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French DJ Martin Solveig has been accused of sexism after asking Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg if she could twerk just moments after she won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or award.

The 23-year-old – who scored 15 goals for Lyon during a triumphant Champions League campaign last season – was encouraged to perform the provocative dance move as she gave her acceptance speech.

She replied “no” and turned away from the podium as Solveig laughed off her answer, as other footballers in the audience looked on in bemusement.

The bizarre incident has sparked outrage among fans online, with Solveig – who has apologised for causing offence – coming under heavy criticism for his “sexist”, “disrespectful” and “disgusting” request.

One viewer, Sean Walker, tweeted: “Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, first female Ballon D’Or winner after scoring over 250 career goals at the age 23, asked to twerk on stage in front of footballing giants and the public watching.

“Disgusting and really ruined her moment she deserved. Poor.”

Football journalist Siavoush Fallahi added: “What kind of question is this? And why are these guys laughing? This is disgusting, I’m so sorry for Ada Hegerberg.”

Ada Hegerberg is the first ever recipient of a women's Ballon d'Or award
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Hegerberg is the first ever recipient of a women’s Ballon d’Or award

Responding to the criticism, Solveig tweeted: “Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended.

“My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence. People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women.

“I explained to @AdaStolsmo the buzz and she told me she understood it was a joke. Nevertheless my apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Most importantly congratulations to Ada.”

The Norwegian striker is a key player for French side Lyon
Image:
The Norwegian striker is a key player for French side Lyon

Hegerburg claimed the award – voted for by journalists – after seeing off Wolfsburg and Denmark forward Pernille Harder, German midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, and England and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze.

It recognises her as the best female footballer in the world.

In her acceptance speech at the ceremony in Paris, she said: “I want to say thanks to my teammates because this would not have been possible without them, my coach or our president Jean-Michel Aulas.

“I also want to thank France Football. This is a huge step for women’s football.

“And to young girls all over the world, please, believe in yourself.”

Luka Modric won the men's award
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Luka Modric won the men’s award

France Football has handed out a men’s Ballon d’Or every year since 1956 and the 2018 edition marked the first time in a decade that it had been won by someone other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Luka Modric won the award after helping Real Madrid to another Champions League trophy, before inspiring Croatia to an unlikely appearance in the World Cup final.

Cristiano Ronaldo came second and Antoine Griezmann – who was part of the France team that beat Croatia to the biggest prize in football – came third.

His countryman Kylian Mbappe won the inaugural Kopa Trophy for the best male player aged 21 and under.



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Christmas may be ‘lost’ with firms fearing billions of losses as shoppers stay away

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The Christmas shopping surge in Paris may already be “lost” as businesses fear warzone-like scenes in the French capital will deter visitors and cost them billions of euros.

Tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon were used during violent protests over the weekend which saw more than 130 people injured and 412 people arrested.

Cars were torched, shops smashed up and rocks hurled at police as “yellow vest” protesters rampaged in the streets around the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire met business leaders on Monday and said the impact was already “severe and ongoing”, with shops and restaurants reporting takings down between 20 and 50%.



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Riot police come under attack in Paris

Hotel reservations have slumped 15 to 25%, he added.

Retail groups say the lucrative festive period, when takings normally jump dramatically, could have been dealt a killer blow by the anarchic scenes broadcast around the world.

“The lost revenue and losses, especially in food services, is going to be in the billions of euros,” said Jacques Creyssel of the FCD retail federation.

Saturday’s protest had “decimated the welcoming image of Paris and France,” said Roland Heguy of the CAT tourism federation, warning that this Christmas season was “at risk, if not already lost”.

Roads leading to the famous Arc de Triomphe were closed
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Fires were lit near the iconic Arc de Triomphe
France's interior minister called the violence an 'insult to the Republic'
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France’s interior minister called the violence an ‘insult to the Republic’

A manager of the Alsace brasserie on the Champs Elysees told Le Parisien he had lost €50,000 on Saturday after evacuating customers through a back door and closing for the day.

