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STOKE-ON-TRENT – Stoke City’s new loan signing Jese Rodriguez made an immediate impact by scoring the only goal as his side stunned Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Spaniard, who only arrived in England this week, started and finished the move that saw Mark Hughes’s men add to the question marks that are already building around Arsenal.

Jese, who is on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, surged through midfield in the 47th minute and exchanged passes with Sadio Berahino before slotting an impressive finish past Petr Cech.

He had already set home pulses racing, having almost made a dream start to his Premier League career after just three minutes.

Veteran midfielder Darren Fletcher played a fantastic through-ball behind the Arsenal back three and Cech was required to sprint from his line to block Jese’s shot from a tight angle.

It was an attack that buoyed the atmosphere around the bet365 Stadium, mindful that their home campaign had ended in a dismal 4-1 defeat against the same opponents three months previously.

As the half wore on it looked as if there might be a danger of a similar outcome this time as Arsenal’s pace and movement began to cause problems.

On 16 minutes, Alexandre Lacazette’s pass played in Aaron Ramsey, but a slight nudge from Mame Diouf was enough to put off the Welshman, whose shot was blocked well by goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Moments later, a superb lobbed pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain landed on the foot of Danny Welbeck, whose volley was kept out by the diving Butland.

Arsenal appealed, unconvincingly, for a penalty after Diouf and Hector Bellerin tangled.

From another Arsenal attack, Stoke carved out their best chance of the first half as Joe Allen broke up play and Jese made an exhilarating run from one area to the other.

Offside flag denies Lacazette

He eventually pulled the ball back for Eric Choupo-Moting, who should have done far better than chip his shot into Cech’s arms.

Another outcome of that counter-attack was a pulled hamstring for Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri, who hobbled off soon after, his game over, to be replaced by Berahino.

It was a disruption Stoke could ill afford as Arsenal again threatened, just before the half-hour, this time from a set-piece.

Mesut Ozil’s free-kick picked out Ramsey at the far-post and his side-foot volley was blocked at point-blank range by the alert Butland.

It was not difficult to see how Arsenal had been involved in a seven-goal game against Leicester City on the opening night of the Premier League season.

Within minutes, Wenger’s defence somehow managed to leave the towering Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross unmarked eight yards out, after the breakdown of a set-piece, and he headed over from Choupo-Moting’s centre.

Stoke’s goal drew a response from Arsenal, with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross drawing an unsuccessful handball appeal against Kurt Zouma.

Then Bellerin sprinted through and, after Butland juggled his shot, Shawcross was forced to hack the ball behind at the expense of a corner.

Welbeck headed just over and Ramsey poked a shot straight at the goalkeeper, but Stoke retained a threat and an Erik Pieters cross found Berahino, whose awkward bouncing header was tipped over by Cech.

Butland made another fine save, stopping Welbeck as he again headed for goal, before the anonymous Ozil shot just wide.

When Lacazette finally put the ball in the net in the 72nd minute, an offside flag came to the home team’s rescue. — AFP

 

SHAH ALAM – The cafeteria at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang, which was ordered to close yesterday afternoon has been allowed to resume operations at 10pm on the same day.

HTAR director Dr Ding Lay Ming, when contacted by Bernama, said the decision to allow the cafeteria to resume operations was made following a review of the assessment made by the Klang District Health Office (PKD) on the cleanliness of the premises which complied with the set requirements.

The Klang PKD had issued a notice for the closure of the cafeteria at 2pm yesterday following an inspection carried out after a 32-second video clip showing a rat feasting in a vegetable container at the cafeteria went viral on the social media.

Meanwhile, Selangor Health Department director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said the cafeteria was allowed to resume operations after considering the welfare of the hospital staff and visitors.

However, she said the department would continue to monitor the cleanliness of hospital cafeterias and would blacklist as well as terminate the contracts of operators that were frequently issued clean-up notices.

 

KUALA LUMPUR – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has apologised to his Indonesian counterpart over a mistake on the Indonesian flag in a booklet on the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017.

