RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate ‘agrees personal terms’ with Liverpool

Liverpool just ‘weeks away from completing Ibrahima Konate transfer’ as RB Leipzig defender ‘agrees personal terms’ over five-year deal with Premier League giants

  • RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate has agreed personal terms with Liverpool
  • Confirmation of the player’s deal is expected to come over the next few weeks
  • The two clubs are in advanced negotiations over his £34million buy out clause  

RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate has agreed personal terms with Liverpool, according to reports.

Confirmation of the deal – which would see the France U21 commit his future to Anfield for five years – is expected to come over the next few ‘weeks’.   

It is believed the two clubs are in advanced negotiations over the £34million buy out clause in his current contract. 

RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate (above) has agreed personal terms with Liverpool

Once the two European giants agree on a suitable fee for the defender, the deal will be complete. 

Journalist Fabrizio Romano told talkSPORT: ‘It is really, really close. it is just a matter of time.

‘The agreement with the player is done. They want to sign the player. It is just a case of the clubs negotiating.

‘The player wants to go. It is a five-year contract. In some weeks, it will be complete.’ 

A deal with Jurgen Klopp's (above) side is expected to come over the next few weeks

A deal with Jurgen Klopp’s (above) side is expected to come over the next few weeks 

The 21-year-old (right) has been touted as one of the top young centre-halves in Europe

The 21-year-old (right) has been touted as one of the top young centre-halves in Europe

Sportsmail reported Liverpool’s interest in Konate back in January as the Premier League champions sought to solve their injury crisis.

However, Konate picked up an ankle injury himself – causing concern for the club over his fitness. 

Konate’s price tag was also a stumbling block for the Premier League giants – however those issues now look to have been resolved.     

The 21-year-old has been touted as one of the top young centre-halves in Europe –  having appeared 94 times for Leipzig since joining from Sochaux in 2017. 

He would be a valuable addition to Klopp’s squad – however the German manager will have to fend off reported interest from Chelsea.  

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Johnny Depp, 57, is selling a poem he penned for ex-fiancee Winona Ryder, 49

Johnny Depp, 57, is selling a POEM he penned for ex-fiancee Winona Ryder, 49, for charity… 27 years after they split up

Johnny Depp is selling a poem he penned for ex-fiancee Winona Ryder as an NFT for charity.

The Hollywood actor has teamed up with ViciNFT to auction off various items, with the lot also including a signed photograph of the Pirates of the Caribbean star playing one his beloved guitars at his villa in France.

A total of 25% raised from the NFT (non-fungible tokens) auction will go to one or more charities supporting wildlife and the environment, plus an additional donation will be made to a climate conservation fund.

Digging into the past: Johnny Depp is selling a poem he penned for ex-fiancee Winona Ryder as an NFT for charity. The Hollywood actor has teamed up with ViciNFT to auction off various items. Seen in the early Nineties

It was true love: Ryder and Depp attend The Silence of the Lambs premiere in 1991 in LA

It was true love: Ryder and Depp attend The Silence of the Lambs premiere in 1991 in LA

Johnny said in a statement: ‘I believe ViciNFT is the first NFT company to truly want to protect and enhance the environment.

‘I trust the founders of ViciNFT to always put charity and helping others above mere profitability.’

ViciNFT is headed up by Bill Gladstone, an author and literary agent, who has represented Neil Young, Pamela Anderson and Deepak Chopra.

Co-stars: The pair starred alongside each other in Edward Scissorhands in 1990 and were known for their mutual love of poetry

Co-stars: The pair starred alongside each other in Edward Scissorhands in 1990 and were known for their mutual love of poetry

He added: ‘This is a ground breaking opportunity to recognize creative artists, musicians, authors, poets, and visionary thinkers. 

‘Johnny Depp is one of the most multi-talented creative artists of our generation, making him the ideal creative personality to launch creative NTFs for the common good.

Jam on: The lot also includes a signed photograph of the Pirates of the Caribbean star playing one his beloved guitars at his villa in France; a stock image from 2018 in the US

Jam on: The lot also includes a signed photograph of the Pirates of the Caribbean star playing one his beloved guitars at his villa in France; a stock image from 2018 in the US

‘I represent many wonderful authors whose books have raised awareness of important global issues. I anticipate that the success of Johnny Depp’s Official NFT series will create opportunities for many authors and artists to help millions of people throughout the world.’

