Monthly Archives: December 2016

Bangladesh stumper Rahim misses remaining ODIs in New Zealand

REUTERS: Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim will miss the remaining two one-day internationals against New Zealand with a hamstring injury.

The first-choice stumper, also a key middle order batsman, suffered the injury during his team’s defeat by 77 runs in the Boxing Day match at Christchurch.

“We are looking at two weeks, anything before is a bonus,” Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha told reporters on Wednesday.

“He’s been one of the form batters as well as wicketkeeper in all formats, but injuries are part and parcel of the game.”

Rahim’s injury cleared the decks for reserve wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan’s one-day debut in the second match at Nelson on Thursday.

Beginning on Jan 3, Bangladesh play three Twenty20 matches in New Zealand followed by tests at Wellington (Jan. 12-16) and Christchurch (Jan 20-24).

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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Obama, Japan's Abe to show solidarity in Pearl Harbor visit

HONOLULU: President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will use a symbolic joint visit to Pearl Harbor to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance on Tuesday, weeks before Republican Donald Trump takes over at the White House.

Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, and Abe will meet to discuss ties between the two former World War Two foes before going together to the site of the 1941 attack.

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, pounding the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.

    Abe plans to commemorate the dead at the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona. He will be the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial, a centrepiece of the historic site. Officials said Abe would not apologise for the attack.

The two leaders will take part in a wreath-laying and a moment of silence. Later they both will make remarks.

Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability.

The meeting is also meant to reinforce the U.S.-Japan partnership ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, whose opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and campaign threat to force allied countries to pay more to host U.S. forces raised concerns among allies such as Japan.

Abe met with Trump in New York in November and called him a “trustworthy leader.”

The Japanese leader’s visit to Pearl Harbor comes months after Obama became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945.

Obama called for a world without nuclear arms during his visit there. Trump last week called for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capability and reportedly welcomed an international arms race.

(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg in Tokyo; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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Leader Wild Oats XI drops out of Sydney-Hobart race

MELBOURNE: Australian super maxi Wild Oats XI dropped out of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Tuesday, the race leader citing a broken hydraulic ram.

The surprising retirement of Wild Oats XI came after the race favourite had commanded a steady lead at the end of the first day on Monday, chasing a record ninth line honours victory.

Roughly 20 hours into the treacherous race, as the yachts entered the Bass Strait which separates the mainland from Tasmania, the leader was forced to retire, allowing super maxi Perpetual Loyal to take the lead from New Zealand’s Giacomo.

Near perfect weather conditions on Monday had helped Wild Oats XI, which was on pace for a record time before its hydraulic fault.

Wild Oats XI’s second consecutive retirement is a disappointing rerun for skipper Mark Richards, who was seeking redemption for his crew after high winds tore their mainsail and forced them to retire last year.

Covering approximately 630 nautical miles (1170 km) of the Tasman Sea and notoriously treacherous Bass Strait, the annual race is Australia’s premier yachting event and among the world’s most gruelling.

Strong north-easterly winds built throughout Monday, helping Perpetual Loyal and Wild Oats XI break away from the fleet of 88 yachts, with Wild Oats XI taking the lead late in the day.

Yachtsmen had earlier predicted the race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds set by Wild Oats XI in 2012, was in jeopardy.

The leaders are expected to finish on Wednesday in Hobart, the capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

(Reporting by Jarni Blakkarly; Editing by Andrew Both)

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First Istanbul trial to begin of Turkey coup suspects

ISTANBUL: Almost 30 Turkish police will go on trial in Istanbul on Tuesday (Dec 27) charged with involvement in the Jul 15 coup bid, the city’s first trial of alleged plotters.

With indictments prepared against over 1,200 people, and some 41,000 under arrest in total, the trials following the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to be the most far-reaching legal process in Turkish history.

Five months after the coup, small-scale trials of suspects have already began in the provinces and on Monday 60 people went on trial in the southwestern city of Denizli.

But the trial in Istanbul – which is to take place in a gigantic courthouse in the Silivri prison in Istanbul – is to be the most significant to date and the first in the Turkish metropolis.

The accused are charged with seeking to overthrow the government as well as allegedly being members of the group led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen who the authorities accuse of leading the plot.

Gulen, who Ankara wants to see extradited from the United States, vehemently denies the charges.

Of the 29 police set to go on trial in Silivri on Tuesday, 24 are under arrest, one on the run and the rest on bail.

If convicted, 21 suspects each face three life sentences and the other eight officers could be handed prison terms of between seven-and-a-half and 15 years.

“Time to bring the traitors to account,” said the pro-government Sabah newspaper.

Those accused are alleged to have refused to protect Erdogan’s residence in Istanbul on the night of the coup.


