Saudi prince stays in 'world's most expensive home' during Paris trip
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Saudi prince stays in ‘world’s most expensive home’ during Paris trip

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Saudi prince stays in 'world's most expensive home' during Paris trip
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7,000-square-metre property was bought by an undisclosed buyer in 2015 for 275 million euros

 

PARIS:

During his trip to France to meet President Emmanuel Macron, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is staying at a lavish chateau dubbed “the world’s most expensive home” when he purchased it in 2015.

The Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes outside Paris is a new-build mansion intended to mimic the extravagant luxury of the nearby Versailles Palace, once the seat of the French royal family.

The 7,000-square-metre property was bought by an undisclosed buyer in 2015 for 275 million euros ($300 million at the time), leading Fortune magazine to call it “the world’s most expensive home.”

Mohammed Bin Salman, 36, was reported two years’ later by The New York Times to be the ultimate owner via a series of shell companies.

Local government officials confirmed to AFP that the heir to the Saudi throne was staying at the property ahead of his dinner with Macron later on Thursday.

Reporters outside the perimeter wall saw security personnel in suits guarding the entrance and a large police presence, including half a dozen vehicles.

Khashoggi link

Macron and bin Salman were set to meet at the more modest Elysee presidential palace later Thursday for talks that critics in France view as inappropriate.

Bin Salman was judged by US intelligence to have approved the gruesome murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

But after four years as an international pariah, the prince is being courted by Western leaders again as they urgently seek fresh energy supplies to replace lost Russian production.

In a twist of history, the Chateau Louis XIV was built by Khashoggi’s cousin Emad Khashoggi who runs a luxury property development business in France.

The chateau features a nightclub, a gold-leafed fountain, a cinema, as well as an underwater glass chamber in the moat that resembles a giant aquarium with white leather sofas.

Chateau Louis XIV was built in 2009 after a 19th-century castle on the plot was bulldozed.

Bin Salman’s extravagant spending since emerging as the main powerbroker in Saudi Arabia has repeatedly made headlines.

The son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud bought a $500-million yacht in 2015 and was also reported to be the mystery buyer of a $450-million Leonardo da Vinci painting in 2017.

The latter purchase has been officially denied.

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The rupee continued to gain for the ninth session in a row on Friday, jumping Rs3.39 in the interbank market.

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The rupee continued to gain for the ninth session in a row on Friday, jumping Rs3.39 in the interbank market.
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According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the PKR closed at 215.49 rupees against the dollar, having appreciated by 1.57 percent.

Mettis global director Saad bin Naseer said he believed the rupee’s rise was because exporters, who previously kept their dollar profits abroad, now began bringing their earnings into the country amid appreciation. of the local currency.

On the other hand, demand for the dollar has been reduced due to government intervention to control imports, he said.

However, Naseer warned that any negative news on the political front could lead to the rupee falling again. “Political stability is a must for the positive trend to continue, otherwise the rupee will erase all its gains.”

The secretary general of the Association of Stock Companies of Pakistan (Ecap), Zafar Paracha, shared a similar opinion. He said exporters had previously stopped bringing their profits into Pakistan but were now offloading their dollars, while importers who were previously worried and buying dollars for futures had stopped.

Consequently, there were sellers in the market but no buyers, he said.

He also credited the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for the rupee’s appreciation, saying that he had largely controlled the banks’ speculation and the large gaps they maintained between dollar buying and selling rates.

In addition, the country’s import bill fell in July and will fall further in August as the country will not import oil, he said. The general secretary of Ecap pointed out that the prices of oil, coal, wheat and pulses had been reduced internationally, which would also lead to a lower import bill.

“Overall, things are moving positively and it looks like the pressure on the rupee will ease.”

Zafar said it was “not a satisfactory level yet” and the rupee was due to trade at Rs160 against the dollar in the long term. For this, he suggested, the government needed to link imports to exports, spending to income, and offer discounts to overseas Pakistanis and foreign exchange firms to discourage the hundi/hawala system.

