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Mo Farah’s coach say athlete was victim of attack in Haile Gebrselassie’s hotel

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Mo Farah’s coach say athlete was victim of attack in Haile Gebrselassie’s hotel
Mo Farah (left) and Haile Gebrselassie (centre) raced against each other at the 2013 Great North Run

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah was involved in an altercation at Haile Gebrselassie’s hotel but was the victim of an attack, his coach says.

Farah and Gebrselassie are involved in a dispute over an alleged theft at a hotel belonging to the Ethiopian athletics great in Addis Ababa.

On Thursday, Gebrselassie said Farah “punched and kicked” a husband and wife during the Briton’s stay this year.

Farah’s coach Gary Lough said he was acting in self-defence.

Gebrselassie made further claims on Thursday that his falling out with Farah stems from when he would not allow Jama Aden, a coach who was arrested as part of an anti-doping operation in Spain in 2016, to enter the hotel.

A spokesperson for Farah said Aden “has never trained Mo” and that the allegation had “no basis” and is “not true”.

The alleged altercation

Lough, who was present during the incident, told the Evening Standard that a man had approached Farah, 36, and his training partner Abi Bashir in the gym and that Farah had been threatened with dumbbells.

“I turn round and this guy comes over threateningly as if he’s going to attack Bashir and Mo tries to defend Bashir and hits the other guy,” said Lough.

“So, they’re grappling a little bit and the woman comes running and Mo turns round not knowing who it is and she got hit on the arm.

“She had two 5kg weights in her hands and was threatening to throw them at him.

“So I shout, ‘Put those things down or you’ll be in jail.’ Hotel security did nothing.”

On Wednesday, at a media preview event for Sunday’s London Marathon, Farah said that he had money, a watch and two phones taken from his room on 23 March.

He added that he is “disappointed” that Gebrselassie “couldn’t do nothing” to help retrieve his items.

Gebrselassie, 46, responded in a statement on Wednesday, accusing Farah of “blackmail” and “defaming” his reputation and business.

The two-time Olympic 10,000m champion said the alleged theft was reported and that five of the hotel’s employees were investigated but released without charge after three weeks is custody, adding that police “found nothing on the reported robbery case”.

Gebrselassie also claimed that hotel staff reported “disgraceful conduct” by Farah and his entourage and that he was reported to the police for “attacking a married athlete in the gym”.

He said said a criminal charge was dropped because of his own mediation role.

On Thursday, Gebrselassie told The Guardian that Farah had confronted the man.

“Farah said to him, ‘Why are you following me?’ But the guy said he wasn’t – and that he was just doing his work,” said Gebrselassie.

“Immediately Farah punched them and kicked them by foot. Especially the husband. There were lots of witnesses.”

However, Ethiopian Sisay Tsegaye said that he and his wife were involved in the altercation with Farah but that the Briton did not hit his wife and they had now “found peace”.

“A brawl erupted inside the gym,” said Tsegaye.

“I think Mo was thinking I was using his training regime to train other people. But in fact we were using videos downloaded from YouTube.

“When a brawl erupted, Mo kicked me around my neck. It was a minor hit. This caused disturbance inside the gym. Police came to the scene but it was resolved with mediation. But he never touched my wife.

“Now I’m on good terms with Mo. We have found peace four days after this incident.”

Gebrselassie, who won four world titles, also said Farah was given a 50% discount on his hotel rates, but left without paying his service bill of 81,000 Ethiopian Birr (£2,170).

In response to Gebrselassie’s claims on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Farah said: “Mo is disappointed with this statement and the continued reluctance by the hotel and its owner to take responsibility for this robbery.

“Mo disputes all of these claims, which are an effort to distract from the situation, where members of his hotel staff used a room key and stole money and items from Mo Farah’s room (there was no safe as it was faulty, and Mo requested a new one).

“Police reports confirm the incident and the hotel admitted responsibility and were in contact with Mo’s legal advisor.

“The hotel even offered to pay Mo the amount stolen, only to withdraw the offer when he prematurely left the hotel and moved to other accommodation due to security concerns.

“Despite many attempts to discuss this issue privately with Mr Gebrselassie, he did not respond but now that he has, we would welcome him or his legal team getting in touch so that this matter can be resolved.”

Jama Aden claims

Gebrselassie claimed on Thursday he had previously refused Aden entry to the hotel, leading to a dispute with Farah.

Aden, the former coach of 2015 world 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba, was arrested after police raided his hotel room in Sabadell, north of Barcelona in June 2016. The investigation is ongoing.

“His grudge against me started when I denied access to Jama Aden to the hotel and forbidden access,” Gebrselassie told the Telegraph.

“I was head of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation at the time. He was angry with me at the time and looking for ways to revenge for that.”

Gebrselassie was Ethiopian Athletics Federation president between November 2016 and November 2018.

In 2016, British Athletics said Aden had been “unofficial facilitator” for Farah when he trained in Ethiopia for a week in 2015 and had only called out lap times for the Briton.

“To be clear Jama Aden has never trained Mo and this allegation along with many of the others levied by Haile Gerbreselassie and his hotel employees today have no basis and are not true,” said a spokesperson for Farah on Thursday.

