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Ivanka Trump backs women’s land rights on Africa trip

White House Advisor Ivanka Trump attends the African Women's Economic Empowerment Dialogue meeting at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters, in Addis Ababa
White House Advisor Ivanka Trump attends the African Women's Economic Empowerment Dialogue meeting at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) headquarters, as part of her four-day trip to Africa to promote a global women's initiative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

April 15, 2019

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ivanka Trump said she would campaign for women’s right to own and inherit land in Africa as she visited Ethiopia on Monday to promote a $50 million U.S. development project.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter, who works as his adviser, told reporters at the headquarters of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa that women made up just 15 percent of land owners on the continent.

“Eighteen countries in the world still have laws that allow husbands to legally prevent their wives from working. Half of these countries are in Africa. We can and we must address these barriers to women’s equality and countries’ prosperity,” she added.

She did not spell out how she would tackle the problems. But she was promoting the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, which officials have said aims to economically empower 50 million women by 2025.

Ivanka Trump met Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and was due to wrap up her four-day African trip with a visit to Ivory Coast.

(Reporting by Kumerra Gemechu; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

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Pelosi Warns Democrats Need to Be ‘Mainstream’ in 2020: Trump Might Not Respect Election Results

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Source: InfoWars

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'Bill Nye The Science Guy' Says AOC 'Gets It' on Science

"Bill Nye The Science Guy," a climate-change activist, is a big fan of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and her own push for the Green New Deal, he tweeted Saturday night.

"AOC gets it. She sees that fear is dividing us. We can address income inequality. We can address climate change, if we get together and get to work. #SXSW @AOC"

SXSW is the South by Southwest Festival,  a music, film, and discovery conference being held in Austin, Texas, this week.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded to Nye's support with a simple tweet of "Bill! Bill! Bill!"

The two posed for a photo in Austin after AOC answered Nye's questions, as shown in a video tweeted by Bloomberg News.

"Do you have a plan to work with people in Congress that are afraid" of paying for illegal immigrants and climate change initiatives, Nye asked her. "People are afraid of what will happen if we try to make these big changes."

She responded:

"One of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality . . . It means the rejection outright of someone else's gain necessitates my loss. . . . We can give without a take is where we're going to technologically."

"We're viewing progress as a cost, instead of as an investment. The difference between a cost and an investment is an investment yields returns."

Source: NewsMax Politics

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Rouble gains on findings of U.S. report on Trump-Russia ties

A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

March 25, 2019

By Andrey Ostroukh

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble strengthened on Monday to remain the world’s best-performing currency year-to-date as it received a boost from details of a report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

A U.S. investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that any of President Donald Trump’s campaign officials knowingly conspired with the Russian government in the 2016 election, according to details of the report released on Sunday.

The news dominated Russian media on Monday, raising hopes that Washington could refrain from imposing more sanctions against Moscow, something that proved harmful to Russian markets in recent years.

“The probability of harsh sanctions against Russia declines,” said Alexei Antonov, an analyst at Alor Brokerage.

“Conceptually, it should be supportive (for Russian assets) if we now assign a slightly lower likelihood to sanctions,” said Guido Chamorro, a portfolio manager at Pictet Asset Management.

Russian officials welcomed Mueller’s report. The Kremlin said Russia was ready to improve ties with the United States, while a senior lawmaker proposed a “reset” in ties with Washington.

The issue of relations between Trump and Moscow is likely to remain in focus in the foreseeable future, analysts at Sberbank CIB said.

“Two congressional committee hearings on Russia have been scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, so there is a risk of negative headlines,” they said.

The rouble gained 0.6 percent to 64.30 at 1219 GMT , heading towards its strongest level since August 2018 of 63.63 which it hit last week. The rouble has gained more than 8 percent against the greenback this year.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.5 percent stronger at 72.74.

The rouble retains support from month-end tax payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert their dollar revenues to meet local liabilities. This month, tax payments are higher than usual.

