The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ronaldo for ‘Zero Hunger’

Rio de Janeiro: Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has agreed to participate in a campaign to “eradicate hunger” in Brazil after receiving a telephone call from President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday, according to the O Globo news network. Lula called Ronaldo in Madrid to request the player’s backing for a relief programme based on food vouchers, Globo reported.

“I am completely at the disposition of the President (elect) to overcome a problem that is so serious for our country. We have to think about how to improve things. I might live abroad but my future will be in Brazil, so I want to help fight for a better future,” Ronaldo said.

According to estimates released by Lua’s Workers Party, some 54 million Brazilians — or 31.2 per cent of the population live in a state of poverty — and more than 40 million suffer from malnutrition. Lula has identified hunger relief as his priority when he takes office in January 1, while Ronaldo already holds a post as a UN Goodwill ambassador. The “Zero Hunger” project falls within the wider sphere of a social pact aimed at raising living standards for the low paid.

Lula has also asked Ronaldo to attend his presidential inauguration ceremony on January 1.

Red carpet for Belgian belles

Brussels: Belgium rolled out the red carpet for its two favourite daughters on Wednesday as Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin entertained their fans in a good-natured exhibition match. The in-form Clijsters, who won the WTA Tour Championship on Monday, carried on from her recent success as she trounced Henin for the second time in less than a week 6-1, 6-4. But the quality of tennis was not high on agenda on Wednesday. French-speaking Henin, ranked fifth in the world, got into the party mood by accepting a prolonged kiss and a single red rose from her fiancé, Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

Flemish-speaking Clijsters also had her moment in the spotlight although her boyfriend, men’s number one Lleyton Hewitt, was otherwise occupied in Shanghai for the Masters Cup. Clijsters,19, was pleasantly surprised when a flurry of flowers was thrown her way. But the flowers were soon forgotten as the world number four focussed her attention on another present — a wrinkly shi-tzu puppy.

Dutch ban on amateur kisser

Amsterdam: An amateur Dutch soccer player has been suspended for kissing a referee after he was sent off during a match. The player was sidelined for eight games by the KNVB Dutch soccer association after planting a kiss on the mouth of a referee who had given him his marching orders during a game in the eastern town of Hengelo last month.

The player, who took the referee by the head and kissed him on the mouth after he was awarded a second yellow card, was punished for inappropriate behaviour by the KNVB's disciplinary committee, the association said on Thursday.

The player's identity was not immediately available.

Bosnich blues

London: Chelsea’s Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has been diagnosed with severe depression and admitted to a clinic, his management company said on Wednesday.

In a statement carried by Sky Sports, his management company SEM said: “Mark Bosnich has been diagnosed as suffering from severe clinical depression. On medical advice he was today (Thursday) admitted to a depression unit of a medical facility to obtain treatment.”

The 30-year-old former Aston Villa goalkeeper has not played for Chelsea this season.

Closed-door soccer

Sarajevo: Bosnia’s Football Association has ordered Serb club Borac Banja Luka to play two matches behind closed doors after violence during a league match last weekend. The club was also fined 3,000 Bosnian marka ($1,550) and the FA is to launch an investigation into the behaviour of the club’s security and match officials.

n Cricket: India vs West Indies 4th ODI from 2 pm on DD Sports n Cricket: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test Day I , live from 1.25 pm on STAR Sports n Legends of cricket from 6.30 pm on ESPN

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