Friday, April 30, 2021

Czech mate: Aussie consortium in talks to turn Prague’s ‘Kangaroos’ into European power

Bondi Iceberg Swimming Club dates back to 1929 and owes its origin to the desire of a band of local life savers trying to maintain their fitness during the Winter months.

In 1927, a Czechoslovakian football team jumped on a ship and set sail for a 19-game tour of Australia - the first of many similar voyages that would be taken by European clubs over the ensuing years.

They returned home with a new name, a new mascot - inspired by two live wallabies gifted to them by the Queensland government - and an enduring emotional link to the country that so warmly embraced them, which their supporters still celebrate to this day.

A young Bohemians 1905 fan shows his support during the Czech First League match between Bohemians 1905 and FK Mlada Boleslav.

A young Bohemians 1905 fan shows his support during the Czech First League match between Bohemians 1905 and FK Mlada Boleslav.CREDIT:GETTY

Nearly a full century later, the remarkable story of Bohemians Praha 1905 could be about to come full circle.

The Herald can reveal an Australian consortium - led by former players’ union boss John Didulica - is in talks to purchase a controlling stake in the Czech First League club.

A young Bohemians 1905 fan shows his support during the Czech First League match between Bohemians 1905 and FK Mlada Boleslav.

A young Bohemians 1905 fan shows his support during the Czech First League match between Bohemians 1905 and FK Mlada Boleslav.CREDIT:GETTY

Nearly a full century later, the remarkable story of Bohemians Praha 1905 could be about to come full circle.

The Herald can reveal an Australian consortium - led by former players’ union boss John Didulica - is in talks to purchase a controlling stake in the Czech First League club.

Their aim is to solidify Bohemians’ long-standing connection to Australia by making it a landing pad for players, coaches and staff with ambitions of breaking into European football, while also helping the club establish itself as a Czech powerhouse and a regular on the continental stage.

Didulica is a highly-respected football executive who has worked for Football Australia, Melbourne City and the PFA, and is now the CEO of talent management agency W Sports & Media, which represents the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, Alex Di Minaur, Eddie Betts and television personality Ryan Fitzgerald.

The consortium Didulica leads, according to sources, includes a range of investors who believe leveraging the unique nature of Bohemians’ backstory could have a material impact on football in Australia, at a time when players are struggling to break into top leagues and established coaches like Tony Popovic and Kevin Muscat are facing similar challenges.

“I appreciate the interest but as you can no doubt understand, we’re not in a position to make any comment,” Didulica told the Herald.

Bohemian Praha’s kangaroo mascot.

Bohemian Praha’s kangaroo mascot.CREDIT:FACEBOOK

An information memorandum on the proposed sale, seen by the Herald, talks of “a perfect nexus between respecting the club’s proud traditions, continuing to build the shared history between Bohemians and Australia and creating an opportunity for shrewd investment within football that can help Bohemians become a regular on the European stage.”

Bohemians have not qualified for European competition for the last 33 years. Their most famous player - and current chairman - is Antonin Panenka, the man credited with inventing the cheeky penalty technique of the same name.

But with two qualifying slots for the UEFA Champions League available in the Czech Republic each season - and only two historically strong clubs, city rivals Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague - the consortium believes it can use Australian football’s human and financial resources to turn Bohemians into a regular contender.

In turn, they also believe they can unlock the hidden value of Australian players on the transfer market, with the Czech Republic having sold close to $100 million in talent to bigger European clubs in recent years.

Bohemians also manage their own 5000-seat stadium, in the heart of Prague, and a training facility which could become a home away from home for the Socceroos, Matildas and other Australian national teams in one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations - an idea which sources say has been put to Football Australia.

The concept of an Australian-owned and controlled club in Europe is not new. A separate group of investors tried it with English club Charlton Athletic several years ago but could not get their takeover across the line, while Popovic’s recent sacking at Greek second-division club Xanthi FC, which was bought last year by Sydney businessman Bill Papas, does not bode well for their plans to become a Socceroos ‘nursery’.

The Bohemians Praha team on tour in Australia in 1927.

The Bohemians Praha team on tour in Australia in 1927.

What sets Bohemians apart is an existing historical connection to Australia, which remains an intrinsic part of the club’s identity. Early last year, as the bushfires made worldwide headlines, Bohemians responded by encouraging fans to donate to a wildlife rescue fund.

