Extended presence of US marines makes Norway ‘unpredictable partner’ – Russia

Preview Norway’s decision to prolong the stay of US marines on its territory is fueled by absurd anti-Russian hysteria, undermines European security and may complicate relations between Oslo and Moscow, the Russian Embassy in Norway has warned.

Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Norway’s decision to prolong the stay of US marines on its territory is fueled by absurd anti-Russian hysteria, undermines European security and may complicate relations between Oslo and Moscow, the Russian Embassy in Norway has warned.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Death toll from triple terrorist attacks in Pakistan rises to 85

The death toll from a series of terrorist attacks in Parachinar, Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan Friday, has risen to 85 people, with a dozen of critically injured dying in hospitals overnight. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview The death toll from a series of terrorist attacks in Parachinar, Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan Friday, has risen to 85 people, with a dozen of critically injured dying in hospitals overnight.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Trump wishes Muslims ‘warm greetings’ for Eid

US President Donald Trump on Saturday sent warm greetings” to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, after his administration broke with the tradition of hosting a White House event to recognize the holy month.”On behalf of the American people, Melani…

US President Donald Trump on Saturday sent warm greetings" to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, after his administration broke with the tradition of hosting a White House event to recognize the holy month.

"On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr," Trump said in a statement. "During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill."

"With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values."

Since the Bill Clinton administration, the White House has each year hosted either an event to mark the Eid al-Fitr feast -- which ends the fasting month of Ramadan -- or a meal breaking the dawn-til-dusk fast, known as an iftar.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly rejected a request by his department's office of religion and global affairs to hold an event for the holiday.

Trump has come under fire for his history of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail, that included calls for surveillance of US mosques and an outright ban on Muslims entering the country in the name of national security.

A week after becoming president he issued a ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, which has been frozen by the US courts after sparking global chaos and outrage.

Yet during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Trump softened his tone on Islam, rejecting the idea of a battle between religions in an address before dozens of leaders of Muslim countries.

Moyano the villain and hero as Pumas triumph

Ramiro Moyano was the villain and the hero as Argentina won for only the second time in 11 Tests by defeating Georgia 45-29 Saturday in San Salvador de Jujuy. The winger was sin-binned during the first half of the one-off international for tackling an…

Ramiro Moyano was the villain and the hero as Argentina won for only the second time in 11 Tests by defeating Georgia 45-29 Saturday in San Salvador de Jujuy.

The winger was sin-binned during the first half of the one-off international for tackling an airborne opponent, but atoned by scoring three second-half tries within 14 minutes.

Victory was a timely morale booster for the Pumas, whose next outing is away to resurgent South Africa on August 19 in a Rugby Championship opener.

Egypt ratifies controversial handover of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia

Preview Following months of legal wrangling and public protests, Egypt’s president approved the transfer of the isles of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, with opponents accusing the government of selling territory in exchange for Saudi subsidies.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Following months of legal wrangling and public protests, Egypt’s president approved the transfer of the isles of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, with opponents accusing the government of selling territory in exchange for Saudi subsidies.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The unfairest of them all: jowly Martha named World’s Ugliest Dog

A lumbering canine with deep-set wrinkles and a gas problem, Martha the Mastiff is no beauty queen — but as the newly crowned World’s Ugliest Dog, she is still a winner.While images of cute dogs regularly make the social media rounds, this weekend poo…

A lumbering canine with deep-set wrinkles and a gas problem, Martha the Mastiff is no beauty queen -- but as the newly crowned World's Ugliest Dog, she is still a winner.

While images of cute dogs regularly make the social media rounds, this weekend pooches with more unusual features got their moment to shine at the World's Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California.

With an air of languid confidence Martha pawed her way past her 13 competitors, with judges saying they were impressed by what appeared to be "300 pounds of skin" hanging off her big-boned, 125-pound (57 kilogram) body.

As she was awarded her first-place prize -- $1500, a trophy and a trip to New York for media appearances -- Martha appeared unmoved, rolling over to let the voluminous folds of her droopy jowls flop onto the stage.

"She knocks over every water bucket no matter how securely attached to the fence," said owner Shirley Dawn Zindler of her homely hound. "She bosses the other dogs around and makes sure all guests are suitably slimed on arrival."

Zindler is fostering the three-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff, a breed known for its excess loose skin and a tendency to drool.

The competition was stiff: Moe, a lackadaisical, scraggly-haired mutt whose tongue generally hangs out the side of his mouth nabbed second place. Precious, a rat-like, wide-eyed Chihuahua claimed the spirit award.

The small coastal city of Petaluma has been hosting an annual ugly dog contest for more than 50 years, organizers said.

This year's event included a red carpet walk and a "fashion faux paw show" -- complete with ugly sweaters -- allowing the less esthetically pleasing canines of the world the chance to strut their stuff.

"We celebrate the spirit and imperfections that make these dogs lovable," said event marketing director Karen Spencer.

Antetokounmpo brothers – from migrants to basketball ambassadors

Rags to riches NBA All-Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke openly on Saturday of his Nigerian origins and of eking out a living trading on the Athens streets long before his $100 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.Giannis appeared on stage at th…

Rags to riches NBA All-Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke openly on Saturday of his Nigerian origins and of eking out a living trading on the Athens streets long before his $100 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis appeared on stage at the Onassis Cultural Centre with his 24-year-old brother Thanasis, who plays for the Spanish club MoraBanc Andorra, and they talked about their painful struggle in their early days in Greece where their parents had arrived as immigrants.

"We are the products of two cultures, Greek and Nigerian, and we took the best of both worlds," Giannis said.

"There are many people who have gone through tough times, but you still have to look for the light. Our parents taught us not to be selfish, to be honest and sincere," Thanasis added.

The sons of Nigerian immigrant parents, who came to Greece for a better life, Giannis and Thanasis were born in Athens and grew up selling merchandise in the streets of the capital in order to help their poor family.

But basketball changed their lives and last year Giannis signed a $100 million four-year contract with the Bucks. Thanasis also tried his luck in the NBA before joining his Spanish club.

"I started out playing football as my father was a football player back in Nigeria. But basketball was my life and I worked hard. Now that I?ve made it in the NBA it is hard to stay on top so you have to work harder," Giannis said.

He continued: ?You have to test your limits and I believe I want to be the best player of all time and I know I can get there.?

The 22-year-old added he was determined to help other young people in both Greece and in Africa to get ahead.

"I would like to do everything I can to help them have a better life. The Americans gave me a chance to fulfil my dream. If you work hard and believe in your dream you will succeed,? he said.

The Antetokounmpo brothers are very popular in Greece and earlier this month drew a standing-room-only crowd of 5,000 spectators during an exhibition game they organized in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

"Greece loves us because we are good guys. We promote Greece wherever we go," Giannis said.

Another game by the brothers, who play for the Greek national team, is set for Sunday in Athens and a sell-out crowd of 18,000 is expected.

?I know nothing else but Greece. I have never been to Nigeria. You are not born a Greek, you become a Greek,? Giannis said.

Macron launches global pact on environmental rights in Paris

Hollywood star turned activist Arnold Schwarzenegger joined politicians and legal experts in Paris Saturday to launch a campaign for a global pact to protect the human right to a clean, healthy environment.

Hollywood star turned activist Arnold Schwarzenegger joined politicians and legal experts in Paris Saturday to launch a campaign for a global pact to protect the human right to a clean, healthy environment.

Designer draws from Israel’s many tribes

Designer Hed Mayner is not afraid to play with the totems of Israeli life, from a trench coat made from a military tent to a sleeveless beach top cut from a Jewish prayer shawl.The 30-year-old from a hippyish village in Galilee joyously mixed djellabas…

Designer Hed Mayner is not afraid to play with the totems of Israeli life, from a trench coat made from a military tent to a sleeveless beach top cut from a Jewish prayer shawl.

The 30-year-old from a hippyish village in Galilee joyously mixed djellabas, jogging pants, jeans and PVC jackets in his debut Paris men's fashion show this weekend.

He started designing at 16 inspired by the collection of kimonos a neighbour in his forest community near the Lebanese border had brought home from her time in Japan.

"When you're isolated from urban life, you have this fantasy of it that never really fits with reality and you can kind of develop this universe," he told AFP of his eclectic influences.

His village of 40 families near Amuka in the north of the country is a pilgrimage site for Orthodox and Hasidic Jews who flock to the tomb of a famous rabbi to pray for a good marriage.

This helped kindle his fascination with Orthodox Jewish clothing, although he was never religious himself.

"They wear tailored pieces but not in a sharp suited way," said Mayner, whose parents are artists.

- 'Multicultural to the extreme' -

"You have the big shoulders, the jacket and the sleeves that are too long... I really like this idea of disproportion but it's still tailored and very structured.

"They have these shops which sells one jacket in a million sizes."

Orthodox Jews like their clothes to "really wrap the body" and handed them down from "from one kid to the another", he added.

Mayner said he drew much of his inspiration from both the military and religious uniforms of the Jewish state's diverse though not always harmonious communities.

"Israelis don't see fashion in the same way Europeans see it. It is not something that is very important in everyday life. In Israel people are in uniforms."

