PARIS: The European club football trophies should already be stowed in the cabinets, instead most of the top leagues are only just resuming after the coronavirus interruption.
While the Germans returned on May 16, the top two Spanish divisions have only just resumed, and the English Premier League and Serie A reappear this week.
AFP Sport picks out key issues as elite European club football gets back into its stride.
The Premier League returns on Wednesday and Serie A on Saturday, joining the Bundesliga and La Liga in rebooting their seasons.
Aston Villa, who lost to Leicester on Match 9 in the last match before the lockdown, will kick off against Champions League chasing Sheffield United.
The potentially pivotal game on reopening day pits Manchester City, clinging to their hopes of retaining their title, against visiting Arsenal.
Serie A makes a stuttering comeback with four fixtures called off when Italian sport was suspended on March 9 midway through the 26th round of matches.
Torino kick off at home to Parma in a mid-table battle on Saturday. On Sunday third-place Inter Milan and fourth-place Atalanta both have home games.
We are almost the champions
Two of the leagues could be settled by the end of the week.
Bayern Munich have been in rude health since the restart, winning all six matches, five in the league and one in the cup, including a pivotal victory at challengers Borussia Dortmund.
They can clinch an eighth straight title with victory at struggling Werder Bremen on Tuesday. But Bremen showed signs of life on Saturday with a 5-1 victory in Paderborn.
It could be one and done for Liverpool. If Manchester City fail to beat Arsenal, Liverpool can clinch their first title since 1990 away to neighbors Everton on Sunday.
The prospect of Liverpool winning the title in their own city led police to briefly suggest the match be moved to avoid fans ignoring social distancing rules and gathering to celebrate.
While Bayern and Liverpool await their coronations, there is plenty at stake elsewhere.
Juventus have usually burned off their pursuers in the final straight on their way to eight straight Serie A titles, but Lazio have been proving dogged, and the long break may change the equation.
In Spain, Barcelona, whose form had been erratic before the enforced break returned with a bang on Saturday, winning 4-0 at Mallorca to ensure they stayed ahead of Real Madrid.
The pace will be frantic. Barcelona return with three matches in six days.
The battle for precious Champions League berths is tight everywhere. In England it is complicated by the possibility that Manchester City will be banned from next season’s competition.
While Paderborn in Germany, Norwich in England, and SPAL and Brescia in Serie A need near miracles to escape relegation, every one of the four big leagues has at least half a dozen clubs embroiled in the survival battle.
Yet Espanyol, who returned in La Liga on Saturday by ending a run of six matches, and more than four months, without a win suggested the break may help some strugglers.
Having been starved of live games, fans still cannot go to matches but can suddenly choose from a crowded menu — if they have the right subscriptions.
When he gave the green light for Italian football to return, Sports Minister Vincent Spadafora said the sport was part of the country’s “return to normal life again.”
The first match suggested the appetite was there as a goalless cup semifinal between Juventus and Inter Milan on Friday drew the biggest football audience for more than a year. But it was shown free-to-air on national broadcaster RAI. When Serie A returns so will the pay wall, with most matches on Sky Italia.
In Germany, the local Sky arm owns the rights and broadcast live action free for the first two rounds.
In England, where the Premier League has become a political football for battered politicians, the schedule has been arranged so all the 92 games can be screened live.
Of those 33, 25 on Sky and four each on the BBC and Amazon, will be available free, including the Merseyside derby.
In Spain, the format is unchanged with one game a week available free, but Movistar, which owns the rights to the other nine matches, has reduced its price for the remaining games.
COVID-19: UN calls for more support for ‘people’s vaccine’ plan
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has again called for a “quantum leap in support” for a global vaccine plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Sweden promised nearly $1bn in funds to support developing nations secure access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The Access to COVID-19…
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has again called for a “quantum leap in support” for a global vaccine plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Sweden promised nearly $1bn in funds to support developing nations secure access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its COVAX facility – led by the World Health Organization and GAVI vaccine alliance – has received $3bn, but needs a further $35bn, of which $15bn is required by the end of the year.
The initiative aims to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests.
Some 168 countries have now signed up to COVAX, the UN said.
