Shamed Sepp Blatter loses appeal against ban from football

Sepp Blatter has lost his appeal against his six-year ban [FLICKR]
Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has lost his appeal against his six-year ban from football.

The 80-year-old hoped the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) would overturn the ban, which was imposed last December.

But his appeal was dismissed this afternoon.

Blatter was last year found to have made a £1.3million “disloyal payment” to ex-Uefa boss Michel Platini.

Both deny wrongdoing, but CAS described the payment as “an undue gift” with “no contractual basis”.

Responding to today’s decision, Blatter said:

No other verdict could be expected.

He added: “I have to accept this decision. I have experienced much in my 41 years in Fifa. I mostly learned that you can win in sport, but you can also lose.”

The payment is also being looked into by Swiss prosecutors.


Tim Peake’s space capsule to arrive in the UK in 2017

The United Kingdom has bought the space craft which sent Yuri Malenchenko (Commander, Russia), Tim Kopra (Flight Engineer, USA) and Tim Peake (Flight Engineer, UK) to the International Space Station on 15 December 2015. The three landed on Earth in June 2016.

The craft will be displayed in the Science Museum, London in early 2017. Peake is reportedly ‘delighted’ that the space capsule will be on display in his home country.

Source: Tim Peake via Twitter

He explained: “Hopefully it may act as an inspiration for the next generation of scientists and engineers,”

 “Flying into space is a huge privilege but it also comes with risk and one of the highest risk areas are launch into space and re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

“The Soyuz spacecraft is designed to protect the crew from these harsh conditions. So you get very attached to your spacecraft because it definitely does save your life.”

Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut, welcomes the arrival of the space capsule with open arms. She said:

“I think it is a tremendous thing to have Tim’s capsule.  The fact that we know that our astronaut was actually inside it – he physically sweated inside that suit, he looked outside of that window and saw what it was like to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere – it really provides us with the link to our own astronauts.”


Above: Science Museum expresses their excitement – via Twitter

Since his return to Earth, Peake has published his autobiography: ‘Hello: is this planet Earth?’ about his time in space and has carried out many book signings across the UK.


One year on from Storm Desmond

Major Incident Declared As Storm Desmond Wreaks Havoc In Cumbria

More than 700 families have yet to be re-homed following the devastating affects of Storm Desmond in Cumbria this time last year. Cumbria County Council say that the storm will cost the local economy up to £5oo million in damages.

The three-month period between November 2015 and January 2016 was the wettest on record with 341.4mm of rain fall in just 24 hours in parts of Carlisle.

Thousands of homes and businesses were ruined in wake of the storm which bought tercentennial downpours, landslides and river bank eruptions. Many people living in the affected areas have not been able to repair the damages and are either still living in temporary accommodation or living in flooded houses and are unable to claim on their home insurance.

The Cumbria Community Foundation, which was set up in light of Storm Desmond has received over 5000 appeals for help and it has awarded more that £7 million pounds to victims of the flooding in compensation.

Although the financial cost of the storm is huge its nothing compared to the humane cost of the disaster. A study into the affects of the storm has been published a year after the floods hit.

The study’s lead Author, Terry Marsh from the Center of Ecology and Hydrology concluded that: “At a national scale the winter floods of 2015-1016 were the most extreme on record. The November to January period was the wettest three-month sequence in the UK rainfall series – which began in 1910.”


Children in the North behind in their achievements

New findings have revealed that children in the North of England are showing lower levels of achievement than their Southern counterparts. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, herself a Leeds-based mother, believes this is because parents in the south tend to be pushier and to spur on their children more.

Findings were actually more positive for children in primary education, with 56% of children in the North-East reaching the expected standard at age 11. This compares well to London with 57% of children reaching expected standards. It is when children enter secondary education, that the gap becomes more apparent. This is highlighted in the discovery that school leavers from London and the south-east are more likely to go to competitive universities than those in the north, disadvantaged pupils in London are more likely to get 5 good GCSEs than their counterparts in the north, of the 10 English cities with the lowest employment rates – 8 are in the north.

The Commissioner’s Growing up North research on children’s prospects in the north will be launched on Tuesday as a response to the discoveries. Ms Longfield speaking ahead of the launch said: “As northern parents, we need to be aware of these inconsistencies and variations in secondary schools and push hard for our schools to show how they are improving and helping our children to achieve.

“One of the real drivers of improvements of schools in London has been the demand for good school results from parents and children. There is much we northern parents can learn about this parent power.”



Oxbridge student dies in Alps

Matt Smith, a 22-year-old student from Oxbridge, has been found dead whilst on a University ski trip to the French Alps.

Emergency services were called to his chalet after he was found unconscious by friends. No information regarding cause of death has been released however, it is suspected that the youngster died of cardiac arrest.