Nowhere more so than in the contested holy city of Jerusalem, he said.

"I love Jerusalem but it's a very difficult place to live because it's super intense. You have craziness there all the time, you know the 'Jerusalem syndrome', you really feel it.

"Society there is very uniformed, everybody is in uniform and it's kind of multicultural to the extreme.

"Israel is very split. You have the most secular people and very religious people."

Mayner preferred to set up his studio in the more liberal beach-side city of Tel Aviv with its creative and international outlook.

As well as French style influences, "Tel Aviv is also linked to Berlin culture", he said. "The city is half very old, half very new buildings and everything is under construction.

"There is so much around and the idea of creating something is very strong," not only in fashion but "from start-up people to industrial designers".

His clothes, however, are not are yet sold in his homeland, instead going to shops in Europe and the United States.

And being a fan of the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, he is chuffed about how well they sell in Japan.

"I think the Japanese understand my clothes better than I do myself," he said.

Global pact on environmental rights to be presented to UN

Hollywood star turned activist Arnold Schwarzenegger joined politicians and legal experts in Paris Saturday to launch a campaign for a global pact to protect the human right to a clean, healthy environment.French President Emmanuel Macron promised to p…

Hollywood star turned activist Arnold Schwarzenegger joined politicians and legal experts in Paris Saturday to launch a campaign for a global pact to protect the human right to a clean, healthy environment.

French President Emmanuel Macron promised to present the pact which its supporters want to see become an international treaty to the United Nations in September.

"With the planetary plan, we need to move on to a new stage after the Paris accord," said Macron, referring to the landmark agreement signed in December 2015 by 196 nations to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases and combat global warming.

The end goal of the new pact is a legal treaty under which states can be brought to justice for flouting the rights of a group or individual.

"We already have two international (human rights) pacts... The idea is to create a third, for a third generation of rights -- environmental rights," said former French prime minister Laurent Fabius, who also presided over the Paris COP 21 conference on climate change.

Seeking to underline the urgency of the need to act, Fabius said it was time for "less talk, more action", borrowing the turn of phrase from ex-California governor-turned climate campaigner Schwarzenegger, who joined the gathering, as did former UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Other participants at the meeting at the Sorbonne university included high court judges from several countries.

- 'Not right versus left' -

The initiative comes just weeks after President Donald Trump announced that he would pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on curbing dangerous global warming.

But Schwarzenegger in his campaigning to fight climate change said it must not be a partisan political issue.

"It is absolutely imperative that we not make it a political issue," he said after meeting Macron on Friday.

"This is not the right versus the left because there is no liberal air or conservative air. We all breathe the same air. There is no liberal water or conservative water, we all drink the same water," the star of "The Terminator" movies said.

The new pact will eventually be put to the United Nations for adoption, and impose legally-binding obligations on signatory states, its drafters say.

The earlier covenants -- one for social, economic and cultural rights, the other for civil and political rights -- were adopted by the UN in 1966.

Fabius says the new text will outline rights and duties, provide for reparations to be made in case of a breach, and introduce the "polluter pays" principle, holding them legally responsible or compelling them to adopt green laws.

That would be in marked contrast to earlier declarations such as that made following the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio which was not legally binding.

Coleman back on track at US trials

Christian Coleman recovered from his surprise defeat against Justin Gatlin to ease through to the 200m semi-finals at the US World Championship trials on Saturday.The 21-year-old rising star of American sprinting, stunned by veteran Gatlin in the 100m …

Christian Coleman recovered from his surprise defeat against Justin Gatlin to ease through to the 200m semi-finals at the US World Championship trials on Saturday.

The 21-year-old rising star of American sprinting, stunned by veteran Gatlin in the 100m final on Friday, coasted into the next round of the 200m in 20.34sec at Sacramento's Hornet Stadium.

Coleman, the fastest man in the world over 100m this year, was never threatened in his heat, pulling clear to finish ahead of another veteran, Tyson Gay. Gatlin had been entered in the 200m but scratched from his heat.

"As a competitor it was slightly disappointing because you want to come out with a win every time," Coleman said of his upset loss to Gatlin on Friday.

"But, ultimately, I was happy to make it to the team because that was my goal."

The 200m also saw LaShawn Merritt confirm his fitness with a time of 20.74.

Merritt, who is already qualified for the August World Championships by virtue of winning the 400m Diamond League crown last season, said he will skip the remaining rounds of the 200m.

"I just needed to run something, show fitness," the 2008 Olympic 400m champion said, adding that he had abandoned plans to attempt a 200m-400m double in London.

"I was thinking about doubling early in the season but I thought I'd just stick to the 400," he said. "I just want to focus on that and attack that. That's the plan -- just stick to that."

In other action early Saturday, 2012 Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix eased through her 200m heat.

Felix, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, won her heat in 22.95. The 31-year-old, who has a bye into the World Championships following her 2015 400m gold medal, plans to only run the one-lap event in London.

In the men's 110m hurdles, 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt sailed into the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier, winning his heat in 13.41.

Merritt, 31, told AFP he is now fully recovered from the after-effects of his 2015 kidney transplant and a groin injury last season that scuppered his bid to make the Olympic team.

"It has been a few years since I felt as good as this," Merritt said.

"Now everything is completely different. I'm able to move my limbs properly. I'm able to stretch and hit the positions that I need to hit."

Ronaldo delight as Portugal reach Confed football semis

Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his delight at firing Portugal into the Confederations Cup semi-finals after netting his 75th international goal in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand.”I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals. We’re confident and want t…

Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his delight at firing Portugal into the Confederations Cup semi-finals after netting his 75th international goal in Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand.

"I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals. We're confident and want to win," said Ronaldo, who picked up his third straight man-of-the-match award in Russia.

The 32-year-old has a court date in Madrid next month, accused by Spanish authorities of tax evasion, and the fallout has resulted in Ronaldo threatening to leave Real.

Despite the off-field turmoil and constant speculation about his future, the Portugal captain has dazzled on the pitch in Russia and scored two goals in three matches.

Ronaldo converted a 33rd-minute penalty to fire the Euro 2016 winners in front in Saint Petersburg before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal finished above Mexico on goal difference.

"I thought we played well in many parts of the game; in others, not so well. Overall though, it was a fair victory," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

Ronaldo's latest goal sent him level with Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and to within nine of the legendary Ferenc Puskas' European record of 84 at international level.

After demolishing New Zealand, Portugal progressed as Group A winners and will face the runners-up in Group B -- likely Germany or Chile -- next Wednesday in Kazan for a place in the July 2 final.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win to join Portugal on seven points, with the Gold Cup winners to meet the second-placed side from Group B in the last four.

- Courageous Lozano -

Hirving Lozano's courageous second-half header sealed Mexico's comeback victory over 10-man Russia in Kazan.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

Igor Akinfeev was then left embarrassed as Lozano nipped in front of the Russia goalkeeper to head in from the edge of the area on 52 minutes after a towering clearance caused chaos in the home defence.

Russia suffered a further blow when Yury Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes and substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound their misery.

"We knew we were going to have a really tough game against a very strong side in the host nation, who simply had to go for the win," said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

"This is a big victory for Mexican football. I think we deserved to win and we?re delighted with the result and the performance of the team."

For Russia it was their final competitive fixture ahead of next year's World Cup, but coach Stanislav Cherchesov remained upbeat despite his side's early exit.

"I?m confident that all the players who?ve taken part in the tournament will draw on the experience to develop and mature," he said.

"Three quarters of the squad have never played at this level, and with new players coming through all the time I?m optimistic about the future."

Activists demand removal of pig farm from Roma Holocaust site

Anti-racism activists from across Europe on Saturday demanded the removal of a pig farm from a Holocaust memorial site where hundreds of Roma perished in a Nazis concentration camp during World War II. The leftist-led Czech government promised in 2016 …

Anti-racism activists from across Europe on Saturday demanded the removal of a pig farm from a Holocaust memorial site where hundreds of Roma perished in a Nazis concentration camp during World War II.

The leftist-led Czech government promised in 2016 to buy out the farm before elections this October, but infighting among the three coalition parties could scupper a deal.

Activists also began lobbying the European Union in May last year to halt subsidies paid to the farm in Lety, a village 75 kilometres (47 miles) south of the capital Prague.

Owner Agpi says it is open to moving the facility, so long as the Czech state offers adequate compensation.

"The Czech Republic must reject this negative symbol and transform it into a positive one underpinned by the values of dignity, equality and liberty," Benjamin Abtan, an activist heading the European Grassroots Antiracism Movement (EGAM), told AFP.

Abtan joined dozens of activist from across Europe at the Lety site Saturday to pressure the Czech government to make good on its promised buy out before October elections.

Between 1940 and 1943, Nazi Germany and its Czech collaborators imprisoned close to 1,300 Czech Roma at the concentration camp.

Some 327 Roma, including 241 children, died at the camp staffed by an ethnic Czech commander and guards, while more than 500 were sent to Nazi Germany's infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in occupied southern Poland.

The communist Czechoslovak regime built the pig farm on the site in the 1970s.

It has reaped scorn at home and abroad ever since totalitarianism was toppled in 1989, four years before Czechoslovakia split into two states.

