Saturday, 17 August 2019

Senior UK Conservative lawmaker says he could not back Corbyn-led government

August 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A Conservative lawmaker at the center of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit said on Saturday he was pessimistic about his chances because he and other party colleagues could not support a caretaker government led by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowing to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by Oct. 31, anti-Brexit politicians from all sides have been trying, and so far failing, to agree on a plan to stop it from happening.

Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, wants a caretaker government with himself as head, and then an election.

But other opponents of a no-deal Brexit worry that Corbyn, a staunch leftist, would not win enough support, prompting leaders of smaller parties to put forward their own suggestions as to who could lead a government long enough to delay Brexit.

Oliver Letwin, a lawmaker from Johnson’s ruling Conservatives, was asked to lend his support to Corbyn this week, but he told BBC Radio on Saturday: “I don’t think it’s at all likely that a majority would be formed for that and I wouldn’t be able to support that, no.”

Asked to explain why, he said even an interim Corbyn-led government could do more damage than a disorderly exit from the world’s biggest trading bloc.

Conservative opponents of a no-deal Brexit are deeply suspicious of Corbyn, whom they see as a dangerous Marxist intent on nationalizing swathes of British industry and hiking state spending and taxes.

AGREEMENT ELUSIVE

“It’s well worth having discussions with everybody across the House because there’s probably a majority of MPs (Members of Parliament) who don’t want to have a no-deal exit but the issue is can we get all of those MPs on some alternative proposition?

“I’m not terribly optimistic about all this because I don’t see yet emerging an agreement on that,” he said.

To form a new parliamentary majority with cross-party backing, Letwin said lawmakers would first have to agree a strategy for Brexit, revealing the divisions that have hampered pro-EU politicians since they lost the 2016 referendum.

While some accept the result and want a negotiated withdrawal from the bloc to soften the economic impact, others are pushing for a second referendum in the hope of reversing the 2016 vote to leave the EU.

“There is a high likelihood, alas, that this country is going to leave without a deal on the 31st of October,” Letwin said.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Heat on agenda again at newly-built Tokyo 2020 hockey venue

August 17, 2019

By Yoko Kono

TOKYO (Reuters) – After a week of Tokyo 2020 test events dominated by talks of sweltering heat and stifling humidity, it was hockey’s turn to experience it at the newly-built Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Hockey teams from countries including India and Australia are joining hosts Japan in a series of matches across four days to test out the facilities and gain some experience in dealing with Tokyo’s tricky summer climate.

Temperatures reached 37 degrees Celsius on Saturday but there were no reports of heat-stroke on the opening day.

The teams benefited from a range of heat countermeasures, including water mist sprays and large fans on the field and players moving inside and away from the sun during water breaks.

India defeated Japan 2-1 in the opening match on the main 2,600-seater pitch and for the Indian players, the hot conditions were nothing new and came with playing an outdoor sport.

“Oh yes, it was really rather hot,” said Indian women’s captain Rani Rampal.

“I think every player was getting tired very quickly but in India we are used to this. In India it is really hot nowadays.”

“Sometimes it is difficult, but this is sport, we can’t change it.”

Japan defender Shiori Oikawa, who played in the Netherlands, said the conditions could prove tricky for European teams next year.

“I have played in the Netherlands for three years, so this is completely different from European climate,” she said. “It is very difficult.”

Tokyo 2020 Governor Yuriko Koike officially opened the venue earlier in the morning at a ribbon cutting ceremony and praised the heat countermeasures in place.

“Today we used some mists, various ways of misting…we also have water hoses normally used for agriculture use for irrigation. So, we are trying varieties of ways of cooling,” she said.

“We will use the best methods at Tokyo 2020. To test those countermeasures, I think test events are very important.”

After the Olympics, the multi-purpose complex with continue to host hockey, soccer, lacrosse and American football events.

(Writing by Jack Tarrant; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Album review roundup: Huge releases by Lionel Richie, Ian Gillan, Runrig and more



REVIEW: Latest albums this month include Lionel Richie, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, Runrig, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Rosalie Cunningham. Music journalist Paul Davies checks out the hottest new releases.

Alleged Redmi 8 appears on TENAA with full specs

An unknown Redmi smartphone, bearing model number M1908C3IC and said to be the Redmi 8, has appeared on TENAA with its images and full specs. The smartphone is built around a 6.21" display having a resolution of 1520x720 pixels. The screen is turned off so we can't see the bezels at the top and sides clearly, but we can see that the phone has a thicker chin with a Redmi branding. The presence of an 8MP selfie camera at the top also confirms the display has a notch. Around the back, the phone has a dual camera setup aligned vertically in the center with a 12MP unit as the main sensor....

