Transfers Kovacic’s agent rubbishes Real Madrid exit rumours amid Man Utd, Juventus & Tottenham talk Chris Burton 17:53 6/1/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur Primera División Premier League Real Madrid The Croatia international midfielder is among those to have been linked with a move away from Santiago Bernabeu, but no switch is being planned Mateo Kovacic is not giving any thought to leaving Real Madrid this summer despite links to Manchester United, Tottenham and Juventus, claims his agent.The 24-year-old was a regular in Zinedine Zidane’s plans during the Frenchman’s final season at the Blancos helm, with 36 appearances made across all competitions.He does, however, face fierce competition for places at Santiago Bernabeu and was restricted to just 10 starts in La Liga during the 2017-18 campaign. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now It has been suggested that he could move on in search of more regular minutes elsewhere, with various landing spots mooted across Europe, but his representative has sought to quash the rumours.Nikky Vuksan told Sportske Novosti: “Kovacic made history with Real on Saturday [in the Champions League final] and two days later the media write about a Juventus offer!?“We haven’t thought about leaving Real or interest from other clubs.“But, the summer is long and who knows what can happen after the World Cup.“Also, it is a compliment to Mateo that every summer there are rumours about how the biggest clubs want him, even though he is not in Real’s XI.”Kovacic told 24sata recently that he has been turning a deaf ear to transfer talk for some time, with speculation in 2017 shrugged aside to remain in Spain.He said: “Offers last summer? If Zidane tells you to stay, that you will play and that he has faith in you – you simply stay! It is Zidane!“It was a privilege to hear such words from someone like him, who was one of best ever. And also, it is Real Madrid… how could I leave Real?! It is an honour to be part of this club.”Kovacic remains under contract in Madrid until 2021 so it would take a sizeable offer from any of his suitors to break that agreement.
People walk past a barricade inside the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headquarters in Mumbai in this June 7, 2017 file photo. REUTERS/Shailesh AndradeBank of Baroda and Canara Bank could acquire smaller banks like Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank of India and United Bank of India, officials said on Thursday, according to a report in the Business Standard.The financial daily said that the government is holding discussions with six or seven banks to examine synergies as it pushes for consolidation among public sector banks. Public sector lender State Bank of India has started the process by merging with its associate banks, even though there is no timeline for the mergers.”Talks are on to see which fit will be the best. We should see something emerge from the discussions with six or seven banks over the next month or two,” an official told Business Standard.Following reports that the government is considering merging public sector lenders with strong smaller state-run lenders, the shares of Dena Bank had surged nearly 15 per cent on Wednesday.ET earlier reported that the balance-sheets of Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India look too weak to absorb other lenders.A few Bengaluru-based banks like Canara Bank, Vijaya Bank and Syndicate Bank are already in talks for a proposed merger. According to reports, the government has picked relatively stronger lenders including Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Canara Bank as possible acquirers in this process of consolidation. The banks have made presentations to the government on whether they are in a position to merge with smaller banks and the synergies that various combinations may throw up.A Bloomberg News report noted that the the government had last year approved the merger of SBI with its remaining five associate banks. The consolidation process went smoothly with the merger taking effect from April 1. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a interview to Bloomberg News earlier this month that the government would be contemplating a few more bank mergers following the merger of SBI with its associates.Banks have been asked to explore issues such as overlap of branches, technical integration and whether there would be anti-competition concerns that could emerge, Bloomberg News said. The objective would be to ensure that the exercise does not turn out to be counterproductive, the official said.Bloomberg News said, quoting a senior bank official, that some Bengaluru-based banks which share their headquarters, such as Canara Bank, Vijaya Bank and Syndicate Bank are already in talks for a proposed merger. Similarly, Kolkata-based Allahabad Bank and UCO Bank may also form a combined entity.
