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PREVIEW: Man City v Liverpool the big game, while Arsenal host Leeds in Premier League




LONDON, March 31 (Xinhua) — Arguably the biggest game of the weekend in the Premier League is the first to be played on Saturday, as Manchester City host Liverpool in a match that is vital for City’s title hopes and Liverpool’s chances of playing in next season’s Champions League.

Top scorer Erling Haaland could miss the game for Pep Guardiola’s side with a muscle problem and if he isn’t fit, Julian Alvarez will take his place. Meanwhile, Darwin Nunez is a doubt for Liverpool, while young midfielder Stefan Bajcetic, who played a part in Liverpool’s upturn in form, will miss the rest of the season.

City go into the match eight points behind leaders Arsenal, but with a game in hand, while Liverpool are sixth, five points behind Newcastle United and seven behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

Arsenal are at home to Leeds United, who have improved since the arrival of Javi Gracia as first-team coach and Patrick Bamford’s return to fitness.

Arsenal will be without striker Eddie Nketiah, but Gabriel Jesus should be able to lead the attack after making a couple of cameo appearances before the international break, as he looks to put the ankle injury he suffered in the World Cup behind him.

There is an intriguing game at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea entertain Aston Villa. Both sides looked to be coming into form before the break, with Chelsea finally beginning to show why they hired Graham Potter as head coach, with two wins and a draw from their last three games. Aston Villa have three wins and a draw from their last four matches to give themselves an outside chance at European football next season.

Both Brighton and Brentford can claim to be the surprise package of this season and seventh-placed Brighton take on the southwest London side in what promises to be an entertaining 90 minutes on the south coast.

95 miles west of Brighton, there will also be tension on the south coast when Bournemouth take on Fulham in a vital match for Bournemouth’s survival hopes. Fulham suffered a bad couple of weeks before the break, with two league defeats and a painful FA Cup exit to Manchester United, which saw forwards Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic sent off along with coach Marco Silva. All three are suspended for Saturday and that could give Bournemouth the chance of three vital points.

75-year-old Roy Hodgson returns to the Crystal Palace dugout with the task of halting the slide that saw Patrick Vieira sacked a fortnight ago. Palace entertain Leicester City, who could drop into the bottom three if they lose at Selhurst Park on Saturday, with coach Brendan Rodgers another man in danger of losing his job.

Wolves coach Julen Lopetegui told his players this week to “embrace the pressure” of their battle against relegation, and there won’t be much more pressure than Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, who have slipped back into danger after taking just one point from four games. Forest will hope to have striker Brennan Johnson fit as both they and Wolves struggle to score goals – each side has just 22 for the season.

Third-from-bottom West Ham entertain bottom side Southampton on Sunday, with home fans again asking coach David Moyes to play a more adventurous style of football and give more freedom to England midfielder Declan Rice.

Newcastle United take on Manchester United in Sunday’s other game, with Scott McTominay set to replace the suspended Casemiro for United, after having scored four goals in two games for Scotland during the break.

Meanwhile, Alexander Isak’s return to full fitness could be vital as Newcastle aim to build on wins against Nottingham Forest and Wolves.

The last game of the weekend is on Monday as Everton take on Tottenham, with all eyes on the visitors following Antonio Conte’s exit from the club last Sunday. Will his departure free up the Tottenham players, or will the lack of discipline the Italian complained about come back to haunt them?

Source(s): Xinhua

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Bassam named prime suspect in FAM corruption





Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem confirmed on Thursday that Bassan Adeel Jaleel, the president of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), is the prime suspect in the corruption investigation launched against the association.

In a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Shameem said that the investigation was launched at the instructions of the Prosecutor General’s Office, and that evidence in the case has been collected from both the police and the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA).

“We hope to collect enough evidence to file formal charges with the court within the next two weeks,” he said, adding that the investigators were conducting a swift investigation.

Shameem said FAM’s top officials are suspected of misappropriating the funds it received from the international governing body of association football, FIFA.

“As you know, the funds FIFA sends to FAM aren’t for FAM, its for Maldivian citizens. They are entrusted with funds to the people. In this case, this was done in violation of Maldives’ laws and regulations,” he said.

“We have seen a huge amount of the money circulated in different ways.”

Shameem said investigators are able to collect key evidence in such financial crime investigations, committed through bank cards. He said that the suspects had used their bank cards for payments during trips, making the hotels and the shopping malls they visited known.

He said that the authorities need some additional evidence before they can file formal charges.

“The thing is, certain documents weren’t stored in a manner that normal human beings do it. So, there are certain challenges to finding and reviewing it,” he said.

Shameem said they expect to find the evidence in the coming days.

The police had raided the FAM House at PGO’s instructions on October 23, during which investigators were seen seizing dozens of box files.

Bassam previously stated he would make a comment once the police finish their investigation.


