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From Bogart to millennials: Italian hat maker tries new look

From Bogart to millennials: Italian hat maker tries new look


SPINETTA MARENGO, Italy (AP) — Hats off, Bogie.
The traditional Italian hat maker Borsalino, whose fedora has defined the rough-and-tumble images of Robert Redford, Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart, has a plan to appeal more to women and millennials by pushing into high-end fashion, streetwear and even sportswear.
The recent troubles of the company, which has been rescued financially by a private equity fund, underline the difficulties facing Italian companies — not only fashion brands — seeking scale to stay competitive and grow in the age of globalization.
Entering new markets, targeting new demographics and expanding retail presence all require cash. And even the best-laid business plan can be complicated by a company’s bad baggage, and Borsalino came with plenty of that.
The 162-year-old hat maker, arguably Italy’s oldest fashion brand, was founded in the northwestern Italian city of Alessandria by Giuseppe Borsalino, whose family sold control decades ago. By the time the Swiss-Italian private equity firm Haeres Equita was approached about investing in 2015, the company had been mismanaged and bled dry by the previous owner.
“What surprised me at the time is that Borsalino was profitable,” said Philippe Camperio, Haeres Equita’s principal. “It was very small. I thought there would be a much bigger company in terms of revenues, given the power of the brand.”
The company was making 12 million euros ($13.5 million) in revenues, with profits of between 600,000 euros and 800,000 euros. But it had fallen out of many of the world’s big-name department stores, supplying mostly hat-making shops and not keeping pace with fashion trends.
Camperio’s first step was to take over the historic factory and submit a business plan to bankruptcy court. In his first year, 2016, revenues increased 20 percent and profits doubled.
Still, the business plan was rejected more than once as the courts sought better deals for creditors. The last time it was rejected, in December 2017, the judge put Borsalino into bankruptcy, and false reports spread around the world that the maker of the Bogart fedora was no more.
“Eventually we settled,” said Camperio. “We have the intention of relaunching this brand.”
Haeres Equity, which also owns the Fogal brand of Swiss hosiery, is looking for other investments in Italian fashion, if possible another “sleeping beauty like Borsalino,” Camperio said.
In recent months, several fashion companies have turned to outside investors to expand. Versace has been bought by Michael Kors’ Capri Holdings Limited as the cornerstone of a new fashion group, while Missoni, Cavalli and Trussardi all recently did deals with private equity investors to get cash infusions.
Camperio expects a few possible targets to be up for sale soon as the owners who founded them in Italy’s postwar boom look to secure the companies’ future. That can include handing the companies over to the family’s next generation or selling them to foreigners, as Versace did.
The marketing power for many of these brands is the Made in Italy tag, viewed as a guarantee of quality in the fashion world.
Borsalino’s hats are handmade by 80 workers, many of whom have worked at the factory for decades. Giuseppe Borsalino’s original machinery uses hot water and steam to transform rabbit fur into highly prized felt that is then dyed and molded. A felt fedora can take weeks to finish.
To relaunch Borsalino, Camperio has brought in a team of fashion experts, including former Gucci CEO Giacomo Santucci. The expansion plan foresees selling more in the United States and Asia and developing new collections to appeal to younger generations and to women, two key growth markets.
Borsalino’s new looks include corduroy baseball caps with the Borsalino logo prominently displayed, or felt travel hats that roll up neatly.
The goal is to increase annual production from 150,000 hats to 500,000 in five years — still far from the 2 million Borsalino churned out every year during its postwar heyday, when men regularly wore hats.
“Borsalino should be the leader of the hat business,” Santucci said. “The power of the brand is going to stay forever.”

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Iran blasts US efforts to turn Europe against nuclear deal

Iran blasts US efforts to turn Europe against nuclear deal


United States Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
MUNICH (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister is blasting the United States’ “unhealthy fixation” with his country and condemning the Trump administration’s efforts to press European countries to pull out of the nuclear agreement with Tehran.
Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, a day after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence prodded European powers Germany, France and Britain to follow Washington in withdrawing from the deal and to “stop undermining U.S. sanctions.”
The U.S. withdrew unilaterally last year from the 2015 agreement, which offers Iran sanctions relief for limiting its nuclear program.
Zarif says “we have long been the target of an unhealthy fixation, let’s say obsession” from the U.S. He said Pence “arrogantly demanded that Europe must join the United States in undermining its own security and breaking its obligations.”

