Fired FBI chief Comey to testify publicly in Congress

19 May

James Comey, the former FBI chief whose firing by President Donald Trump has triggered uproar, has agreed to testify publicly about Russian interference in the 2016 elections, lawmakers announced Friday.”I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony wi…

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Yemen rebel missile shot down near Saudi capital: coalition

19 May

Saudi Arabia said it shot down a ballistic missile, fired by Yemeni rebels, southwest of the capital Riyadh late Friday ahead of US President Donald Trump’s arrival.Air defence units “intercepted a ballistic missile that was launched by Huthi militias …

B-52s singer marries couple before show

19 May

B-52s singer Kate Pierson had a departure from her pre-show routine as she married two of her fans before the band took the stage.Nathan Garcia, a lifelong fan of the fun-loving New Wave band, eagerly contacted Pierson when he saw The B-52s were playin…

Alonso finds comfort zone as Indy 500 pole fight looms

19 May

Formula One star Fernando Alonso has made a fast adjustment to IndyCars and driving around in circles as the Spaniard prepared for weekend qualifying at the 101st Indianapolis 500.The 35-year-old McLaren racer, the F1 champion in 2005 and 2006, is skip…

Pentagon plans to ‘annihilate’ IS fighters

19 May

President Donald Trump has instructed the Pentagon to “annihilate” the Islamic State group in Syria in a bid to prevent escaped foreign fighters from returning home, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.The move to kill as many jihadists in place a…

Venezuela opposition vows biggest demo yet on Saturday

19 May

Venezuela’s opposition vowed to stage its biggest protests yet on Saturday in its drive for elections to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power in a deadly political crisis.Clashes at street demos have left 47 people dead since the protests erupted…

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Halfpenny leads Toulon into Top 14 semi-finals

19 May

Welsh full-back Leigh Halfpenny scored the crucial late try in a personal haul of 21 points as Toulon reached the French Top 14 semi-finals with a 26-22 play-off win over Castres on Friday.Toulon will face La Rochelle in Marseille next Friday for a pla…

Brady agent denies Gisele concussion claim

19 May

Tom Brady’s agent on Friday denied the New England Patriots star had suffered an undisclosed concussion last season, contradicting a statement by the quarterback’s wife earlier this week.”Tom was not diagnosed with a concussion last year,” agent Don Ye…

US arrests man in $100 mn Fitbit stock manipulation

19 May

A US man has been arrested and charged in connection with a $100 million stock manipulation involving shares of the wearable technology maker Fitbit, federal prosecutors announced Friday.Virginia mechanical engineer Robert Murray was due to appear befo…

Miller buries Jerez controversy with Le Mans top spot

19 May

Australia’s Jack Miller, on a Honda, was the fastest man on the track as the French Grand Prix got off to a soggy start at Le Mans, burying the controversy of his Jerez crash in the process.Miller was fined for pushing Alvaro Bautista in the Spanish ra…

Xavi’s Al Sadd win Qatar’s Emir Cup

19 May

A dramatic last minute winner gave Al Sadd, skippered by Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, victory in the Emir Cup final on Friday, Qatar’s biggest domestic cup competition.The match was played in the newly refurbished Khalifa International Stadium, the…

US court rejects drone registry

19 May

A US appeals court struck down a ruling Friday aimed at forcing drone owners to register their tiny aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration.The FAA had introduced the ruling with the aim of curbing illegal flights near airports or interfering…

Injured McIlroy withdraws from PGA Championship

19 May

Rory McIlroy on Friday withdrew from next week’s prestigious PGA Championship at Wentworth, England, because of a niggling rib injury.The 28-year-old four-time major champion, who only returned to action last week from a month off following his wedding…

Brilliant Thiem ends Nadal claycourt streak

19 May

Austria’s Dominic Thiem sent Rafael Nadal crashing out of the Rome Masters on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3 quarter-final victory, ending the Spaniard’s 17-match winning run.

Nadal, a former seven-time champion in the Italian capital, had dominated Thiem to win the Madrid Masters final last week.

But the 30-year-old, seeded fourth in Rome and building up for an assault on a 10th French Open title, was outplayed throughout a thrilling encounter on centre court.

Thiem, the eighth seed, will now meet the winner of the quarter-final clash between four-time winner Novak Djokovic, seeded second, and unseeded Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro.

Nadal, meanwhile, said he intends to have a free weekend before ramping up his preparations for Roland Garros from Monday.

“Tomorrow I’ll be in Mallorca fishing or playing golf, or another thing. I’m going to rest a little bit, I think I deserve it,” said Nadal.

“Then from Monday and Tuesday I will start to prepare for Roland Garros. It’s an important event for me.

“If you do things well, you have more chances in Roland Garros. I hope to play my best tennis in Roland Garros.”

Nadal, given a first round bye, played only three games of his second round match with Nicolas Almagro before his unseeded compatriot retired injured on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old made amends for his comparative lack of playing time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Jack Sock on Thursday.

