Canterbury Crusaders charge on without injured skipper Read

The unbeaten Canterbury Crusaders won a ninth Super Rugby game this weekend, but the result was soured by an injury to All Blacks skipper Kieran Read.The rampaging Crusaders squashed the threatened South African team Central Cheetahs 48-21 in Bloemfont…

The unbeaten Canterbury Crusaders won a ninth Super Rugby game this weekend, but the result was soured by an injury to All Blacks skipper Kieran Read.

The rampaging Crusaders squashed the threatened South African team Central Cheetahs 48-21 in Bloemfontein to stretch their lead in the New Zealand conference to four points, but they could be without the influential Read for up to six weeks.

Read left the field just before half-time and later had surgery on a fracture at the base of his right thumb in concerning news for the All Blacks ahead of their looming British and Irish Lions home series.

"Read's anticipated return to play will not be known until post-surgery assessments are done, however surgery of this sort would generally require approximately six weeks of recovery," the Crusaders said in a statement.

It continues a troubled season for the 97-capped Read, who missed the first six rounds of the competition following wrist surgery.

The seven-time Super Rugby champions were too strong for the Cheetahs, running in seven tries to secure a bonus point and remaining the team to beat in the 18-team competition.

It was the seventh loss in nine matches for the Cheetahs, who along with the Southern Kings are expected to be axed in next year's revamped competition.

The Chiefs kept in touch with the Crusaders with an unexpectedly tense 27-20 win over Japan's Sunwolves in Hamilton.

They were denied a bonus point despite the Sunwolves having two players sent from the field in the penultimate move of the game.

For much of the game, the unfancied Sunwolves were the dominant side as they humbled the Chiefs' forwards in the set pieces and floored the Waikato backs with crunching tackles.

- Lions survive scare -

South Africa's leading contenders the Golden Lions survived a major scare from the endangered Western Force to claim their sixth-straight win in Perth.

The Lions were strong favourites against the struggling Force, also threatened by the 2018 season cull, but the game was in the balance until the dying minutes before the Johannesburg-based team prevailed 24-15.

The resurgent Otago Highlanders humbled South Africa's Western Stormers 57-14 for their fifth straight win.

The Highlanders scored nine tries to two, while the Stormers slumped to their third-consecutive loss after winning their opening six matches of the season.

Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley kicked five penalty goals, the last two minutes from time, to give the NSW Waratahs a morale-boosting 29-26 win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

The Waratahs closed to within four points of Australian conference leaders ACT Brumbies, who were playing New Zealand's Auckland Blues in Canberra later Sunday.

Teenage fly-half Curwin Bosch kicked 18 points as South Africa's Coastal Sharks downed Argentina's Jaguares 33-25 in Buenos Aires.

Success gave the Sharks an eight-point advantage in the standings over the Jaguares with six rounds left as the teams battle for a quarter-finals place.

South Africa's Southern Kings won back-to-back matches for the first time and achieved a record victory margin by trouncing the Melbourne Rebels 44-3 in Port Elizabeth.

US economy softens but Fed likely to stay the course

Since the Federal Reserve upped its benchmark interest rates by a notch in mid-March, the skies have grown a shade darker for the world’s largest economy.The softening outlook may have sapped some of the justification for policymakers to make the two f…

Since the Federal Reserve upped its benchmark interest rates by a notch in mid-March, the skies have grown a shade darker for the world's largest economy.

The softening outlook may have sapped some of the justification for policymakers to make the two further rate hikes expected this year.

Even so, most analysts say the Fed looks poised to stick with the prevailing view of three increases in the key lending rate this year, likely in June and December.

The US central bank's monetary policy committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, and even before the recent soft data they were not expected to move at this meeting.

The Fed raised rates in March and December amid the wave of economic optimism that greeted President Donald Trump's rise to the White House, with Wall Street and consumer sentiment smashing records and while inflation ticked higher amid accelerating job gains.

But since the last meeting, weak consumer spending, with back-to-back drops in retail sales, saw quarterly growth sink to its lowest level in three years.

Job growth fell by more than half in March, and the pace of new home construction slowed. So did durable goods orders, with orders of for big-ticket items excluding the transportation turning negative for the first time in six months.

Consumer confidence also began to dwindle in April after record highs.

- 'Not tied to three' -

Meanwhile, inflation, which the Fed is mandated to control, retreated after steady gains since the summer. The "core" Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, actually contracted for the first time in seven years.

The core Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the Fed's preferred inflation indicator, held steady at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, below the Fed's two percent target.

Earlier this month, the Fed's influential vice chair, Stanley Fischer, said he still expects the central bank to raise rates a total of three times this year. But he sounded a note of caution.

"We are dependent on what happens in the economy," he said. "We're not tied to three."

Steven Ricchiuto, chief US economist at Mizuho Securities USA, told AFP there was scant justification for the rate hike in March and he does not think the Fed will raise more than twice this year.

"The Fed moved simply because markets gave them a pass," he said, predicting, "One more move this year instead of two."

But as of Friday afternoon, futures markets were still banking on moves in June and December, and other analysts said the Fed was likely to look past a single batch of weak data and stick to its guns instead.

- A fairly comfortable Fed -

Tim Duy, a close Fed watcher and professor of economics at the University of Oregon, said a more careful reading of the data showed that underlying trends in the economy were unbroken.

"Altogether, I think the Fed will look through the first quarter GDP numbers and remain fairly comfortable in their expectations for two more rate hikes this year," Duy told AFP.

First-quarter growth was held down by low consumption, largely due to seasonal adjustment issues. And business investment shot up while the dip in core CPI was due to a one-time adjustment for wireless prices.

Further supporting the case for rate hikes, the Employment Cost Index, a measure closely watched by the Fed, had what one analyst called its strongest quarterly bump in a decade at 0.8 percent. That is a sign of rising wages in an increasingly tight labor market, which could boost inflation.

Unemployment also fell to its lowest level in a decade in March, and there are reports from employers who told the Fed they are having trouble filling vacancies and have had to raise wages and benefits.

Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics agreed.

"Wage gains are unambiguously accelerating. Meanwhile, the trend in the unemployment rate still appears to be downward," he wrote in a note to clients.

"These data will keep pressure on the Fed to keep tightening."

Italy’s Renzi likely to win Democratic Party election

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi is poised to win the leadership of Italy’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) in a primary election Sunday, propelling him back to the forefront of the national political scene. Renzi, 42, resigned as prime minister…

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi is poised to win the leadership of Italy's ruling Democratic Party (PD) in a primary election Sunday, propelling him back to the forefront of the national political scene.

Renzi, 42, resigned as prime minister in December after Italians overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional referendum.

A centrepiece of his political platform, the reform had aimed to streamline Italy's parliamentary system.

In the aftermath of the December vote and facing a rebellion from the left wing of his centre-left party, Renzi in February stepped down as party leader with the aim of regaining legitimacy in a future vote.

Renzi on Sunday faces two candidates considered further to the left: Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and Michele Emiliano, who heads the southern Puglia region.

An internal vote conducted by the party earlier this month suggests Renzi could win hands down: he had more than a majority at 66.7 percent, with 25.3 percent for Orlando and eight percent for Emiliano.

- Crowning of Renzi -

Lorenzo De Sio, a professor of political sociology at the Luiss University in Rome said Renzi's legitimacy will hinge on voter turnout.

"Rather than a competition, we are facing the legitimisation, a sort of crowning of Renzi as leader of the PD. We can expect a huge Renzi victory but with weak voter turnout. People on the left do not seem to be mobilised," he says.

"If participation rates are around a million people or less, the legitimisation of Renzi won't be strong, if it is between 1.5 and two million, he will wind up in a stronger position," he adds.

The winner of the vote will lead the party during legislative elections slated for spring 2018 unless parliamentarians come to agreement on electoral reform before then and call for early elections.

During the only televised debate between Renzi and his two competitors, the former prime minister said he would do "everything to bring back energy, momentum and vigour to the country", and railed against "stagnation that seems to be blocking the political and institutional life" since the referendum.

In addition to the contrasting styles, with Orlando and Emiliano generally more reserved than the exuberant Renzi, the debate laid bare key differences over national politics.

Renzi disagrees with his two challengers on a wealth tax, which he opposes.

If the spring election outcome requires the formation of a coalition following the legislative elections, Orlando and Emiliano have said they would seek to govern with left wing defectors or other parties on the left.

Renzi, meanwhile, has not ruled out forming an alliance with centre-right Silvio Berlusconi.

Voting booths, mainly stands on the streets, are set to open at 8:00 am and close at 8:00 pm on Sunday.

The vote is open to all Italians over 16 years, EU citizens residing in Italy and foreigners from outside the EU holding valid residency permits provided they pay a donation of at least two euros.

Macron, Le Pen offer sharp contrast in visions for France

The battle to become France’s next president boils down to a sharp clash of contrasting visions.In one corner is centrist Emmanuel Macron, with his pro-globalisation, pro-EU world view.In the other, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who champions “nat…

The battle to become France's next president boils down to a sharp clash of contrasting visions.

In one corner is centrist Emmanuel Macron, with his pro-globalisation, pro-EU world view.

In the other, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who champions "nationalism" and a "France-first" approach.

"The country Mr Macron wants is no longer France, it's a space, a wasteland, a trading room where there are only consumers and producers," Le Pen told thousands of supporters in Nice on Thursday.

Macron has a starkly different message: "I will be... the voice of hope for our country and for Europe," he said after the April 23 first-round vote.

Le Pen and Macron, who says he is "neither of the left nor the right", eliminated France's traditional political forces to reach the May 7 run-off.