‘An unseemly spat’ – Cram

Former 1500m world champion and BBC commentator Steve Cram said it is “an unseemly spat” between Farah and Gebrselassie but that it would not affect the Briton in his bid to win the London Marathon on Sunday.

“Mo had something he really wanted to get off his chest,” said Cram.

“He knew he had an audience and decided it was the right time to say what he said about what had happened in Ethiopia.

“It might not have been the best timing but he felt it was the platform to do it.”

Cram said he was hopeful that the “two great champions” could “settle their differences in whatever way and the thing doesn’t escalate”.

“Inevitably for the media it’s a great story,” he added.

“It is a distraction from the weekend – we’re all getting excited about Mo versus Eliud Kipchoge – another great champion, so I hope by Sunday that’s what we’ll concentrate on.”

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Godzilla, Kong and Mothra, oh my: The stories of Japan’s kaiju monsters are far from over

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Godzilla, Kong and Mothra, oh my: The stories of Japan’s kaiju monsters are far from over

Happy birthday to the granddaddy of gigantic monsters, Godzilla. But though he turns 65 this year, don’t expect the flame-breathing mutant lizard to be picking up his bus pass any time soon… he’s more likely to be picking up the entire bus and eating it whole, driver and passengers too.

At the end of May the big fella returns in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and this will be his 35th cinematic outing since he debuted in his native Japan in 1954. This movie follows on from the 2014 film Godzilla, which kick-started production company Legendary Entertainment’s so-called MonsterVerse, a series of interconnected movies that has also included 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. Think the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with rampaging gigantic creatures rather than superheroes. A fourth film – somewhat, inevitably, Godzilla vs Kong – is already slated for release in 2020.

Of those 35 Godzilla movies, only three – the two mentioned above, and the 1998 effort directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Matthew Broderick – have been made by Hollywood. The rest have come out of Toho Studios in Japan, and have been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the longest continually running movie franchise in film history.

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Toho Studios, based in Tokyo, began life as a theatre production company in the 1930s, then moved into film and TV, and is Japan’s biggest production and distribution company today. Although its output is vast, it is best known in the west for its movies featuring Godzilla, alongside the other giant monsters that have become known as Toho’s Big Five money-spinners: Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla.

Mothra, as you might have guessed, is a gigantic moth. Mechagodzilla, a robotic version of Godzilla. Rodan is a huge, pterodactyl-type beast, and King Ghidorah a three-headed monster with bat wings.

In Japan, these giant monsters are known as kaiju, a term that has seeped into western usage and was even used as the generic term for the huge monsters in Hollywood’s Pacific Rim franchise. Godzilla was the first of these films, in 1954, but we so very nearly got a much different iconic beast in director Ishirō Honda’s movie… special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya apparently wanted the titular beast to be a gigantic octopus rather than the dinosaur-esque creature we have come to know and love.

According to Hector Garcia in his book A Geek in Japan, Godzilla would “gradually become one of Japan’s most recognisable international symbols. Halfway through the 1960s, rival studios created Gamera to compete with Godzilla’s popularity. Gamera is a gigantic bipedal turtle with great destructive power thanks to its mighty flame-throwing breath.”

Garcia adds: “The passion for gigantic mutant creatures kept growing, with the appearance of many more series and movies with gigantic monsters in the leading roles. The ceaseless production of this kind of movie ended in a new genre known as kaiju.”

Toho Studios didn’t exactly invent the monster movie, of course. A year before Godzilla first appeared – and possibly an influence on Toho’s decision to make the first film – Hollywood released The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, loosely based on a Ray Bradbury story and about a dinosaur (a fictional Rhedosaurus) woken from its slumber in the Arctic Circle due to atomic bomb testing.

But 20 years prior to that, the movie that started the whole big monster genre was made in Hollywood: King Kong, in which a monstrous ape is taken from its hidden island home and put on display in New York, where it captures a beautiful woman (played by Fay Wray) and meets its doom atop the Empire State Building. Featuring what was at the time astonishing stop-motion animation work by Willis O’Brien, the movie wowed and shocked audiences around the world.

Kit Cox is the author of several monster-themed novels (a genre he has dubbed “monsterpunk”) and gives talks about the history of monsters in cinema and literature. He well remembers his first meeting with the mighty Kong.

A scene from the 1933 film ‘King Kong’ (Getty)

“I watched it on my grandparents’ black and white TV in the early Seventies so the lack of colour wasn’t important,” he recalls. “I must have been about five and I remember my dad telling me not to get scared. My grandparents were Irish and watched the kind of television my English Dad didn’t really allow us to watch and it was always on. For some reason I remember this being special, my Dad watched it too and we stayed to the end with everyone quietly watching. I had questions of my own because I was hooked and truly believed there were giant gorillas somewhere in the world.”

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms had been awakened by atomic bomb tests, and a slew of monster movies out of Hollywood in the 1950s preyed on that decade’s particular fear of nuclear conflagration. Which is why when Japan began making monster movies, they had something of an edge; they had lived through that which America could only fear.