Alongside European Jews, the continent's smaller Roma minority was a target of Nazi genocide during World War II.

The Czech Republic, an EU country of 10.5 million, has a Roma community estimated to number between 250,000 and 300,000.

Of the roughly one million Roma who lived in Europe prior to WWII, historians believe that Nazi Germany killed over half.

Putin praises Russia’s ‘unique’ spy network

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday praised Russia’s network of intelligence officers as “unique people” who are devoted to the country.”To give up their life, their nearest and dearest and leave the country for many years, and to dedicate one’s life…

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday praised Russia's network of intelligence officers as "unique people" who are devoted to the country.

"To give up their life, their nearest and dearest and leave the country for many years, and to dedicate one's life to the Fatherland, not everyone is capable of doing that," the former KGB officer said on state television.

"These are people not like the rest," who have qualities, convictions and character out of the ordinary, Putin added on the Russia-1 channel.

"These are unique people. I wish them happiness and prosperity," he added.

The Russian strongman said that his own service in the country's main security agency during the Soviet era had involved "especially, undercover intelligence".

Putin was stationed in Dresden, in what was then East Germany, for the Soviet espionage service from 1985-1990, according to his official biography.

"Even before I'd finished my school studies, I already wanted to be an intelligence officer," Putin said in the biography, adding that he had been attracted to the service by spy novels.

French President shows game side to support Paris Olympics 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron tried his hand at sports including boxing and wheelchair tennis to support Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympics on Saturday.Paris and Los Angeles are vying for the Games and as part of the French capital’s campaign orga…

French President Emmanuel Macron tried his hand at sports including boxing and wheelchair tennis to support Paris' bid to host the 2024 Olympics on Saturday.

Paris and Los Angeles are vying for the Games and as part of the French capital's campaign organisers staged an Olympic Day where fans could try out various sports.

"Paris 2024 is a project supported by the whole of France," said Macron. "And it is important to send out the message that the head of state is fully on board."

France's interest in hosting the Games was a question of "pride and optimism," insisted Macron, who at 39 years is the youngest president in French history.

Macron certainly looked fully on board as he gamely thrashed out a few points at wheelchair tennis on the Pont Alexandre-III over the River Seine and pulled on boxing gloves to spar with the boxers.

"There is the universal Olympic spirit, but when I play I always play to win," said the former civil servant and investment banker who swept to victory in the French Presidential election in April and took office in May.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are expected to announce a decision on July 11 on whether to name the host for the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously. The IOC's main meeting in Lima on September 13 will then vote on the host for both editions.

Paris have not hosted the Summer Olympics since 1924, and last hosted the Winter Olympics in Albertville 1992.

UN calls on Haiti government to step up

The UN Security Council on Saturday urged Haiti’s government to take on a more active role in the country’s development, as international peacekeepers prepare to pull out after a 13-year mission.”It is important to stress that we expect a stronger leve…

The UN Security Council on Saturday urged Haiti's government to take on a more active role in the country's development, as international peacekeepers prepare to pull out after a 13-year mission.

"It is important to stress that we expect a stronger level of national ownership and leadership from the government and authorities in Haiti," said Bolivian envoy Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz, as the Security Council wrapped up a 48-hour visit to Haiti.

After two years of political turmoil, Haiti has brought its electoral process to a close, but concerns persist in the country, the poorest in the Americas.

Economic growth remains significantly lower than in neighboring countries, as the country's poor majority struggles against inflation exceeding 15 percent annually.

However, an improved security environment prompted the Security Council to vote in April to renew for a final six-month period its UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH.

Once the last foreign soldiers have gone, the UN will deploy a successor operation, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).

Its two-year mission involves training Haiti's national police and working to help the country bolster the rule of law.

During their visit, members of the Security Council met with President Jovenel Moise and lawmakers, as well as leaders from civil society groups and the private sector.

Those meetings helped the Security Council gain a better understanding of the challenges facing Haiti, Llorenty said.

"Peace and security are intrinsically linked to the basic needs of the population. If the basic needs such as health, education, water and sanitation services are not met, the work to install stability and development could be difficult if not impossible to achieve," said Llorenty, whose country holds the Council's presidency this month.

MINUSTAH was deployed in 2004 to help stem political violence after the departure of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- but it has not endeared itself to Haitians.

In 2010, Nepalese UN peacekeepers introduced cholera, leading to an outbreak that killed more than 9,000 Haitians.

The Security Council visit, which was marked by two protests, comes as the UN aid fund for Haiti's cholera victims is in chaos: only about $2.7 million of the $400 million needed for the relief funds has been raised.

The MINUSTAH operation in Haiti also ranks among those with the highest number of cases of sexual abuse.

Garcia, Bland share Munich lead ahead of final day of golf

Masters champion Sergio Garcia edged closer to his third title of the season when he fired a 67 to share the lead with England’s Richard Bland going into the final round of the BMW International Open.The Spanish star, playing in Europe for the first ti…

Masters champion Sergio Garcia edged closer to his third title of the season when he fired a 67 to share the lead with England's Richard Bland going into the final round of the BMW International Open.

The Spanish star, playing in Europe for the first time since capturing the Masters in Augusta in April, had led after birdies on the 12th and 13th holes before 44-year-old Bland responded.

The Englishman, who had played out of the water on the 11th to hole a 20-footer, jumped out into a two-shot lead.

He holed out from the fairway on the 13th, but Garcia hit a fine approach into the 15th and a better tee shot into the 17th to move alongside him.

"I think it was a good, solid day," Garcia told www.europeantour.com, as his 67 was matched by Bland with both men standing at 13 under par for the three rounds.

"Obviously a couple of little putts there at the end that looked like they were going to go in and didn't but, overall, I felt like I played nicely.

Garcia, who carded seven birdies, added: "It's nice but it doesn't mean that it's finished. Still we have a long day tomorrow. We've got to go out there, play well again and see if we can pull it off."

Bland is playing in his 410th European Tour event but has yet to clinch a title.

"I hit some really good shots out there and I hit a couple of scrappy ones coming in but my short game saved me," said Bland.

"Got my feet wet and holed a second shot into 13. So yeah, kind of ran pretty much into everything."

Swede Joakim Lagergren, who had shared the overnight lead, is 12 under, two shots clear of Belgian Thomas Detry and Argentinian Andres Romero.

New Zealand stay perfect in pursuit of America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand remained perfect in pursuit of the 35th America’s Cup on Saturday, opening the day’s racing with a fifth victory over holders Oracle Team USA.The Kiwi’s win gave them a 4-0 lead in the first-to-seven points series — which the…

Emirates Team New Zealand remained perfect in pursuit of the 35th America's Cup on Saturday, opening the day's racing with a fifth victory over holders Oracle Team USA.

The Kiwi's win gave them a 4-0 lead in the first-to-seven points series -- which they started with a one-point deficit due to the USA's topping the round-robin qualifying.

Team USA, hoping to turn things around after a five-day break in racing, instead were hindered by two penalties.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill was a fraction early across the startline for a penalty that handed helmsman Peter Burling and the New Zealanders an instant advantage.

But mid-week alterations had borne fruit for the USA, and their foiling catamaran's improved speed let them take the lead on the third leg -- only for another penalty for hindering the Kiwis to set them back.

New Zealand were comfortably in front at the fourth mark and powered on to win by more than two minutes.

A defiant Spithill said he still believed the team had made gains and he was aiming for a win in Saturday's second race.

"There is no speed for free, so we are on edge a little bit more," he said. "We had a few issues - the pre-start was obviously frustrating and then we picked up a pen that we were very surprised with.

"The good news is that the boat was going well. I think we can win this next race. We've got the speed."

‘Another world is possible’: Corbyn headlines Glastonbury stage with message of unity (VIDEO)

Preview Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used his spot on the Glastonbury festival’s main Pyramid Stage to hit out at “elites” that doubted his party’s election campaign, and reminded supporters of their power to affect change in the UK.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used his spot on the Glastonbury festival’s main Pyramid Stage to hit out at “elites” that doubted his party’s election campaign, and reminded supporters of their power to affect change in the UK.
Read Full Article at RT.com

‘THAAD out, Peace in’: S. Koreans protest US missile deployment ahead of Trump talks

Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around the American embassy in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to register their disapproval of the US-built THAAD missile defense system in their country. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around the American embassy in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to register their disapproval of the US-built THAAD missile defense system in their country.
Read Full Article at RT.com

British parliament hit by cyber security attack

Britain’s parliament was hit by a cyber attack on Saturday in which hackers tried to access email accounts, just over a month after a ransomware worm
crippled parts of the country’s health service

Britain's parliament was hit by a cyber attack on Saturday in which hackers tried to access email accounts, just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of the country's health service

Mourners return to Mali resort hit by jihadists

The debris of the jihadist attack is still scattered for all to see: broken tea cups, charred mobile phones and upended chairs strew the once idyllic surrounds of this Malian ecolodge following last Sunday’s violence.More than 100 mourners, diplomats a…

The debris of the jihadist attack is still scattered for all to see: broken tea cups, charred mobile phones and upended chairs strew the once idyllic surrounds of this Malian ecolodge following last Sunday's violence.

