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Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna

Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Si s’ha d’anar alguna vegada a Hyde Park, que sigui un dia assolellat. El parc es mostra amb tot el seu esplendor i l’ambient és indescriptible. Als jardins italians, a la porta nord-oest del parc, el temps sembla que s’hagi aturat, amb el borboll constant de l’aigua caient de les fonts i una tranquil·litat infinita.

Presideix el jardí l’estàtua d’Edward Jenner, el pare de la vacunació moderna. El jardí està envoltat d’estàtues i d’escultures clàssiques, de bancs i de flors. En un dels bancs, una noia amb trets asiàtics ensenya xinés a un senyor anglès. Hi ha un petit monticle ple d’hamaques verdes i blanques amb gent ajaguda. Al fons, Long Water, l’extrem allargat del llac Serpentine.

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Catalan imputs on the English Media
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Spain's top court: Catalan secession vote unconstitutional

Spain's top court: Catalan secession vote unconstitutional | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

MADRID (AP) — Spain's Constitutional Court has unanimously declared a vote on secession by the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia last November as unconstitutional.

 

The court ruled Tuesday that a law passed by the Catalan regional government allowing it to call such votes is also unconstitutional.

 

The court had ordered the suspension of the Nov. 9 vote while it studied a complaint from the central government.

 

But Catalonia pressed ahead, labeling the referendum an informal process so as to try to skirt the suspension order.

Prosecutors have since filed suits against Catalan regional President Artur Mas for staging the vote.

Catalan officials said that out of 6.3 million potential voters, 2.3 million cast ballots, with most favoring secession.

Mas now hopes to get backing for his independence push in regional elections in September.

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Manuel Pellegrini: Manchester City can't keep making same mistakes against Barcelona – video - The Guardian

Manuel Pellegrini: Manchester City can't keep making same mistakes against Barcelona – video - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini and Barcelona's Luis Enrique give their reactions after Barcelona beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad stadium on Tuesday
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Manuel Pellegrini: penalty save gives Manchester City a chance at Barcelona - The Guardian

Manuel Pellegrini: penalty save gives Manchester City a chance at Barcelona - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The City manager lamented Gaël Clichy’s second-half sending off but Joe Hart said his save from Lionel Messi’s late penalty kept his side in the tie
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ManCity 1-2 Barça: Luis Suárez strikes twice as Barcelona teach Manchester City a lesson - The Guardian

ManCity 1-2 Barça: Luis Suárez strikes twice as Barcelona teach Manchester City a lesson - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Suárez was the star of the show as his two first-half goals gave Barcelona an impressive 2-1 victory over Manchester City

 

Perhaps the most dispiriting part for Manchester City came from that unmistakable feeling that, if anything, the gulf has widened. They have suffered plenty of times in this competition but has there ever been a time when the imbalance of talent has felt so extreme and they have been so grateful to be spared an even more harrowing ordeal?

 

Barcelona did not just out play them, they emphatically put them in their place during that opening 45 minutes when Luis Suárez scored twice, Dani Alves struck the crossbar, Lionel Messi nutmegged David Silva and Manuel Pellegrini’s team stumbled to the interval like a side in need of smelling salts rather than half-time oranges...

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Champions league: Manchester City v Barcelona: in pictures - The Guardian

Champions league: Manchester City v Barcelona: in pictures - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The best images from photographer Tom Jenkins at The Etihad Stadium as Manchester City take on Barcelona in the first leg for a place in the quarter finals.
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Champions League last-16: Manchester City v Barcelona and Arsenal v Monaco - The Guardian

Champions League last-16: Manchester City v Barcelona and Arsenal v Monaco - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Statistic previews of the last-16 ties being played in England, plus best XIs this week from the Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga
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Man City v Barcelona: Catalan visitors will come in peace - Manchester Evening

Man City v Barcelona: Catalan visitors will come in peace - Manchester Evening | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona's travelling fans will not display the kind of behavior that saw some Chelsea fans bring shame on themselves last week, says Andy Mitten.
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Barcelona’s deadly trident can help club bounce back against Manchester City - The Guardian

Barcelona’s deadly trident can help club bounce back against Manchester City - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
A home defeat to Málaga derailed an 11-match winning streak but Barça’s attacking trident has usually been hitting its stride to devastating effect

 

At the end of Barcelona’s match with Málaga on Saturday afternoon, the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, insisted: “Now we have to think about Manchester City.” It was tempting to conclude that they already were. The intensity and attitude that had defined them over the last six weeks, and of which Leo Messi had been speaking just two days before, had gone. Instead, there was a glimpse of the failings Barcelona thought they had left behind and a first defeat in 12 games...

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Are Manchester City smart enough to penetrate Europe’s meanest defence? - The Guardian

Are Manchester City smart enough to penetrate Europe’s meanest defence? - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona pose a substantial challenge, as always, in the Champions League last 16 despite the surprise defeat to Málaga

 

What happened last year?

