Barcelona scrap plans to face Girona in Miami this January after backlash from fans

The Catalan giants pencilled in a league game against Girona on January 26 in the US with the blessing of La Liga chiefs.

The Spanish top flight had agreed a deal to play one game a season in the US as part of a 15-year deal with media company Relevent to challenge the worldwide dominance of the Premier League.

Catalonia neighbours Girona and Barcelona had agreed to move their game to the Hard Rock Stadium.

However, the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) and players' union (AFE) were vocal in objecting to the move.

AFE president David Aganzo said after the deal was announced: “The problem is the lack of common sense, a schedule where only the export of soccer benefits – nobody counts on the fans.

"The captains are outraged, they're against it, they are unanimous.

"It does not make sense. We are talking about an agreement that has a validity of 15 years without consulting the players."

Barca said it had "agreed to withdraw" the proposal, adding: "This project will not prosper until there is agreement between all parties."

A club statement added: "FC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a La Liga game in Miami, and accepted that income from the game would be shared among all Primera Division and Segunda Division clubs, following the same criteria of television rights money distribution."

But La Liga say they will still push ahead with the plans to stage La Liga games outside Spain.

In a statement, La Liga said: "We regret to disappoint our fans in the US and will work to, in the shortest possible time, stage an official La Liga game in the US.

"La Liga will continue the planned action so an official game can be played outside of Spain."

The match also needed the approval of Uefa, US Soccer and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).

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AFL to bring in ‘Toby Greene rule’ in raft of changes

The AFL has introduced a "Toby Greene rule'' aimed at preventing players from raising their stops and causing injury in marking and other contests.

The AFL Commission has approved of a rule that will lead to a crackdown on players such as Greene who have raised their leg in a way that exposes opponents to boot-stud injury, with free kicks paid and potentially suspensions for more severe offences with studs up.

The Greene rule was passed by the commission, along with a raft of other reforms to the laws of the game, including a change to the bumping rule and have given the match review officer the option of a set penalty of three matches for some head high, severe and intentional incidents.

Stopping the stops: the AFL has amended its rules to deal with raised boots.Credit:Fox Sports

Greene therefore becomes one of the select group of VFL/AFL players to have had a rule modified as a result of his on-field acts. Richmond great Kevin Bartlett's tendency to throw the ball in front of him when tackled resulted in a change to the holding the ball rule, while Lindsay Thomas' slide into Gary Rohan caused the immediate introduction of the sliding rule.

As reported by The Age on Monday, the commission also changed the bumping rule to make the player who elects to bump liable if there's a head clash or other impact that isn't directly to the head and will crack down on low-level punches and niggles. The bumping change could be referred to as the Ryan Burton rule, given that the then-Hawk's bump on Shaun Higgins – for which Burton was cleared – was clearly the catalyst for the change.

The AFL has discussed the option of introducing the red card for serious incidents such as Andrew Gaff's punch on Andrew Brayshaw, but has baulked at introducing it for 2019 and has instead focused on stamping out low-level punches and niggles that can escalate to more serious incidents.

The AFL has changed the rules governing AFLW Tribunal decisions, in a clear response to the suspension for the grand final of Bulldog gun Katie Brennan. In effect, it means the AFLW player in Brennan's position would not miss a game for two minor offences, as she did.

Under the changes, the AFL has created a specific offence for strikes with "negligible impact'' rather than the catch-all of misconduct.

The AFL also will be stricter on fining players who have incidental careless contact with an umpire, with the umpires to vary their approach to centre bounces when it is evident that players are favouring one side of the centre circle. In some cases, umpire contact will bring a free kick against the infringing player.

The AFL has created a new category for intentional umpire contact, whereby charges can be laid for acts that are deemed "aggressive, forceful, disrespectful or demonstrative''.

There is another new category, too, of “unreasonable or unnecessary contact with an umpire” to deal with contact which isn’t covered by the new guidelines but isn't deemed careless.

Stomping and eye-gouging offences can now be directly referred to the AFL Tribunal.

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Macron’s compromises fail to subside France’s anger: Yellow-vested populists hoped he would quit

French President Macron addresses nation following protests

Since the first populist protests last month, the long silence of President Emmanuel Macron — who is perceived by many in France as a conceited centrist — aggravated activists' anger, and it showed no sign of subsiding after his concessions Monday.

Many protesters — who have led four weeks of increasingly radicalized demonstrations — hoped only to hear one thing from Macron: “I quit.”

Benjamin Cauchy, who previously had been reported as a self-proclaimed protest leader, told France 2 TV, as BBC reported: “These are half measures. We feel that Macron has got a lot more to give.”