More than 100 mourners, diplomats and local officials gathered Saturday at the vast Kangaba Campement resort outside Mali's capital Bamako to remember the five victims who lost their lives, to pay their respects and express their fears for the west African nation's future.

A Malian soldier, a Chinese man, a Malian woman and a Portuguese soldier serving with the European Union military training mission died from bullet wounds, while a man from Cameroon died of a heart attack at the scene.

"Look at those beige sandals, they belonged to my friend who was killed," said a mourner named Maimouna, who was celebrating the birthday of a friend last Sunday when a group of gunmen appeared, shouting "Allahu Akbar" and firing on tourists.

- To stay or go? -

Several attackers were killed at the scene and subsequent arrests have been made, but the rarity of an attack, so close to Bamako, has shocked a nation sadly accustomed to reports of jihadist violence in its northern and central regions.

Herve Depardieu, a blond Frenchman who owns the Kangaba Campement and organised Saturday's ceremony, led proceedings, denouncing the "barbaric" murders and thanking quick-thinking European soldiers who raised the alarm when the attackers descended.

Following a minute's silence, tears began to flow from all quarters as bouquet after bouquet of flowers was thrown onto the attack site in the upper reaches of the vast resort.

Mourners joined hands and raised them aloft, and thoughts turned to the future of this troubled west African nation, where instability has grown worse in recent months as jihadist groups collaborate ever more effectively beyond their traditional strongholds.

"The problem today is to know whether to stay or to go," Depardieu wondered aloud, acknowledging that while the Al-Qaeda-linked group that carried out the attack ultimately want westerners out of Mali, "it is up to the authorities to do what they should be doing," referring to "necessary measures" to ensure security.

- 'Panic' -

Among those present were some of the 36 people briefly held hostage at the scene, returning just six days after a near brush with death to pay their respects to those who were less lucky.

Witnesses described jihadists descending from two directions simultaneously to trap those relaxing on higher ground, and the targeting white tourists.

Off-duty European soldiers fired on the attackers, one witness said, reducing the jihadists' firepower until help arrived.

"The jihadists really got scared when they saw from above that the Malian special forces had arrived, followed by a French army armoured vehicle," the witness added.

In a panic, jihadists fired on the roof of the Kangaba's restaurant terrace, and before long flames began to engulf the structure, according to a separate witness.

"It's just so sad. I came because the wife of my colleague was killed," one European mourner told AFP, amid the chaotic remains of a once cherished spot for those seeking respite from Bamako's heat and noise.

No central government representative attended the private ceremony on Saturday, though several European diplomats and local officials from the village where the Kangaba site is situated came to offer their respects.

The Group to Support Islam and Muslims, a fusion of jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links, said it targeted the resort as a site of "debauchery", and described the attackers as "martyrs" after claiming the attack.

After routinely killing Malian soldiers and UN peacekeepers in the violence wracked north and centre, sections of which have little state presence at all, the group has now shown its capacity and willingness to attack civilian sites close to Bamako.

Brave Lozano heads Mexico into Confed Cup football semis

Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but …

Hirving Lozano's courageous second-half header sealed Mexico's 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera's towering kick from inside his own half.

Russia's hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

While the hosts bow out, Mexico progress as Group A runners-up to play the winners of Group B in Sochi next Thursday.

Having made eight changes for the team which beat New Zealand, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio again rang the changes against Russia with only defender Araujo and forward Giovani dos Santos retained in the starting line-up.

Lozano replaced from Raul Jimenez in a completely different forward line alongside Mexico's all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez and former Arsenal winger Carlos Vela.

Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado picked up an early booking that will rule him out of the semi-final, while the video assistant referee was summoned to reject Russian penalty claims after Fyodor Smolov went to ground in the area.

Russia went ahead though as Smolov hit the post, with Aleksandr Erokhin knocking the rebound to Samedov who drilled past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later.

Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Mexico lost Diego Reyes to injury just before the break when the Espanyol defender rolled his ankle making an innocuous pass.

The linesman's flag denied Spartak Moscow's Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano's brave gamble paid off.

Herrara's thumping clearance was allowed to bounce just outside the Russian area, with Lozano clattered by Akinfeev as he nipped in front of the keeper to head into an unguarded net on 52 minutes.

Mexico then had another goal ruled out for offside following further consultation with the video referee, and Russia suffered a further blow when Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia's misery.

Frankel’s jockey mines Diamond Jubilee on The Tin Man

Tom Queally, who rode the mighty Frankel, landed the Royal Ascot meeting’s closing Group One on Saturday on The Tin Man, but only after a nervous wait.The Irish jockey prevailed in a tight three-horse finish for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes but was then …

Tom Queally, who rode the mighty Frankel, landed the Royal Ascot meeting's closing Group One on Saturday on The Tin Man, but only after a nervous wait.

The Irish jockey prevailed in a tight three-horse finish for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes but was then made to sweat as the stewards' held an inquiry after the 9-2 shot bumped Limato, the 2-1 favourite and eventual third.

The 15-minute investigation maintained the result, with Taslett (7-1) in second, after finding that the manoeuvre had not made a crucial difference to the outcome.

Queally, who won a different race at Royal Ascot last year on the same horse, paid thanks to The Tin Man after seeing his big race winners at the royal festival dry up since the Frankel days.

The Irishman reflected: "It?s hard to get rides here, it?s hard to have runners, and it?s even harder to have winners. You?re only as good as the horses you ride and he?s an outstanding horse."

Queally's compatriot Aidan O?Brien secured the Royal Ascot top trainers? title by half-way through the afternoon when Idaho made it win number six for the week in the Hardwicke Stakes after September, the hot favourite, took the opening Chesham Stakes.

Idaho is the younger brother of the globetrotting Highland Reel, successful in one of the week's most prestigious events, Wednesday's Prince Of Wales?s Stakes.

Idaho's jockey Seamie Heffernan had been unseated when the horse stumbled as a favourite for last year?s St Leger, so it was a far more pleasant experience for the Irish combination here as they made up for lost time.

Idaho showed the determination of his decorated sibling to hold the fast-finishing Barsanti by half a length.

Like Highland Reel, Idaho could be on his travels.

"He's by Galileo and they don't know when to stop improving or stop trying," said O?Brien.

"The King George is a possibility. I think he?ll be busy."

There was to be no repeat for Queen Elizabeth II?s Dartmouth, with last year's winner finishing fourth.

"He wasn't good enough," shrugged Michael Stoute, who has had a disappointing week despite having high hopes of edging ahead of the late Henry Cecil to become Royal Ascot's most successful trainer.

"He's versatile, and can go up in trip, but he won't be going for the Melbourne Cup," added Stoute, who drew level with the late Henry Cecil's record tally of 75 last year, with Dartmouth.

RugbyU: Boks end Ellis Park jinx in series whitewash

South Africa ground out a 35-12 victory Saturday to beat France at Ellis Park in Johannesburg for the first time and complete a 3-0 Test series whitewash.Les Bleus, who won the four previous clashes with the Springboks at the ground, fell behind after …

South Africa ground out a 35-12 victory Saturday to beat France at Ellis Park in Johannesburg for the first time and complete a 3-0 Test series whitewash.

Les Bleus, who won the four previous clashes with the Springboks at the ground, fell behind after six minutes and never looked likely to snap a losing streak on this tour.

Victory in a match that never scaled great heights continued a South African revival after a calamitous last season in which they lost eight of 12 Tests.

Winning the first two matches of the series has reignited public support for the Springboks with a 55,820 crowd creating an electric atmosphere.

South Africa were skippered by lock Eben Etzebeth for the first time after the late withdrawal of No.8 Warren Whiteley due to a groin injury.

Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez replaced Whiteley with Jaco Kriel coming into the team off the bench.

Etzebeth said: "What an unbelievable day it was for me and the whole team. This whole three weeks was unbelievable.

"The crowd that was here tonight, all the support back home. We just want to thank everyone for this massive day and this great three weeks.

"(The buildup) was not tough at all. I think if you put on a Springbok jersey, you want to win every game. That is exactly what we wanted to do tonight.

"We are really happy and so excited for the squad and looking forward to the Rugby Championship."

France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado said: "Tonight, three games, three Tests, three times (almost) the same score -- very bad for the French team.

"But now we know what we have got to do. The Springboks played very well, putting a lot of pressure and they are a good team.

"(Having a young team) is not an excuse. Young team, young players, but when you play you can win every time.

"We must build and hope to play well in future."

South Africa won the World Cup for the first time on the same date 22 years ago and one of the team, winger Chester Williams, was introduced to the crowd before the kick-off.

Fly-half Elton Jantjies, who had succeeded with 11 of 12 kicks at goal during the previous two Tests, put the home team ahead with a sixth-minute penalty.

Within two minutes that lead had stretched to 10 ponts as French winger Virimi Vakatawa was dispossessed and prop Ruan Dreyer sent centre Jesse Kriel over in the corner.

Jantjies converted, but France trimmed the deficit to four points as recalled fly-half Jules Plisson slotted two penalties.

It took 27 minutes for the first scrum which had to be reset, in keeping with a trend of the series, before the work of new cap Dreyer won South Africa a penalty.

