Financial Fair Play struggles to live up to its name

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

City and PSG have been offered settlements for breaking rules designed to limit clubs’ financial losses and those agreements could be rubber stamped as early as this week.

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The punishments likely to be meted could include fines or limits on the size of squads that clubs can field in Champions League matches next season but a ban – the ultimate sanction – is not believed to be on the agenda.

Executives from rival clubs may cry foul that big spenders such as City, backed by cash from Abu Dhabi, and Qatari-owned PSG are not being hit harder. Imposing a fine for running up excessive losses seems an incongruous punishment for clubs with such deep pocket.

Daniel Geey, a lawyer with Field Fisher Waterhouse in London, said that UEFA had only recently made it clear that it would allow clubs to reach settlements as part of the process.

“The benefit of settlement procedures, which are common in European competition law, is that the company admits the breach and an appropriate sanction is agreed which usually prevents further appeals,” he said.

“The settlement procedure does, however, allow for the possibility of aggrieved clubs to challenge the terms of the settlement,” added Geey, who is the co-author of a new study on FFP.

UEFA’s critics are likely to draw unfavourable comparisons with the treatment of Spanish club Malaga, who were excluded from the Europa League this season because of late payments to creditors, suggesting smaller clubs suffer more.

Banning big clubs from the Champions League runs the risk of damaging a competition that generates revenues of around 1.3 billion euros (1.07 billion pounds) from sponsors and TV companies.

SPONSORSHIP OR SUBSIDY?

This year was seen as the crunch time for enforcing the break-even rules in FFP, a blanket term for measures designed to put European soccer on a more stable economic footing.

UEFA has emphasised all along that the rules have been developed in coordination with European clubs and not dreamed up by president Michel Platini to punish the nouveau riche of the English Premier League.

The break-even criteria seemed simple in their summarised form but the details left plenty of room for nimble accountants to exploit.

Clubs were allowed to lose no more than 45 million euros over the last two seasons.

City, chasing a second Premier League title in three years, had combined headline losses of 150 million pounds between 2011 and 2013 in what would appear at first glance to be a flagrant breach.

However, a raft of exemptions means clubs can discount spending on youth development, stadium infrastructure and longer-term contracts and allowed City to say it believed it complied with FFP.

Another grey area is sponsorship where eyebrows have been raised over City’s backing by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and lavish support for PSG from the Qatar Tourism Authority.

Teams have to convince UEFA’s club financial control body that sponsors with close links to their owners are paying market rates rather than channelling subsidies to them.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of European champions Bayern Munich, drew attention to PSG’s funding earlier this year.

“We all know about the money stream coming in from Qatar, allegedly about 200 million euros per season,” Rummenigge said in February.

“I hope that Michel Platini will take this matter seriously. Clubs that breach the FFP rules will have to pay the price.”

UEFA has been keen to stress the independence of the panel, led by former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, which has been investigating clubs over FFP.

There was surprise last week when former French international Platini was quoted as saying he did not expect there to be expulsions from European competition from next season.

In its defence, UEFA believes that FFP is starting to have a beneficial impact, with total losses for top flight clubs across the continent falling by 600 million euros to 1.1 billion euros in 2012.

Some top clubs believe that UEFA will be satisfied with firing a “warning shot” in this year’s initial judgements and that repeat offenders can expect tougher sanctions in 2015.

(Writing by Keith Weir,; editing by Martyn Herman)

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South Africa sport still racially divided

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South African sport remains divided by race 20 years after the end of apartheid, with the target of black-white equality in cricket and rugby still a long way off, according to a new study.

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“The processes to change the face of sport over the past 20 years have been largely ineffective,” said Willie Basson, a member of the sport ministry’s panel that oversees racial transformation.

The report marking two decades of democracy found that the number of blacks in rugby and cricket teams still had to increase threefold to reach the target of 50 per cent representation.

A development plan for 2030 has the goal of making teams more representative of national demographics – over 80 per cent of South Africans are black, while under 10 per cent are white.

