PAU, July 19 -- There is nothing bigger for male riders than victory at the Tour de France. It's the pinnacle of cycling. But there is no such prize for female riders.
Despite calls from cycling's governing body UCI for the creation of a women's Tour, organizers of cycling's marquee race have yet to come up with plans for an equivalent. All they offer in July is a one day-race, La Course, that was held on the margins of the Tour de France on Friday in Pau and won by Dutch rider Marianne Vos. Fresh from winning four stages at the 10-day Giro Rosa in Italy, Vos added another trophy to her large collection in the southwestern city of Pau, but victory in France did not taste the same. "It was an incredible feeling to win four stages at the Giro, at the highest level," said Vos, a three-time world champion. "Here at La Course, it was really nice to show this form."
Tour organizers ASO have been holding the event since 2014 and say it's not possible for them to operate a longer race, for logistical and security reasons. "We are not capable of organizing another event during the Tour," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told The Associated Press. "About 29,000 police forces are mobilized for three weeks. France has been struck by attacks, there were the yellow vests (protesters). It's impossible to have even just one extra security staff during the Tour."
MADRID, July 19 -- It has been a strange 48 hours for Barcelona left back Marc Curcurella which have seen the young defender pass through three different clubs.
On Tuesday, Barcelona decided to take up the four million (4.5 million US dollars) euro buy-back option they had with Eibar (after the club he spent last season on loan with had themselves taken up an option to make that loan deal permanent at the end of last season). That meant the 20-year-old was briefly back in the discipline of the club where he had begun his career. However, Curcurella's return to the Camp Nou was about as brief as they can get as late on Thursday evening Barcelona reached agreement with Getafe to send him on loan at the side from the south of Madrid for another season. Getafe also have the option to make the move permanent at the end of the 2019-20, with Barcelona to receive 40 percent of the price of any future sale of the player. "FC Barcelona and Getafe have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Marc Cucurella to the Madrid based club for the 2019-2020 season," confirmed the Barca website, which also wished the youngster luck for the future. The move to Getafe will give Cucurella the chance to play European football with Getafe in this season's Europa League after finishing fifth in the Liga Santander last season.
KYOTO, July 18 -- Twenty-five people are confirmed dead after a 41-year-old man stormed into a Kyoto animation production studio on Thursday and set fire to it by spraying a flammable liquid, police said.
In the fire that started at a studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in the city's Fushimi Ward around 10:35 a.m., 36 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, they said. About 70 people were believed to have been working inside the three-story building at the time. The unidentified man was seen screaming "Die" when he torched the studio, according to the police. The man, who was quickly apprehended, was being treated in hospital for burns on his face and chest, they said, adding he had told them he "threw a gasoline-like liquid." The police said they had received information that a man carrying a container had bought gasoline in the morning at a gas station near the scene. Kyoto Animation, known for short as "KyoAni" in Japan, has produced popular TV animation series including "K-On!" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu), which depict the daily lives of high school girls.
The company has animation studios in Kyoto and nearby Uji, where it is headquartered. The building in question is its 1st studio, according to the company. People near the studio said they heard a series of explosions and saw black smoke billowing out of the building. People were later seen being carried out of the studio covered in blankets. "A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints," said a 59-year-old woman who lives nearby. "I heard a bang. The black smoke rose and the burning smell was awful," said a hair salon manager in his 30s. Firefighters managed to contain the fire around 3:20 p.m., about five hours after it began.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said it has dispatched officials to the site to investigate the structure of the building and why so many people died or were injured. "In the face of the large number of casualties and the shocking sight, I am at a loss for words," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a Twitter post. Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, has released a number of animations appealing to younger generations, particularly in the 2000s. Many fans have visited locations associated with the works. In addition to anime production, the company's business has expanded to publishing light novels and training animators. It also sells its own products at its shop. The death toll from the fire is one of the worst in recent years. In 2001, a fire at a building in Tokyo's Kabukicho entertainment district killed 44 people. In another notable fire in 2008, 16 people died after a man set a video parlor ablaze in Osaka.
