“Militarisation Of Football”: Army Training, Drills For Chinese Players

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'Militarisation Of Football': Army Training, Drills For Chinese Players

Players being inspected by a soldier during military-style training sessions in Shanghai. (AFP)

Shanghai: 

Chinese national squads and a top league team have packed young footballers off to military camps for drills and Marxist-style “thought education” as a campaign to promote Communist Party values spreads even into the sporting world.

Chinese fans have watched the militarisation of football with a mixture of anger and bemusement after pictures emerged of players getting their hair shaved and throwing themselves bare-chested into the snow.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) spirited away more than 50 under-25 national squad players in October for several weeks of intensive army drills, swapping their football boots for combat boots and military fatigues.

The move, underlining desperation to improve the perennially underachieving Chinese national side, was particularly controversial because it meant some of China’s finest young players were not involved in the final games of the league season.

A second batch of players was packed off in early November, and this week a national squad of under-19s was set to don camouflage and head to the barracks, suggesting that the boot camps may become a fixture.

Chinese Super League (CSL) side Shanghai Shenhua — home last year to Argentine striker Carlos Tevez — followed suit with its under-19 players, combining football training with marching and other aspects of an austere military life.

Under the watchful eye of the drillmasters of airforce unit 94778, the young players were subjected on Monday to “thought-education”, the club said on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

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Players marching with a soldier during military-style training sessions. (AFP)

They “examined propaganda materials, visited the unit’s hall of history, soldiers’ barracks and took part in basic military formation drills”, it said.

The players were also plonked down to watch the evening news on state television — a nightly hymn to the Communist Party — before hitting their bunks.

‘Strengthen ideology’

The CFA has been characteristically coy on the thinking behind the boot camps, but the Beijing Evening News said: “In several previous warm-up matches, some of the national team were criticised for not working hard and having no sense of honour.”

The Beijing Youth Daily, citing the CFA, said that the camps will “strengthen young players’ ideology”.

President Xi Jinping has conducted a broad campaign to bolster the ruling Communist Party that has drawn comparisons to past mass political campaigns under former leader Mao Zedong.

Government departments, businesses and organisations across the country have signed up to the drive by conducting indoctrination sessions focusing on Marxist values and “Xi Jinping Thought”.

Earlier this year, players for the national team began appearing in matches with bandages covering their tattoos, which the Xi government frowns upon in its purity campaign.

But frustrated Chinese football fans accused the CFA of putting politics before football as it took dozens of domestic players out of action for the critical last few games of the season.

Pictures subsequently emerged online of the under-25 players with buzz cuts and wearing military garb as they sat in a whitewashed room watching the senior national team’s 0-0 with India on television.

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A soldier teaching marching techniques to Shenhua players. (AFP)

A red banner at the front of the room exhorted them to be upstanding members of the public.

Soccer News reposted pictures on Weibo said to be of the players baring their teeth and leaping half-naked into the snow.

China’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, whose final assignment with the team will be the Asian Cup in January, has not commented on the army-style initiative.

As part of Xi’s efforts to make the country a footballing powerhouse, China made the 70-year-old Italian one of the best-paid coaches in the world when they hired him in October 2016.

[“source=ndtv”]

Paytm Says Mobile Wallets Will Become Strong Players in Financial Ecosystem

Paytm Says Mobile Wallets Will Become Strong Players in Financial Ecosystem

Mobile wallets will become strong players in the financial ecosystem as the RBI guidelines on prepaid instruments will allow more features like unlimited transfer of funds between a bank account and a wallet, a top official of Paytm Payments Bank said.

Paytm Payments Bank MD-CEO Renu Satti said the RBI guidelines released this month will enable mobile wallets to gain access to more functionalities like unlimited transfer of funds between a bank account and a wallet and higher limit of up to Rs. 1 lakh for money transfer to beneficiary accounts.

She added that as part of Paytm Payments Bank, customers get the convenience of wallets and can earn interest on their deposits by transferring money from the wallet to their payments bank account.

“This will further strengthen the value proposition of mobile wallets and make them stronger players in the financial ecosystem,” Satti said.

Paytm has over 270 million registered wallet users. However, the mandate to undertake KYC of customers could be a challenge as mobile wallets companies will have to make additional investments in the diligence process.

The KYC (Know Your Customer) process allows banks and other institutions to obtain and verify information about customers’ identity and address.

As per the new norms, mobile wallets that were conforming to a minimum KYC format (like verification of mobile number) will have to get full KYC of customers done within 12 months of setting up the wallet.

Paytm has already said it plans to invest $500 million towards the KYC exercise over the next three years.