Johnny and Winona were engaged for three years between 1990 and 1994.

The pair starred alongside each other in Edward Scissorhands in 1990 and were known for their mutual love of poetry.

The 49-year-old actress – who recently defended her ex-fiance at court after he was accused by ex-wife Amber Heard of physical and verbal abuse – previously said of her romance with the 57-year-old actor: ‘It was absolutely like nothing before.

‘We hung out the whole day… and night, and we’ve been hanging out ever since. I love her more than anything in the whole world.’

The first NFT auction commences at 9am ET today (04.05.21) and ends 5pm ET on May 5, 2021 on OpenSea at the official Johnny Depp auction

Still pals: Winona recently defended her ex-fiance at court after he was accused by ex-wife Amber Heard of physical and verbal abuse; Depp and Heard in 2015

Still pals: Winona recently defended her ex-fiance at court after he was accused by ex-wife Amber Heard of physical and verbal abuse; Depp and Heard in 2015

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Kylian Mbappe ‘only fit enough to be on the bench’ for PSG against Manchester City

Paris Saint-Germain dealt blow with Kylian Mbappe ‘only fit enough to be on the bench’ for crunch Champions League semi-final showdown against Manchester City due to calf injury

Paris Saint-Germain have been dealt a blow with superstar Kylian Mbappe set to only be fit enough to start on the bench against Manchester City, reports say.

There were question marks over the availability of the 22-year-old due to a calf problem as PSG look to pull off a memorable Champions League comeback.

And now, as claimed by Telefoot in France, Mbappe will not be able to line up from the off in the crunch semi-final showdown at the Etihad tonight.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe will reportedly be on the bench against Manchester City

It was revealed on Monday that Mbappe travelled with his team-mates to Manchester despite Mauricio Pochettino indicating he was initially a doubt.

The mercurial ace was rested at the weekend for the 2-1 victory against Lens in Ligue 1 and the move looks to have partially paid off.

Mbappe has scored 37 goals this season, including eight in the Champions League, and will hope to play a part in PSG reaching the final for the second year running.

More to follow.  

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Belgian farmer accidentally moves the French border 7½ feet

Belgian farmer accidentally moves the French border 7½ feet by unwittingly moving historic stone marker that was in the way of his tractor

  • A Belgian farmer accidentally moved the French-Belgian border 7.5 feet
  • The altered border demarcation was discovered by a local history enthusiast 
  • The mayors of the two border towns both saw the humorous side of the incident 

A farmer has accidentally moved the French-Belgian border 7.5 feet further inside French territory. 

The Belgian farmer apparently decided to move the historic border stone after finding it in the way of his path. 

The stone is positioned between the Belgian border village of Erquelinnes and Bousignies-sur-Roc, a commune in the Nord department in northern France. 

The Belgian farmer apparently decided to move the historic border stone, pictured above, after finding it in the way of his path

The altered border demarcation was discovered by a local history enthusiast while on a forest walk. 

The farmer will be contacted by Belgian authorities who will ask him to move the stone back to its original position. 

If the farmer refuses to cooperate, the case could be taken to the Belgian foreign ministry and a Franco-Belgian border commission would have to be summoned. 

The stone is positioned between the Belgian border village of Erquelinnes and Bousignies-sur-Roc, a commune in the Nord department in northern France

The stone is positioned between the Belgian border village of Erquelinnes and Bousignies-sur-Roc, a commune in the Nord department in northern France

The Mayor of Erquelinnes made light of the incident. Speaking to local TV channel TF1, David Lavaux joked: ‘I was happy, my town was bigger.’  

‘He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,’ Lavaux added.  

Meanwhile the mayor of the neighbouring French village, Aurélie Welonek, also saw the funny side.  

‘We should be able to avoid a new border war,’ the mayor told local media. 

The Franco-Belgian border stretches for 390 miles . Both countries have been part of the Schengen Zone since 1995, meaning there are no permanent border controls at the border. 

