Tough at the top

first_imgTough at the topOn 19 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Workingin public sector HR at a senior level is tough and demanding – organisationsnow need to function as efficiently as their private sector counterparts. Sohow do the roles of working in a local authority and for a governmentdepartment compare? Rob McLuhan talked to two high-fliers who are seeingthrough dramatic change programmesRichardAllenCorporate services director, Department for Environment, Food and RuralAffairs (DEFRA)”Ijoined Defra last year, just after it had been set up as a combination of theold Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and the environmentsection of the former DETR. As well as merging terms and conditions, I facedthe challenge of  modernising what hadbeen one of the more old fashioned of Whitehall departments, where many of thesystems are 10 years old or more.WhenI joined the department, it was at the start of a long-running pay dispute, andshortly after I arrived, a second one-day strike took place. The problem hadbeen caused by pay differences in the two former departments that came togetheras Defra. So, one of my first priorities was to sort that out, which we didearly this year. In the future, I would like to ensure that staff are notautomatically entitled to more just because someone else is getting it, but onthe basis that we can afford it and they are delivering a good qualityperformance.Defrahas been developing a business strategy, and we are creating an HR strategicframework to sit beside it, so most of my efforts are on the policy side,getting the strategy into place and creating some early deliverables on pay andawards, and on performance management. Weare looking at developing people’s skills to meet the challenges ahead, and oneof my main activities is developing a workforce strategy. Today I will bemaking a presentation to the five departmental ministers and the managementboard on the process of identifying training and development needs. We need toknow where senior managers expect their staff to be deployed and what sort ofskills they have. We can then decide whether these are to be developedin-house, or whether recruitment is required. One element of the programme willbe to put all senior managers, and probably other managers as well, throughdevelopment centres.Weare running a Better Quality Services (BQS) review, which corresponds roughlyto a Best Value review in local authorities and is effectively a fundamentalreview of all our personnel services. We are asking what services the customerwould like us to provide, although that may not necessarily coincide with whatthey need, or with what we can afford. As well as restructuring and improvingthe existing service, there could also be more radical change, up to andincluding outsourcing.Ona day-to-day level, I have an occasional meeting or phone conversation with theminister, and I also regularly attend the management board to discuss aspectsof our strategic programme. I will also meet from time-to-time with varioussub-committees of the management board on policy issue. In the directorate as awhole, I have about 700 people, spread between London, Exeter, York, andAlnwick, near Newcastle, and will often attend team meetings in differentlocations.Modernisingthe relationship with the trade unions is an important challenge, and I talkwith their representatives quite frequently, to negotiate or liaise on mattersof policy. The old MAFF didn’t work as constructively in that area as it mighthave, so we are trying to be more open and develop a common vision. Instead ofthe old battle for power, we want to move towards to a partnership approach,where there is give and take on both sides. For instance, we have offered thema place on the steering group of the BQS review. Clearly, they absolutely opposeissues like outsourcing, but it’s better that they should know what’s going on,and have a chance to contribute to a discussion of the policy.Someof my work I do on my own – preparing a first draft of the pay and workforcestrategy for the Treasury, for instance, which I have been doing quite a bit ofat home. That involved getting reactions both in the department and theTreasury.Ialso have meetings with HR in the Treasury and Cabinet Office. That is partlyto liaise with them on matters such as the terms and conditions, andarrangements for pay, which the CO controls. But the CO also brings departmentstogether to discuss the common issues we all face. That is particularly usefulfor us, because we have quite a lot of catching up to do in some respects, andthis is a good way to exchange experiences. The CO is organising a recruitmentseminar, where there will be a presentation from someone in another departmentwhich went through a lot of the processes we face. Aproject I am particularly interested in is upward mentoring. This involvesjunior managers sitting in with seniors, observing them at work and offeringfeedback. The aim is to help senior managers with their personal developmentneeds, such as effectiveness at meetings or active listening. That is quite achallenge in what is, after all, a very hierarchical organisation, and for ajunior to tell a senior their performance could be improved requires a lot oftrust on both sides. But to me it is an innovative way of underlining that peopleare more important than hierarchy.Onereason why I am keen for this to go forward is that I have seen it work well inother departments, although admittedly at a more junior management level. Thepeople doing the mentoring were the most enthusiastic bunch I had come acrossin 30 years in the Civil Service. Aspart of the service review, we are looking at introducing intranet systems thatwill provide employee self service and other electronic functions. I would bevery surprised if this didn’t emerge as the way forward, but it will depend tosome extent on the resources available.Thekey for me is equipping managers and leaders to manage better. It is the peoplewho operate the systems, particularly the managers, who can bring about changeand make the organisation better able to meet the challenges facing us. In thepublic sector, you are never going to have big salary bonuses that reallymotivate people. But what you can do is create signals that promise rewards tothe best performers, and move them up the progression scales faster.Thisis a fascinating job with a tremendous range of challenges. As in many publicsector organisations, we do struggle with resources. But we have made a goodstart. If you came back in a year, you would see we have