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Saturday’s gossip column

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants the Stamford Bridge club to attempt to sign 21-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice. Any move for the England international could lead to Italy midfielder Jorginho moving to Arsenal.(Mirror)external-linkTottenham are in talks to sign Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar, 25 – but will not be forced into accepting Inter Milan’s £55m…

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants the Stamford Bridge club to attempt to sign 21-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice. Any move for the England international could lead to Italy midfielder Jorginho moving to Arsenal.(Mirror)external-linkTottenham are in talks to sign Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar, 25 – but will not be forced into accepting Inter Milan’s £55m valuation. (Sun)external-linkInter will make a move to sign Manchester United and England defender Chris Smalling, 30, if they sell Skriniar to Spurs. (Football Italia)external-linkSevilla are expecting a second bid from Manchester City for centre-back Jules Kounde and could find it hard to resist an offer in the region of 65-70m euros (£59.4m-£64m) for the 21-year-old Frenchman. (ESPN)external-linkArsenal have lodged a £32m bid for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, 22, but the Ligue 1 club want £54m for the France midfielder. (RMC Sport, via Metro)external-linkAouar has agreed to join the Gunners after no offers emerged from Manchester City and Juventus for his services. (Telefoot, via Mirror)external-linkLiverpool and England Under-21 striker Rhian Brewster, 20, is interested in a move to join Sheffield United, despite interest from Aston Villa and Brighton. (Sheffield Star)external-linkLeeds United are keen on signing 22-year-old Dutch midfielder Teun Koopmeiners from AZ Alkmaar. (Telegraph – subscription required)external-linkChelsea manager Frank Lampard is planning to hold talks with Spain keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, 25, following the signing of Senegal international Edoaurd Mendy, 28. (Star)external-linkNewcastle United manager Steve Bruce says he did not think about selling Brazilian striker Joelinton, 24, during the summer. (Mirror)external-linkWatford are keen on bringing in 25-year-old Sheffield Wednesday centre-half Dominic Iorfa, who is a former England Under-21 international. (Independent)external-linkFriday’s gossip column The back page of the Daily Express
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2021 Ferrari Roma first drive review: Good feel, bad touch – Roadshow

It’s a defining moment in any blessed auto enthusiast’s life: the first time they get to stab at the big, red Engine Start button on a Ferrari and take it for a drive. I still remember my first time fondly, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of doing so yourself, I imagine it’s a…

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It’s a defining moment in any blessed auto enthusiast’s life: the first time they get to stab at the big, red Engine Start button on a Ferrari and take it for a drive. I still remember my first time fondly, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of doing so yourself, I imagine it’s a moment that is similarly revered. If so, cherish that moment, because if the 2021 Ferrari Roma is any indication, it’s a simple action that is now obsolete. You see, the Roma doesn’t have a big, red Engine Start button. It doesn’t have a button to start the engine at all, done away with in favor of a new steering wheel riddled with capacitive touch-sensitive pads. That, as it turns out, is not only a bit sad, it’s a big mistake. 

The Roma is the latest model in Ferrari’s stable, and it’s also among the cheapest — actually, make that least expensive — ways to get yourself a ticket into the Scuderia, with a starting price of $222,420, including $3,750 for destination. (The lovely Blu Corsa example you see pictured here has enough visual and functional options to drive its price up to $316,240.)It’s also among the most svelte and, in my humble opinion, perhaps the best looking of the modern Ferraris. It’s certainly the most distinctive, with a sharp, low nose and a pair of headlights squinting out on either end of a unique, body-colored grille that’s a matrix of ever-widening holes. The rear, though, is even more of a departure from prior Ferraris. It’s understated and a bit plain compared to the nose but punctuated by four, smallish taillights integrated into a diminutive spoiler. Only the quad exhaust pipes and the oversized, raw carbon diffuser are typical Ferrari. Well, and the prancing horse badging. Not your typical Ferrari interior, and a somewhat problematic steering wheel.
Tim Stevens/Roadshow
To see the biggest changes of all, though, you’ll need to sit inside. The Roma has the same abbreviated two-plus-two layout as the Portofino — that is to say it’ll seat two with comfort and an additional two with discomfort — but despite those cars sharing a platform and an engine, there’s more different here than there is similar. So much so that it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ll start with the new infotainment system, which looks like a chonky tablet wedged between the seats. It’s not dissimilar in size and placement from what you might expect in a McLaren, its functions primarily for HVAC and also multimedia. This means the passenger can actually cue up some tunes, something that isn’t so easy to do in the F8 Tributo, for example. 