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US-backed Syria force says IS holding 1,000 civilians

US-backed Syria force says IS holding 1,000 civilians


AL-OMAR OIL FIELD BASE, Syria (AP) — The U.S.-backed Syrian militia fighting the Islamic State in its last toehold in Syria says there are over 1,000 civilians trapped in the tiny area and that the militant group is preventing them from leaving.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tells The Associated Press Sunday that IS has closed all the roads in and out.
SDF officials have said the extremists are hiding among civilians in a tented village and using a network of caves and tunnels. IS, which once ruled a proto-state in large parts of Syria and Iraq, is clinging to an area less than a square kilometer (square mile) in the village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria.
The extremists may include high-level commanders, and could be holding hostages.

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At All-Star Game, Anthony Davis finds himself in spotlight

At All-Star Game, Anthony Davis finds himself in spotlight


1 of 3New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) collides with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel (3) after attempting to block a shot at the end of the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Davis kept his left arm still as he walked to the locker room shortly after fouling Noel on an attempted shot block with his left hand. When the second half began, the Pelicans announced that Davis was out of the remainder of the game with a left shoulder injury, The Pelicans won 131-122. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Anthony Davis isn’t completely sure if he’s going to play in Sunday’s All-Star game. He doesn’t know how much the New Orleans Pelicans will have him play the rest of this season. Or where he’ll play next season. Or where he’ll play the season after that, either.
So Davis, obviously, has a lot of questions.
At All-Star media day, he also had some answers.
Yes, Davis wants to keep playing through the end of the season with New Orleans. No, he didn’t eliminate Boston from the list of cities where he would consider playing. Yes, he will test the free agent market in the summer of 2020. And above all else, big market or small market, he insists that having a chance to win is all that matters going forward.
“It’s time to go play ball,” Davis said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Davis — provided a shoulder strain doesn’t keep him out — will finally be LeBron James’ teammate Sunday night, when Team LeBron takes on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Team Giannis in the All-Star Game. The league’s annual showcase exhibition always comes with subplots, and this year, the one where Davis just asked for a trade that didn’t come seemed to generate more All-Star weekend buzz than anything else.
“I’m just keeping it real, to be honest,” Davis said while talking with reporters. “I knew that’s all you guys wanted to talk about. I just stated how I feel, I stated my intentions and I go on from there.”
Davis confirmed that there was a list of teams on his preferred get-traded-to list — James’ Los Angeles Lakers, along with the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
He also denied that the Celtics were not on his list, news sure to delight fans in Boston and not the rest of the Eastern Conference.
“They are on my list,” Davis said.
