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Lewandowski heads FIFA award shortlist for best player of the year
25 November 2020, 12:50 PM

Bayern Munich’s treble-winning Robert Lewandowski joined regulars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award, world soccer’s governing body announced on Wednesday.

Lewandowski was the top scorer for Bayern in the Champions League (15 goals), as well as the Bundesliga (34), and was a firm favourite for the Ballon d’Or award before it was scrapped this year for the first time in its 64-year history because of the novel coronavirus.

However, the Polish striker can still lay claim to being the best player if he picks up the FIFA award, which will be presented at a ceremony on December 17. His former teammate and current Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara was also nominated.

Joining them on the shortlist are Champions League runners-up Paris St Germain’s forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe while Liverpool’s Premier League-winning trio of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane also made the cut.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, the Premier League’s player of the year last season, also made the shortlist as did Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

British royal Meghan speaks about miscarriage in New York Times article
25 November 2020, 12:04 PM

Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, has revealed that she had a miscarriage, an extraordinarily personal disclosure coming from a high-profile British royal.

The wife of Prince Harry and former actress wrote about the experience in detail in an opinion article published in the New York Times on Wednesday, saying that it took place one July morning when she was caring for Archie, the couple’s son.

“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Meghan wrote.

“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few.

“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

The intimate details shared in the article are strikingly at odds with the usual policy of senior members of the British royal family, who reveal almost nothing about their personal lives.

Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has never discussed her private life in any media interview in her 68-year reign.

Meghan and Harry stepped back from royal duties and moved to the United States earlier this year.

They have been trying to forge a new role for themselves outside the constraints of life in Britain’s strictly codified royal bubble.

President Ramaphosa condemns vandalism affecting road freight industry
25 November 2020, 11:45 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the violence and vandalism affecting the road freight industry and has commended the police work that has led to arrests in Gauteng in the past 24 hours.

The President has offered his sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of drivers who have lost their lives through the intimidation and violence perpetrated by criminals.

In a statement, the President says he is also deeply concerned about the effect of this violence on owners and employees of the affected trucking companies, as well as the economic disruption caused by these acts as the country is focused on rebuilding the economy.

The President has directed Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi and the Ministers of Transport, Home Affairs and Police to submit a report on this matter.

Twin blasts in Afghan province of Bamiyan kills 14 : Officials
25 November 2020, 9:37 AM

Twin explosions in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan killed at least 14 people and wounded 45 more, provincial officials said on Tuesday, as the international community pledged assistance for Afghanistan at a conference in Switzerland.

The two bombs, hidden at the side of a road in a main bazaar in Bamiyan city, killed 12 civilians and two traffic policemen, said Zabardast Safai, the police chief of the province.

The other 45 people injured were mostly from a nearby restaurant and shops, Safai added.

Dozens of nations began pledging billions of dollars in aid for Afghanistan at the conference in Geneva on Tuesday, hoping that peace negotiations recently begun between the government and the Taliban will end nearly two decades of war.

Bamiyan has been seen as the country’s safest province due to its remote location in the central mountains. The dominant local tribe, the Hazara, opposed the Taliban, mostly ethnic Pashtuns who massacred thousands of Hazara during their rule.

The Taliban, which has been waging an insurgency against the foreign-backed Kabul administration since being toppled in late 2001, denied involvement in the bombings.

Hazaras are mostly Shi’ite Muslims. Minority Shi’ites have been repeatedly attacked by Sunni militants, especially Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.

Nearly 6 000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of this year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace, according to the United Nations.

Rand continues to trade at its stronger level against major currencies
25 November 2020, 9:32 AM

The rand continues to trade at its stronger level against a basket of major currencies and is approaching R15 to the dollar, after having exchanged hands at R19, 35 to the dollar at the beginning of April.

The rand’s current strength can in part be attributed to a weaker dollar, which usually strengthens emerging market currencies.

The rand is seen by some investors as a proxy for emerging-market risk and tends to gain strongly when emerging market sentiment improves.

The rand is trading at R15, 17 to the dollar in afternoon Asian trade and before the start of trading on the JSE.

 

The price of Brent crude oil has jumped to its highest level since early March, having gained around 10 percent in the last four trading sessions, and is at 48-dollars-50-cents in Asia on Wednesday morning.

This, as promising developments toward a coronavirus vaccine has brightened the outlook for fuel consumption.

On the supply side, a possible delay in OPEC’s planned production increase in January is adding to the rise in the oil price.

OPEC producers have been withholding supplies to support prices after pandemic lockdowns earlier this year caused demand for oil to evaporate.

However, the price of oil is miles away from it’s all-time high at around 150-dollars a barrel at the beginning of July in 2008.

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