LATEST ARTICLES

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from next week’s Memorial Tournament, his last scheduled warm-up event for the US Open, due to an ongoing rib injury.

McIlroy suffered the problem in the off-season after extensive practice sessions as he tried to decide on new equipment following former supplier Nike’s withdrawal from the market.

It flared up as he lost a play-off to Graeme Storm at the BMW SA Open in January and he did not feature again until the WGC-Mexico Championship in March, where he finished four shots behind winner Dustin Johnson.

The Northern Irishman then played three further events before feeling discomfort at the Players Championship and undergoing an MRI scan, after which he was advised to take a “conservative approach” with his recovery.

That resulted in the four-time major winner pulling out of this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, an event he won in 2014, and now the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.

“All focus is on getting back to full health for the U.S. Open,” McIlroy’s agent Sean O’Flaherty said in an email to Golf Digest.
The US Open takes place at Erin Hills in Wisconsin from June 15-18.

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Monaco Midfielder Bernardo Silva

Manchester City have announced the signing of Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva.

Press Association Sport understands City will pay £43million (€49m) for the 22-year-old, who will officially move on July 1.

It means City have won the race for the Portugal international ahead of neighbours Manchester United, who were also interested in him.

The player flew into Manchester Airport on Thursday night and negotiations were swiftly concluded.

“It feels great. To be honest I’m now at one of the best teams in the world. To be part of this club and to have this opportunity is great,” Silva told his new club’s official website.

“I’m very happy to be part of Manchester City’s team and I look forward to trying to do my best to help the team reach their goals.

“Of course when you have the opportunity of being trained by (Pep) Guardiola, you don’t say no. If not the best coach in the world, he is one of the best.”

“As we all know, what he did in Barcelona and Bayern Munich was amazing and we expect also here that he will win titles. It’s great to be working with him and to have this opportunity.”

Silva’s arrival signals the start of manager Guardiola’s overhaul of a squad which finished a disappointing third in the Premier League in his first season in charge.

On Thursday the club announced the departures of goalkeeper Willy Cabellero, full-backs Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna – in addition to the previously-known exit of Pablo Zabaleta – and winger Jesus Navas as the clear-out of players signed by previous managers began.

Midfielder Yaya Toure is also out of contract this summer and, despite fighting his way back into the reckoning having initially been frozen out by Guardiola, his future remains in the balance.

The Ivory Coast international would have to accept a pay cut to stay on with a short-term deal, although the suggestion from the 34-year-old’s advisers is that the financial side would not be a problem.

It means Guardiola is likely to be looking for at least five new signings this summer as he seeks to close the 15-point gap to champions Chelsea.

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Greek authorities have arrested two men in possession of an illegally excavated ancient marble statue of a young man, which they were allegedly trying to sell for €200,000.

The badly battered work, dating from around 550 BC, had been broken recently into four pieces about 1.6ft long when assembled.

Most of the face is disfigured, and the legs are missing below the knee.

It was unclear where and in what circumstances the work was excavated.

Police said they recovered it under the front passenger seat of a car the two suspects were driving near the town of Corinth in the southern Peloponnese region.

The suspects were identified as Greek men aged 36 and 63.

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The US military is planning a missile defence test next week which for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.

The Pentagon plan is to closely simulate a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) aimed at the US homeland, with the test scheduled for next Tuesday.

The US interceptor has a spotty track record, having succeeded in nine of 17 attempts since 1999 and only one in the last four.

The most recent test, in June 2014, was successful.

North Korea is now the focus of US missile defence efforts after the country vowed to create a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching American territory.

It has yet to test an ICBM.

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Egypt’s government forces have struck bases in which militants who waged a deadly attack against Christians have been trained.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said fighter jets struck militant bases in eastern Libya in retaliation for an attack by suspected Islamic State militants that killed 28 Christians and wounded another 22 south of Cairo.

The officials said the warplanes targeted the headquarters of the Shura Council in the city of Darna, where local militias are known to be linked to al Qaida, not the Islamic State group.

Me el-Sissi warned that Egypt will strike at any bases that train militants who wage attacks in the country, wherever they may be.

He also directly appealed to US President Donald Trump to take the lead in the fight against global terror.

In a televised address just hours after the attack, Mr el-Sissi said “I direct my appeal to President Trump: I trust you, your word and your ability to make fighting global terror your primary task.”

He also repeated calls that countries which finance, train or arm extremists be punished.

In response, Mr Trump condemned the attack blaming “‘evil organisations of terror” and “thuggish ideology”.