Barcelona beat Manchester City 4-1 on aggregate, a fair reflection of the gulf between the two sides even if the games themselves were close contests. City were not proactive enough in the first leg at home, content for too long with just holding their opponents and paying the price when Martín Demichelis was sent off for a professional foul that allowed Lionel Messi to break the deadlock from the penalty spot, before Dani Alves added a second in the final minute.

 

Late goals were also a feature of the second leg, in which City had another defender dismissed, this time Pablo Zabaleta for protesting too vehemently that a Gerard Pique challenge should have brought a penalty. Messi had put Barcelona in front midway through the second half, but, though City pulled a goal back through Vincent Kompany a minute from time, another late goal from Alves drew a line under City’s first foray into the Champions League knockout stage...

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The gifs that keep on giving: Lionel Messi, Zach LaVine and Eddie Gray - The Guardian

The gifs that keep on giving: Lionel Messi, Zach LaVine and Eddie Gray - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Featuring a Leeds legend dancing in the mud, an angry referee seeking retribution, a spectacular own goal and a dog playing head tennis with his master
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Lionel Messi hands out Barcelona warning to Manchester City - The Guardian

Lionel Messi hands out Barcelona warning to Manchester City - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi believes Manchester City they could not have picked a worse time to face Barcelona than the last 16 of the Champions League
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Poem of the week: First Love by Joan Margarit - The Guardian

Poem of the week: First Love by Joan Margarit - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Catalan poet explores brutality, love and death in a lifelong journey that begins with the secret purchase of a knife as a child

 

First Love

In the dreary Girona of my seven-year-old self,
where postwar shop-windows
wore the greyish hue of scarcity,
the knife-shop was a glitter
of light in small steel mirrors.
Pressing my forehead against the glass,
I gazed at a long, slender clasp-knife,
beautiful as a marble statue.
Since no one at home approved of weapons,
I bought it secretly, and, as I walked along,
I felt the heavy weight of it, inside my pocket.
From time to time I would open it slowly,
and the blade would spring out, slim and straight,
with the convent chill that a weapon has.
Hushed presence of danger:
I hid it, the first thirty years,
behind books of poetry and, later,
inside a drawer, in amongst your knickers
and amongst your stockings.
Now, almost fifty-four,
I look at it again, lying open in my palm,
just as dangerous as when I was a child.
Sensual, cold. Nearer my neck...

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Spain and the far right: Is spectre of Franco rising to haunt Europe's capital of fun? - IB Times

Spain and the far right: Is spectre of Franco rising to haunt Europe's capital of fun? - IB Times | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Spanish people are renowned for their warmth and exuberance, but is a darker side emerging?

 

First of all, a question for you, the reader. Which do you think will be the next European country to adopt a far-right government?

Your mind may be wandering towards Greece, a country which, with its economic tumult and powerful extremist factions, looks worryingly like the Weimar Republic in the months before the Nazis took power.

 

You might also be thinking of France, a country where the far-right already has a strong, legitimate political presence and which is still reeling from the Islamist attacks in Paris. Or maybe you're looking at Germany, given its troubled past and the huge Islamophobic marches orchestrated by Pegida in recent weeks...

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Luis Suárez: ‘booing by Manchester City fans motivated me to score’ - The Guardian

Luis Suárez: ‘booing by Manchester City fans motivated me to score’ - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Suárez says the booing he received at Manchester City only gave him more motivation to score
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Barcelona’s Neymar argues with Manchester City supporter at final whistle - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Neymar argues with Manchester City supporter at final whistle - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Neymar became embroiled in an argument with a Manchester City supporter at the end of Barcelona’s victory at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday
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Barcelona’s attacking trio outgun and outmuscle Manchester City - The Guardian

Barcelona’s attacking trio outgun and outmuscle Manchester City - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi, Neymar and two-goal Luis Suárez combined to devastating effect to create a rare kind of music in Manchester

 

There was a moment in the first half here, midway through a period of dreamy high-speed Barcelona possession, when Manchester City might have considered briefly stepping across the hoardings and taking a seat in the front row of the crowd. Picking up the ball inside his own half, Lionel Messi first shouldered Gaël Clichy out of the way, then put his head down and simply sprinted off, boots pounding the turf like a boxer hitting the speed-ball, drawing an involuntary gurgle of pleasure from the home crowd as one of City’s renowned flyers was left looking like a man running up the down escalator...

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Manchester City v Barcelona: Champions league last 16 – as it happened - The Guardian

Manchester City v Barcelona: Champions league last 16 – as it happened - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Sergio Aguero gave 10-man Manchester City hope and Lionel Messi missed a penalty, but Luis Suarez’s double leaves Barcelona in a commanding position
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Spanish police arrest Islamic State 'recruiters' in Melilla and Catalonia - The Guardian

Spanish police arrest Islamic State 'recruiters' in Melilla and Catalonia - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Interior ministry announces detention of two suspects in north African enclave, and two in Barcelona and Girona, who targeted women using social media

 

Spanish police arrested four people linked to a sophisticated social media campaign that recruited women to join terrorist groups such as Islamic state (Isis) on Tuesday, Spain’s interior ministery said.

