Oscars fuel DVD demand

first_imgIn fact, some industry observers say the box office boost from Oscar night could disappear as studios focus on timed DVD releases to maximize profits. This year’s crop of Best Picture nominees have not been as popular with the public as recent releases like “Ghost Rider” or “Norbit.” “Departed” was the only bonafide box office hit, with a domestic gross of $131.8 million. “Babel,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “The Queen” have grossed around $160 million combined. “The films, box office-wise, were relatively weak, with only `The Departed’ making over $100 million, so the Oscars are going to do more to boost the visibility of some of the DVD releases,” observed Ralph Tribbey, editor of The DVD Report, a weekly industry newsletter. Tribbey said “The Queen,” for which Helen Mirren won Best Actress, should benefit greatly once it hits DVD shelves on April 24, as should three-time winner “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the Spanish-language film set for DVD release May 15. When Amazon.com DVD editor Doug Thomas checked his company’s “Movers and Shakers” sales chart shortly after the Academy Awards telecast Sunday night, he saw an almost immediate upward trajectory for some of the big winners. Best picture “The Departed” had perfect timing. It had been released on DVD just two weeks ago and was already topping the Amazon.com and other sales charts. Last week, three different DVD packages of the mob thriller were residing in the top 25, with a special two-disc edition at No. 2, the widescreen single-disc version at No. 6, and the Blue-ray version No. 21. “It wasn’t a happy accident,” Thomas said Monday. “Hollywood for the last several years has been looking at the schedule of the Oscars and the nominations to check their release date.” Amazon.com’s Thomas said he saw an immediate bump in demand for “The Last King of Scotland,” which won Forest Whitaker the Best Actor Oscar. The DVD does not go on sale until April 17. “Little Miss Sunshine” was already benefiting Monday from Alan Arkin’s surprise Best Supporting Actor win as it returned to Amazon.com’s top 10 overnight. It was the first of the Best Picture nominees to be released on DVD following its theatrical run last summer. “The box office boost from the Academy Awards is going to kind of be a thing of the past if these things keep being released on DVD right around the time of Oscar time,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers. “The conventional wisdom used to be to milk every last dollar out of the box office before you release on DVD. But I think the studios are realizing there is a way to maximize both modes of delivery for these films.” greg.hernandez@dailynews.com (818) 713-3758 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Man arrested in firing of gun outside wife’s home

first_imgCASTAIC – A man in a wheelchair was arrested Monday for shooting in the air outside the home of his estranged wife, authorities said. Lawrence Lawson, 45, of Saugus was arrested after getting in his car to drive away after shooting twice in the air in the 29000 block of Quincy Street, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom Bryski. He was booked on suspicion of discharging a firearm in a negligent manner, and was being held at the Santa Clarita sheriff’s station jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. Deputies recovered the gun and shell casings, Bryski said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

China pulls U20 football team out of Germany over Tibet protests

first_img0Shares0000The U20 project has courted controversy and become a diplomatic headache for Berlin and Beijing after a pro-Tibetan independence protest during a match in Mainz on November 18 © dpa/AFP/File / Hasan BraticBEIJING, China, Nov 26 – The Chinese FA said Sunday that its under-20 team will return home from Germany after indefinitely suspending its tour over protests by activists who unfurled Tibetan flags at a game.The youth team had been scheduled to play a series of friendlies against German fourth-tier sides until May, aimed at improving China’s chances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the project has courted controversy and become a diplomatic headache for Berlin and Beijing after a pro-Tibetan independence protest during a match in Mainz on November 18.The German football association (DFB) said last week that the Chinese under-20s would not play the three matches scheduled before the end of the year.Then on Sunday its Chinese counterpart, the CFA, added: “It has been decided to pause the U20 project and arrangements have been made for the team to return home.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Van Dijk, Messi, nominated for UEFA award

