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Tunisia: Saied, Karoui advance to runoff after topping polls

The commission’s announcement confirmed exit polls released on Sunday evening and partial results issued throughout Monday [Fethi Belaid/AFP]

Independent candidate Kais Saied and imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui have advanced to a runoff after obtaining the most votes in Tunisia’s September 15 presidential election.

The official announcement by the country’s electoral commission on Tuesday confirmed constitutional law professor Saied won 18.4 percent of the vote while Karoui, owner of popular television station Nessma TV, garnered 15.6 percent.

Ennahdha’s Abdelfattah Mourou came in third with 12.9 percent.

Both front runners – though very different – were seen as outsiders, drawing “anti-system” votes from an electorate disillusioned with the status quo.

Mistrust of the political establishment runs high in Tunisia, where unemployment is at 15 percent and the cost of living has risen by almost a third since 2016.

Saied, a fiercely independent academic, advocates radical decentralisation of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates.

In a leafy courtyard of the law faculty in Tunis, a group of students celebrated their former professor Saied’s progress.

“Saied deserves it. I trust him, he is not just looking to seize power,” Yassine Ben Ghassem, a 23-year-old student who has been informally campaigning for Saied in his home town Sousse, told Al Jazeera.

“He has always taught youth at university so he understands us.”

But 18-year-old Mahdi Naghatti, a first year law student who was never taught by Saied, was not too sure.

“I feel so-so [about the result]. They say he is intellectual but who is he? Is he [secretly] part of Ennahdha? He said he is not supported by any party but I don’t know what his plans are,” Naghatti, who voted for defence minister Abdelkrim Zbidi, said.

Karoui, who built his appeal on high-profile charity campaigns, is under investigation for alleged money laundering and has been in pre-trial detention since August 23.

He denies all wrongdoing and his supporters attribute his arrest to political manipulation.

He was unable to take part in televised debates before the vote and electoral monitors have voiced concern that voters have been deprived of a chance to hear him campaign.

‘Disillusionment with the existing political system’

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Tunis, said the vote amounts to a complete rejection of established parties that have dominated Tunisian politics since 2011.

“They’ve chosen a previously unknown professor of constitutional law. People only came to know him following the revolution when he appeared on talk shows and helped the public decipher the new constitution,” she said,

“You then have Karoui who has been part of the political establishment but recently got out of the main party, the late President Beji Caid Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes, and used his media to highlight his charity work.”

Depending on potential appeals, the second round could be organised for October 6, the same day as legislative elections, or on October 13, the electoral commission said.

“[There is] a disillusionment with the existing political system based on parties,” Mohamed Dhia Hammami, a Tunisian political analyst, said.

“We can understand it from the rise of independents and the low level of support that historical members of the opposition get. The disillusionment is not [just] with the ruling, it is with the institutions and the individuals.”

After the results were released, Mohamed Saidane, a member of Youssef Chahed’s Tahya Tounes party, admitted the message was clear: People wanted someone from outside the system.

“[This result] could push people to vote anti-system in the legislatives, there will be lots of independents and we may not be able to constitute a government,” Saidane said.

Additional reporting by Layli Foroudi in Tunis 

Source: Aljazeera

World Cup 2022: A room with a view at Qatar's Al Bayt Stadium

As more stadiums for the football World Cup 2022 in Qatar near completion, details are coming to light about some of the more luxurious elements in the stadiums being built.

A video posted on Monday shows one of those details, a luxury hotel room in Al Bayt Stadium in the northern city of Al Khor.

The video shows a large hotel suite with a balcony view of the football field below.

The stadium, which should be completed in the coming weeks, is modelled after tents used in Qatar’s deserts.

Its surroundings will include a park and artificial lake, according to artist renders.

The capacity of the stadium is about 60,000 people when it is finished.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is overseeing the organisation of the 2022 World Cup, earlier said the Al Bayt stadium would be completed in December.

In total, eight stadiums will be used during the 2022 World Cup. Seven of those are being built from scratch.

