England announce March friendly with Italy | England will play Italy in an international friendly on March 27 at Wembley Stadium, the country's soccer governing body (FA) said on Monday.

England announce March friendly with Italy

England announce March friendly with Italy

England announce March friendly with Italy

England announce March friendly with Italy

England announce March friendly with Italy

England announce March friendly with Italy
England announce March friendly with Italy
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REUTERS: England will play Italy in an international friendly on March 27 at Wembley Stadium, the country's soccer governing body (FA) said on Monday.

Both sides qualified for Euro 2020 after topping their respective groups, with Italy qualifying with a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 games.

The fixture will be played exactly two years to the day since they last played out a 1-1 draw at the same venue. England also host Denmark, who they last played in March 2014, four days later at Wembley.

England are in Group D at Euro 2020 along with Croatia, the Czech Republic and a yet-to-be decided playoff winner. Italy are in Group A with Turkey, Wales and Switzerland. The tournament kicks off on June 12.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

'Old man' Trump is 'bluffing' says North Korea: KCNA

'Old man' Trump is 'bluffing' says North Korea: KCNA

SEOUL: North Korea on Monday (Dec 9) slammed US President Trump for "bluffing" and called him "an old man bereft of patience" as Pyongyang ramps up pressure on Washington over stalled nuclear talks.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un engaged in mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

Pyongyang has set Washington an end-of-year time limit to offer it new concessions in deadlocked nuclear negotiations, and has said it will adopt an unspecified "new way" if nothing acceptable is forthcoming.

Denuclearisation negotiations have been at a standstill since a summit in Hanoi broke up in February.

Trump has indicated that the option of military action was still on the table while downplaying Pyongyang's actions, saying the North's leader would not want to "interfere" with the upcoming US presidential elections.

"I'd be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely," Trump said Saturday.

READ: Trump says Kim Jong Un risks losing 'everything' after North Korea claims major test

But Kim Yong Chol, who served as the North's counterpart to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo until the collapse of the Hanoi meeting, slammed Trump's "odd words and expression", referring to him as a "heedless and erratic old man".

"Our action is for his surprise. So, if he does not get astonished, we will be irritated," Kim, now the chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

"This naturally indicates that Trump is an old man bereft of patience," he said, adding: "From those words and expressions we can read how irritated he is now."

The official noted that the North Korean leader had not used "any irritating expression towards the US president as yet", but warned his "understanding" of Trump could change.

"He must understand that his own style bluffing and hypocrisy sound rather abnormal and unrealistic to us," Kim said. "We have nothing more to lose."

The North has raised tensions in recent months with a series of assertive statements and multiple weapons tests - including a "very important test" at its key satellite launch site at the weekend - as its negotiating time limit approaches.

Kim's New Year speech, a key political set-piece in the isolated country, is also due on Jan 1.

On Thursday, the North's vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui warned of again referring to Trump as a "dotard" - Pyongyang's favoured nickname for the US president at the height of tensions in 2017.

Another senior official said last week that what gift the US receives for Christmas will depend entirely on Washington's actions.

No pain, no fame: Thai massage could get UNESCO status

No pain, no fame: Thai massage could get UNESCO status

BANGKOK: At Bangkok's Reclining Buddha temple Krairath Chantrasri says he is a proud custodian of a 2,000-year-old skill - the body-folding, sharp-elbowed techniques of Thai massage, which this week could be added to UNESCO's prestigious heritage list.

From upscale Bangkok spas and Phuket beach fronts to modest street-side shophouses, "nuad Thai" - or Thai massage - is ubiquitous across the kingdom, where an hour of the back-straightening discipline can cost as little as US$5.

This week it may be added to UNESCO's list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage" when the body meets in the Colombian capital of Bogota (Dec 9-14).

Krairath, who teaches at the Reclining Buddha School inside the famed Wat Pho temple, helps thousands of Thai and foreign students who flock to the centre each year.

