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Prime Minister Theresa May greets Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Downing Street (Photo Getty Images)

Leo Varadkar warns Brexit will bring UK ‘decades of economic decline’

Irish Taoiseach says the UK is struggling to get to grips with its loss of global status

Prime Minister Theresa May greets Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Downing Street (Photo Getty Images)

Ireland’s leader dramatically stepped up the war of words with Westminster yesterday after he predicted the UK would fall into economic decline for decades post-Brexit.

Brexit is undermining 20 years of peace in Ireland, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar says

In a blistering attack on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar claimed the country was struggling to come to terms with its diminishing importance on the world stage.

And he warned it would be overtaken as an economic powerhouse first by its European neighbours, followed by the rising powers in Asia.

Irish history

Mr Varadkar pointed to Ireland’s own push for independence from the British Empire 100 years ago, which he described “as the wealthiest and most successful trading bloc in the world at the time”.

The economic case for Irish independence was “weak”, he said, adding it took Ireland 40 years to make economic progress, and he predicted similar problems for the UK post-Brexit.

In an interview with Irish radio station Newstalk, Mr Varadkar said: “A consequence of Brexit for Britain is that it will fall into relative economic decline for many decades, probably be overtaken by France again and slowly over time it’ll be overtaken by lots of countries in Asia.

A lorry passes a poster by calling for “No Border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland, in a post Brexit United the anti-brexit campaign group “Border communities against Brexit” in Jonesborough, Northern Ireland on March 25, 2019, as it crosses the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. – Keeping the Irish border free-flowing has proved to be the toughest issue to resolve in negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. The Brexit deal between London and Brussels — overwhelmingly rejected last week by British MPs — contains a so-called backstop provision ensuring that if all else fails, the border will remain open. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP)PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

‘’One of the difficulties for Britain is they’re struggling to cope with the fact that as a country and an economy they’re not as important in the world as they used to be.”

The Irish premier pointed to growing populations and emerging economies in Asia, such as India, Korea and Vietnam, which were poised to overtake the UK economically.

And he added: “It’s inevitable and that’s why most European countries understand why we need to get together, stick together and integrate so we can preserve our way of life, our prosperity, our peace and security.

Sun setting on Britain

“Britain has never really fully accepted that in the way that France and Germany and Italy did after the war.”

Asked whether Brexit meant that “finally the sun was setting on the British Empire”, he replied: “Perhaps, but that’s their choice, it’s their decision. We have to respect the decisions they make.” Arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker resisted criticising the comments, stating: “I wish him well and I hope we find ways to flourish together because our success will be Ireland’s success.”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit1 Comment


Vega Rocket Suffers ‘Major Anomaly’ During Launch of UAE Satellite

By Elizabeth Howell 10 hours ago Spaceflight 

Something went very wrong 2 minutes after liftoff.

European Vega rocket suffered a “major anomaly” while launching a satellite for the United Arab Emirates late Wednesday (July 10), leading to the loss of the rocket and its payload, according to Arianespace, which built the booster. 

The Vega rocket launched the FalconEye1 Earth-observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff occurred at 9:53 p.m. EDT (10:53 p.m. local time, or 0153 GMT July 11). The nighttime liftoff was a dazzling sight, but then something went very wrong.

“About 2 minutes after liftoff … a major anomaly occurred, resulting in the loss of the mission,” said Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace’s Executive Vice President of Missions, Operations and Purchasing, in a televised statement just after the failed launch.

Related: Europe’s Vega Rocket Launches on 1st Flight (Gallery)

Fabreguettes said Arianespace wanted to “express our deepest apologies for the loss of our payload.” She added that officials would look at data from the launch and provide more information as they investigate what happened.

The launch trajectory shown on the broadcast appeared to deviate from the normal track shortly after the Vega rocket’s liftoff, Arianespace officials said shortly after launch. Some observers on Twitter watching Arianespace’s live launch webcast speculated that the Vega booster’s second stage did not appear to light up at the planned time, although this has not been confirmed yet by Arianespace.Vega Rocket Suffers Anomaly – Arianespace Apologizes to Customer

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FalconEye1 was to be the first in a planned pair of satellites to be used for everything from crop monitoring to disaster management. It and a twin satellite, FalconEye2, were planned to image the ground in high-resolution optical wavelengths (similar to wavelengths that the human eye can see). 

FalconEye1 had a mass of roughly 2,600 pounds (1,200 kg), which is relatively small; the Hubble Space Telescope, for example, had about 10 times that launch mass. Airbus Defence and Space was the satellite’s prime contractor, and Thales Alenia Space the co-prime.

This launch trajectory of the Arianespace Vega rocket VV15 shows an apparent deviation (in yellow) from its planned trajectory (shown in green) during the launch of the UAE satellite FalconEye1 on July 10, 2019. The rocket and satellite were lost.

Arianespace’s Vega rocket is a light-lift vehicle that stands 98 feet (30 meters) tall and is 10 feet (3 meters) wide at its widest point. It has four stages to launch payloads into orbit — the first three have solid propellants and the final, upper stage is a restartable stage fueled by liquid propellant. 