The value of the national currency increased 9.3% in the last eight sessions, according to Arif Habib Ltd.

Despite the recent trend, the rupee has lost as much as 19.36% against the US currency since the beginning of 2022. Since July 1, which is the first day of the current fiscal year, the rupee has lost 6 .41% compared to its US counterpart.

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Three Cubans defected during world athletics

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HAVANA:

Three members of Cuba’s athletics delegation at the World Championships in the United States, including former discus world champion Yaime Perez absconded, the country’s sports institute said on Wednesday.

Defections by Cuban sports people while on international duty are commonplace as the communist nation has long prevented its athletes from turning professional.

Perez, 31, was the defending champion in Eugene, where she finished seventh, and a bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Javelin thrower Yiselena Ballar, 19, and physiotherapist Carlos Gonzalez also disappeared.

The Jit online newspaper for Cuba’s INDER sports institute described the defections as “serious indiscipline”.

Both Perez and Ballar are believed to have escaped during a stopover in Miami while on the return journey to Cuba.

Cuba suffered its worst ever result at an athletics world championships, failing to win a single medal.

More than two dozen Cuban sports people have defected this year alone, including Olympic long jump silver medalist Juan Miguel Echevarria, Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ismael Borrero and Olympic sprint canoeing champion Fernando Dayan Jorge.

Last month, Olympic boxing champion Andy Cruz, considered by many experts to be the finest Cuban boxer of his generation, was caught trying to flee the island nation.

Cuba has slowly been opening up to professional sport in a bid to discourage the defections.

In April, communist authorities finally allowed boxers to take part in professional boxing competitions, leading to a team match against Mexico, which the Cubans won 6-0 with five knockouts, even without Cruz.

Other sports such as baseball have also embraced limited professionalism recently as in May Cuban authorities reached an agreement with the sport’s international governing body, the WBSC, to allow Cuban baseballers to manage their own professional contracts with clubs in foreign leagues.

Cuba is suffering its worst recession in three decades, partly provoked by the coronavirus pandemic and the ramping up of US sanctions under former president Donald Trump, which has led to mass migration.

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Javelin world champ Barber Covid positive ahead of Comm Games

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SYDNEY: Javelin world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber’s bid to also win the Commonwealth title was dealt a blow Thursday, with the Australian testing positive for Covid-19, team officials said. Barber, who claimed her second world crown last week at Eugene, Oregon in the United States, tested positive at the Australian team camp ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this week.

But with the women’s javelin final not until August 7, she could still compete. “Kelsey-Lee Barber is not out (of the Games),” the team’s high-performance manager Andrew Faichney told Australian media.

“I have to reconfirm, but I think the organising committee has said that if an athlete is well and healthy enough, then they are going to be able to compete, and so that is what we are working through.”

Barber, who won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, retained her world title with a throw of 66.91 metres, ahead of American Kara Winger and Japan’s HarukaKitaguchi. She was considered a strong favourite in Birmingham after winning bronze and silver at the past two editions of the Commonwealth Games. Faichney also told local media that Olympic bronze medal-winning decathlete Ash Moloney would miss the Commonwealth Games. Moloney was forced to withdraw from the world championships last week due to a knee injury and has not recovered.

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Four-time world champion Vettel to retire from F1

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LONDON: Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel will retire at the end of the 2022 season, he announced on Thursday. “The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it,” Vettel, 35, said in an Aston Martin team statement.

“At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye. “Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist.”

Vettel won four successive championships with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, but struggled to reproduce his best results after moving to Ferrari before joining Aston Martin last year. His 53 Grand Prix victories place him third on the all-time list behind Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91). Vettel last won a race in Singapore in 2019.

