Jetsetters desert Malaysia Airlines

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Spooked Australian travellers are deserting Malaysia Airlines following the March 8 disappearance of MH370, but overall airfare spending is up.

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New data drawn from the bank accounts of 20,000 Australians shows March spending on Malaysia Airlines tickets was down a third on the monthly average for the six months prior.

China Southern Airlines, its partner for the flight, experienced a 54 per cent reduction in Australian spending.

Other carriers with links to Malaysia and China also suffered, with spending on China Eastern and Malaysia’s Air Asia down 34 and 20 per cent, respectively.

MH370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it disappeared from radar. Search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean have recovered no debris and all on board are presumed dead.

Malaysia Airlines chief Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has conceded the incident has hurt ticket sales, but has declined to provide specifics.

Despite the incident, overall Australian airfare spending grew seven per cent in March compared with February, as customers began planning mid-year trips.

Cathay Pacific got a 48 per cent boost, while Virgin (up 16 per cent) and Qantas (up 10 per cent) also grew.

The data comes from Australian budget-management app Pocketbook, which aggregates a user’s bank accounts, credit cards and loans, providing a single view of spending.

This gives it a unique insight into the spending habits of its roughly 50,000 Australian users.

AUSTRALIAN AIRLINE SPEND IN MARCH COMPARED TO SEPT-FEB AVERAGE:

* China Southern Airlines: down 54 per cent

* China Eastern Airlines: down 34 per cent

* Malaysia Airlines: down 31 per cent

* Air Asia: down 20 per cent

* Cathay Pacific: up 48 per cent

* Garuda Indonesia: up 23 per cent

* Virgin: up 16 per cent

* Qantas: up 10 per cent.

Source: Data from 20,000 Pocketbook users

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Pietersen offered support to Trott

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Axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen has revealed he tried to calm Jonathan Trott after first noticing the problems that forced his early Ashes departure.

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Trott left Australia after the first Ashes Test last November due to a stress-related illness, with Pietersen apparently the first on tour to spot his teammate was struggling to handle the pressure.

Pietersen has also claimed he was well liked in the England dressing-room, despite reports to the contrary following the England and Wales Cricket Board’s decision to call time on his international career in the wake of the 5-0 whitewash.

“He has said that I was the first person to notice his problem,” Pietersen told the Times of India, after arriving in the sub-continent ahead of the new Indian Premier League tournament.

“I told him that he needed to calm down and he was putting too much pressure on himself.

“Contrary to popular belief, I have a very good relationship with most of the guys in the English dressing room. I like to look after them.

“If someone is struggling, I like to go up and put an arm around him.”

Trott began his bid to return to the England team earlier this month after making a pre-season return with Warwickshire.

The right-hander made just four runs in his comeback friendly against Gloucestershire in Birmingham, before again failing to make double figures on Tuesday as his teammates otherwise piled on 7-388 against Oxford University.

Despite not yet rediscovering his batting touch, Pietersen is confident Trott is on the right track to recovering his England place.

“He is doing quite well now,” Pietersen added.

Pietersen will begin life after England when the new IPL season starts next week.

The 33-year-old will play his first game for the Delhi Daredevils in Sharjah on April 17.

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PM faces off with North Korea in DMZ tour

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has visited the “tensest border on earth”, stepping into North Korean territory and facing off with soldiers from the rogue state.

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Mr Abbott on Wednesday took his tough talk on Pyongyang to the next level, inspecting first-hand the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas.

The zone feels far from demilitarised, with claymore mines, armed sentry towers and razor-wire fences dotting the no-man’s land between the enemy neighbours.

Standing in T2 – a blue building straddling the border of both countries – Mr Abbott had a close encounter with the soldiers defending the isolated regime ruled by Kim Jong-un.

The prime minister crossed briefly onto North Korean soil, as curious troops – some snapping pictures – peered through the windows at the foreign leader.

“It is quite a place, isn’t it?” Mr Abbott remarked.