The Russian bond market showed a limited reaction to the U.S. report.

Yields of 10-year benchmark OFZ treasury bonds, which move inversely with their prices, declined to 8.22 percent from 8.31 percent seen late on Friday, the day they moved higher following the central bank’s decision to hold rates.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, shed 0.3 percent to $66.85 a barrel but remained supportive for Russian assets as it hovered near 2019 highs.

Russian stock indexes erased earlier losses and headed higher. The dollar-denominated RTS index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,221.8 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was little changed at 2,492.3 points.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh,; Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Toby Chopra and Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

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Euro zone March business activity stayed in the doldrums: PMI

General view shows atrium of Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin
A general view shows the atrium of the Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

April 3, 2019

By Jonathan Cable

LONDON, (Reuters) – Business activity across the euro zone was lethargic last month, according to a survey which suggested a downturn in manufacturing is gradually infecting the bloc’s dominant services industry.

IHS Markit’s Euro Zone Composite Final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), considered a good measure of overall economic health, dipped to 51.6 in March from February’s 51.9.

That was higher than an earlier flash reading of 51.3 but closer to the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.

“The final euro zone PMI for March confirms the sluggish end to the first quarter, with business growth ebbing to one of the most lethargic rates seen since 2014,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

Williamson said the PMI was consistent with economic growth of 0.2 percent in the first quarter, weaker than the 0.3 percent predicted in a Reuters poll last month. [ECILT/EU]

Signs of a slowdown are likely to concern policymakers at the European Central Bank, who last month pushed back the timing of an interest rate rise until at least 2020 and said they would offer banks a new round of cheap loans to help revive the economy.

Factories had their worst month for almost six years in March, a sister survey showed on Monday, and while services activity notched up a tad last month it remained weak.

A services PMI rose to 53.3 from 52.8, ahead of the flash estimate of 52.7.

“The service sector has managed to sustain a relatively resilient rate of growth but has also lost momentum in recent months. This should come as no surprise as history tells us that robust service sector growth usually depends on a healthy manufacturing economy,” Williamson said.

But like their manufacturing counterparts, firms in the service industry generated some of that activity by running down old demand. The backlogs of work index fell below the breakeven mark to 49.4 from 51.0, indicating firms are operating with spare capacity.

With forward looking indicators providing little — if any — reason to cheer, overall optimism waned. The composite future output index dropped to 60.4 from 60.6.

(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Source: OANN

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Indian minister says extreme poverty falling, to end by 2031

FILE PHOTO: Woman carries stuffed toys through a dump site in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: A woman carries stuffed toys through a dump site on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

April 15, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s finance minister said on Monday fast economic growth and rapid urbanization would slash the number of people in extreme poverty by 2021 and end it completely in the decade after that.

More than 21 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2011, when the last census was taken, according to the World Bank.

The economy is a major issue in a staggered general election that began on Thursday and will end on May 19, with the main opposition Congress party rejecting a rosy picture Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been presenting.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the BJP’s publicity department in the election, said the number of people who live in poverty would drop to below 15 percent in the next three years and to a negligible level in the 10 years after that.

“Urbanization will increase, the size of the middle-class will grow and the economy will expand manifolds,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/notes/arun-jaitley/why-jammu-and-kashmir-and-new-approach-to-terrorism-will-remain-a-key-political-/995970470591501.

“These will add to the number of jobs, and as the experience of the past three decades have shown in the liberalized economy, every section of citizens will benefit.”

Economic growth in recent years had generated enough revenue for states to work more on poverty alleviation, job creation and improving healthcare and education, he said.

But the Congress has taken issue with such assertions, in particular, pointing to leaked government data that showed unemployment rose to its highest level in at least 45 years in 2017/18.

Jaitley said economic problems could be addressed as India remained the world’s fastest growing major economy.

But he said restoring peace in the insurgency-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir was the most important issue facing the country.