The 39-year-old former investment banker, who had never before stood for election, started his centrist movement only 12 months ago but is now on the cusp of becoming France's youngest-ever president.

Despite his lack of political experience, polls currently show he will beat Le Pen by around 20 percentage points.

President Francois Hollande launched Macron's political career, picking him as an economic advisor and then parachuting him into his Socialist government as economy minister.

Sensing a worldwide shift away from established parties, Macron turned his back on Hollande and quit the cabinet in August to concentrate on building up his own centrist political movement "En Marche" (On the Move).

Since then, he has amassed over 250,000 members and confounded critics who said his appeal would not reach beyond young, urban professionals.

In politics as well as his personal life, Macron has broken traditions.

The theatre and poetry lover from a middle-class family in Amiens, northeast France, fell for his secondary school drama teacher, Brigitte Trogneux.

A 64-year-old mother-of-three, a quarter of a century older than Macron, she left her husband and married the young prodigy in 2007.

The unshakeable confidence with which Macron pursued Brigitte has been evident throughout his career.

But it tripped him up after he finished top in the first round, when he gave what many saw as a triumphalist speech and then held a party at a Paris bistro.

Opponents and allies were quick to remind him that victory was not assured, and he threw himself into campaigning.

- Hard-edged politics -

Unlike Macron, 48-year-old Le Pen is steeped in hard-edged politics.

Her pugnacious father Jean-Marie Le Pen reached the run-off of the 2002 presidential election, but was soundly beaten by the centre-right Jacques Chirac.

Fifteen years later, his gravel-voiced daughter believes she can become France's first woman president, and the first from the National Front (FN) party that her father founded.

She faces an uphill task as her younger rival appears to attract a broader spectrum of voters.

She also goes into the run-off with several investigations hanging over the FN and her entourage for alleged funding scandals, while she is also being probed after tweeting pictures of Islamic State jihadists' atrocities.

In the last presidential election in 2012, Le Pen finished third with just under 18 percent. She has tried to portray the 2017 contest as "David against Goliath".

She has worked assiduously to try to rid the party of its more extreme edge -- and kicked her father out of it after he repeatedly described Nazi gas chambers as a "detail of history".

Over the past six years, Le Pen's rebranded "party of patriots" has been propelled by the anti-globalisation, anti-establishment fury that drove Britain's vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's election in the United States.

Now a twice-divorced mother of three, she guards her private life jealously, in contrast to Macron.

She appears rarely as a couple with her current partner, who is the FN's vice-president Louis Aliot.

Le Pen developed her flair for sharp putdowns as a state-appointed lawyer defending illegal immigrants facing deportation.

Despite that experience she blames migration -- and the European Union -- for France's economic woes.

Pall remains over Canadian oil sands after wildfires

One year after massive wildfires swept through Alberta province in Canada’s worst natural disaster in history, the future of the oil sands — which contain a third of the world’s oil reserves — remains bleak.Persistently low oil prices have forced com…

One year after massive wildfires swept through Alberta province in Canada's worst natural disaster in history, the future of the oil sands -- which contain a third of the world's oil reserves -- remains bleak.

Persistently low oil prices have forced companies to cut costs, and several have gone as far as to stop processing the region's heavy crude and bitumen, which is more expensive and harder to extract than typical light crude.

"The wildfire magnified the problem here," said Bilal Abbas, an Shell subcontractor who fears for his job after the oil company recently announced it would halt local production.

The 2016 wildfires stopped nearly all oil sands extraction and refining for an entire month, slashing production by more than a million barrels of oil a day, or 0.4 percentage points of Canada's gross domestic product, according to government statistics.

It brought to a standstill an oil rush that had started a decade earlier, when energy conglomerates including ExxonMobil, Shell, Statoil and Total bought up stakes while oil prices topped $100 a barrel.

At the heart of the oil patch, the city of Fort McMurray's population exploded to nearly 100,000 as people from around the world came to the remote northern region hoping to make big bucks.

However, this northern Eldorado would give way to gloom in 2014, when the oil bubble burst and Alberta was plunged into a long recession from which it is only now beginning to emerge.

"The companies have cut back and have announced a lot of layoffs," Abbas said. "The morale in Fort McMurray has taken a dip, which I feel got amplified by the wildfire."

- Fracking competition -

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers chief Tim McMillan lays the blame for the oil crash squarely on new fracking technologies that have enabled the United States to boost oil and gas production by exploiting shale deposits.

"During the Obama years, innovation helped American oil production jump by 4.4 million barrels a day," he said. "That's more than all the oil we produce in Canada."

The world was "awash in low-cost hydrocarbons" as a result, he said, and the price of light crude oil plunged to around $50 a barrel. The price of Canadian oil, already discounted thanks to its lack of global market access, fell further.

Although Canada produces some 3.6 million barrels of oil per day, making it the world's sixth-largest producer, it sells most of its output to the neighboring United States, whose energy sector is meshed with Canada's industry.

"Our number-one customer is our number-one competitor," McMillan said. "And under the Trump administration, the competition (from the United States) is only going to get tougher."

Following in the footsteps of Statoil and Shell, other companies have partly or completely pulled out of the oil sands in the past year, and -- like ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil -- headed for greener pastures such as the North Dakota shale fields in the United States.

The major Canadian firms Canadian Natural Resources and Cenovus have spent more than $30 billion to buy their assets.

They are determined to increase oil sands output after the Canadian and US administrations recently approved new pipelines to the United States and coastal ports.

But they face an uphill battle because of environmental regulations.

The sector produces a quarter of Canada's total CO2 emissions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to slash the country's greenhouse gas pollution by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Since the start of the year, the sector must also factor in a Can$30 ($22) per tonne carbon tax imposed by the Alberta government.

Fort McMurray Mayor Melissa Blake acknowledges the daunting reality: "I don't think you're going to see new growth in the oil sands."

Fort McMurray recovery from 2016 forest fire plods along

A few late-season snowflakes flutter over Fort McMurray, their whiteness contrasting against surrounding forests blackened one year ago by the most destructive wildfire in Canadian history.”You don’t know how it feels until you lose it all”, says Steve…

A few late-season snowflakes flutter over Fort McMurray, their whiteness contrasting against surrounding forests blackened one year ago by the most destructive wildfire in Canadian history.

"You don't know how it feels until you lose it all", says Steven Menard, 53, holding up a charred pair of his grandson's first ice skates, plucked from the rubble of his home.

On May 1, 2016, a brushfire in the Canadian oil patch erupted into a huge blaze that over the following two months would engulf nearly 600,000 hectares of the boreal forest and force the evacuation of an entire city of 100,000 people.

Menard arrived in Fort McMurray as a teenager four decades ago. Little remains of the Abasand neighborhood where his house once stood.

"I still cry every day," Menard told AFP, confessing that he worries his nightmarish memories of the wildfires will forever haunt him. "But," he adds, "Fort McMurray needs builders, not whiners."

"We have to keep a positive attitude," he says. With the help of his son-in-law, he has been working day and night since November, rain or shine, to rebuild his house.

With a smile, the former industrial equipment salesman says he has lost 42 pounds (19 kg) working on the house. He shows photos of himself on his smartphone with a pudgier face. "It's therapeutic," he says.

Leaving the city and relocating was not an option, he said. "I wasn't going to finish the story this way. We'll leave on our terms, not on Mother Nature's terms."

That said, he still has no idea what the future holds for him.

As winter tiptoes away and yields to spring, several of his former neighbors stop by to check on his progress, and on the rebuilding of their own homes.

"We're putting back together our neighborhood," Menard says. "This devastated land is going to turn green again."

- Hammers and saws -

Elsewhere in Fort McMurray, the buzz of electric saws and the blows of hammers ring out, blending into a din hinting at renewal.

Despite the best efforts of government officials and residents, however, one year has not been enough to wipe away the sorrow and erase the scars left by the disaster.

Oil company employee Bilal Abbas, 38, saw his home destroyed in the side-view mirror of his car as he fled with his daughter and pregnant wife.

"I would have liked my second daughter to be born here, just like me," he says with a smile.

Nearly 100,000 people hastily evacuated the city as it was quickly engulfed in flames, grabbing whatever they could as they fled, embers splashing on the hoods of their vehicles.

Melissa Blake, the mayor of Fort McMurray, estimates that one year later 15,000 people have still not returned. Many destroyed homes have not been rebuilt.

Oil prices plunged prior to the fire and several companies have since then cut back investment in the oil sands, or quit altogether. Without the promise of a job and a better future, many people are hesitant to return.

"Many people prefer to take the payout from the insurance, sell their land and resettle elsewhere to avoid the uncertainty in Fort McMurray," said Abbas.

All around in the hard-hit Waterways district there are vacant lots that have been cleared of debris. Eight out of 10 homes here were destroyed in the fire.

Here and there, wooden frames of new homes under construction point to a rebound. However, it is slow to take off.

"These are all for sale," Abbas says of the empty lots. "But nobody is buying."

Despite all the uncertainty, he said he returned and is staying in a rented home until he can settle with his insurance company and arrange to have his home rebuilt -- a goal for many that remains up in the air.

"I want to build my new home. I would like to continue being here in this community. But if I'm going to suffer as a result financially, it's going to be tough for me to rebuild," he said.

"Even if I'd wanted to go somewhere else, my wife would have never allowed it," he quipped, glancing over at Lina who is playing with their two daughters, aged six years and 10 months.

"We love this place too much to leave it."