The next stop was “checkpoint 3”, a watchtower surrounded by North Korea on three sides.

Mr Abbott, staring out at the no man’s land stretching out to the north, reflected on the war that led to the split at the 38th parallel.

He remembered the 17,000 diggers who served in the Korean War – and mourned the 400 who died – before thanking those who continued to defend the border.

“This is probably the tensest border on earth,” he said.

“On the South Korean side we have freedom, we have justice, we have democracy.

“On the North Korean side, we have an outlaw state which is a threat to world peace and a deadly danger to the people of South Korea.”

The prime minister has ramped up the rhetoric against North Korea during his visit to Seoul, personally assuring President Park Geun-hye that Australia stands by its friend in the region.

The north and south are still officially at war, and Mr Abbott’s visit to the disputed border comes at time of heightened military tension on the Korean peninsula.

Both sides fired hundreds of artillery rounds into each other’s territorial waters during a marine spat two weeks ago, just a day after Pyongyang provocatively launched a series of missile tests.

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Football doctor researching deaths

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Why do healthy footballers suffer from sudden death? A German national team doctor has started to work in collaboration with the ruling body FIFA to create a worldwide databank to track such tragic incidents.

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Professor Tim Meyer and his Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine team at the University of Saarland want to identify the most common causes for sudden cardiac death among professionals – and leisure footballers as well.

Financed by FIFA, they hope to determine some preventative measures from the results.

Meyer, 46, has worked as a national team doctor since 2001 and will be among those caring for Joachim Loew’s team for the fourth time at a World Cup this summer in Brazil.

An online register, Sudden Death Registry (SDR) launched in January, will not be limited to only heart diseases but also include all sudden death incidents among footballers, according to Meyer.

“Ultimately, it’s about checking if there is a football-specific pattern of threats through which specific preventative measures can be taken,” Meyer said of the group’s intentions.

“Whenever a professional footballer collapses in the middle of a game or at training, there is a huge media interest and the general shock is of course enormous.”

Meyer said that of the more than 100,000 Germans who die annually of sudden cardiac arrest, only very few of them die during sports. And in those cases, cardiac death occurred either during or up to one hour after the sports activity.

Meyer has operated a national databank for nearly two years at his institute with the support of the German Heart Foundation. Coaches, athletes, doctors and even spectators can register incidents of death during sports to SCD-Deutschland (Sudden Cardiac Death).

“The risk for a sudden cardiac death is unequally divided among the sexes. About 90 per cent of those affected are men,” said Juergen Scharhag, who will implement the new project.

The register will also provide insight as to if causes of death vary in individual countries.

“In the FIFA-financed project, we do not want to limit ourselves to heart diseases but look at all incidences of sudden death among footballers,” Meyer said.

The various disease patterns will be described in numerous languages on the register’s website so that new cases can be added quickly and easily.

FIFA has been dealing with sudden cardiac death for some time now.

Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe died at age 28 of heart failure during a match at the 2003 Confederations Cup. Spanish international Antonio Puerta of FC Sevilla died at age 22 three days after a heart attack during a game.

In addition, German Alex Jueptner collapsed during training with second division side Carl Zeiss Jena in 1998 and died one day later.

The cause of death for the 28-year-old was listed as myocarditis.

FIFA medical chief Jiri Dvorak named the death of Foe a wake-up call.

Meyer, meanwhile, has already been confronted with heart issues as former German international Gerald Asamoah played with the risk of an irregular heartbeat.

Since then a defibrillator must be on site at all professional matches in German stadiums, and FIFA and Europe’s ruling body UEFA have introduced the same measure at their competitions.

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GoT renewed for two more seasons

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The hit television show Games of Thrones has been renewed for two more seasons, two days after its latest series opened with a bang that crashed the US broadcaster’s online app.

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Sunday’s fourth season debut drew 6.6 million viewers in the US, the most for the HBO pay-channel since the finale of cult hit The Sopranos was watched by 11.9 million people in 2007.

