Chelsea and Fulham win penalty shootouts to reach English League Cup semifinals

Chelsea and Fulham win penalty shootouts to reach English League Cup semifinals
Chelsea's Mykhailo Mudryk, left celebrates after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the English League Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London Tuesday. (AP)
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Updated 20 December 2023
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Chelsea and Fulham win penalty shootouts to reach English League Cup semifinals

Chelsea and Fulham win penalty shootouts to reach English League Cup semifinals
  • Chelsea are languishing in 10th place in the Premier League despite having spent more than $1 billion on players in the last three transfer windows
  • Middlesbrough will be the big underdog in the semifinals as the only non-Premier League team remaining

LONDON: Chelsea’s faltering first season under Mauricio Pochettino could yet be saved by the English League Cup.

The London club reached the semifinals by beating Newcastle 4-2 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday, with the game only getting that far thanks to a goal by Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk in the second minute of stoppage time that made it 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle right back Kieran Trippier was at fault for that goal and he was one of two visiting players to fail to score his penalty. Matt Ritchie was the other, as stand-in goalkeeper Đorđe Petrovic made the save to end the shootout.

Chelsea are languishing in 10th place in the Premier League despite having spent more than $1 billion on players in the last three transfer windows and having no European competitions to disrupt their schedule.

Pochettino is starting to come under some pressure for failing to get a group of talented players to gel so this cup run could be huge in gaining some momentum. The explosion of joy inside the stadium after the final penalty made it the best moment so far in his reign of less than six months.

Newcastle had been looking to get to the semifinals of the League Cup for the second straight season. Fulham have reached that stage for the first time in their 144-year history.

Fulham, another team from west London, also needed a penalty shootout to advance and this one lasted longer, with defender Tosin Adarabioyo eventually netting the clinching kick for a 7-6 win. Amadou Onana had a chance to win the shootout for Everton but had his attempt saved at 4-3.

The game finished 1-1 in regulation at Goodison Park, with Everton substitute Beto scoring in the 82nd to cancel out an own-goal by Michael Keane.

CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM ADVANCE

Middlesbrough will be the big underdog in the semifinals as the only non-Premier League team remaining.

The second-tier club beat Port Vale, who play in the third division, 3-0 thanks to goals by Jonny Howson, Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks.

Middlesbrough, the 2004 champion now managed by former Manchester United and England midfielder Michael Carrick, haven’t had to play a Premier League team in the competition yet.

NKUNKU DEBUT

There was more good news for Chelsea, with Christopher Nkunku coming off the bench in the second half to finally make his competitive debut six months after signing from Leipzig.

The France striker sustained a serious knee injury in the offseason and only recently returned to training, with Pochettino careful not to push him into first-team action too quickly.

Nkunku converted one of Chelsea’s penalties in the shootout confidently in the top corner and looked lively in regulation time, too.

However, there was some concern with Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez walking off the field unaided midway through the first half. Pochettino said after the game that Fernandez asked to come off because he felt unwell.

SEMIFINAL DRAW

Liverpool host West Ham on Wednesday in the last quarterfinal match, after which the draw for the semifinals is made.

The final is at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 25.


Israel to summon ambassadors of countries that voted for Palestinian UN membership

Israel to summon ambassadors of countries that voted for Palestinian UN membership
Updated 16 min 42 sec ago
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Israel to summon ambassadors of countries that voted for Palestinian UN membership

Israel to summon ambassadors of countries that voted for Palestinian UN membership
  • Thursday’s vote saw 12 countries on the UN Security Council back a resolution recommending full Palestinian membership and two — Britain and Switzerland — abstain
  • Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory

JERUSALEM: Israel will summon ambassadors of countries that voted for full Palestinian UN membership “for a protest talk” on Sunday, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
It came after the Palestinian Authority said it would “reconsider” its relationship with the United States after Washington vetoed the Palestinian membership bid earlier this week.
Thursday’s vote saw 12 countries on the UN Security Council back a resolution recommending full Palestinian membership and two — Britain and Switzerland — abstain.

