Balance key to outfoxing Atletico – Shakespeare

Leicester City must strike the right balance both emotionally and tactically if they are to conquer battle-hardened Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final, manager Craig Shakespeare said on Monday.Leicester approach Tuesday’s return le…

Leicester City must strike the right balance both emotionally and tactically if they are to conquer battle-hardened Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final, manager Craig Shakespeare said on Monday.

Leicester approach Tuesday's return leg trailing 1-0 after Antoine Griezmann's disputed penalty in Madrid last week gave Atletico a slender advantage.

The King Power Stadium is likely to be rocking as Leicester go in search of another fairytale, but Shakespeare said it will be important for his players to keep their cool.

"As players you have to get the right balance, but I think I've got that within the squad," he told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

"I don't have a real problem with that. You have to have that fire in your belly, but you also have to have cool, smart heads at times.

"We've proved over the last 18 months that we're more than capable of that."

Shakespeare revealed that captain Wes Morgan will undergo a late fitness test on the morning of the game.

The centre-back has missed Leicester's last six matches due to a nerve problem in his back, but has taken part in the squad's last three training sessions.

Shakespeare is already without his other first-choice centre-back, Robert Huth, due to suspension.

Yohan Benalouane, who has been deputising for Morgan, came off due to cramp during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, but Shakespeare said he had trained without any problems on Monday.

Leicester overcame a one-goal deficit to defeat Sevilla in the previous round, although on that occasion they went into the home leg with an away goal under their belts.

They struggled to create chances at the Vicente Calderon last week and fell to a penalty awarded for a foul on Griezmann by Marc Albrighton that replays showed occurred just outside the box.

- Gameiro lift -

While Shakespeare knows Leicester must show a sharper cutting edge than in the first leg, he remains mindful of the threat Atletico pose on the counter-attack.

"We need to make sure we create more offensively," said Shakespeare, who succeeded Claudio Ranieri as manager after Leicester's first-leg loss to Sevilla in the last 16.

"We've got to get a goal back. But by the same token, we need to be mindful of players like Griezmann. We need to deny them space because they're a very, very good counter-attacking team.

"We're at home, we need to be more forceful than we were, but respectful of the opposition as well."

Atletico are bidding to reach the last four for the third time in four seasons following their losses to city rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 and 2016 finals.

The first-leg scoreline did not reflect their dominance, but the three-time beaten finalists have received a lift prior to Tuesday's game with the return to fitness of Kevin Gameiro.

The France striker has missed Atletico's last five matches with a groin problem and could come in for Fernando Torres if coach Diego Simeone decides he is fit enough to start.

Koke, Saul Niguez, Gabi and star man Griezmann are all due to return to the starting XI after being completely rested for Saturday's 3-0 home win over Osasuna.

The game highlighted a recurring problem with penalties that may come back to haunt Atletico against Leicester, particularly if the tie goes to spot-kicks.

Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Partey were both thwarted from 12 yards by Osasuna goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, meaning Atletico have missed their last six penalties in La Liga.

While Griezmann may have netted from the spot in the first leg, he had squandered his four previous penalties taken during play.

"It is hard to explain," Simeone said. "It is down to the individual every time, but it is certainly not just bad luck."

Fuchs in awe of Atletico’s ‘amazing’ Griezmann

Leicester City’s Christian Fuchs professed his admiration for Antoine Griezmann on Monday, but says last week’s encounter with the Atletico Madrid hotshot helped his side get the measure of him.Griezmann scored the only goal — a disputed penalty follo…

Leicester City's Christian Fuchs professed his admiration for Antoine Griezmann on Monday, but says last week's encounter with the Atletico Madrid hotshot helped his side get the measure of him.

Griezmann scored the only goal -- a disputed penalty following a foul outside the box -- as Atletico won 1-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

But Leicester managed to keep the France striker at bay for the rest of the game and Fuchs is hopeful he and his fellow defenders will not be given the runaround in Tuesday's return leg.

"His movement on the pitch is amazing," Fuchs told reporters at the King Power Stadium.

"He's always finding the pockets, always between the lines, and it's hard as defenders because you don't know whether you should push up or stay back.

"In the second half we adjusted well to that and it's something we definitely learnt from."

With a 1-0 lead and the experience of playing in two Champions League finals in the last four years behind them, Diego Simeone's Atletico are strong favourites.

But Leicester overcame a one-goal deficit to eliminate Sevilla in the last 16 and Fuchs believes the atmosphere at the King Power could prove a decisive factor.

"We have a great atmosphere here and the stadium will be burning tomorrow," said the Austrian left-back.

"Our fans have proven in the last couple of games that they're our 12th man. They can carry us to wins. They carried us to the success against Sevilla.

"When I saw the stadium before, I knew that something special would happen again. I'm fired up and I'm looking forward to it."

Fuchs is mindful that given the improbability of last season's title triumph, Tuesday's game could be the club's last chance of reaching the Champions League semi-finals for some time.

"We're here for the first time in the club's history," he said.

"It's something very special to us. Small Leicester City playing in the Champions League is already great and being in the quarter-finals is outstanding.

"We just enjoy the time that we have. We might never be here again, we might be at some point again.

"But right now it's simply this one game that we have and we try to give everything to be successful."

One organizer of St. Petersburg Metro bombing detained – FSB (VIDEO)

One of the suspected organizers of the St. Petersburg Metro bombing on April 3 has been detained in the town of Odintsovo, near Moscow, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced, adding that the man appears to be from Central A…

Preview One of the suspected organizers of the St. Petersburg Metro bombing on April 3 has been detained in the town of Odintsovo, near Moscow, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced, adding that the man appears to be from Central Asia.
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Kendrick Lamar, Lorde show new sides at Coachella

Kendrick Lamar introduced a kung fu alter ego and Lorde dramatized the awkwardness of dance clubs as the stars presented new music Sunday at the Coachella festival.The two artists, whose last albums each brought Grammy glory, played back-to-back sets t…

Kendrick Lamar introduced a kung fu alter ego and Lorde dramatized the awkwardness of dance clubs as the stars presented new music Sunday at the Coachella festival.

The two artists, whose last albums each brought Grammy glory, played back-to-back sets to close the first weekend of the premier music festival in the desert of southern California.

Lamar has been hailed as an artistic voice of the Black Lives Matter movement but the rapper made an unexpected pivot into the supernatural at Coachella, entering with a fireball as the audience was invited to discover "the legend of Kung Fu Kenny."

The character figures in the lyricism on Lamar's latest album, "DAMN.," which came out Friday. The Coachella crowd learned more about Kung Fu Kenny through a film interspersed in the set showing Lamar as an action hero descended from the mountains.

Lamar delved further into exoticized Asian imagery at his show where he danced across a nimble, sword-wielding ninja and the Chinese characters for "the end" flashed on overhead screens.

Kung Fu Kenny by the end of the film is said to be searching for a glowing elixir. A grinning Lamar emerges from between a woman's legs -- as his kung fu odyssey culminated, apparently, in cunnilingus.

Lamar joins a tradition of African American identification with Asian martial arts. The rapper has cited the influence of the Wu-Tang Clan and his film takes on a 1970s "blaxploitation" feel.

Whatever his kung fu aspirations, Lamar hasn't given up the political. He opened both his set and album with a snippet from conservative-leaning Fox News criticizing "Alright," his song of resilience in the face of police brutality.

"XXX.," a song off the new album featuring the guitar rock of U2, laments street violence that has claimed too many African American lives yet it also takes to task the political system.

"America, god bless you if it's good to you / America, please take my hand," Lamar raps in the song, which he debuted live at Coachella.

Lamar closed his set melodiously, if anti-climactically, with his new ballad "LOVE."

- Lorde shows night out -

Lorde, who had not performed for more than two years other than at a small pre-Coachella show in a nearby town, returned with a captivating piece of musical theater -- centered around a testing night on the town.

After taking the stage to Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the 20-year-old New Zealander stared stoically into space before breaking out into ecstatic dance.

Lorde became a breakaway sensation as a teenager with "Royals" -- which she dutifully performed -- and is coming out with her second album, "Melodrama," in June.

Lorde premiered at Coachella another song off "Melodrama" -- "Homemade Dynamite," a track that is bouncy but shares the minimalism of "Royals" rather than the elaborate dance production off the new album's first single, "Green Light."

The album is about "all the ups and downs of being 20-something, and specifically all the ups and downs of an evening," Lorde told the crowd.

She brought the storyline to life through a tableau vivant of sorts -- performers inside a foggy box that hovered above the stage.

At first the performers mingle amicably but the interaction soon becomes agitated. By the time Lorde enters the box, the troupe is piled up upon one another and later smashes up a room full of balloons.

- Special guest -

Pulling in up to 250,000 people over back-to-back weekends with identical lineups, Coachella thrives on surprises -- which appear quickly on social media and send fans scurrying across the grounds.