The son of a masseuse, he takes great pride in his role sharing the ancient discipline at a temple whose certification is a proud banner for any massage shop.

"I'm a continuation of our collective knowledge," the 40-year-old told AFP.

At Wat Pho's complex, trainees run through a catalogue of moves targeting the body's acupuncture points with thumbs, elbows, knees and feet also incorporating deep stretches and contortions.

Originating in India, doctors and monks were said to have brought these methods 2,500 years ago to Thailand, passing its secrets from master to disciple in temples and later within families.

Under Thailand's King Rama III in the nineteenth century, scholars engraved their knowledge of the field onto the stones of Wat Pho.

But the practice really took off in 1962 thanks to the formation of the school, which has since trained more than 200,000 massage therapists who practice in 145 countries.

TURNING THE TABLES

Massage employs tens of thousands of Thais.

The school's director Preeda Tangtrongchitr says they usually see an uptick of interest from Thais when the economy is bad.

"For many people who are disabled or in debt, this job is an opportunity because it requires no material - only their hands and knowledge," he says.

Today a therapist at a top-end spa can charge around US$100 an hour inside Thailand, two or three times more in London, New York or Hong Kong where the Thai massage brand is booming.

But the training is "demanding", says Chilean Sari, a professional masseuse who travelled to Bangkok to learn the discipline.

"The technique is very precise, there are so many things to be aware of," the 34-year-old told AFP, as she made rotations with her palm on a fellow student's skull.

The teachings focus on directing blood circulation around problem areas to solve muscle aches - sometimes drawing winces from clients unaccustomed to the force applied.

Studies have shown it can help relieve back pain, headaches, insomnia and even anxiety.

For Matthieu Rochefolle, a nurse from Lyon, France, adding Thai massage techniques to his repertoire of skills could help his elderly patients aching for relief.

"It could also allow me to earn a little more," he says.

Trial begins in US states' effort to block T-Mobile/Sprint deal

Trial begins in US states' effort to block T-Mobile/Sprint deal

WASHINGTON: U.S. state attorneys general, led by New York and California, deliver opening arguments Monday in a bid to stop T-Mobile U.S. from buying Sprint Corp in a trial that highlights disagreements between federal antitrust enforcers, who are Republican, and Democrats in powerful states.

Attorneys for the 13 states and the District of Columbia will argue in Manhattan federal court that a plan to combine the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would push up prices, particularly for users of prepaid plans. The state officials, all Democrats, asked Judge Victor Marrero to order the companies to abandon the deal.

The companies argue that the stronger T-Mobile that would result from the proposed US$26.5 billion takeover would be better able to innovate and compete to push down wireless prices.

The case represents a break with the usual process of states coordinating with the federal government in reviewing mergers, and generally coming to a joint conclusion.

This deal had been contemplated in 2014 during the Democratic Obama administration but enforcers at the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission urged the companies to drop the idea, which they did.

Fast forward to 2019, and the Republican Trump administration signed off on the planned merger after the companies agreed to sell Sprint's prepaid businesses popular with people with poor credit to satellite television company Dish Network Corp.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who steps down in April, last month acknowledged talks with Sprint to extend the merger agreement and did not rule out lowering the US$26.5 billion price that was originally agreed upon.

The states argue the merger would leave just three nationwide wireless carriers, Verizon Communications, AT&T and the new T-Mobile, which could lead to higher prices.

"These higher prices would fall hardest on the credit-challenged and low-income consumers who have benefited the most from the competition between Sprint and T-Mobile," they said in a court filing.

Setting up satellite company DISH as a wireless carrier is "patently insufficient to mitigate the merger's competitive harm," they argued in a court filing.

In a pretrial filing by the companies, they said the stronger, merged firm will be better positioned to compete with AT&T and Verizon as the world moves to the next generation of wireless, or 5G.

"Prices will go down, not up, as a result of the merger," the companies argued in their filing, saying the deal would create US$40 billion in efficiencies.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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