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  1. I see you are active, but keep this the way you are going. Pro.
  2. This is it, then. The first-ever electric-powered BMW M model. Given the outstanding pedigree of the German firm’s performance-oriented combustion models down the years, much is riding on the i4 M50. Based on the upcoming second-generation 4 Series Gran Coupé, alongside which it is produced in Munich, the powerful new four-door saloon joins the i3, iX3 and recently introduced iX in what will become a 12-strong line-up of electric models under BMW’s i sub-brand by the end of 2023. The £63,905 M50 is one of two initial i4 models planned for sale in the UK from November. Along with the milder, £53,405 rear-wheel- drive eDrive40, it will challenge the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, as well as the upcoming Audi A6 E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQE, for four-door electric car supremacy. Like the new iX, the i4 is based on an adapted version of BMW’s CLAR platform. It has been heavily modified to accommodate an electric powertrain, which includes a large battery bolted to the floorpan. This acts as a structural element, providing the body with added stiffness and helping to maintain a 50:50 weight balance. In its styling, the i4 is close to the look of the concept revealed early last year, with traditional cab-backward proportions and only detailed changes setting it apart from the 4 Series Gran Coupé. These include a blanked-off grille housing ultrasonic and radar sensors, a uniquely styled front bumper with minimal air ducting and thin LED headlights that form a tapered effect within a bold-looking front end. Further back, there are new touch-sensitive door grabs, aerodynamically optimised wheels ranging from a standard 17in diameter on the eDrive40 to an optional 20in on the M50, a unique rear bumper housing an i4-specific diffuser and, for the range-topping M model, a subtle rear spoiler lip. Dimensionally, the i4 is 76mm longer, 25mm wider and 6mm taller than the current 3 Series saloon, at 4785mm, 1852mm and 1448mm respectively, with a 4mm-longer wheelbase of 2856mm. Inside, a free-standing curved display houses 12.3in and 14.9in digital screens for the instruments and infotainment system atop a lightly modified dashboard from the 4 Series Gran Coupé. It is all controlled via a new eighth- generation iDrive system, which supports a new ‘Hey BMW’ voice activation function as well as new customisable features. There is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring and a new over-the-air function that can update software via an embedded 4G SIM card. The air-con controls, meanwhile, are easily accessible via the infotainment system. The rest is more typical M-car fare. There’s a thick-rim leather-bound multi-function steering wheel; the driving position is not quite as low as we’re used to on more sporting BMW models, but the standard front sports seats provide plenty of support and electronic adjustability; and a broad centre tunnel running through the interior forms the basis of a control panel that features a rather conventional gearlever in place of the slider mechanism used by the iX along with driving mode controls and a rotary controller for the iDrive system. Accommodation up front is quite good, although it’s compromised in the rear by a raised floor, required for the packaging of the battery, and a sloping roof line that robs head room. Boot space, meanwhile, is put at 470 litres, extending to 1290 litres when the split folding rear seats are stowed. Unlike a Taycan, there is no provision for luggage storage under the bonnet. An electric motor on the front axle produces 254bhp and 317lb ft and another on the rear generates 308bhp and 269lb ft. Combined, they give 536bhp and 586lb ft, which is 33bhp and 107lb ft more than the latest M4 Competition can deliver. Energy comes from an 80.7kWh lithium ion battery that operates at 400V for a claimed range of 259-324 miles. There is a familiarity about driving the i4 that will no doubt appeal to existing BMW owners. The controls and operation of many interior features are very similar to those of the marque’s combustion models. The throttle calibration is sweetly balanced, mating excellent pedal weighting with a good degree of sensitivity. In combination with the responsive nature of the electric motors, this makes for engaging properties even at lower speeds in an urban environment in Comfort mode, where the M50 operates almost exclusively in rear-wheel drive using its rear motor alone. However, it’s at higher speeds on the open road where the i4 really comes alive. Here, the powertrain combines the efforts of both motors to deliver rapid four-wheel-drive performance. Despite the motors being asked to haul well over two tonnes, the i4 proves very rapid when dialled into Boost mode. So configured, it is claimed to crack 0-62mph in just 3.9sec. Link :