“He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him,” said Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance is the team’s other driver. “He will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th Grand Prix entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off.” The German made his F1 debut with BMW Sauber at the United States Grand Prix in 2007. He joined Toro Rosso that same year and raced the final seven races of the season.

He then spent a full season with Toro Rosso before making the step up to Red Bull in 2009. Vettel’s first title in 2010, aged 23 years and 134 days, saw him become the youngest world champion in history. He moved to Aston Martin last season after six years at Ferrari, with whom he twice finished runner-up for the world title to Hamilton in 2017 and 2018.

Vettel trailed in 12th in the 2021 drivers’ championship with his new team after achieving just one podium finish. He is 14th in the standings this season with just 15 points and missed the first two races with Covid-19. “Although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come,” said Vettel. “I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.”

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Serbian Cricketer’s Bizarre Celebration Goes Viral On Social Media

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Ayo Mene-Ejegi, who plays for Serbia, has a unique way of celebrating his wickets

Every player has its own way of celebrating, whether a batter or bowler, on a cricket field. Similarly, a video of a Serbian cricketer celebrating his wickets in a unique way has gone viral on social media. Ayo Mene-Ejegi, who plays for Serbia, has a unique way of celebrating his wickets. In a video shared by ICC, Ayo can be seen making a ground flip before lying straight on the ground with his hands wide open. So far, the video has garnered over 185,000 likes on Instagram.

“100 wicket celebration from Serbia’s Ayo Mene-Ejegi,” the video was captioned by ICC.

The video was taken from Serbia’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Europe Qualifier Group A against Isle of Man.

 

During the match, Ayo took four wickets as Serbia restricted Isle of Man to a total of 165 for seven in 20 overs.

However, Serbia still ended up on the losing side as they were restricted to a total of 97/7.

Isle of Man won the game by 68 runs.

 

Meanwhile, the T20 World Cup will be played later this year in Australia.

While some of the top teams like hosts Australia, India, England among others had qualified for the tournament on the basis of their higher rankings, four teams are yet to book their place for the showpiece event.

Australia are the defending T20I champions, having defeated New Zealand in the final last year in the UAE.

Both teams will meet in the first match of the Super 12 stage on October 22 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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AJAX INTERESTED IN MARTIN BRAITHWAITE

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Eredivisie champions Ajax are reportedly keen on securing the services of Barcelona outcast Martin Braithwaite in the summer transfer window.

Bert Sanders has revealed on the Pantelic Podcast that Martin Braithwaite is the subject of interest from Ajax over a possible move in the summer transfer window. New head coach Alfred Schreuder suggested the Barcelona outcast’s name after previously working with him at Camp Nou.

Martin Braithwaite joined Barcelona from Leganes as an emergency signing outside the transfer window due to bizarre rules in La Liga. And the 31-year-old has been a handy backup option for all his managers thus far, chipping in with goals regularly without ever complaining about his role as a substitute.

But the Danish international endured a frustrating 2021/22 season, even though he began the campaign strongly. While Ronald Koeman looked to utilise him, a long-term injury blighted him for the most part before he became an afterthought for Xavi Hernandez. As a result, Braithwaite turned out only four times for Barcelona, managing 236 minutes of game-time while scoring twice.

The experienced striker is now surplus to requirements for Barcelona, with Xavi Hernandez not including him in the plans for the 2022/23 season. The Catalan giants have left Braithwaite behind in Barcelona before embarking on their pre-season tour to the USA, making it amply clear that he is on the transfer list.

Recent reports have suggested that Barcelona will demand a paltry €8 million to part ways with Braithwaite this summer. And the Dane has no shortage of suitors either, with Eredivisie champions Ajax the latest club to show interest in him.

New Ajax head coach Alfred Schreuder has suggested Braithwaite’s name to the Dutch club’s board. Schreuder has previously worked with Braithwaite during his stint with Barcelona. And with Ajax in the market for a striker this summer following Sebastien Haller’s departure, the Barcelona outcast has emerged as a viable target.

