Jack Ma’s Ant forced into arms of banks he once dubbed ‘pawnshops’


Jack Ma’s Ant Group has undercut, undermined and insulted China’s big state-owned banks for years. Regulators have now turned the tables on the financial technology group after forcing the company to pull its record $37bn initial public offering in November.

Beijing is targeting the symbiotic relationship that has transformed China’s financial system by matching loans from small regional banks with 500m borrowers via Ant’s Alipay app, the country’s biggest payments platform.

Under new rules that will be enforced from next January, Ant will be required to limit its business with regional lenders in favour of the big state-owned banks Ma derided as having a “pawnshop” mentality in a speech last October. The billionaire entrepreneur has largely vanished from public view since he made the comments in a dispute that has underlined growing tensions between the state and the private sector in China as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on the economy.

The move to clip Ant’s wings came after the size and scale of the company’s lending operation, which was revealed in its IPO pitch, caught regulators off guard, according to several people familiar with the situation.

“The regulators were surprised that Ant would have a larger market capitalisation than China’s largest state-owned banks,” said one Chinese banker who advises the government on financial policy issues. “When the IPO was priced they looked at it and said: ‘What, this thing is bigger than JPMorgan?’”

Rules designed to slow down Ant

Ant was responsible for arranging about one-tenth of China’s consumer lending last year via two products: Huabei, which is similar to a credit card; and Jiebei, which offers small unsecured loans through Alipay. Ant’s total outstanding loans reached Rmb2.2tn ($340bn) as of June 30.

About 90 per cent of the lending was underwritten by a network of 100 partner banks, many of which were smaller, regional lenders that offered competitive rates in exchange for access to Ant’s vast customer base and national reach.

The new rules mandate that joint-lending made through the internet can account for no more than half of any bank’s total loan book and lending through any single fintech platform cannot exceed 25 per cent of a bank’s tier one, or core, capital.

This will inevitably lead Ant to have to work more closely with the country’s bigger banks to expand its lending business, as China’s top 10 banks hold 64 per cent of the country’s total Rmb20tn of tier one capital, according to Bernstein.

“Since each player, especially the smaller ones, can do less, Ant has to do more with the bigger banks with big balance sheets,” said Kevin Kwek, an analyst at Bernstein. “This will weaken Ant’s bargaining position with them.”

Bernstein has cut its estimate of Ant’s value from $310bn at the putative IPO price to $230bn and said it could fall further. “The model is not completely broken, but growth will be curtailed quite a bit,” said Kwek.

The rules also introduced regional restrictions, so a city bank in Beijing would no longer be able to extend Alipay loans to consumers in Shanghai.

“Ant has more than 100 financial partners but China only has roughly 20 national banks . . . the new rules on cross-region lending will hurt Ant a lot,” said Xiaoxi Zhang, a financial analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm.

The Bank of Tianjin, for example, increased its consumer loan book by nearly 800 per cent in 2018 after it signed deals with Ant and other fintech platforms.

The Bank of Shizuishan, in China’s north-west Ningxia region, extended Rmb20bn in loans through Alipay over about 18 months to October, according to state media.

One lender in Hangzhou said Alipay lending had been so good for business that the company tiptoed around negotiations with Ant for fear the group would walk away.

To help fund their lending spree, analysts said, regional banks had offered attractive rates for deposit products on platforms such as Alipay. On January 15, regulators barred banks from offering deposit accounts on third-party online platforms.

“That basically cut their aggressive funding channel possibly used to fund the co-lending with fintech platforms,” said Jacky Zuo, an analyst with China Renaissance, an investment bank. “The trend is smaller banks are retreating from this type of co-operation.”

Data sharing and risk management

The rules will force banks to complete credit assessments on potential borrowers themselves, rather than relying on Ant.

But most banks have mainly dealt in mortgages and business loans, situations in which borrowers have collateral, said Chen Long, a Beijing-based partner at Plenum, a consultancy.