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Paul Pogba names Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Real Madrid star Casemiro as his two toughest opponents

Paul Pogba names Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Real Madrid star Casemiro as the two toughest opponents he’s played against during his career

  • Paul Pogba has played against modern day greats for club and country  
  • Casemiro scored during Real Madrid’s 2-1 Super Cup win over the Red Devils
  • Pogba and Kante played together for France during their World Cup win in 2018
  • Pogba named his performance in the 3-2 win at Manchester City as his best 

Paul Pogba has revealed that N’Golo Kante and Casemiro are the two toughest opponents he’s faced during his career.

Pogba named the pair as a part of a fan Q&A which will appear in Sunday’s United Review matchday programme, when Manchester United host Liverpool.

The Frenchman has played against some of the greats of the modern game during his time with United, Juventus and France but named Chelsea’s Kante and Real Madrid star Casemiro as his most challenging adversaries.

Paul Pogba (left) hailed Real Madrid’s Casemiro (right) as one of his toughest opponents

Pogba played alongside N'Golo Kante (right) as France won the World Cup in 2018

Pogba played alongside N’Golo Kante (right) as France won the World Cup in 2018 

‘My toughest opponent on the pitch? To be honest, it’s tough against N’Golo Kante,’ admitted the 28-year-old. 

‘Casemiro [of Real Madrid] too… he is a hard one also. I can’t remember all of them; they’re the first ones that come into mind that I had. 

‘Yes, those are the first ones. Maybe there are a few more players but I don’t have the names now.’ 

Kante and Pogba played alongside each other in central midfield as France won the World Cup in Russia three years ago, but the Chelsea star has caused Pogba problems when lining up against him.

In the 2016/17 season Pogba’s first since he returned to United following a spell with Juventus, Kante scored the last goal in a 4-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge. He also netted the winner in an FA Cup quarter final against the Red Devils just a few months later. 

Kante (right) scored the winner when United and Chelsea met in an the FA Cup in 2017

Kante (right) scored the winner when United and Chelsea met in an the FA Cup in 2017

Meanwhile Madrid star Casemiro scored against United in the 2017 Super Cup which the Spaniards won 2-1.   

Pogba unsurprisingly named the Manchester Derby in the the 17/18 season at the Etihad as his greatest performance for the club, the Frenchman scored twice as United came back from 2-0 down to win the game 3-2 thanks to a Chris Smalling winner. 

‘I would say because it’s a memory of the game, the 3-2 versus Manchester City, because I scored two.

‘We ended up winning, but if City won the game they were going to be champions against us. We avoided that, so I would say this one.’

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Jose Mourinho ‘will wait to be back in football’ after Tottenham sacking and reveals return timeline

Jose Mourinho won’t be rushing back to football after Tottenham sacking and a return next season ‘could be premature’ but another Premier League job looks most likely as he all but rules out ‘pressure-free’ France and Germany

  • Mourinho discussed the timeframe of his return to football after Spurs departure
  • But he ruled out working in a ‘pressure-free environment’ like France or Germany
  • The Portuguese is set to be a pundit during the delayed Euro 2020 tournament
  • He added that Gareth Southgate’s England is ‘one of the candidates’ to win it
  • The 58-year-old admitted he was keen to finish his career in an international job 

Jose Mourinho has revealed a return to football next season ‘could be premature’ after being sacked as Tottenham manager.

Mourinho, 58, was dismissed by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy on April 19 with the side seventh in the Premier League and less than a week before the Carabao Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Manchester City under 29-year-old interim boss Ryan Mason.

In a Times interview, most of which was carried out before his departure, the Portuguese also criticised the lack of competition in France and Germany and discussed England’s prospects at the delayed European Championship tournament.

Jose Mourinho has opened up on his next steps after being sacked as Tottenham manager

He said: ‘I have no plans, I am going on with my normal life. I feel fresh. I feel calm. I am on holiday. I have more time to be doing my homework and analysis. I’ll wait to be back in football. Not just for the right club, but for the right culture. Maybe next season is premature, we will see.

‘I won everything with Inter. There is a special affection. But if one day I have to go to Italy and coach a rival club, I don’t think twice. I have this professional way of looking at things. I feel good with myself.’

