Author: OANN

People take pictures of paramilitary officers marching in formation in Tiananmen Square in Beijing
People take pictures of paramilitary officers marching in formation in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

May 26, 2019

By Cate Cadell

BEIJING (Reuters) – It’s the most sensitive day of the year for China’s internet, the anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square, and with under two weeks to go, China’s robot censors are working overtime.

Censors at Chinese internet companies say tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

“We sometimes say that the artificial intelligence is a scalpel, and a human is a machete,” said one content screening employee at Beijing Bytedance Co Ltd, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.

Two employees at the firm said censorship of the Tiananmen crackdown, along with other highly sensitive issues including Taiwan and Tibet, is now largely automated.

Posts that allude to dates, images and names associated with the protests are automatically rejected.

“When I first began this kind of work four years ago there was opportunity to remove the images of Tiananmen, but now the artificial intelligence is very accurate,” one of the people said.

Four censors, working across Bytedance, Weibo Corp and Baidu Inc apps said they censor between 5,000-10,000 pieces of information a day, or five to seven pieces a minute, most of which they said were pornographic or violent content.

Despite advances in AI censorship, current-day tourist snaps in the square are sometimes unintentionally blocked, one of the censors said.

Bytedance declined to comment, while Weibo and Baidu did not respond to requests for comment.

SENSITIVE PERIOD

The Tiananmen crackdown is a taboo subject in China 30 years after the government sent tanks to quell student-led protests calling for democratic reforms. Beijing has never released a death toll but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.

June 4th itself is marked by a cat-and-mouse game as people use more and more obscure references on social media sites, with obvious allusions blocked immediately. In some years, even the word “today” has been scrubbed.

In 2012, China’s most-watched stock index fell 64.89 points on the anniversary day https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-stocks-tiananmen-idUSBRE8530F720120604, echoing the date of the original event in what analysts said was likely a strange coincidence rather than a deliberate reference.

Still, censors blocked access to the term “Shanghai stock market” and to the index numbers themselves on microblogs, along with other obscure references to sensitive issues.

While companies censorship tools are becoming more refined, analysts, academics and users say heavy-handed policies mean sensitive periods before anniversaries and political events have become catch-alls for a wide range of sensitive content.

In the lead-up to this year’s Tiananmen Square anniversary, censorship on social media has targeted LGBT groups, labor and environment activists and NGOs, they say.

Upgrades to censorship tech have been urged on by new policies introduced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The group was set up – and officially led – by President Xi Jinping, whose tenure has been defined by increasingly strict ideological control of the internet.

The CAC did not respond to a request for comment.

Last November, the CAC introduced new rules aimed at quashing dissent online in China, where “falsifying the history of the Communist Party” on the internet is a punishable offence for both platforms and individuals.

The new rules require assessment reports and site visits for any internet platform that could be used to “socially mobilize” or lead to “major changes in public opinion”, including access to real names, network addresses, times of use, chat logs and call logs.

One official who works for CAC told Reuters the recent boost in online censorship is “very likely” linked to the upcoming anniversary.

“There is constant communication with the companies during this time,” said the official, who declined to directly talk about the Tiananmen, instead referring to the “the sensitive period in June”.

Companies, which are largely responsible for their own censorship, receive little in the way of directives from the CAC, but are responsible for creating guidelines in their own “internal ethical and party units”, the official said.

SECRET FACTS

With Xi’s tightening grip on the internet, the flow of information has been centralized under the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department and state media network. Censors and company staff say this reduces the pressure of censoring some events, including major political news, natural disasters and diplomatic visits.

“When it comes to news, the rule is simple… If it is not from state media first, it is not authorized, especially regarding the leaders and political items,” said one Baidu staffer.

“We have a basic list of keywords which include the 1989 details, but (AI) can more easily select those.”

Punishment for failing to properly censor content can be severe.

In the past six weeks, popular services including a Netease Inc news app, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s news app TianTian, and Sina Corp have all been hit with suspensions ranging from days to weeks, according to the CAC, meaning services are made temporarily unavailable on apps stores and online.

For internet users and activists, penalties can range from fines to jail time for spreading information about sensitive events online.

In China, social media accounts are linked to real names and national ID numbers by law, and companies are legally compelled to offer user information to authorities when requested.

“It has become normal to know things and also understand that they can’t be shared,” said one user, Andrew Hu. “They’re secret facts.”

In 2015, Hu spent three days in detention in his home region of Inner Mongolia after posting a comment about air pollution onto an unrelated image that alluded to the Tiananmen crackdown on Twitter-like social media site Weibo.

Hu, who declined to use his full Chinese name to avoid further run-ins with the law, said when police officers came to his parents house while he was on leave from his job in Beijing he was surprised, but not frightened.

“The responsible authorities and the internet users are equally confused,” said Hu. “Even if the enforcement is irregular, they know the simple option is to increase pressure.”

(Reporting by Cate Cadell. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Mets
May 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) watches his two run home run during the sixth inning against the Detriot Tigers at Citi Field. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

Tomas Nido homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday night as the New York Mets finally outlasted the Detroit Tigers, 5-4.

The Mets are 5-1 on a seven-game homestand. The Tigers have dropped 10 of 11.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out and failed to score in the bottom of the 11th before the Tigers did the same thing in the top of the 12th. Nido, who was the last player on the Mets’ bench when he entered in the 11th inning, capped a four hour and 11-minute duel when he hit his first walk-off homer off Buck Farmer (3-4).

Hector Santiago (1-0) tossed two innings for the Mets, who received two homers and four RBIs from catcher Wilson Ramos, who left for a pinch-runner in the 11th and was replaced by Nido. The two-homer game was the eighth of Ramos’ career and his first since last June 25.

Padres 19, Blue Jays 4

Austin Hedges hit his first career grand slam, Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers each homered twice and visiting San Diego set a franchise record with seven homers while defeating Toronto.

Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer also homered for the Padres. Hedges had five RBIs and Myers had four.

Right-hander Cal Quantrill (1-2) struck out nine in six innings to earn his first career win for San Diego. Quantrill, who is from nearby Port Hope, Ont., and the son of former major league pitcher Paul Quantrill, allowed three runs on two hits, both home runs, and two walks in his fourth career start.

Yankees 7, Royals 3 (Game 1)

Luke Voit’s two-run home run in the seventh inning helped lead New York past host Kansas City in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

With the win, the Yankees clinched the season series over the Royals for the fifth straight season. Since 2000, the Yankees have won 16 season series, with three splits and just one Royals series win (2014). The Yankees are 99-43 in the 2000s against Kansas City.

J.A. Happ (4-3) picked up the win after giving up three runs on four hits in six innings. Relying mostly on his fastball, Happ struck out 10 Royals.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5

Matt Chapman hit a home run, and Mike Fiers pitched six quality innings as Oakland defeated visiting Seattle for their eighth consecutive victory.

Domingo Santana hit two solo homers, and Mitch Haniger had one for Seattle, which lost its fifth in a row, eighth of nine and 20th of 25.

Chapman lined a solo shot over the wall in right-center field in the first inning against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-2). Seattle twice tied the score after being down a run, but the Athletics never trailed.

Cubs 8, Reds 6

Jason Heyward, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. each hit home runs, and Chicago Cubs outlasted visiting Cincinnati.

Anthony Rizzo also drove in a pair of runs for Chicago, which evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s finale. The Cubs improved to 18-9 at Wrigley Field. Tucker Barnhart, Derek Dietrich and Yasiel Puig each homered for Cincinnati.

The score was tied at 6 in the eighth when David Bote delivered a go-ahead double to deep center field with Almora at second base and Russell at first. Almora scored, and Kyle Schwarber followed with a sacrifice fly to send Russell home and increase the advantage to 8-6 entering the ninth.

Diamondbacks 10, Giants 4

Arizona put up double-figure runs for a second consecutive game, pummeling host San Francisco.

After an 18-2 romp of the Giants on Friday night, the Diamondbacks recorded 10 or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since September 2017.

Ketel Marte hit the second pitch of the game for a triple and led off the third inning with a solo home run, his 11th of the season, highlighting a 13-hit attack one day after the Diamondbacks belted out 21 hits.

Cardinals 6, Braves 3

Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to spark St. Louis to a win over visiting Atlanta.

Gyorko’s homer, his first of the season, came against reliever Dan Winkler (1-1) and highlighted a four-run rally. It was the first home run for Gyorko since Aug. 20, 2018, when he went deep against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals tied the game earlier in the inning when Matt Carpenter beat the shift with an RBI single to left field that scored Paul DeJong. Carpenter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Rays 6, Indians 2

Charlie Morton struck out a season-high 10 batters and Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham each belted a two-run homer as visiting Tampa Bay beat Cleveland. Brandon Lowe added his team-leading 11th homer to go along with an RBI double for the Rays, who handed the Indians their fifth loss in six games.

Carlos Santana belted a solo homer and Leonys Martin had an RBI single for the Indians, who saw manager Terry Francona ejected for the first time since 2016 after arguing a called strike on a pitch that hit Jose Ramirez in the sixth inning.

Morton (5-0) allowed one run on three hits in six innings to improve to 8-0 during an 18-start unbeaten streak that dates back to Aug. 17.

Phillies 7, Brewers 2

Jake Arrieta pitched eight innings to win his first start in nearly a month, and Philadelphia moved a season-high 10 games over .500 with a victory over host Milwaukee.

The Phillies won their third straight and for the seventh time in nine games to improve to 31-21.

Andrew McCutchen and Cesar Hernandez hit early solo homers, while Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit back-to-back homers in the ninth as Philadelphia totaled 12 hits. Jean Segura contributed a bases-loaded walk and extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the ninth.

Twins 8, White Sox 1

Ehire Adrianza went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, C.J. Cron also drove in four runs and Kyle Gibson allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to help Minnesota beat visiting Chicago for its fifth straight victory.

Cron finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Jonathan Schoop and Eddie Rosario each scored two runs, and Jorge Polanco also had two hits for Minnesota, which matched its longest winning streak of the season.

