France’s Macron seen as UN ally

8 May

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday quickly reached out to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron to schedule an early meeting and get to work on addressing climate change and a range of international issues.Macron’s election was welcome ne…

Trump to hold crunch meeting on Paris climate deal

8 May

Donald Trump will huddle with top climate and economic advisors Tuesday to discuss US participation in a global climate accord agreed at Paris, as the new president flirts with withdrawing.After months of uncertainty, Trump appears to be edging toward …

Polls open in South Korea’s presidential election

8 May

South Koreans went to the polls Tuesday to choose a new president, after Park Geun-Hye was ousted, detained and indicted for corruption, and against a backdrop of high tensions with the nuclear-armed North.More than 139,000 voting stations opened at 6 …


Canada, Russia on track at ice hockey worlds

8 May

Favourites Canada and Russia kept their unbeaten record at the world ice hockey championships on Monday with wins over Belarus and Germany respectively.In Paris, two-time defending champions Canada crushed Belarus 6-0 in Group B for a maximum nine poin…

US regulator website hacked after TV host comments

8 May

The US agency regulating internet policy said Monday its website was attacked after a TV host urged viewers to pressure officials over plans to roll back “net neutrality” rules.The Federal Communications Commission, whose chairman last month promised t…

ICC wants to investigate human trafficking in Libya

8 May

The International Criminal Court is considering whether to investigate migrant-related crimes in Libya, which has become a “marketplace” for human trafficking, the chief prosecutor said Monday.Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council that her office…

Bouchard beats fallen idol Sharapova in Madrid

8 May

Eugenie Bouchard matched her fighting talk with some thrilling tennis to shock Maria Sharapova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday.Bouchard called Sharapova “a cheater” last week and was also critical of the Russian’s welcome…

Qatar’s Al Rayyan crash out after Doha thriller

8 May

Qatar’s Al Rayyan crashed out of the Asian Champions League after being handed a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat by Saudi giants Al Hilal on Monday.The Michael Laudrup managed side needed a win to secure their first ever last 16 berth but a brace each by Nico…

Pepe the Frog, racist hate meme, finally croaks

8 May

Pepe the Frog, the cartoon character hijacked by the far right and turned into a symbol of racial hatred, has been killed off by its horrified creator.The cartoon amphibian started out life in 2005 as a harmless character in Matt Furie’s online “Boy’s …


Dutch open ‘world’s largest offshore’ wind farm

8 May

Dutch officials on Monday opened what is being billed as one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, with 150 turbines spinning in action far out in the North Sea.Over the next 15 years, the Gemini windpark, which lies some 85 kilometres (53 miles)…

In US, left and right go along with Macron’s win

8 May

The US political establishment gave a broad welcome Monday to France’s election of Emmanuel Macron, taking a cue from President Donald Trump who had kept his distance from Marine Le Pen despite his supporters’ enthusiasm for her.

Back on May 6, 2012, it was Democratic president Barack Obama who dialed socialist Francois Hollande the day of his victory to offer congratulations and invite Europe’s newest leader to the White House ahead of a G8 summit.

Obama’s Republican successor sent out an ebullient tweet about Macron’s win 82 minutes after the results were announced Sunday, saying “I look very much forward to working with him!”

The billionaire formally extended his congratulations in a post-election phone call on Monday. According to the White House, Trump “emphasized his desire to work closely with President-elect Macron in confronting shared challenges, and noted the long and robust history of cooperation between the United States and its oldest ally, France.”

And just as Obama and Hollande met each other at two key summits in the United States in May 2012, Trump and Macron will meet in Brussels during a NATO summit at the end of the month.

Trump made a point of not receiving Le Pen, whose anti-immigrant stance aligns with some of Trump’s nativist positions, when she visited New York in January.

While he met publicly with Britain’s Brexit spearhead and anti-immigration firebrand Nigel Farage, Trump has never made an appearance with the leader of France’s far-right National Front.

After warmly welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump appeared to confirm that it is “chemistry” between world leaders, more than ideology, that counts for him.

In Congress, Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan offered unambiguous congratulations to France’s new leader: “We look forward to working with him to build on the strong relationship between the US and France,” Ryan tweeted.

If most of the public praise came from the Democrats, Republican lawmakers specializing in foreign affairs highlighted transatlantic continuity.

“France is America’s close ally & good friend,” tweeted Senator Marco Rubio, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year against Trump.