German film composer Hans Zimmer, one of the more unlikely Coachella acts, pulled in an open-air evening crowd with a piano recital of his scores to movies such as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Lion King."

He transitioned into Pharrell Williams' hit "Freedom" -- which brought the star in himself for a cameo.

Other highlights Sunday included Future Islands, the indie synthpop band whose frontman Samuel T. Herring is a frequent festival draw with his inimitable voice that reaches into a metal-like growl and back.

Spanish indie rockers Hinds enjoyed a surprisingly large crowd with dozens of fans storming the stage in joy -- taking bassist Ade Martin at face value when she said that Spaniards believed in dancing at gigs.

‘Start down the dark path you won’t’: Master Yoda asks French voters not to vote for Le Pen (VIDEO)

Cult characters from films and cartoons, including Master Yoda, Harry Potter, and Aladdin, have popped up on posters in Paris on Monday, urging people not to vote for French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election. …

Preview Cult characters from films and cartoons, including Master Yoda, Harry Potter, and Aladdin, have popped up on posters in Paris on Monday, urging people not to vote for French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.
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Mosul operation has displaced nearly half a million: UN

The six-month-old operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group has forced around half a million people to flee their homes, the United Nations said Monday.Iraqi forces began the country’s biggest military operation in years …

The six-month-old operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group has forced around half a million people to flee their homes, the United Nations said Monday.

Iraqi forces began the country's biggest military operation in years exactly six months ago and recaptured the east side of the city in January.

But an assault launched the following month on the part of Mosul that lies west of the Tigris river has seen a sharp rise in displacement.

"The sheer volume of civilians still fleeing Mosul city is staggering," Lise Grande, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said in a statement.

"Our worst case scenario when the fighting started was that up to one million civilians may flee Mosul. Already, more than 493,000 people have left, leaving almost everything behind," she said.

Iraqi forces have been making significant gains in west Mosul over the past two months but the toughest battles could yet lie ahead, with die-hard jihadists hunkering down in the treacherous streets of the Old City.

The UN estimated that another half million civilians were still in IS-controlled areas of west Mosul.

"Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits," said Grande.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said on March 31 during a visit to a displacement camp near Mosul that the aid effort was woefully underfunded and called for greater international solidarity.

Royal Navy ‘detects’ & ‘marks’ Russian warships in English Channel (VIDEO)

Preview British Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland “located” and escorted two Russian corvettes, ‘Soobrazitelny’ and ‘Boiky’, while the vessels were passing through English Channel during a naval exercise.
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Preview British Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland “located” and escorted two Russian corvettes, ‘Soobrazitelny’ and ‘Boiky’, while the vessels were passing through English Channel during a naval exercise.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Turkey vote campaign conducted on ‘unlevel playing field’: monitors

Turkey’s referendum campaign was conducted on an “unlevel playing field” and the vote count itself was marred by late procedural changes that removed key safeguards, international observers said on Monday.Turkey voted on Sunday in a referendum on grant…

Turkey's referendum campaign was conducted on an "unlevel playing field" and the vote count itself was marred by late procedural changes that removed key safeguards, international observers said on Monday.

Turkey voted on Sunday in a referendum on granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extra powers that was won by the 'Yes' camp but disputed by the opposition.

"The referendum took place on an unlevel playing field and the two sides of the campaign did not have equal opportunities," said Cezar Florin Preda of the joint mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

"Late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard," said Preda, who headed the PACE delegation, referring to the election authorities' decision to permit ballot papers without an official stamp.

"The legal framework, which is focused on elections, remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum," the monitors said in a joint statement.

Preda also said the fact that the referendum was held under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of last year's failed coup infringed upon a "fundamental freedom".

ODIHR mission head Tana de Zulueta also noted that people forced to flee their homes in areas of the southeast affected by security operations faced difficulty in voting.

"The campaign rhetoric was tarnished by some officials equating 'No' sympathisers with terrorists," de Zulueta said.

These contravened OSCE commitments and Council of Europe standards "regarding freedom and equality in the campaign," she said.

"Our monitoring showed the 'Yes' campaign dominated media coverage," the monitor added.

But Preda added: "It's not our role to say what is the level of fraud or (comment on) the other allegations made by the opposition."

"We are not talking about fraud and have no information on this subject," he said, noting the allegations were made by political parties.

South Africa gives asylum to Congolese pastor: lawyer

Congolese pastor Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo, wanted in his homeland for alleged involvement in violence more than three years ago, has obtained asylum in South Africa, his spokesman said Monday.”He has obtained political asylum following a March 30 dec…

Congolese pastor Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo, wanted in his homeland for alleged involvement in violence more than three years ago, has obtained asylum in South Africa, his spokesman said Monday.

"He has obtained political asylum following a March 30 decision" to that effect, Charlie Mingiedi said.

"It is a relief. He can now once again involve himself in political life," Mingiedi said of the controversial Mukungubila, who claims to be a prophet.

South African officials, who had previously rejected the pastor's asylum requests, made no immediate comment on the said approval.

Kinshasa wants to question Mukungubila, who has described himself as God's "last envoy to humanity", over violence which left more than 100 dead.

The Congolese government blamed him for orchestrating a spate of attacks in December 2013 on the airport, the main army headquarters in the capital and in the second city of Lubumbashi.

He fled to South Africa, where he was arrested in May 2014 on an Interpol warrant issued at Kinshasa's behest at his house in the suburbs of Johannesburg before being released on bail.

At the time his lawyer said he stood accused of murder, intentional and aggravated assault, malicious destruction, as well as illegal and arbitrary detention.

South African authorities eventually dropped the case, citing lack of evidence.

Mukungubila, who denies the allegations against him, stood against President Joseph Kabila, whose regime he has bitterly criticised, in 2006 elections.

According to Mingiedi, the pastor will not return home but keep up the pressure on Kabila from abroad.

"There is no return to RDC but he will continue to mobilise the Congolese people against the dictatorship ruling the country," his spokesman said.

Lyon players file complaint after Bastia fan attacks

Three Lyon players have filed police complaints after being attacked by Bastia fans during Sunday’s Ligue 1 match.Sunday’s clash was called off at half-time with the score at 0-0 after fans of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked Lyon…

Three Lyon players have filed police complaints after being attacked by Bastia fans during Sunday's Ligue 1 match.

Sunday's clash was called off at half-time with the score at 0-0 after fans of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked Lyon players.

"Anthony Lopes, Mathieu Gorgeline, Jean-Philippe Mateta filed a complaint against persons unknown for violence at a sporting venue," Bastia's public prosecutor Nicolas Bessone told AFP, confirming a story published on RMC Sport.

Midfielder Jordan Ferri and a club doctor were also interviewed, although Bessone said the former "didn't want to file a complaint".

An investigation has been opened but no-one was arrested at the Armand Cesari stadium.

A hardcore section of home fans had targeted Lyon's players as they warmed up before the game, causing it to be delayed by more than 50 minutes, and then again as the two sides went in at half-time.

Bottom-of-the-table Bastia are likely to have points deducted for the latest trouble involving their supporters.

They were punished in February over racist abuse directed at Nice striker Mario Balotelli while the Nice team bus had its windows smashed.

It was the second time in four days that Lyon had been caught up in fan violence.

Their Europa League home quarter-final against Besiktas on Thursday had been delayed by 45 minutes following another pitch invasion by Lyon fans trying to escape projectiles and firecrackers being thrown at them by the Turkish side's supporters in the tribune above.

Russia warns US against ‘Syria-style’ actions in N. Korea

Preview Mike Pence’s statement on the US running out of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang does not contribute to resolving the crisis, Sergey Lavrov said, voicing hopes there will be no repeat of the US strike on Syria in North Korea.
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Preview Mike Pence’s statement on the US running out of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang does not contribute to resolving the crisis, Sergey Lavrov said, voicing hopes there will be no repeat of the US strike on Syria in North Korea.
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Pakistani Christian burnt with rods after ‘befriending’ Muslim woman – report

A Pakistani Christian man was tortured with heated iron rods after befriending a Muslim woman, according to local news reports. Images claiming to be Ansar Masih show his charred body after the alleged attack in Sheikhupura, eastern Pakis…

Preview A Pakistani Christian man was tortured with heated iron rods after befriending a Muslim woman, according to local news reports. Images claiming to be Ansar Masih show his charred body after the alleged attack in Sheikhupura, eastern Pakistan, on April 1.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Foreign journalists stranded in N. Korea amid unexplained flight delays – media

Preview North Korea’s state-owned airline Air Koryo delayed its flights from Pyongyang to Russia and China without explanation. Foreign journalists were among those stranded in the airport, NK News reported.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview North Korea’s state-owned airline Air Koryo delayed its flights from Pyongyang to Russia and China without explanation. Foreign journalists were among those stranded in the airport, NK News reported.
Read Full Article at RT.com

China denies political motive as North Korea flights suspended

China Monday denied any political motive in the cancellation of flights by its flag carrier to North Korea, as pressure mounts on Beijing to help curb Pyongyang’s weapons programmes.State broadcaster CCTV reported last Friday that Air China had suspend…

China Monday denied any political motive in the cancellation of flights by its flag carrier to North Korea, as pressure mounts on Beijing to help curb Pyongyang's weapons programmes.