  3. Gareth Southgate gave England's public what it wanted against Hungary and was rewarded with a deadly dull display greeted with a wave of indifference from a discontented Wembley gallery. On a night that got off to the worst of starts as Hungarian fans jeered the England players taking the knee before clashing violently with police and stewards, the fare on the pitch was bitterly disappointing, lacking inspiration and sparkle. England's manager has been criticised for conservatism in the past, but his team sheet provoked excitement. It was the kind of line-up his detractors have long demanded, with Phil Foden and Mason Mount alongside Declan Rice in midfield and serving Jack Grealish, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in attack. But there was the whiff of serious anti-climax around Wembley as the home supporters filed away into the night following a stodgy 1-1 draw, though England still remain on course to qualify for next year's Qatar World Cup. It was not exactly a case of "be careful what you wish for" as England were comfortably contained by a Hungary side who lost at home to Albania in their last qualifier, but it may have served as a cold shower for some of the more romantic notions aimed towards Southgate in recent times. He has based much of his qualifying campaign for the 2022 showpiece around the holding midfield partnership of Rice and Kalvin Phillips. With Phillips injured and Jordan Henderson on the bench, there was a sense of Southgate letting England off the leash. Yet they never even got out of the starting blocks. When John Stones equalised before half-time, it seemed certain England would go on to secure victory, especially as they were facing a team they had thrashed 4-0 in Budapest in September. Not a bit of it. The second half was, in fact, an eyesore. England were strangely lacking in ideas, despite the wealth of creation at their disposal. Hungary were resilient, well organised and presented Southgate's side with a problem they could not solve. Southgate did not hide from the reality. "Disappointing performance," he said. "Hungary caused us a tactical problem and we were not fluid. "We did not play at the level we need to play, simple as that. It's difficult to pinpoint and we will go away and look at the balance of the team. "We have to reflect and should not judge things on one game and that experiment. From the start we were not sharp with our play, gave the ball away, were over-running things and, for the first time in a long time, we have to hold our hands up." The biggest concern of all was the lightweight nature of the response when Hungary challenged England to break them down. The symbol of their struggles was captain Kane, so far out of form and so lacking in confidence that there could be no questioning Southgate's decision to take him out of the firing line with 14 minutes left. He looked jaded and off the pace, still dropping too deep on occasions, thus reducing his threat. In the past, taking Kane off with the game at stake and England chasing a winner would have been regarded as a high-risk strategy. Not here. Kane had not made the case to stay on. His run of scoring in 15 consecutive qualifiers was over. The removal of Grealish, arguably England's most dangerous player, was mystifying, but the substitution of Kane was not. No-one can be exempt from harsh judgement in such circumstances and Kane was a prime candidate to be hooked by Southgate. Grealish was at least carrying a threat and his departure was greeted by jeers from a large section of the Wembley crowd - and probably with great relief by Hungary. Sterling, somewhat marginalised at Manchester City these days, is another who is not at his best and he accompanied Kane on the long walk back to the bench after 76 minutes. Once again there could be no complaints. There was little or nothing to recommend this night on or off the field, although Southgate will have learned much and there is now every chance the central midfield pairing of Rice and Phillips will be restored at the earliest opportunity. If this was an experiment by Southgate, it failed and may turn out to be very short-lived. Link :
  4. Ireland's deputy PM has warned governments doing trade deals with the UK that it is a nation that "doesn't necessarily keep its word". Leo Varadkar made the comment after Dominic Cummings suggested the UK had always intended to tear up the Brexit deal it signed with the EU in 2019. Boris Johnson's ex-adviser said the plan had been to "ditch the bits we didn't like" after winning power. Mr Johnson fought the 2019 election on a "Get Brexit done" platform. During the campaign, he repeatedly claimed the withdrawal agreement he had negotiated with Brussels - including the Northern Ireland Protocol - was a "great" deal that was "oven ready". EU to offer fewer NI border checks on British goods EU to table new proposals for NI Protocol Will NI protocol talks lead to truce or trade war? The UK now wants to change the deal to allow goods to circulate more freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. EU officials are travelling to London later to present their proposals for the border - but they are unwilling to rewrite the protocol and their proposals are unlikely to satisfy Brexit minister Lord Frost, who laid out the UK's plans for an entirely new protocol on Tuesday. 'Babbling' Mr Cummings - who has turned against Mr Johnson since being removed from Downing Street at the end of 2020 - claims the prime minister never understood what the withdrawal agreement really meant. He tweeted: "What I've said does NOT mean 'the PM was lying in General Election 2019', he never had a scoobydoo what the deal he signed meant. "He never understood what leaving Customs Union meant until November 2020." When the prime minister did finally comprehend, said Mr Cummings, "he was babbling 'I'd never have signed it if I'd understood it' (but that WAS a lie)". The former Vote Leave campaign chief said that when Mr Johnson entered Downing Street in 2019, the country was facing the "worst constitutional crisis in a century" with much of what he called the "deep state" angling for "Brino" [Brexit in name only] or a second referendum. "So we wriggled through with best option we could and intended to get the trolley [his nickname for Boris Johnson] to ditch bits we didn't like after whacking [Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn. We prioritised," he said. 