Thursday, 1 November 2012

Mikel hailed by Di Matteo amid referee storm

LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said he had no hesitation in starting John Obi Mikel in Wednesday’s thrilling 5-4 League Cup last 16 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
The club lodged an official complaint with the Football Association before the match alleging Mark Clattenburg, the referee from Chelsea’s stormy 3-2 league loss to United on Sunday, used inappropriate language towards the Nigerian.
Players’ union chief Gordon Taylor has said a comment made by the referee during Sunday’s game was of a racist nature. The referee has not commented publicly.
Mikel had a strong match in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield on Wednesday, before being withdrawn in the second half as he had picked up a yellow card.
Di Matteo would not answer questions from reporters about the Clattenburg issue, but said he was confident Mikel was mentally right to play.
"I spoke to my players in the last couple of games and mentally they were in the right frame of mind to play, so I had no concerns picking the team I wanted to," the Italian told a news conference.
"He (Mikel) is fully focused on playing football."
Chelsea have drawn traditional foes Leeds United in the quarter-finals, with the match taking on extra intrigue following Leeds manager Neil Warnock’s comments that he was "disgusted" by Chelsea’s actions against Clattenburg.
Di Matteo would not respond to questions on that issue either, but said he was expecting a tough encounter.
"It’s always difficult to go and play away from home, Leeds and Chelsea, they have a little bit of history there, it will be an interesting game for us to go and play at Leeds," he said.

Goals may flow as United and Van Persie host Arsenal

LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester United and Arsenal, who have scored and conceded a total of 41 goals between them in eight matches since October 20, promise a feast of football on Saturday as Robin van Persie faces his ex-club for the first time.

Arsenal will be desperate to stop their former talismanic striker, who scored 37 goals for the Gunners in all competitions last term before joining United in August where he has continued to find the net ahead of the Old Trafford clash at 12.45 p.m. British Time .
The Londoners, though, had no trouble without him on Tuesday when they sealed a remarkable 7-5 extra-time win at Reading in the League Cup after trailing 4-0 at one stage in an extraordinary match.
Winger Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick and boss Arsene Wenger says he can play as a striker, a sticking point in contract negotiations, but a berth up front at United seems too soon.
"I always said that he will be a striker, so we are on the same wavelength there," Wenger told reporters having struggled to replace Van Persie.
"Secondly, I believe he knows where to be in the box on the rebounds. I like that – that’s a quality of a striker that you cannot give to anybody. You feel it or you don’t."
The last time United scored as many as seven in a game was August last year when they beat Arsenal 8-2 at home but they have netted consistently this season, losing Wednesday’s League Cup last 16 clash 5-4 at Chelsea after extra time.
Arsenal are sixth while United will start Saturday’s Premier League encounter in second after their controversial 3-2 win against leaders Chelsea last Sunday in the first of two back-to-back games between the sides.
United raced into a quickfire 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge last Sunday with an own goal from David Luiz after four minutes and Van Persie’s ninth goal of the season eight minutes later.
Chelsea clawed the score back to 2-2 before Javier Hernandez’s offside winner for United in a match which encapsulated United’s season so far – strong in attack and fragile at the back.
The League Cup game, albeit with many reserves playing, mirrored that.
"From a spectator’s point of view it was a terrific game of football. You’re getting your money’s worth with nine goals, there’s no doubt about that," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We only have ourselves to blame, really."
Wenger will be wondering which Arsenal show up at Old Trafford – the one that played so poorly in the first half at Reading or the one that powered their way to an incredible victory even if it too was a much-changed side for the cup.
Chelsea lost their unbeaten league record when they were beaten by United but remain top by a point even if life is rarely plain-sailing for the European champions, who visit Swansea City on Saturday (1500).
After losing to United, Chelsea accused match referee Mark Clattenburg of using "inappropriate language" to Nigerian John Obi Mikel.
The fallout has dominated English football all week with both the English FA and the Metropolitan Police now investigating the allegations.
Chelsea travel to Wales without their skipper John Terry, who will serve the last game of four-match domestic ban for racially insulting Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers last year.
What impact this week’s trauma will have on the team remains to be seen after their up-and-down League Cup win but Chelsea will be looking to do better than the 1-1 draw they achieved at the Liberty Stadium last season if they are to stay top.
If Chelsea do slip up, champions Manchester City, as well as Manchester United, would be looking to capitalise with City visiting erratic West Ham United for Saturday’s late match (1730 GMT) at Upton Park.
City were not distracted by the League Cup in midweek as they were eliminated by Aston Villa last month but coach Roberto Mancini will be looking for a huge improvement on their jaded performance against Swansea last weekend which ended with a narrow 1-0 win thanks to a well-taken goal by Carlos Tevez.
They will be without England defender Micah Richards, who is set to miss the next four months following surgery on a knee injury picked up against Swansea.
Tottenham Hotspur will also be looking to consolidate their place in the top four after five wins from their last six league matches when they face Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on Saturday (1500).
Spurs climbed above Everton and Arsenal with their 2-1 win at Southampton last Sunday, leaving the Saints deep in trouble in 19th place but still optimistic they can survive the drop after an encouraging second-half performance.
Southampton travel to West Bromwich Albion on Monday (2000) but could find themselves bottom by two points by then if Queens Park Rangers beat shell-shocked Reading at Loftus Road on Sunday (1330) and record their first league win of the season.
QPR were unlucky to lose 1-0 at Arsenal last weekend when Mikel Arteta scored an offside winner but boss Mark Hughes’ belief that his side are too good to go down will look a little hollow if they fail to beat Reading and finally kick-start their season.