With protests taking place across the country, Oil giant Total said 75 of its petrol stations had run dry as demonstrators blocked access to 11 fuel depots.

'Yellow vest' protesters have also been blocking fuel depots
Image:
‘Yellow vest’ protesters have also been blocking fuel depots
Shops were vandalised in a third weekend of demonstrations
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Shops were vandalised in a third weekend of demonstrations

President Emmanuel Macron – who has cancelled a trip to Serbia over the unrest – said people “shouldn’t underestimate the shock to people, in France and abroad, of seeing in the media what looked like war scenes”.

The protests started nearly three weeks ago as a response to green taxes on diesel that have pushed up the cost for many drivers, with another hike due next month.

However, people are now taking to the streets in cities across the country over the general rise in the cost of living and a feeling that President Macron is out of touch with normal people.

Saturday’s violence is believed to have been fuelled by far-left and far-right activists, some of whom wore gas masks as police responded with tear gas.

Paris’s police chief said officers fought demonstrators who were carrying hammers, gardening tools, bolts, aerosol cans and rocks.

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Mandela charity concert featuring Beyonce and Jay Z marred by muggings

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A spate of muggings marred a charity concert at which Beyonce, Jay-Z and other stars performed in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Tens of thousands flocked to the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday for a music festival also featuring Usher, Pharrell Williams, Oprah Winfrey and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

But muggings tarnished the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event, which campaigns for girls’ education and an end to extreme poverty. Many members of the audience got tickets to the concert through charity work.

While the majority got home safely afterwards, others were targeted by thieves as they left the stadium.

The ANC has ruled South Africa since Nelson Mandela's historic rise to power in 1994
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The concert was held in honour of Nelson Mandela

“The criminals were basically having a field day,” said Zikhona Tshona, a reporter for the South African news organisation eNCA.

“People’s bags are getting snatched, people are losing their phones, people are fighting in the midst of us looking for an Uber,” a reveller said in a video posted on YouTube.

He said there was a stampede when someone pulled out a gun.

The Global Citizen and another group backing the concert, the House of Mandela, said it was “saddened to hear the challenges people had while leaving the venue.”

It said it urged South African police “to act swiftly and efficiently.”

Police arrested one suspect after a mobile phone was stolen, Brigadier Vish Naidoo said.

“We find that there’s a lot of communication taking place on the social media platform, but that is not being reported to us,” said Mr Naidoo.

He added that it is therefore “very difficult for us to deny or even confirm that such things have happened.”

In 2013, thieves stole cash takings at the stadium after a Justin Bieber concert.

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Defence barrister revealed as police informant

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Hundreds of criminal convictions may be at risk after it was revealed the defence barrister involved in the cases was a police informant.

Court documents have revealed a high-profile lawyer in Melbourne had been giving information to police while defending clients including crime boss Tony Mokbel and six of his associates.

The details emerged after court injunctions were lifted, revealing one of the biggest legal scandals to hit Australia in years.

Authorities have announced an inquiry will take place.

In a judgment, the High Court said police were “guilty of reprehensible conduct” and added: “The prosecution of each convicted person was corrupted in a manner which debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system.”

The cases of dozens of people could be reviewed, including Tony Mokbel
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The cases of dozens of people could be reviewed, including Tony Mokbel

The lawyer in question had the code name 3838 when she worked with police between 2005 and 2009 but cannot be named at this time.

According to ABC Australia, the informant gave police information about other clients she was representing, and those clients then testified against Mokbel and the associates.

It was decided if the information was released, her life would be at risk.

Mokbel was jailed for 30 years in 2012 for his role in a drug syndicate called The Company.

The Herald Sun newspaper suggests more than 600 convictions could hang in the balance now, but only Mokbel and his associates were mentioned by the court.

Criminals who had her as a barrister will be informed and could potentially appeal their convictions.

The region’s director of public prosecutions has written to 20 individuals about their cases and will assess if any others need to be informed.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton said the way police handle informants had changed since 2009 and this would not be repeated.

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