IS claims deadly attack on FSB office in Russia

21 Apr

The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack Friday on an office of Russia’s main domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, in the country’s far east, a US-based monitoring group said.Amaq News Agency, an IS propaganda a…

Sharapova rivals are jealous ‘journeymen’, says agent

21 Apr

Critics of Maria Sharapova possibly receiving a wildcard into the French Open just want to keep another title threat out of Roland Garros, the Russian star’s agent said in a report Friday.Ben Rothenberg, a US-based tennis writer and podcaster, tweeted …

O’Sullivan halts Murphy revival

21 Apr

Five-time snooker world champion Ronnie ‘Rocket’ O’Sullivan stemmed a late surge by 2005 champion Shaun Murphy to take a lead of 10-6 to bed with him at the World Championships on Friday.Murphy, whose mutual antipathy with the mercurial O’Sullivan is w…

US indicts Russian suspect in huge botnet takedown

21 Apr

A Russian under arrest in Spain has been slapped with an indictment in the United States, accused of controlling one of the world’s top generators of spam and online exortion, officials said Friday.Peter Levashov, from Saint Petersburg, a 36-year-old w…

‘Urgent’ to reach agreement on loan for Greece: IMF

21 Apr

It is “urgent” to reach an agreement on a loan program for Greece but a commitment is still required from Athens on reforms and from Europe on debt relief, a senior IMF official said Friday. “It is urgent that we agree on a program and that we conclude…

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Charlo hopes to knock off ring rust by defending boxing title

21 Apr

Undefeated Jermell Charlo and challenger Charles Hatley will each be coming off long layoffs when they square off for Charlo’s World Boxing Council junior middleweight title Saturday at Barclays Center.American Charlo has not fought since winning the 1…

Djokovic looking for answers after Monte Carlo disappointment

21 Apr

With his French Open title defence starting in five short weeks, Novak Djokovic is desperately searching for the key to lifting his game on clay.The former world number one, who was replaced at the top of the list last November by Andy Murray, joined h…

Lions scrape win over brave Jaguares

21 Apr

Golden Lions of South Africa encountered unexpectedly tough resistance from Jaguares of Argentina before scraping a 24-21 Super Rugby win in Johannesburg Friday.”We were not hungry enough,” admitted Lions skipper and No. 8 Warren Whiteley. “The Jaguare…

Fitch downgrades Italian debt rating; ‘stable’ outlook

21 Apr

The ratings agency Fitch on Friday downgraded Italy’s long-term debt rating a notch to BBB, one level above the “speculative” grade, citing the country’s persistent debt and fiscal problems.However Fitch said Italy’s outlook was stable.Italy has been u…

Canada’s Trudeau to meet pope in late May

21 Apr

Pope Francis will grant a private audience to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next month after a G7 summit in Italy, the government in Ottawa said Friday.”Prime Minister Trudeau will have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis for the first …

Trump takes aim at US financial oversight law

21 Apr

US President Donald Trump signed executive orders Friday aimed at reviewing American financial laws and laying the groundwork for what he called a “great economic revival.”Key among them was a six-month review of core parts of the Dodd-Frank law, a mea…

Relay queen Hastings content to strike a pose

21 Apr

Bringing a touch of glamour to the track should never be something to be frowned upon, according to American Natasha Hastings, the undisputed queen of the relays who insists athletics remains an individual sport.Hastings, 30, has long been a pioneer in…

Three weeks of violence in Venezuela

21 Apr

Venezuela, mired in a political and economic crisis for months, has been rocked by violence over the past three weeks which has claimed 20 lives.Dozens of people have been injured and some 600 arrested since the crisis escalated in late March, accordin…

Poulter says all is not lost after losing tour status

21 Apr

Britain’s Ian Poulter says his career is far from over despite losing his playing status on the US PGA Tour on Friday after a poor showing at the Texas Open.The 41-year-old Englishman was in the 10th and final event of a major medical exemption due to …

Max Richter set for double-album of film music

21 Apr

Max Richter, the prolific German-born British contemporary composer whose influences range from Bach to Brian Eno, will next month release a double-album from his career in film music.Richter wrote the electronic-infused score to Ari Folman’s “Waltz wi…

Europe’s largest wooden church restored in Poland

21 Apr

Europe’s largest wooden church has recovered its original splendour after three years of restoration work, the coordinator of the project in southern Poland said Friday. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lutheran Church of Peace in Swidnica was built i…

Russian FM presses US’s Tillerson over Syria probe

21 Apr

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced “regret” in a phone call with his US counterpart Friday at Washington’s opposition to a Moscow-backed plan to investigate an alleged chemical attack in Syria.In the call with Secretary of State Rex Tillerso…

US forces kill IS leader blamed for nightclub attack

21 Apr

US forces operating in Syria have killed a senior member of the Islamic State group blamed for an attack on a nightclub that left 39 dead, officials said Friday.”We will reach you anywhere,” Brett McGurk, the US diplomat who coordinates the coalition f…

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Rowing legend Grainger ‘thrilled’ by new challenge

21 Apr

Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete Katherine Grainger says she is ‘thrilled’ with her appointment on Friday to be the chairwoman of UK Sport.