“Banks don’t have the expertise, they don’t have the data” to assess consumer loan risk, he added. “The banks will have to find another way around this regulation.”

Chinese consumer loan annual interest rates by platform

Ant shares some borrower data with lenders but it may have to hand over much more to maintain its partnerships, although this may not suffice.

“Even if Ant hands over the data, banks will find it difficult to create sophisticated risk management systems powered by AI algorithms that can match Ant’s,” said Linghao Bao of Trivium China, a research firm. “Small banks won’t even know what to do with all this data.”

Taking on more credit risk

Chinese regulators were particularly perturbed that Ant earned fees on the loans it pushed to users without having to take on the credit risk. 

The new rules decree that online lenders will have to self-fund 30 per cent of each loan they make with banks. It is unclear what portion of Ant’s lending business this will affect. 

But an expansive application of the rule would turn Ant from an asset-light tech company into a capital-heavy business more akin to a bank. Bernstein noted a shift to on-balance sheet lending would actually improve Ant’s profitability, as the company would earn the interest income, but would also lower its return on capital. 

“Not being an asset-light model will mean investors will punish the stock via weaker multiples,” it said.

Coronavirus causes rise in delinquency rate

Even though Ant reached a restructuring deal with Chinese regulators, the reorganisation of its business as a financial holding company will bring it directly under the thumb of the central bank.

The People’s Bank of China in January also took the unusual step of issuing draft rules that would allow it to push for the break-up of payments companies such as Ant on antitrust grounds.

Ant declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Nian Liu, Sun Yu and Tom Mitchell

Video: Why the Ant IPO got cancelled

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Pines take out Jack Peacock Cup


CRICKET

PINES have thumped Somerville to take home the Peninsula Jack Peacock Cup.

Somerville were sent in to bat first in the twenty over competition decider. They only scored 83 runs, leaving the door wide open for Pines to grab the win.

Harley Parker was Pines’ best bowler, taking 4/16 off his four overs.

Pines made quick work of their run chase. Openers Damien Lawrence and Ricky Ramsdale combined for 48 runs to put victory within reach.

Pines eventually hit the winning runs and claimed the trophy with seven overs to spare.

A SUPER over decided the winner of Rosebud and Carrum’s thrilling Jack Peacock Cup final on Sunday.

Rosebud chose to bat first and got things started on the right foot. Openers Scott Hayes and Jess Hawkins combined for an opening stand of 51.

Wickets soon started to come for Carrum, and the runs began to dry up. Number five batsman Billy Quigley hit 37 not out off 28 deliveries to give his side some late runs, but he didn’t get much support from his partners.

Rosebud finished their 20 overs at 7/144.

Carrum opener Mark Cooper was in a run scoring mood. He smashed 69 off 59 deliveries. Jake D’Atri combined with him for a big partnership. He scored 47 runs of his own.

Rosebud were struggling to take wickets, but were kept in the game by Carrum’s run rate.

At the end of Carrum’s 20 overs the side was at 3/144. Both sides had finished level, sending the game into a super over.

Scott Hayes proved the hero for Rosebud, smashing 14 runs off 5 deliveries. Carrum would need to score 17 runs to win.

Carrum could only score eight runs off their super over. After an epic clash, Rosebud were crowned the District Jack Peacock Cup champions for 2021.

A CATASTROPHIC top order collapse proved costly for Balnarring on Sunday, as they fell short in the Jack Peacock Cup final against Carrum Downs.

Carrum Downs got things started with the bat. Opener Brad Lockhart was their best performer, hitting 46 runs to set his side up well.

Although no other Carrum Downs batsman went on to score a big total, they still managed to put together a decent final score of 8/123.

Balnarring’s run chase got off to a nightmare start, with opener Jackson Hannah and first drop batsman Mark Walles both dismissed by wicketkeeper Lockhart. Number four batsman Brenton Taylor followed shortly after when he was run out for just eight runs.

A late showing from Brett Milham helped steady the ship, but his knock of 45 was not enough to drag his side to victory.

