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Man United looking to sign a striker, says Ten Hag

Manchester United need a new striker to help them out of their goalscoring troubles, manager Erik ten Hag said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth. United scored 45 goals this season, the lowest among the top 10 teams in the standings. Dane Rasmus Hojlund, 21, who was signed for around for 72 million pounds ($90 million) in August, netted 13 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions. Anthony Martial scored twice this season and has been out injured since January. While the club had some help from Argentinian left winger Alejandro Garnacho, who scored nine goals in 41 appearances, Marcus Rashford, who had 30 goals last season, netted eight in 38 games. Ten Hag had dismissed the possibility of signing a striker in the January transfer window, citing financial fair play rules but has now confirmed of the plans in close-season. “I think it would help,” the Dutch manager told reporters on Friday. “You need more options. You need double positioning in every position. “Some positions we didn’t have the choices this season – the striker position, the left-back position – and that has a negative impact on the results. “We are working in the background on plans with the scouting. The plan is ready but we have to execute.” The manager added that he is open to ideas from the club’s new ownership, hoping they would collaborate. “I trust the new ownership that they will work as quick as possible and bring new good structures and that they can execute (the plans),” he added. “But we have a way we want to play, so we know our profiles, it has to match the profiles we want.” United are sixth in the league standings on 49 points with seven games remaining. ($1 = 0.8032 pounds)

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[Photo News] K-Culture Festival 2024 Dubai – The Korea Herald

A model wearing a Korean fashion designer’s collection poses for a photo during a fashion show held as part of the K-Culture Festival 2024 Dubai in Dubai’s Media City, the Arjaan by Rotana, Friday. The festival, which showcased AI fashion by combining artificial intelligence and blockchain technology through Korean fashion, runs until Saturday. (Yonhap)

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K-Pop Singer Park Bo Ram Dies After Fainting At Party, Cops Launch Probe

South Korean singer Park Bo Ram, known for her soulful vocals and memorable contributions to popular K-drama soundtracks, died at the age of 30, leaving her fans and the entertainment industry heartbroken. Authorities are investigating the mysterious circumstances that she was found dead in. According to a report by AllKPop, the singer attended a private event just hours before her untimely death, as confirmed by investigators from Namyangju Police Station. The report suggests that Bo Ram was drinking with two friends at the event. At 9.55 pm, she went to the restroom and did not return. Concerned about her absence, her friends went to check on her and found her slouched over the sink, unconscious. Emergency services were immediately alerted, and CPR was administered by her friends until medical assistance arrived. However, despite their efforts, Park Bo Ram was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. The news of Park Bo-ram’s sudden death has sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment community. XANADU Entertainment, her agency, released a statement expressing their deep condolences and asking for privacy for the family and friends of the deceased during this difficult time. View this post on Instagram Park Bo-ram rose to fame after her appearance on the reality singing competition ‘Superstar K2’ in 2010 as a 17-year-old. Her impressive vocal abilities and charismatic presence gained her a loyal fan following, and she continued to captivate audiences with her soulful performances and contributions to K-drama soundtracks. Park Bo Ram won several awards since then, including the Artist of the Year Award at the 2014 Gaon Chart Music Awards. Known for her voice and memorable songs like “Hyehwadong (Or Ssangmundong)” for Reply 1988 and “Please Say Something, Even Though It Is a Lie” for W – Two Worlds, Ms Bo Ram was actively preparing for a comeback to mark the 10th anniversary of her debut.

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 Pelumi Nubi On Faith, Resilience, And Her Homecoming Journey 

