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FILE PHOTO: International Labour Organization's annual labour conference
FILE PHOTO: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the opening day of the International Labour Organization’s annual labour conference in Geneva, Switzerland June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

June 16, 2019

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Youth unemployment in South Africa has become a “national crisis”, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday at an event commemorating youth activism during the apartheid era.

Unemployment in Africa’s most advanced economy has remained stubbornly high since white minority rule ended 25 years ago, and creating jobs is a major challenge for Ramaphosa as he aims to reignite an underperforming economy.

Unemployment inched up to 27.6% in the first quarter, official data showed in May, underscoring the task faced by Ramaphosa after his ANC party won re-election last month.

An expanded category of unemployment, including people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 38% in the first quarter from 37.0% in the previous three-month period.

“We are very much alive to the fact that youth unemployment is indeed a national crisis,” Ramaphosa told an audience of mainly young people and students on National Youth Day.

The day honors scores of students killed during the 1976 Soweto uprising that helped focus global attention on the brutality of apartheid.

According to government agency Stats SA, the burden of unemployment is concentrated among the 15-34 age group who account for almost two-thirds of the jobless. Around four out of 10 young people do not have a job.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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FILE PHOTO: Algerian Prime Minister Ouyahia awaits arrival of French President Macron at Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia at Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers, Algeria December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

June 16, 2019

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algerian former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia appeared in a court in Algiers on Sunday to be questioned over alleged corruption involving the partner in Algeria of Germany’s Volkswagen, state TV said.

This is the second time Ouyahia has been questioned since the Supreme Court last week ordered his detention as part of another investigation into alleged corruption.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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FILE PHOTO: Algerian Prime Minister Ouyahia awaits arrival of French President Macron at Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia at Houari Boumediene airport in Algiers, Algeria December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

June 16, 2019

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algerian former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia appeared in a court in Algiers on Sunday to be questioned over alleged corruption involving the partner in Algeria of Germany’s Volkswagen, state TV said.

This is the second time Ouyahia has been questioned since the Supreme Court last week ordered his detention as part of another investigation into alleged corruption.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Fourth Round
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Fourth Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 20, 2019. Russia’s Maria Sharapova looks on during the match against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

June 16, 2019

By Martyn Herman

SANTA PONSA, Mallorca (Reuters) – Maria Sharapova says she will draw inspiration from Rafael Nadal’s incredible powers of recovery as she resumes her injury-hit career on the Spanish great’s island next week.

The 32-year-old Russian has not played a competitive match since pulling out of the St Petersburg Open in January and underwent surgery on her right shoulder a few weeks later.

She returns to action next week at the Mallorca Open grasscourt event as she prepares for Wimbledon, the tournament that launched her to fame and fortune 15 years when she claimed the title as a teenager.

Sharapova was already training on grass in the sunshine Balearic isle while Nadal was winning his record-extending 12th French Open last weekend, having battled back from knee injuries.

“He is the ultimate fighter and an amazing example of what you can achieve if you have the will and the passion for what you do,” Sharapova said on Sunday.

“I’ve always admired the way he has fought through all the injuries he’s had and he’s the greatest example of that.

“The sport is so physical, especially the way he plays, but brings an optimistic perspective on his work that he can come back and be a champion. He is extremely motivated.”

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, ranked 86th in the world, says she is pain free and happy to be back on court, although admits the real test will be in matches.

“The shoulder is doing well, I took my time in order to come back to my first event and feel that I have a really good chance at it,” Sharapova told Reuters.

“With every match it will be a good test, but I need to get it out into the battlefield to test it.

“You can heal all you want but when you get back to your sport it’s a different ball game.”

Sharapova admits few people will “give her a shot” at challenging for the Wimbledon title, but believes she has a chance of making an impact if her shoulder holds up.

Most of all, however, she is excited to return with her passion for the sport intact after so many injury setbacks and also missing 15 months because of a doping ban.

“I still have many expectations on myself even though I think I also have many opportunities to do other things,” said Sharapova.

“But this sport is very unique and special and I enjoy trying to be better every day.”

She said she hopes the decision to undergo surgery will allow her to start enjoying the sport again.

“Before it was about pain management, I wasn’t really enjoying playing because after every match I was thinking about what I needed to do to help my shoulder,” she said.

“There were some great matches at the start of the year but once I played that first match in St Petersburg I knew that I needed a clear mind.”

Asked why she selected Mallorca for her return, she looked up to the blue skies.

“It’s a great place to train,” she said. “The conditions here are maybe better than the rain delays you may have in England, maybe playing a couple of matches in a day.”

Sharapova is scheduled to play her first match on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 16, 2019

By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – Several hopefuls vying to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May turned their fire on favorite Boris Johnson on Sunday, questioning his pledge to leave the European Union by the end of October no matter what.

With former London mayor and foreign minister Johnson keeping a low profile, the other candidates have targeted the air waves to try to present their cases to lead the governing Conservative Party. But the question always returns to “Boris”.

The free publicity has done little so far to hurt Johnson, who unlike many politicians is better know by his first name Boris. He secured a large lead in the first round of voting and his team hopes for an increased share this week in the second.

But now the gloves are off. Candidate after candidate on Sunday questioned his ability to navigate Britain’s departure from the EU, saying his pledge to leave on Oct. 31 was nigh on impossible and would set Britain on track for a no deal Brexit.

“The difference between me and Boris is that I would try for a deal,” said foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who is running in second place in the leadership contest.

“I am not going to create a set of circumstances that makes it all but impossible to get a deal because I think we should be offering the country some better choices,” he told the BBC Andrew Marr Show, adding that he was the only “alternative”.

One of Hunt’s supporters, work and pensions minister Amber Rudd, went further, making a thinly veiled criticism of what she described as some candidates “do or die approach” to Brexit without “considering the consequences to people’s jobs”.

TORY TOAST

Almost three years since Britain voted to leave the EU, the country, the parliament and both of the main parties are still deeply divided over how, when and even whether Brexit should happen.

Brexit has claimed two prime ministers. David Cameron resigned shortly after the referendum and now May is making way for a successor because of her failure to get a deal she agreed with the EU through parliament.

The question over Britain’s membership of the bloc is dominating the Conservative leadership race, with many of the candidates, albeit some of them reluctantly, saying they would lead the country out without a Brexit deal.

One, Rory Stewart, who wants to rule out a no deal Brexit, took issue with Johnson’s argument that the only way to get an improved deal from the EU was to prepare for leaving without an agreement and using that as leverage.

“They are not scared of it because it is not a credible threat. The European Union knows no deal cannot get through parliament,” he told the BBC, taking aim at Johnson for not offering up his views to scrutiny.

“How is Boris going to deliver Brexit, how? … I don’t even know what he believes. He won’t talk to me, he won’t talk to you, he won’t talk to the public. We want to know what he believes,” said Stewart, international development minister.

Dominic Raab, a former Brexit minister who is more in tune with Johnson but declined to say whether he would back him, said there was time to catch up with the frontrunner by taking part in debates to explain policy. All the candidates, except for Johnson, will take part in a debate later on Sunday.

“The Tory party will be toast unless we are out by the end of October,” Raab told Sky News. “I certainly think the Conservatives cannot win an election unless we’ve delivered Brexit.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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FILE PHOTO: Man walks past a building with an advertisement of Baoshang Bank in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a building with an advertisement of Baoshang Bank in Beijing, China September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

June 16, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The Chinese government’s takeover of Baoshang Bank has caused some pain but prevented bigger financial and social instability, and regulators will restructure the lender as soon as possible, a newspaper affiliated to China’s central bank said on Sunday.

Chinese regulators had completed debt repayment and transfer for Baoshang bank’s big institutional and interbank clients as of June 7, and will move on to verify and evaluate the lender’s assets ahead of the restructuring, according to the Financial News article, published on the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) website.

Chinese financial regulators took control of Inner Mongolia-based Baoshang Bank on May 24 due to “serious” credit risks, rattling domestic markets and prompting PBOC to inject cash into the banking system.

The article said that since the takeover, individual savings have been stable, and there has been no bank run, showing depositors are supportive of the takeover measures. In addition, 99.98% of Baoshang Bank’s institutional creditors were fully repaid.

Although a very small portion of the lender’s clients didn’t get 100% guarantee of their principals, it’s a lesson to those who have been aggressively buying high-yielding investment products with little risk control, according to the article.

There has been “a little bit of pain,” but if regulators turn a blind eye to moral hazards, “potential financial risks will get bigger and bigger, and morph into systemic risks,” it said.

Baoshang Bank is operating normally, and is witnessing less-than-expected net asset outflows, according to the article. The next step would be to carry out market-oriented restructuring to turn Baoshang Bank into a fully healthy and stable lender, it said.

Since the takeover of Baoshang Bank, regulators have taken a series of measures to ease liquidity stress, and repeatedly said risks at small financial institutions are manageable.

On Friday, sources told Reuters that China’s securities watchdog has surveyed Chinese brokerages and fund managers for signs of financing stress.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen Brenda Goh and Cheng Leng; Editing by Keith Weir)

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FILE PHOTO: An EU flag flies beside Switzerland's national flag near the German-Swiss border in Rheinfelden
FILE PHOTO: An EU flag flies beside Switzerland’s national flag near the German-Swiss border in Rheinfelden, Germany, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd WIegmann/File Photo

June 16, 2019

By Michael Shields

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss ties with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, face a critical test this week as Brussels decides whether the two sides have made enough progress on a stalled draft treaty to head off punitive measures set to start at the end of June.

After more than four years of negotiations produced a draft text in November, the Swiss government this month tentatively endorsed the accord but said it needed clarifications on three areas — protecting Swiss wages, regulating state aid, and spelling out citizens’ rights — before it could sign off.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker — whose term ends on Oct. 31 — responded that he was prepared to clear up any questions but wanted this done by Tuesday, when the Commission reviews relations with Switzerland.

The Commission’s main leverage is its recognition of Swiss stock exchanges as equivalent to EU bourses, which allows them to access the bloc’s single market and which is due to expire at the end of June.

Finding language to address Swiss concerns on state aid and the rights of EU citizens living in Switzerland — but without reopening the draft accord for renegotiation — does not look insurmountable, people close to the situation say.

But tackling Swiss measures to protect Europe’s highest wages from EU workers crossing the border on cheaper temporary assignments — a main bone of contention for a decade — looks like a harder nut to crack.