A battle of the boots continued until half-time with Jantjies kicking two more penalties and Plisson one, on the stroke of half-time, to leave South Africa 16-9 ahead at the break.

South Africa scored a second try just two minutes into the second half after inside centre Jan Serfontein won a line-out and Etzebeth barged over for an unconverted try.

Plisson missed his first penalty attempt of the match after 53 minutes of a stop-start match with too many penalties, most after basic error by both teams.

The French fly-half succeeded with another penalty only for South Africa to go 28-12 ahead just past the hour when hooker Malcolm Marx drove over and Jantjies converted.

Substitute scrum-half Rudy Paige rubbed salt into French wounds with a try five minutes from time which Jantjies converted.

Arab states want obedience from Qatar, alternative is parting ways – UAE minister

Preview The Arab states which isolated Qatar earlier this month aren’t seeking regime change in the country but rather, an attitude change and want all their recently delivered demands to be fulfilled by Doha, Anwar Gargash, UAE’s foreign minister has said.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview The Arab states which isolated Qatar earlier this month aren’t seeking regime change in the country but rather, an attitude change and want all their recently delivered demands to be fulfilled by Doha, Anwar Gargash, UAE’s foreign minister has said.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Gulf states to mark end of Ramadan from Sunday

The Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is to start on Sunday in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf states, the religious authorities announced.The authorities in the kingdom said in a statement carried by the official…

The Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is to start on Sunday in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf states, the religious authorities announced.

The authorities in the kingdom said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the new moon had been sighted, marking the end of the month of fasting.

News agencies in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait also announced that Sunday will mark the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, and other countries in the region are expected to follow suit.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims do not drink, eat or have sexual relations between dawn and nightfall. They also try to avoid evil thoughts and deeds.

Ramadan is sacred to Muslims because tradition says the Koran was revealed to their prophet Mohammed during that month.

Ronaldo hits milestone as Portugal sink New Zealand

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire th…

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos' side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final.

Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon still harbour outside qualification hopes.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russia for top spot.

Ronaldo twice threatened the New Zealand goal in quick succession, nodding straight at goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic on 24 minutes and then clattering the crossbar shortly after with another header from a Ricardo Quaresma cross.

But the Portugal captain made no mistake after Danilo was wrestled to the ground in the area by a combination of Tom Doyle and Tommy Smith following a corner.

Ronaldo buried the resultant penalty beyond Stefanovic to draw level with former Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and within nine goals of the legendary Ferenc Puskas' European record of 84 at international level.

Portugal swiftly doubled their lead when Eliseu's dangerous low cross from the left was forced home by Silva, although there was brief concern for the new Manchester City signing as he landed awkwardly on his ankle.

New Zealand skipper Chris Wood nearly grabbed a lifeline for the All Whites on the hour, but his back-post effort was scrambled off the line by a combination of Rui Patricio and Bruno Alves.

Ronaldo could have added to his tally when he climbed to meet a Nelson Semedo delivery, his header scooped away by Stefanovic who then stood tall to superbly deny Andre Silva.

Santos withdrew Ronaldo on 67 minutes with the semi-finals in mind, and his replacement Nani struck within moments of his introduction only for Stefanovic to brilliantly tip behind his deflected shot.

Silva finally provided Portugal with further breathing space 10 minutes from time as the AC Milan-bound striker ran at the Kiwi defence before drilling into the roof of the net.

Former Manchester United winger Nani then drilled in a fourth in injury time, with Portugal now having lost just one of their last 23 competitive fixtures.

Extremist groups come out of shadows in Quebec

Tattooed and wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with a wolf paw, Patrick Beaudry admits being in the second year of a political movement “that is perhaps more radical” than others.La Meute, a far-right group in Quebec of which he is a founder, does not…

Tattooed and wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with a wolf paw, Patrick Beaudry admits being in the second year of a political movement "that is perhaps more radical" than others.

La Meute, a far-right group in Quebec of which he is a founder, does not promote extremist or racist views, he insists, while confessing a liking for the French National Front of Marine Le Pen.

His motivation, however, is unequivocal.

"Our fight is with radical Islam," Beaudry told AFP.

La Meute is not a lone actor in Quebec. Other groups seeking independence or opposing immigration include Soldiers of Oden and the Federation of Native Quebecers (FQS).

They are all close or affiliated to the far-right. Engaged by issues such as secularism or the veiling of Muslim women, they are no longer shy to speak out to try and influence political debate.

"What I hear from the National Front charms me," says Beaudry, who also agrees with the position of the FQS, which welcomed Le Pen's recent visit to Quebec, which proved fertile ground.

About 20 percent of expatriates in the province voted for Le Pen in French presidential elections in April -- twice the rate of support of French citizens residing throughout Canada.

Membership of groups such as La Meute -- some of which are interlaced and affiliated with international organizations -- range from a few dozen to thousands. Most are held together by the charisma of their leader.

"A group can disappear overnight because of an internal schism or a decision by its members to self-dissolve or go underground," said Aurelie Campana, a far-right specialist in Canada.

But the movements are undoubtedly coming out of the woodwork.

- Refugee tensions -

"Until very recently, these extreme right-wing groups refused to be part of political debates and public discourse," said the professor at Laval University in Quebec City.

"Many associate the extreme right with racism and, to say racist is to be stigmatized. These groups want to seen as legitimate," Campana added.

Tensions, however, have run high.

Last fall, 50 far right sympathizers protested outside the Quebec legislature waving placards that read: "Death to Terrorists, Islam out."

And in March, nearly 200 demonstrated against a motion in Canada's parliament condemning Islamaphobia. The motion was adopted after a shooting rampage at a mosque in Quebec City killed six worshippers.

The far right quickly distanced itself from the action of the young attacker seemingly inspired by their rhetoric who is now in custody awaiting prosecution.

A refugee group also noted that shooter Alexandre Bissonnette espoused in online posts positions taken by US President Donald Trump, Le Pen and a Quebec group that rejects multiculturalism.

But, like their brethren in Europe, the far-right groups in Canada have taken a firm stand against immigration, seizing on problems arising from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's welcoming of 40,000 Syrian refugees.

"Extreme right-wing groups in Quebec have a number of objectives," said Maxime Fiset, a former FQS member.

They are "anti-immigrant, ultra-nationalist or neo-fascist," and see secularism as a means to combat radical Islam, he said.

La Meute and its contemporaries hope to make a breakthrough in next year's elections in the French-speaking province where liberals now rule.

Horizon Quebec Actuel, another party affiliated with France's National Front, contested a by-election in late May in Montreal.

Its campaign posters featured the split image of a young woman wearing a blue bonnet on one side and a black veil (niqab) on the other.

"We ask immigrants to adopt the customs of the people of Quebec, it has nothing to do with racism," said its leader Alexandre Cormier-Denis.

Japan files protest against Chinese coast guard patrols near disputed islands

Tokyo has lodged a protest over four Chinese coast guard vessels it says violated its waters near disputed East China Sea islands. The complaint comes a week after the Japanese Navy sent its flagship helicopter carrier close to waters cla…

Preview Tokyo has lodged a protest over four Chinese coast guard vessels it says violated its waters near disputed East China Sea islands. The complaint comes a week after the Japanese Navy sent its flagship helicopter carrier close to waters claimed by Beijing.
Read Full Article at RT.com

French journalist dies after landmine blast in ISIS-besieged Mosul

A journalist who was injured in an explosion while covering Islamic State atrocities in Mosul has succumbed to her wounds, her employers, France Televisions, report. The same landmine blast killed two of her colleagues. Read Full Article …

Preview A journalist who was injured in an explosion while covering Islamic State atrocities in Mosul has succumbed to her wounds, her employers, France Televisions, report. The same landmine blast killed two of her colleagues.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Putin visits annexed Crimea, triggering Kiev protest

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014, a trip quickly denounced by Kiev as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.Putin made a stop at the legendary Artek holiday camp for young people…

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014, a trip quickly denounced by Kiev as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.

Putin made a stop at the legendary Artek holiday camp for young people, dating from Soviet times, on the shores of the Black Sea, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Founded in 1925 based on an idea from Lenin, the father of Russian communism, Artek went from a sanitorium for children with tuberculosis to a camp for "pioneers", the communist youth organisation for children aged 10 to 14.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Artek, like all of Crimea, was part of an independent Ukraine and the facility fell on hard times. But after the Russians took back the peninsula the youth camp was renovated.

"It wasn't that long ago that Artek went through rather difficult times. But now it is being reborn, and it is reborn as an international holiday camp," Putin said in a speech to the young people.

Putin has visited Crimea before since Russia's annexation, which was condemned by the international community, and Kiev considers it to still be part of Ukraine.

The country's foreign ministry issued a statement saying Kiev "considers this visit... to be a gross violation of the sovereignty of the State and the territorial integrity of Ukraine," according to the Russian TASS news agency.

Ukraine has been fighting a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country since 2014 which Kiev and its Western allies say is backed by Moscow. More than 10,000 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed since the start of the conflict.

Egypt’s Sisi ratifies handover of islands to Saudi Arabia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parl…

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.

Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parliament approved the deal, which has been the subject of a confusing legal battle with one court annulling the treaty and another upholding it.

