Monthly Archives: August 2016

Naked Donald Trump statue up for auction, could fetch US$20,000

REUTERS: A life-sized nude statue of U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is going up for auction, with profits from the sale going to an immigrant support group.

Julien’s Auctions said on Wednesday that the statue, called “The Emperor Has No Balls,” is expected to fetch US$ 10,000 (7,635.34 pounds) to US$ 20,000 (15,270.67 pounds) at the Oct. 22 auction in Los Angeles.

The statue is one of a series that appeared unannounced in public spaces in New York and four other U.S. cities earlier in August. The orange-tinted likeness showed Trump with a massive belly, small fingers and some missing genitals.

Most were confiscated or destroyed by local authorities and the Los Angeles statue is the only one remaining, Julien’s said.

The statues were created by an anonymous artists collective called INDECLINE. A portion of the auction profits will go to the National Immigration Forum, which campaigns for the rights of immigrants.

Trump has pledged to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep immigrants out and to deport the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, should he be elected. He is due to give a speech on Wednesday as he seeks to find a balance in his immigration stance.

Trump is not the only politician to be represented in the October auction of street and contemporary art. American pop artist Knowledge Bennett’s “Hillary Clinton Cojones,” featuring the Democratic White House hopeful wearing a tuxedo, is expected to fetch up to US$ 15,000, Julien’s said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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S Korea's swim team manager quits over hidden camera scandal: Report

SEOUL: The manager of South Korea’s national swimming team has resigned as an investigation continues into a scandal involving the alleged installation of hidden cameras in the female dressing room of a swimming pool, the national federation said on Wednesday (Aug 31).

“As manager that leads the team, I deeply feel responsible that such (a) shameful incident took place,” Ahn Jong-taek, who joined the swimming team in 2008 as coach and has been the team manager since 2012, told Yonhap news agency.

“I hope (the) truth would be revealed clearly as soon as possible so that other swimmers and coaches would not suffer.”

Yonhap said on Sunday that police planned to question a member of the Rio Olympics swimming team about the scandal some time this week.

A former national athlete was also recently questioned by police for allegedly installing a hidden camera in a female locker room in 2013.

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Chris Brown flouts police on Instagram in standoff

LOS ANGELES: Troubled singer Chris Brown on Tuesday (Aug 30) took to Instagram to upbraid police outside his door in an hours-long standoff after a woman alleged he pointed a gun at her.

Los Angeles police by early afternoon said that they had obtained a search warrant and had entered the singer’s palatial home.

People who left the home were being searched by police but no one was immediately arrested, spokesman Lieutenant Chris Ramirez said.

It was not clear if officers had spoken with Brown, who before the issuance of the search warrant had dared the police to enter in a series of videos he posted on Instagram.

“When you get the warrant for whatever you need to do, you’re going to walk right up in here and you’re going to see nothing, you idiots,” said a visibly angry Brown.

He voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality, saying: “You’re all the worst gang in the world, the police.”

Police said that its homicide and robbery division, which deals with celebrity cases, headed to Brown’s home after a woman called for help at 3:11 am (1011 GMT).

Baylee Curran, who was crowned Miss California Regional in a beauty pageant this year, identified herself as the caller as she also took to Instagram.

“Do you all honestly think I wanted this and I caused this?” asked Curran, who appeared to be in a moving car. “If somebody put a gun to your head, what would you do? Call the police,” she said.

She also spoke to the gossip site TMZ, saying she and a friend went into a hot tub at Brown’s house and that the singer became angry when she admired the jewelry of a member of his entourage.

The R&B singer, who topped the US singles chart with “Run It!” and “Kiss Kiss,” has had years of run-ins with the law.

Most notoriously, he was convicted of beating then girlfriend Rihanna before the 2009 Grammy Awards, forcing the pop singer to miss the music industry’s annual gala.

In 2014, he pleaded guilty to assaulting a man outside a Washington hotel and earlier this year was accused of battery by a woman in Las Vegas.

He was accused last year of fraud in the Philippines for failing to perform a concert, also leading the singer to voice anger on Instagram while he waited to leave the country.

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Barcelona, Luis Enrique agree to delay new contract talks

MADRID: Barcelona and coach Luis Enrique have agreed to put off talks on a contract extension until early next year, club President Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

Luis Enrique is in his third season in charge of Barca and recently said he would only consider his future at the end of the campaign when his current deal runs out.

Barca are determined to keep the 46-year-old, who has won eight trophies out of a possible 10 in his two years as coach, beyond next year.

“We will not discuss Luis Enrique’s renewal now or at Christmas,” Bartomeu told local radio station Catalunya radio.

