Toronto Raptors star Lowry to opt for NBA free agency

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 …

May 8, 2017

Hollande makes emotional final foreign stop in Berlin

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…

May 8, 2017

Ditch the Stradivarius? New violins sound better: study

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…

May 8, 2017

Clermont’s Parra, Lamerat fit for European Cup final

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.”

May 8, 2017

Bumble Bee to plead guilty in tuna price fixing case

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…

May 8, 2017

Nene out of Rockets’ NBA playoff push

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…

May 8, 2017

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

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 …

May 8, 2017

Ex-Stade Francais players to present buyout bid

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 lequipe.fr.

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.

May 8, 2017

Venezuela opposition marches against constitution move

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…

May 8, 2017

Nicki Minaj becomes college benefactor through Twitter

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…

May 8, 2017

Bearded Macron photo-bomber revealed as pizzeria owner

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…

May 8, 2017

Far right a fixture in France despite Le Pen defeat

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…

May 8, 2017

Canada flood damage worsens but heavy rains subsiding

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…

May 8, 2017

Family of Palestinian toddler burned alive sue Israel

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…

May 8, 2017

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

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…

May 8, 2017

Russia seeks UN backing for deal on Syria safe zones

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…

May 8, 2017