However, the Portuguese ruled out a move to the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, given their massive dominance in their respective domestic leagues – despite being highly unlikely to move to either club.

He ruled out a move to Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain due to the lack of competition

He ruled out a move to Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain due to the lack of competition

‘In Germany and France, if you go to club A (Bayern) or club B (PSG), you know your destiny is written immediately. In England it is competition at the highest level. That attracted me. It’s all about the pressure. I want it. I would choose pressure, always. I refuse to go to a country where the pressure doesn’t exist. I refuse!’

It was announced on Friday that Mourinho would be part of Talksport’s radio coverage of the Euros, and he talked up the chances of Gareth Southgate’s England side winning the competition.

‘England is one of the candidates. I don’t think they can run away from it. They play the group phase in England. And is not just England looking good, is nobody looking phenomenal. They have home advantage, they make a camp at the Tottenham HQ. They have the same coach for a few years. 

It was revealed on Friday that Mourinho will join Talksport's coverage of the Euros tournament

It was revealed on Friday that Mourinho will join Talksport’s coverage of the Euros tournament

And the Portuguese discussed the prospects of Gareth Southgate's England side winning it

And the Portuguese discussed the prospects of Gareth Southgate’s England side winning it

‘They have the experience of playing at the (Russia 2018) World Cup where they did very well. In that World Cup, they were still a little bit young. Marcus Rashford in that World Cup was just a little bit young. Many players the same. I think (there) is a big chance.’

The twice-former Chelsea boss then opened up on his desire to manage an international side at the end of his career.

‘One day I want to do it! I want to do a Euro or a World Cup! I can coach any team, Portugal or anyone. Portugal would be more natural because I could add the honour, but if one day I accept to do it for another country, I want to feel the same honour.’ 

When asked about the England job, he diplomatically concluded: ‘England has many options.’ 

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David Hockney, 83, prepares to unveil mammoth 288-ft long Bayeux tapestry inspired picture in Paris

David Hockney, 83, says working has given him a ‘new lease of life’ as he prepares to unveil mammoth 288-ft long Bayeux tapestry inspired picture in Paris

  • The 83-year-old has been in Normandy, France, painting the arrival of spring 
  • Royal Academy of Arts show will capture season with 116 of Hockney iPad prints 
  • Painter told The Andrew Marr Show he was surrounded by different blossoms 

World-famous Yorkshire artist David Hockney says his recent work has given him a ‘new lease of life’.

The 83-year-old has been in Normandy, France, painting the arrival of spring.

A show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London will capture the season with 116 of Hockney’s iPad prints.

Hockney is also planning to show ‘one big, long picture like the Bayeux Tapestry, which is going to be 88 metres long’ depicting the whole year in Normandy, in a show in Paris. 

The painter told The Andrew Marr Show he was surrounded by ‘hawthorn blossom … apple blossom, pear blossom, plum blossom, cherry blossom (and) apricot blossom.’

The 83-year-old Yorkshire born artist has been in Normandy, France, painting the arrival of spring

David Hockney shows his Bayeux Tapestry style painting of the passage of the seasons in Normandy, France during an interview on the BBC Andrew Marr show

David Hockney shows his Bayeux Tapestry style painting of the passage of the seasons in Normandy, France during an interview on the BBC Andrew Marr show

The painter, previously known for his works depicting Californian life, said: 'We live in a little seven dwarfs' house in the middle of a four-acre field'

The painter, previously known for his works depicting Californian life, said: ‘We live in a little seven dwarfs’ house in the middle of a four-acre field’

A show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London will capture the season with 116 of Hockney's iPad prints

A show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London will capture the season with 116 of Hockney’s iPad prints

He told the BBC One show: ‘I’m working away now because I’m 83. How much longer do I have? I don’t know.

‘I’m still a smoker but working is very good for me. It gives me a new lease of life. I’ve got a new lease of life here.

‘I’m just going to go on working here… (there is) always something to do.’

The painter, previously known for his works depicting Californian life, added: ‘We live in a little seven dwarfs’ house in the middle of a four-acre field.

‘I think it’s a great place, a wonderful place for me now.

‘I’m pretty deaf. I don’t really like listening that much any more. I prefer just working, so it’s fine for me here, absolutely fine.’