In Australia, the show attracted more than 270,000 viewers in two sittings on Monday, making it one of the most popular non-sport shows ever on Foxtel.

“Game of Thrones’ is a phenomenon like no other,” said HBO Programming boss Michael Lombardo, announcing that HBO had renewed it for a fifth and sixth season.

Its creators David Benioff and D B Weiss “along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling,” he said.

HBO Go, an online app that allows viewers to watch shows any time, crashed on Sunday as tens of thousands tried to log on to watch the show, which provides a jaw-dropping mix of sex, violence and vengeance.

Since its debut in 2011, the HBO drama based on George R R Martin’s best-selling novels about a struggle for power between feuding clans in seven mythical kingdoms has won a devoted global fan base – President Barack Obama reportedly among them – to establish itself as the star of the US cable channel’s stable.

The series has wowed critics with its densely-layered plot, lavish production values and a readiness to kill off, invariably in gruesome fashion, protagonists who had hitherto seemed integral to the show.

Four words – “No one is safe” – have become the unofficial catchphrase for devotees of the series. Guessing which character may soon meet his or her maker is all part of the fun.

All the signs are that fans of the show will not be disappointed by the 10-episode Season 4, which debuted in the US before being screened in different markets worldwide.

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Paris zoo reopens with new look

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Its grey, man-made mountain that might lure King Kong still protrudes over treetops, but nearly everything else has changed as Paris’ zoo prepares to re-open after a multi-year, multimillion dollar makeover.

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A lone lion was lounging, the baboons burrowing, and lemurs leaping from branch to branch as the Zoological Park of Paris opened for a herd of journalists on Wednesday before a grand re-opening this weekend.

Gradually, and with no lack of logistical headaches, the 80-year-old Paris attraction returned to life: Macaws cackled, red ibises perched on one foot on a greenhouse rail, and the stench of giraffe manure wafted through a cavernous indoor pen – certifying that, yep, this is a bona fide zoo.

The 65-metre Grand Boulder, the zoo’s main landmark (which actually covers a water tower) has been touched up, but isn’t quite ready to host visitors for its panoramic views, officials said. When it does it may help lure visitors out to the zoo’s site near the eastern suburb of Vincennes, and away from Paris’ many other highlights.

WHAT’S NEW?

When the zoo temporarily closed in 2008, its crumbling displays were a safety hazard. Without major refurbishment since its opening in 1934, the zoo was a concrete jungle of traditional animal cages. Now managers trumpet an unparalleled, top-to-bottom renovation: Winding pathways, lush vegetation, and 21st-century displays with fewer fences and cages – and clever landscaping to separate the wildlife from its watchers. The greenhouse as long as a football field features not-so-shy grey-winged trumpeters strutting across a walkway (and at times pecking at photographers’ camera lenses), and a lethargic West Indian manatee.

WHAT MAKES THIS ZOO DIFFERENT?

Instead of by type, the animals have been grouped by region of origin – and there are five: Madagascar, Patagonia, Guyana, Europe and Sahel-Sudan, the largest single area in the zoo and home to African savannah roamers. Rolling terrain and artificial rocks point to the effort to re-create the natural ecosystems, as best possible. “It’s like a journey around the planet,” said zoo director Sophie Ferreira Le Morvan. Giraffes and ostriches co-habit one display area, zebras and rhinos another. A male lion, somewhat understandably, has his own pen until three lionesses arrive.

WHAT ARE THE STAR ATTRACTIONS?

Giraffes. Zoo officials say the 16 giraffes – some with ancestors that were here in 1934 – amount to the largest grouping of its kind in Europe. The giraffes’ indoor dwelling offers face-to-face viewing. While many animals were shipped away to other zoos during the renovation, the giraffes stayed put, to literally “oversee” the work, as the cheeky zookeepers put it. The lion called Neron (the French namesake of Roman emperor Nero) and pack of European wolves are likely kid-friendly sights.

HOW DIFFICULT HAS THE REOPENING BEEN?