'Alarming' In July this year, Mr Cummings told the BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg the Irish government had also wanted to "fudge things" and "it suited both sides to sign up to something that was not what either side had really wanted and which punted difficult questions into the future". In his latest tweets, Mr Cummings dismissed suggestions that abandoning elements of the deal would mean breaking international law. "Our priorities meant e.g. getting Brexit done is 10,000 times more important than lawyers yapping re international law in negotiations with people who break international law all the time," he said. Mr Varadkar told RTE television: "I hope Dominic Cummings is speaking for himself and not for the British government. "But those comments are very alarming because that would indicate that this is a government, an administration, that acted in bad faith and that message needs to be heard around the world. "If the British government doesn't honour its agreements, it doesn't adhere to treaties it signs, that must apply to everyone else too. "At the moment they're going around the world, they're trying to negotiate new trade agreements... "Surely the message must go out to all countries around the world that this is a British government that doesn't necessarily keep its word and doesn't necessarily honour the agreements it makes. "And you shouldn't make any agreements with them until such time as you're confident that they keep their promises, and honour things, for example, like the protocol." Theresa May's former chief of staff, Lord Gavin Barwell, has, meanwhile, warned the UK's proposal for changing the Northern Ireland protocol has "no chance of success and is going to do even further damage to our relationship with our nearest neighbours". "My problem is if you agree something and fight an election saying what a fantastic deal this is - and then almost immediately afterwards you start to try and unpick the thing - the danger is the people you negotiating with think you didn't agree it in good faith in first place, and that makes it much more challenging when you try to renegotiate it," he told an Institute for Government event. He said he did not like the current Northern Ireland Protocol - but argued that the UK government had to meet the EU "half way". Link :
  5. Accepted. Make sure to read the Journalists desk after you rank will be added.
  6. Autocar Subscriber Extra is our package of exclusive benefits for our magazine subscribers. One of these is a weekly behind-the-scenes email newsletter from our editors. For a limited time, we're giving all Autocar readers free access to these newsletters and columns. You can subscribe to Autocar magazine with our Summer Sale offer here and save 50% on your first 13 issues. You may have read in this week’s magazine the story that came off the back of James Attwood’s interrogation of Porsche’s technical chief, Michael Steiner. Steiner fleshed out one of the biggest current talking points on Planet Petrolhead, which is that the 718 range will in 2022 sprout bespoke electric versions of the Boxster and Cayman. This we already knew. What we didn’t know is that the platform for these machines will house the battery pack not along the floor of the car, as is typical for EVs, but behind the rear bulkhead, where the 718’s flat four (or, in the case of the new GTS, flat six) traditionally nestles. Autocar Subscriber Extra is our package of exclusive benefits for our magazine subscribers. One of these is a weekly behind-the-scenes email newsletter from our editors. For a limited time, we're giving all Autocar readers free access to these newsletters and columns. You can subscribe to Autocar magazine with our Summer Sale offer here and save 50% on your first 13 issues. You may have read in this week’s magazine the story that came off the back of James Attwood’s interrogation of Porsche’s technical chief, Michael Steiner. Steiner fleshed out one of the biggest current talking points on Planet Petrolhead, which is that the 718 range will in 2022 sprout bespoke electric versions of the Boxster and Cayman. This we already knew. What we didn’t know is that the platform for these machines will house the battery pack not along the floor of the car, as is typical for EVs, but behind the rear bulkhead, where the 718’s flat four (or, in the case of the new GTS, flat six) traditionally nestles. It’s an intriguing and encouraging idea. Although it means the centre of gravity of the pack and most likely also of the entire car will be higher, positioning the heavy battery cells as such should allow Porsche to more faithfully replicate the petrol car’s lovely handling balance and, crucially, retain the low-slung driving position. As someone who in general finds the handling of electric performance cars – even very good ones – almost too neutral, I like the sound of this approach. If we’re going to enjoy electric performance cars with little or no soul in the powertrain department, they’re going to need to make up for it with an expressive and biddable chassis. And putting the driver as close to the road as possible will help. None of this will be easy to execute, but the news shows Porsche is at least thinking about the problem in the right way, especially when it must be so tempting to resort to the ‘skateboard’ battery layout. Many manufacturers will simply combine that with the phenomenal torque control