Cavaliers, Warriors well rested as NBA playoffs round two opens

Defending champion Cleveland and season win leader Golden State, each seeking a third consecutive NBA Finals appearance, are well rested as the second round of the playoffs begins Sunday.They were the only clubs to advance through the first round witho…

Defending champion Cleveland and season win leader Golden State, each seeking a third consecutive NBA Finals appearance, are well rested as the second round of the playoffs begins Sunday.

They were the only clubs to advance through the first round without dropping a game and are again favored in their best-of-seven second round matchups.

Cleveland superstar LeBron James, trying to reach the NBA Finals for a seventh consecutive year and eighth overall, led the NBA in minutes played while averaging 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds. He powers the Cavaliers against Toronto, a team they beat in last year's Eastern Conference final.

"Doesn't mean we're going to be able to win this year," James said. "We've got to go out and make it happen. We have to worry about game one first."

Boston faces Washington starting Sunday in the other East matchup, the Celtics having taken the conference top seed over the Cavs.

"The sky is the limit for this team," Boston guard Avery Bradley said. "Anything can happen as long as we continue to stay positive and play as hard as we can."

The Warriors, one win from back-to-back NBA titles last June before Cleveland made the greatest comeback in finals history to deny them a repeat, wait until Tuesday to open round two at home against Sunday's winner between Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Golden State has been nagged by injuries, including a calf injury to star forward Kevin Durant, and health issues with coach Steve Kerr, who has missed two games and is uncertain for the remainder of the playoffs.

The other Western Conference semi-final showdown matches Texas rivals San Antonio and Houston, their first playoff meeting since 1995 after a season where their four meetings all went down to the final minute.

- 'King' of the road -

James has won at least once on the road in 27 consecutive playoff series dating to 2009 and in 35 of 38 over his 14-year career.

"I just like the adversity of the road," James said. "I love the 'Tonight is not the night' LeBron slogans. I love the 'You're overrated' and all those things."

He might hear it a lot. Despite 31 home wins, second best in the NBA this season, the Cavaliers won't have the home-court edge again in the playoffs if form holds.

Cleveland and Toronto each went 51-31 this season and while Cleveland went 3-1 against the Raptors to gain the home-court edge, three meetings were last year and the last had many key players sitting out to rest.

The Raptors pushed Cleveland to six games last year and won't likely vanish easily this time.

"I know what we have in that locker room, and that's some fighters and scrappers," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

The Celtics, 2-2 against Washington this season, expect to have guard Isaiah Thomas for game one after her attended his sister Chyna's funeral Saturday. She was killed in an auto accident two weeks ago, but Thomas has not missed a game.

"I don't know (how he played)," Bradley said. "It's truly amazing."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is more concerned about the man than the games.

"If he decides when he gets there that it's too much, that's OK. That's fine," Stevens said. "This (grieving) is a lot more important."

Thomas averaged 27.8 points a game against the Wizards this season while Washington guards John Wall and Bradley Beal together averaged almost 40 points against Boston.

Washington led the NBA with 20.7 fast break points and 9.2 steals a game in round one.

"It's playoff time," Beal said. "It's winning time and we're going to do whatever it takes."

- Kerr status still uncertain -

While Durant has rested his calf, Kerr missed practice again Saturday as he battles nausea, headaches and neck pain related to back surgery two years ago.

Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown guided Golden State in his absence and could be pressed into duty throughout the playoffs. He's a former Cleveland coach who 10 years ago guided James and the Cavs into their first NBA Finals, where they lost to San Antonio.

The Spurs are powered by Kawhi Leonard while James Harden sparks Houston. Harden averaged 29.8 points, 12.5 assists and 9.0 rebounds against the Spurs, who boast the NBA's top defense and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Leonard.

San Antonio was 3-1 against the Rockets but three games were decided by two points and the other by only six.

‘Free from fascism!’ Police step in after protesters disrupt nationalist march in Poland (VIDEOS)

Warsaw police removed a group of anti-fascist protesters, who had attempted to stage a sit-in along the route of a far-right march involving nationalists, and cordons were required throughout the Polish capital to keep apart the two group…

Preview Warsaw police removed a group of anti-fascist protesters, who had attempted to stage a sit-in along the route of a far-right march involving nationalists, and cordons were required throughout the Polish capital to keep apart the two groups.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Trump hails ‘very productive’ 100 days, ‘great battles’ ahead

Donald Trump hailed his “very productive” first 100 days as America’s president and told a cheering crowd of supporters “great battles” lay ahead.In an enthusiastic, campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania — a key state in his election win — Trump said …

Donald Trump hailed his "very productive" first 100 days as America's president and told a cheering crowd of supporters "great battles" lay ahead.

In an enthusiastic, campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania -- a key state in his election win -- Trump said the record of his first 100 days "has been very exciting and very productive," ticking off a list of what he said were his achievements.

He said he was now to "get ready for the great, great battles to come and that we will win in every case."

The crowd often interrupted Trump with cheers of "USA!, USA!"

"So I have a question for you. You've been to a lot of rallies. First of all, is there any place like a Trump rally, in all fairness?", Trump said after one burst of cheers.

Signs held up by the crowd had slogans such as "Promises made. Promises kept."

Trump said major accomplishments in his first 100 days included seeing a Supreme Court nominee confirmed by the Senate, pulling the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord, a rising stock market and the easing of regulations on exploration for energy.

All Blacks sweating on Read injury

The All Blacks were Sunday sweating on the availability of captain Kieran Read for the looming British and Irish Lions series after the backrower suffered a broken thumb. Read left the field just before half-time during the Canterbury Crusaders’ 48-21 …

The All Blacks were Sunday sweating on the availability of captain Kieran Read for the looming British and Irish Lions series after the backrower suffered a broken thumb.

Read left the field just before half-time during the Canterbury Crusaders' 48-21 victory over the Central Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The bonus point win kept the unbeaten Crusaders at the top of the Super Rugby competition after nine rounds, but celebrations were muted by concern for Read.

"I think the whole of New Zealand is worried," Crusaders coach and former All Black Scott Robertson told Fairfax Media after Read was rushed to hospital.

Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan told the New Zealand Herald it was "disappointing and will be concerning for the All Blacks."

Read, who has been capped 97 times and succeeded Richie McCaw as All Blacks captain following the victorious 2015 World Cup campaign, underwent surgery in a South African hospital.

The Crusaders issued a statement saying it usually takes six weeks to recover from such an operation. The first Test against the Lions is eight weeks away in Auckland on June 24.

Read, who missed the first six rounds of the Super competition following wrist surgery in the off-season, became the third senior All Black to go on the injured list in three days.

Jerome Kaino, who has played 77 Tests, will also be out of action for six weeks following a knee operation on Friday, while 60-Test fullback Ben Smith sprained an ankle during the Otago Highlanders win over the Western Stormers on Friday night.

Israel Dagg, 61 caps, is believed to be at least two weeks away from returning to the Crusaders after injuring a knee in the third round of the competition.

Other injured All Blacks include Dane Coles, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Patrick Tuipulotu, Elliot Dixon, Lima Sopoaga and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Pope Francis warns ‘future of humanity’ depends on diplomatic resolution of N. Korean crisis

Preview Pope Francis has intervened in the Korean crisis, urging Washington and Pyongyang to come to a peaceful solution for the sake of humanity. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump warned that he “would not be happy” if North Korea conducts another nuclear test.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Pope Francis has intervened in the Korean crisis, urging Washington and Pyongyang to come to a peaceful solution for the sake of humanity. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump warned that he “would not be happy” if North Korea conducts another nuclear test.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Emanuel Ayvas and His Music Students Perform on GingerNewYork TV Show in New York City

Founder of the Listener School of Music – EMANUEL AYVAS – Returns to GNY with a New Group Students to Rock Out – LIVE – at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV Studios. Friday May 5, 2017. Time Warner Cable Channel 34 and 1995, 2pm.

Founder of the Listener School of Music - EMANUEL AYVAS - Returns to GNY with a New Group Students to Rock Out - LIVE - at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV Studios. Friday May 5, 2017. Time Warner Cable Channel 34 and 1995, 2pm.

Opposition presses for fresh marches in Venezuela

A top Venezuelan opposition figure called on Saturday for more marches aimed at taking back the courts and the National Electoral Council that he said had been “hijacked” by President Nicolas Maduro.Freddy Guevara urged people to protest on Monday — M…

A top Venezuelan opposition figure called on Saturday for more marches aimed at taking back the courts and the National Electoral Council that he said had been "hijacked" by President Nicolas Maduro.

Freddy Guevara urged people to protest on Monday -- May 1 or May Day, a traditional workers' holiday -- with marches to the Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council's offices.

"We want to summon all Venezuelans, across the country's 24 states, to hit the dictatorship with a one-two punch," Guevara said, evoking simultaneous peaceful marches in the two locations.

A month of demonstrations in April in Venezuela has left 28 people dead in clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters, according to prosecutors.

More than 400 people have been injured, and nearly 1,300 arrested, according to the attorney general.

The center-right-led opposition is demanding elections to remove Maduro, an elected socialist. It blames him for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food, medicine and other basic items.

"On May 1, after a month of resistance, we need to show that the people refuse to give up," Guevara said.

Rights group Amnesty International urged the government on Wednesday to stop the "persecution" and "arbitrary detention" of protesters.

Blixt and Smith pull away at Zurich Classic

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith produced a bogey-free four-under par 68 on Saturday, stretching their lead to four strokes entering the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.Sweden’s Blixt and Australia’s Smith have played 54 holes without a b…

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith produced a bogey-free four-under par 68 on Saturday, stretching their lead to four strokes entering the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Sweden's Blixt and Australia's Smith have played 54 holes without a bogey at TPC Louisiana, where the format of two-man teams is a first on the US PGA Tour in 36 years.