Most of the animals that left for the renovation won’t be returning, so like modern-day counterparts of Noah the zookeepers have had to bring in new ones. To make sure the animals are happy in their new digs the staff are letting the creatures adapt at their own speed – sometimes a snail’s pace. One young addax was spooked at the unfamiliar sight of zebras. Due to space constraints, there are no elephants. Chief veterinarian Alexis Lecu said the one animal he wants is a platypus, but “we’ll have to ask the Australian government.”

BY THE NUMBERS

The zoo has some 180 species – including 74 bird and 42 mammal species – totalling more than 1000 animals (aside from the insects). The budget for the renovation, under a public-private partnership, was 167 million euros ($A246.5 million). Signage at the displays is French only, but audio guides are available in several languages. Full-rate admission ranges from 11 euros (about $A16) for kids aged 3 to 11, to 22 euros ($A32.60) for adults.

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Post-mortem set for Geldof’s daughter

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The post-mortem on Live Aid founder Bob Geldof’s daughter Peaches will take place on Wednesday after the socialite’s sudden death at the age of 25.

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The married mother of two young sons was found dead at her home outside Wrotham, a village in Kent southeast of London, on Monday.

Geldof said his family was suffering “beyond pain” at the death of his second daughter with TV presenter Paula Yates, who died of a heroin overdose when Peaches was 11.

Police were called to Peaches Geldof’s home but paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. Her death is being treated as “unexplained and sudden” but non-suspicious.

Her body has been taken to a hospital in nearby Dartford, Kent Police said Tuesday.

“Arrangements are in hand for the post-mortem to be carried out tomorrow at the hospital,” police said in a statement on Tuesday.

“After the results of the post-mortem have been received, the coroner will officially open an investigation and decide whether an inquest is necessary.”

In her last Twitter message on Sunday, Peaches posted a photograph of her as a toddler being held by her mother, with the words, “Me and my mum”.

Her father Bob, who put together the huge Live Aid rock show in 1985 to raise money for the Ethiopian famine, said: “We are beyond pain.

“She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.

“How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable? We loved her and will cherish her forever.”

Pop stars, presenters and even presidents have voiced their shock at her death.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins, who began a state visit to Britain on Tuesday, was due to meet Dublin native Bob Geldof during the trip.

“I extend my deepest sympathies to Bob Geldof and his family on the sudden and untimely death of his daughter Peaches,” he said.

“This is such a difficult cross to bear for any family and all of our thoughts are with Peaches’ family and friends at this time.”

Peaches’ children are the third generation to have lost their mother young. Geldof’s own mother died of a brain haemorrhage when he was seven.

Peaches was the second of Geldof and Yates’ three daughters. Geldof also adopted her half-sister, Tiger Lily – Yates’s daughter with late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.

Peaches had a media career writing for British newspapers and presenting celebrity-driven television shows.

She married her first husband, rock musician Max Drummey, in 2008 but they separated the following year.

Peaches wed her second husband Tom Cohen, a rock singer, two years ago. They had two sons, Astala and Phaedra.

Peaches’ former publicist Ray Levine, told the BBC that she was “a very endearing, charming young lady”.

“She didn’t actually like being in the spotlight so she had to learn that because of who she was and the way that she lived her life it was something she would have to accept and deal with,” he said.

“And in the end she did that and she embraced it.”

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Reds add punch for Brumbies clash

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Queensland have recalled tough-tackling centre Anthony Fainga’a and young gun Chris Feauai-Sautia to their injury-hit backline for Friday’s Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies.

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Fainga’a gets his first start of the year with inside centre Mike Harris battling Achilles tendon soreness ahead of the crucial Rod Macqueen Cup match at Suncorp Stadium.

Reds coach Richard Graham says he won’t know until game-day whether Harris will play, surprisingly bracketing him on the bench with uncapped lock/flanker Dave McDuling.

The return of Wallabies three-quarter Feauai-Sautia on the wing is the biggest boost for Queensland, who have lost three of their last four matches to be in 11th place.