State broadcaster CCTV reported last Friday that Air China had suspended its Beijing-Pyongyang route, leading to speculation the move was intended to pressure the North.

But foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang distanced his government from the decision and said it was purely "market-based".

"It's natural for Air China or other airlines to make such decisions," Lu told a regular press briefing. "There shouldn't be overinterpretation of this issue."

Beijing is Pyongyang's only major ally and biggest trade partner. It is being urged by the Trump administration to do more to rein in the North's missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

In February China announced it was halting all imports of coal from North Korea -- a crucial earner for Pyongyang -- for the rest of the year.

A customer service representative for Air China, the only foreign carrier operating a regular commercial flight to North Korea, said Monday it had cancelled the flights due to low demand.

"Air China has not suspended operations for the Beijing-Pyongyang route," the employee told AFP, adding "these flights were cancelled based on ticket sales."

An operator reached through the airline's customer service hotline said the booking system indicated that the earliest available Beijing-Pyongyang flight was for March next year.

Travel disruption also hit North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo, which saw its Beijing-bound service delayed more than ten hours on Monday.

Workers at Pyongyang airport told passengers the delay was weather-related, although conditions in the area and in Beijing appeared clear.

Major Chinese travel agencies also told AFP they have stopped offering tours to North Korea due to lack of interest.

"We didn't receive any request to take the trips off the shelf -- the reason was poor sales," Wang Mi, a spokeswoman for the online travel company Tuniu.com, told AFP.

Gan Tingting, a spokeswoman for tourism booking site Lvmama.com, said trips to North Korea had long been discontinued because the country was "not a hot destination".

Foreign companies bringing tour groups to North Korea, however, have seen no dip in demand.

"We're business as usual," said Matt Kulesza, media officer for Young Pioneer Tours.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours likewise said in a statement that none of their tours have been cancelled or cut short.

"There have been no issues with our scheduled Air Koryo flights or the train back into China," it said.

President Donald Trump has personally underscored the importance of China's cooperation in tackling North Korea.

Having blasted Beijing throughout his presidential campaign for alleged currency manipulation, he tweeted Sunday: "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!"

Russia warns US against unilateral strike on N. Korea

Russia on Monday warned Washington against launching a unilateral strike on North Korea, after US Vice President Mike Pence said the era of “strategic patience” with Pyongyang was over. “This is a very risky path,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavro…

Russia on Monday warned Washington against launching a unilateral strike on North Korea, after US Vice President Mike Pence said the era of "strategic patience" with Pyongyang was over.

"This is a very risky path," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

"We do not accept the reckless nuclear missile actions of Pyongyang that breach UN resolutions, but that does not mean that you can break international law," he said.

"I hope that there will not be any unilateral actions like the one we saw recently in Syria."

Pence on Monday warned North Korea not to test President Donald Trump's resolve, declaring that "all options are on the table" for curbing its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Defying international pressure, the North on Sunday tried to test-fire another missile in an attempt that failed, but which fuelled fears that it may be preparing for its sixth atomic weapons test.

Pence said that the era of US "strategic patience" in dealing with the North was over, after more than two decades.

"In the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan," Pence said.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve, or the strength of the armed forces of the United States."

Turkish vote on death penalty would ‘break with European values’: France

A referendum on restoring the death penalty in Turkey would constitute a break with European values, the French president’s office warned on Monday. “The organisation of a referendum on the death penalty would obviously be a break with (the) values and…

A referendum on restoring the death penalty in Turkey would constitute a break with European values, the French president's office warned on Monday.

"The organisation of a referendum on the death penalty would obviously be a break with (the) values and engagements" accepted by Turkey when it joined Europe's top rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, the presidency said.

It was alluding to remarks made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday as the nation voted through controversial constitutional changes granting him greater powers.

Erdogan won a narrow victory, with 51.41 percent in favour and 48.59 percent against. The opposition alleges the vote was stained by violations.

The French presidency said it "took note" of the figures and the "disputes" surrounding them, saying they showed "that Turkish society is divided over the proposed deep reforms."

In recent months, Erdogan has suggested he would back moves to resume capital punishment if the idea was approved by parliament, indicating that a bill on the matter would be tabled after the referendum.

And on Sunday, he said that if it were to be rejected by the opposition, he could put the matter to another referendum.

"If (a bill) comes before me, I will approve it. But if there isn't support (from opposition MPs) ... then we could have another referendum for that," he said as his supporters chanted for its reintroduction.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union.

Brussels has made clear that any move to restore it would scupper Ankara's decades-long efforts to join the bloc.

The Council of Europe, of which Turkey is a member, is a separate entity from the EU.

Erdogan raised the idea of bringing back capital punishment after last year's failed coup, suggesting it would bring justice to the families of the victims.

To become law, the bill would still need to be signed by the head of state. But Erdogan said he would sign it "without hesitation".

Gareth Bale out of Bayern return, doubt for Clasico

Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale as they look to book their place in a record seventh straight Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.Bale is sidelined by the recurrence of an ankle problem picked up in Madrid’s 2-1 first-l…

Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale as they look to book their place in a record seventh straight Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Bale is sidelined by the recurrence of an ankle problem picked up in Madrid's 2-1 first-leg win last week and is also a doubt for Real's crunch La Liga clash with Barcelona on Sunday.

The Welshman was sidelined for three months earlier in the season after suffering ligament damage in his right ankle.

"Gareth worked very hard to get back into the team after his injury," said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on Monday.

"When he came back he was desperate to be involved and now he has a small niggle that is preventing him from being fully fit.

"I hope it is nothing and in a few days he can be with us again.

"He won't be fit for Bayern because we don't want to take any risks."

Bale missed Real's 3-2 win at Sporting Gijon on Saturday and Zidane was far from confident he will be fit in time to face Barca.

"I hope he will be with us, but we have to wait and see," he added.

"It is a question of taking it day by day."

Saudi seeks 10% renewable energy in six years: minister

Saudi Arabia wants 10 percent of its electricity to come from renewable sources within six years as part of a transformation in its power sector, the energy minister said Monday.Khaled al-Falih said his country, the world’s biggest oil exporter, will a…

Saudi Arabia wants 10 percent of its electricity to come from renewable sources within six years as part of a transformation in its power sector, the energy minister said Monday.

Khaled al-Falih said his country, the world's biggest oil exporter, will also sell renewable energy and its technology abroad.

At a forum seeking investment in the sector, he announced "30 projects to be implemented" in order to reach a goal of about 10 gigawatts of renewable energy production early next decade.

Virtually all of the kingdom's domestic power currently comes from crude, refined oil or natural gas.

But as part of an economic reform plan to wean the kingdom off oil, the government has embarked on what Falih called an "ambitious" renewables programme featuring solar and wind power.

He has said the projects could cost between $30 billion and $50 billion.

"The percentage of renewable energy by 2023 will represent 10 percent of the total electricity of the kingdom," he said at the start of the Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum.

"We are seeking for the kingdom, in the medium term, to become a nation that develops, manufactures and exports the advanced technologies of renewable energy production," he said.

"This is really transformational," he said, suggesting that the changes coming to the kingdom's energy sector will be as significant as the discovery of oil in the 1930s.

"You're really talking about a significant socio-economic transition that's going to take place" over the next decade or two.

Falih said the energy sector is being completely restructured to include an autonomous board of regulators, and with privatised generation capacity.

He formally opened bids on the first 300-megawatt solar plant under the renewables plan.

The government has shortlisted 51 firms, most of them from abroad, for bidding on that plant and a 400-megawatt wind farm.

Another wind project will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by more solar projects, he told hundreds of delegates.

Government estimates say Saudi peak energy demand is expected to exceed 120 gigawatts by 2032.

Fernando Alonso outburst reveals McLaren F1 misery

Fernando Alonso?s outburst of frustration and Stoffel Vandoorne’s mid-race tweeted photograph summed up McLaren’s failures in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix and hinted at deeper turmoil ahead.The Spanish two-time champion said he had never raced with so l…

Fernando Alonso?s outburst of frustration and Stoffel Vandoorne's mid-race tweeted photograph summed up McLaren's failures in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix and hinted at deeper turmoil ahead.

The Spanish two-time champion said he had never raced with so little power in his life while Belgian new boy Vandoorne posted a picture of him running on a treadmill after another engine failure had prevented him starting.

Both men's actions underlined the problems at McLaren where a promising chassis has been unable to show its real potential because of Honda?s hapless failure to deliver a reliable and competitive engine.

The team is widely expected now to intensify its efforts to find a solution with partners Honda or to seek a new temporary engine supplier.

