Archive for: ‘June 2019’

Thais suspended for badminton brawl

11/06/2019 Posted by admin

The Badminton World Federation has banned Thai shuttler Bodin Issara for two years over a violent brawl.

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His former doubles partner Maneepong Jongjit has been hit with a three-month suspension.

Bodin and Maneepong were punished for an on-court fight in July, which unfolded during the Canada Open men’s doubles final in front of shocked spectators.

Video footage showed Bodin chasing Maneepong, his partner at last year’s Olympics who then teamed up with Nipitphon Puangpuapech, onto a neighbouring court and dragging him to the ground.

He then punched his prone countryman twice and appeared to try to stamp on him before being dragged away from 22-year-old Maneepong, who got up shirtless and was helped away.

“This decision by the BWF’s Disciplinary Committee follows the two players’ involvement in an altercation while competing against each other in the Men’s Doubles final of last month’s Yonex Canada Open,” the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Both sanctions are effective from the date of the incident – Sunday 21 July – and the players have 21 days in which to appeal,” it added.

Bodin will forfeit the world-ranking points and prize money he earned from the event after the 22-year-old was found to have breached five sections of the BWF players’ code of conduct.

While tempers can fray during games it is rare for badminton players to fight on the court.

Badminton is still reeling from a scandal at the Olympics when eight doubles players were banned for trying to lose group matches, in the hope of gaining a favourable quarter-final draw.

Bodin and his partner, Pakkawat Vilailak, were disqualified from the Canada Open final after the fight.

US mob king Bulger convicted on 11 murders

11/06/2019 Posted by admin

A US jury convicted notorious Boston underworld kingpin and reputed FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger for 11 murders and a raft of other criminal charges Monday.

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His lawyers said he would appeal the verdict.

After five days of deliberations, the jury of four women and eight men found Bulger guilty of all but one of the 32 counts he faced.

They included 11 of the 19 murders for which he had been charged. The one count for which he was not convicted was an extortion charge.

At the age of 83, the white-bearded Bulger — a fugitive for 16 years before his arrest in California in 2011 — is likely to spend the last days of his life behind bars.

Sentencing was set for November 13.

Besides murder, Bulger — seen by reporters giving a thumbs-up to members of his family as he was led out of the courtroom — was accused of extortion, money laundering and arms trafficking.

His trial, which began June 4, featured 72 witnesses, 840 exhibits and sometimes chilling testimony worthy of the pages of a pulp novel.

It heard harrowing tales of teeth being pulled from the mouths of murder victims to foil their posthumous identification and the fatal strangulation of a mobster’s girlfriend who “knew too much.”

But the defense team was frustrated that the trial did not emphasize the relationship between Bulger and the US Department of Justice.

“James Bulger intends to take an appeal,” his lawyer Jay Carney told reporters outside the court.

“I don’t think you’ve heard the last word from James Bulger,” added fellow defense attorney Hank Brennan.

Bulger refused to testify at his trial, saying the proceedings “unfair and a sham” because it would not recognize what he claimed was immunity from prosecution given by federal agents.

Bulger has always denied having been an FBI informant, but close links between some FBI agents in Boston and Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s have been well documented.

Former FBI agent John Connolly is currently in prison after being convicted in 2002 of effectively becoming a member of the gang.

Bulger provided the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s mob boss character in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 2006 gangster film “The Departed.”

The trial was clouded by the death of former south Boston liquor store Stephen Rakes, 59, who had been expected to testify against Bulger having claimed he was a victim of extortion.

Rake’s body was discovered in mid-July in Lincoln, Massachusetts where the local district attorney said there had been no obvious signs of trauma.

At the start of Bulger’s trial, federal prosecutor Brian Kelly said the case against him was “about about organized crime, public corruption and all sorts of illegal activities.”

“And at the center of all this murder and mayhem is one man (who led) a group of criminals who ran amok in the city of Boston for 30 years.”

Kelly described the Irish-American as a godfather in Boston’s seedy underworld — one who would not hesitate to strangle, shoot, kill or maim anyone he saw as a rival, informer or witness to his criminal activities.