Cricket and rugby remain pillars of the white South African identity, and whites often argue that team selection should be merit-based.

South Africa, which hosted the Cricket World Cup in 2003, is currently ranked the world’s top test side.

In rugby, South Africa has won two World Cups, including a hugely symbolic triumph on home soil in 1995.

South Africa’s white captain Francois Pienaar receiving the trophy from anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was a powerful image of the promise of racial reconciliation.

But a top official of the sport and recreation ministry, Alec Moemi, said on Tuesday that discrimination was still at work.

“There are still selectors who are racist, who will not select a talented black player just because he is black,” he said, launching the report.

Football has the reverse problem, with white players virtually absent from major teams, the sport ministry noted, with no sign that hosting the 2010 World Cup helped popularise the sport among non-blacks.

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Watchdog to probe use of chlorine in Syria

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The world’s chemical watchdog says it is sending a fact-finding mission to probe the recent alleged use of chlorine gas in the Syrian conflict.

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The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, announced “the creation of an OPCW mission to establish facts surrounding allegations of use of chlorine in Syria”, a statement said.

He told a meeting of the body’s executive council at headquarters in The Hague that the mission would leave soon.

“The Syrian government, which has agreed to accept this mission, has undertaken to provide security in areas under its control,” the statement said.

“The mission will carry out its work in the most challenging circumstances.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for the mission and the UN will provide security logistics.

The OPCW and the UN are already in the process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons as part of a disarmament deal agreed last August in the wake of deadly sarin nerve agent attacks outside Damascus.

The new probe comes after France and the United States alleged that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces may have unleashed industrial chemicals on a rebel-held village in central Hama province this month.

France made the first claim last week with President Francois Hollande saying his country had “information” – no proof – that Assad’s regime was still using chemical weapons despite the August deal.

The United States has said it is investigating the allegations.

“We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical, probably chlorine, in Syria this month, in the opposition-dominated village of Kafr Zita,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on April 21.

There have been conflicting accounts of the alleged chlorine attack on Kafr Zita, with the government and the opposition trading blame.

Activists have also reported other chlorine gas attacks, most recently in Idlib province, in the northwest, last week.

Syria has handed over or destroyed all but around eight per cent of its chemical material under the terms of the US and Russian-brokered deal, which averted the threat of US military action last year.

It was supposed to have handed over all of its stockpile by Sunday. But the remainder is still being held at one site in the war-torn nation.

Syria was not required to declare its stockpile of chlorine – a toxic but weak agent – as part of the disarmament deal, as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

Under the US-Russian deal negotiated last year, Syria signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to the destruction of its entire chemical weapons arsenal by June 30 of this year.

The agreement was reached after deadly chemical attacks outside Damascus last August that reportedly killed hundreds of people. The West blamed Assad’s regime but the government said rebels were behind it.

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Cheika found guilty of misconduct

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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has been given a suspended six month ban from the game after being found guilty of abusing a cameraman.

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The Super Rugby coach pleaded guilty to misconduct at a SANZAR hearing on Tuesday night.

SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC found that Cheika breached section 8.3 of the governing body’s code when he repeatedly told a South African cameraman to “f*** off” during his side’s match with the Sharks in Durban in March.

Cheika was banned from all involvement in the game for six months, however the punishment was suspended until August 31 next year. The ban would be triggered if Cheika was found guilty of another breach of the code of conduct in that time.

He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to the cameraman and pay SANZAR’s costs of $6000.

Mr Hampton took into account Cheika’s contrition, but said deterrents were necessary to protects match officials and persons charged with running the game.

He said Cheika was also guilty of inappropriately claiming that witnesses had fabricated evidence.

“Shortly after half time during the Sharks v Waratahs match on 29 March, Mr Cheika, unfortunately and unprofessionally, vented his frustration on a match-day cameraman who was merely fulfilling his expected role for his employer and, ultimately, for SANZAR,” Mr Hampton said in his ruling.