The treaty, first announced in April 2016, had fuelled rare protests and police have arrested dozens of activists over the past week after calls for more demonstrations.

It had also been challenged in courts, but the country's highest tribunal had suspended the contradictory rulings this week until a final decision determined which court has jurisdiction.

Parliament's vote on June 14 came after days of heated debate, with opponents even interrupting one committee session with chanting.

The accord had sparked rare protests in Egypt, with Sisi accused of having traded the islands of Tiran and Sanafir for Saudi largesse.

The government has said the islands were Saudi to begin with, but were leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Opponents of the agreement insist that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian.

- Access to Israel port -

Sisi on Tuesday had again insisted on the need to return the islands to their "owners".

"Nations are governed by constitutions and laws and legitimate rights, not whims or emotions," the presidency had quoted him as saying.

Lying at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the islands can be used to control access to the Israeli port of Eilat.

They were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war before being returned to Egypt under the 1979 Camp David Accords.

Generations of Egyptians had grown up learning in school that the two islands belonged to their country and that soldiers had died defending them during wars with Israel.

Sisi went ahead with the deal even though it threatened to dent his popularity, and at a time that the government, grappling with austerity reforms that have fuelled inflation, is wary of protests.

Police arrested dozens of activists since parliament passed the law.

Activists had called for protests last Friday, but few materialised.

Protests without a court permit are illegal in Egypt and may lead to prison terms.

A crackdown on opposition since the former army chief Sisi ousted Islamist president in 2013 has jailed thousands of people, mostly Islamists but also secular dissidents.

The country is also facing an Islamic State group-led insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and dozens of Coptic Christians in church attacks.

Rome out to rescue two troubled banks

At the 11th hour, the Italian government has vowed to rescue two troubled Venetian banks with the aid of a retail bank, plus billions of taxpayer’s cash.The government was due to meet over the weekend to devise the rescue framework for Banca Popolare d…

At the 11th hour, the Italian government has vowed to rescue two troubled Venetian banks with the aid of a retail bank, plus billions of taxpayer's cash.

The government was due to meet over the weekend to devise the rescue framework for Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, the finance ministry said in a statement Friday night.

Both banks face bankruptcy and European authorities say it is for Rome, not Brussels, to deal with their liquidation, selling off their good assets and transferring toxic assets to a "bad bank," essentially financed by Rome.

Italy will stage the rescue with support from the country's biggest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo.

Whereas Intesa has put a symbolic euro on the table, the cost to the Italian state will be around 10 billion euros ($11 billion).

The development comes amid deep concern within the 19-member eurozone at the parlous state of some Italian banks as Rome tries to address piles of risky loans sitting on the books of some of them.

In its statement, the ministry said the government would meet "over the weekend to adopt necessary measures to ensure banking activity is fully operational, with protection for all current account holders, deposits and senior shares."

Intesa Sanpaulo will pick up healthy assets "so as to allow the normal opening of branches Monday morning," according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

In parallel, a "bad bank" will be created for toxic assets likely never to be repaid to creditors in an operation the Corriere report put at "between 8.0 and 10 billion euros" to the state.

La Repubblica estimated the cost at "10 to 12 billion euros."

The state will also have to take on board the cost of between 3,500 and 4,000 bank employees set to lose their jobs as well as associated early retirement costs, according to La Repubblica.

- Symbolic euro -

Intesa Sanpaolo said Wednesday it would be party to the operation -- but laid down conditions, not least an insistence its capital ratio and share dividend policy remain unaffected.

The bank said it would pay a "symbolic sum" of one euro in the process and would not raise any capital to fund a rescue exercise which became necessary after the discovery of a capital hole resulting from bad loans.

The president of Italy's industry group Confindustria, Vincenzo Boccia, on Saturday called the rescue proposal a "sensible offer."

The Venetian banks are not the first to hit the headlines in recent months.

Earlier this month, the EU anti-trust authority approved Italy's massive rescue of the country's troubled third-largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS).

Founded in Siena in 1472, BMPS has been in deep trouble since the worst of the eurozone debt crisis, with the Rome government set to take a majority stake on a provisional basis to save the bank from bankruptcy.

That plan would allow Italy to inject capital in line with EU rules, whilst limiting the burden for Italian taxpayers after the lender, the world's oldest bank, failed to raise funds on the market last year.

In exchange, Rome must accept a drastic EU-approved restructuring plan for BMPS expected to involve mass layoffs.

The European Central Bank said in December that BMPS was short of a staggering 8.8 billion euros in capital.

Weakened by the disastrous purchase in 2007 of the Antonveneta bank, BMPS quickly drifted into scandal when its management team was accused of fraud and misuse of funds.

‘Fantastic’ Hamilton leaves Lauda stunned

Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda said he had never seen anything like it after watching Lewis Hamilton scorch to pole position in the final seconds of Saturday’s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.The three-time champion Austrian, who is Mercedes’ n…

Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda said he had never seen anything like it after watching Lewis Hamilton scorch to pole position in the final seconds of Saturday's qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The three-time champion Austrian, who is Mercedes' non-executive chairman, also praised the team for their work in turning around a car that had struggled on Friday, when Hamilton was 10th, into the fastest just 24 hours later.

"The team really did a fantastic job to set the car up in the right way and Lewis with his lap here -- I have never seen anything like it," said the 68-year-old Austrian.

"And it was not plain sailing at all, but I tell you, a lot of thinking, digging back to the factory, forward and whatsoever and, in the end, the improvements they did -- the engineers -- and all the mechanics did to the car today is outstanding.

"And then what Lewis did today! Nobody else, I think, can do that."

Hamilton's 66th pole position lifted the 32-year-old into outright second place in the record books behind only seven-time champion German Michael Schumacher, on 68.

"He's fantastic," said Lauda. "Especially I am now thinking about his lap time here. The difference he makes to everybody is only Lewis. So -- fantastic."

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas had been quickest in the final Q3 session until Hamilton's late intervention.

"I think Lewis had a really good lap and I didn't," said Bottas.

"I wasn't quite comfortable with the tyre temperatures. It was the first time we tried to go for a time in the first lap of the tyres and I couldn't get them to work as well as Lewis.

"I didn't have enough grip. The run before was good and, before the red flag, everything was going ok.

"In the end, I'm disappointed to lose the pole position, as that was definitively the target for me."

"But I'm really proud," added the 27-year-old Finnish driver. "We've made quite big changes through the practice sessions, we were quite lost, to be honest, in the beginning and we managed to turn it around.

"So for that I'm really, pleased. For tomorrow we, as a team, definitively have a great starting position and we're going to have a good fight and try to get another one-two."

Egypt’s Sisi ratifies handover of Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified a maritime demarcation agreement that sees the country cede sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the government said on Saturday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified a maritime demarcation agreement that sees the country cede sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the government said on Saturday.

Egypt’s Sisi ratifies deal with Saudi Arabia over Red Sea islands

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified a maritime demarcation agreement that sees the country cede sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the government said on Saturday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified a maritime demarcation agreement that sees the country cede sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the government said on Saturday.

Egypt’s Sisi ratifies island handover to Saudi Arabia: cabinet

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parl…

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.

Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parliament approved the deal, which has been the subject of a confusing legal battle with one court annulling the treaty and another upholding it.

The treaty, first announced in April 2016, had fuelled rare protests and police have arrested dozens of activists over the past week after calls for more demonstrations.

It had also been challenged in courts, but the country's highest tribunal had suspended the contradictory rulings this week until a final decision determined which court has jurisdiction.

Parliament's vote on June 14 came after days of heated debate in with opponents even interrupting one committee session with chanting.

The accord had sparked rare protests in Egypt, with Sisi accused of having traded the islands of Tiran and Sanafir for Saudi largesse.

The government has said the islands were Saudi to begin with, but were leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Opponents of the agreement insist that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian.

Egypt’s Sisi ratifies island handover to Saudi Arabia: cabinet

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parl…

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a treaty that hands over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in a deal that had sparked protests and a police crackdown, the cabinet said Saturday.

Sisi ratified the maritime border treaty days after parliament approved the deal, which has been the subject of a confusing legal battle with one court annulling the treaty and another upholding it.

The treaty, first announced in April 2016, had fuelled rare protests and police have arrested dozens of activists over the past week after calls for more demonstrations.

It had also been challenged in courts, but the country's highest tribunal had suspended the contradictory rulings this week until a final decision determined which court has jurisdiction.

Parliament's vote on June 14 came after days of heated debate in with opponents even interrupting one committee session with chanting.

The accord had sparked rare protests in Egypt, with Sisi accused of having traded the islands of Tiran and Sanafir for Saudi largesse.

The government has said the islands were Saudi to begin with, but were leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Opponents of the agreement insist that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian.

Vettel shrugs off Mercedes’ Baku lockout

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was anything but downbeat after his Ferrari team were swept aside by a Mercedes front row lockout in Saturday?s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Despite being beaten by his main rivals and outpaced by his te…

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was anything but downbeat after his Ferrari team were swept aside by a Mercedes front row lockout in Saturday?s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Despite being beaten by his main rivals and outpaced by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the four-time champion growled with defiance as he licked his wounds after the session.