“The right time will be in February or March as he said that he didn’t want to talk about it until the end of the season.

“Now we are thinking about the domestic league and the Champions League.”

Luis Enrique, a former Barca player, won the treble in his first season at the Nou Camp and in his second they successfully defended the La Liga title and retained the King’s Cup.

Barca are also planning to offer new deals to forwards Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and midfielder Ivan Rakitic before the end of the year.

Croatian Rakitic is under contract until June 2019, just like Uruguayan Suarez, who scored 40 goals in La Liga last season to win golden boot as Europe’s leading scorer for the second time in his career.

Messi is Barca’s all-time top scorer and his deal expires in June 2018.

“We will speak to Messi just as we will talk to Suarez and Rakitic,” Bartomeu said. “We will do so in the next few months because we want them to renew their contracts.”

No player is more precious for Barca than the 29-year-old Messi, who is under contract until June 2018.

“Leo is the world number one,” Bartomeu said. “Leo is very strong, he is a winner and he has come back better than ever.

“He is looking forward to making the fans happy.”

(Reporting by Adriana Garcia, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Russian hackers attack 2 US voter databases: Reports

WASHINGTON: Russian-based hackers may have been responsible for two recent attempts to breach US voter registration databases in two states, raising fears Moscow is trying to undermine November’s presidential election, US media said Monday (Aug 29).

The incidents led the FBI to send a “flash alert” to election officials earlier this month, asking them to watch for similar cyber-attacks.

The FBI alert, first reported by Yahoo News, did not mention Russia.

However, the authorities have attributed the attacks to Russian spy agencies, NBC News quoted US intelligence officials as saying.

“This is the closest we’ve come to tying a recent hack to the Russian government,” one unidentified official said, adding “there is serious concern” Moscow may be seeking to create uncertainty in the election process.

Although the alert does not identify targeted states, Yahoo News quoted officials as saying they were Illinois and Arizona.

Illinois officials said last month that they shut down their state’s voter registration after a hack.

On Monday state officials said the hackers stole data from as many as 200,000 voter records, although they told the Chicago Tribune no such record had been deleted or altered.

In Arizona hackers unsuccessfully tried to breach the voter registration system using malicious software, reports said.

The state shut down the system for nine days beginning in late June, after the discovery of malware on an election official’s computer. However, officials concluded the system was not successfully compromised.

The incidents prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to hold a conference call with state election officials earlier this month.

Although the Department of Homeland Security was not aware of specific cyber threats against election-related networks, Johnson urged officials to secure their systems, according to a transcript of the call released by the department.

Hackers apparently connected to Russia staged a series of cyber-attacks against US media outlets including the New York Times, reports said earlier this month.

And US officials say Russian intelligence agencies were behind recent hacks into Democratic Party organizations, including the campaign of its White House candidate Hillary Clinton.

Another hack of Democratic National Committee servers resulted in an embarrassing leak of emails last month revealing how party leaders tried to undermine Clinton’s Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, leading to the committee chief’s resignation.

Experts said they believed two Russian intelligence agencies to be responsible.

Last week Senate minority leader Harry Reid asked the FBI to investigate evidence suggesting Russia may be trying to manipulate voting results in November, expressing concern about a “direct connection” between Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

“The prospect of a hostile government actively seeking to undermine our free and fair elections,” he wrote, “represents one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War.”

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Niger Delta Avengers say halted hostilities in Nigerian Delta

LAGOS: The Niger Delta Avengers militant group, which has carried out a series of attacks on oil and gas installations in Nigeria’s Delta energy hub in the last few months, said on Monday it had halted hostilities.

In a statement on its website addressed to Nigeria’s president, the group said it expected “a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria”.

(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by David Clarke)

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Players may be risking health by popping pain pills

NEW YORK: For all the talk of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sport, mundane over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications may be more of an issue on the tennis tour, according to numerous players.

Indeed, players competing at the U.S. Open which starts on Monday could be risking their long-term health by playing through pain to achieve their goals.

In the final grand slam event of the year, when the likes of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are battling injuries, many are likely to popping pills to push their aching bodies one more time.

“You would be surprised how many anti-inflammatories I take,” said 15th-ranked Richard Gasquet, a Frenchman who has suffered numerous injuries during his career.

“I do it a lot. Not during practice, but before matches. It’s not something I would choose to do, but sometimes I have no choice.

“It’s nothing crazy to take anti-inflammatories. I imagine all the players are doing it. I know a lot of football (football) players, they do it a lot.”

Taking pain medication, before and after matches, has become the norm as the boundaries of physical possibility continue to expand.

But taking too much is believed to actually slow down the recovery process after injury and taking them too regularly can cause long-term harm, some experts say.