However there has been growing international alarm over the extent of the crackdown amid the state of emergency imposed after the coup, with critics concerned it has been used to target Erdogan’s opponents.

With the crackdown showing no sign of relenting, the interior ministry said 1,096 people suspected of Gulen links were detained in the last week alone.

Since the coup, the authorities have investigated almost 101,800 people, placing some 41,000 under arrest.

Erdogan said last week that the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara was carried out by a Turkish policeman loyal to Gulen, a claim not yet accepted by Moscow.

He said that allies of Gulen – who over decades built up strong networks of influence within Turkish institutions – still needed to be weeded out of the security services.

“This dirty organisation is still within the military, still within the police,” Erdogan said.

Following the start of the Istanbul trial, several others will get under way in the coming months including of the alleged military ringleaders in Ankara.

The trial of 47 suspects accused of trying to assassinate Erdogan at a holiday resort on the Aegean Sea is due to begin in Mugla on February 20.

The courthouse in Silivri has huge resonance for Turks after it was also used in trials against suspects in 2013 accused of a separate coup plot known as Ergenekon.

That case, which was strongly supported by Gulen, saw 275 police officers, journalists, lawyers and academics indicted for allegedly conspiring to oust Erdogan.

But the suspects were then released and their convictions quashed earlier this year, with the authorities accusing Gulen of perverting the legal process and fabricating evidence.

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McIlroy out to keep up proud Dubai Classic record

DUBAI: World number two Rory McIlroy will be looking to maintain a proud record when he competes in the US$ 2.65 million Dubai Desert Classic in February.

The four-times major champion won the event in 2009 and 2015 and has finished in the top 10 in each of his seven previous visits to the Emirates Golf Club.

“I have great memories of this tournament,” McIlroy said in a news release on Monday. “I made the cut here for the first time in a European Tour event as a 17-year-old amateur in 2007 and it was here I secured my first professional win two years later.

“I will always cherish those important moments in the early part of my career. That first win was a real stepping-stone for me, helping my confidence and leading to the successes that followed,” said the Northern Irishman.

British Open champion and world number four Henrik Stenson and U.S. Masters winner Danny Willett, who lifted the Dubai Classic trophy last year, are also in the field for the Feb. 2-5 tournament.

The Dubai Classic is the last in the tour’s three-event Middle East swing that also includes the Abu Dhabi Championship from Jan. 19-22 and the Qatar Masters from Jan. 26-29.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Russia hunts for crashed jet's black boxes, says no signs of foul play

MOSCOW: Russia expanded its search on Monday for the remains of a military plane that crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 92 on board, and said pilot error or a technical fault: but not terrorism: were likely to have caused the tragedy.

The plane, a Russian Defence Ministry TU-154, was carrying dozens of Red Army Choir singers and dancers to Syria to entertain Russian troops in the run-up to the New Year.

Nine Russian journalists were also on board as well as military servicemen and Elizaveta Glinka, a prominent member of President Vladimir Putin’s advisory human rights council.

Divers and submersibles seeking the jet’s flight recorders scoured a stretch of water roughly 1 mile (1.6 km) from the southern Russian resort of Sochi.

Four small pieces of fuselage were recovered at a depth of 27 metres (89 ft), the RIA news agency said, but strong currents and deep water were complicating the search.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a Defence Ministry spokesman, said 11 bodies had been recovered. The ministry denied a RIA report that some of the dead passengers had been wearing life jackets.

He said the sea and air search operation, already involving around 3,500 people, was being expanded.

Putin designated Monday a nationwide day of mourning and flags flew at half-mast and TV stations removed entertainment shows from their schedules.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev led a minute of silence at a government meeting, and mourners laid flowers at Sochi airport, from where the plane took off.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said military investigators were considering all theories, but that the version it may have been “a terrorist act” was “nowhere near the top of the list”.


The FSB security service said it had not so far found any evidence pointing to foul play and was investigating four possible causes, the Interfax news agency reported.

Those were that a foreign object had fallen into an engine, that the fuel had been poor quality causing engine failure, pilot error, or a technical fault.

Mourners left flowers in front of the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Army’s Alexandrov song and dance troupe, more than 60 of whom were killed in the crash.

A handwritten note outside the office of Glinka, the late humanitarian worker on board, read: “We want V.V. Putin to ban the TU-154.”

The Defence Ministry says the downed jet, a Soviet-era plane built in 1983, had last been serviced in September and undergone more major repairs in December 2014.

The last big TU-154 crash was in 2010 when a Polish jet carrying then-president Lech Kaczynski and much of Poland’s political elite went down in western Russia killing everyone on board.

Russian authorities have said they have no plans to withdraw the TU-154 from service for the time being.