“The issue of Jammu and Kashmir and terror continues to remain the biggest challenge before India,” he said.

“It relates to our sovereignty, integrity and security.”

Modi has won public praise by taking a tough line on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of backing separatist militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir. Pakistan denies that.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

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South Korea’s Constitutional Court rules abortion ban incompatible with constitution

SEOUL, South Korea — In a major reversal, South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the easing of the country’s decades-long ban on abortions, one of the strictest in the developed world.

Abortions have been largely illegal in South Korea since 1953, though convictions for violating the ban are rare. Still, the illegality of abortions forces women to seek out unauthorized and often expensive surgeries to end their pregnancies, creating a social stigma that makes them feel like criminals.

The court’s nine-justice panel said that the parliament must map out legislation to ease the current anti-abortion regulations by the end of 2020. It said the current abortion ban will be repealed if the parliament fails to come up with new legislation by then.

Protesters shout slogans during a rally demanding the abolition of the country's ban on abortions outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Protesters shout slogans during a rally demanding the abolition of the country's ban on abortions outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

OHIO 'HEARTBEAT' ABORTION BILL CLEARS LEGISLATURE, AWAITS GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE

An easing of the ban could open up the door to more abortions for social and economic reasons. Current exceptions to the law only allow abortions when a woman is pregnant through rape or incest, or when a pregnancy seriously jeopardizes her health, or when she or her male partner has certain diseases.

A woman in South Korea can now be punished with up to one year in prison for having an abortion, and a doctor can get up to two years in prison for performing an abortion.

Most other countries in the 36-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the so-called most developed countries, allow abortions for broad social and economic reasons. South Korea is one of only five OECD member states that don’t allow such abortions, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Thursday’s verdict was a response to an appeal filed in February 2017 by an obstetrician charged with carrying out about 70 unauthorized abortions from 2013-2017 at the request or approval of pregnant women.

A woman wipes tears during a rally demanding the abolition of abortion law outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A woman wipes tears during a rally demanding the abolition of abortion law outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The South Korean public has been sharply split over on the abortion ban. There has been a series of heated panel discussions on TV and internet programs; activists, both for and against, have for months stood with placards near the court.

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About 15 pro-women’s rights activists shouted “Abolish the anti-abortion law” near the court’s entrance earlier Thursday. More than 20 pro-life activists held placards carrying images of fetuses and message like “Who can speak for me?” and “Don’t kill me, please.”

It’s not clear exactly how many abortions take places in South Korea. In a recent survey of 10,000 women aged between 15 and 44, about 7.6%, or 756 respondents, said they had undergone an abortion. They mostly cited worries about difficulty in continuing their studies and jobs, economic problems and a desire to wait, according to the survey conducted by the state-run Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

Source: Fox News World

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A New Jersey stadium went wild on Sunday when a 96-year-old played a touching rendition of the National Anthem on his harmonica ahead of Memorial Day.

Pete DuPre played the tune at halftime during the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s USWNT match against Mexico at Red Bull Arena in Harrington.

DuPre, whose musical abilities have earned him the nickname “Harmonica Pete,” has reportedly played the national anthem live before.

SUBSTITUTE SINGER APOLOGIZES AFTER ‘WORST RENDITION’ OF NATIONAL ANTHEM GOES VIRAL

The 96-year-old served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England where he treated wounded service members from across Europe during World War II, USWNT told nj.com.

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USWNT — coming into the match unbeaten in their last eight games — capped of their send-off series with a 3-0 win over Mexico. Their next tournament is slated for June 7 in Paris.

Fox News’ Lucia I. Suarez Sang contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

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Not even five months into his four-year term, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is struggling so much to push forward with his agenda despite a big election victory that many of the far-right leader’s staunchest supporters felt the need to get out into the streets to give him a boost.

Sunday’s demonstrations in over 100 cities sought to counter large protests on May 15 against Bolsonaro’s plan for deep cuts in spending on public education, an area he thinks is politicized and poorly run.