that’s possible with individual electric motors for each of the rear wheels, and then put the PR machine into overdrive with stories of how much quicker and more secure the EV model is than the ICE one ever was. Thanks, but that is something we really don’t want or need in two-seat sports cars. Porsche’s approach does, however, leave me wondering what the GT car of the future looks like in the electric era. Front-engined, rear-driven coupés such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Ferrari Roma have a different flavour of handling from cars like the 718 Cayman or Lotus Exige but it’s no less enjoyable. In fact, I think I prefer GT-car handling. With it, you can more easily and safely have fun on roads you’re sight-reading and in weather conditions that are less than ideal. The slow-in, fast-out approach with a chassis that telegraphs its intentions well is just as satisfying as driving a perfectly balanced mid-engined machine. By way of some very non-scientific postulation, I’m pretty sure most people would have more fun driving a Caterham Seven than an Ariel Atom. So the GT-car handling character is well worth preserving – but how? Porsche’s approach does, however, leave me wondering what the GT car of the future looks like in the electric era. Front-engined, rear-driven coupés such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Ferrari Roma have a different flavour of handling from cars like the 718 Cayman or Lotus Exige but it’s no less enjoyable. In fact, I think I prefer GT-car handling. With it, you can more easily and safely have fun on roads you’re sight-reading and in weather conditions that are less than ideal. The slow-in, fast-out approach with a chassis that telegraphs its intentions well is just as satisfying as driving a perfectly balanced mid-engined machine. By way of some very non-scientific postulation, I’m pretty sure most people would have more fun driving a Caterham Seven than an Ariel Atom. So the GT-car handling character is well worth preserving – but how? Link :
  7. Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 September Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app Anthony Joshua cut a lean, powerful figure as he weighed in at 17st 2lbs (109kg) for Saturday's world heavyweight title defence against Oleksandr Usyk. The three-belt champion tipped the scales almost 20lb (9kg) heavier than Usyk's 15st 11lbs (100kg) and at the same weight as his last fight. Joshua, 31, has shed the pounds in recent years, leaving fans asking if the British heavyweight is deliberately slimming down. Does he know his best weight, or is he tailoring his weight with a particular opponent in mind? 'Joshua's weight depends on the opponent' When Joshua weighed in for his first pro fight against Emanuele Leo in 2013, he was a sprightly 16st 6lbs (104kg). Four years later he reached his highest weight - 18st 2lbs (115kg) before fighting Carlos Takam - but there has been a noticeable shift since, and he was 16st 13lbs (108kg) for his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019. He put on a few more pounds for his next encounter, against Kubrat Pulev, but fans have been surprised how lean he has looked heading into this weekend's fight. "It depends on the opponent and him feeling at his best moving around the ring," Joshua's long-term physio Rob Madden told BBC Sport. "He's fought [Wladimir] Klitschko at 116kg, he fought Ruiz at 109kg, so that's a seven or eight kilo difference. "I think for Ruiz II he was probably a touch light. None of the team can say to him: 'We think you should be 113kg'. That's something he only really knows. That's where he takes charge." Big-fight predictions and cast your vote I'd fight King Kong if I had to - Joshua 5 Live Boxing: Joshua v Usyk - weigh-in and final predictions 'AJ has taken the reins since Ruiz defeat' Joshua's defeat by Ruiz on his American debut in the summer of 2019 sent shockwaves through the sport. Ruiz was virtually unknown, but stripped Joshua of his world titles and undefeated record in the most illustrious of settings at Madison Square Garden. Joshua shed 10lb for the rematch, successfully opting to outbox Ruiz over 12 rounds rather than engaging in another firefight. And he has been much more hands-on in the running of his camp. "In the early days, he didn't know what he needed," said Madden. "During the recent stage of his career he's tried to take the reins a bit more over various aspects. "There was probably a shift after the Ruiz fight, where he wanted to gain a bit more control over how things were done in camp. Not in a bad way. I think that's a sign of maturity in an athlete." Madden said Joshua's fighting weight is the result of a "team strategy" but that ultimately Joshua knows best "the weight that suits him". "I wouldn't say he fully makes the call," he said. "He's expressed to us at 116kg he felt too heavy and fatigued a lot earlier. At 109kg he was really light and nimble, but felt he could have been a bit heavier. "It's been a journey of learning of what works for him and what doesn't." Usyk in profile: Fighter, juggler... spaceman? 