Carrum Downs were crowned Sub District Jack Peacock Cup winners – a 10 run victory handing them the crown.

A BRILLIANT half century from Tom Hussey helped Langwarrin secure the Jack Peacock Cup in the Provincial division on Sunday.

Langwarrin played Sorrento at Baxter Park. Sorrento were sent in to bat first and scored 134 runs off their 20 overs.

Jayde Herrick was a standout for Langwarrin, taking 3/15 off his four overs.

Hussey proved the anchor of Langwarrin’s run chase. He held his ground despite losing a few batting partners along the way.

Hussey hit eight boundaries on his way to a final score of 62 not out.

Langwarrin hit the winning runs with eight balls left to play and four wickets in hand. They were crowned the champions of the twenty over competition.

AFTER last week’s snap lockdown, the MPCA announced that Round 12 of senior division cricket would be a washout.

“The MPCA Board based on guidance from the Senior Pennant and recent correspondence with Cricket Victoria, the decisions have taken into account the potential for further disruption to take place due to Covid-19 outbreaks and potential circuit breaker lockdowns or worse, which may ultimately affect the finals being played again for the second time, it was felt that it was important to try to protect the finals series as much as we could by getting the home and away season fixture as it stands under way and also in some ways over as quickly as possible,” the MPCA said in a statement on Facebook.

“These are frustrating and very difficult times due to the uncertainty around further lockdowns being imposed and their unknown duration hence the following decisions were decided upon. (…) Round 12 will be treated as a wash out round and 6 points will be awarded to each team. Round 13 will be played this coming weekend, 20 February as fixtured.”

Carrum’s Shaun Foster was the best performer across Round 13 MPCA games on Saturday, He scored an unbeaten 134.

Pines were the big winners in the Peninsula division, scoring a 10 wicket win over Main Ridge. Pines were joined on the winner’s list by Flinders, Moorooduc, and Long Island.

Rosebud, Dromana, Crib Point, and Carrum were the winners in the District competition. In Sub District cricket, Balnarring, Rye, Mt Martha, Tootgarook, and Carrum Downs were victorious. Baden Powell, Sorrento, Red Hill, and Peninsula OB all took home the points in their Provincial division games.

First published in the Frankston Times – 23 February 2021

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Jack Ma loses title as China’s richest man after coming under Beijing’s scrutiny


Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place.

Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China’s richest man, a list published on March 2 showed, as his peers prospered while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.

Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang, the latest list showed

Ma’s recent woes were triggered by an October 23 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s public listing.

Regulators have since tightened anti-trust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with Alibaba taking much of the heat; the market regulator launched an official anti-trust probe into Alibaba in December.

Chinese regulators also began to tighten their grip on the fintech sector and have asked Ant to fold some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms.

Ma, who is not known for shying away from the limelight, then disappeared from the public eye for about three months, triggering frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He re-emerged in January with a 50-second video appearance.

China’s current richest man, Zhong, made his first appearance at the top spot largely thanks to the share price performances of Nongfu Spring and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he also controls.

Tencent’s Ma saw his wealth swell 70% over the year to 480 billion yuan while Pinduoduo’s Huang’s fortune grew 283% to 450 billion yuan, the list said. In comparison, the wealth of Ma and his family grew 22%, to 360 billion yuan.

Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, broke into the top five rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’sGlobal Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion.

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Mitch Marner and Jack Campbell step up for Maple Leafs with Auston Matthews down in Edmonton


Mitch Marner was just fine on his own Saturday night.

Playing without injured Auston Matthews, Marner stepped up with a power-play assist and then an even-strength goal in the first period, sparking the Maple Leafs’ 4-0 win over the Oilers in the opener of a pivotal three-game series in Edmonton.

Marner and Matthews have created arguably the NHL’s most deadly duo so far this season. But the good news for the Leafs — who continue to list Matthews as day-to-day with a suspected wrist injury — is that Marner is also pretty productive on his own.