He said that the mistake was purely unintentional.

“Bapak Imam, please accept my sincere apologies for this. There was no malice.

“I very much regret that this mistake happened. My apologies, ” he said on his Twitter account in response to a tweet from Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, regarding the matter.

In the booklet, the Indonesian flag appeared upside down.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (MASOC), in a statement, apologised to all Indonesians over the unintentional mistake.

It said Khairy, who is also MASOC chairman, would call on Imam Nahrawi today to extend a personal apology on behalf of the committee.

“We truly regret this error and we hope that the close ties between the two countries will be further enhanced in the spirit of the SEA Games, ” the statement said.

— BERNAMA

 

KUALA LUMPUR – Diving’s rising star Nur Dhabitah Sabri was the missing piece of the puzzle after all when the petite lass rose above the stadium’s tarmac in spectacular fashion to light the cauldron that served as the highlight of the SEA Games (KL2017) opening ceremony last night.

As the nation waited with bated breath on who was going to be the ‘chosen one’, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist made her way to the majestic golden cauldron and lit up a ring of small flames on the lip of the cauldron.

Dubbed as the first woman to light up the cauldron in the history of six SEA Games hosted by Malaysia since 1965, the 18-year old diver was chosen as a symbol to reflect the future of Malaysian sports.

Nur Dhabitah, who hails from Kuala Lumpur won the bronze medal in the 10m platform synchronised swimming in Glasgow as well as two gold medals in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games and 2015 Singapore SEA Games, respectively.

The cauldron looked enormous next to the 5 foot Nur Dhabitah but about 84,000 spectators at the stadium went wild as she lighted up the cauldron to the applause of those present at the stadium as well as the millions watching the opening ceremony that was telecast live by several television stations.

The spirit of unity was embedded in the cauldron design, which was inspired by the traditional Malaysian oil lamp torches used to welcome guests during festivals.

It had five spokes inscribed with the Rukun Negara and the gold served to honour Malaysia’s monarch, as well as a nod to the highest award at the biennial games.

The weave motif on the cauldron signified the strength in unity and was symbolic of all the athletes and officials rising together as one. It was also an acknowledgment to the heritage of traditional craft Malaysians share with its neighbours.

Earlier, nostalgia filled the air in the stadium when eighteen, including Nur Dhabitah, sporting icons representing past, present and future champions proudly relayed the torch for KL2017.

The long-standing tradition commenced when a group headed by 1998 Commonwealth games double gold medallist for tenpin bowling Kenny Ang appeared at the bridge in the stadium, accompanied by Malaysia’s first champion in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman and SEA Games triple gold medallist Muhammad Rafiq Ismail.

The historic moment continued when Bangkok Asian Games gold medallist for cycling Datuk Ng Joo Ngan grasped the torch from Kenny Ang before he was accompanied by SEA Games triple gold medallist Fatehah Mustapha and World Cup bronze medalist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom.

Four times SEA Games gold medallist in hockey Datuk Mirnawan Nawawi who was flanked by 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Faizal Saari and Asia’s Most Promising Player 2016 Hanis Nadiah Onn when he received the torch.

The torch relay continued with eight-time SEA Games gold medallist in long jump and triple jump Mohd Zaki Sadri taking over together with national 100m and 200m sprint record holder Khairul Hafiz Jantan and World Junior Championship triple jumper Kirthana Ramasamy.

Zaki Sadri then passed the torch to 1992 Olympics bronze medallist in badminton men’s doubles Datuk Razif Sidek who was together with 2016 Rio Olympics badminton mixed doubles silver medallist Chan Peng Soon and 2015 World Junior Champion Goh Jin Wei.

The torch went into the hands of five-time SEA Games gold medallist Bryan Nickson Lomas and reigning diving champion Pandelela Rinong, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is a six-time SEA Games gold medallist before Nur Dhabitah.

