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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Safe standing trials move closer with Welsh Assembly backing

• Survey shows 96% of fans across UK back safe standing areas

• Welsh Assembly strengthens backing for trials

Five ways the Premier League can use new TV money for good

Trials of standing areas at football grounds have moved a step closer and a new survey has shown overwhelming public backing for a change in the supporters’ experience at matches.


The Welsh Assembly has called on the government to take urgent steps towards introducing safe standing, offering to lead the way after passing a motion backing trials and unveiling new research, due to be revealed at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on Monday, which shows 96% of fans across the UK back the introduction of the sort of rail seats common in Germany which allow fans to stand throughout matches.


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Arjen Robben: ‘You can discuss anything with Pep. At 3am he’s happy to talk’

Invigorated by the coaching of Pep Guardiola and physically strengthened by extra hours in the gym, the Bayern Munich forward has produced three seasons of sustained excellence – and, at 31, he is still getting better

• The Guardian’s top 100 footballers panel discusses Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben suddenly drops his defensive, cross-armed pose. He has just begun to consider the imposing list of managers for whom he has played – Guus Hiddink, José Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola – when the change comes. “Every manager has a certain influence,” Robben says, “and it depends whether you’re 18, 25 or 30. You need different things. But, in general, one thing matters most.”


At this point, thinking hard, Robben uncrosses his arms, nods intently and leans forward as he really begins to talk. “You need to be very critical of yourself. There are a few very good managers who can make players better individually. Most managers think about the team process – and so you have to improve things on your own. You have to be very strong mentally. But it’s also very important to be critical of yourself. This is something I miss a little with the younger generation.


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Up Your Online Dating Game With Evidence-Based Strategies

Choosing a username starting with an early alphabet letter is just one scientifically vetted way to increase the odds of turning an online encounter into a first date. Christopher Intagliata reports.



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Liverpool fight back to edge past Crystal Palace with Adam Lallana winner

If Liverpool were truly haunted by recent experiences in this arena, they can consider this an exorcism. Their pursuit of the FA Cup and the first silverware of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure is gathering pace, an awkward occasion navigated here as Crystal Palace, who have so delighted in undermining those from Merseyside apparently at every turn, were eventually quelled. The manner of the visitors’ celebrations at the final whistle told its own story.


It was the effervescence of their attacking play which ultimately squeezed them home, unrewarded first-half dominance eventually giving way to rewards after the interval to secure a first win against Palace at Selhurst Park in seven visits. The home side had looked even further back, clinging to 1990 and Alan Pardew’s extra-time winner at Villa Park in this competition’s semi-final against Kenny Dalglish’s celebrated side as inspiration, but history counts for little when Daniel Sturridge finds his range. The hosts’ early advantage had always felt deceptive.


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Real Madrid booed by own fans during win over Deportivo La Coruña

Real Madrid returned to winning ways on Saturday after last week’s drubbing at Atlético Madrid but failed to convince and were whistled by their own fans during a 2-0 victory at home to Deportivo La Coruña.


Real were looking for an inspiring performance before Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Germany to play Schalke and were fortunate not to drop points with another drab display following the humiliating 4-0 defeat at the Vicente Calderón.


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Report: Fire at Houston Islamic School was Set Intentionally

According to an assistant imam, investigators have found signs that a fire at an Islamic center on Friday was set deliberately, the Houston Chronicle reports.


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Ireland and Jonathan Sexton bloodied but unbowed by France in Six Nations

Ireland 18-11 France

Johnny Sexton negotiated two bloody clashes of heads with Mathieu Bastareaud to mastermind Ireland’s stubborn 18-11 RBS 6 Nations victory over France in Dublin.


Sexton fired 15 points in Ireland’s ninth-consecutive victory on his return from a 12-week concussion lay-off, to set up a potential Six Nations title decider with England on March 1.