'He's going for speed against Usyk' Usyk, 34, is a formidable opponent but is naturally a cruiserweight and reigned as the undisputed champion in the division. The Ukrainian is a renowned tactician, and Tyson Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren is convinced Joshua has tailored his weight with Usyk in mind. "Joshua looks a bit slimmer," he told BBC Sport. "He's going for speed. He's got to be more mobile." Usyk would be an impressive scalp for Joshua, but the biggest challenge is still to come. Fury faces Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month, and Joshua is eager to fight his domestic rival should he win. Madden expects Joshua would again adjust his weight for that fight - and can do so quickly. "Fury hasn't been on the mind," he said. "It was until very recently, but the focus is on Usyk. "He can genetically change quite quickly. If he wanted to gain lean weight quickly he can and he can shed it pretty quick as well. "He'll know how he feels at which weight and in his head he'll be able to know where he wants to be with Tyson." What has Joshua said? Joshua said this week he would "come in light" to suit his gameplan. "I'll be on my bike all night," he said. "Run around the ring, try not to get hit. I don't want to get out of 140 heartbeats per minute, so I'm really skinny. "I'm as solid as a rock. I'm strong. I'm good at the weight. "I've learnt about training for specific opponents. When you're knocking out guys in three or four rounds, it's different. I studied boxing and what works for me, and weight is not a priority." Warren may describe Joshua as "gun shy", but heavyweight contender Derek Chisora says his fellow Briton has lost none of his famous punching power. "In the heavyweight game, you know how long it takes to drop those pounds? Dropping seven pounds is a lot and it's hard," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "AJ has dropped so much weight, but he's kept his power. His power is still the same. "We know it's going to be a long night but the victory will be AJ's with a knockout." Link :
  8. When 22-year-old Gabby Petito didn't return home from her cross-country road trip, her case sparked a firestorm of national media coverage and social media attention. Americans with their own missing relatives have been left wondering why their cases have not received the same interest. She was found dead in a Wyoming national park. Her partner refused to speak to the police, then vanished. Millions of people followed along on newspaper front pages, cable news shows and social media. Every new development in the Gabby Petito case has been amplified and analysed by sleuths, professional and amateur. Amid the suggestions and conspiracy theories, a flood of tips helped lead law enforcement to where Ms Petito lay dead. Missing blogger Gabby Petito confirmed dead Missing girl re-unites with mother after 14 years The amateur sleuth who searched for a body - and found one But for hundreds of thousands of other missing Americans, particularly non-white victims, public attention has been scarce. Researchers call it "missing white woman syndrome" and Michelle N Jeanis, an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, says it has been in existence for decades. Ms Jeanis studies the relationship between missing persons and the media. She contends the news media's use of a "cautionary tale framing" around white women as victims is lucrative to the industry and reinforces systemic social biases, especially on social media. "Young, beautiful, typically middle class, white women are incredibly newsworthy when bad things happen to them," she told the BBC. In her research, Ms Jeanis found that social media often functions similarly to traditional media in such cases, so "white individuals get far more likes, shares and all forms of [social media] engagement than individuals of colour". Here are the stories of three people still hoping for answers. Greg Day no longer has "good days", only "OK days". He wishes he could hear his kids laugh again. In July 2012, his 28-year-old daughter, Dawn, was found floating face-down in the waterways of Fremont County, Wyoming. Then, almost exactly four years later, his other child, Jeff, also aged 28, was also found dead. "Greg Day believes that both of his children were murdered," says Lynnette Grey Bull, a confidante of the Day family and founding director of the "Not Our Native Daughters" non-profit. The organisation is one of many seeking to raise awareness of the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in North America. According to the Justice Department, Native women are killed at 10 times the national average. In Wyoming alone, where Ms Petito went missing, more than 700 Native Americans were reported missing over the last decade. Few have seen their cases resolved or taken seriously. "I've sat with families that I couldn't give any answers to," says Ms Grey Bull, who sits on the state's task force on missing and murdered indigenous people. "It's a heavy burden to carry these stories and voices." According to her, Mr Day has sent in tips and penned a personal letter to the Fremont County attorney general this year. Like so many others though, he has received no justice and little help. "The bottom line for us as Natives is we're always disregarded," Ms Grey Bull tells the BBC. "The statistic that lies over my head is that I am the most stalked, raped, murdered and sexually assaulted of every ethnicity in this country," she says. "Why are our cases not paid attention to?" Military veteran David Robinson II has been searching for his youngest son Daniel, 24, for three months. Daniel was born without a left hand but it did not prevent him from playing everything from football to the trombone. Graduating with honours from the College of Charleston, the amateur rock collector followed his heart into the field of geology. His father remembers him as mild-mannered but funny, the kind of person that "brings everybody together". Daniel was last seen leaving his job site in Buckeye, Arizona in his blue-grey Jeep Renegade. A local