first_img0Shares0000Virgil van Dijk and fellow Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum pose with the trophy after Liverpool beat Tottenham in MadridLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 15 – Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been shortlisted alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the men’s UEFA Player of the Year award.Van Dijk helped Liverpool to their most successful Premier League season as they gained 97 points, one behind winners Manchester City, and were victorious in the Champions League, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final in Madrid. The Netherlands international is the first defender on the three-man shortlist since the inception of the award in 2010/11, while Ronaldo has made it into the final three on all nine occasions.Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice and three times respectively.UEFA has also released the shortlist for the women’s prize, with England’s Lucy Bronze on the list after her Champions League win with Lyon and a successful run to the World Cup semi-final, where she claimed the Silver Ball for being the second-best player at the tournament.Bronze’s competitors for the award are both team-mates with her at Lyon – French midfielder Amandine Henry and Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg.The men’s shortlist of three players is selected by a jury composed of 80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, together with 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.For the women’s award, the shortlist of three players is selected by a jury composed of the coaches of the 12 highest-ranked teams in the latest UEFA women’s national team rankings, together with the coaches of the eight clubs which participated in the quarter-finals of the 2018/19 UEFA Women’s Champions League and 20 specialised women’s football journalists.The awards will be presented at the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony, which will take place in Monaco on Thursday, August 29.-By Sky Sports-0Shares0000(Visited 38 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Manchester United 1-0 CSKA Moscow: Wayne Rooney winner sends Red Devils top of Group B

first_img1 Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney took a step towards answering his critics with a late winner against CSKA Moscow to send Manchester United top of Group B in the Champions League.It was all United in the first half but despite all the possession there were no goals with Jesse Lingard and Marcos Rojo wasting the best of the chances.It was more of the same after the break and when it looked like it would be a fourth consecutive 0-0 for the Red Devils, Rooney popped up with a great header after many of the crowd called for his substitution only minutes before.The win is United’s second of the competition and after Wolfsburg lost 2-0 to PSV Eindhoven in the group’s other game, they go top with seven points.Rooney – who dropped into a more withdrawn position as Anthony Martial was restored to the centre – had the first chance of the night but his shot on the turn went slightly wide of the target.Juan Mata was the next to test Igor Akinfeev, but despite a fantastic run behind the CSKA defence, he couldn’t get the contact he desired from Daley Blind’s long ball.Rooney and Mata were again at the centre of the attack for United as they continued to pile forward but Lingard fired over after his captain’s dangerous cross.The Red Devils were dominating the possession and chances, this time Ashley Young’s deep cross being leathered wide by Rojo, as they continued to struggle for that goal which has eluded them in their last three games.Despite United having 73 per cent of possession and eight shots to CSKA’s zero, the teams trudged in at half time with the scores level and the pressure mounting on the home side who, if the scores remained goalless, would record four consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time in their history.And it was more of the same immediately after the restart as Rojo, unmarked and unchallenged, headed wide from a corner before the defender turned provider for Martial who headed straight at Akinfeev.Boos rang around Old Trafford after the hour mark as Louis van Gaal removed Martial, and not Rooney, as Marouane Fellaini entered the fray.If there was a sign United would not score during the game then it came as Rooney failed to sort his feet out from two yards out with an empty goal at his mercy.Michael Carrick was the next to try to break the deadlock with a stunning volley which whistled inches wide of the upright.Seydou Doumbia – a second half substitute – suddenly found himself through on goal was twice denied, first by a wonderful stop by David De Gea’s left boot and then by a world class block by Chris Smalling.As if buoyed by those defensive heroics, with ten minutes remaining, United went straight down the other end to score for the first time in four matches.It was a great team goal as Carrick picked out Lingard – the best player on the night – who volleyed first time across to Rooney to score with a great header.It sparked the Red Devils into life as Rooney pulled off a stunning flick to return the favour to Lingard, but his fierce volley was well blocked by the CSKA goalkeeper.But Rooney’s 273rd goal – which ties him level in second with Dennis Law on United’s all time goalscorer list – which was enough to secure a long overdue win for the Red Devils and put them in pole position to qualify for the round of 16.last_img read more