achieved a great deal.”JackieWiltshireHead of HR, Wokingham Council”InApril 1998, Berkshire County Council was broken into six unitary councils, ofwhich Wokingham is one.WhenI joined as head of HR in January 1999, the personnel service was in quite apoor state. Morale was low and although staff were working hard, they were notachieving what they should. So, one of my first tasks was to refocus the wholefunction, carrying out a Best Value review in personnel, and making importantchanges.Oneearly conclusion was that the HR department, with 20 staff, was too small toprovide a service to all 4,500 employees. That has been addressed byoutsourcing the education service, which means we now provide for a moremanageable 1,500 staff. However, my team does combine the personnel admin withtraining and development. It was very important to me to have the two sidesintegrated, as they are both working towards the same solutions. Inthe process of carrying out our Best Value review, it emerged that the councilas a whole has been too focused on financial management and budgets rather thanits people, which are its main resource. So we have done a lot to address that,becoming more focused on people management in order to make a difference. Myfirst priority was to find out what HR was doing and align that with what ourmanagers actually need. That involved marketing ourselves internally and to theorganisation as a whole about what personnel can do. The department was veryfocused on administration, and although that side certainly needed to improve,I wanted to provide a very different service based on strategy and policy.Butthat was quite novel for my staff, who had never had a head of HR before, andhad never really discussed what the function was all about. So before I didanything else, I had to coach them out of the administrational mind-set, andhelp them shape a different view of HR.Onecriticism was that personnel staff were very remote, and managers could not puta face to a name. We dealt with that head on. We set up an intranet site withour photos and descriptions of what we do. And we made sure we got out of theoffice and went to talk to people.Sincethen, we have also earned an excellent reputation for training and development.We have a management development course, as well as practical workshops ontopics such as time management, and how to get the most from a PC. We also givehelp with issues such as stress at work.Whenthe council restructured, it amalgamated part of the old Berkshire Council withthe local district council here in Wokingham. That meant we inherited a ragbagof old employment policies, and needed to develop a range of new ones, agreeingon rights and responsibilities, and establishing norms of behaviour.Oneof our main projects is reviewing the structure of the council. We would preferstaff to work on a corporate basis, but the reality is they are ratherdepartmental, so it is taking some doing. We carried out a consultation and areputting together a set of proposals for the councillors.Gettingdown to businessRightnow I am involved in harmonising terms and conditions, not just between whiteand blue collar workers, but also between the different elements the unitarycouncil was formed from. This project has taken a year, and I am about to gointo final negotiations.Oneof my activities is helping departments with their service plans. This year, wehave had a joint inspection by the Social Services Inspectorate and the AuditCommission, and are preparing a draft report. That is a very long piece of workto prepare for. It is a good example of what personnel does, since the trainingand development we provide for social services is crucial to the quality ofwhat that department offers.Anotherissue I have had to deal with is the fall-out from our attempt to outsource therevenue and benefits service in 1998. There were problems with the externalprovider, so it was brought back in-house in August. Having transferred our ownstaff, we now had to bring them back, which was rather peculiar. Most of themwere glad to be with the council again, but the consultations we had were quitecomplex. We wanted to change the service to make it more successful, but at thesame time had to stick to the TUPE agreements.Weare now carrying out an employee opinion survey for the second year. I am proudof this work because resources are tight, we do not use external consultants,and we did it entirely in-house. Last year’s survey achieved a 56 per centcompletion rate, which is pretty good. Each department produced an action planbased on our analysis, and we are about to have an away-day when managers willreport back on what they have achieved as a result.Aswell as managing my own department, I am the top personnel adviser at thecouncil. I am involved in anything that has people management implications,advising the chief executive and elected members. At the end of the lastfinancial year, we had a budget crisis, and had to make a savings plan. HR wasvery involved in looking at financial implications, freezing some posts andplanning for possible redundancies, although, luckily, we managed to getthrough without making any.However,the restructuring has created some vacancies, and we are now recruiting a headof property and head of legal. So a current task is to agree the arrangements,and members of my team have been popping in to see me, to check the drafting ofthe advertisements.Fromtime-to-time I will get in touch with my counterparts in other localauthorities, or deal with their enquiries. Many of them are doing similarthings to us, and we can save a lot of time by swapping information and advice.Besides the other five Berkshire unitaries, my network includes South EastEmployers, a regional umbrella organisation for local authorities.Everylocal authority is going through a Comprehensive Performance Assessment. We hadours in the early summer, and it concluded that we have done well to get as faras we have. But now we have to plan for the long term, which means beingfocused and creative. The difficulty is that resources are tight, which makesit hard to carry out step change. It is a challenge for personnel along withthe rest of the organisation.Localgovernment can be up there with the big corporate players when it comes todemonstrating best practice – the fact we were shortlised by Personnel Todayfor the award in communications strategy demonstrates this.Thisachievement is particularly satisfying because we did it by using our owncreativity and skills, rather than having money ploughed into it.”                          nlast_img read more

