The decline in sales of new cars in the European Union (EU) slowed down in July but accelerated again the following month, a trade association said on Thursday.
In July, some 1.073 million vehicles were sold in the bloc, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said in its monthly bulletin.
This was 5.7 per cent fewer than in the same month of 2019, but was the best monthly performance for 2020, a year in which car sales sank to record lows mostly due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
ACEA called the July figure “a relatively small decline.”
In August, however, “the EU car market posted a stronger decline (-18.9 per cent) again, although less dramatic than earlier in the year,” the Brussels-based association noted.
It added that over the first eight months of 2020, car sales plunged by 32 per cent compared to the same period of 2019.
Back in June, ACEA predicted a full-year sales drop of 25 per cent.
Among major EU markets, the market contraction for January-August was sharpest in Spain and Italy, with sales drops of around 40 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for France and 28.8 per cent for Germany.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
COVID-19: Lagos govt reopens cinemas, gyms
The Lagos State Government on Saturday permitted the reopening of cinemas and gyms, with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this during the 18th update on the management of coronavirus in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said that in October, the state government would announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy.
”Dear Lagosians, henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy.
”This means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.
”Next month, October, we will announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy: night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks and so on.
”For now, these will continue to remain closed, until fixed plans for reopening are announced in October 2020,” he said.
Accordings to him, places of worship are also permitted, while the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; the churches are permitted to resume their mid-week services.
”We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritise the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.
”All of these resumption guidelines and protocols must be strictly adhered to by the various stakeholders,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government was committed to continuing the maintenance of a balance between the safety of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods.
He said that the state would continue to make adjustments as required, but the gradual resumption of social, educational and economic activities must never be taken as an excuse to let down the guard against the pandemic.
According to him, some parts of the world are seeing a resurgence of infections, and rising possibilities of the kind of hard lockdowns being experienced a few months ago.
”Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable.
”The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitisers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi
Liverpool sign Portugal winger Jota from Wolves
Liverpool have completed the signing of Portugal forward Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a long term contract, the English Premier League (EPL) champions said on Saturday.
Liverpool’s versatile 18-year-old defender Ki-Jana Hoever moved in the other direction on a five-year contract.
He played four senior games for the Anfield club following his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2018.
British media reported that Liverpool agreed a five-year deal worth about 41 million pounds for Jota.
It is expected that his versatility and work rate should fit in well with manager Juergen Klopp’s hard-pressing style of play.
“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool —— the world champions —— is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.”
The 23-year-old Jota was left out of Wolves’ League Cup defeat by Stoke City on Thursday and was an unused substitute in their 2-0 league win over Sheffield United last weekend.
Initially arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2017, Jota has scored 16 goals and provided six assists for Wolves in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
“I think I’m a team player,” Jota said. “I play upfront and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me…I’ll always try to help the team in the best way possible.”
Jota is Liverpool’s third signing of the close season following the arrival of Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all
Juventus are unlikely to sign FC Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez afterall, coach Andrea Pirlo said on Saturday as he prepared for the start of the new Serie A season.
Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri last month in spite of having no senior coaching experience, will make his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.
He said Juventus needed a centre-forward but that there was not enough time for Suarez to obtain an Italian passport.
Juventus have already used up their limit of two non-EU signings following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur and United States international Weston McKinnie.
They will only be able to add Suarez if he can obtain an EU passport.
“We’re all waiting for a centre-forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window. So, we’re calm and happy, we’re not in a hurry,” said Pirlo.
“Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport. So, it’s unlikely that it could be him”.
Although Suarez is eligible for Italian naturalisation as his wife is a citizen of the country, the process usually takes several years.
This is a detail overlooked in much of the speculation linking him to the Serie A champions over the last month.
Pirlo said Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski would share the role against Sampdoria.
“Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre-forward position. They will try to move according to what the other does,” said Pirlo.
“There will be rotations to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area.”
The 41-year-old said he was relaxed ahead of the new season where he would be expected, at the minimum, to bring Juventus a tenth successive Serie A title.
“After a month of Juve I have no doubts, but many certainties,” he said. “I have fitted in well, now the pitch will do the talking.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed put his sterling short game on display to grab the United States Open halfway lead on Friday.
Tiger Woods finished well outside the cut in windy conditions which humbled many of the game’s top golfers.
Reed only hit five fairways on a tough scoring day at Winged Foot but made a slew of stunning recoveries.
He then needed only 25 putts en route to an even-par 70 that left him at four under on the week and one shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau (68).
“I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good,” said world number 10 Reed. “I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that’s what you need.”
Reed, who started the day one shot back of overnight leader Justin Thomas, grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on his final hole, the par-five ninth.
That was where his shot from a greenside bunker settled five feet from the cup.
Unlike the first round when 21 players finished under par in soft conditions, Winged Foot proved a much sterner test on Friday.
DeChambeau, Bubba Watson (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (69) were the only players from a 144-player field to break par.
DeChambeau, who has turned heads this year with his new physique and prodigious length off the tee, went out in the morning wave.
He muscled his way around a scorecard-shredding Winged Foot course like few others can.
The world number nine finished his round with a monstrous eagle at the par-five ninth hole where, after a 380-yard drive, he stuffed a pitching wedge to six feet.
“Confidence is at an all-time high right now, driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I’m putting it like I know I can,” said DeChambeau, whose best major finish was a share of fourth place at this year’s PGA Championship.
Thomas (73), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (70) and Harris English (70) were all two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.
This was a tournament that was originally scheduled for mid-June but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masters champion Woods (77) missed the cut for the eighth time in his last 15 majors after a round during which he made five bogeys and two double-bogeys over a miserable 11-hole run.
“Physically it was frustrating that I didn’t drive the ball as well as I needed to,” said Woods.
“Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It’s been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that.”
Phil Mickelson’s latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors fell apart as the six-times runner-up carded a 74
He missed the cut after posting one of the worst 36-hole scores of his major career.
Among the others to miss the cut were defending champion Gary Woodland, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and top-20 players Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)