กรุงเทพฯ 15 กรกฎาคม -- Kaffeeform เป็น บริษัท สตาร์ทอัพของ Julian Lechner จากกรุงเบอร์ลิน โดยพวกเขาใช้กากกาแฟมาทำเปญถ้วยกาแฟที่นำกลับมาใช้ใหม่ได้ ลองชมวิดีโอนี้เพื่อเรียนรู้เพิ่มเติมเกี่ยวกับเรื่องราวเค้าดู
เฉพาะสหรัฐอเมริกาสร้างขยะจากถ้วยกาแฟแบบใช้ครั้งเดียว 120,000 ล้านครั้งทุกปีของเสียที่เกิดขึ้นจากการที่คนทั้งโลกบริโภคกาแฟนั้นไม่เพียง แต่สร้างถ้วยที่ไม่ย่อยสลายได้ยังมีกากกาแฟขึ้นอีกมหาศาล ในปี 2009 ในขณะที่ศึกษาการออกแบบผลิตภัณฑ์ Lechner ผู้ก่อตั้งบริษัท Kaffeeform สังเกตว่าเขาและเพื่อนดื่มกาแฟมากแค่ไหนในแต่ละวัน คนทั่วไปในเยอรมนีบริโภคเมล็ดกาแฟมากถึง 14 ปอนด์ต่อปี เกือบ 99% ของถ้วยกาแฟทั้งหมดหันไปที่ถังขยะและแม้แต่ถ้วยกระดาษอาจใช้เวลานานกว่า 20 ปีในการย่อยสลายอย่างเหมาะสม
ดังนั้น Lechner จึงวางแผนที่จะนำกากกาแฟมาใช้ซ้ำเพื่อผลิตถ้วยกาแฟที่เป็นมิตรกับสิ่งแวดล้อม ไม่เพียงแค่ Kaffeeform การเริ่มต้นอีกครั้ง Crow Cycle Courier Collective ก็มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องในภารกิจนี้ในการช่วยโลก The Collective รวบรวมกากกาแฟเกือบ 110 ปอนด์ในแต่ละวันซึ่งจะถูกทำความสะอาดในเวิร์กช็อป Kaffeeform จากนั้นกากะแฟจะถูกส่งไป ทำให้แห้งและผสมผสานกับส่วนประกอบต่างๆเช่น เส้นใยพืชเรซินธรรมชาติและธัญพืชบีชวูด ด้วยความดันสูงและความร้อน พวกเขาจะบีบอัดกากกาแฟ 6 ถ้วยเพื่อทำหนึ่งถ้วยการแฟและจานรอง ผลิตภัณฑ์สำเร็จรูปย่อยสลายได้ 100% และกากกาแฟ 40%
ความสำเร็จของ Lechner เริ่มต้นจากมีร้านกาแฟในกรุงเบอร์ลิน 20 แห่งที่ใช้ผลิตภัณฑ์ของเขาพร้อมกับผู้ค้ากว่า 150 รายทั่วยุโรป อนาคตของ บริษัท Lechner จะผลิตภาชนะอย่างอื่นเพื่อขยายสู่การผลิตเฟอร์นิเจอร์และไลฟ์สไตล์ผลิตภัณฑ์จากกากกาแฟต่อไป
WOKING, July 9 -- Supercar maker McLaren Group Ltd. says the launch of a GT model aimed at customers looking for a more relaxed daily drive is as significant as moves into sport-utility vehicles at its main rivals.
The 163,000-pound ($204,000) car establishes a new category for McLaren as it targets a 25% jump in annual sales, trading raw speed for a greater degree of refinement and room for a set of golf clubs, Chief Financial Officer Paul Buddin said in an interview at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. That contrasts with the 25 or so models previously built by McLaren, all of which have been as comfortable on the track as on the public highway. While the Grand Tourer enters a crowded market that includes the Porsche 911, Aston Martin DB11 and Bentley Continental GT, the company reckons it’s a better bet than targeting an SUV sector far removed from its racing heritage. “This is a car that’s going to appeal to people who want the luxury feel, the ease of driving and the storage,” Buddin said at the Goodwood event, where the GT was driven in public for the first time. With its 4-liter engine located just behind the driver the car will stand apart from its GT rivals, Buddin said. And it still boasts supercar performance, streaking to 62 miles (100 kilometers) per hour in 3.2 seconds and topping out at 203 mph.