Ignoring flexible work could spark top talent exodus

first_imgIgnoring flexible work could spark top talent exodusOn 27 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Employers must adapt their HR policies to reflect the changing lifestyle andsocial traits of modern staff, or risk being left behind. Stan Fraser, vice-president international, compensation and benefits atPepsiCo, speaking at Richmond Events’ HR Forum, warned HR departments that thesocial structure, lifestyle and expectations of staff was rapidly changing. “There’s a changing attitude to work and people are thinking verycarefully how they can fit their work around their lifestyle, rather than theother way around,” he said. “This is leading to a huge change in theemployment relationship.” In the 1990s, the average person had three employers in their lifetime, butby 2005 this is predicted to rise to more than eight – so companies will haveto try harder to retain the best people. Fraser identified flexible working hours as one of the main factors inattracting and retaining the best people in the modern employment market. “This is putting a huge strain on loyalty so employers must think abouthow they can adapt to this. People are thinking about reward in a much moreholistic way. Choice and flexibility are the key tools,” he explained. “Employers that allow more flexible working will see less attrition,but HR departments that don’t customise policies to reflect the changes insociety will see attrition rise.” He told delegates that productivity had risen since allowing staff to ‘flex’their working hours. After carrying out research with its own staff, PepsiCo has introducedseveral internal websites and tried to improve the employment experience withinthe company. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

HLS appoints Gertner, Shay as professors of practice

first_imgHarvard Law School (HLS) has announced the appointments of U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner and Stephen Shay, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as professors of practice.The professorships of practice at HLS are given to outstanding individuals whose teaching is informed by extensive expertise from the worlds of law practice, the judiciary, policy, and governance.“With the appointments of these two superbly accomplished and talented individuals, we continue to strengthen the bridge between Harvard Law School and law in practice. Their involvement in our community will offer our students and faculty vitally important perspectives, questions, and insights informed by deep experience in the world,” said HLS Dean Martha Minow.last_img read more