The Reds have missed the 20-year-old’s tackle-shedding ability in his time out with a hamstring strain.

He replaces rookie Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, who returns to the bench, while the under-rated Ben Lucas remains at fullback after Lachie Turner was booked in for ankle surgery.

“Chris has worked hard during the past four weeks and looks in really good shape,” Graham said. “His explosive running will be an asset for us.”

“We are fortunate to have Ant Fainga’a as a straight replacement for Harris. He brings a lot of experience to the midfield.”

Fainga’a’s twin Saia returns to the bench for his long-awaited 100th Super match after a shoulder injury ruled him out of the last two games.

“The chance to share the milestone with his brother will mean a lot to the both of them,” Graham said.

The Reds have stuck with their worker-bee back-row amid calls for the bigger Curtis Browning to start at flanker against the second-placed Brumbies.

Graham conceded the Reds needed to be better at closing out games after failing to put the Lions and Western Force away in costly losses.

“We have lost two of our last three matches by three points, so controlling the back end of the game will be important,” he said.

Reds: Ben Lucas, Rod Davies, Ben Tapuai, Anthony Fainga’a, Chris Feauai-Satutia, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Beau Robinson, Eddie Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, James Hanson, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga’a, Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O’Donoghue, Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby, Mike Harris/Dave McDuling, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

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US keen to better Aust-Japan trade deal

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Shinzo Abe’s success in signing a free-trade deal with Australia proves Japan’s prime minister can bend the once-powerful farm sector to his will, experts say, offering leverage against US claims of intransigence in a wider pan-Pacific deal.

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Tokyo looks set to make the most of its triumph, which came just weeks before US President Barack Obama arrives in Japan on a state visit that had at one point been expected to crown the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Japan-Australia deal was signed Monday after Abe’s summit with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and followed seven years of sometimes torturous negotiations.

The agreement will see Australia drop its five per cent duty on small and mid-sized Japanese cars — something of a symbolic move for a country that is soon to lose the last of its auto plants.

In exchange, Canberra has partially prised open Japan’s tightly-controlled agricultural markets, winning an up-to-50 per cent cut in steep tariffs on imported Australian beef.

The deal “puts pressure on the United States over deadlocked talks with Japan” that form a key plank of the TPP project, said Takaaki Asano, research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation.

At issue is what Washington and many of the other parties to the talks — which also involve Chile, Mexico, Canada and several Asian countries — see as Japan’s unwillingness to open its lucrative agricultural market.

Putative suitors have long complained that sky-high tariffs — on rice it is nearly 800 per cent — and non-tariff barriers, like overly-strict safety requirements, are naked protectionism pandering to a powerful farming sector.

Japan’s farmers — largely elderly, conservative and with smallholdings that would barely be worth tilling in many countries — have traditionally been a formidable political force.

Through large and well-organised cooperatives they have backstopped Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, helping it to maintain a virtual stranglehold on Japanese politics since the mid-1950s.

The narrative these cooperatives spin intimately links Japanese national identity with the shape of the countryside, idealising the small rice paddies that make up the rural landscape and warning this essence of Japanese-ness is under threat from an onslaught of poor-quality, unsafe farm imports.

Abe’s triumph in the Australian deal has been to prove that he is prepared to take on this entrenched ideology and offer up his beef farmers, pitting them against the vast ranches of the Outback, whose economies of scale dwarf their Japanese competitors.

The mass circulation Yomiuri Shimbun reported Abe had told his ministers that he definitely wanted a trade deal struck during Abbott’s visit, regardless of protests from the farming lobby.

But the trick, says Waseda University professor Shujiro Urata, is that Tokyo has not given away very much.

“The compromise Japan made this time is not huge,” he told AFP. Commentators have noted that the full roll-back of beef tariffs to the headline level will take almost two decades.

But nevertheless, it was a compromise, and it undermines US complaints that Tokyo is not prepared to budge.

“The ball is now in Washington’s court. They must be thinking hard now,” said Urata.

