2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • China closes 66 'illegal' golf courses
    China closes 66 'illegal' golf courses

    China's Communist rulers have turned against the exclusive sport of golf with the government saying nearly 70 "illegal" courses have been closed, seemingly enforcing a decade-old ban for the first time. The announcement by the ministry of land and resources comes amid a high-profile anti-graft campaign spearheaded by President Xi Jinping, which has seen crackdowns on banquets, lavish gift-giving and other official excesses. The ruling Communist Party has long had an ambivalent relationship with golf, which is a lucrative opportunity for local authorities and a favoured pastime of some officials, but is also closely associated with wealth and Western elites. "Presently, local governments have shut down a number of illegally-built golf courses, and preliminary results have been achieved in clean-up and rectification work," read the announcement on the ministry's website late Monday.

  • It's Man Utd or no-one, says Dortmund's Hummels
    It's Man Utd or no-one, says Dortmund's Hummels

    Manchester United-target Mats Hummels has said if he ever transfers abroad it will only be to the Red Devils after telling Borussia Dortmund he is weighing up his future options. Borussia's captain, 26, has a Dortmund contract until 2017, but has long been courted by United, whose current manager Louis van Gaal is looking for a defensive leader with the English giants poised to table a bid, according to UK media reports. Germany centre-back Hummels told Monday's edition of German magazine Kicker that he "often thinks about moving abroad", but gave Tuesday's edition of German daily Bild a far stronger indication of his Manchester thoughts. "If I was to transfer abroad at some stage, then it would only be to Manchester United," Hummels is reported to have said.

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