Malaysia's private retirement industry worth RM18b

<B>Ooi:</B> ‘This represents a huge business opportunity and will require a large skilled workforce.’

KUALA LUMPUR: Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd forecasts Malaysia's private retirement industry could be worth about RM18bil while creating 2,200 new jobs.

It said that it expected the private retirement scheme (PRS) to create new jobs and benefit Malaysia via the skill and technology transfers required to launch the private retirement planning industry.

“The new private retirement landscape is expected to create 2,200 new jobs and generate an incremental gross national income of RM2.1bil in the financial services sector,” it said.

Its CEO Edward Ooi said based on the estimated six million employees and two million self-employed adults in Malaysia, “the private retirement industry could potentially be worth some RM18bil”.

“This represents a huge business opportunity and will require a large skilled workforce to serve the demands of the industry. Hence, we will be holding a series of road shows nationwide to share this golden opportunity with potential partners.”

Ooi said as part of its preparation to launch the PRS, Manulife Asset Management Services would recruit and train new talent as well as introduce technology from Manulife Financial's worldwide pension operations at the local level.

He said pension reforms were taking place aggressively in Asean countries to address rapidly-ageing demographics and ever-rising pension costs.

The PRS would require strong skills and a solid technological foundation to run smoothly due to its intense transactional nature. Hence, a simple and efficient product delivery system was very crucial for a successful pension scheme.