Alonso, 35, and in the third and final year of his contract with McLaren, retired his car with an engine failure after a race spent fighting for mid-field positions.

It was his third retirement in three races and may help to explain why he is so keen to take a break and miss the Monaco Grand Prix and take part in the Indianapolis 500 next month.

"I have never raced with less power in my life," he said in one radio blast. When his team suggested a change of strategy, he said: "Do whatever you want, man."

Later, Alonso revealed: "The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights was amazing. Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of the straights and saw the other cars 300, 400 metres behind?

"So, I forgot completely about that car and started changing settings on the steering wheel and doing my own things, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me.

"We were running close to the points but that's not enough. We never had the pace we had in Australia and China, and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car.

"When the red lights go off you're motivated and you start fighting, but you're so behind on the straights that there's no way you can defend your position. You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don't enjoy the battle."

Vandoorne?s social media post was accompanied by a comment in which he wrote: ?Going for a run ? you guys up to anything this Sunday??

McLaren?s racing director Eric Boullier said: "What can I say? Fernando failed to finish and Stoffel failed to start. It was a bad day for McLaren-Honda and there is no point in pretending otherwise."

Alonso has suggested he is ready to consider offers from other teams later this year and reports in Spain have suggested he is already talking to Renault where he won his two world titles.

Mercedes chief mulls team orders to foil Ferrari

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff says he is considering introducing team orders in a bid to halt Ferrari’s momentum in this year’s world championship.In the wake of Sebastian Vettel’s second win of the season in Bahrain on Sunday Wolff admitted that it m…

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff says he is considering introducing team orders in a bid to halt Ferrari's momentum in this year's world championship.

In the wake of Sebastian Vettel's second win of the season in Bahrain on Sunday Wolff admitted that it may be difficult for Mercedes to continue to allow their drivers total freedom ? and may ask new boy Valtteri Bottas to take the role of a ?number two? driver.

The Finn was asked to allow three-time champion Lewis Hamilton to pass him in Manama as he laboured in pursuit of Vettel in a scenario that may be repeated regularly, if reluctantly.

"We don't like it at all," said Wolff, mindful of the team's tradition for open ?terms of engagement? that allowed intense competition between Hamilton and retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg in the last three years.

"It's not what we have done in the last couple of years, but the situation is different now? So, it needs a proper analysis of what it means and where we are?

"We'd like to give equal opportunity at the start of the race. I think we owe it to them.

"Then you see what we did in the this race -- we made the call, we made the call twice, because we felt it was the only possibility of winning the race..."

For the first time in four years, Mercedes have lost their supreme dominance and face a serious battle to hang on to their drivers? and constructors? titles as a revived Ferrari have gained the initiative.

In Bahrain, Ferrari?s aggressive strategy and tactics made the champions look rattled and ponderous as Vettel followed up his win in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to take a clear lead in the championship.

By seeking not to give either driver any advantage over the other, Mercedes were unable to respond immediately and delayed their decision-making after Ferrari's early move to make an ?under-cut? pit stop.

Wolff said he did not favour abandoning the team policy of giving the drivers? equality and rejected the idea of backing the driver who took pole position, or was most advanced on the grid.

"That would be too harsh," he said.

"It would be the opposite of what we have done through the years. It's important, as we start the race, to give them equal opportunity.

"We would probably have taken a different decision if Valtteri had run at the front, with the problem on the tyres, and Lewis would have been second, but with Vettel, between them, there was nothing we could have done.

"That's why it was the perfect storm?.

"It is our mind-set and our racing philosophy, until now, that we have given them both equal opportunity. Like here, if you have two cars starting on the front row ? if they run second and first, you just have to let them race.

"When you have a problem on the car, as we had (with Bottas' rear tyres), then it is a situation to consider -- to swap them - but with a Ferrari in between, we couldn't. Three races into the season, you don't want to go there yet.?

Bottas' problems with his rear tyres were caused by a generator failure on the grid that meant the team could not bleed the air pressures for the race.

Vettel's win lifted him top of the drivers? championship with 68 points ahead of Hamilton on 61 and Bottas on 38.

It triggered celebrations in Italy where confidence in Ferrari has soared, but has left Mercedes with a problem to solve just three races into the 2017 season.

Sochi stages the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Turkish opposition calls for referendum result to be annulled over unstamped ballots

Preview Turkish opposition figures have called for the results of Sunday’s referendum granting new presidential powers to be annulled, citing unstamped ballots given to voters. The electoral board insists the referendum result is valid, however.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Turkish opposition figures have called for the results of Sunday’s referendum granting new presidential powers to be annulled, citing unstamped ballots given to voters. The electoral board insists the referendum result is valid, however.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Top US official McMaster in Pakistan after hints at tougher stance

US National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster arrived in Islamabad on Monday on an unannounced visit, a day after he hinted the US could take a tougher stance on Pakistan.It was the first visit by a top member of President Donald Trump’…

US National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster arrived in Islamabad on Monday on an unannounced visit, a day after he hinted the US could take a tougher stance on Pakistan.

It was the first visit by a top member of President Donald Trump's administration to the militancy-hit South Asian country, and came after a stop in neighbouring Afghanistan where he suggested Washington may take a stronger line on Islamabad, for years seen as an unreliable US ally.

A statement issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office said McMaster had "assured the Prime Minister that the new administration was committed to strengthening bilateral relations and working with Pakistan, to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the wider South Asian region."

McMaster's visits are being closely watched for clues as to the Trump administration's future course of action in the region.

US-led NATO troops have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The US has around 8,400 troops in the country with about another 5,000 from NATO allies, as efforts to negotiate a lasting peace settlement between Kabul and the Taliban have repeatedly fallen through.

Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban.

"As all of us have hoped for many many years, we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence," McMaster said in an interview with Afghanistan's Tolo News Sunday.

The Pakistani statement added that McMaster's delegation included Lisa Curtis, who US media have previously reported as his pick as senior director for South and Central Asia.

Curtis, a well known conversative expert, recently co-authored a paper calling on the US to stop treating Pakistan as an ally and instead "focus on diplomatically isolating" it if it continues to support groups that have links to international terror.

On Thursday the US military in Afghanistan dropped its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, dubbed the "Mother of All Bombs" in combat for the first time on Islamic State group hideouts, killing up to 95 militants.

The attack triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat as the resurgent Taliban.

EU, Germany urge Turkey to heal divisions after referendum

The EU and Germany have urged Turkish leaders to heal bitter internal divisions after a contested referendum on handing the president greater powers.The vote has major implications for the long-standing EU bid of Turkey, also a key NATO member.Here are…

The EU and Germany have urged Turkish leaders to heal bitter internal divisions after a contested referendum on handing the president greater powers.

The vote has major implications for the long-standing EU bid of Turkey, also a key NATO member.

Here are some of the main reactions:

- European Union -

"In view of the close referendum result and the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments, we... call on the Turkish authorities to seek the broadest possible national consensus in their implementation," said a statement issued by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

- Germany -

"The (German) government expects that the Turkish government will now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, after this tough election campaign," said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

- Council of Europe -

Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of Europe's top rights watchdog, said Turkish leaders "should consider the next steps carefully ... in view of the close result."

It is of the utmost importance, said Jagland, "to secure the independence of the judiciary in line with the principle of rule of law enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights."

Turkey is a full member of the Council of Europe, which "stands ready to support the country in this process", Jagland added.

- Austria -

According to Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, the referendum "shows how divided the country is". He added that "collaboration with the EU will be even more complex."

- Denmark -

"Strange to see democracy restrict democracy. The majority has the right to decide, but I'm quite concerned about (the) new Turkish constitution," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter.

- NATO -

A NATO official said that the constitutional referendum in alliance member Turkey "is a matter for the Turkish people".

Frontrunners Le Pen, Macron hold rival Paris rallies

The two frontrunners in the French presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, were staging rival rallies in Paris Monday, seeking to stay ahead of a fast-chasing pack just days before the vote.After weeks of twi…

The two frontrunners in the French presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, were staging rival rallies in Paris Monday, seeking to stay ahead of a fast-chasing pack just days before the vote.

After weeks of twists and turns, the unpredictable race has narrowed dramatically, with surveys suggesting four candidates are in contention to win one of the top two spots in the April 23 vote and progress to the run-off election a fortnight later.

Scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon and radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon are steaming up behind the two frontrunners, and with around one in three of the French electorate still undecided, candidates are scrapping for every vote.

Le Pen and Macron, who have both scored as high as 25 percent in voter surveys, stood at 22 percent in the latest IPSOS poll, while Melenchon has surged to 20 percent and Fillon stands at 19.

- EU 'protected us' -

Melenchon's late surge -- and the possibility he could square off against Le Pen in the May 7 decider -- has sparked alarm over the future of the EU, as both candidates advocate withdrawing from the bloc for different reasons.

Outgoing President Francois Hollande weighed in on Saturday, saying Europe has "protected us against war" in the decades since World War II.

