World mayors urge G20 leaders to ‘save the planet’

Dozens of city mayors from around the world — including Washington, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney — on Monday called on G20 leaders to stick to their commitments on tackling climate change.In a joint text distributed to media outlets worldwide and …

Dozens of city mayors from around the world -- including Washington, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney -- on Monday called on G20 leaders to stick to their commitments on tackling climate change.

In a joint text distributed to media outlets worldwide and posted online, the "C40" mayors "of the world?s great cities" urged leaders from the Group of 20 "on behalf of the hundreds of millions of citizens that we represent... to deliver on your commitments to tackle climate change, one of the world's most pressing issues."

In light of US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change pact "the resolve of the other 19 leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit to safeguard the future of our planet is more important than ever," the statement added.

The 20 leaders will gather in Hamburg, Germany on July 7 and 8.

The world city mayors, led by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, said they were inspired by the "courage" shown by more than 300 mayors in cities across the United States who have committed to upholding the Paris Agreement despite Trump's decision.

The core goal of the Paris agreement is for countries to take measures aimed at restricting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

But Trump has said the climate pact, signed by nearly 200 countries, would hit the United States with "draconian financial and economic burdens" while competitors got off lightly.

The list of mayors who have signed up to the statement also include those of Karachi, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Melbourne, Chicago, Warsaw, Seoul and Vancouver.

"Local leaders around the world stand together with you, redoubling our commitment to bold action on climate change, working with business leaders and citizens worldwide," the mayors said in their statement, urging ordinary citizens to sign a petition to back their cause.

"We must all work together to save the planet," the statement stressed.

Successful SpaceX launch delivers satellites into orbit

The American company SpaceX on Sunday successfully placed 10 satellites for the communications company Iridium into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.After launching as scheduled from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:25 pm local time (2025 …

The American company SpaceX on Sunday successfully placed 10 satellites for the communications company Iridium into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.

After launching as scheduled from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:25 pm local time (2025 GMT), the Falcon 9's first stage returned less than eight minutes after taking off.

As planned, it landed on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX has successfully landed multiple rockets on both land and water, as part of its effort to bring down the cost of space flight by re-using multimillion dollar components instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after launch.

It was the second series of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX, after a set of 10 were delivered in January.

In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium's satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018.

The $3 billion project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium's global communications network.

McEnroe ranks Serena 700th on men’s tour

Tennis legend John McEnroe says while he has great respect for Serena Williams as the best of her gender, the 23-time Grand Slam winner would be the 700th ranked player in the men’s game.Speaking as part of a tour to promote his new book “But Seriously…

Tennis legend John McEnroe says while he has great respect for Serena Williams as the best of her gender, the 23-time Grand Slam winner would be the 700th ranked player in the men's game.

Speaking as part of a tour to promote his new book "But Seriously", McEnroe said he would place Williams "like 700 in the world" on the men's circuit.

"Best female player ever -- no question.

"If she had to just play the circuit -- the men's circuit -- that would be an entirely different story," McEnroe told American broadcaster National Public Radio.

The seven-time major winner said the best thing Williams would have going for her on the men's tour would be her mental toughness.

"The reality of what would happen on a given day is Serena could beat some players, I believe, because she is so incredibly strong mentally."

He said her rivals would crack under pressure.

"She could overcome some situations where players would choke because she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The US Open, etc," he said.

Williams became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title when she claimed the 2015 Wimbledon title at age 33. The Los Angeles native has 23 Gram Slam singles crowns and 14 doubles titles in majors.

The ATP Tour rankings only go to the top 500 and Andy Murray is the current top ranked ATP Tour player while Temur Ismailov of Uzbekistan holds down the 500th spot.

Dozens feared dead after passenger boat sinks in Colombia

Rocking back and forth as crew members desperately tried to keep the vessel afloat. The tourist boat was carrying more than 150 passengers when it got into difficulty in a reservoir in Guat-a-pay in north-western Colombia.

Rocking back and forth as crew members desperately tried to keep the vessel afloat. The tourist boat was carrying more than 150 passengers when it got into difficulty in a reservoir in Guat-a-pay in north-western Colombia.

New Zealand one win away from America’s Cup glory

Helmsman Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand defeated two-time defenders Oracle Team USA twice on Sunday to move within one victory of seizing the America’s Cup.The 26-year-old Burling bested Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill in both pre-starts a…

Helmsman Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand defeated two-time defenders Oracle Team USA twice on Sunday to move within one victory of seizing the America's Cup.

The 26-year-old Burling bested Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill in both pre-starts as he steered New Zealand to a pair of dominant victories that gave the Kiwis a 6-1 lead in the first-to-seven points series.

On Monday they'll try to claim the Cup for New Zealand for a third time, after Black Magic's victories in 1995 and 2000.

By doing so they could expunge the bitter memory of 2013, when they led Spithill and the USA 8-1 before falling 9-8 in San Francisco.

"We're just going to keep pushing forward," Burling said. "Nothing changes for us."

He said the young New Zealand crew -- with just one holdover from that crushing defeat four years ago -- are "enjoying the pressure" of a match they started with a one-point deficit -- thanks to Team USA's topping the round-robin qualifying.

"We're a pretty tough bunch," Burling said. "We got asked some questions yesterday. I feel like we answered them with our performance on the water."

Spithill, meanwhile, was conceding nothing.

"Clearly the plan wasn't to be in this position again, let me tell you," said Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup when he piloted Oracle to victory in 2010.

Now an elder statesman at 37, he vowed Oracle would respond.

"It's a tall mountain to climb, no question," said Spithill, who confirmed the team would consider a significant crew change if they thought it would help.

"The team we roll out tomorrow, that'll be the team we think gives us the best chance of winning."

Spithill acknowledged that New Zealand just sailed better on Sunday as they ensured Oracle didn't build on their first victory of the series a day before.

In the opener, Spithill swerved slightly as the dueling catamarans headed for the start line, allowing Burling to blast across the line with a one-second lead.

Leading at the first mark, New Zealand were never really threatened en route to a 12-second win.

- 'Big mistake' -

In the second race, Burling out-foxed Spithill in the pre-start box to hit the startline a mammoth 14 seconds in front -- appearing to offer a wave to the rival crew.

New Zealand then displayed masterful control of their innovative cycle-powered boat, staying on their foils all the way around en route to a 30-second win.

"It makes life a little easier when you get off the start 14 seconds ahead," said Burling, who some thought would struggle when it came to pitting wits against match-racing master Spithill.

"We had a really good understanding of what they were trying to be able to do with their starts and a good strategy to oppose it.

"Full credit to the guys, holding it tight not giving them any chances to get back in the race."

Under pressure in the shifty winds, Oracle produced a series of mistakes that further doomed their chances, including a penalty for sailing through the boundary and a splash-down off their foils that saw them slow dramatically.

"We just had a hard time hooking up," Spithill said. "We thought we'd be able to pull the maneuver off. It was a big mistake and that really handed it to Pete.

South African batsman AB de Villiers to decide future in August

AB de Villiers left South Africa’s tour of England saying he would decide his cricket future in August.One of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, the 33-year-old headed home after captaining the Proteas in a 19-run defeat by England in Cardiff o…

AB de Villiers left South Africa's tour of England saying he would decide his cricket future in August.

One of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, the 33-year-old headed home after captaining the Proteas in a 19-run defeat by England in Cardiff on Sunday that saw them beaten 2-1 in a three-match Twenty20 series.

They previously lost a one-day international series to England by the same scoreline and then suffered a hugely disappointing first-round exit at the Champions Trophy.

But a Test series against England is the centrepiece of a four-month tour.

However, it has long been planned that de Villiers would miss the four-Test campaign to take a break from the strain of being one of the world's leading players in all three international formats, as well as a man in demand at lucrative Twenty20 franchise events around the world.

Bangladesh are due to tour South Africa in September and de Villiers said he expected to know by then what his international workload would entail.

"I am going to meet with CSA (Cricket South Africa) in August, and that will decide my (international) future," de Villiers told reporters after making a typically dashing 35 off 19 balls.

- 'Won't pick and choose' -

"We will see what works for both parties," added the gifted shotmaker, who has scored more than 8,000 runs in 106 Tests, including 21 hundreds, at an average of over 50.

"We are not going to pick and choose games, but we are going to make a final decision about what happens for the next few years."

Asked what he would do for the next couple of months, de Villiers said: "I am going to spend a bit of time off at home with the family, I'm going to welcome my new youngster into the world, and obviously look to stay fit.

"I want to make sure I am ready for September, when Bangladesh come."

For all his success at Test level, de Villiers's burning ambition is to help South Africa win a maiden World Cup title.

Their attempts since a 1992 debut -- after years of isolation due to apartheid -- have been dogged by bad luck and reverses snatched from the jaws of all-but-certain victory, leaving South Africa with the unwanted tag of "chokers".

The next World Cup takes place in England in two years' time and de Villiers, in charge for a heartbreaking 2015 semi-final loss to co-hosts New Zealand in Auckland, said Sunday: "It?s my main dream to win a World Cup for South Africa, or to be part of it in one way or another"

But de Villiers, whose stunning 31-ball century against the West Indies at Johannesburg in 2015 remains the fastest ODI hundred, added: "I don't even think it?s in my hands, what is going to happen.

"I will wait until the final decision on the coach and things like that are made," he explained, with Russell Domingo's future already uncertain before he left the tour prior to the Proteas' three-run win in the second Twenty20 at Taunton on Friday after his mother was involved in a traffic accident.

"Then I can also have a chat to CSA, to see where I am going to fit in."

As well as de Villiers, South Africa could be without another senior batsman in Faf du Plesiss for the first Test at Lord's, which starts on July 6.

Du Plessis, the Proteas' Test skipper, is awaiting the birth of his first child, who is expected in the first week of July.

De Villiers, asked if he had thought about staying on to lead the Test side if du Plessis -- who missed the Twenty20 series in anticipation -- was still absent, replied: "No, not at all.

"I am batting really well at the moment, and really enjoying that. I love scoring runs, and that is all I am going to miss over the next two months."

Volkswagen Slovakia workers win wage hike, end strike

Unions at Volkswagen Slovakia said on Sunday they were ending a six-day strike after agreeing a 14.1 percent wage hike with management at the eurozone country’s largest private employer.”We are ending our strike,” trade union chief Zoroslav Smolinsky t…

Unions at Volkswagen Slovakia said on Sunday they were ending a six-day strike after agreeing a 14.1 percent wage hike with management at the eurozone country's largest private employer.

"We are ending our strike," trade union chief Zoroslav Smolinsky told journalists after marathon negotiations with the bosses at the Bratislava plant.

VW spokeswoman Lucia Kovarovic Makayova told AFP that the agreed 14.1 percent pay rise will be made in three instalments and completed by November 2018.

Workers will also get a one-off bonus of 500 euros and an extra day off, according to the spokeswoman.

Currently, the average salary in the Bratislava VW plant is 1,800 euros ($2,014), excluding managers' pay packets, according to the company.

Slovakia's average salary is 980 euros.

Workers launched the strike on Tuesday after management rejected union demands for a 16 percent wage hike, offering an eight percent rise instead.

Smolinsky said that up to 10,000 of the plant's 12,300 employees downed tools for the first time since production began at the site in 1992.

The strike stopped the production of luxury SUVs like the Touareg or the Audi Q7.

Slovakia's leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico supported the workers' wage demands.

"If we know that there is the highest productivity and the highest quality in Bratislava, they produce the most expensive cars in the whole company, why should workers here earn one third of the salary of their (German) colleagues in the same company?", Fico told a local radio station on Saturday.

According to the Slovak autoworkers union, the starting salary in German VW factories is 2,037 euros, while in Slovakia it is 679 euros.

The strike was peaceful as workers laid down blankets, played cards and cooled off in a fountain outside the VW plant amid a heatwave that saw temperatures soar to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) Bratislava in recent days.

The factory produces more than 1,000 cars a day and a total 388,697 vehicles rolled off its production line last year.

Models include the luxury Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 vehicles, among others.

The new Lamborghini Urus luxury cars will also be made using parts produced in Bratislava.

The five-millionth car produced in the plant rolled off the production line on June 15th. The white Touareg was produced for a customer in Australia.

Last year, just over a million automobiles were produced in Slovakian factories owned by Kia, Peugeot and VW.

All Black Ioane’s family takes in marooned Lions fan

A stranded British and Irish Lions supporter has told how a stranger’s act of kindness resulted in him bunking down at the home of All Blacks sensation Rieko Ioane and his brother Akira.The stranger was the players’ mother Sandra, who took pity on Lion…

A stranded British and Irish Lions supporter has told how a stranger's act of kindness resulted in him bunking down at the home of All Blacks sensation Rieko Ioane and his brother Akira.

The stranger was the players' mother Sandra, who took pity on Lions fan Alex Edwards when he turned up at the Ponsonby Rugby Club in Auckland, where she works, asking to park his van overnight.

Rather than leave him to sleep in his vehicle on a bitter winter's night, she opened her home to the Englishman, who had no idea who his hosts were.