All kinds of content

first_imgWhen Gary E. Knell took over as CEO of NPR in 2011, his assignment was clear, if daunting: “to provide an economically sustainable platform for journalists.”Knell, who spoke at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism on Monday, joined NPR at a time when the organization faced not only internal strife, but also a business environment still reeling from a decade of digital disruption. His response was that of a realist.“You can’t stop technology. People will demand programming when and where they want it,” Knell said. “To not be in the digital space means you’ll be replaced. And you’ll never come back.”To kick-start development of a “content depot,” Knell hired a chief content officer to wrangle all of NPR under one content roof. He stressed that NPR will always be radio first, but that consumers are demanding more. “Radio is from where we came, and it’s where we’ll go,” he said. But multiplatform technology now allows NPR to “take deeper dives” with stories and quench a “growing appetite for storytelling.”As an example, Knell pointed to Morning Edition’s special series “Revolutionary Road Trip,” which sent Steve Inskeep on a journey across North Africa. The series included stories about the region’s food and music, and even Egyptian political humor. With audio, video, and photography, NPR.org covered the story in a way a single platform couldn’t have.Another innovation: Internet radio-embedded cars. NPR and Ford have collaborated to bring NPR stations to Ford Sync drivers whenever and wherever they want to listen.Although about half of NPR listeners listen in cars and about half at the home and office, there is a growing trend toward smartphone audiences, Knell said. The average age of an NPR listener is 49, while the average age among visitors connecting via tablet is 39. And the average age of someone checking NPR through a smartphone is 34.Demographic changes like these help point the way for NPR. Knell quoted hockey great Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.”This shift toward mobile content may also help NPR expand its minority audience. African-American and Latino audiences use mobile devices to access the Internet at a higher rate than their white counterparts. This is especially true among 18- to 29-year-olds.Reaching a wider audience on a growing number of platforms isn’t cheap, however. And the growth of the Internet has left the news business in flux, with its traditional routes to revenue blocked.“Advertising and subscriptions drive all media,” Knell said. As it happens, NPR’s subscription rate is voluntarily set. Three and a half million people donate each year, Knell said. That’s about 10 percent of all listeners — a rate of return many other news organizations wouldn’t mind, he said.But it’s being able to innovate while preserving journalistic integrity that will sustain NPR.”“NPR is a legacy organization,” Knell said. “You can’t fall in love with your legacy. It’s important to respect and honor it, but you need to be able to transform in the modern context.”last_img read more

