Obama To Unveil Plan To Bring Overtime Pay To 5 Million More Workers Posted: Updated: Dave Jamieson Become a firstname.lastname@example.org WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama this week will propose a plan to extend overtime pay to 5 million American workers who are currently excluded under federal law, according to sources.The president will recommend updating overtime rules so that salaried workers who earn less than roughly $50,400 per year would be guaranteed time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Under the current rules implemented by former President George W. Bush, salaried workers must earn less than $23,660 per year in order to be automatically eligible for overtime pay.The president announced his intention to make overtime reforms last year, but the details of the plan have been kept secret until this week. The president is expected to discuss the proposal later this week during a visit to Wisconsin. Details of the proposal were first reported by Bloomberg.In a blog post on The Huffington Post Monday night, Obama said that „too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve,” and that his proposal would help assure that „hard work is rewarded.””That’s how America should do business,” the president wrote. „In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.”With heavy lobbying by business groups, many progressives feared the White House would recommend only modest changes, thereby impacting relatively few workers and employers. Instead, the White House has proposed a substantial reform that has the potential to change pay and scheduling for millions of people.Employers whose workers become newly eligible for overtime will now face a choice: Either pay a premium for those extra hours worked, or get the employee’s hours below 40 per week, likely by shifting the labor to other workers. The proposal would be robust enough to cut across industries, bringing many workers either more pay or more time off, and forcing many employers to grapple with overtime costs that they never had to before.The proposal must still undergo a public-comment period before it can be finalized and go into effect, but the release of a concrete proposal will mark a major step in what’s likely to be one of the president’s most far-reaching reforms undertaken without congressional approval. The changes are expected to go into effect in 2016.Last year, Obama signed an executive order directing the Labor Department to overhaul the overtime rules, setting off a lobbying campaign in Washington. On one side were labor groups, progressive economists and Democratic lawmakers who pressed for an ambitious reform that would reach a large share of the U.S. workforce. On the other side were employers and business lobbies that wanted to limit the rule’s effects as much as possible, given the new labor costs they would face.Under wage laws established during the Great Depression, employers must pay overtime to hourly wage earners and salaried workers who aren’t considered white-collar. But the current rules give employers a lot of leeway to classify workers as managerial and therefore ineligible for time-and-a-half pay. As HuffPost reported in 2013, this phenomenon is especially prevalent in the retail industry, where store managers can work 80-hour weeks without any pay beyond their base salary, even though they may be doing mostly manual labor.Obama pointed expressly to these workers in an interview with HuffPost in March.”What we’ve seen is, increasingly, companies skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they’re stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year,” Obama said. „Those folks are being cheated.”Workers whose salaries fall beneath the threshold are guaranteed overtime pay regardless of what their bosses call them. Although the reforms are expected to hit industries like retail the most, the impact will be felt in any field where the hours are relatively long and the pay relatively low.Since the threshold hasn’t risen alongside American salaries, overtime pay has become something of a foreign concept for most Americans — something that could now change. According to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute, just 11 percent of salaried workers in the U.S. are covered by overtime law under the current rules. That share would be closer to half of salaried workers under the new proposal, by EPI’s estimates.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is hosting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for a day of formal talks at the White House.Rousseff arrived at the White House on Monday for the start of her two-day visit. She and Obama toured the grounds of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial before having dinner.The two leaders planned to meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning before taking questions in a joint news conference in the East Room.The meeting comes as Obama and Rousseff aim to show they’ve moved beyond tensions sparked by the revelation nearly two years ago that the U.S. was spying on Rousseff. She canceled a planned state visit in response.The White House says efforts to curb climate change are another key item on the leaders’ agenda.