The Lakers unsuccessfully tried to acquire Davis, and the Pelicans aren’t exactly sure what happens now. They fired general manager Dell Demps on Friday and replaced him on an interim basis with Danny Ferry, a move that Davis said caught him by surprise but also doesn’t change his thinking that a change of scenery is needed. It’s been argued that the Pelicans might be best served not playing Davis, though the NBA — which has already fined the 2017 All-Star MVP for saying he wanted a trade — would surely come down hard if they sat him for no reason.
“It’s about the best situation for me, the best fit for me,” Davis said. “When the time comes, obviously, I have to re-evaluate my situation and see what market best fits me and go from there.”
Here’s some more of what to know about the All-Star game:
DIRK AND DWYANE
Neither Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki nor Miami’s Dwyane Wade expects to play a lot in the game, which they got invited to by Commissioner Adam Silver to commemorate their NBA careers. Nowitzki is in his 21st season, all with the Mavericks, and hasn’t officially said he’s retiring. Wade is retiring after 16 seasons, most of them with the Heat.
“I’m getting old,” Nowitzki said. “This doesn’t get old. This is great to be here. Just enjoying the stage one more time.”
Wade had his son Zaire on the floor for some of practice on Saturday, as father-and-son were throwing lobs to each other.
“He has the same dream,” Wade said, “to one day be sitting up on this podium.”
CLOSE GAME?
LeBron James is hoping for a close game Sunday.
James was one of the players who decided enough was enough when it came to All-Star teams flirting with scoring 200 points, and wanted to find ways to make the game more competitive. It still doesn’t — and won’t — have playoff intensity, but last year’s game was played at a higher level than any All-Star Game had in years, a 148-145 final, and James wants that to continue.
“I know we all saw the way the game was last year, and we’re going to try to top it,” James said. “Hopefully, it can come down to the wire, like it did last year, but we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
NEW CAPTAIN
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is relishing his first time as an All-Star captain.
“I’m comfortable on this stage,” Antetokounmpo said during media day.
That doesn’t mean he’s taking this lightly.
Antetokounmpo, who has led the Bucks to the NBA’s best record so far this season and is an MVP frontrunner, says the captaincy — and the mere mention of a team being called Team Giannis — is humbling.
“If you told me that six years ago … I would have never, never, never thought I would be in this position right now,” Antetokounmpo said.
MVP PUSH
Charlotte’s Kemba Walker will have the home crowd on his side Sunday night. And while Walker says he hasn’t given much thought to making an All-Star Game MVP push, many of his fellow All-Stars wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hornets’ guard take a swing at winning that award.
“Kemba is different,” said Houston’s James Harden, the NBA scoring leader and last season’s MVP. “The way he’s so crafty, his ball-handling, his shot-making ability. He’s been playing at a high level. One of the top players, definitely, as far as playing for the first half of the season, and he’s been doing it for some years now. Definitely one of those guys that gets overlooked.”
Team Giannis coach Mike Budenholzer, who will have Walker on his team Sunday, said he has a simple gameplan for the Hornets’ star.
“Turn him loose,” Budenholzer said.
BACK AGAIN
The All-Star MVPs from nine of the past 13 games will play Sunday. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have all won it at least once. James won the award last year.
___
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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New-look Daytona 500 has a certain throwback feel