"Let us preserve it instead of scapegoating it," he said at a World War I centenary event in northern France.

Macron plans his biggest rally yet at the Bercy sports and concert hall, a venue with a capacity of 20,000.

The location near the economy ministry serves as a reminder that the relatively inexperienced Macron held the key economy portfolio for two years under his mentor Hollande.

The 39-year-old former Rothschild banker quit the Socialist government last year to form his "En Marche" ("On the Move") party and launch his bid for power as a candidate "neither of the left nor of the right".

En Marche says it has planned "1,000 events a day" including 163 public rallies until the official end of campaigning at midnight on Friday.

An aide to Macron said he would use Monday's event to hit back at Le Pen's accusation he is soft on Islamists.

"With Mr Macron, it would be Islamism on the move," Le Pen, 48, said on Saturday in response to revelations that one of Macron's top campaigners had criticised the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Le Pen's own rally will be at the 6,000-capacity Zenith concert hall in northeast Paris, with activists saying they plan protests outside the venue.

A protest is also expected in the southern port of Marseille on Wednesday where Le Pen plans another large rally.

- Canal cruise -

Melenchon, 65, plans a quirky event that will see him board a barge in a northeast suburb of the French capital and float down a canal, making five stops along the way to meet and greet supporters.

The voyage lasting more than five hours will end up at the Francois Mitterrand Library, a nod to the Socialist leader of the 1980s and early 1990s whom Melenchon references frequently in his stump speech as an icon of the left.

The founder of "La France Insoumise" ("Unbowed France") plans another form of multiple appearances on Tuesday, where he will hold a rally in central Dijon while his hologram will speak for him in six other cities.

For his part Fillon, dogged by a fake jobs scandal that has seen him charged with abuse of public funds, is vowing to pull off a victory that will "surprise the microcosm" arrayed against him.

He believes a small coterie of detractors mounted a campaign to smear him with the revelations that he put his wife Penelope on the public payroll with jobs that earned her hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars).

Fillon, who led the race for weeks before the scandal broke in late January, spent Easter weekend wooing the Catholic and conservative vote.

Conspicuous by his absence at the height of the scandal, the 63-year-old former prime minister has revved up his campaign appearances in the past week.

Bryan edges Donald for first US PGA Tour win at Heritage

Rookie Wesley Bryan carded a four-under par 67 on Sunday to claim his first US PGA Tour title, edging former world number one Luke Donald by one stroke at the Heritage.Bryan’s four-under effort at Harbour Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina, gave him a…

Rookie Wesley Bryan carded a four-under par 67 on Sunday to claim his first US PGA Tour title, edging former world number one Luke Donald by one stroke at the Heritage.

Bryan's four-under effort at Harbour Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina, gave him a 13-under par total of 271.

He became the first South Carolina-born player to win the event since it was launched in 1969.

Bryan also booked his invitation to next year's Masters.

After a dominant season on the developmental Web.com Tour last year, Bryan admitted he had hoped to win on the main tour in time to book a berth in this year's Masters -- which was won by Sergio Garcia last week.

"But I guess the week after Augusta's not too bad," he said.

After a bogey at the third, Bryan strung together four straight birdies before another bogey at the eighth.

After birdies at 13 and 15 he arrived at 17 to realize he was within sight of victory.

"Honestly I wasn't nervous at all all day," he said. "Then at number 17 I got up and I just threw up a little bit in my mouth, and I was like, 'Well, shoot, I guess this is what nervous feels like.'

"But I was able to get it back together," he added.

For England's Donald it was a fifth runner-up finish at Harbour Town.

He got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey seven at the par-five second but had five birdies the rest of the way in his 68 for 272.

It was a further stroke back to Americans Patrick Cantlay, Ollie Schniederjans and William McGirt.

Overnight leader Jason Dufner slid down the leaderboard with a five-over 76 that included a double bogey and four bogeys after his only birdie of the day, at the second hole.

12 injured in suspected acid attack in London club

Twelve people were injured when a corrosive substance was thrown inside a packed London nightclub on Monday, police and fire services said, amid a sharp rise in acid attacks in the British capital.A London Fire Brigade spokesman told AFP an “unknown co…

Twelve people were injured when a corrosive substance was thrown inside a packed London nightclub on Monday, police and fire services said, amid a sharp rise in acid attacks in the British capital.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman told AFP an "unknown corrosive substance" was thrown in Mangle, a club in east London, in the early hours of Monday.

It was identified as "an acidic substance" from testing, he said, adding that there were around 600 people in the venue at the time of the incident.

"Twelve people showing signs and symptoms attributed to corrosive substances were treated on scene by ambulance and brigade personnel prior to removal to hospital," he added.

The police said in a statement that all the injuries were "non-life threatening" and the incident was not believed to be terrorism-related.

Police were called to the scene at around 0010 GMT "after members of the public complained of a noxious substance," the statement said.

The streets around the club have been closed to traffic as the investigation continues and no arrests have been made.

London has seen a sharp rise in acid attacks in London in recent years.

There were more than 1,800 reports of attacks involving corrosive fluids in London since 2010, according to police data cited by the BBC last month.

In 2016, corrosive fluids were used in 454 crimes, compared to 261 in 2015.

Some experts have suggested that criminal gangs may be switching from carrying knives to acid because it could lower the risk of prosecution.

In an acid attack in north London earlier this month, a 40-year-old father, 36-year-old mother and their three-year-old son were hurt.

The woman and child were later discharged from hospital but the man suffered "life-changing injuries", police said.

Nepal convicts soldiers of killing girl during civil war

Three Nepali soldiers have each been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the killing of a teenage girl, only the second ever conviction linked to crimes committed during the country’s decade-long civil war which ended in 2006.Fifteen-year-old Maina Sunuw…

Three Nepali soldiers have each been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the killing of a teenage girl, only the second ever conviction linked to crimes committed during the country's decade-long civil war which ended in 2006.

Fifteen-year-old Maina Sunuwar died in army custody in 2004 after being brutally interrogated by the military for alleged links to the Maoist rebels.

"A hearing yesterday issued a verdict of 20 years for three army officers in a case registered by Maina's mother," Krishna Adhikari, a court official in Kavre district, near Kathmandu, told AFP on Monday.

The three convicted soldiers were not present in court and are not currently in custody, and rights groups have raised concerns about whether they will be made to serve their sentences.

A fourth soldier, the most senior of all those accused, was acquitted.

Sunuwar's mother, Devi, campaigned for years for justice for her daughter, who was arrested in her home by soldiers looking for her mother.

"We have fought for justice for so many years, I'm glad the court has understood our plight," she told AFP.

"But our fight is not over. I'm worried the decision might be limited to paper. The state must implement the court's decision."

More than 17,000 people were killed during the civil war, which ended with a peace deal between Maoist insurgents and government forces.

Both sides stand accused of committing rights abuses during the conflict, but rights groups say little has been done to hold the perpetrators -- many of whom continue to hold senior positions in the military and government -- to account.

In December 2014, five former Maoist rebels were jailed for two years for torturing and killing a journalist, a sentence many criticised for being too lenient.

Nepal set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the Disappeared in 2015, aimed at healing wounds from the conflict, but investigations have made little progress due to a lack of funds and political inertia.

Chelsea masterclass gives Jose his mojo back

As Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sauntered down the Old Trafford touchline ostentatiously pointing at the club crest on his gilet, the message was clear: I’m still the man.Mourinho has had a challenging first season at the United helm, with n…

As Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sauntered down the Old Trafford touchline ostentatiously pointing at the club crest on his gilet, the message was clear: I'm still the man.

Mourinho has had a challenging first season at the United helm, with nine home draws in the league summing up his difficulties, but Sunday's 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea was a tactical masterclass.

In fielding an unorthodox 3-5-2 system and charging two players with man-marking jobs, Mourinho showed his famed tactical acumen has not deserted him -- and blew the Premier League title race wide open.

"United produced a brilliant attacking display as well as a convincing defensive one that was tactically aware of the different threats Chelsea posed," said former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas, now a BBC pundit.

"Mourinho has masterminded plenty of wins in big games down the years, but he usually does it with a defensive approach and by setting up with a team that, first and foremost, is very difficult to break down.

"On Sunday, he flipped that model on its head. United played with two up front and with wing-backs who were high up the pitch. They were on the front foot and went at Chelsea from the start."

The belligerent Ander Herrera was the emblem of United's victory, marking Chelsea's key man Eden Hazard out of the game and claiming a goal and an assist at the other end.

On the other flank, Matteo Darmian successfully stymied Pedro, leaving Chelsea striker Diego Costa with not even scraps to feed on.

Marcus Rashford, meanwhile, seized a rare chance to shine at centre-forward by netting United's seventh-minute opener and tormenting Chelsea's back three with his penetrative running.

Mourinho explained how he had shut Chelsea down with relish and claimed his side would not have lost at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup last month had Herrera's dismissal there not disrupted his plans.

