The Smurfs are now the tourism ambassadors of Brussels

The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

The Brussels tourism office is dispatching a special delegation of Smurfs as part of a major tourism campaign aimed at bringing back tourists following last year’s terrorist attack.

Dubbed “Where will Brussels take you” the tourism offensive is meant to boost lagging visitor numbers following the terror attacks which killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and metro station last spring.

“Numerous actions were undertaken immediately after the attacks and have yielded positive results,” said Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President in a statement.

“We have witnessed a very clear recovery of tourism in Brussels at the beginning of the year.

The campaign ‘Where will Brussels take you’ represents an additional effort and aims at revealing our region’s hidden secrets – the best and most remarkable of what Brussels has to offer.”

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The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

An online platform called ­takemeto.­brussels has also been launched to help visitors personalise their trip.

The site offers recommendations on the best restaurants, Instagram-worthy sites, museums for kids, best coffee and wine bars.

As part of the promotional campaign, the tourism office is also giving away a city break to Brussels every week, which includes accommodation and transportation within Europe.

The campaign ends Oct 31.

Read also: It’s time to visit Smurf village

Source – TheJakartaPost

Bottas seeks to double up in Barcelona

Valtteri Bottas seeks to prove his maiden Formula One success at Sochi was no fluke by repeating the feat for champions Mercedes in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The unflappable Finn, who has emerged as a serious threat not only to his more celebrated team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but also Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel, believes his determination, form and speed justify his optimism.

“Getting that win has definitely given me a lot of confidence that I can do it – because I always thought that I had the ability.

“And now it’s done all I want to do is to go and win again and again,” said Bottas.

Another Bottas win would not be a surprise at a venue that has a habit of producing more different winners than anywhere else – if he is successful, he will be the 11th different winner in as many years.

The Circuit de Catalunya, a track drivers and teams know intimately from days of pre-season testing, is capable of throwing up the most unexpected and unpredictable results.

That was demonstrated last year by Dutch teenager Max Verstappen’s win on his debut for Red Bull.

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Bottas’ recent bright form – pole position in Bahrain and victory at Sochi – has confirmed him as a worthy successor to retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes where, temporarily, he has managed to put three-time world champion Hamilton in the shade.

But that does not mean much as the teams, all with upgraded packages, begin the European season with Ferrari likely to set the pace if the weather conditions put the onus on tyre management.

– marginal –

The Italian team has a car that is less demanding on its rubber and operates well across a wider range of temperatures than the Mercedes.

For Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, it is a concern, but not yet a serious worry.

“I don’t think there is a particular pattern yet,” he said. “It is all very marginal with tyre compounds, interaction with the track, the surface of the track and the track temperature itself.

“But, one thing is for sure — we have a very fast race car and a fast qualifying car. We just need to tune it and this is an exciting exercise.”

Tyre suppliers Pirelli will take their harder tyres, not greatly loved by Mercedes on the evidence so far this year, to Barcelona this weekend.

“I think it will be close – in fact more than very close,” added Wolff.

“Ferrari came out of the winter with a good car and it seems to suit Sebastian a lot. So, we just need to stretch ourselves to perform as good as we can and, if we do like we did in Russia with Valtteri, we are able to compete.”

He said the team had no immediate explanation for Hamilton’s uninspired form in Sochi where he struggled with the car.

“Lewis had a difficult weekend in both qualifying and the race,” said Wolff.

“We’ve since been unpicking what happened to understand why we couldn’t get the car in the right window so he could feel comfortable with it.”

Hamilton said he was mystified by his lack of pace as he finished fourth to fall 13 points adrift of Vettel after four rounds of the championship.

“We must give him the tools he needs to do the job in the next races and that will be a big focus for us,” added Wolff.

“Barcelona will be interesting as our pre-season was not spectacular in Spain. It’s a very different track to Sochi and we’ll be running with harder tyres. So, we are taking this season one race at a time…”

Ferrari and Mercedes may be the front-runners again, but Red Bull expect to be close in pursuit with a heavily-updated car while local hero Fernando Alonso has more modest hopes.

