Bastia punished over violence

4 May

French Ligue 1 side Bastia were punished on Thursday for crowd violence which forced last month’s home match with Lyon to be abandoned at half time.The league’s disciplinary commission awarded Lyon a win and ordered Bastia’s Furiani stadium to be close…

Two former executives of Brazil’s Petrobras arrested

4 May

Two former high-level executives of the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras were arrested in connection with a sweeping corruption investigation dubbed “Operation Car Wash,” prosecutors said Thursday.Marcio de Almeida Ferreira and Mauricio de Oliveir…

Harry Potter play to open in New York in spring 2018

4 May

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the smash-hit, award-winning London play about the fictional boy wizard as a grown father of three, will open in New York in spring 2018.The show will make its official Broadway debut on April 22 at the Lyric Theatr…

Rashford edges Manchester United towards Europa League final

4 May

Marcus Rashford’s stunning free-kick 23 minutes from time put Manchester United on the brink of reaching the Europa League final with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Celta Vigo on Thursday.Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez kept the Spaniards in the tie before h…

Venezuela president headed for fall, top opponent tells AFP

4 May

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles insisted President Nicolas Maduro’s government will fall if it rams through contested constitutional reforms, in an interview with AFP after weeks of deadly unrest.Tired and hoarse after more than a month …


Star Crosby back on ice following concussion

4 May

Superstar forward Sidney Crosby skated on Thursday with his Pittsburgh Penguin teammates for the first time since suffering a concussion from an illegal cross-check to the head.”He’s in the process of rehabbing,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Cr…

Giro riders thrown out after positive tests

4 May

Italians Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni were thrown out of the 100th Giro d’Italia on Thursday after the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed both had tested positive for a derivative of banned growth hormones.Pirazzi and Ruffoni both ride f…

Chung too good for me says beaten Monfils

4 May

French top seed Gael Monfils admitted he had simply been outclassed after crashing 6-2, 6-4 to South Korea’s Hyeon Chung in the second round of the Munich ATP tournament on Thursday.”I didn’t play my best tennis,” said the dread-locked French star who …

Billings happy with England glove story

4 May

Sam Billings will hope an off-season of globetrotting round the world’s top Twenty20 leagues pays dividends when he plays for England against Ireland in this week’s two-match one-day international series against Ireland.Billings will be deployed as a w…

Trump announces trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican

4 May

Donald Trump on Thursday announced his first foreign trip as president will include stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican — the spiritual centers of Islam, Judaism and Catholicism.Trump will add the three stops to an already announced visit to…

Quintana ready for double dose of Grand Tour triumph

4 May

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana is ready to attempt a rare Giro d’Italia/Tour de France double, and warned rivals the first shots in the battle for an epic pink jersey could be fired on Tuesday.Quintana, the first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia, in 2014,…

Protesters throw eggs at Le Pen in Bretagne (VIDEO)

4 May

Protesters threw eggs and shouted slogans at French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who made a campaign stop in the western French town of Dol-de-Bretagne. Read Full Article at


Afghan warlord Hekmatyar returns after 20 years

4 May

A former warlord branded the “Butcher of Kabul” made a triumphant return to the Afghan capital Thursday, met by uneasy residents two decades after leaving the city where he stands accused of killing thousands of people.

Pakistan flounder against Gabriel-inspired Windies

4 May

Shannon Gabriel led a West Indies fast bowling assault that decimated Pakistan’s top-order batting and reduced them to 35 for five at lunch on the final day of the second Test.Pakistan had been set a victory target of 188 at Kensington Oval in Barbados…

Fourth-choice Baxter to coach South Africa again

4 May

England-born Stuart Baxter was named South Africa coach Thursday for a second time after a saga in which three preferred candidates dropped out of contention. Baxter, 63, who coaches Pretoria-based top-flight club SuperSport United, was hired when plan…

Half of young Europeans skeptical of democracy – survey

4 May

Only around half of young Europeans think of democracy as the best form of government, a new survey has revealed, while three-quarters see the EU as more of an economic pact rather than a group of nations sharing core European values. Rea…


Swiss spy ‘ran mole’ in German tax office: report

4 May

A Swiss spy allegedly monitoring German finance officials who hunt cross-border tax cheats also ran a mole in a state finance ministry office, media reports said Thursday.If confirmed, “the scandal has reached a new dimension”, charged Norbert Walter-B…

Next Ebola outbreak ‘inevitable’ but world better prepared: WHO

4 May

A new outbreak of the Ebola virus is “inevitable” but a new vaccine and rapid-response measures mean it will be more effectively contained, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday.The Ebola crisis that began in December 2013 killed 11,3…


UN expert seeks urgent review of Saudi terrorism law

4 May

Saudi Arabia should urgently review its definition of terrorism under a law used to prosecute non-violent journalists and human rights defenders, a United Nations special rapporteur said on Thursday.After a visit to the kingdom, Ben Emmerson told repor…

Wolves return to Denmark for first time in 200 years

4 May

At least five wolves, including one female, have returned to Denmark for the first time in two centuries, a zoologist who has obtained DNA evidence said on Thursday. The predators came from Germany to settle in western Denmark’s agricultural region, th…

Parker faces season-ending surgery – reports

4 May

San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker faces season-ending surgery after being carried off during his team’s NBA playoff win over the Houston Rockets, multiple US media reports said Thursday.Parker collapsed to the court in agony during the fourth quarter …