?It's one of those tracks where you need to have the car in the window, the tyres in the window and if you feel confident, you extract a lot of lap time," he said.

?I'm not too bothered by the gap. It's not nice, but equally I'm not worried. The car was very good on Friday. In the long run, we looked very competitive so it should be fine.

?Third was probably the maximum. As a team, we got what we could today. Tomorrow can be a different story and I think the race pace should be a lot closer."

Three-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who is 12 points adrift of him in the drivers? title race, took pole for Mercedes with a blistering lap in a dramatic finale.

He outpaced team-mate Valtteri Botas by half a second and was more than a second clear of third-placed Raikkonen with Vetterl 1.25 seconds adrift in fourth.

It was Hamilton?s 66th pole lifting him one clear of his hero three-time champion Ayrton Senna?s record of 65 and within two of equalling the record of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

Vettel struggled with problems including a hydraulics leak that forced Ferrari to revert to an older engine on his car before qualifying.

"I don't like excuses, so I think it was a good effort by the whole team to get the car out in time without losing anything of the first part of qualifying," said Vettel.

Vettel shrugs off Mercedes’ Baku lockout

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was anything but downbeat after his Ferrari team were swept aside by a Mercedes front row lockout in Saturday?s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Despite being beaten by his main rivals and outpaced by his te…

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was anything but downbeat after his Ferrari team were swept aside by a Mercedes front row lockout in Saturday?s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Despite being beaten by his main rivals and outpaced by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the four-time champion growled with defiance as he licked his wounds after the session.

?It's one of those tracks where you need to have the car in the window, the tyres in the window and if you feel confident, you extract a lot of lap time," he said.

?I'm not too bothered by the gap. It's not nice, but equally I'm not worried. The car was very good on Friday. In the long run, we looked very competitive so it should be fine.

?Third was probably the maximum. As a team, we got what we could today. Tomorrow can be a different story and I think the race pace should be a lot closer."

Three-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who is 12 points adrift of him in the drivers? title race, took pole for Mercedes with a blistering lap in a dramatic finale.

He outpaced team-mate Valtteri Botas by half a second and was more than a second clear of third-placed Raikkonen with Vetterl 1.25 seconds adrift in fourth.

It was Hamilton?s 66th pole lifting him one clear of his hero three-time champion Ayrton Senna?s record of 65 and within two of equalling the record of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

Vettel struggled with problems including a hydraulics leak that forced Ferrari to revert to an older engine on his car before qualifying.

"I don't like excuses, so I think it was a good effort by the whole team to get the car out in time without losing anything of the first part of qualifying," said Vettel.

Eight-time champion Federer to face Zverev in Halle final

Roger Federer, chasing a ninth title at the Halle grass court tournament, despatched Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) on Saturday to move into the final.The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will n…

Roger Federer, chasing a ninth title at the Halle grass court tournament, despatched Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) on Saturday to move into the final.

The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will now face German fourth seed Alexander Zverev who saw off France's Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, 35, has yet to drop a set in Halle, where he was playing his 13th consecutive semi-final.

"I thought it was extremely close, especially that second set. I'm still just very happy how I was able to close it out in the tiebreaker,? said Federer who first reached the Halle final in 2003.

Federer defeated Zverev's older brother Mischa in the second round this week.

However, he was defeated by Alexander Zverev in three sets in the semi-finals at Halle in 2016.

Eight-time champion Federer to face Zverev in Halle final

Roger Federer, chasing a ninth title at the Halle grass court tournament, despatched Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) on Saturday to move into the final.The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will n…

Roger Federer, chasing a ninth title at the Halle grass court tournament, despatched Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) on Saturday to move into the final.

The world number five, building up to an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title in July, will now face German fourth seed Alexander Zverev who saw off France's Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, 35, has yet to drop a set in Halle, where he was playing his 13th consecutive semi-final.

"I thought it was extremely close, especially that second set. I'm still just very happy how I was able to close it out in the tiebreaker,? said Federer who first reached the Halle final in 2003.

Federer defeated Zverev's older brother Mischa in the second round this week.

However, he was defeated by Alexander Zverev in three sets in the semi-finals at Halle in 2016.

‘Dream performance’ as Srikanth sets up Chen badminton final

India’s Kidambi Srikanth blew away China’s Shi Yuqi with a “dream” performance to set up an Australian Open final against Olympic champion Chen Long on Saturday.The 11th-ranked Srikanth beat Shi, the world number four, 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes t…

India's Kidambi Srikanth blew away China's Shi Yuqi with a "dream" performance to set up an Australian Open final against Olympic champion Chen Long on Saturday.

The 11th-ranked Srikanth beat Shi, the world number four, 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes to reach his third successive Superseries final.

China's Chen gave himself a shot at his first Superseries title this year by fighting off South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-Il 26-24, 15-21, 21-17 in 68 minutes.

The women's final on Sunday will be an all-Japanese affair between Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara.

Okuhara made her first Superseries final in over a year, wearing down China's Sun Yu 21-18, 18-21, 21-14, while Yamaguchi played a brilliant counter-attacking game to shock Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu Ying 21-19, 21-12.

Srikanth, who won last week's Indonesia Open and also reached the Singapore Open final in May, gave a masterclass in net play and deception to blitz Shi.

"Yes, it's a dream performance," Srikanth said. "I played a World Superseries final (Singapore Open) after two years, and then to play the next two finals is a dream for sure.

"I was in control of the whole match, I didn't give him any easy points at the start. It's just that I had to stay there and not give him easy points. I was in control at the net."

In the other men's semi-final, Lee pinned Chen to the lines and kept things tight until he chose his moment to attack.

Chen's usually airtight defence was frequently pierced as he struggled to read the lines of Lee's attack.

The Korean dominated the Olympic champion but failed to convert any of four game points in the opener. He took the second game and had his chances in the third until a late surge by Chen proved too much.

"I'm quite satisfied with my performance this tournament. I feel less pressure now as an independent player, that's why my performances have improved in recent times," Lee said.

In the women's semi-finals, Yamaguchi went for winners and never let off her pace against Tai, the world number one.

Tai stayed level through the first game but Yamaguchi got lucky on her first game point -? the shuttle catching the tape and tumbling into Tai's court -? and the Japanese consolidated her lead with solid play in the second.

Okuhara has lost four straight matches to her compatriot Yamaguchi, but she was hopeful of turning it around in Sunday's final.

"After the Rio Olympics, I had an injury and it has taken time to recover," Okuhara said.

"My condition is better now. I face Akane again. Last week I lost to her but I want to challenge her tomorrow."

‘Dream performance’ as Srikanth sets up Chen badminton final

India’s Kidambi Srikanth blew away China’s Shi Yuqi with a “dream” performance to set up an Australian Open final against Olympic champion Chen Long on Saturday.The 11th-ranked Srikanth beat Shi, the world number four, 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes t…

India's Kidambi Srikanth blew away China's Shi Yuqi with a "dream" performance to set up an Australian Open final against Olympic champion Chen Long on Saturday.

The 11th-ranked Srikanth beat Shi, the world number four, 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes to reach his third successive Superseries final.

China's Chen gave himself a shot at his first Superseries title this year by fighting off South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-Il 26-24, 15-21, 21-17 in 68 minutes.

The women's final on Sunday will be an all-Japanese affair between Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara.

Okuhara made her first Superseries final in over a year, wearing down China's Sun Yu 21-18, 18-21, 21-14, while Yamaguchi played a brilliant counter-attacking game to shock Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu Ying 21-19, 21-12.

Srikanth, who won last week's Indonesia Open and also reached the Singapore Open final in May, gave a masterclass in net play and deception to blitz Shi.

"Yes, it's a dream performance," Srikanth said. "I played a World Superseries final (Singapore Open) after two years, and then to play the next two finals is a dream for sure.

"I was in control of the whole match, I didn't give him any easy points at the start. It's just that I had to stay there and not give him easy points. I was in control at the net."

In the other men's semi-final, Lee pinned Chen to the lines and kept things tight until he chose his moment to attack.

Chen's usually airtight defence was frequently pierced as he struggled to read the lines of Lee's attack.

The Korean dominated the Olympic champion but failed to convert any of four game points in the opener. He took the second game and had his chances in the third until a late surge by Chen proved too much.

"I'm quite satisfied with my performance this tournament. I feel less pressure now as an independent player, that's why my performances have improved in recent times," Lee said.

In the women's semi-finals, Yamaguchi went for winners and never let off her pace against Tai, the world number one.

Tai stayed level through the first game but Yamaguchi got lucky on her first game point -? the shuttle catching the tape and tumbling into Tai's court -? and the Japanese consolidated her lead with solid play in the second.

Okuhara has lost four straight matches to her compatriot Yamaguchi, but she was hopeful of turning it around in Sunday's final.

"After the Rio Olympics, I had an injury and it has taken time to recover," Okuhara said.

"My condition is better now. I face Akane again. Last week I lost to her but I want to challenge her tomorrow."

Kenya’s Kipruto ready to step up steeplechase ladder

Kenya’s Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto feels victory at this year’s world championships in London would cement his place one of the distance greats.The 22-year-old, twice gold medallist in 2013 in Moscow and in Beijing in …

Kenya's Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto feels victory at this year's world championships in London would cement his place one of the distance greats.