rancher found the vehicle in a ravine about two months ago, but the trail has since run cold. David still has faith his son is alive and he has moved to Arizona, upending his own life, to keep the pressure on investigators. Buckeye police have sent out off-road vehicles, drones and dogs, but he says their efforts have not been serious. He claims to have conducted his own search operations with over 200 volunteers nonstop for seven weeks. The family has also set up a GoFundMe and a petition to support their efforts, but David fears precious time has been lost. The massive interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance has left him with mixed emotions. "To become a national story, to have the FBI and other agencies working on it, it's everything I wanted for my son," he says. "The sad part is the family had to grieve the outcome [her death], but they have a little sense of closure. I don't have any. When his friend Lauren Cho walked away from their bus, Cody Orell saw that she was upset about something, but did not think much of it. "I didn't pry into it then, but of course now I wish..." he told the local Hi-Desert Star newspaper in July. Known to her friends as "El", Ms Cho, 30, sang soprano as a teen and went on to become a music teacher. In search of a fresh start, she quit her job over the winter and joined Mr Orell's cross-country road trip. She reportedly planned to run a food truck at their final destination: Bombay Beach, California. But later, the duo would use their converted bus as living quarters and Ms Cho would become a private chef to her friend's Airbnb nearby. On 28 June, when she walked away from their bus home, she took no phone, food or water. Search and rescue operations could not even find her tracks. A police helicopter has found no trace. The Petito case has drawn interest anew in Ms Cho's disappearance. On a Facebook page called "Find Lauren Cho", its administrators wrote: "We realise that on the surface, the public information for both cases share some similarities. Ultimately, these two cases are NOT the same and the differences run deeper than what meets the public eye." "Somebody knows something," they concluded hopefully. Link :
  9. Upgrading @THē-GHōST from Member to Co-leader, Congratulations! Upgrading @#Mr.Devil from Member to Co-leader, Congratulations! Well done guys, you have helped the project with much things. Keep this as you are going.
  10. Chinese company Evergrande has started to repay investors in its wealth management business with property, as the world's most indebted real estate developer faces a key test this week. Major banks have reportedly been told that they won't receive interest payments on loans that are due Monday, while interest payments of $84m (£61m) on the firm's bonds are also due on Thursday. The company's shares fell by more than 10% in Hong Kong trade on Monday. The property giant's deepening debt problems have triggered fears over the impact its potential collapse could have on China's economy. Why is Evergrande in trouble? Evergrande grew to be one of China's biggest companies by borrowing more than $300bn (£217bn). Last year, Beijing brought in new rules to control the amount owed by big real estate developers. The new measures led Evergrande to offer its properties at major discounts to ensure money was coming in to keep the business afloat. Now, it is struggling to meet the interest payments on its debts. This uncertainty has seen Evergrande's share price tumble by around 85% this year. Its bonds have also been downgraded by global credit ratings agencies. Why would it matter if Evergrande collapses? There are several reasons why Evergrande's problems are serious. Firstly, many people bought property from Evergrande even before building work began. They have paid deposits and could potentially lose that money if it goes bust. There are also the companies that do business with Evergrande. Firms including construction and design firms and materials suppliers are at risk of incurring major losses, which could force them into bankruptcy. The third is the potential impact on China's financial system. "The financial fallout would be far reaching. Evergrande reportedly owes money to around 171 domestic banks and 121 other financial firms," the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Mattie Bekink told the BBC. If Evergrande defaults, banks and other lenders may be forced to lend less. This could lead to what is known as a credit crunch, when companies struggle to borrow money at affordable rates. A credit crunch would be very bad news for the world's second largest economy, because companies that can't borrow find it difficult to grow, and in some cases are unable to continue operating. This may also unnerve foreign investors, who could see China as a less attractive place to put their money. Is Evergrande 'too big to fail'? The very serious potential fallout of such a heavily-indebted company collapsing has led some analysts to suggest that Beijing may step in to rescue it. The EIU's Mattie Bekink thinks so: "Rather than risk disrupting supply chains and enraging homeowners, we think the government will probably find a way to ensure Evergrande's core business survives." Others though are not sure. In a post on China's chat app and social media platform WeChat, the influential editor-in-chief of state-backed Global Times newspaper Hu Xijin said Evergrande should not rely on a government bailout and instead needs to save itself. This also chimes with Beijing's aim to rein in corporate debt, which means that such a high profile bailout could be seen as setting a bad example. What does Evergrande do? Businessman Hui Ka Yan founded Evergrande, formerly known as the Hengda Group, in 1996 in Guangzhou, southern China. Evergrande Real Estate currently owns more than 1,300 projects in more than 280 cities across China. The broader Evergrande Group now encompasses far more than just real estate development. Its businesses range from wealth management, making electric cars and food and drink manufacturing. It even owns one of country's biggest football teams - Guangzhou FC. Mr Hui has a personal fortune of around $10.6bn, according to Forbes. Link :