Defence Ministry spokesman Konashenkov said 45 ships, five helicopters, drones, and more than 100 divers were involved in the wider search, and soldiers were scouring the Black Sea coastline as well.

He said ten bodies and 86 body fragments from the crash had been flown to Moscow so that experts could try to identify them.

(Additional reporting by Polina Devitt and Andrey Ostroukh; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Gunfire at North Carolina Christmas party wounds seven people

REUTERS: Police on Sunday were attempting to identify two suspects who shot up a Christmas party at a North Carolina Moose Lodge and wounded seven people before escaping in a vehicle driven by a third suspect.

The gunfire broke out on Saturday at a private party in Rockingham County, just outside the city of Madison in north-central North Carolina.

No one was in custody and police had yet to identify the suspects, a spokesman for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Moose Lodge had rented the space to a private party, and officers responding to reports of gunfire there found two victims at the scene while five others had already gone elsewhere to seek treatment, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Some 250 to 300 people were at the party when an argument began, leading to the gunfire, the statement said.

All of the victims received treatment, and none of their wounds were considered life-threatening, it said.

The two shooters, both men, had been attending the party and put on ski masks before shooting, the statement said, citing witnesses.

They fled the scene in a silver car driven by a woman, but the make and model of the car were unknown, the statement said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Yachting: Thomson passes Cape Horn 48 hours behind leader Le Cleac'h

PARIS: British skipper Alex Thomson took his Hugo Boss craft around Cape Horn on Sunday (Dec 25), almost a full 48 hours behind Vendee Globe leader Armel Le Cleac’h, organisers announced.

Thomson passed the Cape, at the southern tip of Chile, in second place in the solo round-the-world race, but he got there one day, 23 hours and eight minutes behind Frenchman Le Cleac’h on his Banque Populaire VIII vessel.

Le Cleac’h passed the strategic Cape five days faster than the previous record time set by Francois Gabart in 2012.

Thomson set off from Les Sables d’Olonne on France’s Atlantic coast 49 days ago, on November 6, and had led the race when he rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the coast of South Africa.

At 1100 GMT on Sunday he trailed Le Cleac’h by 455 nautical miles, although he had been 819 miles behind on Friday evening.

Jeremie Beyou, another French skipper, was more than 1200 nautical miles behind the leader in third place.

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Obamas send their final Christmas message from White House

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sent their final Christmas salutations from the White House on Saturday (Dec 24), highlighting common values uniting Americans of all faiths.

“The idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. That we should treat others as we would want to be treated,” Michelle Obama said.

“Those are values that help guide not just my family’s Christian faith, but that of Jewish Americans, and Muslim Americans; nonbelievers and Americans of all backgrounds,” the president added.

The Obamas’ seasonal greeting comes at a time when America is deeply divided after a brutal presidential campaign that pitched populist Donald Trump and his frequently incendiary rhetoric against Hillary Clinton.

The Obamas appeared jovial in their greeting, showing a flashback to the filming of their first Christmas message in 2009, when the president couldn’t stop giggling.

Barack Obama also used the address to re-cap his time in office, saying the country was much stronger than it had been than when he succeeded George W. Bush.

“Together, we fought our way back from the worst recession in 80 years, and got unemployment to a nine-year low,” he said.

“We made America more respected around the world, took on the mantle of leadership in the fight to protect this planet for our kids, and much, much more.”

As is custom, the couple also thanked US troops and their families.

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Football: Lampard open to Chelsea return as player

LONDON: Frank Lampard admitted on Saturday (Dec 24) he would relish a return to Chelsea as a player and is keen to rejoin the Premier League leaders in some capacity even if he is not offered a deal.

The former England midfielder is Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer and is keeping his options open after leaving New York City FC following a two-year spell with the MLS side.

Appearing alongside Blues captain John Terry on Sky Sports, Lampard said: “Myself and John are Chelsea through and through so whatever happens, in some capacity I will be at Chelsea.

“Whether it’s with my season ticket, watching them, I don’t know yet, I’ll have very close contact. Whether I’ll have the role (as a player), it’s not all in my hands so I can’t go any further on that.

“I’m very relaxed about it, which is a nice place to be. If the right thing comes, I’ll take it. Obviously Chelsea, I’d love that, but it doesn’t work that way always.”

The 38-year-old left Stamford Bridge in 2014 after scoring 211 goals in a 13-year spell at Chelsea, briefly playing for Manchester City before heading to the United States.

He scored 15 times in 31 appearances for New York City and has yet to decide whether he will retire or not.

“I feel fit, I’m fresh in the mind,” Lampard added. “I understand when you get even past 30, you start to understand things are different.

“What I would say is, if I was to carry on playing, it would have to be perfect. I’m not being snobby and hand-picking what I want to do but perfect for my family, for me and all those things.”

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