The interest from Ajax will be music to Barcelona’s ears, as the Blaugrana had been considering terminating Braithwaite’s contract to get him off their books. But with the Dutch champions in the equation, the Catalan giants might be able to recoup something in his exchange this summer.

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TOTTENHAM READY €20 MILLION OFFER TO SIGN MEMPHIS DEPAY

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TOTTENHAM READY €20 MILLION OFFER TO SIGN MEMPHIS DEPAY
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Barcelona will reportedly soon receive an offer for Memphis Depay, with Tottenham preparing a €20 million bid to sign the 28-year-old forward.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Barcelona will soon have a €20 million offer on the table from Tottenham Hotspur for Memphis Depay. The north London giants are preparing their bid to prise the 28-year-old forward away from Camp Nou in the summer transfer window.

Memphis Depay joined Barcelona last summer on a free transfer, completing a dream move after a fruitful stint with Lyon. But the Dutch international endured a topsy turvy campaign at Camp Nou, as he fizzled out dramatically after a strong start, particularly failing to deliver the goods in the UEFA Champions League.

Nonetheless, the 28-year-old ended his debut season with Barcelona as the club’s top scorer, finding the back of the net 13 times in 38 games across all competitions. But with Barcelona signing Raphinha and tying Ousmane Dembele to a new two-year contract, Depay is surplus to requirements at Camp Nou. And Tottenham could offer him a new adventure this summer.

Spurs have been hyperactive in the market this summer, completing six signings thus far, with Djed Spence the latest arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Antonio Conte is thus enjoying a solid transfer window ahead of his first full season with the north London club as he looks to take the team to the next level.

But Tottenham might not be done in the summer transfer window, with Depay emerging on their radar over a move ahead of the 2022/23 season. While Spurs have already signed Richarlison to bolster their offensive unit, the uncertainties surrounding the futures of Bryan Gil and Lucas Moura might have prompted Conte to ask for a player like the Barcelona forward.

The north Londoners are now preparing to submit their first official bid for Depay, with the report claiming that they will soon offer €20 million for the 28-year-old. With the Dutch forward entering the final year of his contract, Barcelona might have to accept the €20 million proposal.

But recent reports have claimed that Depay does not want to join Tottenham this summer. The 28-year-old has also insisted that he wants to remain at Camp Nou beyond the summer transfer window, but he might not have a spot in the team following the latest developments at FC Barcelona. And with the 2022 FIFA World Cup a few months away, Depay should seek a new adventure.

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Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko transfer blow may not mean it’s game over for Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Oleksandr Zinchenko this summer but have been dealt a transfer blow after Manchester City named him in their pre-season squad

Arsenal fans may have been disappointed at the news of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s inclusion in Manchester City’s squad for their pre-season tour of the US… but they shouldn’t be.

The Gunners are interested in signing the Ukraine international, 25, to give Mikel Arteta more options in midfield and attack. Zinchenko, who’s won four Premier League titles, can also play at left-back – providing cover for the injury-prone Kieran Tierney.

Arteta knows Zinchenko from his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Man City between July 2016 and December 2019. He will be fully aware of his character and what he can offer the squad as they look to achieve Champions League qualification this coming season.

Some believe Zinchenko’s inclusion in Guardiola’s summer squad suggests he’s not available for transfer, yet that’s not the case. History tells us that players often leave tours to complete moves, even if that can be disruptive to pre-season preparations.

In the summer of 2017, defender Andy Robertson flew home from Hull’s pre-season trip to Portugal to sign for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. And 13 years earlier, midfielder Nicky Butt left Manchester United’s tour of the US to sign for Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle.

“We were on tour in America with Nicky – we knew what we were all thinking all of the time – and Nicky had become a little bit more frustrated with his 25, 30 games a season, being in and out of the team,” Gary Neville told Sky Sports in 2020.