The eighth one, Khalifa International Stadium, was opened in May 2018 after undergoing renovations and upgrades.

Last May, the Al Wakrah Stadium was officially inaugurated. 

In August, Qatar announced the Ras Abu Aboud stadium in Doha will be the first fully reusable FIFA stadium for the 2022 event.

All of its components are recyclable and the container-sized building blocks are arriving in port filled with the materials used to make the stadium.

The World Cup will kick off on November 21, becoming the first to take place in the Arab world.

The final will be played on December 18 – Qatar’s national day – in the Lusail Stadium, which will be able to hold 80,000 football fans.

Source: Aljazeera

Liam Gallagher on how his feud with Noel upsets their mum

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher has told BBC Radio 5 Live how he thinks his feud with brother Noel upsets their mum.

Speaking to Nihal Arthanayake, he said: “If, God forbid, something happens to my mam, and we haven’t made up by then, then there will be war.”

Afghanistan attack: Will voters stop going to polls?

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has cancelled a debate last-minute before the September 26 vote, following an explosion caused by a bomb attached to a police vehicle.

The explosion targeted Ghani’s election campaign rally in Parwan.

The president cancelled his appearance at the first televised presidential debate. His main rival Abdullah Abdullah took the stage alone.

Source: Aljazeera

Seinfeld and Big Bang Theory deals prove old is gold in streaming wars

Big-money streaming deals for Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory have been done, proving the pulling power of familiar TV shows as the streaming wars heat up.

All 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory will be on HBO Max when it launches next spring after a $500m (£400m) deal.

Netflix has won the rights to Seinfeld, reportedly also for more than $500m.

That comes after Netflix lost its two most popular shows – Friends to HBO Max for $425m (£340m) and The Office to NBC’s new service Peacock for $500m.

The deals are signs of the fierce competition as a new raft of streaming services prepare to launch in the US – and of the enduring appeal of comedy favourites among viewers.

Peacock was unveiled on Tuesday, and as well as winning the rights to the US version of The Office, it is hoping to make a new version. NBCUniversal’s Bonnie Hammer told Deadline: “It is my hope and goal that we do an Office reboot.”

The platform will also show Parks and Recreation and reboots of classics Battlestar Galactica, Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster.

Peacock will launch next April. Of the raft of other new streaming services, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will launch in the US in November, while HBO Max is expected to be available next spring.

Speaking of the Big Bang Theory deal, the show’s creator Chuck Lorre said “12 seasons of laughter is a gift to be cherished”.

He added: “And now we are extremely excited that TBBT will be joining the HBO Max line-up and be available to both existing and future fans of the show. Laughter has legs!”

Milan, Inter Not Interested In Buying San Siro For €70m

San Siro – the Giuseppe-Meazza Stadium, which is the official ground of two Italian Serie A clubs, AC Milan and Inter Milan has been put up for sale by the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, for a fee of €70m.

The owner, Milan Municipality through the Mayo, Giuseppe Sala, wants to do away with the famous stadium that has been the traditional home ground of AC Milan and Inter Milan in their domestic and European games.

Surprisingly, neither Milan nor Inter has shown interest in acquiring the facility.

Sala is the Mayor of Milan Municipality and the move to dispose of the stadium is seen as a way for him to force the hands of Nerazzurri and Rossoneri to accept the idea of ​​restructuring the enclosure, built in 1926 and refitted on three levels since the 1990 World Cup.

But it appears Inter and Milan are unlikely to jump on the opportunity, because of the cost of the works and the obligation to go into ‘exile’ because of the construction site.

Both have already opted for a new stadium, to be built on the San Siro parking lot, accompanied by a real estate project and the amount of the operation would be 1.2 billion euros and would have the advantage of being able to enjoy the Giuseppe-Meazza Stadium almost until the inauguration of their new home.

“San Siro would then be shot down to make way for an area of ​​activity, source of juicy rents, such as those that affects Juve since 2011 around its Stadium,” claims an unnamed Milan official.

The Mayor of Milan has said that San Siro will still be operational in seven years to host the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2026.

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Source: Complete Sports