Gibson (5-2) won for the fifth time in his last seven starts, walking one and striking out nine to improve to 8-4 in 15 career starts against the White Sox.

Nationals 5, Marlins 0

Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract in December, pitched a four-hitter, and Yan Gomes hit a three-run double to lead host Washington to a win over Miami.

In his seventh year in the majors, this was just Corbin’s second career shutout and fifth complete game.

Corbin (5-2), who threw 116 pitches, allowed one walk and struck out five. He also induced three double plays and got first-pitch strikes on 17 of the 29 batters he faced. He got 21 called strikes and eight swinging.

(Field Level Media)

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NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
May 25, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on during the second half of game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will open the Finals on Thursday night in Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.

Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.

The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the lead had dwindled to five entering the fourth.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk tied the game at 78 with 10:31 to play, and Siakam’s jumper and VanVleet’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to give Toronto a five-point lead.

Lowry’s steal and Leonard’s dunk increased the lead to eight with 6:46 remaining.

The Bucks came back with a 7-0 run to pull within one point on Antetokounmpo’s layup with 5:19 to play.

Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer had Toronto ahead by four, but Lopez reduced it to two with a layup at 3:29. The Raptors went up by five on Siakam’s tip in with 2:06 to play.

Lopez made two free throws with 29.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to three, but Milwaukee never had the ball within one possession in the closing minutes. Siakam made one free throw, and Leonard made two foul shots in the final seconds.

The Bucks were 6-for-9 from 3-point range to earn a 31-18 lead after one quarter.

Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half put the Bucks ahead 38-23.

VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 to play in the half cut the lead to seven.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 1:32 left had the Raptors within five points, and VanVleet’s jumped reduced the lead to three with 1:07 left.

The Bucks scored the final four points of the half to lead 50-43.

A 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, before Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left in the third trimmed the lead to five.

But Middleton made a hurried 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and, after Leonard missed a shot, Eric Bledsoe came back with a 10-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by 13.

Middleton’s 3-pointer had the lead at 14 with 3:46 left in the third. The Bucks worked the lead to 15 before the Raptors went on a 10-0 run, with Leonard scoring eight. The Bucks led 76-71 after three quarters.

(By Larry Millson, Field Level Media)

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan May 26, 2019. Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Reuters

May 26, 2019

By Jeff Mason

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the second day of a Japan visit on Sunday with a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, engaging in personal diplomacy aimed at smoothing tough discussions over differences on trade.

Trump, dressed in a red pullover, and Abe, wearing a blue blazer and white pants, met on a lawn and smiled for photographers before taking off for their game.

Abe’s office later posted a “selfie” picture on the course with Trump and Abe smiling together. Abe said in the post he hoped to make the Japan-U.S. alliance “even more unshakeable.”

The president’s state visit is meant to showcase the strength of the Japan-U.S. relationship, but tensions over trade have provided a backdrop of uncertainty.

Trump is unhappy with Japan’s large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached. The United States and China are engaged in an expensive trade war that has pounded financial markets worldwide.

During remarks to business leaders on Saturday night, Trump ribbed Japan over its trading “edge” while saying progress had been made.

“With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he said.

“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon, and some very big ones over the next few months.”

Fox News reported on Sunday that Trump planned to wait until after Japanese elections in July to push for a trade deal, and officials have played down prospects of any major progress on the president’s trip.

The two leaders are also likely to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Trump said on Sunday he was not concerned about recent missile launches from North Korea and was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep his promises.

After their golf game, Abe and Trump will attend a sumo tournament.

“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said about Japan’s national sport during a meeting with Abe in Washington last month. “So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country. We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship.”

That trophy, now finished, weighs 60-70 pounds and is being called the “President’s Cup,” according to a White House official.

Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend such a tournament, according to another U.S. official, and the first to present a cup in the ring.

He is attending the final day of a 15-day tournament.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives for his visit to the Tibet Institute Rikon in Rikon
FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives for his visit to the Tibet Institute Rikon in Rikon, Switzerland September 21, 2018. REUTERS/ Arnd Wiegmann

May 26, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China should hold talks with Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad told Chinese officials during a trip to the Himalayan region where he criticized Beijing for interfering in religious freedom.

Branstad visited Tibet last week, the first such trip by a U.S. ambassador since 2015, amid escalating trade and diplomatic tension between the two countries.

His visit followed the passing of a U.S. law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners, legislation that was denounced by China.

Branstad met Chinese government officials and Tibetan religious and cultural figures, and “raised our long-standing concerns about lack of consistent access” to Tibet, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in an emailed statement on Saturday.

“He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences,” an embassy spokeswoman said.

“He also expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to organize and practise their religion,” she said.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in early 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and Beijing still brands him a dangerous separatist. China says its leaders have the right to approve his successor, as a legacy from China’s emperors.

But the 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate monk, who lives in exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala, has said that his incarnation could be found in India after he dies, and that any other successor named by China would not be respected.

Tibetan tradition holds that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death.

China’s Foreign Ministry said last week that the government welcomed Branstad’s visit, but that China hoped the ambassador would not take any “prejudices” with him on the trip.

In December, China criticized the United States for passing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which seeks to promote access to Tibet for U.S. diplomats and other officials, journalists and other citizens by denying U.S. entry for Chinese officials deemed responsible for restricting access to Tibet.

The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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The Best FIFA Football Awards
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – The Best FIFA Football Awards – Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain – September 24, 2018 Marta after winning the Best Women’s Player award Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

May 26, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil striker Marta is a doubt for their women’s World Cup opener against Jamaica next month after the country’s soccer confederation (CBF) said on Saturday she had picked up a hamstring injury in training.

Marta, named Women’s Player of the Year a record six times, picked up the injury at Brazil’s camp in Portugal and while the CBF did not clarify how serious the injury was coach Vadao told a Globo website she could miss their June 9 opener.

“Our worry is just about the first game,” he said, “and whether she has time to recover or not.

“She feels fine. We’ll wait a couple of days for the medical department to give me a more concrete appraisal.”

The absence of Marta, who has scored a record 15 women’s World Cup goals, would make Brazil’s life even more difficult at the June 7 to July 7 tournament in France, where they also meet Australia and Italy in the group phase.

The finalists in 2007 come into the tournament having lost their last nine matches, their worst ever run.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 25, 2019 Switzerland’s Roger Federer attends a training session on the eve of the start of the tournament REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

May 26, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Roger Federer tops the bill at the French Open on opening Sunday when he makes his long-awaited return to the Parisian clay with a first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

The 37-year-old Swiss, whose one Roland Garros title came 10 years ago, has been absent from the claycourt Grand Slam since 2015 and says he has missed it.

“I’m very happy to be back, maybe a tiny bit more because when I have missed the last three editions, and when you miss something in life, you’re happy to be back there again.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will play in the third match on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier, returns as the third seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal, neither of whom are in action on Sunday.

The Swiss has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying last year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.

“Center court looks very different. There has been a lot of upgrades and investments made,” Federer said.

“But I feel it is still the old Roland Garros, it’s kept its flair and everything.”

A connoisseur of style, Federer will no doubt be interested to see the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu — set in the picturesque Serres d’Auteuil botanical gardens and flanked by greenhouses containing rare and exotic plants.

Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will hope the beautiful setting will help her recover some form as the 19th seed christens the court against American Taylor Townsend.

Women’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.

Germany’s Kerber is seeking to win the only Grand Slam to elude her and is one of several women that could take over as world number one at the end of the French Open.

Another one, second seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, closes play on Chatrier against American Madison Brengle.

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the young brigade being tipped as a title contender, will also get his tournament started when he takes on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Two Grand Slam champions will be on show on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Marin Cilic plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano while later last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens faces Misaki Doi.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum, Sudan May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

May 26, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – A coalition of Sudanese protest and opposition groups on Friday called for two days of strikes in private and public enterprises next week as part of pressure on military rulers to hand over power to civilians.

The announcement, issued in a statement posted on social media, comes after talks between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and an alliance of protest groups on the composition of a sovereign body to lead the country during a three-year transition to democracy.

Talks were adjourned in the early hours of Tuesday, with no date set for resumption, but sources said contacts were continuing at a low level trying to reach a compromise.

Last month, Sudan’s military overthrew President Omar al-Bashir following months of protests against his three decades in power. The military has promised to hand over power to an elected government after a transitional period.

Sudan, one of Africa’s largest countries, is important for efforts to bring stability to an important area stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya.

In a statement distributed on social media, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) called for a strike starting at private and public enterprises that will include various professional sectors starting on Tuesday.

“The strike will continue for two days, and involved gathering at the protest squares in the national and state capitals,” the statement said.

The transitional military council has called for establishing a civilian government of technocrats. It has also said it was ready to share power with civilians in a transitional sovereign body but has been demanding overall control of the body.

A representative of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the DFCF said both sides were looking at proposals to break the impasse, including a rotating presidency, and for decisions to be made by a two-third majority rather than a simple majority, adding that a deal could be reached before next Tuesday.

In remarks published on Wednesday, the deputy head of the transitional council told an Egyptian newspaper that the military wanted to hand power to a democratically elected government as soon as possible.

But Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is widely known as Hemedti and leads the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said the military were impatient for a solution.

(Reporting by Hesham Hajali in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by David Gregorio)

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
May 25, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) looks on from the dugout during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

The Houston Astros put star outfielder George Springer on the 10-day injured list on Saturday, a day after he strained his left hamstring while chasing a foul ball.

Springer had missed four games with a stiff lower back, then returned to action Friday in a 4-3 home win over the Boston Red Sox. But as he and two teammates chased a Xander Bogaerts foul ball in the eighth inning, Springer slid so that he wouldn’t collide with the wall and grabbed his hamstring.

He left the game then, limping off the field. He was 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly on the night.

“Going for the ball, giving it as much as I can, and the hamstring locked up,” said Springer, who led the American League in homers (17), and RBIs (43) while batting .308 in 48 games going into Saturday’s game.

–The San Francisco Giants called up outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 28-year-old made his major league debut after more than 700 games over six-plus seasons in the minors.