With pressure mounting to deal with the government’s huge budget deficit and poor performance by Latin America’s biggest economy, the dueling rallies underscore Bolsonaro’s problems: sagging approval ratings, a crashing currency, infighting within his administration and sniping even from conservatives.

There is no immediate threat to his hold on power, yet Brazilian politics in recent years hold warning signs for the president.

Fury over the largest corruption scandal in the history of Latin America, angst about an economy that has yet to fully recover from recession and a litany of other complaints have made Brazil a hostile environment for politicians. Consider the fate of the last three presidents: In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was impeached and ousted for illegally managing the federal budget. Last year, her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, began serving a 12-year sentence for a corruption conviction. And this year, the man succeeded by Bolsonaro, Michel Temer, has twice been arrested and is facing several graft allegations.

All three situations are different, of course, and Bolsonaro is not facing corruption allegations himself, although his son, a federal senator, is. Rather, the common thread is that in today’s Brazil nobody is untouchable.

That Bolsonaro’s administration is wounded is largely his own fault. He campaigned on the need to curtail the country’s overburdened pension system and to combat rising violence and crime, yet instead of building coalitions to push for major reforms, he has used much of his early political capital on cultural wars, bashing the press and expanding gun rights, the latter of which polls say is opposed by a majority of Brazilians. Instead of working with Congress in the capital of Brasilia, the former legislator has made trips to Chile, Israel and Switzerland and gone to the United States twice.

Bolsonaro’s list of provocative and unnecessary moves is already long: He tweeted a video of a man peeing on the head of another to warn about debauchery during Carnival, posted fake stories about reporters, declared Brazil should not be allowed to become “a gay paradise” and frequently insulted other politicians, even supposed allies. He has also done little to stop social media attacks by his politician sons on military leaders, including Vice President Hamilton Mourão, a former general.

The infighting and theatrics prompted Janaina Paschoal, a state lawmaker from Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party, who he considered for vice president, to openly campaign against Sunday’s rallies. “Wake up! If the streets are empty on the 26th, Bolsonaro will realize that he will have to stop causing drama and get to work,” she said on Twitter.

Bolsonaro has received similar admonishments from Rodrigo Maia, whose role as speaker of Congress’ lower house makes him a key player in whether the president’s agenda can move forward. In March, Maia said if Bolsonaro didn’t do the work to persuade legislators to approve a controversial pension overhaul, it wasn’t going to happen, sending shivers through the markets.

In a series of extraordinary public barbs, Maia admonished Bolsonaro for spending so much time on Twitter and so little time in Congress. Bolsonaro brushed Maia off.

Bolsonaro and many of his hardcore supporters argue that the administration is struggling because he refuses to engage in business as usual, such as trading government projects or positions for votes on key legislation. Sunday’s demonstrations were “a message” to “those who stay with the old ways,” Bolsonaro said after participating in a religious service in Rio de Janeiro.

Still, Bolsonaro’s popularity is sagging. Several polls say his approval rating is down about 15 points since taking office, currently hovering around 34%. The Brazilian real has declined sharply against the U.S. dollar in recent months on worries that major economic changes are at risk, the unemployment rate has edged up to under 13%, and Paulo Guedes, the University of Chicago-trained finance minister who was key to Bolsonaro’s election victory, has said he won’t stick around if pension reform isn’t passed.

None of that is insurmountable. The divisive impeachment process against Rousseff, followed by the scandal-prone administration of Temer, the least popular president in modern Brazilian history, and the jailing da Silva, has all left many Brazilians tired of the fighting. Regardless of political stripes, they want the economy improve, to feel safer on the streets and to live under a functioning government.

Bolsonaro will have to bring together disparate groups in one of the world’s most diverse countries, including those who are clearly out to get him. The question is whether he can do that, or will he continue to be consumed by schoolyard fights and the settling of scores.

