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2
Jul

England, Australia set to meet in Ashes Series

The Ashes will begin soon, with Australia and England vying for the urn.

Cricket fans will be excited to see the next installment of The Ashes on the horizon, as both Australia and England will battle for the urn in the coming weeks.

This year's tournament will take place in England, with the five tests to occur in July and August. The first Test will be at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday, July 10. The scheduled start time for all Tests will be 6 a.m. EDT. The two sides will reconvene on July 18 at Lords in London.

Heading into August, the two will meet for the third Test at Old Trafford in Manchester on August 1. For the fourth Test, England will host Australia at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street on Friday, August 9, before completing the Ashes on Wednesday August 21, at the Kennington Oval in London.

You can catch all of the action of The Ashes 2013 online at Willow.tv for free with your first Xoom transfer of $150 or more. But hurry! The fixtures begin soon, and you won't want to miss out on any of the action!

12
Apr

Netherlands leads the way in child welfare, UNICEF report reveals

UNICEF recently published a report about child welfare in the world's 29 richest nations.

A new study may prove to be a source of stress relief for immigrants who wire money to the Netherlands in order to provide for their families. That's because it indicates that among the world's most prosperous nations, no country is better at ensuring the overall safety, health and well-being of children than the Western Europe nation.

According to the report, which was conducted by the United Nations – or more specifically the United Nations Children's Fund, otherwise known as UNICEF – the Netherlands is the runaway leader in health statistics for children in many different categories. This includes material well-being, physical health and safety, educational awareness, behavior, as well as housing and environmental concerns.

While there are nearly 200 countries in the world, UNICEF confined its report to only those countries that are the wealthiest, which was determined by their gross domestic product. Of the 29 nations that were analyzed, the Netherlands came out on top.

Interestingly, however, wealth didn't necessarily correlate with overall well-being.

"There does not appear to be a strong relationship between per capita GDP and overall child well-being," the report stated. "In other words, country wealth does not always mean happier and healthier children."

Separate analysis has revealed this to be true as well. Previous reports have shown that several countries in Latin America and parts of Europe have some of the happiest people on earth, but their GDP was a fraction of other more prosperous nations.

There's also something special about this general region of the world. UNICEF notes that in previous studies, countries like Finland, Iceland and Norway – just north of the Baltic States – have routinely been high among the ranks of countries whose children are doing well health-wise.

UNICEF: Public policy plays large role in child wellness
Much of this stems from government investments, the report found.

"Child poverty is not inevitable but policy-susceptible," the study said. "And some countries have been doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children."

There were several sub-categories of the five factors that UNICEF looked at in order to draw their conclusions. For instance, for material well-being, researchers based this on monetary deprivation and material deprivation. In both of these sub-section, children in the Netherlands fared well. The same was found for educational well-being, which was determined based on scholastic achievements and participation, or the percentage of children in the Netherlands who are in school and graduating.

Gordon Alexander, director of research at UNICEF, noted that this study is meant to encourage governments to focus more on how they can improve children's lives so that they can thrive once they become adults, contributing to their own well-being as well as their country's financial status.

"Whether in today's time of economic crisis, or in better financial periods, UNICEF urges governments and social partners to place children and young people at the heart of their decision-making processes," said Alexander. "For every new policy measure considered or introduced, governments explicitly have to explore the impact and effects on children, families with children, adolescents and young adults. These groups do not have a voice in the political processes, or their voices are too seldom heard."

As for the United States, the country's child welfare finished 26th out of 29 countries, far below what most people may think of when they think of the U.S. and it's standing in comparison to other industrialized nations.

One area where the children's welfare was weak was educational well-being. Despite spending more for education per capita than any other country in the world, UNICEF ranked the U.S. as having the third-worst performance record based on achievement and participation.

22
Feb

France, India come together with art festival

Art enthusiasts congregate at Bonjour India.

While they may be more than 6,000 miles removed from each other and require a five-day drive to get to either location, France and India may soon share many similar traits at the conclusion of a festival that organizers in each country have established.

The Embassy of France and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations are holding a festival, dubbed "Bonjour India," which was put together to help more Indians appreciate the variety of artistic masterpieces produced by French artisans over the years. Similarly, the event is also meant to benefit people who are native to France who may not have much familiarity with Indian artistic culture.

Having begun on January 20 and lasting through the end of March, there are more than 150 events being held in support of the festival throughout India, including in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pondicherry, Kolkata, Pune and Goa.

The Hindustan Times notes that this isn't the first time a festival of this type has taken place. The last one was held in 2010, much of which focused on introducing the French to Indian artistic history and artifacts, according to Aruna Adiceam of the Institut Francais en Inde, which helped organize that event as well as this year's.

"The first edition of Bonjour India was a splash into the Indian cultural scene," Adiceam told the newspaper. "This time, we aim to focus on Indo-French collaborations."

France, India well known for producing world's artistic titans
The Indian and French people both have rich artistic histories. One of the more contemporary artists to come out of India is Manjit Bawa. As noted by the online art exhibition website Art.in, Bawa's works are quite distinctive, vibrantly colorful and typically involve depictions of landscape.