New-look Daytona 500 has a certain throwback feel


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Among those trying to win the Daytona 500 this year are a Florida watermelon farmer, a short-track champion from New England, a television analyst and a 22-year-old whose career nearly was derailed by a brain tumor.
The front row is the youngest in Daytona 500 history and it will be William Byron, a Liberty University student who had his wisdom teeth removed in the offseason, leading the field to green in Sunday’s showcase race to kick off the NASCAR season.
The overall look of the nation’s top racing series has undergone a transformation the last few seasons and proof is plastered on the hood of Corey LaJoie’s car. His full facial-haired face adorns his Ford Mustang, which easily makes him the most recognizable driver among the eight Daytona 500 rookies in the field.
“He looks like he’s going to eat you every lap,” quipped Clint Bowyer.
LaJoie’s paint scheme for his low-budget team is courtesy of sponsor Old Spice, which chose “The Great American Race” to promote its dry shampoo. Manscaped.com bought the space on the back of Landon Cassill’s car, Bubba Wallace signed Aftershokz headphones for the race. After Casey Mears made the field — his first race in two years — skateboard rim maker Rim Ryderz joined his program.
This Daytona 500 is unlike any in recent memory and truly highlights the dramatic loss of star power from just four years ago. The 2015 race featured Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip and Danica Patrick. All are now retired.
Some of the big-money sponsors in that race included Lowe’s, Target, Dollar General, GoDaddy and 5-Hour Energy. All have since pulled out of NASCAR.
What remains is a new-look NASCAR that nonetheless has a throwback feel.
NASCAR was built on the premise that if a budding driver or team owner could scrape together the funds to field a car, they could bring it down to the beach and try to make the big show. As the sport exploded past its Southern origins, it became nearly impossible for a new driver to claw his way into a ride.
But change has created opportunity — even second and third chances for a guy like Ross Chastain. The eighth-generation watermelon farmer impressed a sponsor with his work ethic and landed a career-changing ride with unexpected funding. Federal agents raided the sponsor right before Christmas, but Chastain still managed to land a seat for his first Daytona 500.
Ryan Preece bounced back and forth between NASCAR and New England short tracks before finally gambling on his future. He settled for a part-time job with a competitive team because he believed he could show his true talent if given the right equipment. Now he’s also a Daytona 500 rookie.
Same with Matt Tifft, who learned he had a brain tumor four races into his 2016 season. Or Daniel Hemric of Kannapolis, North Carolina, who followed hero Dale Earnhardt Sr. from the old mill town into a ride with Richard Childress Racing.
Parker Kligerman, a part-time racer and full-time television personality, raced his way into his second Daytona 500.
“Watching this race last year, I literally thought I’d never drive a Cup car again, never have another chance in the Daytona 500,” Kligerman said. “I’m doing TV full-time. It just didn’t seem like I was really getting anyone’s attention. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t find the right opportunity, couldn’t find a sponsor.”
“I went off and did the TV thing. You’ve seen drivers do that before, where they do something to up their profile, then they get back in a ride. It kind of feels like it’s finally all starting to work.”
Kligerman works for NBC Sports and so does Earnhardt Jr., his broadcast partner who will drive the first pickup truck to pace the race. It is an unexpectedly heavy NBC Sports promotion in a race broadcast by rival Fox.
Despite all the hardscrabble hopefuls who at various times figured they’d never make it to NASCAR’s biggest stage, the super teams still exist and the stars are the favorites.
Hendrick Motorsports and its four fast Chevrolets at the start of Speedweeks went 1-2-3-4 in time trials. Byron, who is 21, and 25-year-old teammate Alex Bowman swept the front row for qualifying and gave Chevrolet an early boost in its effort to defend last year’s Daytona 500 victory with Austin Dillon .
Still, Ford drivers swept both podiums in the pair of 150-mile qualifying races to load rows two, three and four with the brand new Mustang. Ford competed last year with the Fusion, winning 19 of 36 races and its first Cup title in 14 seasons, and is eager to make an immediate statement with its sportier new race car.
Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, previous Daytona 500 winners, led the Ford charge. Logano and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski are listed as 8/1 favorites in betting lines.
Jimmie Johnson ended a 19-month losing streak with a victory in a Speedweeks exhibition race, but he triggered a 16-car accident while making his race-winning pass. Then contact with Kyle Busch in a qualifying race increased the scrutiny around Johnson, who has a new sponsor Ally Financial and a new crew chief for the first time since his 2001 debut.
The Toyota bunch has yet to stand out from the crowd, which doesn’t bother Martin Truex Jr. His 0-for-14 skid in the in the Daytona 500 is longest among active drivers, but he knows he’s got a chance Sunday.
“Out of the 40 cars, how many have a legit shot at winning? Probably 25,” he said.
___
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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In Brexit limbo, UK veers between high anxiety, grim humor