Pope Francis leaves the airport after arriving in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on 30 November 2017. Photo: AFPPope Francis on Thursday arrived in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees have sought sanctuary after fleeing a crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar, in the second stage of a tour dominated by the plight of the persecuted minority.The pope will spend three days in mainly-Muslim Bangladesh, which is also grappling with a rise in Islamist extremism that has seen Catholics attacked for their faith.In Myanmar he walked a diplomatic tightrope, staying away from allegations that the army is waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims, despite pressure to confront the incendiary issue publically.He also refrained from mentioning the minority by name during his four-day trip in which he held two masses and private meetings with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing.In Dhaka he will meet some of the refugees from the Rohingya community, whom he has described as his “brothers and sisters”, and led a mass for Bangladesh’s tiny Catholic minority.Nearly a million refugees from the Muslim minority now languish in camps on the border and the Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, said in an editorial Thursday it hoped he could change their fate.“Thanks to the large body of evidence documenting severe rights abuses of the Rohingya minority of Myanmar, the extent of the atrocities carried out by Myanmar’s security forces is known to all,” it said.“We remain hopeful that given Pope Francis’ legacy of standing up for the oppressed, he will speak out against the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya during this very important visit.”‘Moral authority’Myanmar’s government denies the Rohingya are an ethnic group, insisting they are “Bengali” immigrants who are not entitled to full citizenship.But the Vatican has rejected suggestions that the pope’s reticence to tackle the Rohingya crisis head-on represented a failure of moral leadership.A spokesman late Wednesday said the pope’s presence alone drew attention to Myanmar’s myriad troubles and his “moral authority” remained undimmed.“He’s not afraid of minefields,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told a press conference, hinting the pope’s discussions in private may have been more strident.Francis had been urged not to utter the Rohingyas’ name in Myanmar to avoid provoking hardline Buddhists and making the country’s Catholic community a target.“He seemed to comprehend the dilemma he faced,” David Mathieson, a Yangon-based analyst, told AFP, applauding his diplomatic dexterity in a country where the army still holds great power.“He is the Pope, not a pugilist… he was here to help the country work through this horrific humanitarian crisis and listen to both the civilian and military leadership.”The pontiff was warmly embraced by Myanmar’s Catholics, who make up just over one percent of the population.On Friday he will lead a mass in central Dhaka that is expected to be attended by around 100,000 Bangladeshi Catholics.The country’s Catholic community accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the population of 160 million and have for centuries lived in relative harmony with their Muslim neighbours.But the country has seen a rise in Islamist attacks in recent years targeting religious minorities, foreigners and secular figures.Pope Francis’s visit coincides with the disappearance of a Catholic priest on Monday in the same village where suspected Islamist extremists hacked a Catholic grocer to death last year.Walter William Rosario, 40, had been making arrangements for some 300 Catholics to travel to Dhaka for the pope’s mass.Since 2015 at least three Christians, including two converts from Islam, have been hacked to death in attacks blamed on the militant Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
BNP leader Sadek Hossain Khoka. File PhotoA Dhaka court on Wednesday sentenced four people, including former mayor of undivided Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and BNP leader Sadek Hossain Khoka, to 10 years jail in a corruption case, reports UNB.The case was filed for alleged corruption in leasing a multi-storey car parking structure in the capital’s Banani area.The court of Dhaka divisional special judge Mizanur Rahman Khan awarded the sentence following a hearing on the case.The three other convicts are DCC Unique Complex Shop Owners’ Association president Abdul Baten Nakib, its general secretary Mahmud Hasan Azad and car parking manager HM Tarek.The court also fined two million taka to Khoka while one million each to the other convicts.A court framed charges against the BNP leader and three others in the case on 29 November 2015.A lower court issued an arrest warrant of BNP leader Khoka on 24 June 2015 as he did not appear in the court on the hearing day.Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) deputy director Nur Hossain, also investigation officer of the case, submitted a charge-sheet against the four accused on 11 November 2012.On 15 February 2012, ACC assistant director M Mahbubul Alam filed the case with Shahbagh police station on charge of misappropriating Tk 38.2 million from the car parking project.According to the prosecution, Dhaka City Corporation invited a tender in 2003 to lease out Banani Unique Complex’s basement as car parking.The DCC had been deprived of over Tk 3.08 million from February 2003 to February 2011 as the then mayor Khoka in connivance with other accused stayed the tender process.