Last week, Pelumi Nubi, the iconic Nigerian traveller who embarked on a solo road trip drive from London to Lagos, has been the name on many lips, including the number one citizen of Lagos State, His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Last Sunday, April 7, she was received in a heroic homecoming at the University of Lagos where students, fans, family, government officials, and her e-family gathered to celebrate her homecoming. TOMI FALADE and TESTIMONY ADEBISI had a quick chat with her at the event, and here’s what she had to say. What inspired your Lagos to London journey? I’ve just always wanted to do something that was challenging for me. I wanted to explore the two places I considered home. That is London and Lagos at the same time. Literally, I’m drawn towards this West African country. Do you know why? The media don’t say much about our heritage in West African countries, except from negative remarks. It was important for me to do this to inspire other black women and other travellers that they can step out of their comfort zone too. Can you share the most difficult parts of your journey, at what points they happened, and some of the challenges you faced? The most difficult border and the longest border I stayed at was in Liberia. I stayed there for two nights. But in terms being a woman, being alone and having just myself to navigate these things, it was challenging. On trips like this, people tend to have a team with them, someone driving, someone doing the medical, logistics and all of that. I had to wear multiple hats and do it all flawlessly while updating people on social media, which was a very important part of the trip in order to go in pure for the next generation. What was it like navigating the Sahara Desert? Funny enough, the Sahara Desert has one of the best roads I drove on. Guinea had one of the worst roads I drove on. So, Sahara people consider the journey through the Sahara as a journey that you must need a two by two; meaning, you would be needing a big vehicle. But I did it in my Peugeot 107; a very small vehicle. This was the vehicle I had and it was important that I made use of what I had at the moment. So, that’s why I did it on that vehicle and it lasted for the journey. Healthwise, how were you able to keep yourself fit throughout the journey? Listening to my body was the therapy I used. Some days I drove for ten hours, some days for only one hour, some days I did not drive at all. So really, understanding what my body needed was the thing for me, especially as a woman; we have our monthly time. So, it was important for me to know when I’m tired, when I’m exhausted. I take extra breaks; I go to a fancier kind of place to stay compared to camping in my car. It was all about listening to my body. I had an eye issue in Morocco, I was in an accident in Ivory Coast but just prirotising my health over everything else was what I did. Many are already on the lookout for what you want to achieve after this. What is your next conquest? I have always been a traveller. I have travelled to over 80 countries. So, it’s definitely something that I’m going to continue to do. I’m not going to stop suddenly. I would definitely continue to inspire the younger generation. In the educational sector too, we need quality teaching. Also in our border control, we need to make sure that Africa is a freer continent to travel through. The car crash you were involved in would have been a good excuse to abandon your journey, but you pressed on. How were you able to move on after the crash? It was important for me to continue. I was trying to prove that that this was possible. So if I gave up it just kind of stains the message that things are impossible. So, with the community that I have gathered around me, I call them my e-Family, it was important for me to just keep exploring.

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Sun directly overhead Kumulamunai, Murikandi, Keridamadu and Tanniyatttu at about 12:10 noon today (13)

Nigeria has become the first country to roll out a “revolutionary” five-in-one vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Friday. The Men5CV vaccine offers a powerful shield against the five major strains of the meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W, Y and X – which cause the disease. Known by the brand name MenFive, it provides broader protection than the vaccine currently used in much of Africa, which is only effective against the A strain. “Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General. The rollout in Nigeria represents one step closer towards the goal of total elimination by 2030, he added. Meningitis is the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can be fatal. Symptoms often include headache, fever and stiff neck. There are multiple causes, including viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic pathogens. The most serious – bacterial meningitis – can also result in blood poisoning and can seriously disable or kill within 24 hours after being contracted. Vaccination campaign Nigeria is among the 26 meningitis hyper-endemic countries of Africa, an area known as the African Meningitis Belt. WHO said 153 people died in an outbreak in Nigeria between 1 October 2023 and 11 March of this year. A vaccination campaign was launched in late March to reach more than a million people aged 29 and under. “Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi and Yobe were badly hit by the deadly outbreak of meningitis, and this vaccine provides health workers with a new tool to both stop this outbreak but also put the country on a path to elimination,” said Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate of the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. WHO said the new vaccine has the potential to significantly reduce meningitis cases and advance progress in defeating the disease, which is especially important for countries like Nigeria where multiple serogroups are prevalent. (UN News)

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Avalanche leaves two dead in Austrian Alps