But from the outset against Thiem, Nadal looked in trouble.

The Austrian’s serve, precision and movement were near flawless and soon had Nadal hitting shots wide of the mark.

As the centre court crowd steadily got behind the 23-year-old upstart, Nadal’s confidence waned.

Thiem, who has a 17-3 record on clay this year, will now look to reach his fourth final of 2017.

However, he is 0-4 in career meetings with Djokovic and 0-2 against del Potro.

“It’s a very tough situation in tennis. I mean, you have a big win, and the next day there is Djokovic or Del Potro waiting,” said Thiem after his second victory in six meetings against Nadal, adding to his 2016 Argentina Open semi-final win.

“It remains very, very difficult. But they are both unbelievable, big players. I think it’s going to be a tough match between them today. Whoever wins, I have to take on tomorrow.”

German 20-year-old Alexander Zverev reached his first Masters semi-final with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 victory over Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic.

Zverev will face unseeded John Isner, 12 years his senior, after the giant American clinched a 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) win over Croatian sixth seed Marin Cilic.

“It’s another stepping stone in my career,” said Zverev.

In the WTA event, Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens will face off in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Halep, the champion in Madrid last week, surged into the last four for the third time after a 6-2, 6-4 win over Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

Halep, who reached the French Open final in 2014, now meets Bertens after the 15th seed, ranked 20th in the world, ousted Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-3.

Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina stunned Karolína Pliskova, the second-seeded Czech, 6-2, 7-6 (11/9) to reach the semi-finals.

She will next face either American Venus Williams, seeded ninth, or Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza, the reigning French Open champion.

Fed says 30% of US adults face financial strain

19 May

Nearly one-third of US adults face financial difficulties or are “just getting by,” despite a slight improvement in well-being in the overall population, according to Federal Reserve report released Friday.The survey showed 30 percent or 73 million adu…

North Korea denies role in global cyberattack

19 May

North Korea on Friday angrily dismissed reports linking its isolated regime to the global cyberattack that held thousands of computers to virtual ransom.Up to 300,000 computers in 150 countries were hit by the WannaCry worm, which seizes systems and de…

Uber extends on-demand service to trucking

19 May

Uber is expanding into a new field with a version of its on-demand ride application that lets truckers book cargo hauls with simple taps on smartphones.Uber Freight rolling out in the US was touted by the company as an app that matches truckers or truc…

UFC’s McGregor applies for Nevada fight license: reports

19 May

UFC star Conor McGregor took another step toward making a fight with retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather by applying for a professional boxing license in Nevada, according to multiple reports Friday.Nevada State Athletic Commission executive direc…

Tanak leads tight field in Portugal rallying

19 May

Ford’s Ott Tanak stormed into the lead after the sixth super special of a topsy-turvy Rally of Portugal around Viana do Castelo, north of Porto on Friday.The Estonian had also previously held the lead in a very tight race just 0.1sec ahead of Finland’s…

Raiders sign lease deal with Vegas Stadium Authority

19 May

A major step in the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas has been achieved with the NFL team reaching a lease deal with the Vegas Stadium Authority that keeps them on target for a 2020 opening.NFL team owners could ratify the deal when they meet in…

Netflix row stirs tough questions for cinema’s future

19 May

The bitter row over whether Netflix films should be shown at the Cannes film festival is billed as generational clash that calls into question the future of cinema. The fact that the US streaming giant’s movie “Okja” was greeted both by booing and chee…

Patriots star Brady inks Aston Martin deal

19 May

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced a multi-year endorsement deal with British luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin on Friday, the Super Bowl hero pitching their pricey new DB11 model.The 104-year-old handmade car company, whose classi…

American war photographer Stanley Greene dies aged 68

19 May

American war photographer Stanley Greene, who won five World Press Photo awards, died in Paris on Friday aged 68, the Noor Images agency he co-founded said.Greene passed away in a hospital in the French capital after a long illness, Noor Images’s manag…

Scores of defective Rio Olympic medals fall apart

19 May

Scores of cherished medals awarded at the Rio Olympics are falling to pieces and will be replaced, red-faced 2016 Games organisers said on Friday.An estimated 2,021 medals were handed out to competitors at the Games last summer but many soon began to f…

Major League Baseball reaches streaming deal with Facebook

19 May

Major League Baseball and Facebook have agreed on a deal that will see 20 games streamed live via the platform starting Friday, highlighting the increasing willingness of US sports to embrace social media.Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred …

Seven dead, 19 missing in Haiti storms

19 May

Seven people have died and 19 fishermen are reported lost at sea after two days of heavy rain lashed Haiti, the interior ministry said Friday.Two young children were among the fatalities, which all occured in northern Haiti, while the people missing at…

Children in war zones need education, say campaigners

19 May

Campaigners Friday pleaded for more help for millions of children in conflict zones who are missing years of school, revealing only two percent of humanitarian aid funds goes towards education.More than 250 million children around the world don’t go to…