The pre-dawn raids targeted two people in the northern African enclave of Melilla as well as two others in the provinces of Barcelona and Girona.

 

Authorities said that the two in Melilla, who managed several internet platforms that spread propaganda for terrorist groups such as Isis, “were dedicated to the recruitment of women, who after a process of indoctrination, would end up integrated into the terrorist group”...

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Luis Enrique: Barcelona and Manchester City both face tough test in Champions League clash – video - The Guardian

Luis Enrique: Barcelona and Manchester City both face tough test in Champions League clash – video - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Enrique, the Barcelona manager, says Tuesday's Champions League match against Manchester City at the Etihad will test the strengths and progress of both teams
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Fitter, fresher Manchester City ready to show Barcelona hold no fear - The Guardian

Fitter, fresher Manchester City ready to show Barcelona hold no fear - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Manuel Pellegrini insisted his side can exorcise the ghost of last season’s defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League
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Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets knows Manchester City pose serious threat - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets knows Manchester City pose serious threat - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Sergio Busquets has one eye on the Premier League as he prepares to help Barcelona overcome Manchester City in the Champions League

 

The last time Barcelona met Manchester City at the Etihad, Barcelona parked the bus. Then Yaya Touré clambered on board. According to Víctor Valdés, he spent “two hours” taking photos and greeting old friends. Twelve months on, Barcelona are back and although Touré’s first-leg suspension means they won’t see him on the pitch, they will be waiting for him by the bus – and none more so than the man who helped push him out of Camp Nou in the first place.

 

Sergio Busquets, 26, does not see it exactly like that, of course. He insists that Touré’s departure was no “victory” and the warmth is genuine. But he does concede that it was important, proof of the faith Pep Guardiola had in him. Touré had won two leagues, the Spanish Cup and the European Cup, and is not a footballer you let go, even if he pushes to leave; not if you don’t have an exceptional replacement...

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Barça 0-1 Málaga: Barcelona crash at home after Málaga’s Juanmi punishes Dani Alves - The Guardian

Barça 0-1 Málaga: Barcelona crash at home after Málaga’s Juanmi punishes Dani Alves - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Málaga won 1-0 at Barcelona in La Liga after Juanmi seized on a Dani Alves back pass

 

Lionel Messi was largely anonymous as Barcelona suffered a costly 1-0 home defeat to Málaga in La Liga. A victory would have put Luis Enrique’s side two points clear at the top of the table, with Real Madrid playing at Elche on Sunday. But Málaga held on to their surprise seventh-minute lead when Dani Alves tried to nonchalantly side-foot volley a back‑pass but Juanmi nipped in and rounded Claudio Bravo before slotting into an empty net.

 

Messi was at his scintillating best during Barca’s 11-match winning streak but the prolific striker, who had scored 26 league goals before this weekend, resembled a pale imitation of his usual self and was largely off the pace, giving the ball away frequently...

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Luis Enrique denies Lionel Messi’s claims about Barcelona’s turnaround - The Guardian

Luis Enrique denies Lionel Messi’s claims about Barcelona’s turnaround - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has angrily denied claims by Lionel Messi that their impressive run is down to a change in attitude
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The best goals of the week: Luis Suárez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wesley Sneijder - The Guardian

The best goals of the week: Luis Suárez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wesley Sneijder - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Featuring an overhead kick, an outside-of-the-boot curler from a corner, a lob from the halfway line, a near-post flick, a kung-fu kick and a few blasters
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Barça 5-0 Llevant: Lionel Messi equals La Liga hat-trick record as Barcelona thrash Llevant - The Guardian

Barça 5-0 Llevant: Lionel Messi equals La Liga hat-trick record as Barcelona thrash Llevant - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Catalan side moved to within one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid after demolishing the relegation candidates at Camp Nou

 

Lionel Messi marked his 300th La Liga appearance with a record-equalling hat-trick and an assist for Neymar as Barcelona stayed hard on the heels of the leaders, Real Madrid, with a 5-0 romp at home to Levante on Sunday.

 

Messi has been in electric form in recent weeks and his pinpoint cross set up Neymar to put Barça 1-0 ahead in the 17th minute at the Nou Camp. The Brazil forward skewed his close-range volley, but the ball looped up over the Levante goalkeeper, Diego Marino, and into the net.

 

Barcelona doubled their lead seven minutes before half-time, when the centre-back Marc Bartra won the ball near the Levante penalty area and threaded a pass through to Messi for the Argentina captain to score with a low shot...

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