Hector Garcia writes: “Godzilla is a mutant monster, the result of some failed experiments with hydrogen bombs – recalling the Hiroshima and Nagasaki catastrophes – that yearns to destroy.”

Garcia’s use of “catastrophes” to describe Hiroshima and Nagasaki is perhaps curious, lending them an almost accidental quality. The atomic bombs that were exploded over those cities by the Americans, to bring about the end of the Second World War, were no accident. Estimates say that 140,000 died in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki. Those events were only nine years before Godzilla was released.

Cox says: “The atomic age was one of the fears for Japan, they are the only place to have been attacked with atomic bombs and not once but twice. Monster movies always play to a society’s fears, zombies in the west because we live in fear of disease, influx of foreign invaders and science gone mad, or slasher movies because we fear the strange neighbour. Japan is a traditional country surrounded by larger, more powerful countries looking to destroy what they have.”

But while Japan perhaps had more of a claim on monsters born from the nuclear genie getting out of the bottle than anywhere else, they also have a much more venerable tradition of kaiju, beyond coining the term that has passed into common currency. Japanese folkore is redolent with monsters and beasts, from the Gashadokuro, a gigantic beast made from the bones of starvation victims, to the Tsuchigumo, which has the body of a tiger, spider legs, and a demonic face. There are suggestions that the term kaiju, literally meaning “strange beast”, dates back to ancient Japan and its earliest mythology.

Giant ape and mutant dinosaur battle it out in the 1962 movie ‘King Kong vs Godzilla’ (Rex)

After watching King Kong, the young Kit Cox embarked on a love affair with monsters, mainlining movies such as Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and Clash of the Titans. And then he found the Japanese movies.

“Discovering Toho Studios was like unearthing the grail,” he says. “Godzilla was shown infrequently at night but I had managed to get a black and white portable TV from a jumble sale so was able to catch it one night after I was supposed to have gone to bed. Luckily video was now a thing and if you knew the right people you could watch generally undubbed or unsubtitled films from Japan (during the school holidays).

“Not being able to understand was most of the fun, you made up your own stories. Then the Golden Goose awards were created, an Oscars-like award for the worst or weirdest films, and suddenly the badly dubbed/subtitled Toho films were on the TV.

“The first I saw of these was Godzilla vs the Smog Monster, or Hedorah to those in the know, and it was awesome. As a fan you realised that everything we did in the west was either a rip-off of Toho or discovered that Toho had taken western monsters and somehow made them better.”

Another Japanese word that is gaining traction in the west is tokuhatsu, which refers to TV shows featuring brightly-clad superheroes such as Ultraman and the Power Rangers, often fighting kaiju… which, during the genre’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, were often actors in suits stamping over miniature cardboard buildings.

Cox says: “Big monsters were cheap special effects to Japanese cinema and TV, you built a small model city, you dressed a guy up in a rubber suit and he went at it. If you couldn’t afford a model city you dressed two guys up went to a field and they went at each other. The CGI of modern big monster movies is wonderful but you will never get past the simplicity of just having two rubber-clad guys duke it out in a town of painted boxes. Cheap means you can make more films for your money and that means you get more return.

“The costumes from Toho Studios were repurposed again and again and appeared on TV in Ultraman. Toho was one of those wonderfully subversive things. Like Romero’s zombie movies in the States they somehow were seen as flippant nonsense by the authorities and not open to the scrutiny of other films. From the very first Godzilla movie Toho was sliding political and social rhetoric unchallenged past the censors. They weren’t just throwaway monster movies, they were getting voices and radical opinions heard by sizeable Japanese audiences.

“Toho Studios was a giant monster with a hidden message but at the same time their global success with monster movies allowed them to keep Japanese cinema from being steamrollered by Hollywood. Their historical importance as a studio is wonderful.”

Japan took Hollywood’s fad for monster movies and made it their own, and continued it long after the trend had died off in the west. But, as is the way of these things, the west has cherry-picked the kaiju concept back and it seems to be in something of a resurgence.

Advances in CGI special effects allowed Jurassic Park to give us the thrill of dinosaurs in 1993, and the first US Godzilla flick followed in 1999 (not counting, of course, the Hanna-Barbera animated Godzilla series that ran in 1978, along with the kaiju’s cute but easily-spooked “nephew”, Godzooky). In 2008, producer JJ Abrams turned things up a notch with Cloverfield, a heart-stopping found-footage movie about a gigantic kaiju devastating New York.

Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 movie Pacific Rim, and its 2018 sequel, were heartfelt homages to the whole Japanese monster subculture, basically involving huge “mecha” robots piloted by humans smashing hell out of extra-dimensional beasts referred to throughout the movies as kaiju.

And now it’s come full circle, with Hollywood putting its spin on the Godzilla movies that it inspired in the first place, and giving Kong, who started it all, a new lease of life.

With the Legendary Entertainment’s bid to be a Toho for the 21st century with its MonsterVerse pitting humanity against the kaiju, and kaiju against each other (Godzilla: King of the Monsters features the big green guy facing off against Toho favourites Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah), perhaps monster movies might get us off our sofas and back in the cinemas for some major spectacle.