The head of the Swiss SGB labor union federation, Pierre-Yves Maillard, stuck to a hard line, telling the SonntagsZeitung paper it would be impossible to find a solution by autumn.

“The government can speak to Brussels in the weeks ahead and discuss a treaty, but there is no basis at present to find a concrete solution or even wrap up a treaty,” he added.

Complicating matters are Swiss parliamentary elections on Oct. 20, with mainstream parties loath to hand the anti-EU Swiss People’s Party (SVP) a treaty deal that the SVP could use as a stick with which to beat the three other coalition members.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Keith Weir)

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FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

June 16, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said it would announce additional steps to reduce its commitments under the 2015 international nuclear pact, which Washington withdrew from last year, Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday.

“Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation tomorrow at the Arak heavy water site will announce preparatory steps that have been taken to further decrease Tehran’s commitments under the deal,” Tasnim said.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Writing by Tuqa Khalid)

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FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the LABACE fair in Sao Paulo
FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Aug. 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

June 16, 2019

By Eric M. Johnson

PARIS (Reuters) – Boeing Co engineers are reducing the scope and duration of certain costly physical tests used to certify the planemaker’s new aircraft, according to industry sources and regulatory officials.

But the strategy could be at risk if regulators and U.S. lawmakers probing two deadly Boeing plane crashes require even more rigorous safety tests before certifying new aircraft as passenger-worthy.

As Boeing kicks off the year-long flight testing process on its new 777X, its engineers will cut hours off airborne testing by using computer models to simulate flight conditions, and then present the results to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as part of the basis for certification, according to two people with direct knowledge of the strategy.

Reuters could not determine when Boeing decided to move forward with the plan to cut back on physical tests or the extent to which it planned to reduce them for the 777X.

For Boeing’s proposed twin-aisle jetliner, known internally as NMA, Boeing’s Test & Evaluation group is developing the technology to replace costly and labor intensive physical safety tests used for decades – such as using machines to bend the wings to extreme angles and shaking the fuselage until it cracks – with computer modeling, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, including an FAA official.

Such work for the NMA is in the conceptual phase, though Boeing’s goal is to expand “certification by analysis” as “extensively as they possibly can” to slash development costs, one of the people told Reuters. Doing so enhances a finely balanced business case for launching NMA, which would be the first aircraft fully developed in the digital age.

Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman declined to comment on the company’s testing strategy for the 777X or the NMA, but said the planemaker was “looking holistically at our design and certification processes” following the 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which together killed 346 people.

“This includes participating in ongoing independent government reviews and establishing a new board committee to review our end-to-end design and certification processes,” Bergman said.

When asked whether the FAA would allow Boeing to eliminate an array of physical tests for NMA and 777X, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the agency “makes determinations on a case-by-case basis, relying on data and decades of experience in certifying aircraft.”

Current regulations allow planemakers to use physical testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance.

Like the MAX, the NMA and 777X – which Boeing is racing to deliver in 2020 – are centerpieces in Boeing’s duel with Airbus SE and will influence how Boeing decides to manufacture and certify an eventual 737 MAX replacement. How quickly and at what cost the new planes are delivered to customers is critical to not just Boeing’s bottom line, but also the U.S. Congressional budget.

In February 2018, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg touted the company’s “streamlining certifications” effort at an industry conference, saying it was “an item we want to keep on the leading edge.”

While Boeing declined to elaborate on what Muilenburg meant by “streamlining,” people familiar with the matter said it includes lobbying for more limited direct FAA oversight and expanding the use of digital analysis over costlier physical testing to show regulatory compliance.

Like Boeing, Airbus and other manufacturing heavyweights are working to seize technological leaps in computerized engineering methods and tools that bridge the real and virtual world, and improve factory floor efficiency. Airbus declined to comment.

Five people familiar with the matter said Boeing believes that new technology and decades of testing experience have rendered some physical tests redundant for demonstrating safety.

For example, when vibrating a fuselage on an enormous platform to expose weaknesses – known as fatigue testing – the vast majority of the time the tool itself breaks instead of the airframe, according to a person with knowledge of past tests. Such work is costly and has reliably confirmed engineers’ expectations, he added.

HURDLES

The strategy to streamline plane certifications faces hurdles in the coming months as the FAA and other global regulators investigate whether Boeing’s processes are flawed after the MAX crashes, and as the Chicago-based planemaker seeks to reassure the flying public that its jetliners are safe.

Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the probes may trigger push-back against digital certification, even if there is no evidence it is unsafe.

“A headlong rush right now might not be best from an optics standpoint,” Aboulafia said.

The FAA declined to speculate on potential post-probe certification changes, but said it will “consider any and all recommendations that might help improve the process.”

Boeing’s internal review has uncovered nothing that caused it to shift its certification approach, Muilenburg and Boeing CFO Greg Smith told journalists in recent weeks.

Under current regulations, Boeing employees act as the FAA’s eyes and ears and complete much of the detailed certification work.

For example, as Boeing works to certify the 777X, engineers were catching glitches using a scaled-down cockpit mockup known internally as ‘airplane zero’ in a Seattle-area lab as recently as February. But an FAA official with knowledge of the matter said that Boeing has not issued reports directly to external FAA officials as of early this month.

That contrasts with Boeing’s original 777 development in the 1990s, when the FAA required Boeing to build a cockpit replica to conduct tests designed to weed out safety risks lurking in the 777 designs, and granular results were reported directly to the FAA for months, the official said.

Despite advances in computing power, some experts argue old-school physical tests are categorically better because they can produce unpredictable results, said one industry certification expert.

“Test has changed for the company from being a place of discovery to being mostly to validate what we thought we knew,” said Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing 737 MAX engineer.

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Tracy Rucinski and Edward Tobin)

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Delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa
Ministers and delegates, including Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada, gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

June 16, 2019

KARUIZAWA, Japan (Reuters) – Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale, the Japanese government said after hosting the two-day ministerial meeting.

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, on June 28-29.

One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage, with many countries banning plastic bags outright.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic trash, including developing biodegradables and other innovations.

The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.

Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.

They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.

“I’m glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, told a news conference.

Japan plans to host the first meeting under the new framework this autumn when officials of environment ministers in the G20 countries are due to meet for the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa
Ministers and delegates, including Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada, gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

June 16, 2019

KARUIZAWA, Japan (Reuters) – Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale, the Japanese government said after hosting the two-day ministerial meeting.

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, on June 28-29.

One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage, with many countries banning plastic bags outright.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic trash, including developing biodegradables and other innovations.

The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.

Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.

They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.

“I’m glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, told a news conference.

Japan plans to host the first meeting under the new framework this autumn when officials of environment ministers in the G20 countries are due to meet for the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Hunt, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, attends a hustings event in London
Jeremy Hunt, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, attends a hustings event in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 16, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday he was the alternative to Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, saying he would strive to win a Brexit deal from the European Union.

“The difference between me and Boris, is that I would try for a deal,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“I am not going to create a set of circumstances that makes it all but impossible to get a deal because I think we should be offering the country some better choices.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, arrives in to the Magistrate Court, for a hearing on a plea deal over the misuse of state funds for meals, in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, arrives in to the Magistrate Court, for a hearing on a plea deal over the misuse of state funds for meals, in Jerusalem June 16, 2019. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS

June 16, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, appeared in court on Sunday to admit criminal wrongdoing over the misuse of state funds to order catered meals, in a plea bargain carrying no jail time.

Under the agreement, a fraud charge was reduced to a lesser offense and she will pay the state 45,000 shekels ($12,490) in reimbursement and a 10,000 shekel ($2,775) fine.

According to the original indictment, Sara Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained from the state more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations that prohibit the practice if a cook is employed at home.

Smiling broadly, Netanyahu faced a phalanx of cameras in the courthouse before the session got under way.

At the hearing, a judge ratified the plea deal, convicting her of the criminal charge of intentionally exploiting another person’s mishandling of state money for her own benefit, after prosecutors dropped the more serious offense of fraud.

“Do you understand what you admitted to?” the judge asked Netanyahu, 60.

“Yes, I do,” she replied.

Israel’s YNet website published a photograph of what it said was a note from her husband, who was not in the court, that was passed to her during the session. “We will get through this, too. Be strong!!”, it said.

While the deal lifts a legal cloud over Sara Netanyahu, it has no direct bearing on the prime minister’s own troubles – three corruption cases in which he has denied wrongdoing.

In February, Israel’s attorney general said he intended to file fraud and bribery charges against Benjamin Netanyahu, pending a pre-trial hearing.

That session is set for early October, two weeks after a Sept. 17 general election that follows a ballot in April in which Netanyahu declared victory but failed to form a government.

In explaining the plea agreement to the court, prosecutors cited Mrs Netanyahu’s clean record, the public humiliation she has suffered as a result of the case and the time that has passed – up to nine years – since the crimes were committed.

The government employee charged along with Netanyahu also reached an agreement with the prosecution and was fined 10,000 shekels.

Sara Netanyahu has elicited a multitude of headlines in the past over what family spokesmen have decried as an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

Three years ago, a labor court found she had insulted and raged at household staff, and it awarded about $40,000 to the former chief caretaker of the prime minister’s residence in a civil suit against the government over alleged mistreatment and unfulfilled promises of tenure.

(Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft takes part in the Malta International Airshow at SmartCity Malta outside Kalkara
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft takes part in the Malta International Airshow at SmartCity Malta outside Kalkara, Malta, September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

June 16, 2019

By Andrea Shalal

PARIS (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy expects additional U.S. and international orders for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in coming months, which should extend production by two years to late 2025, a senior U.S. Navy official told Reuters.

Navy Captain Tony Rossi, program manager for the P-8 and its predecessor, the P-3, said the Navy was hoping to finalize the order book for the program soon to be able to “effectively and efficiently close out the production.”

He said the program could see about 21 additional orders from the U.S. Navy on top of 117 aircraft already funded, plus roughly the same number from other countries, although he declined to name potential new buyers.

The P-8, based on Boeing’s 737-800 airframe, conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction, and also carries electronic support measures, torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons.

It is already operated by the U.S. Navy, Australia and India, and has been ordered by Britain, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.

Rossi said he was urging potential buyers to place their orders soon.

“The message is clear. The time is now to make sure that production continues to get those orders filled,” he said. “I’m upbeat. I think there’ll likely be additional U.S. orders and additional FMS (foreign military sales) quantities in the next six to nine months.”

Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Virginia-based Teal Group, said other potential buyers included Singapore and Canada. The transatlantic NATO alliance was also considering ordering the aircraft, according to sources familiar with the program.

“The market is somewhat thinner than expected, but they’ll get more orders. The production line will probably wind up running into the late 2020s,” Aboulafia said.

Boeing builds about 1.5 P-8 aircraft a month, but could slow production to extend the line, which is now slated to end in mid- to late-2023, and allow additional international customers to join the program, Rossi said.

He said demand for broad-area maritime patrol was rising given sharp increases in Russian submarine activity, and the capabilities of those vessels.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: ECB Governing Council member Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member and OeNB Governor Ewald Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

June 16, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – The European Central Bank could set itself a more flexible inflation target given how difficult it has been to boost prices, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said in remarks published on Sunday.

“I personally believe that it would be reasonable to have some more flexibility like the Israeli or Czech central banks have done,” Nowotny told Germany’s Handelsblatt business newspaper. “I am in favor of keeping the 2 percent target but with a corridor of 0.5 or 1 percent, up or down. A precision landing is hardly possible.”

The ECB has an inflation target of close to but below 2 percent.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 16, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, should be tested in the leadership contest and the person to challenge him is international aid minister Rory Stewart, junior defense minister Tobias Ellwood said on Sunday.

“Who will actually test Boris and get him to raise his game? … I believe Boris Johnson in one corner and Rory Stewart in another, that is a competition that would be exciting, so bring that on,” Ellwood told Sky News.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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FILE PHOTO: Extinction Rebellion protest in London
FILE PHOTO: Climate change activists attend an Extinction Rebellion protest outside Heathrow Airport in London, Britain April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

June 16, 2019

By Matthew Green

LONDON (Reuters) – Climate activism group Extinction Rebellion has postponed to later this year a plan to use drones to shut down Britain’s Heathrow Airport, saying it had designed new tactics to allay public fears over safety.

Last month aviation authorities went on the alert when the activists pledged to paralyze Europe’s busiest airport intermittently in June and July to highlight the damage that a planned third runway would cause to Earth’s climate.

Britain’s aviation minister warned any such action would be met with the “full force of the law” and Heathrow Airport said using drones would be ‘reckless’ and could endanger lives.

Extinction Rebellion said it had decided to postpone the action, which was due to start on Tuesday, until after the summer after devising new drone protocols.

“Extinction Rebellion will not be carrying out any actions at Heathrow Airport in June or July this year, aimed at causing disruption to holidaymakers and those planning to use the airport in this period,” the group said in a statement.

“The Heathrow Airport authorities will therefore not have to pause any summer flights.”

London’s Metropolitan Police issued a statement on Friday warning that any protestors who disrupted the airport would be dealt with in line with the law.

(Reporting by Matthew Green; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese woman adjusts a Chinese national flag next to U.S. national flags before a Strategic Dialogue expanded meeting, part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: A Chinese woman adjusts a Chinese national flag next to U.S. national flags before a Strategic Dialogue expanded meeting, part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

June 16, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The United States has underestimated the Chinese people’s will to fight a trade war and Beijing is prepared for a long economic battle, an influential Chinese Communist Party journal said on Sunday.

China would not give way on major principles in its negotiations with the United States on ending the dispute, the commentary in the ideological journal Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, said.

The editorial represented “a further mobilization of Chinese society” in the struggle against U.S. trade pressure, wrote Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times newspaper, in a tweet.

“China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making that may escalate economic and trade frictions. China has no choice, nor escape route, and will just have to fight it out till the end,” the commentary said.

“No one, no force should underestimate and belittle the steel will of the Chinese people and its strength and tenacity to fight a war.”

The United States kicked off a tariff battle with China in 2018, seeking sweeping structural changes from Beijing and alleging that the Chinese have engaged in intellectual property theft over many years, which China denies.

But tensions rose sharply in May after the Trump administration accused China of reneging on promises it had made during months of talks.

The commentary also accused the United States of trying to hamper Chinese technological innovation.

“We must keep the initiative of innovation and development firmly in our hands, increase investment and research in key, core technology areas, pool together more high-value talents, enhance innovation and get rid of the core technology plight,” it said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, said on Thursday the economic burden of a trade war would shift to China.

Qiushi said U.S. consumers and businesses had reaped huge benefits from trade with China and warned that trade frictions would inevitably have a serious negative impact on the U.S. economy.

“In an era of economic globalization, trade protectionism is poison, not panacea,” the article said, adding that higher tariffs would increase manufacturing costs for U.S. businesses and push up U.S. consumer inflation.

“As a result of the trade frictions, only a very few Americans will benefit, but the majority of Americans will suffer.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office on Monday will kick off seven days of testimony from U.S. retailers, manufacturers and other businesses about Trump’s plan to hit another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Samuel Shen; Additional Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Source: OANN

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox
Jun 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Cameron Maybin (38) is greeted by second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) after hitting a home run against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

Gleyber Torres hit a two-run homer, and Nestor Cortes Jr. pitched five-plus effective innings of relief for his first career win as the New York Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the host Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.

The Yankees won on a night in which they traded for Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners, allowing New York to slot the American League’s home run leader into its lineup as the designated hitter.

Torres hit his 15th homer with one out in the fourth to cap a four-run inning off Reynaldo Lopez (4-7). His homer marked the 18th straight game that the Yankees homered in, their second-longest streak in team history and the third-longest in the majors this season.

Chad Green started the game as the opener for the fifth time and struck out six in two innings. Cortes (1-0) followed and allowed two runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking none.

Angels 5, Rays 3

Charlie Morton had his 21-start unbeaten streak come to an end as Los Angeles topped Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Angels left-hander Jose Suarez (2-1) went 5 2/3 innings for the win, allowing three runs and five hits, and Hansel Robles worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save. David Fletcher, Justin Bour and Kevan Smith homered for the Angels, who have won two of three in the series.

Morton (8-1), who had won 11 games during his league-leading unbeaten streak, steadied after a rough start and went six innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He struck out nine and walked two.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 2

J.D. Martinez homered for the fourth time in his last three games, and Chris Sale struck out 10 as visiting Boston defeated Baltimore for its fourth straight win.

Sale (3-7) went six strong innings. He allowed two runs on six hits and gave the Red Sox his third straight solid start after struggling at times during the first part of the season.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy blanked the Red Sox for the first five innings before Boston got to him for three runs in the sixth. Overall, Bundy (3-8) gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits in five-plus innings.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 1

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning as visiting Chicago rallied to stun Los Angeles and closer Kenley Jansen.

Three outs away from losing the first three games of the four-game series, the Cubs began their comeback when Kris Bryant was hit by Jansen’s first pitch. Rizzo then crushed a 2-0 pitch into the Cubs’ bullpen in right field for his team-leading 19th home run of the season. Kyle Ryan (2-1) picked up the victory for the Cubs.

Jansen (2-2) blew his third save of the season and first since May 5 at San Diego. The Cubs’ rally spoiled a solid start from the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed only two hits over seven scoreless innings.

Mets 8, Cardinals 7

Pete Alonso’s mammoth three-run homer fueled a five-run first inning, and New York held off visiting St. Louis.

The Mets snapped a two-game losing streak but might have lost winning pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who exited with none out in the seventh due to a right hamstring strain. Syndergaard (5-4) allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out five.

Michael Wacha (4-3) allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk while striking out four in four innings. Kolten Wong had two of six stolen bases by the Cardinals.

Giants 8, Brewers 7

Kevin Pillar had a pair of RBI singles and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as host San Francisco edged Milwaukee.

Brandon Crawford collected a season-high three hits, and Stephen Vogt added a career-best two triples and an RBI infield single in the eighth inning for the Giants, who have won four in a row. Trevor Gott (3-0) got the win in relief.

Christian Yelich belted his major-league-leading 26th homer with two outs in the ninth, and Manny Pina also went deep for the Brewers, who have lost three of their last four. Junior Guerra (2-1) took the loss.

Phillies 6, Braves 5

Cesar Hernandez poked a single into left field in the ninth inning to drive in two runs and help visiting Philadelphia turn the tables on Atlanta with a come-from-behind win.

Hernandez went 2-for-4 and finished with three RBIs, including his seventh home run of the season, to end Atlanta’s winning streak at eight. The Braves had beaten Philadelphia with a ninth-inning rally on Friday night.

Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb exited in the third inning after he was struck in the back of the neck by J.T. Realmuto’s 102 mph line drive. Newcomb was able to leave on his own power while Realmuto was credited with a ground-rule double as the ball flew into the Philadelphia dugout. The Phillies lost Realmuto after he took a foul ball to the groin in the fifth inning.

Astros 7, Blue Jays 2

Rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez slugged another home run, while left-hander Framber Valdez delivered a second consecutive quality start as Houston downed visiting Toronto.

Alvarez, who added a pair of singles and posted his second consecutive three-hit game, has bashed four homers in five games since his promotion from Triple-A Round Rock last Sunday. Valdez (3-2) allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over six innings.

Clayton Richard (0-3) lasted five innings for the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks with one strikeout. Toronto has dropped 13 of 17 games.

Rockies 14, Padres 8

Charlie Blackmon had four hits for the third straight game, Ian Desmond hit a grand slam and Colorado roughed up San Diego in Denver.

Blackmon became the first player in franchise history to have four hits in three straight games, and Desmond finished with five RBIs. German Marquez (7-3) allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out eight.

Ian Kinsler had three hits and drove in three runs for the Padres, and Manny Machado had two hits before being ejected from the game in the fifth inning. San Diego skipper Andy Green and pitcher Matt Strahm were also ejected in the sixth. Eric Lauer (5-6) gave up five runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings to take the loss.

Twins 5, Royals 4

Marwin Gonzalez and Max Kepler both homered, and Jake Odorizzi won his 10th straight decision as Minnesota rallied to defeat Kansas City in Minneapolis.

Odorizzi (10-2), who hasn’t lost a game since April 10 at the Mets, gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings, tying his season high in earned runs allowed. Gonzalez finished 2-of-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, and C.J. Cron drove in the winning run with a sixth-inning double.

Whit Merrifield went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored, and Jorge Soler hit a two-run homer for Kansas City. Glenn Sparkman (1-3) suffered the loss allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks. He struck out three.

Indians 4, Tigers 2

Leonys Martin stole home, and Shane Bieber struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings as Cleveland doubled up host Detroit.