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Dominique Strauss-Kahn: the private life of a public figure can be very illuminating

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s trial, whatever the result, gives us an insight into his view of the world

With the sexual interests of Dominique Strauss-Kahn once again to the fore, as he defends himself in a French court against charges of pimping, one would have expected, by now, a ticking-off for the press by his old friend, the button-phobic philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy.


When Strauss-Kahn, then head of the IMF, was first accused of sexual assaults in 2011, first by a hotel chambermaid, then by a young French woman, Lévy was swift with a counter-portrait. “Charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally,” Lévy argued. “But this brutal and violent individual, this wild animal, this primate, obviously no, it’s absurd.”


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Trend Watch: The Neck Has Gone Undercover

High collars are persuasive alternatives to the ubiquitous turtlenecks of seasons past.

















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Fears for Ukraine’s ceasefire as clashes with Russia-backed rebels intensify

Neither side seems to expect an end to the conflict, and both were trying to shore up their positions before the deadline


Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebel militias in the east of the country intensified on Saturday as fears grew for the durability of a ceasefire agreement that was due to take effect at midnight on Saturday.


The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine had backed the truce as part of a peace plan agreed in Minsk on Thursday, but fighting escalated in the hours before it came into effect. According to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Russia-backed rebels had bargained for a “preparatory delay” rather than an immediate ceasefire.


Related: This is a make-or-break moment for Ukraine | Angus Roxburgh


Related: Ukraine peace deal looks fragile in the extreme


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Katarina Johnson-Thompson breaks British indoor high-jump record

• Heptathlete clears 1.97m to defend national crown

• Teenage rival Morgan Lake breaks British junior record with 1.94m

In the arena where Jessica Ennis-Hill is preparing for her comeback, the next generation of British heptathletes showed they are ready to grab her mantle. Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the world No1 multi-eventer last year, and Morgan Lake, the 17-year-old prodigy, engaged each other in a see-sawing high jump battle at these national championships that ended with Johnson-Thompson leaping 1.97m to break the British record, and Lake smashing the British junior record by clearing 1.94m.


It spoke volumes about Johnson-Thompson’s ambitions that her celebration after clearing 1.97m – a small fist-pump, followed by an appreciative wave – were understated, but she slapped her landing mat in frustration when she failed to clear two metres. The 22-year-old may have exceeded others’ expectations, but not, you suspect, her own.


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Record New York City murder freeze hits 12 days as experts cite extreme cold


  • NYPD says no murders reported overnight Friday to Saturday

  • Four days of extreme cold expected, keeping New Yorkers indoors


No murders have been reported in New York City since Super Bowl Sunday, a record stretch since the city began tracking such data in 1994.


The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed on Saturday morning that no murders were reported overnight in the city of 8.4 million, making for the first recorded 12-day homicide-free stretch.


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England’s women ready for a new start in Six Nations clash with Italy

After winning the World Cup in 2014 defeat by Wales in the opening Six Nations fixture was sobering but Katy McLean’s return brings hope that they can get back to winning ways

• England win World Cup in Paris

• Wales defeat England in opening Six Nations fixture

• England coach steps down after World Cup win

The heady days and nights, the text messages from Prince Harry and rugby royalty Jonny Wilkinson, the lifting of another trophy, the BBC Sports Personality team of the year. It is all over for England and Katy Mclean, who led them to World Cup glory in Paris last August. England’s women are back to earth with a bump.


The world champions face Italy at The Stoop on Sunday afternoon, where they will attempt to put their sobering 13-0 Six Nations defeat at the hands of Wales in Swansea last Sunday behind them. Mclean joined her team-mates on Saturday, having returned from Rio de Janeiro where she was playing sevens as England attempt to qualify for next year’s Olympics.


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Shots at ‘Mohammed cartoonist’ event

SHOTS have been fired at a free speech meeting attended by the controversial ‘Prophet Mohammed’ cartoonist, leaving at least one dead in Copenhagen.

















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