The first Vega launch occurred in 2012 from the Guiana Space Center. Tonight’s anomaly is the first failure for the relatively young booster. It was sixth Vega launch in 2019 and the 15th overall since Vega began flying.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Indian businessman files appeal against High Court ruling

Indian businessman files appeal against High Court ruling

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jul 10, CMC – An Indian-born businessman facing extradition to his homeland, has filed an appeal against a High Court ruling denying him permission to bring in an expert to challenge the validity of the extradition request from New Delhi.

“We had before the court an application to adduce expert evidence on Indian law as to exactly when did it became lawful for India to make extradition requests of Antigua. The judge, Justice Rita Olivetti denied the application and we indicated to the court that we would want leave to appeal her decision,” attorney Dr. David Dorsett said on a radio programme here.

Mehul Choksi (File Photo)

He said as a result of the filing of the appeal on Monday, the extradition proceedings against his client, Mehul Choksi, have been put on hold.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has already said the citizenship of the billionaire diamond trader would be revoked only after he exhausts all his legal options.

Choksi, who is wanted in India for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB), gained citizenship of the Caribbean island under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that allowed for foreign investors to make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Antigua and Barbuda in return for granting citizenship.

Browne said that Choksi’s citizenship was processed, “but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes”.

“We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian government, criminals have fundamental rights, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited,” Browne said.

Dorsett has indicated that should his appeal fails, he is prepared to take the matter before the London-based Privy Council, the island’s highest and final court.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Crime, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Washington Post - 6239322162440650698

U.S. wins Women’s World Cup title with 2-0 defeat of Netherlands

U.S. players charge onto the field to celebrate after the final whistle. (Ian Langsdon / EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

By Steven Goff and Emily Giambalvo

July 7

By Steven Goff in Decines-Charpieu, France

The United States remained supreme in women’s soccer Sunday, repeating as World Cup champions and winning for the fourth time by defeating the Netherlands, 2-0.

In the Americans’ most difficult test of the month-long competition, Megan Rapinoe converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute after video replay overruled the referee’s initial decision.

There was no controversy eight minutes later. Rose Lavelle, the Washington Spirit midfielder who at age 24 enjoyed a breakout tournament, doubled the lead with an assertive run and 17-yard shot before a pro-U.S. sellout crowd at Stade de Lyon.

This championship adds to a portfolio of glory featuring world crowns in 1991, ’99 and 2015, and Olympic gold medals in 1996, 2004, ’08 and ’12. Germany is the only other country to win multiple Women’s World Cups.

USWNT history in Women’s World Cup

A victory parade is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday on the streets of Manhattan.

The Americans have won 13 straight matches and are unbeaten in 16 since losing a friendly at France in January.

Jill Ellis, a native of England who starred at Fairfax’s Robinson Secondary School and William & Mary, became the first coach to win two Women’s World Cup titles. The only time it has occurred on the men’s side was in 1934 and ’38, by Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo.

For just the second time in women’s tournament history, the coaches of both finalists were women: Sarina Wiegman has overseen the Dutch squad for 2½ years.

“It’s good that women get the opportunity to develop — as players, as coaches or in other parts of football and in society,” Wiegman said on the eve of the match. “But I also think the women need to have the guts to make choices and take risks to go for higher positions. What we need to do as women is show we have qualities.” ‘My greatest dream come true’: Fans celebrate women’s World Cup win

Fans in New York reacted to the U.S. women’s national soccer team beating the Netherlands in the World Cup on July 7. (Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

Both teams had shown their qualities through four weeks, running through the tournament without blemish in six matches apiece. The Americans took a harder road, edging the host country and England in the previous two matches.

In the days and hours leading to kickoff, questions surrounded both lineups because of injuries. As it turned out, all three ailing players (two Americans, one Dutch) were cleared to start.

Rapinoe returned from a one-game absence caused by a strained hamstring and Lavelle was cleared after limping off in the second half of the semifinal. Dutch attacker Lieke Martens overcame a toe injury to regain her starting job.

The Netherlands began on a positive note by not conceding a goal in the first dozen minutes. In fact, there were not any serious threats.

In each of their previous outings here, the Americans had roared out of the gates and scored an early goal.

Netherlands was physical and unafraid, disrupting U.S. forays and attacking without reservation. Promising space in the attacking third of the field, however, was quickly closed by the anticipatory Americans.

The United States probed for ways to unlock the Dutch defense but ran into firm road blocks. The challengers also applied pressure on the ball in midfield, resulting in wayward passes and giveaways.

The reigning champions were in for a more difficult day than many observers thought.

The first genuine U.S. chance did not come until the 28th minute when, off an uncleared corner kick, goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal blocked Julie Ertz’s rising one-timer from 11 yards.

Veenendaal was busy the rest of the half, making a reflex stop on Samantha Mewis’s glancing header, stopping Alex Morgan’s one-timer at the near post with her right foot and making a wonderful diving save on Morgan’s thunderous bid from 20 yards that seemed destined for the lower right corner.

The Dutch absorbed the pressure and launched counterattacks with minimal success. They were, however, good enough in possession to worry the United States and stout enough defensively to leave the Americans scoreless at halftime for the first time in the tournament.