"Manjit Bawa's canvases are very discernible in their colors especially the yellow color of sunflowers, the green color of the paddy fields, red of the sun and the blue of the mountain sky," the website states. "Bawa opted for more traditional Indian colors like pinks, reds and violet. He was one of the first painters to break out of the cliched grays and browns."

Bawa is now in his 70s and continues to paint from his studio in Himachal Pradesh. Other famous Indian artists, some of whom have passed away, include Ram Kumar, Krishan Khanna, Brota Rameshwar, Amrita Sher-Gil and Tyeb Mehta.

While there are a variety of contemporary French artists as well, muralists from hundreds of  years ago help put France on the map and establish the country as producing some of the world's most well-known creators.

Perhaps no one is more emblematic of the world of art as Claude Monet, who was born in 1840 and died in 1926. Over the course of his career, he produced paintings that are recognized by many people who have little knowledge of art, such as the famous Waterlilies, The Japanese Bridge and Rouen Cathedral at Sunset.

Other well-known French artists, some of whom preceded Monet, include Alexandre Cabanel, Edouard Manet, Pierre-August Renoir, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Camille Pissaro.

Bonjour India isn't entirely made up of art involving canvas and paint, however. Indians who have family back home may want to transfer money to India so that their loved ones can take advantage of the theater, as plays will be held during the 10-week event. Films will also be shown starting on February 15 and lasting through March 10 at the France Film Festival, the Hindustan Times notes.

21
Dec

Matchday 18 offers many holiday treats

Chelsea will be looking to catch up in the table.

There are many matches in the English Premier League this weekend, which could make it an attractive appetizer for the holidays. The fixtures could prove to be quite exciting, as the races at the top, bottom and middle of the table are starting to clear up.

Manchester United looks to pad its lead on the top of the table with a win over tough side Swansea City. This won't be an easy fixture for Alex Ferguson's side, as the club must travel to Wales to take on the Swans.

Manchester City may have a bit easier of a fixture this weekend, as it hosts Reading, the club stuck at the bottom of the table. The Royals need wins quickly if they are to survive, but this looks like a mammoth task.

Chelsea will look to get back on track, as it is 13 points off of the league lead. However, the club must host a resurgent Aston Villa, who is coming off of a strong win against Liverpool.

Liverpool will need to get back to its winning ways quickly, and its next opportunity is an attractive one. The Reds host a tough Fulham side at Anfield.

Everton also travels to West Ham on Saturday, while Tottenham hosts Stoke City.

Intriguing relegation battles this weekend
The relegation fight isn't getting any clearer, as more clubs are getting pulled down into the battle. Queens Park Rangers will have an opportunity to improve its chances of avoiding the drop, as the club plays Newcastle. The Magpies have had a woeful stretch, and a loss to QPR could put the side in a lot of trouble.

Sunderland and Southampton are both slightly above the drop zone, and a win from either side could be beneficial. Both clubs may be fighting it out later in the season, so points are at a premium.

If you don't know where you can catch the English Premier League, there's actually a simple solution. Go to Xoom.com/foxsoccer, sign up as a new Xoom customer and make a transfer of $100 or more. This will provide you with a free, six-month subscription to Fox Soccer 2Go. Now, you can catch all of the action, wherever you are!! But you better hurry, as the promotion ends December 31, 2012!!

14
Dec

Matchday 17 pits juggernauts against strugglers

Tottenham Hotspur has an important match with Swansea City this weekend.

The English Premier League resumes this weekend with many of the league's top clubs facing off with the sides stuck in the lower part of the table. These matches could play a significant role in the title race, while many sides may be able to move themselves away from the drop zone.

Manchester City will head to the North East to take on a struggling Newcastle side. The club could help get back into the thick of the title race with a win, while Newcastle needs a result to try to pick up its recent form.

Manchester United hosts Sunderland, and the match could be vital for both clubs. For United, the club will look to sustain its six-point cushion at the top of the table, while Sunderland will need to stay above water. Currently, it is only one point above the drop zone.

Aston Villa and Liverpool look like two clubs going in very different directions, as the Reds are only four points out of the top four. Aston Villa is in 17th place, with only goal differential separating it from 18th.

Stoke also looks to continue its solid form as it hosts Everton, another club with an impressive start to the season. Queens Park Rangers and Fulham face-off in a derby that could be extremely important for the former side, as QPR has yet to get a win in the league this season.

Other attractive fixtures set for the weekend
Tottenham Hotspur hosts Swansea with hopes that a win will put the North London side into the top four. However, Swansea is also potentially a win away from the same achievement.

West Bromwich Albion welcomes West Ham United the Hawthorns, with both clubs looking to get back on track. This may be one of the most intriguing matches of the weekend, as the two clubs are the surprises of the league this year.

Wigan travels to Carrow Road to battle Norwich City on Saturday, while Reading also faces Arsenal on Monday.