A man walking his dog past a tag reading: Happy Christmas Manu, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, in Paris, Sunday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Even as Macron broke his silence on the protests in a brief televised address, yellow-vested demonstrators vowed to keep up the pressure on a man they see as arrogant, out-of-touch and “president of the rich.”

“It doesn’t solve the problem,” a protester in a yellow vest, Alain Bouche, told BFM television from a yellow-vest roadblock southwest of Paris. He said fellow demonstrators want a national referendum, too.

Some protest representatives have said more demonstrations will be held Saturday, following those in Paris that turned violent during the previous two weekends.

Meanwhile, students opposing changes in key high school tests are calling for a new round of protests Tuesday.

The recent dissent started in neglected provinces to oppose fuel tax increases and progressed to rioting in Paris.

Graffiti scrawled throughout the French capital singles Macron out for criticism, reflecting a national sense that the former investment banker is arrogant and removed from public concerns.

“Macron is there for the rich, not for all the French,” 68-year-old retiree Jean-Pierre Meunuer said at Saturday’s protest in Paris.

Overall, Macron unveiled no radical changes, and clung to his vision for transforming France. Yet his costly promises will make it even more difficult to boost growth — already being hammered by the protests that have damaged holiday retail sales and worried tourists and foreign investors.

“It’s more of a budgetary adjustment than a change of political course,” Cauchy added. “That doesn’t correspond to what the French want.”

With new demonstrations planned for Saturday, some police officers who spent multiple weekends on crowd and riot patrol are calling for their own tax-exempt overtime pay.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said new measures should focus on helping France’s working classes.

“We are ready to make any gesture” that works, he said on RTL radio. “What is important now is to put an end to the crisis and find peace and unity in the country again.”

Fallout from the protests so far could cost France 0.1 percent of gross domestic product in the last quarter of the year, Le Maire warned. “That means fewer jobs, it means less prosperity for the whole country,” he said.

Macron acknowledged he may have given an impression “not to care” about the concerns of ordinary citizens and “might have hurt” some people with his comments. For instance, he wounded many when he told a jobless man he just had to “cross the street” to find work. Or when he told retirees with small pensions to stop complaining. Or when he suggested some French workers are “lazy.”

“We believed in Macron,” Bruno Passe, a retired farmer from the eastern Champagne region, told the Financial Times. “He sold us a dream that he was going to change everything, and now we are fooled.”


Before his TV speech, Macron met with local and national politicians and with union and business leaders to hear their concerns — but with no representatives of the scattered, leaderless protest movement.

He showed no signs of giving in during his TV speech. Instead, he defended his political independence and described his devotion to serving France. No French presidential or parliamentary elections are scheduled until 2022.

Protest and street violence has been a central part of France’s political culture — from the Revolution in the late 1700s to the student riots in 1968 — and the "yellow vest" movement reflects this tradition.

The yellow vests worn by the populist protesters have become the symbol of the wave of demonstrations. The protests began in November against a rise in fuel taxes — which Macron retreated from last week — but mushroomed into a plethora of sometimes contradictory demands. Lately, they have included Macron’s resignation.

Macron has appeared determined to continue trying to make the French economy more competitive globally. The middle-of-the-road leader insisted that the protesters’ “malaise” is as old as he is — 40 years — and coincides with France struggling in recent decades to keep up with globalization.

One thing he didn’t do Monday: restore a special tax on households with assets above $1.5 million that he had slashed last year. "Yellow vest" protesters have decried the end of the tax and have demanded it be revived.


French media reported 136,000 protesters took to the streets nationwide Saturday, which left widespread damage and tons of debris in the capital and elsewhere.

Macron denounced the protest-associated violence that led to hundreds of injuries, more than 1,000 arrests and the ransacking of stores in some of Paris’ richest neighborhoods.

Authorities will show “no indulgence” to those behind the vandalism and rioting, Macron said, adding that “no anger justifies” attacking police or looting stores.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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When will Doctor Who return to BBC1 and will Jodie Whittaker return?

We have the lowdown on when you can expect another season of the hit BBC show…

When will Doctor Who return to BBC1?

The next series of Doctor Who won't be on until 2020.

Season 11 ended on December 9, 2018 but you are going to have to wait over a year for season 12.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall said work on the new series had already begun.

Will Jodie Whittaker return?

Jodie WILL be back for a new series.

She has proved a big hit as the new Doctor and the latest series saw the highest launch viewing figures for the sci-fi show in a decade, with 10.9 million people tuning in.

The series has been considered a ratings success, with viewing figures above those of the last two series when Peter Capaldi starred in the title role.

Is there a Doctor Who Christmas special?

BBC chiefs have decided to screen the hour-long festive special on New Year's Day.

You can watch it at 7pm on BBC One.