“Clearly, giant monster movies of the west are bums on seats: they are about escapism and fun, they aren’t charged with underlying political messages,” says Cox. “It’s about the cinema experience. We’re becoming stay-at-home film watchers, not bothered by the rustle of a stranger’s popcorn or moving a row full of people to go to the loo, but even if you have a big screen it’s never going to beat the cinema screen.

“Cinema is now about size and sound. Would Godzilla be as good watched on your tablet on the train, would Gravity have lost you in the desolation of space at home… No, you need the big screen. That’s why monster movies, epic super hero battles and space are the kings and queens of western cinema.”

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Amazon to report first-quarter earnings after the bell

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Amazon to report first-quarter earnings after the bell

Amazon reported first-quarter earnings on Thursday that reflected an ongoing change at the company: less growth but fatter profit margins.

announced in January.

Amazon has been one of the best-performing big tech stocks this year, up 28% in 2019. It is currently the third most valuable company in the world, behind Microsoft and Apple.

WATCH: How Amazon makes money

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London Marathon 2019: Eliud Kipchoge on freedom, simplicity & power of the mind

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London Marathon 2019: Eliud Kipchoge on freedom, simplicity & power of the mind
Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in Berlin in September

Eliud Kipchoge’s eyes light up. He points to an electric blue band he is wearing on his wrist, where four simple words are written.

“No human is limited.”

It could sound like an inane Instagram post from a social media influencer. Coming from the greatest marathon runner of all time it feels anything but.

At the Berlin Marathon last September, Kipchoge set a new world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, an incredible run that took 78 seconds off the previous best. It was the biggest single improvement for over 50 years.

Such a seismic step forward was no surprise. The Kenyan 34-year-old had served notice of his capabilities on 6 May 2017 when he ran 2:00:25 in Monza as part of Nike’s Breaking2 project.

Nobody in history has gone closer to breaking the magical two-hour barrier.

That time is not considered a world best because pacemakers who could swap in and out were used, but while the record books have ignored it, the world at large could not possibly turn a blind eye.

Sixty-three years to the day since Roger Bannister’s historic four-minute mile, running had been changed forever. The conversation had shifted from ‘if’ a two-hour marathon was possible to ‘when’. For Kipchoge – the once-in-a-lifetime athlete responsible for shifting the sporting axis – the burning question is, how?

His answer lies in the power of the mind.

“The mind is what drives a human being,” Kipchoge says. “If you have that belief – pure belief in your heart – that you want to be successful then you can talk to your mind and your mind will control you to be successful.

“My mind is always free. My mind is flexible. That is why I wear this band on my wrist.

“I want to show the world that you can go beyond your thoughts, you can break more than you think you can break.”

Success in the world of marathon running is a lucrative business. Having won 10 of the 11 marathons he has entered since switching from track to road running in 2013, Kipchoge is a multi-millionaire.

However, money is not the motivation. Kipchoge believes that “living simply sets you free”.

For nearly 300 days a year he lives and trains away from his wife and three children at a simple training centre in Kaptagat, a tiny village in the Kenyan highlands.

He is known as the “boss man” by his training partners but that doesn’t stop him cleaning the toilets or doing his share of the daily chores.

Eliud Kipchoge training in his native Kenya

“I enjoy the simplistic training and life in marathon,” he says. “You run, eat, sleep, walk around – that’s how life is. You don’t get complicated. The moment you get complicated it distracts your mind.”

Kipchoge was little more than a kid when he began his journey to becoming the greatest male marathon runner of all time.

At the 2003 World Championships in Paris, aged 18, he won 5,000m gold – a breakthrough victory all the more notable for two additional facts.

Firstly the time – a Championship record of 12:52.79 minutes which still stands today. Secondly the identity of the two men he outkicked in the finishing straight – 1500m world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj and future 5,000m world record holder Kenenisa Bekele.

His track career didn’t quite progress as he might have liked from there.

Between 2004 and 2012 he won global medals galore but none of them with gold. Olympic bronze in 2004 was followed by silver in 2008. The only addition to his World Championship collection was a 5,000m silver medal at the 2007 championships in Osaka.

Having failed to even make the Kenyan team for the 2012 Olympics, he switched his focus to the roads. They have since been almost exclusively paved with gold.

Three of those 10 victories so far have come in London and he will start as heavy favourite to become the first man ever to win four on the streets of the English capital this weekend.

A world record is unlikely in London, not least because the course is far less favourable than that of Berlin, where the men’s world record has been broken seven times in the past 16 years.

But in the future?

“One day, one time, someone will run under two hours,” he says. An inquiry as to whether it could be him brings a laugh. “Maybe. Maybe not.”

Brett Kirby certainly still believes.

He worked closely with Kipchoge as the lead physiologist on Nike’s Breaking2 project and continues to advise the Kenyan and his coaches in areas such as strategy, workout analysis and race strategy.

“I think it’s possible,” he says. “I think his race in Berlin [the world record last September] was incredible. And I don’t see any decay.”

Kirby’s belief is based on the many months he spent analysing Kipchoge during that Breaking2 project. Funded by Nike, it was three years in the making but had one simple goal. To produce the first ever sub-two-hour marathon.

