Australia’s Westpac Bank interim net profit up 6%

7 May

Australian banking heavyweight Westpac posted a six percent rise in interim net profit to Aus$3.90 billion (US$2.89 billion) Monday on the back of a strong performance from institutional operations.The lender’s cash profit in the six months to March 31…

Third of French voters spoiled ballots or abstained

7 May

A third of French voters declined to choose between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential election, either abstaining or spoiling their ballots — a record rate in nearly half a century.According to offici…

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Cavaliers sweep past Raptors into conference finals

7 May

The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers powered into the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, downing the Toronto Raptors 109-102 to complete a four-game sweep of their playoff series.LeBron James scored 35 points with nine rebounds and six assists as the…

Epic Harman birdie edges top-ranked Johnson for title

7 May

Brian Harman sank a 28-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the PGA Wells Fargo Championship, edging top-ranked Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by a stroke.Harman, whose only prior tour triumph came at the 2014 John Deere Classic, birdied the …

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming pointed at Preakness

7 May

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will get a head start on preparations for the second leg of US racing’s Triple Crown when he arrives at Pimlico on Tuesday ahead of the May 20 Preakness.The move by trainer Todd Pletcher means Always Dreaming will …

Venezuela opposition rejects Maduro plan to rework constitution

7 May

President Nicolas Maduro’s plan for an elected assembly to draw up a new Venezuelan constitution faced headwinds Sunday, when opposition parties refused to join the process amid continuing violent anti-Maduro protests. Although several opposition le…

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Evra nets first Marseille goal to sink Nice

7 May

Patrice Evra scored his first goal for Marseille in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Nice to extinguish the visitors’ hopes of claiming an automatic Champions League qualifying spot. Ricardo Pereira and Dalbert both hit the post for Nice inside the opening 15…

Met Opera stars mark Lincoln Center anniversary

7 May

The Metropolitan Opera was gearing up Sunday to celebrate 50 years at Lincoln Center with a gala concert featuring many of opera’s biggest stars.

The list of singers expected to perform included Spanish legend Placido Domingo and American soprano, Renee Fleming. At midday, a group of workers was seen plastering a red “sold out” banner across commemorative posters outside the opera house.

After the concert, the company has organized a $3,000 a plate dinner with the artists for its biggest fundraising event in eight years.

The anniversary comes at a challenging time for opera in the United States. Like other US opera houses, the Met has faced difficulty attracting enough new subscribers to replace older audience members who are in decline.

Among leading performers expected, the list included Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic and Mexican tenor Javier Camarena.

“The Met gala is something huge,” said German soprano Diana Damrau, who is seen in promotional video for the event performing the famous “Sempre libera” aria from “La Traviata.”

“It’s wonderful to meet all the colleagues,” she told AFP this week. “It’s frightening, but wonderful.”

The event is intended in part as a look back at the Met’s history at Lincoln Center, a cultural plaza on the Upper West Side that is also home to the New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet. The Met had previously been located in midtown Manhattan.

The concert will include audience favorites from such operas as “The Magic Flute” and “Otello,” but also some more obscure numbers with historical significance, such as from “Antony & Cleopatra,” which opened the house in September 1966 with Leontyne Price.

The concert is also showcasing newer stars who are expected to play a bigger role at the house in the coming years. This group includes American tenor Michael Fabiano and South African soprano Pretty Yende.

Euro rallies after Macron wins French presidency

7 May

The euro rallied to a six-month high against the dollar in early Asia-Pacific forex trading Monday after pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency in a resounding victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen.The single currency reac…

Egypt parliament passes investment law

7 May

Egypt’s parliament on Sunday adopted a law whose aim is to attract foreign investors to the country as authorities seek to redress its struggling economy.Political instability and jihadist attacks in Egypt have put off tourists and foreign investors si…

What world leaders said about Macron’s victory

7 May

French centrist Emmanuel Macron stormed to the presidency on Sunday, scoring a resounding win over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote.Here follows a selection of early comments from world leaders on Macron’s election victory.- Germany …

Gazprom starts construction of gas pipeline to Turkey

7 May

Russian gas firm Gazprom said Sunday construction had begun of a gas pipeline under the Black Sea to Turkey meant to eventually also serve the European Union.”Construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline began in the Black Sea near the Russian coast,” G…

Five challenges for France’s new president

7 May

Emmanuel Macron, who exit polls say won France’s presidential elections on Sunday, may have seen off the competition in the race for the Elysee Palace but will face daunting challenges when he takes office.The 39-year-old must unite a deeply-divided co…