Kazakh advocate of Muslim rights in China set free in plea bargain

August 17, 2019

ALMATY (Reuters) – A Kazakh rights activist who campaigned against the detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in special camps in China has pleaded guilty to a hate speech charge in exchange for securing his freedom, his lawyer said on Saturday.

Serkzhan Bilash, a naturalized Kazakh citizen born in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, led Atajurt, a group that has worked for the release of ethnic Kazakhs from camps where activists say more than a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held.

He was arrested in March and charged with hate speech for allegedly publicly calling for a “jihad” against the Chinese.

In a hearing late on Friday, the prosecution announced it had reached a plea bargain with Bilash, his lawyer Aiman Umarova said. Under the deal, Bilash was fined 110,000 tenge (about $280) and set free, although he will not be allowed to leave the city of Almaty for several months.

Umarova said she had opposed the deal and refused to sign it, but Bilash told her it was made clear to him he would be sentenced to seven years in prison otherwise.

“He said he was doing it for the sake of his two children and because of his health,” she said by telephone.

“We (Kazakhstan) have bent over backwards for China.”

Kazakhstan borders Xinjiang and China is one of its biggest trade partners.

Many Western and Muslim countries have strongly criticized the detention centers set up by Chinese authorities in remote Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority. Beijing describes them as “education training centers” that help to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Gareth Jones)

U.S. issues warrant to seize Iranian tanker off Gibraltar

August 17, 2019

By Marco Trujillo

GIBRALTAR (Reuters) – The United States has issued a warrant to seize an Iranian oil tanker caught in the standoff between Tehran and the West in a last ditch effort to prevent the vessel from leaving Gibraltar.

The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

Gibraltar lifted the detention order on Thursday after the British territory’s chief minister said he had secured written assurances from Tehran that the cargo would not go to Syria.

But with the vessel and its 2.1 million barrels of oil free to leave, the United States launched a separate legal appeal to impound the ship on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which it designates as a terrorist organization.

A federal court in Washington issued a warrant to seize the tanker, the oil it carries and nearly $1 million.

“A network of front companies allegedly laundered millions of dollars in support of such shipments,” the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie Liu, said in a news release.

“The scheme involves multiple parties affiliated with the IRGC and furthered by the deceptive voyages of the Grace 1.”

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the warrant, which was addressed to “the United States Marshal’s Service and/or any other duly authorized law enforcement officer,” may be enforced.

The Pentagon declined to comment, as did Britain’s Foreign Office.

Asked on Friday about the U.S. intervention, Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, said that would be subject to the jurisdiction of Gibraltar’s Supreme Court. “It could go back to the court absolutely.”

The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that the vessel was unlikely to sail before Sunday, citing an unnamed source who added that it was waiting for six new crew members including a captain to arrive.

The Grace 1 had its name erased and it was no longer flying a Panama flag.

Iranian state television had quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of the country’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, as saying the tanker would depart for the Mediterranean after being reflagged under the Iranian flag and renamed Adrian Darya.

(Writing by Kate Holton; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

MLB roundup: Yaz belts three homers in Giants’ 11-inning win

August 17, 2019

Mike Yastrzemski hit three home runs, including a solo shot on the first pitch of the 11th inning, as the San Francisco Giants outlasted the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-9 Friday night in Phoenix in a wild game that featured 12 homers.

It was the first career multi-home run game for Yastrzemski, a 28-year-old rookie who has five homers in his past four games and 11 since the All-Star break. He has 16 on the season.

Each team went deep six times to set a Chase Field record for combined home runs. The Diamondbacks hit five homers from the eighth inning on, establishing a team record, but still came up short.

Yastrzemski’s third shot came off Yoan Lopez (1-5). Closer Will Smith (5-0) got the win, despite giving up two blasts in the 10th to cough up a 9-7 lead. Kevin Pillar went deep twice for San Francisco, as Wilmer Flores did the same for Arizona.

Yankees 3, Indians 2

Masahiro Tanaka pitched effectively into the seventh inning as New York beat visiting Cleveland.

The Yankees rebounded nicely from a 19-5 pummeling by the Indians on Thursday and won for the 15th time in their past 18 games. New York also improved to 10-1 in its last 11 home games.

Tanaka (9-6) allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Slumping Yankees slugger Aaron Judge produced his first multi-hit game since Aug. 3 and scored two runs.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2

Kevin Newman hit a two-out, walk-off single as Pittsburgh edged visiting Chicago.

The Pirates entered the ninth trailing 2-1, but Cole Tucker’s bases-loaded walk tied the game.

Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove matched a career high with nine strikeouts, walked none and pitched seven shutout innings before he was charged with two runs in the eighth.

Twins 4, Rangers 3

Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run, go-ahead home run in the seventh inning, and Max Kepler also homered to lead Minnesota to a victory in Arlington, Texas.