Hockney also offered a tip for anyone feeling 'bored' and 'trapped' in lockdown

Hockney also offered a tip for anyone feeling ‘bored’ and ‘trapped’ in lockdown

Hockney is also planning to show 'one big, long picture like the Bayeux Tapestry, which is going to be 88 metres long' depicting the whole year in Normandy

Hockney is also planning to show ‘one big, long picture like the Bayeux Tapestry, which is going to be 88 metres long’ depicting the whole year in Normandy

Hockney also offered a tip for anyone feeling ‘bored’ and ‘trapped’ in lockdown.

‘If you’re bored because of the lockdown and you’re trapped in some small place, then if you look at the world and really look at it, it’s very beautiful,’ he said.

‘It’s a mad world really but it’s very beautiful to look at. Nature is always beautiful, it’s always harmonious.

‘But you’ve really got to look at it. You’ve got to look at it to see colour. You’ve really got to look at it intensely.

‘I would suggest that’s what you do. Just sit down and look at it or walk and look at it, and it’s very beautiful really.’ 

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Thierry Henry says English football’s social media boycott was what he wanted when he quit himself

Thierry Henry reveals English football’s social media boycott was what he wanted when he deactivated his own accounts as he says top flight’s action ‘is my happiest moment’

  • English football revealed it will take part in a social media boycott next week
  • All Premier League, EFL and WSL players and clubs will not post for four days 
  • Thierry Henry has praised English football for the April 30 to May 3 blackout
  • The ex-Arsenal striker quit social media in March in protest against online abuse

Thierry Henry claims English football’s social media boycott planned for next weekend is his ‘happiest moment’ as the sport aims to tackle online abuse.

The Premier League, EFL and Women’s Super League announced on Saturday night that the will be taking part in a four-day social media blackout from April 30 to May 3 to combat online discrimination. The Football Association and Kick It Out group will also take part. 

Former Arsenal and France striker Henry deactivated all of his social media accounts in March in protest against platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for not doing enough to protect players from abuse and praised the work of English football following Saturday’s announcement. 

Thierry Henry has described English football’s social media boycott as his ‘happiest moment’

Premier League, EFL and WSL players and clubs will do a social media blackout next week

Premier League, EFL and WSL players and clubs will do a social media blackout next week

Henry wrote in a column in The Sun: ‘It’s win, win, win – this is what I was hoping for when I announced I was coming off all the platforms and this is what I was talking about – the strength of the pack. 

‘Now look – the whole of English football isn’t happy with you. The social media platforms – what have you got to say? 

‘This is my happiest moment. Football stands for something. Not only money. It is not just take, take, take. It is also about giving. Now it is really trying to tackle issues.

Henry praised the English teams for their stance just weeks after he quit social media himself

Henry praised the English teams for their stance just weeks after he quit social media himself

‘Well done to everyone involved. We are acting, instead of talking. That is a different ball game.’ 

Last month, Henry complained that the problems on the online platforms were ‘too toxic to ignore’ regarding ‘racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals’. 

A statement on the Frenchman’s Instagram read, before the account was deactivated: ‘I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright. 

Henry announced he was deleting his account because 'the torture is too toxic to ignore

Henry announced he was deleting his account because ‘the torture is too toxic to ignore

‘The sheer volume racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability. 

‘It is far too easy to create an account, use it to bully and harass without consequence and still remain anonymous. Until this changes, I will be disabling my accounts across all platforms. I’m hoping this happens soon.’ 

In an exclusive interview with Sportsmail, Henry spoke about the ‘strength of the pack’ that football can show if all the clubs came together to highlight the issues facing online abuse via social media. 

Henry told Sportsmail last month he wanted football to show the 'strength of the pact'

Henry told Sportsmail last month he wanted football to show the ‘strength of the pact’

The former striker said: ‘There has been an evolution in terms of abuse being reported inside the stadium, people became braver. But now we have a new problem, the abuse has moved to social media.

‘If we do not alert people to the problem then nothing happens. That is why I have taken my own action, not for applause, but to highlight the issue. Social media is a wonderful and important tool, but it needs to be safe.

