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
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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)


Finland tops global happiness index for second consecutive year

Updated 20 March 2019
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Finland tops global happiness index for second consecutive year

  • The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be
  • Happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela

HELSINKI: Finland has topped an index of the happiest nations for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the small Nordic country has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe not simply dependent on economic wealth.
The World Happiness Report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be. It’s based on factors including economic wealth, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices.
The index, published Wednesday, showed the other Nordic countries did well, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the next spots.
The United States dropped from the 18th to 19th place.
Happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela, currently in political crisis.