You will be able to catch the show on the iPlayer once it has aired.




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‘It’s got to stop’: Cassandra Thorburn slams paparazzi

Cassandra Thorburn has asked paparazzi to stop harassing her amid a flurry of stories about ex-husband Karl Stefanovic’s weekend wedding in Mexico.

On Monday, New Idea published a story claiming Thorburn had called the father of her three children a "fake person" while leaving Sydney Airport after spending time interstate. The magazine also quoted her questioning whether Stefanovic’s famous sexism experiment was genuine.

Cassandra Thorburn out and about.Credit:Louise Kennerley

It's not the first time Thorburn has expressed frustration with the media. In September, she appeared on Studio 10 to promote her children's book and reminded people not to believe everything they read.

"Not everything that's said is correct," she said. "Things are often made up and fabricated in situations, and things can be taken out of context. At the end of the day … the only priority I have is making sure my children are happy and in a good place. I don't owe anyone anything.

"My children still have a dad. Of course they do. He'll always be their dad."

Despite already being legally married in Australia, Stefanovic and his new bride Jasmine Yarbrough exchanged vows in Mexico over the weekend as part of a four-day celebration. However, some friends and mentors – such as radio kingpin Alan Jones and billionaire James Packer – were noticeably absent.

The wedding comes amid rumours Stefanovic could be moved on from Nine's Today show given it has been losing the ratings war with Seven rival Sunrise for some time.

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Miley Cyrus Jets Off to New York City!

Miley Cyrus chats with a friend as they make their way through the airport on Sunday afternoon (December 9) in Newark, New Jersey.

The 26-year-old singer stayed warm in a faux-fur coat and Gucci hoodie as she landed back in the States from her trip to London.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Miley Cyrus

Miley will be in New York City all week as she prepares for her appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend with Mark Ronson alongside host Matt Damon.

Miley and Mark released their collaboration, “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart,” at the end of November. Watch the video here!

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Spanish city to send its pigeons far from home

Madrid: A local council in Spain is preparing to relocate thousands of pigeons in a rare humane attempt to deal with nuisance birds harassing tourists and locals dining on its plazas.

Cadiz will catch and move 5000 urban pigeons 800 kilometres away to a province of Valencia in a departure from more traditional techniques used by councils across the world, including shooting and poisoning.

A Left-leaning local council in Spain is trying a new idea to curb a pigeon invasion.Credit:Wayne Ludbey

In their new country dovecote the birds will rediscover the rural delights of foraging for seeds as opposed to fighting over breadcrumbs and city rubbish.

While Madrid has recently outlined a plan for marksmen to cull its invasive populations of parakeets, and councils across Britain deploy hawks and electric shock systems, Cadiz has chosen "the most respectful and sustainable method" to control the population, according to the city's environment chief, Alvaro de la Fuente.

Prompted by complaints from restaurants about the number of rock doves in Cadiz's centre, the city council, run by the Left-wing Podemos party, commissioned a pigeon census.

Men exercise in a public gym as the sun sets at the Victoria beach in Cadiz, Spain.Credit:AP

De la Fuente's department decided that the population of 8000 was three to four times too many for the small city, and drew up a plan under which the birds are trapped, put through health checks and transported to their new home in Riba-Roja de Turia, 30km inland from Valencia.

Antonio de Maria Ceballos, president of the Cadiz hoteliers association Horeca, said that pigeons had "turned the city centre into their own private habitat, leaving excrement on the ground, building façades, restaurant and cafe terraces and their customers".

"It has become intolerable. We reckon we have lost 20 per cent of our business to pigeons," the manager of a tapas bar on the city's Cathedral square told the newspaper La Voz de Cadiz.

Cadiz council is also preparing an information campaign aimed at preventing people from feeding the birds, a practice that also leads to a rise in rodent populations.

Since taking over city hall in 2015's local elections, the Podemos council team has implemented a number of animal rights policies, including a ban on circus acts involving animals and preventing shelters from putting down unwanted pets.

To control the number of stray cats fed by animal-loving locals, the council handed out licences to 40 designated cat feeders.

Telegraph, London

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Morrison cabinet to examine Jerusalem embassy move this week

Jakarta: Scott Morrison's cabinet is due to discuss whether Australia's Israeli embassy should move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at a meeting in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The decision on the embassy move is being closely watched by senior figures in the administration of Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who are in regular contact with Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan.

Last week, Foreign Minister Marise Payne met her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on the sidelines of a conference in Bali to discuss the issue – though both women were tight-lipped about the details of the discussion after the meeting.

A member of the Morrison cabinet told the Herald and The Age on Sunday that Tuesday's meeting was likely to be the last full cabinet get together before Christmas and that a discussion – and a decision – was likely.