‘I am not putting anyone under pressure, it should be a feeling you have inside. But you should never underestimate the strength of the pack. Can that (a weekend boycott) be powerful? Yes, very powerful.’ 

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Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship, which will be the biggest in the world when it launches in 2022

This is Royal Caribbean’s epic new cruise ship, which will be the biggest in the world when it launches in 2022.

Called Wonder of the Seas, the vessel will be based in Shanghai, China, and will feature an 82ft- (25m) long, 10-deck-high zip line as well as Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea at 10 storeys high.

It is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France, and is 1,188ft (362m) long, 210ft (64m) wide and weighs 236,857 tonnes. It features a total of 18 decks, will have 2,867 staterooms and will accommodate up to 6,988 guests.

Royal Caribbean’s epic new cruise ship Wonder of the Seas will be the biggest in the world when it launches in 2022. It is pictured in Saint Nazaire, France, in September 2020

Wonder of the Seas is 1,188ft (362m) long, 210ft (64m) wide and weighs 236,857 tonnes. It features a total of 18 decks, 2,867 staterooms and will accommodate up to 6,988 guests

Wonder of the Seas is 1,188ft (362m) long, 210ft (64m) wide and weighs 236,857 tonnes. It features a total of 18 decks, 2,867 staterooms and will accommodate up to 6,988 guests

Royal Caribbean says that the Oasis-class ship will have ‘the signature amenities the world’s largest and unmatched ships are known for since they first revolutionised cruising more than a decade ago, including the unique neighbourhood concept’.

Wonder of the Seas will have eight neighbourhoods that guests can explore.

The Central Park area will feature ‘the first living park at sea, home to more than 20,000 plants — not to mention some of the fleet’s most coveted speciality restaurants and high-end boutiques’.

Boardwalk will be a stretch at the end of the ship with twin rock-climbing walls, a classic carousel and an ‘open-air AquaTheater’.

Wonder of the Seas is transferred to its outfitting dock at a shipyard in France in September 2020. The vessel will feature an 82ft- (25m) long, 10-deck-high zip line as well as Ultimate Abyss - the tallest slide at sea at 10-storeys high

Wonder of the Seas is transferred to its outfitting dock at a shipyard in France in September 2020. The vessel will feature an 82ft- (25m) long, 10-deck-high zip line as well as Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea at 10-storeys high

Wonder of the Seas is due to arrive in Shanghai in March 2022

Wonder of the Seas is due to arrive in Shanghai in March 2022

The Pool & Sports Zone will be home to the zip line and the Ultimate Abyss slide as well as pools, whirlpools and a FlowRider surf simulator. There will also be basketball and volleyball courts as well as a mini-golf course.

The Entertainment Place neighbourhood is where ‘world-class performers light up the stage night after night in headline shows and original productions at the Royal Theater’.

Meanwhile, the Royal Promenade will be the ‘pulsing heart of the ship, where shopping, dining and entertainment come together’.

The ship will also have a Vitality Spa and Fitness Center, a Youth Zone that includes a nursery for infants and toddlers, and a dedicated space for teenagers.

The final neighbourhood is the new Suite Neighbourhood, which is just for suite guests.

Royal Caribbean explains: ‘The new neighbourhood provides a private experience like no other, featuring world-class dining, a new sun deck for unparalleled ocean views, a private lounge and restaurant and much more.

‘Moreover, loved ones can make it the getaway of a lifetime when they book the expansive and beloved Ultimate Family Suite.’

Wonder of the Seas is due to arrive in Shanghai in March 2022 and its inaugural season cruises of four to nine-night sailings through the Far East are now open for bookings.

The vessel's keel is lowered into place in a ceremony at a shipyard in Saint Nazaire in October 2019, marking the start of the ship’s physical construction

The vessel’s keel is lowered into place in a ceremony at a shipyard in Saint Nazaire in October 2019, marking the start of the ship’s physical construction

Royal Caribbean says: ‘On the horizon for vacationers with their sights on a getaway aboard Wonder are visits to popular destinations in Asia. Between March and November 2022, guests can sail roundtrip from Shanghai to Japan, where they can immerse themselves in the local sights and sounds.