In a strongly worded statement, Mr Trump referred to the “merciless slaughter of Christians” and said a “wound is inflicted upon humanity” every time innocent blood is spilled.

He said the attack by masked militants on a bus taking the worshippers to a monastery should bring nations together to crush “evil organisations of terror”.

The assault happened while the bus was travelling on a side road in the desert leading to the remote monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya, about 140 miles south of Cairo.

Witnesses saw between eight and 10 attackers, dressed in military uniforms and wearing masks.

The victims were en route from the nearby province of Beni Suef to visit the monastery.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of Islamic State (IS).

The attack came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic militants have for years been waging an insurgency mostly centered in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, although a growing number of attacks have recently also taken place on the mainland.

The militant Islamic group Hamas, which rules Gaza, has condemned the attack.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the shooting “an ugly crime”, of which “the enemies of Egypt” are the only beneficiaries.

Security and medical officials feared the death toll could rise further. According to the Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack. It is not immediately known how many of the victims were children.

On Wednesday, Egypt blocked access to nearly two dozen websites it said were sympathetic to militants or spreading their ideology.

“The growing number of these terror attacks is not at all reassuring,” Fr Rafic Greiche, the spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic church, told a local television station.

Late last month, Pope Francis visited Egypt, in part to show his support for Christians in this Muslim majority Arab nation following the December and April attacks.

Following the Pope’s visit, IS vowed to escalate attacks against Christians, urging Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and Western embassies, saying they are targets for the group’s followers.

Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community, have long complained of discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at the hands of the country’s majority Muslim population. They account for about 10% of Egypt’s 93 million people.

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Counter-terror police hunting potential accomplices to the Manchester suicide bombing have carried out fresh raids and made an arrest. A search of an address in St Helens, Merseyside, concluded on Friday morning, police said, although it remained unclear how it was connected to the atrocity at Manchester Arena carried out by Salman Abedi.

The total number of arrests connected to the terror attack rose to 10 when a man was detained in the Moss Side area of Manchester in the early hours of the morning. Eight men are now in custody, while a man and a woman, held following searches in the Manchester suburbs of Withington and Blackley, have been released.

Police previously carried out raids on properties across Manchester, which saw five arrests in the south of the city, in Wigan where one arrest was made and Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where another man was detained.
On Friday morning, a cordon was in place around the Fade Away barbershop in Princess Road, near to the junction of Claremont Road, Moss Side.

The shutters were down on the shop but part of it appeared to have been smashed open to gain access to the front door. It is understood that an armed response unit arrived in Princess Road in the early hours of the morning and that the shutter to the barbershop was cut open at about 5.15am. A cordon was then placed around the building at 6am, which stretches to an adjoining chemist, cafe and upstairs flats.
Police have yet to confirm if the raid is in connection with the ongoing investigation into Monday’s suicide bombing.

Police previously hailed the “significant” arrests made and the “very important” items seized in raids as they attempt to close the net on Abedi’s suspected terror network. Elsewhere, security minister Ben Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was no specific threat against an individual event at the moment.

He also said that standby notices issued to NHS staff – which means health organisations have to be on alert in the run-up to the bank holiday in case of another attack – were precautionary. Mr Wallace went on to add that the scale of the challenge was the major issue facing security services and the sheer volume of people needing to be assessed.

Whitehall sources revealed on Thursday that security services are managing around 500 active investigations relating to 3,000 people of interest. “All those people are in the mix and they have to be looked at,” said Mr Wallace. “And then below the 3,000 is another 12,000 people who have in the past come to our attention and haven’t necessarily shown signs of doing anything at all, or no longer posing a risk.

“All of that is predominately underpinned by intelligence, which as I’m sure you will understand and the courts certainly understand, unfortunately the hardest part is we’ve got to convert intelligence into evidence if we actually want to deprive people of their liberty or take certain steps.” The General Election campaign relaunches after three days – with Jeremy Corbyn expected to bring the issue of terrorism into the political arena.

The Labour leader will make a veiled attack on the Conservatives for underfunding the police service at a time of heightened threat, while linking Britain’s overseas military campaigns with terrorism at home.
On Thursday, UK police resumed “working closely” with US authorities on the probe after a tense showdown between the allies over leaked intelligence.

Mark Rowley, the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, confirmed British chiefs had “received fresh assurances” from their overseas counterparts that they could be trusted with confidential material. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she expected the “critical” assessment of the terror threat – suggesting a fresh attack may be imminent – to remain in place in the coming days.

