Why is 4-times champion Italy not in the World Cup 2022?

News Network
November 26, 2022


Four-times champions Italy are not in this year's World Cup in Qatar, marking the second time in a row that the 'Azzurri' will miss the tournament. Here's what you need to know about the European Champions' failure to qualify:

How did Italy's World Cup qualification campaign unfold?

* Italy were drawn in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualification round along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

* The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years earlier.

* They started with three consecutive wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for the European Championships last year.

* After winning the tournament, they drew twice in a row to Bulgaria and Switzerland, before claiming a 5-0 win at home against Lithuania.

* With two games left, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave both teams on equal points before the last round.

* Four months after their Euro 2020 success, Italy's 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after a win over Bulgaria, sending Mancini's side to the playoffs.

How did the World Cup playoffs unfold for Italy?

* Italy were on course to meet Portugal in the deciding playoff tie, but they missed out on the World Cup finals after losing 1-0 at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski's last-gasp strike.

* North Macedonia progressed to the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who claimed the World Cup spot.

Why did Italy not qualify for the World Cup in 2018?

* Italy finished in second place of Group G in the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

* They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw in 2017 by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win.

* The Italians, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, saw Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declare their retirement from the national team right after the game.


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News Network
April 3,2024


Bengaluru: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress President D K Shivakumar on Wednesday said his party is in a comfortable position as there is no 'Modi wave' in the state.

He claimed that the BJP did nothing in the state during its four years rule and did not fulfill any of its promises.

"Congress is in a very comfortable position as far as Karnataka is concerned. There is no Modi wave in Karnataka because Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not left any footprint in Karnataka during the last 10 years of his rule," Shivakumar said in an exclusive interview to PTI.

He said while crores of rupees had been collected as taxes from Karnataka by the Union government, the state did not get anything in return, even during the severe drought being faced in 230 out of 236 taluks.

On BJP fielding noted cardiologist Dr C N Manjunath against his brother and three-time MP D K Suresh in Bengaluru Rural constituency, Shivakumar claimed that Congress will win with a victory margin of over two lakh votes.

Regarding the BJP-JD(S) electoral tie-up in Karnataka, Shivakumar said it is a failed alliance and the people will reject them.

"(H D) Kumaraswamy (JD(S) leader and NDA's Mandya candidate) and all the JDS candidates will lose," he claimed.

On Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly levelling corruption charge against him, Shivakumar said it was a political allegation against him.

"There is nothing against me, they can’t prove anything. These are baseless allegations against me," Shivakumar added.

Shivakumar denied any dissent in the party over ticket distribution for the Lok Sabha polls stating that the entire Congress party is united.

"There is no dissent and within 24 hours we will sort it out. But in BJP, the party is burning from within. The BJP workers are going to kill the BJP itself. The BJP has changed (candidates) in around 10 seats and they know that they are losing in the campaigns," he said.


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News Network
April 3,2024


Udupi, Apr 3: K Jayaprakash Hegde, who recently rejoined Congress nearly a decade after his expulsion from the grand-old party, filed his nomination as Congress candidate in Udupi-Chikmagalur segment today.

He was accompanied by former ministers Motamma, Vinay Kumar Sorake among others when he filed his nomination papers at the Udupi deputy commissioner’s office. 

Addressing the party workers, Hegde, who had earlier served as the Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP, said that he had initiated multiple development works in both Udupi and Chikkamagaluru districts within 20 months.

“I seek this opportunity to fulfil the pending projects which were initiated during my previous term. Both districts face distinct challenges, with issues ranging from coffee and areca-nut cultivation in Chikkamagaluru to coastal tourism, fishermen's concerns, education, and health in Udupi. Strengthening the guarantee schemes is crucial, and we must promote and publicize them,” he said

“Had the central government created 2 crore jobs, we would witness the creation of 20 crore jobs today,” he said.

Hegde, who had joined BJP in 2017, was until recently the Chairman of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes that submitted the much-awaited Socio-Economic and Education Survey report, popularly known as the 'caste census' to the government. 


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News Network
April 11,2024


Real estate tycoon Truong My Lan was sentenced Thursday to death by a court in Ho Chi Minh city in southern Vietnam in the country's largest financial fraud case ever, state media Thanh Nien said.

It's a rare verdict - she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime, i.e. looting one of the country's largest banks over a period of 11 years.

The decision is a reflection of the dizzying scale of the fraud. Truong My Lan was convicted of taking out $44bn (£35bn) in loans from the Saigon Commercial Bank. The verdict requires her to return $27bn, a sum prosecutors said may never be recovered. Some believe the death penalty is the court's way of trying to encourage her to return some of the missing billions.

The habitually secretive communist authorities were uncharacteristically forthright about this case, going into minute detail for the media. They said 2,700 people were summoned to testify, while 10 state prosecutors and around 200 lawyers were involved.

The evidence was in 104 boxes weighing a total of six tonnes. Eighty-five defendants were tried with Truong My Lan, who denied the charges.