The mere mention of the idea was enough to scare off plenty of prospective hopefuls. But not Kipchoge.

“When we started Breaking2 at the time it was very, very scary,” Kirby says. “Plenty of athletes were hesitant about doing it.

“For some the approach was either to be egotistical about it and say ‘of course I can do it’ or to be scared of it and just say ‘it’s not possible’.

“Eliud respected it, he became a partner in it. He had the discipline and fortitude to take on the challenge. It was amazing to see the respect he gave the idea.”

Respect married with the physical and mental capabilities.

“I don’t even know how to describe how he has shown me how important the mind is,” Kirby said in the Breaking2 documentary released by National Geographic in September 2017.

“I have a big, blank, open box for how I quantify the mind. How do I quantify a person’s ability to push beyond what we thought was possible based on physiology alone?”

Eighteen months later Kirby is still working with Kipchoge and is still enjoying trying to work him out.

“On the surface, Eliud might look like just another Kenyan,” Kirby says. “But his mind is different, his body is different.

“In layman’s terms he has the ability to both run fast and to maintain that speed for a long time. Some people can hold that speed for a half-marathon but being able to do it for a full marathon is what makes Eliud unique.

“Having that sustainable speed – that is the complete package. He always says that ‘no human is limited’ and he has shown that. In life and in sport. He is impactful as a human being and impactful as an athlete.

“Being disciplined, not just about the two-hour run you are doing but what you’re doing the other 22 hours in the day as well. He has definitely changed me and shown and given us so much.”

Such discipline is plain to see in Kipchoge’s company. The only time the calm demeanour shifts? A question regarding the “failure” of the Breaking2 project.

Kipchoge lurches forward. His eyes wide and his normally soft voice ever so slightly raised.

“Let me tell you one thing,” he says. “The Breaking2 project was the most successful project of the 21st century as far as sport is concerned. I have no regrets at all.”

A sense of what might have been would be understandable, because time is running out.

Kipchoge is widely regarded to be a few years older than 34. Kenyan runners often don’t have birth certificates, having been raised in rural areas, leaving his birthday of 5 November 1984 perhaps uncertain.

And marathon running is a demanding occupation – even for a man like Kipchoge with his “living simply will set you free” ethos.

Paula Radcliffe knows the demands too well. When she set the women’s world record of 2:17:18 in Chicago in 2002, the effort required was so extreme that she tore her colon. A year later she lowered that mark to 2:15:25.

Her record still stands today. In fact, Radcliffe remains over a minute and a half faster than her nearest rival, Kenya’s Mary Keitany. Her physio Gerard Hartmann described her performances as “going to Mars and beyond”. A stratospheric showing that Radcliffe based on some Kipchoge-esque simplicity.

“Some people would look at his life and say that is a sacrifice,” Radcliffe says. “I had that singular focus in my career too but I never saw it as a sacrifice. I loved it.”

Radcliffe believes Kipchoge still has the capabilities to run under two hours, but has her doubts over whether it will happen.

“If anyone is capable of running sub two hours then he is,” she says.

“He is definitely the closest but now, I am not sure. It depends on how many more fast marathons he has in him because everyone has a finite point when you start to slow down. That is different for everyone.

“For me, I ran every single one of my marathons flat out and so it was probably a bit shorter.

“Eliud has not done that in all of his marathons which might help, but it’s difficult to say when he might slow down. I don’t know how old he genuinely is. At some point he is going to slow down and that is why I am so happy he got the world record in Berlin.”

Kipchoge is optimistic on the subject of how long he has left.

“You’ll still see me around,” he says. “I think there are still beautiful things in store. I am still there to do some cool things.”

And when he does say finally say farewell?

“After I retire my plan is to concentrate on inspiring people.

“My dream is to make this world a running world. A running world is a healthy world. A running world is a wealthy world. A running world is a peaceful world. A running world is a joyful world.

“There is freedom in running. Go and run and your mind will be free. That is what is needed in the whole planet.”

London Marathon 2019
Date: Sunday, 28 April Start times: Wheelchair races 09:05 BST, women’s race 09:25 and men’s race and masses 10:10
Coverage: Follow live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Red Button and online. Full details.
Kipchoge and Mo Farah will compete in Sunday’s 2019 London Marathon
Kipchoge spends the majority of the year training in his native Kenya
Kipchoge set a world record time of 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon in September
Kipchoge won Olympic gold at the Rio Games of 2016, beating Ethiopa’s Feyisa Lilesa (left) and Galen Rupp of the United States (right)

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Premier League title race: Who has the best remaining fixtures – Man City or Liverpool?

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Premier League title race: Who has the best remaining fixtures – Man City or Liverpool?

With only three rounds of fixtures remaining and one point separating the champions and the challengers, the finest Premier League title race of recent years is almost over.

Both Manchester City and Liverpool are likely to achieve points totals which would be enough to win the league in all but a handful of post-1995 (i.e. 38-game) seasons.

And whichever one of Jürgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola finishes in second place is now all but certain to have overseen the Premier League’s best-ever runners-up finish.

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Whether City defend their crown or Liverpool end their 29-year wait for a domestic title will depend, in part, on their respective run-ins.