Singapore – One of the world’s most open economies is attempting a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, the Southeast Asian city-state wants to lure the world’s best and brightest to bolster its workforce, one of Asia’s most diverse. On the other hand, it has to assure locals competing with foreigners for jobs that the system works for them, too, nipping potential resentment or xenophobia in the bud. From next year, the government will tweak that calculus in favour of locals by raising the salary threshold for foreigners seeking approval to work in the city-state. Last month, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower announced that new applicants for the Employment Pass (EP) system will have to earn at least 5,600 Singapore dollars ($4,140) per month, up from 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,700). Applicants working in the financial services sector will have to earn at least 6,200 Singapore dollars ($4,600), compared with 5,500 Singapore dollars ($4,100) at present. “By regularly updating the qualifying salaries based on the set wage benchmarks, we ensure a level-playing field for locals,” Manpower Minister Tan See Leng told parliament during a budget debate. Analysts said the changes were not surprising for a government that has regularly tweaked the rules for expat workers, most recently in September 2022, when it raised the salary threshold by 500 Singapore dollars ($370). Walter Theseira, an associate professor and labour economist at the Singapore University for Social Sciences (SUSS), said the move had been “telegraphed for a number of years”. Theseira said that while the EP system was originally intended to import highly-skilled workers to fill gaps in the workforce, “the criteria seemed to have expanded and EP holders became more prevalent in the middle of the market as well”. “This was perceived by local workers to be unwelcome competition for jobs that many skilled locals could do, so the government responded by re-calibrating the EP again upwards, so that based on salaries, it now targets more clearly the high-end,” he said. Singapore has built its reputation on attracting foreign talent (Aljazeera) For decades, Singapore, an island with no natural resources that is about the size of New York City, has built its reputation on an openness to foreign talent. The number of EP holders has grown substantially over the years, fuelled in part by anxiety over the country’s rock-bottom birthrate and greying population. As of December last year, there were about 205,400 EP holders in the city, up from 161,700 during the same month in 2021. As far back as 2021, Tan acknowledged that Singaporeans, though recognising the need to attract foreign talent, had concerns that the influx came at the “expense” of local businesses. A labour market report released by the Manpower Ministry last month showed that employment growth in 2023, comprising 88,400 positions in Singapore – excluding migrant domestic workers – was largely made up of foreigners. The revision of the EP qualification criteria can be seen as “a strategic move” to appease age-old tensions over hiring foreign talent amid a crowded job market, said Joshua Yim, the CEO of Achieve Group, a talent acquisition consultancy. The changes also come as the Southeast Asian country is gearing up for one of the most politically significant transitions in its history. Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party is set to fight the next general election, due by 2025, under new leadership as incumbent Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong prepares to step down after some two decades in office. The issue of foreign workers became salient in the 2011 general election, when public discontent simmered over rising competition for jobs and increasing pressure on public infrastructure. While most Singaporeans and permanent residents agree that immigration is generally good for the economy, slightly more than half also believe that immigrants take jobs away from locals, according to a 2021 survey by the Institute of Policy Studies. In another survey conducted by the research firm Milieu Insight, Singaporeans were almost evenly divided on whether the nation struck the right balance between bringing in foreign workers and protecting local jobs. Sid Suhas, the senior vice president and head of EMEA & APAC at the talent acquisition firm Cielo, said the visa changes are likely to prompt large employers to “focus more on attracting, developing and nurturing the local talent pool, particularly for junior professional and mid-level lower-skilled roles.” With the higher salary threshold, companies are likely to adopt “a skills-first approach” when employing foreigners, Suhas said, focusing on talent in areas such as AI, technology, engineering and healthcare. “The trend of limiting foreign talent deployment to specific skills and industries is inevitable. In the past, foreign talent had the opportunity to develop their careers in Singapore across various roles but now, the focus will likely be on senior and niche positions,” Suhas told Al Jazeera. Suhas said he has already seen companies exploring alternative locations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, as a means of relocating key talent while still maintaining proximity to Singapore. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is due to step down before the 2025 general elections (Aljazeera) “Most SMEs [small to medium-sized enterprises] do not rely much on EP workforce as their core talent pool,” Yuit told Al Jazeera. “Selected businesses may have EP hiring in the stated 5,000 or 5,500 [Singapore dollars] range for specialised roles but usually, that is for time-limited, project engagement or if they are in specialised sectors that rely on a foreign talent pool because of a lack of matching local workforce.” But the increased labour costs could affect the profitability of SMEs with tighter budget constraints, said Achieve Group’s Yim. “Local SMEs may not be so well-oiled in terms of their processes and operations, as compared to the MNCs,” Yim said. “They will feel the heat because they have to go up against the big players with the financial muscles who can offer higher EP salaries and attract better-quality talent. They might feel that talent is being stolen away and thus, this group is at the shorter end of the stick.” Xu Le, a lecturer from the department of strategy and policy at the National University of Singapore’s Business School, said the policy change could “spur local companies to think out of the box and explore alternative methods to enhance overall operational efficiency and labour productivity”, in turn benefitting the economy. Beatrice Liu-Cheng, the CEO of Oriental Remedies Group, said that while the higher-qualification threshold could pose challenges for her chain of Chinese medicine clinics, it would also be an “opportunity to further enhance the diversity and expertise” within its workforce. Liu-Cheng said the changes would encourage her to seek out and nurture Singaporean talent through training programmes, mentorship initiatives and partnerships with educational institutions. Singapore is known for its business-friendly environment (Aljazeera) While the migration changes are set to raise the cost of doing business, Singapore’s advantages, including a business-friendly environment, its strategic location and world-class infrastructure, will continue to attract international companies, analysts said. Singapore is expected to remain “the preferred choice” for firms’ regional headquarters, said Cielo’s Suhas, even if deploying smaller teams becomes more common due to the higher costs. Suhas said the changes would also accelerate the various government initiatives aimed at creating high-quality jobs for locals, including early talent programmes and re-skilling programmes for mid-to-late career professionals. “As a result, we anticipate that global companies setting up in Singapore will increasingly prioritise hiring Singaporeans,” he said. Singapore ranks second in the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index, behind Switzerland. Nicholas Sim, an associate professor at SUSS’s business school, said that businesses seeking to establish a foothold in Asia are still likely to prioritise Singapore due to its “high-quality infrastructure, efficient and stable government and access to a high-calibre talent pool”. Besides the EP scheme, there are other avenues for foreign talent to come to Singapore. In 2023, the Manpower Ministry launched the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass for “top talent” in business, arts and culture, sports, academia and research. As of January, the ministry had approved nearly 4,200 applications for the pass. “Going forward, it’s a clear sign that the Singapore government wants to bring high-calibre individuals into the Singapore workforce – and firms will need to deliberate more carefully about hiring top-tier foreign candidates who are skilled and can add to Singapore’s long-term competitiveness,” Yim said. ”All the more, MNCs will see Singapore as a place for the cream of the crop.” (Aljazeera)