Saudi artists seen ‘pushing’ boundaries

4 May

Artists in Saudi Arabia are pushing boundaries as the kingdom undergoes rapid change and tries to boost its cultural offerings, a Saudi artist who has exhibited worldwide told AFP.Conservative Islamic traditions run deep in the country which critics sa…

Wiping world records ‘not cowardly’ says IAAF

4 May

The radical plan to wipe out athletics’ world records set before 2005 was not a cowardly proposal, a senior member of the sport’s governing body said Thursday.Olivier Gers was responding to criticism from Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, the women’s marathon…

Mixed-gender relays could be Olympic sport

4 May

Mixed-gender relays are being considered as an Olympic event to ramp up interest in athletics, a senior member of the sport’s governing body said on Thursday.”As a sport we are looking at different formats,” Olivier Gers, chief executive of the Interna…

Red Sox ban fan over new racial slur incident

4 May

The Boston Red Sox have issued a lifetime ban to a fan following a fresh incident of racist abuse at Fenway Park, the team confirmed on Thursday.The Major League Baseball giants said the fan had been permanently barred from Fenway after directing a rac…

Blast at Spanish chemical recycling plant injures 30

4 May

At least 30 people were injured Thursday, three of them seriously, in an explosion at recycling site for hazardous chemical waste near Madrid, forcing the evacuation of nearby schools, authorities said.The blast in Arganda del Rey sent up a huge column…

Don’t forget us, say workers in French election factory stand-off

4 May

The fires of protest are still burning at the doomed French tumble-dryer factory where centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen staged a dramatic battle last week for workers’ votes.

Black ash from a stack of smouldering tyres falls like snow on workers picketing outside the Whirlpool plant in Amiens over the company’s plans to move their jobs to Poland.

It was here that the battle lines in the presidential run-off were drawn, when Le Pen — who has run as the candidate of the dispossessed — upstaged Macron by making a surprise whirlwind visit to the picket line as Macron was meeting unions to discuss the plant’s future.

The pro-EU Macron arrived afterwards, mobbed by the workers who initially booed him, but he eventually managed to turn the situation around and engage them in dialogue about the pros and cons of globalisation.

For the workers, the dust-up between Le Pen and Macron — over which the two candidates traded blows in Wednesday’s TV debate — was a zero-sum game.

“They came looking for votes and to make promises. It was a publicity stunt,” Corinne Bizet, one of the 290 Whirlpool workers whose jobs are on the line, said Wednesday.

The announcement in January that Whirlpool was moving production to the Polish city of Lodz was a blow for Amiens, a city of 130,000 people in northern France still reeling from the loss of 1,100 jobs at a Goodyear tyre factory in 2014.

Like many of the workers, Bizet has spent nearly two decades at the plant, where she met her husband. At 49, she now fears being left on the jobs shelf.

Standing in the car park, a besuited Macron attempted to convince the strikers that, far from protecting factory jobs, Le Pen’s proposals to pull France out of the EU would deter new investment.

“The man has no heart. He only came here because she came,” said Bizet, a chatty mother of three with plum hair and a small stud earring under her lower lip.

But while praising Le Pen as “closer to the people”, Bizet expressed misgivings about Le Pen’s proposal to leave the EU and dump the euro after a period of negotiations.

“Le Pen thinks that will turn France around but there’s no magic wand,” she said with an air of resignation.

– ‘Survival of the fittest’ –

Globalisation has dominated the most divisive French election in decades, with a string of factory closures fuelling fury with Europe and mainstream politics.

On Wednesday, Le Pen, who has pushed a French-first approach to jobs and trade, accused Macron of hanging out workers to dry with a “survival of the fittest” approach.

“Your strategy is to tell lots of lies, you don’t propose anything,” Macron retorted, charging that Le Pen — who floated the prospect of investing state money to save the Whirlpool plant — of peddling “rubbish”.

David Gallopin, a line manager at Whirlpool, said he had gone from “zero percent convinced to 50 percent convinced” by Macron after his visit to the factory.

The 39-year-old politician cited an export-led Procter & Gamble detergent plant employing over 1,000 people just five kilometres (three miles) away from Whirlpool in Amiens as an argument against protectionism.

“Without leaving Europe, there are things we need to change,” said Gallopin, a softly-spoken 49-year-old whose son works at P&G.

“If we can’t stop companies offshoring, we have to ensure they don’t leave people by the wayside when they leave,” he argued.

– Echoes of conflict –

The debate over globalisation has particular resonance in the northern Somme area which saw fierce fighting during World War I.

Philippe Melen, a 64-year-old jazz musician whose British grandfather died in France during the war, joined around 160 people on a march through Amiens on Wednesday to show his opposition to Le Pen and her anti-immigration National Front.

“Madame Le Pen wants to put France in a glass case but it’s not possible. That could take us back down the path of war,” said the white-haired, moustachioed Melen, who wore a suit and his grandfather’s war medal for the occasion.

Addressing the gathering outside Amiens town hall, centrist mayor Brigitte Foure expressed understanding for the frustration of the Whirlpool workers.

“But this anger must not lead to a vote of revolt and protest on behalf of the far right,” she urged.

Tonio Abenhosa, one of the plant’s union leaders, said he would cast a blank vote to protest what he saw as the powerlessness of French politicians in the face of multinationals and the EU.

“We need a revolution to win back our rights,” he declared.

Gallopin said he was counting on Macron to pressure Whirlpool into giving the workers a good redundancy package if elected.

“He said he would not let us down,” he said. “I hope he keeps his word.”