Barcelona, Real draw as Clasico marred by violence

first_imgMasked protesters had set bins on fire and thrown rocks and glass bottles at police, who responded by firing foam bullets.Forty-six people were lightly injured in the clashes, including eight who needed to be taken to a medical centre for extra care, local emergency services said.Five people were arrested, according to a police spokesman.The protesters, many of them carrying Catalan separatist flags, began setting up barricades in the middle of the street which they then burned, after police arrived in dozens of police vans.Inside the stadium, the match passed largely undisturbed, save for a brief pause early in the second half as dozens of yellow beach balls had to be removed by stewards.“There was tension in the game and I noticed when some yellow balls fell down,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde.“But nothing more. We tried to give a sense of normality.”“Everyone wanted to see a good football match,” said Real coach Zinedine Zidane. “In that sense I think we can be happy.”The game was less eventful than expected, with neither Barcelona nor Real ever really at their best and both, perhaps in the end, happier not to win than to lose.A goalless draw means Barcelona stay top of La Liga, ahead of Real on goal difference while the historic score in league meetings between the two rivals remains 72 victories apiece.“More than a Clasico”, read the frontpage of Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday morning ahead of a fixture that while always politically charged, had assumed even greater significance than usual.The game was originally due to be played on October 26 but was postponed due to violent protests breaking out across Catalonia, following the sentencing of nine independence leaders to prison.In the 53 days since, expectations swelled around what Democratic Tsunami, the Catalan independence protest group, might do to disrupt the most watched club football match in the world.– Bale ‘goal’ ruled out –Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale in action © AFP / Josep LAGOBut in truth, there was less than expected during the 90 minutes.Early in the second half, yellow beachballs were thrown onto the field while blue banners bearing the slogan of Democratic Tsunami: ‘Spain, sit and talk’, were also held up.Four hours before kick-off, thousands had gathered at all four corners of the stadium to hold the same blue banners and wave Catalan flags, while some blocked traffic too.But the demonstrations were peaceful, in stark contrast to the ugly scenes that would come a few hours later.Both teams had departed from the same hotel and aside from whistles and insults directed at the Madrid team bus, each arrived without incident. Club president Florentino Perez gave a thumbs up as he walked in.Gareth Bale was last to get off, by which time he might have known he was starting for the first time in four matches. Ramos played in his 43rd Clasico, a record for any player in history.For Barcelona, Sergio Busquets was included in the line-up first announced before he was swapped out for Ivan Rakitic. Barca claimed it had been a communication error.If it was, it was not the first mistake of the night, with a frantic first half full of them.Real were the better side in the opening half an hour although Luis Suarez might have scored early had he controlled Jordi Alba’s cross at the back post.There was a goalline clearance at both ends as Casemiro’s header bounced up and had to be hooked away by Gerard Pique before Thibaut Courtois punched out to Messi but his shot was blocked by Ramos.Shortly after the interval, stewards ran on to collect the beach balls and then Barcelona twice should have scored, only for Lionel Messi and Suarez both to fluff finishes in quick succession.Bale scored with 15 minutes left but his provider Ferland Mendy was a fraction offside. Neither team wanted to go for broke in the latter stages.0Shares0000(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A protester waving a Catalan pro-independence “Estelada” flag stands next to a burning barricade © AFP / Pau BarrenaBARCELONA, Spain, Dec 19 – Barcelona and Real Madrid could not be separated on Wednesday in a Clasico that was overshadowed by violent clashes between Catalan independence protestors and police outside Camp Nou.After being postponed in October, there were renewed fears of unrest around Spain’s most famous fixture and while the match was only briefly interrupted by yellow beach balls thrown onto the pitch, outside the stadium, chaos ensued.last_img read more

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Industries shift course, ask for rules

first_img“I am worried about industry lobbyists bearing gifts,” said Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Washington. “I don’t trust them. Their ultimate goal is regulation that protects them, not the public.” Susan E. Dudley, the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget division that oversees administration regulatory policy, said she was not sure if the number of requests for federal regulations from industry groups was rising. The administration must evaluate each of these proposals, she said, “to understand the full consequences of regulations on all citizens.” But industry officials, consumer groups and regulatory experts all agree there has been a recent surge of requests for new regulations, and one reason they give is the Bush administration’s willingness to include provisions that would block consumer lawsuits in state and federal courts. Such pre-emption clauses were included, for example, in a drug label rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 and in a new fire-prevention standard for mattresses imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in July, said David C. Vladeck, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. The pre-emptions bar consumers from filing liability claims in courts and supersedes any tougher state regulations, extremely valuable protections for a major manufacturer, Vladeck said. “This is Christmas,” he said of industry, “this is their wish list.” A number of businesses are seeking such pre-emptions, though the clauses are being challenged in many courts. Concerns about competition have led to other proposals. As imports from China have grown in recent years, low-priced Chinese products that do not meet voluntary industry standards have motivated a number of trade groups to seek new safety mandates.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – After years of favoring the hands-off doctrine of the Bush administration, some of the nation’s biggest industries are pushing for something they have long resisted: new federal regulations. For toys and cars, antifreeze and fireworks, popcorn and produce and cigarettes and light bulbs, among other products, industry groups or major manufacturers are calling for additional federal health, safety and environmental mandates. Some of those industries are abandoning years of efforts to block such measures, often in alliance with the Bush administration, which pledged to ease what it views as costly, unnecessary rules. The consequences for consumers, though, are not yet clear. The tactical shift by some industry groups is motivated by a confluence of self-interests: growing competition from inexpensive imports that do not meet voluntary standards, and a desire to head off liability lawsuits and pre-empt tough state laws or legal actions that were a response to laissez-faire Bush administration policies. Concerns that Democrats could soon expand their control in Washington has also prompted manufacturers or producers to seek regulations that they consider the least burdensome, regulatory experts say. “There seems to be, at the moment, a fair amount of efforts under way by individual industries to put into statute what had either previously been voluntary consensus standards or industry goals,” said Rosario Palmieri, a regulatory lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers, which has often opposed government regulations. “This year, we have seen quite a bit of it.” Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMB Watch, a Washington group that tracks federal regulatory actions, agreed. “I have never before seen so many industries joining a push for regulation,” Melberth said. “What we need to watch closely is if this will achieve a real increase in standards and public protections or simply serve corporate interests.” Some industries and consumer groups are aligned in seeking the same regulations, though perhaps for different reasons. “It’s definitely a strange bedfellow situation,” said Sarah Klein, a lawyer at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is seeking, along with grocery stores and produce growers, new requirements to prevent food-borne illnesses. “The voluntary system is not working from a food-safety perspective, and it’s creating real problems for the industry.” Other industries, though, are endorsing mandated government standards that fall well short of what consumer advocates want or what tougher state rules require. Trade groups representing makers of antifreeze, upholstered furniture and all-terrain vehicles, for example, had long opposed federal regulations, but they are now pushing the Bush administration for rules that consumer advocates say inadequately address safety or environmental concerns. last_img read more

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