Riot police chased protesters through Hong Kong shopping malls on Sunday as democracy activists launched Mother’s Day flash mob rallies calling for independence and the city’s unpopular leader to resign.The semi-autonomous Chinese city was convulsed by seven straight months of often-violent pro-democracy protests last year with millions hitting the streets. Mass arrests and the coronavirus pandemic ushered in a period of enforced calm. Topics : But with the finance hub successfully tackling its outbreak small protests have bubbled up once more in the last fortnight.Small flashmob demonstrations broke out in at least eight malls throughout Sunday afternoon prompting riot police to rush in and disperse heckling crowds of activists and shoppers.At least three arrests were made while groups of officers conducted multiple stop and searches.Live broadcasts also showed police issuing $2,000 ($260) on the spot fines to those allegedly breaching emergency anti-virus measures banning more than eight people gathering in public. Hong Kong celebrates the American Mother’s Day and protester chat groups had pushed the occasion to focus on chief executive Carrie Lam, a Beijing loyalist appointee.At the start of last year’s protests, Lam likened herself to an exasperated mother — and protesting Hong Kongers to demanding children — in comments that only poured oil on the fire of public anger at the time.Authorities banned an application for a Mother’s Day march so small groups of masked protesters instead played cat and mouse with police in different shopping centers, a tactic used frequently last year.”This is just a warm-up, our protest movement needs to start again,” a university student who gave his name as “B” told AFP. “It’s a sign that the movement is coming back to life, we all need to wake up now.”Lam, who has been staunchly backed by Beijing, has record low approval ratings. She has resisted calls for universal suffrage or an independent inquiry into the police’s handling of the protests.In the New Year she vowed to heal the divisions coursing through Hong Kong but her administration has offered little in the way of reconciliation or a political solution.Arrests and prosecutions have continued apace while Beijing’s offices in the city sparked a constitutional row last month by announcing a greater say in how Hong Kong is run.Plans to pass a law banning insulting China’s national anthem sparked scuffles in the city’s legislature on Friday. Top Beijing officials have suggested opposition lawmakers who blocked the bill with filibustering could be prosecuted and have also called for a new anti-sedition law to be passed.
Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has insisted he will not address rumours that he is ready to sell the club until the end of the season. Press Association Lerner released a statement on Sunday afternoon which is likely to further fuel the speculation that he is ready to call time on his ownership of the Villa Park club. In it, he said: “As regards my personal role at the club and the steady rumours of a sale, I will address these after the season. “Randy’s always been great with me as an individual and someone to talk to,” said the manager. “What he’s done here has been phenomenal. We’ve got an incredible training ground due to him and an incredible stadium, it’s been fantastic. “He has spent one hell of a lot of money since he’s been at the club. “Without a doubt (Lerner is still passionate about this club). I don’t think you do what he’s done and not be passionate about it. He loves this club.” However, Lambert also admits the team will continue to struggle in the Premier League unless more funds can be made available for big-name players. He added: “There’s loads of work to be done in this league. The finances are vital for this league – the better the players you buy, the better chance you have of doing something. “We’ve done it for two years and tried to keep this club in the league and to keep it going. But this club’s too big, far too big, that’s me being honest. “All the players I’ve been linked with cost one hell of a lot of money. If you don’t have it then you have to work within the parameters that you’ve got. “The size of this club and the fan base it’s got, and the way things have happened in the past, winning the league and the European Cup, these supporters don’t want to see a club like this for the past few years. “But this league and how hard it is, you’ve got to look at it and say, ‘Okay, we can go and get x, y and z’. But the big ones I’ve been linked with, you couldn’t do it.” “[Manager] Paul Lambert, [chief executive] Paul Faulkner and I speak daily and remain committed to the immediate job of limiting distraction and confusion in order that Villa have the best chance possible of finishing on a strong note.” Lerner’s statement came after Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Southampton which left Villa in 15th place in the table and five points above the drop zone with four games still to play. He remains steadfastly behind manager Paul Lambert after a week during which coaches Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa were suspended. Lerner said: “Following the point yesterday at Villa Park, there have been stories about my selling the club. “On a personal level, I had hoped the emphasis would have been on the amazing effort on the part of our manager and our players to re-group throughout a very difficult week. “Injuries to Libor (Kozak) and Christian (Benteke), compounded with the early loss of Jores (Okore) and the difficult rehab of Charles (N’Zogbia) have no doubt left Paul with far less to work with than is fair. “Still, Paul Lambert has done nothing but work within the parameters I’ve set, put the club first and continue to trust his players.” Lambert was equally praiseworthy of Lerner and his contribution to the club.