BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Barcelona’s rescheduled La Liga game at home to Real Madrid is set to take place on December 18 as both clubs came to an agreement after the match, due to be played on October 26, was postponed amidst violent political demonstrations in Catalonia.Following huge protests over the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders, the league’s organising body made an official request to the RFEF this week for the ‘Clasico’ to be rearranged, which was approved yesterday.The federation ordered the two clubs to arrange a new date before a deadline of October 21, and the two sides said later yesterday they wanted the game to take place on December 18.“In light of the ruling which postpones the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid and states the clubs must agree a new date, Real Madrid wishes to communicate that the date proposed by both clubs is December 18,” said Real’s statement.In a separate statement, Barca said they had argued in favour of the game still taking place on October 26 and had opposed La Liga’s plan to move it from the Camp Nou to Real’s Santiago Bernabeu.Barca added that they had “utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its fans and members”, also apologising to supporters who were inconvenienced by the decision and saying tickets purchased would be refunded.Real coach Zinedine Zidane said he and his players would accept any new date for the fixture, also calling the images of violence in Catalonia “difficult”.Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators waving pro-independence flags and chanting “freedom for political prisoners” joined marches across Catalonia yesterday, the fifth day of protests.Barcelona town hall said 700 garbage containers were set ablaze since protests began on Monday and estimated that the city had suffered damage totalling more than 1.5 million euros.An official from Barcelona town hall said around 10 trees were set on fire on Thursday. Regional police said 16 people were arrested across Catalonia on Thursday, while health officials said medical aid was provided to 42 people.Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, a former Barcelona player and their most successful ever manager, called on European countries to try to resolve the crisis.“The international community must help us to solve the conflict of Catalonia and Spain and we need a mediator from outside to sit in and talk,” he said in a news conference ahead of his side’s visit to Crystal Palace in the Premier League
DES MOINES — Another group of Iowa business leaders has used the Iowa capitol as the backdrop to send a message that immigrants are needed in Iowa.The “Iowa Compact on Immigration” was unveiled today, part of a national effort to prod congress to fix the system providing guest worker visas and speed up the citizenship process for undocumented immigrants. With nearly every Iowan who can work is employed, Jay Byers of the Greater Des Moines Partnership said the state needs immigrants to grow.“Immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business, significantly more likely to generate intellectual property,” Byers said, “I mean, the stats speak for themselves.”The number of international immigrants in the central Iowa area has grown at twice the national average and Byers said that’s spurred economic growth in the region.“We’re a nation of immigrants. We’re a state of immigrants. We’re a region of immigrants,” Byers said. “It’s been a driver in our past and it needs to be a driver in our future.”The Iowa Business Council — representing the state’s largest employers like Casey’s General Stores and Vermeer Manufacturing — made a similar pitch at the capitol last month. Today’s event came after two members of the Iowa Senate advanced a bill to require Iowa businesses to check a federal database to confirm prospective employees are legal residents or U.S. citizens. Byers and other business leaders are lobbying against that move on the state level.“Immigration policy should be decided at the federal level,” Byers said. “We do not need a patchwork of state laws, whether that’s E-Verify or other issues.”As Byers was speaking to reporters in Des Moines, a group of business leaders spoke at a news conference in Cedar Rapids — delivering a similar message.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is looking to add to its pool of referees and will begin its search through a recruitment drive with students along with military and police personnel being targeted. This exercise, it hopes, will improve the standard of refereeing in local football. Chairman of the JFF’s referees committee, Michael Ricketts, doesn’t, in fact, believe that the standard of officiating among the island’s officials is that bad, but believes there is a need to get more persons involved. “I don’t think the state of refereeing is that terrible. We have some good referees in Jamaica,” Ricketts told The Gleaner yesterday. “We are looking to start a serious recruitment drive soon. We are having dialogue with ISSA (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association) in order to get at least one student from [as many] high schools to start training,” he disclosed. “The committee is also looking to get into tertiary institutions, as well as the police force and the Jamaica Defence Force for persons,” Ricketts, who is also a JFF board member, added. Before that, however, the JFF will conduct a course for new match commissioners, which is set to start on January 28, and is also looking to add new match assessors to the programme. “We currently have 16 assessors, who are all former referees, but we need more persons to be a part of that pool,” Ricketts pointed out. Former FIFA referee Peter Prendergast also believes there is no need to panic with regards to the standard of local refereeing. “I think we have some refs that should make better judgement. I’m not saying that they are incompetent,” said Prendergast, who officiated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. firstname.lastname@example.org
Qatar Airways has announced that it intends to deploy its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to India. The airline will launch services to and from Kolkata starting December 1, 2015. The introduction of the service is due to the increase in demand for travel to and from the region and the airline’s commitment to the Indian market.The new addition would have an additional capacity of more than 76% in comparison to the A320. Qatar Airways’ daily seat capacity to Kolkata has nearly doubled from 144 seats on the A320 to 254 seats on the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.Qatar Airways presently operate the 787 Dreamliner twice daily to Delhi. The airline also recently announced further expansion with plans to re-launch operations in Nagpur, with daily flights from December 1, 2015.The flight QR541 from Kolkata to Doha would depart at 03:15 and arrive in Doha at 06:25. While, the return flight QR540 would depart Doha at 18:45 and arrive in Kolkata at 01:45 the next day.