Marwin Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with a run, and Ehire Adrianza had a single and a double for Minnesota, which increased its lead in the American League Central to 1 1/2 games over Cleveland.

Kepler, a native of Berlin, Germany, hit his 33rd homer of the season, passing Bobby Thomson (Scotland) for most in a season by European-born player in major league history.

Nationals 2, Brewers 1

Anthony Rendon doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead streaking Washington past visiting Milwaukee for its fifth straight win.

Sean Doolittle retired Yelich, Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal in the ninth for his 28th save.

Rendon stroked two doubles and has 61 extra-base hits. Victor Robles’ single was the Nationals’ only other hit, and Trea Turner scored both runs and stole a base.

Royals 4, Mets 1

Mike Montgomery and four relievers limited New York to one run as Kansas City prevailed at home. Ian Kennedy loaded the bases in the ninth but escaped with his 21st save in 24 chances.

Montgomery (3-5) allowed one run on five hits in six innings, with two walks and three strikeouts.

Noah Syndergaard (8-6), who had pitched at least seven innings in six straight starts, saw that streak snapped. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out six.

Dodgers 8, Braves 3

Max Muncy and Justin Turner hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning to produce a four-run rally and send visiting Los Angeles on its way to a win over Atlanta.

The Dodgers trailed 3-2 to start the seventh but took the lead when Muncy delivered a towering three-run shot against reliever Sean Newcomb. Turner followed with his long ball.

Combined with Cody Bellinger’s second-inning solo homer and Will Smith’s two-run homer in the eighth, the Dodgers set a major league record by hitting at least four home runs in their fifth straight game. They have hit 22 homers during that stretch.

Cardinals 13, Reds 4

Dexter Fowler homered to highlight his three-hit, four-RBI performance, and Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong also went deep as visiting St. Louis cruised past Cincinnati.

Wong collected four hits and scored three runs, and Goldschmidt added an RBI single for the Cardinals, who totaled 18 hits en route to their sixth victory in seven contests.

Cincinnati rookie Aristides Aquino launched a two-run shot in the sixth inning to set a major league record with his 10th homer in his first 15 career games. The 25-year-old’s blast off Adam Wainwright (9-8) broke the mark set by Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins, who had 10 homers in the first 17 contests in 2017.

White Sox 7, Angels 2

James McCann went 3-for-4 with a grand slam to help Chicago post a victory over Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif.

The 446-foot blast was McCann’s second slam in three games and the fifth of his career. The eighth-inning homer turned a 3-2 lead into a five-run advantage.

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito struck out 11 in six innings, and Leury Garcia and Tim Anderson each went 2-for-5 with two runs. Mike Trout smacked his career-high-tying 41st homer for the Angels. He also is even with Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers for most blasts in the majors.

Rockies 3, Marlins 0

Ryan McMahon and Nolan Arenado homered to back a strong outing from starter Jon Gray, and Colorado beat Miami in Denver.

Gray (11-8) went eight innings and gave up five hits in the opener of a three-game series. He struck out seven without issuing a walk.

It was the second time he has pitched eight innings in his past four outings and the third time this year he didn’t give up a run in a start. Scott Oberg pitched the ninth for his fifth save in eight opportunities.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 1

Rick Porcello pitched six strong innings, and Chris Owings put the game away with a pinch-hit, two-run double as Boston beat visiting Baltimore.

Porcello (11-9) gave up one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Andrew Benintendi had three hits and fell a home run short of the cycle as the Red Sox won their third straight game.

Jonathan Villar and Chance Sisco had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who fell for the 10th time in their past 11 games.

Tigers 2, Rays 0

Drew VerHagen tossed five innings of scoreless relief, rookie Travis Demeritte had two hits and scored a run, and Detroit edged Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Fla.

VerHagen (3-2) allowed three hits and a walk while striking out three. Joe Jimenez replaced him and got the last three outs for his third save. Tampa Bay had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth, but Jimenez struck out Eric Sogard to end the game.

Tigers starter Daniel Norris pitched three innings, allowing one hit and two walks and striking out three before a blister issue flared up.

Blue Jays 7, Mariners 3

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Derek Fisher each hit two-run homers, and Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen added solo shots as Toronto defeated visiting Seattle.

Jacob Waguespack (4-1) allowed two runs, five hits and one walk with five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in the opener of a three-game series.

Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc, who entered with a 2-0 lead in the second inning, gave up seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings.

Phillies 8, Padres 4

Bryce Harper homered for the fourth time in three games, leading host Philadelphia past San Diego.

Philadelphia’s Roman Quinn homered, and J.T. Realmuto had a home run and a double among his three hits. Harper, Logan Morrison and Jean Segura added two hits each for the Phillies, who won their fourth in a row.

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez (5-7) lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed five hits and three runs. He walked two and struck out five.

–Field Level Media

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