 

Oleksandr Zinchenko is on Arsenal's transfer shortlist

Oleksandr Zinchenko is on Arsenal’s transfer shortlist 

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Do you think Arsenal will sign Oleksandr Zinchenko? 

“He wanted to go and play for Newcastle and be No 1 [choice midfielder], not a No 3 or No 4. He left that tour, going back to England to sign for Newcastle… Nicky leaving was a big disappointment, but you know it’s going to happen one day.”

Furthermore, Zinchenko wouldn’t even need to travel far if he was to sign for Arsenal and join their pre-season tour. Like Man City, the Gunners are travelling around the US and have fixtures against MLS side Orlando City and London rivals Chelsea on the horizon.

Arsenal shouldn’t be discouraged in their pursuit of Zinchenko and should do all they can to bring him to the Emirates. The Gunners need to add depth to their squad, despite already signing Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos, Matt Turner and Gabriel Jesus this summer.

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ICC FTP Draft: A Two-and-a-half Month Window Formally Reserved For IPL From 2023 to 2027

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Month Window Formally Reserved For IPL From 2023 to 2027
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The growing influence and primacy of various T20 leagues across the world is reportedly shaped the near-final draft of the ICC’s latest Future Tours Programme (FTP). All major T20 leagues conducted by the top cricket boards have been given a window in the next FTP cycle from May 2023  to June 2027 with the Indian Premier League (IPL) been afforded two-and-a-half months every year.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, each year, the last week of March to the first week of June has been earmarked for BCCI’s IPL with few international matches scheduled during this window in the next FTP cycle.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) have also been given space to conduct their own premier white-ball competitions in the cycle.

Every year, a three-week window from July to August will see England not playing any international cricket and the window will reportedly be used for The Hundred. ECB wants all its top international stars available for the marquee event.

CA has already spoken of how they want January free of any international commitments so that all their star players are available to take part in the Big Bash League.

However, as per the report, no international matches will be scheduled during the IPL window but it’s not the case with Hundred and BBL.

Apart from the ‘Big Three’, other major cricket boards including Windies Cricket’s Caribbean Premier League, Bangladesh Cricket Board’s BPL, and Cricket South Africa have also managed to carve out spaces for their respective T20 leagues as well.

Pakistan Cricket Board though has asked for different windows –  February-March (2023), January-February (2024), and December-January (2026-27) – to presumable for PSL.

The IC could finalize the draft in the coming days and publish it after its  Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to be held on July 25 and 26 in Birmingham.

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Belgian Football Returns With Cup Final

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Football in the Belgian top flight returns this weekend when Percy Tau’s former side Club Brugge takes on Gent in the Belgian Super Cup final. Do you want to put money on the fixture?

The two giants of Belgian football will go head to head at the Jan Breydel Stadium in the Super Cup final, a trophy Club Brugge has claimed a record 16 times since its inception in 1979.

Gent, meanwhile, has won the trophy on just one occasion but has qualified for the final three times in its history (1984, 2010, and 2015).

Heading into the match on Sunday, Brugge will be hoping for better form after losing their last two meetings against the Buffalos, a 3-0 defeat in the Belgian Cup in March and a 2-1 loss in the league in February.

Furthermore, Brugge has picked up four red cards in their previous three games against Gent, another streak they will be determined to end this weekend.

Open a tab account, it’s easy, and starts betting on local and international soccer now! Club Brugge vs Gent pools close at 15:00 Soccer10 – (S10 V3) 17 July 2022.

In what is an astonishing statistic, the last time a match between these two sides ended without a goal being scored was in 2013, when they played to a 0-0 draw in the country’s top division.

Brugge’s attack will likely be spearheaded by AC Milan transfer target Charles De Ketelaere, 21, who has contributed to an impressive 45 goals in 120 matches since his professional debut three years ago.

Last season, the Belgium international posted career-best figures when he scored 18 times and assisted a further 10 strikes in 49 games across all competitions.

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