Iran’s international goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand has said that his dreams have no limits in his new European adventure, Tehran Times daily reported on Friday.
Belgian side Royal Antwerp completed the signing of the former Persepolis goalkeeper earlier this week.
Beiranvand, 28, said that “After the 2018 FIFA World Cup, I was determined to play abroad, especially in Europe, but my former club Persepolis did not agree and I stayed there for another season.”
“When Marc Wilmots was appointed as the head coach of Iran national team, we had a good relationship with each other at that time. However, he did not stay in Iran for a long period. He encouraged me to play in European football.”
“Wilmots also compared me to great Belgian goalkeepers like Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet, which made me very happy,” Beiranvand was quoted as saying.
“Despite my late arrival in Belgium and the language barriers, I think I can make an impact quickly at Antwerp. We will see what happens. For me, there are truly no limits to achieving my dreams,” he said.
Lebanese foreign minister resigns to protest government’s poor performance
Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti submitted his resignation on Monday to protest the government’s poor performance, warning that Lebanon could become a “failed state.”
Hitti said he wished government members would reconsider many policies and practices to prioritise the interests of the citizens and the country.
If those in power did not work towards the interests of the Lebanese people “to rescue them, then the boat, God forbid, will sink with everyone,” Hitti said in a statement.
“Lebanon today is not the same that we cherished and wanted as a beacon and a model. Lebanon today is slipping into becoming a failed state,” Hitti added.
Hitti submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
A Lebanese government source said that Hitti’s resignation was also the result of Diab undermining the foreign minister’s position during last month’s visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“Hitti felt he was being marginalized regarding certain regional issues,” the source, who requested anonymity, told dpa.
Diab, supported by the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and their main ally Lebanese President Michel Aoun was appointed to form a government on Dec. 19 amid nationwide mass protests against corruption and for economic reforms.
In January, Diab formed his 20-member cabinet which vowed to tackle an ongoing economic crisis, which has been the worst to hit the country since the 1975-90 civil war.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Israeli army says it hit squad placing explosives along Syria border
The army said it “thwarted an attempt by 4 terrorists” to place the explosives.
“Our troops and aircraft fired toward the squad & a hit was identified,” the IDF said in a tweet, adding that they were “ready for any scenario & hold the Syrian regime responsible for all events in Syria.”
“We understand that they are killed,” a senior IDF officer later told dpa, speaking on the four armed men.
An engineering force was in the area and was about to “neutralise” the bomb, he said.
He was unable to say to which organisation the group belonged.
Throughout the week soldiers on lookout posts with a view of the border had been aware of “suspicious” activity and seen men dressed as shepherds approaching the border fence, the officer said.
On Sunday evening, they again spotted suspects approaching the border at around 8 pm (1700 GMT).
At around 11 pm (2000 GMT) they spotted four armed men approaching the fence, placing an explosive device near the fence.
“After they placed the improvised explosive device, we opened fire at them,” the senior officer, who declined to be named, told dpa, first from the ground, and subsequently also from an Israeli aircraft.
The bomb was placed at an Israeli outpost that “wasn’t manned at the moment, but can be manned when necessary.”
The squad had crossed the so-called alpha line separating the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Syria.
However, they had not crossed the fence securing the border, built by Israel several metres inwards from the alpha line.
Israel for the past weeks has been on heightened alert along the borders with Lebanon and with Syria, after it reportedly unwittingly killed a member of the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah movement in an airstrike outside the Syrian capital of Damascus, destroying an arms depot.
Israel has not confirmed or denied the airstrike, but admitted it was being “active” in both countries to prevent Iran from widening its influence in the region, whether through its proxies such as Hezbollah, or its own Revolutionary Guards.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syrian in the 1967 Six-Day War.
It applied its sovereignty over the strategic plateau overlooking the Sea of Galilee in 1981.
The heavily secured border has largely been quiet in recent years and incidents of this sort have been rare.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
No reason for Swiss authorities to investigate Infantino, FIFA says
Global football ruling body FIFA says there is no reason for Swiss authorities to launch criminal proceedings against its president, Gianni Infantino, who will continue in his role as normal.
Swiss authorities said on Thursday that proceedings had been launched against the current FIFA boss by a special prosecutor.
The judicial officer is looking into meetings Infantino had with the Swiss Attorney-General, Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have already denied any wrongdoing.
“There was and is absolutely no reason to open any investigation because nothing remotely criminal has happened and there is nothing at all to suggest any form of criminal wrongdoing,” said FIFA in a statement on Sunday.
It said that the meetings were not secret and took place in public places, such as hotels and restaurants, chosen by the Swiss Attorney-General’s office.
“FIFA and the FIFA President categorically deny any implication or suggestion that the FIFA President would ever have attempted to exert any form of improper influence on the Swiss Federal Prosecutor,” it added.
FIFA said special prosecutor Stefan Keller, who opened the proceedings, has “presented no serious elements or legal basis for the opening of any investigation and lacks any detail as to the substance of the case.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Canada’s economy up 4.5 percent in May
Canada’s gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in May because businesses reopened after unprecedented economic lockdowns due to the COVID-19 spread in March and April, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.
May saw rebounds across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 percent surge to mark its largest monthly increase since 1961.
May’s gains offset some of the March and April declines, economic activity remained 15 percent below February’s pre-pandemic level.
In May, 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.
Both goods-producing industries rose 8 percent while the services-producing sector was up 3.4 percent.
Preliminary information indicates an approximate 5 percent increase in GDP for June and an approximate 12 percent decline in real GDP in the second quarter of 2020.
Owing to their preliminary nature, these estimates will be revised on Aug. 28 with the release of the official GDP for June and the second quarter.