  11. Lotus’s first brand-new series-production model in more than a decade is a stunning mid-engined, two-seat sports coupé with supercar-aping looks, a high-quality interior and the option of four-cylinder turbo power supplied by Mercedes-AMG. The Emira (pronounced ‘eh-meer-ah’) will eventually be priced from £59,995 and is pitched at what Lotus believes to be a gap in the market below higher-performance versions of the Porsche 718 Cayman. It will go on sale in all key global markets next spring, initially powered by the Toyota-sourced supercharged 3.5-litre V6 from the outgoing Exige and Evora, before the 2.0-litre AMG unit follows in the autumn. The first version on sale will be the limited-run First Edition, which brings the V6 engine and a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes for £75,995. Bespoke First Edition touches include a set of two-tone 20in alloy wheels, branded brake calipers, a tyre pressure monitoring system, black contrasting lower trim and 12-way adjustable heated seats. Buyers can choose from six exterior and seven interior colours, while the standard-fit Design Pack brings privacy glass, a black Alcantara headliner and sports pedals. The First Edition is also equipped with the Drivers Pack which offers the choice of 'Tour' or 'Sport' suspension, and can be specified with either Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The Emira will be Hethel’s final non-electrified car. It follows the limited-run Evija electric hypercar in this promising new era for Lotus under the majority ownership of Geely, which is funding not only new cars but also new facilities and manufacturing processes with the aim of products being built to a higher and more consistent quality. Underpinning the Emira is Lotus’s new Sports Car Architecture, which was developed using the extruded and bonded aluminium chassis technology first used by Lotus on the Elise of 1996. The car is 4412mm long, 1985mm wide and 1225mm high, with a wheelbase of 2575mm, making it just a fraction larger than the Evora. While the architecture is nominally a development of that older car’s, only the wheelbase remains the same. The tracks have been widened, larger 20in wheels can be fitted and the Emira has dramatically different proportions to the Evora. The first deliveries will be special, higher-spec Launch Edition cars using the Toyota V6, which will be offered with a manual or automatic gearbox. The AMG four-pot (which became available through a new technical partnership between Lotus and AMG, born of Geely’s stakeholding in AMG parent firm Daimler) has been given its own tune for Lotus, along with a bespoke air intake and exhaust. It will come exclusively with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Both versions of the Emira have their engines mounted transversely and powering the rear axle alone. Lotus hasn’t yet confirmed final performance figures for either version of the Emira, rather that there will be a range of outputs between 355bhp and 395bhp, alongside maximum torque of up to 317lb ft. The 0-62mph time will be less than 4.5sec and the car will be able to reach a top speed of more than 180mph. CO2 emissions, meanwhile, will officially be below 180g/km. In terms of design, the Emira takes heavy influence from the new Evija, sitting low and wide with prominent intakes, short overhangs and bulky haunches among its defining characteristics. Styled by Lotus design boss Russell Carr, the Emira has been made more usable and fitted with more technology than any Lotus before it. That modernisation push extends most obviously to LED lighting at the front and rear and, on the inside, a 10.25in touchscreen for an infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, along with a 12.3in digital driver’s information display. Link :
  12. Lionel Messi made his home debut for Paris St-Germain but was replaced in the second half as they went on to beat Lyon to make it six wins from six. Summer signing Messi hit the angle of post and bar with a free-kick in the first half and forced a save from Anthony Lopes but was below his best. With the score 1-1, the 34-year-old was replaced by right-back Achraf Hakimi and did not look happy at coming off. Messi was given a round of applause, but not a standing ovation by his fans. The forward, who left Barcelona this summer, did not stop but briefly said something to boss Mauricio Pochettino while walking past him to the bench. Another PSG substitute, Mauro Icardi, scored the injury-time winner in the Ligue 1 game, as he headed in Kylian Mbappe's cross. Lucas Paqueta swept in Karl Toko Ekambi's cross to give Lyon the lead. But Neymar equalised with a controversial penalty. He appeared to pull back Malo Gusto in the box but the teenage Lyon defender was penalised instead, with a spot-kick given. Neymar waited for Lopes to move before slotting in. 