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By On January 08, 2018

ISL 2017-18: Delhi Dynamos' Miguel Angel Portugal rues individual mistakes and set-piece vulnerability

Delhi Dynamos FC coach Miguel çngel Portugal speaks during the press conference The coach of the beleaguered outfit felt that his system is working but individual mistakes have cost Delhi Dynamos...

Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal feels that his team's struggles in the Indian Super League (ISL) season is down to vulnerability in set-pieces and individual mistakes from his players.

The former Real Madrid player asserted that his methods are working but errors have let the team down.

"We have had two problems so far - in defence and in attack. We have had a lot of opportunities to score but we have not done so. We play well in midfield but the defence has a problem," he said ahead of Delhi Dynamos' away tie against Chennaiyin FC.

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"The problem in defence is our setpiece defending. Chennaiyin FC will try to exploit that weakness. But we will try to defend well. The teams have been scoring from our own mistakes rather than their skill.

"We are trying to rectify this situation."

The 62-year-old went on to defend his methods at the capital-based club and pointed out that silly errors have let the team down.

"It is a bad Christmas for me. It is not nice when you lose six matches on a trot. But I think the team played well during these games.

"I think our system is good and if our players play well, we will win. The success of the system depends on the players. If all players played well, you will win," re-asserted Portugal.

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He expressed hope that Delhi will put an end to their losing streak on Sunday against Chennaiyin FC and backed his players to come good.

"Chennaiyin are playing for the first position but we are going for a win. I think my team will play well and we have confidence in ourselves," he said. "Probably, we might bring in some different players (for the Sunday game).

"This game is a must-win for us after the losses. When you win five or six times, it is possible that you might win the next game. It is also possible that you might win the next game after losing five or six games."

Source: Google News Portugal | Netizen 24 Portugal

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By On January 08, 2018

Why Hungary and Poland are turning “illiberal”

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Analysis: Western Europe has looked on with mounting bewilderment and exasperation over the past few years at the political trajectory of Hungary, Poland and several other former communist states. Countries that, since 1989, were committed to common European values, including liberal democracy, respect for human rights a nd the rule of law, are now implementing an altogether different political model. The perceived interests of the “nation” are taking centre stage and governments are subject to far fewer checks and balances.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, was once a fiery student leader and champion of liberalism. Now he preaches the virtues of “illiberal democracy”. Orbán routinely portrays himself as the defender of “Christian values” that, in his view, are threatened by globalisation, mass immigration and the supposedly sinister machinations of international business leaders. George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist has become a particular target of baseless attacks.

In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party has assumed political control over state-funded radio and television. By July 2016, 164 journalists and news anchors had either resigned or been dismissed. In December 2017, the government’s continuing efforts to curb the indep endence of the judiciary prompted the EU Commission to formally declare that there is “a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland”.

In the same month, the EU launched infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary for failing to take appropriate steps to resettle limited numbers of asylum seekers, in accordance with decisions previously taken by member states.

Some months earlier, the European Court of Justice dismissed cases brought by Slovakia and Hungary in which the latter had sought to argue that the EU’s scheme for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers was unlawful. In characteristically robust language, Hungary’s serially undiplomatic foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, described the judgement as “outrageous and irresponsible”.

A number of ex-communist states, particularly Hungary and Poland, have rejected an ideology founded on individualism, human rights, economic transparency and multicultu ralism. They are turning instead towards an alternative social, political and economic model in which the cultivation of “traditional values” and distinct national identities is of paramount ideological importance. The new model is also frequently characterised by widespread, often systematic corruption and an increasingly authoritarian political culture.

Winners and losers

The reasons for this shift lie both in the communist and pre-communist past. Following the collapse of communist governments in 1989, little thought seems to have been given to the troublesome historical baggage that these societies would have to contend with in effecting a successful transition to liberal democracy. There seems to have been an unspoken assumption that the removal of the communist apparatus of repression would be largely sufficient to allow western values, such as liberal democracy and respect for human rights, to flourish.

Yet, with the exception of the former Czechosl ovakia, there had been little sustained experience of genuine democracy in the region prior to the establishment of communist regimes following World War II. Even before the imposition of communism, Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with most other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, were heirs to a repressive and overwhelmingly authoritarian political culture.

This may go some way towards explaining the relative ease with which Hungary’s Fidesz government, for example, has been able to undermine democratic checks and balances without eliciting more vigorous or sustained opposition from the general public. As the powers of Hungary’s constitutional court were drastically curtailed and public broadcasting increasingly treated as a government mouthpiece, there was little real sense among ordinary voters of anything important having been lost.