While Matthews has mixed his tremendous shot and goal scoring ability with some tenacious defence, Marner continues to have an innate ability to make everyone he plays with better.

That was the case when he set up William Nylander on the power play for the game’s first goal. Marner then scored 73 seconds later, his 10th of the season. It was also his 10th multi-point game of the season, vaulting him into third place in NHL scoring behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Jason Spezza scored on a snap shot after a fake shot in the second period. In the third, Zach Hyman outduelled Darnell Nurse in a corner puck battle before scoring his fifth goal of the season.

This series was billed as a clash with first place in the North Division on the line. The Leafs, now six points up on Edmonton, guaranteed they’ll still be on top after the final two games of this series.

Goalie Jack Campbell, back after missing 13 games with a leg injury, worked well behind a solid defensive effort, stopping all 30 shots he faced for the Leafs’ first shutout of the season and the third of his career.

The Leafs are now 22-11-2 all-time without Matthews in the lineup.

  • Nylander’s hot: Nylander’s goal was the third in a row for the Leafs over two games. He now has eight on the season, three on the power play. He also has four goals and 14 points in 22 games when Matthews is not in the lineup. Nylander’s goal also snapped an 0-for-12 slump on the power play for the Leafs.
  • Johnny on the spot: John Tavares was assigned to the top line between Marner and Joe Thornton with Matthews out. Tavares assisted on both first-period goals and now has 167 points in 167 games as a Leaf.
  • Subtle moves: Two subtle plays created those first-period goals. On the power play, Thornton lightly cross-checked an Edmonton defender into the right post, not enough to draw a penalty, but enough to create confusion in the crease and a narrow hole for Nylander to fire in his goal. The second was a stretch pass from Justin Holl that sprung Tavares on an odd-man rush with Marner. A quick, backhand pass from Tavares set up Marner for the finish.
  • Piling up points: Spezza’s goal was the 952nd point of his career.

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  • Silent stars: Solid team defence kept McDavid and Draisaitl off the scoresheet: McDavid managing one shot on goal and two shot attempts through two periods. He was a minus-3 and has been held pointless in four games now this season. Edmonton entered the game 11-2-0 in the previous 13 games after starting the season 3-6-0. They had scored an NHL-leading 29 first-period goals.

  • Matthews update: Matthews skated on his own Saturday. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said he continues to be day to day. Toronto plays Edmonton again Monday night. Matthews had missed one other game this season – a Jan. 22 tilt against Edmonton in Toronto, which the Leafs won 4-2.

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Jack Brabham race Lotus up for grabs


A rare and unique replica 1957 Lotus 12 Sakabat, with a motor raced by the legendary Jack Brabham, is to be sold at auction this weekend.

And given its provenance, the car is set to reap big dollars.

The Lotus, with a shiny silver body and black roll bars, is being auctioned online along with a host of other collectable vehicles by Lloyds on Saturday.

The Lotus package includes seating for one, plus magnesium wheels, tools, lotus drawings and documents including papers allowing it to race anywhere in the world.

“Any vehicle with a celebrity affiliation, provenance or an iconic history is set to go up in value. Who knows what this car will bring?” Lloyds Auctions chief operations officer Lee Hames said.

Only 12 of the Lotus 12 were built and only seven are known to remain. Three of these are in the UK, one in Belgium, one in the US and two in Australia.

“This car is an extremely important part of Australian motor racing history,” Mr Hames said.

The car’s motor had its own story to tell. It could be the oldest surviving motor in the world driven by Australian Jack Brabham, a Formula One world champion, he noted.

The original car was seriously damaged in a 1960 Queensland motorsport crash, and rebuilt in the 1970s using original components and spares.



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Golf, sports stars react with messages of support, including Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas, former president Donald Trump


“I have no doubt in my mind he’ll be back,” Bryson DeChambeau said of Woods. DeChambeau mentioned Ben Hogan, the legendary golfer who overcame a major car crash in 1949 to win six of his nine major championships, and praised Woods as “an amazing human being”.