"Her two lads came in and she said: 'This is Akira and Rieko'," he told Radio Sport of the incident, which took place before the Lions-Blues match earlier this month.

"I still didn't twig, I just thought: 'Blooming heck, these are big units, I'd best not do anything too bad in the house'."

Sandra said Edwards began to have his suspicions, but she decided to string him on a little longer.

"He didn't click, then we were having a cup of tea and he says: 'Those boys, I've seen them before.' I said: 'Nah mate'," she said.

It was only when chatting about rugby over a cup of tea with the brothers' father Ed and asking if the boys played for local club Ponsonby that realisation dawned.

"He said they're starting for the Blues and I was like, 'ah OK, the penny's dropped. I feel like a lemon," Edwards said.

Winger Rieko was a surprise starter in Saturday's opening Lions Test, grabbing two tries to justify his selection in sensational fashion, while highly rated flanker Akira is on the cusp of international honours.

"They were really cool, said: 'How's it going, bro.' Shook hands... talked rugby, just nice, really really good blokes," Edwards said.

Sandra said she extended a "marae-style" welcome, referring to the traditional Maori communal meeting house.

"It was mattress on the floor, I had the fire going, showed him where the toilet was, where the shower was and said: 'You help yourself for a feed mate, this is all do your own stuff.' Yeah it was cool," she said.

Edwards said the encounter was "mental" and would be a treasured memory of his trip to New Zealand.

"I can't imagine it happening back home, it's been brilliant," he said.

Nine dead, 28 missing in Colombia tourist boat sinking

At least nine people were dead and 28 missing after a boat carrying tourists sank in a reservoir in northwestern Colombia on Sunday, a regional official said.Authorities did not yet say what caused the four-deck Almirante to go down in the El Penol res…

At least nine people were dead and 28 missing after a boat carrying tourists sank in a reservoir in northwestern Colombia on Sunday, a regional official said.

Authorities did not yet say what caused the four-deck Almirante to go down in the El Penol reservoir in the tourist town of Guatape, where Colombian and foreign tourists take leisure cruises.

"At the moment we officially have nine people who have been found dead" and "approximately 28 people reported missing," said Margarita Moncada, head of the disaster prevention department of the Antioquia regional government.

She said the boat was carrying 170 people, most of whom were rescued by other boats or escaped by themselves.Guatape

"It sank extremely quickly. It all happened in a few minutes," said a fire service captain involved in the rescue effort, Luis Bernardo Morales.

One helicopter from the air force and two from the army went to help in rescue operations, the military said.

The reservoir is 68 kilometers (40 miles) from the city of Medellin and one of Antioquia department's main tourist draws.

- 'Crowded' decks -

One woman who survived said that the two lower decks were "too crowded" and there were "lots of children" on board.

"We started to feel like the boat was going to capsize," said the woman, who appeared on television but was not identified.

The Antioquia regional government said on Twitter that 24 people caught in the wreck were being treated in hospital.

Video circulating on social media showed the ship going down and dozens of other vessels approaching it to try to rescue people.

"What we have seen in the videos is that the boat was very close to the port... and we do not know whether it was a mechanical failure, an overloading or something to do with the currents that caused it to sink," said Morales, the fire captain.

He said rescuers were having difficulty reaching the reservoir by road due to heavy traffic on the major Medellin-Bogota highway.

- Holiday weekend -

Guatape fills with tourists on long weekends like this one, since Monday is a holiday in Colombia.

Visitors come for one- or two-hour cruises on the reservoir and to fish and jet-ski.

The national fire service said it was dispatching firefighters from six towns to help.

Medellin's mayor Federico Gutierrez said he was sending a team led by a firefighting crew captain and five scuba divers.

"The area is a bit difficult to reach and various rescue and emergency teams have started joining in," he said on Blu Radio.

President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter the air force and rescue services were deploying to deal with the "emergency."

"We are ready to provide the assistance required," he wrote.

Bunker chip-in brings Spieth his 10th PGA title

Jordan Spieth sank a bunker shot on the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat US compatriot Daniel Berger and win the Travelers Championship for his 10th career US PGA title.Sixth-ranked Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, fired a final-rou…

Jordan Spieth sank a bunker shot on the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat US compatriot Daniel Berger and win the Travelers Championship for his 10th career US PGA title.

Sixth-ranked Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, fired a final-round par 70 to finish 72 holes level with Berger on 12-under 268 at TPC River Highlands near Hartford, Connecticut.

On the par-4 18th hole in the playoff, Spieth hit a tree off the tee but the ball bounded into the fairway. His approach went into a greenside bunker. But then he blasted out and the ball bounced twice on the green and rolled three feet into the cup.

"For the bunker shot to go in, that was awesome," Spieth said. "I don't know if I'll ever have a moment like that again."

Spieth helped quiet a cheering crowd as Berger had a long putt from off the green to extend the playoff but Berger could not match Spieth's stunning feat and the celebration began in earnest moments later.

"It's just Jordan doing Jordan things," Berger said. "I played great today. Obviously I wanted to win. I'm just speechless right now."

Spieth, 23, won earlier this year at Pebble Beach and after completing a wire-to-wire victory in his Travelers debut became the second-youngest player to win 10 PGA titles, trailing only Tiger Woods.

"That's incredible," Spieth said. "It feels like I've been out here a long time. I feel very lucky."

Berger, who had been five back of Spieth at one stage, led last year's Travelers by three strokes after 54 holes only to lose.

New Zealand's Danny Lee and American Charley Hoffman shared third on 270, one stroke ahead of England's Paul Casey and Americans Patrick Reed and Boo Weekley, who managed his first top-25 finish of the season.

Deadlocked with Berger at 11-under down the final holes of the round, Spieth sank a 16-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th hole to reclaim a one-stroke edge.

Berger answered with a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-4 17th to match Spieth on 12-under.

Both players parred 18 to set up the playoff, each finding a greenside bunker then blasting out to three feet and making the par putt.

"It was a great up and down in regulation," Spieth said. "It was a battle. Got off to a great start. The putter let me down most of the round."

- McIlroy closes with 64 -

Spieth opened with back-to-back birdies, dropping his approaches five and seven feet from the cups, but took a bogey at the fourth and needed an 11-foot putt to rescue par at the sixth and stay at 13-under.

Spieth stumbled again at the 12th, missing a seven-foot par putt to fall to 12-under, then lipped out a four-foot birdie putt before parring 13.

Berger sank a five-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th to reach 11-under and when Spieth missed a three-foot par putt to bogey 14, the Americans were deadlocked atop the leaderboard at 11-under, setting up the final drama.

Third-ranked Rory McIlroy shot 64 to finish on 274, having struggled much of the week before rebounding in the final round to carry some confidence into the run-up to next month's British Open.

Rahane, Kohli shine as India rout West Indies in second ODI

Ajinkya Rahane’s third hundred and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli took India to a comfortable 105-run victory over the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday.Replying to the visitors’ formidable …

Ajinkya Rahane's third hundred and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli took India to a comfortable 105-run victory over the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.

Replying to the visitors' formidable total of 310 for five in a match reduced to 43 overs per side due to early morning rain and an two-hour delayed start, the hosts were restricted to 205 for six in reply despite a fluent 81 by Shai Hope at the top of the order.

Following the rain-ruined no result at the start of the series at the same venue two days earlier, India now take a 1-0 lead into the next two matches in Antigua next Friday and Sunday.

Rahane's well-paced 103 in another dominant opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan (63) set the tone for the tourists after they were put in to bat in heavily overcast and damp conditions.

"Having missed out on the Champions Trophy I was really hungry to perform here," said man-of-the-match Rahane.

"I really enjoy batting with Shikhar because he makes it so much easier for anyone batting with him."

Kohli then picked up the pace even further when Dhawan departed after a first-wicket partnership of 114, the left-hander being deceived by Ashley Nurse to be stumped.

It was the off-spinner's only success of the innings although Nurse was by far the best of the West Indies bowlers, conceding just 38 runs off nine overs.

Rahane eventually reached three figures with a boundary off Miguel Cummins.

However the medium-pacer got his revenge in the same over when the batsmen attempted an ungainly heave and was bowled for 103.

Rahane's innings occupied 104 deliveries and was embellished by two sixes and ten fours.

Having dominated a 97-run second-wicket partnership with Rahane, Kohli made centre stage all his own in the final assault.

He seemed destined to reach another ODI hundred to the delight of a decent contingent of visiting Indian fans when he was caught at long-off by Nurse off Alzarri Joseph for 87 off 66 balls in the penultimate over, a thoroughly entertaining effort highlighted by four towering sixes and four fours.

"I am really happy with the complete performance by the entire team," said Kohli in reflecting on his side's dominant effort.

"Missing out on a hundred means nothing to me. It was more important to be getting runs for the team at the end of the innings."

West Indies' indiscipline in the field added to the challenge and their woes were encapsulated by a horrific final over delivered by their captain Jason Holder.

He conceded 20 runs, bowled three no balls and had to be pulled out of the attack with one ball left because two of those no balls were delivered over waist-high to the batsman on strike.

It was left to Jonathan Carter to complete the over and the innings, encapsulating a shoddy effort overall by the home side.

Promoted to open the batting, Hope was the lone bright light in the West Indies response, his attacking innings off 88 balls with three sixes and five hours keeping slim hopes alive until he fell leg-before to Kuldeep Yadav.

Having his first bowl in ODIs, the left-arm wrist-spinner conceded 32 runs off his first four overs but then tasted success by having Evin Lewis stumped before adding the scalps of Hope and Holder to complete a miserable day for the Caribbean side's leader.

"We didn't bowl particularly well today and let this run away from us at the end of their innings," said a despondent Holder.

"We definitely have to rethink about our squad going into the upcoming two games in Antigua."

Japan’s airbag giant Takata says filed for bankruptcy protection

Japan’s crisis-hit airbag maker Takata said it filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, as it struggles with the fallout from the auto industry’s biggest ever safety recall.The Tokyo-based car parts giant is facing lawsuits and huge costs over an air…

Japan's crisis-hit airbag maker Takata said it filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, as it struggles with the fallout from the auto industry's biggest ever safety recall.

The Tokyo-based car parts giant is facing lawsuits and huge costs over an airbag defect linked to at least 16 deaths globally.

Takata made the filing with the Tokyo District Court, the firm said in a statement, as trading in Takata shares was suspended at the opening of the stock market Monday after a week of massive volatility.

"At a board meeting on June 26, our company decided to begin procedures in filing for bankruptcy protection," it said, adding that the court had accepted the filing.

Takata shares soared more than 40 percent on Friday after collapsing over the week as traders made bets on its likely bankruptcy.

Analysts attributed the upsurge on Friday to speculative trading among short-term investors hoping to profit from wild swings in share prices as well as to position adjustments ahead of the weekend.

‘Transformers 5’ dominates box office but opens at franchise-low

“Transformers: The Last Knight” smashed its way to the top of the North American box office, industry estimates showed on Sunday, sending last week’s hit “Cars 3” to second place.The fifth installment of the blockbuster franchise took in $45.3 million …

"Transformers: The Last Knight" smashed its way to the top of the North American box office, industry estimates showed on Sunday, sending last week's hit "Cars 3" to second place.

The fifth installment of the blockbuster franchise took in $45.3 million in its opening weekend but opened to a franchise low -- the first "Transformers" movie not to premier to $100 million or more.

The visual-effects heavy film features actors Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Anthony Hopkins.

Speeding into second was the third installment in Pixar's "Cars" franchise, with $25.2 million in its second weekend.

The animated flick features Lightning McQueen and his longtime friends fighting off a challenge from a new generation of racers, voiced by stars including Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo and Armie Hammer.

Superhero film "Wonder Woman" narrowly fell to third place with $25.1 million in earnings.

The action film starring Gal Gadot has made a total of $318.3 million in domestic ticket sales in four weeks, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Gadot, of the "Fast and Furious" series, plays an Amazonian goddess-princess-superhero whose lasso, bracelet and tiara have magical powers.

"47 Meters Down," the adventures of two sisters who fend off a shark attack after going cage diving, scored $7.4 million.

Coming in fifth was "The Mummy," starring Tom Cruise, which made $5.8 million.

The film -- the latest revival of the original "Mummy" made in 1932 -- cost $125 million to make and has been widely panned by critics.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"All Eyez On Me" ($5.8 million)

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" ($5.2 million)

"Rough Night" ($4.7 million)

"Captain Underpants" ($4.3 million)

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" ($3 million)

Federer buries ‘doubts’ with perfect Wimbledon boost

Swiss great Roger Federer thrashed Alexander Zverev to win his ninth Halle title on Sunday and admitted he’s feeling fresh ahead of his assault on an eighth Wimbledon crown next month.The top seed lost his first match of the grass-court season last wee…

Swiss great Roger Federer thrashed Alexander Zverev to win his ninth Halle title on Sunday and admitted he's feeling fresh ahead of his assault on an eighth Wimbledon crown next month.