'I asked how he was, he said he was OK' PSG manager Pochettino said his decision to substitute Messi was not controversial. "I think we all know we have great players in this 35-man squad," said the former Tottenham manager. "Only 11 can play, we can't play more. The decisions in the game are made for the good of the team and each player. "Every coach thinks about that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't. At the end of the day, that's why we're here. "These are decisions that have to be made by the coach. As for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was OK. That was it. That was our exchange." This was Messi's third game for Paris St-Germain - the third game he has played for a club other than Barcelona. It took 40 days between joining and making his home debut for fitness reasons and because of the last international break. His debut came last month as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 win over Reims, with the goals scored before his introduction. He made his first start on Wednesday in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Club Bruges. Like that game, the much-hyped front three of Mbappe, Neymar and Messi all started on Sunday. Messi hit the angle of the woodwork in Belgium and again in Paris - and is still waiting for a first goal in PSG colours. He showed a few moments of link-up play with his old Barcelona team-mate Neymar, but fitting into the rest of the team remains a work in progress. PSG's next game is Wednesday's Ligue 1 trip to Metz, as they bid to make it seven wins from seven at the top of the league. Link :
  13. France's defence minister has cancelled talks with her UK counterpart amid the row prompted by a new security deal between Britain, the US and Australia. Paris is angry after Australia signed the Aukus pact to build nuclear-powered submarines, pulling out of a major contract with France in the process. UK PM Boris Johnson said France had nothing to worry about from the deal. But Florence Parly's meeting with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in London this week has been called off. Lord Ricketts, a former British ambassador to France who was due to co-chair the two days of talks, confirmed the meeting had been "postponed to a later date". 'Very friendly relationship' Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast that "all bilateral relationships go through periods of tension", but added: "I have absolutely no doubt that ultimately our relationship with France will endure." He said the pact with Australia and the US was intended to "strengthen and deepen" the relationship with two long-standing defence partners and to support high-tech manufacturing and technology companies across the UK. The Aukus agreement brokered last week, widely seen as an effort to counter China's influence in the contested South China Sea, ended a deal worth $37bn (£27bn) signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines. Submarine deal delivers France some hard truths Aukus pact could signal power shift in Asia-Pacific French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described it as a "stab in the back" that constitutes "unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners". And in a virtually unprecedented step among allies, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the recall of the French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra. The European Union has said it was "analysing" the impact of the Aukus agreement on its trade negotiations with Australia, which are due to resume in October. Speaking on a flight to New York, where he will take part in the UN General Assembly, Mr Johnson said France should not "worry" about the alliance, insisting that Anglo-French relations were "ineradicable". The prime minister said Britain and France had a "very friendly relationship", which he described as being of "huge importance". "Our love of France is ineradicable," he told reporters. "Aukus is not in any way meant to be zero-sum, it's not meant to be exclusionary. It's not something that anybody needs to worry about and particularly not our French friends." Mr Johnson is being joined on the trip with new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who launched her own defence of the agreement in an article for the Sunday Telegraph. Ms Truss said the deal showed the UK's readiness to be "hard-headed" in defending its interests and had the potential to create hundreds of new skilled jobs. Meanwhile, Australia has defended scrapping its deal with France in favour of the Aukus pact. Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal. Speaking on Sunday, Mr Morrison said: "Ultimately, this was a decision about whether the submarines that were being built, at great cost to the Australian taxpayer, were going to be able to do a job that we needed it to do when they went into service and our strategic judgement based on the best possible of intelligence and defence advice was that it would not." The agreement means Australia will become just the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines. The pact will also see the allies share cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and other undersea technologies. But it has been criticised by China, which has accused the three powers of having a "Cold War mentality". And on Monday, North Korea, which has its own closely-watched nuclear weapon and missile programmes, warned it could spark a "nuclear arms race". "These are extremely undesirable and dangerous acts which will upset the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific region," state media KCNA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying. Link :
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