NBC to Donald Trump: You’re fired Associated Press David Bauder, AP Television WriterNBC to Donald Trump: You’re fired NEW YORK (AP) — NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his campaign.The network said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Miss USA has aired on NBC since 2003, and this year’s edition was set for July 12.”At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” NBC said in a statement.Trump’s reply: a „weak” NBC should prepare to meet him in court.NBC’s action comes less than a week after Univision similarly decided to ditch Trump and the pageants. Trump has also been a fixture on NBC as host of „The Apprentice” and its celebrity offshoot, and an agreement that he would no longer be on the show predated the current controversy. The network said Monday that it and producer Mark Burnett are exploring ways to continue „Celebrity Apprentice” sans Trump.Trump said he anticipated losing the business relationship and that he’s not apologizing for his statements because they „were correct.””Whatever they want to do is OK with me,” Trump told reporters in Chicago after a campaign speech to civic leaders.But in a statement issued by his company in New York, Trump said „NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct. That is why our country is in serious trouble.”He said he’d consider suing, as he plans to do with Univision. He also took a shot at NBC’s decision to demote, but not fire, news anchor Brian Williams for telling false stories about some of the reporting he was involved in.”They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be,” he said.During his presidential kickoff speech, Trump said Mexican immigrants are „bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.” He called for building a wall along the southern border of the United States. Trump later said that his remarks were directed at U.S. policymakers, not the Mexican government or its people.The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a group of 39 Latino advocacy organizations, had called on NBC to get out of business with Trump. Similarly, a petition urging the same thing on the Change.org website had gathered more than 218,000 signatures.Dozens of protesters — from immigrant and Latino rights groups — waited outside of a downtown Chicago restaurant where Trump spoke. Their chats included „No more hate!”Maritza Vaca, with the Chicago-based Accion Hispano, said immigrants have rights and was upset by Trump’s comments.”It is racism,” she said. „For him to be running for president is ridiculous.”NBC said it is still determining what it will air in place of the pageant next month._Associated Press Writer Sophia Tareen in Chicago and Television Writer Frazier Moore in New York contributed to this report.
Canada slaps new sanctions on Russian biker gang over Ukraine 6 hours agoMembers of the Night Wolves rode down en masse to Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula just after it was annexed by Russia in March 2014 and members have also fought with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine (AFP Photo/Ria Novosti) Related Stories
Ottawa (AFP) – Canada announced Monday fresh sanctions on Russia over its support for rebels in Ukraine, targeting youth leaders, the pro-Moscow Night Wolves motorcycle club and several companies.Ottawa imposed a ban on the import and export of goods from Crimea in this 15th round of penalties in collaboration with allies.”Until there is real peace, until occupying forces are withdrawn, and until Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is restored, there must be ongoing consequences for President Putin’s regime,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.Members of the Night Wolves rode down en masse to Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula just after it was annexed by Russia in March 2014 and members have also fought with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.The biker group started up in 1989 just before the fall of the Soviet Union and has around 5,000 members across the former USSR.Also listed was the Eurasian Youth Union, a nationalist Russian group said to recruit fighters to join the rebels, subsidiaries of defense company Rostec, an aircraft manufacturer and several energy sector firms including Gazprom.Bomb kills Egypt’s top prosecutor as he drives to work By BRIAN ROHAN and MAGGIE MICHAEL7 hours ago WochitEgypt’s Top Prosecutor Dies in Bomb AttackWochit Egypt’s Top Prosecutor Dies in Bomb Attack CAIRO (AP) — A car bomb killed Egypt’s chief prosecutor Monday in the country’s first assassination of a senior official in 25 years, marking what could be an escalation in a campaign by Islamic militants toward targeting leaders of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.Related Stories
Hisham Barakat led the prosecution of members of the Brotherhood and other Islamists, including former President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military in July 2013. The courts have been handing out mass death sentences against them in trials harshly criticized as lacking due process.Monday’s assassination of the 65-year-old Barakat came on the eve of the second anniversary of the mass demonstrations against Morsi that led to his ouster.A car laden with explosives was detonated by remote control around 10 a.m. as Barakat’s motorcade left his home in the eastern district of Heliopolis, police said. He suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. following surgery, medical officials said. Five guards, two drivers and one civilian also were injured in the blast.An Egyptian militant group calling itself „Popular Resistance in Giza” claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement, with photographs from the site of the bombing. The claim could not be independently verified. In a statement, the Muslim Brotherhood denied responsibility, but