A Palestinian doctor tends to a baby born prematurely after his mother was injured during Israeli bombardment, at the Kuwait Hospital in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip on April 20, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Only the United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, voted against, using its veto to block the resolution.
On Saturday, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Oren Marmorstein said the ministry “will summon for a protest talk the ambassadors of the countries that voted in the Security Council in favor of upgrading the status of the Palestinians in the UN.”
“The ambassadors of France, Japan, South Korea, Malta, the Slovak Republic and Ecuador will be summoned tomorrow for a demarche, and a strong protest will be presented to them,” he said in a post on X.

Blood stains are seen on a wall inside a house following an Israeli raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp in the occupied West bank on April 20, 2024. (AFP)

“An identical protest will be presented to additional countries,” he said.
“The unambiguous message that will be delivered to the ambassadors: A political gesture to the Palestinians and a call to recognize a Palestinian state — six months after the October 7 massacre — is a prize for terrorism.”
The draft resolution called for recommending to the General Assembly “that the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations” in place of its current “non-member observer state” status, which it has held since 2012.
The majority of the UN’s 193 member states — 137, according to a Palestinian count — have recognized a Palestinian state.
 

 


At least 58 people die after boat capsizes in Central Africa

At least 58 people die after boat capsizes in Central Africa
Updated 6 min 24 sec ago
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At least 58 people die after boat capsizes in Central Africa

At least 58 people die after boat capsizes in Central Africa
  • The wooden boat was overloaded with more than 300 people when it sank on the Mpoko river, say rescuers
  • Witnesses said the passengers were headed to the funeral of a village chief when the tragedy happened

BANGUI, Central African Republic: At least 58 people going to a funeral died after their overloaded river boat capsized in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, the head of civil protection said on Saturday.

“We were able to extract 58 lifeless bodies,” Thomas Djimasse told Radio Guira. “We don’t know the total number of people who are underwater.
According to witnesses and videos on social media, the wooden boat was carrying more than 300 people — some standing and others perched on wooden structures — when it sank on the Mpoko river on Friday.
The vessel was heading to the funeral of a village chief in Makolo, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Bangui, but got into difficulty shortly after setting off from the pier.
Rescue services arrived 40 minutes after the disaster.
The government did not respond on Saturday but in a speech recorded on Friday and broadcast a day later, government spokesman Maxime Balalou had reported a “provisional toll of at least 30 dead.”
The government sent its condolences to the bereaved families, he said, announcing the opening of an investigation and the setting up of a support system for families of the victims.
Maurice Kapenya, who was following the boat in a canoe because there was no space on board, said his own sister was among the bodies of the victims he had recovered.
He was helped by local fisherman and residents. Motorbike taxis meanwhile evacuated some of the injured.
Driver Francis Maka told AFP he had “taken more than 10 people to the community hospital... free of charge, in the face of the tragedy.”
With civil protection teams no longer on the scene Saturday, desperate families searching for missing loved ones near the river helped canoe operators they had hired, an AFP journalist observed.
Several opposition parties expressed solidarity with the families and called for national mourning.

The Central African Republic is ranked by the United Nations as the second least-developed country in the world.
A civil war has plagued the former French colony since a Muslim-dominated armed coalition called the Seleka ousted former president Francois Bozize in 2013.
The conflict lost intensity from 2018 but the country still suffers bouts of violence by rebel groups or over its resources, which include gold and diamonds.
French intervention and deployment of UN peacekeepers paved the way for elections in 2016, which President Faustin Archange Touadera won.
Two years later, Touadera brought in fighters from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group to help train his armed forces.
The country still suffers bouts of violence by rebel groups or over its resources, which include gold and diamonds.
In 2020, CAR brought in more Russian operatives as rebel groups advanced on the capital and repelled a siege of Bangui.
However, some areas of the country remain outside government control.