As McLaren focuses on an auto capable of getting owners into work each day without feeling like they’ve competed at Le Mans, its rivals are learning to love the SUV. Models include the Porsche Cayenne and Macan, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX. Even Ferrari NV has announced that it will join the trend with the Purosange, due to be available by 2022. McLaren is likely to offer more GT variants after committing to launching 18 new cars by 2025, to reach 6,000 annual sales. Costs are kept down by using the same carbon-fiber body and only two engines, with models differentiated by their design and technological tweaks. The car maker is committed to a 100% hybrid lineup by 2025 and has begun researching an all-electric auto despite concerns that clients might reject anything lacking the rumble of an internal combustion engine. “We haven’t dismissed it,” Buddin said. “But we have to consider how the driving experience is changed by taking away the noise and vibration.” Buddin said an upturn in the fortunes of the Formula 1 race team would probably boost sales, though since the launch of the road-car business in 2010 buyers have become more focused on technology than track success. The CFO said a no-deal Brexit would have a limited impact, since McLaren gets only a third of sales in mainland Europe and carries more stock than most car makers. A new plant will also lift the number of U.K.-sourced parts.
Author: Pete McGee
TOKYO, July 9 -- Roughly 3.2 million tickets were sold in the first phase of ticket sales for next year's Tokyo Olympics, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said Monday.
Japan residents who won the right to purchases tickets through the first-phase ticket lottery were required to complete their purchases on Thursday when organizers announced another round of sales for those who tried but failed to get any tickets in the first phase. Hundreds of thousands of tickets will be available in August's "second chance" lottery, organizers revealed. However, tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, and many finals are expected to be excluded. Originally, organizers estimated they would have approximately 7.8 million tickets available for the games, which run from July 24 to Aug. 9 next year, but that figure is now expected to exceed 9 million, according to sources close to the matter. Less than 10 percent of the tickets assigned in the first-phase lottery remain unsold. A second-phase ticket lottery is scheduled for this autumn when tickets for all events will be up for grabs, but Tokyo 2020 Ticketing Director Hidenori Suzuki said, "There won't be more tickets available than during the first phase."
Author: Linda Lim
TOKYO, July 8 -- Japanese journalist Shiori Ito, who has accused a prominent former television reporter of rape, said in a damages lawsuit Monday that she tried to stop him and was "desperate to protect" herself.
The 30-year-old Ito is seeking 11 million yen ($101,500) in compensation from Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a former reporter at Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., known as TBS. Yamaguchi has denied any unlawful act, saying his act was based on consent. "I felt dizzy when I was dining together (with Yamaguchi), and when I woke up at a hotel I was being raped," Ito said in a hearing at the Tokyo District Court. "I was desperate to protect my body, telling him to 'stop.'" Ito claims she was raped at a hotel in 2015 following a meal in Tokyo with Yamaguchi, who had promised assistance in getting her a job. "Even now I have flashbacks," she told the hearing, adding that the stress has led to some physical ailments.
Following the incident, she filed a complaint with police but prosecutors dropped the case in July 2016, citing insufficient evidence. Ito later filed a complaint with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, but it also judged in September 2017 that the prosecutors' decision was "appropriate," saying there was no reason to overturn it. The trial also includes a counter-lawsuit filed by Yamaguchi, who is seeking 130 million yen in compensation from Ito, claiming his social reputation has been damaged by her remarks.
Author: Linda Lim
BANGKOK, July 5 -- Mercedes-Benz is once again expanding its performance car line-up in Thailand with the introduction of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe.Priced at Bt10.129 million, the C 63 S Coupe competes against the BMW M4 Coupe, priced from Bt8.399 million to Bt11.399 million depending on the horsepower package.
Apart from heart-thumping performance, the C 63 S Coupe also features a new system called “Mercedes me connect”. “This added service provides a seamless experience to connect owners to authorised dealers, plus convenient access to other services of Mercedes-Benz at the touch of a finger,” Mercedes-Benz Thailand vice president Frank Steinacher said. Features include an emergency call system, telediagnostics for car condition assessment submitted automatically to the service centre when repairs or maintenance is needed and remote engine start. The C 63 S Coupe is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo engine capable of developing a whopping 510 horsepower at 5,500-6,250rpm and 700Nm of torque from 2,000-4,500rpm. Transmission is a nine-speed AMG Speedshift, and the car comes with a specially-developed rear axle with an electronically-controlled limited rear differential.
