Spartak the lemur predicts Saudi Green Falcons to overcome Russians in World Cup opener

Achilles the cat picked the home team. (Reuters)
Updated 16 June 2018

Spartak the lemur predicts Saudi Green Falcons to overcome Russians in World Cup opener

  • Achilles the cat picked Russia to beat the Green Falcons

JEDDAH: Spartak the lemur picked Saudi Arabia to defeat World cup hosts Russia ritual predicting results at Yekaterinburg Zoo.

However, Achilles the cat at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg picked the home team.

The cat was presented with two plates of cat food — one marked with a Russian flag and the other with a Saudi one. Achilles hesitated before going for the Russia plate.

The cat was then dressed in Russia’s uniform and posed for the cameras.

Hermitage veterinarian Anna Kondratyeva said she’s sure Achilles made the right call. She said he “loves his motherland and couldn’t vote otherwise.”

Achilles became famous by correctly predicting several matches during the Confederations Cup in Russia last summer.

Former Saudi coach Marcos Paqueta told Arab News Saudi Arabia’s  group is difficult “to predict, but the first phase of a World Cup is when teams take a little more risk. It’s hard to say which team will qualify, but Saudi Arabia must be brave.”

Saudi Arabia will be underdogs in Group A at the World Cup. The Falcons are ranked 67th in the world,  second-lowest at the tournament only behind the hosts Russia in 70th, but Jan Van Winckel, a former technical director of the Saudi Football Federation, does not consider those stats a problem.

“I think Saudi Arabia have a good chance of reaching the second round,” Van Winckel told Arab News.


(With input from AP)

Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

Updated 5 min 57 sec ago

Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

FRASER ISLAND, Australia: Prince Harry greeted an Aboriginal community on the stunning World Heritage-listed Fraser Island Monday as his pregnant wife Meghan took a break from official duties during the royal couple’s Australian tour.
The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday, drawing thousands of screaming fans to their events.
The visit to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland state took on a different tone, as the Duke of Sussex was greeted with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony from the local Butchulla people on the peaceful shores of Lake McKenzie.
Harry later walked barefoot on the soft white sands of the lake, a source of drinking water for the Butchulla people, and splashed water on his face.
Fraser is the world’s largest sand island and the prince was due to unveil a plaque to dedicate the holiday site’s acres of rainforests to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project.
His visit will also touch on other environmental issues, a cause close to his father Prince Charles’ heart, when he meets with park rangers to learn more about the island’s plants and animals.
Later, he will meet with two Hervey Bay paramedics, who are being recognized for granting a dying woman’s final wish by taking her to the beach.
A photo of a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean was posted on Facebook last year and went viral around the world.
The royal couple had earlier arrived in Queensland by plane before traveling to the island separately.
Harry boarded a barge, a route used by tourists to travel to the island, while the Duchess of Sussex took a different vessel and then retreated to a private residence.
Her choice of dress, a maroon number with white polka dots, sparked excitement in Queensland, as the deep brownish-red happens to also been the official color of the state.
The pair are due to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island.