Cher Lloyd, Jesse McCartney to perform at annual SUB concert

first_imgKevin Song | The Observer Goo Goo Dolls member Robby Takac plays a song on the keyboard at last year’s concert. The concert is a long-standing Notre Dame tradition — it began in 1980.Leon said over the summer, SUB brainstorms different artists across all genres that might be a good fit for the concert.“Each year, the concert programmers, along with their committee of dorm reps, start the concert planning process almost immediately after the previous year’s show,” she said. “As early as possible, we reserve the venue for the event, setting aside most of the weekends in April to allow for as much flexibility as possible.”Leon said SUB also conducts surveys to get as much student input on the concert as possible.“This year we brought our surveys to the dining hall to get some direct input in addition to the feedback we got from sending them out online,” Leon said. “These surveys provide insight into not only which genres students prefer, but also which artists they would like to see on campus.“Once we have a solid list of potential artists, the next stage is reaching out to the artists’ agencies to get up-to-date pricing and availability information for each artist,” she said. “This helps us get a better sense of which artists we can afford to bring and what dates will work.”Leon said the committee typically decides who they would like to bring to campus early in the spring semester. An offer letter is then sent to the artist’s agents.“The timeline for officially booking an artist all varies based on whether or not the artists are still available and whether or not they accept the offer,” she said. “Once the artists are booked, SUB makes the announcement, coordinates ticket sales and contacts our lighting and sound production crew to ensure everything is prepared for the show.”Leon said Nelly was one of the artists SUB strongly considered for the concert.“This year we had a number of challenges related to contract negotiations with the agencies that forced us to delay the official announcement,” she said.Minir said tickets this year are being sold for $10.“All Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s students can purchase tickets from the LaFortune Box Office, located on the first floor of LaFortune in the main lounge, God Quad side,” Minir said.Tags: Cher Lloyd, Jesse McCartney, SUB, SUB Spring Concert This Saturday, the Student Union Board (SUB) is hosting its yearly spring concert, a performance that will feature Cher Lloyd and Jesse McCartney in Stepan Center.Senior Brianna Leon, co-director of programming for SUB, said the spring concert is the largest concert the organization puts on each year, so there are more resources and opportunities to bring in bigger name acts.“Since Stepan accommodates a much larger crowd than the venues for any other shows held throughout the year, [the concert is] a unique opportunity to gather a large portion of the student body together for one event, celebrating the end of another year,” Leon said.Leon said the doors of Stepan Center will open at 8:30 p.m., and the show will start at 9 p.m. Kevin Song | The Observer The Goo Goo Dolls perform at last year’s SUB concert. This year’s concert will feature Cher Lloyd and Jesse McCartney.Junior Shadmn Minir, concerts programmer for SUB, said he is very excited to bring Lloyd to campus to perform for the student body.“From being on the X-Factor with One Direction to releasing hit singles such as “I Want You Back,” “With Ur Love” and “I Wish,” Cher’s YouTube popularity offers a small indication of her success worldwide,” Minir said. “She is very popular in the U.K., where she originates from, and [her popularity] has steadily grown in the United States over the past few years.“She is on the verge of releasing her third studio album, so we are excited to see what heights she will reach given the success of the previous two albums,” he said. “Her ability to sing, rap and perform covers of many other artists made her a unique talent to bring, and one that we think the campus will love to see live.”Leon said she thinks many middle school dreams will come true Saturday when Jesse McCartney performs.“In a lot of ways, he was the Justin Bieber of our generation,” Leon said. “I think, though I can’t say with full certainty at this point, that one of the few things better than the Frosh-O renditions of “Beautiful Soul” would be a rendition by Jesse himself.“Additionally, he’s had a number of popular songs in more recent years that should also make for a great performance,” she said.Minir said he thinks the two artists complement each other well and will provide entertainment for people with different musical tastes.“Cher Lloyd is an artist that is a current international pop star, so we thought it would be a good match for Jesse McCartney, a male pop star who represented more of a past generation,” Minir said.The spring concert is a long-standing tradition on campus, Minir said.“The spring concert has been going on for a while now, at least since the 1980s,” he said. “Previously they used to hold a large concert in the JACC that was often public to everyone, not just Notre Dame students.”last_img read more

Cast Set for Indecent Off-Broadway

first_img The cast is now set for the previously announced New York premiere of Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel’s Indecent. The off-Broadway production will feature Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson. The Rebecca Taichman-helmed production will begin performances on April 27 at the Vineyard Theatre.Kenk last appeared on Broadway in Once; her additional credits include Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and The Miracle Worker. Mimi Lieber has appeared on Broadway in Act One, The Snow Geese, The Merchant of Venice and I’m Not Rappaport. Moore made his Broadway debut in Relatively Speaking. Nelis appeared on Broadway recently in The Visit. Rattazzi returns to the Vineyard after appearing in The Fourth Sister. Topol’s Broadway credits include Fish in the Dark, The Normal Heart and Awake and Sing!. This marks the off-Broadway debut for Verson.The play, created by Vogel and Rebecca Taichman, features music by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva and follows the events surrounding the premiere of the controversial 1923 play God of Vengeance, considered an important work of Jewish culture by some and libel by others.Indecent will open officially on May 17. The production features choreography by David Dorfman. View Comments Paula Vogel (Photo: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images) Related Showscenter_img Indecent Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 6, 2017last_img read more