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes hopes Bojan Krkic can follow the lead of fellow Spaniard and ex-Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas by developing into an established Barclays Premier League star. But having been initially outraged, Hughes was then impressed that Fabregas apologised to him for the run-in. Recalling the incident, Hughes said: “I don’t think I had any strikers, so I just parked the bus basically. “He (Fabregas) wasn’t happy, but he actually hung around until after I had done all my press to apologise, which showed class.” Bojan sustained a hip injury in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace but has trained this week and Hughes expects him to be available to face Chelsea. Defender Marc Muniesa has recovered from the hamstring complaint which prevented him from being involved in the Palace match, while Hughes is optimistic a knee problem picked up by Stephen Ireland will not rule the midfielder out of Monday’s contest. Thibaut Courtois should be fit to return for Chelsea. The Belgium goalkeeper has missed the Blues’ last two matches with a muscular injury and manager Jose Mourinho expects him to return at the Britannia Stadium. Didier Drogba should overcome an ankle injury sustained in the Capital One Cup win against Derby, while defender Kurt Zouma is available for selection after suffering a head injury on Tuesday. Boss Jose Mourinho underlined the need for referee Neil Swarbrick to control the game. “I like [the test of going to Stoke],” he said. “I like, but it’s no problem with a good referee that can understand what is aggressivity, or when the aggression finishes and start the rules of the game. No problem at all. “We need a good referee, yes. I think we need a good, experienced referee who can understand exactly that. “What happened in both boxes in this kind of matches needs important decisions. “What is aggressivity and what goes beyond, go beyond the rules of the game. That is important, but I like it, yes.” The referee’s performance was a theme Mourinho kept revisiting, from being asked about Courtois dealing with crosses to and whether Hughes’ side is as aggressive as that of the Tony Pulis era. “We have our own identity,” the Chelsea boss said. “We want to play football. “We play beautiful football and that’s what we want to do, but we can compete with physicality. “That’s no problem for us. The referee is there and I’m not worried because the referee is there.” Press Association Hughes – once a player for the Catalan club himself – can see similarities between the two. And ahead of Stoke’s Barclays Premier League home clash with leaders Chelsea on Monday, the Welshman said: “Fabregas has been a top player for a long time, but in the future, who knows how good Bojan can be? “Nobody knows that at the moment, but we are all encouraged by his ability. “Fabregas is a player I have a great deal of respect for. We had a little set-to one year, but I was really impressed by his behaviour after and I have a lot of time for him as a person and as a player. “So I feel there are also similarities between their personalities. “They are both outstanding players and humble young men as well.” The “set-to” Hughes referred to came in 2007 after an FA Cup tie between the Blackburn side he was managing at the time and Fabregas’ Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, a turgid 0-0 draw. Fabregas was said to have made a comment to Hughes at the final whistle questioning how a former Barcelona player could employ such negative tactics in a game. Forward Bojan has made an impressive start to life in English football following his summer switch to the Potters from Barca, emerging as the most exciting element of the Staffordshire outfit’s attack. And the season so far has also seen some hugely accomplished performances from Fabregas, the former Arsenal midfielder who secured a return to the Premier League in June by leaving Barcelona for Chelsea.
THE Guyana Squash Association (GSA) in collaboration with Digicel will run off the annual Farfan & Mendes Junior Squash tournament at the Georgetown Club Inc. squash courts.This will be the final junior tournament for 2016 and concludes another successful year for Guyana’s junior players.The tournament will commence today and will conclude on Sunday when the finals will be contested. Most of the country’s top junior players will be participating in this tournament.Fifty players have entered the tournament and have been divided into nine categories with players of equal skill levels in each of the categories. Caribbean Girls Under-19 runner–up Taylor Fernandes is the top seed in Category A and will be challenged by Boys Under-13 Caribbean Champion Shomari Wiltshire, Alex Cheeks and the Islam twins Daniel and Anthony.Category B has Makeda Harding, Rebecca Low, Maya Collins, Sarah Lewis, Samuel Ince-Carvahal and Gianni Carpenter contending for the title. Category C comprises Demetrius De Abreu, Michael Alphonso, and the Jonas brothers Lucas and Ethan, while Category D has Makison Fernandes, Kirsten Gomes, Abosaide Cadogan, Aliyah Persaud and Jason Gomes. The other five categories will be equally as competitive as the top four.A few of the players will use this tournament as a warm-up as they will be leaving Guyana shortly to participate in the Canadian and U.S. Junior Squash Open tournaments scheduled to be held December.Matches will be played from 18.00hrs daily with the finals set to commence at 11:00hrs on Sunday.