By calculating the average points-per-game home and away of each Premier League club this season, we can weigh up the difficulty of City and Liverpool’s remaining fixtures.

Then, we can see where the title may be won and lost over coming weeks.

The run-ins

Manchester City

Current position: 1st

Points: 89

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.34

City’s run-in up until this point has undoubtedly been the more difficult one, but they have now cleared their two biggest hurdles.

Remaining fixtures

28/04 Burnley (A)

04/05 Leicester (H)

12/05 Brighton (A)

Saturday’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur was followed by another at Old Trafford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United beaten 2-0.

City are now one crucial point ahead of Liverpool having played the same number of games as Klopp’s side, with three fixtures remaining.

The champions must now travel to Burnley, who have picked up 1.35 ppg at Turf Moor this season, beating Tottenham but losing their other three home fixtures against ‘top six’ sides.

The visit of Brendan Rodgers to the Etihad will evoke memories of the last time City and Liverpool battled for the title in 2014. 

Leicester City (1.39 ppg away) have already beaten City this year, though doing the same away from home will be a tall order.

On the final day, City travel to relegation-threatened Brighton. Chris Hughton’s side may well be safe by then. If not, then they could have a significant say in this title race.

Liverpool

Current position: 2nd

Points: 88

Average home/away points of opponents: 0.97

Liverpool’s run-in remains marginally more favourable than City’s, though Klopp’s side also have a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona to worry about.

Remaining fixtures

26/04 Huddersfield (H)

05/05 Newcastle (A)

12/05 Wolves (H)

Before next week’s Camp Nou first leg, already-relegated basement club Huddersfield visit Anfield on Friday night. 

Anything less than a comfortable win over Jan Siewert’s side will be classed as a severe disappointment, given that they have picked up just 0.44 points-per-game away from home.

St James’ Park, however, will be a very different proposition and any suggestions that Rafael Benitez will be easy prey for his former club should be treated with suspicion.

Newcastle have won six of their eight home games since the turn of the year, including a memorable victory over City in late January.

Wolves, meanwhile, have famously taken points off every member of the so-called ‘top-six’ bar one: Liverpool. 

They travel to Anfield on the final day and no longer have to worry about resting players for an FA Cup final.

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Intel set to report first-quarter earnings after the bell

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Intel set to report first-quarter earnings after the bell

Bob Swan, interim chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Intel Corp., reacts during the inauguration of the company's research and development facility in Bengaluru, India, Nov. 15, 2018.










Samyukta Lakshmi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bob Swan, interim chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Intel Corp., reacts during the inauguration of the company’s research and development facility in Bengaluru, India, Nov. 15, 2018.

Intel stock fell more than 7% in extended trading after providing a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast for the year. The company’s first-quarter earnings topped analysts’ estimates.

Intel said last week that it’s exiting the 5G smartphone market after determining there was “no clear path to profitability,” further ceding the mobile phone chip business to Qualcomm. The company also said it’s assessing its future in so-called internet of things devices, or the growing number of gadgets that are connected to the web.

On Thursday’s conference call, Intel told analysts that it’s “conducting a strategic assessment of 5G modems for the PC and IoT sectors.”

That leaves the company increasingly reliant on the data center business, where Intel has dominant market share in providing chips for servers. But revenue for Intel’s data-centric businesses fell 5% year over year in the first quarter, the company said. Its Data Center Group reported revenue of $4.9 billion for the quarter, down from $5.2 billion during the same quarter last year.

The group’s enterprise and government revenue saw the steepest decline for the quarter at 21%. The communications service provider segment declined 4%, while Intel’s cloud segment grew 5%.

An additional problem for Intel is the company hasn’t been making enough central processing units (CPUs) to meet PC demand. It’s PC-centric business posted a 4% increase, however, based in part on strength in gaming and high performance products.

For Intel, it all amounts to a lagging stock price. The shares are up 12% in the past year, while the S&P 500 technology group has gained almost double that amount.

WATCH: Semi stocks surge

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How One Question Could Majorly Impact The 2020 Census Numbers

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How One Question Could Majorly Impact The 2020 Census Numbers

On Tuesday, April 23, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the inclusion of a question tracking the citizenship status of respondents to the 2020 census. The question, announced in March 2018 by the Census Bureau, has been a matter of personal interest for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross since he assumed his post in the Trump administration. Though the Justice Department requested in December 2017 that the Department of Commerce add a question about citizenship to the census, emails show the question’s inclusion had been on Ross’s mind since at least May 2017, and that he had asked his staffers and Justice Department officials to find reasons meriting its inclusion.

At Ross’s urging, the Justice Department made the claim that asking United States residents about their citizenship status was crucial to the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. However, those opposed to the question argue that it will actually prove detrimental towards the communities the VRA, which was signed into law in 1965, is supposed to protect. In January 2019, a judge in New York’s southern district found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had misled both his own department and the public at large about the including such a question, and therefore violated federal law; according to the same ruling, the department had also violated parts of the Census Act.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has until the end of the their term in June to decide on the question’s inclusion, and many are worried that the majority conservative court will weigh in its favor. At least 12 states have already sued the Department of Commerce on the grounds that this question would almost certainly discourage potential respondents from participating. According to former New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood, asking census respondents if they are U.S. citizens “will cause a decline in the response rate of non-citizens and Hispanics, to the detriment of the states and localities where they live.” Such a decision would also mark the first time a question about citizenship has been included on the general census since 1950.