Beneath that screen rests a gear selector that’s cheekily styled to look like a gated shifter of yore, but is actually a row of three switches used to activate reverse and to switch between manual and automatic shifting. This is the same design found on Ferrari’s other new car, the SF90 Stradale. Appropriate, since the Roma and the SF90 share a transmission. It’s an eight-speed, dual-clutch unit that’s lighter than the seven-speed unit found in the Portofino. The engine, though, is the same basic lump. Ferrari’s 3.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 produces 612 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque in the Roma, which is slightly more than what you get in its other applications and here exclusively driving the rear wheels. Those wheels are situated just as far apart as they are on the Portofino, but the Roma is almost three inches longer and about two inches wider. Crucially, it’s also some 200 pounds lighter, weighing 3,461 pounds. All this conspires to create a car that is somehow comfortable and touring-friendly yet sprightly and nimble. On the highway, the Roma is quite comfortable, its ride more pleasantly damped than you’d expect given the ultralow-profile 245/35ZR20 front and 285/35ZR20 rear tires. Likewise, the steering isn’t quite so manic as that of the F8 and even the brake pedal has a relatively long, easy-to-modulate throw that makes tootling through stop lights a nausea-free affair for your passengers. There’s a generous amount of headroom, a decent-sized trunk and really only a bit of a droning exhaust note mars the touring experience here. The Roma gives up nothing compared to more touring-focused sports cars like the Aston Martin DB11, for example.There’s even a decent trunk.
Tim Stevens/Roadshow
This is even a Ferrari with a modicum of active safety features, including adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system. Mind you, there’s no active lane-keep assist here, just an obnoxious beep whenever you stray anywhere near the lines at the edge of your lane, something you might be apt to do when driving a new Ferrari on a twisty road. “So, just disable the system,” I hear you saying, but there’s a problem: You can’t do that while you’re moving. You need to stop the car before you can gain access to the various menus required to do such a thing. And that takes me to the worst part of this car: the interface. The Roma borrows the same capacitive-touch steering wheel found in the SF90. Usually, when a more attainable Ferrari shares a wheel with a racier one it’s a positive thing, a standout touchpoint that makes it feel more special. Here, that touchpoint has the makings of a disaster movie.This new wheel takes the same approach as other modern Ferraris, cramming the most important controls all onto the wheel. I really like how this works in other cars, like the F8 or 488 before it. But I hate how it’s done here. Many of the formerly tactile controls have been replaced by a series of touch-sensitive areas. This covers everything from that engine starter — now accomplished by double-tapping the bottom of the wheel — to scrolling through the car’s various menus. Some problems are subtle, like the lagging response from the thumb controller that always has me scrolling past the menu item I want. Other problems are more serious, like the placement of the touch control that triggers the in-car voice assistant. Positioned directly beneath the left turn signal, it’s not a question of if you’ll hit this accidentally but rather when and how often. In my approximately six hours spent behind the wheel of the Roma I accidentally triggered the voice assistant eight times. Yes, I counted. 

Tim Stevens/Roadshow
Even at the best of times the integrated voice system is sluggish. I have to say “find me a restaurant” twice, once to toggle over to the navigation interface and a second time to actually search the restaurants. The overall process takes 30 seconds. On my Android phone, the same search takes less than five. And that irritating lane-keep beeping? The setting to adjust that is buried in a few of those annoying submenus, locked while the car is in motion. Changing the following distance of the adaptive cruise also requires digging a whopping three submenus deep. This is neither easy to do while driving nor intuitive. 

This kind of performance would be unacceptable on a $200 budget tablet. This is a $200,000 Ferrari.   

Those menus are displayed on the wide, curved virtual gauge cluster that sits behind the steering wheel and, at first glance, is quite striking. You’ll quickly realize it’s also quite sluggish, the different panes stuttering as they lazily make their way across the display. This is the kind of performance that would be unacceptable on a $200 budget tablet. This is a $200,000 Ferrari. Ferrari assures me that a software update is coming before this car will be shipped to customers, and hopefully that will fix the performance-related woes and maybe clean up the menus, too. I don’t see how the company is going to solve the issue of the placement of the voice assistant control, however, without some sort of redesign.It’s a special thing.
Tim Stevens/Roadshow
Thankfully, there’s one, still physical, control that works exactly as intended: the little red manettino on the steering wheel that cycles through driving modes. I sadly spend a disappointing amount of time in Rain, as much of my experience was in the midst of a torrential downpour, not to mention awful traffic. But when I finally find some clear roads, toggling over through Sport and into Race, the Roma responds just as quickly. Though the steering in Race still isn’t as flirty as the company’s more pure sports cars, it’s light and sublimely sharp, the Roma rotating effortlessly and wagging its tail with glee when accelerating out of corners. The transmission, typically sedate, becomes ferociously quick and any doubts about this car’s provenance are immediately erased. The Roma is a sublime drive when piloted aggressively and surprisingly sweet when your demands fall more on the touring side. It’s saddled with a fundamentally disappointing control interface, however, that makes the simple act of using your turn signals or adjusting the cruise following distance incredibly frustrating. This is a car that gets the hard stuff right yet sadly gets the easy stuff very, very wrong.

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NSA director and nearly all US Joint Chiefs of Staff in isolation for COVID-19

October 7, 2020 by Joseph Fitsanakis Seven of the eight members of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff —the group that brings together the nation’s most senior uniformed leaders— are in self-imposed isolation, after attending a meeting with a Coast Guard admiral who has since tested positive for COVID-19. As the list of senior…

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October 7, 2020
by Joseph Fitsanakis

Seven of the eight members of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff —the group that brings together the nation’s most senior uniformed leaders— are in self-imposed isolation, after attending a meeting with a Coast Guard admiral who has since tested positive for COVID-19. As the list of senior American government officials that are in self-imposed isolation continues to grow, it was reported yesterday that the director of the National Security Agency, US Army General Paul Nakasone, was also self-isolating until further notice.