Murray, Djokovic on Cincinnati collision course

11/06/2019 Posted by admin

Djokovic was all business on an unusually chilly afternoon on the outskirts of Cincinnati easing past Argentine Juan Monaco 7-5 6-2 while Murray got his North American hardcourt campaign back on track with a 6-2 6-3 dissection of Mikhail Youzhny.

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“Between 4-1 and 4-5 (first set), four quite bad games for me,” Djokovic told reporters. “I stopped moving my legs. I didn’t really go for my shots.

“I let him kind of dictate the play and wait for his mistake, which was not the right tactics.

“But all in all, I expected a little bit of a challenge for myself especially because he’s a good player but also because it’s the first match here in Cincinnati, which has different conditions from what we played in Montreal.”

Twice before, in 2008 and 2011, world number one Djokovic and number two Murray have met in the Cincinnati final with the Scot winning on both occasions.

But this year the big Serb, who has four runner-up finishes on the Ohio hardcourts, will be determined to be the last man standing and become the first player to complete what the ATP Tour has dubbed the ‘Career Golden Masters’ and win all nine World Tour Masters titles.

Murray and Djokovic have been making a habit of meeting when something big is on the line.

They clashed in the finals of three of the last four grand slams with Djokovic coming out on top in Australia and Murray the winner at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Murray, who had a slow start to the hardcourt season with a third round loss in Montreal last week, arrived in Cincinnati eager to get in matches ahead of the August 26-Sept 9 U.S. Open, where he will arrive as a defending grand slam champion for the first time.

The Cincinnati hardcourts proved a perfect spot to build some momentum and Youzhny the perfect opponent as the Wimbledon champion needed just 70 minutes to run his record to 4-0 against the overmatched Russian.

“I thought he made more mistakes than I’d expected,” said Murray. “But he played yesterday and very different conditions today because it was cool on the court.

“I just wanted to try to play a high percentage match because I think it’s important for me to try to get a few matches this week, if I can.

“I did what I wanted to do and got through the match.”

In other matches, seventh seed Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, tamed Russian Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 7-5 while top ranked American John Isner beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet, the eighth seed, 7-6 (6) 6-2.

Canada’s Milos Raonic, who moved into the top 10 for the first time this week, continued his good form disposing of Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 7-6 (4).

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Somalia battling polio outbreak

11/06/2019 Posted by admin

Aid workers in war-torn Somalia are struggling to contain a dangerous outbreak of the crippling polio virus, with rampant insecurity hampering efforts, the United Nations says.

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Six years after the Horn of Africa nation was declared free of the virus, at least 105 cases have been confirmed in Somalia, the “worst outbreak in the world in a non-endemic country”, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday.

Its warning came just two days after medical aid charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced it was pulling out of Somalia after more than two decades, a move that affects hundreds of thousands of needy people.

“The polio outbreak plaguing Somalia has spread despite significant efforts to curb the disease,” OCHA added in a statement.

While some four million people have been vaccinated, getting drugs to more than 600,000 children in southern and central Somalia – areas partly under control of the al-Qaeda linked Shabab, who block vaccination efforts – is “extremely challenging”, it said.

“The inability to fully access these areas constitutes a major threat to the control of the outbreak,” it said, warning that “Somalia remains one of the most difficult and dangerous environments in the world for aid workers.”

While more than 100 cases of polio have been recorded, “the fact that this number of children show symptoms of paralysis means that there are probably thousands more with the virus, who do not have symptoms, but are capable of spreading it”, OCHA added.

Around 10 cases have also been reported in northeastern Kenya, which hosts almost half a million Somali refugees in sprawling camps.

In Somalia, while the bulk of cases are in the southern and central regions, the outbreak has also spread to self-declared independent Somaliland in the northwest.

With only 223 polio cases worldwide recorded last year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number affected in Somalia is alarming, although cases worldwide have dropped by over 99 per cent from some 350,000 in 1988.