“Heartbroken and shocked to hear about @Tiger Woods accident today,” DeChambeau tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with him for a full recovery.”

Describing the atmosphere in Bradenton as “very quiet,” Xander Schauffele told the Tour’s website, “Everyone I’ve talked to has been in a strange mood due to the news. I was talking to my caddie about the impact he’s had on the game of golf. It’s not good for us, not good for the game of golf. All we can do is hope that he’s fine and has a speedy recovery.”

Woods “means a lot to the game of golf,” said Tony Finau, who finished second in a play-off at the Genesis Invitational and who declared that Woods’s stunning, runaway victory at the 1997 Masters “changed the course of my life”.

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“When I saw the condition of his car, you just hope that he’s OK,” added Finau.

Jon Rahm said he was playing a practice round with Finau when Finau began seeing the news on his phone. “I couldn’t believe it – as if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Rahm said of Woods, whose career was derailed for several years by back surgeries and knee procedures.

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers,” Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. He added that his organisation was “awaiting further information when [Woods] comes out of surgery”.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” said a visibly upset Justin Thomas, who is 18 years younger than Woods but has formed a tight personal bond with him. “You know, it hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”

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Thomas was speaking at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship in Florida, where the Tour has arrived after a swing through California that included last week’s Genesis Invitational. In a non-playing capacity, Woods, who is recovering from back surgery he underwent in January, served as the host of the Genesis. The event was held in Pacific Palisades, California, approximately 40 kilometres north of the crash site.

Many current and former PGA players chimed in on Twitter, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and a pair of British stars, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Saying that he and wife, Barbara, were “deeply concerned” about Woods’ condition, Nicklaus tweeted, “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins has long been chased by Woods, who won his 15th at the 2019 Masters, capping a return to form that thrilled fans and peers alike. “Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery,” Nicklaus wrote.

Mickelson, a longtime competitive rival who has forged a friendship with Woods, tweeted, “We are all pulling for you, Tiger. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery.”

“We know how tough you are,” tweeted Rose, “we’ve seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you’re ok my friend.”

The golfing world is sending its best wishes to Tiger Woods, who was injured in a car crash in Los Angeles.Credit:AP

“Thoughts are with [Woods] and others involved,” Poulter wrote, “wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad.”

Another golf legend, Gary Player, shared a note in which he said, “I would like to let Tiger and his family know that we are pulling for him in surgery and wishing him a speedy recovery. Prayers that it is not too serious.”

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Former president Donald Trump is unable to tweet from his own account, but through adviser Jason Miller he said, “Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion!”

In an appearance Tuesday evening on Fox News, Trump said it was “tragic” that Woods – whom Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 – suffered this calamity while already trying to recover from another back procedure. “It’s pretty bad on the legs, I understand, and he’ll figure a way – but he’s a wonderful person.”

Other major sports figures added well-wishes, including retired Lakers great Magic Johnson, who tweeted, “Everyone send your prayers out to Tiger Woods! He was just in a bad car accident. Let us all pray for his speedy recovery.”

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez said on Twitter, “Praying for my brother [Woods] as we all anxiously await more news. Thinking of him and his entire family.”

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps offered prayers, and former Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn – whose romantic relationship with Woods ended approximately six years ago – tweeted, “Praying for TW right now.”

Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Tuesday that Woods was “fortunate to come out of this alive”.

The fact that the golfer was wearing a seat belt helped, they said, as did the safety features of the SUV he was driving. The department also said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was driving while impaired.

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Hawthorn Hawk Jacob Koschitzke pushing to fill Jack Gunston role for round one


“Jack is tracking well after his surgery pre-Christmas on a disc but realistically we won’t see him round one but we will see him in the early part of the season, which is in line with expectations when he had his surgery,” Hawthorn’s general manager of football Rob McCartney said.

Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell will not play the official pre-season games as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but will likely ask to play with the VFL in the bye week before round one and be available to play in the opening round. James Sicily is the Hawks’ only other key injury and will miss most of the season.