Sudan’s horrific war is being fueled by weapons from foreign supporters of rival generals, UN says

Sudan’s horrific war is being fueled by weapons from foreign supporters of rival generals, UN says
Updated 7 min 53 sec ago
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Sudan’s horrific war is being fueled by weapons from foreign supporters of rival generals, UN says

Sudan’s horrific war is being fueled by weapons from foreign supporters of rival generals, UN says
  • The RSF was formed from Janjaweed fighters by former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for three decades before being overthrown during a popular uprising in 2019
  • Mohamed Ibn Chambas, chair of the African Union panel on Sudan and high representative for its Silence the Guns in Africa initiative, called external interference “a major factor compounding both the efforts to negotiate a ceasefire and to stop the war”

UNITED NATIONS: The year-old war in Sudan between rival generals vying for power has sparked “a crisis of epic proportions” fueled by weapons from foreign supporters who continue to flout UN sanctions aimed at helping end the conflict, the UN political chief said Friday.
“This is illegal, it is immoral, and it must stop,” Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo told the UN Security Council.
Sudan plunged into chaos in mid-April 2023, when long-simmering tensions between its military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo broke out into street battles in the capital, Khartoum. Fighting has spread to other parts of the country, especially urban areas and the western Darfur region.
DiCarlo painted a dire picture of the war’s impact — over 14,000 dead, tens of thousands wounded, looming famine with 25 million people in need of life-saving assistance, and over 8.6 million forced to flee their homes.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, chair of the African Union panel on Sudan and high representative for its Silence the Guns in Africa initiative, called external interference “a major factor compounding both the efforts to negotiate a ceasefire and to stop the war.”
“As a matter of fact, external support in terms of supply of war materiel and other needs has been the main reason why this war has lasted so long,” Chambas said. “It is the elephant in the room.”
Neither DiCarlo nor Chambas named any of the foreign supporters.
But Burhan, who led a military takeover of Sudan in 2021, is a close ally of neighboring Egypt and its president, former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. In February, Sudan’s foreign minister held talks in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart amid unconfirmed reports of drone purchases for government forces.
The Rapid Support Forces’ leader, Dagalo, has reportedly received support from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group. UN experts said in a recent report that the RSF has also received support from Arab allied communities and new military supply lines running through Chad, Libya and South Sudan.
The Arab-dominated RSF has carried out brutal attacks in Darfur on ethnic African civilians, especially the ethnic Masalit, and has taken control of most of the vast region.
Its newest target appears to be El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. Edem Wosornu, the UN humanitarian office’s director of operations, said RSF-affiliated militias attacked and burned villages west of El Fasher on April 13.
“Since then, there have been continuing reports of clashes in the eastern and northern parts of the city, resulting in more than 36,000 people displaced,” she told the council.
Wosornu warned that “the violence poses an extreme and immediate danger to the 800,000 civilians who reside in El Fasher, and it risks triggering further violence in other parts of Darfur — where more than 9 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.”
Two decades ago, Darfur became synonymous with genocide and war crimes, particularly by the notorious Janjaweed Arab militias, against populations that identify as Central or East African.
That legacy appears to have returned, with the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, saying in late January there are grounds to believe both sides may be committing war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in Darfur.
The RSF was formed from Janjaweed fighters by former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for three decades before being overthrown during a popular uprising in 2019. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and other crimes during the conflict in Darfur in the 2000s.
DiCarlo called for redoubled efforts to bring peace, saying UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ personal envoy for Sudan, Ramtane Lamamra, has proposed convening a meeting with African and Arab organizations and key countries “to develop a comprehensive mediation and peacemaking strategy.”
Chambas said the AU is appealing to countries in the region not to support either side.
It is also organizing “an all inclusive political dialogue for Sudanese that will prepare the civilians for post-war transition to democratic governance,” he said.
“The war has set the country back several decades and it will take more than a generation to rebuild Sudan to its pre-war state,” Chambas said.

 


Russia warns of more death and destruction as US House passes Ukraine aid bill

Russia warns of more death and destruction as US House passes Ukraine aid bill
Updated 21 min 58 sec ago
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Russia warns of more death and destruction as US House passes Ukraine aid bill

Russia warns of more death and destruction as US House passes Ukraine aid bill
  • Aid package will make US get richer, but further ruin Ukraine and result in the deaths of even more Ukrainians, says Putin's spokesman
  • The legislative package approved by the US House of Representatives provides $60.84 billion to Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish weapons, stocks and facilities

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that US House of Representatives’ approval of security aid to Ukraine would lead to more damage and deaths in the conflict there.