"It doesn't matter how many bogeys you make if you're in the lead," said Blixt, a two-time winner on the US tour. "I'm very happy about the way we played."

"Kudos to you," Blixt said in turning to his partner -- who is seeking a first PGA Tour title. "You played some really good golf coming in -- there were some really hard shots into the wind there."

Saturday's alternate shot format didn't produce the sizzling scores seen in better ball play on Friday -- when Blixt and Smith combined for a 62 to seize a one-stroke lead.

Through 54 holes, they are four in front of two all-US duos: Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, who posted a 67, and Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney, who carded a 69.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth and fellow Texan Ryan Palmer were a further stroke back after a 70 for 202.

Blixt and Smith started strong with birdies at the second and third. They picked up two more strokes with birdies at 15 and 18 -- where Blixt's 123-yard third shot left Smith a tap-in.

Kisner and Brown opened with nine pars before coming alive on the back nine with six birdies and a bogey.

Hoffman and Watney made the last of their four birdies at 18, bouncing back from their lone bogey at 15 to grab a share of second.

The gusty winds of Friday and Saturday may not be the worst that players face before the title is decided.

With storms forecast for Sunday, organizers said they would tee off early in a bid to get the tournament completed before heavy weather hit.

Warlord no more? ‘Butcher of Kabul’ calls for peace in 1st public appearance in 20 years

Preview Infamous Afghan warlord and CIA-funded mujahideen, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who “worked closely” with Osama bin Laden and rose to become prime minister in a bloody civil war after the USSR’s collapse, has urged the Taliban to lay down their weapons and join “the peace caravan.”

Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Infamous Afghan warlord and CIA-funded mujahideen, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who “worked closely” with Osama bin Laden and rose to become prime minister in a bloody civil war after the USSR’s collapse, has urged the Taliban to lay down their weapons and join “the peace caravan.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

McLeod wins impressively at rain-hit Drake Relays

Reigning Olympic 110-meter hurdles champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica ignored cold, wind and rain to run the fastest time in the world this year Saturday at the 108th Drake Relays.McLeod defended his title in his specialty with a meet-record 13.04 seconds…

Reigning Olympic 110-meter hurdles champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica ignored cold, wind and rain to run the fastest time in the world this year Saturday at the 108th Drake Relays.

McLeod defended his title in his specialty with a meet-record 13.04 seconds at Des Moines, Iowa, as part of a series of events dubbed Rio Rematches after last year's Olympics in Brazil.

McLeod, aided by a 1.8m/sec tailwind, jumped ahead at the start and surged again in the last 40 meters to defeat Britain's Andrew Pozzi by .20 of a second and lower the meet mark he set last year by .04.

"The focus was just to get out," McLeod said. "Season opener. I did not know where I was competitively. I knew I was trainng consistently.

"It's a great feeling. I'm kind of surprised at that time because of the weather."

American Aleec Harris was third in 13.37 with US 2012 Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt fourth in 13.44.

Another reigning Olympic champion, Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin, won his specialty with a clearance of 2.30m.

World 2017 bests were also set in the women's 100 and 400 hurdles, with American Kendra Harrison winning the shorter race in 12.56 and compatriot Georgeanne Moline taking the longer win in 54.66.

"It tells me I'm ready to go," Harrison said. "I ran the exact same time last year and I set the world record so I'm ready."

Harrison, who set the world record of 12.20 last July at London, defended her Drake title to lead a US 100 hurdles podium sweep with Jasmin Stowers second in 12.76 and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson third in 12.79.

Moline won the 400 hurdles by .06 over compatriot Kori Carter with Jamaica's Leah Nugent in 55.94. American Ashley Spencer, third in the Rio Olympics, fell after she clipped a backstretch hurdle with her trail leg and did not finish.

Britain's Lorraine Ugen won the women's long jump by clearing 6.49m despite rain and crosswinds, edging Nigeria's Esa Brume who cleared the same height.

American Brittney Reese, the 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 runner-up, was third at 6.27. She passed on her last four attempts in the poor conditions.

Ugen was third at last year's world indoors and second in this year's European indoors.

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy won the 1,500 in 3:41.75 while fellow American Sam Kendricks, who also finished third in Brazil last year, took the men's pole vault with a 5.80m clearance.

LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic 400m champion, won the 400 in 45.41 seconds to lead an American podium sweep Friday while Grenada's Kirani James, the 2012 Olympic champion and runner-up last year in Rio, was a disappointing sixth in 46.21.

Two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor won the triple jump Friday with a leap of 16.93m while fellow American Sandi Morris won the pole vault by clearing 4.72 and St. Lucia's Lavern Spencer took the women's high jump at 1.91.

Teenager Bosch kicks 18 points in vital Sharks win

Teenage fly-half Curwin Bosch kicked 18 points as Coastal Sharks of South Africa won 33-25 at Jaguares of Argentina Saturday in a key Super Rugby match.Success gave the Sharks an eight-point advantage in the standings over the Jaguares with six rounds …

Teenage fly-half Curwin Bosch kicked 18 points as Coastal Sharks of South Africa won 33-25 at Jaguares of Argentina Saturday in a key Super Rugby match.

Success gave the Sharks an eight-point advantage in the standings over the Jaguares with six rounds left as the teams battle for a quarter-finals place.

It was a much improved show by the visitors after coach Robert du Preez told his players to refund spectators following a woeful home draw with the Melbourne Rebels last weekend.

Du Preez demonstrated his unhappiness by making eight changes and not taking long-serving Springbok prop Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira to South America.

Sharks took the lead within two minutes as quick recycling of the ball from rucks ended with skipper and flanker Phillip van der Walt scoring.

Bosch converted and soon after rival playmaker Nicolas Sanchez closed the gap by effortlessly slotting a penalty.

The match then turned into a penalty-kicking contest for some time with Bosch succeeding twice and Sanchez once to leave the Sharks 13-6 ahead.

Veteran South African scrum-half Michael Claassens was sin-binned for foul play midway through the opening half and the hosts took advantage of having an extra man.

A clever backline move triggered by Sanchez sent full-back Joaquin Tuculet over and the fly-half converted from the touchline to bring the sides level.

Claassens had just returned to the pitch when a Jaguares attack initiated by winning a five-metre scrum led to centre Matias Orlando scoring under the posts.

Sanchez converted for a seven-point lead that lasted just two minutes before a brilliant run from full-back Rhyno Smith led to lock Etienne Oosthuizen scoring.

Bosch converted to leave the teams level at half-time after a long-range Sanchez penalty rebounded off the post.

Sharks regained the lead 12 minutes into the second half with an unusual try in that it involved two props with tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen sending loosehead Thomas du Toit in.

Teenager Bosch converted and the Durban outfit had a seven-point advantage for a second time at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

That stretched to 10 points when Bosch kicked a penalty, but the Jaguares hit back immediately with a try from winger Bautista Ezcurra, the first not to be converted.

Bosch completed the scoring in stoppage time with a penalty that deprived the home side of a bonus point for losing by seven points or less.

Joshua defeats Klitschko in world heavyweight epic

Britain’s Anthony Joshua defeated veteran Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight title fight epic in front of 90,000 people at Wembley on Saturday, taking victory on an 11th round stoppage.Joshua added the WBA title to his IBF belt but onl…

Britain's Anthony Joshua defeated veteran Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight title fight epic in front of 90,000 people at Wembley on Saturday, taking victory on an 11th round stoppage.

Joshua added the WBA title to his IBF belt but only after being knocked to the canvas by the 41-year-old Klitschko in the sixth round.

The Ukrainian was also sent crashing to the floor in the fifth round and twice more in the pivotal 11th as the 27-year-old British fighter took his record to 19 wins in 19 fights.

"What can I say? 19-0, three and a half years in the game. As I said, I'm not perfect but I'm trying and if you don't take part you're going to fail," said Joshua who was put on the canvas for the first time in his career.

"As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and you respect your opponent. So a massive shout out to Wladimir Klitschko."

A third defence of his IBF world heavyweight title also earned Joshua the vacant WBA belt as he became the first British heavyweight since Lennox Lewis in 2002 to hold two versions of the world title.

It was Klitschko?s first stoppage defeat since Lamon Brewster beat him in 2004 and leaves his record at 64 wins and five defeats.

"The best man won tonight and it's a massive event for boxing," Klitschko told Sky Sports.

"Two gentleman fought each other. Anthony was better today. It's really sad I didn't make it tonight."

Klitschko was trying to reclaim two of the three belts he lost to Joshua?s fellow Briton Tyson Fury by an upset on points in November 2015.

The Ukrainian had not fought since then after Fury twice pulled out of rematches and entered the ring as the underdog.

It was Joshua, after 18 straight knockouts as a professional, who was the 1/2 betting favourite and he smiled as he walked to the ring in front of Britain?s largest boxing attendance since 1939.

Klitschko could not establish his jab in the first round and it was Joshua who landed more punches, with the best being a left hook in the opening minute.

The 27-year-old began the second confidently and repeatedly found Klitschko with his jab.

The Briton missed with a big overhand right at the start of the third round but then connected with a big sledgehammer of a left hand.

After a telling off in the corner, Klitschko began the fourth full of intent and landed a couple of right hands.

But it was Joshua who started quicker in a thunderous fifth round.

The Briton wobbled Klitschko with a left before landing a series of clubbing blows, including a cracking right uppercut, which sent the Ukrainian to the canvas.