Central and Eastern Europe’s predominant historical experience as victims, rather than beneficiaries, of colonialism m ay help to explain the region’s resistance to admitting non-European asylum seekers. As identified by István Bibó in The Misery of the Small States of Eastern Europe, published shortly after World War II, there is an enduring sense among the peoples of the region of having had to fight for independence and even for the preservation of national identities during a succession of alien occupations, whether Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian or Prussian.

This overwhelmingly traumatic historical experience has been compounded by almost a half century of Soviet domination as well as subjection to Nazi German tyranny during the Second World War. None of this has helped to foster openness to other cultures, let alone a willingness to embrace multiculturalism as experienced in many countries in Western Europe.

Economic factors, particularly the plight of many pensioners and of other economically vulnerable sections of central and eastern European societies, have also contributed t o the current political climate. The establishment of market economies in the region created clear winners and losers in countries such as Poland.

These societies are now far less egalitarian than under communism. While a new class of businessmen, lawyers and media personalities can indulge their taste for expensive foreign holidays and luxurious German automobiles, there is widespread poverty. In particular, residents of many rural areas and of towns and cities that have been ravaged by deindustrialisation are struggling.

As Jacques Rupnik, a former adviser to Czech president Vaclav Havel, recently observed: “the ‘decoupling’ of liberalism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe has a lot to do with the post-1989 confusion, and indeed collusion, between political and economic liberalism”. Rupnik poses the question: “Does this explain why Central Europe travelled from (economic) neo-liberalism to (political) illiberalism?”

The answer, at least in part, must be “yes”.

Stephen I Pogany, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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By On January 08, 2018

Romania's Competition Council slaps big fines on electricity meter cartel

Romania’s Competition Council has fined local electricity holding Electrica and five electricity meter providers with some EUR 15.8 million, for anti-competition behavior.

Six electricity meter providers were found responsible of setting up a cartel-like deal in which they agreed not to compete against each other in tenders organized by electricity providers. This has led to higher prices for electricity meters and higher electricity costs for end-consumers, according to the Competition Council.

The six companies that participated to the agreement were AEM, Energobit, Elster Rometrics, Landis+Gyr AG, ECRO, and Electromagnetica. AEM cooperated with the Competition Council and provided evidence of the agreements, and was thus exempted from the fine. Meanwhile, the other companies received fines between EUR 114,000 and EUR 5.9 million.

Electromagnetica was fined EUR 2.15 million, representing 4.23% of the company’s 2016 turnover. The company said it would challenge the sanction in court. The company was also fined by the Competition Council in early 2016 with a RON 9 million fine after a bigger investigation that targeted the bilateral contracts between power producer Hidroelectrica and ten electricity traders.

State-controlled electricity holding Electrica also received a fine of RON 10,8 million (EUR 2.32 million), representing almost 3% of its non-consolidated turnover, for allegedly breaking the law in several tenders for the purchase of electric meters and auxiliary equipment. The company collaborated with the Competition Council’s investigation and said the irregularities were caused by lower-level employees, according to a report Electrica sent to the Bucharest Stock Exchange. The company also said it would challenge the Competition Council’s sanction. Electrica serves over 3,6 million clients.

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Source: Google News Romania | Netizen 24 Romania

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By On January 08, 2018

President says Romania won't move embassy to Jerusalem

Romania won’t make any decision on moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until progress in the Middle East peace process is achieved, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Friday.

The two state officials talked about the status of Jerusalem and the recent UN resolution on the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The Israeli PM thanked Iohannis for Romania’s “abstain” vote on the United Nations’ resolution calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution says that any decisions regarding the status of the city are “null and void” and must be cancelled. It also urges UN member states to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The resolution was approved by 128 states, with 35 absta ining and nine others voting against. Romania was among the countries that abstained.

Romania’s official position is that Jerusalem is a central theme in the peace negotiations and the city’s status should be decided after a direct agreement is reached between the parties involved. Romania also considers that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a durable solution by implementing the “two-state solution”, Israel and Palestine, which would coexist in peace. Palestine’s Embassy to Bucharest saluted the Romania’s position on this issue.

After US president Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, some Romanian politicians rushed to say that Romania should consider doing the same. Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), was one of them.

Media: Romania, among countries that could move embassies to Jerusalem

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Source: Google News Romania | Netizen 24 Romania