The top seed lost his first match of the grass-court season last week in Stuttgart to Tommy Haas, but was in imperious form all week at Halle, culminating in Sunday's 6-1, 6-3 final victory over home favourite Zverev.

Federer will head into Wimbledon, which starts on July 3, as favourite to win an outright record eighth title and surpass the mark of seven he currently shares with Pete Sampras.

?I was doubting myself a little bit, I must admit, because losing in the opening round for the first time in 15 years on grass was always going to shake me a little bit and it did," admitted Federer.

"So I'm happy to react right away and let that be forgotten and actually move on and remind myself I actually can play well on grass.

"It's a boost for me personally, with my confidence, knowing that my body is in good shape. Mentally, I'm fresh again and I've gotten used to match play.?

Rome Masters champion Zverev had won all three of his previous finals this season, but was blown away by a vintage performance from 18-time major champion Federer in only 53 minutes on Sunday.

"I played great, I felt good from the start," said Federer.

"It was by far my best match of the week. After my long break, I'm feeling excellent and it's a pleasure to be back and I'm fit for Wimbledon."

The 35-year-old, who skipped the entire clay-court season, has still only lost two matches this year en route to four titles, including the Australian Open in January.

"My goal was to keep myself 100 percent for the grass season," he added.

"I now hope that I'll stay healthy in this second part of the season and we'll see what happens."

?I'm like on 'Cloud Nine' right now after the ninth win here in Halle. It's a wonderful feeling to win here again because I'm not sure if I'll ever get a chance to win this again so it's important to enjoy it.?

Federer raced out of the blocks and broke serve twice to reel off the first four games of the match.

The home crowd tried their best to get behind the world number 12 Zverev, and even though he got on the board in game five, Federer broke again to wrap up the opening set in just 23 minutes.

Zverev, 20, battled hard to stay with his illustrious opponent at the start of the second set, but failed to make any inroads into the Federer serve.

The 18-time major champion was in irresistible form and he brought up two break points after a scintillating rally.

A trademark forehand passing shot and a comfortable service game moved Federer to within a game of victory.

And he confidently served it out to wrap up the 92nd ATP Tour title of his career, which moves him to within two of second-placed Ivan Lendl on the all-time list.

Hong Kong activists stage China protest ahead of Xi visit

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters on Monday draped a black flag over a statue symbolising the city’s return to China by Britain, days before a visit by President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since the handover.High-profile student campaigner Joshua Won…

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters on Monday draped a black flag over a statue symbolising the city's return to China by Britain, days before a visit by President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since the handover.

High-profile student campaigner Joshua Wong and a dozen demonstrators attached the black cloth to the giant golden bauhinia flower on Hong Kong's harbourfront in an early morning protest as security tried to stop them climbing on the famous tourist attraction.

The sculpture of the bauhinia, which became the emblem of Hong Kong after the handover, was a present to the city from China in 1997 and stands outside the convention centre where Xi will attend anniversary events during a three-day visit starting Thursday.

Police were called to take the flag down while the protesters chanted "democratic self-determination for Hong Kong's future" and "one country, two systems has been a lie for 20 years", referring to Hong Kong's semi-autonomous status.

A guard shouted at them: "You are insulting our country! You are Chinese!"

The "one country, two systems" deal made when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 allows the city rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech.

But there are increasing concerns Beijing is trampling the agreement by interfering in a range of areas, from politics to education and media.

Campaigners like Wong are calling for democratic reforms, promised in the handover deal, to change a system where the city leader is still chosen by a pro-China committee and the legislature is weighted towards Beijing.

Wong led mass Umbrella Movement rallies calling for fully free leadership elections in 2014, but they failed to win concessions.

Since then calls for self-determination or even full independence from China have emerged for the first time.

Wong's party Demosisto wants a public referendum on Hong Kong's future in 2047, the year the handover agreement guaranteeing the city's way of life and liberties expires.

"The protest action aims to express our anger and disappointment against the administration for the major political blunders since 1997," Demosisto said in a statement.

It accused China of failing to honour promises made in the handover agreement, "depriving Hong Kong people of civil and political rights to free elections and democracy".

Xi's visit will be his first since becoming president in 2013 and will culminate with the inauguration of Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam, on Saturday.

Protesters say they are preparing to gather during the handover celebrations and Xi's visit will be shrouded in a huge security operation.

Kvitova looking to Wimbledon after comeback title

Petra Kvitova said on Sunday that coming back from a set down to win her first title since suffering a career-threatening injury has given her added confidence ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on July 3.The Czech beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3…

Petra Kvitova said on Sunday that coming back from a set down to win her first title since suffering a career-threatening injury has given her added confidence ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on July 3.

The Czech beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the grass-court event in Birmingham.

It was just the two-time Wimbledon champion's second tournament since recovering from severe injuries to her left playing hand suffered while fighting off a knife-wielding burglar at her home in December.

"I think it was nice to lose the first set, and that I had to fight for the second and for the third," said Kvitova.

"I think that will give me some extra confidence that I am still able to fight. So I think that's important.

"Of course it would be nice to win 6-2, 6-2, but there are not any easy matches like that in Wimbledon. So I'm happy that I managed to turn this match around."

The 27-year-old will head into the third Grand Slam tournament of the season as one of the favourites for the title, with reigning champion Serena Williams taking time out from the sport to give birth to her first child, and last year's runner-up Angelique Kerber having a difficult season.

Kvitova lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2011 and 2014, but she insisted that despite Sunday's success, she is not yet back to her best form.

"I played just one match in three sets. Come on," she protested.

"It's hard to say anything, but I think I've been through a very difficult time in my life, and it wasn't about the tennis, but about coming back healthy and alive and moving my fingers properly and everything like that."

Kvitova had admitted at the French Open that she feared she'd never play again and described her fear that she may have had to lose some of the fingers on her left hand.

"This victory is for my team and fans to say thank you for being with me in the tough times," Kvitova said later Sunday on Instagram.

"We didn't know if I would play again let alone win a trophy so this is an extra special moment. And it is for all of us to share."

Kvitova next heads to Eastbourne for the final event before Wimbledon. She is seeded 13 and faces Monica Niculescu in her opening tie.

Loew relishes Mexico test at Confederations Cup

Germany’s Joachim Loew said he is looking forward to facing Mexico on Thursday in the Confederations Cup semi-finals after the world champions pipped Chile to top spot in Group B.The Germans play Mexico in Sochi for a place in next Sunday’s final in Sa…

Germany's Joachim Loew said he is looking forward to facing Mexico on Thursday in the Confederations Cup semi-finals after the world champions pipped Chile to top spot in Group B.

The Germans play Mexico in Sochi for a place in next Sunday's final in Saint Petersburg while Chile meet Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the other last-four clash on Wednesday in Kazan.

"Mexico is going to be a tough game, they are a very flexible team with very good players," said Loew, who became the first head coach to achieve 100 international wins.

"We don't often play central American sides, so that will be interesting for us, but we need to be on our guard."

Germany's Timo Werner, 21, netted twice in Sunday's win over 10-man Cameroon which saw them finish two points clear of Chile, who rallied for a 1-1 draw with Australia in Moscow.

After Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring in Sochi, Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar's consolation effort on 78 minutes.

Cameroon had Ernest Mabouka sent off in controversial fashion on 64 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool's Emre Can.

Referee Wilmar Roldan initially dismissed Sebastien Siani before the video assistant referee rectified his error.

Loew, in his 150th match in charge of Germany, maintained his impressive record of reaching the semi-finals of every tournament over the last decade.

Loew praised his inexperienced side for overcoming Cameroon, but the Africans' coach Hugo Broos lashed out at tournament organisers in Russia with just a year to go before they stage the World Cup.

The Belgian praised the "excellent" standard of the stadiums, but said heavy traffic hampered training sessions when they played in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

- Traffic troubles -

"On three different occasions we had to start our session an hour late, because we were stuck in traffic, even though we had a police escort from the hotel," said Broos.

"That must be reviewed and sorted out, because in one year's time, when the World Cup is here, teams should not be stuck in traffic.

"It's not that you start an hour late, everything gets pushed back and on one occasion we ate at 10pm at night, which is far too late."

Meanwhile, Chile had to come from behind to salvage a point against Australia in Moscow.

After James Troisi put the Asian champions ahead on 42 minutes at Spartak Stadium, Chile replied through half-time substitute Martin Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up.

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi insisted they hadn't underestimated Australia, who are heading home after their bid to edge the Copa America holders to second place fizzled out.

"That could have been a quarter-final in the World Cup, such was the level of this game," said Pizzi.

"We are happy to reach the semi-finals and reach that aim. Now we must refocus on our next ambition."

Australia boss Ange Postecoglou regretted his side's missed opportunities.

"We wanted to get out of the group and we haven't, so we are disappointed," said Postecoglou.

"They (Chile) are a world class team, a fantastic team, and have played some of the best teams in the world off the park.

"We needed energy to face that and the guys who came in did a great job. From my perspective, it was a great performance."

- Century for Cahill -

Postecoglou praised veteran forward Tim Cahill as Australia's captain made his 100th international appearance.

He joined long-serving former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109) as the only other Australia player to reach the landmark.

Cahill originally played youth international football for Samoa and was only cleared to feature for Australia after FIFA changed its eligibility rules in 2004.

"It's an unbelievable achievement to have played 100 games as he didn't play for Australia until he was 24, because he wasn't allowed to," said Postecoglou.

"He could have been sat here with 120, 130 games, very easily.

"Every time he has played at the highest level, at World Cups, he has scored goals. He is a fantastic influence."

After Ostapenko, Sevastova strikes another blow for Latvia

Anastasija Sevastova won her first trophy since 2010 on Sunday when she captured the Mallorca Open, becoming the second Latvian in two weeks to clinch a title after Jelena Ostapenko’s Roland Garros triumph.The 27-year-old world 19 defeated Germany’s Ju…

Anastasija Sevastova won her first trophy since 2010 on Sunday when she captured the Mallorca Open, becoming the second Latvian in two weeks to clinch a title after Jelena Ostapenko's Roland Garros triumph.

The 27-year-old world 19 defeated Germany's Julia Goerges 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to add the Mallorca grass court crown to her maiden title at Estoril seven years ago.

Sevastova had finished runner-up at the Spanish event in 2016, losing to Caroline Garcia, but she avenged that loss against the Frenchwoman in the semi-finals this year.

"It?s my second final here. I won, but it was a tough match. I hope the tournament will be back here next year," said Sevastova, who took a two-year break from tennis between 2013 and 2015 before returning.

Goerges said she was happy that Sevastova came back to the sport, a decision which paid dividends with a run to the US Open quarter-finals in 2016.

"I?ve known you a long time, and there were some years when you told me you didn?t want to play tennis anymore, and now here we are," Goerges said during the trophy ceremony.

"I?m so glad I was able to play this final against you because I think you?re a great player. I?m so happy you're back in tennis, but hopefully you?ll let me win next time, and play many more finals together."

New York’s gay pride march: anti-Trump but also pro-fun

Tens of thousands of marchers paraded through New York streets Sunday in a huge Gay Pride parade, with many proudly carrying rainbow flags or waving virulently anti-Trump signs. On foot, astride motorcycles or riding on flatbed trucks, participants slo…

Tens of thousands of marchers paraded through New York streets Sunday in a huge Gay Pride parade, with many proudly carrying rainbow flags or waving virulently anti-Trump signs.

On foot, astride motorcycles or riding on flatbed trucks, participants slowly covered the 2-mile (3-kilometer) route from Midtown Manhattan to Greenwich Village, where the movement for homosexual rights was born after the so-called Stonewall riots of 1969.

New York's Gay Pride march has spawned copycat demonstrations in almost every corner of the world. But while police in Istanbul fired rubber bullets at participants to disperse marchers, the parade in New York is a long-accepted institution.

Under a brilliant sun, hundreds of police officers and some of New York's most prominent politicians -- Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Mario Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer, all Democrats -- marched cheerfully alongside participants, some of the latter in the scantiest of outfits.

The 2015 edition of the march celebrated the nationwide legalization of gay marriage.

Last year, the mood was somber, coming after a shooting massacre at an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub left 49 people dead.

This year, many marcher carried "Resist" posters, expressing their disdain for President Donald Trump's policies and priorities -- notably the effort to roll back the Obamacare health reforms, as well as moves to curtail the rights of transsexuals.

Gavin Grimm, a transsexual student whose demand that he be allowed to use the boys' bathroom at his high school gained nationwide notoriety and was taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union, was designated a grand marshal of the parade.

He told the AFP that the recent Supreme Court decision to review the matter was "unfortunate (and) very disappointing," but added that "I feel it was only a roadblock in a fight that we all know was going to be long anyway."

While many participants were clearly, and vocally, opposed to Trump, many others said they did not want the march to become a politicized event.

"It's not political, its social," said Cara Lee Sparry, a New Yorker who has taken part in a dozen such marches.

"Just to be surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people going 'Yeah' for hours, is incredible. You can't beat it!"