___

Peter Prengaman has been Brazil’s bureau chief since early 2016. On Twitter: twitter.com/peterprengaman

Source: Fox News World

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The traditional centrist leaders of Europe have been assailed from the nationalist, anti-immigration far-right and the environmental activist left in polarized, continentwide elections that will force pro-European moderates into forging new alliances.

Right now, the main issue uniting those occupying Europe’s center ground is their refusal to work with far-right groups whose ranks are made up of nationalist parties led by the likes of Matteo Salvini in Italy and Marine Le Pen in France, whose parties celebrated landmark triumphs as results emerged Sunday night and into Monday morning from four days of voting for the 751-seat European Parliament.

Manfred Weber, leader of the center-right EPP, which was forecast to lose 36 seats but remain the largest group in the legislature, said that “from now on those who want to have a strong European Union have to join forces.” He said his group would not cooperate “with any party that doesn’t believe in the future of the European Union.”

With most votes counted across the continent of a half billion people, Salvini’s hardline League party emerged as the largest in Italy, while Le Pen inflicted a painful defeat on pro-European French President Emmanuel Macron. The party of longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a European Union stalwart, also lost ground, although it was the Greens and not the far-right Alternative for Germany that made big gains in her country .

Salvini, who has turned himself into a figurehead of the nationalist far-right movement in Europe, told RAI state television that his League, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and Nigel Farrage’s Brexit Party together should control 90 seats and that other populist parties could bring the number to at least 150.

Negotiations will start Monday between groups in the parliament that sits in Brussels and Strasbourg to find a coalition with a workable majority. On Tuesday night, European leaders shuttle into Brussels to discuss carving up the bloc’s top jobs for the next five years.

Perhaps sensing that the 28-nation EU was at a historic tipping point, voters went to the ballot boxes in force, with the turnout of 50.95% the highest in 20 years.

Despite making gains, the vote was hardly the watershed anticipated by Europe’s far-right populists, who have vowed to dilute the European Union from within in favor of national sovereignty. Pro-EU parties still were expected to win about two-thirds of the legislature’s seats, according to the projections released by the parliament and based on the results rolling in overnight.

The fallout from the continentwide vote spread well beyond the EU headquarters in Brussels. Le Pen exulted that the expected result “confirms the new nationalist-globalist division” in France and beyond. Greece’s governing party called early national elections after losing ground. Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, is expected to capitalize on the outcome to boost his power at home.

Britons voted because their country still hasn’t been able to approve an EU divorce deal. They punished parties seen as responsible for the stalemate — the ruling Conservatives and main opposition Labour Party — while parties that are fiercely pro-Brexit or pro-Europe won big. The newly founded Brexit Party led by the anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage and the strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats both profited from the country’s Brexit chaos. The European Parliament projected in the early hours of Monday that Farage’s party would be the biggest party in Britain with 31 percent of the vote and 29 seats.

Riding a wave of popular protests in recent months calling for urgent action to tackle climate change, Greens were forecast to increase their holding in the parliament from 52 to 70 seats, making the group potential kingmakers in negotiations to form a new majority grouping.

Frans Timmermans of the Socialists and Democrats group, another of the traditional European powerhouses, said he wants to work together with other progressive parties to convince voters that Europe can benefit them — a message deliberately opposed to populist and nationalist claims that the bloc is a cumbersome, meddlesome waste of money.

Timmermans, a candidate to become the next president of the EU’s executive commission, said he wants to “try and build a program that addresses the aspirations the dreams and also sometimes the fears” of Europeans.

___

For more news from The Associated Press on the European Parliament elections go to https://www.apnews.com/EuropeanParliament

Source: Fox News World

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FILE PHOTO: Women's British Open
FILE PHOTO: Golf – Women’s British Open – Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lytham Saint Annes, Britain – August 2, 2018 England’s Bronte Law in action during the first round Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

May 27, 2019

(Reuters) – On course for her maiden LPGA Tour victory on Sunday, Bronte Law’s final round at the Pure Silk Championship started to go pear-shaped at the turn as searing heat sapped her strength and her swing started to fail her.