In Brexit limbo, UK veers between high anxiety, grim humor


LONDON (AP) — It’s said that history often repeats itself — the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Many Britons feel they are living through both at the same time as their country navigates its way out of the European Union.
The British government awarded a contract to ship in emergency supplies to a company with no ships. It pledged to replace citizens’ burgundy European passports with proudly British blue ones — and gave the contract to a Franco-Dutch company. It promised to forge trade deals with 73 countries by the end of March, but two years later has only a handful in place (including one with the Faroe Islands).
Pretty much everyone in the U.K. agrees that the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing this divided nation can agree on.
With Britain due to leave the EU in six weeks and still no deal in sight on the terms of its departure, both supporters and opponents of Brexit are in a state of high anxiety.
Pro-EU “remainers” lament the looming end of Britons’ right to live and work in 27 other European nations and fear the U.K. is about to crash out of the bloc without even a divorce deal to cushion the blow.
Brexiteers worry that their dream of leaving the EU will be dashed by bureaucratic shenanigans that will delay its departure or keep Britain bound to EU regulations forever.
“I still think they’ll find a way to curtail it or extend it into infinity,” said “leave” supporter Lucy Harris. “I have a horrible feeling that they’re going to dress it up and label it as something we want, but it isn’t.”
It has been more than two and a half years since Britons voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU. Then came many months of tense negotiations to settle on Brexit departure terms and the outline of future relations. At last, the EU and Prime Minister Theresa May’s government struck a deal — then saw it resoundingly rejected last month by Britain’s Parliament, which like the rest of the country has split into pro-Brexit and pro-EU camps.
May is now seeking changes to the Brexit deal in hope of getting it through Parliament before March 29. EU leaders say they won’t renegotiate, and accuse Britain of failing to offer a way out of the impasse.
May insists she won’t ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure, and has refused to rule out a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit.
Meanwhile, Brexit has clogged the gears of Britain’s economic and political life. The economy has stalled, growing by only 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter as business investment registered a fourth straight quarterly decline.
Big political decisions have been postponed, as May’s minority Conservative government struggles to get bills through a squabbling and divided Parliament. Major legislation needed to prepare for Brexit has yet to be approved.
Britain still does not have a deal on future trade with the EU, and it’s unclear what tariffs or other barriers British firms that do business with Europe will face after March 29.
That has left businesses and citizens in an agonizing limbo.
Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, a truckers’ lobby group, feels “pure anger” at a government he says has failed to plan, leaving haulers uncertain whether they will be able to travel to EU countries after March 29.
McKenzie says truckers were told they will need Europe-issued permits to drive through EU countries if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal. Of more than 11,000 who applied, only 984 — less than 10 percent — have been granted the papers.
“It will put people out of business,” McKenzie said. “It’s been an absolutely disastrous process for our industry, which keeps Britain supplied with, essentially, everything.”
He’s not alone in raising the specter of shortages; both the government and British businesses have been stockpiling key goods in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Still, some Brexit-backers, such as former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, relish the prospect of a clean break even if it brings short-term pain.
“Perhaps it is time for a Brexit recipe book, like those comforting wartime rationing ones full of bright ideas for dull things,” Moore wrote in The Spectator, a conservative magazine. He added that he and his neighbors were willing to “set out in our little ships to Dunkirk or wherever and bring back luscious black-market lettuces and French beans, oranges and lemons.”
Brexit supporters often turn to nostalgic evocations of World War II and Britain’s “finest hour,” to the annoyance of pro-Europeans.
The imagery reached a peak of absurdity during a recent BBC news report on Brexit, when the anchor announced that “Theresa May says she intends to go back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal,” as the screen cut to black-and-white footage of World War II British Spitfires going into battle.
The BBC quickly said the startling juxtaposition was a mistake: The footage was intended for an item about a new Battle of Britain museum. Skeptics saw it as evidence of the broadcaster’s bias, though they disagreed on whether the BBC was biased in favor of Brexit or against it.
Some pro-Europeans have hit back against Brexit with despairing humor.
Four friends have started plastering billboards in London with 20-foot-by-10-foot (6-meter-by-3-meter) images of pro-Brexit politicians’ past tweets, to expose what the group sees as their hypocrisy.
Highlights included former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s vow that “if Brexit is a disaster, I will go and live abroad,” and ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s pledge to “make a titanic success” of Brexit.
The friends dubbed the campaign “Led by Donkeys,” after the description of British soldiers in World War I as “lions led by donkeys.” The billboards are now going nationwide, after a crowdfunding campaign raised almost 150,000 pounds ($193,000).
“It was a cry of pain, genuine pain, at the chaos in this country and the lies that brought us here,” said a member of the group, a London charity worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because their initial guerrilla posters could be considered illegal.
A similar feeling of alienation reigns across the Brexit divide in the “leave” camp.
After the referendum, Harris, a 28-year-old classically trained singer, founded a group called Leavers of London so Brexiteers could socialize without facing opprobrium from neighbors and colleagues who don’t share their views. It has grown into Leavers of Britain, with branches across the country.
Harris said members “feel like in their workplaces or their personal lives, they’re not accepted for their democratic vote. They’re seen as bad people.”
“I’m really surprised I still have to do this,” she said. But she thinks Britain’s EU divide is as wide as it ever was.
“There can’t be reconciliation until Brexit is done,” she said.
Whenever that is.
___
Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless . Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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Coming Up: Real Madrid vs. Girona