At halftime, the United States was forced to make a change as right back Kelley O’Hara left with a head injury, suffered in a collision moments before intermission. Ali Krieger, the Northern Virginia native in her third World Cup, entered.

Ellis had not planned to switch defenders, leaving her with two substitutions among her wealth of attacking options on the bench.

Another defender, Becky Sauerbrunn, required treatment to the forehead after a collision left her bloodied. She returned wearing a headband.

The first video replay led to the penalty kick.

In challenging Morgan in the penalty area, Stefanie van der Gragt raised her right foot and caught the U.S. player in the upper right arm. Morgan went down.

French referee Stephanie Frappart did not whistle a foul, but as the United States prepared for a corner kick, Carlos del Cerro Grande, the video assistant referee, recommended a review.

Had van der Gragt made contact with Morgan’s neck or head, there would have been no doubt. But had the Dutch defender committed a foul?

Frappart returned from the sideline with the verdict: penalty kick.

As van Veenendaal went one way, Rapinoe delivered the other way for her sixth goal of the tournament.

It was only the second penalty kick awarded in a women’s final and the first converted.

Eight minutes later, Lavelle extended the lead. The Dutch defense parted and the slight midfielder took full advantage.

She surged into an acre of space, forcing van der Gragt off-balance before veering to her left and stamping a left-footed shot from 17 yards out of van Veenendaal’s reach and into the far corner.

The flood gates had opened. With the Dutch desperately pressed forward, the United States had ample opportunity to turn the match into a rout. However, the touch inside the box was off and van Veenendaal made a terrific save on Crystal Dunn slaloming into the box.

Rapinoe left to a roaring ovation in the 79th minute, replaced by Christen Press. Carli Lloyd, the hat-trick hero of the 2015 final in Vancouver who will turn 37 this month, entered in the 87th minute.

All that was left to do was wait for Frappart’s closing whistle. In anticipation, the players on the bench gathered in a line at the edge of the sideline, arms hung over one another’s shoulders. When the whistle sounded, they spilled onto the field and repeated a celebration four years in the making.

In-game highlights

by Emily Giambalvo in Chicago

Final: USA 2, Netherlands 0

The United States defended its Women’s World Cup title and won it for a record fourth time overall. It caps a dominant showing by the U.S. women, whose performance in France sparked larger conversations about gender, equity and patriotism.

The underdog Dutch were playing in just their second World Cup and had never reached the final.

87th minute: U.S. substitution

Carli Lloyd replaces Tobin Heath.

Lavelle’s goal sets mark

79th minute: Rapinoe comes off

Megan Rapinoe, who missed the last game with a hamstring injury only to score the opening goal of this final, subs out of the game late in the second half. Christen Press replaces Rapinoe, who will finish this tournament with six goals, tied for the overall lead, and three assists.

77th minute: Dutch shot on goal

The Netherlands records its first shot on target with a shot from Lineth Beerensteyn from outside the box, forcing U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to make her first save of the final. Naeher began the tournament as one of the questions about this U.S. team. But she has impressed in key moments during this World Cup, most notably when she saved England’s 84th-minute penalty kick that would have tied the semifinal game.

76th minute: Scoring chance for Dunn

American defender Crystal Dunn cuts around a Dutch defender for an opportunity to score, but goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal comes up with another stop. Van Veenendaal has saved six U.S. shots, but she’ll need help from the Dutch attack for the Netherlands to threaten the Americans’ 2-0 lead.

73rd minute: Dutch substitution

Shanice van de Sanden comes into the game for Anouk Dekker.

70th minute: Dutch substitution

Jill Roord replaces Lieke Martens, the forward who dealt with a toe injury before this game and was part of a head-to-head collision late in the first half.

69th minute: Goal, USA

Rose Lavelle scores to extend the Americans’ lead. Lavelle split two defenders with her shot that sailed just to the right of goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. Lavelle, 24, has scored three times in her first World Cup.

61st minute: Goal, USA

Megan Rapinoe nails her shot from the penalty spot. The U.S. leads, 1-0. Rapinoe sent the ball to the right while Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal crouched toward the left.

The Americans received the penalty after video review in the 60th minute after Alex Morgan was hit on the shoulder by Stefanie van der Gragt, who was given a yellow card.

Rapinoe has six goals in this tournament, five of which have come in the knockout round. This is her third goal of the tournament on a penalty kick. The U.S. has scored the first goal in every World Cup match, while the Netherlands trails for the first time in France. Its scoreless streak ends at 317 minutes.

57th minute: Sauerbrunn returns

The defender was bandaged and medically cleared and has returned to the game.

54th minute: Sauerbrunn is cut in collision

U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn is down on the field with blood running down her face after a head-to-head collision. The Americans are playing a man down while the medical staff tends to Sauerbrunn on the sideline but she has not been replaced.

Halftime substitution for U.S.

Ali Krieger is in the game in the place of Kelley O’Hara, who collided head-to-head with Lieke Martens late in the first half.

Krieger, who was also part of the 2011 and 2015 World Cup teams, hadn’t received a call-up to the national team for two years until this year’s preparation matches before the World Cup. Now she opens the second half as part of the Americans’ back line in the most important game of the tournament.