The torch made its way to Malaysia after travelling in the Rising Together Baton Run across countries participating in the 29th edition of the SEA Games.

The whole nation was also exultant when 320 Jalur Gemilang, representing the country’s population of 32 million, lead the procession, followed by flags of 11 participating countries namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and Malaysia, along with the SEA Games Federation as well as the Games flags.

The Malaysian contingent paraded last as host of the KL2017 with three world champions as flag-bearers namely world keirin champion ?The Pocket Rocket Man’ Azizulhasni Awang, diving queen Cheong Jun Hoong who recently was crowned world champion at the FINA World Diving Championships in Budapest and 2016 world silat champion Mohd Al-Jufferi Jamari.

— BERNAMA

TASEK GELUGOR – The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) should emerge from its comfort zone and be a strong opposition to win back the support of the people in the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The UMNO vice-president, who is also assuming duties of deputy president, said as the opposition in Penang, UMNO and BN did not translate their role well, “We were hit twice in the previous general elections. The feel of BN being an opposition has yet to be felt by the Penang people. UMNO, Gerakan, MCA, MIC and other component parties in BN still feel comfortable because Putrajaya is still controlled by BN and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is still the prime minister.

“It is time for us to rise, to close rank and win back Penang. We are pressured with various issues, pushed to the wall with various problems. I see that we, the DNA in BN, are forbearing, (but) it has its limits,” he said when opening the Tasek Gelugor UMNO divisional delegates conference.

Ahmad Zahid said although BN only had 10 state seats and three parliamentary seats in Penang, it could be used as a benchmark for the party to move and work with non-governmental organisations to win back the state from DAP.

Ahmad Zahid said many of the BN deeds and contributions in Penang were denied by the DAP-led state government and it was now time for BN to use the issue to hit back at them for the sake of the people in the state.

“Too many issues on the previous state government were denied by the (present) state government, who are enjoying the fruits of the hard work by Gerakan,” he said.

He said the deeds and contributions of past leaders were never forgotten by UMNO.

“When the time for a certain person has passed, let go. We respect the old timers, but they should love the newbies. When they give way to the people after them, their deeds will be remembered,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid rgarded former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the best example of a leader for not criticising UMNO and BN when he no longer held any post.

He also cautioned certain quarters against trying to have him and Najib at logger-heads, saying that it would not materialise.

“My wala’ (loyalty) should not be questioned. I am in UMNO, held position in the (UMNO) youth movement because of Datuk Seri Najib. I have been with Datuk Seri Najib for a long time since Oct 1, 1987 when I was appointed his political secretary.

“InsyaAllah, the wala’ will remain until end of life,” he said.

Touching on the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary constituency, Ahmad Zahid regarded the constituency as a “fixed deposit” for BN and called on UMNO leaders in the Tasek Gelugor division to work hard to increase the vote majority in the coming general election. – BERNAMA

 

Mas Ermieyati

JOHOR BAHRU – The Tourism and Culture Ministry fully supports the idea of making Johor the country’s southern fashion hub.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said it was for Johor to be the nation’s leading fashion hub, being it near to Singapore.

“Johor can be a pioneer in the fashion industry and even at international level, due to its location as one of the entry points into the country and also its rapid development,” she said when opening the Johor Fashion Mode organised by Tribute To Women, here last night.

Present was Tribute To Women Malaysia founder Mahani Awang.

Mas Ermieyati hoped that the Johor Fashion Mode would be made an annual event and included in the state’s tourism calendar.

The event involved the participation of wwell-known local fashion designers including Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, Salikin Sidek, Leslie Variyan, Bon Zainal, Zang Toi, Carven Ong, Datuk Seri Raja Rezza Shah and Bill Keith. – BERNAMA

 

WASHINGTON/HAGERSTOWN, Md – President Donald Trump on Friday fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon in the latest White House shake-up, removing a far-right architect of his 2016 election victory and a driving force behind his nationalist and anti-globalisation agenda.