"There has never been a show trial like this, I think, in the communist era," says David Brown, a retired US state department official with long experience in Vietnam. "There has certainly been nothing on this scale."

The trial was the most dramatic chapter so far in the "Blazing Furnaces" anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party Secretary-General, Nguyen Phu Trong.

A conservative ideologue steeped in Marxist theory, Nguyen Phu Trong believes that popular anger over untamed corruption poses an existential threat to the Communist Party's monopoly on power. He began the campaign in earnest in 2016 after out-manoeuvring the then pro-business prime minister to retain the top job in the party.

 The campaign has seen two presidents and two deputy prime ministers forced to resign, and hundreds of officials disciplined or jailed. Now one of the country's richest women has joined their ranks.

Truong My Lan comes from a Sino-Vietnamese family in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. It has long been the commercial engine of the Vietnamese economy, dating well back to its days as the anti-communist capital of South Vietnam, with a large, ethnic Chinese community.

She started as a market stall vendor, selling cosmetics with her mother, but began buying land and property after the Communist Party ushered in a period of economic reform, known as Doi Moi, in 1986. By the 1990s, she owned a large portfolio of hotels and restaurants.

Although Vietnam is best known outside the country for its fast-growing manufacturing sector, as an alternative supply chain to China, most wealthy Vietnamese made their money developing and speculating in property.

All land is officially state-owned. Getting access to it often relies on personal relationships with state officials. Corruption escalated as the economy grew, and became endemic.

By 2011, Truong My Lan was a well-known business figure in Ho Chi Minh City, and she was allowed to arrange the merger of three smaller, cash-strapped banks into a larger entity: Saigon Commercial Bank.

Vietnamese law prohibits any individual from holding more than 5% of the shares in any bank. But prosecutors say that through hundreds of shell companies and people acting as her proxies, Truong My Lan actually owned more than 90% of Saigon Commercial.

They accused her of using that power to appoint her own people as managers, and then ordering them to approve hundreds of loans to the network of shell companies she controlled.

The amounts taken out are staggering. Her loans made up 93% of all the bank's lending.

According to prosecutors, over a period of three years from February 2019, she ordered her driver to withdraw 108 trillion Vietnamese dong, more than $4bn (£2.3bn) in cash from the bank, and store it in her basement.

That much cash, even if all of it was in Vietnam's largest denomination banknotes, would weigh two tonnes.

She was also accused of bribing generously to ensure her loans were never scrutinised. One of those who was tried used to be a chief inspector at the central bank, who was accused of accepting a $5m bribe.

The mass of officially sanctioned publicity about the case channelled public anger over corruption against Truong My Lan, whose fatigued, unmade-up appearance in court was in stark contrast to the glamorous publicity photos people had seen of her in the past.

But questions are also being asked about why she was able to keep on with the alleged fraud for so long.

"I am puzzled," says Le Hong Hiep who runs the Vietnam Studies Programme at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

"Because it wasn't a secret. It was well known in the market that Truong My Lan and her Van Thinh Phat group were using SCB as their own piggy bank to fund the mass acquisition of real estate in the most prime locations.

"It was obvious that she had to get the money from somewhere. But then it is such a common practice. SCB is not the only bank that is used like this. So perhaps the government lost sight because there are so many similar cases in the market."

David Brown believes she was protected by powerful figures who have dominated business and politics in Ho Chi Minh City for decades. And he sees a bigger factor in play in the way this trial is being run: a bid to reassert the authority of the Communist Party over the free-wheeling business culture of the south.

"What Nguyen Phu Trong and his allies in the party are trying to do is to regain control of Saigon, or at least stop it from slipping away.

"Up until 2016 the party in Hanoi pretty much let this Sino-Vietnamese mafia run the place. They would make all the right noises that local communist leaders are supposed to make, but at the same time they were milking the city for a substantial cut of the money that was being made down there."

At 79 years old, party chief Nguyen Phu Trong is in shaky health, and will almost certainly have to retire at the next Communist Party Congress in 2026, when new leaders will be chosen.

He has been one of the longest-serving and most consequential secretary-generals, restoring the authority of the party's conservative wing to a level not seen since the reforms of the 1980s. He clearly does not want to risk permitting enough openness to undermine the party's hold on political power.

But he is trapped in a contradiction. Under his leadership the party has set an ambitious goal of reaching rich country status by 2045, with a technology and knowledge-based economy. This is what is driving the ever-closer partnership with the United States.

Yet faster growth in Vietnam almost inevitably means more corruption. Fight corruption too much, and you risk extinguishing a lot of economic activity. Already there are complaints that bureaucracy has slowed down, as officials shy away from decisions which might implicate them in a corruption case.

"That's the paradox," says Le Hong Hiep. "Their growth model has been reliant on corrupt practices for so long. Corruption has been the grease that that kept the machinery working. If they stop the grease, things may not work any more."


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