Klitschko got up but was on unsteady legs and began swinging wildly.

But the fight turned again later in the fifth when Joshua suddenly became static on the ropes after punching himself out.

Klitschko seized his moment and began to land flush as he took control of the unpredictable encounter.

In the sixth, Joshua?s early confidence had evaporated and he dropped to the canvas after being stunned by a right hand to the temple.

He was up at eight and immediately had to duck a big left from Klitschko before surviving the round.

Both fancied they could stop each other and in the latter rounds looked for the big shot.

And it was Joshua who landed it in the 11th. The champion uncorked a sweet right uppercut to snap back Klitschko?s head, followed by another right to send his opponent to the canvas.

Klitschko courageously got up but was nailed by another right and another right uppercut which dumped him back on the canvas.

Klitschko got up from the second knockdown in the round but when Joshua started to pile on the pressure referee David Fields stepped in to stop it.

Yumi Katsura Trunk Show May 19-21

Diamond Bridal Gallery is honored to house a Yumi Katsura trunk show May 19-21! Considered one of the most prolific bridal designers worldwide, Katsura’s dresses are made for the contemporary, queenly bride.

Diamond Bridal Gallery is honored to house a Yumi Katsura trunk show May 19-21! Considered one of the most prolific bridal designers worldwide, Katsura's dresses are made for the contemporary, queenly bride.

Eight military personnel die in Cuba plane crash

A plane crash in western Cuba on Saturday killed eight military personnel, the ministry in charge of the island’s armed forces said.The Russian-made AN-26 transport aircraft crashed in a mountainous region of western Artemisa province, killing all eigh…

A plane crash in western Cuba on Saturday killed eight military personnel, the ministry in charge of the island's armed forces said.

The Russian-made AN-26 transport aircraft crashed in a mountainous region of western Artemisa province, killing all eight on board including the plane's crew, the Revolutionary Armed Forces ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

The plane, which can carry up to 40 people, had taken off from Playa Baracoa airport just outside the capital Havana. It crashed into a mountain, Loma de la Pimienta, 35 miles (55 kilometers) distant.

The ministry said it was investigating the causes of the accident.

An official with the authority in charge of the crash site told AFP that the area was cordoned off while the bodies were being recovered.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plane had been making a "military maneuver" when it crashed. The official did not elaborate.

Senden takes break to be with cancer-stricken son

Australian golfer John Senden said Saturday he’ll take an indefinite break from the game to be with his teenage son Jacob, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.”Our son is undertaking the biggest challenge of his life thus far, having been diagnos…

Australian golfer John Senden said Saturday he'll take an indefinite break from the game to be with his teenage son Jacob, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

"Our son is undertaking the biggest challenge of his life thus far, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor," said Senden in a statement issued through the PGA Tour.

The two-time US tour winner, whose four international victories include the 2006 Australian Open, had withdrawn from this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans before it began and said he was putting his career on hold to be with his wife, Jackie, and 13-year-old Jacob.

The family have a home in Dallas, Texas.

"I have no timeline for my return to the PGA Tour at this stage," the 46-year-old from Brisbane said.

"As a family, we appreciate the support and kindness that everyone has offered us at this difficult time and ask that you keep Jacob in your prayers and hearts.

"Together, we will stand strong to tackle this disease and look forward to the day when Jacob is cancer free."

Flying Welshman Evans in Argentina dogfight

Welsh driver Elfyn Evans was braced for a dogfight at the Rally of Argentina on Sunday’s final stages against fast-charging Thierry Neuville as he targeted a first world championship win.The 28-year-old driver saw his lead of almost a minute at the sta…

Welsh driver Elfyn Evans was braced for a dogfight at the Rally of Argentina on Sunday's final stages against fast-charging Thierry Neuville as he targeted a first world championship win.

The 28-year-old driver saw his lead of almost a minute at the start of Saturday's action slashed to just 11 seconds by his Hyundai rival as his Ford Fiesta suffered a series of tyre and technical problems.

But Evans, who has won seven of the 15 stages so far, remained defiant as he looked for his maiden triumph to add to his two previous podium finishes, one of which came in Argentina in 2015.

"We didn?t come all this way to finish second. If he wants it he?s going to have to fight for it," Evans told Neuville.

"We had no major problems, just a lot of niggly things. There was something strange with the rear, the car was soft and oversteering and I didn?t feel comfortable."

Neuville also had problems, suffering a puncture when his Hyundai hit a bank after he was blinded by early morning sun.

Estonia's Ott Tanak is third in another Fiesta, 26.8sec off the lead while world champion Sebastien Ogier, also behind the wheel of a Ford, is almost 50 seconds off the pace.

Pope says Vatican can intervene in Venezuela under ‘clear conditions’

Pope Francis on Saturday said the Vatican was ready to intervene as a mediator to try and end Venezuela’s deadly political crisis under “clear conditions”.Speaking on a plane bringing him back from Egypt to Rome, the pontiff said: “I believe that that …

Pope Francis on Saturday said the Vatican was ready to intervene as a mediator to try and end Venezuela's deadly political crisis under "clear conditions".

Speaking on a plane bringing him back from Egypt to Rome, the pontiff said: "I believe that that must be done under conditions. Very clear conditions."

"There was an intervention by the Holy See following strong pressure" by four former leaders of Spain, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Colombia, he said.

"This did not work because the proposals were not accepted. They were diluted. It was a 'yes, yes but no, no'", he said.

A month of demonstrations in Venezuela has left 28 people dead in clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters, according to prosecutors.

The centre-right-led opposition is demanding elections to remove President Nicolas Maduro. It blames him for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food, medicine and other basic items.

The pontiff said the four mediators were trying to relaunch the process, adding "they are looking for a venue" but the opposition was against the process.

"We should do all that we can for Venezuela with necessary guarantees," he said.

The pontiff did not clarify the conditions but his Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the former apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, had in December spoken of four prerequisites: the establishment of an electoral calendar, the freeing of opposition supporters held in prison, allowing foreign health aid and giving back parliament its powers.

Pope calls for N.Korea negotiations

Pope Francis on Saturday called for negotiations to resolve tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.Speaking on board the papal plane on his way back from a two-day visit to Egypt, the pontiff said there was a need for “negotiations with a…

Pope Francis on Saturday called for negotiations to resolve tensions surrounding North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Speaking on board the papal plane on his way back from a two-day visit to Egypt, the pontiff said there was a need for "negotiations with a view to a diplomatic solution".

"There are plenty of mediators in the world who are putting themselves forward. Norway, for example which is ready to help," he said.

Reprising his theme of "world war in parts", Pope Francis said that these were "concentrated at points that were already hot. In Korea, today, it seems that things are becoming too heated."

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile Saturday in apparent defiance of a concerted US push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions.

The latest launch, which South Korea said was a failure, came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the UN Security Council of "catastrophic consequences" if the international community -- most notably China -- failed to pressure the North into abandoning its weapons programme.

Macri’s firm accused of trying to plunder Argentina postal service

The family firm of President Mauricio Macri allegedly tried to empty the accounts of Argentina’s postal service, which it ran years ago, the justice ministry said on Saturday.The accusation by a prosecutor handling commercial matters, Gabriela Bouquin,…

The family firm of President Mauricio Macri allegedly tried to empty the accounts of Argentina's postal service, which it ran years ago, the justice ministry said on Saturday.

The accusation by a prosecutor handling commercial matters, Gabriela Bouquin, stems from a contract the Macri Group had to manage Correo Argentina between 1997 and 2003, before the illiquid service was re-nationalized.

She said that there were transfers of nearly $300,000 from Correo Argentina's accounts in 2016, mostly to firms controlled by Macri family-owned company.

The transfers were stopped by a judge appointed to oversee Correo Argentina's finances.

In June 2016, the government agreed to forgive $296 million of debt run up by Macri's family company in a controversial accord. Bouquin has previously criticized that controversial accord as "abusive" and "ruinous" for the state.

Mauricio Macri, who took office in December 2015, has denied any conflict of interest regarding his business holdings, which span construction, farming and aeronautics.

He handed over his shares in the family group to three of his children before his election.

Poulter to keep PGA Tour card after points structure adjusted

England’s Ian Poulter hasn’t lost his PGA Tour playing status after all, officials of the US tour announced on Saturday.The tour said Poulter and American Brian Gay will keep their cards after a recalibration of the FedEx Cup playoff points structure f…

England's Ian Poulter hasn't lost his PGA Tour playing status after all, officials of the US tour announced on Saturday.

The tour said Poulter and American Brian Gay will keep their cards after a recalibration of the FedEx Cup playoff points structure for players competing on major medical exemptions.

"It's obviously a big bit of good news," Poulter told the Golf Channel in New Orleans, where he is competing in the Zurich Classic.

"For the tour to unanimously decide that was the fair thing to do, today puts me in a very different situation for playing my schedule and playing all the remaining events I'd like to play to keep going in the right direction."

Poulter thought he had lost his playing status on the US PGA Tour after missing the cut at the Texas Open last week.

That was the 10th and final event of his major medical exemption, granted after he missed most of last season with foot arthritis.

The tour said in a statement Saturday that its switch to using FedEx Cup points rather than the money list to determine playing status "unintentionally made it more difficult for these players to retain their exempt status."

"The spirit of the medical extension has always been to provide the same opportunity a player would have had if he had not been injured to retain his card, and in this case the bar was moved significantly," the statement said.

Poulter insisted last week that the prospect of losing his US tour card had been "over-dramatized."