Yastrzemski started in left field and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a run scored in a 10-4 loss to Arizona.

–Dustin Pedroia left his rehab game Friday night because of discomfort, and the Boston Red Sox are bringing him back to the city for the team’s medical staff to look at his ailing left knee on Monday.

He had two at-bats for Double-A Portland on Friday before he pulled himself out of the game.

The second baseman, 35, has played in just nine games for the Red Sox in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

–The Philadelphia Phillies placed right-handed reliever Pat Neshek on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.

Neshek, 38, is 0-1 with three saves and a 4.67 ERA in 19 bullpen appearances this season. The move is retroactive to Friday.

The Phillies also transferred right-hander David Robertson to the 60-day injured list and called up right-hander J.D. Hammer from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

–The Diamondbacks recalled right-hander Taylor Clarke from Triple-A Reno and designated catcher John Ryan Murphy for assignment.

Clarke, 26, was brought up to start Saturday’s game at San Francisco and got the win, allowing three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and one save in three appearances for Arizona this season.

Murphy, 28, is batting just .177 with four homers and seven RBIs in 25 games this season.

–The Chicago White Sox placed catcher Welington Castillo on the seven-day concussion list and promoted catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte.

Castillo left in the eighth inning of Friday’s 11-4 loss in Minnesota after taking two foul tips off his mask.

Castillo, 32, is batting just .176 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 26 games this season.

–The Los Angeles Angels placed right-hander Matt Harvey on the 10-day injured list due to an upper back strain.

The move comes two days after Harvey served up four homers and was hammered for eight runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

The poor outing leaves the 30-year-old Harvey with a 2-4 record and 7.50 ERA in 10 starts this season.

–The Oakland Athletics designated struggling right-hander Fernando Rodney for assignment.

Rodney had a 9.42 ERA during 17 appearances this season. Opponents batted .345 against him in 14 1/3 innings.

The 42-year-old Rodney ranks 18th in major league history with 325 saves. He is 48-68 with a 3.79 ERA in 913 career appearances since 2002.

–Gerry Fraley, a veteran sportswriter who covered the Texas Rangers for three decades, passed away on Saturday morning after a lengthy cancer battle. He was 64.

Fraley spent the bulk of his career covering sports for the Dallas Morning News, taking up the Rangers beat in 1989.

“He covered this sport with a passion and intensity second to none,” a statement from the Rangers read. “He was as thorough as any writer in the game as was evidenced in his numerous contacts with players, coaches, baseball executives and scouts, and umpires.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit Japan
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Japanese business leaders event in Tokyo, Japan May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

May 25, 2019

By Jeff Mason

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed concerns about recent missile launches from North Korea and said he was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep promises that he had made.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” he said on Twitter.

Trump is currently in Japan on a state visit.

The president, who left his second summit with Kim earlier this year in Vietnam without a peace deal, has put enormous value in their personal relationship, despite actions by North Korea that others consider provocative.

Trump is expected to discuss concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his stay in Tokyo.

In his tweet, the president, who is running for re-election in 2020, knocked his potential Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, misspelling his name and taking pleasure in the North Korean leader’s sharp rhetoric about a fellow American.

Trump said in the tweet that he smiled when Kim “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”

Trump regularly uses derisive nicknames to target his political opponents.

Trump’s remarks came after U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Saturday that North Korea’s recent missile launches violated a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Earlier this month Kim oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon – a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and maneuver in flight.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by G Crosse and Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

PGA: Charles Schwab Challenge - Third Round
May 25, 2019; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Kevin Na walks to the 18th green atop the leaderboard by two strokes going into Sundays final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Kevin Na rebounded from a back-nine double-bogey to grab a two-stroke lead as Jordan Spieth moved into a tie for second after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday.

Na shook off the double at the 11th hole to birdie the 13th on his way to a one-under par 69 at a Colonial Country Club layout made tough by breezy conditions.

While the birdies did not fall as frequently as they had on Friday when he shot 62, Na still had three in claiming the lead at nine-under 201.

Spieth continued his impressive putting to shoot 68 and tie with four others at seven under, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (65), Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung (68) and Americans Jim Furyk (68) and Tony Finau (71).

Pan, who goes by the initials C.T., had grabbed the lead after Na’s double, but bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, the second-round leader by a stroke, was never in contention after a first-hole bogey. He shot a four-over 74 to drop to four strokes off the pace.

World number three Justin Rose, the defending champion, also turned in a 74 to sit at five over par after 54 holes.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga
A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga, Latvia, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

May 25, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans vote on Sunday in an election expected to further dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe in the European Parliament, putting a potential brake on collective action in economic and foreign policy.

Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states – Italy and supposedly exiting Britain – and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.

In the Netherlands, pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth on 11%.

The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.

An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave”. Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.

Britain also voted on Thursday and a new party focused on getting out of the EU was forecast by pre-vote opinion polls to come top, but there has been no exit poll data. Attention there has focused on the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. Results will be out late on Sunday, when all countries have voted.

WAY AHEAD UNCLEAR

The challenges facing the European project include unprecedented transatlantic slights from a U.S. president who fetes Europe’s populists, border rows among its own members over migrants and an economy hobbled by public debt and challenged by the rise of China.

But parties seeking collective action on shared issues such as trade, security, migration or climate change should still dominate, albeit with a smaller overall majority.

Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the Union. It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom, and 30 since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe. But memories of wars, hot and cold, have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.

Mainstream parties pushing closer integration of the euro currency zone’s economy are struggling to capture the imagination of a public jaded by political elites.

Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s power broker, to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.

Right-wing ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, defying Brussels over curbs to judicial and media independence, will also return eurosceptic lawmakers on Sunday.

The results should be clear by late on Sunday, with exit polls in Germany at 1600 GMT and France at 1800 GMT setting the tone before the final end of voting, in Italy at 2100 GMT, sees the Parliament publish its own seat forecast.

The result will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the Parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.

Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub Parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected lawmakers should run the EU executive.

(EU election graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvZs1M)

(Reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Carb Day
May 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves during Carb Day practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – If Tiger Woods can get back in the winners’ circle Helio Castroneves says he sees no reason he cannot return to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and finally claim a place in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club.

In more than a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) only three men — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears — have won the 500 four times and with a win on Sunday Castroneves would become the first non-American to join that group.

Now on the downside of his career, the 44-year-old no longer drives full-time on the IndyCar Series but Roger Penske continues to give his long-time employee a competitive car and a chance to get his name on the Borg-Warner trophy again.

The bubbly Brazilian has always been a driver to take motivation from wherever he can find it and this week is drawing inspiration from Woods, who completed one of sport’s all-time great comebacks last month when he ended an 11-year major title drought with a stunning victory at the Masters.

“You know it took Tiger Woods 10 years to go back and win another big one so maybe it could be this year (for me),” said Castroneves. “You’re always looking for positive ways to look and I’m always a positive guy and realistic at the same time.

“I can only imagine how special it would be. At this point you can dream big but you still have to execute first.”

Castroneves was quick to put his mark on the Indy 500, winning on his Brickyard debut in 2001 and repeating in 2002.

It was seven years before he returned to Victory Lane in 2009 and he has not found his way back since, though he has twice come agonizingly close, finishing as runner-up in 2014 and 2017.

In 2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay denied Castroneves victory by 0.0600 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history.

Castroneves said it was the memory of 2017 that haunted him most, recalling how Japan’s Takuma Sato powered past him with five laps remaining then bravely fought off the Brazilian to take the checkered flag.

“It’s hard to forget the ones you’ve missed,” said Castroneves, who has looked right at home back in his Penzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, qualifying 12th fastest in the 33-car field.

“Obviously great memories of the ones that happened but the ones you’ve missed stay in your mind.

“I mean 2017 with Takuma was really tough; I did everything I could but he did a really great job.

“Hopefully I don’t have to think this year about being a close call and just make it happen.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump speaks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride event in the East Room of the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he speaks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride event after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Katanga Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp will not have to immediately hand over the financial records of U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization, according to a court filing on Saturday.

The filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York followed an appeal submitted on Friday by Trump and his affiliates against an existing order from a federal judge allowing the banks to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers.

Amid an ongoing legal battle between the Republican president and Democrats in Congress, the agreement to hold off for now on enforcing the subpoenas for Trump’s financial records was a rare accord between Trump’s attorneys, the banks and the House Intelligence and the Financial Services Committees.

“The parties have reached an agreement regarding compliance with and enforcement of the subpoenas” while the appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending, the filing said.

Parts of the subpoenas have been included in court filings. The subpoena on Deutsche Bank seeks records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities, as well as records of ties they might have to foreign entities.

Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business and a 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.

The subpoena on Capital One seeks records related to multiple entities tied to the Trump Organization’s hotel business. It followed an informal request to the bank by Democratic lawmakers in March seeking records related to potential conflicts of interest tied to Trump’s Washington hotel and other businesses.

A lawyer for the Trumps argued earlier this week that the subpoenas exceeded the authority of Congress and were “the epitome of an inquiry into private or personal matters.”

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, however, found that they were allowed under the broad authority of Congress to conduct investigations to further legislation.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Qatar Sports Investments, a state-backed body founded by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is in discussions to buy a stake in English soccer club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the talks.

The state-backed group, which owns French club Paris St Germain, was seeking as much as a controlling stake in Leeds United in a deal that would mark Qatar’s entrance to English football, FT reported.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” the report quoted a source as having said, adding that Qatar has been looking at entering English football for the last two years.

Leeds United is holding talks with at least six investors, including the Qatar group, according to the report.

Qatar Sports Investments and Leeds United did not return calls for comment on the FT report.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido takes part in a meeting in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, speaks at a meeting at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

May 25, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Norway said on Saturday that representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition will return to Oslo next week following an initial round of preliminary talks about how to address the country’s political crisis.

“We announce that the representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela have decided to return to Oslo next week to continue a process facilitated by Norway,” the Scandinavian country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We reiterate our commitment to continue supporting the search for an agreed-upon solution between the parties in Venezuela,” it said.