The decision “will make the United States of America richer, further ruin Ukraine and result in the deaths of even more Ukrainians, the fault of the Kyiv regime,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
The Kremlin has been locked in conflict in Ukraine since invading it more than two years ago.
The House approved a legislative package providing $60.84 billion to Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish US weapons, stocks and facilities.
The package now goes to the US Senate, which passed a similar measure two months ago, for expected approval next week. It then is passed on to President Joe Biden to sign.
Peskov also said that provisions in the legislation allowing the US administration to confiscate seized Russian assets and transfer them to Ukraine to fund reconstruction would tarnish the image of the United States.
Russia, he said, would enact retaliatory measures.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said the approval of US aid for Ukraine was expected and grounded in “Russophobia.”
“We will, of course, be victorious regardless of the bloodsoaked $61 billion, which will mostly be swallowed up by their insatiable military industrial complex,” wrote Medvedev, one of Russia’s most vociferous hawks as deputy chairman of the Security Council.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said the approval of aid in the legislation to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan would “deepen crises throughout the world.”
“Military assistance to the Kyiv regime is direct sponsorship of terrorist activity,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram.
“To Taiwan, it is interference in China’s internal affairs. To Israel, it is a road straight to escalation and an unprecedented rise in tension in the region.”


New Murabba reaffirms commitment to sustainability

New Murabba reaffirms commitment to sustainability
Updated 21 April 2024
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New Murabba reaffirms commitment to sustainability

New Murabba reaffirms commitment to sustainability
  • New Murabba Development Company is currently in the development phase of New Murabba Modern Downtown, a transformative urban development in Riyadh

New Murabba Development Company, a fully owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, participated in the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering Saudi Arabia Conference, held between April 17-18, in Riyadh’s Al-Faisaliah Hotel. The conference, under the theme “Navigating the Future: Innovations in Project Control,” provided a platform for industry leaders to convene and discuss the impact of emerging technologies on project controls, alongside strategies for enhancing collaboration in complex projects.
Highlighting New Murabba’s commitment to both innovation and sustainability, Michael Dyke, CEO of New Murabba Development Company, outlined the company’s focus on leveraging cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, digital twins, and 3D modeling.

HIGHLIGHT

New Murabba recognizes that AI and big data can be powerful assets in a project manager’s toolkit, through which they can gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.

New Murabba Development Company is currently in the development phase of New Murabba Modern Downtown, a transformative urban development in Riyadh. The company is creating the world’s most transformative and modern city center, which will serve as a model for future urban development and contribute to the city’s evolution in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
New Murabba recognizes that AI and big data can be powerful assets in a project manager’s toolkit. By leveraging these tools alongside other methodologies, project managers can gain valuable insights from vast datasets, enabling them to make informed decisions that can expedite project completion and minimize unforeseen challenges.
Dyke’s address acknowledged the challenges associated with adopting new technologies, such as responsible data management, potential biases in AI, and integrating new systems with existing workflows. Moreover, it emphasized New Murabba’s unwavering commitment to overcoming these hurdles and establishing itself as a model for future urban development, where the latest solutions seamlessly integrate with a vibrant, human-centered experience.
The conference also addressed the evolving landscape of project controls in the context of sustainable and resilient infrastructure development.
“New Murabba, with its dedication to 25 percent green area allocation, energy-efficient practices, and a focus on circular economy principles, exemplifies a commitment to shaping the future of sustainable and resilient cities. Robust tracking systems for environmental impact, including resource consumption, carbon emissions, and waste generation, are a very important part of this and reflect the strong project controls in place,” said Dyke.
New Murabba’s AACE Saudi Arabia Conference participation reinforces its commitment to innovation and collaboration. By embracing new technologies and prioritizing sustainable practices, New Murabba is poised to become a model for future urban development, creating a vibrant and sustainable city for future generations.