Rally to support the “Green New Deal” happening in Richmond, VA today

first_imgRally to support the “Green New Deal” happening in Richmond, VA todayVirginia activists and community leaders will rally at the Capitol Square Bell Tower in Richmond, VA today in support of a “Green New Deal” for the state. Support of a “Green New Deal,” a proposed economic stimulus program that aims to address economic inequality and climate change, has reached fever pitch across the nation. Building on that momentum, Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11) recently introduced a resolution for a “Green New Deal Virginia,” which promotes a “just transition” to a 100 percent clean energy economy with large-scale investments in efficiency and jobs. Policy themes of the Virginia Green New Deal also include clean water and air, and investment in local-scale agriculture in communities across Virginia. The rally begins at 2 p. Lloyd Clayton, a champion of southern forests, has diedLloyd Clayton, environmental activist, champion of southern forests, and hero to many working in the environmental movement, has died. In 1996, forest protection activists gathered in Bankhead National Forest in Alabama to discuss the destruction of southern forests. At that time, chip mills were appearing across the south and consuming forests at an alarming rate. Activists knew something had to be done—and quickly. It was at that meeting that Lloyd Clayton pledged to fund a new organization to fight forest destruction across the south. With Clayton’s support, co-directors were hired at the newly formed Dogwood Alliance, a non-profit organization that protects southern forests across 14 states. Friends say that Clayton’s memory will serve as a beacon of hope and a reminder to keep fighting the good fight.Photo of Lloyd from www.dogwoodalliance.orgAsheville, NC has earned the moniker Climate CityAsheville, NC has become an important center for climate expertise, earning it the moniker Climate City. The city of 90,000 is home to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the world’s largest repository of climatological data. NCEI employs more than 300 climate and data scientists, including a handful of Nobel Prize winners.  The U.S. Air Force’s 14th Weather Squadron, which provides climate services to the defense and intelligence communities, is also located in Asheville. The University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) worked with NOAA to build the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit for the Obama administration, and the city is also home to non-profit The Collider, the first entrepreneurship, and innovation center in the country built to support startups that use data to help the world become more resilient to climate change. Together, Beer City and Climate City have a nice ring.last_img read more

Notification to companies about the possibility of sponsoring the Croatian Tourism Day

first_imgThe Croatian Chamber of Commerce invites all interested companies to apply for sponsorship of the Croatian Tourism Day, which will be held on October 25 and 26 on Mali Lošinj, at the Bellevue Hotel, organized by the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.This is the central and largest annual meeting of Croatian tourism workers, which regularly deals with current topics and trends in tourism. The traditional award ceremony in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce’s Tourist Flower – Quality for Croatia campaign is also held, in which the best tourism entities are awarded in the categories: hotels, camps, hostels, restaurants, DMK travel agencies, marinas, charter companies and spas.For the first time, the opportunity for sponsorship and the opportunity for your company to present products and services to key representatives of the tourism sector in the country in one place. For more information about the event and the sponsorship packages, contact Lana Petrović, Tel .: 01 456 1617, E-mail: [email protected] news:BORIS ŽGOMBA, UNILINE: SLAVONIA HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AN ATTRACTIVE ALL-YEAR DESTINATION CAPPELLI: I WISH THE CROATIAN TOURISM DAYS TO BE HELD IN ONE OF THE SLAVONIAN DESTINATIONSlast_img read more