Venezuela has been plunged into political turmoil this year as opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, dismissing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud. More than 50 countries, including the United States and many members of the European Union, now see Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Maduro, who maintains control over state institutions amid a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington.

The Venezuelan information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the announcement. Guaido’s press team said it would comment shortly.

The ruling Socialist Party has endorsed the talks, but opposition sympathizers remain skeptical, arguing that Maduro has previously used dialogue as a stalling tactic to maintain his grip on power while living standards steadily declined in the oil-rich nation.

Last week, opposition lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez and two advisors represented Guaido’s side, while Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez went to Oslo on behalf of the government.

Each side met separately with Norwegian mediators, but there was no face-to-face meeting between government and opposition representatives, Gonzalez told local media.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, editing by G Crosse)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem May 19, 2019. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS

May 25, 2019

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present, while organizers put the figure at 80,000.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged.

Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.

Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.

Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity.

On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches.

The opposition has described any attempt to shield Netanyahu or put limitations on Israel’s highest court as threats to Israeli democracy.

Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of the main opposition party, the centrist Blue and White, said on Saturday at the demonstration that Netanyahu was trying to crush the Supreme Court in order to keep out of prison. “He’s destroying the country,” Lapid said. “We won’t let him.”

Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition with right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties that would give him control of 65 of the 120 seats in parliament, which has already been sworn in.

Most of the parties expected to join his coalition have expressed support for granting immunity to Netanyahu and limiting the powers of the Supreme Court, branded by some rightists as too liberal and interventionist.

However, Netanyahu has only until Wednesday to produce a government and he has not yet secured a deal with any party. Negotiations came to an impasse this week when the factions failed to agree on a new conscription law for Israel’s military.

According to Israeli law, if Netanyahu fails to form a government by May 29 the president can ask another member of the Knesset legislature to try.

No political party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s Knesset, making coalition governments the norm. Coalition talks have often been protracted with deals signed at the very last minute.

Netanyahu is due to attend a pre-trial hearing over the graft charges with the attorney general, set for October.

(Additional reporting by Rahaf Ruby and Ammar Awad; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab attends
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends “A Better Deal” event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab became the sixth candidate to enter the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister on Saturday, vowing to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit.

“To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve,” Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary I have the experience.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Drivers Meeting
May 25, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti drives a golf cart after attending the drivers meeting for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – In the run-up to the Indianapolis 500 the spotlight has been on Mario Andretti but come Sunday it is grandson Marco in the crosshairs as he attempts to lift a family curse by returning a member of the clan to Victory Lane at the famed Brickyard.

As usual there are no shortage of high-octane storylines at the sprawling 2.5-mile oval but Marco Andretti’s bid to end a 50-year Brickyard barren stretch for American motor racing’s first family has dominated conversation.

In over a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), it is doubtful there has ever been a more popular winner of what is unapologetically billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” than Mario Andretti.

On that Memorial Day holiday weekend in 1969 a dashing Andretti powered across the finish line to deliver a victory that still resonates today.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

The win was expected to be just the first of many at the famed Brickyard but a half-century later it stands alone.

Mario would never again reach Victory Lane and chug from the winner’s quart of milk.

Neither would his sons Michael or Jeff. Nor has his nephew John or grandson Marco, who will again carry the Andretti colours into Sunday’s race.

“Pressure? This is the biggest race in the world, with or without what’s going on,” said Marco, who qualified 10th and will start on the inside of Row Four. “I can’t even imagine if we were to book end it 50 years, it would be incredible.

“I think pressure is a good thing. I think you should be honored to carry pressure. It means you’re playing for something awesome.

“It’s almost 80 tries, we’re all still here and we’re able come back and keep trying to win it.”

Fernando Alonso’s attempt to complete motor racing’s Triple Crown of wins at Monaco, Le Mans and Indianapolis had taken some of the focus and pressure off of Andretti until the Spaniard’s qualifying flop last Sunday left the twice Formula One champion out of the race.

EXCLUSIVE CLUB

Charismatic Brazilian Helio Castroneves’s bid to claim a record-equalling fourth Indy 500 victory that would gain him entry in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club has been swept aside by a wave of Andretti nostalgia.

The possibility of Roger Penske adding an 18th win to his collection has also taken a back seat despite the captain rolling out an all-star stable including Castroneves, 2017 IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, reigning Indy 500 winner Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, who will start Sunday’s race from pole position.

Such has been their cruel misfortune that the thinking is there could be no other explanation for the Andretti heartbreak than a curse (there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the jinx).

Exactly what it is that so angered the racing gods is uncertain but the entire Andretti clan rejects the idea that there are malevolent forces at work.

Scoffing at any idea of a curse, Andretti, whose best Indy 500 finish came in his rookie year crossing second in 2006, will pay tribute to his grandfather by driving a car with the same day-glow red livery he used when winning in 1969.

Michael Andretti, winless at the Brickyard in 16 attempts as driver but five-times winner as a team owner, will put five cars on the grid including Marco and two former Indy 500 champions in Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

“I’ve had good shots to win the biggest race in the world and its eluded me numerous times,” said Marco, who has also had three third-place results. “I’m not going to change too much on the driver’s side for this race.

“Hopefully, our number is picked this year.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

Supporters of the opposition party attend an anti-government protest in Tirana
Supporters of the opposition party attend an anti-government protest in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office in Tirana, Albania, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

May 25, 2019

By Benet Koleka

TIRANA (Reuters) – Albanian opposition supporters took to the streets again on Saturday in a mostly peaceful protest, the sixth national one in three months, calling on Prime Minister Edi Rama to step down to pave the way for early elections.

Waving posters and releasing paper lanterns marked “Quit”, some in the crowd of several thousand threw a dozen paint bombs at Rama’s office. Some also hurled firecrackers at riot police near the parliament building.

But there was less unrest than in the last protest two weeks ago, when some demonstrators hurled petrol bombs, firecrackers and paint at the government building and parliament.

Rejecting allegations of fraud at the 2017 elections that gave his Socialist Party victory and him a second term in office, Rama told opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha he would not resign and urged him in a public letter to settle the crisis with talks.

“He is asking me, asking us to capitulate? Answer to him!” Basha told the crowd, who chanted back in unison: “Rama quit”.

“Pave the way to the political solution,” Basha added.

Hours before the rally, the EU delegation, its member states’ embassies and the United States embassy had urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

“We call on all sides to build upon the existing offer for a Dialogue, with the view to finding a way out of the current political situation as a matter of urgency,” the EU office said.

(Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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FILE PHOTO: ATP 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 18, 2019 Germany’s Alexander Zverev celebrates during his third round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Germany’s Alexander Zverev did his French Open preparations a world of good by beating Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-3 3-6 7-6(8) in a grueling, rain-hit final at the Geneva Open on Sunday.

Top seed Zverev, looking for his first title win on clay since clinching the Italian Open last year, had endured a disappointing season so far and had not won a title since the ATP Finals in London in November.

The 22-year-old did not have it easy, taking two hours and 35 minutes to eventually get the better of his unseeded opponent in a match where both players had numerous match points. Two rain delays added to the drama.

Zverev was not as his best with eight double faults punctuating his victory, five of which came in the final set, and he converted only one of 12 break points over the course of the match.

Jarry, who beat Zverev in Barcelona on the same surface in a three-setter last month, fired six aces to Zverev’s three but there was nothing to separate the two players until the third-set tie-break.

With Zverev leading 6-5 in the final set, Jarry battled hard to ensure it went to a tie-breaker. The German then won two points off Jarry’s serve to take a 4-0 lead before Jarry saved three match points.

Zverev double-faulted at 6-6 to nearly hand his Chilean opponent the title but he kept his nerve to eventually win an exciting tie-breaker 10-8.

Zverev, the fifth seed at Roland Garros, takes on Australia’s John Millman in the first round of the French Open on Monday while Jarry starts the tournament against eighth seed and fellow South American Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

A fighter loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli
A fighter loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

May 25, 2019

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Heavy fighting raged in the Libyan capital on Saturday as eastern forces made a new push to advance inside the city controlled by the internationally recognized government.

The Libya National Army (LNA) force of Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to a parallel government in the east, started an offensive to take Tripoli almost two months ago but has not breached the city’s southern defenses.

The LNA made a new push on Saturday morning, trying to advance on a road from the former airport – located in a southern suburb – towards the center but there was no sign of progress, residents said.

Fighting had slowed in recent weeks during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan when most people fast during the day until sunset.

The battle for Tripoli has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes, trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers, and flattened some southern suburbs. It has also forced closures of schools, split families on different sides of the front line, and brought power cuts.

Two ambulance workers were killed and three wounded on Thursday when their ambulance cars were hit, the World Health Organization said. It did not say who was responsible.

The United Nations has been unable to negotiate a ceasefire. France has, like other European countries, called for a ceasefire but also supported Haftar as a way to fight Islamist militants in the country.

On Wednesday, Haftar, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, ruled out a ceasefire and said he wanted to rid the capital of militias that had “infested” the U.N.-backed government of Premier Fayez al-Serraj, a French presidential official said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing)

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FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and yellow vest protesters in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Inti Landauro

PARIS (Reuters) – Yellow vest protesters clashed with riot police in Paris and the northern city of Amiens on Saturday as the French anti-government movement waned on its 28th straight weekend.

Police in Amiens, hometown of President Emmanuel Macron, fired teargas at about 1,200 demonstrators after a group pelted stones at police, attacked local bank branches and set fire to rubbish cans, the local police chief’s office said.

Police detained 27 people in the city.

A few hundred protesters also clashed with police in downtown Paris, in and around the Place de la Republique.

After more than six months, the grassroots movement protesting over the cost of living and Macron’s perceived indifference seems to be losing steam.

Around the country only 12,500 demonstrators took to the streets during the latest day of protests, the lowest turnout since the movement started, the French interior ministry said. At the peak in November more than 300,000 were taking part nationally.