Bieber (6-2), who retired the first 12 batters he faced, allowed two runs on four hits, and Brad Hand recorded his 20th save for the Indians. Martin’s bold decision in the eighth inning was the Indians’ first straight steal of home plate since Grady Sizemore on Aug. 26, 2005.

Miguel Cabrera had three hits for the Tigers, who have lost 10 of their last 13 games. The Indians broke through with three runs in the fifth against reliever Nick Ramirez (3-1).

Athletics 11, Mariners 2

Marcus Semien and Jurickson Profar each went 3-for-4, with Semien hitting a home run and Profar driving in four runs, as Oakland romped over visiting Seattle.

Athletics right-hander Frankie Montas (9-2) pitched six quality innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Mariners opener Gerson Bautista (0-1) lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and walking three while striking out one. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc followed and was rocked for six runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings as the A’s built a 9-1 lead through four innings.

Diamondbacks 10, Nationals 3

Ketel Marte hit two solo home runs, and Adam Jones and Christian Walker also went deep off Stephen Strasburg as the Arizona routed host Washington.

Nick Ahmed had four hits and scored twice for Arizona, which went deep five times overall. Reliever Yoshihisa Hirano (3-3) got the win in relief.

Strasburg (7-4) gave up four homers in a game for just the second time in his career. He tied a season high by allowing six runs — in five innings — after he had given up two runs or less in five of his previous six outings.

Marlins 4, Pirates 3

Garrett Cooper went 3-for-4 and scored the tiebreaking run in the fifth, leading host Miami past Pittsburgh.

Pablo Lopez (5-5) earned the win, allowing seven hits, one walk and three runs in seven innings, striking out four. Nick Anderson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Sergio Romo earned his 12th save with a seven-pitch ninth.

Pirates starter Dario Agrazal made his major league debut and was betrayed a bit by his defense, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) in four innings. Geoff Hartlieb (0-1) took the loss with one run allowed in two innings of relief.

Rangers 4, Reds 3

Jeff Mathis had an RBI single among his two hits, and Mike Minor tossed 6 1/3 strong innings as visiting Texas edged Cincinnati.

Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera each had an RBI single, and Danny Santana added a pair of hits for the Rangers, who took advantage of three errors to win for the 21st time in their last 31 games. Minor (6-4) was tagged for three runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

Cincinnati rookie Nick Senzel exited the game with two outs in the fifth inning after he fouled a pitch that caromed off both the ground and his foot before hitting the lid of his helmet near his left eye. Reds starter Tanner Roark (4-6) allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Erdogan addresses bussiness people during a meeting in Ankara
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses bussiness people during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 2, 2019. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

June 16, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Russian S-400 missile defense systems to start arriving in Turkey in the first half of July, broadcaster NTV reported on Sunday, a development set to fuel tensions with NATO ally Washington.

“We discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled,” Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to Tajikistan. “I think they will start to come in the first half of July.”

(Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, is seen after the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, is seen after the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali

June 16, 2019

KARUIZAWA, Japan (Reuters) – Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that OPEC would probably meet in the first week in July in Vienna and that he hoped it would reach consensus on extending its agreement to cut oil output.

Falih said earlier this month that OPEC was close to agreeing to extend the agreement beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries that were part of the production deal.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1.

“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two-weeks-time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters on the sideline of a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in , northwest of Tokyo.Asked when the meeting will be held, he said: “Probably first week of July”.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

Tyson Fury v Tom Schwarz - Heavyweight Fight
Boxing – Tyson Fury v Tom Schwarz – Heavyweight Fight – MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, United States – June 15, 2019 Tyson Fury celebrates winning the fight REUTERS/Mike Segar

June 16, 2019

(Reuters) – British heavyweight Tyson Fury made quick work of German opponent Tom Schwarz with a dominant second round TKO on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Fury, who entered as the heavy favorite, controlled the bout with his jab in the first round before ending it with a devastating combination in the second. The 30-year-old Fury landed several shots on the nose of Schwarz to bloody him and send him to the ropes where he finally went down on one knee.

Schwarz returned to his feet but could not fend off the flurry of punches as his corner threw the towel at about the same time the referee stepped in to stop things.

It was an impressive statement from Fury (28-0-1) in his first bout since his controversial draw against Deontay Wilder in December.

Fury’s performance came just weeks after a shocking heavyweight outcome with Andy Ruiz Jr. defeating Anthony Joshua in a title bout.

In his post-fight interview, Fury said he will fight again this year in late September/early October, before a rematch with Wilder in 2020.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-Mexico at Cuba
Jun 15, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; Mexico defender Uriel Antuna (22) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of group play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament against the Cuba at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) – Uriel Antuna scored a hat-trick as Mexico got their Gold Cup campaign off to a dominant start with a 7-0 rout of Cuba in their opener at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was a last-minute replacement for injured defender Jorge Sanchez in the Mexico squad for the tournament and the addition paid big dividends.

The LA Galaxy midfielder gave Mexico the perfect start in their quest for a seventh Gold Cup title when he scored in the second minute of the match, moments after Raul Jimenez had hit the post from close-range.

Antuna, who just made his international debut 10 days ago off the bench against Venezuela, gave his team a 4-0 advantage in the 44th minute, then capped his night with a final goal in the 80th minute.

Jimenez scored twice, while Diego Reyes and Ernesto Vega also tallied for El Tri.

Cheered on by a supportive crowd, Mexico showed no sign of letting down their fans down despite missing key figures like Hector Herrera, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano from their squad.

It was a first competitive win for new manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who was hired back in January and had overseen three friendly wins against South American opposition.

Cuba, making their first Gold Cup appearance since 2015, have now lost to Mexico four times in as many meetings in the biennial championship of the North, Central American and Caribbean region.

Canada earlier thrashed Martinique 4-0 at the same stadium in Saturday’s other Group A match.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Construction workers and passersby are seen through Olympic rings in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Construction workers and passersby are seen through Olympic rings in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo, Japan June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

June 16, 2019

By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sea Forest Waterway, which will play host to rowing events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, opened on Sunday with the sport’s world governing body praising organizers for delivering a “world class” venue on schedule.

Sprint canoeing as well as para-rowing and para-canoeing will also feature at the newly-built venue next year.

International Rowing Federation president Jean-Christophe Rolland, himself an Olympic gold medalist from Sydney 2000, was glad the venue was completed on time.

“Everything has been on track, on time and I am very pleased more than one year before the Olympic Games to be in such a position without any major issues,” Rolland told reporters.

“There are still some little things to improve but I can say we can be relieved we will have a good course for the Olympic Games.”

The course, which is 2,300 meters long, has been constructed on canals in Tokyo Bay and is next to a former landfill site, which has been turned into a forest in time for the Games.

There are approximately 2,000 seats in a permanent grandstand, while upto 16,000 spectators can be accommodated daily during the Olympics with help of temporary seating and standing areas.

On a sunny but blustery day, the conversation revolved around the possibility of wind affecting race conditions on a course with very little natural protection from the elements.

Several dozen rowers and canoeists managed to successfully complete a demonstration on Sunday despite the conditions and Rolland said he was unfazed.

“Of course the wind, if it is too strong, might be an issue but this is the fourth time I have come here to Tokyo and this is the first time I have seen it so strong,” said the Frenchman.

“On an eight day program I hope we will find time easily where the wind is not too strong and that we can have a good competition.”

The Sea Forest Waterway is one of just eight permanent new venues being built for Tokyo 2020. Construction for all the venues is on schedule, with the archery venue already being completed and unveiled in April.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Third Round
June 15, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Gary Woodland hits out of a bunker on the 6th hole during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

By Steve Keating

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Usually birdies and bogeys are the focal point of any round but for Gary Woodland it was pars that provided the highlights on Saturday, sending him into the final round of the U.S. Open with a one shot lead.

Woodland’s two-under 69 featured three birdies and a lone bogey but with his four shot lead trimmed to two and Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka stalking him, it was par saves at 12 and 14 that were key to his round.

“When I chipped in on 12 and made the long putt on 14 for par, he (Rose) executed putts right after that on top of that,” said Woodland. “He’s been putting well all week.

“I’m just trying to stay within myself. I’m trying to extend the lead. I’m trying to execute everything to the best of my ability, and I’ve done that really well.”

Woodland found himself in real trouble for the first time at the par-three 12th when his tee shot ended up in the tall fescue surrounding the greenside bunker.

With his only option to punch out Woodland watched his ball sail across the green and into the fringe rough where he brought the crowd to its feet chipping in from the fringe for par.

At the par-five 14 Woodland found himself in trouble again but again delivered in the clutch hitting a monster 43-foot putt to save par and keep himself from losing more ground.

“I settled in and then I was back to being myself,” said Woodland. “And that’s what I’ve learned from that situation, I can’t control everybody else.

“I can control my attitude, and I can control my game. And that’s what I’m out here to do.”

Playing in the final pair, controlling his nerves on Sunday could prove more challenging than controlling his irons but a confident Woodland says he is prepared for both.

Despite a lack of results at the majors, going out last will not be a completely unfamiliar experience for Woodland, who held the 36-hole lead at the 2018 PGA Championship and played the weekend with Tiger Woods and two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka. He finished in a tie for sixth.

“It’s more of enjoying the moment,” said Woodland, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. “This is what we play for. This is what I’ve worked so hard for.

“And I think playing with Tiger last year on Sunday, I don’t know if I enjoyed it to start the round, I think I kind of got caught up in it a little bit.

“But I’m getting more and more comfortable from the situation just because I’ve been in the situation.

“Obviously put myself in position in the PGA last year, it’s one of those where the game is becoming more complete, and with that comes a lot of confidence and adds up to playing well.”

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Third Round
Jun 15, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Rory McIlroy lines up his putt on the third hole during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Thoroughbreds Rory McIlroy and Louis Oosthuizen and untested Chez Reavie know they will need near-perfect performances on Sunday to have a chance of winning the U.S. Open.

At least they have a chance, however, which is all that most players ask before starting the final round.

Oosthuizen and Reavie will tee off equal third with Brooks Koepka, four strokes behind leader Gary Woodland, who sets the pace at 11-under-par 202, one shot ahead of Justin Rose.

McIlroy is five shots behind, alone in sixth place, and he spoke optimistically of his chances after a morale-boosting birdie at the par-five 18th.

“Even though I’m still a few off the lead, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to go out there and try to add to my major tally,” said the four-times major champion from Northern Ireland.