As the New York Times explains, the final census tally impacts everything from the number of congressional seats representing each state to the allocation of federal dollars for a variety of programs, including those that benefit everyone, regardless of citizenship status. But states and activists are concerned that residents would be so worried about how the government uses their census data, that they wouldn’t respond to the census at all.

On its website, the Census Bureau explains that “by law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone — not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.” But in November 2017, researchers within the Bureau issued a study that detailed a “recent increase in respondents spontaneously expressing concerns to researchers and field staff about confidentiality and data access relating to immigration,” and pointed to the issues of “legal residency” and “the perception that certain immigrant groups are unwelcome” in the country. The field tests noted that many of these fears came from Spanish-speaking households in their test areas, though they also noted responses generated from interviews conducted in Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Greek, Romanian, Russian, and Vietnamese, among other languages.

“The possibility that the census could give my information to internal security and immigration could come and arrest me for not having documents terrifies me,” one respondent said in a Spanish-language interview.

The argument against the inclusion of a citizenship question cites the Latinx community in America as a key example of residents who might not respond to the census. Currently, Latinx people make up approximately 51 percent of the total immigrant population in the United States; that number does not distinguish between people’s citizenship or documentation statuses. And given how much the Trump administration has been defined by its quest to build a wall at the border between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric against Mexicans specifically and Latinx people broadly, it’s understandable why Latinx migrants would feel particularly targeted by questions about citizenship.

In December 2018, data from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) showed that arrests and deportation of non-citizens was rising, and a March 2019 report from TechCrunch revealed that ICE was using a license plate reader database to target immigrants, including in sanctuary cities. In July 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also implemented new guidelines that said documented immigrants could be deported under certain conditions.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Trump appointee and United States Solicitor General Noel Francisco attempted to brush away these concerns by suggesting that if the Supreme Court rules against the addition of the question based on the fears that it would hinder responses from immigrants and the Latinx community in particular, other groups could conspire for the removal of other questions by boycotting the census in future years.

“Are you suggesting that Hispanics are boycotting the census?” Sotomayor interjected. “Are you suggesting they don’t have, whether it is rational or not, that they don’t have a legitimate fear?”

“Not in the slightest, Your Honor,” he replied.

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Here are the picks in the 2019 CNBC Stock Draft

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Here are the picks in the 2019 CNBC Stock Draft

CNBC’s 2019 Stock Draft kicked off on “Power Lunch” Thursday.

last year’s winner, is defending his title against nine other teams. In 2018, her wrested the prize away from from “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary, with his picks of Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and Advanced Micro Devices. His stocks ended the challenge up 37 percent.

This year, competitors will chose from a list of 61 investments, including Apple, JP Morgan and Lyft. They will make one pick per round, for three rounds.

The contest begins with the closing prices on Thursday and ends with the closing prices on Jan. 31, 2020, the Friday before the Super Bowl. The winner is determined by the average percentage change of all three selections.

Here is the draft order, chosen randomly last week:

  1. Tim Seymour (Seymour Alpha)
  2. Jarvis Green (The Green Machine)
  3. Bethenny Frankel (Team YES)
  4. Nick Lowery (Nick the Kick’s Pix)
  5. Bobby Flay (Bobby’s Bulls)
  6. Maria Ho (Blue Chip Leaders)
  7. Noah Syndergaard (Thor’s Hammer)
  8. Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful)
  9. Oz Pearlman (Oz Knows)
  10. Beardstown Ladies

Here is a round-up of Thursday’s picks:

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Mo Farah & Haile Gebrselassie in dispute over alleged theft

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Mo Farah & Haile Gebrselassie in dispute over alleged theft
Mo Farah (left) and Haile Gebrselassie (centre) raced against each other at the 2013 Great North Run

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie are involved in a dispute over an alleged theft at a hotel belonging to the Ethiopian athletics great in Addis Ababa.

The Briton said he had money, a watch and two phones taken from his room, and that Gebrselassie did not help him.

“I was just disappointed with Haile,” said 36-year-old Farah.

Gebrselassie, 46, responded by accusing Farah of “blackmail” and “defaming” his reputation and business.

Farah made the claims at the media preview event of Sunday’s London Marathon.

“Just to be honest, it’s Haile who owns the hotel and when you stay for three months in that hotel, it was very disappointing to know that someone who has that hotel and that kind of support couldn’t do nothing,” said Farah, who had been training in Ethiopia.

Gebrselassie accuses Farah of ‘disgraceful conduct’

Farah alleged that the items were stolen on 23 March.

In a statement sent to BBC Sport via his agent, double Olympic 10,000m champion Gebrselassie said he was considering taking legal action against Farah.

He said a text message he received from Farah before the London Marathon news conference was an attempt to “blackmail” him.