But he admitted Saturday the news was a relief after he'd been "under an awful lot of pressure to play golf, when you've come under a lot of tricky questions in the past month and being subjected to some social-media abuse."

Nomura stretches lead at windy LPGA Texas Shootout

Japan’s Haru Nomura stretched her lead to two strokes at the wind-whipped LPGA Texas Shootout on Saturday, firing a one-over par 72 at Las Colinas Country Club in suburban Dallas.Nomura looked poised to take an even bigger lead into Sunday’s final roun…

Japan's Haru Nomura stretched her lead to two strokes at the wind-whipped LPGA Texas Shootout on Saturday, firing a one-over par 72 at Las Colinas Country Club in suburban Dallas.

Nomura looked poised to take an even bigger lead into Sunday's final round before a double-bogey at the par-three 17th.

But her one-over effort, which also included two birdies and a bogey, was good enough for an eight-under par total of 205 for 54 holes and a two-shot lead over South Korean star Park In-Bee, American Cristie Kerr and South Korean amateur Seong Eun-Jeong.

Park, a two-time winner at Las Colinas, also had a double-bogey on her card, at the par-three fourth, but added four birdies and two bogeys on the way to an even-par 71.

Kerr, winner of the Lotte Championship in Hawaii two weeks ago, posted a one-under 70 while Seong posted a two-under 69 that included five birdies a bogey and a double-bogey to join the group on 207.

American Stacy Lewis posted an impressive five-under par 66 to seize sole possession of fifth place on 208.

Officials sent the players off early in groups of three in a bid to beat storms forecast for the area, but players still had to contend with gusting winds.

Lewis said the early tee time was a boon for her.

"I knew getting out earlier would be an advantage to post a number and just see what happens," said Lewis, adding that the greens were firming up.

"It's playing really hard out there and you really have to stay patient," she said. "Downwind it's incredibly hard to stop shots."

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, homing in on New Zealander Lydia Ko's world number one ranking, couldn't master the demanding conditions.

One shot behind Nomura to start the round, Ariya had six bogeys and just one birdie in a five-over 76 that left her five off the pace in a group on 201 that also included her sister Moriya, South Korean Park Sung-Hyun, and Americans Jessica Korda and Angela Stanford.

Ariya's difficulties put a dent in her chances of overtaking Ko atop the rankings with a win this week, even though Ko pulled out of the tournament before the second round because of an eye infection.

Ko was one-over through two rounds, but her agent, Michael Kim, said in a statement that an infection had caused one of her eyes to swell. It was believed the infection originated with an allergy that had bothered her all week.

Hundreds protest US base construction in Japan, year after woman killed by US marine (VIDEO)

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tokyo to pay tribute to the memory of a young Japanese woman killed by a US marine a year ago and to protest the relocation of the US base in Okinawa. A separate rally was held in Okinawa prefectu…

Preview Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tokyo to pay tribute to the memory of a young Japanese woman killed by a US marine a year ago and to protest the relocation of the US base in Okinawa. A separate rally was held in Okinawa prefecture.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Leviticus EbD bet Midrash Now Airing Every Sabbath

Tune-in to the Tsiyon Road Radio player at the website or the Tsiyon Road App for Android and iOS on your mobile device to hear the Leviticus programs airing every Sabbath. Leviticus is the heart of the Torah – don’t miss these programs!

Tune-in to the Tsiyon Road Radio player at the website or the Tsiyon Road App for Android and iOS on your mobile device to hear the Leviticus programs airing every Sabbath. Leviticus is the heart of the Torah – don't miss these programs!

Russia ‘fully ready’ to cooperate with US on Syria – Lavrov

Preview Moscow is eager to resume cooperation with Washington on solving the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said during his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the Russian capital.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Moscow is eager to resume cooperation with Washington on solving the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said during his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the Russian capital.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Hundreds join Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia protests across Russia (VIDEO)

Preview Hundreds of Russians in more than a dozen urban centers gathered for anti-government protests, organized by ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia movement. The protests were mostly peaceful, though in cities where the demonstrations were not sanctioned, some were detained.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Hundreds of Russians in more than a dozen urban centers gathered for anti-government protests, organized by ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia movement. The protests were mostly peaceful, though in cities where the demonstrations were not sanctioned, some were detained.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Thousands march for environment on Trump ‘100 days’ mark

Protesters marched in Washington on a second consecutive Saturday to challenge President Donald Trump’s stance on the environment and call on him to stand by policies to stop climate change championed by his predecessor.

Protesters marched in Washington on a second consecutive Saturday to challenge President Donald Trump’s stance on the environment and call on him to stand by policies to stop climate change championed by his predecessor.

BearManor Media announces the May 2017 release of Alan Sues A Funny Man by Michael Gregg Michaud

Alan Sues biography by award-winning author reveals the hilarious and heartbreaking story of Laugh-In’s critically acclaimed actor/comedian. Albany, Ga. – BearManor Media announces the May 2017 release of Alan Sues A Funny Man by Michael Gregg Michaud.

Alan Sues biography by award-winning author reveals the hilarious and heartbreaking story of Laugh-In's critically acclaimed actor/comedian. Albany, Ga. – BearManor Media announces the May 2017 release of Alan Sues A Funny Man by Michael Gregg Michaud.

Hungary’s Orban defiant on education law despite allies concerns

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted Saturday that no agreement had been reached over a controversial higher education law that could close down a Budapest university founded by US billionaire George Soros.His comments came despite claims by …

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted Saturday that no agreement had been reached over a controversial higher education law that could close down a Budapest university founded by US billionaire George Soros.

His comments came despite claims by allies in the EU's powerful centre-right political group that he would soon yield to EU pressure.

The European People's Party (EPP) said after a meeting in Brussels between its top officials and Orban that he agreed to quickly meet EU rights demands over the education law.

Orban, whose ruling right-wing Fidesz party is part of the EPP group, was summoned to the meeting to discuss the law as well as a national questionnaire campaign called "Let's stop Brussels!" that the European Commission said contains "false" statements" about the bloc.

The commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU, on Wednesday launched so-called infringement action against Hungary over the education law, alleging it targets the university and breaches fundamental EU free-market laws as well as the right of academic freedom.

It gave Budapest one month to comply or face being taken to court.

EPP President Joseph Daul said in a statement after the meeting that the party had "sent a clear message to (Orban) and to (Fidesz), that we will not accept that any basic freedoms are restricted or that the rule of law is disregarded.

"The EPP demanded from Fidesz and from the Hungarian authorities that they take all necessary steps to comply with the commission's request. Prime Minister Orban has reassured the EPP that Hungary will act accordingly."

Speaking to reporters later however Orban said the issue of "the university of George Soros, which is called Central European University, is proceeding at its own legal pace".

"On this, no agreement has been reached. Hungary and the Commission will discuss this in the coming months. The legal dispute will have an end result, and this end result will be implemented," he said.

The university should not "enjoy special privileges" even if his government is ready to cooperate with the commission and says it does not wish to close the institution, Orban's press office said in a statement to the Hungarian newswire MTI.

- Anti-EU campaign 'unacceptable' -

The powerful EPP -- which is associated with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker -- has insisted that the Central European University (CEU) remain open and that all action against it be withdrawn.

Hungary can be taken to the European Court of Justice if it fails to comply with the Commission's requests and the court could impose stiff financial penalties.

In Budapest, the US-registered CEU said "it welcomes the EPP's clear defence of academic freedom and support" for the university.

"We call on the Hungarian government to initiate discussions immediately with the relevant US authorities... to conclude an agreement that guarantees CEU's right to remain in Budapest as a free institution," it said in a statement.

The EPP said it also told the Orban government it was "unacceptable" for it to post the "Let's stop Brussels!" questionnaires to households nationwide asking them how to deal with EU policies that Budapest says threaten their independence and security.

Despite the EPP's objections, the latest phase of the "Let's stop Brussels!" campaign, a public information message broadcast on television, was launched later Saturday.

The EU is also concerned about legislation due to go to the Hungarian parliament in May which would force NGOs receiving more than 7.2 million forints (around 23,000 euros) annually from abroad to "register" with the authorities.

Misbah warns against Pakistan’s old failings

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is expecting his team not fall prey to over-confidence as they seek an historic series-clinching win in the second Test against the West Indies beginning on Sunday at Kensington Oval.Buoyed by a seven-wicket triumph in Ja…

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is expecting his team not fall prey to over-confidence as they seek an historic series-clinching win in the second Test against the West Indies beginning on Sunday at Kensington Oval.

Buoyed by a seven-wicket triumph in Jamaica, and with the home team struggling to compete, there is a heightened sense of anticipation for the tourists to achieve a double-first at what is considered the spiritual home of Caribbean cricket -- a Test win at the venue and a Test series triumph ahead of the final match in Dominica a week later.

?Sometimes that is the main problem with the Pakistan team ?- you win a game and then become complacent. We don?t want that,? Misbah cautioned on the eve of the match.

?It is more important for us to be at the top of our game in batting and bowling than worrying about who you are playing.?

Despite the success at Sabina Park, there is growing expectation that fast-medium bowler Hasan Ali, who was ruled out in Kingston because of a leg muscle strain but is now fit again, will come into the final eleven, possibly at the expense of the pacy but occasionally wayward Wahab Riaz.

While Misbah remained non-commital as to the selection options, he concurred with West Indian counterpart Jason Holder that the Kensington pitch looked extremely dry.

This introduces the possibility, although considered remote, of Shadab Khan providing a double leg-spin attack in support of the established Yasir Shah, whose six wickets in the second innings of the first Test and eight in the match earned him the man of the match award.