As the ink on Abe’s signature dried, US Trade Representative Michael Froman arrived in Japan for three days of TPP horse-trading with his Japanese counterpart Akira Amari.

Asked by reporters about the impact of the Tokyo-Canberra deal on the TPP talks, Froman told reporters: “I don’t think it has much effect in one way or the other. We are looking for a level of ambition in the TPP that is significantly higher than that.”

The pact, which if realised could cover 40 per cent of global GDP, is a key plank in Obama’s foreign policy, an effort to anchor the US firmly to a region that is increasingly feeling the pull of Beijing’s mighty economy.

Negotiators missed the end-of-2013 deadline they had set themselves — a target that always looked ambitious but became much more so when Tokyo came onboard during the year, and no new end-date has been set.

However, Obama’s Asia trip is expected to provide some momentum and may focus minds on both sides of the Pacific, where each government would like to be able to claim some sort of victory from the visit.

Most commentators agree a settlement is not likely anytime soon given remaining gaps over trade barriers and US midterm elections later this year, which will make US political concessions more difficult.

But that has not dampened the spring in the step of Japanese leaders after their triumph with Canberra.

“In negotiations both sides need to show flexibility. Like the Japan-Australia (trade deal), it’s important that we share feelings that it’s a win-win situation” in the TPP talks, Abe told a TV news program on Wednesday.

His negotiator, Amari, acknowledged a lot of hard graft remained, but added: “I expect the (TPP) talks will accelerate (after the deal with Australia)”.

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Pakistan street children return

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Pakistan’s street children footballers have returned home to cheers from thousands of fans after clinching the bronze medal in Brazil, with captain Sameer Ahmed hailing the “once in a lifetime” experience.

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Competing for the first time in the Street Child World Cup, the Pakistanis hammered title-holders India 13-0 in their first match before beating Kenya and Mauritius and tying with the United States to top their group.

They squeezed past the Philippines 3-2 in the quarter-finals before losing to Burundi 3-4 in the semi-finals, but beat the US 3-2 on penalties in the third-place play-off to cap a remarkable tournament for the rookies.

Around 4,000 people gathered at Karachi airport to welcome the children back home in an overwhelming display normally reserved for the country’s cricketers, Pakistan’s main representatives in international sports.

“We were unknown kids before this World Cup, but after seeing such a big crowd I am very happy that people now know us,” said Ahmed.

“We had never thought that we will go to Brazil, we just heard the name of Brazil which is famous for football.

“Our representation in the event and finishing third has proved that there is enough hidden talent of football in our streets and the only need is to unearth that talent,” he added.

For Pakistan’s leading goalscorer Raziq Mushtaq, 15, the win over rivals India was particularly sweet.

“India beat us in cricket World Twenty20 but we exacted the revenge in football and that win over India gave us the confidence to do well in the tournament,” said Mushtaq, who hit the back of the net eight times against India and scored 18 goals overall.

The children, many of whom were former drug addicts or members of gangs linked to Karachi’s ethnic and political violence, were rehabilitated by the non-profit Azad Foundation.

Coach Abdul Rashid praised the team’s commitment, and said the third-place finish was a result of the hard training they had been putting in since October.

“They played with great passion,” said Rashid. “They proved they had talent and we groomed them for the World Cup.”

He said the tournament also proved that Pakistan, currently ranked 158 in FIFA rankings, could do bigger things on the world stage.

“It is now up to us to unearth the hidden talent which can go places and make Pakistan a bigger footballing nation,” he said.

The team later met opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto, son of the slain former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who announced cash prizes of 100,000 rupees ($US1,000) for each player.

Bhutto also announced that he has invited Argentina’s legendary footballer Diego Maradona to coach the youngsters.

The team was earlier taken to the provincial assembly where information minister Sharjeel Memon announced prizes of 200,000 rupees for each player.

FIFA initiated the tournament in 2010, with the first edition held in South Africa and the second in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the World Cup that begins in

June.

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