TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE PAMPLONA, Spain: SportsMax’s La Liga Experience winner, Calvin Palache, and his partner have already started receiving the VIP treatment with surprises, fine dining, interviews and photo shoots. But that was just the beginning for the couple, as they will have two of the best seats inside the El Sadar Stadium to witness Palache’s favourite team Real Madrid take on Osasuna today. Prior to the game, the couple will get a tour of Pamplona and the stadium and also be granted locker room and tunnel access. “I am looking forward to being pitch side and getting to go into the tunnel and the locker room to get a chance to interact with the superstars such as CR7 (Ronaldo), Sergio Ramos and Marcelo,” Palache, who once played for Jamaica’s Red Stripe Premier League club Humble Lion, said. “I want to see Cristiano Ronaldo up close, take a picture and Facebook it immediately. I am going to take a lot of pictures, and don’t be surprised when I shout ‘King Ronaldo! King Ronaldo!'” When first informed by SportsMax that he was the winner of the competition, Palache thought it too good to be true and enquired if it was a scam. But after travelling out of Jamaica for the first time and touching down in Spain, he has finally come to terms with the fact that this is really happening. “This is just a dream come true, because this is my first time travelling and I actually ended up taking three planes and got to experience so much,” the 28-year-old said. The competition, which is into its second year, has seen SportsMax team up with the world’s most star-studded football league, La Liga, to offer football fans across the Caribbean the chance to win a trip for two to see the likes of four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo and Real Madrid. Palache’s partner of four years, Tishana Sharpe, is just happy that he has been given this chance and is thrilled she is able to experience it with him. “I am super excited and I am happy for him,” Sharpe said. “He lives for football and went crazy when he found out he won, so I just hope he gets to meet all his favourite players.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Four days of talks in Arusha in Tanzania ended today with a pledge from the rebels reaffirming their commitment to the so-called Road-Map outlined by the UN and African Union Special Envoys for re-energizing the political process, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim.The representatives of the rebel movements agreed to present a common platform on the sharing of power and wealth, security arrangements, land and humanitarian issues, and they also recommended that final talks towards a political solution to the Darfur conflict be held in two or three months’ time.Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim chaired the Arusha talks, which were also attended by representatives of Chad, Egypt, Eritrea and Libya, to chart the progress being made towards the staging of final negotiations on the Darfur crisis, which has killed more than 200,000 people and forced two million others to flee their homes.The talks were also supposed to “create an enabling environment for the non-signatories [to last year’s Darfur Peace Agreement] to meet and consult among themselves, with other participants and the Special Envoys in order to facilitate the preparations for the negotiations,” according to the statement of conclusions issued by Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim today.Not all of the non-signatories attended the Arusha talks. In the statement of conclusions, the rebel groups that did take part “decided to keep open the possibility for those who were invited but did not participate in the Arusha Consultations, to join their common platform.”Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim also said they would continue to pursue the case of Suleiman Jamous, a Darfurian elder who has been detained by the Sudanese Government, “in view of the role Mr. Jamous can play in the political process.”Mr. Eliasson has now travelled to Khartoum for two days of meetings with Government officials in the Sudanese capital, before he heads to the three states of Darfur and then on to neighbouring Chad on Saturday.The Arusha talks were held just days after the Security Council authorized the deployment of a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force – the first of its kind – to try to quell the violence and suffering wracking Darfur.The hybrid operation – to be known as UNAMID – has an initial mandate of 12 months and will incorporate the existing AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which has been deployed across Darfur since 2004. It will become the largest peacekeeping force in the world, with almost 26,000 troops and police officers when it reaches full deployment.By October, UNAMID is scheduled to have its management, command and control structures in place, and then by the end of the year it is expected to be ready to take over operations from AMIS.Since fighting erupted between rebel groups, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias in 2003, UN officials have repeatedly described Darfur as the scene of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. 6 August 2007Darfurian rebel groups attending United Nations-sponsored “pre-negotiation” talks over the weekend have agreed to work together to try to devise a solution to the deadly conflict that has devastated the Sudanese region since 2003.