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Peso Pluma celebrates Mexican heritage music on Coachella main stage

¡Arriba México, cabrónes! Greeted by thousands of fans, many waving Mexican flags, singer-rapper Peso Pluma took the main stage shortly past 9 p.m. on Friday for a standout, corrido-fueled Coachella set that featured surprise appearances from Becky G, Junior H and Arcángel. Peso, dressed in white, opened his set with the song “Rubicon,” off his Grammy-winning 2023 album, Génesis. Chicana pop star Becky G took the stage early in the set to join him in performing their 2023 ballad, “Chanel.” The duet served as a full-circle moment for Peso; Becky welcomed him to that same stage in 2023, just as he was getting buzz for his song with Natanael Cano, “PRC.” “She was the first woman who helped me in this industry,” said Peso of Becky onstage. (“Peso, he’s so sweet, so dope, so hardworking and so deserving of an opportunity like this,” Becky told Rolling Stone last year.) Custodial workers for the festival were stopped in their tracks, keenly watching the performance from the sidelines. What followed “Chanel” was a spoken-word interlude that addressed the censorship of narcocorridos, or songs which detail the complicated lives of those working in the drug trades in Mexico. (For context, the city council of Tijuana banned performances of the songs in 2023.) “The vicious cycle they were born into serves as their protection, and their punishment,” said a male speaker in English, as newspaper headlines concerning the songs flashed on the big screen. “For that, they will always be on trial.” La Doble P then performed his songs “El Gavilán” and “Gavilán II,” which reference Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the famed former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. Afterwards, the 24-year-old invited Mexican singer-songwriter Junior H onstage to perform their joint single, a corrido tumbado titled “El Azul.” He later paid homage to corrido singers past, including Chalino Sánchez and Ariel Camacho. He transitioned into a sensual reggaetón break with the song “Quema,” which he recorded with Ryan Castro and SOG, followed by his remix of Yng Lvcas’s smash hit, “La Bebé.” The Puerto Rican reggaetón and trap star Arcángel joined Peso onstage to perform the self-referential single, titled “Peso Completo,” or “Heavyweight,” from his upcoming album, Éxodo. Peso continues what has now become a tradition of celebrating Mexican music on Coachella’s main stage. Becky G did so in 2023, as did Grupo Firme and Banda MS in 2022, and Los Tucanes de Tijuana in 2019. Natanael Cano, whom Peso has described as the “king of corridos tumbados,” performed at the festival in 2022 as well. Peso’s set comes just about a month after he announced his album Éxodo via a Rolling Stone cover story celebrating the Future of Music. “I’m focusing on fine-tuning all the details, but there’s going to be a lot of flavors, not only of regional Mexican music,” he said at the time. “From the beginning, I’ve liked doing things to get out of my comfort zone. I know everything goes great with corridos, but I also don’t pass up opportunities to do other stuff I like.” Peso is scheduled to hit the road later this year with his “Exodo” tour stopping at arenas across the United States and at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City.