Thankfully, crackers saved the day.

“I honestly don’t think that I ate enough on the front nine,” said Law after sealing a two-stroke win in Williamsburg, Virginia.

“I would’ve kicked myself had that been the issue, but I could feel myself getting a little tired. When I get tired I swing a little under the plane and start losing those shots out right.”

The 24-year-old had picked up four shots in her first eight holes on Sunday to grab the outright lead but the first signs of trouble came at the ninth where she pushed her drive right and ran up a bogey.

The next two holes saw her leak drives to the right again, and while she managed to save par the Englishwoman was in danger of letting the round get away from her.

“On hole 11 I think it was I told my caddie, I need some food. I was kind of getting so caught up in the moment that I really didn’t eat enough.

“I think I had a crackers or something.

“I don’t really like to eat when it’s that hot. I managed to force some food down my throat and I was fine after that.”

Law had been on the brink of her first LPGA Tour title three weeks ago in San Francisco but lost out in a playoff at the Mediheal Championship to Kim Sei-young.

Bouncing back from that disappointment so quickly, and holding it together on Sunday when the heat was on, proved she had what it takes to compete on the elite women’s circuit, Law added.

“So that’s something that I’m going to carry forward for

the coming weeks. Obviously have a big one next week. This was kind of the perfect way to prepare, I guess.”

The “big one” is the biggest of all — the U.S. Women’s Open. She failed to make the cut in 2017 and did not play last year but hopes to be vying for the title at next week’s tournament in South Carolina.

“I don’t think you have to change anything just because the title of the event changes,” she said. “I’ll go out there and I’ll prepare as I did this week.

“It’s golf, so hopefully I can carry on this momentum into

next week and play some more solid golf and kind of be in contention again.

“That’s what I live for. The feeling when you have a shot at winning is exactly why I play the game.”

(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: French Open - Roland Garros
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 10, 2018 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates by biting the trophy after winning the final against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

May 27, 2019

(Reuters) – Defending champion Rafa Nadal begins his French Open campaign on Monday, seeking his 12th title and 18th Grand Slam while looking to dismiss any doubts about his form after three consecutive semi-final exits in the run-up to Roland Garros.

Three different players ousted the Spaniard in clay court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before he roared back to his best to beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the final in Rome.

Nadal, a known stickler for routine and order, arrives at a revamped court Philippe Chatrier which has been 80% rebuilt for this year’s tournament, but the 32-year-old said he will not be affected by the changes.

He is generally a slow starter but should not have any problem getting past his first-round opponent, Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann.

The 27-year-old, who turned professional only four years ago, has never advanced past the opening round of a Grand Slam but he feels no pressure facing the championship favorite.

“I’ll know a lot about him and maybe he doesn’t know as much about me,” he said in an interview on the Roland Garros website.

“I’ve been playing well. I’ve got a big game… So if my serve and return works, I can definitely do some damage.”

While the crowd may be overwhelmingly in favor of Nadal, it is not something that affects Hanfmann, who has a hearing impairment.

“It’s an advantage on court,” he added. “Maybe on Chatrier, it’ll be an advantage because I don’t hear that much that’s going on.”

In the other half of the draw, Djokovic begins his quest to hold all four Grand Slam titles for the second time in his career when he takes on Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic became the first man since Australia’s Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams in 2016 when he won his only French Open title.

Three-times Roland Garros champion Serena Williams is looking to win her 24th Grand Slam singles title and she takes on Vitalia Diatchenko who has never progressed to the third round.

Dominic Thiem, who comes into the tournament having won titles in Barcelona and Indian Wells this year, will be in action on court Suzanne-Lenglen against American Tommy Paul.

Stan Wawrinka, a winner in 2015, will be the star attraction on court Simonne-Mathieu when he takes on Jozef Kovalik while French veteran Richard Gasquet faces Mischa Zverev.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

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