After failing to start in Russia, he is just hoping his revised McLaren will be on the grid to take part in his home race this Sunday.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Diego Simeone ‘convinced’ Atletico can pull off Real miracle

Atletico Madrid’s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone (L) gestures on the sideline with Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane in background during the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on May 2, 2017. (AFP/Gerard Julien)

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes overturning a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg deficit against Real Madrid would be “impossible” for others, but not for his side.

Simeone’s men must pull off a remarkable comeback in Wednesday’s second leg to avoid being dumped out of the Champions League for a fourth straight season by their cross-city rivals.

“On Wednesday we have a very difficult game. For some impossible, but not for us,” said Simeone after Atletico secured a top-four finish in La Liga for a fifth straight season with a 1-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.

“I’ve told the players it is very difficult, that we are facing the best team in the world, who score goals in every game, but that it is possible.

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“I am convinced of it. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t say it. If we are united and understand that it is a semi-final at home we have a chance.”

Wednesday’s clash is likely to be the final European game at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon as they move to the new 67,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano next season.

Atletico were given a rousing reception throughout at the Calderon on Saturday despite the disappointment of their 3-0 first-leg capitulation to Real in midweek.

And Saul Niguez’s winner 21 minutes from time ensured they now need just one more point from their final two games to guarantee third place in La Liga ahead of Sevilla and avoid a Champions League qualifier in August.

“They have been nearly six marvellous years. The fans are grateful and the players continue to give their all, to fight and raise themselves after they’ve been knocked down,” added Simeone, who took over as coach in 2011.

“We had big difficulties at the start of the season and situations that meant we lost our consistency that this team has always had.

“With two games to go we are in a strong position and we hope to be able to finish it off in the next game.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

No miracle Barcelona 0-0 Juventus

Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (0-3 agg): Catalans crash out as Messi and co misfire at Nou Camp – 5 things we learned

Lightning didn’t strike twice.

This time Barcelona did leave themselves with far too much to do as composed an away performance you could wish to see in the Champions League to make the semi-finals.

On a night Barca needed everything he touched to turn to gold, Lionel Messi fired off target with the hosts best two chances either side of half-time.

Juventus always threatened the away goal that would have made the highly improbable impossible through the pace of Juan Cuadrado on the counter-attack.

In the end, though, their 3-0 first leg lead was more than enough as they registered an eighth clean sheet in 10 Champions League games this season.

Here are five things we learned…

ps, With a Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers

Read continue

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The most attractive holiday destinations

When it comes to vacation destinations, everyone has his or her own preferences, of course. A helping hand can of course be useful, so has the World Economic Forum made a list of the most attractive holiday destinations in the world.

The researchers are looking at issues such as safety, nature, infrastructure, health and value. This has resulted in the following top ten:

1/ Spain
2/ France
3/ Germany
4/ Japan
5/ Great-Britain
6/ United States
7/ Australia
8/ Italy
9/ Canada
10/ Switzerland

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Real Madrid 3-1 Napoli

7′ – GOAL! 0-1 FOR NAPOLI! Born Neapolitan Lorenzo Insigne gets his team after playing eight minutes ahead of Madrid.

17′ – GOAL! 1-1 REAL MADRID! Karim Benzema put the home team with a header on the same level.

45′ – End of first half

In order to indicate the relationships between Real Madrid and Napoli equally. And then does Gareth Bale, the man of 100 million, still disagree because of injury.

48 ‘- GOAL! 2-1 REAL MADRID! There’s the lead for the people of Madrid. Faouzi Ghoulam loses the ball and Real Madrid switch over James Rodriguez quickly. Cristiano Ronaldo passes Koulibaly with double scissors and puts the ball right back on the edge of the penalty area. There is Toni Kroos able to slide within controlled the ball.

53′- GOAL! 3-1 REAL MADRID! Shortly after the 2-1 there immediately 3-1 and what one!: Casemiro made with a volley from 25 meters out loud and see his effort fly into the far corner. A lovely goal.

90 ‘+ 3’ – End of the second half!