Halftime: USA 0, Netherlands 0

The teams head to the locker room after a scoreless first 45 minutes of play. The U.S. threatened with a handful of promising chances late in the half, but Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal had standout moments to thwart the American attack. Van Veenendaal notched four saves, three of which came in a three-minute span, to keep the Americans out of the net. Meanwhile, the Netherlands didn’t record a shot until stoppage time and had a few chances off a corner just before halftime. But the Dutch defense has shined, managing to keep this usually early-scoring U.S. team under control.

The Americans have led at halftime during every game in this World Cup except the round-of-16 match against Spain, when the teams opened the second half tied at 1. But in this final, the U.S. is facing a team that hasn’t conceded many goals in this World Cup and a goalkeeper who’s excelling. The Dutch have been a second-half team, having won all six of their matches after coming out of intermission tied in each.

45th minute + 2: A collision

During stoppage time, American defender Kelley O’Hara and Dutch forward Lieke Martens both went down to the turf after a head-to-head collision. The referee immediately signaled for medical attention, and both players were assessed on the field. Both players were held back from play for a moment but quickly returned. The Dutch put late pressure on the U.S. goal but the halftime whistle was blown shortly after

40th minute: Americans increase pressure

The U.S. just had a flurry of chances but couldn’t score. In the 38th minute, Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal saved a chance that Samantha Mewis tried to head in off Megan Rapinoe’s cross. Tobin Heath’s shot soon after was blocked. Moments later, Alex Morgan’s shot off a pass from Rapinoe landed in the lap of van Veenendaal, who notched two saves in the span of one minute to keep the U.S. from scoring.

In the 40th minute, Morgan had another shot on goal assisted by Julie Ertz, but again, van Veenendaal made the save. All four of the Americans’ shots in this game have been on target, while the Netherlands has still yet to take a shot.

28th minute: Quality chance for U.S.

Off a corner kick, the Americans finally had a promising scoring opportunity when Julie Ertz recorded the team’s first shot on target. But Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal came up with the save on a half-volley to deny the U.S.

The Oranje still haven’t taken a shot, but just before the Americans had their first chance, U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher cleared a dangerous ball that was primed to give the Netherlands a one-on-one opportunity to score.

Opening ‘drought’ for U.S.

The Americans did not score in the opening 13 minutes of play. That’s the longest they’ve gone this tournament without scoring to start a game. The Dutch defense is using a 4-4-2 defensive shape to stifle the American attack. The Oranje hasn’t conceded a goal since its round of 16 match against Japan.

The earliest the U.S. scored in a World Cup game this year came when Lindsey Horan scored in the third minute against Sweden. Before this game, Thailand was the team that kept the U.S. out of the net the longest. In that opening game of the tournament for the Americans, the first goal game when Alex Morgan scored in the 12th minute.

10th minute: Yellow card

The Netherlands’ Sherida Spitse receives an early yellow card for a bad foul.

And we’re off

The U.S. women’s national team has begun its pursuit of a fourth World Cup championship and its second straight title, while the Netherlands is playing in its first final. Neither team has trailed at any point during this World Cup, but the U.S. is heavily favored in this match. Since the Women’s World Cup began in 1991, the Americans have played in five of the eight finals.

Americans Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are in the race for the Golden Boot, given to the tournament’s top goal scorer. Morgan enters the final with six goals, five of which came in the opening match against Thailand, while Rapinoe has scored five times. The Netherlands’ top scorer in France is Vivianne Miedema, who comes into the final with three goals.

If Morgan doesn’t score in this game, she will finish tied with England’s Ellen White. Morgan, however, would win the tiebreaker since she has three assists and White finished the tournament without any.

The teams will compete in front of a packed Lyon Olympic Stadium, which is dominated by U.S. fans. It’s another hot day in France with temperatures nearing 90 degrees at kickoff. Rapinoe and Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal are the captains for this game.

In pregame video, Dutch thank USWNT

A pregame hype video released by the Dutch national team featured scenes of American soccer and the stars of this national team. The clip that aired during Fox’s pregame show said, “You proved to us that dreams do come true. Thanks for that,” before shifting to a burst of Dutch highlights. Watch it here:

[Meet the Netherlands World Cup team that will try to shock the world]

The starting lineups are out

Megan Rapinoe is back in the lineup for the U.S. after missing the semifinal game against England with a minor hamstring strain. She joins Birgit Prinz of Germany as the only players in tournament history to start in three finals, according to Fox Sports.

Rose Lavelle, who left the last game in the 65th minute due to a hamstring injury, is also back in the starting 11. In the midfield, Lavelle is joined by Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis, while Lindsey Horan will start the game on the bench.

It’s the same starting lineup Jill Ellis called upon in Americans’ highly anticipated quarterfinal match against France. The U.S. won that game, 2-1, with Rapinoe scoring both goals. Ellis also chose this starting 11 for the first game of the knockout round, a 2-1 victory over Spain.

For the Dutch, star Lieke Martens will start. Martens has played in all six games and scored twice in the tournament, but the forward had to leave the semifinal against Sweden at halftime with a toe injury.