“It is in every country’s national and economic self-interest to work together to massively expand access to tests and treatments, and to support a vaccine as a global public good – a ‘people’s vaccine’ available and affordable for everyone, everywhere,” Guterres said on Wednesday at a high-level virtual UN event on the programme.
The UN chief said the ACT-Accelerator was the only safe and certain way to reopen the global economy quickly, but warned that the programme needed an immediate injection of $15bn to “avoid losing the window of opportunity” for advance purchase and production, to build stocks in parallel with licensing, boost research, and help countries prepare.
“We cannot allow a lag in access to further widen already vast inequalities,” Guterres said.
“But let’s be clear: we will not get there with donors simply allocating resources only from the Official Development Assistance budget,” he said. “It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery programmes.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief, said the financing gap was less than 1 percent of what the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) had committed to domestic stimulus packages and “roughly equivalent to what the world spends on cigarettes every two weeks”.
The UK pledged 500 million British pounds ($641m) to support poorer countries gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine, while Canada committed 220 million Canadian dollars ($166m) and Germany promised 100 million euros ($116m) for the same.
Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Alex Gorsky also committed 500 million vaccine doses for low-income countries with delivery starting in mid-2021.
“Having access to lifesaving COVID diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines … shouldn’t depend on where you live, whether you’re rich or poor,” said Gorsky, adding that while Johnson & Johnson is “acting at an unprecedented scale and speed, we are not for a minute cutting corners on safety”.
US President Donald Trump has said that a vaccine against the virus might be ready before the country’s November 3 presidential election, raising questions about whether political pressure might result in the deployment of a vaccine before it is safe.
“We remain 100 percent committed to high ethical and scientific principles,” Gorsky said.
GAVI Chief Executive Seth Berkley said that so far 168 countries, including 76 self-financing states, had joined the COVAX global vaccines facility. “I urge those who are wavering urgently to join us,” he said.
Tedros said that represented 70 percent of the world’s population, adding: “The list is growing every day.”
China, Russia and the United States have not joined the facility, although WHO officials have said they are still holding talks with China about signing up. The US has reached its own deals with vaccine developers.
The World Bank meanwhile committed $12bn to support developing countries to purchase COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available. The plan still needs to be ratified by the global institution’s shareholders.
David Malpass, president of the World Bank, said the pandemic could push 150 million people into extreme poverty by 2021 and the effect could last decades.
“Broad, rapid and affordable access to COVID vaccines will be at the core of a resilient global economic recovery that lifts everyone,” he said.
Billionaire Bill Gates told the UN event that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had signed an agreement with 16 pharmaceutical companies on Wednesday.
“In this agreement, the companies commit to, among other things, scaling up manufacturing, at an unprecedented speed, and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad distribution as early as possible,” Gates said.
Britain’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab – a co-host of the meeting along with Guterres, the WHO and South Africa – urged other countries to join the global effort, saying the ACT-Accelerator is the best hope of bringing the pandemic under control.
In a statement, the UN said ACT-Accelerator – since its launch five months ago – has made 120 million tests available to low and middle-income countries and ensured the rapid roll-out of Dexamethasone, the only drug found to make a significant difference to mortality in COVID-19 patients.
“We must confront this health crisis as a global challenge, together in solidarity and cooperation with one another, working toward a global solution. We have to generate the key tests, treatments and vaccines that we all need, and make sure they are distributed equitably to people who most need them, regardless of where they live and whether their country is wealthy or not,” said South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, adding that large parts of the population, especially in developing countries, remain “vulnerable and marginalised during this pandemic”.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend suffer loss of pregnancy: ‘We will always love you’
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” Chrissy Teigen wrote on Instagram Wednesday Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are mourning the loss of their unborn son one month after announcing their pregnancy. The couple — who are parents to daughter Luna…
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” Chrissy Teigen wrote on Instagram Wednesday
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are mourning the loss of their unborn son one month after announcing their pregnancy.
The couple — who are parents to daughter Luna Simone, 4, and son Miles Theodore, 2 — shared the sad news on Wednesday, revealing that her bleeding was unable to be stopped, “despite bags and bags of blood transfusions.”
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough,” Teigen wrote in a lengthy and emotional Instagram post.