Coming Up: Real Madrid vs. Girona


  1. Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸@realmadriden

  2. Coming Up: Real Madrid vs. Girona

    via Bleacher Report

  3. Bale Rejects Madrid Dinner…Now Known as ‘The Golfer’ 😆

    via Bleacher Report

  4. Madrid Lineup Drops

    Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸@realmadriden

    📝 Our starting XI to face @GironaFC! VAMOS! #RMLiga https://t.co/bxb9lo5C6n

  5. Skill Level Off the Charts 💯

    Akin Sawyerr@AkinSawyerr

    Talent is evenly distributed, opportunity isn’t https://t.co/bWvFVLlyHN

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Thibaut Courtois: Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos Rejected Dinner with Real Madrid Squad

Thibaut Courtois: Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos Rejected Dinner with Real Madrid Squad


Gareth Bale of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid at the Johan Cruijff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

VI-Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has revealed that Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos opted not to join their team-mates for a recent squad dinner, with the former’s love of golf earning him a nickname in the dressing room.

Courtois spoke to Belgian outletHLN(h/t theMirror‘sSimon Mullock), and said that whereas Brazilian Marcelo is known as “Samba,” captain Sergio Ramos is “a leader” and Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric is “a genius,” Bale is known as “the golfer.”

“It is very hard to describe Gareth in one word,” he added. “I would say he has so much talent, but that it is such a shame that so often that talent is blocked from shining.”

The winger is a well-known golf enthusiast and has had three famous holesrecreated in the gardenof his home in Wales.

Courtois elaborated on Bale, who has struggled to settle in Madrid despite being in his sixth season at the Santiago Bernabeu:

“I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late, it is their way of life.

“The other night we had a dinner with the entire squad, but Bale and [Toni] Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night.

“We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30 p.m. and we started out meal around 10:15 p.m. and by midnight we were having coffee.

“We go to bed at around 1 a.m. We have to train every morning at 11 a.m. I think that is a perfect time.

“But Bale had told us ‘I am not coming to join you, guys. I go to bed at 11.'”

On January 28, Ramos posted a picture of Los Blancos’ first-team squad at a restaurantto Instagram, and Bale and Kroos are not present in the shot.

The former’s difficulty adapting to life in Spain was recently brought back into focus after Marcelo revealed Bale still has little grasp of the language:

ESPN UK@ESPNUK

Gareth Bale doesn’t have enough chat for Marcelo 😅 https://t.co/Jm6pN90fAm

Despite the struggles he’s faced in Madrid, he has produced 100 goals and 63 assists in 218 appearances for Los Blancos.

In that time, he’s won four UEFA Champions League titles and La Liga once. In his four European finals, he has scored three goals, and he also scored the winner for Real in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.

The difficulty he has had in adapting evidently hasn’t prevented him from making some vital contributions, though it won’t have made his time at the club any easier. Nor will the frequent injury problems that have beset him over the years.

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last summer, Real are in need of players such as Bale to step up in his absence.

The Welshman hasn’t quite managed that—he’s netted just six times in 18 La Liga matches this term, for example—but he could still have a big role to play in any silverware Madrid win in the coming months.

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Scientists discover 8 ‘amazing’ new sea creatures in Costa Rica

Scientists discover 8 ‘amazing’ new sea creatures in Costa Rica


A new species of Xenoturbella was discovered in Costa Rica during a recent expedition.

A new species of Xenoturbella was discovered in Costa Rica during a recent expedition.
(Schmidt Ocean Institute/ROV SuBastian)

Scientists on a mission to exploreCosta Ricanwaters made incredible scientific discoveries along the way: identifying four new species of deep-sea corals and at least eight othersea creatures.