“I look forward to working w/ @EmmanuelMacron to strengthen relations & advance shared values.”

– Relative indifference –

Many also took the Macron victory as a repudiation of a common adversary: ??Russian President Vladimir Putin, a leader derided across the political spectrum in the US Congress because of the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the American political process.

The hacking of the Macron campaign Friday night ahead of the French elections served as a reminder of the run up to the US vote, when hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff were published by WikiLeaks.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said the French result sent a message that Putin’s worldview has been “rejected by European voters.”

“In spite of allegations of Russian interference similar to that seen in our country last year, democratic institutions across France proved resilient,” added Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Defeat to those interfering w/democracy,” tweeted Clinton, who maintains that her 2016 loss against Trump was due in part to Russian intervention.

More generally, the French election has been viewed through the prism of Brexit and the election of Trump, and Le Pen garnering the bulk of US television coverage.

On Monday, The New York Times and Washington Post each portrayed Macron’s victory as a defeat for the far right movement.

Not surprisingly, the American far-right was disappointed that the “globalist” Macron defeated Le Pen, whose every move they covered closely.

But the news of Macron’s victory landed rather flat with conservative media.

On Breitbart’s website, it was North Korea and not France that grabbed top headlines early Monday.

Bill Clinton co-writes White House thriller

8 May

Bill Clinton might have hoped to spend this year back in the White House as America’s “first gentleman,” should his wife Hillary have won the 2016 election.Instead, the two-term Democratic president is moving into fiction, writing his first thriller ab…

Shabaab car bomb attack kills six in Mogadishu

8 May

At least six people were killed and about 10 injured Monday in a car bomb attack in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu claimed by militant Islamist group Shabaab, police told AFP.The car exploded next to an Italian cafe on a key thoroughfare in the centre of …


Toronto Raptors star Lowry to opt for NBA free agency

8 May

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry said Monday he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract in order to pursue his goal of winning an NBA Finals championship.Lowry, a three-time All-Star, has one year left on his four-year, $48 million deal with …

Hollande makes emotional final foreign stop in Berlin

8 May

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande made an emotional final foreign trip on Monday to Berlin, ahead of the transfer of power to his successor Emmanuel Macron next week.Chancellor Angela Merkel greeted him warmly at the entrance of the Chancelle…

Ditch the Stradivarius? New violins sound better: study

8 May

Despite the lofty reputation of old violins by Italian masters such as Antonio Stradivari, blindfolded listeners in concert halls in New York and Paris say they preferred the sound of newer instruments.The latest salvo in the long-running debate over w…


Clermont’s Parra, Lamerat fit for European Cup final

8 May

Scrumhalf Morgan Parra and centre Remi Lamerat were declared fit by head coach Franck Azema on Monday for Clermont’s European Cup final this weekend.

“Morgan, Rémi, it’s okay,” Azéma said simply during a press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash against reigning champions Saracens in Edinburgh.

Parra, 28, suffered a thigh strain and 27-year-old Lamerat a knee knock in the French club’s bruising semi-final win over Irish side Leinster (27-22).

Parra — a veteran of Clermont’s two European Cup final defeats — said he trained “week in, week out to experience moments like this. You think about it all the time.”

Clermont lost to Top 14 rivals Toulon in 2013 and 2015.

Azema added that the hardest thing in the run-up to the final was to deal with the anticipation and nerves.

“We all know we have to stay measured until Saturday, we need to master the beginning of the week, focus on what we will do on Saturday,” he said.

“We’ve a bit of experience of that. We’re going to try and manage this desire to deliver a great match.”

Bumble Bee to plead guilty in tuna price fixing case

8 May

Iconic American tuna brand Bumble Bee Foods agreed to plead guilty and pay a $25 million fine for conspiring to fix prices of canned seafood, the Justice Department of announced Monday.Bumble Bee, a 118-year-old brand well known in American supermarket…

Nene out of Rockets’ NBA playoff push

8 May

Houston Rockets forward Nene has been ruled out of the remainder of the season after suffering a torn thigh muscle, the team confirmed on Monday.The 34-year-old Brazilian was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spur…

Italian police seize 37 tons of drugs designed for ISIS in Libya

8 May

Police in the northern Italian city of Genoa have intercepted a huge drug shipment bound for Libya. Tons of psychotropic medications, destined for Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL), were seized in cooperation with the Italian customs …


Ex-Stade Francais players to present buyout bid

8 May

A group of former Stade Français players will present their bid to buy out the struggling Top 14 side this midweek, retired winger Christophe Dominici said on Monday.