“We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital,” she continued, sharing some black-and-white photos from the hospital. “But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever.”
“To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you,” the grieving mom wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers. We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you.”
RELATED: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Opened Up About ‘Hard Parts’ of Their Relationship Ahead of Baby No. 3 News
“We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience,” she concluded. “But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”
In September, Teigen, 34, was put on bed rest and eventually was hospitalized due to excessive bleeding from her placenta. She recounted one ″scary morning″ on Sept. 29 after receiving blood transfusions when she experienced a ″huge blood clot.″
Sharing an ultrasound of the child on Sept. 24, Teigen applauded him for ″working so hard,″ writing at the time: ″Hi my sweet strong boy. You are working so hard, I promise it’ll be worth it!!!”
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John Legend and Chrissy Teigen with their kids
As part of Legend’s “Wild” music video, the parents revealed the surprise pregnancy back in August, with a source telling PEOPLE at the time that Teigen ″never thought it would be possible for Chrissy to get pregnant naturally″ and called the pregnancy a ″miracle.″
Another insider said Teigen — who has been open about how she previously underwent in vitro fertilization to conceive their two children — was ″pretty shocked″ when she found out about the pregnancy.
Opening up about the pregnancy complications that led to her bed rest in September, Teigen said her placenta is ″super weak,″ causing her to bleed, which she said was ″high-risk.″
″It’s always been kind of the bad part of my pregnancies with Luna,″ she said at the time. ″With Miles, it just stopped feeding him. It stopped taking care of him. I was stealing all his food because I was getting huge but he wasn’t getting big at all, so he had to come out early and Luna had to come out early. I was induced both times.”
Legend previously opened up to PEOPLE that his priority as a husband is being a ″rock″ for Teigen. ″Being a good husband is about communicating and listening to what your partner needs and wants,″ he said in November 2019. ″A lot of it is being trustworthy, being dependable, being someone they can rely on. They want security and to know someone has their back. Hopefully, I do that for Chrissy.”
Legend also explained how becoming parents strengthened the couple’s bond. The two tied the knot in 2013.
″[Parenthood] deepens your love for your partner because you see them in a different light going through, in our case, the trouble of actually having a kid,” he said. “Then Chrissy’s going through postpartum depression. You just see different sides of that person, and if you go through it and you learn from it and you come out the other end better for it, then it deepens and strengthens your relationship.”
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Best holiday gifts under $250 for 2020 – CNET
Just like everything else in 2020, the holidays are going to be weird and different. But despite the lockdowns and quarantines, many of us will be seeking out gifts for our friends and families — and probably shopping online more than ever. The $100-to-$250 range may just be the sweet spot when it comes to…
Just like everything else in 2020, the holidays are going to be weird and different. But despite the lockdowns and quarantines, many of us will be seeking out gifts for our friends and families — and probably shopping online more than ever. The $100-to-$250 range may just be the sweet spot when it comes to finding a great gift that sparks joy without annihilating your budget. Here are some of our ideas for the best gifts under $250.
New for 2020, Bose has just released its second-generation Frames. Yes, they are sunglasses with wireless headphones built-in. They also sound incredibly good. We really like the Tempo style shown here, but you can also opt for the Tenor or Soprano styles instead.
OK, sunglass-headphones may not be for everyone. But now that they’re frequently on sale for around $220 (if not less), the Apple AirPods are easier to recommend as a killer pair of wireless in-ear headphones. With a winning design and fit, solid bass performance and very effective noise canceling, they’re excellent for making calls and listening to music — even during a workout. They also now offer an amazing spatial audio feature when used with compatible Apple devices — something you won’t find on other true wireless headphones.
Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.
The Glow lamp is a highly portable, rechargeable nightlight that’s undeniably beautiful, easy to setup and pleasant to use. It’s become integral to my family’s bedtime routine, and we now have two of them. We use them every night and take them with us wherever we go. (And that’s another thing — they’re surprisingly tough.) Thanks to its built-in gyroscope, you flip the Glow over to turn it on and off, twist it to dim it up or down or shake it to trigger the low nightlight setting. The lamp produces a pleasant ambient glow — hence the name — that dims gradually over 15 to 60 minutes. You can control the span using Casper’s streamlined iOS and Android-compatible app, and set the light to come on in the morning — a reverse nightlight, of sorts.