The 22-year-old, twice gold medallist in 2013 in Moscow and in Beijing in 2015, said he's ready to step up the ladder as the next dominant after compatriot and four-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

"This time I want to change the way I have been running at the world championships," said Kipruto, after his victory at the Kenyan national trials at the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday.

"Having won the Olympics, I now have the course. I want to be is a world champion and the take the mantle from Kemboi."

Kipruto will however have the 2007 world champion Brimin Kipruto to contend with in London after the resurgent 2008 Olympic champion fought his way to qualify for his seventh career championship in London with a second-place finish.

Two-time Diamond League winner Jairus Kipchoge Birech finished third in 8:20.01 to complete the three-man line-up.

American National Collegiate 800-metre champion Emmanuel Korir upset a strong field to win his first Kenyan title in an impressive time of 1:43.86.

Korir finished well clear of the Shanghai Diamond League winner Kipyegon Bett and fellow US-based Michael Saruni, who took second and third place respectively in 1:44.04 and 1:44.61.

National champion Ferguson Rotich was relegated into fourth, but was included in the world championship squad by virtue of being the 2016 Diamond League champion.

Reigning 800m champion David Rudisha also earned the wild card, despite not taking part in the two-day championship.

The women's 800m was won by Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera in her fourth personal best time of the season in 1:59.68.

Eunice Sum, the African and Commonwealth 800m champion was a distant second in 2:00.03 with Emily Cherotich (2:00.08) third.

There was no surprise in the men's 10000m, as national champion Geoffrey Kamworor lead Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui in a repeat of the team that represented Kenya in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kamworor, the two-time world cross country and world half-marathon champion said the trio will work as a team to topple Britain's two-time world 10000m champion, Mo Farah in London.

"We need to change the technique and with enough training between now and August there is no doubt about beating Farah. It is high time we won back the 10000m world title. That time is now," said Kamworor.

Kenya’s Kipruto ready to step up steeplechase ladder

Kenya’s Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto feels victory at this year’s world championships in London would cement his place one of the distance greats.The 22-year-old, twice gold medallist in 2013 in Moscow and in Beijing in …

Kenya's Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto feels victory at this year's world championships in London would cement his place one of the distance greats.

The 22-year-old, twice gold medallist in 2013 in Moscow and in Beijing in 2015, said he's ready to step up the ladder as the next dominant after compatriot and four-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

"This time I want to change the way I have been running at the world championships," said Kipruto, after his victory at the Kenyan national trials at the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday.

"Having won the Olympics, I now have the course. I want to be is a world champion and the take the mantle from Kemboi."

Kipruto will however have the 2007 world champion Brimin Kipruto to contend with in London after the resurgent 2008 Olympic champion fought his way to qualify for his seventh career championship in London with a second-place finish.

Two-time Diamond League winner Jairus Kipchoge Birech finished third in 8:20.01 to complete the three-man line-up.

American National Collegiate 800-metre champion Emmanuel Korir upset a strong field to win his first Kenyan title in an impressive time of 1:43.86.

Korir finished well clear of the Shanghai Diamond League winner Kipyegon Bett and fellow US-based Michael Saruni, who took second and third place respectively in 1:44.04 and 1:44.61.

National champion Ferguson Rotich was relegated into fourth, but was included in the world championship squad by virtue of being the 2016 Diamond League champion.

Reigning 800m champion David Rudisha also earned the wild card, despite not taking part in the two-day championship.

The women's 800m was won by Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera in her fourth personal best time of the season in 1:59.68.

Eunice Sum, the African and Commonwealth 800m champion was a distant second in 2:00.03 with Emily Cherotich (2:00.08) third.

There was no surprise in the men's 10000m, as national champion Geoffrey Kamworor lead Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui in a repeat of the team that represented Kenya in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kamworor, the two-time world cross country and world half-marathon champion said the trio will work as a team to topple Britain's two-time world 10000m champion, Mo Farah in London.

"We need to change the technique and with enough training between now and August there is no doubt about beating Farah. It is high time we won back the 10000m world title. That time is now," said Kamworor.

Zarco claims maiden pole in Assen

Yamaha Tech3’s French rider Johann Zarco edged four-time champion Marc Marquez in final qualifying to claim his maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday for the Dutch Grand Prix in Assen.Honda’s Marquez and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci keep Zarco company on the fron…

Yamaha Tech3's French rider Johann Zarco edged four-time champion Marc Marquez in final qualifying to claim his maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday for the Dutch Grand Prix in Assen.

Honda's Marquez and Ducati's Danilo Petrucci keep Zarco company on the front row with world championship leader Maverick Vinales only managing to make the fifth row.

Italian veteran Valentino Rossi sets off on the second row with Briton Scott Redding and Zarco's teammate Jonas Folger.

Reigning Moto2 champion Zarco, at only his eighth attempt, becomes the first Frenchman since Olivier Jacque in Germany 15 years ago to set off from pole in the world championship's top category.

The 26-year-old coped best with a wet circuit and windy conditions to shade Marquez by .065sec and Petrucci by .385s as Vinales, who had posted the fastest time in practice, failed to make an impact.

Yamaha's Spanish rider trailed in 11th in the pole-deciding session, a full 2.125s adrift.

At least Vinales made it through to second qualifying, in contrast to three time former MotoGP titleholder Jorge Lorenzo who trailed in 21st to leave him languishing on the penultimate row on Sunday's grid.

In the race for the 2017 world championship Vinales leads on 111 points from Dovizioso (104) and Marquez (88).

Zarco, in sixth with 75 points, is seeking to become the first French MotoGP winner since Regis Laconi in 1999, with none of his fellow countrymen ever wearing the MotoGP crown.

Zarco claims maiden pole in Assen

Yamaha Tech3’s French rider Johann Zarco edged four-time champion Marc Marquez in final qualifying to claim his maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday for the Dutch Grand Prix in Assen.Honda’s Marquez and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci keep Zarco company on the fron…

Yamaha Tech3's French rider Johann Zarco edged four-time champion Marc Marquez in final qualifying to claim his maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday for the Dutch Grand Prix in Assen.

Honda's Marquez and Ducati's Danilo Petrucci keep Zarco company on the front row with world championship leader Maverick Vinales only managing to make the fifth row.

Italian veteran Valentino Rossi sets off on the second row with Briton Scott Redding and Zarco's teammate Jonas Folger.

Reigning Moto2 champion Zarco, at only his eighth attempt, becomes the first Frenchman since Olivier Jacque in Germany 15 years ago to set off from pole in the world championship's top category.

The 26-year-old coped best with a wet circuit and windy conditions to shade Marquez by .065sec and Petrucci by .385s as Vinales, who had posted the fastest time in practice, failed to make an impact.

Yamaha's Spanish rider trailed in 11th in the pole-deciding session, a full 2.125s adrift.

At least Vinales made it through to second qualifying, in contrast to three time former MotoGP titleholder Jorge Lorenzo who trailed in 21st to leave him languishing on the penultimate row on Sunday's grid.

In the race for the 2017 world championship Vinales leads on 111 points from Dovizioso (104) and Marquez (88).

Zarco, in sixth with 75 points, is seeking to become the first French MotoGP winner since Regis Laconi in 1999, with none of his fellow countrymen ever wearing the MotoGP crown.

Deans to coach Barbarians against New Zealand

Robbie Deans will coach the Barbarians against his native New Zealand when the teams meet at Twickenham later this year, the invitational club have announced.The Killik Cup clash on November 4 will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the foundation of t…

Robbie Deans will coach the Barbarians against his native New Zealand when the teams meet at Twickenham later this year, the invitational club have announced.

The Killik Cup clash on November 4 will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the foundation of the New Zealand Rugby Union.

For Deans, a former fullback capped five times by the All Blacks, it will be his third stint in charge of the Barbarians, having most recently overseen last year's 31-31 draw with South Africa across London at Wembley.

November's fixture will revive memories of the most celebrated of all Barbarians matches, a 23-11 win over New Zealand at Cardiff in 1973 which saw Wales great Gareth Edwards cap a length-of-the-field move to score what is still widely regarded as one of the best tries in rugby union history.

"That was a landmark fixture that set high standards of how the game could be played in people?s minds and a huge part of the rivalry stems from that,? said Deans.

"It launched the Barbarians to another level in terms of interest in them and their mystique," added Deans, 57, in a Barbarians statement.

England, whose governing Rugby Football Union owns Twickenham, had approached the NZRU about playing the reigning world champion All Blacks at 'headquarters' on November 4 instead of the Barbarians.

But New Zealand officials opted to stick with the Barbarians.

Deans said that was testament to the enduring appeal of a fixture which the Barbarians also won in 2009, with Bryan Habana, the outstanding Springbok wing, scoring a hat-trick of tries.

November's match -- the All Blacks' first at Twickenham since they won the 2015 World Cup final at the southwest London ground -- promises to be as tough as any the Barbarians have had in recent times.

Deans, speaking before New Zealand's 30-15 first Test win against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on Saturday, added: "We want to be able to test the All Blacks ?- we don't want to spend all day chasing them."