaker Pelosi urges Trump family ‘intervention’ with U.S. president

WASHINGTON ( ) – House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she wished President Donald Trump’s family or staff would conduct an “intervention” with him for the good of the United States after he threw what she called a temper tantrum at a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders a day earlier.

Trump fired back, questioning Pelosi’s mental state by saying she has “lost it” while calling himself an “extremely stable genius.”

As the acrid fight intensified between the Republican president and the Democrats who control the House amid talk of impeaching Trump, work on a two-year federal budget deal has ground to a near standstill as the task of basic governing in Washington has become increasingly complicated.

Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020, and Democratic leaders for a second straight day lobbed accusations and insults at each other after the collapse of an infrastructure deal that could have pumped $2 trillion into the U.S. economy, if lawmakers and the president had found a way to pay for it.

“Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, or his administration, or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters.

An “intervention” often refers to relatives, friends or co-workers confronting an individual struggling with a intractable problem in the hope of improving that person’s behavior.

Trump took aim at Pelosi.

“I tell you what, I’ve been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She’s not the same person. She’s lost it,” Trump said during remarks about an aid package for farmers hit by the U.S. trade war with China.

Pelosi also accused Trump of obstruction of justice, which she said could be an impeachable offense.

“The White House is just crying out for impeachment,” Pelosi said, but added that “the House Democratic caucus is not on a path to impeachment. And that’s where he wants us to be.”

Trump is stonewalling multiple congressional inquiries into him, his policies, family and business holdings, while Pelosi has worked hard to tamp down demands among some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings. Some Democrats fear that launching the impeachment process in Congress established in the U.S. Constitution to remove a president from office could backfire and benefit Trump politically.

BUDGET TALKS

On Tuesday, the four top Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reported progress toward a deal with the administration on setting federal spending levels for the next two years and raising the U.S. Treasury Department’s borrowing limit.

Without such a deal, the federal government faces the prospect of another round of shutdowns later this year and a potentially devastating U.S. credit default. Since Tuesday, lawmakers and aides have gone silent on the outlook for more talks.

Asked on Thursday if a deal on the budget or on the U.S. debt would get done, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens.”

Eventually, the main players will almost certainly have to re-engage. Failing to do so would disrupt the government and hurt the economy. Even so, questions lingered about whether the mercurial Trump would support any deal negotiators might craft.

In a hopeful sign, House and Senate negotiators reached a deal on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that has Trump’s support, senators said on Thursday.

Policy chaos swept Washington on Wednesday when Trump walked out of a White House meeting with Democrats, saying he could not work with them on an infrastructure bill as long as lawmakers are investigating him. Pelosi had earlier accused him of engaging in a “cover up” over investigations of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and other matters.

Trump responded on Thursday with a tweet that said, “The Democrats have become known as THE DO NOTHING PARTY.”

Congressional leaders last December negotiated an agreement on federal spending that they had been assured Trump would support, only to have him back out上海夜生活网 at the last minute, triggering a prolonged, partial shutdown of the U.S. government.

There also is little evidence that lawmakers and the administration will unify to address the issue of immigration along the southern border with Mexico. Also in doubt is whether Congress this year will approve a U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement negotiated by Trump’s administration.

Pelosi wrote on Twitter, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”