Live updates: Raiders get ripped by Vikings, lose 34-14

first_imgJoin us for live scoring updates, news and analysis Sunday morning as the Raiders travel to Minnesota to play the first of five straight games away from the Coliseum. ODDS: Vikings -9 (opened at Vikings -7.5). OVER/UNDER: 43.5 … GAME ESSENTIALS: Raiders (1-1) at Minnesota (1-1) on Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT)TV: FOX-TV, Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), Jennifer Hale (reporter).center_img Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img

Fiber-Optic Sponge Makes Deep-Sea Lamps

first_imgLast year, it was announced that a deep-sea sponge named the Venus Flower Basket possessed glass strands similar to fiber optic cables (see 08/20/2003 headline).  Now, a five-member team from Bell Labs has performed the first detailed optical analysis of the fibers.  They indeed found these structures to be “remarkably similar to commercial silica optical fibers and are capable of forming an effective fiberoptical network.”  Their findings are published in PNAS.1    The sponge’s fiber optics, though, are superior to man-made ones in four respects:Focus:  “Other interesting design elements include terminal lens-like extensions located proximally and barb-like spines located along the spicule shaft.  The presence of these lens structures at the end of the biofibers improves the light-collecting efficiency [that] offers an effective fiber-optical network with selected illumination points along the length of the crown-like fibrous network surrounding the cylindrical skeletal lattice.”Cool:  “Second, the formation of the biosilica fibers occurs at ambient temperatures and pressures.”  Man-made glass fibers are made at high temperatures.  “Their complex structure and composition are encoded in the organism and are controlled by specialized organic molecules and cells.  The low-temperature formation of silica in organisms, as an alternative to the high-temperature technological process, is a subject of extensive studies.”Dope:  “The low-temperature synthesis brings about an extremely important feature: the ability to effectively dope the structure with impurities that increase the refractive index of silica.  Our elemental analysis showed, for example, the presence of sodium ions in the entire fiber, particularly in the core.  Sodium ions (and many other additives) are not commercially viable optical fiber dopants because of manufacturing challenges, including devitrification at high processing temperatures.  In the case of these spicules, however, the presence of sodium ions results in the increase of the refractive index to values approaching and even exceeding that of vitreous silica.No Stress:  “Another advantage of the low-temperature synthesis is evidenced in the lack of the polarization dependence on the refractive index.  Birefringence in commercially prepared fibers often occurs as a result of the residual thermal stresses in the fibers upon their cooling.  Ambient condition formation of the spicules in biological environments prevents the development of any residual thermal stress.The authors are not sure how the sponge uses its technology.  Typically, this species inhabits deep waters near hydrothermal vents, where the only light is from bioluminescent organisms or chemoluminescence.  They offer a suggestion that it might act as an underwater lamp for symbiotic organisms: “Our results suggest that if such sources exist within or in close association to the basalia of E. aspergillum, their light might be efficiently used and distributed by the sponge.  Such a fiberoptical lamp might potentially act as an attractant for larval or juvenile stages of these organisms and symbiotic shrimp to the host sponge.”    Their final paragraph sums up the wonder of this creature’s amazing manufacturing ability:In conclusion, we have demonstrated an example of nature’s ability to evolve highly effective and sophisticated optical systems, comparable and in some aspects superior to man-made analogs.  High fracture toughness arising from their composite structure, the presence of index-raising dopants, the degree of silica condensation, and the absence of residual stress in these fibers suggest an advantage of the protein-controlled, ambient temperature synthesis favored in nature.  Whether these optical properties are biologically relevant or not, the mechanisms of the formation of silica spicules in E. aspergillum are inspiring to materials scientists and engineers.  We believe, therefore, that this system represents a new route to improved, silica-based optical fibers, constructed by using a bottom-up approach.1Aizenberg et al., “Biological glass fibers: Correlation between optical and structural properties,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0307843101 (published online before print on 03/01/2004).Mother Nature, being blind, would not make a lamp.  Let’s object when scientists use the word “evolve” as a synonym for “engineer”.  Nature cannot “evolve” a “highly effective and sophisticated optical system.”  Highly effective and sophisticated systems are products of engineering.  Engineering requires intelligence and purpose.    This sponge, first named by creationist Richard Owen in 1841, is a natural wonder.  Another wonder is how Darwinists think Nature Inc. can get any manufacturing done, with their pointy-haired boss (chance) managing a crew of blind, deaf and dumb Dilberts (natural selection).  The competition, Intelligent Design Unlimited, puts out a catalog that is a work of art.(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Google with South African flair