Setting the stage

by Steven Goff in Lyon, France

The United States carries high standards into every Women’s World Cup. Anything short of an appearance in the championship match is regarded as an epic failure.

And so when the Americans were locked in tight games at each step of the knockout phase this summer, there were genuine questions about whether this squad would make it Sunday’s final and continue its quest for a fourth championship.

Each time they were tested, though, the Americans responded. This marks a record third consecutive time — and fifth since the tournament was founded in 1991 — that they find themselves in the title game. Narrow victories over Spain, France and England secured passage.

The United States is expected to win by multiple goals, thanks to experience, depth and darn-good players. In their second World Cup, the Dutch have a bright future but seem a little ahead of their time.

If you’re looking for an early indicator, watch the clock. The Americans have taken the lead within 12 minutes of every match here. A Dutch stand would thicken the plot. Conversely, a quick U.S. goal could open the floodgates.

The teams will perform before an expected sellout of more than 53,000 — many of whom traveled here from the United States.

Regardless of the outcome, the match is a victory for one particular cause: Both coaches are female, the first time that’s occurred since 2003.

“It’s a wonderful statement,” U.S. boss Jill Ellis said on the eve of the match. “There aren’t enough of us coaching in the game. We need more. There are a lot of young women and former players who want to coach. To see coaches doing it is really important.”

Postgame Reading

U.S. women’s national soccer team chases fourth World Cup title, and gender equality

Members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team talk about their fight for gender equality ahead of the Women’s World Cup in France. (Breanna Muir/The Washington Post)

The World Cup has been a smash. But women’s soccer still craves an elusive goal: Lasting impact.

Interest in the women’s soccer has spiked worldwide during this exceptionally well played tournament, raising hopes that the sport can enter a new era of corporate investors, media coverage and stable, successful professional leagues. But it remains to be seen if the momentum is sustainable. (Read more)

‘Locked on and still hungry,’ U.S. soccer enters World Cup final aware of its legacy

The team is on the verge of a momentous achievement, defending its world championship against stiffer competition while taking on off-field causes such as gender equality and brushing off other distractions. Sunday’s final against the Netherlands represents the last step. (Read more)

Rose Lavelle has been U.S. soccer’s World Cup revelation

Four summer ago, as the U.S. women’s national soccer team played Japan for the World Cup trophy in Vancouver, Rose Lavelle was 140 miles south eating pizza. Four years on, Lavelle is in position to help the United States win another championship, as long as her troublesome hamstring does not betray her. (Read more)

At left back, Crystal Dunn is getting it right for USWNT at World Cup

The Americans have advanced to Sunday’s final because of depth and desire, experience and expertise. They are also in this position for the third straight time because Crystal Dunn, a natural attacker, has resisted instinctual urges to race ahead and, instead, embraced a disciplined role at left back. (Read more)

Netherlands hits its first Women’s World Cup final but will have to punch up vs. mighty U.S.

The Dutch beat Sweden on Wednesday, but the United States will arrive at Stade de Lyon as the heavy favorite to win a second consecutive trophy. The Americans have beaten the Dutch six consecutive times by a 22-2 count, but the sides haven’t clashed since 2016. And in that space, the Dutch won the 2017 European Championship and began placing more players at notable clubs, such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Arsenal. (Read more)

Megan Rapinoe: ‘I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American’

A day after watching the Women’s World Cup semifinal from the sideline with a hamstring injury, Megan Rapinoe stepped back into the spotlight Wednesday with an impassioned defense of her comments and actions about politics and patriotism. (Read more)

The U.S. women’s national team is fearless. It showed again in a win against England.

To get past England — their final hurdle in earning a spot in Sunday’s championship match — the top-ranked U.S. women had to tap every tactic in their repertoire, summon the best from lightly tested players and, yet again, draw on the stone-cold conviction that there was no situation they couldn’t overcome. (Read more)

The U.S. women are part of a movement. They won’t be the only female athletes to speak up.

Think about these amazing, defiant and relentless women as part of a potentially watershed period for both their sport and gender, writes columnist Jerry Brewer. Think of them drafting off the impact of #MeToo, being further galvanized by the political threats against abortion rights and Planned Parenthood and strengthening their determination over time to put up an even greater fight against the attitudes, sexism and unfair business practices of a male-dominated sports system. (Read more)

The USWNT is after something far more subversive than just better pay

It’s time to discard, finally, the nagging, jersey-tugging, chronic, small-minded doctrine that we must “contextualize” everything the U.S. women’s national team does as “relative” to the men’s game, writes columnist Sally Jenkins. Sweet kicking Jesus, what titans these players are. (Read more)

Lyon’s championship soccer club is a model of gender equity and a vision for women’s sports

The unparalleled investment into the Olympique Lyonnais superteam is expected to have a profound impact on the future of women’s soccer in the United States and around the world. In paying top dollar for top talent and providing facilities and working conditions on par with what men receive, the club has created a winning formula and established a model for women’s professional soccer across Europe and the United States. (Read more)

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Prime Minster Gaston Browne speaking to CMC (CMC Photo)

Antigua PM advocates need for Caribbean bank to deal with corresponding banking

By Peter Richards

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jul 3, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne Wednesday called for the establishment of a Caribbean bank that would allow the region to counteract the position of international banks regarding corresponding banking.