"There needs to be a practical and pragmatic approach to this, we don’t want to upset trading partners like Indonesia," the cabinet minister said.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.Credit:Joel Carrett

"But we also need to not look like we are second-guessing what we announced [a possible move of the embassy] during the Wentworth byelection. Compromise is the best option here."

Once a decision is taken by the cabinet a public announcement is expected soon afterwards.

That compromise approach could see, for example, the Morrison government establish a consular presence in Jerusalem, or the announcement of an intention to move the embassy once other pre-conditions relating to the Israel-Palestine peace process are met – or even a combination of both of these options.

The prospect of a total backdown on the proposal – which would preserve the status quo – is considered unlikely at this stage.

Mr Morrison has promised a decision on the move – which has angered majority-Muslim Indonesia, Malaysia and nations in the Middle East, while also causing the the signing of the Indonesia-Australia free trade deal to be delayed – before Christmas.

Indonesia's influential Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, last week said he was still confident the free trade deal would be signed by the end of this year – despite the diplomatic brouhaha over the embassy issue.

Mr Morrison's department, Prime Minister and Cabinet, is leading the review process rather than the Department of Foreign Affairs. However, DFAT, Defence, the Attorney-General's department and security agencies such as the Office of National Assessments and spy agency ASIO are also providing advice to the review.

And in a sign of how diplomatically and politically sensitive the issue has become both in Canberra, and among Australia's trading partners such as Indonesia, Mr Morrison has also sought out the advice of "wise elders" including former Defence and DFAT boss Dennis Richardson, and former Australian Defence Force chief Sir Angus Houston.

The prospect of the embassy move has triggered small protests outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, though at least some of those protesters were paid to turn up, didn't know what they were protesting against and were linked to the campaign to re-elect Mr Joko as president in April.

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Noose-carrying protester on Tommy Robinson march calls for Theresa May to be HANGED over Brexit

A man who gave his name as Laukan Creasey, from Stevenage rocked up at the demo against the PM's deal today in London with his own rope.

Thousands are attending a protest calling on MPs to stop betraying the referendum, as thousands of Jeremy Corbyn's hard-left Momentum have come to protest against them on a separate rally.

Mr Creasey told the Press Association: "That's what the traitor May deserves. That's what treasonous people get."

There's been just one arrest, but some protestors clashed with police during the rally.

Controversial right-wing figure Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, was leading today's march after he was appointed as an adviser to the anti-EU party last month.

The move caused uproar in the party ranks, and now ex-leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall have quit the party altogether, taking a string of senior figures with them.

Riot police and horses are lining the streets in central London trying to keep the two rallies peaceful – and away from each other.

The Met has said they will adopt a "robust arrest policy on anyone who attends and is intent on violence and disorder".

Robinson told crowds today that the establishment "fear a movement that can be policitised across this country".

And Ukip leader Gerard Batten added: "The only we will ever achieve a real exit from the EU is rebuild the Ukip electoral threat once again."

Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called on the party's supporters to attend the march and protest against Robinson.

He said yesterday:  "This march isn't about Brexit, it's about far-right extremists dressing up in suits and pretending to be respectable."

"It doesn’t matter whether you voted leave or remain, Tommy Robinson doesn’t represent you.

"I call on all Labour members and anyone who cares about the future of our country to join the demonstration on 9 December and stand firm against the poison Robinson is trying to inject into our politics."

Robinson and his supporters marched down Park Lane and Parliament Street – meeting at Whitehall.

The counter protest marched through Trafalgar Square but were cornered off at the other end of the road to keep the protests separate.

Last week, Robinson admitted to spreading fake news about Muslims attacking white kids after wading into the Syrian refugee bullying row, saying he had been duped.

The clip, shared tens of thousands of times, shows the victim with his arm in a cast being dragged to the floor by his neck as his attacker says "I'll drown you" on a school playing field.

The attacker, 16, who has since gone into hiding with his family, said that far-right group Britain First ‘do right’ and posted links to Tommy Robinson mocking burkas.

Shameless Robinson then sparked fury by defending the bully.

The activist was jailed earlier this year for contempt of court, but the verdict was later quashed.

The case is now with the Attorney General, who will decide whether to send it to the High Court or drop it altogether.

The march comes just two days before MPs are set to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal in the Commons.

But with growing opposition and hundreds of MPs opposed to it, the vote could be put back.

Mrs May is expected to decide tomorrow whether to ask Brussels for more concessions when she flies out later this week for a separate EU summit.

Today Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey all threw their hats into the ring to replace her if she falls this week – and all refused to rule out running.

But Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the vote WOULD be happening on Tuesday as planned, even as the PM faces certain defeat.



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