Gebrselassie said guests staying at his hotel are asked to declare if they are carrying more than $350 (£271) in cash, so they could be given the option of keeping the money in a safe box or give it to officials for safe-keeping.

He claimed that Farah chose to hold on to his money, which meant his hotel was not legally accountable for it.

Gebrselassie said the alleged theft was reported and that five of the hotel’s employees were investigated but released without charge, adding that police “found nothing on the reported robbery case”.

Gebrselassie, who won four world titles, said Farah was given a 50% discount on his hotel rates, but left without paying his service bill of 81,000 Ethiopian Birr (£2,170).

He also said his hotel staff reported “disgraceful conduct” by Farah and his entourage and that he was reported to the police for “attacking a married athlete in the gym”.

Gebrselassie said a criminal charge was dropped because of his own mediation role.

‘Farah wants matter resolved’

In response to Gebrselassie’s claims, a spokesperson for Farah said: “Mo is disappointed with this statement and the continued reluctance by the hotel and its owner to take responsibility for this robbery.

“Mo disputes all of these claims, which are an effort to distract from the situation, where members of his hotel staff used a room key and stole money and items from Mo Farah’s room (there was no safe as it was faulty, and Mo requested a new one).

“Police reports confirm the incident and the hotel admitted responsibility and were in contact with Mo’s legal advisor.

“The hotel even offered to pay Mo the amount stolen, only to withdraw the offer when he prematurely left the hotel and moved to other accommodation due to security concerns.

“Despite many attempts to discuss this issue privately with Mr Gebrselassie, he did not respond but now that he has, we would welcome him or his legal team getting in touch so that this matter can be resolved.”

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Why Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury impression makes him the perfect Bond villain

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Why Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury impression makes him the perfect Bond villain

We’ve been expecting you, Mr Malek. Rumours that Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody actor Rami Malek had been lined up as the latest Bond baddie have been confirmed, with the 37-year-old unveiled as 007’s latest nemesis in the forthcoming 25th instalment in the franchise. 

Malek’s as-yet-unnamed character is described as “a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology”. He comes to the role as one of the hottest stars in the business, having seen off Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen and Bradley Cooper to claim the Academy Award for Best Actor in March. 

But he is a divisive figure, too, his turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody among the most opinion-splitting in recent screen history. 

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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Malek’s Mercury was unquestionably broad – a heartfelt caricature by an actor who appeared torn between embodying Mercury or merely fleshing out the star’s surface tics. Some – especially those close to Mercury – loved it. Queen’s Brian May praised Malek for getting under the frontman’s skin with uncanny verisimilitude. “He inhabited Freddie to the point where we even started to think of him as Freddie. Really remarkable,” the guitarist said.

But others were less impressed, with The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin decrying the actor’s “lousy” Mercury impression. Certainly, Malek could not be accused of subtlety as he worked Mercury’s famous incisors for all they were worth and, during the climactic restaging of Live Aid, preened as if his moustache was about to start twirling like a propellor and convey him high above Wembley. 

It was ridiculous – over the top with bells on. Then, Bond fans may contend that ridiculous and over-the-top is precisely what 007 is crying out for. We’ve arguably had our fill of “gritty” Bond villains lately – several even portrayed by Oscar winners. There was Javier Bardem’s low-burning Raoul Silva in Skyfall and Christoph Waltz as a boring Blofeld in the most recent Bond, 2015’s Spectre. 

Villain Rami Malek gives video message about new Bond 25 film

Both those actors approached the part as though a Bond movie were rather a serious matter – an Ibsen play only with more shooting. That has obviously has been in keeping with the texture of the franchise throughout the ever grumpier Daniel Craig epoch.

Malek’s casting, however, hints at a new direction – especially factoring in the fact that Bond 25 (pencilled for release in 2020) is to be directed by True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga (replacing Danny Boyle, who exited after his script was rejected by the producers). With season one of the HBO noir hit and later with Maniac on Netflix, Fukunaga’s forte has been heightened realities – adjacent to our world but not quite of it. 

That’s of a piece with Malek’s breakout performance as a paranoid hacker in the TV series Mr Robot. There he looked like a graphic novel character brought to life as he slouched around in a hoodie and ranted in voiceover about the evils of social media and Josh Groban. 

It was a quietly maniacal turn – one he has occasionally seemed to reprise in real life. For evidence, check out on YouTube his chilling advertisement for Mandarin Oriental hotels. “I’m a fan of… hand-written letters,” he says in a staccato hiss. “I’m a fan of looking sharp regardless of the occasion… I’m a fan of mischief… I’m a fan of being exactly who I want to be.” 

He doesn’t sound much like an Oscar-winner shilling for a five-star hotel chain. With his lidless gaze and monotone patter, Malek rather resembles an evil genius monologuing just before he presses a big red button that will blow up the world (the piece sounds even creepier when paired with the music from Jordan Peele’s Us, as someone has inevitably done). 

The point is that, even if you thought Bohemian Rhapsody was a right load of Scaramouche, the sheer excess of Malek’s performance suggests he has potential as an old-fashioned baddie. He may have been a divisive Oscar winner. As a Bond villain, he could be the walking creep-show for which 007 is crying out. 

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