Caribbean countries have been arguing that the threat by banks in developed countries to withdraw correspondent banking services would exclude the region from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.

Prime Minster Gaston Browne speaking to CMC (CMC Photo)

Browne, who is leading the region’s response to the issue, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the region has been making “slow progress” on dealing with the matter.

“But at the same time there’s still a problem. The corresponding banks continue to take this policy of risk and return, so as far as they are concerned the banks in the OECS (Organistion of Eastern Caribbean States)  in particular are too small and they are in essence looking to bank larger banks within the region which then forces us to consolidate to have bigger banks.

There may even be the need for us to have a Caribbean bank, that is a bank that is owned by various indigenous banks in the Caribbean and one that could have branches in the US diaspora, UK diaspora (and) Canadian diaspora in order to provide services to the Caribbean in the diaspora.”

He said such an initiative would allow for the provision of corresponding banking in the region, especially the smaller ones.

“My understanding is that there is an informal threshold about a billions US dollars, so that generally speaking, banks that have less than a billion US dollars would almost be not bankable for corresponding banking”.

The Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, who is here to attend the 40th meeting of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders, said the irony of the entire situation is that “most of our banks, have less than one billion US in assets.

“It has been a very difficult proposition for us. However we have decided to raise the ante and to increase our advocacy because corresponding banking in essence is a public global good so I cannot be looked upon exclusively from the standpoint of risk and return because in essence if we were to do that then you would be literally de-bank certain regions and certain countries”.

Browne said the region would continue to bring greater awareness to the various stakeholders including regulators in the United States, Europe and Canada to some extent “so that they could understand it is not just about risk and return but it is really about a fundamental right.

“Every single human being should have the right to move money and to receive money. If you can’t move money and you can’t receive that money then it means that you can’t purchase goods and you can’t get paid for the services that you provide”.

In-coming CARICOM chairman and host Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, said he welcomed the idea of establishing a single Caribbean bank, adding “we have also come to the conclusion we now need to reduce that risk”.

He said a former governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) had indicated a solution would be to have all of the indigenous banks in the region to form one bank.

He said whilst this may be a difficult proposition “what we have been talking about is to form one compliance authority,” adding “that’s the change.

“The world did not understand what compliance was before, it’s the fastest growing industry in the whole world in terms of compliance because as you ask one question it compels you to ask many more questions.

“In my humble opinion, what has happened is that we have become so intimidated by the loss of corresponding banking that our own compliance agencies have become excessive and in some times it is now reducing the size of the amount of money coming down in and out of our region.

“So by creating one compliance department that is properly manned and the indigenous banks would pay for those services on a use basis that may be a way to solve the problem …and I think Prime Minister Browne is 100 per cent right if in fact that is not moving fast enough”.

He said another way of looking at the problem of corresponding banking is to follow the Mexico model  and work with the country “and use their banks to assist us”,

Prime Minister Browne said he believes the region should also consider getting together and purchase Scotiabank operations in the region.

“I thought that was an excellent opportunity for the OECS counties in particular to come together and purchase the branches,” he said noting that it would have required at least 98 million US dollars for the nine branches “with perhaps about three billion UIS dollars in assets

“I thought that was an excellent opportunity for the region which would have helped us to have one major bank that would have branches in the diaspora to provide banking services to Caribbean people in the diaspora,” Browne said.

Last November, the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) announced that it was seeking to acquire Scotiabank operations in several Caribbean countries.

Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana had initially expressed reservations about the proposed acquisition, with St. John’s indicating that it would not be issuing a vesting order to facilitate the move.

The RFHL statement said that the banks being acquired are located in Guyana, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

It said that the purchase price is US$123 million, which represents US$25 million consideration for total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited; and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the remaining eight countries.

Antigua and Barbuda has said that it wants assurances that local banks will be given priority to purchase Scotiabank’s operations on the island and that local persons’ investments and savings will be protected.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Features, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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A Massive Seaweed Bloom Is Smothering Life from the Caribbean to West Africa

By Grant Currin, Live Science Contributor | July 5, 2019

A Massive Seaweed Bloom Is Smothering Life from the Caribbean to West Africa
A huge bloom of Sargassum seaweed is clogging up the Florida Keys. Credit: Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

For eight years, thick mats of seaweed have smothered coral reefs, trapped sea turtles and brought economic instability to coastal communities as reddish-brown gobs of foul-smelling sargassum wash onto beaches along the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and tropical Atlantic.

These phenomena are symptoms of a massive seaweed bloom scientists are calling the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt. Researchers describe the belt and explore its causes in a study published July 4 in the journal Science.

Stretching up to 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) from the Gulf of Mexico to just off the coast of western Africa, the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt appears to be the product of natural and human-caused factors.

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“We analyzed almost 20 years of satellite records,” Mengqiu Wang, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida and co-author on the study, told Live Science. [Earth from Above: 101 Stunning Images from Orbit]

The researchers analyzed a dataset that predates the belt’s first appearance in 2011, allowing them to investigate the long-term environmental changes that set the stage for the year-to-year variations in the growth of the bloom.