Young leaders around the world

7 May

Emmanuel Macron, 39, who won the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday, according to estimates, will be one of the world’s youngest leaders.Here is a look at those who were still a little wet behind the ears when they attained high…

Factfile on Macron’s campaign pledges

7 May

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president-in-waiting after a resounding poll victory Sunday, campaigned on a platform that combined unstinting support for the EU with tax cuts for business and a pledge to maintain the country’s social safety net.Following ar…

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Marine Le Pen: far-right firebrand who shook up France

7 May

Marine Le Pen suffered a crushing defeat in France’s presidential election, estimates showed Sunday, but she can console herself with having transformed her far-right National Front (FN) from a pariah party into a force to be reckoned with.The 48-year-…

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Emmanuel Macron: a 39-year-old political prodigy

7 May

In his unorthodox private life and short political career, France’s new president Emmanuel Macron has battled conventions and broken with traditions.The 39-year-old son of two doctors from the northeastern city of Amiens — set to be the youngest presi…

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Macron elected French president: estimates

7 May

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron resoundingly won France’s landmark presidential election, first estimates showed Sunday, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.The vict…

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Talks begin on evacuating rebels from Syria capital

7 May

Negotiations were under way on Sunday on evacuating insurgents and their families from two districts in Damascus, a Syrian military source on the ground told AFP.If the talks are successful, this would be the first time rebels will have been evacuated …

Le Pen’s FN turns away news outlets from post-vote event

7 May

Around 15 news outlets said Sunday they had been barred from the election night gathering for French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and her supporters.Le Pen’s National Front (FN) said they were turned away because of a lack of space at…

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Germany’s Zverev takes Munich title

7 May

Germany’s rising star Alexander Zverev earned his third ATP title, his first on home soil, with a straight-sets win in the final of the Munich tournament on Sunday.The 20-year-old third seed needed just 72 minutes to seal a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Argent…

Israel moves to downgrade status of Arabic language

7 May

Israeli ministers approved a controversial bill on Sunday that would define the country as the “national home of the Jewish people” while downgrading Arabic as an official language, officials and reports said.If the bill eventually becomes law, Arabic …

Hope for Arsenal as Wenger breaks Mourinho hex

7 May

Arsene Wenger bested Jose Mourinho in the Premier League at the 13th attempt as Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday to revive their challenge for Champions League qualification.Quick-fire second-half goals by Granit Xhaka and United old boy Da…

Brazil judge calls for calm ahead of Lula questioning

7 May

The Brazilian judge planning to question former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva this week in the vast Petrobras corruption scandal urged protesters to stay away from the courthouse where the two are due to meet.Judge Sergio Moro is leading the “Car…

Ariya to meet Kim in LPGA Match Play final

7 May

Thailand’s third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn and 12th-ranked Kim Sei-Young of South Korea advanced to the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Match Play finals with impressive morning triumphs Sunday.Ariya, who captured the first of her five LPGA titles exactly a year ago, …

Hundreds of suspected cholera cases in Yemen: MSF

7 May

At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said Sunday. Healthcare has dramatically deteriorated in Yemen as conflict between Iran-bac…

Immobile at the double as Lazio pile pressure on Roma

7 May

Ciro Immobile hit a brace as Lazio routed Sampdoria 7-3 to cut the gap on third-placed Roma to five points in Serie A on Sunday.A week after a 3-1 romp secured the bragging rights in the Capital Derby, Lazio confirmed their end-of-season purple patch t…

Hamburg, Mainz draw in relegation scrap

7 May

Relegation-threatened Hamburg and Mainz both boosted their Bundesliga survival chances by earning a point apiece in Sunday’s goalless draw.Mainz had the best chances to take the three points in Hamburg as Spanish midfielder Jairo Samperio came off the …

Gaviria grabs stage win and Giro d’Italia lead

7 May

Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria finished off a cunning tactical move by his Quick Step team to win the third stage of the Giro d’Italia and secure the race leader’s pink jersey on Sunday.Gaviria, competing in his maiden Grand Tour, emerged from a s…

Milner in spot of bother as Reds held

7 May

Liverpool’s James Milner missed a penalty as his side wasted a chance to bolster their bid to qualify for the Champions League in an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Southampton on Sunday.With rivals Arsenal and Manchester United clashing in Sunday’s late kic…