“With respect to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, persons should take as little as possible for the shortest duration possible,” Dr Eric Matteson, a consultant in the Division of Rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic, said by email.

“The concerns with prolonged use are risks of developing kidney failure and hypertension, as well as stomach ulcers.” Goran Ivanisevic said taking anti-inflammatories was a necessary evil.

“When I won Wimbledon (in 2001), I was smashing them,” he told Reuters.

“I took them like candies. After a while I didn’t even feel it, it didn’t do me any good. But when you have a chance, in my case, to win Wimbledon, you take whatever, you don’t care.

“I hated pain so if the doctor said ‘take two’ I’d take five. But in the end I had shoulder surgery. The pain was so big that pain killers didn’t work so I had to have surgery.

“Pain-killers are actually the best thing you can take, it just prevents (pain) for that moment, for a week or two, but hopefully something worse doesn’t happen and then you are in more trouble.”

The women’s tour, the WTA, distributes detailed information to its players warning them of the dangers of over-use, while the men’s tour, the ATP, says its physicians only prescribe anti-inflammatories “when indicated for the treatment of an injury”.

Andy Murray, who will try to add the U.S. Open to his recent Wimbledon and Olympic titles, is one of the more careful ones.

“I only take an anti-inflammatory now and then if I’m having problems with my back or my hips,” he said.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, twice a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, agreed.

“I just hate these kind of things,” the Frenchman said. “I take them really if I will play a semis or a final (if) I have something and I don’t want the pain at all. Otherwise, I would not take it at all. I prefer to feel the pain and see how (the injury) is.

“In the past, I had so many problems in my body, I took them sometimes. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have anything. It’s just a fake. Sometimes you do worse to your body when you take these kind of things.”

But Mark Philippoussis, the Australian who reached the Wimbledon final in 2003, said ambitious players have little choice.

“You do whatever it takes to get on the court and give yourself the best chance,” he told Reuters.

“Advil (ibuprofen), anti-inflammatories, that’s like vitamin C for athletes. It’s part of life. It’s what you have to do.”

(Editing by Andrew Both)

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Trump to give speech on illegal immigration on Wednesday

WASHINGTON: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday night that he would make a major speech on illegal immigration in Arizona on Wednesday.

The announcement came a day after Trump said he would crack down on illegal immigrants who overstay their visas, as he sought to clarify his views on how to overhaul the U.S. immigration system. Last week, Trump had said he was “softening” on his plan to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants.

That stance had aroused criticism from conservatives who wanted him to stand fast after he won the Republican presidential nomination in large part with a hard-line position that called for building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“I will be making a major speech on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION on Wednesday in the GREAT State of Arizona. Big crowds, looking for a larger venue,” Trump, who had postponed an immigration speech originally planned for last Thursday in Denver, said in his tweet on Sunday.

In another tweet on Sunday night, Trump said both he and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival for the Nov. 8 election, should release detailed medical records. “I have no problem in doing so! Hillary?”

In his speech on Saturday in Iowa, Trump said he would seek to institute a tracking system to ensure illegal immigrants who overstay their visas are quickly removed, and would propose an e-verify system to prevent undocumented residents from gaining access to welfare and other benefits.

“If we don’t enforce visa expiration dates, then we have an open border – it’s as simple as that,” he said.

Trump said his first priority on taking office next January would be the immediate deportation of thousands of undocumented immigrants who remain in the United States despite having committed crimes.

“These international gangs and cartels will be a thing of the past,” he said. “Their reign of terror will be over. In this task, we will always err on the side of protecting the American people – we will use immigration law to prevent crimes, and will not wait until some innocent American has been harmed or killed before taking action.”

Trump did not explain how his plan would affect undocumented residents who have been in the United States for decades and obeyed U.S. laws.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Football: Sabitzer strike rescues debutants RB Leipzig

BERLIN: After four promotions in seven seasons, RB Leipzig made an impressive Bundesliga debut on Sunday (Aug 28), twice coming from behind as Marcel Sabitzer’s equaliser sealed a 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim.

Founded in 2009 by Austrian energy drink’s firm Red Bull, RasenBallsport Leipzig are widely unpopular amongst German football fans, due to the commercialism they represent and resentment caused by their sponsor’s deep pockets.

For example, a severed bull’s head was thrown onto the playing area at last Saturday’s German Cup defeat at Dynamo Dresden and some fans of Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig’s opponents for their first home league match in a fortnight, plan a boycott.

But under Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuettl, the talented young Leipzig side, lacking any big-name stars, proved themselves on their debut in Germany’s top flight.