blamed authorities for the violence.Authorities and pro-government TV networks blamed the Brotherhood, which they consider a terrorist group, broadly accusing it of orchestrating violence.Smoke and flames rise above a burning cars at the scene of a bombing targeting the convoy of the Egy …A senior security official said an initial investigation showed that Islamic militants along with the Brotherhood were responsible, while the State Information Service said the killing „clearly shows the terrorist group’s violent discourse” and underscores its „rejection of the state of law.” It equated the Brotherhood with extremist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria or killing tourists in Tunisia.All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.The Brotherhood has maintained that peaceful means are the only way to resist what it called a coup against Morsi, but recent shifts within the group’s youth cadres have signaled frustration with that approach and new support for using force.Islamic militants, who for years had turned Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into a stronghold, widened their insurgency after Morsi’s overthrow.Militants have focused on police and the military but in recent months have targeted the judiciary. On Sunday, the Islamic State released video showing the May assassination of three judges in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish, accusing them of ruling against „God’s laws.” In this Tuesday, April 8, 2014 file photo, Egyptian prosecutor general, Hisham Barakat, tours …While most of Egypt’s major suicide bombings were carried by an Islamic State affiliate — previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis — lesser-known groups under the „Popular Resistance” moniker have claimed responsibility for smaller attacks, including those against police and sabotaging infrastructure.The killing recalled one of Egypt’s darkest chapters, when Islamic militants and the state security apparatus engaged in retaliatory killings for nearly a decade starting in 1990. That year, the militants gunned down parliament speaker Rifaat el-Mahgoub in Cairo, the last assassination of a senior official. There were attempts against other ministers until the insurgency was crushed in the late 1990s.At the site of Monday’s bombing, rubble and twisted metal was strewn across a city block. Several charred cars were in the middle of the street, and a dozen others were wrecked. Nearby buildings also were damaged, including ground-floor shops, apartment balconies and dozens of windows were shattered. Some residents sobbed as they went through the debris.”I walked around the corner into wall of smoke and fire from the blast, glass flew everywhere and was falling,” said Ali Abdullah, who lives on an adjoining street. Video showed firefighters dousing the flames, some of which had spread to trees.At Al-Nozha Hospital, where Barakat was taken, two dozen police with assault rifles ringed the area and men in suits with submachine guns guarded the main door.Security personnel inspect damages after a bomb attack has targeted Egypt’s prosecutor general i …Announcing his death, the Justice Ministry described Barakat as a „martyr.”President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s office vowed the culprits would „face the harshest punishment.” Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri called it a „hideous terrorist incident” that will only boost support for the government’s war on terrorism.TV networks replaced popular Ramadan soap operas Monday night with live feeds from outside the hospital and from his house, as well as readings from the Quran.The bombing was condemned by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Amnesty International and the White House.”The United States stands by Egypt at this difficult time, as we continue to work together to fight the scourge of terrorism,” U.S. NationalSecurity Council spokesman Ned Price said.Security forces and emergency personnel inspect damages after a bomb attack has targeted Egypt’s …Barakat lived near Egypt’s heavily fortified military academy, and the attack came as security forces already were on high alert ahead of the anniversary the 2013 rallies by millions of people demanding Morsi’s ouster. Anti-government demonstrators plan to protest any June 30 celebrations, and some extremist groups have called for attacks.Morsi was removed from power by el-Sissi, who was then-army chief, following mass demonstrations. Protesters had called on Morsi to resign over allegations he abused power in favor of the Brotherhood. The rallies culminated on July 3, when the military stepped in and jailed Morsi.His supporters responded with a campaign of street protests. In the ensuing crackdown, security forces killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands, while el-Sissi went on to win election as president last year, although election observers said the vote took place under unsatisfactory conditions.Morsi has since been sentenced to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that eventually brought him to power. He also faces trial on other charges that carry the death penalty.The last attempt to kill a high government official was a 2013 suicide bombing that failed to kill then-Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis — which has since pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group — claimed responsibility for that attack. Now, it calls itself the Islamic State group’s Sinai Province and has claimed most of Egypt’s major suicide bombings and assassinations.About the same time of Monday’s attack, a bomb exploded in a village near el-Arish, killing three engineers riding in a bus, security officials said. They added that the militants who triggered the bomb apparently thought the bus was carrying soldiers._Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.