Leading the West Indies in a Test for the first time in his home island, Holder hoped his team could take encouragement from their series-ending victory in Sharjah last November and eliminate the mistakes that cost them dearly in Jamaica.

?We have shown that we have what it takes to win, so we just have to tick our boxes in terms of getting some runs, taking our chances (in the field) when they come, and the bowlers have to be able to get 20 wickets,? he observed.

?It?s especially important that we put runs on the board in the first innings because that sets up the game quite nicely for you.?

Having featured two debutants in a first Test top-order that failed to deliver significantly in both innings, it is anticipated that one of either Shimron Hetmyer or Vishaul Singh will make way for Jermaine Blackwood, who was surprisingly omitted in the series-opener to accommodate the newcomers.

Opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, whose unbeaten innings of 142 and 60 in Sharjah set up that rare win, will be under increased scrutiny to provide that stability at the top of the order following his double-failure a week earlier.

Mindful of the countdown to the end of the distinguished international careers of both himself and fellow middle-order stalwart Younis Khan in less than two weeks? time, Misbah noted that he was heartened by the competitive spirit in the camp.

?They look more determined to win this series badly because it will be the first series win here,? he explained. ?For myself and Younis that?s good to see.?

Probable teams: West Indies ? Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Vishaul Singh, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wicketkeeper), Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel.

Pakistan ? Misbah ul Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.

Michael Henderson Announces “ADDITIONAL” Tour Dates 2017

Following up on the wildly successful “SOLD OUT” concert performances Jan thru April, ICON Michael Henderson has been prompted to add the following cities to his 2017 Tour! Hollywood, Ca., Sacramento, Ca., Cincinnati, Oh Bethesda Md & Philadelphia PA

Following up on the wildly successful "SOLD OUT" concert performances Jan thru April, ICON Michael Henderson has been prompted to add the following cities to his 2017 Tour! Hollywood, Ca., Sacramento, Ca., Cincinnati, Oh Bethesda Md & Philadelphia PA

Jamaicans win big over USA at Penn Relays

Reigning Olympic 100- and 200-meter champion Elaine Thompson and 4×400 relay runners Fitzroy Dunkley and Janieve Russell anchored impressive Jamaican victories on Saturday at the 123rd Penn Relays.Jamaican and US squads split six races in the USA Versu…

Reigning Olympic 100- and 200-meter champion Elaine Thompson and 4x400 relay runners Fitzroy Dunkley and Janieve Russell anchored impressive Jamaican victories on Saturday at the 123rd Penn Relays.

Jamaican and US squads split six races in the USA Versus the World events at the meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

But the visitors were most impressive in the feature showdowns ahead of the World Championships at London in August.

"It's always competitive with the USA and us. It's great to see that we were able to win and show our heart," Russell said.

"The World Championship is going to be a good one. I know the US is coming but Jamaica has got its gear on again."

Thompson, who last weekend helped Jamaica to the 4x200 title at the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas, outraced US Red anchor Morolake Akinosun down the final stretch to win in 42.25 seconds with the Americans .17 of a second behind and USA Blue third in 42.90.

Christania Williams, Kerron Stewart, Gayon Evans and Thompson restored the Caribbean women to meet supremacy in the event, avenging a 2016 defeat for Jamaica's fourth victory in five years with the second-best time in the world this year.

"I saw my teammate come, we passed the baton safely and I knew I could make the run from there," Thompson said.

"It feels good. I want to carry over from 2016 to 2017. It's going good so far."

Akinosun and USA Red third leg English Gardner were on the US Rio Olympic 4x100 gold medal-winning relay.

Dunkley chased down Calvin Smith Jnr over the final 100 meters to give Jamaica a comeback victory over the Americans in the men's 4x400 relay.

Dunkley made up a 10-meter gap on Smith from the start of the final turn and surged ahead three strides from the finish line to win in 3:03.14 with the hosts .11 behind.

Former Louisiana State University runner Dunkley, who took Rio Olympic silver in the 4x400, was cheered by hundreds of noisy Jamaican supporters as he ran a 45.13-second last leg while Smith, a three-time world indoor 4x400 relay champion, closed in 46.22.

"You've got to be patient," Dunkley said. "At LSU, I learned how to run good 4x4s and I just came out here and did it. I heard the crowd and I could feel the energy and I just used it."

Russell held off Natasha Hastings in the last lap to give the Jamaicans -- also including Stephanie-Ann McPherson, Shericka Jackson and Dawnalee Loney -- a 4x400 women's victory in 3:28.32, .98 ahead of the Americans.

Given an 8-meter lead at the last exchange, Russell fought off Hastings on her shoulder at the start of the backstretch and never let her that near again, her last leg of 51.02 just off the 50.96 of Hastings, who took her second Olympic 4x400 relay gold in Rio.

- US men win 4x100 relay -

LeShon Collins, who ran the US opening leg in a men's 4x100 World Relays win, led off a triumph with Wallace Spearmon, Beejay Lee and John Teeters in 38.87, edging Jamaica by .14 with Dominican Republic third in 40.32.

A second US relay botched a baton handoff and didn't finish, a stark reminder of US men's 4x100 exchange issues that have doomed American efforts in major meets for nearly a decade, including last year at Rio and the 2015 worlds.

"I was just focused on getting the handoff to Beejay," said Spearmon, a member of the 2007 world champion US 4x100 relay.

US squads swept the sprint medley relays, raced in a 100-100-200-400 format for women and distances twice as long for men.

A women's lineup led by Akinosun and Gardner and anchored by 36-year-old Miki Barber won in 1:35.59 while a men's lineup took the title in 3:11.45.

Russian police detain dozens of anti-Putin protesters

Police detained over 100 activists in Saint Petersburg on Saturday as hundreds of Russian opposition supporters turned out to protest against President Vladimir Putin’s expected candidacy in elections next year.

Police detained over 100 activists in Saint Petersburg on Saturday as hundreds of Russian opposition supporters turned out to protest against President Vladimir Putin's expected candidacy in elections next year.

US service member killed in blast near Iraqi city of Mosul

A US service member has died from wounds sustained in the blast Saturday of an explosive device outside the Iraqi city of Mosul, military officials reported. A statement from the US Central Command, which oversees military activities in Central Asia, t…

A US service member has died from wounds sustained in the blast Saturday of an explosive device outside the Iraqi city of Mosul, military officials reported.

A statement from the US Central Command, which oversees military activities in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, did not identify the victim. It said further details would be forthcoming.

US casualties in Iraq dropped to near zero after most American troops were withdrawn in 2011, but rose again to 17 last year, and seven so far this year with the latest death, according to the iCasualties.org website, which tracks coalition deaths and injuries.

US forces have taken part, mostly in an advisory capacity, since last October in a hard-fought, multinational effort to wrest control of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The United Nations estimates that more than half a million civilians have fled Mosul since the offensive on the country's second city began.

The jihadists are expected to make a bloody last stand in Mosul's Old City, where an estimated 400,000 civilians remain trapped.

Milan exhibition highlights migrant odyssey

An exhibition in Milan is offering through the lens of 65 photographers an original look at the topic of immigration and the migrant crisis.The Restless Earth, organised by the Nicola Trussardi foundation, is being presented by the Visual Arts Program …

An exhibition in Milan is offering through the lens of 65 photographers an original look at the topic of immigration and the migrant crisis.

The Restless Earth, organised by the Nicola Trussardi foundation, is being presented by the Visual Arts Program of Milan's Triennale (www.triennale.org), the title alluding to works by Caribbean poet Edouard Glissant on how different cultures can live together.

The exhibition with works from photographers from some 40 countries, including Syria and Turkey, is an "exercise in empathy, understanding, inter-cultural dialogue" to facilitate "a future together," Trussardi says.

Their works are designed to show migrants' experiences but also hint at perceptions of new arrivals amid the worst refugee crisis Europe has known since World War II.

Italy has been in the front line of the crisis, receiving tens of thousands of migrants attempting the dangerous sea crossing from Libya in vessels that often are barely seaworthy.

Included in the exhibition, which runs through August 20, are 26 powerful images taken by AFP photographer Aris Messinis depicting their hazardous journeys.

Another powerful exhibit is Syrian Manaf Halbouni's "Nowhere is Home," comprising a car crammed full of objects to symbolise the transient existence of refugees with nowhere to call their own.

Also throwing into stark relief the human cost of the migrant crisis is an exhibit of passports, damaged mobile phones and other personal items from refugees who drowned off Lampedusa, an island near Sicily where hundreds of Africans drowned when their vessels capsized in 2013.

Milan itself is an industrial economic hub in the north of Italy where the anti-immigrant Northern League has sought to extract political capital from the migrant crisis, a divisive issue across the country.

In January, tensions boiled over as residents at a migrant reception centre near Venice set the facility ablaze after the death of a female refugee which residents blamed on a long delay in getting her medical treatment.

Over 1,000 migrants are thought to have died making the dangerous voyage from Libya to Italy so far this year, according to the UN's refugee agency, with nearly 37,000 rescued and brought to camps around the country.

World champion Selby into final after downing Ding

Mark Selby was just one match away from winning his third World Championship title in four years after seeing off China’s Ding Junhui 17-15 in the semi-finals at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Saturday.The Englishman beat Ding in last year’s final and…

Mark Selby was just one match away from winning his third World Championship title in four years after seeing off China's Ding Junhui 17-15 in the semi-finals at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre on Saturday.

The Englishman beat Ding in last year's final and the pair were all square at 12-12 heading into the concluding session of their last-four clash.