‘From pleasing their palate in Osaka, to exploring the nation’s oldest official residence in Fukuoka, to tasting the best beef in Kobe and enjoying the natural scenery of the islands of Okinawa, all senses can be fulfilled on these culture-rich itineraries. 

‘The combination of ports of call to choose from also include Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Ishigaki and Miyazaki, Japan.

A rendering showing what Wonder of the Seas will look like when it is complete. It will have eight neighbourhoods that guests can explore

A rendering showing what Wonder of the Seas will look like when it is complete. It will have eight neighbourhoods that guests can explore

Royal Caribbean says: 'On the horizon for vacationers with their sights on a getaway aboard Wonder are visits to popular destinations in Asia'

Royal Caribbean says: ‘On the horizon for vacationers with their sights on a getaway aboard Wonder are visits to popular destinations in Asia’ 

‘Wonder will transition to warmer climates and homeport in Hong Kong, November 2022 through January 2023, to offer highly anticipated Christmas and New Year’s holiday sailings to several ports of call. 

‘Part of the destination lineup are Chan May, Vietnam; Busan and Jeju, South Korea; Kochi and Okinawa, Japan; and Taipei, China.’

Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: ‘China continues to be one of the most important parts of the world for Royal Caribbean. We have won the trust of our partners and the favour of travellers and built on that significantly since we first set sail 12 years ago.

Currently, the world's largest cruise ship is Symphony of the Seas, pictured. It is another vessel in Royal Caribbean's fleet

Currently, the world’s largest cruise ship is Symphony of the Seas, pictured. It is another vessel in Royal Caribbean’s fleet

‘By introducing Wonder of the Seas and the iconic Oasis Class to China, our strong commitment to the market’s growth is reaffirmed yet again for years to come.

‘It will be a remarkable moment to see years of partnership realised when the industry’s newest, most innovative ship becomes Shanghai’s new city skyline and takes cruise travel beyond imagination.’

Currently, the world’s largest cruise ship is Symphony of the Seas – another vessel in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

It too has 18 decks, is 1,118ft-long, 215.5ft wide, weighs 228,000 tonnes and can accommodate 6,680 guests.

The ship was launched in 2018, is currently based in Miami and sails itineraries around the Caribbean.

Facebook removes French town’s official page because of its ‘offensive’ name 

Below is Bitche Mayor Benoît Kieffer’s full statement translated from French.

Facebook had censored our City of Bitche page.

We have appealed and attempted to contact Facebook through various means, including through contact forms and private messages on the Facebook France page.

On March 19, Facebook informed us that our Town of Bitche page was no longer published, on the grounds that it was ‘in violation of the terms applicable to Facebook pages’. 

The city’s Facebook page was hosted in a data center located in Europe and in a hypothetical, we assume that our page has migrated to an Anglo-Saxon server which has set up moderations and algorithms that remove illegal and problematic content. 

The name of our city seemed to suffer from a misinterpretation.

I accept that Facebook will put in place locks, police, comply with the prescriptions of the European Union, which intends to domesticate GAFA and better supervise practices, in particular in application of the 2020 European ‘Digital Service Act’ regulation.

That Facebook gives pledges, takes responsibility, justifies its content and today plays its role of moderator and regulator of its social network.

What happened to the town of Bitche demonstrates the insufficiency and the limits of the moderation tools that only a human eye can appreciate, especially with regard to the verification of sources.

The amazing thing is that it lasted and that Facebook took so long to correct this incident.

The CEO of Facebook France has just contacted me personally to inform me that the page for the town of Bitche has been published again and to apologise for the inconvenience that may have been caused.

Today I send two invitations:

– The first, to the Facebook ‘institution’: that of being transparent, but also, by obligation, to be an intelligent and fair tool

– The second, I humbly address it to Mr. Mark ZUCKERBERG and to Mr. General President of Facebook France, whom I would be pleased, along with my fellow citizens, to welcome at Bitche to make them discover our pretty fortified city which has been illustrated in history at several times, but also to honor together, with them, the memory of the compatriots and of our American friends who, under the banner of the 100th Infantry Division, came, from South Carolina, liberate our city; our liberators who are then themselves named, with pride, the ‘Sons of Bitche’

Benoît Kieffer 

Maire de Bitche