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Ibrahimovic to leave LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not return to the LA Galaxy for the 2020 MLS season, the team said in a statement on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The 38-year-old Swedish striker tallied 52 goals and 17 assists in 53 starts for Galaxy, the team he joined in March 2018 from Manchester United.

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” LA Galaxy President Chris Klein said.

“Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

The charismatic Ibrahimovic, who has also played for Barcelona, Juventus, Paris St Germain, Inter Milan and AC Milan, said he was leaving the team on a high note.

“I came, I saw, I conquered,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Thank you @lagalaxy for making me feel alive again. To the Galaxy fans — you wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan,” he said.

“You are welcome. The story continues … Now go back to watching baseball.”

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Germanys Merkel visits Auschwitz for first time as chancellor

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Germany’s Angela Merkel crossed the gates of the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland on Friday for the first time in her 14 years as chancellor, promising to battle a new wave of anti-Semitism, AFP reported.

Merkel is only the third chancellor ever to visit the Nazi German camp where a million Jews were killed between 1940 and 1945, and which has come to symbolise the Holocaust as a whole.

Her trip, which comes ahead of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet troops on January 27, is being seen as an important political message.

On the eve of her visit, 65-year-old Merkel said that “the fight against anti-Semitism and against all forms of hate” was a priority for her government.

She also hailed a new 60-million-euro ($66-million) donation for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation that was approved by Germany’s federal states on Thursday.

Merkel began her visit by walking under the Nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work will set you free) that still hangs over the gates of the camp.

She will also hold a minute’s silence by the Death Wall where thousands of prisoners were shot dead, and visit the site of a gas chamber and a crematorium.

The visit “is a particularly important signal of attention and solidarity at a time when Auschwitz survivors are victims of anti-Semitic insults and hate-filled emails,” said Christoph Heubner, deputy chairman of the Auschwitz International Committee.

Merkel was accompanied during the visit by a survivor of the camp, 87-year-old Bogdan Stanislaw Bartnikowski, as well as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, also took part in the visit.

In total, 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, including non-Jewish Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and anti-Nazi fighters.

Many were killed the same day they arrived at the camp.

“There is no other place of memory that demonstrates with such precision what happened during the Shoah,” Schuster told AFP ahead of the visit.

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Azerbaijan to compete in League C of 20202021 UEFA Nations League

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The UEFA Executive Committee took a number of decisions during its meeting held in Nyon, Switzerland. The Azerbaijani national football team will compete in League C of the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League.

According to the seeding pots for the league phase, Azerbaijan is in the same pot with Kazakhstan, Moldova and Armenia.

The draw for the league phase will take place on March 3, 2020, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Each group will contain one team from each pot.

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Europe must do more to protect its rivers and lakes scientists

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More than 5,500 scientists have signed an open letter saying that Europe is facing a severe threat to its freshwater biodiversity and must do more to protect its rivers and lakes, Reuters reported.

The letter follows the release of a report by the EU’s own environment agency, EEA, which said that nearly two thirds of freshwater bodies across the continent are unhealthy.

The scientists call on the European Union to intensify its efforts to ensure freshwater diversity.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, more than 1 million species worldwide are at risk of extinction due to humans’ pursuit of economic growth. Freshwater species are especially at risk. Worldwide populations have crashed 83% in the past decades.

Water is also at risk of becoming an increasingly scarce resource as climate change exacerbates pressures on the water sources of half a billion Europeans who depend on it.

The EEA has said nearly half of all habitants in the countries around the Mediterranean experienced some form of drought in the past summers.

The EU policy protecting the bloc’s waterways, the Water Framework Directive, was introduced in 2000. Since its inception, implementation has been lacklustre.

The new head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has committed to fighting biodiversity loss as part of her European Green Deal, an ambitious plan which would make Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The scientists wrote: “There cannot be an effective European Green Deal without healthy water ecosystems at the heart of it.”

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