The 41-year-old — five times an Olympic rowing medallist including gold in London in 2012 — succeeds Rod Carr who steps down after a four year spell in charge of the body which oversees how funding is distributed among sports.

Grainger’s appointment despite having no administrative experience was confirmed by the British Government on Friday — having received the seal of approval of Prime Minister Theresa May.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed as the next UK Sport chair,” said Grainger, who will be paid £40,000 ($51,000, 47,800 euros) a year.

“I am also very honoured to be joining the team at UK Sport and building on the success and commitment to excellence that I have witnessed and enjoyed as an athlete.

“I’m also acutely aware of the many challenging issues currently within sport and I hope to play a role in addressing them.”

Among the challenges facing Grainger will be the fallout from the British Cycling scandal with an independent review set for publication.

Sports funding — a mix of taxpayer money fixed by the government and the Lottery — is also a thorny issue.

A dip in money being spent by the public on the Lottery precipitated the decision by UK Sport in December to cut funding to seven sports ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said Grainger was the perfect candidate for such a post.

“Dame Katherine is a peerless leader both on the water and off it,” said Crouch.

“As one of our greatest ever Olympians, she has an outstanding understanding of high performance sport, and through her educational and charity work has a proven commitment to inclusion.”

A decade into Record Store Day, a new world of vinyl

21 Apr

Ten years ago, most vinyl records sold for a few dollars — dusty old albums with dog-eared covers that had been thrown out as useless relics of an earlier age.However, faced with twin onslaughts from digital music and big-box stores, independent recor…

Vinales sets Americas Moto Grand Prix first practice pace

21 Apr

Season points leader Maverick Vinales set the practice pace Friday at the Moto Grand Prix of the Americas with Spanish compatriot Marc Marquez, the four-time defending champion, settling for second-best.Yamaha rider Vinales, who won the first two races…

Djokovic’s French Open plans take Monte Carlo hit

21 Apr

Novak Djokovic’s preparations for his French Open title defence suffered another setback Friday when he was defeated by Belgium’s David Goffin 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals.The Serb saved four match points but slumped to his f…

Proposed cuts in US climate science reverberate worldwide

21 Apr

The gutting of US-funded climate science would cripple research agendas worldwide and hamper the global fight against climate change, say scientists outside the United States, some of whom will take to the streets Saturday to make that point.US Preside…

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‘More than 50’ Afghan troops killed in attack: US military

21 Apr

“More than 50 Afghan soldiers have been killed” in a Taliban attack Friday on their base near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a US military spokesman told AFP.The attack lasted several hours but was over by early evening, according to the spokesma…

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Bolt’s potential successor De Grasse happy with attention

21 Apr

Usain Bolt’s absence from the track at the end of the season will be a huge blow to the world of athletics no matter IAAF president Sebastian Coe’s protestations that other athletes are just as deserving as the spotlight.There can be no denying the wor…

Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, Istanbul’s best of enemies

21 Apr

For over a century, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce have been battling for football supremacy in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, in the world’s only transcontinental derby.Watched by a voracious media and unforgiving fans, it’s a game where losing simply ca…

Dream debut for Abbas as Windies limp to 71-4

21 Apr

Mohammad Abbas had a dream debut as Pakistan reduced the West Indies to 71 for four at lunch on the opening day of the first Test of the three-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Friday.Sharing the new ball with Mohammad Amir after their captain,…

Ousted Fox host O’Reilly could get $25 mn

21 Apr

Former Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly will receive an exit payout of as much as $25 million after being ousted over sexual harassment allegations, according to American media reports.Fox did not confirm the sum, equal to about a year’s salary for the populis…

Venezuela death toll soars to 20 in weeks of protests

21 Apr

The number of people killed in three weeks of street protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro soared to 20 on Friday after one of the deadliest nights of unrest in Caracas.Eleven people died — some reportedly electrocuted while looting a b…

Israel targets Syria positions after Golan mortar fire

21 Apr

Israel’s army said Friday it had targeted positions inside Syria in retaliation for mortar fire that struck the northern part of the Golan Heights.”The Israeli army targeted the source of the fire,” an army statement said without giving further details…

Consensus in G20 that protectionism ‘damaging’ for global economy

21 Apr

The Group of 20 major economies have reached a “broad consensus” that a continued rise in protectionism would be damaging to the global economy, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Friday.”The general mood of the discussion was a broad agre…

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Trump meets freed US-Egyptian

21 Apr

President Donald Trump on Friday hosted a US-Egyptian charity worker in the White House who was freed after nearly three years in detention in Egypt on charges human rights groups denounced as “arbitrary.”A Cairo court acquitted Aya Hijazi last weekend…