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U.S. firm’s Vietnam coal deal ‘undermines’ climate goal: report

HO CHI MINH CITY — A U.S. company’s planned sale of its coal assets in Vietnam, a measure to help it hit its green targets, might end up allowing for more carbon emissions, new research suggests. New York-listed AES plans to sell its 51% stake in northern Vietnam’s Mong Duong 2 coal plant to Czech investor Sev.en as part of efforts to rid its portfolio of the fossil fuel by 2025.

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Asian stocks sink despite to track Wall St gains, earnings in focus

Asian markets fell Friday as traders struggled to build on Wall Street’s positive lead, with hopes for a June interest rate cut fading, while earnings season gets underway in the United States amid optimism for companies’ profit outlooks. Tech titans helped drive gains in the Nasdaq and S&P 500 after producer price index data broadly met expectations, tempering worries about inflation following Wednesday’s figures showing a third successive upside miss in consumer prices. The CPI figures followed a series of indicators suggesting the world’s number one economy remained resilient and the jobs market strong despite interest rates sitting at two-decade highs and inflation still well above the Federal Reserve’s target. That has seen investors trim their rate cut bets from six at the start of the year to two now, while former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers has even warned a hike could not be ruled out. Central bank officials were reluctant to give their full backing to any reductions soon. New York Fed chief John Williams said “tremendous progress” had been made in the battle against inflation but there was little need to move in the “very near term”, while Richmond boss Thomas Barkin added that decision-makers could take their time. Their Boston counterpart Susan Collins said the latest data “implies that less easing of policy this year than previously thought may be warranted”. While US traders pounced on the producer price numbers, Michael Shaoul at Marketfield Asset Management said: “Although we understand the relief with which this report will be received, there is nothing very encouraging contained within it — and the best that can be said is that there was ‘no new bad news’ either.”

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CHINT Power signs contracts with Pakistani PV distributors

China’s CHINT Power signed contracts with Pakistani PV distributors, Gwadar Pro reported. According to the report, CHINT Power signed cooperation agreements with two photovoltaic companies for the distribution of 200MW inverters. CHINT Power introduced industrial and commercial PV, ground power plant PV and energy storage system solutions at SolarEX in Turkey and reached these cooperation. CHINT Power is a solar power system solution provider that designs, manufactures, and supplies high-reliability PV inverters and power solutions for customers. It will work with these two Pakistani partners to explore the local PV market and provide a strong impetus for renewable energy development in Pakistan. As a key node of the Belt and Road Initiative, Pakistan’s abundant natural resources and strategic geographic location offer significant advantages for the development of new energy sources. In order to further reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the world has begun to develop a sustainable energy industry, and Pakistan is no exception. Especially in the area of solar PV and wind power generation, the Pakistani government has proposed ambitious goals. They plan to achieve a renewable energy power generation share of 20% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. According to the agreements, CHINT Power will provide optical storage system products and solutions, including inverters, and will also offer technical and service support to the two trading companies. CHINT Power, in the future, they will share innovative technologies and efficient solutions with local customers, and add momentum to Pakistan’s PV market with high-quality products, professional technology, and technical talent training.

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