Three years after celebrating its centenary in the United States, the Copa America is back in 2019. South America’s proud footballing nations go head to head in what is the world’s oldest international football tournament, which will this year be held in Brazil.Brazil had originally been slated for hosting duties in 2015, but swapped that tournament with Chile due to the overlap with the World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The last time the Copa came to the nation was back in 1989, an edition won by the hosts thanks to the lethal combination of Bebeto and Romario up front for the Selecao.Unlike the Centenary edition, which expanded to 16 teams, the 2019 Copa returns to the 12-side format that has been used since 1993, organised into three groups of four. As well as CONMEBOL’s 10 member nations the Asian AFC contributed two participants, with Japan and Qatar entering the fray as guests. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? With Thursday’s draw we now know who will face whom in the group stage, which will kick off in Sao Paulo’s Estadio Morumbi on June 14 with Brazil’s clash against Bolivia. With some of the world’s greatest players in action and a huge prize on offer, the Copa will doubtlessly be one of the highlights of the summer football calendar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a cabinet meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. The meeting focused on the government’s anti-crisis plan. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service) Russia’s credit ratings downgraded to ‘junk’ level by Standard & Poor’s agency amid crisis by The Associated Press Posted Jan 26, 2015 12:43 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LONDON – Standard & Poor’s rating agency on Monday downgraded Russia’s credit grade by one notch to junk status, citing a weakened economic outlook.The agency dropped the rating to BB+ from BBB- as it sees the country’s financial buffers at risk amid a slide in the country’s currency and weakening revenue from oil exports.“In our view, the Russian Federation’s monetary policy flexibility has weakened, as have its economic growth prospects,” it said.Russia’s economy has been hit hard by the double impact of weaker prices for its energy exports as well as Western sanctions.The Russian currency tumbled on the downgrade, dropping some 7 per cent to about 68.5 rubles to the dollar.Standard & Poor’s said that Russia’s financial system is weakening, limiting room for manoeuvr for Russia’s Central Bank. It said the bank “faces increasingly difficult monetary policy decisions,” while also trying to preserve incentives for growth.The Russian economy is expected to contract by 4 to 5 per cent this year for the first time since President Vladimir Putin took the helm in 2000.Capital outflows, which averaged $57 billion annually during 2009 to 2013, soared to $152 billion last year. “Stresses could mount for Russian corporations and banks that have foreign currency debt service requirements without a concomitant foreign currency revenue stream,” the rating agency said.Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov sought to play down the anticipated move, saying it reflected the rating agency’s “excessive pessimism.” He emphasized the Russian economy’s strong fundamentals, such as high level of hard currency reserves, trade surplus and low level of state debt.“These undoubtedly are Russia’s advantages in the current macroeconomic conditions,” Siluanov said in comments carried by Russian news agencies. “There is no reason to overdramatize the situation.”Prior to the announcement, Putin had a meeting with Cabinet members on anti-crisis measures. He said the government should focus on cutting spending, keeping inflation under control and making sure that the country doesn’t waste its hard currency reserves.