“On reviewing all of the evidence, I found that on at least two occasions, Mr Cheika told the cameraman to ‘f*** off’ in a heated way, with accompanied finger pointing and on at least one other occasion, but in the same heated way, the coach used the word ‘f***ing’ in talking to the cameraman, either in reference to that person or his equipment, although, on the state of the evidence, I did not find proven that this was a threat, whether to person or to property.

“In his original account submitted on 8 April, Mr Cheika admitted to ‘stern’ language on one occasion, but deliberately omitted the specific language he used and I find his claim, in evidence, to have used ‘f*** off’ only once unconvincing.”

Cheika has 48 hours to appeal the finding.

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Alarm over Aussie and other foreign fighters in Syria

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(Transcript from World News Radio)

Australia and other countries are growing increasingly concerned about the involvement of their citizens in the seemingly intractable civil war in Syria.

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The main concern is that those who get involved may carry out acts of violence on their return home.

Measures to try to limit the problem, already implemented or proposed by some countries, include cancellation of citizenship.

Appeals are also being made to Muslim leaders – and the families of potential fighters – to try to limit foreign involvement in the Syrian war.

Greg Dyett has the details.

In a recent speech in Washington, the federal Attorney General George Brandis made it clear Australia is contributing to a problem that has many countries worried.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that per capita, Australia is one of the largest sources of foreign war fighters to the Syrian conflict from among countries outside the immediate vicinity.”

The fear is the fighters, once radicalised in Syria, will return to their countries and pose a terrorist threat.

In Washington, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told America’s ABC Network the US is on alert for the same problem.

“Syria has become a matter of homeland security. We’re very concerned about Syria foreign fighters, people who are going into Syria, being recruited by extremists there.”

A number of Australians have already been killed while fighting with anti-government rebel forces in Syria.

George Brandis says the Syrian conflict is drawing Australians on a much bigger scale than other conflicts.

“The number of Australians participating in the conflict in Syria is higher than we’ve experienced in previous conflicts with assessments of between 120 and 150 Australians travelling to the greater Syria region to participate in the conflict.”

Last December, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation cancelled the passports of 20 men in Western Sydney, following reports that they could engage in politically-motivated violence if they were allowed to travel overseas.

ASIO has also cancelled passports to prevent travel by other people, for the same reasons.

Reports in Britain suggest up to 20 men have died in the Syrian conflict and that’s resulted in counter-terrorism police making an unprecedented appeal to Muslim women to try to persuade their relatives not to go to fight there.

Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Helen Ball told the BBC part of the campaign involves encouraging people who are concerned to phone a police hotline.

She says the police have managed to convince some people not to travel to Syria.

“Our experience is that people are very positive about this. They do want to talk about their concerns. They want to talk about how people are suffering in Syria and what they can do to help. And we want to help them to have alternative ways of helping the people of Syria rather than them going into fighting themselves.”

The President of the Australian Syrian Association of Victoria, Said Al Jouni, says it’s been warning everyone not to travel to Syria, including people who say they want to do humanitarian work.

“To spread the message to those people because those youth they don’t know the full picture about exactly what will happen when you end up even in Syria or in Turkey. The message should be past to them that you will not be on your own, you cannot control yourself, you are under the command of other people.”

Mr Al Jouni says imams should be doing more to get that same message across in Australia’s mosques.

“Imams could be very valuable tool to spread such message especially when we talk about those people who are like not deeply thinking about their situation. So imams would have significant influence on those people so they could be good collaborator also in this process.”

The Australian National Imams Council says such efforts have already been underway for some time in conjunction with Australian law enforcement agencies.

Sheikh Mohamadu Saleem is from the council’s Victorian chapter.

He says in part, it’s motivated by the law that makes it illegal for Australians to take part in any anti-government rebel military action overseas.

“The program is called Generation Change, which was designed to engage the youth in a positive way to respond to the Syria conflict. And the Imams Council supported that because we don’t want people to be caught in an unnecessary legal battle by engaging in illegal activities overseas.”

Sheikh Saleem says there’s room for the imams to do more, including reaching out to those families who have lost loved ones in the Syrian bloodshed.