High emotion as Queen Mary 2, four trimarans race to New York

Four high-tech trimarans, made purely for racing speed, and the Queen Mary 2, built soley for luxury, set off for New York on Sunday, the centrepiece of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Europe to fight in World …

Four high-tech trimarans, made purely for racing speed, and the Queen Mary 2, built soley for luxury, set off for New York on Sunday, the centrepiece of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of US troops in Europe to fight in World War I.

"The Bridge" tests the talents of four leading skippers in a battle of little and large.

Sodebo, skippered by Thomas Coville, Idec, with fellow world record holder Francis Joyon at the helm, Francois Gabart's Macif and Yves le Blevec's Actual are in charge of multi-hulled crafts measuring just 32 metres.

Queen Mary 2, meanwhile, looks down on them from 74m -- the equivalent of 23 floors -- while her 345m from bow to stern stretches by and far beyond them.

The flagship cruiseship of the Cunard line was built at the French port of Saint-Nazaire 13 and a half years ago and returnrd to port on Saturday, saluted by cannon and fireworks.

It was an emotional homecoming in the town of 70,000 people.

In November 2003, 16 people, including children, were killed and 29 injured when a gangway connecting the ship to the docks collapsed just before its maiden voyage.

The victims were remembered on Sunday before the race to the United States got underway in a moving ceremony attended by relatives of the dead.

It was also an event taking place under the tightest security with 400 police on guard.

The Queen Mary 2 sailed away at a speed of 29 knots (around 54 km/h) and is expected to arrive under New York's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Saturday morning after a journey of 3,152 nautical miles (5,837km).

"It's a beautiful symbol of the race," said Coville.

Gabart, the youngest skipper at 34, added: "It's an exceptional opportunity to navigate against each other. There aren't many of us but we are lucky to have the best."

The first problem facing the four skippers is the weather with an anticyclone out in the Atlantic complicating the challenge.

The four trimarans, all with six crew on board, could take a route to the north and arrive in New York in eight days but they risk having to negotiate icebergs.

There is a less dangerous route to the south, but the absence of wind means it will take 10 days before they sight the Statue of Liberty.

It was at the French Atlantic port of Saint Nazaire on June 26, 1917, that 14,750 American soldiers disembarked on their way to the Western Front.

The stench of death rises over Mosul’s Old City

Devastated buildings, piles of rubble and putrid corpses of jihadists: apocalyptic scenes unfold in the Old City of Mosul where Iraqi forces are battling the last Islamic State group fighters.Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Tamim walks past the body of …

Devastated buildings, piles of rubble and putrid corpses of jihadists: apocalyptic scenes unfold in the Old City of Mosul where Iraqi forces are battling the last Islamic State group fighters.

Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Tamim walks past the body of a jihadist half buried under the ruins of a building in Faruq district, three times within minutes, without giving it a glance.

The body, which has been decomposing for days in scorching heat of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), is bloated and turning black and the remains let off a pungent smell.

The bearded fighter died holding his weapon.

Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi told AFP that he believes only "a few hundred Daesh fighters", an Arabic acronym for Islamic State group jihadists, are left in the Old City.

Three years after overrunning Mosul and making it the de facto Iraqi capital of the "caliphate" they proclaimed, the jihadists now only control about a square kilometre in the city, commanders said.

A warren of alleyways, the Old City resonates with the sound of gunfire from automatic rifles, exploding rockets and the thuds of mortar rounds as Iraqi forces battle the jihadists for their last holdouts.

"Daesh members don't turn themselves in," said Tamim.

"And if they don?t get killed, their last option is to blow themselves up and commit suicide."

Carcasses of motorcycles and scooters that had been rigged with explosives and blown up are scattered along the sides of the Old City's alleyways.

IS fighters have tried repeatedly to slow down the advance of Iraqi forces with suicide attacks.

Rubble from what used to be roofs or facades damaged in the fierce fighting litters the narrow streets, sometimes piled several metres (feet) high.

A soldier who took part in the battle to retake Faruq says air strikes were an important factor because armoured vehicles were unable to be squeezed into the alleyways.

"We advance and determine where enemies are, then we call for air strikes to eliminate them, (and) then we advance, cautiously," said a soldier who did not wish to be identified.

"We see lots of dead bodies. We're searching for the others" who are still alive, he said of the IS fighters.

- Civilians in the crossfire -

The devastation is overwhelming.

Buildings have been levelled entirely, with electrical cables dangling from them and debris from blown up cars found on the upper floors of those still standing.

Once a residential neighbourhood, Faruq has been reduced to a wasteland of flattened buildings and streets filled with chunks of concrete and dust.

Inside the houses that have withstood the fighting, anarchy reigns.

Household items, furniture, clothes and cooking utensils are strewn everywhere, alongside bikes, toys and blankets, but not a soul to be seen.

The Iraqi army says it is taking every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians as it presses its offensive against the jihadists.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to be still trapped in the Old City, half of them children.

The civilians "are our priority and we have helped them," said Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) that has spearheaded the assault.

Iraqi forces launched an assault on the Old City on June 18, eight months into an offensive to retake Mosul, the country's biggest military operation in years.

Hundreds of IS fighters have been killed since the operation started on October 17, hundreds of civilians have also died. More than 800,000 people have had to flee their homes and many are still housed in overcrowded camps.

Survivors of the battle of Mosul say most families have lost one or several relatives, some killed by jihadists, and others due to the fighting.

Civilians who have fled the battleground city say entire families who had sought refuge in the basements of homes occupied by jihadists were killed in the bombardment.

Coleman cruises, Lyles out at US world team trials

Christian Coleman blasted into the final of the 200m at the US world championships trials on Sunday as rising star Noah Lyles saw his World Championship hopes end in injury.Coleman, the fastest man in the world this year over 100m, raced to an impressi…

Christian Coleman blasted into the final of the 200m at the US world championships trials on Sunday as rising star Noah Lyles saw his World Championship hopes end in injury.

Coleman, the fastest man in the world this year over 100m, raced to an impressive victory in his semi-final in 20.18 seconds ahead of Ameer Webb in 20.51.

The second semi-final was won by Isiah Young in 20.28 but that was overshadowed by the withdrawal of teenage talent Lyles.

Lyles, 19, had ran the third-fastest time in the world this year with a 19.90 at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai last month, and is one of a new crop of young American sprinters.

However, manager Mark Wetmore told reporters that the teenager had felt sore from a tight right hamstring that has been niggling him all season.

"He has a little bit of a strain in his right hamstring and he didn't want to risk it," Wetmore said.

"He was trying to warm up and he couldn't fully extend. He could have run but it would have just been an unnecessary risk to take for a 19-year-old," he added.

In the women's 200m semi-finals, Olympic bronze medalist Tori Bowie and 2012 Olympic champion Allyson Felix both qualified for the final.

Felix, who is only expected to race in the 400m in London, reached the final in 22.62. Bowie was fourth quickest in 22.89.

Dixon stretches IndyCar lead with Road America win

New Zealand’s Scott Dixon stretched his IndyCar season points lead Sunday by taking his first victory of the campaign, holding off Josef Newgarden to win the Road America Grand Prix.Dixon, a four-time season champion, won his 41st career IndyCar race a…

New Zealand's Scott Dixon stretched his IndyCar season points lead Sunday by taking his first victory of the campaign, holding off Josef Newgarden to win the Road America Grand Prix.

Dixon, a four-time season champion, won his 41st career IndyCar race and first since last September at Watkins Glen.

"I'm so happy. This is so awesome," Dixon said. "Everything went just right."

It was also Dixon's first win in the 55-lap feature over the 4.014-mile (6.46km), 14-turn countryside road circuit at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

American Newgarden was second with Brazilian pole sitter Helio Castroneves third, reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud of France fourth and 2016 Road America winner Will Power of Australia fifth.

The 36-year-old Kiwi boosted his lead in the drivers' standings with 379 points, moving from 13 to 34 points clear of Pagenaud with Castroneves third, falling from 20 to 37 points back.

Castroneves, who settled for his 13th podium finish since last winning in 2014 at Detroit, pulled ahead at the start while Newgarden passed Power to move into second.

Newgarden passed Castroneves on lap 20 to seize the lead and kept the edge through the second set of pit stops, Dixon moving into second with faster refueling.

Japan's Takuma Sato, last month's Indianapolis 500 winner, spun out to set up a lap-31 restart that saw Dixon seize the lead in the first turn and Castroneves also took advantage, pushing Newgarden to third.

"That's where we won the race," Dixon said.

Newgarden overtook Castroneves in the final pit stops, moving just behind Dixon after Brazil's Tony Kanaan crashed to set up a restart with seven laps remaining.

On the restart, Dixon pulled away quickly and held off Newgarden to the checkered flag.

"Honda power gave me a good punch to get over the line," Dixon said.

"Stinks a little bit we didn't get the win but we ran well," Newgarden said. "I think we were quicker than him but not quicker enough that we could get him on the restart."

Seven of 17 races remain this season, the next of them an oval event July 9 at Newton, Iowa.

Weary Mongolians to vote after ‘dark’ campaigns

Mongolians head to the polls on Monday to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master after a presidential campaign rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric.The sprawling, resource-rich country of just three million sa…

Mongolians head to the polls on Monday to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master after a presidential campaign rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric.

The sprawling, resource-rich country of just three million sandwiched between Russia and China was once viewed as an oasis of democracy full of economic promise.

But it has struggled in recent years with mounting debt and low voter turnout.

The next president will inherit a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout designed to stabilise its economy and lessen its dependence on China, which purchases 80 percent of Mongolian exports.

But voters have heard little from the three candidates about unemployment and jobs -- their top concerns in opinion polls -- as campaigns have instead focused on their opponents' allegedly shady pasts.

Among the accusations are a 60 billion tugrik ($25 million) scheme to sell government posts, hefty offshore accounts and a clandestine donation from a member of a South Korean church -- all of which the candidates have denied.

The campaign was also marked by moments of anti-Chinese sentiment, with candidate Mieygombo Enkhbold of the parliament-ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) publishing his family tree to rebuff claims that he had Chinese blood.

"(The election) is truly testing the nerves of voters," Gerel Orgil, a Mongolian public opinion analyst, told AFP. "It's been like watching a bullfight."

- Run-off looms -

Enkhbold, a horse breeder and former mayor of Ulan Bator, is considered the establishment candidate.

He faces brash businessman Khaltmaa Battulga of the outgoing president's opposition Democratic Party, a property tycoon and former head of the judo association.

The third candidate is Sainkhuu Ganbaatar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, a former independent who once headed a feng shui practise.

While Enkhbold and Battulga are considered the main contenders, Ganbaatar is expected to garner enough votes to trigger the country's first ever run-off.

- Power struggles -

Several voters described the campaigns as "dark" and accused the candidates of using smear jobs to distract from real issues.

"Ganbaatar is the only one who speaks the voice of the regular people of Mongolia," said Zundui Gombojav, a 60-year-old unemployed disabled man.

"For 27 years, we have chosen the two largest parties, but they have done nothing."

Other voters were concerned that electing Enkhbold would give absolute power to the MPP, which already holds the majority of seats in parliament.

Daram Erdebayar, a 61-year-old retired teacher, had previously been loyal to the MPP, but decided to support Battulga after a recording surfaced in which Enkhbold and other MPP officials were allegedly discussing a plan to hand public jobs to the highest bidders.

He said several teachers in the capital's "ger" districts -- slums comprised of yurts and ramshackle houses on the city outskirts -- were abruptly fired in recent years after working in the same schools for decades.

His colleagues suspected that they were replaced with individuals who had bribed the city education authority, Erdebayar said.

Not everyone favoured shaking up the status quo.

Lying in bed in the yurt that she shared with her three children, Jamiynsurengiin Olzod said all she wanted from the government was a grant to buy a new sewing machine.

The 35-year-old seamstress lives off child welfare allowances and sales of handmade traditional garments during Mongolia's two biggest holidays, the Lunar New Year and Naadam.

"Enkhbold has experience and is known abroad," she said. "His reputation can help him get foreign aid."

Rahane century, Kohli assault as India make 310-5

Ajinkya Rahane?s third hundred and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli lifted India to a formidable 310 for five against the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen?s Park Oval in Trinidad on Sunday.In a match reduced to 43…

Ajinkya Rahane?s third hundred and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli lifted India to a formidable 310 for five against the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen?s Park Oval in Trinidad on Sunday.

In a match reduced to 43 overs per side due to early morning rain and a two-hour delayed start, Rahane?s well-paced 103 in another dominant opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan (63) set the tone for the tourists after they were put in to bat in heavily overcast and damp conditions.

Kohli then picked up the pace even further when Dhawan departed after a first-wicket partnership of 114, the left-hander being deceived by Ashley Nurse to be stumped.

It was the off-spinner?s only success of the innings although Nurse was by far the best of the West Indies bowlers, conceding just 38 runs off nine overs.

Rahane eventually reached three figures with a boundary off Miguel Cummins.

However the medium-pacer got his revenge in the same over when the batsmen attempted an ungainly heave and was bowled for 103. Rahane?s innings occupied 104 deliveries and was embellished by two sixes and ten fours.