first_imgDesré Buirski’s iGoogle designs feature the richly coloured shape of Africa on a dark brown background. (Image: iGoogle) Former president Nelson Mandela, wearing one of his trademark shirts, holds aloft the Fifa World Cup at the announcement that the tournament would take place in South Africa in 2010. (Image: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa) Images of the artists’ designs were projected onto buildings in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District on the launch night. (Image: Obscura Digital)Janine ErasmusThe Madiba shirt, a loose-fitting casual garment named for its most famous model, has become something of a fashion icon in South Africa and abroad. Desré Buirski is one of the designers responsible for the trend, having designed unique hand-painted silk shirts for former president Nelson Mandela since 1995. Now she has transferred her talents to the internet as one of more than 60 artists from around the world who were invited to design a theme for iGoogle.iGoogle is the personalised home page for users with a Google account. Users can customise it as they wish, adding weather, news, sport, recipes, calendars, horoscopes, reminders and other useful (or possibly not) applications to the page.Now iGoogle pages can be further decorated by adding an artist theme – Buirski’s design features rich earthy colours and a stylised map of Africa on several mastheads. The outline of Africa is appropriately filled in with a silk-like fabric design, and the masthead changes throughout the day with different parts of Africa showing up on the iGoogle page.Buirski is in distinguished company, joining renowned Australian designer Akira Isogawa, cartoonist and entertainer Rolf Harris of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” fame, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, cyclist Lance Armstrong, actor Jackie Chan, Australian photographer Anne Geddes, known for her enchanting baby photos, rock group Coldplay and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, among many others.All have contributed unique and innovative themes to the project, allowing users to appreciate their artistry every time they go online. Marissa Mayer, a vice president at Google and the company’s first female engineer, said, “Google has become the doorway to the internet for a lot of people, so we want to make it feel more like an online living room.”A personalised Google experienceGoogle launched its offering of personalised themes on 1 May 2008 in one of New York’s most fashionable neighbourhoods, the Meatpacking District located in Manhattan. Over the next three days Google promoted its new artistic venture with a large-scale open-air art show that involved projecting animated images onto the facades of buildings, including hotels and restaurants, in the district. The internet search company also provided a lounge with computer stations where visitors could try out the themes for themselves.Buirski, as one of the featured artists, was present at the launch and saw her African-inspired design projected across the Manhattan skyline in view of thousands of people. She was overwhelmed by the experience, saying, “First creating a design and then seeing it projected across the skyline of a city like New York is quite mind-blowing.”Besides the customised artist themes, there are many other themes available ranging from interesting while not necessarily practical, such as the theme which tracks sunlight as it moves across the face of the earth, to frivolous. Users also have the option of designing their own themes but some programming knowledge is required.South African role in iGoogle art themesGoogle has a localised South African site that allows internet users to search the whole web or restrict their search to local websites. SA country manager and IT authority, Stafford Masie, commented on Google’s commitment to making South African users’ internet experience, in terms of content as well as customisability, as interesting as that of any other user worldwide. He added that the local Google team was proud to have played an active role in the launch.“iGoogle allows Google users to choose the content that they’re interested in seeing. It’s an easy way to make the world’s information useful and accessible, straight from a landing page,” said Masie. “And users in South Africa and across the world can now give their Google homepage a truly South African touch.”This is not the first time that Google and South African innovation have come together. South African organisation Translate.org.za, which translates and localises open source software into South Africa’s 11 official languages, has had two of its products – Translate Toolkit and Pootle – included in the 2008 Google Summer of Code project. This is a collaborative programme that brings together students and mentors from 90 countries around the world to work during the US summer holidays on free open source software products, enhancing and modifying them.A Rainbow Nation fashion iconNelson Mandela gave new meaning to the word “casual” when he adopted the loose-fitting silk shirt as his personal symbol of style and wore it to even the most formal of events, in the presence of the world’s leaders, and to official functions. The Madiba tag is Mandela’s Xhosa clan name and is an honorary title adopted by elders of his clan.Buirski, who lived in the US for many years, was in Cape Town in February 1990. This was when Mandela stepped out of the gates of Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, Western Cape, as a free man after serving a 27-year prison term. She was inspired to create the free-flowing garment by the future president’s fresh and open approach to dialogue as he embraced the concept of the Rainbow Nation. She also resolved to return home to South Africa.Buirski created her first shirt in 1994 and managed to present it to one of Mandela’s bodyguards, who passed it on to the president. He wore it to the dress rehearsal of the opening of South Africa’s first democratic Parliament, thus setting a colourful fashion trend that has become instantly recognisable.Over the years Buirski has made more than 120 shirts for Mandela. The former president is widely admired – and sometimes criticised – for setting his own fashion rules, wearing what he feels comfortable in, and finding the stylish middle ground between Western formal wear and traditional African clothing. The revered statesman turns 90 in June 2008.Related storiesGoogle chooses SA code gurusUseful linksiGoogleGoogle South AfricaDesré Buirski’s iGoogle designThe Madiba shirtNelson Mandela’s biography at the Nobel Prize sitelast_img read more

