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Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Ballon d’Or awards

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Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Ballon d’Or awards

PARIS — Lionel Messi won the men’s Ballon d’Or for a record-extending seventh time on Monday, ending the year in style after a brilliant final season with Barcelona and earning his first major international trophy with Argentina.

Alexia Putellas became the third winner of the women’s award for an outstanding season with Barcelona and Spain.

The 34-year-old Messi led Argentina to the Copa America title in July after losing in four major international finals.

“I’m very happy to be here, happy to keep fighting for new trophies,” he said through a translator. “I don’t know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I’d like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina.”

Messi finished with 613 points to top prolific Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski on 580.

“I would like to say to Robert that it’s an honor to be your rival, and everyone would say you deserved to win it last year,” Messi said.

Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out to men every year since 1956 when Stanley Matthews won.

Both 2020 awards were canceled because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.

The 33-year-old Lewandowski set a new single-season scoring record for the Bundesliga with 41 goals — one more than late Germany great Gerd Müller — when he scored in the last minute of the last game.

Lewandowski netted in 19 consecutive games in all competitions for Bayern from February to September and he just missed out on equaling the record of scoring in 16 Bundesliga games in a row. Overall, he already has 25 goals in 20 games for Bayern this season.

His 11 goals in 12 games for Poland this year took his international tally to 74 in 128 games, just six less than Messi.

Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third with 460 points after helping the London club win the Champions League and his nation win the European Championship. Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema was fourth on 239.

Putellas helped Barca win the treble and scored 26 goals in 42 games overall. The midfielder netted in the Champions League final against Chelsea, and in August she was named UEFA women’s player of the year.

“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator. “I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”

The only previous women’s award winners are Norway striker Ada Hegerberg in 2018, and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019.

Putellas tallied 186 points to finish far ahead of club and country teammate Jenni Hermoso on 84.

Hermoso netted 31 goals to top the Spanish first division scoring charts for a third straight season. Hermoso was joint-top scorer in the Champions League with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby on six goals.

Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr placed third in the voting after 21 goals in the English Women’s Super League and six for Australia at the Tokyo Games. Kerr has maintained her excellent form with 13 goals in 12 games this season.

Messi, meanwhile, counts two more Ballon d’Or awards than longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sixth in the voting.

Messi’s staggering tally of 672 goals for Barcelona included an extraordinary 50-goal league season in 2012; 96 league goals across 2012 and 2013; eight Spanish league and six Champions League scoring titles.

In his final season with the Spanish giant he netted 38 overall, winning his last trophy with a superb performance in the Copa del Rey final. At the Copa America, Messi was inspirational, finishing joint-top scorer with four goals and leading with five assists.

Then he stunned the soccer world by joining Paris Saint-Germain.

He has made a modest start with four goals in nine games. But he remains a constant threat, even when he’s not in top form, as he showed on Sunday in a 3-1 win at Saint-Etienne where he set up all three goals.

In other awards, the Kopa Trophy for the best under 21 player went to 19-year-old Spain and Barcelona midfielder Pedri. He caught the eye at Euro 2020 and reached the Olympic final.

The Lev Yashin for best goalkeeper was won by Gianluigi Donnarumma, who helped Italy win the Euros.

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Boston College’s $100M Pine Manor Institute for Student Success to offer free courses

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Boston College’s $100M Pine Manor Institute for Student Success to offer free courses

Boston College will introduce a free summer enrichment program in June for middle and high schoolers, and an associate’s-degree-granting two-year residential college in 2024, both to broaden opportunities for underrepresented, first-generation students, the university said Thursday.

Both initiatives are part of the university’s $100 million Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, established in 2020 when Boston College and Pine Manor College signed an integration agreement that included a $50 million commitment from Boston College, which has grown to $100 million through investment returns and an anonymous pledge of $25 million.

Through the Pine Minor Institute for Students Success, the residential summer enrichment program for middle and high school students, called the Academy, will be hosted on the BC campus.

“Boston College realizes there are students who need a college degree or an opportunity to do better in middle or high school,” said University President William P. Leahy. “The goal is to match need with opportunity … so that their world’s been widened, their horizon’s been broadened.”

Beginning with a group of 40 middle school students, the Academy will offer summer courses in English, math and science for students nominated by principals, teachers, counselors or religious and community leaders.

During the school year, the students will receive academic support from trained BC success coaches and mentoring from BC undergraduate and graduate students to help the Academy students navigate the journey from middle school to college.