Ms Rudd told BBC1’s Question Time: “During this period of ‘critical’, which we hope will only last for a few days – it could be longer, it will depend on the operation – we’ve pulled out additional support from the Army so we can go about our normal life.” Abedi, who was known to security services for his radical views, was said to have been in close contact with family members moments before slaughtering concert-goers on Monday.

A relative of the 22-year-old said he had felt increasing frustration at his treatment in the UK, heightened after a friend was fatally knifed in what he perceived to be a religious hate crime.
She added that the British-born bomber began referring to others in the country as “infidels” who were “unjust to Arabs”.

Libyan authorities, who are questioning Abedi’s parents and siblings, claimed he made a final phone call to his mother on the eve of the attack, in which he said: “Forgive me.” Music fans were targeted at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in the worst terrorist attack on British soil since the July 7 bombing in London in 2005.

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The New York Times is on a fresh collision course with Donald Trump after he vowed to investigate leaked evidence from the Manchester terror attack. Material from the scene of the atrocity, including the bomb’s alleged detonator, were pictured in a story by the news outlet on Wednesday, having apparently been shared by US officials.

The unauthorised release provoked outrage in British intelligence circles and led Greater Manchester Police to temporarily sever information-sharing ties with their American counterparts. The US president, who was due to receive a dressing down from Theresa May at a Nato summit in Brussels, declared the security lapse a “grave threat to our national security”.

In a White House statement, he said: “The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling. “These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this. “The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security.

“I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” His pronouncements once again set the New York Times in the crosshairs of the famously media-wary president.
Mr Trump has waged a highly-publicised battle with the newspaper, routinely describing it as “fake news” and “failing” in its coverage of him. But the organisation defended its reporting of the Manchester Arena evidence.

“The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes,” it said in a statement.
“We have strict guidelines on how and in what ways we cover sensitive stories. Our coverage of Monday’s horrific attack has been both comprehensive and responsible.”

The promise of a US investigation comes at a time of heightened sensitivity about leaked information surrounding the Trump administration. Mr Trump weathered a storm of criticism for passing on highly classified Israeli intelligence to Russian officials in a meeting earlier this month. He later accused the former head of the FBI, James Comey, of leaking details of their conversations in the fallout from his dismissal.

Wednesday’s controversy with the New York Times followed similar episodes in the wake of the attack – including US sources sharing the terrorist’s identity with broadcasters. It came hours after Home Secretary Amber Rudd publicly rebuked US authorities over the leaks, labelling them “irritating”.

A furious response from counter-terror chiefs was also issued in response to the New York Times piece, saying such episodes “undermine our investigations”.

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Rita Ora

Rita Ora has spoken about her split from Jay Z’s record label Roc Nation, saying the decision was “mutual and respectful”.

The singer released her first album, Ora, through the rapper’s label but parted ways with him and signed a contract with Atlantic Records in 2016, with her first single in two years, Your Song, released this week.

In a podcast interview with The Sun’s Dan Wootton, Rita addressed the rumours around what had caused the label split with her mentors Jay Z and his wife Beyonce, who she had become good friends with.

She said: “We made a mutual decision I’d like to say in a really respectful manner. It was a business decision and we all went our separate ways.

“No matter what happens there’s nothing that can replace what they did for me on my first record and I’m forever thankful for that and for them – the best mentors in the world, me being a crazy Beyonce fan.”

Jay Z and Beyoncé

Rita’s contract coming to an end coincided with the release of Beyonce’s 2016 album Lemonade, in which she appeared to suggest trouble in her marriage and kept fans guessing as to the identity of a mysterious woman referred to in her lyrics as “Becky with the good hair”.

Poison singer Rita said: “The truth is it’s a respectful separation and there’s no bad blood whatsoever. There’s nothing but smiles and love in every direction.

“That’s never going to go away, the history you have with someone and if they change your life in such a crazy way you can’t just forget about it.”

Rita also spoke about her other famous friends, who include mentor Madonna, and Ed Sheeran who she collaborated with on writing Your Song.

She said of Ed: “From the person making you the cappuccino to the president, he’ll talk to you the same, that’s who Ed is.”

Madonna

Rita had fond words for Madonna too, saying: “She really does take people under her wing.

“Every step I take with her has always been a progressive one and you can always learn from a woman like that.”

She added that she was happy for her former X Factor co-star Cheryl on the birth of her son, Bear, in March.

Rita addressed the less pleasant subject of a robbery that she was the victim of in 2015 while she and her sister slept.

She said: “It still affects me even today, going to sleep. Knowing there was a stranger in your home is never a nice feeling.

“It was harder for my sister because she had the actual face to face with the robber.”

Rita added that she had increased her security “200%” since the incident.