“I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve played all week. I felt for the most part today I did the right things. And I need to do 18 more holes of that, but just get a little bit more out of the round tomorrow than I did today.”

The first seven holes at Pebble Beach are where birdies are easiest to come by, but McIlroy said he would resist the temptation to push too hard, too early.

“Those first seven holes you can get some momentum going and you can play them in three-or-four-under, and that’s where the real meat of the golf course starts,” he said.

“I’m going to take it as it comes. Yes, I’d love to play those holes in a few under and get myself right in the thick of things, but I can’t put myself under pressure to do that because you’ve just got to let it happen.”

Oosthuizen, meanwhile, said he could not afford any mistakes.

“I feel like I need to start well and just play a great round,” said the South African, who won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, and lost a playoff there in 2015.

He also lost a playoff at the 2012 Masters.

“I’ve been there and know what the pressure is going to be like,” he said.

“For us trailing, you don’t have that pressure of the lead, and just go with everything tomorrow.

“If you think you can take something on, take it on. If you want to win the championship, you need to do that.”

Reavie is the long shot of the contenders, a journeyman whose lone PGA Tour victory came at the 2008 Canadian Open.

He has, however, been in solid form of late, including a tie for 14th at the PGA Championship last month.

The 37-year-old flagged a game plan that never goes astray at a U.S. Open — “fairways and greens”.

“The whole deal is not making bogeys,” he said.

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
FILE PHOTO: Jun 11, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) looks on after being called out on a third strike against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

The New York Yankees acquired designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

Multiple outlets report the Mariners and Yankees will split the remainder of Encarnacion’s contract, and the Yankees will send back pitching prospect Juan Then, who was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees in November of 2017.

The 36-year-old Encarnacion, who has missed Seattle’s last three games due to soreness in his back, is leading the American League in home runs with 21 this season, his first with the Mariners. In his 15th season, he has hit 401 home runs during a career that also included stints with the Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays.

He was dealt to Seattle by the Cleveland Indians in December for Carlos Santana and cash as part of a three-team trade that sent Jake Bauers from the Tampa Bay Rays to Cleveland.

–The Chicago Cubs placed right-hander Kyle Hendricks on the 10-day injured list, one day after he struggled during a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cubs said Hendricks is suffering from shoulder inflammation. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Dodgers and gave up five runs and six hits.

Hendricks, who is 7-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 14 starts this season, had won three straight starts and six consecutive decisions prior to Friday’s rough outing.

— Atlanta Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb exited his start against the Philadelphia Phillies after getting hit in the back of the head with a line drive.

In the third inning, a comebacker hit by Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto hit off Newcomb’s head and into the Philadelphia dugout for a ground-rule double. The line drive exited Realmuto’s bat at 102 mph. Newcomb turned his head away before impact but was still hit squarely.

A trainer came to check on Newcomb before he walked off the field under his own power. The 26-year-old gave up two unearned runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out three.

–The Los Angeles Angels designated right-handed reliever Cody Allen for assignment, giving up on the free-agent signee who started the season as the closer.

The Angels signed Allen to a one-year, $8.5 million contract in the offseason. He spent the previous seven seasons with Cleveland, where he had at least 24 saves in five straight seasons, including a career-high 34 in 2015.

But with the Angels, he struggled. He lost his closer role in late April after a four-game stretch in which he allowed five runs, including three home runs.

–A Babe Ruth jersey, circa 1928-30, sold for a record $5.64 million at auction. The sale of the New York Yankees jersey bested the $4.4 million previously paid for one he wore in 1920, according to Hunt Auctions.

The jersey — gray with YANKEES emblazoned across the chest — was one of more than 400 pieces of Ruth memorabilia supplied by his family and some collectors for the auction, which was held Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

The seller of the jersey was anonymous, ABC News reported. The name of the buyer was not revealed.

–The Tampa Bay Rays recalled right-hander Jake Faria from Triple-A Durham and sent down infielder Daniel Robertson.

Faria, 25, pitched two scoreless innings in April in his first stint with the team this season. He is 9-8 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 games (26 starts) over parts of three seasons with Tampa Bay, striking out 135 batters in 153 2/3 innings.

–The New York Mets acquired right-hander Brooks Pounders from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations.

Pounders will be added to the major league roster, with right-hander Tim Peterson optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

The 28-year-old Pounders appeared in 24 games for Triple-A Columbus this season and had a 2-1 record and 2.31 ERA with one save. In 38 major league games over three seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels, Pounders has a 3-2 record and an 8.92 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.

–The Cincinnati Reds placed left-hander Wandy Peralta on the 10-day injured list because of a right hip flexor strain and recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville.

Ervin, 26, hit .250 (4-for-16) with a double, a triple and two RBIs in 10 games with the Reds earlier this season. He played all three outfield positions, making two starts in center field and one start in right.

Peralta is 0-1 with a 5.96 ERA in 28 relief appearances this season. He has allowed five homers in 22 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

An aerial view shows police officers investigating the site where a police officer was found stabbed in front of a police box and the officer's gun, loaded with several bullets, was stolen, in Suita, Osaka
An aerial view shows police officers investigating the site where a police officer was found stabbed in front of a police box and the officer’s gun, loaded with several bullets, was stolen, in Suita, Osaka prefecture, western Japan June 16, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

June 16, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese police officer was stabbed several times in the chest with a kitchen knife and his loaded handgun stolen while on patrol on Sunday morning in the western city of Suita, in a rare case of violent crime in Japan, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The attack, which police believe may have been pre-meditated, sparked a manhunt with police using loudspeakers at a railway station to warn people to be on alert.

The stabbing comes two weeks before Japan hosts a leaders’ summit of the Group of 20 major economies in the neighboring city of Osaka. It also follows an incident last month in which a knife-wielding middle-aged man killed a girl and an adult, injuring another 17 people near Tokyo.

Violent crime is relatively rare in Japan but occasional high-profile incidents have shocked the nation.

“It’s scary that handgun was stolen. I want this to be resolved quickly,” a male neighbor said.

“A kindergarten’s open day was canceled due to this incident. My kids cannot go out. It’s scary,” another man said.

The 26-year-old police officer was found lying on the ground with a kitchen knife stabbed in his left chest around 5:30 a.m. Sunday (2030GMT), reported NHK.

He was attacked in front of a police box as he likely followed two officers after a telephone call reporting a theft.

Police suspect the attack may have been pre-meditated as there was no theft and a security camera showed a man, who appeared in his 30s, hanging around the police box about an hour before the stabbing, said NHK.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

NHL: St. Louis Blues - Stanley Cup Championship Celebration
Jun 15, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues and fans celebrate during the Stanley Cup championship parade and rally at the Gateway Arch. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

Heavy rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the St. Louis Blues or their fans Saturday as a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands turned out to see the 2019 Stanley Cup champions parade through downtown.

It was the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history for the Blues, who began play in 1967. St. Louis defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night. The city of St. Louis hadn’t celebrated a major title since the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series.

Fans began showing up hours before the parade, which traveled down Market Street to the Gateway Arch for a rally.

Ryan O’Reilly, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP, carried the Cup along Market Street, and let fans gets their hands on the trophy. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “I can’t believe we won a Stanley Cup.”

–The Los Angeles Kings bought out the final two years of defenseman Dion Phaneuf’s contract, making him a free agent.

Phaneuf, 34, is a three-time All-Star who surpassed the 1,000-game milestone last season. He has 494 career points (137 goals, 357 assists) in 1,048 contests to go along with 55 career playoff games.

Phaneuf tallied a career-low six points (one goal, five assists) in 67 games last season. The Kings acquired Phaneuf from the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 13, 2018.

–The Philadelphia Flyers placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers, ending his six-season tenure with the team.

MacDonald, 32, appeared in 47 games with the Flyers last season. He had nine assists, 18 penalty minutes and a minus-5 rating while averaging 16:24 of ice time.

MacDonald was set to earn $5 million next season in the final year of a six-year, $30 million deal that he inked in 2014.

–The Chicago Blackhawks acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.

Maatta, 24, had one goal and 13 assists in 60 games last season, his sixth with the Penguins. He has three years remaining on a six-year, $24.5 million contract he signed in February 2016.

Kahun scored 13 goals and 24 assists as a rookie with the Blackhawks last season. The 23-year-old is entering the final year of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Third Round
June 15, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Brooks Koepka hits from the fairway on the 2nd hole during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Brooks Koepka will have to do something new to win a fifth major championship on Sunday — come from four strokes off the pace in the final round.

Koepka has won the past two U.S. Opens and PGA Championships, and notched all those victories either from the lead or close to it in the final round.

He was one stroke behind at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, and tied for the lead last year at Shinnecock Hills.

At the 2018 PGA Championship he was two shots in front, while at this year’s PGA he was seven ahead.

Nonetheless, Koepka issued a reminder that he is golf’s new big dog after carding a bogey-free three-under-par 68 at Pebble Beach on Saturday that left him equal third, four behind leader Gary Woodland and three adrift of Justin Rose.

“I feel as confident as ever right now,” said the world number one. “It’s probably the best ball-striking week I’ve had.

Asked what his biggest advantage on Sunday would be, he said: “Just having been in the position I’m in.

“Feels like almost every major right now. Second at (the Masters at) Augusta. I felt like I’ve put myself in good chances where I’m very comfortable around that.

“I don’t need to go out and chase. I don’t need to do much, just kind of let it come to you. And from there, if I win, great; if not, I’ve given it all I had this week and it’s just not my week.”

Koepka did not make as many putts as Woodland and Rose on Saturday, a 30-footer to save par at the 15th a notable exception, but he was not unhappy with his play on the greens.

“I feel like eventually these birdies have to come,” said the American.

“I’ve hit so many good putts that just haven’t gone in … they looked like they were right in the middle, and they just die off or bounce off, whatever you want to say.

“But they’re good putts, that’s really all I can ask.”

He will play in the penultimate pairing on Sunday, and knows that Woodland and Rose behind him will hardly be able to help but notice if he makes a charge.

Victory would make him the first player in more than a century to clinch the U.S. Open title three years in a row, after Willie Anderson from 1903 to 1905.

“If I can just make a few putts, I feel like I could be right there, right next to Gary,” Koepka said.