“I’m very happy with the point, which we deserved,” said Hasenhuettl. “In the first few minutes we behaved a bit naively, but quickly got up to the level.”

They had two clear chances in the first-half, but fell behind when Hoffenheim’s Lukas Rupp fired home from 15-metres out.

The visitors drew level when Leipzig captain Dominik Kaiser scored against his ex-club on 58 minutes.

Hoffenheim looked to have won the game when Sebastian Rudy’s breakaway led to Mark Uth re-establishing the hosts’ lead on 83 minutes, until Austrian international Sabitzer equalised in the 90th minute.

When defender Benno Schmitz, a product of the Bayern Munich academy, fired in a late cross, Sabitzer, who spent last season at sister-club RB Salzburg, was waiting to tap home at the far post.

After the result, Leipzig announced they have signed Scottish teenage winger Oliver Burke on a five-year-contract from Nottingham Forest, reportedly beating Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to his signature.

“This transfer pleases us particularly because a lot of top clubs were interested and as well and we have added more quality to our attack,” said Leipzig’s director of sport Ralf Rangnick.

Earlier, Julian Schieber’s dramatic injury-time winner sealed Hertha Berlin’s 2-1 victory at home to newly-promoted Freiburg to claim his first goal since knee surgery in March 2015.

Hertha were cruising to a 1-0 win at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, thanks to Vladimir Darida’s second-half goal before the game burst into life in the final ten minutes.

Ex-Dortmund striker Schieber came off the bench for Vedad Ibisevic with 85 minutes gone and Freiburg drew level with a stunning header from their captain Nicolas Hoefler in the 93rd minute.

But Hertha roared back as Schieber latched onto a blocked shot from Japan winger Genki Haraguchi and his crude shot rolled into the goal in the 95th minute.

“It’s a dream for any footballer to score the winning goal in front of home fans shortly before the end, even if it was a scuffed shot,” said Schieber.

The hosts dominated possession and went ahead in the second half when Darida fired home, unmarked, from the edge of the area.

Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou, who suffered a double bereavement in the last two weeks following the death of his mother and father, was left on Hertha’s bench for the final dramatic ten minutes which yielded the two goals.

On Friday, last season’s champions Bayern Munich kicked-off the season with a 6-0 hammering of Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena.

Poland hot-shot Robert Lewandowski, the 2015/16 top-scorer in Germany with 30 goals, netted a hat-trick for Bayern to resume his rivalry with Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored 25 times to finish second.

Dortmund laboured to a 2-1 win over Mainz as Aubameyang netted twice, with a header and then converted a second-half penalty.

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Second boycotter says will rejoin Libya's UN-backed government

TRIPOLI: A member of the leadership of Libya’s U.N.-backed government who is close to powerful rival factions in the east of the country has said he will end his boycott of the Tripoli-based body.

The decision by Ali Gatrani could strengthen the Government of National Accord (GNA), coming days after a second boycotting member of the government’s nine-member leadership, or Presidential Council, said he would resume his role.

But in a statement late on Saturday, Gatrani referred anew to concerns around the continuing power of armed groups in the politics of the oil-producing North African state.

Eastern factions have blocked the parliament based in the east from approving the GNA, saying they believe the U.N.-backed government is dependent on militias and is undermining eastern forces led by General Khalifa Haftar.

Western states are counting on the GNA as the best option in tackling the political chaos, security vacuum and economic collapse that have convulsed Libya since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising five years ago.

The result of a U.N.-mediated deal signed in December, the GNA arrived in Tripoli, the capital in the west of Libya, three months later where it has gradually moved to install ministers.

But it has failed to win endorsement from the pre-existing parliament in the east, which is seen as indispensable if it is to extend its authority across the country.

Last week, the Council said it would resubmit a list of ministers to the parliament in the east, after some lawmakers there voted for a second time to reject it.

Gatrani said he was resuming his role in response to an invitation to a meeting on Sunday from Fayez Seraj, who heads both the GNA and the Presidential Council.

He said his top concern was “the rights of the Barqa region and its people … whom we represent, along with their sons’ sacrifices in the police and the army”. Barqa is the name for Libya’s eastern region.

Gatrani said he had been surprised by the Presidential Council’s move from Tunis to Tripoli in March, even though the U.N. backed deal “states that the venue of Presidential Council meetings would be in the capital, Tripoli, only after the militias have left”.

“For that we inform you that we are not going to respond to the call to convene unless the meeting venue is in a Libyan city controlled by regular police and army,” he said.

The parliament now in the east left Tripoli in 2014 after armed opponents seized the capital and installed rival institutions there. The GNA has largely displaced the former government in Tripoli, but has struggled to win popular support.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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