The

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Royal Opera House’s $16.8 M. Hockney Stars in Christie’s $118 M. Paris-London Series

To get the backstory behind buyers and sellers in Christie’s Paris and London October evening sales, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report available to AMMpro subscribers. On Thursday, Christie’s brought in a total of £90.3 million ($118 million) with buyer’s premium across four sales at its Paris and London headquarters. In the auction series,…

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To get the backstory behind buyers and sellers in Christie’s Paris and London October evening sales, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report available to AMMpro subscribers.
On Thursday, Christie’s brought in a total of £90.3 million ($118 million) with buyer’s premium across four sales at its Paris and London headquarters. In the auction series, titled “20th Century: London to Paris,” the house deployed the live-streamed format, with Christie’s France president Cécile Verdier and its Europe president Jussi Pylkkänen at the helm.

The total hammer price was £77.9 million ($101.9 million), landing at the low end of the pre-sale estimate of £76 million ($99.4 million). With premium, the sales generated a total £90.3 million ($118.4 million), achieving a solid 84 percent sell-through rate.

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Still unable to host large live audiences, auction houses have engineered new set-ups that focus attention on the bidding dynamic across specialists and auction staff—which acts as a way to inject tension without the energy of a salesroom packed with buyers. Typically, there are more than 100 guests at a Christie’s sale of this kind; last night, there were eight live guests in the room according to Pylkkänen, who led the London auction.
In a post-sale press conference, Christie’s representatives said that the format—which was once unconventional, and is now becoming the norm—holds out promise for the future. “It’s about creating bridges across our selling centers,” Pylkkänen said. “The vocabulary of the art market has changed fundamentally.”
“We know it’s a difficult moment—it’s a challenging market,” said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti. “We need to be creative by buildings sales that are selective…. Creativity is key in this market.”
The Paris sale hammered around the low estimate of at £15.52 million ($20.3 million), or £17.1 million ($22.4 million) with buyer’s fees. A guaranteed painting by centenarian abstract artist Pierre Soulages hammered at £4.5 million ($5.9 million), below the low estimate of £6 million ($7.1 million). A 1968 abstraction by Zao Wou-Ki sold for €2 million ($2.4 million) with fees, doubling its low estimate.
The contemporary art sale in brought in a total of £49.2 million ($64.3 million), hammering at £41.3 million ($54 million), just above the low estimate of £40.9 million ($53.5 million). A Francis Bacon portrait estimated at £4 million–£6 million and an Albert Oehlen estimated at £2.5 million–£3.5 million were each withdrawn from the sale.

The top lot was Peter Doig’s Boiler Room (1993), which went to a bidder on the phone with specialist Katherine Arnold for £13.9 million ($18.2 million), hammering below the estimate of £13 million. Next was David Hockney’s commissioned Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971), which was sold by the Royal Opera House to raise funds as part of a long-term financial recovery plan. Hammering at £11 million ($14.4 million) and likely going to the guarantor, it sold for a total of £12.9 million ($16.8 million) with buyer’s premium. The third-most expensive lot was Bacon’s Study of the Human Body (1991), acquired by the seller from the estate of the artist. It sold for £5.5 million ($7.2 million) with buyer’s fees.

Titus Kaphar, Fidelity, 2010.
Christie’s Images Ltd 2000.

The house brought Marina Abramović’s The Life, a 19-minute mixed reality performance featuring the artist’s 3D digital avatar, to auction, making it the first work of its kind ever to hit the block. The private Copenhagen-based Faurschou Foundation won the piece with a hammer of £230,000 ($300,856), far below its £400,000 low estimate.
Works by market darling Titus Kaphar, who has recently seen a spike in demand following his addition to Gagosian’s roster, saw steep competition. Fidelity (2010), depicting a mummified figure and a dog, sold for £250,000 ($326,000)—double its low estimate. This week, Kaphar saw a new record at with the sale of his 2016 painting Alternate Endings for £466,200 ($604,350) at Phillips London.
A 2005 portrait by Canadian artist Steven Shearer, whose works do not come up at auction often, sold for £125,000 ($163,000). The result follows ex-Christie’s chairman Loic Gouzer’s sale of Shearer’s Synthist for $437,000 as the debut work for his members-only auction app Fair Warning in June. The previous record price for the artist was $164,014, for the work HASH, which sold at Sotheby’s London in October 2015.
Elsewhere in the sale, works by Rudolf Stingel and Anish Kapoor—whose markets have declined somewhat in recent years—failed to find buyers.
Following the contemporary sale was “Thinking Italian Art & Design,” which brought in £5.9 million with fees ($7.7 million) across 18 lots, landing well below the £9.7 million ($12.7 million) low estimate and seeing a 54 percent sell through rate. Dealer Paul Haim’s collection of large-scale sculptures totaled £18.6 million with premium ($24.3 million).

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