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-Canada at Martinique
Jun 15, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; Canada forward Jonathan David (20) falls while pushing the ball up the field while Canada midfielder Russell Teibert (7) defends during the second half of group play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

June 16, 2019

By Rory Carroll

PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) – Teenager Jonathan David scored twice as Canada thrashed Martinique 4-0 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday to win the opening match of the Gold Cup.

Canada threatened from the outset and it felt like only a matter of time before Les Rouges would break through, which they did in the 33rd minute when David intercepted a poor back pass deep in Martinique territory and drilled it home.

Kevin Parsemain had the best chances of responding for Martinique but his 43rd minute attempt from close range went wide of the post and goalkeeper Milan Borjan thwarted his two other attempts to preserve Canada’s 1-0 lead into halftime.

David struck again in the 53rd minute when he got on the end of midfielder Samuel Piette’s long ball and fired his shot into the net off the base of the post to put Canada 2-0 up.

The goal was the 19-year-old forward’s sixth in five appearances for Canada.

Experienced winger Junior Hoilett put Canada up 3-0 in the 63rd minute when he bundled the ball over the line from close range and Scott Arfield’s strike four minutes later put the game out of reach for Martinique.

The match was the first in Group A, which also includes Cuba and tournament favorites Mexico, who meet later on Saturday.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng
FILE PHOTO: Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

June 16, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United Nations have reached a “broad consensus” about counter-terror work, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday after a controversial visit by a senior U.N. official to the restive far western Chinese region of Xinjiang this week.

The United States and other western countries objected to a visit by the U.N. counterterrorism chief to Xinjiang, where U.N. experts say some one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers.

Diplomats said that along with the United States several other countries, including Britain, complained about the trip of Vladimir Voronkov, a veteran Russian diplomat who heads the U.N. Counterterrorism Office.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday “to convey deep concerns” about Voronkov’s trip because “Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not”.

In a brief statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Voronkov had visited Beijing and Xinjiang from June 13-15, meeting senior diplomats including Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng.

The two sides “had a deep exchange of views on the international counter-terrorism situation and counter-terrorism cooperation between China and the United Nations, and reached a broad consensus”, the ministry said, without giving details.

China and the world need to stand together to fight terror, and China supports the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, the statement added.

China has been condemned internationally for setting up the detention complexes, which it describes as “education training centers” helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

Voronkov visited Xinjiang before U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who has repeatedly pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.

Guterres raised the plight of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region with the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, during a visit to Beijing in April.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the past few days, where he has spoken of the importance of fighting extremism and terror.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

Members of Civil Human Rights Front hold a news conference in response to the announcement by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam regarding the proposed extradition bill, outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong
Members of Civil Human Rights Front hold a news conference in response to the announcement by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam regarding the proposed extradition bill, outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong, China, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

June 16, 2019

By Anne Marie Roantree

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tens of thousands are expected to take to the streets on Sunday to demand Hong Kong’s leader steps down, a day after she suspended an extradition bill and expressed “deep sorrow and regret” that recent events had stirred “controversies.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed the bill that could send people to mainland China to face trial, in a dramatic reversal after mass and sometimes violent protests to demand the law be scrapped.

The about-face was one of the most significant political turnarounds by the Hong Kong government since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, and it threw into question Lam’s ability to continue to lead the city.

Organizers of the protest said they hope more than a million people will turn up for the rally, similar to numbers they estimated for a demonstration against the proposed extradition bill last Sunday. Police put that count at 240,000.

Violent clashes on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters grabbed global headlines and forced some banks to shut branches near the protest site in the heart of the financial hub.

The city’s independent legal system was guaranteed under laws governing Hong Kong’s return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago, and is seen by the financial hub’s business and diplomatic communities as its strong remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing.

Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return to Beijing, allowing freedoms not enjoyed on mainland China but not a fully democratic vote.

Some opponents of the extradition bill said a suspension was not enough.

“If she refuses to scrap this controversial bill altogether, it would mean we wouldn’t retreat. She stays on, we stay on,” said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo.

Asked repeatedly on Saturday if she would step down, Lam avoided answering directly and appealed to the public to “give us another chance.” Lam said she had been a civil servant for decades and still had work she wanted to do.

She added that she felt “deep sorrow and regret that the deficiencies in our work and various other factors have stirred up substantial controversies and disputes in society”.

The proposed bill had generated unusually broad opposition, from normally pro-establishment business people and lawyers to students, business chambers, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.

“AmCham is relieved by the government decision to suspend the extradition bill and that it listened to the Hong Kong people and international business community,” said Tara Joseph, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

“This sends an important signal to the international community that Hong Kong is serious about protecting its special status under “One Country, Two Systems.”

(Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree and Clare Jim; Editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Third Round
Jun 15, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Tiger Woods hits out of the greenside bunker on the third hole during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

June 15, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Tiger Woods frittered away his chance of winning the U.S. Open with a poor start to the third round on Saturday, even if he battled back well to shoot an eventful five birdie, five bogey, even-par 71 at Pebble Beach.

Woods posted an even-par 213 total that was likely to leave him too far back with one round left at the scene of the most brilliant of his 15 major victories, a 15-shot triumph in 2000.

After finishing his second round with two straight bogeys, Woods dropped shots at two of his first three holes on Saturday.

“I got off to a crap start …. and those are the easier holes,” he said, speaking as the leaders were still out on the course.

“And I had to try to fight back and claw out a round today, which I was able to do.”

Three late birdies, including a two-putt at the par-five 18th after he had smoked a fairway wood from 250 yards to the front of the green, left Woods clinging to a faint hope that all was not lost.

“Still gave myself a chance for tomorrow, which is positive,” he said.

The 43-year-old, who underwent a spinal fusion two years ago, played down the presence of medical tape on the back of his neck on Saturday.

The tape is touted to relieve pain, though the jury is out on whether it is effective.

“When it’s cold like this everything is achy,” he said. “It’s just part of the deal. It’s been like that for years. The forces have to go somewhere.

“And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck, and if not, they’re in the mid-back and if not they go to the knee. You name it.

“I feel every shot I hit. I think that’s always going to be the place from here going forward.”

(Reporting Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NBA New Orleans Pelicans preseason training session
FILE PHOTO: Basketball – NBA Global Games – New Orleans Pelicans training session ahead of preseason game against Houston Rockets – Beijing, China – 11/10/16. New Orleans Pelicans player Anthony Davis talks to the media. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

June 15, 2019

The New Orleans Pelicans agreed to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in return for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks — including the No. 4 overall selection in next week’s draft — ESPN reported Saturday.

The deal, which cannot be made official until July 1, gives the Pelicans two of the top four picks next week, after they won the lottery for the top overall pick. According to ESPN, they will take Duke star Zion Williamson first overall and consider trading the fourth overall pick, with several teams already expressing interest.

The New York Times reports Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker is expected to be a top target in free agency for the Lakers in the wake of the deal for Davis.

The Boston Celtics were also involved in separate talks with the Pelicans for Davis, ESPN reported earlier this week, and the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers had interest in Davis but didn’t make much progress in discussions with New Orleans.

Earlier this week, Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents the Lakers’ LeBron James, told Sports Illustrated a deal to Boston would have resulted in a one-year rental agreement before Davis enters free agency in July 2020.

The Lakers pursued Davis after Paul announced the big man wanted a trade last winter. With Magic Johnson (Lakers) and Dell Demps (Pelicans) both out of jobs after leading those trade talks, and a fresh list of demands provided teams on Monday by first-year Pelicans team president David Griffin, there was optimism the Davis deal would happen.

New Orleans has the benefit of starting over with Williamson as a centerpiece.

One of the lingering doubts for a Lakers-Pelicans match was whether Griffin valued Ingram and Hart more than Demps did when talks fizzled in February.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTOA state oil company PDVSA's logo is seen at a gas station in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: A state oil company PDVSA’s logo is seen at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

June 15, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – The ad-hoc board of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA, appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, said on Saturday it had asked Jamaica’s government not to seize the company’s shares in an oil refinery on the island.

Jamaica’s Senate in February passed legislation clearing the way for the government to acquire the 49 percent stake in the Petrojam refinery that PDVSA acquired in 2006, part of late leftist President Hugo Chavez’s energy diplomacy efforts in the Caribbean.

The board, appointed by Guaido earlier this year in part to defend PDVSA’s interests abroad, said it had also warned Jamaica’s government that “it cannot maintain any arrangements” with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, a Chavez protege whose legitimacy as Venezuela’s leader is disputed.

“We formally request the suspension of this expropriation process,” the board said in a statement, adding that Guaido had made a similar request personally to Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Neither Holness’ office nor Jamaica’s foreign ministry immediately responded to requests for comment. The Caribbean nation’s government owns the other 51 percent of shares in the refinery.

Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, in January invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized as rightful leader by dozens of countries, including Jamaica and the United States.

His representatives abroad have fought efforts by creditors of Venezuela’s highly-indebted government to seize foreign assets belonging to PDVSA.

But Maduro retains control of the military and most state functions, including PDVSA’s day-to-day operations within Venezuela. He calls Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.

The United States in January slapped sanctions on PDVSA as part of its bid to oust Maduro, which has contributed to a further drop in the OPEC nation’s crude output following years of steady decline due to underinvestment and mismanagement.

Those sanctions paved the way for Guaido’s allies to take control of U.S. refiner Citgo, PDVSA’s most important overseas asset.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

NHL: St. Louis Blues - Stanley Cup Championship Celebration
Jun 15, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) hoists the Stanley Cup during the Stanley Cup championship parade and rally at the Gateway Arch. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

June 15, 2019

Heavy rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the St. Louis Blues or their fans Saturday as a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands turned out to see the 2019 Stanley Cup champions parade through downtown.

It was the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history for the Blues, who began play in 1967. St. Louis defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night. The city of St. Louis hadn’t celebrated a major title since the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series.

Fans began showing up hours before the parade, which traveled down Market Street to the Gateway Arch for a rally.

Ryan O’Reilly, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP, carried the Cup along Market Street, and let fans gets their hands on the trophy. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “I can’t believe we won a Stanley Cup.”

Blues captain and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who has been carrying around the Stanley Cup since Wednesday night, admitted on Saturday that he was getting worn out by constantly holding the 35-pound trophy. “I’m trying to get some guys to come help me here.”

Brett Hull, the Blues legend who played in the NHL from 1986 to 2005 and was also an NHL general manager, and currently is an executive vice president for St. Louis, also celebrated.