China works for ‘win-win’ climate plan, poised for U.N. pledge By Barbara Lewis and Robin Emmott9 hours agoChinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech in Santiago city, May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/F …By Barbara Lewis and Robin Emmott Related Stories
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – China seeks a fair, global system to tackle climate change and will deliver its pledge to the United Nations by the end of Tuesday on how much it will cut emissions, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said after talks with top European Union officials.Time is running out for China to deliver its U.N. submission in the first half of this year, as it has said it will do.Once China, the world’s biggest emitter, has submitted its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris late this year, pledges submitted will cover more than half the world’s emissions.”We will make strenuous efforts to address climate change,” Li said in Brussels. „By the end of this month, the Chinese side will submit to the U.N. secretariat on climate change our Intended Nationally Determined Contribution plan.”The European Union, whose member state France will host the Paris climate change talks beginning on Nov. 30, is anxious to avoid a repeat of the failed Copenhagen U.N. summit in 2009, the last attempt to reach a global climate deal.That summit foundered partly because of Chinese reluctance to make binding commitments.This time around, China is adopting a markedly different stance. It still categorizes itself as a developing economy with challenges, but is backing EU efforts to curb emissions and recognizes the need to develop sustainably.Speaking at a conference in Brussels, Li said the EU and China must „step up their cooperation … to establish a fair, reasonable, win-win global climate governance system.”Also on Monday, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative on climate change, addressed a high-level U.N. panel in New York. He said China was a developing country but had an „inherent need for sustainable development”.China’s pledge is expected to be a promise that its emissions will peak „around 2030″, which officials and analysts said it can easily achieve.”The INDCs should be seen as a floor not a ceiling,” Marianne Fay, chief economist for climate change at the World Bank, said in Brussels. „China likes to under-promise and over-deliver.”(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by William Hardy and David Holmes)
Putin, elites bid farewell to ex-PM and master spy Primakov By Anna Smolchenko10 hours ago Moscow (AFP) – Russia on Monday bade farewell to former prime minister, foreign minister and master spy Yevgeny Primakov, with a state funeral for one of the last Soviet-era political titans who died last week aged 85.Dignitaries led by President Vladimir Putin paid their last respects to the former prime minister, whose remains lay in state in the House of the Unions in central Moscow flanked by an honour guard.”Without doubt he was a great citizen of our country,” Putin said after laying flowers by the coffin and briefly touching it with his hand.”His authority was indisputable abroad. He was always the centre of attraction for many people. People talked to him, consulted him, compared notes with him. I can say this is also entirely true about me.””You are in our hearts. Goodbye,” he said, an array of Primakov’s medals laid flat on velvet cushions in front of the casket.Top dignitaries including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US ambassador John Tefft filed past the coffin in the columned hall of the House of the Unions, where the state funerals of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and other leaders were also held.Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (C) conducts a religious service for former prime minister Yevgeny …”We are not letting you go, grandfather,” his grandson, Yevgeny Primakov Junior, said during the ceremony, broadcast on state television in its entirety.”You will have to serve us as our moral compass,” he added before asking the mourners to give the former premier a round of applause, an honour usually reserved for top celebrities in Russia.Primakov’s body was then taken to the 16th-century Novodevichy Monastery where the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill conducted the funeral service as officials looked on, clutching lit candles.Afterwards the casket covered by a Russian tri-colour flag was carried in an elaborate funeral procession to the adjoining cemetery, with guards goosestepping alongside the coffin and Putin and Russia’s elites joining the mourners.Primakov, who passed away Friday at the age of 85, was considered one of the last of the Soviet-era political giants.Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov smiling during a meeting with President Boris Yeltsin (unsee …He served as prime minister under Boris Yeltsin in 1998-1999, helping steer the country out of political and economic turmoil after Russia defaulted on August 17, 1998.-‘Serbia will always remember’-He is perhaps most vividly remembered for turning around his US-bound plane over the Atlantic after learning of NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999.The cancellation of the US visit is widely considered a turning point in Russia’s foreign policy after Moscow’s rapprochement with Washington following the collapse of the Soviet Union.”Serbia will always remember what could not be forgotten, that in its most difficult moments he was a great and proven friend,” Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Friday.Primakov also served as foreign minister between 1996 and 1998 and headed the country’s external intelligence agency SVR between 1991 and 1996.A fluent Arabic speaker and one of the country’s foremost experts on the Middle East, he personally knew Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Moamer Kadhafi of Libya and Hafez al-Assad of Syria.For all his assertive policies Primakov said Russia and the United States should cooperate to tackle terrorism and drug trafficking.