Obama Twice Uses MSNBC Slogan ‘Lean Forward’ While Addressing Disaster Relief

President Obama on Tuesday twice used MSNBC’s slogan “lean forward” while addressing Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., about relief for Sandy victims.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are going to continue to push as hard as we can to make sure that power is up throughout the region and obviously this is mostly a local responsibility and the private utilities are going to have to lean forward. But we are doing everything we can to provide them additional resources so that we can expedite getting power up and running in many of these communities. There are places like Newark, New Jersey, for example, where you have 80 percent, 90 percent of the people without power.
Later in his remarks he said this:
OBAMA: We can't have a situation where that lasts for days on end. And so my instructions to the federal agency has been do not figure out why we can't do something. I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape, cut through bureaucracy. There is no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure we are getting the resources where they need -- where they're need as quickly as possible. I want to repeat, my message to the federal government, no bureaucracy, no red tape, get resources where they're needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible.
What does “private utilities are going to have to lean forward” even mean? Or “I want every agency to lean forward?”
Is that opposed to leaning backwards or not leaning at all?
In the case of MSNBC, we know what “lean forward” means? As was announced in October 2010 when it unveiled its new slogan, “Cable news network MSNBC said Tuesday it is launching a two-year, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, embracing its politically progressive identity with the new tagline ‘Lean Forward.’”
Was Obama asking private utilities and every agency to embrace their politically progressive identities?
Or was the president reciprocating love for the so-called “news network” that adores him. After all, Chris Matthews practically demanded the president start watching MSNBC moments after Romney shellacked him in the first debate earlier this month.
Maybe Obama took Matthews’ suggestion and now can’t get “lean forward” off his mind.
On the flipside, I have received comments from readers that "lean forward" is a military term.
One interested party wrote, "It is derived from the saying 'leaning forward in the saddle' to describe taking aggressive or proactive action." Another said it referred to "leaning forward in the foxhole."
As Obama was never in the military and doesn't appear to be all that enthralled with it, this connection seems like a stretch.
On the other hand, with only six days before the elections, and the President wanting to look like a strong leader in response to Sandy, it's possible one of his writers put these words in to appeal to members of the military that would get the reference.
White House press secretary Jay Carney used this phrase Saturday in a statement about the approaching storm.
What that in mind, I'm sure Obama's friends at MSNBC appreciate the plugs even if they aren't intentional.

CNN: 'Anti-Obama' Mailer 'Cherry-picks' Obama Speech; Yet CNN Article Itself Misrepresents General Thrust of Mailer

An election season mailer linked to Focus on the Family and sent out to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa unfairly quoted President Obama out of context, CNN's Political Tracker blog complained this morning.
Yet in staffer glossed over the fact that the other charges waged in the mailer are spot-on about areas in which the president is sharply to the left of religious conservatives on abortion, same-sex marriage, and a religious exemption for the contraception mandate
The political arm of Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based social conservative organization founded by evangelical author and radio host James Dobson, is targeting Iowa voters with a mailing that quotes President Barack Obama as saying “we are no longer a Christian nation.”
The fold-out brochure, which landed in Iowa mailboxes last week and was provided to CNN by a Des Moines-area voter, draws a series of contrasts between Obama and Mitt Romney on the issues of abortion, same-sex marriage and insurance coverage for contraception.
The mailer - paid for by CitizenLink, a political affiliate of Focus on the Family - also includes a striking admission from the president.
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” Obama is quoted as saying.
The mailer does not explicitly endorse Romney, but the quote is clearly aimed at arousing the suspicions of Iowa’s vibrant Christian conservative community, a key voting bloc in the state and one that the Republican nominee will need behind him next Tuesday.
The quote, though, is cherry-picked from a speech Obama delivered in 2006, more than two years before he became president, at the Call to Renewal conference in Washington.
In 2008, during Obama’s first national campaign, the same out-of-context remark was circulated online as sinister evidence that the Democrat intended to curtail religious freedom in America. At the time, the spurious Internet chatter was debunked

To his credit, Hamby links to photos of the mailer, which readers can peruse at their leisure. That being said, if you failed to check out the photos, you'd have the impression that the greatest charge of the mailer if that President Obama doesn't believe America is a Christian nation, when the factually-accurate charges about his stands on other social issues are the more damning charges.
The "Christian nation" charge by CitizenLink -- whether or not you think it's a fair one -- is more icing on the cake, not the cake itself, but it's precisely this sort of story which you can bet others in the media will run with as a cudgel to bludgeon conservatives, saying it's part and parcel of a campaign to castigate Obama as "the other."
It's just a matter of time before Chris Matthews, for example, cites this as a dog-whistle by conservatives to suggest that Obama is not a practicing Christian.

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