As they advance through high school, students also will receive training in public speaking, time management, SAT/ACT prep, and the college application process. In the summer before their senior year, they will take a college-credit course to help enhance their college readiness.

The two-year college division of Boston College will be called Messina College, named after the first Jesuit school founded in Sicily in 1548. It will offer an associate’s degree program for 100 students annually, beginning in the 2024-25 school year, with the goal of preparing students for continued studies in a bachelor’s degree program or for a professional career.

Messina College will be located on the former Pine Manor College campus in Brookline, and its students will have full access to Boston College’s campus programs and facilities. Successful students will be eligible to apply to transfer to Boston College to complete a bachelor’s degree.

The final component of the Pine Manor Institute will be an ongoing outreach initiative that will provide support for graduates of the Academy and Messina College throughout the completion of their academic studies and into their professional careers.

Together, these offerings aim to expand upon Boston College’s success in educating under-resourced, first-generation students, while continuing Pine Manor College’s legacy of outreach to underserved communities.

 

 

 

 

 

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Netflix stock plunges as subscriber growth worries deepen

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Netflix stock plunges as subscriber growth worries deepen

Netflix delivered its latest quarter of disappointing subscriber growth during the final three months of last year, a trend that management foresees continuing into the new year as tougher competition is undercutting the video streaming leader.

The Los Gatos, Calif., company added 8.3 million worldwide subscribers during the October-December period, about 200,000 fewer than management had forecast. Besides releasing its fourth-quarter results Thursday, Netflix also projected an increase of 2.5 million subscribers during the first three months of this year, well below analysts’ expectations for a gain of 4 million, according to FactSet Research.

The disappointing news caused Netflix’s stock price to plunge by about 20% in extended trading after the numbers came out, deepening a steep decline during the past two months.

It capped a challenging year for Netflix after it reveled in eye-popping gains during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 that drove homebound people to its service.

Netflix picked up 18.2 million worldwide subscribers during 2021, its slowest pace of annual growth in five years. It came after Netflix gained more than 36 million subscribers during 2020. The service now boasts nearly 222 million worldwide subscribers worldwide, more than any other video streaming leader.

But other services backed by deep-pocketed rivals such as Walt Disney Co. and Apple have been making inroads in recent years, and a bevy of other networks also are wading into video streaming in an attempt to grab eyeballs and a piece of household budgets. The escalating competition is one reason Netflix decided to expand into video games last year.

“The 2022 backdrop for Netflix seems to have been set with a theme of competition abound,” said Third Bridge analyst Joe McCormack.

While acknowledging the competition is having a “marginal” effects on its growth in its quarterly shareholder letter, Netflix emphasized its service is still thriving in every country where it’s available.

In a Thursday conference call, Netflix executives also said uncertainty caused by the ebb and flow of the pandemic during the past year has made it more difficult to gauge future growth.

COVID “has created a lot of bumpiness,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos said. The company’s other co-CEO, Reed Hastings, also expressed some frustration before adding, “For now, we’re just like staying calm and trying to figure (it) out.”

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Full schedule of concerts planned for Tanglewood this summer

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Full schedule of concerts planned for Tanglewood this summer

The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday that its summer home in Tanglewood will host a full schedule of concerts this year for the first time since 2019.

The 2022 season that runs from June 17 through Sept. 4 will include a 90th birthday celebration for John Williams with conductor Ken-David Masur leading the orchestra and featuring guest artists including Yo-Yo Ma and Branford Marsalis; a Boston Pops tribute to Stephen Sondheim; James Taylor’s traditional July Fourth show; and the popular artists series that includes Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band, Brandi Carlile, Judy Collins and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The lineup includes eight world and American premieres and 28 works by living composers, as well as 21 artists in their Tanglewood or BSO debuts.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead nine programs, including the July 8-10 Opening Night program of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 with piano soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”

“The 2022 Tanglewood season is filled with so many wonderful styles of composition, performed by the most extraordinary musicians working today, among them our very own Boston Symphony Orchestra,” Nelsons said in a statement.

Tanglewood, located in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937.

The 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and last year’s schedule was shortened.

Ozawa Hall and the Linde Center for Music and Learning, which were both closed in 2020 and 2021, will reopen this year for smaller audiences to take in recitals, chamber music and guest ensemble performances.

Given the ongoing pandemic, the BSO said it would announce updated health and safety measures closer to start of the summer season.

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