Bannon’s firing, a year and a day after Trump hired him as his campaign chief, put an abrupt end to the rabble-rousing political provocateur’s tumultuous tenure in a White House riven with rivalries and back-stabbing during which he clashed with more-moderate factions.

He was instrumental in some of Trump’s most contentious policy moves including the ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries, abandoning the Paris climate accord, tearing up international trade agreements and cracking down on illegal immigration. He was no friend of the Republican political establishment and was loathed by liberals but was a darling of some of the president’s hard-line conservative supporters.

White House officials said Trump had told new Chief of Staff John Kelly to crack down on the bickering and infighting, and that Bannon’s fate was sealed by comments published on Wednesday in the American Prospect liberal magazine in which he spoke of targeting his adversaries within the administration.

Trump, seven months into his presidency, has become increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday and his attacks on fellow Republicans. Some Republicans had even begun questioning Trump’s capacity to govern.

As Trump came under fire from Republicans including two former presidents, and from business leaders and U.S. allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Bannon’s ouster. Critics had accused Bannon of harbouring anti-Semitic and white nationalist sentiments.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Bannon returned to his post as executive chairman of right-wing Breitbart News on Friday afternoon, the website said. Prior to joining the Trump campaign, he had spearheaded Breitbart’s shift into a forum for the “alt-right,” a loose online confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Bannon said his departure from the White House signals a major shift for the Trump agenda. “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told the conservative Weekly Standard.

“I just think his ability to get anything done – particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it’s just gonna be that much harder,” Bannon said.

He said he would use Breitbart to attack opponents of the populist and nationalist agenda he championed, including establishment Republicans. “I am definitely going to crush the opposition,” Bannon said.

He became the latest key figure to abruptly depart a Trump White House that has been chaotic from its first days and already has lost a chief of staff, a national security adviser, two communications directors and a chief spokesman.

Trump’s presidency also has been dogged by ongoing investigations in Congress and a special counsel named by the Justice Department into potential collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, something both Trump and Moscow deny.

Bannon, 63, is a former U.S. Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer.

He had been in a precarious position before but Trump opted to keep him, in part because he had played a major role in Trump’s November 2016 election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton and was backed by many of the president’s most loyal rank-and-file supporters.

Democrats cheered Bannon’s departure.

“Steve Bannon’s firing is welcome news,” said Nancy Pelosi, the top House of Representatives Democrat. “The Trump Administration must not only purge itself of the remaining white supremacists on staff, but abandon the bigoted ideology that clearly governs its decisions.”

MARKETS REACT

Wall Street indexes <.SPX> and the U.S. dollar <.DXY> ended a volatile session lower after a week of drama in Washington intensified doubts about Trump’s ability to deliver on policy objectives such as tax cuts. After a late-morning boost following reports of Bannon’s ouster, the dollar and U.S. equities lost ground.

Bannon felt a close ideological connection to Trump’s populist tendencies and “America First” message. Like Trump, he has also expressed deep scepticism concerning ongoing American military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision to fire Bannon could undermine Trump’s support among far-right voters but might ease tensions within the White House and with party leaders. Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress but have been unable to pass major legislative goals including a healthcare overhaul.

Trump ran into trouble after saying anti-racism demonstrators in Charlottesville were as responsible for the violence as the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who instigated the protests, and that there were “very fine people” among both groups.

Those remarks sparked rebukes from fellow Republicans, top corporate executives and some close allies.

Bannon’s departure removes a large source of friction on the White House staff, but does not herald a significant shift by Trump towards the centre on major policy issues, three administration officials said.

“A good deal of what was attributed to Bannon, for example on China trade and restricting immigration, and the border wall, all came before Bannon joined the campaign and would have happened without him,” said one White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Bannon has been a hawk on China, urging a tougher line on trade to correct a huge trade imbalance and dismissive of recent efforts to try to elicit Beijing’s help to rein in North Korea. In his comments to American Prospect, Bannon said the United States was in an economic war with China.