Seven years ago, a group of Bohemians fans flew down under to retrace the famous steps of the team that accepted the overtures of Australian football officials, who wanted a team from Europe to tour the country to help spread the gospel of the sport.


Bohemians’ wallaby logo.

Bohemians’ wallaby logo.CREDIT:GETTY

The club was known at the time as AFK Vrsovice but changed its name to Bohemians, a reference to the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, to make it easier for Australians to pronounce - although the media generally referred to them as the “Czechoslovakian team” as it travelled through the country, stopping off in all the major capital cities and even Wagga Wagga, Woonona and Cessnock for games against local teams.

The two wallabies - which inspired the team’s nickname Klokani, the Czech term for kangaroos - were later donated to the Prague Zoo. One is apparently taxidermied and on display at the team’s stadium, and legend has it their descendants still live at the zoo to this day.

Czech mate: Aussie consortium in talks to turn Prague’s ‘Kangaroos’ into European power

In Praise of the Mad Ones


XI’S GOTTA HAVE IT! Revealed: The Scientists “Debunking” the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Admit Being ‘Collaborators’ and Honorees of Chinese Communist Party.

Related: Fauci’s NIH funded controversial gain-of-function viral research at Wuhan lab to get around US ban on dangerous research.

More in Common, a British think-tank, recently identified seven types of citizen. Which am I?


Backbone Conservatives:

Optimistic.  Keenly follow the news, mainly on traditional media.  Nostalgic, patriotic, secure and confident.  Politically engaged.


Progressive Activists:

Vocal, ultra-political, passionate, on a mission to connect historic minority marginalisation.


Loyal Nationalists:

Proud, patriotic, tribal, proactive and frustrated at the gap between haves and have-nots.


Established Liberals:

Have done well and mean well.  Privileged, trusting, cosmopolitan and confident.  Pro-market.


Disengaged Traditionalists:

Value duty, order and effort.  Want strong leadership to keep people focused.  Self-reliant, tough-minded, suspicious and disconnected.


Disengaged Battlers:

Feel like they’re barely afloat, blaming the system for its unfairness.  Insecure, disillusioned, overlooked.


Civic Pragmatists:

Care about others.  Turned off by conflict and extremes.  Charitable, concerned, exhausted, open to compromise, socially liberal.


Where do you fit?

Steve Jobs praised The Crazy Ones.  Jack Kerouac praised The Mad Ones.


Catherina O’Gorman, Founder of Think Love Education ( reminded me of Kerouac’s great quote during a conversation earlier this month.  Here it is.


“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”

*Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis*

Mike was a public servant and a podcaster. The government warned he couldn’t do both

Media coverage of President Biden’s first speech to Congress



We saw something that we have never seen before in the history of the United States. Two women — serving as vice president and speaker of the house — next to the president during a speech in the House chamber.

ABC News’ David Muir said, “History already being made this evening … the moment that the vice president, Kamala Harris, arrived there in the chamber, being brought up to the dais. And the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, who made history herself, the first woman speaker, and, of course, all the history … that Kamala Harris has made. And the two of them now stand there together.”

Biden even opened his speech by saying, “Madam Speaker and Madam Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium. It’s about time.”


Why can’t auditors understand that they are meant to change behaviour?

Posted on April 26 2021

The FT has reported this morning that: 

Big accounting firms have asked the UK industry regulator to pause quality inspections of their work for a year if they agree to audit high-risk companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Accountants said their work for new clients should be exempt from scrutiny because of the difficulty of auditing a company for the first time and fears of being censured for mistakes, according to people who attended talks between the regulator and the firms.

The plea came as accountants said increased public scrutiny and fines for audit failures meant high-risk companies would struggle to find auditors with the experience needed to sign off on their accounts.

Sports Direct and Boohoo both turned to midsized firms with little experience of auditing big listed companies after leading auditors refused to review their accounts amid concerns over the retailers’ governance.

Senior auditors from large accounting firms asked for leniency on a call with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), people who attended said.

The call was attended by representatives of the Big Four accountants — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC — and their main challengers BDO, Grant Thornton and Mazars.

The FRC rejected an initial proposal from one firm that audits of new clients should be completely exempt from annual quality inspections, one senior auditor said.