They identified a tipping point around 2009 when discharge from the Amazon River brought unusually high levels of nutrients into the Atlantic Ocean. Upwelling of nutrient-rich water off the west coast of Africa in the winter of 2010 further enriched surface waters with deep-sea nutrients; that upwelling also lowered temperatures of that surface water, allowing sargassum to thrive in the summer of 2011.

A similar combination of factors led to especially large blooms in 2014, 2015 and 2017. The largest recorded bloom occurred in 2018, when the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt grew to a mass of more than 20 million metric tons. The high levels of nutrients from the Amazon River come from deforestation and fertilizer use in the Amazon basin.

Under normal circumstances, sargassum provides critical habitat for marine life. The seaweed oases attract fish, birds and sea turtles as well. Dolphins and sea turtles also benefit from the tiny patches of life floating in the open ocean, but thick mats of sargassum pose big problems for some wildlife and coastal communities.

Mengqiu Wang was performing field work in the Gulf of Mexico last year when she saw dolphins seeming to enjoy their foray through the Sargassum.
Mengqiu Wang was performing field work in the Gulf of Mexico last year when she saw dolphins seeming to enjoy their foray through the Sargassum. Credit: University of South Florida

“As sargassum decays it consumes the oxygen, creating low oxygen conditions, which is not a good condition for marine life in a coastal ecosystem,” Wang said. Coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems can suffer when high levels of sargassum change water chemistry and block organisms from moving freely.

“Sea turtles sometimes can’t swim through the dense mats to return to open water after laying their eggs,” she said.

The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt is also having an effect on coastal tourism. Barbados declared a state of emergency in 2018, according to a government statement, as sargassum piled onto the beaches the island nation relies upon to draw tourists.

“The negative impacts occur when sargassum starts to pile up on the beaches,” Wang said. In addition to disrupting coastal ecosystems, decaying sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide, a potentially harmful gas that smells like rotten eggs.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

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An Even Larger Quake Just Rocked Southern California. Experts Say the Fault System Is Growing.

By Tia Ghose, Associate Editor

July 6, 2019

An Even Larger Quake Just Rocked Southern California. Experts Say the Fault System Is Growing.
Late Friday (July 5), a magnitude-7.1 quake struck near the town of Ridgecrest, California, just a day after the same region experienced a magnitude-6.4 quake. Experts say the fault system is growing and even more quakes are likely in the coming days. Credit: USGS

Another, even more powerful earthquake rocked Southern California on Friday (July 5). The temblor, which struck not far from the town of Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert, registered as a magnitude 7.1, which is larger than the one that rocked the same general region on Thursday (July 4), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That quake, a magnitude 6.4, was the largest to strike Southern California in 20 years, and was felt as far as Los Angeles.

Today’s monster quake caused injuries, fires and rockslides, and left more than 3,000 people without power. Shaking was felt as far away San Jose, about 260 miles (418 kilometers) from Ridgecrest, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Since the magnitude-6.4 quake on Thursday, more than 1,000 aftershocks have struck the area, CBS News reported. So Friday’s powerful ground-shaking was not a complete surprise.

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In fact, seismologists warned earlier Friday that additional quakes were likely in the next week, and said there was a 9% chance of a quake larger than Thursday’s temblor striking the area, Live Science reported. Seismologists now think that the fault system responsible for the quakes is growing, and residents of Ridgecrest and the nearby desert town of Trona can’t breathe easy just yet. Aftershocks to this quake, which is now considered a “foreshock,” are very likely, experts said.

“There’s a 5% chance that this could be followed by an even larger quake,” USGS seismologist Robert Graves said at a news conference on Friday, as reported by the LA Times.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Earthquake, International, Local, News, Science/Technology0 Comments

DPP Sullivan web DSC_4741

Bail Revoked, Brandt on remand, jailed, until?

– a trial is set to begin on November 18, 2019, but meantime the judge issues ‘directive’ to stop comments on the case

This lingering high court criminal matter has been described on Tuesday in one report as follows: “The High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has ordered another ‘interesting twist’ in the case the Queen vs David S. Brandt.”

Attorney at Law, David S. Brandt, charged since 2015 with several counts of sexual offences

The high profiled lawyer Brandt has been charged since September 2015, along with new charges in November last year, several counts including sexual exploitation of girls under the age of 16 years.

“Gareth Evans, QC, is former Head of Chambers at No5 Chambers. He specialises in both criminal and regulatory law. He acts for the Prosecution or Defence in all kinds of serious crimes including murder, manslaughter, serious sexual offences and drug cases.”
The Times (UK) July 8 2009
Retired in September 2017. Recently appointed and assigned Judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, replacing recused Judge Iain Morley in this related matter

With appeals and one or more constitutional matters that may end before the Privy Council arising out of the charges and hearings to date in the matter, causing delays and obvious frustration for the crown prosecutors, perhaps even the judges, the lead prosecutor Annesta Weekes QC resident in the UK having to travel to and from for the numerous hearings, witnesses being kept in security, the matter had been finally set for hearing to begin on June 18, 2019.

