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The Canadian Press

Larin, Davies combine to help Canada easily down Bermuda in World Cup qualifier

ORLANDO, Fla. — One down, 19 more to go. Canada opened its oft-delayed World Cup qualifying campaign Thursday with a comfortable 5-1 win over Bermuda. It’s the start of a long road, with at least 19 more matches needed to get to Qatar in 2022. Cyle Larin scored three goals, with Alphonso Davies playing provider each time, as the Canadian men played their first competitive match since a 4-1 CONCACAF Nations League loss to the U.S. on Nov. 16, 2019, at the same venue — Exploria Stadium. Richie Laryea and debutant Theo Corbeanu also scored for Canada. Kane Critchlow replied for Bermuda with a second-half goal against the run of play. It was a scrappy opening 15 minutes for the Canadians, perhaps unsurprising given their time apart. But once the engine warmed up, it was one-way traffic. “It took us a while to get started, but once we did get started you could see the quality in that team,” said coach John Herdman. “All in all a good night, but loads to build on,” he added. “I mean you look at the potential in this group now. It’s one game … and as I keep saying there’s 19 more to go. I just can’t wait to see these guys in 19 games time.” The degree of difficulty will escalate as the qualifying road unfolds. But this Canadian squad, which was missing Jonathan David and Jonathan Osorio on the night, is brimming with promise “This is a very very good team,” said Laryea. “We’ve got some really good pieces, some guys that we’re missing, that aren’t here right now that are also extremely huge pieces. It’s only going to get better but we can’t settle for anything.” Canada is ranked 73rd in the world, compared to No. 169 for Bermuda. The Bermudians’ task was complicated by the fact that some of its players — and coach Kyle Lightbourne — did not make it to the match because of COVID-19 protocols. Bermuda managed just five players on its bench, compared to 12 for Canada, “We had to do quite a bit of quarantining to keep ourselves safe so we could even get the amount of players that we did to the match today,” said Maurice Lowe, technical development director at the Bermuda Football Association, who ran the team from the sidelines. While officially a Canadian home game, the match was shifted to Orlando because of pandemic-related travel restrictions. The Canadians face the Cayman Islands on Sunday in Bradenton, Fla., in a game that was to have been hosted by the Caymans but was moved to ease similar quarantine hurdles. Bermuda gave up a number of early free kicks and Canada made them pay in the 19th minute when Larin, in a crowd, got his head to a curling set-piece delivery from Davies. The goal seemed to discombobulate the Bermudians, whose shape began to evaporate. Larin, upping his Canada goals total to 11 in 32 matches, continued his banner season. The 25-year-old from Brampton, Ont., ranks third in the Turkish Super Lig with 14 goals for Besiktas and looks full of confidence. “He’s an absolute predator,” Herdman said of Larin, who used to play at Exploria Stadium for Orlando City SC. Davies, meanwhile, was a constant threat. The Bayern Munich star fullback, moved into a more attacking position by Herdman, tormented defenders on the left flank while providing quality service to teammates. Larin made it 2-0 in the 27th after Bermuda goalkeeper Dale Eve left his penalty box in search of the ball. Davies got there first and — as Eve scrambled to get back into position — fed it to Larin, who coolly beat a defender and slotted it in. Laryea scored his first for Canada in the 53rd minute, beating Bermuda’s sloppy attempt at an offside trap before putting the ball past Eve. Critchlow cut the margin to 3-1 in the 63rd minute after goalkeeper Milan Borjan spilled a cross from Lejaun Simmons. Critchlow was Johnny-on-the-spot, poking the ball in. Larin scored his third in the 68th minute, set up again by Davies who had his choice of teammates to choose from in the box. The 18-year-old Corbeanu made it 5-1 in the 81st, tapping home a perfect low cross from fellow substitute Liam Millar. Larin and Laryea both came up through the Sigma FC program in Mississauga, Ont. Herdman positioned Lucas Cavallini at the tip of the Canadian spear with Davies, Larin and Junior Hoilett behind him in a potent attack. With MLS teams in pre-season, eight of the 11 Canadian starters came from European-based dreams. Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps), Laryea (Toronto FC) and Kamal Miller (CF Montreal) were the MLS starters. Atiba Hutchinson earned his 85th cap for Canada, moving him past Paul Stalteri into second place among Canadian men behind Julian de Guzman. Borjan earned his 50th cap. For the 38-year-old Hutchinson, it marks his fifth round of World Cup qualifying. Only goalkeeper Pat Onstad, with six, has taken part in more among Canadian men. Hutchinson, playing in his 28th World Cup qualifier, wore the captain’s armband for the 12th time. After the game, Herdman said his skipper was leaving Friday to return to Turkey. Canada’s starting 11 Thursday took the field with a combined 266 caps under their belt. Some 191 of those came from Hutchinson, Borjan, Larin and Hoilett. The 20-year-old Davies earned his 18th cap. Cavallini could have had a hat trick in the first 35 minutes. He was put in alone in the 16th minute but Eve got a hand to his low shot from the edge of the penalty box. The Whitecaps striker had another chance in the 34th minute, after a defender whiffed on a Davies cross, but shot just wide. A minute later, Cavallini’s shot off another fine Davies feed slammed off the crossbar. The burly striker held his head in his hands and kicked the goalpost in frustration. Eve made a fine reflex save to stop Cavallini’s header in the 56th from close range. Herdman credited Cavallini with occupying the Bermuda centre backs, allowing space for Larin and Davies to exploit. Nashville SC fullback Alistair Johnston came on in the 69th minute to earn his first Canada cap. Corbeanu, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder who plays for Wolves under-23 side in England, followed in the 77th and essentially scored in his first touch. “That was brilliant,” said Herdman, who told him to “go make an impact.” Samuel Piette came off the bench to earn his 50th cap for Canada, which improved to 6-0-4 all-time against Bermuda. Bermuda, whose population of 72,000 is about the same as Sarnia, Ont., was without Bristol City forward Nahki Wells due to quarantine issues. After the Caymans, Canada faces two more Group B games — June 5 at No. 200 Aruba and June 8 at home to No. 141 Suriname, which blanked the visiting Caymans 3-0 on Tuesday. Thirty countries, split into six groups, are taking part in the first round of qualifying in the region which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. Only the group winners move on. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021 The Canadian Press

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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