Having dominated a 97-run second-wicket partnership with Rahane, Kohli took centre stage in the final assault and seemed destined to reach another ODI hundred to the delight of a decent contingent of visiting Indian fans when he was caught at long-off by Nurse off Alzarri Joseph for 87 off 66 balls in the penultimate over, a thoroughly entertaining effort highlighted by four towering sixes and four fours.

West Indies? indiscipline in the field added to the challenge and their woes were encapsulated by a horrific final over of the innings delivered by their captain Jason Holder.

He conceded 20 runs, bowled three no balls and had to be pulled out of the attack with one ball left in the innings because two of those no balls were delivered over waist-high to the batsman on strike.

It was left to Jonathan Carter to complete the over and the innings and encapsulated a shoddy effort overall by the home side.

US sets Gold Cup lineup with eye on World Cup

US national team coach Bruce Arena named a 23-player roster Sunday for next month’s Gold Cup, using the North American championship to evaluate talent for next year’s World Cup.A squad dominated by talent from Major League Soccer features 13 players wi…

US national team coach Bruce Arena named a 23-player roster Sunday for next month's Gold Cup, using the North American championship to evaluate talent for next year's World Cup.

A squad dominated by talent from Major League Soccer features 13 players with less than 10 caps, four of them making their first appearance at a US team training camp.

"Anytime you're in the midst of World Cup qualifying and very close to not only qualifying, but being at a World Cup a year later, you have to have a competitive environment," Arena said.

"These players will push to position themselves to be a big part of things moving forward."

Only three European-based players were selected, Chelsea defender Matt Miazga, Nottingham Forest defender Eric Lichaj and uncapped midfielder Kenny Saief of Gent.

Most Americans coming off the European season were used in World Cup qualifiers earlier this month, recording a 2-0 home win over Trinidad and Tobago and a 1-1 draw at Mexico to stand third in the six-team CONCACAF qualifying group with four matches to play. The top three teams claim automatic berths to Russia next year.

Arena took over the American team for a second time after last year's firing of ex-Germany star Jurgen Klinsmann after the Americans lost their first two qualifiers. The US has since won twice and drawn twice under Arena.

New England's Juan Agudelo and Seattle's Jordan Morris are joined by Kansas City newcomer Dom Dwyer in attack while Brad Guzan, with 54 caps, offers the most experience at goalkeeper.

Experienced defenders include Kansas City's Matt Besler, Mexico-based Omar Gonzalez of Pachuca and Kansas City's Graham Zusi while veteran midfielders Alejandro Bedoya of Philadelphia and Gyasi Zardes of Los Angeles are also included.

In all, 12 players on the roster have been part of the US World Cup qualifying effort.

"It's a good roster with a nice blend of experienced, veteran players and a good group of newcomers as well," Arena said. "There's good balance at every position. We can play a number of ways.

"I think all these players have a desire to play for the US and will be working hard. It will be a competitive camp. They are going to be highly motivated, very coachable and they have an opportunity to make a statement."

Players began camp Sunday at Nashville, Tennessee, ahead of a Gold Cup tune-up match next Saturday against Ghana at East Hartford, Connecticut.

Iran seeks stronger ties with Qatar: Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday said his country wants to bolster ties with Qatar and rejected a Saudi-led blockade of the Gulf Arab emirate.”Iran’s policy is to develop more and more its relations with Doha,” Rouhani said in a phone convers…

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday said his country wants to bolster ties with Qatar and rejected a Saudi-led blockade of the Gulf Arab emirate.

"Iran's policy is to develop more and more its relations with Doha," Rouhani said in a phone conversation with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, according to the presidency website.

"Tehran stands alongside the people and government of Qatar and we believe that... pressure, threats and sanctions are not a good solution to solve problems" between countries of the region, Rouhani added.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are among several countries which announced on June 5 the suspension of all ties to Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups, a claim Doha denies.

They have also closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border -- vital for its food imports.

Shiite dominated Iran, an arch-rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, has stepped in by shipping to Qatar tonnes of fruit and vegetables.

"Helping Qatar economically and developing ties, particularly in the private sectors of both countries, could be a common goal," Rouhani said on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, have issued 13 demands which they want Qatar to meet in return for an end to the nearly three-week-old diplomatic and trade "blockade".

Doha has said denounced the demands -- including the closure of Al-Jazeera news channel and downgrading ties with Tehran -- as unreasonable.

Visitor numbers down but Paris Air Show was ‘good vintage’

This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget has proved a “good vintage” with orders up 13 percent though fewer visitors showed up, organisers said as the event wound down Sunday.Tight security owing to an ongoing state of emergency in the wake of several …

This year's Paris Air Show at Le Bourget has proved a "good vintage" with orders up 13 percent though fewer visitors showed up, organisers said as the event wound down Sunday.

Tight security owing to an ongoing state of emergency in the wake of several terror attacks in France in the past 18 months saw the number of visitors slide compared with the last edition two years ago -- the event alternates with Farnborough in England.

But orders rose to $150 billion (134 billion euros) compared with the $130 billion the industry put in its order books two years ago, with giants Boeing and Airbus between them taking the lion's share with $114 billion -- $74.8 billion and $39.7 billion respectively.

Boeing managed to outpace its rival thanks to its new 737 MAX 10 airliner, taking in a total of 571 orders and commitments, with the plane aimed at the biggest part of the commercial airline market -- single-aisle aircraft for medium-range flights.

The jet promises even more fuel economy thanks to improvements in aerodynamics and engine performance.

But Airbus did win a big order from Iran's Zagros Airlines for 20 planes of the A320neo family and eight of the A330neo type.

The show also highlighted inflight internet access -- a nascent market still hobbled by slow speeds -- which will soon take off as dedicated satellites make surfing in the skies a reality, analysts at the show said.

They shrugged off the effect of bans on bringing laptops and tablets onboard imposed by Britain and the United States on flights departing from certain airports owing to the terror threat.

Marc Rochet, chief executive of the low-cost airline French Blue, said midweek that more than half of global commercial aircraft could be kitted out by 2021.

"It's a very good vintage in terms of business," said Emeric d'Arcimoles, the commissioner general overseeing the event which opened exclusively to professionals Monday to Thursday before letting in the public at large.

The number of professional visitors slipped six percent from two years ago to 140,000 -- which d'Arcimoles blamed largely on "budgetary restrictions" for many companies in the sector as well as on the tight security required under France's state of emergency.

D'Arcimoles said strong orders apart this year's edition saw other positives, such as the third edition of an employment fair showcasing opportunities in the aeronautical sector which he said attracted "more than 60,000 people, essentially young people".

In addition, Paris Air Lab, a new forum dedicated to research, brought in 50,000 visitors and allowed a number of start-up firms to book their first orders, he added.

- 'Stuff of dreams' -

The first half of the weeklong event, the world's largest air show, took place in sweltering temperatures which scared off some with non-professional visitor numbers down an estimated 10 percent from 2015.

Those who did attend were treated to programmes showing off some 30 rafale and Mirage combat planes, military helicopters and business and commercial jets and enjoyed a spectacular performance by the French Patrol demonstration squadron.

French President Emmanuel Macron also made an appearance, trying on a virtual reality headset as the aviation world delves ever deeper into the world of high tech, not least with roles for hybrid-energy jets and drones.

As the planemakers counted their orders, private visitors said high-flying hardware had drawn them to the event's gates.

"The world of aviation, it's the stuff of dreams," said Luis Ferrera, 42, enjoying a family day out.

Shigeharu Kito, 70, and Yukio Minami, 51, travelled from Japan with five fellow flying fans, telephoto lenses at the ready to capture and preserve memories of the moment.

For them, Le Bourget was an important highlight on a European tour of all matters aviation which saw them visit the Heathrow and Frankfurt airports as well as the Airbus headquarters of Toulouse in southwestern France.

Colombia: Final death toll put at 13 in mine explosion

Colombian authorities on Sunday put the final death toll at 13 in an explosion Friday at an illegal coal mine in the center of the country. The explosion, in a mine near the town of Cucunuba in Cundinamarca department, was believed to be caused by an a…

Colombian authorities on Sunday put the final death toll at 13 in an explosion Friday at an illegal coal mine in the center of the country.

The explosion, in a mine near the town of Cucunuba in Cundinamarca department, was believed to be caused by an accumulation of methane gas.

The deputy mines minister, Carlos Andres Cante, announced an investigation to confirm the cause.

At the Cucunuba site, dozens of rescuers, backed by seven mine engineers, worked for more than 30 hours to recover the 13 bodies and bring an injured miner to safety, according to Silvana Habib, president of the National Mining Agency (NMA).

Authorities had said Saturday that they were still looking for two missing miners, but the two were later found dead.

President Juan Manuel Santos mourned the victims and called for tougher safety standards for the mining industry.

The NMA said Saturday that there are 44 legal mines around Cucunuba and a similar number not in compliance with the law.

Authorities said Sunday that a ceiling collapse at another illegal coal mine -- near the town of Lenguazaque, also in Cundinamarca department -- claimed a single life.

There were 23 mining deaths in Colombia in the first five months of this year, after 124 in all of 2016, according to an NMA report.

Colombia is a major coal exporter. Its mines produced a record 90 million tons last year, according to official figures.

UK fire fears continue as 60 buildings deemed unsafe

The fallout from London’s devastating tower block fire continued on Sunday as the government announced 60 high-rises have failed safety tests, while authorities struggle to evacuate some residents.The massive operation to test tower blocks follows the …

The fallout from London's devastating tower block fire continued on Sunday as the government announced 60 high-rises have failed safety tests, while authorities struggle to evacuate some residents.

The massive operation to test tower blocks follows the Grenfell Tower inferno earlier this month that is presumed to have killed 79 people after it spread at shocking speed.

Suspicion has fallen on the cladding installed on the outside of Grenfell and urgent checks have found such material used on 60 other residential buildings has failed fire tests.

"All landlords and fire and rescue services for these local authorities have been alerted to the results and we are in touch with all of them to support and monitor follow-up action," said local government minister Sajid Javid.

The new figure is a significant jump from the 34 high-rise buildings in England deemed unsafe by the government on Saturday.

While many people have been able to stay in their homes despite the fire risk, thousands of residents from 650 flats in north London were evacuated on Saturday.

An inspection showed four of the five Chalcots Estate towers in Camden were at risk over cladding, fire doors, gas pipes and insulation, prompting a chaotic evacuation with temporary accommodation offered in a local leisure centre and hotels.

Despite the safety fears, around 200 residents have refused to leave their homes, some of whom suffer from agoraphobia, according to local authority leader Georgia Gould.

"I'm going myself back to the blocks to knock on doors and have those conversations," she told BBC television of her efforts to convince residents to leave.

Gould refused to be drawn on whether there was a deadline to evacuate residents, saying: "The last thing I want to do is force people out of their homes."

It is up to each local authority to decide whether to evacuate residents from blocks which have failed fire tests, a spokesman for the communities and local government told AFP.

As tests continue to avoid a repeat of the horror which broke out at the Grenfell on June 14, the charred skeleton of the 24-storey block looms over west London.

Police detective Fiona McCormack on Friday said all "complete bodies" had been removed from the wreckage and there was "a terrible reality that we may not find or identify everyone who died due to the intense heat".

New Zealand stretch lead over USA with another America’s Cup win

Emirates Team New Zealand reasserted their dominance in the America’s Cup on Sunday, stretching their lead to 5-1 over defenders Oracle Team USA with a victory in the first of the day’s two races.Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, shooting for a third st…

Emirates Team New Zealand reasserted their dominance in the America's Cup on Sunday, stretching their lead to 5-1 over defenders Oracle Team USA with a victory in the first of the day's two races.

Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, shooting for a third straight Cup crown, threw in a slight swerve as the catamarans headed side-by-side for the startline, allowing Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling to blast across the line one second ahead.

Leading at the first mark, New Zealand were never really threatened.

Burling made the most of a wind shift on the third leg to stretch New Zealand's lead to 32 seconds at the third mark.

They led by as many as 40 at the fourth mark, and even though the USA whittled that down to 12 Oracle weren't in position to challenge on the final sprint to the finish line.

New Zealand snatched back the momentum after the USA notched their first win of the series on Saturday.

The Kiwis started the first-to-seven points series with a one-point deficit but were left needing just two more wins to wrest the Cup from the USA, with one more race scheduled for Sunday.

Stroll climbs podium, ignores critics’ ‘noise’

Lance Stroll became only the second teenager in Formula One history to record a podium finish when he marked his rookie season with his maiden third place in Sunday?s wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Driving his Williams with calm aplomb on an afternoon of c…

Lance Stroll became only the second teenager in Formula One history to record a podium finish when he marked his rookie season with his maiden third place in Sunday?s wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Driving his Williams with calm aplomb on an afternoon of chaos, the 18-year-old Canadian silenced his critics with his top-three finish in only his eighth outing.

He was just 12 days older than Dutchman Max Verstappen was when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on debut with Red Bull.