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China releases paper on its position on Palestinian-Israeli conflict





BEIJING – The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday released a paper stating China’s position on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The following is the full text:

Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused heavy civilian casualties and a serious humanitarian disaster. It is a grave concern of the international community. President Xi Jinping stated China’s principled position on the current Palestinian-Israeli situation on a number of occasions. He stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire and ending the fighting, ensuring that the humanitarian corridors are safe and unimpeded, and preventing the expansion of the conflict. He pointed out that the fundamental way out of this lies in the two-state solution, building international consensus for peace, and working toward a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council shoulders primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and should thus play an active and constructive role on the question of Palestine. In this connection, China offers the following proposals:

1. Implementing a comprehensive ceasefire and ending the fighting. Parties to the conflict should truly implement the relevant UNGA and UNSC resolutions and immediately realize a durable and sustained humanitarian truce. Building on UNSC Resolution 2712, the Security Council, in response to the calls of the international community, should explicitly demand a comprehensive ceasefire and end of the fighting, work for deescalation of the conflict, and cool down the situation as soon as possible.

2. Protecting civilians effectively. The UNSC resolution demands in explicit terms that all parties comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians. It is imperative to stop any violent attacks against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law, and avoid attacks on civilian facilities. The Security Council should further send a clear message on opposing forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, preventing the displacement of Palestinian civilians, and calling for the release of all civilians and hostages held captive as soon as possible.

3. Ensuring humanitarian assistance. All relevant parties must, as per requirements of the UNSC resolution, refrain from depriving the civilian population in Gaza of supplies and services indispensable to their survival, set up humanitarian corridors in Gaza to enable rapid, safe, unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access, and avoid a humanitarian disaster of even greater gravity. The Security Council should encourage the international community to ramp up humanitarian assistance, improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, and support the coordinating role of the United Nations as well as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in humanitarian assistance, and prepare the international community for supporting post-conflict reconstruction in Gaza.

4. Enhancing diplomatic mediation. The Security Council should leverage its role in facilitating peace as mandated in the UN Charter to demand that parties to the conflict exercise restraint to prevent the conflict from widening and uphold peace and stability in the Middle East. The Security Council should value the role of regional countries and organizations, support the good offices of the UN Secretary General and the Secretariat, and encourage countries with influence on parties to the conflict to uphold an objective and just position so as to jointly play a constructive role in deescalating the crisis.

5. Seeking political settlement. According to relevant UNSC resolutions and international consensus, the fundamental settlement of the question of Palestine lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. The Security Council should help restore the two-state solution. A more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference led and organized by the UN should be held as soon as possible to formulate a concrete timetable and roadmap for the implementation of the two-state solution and facilitate a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. Any arrangement on the future of Gaza must respect the will and independent choice of the Palestinian people, and must not be imposed upon them.

Source(s): Policies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

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PG: Enough evidence for over 200 charges against Manday





Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem says investigators have collected enough evidence to press Hassan Mamdhooh (Manday) – who is accused of fraud in the sale of apartments from K-Park Residences – a condominium under development in Hulhumale’ – with over 200 charges.

The fraudulent sale of the apartments was submitted for police investigation by both Hanbo – the project’s developer – and Urbanco.

Manday, the former minority shareholder at Hanbo, was arrested by the police, but was later granted conditional release by the court.

In a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Shameem said the case that Manday, along with other suspects in the case, are accused of doctoring documents by forging the signature of Hanbo’s majority shareholders, and opening an account in the company’s name with the Bank of Maldives (BML) in order to commit acts of fraud and scam.

Shameem that the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) expects to file charges against Manday, and a second unnamed suspect in the case, earlier next week.

He said that Manday will be separately charged for each act of fraud, and the charges against him are expected to exceed 200.

He added that the authorities are running multiple parallel investigations in the case, and the number of charges is therefore expected to increase.

Photos of items seized from Hassan Mamdhooh (Manday)’s penthouse apartment. (Photo/Courtesy of Prosecutor General’s Office)

“He must be punished separately for each charge. Otherwise, you are just encouraging people to commit more crimes. If there’s no differentiation for people who commit more crimes, then you are just telling a thief to steal more. This is not how the law is meant to be interpreted. So, we will be filing separate charges for each incident, each offense,” he said.

The charges Manday faces includes charges of submitting forged documents, fraud, and money laundering.

“41 apartments were sold to 107 different people,” said Shameem. “We have gotten a clear picture of this in the course of our investigation.”

Photos of items seized from Hassan Mamdhooh (Manday)’s penthouse apartment. (Photo/Courtesy of Prosecutor General’s Office)


Shameem said the police seized a penthouse apartment developed by FW Construction in connection to the case.

The police suspect the apartment, valued at MVR 7.8 million, was bought from selling two apartments from K-Park Residences to four different buyers.

Photos of items seized from Hassan Mamdhooh (Manday)’s penthouse apartment. (Photo/Courtesy of Prosecutor General’s Office)

During the raid of the penthouse, the police found items worth around MVR 7 million, including 200 unopened perfume bottles, luxury bags, and jewelry.

“Bags worth around MVR 90,000. Handbags worth between MVR 40,000-MVR 50,000. Different types of jewelry worth USD 10,000-USD 25,000. The total value of these goods amount to MVR 7 million,” he said.

Hanbo, which launched the K-Park project in 2016, was co-owned by Jin Shihu, a Chinese national, and Manday. Shihu owned 95 percent of the shares while Manday owned the remaining five percent.

Manday previously denied the allegations against him.


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