“This losses definitely will affect the Muslim community here originally from Syria and to help them to overcome these emotional issues, to provide them with counselling or assistance in such a way to reduce the impact of this emotional experience.”

Discussions are underway in Europe on new domestic and international measures that could be taken to deal with the issue.

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Billy Joel admits to trying heroin

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Billy Joel has dished on his past, including trying heroin and almost forming a supergroup with Sting.

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The piano man opened up on Monday in a two-hour interview with Howard Stern in front of 150 people in New York, where he also discussed his career, family, childhood and current month-to-month run at Madison Square Garden.

Joel, who’s 64, said he tried heroin once but it “scared” him.

He said it was the inspiration behind the song “Scandinavian Skies” from his 1982 album The Nylon Curtain.

He also said he talked about forming a group with Sting, Don Henley and “another guitarist”.

“I liked being in a band,” he told the audience. “Someday we might put together a silly supergroup.”

Joel watched Tony Bennett and Melissa Etheridge perform his hits in the town hall.

Pink, Boyz II Men and Idina Menzel also performed during the three-hour event, which aired live on Stern’s SiriusXM radio show.

Bennett closed the event with a rousing rendition of New York State of Mind that earned him roaring cheers at the Cutting Room as Joel watched on.

Etheridge was a firecracker when she played guitar and sang Only the Good Die Young, which she said she listened to religiously in high school.

Joel said he doesn’t have plans to release new music but said he recently recorded a Christmas song with Johnny Mathis, who’s 78.

“He sounds great!” Joel said.

Joel answered questions from Stern, his sidekick Robin Quivers and fans, including TV personalities Rachael Ray and Matt Lauer, who asked about Joel’s daughter, singer Alexa Ray Joel.

“She’s really good,” Joel said. “Everyone thinks dad set it up … she did it on her own.”

The interview ranged from Joel talking about attending the Woodstock festival in 1969, only to last a day and a half and miss Jimi Hendrix, to growing up Jewish on Long Island though he attended Catholic church and was baptised.

Joel sang and played piano between conversations and mimicked other artists including Johnny Cash to Elton John.

He performed a duet version of She’s Always a Woman with Pink, who walked down the aisle to the song when she got married in 2006.

“You changed my life. You were like a god that I prayed to.

“I am, too, a Jew who got baptised,” Pink said to laughs.

“I got to see my dad get happy when your songs came on,” added Pink, whose father and teary-eyed mother sat in the audience.

Joel also played piano as Tony Award-winning artist Idina Menzel sang Honesty, and he was in awe when Boyz II Men performed The Longest Time.

Joel is performing a monthly residency at Madison Square Garden.

His next show is May 9, his 65th birthday.

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Alves slams ‘backward’ Spain, wants banana-thrower shamed

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April 29 (Reuters) – Dani Alves has hit out at Spain for being “very backward” in its approach towards racism and believes the fan who hurled a banana on the pitch in Barcelona’s game away to Villarreal on Sunday should be publicly shamed.

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Images of the Brazilian picking up the banana and taking a bite were beamed around the world and he was widely backed by the football community and celebrities.

Villarreal subsequently announced they had given the supporter a life ban but Alves, who has criticised the level of racism in Spain before, felt it was not enough.

“If I could, I would put a photo of the fan on the internet so that he would be shamed,” Alves told Brazil’s Radio Globo.

“There is racism against foreigners. They sell the country as being first world but in certain things they are very backward.”

Dozens of footballers and Brazilian celebrities backed a campaign launched within moments of the incident by Alves’s Barcelona and Brazil team mate Neymar.

Neymar has also been the target of racists and had prepared an internet campaign in anticipation of another incident.

He quickly pushed the button on the campaign using the hashtag #weareallmonkeys in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

He sent a picture of himself and his son eating bananas via Instagramm and Twitter and thousands of fans followed suit.

Brazil team mates David Luiz, Hulk and Oscar all posted pictures, as did Italian coach Cesare Prandelli and Claudia Leitte, the singer who will perform at the World Cup’s closing ceremony in July.