In the last game last year Hawthorn had Gunston and Paul Puopolo in the team. Gunston is injured for round one. Puopolo retired and Jonathon Patton is still in hospital being treated for mental health problems as he awaits an AFL integrity unit investigation of claims against him. He is out of the team indefinitely.

It will make for a new-look attack.

“Mitch Lewis will play, he has had a good summer and Jacob Koschitzke is one that has jumped in the pre-season and will be a real chance,” McCartney said.

“We have been really pleased with his progress. We swung him forward late last year … and that might be vindicated. He will get a good look at it in the practice match.”

The Hawks could also rotate their rucks, Ben McEvoy and Jon Ceglar, through the forward line.

Tim O’Brien kicked six goals in a recent intra-club match and will get his chance in the pre-season to assume a senior role in Gunston’s absence. About to turn 27 he has now played 78 games but has not yet consistently found the convincing performances he has shown he is capable of.

“In terms of the smalls (forwards) Dylan Moore, who played well at the end of the year and even got Brownlow votes in the last game, he will get more AFL footy and continuity of games,” McCartney said.

Top draftee Denver Grainger-Barras will play in the practice match against the Bulldogs which is expected to be an eight quarter hit-out.

The Western Bulldogs confirmed that No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan would play but his minutes would be managed in his first interclub hit-out.

Recruit Adam Treloar is on track to play round one after experiencing calf tightness, however the Bulldogs remain uncertain as to whether he will play in their community series match against Melbourne on March 8.

Meanwhile Collingwood wingman Chris Mayne is likely to miss the Magpies two pre-season hit-outs against other clubs after he copped a head knock during match simulation at training on Tuesday.

The Magpies confirmed that the 32-year-old had been diagnosed with concussion, which immediately sidelines him for 12 days under new concussion protocols.

Collingwood play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Friday morning and then are scheduled to play Richmond at Marvel Stadium the following Friday night.

Mayne suffered a fractured cheekbone and was concussed against Carlton in round 14 last year but returned to play in the elimination final.

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Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank name baby boy after Prince Philip


Princess Eugenie has announced the name of her baby boy, and it has a sweet nod to another member of the British royal family.

The Queen’s granddaughter and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, gave birth to their first child on February 9 in London’s Portland Hospital.

They released a photo of themselves holding their newborn, whom they have named August Philip Hawke Brooksbank.

The name pays tribute to 99-year-old Prince Philip, Eugenie’s grandfather, who was admitted to hospital this week.

In an Instagram post, Eugenie said her thoughts were with the Duke of Edinburgh, as she also honoured her father, Prince Andrew, who celebrated his birthday on February 19.

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“On his grandfather’s birthday weekend, thinking of my grandfather, we are introducing our little boy,” Eugenie wrote alongside the portrait.

“He is named after his great grandfathers and both of his great x5 grandfathers.”

It is understood the couple chose the name August after Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert, whose middle name was August.

RELATED: Meghan and Harry expecting second child

The new royal baby is the Queen and Philip’s ninth great-grandchild.

The baby was born at The Portland Hospital in London, the same place where Meghan Markle had baby Archie in May 2019.

It is also the hospital where Eugenie herself was born in 1990.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen, The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York were told of the baby’s name and were “delighted with the news”.

RELATED: How Oprah landed Meghan tell-all interview

It comes as Philip is still in London’s King Edward VII hospital where he was admitted on Tuesday.

Prince Charles visited his father this morning, where he was photographed looking sombre as he left the hospital.

“The Duke’s admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s Doctor, after feeling unwell,” a palace statement said on Thursday.

“The Duke is expected to remain in hospital for a few days of observation and rest.”

The Duke – who is due to celebrate his 100th birthday on 10 June – stepped back from royal duties in 2017 after decades standing dutifully by the queen’s side.

He is currently the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest ever male member of the British royal family.