“We are going to present our offer Wednesday to (club president) Thomas Savare,” former France international Dominici told

Dominici — who played for Stade Francais from 1997 to 2008 — has joined forces with former teammates Thomas Lombard (1997-2004), Sylvain Marconnet (1997-2010) and Mathieu Blin (1997-2010) in a bid to buy the club.

The 44-year-old said that their project was backed by several investors none of whom would have “more than 15 percent of the club” and was independent from a bid by German billionaire Hans-Peter Wild whose “philosophy did not gel with ours”.

The 75-year-old Wild is reported to be close to making an offer for the 14-time French champions, who failed to make the play-offs in this year’s Top 14.

Dominici said that if their project was accepted then Blin — who will leave his role as manager of second-tier Agen at the end of the season — would be appointed sporting director.

Savare will leave his position as Stade president next month after presenting a controversial failed merger with Paris rivals Racing 92 in March which resulted in a disruptive players’ strike.

“Everything is ready on the sports side,” explained the 67-times capped Dominici, adding they could put together “a very beautiful team” for next season.

There have also been reports that former Stade coach Richard Pool-Jones and ex-Racing 92 manager Arnaud Tourtoulou, backed by a group of investors, are preparing a bid.

Qatar Sports Investments — owners of Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain — are also reported to be interested in acquiring the rugby club.

Venezuela opposition marches against constitution move

8 May

Venezuela’s opposition mobilized Monday in fresh street protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to reform the constitution in a deadly political crisis.Supporters of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) gathered in eastern Carac…

Nicki Minaj becomes college benefactor through Twitter

8 May

Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj has promised to pay university tuition for dozens of fans after a promotional contest metamorphosed over Twitter.Minaj’s transformation into educational benefactor took place over the weekend as she unveiled a contest of the so…


Bearded Macron photo-bomber revealed as pizzeria owner

8 May

A burly bearded man wearing a cap and a purple sweatshirt who loomed over France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron as he celebrated his victory on Sunday night has been revealed as a pizzeria owner from western France.Morgan Simon, a 31-year-old from w…

Far right a fixture in France despite Le Pen defeat

8 May

Despite Marine Le Pen’s drubbing in the French presidential election, her far-right National Front party expanded its footprint in the political landscape — and confirmed its move into the mainstream.Her anti-immigrant, anti-Europe stance won a record…

Canada flood damage worsens but heavy rains subsiding

8 May

The toll from severe flooding in eastern Canada worsened Monday with thousands of people affected and schools closed, but authorities were optimistic that rising water levels would soon crest.Several rivers and lakes have reached near 50-year peak leve…

Family of Palestinian toddler burned alive sue Israel

8 May

Relatives of a Palestinian family burned alive filed a lawsuit against Israel on Monday demanding it be held responsible and pay damages over the 2015 attack blamed on Jewish extremists in the occupied West Bank.Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsha died alo…

4,600 people flee their homes in DR Congo daily: UN

8 May

An average of 4,600 people flee their homes every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN said Monday, warning of a dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.A full 3.7 million people were displaced within DR Congo by the…

Russia seeks UN backing for deal on Syria safe zones

8 May

Russia on Monday faced resistance from Western powers to a bid to win UN Security Council backing for an agreement it signed with Iran and Turkey on establishing safe zones in Syria.The deal signed in the Kazakh capital Astana last week calls for the c…


Sinclair to buy Tribune Media in $3.9 bn broadcast deal

8 May

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Monday a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media, in a major consolidation of local television operators in the United States.The deal gives Sinclair some 233 television stations in 108 markets, adding the 42 operated …

‘Macronomics’ faces clash with French ballot box

8 May

France’s incoming president Emmanuel Macron has an ambitious economic agenda and a favourable economic environment and business leaders’ backing in his favour — but can he bring change?Even if the world’s sixth-biggest economy is still weighed down by…


Brazil’s Chapecoense win first title after plane crash

8 May

Brazil’s Chapecoense football club, all but wiped out in an air crash last November, won their first silverware since the tragedy by taking the state championship Sunday.Some 20,000 supporters packed the home stadium in Chapeco to watch their team win …

Former top US justice official to testify on Flynn-Russia links

8 May

The simmering controversy over Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s US election returns to the spotlight Monday, with a former top Justice Department official set to testify on links between President Donald Trump’s advisors and Moscow.Former actin…