A group of scientists, including Pennsylvania’s Temple University biology professor Dr. Erik Cordes who led the trip, surveyed seamounts — underwater mountains — near Isla del Coco while aboard the research vessel Falkor. The focus of the 3-week expedition was to examine the “important corridor” the seamounts provide, the Schmidt Ocean Instituteexplained in a recent news release.

“Investigating these systems on all biological size scales, the team focused on relationships between species, from microbes to fauna such as fish and coral,” the non-profit marine research foundation said, adding that it was the first time seven seamounts around that location have been surveyed.

BIZARRE DEEP-SEA FISH LIVING IN GULF OF CALIFORNIA WITH ‘VIRTUALLY NO OXYGEN’ PUZZLES BIOLOGISTS

Thanks to remotely operated vehicles equipped with cameras, the explorers were able to capture and collect samples from their 19 deep dives. Throughout their journey, the scientists spotted various colorful corals, sea sponges, brittle stars, oysters, among other sea critters.

A new species of Osedax, also known as boneworms, was found off Costa Rica. 

A new species of Osedax, also known as boneworms, was found off Costa Rica. 
(Greg Rouse/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD/SOI)

“Every dive continues to amaze us,” Cordessaid in an online statement. “We discovered species of reef-building stony corals at over 800 meters [2,624 feet] depth on two different seamounts. The closest records of this species are from the deep waters around the Galapagos Islands. The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth. Understanding how that habitat functions will help us to understand how the planet, as a whole, works.”

Two new species of myzostome worms were found during the Costa Rica trip.

Two new species of myzostome worms were found during the Costa Rica trip.
(Greg Rouse/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD/SOI)

During their adventure, the scientists believe they found at least five new animals — a relative of the Biremis worm, three new species of Myzostome worms, three new species of Osedax and Xenoturbella — though they believe there could be others, pending DNA test results.

“The genus Biremis was only known to have one species in it – Biremis blandi, a marine polychaete worm discovered in 1971 in the Bahamas. However, on this recent expedition to Costa Rica, another Biremis was found. As it was found in the Pacific, researchers immediately believed it to be a new species, and DNA sequencing soon proved that to be true,” a spokesman for the Schmidt Ocean Institute told Fox News in an emailed statement Wednesday, noting they are commonly referred to as “spaghetti worms.”

Two new types of Myzostome worms were also found. These flat-figured worms are “parasitic on echinoderms,” the organization says.

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The Osedax, also known as “boneworms,” earned its nickname by nibbling on the bones of whale carcasses.

“Osedax do not have a mouth or teeth, so they secrete acid to bore into the bone. Because Osedax do not have a stomach either, they rely on a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that aid in the process of digesting proteins and lipids. Osedax have unusual root-like structures that absorb nutrients, as well as colorful, feathery plumes that act as gills,” according to the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

“Xenoturbella is a genus of very simple animal with bilateral symmetry that grows up to a few centimeters long,” the Schmidt Ocean Institute describes.
(Greg Rouse/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD/SOI)

Another type of Xenoturbella, a genus of a “simple animal with bilateral symmetry,” was also spotted.

“It contains a small number of marine benthic worm-like species. Classifying Xenoturbellas precisely in the correct the branch of biology has been a baffling problem for researchers since its first discovery in 1915,” the Schmidt Ocean Institute says.

Schmidt Ocean Institute co-founder Wendy Schmidt hopes the research will support ongoing conservation efforts in Costa Rica.

MYSTERIOUS SEA CREATURE DRAWS ‘ALIEN’ COMPARISONS WITH ITS SHARP TEETH, SPIKY SKIN

“One of the most important things we can do now is understand how these communities work, so if there are changes in the future we can measure human impact,” shesaid,adding the group plans to use their research to advise officials which areas are considered “important habitats” and should be off-limits for fishing or other disruptive activity.

Schmidt believes proof of these “amazing” species will encourage people to fight harder to protect the world’s oceans, including “the deeper areas that don’t always attract the attention that they deserve.”