Satti said while the process may seem time-consuming, it will also help prevent identity theft, fraud and money laundering and ensure customers’ money is safer than ever before.

“The new RBI guidelines would bring greater confluence and power to m-wallets. It will also ensure money transfers are simpler and financial systems are safer,” she added.

Paytm has introduced a ‘Nearby KYC Points’ section in its app that directs users to nearby partner shops and locations where customers can get Aadhaar biometric KYC done for their Paytm wallets.

Paytm Payments Bank started its operations earlier this year. Its Chairman Vijay Shekhar Sharma owns majority stake in the company, while the remaining share is owned by One97 Communications.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in NDTV’s Gadgets 360.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Get Off Our Lawn, Chinese Army Warns Hong Kong’s Pokemon Go Players

Get Off Our Lawn, Chinese Army Warns Hong Kong's Pokemon Go Players

The Chinese army garrisoned in Hong Kong has warned people searching for Pikachu and other virtual monsters to stay off their premises, as Pokemon Go mania sweeps the smartphone-obsessed city.

The gaming app landed Monday in Hong Kong, and saw residents more glued to their phones than ever, searching for the cyber creatures in locations ranging from shopping malls to the government headquarters.

The app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

(Also see:  Pokemon Go No Longer Working in Parts of India, Reddit Users Complain)

But the city’s enthusiasm to “catch ’em all” has prompted warnings from government departments and even the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to stay off their property.

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A PLA spokesman told AFP the city’s barracks were closed zones.

(Also see: How to Play Pokemon Go in India? Here’s Everything You Need to Know)

“Military barracks are restricted areas under Hong Kong law. Without the authorisation of the commanding officer, no one is allowed to enter the restricted areas,” he said.

Police also warned residents to be careful when playing the game.

“When you are capturing monsters, stay alert to your surroundings,” a police video posted on Facebook said.

(Also see:  This Pokemon Go Map Will Show You Every Pokemon Location)

“Police report rooms are for people in need of police services, players are not allowed to play the game there, be a smart player!” the video added.

The app has now been launched in more than 40 countries including the US, Japan and much of Europe. Japanese video game company Nintendo started the mythical creature franchise 20 years ago.

(Also see: Pokemon Go iOS: How to Download Pokemon Go for iPhone, iPad)

However, widespread warnings have been given by authorities around the world after reports of players being injured or becoming the victims of crime.

Some Pokemon Go players were robbed after being lured to isolated locations in the hopes of catching the virtual creatures, according to US reports. Other distracted players have been blamed for causing traffic accidents.

(Also see: How to Download Pokemon Go APK, Install, and Play on Android)

In Indonesia, a French player was stopped and questioned for several hours after the app led him into a military base.

Two youngsters were so preoccupied with catching the cartoon monsters that they wandered across the US-Canada border.

Tags: Android, Apple, Apps, Gaming, Internet, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pokemon Go

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Pokemon Go: Spanish Police Issue Safety Tips for Players

Pokemon Go: Spanish Police Issue Safety Tips for Players

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Niantic’s Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm
  • The aim of the game is to catch all the Pokemon
  • Players of the AR game forget themselves while hunting monsters

Spanish police issued guidelines on Monday on how to safely use augmented-reality video games after the release of the application Pokemon Go.

The police advice included reminders that users are in “the real world” and must be aware of obstacles such as traffic lights and cars.

(Also see:  Pokemon Go Review)

Players of the game from Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd walk around real-life neighbourhoods to hunt down virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens.

The police issued their guidelines after two Japanese tourists were rescued from a motorway tunnel in Barcelona on Saturday, where they had wandered in search of Pokemon characters, according to Spanish media.

The mobile game has become an instant hit just one week after launch.

(Also see:  How to Download Pokemon Go APK, Install, and Play on Android)

Police warned players that the use of GPS technology for the game means users’ location is visible to others, potentially making them vulnerable to muggings or theft, as well as signalling when they are not at home.

Across the United States, players have been drawn down dark alleys and into dangerous neighbourhoods in search of the imaginary creatures, only to be targeted by criminals.

The police manual warns players not be distracted by the excitement of catching rare Pokemon characters and to remember their safety is paramount.

(Also see:  Pokemon Go to Launch in Roughly 200 Markets ‘Relatively Soon’)

Pokemon Go became available in Spain on July 15, following its release in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom the previous week.

The game has been a runaway success, boosting Nintendo’s market share by $17 billion in just over a week.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Android, Apple, Apps, AR game, augmented reality game, Gaming, Niantic, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pokemon Go
[“Source-Gadgets”]