Car bomb in Yemeni capital hits mourners, dozens wounded 5 hours agoPolice officers inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Yemen’s capital Sanaa June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled …SANAA (Reuters) – A car bomb claimed by Islamic State exploded in the Yemeni capital Sanaa overnight, medics said, wounding at least 28 people gathered to mourn another attack earlier this month.Related Stories
In a new sign that three months of war in Yemen was ratcheting up, the country’s military spokesman said its forces had launched a Scud missile at a Saudi military base on Tuesday.A Saudi-led military alliance has been bombing Yemen’s dominant Houthi group and its allies in the army to dislodge them from the capital and restore the exiled president.A sectarian-tinged conflict has raged throughout Yemen’s south and center, pitting the Shi’ite Muslim Houthis against mostly Sunni local militiamen who support the Arab intervention.The political vacuum has given hardline Sunni militants greater room to operate. They regard the Houthis as apostates worthy of death, and the overnight blast was the latest in a series of attacks on the group and their supporters.”The explosion was caused by a car bomb which exploded behind the military hospital in the Sha’oub district in Sanaa, which injured 28 people including 12 women in a building where victims of a previous attack were being mourned,” a medical source said.In a statement posted online, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it had targeted the area „out of revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates.”Despite the months of Arab air strikes backing up the Houthis’ armed opponents in Yemen, the Houthis have not lost ground on the battlefield and have stepped up their exchanges of artillery and rocket fire with Saudi forces along their border.Yemeni forces launched a Scud missile at a missile base in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Yemeni state news agency Saba quoted the military’s spokesman as saying.”The rocket units in our heroic armed forces today launched a Scud missile at the Al Sulayyil missile base in Riyadh province … it comes as a response to the crimes of the brutal Saudi aggression,” Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman said.Luqman said the attack hit the base, which is about 450 km (280 miles) south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, but a previous Scud launched by Yemen’s forces earlier this month was shot down by Saudi patriot missiles despite Yemeni claims it struck its target.(Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Toni Reinhold)
U.S. says absurd to suggest that it will cave in Iran talks By Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Arshad Mohammed9 hours agoU.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for …By Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Arshad Mohammed Related Stories
VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States on Monday rejected criticism that world powers negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran have been making too many compromises, saying it hoped to get a good deal but was not certain that was achievable.A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Vienna talks would continue past Tuesday’s deadline for a comprehensive agreement intended to open the door to ending sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activities for at least a decade.The West suspects Iran may be secretly developing technology that would allow it to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.The U.S. official was asked to respond to public criticism of the U.S. delegation in the talks and suggestions that the administration of President Barack Obama had been making too many concessions out of desperation to do a deal.”We still do not know yet whether we will be able to get there,” he said. „We want to, we hope to, but we do not know.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China of retreating from tough positions in the talks.”We see before our very eyes a stark retreat from the red lines that the world powers set themselves only recently, and publicly,” he said. „There is no reason to hasten into signing this bad deal, which is getting worse by the day.”The U.S. official said the United States would not have spent endless time on negotiations just to give in at the end.”It’s really absurd,” the official said.”If we were going to cave, I could be home already and I would be a really happy person … we would have done that a long time ago,” the official said. „Why would we be spending the hours doing this in the way we are if, you know, we were just (going to say to Iran) ‘well whatever you want, you got’.”Washington was holding fast to a set of parameters agreed on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland and expected Iran to do the same, the official said.Other Western officials, including Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, have suggested Iran is backtracking on commitments that it had made in Lausanne.The U.S. official stressed the interim deal was the foundation for any final agreement.”We do see a path forward to get a comprehensive agreement that meets our bottom lines and this path forward has to be based on the Lausanne parameters – period,” said the official, turning to an interpreter and asking him to repeat it in Farsi.MONITORS’ ACCESS The main differences are on the pace and timing of sanctions relief for Iran and on the nature of monitoring mechanisms to ensure Tehran does not cheat on any agreement. One of the biggest sticking points is Western demands that U.N. inspectors have access to Iranian military sites and nuclear scientists.The official said that the six powers had come up with a system to ensure that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have the necessary access, though there was no suggestion the Iranians had agreed to that system.Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who flew back to Tehran on Sunday for consultations with the leadership, was due to return to Vienna on Tuesday morning, a senior Iranian official told Reuters. Among the issues he was expected to discuss was monitoring and verification and IAEA access.”Iran’s nuclear chief (Ali Akbar) Salehi will join the talks in Vienna soon,” the official said, referring to the influential head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation. „The talks are intensive and … will possibly run into July. But just a few days.”Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has echoed other hardline Iranian officials and ruled out international access to Iranian military sites.U.S. and European negotiators also want to ensure there is a mechanism for restoring sanctions if Tehran fails to meet its commitments under any future accord.In New York, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the talks had made „some progress, but still it is not the end of the process.”(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi and John Irish; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
Champions Japan face England threat to world title By Emmeline Moore3 hours ago Edmonton (Canada) (AFP) – Champions Japan face a real threat from England as the Asian giants look to keep their Women’s World Cup title defence on track in Wednesday’s semi-final in Edmonton.Related Stories
Japan’s ‘Nadeshiko’ are the only unbeaten team left after opening their campaign with a 1-0 win over Switzerland three weeks ago in the sunshine of Vancouver’s west coast.England by contrast started their quest for a maiden title with a 1-0 loss to France in windy and wet conditions on the east in Moncton.But England’s ‘Lionesses’ have been gaining momentum, beating Mexico, Colombia, 1995 champions Norway and hosts Canada all by 2-1 scorelines, to reach their first semi-finals.Japan overran Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals and have won all their games by a one-goal margin with the impressive depth of their team demonstrated by their seven goals having come from different players.The ‘Nadeshiko’ defence is also solid — they have conceded just two goals in five matches.England’s Toni Duggan throws an American football with her teammates shortly after arriving in E …But England’s front line have put in eight goals with Lucy Bronze and Karen Carney both scoring twice.- No longer underdogs -England coach Mark Sampson believes his sixth-ranked side can take heart from being unbeaten against the Japanese, ranked fourth, in their three previous matches.England were the only team to beat Japan at the 2011 World Cup, winning 2-0 before the Asian side went on to claim the title. They also played out a 2-2 draw in 2007 tournament.”I’m not sure there are underdogs any more,” said Sampson.Japan’s goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori grabs a ball during the team’s FIFA Women’s World Cup t …”They’ve been one of the most exciting teams to watch, they haven’t scored many goals but they haven’t conceded many, we’re playing the current world champions, it’s going to be a huge challenge.”Japan coach Norio Sasaki brushed aside talk of past results.”We will not think of negative past results just focus on those on front of us,” he said.But Bronze warned: „Japan are the favourites, we know that, but we’re confident. We know how we can beat them. England are going all the way!”Sampson is hopeful goalie Karen Bardsley will be fit after leaving the quarter-final against Canada in the second half with swelling under her right eye, and being replaced by Siobhan Chamberlain.England defender Lucy Bronze (R) celebrates her goal against Canada with teammate Steph Houghton dur …Bardsley has started each of England’s five games and conceded a goal in each.- Lionesses feeling the love -Both sides have high expectations at home with Englandâs historic run to the semi-finals attracting millions of viewers.The team have been overwhelmed with messages on social media – from former England men’s captain David Beckham to current skipper Wayne Rooney.Kelly Simmons, FA director of women’s football, told BBC Sport: „It feels like the nation has fallen in love with the Lionesses.”It’s a tipping point as many millions have got behind them.””Awareness levels have never been higher surrounding the quality of women’s football and all the work that has gone into helping them get where they are now – which is competing at the very top.”And the Japan coach also said expectations of delivering back-to-back titles were high at home.”We would like to fight very hard thinking of the people who support us back in Japan,” he said.”The emotion that we created in 2011 we certainly would like to be able to recreate that for the Japanese people.”And Sasaki believes his side have an advantage having played their previous game in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium with England travelling 1,160km from Vancouver.”The opponents will be coming from Vancouver and I strongly feel that will be an advantage for us,” he said.The winner will play one of the world’s top two teams – either Germany or the United States – with the former two-time winners clashing in Montreal on Tuesday.