The prolonged protests, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by participants and which began in opposition to fuel tax increases, have hampered Macron’s efforts to push his reform timetable and forced him into costly concessions.

Despite Macron’s swift reversal of the tax hikes and introduction of other measures worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) to boost the purchasing power of lower-income voters, protests and riots continued all over the country.

As he was celebrating his second anniversary in power, Macron last month offered more tax cuts worth 5 billion euros, along with other measures.

The protests also battered Macron’s party in its campaign for European elections to be held on Sunday. La Republique en Marche is polling neck-and-neck with the far-right National Rally.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2019 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Ferrari messed up on the biggest stage of all on Saturday, leaving local hero Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix hopes in tatters.

With the 21-year-old Monegasque demanding answers after being left 16th on the starting grid, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto accepted the sport’s oldest and most successful team had, not for the first time, got their sums wrong.

“It is not a good day for us certainly,” the Italian told reporters in the team’s harbourside hospitality after a session that saw Ferrari’s qualifying blunder broadcast around the world.

“I think we made a mistake. It has been a misjudgment, a wrong evaluation of what we call the cut-off time.”

Leclerc had been told he did not need to do another lap in the first phase of qualifying, Ferrari believing his time was good enough for him to go through and that they could save a set of tyres.

It proved otherwise, with the drop triggered by his own team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed in final practice, putting in a fast lap in the dying seconds to escape the bottom five and top the session.

Leclerc, pushed over the edge into the bottom five, was already in the garage and could do nothing.

“What happened today was the margin that we applied was not sufficient,” said Binotto, explaining that track conditions had improved significantly late in the session and the team’s calculations had not allowed enough for that.

Binotto said that, with dominant Mercedes having won the first five races in one-two formation and running away with both championships for the sixth season in a row, Ferrari had to be bold to close the gap.

“When you need to catch up, you need to take some risks as well,” he said.

“Today we took some risks to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 (the second and third phases) against our competitors,” continued Binotto.

The risk, however, was also of not even getting to the later phases.

“We’ve got the right people,” added Binotto. “We’ve got the right procedures but we need to improve our tools. We are open to new opportunities of looking at what we did and how we may do it differently in the future.”

Leclerc, who had gone into the weekend hoping to become the first Monegasque to stand on his home podium since Louis Chiron in 1950, was stunned by the blunder that left him hoping for rain or chaos.

Monaco is famed as a circuit where overtaking is hard in the extreme, with the showcase race around the tight city streets one of the most watched but often processional and won by the driver on pole position.

“It’s disappointing to be out in Q1 in a Ferrari but even more so at home and even more on a track like this where you can’t overtake,” said the youngster.

“We can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a big, big disappointment.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2019 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Ferrari messed up on the biggest stage of all on Saturday, leaving local hero Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix hopes in tatters.

With the 21-year-old Monegasque demanding answers after being left 16th on the starting grid, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto accepted the sport’s oldest and most successful team had, not for the first time, got their sums wrong.

“It is not a good day for us certainly,” the Italian told reporters in the team’s harbourside hospitality after a session that saw Ferrari’s qualifying blunder broadcast around the world.

“I think we made a mistake. It has been a misjudgment, a wrong evaluation of what we call the cut-off time.”

Leclerc had been told he did not need to do another lap in the first phase of qualifying, Ferrari believing his time was good enough for him to go through and that they could save a set of tyres.

It proved otherwise, with the drop triggered by his own team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed in final practice, putting in a fast lap in the dying seconds to escape the bottom five and top the session.

Leclerc, pushed over the edge into the bottom five, was already in the garage and could do nothing.

“What happened today was the margin that we applied was not sufficient,” said Binotto, explaining that track conditions had improved significantly late in the session and the team’s calculations had not allowed enough for that.

Binotto said that, with dominant Mercedes having won the first five races in one-two formation and running away with both championships for the sixth season in a row, Ferrari had to be bold to close the gap.

“When you need to catch up, you need to take some risks as well,” he said.

“Today we took some risks to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 (the second and third phases) against our competitors,” continued Binotto.

The risk, however, was also of not even getting to the later phases.

“We’ve got the right people,” added Binotto. “We’ve got the right procedures but we need to improve our tools. We are open to new opportunities of looking at what we did and how we may do it differently in the future.”

Leclerc, who had gone into the weekend hoping to become the first Monegasque to stand on his home podium since Louis Chiron in 1950, was stunned by the blunder that left him hoping for rain or chaos.

Monaco is famed as a circuit where overtaking is hard in the extreme, with the showcase race around the tight city streets one of the most watched but often processional and won by the driver on pole position.

“It’s disappointing to be out in Q1 in a Ferrari but even more so at home and even more on a track like this where you can’t overtake,” said the youngster.

“We can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a big, big disappointment.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

72nd Cannes Film Festival - Closing ceremony
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Closing ceremony – Cannes, France, May 25, 2019. Director Bong Joon-ho, Palme d’Or award winner for his film “Parasite” (Gisaengchung), reacts. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

May 25, 2019

By Sarah White

CANNES, France (Reuters) – “Parasite”, a suspenseful dark comedy about class struggles directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon-Ho, won the top Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

The award adds to a successful run at the French cinema showcase for Asian films after Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda clinched the prestigious gong last year.

Bong, who made his mark at Cannes in 2017 with Netflix-produced “Okja”, set his latest movie in modern South Korea.

It follows a down-on-their-luck family of four who spot an opportunity to con a wealthy household into giving them jobs.

They worm their way into the other family’s lives – before things start going south.

This year’s Cannes film festival also shone a light on newcomers, in an unusually crowded field.

“Atlantics”, a ghost story about migrants directed by Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop, won the runner-up Grand Prix award.

The movie, based on her 2009 short documentary, was Diop’s first feature-length film.

Spain’s Antonio Banderas won the male acting prize for his role as a tortured filmmaker in Pedro Almodovar’s loosely biographical “Pain And Glory” – one of the films that had been tipped for the top honor.

Britain’s Emily Beecham was crowned best actress after starring in Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe” as a botanist who starts having doubts about her latest genetically-modified creation when it begins to affect her loved ones.

(Reporting by Sarah White, Editing by Inti Landauro)

Source: OANN

Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai
Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Indian carrier Jet Airways (India) Ltd founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal were stopped from leaving India on Saturday at Mumbai airport, according to an airport official who asked not to be named.

The couple were taken into custody by immigration officers, the Indian Express reported, citing sources.

The airport official did not confirm that the couple had been detained.

It was not immediately clear why the couple had been prevented from traveling, or whether it was related to reported regulatory probes into the airline.

It was not immediately possible to reach either the Goyals or Jet for comment late Saturday.

Local media said the Goyals had been traveling to Dubai for a connecting flight to London.

Local media, citing sources, reported earlier this month that the ministry of corporate affairs had been looking into Jet’s books and had asked for a corporate fraud investigation into the airline, suspecting that its promoters siphoned off funds.

Jet said at the time that it had complied with all regulations. The Goyals did not comment on the reports at the time.

Once one of India’s largest carriers, Jet was forced to ground all flights last month after running out of money and failing to secure funds, crippled by mounting losses as it attempted to compete with low-cost rivals.

The carrier is saddled with some $1.2 billion in bank debt, and Goyal and his wife stepped down from the airline’s board in March amid the crisis.

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath, Rajendra Jadhav, and Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sign is seen at its U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan
FILE PHOTO: A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sign is seen at its U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler is in advanced discussions to forge extensive ties with Frances’s Renault, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing multiple people informed on the talks.

The paper said the carmakers were seeking to join forces to tackle structural challenges facing the global auto industry.

An agreement might ultimately lead FCA to join the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in the future, some of these people added, while also warning that this outcome would mean taking a complicated path that would involve winning over Japan’s Nissan.

The paper cited Renault and FCA as declining to comment and said a spokesman for Nissan did not reply to a request for comment.

Renault spokespeople did not return phone calls seeking comment.

(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro in Paris; Writing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Drivers Meeting
May 25, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; All 33 NTT IndyCar series drivers starting in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 attend the drivers meeting for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

The forecast for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 calls for an 80-90 percent chance of rain, with thunderstorms throughout the day.

“I would just tell everyone to remember: This is Indiana,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said Saturday, referring to the state’s unpredictable weather.

IndyCar President Jay Frye told reporters that the race, schedule to begin at noon ET, could start as late as 6 p.m. because of the amount of daylight at this time of year.

The Indy 500 has been pushed back to Monday three times in 102 previous races, most recently in 1997. That year, more rain delayed the finish to Tuesday, with Arie Luyendyk finishing first.

The race becomes official after 101 laps of the scheduled 200-lap race. The last time it was shortened was 2007, when winner Dario Franchitti completed 166 laps before rain moved in.

The 2 1/2-mile track was resurfaced last year with a new sealant that helps water run off the track rather than soak in.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: Miami Open
FILE PHOTO: Mar 21, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Bianca Andreescu of Canada hits a backhand against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania (not pictured) in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports -/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Injury breaks are not usually welcomed by tennis players but when Bianca Andreescu’s shoulder began troubling her in Miami it offered her the chance to take stock of a stunning breakthrough.

The 18-year-old Canadian became the first wildcard to win the Indian Wells title the week before — a feat that shook the tennis world and had Rod Laver remarking that a star had been born.

Andreescu has only played in two Grand Slams and at the start of the year said just making the French Open main draw was her goal. She will debut as the 22nd seed.

When she takes on 20-year-old Czech Marie Bouzkova it will be her first match on clay this season and her first anywhere since a sore shoulder forced her to retire in her last 16 clash with Anett Kontaveit in Miami.

It ended the incredible 10-match winning streak that has catapulted the Ontario-born Andreescu into the big time.

“I think the injury helped me in the way that I could have the chance to let everything soak in and spend time with my family and friends,” Andreescu, whose exploits have trumped those of compatriots and close friends Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, told Reuters in a phone interview.

“I have amazing family and friends and they really helped me stay grounded because the media when I got home were all over me. It was certainly a different feeling but I’m getting used to it slowly but surely.”