In Nearly 3 Years on Job, Phil Jackson hasn’t Fixed Knicks

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had a half-season of clues about what Phil Jackson thought of him, and now it was his turn to evaluate his boss.Anthony had trumpeted his trust in Jackson when he re-signed in 2014 and reaffirmed it months later, even as Jackson continued trading away key players from the best team Anthony ever played on in New York.Reminded of that recently and asked if he still trusted Jackson, Anthony stopped well short.“I trust the process,” he said, mimicking Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.The process isn’t going well for Jackson in New York.The Knicks are 23-34, 12th in the Eastern Conference and on pace to miss the playoffs for the third time in Jackson’s three full seasons as president of basketball operations. He’s made his relationship with Anthony worse and hasn’t made the Knicks better, and a guy who could do little wrong as a coach just can’t get it right as an executive.Maybe Jackson can swing a trade to fix things before Thursday’s deadline.Or maybe he’ll just never fix the Knicks.If Jackson is planning anything, it remains a mystery. He hasn’t spoken to reporters covering the Knicks since his preseason press conference in September — backtracking from his vow to be accessible when he took the job — and isn’t expected to before the deadline. He has made only three postings on Twitter all season.Yet he’s still made plenty of noise.He angered LeBron James by referring to his friends and business partners as a “posse” in an ESPN story . And he upset some of the league’s other power players with his actions toward Anthony — which could prove damaging when trying to lure free agents. Jackson has either appeared to endorse or refused to distance himself from articles criticizing his best player and has largely cut off communication between them — after saying when he was hired that he planned to focus on “how players are treated” and “the kind of culture that’s built.”FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)Hall of Fame finalist Tracy McGrady told reporters this weekend he couldn’t remain quiet the way Anthony has.“I’m not going to let you disrespect (me) in the public’s eye like that,” McGrady said. “You’re not going to be sending subliminal messages about me like that and I don’t respond to that. I don’t operate like that. I’m just not going to do it. And then you hide and don’t do any media? You leave everything for me to talk about? Nah, that’s not cool.”Jackson retains the support of Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, who said in a recent ESPN Radio interview that he would not fire Jackson during the two-plus years that remain on his contract. (Both sides have an option to terminate the deal after this season).Dolan didn’t even express much disappointment in the results, even though the Knicks had their worst season ever in Jackson’s first season and are 72-149 since the start of 2014-15.“He was the best guy we thought we could find to run the New York Knicks,” Dolan said.Maybe if he’d been hiring Jackson to coach, as Jackson’s 11 championships are a record for coaches. But there were questions about how he would do as an executive with no experience, and the answers haven’t been good.He fired Mike Woodson and replaced him with first-time coach Derek Fisher, who lasted just 1½ years. Starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton were traded in one deal, and J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert left in another early the next season. They were all mainstays on the Knicks team that won 54 games and reached the second round of the playoffs not even two years before Jackson was hired in March 2014.Now all that’s left is Anthony, and it certainly seems Jackson wants him gone, too. He would have to find a workable deal, hard enough given the 32-year-old Anthony’s salary and age, then get him to waive the no-trade clause he gave Anthony when he re-signed him.If not, maybe Jackson himself would leave this summer — though Dolan said he had no indication that was the 71-year-old Jackson’s plan. But he insists he can’t coach for health reasons and doesn’t appear to enjoy scouting and dealing with agents, essential parts of his job.He must be disheartened that the work he put into this team hasn’t paid off. Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek to open up the offense after two years of his favored triangle, traded for Derrick Rose and signed free agents Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. None has sparked a turnaround, and drafting Kristaps Porzingis remains Jackson’s only inarguable success.Jackson played on the last championship Knicks team in 1973 and said when he was hired what it would mean to build another winner here.“It would be a capstone on the remarkable career that I’ve had,” Jackson said.There’s still time for that.But these days, Anthony probably isn’t the only one who no longer trusts in Jackson.—BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Arsenal To Leave Mkhitaryan At Home For Europa League Final

