Goleo makers to sack staff
German toymaker Nici said on Wednesday it would lay off some 120 of its workers following poor sales of soft toy versions of Goleo the Lion, the World Cup mascot. Nici last week received more than 700,000 orders for the shaggy lion but said this alone was not enough to cure its financial ills, which it has blamed on the Goleo venture. It paid 28 million euros (US$35 million) for the license to produce Goleo but sales have failed to match its profit forecasts.
■ Hong Kong
Illegal Web casts popular
An estimated 40,000 households in Hong Kong have been watching the World Cup through illegal Internet broadcasts without paying a cent, media reported yesterday. Peak traffic times occurred while soccer sites operating out of China were streaming matches from state-run CCTV's broadcasts, according to the Hong Kong Internet eXchange, cited by the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong viewers can only watch the games live with a subscription from the local Cable TV station.
Tax office nabs TV
Tax officials hit a tax cheat where it hurts most on Wednesday, confiscating the man's plasma TV two days before Argentina plays Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. It was the latest move in a "shock" campaign by Santiago Montoya, the top tax man in Buenos Aires Province, the country's biggest, to curb rampant tax evasion. Tax officials carted off the new big-screen television from a man who owes some 6,100 pesos (US$2,000) in back taxes.
Lunar ambassador sells air
A Chinese entrepreneur who once tried to sell land on the moon is offering soccer fans bags of stadium air. Li Jie, who describes himself as chief executive of the Lunar Embassy to China, is selling his "World Cup air" for 50 yuan (US$6.25) a bag. "The air was packed at the World Cup venues while the workers were cutting the grass before matches," Li told the Beijing Daily Messenger. Li suggests soccer enthusiasts who are not able to make the trip to Germany hang the bag around their neck and breathe in the air while watching World Cup matches on television. "Whichever stadium you like, I can give you its air," he added.
Spanish born to lose
Spain are destined to lose -- it's part of the whole business of being Spanish, according to AS sports daily. "We just must believe that there is something in us which prevents us overcoming at the crucial moment ... Maybe there's something deep within us," AS said in a commentary which said the defeat by France in the last 16 could be added to a long list of losses including "Cuba, Trafalgar ...."
Frings adding skin art
Germany's all-action midfielder Torsten Frings says he wants to add to his already extensive collection of tattoos. The collection of squiggles snaking down his right bicep -- including the Chinese star sign of his wife and two daughters -- and a smaller tattoo on his left arm are set to be adorned by further designs done by an old friend who has a parlor in the Netherlands, he told Bild newspaper.
An 82-year-old man on Saturday set off from Kaohsiung’s Sizihwan Bay (西子灣) to circumnavigate Taiwan in a sailboat in 29 days. Chinese Taipei Sailing Association vice president Chan Cheng-feng said the trip had been a dream of his for the past 40 years. Chan, who also heads the Kaohsiung Municipal Athletics Federation’s sailing committee, has been working to promote the sport in Taiwan since leaving the Marine Corps in 1976. The biggest challenge has been ensuring that people learn how to deal with problems at sea and know how to avoid danger, Chan said. The octogenarian said it is exciting to “still be having
Tuesday night was another home run, another pitching win, another spot in the history books — just another night for Shohei Ohtani. The two-way sensation from Japan withstood another injury scare and pitched six scoreless innings to go with his team-leading 25th home run, reaching yet another monumental milestone as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1. Ohtani joined Babe Ruth (1918) as the only players in major league history to have at least 10 home runs and 10 wins in the same season. The Angels said that two players from the Negro Leagues also did it: Bullet Rogan of the
A tearful Naomi Osaka on Tuesday retired injured and US Open champion Emma Raducanu fell at the first hurdle as the top women’s players continued their preparations for Flushing Meadows at the Canadian Open in Toronto. News of the pending retirement of Serena Williams overshadowed proceedings at the tune-up for the year’s final Grand Slam, but there were no shortage of first-round upsets for fans to enjoy, including one by local Bianca Andreescu. Twice US Open champion Osaka, in only her second tournament back from an Achilles injury, battled on gamely before retiring while trailing Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (7/4), 3-0. “I felt my
As David Popovici has accelerated past his older rivals in the pool this summer, it seemed inevitable that the skinny 17-year-old would threaten world records. The only surprise when he broke the 100m freestyle mark in Rome on Saturday was that he got so quick so fast. On Friday, the Romanian had become only the fourth man in history to swim under 47 seconds as he set a European record to win his semi-final at the European Aquatics Championships in Rome. That was more than half a second faster than his gold-medal time at the FINA World Championships in June. On Saturday,