Andreescu says her shoulder is ready to go in Paris, having opted to skip the warm-up tournaments and head to Mallorca to tune up her claycourt game at the Rafael Nadal Academy.

“I’m completely healed,” she said. “It was a wide decision because if I had continued the tear could have got worse.

“The facilities at Rafa’s academy were amazing, really good physios, really good food, the people were nice and they accommodated me really well.

“On my days off I could just stroll around and get my mind off the game and focus on relaxing which was really helpful. It was a good two-week period and I feel that I needed that.”

Andreescu, who moved back to her parents’ native Romania soon after she was born, says her career has been a “crazy ride” since returning to Canada to become part of the development program that produced Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov.

“Happy days for Canadian tennis,” she said. “We are just feeding off each other’s success and energy. I played juniors with Felix and Denis, we grew up together and just seeing them, all of us doing well at the same time, it’s just incredible.

“Tennis Canada is doing a great job. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. I’m so grateful. I can’t begin to repay them.”

TITLE RUN

Andreescu’s title run in Indian Wells began slowly but she soon got on a roll, beating seeds Dominica Cibulkova and Qiang Wang before obliterating former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 6-0 6-1.

In the final she downed reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, banked the $1.3 million winner’s check and celebrated with a burger.

Her performances were likened to a more powerful version of Martina Hingis — full of variety and not just belting balls.

Naturally curious, Andreescu says finding different ways to win matches is her biggest strength.

“I’ve always been like, even as a junior,” she said. “I think I just get bored easy! I kept improving on that and its paying off. A lot of the players have only got one game style.

“I’m one of few that can give a variety of shots back and I think they don’t like that.”

Andreescu said her rise from ending 2018 ranked 178th to her current 22 is “a dream come true”.

“You get treated a bit differently, for sure,” she said. “And not having to go through qualifying for the French is so much better for body and mind.

“I can now use all my fuel for the first round.”

Unsurprisingly, she names Romanian Simona Halep as one of her inspirations, and said it was a chat with the current French Open champion in 2016 that launched her career.

“We shared a ride at the Rogers Cup in 2016 I asked her if she could give me one piece of advice. She told me I should stop playing juniors and focus on the pros.

“That was a really good decision.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Semi-final
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Semi-final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 25, 2019. France’s Lucas Pouille in action during his match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – A combination of injuries, a lack of confidence and poor results mean there is a little chance of a French player shining at Roland Garros this year let alone claiming a title that has eluded the country’s men since 1983 and the women since 2000.

When Lucas Pouille reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, French hopes were raised that they might finally have a player who could be a force to be reckoned with at the majors.

Yet Amelie Mauresmo’s protege then went three months without winning a match until he claimed the title at a second-tier Challenger tournament in Bordeaux in May.

This, however, was followed by a second-round loss at the Madrid Open and a first-round defeat at the Italian Open for the world number 25.

Last year, none of France’s men went past the third round and only the 16th-ranked Gael Monfils appears to have a chance of surpassing that this season.

Yet the flamboyant Monfils, who won in Rotterdam in February, has been hampered by injuries, the latest being a knee problem.

Asked how he prepared for the French Open, Monfils said bluntly: “I rested. I had some MRIs, block tests to see what my body was doing, and then I started training.”

Tournament director Guy Forget put on a brave face when asked about French hopes at Roland Garros this year.

“They can play the surprise card. Because of their experience in the Grand Slams, Jo-Wil(fried Tsonga), Richard (Gasquet), Gael (Monfils) and even Lucas Pouille, can have hope,” said Forget.

Gasquet only returned to competition earlier this month after going under the knife to treat a hernia with Tsonga losing in the first round in Monte Carlo and Rome having struggled with long-term injuries.

“I know I have little chance to play a good tournament (at Roland Garros),” Gasquet admitted.

Forget did not mention the enigmatic Benoit Paire but the 30-year-old, who has not always seen eye-to-eye with French tennis authority, might be the country’s best hope.

He played superbly to beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime to claim the Lyon title on Saturday, his second claycourt title of the season.

On the women’s side, Caroline Garcia made the fourth round last year but had struggled to reach the latter stages in any tournament this season until she reached the final in Strasbourg, where she lost to Dayana Yastremska on Saturday.

Garcia knows all about the pressure of playing at a home Grand Slam but sees it as a privilege.

“Of course I look forward to the French Open, it’s the tournament I wanted to play when I was a kid,” the world number 24 told Reuters. “Sometimes there is more stress but I know the fans have my back. It’s the way I try to use it.”

(Additional reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Football - Women's Tournament Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics – Soccer – Victory Ceremony – Women’s Football Tournament Victory Ceremony – Corinthians Arena – Sao Paulo, Brazil – 19/08/2016. Christine Sinclair (CAN) of Canada and Sophie Schmidt (CAN) of Canada celebrate with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Fernando Donasci

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) – Christine Sinclair was named to her fifth women’s World Cup team on Saturday and will lead Canada in France where she will have a chance to also claim the career all-time scoring record on the sport’s biggest stage.

Sinclair, who is four goals shy of passing retired U.S. forward Abby Wambach’s mark of 184, has been a cornerstone of the national team for almost two decades, helping Canada to back-to-back bronze-medal performances at the 2016 and 2012 Olympics and fourth place at the 2003 World Cup.

The Canada squad features nine returning players from the 2015 World Cup, including midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who will be playing in her fourth showcase, and Olympique Lyonnais defender Kadeisha Buchanan.

The 22-year-old Buchanan, who recently signed a contract extension with the French and European champions, was a tournament all-star selection and named Best Young Player at the 2015 World Cup.

The fifth-ranked Canadians will be an interesting blend of experience and youth with midfielder Julia Grosso, forward Jordyn Huitema and fullback Jayde Riviere all 18 years old.

“We are going there to win it but we have been very good at taking things one step at a time,” said coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. “We didn’t look beyond the Algarve Cup and we didn’t look beyond matches against England or Spain; we only looked at what was right in front of us.

“Right now, there are three group matches in front of us and we are focused very clearly on Cameroon, New Zealand and Netherlands.”

Canada head to France unbeaten in 2019 with five wins and three draws, conceding just one goal.

The World Cup runs from June 7 to July 7 with Canada starting in Montpellier on June 10 against Cameroon.

Canada’s other group games will be against New Zealand on June 15 in Grenoble and Netherlands five days later in Reims.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Stephanie Labbe, Kailen Sheridan, Sabrina D’Angelo

Defenders: Allysha Chapman, Kadeisha Buchanan, Shelina Zadorsky, Rebecca Quinn, Jayde Riviere, Ashley Lawrence, Shannon Woeller, Lindsay Agnew

Midfielders: Julia Grosso, Desiree Scott, Gabrielle Carle, Sophie Schmidt, Jessie Fleming

Forwards: Jordyn Huitema, Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Adriana Leon, Jenna Hellstrom, Deanne Rose, Nichelle Prince

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Illustration picture showing U.S. dollar and China's yuan banknotes
A U.S. dollar banknote featuring American founding father Benjamin Franklin and a China’s yuan banknote featuring late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong are seen among U.S. and Chinese flags in this illustration picture taken May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Illustration

May 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States has called on China to curb the development of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs), a demand that China sees as an “invasion” on its economic sovereignty, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.

Trade tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated sharply earlier this month after the Trump administration accused China of having “reneged” on its previous promises to make structural changes to its economic practices.

Washington later slapped additional tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate.

As trade talks stalled, both sides have appeared to be digging in. China has denied it had walked back on its promises but reiterated it would not make concessions to “matters of principles” to defend its core interests, although no full details were given.

“At the negotiating table, the U.S. government presented a number of arrogant demands to China, including restricting the development of state-owned enterprises,” Xinhua said in a commentary.

SOEs in China enjoy not only explicit subsidies but also hidden benefits such as implicit government guarantees for debts and lower interest for bank loans, analysts and trade groups say.

“Obviously, this is beyond the scope of trade negotiations and touches on China’s fundamental economic system,” Xinhua said.

“This shows that behind the United States’ trade war against China, it is trying to invade China’s economic sovereignty and force China to damage its core interests.”

The commentary added the United States has made unfounded accusations including that Beijing had forced technology transfers from foreign firms operating in China, saying this is all evidence that the U.S side is “forcing China to change its development path.”

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Nigeria's Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women's first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Nigeria’s Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women’s first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

May 25, 2019

LAGOS (Reuters) – Defender Onome Ebi was named to play at her fifth women’s World Cup when she was included on Saturday in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s finals in France.

Ebi, 36, first competed at the 2003 women’s World Cup in the U.S. and then at subsequent editions in China, Germany and Canada.

She is the first African to achieve the feat.

Three-time African women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be the Super Falcons’ key player as they take on Norway in Reims on June 8 and then South Korea and hosts France in Group A.

She featured for Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in Budapest last week.

The Nigerian squad features 15 foreign-based players in a much-changed look since Swedish-born coach Thomas Dennerby took over 18 months ago.

Nigeria have been past the first round only once in seven previous World Cup finals appearances.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi (both Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang), Faith Michael (Pitea IF), Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United), Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstand), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henana Huisanhang), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Chinaza Uchendu (Sporting Braga).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Nigeria's Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women's first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Nigeria’s Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women’s first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

May 25, 2019

LAGOS (Reuters) – Defender Onome Ebi was named to play at her fifth women’s World Cup when she was included on Saturday in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s finals in France.

Ebi, 36, first competed at the 2003 women’s World Cup in the U.S. and then at subsequent editions in China, Germany and Canada.

She is the first African to achieve the feat.

Three-time African women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be the Super Falcons’ key player as they take on Norway in Reims on June 8 and then South Korea and hosts France in Group A.

She featured for Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in Budapest last week.

The Nigerian squad features 15 foreign-based players in a much-changed look since Swedish-born coach Thomas Dennerby took over 18 months ago.