first_imgLONDON — Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play for Arsenal in the Europa League final against Chelsea next week because of concerns about political tension between his native Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is hosting the game.Arsenal said on Tuesday it reached the decision following discussions with the midfielder and his family and after “thoroughly” exploring all the options available.“We have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party,” Arsenal said in a statement, adding that it has “written to UEFA expressing our deep concerns about this situation.”Mkhitaryan said on Instagram it had been a “tough decision” to pull out of the game, adding: “I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it.”He has missed previous group games in Azerbaijan for both Arsenal and former club Borussia Dortmund.“Micki has been a key player in our run to the final,” Arsenal said, “so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.”The Azerbaijan government previously said it would allow Mkhitaryan to play in the final in Baku on May 29. UEFA had also said it would ensure Mkhitaryan’s safety.“Working alongside Arsenal FC, UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the player’s safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in the country,” European soccer’s governing body said in an emailed statement.“As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club. While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player.”Nagorno-Karabakh is a region of Azerbaijan which has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. Some neighboring districts are also under the control of those ethnic Armenian forces. International efforts to settle the conflict have stalled.“We at all times put the sport as something very separate from these political issues and of course the same issue is again with Mkhitaryan,” Azerbaijan Sports Minister Azad Rahimov said last week.Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have spilled into European soccer tournaments since the neighbouring nations were drawn together in a qualifying group for the 2008 European Championship.Both games were eventually cancelled, after Azerbaijan refused to host Armenia and no agreement could be reached on neutral venues.UEFA has since separated the countries in its competition draws ensuring that their national and club teams do not play each other.Arsenal will be playing its first European final in 13 years and looking to win its first continental trophy since the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup. The game has even greater importance because Arsenal needs to win to secure qualification to the Champions League after missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League.“We’re also very sad,” Arsenal said, “that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.”Arsenal also has been critical of the choice of Baku as host of the final after receiving only 6,000 tickets by UEFA and because of the “extreme” problems fans face to get to the match.There are relatively few flights to Baku from Western Europe, though more are being operated for the final, and prices are far above usual levels.Arsenal’s then-chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, was on the UEFA executive committee when Baku was chosen as Europa League host in September 2017. Mkhitaryan was then with Manchester United, playing in the Champions League, and joined Arsenal the following January.Baku won the Europa League final hosting rights in a bidding contest that originally included Seville, Spain, and Istanbul. Seville was excluded because Madrid was awarded the Champions League final, which will be played on June 1.UEFA evaluated each bidder, though a subsequent report did not mention the Armenia issue in a section analyzing security issues for Baku.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more