- Not a template -

"I was convinced even before the cup (game) that controlling the two players that play behind Diego (Costa) and controlling the full-backs would create lots of problems and I repeat the same," Mourinho said.

"They are phenomenal in counter-attack. When they had the ball, we were compact and when they tried to play counter-attack, we were always in control of these two link positions."

Rashford's display suggested he deserves to be given more chances through the centre, where United's top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- rested on Sunday -- has started almost every game this season.

"I think (Mourinho) has learnt something," former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness said on Sky Sports.

"Rashford has made it difficult for him to leave him out."

As well as restricting Chelsea's lead over Tottenham to four points, United's win took them to within four points of the Champions League places with a game in hand on fourth-place Manchester City.

It was only United's second win this season over one of the other teams in the top six, following November's 1-0 success against an off-colour Spurs.

But as the fruit of a carefully customised game plan designed to nullify the specific threats of a particular opponent, it did not represent a blueprint for future success.

"(Mourinho) got his tactics spot on and enjoyed a bit of luck, but I don't see that as a template," Souness said.

"Man United have to dominate the ball here. They have to be on the front foot and get everyone in the stadium on the edge of their seat, like they have done for the best part of 20 years.

"I don't think they could go and play like that every week against lesser teams who will sit in and not try and open up against them."

For now, at least, Mourinho has got his mojo back.

Japan bank on Hagino, Ikee for world swimming charge

Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino and schoolgirl sensation Rikako Ikee will head Japan’s charge at this summer’s world swimming championships when both are likely to face very different types of pressure.Hagino and Ikee were named among a team of 18 athle…

Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino and schoolgirl sensation Rikako Ikee will head Japan's charge at this summer's world swimming championships when both are likely to face very different types of pressure.

Hagino and Ikee were named among a team of 18 athletes Monday by the Japan Swimming Federation for the July 23-30 competition in Budapest.

Hagino, who ended 20 years of American supremacy in the men's 400 metres individual medley to win Olympic gold in Rio last year, will be a marked man despite still feeling his way back to full fitness after elbow surgery last September.

He faces a challenge from compatriot Daiya Seto, who will be looking to complete a world treble in the 400m individual medley in Hungary, having upset Hagino last week at the Japanese championships in Nagoya.

Hagino beat American Chase Kalisz into second with Seto taking bronze at the Rio Olympics and also took silver in the 200m behind Michael Phelps.

"I've never won a world title so I'll give everything I have," said Hagino, who hit back to beat Seto in the 200m IM at the weekend.

"Every race will be difficult but I'm going there to win them all," added the 22-year-old, who missed the 2015 competition in Kazan, Russia, after injuring his elbow in a fall from his bicycle.

Ikee, meanwhile, became the first woman to win five titles in the Japanese championships, which ended on Sunday.

The 16-year-old added gold medals in the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly to the 100-200m freestyle double and 50m fly, meeting the world championship qualifying standard in all five events.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Ikee told local media. "I was almost in tears before the butterfly final I was so nervous. But to come through so many tough races has been a good experience."

A double world junior champion, Ikee finished sixth in the 100m fly in Rio but moved up to fifth after China's Chen Xinyi subsequently failed a drugs test.

Japan's men will once again be a force in the breaststroke with 200m world record holder Ippei Watanabe and Yasuhiro Koseki, who completed a 100-200m double at the Japan nationals.

Koseki's time of two minutes, 7.18 seconds would have been fast enough to win gold in Rio ahead of Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Balandin, although Japanese breaststrokers have consistently failed to deliver since Japan great Kosuke Kitajima dominated the event between 2003-08.

"It shows we are in a good position looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," said Koseki. "Hopefully we can prove our strength at the world championships."

Japan team:

Men - Katsumi Nakamura, Shinri Shioura, Ryosuke Irie, Kosuke Hagino, Yasuhiro Koseki, Ippei Watanabe, Masato Sakai, Daiya Seto, Yuki Kobori

Women - Rikako Ikee, Chihiro Igarashi, Reona Aoki, Satomi Suzuki, Suzuka Hasegawa, Hiroko Makino, Yui Ohashi, Runa Imai, Sakiko Shimizu

Head coach: Norimasa Hirai

‘Intensive punitive measures’: Regional allies react to US ‘end of patience’ on N. Korea

Preview Allies of the US have joined Washington’s saber-rattling towards Pyongyang as Vice-President Mike Pence said America has run out of “strategic patience” towards North Korea.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Allies of the US have joined Washington’s saber-rattling towards Pyongyang as Vice-President Mike Pence said America has run out of “strategic patience” towards North Korea.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Indian Army accused of using Kashmir man as human shield (VIDEO)

Police in Kashmir have filed a criminal complaint against the Indian Army after video emerged showing a man tied to a jeep and allegedly being used as a human shield. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Police in Kashmir have filed a criminal complaint against the Indian Army after video emerged showing a man tied to a jeep and allegedly being used as a human shield.
Read Full Article at RT.com

France’s Dodin dishes out second snub to Fed Cup team

French world number 60 Oceane Dodin risks a five-year ban after refusing to play in this weekend’s Fed Cup tie against Spain.The 20-year-old was called up by last year’s finalists, captained by former French great Yannick Noah, to replace injured Carol…

French world number 60 Oceane Dodin risks a five-year ban after refusing to play in this weekend's Fed Cup tie against Spain.

The 20-year-old was called up by last year's finalists, captained by former French great Yannick Noah, to replace injured Caroline Garcia for the world group playoff in Roanne in central France.

But the French Tennis Federation announced Monday that Dodin was refusing to play, leaving her facing punishment from a simple warning to a five year ban from competition.

At the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, Dodin said she was not enthusiastic about playing for her country.

Dodin's snub comes after France's number two player Garcia rejected her place in the national team 24 hours after being picked, blaming sciatic nerve pain.

After losing last September's final to the Czech Republic Garcia had told the federation she did not want to take part in France's 2017 campaign.

She was summoned last week to the tennis headquarters to prove her injury to a federation approved doctor.

With Garcia and Dodin, missing Noah has called on world number 204 Amandine Hesse to join Alize Cornet, Kristina Mladenovic and Pauline Parmentier in Saturday and Sunday's play-off.

Dodin is coached by her father Frederic. She turned professional in 2012 and has one WTA title to her name, defeating American Lauren Davis in the final of the Quebec tournament last year.

The federation revealed her decision in a Twitter post: "Oceane Dodin has refused to play, replaced by Amandine Hesse. Team in place in Roanne."

France, champions in 1997 and 2003, are one of only four nations to have taken part in every Fed Cup since its inception in 1963.

Spain will be without French Open champion Garbine Muguruza who is recovering from an ankle injury. They will be led by world 59 Lara Arruabarrena.

Merkel urges ‘respectful dialogue’ in Turkey after referendum

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to seek “respectful dialogue” within the country after his narrow win in a referendum extending his powers.”The (German) government expects that the Turkish governm…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to seek "respectful dialogue" within the country after his narrow win in a referendum extending his powers.

"The (German) government expects that the Turkish government will now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, after this tough election campaign," Merkel said in a statement issued jointly with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

The 'Yes' camp won with 51.41 percent in Sunday's vote on giving Erdogan sweeping new powers, according to near-complete results, but angry opposition groups have cried foul and demanded a recount.

Merkel said Germany "respected the right of Turks to decide on their constitution", but added that "the close result shows the extent to which Turkish society is deeply divided".

During the referendum campaign, Erdogan lashed out at Germany and the Netherlands, accusing them of acting like the Nazis when they barred rallies for the 'Yes' camp.

Merkel called for political discussions with Ankara "as quickly as possible".

International observers from the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are due to give their preliminary findings on the referendum later Monday.

Pakistan police arrest 22 over ‘blasphemy’ mob killing

Pakistan police announced Monday they had arrested 22 people after the lynching of a university student accused of blasphemy, but observers said there was little hope authorities would secure convictions.A large mob attacked journalism student Mashal K…

Pakistan police announced Monday they had arrested 22 people after the lynching of a university student accused of blasphemy, but observers said there was little hope authorities would secure convictions.

A large mob attacked journalism student Mashal Khan last Thursday, stripping, beating and shooting him before throwing from the second floor of his hostel at the Abdul Wali Khan university in the conservative northwestern town of Mardan.

The brutality of the attack, recorded on a mobile phone camera, shocked the public and led to widespread condemnation, including from prominent clerics.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to prosecute the perpetrators as protests broke out in several cities.

Salahuddin Khan Mehsud, police chief of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told a press conference the number of people arrested in connection with the case had risen to 22, from 12 at the weekend. They were mainly students but also included some university clerical workers.

He said police had so far found no evidence to support the blasphemy allegations against Khan, and condemned the university for investigating the case without police involvement.