Read our Casper Glow preview.
When it comes to gaming consoles, your entry point for the new, cool stuff is basically $300 — that’s the price tag for the Xbox Series S, the Oculus Quest 2 or a full-featured Nintendo Switch. But you can get in on our sub-$250 budget here with the Nintendo Switch Lite, which drops the detachable controllers and the TV-out functionality of its older sibling in exchange for a more wallet-friendly $200 price point. You’ll still be able to play nearly all the same games, including Nintendo-only exclusives from the Animal Crossing, Zelda and Mario series. After disappearing from (virtual) store shelves early on in the pandemic, the Switch Lite is increasingly, though still intermittently, available from multiple national retailers.
Read our Switch Lite review.
With a lot of families working, learning and streaming from home, household wireless networks are being tested like never before. We installed a Google Nest Wi-Fi system at our house this spring and have been impressed with its speedy performance. The connection is perceptibly faster, more expansive and more robust than our prior setup, and the $169 router will likely be sufficient for most homes. That said, the range-extending Wifi point — which doubles as a Google Assistant smart speaker — may be worth the extra dough. Also keep an eye on the Eero mesh networking set. The older three-node version sometimes drops as low as $200, with a freebie Echo speaker thrown in, and the company just debuted a new model for 2020 that folds in support for the Zigbee home automation wireless standard.
Read our Nest Wifi review.
For now, if you’re looking to clear the $250 threshold, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a no-brainer. Though it lacks a handful of key features found in the newer models — the always-on display and blood oxygen level monitoring to name a few — it’s still a solid watch and a solid deal. Having said that, if you can find a few more dollars in your budget, the new Apple Watch SE starts at $279, and though it lacks a few of the Series 6’s flagship features, the two models are more similar than different.
Read our Apple Watch Series 3 review.
Having spent hundreds of dollars on lousy suitcases over the years, I can say that the Monos Carry On is worth the money. With a similar aesthetic and price point as Away’s lineup of modern suitcases (which you may have seen on Instagram), Monos delivers everything you want in a roller bag: a lightweight but durable shell, a nice variety of compartments, pockets and straps and a well-engineered retractible handle. Plus, it comes with a 100-day free trial and lifetime warranty.
Made from recycled ocean-bound plastic bottles, this fantastic duffle bag has exactly the right amount of storage capacity, with handles on every surface, and it can be worn on the shoulder or as a backpack. Personally, I love the Olive Dot Camo design.
I’ve been using this beautiful Victorinox chef’s knife for the past year and it’s become one of my indispensable kitchen tools. The blade is fluted, so it won’t stick to what you’re cutting, and the elegant wooden handle gives it the perfect amount of heft. It’s sharp enough to make cutting meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and cheeses an absolute pleasure.
Having gone through a series of overcomplicated food processors, the simplicity of this Cuisinart model is appealing. There are two paddle buttons — on and off, which doubles as a “pulse” option — and the large 14-cup bowl is sturdy and easy to clean. It comes with three blades and discs — do you really need more than that? — and the 720-watt motor is strong enough to power through whatever you throw at it.
I have a small, simple one-zone home, where the thermostat controls only the furnace. Last year, I bought several different top-rated smart thermostats and, with the assistance of my neighborhood electrician, installed and tested them one at a time. The Nest was the one I kept. It’s a snap to set up and it totally delivers on the few features I wanted: scheduled temperature adjustment, appealing aesthetics, an intuitive interface and absolute control via iPhone or Android. That noted, CNET’s current top pick for best smart thermostat, the slightly pricier Ecobee Smart Thermostat is definitely worth a look.
Read our Ecobee Smart Thermostat review.
This is the best camping stove I’ve come across. The $200 Campfire Kit includes the truly awesome Solo Stove that uses wood for fuel and produces a beautiful fire with very little smoke. No more messing around with propane or other petroleum products. It also comes with a nifty collapsible tripod and two cooking pots. The kit is neither cheap and nor lightweight — this is not appropriate for backpacking — but it’s definitely elegant and addictive to use.