“There’s got to be some safe harbour,” the auditor said, adding that unless the FRC gave firms leeway after they took on difficult audits, “the best thing for us to do is to swerve it”.

Another auditor who attended the talks said that if the supervision of audits was too strict in the first year “you put people off higher-risk audits, and that’s not a good outcome”.

An alternative suggestion was that the FRC could inspect the audits of new or potentially high-risk companies but that the results would be excluded from the audit firms’ published grades, people on the call said. This would allow the watchdog to identify areas for improvement while shielding auditors from public censure for shortcomings.

One person described the talks, which took place in January, as “exploratory” and “brainstorming”. The discussions were expected to resume after the FRC asked firms to formulate more concrete proposals, attendees said.

Last year’s annual quality review by the FRC found that one in three audits by the top firms fell short of expected standards, which the regulator called “unacceptable”. The UK government is consulting on a shake-up of corporate governance and audit rules in an effort to improve trust in companies. 

The FRC, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, BDO, Grant Thornton and Mazars all declined to comment.

LSE rules require companies to file audited annual accounts or face having their shares suspended or delisted. Companies that cannot persuade a major auditor to check their accounts because of governance concerns will be forced to turn to smaller firms with less experience of auditing big companies, auditors at large firms said.

FTSE 250 miners Ferrexpo and Petropavlovsk called on midsized accountant MHA MacIntyre Hudson after Deloitte and PwC resigned from the audits respectively in the past two years. 

Accountants have been fined £75m for shortcomings in the three years to March 2020, FRC figures show. The tally for 2020-21 is yet to be published but will include a record £15m fine handed to Deloitte for failings in its audit of Autonomy, the former FTSE 100 software company.

KPMG is awaiting the outcome of the FRC’s investigation into its audits of Carillion, the collapsed outsourcer.

Read the full article…

Economic news reporting suffers from bias toward richest Americans Academic Times. Underlying study: Whose News? Class-Biased Economic Reporting in the United StatesAmerican Political Science Review (HJR)

Former Coca-Cola Employee Convicted of Stealing $120 Million Worth of Trade Secrets to Sell in China. “A Chinese-born American chemist was found guilty on April 22 for her role in a scheme to steal trade secrets worth an estimated $120 million from American companies for the purpose of setting up a Chinese company that would manufacture the product for the global market.”

*Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis*

Although they did not know it at the time, the seamen of the USS Cony and other ships of the Randolph group were moments away from being killed or shipwrecked by the tremendous waves that a nuclear explosion would produce. Savitsky’s torpedo carried a warhead with 10 kilotons of explosive power.  If dropped on a city, that would suffice to kill everyone with a half-mile radius. Moreover, the torpedoes’ nuclear warheads were designed to create shock waves that would topple or incapacitate ships. The 20-kiloton load tried by the US Navy in the Baker underwater test in 1946 produced waves up to 94 feet high. The Soviets tested their T-5 torpedoes near Novala Zemlia in the Arctic in 1957 but never released the results. Any ship hit by the torpedo would almost certainly have been destroyed, while the rest of the Randolph group would have suffered significant damage.

That is from the new book on this topic by Serhii Plokhy.  An excellent book, with much more on the Soviet side than any other source I am aware of.

The Postal Service is running a running a ‘covert operations program’ that monitors Americans’ social media posts Yahoo 


How a Chinese Surveillance Broker Became Oracle’s “Partner of the Year” Intercept


In epic hack, Signal developer turns the tables on forensics firm Cellebrite ars technica. Bill B clears his throat:

The difference is that Cellebrite isn’t painting themselves as the ironclad defender of personal privacy.

With very few exceptions software is buggy, hence hackable.

Signal marketing promises “secure messaging.” It’s a promise they simply cannot keep. It doesn’t matter how many personal endorsements they get.


EU outlines ambitious AI regulations focused on risky uses Associated Press 


CISA gives federal agencies until Friday to patch Exchange servers Bleeping do

Tyrannosaurus rex walked surprisingly slowly, new study finds CNN

Global chip shortage spreads to toasters and washing machines FT. That’s a damn shame

Junk Just Keeps Notching Records Heisenberg Report

Lego Heirs’ $20 Billion Fund Says Future of Offices Is Unclear Bloomberg

The internet is breaking. Here’s how to save it. Dan Kaminksy, Cyberscoop. RIP Dan Kaminsky.