A second senior police officer, who requested anonymity, said many members of the police, prosecution service and judiciary sympathised with the attackers and he did not expect any guilty verdicts.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive charge in conservative Muslim Pakistan, and can carry the death penalty. Even unproven allegations can prompt mob lynchings or lesser violence.

"There are hundreds of sympathisers in my force and if I take too much interest in the case I might be killed too," the police officer said.

He added that although arrests had been made on the basis of CCTV footage and video clips, a court would require witnesses to come forward and past experience had shown this would not be likely -- partly because Pakistan has no witness protection programmes.

Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer employed by Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, noted that no Muslims were convicted for torching 100 Christian homes in a 2013 incident in Lahore sparked by blasphemy claims, nor for the murder of a young Christian couple a year later.

"Nobody is going to stick their neck out because you will be abandoned," he said.

Vigilantes have murdered 65 people over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to research compiled by the Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.

Stolen croc found in suburban Sydney returned to zoo

A young freshwater crocodile found sunbathing on a riverbank in suburban Sydney by a family on their Sunday stroll has been returned to the zoo from where it was stolen.The weary-looking crocodile, measuring 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) in length, was …

A young freshwater crocodile found sunbathing on a riverbank in suburban Sydney by a family on their Sunday stroll has been returned to the zoo from where it was stolen.

The weary-looking crocodile, measuring 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) in length, was a surprising discovering on the banks of a river southwest of Sydney for local resident Aaron Hughes while out enjoying a walk with his family Easter Sunday.

The baby reptile put up little resistance, Hughes said, when he grabbed it from behind the neck and carried it home.

"(I) didn't need to sit on it or anything like that, just picked it up and walked it up to the house," Hughes told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Basically it did look a bit malnourished and we weren't sure what to do."

Hughes contacted the police who have identified the young crocodile as one of two, named Snap and Crackle, who were stolen from the Get Wild Animal Experiences travelling zoo in March.

"We are so very pleased to announce today we had one of our missing crocodiles returned," the zoo said in a Facebook post Sunday.

"He is very cold, thin and lethargic but we are hoping with some TLC he will be back to normal in no time."

Police hold out hope that the other stolen crocodile will be found soon.

Hundreds of Palestinians start massive hunger strike in Israeli prisons – reports

Inspired by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, up to 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have reportedly gone on a hunger strike, demanding improved prison conditions, including visits, medical treatment, and education. Read Full Article a…

Preview Inspired by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, up to 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have reportedly gone on a hunger strike, demanding improved prison conditions, including visits, medical treatment, and education.
Read Full Article at RT.com

S. Korea’s Lotte chairman charged in connection with corruption: prosecutors

South Korean prosecutors on Monday charged the chairman of retail giant Lotte in connection with the corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.Shin Dong-Bin is accused of using more than $6 million to bribe Park and her secret…

South Korean prosecutors on Monday charged the chairman of retail giant Lotte in connection with the corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.

Shin Dong-Bin is accused of using more than $6 million to bribe Park and her secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, the prosecutors said on the same day they charged Park with bribery and abuse of power.

Shin, 62, allegedly offered seven billion won ($6.15 million) to a sports foundation linked to Choi in exchange for a policy favour from Park over Lotte's duty-free business.

Choi is on trial for coercion and abuse of power. She allegedly used her presidential ties to force local firms to "donate" nearly $70 million to non-profit foundations which she allegedly used for personal gain.

Now Choi faces an additional charge of bribery involving Shin, the prosecutors said.

Park is accused of colluding with Choi and offering policy favours to top businessmen who enriched her friend. These are alleged to include Shin and Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong, who was arrested earlier and is also on trial for bribery.

Palestinian inmates launch mass hunger strike in Israeli jails

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Chaos, carnage, and courage: First 6 months of Battle of Mosul in 10 visceral videos

The coalition offensive on ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq began exactly six months ago, and this footage captures the violence of the operation, the rawness of the suffering, and the relief of those able to escape unhurt from the two-sided trap. R…

Preview The coalition offensive on ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq began exactly six months ago, and this footage captures the violence of the operation, the rawness of the suffering, and the relief of those able to escape unhurt from the two-sided trap.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Turkey stocks, lira rally after Erdogan wins vote

Turkish stocks and the lira strengthened on Monday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly won a referendum on expanding his powers, with investors hoping the outcome would bring much-needed stability.On Sunday, the ‘Yes’ side won 51.41 percent o…

Turkish stocks and the lira strengthened on Monday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly won a referendum on expanding his powers, with investors hoping the outcome would bring much-needed stability.

On Sunday, the 'Yes' side won 51.41 percent of the vote compared with 48.59 for the 'No', near full results showed.

The lira was trading at 3.67 against the US dollar at 0800 GMT, its value jumping by 1.6 percent.

Since the start of this year, the lira has lost four percent of its value against the greenback because of political instability making it the worst-performing emerging market currency in 2017.

Many investors had been betting on a 'Yes' vote as the best way to restore economic and political stability.

The Istanbul stock exchange also rallied after the result, up by 0.74 percent immediately after market opened. By 0800 GMT, stocks had risen by 0.6 percent.

"The market is likely to cheer the continuation of stability, declining chances of an early election and the tight call on the referendum that may contain any market-unfriendly moves," Ozgur Altug, chief economist at Istanbul-based BGC Partners, said.

But Altug said that despite the welcome from the market in the near term, "we do not expect a major breakout".

The closeness of the result -- which the opposition says it will contest -- may cause concerns over the risk of continued political instability.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency introduced after last year's failed coup, expected to be extended by the government for another three months.

And in the last 18 months, the country has been hit by a slew of terror attacks blamed on Kurdish militants and jihadists, killing hundreds.

Turkish voters have approved an executive presidency that will see more power in the hands of Erdogan with the role of premier axed and "one or more" vice presidents chosen by the head of state.

But Erdogan faces multiple economic issues including double-digit inflation and high unemployment, especially among those aged 15 to 24.

Unemployment figures released on Monday showed a rise in January jobless to 13 percent, a 1.9 percentage point increase compared with the same period in 2016, the Turkish statistics office said.

South Korea’s ex-president Park indicted for bribery

South Korea’s ousted President Park Geun-Hye was on Monday charged with bribery involving millions of dollars over the corruption scandal that sparked her downfall. Park, whose impeachment was confirmed by Seoul’s top court last month, also faces charg…

South Korea's ousted President Park Geun-Hye was on Monday charged with bribery involving millions of dollars over the corruption scandal that sparked her downfall.

Park, whose impeachment was confirmed by Seoul's top court last month, also faces charges of abusing her powers and leaking state secrets, Seoul prosecutors probing the scandal said in a statement.

"We have formally charged Park... with multiple offences including abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking state secrets," they said after wrapping up the months-long investigation.

Park is accused of colluding with her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is already on trial, in coercing local conglomerates into donating a total of 77.4 billion won ($68 million) to two non-profit foundations.

Choi allegedly used some of the donations for personal gain.

Park is also accused of offering policy favours to top businessmen who enriched Choi, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong who was arrested earlier and is also on trial for bribery.

Prosecutors on Monday also charged Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of the giant Lotte Group, with bribing Choi and Park.

Park, 65, has been behind bars at at a detention centre in the outskirts of Seoul since her arrest last month.

The scandal prompted millions to take to the street for weeks calling for the ousting of the conservative president. Parliament impeached Park last December amid growing public pressure.

Erdogan celebrates referendum win, rivals urge recount

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Monday celebrating a narrow win in a referendum giving him sweeping new powers that exposed bitter divisions in Turkey and left incensed rivals demanding a major recount.The referendum was seen as crucial not just …

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Monday celebrating a narrow win in a referendum giving him sweeping new powers that exposed bitter divisions in Turkey and left incensed rivals demanding a major recount.

The referendum was seen as crucial not just for shaping the political system of Turkey but also the future strategic direction of a nation that has been a NATO member since 1952 and an EU hopeful for half a century.

The 'Yes' camp won 51.41 percent in Sunday's referendum on a new presidential system and 'No' 48.59, according to near-complete results released by the election authorities.

But Erdogan's victory was far narrower than expected, emerging only after several nail-biting hours late Sunday which saw the 'No' result dramatically catch up in the later count.

Turkey's three largest cities -- Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir -- all voted 'No' although 'Yes' prevailed in Erdogan's Anatolian heartland.

With the opposition crying foul over alleged violations, all eyes will be on Monday's announcement by international observers from the OSCE and the Council of Europe who will give their initial assessment of the vote.

"On April 17, we have woken up to a new Turkey," wrote the pro-government Hurriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi.

"The 'Yes' was victorious but the people have sent messages to the government and opposition that need to be carefully considered."

The new system is due to come into effect after elections in November 2019.

- 'Shadow over polls' -

In a bid to get back to business after the bitterly-contested campaign, Erdogan was on Monday to chair a cabinet meeting at his presidential palace, Turkish media said.