Australia joins US ships in South China Sea amid rising tension

first_imgAn Australian frigate has joined three US warships in the South China Sea near an area where a Chinese vessel is suspected to be exploring for oil, near waters also claimed by Vietnam and Malaysia, officials said on Wednesday.The warships arrived this week close to where the Chinese government survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 has been operating, which is in turn near where a vessel operated by Malaysia’s Petronas state oil company is conducting exploratory drilling, regional security sources have said.The US navy said on Tuesday the USS America amphibious assault ship and the USS Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser, were operating in the South China Sea. They were joined by Australia’s frigate HMAS Parramatta and a third US vessel, the destroyer USS Barry, as part of a joint exercise, the Australian defense department said.”During the passage exercises, the ships honed interoperability between Australian and US navies, including replenishment-at-sea, aviation operations, maritime maneuvers and communications drills,” it said in a statement to Reuters.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was 325 km (202 miles) off the Malaysian coast, within its exclusive economic zone, data from ship-tracking website Marine Traffic showed on Wednesday.The ship, accompanied by a Chinese coastguard vessel, has been moving in a hash-shaped pattern consistent with a seismic survey for nearly a week, the data showed. The area is near waters claimed by both Vietnam and Malaysia as well as China.China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, within a U-shaped “nine-dash line” on its maps, which is not recognized by its neighbors.Petronas and Malaysia’s foreign ministry have not commented on the situation but the United States has called on China to stop its “bullying behavior” in the South China Sea.China, however, has denied reports of a standoff, saying the Haiyang Dizhi 8 was conducting normal activities.Last year, Vietnamese vessels spent months shadowing the Haiyang Dizhi 8.It appeared off Vietnam again last week, within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Vietnam said it was closely monitoring the situation.The United States has accused China of pushing its presence in the South China Sea while other claimants are pre-occupied with the coronavirus.At the same time, China has been donating medical aid to Southeast Asian countries to help them tackle the virus, which emerged in central China late last year.A team of Chinese medical experts arrived this week in Malaysia, which has reported more than 5,400 coronavirus infections.On Sunday, Vietnam protested after China said it had established two administrative districts on the Paracel and Spratly islands in the disputed waters. China has called Vietnam’s claims illegal. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Arsenal and DC United to meet over potential Mesut Ozil move to MLS

first_imgMesut Ozil will be the subject of discussions between Arsenal and DC United (Picture: Getty Images)DC United are set to hold talks with Arsenal over a possible move for Mesut Ozil as the MLS side look for a replacement for Wayne Rooney.The former England captain is set to leave America in January, taking up a player-coach role at Championship side Derby County.The Washington side are looking for a big name replacement to replace Rooney and Ozil has been identified as a possible contender.The Mirror reports that representatives from the Premier League and MLS outfits will meet in Washington next week for the first stage of discussions over a potential deal.However, Ozil’s enormous £350,000-a-week wages may prove prohibitive to any deal taking him to DC United, or any other club.AdvertisementAdvertisementMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityRooney reportedly only earned around £85,000-a-week in Washington, so it is far from a straight swap to replace his wages with Ozil’s.The Germany international is contracted at Arsenal until 2021, so would still have 18 months left on his contract at the Emirates when DC would be looking to do a deal in January 2020, when Rooney departs.Ozil is unlikely to accept an enormous wage decrease to move to America with a year-and-a-half left on his contract in north London.Also being considered by the MLS outfit is former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, who is currently without a club.The Italian left Marseille at the end of last season but is yet to find a new team, despite scoring eight goals in just 12 appearances for his last club.The latest reports on Balotelli’s future suggest that he has been in talks with Brazilian side Flamengo, with the club’s president saying have been positive.‘Balotelli is a great player,’ Rodolfo Landim told Ferj via Globo Esporte. ‘During the period that Marcos Braz and Bruno Spindel were doing their trip [in Europe], they came into contact with Balotelli, who showed a real interest in playing at Flamengo and said he would like to.‘It has been nothing beyond that so far. It was a quick talk they had, that’s what they told me.’MORE: Arsenal remain focused on signing centre-back amid Philippe Coutinho speculationMORE: Tottenham looking to beat Arsenal to the signing of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona Arsenal and DC United to meet over potential Mesut Ozil move to MLS Comment Advertisementcenter_img Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 6 Aug 2019 10:06 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.8kShares Advertisementlast_img read more