"I am a bit lost for words," said Stroll. "It was such an intense race, a crazy race, and so much happened -- the red flag and hopping out of the car and hopping back in and having to reset. It happened so quickly.

?Today where we did well was to stay out of trouble, let some other drivers make mistakes and get to the end. I can't describe how I feel. It?s a dream come true -? every racing driver wants to stand on the podium at a Formula One race."

At his home Canadian Grand Prix recently, Stroll was ninth.

On Sunday, he was only beaten to second place by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas on the final straight.

"I don't think it proves a point,? said Stroll who came in for a stream of criticism for his results earlier in the season.

?I don't listen to that stuff, it is just noise. I had it last year when I had the perfect year and this year when I had some tough times.

?I am just happy with myself. It is all just noise in the background, I don't care."

Stroll did a test in a 2014 Williams car to prepare himself last year and is continuing that this year, having made a set-up breakthrough when he tested again at Austin, in Texas, after the Canada race.

"Sometimes jumping F3 to F1 is quite big and it took time to try to understand," said Stroll.

"We took a different direction with the set-up, shifting away after Bahrain and from Barcelona taking a different direction with the car.

"We came back to it this weekend and that set-up gives me more confidence, I am able to push the car. It gives me confidence and comfort. I will keep working on things moving forward.

?I can improve a lot, it just takes a bit of time. This year is a very different formula for me and I need to experience it, come back and figure this and that out.?

Werner brace fires Germany into semis against Mexico

Timo Werner netted twice as Germany set up a Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico with a 3-1 win on Sunday against 10-man Cameroon, who initially had the wrong player sent off. Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring just after the…

Timo Werner netted twice as Germany set up a Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico with a 3-1 win on Sunday against 10-man Cameroon, who initially had the wrong player sent off.

Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring just after the break before Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar's consolation effort for Cameroon on 78 minutes.

But the video assistant referee system was again thrust into the spotlight when Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka was sent off just past the hour for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool's Emre Can.

Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan initially sent off Sebastien Siani by mistake, before the decision was rectified and Mabouka was dismissed instead.

"I didn't understand it and I still don't understand it now," fumed Cameroon's Belgian coach Hugo Broos.

"I think this is something for the referee, he and he alone can explain what happened."

The victory in Sochi meant Germany finished top of Group B ahead of Chile, who drew 1-1 with Australia in Moscow.

The Germans face Group A runners-up Mexico in Sochi next Thursday in their semi-final, while Chile will face Portugal on Wednesday in Kazan.

Joachim Loew reached the milestone of 100 wins in his 150th international as Germany's head coach.

He maintained his impressive record of steering the national team to the semi-finals of every tournament over the last decade.

"I have to say I am very proud and full of praise for the team for reaching the semi-finals," said Loew. "We didn't necessarily expect this in the build-up from such a young team. The lads have done a good job."

Loew made four changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Chile on Thursday.

- Demirbay rocket -

Centre-back Antonio Ruediger came in for Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi and Werner, the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga last season, took Lars Stindl's place up front.

After a strong season with Hoffenheim, Demirbay slotted into attacking midfield alongside captain Julian Draxler and Hertha Berlin's Marvin Plattenhardt, who came in for Jonas Hector on the left wing.

Cameroon fielded the same team for the third game in a row as midfielder Arnaud Djoum kept his place after Georges Mandjeck injured himself in the warm-up.

The first half was a poor reflection on both teams and was blighted by stray passes, an absence of precision and a lack of tempo.

But the world champions broke the deadlock when Draxler exchanged passes with Demirbay, who blasted past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa from distance on 48 minutes.

Aboubakar and substitute Moumi Ngamaleu then sighted the Germany goal, but the African champions were reduced to 10 men when Mabouka raked his studs down Can's knee.

Roldan initially sent off midfielder Siani, drawing furious Cameroonian protests with Broos incensed on the sidelines, and even Germany boss Loew got involved.

The video referee then stepped in and amended the decision with Mabouka eventually handed his marching orders instead.

The dismissal rattled the Africans and Germany scored a minute later when Werner headed beyond Ondoa.

A fumble by Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave Cameroon a glimmer of hope on 78 minutes as Aboubakar's header flew through the German goalkeeper's fingers.

But Werner put the result beyond doubt when he fired home substitute Benjamin Henrichs' pass on 81 minutes.

Werner could have finished with a hat-trick as he drilled a late effort straight at Ondoa.

Fewer than 90 accounts hit by UK parliament cyberattack

A “sustained and determined” cyberattack on Britain’s parliament compromised fewer than 90 email accounts, a parliamentary spokesman said Sunday.The National Crime Agency said it was investigating “a possible cyber incident affecting parliament”, which…

A "sustained and determined" cyberattack on Britain's parliament compromised fewer than 90 email accounts, a parliamentary spokesman said Sunday.

The National Crime Agency said it was investigating "a possible cyber incident affecting parliament", which raised fears of blackmail threats against some of the 9,000 parliamentary email account holders.

"Investigations are ongoing, but it has become clear that significantly fewer than one percent of the 9,000 accounts on the parliamentary network have been compromised," the parliamentary spokesman told the Press Association.

"As they are identified, the individuals whose accounts have been compromised have been contacted and investigations to determine whether any data has been lost are under way," he added.

Parliament shut down external access to email accounts on Saturday as it battled what officials called a "sustained and determined" attack.

The threat followed reports in British media, including the Times, that hackers were selling passwords for MPs online.

A global ransomware attack last month hit hundreds of thousands of computers, including hospitals in Britain that were forced to shut down, divert emergency cases and postpone operations.

The so-called WannaCry ransomware locked access to user files and in an on-screen message demanded payment of $300 (270 euros) in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.

US urges Qatar and Saudi-led group to ‘lower rhetoric’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Sunday for a “lowering of rhetoric” between Qatar and a four-nation group led by Saudi Arabia after Doha denounced their sweeping list of demands.Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want …

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Sunday for a "lowering of rhetoric" between Qatar and a four-nation group led by Saudi Arabia after Doha denounced their sweeping list of demands.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want Qatar to meet their 13-point ultimatum -- ostensibly aimed at fighting extremism and terrorism -- in return for an end to a nearly three-week-old diplomatic and trade "blockade" of the emirate.

But Qatar on Saturday rejected the demands as unrealistic, calling the blockade "illegal." Its ally Turkey joined in, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying on Sunday that the ultimatum was "against international law."

Tillerson attempted to soothe fraying tempers in a statement Sunday, following days of telephone diplomacy with Riyadh and Doha.

The diplomatic tiff, which some observers believe President Donald Trump might have encouraged through his full-throated support for Saudi Arabia during a recent visit, could threaten the future of a huge US air base in Qatar.

"While some of the elements will be very difficult for Qatar to meet, there are significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to resolution," Tillerson said, urging the countries to "sit together and continue this conversation."

"We believe our allies and partners are stronger when they are working together towards one goal which we all agree is stopping terrorism and countering extremism," he said. "A lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension."

Qatar insists that the moves against it have more to do with long-standing differences than with the fight against extremism.

"It is about limiting Qatar's sovereignty and outsourcing our foreign policy," said Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani, a government spokesman.

The four Arab governments delivered the ultimatum on Thursday. The document has been widely leaked and the demands are sweeping.

They include the closure of Al-Jazeera television, which neighboring countries accuse of fomenting regional strife; and a call for Doha to cut ties to groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State organization, Al-Qaeda and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

Qatar has also been asked to hand over opposition figures wanted by the four countries, to downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran, and to shut a Turkish military base.

Italy to pay up to 17 bln euros to save two troubled banks: govt

Italy will pay up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) to rescue two Venetian banks that are facing bankruptcy, the government said Sunday.”The total resources mobilised could reach a maximum of 17 billion euros — but the immediate cost to the state is a…

Italy will pay up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) to rescue two Venetian banks that are facing bankruptcy, the government said Sunday.

"The total resources mobilised could reach a maximum of 17 billion euros -- but the immediate cost to the state is a little more than five billion," said Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan.

After Brussels last week firmly placed the liquidation ball in Rome's court, Padoan's ministry said late Friday that the government would put up state cash to rescue the stricken Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

Both face bankruptcy and European authorities had urged Italy to devise a rescue framework, selling off their good assets and transferring toxic assets to a "bad bank," essentially financed by Rome.

The Italian government will stage the rescue with support from the country's biggest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo.

Padoan said 4,785 billion euros would be set aside immediately to "maintain capitalisation" of Intesa Sanpaolo, which has made that a condition of any cooperation.

For its part Intesa has put one symbolic euro on the table and attached a further string to the deal by insisting its share dividend policy remain unaffected.

Rome will provide a further "guarantee" of 400 million euros, Padoan said, with the remaining cash going to cover a huge hole due to bad loans.

"This decree allows the stabilisation of the Venetian economy and safeguarding of the economic activity of the Venetian banks," said Padoan.

- Risky loans -

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni portrayed the move as necessary to shore up the situation of current account holders and simple savers as well as of bank workers, in order to bolster "the good health of our banking system."

The 19-member eurozone has expressed concern at the perilous state of some Italian banks as Rome tries to address piles of risky loans sitting on the books of some of them.

In a statement released Friday night, the Italian finance ministry said Rome would "adopt necessary measures to ensure banking activity is fully operational, with protection for all current account holders, deposits and senior shares."

Media reports suggested the bill to the Italian taxpayer from the "bad bank" would be around 10 billion euros.

There is also the issue of some 3,500 to 4,000 bank employees set to lose their jobs as well as associated early retirement costs, La Repubblica reported Saturday.

Earlier this month, the EU anti-trust authority approved Italy's massive rescue of another troubled bank, its third-largest and oldest, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS).

Founded in Siena in 1472, BMPS has been in deep trouble since the worst of the eurozone debt crisis.

Rome is set to take a majority stake on a provisional basis to prevent bankruptcy and inject capital in line with EU rules, whilst limiting the burden for Italian taxpayers after the lender failed to raise funds on the market last year.

In exchange, Rome must accept a drastic EU-approved restructuring plan for BMPS expected to involve mass layoffs.

The European Central Bank said in December that BMPS was short of a staggering 8.8 billion euros in capital.

Chile book Portugal clash at Confederations Cup

Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied t…

Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.

James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.

Germany progressed as group winners following a 3-1 victory over Cameroon in Sochi, with the world champions to face Mexico for a place in the July 2 final in Saint Petersburg.

Veteran forward Tim Cahill collected his 100th international cap at Spartak Stadium, joining long-serving former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109) as the only other Australia player to reach the landmark.

Alexis Sanchez went tumbling to ground early on following a last-ditch intervention from Mark Milligan, but the video assistant referee dismissed penalty claims as replays showed a clear touch from the Australian defender.

Claudio Bravo returned for Chile following a calf injury and the Manchester City goalkeeper produced a smart block to deny a lunging Massimo Luongo, although Australia forged ahead on 42 minutes.

A risky pass from Bravo was intercepted inside the Chile half, allowing Robbie Kruse to steer the ball across the face of the box to an unmarked Troisi who clipped over the advancing keeper.

Arturo Vidal nearly replied instantly when his stooping header was blocked on the line by Milligan with the rebound eluding Jose Fuenzalida.

Australian centre-back Trent Sainsbury spoiled a glorious chance for a second goal before the break, lashing wildly over on the volley after Chile's defence momentarily switched off.

But the introduction of Rodriguez and Pablo Hernandez at half-time proved crucial as Chile levelled midway through the second half.

Eduardo Vargas beat his marker to a looping ball in the area, knocking down into the path of Rodriguez who smuggled the ball beyond Matt Ryan for his first international goal.

Vargas headed fractionally wide after Sanchez had escaped down the left and picked out his striking partner, while Jamie MacLaren miscued badly in front of Bravo after a brilliant delivery from Troisi before the contest gradually petered out.

Israel targets Syria after fresh stray fire: army

Israeli forces fired on Syrian regime positions after projectiles from the war-torn country hit the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, the army said, in the second such exchange in two days. The military “targeted two artillery positions and an ammuniti…

Israeli forces fired on Syrian regime positions after projectiles from the war-torn country hit the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, the army said, in the second such exchange in two days.

The military "targeted two artillery positions and an ammunitions truck belonging to the Syrian regime," a statement read, noting the army had also ordered Israelis to keep away from open areas near Quneitra, where internal fighting was heavy.

Hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Syrian spillover and Israeli retaliation that took place on Saturday and reportedly resulted in the death of two Syrian soldiers.

"We will not tolerate any spillover or trickle whatsoever -- neither mortars nor rockets, from any front. We will respond strongly to any attack on our territory or our citizens," Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

Israel has conducted multiple air strikes in Syria since that country's civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime.

"We also view with utmost gravity Iran's attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria as well as its attempts to arm Hezbollah -- via Syria and Lebanon -- with advanced weaponry," Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Around 510 square kilometres of the Golan are under Syrian control.

The Israeli side of the Golan Heights has been hit sporadically by what is thought to be stray fire from fighting between forces loyal to Syria's government and rebels.

Syria and Israel are still technically at war.