Spanish royals in Mexico on 1st state visit to Latin America 7 hours ago MEXICO CITY (AP) — The king and queen of Spain are making their first state visit to Latin America with a three-day trip to Mexico.King Felipe VI said Monday that the ties between Mexico and Spain go far beyond political and commercial connections. Spain is the second largest investor in Mexico behind the United States.Felipe was in Mexico in December to attend the Iberoamerican Summit in Veracruz, but this is his first state visit since assuming the throne last year.The king was scheduled to address the Mexican Senate on Tuesday and also meet with business people. On Wednesday, Felipe and Queen Letizia are scheduled to travel to the northern state of Zacatecas.
Australia-NZ to play first day-night match in Test history 1 hour ago Sydney (AFP) – Australia and New Zealand will play the first day-night match in Test cricket’s 138-year history, cricket chiefs announced Tuesday, in a bid to drive up dwindling spectator numbers for the five-day game.Despite misgivings among players, officials from both countries decided to proceed this year with the experimental format — played under lights and with a pink ball — which they hope will drive up attendance and television ratings.”To be brutally honest, if you look at Test cricket around the world, it is challenged,” Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said.”We believe this is an opportunity that can breathe new life into Test cricket.”He said the Test day-nighter, to be staged at the Adelaide Oval from November 27-December 1, would allow fans to watch or attend the game after work.CA, backed by broadcaster Channel Nine, has promoted the idea for years and trialled day-night first-class cricket during the past two Sheffield Shield seasons.Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke (L) and coach Darren Lehmann celebrate after winning t …The historic first international in Adelaide will be the third and final Test in a series between the trans-Tasman rivals.Australia coach Darren Lehmann said it was a way to boost the popularity of Test cricket, which is seen by purists as the pinnacle of the game but has been overshadowed by limited-overs formats in recent years.”Only time will tell if it’s right or wrong,” he said. „At the end of the day we’ve got to give it a crack and I think it’s important for the game.”New Zealand Cricket chief David White said the day-night format would not take over from regular Test cricket, describing it as part of the game’s evolution.”Since the first Test in 1877, there have been numerous changes to the laws and rules in an effort to ensure the game remains relevant — and this is another,” he said.Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland says the Test day-nighter, to be staged at the Adelaide Oval …The pink match ball has been developed by manufacturer Kookaburra to be more visible to players under lights than the traditional red one.- ‘Uncharted territory’ -Despite administrators’ enthusiasm, many players fear for batsmen trying to play the ball under lights and are concerned the game’s traditions are being trampledA survey of New Zealand’s top players last month found most senior Black Caps were sceptical about taking part in an experiment they feared could „devalue” the Test.But the pay-off for the Black Caps’ involvement is guaranteed matches against Australia for the next seven years.”It’s uncharted territory and because of that there will be uncertainty and apprehension,” New Zealand Players’ Association chief Heath Mills said.”However, whilst the players have reservations about playing Test cricket at night, they see the bigger picture in the new agreement.”Lehmann said he viewed the match as a chance to participate in a piece of Test history.”It adds something special to it,” he said. „I’m really looking forward to seeing what it brings, seeing how both teams perform under lights, a massive crowd, it’ll be exceptional for everyone.”Australia will play three Tests against New Zealand in the southern summer — Brisbane (Nov 5-9), Perth (Nov 13-17) and the Adelaide day-nighter (Nov 27-Dec 1).They will then host the West Indies in another three-Test series — Hobart (Dec 10-14), Melbourne (Dec 26-30) and Sydney (Jan 3-7).