AC Milan’s Mario Ballotelli and English Player of the Year Luis Suarez, who was himself banned for eight games last year after an FA investigation found he used racist language against Patrice Evra, also participated.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff backed Alves, tweeting that his response was “a bold and strong response to racism in sport” and several Brazilian newspapers put the campaign on their front pages on Tuesday.

Alves admitted he did not expect his actions to receive so much attention.

“I have been surprised by everyone’s support. I did it without thinking. The world has evolved and we must evolve with it.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was among those who backed the player and tweeted that racism cannot be tolerated.

Alves said that the world governing body should be more proactive.

“FIFA must concentrate on things more important than La Masia. They need to give their attention to more serious things,” he said, referring to the recent verdict that Barcelona were guilty of breaching regulations over the transfer of under-age players.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; (Editing by Martyn Herman))

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European golf faces fight to keep club players – R&A chief

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Golf participation in Europe fell for the first time in 20 years in 2011 and declined further in 2012, according to consultants KPMG, while the United States has also suffered a marked drop in both players and courses.

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“There’s so much competition for people’s time these days in mature golf markets it will be pretty hard for golf to keep the market share it had of people’s leisure time years ago,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient (R&A), the body which governs golf outside the United States.

“Worldwide we’re still growing but the growth will be in new countries and established countries will have to fight to keep their market share,” Dawson told Reuters on the sidelines of the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Part of the reason for golf’s decline in Europe and the United States is the increased time it takes to play a round, a problem that could ease if clubs scheduled two-ball tee times in the morning, Dawson said.

“It used to be that you could have breakfast and lunch at home and play golf in between and we have to allow some people to do that again,” he said.

“Far too much investment is put into golf facilities, not on the course, but in clubhouses and the rest. If we want lots of people to come to the game it mustn’t cost too much. That means the investment in facilities has to be at a moderate level.”

KPMG estimates that golf participation in Europe did pick up slightly last year, but numbers in Britain and Ireland, which account for 29 percent of the continent’s players and 44 percent of courses, have been continuously falling since 2007.

The slump has coincided with the end of Tiger Woods’s dominance. The American remains the biggest draw in golf and has regained the number one ranking but the 38-year-old’s last major win was the 2008 U.S. Open.

Nearly 20 different players have won major championships since and this diversity has actually proved detrimental to golf’s profile, according to Dawson.

“Golf is a very difficult game to dominate – to become a star today with so many good players in the world is becoming harder, but we need stars badly,” said Dawson.

“If we have a scenario where 50 players win one tournament each a year I think the game will struggle as compared to if we have two or three exceptional players.”

OLYMPIC RETURN

Golf will return to the Olympics at 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games for the first time since 1904 and its inclusion has boosted state funding for the sport in countries where it is in its infancy.

“The Olympics provides the most wonderful vehicle to take new sports to new markets,” Giles Morgan, HSBC’s Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, told Reuters.

“In Asia, participation is growing. Golf has traditionally followed the middle class growth and you’re seeing a middle class economic boom in places like India and China and therefore you’re seeing a growth in the sport there.”

A top International Olympic Committee (IOC) official on Tuesday called Rio’s preparations for the games “the worst” he had ever seen and critically behind schedule, but Dawson said the city’s Olympic golf course would be ready in time.

“We’ve been lucky that we didn’t have London to consider so we’ve been down in Rio longer than a lot of sports trying to get this done,” added Dawson.

“The pace has picked up recently. I never doubted we’d get there but I’m much more hopeful we’ll get there early than I was. We’re targeting it to be ready for a test event during 2015.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Wimbledon seedings boost for Murray

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will be among the top seeds at this year’s tournament despite having slipped down the ATP world ranking to eighth, organisers say.

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“We have a surfaced-based seeding system here at Wimbledon,” All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chairman Philip Brook told a press conference at the tournament venue in south London on Tuesday.