Chad leader says Glencore oil contract was irresponsible

Chad President Idriss Deby said Sunday his country had been “irresponsible” in striking oil for cash deals with Swiss commodities giant Glencore, given the subsequent slump in crude prices “We thought it was opportunity — but it was a fool’s bargain,”…

Chad President Idriss Deby said Sunday his country had been "irresponsible" in striking oil for cash deals with Swiss commodities giant Glencore, given the subsequent slump in crude prices

"We thought it was opportunity -- but it was a fool's bargain," Deby said in an interview with Radio France International, Le Monde and broadcaster TV5 Monde.

"It was an irresponsible step. I realise that today.

"There was insider trading and an investigation is under way," Deby, who has ruled the poverty-stricken nation since 1990, said of a 2013 deal which saw Glencore acquire 100 percent of the Chad state's stake in its oil business -- equivalent to 16 percent of GDP for one of the world's poorest countries.

He said state lawyers were looking into the terms of the deal.

NGOs have been critical of links between foreign business and the oil trade in African states, suggesting that the cash flowing from deals in a lucrative sector does not trickle down to society.

On Saturday, the SwissAid NGO said it had removed from its website a critical report published on June 12 into Glencore activities in Chad, which became an oil exporter in 2003.

SwissAid said it took the move on security grounds after N'Djamena charged that the report, which criticised a lack of transparency in Glencore dealings in the country, was harmful to Chad's image.

A summary of the report appeared in Swiss daily Le Temps with its author Lorenz Kummer slamming a lack of transparency at state oil company SHT which he dubbed "opaque (and) a structure which does not publish its accounts and is not subject to any external audit."

The report also criticised the lack of reform of the oil sector and hinted at nepotism in the industry benefiting the ruling family.

Adding to Chad's oil woes is the steep drop in oil prices which have slashed the country's chief source of revenue, and Deby said that in its dealings with Glencore "to be honest we should have done better."

He added that the country had concentrated too much on oil rather than looking at diversifying, while a crude assets-based loan deal struck with Glencore in 2014 has lost its shine after the steep price falls of the commodity.

Lithuanian bishop beatified as first Soviet-era martyr

Thousands gathered in Vilnius on Sunday for the beatification of a bishop imprisoned by the former Soviet regime, the first such event in the devoutly Catholic Baltic EU state.Some 30,000 Catholics gathered at the city’s central cathedral square for a …

Thousands gathered in Vilnius on Sunday for the beatification of a bishop imprisoned by the former Soviet regime, the first such event in the devoutly Catholic Baltic EU state.

Some 30,000 Catholics gathered at the city's central cathedral square for a mass honouring Archbishop Teofilius Matulioni, who was officially recognised as a martyr in December by Pope Francis.

Lithuania's Soviet-era rulers repeatedly sent him to prisons and labour camps for standing up to the atheist regime.

Addressing the crowd, Vatican representative Cardinal Angelo Amato hailed Matulionis's "heroism" under "ruthless dictatorships which strove to annihilate the Church."

"Torture did not bend his will. He did not give in to hatred," Amato said.

Those gathered, including pilgrims from neighbouring Russia, Poland, Belarus and Latvia, cheered as a huge painting showing Matulionis dressed in prison garb was unveiled.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who attended Sunday's beatification mass, said Matulionis remained steadfast in his commitment to the truth during his many years behind bars.

Nearly 2,000 kilometres away, Pope Francis congratulated Lithuanians during Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Square.

In order for him to be canonised as a saint, the Vatican will have to attribute a miracle to the beatified Matulionis.

The Soviet regime imprisoned him for a decade in 1946 after he refused to condemn armed Lithuanian resistance against Moscow's rule and criticised its repression of Catholics.

He was eventually released and managed to keep secretly in contact with the Vatican from behind the Iron Curtain despite being spied on for years.

He died in 1962 in Soviet-occupied Lithuania at the age of 89 under mysterious circumstances.

There is widespread suspicion that he was injected with poison by a nurse on orders of the Soviet KGB secret police.

The Soviet Union annexed Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia during World War II under a deal with Nazi Germany.

Mass deportations to Siberia and Central Asia followed.

In 1990, after three years of peaceful protest, Lithuania was the first republic to break free from the Soviet Union.

It joined the European Union in 2004.

Three quarters of Lithuania's 2.8 million people identify as Roman Catholic.

BIS warns of risks to global economic growth

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on Sunday urged governments to allow growth trends toward long-term averages to target structural reform while warning against inflation and protectionist winds.In its annual report, the BIS said the growth o…

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on Sunday urged governments to allow growth trends toward long-term averages to target structural reform while warning against inflation and protectionist winds.

In its annual report, the BIS said the growth outlook appeared more favourable than the anaemic climate of a year ago, Claudio Borio, head of its monetary and economic department, told reporters in a conference call.

"We had already stressed last year that the rhetoric being used to describe the global economy was too downbeat," said Borio, noting a strengthening of the global growth outlook, lower jobless tallies in major economies and inflation coming closer to target.

"One good year has been sufficient for economic conditions to become the most favourable since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC)," said Borio in a report which noted that "raising the economy's growth potential is critical".

For Borio, "the problems we face are global. The solutions must be global too. It would be illusory to think and act otherwise".

Borio further cautioned against higher inflation and debt, rising protectionism and timidity on investment.

Taking into account fears on the consequences of globalisation, the BIS devoted a whole chapter in its report to the issue.

For the BIS, "economic globalisation has contributed to a substantial rise in living standards and falling poverty over the past half-century" amid enhanced competition and new technologies driving efficiency gains.

But "like any other form of far-reaching economic change, globalisation poses challenges," notably rising income inequality, while "financial openness exposes economies to destabilising external influences," the report said.

"Properly designed domestic policies can enhance the gains from globalisation and mitigate the adjustment costs. And international cooperation must supplement such policies in order to address global linkages."

Overall, the BIS said it supported "rebalancing policy towards structural reforms, relieving an overburdened monetary policy, and implementing holistic policy frameworks that tackle more systematically the financial cycle".

Trump, and 2 Democrats, criticize Obama’s response to Russia hacking

President Donald Trump on Sunday stepped up his criticism of Barack Obama’s response to concerns Russia was trying to disrupt the 2016 election, and some Democratic lawmakers agreed, with one calling the former leader’s handling of the threat a “seriou…

President Donald Trump on Sunday stepped up his criticism of Barack Obama's response to concerns Russia was trying to disrupt the 2016 election, and some Democratic lawmakers agreed, with one calling the former leader's handling of the threat a "serious mistake."

In a flurry of weekend tweets and a prerecorded television appearance, Trump said his predecessor failed to act after the CIA informed him in August that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered an operation to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the November election.

"Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action?" he asked in one tweet.

In another, alluding to a Washington Post article that laid out the Russia timeline, he tweeted: "Obama Administration official said they 'choked' when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn't want to hurt Hillary?"

A top Trump aide, Kellyanne Conway, was more blunt still.

"It's the Obama administration responsible for doing absolutely nothing from August to January with the knowledge that Russia was hacking into our election. They did nothing. They're responsible," she said Sunday on ABC.

Some Democrats saw abundant irony in Trump blaming Obama for indecisiveness against a Russian operation that Trump himself has long seemed to play down -- including when he fired FBI chief James Comey for pursuing his investigation of "this Russia thing."

But one influential Democratic lawmaker joined in the criticism of the previous president.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN that he understood that the Obama administration was worried about being seen as "trying to tip the scales for Hillary Clinton."

But he went on: "The American people needed to know. I didn't think it was enough to tell them after the election... I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and that was a very serious mistake."

Another Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the intelligence committee, expressed similar disappointment.

"I am troubled learning this new information that the Obama administration didn't do more," he told CNN on Friday. Such matters should transcend politics, he added.

- 'Quite sad' -

The Washington Post, in a behind-the-scenes account of the Obama response to reports of Russian meddling, said that amid confidence that Clinton would win and for fear of Obama being seen as interfering, the administration warned Moscow but left countermeasures for later.

The Post said Obama issued four warnings to the Russians -- including one he delivered directly to Putin -- causing Moscow to pull back on possible plans to sabotage US voting operations.

But after Trump's shock victory in November, some Obama administration officials expressed regret at the lack of tougher action.

"Wow, did we mishandle this," a former administration official told the newspaper.

In an interview with Sunday's "Fox and Friends" program, Trump groused about Obama's response, saying: "If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don't read that. It's quite sad."

Following Trump's election win, Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and added new sanctions.

- Schumer pushes back -

While Schiff criticized Obama, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer pushed back hard.

The New York lawmaker helped steer a bill through the Senate this month to toughen sanctions against Russia and bar Trump from weakening them on his own.

The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, but Trump administration officials have been working to weaken the House version.

"If Donald Trump wants to do something about Russia and Russia meddling, instead of saying Obama didn't do enough, support our sanctions bill," Schumer said on ABC.

Criticism of Trump's failure to sharply condemn Russian interference has continued to vex his administration.

As recently as Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer could not give a clear answer when asked repeatedly whether Trump believes the Russians interfered in the 2016 elections.

"I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing," Spicer said. "Obviously we've been dealing with a lot of other issues."

Johnson questions rewriting records

Michael Johnson has questioned a proposal to wipe out all athletics world records set before 2005, voicing scepticism that the move will help clean up track and field’s tainted image.European Athletics has proposed that only world records that stand up…

Michael Johnson has questioned a proposal to wipe out all athletics world records set before 2005, voicing scepticism that the move will help clean up track and field's tainted image.

European Athletics has proposed that only world records that stand up to strict criteria should be recognised in order to make a clean break with the sport's doping scandals.

The plans are due to be considered by world governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) later this year.

The proposal has been widely criticised by athletes who stand to see their own world records eliminated, with many complaining that they are being unfairly tarnished by association with the sport's doping era.

Speaking to reporters at the US World Championship trials in Sacramento, US sprint great Johnson -- who would lose his 1993 4x400m relay record if the proposal is enacted - said he doubted how effective the move would be.

"I don't understand what problem that remedies," Johnson told AFP. "It doesn't make sense to me.

"If someone can explain to me, what -- out of all the problems the sport has -- that remedies, then I'll consider whether or not it's a benefit."

Johnson, the only man to win a 200m and 400m at the same Olympics, has already lost his world records in those events to Usain Bolt and South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk.

The 49-year-old meanwhile told reporters that Bolt's retirement -- the Jamaican superstar is hanging up his spikes after August's World Championships in London -- would leave a void at the top of the sport. However he said athletics should not be dependent on one personality to survive.

Asked if there was any athlete capable of filling Bolt's shoes, Johnson replied: "I think you have to ask yourself 'What would it take for someone to take his place?' You'd have to have someone who's dominating like he just has. Nobody's doing that. You'd have to have someone who has something special like he has in terms of personality or presence. You're not going to have that.

"I don't think there's anybody out there right now. There's been lots of people that have come into this sport over the years who have dominated one event. But that doesn't get you to the sort of status of a Carl Lewis, or a Usain Bolt. There's nobody out there right now that's doing that."

Johnson compared Bolt's looming exit to different eras in the NBA.

"When Larry Bird and Magic Johnson left the NBA it was a little while before Michael Jordan came along," Johnson said. "And then there was a void after that and then Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron (James) came along.

"But I don't think the sport should depend on that. At the end of the day there's a great sport in front of all of us if we would just promote that. But it takes work."

World 837 Romero edges Garcia to Munich title

Andres Romero, the world number 837, fired a stunning seven-under-par final round of 65 to win his second European Tour title at the BMW International Open in Munich on Sunday.The Argentinian, 36, went into the final day three strokes adrift of Richard…

Andres Romero, the world number 837, fired a stunning seven-under-par final round of 65 to win his second European Tour title at the BMW International Open in Munich on Sunday.

The Argentinian, 36, went into the final day three strokes adrift of Richard Bland and world number five Sergio Garcia, but ended up winning by one shot from that pair and Belgian Thomas Detry.

Romero, who has struggled with form and fitness in recent years, belied his lowly ranking with a fantastic performance to claim his first title on either the European or PGA Tours since 2008.

Detry made the first move, with five birdies on the front nine to briefly take the lead.

A bogey on the par-four 10th put a halt to his charge, as the focus turned to the final group of Garcia and England's Bland.

The overnight leaders started slowly, with Bland playing his first eight holes in one over, while Spaniard Garcia was even par.

But both sprung into action around the turn, as the Englishman poured in three consecutive birdies to the Masters champion's two in three holes as the pair moved a stroke clear.

The previous four years had seen the winner score at least 17 under par at Eichenried, and Romero catapulted himself into a tie for the lead with six birdies in eight holes.

Detry also rediscovered his groove with birdies at 14 and 16, leaving four players tied atop the leaderboard on 16 under with the last group having four holes to play.

The tournament took a dramatic twist, as after Detry had failed to find a birdie at the par-five 18th and signed for a 66, Romero did just that to set the clubhouse target at minus 17.

Bland and Garcia fell back with late bogeys, meaning that they both needed an eagle on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Romero.