“This is the greatest day ever for St. Louis,” Hull told Fox Sports Midwest reporter Andy Strickland. “I’m still crying.” Hull came up empty after playing for the Blues from 1988-98, but was a member of Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings.

Blues interim coach Craig Berube – who guided the team to an improbable title after Mike Yeo was fired in November, summed up his feelings about the scene with one word – “Unbelievable!”

He later told Fox Sports: “I’m so happy for our fans. It’s unbelievable how many people are out here today cheering. It’s great. … We all dream of winning the Cup as kids and when we get older and stuff like that. But this is unbelievable to see this scene right now. I really cannot describe it.”

Also standing out in the crowd was 11-year-old superfan Laila Anderson, who has been described as the team’s good-luck charm. Suffering from HLH, a rare disease that affects her immune system, Anderson attended Game 7 in Boston and rode in the parade.

“I actually thought my mom was pulling a prank on me,” Anderson said about hearing that she was invited to the party Saturday.

Another diehard St. Louis sports fan in attendance was Mad Men actor John Hamm, who said, “I can’t get over how many people I’m seeing right now, but I hope all of you feel the same way that I feel, which is pride, joy and exuberance.”

The celebration was extra special because it honored another in a series of sports teams that finally ended longtime droughts. Of course, the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championship in 2016 is famous for ending 108 years of futility. When the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018, it was their first championship in 58 years.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Women's World Cup - Group E - Canada v New Zealand
Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group E – Canada v New Zealand – Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France – June 15, 2019 Canada’s Jessie Fleming celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot?

June 15, 2019

GRENOBLE, France (Reuters) – Jessie Fleming and Nichelle Prince got second-half goals to give Canada a 2-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday and book their place in the last 16 of the women’s World Cup.

Canada dominated the first half and Fleming put them ahead three minutes after the interval following a fine run by Prince who cut the ball back for her team mate to score from eight meters.

Prince grabbed the second goal 11 minutes from time, stabbing home from close range after Christine Sinclair’s header struck the post.

The result takes them to six points, equal with Group E leaders the Netherlands, who beat Cameroon 3-1.

“It is a great team, I can trust the players,” Canada manager Kenneth Heiner-Moller said. “Players from the bench are contributing and the team are getting better.”

The defeat means the New Zealanders, who never had a shot on target the whole game and ended the match with just 30 percent of possession, have now gone 14 games without a win at the women’s World Cup.

They lost their opening match against the Netherlands and sit bottom of Group E with only a faint chance of progressing to the second round.

“I think we were holding on from the start to be honest and never got a foothold in the game,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “We were thoroughly outplayed, so I have to congratulate Canada on an outstanding performance.

“But some of the things we did well against the Dutch, we didn’t do tonight. I don’t think we won a challenge or won any kind of loose ball, and we never got close enough to put pressure on any Canadian players. You can’t take away from how well Canada played but on the other hand we never got close to them physically or put them under any pressure.”

Canada’s clean sheet extended to 256 minutes their run without conceding a goal at the World Cup which goes back to 2015.

“We’re excited as a group to get the win,” said player of the match Fleming. “We wanted to come out of the group stage with three wins, so that’s two down and one to go.”

The Canadians now play the Netherlands on Thursday, while New Zealand meet Cameroon the same day.

(Reporting by Ed Osmond and Andrew Downie; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Vice-President of the European Central Bank Luis de Guindos listens during the news conference in Riga
Vice-President of the European Central Bank Luis de Guindos listens during the news conference following the meeting of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank in Riga, Latvia June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

June 15, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Longer-term inflation expectations in the euro zone need to come unstuck for the European Central Bank to provide more stimulus, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos was quoted on Saturday as saying.

With growth slowing and inflation staying well below the ECB’s target, the bank recently raised the prospect of even more stimulus, arguing that a rate cut or even more asset purchases may become necessary.

“What we need to see is a de-anchoring of inflation expectations,” de Guindos told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera when asked what the bank needed to see to provide more stimulus. “This has not yet happened, despite the fact that there has been a drop in market-based inflation expectations.”

With interest rates already at record lows and a 2.6 trillion euro ($2.9 trillion) bond purchase scheme ended just last year, analysts argue that the ECB has very little actual firepower left as its remaining tools lack significant potency.

“If there is a further deterioration, then we will react,” de Guindos added. “But for now, our monetary policy stance is fully compatible with both inflation and real activity.”

But de Guindos added that monetary policy is largely powerless against the impact of global trade disputes, one of the biggest drags on growth and thus inflation.

“You can certainly smooth the impact with monetary policy, but you will not be able to address and fix this kind of problems with monetary policy,” he said.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves his home in London, Britain June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 15, 2019

(Reuters) – British conservative lawmaker Esther McVey said on Saturday that she will support Boris Johnson in his bid to be prime minister, The Telegraph reported.

“Boris Johnson is supporting my agenda – which is why I’m supporting him”, she wrote http://bit.ly/2WLp52V in the newspaper, adding that she looks forward to working with Johnson to deliver on behalf of “blue collar Conservatives” across the country.

(Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, greets supporters after delivering a speech, in Merida
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, greets supporters after delivering a speech, in Merida, Venezuela June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

June 15, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday called for an investigation into claims his representatives misappropriated funds intended to help defectors from the Venezuelan military living in Colombia.

More than 1,400 members of Venezuela’s armed forces have fled to Colombia this year, heeding Guaido’s call to disavow socialist President Nicolas Maduro. They began arriving in late February, as Maduro’s troops at the border with Colombia drove back convoys of humanitarian aid requested by Guaido.

Latin American news outlet PanAm Post on Friday reported that representatives of Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, used funds intended to pay for the cost of the troops’ hotels in the Colombian border city of Cucuta for personal purchases. [https://tinyurl.com/y6qgdeka]

“We will investigate this deeply,” Guaido said during a speech to supporters in the mountainous Venezuelan state of Merida. “Every cent of public funds should be sacred, and that is something we have to learn as a society.”

Guaido in January invoked Venezuela’s constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has since been recognized as the country’s legitimate leader by most Western and Latin American countries, including Colombia and the United States.

The opposition and its allies abroad say Maduro is a corrupt dictator who, along with other senior officials, has grown rich as Venezuela’s economy collapsed in recent years, prompting millions to emigrate. Maduro calls Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.

“We request that the relevant jurisdiction investigate and clear up these serious charges,” Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, wrote on Twitter on Friday, linking to the PanAm Post article. “Democraticization is not possible under the opacity of corrupt acts.”

Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a Friday tweet that the Maduro government had previously “denounced a gigantic corruption scheme of Guaido’s with money sent to Cucuta to recruit hitmen.”

In a statement, Guaido’s office said he had requested Colombian authorities’ help with the investigation.

“We condemn any possible act of corruption by Venezuelan citizens in the management of resources to pay for the lodging of troops who arrived in Colombia,” Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Twitter, calling on “relevant authorities” to investigate.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Luc Cohen; Additional reporting by Helen Murphy in Bogota; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters at an event to promote the start of London Tech Week
FILE PHOTO: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters at an event to promote the start of London Tech Week, in London, Britain, June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

June 15, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump once again criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Saturday, saying he is a “disaster” and will “only get worse” after three people were slain in the city in less than 20 hours.

Trump retweeted a tweet by the right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins who called London “stab city” and said “this is Khan’s Londonistan,” a phrase used to describe the city’s failure to tackle Muslim extremists.

“LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse!” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump called Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani heritage, a “stone-cold loser” earlier this month after the mayor criticized the British government for inviting Trump for a state visit and compared him to 20th century fascists.

Trump’s feud with Khan dates back several years. Khan has criticized Trump’s effort to ban travelers from Muslim countries, while the president has castigated the mayor for his handling of a 2017 terrorist attack on the London bridge that killed 11 people.

(Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: French Open - Roland Garros
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 27, 2019. Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands celebrates winning her first round match against France’s Pauline Parmentier. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

June 15, 2019

Top-seeded Kiki Bertens will play for her third title of the season after dispatching Kazakhstan qualifier Elena Rybakina in the semifinals of Libema Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

Bertens thrived on the court in her home country as she recorded five aces while posting the 6-4, 6-4 win over Rybakina.

Bertens will play Alison Riske in the final. Riske prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) over Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

“She’s a great grass court player,” Bertens said of Riske. “It’s going to be really tough, but I think it’s going to be a great final.”

Bertens previously won in St. Petersburg and Madrid this season. Riske’s lone career title came in 2014 at Tianjin.

Nature Valley Open

Second-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia registered a 5-7, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Germany’s Tatjana Maria to reach the championship match at Nottingham, England.

Vekic dominated the final two sets, which included a rain delay in the final set. Vekic won this event in 2017 and is looking for her third career title.

Vekic will face either top-seeded Caroline Garcia of France or Jennifer Brady in the title match. Garcia was leading 4-6, 6-3, 4-3 when the semifinal match was suspended due to rain. It will resume Sunday morning.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump hosts healthcare event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for an event on healthcare coverage options for small businesses and workers in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

June 15, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Democrat on a congressional panel seeking President Donald Trump’s tax returns warned on Saturday that the current Congress may not see the long-sought tax documents without launching an impeachment inquiry.

Representative Lloyd Doggett, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, said Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, were slow to request Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service and now need to push back forcefully against Trump’s refusal to turn over the returns.

“Because this request was delayed until April and no legal action has yet been filed to get the returns, it is certain we won’t get them this year and perhaps (will face) some challenge to even get them with favorable expedited rulings by the time this Congress ends,” Doggett, who chairs the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, told CNN.

“That and the total obstruction by Trump have convinced me that we need to institute an impeachment inquiry,” the Texas Democrat said. “I just think we need a thorough investigation and a strong pushback immediately to a president who believes he’s above the law.”

The current Congress is due to end in January 2021.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal requested six years of Trump’s individual and business tax returns on April 3, under a federal law that says the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” such documents if requested by a lawmaker who holds in Neal’s position. He later subpoenaed the returns.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the subpoena. On Friday, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion saying the secretary was on solid ground for doing so.

Neal has said he is likely to sue in federal court to enforce the subpoena and obtain the returns. But he has taken no such action.

Democrats want Trump’s returns as part of their inquiry into possible conflicts of interest posed by his continued ownership of extensive business interests, even as he serves as president.

Trump has broken with a decades-old precedent among recent U.S. presidents by refusing to release his tax returns while a presidential candidate in 2016 or since being elected, saying he could not do so while his taxes were being audited.