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Carlton Blues’ Jack Martin says he’s grateful for his position at the club despite taking a ‘massive hit’ to his contract


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Martin was therefore disproportionately affected, losing in the vicinity of $300,000 last year. While the AFL and players’ association initiated a special fund for players like Martin, whose 2020 salary was substantially above their annual salary, Martin confirmed he had still been a significant financial loser from COVID-19.

But the talented forward/midfielder, 26, said he was not overly stressed about money and was comfortable with how the situation ended.

“Been in discussions with my manager and the PA, and the AFL. That’s all been taken care of, we’re pretty happy,” Martin said.

“I’m pretty grateful for what I have, to be honest. I have taken a massive hit but I’m just grateful for what I’ve got.”

What is driving West Australian Martin, instead, is a desire to play an AFL final, something he has never done and something the Blues haven’t done since 2013, the year before he entered the league.

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“I’m desperate. And I think everyone is. Obviously Blues haven’t played finals for a long time. Obviously that’s what we play footy for but we know it’s a long season and it’s going to take hard work. We’re willing to do that. We’re just looking forward to the challenge to be honest.

“We were in a lot of games up until the last quarter. I think we’ll get a massive experience out of those games, definitely learn a lot.”

On the personal front, Martin – who finished sixth in Carlton’s 2020 best and fairest – said his form had tailed off towards the back-end of the season, in part because of fitness concerns, which he said he had put behind him.

“Individually I thought I started the year pretty well and sort of dropped away. It’s just about consistency this year for me,” Martin said.

New Blue Zac Williams.Credit:Getty Images

“I think my body last year at times just wasn’t allowing me to train at a high intensity. Just more of a focus about getting out on the track every week, being able to train, back it up. I think that’s the main focus this year.

“I’m 100 per cent at the moment. I’ll be good to go once the games come around.”

Martin is keen to push more into the midfield this year, looking at a 50-50 split along with former Giants defender Williams, who will have a different role at Carlton.

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“It’d probably be 50-50, depending on how the game’s going,” he said. “He’ll go forward, I’ll go midfield. We’re just building that little combination I guess.”

Martin said he had actually benefited from Cartlon’s extended stay in a Queensland hub last year, which allowed him to get to know his new teammates better. But he can’t wait to play in front of big crowds at the MCG, a lure to join the Blues and something he was denied last year because of the pandemic.

Martin nominated key forward Harry McKay and emerging midfield star Sam Walsh as two of the big pre-season improvers for the Blues.

“He looks fitter, stronger,” Martin said of McKay, while adding that he expected Walsh to go to another level.

The Indigenous Martin also touched on the fallout of the recent independent report into racism at Collingwood.

“I’m not too political on this one. But it affects me, it affects everyone. We need to move together, forward as one. The day we can do that, is the day we’ll move forward as Australia I think,” he said.

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Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed reading this news release about Aussie Rules titled “Carlton Blues’ Jack Martin says he’s grateful for his position at the club despite taking a ‘massive hit’ to his contract”. This news update was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

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Australian swimmer Shayna Jack makes plea ahead of doping violation appeal


Two of the world’s most powerful anti-doping bodies lodged appeals in December against the two-year ban handed down to Jack.

The 22-year-old tested positive to Ligandrol, which forced her to withdraw from Australia’s squad for the world swimming championships in 2019.

She said she did not know how the banned substance entered her body, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) heard expert opinions that the amount was “pharmacologically irrelevant”, or not performance enhancing.

Jack now has reached out for support as she prepares to fight the Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) and the World Ant-Doping Agency (WADA) appeal.

In the strict-liability world of anti-doping, a positive test means a four-year ban.

“During my first court case I went up against Sports Integrity Australia and my family and I spent $130,000 total,” Jack said in a video released on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing this post involving “What’s On in the City of Brisbane” titled “Australian swimmer Shayna Jack makes plea ahead of doping violation appeal”. This news release was posted by My Local Pages as part of our QLD holiday news services.

#Australian #swimmer #Shayna #Jack #plea #ahead #doping #violation #appeal



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