That information had been communicated to the ‘press’ by email on June 13, “ His Lordship The Hon Justice  Gareth Evans QC has requested that members of the press attend Court on Monday 17th June 2019 at 9.00 am to discuss  proposals on the reporting of factual matters pertaining to the trial  R V David Brandt which is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 18th June 2019.

There was no information then about a constitutional motion to be heard the following day, June 14. The motion was denied a hearing at the just completed Appeal court sitting the previous week.

That hearing involved a request by his constitutional attorney Dr. David Dorsette for messages on Brandt’s phone be thrown out of the case as their acquisition and use against him contravened his “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual” with regards to – “protection for his or her private and family life, the privacy of his or her home and other property…” under the Montserrat Constitution.

Hon Iain Morley QC, appointed ECSC judge, agreed to recuse himself from the Brandt case

That motion was heard by the new judge Justice Gareth Evans QC who had replaced recused  Justice Iain Morley QC, High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), the Senior Criminal Judge on Antigua & Barbuda, and the designated Judge on Montserrat.

Legal sources and commentators have expressed suspicion that especially after he was recused and the replacement judge coming from the UK, that his appointment to the ECSC may have been by convenience to sit on the Brandt’s case. Reportedly Justice Morley’s recusal came at the request of both prosecution and defence, aided by their own admission that he and lead prosecutor Annesta Weekes QC, had previously worked together in the UK.

At the constitutional motion hearing, problems of a further delay raised its head with Brandt’s lead trial attorney out of St. Kitts-Nevis reporting being ‘seriously’ ill, just days earlier, putting doubt on the trial starting as scheduled the following week.

But during this time an issue faced Judge Evans after listening to legal arguments from Dr. Dorsette which at the end tentatively suggested that there might be no need for the applications due to be heard at the start of the trial, if his motion was to succeed.

Justice Evans reserved his ruling on the arguments from the defence and the Crown on the motion. On Monday a decision would be made as to the start of the trial and other related matters.

Comes Monday, senior media showed up in answer to the request from the Hon Justice Gareth Evans QC as noted earlier. But their presence was excluded as well as other members of the police, and the public from the court room as the judge and others directly related to the case had ‘some’ hearing in private. The press was told they should return at 2.00 p.m. and an email so indicated. But at midday a further email advised, “the meeting with the press scheduled for Monday 17th June 2019 at 2. 00 pm has now been cancelled.”

DPP Oris Sullivan

By evening information advised that the trial would now begin on November 18, 2019.

No further news on an anxiously awaited press meeting but it became obvious something happened, following the clearing of the court room the eventual cancellation of the meeting after it had been ordered that the Brandt’s trial would be postponed to November 18, 2019.

Then at 4.28 pm the Order shown

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MNIHCR2019.0008-The-Queen-v-David-Brandt-Order-18th-June-201939402-436x600.jpg

here arrived by email following news that Brandt had been remanded to jail till his trial. That surely sent shockwaves, as the obvious query was raised, “What could have happened to warrant a revocation of his bail at this point”

That was the 18th June but to date it is mere speculation as reportedly the crown filed ‘some complaint’ against the accused causing the judge to issue the following order. Then the question why and how the secrecy from the public?

The surprising development, although it would not have been unusual for the prosecution to seek to oppose continuing bail as they have before, once the trial which may have been called on Monday and the postponement allowed in view of the circumstances mentioned earlier. The order of the ‘revocation’ however suggests that there must have been some development that caused the judge, not to merely grant bail, but revoking a continuous state!

Dr. David Dorsette who admits that the case has evolved with several facets having returned to Antigua the previous Friday has said he is astonished and quite surprised at the developments. His role on the Brandt team of attorneys has had to do mainly with the constitutional issues.

Brandt’s attorneys have immediately sprung into action but the debate is continuing as to applications for bail and appealing against the judge’s decision to revoke the bail situation.

Meantime a week later on June 26, and with no meeting with the press, out comes the following, further strange, if not unusual. “…Please find below an official ‘Press Release’? on the above referenced matter for your kind attention:-

As the Registrar of the High Court on Montserrat, I have been directed by His Lordship Mr Justice Evans QC to make the following “public statement”.

It said: “…all members of the public must avoid making supportive or negative public statements in the media about Mr Brandt, or disparaging statements about the trial in general…with a jury drawn from the community, who must be unbiased, and that means they must be unaffected by what is said by others, which includes in the press or social media. This important principle of fairness applies to David Brandt…we must all ensure that he gets a fair trial.

“To ensure this, there must be no further comment, either in support or against, in the press or on social media about this case.” 

“His Lordship has directed that such comment as there has been, which has been collected into a file, must now be investigated by the police and the DPP as possible contempt of court.”

Remember the consititional motion? The judge informed the lawyers that he is denying the motion and he will give his written judgment at a later date but, it will be done in private. “Really,” as the denied attorney says, “this too will be done in private.” Another says, “what has the law gone to?”

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Statement to UN C24 Committee – Premier Donaldson Romeo

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Vacancy – ECSE – IT Officer

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