Numerous tax experts have said an audit should not be an obstacle to disclosing his returns.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People exit a Target store in Azusa
FILE PHOTO: People exit a Target store in Azusa, California U.S. November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

June 15, 2019

(Reuters) – Target Corp on Saturday said it was working on a problem that prevented customers in the United States from paying for their purchases.

Media reports said the problem had hit Target stores across the country.

The retailer tweeted http://bit.ly/2WKO1HY that it was troubleshooting the issue and would provide an update soon.

Target did not give any reason for the outage and was not immediately reachable for comment.

(Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arkansas vs Oregon State
FILE PHOTO: Jun 27, 2018; Omaha, NE, USA; Oregon State Beavers catcher Adley Rutschman (35) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning against the Arkansas Razorbacks in game two of the championship series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

June 15, 2019

Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman won the Dick Howser Trophy as the college baseball player of the year.

The Baltimore Orioles recently selected Rutschman with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft. He batted .411 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs and had a .751 slugging percentage and .575 on-base percentage for the Beavers.

Rutschman won the Golden Spikes Award — also given to the nation’s top player — earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Diamond League - Doha
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Doha – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar – May 3, 2019 South Africa’s Caster Semenya before the women’s 800m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo

June 15, 2019

(Reuters) – The Moroccan Athletics Federation made it “impossible” for Caster Semenya to compete at the Rabat Diamond League meeting on Sunday because of the lateness of a re-invitation, the South African athlete’s legal team said on Saturday.

Semenya, the double Olympic 800 meters champion, never declined an invitation to run in the Rabat 800m, her legal team said, and was told only on Friday that she was being invited to race having had an initial invitation revoked.

“On June 14, the Federation changed course once again and told Caster’s agent that Caster was re-invited to run on June 16,” her legal team said in a statement.

“At that time, the only flights to Rabat would have involved 20 hours of travel, which meant that competing in the event was not rationally possible for Caster.

“Caster rejects any suggestion that she declined a proper invitation to run in Rabat. To the contrary, her inability to run in Rabat is solely due to the Moroccan Federation’s sudden and unjustified withdrawal of its initial invitation that Caster had gladly accepted.”

Semenya became the center of heated international debate after a controversial ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.

CAS said that the sport’s ruling body, the IAAF, should make rules for XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), such as Semenya, competing in events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

The CAS verdict was highly controversial, with many high-profile current and former athletes lining up on both sides of the debate.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal later ordered the IAAF to immediately suspend implementation of the regulations on Semenya, allowing her to compete without restriction while she appealed against the decision.

Semenya said on Thursday she had been denied entry into the event in Rabat in apparent violation of the Swiss tribunal’s decision.

Saturday’s statement said Semenya had been booked to fly to Rabat on Wednesday, having been invited to compete on June 6, but that the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation athlete liaison, Alain Blondel, had told her agent on June 11 that its president “did not want Caster to run”.

The IAAF has said it has no say in who competes in Diamond League events such as the one in Rabat.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

Barcelona's new Mayor Ada Colau walks next to Jaume Collboni, Ernest Maragall and Manuel Valls after her swearing-in ceremony, at Sant Jaume square in Barcelona
Barcelona’s new Mayor Ada Colau walks next to Jaume Collboni, Ernest Maragall and Manuel Valls after her swearing-in ceremony, at Sant Jaume square in Barcelona, Spain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea

June 15, 2019

MADRID (Reuters) – A conservative was sworn in on Saturday as Madrid’s new mayor, regaining control of the Spanish capital for the People’s Party after forging a coalition including the far right, while the far-left won a second term in Barcelona with support from the Socialists and others.

Spain’s municipal elections in May led to a fragmented political landscape, requiring numerous power-sharing deals to form coalition governments, with the most vote-winning candidates kept out of office in some places.

The PP’s candidate for Madrid mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, came second behind a far-left candidate but he won control of the city government with the backing of the far-right Vox as well as the center-right Ciudadanos party.

Some members of Ciudadanos have expressed unease over the party’s decision to deepen its alliance with Vox and the PP to secure a share of power in Madrid and the southeastern Murcia region.

In neighboring France, President Emmanuel Macron’s government warned Ciudadanos, its Spanish center-right ally in the European Parliament, of possible “consequences” if it went ahead with local alliances with Vox.

Under the municipal electoral system in Spain, city halls must choose a mayor from whichever group forms a majority if no single candidate wins outright.

The Socialists won the most support in May’s elections, with 29.3% of the vote, followed by the PP on 22.2%.

In Barcelona, far-leftist mayor Ada Colau also came second in the elections but she was re-elected with support from the Socialists and a platform backed by former French prime minister Manuel Valls in a deal aimed at preventing a Catalan pro-independence leader from taking the job.

“I will not be a secessionist or anti-secessionist mayor,” Colau said after being sworn in, adding that she felt somewhat uncomfortable over the way she was re-elected. She was at odds with Valls during the campaign in Spain’s second-largest city.

Hundreds of people demonstrated outside Barcelona’s city hall, some in favor of Colau and others for pro-independence groups. One elected city council member, Joaquin Forn, is among the jailed Catalan leaders on trial at Spain’s Supreme Court for their role in the region’s failed independence bid in 2017.

He received permission from the court to be transferred from a jail in Madrid to attend Barcelona’s municipality inauguration, only to be sent back to Madrid immediately after.

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Helen Popper and Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman
FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman, in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019. ISNA/Handout via REUTERS

June 15, 2019

By Asma Alsharif

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia called for swift action to secure Gulf energy supplies, after the United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in a vital oil shipping route that have raised fears of broader confrontation in the region.

Thursday’s tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman exacerbated the antagonistic fallout from similar blasts in May that crippled four vessels. Washington, already embroiled in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, has blamed Tehran.

Iran has denied any role in the strikes on the tankers south of the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for oil from Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, and other Gulf producers.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said “there must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat” to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence after the attacks in the Gulf area, the Saudi Energy Ministry reported on Twitter.

The U.S. military released a video on Thursday, saying it showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were behind the explosions that damaged the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

“Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News on Friday.

The United States has tightened sanctions on Iran since Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and global powers last year. Washington’s stated aim is to drive Iranian oil exports, the mainstay of its economy, to zero.

Tehran has said that if its oil exports were halted, it could block the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel of water separating Iran and Oman through which a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes.

ENERGY SECURITY

Oil prices have climbed 3.4% since Thursday’s attacks. Ship insurers said insurance costs for ships sailing through the Middle East have jumped by at least 10%.

“The kingdom is committed to ensuring stability of global oil markets,” the Saudi energy minister said in Japan at a meeting of energy ministers from the G20 group of nations.

Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said ministers agreed on the need to “work together to deal with the recent incidents from (an) energy security point of view.”

Trump, who pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal under which world powers agreed to ease international sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear work, said any move to close the Strait of Hormuz would not last long.

He also said he was open to holding talks with Iran, although Tehran said it had no plans to negotiate with the United States unless it reversed a decision on the nuclear deal.

Tehran and Washington have both said they have no interest in a war. But this has done little to assuage concerns that the arch foes could stumble into conflict.

A U.S. official told Reuters a surface-to-air missile was fired from Iranian territory on Thursday morning at a U.S. drone that was near Front Altair following the attack on the tanker. The missile did not hit the drone, the official said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the United States was “planning various contingencies” when asked if more military forces would be sent to the area, but added that the focus was on building an international consensus.

“We also need to broaden our support for this international situation,” he told reporters.

RESTRAINT

As well as blaming Iran for the tanker attacks, Washington has also said Tehran was behind May 14 drone strikes on two Saudi oil-pumping stations. Tehran has denied all those charges.

Britain has backed the United States in blaming Iran for the tanker attacks. On Saturday, Iran summoned the British ambassador to complain about its “unacceptable stance,” ISNA news agency reported.

Other nations have urged caution. Germany said the video was not enough to prove Iran’s role, while U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation to determine responsibility.

China and the European Union called for restraint.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani renewed Iran’s threat to continue scaling back compliance with the nuclear deal unless other signatories to the pact show “positive signals”.

He did not specify what Iran wanted in his comments to a meeting of Asian leaders in Tajikistan.

France and other European signatories to the nuclear deal, have said they wanted to save the accord, but many of their companies have canceled deals with Tehran, under pressure from the United States.

(Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Nicosia, Nazarali Pirnazarov in Dushanbe, Yuka Obayashi in Karuizawa; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Second Round
Jun 14, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Gary Woodland lines up his putt on the eighth hole during the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

June 15, 2019

By Steve Keating

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Some of golf’s biggest names will try to chase down Gary Woodland after the American journeyman fired a record-equalling six-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the third round of the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Woodland, who could not manage a top-10 finish in his first 27 major championships, caught everyone’s attention on Friday when he rolled in a monster 50-foot birdie on his final hole to put the finishing touch to an error-free round.

The score matched the lowest round for a U.S. Open staged at the Pebble Beach Golf Links first set by Tiger Woods in 2000 and equalled by Englishman Justin Rose on Thursday.

Woodland did, however, break one record, with his nine-under 133 eclipsing Woods’s midway total also set in 2000 when he stormed to a 15-shot victory at Pebble Beach.

The 35-year-old Woodland will tee off at 2:45 PT (2145 GMT) in the company of 2013 U.S. Open winner Rose, who had been parked at the top the leaderboard until being knocked from his perch late in the day.

Despite a lack of results at the majors, going out last will not be unfamiliar for Woodland, who held the 36-hole lead at the 2018 PGA Championship before fading to a tie for sixth.

But there will be major pressure coming from behind with South African Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, three back and compatriot Aaron Wise one further adrift.

Rory McIlroy, riding the momentum from a rampaging win at the Canadian Open, survived a rollercoaster second round to remain in the thick of the hunt just four back.

Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka, bidding to become the first player in more than a century to sweep three consecutive U.S. Opens, has not yet fired on all cylinders but lurks menacingly five off the pace.

Two golfers a bit further behind will get plenty of attention with Woods and Phil Mickelson poised to make charges.

Mickelson, runner-up a record six times at the U.S. Open and needing a victory here to complete the career grand slam, entertained his legions of fans with a swashbuckling second two-under 69 that moved him up the leaderboard on to the fringes of contention eight back.

Sitting nine off the pace, Woods will also need to produce something special if he wants to be a factor on Sunday and have a shot at a 16th major.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN


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