Erdogan declared that Turkey's had made a "historic" decision and appeared standing on top of a bus in front of thousands of cheering supporters outside his Huber Palace Istanbul residence on the shores of the Bosphorus.

But the opposition were not content to rest on their better-than-expected performance despite a lopsided campaign in which the 'Yes' camp enjoyed vastly greater resources and dominated the airwaves.

Both the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said they would appeal the results from most of the ballot boxes due to alleged violations.

They were particularly incensed by a decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to allow voting papers without official stamps to be counted, which they said opened the way for fraud.

"The Higher Election Board has thrown a shadow on the people's decision. They have caused the referendum's legitimacy to be questioned," said CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The HDP said there were indications of a manipulation amounting to three or four percentage points while deputy CHP leader Erdal Aksunger said up to 60 percent of the ballot boxes could be appealed.

Monitors from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) are to give their own assessment of the vote at 1200 GMT.

Overnight, sporadic protests by disgruntled 'No' voters erupted in parts of Istanbul, with demonstrators banging pots and pans to voice their discontent.

"A victory of the nation," said the headline in the pro-government Yeni Safak daily. "Turkey has won."

But the Cumhuriyet opposition daily focused on the alleged violations: "A shadow fell over the ballot boxes," it said.

- Reviving the death penalty? -

Throughout the campaign, Erdogan launched bitter attacks on the European Union, accusing member states of behaving like the Third Reich in failing to allow his ministers to campaign among expats.

The initial reaction from Turkey's Western allies was far from ebullient, with top EU officials saying Turkey had to find the "broadest possible" agreement on the changes in view of the closeness of the result.

In an indication more strife with Brussels could be in the offing, Erdogan said he would now hold talks on reinstating capital punishment, a move that would automatically end Turkey's EU bid.

If the opposition failed to support such a bill, he said another referendum could be held on reinstating the death penalty.

The new system would dispense with the office of prime minister and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the president, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers.

It would also mean that Erdogan, who became president in 2014, could seek two more five-year terms leaving him in power until 2029.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launch hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a movement that could mark a serious challenge to Israeli authorities if sustained.The hunger strike was cal…

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a movement that could mark a serious challenge to Israeli authorities if sustained.

The hunger strike was called for in connection with Palestinian Prisoners Day, observed annually, but also ahead of commemorations this summer marking 50 years since the 1967 Six Day War and the start of Israel's occupation.

Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners occur regularly, but rarely on such a large scale.

Barghouti's call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving a life sentence over his role in the violent second Palestinian intifada.

He is a popular figure among Palestinians, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency. Graffiti showing the iconic image of his cuffed hands raised above his head flashing a peace sign can be seen in the West Bank.

"Decades of experience have proved that Israel's inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation," Barghouti wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

"In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it."

Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoners affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said that "around 1,300 Palestinian prisoners" were participating in the hunger strike and the number could rise.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club NGO put the number at 1,500.

Israeli prison service spokesman Assaf Librati said that 700 prisoners had announced on Sunday their intention to begin a hunger strike.

"We are checking this morning to see the number of prisoners actually striking as some of them said they would only observe a symbolic protest strike and then resume eating afterwards," he said.

"There will be an update later."

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes.

- List of demands -

Israel says it must be vigilant to prevent fresh eruptions of violence, particularly following a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming attacks that erupted in October 2015.

The violence has greatly subsided in recent months.

While many Palestinians view Barghouti as a hero, Israelis point to the bloody suicide attacks of the second intifada and his role in the uprising.

For Palestinians, the prisons have become a stark symbol of Israel's occupation.

Those on hunger strike have issued a list of demands, including access to phones, extended visiting rights and better medical service.

Israeli public radio reported that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has ordered intervention units to be put on standby and that a field hospital be set up outside one prison to avoid having to take sick prisoners to civilian hospitals.

It quoted Erdan as saying that the demands regarding prisoners' conditions were unreasonable.

Some Israeli analysts have sought to highlight the rivalry between Barghouti and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas within their Fatah party, suggesting his call for a hunger strike was also related to internal politics.

Of the 6,500 Palestinian detainees, 62 are women and 300 are minors. Some 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charges or trial.

Thirteen Palestinian lawmakers are also among the detainees.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launch mass hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian Authority official said.Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoners affairs for the Palestinian Authorit…

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoners affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said that "around 1,300 Palestinian prisoners" were participating in the hunger strike and the number could rise.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club NGO put the number at 1,500.

Israeli prison service spokesman Assaf Librati said that 700 prisoners had announced on Sunday their intention to begin a hunger strike.

"We are checking this morning to see the number of prisoners actually striking as some of them said they would only observe a symbolic protest strike and then resume eating afterwards," he said.

"There will be an update later."

Barghouti is serving a life sentence over his role in the violent second Palestinian intifada. He is a popular figure, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency.

The strike was called in connection with Palestinian Prisoners Day, which is observed annually.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel.

Protesters march against Le Pen as French campaign enters final stretch

Several hundred protesters marched in northern Paris on Sunday to protest against far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen, saying that basic freedoms would disappear if she were elected to the French presidency.

Several hundred protesters marched in northern Paris on Sunday to protest against far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen, saying that basic freedoms would disappear if she were elected to the French presidency.

Hundreds evacuated after deadly Sri Lanka dump collapse

Sri Lanka has moved over 400 families to temporary shelters after tonnes of rotting garbage collapsed onto a slum on Friday, killing 26 people. Some 145 homes were destroyed when the 300-foot (90-metre) rubbish mountain came crashing down and police sa…

Sri Lanka has moved over 400 families to temporary shelters after tonnes of rotting garbage collapsed onto a slum on Friday, killing 26 people.

Some 145 homes were destroyed when the 300-foot (90-metre) rubbish mountain came crashing down and police say many more buildings were damaged and could collapse at any time.

Hundreds of soldiers have kept up the search for survivors amid reports that at least six people were still missing after the disaster, which followed heavy rain the previous day and a fire hours earlier.

It came as the country celebrated the traditional new year and followed a warning to Sri Lanka's parliament that the 23 million tonnes of rotting garbage posed a serious health hazard.

"We are keeping up a search, but we are not very hopeful of finding anyone alive in these conditions," military spokesman Roshan Seneviratne said on Monday.

Disaster management officials said 1,700 people had been moved to temporary shelters in state schools while the government looked for alternative accommodation.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was visiting Japan at the time, said arrangements had been made to remove the garbage dump, but it came crashing down before relocation work could begin.

About 800 tonnes of solid waste from the capital is added to the open dump every day and efforts are under way to generate electricity using the solid waste.

Police have stepped up security in the area following reports of looting and said they arrested 23 men suspected of stealing victims' belongings.

Wickremesinghe said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered help with the recovery effort and a technical team would be sent to Sri Lanka to evaluate the situation.

US police search for man who broadcast deadly shooting on Facebook

Cleveland police issued an arrest warrant Monday for a gunman they said murdered a man in a crime he broadcast live on Facebook.Officials in the Ohio city said suspect Steve Stephens, 37, shot his 74-year old victim Robert Godwin Sr at random on Easter…

Cleveland police issued an arrest warrant Monday for a gunman they said murdered a man in a crime he broadcast live on Facebook.

Officials in the Ohio city said suspect Steve Stephens, 37, shot his 74-year old victim Robert Godwin Sr at random on Easter Sunday, in cold blood.

"Suspect did broadcast the killing on Facebook Live and has claimed to have committed multiple other homicides which are still NOT verified," Cleveland police said in a statement.

"Suspect in this case is... armed and dangerous. If seen call 9-1-1. Do not approach."

Police said Stevens may be out of the midwestern state, and asked residents of Indiana, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania to be on alert.

Stevens worked for Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency serving children through mental health services, foster care and adoption, at-risk youth programs and other services.

In his broadcast, Stevens displayed his Beech Brook badge. The facility did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At a press conference late Sunday, authorities urged Stephens to turn himself in.

"Everyone is out there looking for Steve. We want this to end with as much peace as we can bring to this right now, and we want him to turn himself in," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters, adding that local authorities were working with the FBI and regional law enforcement.

"We have all of our partners in on this, and we'll look until we find him."

Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters police were still trying to communicate with the suspect.

"We want to communicate to him that we know who he is, and that he will eventually be caught. And that we're saying to him that he need not do any more," said Jackson.

Stephens was at large after fleeing in a white Ford Fusion with temporary license plates, police said.

Some local media reported that he had boasted on Facebook of killing more than a dozen people in an Easter Day massacre, but authorities said there was no indication of a broader killing spree.

Bastia game abandoned after Corsican fans attack Lyon players

For the second time in a week, a high-level football match in France was marred by crowd violence on Sunday when fans of Corsican side Bastia twice invaded the pitch and attacked players from the opposition.

For the second time in a week, a high-level football match in France was marred by crowd violence on Sunday when fans of Corsican side Bastia twice invaded the pitch and attacked players from the opposition.