The genus Biremis was only known to have one species in it - until now.

The genus Biremis was only known to have one species in it – until now.
( Schmidt Ocean Institute/ROV SuBastian)

Even deep down below the ocean’s surface — more than 2 miles under, to be more precise — within the Mid-American Trench Schmidt said there was evidence of human impact (trash).

“Threats to the deep sea already exist, including fishing and energy industries that are moving into deeper water, and the persistent risk of climate change. Seamount habitats hosts rare organisms that are particularly vulnerable and need protection,” the Schmidt Ocean Institute stated.

Eben Schwartz, marine debris program manager for the California Coastal Commission, previously told Fox Newsat least “8 million metric tons [of trash] are entering the world’s oceans every single year.”

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School-bus sized dinosaur had a ‘heart-shaped tail’

School-bus sized dinosaur had a ‘heart-shaped tail’


Illustration depicting Mnyamawamtuka in its environmental setting. (Credit: Mark Witton)

Illustration depicting Mnyamawamtuka in its environmental setting. (Credit: Mark Witton)

With perhaps no coincidence that today is Valentine’s Day, a newdinosaurhas been found with a “heart-shaped tail.”

Known asMnyamawamtukamoyowamkia(“beast of the Mtuka” and “heart of the tail,” in Swahili), the titanosaur was discovered on the cliffs of Tanzania. Researchers were able to find a significant amount of fossilized bones and teeth, including a heart-shaped tail vertebra, which has sparked curiosity.

“This new dinosaur gives us important information about African fauna during a time of evolutionary change,” said Judy Skog, a program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research, in astatement. “The discovery offers insights into paleogeography during the Cretaceous. It’s also timely information about an animal with heart-shaped tail bones during this week of Valentine’s Day.”

NEW DINOSAUR SPECIES WITH SPIKY BACKBONE DISCOVERED IN ARGENTINA: REPORT

Fossils of the ancient beast were first discovered in 2004 and it took several seasons for a full extraction (2008, to be precise) of the Cretaceous-era bones. Given that not much is known about titanosaurs, which are thought to have weighed as much as 76 tons, the findings may prove immensely valuable, Dr. Eric Gorscak, the study’s lead author, said.

“Although titanosaurs became one of the most successful dinosaur groups before the infamous mass extinction capping the Age of Dinosaurs, their early evolutionary history remains obscure, and Mnyamawamtuka helps tell those beginnings, especially for their African-side of the story,” said Gorscak in the statement.

“The wealth of information from the skeleton indicates it was distantly related to other known African titanosaurs, except for some interesting similarities with another dinosaur, Malawisaurus, from just across the Tanzania-Malawi border,” Gorscak added.

It’s likely that the titanosaur was “fairly young, like a teenager maybe,” when it died, Gorscake said in an interview withLiveScience. There are no teeth marks, suggesting it was not eaten, but it likely died a quick death, as noted by the large number of preserved bones.

Illustration depicting the 'heart tail' from Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia and a selection of the recovered bones from its skeleton. (Credit: Mark Witton)

Illustration depicting the ‘heart tail’ from Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia and a selection of the recovered bones from its skeleton. (Credit: Mark Witton)

“The new specimen preserves teeth, elements from all regions of the postcranial axial skeleton, parts of both appendicular girdles, and portions of both limbs including a complete metatarsus,” the study’s abstract reads. The research was published in the scientific journalPLOS One.

Titanosaurs are best known from South America, but the newly discovered species in Tanzania, as well as other parts of Africa, show that the dino was more diverse than previously thought.

FIRST DINOSAUR FEATHER EVER DISCOVERED REVEALS MYSTERIOUS SECRETS

“The discovery of dinosaurs like Mnyamawamtuka and others we have recently discovered is like doing a four-dimensional connect the dots,” said Dr. Patrick O’Connor, professor of anatomy at Ohio University, in the statement.

“Each new discovery adds a bit more detail to the picture of what ecosystems on continental Africa were like during the Cretaceous, allowing us to assemble a more holistic view of biotic change in the past,” O’Connor added.

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