Garcia narrowly failed to chip in with his third shot, before Bland's 15-foot eagle putt slid past the right edge to confirm Romero's unlikely victory.

Lopez crowned king of Queen’s

Feliciano Lopez won the Queen’s Club title in dramatic fashion as the Spaniard saved a match point before defeating Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (10/8) on Sunday.Trailing by a set to the big-serving Cilic, Lopez held his nerve in a gripping finale t…

Feliciano Lopez won the Queen's Club title in dramatic fashion as the Spaniard saved a match point before defeating Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (10/8) on Sunday.

Trailing by a set to the big-serving Cilic, Lopez held his nerve in a gripping finale to overwhelm the world number seven and secure his first ATP title since Gstaad in July 2016.

It was a sweet moment for world number 32 Lopez, who held a championship point in the 2014 Queen's final before losing in three sets to Grigor Dimitrov.

The 35-year-old avenged that painful loss by beating Dimitrov in the semi-finals on Saturday and now he has his hands on the trophy at last.

It is Lopez's third title on grass after winning Eastbourne in 2013 and 2014, earning him a cheque for 395,690 euros ($442,915).

"Wow. I can't believe I finally won this trophy. I've been waiting so long," Lopez said.

"I thought until the end that I wouldn't make it, but I was a little bit lucky and it went my way.

"It was so difficult to handle my nerves when I was serving for the match."

Having reached the Stuttgart final last week before losing to Lucas Pouille, Lopez has now won nine of his 10 matches on grass this year, raising hopes of a strong run at Wimbledon, which gets underway on July 3.

"It's hard to believe I'm playing my best tennis at 35, but yes I am," he said.

"There's no better situation than to go into Wimbledon after winning here."

It was a frustrating defeat for former US Open champion Cilic, who came agonisingly close to adding a second Queen's title to the one he won in 2012.

His blistering serve had been virtually unplayable over the last week and, in four matches en route to the final, he was broken just once.

Lopez couldn't find a way to break him in the final, but the Spaniard came up trumps in the crucial tie-breaks.

- Nerveless -

When Lopez earned the first break point in the seventh game, Cilic responded in familiar fashion, hammering down a thunderous ace.

Energised by that escape, Cilic turned up the pressure on Lopez with some crunching returns.

Lopez cracked at 4-5, firing a forehand wide on break point to hand Cilic the first set.

Yet Cilic couldn't press home his advantage in the second set.

Lopez was able to force a tie-break, which he won thanks to a rock solid serve and a string of costly errors from the Croatian.

Having lost the 2013 Queen's final against Andy Murray after blowing a one-set lead, it was little surprise Cilic looked concerned heading into the decider.

With neither player letting their serve falter, it took a tie-break to decide the champion and Cilic's fears came true.

In a thrilling denouement, Lopez saved a match point with a lunging volley, then watched as Cilic fired a blistering ace and then a nerveless volley to deny him on two match points.

Lopez refused to buckle and he finally got over the finish line when Cilic sent a forehand wide.

Get your legs out for the girls, guys!

As Paris men’s fashion week comes to a close Sunday, one trend for spring summer 2018 and could not be clearer — bare legs.Fashion clearly feels that the time is right for men to get their legs out for the girls — or for other men who like to admire …

As Paris men's fashion week comes to a close Sunday, one trend for spring summer 2018 and could not be clearer -- bare legs.

Fashion clearly feels that the time is right for men to get their legs out for the girls -- or for other men who like to admire a well sculpted calf.

In a week in which a heatwave across Europe saw British schoolchildren and French bus drivers don skirts in protest at not being allowed to wear shorts, the momentum behind taking the trouser above the knee -- or further still -- seems unstoppable.

While many women and some in the fashion police have long looked down their noses at men in shorts, bare legs may soon be the least of their worries.

For as well as shorts, socks and sandals, which many thought had been safely confined to the style wilderness, are also back.

Here are the three top trends for the Paris men's catwalks:

- Shorts suit you, sir -

Legs -- including hairy ones -- were everywhere on the men's catwalks from the edgy newcomers Angus Chiang and Namacheko to Dior where Kris Van Assche matched micro shorts with tailored black suit jackets to show the maximum of thigh.

Rick Owens lead out his collection with a model wearing only short shorts and boots, a leather saddlebag strapped to one thigh for extra he-man effect.

So high was Paris on thigh that it is almost easier to list the labels who didn't include shorts, as such style references as Louis Vuitton (leather scuba shorts and jersey surf pants), Dries Van Noten (formal and boxy) and even Yohji Yamamoto (three-quarter length) all succumbed to the trend.

Lengths varied widely with Loewe going daringly high with micro shorts and Speedo-like pouches while the Taiwanese Chiang and the Japanese label Facetasm swung between kilts, tube shorts and culottes.

But for glamour, nothing compared to Comme des Garcons's glittering red, yellow and purple and golden pink evening shorts. Lame maketh the man, as Shakespeare might have said.

- Sandals with socks -

Style crime no more, socks with sandals are no longer the abomination they once were, if this week's shows are anything to go by.

Louis Vuitton -- which with Paul Smith and Vetements also tried to smuggle Hawaiian shirts back from the wardrobe that taste forgot -- sent out nearly 20 models in sandals and socks, while 22/4 went still further matching every one of its 30 looks with socks and slipper sandals.

Uber-cool Vetements had socks and sauna sandals and Haider Ackermann (who also designs for Berluti) dared socks and flip flops, which looked classier than its sounds.

In a worrying development for those who have held the line against that most dorky of looks, Ami, Wooyoungmi and Etudes went into total taboo territory with white socks and sandals.

- Sports hosiery -

The shotgun marriage with sandals was only half the story of the irresistible rise of the sock this week.

Tennis, baseball and all kinds of sporty socks worn mostly halfway up the shin was the other big takeaway.

The rise in sportswear has been the biggest creeping trend on the men's catwalks for some time, and it really gripped Paris by the ankles this time.

Sporty socks were often combined with more traditional tailored jackets, per Facetasm's Hiromichi Ochiai, who cleverly contrasted them with smoking jackets, tailcoats and aristo silk dressing gowns.

But when it came to statement socks, Danish maverick Henrik Vibskov left the others standing. It was hard to take your eyes of his colourful pairs that combined comforting Scandinavian hygge and high concept design with playful Japanese-style silk worm and flower motifs.

Morgan defends dropping himself for S. Africa T20 finale

England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan insisted he’d done the right thing for the team’s “development” by dropping himself for the third Twenty20 international against South Africa at Cardiff on Sunday.Prior to the match, an England spokesman said M…

England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan insisted he'd done the right thing for the team's "development" by dropping himself for the third Twenty20 international against South Africa at Cardiff on Sunday.

Prior to the match, an England spokesman said Morgan wanted to give another opportunity to middle-order batsman Liam Livingstone who made 16 on debut in England's three-run defeat at Taunton on Friday, a result that saw South Africa level the series at 1-1.

But Morgan's absence also paved the way for Dawid Malan to make a debut at number three and his fellow Middlesex left-hander responded with an impressive 78 after South Africa captain AB de Villiers won the toss and fielded.

"We recognise the series as a big opportunity to have a look at a younger group of players," Morgan, who at 30 is only a year older than Malan, told Sky Sports.

"It's an important part of our development, and our success in 50-over cricket and T20 has been down to the strength in depth we've had in the side.

"If it was a case where I could go on and captain, I would. But this is an important part of our development for this series."

Former Ireland international Morgan added: "It's a very difficult situation to be in. I love playing international cricket, but unfortunately that is the case today.

"We remain very confident we can win the game with the team we have and put on a real entertaining show.

"It's tough, but it's a call you have to make looking to the long-term. It's down to the quality of players that we have.

"It is a big call. But we haven't been shy of making big calls in the past."

Comeback queen Kvitova wins Birmingham title

Petra Kvitova clinched her first title in just her second tournament since returning from a career-threatening hand injury, defeating Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday’s Birmingham final.Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova was sideline…

Petra Kvitova clinched her first title in just her second tournament since returning from a career-threatening hand injury, defeating Australia's Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday's Birmingham final.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova was sidelined for five months as she recovered from severe injuries to her left playing hand suffered while fighting off a knife-wielding burglar at her home in the Czech Republic in December.

She returned at last month's French Open, losing in the second round, but will head to Wimbledon as a leading contender for the women's crown after landing her 20th career title.

Springbok captain Whiteley’s groin injury to be assessed Monday

South Africa captain Warren Whiteley will learn Monday the severity of a groin injury which kept him out of a 35-12 triumph over France this weekend that completed a 3-0 series whitewash.The loose forward was withdrawn from the team just a couple of ho…

South Africa captain Warren Whiteley will learn Monday the severity of a groin injury which kept him out of a 35-12 triumph over France this weekend that completed a 3-0 series whitewash.

The loose forward was withdrawn from the team just a couple of hours before the kick-off after aggravating a groin strain by landing awkwardly during a midweek lineout session.

"We do not know at this stage how serious the injury to Warren is," admitted Springboks coach Allister Coetzee to reporters.

"He will be assessed on Monday and a decision taken together with the medical team of the Golden Lions.

"Warren has been struggling with a bit of a groin strain for a while. We decided to give him as much time as possible to be declared fit.

"After he landed awkwardly in a lineout session, we sent him for a scan and it was revealed that he had a little tear.

"Sometimes you patch up a player and make it possible for him to get through a game, but we decided it was not worth the risk."

South Africa next play on August 19 against Argentina in a Rugby Championship opener in Port Elizabeth.

Whiteley was named Springboks captain this year in succession to hooker Adriaan Strauss, who retired after a calamitous 2016 season in which the team lost eight of 12 Tests.

He was due to lead the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions in a Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves of Japan next weekend.

Lions lie second in the overall standings, seven points behind Canterbury Crusaders of New Zealand with a game in hand.

The team topping the final table enjoys home advantage in every knockout match they play.

Iraq forces push deep into devastated Old Mosul

Iraqi forces battled deep into the devastated historical heart of Mosul and closed in fast on the last pockets of jihadists Sunday, eight months into an epic battle to retake the city.Three years after overrunning Mosul and making it the de facto Iraqi…

Iraqi forces battled deep into the devastated historical heart of Mosul and closed in fast on the last pockets of jihadists Sunday, eight months into an epic battle to retake the city.

Three years after overrunning Mosul and making it the de facto Iraqi capital of the "caliphate" they proclaimed, the jihadists only controlled about a square kilometre in the city, commanders said.

Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi was speaking to AFP inside the devastated Old City, about 50 metres (yards) from what is left of the Hadba leaning minaret the jihadists blew up four days earlier.

"Sixty-five to 70 percent of the Old City has been liberated, there is less than a square kilometre left to retake," said Obeidi, from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) that has spearheaded the assault.

He estimated that only "a few hundred Daesh fighters" were left in the Old City, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The ornamental brickwork on the base of the 12th century Hadba (Hunchback) minaret, which was Mosul's symbol and one of the most recognisable landmarks in Iraq, was visible in the background.

The cylindrical shaft of the minaret came tumbling down when IS on June 21 detonated explosives the jihadists had rigged to it.

The jihadists simultaneously blew up the nearby Nuri mosque, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his first sermon as IS leader in July 2014, his last public appearance to date.

The narrow, windy streets of the Old City, an area packed with heritage treasures covering about three square kilometres on Mosul's west bank of the Tigris, were littered with rubble.

- Stench of bodies -

The fighting has been among the most intense in the three-year-old war against IS.

AFP reporters said the destruction in Old Mosul was extensive, with some buildings still standing but none unscathed.

"We will finish the operation within a few days. The end is going to be very soon, it will take days," Staff Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a top CTS commander, told AFP in the Old City.

The jihadists, who have no escape from their last redoubt in the Old City, have mounted a fierce defence using booby traps, mortars, suicide attacks and snipers.

The massively outnumbered and outgunned group of die-hard jihadists are said to be holding tens of thousands of civilians as human shields.

Iraqi forces launched a perilous assault on the Old City on June 18, eight months into an offensive to retake Mosul, the country's biggest military operation in years.

Hundreds of IS fighters have been killed since the operation started on October 17, hundreds of civilians have also died. More than 800,000 people have had to flee their homes and many are still housed in overcrowded camps.

The part of Mosul that lies east of the Tigris river that divides the city was reconquered by January with limited damage to homes and infrastructure.

Life and business has returned there, despite an administrative vacuum that still needs to be filled, reconstruction projects that have yet to take off and fears that IS sleeper cells could sow fresh chaos.

The west bank, where the Old City is located, has seen extensive destruction however and areas considered among the heritage jewels of the Middle East have been completely levelled.

AFP reporters in the Faruq neighbourhood of the Old City Sunday saw ancient buildings, some of them from the 11th century, reduced to dust.

As the din of mortar, rocket and gun fire echoed only a few blocks away, the stench of putrefying bodies filled streets blocked by mounds of rubble and mangled cars.

The rotting corpses of dead jihadists could be seen but it was still unclear, only hours after the neighbourhood was retaken, how many civilians might also have died under their own collapsed homes.