Oxford University has released a statement, in which the institution said:

“We would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic death. While we await the findings of the official investigation we are offering support to students who may have been affected. “

Friends and family of the deceased took to Facebook to leave their condolences. One user, Eóin Barrett-Fulton wrote: “Still don’t believe it, he was taken far too soon. We all thought he was invincible. I’ll always love you Matt and I hope you’re resting better now. You’ll forever be one of my oldest and greatest friends.”

Smith’s father expressed that his son ‘died doing what he loved.’ He said:

“We don’t know anything more at the moment about what caused his death. We are just thinking of Matt and what a wonderful man he was and what a wonderful friend.”









What does Renzi’s defeat mean for Italy?

Matteo Renzi press conference, Rome

The results of last night’s Italian Referendum are out and the ballots show that the No vote leads with 60%, whereas the Yes vote is only at 40%. The turnout was at 70%. The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has announced his resignation after his heavy referendum defeat concerning his proposal to reform the Constitution. It is now up to the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, whether he will appoint a new replacement or hold elections.

What was the referendum about?

The Italian voters were asked if they approved the constitutional law calling to alter the Italian Constitution that would reform the complex political system. It would reduce the size of the Senate from 315 to 100 and would have made law-making a more speedy process. The former Prime Minister, Renzi, claimed it would improve Italy’s reorganisation and economic growth.

Why did Renzi lose?

Addressing his loss, Matteo Renzi said, “My experience of government finishes here”. “We tried, we gave Italians a chance to change but we didn’t make it,” he said. “I lost. I can admit it and I am sorry. I was not able to lead you to the victory. Good luck to us all,” he concluded.

Renzi’s opponents not only included members of other parties, but also people within his own party. They all believed that the referendum would mean that the Prime Minister would end up with too much power in his hands. The voters agreed. An opposition leader, Matteo Salvini, called the referendum “a victory of the people against the strong powers of three quarters of the world”.

The referendum was not only calling for a change in the Parliament, but also regarded as a chance to reject establishment politics.

How is the rest of the world reacting?

The Italian Referendum comes in hot pursuit of the victories of the UK’s Brexit and the US’s Presidential Elections. Across the globe, far-right parties are beginning to take the upper hand. Despite Norbert Hofer’s defeat in the recent Austrian Presidential election, other far-right wing leaders in Germany, France and Greece have secured great advantages.

The result is being viewed as yet another blow to the EU (after Brexit), however, it is not an indication that Italy will be following the UK’s outside the EU. The Northern League and Five Star may be opposed to the Eurozone, but not for the Italy’s EU membership.

German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said that “there was no reason for a Euro crisis but that Italy urgently needed a functioning government”. However, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National in France, tweeted: “The Italians have disavowed the EU and Renzi. We must listen to this thirst for freedom of nations.”

What has happened to the economy?

Overnight, the currency has toppled to a 21 month low, following the departure of Renzi. Both stocks and the euro dropped last night, but were raised by the morning. Nevertheless, the referendum could have more long term effects, as there have been growing concerns over the financial stability of the country.

What will happen now?

As Renzi announced his resignation after the final cabinet meeting, he will hand his position to the President Mattarella, who could ask him to remain in his position until Parliament has passed a bill due later in the month.

Early elections are thought to be quite unlikely, therefore it is possible that Mattarella may appoint a caretaker administration led by the former PM’s party until the next elections due in the spring of 2018. Pier Carlo Padoan, the Finance Minister is the favourite to succeed Renzi’s position of Prime Minister.

Theresa May vows to ‘work closely’ with Italy after Renzi steps down

Theresa May speaking at a press conference with Matteo Renzi this summer [FLICKR]
Britain will “work closely” with Italy’s next leader after the dramatic resignation of Matteo Renzi, Downing Street has said.

Renzi stepped down this morning after Italians rejected his plans for constitutional reform in a referendum.

Theresa May’s spokesman said the Prime Minister would seek to speak with Mr Renzi over the coming days.

The Italian prime minister stepped down this morning [CREATIVE COMMONS]
But she stressed the outcome of the vote was “a decision for the Italian people”.

Mrs May visited Rome just days after entering Downing Street in May.

Her spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has had good relations with Matteo Renzi since she took office.

Her spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has had good relations with Matteo Renzi since she took office.

“She was appreciative of the way she was welcomed in Rome and the work we have done together in previous years on an ambitious programme of reform.

“Now we look to the future and we will want to work closely with the Italian government.”

In an emotional televised address last night, Renzi accepted full responsibility for the “extraordinarily clear” defeat.

The 41-year-old added:

The experience of my government ends here.

It is not yet clear who will replace him, but his departure has plunged the European Union into further turmoil following June’s Brexit vote.