Mercedes claims that it can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 290km/h. The car is also pre-loaded with special commands in the AMG menu, including engine data, boost pressure, G-forces display and race timer, which makes it perfect for circuit driving. There isn’t a drift mode, but there’s a “slippery” mode for wet or snow-covered roads, apart from the usual normal, sport, sport+ and individual modes.
Author: Pete McGee
RIYADH, July 4 -- Rap star Nicki Minaj will perform in Saudia Arabia later this month, organisers of the Jeddah Season cultural festival announced, as the ultraconservative kingdom tries to shed decades of restrictions on entertainment.
Saudi organisers said at a press conference Wednesday that Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, will headline the festival on July 18. Minaj is known for her outlandish performances and flamboyant, hyper-sexualised image. Her music videos often feature figure-hugging, skin-bearing outfits and provocative dancing. Her lyrics are laced with profanities and Minaj's songs mainly address sex, rumoured liaisons with other rappers and female empowerment. Her famously large posterior is regularly referenced, as is a play on words between her surname and a French term for group sex.
The concert, in line with Saudi laws, will be alcohol and drug-free, open to people 16 and older and will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city. Saudi Arabia is promising quick electronic visas for international visitors who want to attend. Local media reported the headline act, to be televised on MTV, will also feature British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
While the announcements for Payne and Aoki posted on the Jeddah Season Twitter account featured photos of the artists, Minaj's announcement ran with only an animated image of her name. Her image was used at the press conference on Wednesday, however.
All her songs are indecent
The announcement triggered a storm on social media, ranging from joy to criticism and disappointment. One fan posted a video of Minaj performing with the caption: "Am I dreaming or is this really happening?", while several others posted doctored images of the rapper in traditional Saudi dress. In a profanity-filled video posted on Twitter that has been viewed more than 37,000 times, a Saudi woman wearing a loose headscarf accused the Saudi government of hypocrisy for inviting Minaj to perform but requiring women who attend the concert to wear the modest full-length robe known as the abaya. "She's going to go and shake her ass and all her songs are indecent and about sex and shaking ass and then you tell me to wear the abaya," the Saudi woman said. "What the hell?" Minaj is yet to comment on her headline slot. This is not her first performance in the Middle East, having previously performed in the United Arab Emirates in 2013. In 2015, Minaj performed at a Christmas event in Angola despite calls from a human rights group to abandon the concert. The Human Rights Foundation said the money to pay Minaj came from "government corruption and human rights violations".
Author: Linda Lim
BANGKOK, July 4 -- Doctor Napassaporn "Eem" Chamnansit, who became the first Thai woman to summit Mount Everest in 2016, announced last week that she made it to the top of the highest mountain in North America.
Dr Napassaporn, a dentist, wrote on her Facebook page that it took her an entire year to prepare to conquer Mount Denali. She and her team began the journey to the top last month and reached the summit on June 28. The team started out with several members, but many dropped out along the way. By the end of the trip, there were just four people left, including Dr Napassaporn. She said her successful climb to the top of Mount Denali followed a failed attempt last year. The peak, which is located in Denali National Park and Preserve in the US state of Alaska, was a tough challenge for her, she said. Fewer than 40% of climbers have managed to make their way to the top of the summit, which has an elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 metres) above sea level.
"We spent more time and resources preparing for this project than any other peak-scaling trip, except for the trip to Everest," she wrote on her Facebook page. The team said Dr Napassaporn devoted the first half of last year to vigorous physical training for the Denali project. The amount of effort that went into the physical exercises was on par with the training that she underwent before climbing Mount Everest. During her failed Denali attempt last year, she and her team faced extreme weather conditions and were stuck on the peak for six days. They were unable to continue the arduous journey and had to wait for the rough weather to clear up until they could move again. According to Dr Napassaporn's Facebook post, the team was forced to turn back and return to Thailand after food and supplies ran out. However, Dr Napassaporn and her team managed to secure a new sponsorship for this year's summit effort from Suunto, a Finnish sporting accessories company, under the Train Savannah Thailand project. Dr Napassaporn added Mount Denali to her list of summits after having conquered six additional peaks including Mount Everest in 2016 and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
Author: Pete McGee