French President Emmanuel Macron delivers on World Cup 2018 promise

first_imgFrance President Emmanuel Macron has lived up to his promise and is attending the FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final between France and Belgium in St Petersburg.The 40-year-old had promised that he would travel to Russia and watch the match if France reach the semi-finals.”If the French team passes beyond the quarter-finals I will come and support,” Macron had said during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.World Cup 2018 Semi-final: France vs Belgium LiveSeveral high-profile world leaders are in attendance at the Saint Petersburg stadium including Belgium King Philippe of Belgium, Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. Several high-profile world leaders are in attendance at the Saint Petersburg stadium including Belgium King Philippe (second from left) and Queen Mathilde (extreme left)Hosting the World Cup has allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to step up his diplomacy, securing a series of meetings with international guests on the sidelines of the tournament at a time when Russia is increasingly isolated on the global stage.Human rights groups have previously called for Western leaders to boycott the World Cup in Russia due to Moscow’s actions in Syria.Two of the best teams of the ongoing tournament, France and Belgium, are up against each other in the first semi-final at St. Petersburg.Both France and Belgium are attacking units, both have absolutely deadly skills in front of the goal and both the countries have some famed names in the midfield.While the French squad is one of the youngest in the tournament with an average age of 26 years, this is Belgium’s golden generation and they are expected to deliver.advertisementFrance fell short at the final hurdle in Euro 2016 when they were heavily favoured against Portugal, Belgium were shocked by Wales in the quarter-final of the tournament.Belgium have scored 14 goals in five matches and were hugely impressive in their 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brazil, with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne combining to devastating effect to oust the five-times world champions.In contrast, France sleep-walked through the group stages, eking out wins over Australia and Peru before a stultifying 0-0 draw with Denmark.Their early struggles had ‘Les Bleus’ being written off in some quarters, but all that changed when they faced Argentina in the last 16 in what must be a leading contender for the most exciting match of the tournament.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more

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Fires floods and ferocious winds on top weather list in 2017

first_imgEnvironment Canada’s chief climatologist has compiled his top weather stories of 2017 — a year which David Phillips says was marked by unusually long periods of conditions that just wouldn’t go away. His Top 10:1.British Columbia’s Longest and Most Destructive Wildfire Season: The province was forced to declare its longest-standing provincial emergency when 1,265 fires scorched 12,000 square kilometres of forest, bush and grassland. About 50,000 people were forced to flee. The fires came during the province’s driest summer on record.2.Dry and Hot in the West: Summer temperatures broke records — Medicine Hat, Alta., recorded 34 days of plus-30 C weather — and it was so dry that Regina was 22 per cent under its previous record for low rainfall. On the bright side, no rain meant no mosquitoes.3. Spring Flooding in Quebec and Ontario: Montreal and Ottawa had their wettest springs in history. In May, rivers from Gananoque to Gaspesie flooded past historic maximum flows. More than 5,000 residences were swamped and 550 roads were washed out by floods or covered by landslides. Two people were swept away by the swollen Sainte-Anne River in the Gaspé region.4.British Columbia’s Cold and Snowy Winter: The West Coast was shivering through its second coldest winter in the last 25 years. It was distinguished by the duration, frequency and length of snowfall and snow on the ground. Skiing was good, but public golf courses were closed for up to two months — the first such closures in 20 years.5.Another Windsor flood: Two Storms of the Century in a Year. Less than a year after a record $153- million flood hit the Ontario city and surrounding area, another arrived on Aug. 28. In less than 48 hours, 222 mm of rain fell in southwest Windsor. Nearby LaSalle received 125 mm that day and another 160 mm the next. Curbs were piled high with waterlogged carpets, spoiled furniture, broken appliances and sodden belongings.6.Central Canada’s Missing Summer: Total rainfall from April to July around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River was the highest in 70 years. Cool temperatures, overcast skies and frequent spring showers hung around all summer. Farmers were weeks behind schedule. Lake Ontario reached an unprecedented 75.9 metres above sea level in May. The Toronto Islands were off limits from mid-May to the end of July.7.A New Storm of the Century: A storm struck Ontario on March 13 before moving into Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It led to a multi-car pileup, in whiteout conditions, involving 15 transport trucks and other vehicles on Highway 401. The highway was closed as twisted metal littered the road and a toxic acid spill polluted the air. The storm then dumped 50 centimetres of snow at more than half the reporting stations in southern Quebec. No previous storm eclipsed so many snowfall records. The storm killed five people.8.Summer in September: The first day of fall marked Central Canada’s warmest weather. From Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, more than 1,000 heat records tumbled as humidex values shot up close to or above 40, prompting a week-long stretch of heat warnings. Southern Quebec had its warmest October since at least 1870.9.Newfoundland’s Brier Blast: Hurricane-force winds ravaged Newfoundland on March 1 and 2, but it was the “Brier blast” on March 11 that saw winds on the Avalon Peninsula peak at Bay de Verde at a hurricane-force of 190 km/h. Some 70,000 residents and visitors were left in the dark, trees were uprooted, traffic lights and power lines toppled, and the second-storey of some homes ripped off.10.New Brunswick’s Glaze Storm: A long-lasting mix of rain, snow, freezing rain and ice pellets over Quebec and Atlantic Canada in late January killed two and injured dozens. Nearly 300,000 residents were left in the dark and cold after power lines snapped. Some communities were without electricity for up to 12 days. Canadian troops were deployed to help with the ongoing emergency response.last_img read more

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