But Selby, justifying his reputation as one of the toughest competitors in the game, pulled clear with breaks of 74 and 96.

Selby went 16-15 in front but Ding rallied before a missed blue gave the title-holder a chance to make a match-clinching break of 72 and leave Asia still searching for its first snooker world champion.

Russia slams US arms control report as ‘biased’, says it ignores Washington’s violations

The Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized an annual report by the US State Department on global arms control, saying Washington remains in denial about its own misdeeds, while accusing other nations of violations. Read Full Article at R…

Preview The Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized an annual report by the US State Department on global arms control, saying Washington remains in denial about its own misdeeds, while accusing other nations of violations.
Read Full Article at RT.com

‘Amazing’ Bayern capture fifth straight German football crown

Bayern Munich secured a record-extending fifth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday after beating VfL Wolfsburg 6-0 to open up an unassailable 10-point lead with three matches remaining.

Bayern Munich secured a record-extending fifth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday after beating VfL Wolfsburg 6-0 to open up an unassailable 10-point lead with three matches remaining.

Cheetahs fume over disallowed try in Crusaders romp

A controversially disallowed try helped Canterbury Crusaders beat Central Cheetahs 48-21 Saturday and extend a winning run to nine matches since the Super Rugby season began.The South Africans believed they scored three minutes before half-time through…

A controversially disallowed try helped Canterbury Crusaders beat Central Cheetahs 48-21 Saturday and extend a winning run to nine matches since the Super Rugby season began.

The South Africans believed they scored three minutes before half-time through winger Sergeal Petersen only for the try to be disallowed because of a forward pass.

Television match official Johan Greeff said there was "compelling evidence" that prop Ox Nche passed forward to Petersen, but TV replays suggested otherwise.

SuperSport TV analyst and former Springboks coach Nick Mallett was livid about a decision that occurred with the Cheetahs trailing 15-7.

"Where was the compelling evidence?" he asked. "It was a wonderful try that should not have been disallowed.

"Those watching will have seen a backward pass and not a forward one. I could say more about this but I won't."

Within two minutes, the record seven-time Super Rugby champions from New Zealand scored a try to lead 22-7 at half-time at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

A possible one-point gap between the teams at the break had changed to 15 and the home players walked demoralised to the changing rooms.

The Cheetahs suffered a further blow when lock Armandt Koster was sin-binned four minutes into the second half for a ruck offence.

Tries were scored at regular intervals by the visitors thereafter and they finished with a bonus-point win and four-point lead in the New Zealand conference.

Crusaders have 41 points after 10 rounds, Waikato Chiefs 37, title-holders Wellington Hurricanes 33, Otago Highlanders 28 and Auckland Blues 17.

As things stand, only the Blues will fail to make the knockout phase of the competition.

It was the seventh loss in nine matches for the Cheetahs and their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals vanished some time ago.

South Africa will lose two of their six Super Rugby sides in a revamped competition next season and the Cheetahs and Southern Kings are expected to be axed.

Crusaders captain and lock Sam Whitelock attributed the winning streak this season to hard work on the training ground.

"That is where we lay the foundations for the victories," the All Black said. "Honing our skills in training makes it easier for us to perform on matchdays."

Full-back and man of the match David Havili, who scored two tries, hailed the pack as the "unsung heroes" of the team from Christchurch.

"Full credit to our forwards for creating the platform," he said. "We are enjoying our rugby and there is something special about this group of guys."

Winger George Bridge (three), fly-half Richie Mo'unga and substitute scrum-half Mitchell Drummond were the other try scorers for the visitors.

Mo'unga missed only one kick at goal before being benched, slotting five conversions and a penalty.

Winger Raymond Rhule, Nche and Petersen scored tries for the Cheetahs and fly-half Niel Marais kicked three conversions.

OST Wins New Task Order for DoD Enterprise Security Services

Under GSA Schedule Contract GS-35F-184DA, Open Systems Technologies Corporation (OST) was recently awarded Task Order #HQ003417F0137 to provide Enterprise Level security support for the DoD Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

Under GSA Schedule Contract GS-35F-184DA, Open Systems Technologies Corporation (OST) was recently awarded Task Order #HQ003417F0137 to provide Enterprise Level security support for the DoD Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

Bayern win fifth straight German league title

Bayern Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions for the fifth straight season on Saturday after Robert Lewandowski scored twice in their 6-0 thrashing of 10-man Wolfsburg on Saturday.After second-placed RB Leipzig had earlier been held to a goalless dr…

Bayern Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions for the fifth straight season on Saturday after Robert Lewandowski scored twice in their 6-0 thrashing of 10-man Wolfsburg on Saturday.

After second-placed RB Leipzig had earlier been held to a goalless draw by Ingolstadt, Bayern wrapped up the title as victory at Wolfsburg left them ten points clear with three games left.

"Five times in a row, that's unbelievable. We completely deserve to be champions," Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sky after the club secured their 27th league title.

The league triumph is consolation for Wednesday's 3-2 German Cup semi-final defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund, which robbed coach Carlo Ancelotti the chance of emulating predecessor Pep Guardiola with the domestic double in his first season.

Bayern were barely made to work for their win as David Alaba drilled home a trademark free-kick on 19 minutes to put the visitors 1-0 up after a foul on Thomas Mueller.

Lewandowski doubled the lead on 36 minutes when Kingsley Coman's cross was flicked on by Mueller and the Poland hot-shot fired home from 16 metres out.

He bagged his second and Bayern's third goal just before the half-time whistle after Coman delivered another cross unopposed from the left wing to make it 3-0.

The floodgates opened late on as Arjen Robben netted on 66 minutes before Wolfsburg's Luiz Gustavo, a former Bayern player, was sent off for a second booking on 78 minutes.

Bayern exploited their numerical advantage as Mueller banged home Lewandowski's final pass before Joshua Kimmich hit their third.

Bayern's title win was made possible by Leipzig's draw at the Red Bull Arena, where Ingolstadt defender Alfredo Morales was sent off with four minutes left to play.

Dortmund, who face Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup final on May 27, hold onto third place, which would mean a direct Champions League place next season, despite their goalless draw at home to Cologne.

Both Dortmund Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the league's top-scorer with 27 goals, and Cologne's Anthony Modeste, who has 23 league goals, drew blanks at Signal Iduna Park.

Hoffenheim, coached by Julian Nagelsmann, 29, the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, can leapfrog Dortmund if they beat Eintracht in Frankfurt on Sunday.

Werder Bremen's remarkable finish to the season continues as they earned a 2-0 win to home to Hertha Berlin to stay sixth.

Bremen remain on course for a Europa League place having risen from bottom in September after losing their first four games.

Werder striker Max Kruse's dream April continued as he netted Bremen's second after Fin Bartels's opener for his eighth goal in six games this month.

Bremen are now unbeaten in their last 11 games.

Mainz remain just a point from the bottom three after Japan striker Yoshinori Muto scored their consolation goal in a 2-1 home defeat as Lars Stindl and Nico Schulz scored for Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bottom side Darmstadt again delayed their relegation with a 3-0 win at home to Freiburg.

Torsten Frings-coached Darmstadt picked up their third straight victory thanks to goals by Felix Platte, Jerome Gondorf and Sven Schipplock.

Darmstadt are still eight points from safety with three games left.

Passenger plane disappears from radar in Cuba – local media

A passenger plane with up to 39 people aboard has disappeared off the radar above Cuba, several local media outlets report. There has been no official information on the issue from the Cuban authorities. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview A passenger plane with up to 39 people aboard has disappeared off the radar above Cuba, several local media outlets report. There has been no official information on the issue from the Cuban authorities.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Turkey bans dating shows, fires 4,000 officials under emergency

Turkey on Saturday fired almost 4,000 public officials and imposed a ban on TV dating shows, in new decrees issued under the state of emergency imposed after last year’s failed coup.The moves were the latest tough action by the authorities following Pr…

Turkey on Saturday fired almost 4,000 public officials and imposed a ban on TV dating shows, in new decrees issued under the state of emergency imposed after last year's failed coup.

The moves were the latest tough action by the authorities following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's victory in last month's referendum on enhancing his powers.

They were also announced as Turkey controversially slapped a ban on Wikipedia earlier on Saturday morning.

The total of 3,974 dismissed officials includes more than 1,000 people working with the justice ministry and over 1,000 staff employed by the army, said the decree, which included the name of every fired official.

Those fired from the air force included over 100 pilots, it added. Almost 500 academics working for state institutions were also dismissed.

The dismissals came after Turkey on April 26 detained more than 1,000 people and suspended over 9,100 police in a vast new crackdown against alleged supporters of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the failed July 15 coup bid.

An already nine month state of emergency in place since the coup bid has seen a total of 47,000 people arrested and prompted fears the crackdown is being used to go after all opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gulen denies being behind the coup but the authorities argue the purges are needed to wipe out his "virus" from society.

In a separate decree issued at the same time, Turkey also banned hugely popular television dating shows, a move that been mooted for months by the government.

"In radio and television broadcasting services, such programmes in which people are introduced to find a friend.... cannot be permitted," said the text of the decree.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in March that the ban was in the pipeline, arguing the shows do not fit in with Turkish traditions and customs.

"There are some strange programmes that would scrap the institution of family, take away its nobility and sanctity," Kurtulmus said at the time.

"God willing, in the near future, we will most likely remedy this with an emergency decree," he said.

Opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government frequently voice fears that Turkey is sliding toward conservative Islam.

But AKP supporters have said that dating shows receive thousands of complaints every year and the ban is in the public interest.