A second official said the biggest winners from Bannon’s departure are national security adviser H.R. McMaster; Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser; and Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Bannon’s departure cast a cloud over the future of the group of allies he had brought into the White House, such as Sebastian Gorka.

Some conservative activists expressed disappointment in Bannon’s ouster. Republicans were largely quiet, though moderate Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she was glad Bannon was out but that the administration “must work to build bridges, not destroy them.”

By the time Trump had hired Bannon as campaign manager, the real estate magnate had already vanquished his Republican opponents for the party’s presidential nomination.

Asked about Bannon on Tuesday, Trump called him “a friend of mine” but downplayed his contribution to his election victory.

“Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that. And I like him. He is a good man. He is not a racist,” Trump said. – Reuters

 

LANGKAWI – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today launched the Langkawi Digital carnival 2017, an initiative to serve as a platform for the development of a digital economy in Kedah.

Towards this end, various applications will be developed, including Mycribbooking for tourism and Cashless School.

State Science, Innovation and Information Technology, Communications and High Technology and Human ResourceCommittee chairman Datuk Norsabrina Mohd Noor regarded implementation of the initiative as a huge gift from the federal government to Kedah.

“These initiatives will be our preparations to face the digital revolution,” she said in her speech at the event.

She said more than RM200 million had been allocated for the purpose towards making Langkawi the first digital island in Malaysia.

Norsabrina said there were many more projects to be carried out ,hence the need for continuous support and allocation from the federal government.

Meanwhile, Najib also visited several of the exhibition booths at the carnival, and also launched i-muamalat, a banking application by Bank Muamalat.

A total of 40 exhibitors participated in the two-day event held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) here. – BERNAMA

 

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has expressed his deepest condolences to the families of victims of the van attack in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday that left at least 13 people dead and over 100 injured.

In a tweet today, he described the attack as despicable.

“Deepest condolences to the loved ones of innocent victims who lost their lives and were affected by the despicable attack in Barcelona,” Najib posted.

According to Reuters, at least 13 people were killed and more than 100 injured after a van rammed through crowds in the heart of Barcelona.

It was reported that the attackers abandoned the van and fled the scene.

The news agency reported that following the attack, the security authorities launched a special operation to hunt down the attackers.

It also quoted a Catalan police spokeswoman as saying that the police had killed four attackers in Cambrils, south of Barcelona, and seriously injured another following the operation there against what authorities called a terrorist attack.

The Barcelona attack is the worst in Spain since the 2004 Madrid bombings which killed 191 people.

— BERNAMA

 

MADRID- A manhunt is under way for the driver of a van that mowed through crowds of tourists on Barcelona’s most famous avenue on Thursday (Aug 17), killing at least 13 people in an attack that was claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Authorities said the death toll could rise, with more than 100 people injured, some seriously.

Police said they arrested two men, a Moroccan and a man from Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla, though neither was the driver. Witnesses said the driver fled on foot.

Hours later in Cambrils, a city 120 kilometres south of Barcelona, police said they shot dead “four suspected terrorists” and left another injured in a “possible terrorist attack.” The incident in Cambrils took place in the early hours of Friday, but police gave no further details, nor did they mention whether the shooting was linked to the Barcelona attack.

Also on Thursday, hours beforehand, a person was killed in an explosion in a house about 100km south-west of Barcelona, in an incident linked to the attack, police added.

It was still not clear how many attackers had been involved. In another incident, police shot dead a man who had driven a car into a police checkpoint in Barcelona, though they had no evidence that this, too, was connected with the van attack.

Witnesses said the white van zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, a busy avenue thronged with tourists, knocking down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground.

ISIS’ Amaq news agency said: “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states” – a reference to a US-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.

The claim could not immediately be verified.

If the involvement of Islamist militants is confirmed, it would be the latest in a string of attacks in the past 13 months in which they have used vehicles to bring carnage to the streets of European cities.

That modus operandi – crude, deadly and very hard to prevent – has killed well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm. – Agency