French football fans queue for shirt carrying second star

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Antoine Griezmann, left, sprung his own 2-star shirt to celebrate World Cup victory, catching Paul Pogba, center, and Kylian Mbappe by surprise. (Getty Images)
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Antoine Griezmann sporting his personal 2-star shirt. Now, the real thing is available to French fans. (AP Photo)
Updated 17 August 2018
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French football fans queue for shirt carrying second star

  • National team’s new shirts carry a second star to mark Les Bleus’ World Cup win in Russia
  • The Nike-branded strips are huge money-spinners costing €85 euros each

PARIS: Scores of French football fans queued on Friday to snap up the first of the national team’s new shirts carrying a second star to mark Les Bleus’ World Cup win in Russia.
The crowning of France as world champions unleashed a wave of euphoria across the country, helping foster a brief sense of national unity after years of tension and self-examination in the wake of attacks by militants since 2015.
“I’ll keep it all my life. It’s the second star! They made our dreams come true on the pitch,” said fan Brice Chevalier as he queued to enter the French Football Federation’s store in Paris.
France first won the World Cup, earning its first star, in 1998 with Zinedine Zidane its talisman and playmaker in an era when the team was referred to as Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-Arab), a reference to its diverse ethnic make up.
In Russia, they beat Croatia 4-2, with President Emmanuel Macron leaping for joy in the stands.
“I’m chuffed, I’ve been waiting a month for this moment,” said another life-long supporter, Jerome Cornec.
The Nike-branded strips are huge money-spinners. France’s official shirt costs €85 euros ($97).


Paws for breath: India’s pampered pooches get clean air as people choke on smog

Updated 14 November 2018
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Paws for breath: India’s pampered pooches get clean air as people choke on smog

  • The air in the pets' rooms is cleaned by purifying machines
  • For those unable get their pet into TopDog, a pollution mask for dogs, which its makers say is a world-first, will soon be coming to India

GURUGRAM, India: While most residents of the Indian capital Delhi choked on toxic air this week, the dogs of the city’s elite were enjoying ambient music and purified air at a luxury resort for pets.
Pollution in the capital rose to “severe” this week after revelers let off fireworks to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali, adding to the heavy smog caused by crop burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions.
Delhi’s air is among the worst in the world, although many in the city of more than 20 million are unable, or unwilling, to protect themselves from the cocktail of gases and particles.
But at the TopDog Luxury Pet Resort, Gautam Kari, the chief operating officer who studied animal behaviorology in California, is offering relief for posh pooches.
Rooms at the site, next to an organic vegetable farm in Gurugram, one of Delhi’s satellite cities and an IT hub, start at 2,000 rupees ($28) a night — more than five times the average daily wage.
The canine guests — many owned by politicians, diplomats and business figures, the resort says — have had their outdoor time reduced during the bad-air days of Diwali.
The air in their rooms is cleaned by purifying machines made by American manufacturer Honeywell.
“We don’t want them out smelling the air for more than 45 minutes,” Kari said.
Kari said clients brought their dogs for training and the resort’s other luxuries, including food imported from Canada and music more commonly heard in high-end spas.
But air pollution is also a concern for owners.
“I think the air purifiers ... are as relevant to dogs as well as to human beings,” said Vineet Durani, an executive at US software giant Microsoft, who was collecting his Siberian husky Juno.
“It’s hard to breathe.”
Other guests include a trio of dogs owned by Japanese diplomats, and two Portuguese water dogs, Peanut and Snicker, from the Dutch embassy.
The resort’s presidential suite — named after former US President Barack Obama’s dog Bo — is occupied by a pair of street dogs adopted by an employee of the World Health Organization, the agency that developed international standards for monitoring air quality.
For those unable get their pet into TopDog, a pollution mask for dogs, which its makers say is a world-first, will soon be coming to India.
The K9mask, that costs $39.99 and promises “easy air intake for resting or panting,” is looking for an Indian distributor.
“India is definitely a place experiencing air quality problems that will benefit,” said Kirby Holmes, managing partner of the Good Air Team, which manufactures the masks.