“So we take the ranking points of each player, and add to that the ranking points they hypothetically received last year on grass, and we add to that 75 per cent of the best-performing tournament in the previous year.

“So to put it into context for Andy Murray, as winner of Queen’s last year and winner here last year, and a finalist here in 2012, there will be a significant impact on him.

“There will also be quite a significant impact on (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic. There will be some adjustment.”

Organisers also defended a move to increase the prize money for first-round losers by nearly 15 per cent to STG27,000 ($A49,300).

AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said there were no plans to make alterations to any of the courts, despite a number of leading players having complained that they were too slippery during last year’s tournament.

“I think in hindsight that was more of an anecdotal problem over a couple of days, and only one or two players took issue with it,” he said.

“Wimbledon is played on a natural surface and of course the conditions change over the duration of the tournament. So we don’t feel there are any issues to address on that.”

Wimbledon this year runs from June 23 to July 6.

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UN lifts Ivory Coast diamond embargo

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The UN Security Council has lifted a nearly decade-old embargo on Ivory Coast’s international diamond trade and also relaxed its arms embargo there.

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The diamond embargo was declared in 2005 because the stones were helping fund the Forces Nouvelles rebels that controlled the north of the country after a failed coup attempt in 2002 against then-president Laurent Gbagbo.

However, the diamond trade is now regulated by the Kimberley Process, of which Ivory Coast is a member, and the UN oversight is seen as redundant.

A resolution adopted by the body’s 15 member states on Tuesday terminates “the measures preventing the importation by any state of all rough diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire… in light of progress made towards Kimberley Process Certification”.

Ivory Coast has for months been asking to be allowed to legally re-start exporting its diamonds, and last November, the government got the green light from the Kimberley Process for the UN to lift its embargo.

Created in 2000, the Kimberley Process is a global diamond watchdog that includes 75 countries and aims to prevent illegally mined and so-called “blood diamonds” from filtering into the market to fuel conflicts.

According to figures from the European Union, Ivory Coast extracts between 50,000 and 300,000 carats (1 carat 0.2 grams) of diamonds a year, well behind the world’s top producers.

Between 200,000 to 300,000 Ivorians make their living from diamonds, mostly as small-scale miners.

The draft resolution also relaxes the UN arms embargo on Ivory Coast.

Heavy weapons would remain under strict controls, but, under the proposed changes, small calibre weapons would be allowed to be supplied to police and gendarmes under prior notification to the UN, for example.

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Goodyear posts 1Q loss of $US58m

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Goodyear has reported a $US58 million ($A62 million) loss for the first quarter largely due to Venezuelan currency charges.

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The loss was compounded by the extreme winter weather across the US that hurt tyre sales, the company said on Tuesday.

The Akron, Ohio, tyre maker’s losses added up to 23 cents per share, in the three months ended March 31.

It made $US26 million, or 10 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

After one-time charges, including $US132 million in charges related to the situation in Venezuela, Goodyear earned 56 cents per share.

Its adjusted earnings still were below Wall Street estimates, and Goodyear shares fell five per cent, to $US25.94 in early trading on Tuesday.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected 60 cents per share for the quarter.

Revenue dropped eight per cent to $US4.47 billion from $US4.85 billion, just short of projections for revenue of $US4.81 billion according to FactSet.

“We delivered solid performance in our developed markets, led by North America, which reported a 23 per cent increase in earnings,” Chairman and CEO Richard Kramer said.

“Growth in North America and Europe offset headwinds in emerging markets where we continue to navigate foreign currency and economic challenges.”

Revenue in North America fell 13 per cent to $US1.9 billion for the quarter despite a 23 per cent jump in earnings, to $US156 million.

The overall number of tyres sold in North America edged lower to 14.6 million, from 14.8 million, because of the rough winter, the company said.

Kramer said the company remains confident in its full-year outlook despite labour and economic trouble in Venezuela.

The company expects two per cent to three per cent in volume growth for the year.

Shares of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co have been on a steady rise over the past year and hit a 52-week high of $US28.48 last week amid declining raw material prices.

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