Mateusz Juroszek – Non-stop STS will expand amid industry disruptions August 12, 2020 SAZKA faces scrutiny following appointment of Flint Global as National Lottery advisor August 20, 2020 Related Articles Share Submit FDJ’s ParionsSport launches sponsorship programme for French amateur football August 24, 2020 SAZKA Group Chief Executive Robert Chvátal has confirmed that the growth-hungry gambling conglomerate will launch an official 2020 bid competing to win the UK’s fourth National Lottery contract starting in 2023.Stating SAZKA’s intent, Chvátal underlined that ‘investing in the UK is the next stop’, following a busy 2019 in which the Czech gambling fund secured majority shareholdings in OPAP Greece and Casinos Austria.SAZKA’s leader stated that ‘Brexit was no obstacle’ for the Czech outfit, which ‘has proven across Europe how lottery is done differently, with more fun and more profitability’ for customers and national stakeholders.“Next year we are preparing a tender for The National Lottery, and this is a very interesting opportunity for us,” he said. “We want to try to be the operator of the UK’s prestigious lottery. Moreover, Britain is the cradle of betting and betting, and it is one of the largest markets in Europe.”Significant corporate developments in 2019 saw SAZKA split its ownership, with Czech billionaire Karel Komarek Jr’s KKCG private equity fund taking full control of SAZKA’s gambling assets and investments.Chvátal underlined the changes as necessary, as a streamlined SAZKA is now fully focused on becoming the world’s leading gambling fund targeting prominent disruptions within the global lotteries sector.UK Media had previously speculated that SAZKA would be a likely bidder for the National Lottery’s 2020 tender, competing against high-profile suitors such as Northern & Shell and Richard Branson’s ‘Peoples Lottery’ vehicle.Further international interest saw the governance Française des Jeux (FDJ) confirm last week that discussions were being held with investment bank Rothschild, assessing options to compete in the 2020 tender. Share StumbleUpon
“If you can’t be with family, it’s good to be here where it all went down,” said 23-year-old David Collen of Hickman, Neb., who is studying the Middle East at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Tiago Martins, 28, from Curitiba, Brazil, said the new peace talks had prompted him to visit Bethlehem for the first time. “The idea that it’s a Christian city makes me more calm, and I think going to the West Bank is more comfortable since Annapolis,” Martins said. Priests and monks, tourists, Palestinian families and police mingled in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity, the site where tradition holds that Christ was born. Vendors hawked beads, inflatable Santas, roasted peanuts, cotton candy, steamed corn and Turkish coffee while city residents watched the festivities from balconies and rooftops. A four-story cypress tree, strung with lights and red and gold ornaments and topped with a yellow star, towered outside the church. Children strolling through the square wore red-and-white Santa Claus hats, with some in full Santa regalia. Balloons bobbed from vendors’ stands and strings children clutched in their hands. After nightfall, the square was lit in a sea of red and yellow lights and Christmas stars. “This year is much better than the last seven years for tourism,” said shopkeeper Jacques Aman, whose wooden handicrafts shop offered crosses, rosaries and nativity scenes. “The atmosphere is better in general. There is relative calm, from the security standpoint.” Palestinian scouts, some wearing kilts and berets adorned with pompoms, marched through the streets playing drums and bagpipes. Throughout the evening, choirs and orchestras performed hymns and Christmas carols in a multitude of languages. Years of violence have contributed to the departure of a growing number of Christians from Bethlehem. Johnny Giacaman, a Bethlehem native who now lives in the United Arab Emirates but returned this year to visit his family, is among the people who have left. “There is nothing for young people here,” he said, standing outside his family’s gift shop. “Christians are leaving in high numbers. I am an example. If this continues, in five to 10 years the Church of the Nativity will be a museum.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BETHLEHEM, West Bank – Encouraged by renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Christian pilgrims from around the world converged on Jesus’ traditional birthplace Monday to celebrate Christmas – a palpable contrast to the sparse crowds of recent years. The mix of people included festive American tourists, clergymen in brown flowing robes and Palestinian scouts wearing kilts and playing bagpipes. “I’m Catholic. I always wanted to see the beginning of Christianity, the whole history. It’s something you grow up with,” said Kristin Obeck, a 37-year-old schoolteacher from Richmond, Va. Despite the festive atmosphere, a heavy police deployment, the presence of Israel’s separation barrier and unease among Bethlehem’s ever-shrinking Christian population served as reminders of the lingering tensions in the region. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonIn the years following the 1993 Oslo peace accord, Bethlehem attracted tens of thousands of tourists for Christmas. But the number of visitors plummeted after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. Tourism has begun to recover in recent years as fighting has slowed. This year, it got a boost from the renewal of peace talks last month at a summit in Annapolis, Md. Israeli tourism officials said they expected some 20,000 visitors to cross from Jerusalem into neighboring Bethlehem, an increase of about 50percent over last year. Tourism workers handed out sweets and flowers to pilgrims, and smiling Israeli soldiers posed for pictures with travelers. Bethlehem’s governor, Saleh Tamari, said all of the town’s 5,000 hotel rooms were booked.