If you don't know where you can catch the English Premier League, there's actually a simple solution. Go to Xoom.com/foxsoccer, sign up as a new Xoom customer and make a transfer of $100 or more. This will provide you with a free, six-month subscription to Fox Soccer 2Go. Now, you can catch all of the action, wherever you are!! But you better hurry, as the promotion ends December 31, 2012!!

7
Dec

Many important fixtures set for Matchday 16

Marouane Fellaini and Everton can make a charge for fourth place.

The English Premier League is set up for a pivotal weekend for Matchday 16, as there are plenty of intriguing fixtures that will help shape the table from top to bottom.

The weekend is highlighted by the Manchester Derby, as Manchester City and Manchester United will clash at Etihad Stadium. United currently is in the league lead with 36 points from 15 matches, while City has 33 points from that many played. However, a win for the blue side of the city would help the club into first place. A win from Alex Ferguson's side would help it to a six-point lead.

Arsenal also hosts West Bromwich Albion, which is an important match for both sides. The Gunners could get back on track for a Champions League chase, while West Brom will want to pick up its form in order to stay clear of the pack.

Chelsea looks to forget about its recent Champions League failure, as the club travels to the Stadium of Light to take on strugglers Sunderland.

Liverpool looks to keep up its solid form as it heads to the Boleyn Ground to battle West Ham United. A win would put the Reds level on points with the Hammers.

Tottenham Hotspur has an opportunity to tighten its grip on the top four, as the Lilywhites play Everton at Goodison Park. A win against the Toffees could catapult the North London side into third place.

Norwich also has a chance to boost itself from midtable, as it faces surging Swansea City in Wales.

Important relegation battles set for the weekend
The relegation zone will be busy this weekend, as Wigan Athletic faces Queens Park Rangers. This may be a match QPR needs, as Wigan is one of its chief rivals for the drop.

Southampton faces Reading, and with a win, the Saints could climb out of the drop zone, making life much harder for the Royals and Super Hoops.

If you don't know where you can catch the English Premier League, there's actually a simple solution. Go to Xoom.com/foxsoccer, sign up as a new Xoom customer and make a transfer of $100 or more. This will provide you with a free, six-month subscription to Fox Soccer 2Go. Now, you can catch all of the action, wherever you are!! But you better hurry, as the promotion ends December 31, 2012!!

4
Dec

Manchester United gets cushion after City draw on Matchday 15

Wayne Rooney and Manchester United are surging.

The English Premier League title is now Manchester United's to lose, as the club continued to rack up points, and its biggest competition failed to keep pace during Matchday 15.

The Red Devils had a crazy match against Reading, as the club managed a 4-3 victory with all of the goals coming in the first half. After Wayne Rooney's 30th minute goal to put the Manchester side on level terms, Robin van Persie scored the winner four minutes later.

Manchester City picked up a point against Everton, but the failure to snag a win prevented the club to keep pace with its city rivals. Chelsea also struggled, and its 3-1 loss to West Ham United put it 10 points behind United. While there are plenty of matches to play, the West London club will need a drastic improvement in the coming weeks.

West Bromwich Albion may be better suited to a run at the Champions League places than the title, as the Baggies fell 1-0 to Stoke City at The Hawthorns.

Clubs with high hopes produce differing results
While Arsenal came into the season looking to qualify for Champions League at the minimum, the task is looking to be more difficult than expected. The Gunners fell 2-0 to Swansea on two goals from Michu. This dropped Arsenal to 10th, while Swansea climbed into the top seven.

Liverpool helped its hope for European qualification by defeating Southampton 1-0 at home. A goal from Daniel Agger saw the club reach the brink of the top 10. Tottenham Hotspur managed to dismiss Fulham by scoring three goals in the second half. Norwich also defeated Sunderland 2-1, as goals from Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington proved too much to overcome for the Black Cats. Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa also fought it out to a 1-1 draw.

If you don't know where you can catch the final group matchday and knockout rounds, there's actually a simple solution. Go to Xoom.com/foxsoccer, sign up as a new Xoom customer and make a transfer of $100 or more. This will provide you with a free, six-month subscription to Fox Soccer 2Go. Now, you can catch all of the action, wherever you are!! But you better hurry, as the promotion ends December 31, 2012!!

2
Dec

England, India set to meet in Kolkata

England looks to take the lead in the third test against India.

Both England and India look to take the upper hand in the former's tour next week, as the third test is rapidly approaching.

Two of the four tests in England's tour of India are in the books, with each registering a victory. While the first test was claimed by the home side by nine wickets, England charged back in the second test, winning by 10 wickets. This gives the visitors a chance to steal the tour with plenty of opportunities remaining.

The next test between the Men in Blue and England takes place at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It is set to start at 10:30 p.m. EST on December 4, and will continue until the final meeting on December 8.

Want to see Ranji Trophy action live, as well as other great cricket fixtures? If you are a first-time Xoom customer who makes a transfer of $150 or more by December 10, 2012, at Xoom.com, you can!! This gives you a free online subscription to Willow.tv, so you can catch all of the great action. Act soon, as you won't want to miss another bowl, six or wicket!!