Nigeria have been past the first round only once in seven previous World Cup finals appearances.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi (both Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang), Faith Michael (Pitea IF), Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United), Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstand), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henana Huisanhang), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Chinaza Uchendu (Sporting Braga).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Ice Hockey World Championships - Semifinals - Russia v Finland
Ice Hockey World Championships – Semifinals – Russia v Finland – Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia – May 25, 2019 Finland’s players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David W Cerny

May 25, 2019

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Finland ground out a shock 1-0 win over tournament favorites Russia to reach the world championship final on Saturday after their captain Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

Sunday’s gold-medal match will pit the Finns, who won their last world title at the same venue in 2011, against either Canada or the Czech Republic, who clash in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

The Russians steamrolled into the last four with eight straight wins and scored 40 goals in the process, but an ironclad Finnish defense stifled them out in a rugged contest.

Both goaltenders, Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski and Finn Kevin Lankinen, pulled off a string of superb saves before Anttila swept home a rebound after Vasilevski parried Henri Jokiharju’s fierce slap-shot.

Although they were on the back foot for long spells against the fast-skating Russians, Finland always looked more likely to score from lightning breaks and nearly did in the second period when Niko Ojamaki hit the post.

The Russians left an empty net in the last 90 seconds to deploy an extra forward but failed to pierce the Finnish armor as the outstanding Lankinen deflected everything the 2014 champions threw at him.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Ice Hockey World Championships - Semifinals - Russia v Finland
Ice Hockey World Championships – Semifinals – Russia v Finland – Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia – May 25, 2019 Finland’s players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David W Cerny

May 25, 2019

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Finland ground out a shock 1-0 win over tournament favorites Russia to reach the world championship final on Saturday after their captain Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

Sunday’s gold-medal match will pit the Finns, who won their last world title at the same venue in 2011, against either Canada or the Czech Republic, who clash in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

The Russians steamrolled into the last four with eight straight wins and scored 40 goals in the process, but an ironclad Finnish defense stifled them out in a rugged contest.

Both goaltenders, Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski and Finn Kevin Lankinen, pulled off a string of superb saves before Anttila swept home a rebound after Vasilevski parried Henri Jokiharju’s fierce slap-shot.

Although they were on the back foot for long spells against the fast-skating Russians, Finland always looked more likely to score from lightning breaks and nearly did in the second period when Niko Ojamaki hit the post.

The Russians left an empty net in the last 90 seconds to deploy an extra forward but failed to pierce the Finnish armor as the outstanding Lankinen deflected everything the 2014 champions threw at him.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Women's International Friendly - England v Denmark
Soccer Football – Women’s International Friendly – England v Denmark – The Banks’s Stadium, Walsall, Britain – May 25, 2019 England’s Jill Scott celebrates scoring their second goal with Rachel Daly Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – England beat Denmark 2-0 in their penultimate warm-up match before the women’s World Cup, with goals from Nikita Parris and Jill Scott in either half giving the Lionesses the win in Walsall on Saturday.

Phil Neville’s side initially struggled to keep the ball but had the chance to take the lead in the 17th minute when Ellen White was put through on goal on a counter-attack, only to see her effort go wide of the far post.

The hosts were also fortunate late in the half when Signe Bruun bundled the ball into the England net but the goal was disallowed for a handball.

Parris, who recently moved to Champions League winners Olympique Lyon, helped to settle the team’s nerves in first-half stoppage time when she pounced on a poor clearance at the edge of the box and her shot crept past goalkeeper Katrine Abel.

Skipper Scott made it 2-0 with a header from close range in the 59th minute after she made an unmarked run from midfield to get on the end of Beth Mead’s cross.

England play one more warm-up game against New Zealand on June 1 before heading to France for the World Cup where they will begin their campaign in Group D against Scotland on June 9 before taking on Argentina and 2011 champions Japan.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Botswana's President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria
FILE PHOTO: Botswana’s President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

May 25, 2019

GABORNE (Reuters) – Former Botswana President Ian Khama quit the ruling party on Saturday as a policy feud with his hand-picked successor deepened, threatening to split the party that has ruled the country since independence in 1966.

Khama handed power to his then-deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi last year after serving as president of the diamond-rich southern African nation for a decade, and he remains an influential figure in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

But Masisi, only the third person from outside the Khama political dynasty to lead Botswana since independence from Britain, has clashed repeatedly with his former ally since he took over.

Their latest disagreement was over Masisi’s decision to lift the suspension on big game hunting imposed by Khama’s government in 2014.

Khama told a gathering on Saturday in the northeastern village of Serowe, where he is paramount chief, he was switching support from the BDP to opposition alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ahead of an October general election.

“I came here to tell you that I am cutting ties with the BDP as I do not recognize this party anymore. It was a mistake to choose Masisi as my successor. I will now work with the opposition to make sure that the BDP loses power in October,” Khama said.

Khama served the maximum two terms as president before stepping down in a scripted succession that compelled him to hand power to his deputy.

In a 2014 general election, the BDP failed for the first time to score an outright majority as the country struggles to make its ailing economy less reliant on diamond sales.

(Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib
People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib, Syria May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

May 25, 2019

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said on Saturday.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying rebels had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior rebel commander said.

Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near rebel-held Jabal al Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a rebel and a witness said.

The delivery of dozens of armoured vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda, one senior opposition figure said.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), Captain Naji Mustafa, did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, saying rebels had long had a big arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armoured vehicles “alongside material and logistical support by our Turkish brothers”.

The retreat from Kfar Nabouda was an upset to a Russian goal of a speedy military campaign to gain another slice of heavily populated Idlib province.

In the last 24 hours, the Syrian army has been sending large troop reinforcements ahead of opening a new front, a source in touch with Syrian army commanders told Reuters.

The Syrian army said on Saturday it continued to intensify its attacks on what it called terrorist hideouts in the northwest.

A Turkey backed-rebel grouping called the National Army which operates in northwestern border areas near Turkey has been allowed to join mainstream rebel factions along the frontlines.

“Large numbers of our fighters have joined with all their weapons to repel the assault,” Major Youssef Hamoud, their spokesman, said.

The rebels’ readiness to put aside differences that once led to bloody internecine fighting has united jihadists and mainstream rebels for the first time in years.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 General view of the car of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the garage during qualifying REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton celebrated an emotional pole position for dominant Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday with team mate Valtteri Bottas joining the Formula One leader in a front row sweep.

The pole, record-extending 85th of the Briton’s stellar career and second of the season, came with the sport mourning the death of triple world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

The team look set to deliver a perfect tribute to the Austrian in Sunday’s race in the shape of a sixth successive one-two finish, with Ferrari out of sorts on a shambolic afternoon.

“This is definitely one of the best poles,” said Hamilton, who denied Bottas a fourth successive top slot with a last lap 0.086 quicker than the Finn’s best effort around the metal-fenced streets.

“This one’s for Niki,” added the five-times world champion, who leads Bottas by seven points in the standings.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will line up fourth after narrowly avoiding going out in the opening phase.

A glaring error by Ferrari denied Charles Leclerc the chance to shine at home, with the 21-year-old failing to make it through the first phase and qualifying only 16th after going fastest in final practice.

Verstappen’s team mate Pierre Gasly qualified fifth with Kevin Magnussen sixth for Haas and Daniel Ricciardo, last year’s winner for Red Bull, seventh in a Renault.

Toro Rosso had two cars in the top 10, with Daniil Kvyat eighth and Alexander Albon 10th. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz lines up between them in ninth.

Vettel’s last-ditch effort to lift himself into the second phase saved the German’s skin but plunged Leclerc, whom Ferrari had thought was safe and had not sent out for one final lap, into the bottom group.

“I asked whether they were sure,” the dejected Monegasque told Sky Sports television, adding it was hard to understand or accept the failure.

“They told me we think we are (OK). And I said shouldn’t we get out again? There was no real answer.”

Leclerc said his best hope now was for rain to turn the race, so often a procession in Monaco’s tight streets, into a lottery on Sunday.

“I’ll have to take a lot of risks I think, even risking to crash, but at the end that’s the only thing we need to do now, to try and be extreme in our overtaking because this is a track where it’s basically impossible to overtake,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Ural” during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 25, 2019

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

(Reporting by Dmitry Vasilyev; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

A leader of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous Ray Wong leaves a court in Hong Kong
Ray Wong, one of the leaders of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, leaves a court in Hong Kong, China, September 23, 2016, with nine other defendants after pleading not quilty on charges relating to Mongkok riots during Lunar New Year. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

May 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has made “solemn representations” to Germany after it granted refugee status to two Hong Kong activists facing rioting charges in the Chinese-ruled city, demanding it correct its “mistakes”, state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Xinhua said the Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry summoned Germany’s Acting Consul General to Hong Kong David Schmidt for an emergency meeting on Friday, where a representative expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition”.

The two Hong Kong activists – Ray Wong, 25, and Alan Li, 27 – were former members of Hong Kong Indigenous, a group advocating Hong Kong’s independence from China. They were charged for rioting linked to a protest that turned violent in February 2016.

The pair, who later skipped bail and fled to Germany in 2017 via Taiwan, told Reuters this week they were granted refugee asylum status in Germany in May 2018.

“(China) urges the German side to recognize its mistakes and change its course, and not to accept and condone criminals, and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” Xinhua said.

The German consulate said this week it was aware that the two Hong Kong residents were staying in Germany, although it could not provide details on individual cases.

Hong Kong activists have become increasingly defiant in recent years, concerned about creeping interference from Beijing despite a promise of special autonomy for the city, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Scores of activists have been jailed on various charges including contempt of court and public nuisance. Critics said Hong Kong authorities have brought such charges to stifle freedom of expression and assembly.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also expressed “deep regrets and strong objections” to the German authorities.

Hong Kong authorities deny persecuting activists.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Formula E - Berlin ePrix
Motorsport – Formula E – Berlin ePrix – Berlin-Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany – May 25, 2019 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi celebrates winning the race with the trophy on the podium

May 25, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi gave Audi a home win in Formula E’s Berlin ePrix on Saturday, his second victory of the season, to put the heat on championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished third.

Former champion Di Grassi moved up to second overall in the standings and six points behind Frenchman Vergne, who has 102 after 10 races.

Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, who had started on pole position for Nissan at the Tempelhof airport circuit, was runner-up.

Di Grassi took the lead on the third lap, diving down the inside of Buemi, and stayed ahead to secure a back-to-back win for Audi in Berlin after last year’s success with Daniel Abt.

The Brazilian also took a point for the fastest lap.

Techeetah’s Vergne, last season’s title winner in the all-electric series, started back in eighth place but came through the field aggressively to stand on a podium of Formula E champions.

His German team mate Andre Lotterer dropped to third overall after retiring in the pits with a battery problem.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Los Angeles Rams Press Conference
FILE PHOTO: Jan 31, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) answers questions from the media during press interviews at Marriott Atlanta Buckhead. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – Aaron Donald is already the most fearsome defender in the NFL but the sting of a Super Bowl loss that kept him from making good on a promise to his young daughter has the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle determined to come back better next season.

The moment that stuck with Donald most from that Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in February did not happen in the game but rather in the immediate aftermath as his opponents brought their families onto the field to celebrate.

As Donald returned to the Rams locker room his daughter was reduced to tears since the result meant she was not able to play with her dad in the shiny confetti that cascaded from the rafters and coated the field.

“My main thing is I got to hold up to that promise. I told her she was going to be able to play in that confetti with her dad after we win,” Donald told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“So we are going to get there and we are going to win it this time … definitely more motivated than ever.”

The two-times reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, whose dominance has redefined his position, is so set on improving that he dismissed suggestions that he take two weeks off after the Super Bowl and was in the gym four days later.

Donald, who has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his five NFL campaigns and in 2018 came up two sacks shy of tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5, is convinced that he has another level to his game.

“People are probably going to think I’m just talking, but I honestly feel like I haven’t played my best yet,” said Donald, who is working with DICK’S Sporting Goods on their National Runner’s Month campaign for May.

“I feel like there is a lot more room for improvement. I did a lot of good things last season that I get to build off but I also did a lot of things that I could clean up to make myself that much better.”

For all his dominance, Donald was largely held in check in his maiden Super Bowl appearance where he was limited to five tackles and one quarterback hit in a 13-3 loss.

Still, Donald is convinced that he and his young team mates will benefit from the experience of having played on the NFL’s biggest stage and will find a way to win should they make a return trip to the championship game.

“Experience is everything in this league,” said Donald.

“The more experience you got the more things you are able to go through, and the ups and downs through a season that you had I don’t think it can do anything but make you that much better.”

The 28-year-old former first-round draft pick has yet to watch a replay of the Super Bowl but plans to do so ahead of the 2019 season and break down each play to determine how he could have had a greater impact.

Donald promises to be more prepared than ever when the 2019 NFL regular season begins in September and had one simple message to the other 31 teams.

“They ain’t seen the Rams’ best football yet,” said Donald. “There’s a lot more to come.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea
Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

May 25, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Moscow must release 24 sailors who were aboard three Ukrainian vessels it intercepted in November as they crossed a strait between Russian-annexed Crimea and southern Russia, an international maritime tribunal said on Saturday.

The Russian navy had captured the Ukrainian sailors and their vessels in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black and Azov seas, on Nov. 25, 2018 after opening fire on them.

The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) said Russia had to release the sailors and vessels immediately and both nations should refrain from taking any action which might aggravate the dispute.

“The Tribunal notes that any action affecting the immunity of warships is capable of causing serious harm to the dignity and sovereignty of a state and has the potential to undermine its national security,” ITLOS President Jin-Hyun Paik said.

Ukraine has already demanded the sailors’ release and the return of the impounded vessels, yet Moscow has not heeded the request or similar calls by the EU.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it had not participated in the hearings, adding it intends to defend its point of view that the arbitration lacked the jurisdiction to consider the Kerch incident.

The ITLOS was established to settle maritime disputes by the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, of which both Ukraine and Russia are signatories. But it has no means of enforcing its decisions.

A bilateral treaty gives both Russia and Ukraine the right to use the Sea of Azov, which lies between them and is linked by the narrow Kerch Strait to the Black Sea. Yet tension has risen since Russia annexed Crimea, with both countries complaining about shipping delays and harassment.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and built a road bridge linking it to southern Russia straddling the Kerch Strait, has vowed never to give Crimea back to Ukraine. It accuses Kiev of staging a provocation in the Kerch Strait and its sailors of crossing illegally into Russian waters.

Russia’s FSB security service said it had been forced to act in November because the ships – two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat – had illegally entered its territorial waters.

“The Tribunal’s order is a clear signal to Russia that it cannot violate international law with impunity,” Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said on Facebook, adding she expected Russia to comply with the order quickly.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said if Russia releases the Ukrainian sailors and ships it could be the first signal from the Russian leadership of its readiness to end the conflict with Ukraine.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kiev and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Local hero Charles Leclerc was fastest for Ferrari in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday while team mate Sebastian Vettel crashed, with mechanics hurrying to repair the car for qualifying.

Leclerc lapped the tight street circuit with a best lap of one minute 11.265 seconds, 0.053 faster than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions, was third for Mercedes and 0.213 off the pace.

The Mercedes cars took to the track with their ‘halo’ devices painted red in a tribute to triple champion Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman who died on Monday.

Vettel locked up and crashed nose first into the barriers at Sainte Devote, with his damaged car swiftly craned off the circuit.

Ferrari said the car had been fixed and the German, a four-times world champion and double winner in Monaco, would be fine for qualifying.

While Leclerc’s time delighted the crowd, with plenty of support on a sunny afternoon in the principality, the 21-year-old was summoned to stewards and reprimanded for an infringement of the virtual safety car procedure after Vettel’s crash.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth fastest with team mate Pierre Gasly fifth.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

A view shows the company logo of Caixa Economica Federal bank in downtown Rio de Janeiro
A view shows the company logo of Caixa Economica Federal bank in downtown Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

May 25, 2019

By Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian state lender Caixa Economica Federal has picked investment bank Morgan Stanley as co-advisor to help it find insurance partners, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Morgan Stanley will manage the process alongside Caixa’s investment banking unit, the source said. Caixa Seguridade Participacoes, the insurance unit of the state lender, on Friday launched four processes to select insurance partners to sell health, dental, assistance and large risk policies.

Caixa had already sent invitations to insurers to offer other kinds of policies on May 10.

The insurance partners will have the right to underwrite policies for 20 years and sell them to Caixa’s 93 million clients through its more than 4,000 branches.

The bank intends the deals to increase Caixa Seguridade’s revenue before its initial public offering. The planned IPO is part of Caixa’s plan to raise up to 100 billion reais from the sale of assets it owns or manages.

Caixa and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a CWC meeting in New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi, India, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

May 25, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Devjyot Ghoshal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of India’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, offered to quit on Saturday after a crushing election defeat but senior party officials rejected his offer and called instead for a major internal shake-up.

Gandhi, 48 and the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had been under intense pressure since results released on May 23 showed Congress won only 52 of the 542 seats up for grabs in the country’s general election.

While that marked a marginal improvement on the party’s showing in the 2014 general election, it did not stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning a landslide mandate with 303 seats.

A second successive drubbing from Modi prompted calls for Gandhi to quit.

The result has been particularly embarrassing for Gandhi, who lost his own parliamentary seat in his home borough of Amethi in northern India, which his family has held almost continuously for the last four decades.

He did, however, win the other seat he contested in southern Kerala state.

At a meeting of top Congress leaders at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday, Gandhi offered to step down as party chief, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) said in a statement.

But the committee “unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times,” it said.

“The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress President for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party,” the committee said.

In the run-up to the election, Gandhi sought to challenge Modi directly but critics said Congress’s campaign was weakened by a lack of focus and botched communications, as well as being out-spent by the BJP.

Building political capital from escalating tensions with arch-rival Pakistan ahead of the polls, the BJP concentrated on Modi’s national security record, effectively countering the opposition’s criticism of the government’s work on creating jobs and alleviating farmers’ woes.

Gandhi’s inability to replace the party’s old guard, responsible for its worst-ever electoral result in 2014, with younger leaders also proved an error, Congress officials said.

The party’s performance in this year’s election has drawn stinging criticism from political commentators such as prominent historian Ramachandra Guha, who called for Gandhi to go.

“Both self-respect, as well as political pragmatism, demand that the Congress elect a new leader,” Guha said on Twitter.

(Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a CWC meeting in New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi, India, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

May 25, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Devjyot Ghoshal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of India’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, offered to quit on Saturday after a crushing election defeat but senior party officials rejected his offer and called instead for a major internal shake-up.

Gandhi, 48 and the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had been under intense pressure since results released on May 23 showed Congress won only 52 of the 542 seats up for grabs in the country’s general election.

While that marked a marginal improvement on the party’s showing in the 2014 general election, it did not stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning a landslide mandate with 303 seats.

A second successive drubbing from Modi prompted calls for Gandhi to quit.

The result has been particularly embarrassing for Gandhi, who lost his own parliamentary seat in his home borough of Amethi in northern India, which his family has held almost continuously for the last four decades.

He did, however, win the other seat he contested in southern Kerala state.

At a meeting of top Congress leaders at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday, Gandhi offered to step down as party chief, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) said in a statement.

But the committee “unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times,” it said.

“The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress President for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party,” the committee said.

In the run-up to the election, Gandhi sought to challenge Modi directly but critics said Congress’s campaign was weakened by a lack of focus and botched communications, as well as being out-spent by the BJP.

Building political capital from escalating tensions with arch-rival Pakistan ahead of the polls, the BJP concentrated on Modi’s national security record, effectively countering the opposition’s criticism of the government’s work on creating jobs and alleviating farmers’ woes.

Gandhi’s inability to replace the party’s old guard, responsible for its worst-ever electoral result in 2014, with younger leaders also proved an error, Congress officials said.

The party’s performance in this year’s election has drawn stinging criticism from political commentators such as prominent historian Ramachandra Guha, who called for Gandhi to go.

“Both self-respect, as well as political pragmatism, demand that the Congress elect a new leader,” Guha said on Twitter.

(Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN


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